I'll Never Be
Summary: At the Wizengamot, Harry finds himself having a battle of wits with a very different opponent instead: Marcus Flint. Warnings for slash. Marcus/Harry.
For my 300th reviewer from ToBedlamandPartwayBack , Lone-Angel-1992. I'm so sorry it took a whole bleeding year. But thanks ever so much for believing I'd come out with it in the end (o: Also a great big shoutout to NaidaIldri for amazing run-throughs she did on such short notice. Thank you so much, you're an absolute sweetheart. Also a last mention to Cen, thanks for trying. Cheers.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, nor the lyrics of the Morrissey song the title comes from.
"You're in quite the pickle, aren't you Potter?"
That was putting in rather lightly, frankly speaking. Awaiting him upstairs was a fully convened Wizengamot ready to sentence him for the illegal use of underage magic. Mr. Weasley had assured him that Hogwarts students never got expelled for things as trivial as this, but he'd also mentioned how a full Wizengamot session had never gathered for a case of illegal use of underage magic like this. It seemed like he was the exception to every rule- literally- and Fudge was going to run it- and him!- to the ground.
And just when he'd stepped away from Mr. Weasley for a breather, he'd run straight into a horror he'd thought he'd left behind two years ago. It looked like Hermione was right after all: he never went looking for trouble, but Fate really hated his balls.
Marcus whatever-his-bloody-middle-name-was Flint.
He didn't reply, merely stared boldly back at the bulky Slytherin lounging in the flickering shadows of the torch-lit corridor. When he was younger, he'd been rather alarmed by Flint's size, but that was hardly surprising, considering the brute stood at an impressive six-four and had shoulders that easily filled the greater part of a double doorway. Although he'd been the terror of Hogwarts because of his sheer size back then, somehow, in the past two years, Flint had also managed to develop an equally imposing carriage to go with his massive frame. And while Harry might have resented that bulk in his younger days, now he was just a touch envious. He himself barely clocked in at a miserable five-seven and he couldn't help thinking that Skeeter would've been a lot less keen to cross him if he'd looked like that.
Flint didn't miss him looking, and grinned toothily. "Like what you see, Potter?"
He scowled. "I wasn't looking at you- at least not like that."
"Then like what?" Flint seemed genuinely curious.
He sighed. "If I was your size, and attending the Wizengamot hearing- or if I was just your size, period. I think I'd get away with a lot more things that way."
Flint stared at him unbelievingly. "Like you don't get away with enough already, with that name of yours."
Harry gave him a flat look. It was strange that he was being so ballsy, especially just considering who the hell he was talking to, but he figured that for every minute he kept Flint talking, it was another minute he wasn't using his wand- or fists- to smash his face in. This was Marcus Flint they were talking about, after all.
"You were a Slytherin. I'm sure you didn't forget just what you got away with under Snape," he retorted. "Besides, you think I like the shit I get in, that takes a name like mine to get out of?"
The other boy looked thoughtful. "I hadn't considered that," Flint conceded.
"Exactly," he retorted. "My name makes me more of a target than anything else, especially considering last year-"
He bit off his words, his brain and memories finally catching up with his mouth. This was Marcus Flint he was talking to-!
The grin Flint was giving him wasn't reassuring in the least. "I'm not going to lie to you, Potter," he began, "and I'm certainly not going to sugarcoat it. There's no point in you telling me anything about last year, because I already know all about it."
Harry paled. "You were there?" he whispered, more shocked than scared.
Flint shrugged with a roll of those enormous shoulders. "No, I wasn't. My father was, though, and I was called soon after."
"You're one of them." Harry felt resigned instead of afraid. He'd faced Death Eaters before, even if it'd never been one he'd gone to school with. If he ever thought about it though, he would have imagined Malfoy in this place, not Flint.
"Aye, I'm for them," the older boy replied easily enough, so casually that Harry almost missed the step he took towards him.
