Hermione slammed a huge book down on the table. Harry waved at the resulting dust cloud and gave her a frown, but she had already cracked the cover and was flipping through pages.
"I think I found it. Your matching marks were the key. I had to find one with sigils that could be made without the victims being aware. Many of the other curses require blood or something more permanent, like a brand or a tattoo…" She trailed off, probably thinking about the Dark Mark, as Harry was. She coughed. "Anyway, thankfully this was a much milder spell, although I'm not quite certain of the intent. It was originally created as a sort of Compatibility Charm. It was used as a party game during the Renaissance. Can you imagine?"
"Not really, no, since I don't know what it does."
Ron snickered and then grinned when Hermione shot him a glare.
"I'm getting to that. What the spell does is bind two people together and then enhances whatever emotions they feel towards one another. It's a gradual process, apparently, and was designed to test whether or not one's chosen paramour felt more amorous or more revolted towards one another. The two persons were required by the spell to touch every so often, and each touch strengthened the bond and brought the relevant emotions to the forefront."
"Blimey! It's a wonder you and Malfoy haven't killed each other by now. What happens if hate is the primary emotion? Do you think that's why someone cast it on them?"
Harry felt a blush creeping into his face. Apparently the primary emotion felt by both he and Malfoy towards one another had not been hate. He never would have guessed the reality prior to the spell.
Hermione said nothing; she merely stared at Ron and lifted a brow. After a moment, Ron groaned and clapped a hand to his forehead. "Oh, bloody hell. You kissed him. Don't even tell me… No, don't tell me! I'm going to go upstairs, dig that Firewhiskey out of my trunk, and set to."
"No, you are not. You are going to stay here and help me to determine why someone would cast this spell on Harry and Draco. The question is, did they expect you to have… gentler… feelings for one another, or did they expect you to start hexing out of enhanced rage?"
Ron groaned. "Oh, Merlin, and that means Malfoy kissed you back. There was mutual kissing. I might be sick."
"Ron, please don't tell me you are homophobic." Hermione's tone was disapproving.
"'Course not. I'm Mal-phobic. It's Malfoy." Ron paused and his eyes widened. "Does Ginny know?"
Harry's blush deepened. "She knows about the spell, but…"
"But not about the kissing and the gay thing?"
Harry shook his head. Ron crossed his arms and sat back with a roll of his eyes. "Good luck with that, mate."
"Never mind that. Now, let's make a list of everyone who might have hexed you and when they would have had the opportunity. There is a limited time until activation, so it has to be someone here at Hogwarts…"
Harry's guilt—and Ron's disapproval—led him to seek out Ginny the next morning. He found her at breakfast and she nodded when Harry asked to have a word with her. His gaze shifted to Malfoy, who met his stare for long minutes. He gave Harry a curt nod that gave Harry a twinge, since he couldn't fathom its meaning, and went back to his conversation with Parkinson. She gave Harry a much more pointed stare, as if goading him into action.
"I'm taking action," he muttered and stuffed a piece of bacon in his mouth.
Ginny followed him out of the Great Hall and Harry ignored the stares of curious onlookers. They walked towards the Quidditch pitch. Ginny had her broom in hand, obviously intending to get some flying practice in before her first class.
"Has Hermione figured out how to break the spell?" she asked.
"Well, she figured out which spell it was."
"Of course she did." Ginny smiled, possibly to ease the sting of her tone. Harry wondered if she was jealous of Hermione's abilities, the same as she had always envied Hermione's status in Harry's life. He sighed; she wasn't making this any easier on him.
"It's a Bonding Spell. The thing is, the spell apparently enhances whatever latent emotions the bonded pair feel for each other."
Ginny kicked at a stone on the path and watched as it tumbled into a path of gorse. "So, what's the problem? You and Malfoy hate each other, so as long as you don't come to blows…"
Harry tugged at his hair. He cleared his throat. "As it turns out, we don't."
"You don't what?"
"We don't hate each other."
Ginny faced him, eyes narrowed. "And?"
"We might actually… like each other. A bit. Well, a lot." Harry swallowed and looked away. Confessing attraction to another bloke was difficult enough without having to do so to one's former girlfriend.
