Author's Note:; Welp. It was Wednesday an hour and a half ago... :) Bit shorter than usual but we're into the school months and there's not really much to write about that. Theo and Harry meet...physically...for the first time! A quieter affair than in the original, though I would have liked to have Harry kicking and screaming...
Chapter Eleven; Flying and (Almost) Feral
Harry was up and about again soon. The damage wasn't too bad—Seamus' was worse, as had been expected. They both had a few new scars now, pockmarks littered along their arms and hands, but nothing too extenuating.
Still, he'd been in the hospital wing on the first day of school, and that always pointed to a bad year. As he Flooed through to his bedroom, he found himself disappointed. He'd thought it was going to be an amazing year, he'd thought everything was going to change for the better. And yet he'd still ended up in the Hospital Wing, unconscious. He still had gotten new scars.
It was weird—he was filled with this sort of sense of unhinged failure, but he shouldn't be, not really. Nothing had changed, and that was better than things changing for the worse.
His room was pretty much untouched, but his backpack and schoolwork had been returned and were sat on the coffee table. Potions, Defense, Transfigurations and Herbology homework bundles were alongside it. With a groan Harry threw himself down and started in on Potions work.
He was nearly through with Potions when he remembered he didn't have to do it all at once. Several hours had passed already and he figured he'd better just get the worst over with and be happy the rest of the week, so he finished it off and moved on to Defense.
It was only when a knock came at his door that he'd realized he'd worked through lunch and it was now dinner. Shoving to his feet, he let Lexi and Dean in.
Seamus would be in the Hospital Wing for another day or so, having gotten a full blast of potion in the face. The poor thing had only come round this morning, and was out again before Harry'd left.
Lexi plopped down, holding out a takeout container. Harry looked at her dubiously.
"You sneaked out to bring me food?" he demanded, but the smell of the food was alluring and he snatched it away from her to begin eating.
"Of course not, I'm not stupid. I made Eames get it for you!" Lexi chirped. She lounged backward against Dean, who was reading some of Harry's Potions work idly while eating his own food. "It was kind of difficult 'cause he didn't think it was fair to the others but then I told him you were injured and made him feel guilty."
The girl went silent, blinking at him with overlarge eyes. She looked all too innocent and he drew back, wary.
"So...I know you met that unmated Dominant," she whispered, as if the very walls would tattle on them. Despite knowing that Eames and Snape had been in the room and that he wouldn't get in trouble, he lowered his eyes and shrugged.
It was true—he'd made it a point to stare at Nott for several minutes each time Eames stopped reprimanding him.
Harry had never had a conversation with Theo Nott, but knew that the boy wasn't exactly a Death Eater. His family was known for having an exceeding amount of Creature Blood, and so would never side with Voldemort.
(Still, that didn't seem to stop the Malfoys...but then, Harry didn't think either Narcissa nor Lucius had Inherited, it was only Malfoy who had.)
Actually, Harry had never really paid much attention to Nott at all. Until recently he'd never imagined settling down with anyone—especially any male—and it had never occurred to him to look. But Nott was rather handsome in his own right—tall, about six-foot, with wide shoulders and narrow hips, his nose elegant and jawline strong. Nott's skin was tan, and his limbs seemed almost out of proportion with the rest of his body, not unlike a growing puppy. His eyes were a dark brown, the same color as his hair, which was slightly overlong on top and styled so it stayed out of his face.
In a few years, Nott would look like a proper Dominant, all muscle and quirked lips. Harry actually shivered at the thought.
And then his thoughts turned to Malfoy, who looked even paler than usual (if possible), with his fair hair and pale gray eyes and paper-white skin. Even Lexi was not that pale, and she was Veela!
Maybe Malfoy's Veela too, Harry thought, eyes narrowing. Would make sense, the git.
"Um, yeah, we kind of knew them before," Harry coughed. "Theodore Nott and Draco Malfoy."
Dean glanced up and smirked. "Did you like what you saw? I think Nott's Sarkany."
"Oooh, Harry and Theodore sittin' in a tree..." Lexi teased. Harry blushed heavily.
(And not because he was picturing it himself. Certainly not. He didn't like Slytherins, right?)
"Looks like you've finished a week's worth of Potions already," Dean commented, tossing the bundle of parchment back onto the table. "Workaholic. How're you faring in Defense?"
Conversation turned to Harry's schoolwork, and for that he was glad. He wasn't sure why, but continuing to think about Theo was starting to make him uncomfortable—and not in an entirely bad way.
