FIC: HP/WB RPS: Taken
Ok, first off, this is so cupiscent's fault. I blame her. *blows a kiss* And I still don't have a CMM "My Favorite Malfoy" icon.
Secondly, I'm in love with antheia, because she betas crack like this and doesn't (like a more sane person would) email me back letting me know she has a restraining order out. Also, she helped me fix my ending and babied me when I was cracking up writing about this. Any mistakes left in are completely my fault, not hers.
Title: Taken (the rps/hp mashup)
Disclaimer: All of Hogwarts is owned by JK Rowling.
Summary: Jared realized that it wasn't Romeo and Juliet, it was GI Joe and the Cobra Commander on a gay cruise with wands. That's how wrong Murray was for him.
Suddenly, and acutely, Jared realized he might, possibly, just maybe, hopefully not but it looked like he didn't have a choice, have a crush on Murray.
"Fuckin' Merlin," he said.
Jensen made a noise to his left, a choked laughing sound, "Hey, I thought we were exclusive, baby."
Blushing, Jared ducked his head, "Shut up, asshole, I won't pass Dark Arts if you're being stupid."
He glanced over, and found that Jensen was still giving him that amused I'm-real-Texas-and-you're-fake-Texas-but-we-have-to-band-together-against-the-British look. It was a look that had many variations and one theme: stop being a dumbass, Padelecki.
"It's nothing," Jared said. He raised his wand and motioned to the target they'd been using. Bullseye. The thing exploded.
This time Jensen didn't even try to avoid laughing, let it out and then clapped his hand on the back of Jared's neck, shook Jared lightly. "Tutoring session over."
"Yeah." Jared stashed his wand and shrugged off Jensen. "Thanks."
When he pulled on his school robes, he knew that Jensen was still staring at him, the tilted head stare that had first made Jared wonder why the only other American in their house wanted to kick his ass. Assessing people was something that Jensen did all the time, didn't hide it, didn't even do it right half the time.
"You," Jensen said, accent slipping into the slightly British, slightly Texan mix he'd picked up after years of Hogwarts. "Want to have the Sophomore Sex going on."
Ok, sometimes, he was accurate more than half the time.
"Do not." Jared glared at Jensen, but he knew it was kind of like every single time that Ron publicly said he would start studying before the exam, next time, if Hermione would only help him this time.
"Sophomore sex!" Jensen yelled and tried to pull Jared into a headlock, but having the advantage of height was sometimes a good thing and Jared shoved him off. Settling for some light shadowboxing against Jared's arm, Jensen asked, "Who is she?"
Which was the point at which Jared realized that not only was he in trouble, but he was in really, really, really deep trouble.
"They call it fourth year here," Jared muttered.
Jensen punched him in the arm again, "That's not an answer, Fourth Year Fuck."
"You just came up with that," Jared pointed out. "There's no such thing here."
Jensen delivered a quick, one-two combination that Jensen had picked up during summer break, until Jared stepped back, rubbing his arm. "Stop it."
He dipped low, like he was dodging in the ring, then tapped to Jared's side, "Not until you tell me which of our lovely red and gold ladies you're cruising."
Looking up, Jensen made a face, "It's not one of the third years, is it?"
"No," Jared shook his head. He scratched at the back of his head and stepped out of the way of Jensen's next punch.
"It's no one," he said.
Jensen shrugged and sat down on the grass, his wand stowed in that invisible way that Jared had yet to figure out. Most of the other upperclassman carried them around like proof that they were able to use them. Jensen carried his like a concealed firearm.
"Sit down, Padelecki, tell Uncle Jensen all about it," Jensen patted the grass next to him, then took a handful and ripped it out. He toyed with shredding it, and stared up at Jared. For half a second, Jared almost sat down next to him and told him everything, the way he had told Jensen about missing his family when he was a first year.
Instead he shook his head, "Naw. I'm gonna go finish my Transfigurations homework. She's on a rampage this week."
"It's because Malfoy and Murray got the last one right," Jensen said, laying back in the grass. With his eyes closed, he looked freckled, like a sun baby who wanted Texas light, but would take the poor-man's replacement: weak Scottish afternoon light, pale because of the clouds.
"Yeah," Jared said, glad that Jensen's eyes were closed. "See you later."
