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Some Dangerous Liaisons

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Chapter 1: Fists of Fury

Harry jerked himself awake. He blinked several times trying to focus his vision in the overly bright room. The yellow and orange hues of the rising sun illuminated the space over his bed. He lay still for a few moments, trying to remember where he was, his brow furrowed in concentration.

Oh yeah, at The Burrow.

He had been the recipient of an exuberantly celebrated home-coming by the Weasleys. Fred and George had been at their inventive best, including concocting a mysteriously smoking drink appropriately called "Smoking Cauldrons". Despite Molly Weasley's disapproving looks, he, along with the twins, Ron and even Ginny, had sampled the mixture. Harry frowned at the memory, mostly because he couldn't remember much of anything that happened after turning the cup up. He vaguely remembered a lot of spluttering and laughter, but not much else.

A slight movement to his right alerted him to the presence of Ginny. She was asleep sitting in a chair, but her upper body was draped across the bed, her head resting by his hand. Harry gave a small snort, knowing that she had to be uncomfortable sleeping like that.

"Ginny," he whispered, reaching out to shake her awake. "Wake up."

Wide brown eyes blinked sleepily at him and then brightened noticeably in recognition of her newly returned boyfriend.

"Harry. Sleep well?" she asked, rising slowly from her position.

Harry smiled sheepishly. "Yeah, I guess so. I didn't even remember where I was at first. What was in those drinks?"

Ginny snickered and pulled her long fire-red mane of hair back into a ponytail.

"I'm so glad that you're home. I missed you so much." She smiled mischievously. "And apparently you missed me too."

Harry looked down and blushed slightly. He had not noticed that he had his usual morning erection. He glanced up at Ginny's face and blushed even harder. He knew exactly what was on her mind. Despite his erection, Harry felt tired and irritable and wasn't in any mood for strenuous activity.

You are not going to get out of this, his mind yammered. He had vague visions of Ginny trying to kiss him last night, but he honestly didn't recall anything happening beyond that. He surreptitiously glanced down at his pants and was relieved to see there wasn't any stickiness or dried spots on him. Apparently, things were aborted after the kiss. One look at her face now told him there was no way she was going to be put off this morning.

Harry vaguely wondered what was wrong with him. What teenaged boy didn't want to have sex? Ginny was attractive and more to the point, willing and available. She was also staring at him like he was a last meal. Her eyes raked over him so shamelessly that Harry moved to cover his groin.

"It's been a long summer," she whispered, "How could you stand it?" She reached into her pocket and pulled out two pieces of candy. Or what looked like candy.

"It's a "snogging snack", she giggled as she popped one in her mouth. "Courtesy of my brothers, of course. They last for a whole day and they freshen…everything".

Harry raised an eyebrow but didn't say anything and Ginny reached across and pushed one the other candy into his mouth. She then moved in on him like a hawk on a mouse as she leaned in for a kiss. Ginny's tongue battled his lips for an opening. Harry decided to allow her to win. He didn't feel like an argument or worse, her crying. He gently put his hands around her neck and she leaned in further, kissing him more passionately. A low moan escaped her lips and she climbed on top of him, straddling him. His hands moved to her waist, holding her steady.

"Mmmm…Harry," she whispered. "Give me your hand…so you can see what you do to me."

She pulled one of his hands from around her waist and pushed it beneath her short green nightshirt. Her hand led his fingers to her soft, warm opening. Her soft, warm, wet opening. Ginny shuddered, as Harry's fingers began to massage her.

"Ahhhhh, yesssss," she moaned softly. She began to move her hips, working his hand. A soft wetness flowed over his fingertips.

She leaned forward, whispering in his ear. "Don't you want to taste it?" Harry definitely knew he was not going to get out of this one.

He smiled at her. She quickly changed her position from straddling to lying beside him. Harry scooted towards the bottom of the bed and turned on his stomach. Ginny moved and turned over on her back, pulling the nightshirt up. She opened her legs eagerly for Harry. The faint scent of strawberries flowed past his nose. Fred and George were absolute geniuses. Harry found her spot and slowly began to work it. Ginny arched her back, a cry escaping her lips. His tongue made small circles around her clit and then he gently sucked it, pulling it with his mouth. She gasped and grabbed both edges of the bed with her fists.

"Oh shitttttt, don't stoppppp. This feels so good," she rasped out. Her hips bucked under Harry's tongue. Harry could feel Ginny tightening under his tongue. He knew she was almost there. He roughly grabbed her thighs and pulled her closer to him, rapidly picking up the pace, his tongue probing her warm folds and tasting her. Ginny's moans filled his head with a vibrating sensation. He felt her hand roughly grab his shirt and pull him forward.

"Oh God, I want to feel you now!" She hissed at him, her eyes glazed. Harry quickly dropped his sweat shorts. He moved up to Ginny, who was still holding him by the shirt. He guided himself into her throbbing passage. She was tight and had always had difficulty taking him in the beginning. He tried to enter her as slow as he could, but she had different plans. She wrapped her legs around his waist, pulling him in quickly. She pushed against him desperately and Harry concentrated on her rhythm. His breathing increased and pleasurable sensations coursed through him. Ginny was moving at a frantic pace and he knew she was there. Her grip on his penis tightened and he grunted in pleasure.

"Harry, oh God, Harryyyy, yessssssss, Harrryyyyyyy, fucccckkkkkkk meeeeeeee!"

She writhed beneath him, as her release came. Harry thrust deeply into her. Her legs were wrapped tight around his back and her arms around his neck. Harry laid his head by her neck, as he continued pumping into her. She clenched again and he cried out. Ginny began to work her hips against him, tightening against his stroking penis. Harry strained against her and his release came a moment later. He shuddered as his essence drained from him. He managed to roll off of her before he collapsed face down on the sea blue sheets.

Ginny turned to look at him, her eyes filled with love. She tenderly stroked his raven locks. She loved him with everything in her. She had almost lost her mind this summer while he was gone. Harry had surprised everyone by suddenly applying for a Care of Magical Creatures Internship at the end of the school year. He had not consulted her about it, just came and told her that he had been accepted. She had been furious of course, but had tried to hide it.

Harry had spent the last two months in Romania as a dragon handler apprentice. Her brother Charlie had been Harry's supervisor. Harry had come home yesterday from the program, tired, beaten and subdued. Her family and friends had thrown him a welcome home party.

Ginny took the time to marvel at Harry's physical changes. His skin had become a golden color, almost like honey caramel. All the days working out in the sun and possibly being singed by the dragon's fire ability, had perfectly bronzed Harry's skin. He seemed to glow now. He had certainly gained weight, but it looked like pure muscle. Ginny trailed a finger over Harry's bicep. The defined muscle curved nicely into his t-shirt. His back muscles were also well defined.

She noticed a small scar midway up his spine. She leaned over to kiss it. His butt had tightened up as well. She giggled as she thought about him in a thong, one of those horrible Muggle outfits. However, she felt that Harry would definitely not get one single insult against him if he chose to put one on. She would have to fight off a mob if he did. She had glimpsed his stomach during their love-making. Harry always had an athletic build because of all his years playing Quidditch.

He was eleven when he started playing, much younger than most boys. But his more defined six-pack abdominals were beyond amazing. Ginny knew how lucky she was. There were still times when she had to pinch herself to make sure it was real. After all the years of her unrequited love for him, she had finally got him. She would do anything to keep Harry.

Ginny quietly got up from the bed. Harry seemed to be asleep. She picked up her wand from the wooden floor and cast a cleaning spell over herself and Harry. She noticed his black leather duffle bag by the foot of the bed. She would help him get situated. She picked up the bag and began to unzip it. She was going to pack his clothes away in the tiny bureau by the aging window.

"You don't have to do that," a soft voice said from behind her. Ginny smiled at the sound of Harry's low rumble. She felt herself throbbing again.

"Oh, I don't mind. Who do you think is going to do this when we get married," she said matter-of-factly. She was not prepared for the anguished look that crossed Harry's face.

"You do want to get married right? I mean, not right now of course, but when school is finished. Well, when I finish school." She looked at him fearfully.

Harry was lying with his head on his arms facing Ginny. She looked so vulnerable, standing there in her short night gown, wisps of her red hair escaping the rubber band. Ginny had filled out nicely now that she was sixteen, but she still had thin legs. Harry looked at her with a deep pain in his chest. He did not want to have this conversation right now, actually never would be a better thing.

"Let's not talk about that okay? I just got home. Tell me how your summer has been," he said casually, hoping she would take the bait.

She wasn't biting.

"Harry, I asked you a question. Don't you want to get married? Have a family?"

"Ginny, one day I may want that, but not right now. I can't even think two minutes into the future. I have too much on my mind."

"One day you might want that? What does that mean? Are you saying that you don't want to get married?"

At that moment, Harry realized that his day was going to be a bad one. He pulled himself up into a sitting position and pulled on his pants.

"Ginny, please, I don't want to get into this right now. One day I will think about marriage and then whoever that person is, we will discuss it." Harry immediately realized his mistake, but it was too late to take it back. He stared fearfully at Ginny, praying that this would not get any worse. He should have known better.

Ginny's mouth had fallen open and her eyes had turned nearly black, her pupils pinpoints. "Whoever the person is," she snarled, "as in what? You don't think it will be me?" She started walking towards him. Harry stood up quickly.

"I didn't mean it like that. I'm just saying that it will be a long time before I start thinking about getting married. I mean come on, Ginny; I've got Death Eaters and Voldemort trying to kill me. I can't really delude myself into thinking I have a normal life or could even think of having one until this mess is all finished. I shouldn't even be in a relationship. It's dangerous."

"Are you breaking up with me?" she asked incredulously.

"After everything I said, that was all you got out of that? Are you even listening to me?" Harry asked irritably.

"That's just an excuse, Harry and you know it! Your parents were married when they fought Voldemort. They fought him together!" Ginny yelled.

"Yeah and look what happened to them! They're both dead and left me an orphan! Would you really want to have that kind of life? Would you want to do that to your child?! I can't do that to another person or my child. I would rather be alone forever if that is what my hand in life is going to be! I'm not going to bring anyone in my life while I have this thing hanging over me! Maybe you need to find someone else, Ginny. I can't give you want you want right now!"

"FIND SOMEONE ELSE? What the hell are you talking about? Harry, please don't do this. Okay, I'm sorry that I brought this up." She moved over to Harry quickly. "You told me that you didn't want to talk about this and I pushed you. I'm sorry." She reached up to put her arms around him to hug him.

Harry looked down into Ginny's face. He could see the fear in her eyes. He sighed, but he knew what he had to do. Ginny needed to move on with her life. Harry was not ready for this relationship and all he was doing was giving her a false sense of security. He gently took her hands down from around his neck. He kissed them tenderly.

"Ginny, I'm sorry, but we need to take a step back here. I know I can't give you what you need and deserve. I want you to be happy and right now I'm a mess. I don't want to hurt you any more than I already have. Please understand that. That's part of the reason that I went away this summer. I just wanted to do something different and be alone for awhile."

He looked searchingly into her face, hoping to see that she would understand. He was so busy looking at her face, that he missed her right hook, which connected with his left jaw. He staggered back, holding his cheek, eyes widened with shock and pain.

"What the hell was that?" he gasped out.

"You think I'm going to sit here and listen to this shite, Harry! How dare you! I have waited my whole life for you and now you think you can just break up with me? Like I am going to actually let you walk out of my life with no questions asked? Why do you think that I'd let that happen?"

Ginny was livid; her face had turned as fiery red as her hair. Harry stared at her, true fear etched in his newly bronzed features. He wished he had listened more closely to his godfather when he had discussed how to handle women. He had often seen Hermione close to this level of rage, but thankfully it had never been directed at him. He tried to think of all the times his dorm mates had talked about this dangerous state of the female psyche. Their words of wisdom were not coming forth for him. He was on his own with trying to muddle through this.

"Ginny! I…I…I just want to make things easier for both of us," Harry stammered.

He was aware of the fact that he had started to move away from her. She advanced on him, closing the distance, a vicious snarl distracting him from her normal beauty. It was almost like watching a Veela transform. Ginny's right hook came out again, but he managed to twist away from the impact. Her fist whistled sickeningly close to his nose.

Harry did not underestimate Ginny in the slightest. She had grown up with six older brothers and already his jaw was throbbing from her punch. He knew that she was scrappy enough to give him a go or even kick his ass. In her present state, he figured he was going to be in for a right vicious ass kicking. He had never seen her so angry.

"Ginny, please! Don't act like that. I don't want to fight with you."

"How can you talk about leaving me? No! Tell me we're going to get married and that you love me!" She stood before him, her body trembling like a wind-strewn leaf. Harry swallowed uncomfortably.