He blinked in surprise. "Then-"
"What happened to you last year was- a bit of a mistake, born out of desperation. Things should have never gotten that out of hand, but the response to the ritual was…unexpected." Flint pulled a face. "The Dark Lord hadn't thought his reaction would be that strong, and he acknowledges Diggory's death as the waste it was. Last year was a hasty decision made out of impatience. But he knows better now that he's re-evaluated his priorities."
Harry frowned. If he didn't know better- what he'd just heard was sounding suspiciously like a- "Is this an- an apology?" he stuttered incredulously. "From Voldemort?" His voice hitched up in hysteria at the very thought.
"No," Flint replied, "it's an apology from me, which is as close as you'll ever get."
"What's that supposed to mean?" he demanded.
"Do you honestly think the Dark Lord would ever apologise to you?"
He scowled. Flint's tone certainly brought him crashing down to reality. "Well, excuse me for breathing," he said snidely.
Flint sighed. "Don't make this any harder than it has to be, Potter," he said. "It's not just apologising to you; the Dark Lord wouldn't apologise to anybody. He doesn't want to pick a fight with you, not anymore, but you're still the Light's icon no matter how much you'd wish it otherwise." Flint's pistachio eyes gleamed at the start he gave. "Yeah, we've noticed. You never asked for the lot you were saddled with. In fact, one might think you even resent it." He smirked. "We've been watching- that's more than the Light's ever done, eh? And with good reason, to- at least to them, that is."
Harry swallowed tightly. This conversation was getting into dangerous territory. He crossed his arms defensively. "What do you want, Flint?"
The Slytherin mimicked his position with the crossed arms, and a widened smirk, when all Harry did was scowl. "Do you really want to go back up there?" he asked.
"Of course not."
"Then come with me."
He barked out a harsh laugh. "If you think all Gryffindors are idiots, you're sorely mistaken, Flint."
"You said that, not me," the other fired back. "Come with me, Potter. Let me show you how things would have really been like."
He growled. "Why don't I just Avada Kedavra myself right here and save you the trouble?"
"That's not what we're all about, Potter. Don't you think we deserve a chance?"
"I think I had a pretty good look last year!" he snapped. "And the year before that, and before that- I think I've given you all the chances you needed. Or did you forget what happened at Godric's Hollow fourteen years ago that started this ruddy mess! All you ever did was try and murder innocent people!"
"They weren't all innocent, and you can't blame the circumstances on us alone," Flint snapped back. "You say the Light fear us, but it takes fear on both sides to perpetrate a cycle like this.
"Tell me, what happens when the Light wins?
"Isn't that obvious?" he retorted. "It's a little something called peace. That means no killing, no torturing, no murder or mayhem- don't know if you've heard or something like that-"
"Every time one of them laughs, one of us drops down dead."
He was struck dumb by the familiarity of phrase.
"It's stagnation, Potter. Complete and utter stagnation. To give in to them doesn't just mean we lose our dignity, we lose our way of life. And then we'll all die in the end."
Harry stared at Flint with bewilderment on his face. Then he said something he never thought he'd have to to Marcus Flint: "What? I'm afraid you'll have to dumb it down."
The older boy chuckled, but it wasn't a pleasant sound. He sounded tired and grating. "You can't live in the Light and expect to flourish. They're too bedamned lazy to bother with upholding our lore. All they want is to muddle through life with the Mudbloods and Muggles, ignoring our heritage, our traditions, set in place by Merlin, Morgana and the Four Founders- traditions that were established so that we'd survive. So that we wouldn't become one of them." Flint didn't bother hiding a sneer.
Despite himself, Harry was curious. "One of what?"
"A Muggle," he repeated flatly, one eyebrow cocked disbelievingly.
Flint cocked his right back, and he twitched under the heavy pistachio gaze.
"Imagine that magic was your entire life, and then one day, it was all gone. What could possibly be worse? You could even say that we're kinder to cull the Squibs before they begin to understand, but we've started placing them at willing Muggle families instead. The Light is blind- look at what they've fostered with Argus Filch."