He walked away before he could lay down, too, and think about home and remember what having a hard crush on Jensen felt like for the first couple years, when he'd confused friendship with something more.
The trouble with Murray was that, unlike Malfoy, he wasn't blonde, British and avoidable. Murray was everywhere. He was the guy that said something vaguely offensive, but managed to charm the Ravenclaw girls into helping him do his homework anyway. Which wouldn't be a big deal if he wasn't doing it in the stairway that Jared was trying to take.
He was also the guy that could sit at the Hufflepuff table and convince them that a game of paper football during dinner was a good idea. And manage to convince Crabbe and Goyle that they'd make good goalies. It was hard to ignore the inevitable flying food.
But what Jared thought was the worst part, was that he was very publicly dating the prettiest Hufflepuff fifth year. For all that she was a Hufflepuff, Sophia could hold her own when it came to public screaming matches.
The day that he and Sophia had a screaming breakup at breakfast, but were cuddling at the Hufflepuff table during dinner, feeding each other pie, Jared realized he was completely hopeless. Any couple so obviously wrong for each other was doomed to stay together.
Chad hooted and high-fived his nearest teammate. He held up the American football and yelled, "Quiddich can kiss my ass!"
Jared couldn't help the twist of a grin. He shook his head; he knew that by sheer willpower, by bowling over all opposition, Chad would have his inter-house league. On the sidelines, the Hufflepuff girls cheered. The Slytherin groupies tried to look unimpressed.
In the shadows of the transfigured bleachers, Jared wondered how Murray had convinced any Griffindors to play quarterback facing Crabbe and Goyle as the linebackers. But then he remembered that moronic heroism was... pretty much the only requirement of being in his house.
Licking his lips, Jared left before he decided to offer to releive Jason, the sixth year who was looking far more bruised than he had before he'd been sacked by Crabbe and Goyle.
Malfoy didn't like Murray. Murray didn't like Malfoy. They tended to ignore each other.
It worked out pretty well until Jared was receiving Malfoy's usual scathing commentary on Jared's American lack of culture. At the point that he usually walked away, Chad shouted, "You want to say that to my face, Malfoy?"
"I wasn't addressing you, Murray," Malfoy sneered. He slid his wand out of his sleeve and turned away from Jared, disdain clear. "Unless you think that you fit the description of a crass American who's out of his depth among real wizards."
Jared sighed. He'd taken what Jensen called the 'Harry Potter Zen' approach to Malfoy. Which involved a lot of irritated ranting behind doors, and eyerolling when in front of Malfoy. Murray was messing up his zen-river flow.
"Padelecki's a much better wizard than you," Chad said, walking forward. Towering over Malfoy, looking like a threat to tackle him by simply looking at him, it was clear that Chad still played American football every summer when he went home.
He jerked his chin towards Malfoy's wand. "You gonna do something with that?"
"No," Malfoy sneered. "Unlike you, I like to maintain the dignity of my house. American scum."
After Malfoy stalked off, trailing Crabbe and Goyle behind him like puppies, Jared realized that the last was directed at him. He laughed, a little.
"Hey, man," Chad grinned. "Sorry. He's on his rag or something."
Jared shrugged, he'd known Malfoy for years. That would have to be a pretty long menstrual cycle. "I'm used to it."
"Yeah," Chad nodded. "You and, uh," he snapped his fingers. "Neville. He's all about picking on the ones who won't fight back."
"Hey," Jared said, straightening until the height difference between them was clear. "I don't want to lose House points."
Especially not when Harry Potter seemed intent on losing as many as he could for them.
"Dude, whatever," Chad said, American accent clear. No one understood why he kept coming back year after year. "You want to be a pussy about this, go ahead. But he's not going to stop if you keep being so weak ass."
"I'm not being a pussy," Jared said, leaning forward now. "I'm being smart."
Chad crossed his arms and didn't lean back, let Jared into his personal space with an amused grin. "Pussy."
"Shut up, Murray," Jared said, unfisting a hand to shove on Murray's shoulder. Unlike most Slytherins, Chad wore the cheaper robes, made of slightly coarser fabric. Jared wore those same robes.
"Woah, woah," Jensen said, suddenly there, grinning like he wasn't stopping Jared from doing something really stupid. He wrapped an arm around Jared's shoulders, reaching up a bit to get a good grip and tug Jared backwards. "What's up, Chad?" Jensen asked.
