Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter
Draco Malfoy Harry Potter Original Female Witch
Slash Drama
Harry and Classmates Post-Hogwarts
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix Quidditch Through the Ages
Published: 04/22/2005
Updated: 07/30/2008
Words: 247,857
Chapters: 31
Hits: 79,195

The Bet


Story Summary:
It all started with a little bet. "I bet you can't do it." "Do what?" "Seduce him." Draco Malfoy's never been one to back down from a perfectly do-able bet. But when that bet involves Harry Potter? Draco's realising that this bet isn't as cut and dry as it seems, nor as easy... AU post-war, post-Hogwarts, Harry/Draco/OC

Chapter 20

Chapter Summary:
The Dinner Date. Mikhail's first meeting of the rest of Harry's friends, and Harry's preparation for it. Truths and lies reveal themselves quite viciously.

Discliamer: I own the B.I., Mikhail, Raven, and various other OC's and original places and objects. No stealing without permission.

Chapter notes: Well, I really can't apologise enough to all of you, my wonderful readers. You all have been SO patient with me this last nine months or so...with my quarterly updates and all... 'The Bet' had it's yearly anniversary back in December, and I didn't even notice! So, I dedicate this chapter to all of you, because you deserve it, waiting so long with such a horrible cliffhanger.

I'm immensely sorry for not getting this chapter out sooner. I had the continuation of Draco and Harry's plight already written, and then I hit not only the end of the school quarter, but a major writer's block. I know school had become a rather well-worn excuse, but there really are times when as much as I want to, I either can't get the story out of me, or I'm just too busy and bogged down with other worries to accomplish anything.

Again, I want to thank IcyAurora for beta'ing for me! She's probably busier than I am, and she still finds the time to encourage me and edit my writing. I love you, babe! For the next chapter, I will be bringing on a new beta, and will announce her properly when the time comes.

Now, forget about me, I know you want to find out what happens to Harry!


Chapter XX - Jaded Lies


"Harry? Harry!"

Goddammit, what's wrong? Why won't you breathe? Draco leaned over Harry's prone form, which had fallen next to him on the bed when he passed out. But why? What did I say? Why is this happening? "Come on, Harry, breathe!" He shook his friend's shoulders, watching as Harry's head just lolled to the side, his glasses skewing from his nose.

Becoming desperate, Draco let go and started looking for something to help Harry. Come on, Malfoy, think! Wand...where's my wand... Digging it out of his robe pocket, Draco leaned back over Harry and whispered, "Ennervate!"

He dropped his wand as Harry jolted awake, choking on air, gasping for a steady breath, and convulsing in coughs.

"Oh Merlin, Harry! Are you alright? You stopped breathing--I didn't know what to do-"

Between coughs, Harry tried to sit up, but kept falling back as nausea made its repeated claim over him. "I'm--I'm okay. I just...fuck!" Another bout of coughs tickled his lungs, and he curled up on himself a little, closing his eyes in exhaustion as they passed.

"Do you need anything?"

Harry's eyes fluttered, and blinking away tears he whispered, "Water..."

"Right. Shit..." Draco leaned over Harry to retrieve his wand from the floor where it fell and quickly cast a summoning charm towards his night table, where a glass of water appeared immediately. "Here," he said, taking the glass and leaning over the man on his bed, fully prepared to help him drink it. But Harry was determined to do it himself.

Harry's eyes finally opened all the way and he rolled back, absently pushing his glasses to their proper place. He pushed himself up enough to accept the water without disturbing the nausea, quickly gulping it down before handing the empty glass back and flopping back onto the bed.

"Harry?" Draco ventured after a moment.

"Yeah?" Harry answered a little breathlessly.

"What happened?"

Harry looked down to see Draco watching him with worry. "I was hoping you could tell me."

"Well, we were sitting here, and I was saying..." Draco looked away, "...I was saying that I don't want to let you go, and you just--I don't know--you just stopped breathing, and then you passed out, and I had to revive you."

There was a pregnant pause before, "Oh."

"Is that all you're going to say? You had me scared shitless. I didn't know what was wrong-"

"Draco, I'm fine. I just...I don't know what happened. I can't even remember what my last thought was. I still feel dizzy."

That triggered something in Draco's brain. "Dizzy... This has happened before."


"This...you passing out--or nearly. That time, right before you and I...when we were modelling."

"Yeah..." Harry's eyes unfocused as he remembered.

"And the reason you almost passed out then was because...because you were overwhelmed. By feelings that you didn't know what to do with."

Harry frowned. "Okay..."

"Do you...remember what you were feeling before you passed out?"

It took a second, but Harry did. "No," he lied curtly, before sitting up. "I should go. I have homework." He started moving off of the bed.

"Harry, do you really think you should be walking after you just stopped yourself from breathing?"

Harry was now sitting at the edge of the bed, his back facing Draco. "Look, Draco. I know you're worried, but I'm fine. You said once that you'd be my lover or my friend, which ever one I needed, and right now, I need you to be my friend and not my lover. Or my mother." He stood and headed for the door on mostly stable legs.

When his hand was on the doorknob, Draco said, "You never had a mother."

Harry turned around with a grave look on his face, forcing himself to take Draco's comment in the way he meant it, and not the way it sounded. "I did, once. Even if I can't remember her. I just need you to be my friend, Draco. Please? Things are just too intense right now, and I need someone who won't fight against me."

"I'm not trying to fight you, Harry."

"I know you're not trying, but you are, even if you don't realise it, by telling me about how you feel. Because even though I mostly feel the same way, you made a choice, I made a choice, and you promised you wouldn't sway me either way. And you are trying, and I need you to stop. Just be my friend, okay? Even if it means losing me in the end."

He watched as Draco's mouth became a firm line and he swallowed.

"Okay. I can do that. If that's what you need."

"It is. Thank you, Draco."

"It's no problem."

"Yes it is, but thanks for trying to reassure me anyway." And with a last tired smile, Harry was gone.

Draco kneeled on his bed for long moments, his mind racing through his recent conversation, not staying on any one moment in time for long.

Wait... 'mostly feels the same way'? What did he mean?

Fuck. It's not like I can ask him about it now; he wants me as a friend, and that would only bother him. So. I'll be his friend. I can do that. I just don't want him with Mikhail.

Fuck! But I can't say anything about that; he knows how I feel--wait, could that be what he meant? He mostly doesn't want to be with Mikhail either? Dammit, that makes no sense. FUCK!

Draco flopped back on his bed, turning and churning his thoughts around, not having a clue as to where to go from here. Is this what Weasley and Granger felt like when Harry started becoming friends with him? Well, without the attraction bit? Goddammit, Draco was starting to feel more irritated than resigned; being confused about how to just be Harry's friend when he was in love with him was only part of the problem. So what to do...?

