What Ifs

Harry Potter flinched as the hat told he couldn't do that. "I cannot put you anywhere else. No matter that you don't like it, it is the best place for you. You will find happiness there."

"But I don't want to go there. I'm not bad."

"No, you're not, but you need the focus that they can give you. I will have a talk with your friend for you," the hat said gently. Then it pronounced his fate. "Slytherin!" The crowd gasped and Harry looked miserable. Those looking at his new friend Ron noticed he looked just as miserable too.

"It is done," Dumbledore said quietly, and the panic stopped. "The hat has it's reasons." He looked at Harry. Then he smiled at him and looked at Ron. "Mr. Weasley, do come here," he requested gently. Ron wandered up, still not looking happy. "What did the hat say, Harry?" He noticed the head of Slytherin moving closer. "Yes, come closer. You and Minerva both," he said tolerantly.

"It said I needed the focus," Harry admitted. "It said I'd be happy there, even though I begged not to be put into it." Ron nodded his agreement at that statement.

"Very well," Dumbledore agreed. "Mr. Weasley, for all things wizardry, you are his guide. I will expect you to help him since you apparently can handle his temperament and he can deal with yours." Ron opened his mouth.

"Do not protest," McGonagall said sharply. Ron nodded, looking down. "You have an unprecedented ability to handle a newly formed wizard, do so." Ron nodded, going back to his seat to tell his brothers. She smiled at Harry. "It will be fine, Harry. Even though everyone expected you to join my house." He nodded and trudged over to the table, sitting down as far away from the people as he could.

"Don't be that way," Draco Malfoy said, shifting down to sit next to him. "We'll take good care of you." Harry gave him a look. "Honestly."

"Do you know what that word means?" Harry asked. Draco laughed and clapped him on the back. "Don't!" He flinched away from him. "Just don't touch me."

"Fine, I won't touch you unless you ask," Draco agreed, doing his best to tramp down his smarmy nature. This boy clearly didn't want to be there and he really didn't want to talk to anyone. "You'll have the bed next to mine and I'll help you get through these next few weeks. How's that?"

"Depressing," Harry said honestly, looking at him. "Dumbledore said Ron could do that for me."

"I'm sure he did," he said with a sneer. "Remember what I said about the right sort and the wrong sort, Potter. Cling to the right sort until you find your feet."

"I'd rather cling to people who want to know me as a human being, not as a boy with a scar," he said dryly. Draco looked stunned. "Was there anything else? I'm hungry and tired."

"No." He moved back down to his former spot, watching the lone boy. He saw the Head of the House looking at him and shrugged. Snape nodded that he understood, Draco had done his best. He had tried, and his father would be pleased about it.

As soon as dinner was done, Harry followed the other first years up to his dorm, mentally groaning. He felt a hand clamp down on his shoulder and stiffened. "What?" he asked, looking at the professor.

"I am Professor Snape, I am in change of your education and life, Mr. Potter." Harry shrugged, putting on a brave front. The man could see the boy was in pain. "Come. I wish to talk to you before you go to bed tonight. There are things we have to clear up." He walked the boy down to his office, letting him proceed him. His wards lit up, showing him how strong the boy was and how mentally unprepared he was for this task. "Mr. Potter," he said as he sat down. "Tell me, have you known long?" Dumbledore had told him to be careful with this boy, not to use his usual instincts to revile him or he would have even more problems and the world would end quicker. He had to believe that advice after seeing how the boy had reacted to Malfoy.

"I found out on my birthday, just about three weeks ago," Harry told him. "Hagrid showed up and told me."

"I see." He revised his opinion down a bit. "Did you know anything?"

Harry laughed, a cold and empty sound. "My Aunt told me my parents died in a car crash," he said bitterly. "Then I show up today and suddenly I'm a national hero for no reason."

"I see," Snape repeated, mentally groaning. "That's fine. I understand why they did so. They were trying to spare you the knowledge."

Harry gave another, more bitter laugh. "If you say so," he said coldly. Snape flinched. "With all courtesy, sir, you don't know what I've been through and I'm really tired. Can you please grill me another day?"

Snape nodded, coming to the realization that the hat had done this boy a disservice, a great disservice. "Come, I'll show you down to your room. I've instructed Mr. Malfoy to watch over you and help you deal with things. That is in addition to Mr. Weasley. You'll find you'll have a number of classes with him. Do not let his attitude get to you."

"Yes, sir." Harry trudged after him, not caring where they were going. The portrait opened and he walked in, frowning at the boy waiting on him. "Fine, I'll follow you for a bit."

"Thank you. You do me a great honor," Malfoy said dryly. "Come." Snape glared at him and he flinched. "If you wouldn't mind."

"Mr. Malfoy, his nature was hidden from him," Snape noted. "Do be more gentle or else." Draco nodded quickly and led Harry up to their rooms. Snape went to chew the hat a new one. "How dare it put that weak little boy in my house!" he shouted. "He's damaged!"

"He has no training in how to deal with surges," Dumbledore said tiredly. "He's leaking magic and has been all day." Snape stepped away from him. "The hat placed him based on his power levels, nothing further. If he didn't need tutoring from you, I'd have overrode it." He looked up at his Potion's professor. "I take it you interrogated him?"

"I asked him a few simple questions. He'll be a victim to the house and from what little I saw that isn't what he needs."

"Then it's a good thing you stuck Malfoy onto his back the way I did Ron Weasley, isn't it," he said dryly. "Now, we'll all need our rest for what is coming tomorrow. Good night, Severus."

"Good night, Headmaster," he said stiffly, going back to his room.


Draco patted the bed beside his. "You'll sleep here." Harry nodded and crawled into it, pulling the curtains shut as soon as he was on it. "Are you all right?"

"Just tired." Harry yawned for effect.

"That's fine, I'll deal with any clothing issues tomorrow." Draco climbed into his own bed, staring at the boy across from them. "What, Zabini?"

"Be nicer to the kid, Draco. He's not part of our social circle. He doesn't understand."

"That's why I was assigned to help him about for the next month or so," Draco said, glaring at him. "Did you want to?"

"Stop it," Harry called, opening his drapes. "I'm not a little kid, I can find my own way around and I don't need teachers to help me make friends!" The blond boy across from him clapped. "Who're you?"

"Blaize Zabini. Alternate person to talk to when Draco gets boring," he said with a grin. "It all depends on how long you want to listen to his purity speeches."

Harry looked at Draco. "My mother wasn't a witch that I know about, would you mind leaving me alone now?" he asked. Blaize laughed. Harry shrugged. "I've had enough for the day so I'm going to hide now." He pulled the curtains again, hearing the sniff of disgust from the bed next to him. He looked around his space, noting it was about as big as his old closet. He could live in here for a while. It would be fine. Besides, maybe Ron would still be friends with him. He seemed pretty nice. He yawned and changed into his pajamas, sliding under the covers after dropping his clothes off the front edge of the bed. He'd deal with them tomorrow. Someone shifted a curtain and he looked at the big kid who had been following Draco around earlier. "What?" he asked tiredly.

"You're not pure?" Harry shrugged. "You don't know?"

"My mother's sister certainly isn't a witch," he told him. "I don't care. Bloodlines are for animals, not for people." He flipped onto his side, facing away from him, but he stayed stiff. The kid reminded him of Dudley and he didn't want to appear weak. He was surrounded by people who reminded him of Dudley and he was already loathing himself and wanting to take a long shower with a metal brush to scrub himself clean.

"Goyle, let him sleep," Draco ordered. "The poor boy's had a great shock."

Harry could hear his sneer and he didn't really care. He closed his eyes. "Pull the drapes please."