"Nothing," Chad rolled his eyes, and stepped back. He glanced at Jensen, "You up for some football later, man?"
Light came in from the window next to him and Chad was a little more in shadow, not threatening at all, more like any other student. Except that he'd shaved his head a couple of weeks ago, hair still growing in, rather than the longish Beatles look that most of the British students liked. Chad's hair looked invitingly short, like if Jared rubbed his hand against it, it would feel soft.
"Naw," Jensen said, pure Texas, smooth and soothing. "Have tutoring. See you around, Murray."
Jensen turned them, tugging at Jared until they were walking down the hallway, away from Murray. Jared ignored the weird look on Murray's face, half confused, half curious. It was a cat with a new canary look.
Theatrical exits were nearly impossible in robes, they just looked normal, except that Jensen's hand usually wasn't wrapped around Jared's neck. He let Jared go when they reached the staircase, stuffing his hands into his pockets.
"So," he eyed Jared and Jared wondered if this was how he looked at girls right before he asked them on dates. "What was that about?"
"Nothing," Jared said. He ran a hand through his hair, tugging at it.
"I really wouldn't care, except that if it's going to come to a fight between us and the Slytherins, I'd rather not be, you know, the best friend of the guy who started it."
Jensen shrugged like this was a logical statement.
"I'm not going to fight Chad," Jared said.
Licking his lip, Jensen appeared to be trying not to look like he was grinning, but the wrinkles in the corners of his eyes gave him away.
"Murray," he corrected.
"Whatever," Jared said.
The stairway stopped moving, and Jared took the last few steps two at a time, nearly colliding with one of the smaller first years.
At dinner Jensen caught up with him, pushing at a third year until he moved over, letting Jensen take the seat.
"So, Murray," Jensen said.
"It was nothing, some snake thing that he was taking out on me," Jared said. He took the nearest bowl and started piling his plate with ham.
"Eh, Jared, would some salad kill you?" Katie asked, laughing.
"Only in small doses," Jared said. She grinned and he went back to eating.
"So," Jensen said. "Here's what I think."
Glaring at the ham, Jared didn't even bother asking, just cut an even bigger piece, eating it with his mouth open. The offense didn't phase Jensen, who gestured with his dinner roll.
"I think that you want Sophia."
Jared choked. Swallowed, gulping down pumpkin juice and staring at the plate in front of him, but still choked. Tonight the house elves had taken out the special silver goblets, the ones with moving figures on them. One of the people on Jared's squirmed out from under his thumb and started making what looked like an impassioned speech about the treatment. Luckily, the goblets didn't talk.
"Yeah," Jensen said. "You want Sophia."
"I don't want Sophia," Jared said.
"Why not?" Jensen said. "She's hot. And available. You should ask her out."
Nodding, Jensen warmed to the idea, "I could ask her out for you, if you're too shy. But that's kind of like being a first year again, and I thought that the best part of being an upper classman is that you get to be rejected by pretty Hufflepuffs all on your own."
"I don't have a crush on Sophia," Jared said, intently, bringing his hand down on Jensen's shoulder.
"What?" Katie asked, from across the table. Her floating peas, apparently illustrating a Quiddich maneuver, fell back to her plate. "Jared likes Sophia?"
"No!" Jared said.
"Yes," Jensen said. He grinned, snapping at Jared's cheek with his fingers. "Baby Texas has a crush."
"Shut up," Jared said, ignoring them both.
"That's so sweet," Katie said. "You should ask her out."
Emphatically, Jensen nodded. "That's what I said."
Sophia was waiting for Jared after his Astrology. Holding her books in front of her, two slender, leather-bound copies of some Herbology reading, she looked a little shy. Jared ducked his head, an automatic reaction to a pretty girl hanging out in front of him. He tried to grin at her.
"Hey," he said.
"I got your note," she said. "And the answer's yes."
"...my note?" Jared asked. He tugged at his sleeve and didn't look her in the eye because he knew that the expression on his face would give him away. He wondered if Jensen had even bothered to make it look like Jared's handwriting. Probably not, Jensen got bored with things that were as time consuming as a handwriting spell.
