The door squeaked, just slightly. Harry froze and held his breath.
Slowly, he released the air from his lungs and stepped through, pushing the door closed behind him.
A random, possibly magical gust of wind blew past him, tearing the handle from his grip and slamming the door loudly.
He swore softly and tensed again, listening keenly for any sound, and never more grateful that they had managed to remove the portrait of Sirius's mother from the house.
There was a muffled thud, some faint voices, and then the sound of ever-nearing footsteps, which were quickly descending the stairs.
"Shit," he breathed, eyed widening. His eyes darted around the hall, but found no escape that wouldn't take him directly into the path of the approaching person or persons anyway.
The kitchen door opened with a creak, and Molly peered out it. "Harry dear? What are you doing?"
He had forgotten about the Order meeting. And it wasn't just a few members, either. It was the lot of them.
Harry fought back a groan and moved towards the kitchen and his imminent doom, still hoping he would be able to talk his way out of this situation.
Ron appeared at the bottom of the stairs, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, Luna, Fred and George on his heels. "Harry? What's going on?"
Doomed. I am definitely doomed.
Molly had stepped out of the kitchen, a worried expression crossing her features. "Did you need something, Harry?"
"Uh, no," he muttered, trying to move past the other teens up the stairs. They weren't having any of that. "Guys? Can I pass?"
"No," Neville said decisively. "You're going to stay right here and tell us where you've been all night."
"All night?" Molly asked sharply. "You mean he just came in?"
Ginny nodded. "We didn't realise he was gone until about an hour after dinner, when we thought we could all just…"
"Hang out, I guess," Ron continued. "And we went to Harry's room, but he was gone."
Never let it be said that Molly Weasley didn't have total control over her troops – er, children. She sent a pointed look at the twins and turned on her heel, re-entering the kitchen.
Fred grabbed Harry's right arm, while George grabbed his left, and they marched him after her, the others following silently.
Molly had, it seemed, kicked Severus out of his chair and commandeered it for her seat of interrogation. She directed the twins to push Harry down onto it.
Severus raised an eyebrow at the now-seated teen, who just sighed and shook his head mournfully in reply. The professor of Potions snorted.
Most of the Order members just looked confused, although Remus seemed to be finding the whole situation to his amusement.
Dumbledore looked inquiringly at the red-haired tyrant. "Molly, what is going on?"
She narrowed her eyes, not looking away from her prisoner. "This young man," she began in icy tones. "Was just discovered sneaking back into the house, having left not long after dinner."
Harry winced. Severus's eyes glittered with mirth.
The eyes of the Headmaster, on the other hand, turned to Harry in a mix of disapproval, disappointment and curiosity. "Harry?"
The teen in question shrugged. "What do you want me to say?"
"An explanation of where you were would be a good start," Mad-Eye growled.
This, it seemed, was the last straw for Hermione's restraint. "Harry James Potter!"
"What the hell are you playing at?"
Uh oh. Hermione cursing. This is worse than I thought…
"Do you really think that you could just waltz out whenever you chose, wander back in at any convenient, late, hour, and expect us to just let it go?"
"Don't you 'Mione me, Harry James. We're all waiting for your explanation."
Harry was silent. How can I get out of this?
"Harry is in love," Luna informed everyone, staring at the ceiling.
There was dead silence.
Harry couldn't help but glance around and make sure that everyone was still alive, which is why he knew that everyone (barring Luna) was staring at him, and why he saw the expression in Severus's eyes.
That bastard is enjoying this! That's it; I'm going to kill him. Dead. Deader than dead, even.
"Is this true, Harry?" Remus asked him gently, though Harry could see that the werewolf was also finding this entertaining.
Harry glared. Remus too. Very very dead. "Yes, actually."
"Well, who is she?" Tonks demanded, grinning brightly and turning her hair a lurid shade of purple in the joy of this revelation. "Anyone we know? Someone we could have move into Headquarters, perhaps?"
Severus was probably glad to be at the back of the group, as he'd had to turn to the wall with a hand over his mouth to keep from collapsing with laughter.
Harry gave a wry smile. "No, I don't think an invitation to Headquarters would be a very good idea at all."
There was a snort from the back of the room, earning the Potions Master several odd looks. Mostly, though, they assumed that he found the thought of Harry in love highly amusing.
"You're not dating a girl, are you, Harry?" Bill asked shrewdly.
"Harry, is there something you would like to tell us?" Ginny asked sarcastically.
Harry raised an eyebrow at her and replied in a similar tone. "Yes, Ginny. Everyone, I'm gay."
"No, really?" Neville muttered.
"All right you three, that's enough sarcasm to last even Severus all night," Remus said good-naturedly. "Now Harry, why don't you tell us about your boyfriend? Why can't you invite him here?"
Severus made a choking sound. Luna, who had somehow gravitated to where he was standing, absently patted him on the back.
Harry opened his mouth, and then closed it. He did this another two times. What could he say that wouldn't end with them killing him?
Ron, of course, was the first to jump to a conclusion as to why Harry couldn't, or wouldn't, tell them. "Oh my god. Harry, you're dating Draco Malfoy?"
