The Pursuit of Happiness (and Harry, somehow)
Rice-Ball247: Hmm, wouldn't be surprised if there aren't any readers anymore. I lost the hard drive that this story was saved on and only managed to find a few chapters (like, 3?) that had been in 'first stages' of writing, which I will try going over later this week. There are no excuses other than I lost the will to write back in 2010. Uni hit me hard and I guess you can say I've changed as a person since the last time this was updated. One thing that hasn't changed, thankfully, is my love for slash and Harry Potter fanfiction.
Again, I'm so, so sorry to my readers who I left hanging. I guess the reason why I was prompted to try and restore these files is because (strangely enough) I got into a debate with someone over 50 Shades of Gray (Twilight Fanfiction), and she had insulted fanfiction altogether. I couldn't let that stand and so, four years later, I've been inspired take up fanfiction writing again.
This fanfiction: I am uncertain which direction I will take with this fanfic in the future, since the plot-line I wrote out is lost to the universe. I really don't want to leave it to die as my younger self did before, but my writing has changed, and the story was full of plot holes. Rereading this in the past week made me cringe. Did I really write this? Yes. So this may be up for a rewrite, with better thought out scenes and dialogue, and not too much OOC-ness.
Disclaimer: Don't own Harry Potter. Never have, never will. Thank you J.K. Rowling, you blessed woman.
Warning: Unbeta-d, old, old, old work written by me when I was probably 16. OOC, oh and slash, if you haven't worked that out already.
The moment they stepped outside, however, there was a shout and a misfired blaze of red ricocheted off the wall, mere centimetres in front of Harry's face, and smashed the man-sized vase at the end of the corridor to smithereens.
Harry jumped back in shock as Hermione screamed and pulled him back against the door the Room of Requirement, which unfortunately had already vanished. Across from them in the tapestry, Barnabas the Barmy and his dancing trolls whimpered and huddled to one side fearfully.
Harry turned to see the direction of the misfired spell to see Ron, chest heaving and his wand pointed towards them. His blood turned cold.
"Ron what the-"
"Harry! Move!" Ron shouted, his snarl furious as his eyes burned on something behind Harry's head. Harry ducked as he heard Ron cast Stupefy and the hex shot through the air and smashed harmlessly against the wall once more. He turned to see the target of Ron's hexes.
And froze yet again.
"Blaise...?" he croaked out, his eyes widening in shock.
What the hell was going on?!
Chapter Fourteen: All Sorted Out
Harry turned from one side of the corridor to the other – from his boyfriend to his best friend – with incredulousness written clearly upon his face.
"What the bloody hell is going on?" Harry cried as Blaise stared first at him and then snarled at Ron.
"He's my best friend you arsehole! Don't play around with Harry, or with the rest of the Gryffindors or you'll regret it!" Ron's sneer was worthy of Snape or Draco, because the killing intent came across just as fierce.
"What the fuck is happening?!" Harry bellowed once more, causing a silence that felt like an anvil had dropped upon each of them to be felt. He turned his furious gaze to Ron first, who kept his glare upon Blaise, then turned to see the Slytherin draw his wand. "Expelliarmus!"
The wand flew out of Blaise's grip and Harry reached out to catch the weapon before any of them could react. Blaise turned accusing eyes on Harry.
"What are you doing? He's going to hex me and I'm defenceless!" he shouted furiously, storming up the corridor towards them. Hermione was already on her feet and cried out, "Petrificus Totalus!"
All of Blaise's muscles seized up and he froze, all limbs becoming rigid as he eventually lost his balance and fell. Harry winced as his boyfriend hit the floor.
"I want an explanation for all this," came a calm sounding voice from behind Ron. All three turned to see Professor Dumbledore, flanked by a shocked Professor McGonagall and a furious looking Professor Snape. "My office, now."
There were only a handful of times when Harry had heard this tone, but he'd never felt so small in his life. He couldn't imagine how Ron must have felt, or Hermione, since she had cast the last spell.
Dumbledore released the full-body bind on Blaise and the boy sneered at Ron before turning his gaze to Harry.
