Pairing: Harry/Fred/George (and Lee, sorta), not really incest, unsquickish
Category: hurt, but no comfort yet; angst; this one's got a way better smut/plot ratio, honestly!
Series/Sequel: yes, sequel to "Doing, a Filthy Pleasure is, and Short"
Warnings: Some walls may only disguise themselves as paintings, but aren't accessible at all!
Disclaimer: alas, not mine... The characters belong to J.K. Rowling and I'm thoroughly convinced that my spine isn't nearly flexible enough to bow to her as deeply as she deserves. Oh, how I love her... *Silver's developing a serious crush...*
I earn nothing, I own nothing, nobody would pay me for this anyway. This is an act of love, please don't sue.
Feedback: Oh yes, yes ... please... *begs*
Summary: Harry is trying to figure out his feelings and the twins are trying to help. But will Draco toler-ate someone claiming what's his?
Part Three of the Petronius Series
"Friendly game? Excuse me while I laugh myself sick! When has any match involving Slytherin ever been friendly, I ask you?" Ron said. Hermione nodded in agreement and then they looked over to Harry again, who was lovingly grooming his Firebolt.
"I know," Harry admitted, squinting to see if the birch twigs were in perfect order. "Don't ask me what's gotten into them. Maybe they want us to settle it once and for all." He clipped the end of one twig and blew the cut piece away, stroking his hand over the tail once more. 'There...' he thought, content, and met his friends' eyes. "But I don't mind, really. We will flatten them in two days and it will be a good practice for the actual Quidditch Cup match." He had said that with more confidence than he was actually feeling, but Ron and Hermione seemed to be content.
"You'll show them all right!" Ron exclaimed and slapped Harry's shoulder. "And you can show this Malfoy creep once and for all where he belongs. That's going to be quite a show!"
Harry rubbed his shoulder, trying to force a smile. Ron didn't seem to notice it though. He was far too busy describing dire results for Slytherin in the upcoming Quidditch match in loving detail. Hermione listened to him half-heartedly while reading her book 'The Dawn of the Druids'.
Mentioning Draco always had this effect on Harry these days. Usually he just didn't like it, but these days it was pure torture. As he had done so often before, he replayed it in his head again and again: how he had opened the door of the storeroom to find Draco standing there, in front of Snape's office. How he had looked... he knew that expression so well. Just then, when one birch twig rustled, about to snap, Harry realized that his hand was clutching the Firebolt's tail tightly, and he quickly released it again.
He looked over to Ron who was working himself up in his excitement over the downfall and complete destruction of the Slytherin Quidditch team. Harry smiled lovingly. Ron looked up and met his eyes, smiling back shyly and blushing a bit. For a moment there was a quiet exchange of words between them, and Harry felt the well-known yearning.
The moment was interrupted by Hermione closing her book. "Okay, I have to go to the library now. I've got an essay to finish." She got up and Ron jumped to his feet immediately.
"Excellent! I have to look something up, too. I'll go with you!" They headed for the door of the common room and Ron called over his shoulder, "See you later, Harry!"
Harry just lifted his hand in reply and watched them leave. He realized that if it weren't for Ron and Hermione, he would always be sitting here all alone. Which was exactly what he was doing right now.
With a sigh, he got up from his seat and went to the dorm. As he opened his wardrobe to stow away his precious broom, his glance fell on the Marauder's Map. He was immediately reminded of Fred and George. Why hadn't he thought of them before? Maybe they would have a bit of time to listen to his woes. He wouldn't have to tell them everything. Just a bit. It would be so comforting just to talk about his sorrows for once.
Tapping the map with his wand he mumbled "I solemnly swear that I'm up to no good!" and the lines appeared on the old parchment. After a short moment of searching, he found the tiny dot labeled as 'Fred & George'. Harry smiled at the thought of even the map knowing how inseparable the twins were. According to the map they were in the corridors on the second floor.
Pocketing the map, he left Gryffindor Tower to find the twins. When he had arrived at the spot on the second floor where he had thought he would find them, nobody was there. Puzzled, he took out the map again. The dot 'Fred & George' was nowhere within the boundaries of Hogwarts anymore. Harry frowned. Inspecting the map more closely now, he suddenly discovered a small square that had appeared on the side that said 'Fred & George's Secret Hideout' and a thin line that lead to it. Obviously a secret passage which had its end right where he stood.
Curiously, Harry started examining the wall, gently probing for any hint of a mechanism or whatever could be used to open the entrance to the secret passage. He checked the map again and now discovered a minuscule scribbling where he stood, instructing him to count ten stones from the bottom, starting with the blackened stone next to the crack on the floor. He then tapped, according to the instructions, the stone in question with his wand and muttered, "Dissendium!" The wall rumbled a bit and revealed the outlines of a doorway. Harry pushed against it and it swung open.
He found himself in a dark and narrow tunnel, illuminated by magical lights along the way. Behind him the secret door rumbled again as it molded back into its hiding form, but he didn't feel any fear, because he trusted the Marauder's Map just as much as he trusted the twins.
Taking a deep breath, Harry started to move. He followed the narrow tunnel for a while, constantly checking the map to see how close he already was. Soon the tiny dot labeled 'Harry Potter' was only a few fractions of an inch away from the square that said 'Fred and George's Secret Hideout'. He looked up and saw a source of light in the distance. He put the map back into his pocket and continued on his way.
Suddenly he heard voices and retreated into a nook, trying to catch a glimpse of who was talking. The cone of light on the floor broadened and somebody left the Secret Hideout. Harry immediately recognized Fred and George's voices. Damn, if they left now, he wouldn't be able to talk to them in private. Listening more closely, he realized that they were talking to a third person. He checked the Marauder's Map again and only then discovered that there was a third name hiding under a blotch on the map. His cheeks were burning hot as he thought about walking in on them like this unsuspectingly.
