Hey all. I'm not abandoning my other projects, I've just decided to post a few silly, shorter stories that I work on when I need a break from the larger, more plot-filled ones. This fic includes gay-basher bashing, if that makes any sense, and is rated for harsh language. It's mostly meant in fun, but I'll admit that some of Ron's dialogue mirrors a certain inlaw of mine, though without the (attempted) British inflection. Some of my own issues with people who gay-bash are coming out here, so to speak. If it doesn't sound like your cup o' java (or in this case, tea), feel free not to read, or to read and send me angry reviews. It's all good. :)
It all started with a picture, captured by none other than Colin Creevey's hyperactive camera. The picture in question was taken near the start of their 7th Year at Hogwarts, and when it was discovered amongst the endless batches of photos Colin submitted to the Yearbook Committee, it caused quite a stir. The members of the Committee just knew they had to do something with the extraordinary image, so they decided to keep it secret and find a place for it in the coming edition.
Their patience was finally rewarded two weeks into second term, when the books were ready for distribution. It was a rather ordinary Wednesday when a fleet of owls entered the Great Hall during breakfast.
"Ooh, the yearbooks are here!" Ginny exclaimed happily, a sentiment echoed at every table. Chatter in the Great Hall reached a feverish pitch as the owls delivered their packages and then swooped back out again.
Harry and Ron were the only Gryffindors that didn't immediately dive into their yearbooks; Ron, because he was more interested in his treacle tart; Harry, because he just didn't care. He'd only bought one because Hermione and Ginny pitched a fit first term when he admitted that he hadn't placed an order. They insisted he'd want it one day when he had a family of his own. He didn't bother mentioning how unlikely it was that he'd live past twenty, not to mention that yearbooks only held charm for those whose faces weren't plastered in the Wizarding papers daily.
Thus, he ignored the book in favor of debating Quidditch strategy with Ron, which, as usual, involved translating his friend's food-impaired speech patterns.
"'arry," the redhead insisted. "I shtiwl fink woo shid twyer 'uck wiffer 'irdy ommer onian."
Harry smirked. "You think I should try to fuck a dirty Pomeranian?"
Ron turned, if possible, even redder. "Fwarooo er fwiwwil id! Fwoo ummeren re!"
The Boy Who Lived chuckled, always happy to trot out his slippery, Slytherin side in the name of giving Ron hell. "Of course I understand you, ickle Ronnikins. And I'll try my luck with the 3rd Degree Hovering Avian next practice." He took a sip of his pumpkin juice.
Ron swallowed. "Don't call me that, you git!" Eying his uncharacteristically cheery friend with suspicion, he added, "You're right chipper today…"
Harry paused strategically, waiting until Ron had a mouthful of pumpkin juice before replying. "Well," he sighed, casting a longing glance at the Head Table. "It's Wednesday, and I'm so looking forward to Potions with Severus."
Right on cue, the youngest male Weasley choked, spraying the table (and its unfortunate occupants) with juice. Except for Harry, of course, who'd had the foresight to cast a shielding spell. Ron's eyes bulged comically. "That's the most disgusting bloody thing I've ever heard!" he announced, staring at the Boy-Who-Lived as though he'd suddenly morphed into some unknown, and supremely icky, species. Possibly related to the Acromantula.
Harry heard gasps and exclamations coming from all around them, followed by the all too familiar sensation of numerous pairs of eyes swiveling to gape at him. Running a hand through his perpetually messy hair in agitation, he peeked at his fellow Gryffindors curiously, wondering why they were staring so. It reminded him of the time he'd accidentally outed himself as a Parselmouth in 2nd Year.
"Um, just kidding?" he offered, thinking that they must have overheard his comment about Snape.
Then he noticed that the entire Great Hall was buzzing, staring avidly at something in their yearbooks. Every once in a while, someone would dare a glance at Harry or Draco Malfoy, who had just started to notice all the attention. Green eyes met gray for the briefest of moments across the Hall, seeking answers that neither one had.
"Harry…" Hermione began cautiously, drawing his attention back to his housemates.
"What's going on?" he demanded, wondering what awful thing had been printed about him now that was poised to ruin his day.
The brightest Witch at Hogwarts flinched. "Well," she hedged.
Harry waved her off with an impatient hand, plucked up his yearbook, and began flipping through it.
An oblivious Ron reached out for another tart. "What're you looking for, mate?" he asked.
"The reason everyone's staring," the raven-haired Wizard replied grimly.
Ron finally took notice of the uproar around them. Looking to Hermione for direction, he accepted the open yearbook she slid under his nose. "Bloody buggering hell!" he shouted.
Harry glared. "What page?"
"Superlatives," Hermione supplied, as Ron had forgotten how to breathe, and was busy turning an interesting puce color.
Turning to the appropriate section, Harry frowned. What could possibly be here that would cause such chaos? He quickly scanned the various categories: Best Dressed, Most Likely To Succeed, Most Athletic, Best Friends, Biggest Wand… the list went on. And then he saw it. The final category, and on a page all its own, was Cutest Couple: Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. Under the heading, there was a picture.
"Holy fuck," he exhaled.