Harry stared helplessly at him and turned away, following the Headmaster to his office just a few corridors away. Professor McGonagall ushered the three Gryffindors in front of her while Professor Snape made sure that Blaise stayed beside him at all times.
"Taste the rainbow," Dumbledore revealed his new password and the stone gargoyle moved aside to reveal the moving spiral staircase. He ushered the Gryffindors in first, followed by Professor McGonagall, then Blaise and then Professor Snape. He took up the rear until they reached his office, all seated on opposite sides according to house.
The silence in the office lingered. Apparently it was Fawkes' burning day, because the usual fiery phoenix that was perched on the roost wasn't there and the pile of ashes was the telltale sign.
"Care to explain yourself, Mr. Zabini?" Dumbledore turned to the Slytherin first, which caused Professor Snape to snort with derision.
The dark-skinned Slytherin glared at the Headmaster for the span of four heartbeats before he turned his gaze to Harry. "I think Weasley should explain himself first. He's the one who prompted the assault."
Ron's face reddened and Hermione pressed a hand into his, a sign to keep his temper in check. Harry was angry as well, but mostly a little confused. He was furious at both Blaise and Ron.
What had happened while he and Hermione were in the Room of Requirement?
He was angry at his best friend because Ron had fired hexes at his boyfriend.
He was angry at his boyfriend because Blaise had retaliated and wanted to put all the blame on his best friend.
Dumbledore paused a moment, scanning his no-longer twinkling eyes over Blaise first before they rested upon Harry, Hermione and finally, Ron. "I do believe that the situation needs to be explained soon. Firing hexes at other students in the school corridors are strictly prohibited, especially when those involved are in their seventh year. You do realize that it is punishable by expulsion?"
His soft words lingered threatening in the air, grasping them like old, yet powerful withered hands. Harry licked his suddenly dry lips as Dumbledore seemed to stare right through him. "Mr. Weasley, you may begin, then."
Ron took a moment to pause and when he began, his voice was a little hesitant. He turned his gaze to Harry, who of course, had no idea what message his friend was trying to convey. Ron looked a little disheartened, sighed and then began his explanation.
"I'm sure it has come to your attention that Harry and Zabini are..." Ron waved his hand around as he tried to put his thoughts into words, until whom else, but Snape, put him out of his misery.
"I believe the term that Mr. Weasley is looking for is 'in a relationship', Albus," he bit out dryly, his dark eyes flickering over his Slytherin student first before resting on Harry.
"Y-yeah," Ron stuttered, sighing at the end as he gave Harry an apologetic smile. Harry shrugged and the silence in the room that followed left room for much more to be said. Finally, Ron spoke up again, "Anyway, Harry and Zabini were... in a relationship," he spat the word out with a glare towards the Slytherin before continuing, "A week ago, Harry had a bit of a temper."
Harry's drifting gaze snapped back to Ron and raised an eyebrow, but Ron wasn't looking at him, staring resolutely at the Headmaster instead. "He and Zabini got into a fight, they took the chance to have a little 'time apart'."
Harry froze and turned to stare incredulously at Blaise, who was slowly sinking lower and lower into his seat. He had a sneaking suspicion where Ron was going with this...
"While they were cooling off, Zabini here had a little conquest," Ron spat out the word with disgust, turning furious eyes on Harry's boyfriend. Well, ex-boyfriend now, if Harry had anything to say about it. The room went silent and Harry could practically feel the rolling of Snape's eyes, the darkening of McGonagall's; the anger rolling off Ron and Blaise who was absolutely seething.
Hermione was glancing over them with an analytical gaze that rivalled Dumbledore's. And to be honest, Harry was feeling rather numb.
"Who?" Harry whispered as he glanced at Blaise nervously. He didn't want to meet Blaise's dark eyes, for fear that they would see right through him. Part of him was relieved – this was what he wanted, right? Yet a much smaller part of him was angry that Blaise had cheated on him before Harry had done anything with Draco. Well, anything serious, anyway.
Blaise was silent and he shifted uncomfortably when he realized that all eyes were on him. For a usually confident Slytherin, Blaise was feeling a little in too deep in hot water, so he felt himself to be rather severely outnumbered.
