All recognized characters belong to J.K. Rowling
Everything else is mine.
R – for violence, language and adult content
Contains male/male pairings- That's SLASH... you know, GAY
Harry Potter and the Parliament of Dreams
Chapter 21 – The Measure of a Man
Harry woke up abruptly. He was immediately aware that he was sleeping on someone and that it was not Draco. He felt Draco’s presence opposite him, however.
He lifted his head and turned. Dark eyes immediately locked with his emerald orbs. He felt shock right down to his toes.
“I suggest we make the best of my total lack of good sense,” Snape said dryly.
“This is almost worth being in here,” Fred wisecracked weakly from the other side of the room.
Snape went white and then flushed a bright red. It looked as if he wanted to run, but Draco and Harry still had him pinned down.
“Professor,” Fred spoke as he hobbled over, “thank you for your help. And thank you for helping my brothers too.” He gestured at Harry and briefly towards Draco.
Snape’s blush went away as he nodded almost sharply. His complete self-control returned moments later. In a voice void of his usual nastier bits, he replied, “It is my job as a professor to do my best to see to the needs of my students.” He looked pointedly at Harry. “All of my students.”
Harry nodded. “Thank you for last night. I don’t remember what happened, but I can’t remember a time when I’ve felt safer when I woke up.” He then blushed a little.
Snape looked genuinely shocked. He then, after a long moment of silence, smiled and made a little gesture with his hand that indicated he wanted to get up.
Harry made a sharp little mental prod at Draco.
Draco, his hair sticking up again, suddenly scrambled to his feet in response. He walked towards his bed and sat on it. Draco then looked at Snape, “Huh?”
Harry got up as well and went to sit next to Draco. Draco wrapped his arms around Harry and pulled him close. Harry sighed.
So did Severus as he got up and left the infirmary, saying nothing further. The swirl of his black robes was the only sound that marked his passing.
Fred looked at the door that Snape had just went through for a few moments before turning towards Harry and Draco and saying in a very serious voice, “Make sure you don’t say anything about Professor Snape to anybody. I think we might have glimpsed something that very few people have seen and I personally would like to see it again.”
Harry and Draco exchanged glances before nodding simultaneously. Fred weaved a bit on his feet. Harry and Draco both leapt to there feet and directed Fred over to the nearest bed.
“What happened? Why is everyone in here?” Harry asked once they got Fred settled on the bed.
Fred explained what happened. Draco and Harry both went wide-eyed in shock.
“That makes some sense of the visions from last night then. A Death Eater, someone not much older than you, was the one who did it. He was punished for torturing Colin and Seamus,” Harry said slowly as he thought it out.
“Is that so?” Dumbledore asked, seeming to step out of thin air.
Draco bounced upward in surprise. Fred started as well. Harry’s eyes widened in surprise, but he did not move.
“Yes. Voldemort said he would have been killed for not following instructions, but since he disobeyed by torturing a muggle-born, he was allowed to live. It was the same person that set off the alarms earlier in the year. They were testing your response, I think.”
Dumbledore nodded, “That would make some sense. You’ll be happy to know that Professor Snape will remain on the grounds from now on and will no longer be spying for us. Your last warning was enough to convince me of the prudence in this course.”
“Good. I wouldn’t want to see him hurt or worse,” Harry replied slowly, a distant look in his eyes.
Draco squeezed his hand. “Professor Dumbledore?”
“Yes Mr. Malfoy?”
“You indicated that I could start eating at the Gryffindor table when I thought it was no longer safe to stay at Slytherin. May I start eating there today?”
“I think that might prove to be a wise decision. I’m afraid that the Slytherins will bear closer scrutiny from now on.”
“They aren’t all bad you know. Crabbe and Goyle have expressed interest in keeping to our arrangement. Blaise Zabini has also said that he will not side with the Dark Lord.”
“I understand the Slytherins Mr. Malfoy. Have no fear that they will be unfairly treated. I will treat everyone as his or her actions warrant. Thank you for those names.”
Dumbledore ambled over to the exit and stopped to talk to Madam Pomfrey, who was just returning. They talked for about a minute before the Headmaster continued on his way.
Madam Pomfrey walked over and smiled at the two boys. “You two are free to go.”