"Fine. We'll talk to you tomorrow." He pulled the drapes and walked back to his bed.

Harry watched the shadows on his drapes, learning this new prison. He would be spending a lot of time in here.


Harry gave Ron a look at breakfast the next morning and saw the anger on his face. He sighed as he sat down, at the very end of the table. The food in front of him was plentiful but he only took what he really wanted, he didn't want to look like he was pigging out.

"Eat more," a girl his age suggested. "It's a long time until lunch." She gave him a hopeful look.

"Malfoy get onto you?" he asked as he took another strip of bacon.

She nodded. "Yeah, but you look like you could use a friend, Harry." She moved so she was opposite him. "Don't listen to half of what Draco says. He's full of hot air most of the time," she confided with a smile. "I, on the other hand, am a good person to get to know. I'm fun and I'm decent with homework."

"Thanks," he said with a faint smile. "I'm not sure I'm ready for friends yet though." She looked disappointed. "Sorry."

"That's okay. Being sent away to school is hard for a lot of kids. So, where did your relatives hide you?"


"Wow. I only get there a few times a year. Did you get to wander around a lot? Down to the Palaces and all that?"

Harry shook his head. "Only on my old school's outings. We did Buckingham and the zoos every year." He was starting to feel a bit more at home so he leaned over. "Which bullies do I have to avoid?"

She laughed, reminding him of a hyena. "There's a lot of those in the house. You'd have to avoid nearly everyone." She reached over and he flinched. "Sorry. You don't like being touched?"

Harry decided to be evasive. "Not really, I'm kinda not real fond of anyone getting too close."

"That's fine, Harry, you're in the right house for lack of touching," she assured him. "If you had been put into Gryff like everyone thought then you probably would have been driven batty by the hugging. Or even worse, Hufflepuff, they do group hugs every night before curfew." She gave him another smile. "Hurry up, we've got Snape first and he's supposed to be nice to his own house."

He finished eating, still feeling a bit hungry but he was used to that, and followed her out of the hall and down to Potions. "You know most of the people we came in with?"

"In the house, definitely. We're all about the same social circle so we played together while our parents got chummy." She showed him the door. "That's it, but we wait out here." He nodded. She grimaced. "Goodie goodie alert."

Harry turned around and found Ron standing there. He gave him a hesitant smile. "Hi, Ron."

"Hi, Harry." He gave him a short hug. "I see you survived the first night." Harry nodded, smiling at him. "It's all right. We're all a bit confused about you," he teased. He gave him a friendly nudge. "Meet me for studying later? Percy and the twins both said I should try to spend time with you each day to keep you normal." He smiled nicely at Pansy. "Thank you for looking out for him."

"Not a problem," she said, looking confused. "I thought you didn't like to be touched."

"For some reason, Ron doesn't set off a panic attack," Harry said with a shrug. "That's why I wanted to be with him, that way we could get really close and he'd help me be a normal person." Ron snorted, turning away to hide his snickering. "Sorry, Ron."

"No, it's okay, you're not exactly normal," Ron agreed. Pansy looked more confused. "Dumbledore hid him among muggles," he said patiently.

"Yes, we know," Draco said from behind him. "Leave Potter alone."

"I like Ron, leave him be," Harry snapped. Ron looked at him, looking a little scared. "Sorry, Ron, but I'm going to jealously guard what few friends I have until I'm more comfortable." He hit him on the arm and grinned. "That's okay, right?"

"Sure, Harry," Ron said, mirroring Pansy's look. He saw Draco's scowl. "What?" he demanded. "At least I'm nice to him because I like him, not because I want something." Harry laid a hand on his arm. "Sorry, Harry." He looked at the classroom door as it opened and swallowed because Snape was glaring at him. "C'mon, Harry, maybe you can sit beside me. I'm not great in here yet either."

"You'll find the houses are separated," Professor Snape hissed as he walked past him. "Mr. Potter may sit *behind* you, not beside you. Mr. Malfoy will be his partner so he gets up to speed in here." Draco looked disgusted. He glared at the boy so the boy sighed and took the seat behind Ron and the Longbottom boy. He started into his usual spiel and noticed Potter wasn't paying attention. He bit his tongue because he didn't want to take points off his own house, but moved closer. The boy was taking notes? He slapped the quill from his fingers. "Now's not the time for that," he told him, moving back to finish scaring the rest of the class. Harry was now attentive, if glaring at him. He assigned the first potion and watched to see who he was going to have problems with. He moved Malfoy nearly immediately, putting someone less talented over there. "Goyle, trade places with Malfoy. He's doing better and I'm putting all the hopeless together." Goyle and Malfoy traded places. He rearranged people to suit himself and then sat down to watch the disaster happen.

"Try to make everything smaller and more even," Goyle told Harry. "He likes even pieces from what I've heard."

Harry tried, but this was not his thing. He put down everything and rubbed his eyes, but a cold hand stopped him. "Sorry, sir."

"Do not rub anything into your skin, it has deadly side effects if you do so." Harry looked up at him. "Go get a drink." Harry shook his head and picked back up the knife, trying again. He could see what the boy was doing wrong. "Did you ever cook, Potter?" he asked. Harry nodded slowly. "Consider this like that." He noticed he had given Weasley the means to succeed as well and sighed in disappointment. He was so looking forward to flunking another one. He walked around, nodding only at Malfoy. Of course he had tutored the boy when he was younger, so he expected him to know something. He sat down to watch Potter. There was something about that boy that wasn't adding up right and he didn't like the look in his eyes or what he had observed in the hallway. Not only did he resent being sorted into Slytherin, there didn't seem to be any point to it. He was a wizard, just like all the other first years. He noticed Harry getting frustrated at Goyle's 'helpful' hints. That's when he also noticed that his and a few other students hairs were starting to stand up. "Potter," he snapped, recognizing what it was. The Headmaster had warned him. Harry jumped and looked at him, looking ready to cry. "Go get a drink before you harm yourself." Harry nodded and walked out, going to do as he said.

"Was he leaking magic?" Draco asked, sounding astonished. "None of us have done that since we were in short pants."

"He hasn't had the extensive training that a wizarding family would give you," Ron said snidely. "Leave Harry alone." Draco glared at him.

"As much as I hate to admit it, Mr. Weasley is correct. He has not had any instruction in that skill. You will not pick on him for it!" His house shuddered and nodded. He nodded as Harry came back in. "Sit and try to start again."

"What's leaking?" Harry asked.

"That thing where things happen because you wished them," Ron said, shrugging at him. "We all do it sometimes, it's a matter of hormones at our ages." Harry nodded and went back to his seat. "Try the blue stuff, Harry, it's really good," he whispered.

Harry grinned and worked on that thing next, managing to get a taste off it from his fingers. Ron had been right. Even if it did make him tongue itch.

Snape stopped Harry before he could leave. "You are not to pick on the other Slytherins, Potter, no matter how bad they treat you. Do not let it get to you."

"Because I could hurt them?" Harry asked. Severus nodded. "Yes, sir, I'll try. But can't I pop Malfoy one just once?"

Snape smiled. "No, you may not. Fighting is not allowed. No matter what Mr. Weasley says." He let the boy go and watched as he walked out to his next class. It was a few hours later when he next heard about the boy. And that was from McGonagall, who was moaning because the boy was a natural seeker. He smirked at her and shrugged. Her loss was his house's gain. He went to find the boy and his team's coach. "Train him," he ordered, handing him over.

"Yes, sir," the captain said, looking fearful. He looked at Harry once he was gone. "What did you do?"

"I saved some kid's rememberball."