"Go on, tell us, Zabini," Ron sneered angrily, his fists clenching on the armrests. "Tell us, tell him. Tell Harry who you've corrupted this time."
"Mr. Weasley, that is enough. Five points from Gryffindor, for provoking a student," Professor McGonagall snapped out hastily, weary of the fact that Snape looked like he wanted to dock a little bit more than just five points, if the sour curling of his lips was any indication.
Professor McGonagall's voice seemed to linger in the air, for it was the only voice that had spoken out until nearly a full minute later. Blaise's eyes flickered over the trio once before settling on Harry.
Harry felt his throat close up as their eyes met and held. Why was he so nervous about this?
Of course, Blaise was his first real boyfriend and this would be his first breakup. To be honest, being with Blaise Zabini was probably his first real relationship. Cho Chang had been... Harry didn't even have a name to whatever disaster that had been because frankly it didn't even count as a fling.
And Ginny Weasley last year had only helped Harry to realize that he liked the male sex instead.
So... when it came down to it, Harry supposed that he was just nervous and a little apprehensive about how a breakup would actually be. Would he cry? Would he be angry when he found out who it was that Blaise was cheating on him with?
Why would Harry care anyway? Wasn't he sort of with Draco now?
Finally, Harry cleared his throat again, steadying his gaze with Blaise's as he repeated, "Who?"
Then with only a heartbeat of hesitation, Blaise whispered, "Neville Longbottom."
Ron looked smug as he sat back in his chair, satisfied. Hermione looked torn between horrified and grateful that Harry's problems had been solved; only this proved to have some complications in the friendship between Neville and the trio. Would it completely alienate their friend from them because of a cheating boyfriend?
"But Harry," Blaise continued, undaunted, and not once did his eyes leave Harry's. Everyone in the room tensed as if they knew that something else would be thrown in to complicate matters further. Blaise's eyes hardened as they did a thorough scrutiny over Harry's face. "What about you?"
Harry's throat suddenly went dry at his ex-boyfriend's words. If it were even possible, the awkwardness and tenseness in the room had risen, as if they were walking on eggshells around each other.
Blaise didn't wait for Harry to say anything else. He continued while Harry waited with bated breath. Blaise seemed to be stalling with his accusation, but in the end, he brought it up to one momentous point.
"You aren't faithful to me either. Draco Malfoy, ring any bells?" he spat scathingly when he finished. Harry paled and he figured that everyone in the room had their eyes on him. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Snape shifting rather uncomfortably and, for a single moment, remembered that he'd kissed him as well. Not that it was really serious, but he felt that perhaps even Dumbledore might have seen through them.
Thankfully, any business regarding Snape hadn't been brought up, but Harry, inspired with an idea, spoke up this time.
"I started with Draco yesterday, Blaise," Harry spoke quietly though, because he felt like this was something that was just between him and his ex. Blaise's eyes flashed as Harry resumed speaking after a short pause, "How long have you been with Neville?"
Blaise hesitated for a moment, but scowled when Snape's hand went to his pocket and retrieved a bottle of Veritaserum. Inwardly, Harry winced as memories of him and Blaise working together on improving the Veritaserum with their theories rushed back into his mind. A long, tapered finger tapped the surface of the glass phial as Blaise fixed his dark eyes on the potion.
"Remember that time you were called up to Professor McGonagall's office?" Blaise began, shifting uncomfortably as the professor in question turned her eyes on him sharply. Harry nodded slowly. It hadn't been that long ago, so Harry remembered the situation quite clearly, but still, it was a few weeks ago. Blaise licked his lips, his eyes straying away from the bottle of Veritaserum as he focused on a spot over Harry's left right shoulder. "Longbottom came to inform you, you went to her office, I turned, he walked away, and I called him back. I snogged him for a bit just to scare him. Simple."
"And...?" Hermione looked at Blaise expectantly. If the Slytherin thought he was going to get away with just that, he had another thing coming. Hermione wasn't one of the most perceptive witches for nothing. From the look of satisfaction on Dumbledore's face, Harry suspected that he was expecting more from Blaise than what he had just given.