"Ginny, yes, I do love you and I care about you. But I am not going to be pressured into something like marriage. I need some time to figure things out. When I'm truly in love and ready, then it will be right."

Ginny's eyes narrowed and she advanced on him again. Harry reached out and grabbed her wrists. She twisted to try to get out of his grasp, but Harry held on tight.

"Ginny! Stop! You're only making it worse." Harry pleaded with her.

She snarled again, and then whimpered. She glanced up at him, saw those beautiful green eyes staring down at her full of concern, but not love. Her anger rose full throttle in her chest. This could not be happening. With a shout, she banged her head against his forehead, in a full wrestling head butt. She felt his hands release his grip on her wrists. He fell back with a cry of pain.

Harry's world exploded in a brilliant red flash of light. At first he thought that she had grabbed her wand and hexed him, but he didn't think he'd seen her with it. Then he realized that she must have head-butted him! He shook his head, but that only made the room sway dangerously. The room began spinning and weird dots kept floating in front of his eyes. He blinked several times, trying to get himself together. The room finally came into focus.

Ginny was sitting on the bed, glaring at him, tears running down her face. Harry realized that that he was on the floor. A blinding headache was spreading across his cranial cavity and speeding down the back of his head. Harry sat up slowly, rolling his neck in a circle. Ginny got up and came across the room toward him.

With a grunt of pain, Harry managed to pull himself up without falling back down. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ginny advancing on him again. Apparently, she wasn't finished with him yet. He had no intention of hanging around for round two. He made for the door, but she headed him off and slammed herself against it.

"Harry, we aren't done here. How can you say these things to me? I love you! Don't you understand that? I can't just move on from that!"

Harry felt his temper rising. What else did she expect him to say? He knew that this conversation had come out of the blue and he was not blind to the fact that she was hoping to marry him. He just didn't know how to tell her that he was terrified of the future and that he just couldn't deal with a relationship with her right then. He wasn't even completely sure if he was still in love with her. He honestly hadn't thought too much about her while he was in Romania. But he couldn't find the right words to say all of that.

"Ginny, get away from the door. I don't want to talk about this anymore. I said what I had to say. Maybe we can talk about it later when you calm down, but I'm not going to say anything else."

He reached around her to grab the doorknob. She held herself against the door, but Harry yanked it open anyway, sending her sprawling. The Silencing Charm that had been on the room vanished once the door was opened.

Harry walked out of the room. He needed to go outside and get some air, so he headed for the stairs. He could hear sounds coming from the bottom floor of the Burrow, which was probably Mrs. Weasley cooking breakfast. Thank Merlin she hadn't heard the commotion. He would have been mortified. Unfortunately for him, he was in for a much worse experience.

He was about halfway down the stairs when…

"Harry Potter! Don't you walk away from me! How dare you use me and then just leave!"

Harry turned saucer-sized eyes to see Ginny standing on the landing behind him. He couldn't believe that she had just yelled that through her own house. He turned away in disgust and kept going down the stairs. He could only pray that no one had heard her scream like that. He really didn't believe that was possible though.

He heard the sound of her feet hitting the steps but Harry didn't want to be bothered with what that may have meant. He felt her body hit his just as he reached the bottom step. She tackled him by wrapping her arms around his neck, her feet pushing off from the step. The momentum drove him forwards and they both burst into the living room, Harry staggering with Ginny on his back. She was screaming.

With absolute horror, Harry caught a glimpse of the shocked faces in front of him. Hermione had been sitting at the kitchen table with Ron, George and Fred. Remus and Tonks were sitting in the living room, talking to Mr. Weasley, who had a Daily Prophet in hand. Mrs. Weasley had bolted from the kitchen, her mouth in a giant-sized 'O', as she looked on, appalled.

"Ginny! Harry! What's going on?" Mrs. Weasley cried out. Despite the madness of the moment, he noticed she had flour on her face.

"Get off of me!" Harry yelled. He grabbed Ginny's thin wrists and tugged at them, trying to pry them off of his neck. She only held on tighter.

"I love you, Harry! Don't go, please!"

Mr. Weasley and Remus rushed forward to help the struggling teens. Harry had collided with the coffee table and fell over it, Ginny still clinging to his body. They hit the floor with a thud and Harry let out a loud ummmph! Ginny rolled off his back and lay next to him, her breath coming in heaving spurts.

Remus reached down to help him up. He got to his feet and he gave Remus a grateful look. Remus raised an eyebrow, silently asking what had happened. Harry shook his head as if to say he had no clue. Arthur, in the meantime, had reached down to help his daughter, who was now crying. She managed to stand on shaky legs, but she was close to hysteria. Mrs. Weasley moved quickly into the living room. Arthur gave his wife a bewildered expression. When Molly reached her, Ginny came to life again.

"No, Harry! You can't do this me! Merlin, please! I'm sorry! We can work this out, okay!" Her voice was raising several octaves. She struggled against her mother, who was trying to hold her steady.

"Harry, don't leave me! I waited so long for you! Oh my God, I'll die without you! I'll do whatever it is you want, okay? I won't force you about the marriage thing!"

Harry stood dumbstruck. He had never expected this reaction from her. Ginny always appeared to be the epitome of self-control, even with the famous Weasley temper. What the hell had happened to her?

Ginny broke free from Molly and ran towards Harry, her face awash in tears. She grabbed him and held him tight in a hug, sobbing. Molly came up slowly behind her. She looked at Harry with the saddest face he had ever seen. Harry looked down at Ginny. He took a deep breath and attempted to un-tangle himself from her grasp. Arthur stood next to his wife and as Ginny began to struggle, he caught her arm.

"No, Dad! I have to work this out! Let me go!"

She tried to pull away from him. Arthur looked down at his only daughter. He knew that her obsession with Harry would one day get out of control. He had only prayed that she would be able to move on with her life if things didn't work out for her. He now saw that it would not be the case.

Molly pulled Ginny to her breast. The girl resisted at first, but then went limp. She shuddered and began to cry again. Tonks and Hermione stood around awkwardly, not sure what to do. Tonks finally put a reassuring hand on Molly's shoulders. The older woman nodded and gently pushed Ginny towards the stairs. Hermione followed behind them, glancing first at Ron, and then at Harry. The four women left the living room. A few moments later, Harry could hear a bedroom door close. He was sure a Silencing Charm would be placed upon it. Remus touched Arthur's shoulder.

"I have some Calming Draught in my cloak," he said.

Arthur nodded and headed to the cloak closet. Fred and George hurriedly decided to take their leave. Both were mumbling about "taking inventory" at the store. The sound of the Disapparating crack filled the room.

Harry didn't want to look at Ron. It had been incredibly awkward dating his best friend's sister, but Ron had seemed supportive of the relationship. Now what would Ron think now that he had witnessed such a horrible scene. He heard the pop as Ron Disapparated. Harry was left alone with Remus, who looked on sympathetically. Harry turned to the older man.

"Remus, I don't think I'm going to be welcome here anymore. I'm going to go and get my things."

"Harry, that's not true. You're like family to them. They aren't going to turn you out into the street."

"I think I need some space though. And after that…I know Ginny doesn't want to see me. I really need to go."

Remus looked like he wanted to say more, but closed his mouth. Harry turned and ran upstairs to collect his belongings. He hadn't unpacked anything since his return from Romania. Once he figured out where he was going he could send for the rest of his things. Or maybe even send them to Hogwarts directly.

There were two weeks left of summer before school started for his 7th year. He shrunk his duffle bag to fit into his pocket. He glanced at his Firebolt. He really wanted to take it with him, but since he didn't know where he was going, he decided against it. He sighed wearily.

His hand was itching to take one of the pills that Charlie had given him over the summer that helped with his pain. Dragon handlers used some pretty potent pain potions and pills. He wanted his throbbing headache to stop, along with all of the other injuries he may have sustained during Ginny's attack. He twisted his ankle when he fell down the last step and it ached horribly. He glanced back at the room once more and then he returned to the living room.

Remus gazed at him with sad eyes.

"You'll tell them for me, won't you, Remus?"

Remus sighed. "Yes, Harry. I'll let Arthur and Molly know. They're going to be worried. Are you sure you want to do this? It's not safe out there. Death Eaters can find you, or even worse…"

Harry glanced back at him. "You didn't know? I'm already dead, Remus. Nothing matters anymore."

And with a pop, he was gone.

Chapter Text

 

Cha-Cha-Changesssss

"Let me have another drink, Tom!" Fadien Bulstrode bellowed.

The twenty-five year old man was on his way to getting plastered. He was on his third "Devil's Snare." Although he was normally even-keeled when he was about to make deals, tonight he was trying to work up his courage for his task that evening. Nothing like a little liquid courage to get the nerves right. Tom, the innkeeper and sometimes barkeep of the Leaky Cauldron, passed him a sinister looking foaming beverage.

"That's right, just keep them coming." Fadien turned up the goblet, the cold liquid scorching its way down his throat. He exhaled deeply, enjoying the burn.

A young raven-haired young man sat down in the seat next to him and ordered some ridiculously childish drink. Fadien snorted as the new wizard ran his hands through his disheveled hair, revealing his golden forehead. Fadien did a double take when he saw a lightning shaped scar on the boy's otherwise flawless skin.

He gaped and then rasped out, "Hey, I know who you are! You're Harry Potter, right?"

The other boy turned to face him, his green eyes dull behind boring eyeglasses.

"Not tonight. Leave me alone," Harry replied sullenly. He looked back down at his drink and brought it slowly to his lips.

Fadien grinned, "It looks like you need something a lot stronger than that. Tom, another Snare please…and one for my new friend here."

Tom slammed down two more drinks on the bar top. He glanced quickly at the wizarding hero. The boy looked miserable.

"It's on the house, for young Mr. Potter," he said gruffly, "not for you, Bulstrode."

Fadien raised an amused eyebrow. "Tom, I thought we were friends! You wound me deeply with your hostility." He placed a hand over his heart. Tom grunted, but refrained from commenting. He went to help another patron.

Fadien turned back to Harry and stuck out his hand. "I'm Fadien, Fadien Bulstrode. Nice to meet you."

Harry didn't extend his hand. He looked curiously at him. "Bulstrode? Why does that name sound familiar?"

"My sister's at Hogwarts, 7th year. Her name's Millicent. You're still in school, right? So maybe you know her."

Harry snorted. "Oh yeah…I know who she is. She's a Slytherin."

He recalled Hermione and the Polyjuice potion fiasco from second year. Hermione's transformation in part cat, thanks to stealing the wrong hair from Bulstrode's robes, had been the source of endless amusement for Ron. He eyed Fadien suspiciously, the Slytherin affiliation sending off alarms in his mind.

Fadien smirked. "Look, I'm no Death Eater, okay? Or a follower of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Not my scene at all. I got all kinds of friends, Muggles, half-bloods…you name it. I am every wizard's friend. That Death Eater shite is bad for business…I'm all for peace and love." He smiled happily at Harry and tipped his drink at him. Harry gave a small smile and nodded his head.

"I'm all for that...especially the peace part." His brow furrowed and he turned back to his drink.

Fadien studied Harry curiously. Like every wizard in their world, he had heard the stories of the Boy Who Lived. And now here was the Boy Wonder in the flesh, sitting beside him like a regular bloke. Fadien rarely paid much attention to political wizard happenings, but even he couldn't ignore the return of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Death Eater attacks, disappearances and a terrified ministry was something that no one could ignore. Fadien wondered why a wizard as powerful as Voldemort would target a baby. But even more shocking was said baby had survived the attack.

Fadien didn't realize that the Boy Who Lived was so young. He looked to be about the same age as his sister, he mused. Despite Harry's age, Fadien noticed there was a dark aura that surrounded him. It radiated out of him in waves. Fadien was used to that sort of vibration. He had been around Dark magic and had many friends who dealt in various dark subjects. His partner-in-crime was even considered a Dark creature. Werewolves were not exactly welcome in their world. But Nicos had been a longtime friend and Fadien didn't mind his affliction.

His thoughts were interrupted by a tap on the shoulder. He swung around, annoyed at being disturbed. His annoyance quickly turned to pleasure at seeing the man beside him. Said partner in crime, Nicos, was standing there looking irritated.

"Fadien, we have to go. We're going to be late. I don't want to hear the crap this time," the werewolf said impatiently. He carried a slight accent, but only just. Fadien nodded, swallowed the rest of his drink, and then brightened. He pulled Nicos around to the Harry's side.

"Harry, meet my friend, Nicos. Nicos, this is the famous Harry Potter," he said gallantly. Nicos' eyes burned an eerie gold as he looked appreciatively at Harry.