"Oh. That was you," he said, frowning at him. "You're a prissy showoff, Potter."

"Fuck off." Harry started to walk away, but the other boy caught the back of his robes. "Let go."

"Snape ordered and I have to follow it. We'll be training you tonight. Meet me on the field after dinner." He let the boy go and walked away.

Harry rubbed his arm and frowned at him. "Why would I want to play for you?" he called.

The boy turned to look at him. "Because Snape said so."

"He's not my parent either," Harry noted, walking in the opposite direction. Malfoy grabbed him this time, pulling him into an unused classroom. "What do you want now?" he asked, nearly defeated for the whole day.

"You have to follow all Snape's orders. It's the way the system works. Not even you are immune from it, Potter," he spat. "If I'm not then you're not." He forced the boy to stand in front of him. "The way the system works is this, Potter. We are temporarily shoved together for the next seven years of our lives. You have to uphold us and we have to stick up for you, it's the way things are done. If you have a problem with another house, then you tell one of the older, more powerful people so they can fix it for you, or so they can give you advise on how to best fix it and not get into trouble yourself. You may also come to me because I am very knowledgeable about the wizarding world. You don't get to throw a tantrum just because you were missorted. We all know by now that you were missorted and we hate it for you, but life sucks that way sometimes. The same as if I had been put into Ravenclaw by accident. Now suck it up and let's move on! Weasley and you can remain friends. It's obvious you've heard things about *our* house in the past. Not all of us are like that. Not all of us are evil gits. Some of us enjoy playing at it but only some of the time. If you let me, I will steer you through the minefield you've just created for yourself."

"I don't want to owe anyone, Draco," Harry said firmly.

Draco could finally see a glimmer of strength in the boy. "Good, wonderful, I'm not asking you to. You're strong enough to kick my ass if you really want to from what the hat told Dumbledore, that's why you were put in here. That's why Snape put you under *my* control and helpful guidance." Harry nodded, getting that much. "Now, can you abide by those rules for a few more months? Can you wait until you get home to whatever fabulous life you were leading and follow along for a bit?"

"You don't know anything about me," Harry hissed.

And suddenly, Draco got it. He knew what the problem was. He smirked at him. "You just gave it all away, Potter," he said with a fond grin. He reached out to pull the boy closer, but he got pushed away. "I take it you're living with a bully?"

"More than," Harry admitted, crossing his arms. The door opened and he smiled at the teacher standing there. "He's trying to get into my head."

"Good." Madam Hooch smiled and motioned him closer, handing him a small package. "This is yours, Harry. I've heard you were put onto the Slytherin team. Do you need instruction?"

"Professor Snape asked our captain to teach him, and I'll tutor him beyond that," Draco told her smugly. She looked at him and he flinched. "I'll try to make sure he follows all the rules."

"See that you do. His father was an honorable player." She nodded at Harry. "You may come to me for help if you can't understand them." Harry nodded and she left them alone.

"Youngest player ever to be allowed on a house team," Draco said smugly. "Just the first commendation I'm sure." He pulled Harry around to face him. "You can learn to live with this and pass or you can die where you sit, Potter. Choose now. I'm not known for my patience."

"Or your tact?" Harry asked.

Draco laughed. "Why have tact?"

"It makes people like you more," Harry said, getting free of him again. "I don't want to be manhandled."

"Fine. But you will accept my protection and guidance? Beyond what Weasley can give you?"

"With one exception. If you pick on any of Ron's friends, or Ron himself, I'm going to have to hurt you."

"Big words from the boy who doesn't even know a hex," Draco pointed out dryly.

"But I'll learn and I can live without sleep. Can you?" he asked, nearly quoting a movie he had heard a few years back.

Draco laughed, great loud laughter. "Fine. We'll work that part out. For now, work on your thing against being touched. It's disturbing to some of the girls, who are all very touchy with us." He smirked. "We're late for class, make up an excuse so we can get in there."

"I'd rather go play with the animals outside," Harry said dryly, heading out. "Where are we going?"


Harry hefted the package. "This might do?"

"That would do," Draco agreed, leading the way out to the classroom. He nodded at Harry when the teacher looked at him. "I was helping him."

"Fine." She smiled at Harry. "What's that?"

"My team uniform," Harry told her, grinning slightly. Ron looked shocked and he shrugged as he moved to work beside him. "I guess I'm good. She mentioned my father. Do you know what he played?"

Ron nodded. "After class," he said, getting back to work.

Harry put up his things and started to do what Ron was, earning a nod from the teacher for doing so well.


Later that night, Harry sat on the end of Draco's bed. "What's the big problem going to be tomorrow?"

"Personal space," Draco informed him. "Off my bed." Harry sighed and got onto his own. "Thank you. I don't like my space to be breached. The same as you don't."

"I doubt it's for the same reasons, Draco," Harry said, a touch of frost coating his voice. He had already used it against him. He closed his curtains and laid down to think. He didn't like it here. He had been right to hate it here. No matter what big words Draco had tried to calm him down with earlier, he was just like all the others.

"Hey, Harry, can you come help me with something," Blaize called.

"Sure." He got out on the other side and moved over there, helping him tie the necklace around his neck. "That's nice. A present?"

"My grandmother gave it to me before I left," Blaize said, turning to face him. "Sit, you look uncomfortable." Harry carefully sat and Blaize winked at him. "I'm the nice one," he said with a grin.

Harry nodded. "Thank you, BLaize."

"Hey, not a problem. Some of us got the hint yesterday and we understand. Some of us may understand, but they'll push it back into your face at convenient intervals. How about we hang out together? I'll even let you bring Ron?"

"Sure," Harry said, starting to feel happier now. "Will you come watch me practice tomorrow?"

"If I have time. I can't play myself, but you're really going to be great with some training." He pinched Harry's nose, getting brushed away. "Sorry, couldn't resist," he said with a bigger grin. "Do you need any help with your homework?"

"Not yet. Thank you though."

"You're welcome. Some of us lower kids have to stick together or we get sucked into Malfoy's exhaust," he said gently. "Don't let that happen to you. You don't want to be like him, Harry. Trust me, I know him and his family." Harry nodded, giving him a smile. "Good boy. Now, help me figure out how I'm going to be more interesting tomorrow. I promised my mother I would wear my uniform correctly and I did, so now I have to figure out how to jazz it up a bit."

"We do not look disreputable," Crabbe said, shocked.

Draco opened his curtains. "You will not make the rest of us look bad," he ordered.

Blaize grinned at him. "If you look bad, that's your fault," he pointed out. "I'm going to be myself, one way or another, Malfoy." He looked at Harry. "Do you know *anything* about doing hair?"

"Just that mine won't quit growing. Even when my Aunt cut it, it grew over night back to this."

"Hmm. Vampires are said to have that skill," Blaize said, running his fingers through Harry's hair. "I think some gel would go well with you, Harry." He beamed. "Fortunately I've got some so we don't have to steal Draco's." Draco glared at him. "You, behave," he said snidely. "Harry's now under *my* protection as well." Harry blushed. Blaize thought it was cute. "You just keep that look and we'll have people dying to talk to us tomorrow, Harry," he assured him. "What you need is some self-confidence and a good set of external armor so only those you *like* can get closer." Harry looked interested. "Trust me, I am the best at that. There's not a person in this school who knows the real me."

Harry beamed. "I'd be happy to let you help me, Blaize."