After they ate, the trio met in the empty room they were using as a common area to continue doing schoolwork. There were several others there already, scratching away with their quills and making small talk.
Harry's Defense was finished off in about an hour and he started in on Transfigurations. If he could finish all of his work thus far, he'd have the weekend off! Maybe he could actually read a book. You know, for fun. Or something!
"God, it's not a race, Harry," Lexi gaped as he set aside Transfigurations, too. He'd practice the spells later—that Human-Animal one looked kind of cool and would be good for pranking unruly guards.
"You're gonna get like a T or something," Dean snickered. Lexi blanched and looked at Dean. "What?"
"T? Is your grading system different than ours?" Lexi wondered, blinking curiously.
Harry shrugged. "I dunno. We've got O, E, A, P, D, and T. What was yours?"
Lexi had the standard A-F grading system. She looked horrified. "Why are the letters different?"
"They stand for things," Harry said with a tiny shrug. Dean nodded encouragingly as well—most Wizards hadn't gone to primary school and so wouldn't know about the A-F grading system, but obviously muggleborn students did. While Dean wasn't muggleborn, he thought he had been. "Outstanding, Exceeds Expectations, Acceptable, Poor, Dreadful, and Troll. You really want to get Poor or higher, anything else isn't passing."
"So my E in Potions was actually 'Exceeds Expectations'? Oh I'm so happy! I thought I had failed my first ever Potions class!"
"Seamus and I got a Poor," Harry snickered behind his hand. "Probably because we accidentally brewed an unstable Dissolving Draught instead of the Anti-Nausea one we were meant to be brewing. If we'd stirred a whole turn around and then added some newt's eyes, we could have had an Outstanding. Also no stay in the Hospital Wing."
"So what went wrong with it, anyway?" Lexi whispered, leaning forward as if it were a secret.
"Seamus stirred three-quarters instead of one-half," Harry rolled his eyes. "I still think we should have stirred anticlockwise as well, but he rather thought it was stupid and went clockwise instead."
Harry stretched out as he checked the clock. Damn, he'd been hoping to finish off Herbology before Astronomy—but it was time to leave now and he was only half-done.
Tomorrow he'd finish Herbology and Astronomy, start Charms and History of Magic, and perhaps practice those spells. Then it was Friday and he had the whole weekend to himself.
If it was all this easy, this would be a great year.
September passed all too quickly in waves of boredom, schoolwork, and more boredom. Now that schoolwork was literally all he had to do, Harry was more bored than he'd ever been before. He was almost always finished with his work the day they got it (years of making sure homework didn't pile up) and he was resigned to reading novels now.
Not that it was bad—he'd Owl-Ordered several rather good books. But it seemed all he was doing was reading lately. He missed sneaking out to swim in the lake (though it was getting too cold for that), to wander around in Hogsmeade, even to nick food from the kitchens. He couldn't even wander the halls anymore because of the Dominants and other wizards that were here.
In a sense of camaraderie, the mated Submissives decided to follow the same rules as the unmated ones until they all were allowed to leave the corridor. Not that this made their mates very happy—if anything, the Dominants were taking being cooped up even worse than the Submissives.
So when their first scheduled outing of the year popped up, they were all understandably excited.
It was just out to the Quidditch pitch for a little fresh air, but Harry was so happy it could have been a trip to Disney World.
"I'm gonna fly," he decided immediately, wings moving restlessly beneath his skin. It was probably his imagination, as he was pretty sure they just disappeared, but it sure felt like they were cramped up in there.
"Of course you are," Lexi patted his head, smirking. "Up you go then love, we're gonna be late."
Seamus snickered behind his hand. "Yeah, up you go love," he mocked in a very posh accent, "Mum says it's time to go!"
"Shut up, you prat," Harry groused, shoving him roughly. "Just 'cause Lex loves me more than you doesn't mean you should poke fun!"
The guards led them all through the corridors. Harry wondered how they'd gotten all the students shut away, since it was aSaturday and all.
Once they were free of the castle walls, Harry sprinted for the willow over the Black Lack, spreading his wings wide and taking off. For the first time in three weeks the wind was rushing against his face, and though it was getting chillier he laughed gleefully, letting the air burst out of his lungs.
In the Library, several students pressed close to the large windows, watching.
"Whoa," Ron grunted, watching one of the Submissives get particularly close to the window he was currently standing against. Hermione, at his side, just nodded absently, eyes huge.
He reminded himself that she was Muggleborn. It was something kind of difficult to remember sometimes, because she was so good at everything. It didn't even feel good for him to know he knew more about this than her, it just felt wrong.
