So we've already figured out how to make it a repeated message using the Ventriloqutious on the recordings, but if we're going to use it to successfully draw her away, it's got to be --

-- Got to be sequential, yeah. Activate each with the previous on a delay?

Or maybe proximity once the overall enchantment is initiated?

No, that would depend on her biting at once, too easy to --

Fair. Change the tense, sequentially indicative prefixes, modifying phrase, or physical directive distribution?

Have to keep it simple, there'll be fourth-years doing this. Tense modification can be too confusing. What if we try prefixive modification? Primaventriloqutious, Sequeventriloqutious, Tertioventrilo --

We can't have them follow one another instantly, though, loses the entire traveling effect. What if --

"Oh, merde." Terry's whispered exclamation broke the conversation as abruptly as a shout, and Michael blinked, disoriented by the loss of the connection between them even as he felt his own face pale to match his friend's at the look in the deep blue eyes fixed somewhere in the distance over his shoulder. He started to turn and look, but a miniscule shake of Terry's head stopped him, and he froze, barely daring to move his lips.

"What?"

"Amycus."

"Where?"

"Over there. Watching us. I think he's been there a while." Terry still looked frightened, but Michael let out a sigh of relief, shifting position from where he was only just realizing his knees had grown painfully frozen curled beneath him on the hard stone bench. Working outside had seemed like a good idea at first, even if the November weather was bitter cold, but even if their own concentration had rendered futile the initial idea that they couldn't be barged in on unexpectedly, there was still not so much as an incriminating scrap of parchment between them, and he reached out, squeezing the other young wizard's hand in reassurance.

No big deal, Terry. Nothing to see. He can watch us all day.

Another tiny shake of the head, and Terry bit his lip nervously, tucking the pencil he had been playing idly with behind one ear. That's the problem. Suspicious as hell, don't you think? Us off in a nook just staring at each other? Even if he doesn't deduce Legilimency, Snape will when he tells him.

He was right, of course, and Michael's heart clenched as a thousand possibilities cascaded through his all-too-vivid imagination, each offering new and increasingly unpleasant options the Headmaster might use on them in an attempt to break into their shared secret. Or simply break their ability to use it. As if he were no farther away than Terry, his father's voice sounded through almost a year of loss, and he closed his eyes, as much from the unexpected grief of the recollection as from the horrible ideas it summoned. I look for the biological root of magic through genetics, but it's not a new science. Some of the first indications that it might be physiological came from the use of potions which destroyed portions of the brain to inhibit magical ability. Horrible toxins, strictly forbidden... But Snape would know them.

Mike, take a deep breath. I'm not going to let him do anything like that to you, not if I have to AK the bastard.

Despite himself, Michael felt his mouth curve into a gentle smile as his eyes opened again to Terry's. Don't be melodramatic. Still, we have to.... He trailed off, his gaze falling on a bit of grafitti magically burned into the bench. RW + LB inside a rather lopsided heart. The smile widened, and he knew his eyes were glittering with the spark of a new idea as they locked onto his best friend's. Do you think I'm beautiful, Terry?

The blue eyes blinked rapidly several times behind the wire-framed glasses, Terry's mouth parting inadvertently in shock at the question. "I..." He stopped, then shook his head briskly, clearing the confusion. Of course you are, why the morologia?

Then look at me like you know it.

But, Mike....

Why would two teenagers sneak off together? Stephen and Derek last week...better to be damned for homosexuals than Legilimens.

He scooted closer on the bench until their legs were touching, never breaking eye contact as his hands came up to rest lightly on Terry's shoulders, allowing all the emotion he felt for this youth who was more than brother to him to shine through his face. There was no acting necessary to love him, just love him with every bit of his soul, but he rarely let himself just feel it this completely, because it was so overwhelming as to be a little bit frightening, and he heard a tiny gasp escape his lips, a shiver running through him at the raw, almost feral depth of it. You're beautiful too, Terry. I wish you could see that. Not just your eyes, either.

Terry flinched back, closing his eyes at the compliment and trying to turn away, but Michael's hands were clasped behind his neck now. You don't have to...he can't hear us.

I'm not saying it to him. I'm saying it to you.

You're the pretty one.

I'm the pin-up. But you're no half-cast spell either. Sometimes I almost wish I could fancy wizards, because you already mean so much to me, and I know if I did, even a little, I'd lose myself in you so easily. You're already so much everything to me, adelphos. Philia et agape...

He wasn't trying to pull away any more, and it wasn't even really for Amycus' benefit now that Michael closed the last few inches between them, brushing Terry's mouth with his, both shocked and not to find them echoing a smile. Presque chaque jour, je souhaite la meme chose.

Pour ce moment, pretendre que vous n'avez pas reve.

The kiss was uncertain at first, edged on barriers neither quite understood and both knew completely, barely a whisper of lip to lip, then the tight set of Terry's shoulders seemed to melt beneath his hands, and arms that had become recently stronger than he had realized were around his waist, pulling them in together until their bodies breathed under one rhythm. It was real in every way that they were, no act at all and so much more than what it was meant to appear to be, expressing every layer of the love that Michael wondered if any other couple in this school - in this world - who could claim simple eros even began to understand.

What a pity if they didn't, because even as some faint part of him heard the Death Eater's roar of outrage, knew what was about to come, his mouth was still reluctant to edge away from Terry's, teeth and tongue lingering across the moisture of his lower lip, and the rest of himself was reflected in cobalt that lazed open just in time to lace their hands together and brace themselves before le vilain petit monde cracked over them again.

THE END