This is a oneshot written in an attempt to clean up among my many and furiously breeding plot-bunnies ^^' I hope you'll enjoy it :)

A person's hands can tell a lot about the person. Uncle Vernon's and Dudley's hands are big and beefy to match the rest of their bodies, perfect for hitting and smacking people around; the bigger and fleshier, the bigger the impact of the hit and the more satisfying the smack that follows. Aunt Petunia's hands are not all that much smaller, but the fingers are long and thin and end in pointy, sharp nails that dig painfully into your arm as she grabs you, making it feel as if she has claws designed to draw blood. Then there are the strong and big hands with calluses, the hands of hardworking and capable people, people who can take care of both themselves and others, people you can rely on. Charlie Weasley probably has such hands, but it is not a fact I can verify as I have never felt them as I have felt the hands of the Dursleys. There are also the small hands, hands that are soft and seem frail; they are the hands of people that are taken care of and belong to people that you have to take care of if you do not have the same hands.

My hands do not fit into any of these categories. They are rather small and my fingers are quite thin, no doubt the result of being locked in a cupboard under the stairs as it has affected the rest of my body in much the same way. They are, however, neither frail-looking nor soft, as they have been hardened and callused from doing chores and menial work for the Dursleys as well as from gripping the wooden shaft of a broom during Quidditch training. Consequentially, they are neither the hands of someone who is to be taken care of, nor the hands of someone who is to care for others. It feels as if they should be of the latter kind so that I will be able to handle the responsibility people tend to give me and meet the expectations many seem to have of me, but I really do not wish to have such hands. I wish my hands were petite and soft and frail, so that people would not expect so much of me, so that they would not think that I can handle myself and take care of them at the same time. I wish they were delicate and looked weak so that someone with big, strong hands would take care of me instead of expecting me to take care of them.

That, however, is not the case.

I had seen him several times that year, the first being at the Quidditch World Cup when I sat in the Top Box and admired his flying through a pair of omniculars. At that time, however, I only saw him for the skilled Seeker he was famous as, someone to admire and view as an idol but not as an actual person. Not even after the match, when he entered the Box where we were seated with the rest of his team, could I see past the Quidditch player to actually see the person behind the fame.

Months later, I saw him for a second time, walking past me where I stood with the rest of the student body on the stairs to welcome the delegations from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons. The following months, we lived in close proximity on the Hogwarts grounds, even eating our meals in the Great Hall at largely the same times, yet no amount of looking at him across the Great Hall seemed to grant me the ability to look past the public image. It was not until later I would realize that I had been blinded by his fame, and the realization made me deeply disappointed in myself seeing as I, too, had suffered from people's inability to see past the fame to see me, the actual person behind the well-known name.

Sadly, it was not until the four of us, the "Champions", met for the photo-shoot for the Daily Prophet and the weighing of our wands that I actually noticed him for something else than his ability as a Quidditch player. Having been recently rescued from the horrid journalist Skeeter, I was quite shaken and upset, only listening with half an ear as Ollivander inspected our wands. When Bagman insisted that they take photographs for the Daily Prophet, I felt frustrated and agitated and wished nothing more than to leave. Skeeter only made it worse by constantly pulling me forth, her hands as claw-like and her grip as painful as Petunia's, and it did not take long for me to decide that I hated the woman.

Taking deep, steadying breaths in an attempt to calm myself so that I would not explode right there and then, I started with surprise when a hand settled on my shoulder. It was warm and big, and I could feel the calluses even through the fabric of my school uniform. The grip was strong as the hand squeezed my shoulder, not harshly or painfully but firmly, grounding me and calming my agitation. The thumb moved in circles, rubbing my bicep, making me relax and forget my previous anger as I found myself supported by the hands of someone reliable and dependable. Before I knew it, the last group-picture had been taken. When Skeeter insisted on having individual pictures taken, I felt dread coil in my belly at the prospect of being manhandled by the woman again, especially since the warm hand had left my shoulder.

"I leave nov," a voice stated from behind me, and Krum walked into view as he passed by, aiming for the door. "Group picture is okay, but if you vant individual picture, you talk to my press manager first."

"Ah, well, then we will have to make do without-" Skeeter began, not looking all that sorry about the prospect of not attaining a picture of Krum even though he was famous, her gaze firmly focused on me with a greedy glint in her eyes. Her gaze made me shudder, and I was quick to make my escape.

"I've got to go, too," I hastened to cut in, following close behind Krum as we made our escape. "I've got… classes. And homework, lots and lots of homework," I improvised as the two of us quickly left the room, leaving behind a clearly discontent Skeeter and a smiling Dumbledore.

Once the door was closed and we were alone in the corridor, I turned to Krum with a smile.

"Thank you," I mumbled with heartfelt gratitude, thanking him for more than the help to escape.

Krum said nothing, only nodded to me to show that he understood and gave me a loop-sided smile before we went our separate ways.

I did not think much about our short interaction after that. All my time was hogged by schoolwork and warding off Hermione's attempts to engage me in S.P.E.W. even though she was my only friend as I avoided Ron like the pest. Then there was Skeeter's article that proved plentiful when it came to material for Malfoy and his ilk to use against me, as well as Malfoy's "Potter Stinks" campaign and, as if that was not enough for me to handle, I had a meeting with a dragon to fret about after Hagrid had shown me what the First Task would be about. In short I had no time to think about neither Krum nor his hands, and did not meet him again until we gathered in the tent just before the task to be allotted a dragon each to face.

The fact that I drew the most dangerous dragon of them all was enough to distract me from all else as I fought against the panic that wanted to sink its sharp claws in me. Consequentially, I did not register Krum's presence in the tent, even though we spent several minutes together on our own as we awaited our respective turns.

It was not until afterwards, when I was seated in the infirmary tent and had Madam Pomfrey tending to my shoulder, that I actually took note of Krum properly for the second time. Looking up when the flap to the tent was swept aside, I was met with a pair of black eyes that seemed to watch me intently. The gaze swept down to my shoulder, quietly regarding my injury, before he walked over to the bed I was seated on.

"You fly very good," Krum complimented me with his prominent accent, and I felt my face heat as I blushed. His warm hand landed on my uninjured shoulder, his thumb rubbing the base of my neck, and I felt the tension run off me, leaving me relaxed in his strong grip. Even the adrenaline that had been rushing thought my veins and had been making me uptight and jumpy seemed to subside.

"Thanks," I mumbled, a smile blooming on my lips as I once again thanked him for more than what he had said. He returned my smile with his own loop-sided one and nodded to me, silent understanding passing between us. The warm hand did not leave my shoulder until Hermione and Ron came bursting into the tent, and even then, he remained standing by my side until I have to leave for the judges to give me my points. Not even the shock of coming out on shared first place with Viktor made me forget about our second encounter, and especially his hands remained prominent in my memory.

Time seemed to rush by again after that, and all too soon, it was revealed that we were to attend a Yule ball where we had to dance and bring dates. Ron and I both dreaded the very idea, and the day of the ball approached all too quickly as we both proved more or less incapable of getting ourselves dates. The fact that I was unable to think of any girl I would like to invite did not help matters, and when I asked Hermione in hopes of bringing her as a friend, she declined, conspiratorially telling me that Krum had already invited her to go to the party with him as a friend. Apparently, he had chosen her because she seemed levelheaded and intelligent, and because she was the complete opposite of the star struck girls that followed Krum everywhere, whispering and giggling. When Ron made an ass of himself just a few days later by claiming that Hermione wouldn't possibly have a date already, she made me promise not to tell him who her date was.

In the end, I arranged for the Patil twins to go to the ball with Ron and I, and then the day of the Yule Ball unavoidably arrived. Making a halfhearted attempt at taming my wild mop of black hair, I straightened my black robes, the fine ones Molly had purchased for me during the summer, and went to meet Parvati in the common room. In the Entrance Hall, we met with Krum and Hermione, and we silently enjoyed Ron's stunned expression of shock when he saw how pretty Hermione was in her dress and with her hair fixed. Krum's arm rested loosely around her waist, his hand on her hip, and I was reminded of how good it had felt to be touched by that hand, so warm and strong and sure, making me wish that he had been holding me instead before I hastily dismissed the thought. Entering the Great Hall, I concentrated on not tripping and making a fool of myself, Parvati's hand resting lightly on my arm, so fragile, her fingers so thin. Even though she seemed far surer of herself than I did as I silently thanked Hermione for attracting most of people's attention, I was the one leading, the one supposed to be in control – the one with the calluses on his hands.