"Good boy. Now go rest in your coffin over there. We'll figure it out in the morning. I'll even get you up a touch earlier so we can do our hair together. Maybe I can get yours to spike up a bit." Harry beamed and went back to his bed, closing himself in. Blaize gave Malfoy a glare. "Leave him alone," he mouthed. "You're going to hurt him worse and he'll kill himself. Then we'll all be in deep shit." Malfoy shuddered and withdrew. "Hey, Harry, want to switch beds with Crabbe tomorrow? That way you're on my side?"

"No, he stays here," Draco said firmly. "Snape ordered me to watch over him."

"Fine," Blaize agreed. "Then you can watch us and Ron as well." He smirked at the groan. "I'm sure our dear Head will agree." Someone pounded on the door. "Fuck you!" he shouted. The top Prefect walked in and glared at him. "Get over it! We're still young enough to stay up all night and not have problems tomorrow. Now leave my presence before you make Malfoy crankier." The Prefect glared some more but did slide out of the room.

Draco opened his curtains. "Do not use my name in vain," he said, but he was nearly smiling.

"You're not God yet, Draco, I can call your name anyway I want."

That made Draco laugh. "Just don't call it out in your sleep, prat. I'd hate to have to sic Goyle on you for dreaming indecent things about me." He smirked and withdrew, reminded why he had always liked Blaize.

Blaize settled down to figure out how to crunch his usual morning routine into under half an hour.


Harry appeared at breakfast the next morning on Blaize's arm, smiling and laughing at some joke he had just told outside the door. More armor he had said. Letting them see you not sweating meant that they felt like they couldn't touch you. His hair was lightly gelled into gentle spikes that probably wouldn't last the day and his uniform was a bit darker thanks to Draco's helpful input this morning. He looked like he was some sort of vampire wannabe, but it was a useful shield. No one came near him at breakfast except Blaize and Malfoy. Even during classes that day no one really talked to him. He found he liked it that way. He had a class with Ron after lunch and Ron did talk to him.

"What did you do to your hair?" he asked as they waited for the ladder to come down.

"Just some stuff Blaize helped me with," Harry said with a shrug and a smile. "Do you think it looks okay?"

"I think it lookscute," Ron said finally, grinning at him. "You look like a real boy, Harry. Adorable down to the bone. Mum sent me a letter and mentioned you. She apologized for Ginny's behavior at the train station and said it was good that I was getting to know you because you had obviously been missorted. She said she wanted to wreck the hat for you." Harry chuckled, leaning against his side. The ladder came down and up they went to Astronomy for their introductory lesson.

*** A Few Weeks Later ***

Harry looked over as Ron walked up to where he was leaning. He had just had another shooting pain through his scar. He was trying hard not to let anyone see him crying from the pain of it. "What's wrong?" Ron asked.

"Pain." Harry looked at him. "It hurts, Ron."

"It's all right, Harry, we expect freaky things from you," Ron said calmly, leading him away. "First let's get you checked over and then we'll figure it out. That Granger witch is really handy in the library and she'll probably help us some." He walked him up to the infirmary. "Madam Pomfrey?" he called. She hurried out. "For some reason he's been having shooting pains through his scar." She gasped and settled Harry on the bed. "Harry, should I get Blaize?"

"Please," Harry groaned, trying not to dodge the careful poking. "That hurts!" he whined.

"Sorry, Mr. Potter, but I had to check and make sure it wasn't your head itself." She bustled away. "You will stay, Mr. Weasley, to keep him calm. I'm getting the Headmaster."

"It's a lot of fuss over a bit of pain," Harry complained.

Ron hopped up to sit on the end of his bed. "Yeah, but we expect freaky stuff from you," he reminded him with a grin. "You're sticking to the nearly-dead look?" Harry nodded. "Good on you. What about when you have to go home?"

"Can't I run away?" Harry pleaded. Ron shook his head. "Blast! Then I guess I'm going back to the old Harry for a few months and then becoming myself again on the train." He shrugged. "It sucks, but it happens." He noticed his Head of House coming in and nudged Ron with a foot. "Snape got called too."

"Of course, they can't do anything to you without his permission." Ron straightened up when Snape walked over to them. "I brought him up."

"I heard. You may go back to class."

"I'd rather have him here," Harry offered, looking hopeful.

"I'm sure you'll have enough friends visiting you soon enough," Snape told him. He touched the scar and Harry didn't move at all. "Where were you?"

"In the hallway outside Defense," Harry told him. "Just around the corner from the doorway waiting on Blaize to finish with his test."

Snape nodded. "Then I believe I know the cause." He walked away, storming out into the hallways.

Dumbledore walked in a few minutes later, giving Harry a charming smile. "Harry," he said, giving him a fond pat. "What happened? Just some pain?" Harry nodded. "Very well then. I think we should have tea tonight to discuss that sort of thing." He looked at Ron. "You may come if you want since you're watching out for him. You and Mr. Zabini and Mr. Malfoy." He smiled at Harry again. "How's that?"

"I just want it to quit hurting," Harry said, then he hissed as another pain hit. A bigger pain, one that made him want to cry. Ron was holding his hand when the pain faded enough for him to realize what was going on around him. The nurse was looking very worried. "Is this like a tumor?"

"No, it's more like you're connected to You-Know-Who," Ron said firmly, staring at Dumbledore. "My mother said he's under *her* protection, sir. Since the hat goofed."

Dumbledore laughed. "That's one way of putting it. I'm sure it had its reasons." He helped Harry sit up. "Ron, go tell your friends to be careful as they move around in the halls. Anyone connected with Harry has to be for the moment. I believe someone's searching for him."

"Searching?" Harry asked. Dumbledore nodded. "But why?"

"Because you beat the old Dark Lord and there is probably a new one wanting his old job." Dumbledore let the nurse fuss over him, smiling at the unease the boy was showing. "It's all right. You'll be up here tonight until our tea, and then you'll be back in your room. There shouldn't be any long term effects on you, Harry." He walked away, going to make a few calls.

Ron patted Harry's leg. "See, it's worse than you thought," he said happily. Harry laughed, glad that his friend could help him through this.


Draco was the last one into the impromptu meeting and looked around at the gathered people. "What's happened now? Are you going to resort Potter finally?"

"There is no ceremony for resorting," Dumbledore said gently, putting him down as easily as he could. "Do sit, Mr. Malfoy, since you've taken care of Harry as well." Draco sat, looking expectant. "Tell them, Harry."

"Earlier my scar started to ache, a sharp, jabbing pain ran through it."

"Wonderful," Draco sighed. "Is he back?" Dumbledore nodded.

"Well, shit!" Blaize sighed. "Harry, I adore you, ducks, and I'd like to get closer to you, but I don't want to die."

Ron glared at him. "Why would you?"

"Because the Dark Lord is making his feelings known," Draco said dryly. "Where? Did you want me to inform my father?"

"I have no doubt that your father already knows," Dumbledore said smoothly, smiling at him. "As for right now, I want you to protect Mr. Potter, no matter what. You are to keep him out of trouble. The other teachers do not know anything." He stared down Harry. "Under no circumstances are you to get involved in this, Harry Potter. Do you understand me?"

Blaize snorted. "That's like waving a flag in invitation." He looked at Harry. "Ducks, I mean it. I love you, would love you be with you when we're older, but I'm not dying for you."

"That's fine, I don't anticipate dying, not for a very long time," Harry said calmly, staring back at Dumbledore. "Will I have to fight him?"

"We'll tell you if it's necessary. You as well, Mr. Weasley, promise me you're not going to jump in this time."

"I'm going to stick up for Harry, like my mum said," Ron defended.

"Then I'll tell your mother what's going on and expect her to exercise some common sense." He looked at Draco. "You are to watch out for more attacks. The both of you are closer to him and share many things with him." The Slytherins nodded. "Good," he said, much happier now. "Get Mr. Potter to bed, I'll have a small snack sent up to him. Mr. Weasley, you will have him again tomorrow?"

