A/N: Things you should know… hmm. Set in the seventh year, choosing to write as if Voldemort was defeated over the summer. Part 1 of 3, wanted to get it up before I go on vacation. Likely no update for a couple weeks. Review, if you like, let me know if there's anything you really want to see in part 3!

Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling, not me. No money being made here.

Taking the Dare

Chapter 1

How'd I get into this? Why don't I ever remember that Fred and George versions of games are a bad idea? Harry pushed his eggs around on his plate. His head ached, his skin was crawling, and Seamus hadn't been awake to hand out hangover potions that morning. The eggs were making him nauseous. Harry pushed the plate away with a groan.

He looked up and down the table. Ron looked sicker than Harry felt—good, he's the one who brought the firewhiskey—and Neville looked about ready to pass out in his porridge. Dean hadn't been in the Great Hall when Harry stumbled down to breakfast, which seemed strange, since he hadn't been in his bed or the common room. Hermione was giving them her Prefect glare of disapproval, when she deigned to look at them at all. The first-years were entirely too cheerful… If I were in Slytherin, I'd hex them all.

It wasn't really that he minded the hangover. He'd earned it, and it had been fun. It was just… He'd agreed to the game, and then Seamus brought out a garish green and teal box, covered in flashing text. "Truth or Dare?"it said, then flashed to a new phrase. "How honest are your friends? How daring can you be? Find out—or suffer the consequences!"

They'd laughed, and Seamus said he'd only gotten it because Fred and George wanted a "field test." And it didn't seem so bad—it was just a charmed crystal globe, and came with a guarantee that no answer or action would be forced. They'd even tested it first, lying in response to a question and then howling with laughter when Ron turned bright purple with the word "liar" scrawled in red across his face. The effect disappeared after Ron admitted that yes, he'd slept with Hermione. And when Dean refused to accept a dare, he said it just felt like ants crawling over his skin and a buzzing in his head until he leaned over and pecked Harry on the lips. There was even a canceling charm, clearly marked and labeled "In Case of Emergency."

Harry laughed bitterly, and immediately regretted it as his head exploded with even more pain. Like that stupid charm does me any good now. Stupid, stupid, stupid…

If they hadn't lost that spell, everything would have been fine. The second Ron had given him the dare, he'd paled and taken it back, but Harry's skin had already started to prickle. Dean had just collapsed laughing, Seamus had stared at Ron (eyes not quite focusing), and Neville had lunged for the box, mumbling about "don't worry, Harry, I'll fix this." Which would have been great, really, but drunken Neville was even clumsier, and he'd knocked the box over, spilling the contents into the fireplace. And Harry had watching his salvation turn to ash.

I just have to hold out for a couple days. Just a couple days of torture.

Of course they'd immediately written a note to Fred, explaining what had happened. And in the morning, when Harry and Ron couldn't figure out what they'd written, they'd sent a follow-up to George with Hedwig. Hopefully, receiving two letters almost at the same time would get the twins to actually read it, and answer quickly. It wasn't unusual for them to leave letters from their brother unanswered for weeks…

They'll answer, they have to answer… I'm their primary investor! They have to tell us how to undo this!

"Harry…"

Harry looked up at Ron's whimper. I'm not talking to him… How could he make that dare, even as a joke?

"Harry, I'm sorry… I wasn't thinking… Please? Say something?"

On the other hand, they are his brothers. They might send the charm to him. Harry sighed. And he really didn't mean it.

"It's okay, Ron," he managed to grit out. "My head's just aching, and the crawling skin thing is really annoying at this point. Couldn't you have dared me to steal something from Snape, if you wanted me dead so bad?"

Hermione was edging towards them, trying not to look curious. Harry tried not to notice, tried to keep his focus on talking to Ron. Which was hard enough, with the bees in his head and the ants on his skin and…

"Maybe I should just do it," he mused.

Ron's face went white, making his freckles stand out even more. "You can't, Harry, you just… can't."

"He can't what?"

Huh. Guess finding out what happened is more important than disapproving. Should ask what she thinks I should do… Wait, I know what she'll say. "Oh, Harry, how could you be so irresponsible? And Ron, why would you think anything your brothers sent was a good idea?"

And then we'll have to tell her about the drinking, and she'll get even worse. And Ron will be in disgrace, and I'll feel worse than I do, and I'll still be about to jump out of my skin because of this damn itch!

"Gah! All right, I give!" Ron and Hermione looked at him in surprise. "We got pissed, and tried a prototype of a game Fred and George sent, and yes it was stupid and no we shouldn't have been drinking and yes Ron's an idiot but that doesn't change the fact that if I don't snog Malfoy I'm going to go fucking insane so could you stop lecturing and just help me?"

His friends stared at him, looking vaguely frightened. Finally, Hermione put her hand hesitantly on Harry's arm.

"Er… I haven't lectured… I mean, I knew you were drinking last night, but what's this about Fred and George and of course I'll help you, but… why do you have to snog Malfoy? I didn't even think you liked him."

Oh… Great, this is just great. I'm giving myself Hermione lectures now. Harry felt his composure slip completely away as Ron started to explain the previous night to Hermione. The two kept glancing over at him with worried expressions, but he couldn't bring himself to care. He just stared over at the Slytherin table, where a blond boy was smirking at his friends, and wondered if it would really be so bad to give in to the buzzing need in his head.