"Are you saying you have a thing… for Malfoy?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah. I'm attracted to him. And it seems to be, well, mutual."
Her fists clenched around the handle of her broom. "It's the spell."
"No, the spell just enhanced—"
"I don't believe it! That bastard cursed you and now you think you're in love with him or something."
Harry frowned. She was taking it much worse than he'd expected. "Look, Gin—"
"No, you look. Malfoy hexed you and he's going to undo it if it's the last bloody thing he does. I'm going to make sure of it." She swung a leg over her broom.
"Wait, Gin, what are you doing?"
"Don't worry, Harry. He can't get away with this." Before Harry could stop her, she rose into the air and shot back towards the castle.
"Shit," Harry said and broke into a run.
Malfoy was not in the Great Hall when Harry returned. He debated checking the Slytherin dungeon, but doubted the resident Slytherins would take kindly to him bursting in without his cloak. And Malfoy would be safe there, anyway, if he was inside.
Instead, Harry ran to Gryffindor Tower to retrieve the Marauder's Map. He was wheezing with exertion as he yanked out the parchment. "I solemnly swear…" He gasped for breath. "…that I am up… to no good."
The map appeared and he concentrated hard on searching out Malfoy. To his relief, Malfoy's dot showed him outside near the lake. Ginny's dot was nowhere near him, although Pansy Parkinson's was. Harry pushed aside a pang of jealousy. He had no time for that now.
Harry stuffed the map into a pocket of his robes before hurrying out. Ron was just coming into the common room, chewing on a handful of toast. "Hey, mate—"
"I told Ginny and she didn't take it well. I think she's going to hex Malfoy. I have to warn him."
Before Ron could reply, Harry shoved through the portrait hole and pelted down the stairs, pausing to look at the map. Malfoy hadn't moved; he was still next to the lake with Parkinson. Harry looked for Ginny and found her in front of the Slytherin common room, probably banging on the door and demanding admittance. Hopefully the occupants would take their sweet time getting to her.
Harry took the stairs two at a time and then a shortcut through a side door that would get him outside faster. By the time he reached the lake, Parkinson was nowhere in sight and Malfoy was… destroying things. Harry slowed his approach and watched as Malfoy Transfigured something into a sparkling glass vase, tossed it into the air, and then blasted it into shards with a snarled, "Reducto!"
Harry swallowed, hoping Malfoy's rage wouldn't spill over in his direction.
A gleaming blue bowl met the same fate as the vase, and then a faceted goblet that Harry liked so well he nearly jumped forward and rescued it, except that Malfoy tossed it into the air so quickly. As the twinkling bits of glass fell to the ground, Harry ventured, "Draco?"
Malfoy spun around with something clenched in his fist. He relaxed after a tense moment. "It's you. Of course it's you." He sighed and tapped at the object in his hand. It turned into a delicate-looking glass candlestick, tinted red. "It will save me a trip to find you, I suppose." He made as if to throw the candlestick and Harry bounded forward and grabbed it.
"This is… really nice. Can I have it?"
Malfoy blinked at him and then released it with a shrug of his shoulders. "It's just a stone." He bent down to pick up a tiny pebble from the ground.
"Why are you smashing things?" Harry asked as he felt the smooth edges of the candlestick.
"Because I am angry at a certain person for meddling in my life." Malfoy tapped the pebble and it turned into a teacup, complete with a pink and green floral pattern and a golden edge. A flick of his wrist sent it into the air where a spell demolished it. Harry ducked to avoid the splinters. Malfoy's Transfiguration skills were phenomenal.
"Pansy. I might as well tell you, since Granger will probably figure it out eventually, but Pansy cast the spell on us. The Bonding Spell."
Harry looked up from admiring the candlestick in his hand. "What? Parkinson?"
"Unless you know another Pansy, of course Parkinson."
Malfoy looked away and walked away some, eyes scanning the ground. He bent down to pick up a suitable pebble. "To torture me, I suppose. How does it feel to be under the influence of a Love Charm, Potter?"