There was a whimper from the back of the room. Luna's voice could be heard murmuring "There there."
"Of course he's not!" Hermione snapped. "Harry has more taste than that!" Her eyes widened and she spun away to face Harry. "You aren't, are you?"
"No, I'm not," he said soothingly. "I mean, sure, Draco's good looking, and once you get to know him he's a great guy, but I wouldn't date him. He's too…"
"Smarmy?" Ginny suggested, blinking innocently. "Conceited? Snobbish? Slytherin?"
Another whimper from Severus.
"Blond," Harry said with a shrug.
"Which rules out Seamus," Neville mused. "And Justin."
"Also, he'd be able to invite them both over," Ginny pointed out. "Harry, you are going out with a Slytherin, aren't you?"
"Uh, you could say that…" He winced. "Luna, could you find him a chair, do you think? He's going to pass out or something…"
As she did so, Arthur gave Harry a considering look. "Would I be right in guessing an ex-Slytherin?"
Harry ducked his head and nodded, avoiding the man's eyes.
Charlie frowned. "How do you get an ex-Slytherin?"
Bill whacked his younger brother around the head. "It's called graduation, moron."
"Oh," Charlie mumbled, blushing redder than his hair. "Must be more tired than I thought…"
"We forgive you," George said generously.
"As long as you promise to never repeat such an idiotic statement," Fred added.
"So, Marcus Flint?" Neville suggested. "Assuming he actually managed to graduate last year, that is. Montague? Adrian Pucey?"
Harry just glared.
"Methinks we're in the wrong generation," Tonks said smugly, watching as Harry blushed ever so slightly.
From the chair Luna had stolen from the now-standing (and annoyed) Minerva, Severus snickered.
This time, all eyes turned his way.
"Oh, no way," Ginny moaned. "If that's it, I refuse to ask any more questions, and will charge Harry for my therapy bills."
Ron was so horrified he couldn't speak.
Luna was giggling, while Neville, Tonks and Mad-Eye just looked sceptical. The other four Weasley boys and their parents were wide-eyed and waiting for confirmation or denial (although they were hoping for the latter).
Minerva was frowning darkly at Severus, while Dumbledore looked disappointed in the man.
Remus just raised an eyebrow at Harry, fairly sure that it wasn't true, but wanting to hear it.
But it wasn't until Hermione's second outburst of the night did Harry and Severus realise the conclusions that everyone else had arrived at.
"Harry! Surely you wouldn't be so irresponsible as to get involved in a relationship with a teacher! If for no other reason than his career and your education!"
Harry's jaw dropped, while Severus groaned and buried his head in his hands. "You don't – oh my god. You do. You think – oh my god."
Remus looked satisfied.
"That," Luna said quietly into the ensuing silence. "Was a 'no Hermione, I am not engaging in sexual or romantic activities with any teacher at all, let alone Professor Snape'."
"Thank the gods," Severus muttered. "I don't want to die."
"Can't be Lucius Malfoy, either," Neville said thoughtfully. "Blond, you know. Um…I don't know of any other graduated Slytherins. Well, I can think of one, but…" he trailed off and stared at Harry with incredibly wide eyes. "Holy shit."
Ah, so Nev was the first. Other than Luna, who I think has known for longer than I have. Well done to him, anyway!
Ginny was frowning. "Who else is there, other than – oh. I see."Two down…
There was a snicker followed by a grin from Remus. "I like your style, Harry. And from the pictures I've seen, you've got quite some taste."
Harry grinned back, pleased. "Thanks, Moony. I'm glad you think so."
Luna just smiled at him from where she was rubbing Severus's shoulder in sympathy for his ordeal. It was a mark of how very desperate he was that he hadn't hexed her through the nearest wall.
Charlie sighed. "All right, now I know I need more sleep. I keep thinking of – but that can't be right…"
"Don't be so sure," Bill said, eyeing his sister. "I think, if you're thinking what I am, that you're right."
"Arthur, please catch me. I'm about to faint."
"Faint, Molly? Why would you do that?"
"I'm about to allow myself to realise who my seventh boy is in love with."
"Oh." Arthur easily caught his wife and shifted so she was leaning on him. "I suppose that's one way to end it, Harry."
Tonks threw her hands into the air. "I give up! I've wracked my brains, and I can't think of anyone! Harry, I demand you spill at once."
Harry shrugged. Half of them had figured it out anyway, he may as well spill. "All right, Tonks. I'll tell. I'm dating Voldemort."
There was, again, dead silence.
Molly, who had just returned to consciousness, broke it. "Well, you'll have to introduce him to us, Harry. As the man you love, not as the man who we've been against."
Bill reached over and closed Tonks's jaw. "You'll end up eating flies, you know."
Fred was beginning to grin. "You're serious, aren't you mate?"
"Yep, sure am."
"Brilliant," George said with a nod. "I've seen pictures of what he's done with himself lately, you've done well for yourself."
"I think so, too."
