"Blaise...! Blaise, wait up!" Ron called. His head was pounding and his vision was beginning to blur and redden again; he could still see but he knew there was no way he would be able to catch up to the other teen. Every step he took jarred his head and seemed to increase the pain. It was dangerous, really, for him to be on the stairs when his head hurt this badly but he had a goal in mind and he wasn't going to be diverted from it. "Please wait…"

Blaise slowed and halted, turning to look back, looking quite concerned. "Ron...? You shouldn't be out here; you should be lying down..." he said worriedly, moving back up the stairs to meet him much to Ron's relief.

"You forgot your robes and tie…" Ron said simply, handing them to him when he finally drew close to him. He made a herculean effort to hide his pain to try to keep the dark-skinned teen to worry about him, giving him a faint smile to try to conceal things "…and I wanted to apologize."

He took his things, studying Ron's face. He could see right through his act and the pain was evident. "You have nothing to apologize for, Ron. You haven't done a single thing wrong."

He looked a bit relieved and his smile, though pained, became genuine. "Good, I really wasn't sure if I'd done something or not. I'm glad didn't make you upset. Really, I'm apologizing for Hermione's behavior. She's really acting weird; she's usually yelling at me for being an insensitive thoughtless prat and I usually deserve it. Maybe she was just taking her turn or something today." He said trying not to wince as his head made regular throbs in time with his now racing heart.

"You still didn't do anything." Blaise said, his eyes revealing his concern. "You need some sort of treatment; I don't like to see you hurting like this."

"It's not as bad as it was the other day, at least I can still see." he said, trying to make it sound a little less intense than it was. "Ari's busy, and I don't wanna be around Hermione right now. My only option at this point is to head over to the hospital wing." he said, eyes lowered.

"Would it be okay if I walk you there? I'd like to make sure you get there okay." Blaise offered, half-expecting to be refused. If he was, he would simply follow at a distance to be sure that the redhead arrived at his destination without any trouble. To his great relief, that wasn't going to be necessary.

Ron's smile faded to one that reflected more of the pain he was suffering. "You know, I think that's a really good idea. It sure wouldn't take much to fall down these stupid stairs." he said, turning to head toward the hospital wing. "Thanks, Blaise; I really appreciate this." He said.

"It's not a problem, not at all." Blaise said, finally smiling softly in response.

The two walked in companionable silence as they moved through the halls to the hospital wing. Blaise watched the Gryffindor closely, ready to help him if at all necessary but keeping his hands to himself. He didn't like at all how pale Ron was, though he seemed to be gaining some color back by the end of their trek down the stairs and through the hallways to the remotely located hospital wing.

Madame Pomfrey was remaking beds with practiced flourishes of her wand when they arrived, but she stopped that work and turned to face them when they moved in. It only took one look at the pinched and pained expression on Ron's face for her to know precisely what was going on; she allowed the sheets she was levitating simply fall back into their basket. "Good heavens, Mr. Weasley! Another headache?" she asked worriedly, hurrying over. Her concern only served to increase Blaise's worry. Madame Pomfrey was all business, but she usually didn't get so serious unless the problem was something of true concern.

"It's better, a little." Ron answered. "It isn't as bad now as it was when I started this way." he admitted as he let her guide him to a seat on one of the beds.

"It really did hit him suddenly..." Blaise said in a concerned tone. "He was fine less than an hour ago; all we were doing was reading and it hit him..."

"Reading?" She frowned thoughtfully. "What happened the last time you had one? We really need to try to figure out what it is that you are doing each time you have one of these nasty headaches…"

Ron frowned. "I was walking… out by the woods." He said vaguely; he didn't want to tell her why or where it had happened.

"Never the same thing twice." She scowled. "So how many have there been this month?"

"This was the third; the last was the worst one. It got so bad I couldn't see or even walk. I'd been down by the lake and couldn't find my way back to the castle." he said softly.

"And I'm only seeing you now?" Her tone was biting and accusatory and she waggled an admonishing finger at him. "I told you to come to me immediately when you get these; there has to be something that is triggering them! I cannot locate the source if you don't come to me!"

"But Madam Pomfrey, Arian tended to me. She and Draco found me out on the edge of the tree line; she sent me off to bed to sleep with a potion and the headache was completely gone by morning." he said sheepishly, but was relieved to see her expression smooth into a smile.