It was with a sigh of relief that I pulled out Parvati's chair before taking a seat myself at the table that Champions and their dates shared with the judges, Krum and Hermione taking the seats beside us. There were a lot of fancy, strange dishes on the menu, most of which I did not even know what it was, and so I ordered one of few things I recognized: pork chops. I began eating along with the others, comfortable conversations springing to life around the table. Fleur was complaining about the food as well as the decorations, but nobody but her entranced date was listening and he seemed too occupied with gazing at her to actually hear what she was saying. Parvati struck up a conversation with Cedric's date, Cho Chang, about the clothes that people in the Great Hall could be seen wearing for the evening, while I turned to Hermione and Krum to join them in their discussion about differences between Hogwarts and Durmstrang. Seeing as Krum was sitting in the middle of our little trio, it came naturally that I leaned towards him to hear what Hermione said, and the proximity was certainly not something I minded.

As everyone knows, time flies when you're having fun, and the pleasant dinner came to an end all too soon, meaning it was time for us to open the dance. It was the moment I had dreaded since I had been informed of it but had, blissfully, managed to forget during the dinner or nerves would no doubt have made me unable to enjoy the food and conversation. Stepping out onto the cleared dance floor, I placed my hands as McGonagall had instructed us to do and felt Parvati do the same. I was once again struck by how delicate her hands were, which reminded me of my position as the one in control, the one supposed to lead even though I barely knew the most basic steps of the dance. As the music began – a slow, solemn tone – my discomfort became all the more apparent and I envied her for being able to let herself be led and supported. We danced the two first songs on Parvati's insistence, the second one a bit quicker than the first, before I convinced her that we should sit down for a bit. Finding Ron and Padma, I took a seat beside my redheaded friend as the twins wandered off to get themselves something to drink and, most likely, to find more willing partners to dance with.

"How's it going?" I asked Ron as I slumped in the seat, relieved to be off the dance floor and allowed to sit as the shiny black shoes that matched my robes were highly uncomfortable.

Ron didn't answer at first, a bottle of buttlebeer clutched in his hand and several more, emptied ones, standing on the table behind him. He glared at Hermione when she danced by with Krum, the two of them looking as if they were enjoying themselves, before he turned to me.

"You knew, didn't you?" he asked, the accusation clear in his voice.

"Knew what?" I asked, surprised by my friend's sour mood.

"You knew that she's together with Krum!" Ron said angrily, raising his voice slightly and waving his bottle of beer.

Watching my friend, who seemed slightly intoxicated, with a guarded expression, I hesitated before answering, unsure of what to say. My silence seemed to be answer enough, however, as Ron shot up from his chair and threw back the last buttlebeer in the bottle.

"You're fraternizing with the enemy, both of you!" he accused, pointing the now empty flask at me. "Don't think I didn't see you at the dinner, being all buddy-buddy!"

"Enemy?" I repeated, confused as this didn't even seem to have to do with me and Hermione keeping secrets anymore. "Why would Krum be the enemy?"

"He's a champion from another school, Harry! He's only talking with you because he wants to know more about you so that he knows your weak points!"

"Ron, that's-"

"Okay, okay!" he shouted, drawing the attention of the people nearby as he threw his hands up in the air. "Why would you listen to me? I'm only your best friend, after all," he yelled angrily before stomping off, leaving me confused and feeling oddly bereft.

"What was that all about?" Hermione asked, plopping down in Ron's abandoned chair, fanning her flushed face with her hand.

"I… I'm not sure," I answered slowly, making her raise her brows questioningly.

"Well, Viktor went to get drinks," she answered, brushing it aside with a brilliant smile that I could not avoid mirroring.

Krum – apparently Viktor now – did indeed show up with two buttlebeers after a moment, he, too, looking happy.

"Ah, Harry, I did not knov you vas here or I bring three bottles," he excused himself when he saw me, but I just smiled and waved it off, a smile tugging at my lips when he called me by my first name.

We ended up sharing the beer we had, passing the bottles around as a display of intimate friendship, a closeness that seemed to have grown far more quickly than what should be normal, nurtured not by constant contact but by distance and quiet understanding. I could not help but notice that Viktor and I tended to pass the same bottle back and forth between us while Hermione drank from her own, our fingers brushing occasionally, lips closing around the mouth of the same bottle.

"Do you like to dance more, Hermy-own-ninny?" Krum asked once their bottles were emptied, the music having progressed from slow classical pieces to more modern, quick songs.

"Oh, no!" Hermione answered with a laugh, shaking her head as she kicked off her heals and splayed her toes before wiggling them. "My feet are already sore – I'm not used to wearing heals," she excused herself, and Krum and I were more than sympathetic, none of us able to imagine what it would be like to wear heals. Simply walking in them seemed close to impossible, so I was duly impressed that Hermione, along with most girls attending the Ball, actually managed to dance with them.

"You, Harry?"

"What?" I asked, surprised. "I can't dance!" I exclaimed, regretting it even as the words tumbled over my lips, my eyes straying unbidden towards Krum's hands where they hung by his sides.

"I can teach," Krum insisted, and when my gaze returned to his face, there was a knowing look in his eyes.

"Oh, um… well, okay then," I answered uncertainly, feeling my face flush when Krum offered me one of his strong hands just like he would have had he asked a girl for a dance. Hermione laughed as I got up from the chair and wished us luck, promising she would cheer for us. Thankfully, we didn't enter the actual dance floor, just took our positions in the open area in front of Hermione where there was space enough for us.

"Lead or…?" Krum asked even though I suspected that he already knew what my answer would be, and I quickly insisted that he take the lead.

Taking our positions, I put one hand in his and the other on his shoulder, the big hand enclosing my smaller one easily, keeping it in a secure grip as warmth spread from my waist where his other hand had settled. Counting the steps together – one, two, three, one, two, three – we moved in a square, Krum's hand either pressing lightly against my waist or tugging at my hand to steer me in the right direction, Hermione tapping her foot on the floor in tact to our counting as she watched us with a smile. I yelped when Krum suddenly swept me into a twirl, making me laugh in delight when he guided me through it flawlessly, making it seem, and feel, so easy now that I wasn't the one leading. We tried another twirl, but I lost my footing and stumbled, fearing that I will trip when Krum yanked me closer, the hand on my waist moving to settle on the small of my back to press my body closer to his warm, strong frame. Arms encased me, held me close, held me safe, protecting and supporting me.

We danced song after song, our bodies pressed together, and then the music changed as the Weird Sisters dropped all pretenses and filled the Great Hall with music that made the teenagers scream and jump in delight. Hermione joined us, not caring that she was barefoot, and we were pulled into the crowd of moving bodies, the excitement and delight spreading and multiplying among us. We danced until our feet were sore and our bodies aching, still our smiles were wide as we separated in the Entrance Hall in the early hours of the morning.

It was common knowledge that Champions of the Triwizard Tournament were not supposed to receive any help whatsoever with the tasks. The fact that that none of the participants abode to this rule was a generally accepted fact, so even if some frowned at us, none actually commented on the fact that Hermione, Viktor and I decided to put our heads together to solve the mystery with the egg – once we had figured out how to translate the shrieking into something intelligible, of course.

Once the time for the Second Task came, we were ready and prepared. Having thought along the line of fishes since we were obviously going for a swim in the Black Lake, we had come up with a solution each, reasoning that it would be a bit too obvious that we'd worked together if we solved the task in the same way. Viktor, being the more advanced student of the two of us, had opted for a complex transfiguration meant to turn him, at least partially, into a shark while I would do it the easy way and use gillyweed, which meant that I would only have to chew and then endure the allegedly curious sensation of growing gills. Hermione and I had both thought we would have to steal the gillyweed from Snape's private store, but even that had proven easy as Krum had admitted to having the needed plant among his potions ingredients.