"Harry Potter! I never thought I would see you up close and personal. I can now say it was well worth the wait. Nice to see you, in the flesh." Nicos' eyes seemed to be devouring Harry. Harry gave a wry smile, used to the appreciative glances and adoring fans. He nodded at the other man.

Fadien slid off the bar stool and said, "Listen, we have to go. But how would you like to hang out with us tomorrow? We can have a really good time. You look like you need to have some fun! If you want, meet us here at say, 11 o'clock. Is that good?"

Harry took another swig of the Devil's Snare and thought over the offer. It was not in his nature to go and hang out with perfect strangers, especially strangers with Slytherin family members. Maybe it was the alcohol that messed with his common sense, but Harry found himself saying, "I'll think about it."

Fadien thumped Harry on the back. "All right! We'll check for you tomorrow." He tossed some Galleons on the bar. "Enjoy your drink." Harry watched as the two men walked out. Nicos gave Harry another appraising look and then disappeared out of the door. Harry sighed and turned back to the bar just as Tom came and snatched the galleons from the countertop.

"Bulstrode is an annoying sort. Talks too much, if you ask me. Always trying to sell you something. Harmless though. Got some Hufflepuffs in the family. My own house," Tom said gruffly and began wiping down the bar. Harry really didn't care, especially not after the horrible day he'd had. He still couldn't believe his fight with Ginny had happened in front of the whole Weasley family and Hermione.

He didn't have a good night at all. After Fadien had left, Harry had knocked back about two more of the Snares. Tom and another patron had to carry him up to his room. Harry woke up face down on the bed. He was mildly surprised and disappointed that he hadn't suffocated. He was still in his clothes and shoes from the day before and he smelled of stale beer and smoke.

He looked around the room. Something had woke him. A tapping sound. What had made that noise? He realized it was an owl tapping very loudly outside of his window. He recognized little Pig, Ron's owl. Ron had owled him then? He stumbled across the room and opened the window. The cool morning air felt good on his face, but the sunlight sent shooting pain through his temples. He quickly plucked the letter from the owl and opened it. The letter wasn't from Ron, but Hermione.

Harry,

I just wanted to know if you were alright. You left without saying goodbye, even though Professor Lupin told us that you did. Are you okay? Ginny has slept pretty much since yesterday. Oh Harry, she is so sorry for what happened. Please don't hold it against her. She has not been herself since you left for Romania. I know that she really wants to apologize for her behavior. Ron has been pretty quiet. He hasn't really said anything about what happened. Please send word so that we know that you are okay.

Love,

Hermione

Harry was racked with guilt. The Weasleys were more his family then the Dursleys had ever been, but he didn't want to see any of them right now. That horribly embarrassing scene with Ginny felt like it had happened to someone else. The episode seemed distant now in his foggy brain.

He felt like they were all going to blame him for Ginny's meltdown. Why are things always so complicated when it came to him?

He wrote a quick response to send back with Pig, who was hopping up and down excitedly. He told her that he was staying at the Leaky Cauldron and that he would stay there until it was time for school. He also told her that he needed some space and that he would contact her again soon.

He showered, dressed and went down to the tavern for a spot of breakfast. He was just finishing his toast when Fadien and Nicos entered. Fadien waved at him enthusiastically.

"Morning, Harry!" He called out as he strolled over to Harry's table and sat down in front of him. Nicos followed slowly behind him, glowering. Harry wondered what was pissing off the other man, but knew he would be inviting trouble if he asked, so he wisely kept quiet.

"So, Harry! Ready to go out and see the world?" He smirked and Harry raised an eyebrow.

"And what world would that be?" He asked.

Fadien grinned widely. "We are doing Muggle London! You will see that we can still get things done outside of Diagon Alley. You're coming with us!"

Harry pursed his lips and then gave a slight shrug. He'd worked with dragons this summer and with some rather rough dragon handlers, who had been very happy to put him through his paces on quick thinking and fast moves. Harry figured he would be able to handle himself if things got tricky with Fadien. And as far as Nicos was concerned, werewolves only turned at night…and seeing how it was broad daylight, Harry felt that the man wasn't going to be much of a threat.

"Excellent! Now let's go!" Fadien called out grasped Harry around the shoulders as he ushered him out of the Leaky Cauldron. They went out onto Charing Cross Road and Harry paused as he looked out at the Muggle street.

Harry hadn't ventured out into the Muggle world by this route since Hagrid had brought him here after he got his Hogwarts letter. He had almost forgotten that for the first eleven years of his life, he had lived his life as a Muggle. Every summer he had gone back to Surry to live with his hated relatives. Harry couldn't believe that he had forgotten that. He burst out laughing. Fadien and Nicos exchanged surprised looks.

"Are you okay with this, Harry?" Nicos asked. "Have you been in the Muggle world before?"

Harry turned his flushed face to both men. He was still laughing hard. "Yeah, it's fine. I just had a momentary lapse in my sanity. I'd almost forgotten what this was like. Just being a Muggle."

Their first stop was a music store in the West End, near Leicester Squaren where Fadien purchased several CD's. He was well stocked with Muggle money. He seemed to be well known in the area, as several people called out his name in greeting. Fadien's easy smile and charming personality had put the Gryffindor at ease. They had chatted excessively on the underground train, so Harry knew quite a bit about the older man. Nicos was more reserved, not saying much at all, but he seemed friendly enough.

Their next destination was a dimly lit shop in the Notting Hill area. They were greeted by a beautiful black woman wearing a brightly colored green shirt and dark skirt. Her hair was twisted in pleasant braids that came about shoulder-length. She flashed a breathtaking smile at all of them.

"Sooo…Fadien, who is this delicious snack you have brought me." She licked her lips at the sight of Harry. He felt himself blush.

"Celeste, this is Harry Potter," Fadien said with a flourish.

Several people in the shop turned to look. Harry instantly realized that not all of the people in this Muggle shop were actually Muggles. He became sure of it when Celeste moved toward him, studying his features.

"Ahhh…now I know why Rita Skeeter focuses on you so much. You should sue that Daily Prophet; those pictures don't do you justice at all."

She clicked her tongue at him approvingly. Harry noticed that she had several piercings on her body. She noticed him noticing her and smiled.

"I have a lot more that you can't see, I would be happy to show those to you as well. I like them young." She winked mischievously at him.

Harry didn't think he could turn any redder.

Fadien took that moment to speak up. "Uhhh, I have some business." Celeste jerked her head toward the back of the shop. "You know the drill."

She turned her attention back to Harry.

"Hey handsome, you should get your ear pierced. That would look very sexy on you. Come sit down, and you can pick out something that you like." Celeste sounded friendly enough, but Harry was pretty sure that a refusal wouldn't be taken very well.

Even still, he hesitated. An earring? He'd never thought to get his ear pierced, even though he had seen them on plenty of men. He shrugged. Why not? He sat down in the empty chair that Celeste had offered. She produced a book for him to look at and then handed him a red colored drink. Harry looked at it inquisitively.

"Basic pain reducing potion. Muggles think its juice. That's why my shop is the most popular. No one ever feels any pain when they get pierced or tattooed. I'm an enterprising witch. I may as well make some money. There's a lot more of them then us, right?" She winked at him. Harry gaped at her, pretty sure that giving potions to Muggles in a tattoo shop was highly illegal with the Ministry.

"Ummm…are you allowed to do that?" Harry asked. "I mean…they're Muggles. Won't you get in trouble?"

Celeste smirked and said, "We're not allowed to use magic in front of Muggles. My potions are made up beforehand. So no laws are being broken."

Harry decided that he couldn't technically argue with that logic. It was actually pretty clever. He laughed again and pointed at the perfect earring. It was a black lightning bolt, with a reddish, orange hue that shimmered and glowed when light shone on it. Harry felt that it was a symbol of his Firebolt, and the black color symbolizing Sirius.

Once the piercing was done, and there truly wasn't any pain at all, Celeste gazed at him intensely.

"A tattoo. Wizard one, of course," she said with finality. "Let me see what you want." She glanced around at the other customers sitting in the shop. There were two teenaged Muggle girls, giggling as they looked at some tattoos in a book. Celeste ignored the other people as she quickly slid her wand out from between her breasts. Harry tried not to stare at that, but found he couldn't help but to notice her cleavage. Harry fought down another blush, but Celeste certainly didn't seem to mind.

"Now, I'm going to cast a little charm…nothing harmful. It just helps me see a bit of what you're thinking. Something that I wouldn't ordinarily be able to see. It's a supersensory charm. Nothing like Legilimency or anything. Just think of some things that you like, or that's important to you."

Harry frowned slightly, but then did as he was asked. What was important to him? His parents, the Weasleys, Hermione, surviving Voldemort. Celeste waved her wand and whispered, "Reperio vestri visio."

A small cloud appeared and a couple of images passed quickly in front of their eyes. Harry blinked as a large black dog flashed in front of his eyes. Had he been thinking of Sirius? He tried not to think of him too much. It was still too painful.

"Ahhh…yes. I have it," she said, as she straightened up. "Here is what I envisioned for you."

She waved her wand again and a beautiful orange colored Easter lily, that was carefully entwined with the antlers of a stag bloomed in front of Harry. He nodded and gave a smile. That was a wonderful tribute to his parents. They were the most important memory for him.

"I'll put it over your heart," Celeste said quietly. Even though she didn't know the meanings of the image…she could tell that it obviously meant something to the young man. She had been looking at his beautiful green eyes and felt disappointed that they were hidden behind the glasses. His eyes were so expressive. Celeste stood in front of him and continued to study him.

"One last thing. Your glasses. They've got to go. Not only are your eyes absolutely lovely, but how well can you stand to duel in them? Sure you can add Sticking Charms or whatnot, but why bother? Besides, all heroes need to have style. And you, my dear, are the Boy-Who-Lived! The ultimate hero! Let's see those eyes!"

Harry frowned at her and said, "Well actually, I've been in several duels and they did stay on my face. Including Voldemort." He smirked at her wince. "They've never been a problem for me."

"But you'll look so different. Don't you think it's time for a change? You may as well get the whole make-over package! I won't even charge you for it! This will be on the house!"

Harry considered her words. Maybe it was time for a change. He'd certainly tried some different things this summer. He hadn't stayed with the Dursleys except for a couple of week and had jumped at the opportunity to work with Charlie and the dragons. And now it seemed that he was going to end things with Ginny, which would definitely be a change from what was expected from him. And what if his relationship with Ron changed because of it? Harry didn't want that to happen, but the possibility could be there. He knew how stubborn Ron could get. So maybe he could make some other changes as well.

Harry nodded at her. "Okay…I'll do it," he said with a nervous smile. "Do it."

"Oh I could do some wicked things with you," Celeste said with a smirk. "Now just sit back and relax. You can have this done a number of ways. There's a potion that will repair your vision, or I can do a spell. The spell wears off after about six months though, so you would need to cast it again. But that's tricky, the wand movements. The potion's not permanent, and it has some small side effects, like dizziness and such. But nothing major. I'm trying to find a permanent solution, but haven't come up with it yet. The potion last about as long as the spell."

Harry pushed the thought of Hermione out of his mind; he could practically hear her scolding about Harry taking a strange potion without knowing what it was or what other kind of side effects could happen. He figured he should at least ask with the potion was.

"What's the potion? What is it?" Harry asked as Celeste stood with her hands on her hips waiting for his decision.

"Just a little something I whipped up. I was very good at potions…newt level," she added proudly. "It tastes pretty good too, if I say so myself."

"I'll take the potion."

"I thought so." She walked to a cabinet in the back of the shop. She returned to him with a small glass of what looked like water. He looked at it with interest.

"It's glamoured to look like water. The actual Illuminare potion is bright pink. Don't want Muggles asking too many questions. Drink up."

Harry turned up the glass. The potion tasted sickeningly sweet and Harry gagged on it. It felt like sugar had been injected directly into his veins. He felt a slight tingling sensation in his eyes and then suddenly everything was blurry.

"Hey! Everything's blurry." He turned to face Celeste, who was standing next to him. He frowned at her. "It didn't work".

She laughed. "That's because you still have on your glasses, silly." She pulled the well-worn spectacles from his face.

Harry blinked and marveled when Celeste's face came into perfect focus. He grinned broadly.

"I take it you're pleased. Have a look in the mirror." She placed a large mirror in his hand.

Harry gazed into his own eyes and could actually see what was reflected back. He turned his head to admire the new earring. The mirror spoke up quietly, "Oh…you look fantastic." Harry blushed again and shoved his glasses into his pocket.

"Oh, you'll have to beat them off with a stick, Harry Potter. If you thought you had attention before, wait until they see you now." Celeste reached out a manicured hand and brushed back a lock of midnight hair. "Now, we should go shopping."