"Ah, yes... quite a little healer, that Miss Black. I just sent her back to her tower a few moments ago; I'm surprised you didn't run into her in the hallways." she commented as she waved her wand, completing her diagnostics of him. "Well, once again I see nothing at all that could cause this. You, like all your brothers, are as healthy as a hippogriff."

"There's never any cause." Ron sighed, rubbing his temples, wishing that it could help him get rid of the ache.

Pomfrey looked very serious. "I will tell you this, Mr. Weasley, and you must keep it in mind. If your disabling headaches continue, I will be required to discuss this situation with your parents. I think you need to spend a few weeks in St. Mungo's for a full study of your condition. You are nearly of age but you cannot possibly work with such a disability." she said thoughtfully.

Ron looked horrified at the thought of staying in the Hospital for Magical Maladies long enough for a complete study of anything. That could take months, even years! "No, I... I'm sure it will all get better. It was much worse earlier, it's just a headache now. If I just have something to help me to sleep, I'm sure it will go away again." He said quickly, trying to minimize it so that she would not keep talking about sending him to the hospital.

"Yes, of course; but keep in mind that you may need that visit to the hospital, Mr. Weasley. It may be the only answer to what is causing all this pain for you." She said, moving off to fetch the potion.

"I don't think she'd suggest it if it was something that wouldn't help you, Ron." Blaise said softly. "You need to keep it in mind…"

Ron looked troubled. "I hate hospitals. I would rather be in pain than spend months locked in that hospital."

Madame Pomfrey bustled back with a potion bottle in hand. "Here you are. Now remember; don't take this until you are in bed, Mr. Weasley."

"I know how to take it; I've had enough of them. I'll set the empty out for the House Elves to return to you tomorrow. Thank you very much, Madam Pomfrey." He said with a soft smile.

"You are to come immediately if you have another disabling headache." She said firmly.

"I will; I can't get potions strong enough to help me sleep them off from anyone but you." Ron smiled wanly. "And thanks again."

"Of course, you are welcome. Now if you think you can return to your dormitory...?"

Ron nodded only slightly in response, sliding off the bed to his feet. "Yes, I believe so." He said.

She eyed him a moment, then turned to Blaise. "Mr. Zabini, if you would be so kind I would prefer that Mr. Weasley not travel up all those stairs alone. If this intensifies he could pass out and that would be highly dangerous. Would you be so good as to escort Mr. Weasley back to his dormitory?"

"Of course, Madam Pomfrey." He gave her a slight bow.

Ron slipped the potion into a pocket and together he and Blaise headed out of the medical wing.

Blaise stepped ahead and opened the door for him. "No more studying tonight." Blaise said firmly. "Madame Pomfrey is right. You just need to get right to sleep."

"I don't intend to open a single book, I promise you that. I am done for the night." He assured, looking exhausted and still in a great deal of pain. "Her potions always send me straight off to sleep, headache or not."

"All right." he said, glancing at Ron and slowing down to remain at his side.

Ron had slowed, one hand on his temple. He flashed him a pained smile. "I'm sorry. I just can't go faster, it hurts…"

"It's not a problem." He answered. "Is it all right if I… I mean… is it okay if I help you? I'd just feel better if I already had a hold of you in case you trip." he said softly, hesitating before putting a hand on Ron.

"Yeah, sure… It just seems so damned far up…" he said sheepishly.

Blaise rested one hand on the small of Ron's back, helping him to ascend the stairs. It took nearly twice the time to get up the stairs than it had to descend them. Ron kept a steady pace with Blaise's hand on his back, but he was still quite winded when he finally reached their destination at the Fat Lady's portrait.

Blaise stopped, giving Ron a soft smile. "Here we are, safe and sound. You get straight to bed. And sleep well, okay...?"

Ron managed to give him a warm smile that soothed Blaise's own pain and sadness. "I will, Blaise. Thanks for everything. I probably would have had to stay in the Hospital wing if you hadn't come with me." He admitted softly. "And do me a favor; don't let Hermione's idiotic fits get to you okay? She's been acting really weird lately."

"She's probably just worked up about the tests coming up." Blaise gave an excuse for the girl, though he knew the truth. She was jealous of him, though he had no intention of separating the two of them. "I know the tests are getting to me too."

"It's still no excuse for her acting that way."

"Good night, Ron." Blaise turned away.

"You sleep well too, Blaise." Ron said softly, gazing after him. Something in him was yelling for him to say something, do something, anything but stand and watch Blaise walk away. He opened his mouth but no words came out; he couldn't find words to say. What was he going to say anyway? Feeling stupid and inept, he bit his lip and gave a sigh as he turned and moved through the portrait.