Curiosity, however, prevailed, and he peered carefully around the corner to see who it was. A tall boy was standing in the doorway, laughing at something George (or Fred) had said. Even if it hadn't been for the dreadlocks, Harry would have recognized Lee Jordan's voice immediately anyway, after all the Quidditch matches he had done the commentary for. Sure, he could have guessed that: the twins and their crony.
Still pondering, Harry then saw something that confused him beyond words. Lee stepped closer to one of the twins and embraced him. But this was no friendly embrace, no, it had a clearly more personal tone. And to add to his shock, Lee kissed the twin hotly on the mouth, before pulling away and finally leaving, waving and laughing some more. Harry quickly retreated into the shadow lest he should be seen by him.
The door closed again and Harry leaned against the wall, totally confused. Maybe Fred and George were even more competent to give him counsel than he had thought before. But how was he to go up to them now? It felt so weird. The mere thought of going to meet them now was unbearable to him, so he decided to beat a retreat and quietly left again.
All night and through the next day, Harry couldn't get his mind off what he had seen. The twins and Lee kissing... so familiar with each other. He wasn't shocked at Fred, George and Lee at all. It was rather the idea that someone other than him could have such a relationship that confused him. There hadn't been any guilt, any uneasiness. Could that be, too? All this time he had thought it was him and his sick twisted mind that had brought him into these troubles. Now he saw that this wasn't the case.
As soon as the students had finished dinner and started retreating to the common rooms and dormitories, Harry made an excuse to Ron and Hermione, and left the group to sneak up to the second floor. As often happened, the twins hadn't been attending dinner and he thought he had a good idea of where they could be.
He had brought the map again, this time to be able to check if everything was clear, including Lee Jordan's exact whereabouts. Once he had figured that out, he entered the secret passage the same way as yesterday and followed the tunnel to the entrance to Fred and George's hideout. Taking a deep breath to pluck up some courage, Harry braced himself to knock at the solid looking door.
Inside, he heard a rumbling and somebody giggle, then, before he even had had the chance to knock, the door was flung open and one of the twins yelled "What's up, Lee, can't wait?" His glance dropped a considerable height until it finally found Harry standing in front of him, fumbling with his robe nervously. "Harry?" he asked, surprised. Then he grinned and pushed the door open completely, making an inviting gesture inside and shouting over his shoulder, "Hey Fred, look who's here!" George winked at Harry, pushing him inside.
Harry let his glance wander around the interior of the Secret Hideout. Boxes and other things bulged out of dusty shelves all over the room. There were packs of Filibuster Fireworks and other mischief-making equipment piled up in one corner. In the middle of the room, between candles, heaps of candy and nicked food from the kitchen, several pieces of parchments with notes and sketches for future pranks and inventions were spread all over a table. In the other corner were a couple of old mattresses and blankets that made a comfortable bed to rest on. Souvenirs from the Forbidden Forest, trophies and other proof of their activities decorated the walls. Behind him was an occasional clattering sound coming from a wardrobe and Harry had the sneaking suspicion that a Boggart or something similar must have been locked up in there. To sum it up, this was the perfect place for Hogwarts' notorious pranksters to plot their mischief and find some seclusion.
Fred sat on the mattress and smiled at Harry amiably. "I would ask you now how you found us, but I think I know the answer."
"Thank you, Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs!" George chanted while closing the door and making sure it was locked.
"So, what brings you here?" Fred asked.
George stepped behind Harry and pushed him onto the mattress. "Here, take a seat!"
Harry dropped on the bed with an "Oof!"
"And some sweets!" Fred added and stuffed a bunch of colorfully wrapped items in his hands.
"And a pillow!" George pushed him back into a huge pillow.
"Actually I..." Harry started, but was cut off when Fred stuffed a Chocolate Frog into his mouth. Harry gulped and chewed, blushing.
"You were saying?" Fred looked at him innocently.
Trying hard to swallow the sticky contents of his mouth, Harry gestured for a short pause.
"Oh, want something to drink?" George started rummaging in a box for a bottle, but Harry gesticulated wildly not to be the victim of any more hospitality, which had the effect that both twins now were looking at him curiously, waiting for him to finish the Frog.
Finally, he was able to talk and said, "Actually, I just wanted to talk a bit. Since you said I could always come to you, if I had something troubling me."
"Um, oh yeah, right," George said, exchanging a concerned look with his brother.
"Something wrong?" Fred asked.
"Well, not really wrong... I just need an ear, I guess." Harry stayed silent for a while, fumbling with his robe. Then he said, "I saw you and Lee the other day."
Both the twins' faces looked surprised and concerned at the same time for a moment. "Oh." When Harry didn't say anything else about it, Fred carefully asked, "And... is this..."
"... what's troubling you?" George made a habit of completing his brother's pending sentences.
"In a way." Harry blushed.
George sat down next to him and looked at him with serious eyes, obviously trying hard to look that way. "You know, Harry, sometimes people just... have a preference for their own sex. It's really nothing."
To spare them both the embarrassment, Harry quickly interrupted. "No, that's not it."
Fred smacked George's shoulder and hissed, "Great, you git! Why not start with the birds and the bees while you're at it!"
George turned crimson.
Harry took a deep breath and then started. "There's this boy I like."
The twins exchanged another look. "Oh!" They waited. "And does he..."
"...like you, too?"
Another heavy sigh. "I don't know. In a different way, he might."
"He... doesn't love me, I'm sure. He has feelings for me, but no love. Not that." Harry stared at his lap, swallowing.