Harry shook his head. Hermione had said nothing about the spell being a Love Charm. In fact— Harry was distracted by a whistling noise and he turned to see Ginny hurtling towards them on her broom. "Oh damn."
"Apparently someone else isn't too happy about it," Draco said dryly and then Ginny leaped off her broom, wand in hand, and marched forward.
"Malfoy! Get away from Harry! Haven't you done enough damage?"
"Ginny, stop it. Draco isn't at fault here."
"You don't know any better right now, Harry. You're under the influence of a curse. A curse that Malfoy is going to reverse right now if he values his face."
Harry raised a hand. "Ginny, seriously. This has nothing to do with you."
She turned her angry stare on him. "Nothing to do with me?"
"We broke up more than a year ago!"
"We never broke up! We were simply taking a… a sabbatical! We were always meant to get back together once that You-Know-Who business was taken care of!"
"Look, I know that was the original plan, but things have changed." Harry dragged a frustrated hand through his hair. He didn't really want to air his and Ginny's dirty laundry in front of Malfoy.
"Things have changed because of him!" Her wand was up again and pointing at Malfoy. "Take the curse off, Malfoy!"
Harry didn't need to turn about to know that Malfoy was rolling his eyes. "I see six years of education haven't done anything to increase your mental acuity, girl-Weasel."
With a snarl of rage, Ginny drew back her wand, probably intending to let a hex fly. Harry's wand was in his hand in a blink. "Expelliarmus!"
Ginny's wand snapped into his hand and she gave him an outraged stare. "Harry, give that back. You don't know what you're doing."
"I know perfectly well what I'm doing! You and I are going to go and talk with Headmistress McGonagall right now before you do something that will get you expelled." He glanced over his shoulder at Draco—Malfoy—Draco—oh, Merlin. "I'll be back to talk with you."
"Whatever, Potter." He picked up another pebble and turned it into a salt cellar.
Harry turned back to Ginny and gestured with both wands and the red candlestick he still held. "Let's go."
"Fine. I'm sure the Headmistress will see things my way." Ginny turned and flounced back in the direction of the castle. Harry followed and heard the crash and tinkle of breaking glass behind him.
Forty minutes later, Harry was still in McGonagall's office. He had finally snapped and shouted, "I am not under a Love Charm and we are never getting back together because I am gay!" but even that hadn't been able to penetrate Ginny's wall of denial. Her insistence that Harry was under the influence of a Love Charm had forced Harry to explain, with a bit of judicious omission, pretending that he had no knowledge of the caster.
McGonagall had sighed heavily and tried to satisfy Ginny's demands with some detection spells, finally pronouncing Harry free from any amorous hexes.
The resultant storm of tears and shouted recriminations had been exhausting and McGonagall had sent for Madam Pomfrey to give Ginny a potion to calm her down. Once the hysteria had subsided, Ginny had agreed to seclude herself in her room and Pomfrey had escorted her to Gryffindor Tower.
Harry felt like a complete heel, but there was nothing he could do to change his feelings. McGonagall had said little, simply providing him with a bracing cup of tea and several chocolate biscuits.
"You don't think I led her on, do you?" Harry asked, thinking of Malfoy when the teacup clinked against the saucer. He wondered how many other hapless dishes had met their end.
"Mr Potter, the teenaged years are often a tumultuous time when emotions are extreme and hormones run amok. Changes in feelings and desires are quite common and cannot be turned on and off like valves, they can only be examined for durability. What you once felt for Miss Weasley was correct for you at the time, but if your feelings for Mr Malfoy are genuine, you can only deny them at the peril of your emotional well-being. In the long run, acceptance of who we are can prevent more problems than it can avoid. Once Miss Weasley accepts the reality of the situation, she will fare better and let go of her fantasies, difficult as that might seem to her right now. In the meantime, of course, I will keep an eye on her and make certain she does not take further rash action."
Harry nodded. "Thank you."
"Now, perhaps you should go and find Mr Malfoy before he causes injury to our younger students by showering the school grounds with glass and broken pottery."
"I will. And thank you again, Professor."
"Never a dull moment, Mr Potter."
Harry had barely exited the office when he ran smack-dab into Ron.