In the end, the biggest problem proved to be the cold water, as I could swear that I felt my toes turning into ice cubes when I dove into the lake. After a quick run-in with a Grindylogg and some wrestling with clingy seaweeds, I found the Merefolk's village with our four hostages in the middle, bound to the bottom of the lake and floating like eerie imitations, looking more like creepily realistic dolls than actual humans with their clothes and hair floating about them. I noted that they were all there, which must, surprisingly, mean that I had reached them first, and I found myself wondering what would happen if one of us champions did not find his or her hostage. Logically, I understood that neither the Ministry nor Dumbledore would allow them to come to any harm, but to take Ron and simply leave felt wrong as it went against everything I knew, not to mention the fact that I was unsure of if Ron was really meant to be my hostage as Hermione was just as likely a candidate.

That problem was soon solved when Viktor came swimming towards me, his shark head more comical than frightening as he approached. Due to the fact that he had no actual face, I could not see what he was thinking or feeling, but he was quick to swim behind me to put both hands on my shoulders, his strong hands holding me in their steady grip and his fingers moving in a soothing manner. My eyes slid shut as I relaxed in his grip, and for a moment, I stilled completely, the lack of movement allowing the stream to catch hold of my body. Squeezing my shoulders, Viktor brought me back to reality before swimming away and biting off the rope holding Hermione. He cast a last look at me, perhaps wondering why I did not simply take Ron and swim to the surface, but then he waved and disappeared into the murky waters.

A few minutes later, Cedric showed up to bring Cho with him up to the surface, and then I was left alone with Ron and Fleur's little sister. Time was running out, and in the end, I somehow managed to save both, even though the Merepeople were obviously not happy about it. Breaching the surface and sucking sweet, chilled air into my burning lungs was wondrous since the Gillyweed had stopped functioning, and I was received with applause and cheering. Fleur thanked me repeatedly, hugged me and even kissed me to show her gratitude, and then Viktor was by my side, that crooked smile on his face as he threw a warming and drying spell over me before enveloping me in a warm blanket, his arms staying around my shoulders for a moment. Now that his human head had returned, I could see that he was relieved and understood that he had been worried when I was in the water. The knowledge warmed my heart, and I gave him a brilliant smile in return. To my surprise, he pulled me into a hug, his body warm and strong as he pressed me against him, and I relaxed in his hold.

"It is too bad there is much people here," he mumbled, his warm breath washing over my cheek and making me shiver before he pulled away, no doubt conscious of the presence of the people surrounding us, watching.

Turning to Hermione and Ron to see that my friends were all right, I found a knowing smile on the bushy-haired girl's lips, a smile that made me blush in response. Still, I smiled back, reassured by the lack of disapproval in her gaze.

Our gang of three became a quartet as Ron began spending time with Hermione, Viktor and I, the time we did not study often dedicated to Quidditch, both flying and simply talking about it. Ron seemed to have gotten over his animosity and after a while, he actually managed to gather the courage to ask for an autograph. I suspect Victor agreed only because Ron is my friend since he hated the fame just as much as I did.

However, Viktor and I got to spend quite a lot of time together, just the two of us, as Hermione's "knowing" soon turned out to be a blessing. Being the brilliant witch she was, she used every opportunity to drag Ron along with some made up excuse about things that needed to be done, and there was no doubt in my mind what her purpose was after she had winked to me and Victor a few times. The glint in her eyes made me think that she had some rather wild fantasies about what Viktor and I did with our time alone, but we spent the time quite innocently. We talked a lot as we got to know each other more in depth, usually while walking the grounds or sitting by the Black Lake, throwing stones to the Giant Squid. Sometimes we'd go flying, racing across the pitch as we tried to out-fly each other, other times just hovering side by side as we languidly circled the pitch. Our discussions about Quidditch seldom had anything with teams, matches or techniques to do, but more about our own feelings for flying as we talked about the freedom that came with soaring through the air on a broom.

The moments I liked the best, however, were the ones when we would simply sit close together someplace secluded. We'd sit in silence, not a word passing between us, and Viktor would touch me. Innocent touches, but touches that were intimate still, at least to me. Sometimes, it'd be no more than an arm around my shoulder as I leaned against his side. Other times, I would lie with my head in his lap, his fingers carding through my messy locks, trying to tame the mop of hair and making it look even worse in the process. My favorite was when he would sit behind me, his legs on either side of me as his big, warm hands moved over my back, massaging me. Apparently, massage was something he had been taught after becoming a professional Quidditch player, since players often suffered from tension in their shoulders and backs after hours upon hours of being perched on their brooms. After training and matches alike, the teammates would massage each other to ease the tension, and I must admit that Viktor was very skilled, as I turned to putter under his touch.

If my appreciative moans sometimes became a bit louder and of a slightly different nature, if he then leaned forward to kiss the nape of my neck before I turned around to meet the kiss… Well, even if such things did occasionally happen, I am sure that it still did not live up to whatever wicked ideas Hermione had. Whenever such things did happened, we made sure that we were alone, out of sight so that no one would be able to peek on us, and our efforts proved successful when Skeeter took a shot in the dark and missed her target by miles as she published her story about Hermione deceiving the two of us. It was hilarious at first, and we shared a good laugh over it, at least until the letters started arriving.

At the end of May, we were told to meet by the Quidditch pitch after dinner to be informed of what our Third and, thankfully, last Task would consist of. It was with mutual horror that the three Quidditch players in our group, Cedric, Viktor and I, found it to be filled with steadily growing hedges. Bagman's assurance that the pitch would be returned to normal was barely enough to calm us, and I lamented the fact that Viktor and I would no longer be able to fly together.

Unfazed by our sour faces, Bagman proceeded to tell us about the upcoming task of finding our way through the labyrinth, past the varying hinders placed in our way, to the middle where a cup would await the winner. Both Viktor and Fleur seemed to greet the news with positivity, but Cedric and I exchanged worried looks as we wondered what kinds of dangerous beasts Hagrid might provide.

Finding the evening to be a bit chilly, Bagman dismissed us shortly thereafter. Just as I turned to follow Cedric back to the castle, a warm hand landed on my shoulder, effectively halting my steps.

"Harry? Mr. Krum?" Bagman asked, looking unsure. "Is everything alright, boys?"

"Oh, yes," I answered swiftly, glancing to Viktor. "We'll be fine."

"Are you sure, Harry? Should I wait for you?"

"No, that won't be necessary, Mr. Bagman. I think I can manage to find my way back to the castle."

Having shaken off Bagman, I turned to Viktor in askance, only to be steered to towards the Forbidden Forest, his hand remaining on my shoulder as he guided me, the warmth in his grip prevailing even in the chill of the night. I tried to figure out what he might want to talk to me about but found myself unable to guess, making me nervous and worried. Once we'd reached the shadow of the trees, he turned me around and, pliant under his hands, I let him maneuver me until we stood facing each other, his hands on my shoulders, holding me as I looked up at him questioningly.

"You and Cedric," he began haltingly before falling silent, seemingly unsure of how to continue. "You tvo look… vorried. Vy?"

"Oh! Well, know Hagrid, the gamekeeper here at Hogwarts," I explained with a smile, relieved that the topic was no more serious than that. "He loves dangerous, weird beasts that can be found in the forest, so we were just wondering how many of them we will have to face in the labyrinth."

Viktor nodded in understanding, but the frown between his brows did not disappear, making me wonder what more weighed on his mind. Reaching up to put my own hands over Viktor's large, strong ones, I raised my brows and smiled up at him.


"You and Cedric…" he began once again, only to stop himself, his frown deepening. "I no like it."

"What?" I asked in surprise, unable to understand what he meant. What was there to not like? "I don't…" I began, but trailed off when Viktor looked down and away, the corners of his mouth turning downwards even as a slight hint of colour stained his cheeks.

"You be… close," he expressed uncomfortably after a moment. "I don't like."

"Viktor," I mumbled, my smile widening, a teasing quality to it. "There's nothing between Cedric and I; we are acquainted, but that's about it."