After a while, Fred carefully probed, "Are you sure?"
Laughing bitterly, Harry nodded. He thought about him, how he looked at him with cold eyes that betrayed nothing of his feelings. How his white hands on his body made him feel like he would go up in flames...
"Who is it then?" George interrupted his thoughts.
Harry looked up, confused and he started, "It's D...R..." He stopped himself at once, absolutely shocked. What had he been trying to say? Surely it must have been Ron!
Ron, Ron, Ron! It must have been him! Yes. Ron, with the red hair and the warm eyes that looked at him with nothing but kindness and friendship. Ron, with the warm hands and reassuring touch. Not Draco, looking at him with inscrutable eyes of ice that made him melt...
This was a hopeless mess. He was supposed to love Ron! That's how he always had felt! Why was he getting all confused suddenly? When had it started? When Draco had stolen that kiss from him in the locker room after a Quidditch training session and he had suddenly seen more in him than just this spoiled, snobbish brat? After the first time he and Draco had slept together? The second, the third time? When he had met him in front of Snape's office, his silver blonde hair that smelled of herbs and wilderness all tousled, his pale cheeks heated and he had known what had happened in there? When?
He realized that the twins were still looking at him, so he hurried to complete the sentence, muttering, "It's difficult." And it wasn't even a lie.
"Well, isn't it always? It wouldn't be life if it wasn't." George replied and both Fred and Harry were staring at him, surprised at his profound remark. "Well, it is!" he exclaimed irritably, throwing himself into the pillows, sulking.
Sighing, Fred tried again. "Now, Harry. Do you think there's even the slightest chance that this boy would start to like you the way you like him?"
"Then you could either go up to him and..."
"No! That's completely out of the question!" Harry paled at the thought of it.
George stifled a grunt and jumped into the discussion again. "Or you just take your mind off it. You know, try to sort it out by yourself. See if it's really him you like or just something he embodies."
Harry thought about it for a while. Yes, maybe that was it! Maybe that was the crux of the whole matter! Maybe he only wanted Draco's body, wanted the sex and the pleasure, but in truth was completely devoted to Ron. That was brilliant! Harry got all excited thinking about it. Why not give it a try at once...
Without giving his brain the time to process the impulse and think twice, he hurled himself at George and pulled the startled boy into a passionate kiss. Behind him, Harry could feel Fred shooting upright with a surprised cry and in front of him, George squirming and wiggling to get out of the embrace.
At last, George managed to free himself and gasped for breath, catching Harry's wrists in his hands to keep him from attacking again. He stared at him, utterly confused. "What the hell was that about?" he shouted.
Harry blushed deeply, trying to catch his breath, too. Now he felt terribly embarrassed for being so stupid. What had he been thinking? "I... I am sorry!" he stammered, looking at Fred and George. "I... I don't know. I just thought I could find out this way how I felt."
George stared. "You're not in love with me, are you?"
"No!" Harry exclaimed, horrified to have been misunderstood that way. "I just thought... after what you said... maybe I could find out if I felt the same way with somebody else kissing me."
"Oh..." George nodded and finally released Harry's wrists. "I understand. But that's hardly the right way, don't you think?" He leaned back against the pillow, but shot upright the next second again, shouting indignantly, "Hey, wait a minute! Why did you deny it so fervently?"
Fred giggled in delight and Harry blushed even more.
George frowned and stared at his brother, scandalized. "Don't laugh! He could have been, Fred! As a matter of fact, I'm damn good-looking! Yes I am!"
"Well, so am I," Fred replied, nonchalant. George snorted.
Finally, Harry couldn't take it any longer and burst out laughing. Soon he was joined by the twins and the tension subsided at last. After a while, Fred said, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye, "Now, seriously, Harry. Did you really think this would help?"
Sobering immediately, Harry answered, "Well... it was worth a try. I thought, if I reacted the same way with someone else, then..."
Like they had done so many times before, Fred and George exchanged a look which obviously told each other more than a thousand words. Fred cleared his throat. "So, you two already..."
For a change, George refused to end this sentence.
Harry nodded, feeling the heat creep up to his cheeks again.
Fred looked puzzled. "Now you're confusing me. So, you've slept with him, but you don't know how he feels about you and what you feel about him, but you're in love with him?"
"Er... no. That's someone else."
Both twins blinked. "Oh dear."
Harry started trembling. "That's exactly the problem! When he's with me, I can't think anymore! I just melt under his touch and I'm not even sure if he's forcing me or if I'm doing it out of my free will. It's an addiction and I hate it! But I want him so much, even now I do. He's driving me crazy and I want him to hold me just once afterwards! And then I see... the other one and my heart is pounding and I want to kiss him, too, and feel this closeness I can't get otherwise and... I feel so guilty." He raked his hand through his hair, sighing heavily. "It's a terrible mess."
As if the absurdity of this whole situation suddenly was dawning on him, Harry made an attempt to get up. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have bothered you."
George held him by the wrist and pulled him back onto the bed. "No, Harry, wait. We're your friends, okay? We want to help you."
"Yes. You're obviously confused," Fred added and moved over to Harry. "Maybe we were a bit too hasty before." Fred was closing in. "You're not sure about your feelings." He was so close to Harry's face now that he could feel his warm breath brushing over his chin. Harry swallowed nervously. "So, there's only one way to find out." With that Fred grabbed Harry's head, pressed his mouth on Harry's and immediately started kissing him deeply, soulfully.
Harry gasped and lifted his hands, but George captured them, holding them down gently. "Don't fight it, Harry," he whispered into his ear, hotly. "You wanted to know, didn't you? And it will be fun. Just trust us." He licked over Harry's earlobe and chuckled when a jerk went through the other boy's body.
