Harry James Potter, The Boy Who Lived twice, Savior of Worlds both Wizarding and Muggle, Defender of Justice, Youngest Seeker in a century, Winner of the Triwizard Tournament, Golden Boy, was absolutely trashed.
He was not entirely sure how this had happened, as he had been telling himself and Hermione that while he would go out for drinks with all their friends he wasn’t going to get too crazy. She’d been bugging him about getting out of the house more after he turned down the offer to enter auror training immediately after The War. She thought that by talking to his friends about their careers and relationships he’d figure out just what it was he wanted. If he was being completely honest with himself there did not seem to be a career that felt worthwhile after defeating a Dark Lord, saving the world, and literally dying.
This was most likely the main reason that going out for drinks had turned into eagerly taking any shot placed in front of him. He was happy for his friends and the success that they’d found in life but he couldn’t deny that he was more than a little jealous that they didn’t seem to be as utterly lost as he was. Harry craved to have a purpose again and in that moment he would take anything he could get, even if his mission was simply to get his bloodstream to contain as much alcohol as possible.
Barely able to keep his balance, Harry staggered into the street with a vague idea about getting fish and chips while his booze addled mind was blissfully unaware that it was after midnight and none of the restaurants in Diagon Alley would be open. After a while he simply couldn’t keep himself upright any longer. He sat down on the curb and wrapped his knees to his chest, resting his head on his knees. Unable to keep his eyes open any longer, he had almost drifted off to sleep when strong hands wrench him off his ass and a voice said something to him that he didn’t quite understand so he decided to simply keep his eyes shut and hope this person would let him sleep as he rested his head on their shoulder. No such luck. He was apperated away a second later but thankfully upon arrival at their destination the mystery person guided him to a couch and Harry was out like a light the moment his head hit the pillow.
When he awoke it was not in a pleasant fashion. He only just managed to get to a toilet in the unfamiliar flat before vomiting what seemed like everything he had ever consumed into the pristine bowl. Somewhere in the back of his mind he wondered who knew that could possibly keep a bathroom this clean. Once his stomach decided it had punished him enough for his poor decisions the previous night, he rinsed his mouth out with some water and clutched the edge of the sink, looking himself over in the mirror. Honestly he looked like shite; there was glitter in his hair that he vaguely remembered Seamus shooting out of his wand, he had dark circles under his bloodshot eyes, and his T-shirt and jeans from the night before were wrinkled from being slept in. But that was a problem for later. For right now he wanted to figure out who had rescued him and thank them. From what he remembered he had been a trainwreck and if it weren’t for this person he would have slept on the street
He wondered how someone had found him at all, given that he hadn’t told anyone at the bar where he was going when he left in a fit of self pity and hunger. He left the bathroom trying to rub away his headache and as he rounded the corner he ran smack into a someone slightly taller and lankier than him. When he bounced back he was stunned into silence, feeling he may never find words again.
Draco Malfoy, impeccably dressed in a grey suit with a matching waistcoat and the shiniest black shoes Harry had ever seen, was sipping tea clutched in both hands and scowling at Harry. The look was so familiar he almost laughed. He also noticed some stirrings in his stomach that he decided to ignore for the time being. He remembered how long it had been since he’d had any sort of romantic or physical anything and decided to chalk up noticing how fit Malfoy was to that. Once the pictures of Harry kissing a man at a gay club a few months ago had graced the cover of Witch Weekly endeavours to get laid or find love or whatever didn’t seem worth it for the stress. A voice snapped him back to the present. “Potter I would reprimand you for lack of coordination but you’re honestly doing a lot better than last night”
Even though he was still scowling there was a glimmer in his eye that Harry thought might mean he was being teased. Harry blushed deeply, which was embarrassing so he blushed even darker. Since when did Malfoy make him blush? He was still unable to find any words at all so he settled for closing his mouth and looking sheepish, rubbing the back of his neck. His surprise was wearing off now, because he knew Malfoy often came to bar nights due to the fact that he worked alongside most of Harry’s friends at the ministry. He did something with potions Harry remembered. He’d never really paid him any mind beyond the occasional glance out of habit, but for the most part after serving his minimal sentence of community service, he seemed to have let go of all the pent up anger. All Harry’s friends swore he was completely different in some ways and exactly the same in others which made him an absolute delight . Harry accepted that but didn’t make any attempt to talk to him more than polite small talk. Some history runs too deep. There had always been so much energy between them.
“Anyway, I have work to do in my study but stay as long as you need to until you’re feeling better” Malfoy said while dipping around the Harry into the room opposite the bathroom which Harry saw had a work bench with a potion kit set out on it before the door snapped shut. Harry quickly told himself that watching Malfoy leave was a totally normal thing to do even if he had watched his arse more than anything else. Once he realized that he hadn’t even managed to get out a “thank you” he mentally scolded himself and decided that making lunch would be a proper thanks.