They nodded simultaneously.
She then walked over to Fred, “You can go now too.”
“What time and day is it?” Fred asked, his forehead crinkled in thought as he tried to remember the day.
“It’s 7:30 am on Friday. If you feel up to going to class, go ahead. If not, stay in your own bed.”
“That goes for you two as well,” she addressed Draco and Harry as they were making their way out the door.
They nodded in acknowledgement.
Draco and Harry walked with Fred all the way back to the Gryffindor dorms. They received several odd looks, but no one said anything to them. They left for their flat as soon as Fred was inside the dorms.
George woke up feeling a bit groggy. He was on a couch and it took him a few minutes to realize where he was and what had happened the night before.
After he vented his anger on the fighting dummy in the Self-Defense classroom and had a quick fling with Michael Corner, he went to Percy’s flat. The portrait and refused to let him in, but had called Percy inside. George slumped to the floor during the wait.
Percy finally opened the door and saw George on the floor. George’s face was a study of mixed emotions. Percy pulled his younger brother to his feet and pulled him inside. He immediately pulled him into a hug as George suddenly broke down. Percy led him to the couch after awhile. Once they were comfortable, they stayed up and talked for hours. It was more than they had ever talked before.
The depth of caring that Percy had displayed had really struck George. It was very unlike Percy to have so much of his emotion on the surface. George really appreciated it though.
So now it was Friday and he had classes to attend. He hopped to his feet and was on his way in his usual brisk walk. He wanted to catch a shower in the Gryffindor tower before he had class.
“Are you sure?”
“Are you ready then, Draco?”
“Yes Harry. I’m as ready as I will ever be.”
“Ok,” Harry replied as he strolled purposefully forward into the Great Hall.
Draco was a half step behind him. They made their way straight to the Gryffindor table. Heads were turning everywhere. People started prodding their neighbors and pointing at the two most infamous Hogwarts archrivals. The noise level dropped to tomblike in a matter of a few heartbeats.
Draco and Harry continued on undisturbed straight to their seat. They both put their backs to the wall so that they could watch the room around them. The Gryffindors were staring as openly as everyone else. There were a few exceptions, though.
Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were seated across from the spot Harry and Draco chose. They greeted them friendly enough, though Ron was clearly greeting Harry more than Draco. Dean and Neville looked at each other and shrugged. George, who had walked in unnoticed just behind them, walked right up to them and place his arms around them both.
“Good morning boys,” he said jovially as they jumped a bit.
Harry recovered first, “Good morning George.”
George plopped down into the seat next to Draco and then turned to him, “You don’t mind if I sit here, do you Draco?”
Draco, feeling a little shaken up, only shook his head.
“Well, here comes the welcoming party,” George said under his breath.
Harry and Draco both looked up sharply to see Pansy and Millicent storming towards them, several of the fourth and sixth year boys were trailing behind them looking menacing. Crabbe, Goyle, and Zabini were noticeably absent from this group.
George nonchalantly pulled his wand out of his robes and twirled it as they approached. Draco felt suddenly chilled. Harry looked sharply over at George when he felt something… different.
Pansy stormed right up to the table and hissed in a high pitched voice, “What do you think you are doing, Draco?”
“I’m sitting here with my friends,” he replied dryly while looking back and forth between Harry and George.
George stopped twirling his wand and had it pointed right at Parkinson’s forehead.
“Go away Parkinson. Your stench is ruining my appetite,” George said coldly, his eyes narrowing dangerously.
“Yes. I think it would far healthier for you to leave at this point,” Draco intoned dangerously.
“Draco, we’re not going to allow you ruin our house’s honor by allowing you to stay here,” Pansy bristled.
“Go away before you regret it Parkinson,” Draco growled.
“I will NOT!” she snapped back.
Draco waved his had dismissively at her and her head snapped backwards as if struck by a large hand. Draco’s eyes widened in shock. He looked quickly over at George, who shrugged.
Pansy snarled and reached across the table to slap Draco and stopped dead when she saw Draco’s wand pointing directly between her eyes.
“If you even think of continuing that action, you’ll be dead before you hit the floor,” Draco purred dangerously.
Harry’s hand, unseen under the table, clamped onto Draco’s leg. They both felt a sudden adrenaline rush from the contact. Draco’s expression hadn’t changed and he was clearly spoiling for a fight.