I was 'just friends' with Raven before we finally got together...but we were always teasing each other too, and I know that's not going to work with Harry--it'll only confuse him more. Okay, different tactic then...

Blaise and I are friends, but all we ever do is sit around and bitch about the inconsequential things or talk about girls. Harry's not like that. And talking about girls would be rather uncomfortable...

Just face it, Malfoy; you're relationship with Harry is in a cauldron of its own, and all I can really do is...try and be how we were before.

If that's possible.

Fuuuuuck... Draco groaned into his pillow, rolling over and trying to cower from the world, hoping it would just pass him by and right itself again when it was time to stop hiding.

That thought made Draco still. He sat up slowly, his gaze at the wall narrowing.

Draco Malfoy didn't hide. Not anymore.

With a renewed sense of self, Draco took out his wand and went about summoning all of the books and parchments he had been working on, grabbing his quill and attacking his research with more than just the dull purpose he had been tackling it with before.

No. No more hiding. Deal with your mistake, Malfoy. You made a choice, and so did he. Now's the time to live with it, because it can't be changed.

It could only be resolved over time.


Harry was half-way home before he realised he forgot to get Raven. Turning around, he marched over to Number Four and knocked on the door. Raven opened the door almost immediately, which made Harry think that she must have been waiting specifically for him. She smiled as she greeted him, and it eased a bit of the tension in his chest. Here was someone who wouldn't be demanding anything out of him except his company.

"You ready to study?" he asked.

"Sure, though I must say that this isn't my ideal option for something to do with you today." She grabbed a rucksack filled with books from the floor, following Harry outside.

"Sorry. What exactly did you have in mind?"

Raven hopped down the stairs after Harry and looped an arm through his. "Going back to your place, where I can pin you down on the bed and ravish you breathless."

Harry blinked and nearly tripped over his feet. He made an unsure noise in his throat, thinking that it was suddenly depressing rather than fascinating that nearly everyone he knew was wanted something sexual out of him. Well, three people wasn't everyone he knew, but it sure felt like it.

"Er...you wouldn't happen to be joking, would you?"

Raven kissed his cheek and pulled him forward. "Of course I am. Now, tell me what he said to put you in this mood."

"What makes you automatically think it was him?"

"Oh. Was it you, then?"

"No. Yes. It was both of us." He paused. "Tell me, how have you two been? Since you got back together?"

Raven shrugged. "We're pretty good. Haven't really spent too much time as a couple...since you and Chaikovsky started dating," she finished quietly. Letting go of his arm, she followed him up the stairs to Number One. "Draco's completely enamoured with you, you know."

Harry didn't look back as he opened the door. "I know."

They went up the stairs silently. "I know you care a lot about him too, Harry." Once in Harry's room, Raven set her things near the bed and turned to her friend.

"You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to, Harry. I just thought you might need a friendly ear."

He smiled at her. "Thanks. But I think I'm okay. For right now, at least. I'm more worried about you and Draco."

Raven smiled back. "Don't worry about us. Things will turn out how they're supposed to in the end."

Harry thought the comment odd, but didn't let it show. Instead, he took off his shoes and jacket and grabbed his potions book from his desk, settling down beside Raven to study.


18 October 2003

I hear there's a Muggle saying that goes: "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."

When my Muggle-born dorm mate Stewart Ackerley said that to me upon seeing my face this afternoon, I didn't know exactly what he meant. But now that I've talked with Harry, I've figured it out. I'll make lemonade.

With a twist of fig, a splash of lime, and a shot of mango.

Because that's what life has truly handed me; lemons, figs, mango and a bit of lime.

Merlin, that's gotta taste revolting.

But, I'll swallow it down, like one of those healing potions that I'm so good at making. Well, I excel at all potions, but my healing potions always seem to turn out even more powerful than my others. Now, if I could only make them taste better. I've been working on it for my thesis, actually.

Unfortunately, there isn't anything I can add at this particular time to make this cocktail any more appetising. So, I'm going to wait it out. Be patient. Because that's all I can do right now. Harry needs me. He told me how, and I know that I can't betray that; I can't do what I did before, which was keep pushing at him to change his mind. I made a choice too, and now I have to live with it.


Dear Remus,

Thank you for the letter. It means a lot to me that you still stand by me and my decisions. I think I've been blessed to have such understanding friends and family. Because you really are a part of my family, Remus. Along with Hermione and Ron and the Weasleys. I can't imagine what it would be like if any of them hated me.

That's my fear, I think. To have the people I care about hate me for who I am and who I like. I haven't told anyone about that. Except you. So, thank you, Remus. For not hating me, and for the words about my parents.

My next home Quidditch match on the fifteenth of November, at noon. I think we're playing Moscow's Manticores. I hope to see you there.




"What's that you're writing, Harry?"

Harry turned around from his desk to face Raven, who was lying on her stomach on his bed, a book in front of her and an acid pop in her hand.

"A letter to Remus Lupin."

"Remus Lupin? Wasn't he a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher in my first year?"

"Yeah. That was my third year. He's a really good friend of my parents. And of Sirius."

Raven looked down and sucked on her candy for a moment. "Sirius was your godfather, right? The man who died that year."

"Yes. He was framed for murder at the end of the First War."

"I'm sorry you've lost so much of your family. I guess it makes me lucky; even though my parents and I are always at odds."

Harry shrugged. "Maybe that's how some families are. I never felt myself lucky until I went to Hogwarts, after I met Hagrid, and Ron and Hermione, and all of my friends... It makes me sad to have never known my parents, but it hurts more to have lost Sirius, who could have taken me away from the Dursleys. He was sort of like a father to me. And a friend. So, just because my legal family is gone, doesn't mean I still don't have family. My friends. You. Draco. You all mean as much to me as my parents or Sirius do."

Raven nodded. "You are lucky, Harry."

He smiled. "More than I know, I suspect."

Raven tilted her head. "No, Harry. You know how lucky you are."

There was a semi-uncomfortable pause before Harry asked, "How's your homework coming?"

The girl tossed her hair back and crinkled her nose at her book. "I never thought I'd think back on Hogwarts and wish that Mr. Binns was still my History of Magic Professor. He gave us long and boring assignments, sure, but he couldn't remember our names well enough to give us anything but passing grades!"

Harry chuckled. "Sounds like you need a break. I should make us sandwiches. Are you hungry?" He stood up from his place at his desk, stretching his legs with a nearly inaudible groan.

"Have fun getting into the kitchen, mate. Hermione won't let me within a five foot's pace of that room."

"Hey Ron," Harry greeted his friend, who was leaning against the door jam, his arms crossed over his chest.

"Hey Harry. Hello, Harrell."

"Weasley. Why won't Granger let you into the kitchen?"

Ron shrugged. "Might have something to do with that thing you coerced her into making a big how-do-you-do dinner for," he said pointedly at Harry, grinning.

Raven sat up and turned around. "What dinner?"