"About this weekend," she said. Her robes were the required length, but she was wearing black high heeled shoes and a silver anklet.
"Oh, um," Jared nodded, glanced up at her, pretty cheekbones and dark hair, pulled back into a pony tail. "Thanks."
Her laugh was brilliant, sparking a grin in him, too.
"You're welcome," she said, voice warm and sounding like a smile.
"I'm going to, uh," he jerked his head towards the Griffindor dorms, the rush of his house colors moving towards them.
"Yeah," she said, and then leaned forward on tip-toes to kiss his cheek before trotting down the hallway to join a group of giggling Hufflepuff girls.
"I am going to kill you," Jared said, striding towards Jensen.
With speed that would have been impressive in a seeker, Jensen jumped over the back of the couch, pulling a first year in front of him. The girl squirmed away and shook her head.
"Oh, c'mon," Jensen said. "I just gave you a little push!"
"I'll show you a 'little push'," Jared said, lunging. Jensen made it to the stairs of the boy's dorms before Jared touched him, and Jared shoved past one of the third years who probably should have been a Ravenclaw for all the reading they did.
From her corner, Katie yelled, "Get 'im Jared!"
Jensen was trying to cast a spell when Jared tackled him into the wall, the hard rocks must have hurt, but all Jensen did was try to shove Jared off. They were wrestling and when McGonagall froze them, dragging them apart by magic, Jared was still debating if kneeing Jensen in the balls was too much of a girl maneuver.
"Detention," McGonagall announced. "Both of you."
Jared refused to even look at Jensen during detention. He cleaned bedpans and wouldn't answer when Jensen asked if he'd done alright on the DADA test.
Pomfrey didn't say much, but she moved Jared to making beds and left Jensen in the cleaning closet with the ones that were tough to clean.
Hermione was making some sort of illegal potion, or maybe she was just trying the hair straightening potions again, but whatever it was, it was better gossip than his fight with Jensen, so when he got back to the dorms he managed to slip back to his bed without getting quizzed about Sophia or the date they were going on.
He curled up and realized that this was why becoming a wizard was not worth being so far away from home.
The next morning, he still wasn't speaking to Jensen. Not that Jensen noticed.
It took until dinner before he did.
Jared ended up sitting cramped in the first years' section of the table just to get away from Jensen.
Even down the table, Jensen's look clearly said: we're going to talk about this.
Saturday, it turned out that he was taking Sophia out to a restaurant in Hogsmeade.
She was wearing a pair of jeans, and a pretty blazer jacked to go over her green shirt. She grinned brilliantly when he saw her. Blushing he felt really bad that he'd never ask her out again.
Except that then he did, at the end of the date, because she was amazing on a broom, and he was only mediocre.
And then it was Tuesday, and he was talking to Jensen again. After classes, Sophia put her hands on his on the handle of a broom, to show him how to fly straight. And they both laughed a little.
It was really easy to like her, contagious smile, and the wry jokes she made. He liked that she kept a piece of bread in her pocket for the birds any time they went near the forest.
Four hours later, Chad slammed him up against the side of greenhouse number four and said, "What the fuck, Padelecki."
Jared blinked. Having fantasies about this sort of thing was one thing, but this was different. He said, "What?"
"You couldn't even wait a day before moving in?" Chad shoved him again, and Jared let himself be shaken, more out of surprise than anything else. The feeling of Chad's hands, clutching hard on his arms was just a side benefit.
"Oh," Jared said. "I don't... I don't like Sophia."
"Well that's screwed up that you're asking her out, then," Chad said. Angrily, he bit out, "She's not the type of girl that guys should think they can fuck and run. She's not that easy. And she shouldn't be, you know, so don't think that. Because if you do, I'll beat the shit out of you."
He stopped and Jared licked his lips. "I don't think that."
"Then why'd you go out with her?" Chad asked, hands still tight. "She's not a joke either, and I will mess you up if you're making fun of her."
"I didn't ask her out," Jared said. He avoided looking at Chad, instead he stared at a burlap sack of potting dirt over Chad's shoulder. "Jensen thought I had a crush on her, and asked her out for me. I didn't even know about it. And then I didn't want to be an asshole and stand her up."