"What about Fadien and Nicos?" Harry asked, looking around the shop. "Where did they go?" Harry had completely forgotten about them, as he had been so caught up with getting his ear pierced, tattooed and now was eye glass free.

Celeste shot a furtive look towards the back of the shop and then smiled at Harry. "They had business to do. They didn't tell you that it may take some time. You could be here for hours waiting for them to come back." She shook her head. "You can find them later, okay?"

Harry hesitated and then shrugged. "Well, I guess so. They really didn't tell me much and I just met them…so sure. I do need to get some clothes for school." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a galleon and tried to hand it to the woman. "I owe you for all of this."

Celeste looked at the coin and gently pushed it back towards Harry. "On me, Harry Potter. It's been a privilege to meet you. Now you just make sure that you tell your friends who made you over, okay! That'll be payment enough!"

Celeste had loudly announced to her store that she was adopting Harry as her charge for the afternoon. She had to finish her "masterpiece" as she was now calling him. She took him to Oxford and Bond Streets, famous for their shopping districts. He even got to go to Harrod's, a store he had always wanted to visit as a child. Aunt Petunia had taken Dudley, but never him. Harry felt bittersweet as he finally entered the grand store. He almost wished that Dudley could see him now. Their final leg of the trip ended in Diagon Alley, where Harry picked up some school supplies.

They parted ways at The Leaky Cauldron and she gave him a big hug and extracted a promise from him that he would come back to visit her. Just before she had left, Fadien and Nicos had shown up, a bit annoyed that Harry hadn't waited for them. Celeste had chastised them for the lecture, and took the blame for Harry leaving on her.

"You just left him alone, Fadien," she said sharply, as she eyed him in disdain. "I kept him entertained and we went out. Lost track of time, is all. Well worth the effort, in my opinion."

Fadien's lip curled but decided not to say anything. It was true he had left to handle business and it had taken much longer than he wanted, but he still thought Harry would've waited. But then he shrugged and said, "Well our loss then, yeah? Sorry about that, Harry. Definitely next time, then. As a matter of fact, having a party coming up. I'll send round an invite for you. You'll come to that?"

Harry gave a small shrug and said, "Sure, I guess."

Fadien grinned and pounded Harry on the shoulder. "Great! You'll have fun!" He turned and nodded to Nicos, who had been standing off to the side looking sullen. He simply gave Harry an intense look and then turned and walked away with Fadien. Celeste gave a small snort, rolled her eyes and then Disapparated.

Harry returned to his room in the Leaky and sat down on his bed that was laden down with all of his purchases. Harry had noticed that both men looked irritated and hostile, but Harry couldn't really care too much about it. He'd had a great day shopping and it wasn't his fault that they hadn't come back. He didn't know what business they had conducted back at the shop, but whatever it was, it wasn't his business. Harry put his new clothes away and stopped to look at himself in the mirror. He couldn't believe that he wasn't wearing glasses anymore. He'd never thought to even ask if he could fix his eyesight. He was slightly surprised that Hermione hadn't mentioned it at all. He smiled at his reflection and then went to bed.

Fadien sat in a booth in a boisterous Muggle pub and took a swig of his drink. His eyes landed on the small box in front of him, encased in Dark protection spells. Fadien was no Death Eater, even though his family had been in Slytherin for a long time, but he did practice Dark Arts. He was good natured and pleasant enough, but he was not above stealing or lying to get what he wanted. Fadien was a minor drug dealer who dealt in both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and was excellent at creating and mixing his own drugs.

His appointment the evening he met Harry was a meeting to sell the parts of a rare creature, which was illegal by Ministry standards. Fadien wanted a unicorn heart, which had properties that would extend the life and potency of any potion, spell or drug. With the heart of a unicorn, Fadien would be able to blow any competition out of the water and create a whole new customer base. Of course, killing unicorns was a major offense but Fadien had taken care of that little problem without incident and had found buyers for other parts of the animal. He had to make sure that none of the buyers were actually spies, which had caused him to be a bit nervous and Nicos intolerable. He had kept the harvested parts for his operation and now he had more money to start a new product.

Fadien hoped that he would win a coup by having the "Boy Who Lived" in his pocket. Only time would tell if Harry would be a friend or customer. Fadien would prefer the latter.

Chapter Text

 

Passing the Dutchie…on the left hand side

It was a beautiful summer Saturday night when Draco Apparated to the neighborhood where the house party was located. He quickly inspected his hair and clothes, even though he knew he was the picture of perfection. He knew he looked good and he was looking forward to having some fun. He had traveled most of the summer with his mother, and he was glad to be free of her smothering presence. He loved his Mum, but sometimes she still treated him like he was a first year.

He impatiently looked at his watch and huffed irritably. The neighborhood was near Godric's Hollow and Draco was anxious to get off the street. But he was waiting for someone…Then a loud crack announced the arrival of Blaise Zabini, his Housemate and fellow compatriot.

"Took you long enough," Draco said, annoyed. "You're never on time for anything."

Blaise smirked, looking every bit like Draco when he did that. "I had to leave yet another broken heart behind. You know how it is." He gave a wicked grin. Blaise wore a pair of black slacks and a white collared shirt. His golden brown dreadlocks were swept back into a pony tail.

Draco had found a kindred spirit in Blaise. Zabini was also wealthy, good looking and had impeccable fashion sense. He had a real friendship with Blaise, as much as Draco could be a friend to someone. Draco was taught to build alliances, but not to trust anyone too much. Vincent and Greg were still dunderheads, who acted like children and could barely match their shirts with pants. Those two sycophants were for brute force only.

"Come on," Draco urged and started down the street, "the house is this way." Blaise followed behind him, taking in the houses with interest.

"This is Godric's Hollow? Gryffindor's home?" Blaise said, "This is nowhere special."

Draco snorted and said, "Why would you think it would be? It's Gryffindor. Why are you even surprised that their Founder would be nothing much either?"

Blaise laughed and happily agreed. "That's truth."

The two finally approached a small mansion at the end of the street. Draco walked up to the house and knocked on the door.

"Who's house is this again?" Blaise whispered just as the door swung open and a pretty green-haired witch stood before them. She beamed a radiant smile at the two young wizards.

"I'm Calliope. Come in," she said sweetly as she gestured them into the foyer. Draco immediately recognized her as one of the Muses, a pureblood family that fancied themselves descendants of actual Greek gods. Calliope was the youngest daughter and had attended Beaubatons instead of Hogwarts. The family didn't think Hogwarts was good enough for them. His mother, Narcissa had passed on information that a couple of the daughters were unacceptable partners for marriage. Draco could reasonably believe why. She was wearing a see-through shirt and the skirt left nothing to Draco's imagination at all. It barely covered the crack of her rounded buttocks. Blaise gave an indecent cough and Draco tried not to laugh as Blaise gaped at the woman's shirt.

Calliope's eyes twinkled, knowing what her outfit was doing to the young men. "Names? And your sponsor?" She gave Draco a knowing look. "You must be a Malfoy."

"Yes, I'm Draco and this is Blaise Zabini. Millicent Bulstrode is our sponsor." Their housemate had sent an owl several days ago, telling them about this party being hosted by her brother. Draco was bored now that his traveling for the summer was over and decided this would a nice change. Blaise had agreed to come as well, mainly because he didn't want to be around his mother's newest conquest.

The witch nodded and ushered them to a side table where a pieces of parchment and a writing quill hovered in the air.

"Sign these waivers. You are not to speak of anything that goes on here outside of these walls", she said "Respect for privacy is important." She pointed at the quill.

Draco exchanged a look with Blaise. He hoped that this party would not turn into a Death Eater recruitment thing. There had been whispers over the last several months of recruiting efforts by the Dark Lord of various groups and creatures. He didn't think Millicent's family was involved with Death Eaters, but what did he really know? And her brother was older than him, gone from Hogwarts before he got there. He didn't know where Fadien fell on the spectrum.

Before Draco could say anything, Blaise beat him to it. "Uhhh…what kind of party is this?" he asked, haughtily, which was his way of trying to cover up his insecurity. Draco was just glad he hadn't asked first.

Calliope frowned at them and then rolled her eyes. "It's an adult one," she said impatiently, "and if you have to ask, then perhaps you may need to find something else to do this evening." She turned and pointed to the door. "We certainly don't want you to be uncomfortable, that will upset everyone else." She radiated displeasure at them for asking such trite questions. Draco opened his mouth to respond, but at that moment the front door opened.

A man walked through, whom Draco recognized as Fadien and with him was another man who had a heavy build and amber colored eyes. Directly behind them came another younger man, raven-haired wizard, wearing neat black slacks and a dark green button-down shirt. The green in the shirt caused the green in the man's eyes to sparkle, so bright and deep they were. Draco almost uttered a gasp at the sight of them, but then his voice died in this throat. The man had turned toward him and had locked eyes with him.

It was Potter.

Draco was rendered mute at his classmate's appearance. He would have been less surprised if his own father had walked through the doors with a Dementor as his date. He wasn't sure what was more shocking, how the Gryffindork looked, the fact that he was here or that seeing Potter had unnerved him.

Potter looked as if he had gained at least twenty pounds of muscle, along with a nice crisp tan. He'd finally shed that skinny, under-fed look from first year probably around third year, but even then he was never really muscular. He had a Seeker's build…just like he did. Draco had never really seen him without his glasses, and the difference was shocking. Potter always had wild and crazy looking hair, but now it just looked, like it was purposefully done that way, which made it look perfect.

With an effort Draco closed his mouth and he was happy to see that Blaise was having a similar reaction. Both teens had been staring at Potter with quite literally, open- mouthed astonishment.

" Calliope, darling, now the party can start," Fadien was saying as he headed toward the woman. "So sorry we're late. But that can't be helped sometimes." He fixed is gaze on Draco and Blaise and gave a sleazy looking smile.

That brought Draco out of his reverie but Calliope spoke first. "Fadien…yes…nice turnout so far. These two though…" she nodded towards Draco and Blaise, "won't be staying apparently."

Fadien gave a mock gasp while the other man narrowed his eyes. "Well why is that? Draco, isn't it? One of those pretty Malfoys. My sister's classmate? She's not able to come, poor thing. But at least you have another mate here. Surely you know Harry Potter!" Fadien said loudly and Draco noticed the slight slurring in his voice. Drunk then, okay. Potter had made a small noise at the mention of "pretty Malfoys", but once again, he wasn't able to say anything before he was interrupted again.

"Harry Potter! Well, it's so nice to meet you," Calliope simpered and Draco stared at her in disgust, "please help yourself to whatever you want. And I do mean everything." She licked her lips and raised her breasts until they were practically poking his eyes out. Potter had backed up a bit, but gave her a smile. Her eyes widened in delight and she waved a hand towards the rest of the house.

Fadien gave a loud guffaw and pulled at Potter's sleeve, "Come on, Harry, wait until you try a new drink of mine," he said, as he began dragging the teen away. Fadien turned and called back over his shoulder, "Well I do hope that you'll stay…if not, oh well!" Potter glanced at them and inclined his head a fraction of an inch in greeting towards Draco and Blaise and followed his host.

Draco was absolutely livid! Not only had Potter not signed any waiver, that stupid witch had practically drooled all over herself. And how dare Potter show up here looking like…that! What the bloody hell was going on here? How could Potter be more popular than he was? At a Slytherin host's party? Over my dead body! Draco whipped around to the parchment and quill, snatched it out of the air and immediately scribbled his name on the parchment. The parchment glowed ominously for a moment, and then returned to normal. Draco turned to Blaise, his eyes determined.

"Let's go!"

Harry followed Fadien down the hall with an air of foreboding. He had not expected to see Malfoy there in the hallway. The arrogant Slytherin had been surprisingly quiet. Maybe the blond had been equally shocked to see him as well. Malfoy looked like he had grown a couple of inches. And he didn't look quite as thin as Harry remembered. He looked as if he'd been growing his hair out…which made Harry snort as he remembered the slick-backed look he'd worn all those years ago. It was pulled back still, but in a short ponytail. Harry didn't really know much about Zabini. They hadn't had much interaction over the years. But Harry felt that those two wouldn't stay quiet very long. It wasn't Malfoy's way to be quiet.

Harry's musing was interrupted by Fadien shoving a drink in his hand.

"Here, try this," he said. "I call it Euphoria."

Harry looked at the drink with some trepidation. He knew what could happen by drinking something unfamiliar and concocted. The twins loved using him and Ron as their guinea pigs for their experiments. The drink didn't look too bad, but Harry had gotten comfortable with the drinks at the Leaky. He wasn't sure if he was ready to move into this unknown territory. He honestly wished at this moment that he had invited Ron and Hermione to come along with him. Well, Ron at least. He didn't think Hermione would come to something like this. A party in the middle of nowhere with people he hardly knew. Add Malfoy to the mix and Harry knew he was asking for trouble.