"Harry! What's going on? Pomfrey came into the common room with Ginny and she was sobbing like someone had killed her favourite puffskein. Pomfrey told me to talk to you and then took her to her room."
Harry gripped Ron on the shoulder. "I hate to put it to you this way, mate, but your sister and I will never be an item."
"Well, I figured that much when you weren't exactly eager to get back with her and spent half your time at the Burrow avoiding her by practicing Quidditch moves or playing Exploding Snap with me. And now—"
"I think I'm in love with Draco Malfoy."
Ron clapped his hands over his ears. "Can we just pretend you never said that last bit?"
Harry chuckled. "Yeah, okay, but it might be kind of obvious if he and I start snogging in the halls or groping one another out of doors and whatnot."
"La la la la, I can't hear you."
Harry grabbed Ron's wrists and pulled his hands away. "Ron, I'm serious."
Ron scowled. "I'll deal with that when the time comes, yeah? It's going to take me some time to get used to it. Merlin, of all people. Surely there are other blokes in this school that would be more acceptable?"
"I think it's always been him," Harry admitted, acknowledging it for the first time.
Ron huffed an explosive sigh. "I guess. But if he's an arse to me, I'm going to be an arse right back."
"I suppose that's fair. I'm going to go find him now, okay?"
"Fine. I think I'll go and shout at Hermione. That always makes me feel better."
"I'll warn her if I see her."
"Won't matter. She always wins."
Harry laughed and headed down the stairs, pulling out the map to look for Draco again.
It took Harry some time to find him as he was no longer at the lake. Several minutes of perusing the map finally led him to spy Draco near the ruined Room of Requirement. Harry wondered what he was doing all the way up on the seventh floor. Had he been looking for Harry? Shaking off the thought, Harry started off.
On the way there, he spotted Pansy Parkinson walking with a group of Slytherin girls. Harry yelled and beckoned to her. For a moment, he thought she would ignore him completely, but then she shrugged and walked over.
"Why did you tell Draco it was a Love Charm? And why did you cast it in the first place? Why me?"
Parkinson glared at him and flipped her black hair out of her face. "Why should I tell you?"
"Because you if don't I'll have no reason not to mention it to the Headmistress. Maybe she could get some answers."
"I'm not afraid of McGonagall."
Harry refrained from rolling his eyes and pointing out that she was obviously stupid, if that were the case. And he doubted she wanted to be expelled, despite her bravado. He shrugged. "All right, then." He turned to leave, but she caught his sleeve.
"If you must know, Draco was being an arse. All he ever talked about was you, about how he hated the sight of your face and couldn't stand the way you paraded around as if you owned the world."
"So you… bonded him to me?"
"You probably know what the spell does by now. I expected Granger to find it much quicker, honestly."
"I know it's no Love Charm."
She smirked. "Apparently it is. I expected it to enhance Draco's hatred of you, and hopefully goad him into doing something—anything—as long as it stopped him constantly moaning about you. I thought you two would hex each other and get stuck with detention before Granger found the answer. I didn't expect your animosity to be a front for… other things."
"Neither did we."
"Funny how that worked out."
"Yeah, funny. It doesn't explain why Draco thinks I'm under the influence of a Love Spell."
She sniffed. "He was yelling at me and I saw no reason to make it easy on either of you. Frankly, you both deserve each other. You can thank me later. If you don't kill one another, that is." With that, she turned and re-joined her friends before flouncing down the steps.
Harry shook his head. Parkinson was perfectly awful, but without her evil interference, he probably would never have figured out his real feelings. He made a note to send her something nice if he managed to work things out with Draco. If nothing else, she might die of shock, which would be all right, too.
When Harry finally found him, Draco was seated on one of the stair risers near the corridor that led to the Room of Requirement. Harry had been past the place a number of times, but no matter how hard he concentrated a door never appeared.
Harry flung himself down next to Draco, who said nothing, but at least he didn't jump to his feet and attempt to escape. Harry waited for a few awkward moments and then glanced at him sidelong. "Fancy meeting you here."
"I came to see if I could get into the Room of Hidden Things. Although that might seem macabre. I think about it sometimes. I still wonder why you saved us. After we tried to kill you, and all."
