Here. I kinda forced this chapter out as a bridge as I didn't really have any good ideas, but I didn't want to procrastinate and I'm trying to settle back into the rhythm of weekly chapters.
Hope you peeps are okay with it. My creative juices are running dry, so yeah; feedback and ideas would be appreciated. They do help to shape the story. In fact, I am looking through the responses of the previous chapter to determine how my story should proceed….
(Damn. I've noticed that I am always out of ideas except during smut scenes)
"There you are, Harry, I've brought you some stuff from lunch. Ron's still down there stuffing his mouth full--" Hermione trailed off as she looked up and took in Harry's dishevelled state – uncombed hair, wild eyes and trapped expression – and as her eyes slide down – with an armful of unconscious Draco. A dozen possible explanations sprung into her mind, each one worst than the last. The ferret/boy slipped and fell; they were attacked; Snape killed Draco before they could clean up, etc. Okay, so the last one is not that possible as even Dumbledore would have to stand in line to punish Snape if he indeed did that – Harry would kill anyone that harms his beloved pet.
"What happened? Why is Draco unconscious?" Hermione asked as she dropped her book and hurried over, hands reaching out. Harry shrunk back, cradling the bundle in his arms to himself, mind working furiously.
"Fell and passed out? He might have a concussion! You should bring him to Madam Pomfrey immediately!"
Harry's eyes widened as he realized his mistake.
"Ah, NO! I mean—I meant—he fell asleep! Yes, that's it!"
Hermione frowned suspiciously, "He fell asleep in the middle of showering?"
"Yes…I mean, not really, er… he fell asleep while waiting for me to finish…"
"And why do you need to shower too?"
Damn. "I … I thought I might as well shower since I was already there….. and it's stupid to go back to shower tonight when Draco will follow me again….so…" He trailed off, hoping Hermione would buy it. But no luck. As she opened her mouth again, Harry panicked and used the last resort he could think of.
"Ah—I'm very tired! I'll go upstairs now to take a nap."
"Tired? In the afternoon?"
"Erm—Yeah! From carrying Draco!" Blurting out what he thought was the perfect excuse; Harry turned and practically ran away to his dorm to seek refuge like a Horn-tailed Hungarian was behind him. Hence, he missed Hermione's snort and final words, "Student of Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? My foot! What happened to levitation spells?" as she frowned at Harry's departing back.
Harry kicked the door shut and laid the still out-cold Draco down on his bed, heart still pounding widely as he sat down on the other end of it and took in a deep breath. His moment of relief was short-lived as he found himself thinking of what had transpired earlier.
'Oh, god, I violated Draco!'
~What violated? He was perfectly happy and willing In fact, if I recall correctly, HE was the one that made the first move!~
'Yeah, but he didn't know what he was doing!'
~And WHAT exactly was he doing that was so bad? Giving and receiving pleasure?
'No, I mean, yes, it's…it's the connotation of what we have done! What I made him do! It was SEX! Like- like we're lovers!'
~Don't be silly. That wasn't sex. Sex is when you stick your dick into his nice, tight ass and drill him, which we have to get around to doing so--~
'No! No more! Stop telling me such things! It's entirely your fault, what happened just now! I couldn't stop myself because of you!'
~Hey, now that's rich. I'm you, the repressed you, remember? So you're saying that you can't stop yourself because of yourself? ~
'NO!!...it can't be! Cause that would mean…' Harry's eyes widened in horror as realization slowly dawned. 'I'm a sickening pervert who jumped Draco and took liberties with him… I'm such a bastard…'
~Oh, come on. What's wrong with enjoying-- ~
"Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!"
Guilt-stricken as the enormity of what he had done fully sank in, Harry vowed never to touch Draco again and crawled beneath the covers, unable to face himself and the world.
'Hmm…nice, soft bed… warm body…so comfortable to wrap my arms around…want to stay like this forever…' Harry tried valiantly to resist the slow drift to consciousness, but dreamland was already slipping further and further away, and with it, the pleasant dreams. Well, not completely. As he gradually became more aware of his surroundings, he was surprised to find the sensation of a warm body in his arms remaining. He forced bleary eyes open, to come face to face with bright silver ones.
"Huh? Draco? When did I—oh no. I fell asleep? What's going on? What time is it now?" As memories rushed back to confront him, he gasped, shoved Draco off himself and jumped out of bed, leaving the blond bewildered.
"My Harry, what's wrong?"
Looking at the wide-eyed, innocent blond, Harry felt a rising wave of self-loathing. He turned away abruptly. "Let's go for dinner. It's evening." Saying so, he turned and strode out without waiting. He didn't really feel like seeing people at this time, but anything was better than being alone with Draco and fending off a thousand questions that he didn't know how to answer.
When the Boy-who-Lived stormed into the Great Hall halfway through dinner, quite a storm was stirred. Many had been wondering why the normally-inseparable Gryffindor trio had been incomplete at lunch, and now what appeared to be dinner too, and even more surprisingly, the Golden Boy had skipped his afternoon classes, the fact that it was boring old History of Magic notwithstanding. But most bit back the questions, at least directly to the protagonist, whose expression looked like he was ready to squash anyone in his path like an ant. It didn't seem that his new shadow would be able to provide answers too, judging by the lost expression on Draco as he trailed in behind Harry like a dejected puppy.