His grip on my shoulders tightened as he looked at me again, his black eyes searching my face for a moment, then he suddenly pulled me towards him, drawing a startled yelp from me as he encased me with his arms. An arm went around my waist, pressing me against his firm, strong body while the other hand moved upwards, settling to cup my neck, thump under my chin to tilt my head up. He dove down like a hawk for its prey, his lips sealing over mine, my body melting in his grip as he held me in place and took control, lifting all the responsibility from my shoulders like only he could. My eyes slipped shut as I moaned, the chilly night forgotten as he enveloped me with warmth, heat pooling in my groin as our lower bodies were pressed together.

I vaguely wondered if this would be it, when a rustle interrupted us, my eyes snapping open as we both stilled, listening for any further sounds while gazing into the pressing darkness of the forest. Viktor's arm tightened around me protectively even as my hand went for my wand. We could discern the dark figure of something staggering towards us, and we were quick to draw our wands even though Viktor did not relinquish his grip on me. We waited with baited breaths as the figure came closer, taking on a more and more human shape as it materialized out of the shadows, until…

"Mr. Crouch?" I asked disbelievingly as I lowered my wand a bit.

The Ministry official looked torn and worn, the normally so orderly appearance gone under torn clothes and a layer of dirt. He was mumbling to himself, as if talking to someone who was not there, and I hesitantly approached him, Viktor following close behind, his hand still gripping my hip as if he readied himself to pull me away at the smallest hint of danger.

"Mr. Crouch?" I repeated, more loudly this time as I sought to attract the man's attention. "What's the matter, sir?"

The man suddenly gasped, his eyes widening with panic as his gaze swiveled towards us. "Dumbledore!" he exclaimed, reaching out towards me but missing as Viktor pulled me behind himself, his wand unwaveringly trained at Mr. Crouch who did not even seem to notice.

"I have… to speak… with Dumbledore…"

"Okay, Mr. Crouch," I answered, bewildered and unsure as I glanced at Viktor who squeezed me slightly in support, his gaze distrustful as he stared at the rambling man. "I can take you to the headmaster."

"I have done… bad things," Mr. Crouch groaned, stumbled forward and fell onto his already bloodied knees. "Have to… speak with… Dumbledore…"

"If you'd get up, Mr. Crouch, I can show you to-" I began, but was interrupted.

"Who are you?" Mr. Crouch asked, his wild gaze trained on me as if Viktor did not exist.

"I'm a student, Mr. Crouch," I answered as the man reached for me again, but Viktor stepped out of the way and pulled me with him once again.

"Then you are not… his?"

"He be crazy, Harry," Viktor cut in, putting an end to the conversation that was obviously not getting us anywhere. "You should go get your Headmaster."

"Really?" I asked, unsure. "I'm not so sure about just leaving you here with…" I mumbled, trailing off.

"Do not vorry," Viktor reassure me, pulling me close for a quick hug before he let go of me, reluctantly, and turned to face Mr. Crouch again. "I vill keep eye on him. I can take care of me."

"Oh, okay," I mumbled gratefully, reminded of the fact that I did not have to be the strong one when with Viktor. "I'll hurry," I promised before turning and running up to the castle, hoping that nothing would happen to Viktor while I was gone.

Once I reached the castle, I ran into Snape who did, typically, prove to be a problem, but Dumbledore showed up before too much time could be wasted and he followed me out onto the grounds without hesitation as soon as I had explained that we had encountered Mr. Crouch, rambling by the Forbidden Forest. When we finally reached the edge of the forest, Viktor was nowhere to be seen and Crouch's ramblings had fallen silent.

"They should be here," I said, worried and hearing how upset I sounded. What had happened? Where was Viktor? What had happened to him? Crouch was as good as forgotten as I frantically started looking for Viktor. "Viktor?" I shouted, hoping to get an answer. "Viktor!"

"Lumos," Dumbledore intoned, the light from the tip of his wand illuminating the area. The light fell over the trunks of trees and thorns of bushes, deep, dark shadows reaching into the forest as if trying to escape the light that threatened their existence.

"Viktor!" I exclaimed when a pair of shoes became visible from behind a tree, and I hurried forward to fall to my knees before the older teen. He lay stretched out on the ground as if someone had pulled him there, his eyes closed and his breathing even as if he was simply asleep.

"He has been stunned," Dumbledore stated calmly as he surveyed the nearby trees before he turned to the unconscious Viktor and pointed his wand at him. "Enervate."

Black eyes snapped open and he tried to sit up, but I put my hand on his shoulder and pushed him back down, worried that he might suffer some kind of symptoms and wishing I could check him over in private without the presence of Dumbledore.

"Are you okay?" I asked, my voice barely more than a whisper as it cracked with anxiety at the last word.

"Harry!" he exclaimed in answer, his arms coming up to encircle me and before I knew it, he had pulled me down atop himself and hugged me, one hand wandering up from my back to rest on my neck instead, keeping me in place with my head in the crook of his neck. Breathing deeply to calm myself as he seemed to be fine, I smelled the dirt and the chilled air along with the smell of wood polish, the thick wool of Viktor's robes and the strong, masculine smell that was solely Viktor.

Dumbledore cleared his throat and I felt my face heat as I blushed to the roots of my hair. Trying to free myself from Viktor's grip, I find that he would not let go, instead opting to follow me as I sat up so that I practically ended up sated in his lap, his arms still securely around me. My blush darkened in mortification as I wondered what the Headmaster would think, yet I did not mind much as I sat with my back pressed against Viktor's warm chest so that I could feel his heart beating against my shoulder blade, his chin rested on my shoulder and his arms around me in a cage I had no desire to break out of. My head bowed as I tried to hide my flushed face, and I looked up at Dumbledore through my fringe and found him looking at us with a merry twinkle in his blue eyes.

"I have called for some assistance," he announced calmly. "In the meantime, I would like to inquire as to what happened here?"

"He attack me," Viktor answered, his warm breath washing over my neck. "The mad man, Mr. Crotch, attack me in the back ven I turn to see if Harry vould come back," he explained, and I felt my lips twitch into a smile at the mispronunciation of Mr. Crouch's name. Dumbledore must have caught it as well as the twinkle in his eyes intensified, but the sound of heavy steps approaching reached us before the Headmaster could say anything.

Hagrid, apparently the assistance Dumbledore had called for, showed up a moment later, and shortly thereafter came Moody. After a few minutes, we were joined by an upset Karkaroff who seemed to make all the wrong conclusions and started accusing Dumbledore of treason and cheating. Throughout it all, Viktor made no move to let go of me and I was in no hurry to move, so it did not take long before the Headmaster of Durmstrang took note of our rather… intimate position. An incomprehensible exclamation in Bulgarian followed, which quickly turned into what sounded like a rather heated discussion between Headmaster and student. Uncomfortable with the negative attention and the apparent disapproval, I wondered if I should move out of Viktor's lap, but the thought never turned into action as Viktor's arms tightened around my waist, one hand moving to settle possessively on my hip. The fact that Viktor was defending me made warmth bloom in my chest, and instead of moving away from him, I leaned back against him further and felt a ridiculously wide smiled stretch my lips.

The day of the Third Task arrived about a month later, and with it, our families. Thankfully, my family proved to be the Weasleys and we spend a pleasant day together as the older Weasley members talked about their time at Hogwarts. I also met the other champions' families; the Delacour family thanked me profusely in a confusing mix between broken English and French which I understood very little of, but it seemed they were grateful that I had saved Fleur's sister, Gabrielle, and Fleur had apparently spoken well of me; Amos Diggory, Cedric's father, wasn't as pleasant to talk with as he was still angry that Skeeter's earlier article about the Tournament had marginalized his son, and an embarrassed Cedric helped make the encounter short; and, lastly, Viktor introduced me to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Krum, both of them tall and with dark hair and eyes as they watched me. Apart from the introduction, I'm not sure what was being said even though I have my suspicions as Viktor started talking Bulgarian with his parents. Mr. Krum was frowning as his dark gaze sized me up but Mrs. Krum was smiling at me, for some reason giving me a hug before they left. The confused look I gave Viktor was answered with a lopsided smile, but he did not answer my unvoiced question.