Hermione immediately moved over to him. "I was so worried; what took so long? Are you all right...?"

"Same damned thing that's been happening to me all year." He answered quietly. "I went to see Madame Pomfrey and she gave me a potion to help me sleep. She can't find anything wrong with me just like always; she says that she wants me to consider being committed if they don't get better soon." He sighed softly. "I'm to see her again in the morning if it's not better."

"Is your headache still that bad?" she reached to caress his cheek but he turned away. Feeling like she had been slapped, she lowered her hand. "I'll just... I'll gather up your books and take them up for you..."

"My head doesn't hurt half as much now, actually..." he said softly. "And I can get my own books, thanks..." he said as he went to do so, scooping up his two books that he had left behind.

"Well, then I'll come up and help you get settled in bed..."

Ron made sure his magazine was securely between the other two books so she would not see it. He didn't want to deal with her if that happened and try to explain why he was looking at it. "It's not so bad, I just told you that. I'll be all right, really." He said softly.

She frowned at him. "What's wrong? You're pushing me away and I don't like it..."

He found his headache was beginning to intensify again; he hated arguing with Hermione but he wasn't letting this slide. He was tired of it. "Why couldn't you just be nice to him? Why couldn't you just let him get a potion for me? He was only trying to help."

"You're my boyfriend. It's my job to take care of you, not his. It's not his place."

"Not his place to get a potion...?" he frowned. "What does being my girlfriend have to do with anything?"

"I should be the one taking care of you!"

"So you'd tell Harry off too?" he asked.

"I... no, of course not..."

He sighed, shaking his head. She wasn't making any sense and his head hurt too much to try to work it all out. "I went ahead and apologized to him for you." he said, turning to the stairs.

"I didn't ask you to do that."

"Well you should have asked me to." He retorted. "It's confusing me more than anything else. But I did it anyway." He answered. His headache had eased somewhat when ascending the stairs with Blaise, but arguing with her was bringing it back and making it worse. "I'm going up to lie down right now. I don't think I want to talk anymore." he said, moving up the stairs and out of sight. Hermione watched him go, scowling, then moved back to her books.

Ron's head was pounding again by the time he got up to his bedchamber. He shucked off his shoes and downed the potion immediately, lying down fully clothed on his bed. All he wanted was the pain to go away; nothing else mattered. He didn't even manage to get a blanket over him before the potion swept him off to sleep.


Arian moved into the room of requirement, smiling at the pair. "So, Harry, love... how was your eye appointment?" she teased.

"That was the best eye appointment I've ever had in my entire life." She smiled.

Ari held out her hand and Harry took the ring first; she turned it on her finger and then slipped it off as he returned to his true gender. He handed the ring to Draco, watching the transformation occurring. The change back to male only took a few moments.

"Welcome back, boys." Aria smiled, slipping the ring back into her pocket, pausing a moment to study Harry. "I see you don't have your glasses anymore."

"I knew of a place that would fix his eyes quickly." Draco said.

"Turns out there wasn't that much wrong with them." Harry grinned softly. "I thought it would take hours. Ron always said it would."

"He and his family can't afford the best." Draco said aloofly.

"I hope you know that professor Scary scowled all evening tonight at supper, seeing that you two weren't there."

"Well, not having my glasses is proof that I went for an appointment." He grinned softly. "He can scowl all he wants."

"I'm glad you had fun." Ari kissed him softly. "Did you like being a girt?" she teased, then laughed as Harry blushed.

"It was different..." he replied.

"We had fun... found a Veela who thought Harry was as pretty as I see him... she wanted to play with us." He smiled, running his fingers through Harry's hair.

"And I missed it." Ari sighed dramatically.

"Oh, she'd LOVE to meet you. They had a roman display at the museum that had things about you, and she had a collection of ancient Roman artifacts."

"About me? What in the world could they have of mine?"

"The museum had a painting of you and your father, one of your mother, and several pieces of jewelry and scrolls."

"But why? I know my father was a Lord, but there were many powerful lords all throughout history."

"I don't even try to figure out Muggles." Draco laughed.

"Do you really think that Blaise is Veela, Dray?" Harry asked.

"He never said anything... usually Veela are quite proud of their heritage. She certainly was."

"She certainly was quite sweet, but I'm sure that Blaise would know if he was a Veela." Harry said, hugging them both one more time before he began to yawn.