The vial of Veritaserum in Snape's hand was slowly being unstoppered in a threatening manner. Harry had never seen Snape wanting to get the students from his own house in trouble – except, maybe, for that time that he had caught Blaise 'ravishing' him in the dungeon corridors near the Slytherin common room and had taken off fifty points.
"I honestly didn't want it to go any further than that," Blaise whispered, shamefaced, and this time, his eyes met Harry's. His stomach somersaulted when he realized that no Veritaserum would be needed to feel the sincerity in Blaise's words. "I was really ashamed of myself when I realized what I had done. But then... Longbottom wanted more. You do realize that no one has actually gone after him for a relationship before, right?"
The trio exchanged guilty glances. Aside from the disastrous partnership of Neville Longbottom and Ginny Weasley for the Yule Ball three years prior, there hadn't been any love interest for their shy, clumsy friend. Inwardly, Harry felt a stab of shame at the thought.
"I don't want to make it seem like I'm the bad guy here," Blaise continued, glaring at Ron when the boy snorted with derision. "But I'm telling you the truth. I kissed him just to see a reaction, but then he got really clingy. At the time, I suppose I wasn't thinking clearly. Harry was always off doing his duties and we couldn't do what other normal couples do because he was usually working."
"Don't put the blame on Harry," Ron snapped, narrowing his eyes at Blaise.
"I'm not," Blaise interrupted icily as he sneered at Ron. The expression washed away when he looked at Harry again and for a moment, the Gryffindor was reminded of the good times he had spent with Blaise despite what had happened in the end. "I really do like you, Harry. We had a great time together, but you were always doing your duties-"
"As he should! He's the Head Boy, after all," Professor McGonagall cut in with a sniff. Dumbledore raised his arm to silence everyone then gestured for Blaise to continue speaking.
"And I guess I started to feel a little neglected," Blaise finished lamely, sighing as he did so. Harry felt waves of anger ripple through his body.
"Neglected? If anyone has been neglected, it's probably Ron and Hermione. I gave up a huge amount of time just to be with you, and I can see now that I'm the one to blame for that. But there is no way that I'm going to give up my friends for a boyfriend. Mates before dates, ever heard of it?" Harry snapped angrily, feeling the usual protectiveness for his two best friends settling over him. Beside him, Ron and Hermione swelled with pride.
Blaise nodded quietly as Harry glared angrily at him. The room was no longer charged with awkwardness, but with anger and frustration. Finally, Harry spoke up.
"So while we were... separated for the week, you went to Neville, right?" he asked, watching Blaise's reaction warily. Instead of blowing up with anger or snapping back at him, Blaise merely nodded his head resignedly.
This time, Dumbledore's voice filled the silence. "I think we've come to a conclusion. I think that deducting points and a week's worth of detention should suffice. Mr. Zabini, thirty points for duelling in the corridors, as well as thirty points from Mr. Weasley. Both of you will serve your detentions, separately, with your Head of House. I do not wish to see any more fighting between the both of you and ask that if problems such as this arise in the future, that you deal with it in a mature manner."
With that, the four students were dismissed with the two professors, who were keeping an eye on them. Harry didn't know what else to feel aside from numbness.
It wasn't right to judge Blaise because Harry wasn't really in love with him. He liked Blaise, a lot, but there was a difference in how he liked Blaise and... how he liked Draco.
Shouldn't he have felt angry? But no, Harry couldn't feel anything at all. Blaise approached him as soon as they were out of Dumbledore's office. Professors Snape and McGonagall looked as if they were ready to separate the two, and Ron looked positively murderous but then Blaise held out a hand to Harry with pleading eyes.
"I don't think the two of us can pursue a relationship anymore, but..." Blaise gave him a small smile, "to be honest, I still like you and I still want to be friends. If you can forgive me, I'd like if you'd accompany me to Hogsmeade some time. As friends," he added hastily when he saw anger start to stir in Harry's eyes.
But the anger soon dissipated as Harry clutched Blaise's hand and the two shook on it. Harry felt a moment of surprise take him when Blaise pulled him forward, but soon he was in a familiar embrace and felt a soft kiss being placed against his temple.
