The Gift
by Schuyler

Memory charms worked quickly, but took time to undo, so it was after four years and a thorough beating by the press that Gilderoy left St. Mungo's. His house was still his, in a nice part of Hogsmeade. He was different, the hubris gone through the many apologies he'd had to make, replaced by fear of what people thought of him. He didn't go out much.

One day, Dumbledore came by with a box of problems that needed solving. There was a silver box made of interlocking, transformed vines that was said to contain a dangerous dark artifact, a blank roll of parchment that should contain the recipe for a useful potion, if only they could make the writing appear again, and a toad. A cousin going through Frank Longbottom's things had found a journal and pictures that referenced an older son. It wasn't quite surprising alone, as Frank and his wife had done their best to stay out of contact after their wedding. What surprised him was that the boy was called Trevor.

Dumbledore figured that it must have been a spell gone wrong, but there was no way to know who had cast it or what spell they'd used. Neville only vaguely remembered Trevor and no one else who had been there was in a position to help. So the toad came to Gilderoy, in a little glass box with a flat rock in it. Gilderoy went down to the lending library and checked out a book on the care and feeding of toads and read it cover to cover. When he was done, he poured enough water into the box so that the rock turned into a little island and set a little ball of sunlight up near the top so that Trevor would stay warm. Trevor croaked happily and Gilderoy smiled.

Trevor sat in his glass box on Gilderoy's desk all day while Gilderoy worked on his problems. At tea-time, Trevor got a lump of sugar (since there was still a boy in there somewhere) and Gilderoy would talk to him. Gilderoy learned when Trevor was saying yes and when he was saying no.

No one really came to visit. Those friendships he hadn't lost when the truth came to light had fallen apart during his years away. Sometimes, he got letters. Ginny Weasley, who had forgiven him for his cowardice when he'd written from the hospital, wrote every week with the news from school. He always read the news portions aloud to Trevor, but sometimes not the rest. At some point, Gilderoy had become the adult she trusted with personal things. Often, she talked about Neville. When Gilderoy reported that Ginny had begun referring to Neville as her boyfriend, Trevor croaked for yes. Gilderoy included that in the letter back.

When he did go out, Trevor often came along in Gilderoy's waistcoat pocket if he felt like leaving his warm box. He almost always felt like it.

When Gilderoy got a lead on something that might work for Trevor, he'd work all day and night while Trevor looked on, looking and sounding more worried than excited. Finally, Gilderoy would attempt the spell or administer the potion and, when nothing happened, he would apologize sadly to Trevor, who would croak affectionately. Then he would dim the ball of light and go to sleep. Often, after these failures, he would wake with Trevor on his chest, croaking to make sure he was all right. "Yes, Trevor, yes," he would say, laughing, and Trevor would croak happily and hop under Gilderoy's pillow to keep warm.

Until one morning, when he woke not to croaking but to breathing, and an endless warm expanse of skin. He gasped, which earned him a low, gravelly, "Go back to sleep, Gilderoy. You've been up for days." Then the even, sweet breathing again. Gilderoy carefully lifted the covers to look. At least six feet of pale skin, thinner than he should be, but healthy, with his brother's rosy cheeks and dark hair twisted into knots. When Gilderoy touched his skin, it was warm and soft, but it looked faintly yellow-green against the white sheets. Gilderoy shook him.

Trevor blinked open his eyes and just looked at Gilderoy. Then a pause, when Gilderoy was sure that Trevor was feeling his own skin, scissoring his legs. His smile was dazzling. "I guess then that..." but his words came out sounding painfully rough, his voice unused to the words. he cleared his throat and tried again. "I guess then that the potion worked." Gilderoy smiled and slid his hand across Trevor's cheek, just to feel the skin. Trevor closed his eyes and hummed. "Haven't been a person since I was six, but this feels like home."

Gilderoy slowly pulled his hand back and got out of bed. "I'll make you a proper breakfast then," he said, reaching for his dressing gown, "to remind you how nice it is."

Trevor was lying nude in his bed, smiling and happy.


If he was honest, and he was always honest now, Gilderoy would admit that he had been looking forward to this day, the day when he would talk to Trevor over tea and Trevor would talk back, but he realized now that there were serious things to talk about.

"I haven't notified anyone yet, but I should owl Dumbledore. And Neville."

Trevor had come to tea shirtless because he hadn't quite gotten used to regulating his own body temperature yet. He wasn't quite sure of his own muscles yet either, so he walked carefully and raised his tea cup slowly. "You should do that then. And ... and tell them I'd like to see Neville."

Gilderoy's cup was almost empty when Trevor said, shakily, "I can go now, if you want. Go to Gran's or something."