"You never tried to kill me. You even saved me, once." Harry allowed his mind to drift, just for a moment, back to that horrible time when the Snatchers had dragged him into Malfoy Manor to face the Malfoys, and Bellatrix. It seemed a lifetime ago. He shrugged. "It might be a little macabre, but I understand."
Draco flicked a bit of lint from his trouser leg. "Has your ginger girlfriend been contained?"
"She's not my girlfriend and yeah, we had a talk."
Draco made a noncommittal sound and tapped his wand against his hand. It was much lighter wood than his other wand had been, the wand that resided permanently in the bottom of Harry's trunk. This one had a delicate grain and a sculpted handle inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Somehow it made Draco seem friendlier than the dark solidity of the hawthorn had. Harry wondered if a wand was a reflection of a wizard's personality, and if it meant Draco had changed. He smiled sardonically at the thought. Of course he had changed; they all had.
"You must have made Parkinson pretty angry," Harry said, sensing that Draco was about to make a snide comment. Harry would rather not get into a sniping war. Not now.
"Sometimes I think that angry is Pansy's natural state."
"It was still pretty cruel of her to lie to you about the spell."
"Lie?" His grey eyes fixed on Harry and narrowed.
"About it being a Love Charm. It wasn't."
"Of course it was. You felt it. Otherwise—"
Harry shook his head. "No. Everything we felt was already there. We can't blame it on any curse and you can't wish it all away by insisting it was magical."
"You aren't making sense."
"How long has it been since we were required to touch one another? Have you felt any…" Harry gestured towards his abdomen and then motioned at Draco, "pull? Because I haven't."
Draco's eyes widened and Harry nodded with a satisfied smirk. He straightened and dragged his shirt off with a swift motion.
"The spell wore off. It was a Compatibility Charm with a limited effective period. So, you see, there was no deep and abiding Love Spell, no falsified emotions, and no charm-induced lifelong commitment. And yet… here we are."
Draco stared at the spot on Harry's ribcage where the mark had once resided. His skin was back to normal, unblemished. "That bitch!" he murmured.
Harry chuckled. "Well, I wouldn't call her that to her face, but…"
"Salazar! Then that means…"
"Yeah. Apparently we really do want to shag each other senseless. The spell just made it obvious."
Draco blinked at him. "That's… not possible."
Harry leaned closer, broaching Draco's personal space and staring into his eyes. "No? That's odd. Then perhaps it's another maddening blond I'm hopelessly obsessed with. I suppose I should go and look for—"
Harry's words were silenced by Draco's mouth. Harry made a satisfied sound and pressed closer, throwing himself into the kiss and wrapping himself around Draco. As they snogged, Draco's hands slid over Harry's bare skin. He remembered their time together in Draco's room and cursed the anti-Apparition wards; he would happily have taken them straight to Draco's bed.
Draco pulled away, eyes wide, but Harry dragged him back into a kiss. A group of students passed by and Harry heard whistles, murmured conversation, and a gasp or two, but he didn't care. All he wanted was to keep kissing Draco. Let them go to the papers.
"We… we should…" Draco tried at one point.
"We should go to your room and shag?" Harry finished.
Draco nodded emphatically and Harry stood, pulling him to his feet so quickly they nearly overbalanced and tumbled down the stairs.
"I hope your bloody roommates are out."
They hurried to the Slytherin dorm and Draco did not even bother to hide him as they hurried past several shocked-looking Slytherin students. In Draco's dorm room, Blaise Zabini lounged on his bed, reading a book. His jaw gaped open when Draco and Harry entered.
"Get out, Blaise. Potter and I are going to have sex."
Harry's cheeks flamed and Zabini's brows climbed towards the ceiling. Harry made a mental note to have a chat with Draco about possibly being less blunt.
Blaise got to his feet. "Is this a private party, or can anyone join?"
Harry gaped at him, but Draco only sneered. "Private. Now get out!"
Zabini sighed and picked up his book. "Fine. But if you change your mind…" He leered at Harry, waved, and went out. A number of Locking Spells hit the door when it closed behind him.
