Who Never Sat Weeping?

It was understood, among the fourth year Gryffindor boys, that no one said a word. It wasn't because they were particularly sensitive, or that they'd been threatened with a thumping if they spilled the beans. Under the circumstances one might even have thought they'd been spelled to forget about it before they could ever have a chance to say something.

But none of those were the case. They didn't say a word, and if anyone had asked them why not, they'd simply have shrugged and given the questioner a look like he'd asked why they all cheered for Gryffindor during Quidditch matches.

You just *did*. It was *your* house, and you supported them. There really wasn't any other way to do it.

Normally, secrets like this were either kept among the house at large -- things like the fact that Jennifer had needed help on her history lessons to get passing marks, or that Andrew had a stuffed bear named Rupert sitting at the head of his bed. Alternatively, there were secrets that were kept among the circles of friends within a house, like who was homesick and who was saving up to buy a nose-shape-altering potion. But these were things still talked about, among the friends.

This was something they didn't discuss, not even to reassure themselves they weren't going to mention it.

It wasn't even entirely clear, among the other boys, that Oliver and Percy even knew that no one would say a word. There had never been an opportunity to swear aloud to secrecy, even when the boys had first observed it, on that first night. The boys had said nothing, and the following morning had only met each other's eyes, and knew.

Oliver and Percy had acted like nothing had happened, and, so did the rest.

For four years, no one ever mentioned it.

Truth was, they each rather wished it could have been them. Even as each boy was grateful it wasn't him, waking up in the silent of the night, whimpering and crying and saying a name no one ever said aloud. They all had nightmares about something, and when they did, they each wished they had someone to sneak across the room and slip into bed with them, and cuddle them til it was over.

The envy, and the gratitude, kept them silent when they woke up in the morning to find two of their mates asleep together, even when the nightmares hadn't woken the rest of them. They would go about their morning business, and soon enough Percy would come quietly out of the room. He was always first out, with Oliver following some time later. If any of the boys had to go back into the room before the House Elves got in, they would find both beds bed half-made as though they'd crawled out of their own beds rather than both out of one.

No one knew if the elves were fooled, but no one had ever come to speak softly to the any of them, asking after the well-being of their mates. If the elves knew, they weren't telling, and no one seemed worried about being found out. The fourth year Gryffindor boys felt it was something that proved their mettle. Not that they knew they each felt the same, but sometimes in the mornings if they met each other's eyes, they could see something in it that said, we're tested again, and we've passed.

The last two years had been trickier, with Percy's brothers in the house. The twins were insatiably curious, and got into everything. The fourth year boys had banded together to create a spell that prevented anyone of the wrong year from entering their rooms. The other Gryffindors had quickly clamoured for the spell, as well, after Fred and George had proven themselves excellent pranksters.

But they'd managed to avoid revealing a thing, despite the twin's questions, and despite their outraged belief that there was something they were not being allowed to see. Percy himself would brush off such accusations with calm, cold words that they had enough else to do than worry about.

No one ever let on that there was something they weren't being told. The fourth year boys didn't even feel much regret for keeping the secret. Part of it was that it wasn't their place to tell the Weasley twins anything -- if anything, it was Percy's. If he lacked the need, or the courage, or the concern, to share with his brothers, then none of the other boys felt it his business to spill secrets.

But there was also the tradition. They'd gone this many years without saying anything. Each boy knew he had it in him to last the next three years, graduate with the secret he'd been trusted with. Each intended to prove himself to Oliver and Percy, even if, ironically enough, they could never do so without breaking the silence.

But whenever one of the boys found himself pressed to say something -- draw Oliver aside and whisper that he'd never say a word, even to someone he knew could be trusted -- there would be another morning with the boys found wrapped around each other in one bed. The other boys would remember half-muffled cries, or even be woken with a start at the loud cry that did not pass through the room's sound proofing spells. Sometimes the boys would lie awake in bed for a few seconds, or a few hours, listening to the noises and wishing, or promising all over again, or simply being very, very glad it was someone else. Each boy would go to sleep, determined that it wouldn't be *him* who told.

It was nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to be embarrassed by, and had any of them told someone, chances were that nothing would happen. But they felt too proud, and so intended to do it themselves. Protect their own, stand by them, and say absolutely nothing.

He was their favorite, after all. And if Percy was the one he needed to calm his fears, they would do whatever they could, to let it happen.

Notes: Title taken from Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe's "Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre":

"Who never ate his bread with tears
Who never sat weeping on his bed
During care-ridden nights"