Harry’s expression was hostile though he still didn’t say anything.
Pansy decided that she hadn’t quite thought this out all the way. Millicent wasn’t quite as bright as Pansy, so she decided to stop the waiting. She leaned forward and before anyone could stop her, slapped Harry hard across the face.
“You dirty bastard! You’ve corrupted him,” she looked like she was going to continue on that vain, except George set off a spell at the exact time that Draco did.
The shock of being hit was pushed straight through the link to Draco and enhanced a hundredfold via the direct physical contact. It caused a surge of raw anger to break out of Draco and manifest itself in a magical blast from the end of his wand. The spell itself was not known, but its effect was quite violent.
Pansy was knocked out by George’s spell and then sent flying, along with all the other Slytherins, into the Hufflepuff table. Millicent landed with both legs and an arm at very odd angles. Pansy hit a bench face first and had her pug nose was pushed in. The fourth year boys ended up in a pile on top of the sixth years.
Draco, Harry, and George looked ready to kill something.
All the other onlookers in the Great Hall, including the teachers had the same thought at the same time: ‘Don’t mess with Harry Potter and his friends.’
McGonagall and Snape were the first to rush to the Gryffindor table.
Professor Snape looked at the pile of Slytherins and snapped, “Fifty points from Slytherin for fighting.”
Professor McGonagall was almost as quick, “Fifty points from Gryffindor for fighting.”
George, Harry and Draco didn’t look any calmer. If anything, they looked even angrier.
McGonagall faced the three of them down, “You three had best return to the infirmary and request a sedative.”
They stared at her.
“RIGHT NOW!” she roared in a suddenly magnified voice.
All three stood up and rushed out the door of the Great Hall. The rest of the students in the Great Hall looked on with sick fascination.
Professor Snape, acting slightly timid, “Minerva, we need to get these fools to the infirmary as well.”
“Of course Severus. Can you handle it? I need a drink,” she muttered.
Snape nodded sharply and took charge of the situation.
Poppy looked up as the three boys entered. They looked like they were ready to kill something. Or perhaps kill anything. She decided immediately that a strong sedative would be useful, so she grabbed three vials of a sedative potion out of the cabinet behind her and she met the three angry young men.
“Drink this,” she said, handing them each a vial.
They looked at her and then each upended the vials into their mouths.
She then ushered them over to two beds. Harry and Draco climbed into the same one and George got into his own.
They had just settled when the next group arrived.
Poppy sighed. “It’s going to be a long week, isn’t?” she asked the ceiling.
Colin woke up when Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy and George Weasley stormed into the hospital wing. He watched with some interest as Madam Pomfrey calmed them by giving them some sort of sedative. They three boys climbed into two beds moments before the next wave of people arrived. He heard Madam Pomfrey’s question and almost snickered aloud.
There were six Slytherins and two Hufflepuffs in the group that came in with Professor Snape. Professor Snape looked rather grouchy and was making minimal efforts to comfort his house’s students. Professor Snape did seem to be showing something akin to sympathy towards the two Hufflepuff first years, however.
There were not enough beds currently available and the two Hufflepuffs looked only slightly injured, so Madam Pomfrey directed them to go sit near Colin.
Colin barely caught that, but noticed the two boys shuffle towards him uncertainly. He moved to the far side of the bed and patted the spot he had just cleared. The two boys climbed onto the bed uncertainly. Colin smiled to encourage them. They smiled back and relaxed a little.
All three boys watched as Madam Pomfrey clucked while prodding and otherwise examining the Slytherin students. Only Millicent Bulstrode and Pansy Parkinson were injured enough to require more long-term care. The four Slytherin boys were released after a potion each.
Colin tapped one of the boys on the shoulder, “I’m Colin Creevey. What’s your name?”
“It was awesome! Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy are friends. They got in a fight with those two girls. That Weasley twin helped them.”
Colin’s eyebrows rose, “How did you get hurt then?”
“Malfoy cast some sort of spell that launched all the Slytherins into the air. They landed on our bench.”
“Yeah. Did you know that the famous Harry Potter was friends with Malfoy?” Billy’s friend interjected.