Harry didn't have much of a choice. He was caught between Fred's body, the pillows and George's hands. All he could do was close his eyes and enjoy it. And he did. The familiar sweetness crept through his veins and he opened his mouth to give better access to Fred's probing tongue. He felt Fred's hand slide under his robe, fumbling to find the end of his sweater, pushing under it until they touched his hot skin. He sighed.
Releasing Harry's lips, Fred looked down at his hands where he was working to push all of Harry's clothes up, freeing his chest completely. Then he dived down, kissing Harry's throat and chest, his lips fastening over a nipple and suckling on it.
Harry thrashed his head to one side, crying out. His lips were immediately covered by George's, who was now starting to kiss him. It was so different from the way Fred had kissed him, sweet and tender. He moaned, knitting his fingers with George's still holding him down.
Another shiver ran through Harry's body when he felt Fred's tongue explore his navel while his hands started to work on the fly of his trousers. No, he couldn't actually be planning to do that! He had to stop him... Harry gave another moan and kissed George back, almost desperately.
Soon he felt his cock being freed from the folds of his clothes and Fred's skillful hands working on it. Harry groaned inwardly as George's tongue pushed deep inside his mouth. Why am I doing this, he thought. That was about the last coherent thought going through his muddled brain. He felt Fred's hot mouth engulfing all of his length and moaned into George's mouth. George drank his sounds of passion eagerly, nibbling on his lips and letting his hand roam over Harry's shaking body.
Fred stroked Harry's thighs while his head was bobbing up and down in his lap, rushing Harry towards the goal.
His hands both captured by George's, Harry couldn't do much but moan into George's mouth, kissing him deeply, and buck his hips as his climax approached. Far too soon, the pressure erupted and he came with a strangled cry at George's lips, spilling himself into Fred's eager mouth.
Breathing heavily, Harry faintly registered Fred moving up to lie next to him, still stroking his quivering body. He turned his head, his lips feeling sore from the many kisses. He felt George's hand on his face, stroking back his hair and blowing a kiss on his scar.
Slowly, Harry opened his eyes, meeting the twins' warm ones. He was still short of words, swallowing thickly.
George lifted his head and looked at Fred, grinning. "Hey, how come you get all of it?" he whispered a bit huskily. "Let me taste it, too." With a smile, Fred leaned forward and kissed George on the mouth, giving him a sample of the taste he had just received. Harry decided not to think anything about it at all. He moved his face up, trying to join their kiss. Noticing his attempts, the twins looked at him and then lowered their heads with a smile, kissing both corners of his mouth at the same time.
Harry reached up to hug them both and they laid back to snuggle against him, their heads resting on his shoulder. They stayed that way for a while and Harry stared at the ceiling, confused about his feelings. How had this happened? He felt George's hand moving over his body, pulling his sweater down again, then stroking his chest absent-mindedly. He smiled.
But soon the smile left his lips again. This was beautiful, and, needless to say, he had felt very good before. How couldn't he have? But the feelings he had now were rather warm and amicable. More like friendship. He had shared something beautiful with his friends, but his heart wasn't racing and he hadn't been burning. He didn't feel like he could have lost himself in it.
Harry felt like jumping to his feet and running away. He had to think about this and what it meant. Fred seemed to have sensed something, because he lifted his head and looked at him with concerned eyes. "So, how are you feeling now?"
Shrugging, Harry answered truthfully, "Confused..."
George propped himself up on his elbow, too, and grinned. "Oh great, so nothing has changed then?"
"No. I wouldn't say that... it explained a lot. But I have to think about it." Harry smiled faintly. "And it was very nice. Thank you." He pulled Fred's head down and kissed him.
Fred licked his lips and replied cheekily, "That's the least I would expect!" He winked at George.
It was only now that Harry noticed the twins' bulging pants, and he blushed suddenly. "Oh, you haven't..." He gestured towards their pants. "I didn't even think about... oh..." He felt very nervous at the thought of doing it with them both. He hadn't thought this far. Actually, he hadn't thought at all.
"Oh, don't mind us," Fred said good-naturedly. "We'll get ours soon enough. You were the important one right now."
Harry blinked, confused, and looked at George who let himself fall back on the back, burying his face in the bow of his arms and groaning deeply. "Yeah, I hope Lee doesn't come late... ah."
Realization struck Harry like a sledgehammer and he shot bolt upright. "Oh God! I'm sorry! I had no idea!" The idea of walking in on Lee and the twins or, even worse, having him interrupt them, was almost unbearable to him and he suddenly felt very weak.
"What?" Fred jumped, not getting at first what was going on, and then put a calming hand on Harry's shoulder, pulling him down. "Relax, Harry. No need to worry."
"Yes, Lee's not the jealous type and we took precautions. So, chill out."
"Okay..." Harry's heartbeat slowed down again, but he still felt awkward. He was just about to take his leave when a soft chime could be heard, apparently coming out of nowhere.
"Ah, that must be him!" George said cheerfully and rose from the bed.
"George's visitor announcement device," Fred explained at Harry's puzzled look.
Before Harry had a chance to say anything, George flung open the door and yelled, "Lee! Come on in! Quick!" He pulled the startled boy with the dreadlocks inside, slammed the door shut and immediately kissed him hotly while pressing him against the wall.
Harry felt very embarrassed as he scrambled into an upright position and quickly put his clothes in order again, wondering if George was just buying him a bit of time right now to regain his composure.
George released a breathless Lee, who then looked around the room, puzzled, spotting Harry at once. He lifted an eyebrow. "Is this going to be a threesome?" At George's scandalized expression he corrected himself, "Foursome, sorry."
Right about now, Harry ardently wished he knew how to Apparate and could just disappear to any place in the world as long as it was far away from this one.