The Task was to begin after dinner, and so we went down to the transformed Quidditch pitch as the sky turned red overhead. The hedges had grown since we'd seen them last, now standing tall before us at six meters, the paths we could see from the starting point shadowed and eerily quiet. The stands filled with spectators as Bagman explained the rules to us, and I waved back when I saw the Weasleys along with Hermione waving at me from their seats. As Bagman turned to address the spectators with a sonorous, Krum's hand found its place on my shoulder and squeezed in an encouraging gesture. I smiled in answer, and we wished each other good luck, both hoping that the other would make it out unharmed, before Bagman called that it was time to begin. Entering the labyrinth with Cedric by my side, the tumult and excitement faded behind us as we walked between the rustling hedges, the sky barely visible above us. Wishing each other good luck, we went our separate way at a crossroads, and then I was alone.

I heard Bagman blow the whistle for the second time and sent a thought to Viktor before I put my concentration to finding my way through the labyrinth. The muted silence between the hedges was somewhat creepy, and every little rustle, every little innocent sound, made me just and twirl around with my wand raised, sure that something was about to attack me. Using my wand to point me north, I tried to keep calm and navigate, but my calm was quickly disturbed as Cedric came bursting out of a nearby path, his robes smoking as he gasped for breath and shouted about an enormous Blast-Ended Skrewt. He disappeared down another path and I hurried on, only to run into a boggart and then a misty, golden cloud of something. When I heard Fleur scream in the distance, I could safely say that my calm had been shredded and torn, and my nerves were getting to me. It didn't take long until I encountered a Skrewt of my own, and I barely made it past with a well-aimed impedimenta before I could continue. It did not take long, however, before I was once again hindered from continuing towards the middle of the labyrinth.

"What are you doing?!"

The shout made me stop in my tracks and look to the left from where I'd heard Cedric yell.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?!"


The new voice made my eyes widen and my face pale as an icy chill raced down my spine. That had been Viktor's voice, but even thought I'd heard him utter the unforgivable, it simply did not add up. The Viktor I knew, the Viktor who held me with his big, warm hands, was not a person capable of torturing others. It was simply not possible that the one who I had heard cast the crucio was Viktor.

I had no more time to think about it, however, as Cedric's pain-filled scream woke me from my thoughts and made me run on, trying to find a way to the other side of the hedge that separated us. When the path didn't turn left, I blasted a hole big enough to crawl through, the thorns scratching my face and arms and tearing at my robes. Coming out onto the other path, I found Cedric on the ground, his body twitching and his limbs in unnatural angels, no more than weak whimpers escaping him now as tears streamed down his face.

I rose, and Viktor looked up at me, his wand steadily trained on Cedric, leaving no doubt as to who had cast the unforgivable. Still, there was something wrong, his eyes… His usually so dark and sharp eyes had turned glazed and milky, and there was no recognition in his gaze whatsoever as he looked at me. It was almost as if he wasn't there.

I shakily raised my wand and aimed it at him, still he made no move to escape or defend myself, something he should have done seeing as he had cast an unforgivable. Strengthened in my belief that something was wrong, that this wasn't really Viktor at all, I stunned him and let him fall to the floor, Cedric twitching once more before he stilled. Moving over to the Hufflepuff, I knelt by his side and touched his shoulder carefully.

"Are you hurt?" I asked, feeling stupid as soon as the words had left my mouth as I could see how he was gasping, his whole body trembling and his brow prickled with sweat.

"No… No, I'm okay," he answered in spite of the obvious evidence that he was not. "I just can't believe it; he just snuck up on me."

"Yeah," I mumbled uncomfortably. "I can't believe it either."

I helped Cedric get up and supported him until his shaking legs could carry his weight again. We stood silently for a moment, unsure of what to do, before Cedric sighed and turned his back to Krum, slowly walking away.

"Come on, we should continue," he said, now and then leaning a bit against the hedge when his legs were about to give out from underneath him.

"What? Oh, yeah… I mean no. No, I think I'll stay here," I answered, and he turned around to give me an incredulous look.

"You're going to stay here, with him?" he asked, disgust clear both in his voice and gaze as he glanced down at Viktor's prone form.

"Yeah, I mean… What if a Skrewt ate him?" I answered lamely, unwilling to admit that I cared for him and was worried in spite of the fact that he had just cursed Cedric with an unforgivable.

"He'd deserve that," Cedric mumbled darkly, but then shrugged and turned to move on. "You do what you want!" he called over his shoulder before disappearing around a corner.

Once Cedric was out of sight, I moved over to Viktor slowly, hesitantly, suddenly uncomfortable and uncertain now that we are alone. Sitting down by his side, I watched him, eyes closed and face relaxed just like when we'd found him stunned after that thing with Mr. Crouch. He didn't look like a person who would use an unforgivable, didn't look like a person who could aim his wand at someone and utter the cruciatus. Bending forward, I pulled one of his eyelids open and found his unseeing eye to be just as dark as should be, the glazed, milky look gone. Still, I did not revive him, unwilling to take the risk.

Moving around a bit, I took his wand and placed it in my pocked before placing his head in my lap, my hand lingering on his face for a moment. His arms lay limp along his sides, his hands open, palms facing the dark sky. It was strange, seeing his strong hands so unable, so impotent.

Raising my own wand, I sent up red sparks and waited, my gaze settling on Viktor's face as a heavy lump formed in my chest. There had to be a reason, had to be some kind of explanation. Viktor wouldn't do something like that, I was sure of it. Or, I wanted to be, but everything seemed to be against me as I could not deny the fact that I had seen him do it. The minutes seemed eternal as I sat there, battling with myself, holding onto my hope and belief even as reason ate away at them both, leaving me utterly miserable. If Viktor could use the cruciatus so easily, if he was such a cold and cruel person, then who was the person I had come to care for during these past months? Who was the person whose hands were warm and large, whose mere touch could be enough to calm me, who could take control and take care of me? Who had that been, if thiswas who he was?

When professor McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey showed up, I was a crying, blubbering mess. I tried to explain to them what had happened, thought I wasn't even sure I wanted to tell them what Viktor had done because I did not want him to end up in Azkaban. I needn't have worried, however, for in my state of upset, all I managed to produce was incoherent babbling, consisting of 'Viktor, and Cedric, and- Oh, Merlin, why?' and not much else.

In the end, Pomfrey managed to calm me enough to be able to explain what had happened, and I left nothing out even though I repeatedly insisted that something had to be wrong because it can't have been Viktor. Dumbledore, Karkaroff and Fudge were called, and I had to explain everything again, the tears starting up again. When I was finished, I was leaning over Viktor, holding onto him as I cried, fresh tears spilling down my cheeks as I was convinced that they would take him from me and put him in Azkaban. I vaguely heard them talking but couldn't tell what they were saying, then there was a hand on my shoulder, old and wrinkled, not nearly as warm nor as strong as Viktor's, and I became aware of the fact that Dumbledore was kneeling by my side.

"Harry, my boy," he said quietly, his tone understanding. "You said something about Mr. Krum's eyes, did you not?"

I nodded and sobbed, rubbing my robed arm over my face. "The-they were strange, all hazy, and-and glazed. It wasn't as if he was there at all!"

I looked at Dumbledore, pleading with him to understand, and he nodded, the twinkle gone from his eyes.

"Don't worry, my boy. I think I understand," he assured me. "For now, I think it would be best if you let go of Mr. Krum."

I shook my head, feeling betrayed. Dumbledore didn't understand, didn't understand at all. How could he ask me to let go of Viktor when I knew that they would take him away?

Dumbledore sighed heavily, suddenly looking tired and old. "Then I am sorry, Harry," he mumbled, and before I could ask him what he meant, I felt the smooth wood of a wand against my neck and the world fell into darkness, my body slumping limply over Viktor's unconscious form.