Chad's hands tightened a little and then he let go of Jared, stepping back, and Jared had to look at Chad's chest, the tight AFI shirt and cross that he still wore even though he was a wizard. He couldn't quite look at Chad's face, yet.
"Why would Jensen think that?" Chad asked, crossing his arms over his chest.
"I don't know," Jared lied. He shrugged with one shoulder, crossing his own arms, loosely. "He's weird."
"Right," Chad said. "Oh. Because of you being a total douche."
Nodding like that made sense, Chad seemed ready to shrug it off when Jared said, "Hey, I wasn't a douche. You were being an asshole."
"I rescue you from Malfoy and I'm the asshole?" Chad laughed. "Right."
"I didn't need any rescuing," Jared said.
"Right," Chad said. "Your defense was to sit there and take it? Great plan, man."
Angrily, Jared said, "Hey, you want to get into fights with the school rat, go ahead."
His hands tightened into fists, hard against his arms, and Chad leaned in again, looking like he was going to start something.
"What's up with you?" Chad asked, sounding irritated and ready to shove Jared up against the wall again.
Without thinking, Jared said, "I liked you, ok? That's why he thought I liked Sophia."
Chad stepped back, looking like Jared had suddenly revealed a Deatheater tattoo. He ran a hand over his head, and smiled a little bit. The pause got more than awkward and Jared tried to think up a way to turn it into a joke.
"Not that I'm not flattered," Chad said, suddenly. "But, I don't like you like that."
If there was a time in his life that Jared had ever felt more embarrassed than this, he had yet to find it. He ran the pad of his thumb over his nails and tried not to look twitchy.
"Yeah," he said. "I know."
"Don't tell Sophia that," Chad said. "What you just told me."
"Of course," Jared said. "I'm going to go."
He pushed past Chad, hated that he already knew the way that Chad smelled, faintly like aftershave and something simply Chad.
Sophia took him robe shopping with her, dragged him to stores where he found himself watching her try on variations of black, catching brief glimpses of her ankles, and then she came out with one robe undone, her shirt a tight, American thing that made her short skirt into something funky and stylish.
He blushed and she grinned.
They came back into town sharing a bag of Every Flavor Beans. When her fingers brushed his, he reached out and took her hand.
Jared kissed her before she could kiss him because they were at the doorway to the Hufflepuff dorms, and he had had a fun time and she was sweet and he thought that maybe, at this point, they were going out.
When Jensen elbowed him and wiggled his eyebrows over breakfast, Katie threw a bread roll at him and told him to "shut it, Jensen, let the lovebird eat in peace."
Maybe it would have even been ok, if Murray hadn't started stalking him.
The fourth time he nearly ran into Chad, he finally said, "What?"
Chad glared and said, "I thought you said you wouldn't be an asshole about this?"
"What?" Jared asked, confused. Backing up slowly, he blinked when Chad crowded him into a wall.
"Sophia. Leave her alone, you don't actually like her."
Lowering his voice, Jared said, "I do like her."
"You like me," Chad hissed back.
Angry, Jared shoved off Chad, and moved away. He said, "Not right now, I don't."
Chad's hand brushed across Jared's arm as he left and Jared refused to respond to the confused look.
At dinner, Chad glared at him from the Slytherin table.
"Why's Murray looking at you like he hates you, Harry?" Ron asked.
"It's Jared he hates," Jensen said easily, dropping a huge serving of whipped cream onto his pie. "Jared stole his girl."
"Did not," Jared said. "Girl can make her own choices."
Katie grinned and fluttered her eyelashes. "I think it's romantic."
She gave him half a grin and she nudged one of the other Quiddich girls, they both cooed at Jared until even Jensen looked slightly ill. Staring firmly at his plate, Jared only glanced up once to catch Chad's eyes. For a second he thought that Chad looked confused, then he flipped Jared off and Jared found his potatoes more interesting.
He was staying behind to practice on his own when Chad caught up with him again. Jared saw him a way off, the field was empty and the targets easy to see.
"What?" he asked, finally, taking his eyes off of the decreasing circles when Chad got too close to him for it to be anything more than a fight.
Chad leaned forward and kissed him, demanding and pushy. He shoved his tongue into Jared's mouth and Jared resisted, grabbed Chad's robes in both hands and shoved.
"Shit, Murray," Jared said, furious. "What do you want?"