After a prolonged moment of looks between Harry and Ron, Harry finally said, "I invited Mikhail over for dinner tonight. I asked Hermione to help me, since I don't know how to cook all that well."

"And it's not like she wasn't going to come over and cook dinner anyway," said Ron sarcastically.

"Ah," Raven mused, leaning back on her hands. "I see. Are you nervous?"

Harry shrugged. "A little. He doesn't really know anyone but Ron, and I figured since we went to his place last night, we'd go here tonight."

That piqued Raven's interest. "You went out to his place? Do tell."

Harry shifted. "Er...there's not much to tell..."

"Sure there is," said Ron.

"No, not really-"

"Of course there is, Harry. Why don't you tell her what you told me?"

Harry glared at Ron, his face flushing with anger and embarrassment.

"Ooh, what'd you tell him?" Raven asked, leaning forward.

Harry set his mouth and turned to stare at Remus' letter on his desk. I'll have to send that to him before Mikhail gets here, if I can...

"Harry?" Raven asked. "You, er, don't have to tell me, if you really don't want to." She looked to Ron, who was moving his eyes restlessly over the hardwood floor, obviously embarrassed to have brought up the subject.

"Raven?" Harry started, "Have you ever had a problem...with...I don't know, not being able to be...completely comfortable around a person when you're, you know...?"

Her brow furrowed as she looked at her obviously troubled friend. "Well, Harry, I've generally always been, er, 'in control', or the instigator in those situations. I've wanted the men, so I've gone after them."

Raven and Ron watched as Harry half-smiled and replied, "But you haven't really gone after me, have you?"

"No," she said, "I haven't." Then Raven stood up from the bed and went over to Harry, taking his face into her hands to look straight into his eyes. "Harry, love, what's bothering you?" She smiled. "Do you want me to go after you? More openly, I mean?"

Harry looked shyly away. "No, that's not it. I just..." He looked to Ron, who gazed steadily back. "I've been having a sort of problem when I'm with Mikhail sometimes."

Raven guided Harry back to the bed, sitting down next to him and asking quietly, "What sort of problem? Are you not comfortable with him?"

Harry shrugged. "I'm comfortable enough."

"But not during sex."

He winced. "We haven't had sex. It's just when things are-"

"Getting heavy?" Ron supplied from the door.

"Yeah," Harry said, standing up again. He turned to face Raven. "I like him, but I'm having trouble getting over Draco."

Raven hummed in an understanding way. "Regardless of my feelings for Draco, Harry, it doesn't surprise me that you're having trouble. Realising you like guys is not small thing, and what Draco did to you the next morning wasn't pleasant. Or particularly sane on his part." She leaned forward. "It's not a crime to still have feelings for him, even if you're seeing someone else."

There was a meditated pause while Harry thought on that. Finally, he said quietly, "I still want to try with Mikhail. I told Draco to just be my friend, because I'd rather salvage what friendship we still have than risk ruining it further."

The girl on the bed cocked her head to the side. "Has he not been your friend?"

With a sigh, Harry replied, "Yes and no. He's been pushing me to break up with Mikhail, though he didn't seem to realise he was actually pushing. I just want things to be right between us again."

"No offence, Harry," said Ron, "but when has anything been 'right' between you and Malfoy?"

Before Harry could reply, Ginny's voice floated up from downstairs. "Harry! Mikhail's here!"

Raven and Ron watched as Harry blanched and backed a few steps away from the door.

"Oh shit!" Harry said in a fierce whisper, panicking. "He's early! I'm not ready!"

Ron burst out laughing while Raven giggled joyously behind her hand. "Harry. Harry! Calm down, you'll sound like a girl!" she laughed.

Harry's eyes went wide, but he took a deep breath and exhaled, nodding. "Okay. Er, Ron! Could you go downstairs and tell Mikhail to, er, make himself at home and tell the girls to get him something to drink or something, okay?"

Ron snapped to salute. "Aye, aye, Capt'n!" He turned on his heel and left, an amused smirk on his lips.

Raven stood. "I suppose I should get going, so you can get ready."

"No! No, I need you to help me with, yeah, getting ready," Harry said distractedly, turning abruptly and starting to rummage through his wardrobe.

"Harry, honestly, you look fine! He's seen you at your sweaty, muddy worst; I don't think he really cares what you look like."

He turned to her, a black sock in one hand and an older robe in the other. "So you never dress up for your boyfriends, regardless of how messy they've seen you before?"

Raven conceded. "Okay, so I can see why you'd like to look good for the sake of looking good. I guess I do the same thing, I just don't think about it."

"Just help me find something different than an old grey t-shirt. And fix my hair." He blew his fringe out of his eyes. "If that's possible."

Raven smiled, moving past him to look through his wardrobe. "Do you want a robe, or just a nice shirt?"

"Er...just a nice shirt, I think."

"Okay..." She sorted through his clothes for a few moments, pausing every now and then to ponder whatever it was she was looking for.

"You must really like him to care so much about how you look," she mused, still looking.

Harry shrugged. "Yeah. He's pretty cool."

Raven turned around with a black, high collared dress shirt. "'Pretty cool'? Harry, is that how you'd want your boyfriend to describe you? 'He's pretty cool'?"

He laughed under his breath. "No, I suppose not."

"Good. Because if he's only 'pretty cool', then we need to find you a new guy. He's not worthy of you." Ignoring Harry's questioning expression, she moved forward. "Try this one."

But Harry grabbed her wrists, gently. "Raven, do you think I'm making a mistake? By not giving Draco another chance; by not telling Mikhail what happened between Draco and I?"

"Harry, I'm not the best one to be asking that question to-"

"Please. Tell me."

Raven met Harry's gaze. "Yes, I do. But I'm biased, Harry. I want you and Draco to work it out. Yet I think it's a good thing that you've set some boundaries with him; I think he needs the space to clear his head for a while. But nothing changes that you two understand each other in a way that neither Mikhail nor even I get. A way that goes beyond friendship. Draco and I understand each other because of what we've been through together. But your past together and your possible future is what makes you two strong together. Mikhail will never understand you that way, but even more; you should be with someone you're comfortable with. Someone you're not afraid to tell the truth to; someone you don't hesitate to tell secrets or important things to, because they're the first person you think of to talk to, even if you don't know them well or you're not sure if they'll spread them around or laugh in your face. Someone you're attracted to, yet you know their flaws and you still love them for it. If you find someone like that, hold on to them; regardless of their stupid misguided mistakes."

Harry's nostrils flared slightly, but not in anger. "And to you, that someone for me has been Draco."

"I see what I see, Harry. And I know what my gut is telling me. You'll never feel completely comfortable with how you and Draco separated, and you'll never be completely comfortable with Mikhail or with the fact you lied to him. And you're too afraid to see if Mikhail will still want to be with you if you tell him the truth."