But if he had survived the twins' concoctions, then he could survive this as well. Harry tasted the drink. It wasn't half bad, kind of fruity with a vanilla twang. He smiled approvingly at Fadien and took another swig. Fadien thumped him on the shoulder.

"It only gets better," he said mysteriously.

Five minutes later, Harry could hardly stand. Twenty minutes later and he had danced with at least 5 different witches and wizards. Some bloke had grabbed his ass and Harry had only laughed about it. It felt so good to not really care about anything. His life had been so intense, that he rarely had time to just relax and have some fun. The impending war had consumed his senses. His dreams and nightmares all had Voldemort's face and Sirius' death. The dead face of Cedric staring up at him in that graveyard haunted his thoughts. His hatred of Voldemort and the Death Eaters was eating away at his very soul. So for tonight, Harry was going to live and have a good time.

His good time was being lessened by the feeling of Malfoy's scowling at him from across the room. However, he was noticing it less and less. And he started caring about it less and less as well. Harry hadn't gone to a lot of parties at school and definitely not during the summers at the Dursleys. He had gone to a party or two with Charlie and his dragon keeper friends in Romania and that had been enjoyable. He certainly wasn't going to let Malfoy's staring at him mess up his good mood. Malfoy had kept a drink in his hand as well and Zabini had planted himself near a food table that an old house elf kept adding food too.

Draco stood on the other side of the room with his eyes boring into Potter. He didn't understand how Potter had become so popular with this crowd or how he even knew these people to begin with. Harry had never hung out with anyone other than the Weasel or Granger and his motley crew of Gryffindors. Draco barely knew Fadien himself and he was only privy to this party because of Millicent. But the bigger issue was the way Potter looked! If Draco hadn't known who he was, he actually looked worthy of being noticed by him.

Draco threw back another drink and placed the glass down on the table. He decided it was time to have a little chat with the insufferable git. Blaise had finally moved away from the food and had edged closer to the dance floor and was talking to some wizard. Draco strode over to where Potter was surely trying to hold court for his adoring population. He had watched several people approach Potter during the evening and Potter's arrogant smile when he spoke to them. Draco smirked when he saw Potter's face twitch with annoyance as he approached.

"Go away, Malfoy! I'm not in the mood for you tonight. As a matter of fact, not in the mood for you any night," Potter hissed, as he narrowed his eyes at him.

Draco tisked at him. "Now, Scarhead, that's not very polite. I'm just being friendly. Didn't your parents teach you any manners? Oh wait, that's right, you don't have any parents. I guess they didn't have time to teach you anything while you lived in an orphanage," Draco said sweetly.

Harry's head whipped around and his jaw clenched. God, he hated this git! Malfoy was such an arrogant arse! Why did he have to come over here and ruin his mood? He would've liked nothing more than to pound his stupid blond head into the ground, but he figured his host would be pissed if he started beating on his guests. So he fixed his mouth into a fake smile.

"Well, Malfoy, it's nice to see you, too. How's your father? I'm hoping that the memory he keeps seeing over and over again, is me sending him to Azkaban. Give the Dementors a kiss for me, would you?" He said just as sweetly, before he turned away from the blond and kept sipping on his drink.

Draco went crimson and his eyes narrowed to slits. He grabbed Potter's arm and pushed himself up into the other teen's face.

"One day I'm going to get you for that, Potter, mark my words! Dumbledore can't protect you forever," he snarled and dug his fingers into Potter's arm, hard.

Harry looked down at Malfoy's hand on his arm and then snatched it away. He gave a wicked smile to the Slytherin. "Why wait, Malfoy? You have me right here, right now! You don't have Crabbe and Goyle here to do your bidding, so let's see what you can do!" He turned to face him, his hand reaching for his wand, just in case. But then another thought came to him.

Draco was caught off-guard for a moment. He hadn't expected Potter to throw down the gauntlet like that. Before he had a chance to recover from that moment, Potter shocked him even further. He saw Potter's hand was coming towards his face. Draco immediately flinched, anticipating the hard contact that was sure to come with the fist. The punch was nothing like what he knew it should have been. The warm hand caressed his cheek. Caressed!

Draco twisted his head around and gaped at Potter. His mouth fell open, again. And he felt his heart skip a beat. What the…? That was the last thing he had expected the Boy Brat to do. Potter was openly smirking at the shock on his face. Draco struggled to get his composure back on track.

"Don't touch me!" he shrieked, in a voice completely undignified for someone of his stature. He began to back away from the other teen. "You can't just…touch people, Potter!"

Harry was openly grinning like a lunatic, but inwardly he was horrified at what he had done. He had only done that to shake up the slimy Slytherin bastard. It had been completely spontaneous. He had finally found something to shut the Slytherin snake's mouth. He had no idea how successful that little stunt was going to be but Malfoy looked absolutely shell-shocked. But he also didn't quite react the way he had expected. At the very least, he had expected Malfoy to hex him.

Harry tried to hold back his laugh as he moved closer to Malfoy, fixing his face with a sinister expression. The other boy gazed back at him like a deer in headlights, but wasn't making any attempts to move. Harry found that to be odd, knowing that Malfoy wouldn't normally just stand there and wait for something to happen. He'd already proven himself a real coward; like running away in the Forbidden Forest in first year to leave Harry to deal with Voldemort and the unicorn.

"What's the matter, Malfoy? You seem a little jumpy. Are you okay?" Harry asked innocently, trying to make his face angelic and non-threatening. Malfoy's lips curled into a grimace and he finally began to back away, but it was only to reach for his wand and Harry widened his eyes in mock surprise.

"Shut it, Potter!" Draco said angrily, "You know what you did!" Harry also reached for his wand, but then Calliope moved to intercept them. She was frowning at them.

"Boys, boys, let's play nice together, okay?" She said tightly, eyeing their hands on their wands with annoyance. "You're not in school…so stop being childish! This is a party. We'll have none of that!" Calliope had walked up to them, obviously tuned in to the hostile vibrations that were sparking from both young men.

Draco almost raised his hand to point at Potter and blame him for starting it all, but then he quickly realized how childish he would sound doing that in public. He rolled his eyes and turned away from him, noting that even that looked childish as well.

Calliope gave both of them a hard look and then she smiled. "Clearly you both need something to take your minds off of whatever you're uptight about! You should come and join us for some games. But you have to have some real courage to play; it's not for the faint of heart."

She looked pointedly at the two of them. "Are you going to play?" There was definitely a challenging twinkle in her eye as she questioned them.

Harry didn't even bother to look at Malfoy when he said, "Sure, why not? I'll play. Lead the way." He gave the witch a beautiful smile and Draco wanted to vomit. If Potter thought he was going to be the courageous one by himself then he was sadly mistaken. Slytherins could make things happen as well.

"I'm playing, too." Draco snapped and Potter looked at him and raised an eyebrow. Calliope just grinned and gave a nod. "How about your friend?" She nodded towards Blaise who had started walking towards them. Draco held in his sigh of relief. At least he'd now have an ally in whatever game they were getting themselves into. Blaise however, was looking at Potter and had the oddest expression on his face. Draco frowned at his friend, but didn't comment about how Blaise was starting at the other teen.

"Blaise, we're going to play some games," Draco announced and nodded at Calliope. "Come on." Blaise shrugged and nodded, but once again cast a quick glance at Potter, who was already moving to follow behind Calliope. Draco wanted to say something, but Calliope was moving quickly and Draco had to hurry to catch up.

She led them to another darkened room where several people were sitting on couches. She waved her wand and the room spilled light from some unknown source. Harry recognized Fadien in the corner, whispering with another man that Harry hadn't seen before. But then again, he hadn't really recognized anyone at this party, except for Malfoy and Zabini. There was a witch there that had been in Gryffindor when Harry was a first year, but he had never talked to her. Everyone else was older than he was.

"We're going to play Wizard's Veritas!"

There were some chuckles from the assembled group. Obviously some of them had played it before.

They all sat in a circle and Calliope explained the rules. It was a variation from Truth or Dare, with mostly dares. There was a bowl in the center of the group. Everyone would have to draw a card and then follow the directions of the card. If someone refused, they had to take a drink from one of several goblets placed in the circle. There was no telling what potion was in the goblet or what the effects would be. They could last anywhere from a day to a month. Harry was not eager to find out what was held within those mysterious containers.

Harry took a place in the circle. Calliope handed Harry and several others a new drink.

"For your…inhibitions," she explained.

Harry tasted this new beverage. It was pleasant, still fruity but with a spicy taste. It wasn't long before his head started spinning and he couldn't stop smiling. The other party guests looked like they were in various stages of euphoric giddiness.

Harry chanced a peek at Malfoy. The blond had a drink in his hand and was sitting there with his eyes half-closed, gazing blankly off into space. He must have felt Harry looking, because at that moment he turned his head to look at him. Harry wanted to scowl, but his lips refused to cooperate. Malfoy just continued to stare and then he suddenly shook himself and turned away. Off to his right, he felt eyes on him and Harry caught Zabini looking at him, with a sparkle in his eyes. Harry felt a blush start to creep up the back of his neck and he hurriedly took another swig of drink.

The first card was picked by Calliope.

"Ohhh…boys and girls. I get to show you my goodies."

She stood up and slowly began to remove her clothes and performed a seductive striptease. It didn't take long, mainly because she wasn't wearing a bra or panties under that impossibly short skirt. Harry blushed crimson at the sight of the witch's breasts and her shaven nether-region. Although he and Ginny had been together, it was private between them and certainly done with a modicum of decency. Harry was more embarrassed by the fact that she didn't even seem to care that she was naked in front of complete strangers. Identical expressions of disbelief came from his fellow classmates, even though Zabini was paying very close attention to the performance and Malfoy hadn't blinked for the last 30 seconds.

The woman had nothing to be ashamed of that was for sure. There were several catcalls and whistles from the group. Calliope gave Harry a wink, and then turned around to pick up her discarded skirt. Harry found himself looking straight up her…

He hastily took another large swig of his drink, while the wizard near him hooted in appreciation.

After her turn, there were several laughs and it seemed the ice was broken. Another man had to conjure up a monkey and tickle its balls. Harry almost fainted with laughter when the monkey tried to chew the man's fingers off. Everyone was laughing and having a great time as the drinks continued. Harry's mind had all but left him, he was so drunk.

The woman off to Harry's right had refused her card, so she opted to take a drink from one of the goblets. The next instant, all of her hair fell out, leaving nasty boils on her head. Everyone groaned in disgust. She looked horrible and she began crying.

"No tears, you knew the risks!" Calliope scolded. "Deal with it!"

It was Harry's turn. He nervously took his card. The cards were charmed to tell the group what the dare was. His card loudly announced that he had to seduce the closest man sitting to him, on his left. In order to satisfy the dare, the intended target would have to get an erection.

Harry did a double take at the card's instructions. Seduce a man? An erection? Harry began to think that taking a drink from the mystery goblet was probably a much better idea than what that card said to do. He glanced around to see who the man would be. His mouth went dry when he realized that Zabini would be the intended target. At least it isn't Malfoy, he thought.

He had to seduce Blaise Zabini? There was no way that Zabini was going to let him get anywhere near him. The rules of the game stated that if an intended target of the challenge didn't go along with it, they too had to drink from the goblet. Blaise was staring at him with an intensity that actually gave Harry a bit of a fright.

Harry was just about to announce his decision to chance the potion when Malfoy's voice rang out.

"Come on, Potter, what are you waiting for? Afraid you can't get it up?" Draco smirked at the double innuendo and at the blush on Potter's face. "Where's that famous Gryffindor courage!" He taunted.

There were snickers around the room. Several people began chanting, "Potion! Potion!"

"Come on, sexy," cooed Calliope, "I know you know how to seduce somebody. I'm ready for you myself." She winked at him.

Harry fought down the blush that was spreading across his cheeks. He glanced at Blaise, who was eyeing Harry very closely, but had given no intention that he wanted to drink the potion. Harry nodded at him and stood up. He tossed back the rest of his drink, and approached the Slytherin. He had no idea what to do to get Blaise aroused, but he had to do something. Zabini was a bloke, like he was, so he decided to let instinct take over. What would he himself like?

Blaise looked up at Harry with a lusty glint in his eyes. Harry stood back for a moment and then knelt down in front of the golden-skinned young man. Harry made a mental note that Zabini looked almost, excited. Harry moved closer to his handsome classmate. He licked his lips seductively, teasing the Slytherin with his tongue. Blaise sat transfixed, as he watched Harry move in closer to his mouth. He was mesmerized by Harry's green eyes, which reflected the burning candle, making them flicker softly with the light.