"I feel like I'm a cat being passed between owners," Harry put in. Ron giggled and snorted, as did Blaize.

Draco looked at him. "If you were my beast, you'd be better groomed," he noted dryly, making Harry laugh. "Good. Let's get you back to bed, scar boy." He hauled Harry up and walked him away.

"Mr. Weasley, I meant it," Dumbledore called after him. Ron waved a hand, having no intention of letting this go. "Maybe I should move that stone," he said grimly.


Harry spent the next afternoon after classes with Hagrid, laughing at some of the things he's done. That night, he and Ron studied, then Blaize pounced him and forced him back to the dorms for a talk. "What?" he asked.

"I wanted to talk to you," Blaize said, looking a bit worried. "Harry, are you mad at me?"

"Not at all, why?"

"I don't know, I guess it's because I revealed a lot of stuff last night in the Headmaster's office."

Harry grinned at him, unknowingly turning Blaize to mush. "It's all right, I like you too. I'm not sure about anything else, but I do like you. You're one of my best friends."

"Do you think you could like me that way?"

"Not a clue, Blaize. I've never even heard of two guys getting together."

"Oh." He pouted. "Why not? They have guys like that in London, a lot of them from what everyone's said."

Harry leaned closer. "For me to see them, I would have had to been allowed out of the house," Harry pointed out gently.

"Good point," Blaize agreed, giving him a grin. He decided to hug him for good measure and Harry didn't object. "Do you like guys, Harry?"

"I've never thought about it," Harry admitted. "How would you do stuff?"

"I've got a teaching manual to help," Blaize offered.

"I'm sure you do," Crabbed said dryly as he walked over from Draco's bed. "Gonna share around?"

Harry picked up the first thing at hand, his notebook, and hit him in the face with it. "If he does, it won't be with those who don't appreciate the gift," he said snidely. "Now go away. This is a private conversation." Crabbe looked hurt, he looked like he was going to cry. "I mean it, I'm not putting up with any disrespect toward any of my friends. Not Blaize, not me, and not Ron." Crabbe backed away from him. "Thank you." He looked at Blaize again. "May I have time to consider it?"

"Sure. Take all the time you want, Harry. But if you ever need a cuddle, I'm nearly as good as a teddy."

"Deal," Harry agreed, leaning closer to kiss him. He pulled back and licked his lips. "That felt odd. Now I'll have to kiss a girl to see if it's the same." He went back to his bed, closing the curtains around his private space. A few minutes later, someone tapped on his bedframe. "Come," he called. Crabbe moved in and Harry made room for him. "Are you going to apologize?"

"Yes, I am," Crabbe said, giving him a hopeful smile. "I think you're odd, but really nice and I don't want you to be mad at me, no matter what Goyle says about you."

Harry grinned. "Thank you, Crabbe. I think you'd make a decent friend once you lose Draco."

"I can't," he said, plucking the blanket. "I'm bound to his family." Draco opened the curtains and looked down at him. "He didn't know, Draco, don't be mad."

"I'm not." He moved in as well and closed the curtains. "He's not used to how the higher ups do things. I understand that." He looked at Harry, who looked somewhat confused and angry. He smiled to disarm him. "It's how Vincent's father chose to elevate his status, by joining him to be my bodyguard." Harry shook his head. "No, what?"

"That's slavery, it's wrong," Harry pointed out.

Vincent laughed. "I told you so."

Draco swatted him. "Be quiet." He looked at Harry again. "It's not slavery. He was indentured to me by our parents, but there are many more perks. My family has treated him like one of us for years now, and that simple exchange will allow him a higher social standing when we're grown and I release him. It's often done, but it's an older practice. We had no say in the matter, like Goyle didn't." Harry still looked upset. "I know you don't approve, but there's nothing I can do until I reach my majority and Vincent reaches his. That's the way life works in some social circles."

"Then I'm glad I don't live in them," Harry told him, looking very serious. He looked at Draco and frowned. "I thought you didn't want me that close."

"No, what I said was that you were violating my personal space. Even I have to have somewhere to get away from everyone, the same as you do, Potter. In this case, the only thing we have is our beds. Next year's room is a bit bigger and we'll be able to spread out more. For now, this is all that we can declare as ours. It's like our homes in a way."

Harry looked around. "It does feel like my old room," he admitted quietly. Crabbe grabbed him and hugged him. "It's okay, please let me go, you're squishing me," Harry pleaded. Vincent let him go with a smile for him. "Thanks." He saw Draco's furious look. "What?"

"Your old room was this big?"

Harry nodded. "Yeah, my original one. My newer one is a bit bigger."

Draco groaned. "Something is going to have to snap, Potter, and it can't be you so it's going to have to be your relatives." Harry grabbed his arm, squeezing it hard. He saw the panic and shook his head. "Not until you're ready," he promised, making him let go. He would be bruised in the morning. He really didn't understand this at all. "Go to sleep, you'll probably need it." He smoothly got to his feet and went to his own bed to fume in private. His father had told him that Potter was a spoiled brat, a child given every luxury in the world by his adopted family. That the spoiled nature was what was going to be Dumbledore's downfall. He would have to tell him he was wrong. Or possibly just tell him that Harry wasn't spoiled after all. That might help him.

*** Later That Year, After The Stone Incident. ***

Harry looked around the infirmary, frowning at the pile of presents at the end of his bed. Not one of his friends had been in yet. Not even Ron. He started to sulk, thinking about the things he was going to have to go through soon. Within a few days, he would be packed up and back on the train. Home. What a bitter sounding word. The door opened and he looked over, smiling at Draco. "Hi."

"You survived, I'm astonished," Draco said as he walked over to stand beside him. He could see the fear in his eyes. "I'm not mad that you went ahead and did it, Harry, just scared that you might have died. You barely know enough hexes to beat me in a fair fight, much less someone older and stronger." He brushed Harry's hair aside so he could look at the scar. "Don't do that again next year. All right?"

"Hopefully I won't have to," Harry reminded him. "Maybe it's over."

"It's not over," Draco sighed. He glanced down at the presents. "I saw Weasley earlier, he looks like he got the shit beaten out of him by a dragon." Harry winced. "He said he's coming up later, no matter who tries to stop him." He gave him a small smile. "Did you want me to have you packed up?"

"I'll be released tomorrow. In time for the leaving feast."

"Hmm. And then what?"

"And then we go home for nine weeks and then we come back and start again," Harry pointed out. He looked at his hands, then at his friend. "Draco, would you do me a favor?"

"What sort?" he asked calmly.

"Would you hit me really hard so I couldn't be released with everyone else?"

Draco laughed. "If you really want it, I'll bring Goyle with me later tonight. He hits hardest." He patted Harry on the head. "You get better. Blaize is so worried he actually wore his uniform properly today." Harry smiled at that and he left him alone, going to owl his father and suggest that Harry spend the summer with them. His father could read people, he'd see that Draco was right, Harry wasn't spoiled.

When Ron came in a few hours later, Harry was pretending to sleep so the nurse would leave him alone. He grinned at the bad acting. "It doesn't work, she's got funny senses that tell her you're faking."

"It let her go to dinner," Harry said with a grin. He reached out to touch the bruise on Ron's face. "Are you really all right?"

"Just fine, Harry," Ron assured him, leaning closer. "You're amazing. You blew him away like it was nothing. Now I know why they put you over there."

"I don't want to be there," Harry told him. "I want to be with you."

"I know, Harry, but we're still friends. I'll even try to get you sprung to our house this summer, how's that?"