When Harry slumped into a solitary corner seat by himself, Hermione, who had been observing him ever since he stepped in, frowned. It was as if he was purposely ignoring Draco, while just hours ago, Harry had been carrying him. But then, he had been behaving really weirdly then, all flustered. Had he knocked Draco out--?-Can't be. He loved his little ferret too much to cause him bodily harm, even if he was angry with him. So, what exactly happened…must have been during the bath…but what? Hermione's thoughts were interrupted when she felt an insistent elbow nudging her. "What?" She asked Ginny.
"Don't 'what' me. I can practically see the gears turning in your head. You've got that squinting eyes and furrowed brows look. So, what's up with Harry?"
"What 'what'? Why? Who told you something happened?" Hermione did not want to spread rumours when she doesn't have the facts straight. Unfortunately, Ginny was persistent.
"Honestly, Hermione, we all know that you're the cleverest student in Gryffindor, and maybe in the whole school, but that doesn't mean the rest of us are all idiots. Anyone can see something's up with Harry, not to mention someone who's spent hours of her misguided youth mooning over her stupid crush." The last part was half muttered under Ginny's breath, partly due to embarrassment and partly to fear of being overheard by her current beau, Dean. Not that anyone didn't know of her 'little' crush after the Valentine's Day fiasco in Harry's Year 2, and Harry's frantic attempts to stop the then-ferret Draco from swallowing bits of the written card delivered with the singing, after it jumped upon it and tore it apart. Particularly humiliating was how Harry was more concerned over what swallowing paper would do to his ferret than the destroyed Valentine itself.
Hermione was thinking of how to answer, so she did not notice Ron leaving his seat till it was too late. She watched Ron's face rapidly started to match the colour of his fiery hair, as his verbal onslaught was met by occasional grunts and shrugs while Harry refused to even look at him. When Ron reached out and grabbed the brunette's arm, Harry finally looked up. Hermione gasped. If looks could kill, Ron would probably have combusted into a pile of ashes at the spot. Shocked, she watched as Harry snarled something, wretched his arm free and stormed out.
"I don't know what his problem is. He's gone wonky, I tell you! Refusing to sit and talk with us! I definitely didn't do anything to set him off! I didn't, right? You're witness to that! I asked him nicely what was wrong and he just blew up at me!" Ron was still ranting and raving about the same topic a few hours later.
"You should have known better than to approach him when he had THAT expression on his face, Ron." Hermione murmured head buried in a book.
"But-but, how am I supposed to know he would take his foul mood, or whatever came over him, out on me? And he had the cheek to tell me to get away from him!"
Hermione's ears perked up. "Wait. What did he say?"
"He said to get away from him! The nerve of that guy! And I thought of him as my best friends all these years..."
"That was his exact wording? He didn't tell you to sod off or something like that?"
"No, but isn't it the same? They're all equally bad!"
As Ron continued to puff, he was not aware of Hermione who was muttering to herself, flipping furiously through the book in her arms. Finally, she let out a triumphant yell.
"Self-imposed isolation complex!"
"Huh?" A thoroughly-confused Ron scratched his head.
"Harry! He's pushing people away from himself. Possible causes: Defensive measure to prevent being hurt by others – can't be; afraid of causing others hurt – possible, but who?-; afraid of others finding about one's secret – hmm…. possibly, he certainly looked like he was lying earlier this afternoon….." Hermione was reciting from the book and adding in her notes.
"Again I say: Huh?? What are you talking about and what does that have to do with Harry?" Ron stared at Hermione as though she had grown an extra head.
Hermione sighed and lifted up the book she was reading to show Ron the cover. What Ron had thought was another heavy Wizarding tomb was actually a Muggle book.
"Psy-co-loo-gy? What in the world is that?"
"It's psy-CHO-lo-gy. Human Psychology and Behaviour. A study in human thinking and responses to certain situations. Quite popular in Muggle universities."
Hermione sighed. "Harry's behaviour seems to fit in with what this book says. He's trying to cut off all contact with others. Didn't you notice he was ignoring even Draco earlier? The poor thing had to chase after Harry out of the Great Hall without even having a proper dinner. In fact, I doubt if he's even eaten since breakfast. Both of them, for the matter. A person may be doing that for a few possible reasons…."
"Hermione? I don't think that book is reliable. How can we understand behaviour from a stupid book? Besides, it's a Muggle one--" Ron instantly knew he had said the wrong thing when he saw Hermione's expression. Never insult a book or speak degrading remarks of Muggles in Hermione's presence. Apparently he had just broken both cardinal rules in one sentence. He hurriedly backtracked.
"I mean-I mean- we can't come to a conclusion after just a few minutes of seeing Harry like that. We'll think about this more after seeing what happens tomorrow okay?"
Hermione's scowl lost part of its ferociousness but never left her face. She grabbed her books and papers, getting ready to go up to her dorm room.
Ron stared after her departing back.
"Oh man. Now BOTH my best friends are angry with me. What have I done to deserve this?"TBC