"Looks like they're having fun," Neville commented, cocking a brow. Ron shot him a smirk and then went back to watching the fliers.
There were plenty of them—Fae and Sarkany, and a few Veelas nearer the ground as Veela's wings weren't very suited to flight. From this distance Ron couldn't tell who was whom, though he liked to guess that the one with all of the gold on his wings was Harry.
He even said it aloud—and then Neville roared with laughter and informed him that the one with all the gold on "his" wings was, indeed, female.
"Look," Neville said, pointing. "Right there."
Hermione and Ron turned their heads to see a group of three boys (or, Ron thought they were boys): two Sarkany with white wings and one Fae with green.
"Seamus, Harry, and Dean," Neville added after a second. "At least, I think it's Harry—but the other two are definitely Seamus and Dean."
Dean's wings suddenly snapped behind him and he plummeted several meters. Hermione shrieked and nearly got them thrown out of the library before Dean caught himself.
"He's laughing!" Neville assured her hurriedly, his eyesight much better than either of theirs. "Look, they're playing!"
Sure enough, the other two followed suit, and Ron fancied he could hear their laughter from here.
"Well, well. Spying on the Submissives, are we?"
"Malfoy," Neville muttered, eyes roving over the other boy. The other two turned as well, scowling, but Neville just nodded. "Congratulations on your Inheritance."
"Congratulations to you as well, Longbottom," Malfoy murmured, looking surprised. Beside him was Nott and Zabini. Nott plastered himself to the window and sighed wantonly. "Come off it, Nott, you're acting like a Submissive!"
"Shut your mouth, just because you haven't found love doesn't mean the rest of us can't," Nott pouted, nose pressed to the glass so hard that it was flattening. "Look, look, I see him!"
Malfoy pinched the bridge of his nose and grumbled to the others: "Nott's fallen in love with Potter. Just thought I ought to let you know."
"He loves me too," Nott added cheerfully, still not pulling away from the glass. "Oh, he's so pretty. Look how little he is."
"He hasn't spoken a single word to you," protested Malfoy, staring straight at Neville. "Seems to think one little wave means Potter's in love, that one. Listen Longbottom, we're both Dominant here. Think we could put our past behind us?"
Ron probably would have passed out right there if Hermione hadn't grabbed his arm tightly. They both turned to see Nott still staring out the window, but he'd pulled himself together enough that he was no longer pressed against it like a fool.
"So you've seen Harry, then?" Hermione asked quietly. Nott shot her a look—so did Ron. "What? He's my friend and I haven't seen him in months!"
Nott shrugged. "Yeah, I saw him. He was in the hospital wing when McGonagall sent Draco and I."
"What for?" Ron demanded, eying the smudge that might be his friend. They were further away now and he even doubted that Neville could see them, but he didn't seem injured.
Nott shrugged and turned to face them fully. "I dunno. Potions accident. Thomas and some girl seemed really worried about him and Finnigan."
Ron scowled. "And he waved at you?"
The taller, tanned boy squinted and then looked highly amused. "You're jealous, Weasley?"
Ron's fists clenched. So what if he was jealous? He was prone to jealousy sometimes, yeah. This was his best friend they were talking about—the best friend he hadn't seen or spoken to since...last June! That was going on four months now.
"Listen, Nott, we're just trying to look out for him from afar," Hermione whispered gently as the librarian passed. "Harry's been through a lot the last few years. Anyways, if you expect to have a chance with him, you should be kind to his friends, right?"
Nott's eyes lit up. "Of course! Okay okay, let's do that whole 'starting over' shtick. Nice to meet you, I'm Theo."
Ron drew back, a little worried for this boy's sanity. Hermione was already greeting him cheerfully, and she elbowed him to do the same. "Oh! Oh, um, yeah. Ron."
"Don't seem too enthusiastic, it might scare me away," Nott—Theo—winked. "Anyways, yeah, nice to remeet you and all but I'm off to find a new window to stare at him from. Don't tell him, yeah? It's kind of weird."
Then he was gone, and Malfoy—when he realized his buddy was gone—took off as well, a still-silent Zabini in tow.
"Funny," Neville said quietly as the trio turned back to the window in unison.
"What is?" Ron muttered, not sure if he was annoyed or angry or amused.
"Harry's always getting you into weird situations, even when you haven't spoken to him in three months," Neville responded.
And wasn't that the truth.
Harry landed hard on the ground, the air rushing out of him as he laughed. He hadn't felt this free in ages, and it was both exhilarating and a little sad.