"That'd be nice," Harry agreed, giving him a smile. "Immediately?"

"Maybe, why?" Ron asked, looking concerned. Harry shook his head, but he was rubbing a spot on his arm. Ron looked at it and then at his friend. "Who cut you?"

"I slipped and fell with the knife when I was six," Harry said, not lying. He only left out the part where he had been yelled at for being so clumsy and ruining Dudley's breakfast. Ron apparently knew though, because he gripped Harry on that spot. "I'll be fine."

"You'll be more than fine, I'm telling my mother on your family," Ron said warmly. Harry shook his head. "It'll help!"

"For how long?" Harry asked. "What about next summer?"


Harry shrugged. "Next summer won't be any different than this one. I only have to go on until I'm eighteen and then I'm done."

"No, you should be done with them now," Ron said firmly. Harry nodded. "Who else knows?"

"Ask the Headmaster," Harry said bitterly. "He said I had to go back when we talked."

"My mum'll make sure you spend at least part of it with us," Ron said firmly. Someone coughed and he looked at the nurse. "He's well enough to talk."

"He doesn't need to be upset," Madam Pomfrey told him.

"I'm only upset about leaving here," Harry said bitterly. He flicked Ron on the unbruised side of his head. "I'll be okay. You'll sit with me on the train home?"

"Sure," Ron agreed, grinning at him. He left Harry after a quick hug and another glare at the nurse.

"Do you want something to eat?"

"I'm not hungry," Harry told her. "Thank you though."

"You're welcome, Mr. Potter." She walked away, going to make her report. She also called the Headmaster and told him about what she had overheard. He only nodded but didn't say he'd do anything about it. It was that reason that made her start a diary of Harry's injuries and the scars she could remember. She brought it later when she examined him, finishing the preliminary report. She was sure she'd be seeing more of him.

***The Next Year ***

Ron ran up to Harry in the hallways and skidded to a stop in front of him, looking desperate. "Hermione figured it out." Harry pulled him away from the students around them. "It's Ginny, Harry, they're using her."

"I'll follow her tonight," Harry said calmly, giving him a smile. "Don't worry, I'll help. You know that, Ron. I think of you like my brother." Ron nodded, relaxing for the first time since Hermione's note was understood. "Give me an hour after dinner. Are you coming with me?"

"I can't! McGonagall's locking us in tonight."

"Fine, then I'll go," Harry noted.

"You'll do no such thing," Malfoy said angrily as he walked up behind Harry.

Harry looked at him. "Bugger off." He looked at Ron again and smiled. "You'll hear, don't worry." Ron nodded and hurried off, going to class. Harry turned to face his 'helper'. "His sister's the next target, Draco, I have to help him."

"You'll get caught," Draco said stiffly. "We'll never win on points this year."

"Yay! Points aren't what I'm here for!" Harry stomped off, going to plan in peace and quiet in the Potion's classroom. He had it next and Snape never minded when he hid in there. Well, he did but he wouldn't say anything to Harry about it. He'd complain to Draco, who would then complain at him later. He nodded at the teacher as he took his usual seat, putting his head down to stare at the wall. He could still hear that voice in his head, the one that no one else could hear. Maybe it was what she thought. Maybe it was Ginny being used. Or maybe the voice had something to do with it. He grimaced and rolled his shoulders to force himself to relax. He'd have to play this one by ear.

Snape walked back to Harry's seat. "Planning something unusual?" he sneered.

Harry looked at him. "Tell me what else a parseltongue would understand?" he requested. "What other sort of animals."

Snape looked astonished. The boy hadn't asked anything about that gift since it had been found out. "Any animal that was a reptile or partially a reptile."

Harry grimaced. "That's a big category, but I never understood lizards when we had them in here."

"That is a point to consider," Snape admitted, moving to walk around a bit. "Why?"

"Because there's this voice I can hear and Ron can't." Snape looked alarm. "It's whispering things, there," he said, pointing at where he could presently hear it. "It moves around the school and I'm not always near enough to hear what it's saying, so I thought it might be something that I could understand as a parseltongue."

Snape looked impressed. "That is a reasonable assumption. Though not one you'll be able to test."

Harry used his wand to slam and lock the door, then faced down his Head of House. "I know you don't like me and I don't care, but I will do whatever I have to do to protect Ginny Weasley."

"She's involved?"

"Not willingly. Ron thinks she's the next victim."

"I see." Snape looked down at the young man, then shook his head. "There's nothing you, as a student, could do." Harry got that gleam in his eye, the same one he had last year when he butted in. "If you leave the house tonight, you'll be fined three hundred points," he said.

"Yay. Points aren't worth more to me than my sister's life." He sat down again, unlocking the door. "Sorry to have bothered you, sir, may I please be excused for the day?"

"NO!" Snape glared at him. "You will not move from either Mr. Zabini's or Mr. Malfoy's side tonight, Potter, do you understand me? Even if I have to chain you to one of their beds, you're not leaving their sides."

"Fine, sir." Harry glared back, but Snape could tell nothing had changed.

Snape grabbed both boys when they walked in. "You two are to watch Potter tonight for me. He is not to leave the House, he is not to leave one or both of your sides. There will be no wandering around tonight in his cloak." Harry snorted. "Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir," Malfoy said, frowning at Harry. "How much is his fine this time?"

"He said three hundred," Harry said with a smile. "Don't worry, I'm sure Ron won't gloat too much this year, Malfoy." Malfoy glared at him, making Harry laugh.

"I'm glad you think it's funny, Potter, but for the rest of us it's draining," Zabini warned. Harry said something in his ear. "No!" He backed away. "Malfoy, he's yours tonight. I'm not getting into that."

"That's fine, I understand," Harry assured him. "I'll see you tomorrow." He grabbed his books and slipped out before any of them could grab him. As soon as he was in the clear, he pulled his cloak out of his bag and swung it over him, not realizing that someone had seen him, or that someone could track him by his movements. He walked up to Dumbledore's office once he noticed it was empty, then grabbed the sorting hat, pulling it under his cloak. "Can you help me?" he asked it.

"Reach inside, I have something that will help you," it whispered. "Go now, it's going to get crowded in here. Take the back stairs behind Fawkes' cage." Harry nodded and reached inside so he gave up one of his precious hidden treasures, the sword. He was put back onto his stool and pretended that nothing had changed when the boy snuck out. Even when Professor Snape barged in with Malfoy, Zabini, and Weasley in tow. It did laugh at the Professor's ranting at him, it was a common thing these days.


Harry found the spot he needed and opened it, just like he had known he could. Earlier it had all come together in his mind. His Magical Creatures book had told him what it probably was and why he could speak to it. Hermione had figured it out another way and the piece of paper in her fist had proven he was right. Now it was time to do this.


Harry woke up in the infirmary, sensing the start of a pattern. He saw Ron sitting beside him sleeping so he tossed his pillow at his head. "Can I have a drink?" he asked when Ron woke up. Ron lunged over, hugging him as hard as he could. "You hug like Crabbe, let go," he groaned. Ron pulled back and grinned. "Ginny?"

"Fine. They've removed it all from her and she'll be fine, Harry. Mum said she's making you a cake each week that you're with us this summer." Harry smiled at him, and knew it wasn't the whole truth. He wasn't going to be there the whole summer. "She's just fine and they destroyed the book once they figured it out. Fawkes flew you up, do you remember any of it?"

"A lot of pain in my arm," Harry said, looking down at it. "It's healed?"

"Fawkes sobbed pitifully into it," Draco noted as he walked around to stand at the foot of his bed. "Professor Snape sent me to beat you so he doesn't get into trouble for it." Harry grimaced. "How wonderful you are, pulling Gryffindor's sword out of the hat."