"I'm not afraid," Harry said in a dark tone.

"Bullshit, Harry. For all of your Gryffindor courage, and your courage on the battlefield, you can't seem to find the courage to live an every-day life."

"This isn't a goddamn battlefield, and I'm not a Gryffindor anymore, Raven." He closed his eyes for a moment. "But you're right; I don't know how to live an every-day life - I never have. So I'm doing my best."

"And you asked my opinion, and I told you."

"Yes, you did."

"I'm sorry if you don't like it. I just want you to find happiness, Harry."

"You and everyone else on the planet." He sighed. "And that's something that I don't understand, Raven. You want me to be happy, and you want me to be with Draco, but doesn't that kick you out of the situation, ultimately? Or me, really?"

Raven extracted one of her wrists from Harry's grip, running her hand through his hair affectionately. "Don't worry, Harry. Things will work out, however they're meant to."

There was that phrase again. 'Things will work out.' According to how they're supposed to, apparently.

He looked down. "I'm not sure I like the idea of fate, or destiny. In fact, I know I hate them. I've lived with enough of that shit to last me a thousand lifetimes."

Raven smiled, "Your destiny is what you make it, Harry."

"So if things get fucked up, I have only myself to blame?"

"If you want to look at it like that..." Raven joked.

"Harry?" Ginny's voice came from the landing, "Dinner's about ready and Mikhail's been waiting an awfully long time...are you almost ready?"

"Oh! Yeah, Ginny. Yeah, almost. Be down in a minute."

"Alright." And they heard the redhead stepping back down the stairs.

"Okay Mister. Put this on." Raven held out the shirt again.

Harry shucked off his grey t-shirt with out a second thought, taking the dress shirt from Raven and slipping it over his shoulders and buttoning it up.

Raven nodded approvingly. "Not bad, Mr. Potter." She reached to adjust the collar and shoulders. "Where'd you pick this one up?"

"Ginny managed to grab it when she went to China for her summer exchange last year."

"Hmm. The little Weasel has good taste. It looks like a normal Muggle dress shirt, but with a standing collar."

Harry looked at her oddly. "You know a lot about Muggle clothing?"

The girl shrugged, as if to half-agree with Harry's question. "Who doesn't these days?"

"A majority of the Wizarding World?"

"Only the old codgers and the conservative Purebloods. After the war, it seemed pointless to not at least understand Muggles and their customs a little bit. Besides, their clothing is actually more freeing than most of our heavy robes."

"True. But at least my robes fit me. When I was at Hogwarts, I mean. Before I bought my own clothes."

"Yes. Well, let's see what we can't do to those unruly locks of yours, hm?" She moved behind him and steered him to the dresser above which was his only mirror. Reaching around from behind, she attempted to sweep his fringe off to the side, where, of course, it didn't stay. Huffing under her breath, Raven came back around to face Harry, carelessly twitching his hair from side to side, trying to get it to do something. Finally she gave up, saying, "I'm sorry Harry; it just doesn't want to work with me. Especially if you won't let me put anything in it. But no matter what anyone else says, I still think your messy hair is one of your boyishly handsome charms. And to Mikhail, I'm sure it looks like you just got off your broom," she finished, winking.

Harry rolled his eyes before turning to his reflection and fiddling with his hair some more. "I look like a bloody porcupine."

"But a boyishly handsome porcupine," Raven retorted, turning to look for her things. Something hanging on the corner of Harry's mirror caught her eye, and she moved forward to inspect it. "What's this?" she asked, fingering the jade amulet, which had a black symbol of some kind branded into it, and was strung up with tiny black translucent stones; flat on one side, and sharp on the other; like someone had filed down one side of the pointy rock to sit against the skin without discomfort.

"Again, Ginny. Found it in China at some little merchant shop, she said. The Chinese character on it's supposed to mean 'luck' I think."

"Well, I think you should wear it," said Raven, taking it from the mirror and unclasping it.

"What? No, I don't really wear jewellery, Raven. I don't even know why Ginny bought it for me."

"Don't be silly. It'll look fine. It accents your eyes, and the shirt." She moved behind him and looped it around his neck, clasping it in the back. "There! Perfect. I think you're ready, Mr. Potter," Raven grinned, looking at his reflection over his shoulder before turning and grabbing her books, stuffing them in her bag and slinging it over her shoulder.

Harry wrinkled his nose. The amulet hung almost like a choker on his throat, but loose enough to dip into the hollow between his collarbones, right where the break in the collar of the shirt was. Raven was right, though. It didn't look bad.

"Thanks, Raven."

She stepped over to him and ruffled his hair more. "Any time, love."

Harry had that near irresistible urge to kiss her again, like he did those times in her room, and on her porch, which felt like more than a lifetime ago. But Harry really wasn't worried about what Draco would think now, so he went ahead and gave into the urge a little, leaning forward to kiss her quickly on the lips.

Pulling back, he saw that Raven's eyebrows were raised in a look that said, 'What was that for?'

Shrugging at the unasked question, he explained, "Just because."

A smile quirked up the side of Raven's mouth, and she twisted to slip her shoes on before going downstairs without a word.

Looking at his reflection one last time, Harry smiled. "Alright, Harry. Time to finally greet your boyfriend."


Ron Weasley went downstairs like a dutiful best friend, on the mission to make Mikhail Chaikovsky feel at home while Harry fretted and panicked and primped upstairs. Just the thought made him snicker.

He couldn't remember a time when the Quidditch Captain was ever in one of the dormitories, so after saying, 'Hey, Capt'n!', he went about ushering the older man into the lounge and onto the couch, offering him something to drink.

"Water's fine, Ron, thanks."

"Harry'll be down in a minute, Capt'n. He said you're early."

"Just thought I'd surprise him," Mikhail said with a smile.

"You did, believe me. He's finishing up a study-session with Raven."

"Raven?" asked Mikhail.

"Yeah, Malfoy's girl. I think." And Ron left the room with a strange satisfaction at seeing the man's eyebrows raise.

Entering the kitchen, Ron was engulfed in the flurry of motion that was the girls preparing dinner and dessert for the "Big Dinner Date", as they so dubbed it.

"Ron, what do you need? You're going to get in the way," said Hermione at a mile a minute, huffing around him as she moved from one corner of the small room to the other, doing god-knows-what.

"I need a glass of water for Mikhail-"

There was an empty glass in his hand and a push to the sink with a demand to be quick before he even had the chance to breathe. Rolling his eyes and grumbling under his breath, he got the water and quickly got out of the kitchen, thanking Merlin that he made it out alive.

Casting a cooling charm on the glass to make it a bit colder, Ron handed the water over to his Captain, sitting down in the chair next to the couch.

"So..." Ron started, tapping his fingers on the armrests.

"So." Mikhail parroted, taking a sip of water. "Er...does Harry think he needs to get all dressed up for me?" he finally asked, glancing down at his own casual dress robes.