I awoke to the familiar view of a white ceiling and equally white drapes in a light room. Even the bed felt familiar, with its metal frame and starched sheets, a smell of pristine cleanness filling the Hospital Wing of Hogwarts. I lay still and silent as I wondered what mishap had landed me in one of Madam Pomfrey's beds this time, and the memories slowly returned to me. My eyes slid shut again as I tried to hold back the tears, my heart clenching painfully in my chest. Viktor…


Turning my head to the side without raising, I reluctantly opened my eyes and saw Dumbledore sitting in a chair beside the bed; his long, white beard pooling in his lap.

"How are you feeling, my boy?" he asked, concern in his voice.

The feeling of betrayal lingered, so I closed my eyes and turned my face the other way, unwilling to talk to the Headmaster. Even if I did talk to him, I did not know what to say as I could hardly say that I was fine. An uncomfortable silence settled over us, and I silently begged him to go, to leave me alone. He didn't seem to pick up on my mental pleas, however, as he started talking after a moment.

"I am afraid this is all my fault, Harry," he began, his tone heavy with sorrow and regret, and I wanted to tell him that yes, it was all his fault. "I was the one who brought him here, to Hogwarts, and I should have noted the differences. I did not, and I deeply regret that Mr. Krum and Cedric Diggory had to suffer for my mistake. I am most grateful that you stepped in and saved Mr. Diggory as you did, Harry. You prevented a great disaster, perhaps greater than any of us can imagine. Mr. Krum is also grateful to you, for stopping him before it was too late for Mr. Diggory to be saved. He is, of course, not to be blamed, but I can understand that he is feeling guilty seeing as the curse still came from his wand."

I only listened with half and ear, unwilling to hear what the man had to say, and so it took some time before I reacted to what had actually been said.

"Wait," I mumbled and turned around to stare at Dumbledore, hope coming to life in my eyes. "You don't blame Viktor for… for what happened?"

"No, Harry, Mr. Krum cannot be blamed for his actions," Dumbledore answered, the twinkle in his eyes returning. "His hand was forced, and what happened was out of his control."

"How?" I asked breathlessly, propping myself up on my elbows.

"As you so aptly noted, Mr. Krum was not himself at that time. He was, in fact, under the influence of the imperius curse," Dumbledore explained, and I stared at him in silence.

Then, unbidden, a smile came to my face, and I sagged in relief. The fact that someone had imperioed Viktor was horrible, but it meant that Viktor hadn't used the cruciatus, that Viktor was still the Viktor I knew and cared for, that he would not be taken away to from me.

"He… Is he okay?" I asked, worried and exhilarated all at once.

"Oh, I do believe you should ask him that in person," Dumbledore answered with a mysterious little smile as he rose from the chair and went over to the doors.

Opening them, he revealed Viktor standing there, his dark, sharp eyes finding me immediately. He only paused momentarily to glance at Dumbledore and, receiving a nod in return, crossed the distance between us with a few, quick steps. Then his arms were around me, and I hugged him back with all my might, burying my face against his neck. I think I heard the door click shut as Dumbledore left us alone, but I didn't take note of it. All too soon, he grabbed my shoulders to hold me at arm's length, his gaze moving over my face as if searching for something.

"Are you okay?" he asked and I laughed, surprised that he would ask since I should be the one asking him that.

"Yes," I answered. "I am now."

"I vorried," Viktor said seriously. "Ven they enervated me, you was fainted and had cried. Ven they told vat had happened, I vorried even more."

"It's okay now," I mumbled, bringing my hands up to cup his face, touching our foreheads together. "I'm okay."

Black eyes locked onto mine, and then his hand was on my neck, keeping my head in place as he kissed me, strongly, heatedly, dominating me. Then he was kicking his shoes off, climbing onto the bed, straddling me, pulling the drapes around the bed as he did so. He pushed me down against the pillows, his hand in the middle of my chest, holding me down, his lips returning onto mine, tongue running over my bottom lip before he bit it, just lightly, but enough to make me gasp in response. His tongue slid in, and it became clear that he had far more experience with this than I did, but I didn't mind as I gave myself to him, his actions causing heat to stir deep in my bowels.

Before long, I had to turn my face to the side to end the kiss and just concentrated on breathing, my lungs screaming for air as I lay there, panting. Viktor moved on, his lips attacking my neck, and I moaned, tilting my head back and to the side to give him better access. His hands started moving, unbuttoning the top of my pajamas, his warm hands finding my naked skin, stroking and kissing as he revealed more skin until the nightshirt was gone and his hands were on the lining of the pajama bottoms, his mouth at my navel, tongue tickling me. I was a moaning mess under his touch, inexperienced and sensitive to touches such as these, and I was more than happy to leave myself to his mercy. When he hooked his fingers into the lining for the pants and started pulling them down, however, I stilled and looked at him with uncertainty. This was more than anything we had ever done bore, more than I had ever done with anyone before. No one but I had ever touched down there, at my most private area, and the thought made me nervous.

Viktor, sensing this, stilled and looked up at me, his eyes impossibly dark. "You have not done this before?" he asked, and I shook my head, feeling my face flush at my innocence. Bringing my hands up to hide my embarrassment, I peeked at him between my fingers.

His eyes darkened further and he smiled, a predatory smile that made my heart speed up.

"I vant to do things to you, Harry," he said, and my breath hitched when he said my name like that. "I vant to touch every piece of you, mark you as mine, take vat none has taken before. I vant to, very much. Vill you let me?"

I stared at him, unsure but comforted if still a bit bewildered that he had asked me permission. My wide, green eyes flickered between his black orbs, and I found nothing but sincerity and want, want for me. The thought gave me the courage to nod, and then he pulled and my pants were gone, leaving me on the bed, under him, in nothing but underwear, my own want embarrassingly obvious. Looking down, Viktor saw it, too, and his predatory smile widened.

"You vant, too," he stated, apparently enjoying all the confidence I was currently lacking, and then his hands were on my hips and his mouth on my bellybutton, kissing it once more before he moved down, trailing kissed as he went until he reached the elastic band of my boxer briefs. He looked up at me and smiled, then moved further down to place a kiss at the inside of my thigh before sitting up where he was straddling my legs. With efficient motions, he made quick work of his outer robes and dumped them onto the floor before pulling his shirt off, baring his muscular stomach and chest, his hard, wiry arms dropping the shirt onto the floor as well. I bit my lip when he unbuttoned his pants but he left them on and leaned down over me again, hands stroking my hips before moving downwards, one lifting my leg to give him better access, the other cupping my growing need through my boxers.

The contact was enough to make me squeeze my eyes shut and bend my head back and moan, a low, outdrawn sound, and I flushed in mortification. My eyes snapped open wide and I clapped a hand over my mouth, only to see Viktor smirk at me. A smirk, not that lopsided smile, but a smirk, and that alone made my body tense in anticipation of what he was going to do to me. His hands moved and he pulled my boxers down, baring me to him, not a thread between me and his dark gaze, his heated hands moving over my naked skin, leaving fire in their wake. I kept my hand over my mouth to stifle the wanton sounds that wanted to escape me, and then he lifted my leg again, and placed an openmouthed kiss on my inner thigh, and touched me.

If his touch had been amazing when the cloth of my boxers was in the way, then it was way beyond amazing to feel his big, warm, callused hand as it closed around the base of my need before stroking up all the way to the head and back down again. I bit down onto my hand and groaned, my breath turning into uneven pants as Viktor continued stroking me in a slow, even rhythm, his lips working on my inner thigh. My legs were shaking and the muscles in my stomach quivering, and I was so, so close when his hands and mouth suddenly stilled completely. I groaned in protest but he reached up and placed his big hand over mine, covering my mouth completely, his other hand pressing against my heaving chest, keeping me still as he hovered over me, staring at the drapers around the bed.

I tried to catch his gaze, tried to communicate my silent question as I wondered what had happened and why, why he suddenly stopped. Then I heard it, the sound of approaching footsteps quickly followed by the click of a door opening and then closing again. My heart sped up for entirely different reasons and my eyes widened in shock and panic. What if it was Pomfrey? She would surely come checking on me, even if the drapers were drawn. What if we were found out?