"I couldn't let Ginny suffer, Draco. I'm not like that. I can't be a cold and murdering bastard like your father." Draco opened his mouth to protest. "Who gave her the book, Draco? Think about it," he snapped. He looked at Ron again, giving him a smile. "Can I hide under my cloak and just run to your house?"

"Nope, sorry," Ron said with a shrug. "Soon though. Not too long." He hugged Harry again. "I'm gonna tell Hermione that you're all right. You are all right, right?" Harry nodded. "Good." He hurried out, going to tell everyone the good news.

Draco sneered at him. "The Hero of Slytherin," he said dryly. "That's what some of the girls are calling you."

"Yay. I'm not ready for girls yet," Harry told him.

"Pity, they're fascinating creatures."

"I'm sure I'll figure that out on my own some day," Harry noted. Draco glared at him. "You don't even like me, why did you come?"

"Because I had to make sure you were still living. As one of the top people in the house, it's my duty to look out for the lesser beings."

"I'm not a lesser being," Harry pointed out.

Draco inclined his head. "If you say so. I only see a scared little boy who wants to run far away from all his problems."

"Yeah, and you're one of them," Harry said bitterly. "Go away, Malfoy. I don't want to see you. Send Blaize if anyone in the house wants to rough me up."

"Fine. I'll leave you alone, for now," he said quietly. "We'll be talking later."

"Try never. I don't want to be like you, Draco, I never have and I doubt I ever will. So let's just part company and be casual acquaintances in the halls."

"If you want, but remember what happens when I withdraw my protection."

"Yeah, gee, the others will pick on me. What a shock," Harry said in his most bland and monotone voice. "Like it doesn't happen now." He shifted under the covers, flipping onto his side. "Out!"

"Fine. I'll send *Blaize*." He stomped off, not sure why he was saying those things. Harry had only reacted to his words, he knew that's all it was. He ran into Goyle in the halls and glared at him. "Go away." Goyle nodded and left. "Get him Zabini, he wanted to see him."

"Yes, Draco," Goyle called as he ran off.

Draco went to find a place to sulk, choosing the cavern his father had told him about. It was dark and a bit damp in places, but the perfect place to be alone and pout. He pulled open one of the cases of wine and pulled out a bottle, deciding he could use some fake cheer for a bit. It was still good by the smell so he grabbed some of the treats as well, retreating into a corner to soothe himself.


Harry looked over as Blaize walked in, giving him a smile. "Hi."

"Hi yourself, ducks." He gave him a quick kiss on the forehead. "What's wrong?"

"I'm sore, I ache, and I'm tired of people like Draco. Would you like to run away with me?"

"Sure, not a problem," Blaize said, smiling at him. "I know just the place. All we need is an adult to rent it for us."

"That might be a problem, but maybe not. I might be able to get someone to forge a signature or three."

"Harry, you know it won't happen," Blaize said firmly, squashing any hope he might have. "They'd find you and force you back to those *people's* house. Unfortunately we have to live the life we have." He stroked his forehead. "I don't like it any more than you do."

"No, you get a real family that doesn't like you. I just get people who don't like me," Harry countered.

"I'd trade you any day, Harry; strangers couldn't use the littlest things against you because they wouldn't know them. My mother still uses the fact that I didn't pottytrain until I was nearly two against me." Harry gave him a sad smile. "I know, but it's another year off the calendar. You're one year closer to eighteen."

"I know, but I want to hurry up," Harry told him.

Blaize kissed him. "I know, Harry, and it'll happen soon enough. Enjoy what little free time we have here to be with your friends." Harry nodded, letting him up onto the bed. "What did you say to Draco?"

"He got snotty with me about what I did, so I gave it back to him," Harry admitted. "I didn't want to say some of those things, but they slipped out and he was so mean."

"I know, ducks. It's all right."

"Why do you call me that?"

Blaize laughed. "Because when you quack, everyone listens." Harry pinched him on the side. "Thank you." He settled in to hold Harry, something they did now and then because of their nightmares. He hated Harry's nightmares, he tended to thrash and yell if someone tried to wake him up. He felt Harry drift off and sighed in relief. Maybe it'd be a dream-free night.

*** One Month After The End Of Their Second Year ***

Draco opened the letter, not expecting the person it was from to be writing him. He frowned and handed it to his mother. "I want to do something."

She grimaced and handed it to his father. "We'll do what we can."

"His relatives spoil him, he's probably whining over nothing."

"Is that why he came back to the school with six new scars on his back last year?" Draco asked. Lucius glared at him. "Or why he suggested he run away?"

"We don't get involved in other family's business," Lucius said firmly.

"Bullshit! You tell half of my fellow yearmates' parents how to live their lives. You can come down in behalf of this one as well, or I will!" Draco demanded. Lucius tried to hit him but Draco stopped him. "Do not hit me, Father," he hissed. He saw the fear in those silver eyes and sneered at him. "If you won't stick up for one of your own house, then it means that we shouldn't be in there. Perhaps I should have been a Ravenclaw. At least *they* would have appreciated me."

"You are overstepping yourself," Lucius warned.

"At least I give a damn." His father sneered at him. "He was put into my charge, father, that means he's your problem as well. If he had to ask Weasley for food then there's something wrong. Especially if Weasley is sending what little they have to him," he reasoned at his coldest. "Why would they give up meager resources for someone who's not a member of their family if they didn't feel obligated to?"

"He saved their daughter, that's all that is," Lucius said with a wave of his hand. "It is no concern of ours."

"It is, because my Godfather made it my concern," Draco pointed out. "It is also my concern because he is a house mate and we should stick up for each other, shouldn't we? Isn't that the reasoning you gave to Crabbe's father when he wanted to leave your side? That he had to stick up for you after all you'd done together?"

Lucius laughed. "You have no idea what you're talking about, boy."

"Don't I?" Draco asked quietly, giving him a small sneer in reply. "Are you so sure of that?" Lucius stopped laughing and looked at him. "You would be surprised at what I've overheard at those boring events you drag me to. How many of your friends brag about this and that conquest and how much they screamed. How in the *old days* it was better, how they might even be returning. I know much more than you think, Father, and I've taken steps to make sure it goes to Ron's father if you so much as ever lay a hand on me again." Lucius looked shocked. "Yes, father, I'm *your* son. You taught me to be this way. Thankfully, someone's tried to teach me better now and again, though to most I'm not worth it." He stood up, bowing at his mother. "I believe I'm going to start taking my meals in my rooms. That way we don't have to fight and upset Mother. I'm sending Harry a care package today with some money, some food, and a portkey to get here if he needs to escape. Is that all right with you, Mother?"

"Dear, having him here might be difficult. Send one to him for, say, Diagon," she suggested lightly. He nodded at her wisdom. "Good boy, Draco." He left going up the stairs. "Lucius, if you harm him, you will lose him and his support. He is the only heir you have," she said gently. He glared at her and she saw his fingers twitch. "If you hit me, he'll know. You never taught him to value your judgement over that of everyone else's." She stood up and left, going to her rooms to work on something calming.

Lucius stomped off, going to beat one of the house elves to soothe himself. How dare his family stand up to him that way! He couldn't find a single elf anywhere so he took off out the back door, going to find a muggle or someone to torture, it would be just as good. They were about the same anyway to him.

From his window, Draco watched his father storm off. Someone tapped on his door. "Come in, Mother." He turned to look at her. "He's left."

"You're playing a dangerous game, Draco. You're siding with your father's enemy."