Arian chuckled. "Come along, sleepy." She said teasingly. "I'll take you up and put you to bed." she said, and then kissed Draco. "Sleep well, love."

"See you lover." Harry said, kissing him too before he moved off with Ari.

*I'II see you in your dreams, love.*

*I'II be waiting.* Harry smiled over his shoulder as they moved away.


Harry and Ari moved up to Gryffindor tower, Harry chatting the entire way, telling her all about the many things that he had seen and experienced that day, and telling her that Paris was one place that he planned to return to someday with Draco. Hermione was still at the table with her books when they moved into the common room.

"Hey 'Moni..." Harry smiled. "Still studying?"

"Yeah." She said softly, not looking up. He noted the box of tissues beside her on the desk and the pile of used tissues in the trash beside her.

"Ron's gone up to bed already?"

"Around two hours ago... he had another headache and Pomfrey told him to go to bed." She sniffed, and then looked up at him. Her eyes widened. "Oh!" she murmured, giving him a watery smile. "You got your eyes fixed; you look wonderful...!"

He ignored the compliment, moving to her. "Moni? What's wrong?" he asked in a concerned tone.

She wiped at her eyes with a tissue, looking down again. "We had an argument... sort of... Ron's angry with me. He didn't even want me to come up with him tonight to hold him..."

"Maybe he was just tired..." Harry suggested.

She shook her head, blowing her nose before she answered. "No... no, he's angry. Oh, I don't know what I was doing, Harry. I didn't mean to be awful; I was just trying to take care of him. I should do that, I'm his girl."

"Well, yeah, I guess so..." Harry said softly. There was clearly a lot more to this that she wasn't telling and probably wouldn't be telling him. "Don't worry; I'm sure Ron will be fine in the morning."

"I hope so." she said softly, putting her books away. "I guess it is getting late..."

"Good night, Hermione; sleep well." He said, and then moved on up the stairs.


He moved into the dormitory to see Ron sprawled fully dressed on top of his covers, the empty potion bottle on the floor beside the bed, books scattered about on the bed. Seamus was, as usual, seated on his bed writing a letter; he glanced up when Harry came in; Neville hadn't yet come in nor had Dean.

"Hey, Seamus." Harry said and moved over to take care of his best mate. He gathered up the books and set them aside at the foot of the bed.

"Hey Harry..." he answered. "Need help?" he offered after a moment.

"Yeah." Harry laughed. "He's really out."

"Nothing's going to wake him; he took another of Pomfrey's sleeping potions." he moved over to help Harry sit Ron up to strip off his shirt.

"I sure hope these headaches go away. I hate seeing Ron sick."

"He only gets them when he's here at school, he says; a few more months and he won't have to come here anymore." he answered, helping to lay the snoring young man back down on the bed. Ron snorted; he was sleeping so deep he seemed boneless, allowing himself to be moved however they needed. "He seems fine right now." Seamus smirked.

Harry laughed and reached to undo Ron's pants. Seamus turned away, moving to the end of the bed to help tug at his pant legs; not looking any higher than the boy's knees. Harry helped and soon they were pulling the blankets up over him, tucking him in. Ron snorted and rolled over, knocking his disguised book onto the floor. Seamus moved to pick it up; he glimpsed at the photos of the naked wizards inside without really intending to and flushed deeply, slamming it shut.

Harry gave him an odd look. "What's the matter?" he asked.

"Trying to turn Weasley to your way of thinking, Potter?" he asked, tossing him the magazine, his expression angry as he turned away.

"What...?" Harry took the book that seemed to be a Charms book and opened it, looking at it. "Wow... Hey you think Ron will mind if I borrow this? I don't have this one..." he murmured.

Seamus stalked back to his own bed, muttering under his breath, his face flushed deeply. "Do me a favor, leave me out of it." He growled.

"Seamus, I've never once flirted or even stripped in front of you, nor have I ever left any of my magazines around. I'm not like Dean, who is completely shameless about my orientation and preferences." Harry scowled.

"Leave Dean out of it!" he mumbled, flushing deeper.

"I would appreciate it if you don't accuse me of stuff I haven't done! I have my boyfriend and I'm happy with him, and I'm not asking you to participate in anything at all." Harry said in an angry tone.