Harry reached down and brought the Slytherin's fingers to his mouth. Without breaking eye contact, Harry gently sucked one fingertip into his mouth, rolling his tongue over the soft skin. Blaise closed his eyes with a soft moan escaping him. Harry sucked a second finger in, and started sucking on both of them. Blaise swallowed thickly. The man sitting next to Blaise exhaled loudly.

Harry slowly lowered Blaise's hand and moved in towards his mouth. He could feel his heart pounding at the idea of kissing him. He was strangely excited about it, even though he was incredibly nervous. No wonder Calliope had made them take these drinks first, without it there was no way he'd be able to go through with this. Thank Merlin that Zabini seemed to be a willing subject.

Harry touched the trembling lips with the softness of a kitten. His tongue brushed against Zabini's slightly opened mouth and Harry moved in closer, gently caressing his neck. He tilted his head to get a better angle on Zabini and with a low moan, Zabini responded, pushing his tongue to meet Harry's. Several whistles and catcalls came from the group.

"Hell, let him kiss me like that," another wizard said in a strangled voice. "I'll do it for free."

Their tongues brushed against one another. Harry could taste the spicy drink the teen had just imbibed. The taste of him was delicious and Harry increased the pressure. Blaise responded in kind, his tongue poking and prodding Harry's mouth. Harry could feel the heat emanating from Zabini. He wondered if he was aroused yet.

His arm fell to down to his side and he casually reached over and brushed the front of Zabini's pants. Blaise gasped and pushed himself against Harry's hand, seeking more. Harry wanted to pull away, but his hand seemed to have a mind of its own. He rubbed his hand over the hardened member and was rewarded with another groan from Blaise.

"Ohhhh…Potter…" he whispered into his mouth.

The sound of Zabini's husky voice snapped Harry back to reality. He abruptly pulled away from him. Zabini whined at the loss of contact with Harry's mouth and stared at Harry in confusion. Harry gave the Slytherin a knowing look and then moved back to his place. Blaise followed him with his eyes, desire plainly written all over his face.

Blaise wasn't the only one staring at Potter.

Draco was staring at Potter in shock. He himself had an erection.

He had laughed outright when the card announced its dare. He was glad to know that Potter was about to be humiliated in front of all these people, even if it was at the expense of his friend. It wasn't like Blaise was really going to go along with it. Needless to say he'd been surprised when Blaise had agreed to be seduced. Perhaps Blaise was more afraid of having to take a drink from the goblets then being kissed by the Gryffindor berk.

But what was even more surprising was how amazing Potter had looked when he had approached Blaise. His hair, the way his eyes reflected the candle light, his lips, his thickened muscles; all had hit Draco with the force of a Blasting Curse. Potter looked damn good and the way he had approached Blaise made it look like he knew it. Draco could feel his heart racing when Potter had bent in to kiss Blaise.

A new and completely foreign feeling sprang up in him. He was annoyed with Blaise because he had allowed Potter to kiss him. He should've refused and made Potter drink the potion. But he hadn't and he obviously enjoyed the kiss because he'd gotten hard. But now he had an erection too and he couldn't get the vision of Potter kissing Blaise out of his mind. And the way Blaise reacted! Even over the catcalls, Draco heard every single moan that Blaise made. Potter had made him sound like that! Blaise!

Potter was a skinny, wild-haired berk with ugly glasses. He couldn't even dress properly…with clothes that were too big! He was a child! Draco couldn't understand what had just happened and he willed his cock to soften. He wasn't attracted to Potter! That was absolutely ridiculous!

An entirely traitorous and unwelcome voice in his head whispered, Potter's not a first year anymore! And he doesn't look like that at all now, does he? Those eyes…

Draco looked down at the drink in his hand and promptly tossed it away from him in horror. The drinks!

His inner voice smirked and whispered, oh to be kissed like that...

"Shut up," Draco hissed, knowing he must look insane talking to himself like that, but thankfully no one was paying him any attention, because at that moment…

There was a shout and a large crash that echoed throughout the house. All heads jerked towards the entrance of the room and several people began trying to stand up. Calliope managed to stagger to her feet to go see what was happening. Before she could reach the door, a man rushed into the room.

"Where's Fadien?! Nicos needs him, now!" The man's face was chalky white. He ran out of the room.

Everyone looked around in confusion.

"What the hell is going on?" Draco asked in a loud whisper, "what was that noise?"

Harry had managed to get to his feet, even though he had a sneaking suspicion that he if looked down at them, they wouldn't actually be touching the floor. Everything seemed hazy and far away, like he was standing across the room and was watching himself. Even that kiss seemed dream-like, like it happened to someone else. Through the fogginess of his mind, he began to hear screaming and then snarling from some far off place. Had someone brought a dog to the party? The snarling sounded like something that a 3-headed dog would make…reminding Harry of Hagrid's dog, Fluffy. Fluffy. What a stupid name for that monster, Harry thought in a daze.

Calliope was pushing her way out of the room because several people were trying to push their way in.

"MOVE!" she shouted angrily, sending a witch flying to the floor when she shoved her rudely.

Harry followed behind the rest of the guests, who were all bottlenecked at the door. After what seemed like an eternity, the doorway finally opened up and Harry wandered out into the hallway, trying to see that was going on.

"What's happening?" he asked no one in particular. Malfoy and Zabini were standing somewhere off to right. Draco's face was paler than usual and Blaise looked worried. The wizard next to all of them shrugged.

"No idea, mate. But Fadien has been known to throw some crazy parties," he said and giggled. Draco rolled his eyes at the man and nudged Blaise. "Let's get out of here."

Blaise had started to agree when suddenly several people started screaming again and began running towards Harry's location.

"Run!" a wizard shouted at them, as he sped past. He was still holding his drink, which was splashing red liquid all over the place.

Harry barely had time to register that, when a large figure loomed in his line of vision. Was that…was that a werewolf?

"Holy shit! It's a werewolf!" Draco shouted.

"What the fu-…" stammered Blaise.

They both fell back, eyes wide in horror.

Harry's dazed mind believed him to be hallucinating. Who would have brought a werewolf to a party? Harry stared at the apparition, even though it was rapidly closing the distance. The wizard next to him broke out in a full out run. Harry stood alone.

Blaise gaped as Potter just stood there, staring down a rampaging werewolf. He knew that Gryffindors were supposed to be brave, but this was beyond bravery. Either Potter was the bravest person he'd ever seen or Potter was insane.

"POTTER, LOOK OUT!" Blaise shouted at him as Draco fell back against the wall, his face frozen in terror as an eight-foot tall vicious monster loomed over the Gryffindor. Potter was going to be killed right in front of his eyes!

The werewolf had reached Harry and was now swinging a massive claw in his direction. A pungent odor arrived with it, making Harry's nose and eyes burn and twitch. It gave a loud growl and Harry quickly realized that this was no apparition. He heard Zabini shouting and then a flaring pain ripped through his body as a claw connected with the soft tissue of his chest. Harry screamed with pain, instantly sobering him up from his drunken daze. He began to stagger and Blaise grabbed his arm and jerked him away from the wild beast, just as it was getting ready to swipe Harry's head off.

Harry crashed into the other teen and both of them fell hard to the floor. Harry struggled to sit up, but he was rapidly losing consciousness. His body was not responding to his commands to get up. He felt sticky and wet and realized that his entire shirt was covered in blood, which was rapidly spilling onto the Slytherin beneath him. Zabini groaned from underneath him and pulled his way from below Harry.

A deafening howl filled the hallway as the werewolf turned its attention on them again. Draco grabbed Blaise's shirt and jerked him up from the floor so hard that he almost spun around in a complete circle.

"We've got to get the hell out of here!" Draco yelled into his ear, so loud that Blaise winced. "Come on!"

Blaise quickly looked down at Potter, who wasn't moving. "Draco, is he…is he dead?" Blaise practically wailed. He looked down at his own shirt, which was covered with Potter's blood. "Bloody hell!"

Draco could've cared less at that moment if Potter was dead; he was more concerned if he died right in that hallway. The werewolf was still in front of them, snarling and ready to eat them. Blaise needed to focus on the immediate problem or else Draco would leave him there. Let him sort out the werewolf on his own.

"Blaise!" Draco began but then a loud voice boomed,

"PETRIFICUS TOTALUS!" Fadien had finally decided to appear to deal with this problem and he had his wand raised and pointed at the beast's back.

The werewolf gave one last angry snarl and then fell forward with a loud thud. Fadien hastily pulled a vial out of his pocket and turned the wolf over. He poured some of the potion down its throat. To the astonishment of Draco and Blaise, the animal changed back into a man. Nicos, the man who had come to the party with Fadien lay on the floor, motionless.

Fadien turned and saw Harry, still unconscious and bleeding heavily. He moved quickly to him and cast another spell.

"Mobilicorpus." He then directed Harry's body into the nearest room and placed him on a couch. There were several people huddled there in fear, but bolted from the room when Fadien entered with Harry. Draco had wanted to leave, but instead followed Fadien into the room. Blaise was close behind him, peering over his shoulder at the still form of their classmate.

Calliope darted into the room after nearly tripping over Nicos. She pursed her lips at the downed werewolf and then immediately turned her attention to Harry. She rushed over to the teen and pulled her wand and began casting Healing spells on him. She then began to move his shirt around, trying to see the skin underneath all of the blood. She sucked in a breath at the sight of the jagged claw marks across Harry's chest.

"Was he bitten?" She asked quietly, looking hard at Fadien.

Fadien shook his head and then glanced furtively at Draco and Blaise.

"You two know him, right? Look, I don't know what happened. Nicos shouldn't have transformed now. But he is under control though. I know he will feel terrible about all of this. He isn't dangerous, I assure you."

Draco snorted loudly and Fadien turned blazing eyes to the blond. Draco stared back defiantly and pointed at Potter.

"You call this 'not dangerous'?! A werewolf ran amuck inside and attacked people! At a party! He's on your couch bleeding to death!"

"He's being tended to. And don't even think about reporting this. Need I remind you that you signed a waiver?" Fadien rolled his eyes at the blond. Stuck up, prick.

Draco looked like he wanted to retort, but Blaise elbowed him. "Leave it alone, Draco."

Fadien eyed Draco again with disdain and then returned to assessing Harry. Harry began moving slowly, his eyelids twitching rapidly. He opened his eyes and he stared at everyone standing over him. What was going on?

"Why are you all looking at me like that?" Harry asked. "What's happen-" And then he remembered. He jolted upright and a searing pain blazed across his body. He fell back, whimpering.

Fadien grabbed his hand. "Oh! Thank Merlin, Harry! It's all under control. Just a big mistake, okay? I'm sorry about what happened."

He reached into his pocket and took out several small pills. The pills looked like multi-colored candy.

"Here, these will help you with the pain. Take them whenever your pain gets bad. They actually work a little better than potions. Easier to carry around then potions vials, too," he smiled reassuringly at Harry. Harry nodded and then frowned.

"Why was a werewolf at the party? Who was that?"

Fadien shook his head and said, "Look Harry, it was an accident. A terrible accident. He didn't mean to hurt anyone, especially not you! You didn't get bit, so it's fine…"

"You didn't answer his question," Draco said irritably, tired of Fadien's excuses. He looked at Potter. "It was his friend…that guy that was with you when you got here." Draco folded his arms across his chest and looked pleased with himself as Potter's eyes widened in concern.

"Nicos is a werewolf? Why didn't you tell me?" Harry asked, "I would've understood!" Harry was thinking about Professor Lupin and how he had kept his secret of being a werewolf from everyone. And it almost had got Professor Snape killed.

Fadien paled a bit at Harry's angry expression, but then gave a small smile. "I'm sorry, Harry. You're right, I should have told you. But people still discriminate against people like him. I didn't want you to think any differently about him."

"Well, I'm sure he does now," Draco said loudly and Blaise gave a chuckle. "Let's get out of here, now that we know Potter hasn't died and they can't blame me for it."

Fadien and Calliope reached down to help Harry stand up. He grimaced a bit as the pain hit him, but he was able to stand on his own. Calliope worried her lip a bit and then said,

"Are you sure he should go? Those look pretty bad," as she nodded at the clawed shirt. "Maybe you should go to St. Mungo's."

"No!" Harry and Fadien said together. Calliope and Blaise frowned at them and Draco rolled his eyes again.

"I'm fine. I just need to get some rest and take the pain medicine." Harry said quickly. "I don't want to go to St. Mungo's." He knew if he went there his name would be all over the Prophet by morning. He didn't want anyone to find out he had been at a strange party drinking and then got attacked by a werewolf.

Fadien was talking to him again. "Make sure you get in touch with me whenever you need me, okay?"