He set to work making grilled cheese and tomato soup for both him and Malfoy when realized it had been ages since he had cooked for anyone besides himself. He piled all the sandwiches onto one of Malfoy’s colorful plates and as he was getting matching bowls for the soup he wondered why Malfoy wasn’t living at the Manner. Perhaps he would ask him depending on how this lunch went.
It was right then that Malfoy poked his head into the kitchen. “Something smells amazing,” he said with a smile. “Is this your version of a thank you? I like it.”
Harry was once again slightly dumbfounded. His friends had been right Malfoy was different. For one he was smiling at Harry which had never happened before. On top of that, his resting expression was something closer to soft and open than the cruel mask he had worn at school. His posh accent had almost disappeared and as Harry noticed all this he thought that maybe he had been slightly obsessed with Malfoy at school to be able to notice all these changes now.
He finally managed to speak “Yeah Malfoy, thanks for saving me from sleeping on the street,” he returned the smile and put all the food on the little dining table he had set earlier.
They sat down and started to eat before Malfoy responded. “Well I couldn’t really leave you on the curb could I? You looked like a kicked crup. What’s the deal with you Potter?” Malfoy sobered at the last question.
“Uh” Harry replied eloquently, “I suppose I’m just trying to find myself,”
Malfoy cocked his head and regarded Harry with a look that reminded Harry of when Dumbledore had seemed to be X-Raying him in the past. It dawned on Harry that maybe he hadn’t meant the question in such a cosmic sense. It seemed as though he was going to say something and then decided against it. Instead when he opened his mouth the last thing Harry ever expected to hear from this man. “Well I found you. And it appeared to be Harry Potter the Drunk Gay Catastrophe. I’d trademark that if I were you,”
They stared at each other for what felt like ages and then both burst out in hysterical laughter. After a few minutes Harry was finally able to catch his breath, wipe the tears away, and manage a response. “Ya know Malfoy everyone has been walking on eggshells around me and you manage to pinpoint exactly where I’m at in life after escorting me home once,”
Malfoy beamed at him and Harry suddenly realized how oddly domestic the scene was. The both of them having finished their food and just sitting there shooting the breeze. He thinks he wouldn’t mind this being a more regular thing.
They sat there and looked at each other for a little longer than was comfortable. A faint blush was creeping up Malfoy’s cheeks. It was so endearing that Harry wanted to reach up and touch him.
Feeling he was misreading the situation in his love-starved state he hopped up. “I think I feel good enough to head home” he blurted out. When Malfoy looked a little crestfallen the Gryffindor in him knew to make his move.
They walked together to the door and lingered there for a little while shuffling their feet and not catching each other’s eyes “Well” Harry said abruptly, “Thanks again for the hospitality. We should definitely hang out again sometime. I’ll keep in touch,” Harry almost couldn’t keep a straight face when Malfoy looked so affronted. Harry walked out the door and shut it behind him.
He kept his door on the handle and allowed himself a grin while he waited a few moments before turning the knob and re-entering the flat. Malfoy let out a yelp of surprise at seeing Harry again so soon but that’s all he could get out before Harry pressed their mouths together for a soft, gentle kiss. When he pulled back Draco was beaming “You prat, I really thought you were just going to walk out like that. It was the rejection of sixth year all over again”
“I couldn’t help myself,” Harry replied with a cheeky smile, taking note of the admission of a crush in school, “I thought you’d look adorable when you’re flustered and I was so right.” he said, pulling Malfoy close and pressed a kiss to his cheek before cupping his face and, he voice suddenly earnest, asking “Can I make it up to you by taking you out to dinner?”
Malfoy made a big show of considering the proposition before responding. “Well… “ he began “I suppose that would be acceptable. Though I may also require drinks since you played with my emotions” he ended with a smirk.
“Very well. I shall pick you up at 7 on Friday” Harry said as he began to leave again, not yet letting go of Draco’s hand. “And can you really blame me for being so conniving?” Harry kissed Malfoy’s hand before dropping it and giving him a wink, “the first house the sorting hat considered putting me in was Slytherin,” All Harry did was laugh warmly as he let the door swing closed, cutting off a spluttering Malfoy. He wouldn’t go back in again. They would have plenty of time to talk about it on Friday.
Hermione was right. Going out for drinks had helped him figure out exactly what he wanted.