But Fred jumped into the breach for him. "No, Harry was just about to go. We were having a chat among friends."
Lee lifted his second eyebrow and said dryly, "Oh right. How could I have been mistaken."
Harry got up on shaky legs and was very grateful for Fred's supporting hand at his back as he walked over to the door, trying hard not too blush too much.
"We're just going to take Harry outside, okay?" George said perkily, giving Lee a quick slap on the ass. "Why don't you make yourself comfortable in the meantime?"
"Yeah, we won't take long, I promise!" Fred cooed and blew some hot air into Lee's ear. The other boy grinned.
Harry finally released his breath again when they were outside. The cool air of the secret passage was a treat to his burning cheeks.
"Sorry 'bout that." Fred mumbled with a shallow grin as they walked through the gloomy corridor.
"No problem." Harry felt so indescribably grateful for the twins' earlier backup that he felt like hugging them and never letting go. He smiled happily as he trotted behind Fred, followed by George. At the secret doorway, Fred whispered, "Harry, check the Map, will you? That's faster than using the Magic Mirror to see if someone's out there." He gestured towards the small mirror at the wall that looked like it could see through the wall when tilted into the correct position.
Harry checked, and when it was all clear, they opened the door and sneaked outside into the deserted hallway. There they stood, staring at each other a bit uncomfortably for a moment.
"Well..." Harry said.
"Well..." the twins replied.
"Thanks for... eh, everything."
Fred smiled. "You're welcome. Feel free to stop by anytime."
"Even if it's just to talk!" George smirked and Harry blushed again.
"So, do you think you'll get things sorted out now?"
Harry shrugged. "Guess so."
"Good." Fred nodded, content. "See you tomorrow at the game then. I'm sure we'll be in top form." The twins grinned. Patting Harry's shoulder, they turned to the secret door again, but stopped, exchanging a look. "Although..." Fred mumbled, stepping behind Harry. "One more test." He gently grabbed Harry's arms, holding him in place as George stepped in front of him, lifting his chin. "The unexpected kiss in the hall." He kissed Harry, long and good, tilting his head back to reach every angle.
Harry closed his eyes, sighing. He loved the way George kissed. Behind him he felt Fred nibbling at his neck. His heartbeat was increasing rapidly, heat rising in his body again.
Then he felt a sudden draft and his heart skipped a beat. Opening his eyes, his worst suspicions were confirmed. Something was swishing through the hallway, stopping at the end of it when it took notice of the three students and zoomed back. A high-pitched titter rang out and Harry suddenly felt very, very sick. Bobbing upside down in midair, Peeves was curiously goggling at the three boys who hastily parted. Of course it was too late.
The poltergeist giggled happily, clapping his plump hands in delight. "Hee-hee! Pansy Potter snogging with the twinnies! Tee-heeee! Wooftah Weasleys! Snoggy, snoggy!" He turned like a cartwheel once and sniggered again, then whooshed off into the opposite directed, yelling "PANSY POTTER!!!" repeatedly, only interrupted by his various sounds of delight.
"Oh shit..." Fred moaned, while George mused, "I wonder where he's learned these words from."
They looked at Harry who had significantly paled. George squeezed his shoulder reassuringly. "Oh, don't worry about that, Harry. Nobody will believe a word of what this twit is saying. Remember this whole Heir of Slytherin affair?"
"Actually, people did believe him then..."
"Oh, shut up, Fred!"
Harry didn't know what to say. This was just awful. What if Peeves was yelling this all over Hogwarts now? Everybody would know... everybody. This was just a nightmare.
"I... I'd better be going," Harry mumbled and pulled himself free from the twins. As he hurried down the corridor, he heard them shout after him, but he didn't turn back.
The next morning, Harry woke up with a start, completely confused at first. He had slept horribly the night before and now had real troubles clearing his muddled brain from the haze of sleep. He had overslept! A look at the other beds told him that Ron and the others had already left for breakfast. Harry jumped out of bed and hastily threw on his robes.
Scurrying through the corridors, holding his Firebolt in a tight grip and cursing himself for oversleeping, he almost bumped into Snape coming around the corner. At the sight of him, Snape got his usual detested expression, although today it appeared to Harry a bit more revolted than usual. Mumbling an excuse, he continued on his way, but slowed his pace for a moment when he heard Snape mutter, "I should have known, Potter. Just like your father." Puzzled, Harry looked after Snape, who was off again.
When he hurried over to the Great Hall, he noticed a few students whispering to each other while looking at him curiously. He immediately stopped dead in his tracks, feeling his heart drop to his knees. Peeves had been around. He closed his eyes, swallowing hard. Suddenly he didn't feel like breakfast at all anymore. Besides he had to get ready for the Quidditch match soon anyway.
As he walked over to the Quidditch field, he noticed more and more students giggling and pointing at him, but he chose to ignore it. In front of the locker rooms he quickly glanced around the balconies which already were filling with spectators. He was looking for Ron. Soon he saw him and Hermione standing at the side of the field, talking to some Ravenclaws. Harry had already lifted his hand to shout something, when he noticed Ron's unusual frown and the way his lips were pressed into a tight line. He knew...
Quickly, Harry retreated into the locker rooms, closing the door behind him and drawing a shuddering breath. He felt like calling in sick all of a sudden.
The door to the Gryffindor changing room opened and the twins emerged. They immediately spotted Harry and ran over to him, pulling him aside.
"Listen, Harry," Fred said to him, looking unusually serious. "You must keep a cool head, do you hear me? Don't listen to them talk, then it will all blow over. Okay?"
Harry gulped and nodded.
"If you stay calm, they'll soon think it's just a stupid prank of Peeves' and nobody will bother to make anything of it, okay?" George added.