"Is he always so—?" Harry began, but his words were forgotten as Draco pounced on him and savaged his lips with bruising kisses.
Harry might have bristled at Draco's imperious tone, but it was a smart idea so he simply obeyed with alacrity. Draco did the same and it became a race to see who could get naked the quickest. Harry won, but only because he was already shirtless and jeans were easier to remove than fancy pure-blood quality trousers.
Their hands were reaching for one another's cocks before the last garment hit the floor and then they were kissing again, just before they tumbled onto the bed. It was even better than last time, less awkward, as though Harry's admission had cracked the wall of ice that Draco had built around himself.
They spent little time on foreplay. The atmosphere was electric and they both seemed to sense that they were crossing a bridge from which there would be no return. Harry could feel Draco's nervousness, and tried to reassure him the way that seemed more effective, with his hands and his mouth. He touched Draco everywhere, trying to express his feelings.
A huge smile stretched Harry's lips and Draco groaned. Harry chuckled. "It's not that bad."
"It's dreadful. We—"
Harry silenced him with a kiss. "Stop it. You know it's not dreadful. It makes perfect sense. We've been dancing around one another since we were eleven years old. I've spent nearly half of my life watching you."
"And hating what you saw."
"Maybe then. But not now."
"But what if—?"
"Draco," Harry said sternly and kissed him. He kept kissing him until Draco went soft and pliant beneath him. Harry smiled down at him. "It might have taken the silly spell to open my eyes, but they are open now. They are open and all they see is you."
Draco rolled his eyes, but the blush staining his cheeks spoke more clearly than his attempt to ignore Harry's words, and then he bit his lip and Summoned the lube from the drawer.
"I suppose this means we are boyfriends," Draco said sardonically as Harry uncapped the bottle.
"You bet your sweet, perfect ass it does," Harry replied and generously coated his cock with the slick lubricant. "And I'll go Boy-Who-Lived on anyone who has a problem with that."
Draco grinned at that and then began to chuckle. After a moment, his chuckles became a full chest-rumbling laugh that screwed with Harry's attempts to get lube on all the right surfaces.
"Merlin, that was pathetic."
"Shut up. You know it was badass."
"Badass? Really? I think you—"
"I'm going to fuck you now, Draco," Harry said and pushed a lube-coated finger into a place guaranteed to silence his new boyfriend. It worked admirably. Whatever Draco had been about to say died away with a choked gurgle. His fingers dug into the blankets and he moved several inches closer to the headboard. Harry kissed him to make up for the intrusion. "Are you okay with this?" he asked to be certain.
Draco nodded and canted his hips, pushing Harry's finger a bit deeper. Harry had to remind himself to breathe. He had planned to prepare Draco the way the books had taught him, studied after everyone had gone to sleep the previous night. (He'd found them on his bed, wrapped in brown paper. How the bloody hell did Hermione always know everything?) But Draco had other ideas.
"Bugger that. Just put it in, Potter. Harry. I'm past ready."
Harry nodded and removed his fingers before steadying his cock and lubing it once more. He quelled a sudden burst of nervousness, knowing Draco was just as uncertain. This was new ground for both of them, but at least they were facing it together. Merlin, we're really doing this, Harry thought in awe. In another second I'll no longer be a virgin. Harry took a deep breath and pushed in.
Draco made a sound of discomfort and Harry stopped immediately, but Draco shook his head and his fingers tightened on Harry's arms. Harry's heart was pounding. He had thought nothing could be better than a blow job, but he'd been wrong. Not that this was necessarily better, just different. Different good. Different very good.
Realising his thoughts were turning into another witless jumble, he focussed on Draco, whose erection had flagged slightly. Harry concentrated on that for a minute, stroking Draco back to hardness while closing his eyes at the brilliance of being deep inside of him. The task helped to stave off his own imminent orgasm, as did another bout of kissing.
"You can move, Potter. I'm not going to break."
Harry nodded without acknowledging Draco's attempt at levity and then began to move. Draco made encouraging sounds and it didn't take long to find an exquisite, rapid rhythm that Draco seemed to enjoy as much as Harry, judging by the breathy whispers of encouragement.