Harry nodded and then began to walk unsteadily out of the room. Blaise followed him out of the room and into the hallway.

"Hey, Potter, you sure you're all right?" Zabini asked cautiously. He seemed genuinely concerned. Harry stopped and looked at the Slytherin.

"Sure, I'll be fine. I wasn't bitten, so I'm not going to turn into one, right? I just hurt all over." He looked down for a second, and then looked back at him. "Hey, ummm…Blaise? Thanks for saving my life," Harry said. He gave him a slight smile. Blaise nodded.

A silent understanding passed between the two. Harry turned and continued to walk down the hall.

Draco watched the exchange with a blank expression, masking a spectrum of emotions.

Fadien watched the trio walk down the hall. He then pulled his wand and enervated Nicos, who was still lying on the floor in the hallway. Nicos jumped up and stretched, cracking his neck. He then glared at Fadient.

"Why'd you Stun me!?"

"You were about to kill him!"

"No I wasn't! I had it under control!"

"Not from where I was standing, Nicos! If I hadn't Stunned you when I did, Potter'd be dead right now or you would have bit him!"

Nicos' eyes flashed amber and he looked steadily at Fadien.

"It worked though, didn't it?" he snapped.

"Like a charm," Fadien said grudgingly, but his eyes twinkled.

Chapter Text

 

 

The Last Train Ride

 

 

Harry sat in his compartment on the Hogwarts Express and looked out the window. Although he was awake, he felt like he was in a dream-sleep, his mind swirling in colors of silver and white. A faint smile tugged at his mouth. It had been like that all week. The pain from Nicos' attack had been a lot more severe than he had originally thought. After he had managed to apparate back to the Leaky Cauldron, he found that he could barely move the next morning.

He had just enough strength to pop one of the candy-like pills that Fadien had given him. Charlie Weasley had shown him some similarly charmed pills while he had been in Romania. Some of the Romanian Dragon Keepers had used them on the dragons to calm them down. They had mixed them in with their food, along with potions at times. Harry felt it funny that he was taking pills that he had assumed had been used on dragons, but Charlie had said they weren't harmful. So Harry figured these would be okay to take. They definitely numbed his pain, but then it seemed to increase the power of his magic. He could think much more clearly when he did simple spells. And things just seemed easier. The power blasts would only last for a short while and then he would get sleepy, which was happening to him right now. He didn't quite remember the dragons become more powerful though, but he shrugged it off.

Harry was glad that he was feeling a bit distracted by the upcoming train ride back to Hogwarts. Usually he was excited to be returning to school, with Hogwarts being his real home instead of the Dursleys. Now he was feeling unsettled about the upcoming year. His fight with Ginny still bothered him and he was still in a slight state of shock that he had been attacked by a werewolf at a Slytherin party. He hoped that the school year would be less chaotic.

I just want to get through it, with no drama, he thought irritably. That thought pulled his mind back to the present. He would be seeing Ron and Ginny again very soon. Hermione had owled him again this past week leading up to going back to school, but he hadn't heard from Ron at all. Harry felt queasy about that. He hoped that he had not irrevocably destroyed the relationship with his best mate.

He had just closed his eyes, when he heard the door sliding open. A familiar voice spoke softly to him.

"Hey Harry," Hermione said and she looked nervous. Harry looked up and grinned at her. Her eyes widened in surprise and delight.

"Harry! Your glasses are gone! And…is that an earring?! What have you been up to?" She asked eagerly and she bent to examine it. "I can't believe that you did that!"

The entry way became crowded with his fellow Gryffindors, Neville, Seamus and Dean.

"Harry pierced his ears?"

"No glasses, whoa!"

"Where'd you get that done?"

Harry grinned at his classmates. "I also got a tattoo", he said slyly. He pulled his shirt down to show the tattoo, trying to be careful and not show the still reddened scars of the attack. Exclamations exploded from the group over the artistry. But leave it to Hermione to still notice the redness. She reached for his shirt and Harry immediately pulled back. She frowned at him.

"Harry, what happened? Did that happen in Romania? But…that looks new! Or did Ginny…?" She hesitated to finish the rest of her thought.

Harry covered his chest with his arms and then shrugged. "I had an accident, nothing big." He said weakly. He hadn't prepared a cover story for the scars, not thinking that anyone would see it this soon. He should have known better to underestimate Hermione's inquisitiveness.

"What kind of accident would cause something like that, Harry?" Hermione demanded. "That looked like…claw marks or something! Let me see!" She reached for him again and Harry wiggled away from her, his face red.

He knew he was caught and Hermione wouldn't let it go until he told the truth. Seamus was looking amused, while Neville and Dean looked back and forth between them.

"Fine. I was attacked…by a werewolf, okay! But I wasn't bitten or anything!" Harry said quickly. "I'm fine, though!"

Four pairs of eyes immediately stared him down.

"What?"

"Huh?"

"Blimey! A werewolf?"

"Harry!"

Harry nodded and then sighed. He might as well get the whole story out and get it over with. He launched into his explanation of the party, carefully omitting the kiss with Zabini. No point in bringing that up.

"Wait a minute", Hermione quipped, "You went to a Slytherin party? Alone? And you were drinking? And Malfoy was there?" Hermione glared at Harry. "How can you be so stupid? Do you know how dangerous that could have been? What if there were Death Eaters there or worse?! What were you thinking?" Hermione couldn't believe how irresponsible Harry had been. She stared at him incredulously.

Harry shook his head and smirked at her. "Hermione, I doubt Voldemort is into drinking games and getting felt up by drunk blokes. It turned out okay…well…except for the werewolf part," he said sheepishly.

"Leave it to you, Harry to have these barking mad things to happen," stated another voice. They all glanced up to see Ron, who was now standing in the doorway. Ron had no malice in his voice, but was just stating a fact. Harry got up slowly and walked over to Ron. The red head looked curiously at Harry as he approached.

"Ron, look, I'm sorry about what happened", Harry began, but Ron held up his hand.

"Look Harry, it's none of my business. Ginny is my sister and I don't want to see her get hurt. But you are my best mate and I know that you wouldn't hurt her on purpose. You wouldn't do that." He shrugged, then looked away quickly, but not before Harry caught the affection in Ron's eyes. Harry smiled. His friend was still in his corner. Ron nodded towards Harry's open shirt.

"Show me that tattoo," he said with a grin. Harry pulled his shirt open. Ron peered closely at it.

"Wicked," he finally responded. "I want one too. Where'd you get it?"

"In Muggle London. The girl who did it was amazing. I'll take you one day."

Ron nodded eagerly and went to sit down with the rest of the Gryffindors.

"Merlin, I hope this year is a good one. I'm so glad we're almost finished!" Seamus stated.

"Yeah, I can't believe we're 7th years. It's great! But now we have to figure out what we're going to do with our lives," Dean added.

Harry listened to the conversation without much interest. He was suddenly reminded of the fact that there was a mad man out there who was trying to kill him. He probably wouldn't even live past this year if Voldemort had his way. There was no point in planning a whole future if it was going to end at any moment.

Hermione looked sad at the prospect of school ending. Ron looked at her. "No doubt you're sad because you won't have any more studying to do." The others grinned at this.

"It isn't the only reason, Ronald! I'm going to miss everyone. We won't be together anymore."

No one had really thought about it like that. A thick silence descended on the group, each mulling over the end of their school experiences.

Hermione broke the silence. "It's time for our Prefect and Head meeting." She nudged Ron, who looked to be falling asleep with his head lolling on Neville.

It was no surprise to anyone that Hermione was picked as Head Girl. She had the best grades in the entire school. The 7th year Prefect slot had gone to Ron again. He was the only logical choice of the remaining 7th years. Neville was not the leader type and Dean and Seamus both goofed off too much. Lavender definitely wasn't into leadership and Parvati could care less about that kind of responsibility. Harry didn't want the job. Not that anyone would have selected him anyway. He had been passed over as Prefect the last two years because of all the pressure he had been under. It wasn't any different now.

Ron and Hermione left the compartment and the rest of them decided to play a game of Exploding Snap. Surprisingly, Neville was on his way to cleaning them out when Harry was hit by nature's call.

"Hey, I'll be back. Loo." He stood up and left the compartment, while the others kept playing.

The one closest to their compartment was occupied, so Harry went in search of another one. As he rounded a corner, he found himself face to face with Ginny and Luna. Ginny looked pale and her normally beautiful mane of fire red hair looked limp and unhealthy. There were dark shadows under her eyes and there was no life in them whatsoever. Harry grimaced slightly at her appearance. Ginny looked sick and Harry felt a stab of guilt that he might be the cause of her looking so awful.

Ginny's eyes widened when she saw him and she looked at him hungrily. She licked her lips slowly, basking in his presence. She was staring at him so intensely, that Harry began to feel very uncomfortable. It almost felt like she was violating him with her eyes. He swallowed down a spike of irritation.

"Ummm…how are you?" Harry asked stupidly, but he really didn't know what to say to her. Sleep had obviously evaded her and it would be rude to tell her how bad she looked right then. He belatedly realized that it was an equally stupid thing to ask someone how they were doing after he had just broke up with them.

"I'm fine Harry, doing great! I see you're doing well," she said, sarcasm dripping from every word. She was looking pointedly at his face without his glasses. "Where are your glasses?"

Harry instantly felt guilty. "Well, I just wanted to make some changes, that's all. It wasn't planned or anything. It just kind of happened."

"Oh, like just ending our relationship was part of those changes, right? Do you feel better now?"

Harry sighed. "No, Ginny. I don't. I didn't mean to hurt you. I didn't want you to get your hopes up about…things." He cast a look at Luna, who was hanging on to every word that he said. Now was not the time to have a discussion about their not getting married. Even though Luna looked perfectly okay with the concept of her being privy to such a private conversation.

Apparently Ginny agreed with her because she said, "Not get my hopes up? Well Harry, what did you expect? You just have sex with me, but then you don't think I would want more than that?"

Harry barely kept from choking at Ginny's comment about sex. He made a disgusted face at her to clearly let her know that he didn't appreciate the fact that she had just told their personal business, in front of Luna on the Hogwarts Express. Anyone could have heard her say that.

Harry lowered his voice to respond, "It wasn't just that, Ginny! You know that's not what I meant." He ran his hand through his hair. "This is all coming out wrong!" He was already tired of talking about it.

When Harry brushed his hair back, Ginny noticed the earring and her eyes widened in surprise.

"Harry, you got an earring? Where did you get that? Who gave you all of these ideas to change things? Some girl?" She frowned at him, but reached out to touch the earring. Harry couldn't hold back his flinch, fearing that Ginny would try to yank it out of his ear. He came to the realization that he was a little bit afraid of her and what she would do. The way she had reacted at The Burrow, yelling and attacking him the way she did, in front of her family, told him that Ginny was capable of a lot more than he had originally believed about her. She seemed to read his reaction accurately.

"I'm not going to hurt you Harry. That's the last thing I want to do." She began to look desperate again; tears were starting to well up in her eyes. "Harry please, can we just talk? I'm sorry for the way I acted. I don't know what came over me. Please? I love you and I would do anything to make this right."

She began to move closer to him.

Harry looked at her, guilt racking his soul. He felt that the least he could do was hear her out, but now was not the time. Luna was still hovering next to them like a pale ghost, watching the exchange intently. She gave Harry a languid smile.

"Okay Ginny, we'll talk when we get to school. This isn't the place to talk about this."

"You're willing to talk about getting back together?" she pushed.

The last two weeks had been torture for her. Her mother and Hermione were the only reason she had managed to keep it together. When Hermione had told her that Harry had sent an owl to let them know where he was, she had been determined to go to the Leaky Cauldron and demand he talk to her. Hermione had to actually cast a Binding spell on her to keep her in the house.

Her mother had pleaded with her to give Harry his space. Ginny hadn't wanted to listen; she just knew if she could get to Harry, she could convince him that they belonged together. Molly ended up casting a charm on the floo powder to keep Ginny from actually leaving the Burrow. The powder would zoom around the room out of reach whenever Ginny tried to pick it up. She wasn't old enough to Apparate yet, so she was stuck there.

"I'm not saying that Ginny, I just think that we do need to talk. But not now. I'll see you later." He went to move past her, but she grabbed his arm.

"Harry, I love you more than anything in life. I promise that whatever you want, I'll agree to, as long as we are together."

She stared up at him, the obsession that she had with him completely overtaking her senses. He saw the determination burning in her brown eyes; fueling her to new levels of desperation. Harry didn't have a chance to process that bit of information, before another situation confronted him.

Out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw Zabini coming down the hallway. Harry's stomach knotted. Oh god, not now…

"Potter," Blaise said pleasantly. "How are you?" He gave Harry a sly smile, but Harry detected no malice from the Slytherin. He was shocked to say the least, but managed a small smile of his own to return.