Ron looked at his own Weasley jumper and jeans. "I'm not sure. I think he wants to impress you or something."

"Like I haven't seen him naked before," Mikhail muttered into his water glass. At Ron's raised eyebrow, Mikhail clarified, "In the Quidditch showers."

Ron blushed a little and chuckled. "It's alright. He sorta told me about last night."

"Oh. Well." A few more awkward minutes passed before Mikhail asked, "So, Ron, what are your Quidditch plans? You've come a very long way as Keeper. I'd be happy to put in a good word for you, if you'd like. I'm not ever sure what you're studying."

Ron's eyes lit up at the mention of Professional Quidditch, but he replied, "Just trying to pass my N.E.W.T.s at this point, Captain. I'm fairly good at strategy, although I'm not sure how to really apply that without a war on."

"Yes, I heard you did quite a bit of help strategising during the war. And you could still apply it to Quidditch, Ron. Or any number of politics. Even law. I could put a word out to my Father. He could probably afford to give someone an internship."

"Law? Hmm...I never thought about that. I have kind of always wanted to play Pro-Quidditch."

"Well, think about it. Either way, I'd be willing to lend a hand."

"Thanks, Captain."

"You can call me Mikhail, Ron." Mikhail said, smiling.

Ron nodded. "Right."

The front door opened, and Ron and Mikhail turned to see Seamus and Neville come through the door. They exchanged "hello's" before Neville went upstairs to drop off his school things and Seamus tried to enter the kitchen, saying loudly, "Mmm...what smells so damn tasty? Can I have some?"

A very short moment later there was a startled yelp, and Seamus walked into the lounge, rubbing his arm, complaining. "Merlin, Ron, your sister nearly hexed my arm off! Bloody redheads..."

"Well, that's what you get, trying to ruin the 'Big Dinner Date'," Ron explained.

"Eh?" replied Seamus, settling himself on the opposite side of the couch from Mikhail as Neville entered back into the room.

"Harry's big dinner date with the Captain here."

Seamus raised his eyebrows at the Russian before saying, "But what about us? What are we going to eat?"

"The food's for all of us, git."

"Oh." Seamus rubbed absently at his arm again.

"Are Owen, Dennis and Kevin coming?" asked Neville, leaning over the couch.

"As far as I know," Ron replied. "Though Owen might be working at Cel's tonight."

Ginny glided into the room then, a healthy flush to her cheeks. "Evening, boys. Dinner's nearly ready." She cast a quick stern glance at her boyfriend, who avoided her gaze and shied slightly away. "Where's Harry?"

"Still upstairs, getting ready."

Rolling her eyes with the rest of them, she left the room to announce dinner's near completion to 'The Boy Who Preened'.

Ron, satisfied in his world of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw happiness, smiled and started a Quidditch discussion with Mikhail, including Neville and Seamus as the discussion became a semi-heated debate.


Harry moved down the turn in the stairs to see his dorm mates moving from the lounge to the kitchen. "Hiya Harry!" said Ron, stopping at the bottom of the staircase to watch his friend come down.

Harry wiped his hands on his jeans. "Hey. Where's Mikhail?"

"Right here, babe," Mikhail said, stepping up into the foyer beside Ron. He was wearing casual dress robes - a high-collared navy waistcoat unbuttoned over a white shirt, blue jeans, and a black, short, outer-robe to finish the ensemble. He gazed at Harry intensely, sweeping his eyes up and down.

Harry fidgeted under the gaze. "Hey, Mikhail." He stopped two steps from the bottom, realising that he was at about eye-level to his boyfriend. Seeing his dark brown eyes trained on him, some of Raven's words rushed back to him.

"...Mikhail will never understand you that way...you should be with someone you're comfortable with...you're too afraid to see if Mikhail will still want to be with you if you tell him the truth..."

I'm not afraid.

Harry smiled, reaching out to put his hands on Mikhail's shoulders. "Do I look okay?"

Mikhail put his arms around Harry's waist and leaned in to give him a chaste kiss. "Always."

Temporarily forgetting Ron was in the room, Harry kissed Mikhail again, quite passionately, even slipping a little tongue in, and quite content to keep on doing so for the next little while, but Mikhail finally pulled away for air, breathing a little hard.

"Sorry," Harry murmured sheepishly.

"No complaints here," Mikhail replied.

"Well, as interesting as it was watching my best friend snog his boyfriend - yuck - I think it's time to go eat. The girl's have done some mighty magic for you tonight, Harry."

"Mmm, it sure smells good," said Mikhail, stepping away from the stairs to let Harry down, arm still around his waist.

"Is it really that gross to watch two guys kissing?" Harry asked Ron, totally bypassing the current topic.

Mikhail laughed, guiding Harry to the dining room behind Ron. Ron rolled his eyes and said, "Actually, it's a bit fascinating, since I've never seen it before, but what I meant was that I had to watch you snog your boyfriend."

Harry thought on the times he caught Ron and Hermione snogging when they thought no one was around. "Er, yeah. I see what you mean."

"Who means what?" Seamus asked as they entered the room, taking their places around the table, which was stocked with several kidney pies, various vegetable dishes, and Yorkshire pudding.

"Not important," said Ron, immediately helping himself to two kidney pies. "Mmm... 'Mione, I love that I'm marrying you."

"And what are we, chopped liver?" Ginny asked, gesturing to her and Luna.

"You didn't put liver in this, did you?"

Ginny huffed in exasperation. "Whatever."

"Hi, Mikhail," Hermione greeted. There was a round of 'hellos' for Harry as he sat down between Mikhail and Ron.

"Where's the younger half?" Harry asked, helping himself to some food.

"Don't know," said Neville. "Owen's probably at work."

"'The younger half'?" Mikhail asked.

"Oh, that's what we call the three younger guys in our dorm. Dennis and Kevin are...what? Three years younger than us? And Owen's only two, I think." Harry explained.

"No, Owen's the same age as Dennis and Kevin," Ginny corrected. "Kevin and Owen were Hufflepuffs, and Dennis was a Gryffindor," she said to Mikhail, who nodded.

"I'm not sure Mikhail would know any of them from Hogwarts," Harry said. "He graduated before they even started school."

"How old are you, mate?" Ron managed around a stuffed mouth.


"Merlin! You're nearly thirty!" Seamus exclaimed shamelessly.

"Seamus!" Harry and Ginny hissed.

"Thanks for reminding me, Seamus," Mikhail joked. "It's alright, Harry. I know I'm getting old." He stretched and groaned as if his bones were creaking, putting an arm around the back of Harry's chair as he did so.

"No, you're not. Wizards easily live to be over a hundred," Harry replied, kissing Mikhail on the cheek.

"Your sweetness will ruin dessert," Luna dreamily pointed out.