“Let’s see your injuries boys,” a tired Madam Pomfrey interrupted.
She quickly examined them and then healed them.
“Get off to class you two.”
The two boys scampered away.
Colin looked around and noticed that the Slytherins were gone except the girls. The girls in question were staring at Harry and Draco’s bed with a mixture of shock and anger.
Madam Pomfrey turned to him, “I think it is time that you left as well. I talked it over with Professor Dumbledore earlier, and I think it best that you, Seamus, Harry and Draco go off to Harry’s flat. That will give you someone to keep an eye on.”
Colin nodded confusedly, thinking, ‘Why there? Privacy?’
“George Weasley,” she called sharply.
“Yes Madam Pomfrey?” George responded warily.
“Please escort Harry, Draco, Colin and Seamus to the Gryffindor flat. After that, return to your dorm room and keep an eye on your twin. You are excused from class for the remainder of the day.”
The aforementioned boys all left quickly.
That left only Zavien and the two cranky Slytherin girls left in the infirmary.
Madam Pomfrey sighed again.
Friday had been a totally hectic day, as far as Severus was concerned.
As soon as he had the casualties settled from the Potter incident, or this time the Malfoy incident, he had gone immediately to his class. He was his usual self, which is to say, he was an unmitigated git, thank you very much.
The day had passed quickly and he had no unusual disasters in class. It was most likely because he hadn’t had Neville Longbottom in class. Thank Merlin for that small blessing today. Not that his day wasn’t filled with Gryffindors; just not the fifth year class. Denis Creevey had been fairly distracted, though normally he was a good potions student. Denis often spent time with Colin in Snape’s film lab. Snape ignored Denis’s mistakes and did not deduct points from him.
It wasn’t until after dinner that Severus had an opportunity to unwind. He no sooner had his feet up and his hand wrapped around an ice-cold butterbeer (alcoholic) when the knock came at his door.
“What is it?” he snapped at the door.
The door creaked open and Remus walked in with a basket in his hand.
“Oh. It’s you. What is it then?” he asked in a slightly more friendly tone.
“I just figured that after the long day that you had, you might appreciate a little company to drink with this evening.”
Severus smirked lightly and indicated the comfortable chair opposite him with an elegant wave of his hand.
Remus smiled as he sat himself down. He placed his basket on the table, withdrawing an ice-cold butterbeer of his own.
“Shall we have a toast?” Remus asked.
Severus nodded and moved his hand in a ‘go ahead’ gesture.
Remus raised his bottle, “To friends. May we always understand each other.”
“To friends,” Severus murmured in reply.
“Now that we have that out of the way, I think we should discuss the day.”
“Sevy, you know how important today was. Draco is as good as dead if he leaves Hogwarts. There is an off chance that they will risk killing him here. They’ll certainly beat him within an inch of his life, if given the chance.”
“Potter will probably suffer from the same fate if he is caught. I think it would be prudent to point out that they would have to come at them in overwhelming numbers or catch them totally unawares,” Snape pondered slowly.
“After what I’ve seen today, I truly pity the fool who tries to fight those two on their own. This time it was Draco, right?”
“As much as I’d like to blame Potter, this was Draco’s doing. It does have to do with the power that Potter seems to be sharing with him though.”
“Why do you detest Harry so much?” Remus asked pointedly.
“I don’t. Not anymore, at any rate.”
“Why did you?”
“He breaks the rules. He is famous for something that happened to him as a child that he had no control over and no recollection of.”
“He hates every second of the fame. All he wants is to live a quiet life without the Dark Lord trying to kill him,” Remus replied.
“A valid point. I’ve been forced to re-evaluate my opinion of Mr. Potter on several occasions this year. He is truly a giving person, thinking of others before himself. That is a very rare quality, even amongst you noble Gryffindors.”
“Harry is more Gryffindor than the rest of us. He’s had to pay for that too,” Remus said thoughtfully while staring at the empty fireplace.
He upended his bottle of Butterbeer and reached for another.
Severus did the same.
George left as soon as saw the four boys to the Gryffindor Flat. The boys entered silently and sat down on the couches in front of a newly banked fire. The walk had been long for Colin and Seamus and they both looked a little pale. Harry, who was feeling fairly normal for once, did not stay seated for long. He went to the table and ordered a few glasses of water. The glasses appeared almost at once on a small tray. Harry picked the tray up and walked over to the other boys. Colin and Seamus both grabbed a glass and nearly drained them in one gulp.