"I'm going to miss this, Potter," he whispered, stroking his neck gently, almost longingly, before pulling away and walking off towards the dungeons. Harry's bottom lip was worried between his teeth as he watched his ex-boyfriend go, and then walked away to his own dorm without a word to either of the shocked professors or his dumbfounded friends.
By the time breakfast rolled around on Sunday morning, almost everyone knew about Harry and Blaise's breakup. Those who were too shy to ask them about it wisely kept their distance, but those who were brave (read: foolish) enough to confront either Harry or Blaise about it found themselves at wand-point.
"Now Harry," Hermione said calmly as she pulled Harry's arm down and tucked the wand into his pocket for him, "That's the sixth time I had to stop you from hexing the other students. If you do, Professor Dumbledore will think you're unfit to be Head Boy."
"What if I don't want to be Head Boy anymore, Hermione?" Harry snapped bitingly as they made their way to the Great Hall for breakfast. Harry had the dreaded feeling that even more students would try to squeeze information out of him for the rest of the week. Luckily, all they got was stares as they entered the Great Hall and sat down to eat.
Harry slowly ate his bacon with his fingers while Ron wolfed down his food. Hermione chose to eat cereal that morning as she read the Daily Prophet from Seamus. The usual bustle of breakfast time at Hogwarts filled his ears, as well as the familiar scent of the many varieties of food.
At the Head Table, Dumbledore was chatting merrily to a sour looking Snape, who sipped his black coffee without so much as sparing a glance for the Headmaster. As usual, Hermione and Ron started bickering about something – Harry tuned them out as he scanned over the Slytherin table.
Draco was there. But Crabbe and Goyle sat on either side of him, instead of Pansy and Blaise. The latter two in question were seated further down the table, talking quietly to each other.
Harry watched as Blaise shook his head and hissed something back to Pansy. She sneered at him, then stood up to walk to Draco. Harry watched the situation unfold with interest. The blond-haired boy tilted his head backwards when Pansy tapped his shoulder.
She said something to him which caused him to stand abruptly and follow her out the doors to the Great Hall. Crabbe and Goyle looked a little uncertain for a few moments before they shrugged to each other and continued to eat. Harry's eyes went back to Blaise again. He was eating rather slowly and looked rather downtrodden.
As if sensing that he was being stared at, Blaise lifted his head and their eyes met. Harry gave him a tentative smile which went by completely unnoticed by his friends at the Gryffindor table. Blaise jerked his head towards the entrance and Harry got the hint. He nodded and waited a minute after Blaise had left before following him out afterwards with the excuse that he had to get something from his rooms.
As soon as he left the Great Hall and entered the Entrance Hall, he spotted Blaise on the far side, leaning against one of the pillars. A quick glance over the room, just to check, assured Harry that they were the only ones there.
He quickly walked over to Blaise and nodded. "What do you want?" he kept his voice cordial but the fact that just two days ago, they had been kissing, made his stomach churn in weird ways.
"Just to talk to you. I miss you," he said truthfully as he made a gesture towards the massive doorway. He and Harry made their way outside and sat on the front steps in the cool environment outside. The Christmas holidays would be starting next week and already, there had been a little snowfall around Hogwarts and the Forbidden Forest.
Harry smiled weakly at him as they huddled together on one side to keep warm. "You know, after breaking up with a boyfriend, I think this is probably the last thing we should be doing," Harry teased, nudging Blaise gently.
Blaise nodded with a small smile as he leaned into Harry's warmth. "True that. But I like to think that we were more than just boyfriends. We had a good friendship, didn't we?"
Harry didn't hesitate to think 'yes', but it took a little while for him to actually voice his answer. Blaise watched him inquiringly but Harry shook his head.
"Yes, we did. Sorry, I was just thinking."
"How we came to this."
This time, an awkward silence settled over the both of them. Harry shifted uncomfortably as he felt Blaise slowly move away from him so that they were no longer pressed so tightly against each other. Their knees were still touching, however.