Viktor looked down at me, no doubt having felt my desperately pounding heart, and smirked predatorily. He produced his wand from somewhere, which reminded me that most of our clothes were on the floor and that Pomfrey would see them if she went around to the other side of the bed. I stared at Viktor, frantically trying to communicate our problem, but he didn't seem to get it at all as all he did was wave his wand at the drapers and mumble something before he put the wand away again. I had no idea what he had done, but I could hear the clicking of Pomfrey's shoes as she walked past the bed and the subsequent rattling as she fiddled with something. We had to do something, quickly, preferably now, while she was occupied, before she came to check on me, but Viktor didn't seem to understand the urgency of our situation.

He leaned down again, one hand still over my mouth, keeping me quiet and trapping on of my hands, his other hand moving down my chest, my abdomen, until he reached by faltering erection. To my utter disbelief, he started stroking me again, working me back into hardness, and I reached down with my free hand to grab his wrist, trying to stop him but soon realizing the futility of it as he was much stronger than me, my grip on his wrist not hindering him in the least. His mouth went down on my neck, sucking hard as I heard Pomfrey close a cupboard. He moved on to my shoulder, kissing it, sucking hard again, and Pomfrey took a step in our direction. His hand moved steadily up and down, stroking me mercilessly, making pleasure shoot up my spine as his mouth moved down my chest to my ribs, where he sucked again, and despite my mortification, I moaned against our hands even as I heard Pomfrey's steps coming closer and closer to us. His mouth went down along my side to my hip, where he sucked yet again, his hand moving up, thumb swiping over the head before he went down, and I threw my head back, biting my hand to keep quiet, and the steps stopped just beside the bed, nothing but the flimsy drapery between us and I was so, so close to coming.

The hand stilled at the base of my erection, squeezing me and putting my orgasm on hold, my heart a loud drum hammering in my ears as Viktor placed a kiss just above the line of pubic hair, and the moment seemed to stretch out eternally. Then, thought the hammering of my heart, I heard Pomfrey's clothes rustle, and I was sure that this was it. She would pull the drapery aside and find us, find me, panting and moaning with Viktor straddling me and squeezing my erection. I swear my heart stopped, I was going to die right there and then, better die now before she actually found us than suffering the humiliation.

The clicking steps sounded again, moving away from us, and I breathed out and looked down at Viktor who smirked triumphantly up at me. I scowled at him in answer, unable to believe that he had actually done that, but he quelled by ire with a long stroke. The hand over my mouth disappeared and a moment later, so did the one stroking me, his weight settling back onto my legs as he leaned back, looking at me as I lay panting under him, straining and needing and more aroused than I'd ever been before. Wanking could never compare to this.

To my surprise he got off me and shocked me by peeking out through the drapers before moving as if to get off the bed completely.

"What are you doing?" I hissed at him and sat up to grab his arm, intending to keep him on the bed, inside of the drapers so that Pomfrey would not see him.

Viktor just flashed me a smirk and grabbed my hand, then the other and brought them together. Holding them above my head against the headboard, he managed to magic his wand into existence again and tapped it against my hands before letting me go.

"I thought of something," he mumbled in answer as he took in the view of me as I tugged against the sticking charm he had restrained me with, the sight making him look a bit too satisfied. "Be right back," he promised and gave my erection a quick stroke before he disappeared out thought the drapers.

I strained to hear what he was doing but his bare feet were soundless against the floor, and I was forced to wait in ignorance, wondering what the hell he was doing and why he had to be such a kinky bastard. It didn't take more than a minute or two before he came back through the drapers and onto the bed again, a ceramic jar in his hand. He uncorked it and placed it beside me on the bed, but before I could ask what it was, he had distracted me with a kiss and his hand had once again returned to my need. Distracted as I was, it took a while for me to realize that his second hand was missing, and a moment later I could feel it again, cupping my sack as if weighing it, making me moan before it momentarily disappeared again. When the hand returned, the fingers were slick with some kind of cream and moved downwards, stroking me from underneath my sack and in between my buttocks.

His hand left my erection and he stoked my side, looking at me.

"The pillov," he said, and I blinked at him, unable to understand what he would do with a pillow.

Still, I obediently raised my head as he reached up to take the pillow and earned myself a smile and a kiss to the hip before he went to work.

"Lift your hips," he ordered and I obeyed without questioning as he put the pillow under me. His gaze went to my restrained hands and he seemed to think for a moment before leaving them as they were. Leaning up, he captured my mouth in a searing kiss, the finger between my buttocks rubbing back and forth to stop at my hole, stroking it. The sensation was unfamiliar and strange, yet the intimacy of it was enough to make my body shiver in pleasure.

That was when my muddled brain caught up with what was happening and I realized what Viktor was doing – or, rather, what he was going to do. I should probably have realized it earlier, I did know how two men did it together after all, but it hit me now and it hit me like a ton of bricks. My earlier uncertainty returned and I was suddenly not so sure about this. Surely, it wasn't possible to… to actually… down there?

Sensing my uncertainty and no doubt tipped off by the fact that I suddenly stilled again, Viktor looked up to meet my gaze.

"You vant, too," he repeated his earlier words, and I could only stare at him.

Did I want to? I couldn't really say that I didn't want to, but the whole thought about doing it… like that… It just didn't sit well with me. Still, I was more aroused than ever before, and all the things Viktor had done to me so far had felt so good, so it couldn't be all that bad, could it? The fact that I was asking myself that wasn't very reassuring, but I nodded anyway, and then one of Viktor's fingers entered me, slick and gliding easily due to the cream, and it wasn't painful but it felt weird as hell. I tried wriggling a bit at the unfamiliar intrusion, but Viktor placed a hand on my hip to still me, and then he crooked his finger and started moving it around. I squirmed a bit more but he held me quite steadily, arresting most of my movements, and after a while he withdrew and dipped his fingers into the cream, lubrication them generously before going down to my ass again.

Two fingers made me wince in discomfort, not because it hurt much but because the feeling of being stretched was uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Still, he worked efficiently, seemingly having done this before, now and then distracting me with kisses, both on the mouth and littered over my torso. Three fingers hurt, but he worked with the pain, and it didn't take all that long before it was gone, and then he pushed his fingers in deeper and twisted them, and he must have hit something that I didn't know existed because the pleasure made me gasp and jerk. That must have been his goal as he assaulted that point again and again until I was a moaning, panting mess under him. The hand on my hip moved to stroke my length again and I was soon moving my hips, seeking friction, alternatively thrusting into his hand and pushing down against his fingers, hitting that spot again.

"I, I'm," I gasped incoherently, but just as I was sure I would come, Viktor released me and withdrew his fingers completely, making me groan in disappointment.

"Why?" I whined, unable to stop myself, and when I opened my eyes he was smirking at me.

"Soon," was all he said, and then he pulled his pants and boxers off in one fluid motion and discarded them on the floor. It was rather gratifying to see that he was about as hard as I was even thought I hadn't done anything but enjoy, and I forced myself not to think about the fact that that would replace his fingers. He scooped up more cream and lubricated himself swiftly before moving, changing position. He bent my knees and spread my legs before kneeling between them, one arm going under my leg to reach around and grip my hip, changing the angle. I swallowed nervously and Viktor met my gaze to give me a confident and reassuring smile. Positioning himself, he leaned forward so that he was rubbing at my entrance, his mouth soon finding mine to distract me with a kiss. The hand on my hip rubbed the heated skin soothingly and I soon found myself relaxing under his touch yet again, my body apparently easy for him to manipulate at will.

A finger slipped into me, searching shortly before finding that sweet spot, and he rendered me into a moaning mess again by rubbing it before he withdrew – and replaced it with that. All air left my lungs in a rush and then I gasped, squeezing my eyes shut and tugging weakly at my still restrained hands. Suddenly, they were freed, and I vaguely wondered how he could use spellwork in this kind of situation. Unsure of what to do with my freedom, I reached towards Viktor and found the hand on my hip. Our fingers entwined and he rubbed my knuckles soothingly as I lay back and just breathed. This was definitely more than three fingers, stretching me and intruding deeply within, hot and throbbing as I clenched around him.