"Sorry." Harry blushed, feeling very much like a silly school girl.

"So, Mikhail," started Seamus, shovelling food into his mouth, "When'd you notice Harry, here?"

"If you say in the Quidditch showers, I will have to regurgitate my dinner," Ron clarified.

Harry choked a bit on his kidney pie, coughing roughly and trying his best to gulp down some water. Everyone else (minus Seamus and Luna) regarded Ron's comment with some form disgust or exasperation.

"Are you trying to kill me, Ron? Merlin." Harry coughed in his napkin one more time, while Mikhail patted his back consolingly.

"I'm not really sure when I did," Mikhail answered, looking back to Seamus. "I mean, I know I stared for a while at first, just because I had The Boy Who Lived on my Quidditch team, and it was a little odd to look at the defeater of Voldemort and think that he'd actually done it; saved Wizarding life as we knew it."

Harry looked uncomfortable. "I wasn't the only one who fought in the war. We all did."

Mikhail nodded. "I know that, Harry. I just felt kind of in awe for a while, though I'm sure it never showed. I don't believe in playing favourites."

"As I've noticed at practice this last week. Even though you're putting Draco in the line-up, you certainly haven't let up on me any."

"And I don't intend to," Mikhail chuckled. "And...we'll still see about Malfoy." He ignored Harry's oblong look, and didn't notice the raised eyebrows of Hermione and Ron. "So, Seamus, to continue my answer, I saw Harry nearly every day, and yes, Ron, even in the showers, but I didn't gawk at him or anything. I just got to know him through the team, and I noticed he never seemed to have any girlfriends, and thought perhaps that he might be gay, and...I don't know, I fell for him, I guess." Mikhail gave a soft look to his right, where Harry was sitting.

Ginny made a little cooing sound in her throat, while the guys all looked a little bewildered, Luna gazed serenely, and Hermione watched Mikhail and Harry carefully, looking for definitive signs that things were going to turn the 'good' way or the 'bad' way.

Harry himself was feeling a little hot under the collar, and wasn't sure if the feeling in his chest was the good sort of sweet pain, or the bad sort of scary pain. He stared back at Mikhail in a bit of shock, which was thankfully interrupted by the arrival of his three missing roommates for dinner.

"Hey guys!" Kevin greeted from the foyer, dropping his stuff and rushing into the dining area, followed closely by Owen and Dennis. "What's for dinner? It smells really good!"

"Thanks," the girls said in unison, right before Hermione conjured up three more place settings and an extra chair to replace the one Mikhail was sitting on.

"We thought you were working tonight, Owen," Neville said.

"No, thankfully. But I was in the Library researching for that damn Herbology project that's half our grade."

"If you need any help, let me know," Neville offered.

"Thanks, I probably will." And they all chuckled, resuming dinner and conversation.


They finished dinner with a wonderful Olde English Trifle for dessert, and bellies so full they could barely move from their places at the table. Eventually, as everyone started moving again, and started to help clean up, Hermione shooed Harry and Mikhail away, telling them to go have some 'alone time' while everyone else finished cleaning.

Harry led Mikhail up the stairs by the hand, muttering about crazy friends and their meddling. Mikhail only chuckled at him, following him dutifully into his room.

Harry quickly darted around, picking up his discarded t-shirt and random pilings of books and papers from the bed and floor, throwing them atop his desk haphazardly. Turning, he said sheepishly, "Sorry I didn't clean for you."

Mikhail just smiled and shook his head, going to Harry and giving him a warm hug. "It's okay. I did sort of turn up a bit early."

The shorter man returned the embrace. "Yeah, I'm sorry about keeping you waiting. I was talking with Ron and Raven when you arrived."

"Ron mentioned Raven, and I think I missed her leaving with all the guys in the lounge. He said she was Malfoy's girl?"

"Yeah. They've liked each other for several years, apparently, but only got together recently. They're sorta in a weird spot right now, I think." He shook his head against Mikhail's chest. "I don't really know. I'm getting different messages from both of them."

"Sorry to hear that."

Harry shrugged. "I'll help them if I can. It's a little complicated."

"Well, they've got to stand on their own feet without you holding their hands, Harry. Don't let them depend on you."

Too late. Harry thought. He said out loud, "I know, Mik. I know."

Mikhail kissed the top of Harry's head, pulling them towards the bed. They sat down next to each other while Mikhail kicked of his shoes. Then he shrugged out of his robe and tossed it towards Harry's trunk. Shifting back onto the bed, he lied down, gesturing for Harry to follow.

Harry settled into the crook of Mikhail's arm, leaning his head on his shoulder, and throwing an arm over Mikhail's waist. They lay like that for several moments, just relaxing in the post-dinner-filled haze, enjoying the other's silent company.

Eventually, Harry broke the silence. "Mik?"


"When... How..." he stumbled, "When did you first think you might be gay?"

Mikhail was silent for a moment before answering. "Looking back on it, it feels like I always knew, but I liked a few girls, even dated two before I finally realised I really liked them as people, but I just wasn't sexually attracted to them. My mate, Jason, he really helped me through it, actually. I think I managed to get a crush on him for a little while, before realising that he really was just my best friend, and that it was just sincere gratitude that made my emotions go a little haywire around him."

"It's good to have friends that support you. Did Jason ever feel awkward around you, do you know?"

Mikhail shrugged. "I don't think so. I think he might have known before I did, actually. He could tell that I would get a little uncomfortable when the other guys in our dorm or in the locker rooms would talk about sex and their girlfriends and then ask me how me and my current girlfriend were, and I didn't really know what to say. When they would start joking about sex, and making crude gestures, or describing it, I noticed after a while that the thought of actually going farther than kissing my girlfriend made me feel really queasy. And then I started noticing some of the guys, and caught a dorm mate jerking off, and that was it. I knew I wanted to be with men."

"How old were you?"

"Sixteen." Mikhail kissed Harry's hair. "Did I really freak you out when I kissed you that time on your porch?"

Harry chuckled. "Yes, sort of. I had kind of been noticing guys too-" Only one, you liar. A voice in his head spoke up. And you more than noticed him later- "-and when you kissed me, I hadn't even wondered or known if you were gay. So I sort of panicked, because I wasn't sure how I felt about it, I guess."

"I'm sorry. I really didn't mean to startle you. I really did think you were at least bi."

"It's okay. Don't worry about it." Harry pushed up onto his elbow, smiling. "I'm all figured out, now."

Mikhail raised his eyebrows. "Are you?" he asked, semi-mocking.

Harry nodded. "Oh yes." He kissed Mikhail. "All...figured...out." he said between kisses.


Harry ignored the voice, because he was becoming more engaged in what his boyfriend was doing with his tongue, and couldn't be bothered at that moment.