Harry couldn't help but be swayed by that argument. No one in their right mind would ever argue for Filch. But to kill children-he couldn't help but be chilled by the similarities between that and a familiar little story. Before he could open his mouth, though, Marcus had begun to speak again.
"Ah-ah-ah, Potter- I know what you're thinking. The Dark Lord didn't come after you in that respect. And we don't make mistakes. There are surefire ways to identify a Squib. We bait them, yes, but any one of us can tell you the sentiment and tide towards them is changing; at least the younger ones will. And we are the ones leading the new charge. It's far better for Squibs to leave our society than to suffer the indignity of never being able to use even the most commonplace magic. And who knows? In a generation or two they might produce a blooded witch or wizard that would be welcomed back into the fold."
He gave a start. Did that mean Hermione might have been descended from a Pureblood Squib at one point? If he chose to believe Flint, that meant there was no such thing as a true Muggleborn. But-
"Malfoy called Hermione a Mudblood," he spat the word. "Unless you're telling me he's not Dark-"
Flint immediately scoffed. "Malfoy is an ignorant ponce of a git. The only one with any sense at all in that family is the Lady Malfoy, and that is because she wedded into the Malfoys. It was arranged," he added in a deadpan, almost nudging a smile out of him. "She did her duty and bore the Malfoy Heir, but cannot be bothered with Draco, leaving his raising to Lucius. As I'm sure you've noticed that man would rather pamper his child than educate him."
He was almost envious of Draco for that. Almost. Flint seemed to sense again what he was thinking, because he said, "For all that the Light claim to want to promote magic, nothing they are doing is helping that, least of all the pathetic pandering they do to Muggles. We're going to die out because of their stupid decisions, and the Dark won't let that happen to their children. We protect our own."
Harry was wavering, and he hated to think he was wavering. Flint's side, even if not Flint himself, had tried to kill him. On multiple occasions. Had killed people. People he'd known, even if he hadn't known well. Hell, his parents had died, Cedric had been murdered right before him, Sirius was still on the run, and Pettigrew lying snug under Voldemort's protection. There was nowhere to stop, either. But he couldn't help but wonder about what Flint had said at the very last, his well-played hook- he couldn't help but wonder what a life with people who genuinely cared would be like.
But as soon as thought it, he snapped his mind shut. He couldn't, not with a bleeding psychopath out for his blood. All of Flint's pretty words were meant for anyone else but him.
"Not going to happen, Flint," he started. "I'm not foolish enough to think-"
Flint raised his wand and he tensed. But all the older boy did was open his mouth to say, "I, Marcus Orion Flint, give you my oath as a wizard that upon my magic, you, Harry James Potter, will not be harmed on my watch this day."
Flint stared intensely at him, and there was something almost beseeching in his pistachio eyes. "Give me that much, at least," he pled quietly.
Perhaps it was the completely ridiculous and binding oath Flint just made. Or maybe it was the fact that Marcus Flint shared a middle name with his dogfather. Either way, he was left gaping at the older teen in shock. His jaw dropped, quite unattractively to be honest. But he thought Flint's declaration rather deserved it.
"Why are you doing this?" he asked in hushed tones. "What could possibly be worth it?"
Flint looked at his feet, the expression on his face almost mulish. "I could say a lot of things: the Dark Lord's regard, the Dark, my beliefs."
"Oh." Harry didn't quite know why, but he felt a little deflated at that.
"But that wouldn't be the truth."
He hated that he was letting Flint play him like an instrument, but it had been so, so long since someone had connected with him like this- and he hated the implication that it was Marcus bloody Flint. He licked his chops, nervous.
"Then what is?"
"You. What would be worth it is you."
Harry was shaking. "You don't even know me."
Flint took another step closer. There were barely two feet separating them. "That doesn't mean I don't want to. And I think you might want to know me too. And all that comes with."