Gilderoy reached out to grasp Trevor's free hand. "I've grown to love having you here. I want you to stay." Trevor trembled and dropped his cup, gasped at the sound as it shattered against the coffee table. "You're still a little weak, let's get you back in bed." Gilderoy put down his cup and hurried around the table, leaning to help Trevor up. Trevor turned just as he came near and kissed him, a hand on Gilderoy's cheek that slid upward into his hair.

"I'll stay, thank you."

"Thank you."


Dumbledore had written back that Gilderoy's next task should be to catch Trevor up on the seven years of education he missed at Hogwarts. So for their first venture out of the house, Gilderoy took him to Ollivander's. At some point, when Trevor was walking through Diagon Alley with his new wand, Gilderoy realized that he was in love. Most of the people they passed recognized Gilderoy and avoided his gaze, turned obviously away, so it could just have been that Trevor had been his only companion for so long, but when Trevor turned to smile at him, he didn't really care.


Gilderoy knocked on the office door only once before coming in. Trevor was lying in the bathtub Gilderoy had moved near his desk, up to his ribs in cool water. The rock from his box was balanced on his knee. "Trevor, it's a quarter till." He dropped down behind Trevor's head and pressed a kiss to Trevor's cheek. At three o'clock, Neville and Ginny, on a trip into Hogsmeade, were coming for the first time. When Trevor got scared, he hid in his bath. Trevor shook his damp curls. Gilderoy tapped the bathtub with his wand and it emptied.

Trevor shook. "I'm cold."

"It's warmer in clothes."

"I hate you," he grumbled, but they both knew he didn't mean it."

Gilderoy had already wandered into the only bedroom. "Ginny says they're looking forward to seeing you again."

They were. Ginny and Neville arrived at five minutes past three, holding hands. Trevor rose from his chair and there was a moment of terrifying silence before Neville said, "Hello, Trevor."

He took Gilderoy's hand (which earned Gilderoy a sympathetic look from Ginny) before he replied. "Hello, Neville."


The Epilogue - Much Much Later

When Gilderoy came home, Trevor was sitting in his armchair in shorts with his feet in the tiny plastic swimming pool that Hermione had brought over. Gilderoy, folio still tucked under his arm and gold tweed cloak still on, dropped to a crouch beside Trevor and pressed a kiss just below his lover's ear. "Hello, Trevor."

Trevor's eyes stayed closed, but he smiled. "Hello."

Gilderoy paused to run the backs of his fingertips along Trevor's cheek. Neville's skin was heartily pink, but Trevor's was ever so slightly green, a deep green that spoke of nature and moss. His skin was soft and Gilderoy's hand slid up to the line of Trevor's dark unruly hair, then down to cup his gentle jaw. Trevor's dark lashes went up and down again once before he opened his eyes and smiled again. Gilderoy didn't think he would every understand how he'd ended up with this beautiful boy in his house. "Happy birthday," he murmured.

Trevor brightened. "Is it really?"

"Yes!" Gilderoy knelt and opened the folio on the arm of the chair. "I did a little snooping around and found an order placed for a monogrammed layette to celebrate your first birthday." It had taken Gilderoy four months and a hundred false starts to get even that far. Trevor's fingers were skating along the edges of the aged sales slip. "You're twenty-five."

"Am I?" There was a hint of wonder in his voice.

Gilderoy didn't know if Trevor even remembered his last birthday celebration. He kissed Trevor's cheek again before getting to his feet. "So get up and put some clothes on. We're going for a drive."


Gilderoy owned a car, a green sportscar of English make, and Trevor was leaned against the passenger side window, listening to the hum of the engine. Trevor's sweatshirt was frayed, a hand-me-up from his brother, his cloak was laid across the back seat, and he was barefoot. Gilderoy had promised him that he wouldn't need shoes for this outing, which put Trevor at ease. He still wasn't terribly confident when it came to socializing with other people but, truth be told, Gilderoy didn't feel all that confident either.

Gilderoy pulled off onto a lane that wound behind an old abandoned gatehouse and the wheels spun up dust. Trevor never asked where they were going, but when they cleared the trees and stopped in a meadow at the edge of a little pond, his eyes lit up. He fumbled open his door and ran down to the edge of the water before turning back to look at Gilderoy, like he was asking permission. Gilderoy laughed and nodded and Trevor turned and ran into the water.

Gilderoy had supper in a picnic basket in the trunk and plans to present his little wrapped gift to Trevor when he was damp and full and sprawled on the plaid picnic blanket. But for right now, Trevor was up to his knees in slick, mossy water, splashing towards a group of unnaturally calm toads, and they were happy.


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