"Dean's a decent guy and he's never done a damned thing against you... he's always stood by you; you shouldn't be talking shit about him." he said in a voice that was a soft growl, but his tone so soft that Harry barely heard him. He yanked the curtains shut violently, his heart pounding. Damn Potter and damn Weasley and damn Zabini too! They could do whatever they wanted and he... he was trapped. Completely trapped with no way out…

Harry tried to quell his anger. "Look, Seamus; could you please tell me what the bloody hell you think I've done..? I am completely clueless here..."

"Nothing." He mumbled. "You didn't do anything, okay?" his voice was muffled by the drapes. Harry thought that Seamus sounded depressed.

"Well; good night, I guess..." Harry said, moving to his bed.

"Yeah... you can sleep easy..." he muttered, legs pulled up and arms wrapped about his knees. He couldn't tell Dean he was in love with him; he couldn't even talk openly to Dean. Never. How in the hell could he even consider telling Potter? It was all insane! The quick look he'd gotten in the magazine, though, had awoken all the needs and desires he'd managed to smother, along with his bitterness at being denied forever the life he wanted with all his heart.

Harry closed his curtains as he went to bed.

Dean and Neville come in, chatting about the Herbology Greenhouse. Dean glanced at Seamus' bed and sighed. "Well, guess it's time to head on to bed. Thanks for the help today, Neville."

"Anytime... I'm glad I could help..." he smiled, glancing at the other beds. "I wonder why everyone went to bed so early."

"Ron is easy to figure out. Either Hermione had him studying or he got another one of his headache; most likely the headache. There's a potion bottle there on the table that makes it obvious. Not sure why the others did…" he said thoughtfully. "Hey Seamus, you awake...?" Dean asked, moving to the other boy's bed and pulling a curtain aside, looking in.

Seamus looked up only a moment, then down again, his face shadowed by the thick curtains but it was clear he was quite upset.

Dean frowned, concerned. "What's going on?" he asked.

"Nothing." He lied softly; voice just a whisper, not looking up at all.

"Oh, come on; I'm not blind, Seamus. Someone is messing with you. Tell me who it is and I'll be sure to sort them out for you." he offered.

"No. There's nothing you can do, Dean." he mumbled.

"Sure I can. I know a ton of hexes; they'll never know what hit them. I'll sort them out good and proper." He grinned.

"Thanks but..." he tried to stem the tears that threatened to roll down his cheeks, slowly untying his shoes. "…I have to handle this on my own, I can't... you can't help this time..."

Remembering a situation that had caused Seamus trouble in the past, problems that had escalated within his family worried Dean. "Is it Shawn again?" He asked in a whisper.

He put his head down on his drawn up knees, feeling the tears moistening the pant legs. "No..." he whispered hoarsely. He didn't want Dean to see him cry; it wasn't right. He shouldn't cry over this, it was his future. "You can't help... it's not Shawn..." he murmured.

"It's your father, isn't it?" Dean pushed the curtain aside and slipped up onto the bed, allowing the curtain to fall shut behind him, enveloping the pair in a murky red, dusky light. He cast a privacy spell and touched his friend's shoulder. "Did he hurt you? I swear to Merlin I'll kill him if he did..."

"I don't want you involved, Dean..." he said in a trembling voice. "I... I have to deal with this... he... this weekend, he made me..." his father had ordered him to tell Dean and he couldn't avoid it. He had to go on even though it made him feel hollow and empty inside. He swallowed the pain and said the words that he knew would make Dean avoid him from this point on. "I met my fiancée..."

"What...?" He sat back as if struck. "But... I... oh, I see..." he whispered.

His voice trembled as he went on. "I don't have a choice. Father has arranged it."

"But I always hoped... you know.., you and me..." he said, voicing the one thing that Seamus had hinted at many times but never actually said. Dean knew that Seamus was attracted to him; he'd seen the looks and the reactions he'd gotten were clearly positive responses to his advances. He'd been waiting until school was over and he could be free to be with Seamus; after school Seamus would be seventeen and old enough to make his own adult choices in the wizarding world.

Seamus looked up at him now, his eyes red-rimmed, cheeks tear streaked, full of grief and regret. "I can't even think about that... I... I want..." Dean saw the desperate need in his eyes and hoped that Seamus would once stand up to his father. He didn't understand everything that was going on but he hid so much from everyone. Then Seamus let his head sink back to his knees. "I'm to be wed the day before my birthday in June..." he whispered.

"I hate your father." Dean said in a vicious tone as he left the bed to go to his own.

Seamus began to weep, silent sobs that shook his shoulders but betrayed no sound at all.