“Thanks Harry. That walk was a real killer,” Colin complained.
Harry nodded in response and then looked at Draco, who was lying back against the couch with his eyes closed.
Seamus seemed to tense up as he leaned back into the couch. Colin set his cup aside and started to relax as well. Harry finally sat down and he too drifted off into a nap.
It was several hours later, well after sunset, when they were sitting at the table and eating their dinner. Colin and Draco were both eating while Seamus and Harry were only picking at their food.
Seamus suddenly looked highly distressed and Harry could feel discomfort flowing off of him. He was about to ask what was wrong when Seamus stood up suddenly and bolted from the room. Harry hesitated only a moment and after a quick glance at Draco, he bolted after the Irish boy.
He saw Seamus run up the stairs into the Astronomy tower so Harry followed close behind. Harry slowed as he neared the top of the stairs so that he could assess the situation before bursting out on to the roof. Seamus was still sending our highly conflicting emotions.
Harry finally approached Seamus after standing for several minutes near the door to the roof of the Astronomy tower.
“Come back down to the flat. It is too cold up here,” Harry murmured quietly.
“How do you handle it?” Seamus asked seriously.
“Handle what?” not sure of what Seamus was referring to exactly.
“Handle having someone out to kill you all the time,” Seamus whispered in response, still staring out into the night.
Harry draped his arm over Seamus’s shoulder and pulled him in close. “I think I see what you are getting at. I try not to think about it. I try to focus on school and just deal with one day at a time. That is where having friends helps. Draco has also been instrumental in the last two months.”
“How can you ignore it when day after day you are in constant danger?” Seamus asked with a hysterical edge to his voice.
Harry made a conscious effort to project calming feelings at Seamus as he talked, “I take it one day at a time and have faith that those around me will help when it is required of them. That is really all I can do. If I die, then I die.”
Seamus looked sharply at Harry. “You don’t want to die, do you?”
“Of course not, you Irish twit! We can’t spend all of our time worrying about what might happen. We’d never get anything accomplished in our lives if we did. We’re all here for a purpose: to make a difference. Some of us perhaps are just here to serve as a warning to others?”
Seamus giggled, “I guess that might explain poor Neville.”
Harry smirked, “Maybe. Feeling a little better?”
“Yeah. Thanks Harry,” Seamus smiled at him.
“Anytime. Now let’s get back to our boyfriends and hope that they haven’t killed each other,” Harry said wryly.
“Blimey! You left those two alone?”
Harry smacked Seamus lightly upside the head before saying, “There was just the four of us in there when you ran out. I followed. That left them in there alone.”
“Hey!” Seamus groused.
They walked quickly down the stairs and across the hall to the door. The boy in the portrait smiled at them, as he swung open. An amazing sight greeted them when they walked in.
Draco and Colin had their heads together reading over a large book. They hadn’t even noticed the other two boys walk in. Harry walked quietly right up behind Draco and stuck his head in next to Draco’s.
Draco hopped a little. “Don’t do that!”
“I was wondering what you were reading. Potions! That figures,” Harry shook his head and groaned.
“I like potions and so does Colin.”
“I was only showing Draco the formula I prefer for developing pictures. This one here provides a much better color balance in addition to the motion qualities.”
Seamus turned to Harry, “My boy is smart.”
“Mine is smarter,” Harry retorted and stuck his tongue out.
“Don’t stick that out unless you intend to use it,” Seamus smirked evilly.
Draco turned around and poked him lightly in the stomach.
“Hey!” the Irish boy whined.
“No flirting with my guy,” Draco mock-glared at him.
“I think he likes me,” Harry said sotto voce to Colin.
Harry then shivered all over as Draco sent a little tug over the link.
“That looks like a useful bit of magic for a relationship,” Seamus commented to Colin.
“Excuse us,” Harry said suddenly and Draco lurched to his feet, “we’re going to bed. The couch is rather cozy. I hope you like it. Um… Good night.”
Draco waved lightly as Harry dragged him towards their room.