Two muffled thuds beside him let him know that his friends had joined him and Lexi, who had stayed on the ground.
"Mmm," he mumbled, rolling onto his belly and shaking his wings out. He felt sleepy and sated, like you felt after a good exercise session. "I'm never moving again. Nope, nope, nope."
"I have a feeling that that won't go over well," Dean grunted, but he too flopped backward onto the ground, limp. "Sign me up."
Unfortunately, their outdoors time had to come to an end at some point, and it was with quite a few pouts and loud protests that the Hogwarts Submissives were herded back inside at sunset.
Like before, the halls were suspiciously empty, and Harry knew that they'd been cleared especially for this reason. It made him feel a little important and also a little indignant.
"I think I'll sleep for twelve hours," Seamus said to Lexi. The quiet babble of the crowd of voices was relaxing to Harry.
"Well yes, I'll eat dinner and then I'll sleep for twelve hours. Maybe I'll hibernate for the winter."
"Some dragon species do hibernate," Dean added playfully.
"Really? I wonder if it would be possible for me." Seamus sounded a little too serious and Lexi elbowed him.
Harry was content just to listen to their banter, and tried not to count down to the next time they'd be allowed outside.
Next week? Next month? Surely it was considered cruelty to keep such free creatures indoors for so long?
He sighed, looking at the floor. Then he squinted and snuffed lightly.
Something smelled very good. Like—the forest after a thunderstorm, salty ocean air, and peacefulness. Peacefulness most definitely had a scent, he knew that now.
Harry's eyes tracked up the floor and to the nearest classroom, where he saw a face peeking out. It was the boy from the Infirmary—Theodore Nott.
Without meaning to, Harry let his eyes slit, feeling his fangs pierce his lip. He'd stopped moving but, other than a few annoyed grumbles, nobody really noticed.
The Sarkany buried inside his mind whispered compatible, and that was the only word that mattered to him. He needed to be right next to that Dominant, he needed...
Harry was at the classroom now, reaching for the door handle. The Dominant was shaking his head, saying something, but Harry couldn't hear through the door and that was a whole new reason to open it.
So he did.
The Dominant seemed to be pushing against the door, but wasn't very determined to keep Harry out. It took a little elbow grease and at some point a guard must have noticed, because the group (which was now halfway up the stairs) was stopped. It didn't matter though—the guard wasn't even halfway down the stairwell when the door gave and Harry toppled inward, right on top of the Dominant.
His senses went into override. The smell! The smell was so much more intense here, and it was all he could do not to bury his face into the other boy's neck and just smell him. Nott's eyes widened in surprise, hands coming up to steady Harry.
"Hi there," the boy muttered.
Harry didn't know why, but he blushed, ducking his head. "Hi," he responded, lowering himself down to lay against Nott. He could tell the other teen was mouth-breathing at the moment. "Hi," he said again.
"M-maybe you should...I mean...we're not supposed to...?"
Harry nuzzled against the Dominant and made a sound like a purr. He heard footsteps and whimpered. "They'll make me go away."
"Probably for the best," Nott gasped, tightening his hands around Harry's hips.
"I don't want to go away!" Harry insisted, more for the Guard's sake than his own. The Guard was in the doorway now, grabbing at Harry. "Don't!" he begged, clutching Nott.
"Come on now, Harry, let the poor boy go," Eames' voice was soothing but insistent, and Harry forced himself to let go of Nott.
He didn't want to. God, he didn't want to.
On a whim, before Eames could pull him away, his tongue flicked out and he gave Nott's shoulder a little lick.
If anybody else had seen he would never have lived it down.
But then he was being pulled away, and he cried and squirmed but the human inside of him stopped the Sarkany from going fully feral.
This was not a battle they would win, and they both knew it.
They would wait until they could win it. And then, when they were sure, they would go back.
Harry blinked and his eyes were back to normal.
Okay! Next chapter will be up at some point, methinks. Anyways I'm working on this really gorgeous story right now, I'm 20k in and I realized there's actually not a plot at all, so I've started to rewrite it for the fifth time and I decided I'd like a beta/co-author for it. As I'm no longer posting new stories there, you can read the first (ROUGH DRAFT) chapter over at AO3 (Archiveofourown dot org slash users slash TigerKymmie). The title is "The Trista Convoy" and that's a working title. I've already begun reworking that chapter, so it'll be quite a bit different, and the summary is for the rewrite not the rough draft :)
If you're interested in being a beta or co-authoring for me, post a comment on that fic or contact me at kyatao3 at yahoo dot com.