"Is he okay, Dean?" Neville asked, putting his dirty clothes in the hamper. He had already changed into his pajamas; bright purple with big yellow moons and stars on them.

Dean shrugged, pulling off his own clothes. "Yeah, I guess... about average for him." He said, feeling completely crestfallen and depression creeping in on him. He'd had his heart set on being with Seamus after school had ended; he had already laid so many plans and now they were almost instantly nullified. He wished he knew what happened when Seamus went home, but he wouldn't talk about it at all not even with Dean. He sighed and stifled his feelings. It was over. He couldn't be with Seamus, but he wasn't the only wizard at Hogwarts who was unattached... "Hey, Neville... you wanna go out with me?"

He looked over, having sat on his bed with the blankets pushed back. "You mean like a movie or something?" he asked. Dean nodded and Neville shrugged with a grin. "Sure, why not?"

Dean grinned; Seamus couldn't be with him but there was no reason he had to be alone. "Great. We can go out this weekend."

"Sounds like a plan." He agreed, climbing into bed.

"Night, Neville..." Dean said as he got into bed.

"Sleep well." He grinned, settling in and pulling up the covers.


Ron woke to the sound of a shower that cut off quickly. It was really quite early, and he could hear Dean moving around preparing to shower as well. Seamus moved out of the bathing room before Dean went in; he was fully dressed already, a towel on his damp hair. He carefully did not meet Dean's eyes at all.

"Morning, Seamus." Ron yawned as he sat up. He glanced down at his bare chest with a bit of surprise. "Oh, um… who undressed me?" he asked as he grabbed his robe.

"Harry, mostly." He said, flushing and looking away.

"Oh, okay." he smiled. He moved into the shower area. Dean had shucked off his robe and stood quite nude in front of the mirror, brushing out his hair.

Ron blushed deeply. "Geez Dean, I wish you'd keep some clothes on!" he complained as he slipped into a stall to finish undressing.

"Why, Ron? I don't have anything you don't, do I?" he grinned.

"You're impossible." he said, cracking the door only enough to hang his robe outside.

"You know, for a bloke with as many brothers as you have, you sure are body shy." Dean commented.

"I like my privacy, okay?" he asked, turning on the shower. "Ever consider that living in a mob like I have makes it a relief to be here and to not HAVE to worry about privacy? I like being here and I like being away from that mob. Besides, it's easier to run for cover and not get the bloody hell embarrassed out of you if you keep yourself dressed when your brothers start in on pranks during shower time."

"You must have had a really interesting childhood. You really gotta tell me about it sometime, Ron." he grinned at him.

Harry moved into the bathroom and half-laughed. "Dean... what do you think you're doing, posing for Wizard's Play?" he teased.

"Not a bad idea, Harry. Hey, why don't you have Blaise up? Then we can have Collin do a spread for us. They're sure to publish it in the next issue..."

Harry laughed. "You'd scar poor Collin for life!"

Ron tried to wash himself faster. "Oh come on!" he groaned, laughing.

"Come on, Harry; we'd make a fortune! Every gay wizard and every witch alive will want a copy of that picture spread!"

"Maybe after we've finished school." Harry said noncommittally.

"I'll hold you to that." Dean grinned.

"I said MAYBE!" He laughed.

Seamus started into the bathroom, got an eyeful of Dean, then turned and quickly went back out again, his face reddened.

Harry stripped and entered the shower. "You'd best hurry up, Dean; other people need to have a shower and they won't come in with you in all your glory."

"I'm not bothering anyone." he said; he'd seen Seamus. "But I guess I'm done." he said reluctantly. Seamus hadn't even looked twice at him. He'd still held hopes for his relationship with Seamus, even though they had never once gone beyond sitting close together. Seamus was such a private person, never doing anything at all in public but he was sure that the other teen was gay. He was absolutely certain of that, they had discussed that fact about three years ago. But something had happened shortly after that and he had never mentioned that again. He was sure that something was going on with Seamus' father, but he couldn't prove anything and Seamus would never speak a word against his family. Plain and simple, Dean was tired of trying to get together with Seamus. He was tired of being pushed away.