"Yes... I think that will be best, I..."
Some Slytherin came out of the other changing room and made smooching sounds when he saw Harry and the twins. George spun round and yelled after him, "Mind your own business, you twat!"
"Very calm indeed, George," Fred said irritably.
"It's not me I'm concerned about and you know that. Most people know about us and Lee anyway. It's Harry I'm worried about. Especially with his emotional muddle lately."
Harry interrupted them impatiently. "Please, don't mind me, okay? Things will be fine!"
They blinked at him.
Sighing sadly, he said, "I'm sure things will come to a conclusion pretty soon." With that he left the twins behind and went to change his robes.
The changing room was completely deserted. The other team members already had left for the field. Harry hurried to change into his ruby robe. He went to get something out of his locker. When he closed the door again, he jumped with a surprised cry, finding Draco standing right next to him. He always moved nearly soundlessly.
Draco looked furious, but in a calm, dangerous way. Only his usually cold gray eyes were now sparkling angrily like glittering diamonds. "Enjoyed yourself, Potter?" he hissed.
Looking away, Harry mumbled, "What is it to you?"
"More than you bloody think!" He slammed his hand against the locker, making Harry flinch, though he hated himself for doing it. He turned and tried to return Draco's look as firmly as possible.
"What makes you think that this is any of your business?" he asked coolly.
Draco stepped closer, growling, "I own you, Potter. You are mine!"
Harry laughed although he didn't feel like it at all. "You must be mental!"
Pressing his lips together angrily, Draco turned around, pacing through the room like a tiger in his cage. Then he suddenly spun round again, approaching Harry so quickly that he thought he'd hit him. He grabbed Harry by the shoulders and slammed him against the lockers.
"Last time I used one of the owls from the Owlry, but I might as well use mine the next time. You wouldn't want your friends to recognize it, would you? It's all up to me. I have you in my hands completely. Now tell me, do you really think I don't own you?"
Harry stared back with flaming eyes, refusing to say anything.
Draco snorted. "Did you think that sleeping with those two fags would help you pretend that it was Ron, when I wouldn't help your imagination anymore?"
For a moment Harry didn't know what to say. Then he got very angry. Draco didn't even think for a split second that this could all be a mistake. He just wanted to assume the worst of him. "You never helped my imagination at all," he retorted.
Anger flickered over Draco's face as he squeezed Harry's shoulder tighter, making him wince inwardly. "You are a dirty little whore and that's all you are!" Draco snarled.
"And you made me!" Harry spat out angrily. How dared he accuse him, when he knew that he'd been sleeping around with Snape all the same?
Draco stared at him for a second, then he growled, "Damn you! Damn you straight to hell!" He pounded Harry against the locker with each of his angry words, then pushed his body against his and captured his mouth in a raging kiss.
Harry felt still dazed from the assault, but the very second Draco's lips met his, heat rose in his body and all the anger pent up inside him erupted all of a sudden. He groaned and grabbed Draco tightly, digging his fingernails into the other boy's back and kissing him back hard. His heart was pounding against his chest, his were knees getting weak and if it hadn't been for Draco's support, he surely would have slipped to the floor. When he felt Draco's tongue invading his mouth, he moaned desperately, feeling as if it was a piercing tongue of fire digging through his bowels. No, he would never get enough of this...
Harry froze at this realization, his body going all rigid. Suddenly he knew with a certainty that made him want to scream that he would never be able to stay away from Draco, no matter what he did and that he wanted more from him than just these stolen moments of passion. He sobbed against Draco's lips. The pain in his chest got so strong that he couldn't bear this one more second. Before he knew what was happening, he bit down hard on Draco's lip.
With a yelp, Draco recoiled, touching the broken skin on his lower lip. He stared at the blood on his fingers in disbelief, then glared at Harry. "Can't you even bear my touch anymore?" he yelled.
Panting heavily, Harry leaned back against the locker. He didn't want to look at Draco. He felt ashamed and defeated. Reluctantly, he finally turned his head and groaned at the sight of Draco. His hair was tousled and his cheeks were flaming red. He too was breathing hard. His lips were red and swollen from the kisses and then there was this bite. It all made it so obvious what he'd been doing. He hadn't meant to hurt Draco, but now it was too late to say he was sorry. Draco's anger had reached a point beyond reason.
"You'll regret this, Potter!" Draco sobbed, and Harry started to tremble, shocked at the pain in Draco's voice. Or was he just imagining it?
Slowly, Draco started retreating to the door, looking at him with glittering eyes. "I'm sure, Weasley will be dying to know what you've been doing all those nights you were out and about on the campus."
Harry blanched. "You wouldn't dare!"
Draco smiled bitterly. "Watch me." With that he turned around and burst out of the room.
For a second, Harry considered running after him, but it was clear that he'd never be able to stop him. The field was full of people already and if he caused a scene, it wouldn't help the gossip around him either. He rushed to the window and saw Draco marching over the field, right towards Ron. He shouted, "Oi, Weasley!" and Harry closed his eyes.
It was all over now...
During the game, Harry found himself absent-minded all too often. It was difficult for him to concentrate, although the audience seemed to have put their sneers aside for now and were cheering at them without restraint. Yet the adrenaline rush of the Quidditch game couldn't really affect Harry today.
When he had mounted his Firebolt and kicked off from the ground, he had thrown a quick look at his friends. The look on Ron's face had broken his heart. He had looked to angry and betrayed and the worst part had been that he had turned his head as soon as he had noticed Harry looking at him.