Mikhail pulled Harry on top of him, wrapping his arms securely around the Seeker's shoulders. Harry slid his body against Mikhail's, pushing his knee between Mikhail's to put pressure on his groin. Mikhail moaned beautifully into Harry's mouth, relaxing his hold on the man's shoulders so he could lay back and breathe.

"Harry-" he gasped out.

"Yeah?" Harry managed between breaths.

"Harry, I need to tell you something."

"Okay, go ahead."

Mikhail cupped Harry's face. "I want you to know that I understand if you...if you need to slow down. We'll go at your pace, okay? I really like you, Harry. I don't want to pressure you into anything you're not absolutely sure you're ready for."

Mikhail's very apparent and sincere worry is what made Harry pause. What does he think the cause of my problem is, I wonder? He nodded. "Alright. But I'm fine. Really."


Harry ignored the voice a third time, kissing Mikhail to block it out. They continued their meeting of lips and tongues, and Harry started pushing at Mikhail's waistcoat.

"Off, off," he pleaded quietly against Mikhail's lips. He was desperate to block out that voice; that voice was condemning him, reminding him that his demons were still haunting him, that he still couldn't be normal. That he still couldn't have a boyfriend without something being fucked up about it.

Mikhail sat up, making Harry sit back on his haunches, pulling his waistcoat off of his shoulders and tossing it aside. Harry worked on the buttons of Mikhail's shirt, pushing and pushing to get naked as fast as possible.

He didn't know why; he thought perhaps that if he could just not think; if he could just keep pushing; that he'd stop that voice, push it away, and everything would be fine.

The shirt was tossed aside, and then Harry tried frantically to get his own off, but the buttons kept slipping. "Shh, shh...let me try," whispered his Captain, and gentle hands pushed his aside and worked the buttons easily through their holes, sliding the silky material down Harry's shoulders to pool around his waist.

Harry hummed; dropping back his head and feeling the necklace around his neck tighten and dig slightly into his skin, as well as Mikhail's lips trailing soft kisses along his jaw and down his throat.

"Mmm...what's this?" Mikhail mumbled, reaching the sharp stones of the necklace, nipping them with his lips.

"A necklace...that Ginny got me in China."

Mikhail pulled back and fingered the jade amulet. "What does the symbol mean?"

"I think it means 'luck'. At least that's what Ginny said." Harry shifted his weight upon Mikhail's lap.

The Captain made a pleasant noise in the back of his throat, pulling Harry a bit closer. "It's very pretty. Is it alright if I take it off?"

Harry stilled. "Why?"

"Well, because I'd like to kiss you there, and it's in the way."

"Hmm...I kinda like having it on. Leave it, please?"

Mikhail nuzzled Harry's neck. "Oh, alright..." he murmured, and continued his ministrations of Harry's neck.

Harry clutched to Mikhail's shoulders, finding pleasure in the searing sweetness of their hot skin pressed together. He wanted that weight again, of feeling someone on top of him, so he shifted his weight to the right, twisting and pulling Mikhail along with him.

They moved and slid; Harry pulled Mikhail's head back up to bruise his mouth with a kiss, arching up his back to feel closer, to feel anything, other than the lingering sourness that his conscience had left in his mind.

As Mikhail's hand wandered and travelled over Harry's body, it started searing in a way that burned and bubbled and felt like insects crawling under his skin, and all Harry could think about was 'Why now? Why at all? It feels good, dammit, it always has. Why does something always have to ruin it?'

Because you still feel guilty, the voice reminded him. Yet you cannot bring yourself to come clean. You are living lies, Harry Potter. Lies that you cannot ignore much longer.

The voice had changed, becoming something foreign, which Harry couldn't tell was better or worse to be shown the truth by; rather than by one's own self.

Just as Harry's mental focus tuned back in to the physical world, Mikhail started undoing the buttons on Harry's jeans, and Harry reacted immediately, pushing Mikhail away at the shoulders, muttering, "No, I'm sorry. Stop. I'm sorry."

Harry pushed Mikhail enough to manoeuvre out from under him and sit up on the edge of the bed, breathing hard and trying not to sob. Holding a hand to his head and another to his mouth, Harry fought to regain control of himself.

Harry didn't see Mikhail's flash of frustration, or his realisation, or his utter horror at himself for pushing again.

"Harry..." he said softly.

"No... No, Mikhail, it's not you. It's me," Harry's voice choked out. "Something's wrong with me."

"No, Harry. Nothing's wrong with you." Mikhail shifted so that he could gently place a hand on Harry's shoulder. "I pushed again, and I'm sorry."

"No, Mikhail. You didn't push. Really, you weren't pushing."

"I told you we'd go at your pace-"

"And we were." Harry took a shuddering breath, shivering under Mikhail's touch.



"Can I...can I ask you a question? You don't have to answer if you don't want to, but I'd like to know the answer."

"Alright," Harry agreed.

"Were you...abused as a child?"

The question startled Harry and he jumped, turning around swiftly to look Mikhail incredulously in the eye. "What? No! Of course not!"

Mikhail's face only grew graver. "Are you sure you're not just lying to yourself? That you haven't repressed it or something?"

"Yes. I'm quite sure I would remember being abused."

"Malfoy said otherwise."

"What? What did Draco say?"

"I think his exact words were: 'I wouldn't say Harry was abused. At least not...sexually.'" Mikhail paused. "Are you sure there's not something you should tell me, Harry?"

Harry pursed his lips, scowling. "My aunt and uncle were bastards, alright? I slept in a cupboard under the stairs, and they made me do all the chores while my stupid, fat, fucking useless cousin Dudley got presents and got to eat whatever he could stuff into his goddamn mouth. I was manhandled a few times, and thought of as a hooligan and beaten up by my cousin and his friends. Before and even after I knew I was a wizard, my wandless magic would act up, and I would get in trouble; sometimes not allowed meals for several days. That's what Draco was talking about. And don't feel pity for me. I've had enough of it, thank you."

There was a very heavy pause as Mikhail seemed to absorb that information. Very quietly, so it seemed as no more than a breath, "I don't feel pity. I'm just sad that it had to happen to you."

"Why? I wouldn't be who I am now if not for my experiences, Mikhail." Harry turned his back and sighed. "My relatives aren't why I keep withdrawing from you. All I do is hate them. And pity their sorry existence. They're the worst sort of Muggles. It saddens me when people like them prove the conservative Purebloods right; because there are so many better people in the world besides the Dursleys."

"Then why do you keep withdrawing from me, Harry? Please, help me understand."

Harry shook his head. "I'm not sure myself, Mikhail. I like what we're doing, I really do. It's not something I've really had." He turned to look at Mikhail again. "And, I really like you. But when something happens between us, I just...it starts feeling weird. Things will be fine - I'll be totally into it, like last night - and then my mind just starts protesting. And then I just need to back away; clear my head."

"Harry," Mikhail started, "it sounds like you were hurt, and don't remember it. Like your brain is programmed to tell you that feeling good or doing those things is wrong; but you don't remember why."