Minerva and Mad-Eye overcame their shock at about the same time, but other than a smile in Minerva's case and a grudgingly approving nod from Mad-Eye, neither of them said anything.
Harry turned his head slowly to look at Dumbledore, who was far more shocked than he had ever seen the man.
Finally, he sighed. "Harry, if you had just told us, we could have let you leave in daylight, scheduled meetings, so we know where you are."
Severus, the only person who had known about the relationship ahead of time who wasn't a half-psychic Ravenclaw witch or a sceptical werewolf, was staring at his employer in utter astonishment.
He wasn't the only one who was amazed.
Ron was gaping. "Harry? And Voldemort? In a…relationship? I…no, I wouldn't have preferred Snape, but still!"
Hermione was speechless, and was just staring from her best friend to her headmaster and back again.
"Headmaster, have you lost it completely?" Severus demanded finally. "You're condoning a relationship between your Golden Boy and Voldemort?"
Dumbledore was beaming. "But of course, my dear boy! After all, I just want everyone to be happy!"
There were two thuds as both Severus and Harry hit the floor in a dead faint.
Barring Remus and Luna, everyone looked shocked.
Remus grinned at the blonde girl. "You knew as well?"
She nodded. "I have occasional premonitions. You knew?"
"A werewolf's sense of smell never lies."
Luna smiled. "But of course not."
Ginny was biting her lip. "Er, would this be a good time to tell everyone that I'm pregnant?"
Her mother fainted again.
"Whose baby is it?" Arthur managed to ask in a completely calm and neutral tone.
Hermione raised a sheepish hand. "Potion and spell combination gone wrong. Well, combined with…other things…"
Arthur just sighed. "And here I was hoping that our eldest would be the first to procreate…"
Tom was utterly confused as to why Harry had just arrived at his home, as he hadn't been expecting his lover until that night.
He was even more confused when he saw that the teen had been followed inside by Severus, who seemed to be having issues of some kind.
As Harry collapsed on the couch across from him, he raised an eyebrow at the snickering Severus, who seated himself in the nearest armchair and buried his head in his hands.
Harry scowled and threw a cushion at the man's head. "Stop that. Don't make me go get Luna."
Severus twitched, but sat upright.
"What on earth is going on?" Tom finally demanded, looking from one to the other.
"I was interrogated last night," Harry revealed. "I got caught sneaking back inside."
Tom frowned worriedly. "What happened?"
Harry shuddered. "I don't want to talk about it."
Severus snickered. Tom eyed him.
"I admit, it was a little scary," the Potions Master agreed. "But not quite to that extent."
"Hey, I wasn't the only one who fainted," Harry shot back.
Tom's eyebrows were raised as high as they would go. "What's the matter?"
"Acceptance," Harry muttered, as though the word tasted bad.
"Acceptance?" Tom asked, confused.
"Dumbledore just wants everyone to be happy," Severus said cheerfully, able to put his own horror behind him in order to tease Harry.
Harry nodded miserably. "Which is why he's planning Ginny's baby shower with Molly already. And they want to meet you."
Tom blinked. "Meet me?"
Severus grinned maliciously. "Oh yes. I believe Molly wants to make sure your intentions towards her seventh son are only good, while Albus, I think, wants to discuss the future with you."
"The war?" Tom asked hopefully, wanting to get back on even ground.
"Oh no," Severus revealed. "Marriage, children, pets…I think he may have actually forgotten about the war."
Tom buried his head in his hands with a defeated little moan. Harry moved to perch on the arm of his chair and wrapped his arms around him comfortingly. "There there, love. We'll get through it. Even if we have to kill him."
"Can I help?" Severus asked pitifully.
Tom looked up at him curiously.
Harry snickered. "While I was being interrogated, Sev was having a quiet breakdown in the corner. Luna helped him not pass out in the middle of it. Dumbledore is now earnestly trying to set them up, while Luna has her sights set on Remus, who, I believe, has his mind on resuming a relationship with Sev."
"Which means if we set up Remus and Severus," Tom mused. "That fixes the whole problem and Dumbledore can set his matchmaking eyes on Luna and someone else."
Severus groaned. "Nooo...no more matchmaking…"
Harry smirked. "But Sevvie, we just want you to be happy!"
The professor of Potions slumped onto the floor and thumped his head against it.
Tom and Harry just laughed.
This was an evil idea that attacked me too late on Saturday night to do anything about, so I scribbled the idea down and ended up writing it last night. It was fun.
No sequels or anything planned, this is all just one little package. Any pressing questions, ask 'em, and if I have an answer I'll email you about it. But as for what 'Mione and Gin called their baby, and whether it was a boy or a girl, and whether Harry and Tom managed to get Remus and Severus together…just use your imagination.
Added Monday January 16, 2006 - Okay, I lied. Well, not really. I wasn't intending to write a sequel, and then I was hit by an idea for one. So yes, there will be a sequel. It's probably more than half written already. I'll update this note again when its posted.
Added Monday March 6, 2006 - First half of the sequel, Mayhem, is now posted. Enjoy.
Hope you liked it.
Hope you liked it.