It was the last sentence that felt like a bucket of ice water crashing down on him.
"This is insane," he declared, backing away. "Voldemort's out for my blood- has been since I was born. You can't tell me that's all changed overnight and expect me to believe it!"
"I told you, things got a little out of hand last year, and- well, he hasn't been in his right mind of late. All of that's changed, Harry." It was a little eerie how earnest the older boy seemed. "We made a mistake that night, coming after you, and ever since- you've been their sacrifice, their rallying point, their focus. You put us in a bit of quandary that night, y'know." Flint gave a little quirk of the lips that seemed almost rueful.
"The last few years have been a madhouse for us, with the Dark Lord's revival. But you saw him yourself First-Year, and you knew he wasn't quite- quite right anymore. It's taken us this long to try and make things right, and it all got a little out of hand, and came to a head that night at the cemetery. That's all been settled now though, and this is our olive branch to you. There're a lot more of us than you think, and we aren't all quite the big bad wolf the Light has always made us out to be. I'd like to think we're pretty reasonable folk, the ones that matter, that is."
"Ever thought about the ones, then, the ones that were always a little queer, a little odd?" Flint asked, leaning close. "The ones that tried too hard to be good at everything, that were always a little slow anyways, the ones that only ever wanted to prove themselves perfectly right."
A feeling of dread welled up in his stomach, and he couldn't help his expression from turning. No true Muggleborn, indeed.
"Ah," Flint hummed, leaning back. Harry inhaled sharply, taking in the older boy's woody lingering scent, but somehow the renewed distance between them was disappointing, somehow. "Got one already, I see."
"Is that such a bad thing?" Harry asked quietly. He was a still a little unnerved over the fact that he was having an intelligent, coherent, non-violent conversation with Marcus Flint.
The older boy was shaking his head. "No," he said unequivocally. "But it is when you're somewhere you don't belong. They're the ones that've been in denial of themselves for so long."
"I don't understand," he heard himself whisper. He was afraid if he said anymore he'd admit that he actually wanted to.
Thankfully Flint seemed to understand. "Let me show you," he repeated, holding his hand out. It was very large, with blunt-tipped fingers, and neatly clipped nails. Very slowly, he extended his in return, and, curiously enough, Flint brought it to his lips, dry skin just skimming the top of his knuckles.
It was more embarrassing than arousing for him, and his face flamed painfully. Flint pulled him close, tucking him in the arc where his shoulder met body. All at once he was swamped by Flint's pulsing heat, and his heady smell, and it was more than a little difficult to breathe. The intensity of the older boy's pistachio-coloured gaze was tripled at this proximity.
Flint's other hand slid up the small of his back, to his shoulder, his neck, then the side of his face. Harry shuddered when the other boy's thumb, still calloused, swept against hie cheekbone.
"I'd quite like to keep you, if you'd let me," Flint murmured.
Harry felt a jerk near his navel not unlike a portkey, but lower in his belly. It left him hard up for breath.
They both started at the sound of voices drifting down their corridor. About bloody time, he thought bitterly. After this whole time, and no one had come looking for him once? For all the concern Dumbledore's Order of the Phoenix seemed to insist, they seemed awfully lax at times. Flint drew him closer, and he was effectively distracted.
"There is a place that we go," the older boy continued, quiet and intimate as he manoeuvred them about with a small shuffle and step. "A safehouse, where no one is touched. Or rather, where no one is harmed." A rather devious smile crossed Flint's lips, causing him to gulp at the expression. The older boy tightened his hold on him.
"To Middleton, then. Don't let go," he warned, before they were in the grip of Apparition, and zipping miles away from the Ministry.
Finally, finally, I've started posting. This sodding thing has been a whole year in the works and it's finally done (o: I'll start up a posting schedule once a week, on either Monday or Tuesday, but I'll have chapter two out this time before the weekend's out (o; You lot deserve a little extra for hanging in there so long. Once again, thanks v much! And do review. Cheers.