When Draco came, it was unexpected, and so erotic that Harry had to stop moving in order to watch. He quickly picked up the pace again, but the pearlescent liquid gleaming on Draco's abdomen was mesmerising. He surprised himself by wanting to taste it. Oh god, he thought, I'm a deviant! And then he came, shooting his release into Draco and shouting aloud at the force of it.
"Merlin, Potter. You should have warned me you'd be a screamer. I would have put up a Silencing Spell. No doubt the rest of Slytherin house enjoyed that."
Harry fell atop Draco and then rolled over to lie next to him, too sated and contented to care. He gave Draco a half-grin. "Good. Maybe they'll know to keep their hands off."
"I see. Getting possessive, are we?"
"Well, since I can't rely on a silly bonding spell to make you mine, I'll just have to do it myself."
Draco snorted, but his expression was anything but sardonic as he rolled over and attacked Harry with his mouth. And thus began round two.
Three weeks later, Harry was flying high above the Quidditch stands, keeping a close eye on Bonnie as she watched for the Snitch. Harry couldn't play, but he'd be damned if he'd sit on his hands in the stands when his teammates were in the air. They all looked so young and Quidditch was a dangerous game.
He chuckled to himself and wondered when he'd got so old. He wiped his brow with the back of his arm. It was an unseasonably hot day and he hoped the match would end soon so that he could take his ancient bones back into the castle for a cold drink.
Hufflepuff scored again—their Chasers were bloody fast. Bonnie would have to find the Snitch soon or the game would be lost. Harry bit his lip when he spotted it. He daren't so much as gesture, but to his relief she angled her broom and shot towards it like an arrow. The Hufflepuff Seeker was below her and he put on a burst of speed, trying to reach it before her.
"Junior! Junior! Junior!" the Gryffindors chanted and Harry shook his head. He loved all of those idiots, and the stands erupted in cheers and shouts when Bonnie's hand closed on the Snitch. She'd done it!
Harry's gaze went straight to the Slytherin stands and picked out a head of blond hair that had pulled his attention time and again. Draco was talking to Zabini and hadn't seemed to have even noticed the game had been won. Harry sighed and shook his head as he turned his broom and went to congratulate the Gryffindor team.
It was even warmer on the ground and someone had cast a Sprinkler Charm on the pitch. Water sprayed in a glittering spiral, drenching the players that danced beneath it. Harry joined them with a laugh and dragged off his shirt. The cool water felt lovely.
"Hey, Harry! Nice tattoo." Neville's voice carried and several people began to whisper and point.
Harry grinned. "Thanks, Neville. It's less a tattoo and more of a… mark of ownership."
"And don't you forget it."
Harry turned at the sound of Draco's voice and fairly launched himself at his boyfriend. He stood beneath an Umbrella Charm, of course; Merlin forbid he get his hair wet. Harry pressed his wet body closer, intending to make Draco as damp as possible.
"Get a room!" Ginny yelled.
Harry pulled away from Draco and looked at her, but she was smiling and gave him a tentative thumbs-up. Things had been tense between them recently, but now they seemed to be looking up. Harry beamed at her.
"For once, a Weasley has a good idea. Let's go to your room and renew our bond."
Harry touched the spot on Draco's ribs where the tattoo that matched his own resided. They had got them in Hogsmeade the prior weekend on a whim. The tattoos mimicked the design of the original bond that Parkinson had cast, a permanent thanks to that happy not-quite-accident. He nodded. "We should do that, yeah. We don't want it to wear off, do we?" Harry swung a leg over his broom and pulled Draco on behind him. They could get there faster by flying. "Don't hurry back, Ron!"
"I hate you both!" Ron shouted.
Harry laughed aloud as they sped across the grounds. Draco's arms were wrapped tightly around him and his lips nuzzled at Harry's nape. He could hardly wait to get Draco's clothes off and trace the tattoo with his lips.
After all, if a Bonding Charm ever wore off, it was simple to make your own.
YES, THE SAP WAS NECESSARY. I HAVE GALLONS OF IT LYING AROUND THAT I NEED TO GET RID OF. *uses a paint roller*