The expression on Chad's face was closed, eyes narrowed and he crossed his arms. "That's what you wanted, isn't it?"
Backing away, Jared stared at Chad. "No."
Something shifted in Chad's face and he stared at the grass instead of Jared. "No?"
"Stop being an asshole, Murray," Jared said. "You're straight."
"Not really," Chad said.
Jared shook his head, backing away, "You said I wasn't what you wanted."
Chad stepped forward, but there weren't any walls to cage Jared in, so he just kept backing off.
"Padelecki," Chad started.
"Look, if you want her that bad, I'll leave her alone," Jared said.
Tightening his mouth, Chad said, "It's not about Sophia -"
"Right," Jared said, sarcastically. "You just woke up and decided that you wanted me?"
Flipping off Chad, he stalked towards Hogwarts. Unsurprisingly, Chad caught up to him and grabbed his arm, rough. Jared turned, hand raised to punch, and then Chad was kissing him again, both hands on Jared's face.
Jared grabbed again, but this time he couldn't just shove away, not with the desperation in Chad's mouth, the faint taste of peppermint.
Looking to the side, Jared saw Jensen and shoved Chad away, walking towards Hogwarts again.
This time, Chad didn't follow.
Jensen did. He caught up with Jared and wrapped an arm around his shoulders, his grin was open mouthed and amused, like a dog playing catch. "Huh," he said. "So, you don't like Sophia."
Beside him, Jensen said, softly, "Why didn't you just tell me?"
"Well," Jensen acknowledged. "Yeah, I know. Scotland. But, hey I'm from America."
"Texas," Jared said, shortly. He lengthened his strides.
"Oh, shut up," Jensen said, speeding up.
There was a pause, "You never... on me did you?"
Jared snorted, "No."
"Why Murray, though? That's stereotypical. He's the football star."
"I know," Jared whined. "I'm aware that I'm a living prep school stereotype, thanks."
Jensen didn't say anything and when Jared glanced over at him, he suddenly knew that his life was about to get a lot more complicated.
"I can fix this," Jensen said.
Jared paused and stared at him. "You can what?"
Walking backwards, back towards the dorm, Jensen said, "Don't worry about anything."
Jared nearly stopped him, but it was Jensen. Jensen was almost as bad as Mike at convincing people to do stupid things.
He was hopeless.
Sophia bit her lip. She fiddled with her hem and started, "Jared-" just as he started to say, "Sophia-"
They both paused.
"Jared," she said again. "I like you a lot, but I think that this isn't working out."
Blinking, Jared said, "It isn't?"
"Sure," he said, swallowing. "That's fine."
With half a smile, she fled.
Jensen tousled Jared's hair when he left, wearing jeans and a black button up shirt.
"Where's your house spirit, Jensen?" someone yelled.
"Out for the night!" he said, from the doorway. "Like me."
"Got a date?" Jared asked, still staring at his textbook.
"With Sophia," Jensen leaned in to whisper.
Jared looked up, but Jensen was already gone.
Rumor had it that Jensen wooed Sophia out of Jared's arms. As far as Jared could tell, the rumors were true, except that they'd never fought over her honor, and he'd never written her depressed love letters when she chose Jensen.
Chad waited a while before Jared found himself backed up against the wall of an empty hallway, Chad looking at him, intensely.
"Is it true?" Chad asked.
"Yeah," Jared said.
"I'm sorry, man," Chad said. "It's hard to be in love with Sophia."
Jared blinked, "I'm not in love with her."
"Oh, but you said it was true," Chad frowned.
"That we'd broken up, yeah," Jared said. "I'm not in love with her."
For half a second, Chad seemed to hesitate and Jared almost pushed him away, but then Chad kissed him. Intense and wanting and almost too perfect.
Jared shoved him away, wiped his mouth on the back of his hand.
"I'm not that easy, Murray," Jared said.
Chad pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes. For half a second, Jared thought that maybe he'd get punched after all, and then Murray grinned and said, "Yeah, ok."
He nodded and walked down the hall.
"Shit," Jared said, banging his head back against the wall.
The flowers arrived with breakfast. 'Flowers' was a lose term for them. When they arrived, the roses were a little worse for wear and everyone glanced at each other when they landed in Jared's oatmeal.