Colin and Seamus exchanged looks and then shrugged.
“Are you feeling better now?” Colin asked his boyfriend.
“Quite a bit better, yes. Harry really has an interesting way of looking at the world and I’m very glad he’s my friend,” Seamus smiled.
“Do you want to…” Colin trailed off but he used his foot to rub Seamus’ crotch.
“On Harry’s couch?” Seamus gasped in surprise at Colin’s foot movements.
“Where else?” Colin asked seductively.
“Oh Draco!” Harry’s muffled voice could be heard from the bedroom.
Seamus and Colin looked at each other and grinned.
Colin slowly stripped off his clothes while Seamus watched. Colin stood naked and hard in front of Seamus for a few moments before he started to strip his boyfriend. In no time at all, the two boys were naked and entwined together on the couch, kissing deeply.
“Are you sure you want to do this Hermione?” Ron asked nervously.
“I’ve read all about it. I think we’ll both enjoy it.”
Ron looked skeptical.
“Right now Ronald!” Hermione barked in her Prefect’s voice.
“Okay already Mione… no reason to yell at a guy,” Ron replied as he dropped his pants and boxers and sat back down on the small couch in the storage room.
Hermione approached him on her knees, eyeing Ron’s most interesting part.
Zavien was the last of the attacked boys to be released from the hospital wing. Fred had walked down from Gryffindor Tower in order to meet him. Fred still looked tired but was otherwise ready and able. Fred’s own anger surfaced when Pansy made a snide remark to Zavien. He drew his wand in anger and pointed it directly at Pansy’s head.
“Oh is the Gryffindor going to hex me?” Pansy mocked.
Fred turned an angry purple color and was just about to hex her when Professor Dumbledore came into the room. He walked over to Fred and casually spun the angry young man around to face Zavien.
Fred was too surprised at the agile old man’s strength to do more than gape in confusion at his boyfriend.
“Right then. Now that Zavien is being released I think that it would be very prudent for both of you to return to Fred’s dorm,” Dumbledore told them quietly.
“What about the rules about other house members being in Gryffindor over night?” Fred asked.
“Since when have you ever followed a rule Mr. Weasley?” Dumbledore asked, his eyes twinkling.
Fred laughed despite himself.
“Good. Good. Now please be on your way. I have several other stops to make tonight.”
“Yes sir,” Fred replied.
Fred and Zavien both left.
Dumbledore ambled over to Pansy Parkinson’s bed, “Good evening Ms. Parkinson.”
She stared at him a moment before mumbling, “Headmaster.”
“When you are released, you are to report to Mr. Filch to serve three weeks of detention.”
“That’s not fair!” She protested immediately.
“You’re absolutely right Ms. Parkinson. We’ll make it four weeks.”
Pansy was left gasping in anger as the old man made his way out of the infirmary.
Fred and Zavien made their way slowly all the way to Gryffindor tower. The Fat Lady let them in when Fred gave her the proper password. The people that were still in the common room did not pay any attention to the two teens as they passed through to the stairs.
George was sitting on his bed when Fred and Zavien walked into the room. He smiled at Zavien, “Feeling better I hope?”
“Yes, thanks. I hear that it is you I have to thank for my life. Thank you for making the effort to save me.”
George blushed, “Anybody that was around would have done the same thing.”
“Perhaps. But thanks, nonetheless.”
George smiled. “I’m going to bed now. Make sure you two use a silencing charm.”
George had the satisfaction of watching both boys blush.
“Go to bed already George,” Fred snapped playfully.
“Good night boys,” George said before sliding the curtains on his bed closed.
Fred stripped down to just his boxers. Zavien looked him off hungrily, despite his tiredness.
“Get undressed Zavien so we can go to bed.”
Zavien snapped out of his trance and stripped down to his own boxers before turning to look at Fred again. Fred was staring at him in appreciation.
“Get into bed so I can cast the silencing charm. That way we can talk without bugging George.”
Fred and Zavien both climbed into the bed and Fred closed the curtains and cast the silencing charm. “There. Now we can talk.”
“Can you hold me please? I just need to be held.”
Fred pulled the younger boy into him and held him tight as he drew the blankets up around them.
Both boys drifted off to sleep a few minutes later.
End of Chapter 21
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