Seamus went to his trunk and dug out the books he needed for the day, his heart pounding and his hands trembling. His hands shook so badly he dropped a book. Cursing, he snatched it up and shoved it into his book bag. He hated that witch that he was being forced to marry... his father was ensuring he'd have no choice by marrying him off before he was legally capable of telling his father to bugger off. He was the only wizard in this whole damned castle who was being forced to ignore what he needed, what he truly wanted. Even his mother said that there was no way around it; he was going to have to marry that witch. Her switch to complete support of his father completely confused him. She'd been supportive of him in the past but seemed to have turned completely into someone else. He felt alone and abandoned... he ignored his rumpled bed and turned to leave, slipping out the door as Dean came out of the bathing room.

Dean saw him leave then sighed softly. There was nothing he could do if Seamus wouldn't fight what was happening. Seamus didn't want Dean and he wasn't so desperate as to pursue a lost cause; he had plenty of options out there.

Ron moved out of the shower, fully dressed as Seamus had been, toweling his hair dry.

"Hey Ron; you got the homework done for Defense Against the Dark Arts?" Dean asked. "I didn't do it, too busy with living. Can I copy yours?"

"Believe it or not, yeah, I've got it done. Just change it up a bit or we'll both be in trouble." he grinned.

"Oh, I will... thanks mate."

"Not a problem." he grinned, getting his socks and shoes on.

Harry joined them. "Coming down to eat, Ron?" he asked, grabbing his bag.

"Yeah, lemme comb my hair." he said, hurrying to do so. Harry grinned, waiting for him; his friend didn't take long, coming out and tucking in his shirt. "That potion makes me sleep too damned long; thanks for getting me ready for bed, mate."

"I wanted you to be comfortable." he grinned.

"I didn't care about comfort at the time I just wanted to be asleep. The headache was getting worse again. I wasn't sure if Hermione had come up and undressed me anyway even though I'd asked her not to."

"So what's up between you two? You and 'Moni have a fight?"

He frowned at the memory. "She was rude to Blaise. And I didn't like it one damned bit."

"Why would she be rude to him? I don't get it…"

"Don't ask me; she doesn't make any sense at all when she starts acting all feminine. I don't think blokes are really supposed to be able to figure out what birds are thinking. Honestly, the day went pretty good, overall. We had lunch with him and Arian, and Ari went off to work with Madam Pomfrey then with Professor Sprout so and we invited Blaise to come up to the common room to study. I got another headache. He offered to fetch me a potion and she got all defensive or something, telling him she could take care of me because she was my girlfriend and he had no business wanting to help. He packed up and left and I went after him to apologize for her."

"WeIl, maybe she wasn't feeling good or something... you know, women have their time of the month; women stuff. They go mental sometimes..."

"Maybe... hell, I dunno. Blaise made sure I got to the medical wing and he seemed okay with it all when he left me at the painting of the Fat Lady."

"I'll see him at breakfast and give him a big kiss to make it all better." Harry promised with a smile.

Ron grinned at him. "Yeah, you do that. Come on; get a move on, mate. I'm starving."

"Me too..." Harry grinned.

His friend looked at him, and then did a double-take. "Hey! Harry, you got rid of your glasses!" he said with a smile.

"I told you, I had an eye appointment." He laughed.

"Yeah, but... wow. You look sharp without them." He smiled.

Harry smiled. "Thanks, mate."

"Blaise'll think you look fantastic; he's gonna love it." He said as they moved into the Great Hall. The hall fell completely silent as they entered, whispers starting up very quickly. After a moment, someone whistled and Harry blushed. Ron chuckled, giving Harry a nudge in the direction of the Slytherin table. "Go on, go see your boyfriend and give him that kiss." He said, heading for his own seat at the Gryffindor table.

Harry moved over to the Slytherin table, ignoring the many stares and whistles that were still sounding, wrapping his arms about Blaise and nuzzling his neck. "Morning Blaise..."

"Mmm... you look absolutely gorgeous." He grinned, turning to pull him into his lap and kiss him. "I missed you yesterday, Harry..." he smiled, stroking his cheek.

"Mr. Zabini, get that Gryffindor off your lap! This is a school, not a brothel!" Snape sneered.

Blaise gave him a smile. "Of course, professor." he said, guiding Harry off his lap to sit between himself and Ari.

"Mr. Potter, you were absent from your class yesterday. I assume there's a reason?" Snape went on, eyeing Harry.

"Yes, professor Snape. I spent the morning having my eyes mended." he looked up at the professor, happy to not have his glasses anymore.

"So I see; and did you get your doctor's note?"

"I didn't know I needed one. I did have permission from my godfather. Professor McGonogall has that in writing, sir."