He put them aside and when Jensen tried to grab them, Jared gave him a glare that made it clear that even Baby Texas had boundaries.
Carefully, he didn't glance over at the Slytherin table. But, when Malfoy made kissy noises at him in the hall, he said, "Hey, shut up," and walked away. His shoulder caught with Chad's and he grinned at him before heading to his next class.
The CD was used, but it was something so utterly muggle that Jared couldn't help grinning and stashing it in his robes before anyone else caught sight of it.
It was country, a band called Kane or something and he frowned at his CD player, trying to figure out if he was being funny.
"Did you mean this mocking?" he asked, holding up the CD so that Chad could see it.
Chad grinned, "No."
When Chad kissed him, Jared didn't drop the CD, but it was close.
It became a pattern, the gifts, the kissing. A gift meant that Jared could come by and ask about it. It meant that Chad was trying to do something that Jared wanted.
Jared knew he shouldn't have been surprised that Chad got bored with it.
"Apparently, someone saw Mike and Murray snogging out by the Quiddich field," Anna, one of Katie's friends said.
Jared looked down at his hands and decided to go study.
The next time an owl came with something, he refused to take it. He didn't think that being reduced to a staring contest with an owl was a step up in life, exactly, but it wasn't really a step down either.
At least it meant that he really wasn't that easy.
Mike started dating a Slytherin fifth year. Jensen kept dating Sophia and Chad kept staring at Jared across the tables.
Which Jared would have noticed if he was paying attention. Which he wasn't. Really.
"No," Jared said, holding himself straight when he saw Murray. He crossed his arms. "You were making out with Mike."
"I wasn't," Chad said, his pout clear. He looked like he was trying to pull something on Jared. "C'mon, Jared. I like you."
"And so it's ok for you to make out with other guys? No," Jared said. "Anyway, where's my study group?"
"Meeting in the library," Chad said. He moved closer like a seeker, smooth and quick. "I wasn't kissing Mike."
"Right," Jared said. He picked up his books and headed for the door.
Chad touched his arm, and said, soft, "What can I do to prove it to you?"
Turning, Jared said, "Nothing. Leave me alone."
"Fine." The spark was back in Chad's eyes, the flinty Slytherin look and he held up his hands. "Go ahead and be an asshole."
Chad left first.
Malfoy called his mother a "useless muggle whore" and Jared punched him in the mouth.
Even Crabbe looked slightly nervous when Jared leaned in and hissed, "Don't you dare talk about my momma like that."
Detention was worth it.
Chad showed up a few minutes after he did, grinning and waving a slip of paper at McGonagall. "I was late to class," he said, easily.
McGonagall gave them lines, which made Jared glad he was doing detention with her: Snape would have had them scraping cauldrons, Pomfrey would have had them on bedpans.
"Heard you stood up to Malfoy," Chad whispered.
Jared pursed his lips and continued his lines. He had more to go than Murray, fighting being only slightly worse than tardiness to McGonagall.
Chad eyed him for a few more seconds, muttered, "fine, be that way" and went back to his own paper, working steadily until he finished, leaving Jared alone in the room.
Jared finished, shook out the cramp in his hand, and handed over his sheet. He waited until McGonagall nodded after looking them over, and headed out.
The corner that led from her classroom to the dorms was badly lit, and maybe he should have expected it, but he didn't until he heard the soft, "Petrificus Totalus" and the "Wingardium Leviosa" that held him up.
He tried to yell, but could barely move, and so settled for glaring at Chad. He narrowed his eyes and thought that maybe he could do wandless magic if he thought long enough about setting Chad on fire.
"Look," Chad looked firm, sneaky. It was a Slytherin look, all narrowed eyes and pouting lips. "I don't know what you heard, but I never made out with Mike. I wouldn't screw this up for some sleezebag with a Beckham thing going on."
He moved forward, licking his lips. "And, you know, I really want you, and I think you're fucking hot and if you stop acting like such a girl, maybe we could go to Hogsmeade next weekend?"
The question came out strangely uncertain, and then Chad moved in and kissed him, fierce and firm.
"Because, you know, I don't give up that easy."
Then he waved his wand, and said, " Finite Incantatem," already sauntering down the hallway.
Right before Jared hit the ground, he grinned and thought, Merlin’s fucking beard.