Harry shook his head more firmly this time. "No, Mikhail. I know that that's not it. Maybe I... I know it's stupid to think of it now, but maybe it's because you're a guy. I mean - shit, I don't mean that the way it sounds. I just...I was never with a girl, you know? And until two weeks ago, I'd never thought of guys as an option. Maybe I'm still not comfortable with it."

Lies again, Harry. Though that may indeed be part of your indecisiveness, you know the true reason for not letting yourself go when you're with Mikhail Chaikovsky. It is not that he is male.

GODDAMMIT, SHUT UP! Harry screamed in his head, so angry that he had to look away for a moment and clamp down hard on his instinct to lash out, so that he wouldn't hurt Mikhail. Not to mention set something on fire. He decided to ignore the slight rattle of a sconce on his wall above the bed.

Once Harry looked back up, Mikhail closed his eyes and nodded resolutely. "That could be entirely true, Harry. How about...we step back. Go out with friends, or not be alone for long periods of time. Or if we are, do it in public, like at Celestine's. Only kiss. Maybe not even that, if you think it'll lead to too much." He looked into Harry's very green eyes. "I want you to be, and you need to be completely comfortable with us. With me. I won't hurt you, Harry. We need to trust each other, because being open in that way with someone isn't easy."

Harry smiled slightly. "I take it you're speaking from experience?"

Mikhail shrugged. "Perhaps. But regardless of how quickly things went in the past, and how much we enjoyed it, you obviously were having a hard time processing that it happened. That it could continue to happen between us." He reached forward and took one of Harry's hands, twining their fingers. "I want to make you happy, Harry. I wasn't so totally blind as to not notice how your demeanour has changed this year. You're happier." He smiled. "And I want to keep you that way. You're beautiful when you smile."

Harry's face burned in a way that was not unpleasant, but rather, embarrassing. "Mikhail, you do know that you have got to be the soggiest bloke I know, right?"

Mikhail smiled. "I try."

"No you don't."

Mikhail leaned forward, an inch before Harry's face. "No, I don't." And they kissed.

Pulling away, Harry said solemnly, "I really wish I could give you a better answer as to why... Or, better yet, just keep pushing at myself, ignoring whatever it is, so I can just be normal. I want that, and I still can't seem to have it."

Mikhail studied Harry. "Perhaps...you never will. And that is your fate."

Harry scowled. "Fate can jump off the fucking cliff behind the library, thank-you-very-much."

Mikhail cupped Harry's face. "You are special, Harry. Nothing will change that. Not even the extinction of fate."

Sighing deeply, Harry leaned into Mikhail, burying his face in his shoulder. "You're too old and wise for me."

Mikhail laughed. "Oh? Now I'm old?"

Harry chuckled, raising his head. "No, you're not really. You just seem so much older than me sometimes."

"Is that a bad thing?"

"Not particularly. I know you can keep up. You are Captain, after all."

Mikhail caught Harry in his arms. "Your Captain?"

"Mmm...maybe." They kissed. "Would you be willing to just lie with me again?"

"Can we get naked again?" Mikhail said suggestively, immediately receiving a look from Harry. "Okay, okay, I know. Bad humour."

Harry rolled his eyes. "No, it's alright. I'll figure it out eventually. But for now, this is good."


Lying there for several hours with Mikhail, Harry was happy to find that blasted voice gone from his mind, and even though the fact of his deceit still weighed on his thoughts, he was able to ignore it for a time, and let himself enjoy feeling as normal as he could.


A/N: Okay! So...my story has been changing on me, in some way or another, almost every single time I sit down to write. I've had to re-think my ending recently, and now need to plan out the chapters better than I had (though, truthfully, a lot of the time I had a vague idea, then started flying by the seat of my pants), so until I'm absolutely positive where all of my chapters are going, I won't be writing the next one, though I know exactly how that one's going to go. I have the muse back, for the time being, so hopefully she'll stay with me a bit longer this time, but I do warn you, I am in my second to last quarter before graduation, and in RL, that's just a tad more important than fanfiction, as much as I love it. I will do my best to finish planning the chapters, so I can get back on track with the story. I honestly can't say how long it will be (but at least there's not cliffhanger this time!), but I will try my hardest not to take so long. I still can't thank you all enough for being so patient.

Oh, and a very happy twenty-third birthday to me! I'm posting this at 12:32 am on 03 May, technically exactly five hours before I was acutally born, but whatever. Hmm...it's weird to be teetering on the feeling of being too old to really be a kid, while still not feeling like a day over eighteen. But thank god that's all over. I'm glad that part of my life is long gone. On to bigger and better things. I suppose the feeling has something to do with a looming graduation, and therefore, the expectation to get more than a part-time job and start paying off my school loans. When will I get to England, again?

lol. I'm crazy. And I love you all. Ciao!

Review Responses:

First of all, let me say thank you to ALL of you for writing such wonderful reviews! I know I don't respond much here on FA.org, and for that, I apologise. I appreciate all of my reviews (though I do find it not only annoying and rude, but kind of amusing that the people who don't like my story like to review and not sign in. GREAT way to get out of me responding to you, since I know you won't read the next chapter for a response. I wouldn't bitch you out, I promise! One of my greatest friends and previous betas is someone who nearly stopped reading my story). Now, I won't be responding to reviews here, exactly, but I thought I'd let you know to go check your owl boxes (if you have one) or your e-mails for a personal response from me. EXCEPT for the two people who are guests. You'll find your response below. THANK YOU!

3124343365654 - Thanks for your quick review! I hope this chapter satisfies your thirst for a bit!

Brampton369 - Wow. I'm curious as to know which friend recommended my story to you! It's always nice to hear that my story gets around. ^_^ I am sorry my lack of writing quickly will be a means to torture you - I only hope you don't give up on me!

I understand how you feel about Raven. I honestly do too. Hate her and love her, I mean. Sometimes I wish I never invented her. But, I've also had fun writing her. She's like the unexplored me, in a way, seeing as I'm no where near being a manipulative, conniving bitch. Selfish, maybe. ;)

I do agree with you and 'mwc' about Mikhail and his taking it a little too fast. Though, in his defence, I will point out that he did ask Harry if they were moving too fast, and Harry really does have the sex drive of a seventeen year-old boy. He's suppressed it so long, that he's actually a little scared off by it himself.

Interesting bit, the part about fantasies being okay. I totally agree with you, actually, and I think no one's thought to mention it because it wasn't so much just a fantasy as something that actually happened. Not to mention that Hermione and Ron never felt entirely comfortable with Harry and Draco as friends, let alone as more than that. They'd be more than happy to help Harry get over Draco, even though they know that that might not be what's in Harry's heart.

Okay, now I've prattled on long enough. I'll let you go, and hope to hear from you again! Thank you for taking the time to review!