"It's my fault," Blaise confessed with a resigned sigh as he glared at the dark skies overhead. "I shouldn't have... with Longbottom. I shouldn't have cheated on you."
"No you shouldn't have," Harry admitted quietly as he watched the clouds in the sky start to thicken. Another awkward pause, then Harry continued, "But I'm glad you did."
"That sounds rather cruel, Harry," Blaise pointed out with a slight sniff. Harry smiled and playfully nudged him again. "Using me to get to Draco. Absolutely Slytherin."
Harry remained silent for a moment. It was kind of true, that in the end, he used the cheating Blaise as a means to get out of the relationship and into Draco's arms, but it hadn't been that initially. At the start, he was slightly confused and a little intrigued. Finally getting to have a relationship with someone who was so attractive, smart and humorous – Blaise was a bloody catch and Harry knew it. It was exciting to finally have someone who he could kiss and cuddle with, hold hands with and talk to when he got bored. It was just the general appeal of having a first boyfriend which Harry couldn't resist.
But then, at some point, he had started liking Blaise's best friend, Draco Malfoy. Harry could remember numerous times when he had felt guilty. Heck, the kisses with Snape, as much as he may or may not have enjoyed them, didn't make him feel as guilty of his actions, than the secret feelings that he started to harbour for the blond Slytherin.
There were some points during their intimate rapport where Harry wished he wasn't in a relationship with Blaise. Sometimes he'd get annoyed when the older boy wanted him to be around, especially when Harry had to do Head Boy duties, or merely when he wanted to spend some of that time with the neglected Ron and Hermione.
He didn't know, nor could he pinpoint, the exact moment when he had started to long for Draco Malfoy instead, when, in his mind, he would picture the blond kissing him, devouring him, instead of Blaise Zabini. At times, it frightened him, that he might accidentally let slip of Draco's name while he was with Blaise. Thankfully, no such thing happened, since he forced himself to keep himself in check. As a result, however, he wasn't as passionate with Blaise when they were snogging.
"I wasn't using you... like that," Harry mumbled after a moment, subconsciously scooting closer to Blaise's warm body when he felt a particularly cold blast of air draft over them. In the distance, the trees in the Forbidden Forrest began to sway with the wind. "But I guess then, you're right."
Blaise didn't say anything, opting to stay silent as Harry spilled his thoughts. "I just started liking Draco. When we slowly drifted apart, the feelings for him grew until I couldn't let them go unnoticed anymore.
I wanted to ignore them at first, but then that week came when I got angry at you," Harry didn't tell him about the incident involving his hand and Draco's beauty products. It would probably make the situation a lot worse. "Then it turns out that you were with Neville anyway."
Blaise finally reacted and he gave Harry a cool stare. "And you were with Draco," he pointed out.
"But you were with Neville," Harry argued back, frowning slightly. Blaise raised his eyes heavenwards and mouthed something that could have been 'brat' before he turned over to smile at Harry.
"It feels like we're still together and just arguing about something trivial," Blaise shot him a grin, which Harry returned. "We're still friends, right?"
Harry nodded slowly, then backed away as Blaise drew closer. He could feel his heart hammering in his chest as he remembered that Blaise casually kissed his friends, no matter who, or where, they were. He closed his eyes momentarily when a flash of bright sunlight reflected off the white, enchanted snow. Blaise's breath was hot against his cold lips before he felt the soft warmth close over him again. They kissed for a few seconds before Blaise drew back and gave Harry a grin.
Harry flushed and, inwardly, he berated himself for getting kissed, and kissing, Blaise Zabini after they were meant to have broken up. The dark-skinned Slytherin reached a hand down to hoist Harry up and they made their way back into the warm interiors of the Hogwarts castle.
What Harry failed to see as he went to meet up with Ron and Hermione, was the second flash of a camera.
Rice-Ball247: yeah, I don't know what I was thinking either. Sometimes I'm just like, what, really? Why did you write that?! I guess until that rewrite comes, I'll leave the original chapters up as they should have been.
Also, I uploaded this file directly from MS Word, why does it get rid of all the formatting (italics, bold, underline, etc)? This is my 3rd time formatting this chapter and it's driving me bonkers.