And then of course, there was Draco. Whenever Harry took a moment to seek Ron's eyes, Draco seemed to appear out of nowhere with his broom and once zoomed past him so closely that it almost knocked him off his Firebolt. As the audience howled angrily and Lee in the commentator's box was raging, their eyes met and Harry saw the fury in Draco's face and something else he just couldn't classify, because he couldn't remember that he had ever seen it on him before.
When the game was in full swing, Harry finally managed to take his mind off his troubles for a moment and the spirit of the game finally captured him. He saw the Snitch glittering once at the left corner of the field, but as soon as he made a dash for it, it disappeared without a trace. This action brought Draco back on his tail. He was a more ruthless opponent than ever, digging his knee - completely accidentally of course - into Harry's side as he turned to scan the field himself again.
Slightly irritated, Harry rubbed his side, glaring after Draco. He made a slight turn and tried to bring as much distance between them as possible. He flew around in a circle, now more determined than ever not to let Draco win, even if it was just a so-called friendly game.
He had to make a quick dive, when a Bludger took a sudden turn and shot right towards him. It missed him only by a few inches and immediately started pursuing him. Harry felt himself unpleasantly reminded of the rogue Bludger that had once broken his arm. Sweat was pouring down his face as he made another attempt to avoid it.
Suddenly the twins were next to him, dodging a Bludger which had tried to come after him again. Fred looked at him and asked, slightly breathlessly, "So, what is it with you and Malfoy? We always thought it was the usual rivalry between you two, but now..." He hit the Bludger again when it had flown a loop and returned.
Before he could answer, Draco zoomed over to them and snarled, "Yeah, better watch out for your little catamite!"
"You shut your gap!" George roared and flew towards Draco who avoided him easily.
He laughed. "Trying to defend your fuck toy?"
"How dare you!" Fred sped up as well, coming after Draco, while lifting his bat.
Harry looked after the three men he had shared intimacies with and who were now fighting and abandoning the game. It was all his fault. He looked down at the balconies and saw straight into Ron's face. It was plain to see that Ron knew exactly what was going on up there. Harry tried to make some kind of contact, tried to explain himself with his pleading eyes, but Ron just stared, his face distorted by an expression of deep hurt and then he looked away.
Harry felt like howling in frustration as he pulled his Firebolt up and pelted towards the three fighting players.
"Stop it!" he yelled.
The twins and Draco drew apart, staring at him.
Panting, Harry looked into Draco's eyes, amazed at the amount of emotions displayed on his face. He couldn't read any of them. He opened his mouth to say something, not knowing yet what it would be.
He didn't see the Bludger coming. All of a sudden it crashed into his side and he felt his ribs crack as he lost his grip on his broom and fell towards the ground. The shocked gasp of the audience followed him as he fell and then he heard the cry "Harry! NOOOO!!!" and it appeared to him that it had been three voices in unison, but he was beyond processing this already.
And then there was a sudden stop and hot, searing pain and then nothing but silence and peaceful oblivion.
Soft whispers licked at the fringes of his consciousness, as he slowly came up from the thick darkness surrounding him. The very moment he started to feel aware of his body again, agonizing pain set in and he drifted back into the deathlike sleep that brought him merciful numbness.
The next time he came to, he now clearly recognized Hermione's concerned voice through the mist of confusion. "But I tell you, I'm sure I saw his fingers move!" A familiar voice replied, but he didn't hear that anymore.
The touch of cold fingers called him out of his dark nest then. They took his hand and squeezed it. He wanted to hold onto them, just to keep contact with the outside world, but he couldn't. The fingers left his hand and touched his cheek, very gently. "I'm sorry..." The whisper was floating through his head and too far away. Someone leaned over him and he perceived the familiar smell of herbs and wilderness when warm lips gently pressed on his for one tender kiss. "So sorry... please come back." The hand ran through his hair and touched the scar on his forehead. Sudden sounds made the touch and warmth of this other body disappear. He heard the person leave quickly.
A female voice could be heard in the distance. "Honestly, I don't know why he refuses to visit Harry. I told him it would really help, if he..." The words dissolved and wavered through the room.
Harry wanted to cry out when the warmth had left him. He couldn't bear the loneliness any longer. He wanted to see the light again. Wanted to be with... him again. The voices got clearer and he felt an encouraging nudge on his shoulder. He recognized the twins' voice at once.
"You can wake up again, Harry, really. They aren't..."
"... talking about you anymore. They all want you to come back."
When was the last time their voices had sounded this sad? Had they ever? He couldn't remember. He wanted to open his eyes to look at them, but his lids were too heavy. The effort of trying to open his eyes had used up all his strength. His consciousness faded and he fell back into the black hole.
A continuous chattering nibbled at his mind. He woke with a sudden jolt of energy.
"And then Professor McGonagall told us about the Transpargo Transformation which can be really useful to hide from people as well as conceal things effectively. Of course I've read about that in the " Guide to Advanced Transfiguration" already, but I figured you didn't. Well, maybe you did, but it won't do any harm to hear it a second time, will it? And Binns is making us write an essay about Merlin of Brittany for next week. I've finished mine already, of course. Well, that's not this important, since they certainly won't expect you to hand in yours. But I thought you might find this interesting to know."
He heard the rustling of paper. If she'd only keep silent. He wanted to rest.
"Oh, and in Dark Arts we're supposed to read these two chapters. I haven't had a chance to look at them yet, so I thought I just read them out loud to you so we can both learn. Okay... 'Chapter XII, The Kelpies of Inverness. The county Inverness-shire comprises the districts of Moidart, Arisaig and Morar in the south-west, Knoydart in the west, Lochaber in the south, Badenoch in the south-east and the Aird in the north...' wait, I'll skip that bit... Oh, this is better: 'A Kelpie is often described as a being capable of taking the shape of a man, and in that guise it woos maidens. The water spirit, who at other times resembles a shaggy horse, is often associated with the sea and the rivers and is believed to proclaim the death of those about to drown..."