"See that you make up your work." He said with a scowl, turning and storming away.

"Bloody hell, he really did want to have a reason to give you detention, didn't he?" Blaise murmured.

"That's about normal. I think I'd be shocked if he wasn't trying to put me in detention for some damned thing or another." Harry said with a soft smile.

"Well, that's not getting any food in you. Eat, Harry; you're far too skinny."

"Yeah, and we've Transfiguration class this morning." he reached for a plate.

Ron looked over at them and grinned softly. "You know, I think those two make a pretty good couple." He said, finally feeling comfortable with the situation.

"It will never last." Hermione murmured. "Blaise is too much of a player for it to last for long."

Ron's smile faded. "What...?" he asked her. "Why are you so bitchy, Hermione? You got some kind of a female thing goin' on or something?"

She looked at him, surprised. "What...?"

"You haven't been acting like yourself lately, and Harry said that you might be having a female thing or something; it certainly doesn't make any sense to me."

"No, I... I'm fine, Ron..." Hermione said softly. "Just... just worried about classes..."

"Then if that's all it is, why are you taking it out on Blaise?"

She sighed, looking down. "I'm sorry, Ron…"

"Just ease up, okay? Harry's happy." Ron requested, finishing his breakfast; his arm moving about her waist. "I want us to be happy too."

Hermione smiled. "Yeah, so do I."

He gave her a soft kiss, greatly relieved to be on better terms with her. He hated arguing with her.

"We best make sure we have all our homework done before this weekend; I don't want to have to worry about anything." She suggested.

"Yeah... I just wanna focus on having a blast." Ron grinned. "I'm caught up with all my work, believe it or not." he grinned and winked at her. "I don't even have to copy from you today."

"I'm impressed." She smiled.

"I might need help keeping it that way, though; only three more days, but at least they're Snape-free days."

"At least until we come back. Then he's sure to make up for not having us in class for two weeks."

"Yeah, and I'm sure that he's bound to take it out on Neville and me. After all, it was our doing that the dung-bomb brews went off and stank out his classroom so badly it had to almost be condemned."

"But it was his fault to begin with."

"Doesn't matter, the old stick will likely find a reason..."

"Shh, Ron!" she glanced up toward the head table where Snape was dining beside Professor Flitwick in quiet conversation. He seemed to sense that she was looking at met her glance with a raised eyebrow and a questioning look.

"All right, all right..." he took another bite, glancing at the time. "Damn; almost time for class."

Hermione finished her juice and picked up her book. "Come on, lover boy. We don't want to be late."

"I'm coming, don't wait on me!" he assured, taking a muffin and his bag. She laughed, shaking her head and moved off.

Ron was only a few moments behind her but he found himself just in front of the Slytherin contingent of seventh year girls led by Pansy Parkinson. "Honestly; I think I'm the only one paying any attention to house matters anymore. Draco is CONSTANTLY in his rooms with that Black girl. It's simply astounding how he's neglected all of us." Pansy said in a haughty and irritated tone.

"He's only missed one house meeting."

"And he's likely to miss the next as well."

"But Pansy, you have to realize that he was with Blaise that evening, and Draco was sick as well."

"I know, I know, but those in power can't have sick days. That's what the hospital wing is for, isn't it? I mean really, I honestly think that he ought to be passing on his title already. He's seventh year and he still hasn't made any public choice for his successor."

"He doesn't have to until April."

"We should still tell him." Another girl said.

Ron tried to ignore them, hurrying ahead to class.

Harry pulled out his books as Ron slipped into his seat beside him. "You know, I never thought I would be able to go without my glasses; it's so nice that I don't have to worry about them."

"You look a lot different without them. A good different, but it is really different." he grinned softly, getting his work out as well.

"So what's up with Pansy? She looked like she had a real feather up her arse as she walked into class today."

Ron frowned softly as he remembered the conversation. "From what I heard it sounds like she's trying to turn Slytherin house against Malfoy. She was talking about getting them to oust him as the Prince or something."

"In her dreams. Malfoy will always be the Slytherin Prince."

"She wasn't getting too many arguments." Ron admitted to his friend. "They were agreeing with her that he ought to be stepping down."

"Well, school is almost done, anyway."

"That's what she kept saying. He missed some meeting or something the night Blaise was sick. I don't understand how Slytherin works."

"Who knows? Its Slytherin house, we're not supposed to understand." Harry chuckled.

"I am SO glad that we're in Gryffindor." He said with a wry smirk.