"A masquerade ball? This sounds like a great idea; no worries about bringing a date or worrying about house rivalries since we won't know who each other is," Hermione said. She handed over the announcement for Harry and Ron to read over as she started to talk to herself about what kind of dress she would buy and what her mask should look like.
"Yeah- like we are really going to blend in to the crowd, even with masks. How many people are walking around this school with this particular shade of red hair and I doubt anyone could forget what Harry looks like with his hair," Ron retorted. He threw the paper on the table before him and scoffed lightly at the notion of yet another ball after the catastrophe of the first go around during their fourth year. "What do you think Harry? Are you going to do this stupid ball or should we just make it a Hogsmead night instead with Seamus and Dean?"
"I think I would like to go. So what if everyone ends up knowing who I am, I think it would still be fun to go," Harry murmured as he watched the fresh falling snow out the frosty window. His hot breath fogged up the window even more and he trailed his finger around, drawing out the letters of his initials absent-mindedly. "I could always put a spell on my eyes to make them a lighter shade to help disguise myself a little bit and slick my hair back." Ron snorted again before taking off in the direction of Dean and Seamus who sat in front of the fire burning their own copies of the invitations.
"Well, he's a little prissy tonight, don't you think? We can have fun together, Harry. Tomorrow is a Hogsmead weekend and we can go out together to find masks to wear and get you proper dress robes. Maybe we could do a theme even!" Hermione soothed when Harry glared at the red head. Ever since the end of the war with the downfall of Voldermort at Harry's hand, Ron's complex at shinning less than Harry grew out of proportion and control until it was a struggle to make it through an entire day without some sort of blowup. Harry grew accustomed to Ron's outbursts over the recent weeks and didn't even bother fighting back most of the time but he still felt a slight pang in his chest every time. They had been friends, or at least Harry had thought, for the last six years and for Ron to start throwing it away over something that Harry had no control over wad something that Harry had a hard time coming to terms with.
"Yeah, Hermione, that sounds like great. I'm feeling a bit exhausted right now and I think I'm going to head up to bed so my heart will be in it tomorrow," Harry said. He stood up gracefully and moved quickly up the spiral staircase of the boy's dormitory. He fell into his bed without even bothering with the covers, quickly falling into a dreamless sleep.
~~~ OOO ~~~
Saturday dawned with a flawless blue sky with a fresh blanket of snow crunching under Harry and Hermione's feet as they trudged through the streets. Hermione already had found her dress through she refused to let Harry to see it before the actual day of the ball. Harry struggled in figuring out the robes he wanted but finally settled on a set of white robes that shone with a hint of silver when the light hit the light fabric just the right way. It was very obvious where the masks were being sold by the large crowd in the building and the line out of the door.
"How about we get lunch first? It looks like we may be waiting awhile to even get inside let alone find anything," Hermione stated. Harry nodded lightly before he was dragged off to a dimly light corner of the Leaky Cauldron. He turned his face towards another booth where he spotted Ron overtly flirting with Lavender Brown who giggled madly at every slight joke the red head made. Ron looked quite smug with himself but the smile on his face quickly faded upon seeing his fellow Gryffindor watching him with suspicious eyes.
"Hey, Hermione, so glad to see you here. It's amazing to see all the people here getting stuff for the stupid masquerade they are putting on," Ron said. He slid in the chair next to Hermione, not giving much notice to Harry across the table from him. Hermione gave him a hard smack to the back of his shoulder which earned a hard stare from her friend.
"Grow up already, Ron. If you would pull your head out of your arse long enough, you may actually enjoy the festivities," she retorted. "I don't know what's happened to you over these last few months, but I don't like who you have become at all." Ron huffed at the insult but actually did the smart thing by keeping his mouth shut. Lavender came for him and pulled him back to their table, giggling the entire time.
~~~ OOO ~~~
The instant Harry's eyes fell on the mask; he knew that was the perfect one. No if's, no doubts, it was the one he knew would be perfect for the robes and fit his slim face to a tee. Hermione nodded in approval at his choice though her decision wasn't quite as obvious. After walking around the small shop several times and trying on almost every mask, most of them twice, she finally settled on one that with a few magical touches would work. The entire time they shopped, Harry had the eerie feeling that was being watched. He couldn't quite place where the eyes were coming from, but it seemed that Blaise Zabini seemed to be passing by him a few times without Draco or his other friends. Harry couldn't help but to blush when he looked over the Slytherin's body; he knew he was more interested in men long ago but he never allowed himself to really act on it during the war. Finally free of all the burdens of the war, he felt brave enough to check out those he liked and even openly flirted with a few Hufflepuff sixth years.