Harry groaned deeply, and to himself it sounded like the rusty rattling of a chain. He just wanted to cut off this endless droning. And it worked! The voice had stopped at once, sucking in its breath. Harry tried again. "Hermione... shut up... please."
Hermione squealed and jumped to her feet. "Harry!"
Cautiously, Harry opened an eye. The brightness of the room was agonizing and he closed it again at once. At the second attempt, he could already focus a bit and saw Hermione's beaming face wavering in front of his eyes.
"Madame Pomfrey! Harry! He's woken up!" Hermione yelled and Harry groaned again.
"Please..." he croaked. "Quiet."
"Oh! Of course, sorry!" she whispered, sitting at his bedside and taking his hand. She looked at him with tearful eyes. "Oh Harry... I'm so glad."
"What day is..." he swallowed dryly. " "How long..." His throat felt terribly sore.
Hermione immediately got serious again and said, "Almost two weeks. Oh God, Harry, we were so worried for you... They said, your spine... I almost feared..." She didn't finish that sentence, but squeezed his hand firmly.
Licking his dry lips, Harry croaked, "What... happened?"
"You got hit by a Bludger. It was really strange. First Fred and George attacking Malfoy, then you interrupting and then falling... Just what was going on up there? When you fell, Malfoy, that creep, made a quick dive after you! Probably afraid that you could have gotten the Snitch or something. You should have seen his face. He was so angry, because the game was cancelled! I was told that he wrecked half of the Slytherin changing room. And then he roughhoused with Fred and George who came after him, blacked Fred's eye! Then Snape interrupted them and pulled Malfoy away. It was only then that he calmed down. That was quite a puzzle to all of us." She sighed. "But why am I telling you all this? I can imagine that bugger Malfoy is the last one you want to hear about!"
Hermione had no idea how Harry had clung to every word of hers as she had chattered away. At the mention of Snape and Draco, however, there had been this cold stitch in his heart all of a sudden. He closed his eyes.
"Harry? Are you okay? I don't know where Madame Pomfrey is!" She made an attempt to get up, but Harry grabbed the sleeve of her robe.
"Don't go!" He couldn't bear to be alone. Two weeks of darkness had been too much for him.
She sat back again. "You know, we all were so terribly worried. Dumbledore stopped by every other day. And Hagrid, too! We had a hard time at first to stop him from wailing all the time. He left some homemade cookies, but we had to throw them away since they started to smell funny. Hedwig wasn't quite herself all this time. But she delivered the letter to..." She quickly glanced over to the door, then whispered, "Sirius promptly. Needless to say, he's very worried. I'm keeping him posted." She continued in her normal voice. "We didn't bother to inform the Muggles though. What use would that have been anyway? Oh, and Fred and George checked back quite often, too. They tried a few practical jokes first. Swore that it would wake you up in no time. But then Madame Pomfrey threatened to turn them into frogs, so they shifted to reading out the phone directory of Central London to you that their Dad had sent them from the Ministry. He told them it was a very popular book in the Muggle world since practically everybody had a copy." Hermione chuckled. "George thought that the plot was crap, but the cast was awesome!"
Harry smiled, happy to find that his friends had been so caring and that life had been going on. Then he suddenly realized that no mention of a particular person had been made.
"And Ron...?" he asked cautiously.
For a moment, Hermione looked like she was going to ignore the question. Then she said, sadly, "He never visited you. Not once..."
"Oh..." Harry quickly turned his head so that Hermione couldn't see the tears that were suddenly piercing his eyes. He tried to blink them away.
"Listen, Harry... Ron..."
He tried to force a smile. "It's okay. Really. I don't mind at all. I can imagine I was rather boring company, really. And Ron has..." He broke off. Why should he pretend anything and find some lame excuses? He knew full well why Ron hadn't come. To conceal the hurt on his face, Harry faked a yawn and mumbled, "Look, I'm really tired. Would you mind...?"
Before Hermione could give an answer, Madame Pomfrey came rushing into the room. "Oh look who's decided to join the living again! Let's run a check on you, dear!" She gently prodded Hermione out of the room. "Come on, little one. Let's give the poor boy a little privacy. You can go ahead and tell all your friends that Harry's back again, okay?"
Reluctantly, Hermione allowed the nurse to steer her out of the room. "I'll be back soon, Harry!" she called over her shoulder, but Harry had already closed his eyes again, feeling unspeakably sad.
He half-heartedly listened to Madame Pomfrey bustling through the room, mumbling some encouraging words that didn't affect him at all. He wished for the silence in his head again.
Hermione's indignant voice reached his ear, saying, "What are you doing here? Lurking in the shadows like some thief! You dare pester Harry now! Just you wait, I'll tell Fred and George and they'll give you a good thrashing again!"
He tensed when he recognized the cool voice that answered. "Mind your own bloody business, Granger," it drawled. The tension left him when he heard the footsteps fade away, accompanied by Hermione's huffy "Honestly!" as she left as well.
Harry drew in a painful breath. Now he had finally managed it. He was all alone and it was all his fault. Maybe the blackness hadn't been that bad after all. There had been no pain then. At least, no pain like this. Just comforting silence and the faint hope that love wasn't just an illusion after all and that it wasn't the sad truth that people like him were bound to be alone forever.
His mother had died saving him and it had been following him like a curse ever since. People either didn't love him at all or suffered because of his love for them. Maybe he was the curse after all and falling into this deathlike sleep had been the best he could have done for his friends and for himself.
Yes... maybe the darkness could be a friend. But it was too late for that now, too.
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