Alright guys second fic under my belt. I’ve been reading some truly brilliant fics lately and though this is far from brilliant I was inspired to write. Still waiting on that one great idea that’s just something no one’s ever seen before ya know? Anyway guys thanks so much for reading and for your support and as always feedback is appreciated, I love you all xoxo
so yeah, we all know that facial expressions can tell us a lot about how a character is feeling, but what if that isn’t an option? how can you make someone emote if they don’t really have standard facial features? the answer; body language.
let’s consider how emotions are conveyed on a stage production vs movie with Sweeney Todd. First, the stage play:
Note how Todd’s entire upper body goes into his gestures, how he’s single-mindedly focused on his dreams and ideals; how his hands GRAB for each imaginary ‘man’ with these sharp, aggressive, destructive movements and how that contrasts with Mrs. Lovett’s body language; how her hands linger in the air and gravitate towards Todd even after he’s pulled away, and the slow turn she gives him. It does an excellent, though exaggerated, way of conveying their relationship (her focus is on him and making him happy, his focus is entirely on revenge)
Contrast this to the movie:
Same lines in the song, much more subtle. Lovett’s eyes still track towards Todds, which reminds us she’s still more focused on the outside, but all of the emotion is in their faces. Were this not a close-up shot in a movie it’d be very, very hard to read their expressions.
While I do recommend you watch a few stage plays (in person near the back row if you can) to actually study body language for yourself or try out charades with your face covered with friends/watch how cosplayers or mascots emote, here’s a few shorthands to get you started (US-centric so expressions may vary on your region):
perfectly still - fear, intense attention, feeling under scrutiny
tilted up - recollection, intimidation (looking down nose at threat, aiming to appear taller)
at the forehead - fatigue (wiping away sweat), illness (checking self for fever, feeling a headache), realization/memory (a ‘well duh’ tap)
at the eyes - fatigue or headache (shielding eyes from light), distress (blocking out a painful view, concealing tears)
at the nose - disgust (a pinch at the nostrils,) irritation (rubbing at sore spot on nose from glasses wear)
at the mouth - nausea, surprise, repressing an emotion/stopping self from saying something
at the chin - contemplation, tiredness (face resting in hand)
rubbing back of neck - a need to relax tension, embarrassment, slight unease/desire to distract self
at the chest - surprise, self-protection (reaction to a wounding statement, sometimes used sarcastically), strong emotions (clutching at heart, could be good-strong or bad-strong), need for security (touching necklace/adjusting clothing to conceal more)
at the stomach - pain (clutching, pressing), satisfaction after a meal, protectiveness towards fetus when applicable
at the hip(s) - confidence, intimidation, nervousness (if grabbing for weapon)
at groin - concealment/unease (usually male-coded as protection of genitals), politeness (hands folded in lap)
on thighs - exhaustion (bent over, hands on legs supporting tired upper body)
formed into fists - holding back an intense emotion, preparing to fight
toying with something - restlessness (bored, nervous energy, craving something they can’t touch) or deliberate disrespect of property (playing with personal objects someone holds dear as an intimidation tactic)
at sides, relaxed - default posture
at sides, tense - unease, restraint (soldier at attention, person holding still to avoid being attacked), fear
crossed at chest - disapproval, displaying authority, unease (hugging oneself)
crossed at stomach - pain, intense laughter (caused by sore stomach muscles from laughing)
up, fingers laced behind head - confidence, relaxation
one arm on back of furniture - confidence, invitation for someone join them
general rule - the further arms are away from body, the more confident/dominant a person means to appear; exposed torso indicates that they don’t see anyone around as a threat to them
square with shoulders - professional, restraint, protective stance
wide stance, one foot a little back but planted - defensive stance, expecting to receive blows (knees may be unlocked - seen in swordplay and fencing)
weight on one leg - relaxed, tired, may also be leaning on something or pair with one ankle tucked behind the other
uneven stance - could indicate old injury
foot tapping/bouncing - boredom, nervous energy
stiff and still - fear, unease, standing to attention
limp or pliant - relaxed, tired, pleased
shoulders back/head up - alert, focused, aggressive
shoulders forward, hunched - tired, ashamed
leaning towards person - interest, intimidation (looming over them), aggression (usually paired with tense arms or hands in fists,)
leaning away from person - relaxation, confidence, disgust (recoiling)
stiff motions - fear (reactive, fight or flight), pain (reluctance to move), anger (either fighting to keep control of emotions or lashing out), cold (conservation of heat by keeping limbs near body)
cracking joints/stretching - preparing for a fight, often reading as confidence in abilities
general rule - close contact/proximity can read as intimidation (paired with tense body - an invasion of personal space) or affection (paired with relaxaed body language, gentle movement) or passion/attraction while distance can read unease/distaste/fear/dislike.
with those in mind, let’s read this scene from Red vs Blue (a personal fav of mine for body language) featuring agent texas from season 8.
So first of all, very relaxed upper body; limp arms held away from the body, which slowly come back to rest on her hips as she looks at what she’s done. Watch how her lean shifts at the end as her center of gravity shifts, and how she has to move her right leg to restabilize herself when she’s finished pushing it. This reads, in order from the start of the loop; detachment (the least amount of her body is involved in the action as possible), relaxation (smooth movements, the deliberation of those little steps backwards) and confidence (hands on hips.) We can tell a ton about this character just in this gif alone, based on her body language.
in summary! this list isn’t exhaustive, but hopefully it gives you some ideas for ways of making characters emote in fics when you can’t see their faces.