Blaise seemed to notice the attention and met Harry's eye without looking surprised. The Gryffindor was taken aback and his breath hitched in his chest as Blaise's eyes seemed to stare deep into his soul. Hermione's voice broke his reverie, bringing his attention back to the moment. Paying for his item, he dashed out of the store before the mad blush he was sporting spread further. Hermione noticed the end of the interaction and quickly ran after her slightly distressed friend but having grown over five inches during the summer gave him the advantage over her in running.
"Harry! Harry, stop!" Hermione called after him. He skidded to a sudden stop near the Shrieking Shack causing Hermione to crash into him. "Harry, what was all that about?"
"I'm sorry; I just had a freak out there for a moment, that's all," Harry offered. He leaned against a tree as he started to catch his breath but Hermione didn't buy the act. She quirked her eyebrow in the unasked question which Harry picked up on easily. "I'm used to everyone knowing me as the guy who killed Voldermort and not simply as Harry. It was almost like Zabini was looking right through me; right to my core and it is something new to have someone just look at me- plain and simple."
"Let's get back to the castle before we freeze out here," Hermione suggested, holding out her arm. They walked back together back through the gates and into the still rather empty castle. They fell into the oversized chairs in front of the fire in the common room into a comfortable silence, their purchases forgotten for the moment by their sides.
~~~ OOO ~~~
To say that the Great Hall was beautiful would be the understatement of the century. It quite literally looked like a winter wonderland with snow falling from the enchanted ceiling but it never quite made it to the students below. Mistletoe was placed around the room in strategic places to keep an unsuspecting couple from being caught underneath it. Hermione had to push Harry at the last minute to go but after a few minutes of sweet talking, he got up enough of his courage and made his way into the Hall. No one seemed to pay much mind to him as his appearance was altered just enough for it not to be immediately obvious who he was. His hair a few inches longer that was tied at the nape of his neck and his eyes taken down a few shades made him passible for just another student. His blue mask made him feel more confident to walk amongst the crowd though he gave up quickly when no one approached him. He settled himself in one of the decorated chairs, feeling content on watching the dancing couples glide across the room with the music.
"Would you care to dance?" A voice broke into his thoughts. Harry brought his eyes up to meet the covered face of the mysterious person above him. The man's lips twitched slightly and broke into a small smile when Harry took the hand that was offered. Harry was pulled closer to the chest and coaxed into slow movements of a dance. Giving into the relaxing movements, Harry placed his head into the crook of the others neck that caused shivers to run down his spine.
"You look like someone I've meet briefly before that I have a crush on. Maybe you've heard it before, but you look a little like Harry," the taller boy said. He twirled Harry under his arm and brought him back, crashing their chests together. "A very gentle soul from what I've been able to observe." Harry blushed at the comment and ducked his head down close to his shoulder.
"I hope I would look like him. Now that you know who I am, I think it would only be fair for me to know who you are," Harry offered. His face was turned back to meet the dark eyes of his current dance partner, but no answer was really needed. Harry already knew who he was without the single word that passed through the lips he so wished to kiss.
"Blaise," he breathed past Harry's ear. "And don't think I haven't noticed the sidewise glances you have thrown my way during potions class, either." Blaise brought his face closer to Harry's and their lips ghosted against each other's in a light kiss. Harry gasped in surprise but didn't allow the lips to leave his despite his surprise. Blaise pressed himself closer to the smaller boy and deepened the kiss when Harry wrapped his arms around his partner's neck.
"Your dorm room or mine?" Harry questioned when they finally broke away.
"Mine," Blaise growled, dragging Harry away unnoticed to everyone else there.
~~~ OOO ~~~
Harry lay curled up against Blaise's side coming down from his post-orgasmic high. Three hours and many rounds of rampant sexual escapades had drained all of his energy but at the moment he could really care less. Thanks to a well-placed silencing charm and steeling of the curtains shut, none of the other Slytherin's noticed the escapades going on just beyond the green fabric.
"Harry?" Blaise broached. His fingers trailed down his back and brought them back up bringing goose bumps to the surface. Harry hummed as his eyes began to droop, sleep slowly creeping up on his mind. "Will you be mine?" The fog cleared at the question long enough for an answer to form on Harry's lips.
"As long as you will be mine," Harry murmured against the warm skin of his lover before finally dropping off. Blaise couldn't help but to smile as he wrapped his arms around the smaller form next to him before falling to sleep soon after.
Authors note: This was a very big challenge for me. This isn't up to what I normally write and I hope it is still relatively good work. I struggled with how to start with this story, but once it got started it helped write itself. Please leave me a review?