"Good," Viktor groaned above me. "Just breath. Relax."

I nodded and did just that, concentrated on breathing slowly and rhythmically, in… and out… in… and out, until I was relaxed again and my body had accommodated the foreign intrusion.

Feeling me relax, Viktor withdrew a bit before thrusting in again, and I grunted as he pushed me further back against the headboard. The free hand landed on my stomach, pressing down to keep me in place as he moved a bit to change the angle, and then he thrusted again, experimentally, and I sucked in a deep breath at the pleasure when he hit that sweat spot. Having found what he was looking for, he set a steady pace, holding me in place with one hand on my hip and the other pressing down on my stomach, his body curved in an arch over mine as he attacked his mouth to my neck, kissing and sucking as he thrusted, hitting that spot time and time again and making me forget that this had ever been anything but pure pleasure. I slung my free arm around his neck and pushed my forehead into the crook of his neck, gasping and moaning with every thrust as he moved his hips.

The pressure on my stomach was suddenly gone and then a warm hand wrapped around my throbbing erection, making me throw my head back with a drawn-out groan at the multiplied stimuli. Viktor's mouth found my Adam's apple and sucked, and I cried out, my hand moving to grip his dark hair, making his groan in turn. It was obvious that we would not last long as we were both moaning and panting, gasping for breath in between groans of pleasure, our sweaty bodies moving together towards completion. As predicted, I cried out hoarsely a moment later, Viktor's name probably somewhere in there, and my back ached off the mattress as I came, the big hand stroking me until I fell limp again. Feeling me constrict around him in my orgasm tipped Viktor over the edge as well, and he pushed all the way inside me before he erupted, his body trembling before he collapsed atop of me.

We lay panting, without moving, gasping for breath as our hearts hammered against each other. Viktor's hands found their way into my hair and he tilted my head back for a kiss which I tiredly complied to, my body exhausted and oversensitive as my mind basked in the afterglow of orgasm. Viktor, being the one with more stamina and experience, recovered long before I did and, once again, managed to produce his wand form seemingly nowhere – I'd have to ask how he did that sometime. A mumbled cleaning spell and some haphazard wandwaving later, I felt the stickiness leave my skin.

"I like you," I mumbled groggily as Viktor moved off of me, and he turned to give me a brilliant smile and a quick kiss on my temple.

"Me, too," he answered, and with a hand on my shoulder, turned me onto my side to settle behind me, his chest pressed against my back and his breaths disturbing my hair. Pulling up the blanket over us, he slung an arm around my waist to pull me close and nestle one of his legs in between mine so that we lay entangled. I shivered as his thigh rubbed against my ass, and he chuckled into my ear in answer.

The closeness could have been disturbing, could have made me uncomfortable. It could have been intrusive and humiliating, but it was none of those. With the heavy limps of an exhausted but sated body, I felt protected and cared for by his controlling and dominant touch. Those big, strong hands on me lifted the responsibility and weigh off my shoulders, letting me relax, letting me enjoy. With Viktor, I didn't have to be strong, I didn't have to worry and I didn't have to take care of everything. I could forget the calluses on my hands and remember that they were small with thin fingers, the hands of someone to be cared for. And Viktor, he had the strong, callused hands to handle me and care for me.

The sun was shining over the green, rolling hills and fields with crops swaying in the wind as the red train shot unnoticed through the landscape, carrying us back towards London. The ride had been pleasant so far as Ron, Hermione and I had managed to get a compartment to ourselves and had had a good time sharing sweets and playing Exploding Snap. The landscape was slowly changing outside of the window, however, as the countryside gave way to more densely populated areas, the houses coming closer and closer to each other as they approached King's Cross Station. Knowing that Uncle Vernon would be waiting for me at the station to take me back to Private Drive over the summer, Ron and Hermione started glancing more and more frequently at me, worrying about how my summer would be and how the magic-hating muggles would treat me.

I also knew that Uncle Vernon would be waiting for me, but it did not bother me as much as it usually would, and I happily chewed on Chocolate Frogs until the train pulled up at the station. I didn't think out spending another summer with the Dursleys, didn't think about weeding the garden under the glaring sun or scrubbing the kitchen floor until my knees were sore and my back aching. I thought about the wonderful year that has passed, of the Triwizard Tournament that had never been finished as Dumbledore had aborted it when they found out that someone had used the imperius curse on one of the participants, and I thought of meeting that particular participant, Viktor Krum. Warmth bloomed in my chest and I smiled, making Ron ask me what I had been smoking while Hermione just gave me that knowing look again.

The students from Durmstrang and Beauxbaton had left a few days earlier, the Hogwarts students spilling out onto the grounds to see the ship dive into the Black Lake and the carriage drawn by winged horses take to the air. Before they had left, Viktor had dragged me into a secluded corner and kissed me, breathing a promise against my lips before Karkaroff called for him and he had to leave. I watched him go and waved with a smile, making Hermione raise her brows at me teasingly. I hadn't told her of any of the things we had done, yet she somehow seemed to know everything and had an endless storage of material to make me blush in any given situation. Women and their intuition were creepy, especially when paired with intelligence as in Hermione's case.

Now, however, there were no raised eyebrows or teasing smiles as Hermione only looked at me with worry. I pretended not to notice, knowing that she had nothing to worry about as I took my trunk in one hand and Hedwig in the other. Getting off the train, we walked to the magical barrier separating the 9 ¾ platform from the rest of the station, finding Uncle Vernon waiting on the other side, his face a dark shade of red, his anger no doubt invoked by the fact that Mrs. Weasley was standing just beside him.

"Oh, Harry!" she exclaimed happily as soon as she saw me, and I was immediately crushed in one of her big hugs. She had good hands, too, I noted, big and strong with calluses from years of hard work in the home.

"If you want to, I'm sure you can come over later in the summer," she assured me, always eager to look after me and feed me when she found me too thin. I smiled and hugged her back, happy to have found another person willing to care for me, if perhaps not in the same way.

"Thank you, Mrs. Weasley, but I'm not sure I can this summer," I answered cheerfully and withdrew from her hug, and she gave me a surprised look, her gaze flickering to the impatient Uncle Vernon whose red face was darkening further because I was making him wait.

"Are you sure, Harry?" she asked uncertainly. "My home will always be open for you."

"I know," I answered, making sure that she heard the gratitude in my voice before I said good bye to Hermione and the Weasley children and walked up to Uncle Vernon.

"Took your bloody time, didn't you, you little shit?" he hissed angrily, but he obviously didn't want to raise his voice and attract any unwanted attention from the family of wizards and witches who were watching us keenly.

I didn't answer him, didn't even stop to acknowledge him. A smile grew on my face as I walked past him and up to the young man standing a few feet away, his hair dark and his eyes black as he watched me. He had big, strong hands, hands that were able and more than willing to take care of me, and he swooped down like a bird of prey as soon as I reached him, capturing me in a heated kiss born from a few days of separation. When he released me, I glanced back towards the others. Hermione was smiling giddily while Mrs. Weasley was fanning herself with her hand, the rest of the Weasley family staring at us in dumbstruck surprise. The one that made me light up with a big grin, however, was Uncle Vernon with his bulging eyes and chewing mouth, his face pale with angry, red blotches that couldn't be healthy.

I winked at them as Viktor took my things from my hands before putting an arm around my waist. I leaned into him happily, giddy with the knowledge that I would never again spend a summer with the Dursleys, and then he turned and whisked me away for the first of a number of great summers spent together far away from Surrey and Little Whinging, aiming to fulfill the promise he had whispered against my lips.

The End!

For those of you who've read TNL: I know this is vastly different from TNL and that I have promised another story, but I needed a bit of a pause before I start with another big project. I also find that I have too many ideas and that I cannot settle down with one of them, as I have a bookworm, werewolves, a case of amnesia, two situations with Azkaban, Succubi, a Veela, Death, a seer, an American Pit Bull Terrier, some bonding over shared misfortune, the Red, horcruxes, Lady Zabini, St. Brutus and a war with muggles all dancing around in my head. I have so far been unable to pick one of them, so have patience with me? ^^'