The room looked strange to him.
Blurred images became steadily clearer the more Harry Potter blinked. Cream-colored walls, decorated with a few posters of the Holyhead Harpies, and one moving picture of a jauntily-waving Edgar Threws, lead singer of the band the Spouting Kraken. Did someone redecorate my room? Harry thought uncertainly.
The last time he'd checked, his room at Grimmauld Place had been rather dingier, and not filled with the light of the morning sun. His bedclothes were tan, not dark blue, and his pillow was not nearly as comfortable as what he was laying his head on. What the--?
A sleepy snore interrupted his thoughts, causing Harry's eyelids to pop open. That snore had not come from him.
The moment he saw red hair, he had a vague, confused feeling that Susan Bones had somehow tricked him into bed, even after their break up almost a year ago. Harry gazed down at the witch in horror; Susan had been all right as a blind date, and even when they'd sort of fallen into a little relationship, it'd been fine. She was pretty and funny, and those qualities managed to offset the fact that she'd giggled incessantly and had been a little too aware of who she was with.
It was when Susan had begun dropping hints about getting married of all things that Harry had taken a large step back. Kissing was fun and everything, but it wasn't worth getting married.
Harry shuddered, squeezing his eyes shut. The memories of the night before were hazy and shadowy, even though his head felt too clear for a hangover. The sense of what the bloody hell is going on grew and grew, along with horror. Thankfully, Harry'd never slept with Susan (nor with any other witch, actually); she would've been expecting things from him for sure...
Why would Susan Bones have a poster of the Holyhead Harpies in her room? a little voice asked.
Blinking, Harry looked down at the top of the red-haired witch's head. He could feel a wet spot on his chest where she was drooling through his shirt. At least I'm fully clothed, thought Harry. He even still had his boots on. The color of the hair was all wrong for Susan, anyway. Susan's hair was more of a strawberry blond, not even a true red, but this witch had hair the color of fire. Even rumpled as it was, it was long, spreading out over him like another blanket.
Oh shit, Harry thought glumly.
Memories of the night before came steadily back. Victoire Weasley's first birthday party had been Harry's number one priority for the second of May. He hadn't been hiding out, of course; he'd done his bit as defeater of Voldemort for three years, and he didn't think they needed to hear another speech from him. So it had been pink balloons charmed in different animal shapes, a large cake made by the proud grandmum, and company with people who had lost more than he had, and felt like celebrating even less.
Eventually, tea had led to two glasses of firewhisky -- not nearly enough alcohol to find himself in this situation -- and conversation with the Weasley brothers. And then, once everyone had either started to pair up or leave, Ginny Weasley had come over. They'd started talking, and when she'd brought out a little blue bottle, Harry hadn't thought anything of it. He had thought it strange that she wouldn't try any of it -- he'd been around George long enough to know not to trust a Weasley with little bottles -- but nothing untoward had happened to her (other than the look of shock on her face) when he poured half the potion into her mouth, so he'd wasted no time in smirking at her before downing his half.
Harry wished he could close his eyes against the memories that were now marching (along with horror, fascination, and, he had to admit, even amusement) through his brain. The little blue potion had sparked a lively discussion that eventually led to Ginny challenging Harry to go give Dumbledore's statue's beard a little trim. Since this was something he'd been wanting to do for a while, Harry had given in relatively quickly.
One thing had led to another. After sneaking out of the Ministry of Magic, both of them huddled under Harry's cloak, Harry had, in turn, dared her to charm the gates of Hogwarts pink. Instead of stopping there, the evening had progressed with a series of escalating dares, culminating in--
"Harry?!" Ginny whispered, lifting her head of his chest, and gaping at him.
"Er," said Harry. Her cheeks were still flushed with sleep, and her eyes were unfocused and half-shut, and much to his own horror, he felt a stir of interest in his trousers. She -- but -- Ron's little sister -- doesn't even have feelings, his mind sputtered. But his body didn't seem to realize that it was having an inappropriate reaction; when Ginny moved, threatening to take the bedclothes with her, Harry wrestled for it.
"Did we really steal dragon dung from WWW and--"
"Light it on fire and drop it off in front of Malfoy's house?" Harry asked, immensely relieved to be distracted. "Yes." But before he could add his private opinion that that had actually been a good idea, rather than the monumentally stupid, not to mention dangerous, dare that had ended the evening, Ginny tumbled off the bed.
"I'm going to kill George," she said, righting herself. "I can't believe -- did we actually -- what the hell was in that bottle?"
"You're the one who gave it to me!" Harry cried, lifting his hands when she turned to glare at him.
"George said that all it would do was relax you a little," wailed Ginny. Harry watched, open-mouthed, as she paced; he'd never seen her so overset, which meant that she probably remembered--
But then her words hit him. "What?" said Harry. Belatedly, he groped for the nightstand and his hand found his wand and his glasses. "Relax me?" he asked incredulously. Somewhere along the way, his erection had gone down, and Harry scrambled out of the sheets. "Relax me? I didn't have a sensical thought in my bloody head!"
"Neither of us did," Ginny said. Then she gasped; Harry swiveled his head back toward her and watched as a crimson flush spread from her cheeks to her neck. "Oh shit," she breathed, panicked eyes met his. "Tell me... tell me we didn't," she said. "Tell me that the -- tell me that the Auror trainee didn't--"
"I think he did," Harry answered honestly. The fault with that lay entirely with him, he could remember that clearly enough. In order to swear an Unbreakable Vow, one had to have a bonder. Ginny had balked for the first time, saying there was no way in hell that she'd let any of her brothers be in charge of something so sensitive, and that Hermione would surely talk them out of it. Instead of being sane and rational, Harry had ordered one of the Auror trainees to Apparate immediately to them, despite the fact that the trainees were on their yearly hiatus, and Harry had no control over them until June.
They'd been hiding in Hogsmeade, after knotting all of Professor McGonagall's shoelaces together.
As much as Harry wanted to believe that they hadn't just done something incredibly stupid, he could see it happening vividly in his mind. They'd knelt together on the street, clasping hands; Ginny's brown eyes had been lit by challenge. And even with all of Trainee Williams' stuttered protests (not least because he'd been startled out of bed by a patronus at two in the morning), Harry had been completely incapable of backing down.
"Harry?" Ginny asked. "Did we actually make an Unbreakable Vow that we'd have sex with each other?"
"We have a year," Harry said absently. The trainee had at least convinced him of that.
"But," she gestured with her hand, indicating the space between them. "You. And I. We're going to have sex--"
"With each other," Harry supplied helpfully.
"Or we're going to die," Ginny said flatly.
"Yep," Harry said, mind whirling. "But--"
"But?" Ginny said hopefully.
"But your brothers might kill me before we can... you know," Harry said. "Have sex."
"Shit," they said in unison.