"Fine, uhhh…Zabini," Harry said awkwardly, wishing that he could sound as cool as the other teen. "I'm fine. You?"

Blaise grinned at him. "Fine, Potter. Look, can we talk a minute, in private?" He gave a quick glance at the two girls, with a hard look at Ginny. He licked his lips and turned his attention to Harry.

Harry fought the jerk of his limbs at the surprise request from Zabini, but looked back at Ginny. She was staring at the Slytherin with a look of utter contempt for daring to interrupt their conversation.

"Ginny, we'll talk later like I said, okay?" He nodded at Luna, indicating a dismissal. Luna turned to walk away but Ginny grabbed her arm and stopped her. She glared at Harry and then at Blaise.

"Harry, why are you talking to him? He's a Slytherin." She pulled her wand and pointed it at Blaise. "Leave us alone, Zabini! Go away!"

Blaise blinked and held up his hands in mock surrender. "Wow, what's got you in a snit?" He raised his eyebrows at Harry, who sighed deeply.

"Ginny, stop! I said, I'll talk to you later!" Harry glared daggers at Luna, trying to give her a hint to help him with Ginny and get her to leave. Luna blinked slowly and finally came to life and pulled Ginny's arm.

Luna said softly, "Ginny, he said he would talk, at least be happy about that. He could have told you to get lost."

Harry wanted to kiss Luna for that.

Ginny still looked like she wanted to protest, but Luna was dragging her away. She stared at Harry with desperate eyes and mouthed a silent, I love you. Harry felt nauseous and drained and knew this thing with her was going to be a bad situation.

Blaise looked on with an amused expression. He looked around cautiously before speaking, and then lowered his voice to a whisper.

"Look, Potter, about the party, I can't talk about what happened, we signed those vows of silence, but I noticed that you didn't. I just wanted to make sure…that things stayed that way. I don't want anyone to know I kissed a Gryffindor."

Harry gave a snort. "Like I would tell anyone about that? You're a Slytherin and a boy!"

He then noticed that Zabini was alone, something he had never remembered seeing his whole time at Hogwarts. The Slytherins always traveled in packs. It then occurred to him what what he had said.

Zabini didn't want anyone to know he had kissed a Gryffindor. He didn't mention anything about kissing a boy. This new revelation intrigued Harry. He recalled that he didn't seem all that disgusted by the challenge when it happened. As a matter of fact, he'd been very much into the kiss from the moment Harry had touched his lips. Harry looked at Zabini with renewed curiosity. The teen immediately understood the look on Harry's inquisitive face. He lowered his head and growled out,

"Don't tell anybody," as he looked over his shoulder again. "You owe me, I saved your arse!"

"I told you I wouldn't tell anybody. But that means you have to keep quiet on your end as well," he added quickly.

"I already said I can't talk about what happened at the party."

"That's not what I'm talking about," Harry said cryptically. He gestured slightly between the two of them, hoping to make himself understood.

Blaise raised an eyebrow and licked his lips, his mind racing with the implication of Harry's words. Even though Blaise couldn't discuss the kiss, that didn't mean he couldn't gossip about the fact that Harry may very well like blokes.

"Okay, Potter," Blaise said, "but on one condition." Blaise eyed the Gryffindor with an expression that clearly indicated what he wanted. "Do you mind if I finish where we left off?"

Harry let his mouth fall open. He wanted to kiss him right there in the hallway? Anyone could see! And after all of his complaints of not wanting anyone to find out about him, now he suggests snogging in the middle of the train? Harry was surprised to find that he was slightly excited about that prospect. He hadn't had much time to really consider how he had felt about the kiss, but upon a moment's quick thought about it…he had liked it too. But this was Blaise Zabini. Harry didn't know a thing about him, other than he was in Slytherin and he was Malfoy's friend. That wasn't much to go on at all.

While Harry was contemplating all of this in his head, Blaise took his silence as acquiescence and looked up and down the passageway quickly. After making sure no one coming, he leaned in and softly brushed his lips against Harry's, giving him a soft kiss. Harry felt a wave of excitement rush straight to his groin. He shuddered slightly and his manhood pulsed in response. He exhaled deeply, trying to get his libido under control. Blaise had moved back and was watching him intently, a small smile on his lips.

"Urhgh…" Was all Harry could manage as he stared at Zabini. He shifted uncomfortably, as his pants felt a bit tight.

"I think you should call me Blaise," he whispered. Harry swallowed thickly and then nodded. "Yeah…I think so too. Harry". Blaise chuckled and leaned in again to steal another kiss.

But then a most unwelcome sound thundered down the passageway.

"Zabini! Where are you off to? I want my chocolate frogs!" Malfoy's voice rang out.

Blaise sighed deeply, but then gave Harry a wink. With lightning speed, he expertly wiped his face of the pleasure he had just experienced. His face twisted into an ugly grimace.

"Move Potter, get out of the way!" he shouted in Harry's face. "Sorry," he whispered under his breath.

"Arse!" Harry cursed, pushing past the Slytherin. Blaise made a rude gesture and Harry rolled his eyes. "Whatever."

Harry moved quickly down the passage and found the bathroom he'd been looking for, hoping that was enough to throw Malfoy off. It could only spell disaster if the blonde menace to society caught wind of this recent development. He had snogged Zabini…Blaise…again!

Draco had watched this exchange silently with his eyes narrowed. This was the second time he had witnessed a conversation between these two. The first had been Blaise's concern about Potter at the party. Potter had even thanked him for saving his sorry life! But something had happened before he had entered that hallway. Blaise had been standing way too close for Potter. And even though Draco couldn't prove it, he could have sworn that Blaise had just kissed him. He could tell that he had interrupted something.

Draco had been named Head Boy, along with Granger as Head Girl. No big shock there. He was on his way back from the Head Boy meeting, had passed through the car connections in enough time to see Blaise moving away from Potter's face. Both of them looked guilty as hell. And Potter looked…odd somehow. He didn't even bother to try and insult Draco; Boy Wonder had simply made a quick escape down the passage, practically running away from the scene of a crime.

Draco looked at Blaise, who was looking anywhere but in the eyes.

"What was that all about, Blaise?" Draco asked casually. He didn't want to ruffle his friend's feathers. He wanted an answer and Draco figured that if he came at him wrong, Zabini would shut down like a vault at Gringotts.

His friend snorted. "Nothing, Draco! Potter's a stupid git. He was actually trying to be nice! I guess because I saved him and all. Gryffindors are so noble". His voice was dripping with sarcasm. Draco nodded absently, his mind drifting to other memories.

Draco had spent the last two weeks trying to forget the party. Okay, to be more honest, trying to forget that kiss. He didn't know why he had been so bothered by it. It was just a game and it wasn't Potter or Blaise's fault that the card was selected that demanded a kiss. But Draco couldn't shake the look that Potter had on his face when he approached Blaise. Draco was struck by how powerful and sexy that Potter had looked. How could that be just by him taking off his glasses? Draco had never been turned on like that before; by something that he himself was not actually participating in. But if he was being honest with himself, Potter had looked powerful other times as well. Flying on his broom during Quidditch games, when he flew on that ridiculous Hippogriff that nearly killed Draco and had even killed a Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, according to rumors. Potter actually always looked powerful and determined and his snogging Blaise was no exception.

Draco wasn't ashamed to admit that he responded and respected power, and Potter certainly defied a lot of things. He'd even survived the Killing Curse…which no one else had ever managed to do. And even when he'd been attacked by a crazed werewolf, Potter still managed to not get bitten and survive that! Even though there was a moment that Draco feared that Potter was dead and he felt some way about it. He later dismissed that fleeting emotion as a by-product of their long standing rivalry. He would have missed Potter, like someone misses kicking a crup.

At least that was what he was telling himself. And then Blaise had stepped up and saved the git, sparing Draco the effort of having to mourn-celebrate- Potter's demise. Now Potter would be bugging Blaise and not him. Which should be a good thing, right? Let Blaise deal with that nuisance. So why did he feel…upset about it?

Draco snapped back to reality and laughed at Blaise.

"Well, better he bothers you, than me," he laughed. "You've got a boyfriend!"

Blaise grunted. "Like that would ever happen, Draco! Potter wishes I would deign to date him!" He stole a glance at Draco. "Wouldn't that be hilarious if Potter was gay? It would explain so much." He waited breathlessly for Draco's response.

Draco looked at Zabini incredulously. "Are you serious? Scarhead, gay? Not Perfect Potter! There's no way he's into blokes. That would go against his perfectimage. Besides, it'd be all over the Daily Prophet." Draco rolled his eyes. "Come on, you owe me some chocolate frogs, that you were supposed to be getting me, remember?"

He pushed Blaise ahead of him. They had perhaps walked five feet, when Draco suddenly stopped.

"Go on. I forgot something at the meeting room. I'll be right there." Blaise nodded and continued down the passage. Draco waited until Blaise disappeared through the car connections and was on the next train car. He then went back up the passage the way he had been coming and waited outside the bathroom for Potter to come out.

When Harry emerged a few moments later, he was roughly grabbed by an unseen hand. Malfoy was pushing him against a wall and his gray eyes were glittering hatred. Harry pushed him back, glaring hard at the Slytherin.

"What the hell?! What's the matter with you, Malfoy! Get off me!"

Malfoy stepped up into Harry's face. "What's going on with you and Blaise?" He demanded angrily, breathing hard.

Harry gaped at Draco. "Whaaatt?"

"I want to know what's going on with you two! What were you talking about earlier?"

"That's none of your business Malfoy! And why don't you ask him? Why bother me?"

Draco hissed at him, sounding like a snake. "Because I'm asking you! You're acting all grateful to him for saving your pathetic life? You're lucky it wasn't up to me. I would've left your arse there for that werewolf!"

Harry looked at Draco with a peculiar expression. "Why are you so worried about what I said to him or about him saving my life? You didn't do it, so why the fuck do you care?" Harry was pleased to see Malfoy gasp a little at Harry's curse.

"I don't care Potter, it's just ridiculous that you are following him around like a lovesick girl that's all! That's so pathetic."

"Speaking of following people around, Malfoy, aren't you the one who's stalking me outside the loo? I think your compartment is that way. Don't worry about who I'm talking to! When I want to talk to you, which will be never, I'll let you know."

"Stay away from Blaise, Potter! I mean it." He shoved at Harry again.

"What are you going to do about it, Ferret Face? Are you jealous? Is that what this is about?" Harry suddenly looked straight at Draco, daring him to deny it. Draco paled considerably.

"Jealous of what? You? Oh please…keep your place, Scarhead. You're a half blood, stay out of Slytherin business!" Draco stepped back away from Harry and he didn't like the way Potter was looking at him. It was like he could see right through him and see his confusion.

"Fuck you, Malfoy! I can talk to anybody I want, without your permission. I'm sure Blaise will love to know that you're trying to tell him who his friends can be, trying to control his life. What are you, his mother?" He stared hard at Malfoy then. An idea popped into his head.

"You are jealous! You fancy him, don't you?" Harry crowed in delight as Malfoy's face registered pure shock and dismay.

"What? I'm not some pouf, Potter! You're crazy!" Draco said in outrage. His fingers itched to grab his wand and hex the prat.

"Oh this is rich! You're scared I'm going to steal your boyfriend! Ha!" Harry gave the blonde a shark's grin at the idea.

"Oh please, Potter! If he was my boyfriend, there would be no way that someone like you could steal him away. Who in their right mind would pick you over me?" Draco drawled.

Harry shrugged. "Loads of people would, and your boyfriend too, since you're trying to scare me away from him. But look, Malfoy…seriously, there's nothing going on. Just leave me alone."

He shouldered past Draco and walked back down the passageway, shaking his head in annoyance.

As Draco watched Harry walk away, he grew angry at himself for letting the conversation get away from him like that. He had expected Potter to tell him the truth, at least saying something about being grateful to Blaise for saving him and owing him a life-debt. But the conversation went in a direction he hadn't expected. He hadn't expected Potter to be clever enough to place Draco's annoyance on his being jealous. Draco figured that Potter assumed that Draco was upset about Potter planning a trick or some type of revenge against them, which really didn't make much sense when he really thought about it, but certainly not guessing that there was an emotional thing going on. Did Potter really think that he was dating Blaise?

Thank Merlin, that Potter didn't really know anything. Draco shuddered at that thought. Potter wasn't too far off the mark though. It wasn't Blaise that he was thinking of at all. Draco swallowed uncomfortably. "Pffft…not jealous," he said petulantly, to no one in particular. He stalked down the hallway and back to his compartment.

A nearby compartment door slid open and a pair of Extendable Ears was retracted to the owner. The door slammed shut.