"My father's made me his enemy, Mother, not the other way around. Maybe if he had treated you decently, we wouldn't have argued in front of you." He gave her a smile. "May I send food to Harry?"

"Go ahead, but wait until tomorrow. Something's about to happen from the tingles I've been getting." Draco nodded. "Is he a good boy, this Harry?" Draco nodded again, sitting down on and holding out a hand so she's join him. "Does he do good like they say he does?"

"He went against clear and direct orders from the Headmaster and Snape to fight a few months back, all because Ron Weasley asked," he said quietly. "He is very good. He drew Gryffindor's sword out of the hat to kill the basilisk. He nearly lost us three hundred points by going off to fight it alone." She nodded, patting his hand. "And I don't know why he irritates me, mother. It's like I can't control my mouth around him."

She smiled and kissed his cheek. "Son, that's something you'll have to discover for yourself. Remember not to be jealous if you're not his first choice. You haven't supported him the way Blaize and his Ron have." Draco hung his head. "I see you understand."

"I don't think I like him that way."

She tipped his head up, making him look at her. "You do," she said with a smile. "Remember, he is a fragile young man. Much more delicate than you are. Treat him like you would Blaize. From what I've heard, they have a similar upbringing." Draco nodded. "Then why don't you help him?"

"Because he'd hate me for it. I played myself wrong at the start and he hates me."

"You're growing up, let him see that you're not that stupid boy you once were. Because, my son, you were horrible to be around. I have no doubt you nearly dug your own grave where Harry's concerned." She kissed his forehead. "Now clean yourself up and I'll take you shopping for whatever you're sending him tomorrow."

"Yes, mother." He went to clean his face and hands, then grabbed a robe to follow her out the door. He loved shopping with his mother, it always soothed him when he needed it.


Harry saw the strange owl and took the bundle it held, frowning at it. "Who sent you?" he whispered, not wanting to wake anyone down the hall. He untied the bundle, looking at the wrapped food. Then at the cash and the small note wrapped around it. "Draco," he breathed. He heard footsteps and hid it all, giving the owl a scratch before sending it away. He was lying on his bed staring at the ceiling by the time his door opened. "Yes, Uncle Vernon?" he asked.

"I thought I heard something," he sneered.

"No, sir, not at all."

"Good." He walked out and slammed the door, relocking it.

Harry waited until he heard his door shut and the man start to snore again before he unwrapped one of the sandwiches. He relaxed some, considering all his options. This was not going to be pretty and his aunt was coming next week. He shuddered in revulsion. He loathed her. He finished off that sandwich and had another one, finishing it quickly because Dudley had walked out of his room and was nearing Harry's door. He had probably smelled the food. The door opened and Harry looked at his cousin. "What did you want?"

"You're nothing but a freak," Dudley told him. "I saw the owl go by."

"It had a letter from a schoolmate, telling me where to find a few of my summer assignments," Harry told him. "Nothing more than that."

"That was too big a package for that. What did you get?" he asked.

"Nothing more than an assignment tutorial," Harry said again. The door opened and his Aunt walked in. "He thought I had something of his."

"Do you?" she demanded. Harry shook his head. Her eye caught the wrapper and she snatched it out from under his pillow. "Where did this come from?"

"My friend Ron cooked his first meal, that's the leftovers from it. He was so happy he wanted to share. It came yesterday," Harry lied.

"He's got money too," Dudley said, snatching the edge of the bill he could see. "A fifty!"

"Where did you get that?" she asked. "Are you stealing now?"

"No, ma'am. Count your money if you like. That's part of my scholarship fund for my new books." She looked down her nose at him, reminding him of Snape for some reason. He shrugged. "The letter came yesterday. I've got to buy all new books this year."

"What's going on?" Vernon said as he walked in. "Causing trouble?"

"He got an owl with a package and he has money," Dudley said, holding up the bill.

"Where did that come from, Potter? I don't keep bills like that in the house."

"He said it's from his scholarship," Petunia sniffed. "For his books."

"The letter came late yesterday. I've got to buy a whole new set since they've switched editions," Harry told him.

"Really? How much?" Vernon asked. "I'm sure you can make due."

Harry pulled out half the stack to show it to him. "That's for all my texts, an exact amount."

"I saw another one," Dudley crowed.

"That's for my ticket." He glared at his cousin but his uncle swatted him. "Ow!" He glared at him, and felt his magic start to leak. Not that he cared. Vernon handed back the money, minus a few bills. "Thank you. May I take the Tube next week or should I wait until the day before like last time?"

"You got that much last time?"

"No, last time there was a letter of credit. The school's switching over. Something about a Board of Regents," he said with a negligible shrug.

"Fine. You can go tomorrow, but I will be locking them up."

"Yes, sir."

"And I want a receipt as well," Vernon sneered. "To make sure you're not spending it on the wrong things."

"Yes, sir," Harry agreed, knowing he could convince the shopkeepers to write one for him, only for a higher amount. They tromped out and his door was locked again. "Stupid humans," Harry said quietly, glaring at the door. He heard the lock twist and smirked. "Good." He took the rest out and hid it in a different spot than usual. Inside his cloak. Since he knew what and where it was, they shouldn't be able to find it.


Draco flinched when he saw the morning paper a week later, handing it to his mother. His father hadn't returned after that fight and things were much calmer around the house. He had even gotten his homework done. "We need to stop his family, mother."

"We will wait and see when the best opportunity to act is," she instructed. "For now we will make sure he doesn't get into trouble." Draco nodded, liking that idea. "Eat, son. We have a bit of traveling to do today." Lucius slammed in like nothing had happened. He took the paper and stared at it, then burst out laughing. "It amuses you?"

"I was watching the boy," he admitted. "His aunt deserved it." He looked at his son. "Do you feel better now that your bit of charity has gone to waste?"

"It didn't," Draco told him. "It says he paid for a room at the Leaky with it." He ate another bite, staring at his father. His father hit him. "That was a mistake," Draco noted, standing up. "Remember, father, I am your *only* heir. The only one who can keep the family name going. And since I'm not very attracted to women, there's nothing in it for me right now to do so." Lucius' lips pressed tightly together. "Do not hit me again. There are untold consequences for your actions. Including the one that says I won't lie for you when someone asks how Ginny Weasley got that book." His mother gasped and he gave her a gentle smile. "The others can assume, but I was watching when he slipped it into her basket of books." He looked at his father again. "Do I make myself clear?"

"You are a child, you can't do anything without me."

Draco took off his shirt and pointed at the marks on his side. "This means I have just as much access to the family wealth as you do, Father. That means I can move it without your permission to a vault of my choice. One in which only I have the key. I even have a precedent with what you did to your father." He sneered at him. "Don't make me think harder about doing horrible things to make you uncomfortable. That was simply off the top of my head." He sat back down and blotted his lips with his napkin before picking up his juice and drinking it like nothing had happened. "What else did you see? Did you see the pampered little boy that you always expected to see? Or was I right? He's not pampered, he's seen about the same way I see you. A tragic necessity."

Lucius glared at him. "I saw enough to know that the boy won't last if the Dark Lord comes back," he sneered.

"He's met up with him twice so far and hasn't lost yet," Draco pointed out. "Leaving him there only makes him stronger."

"Enough!" Narcissa snapped. "I will not have you two fighting in front of me! It is disrespectful!"

"Yes, mother, you know I'd do anything for *you*," Draco assured her. "Shall I help you with your hair for today's tea?"

"Please," she agreed, calming back down. "Lucius, apologize."

"For what?" he laughed.

"For making your son start to think along the lines of revenge. It can't be taken back once it starts," she said coldly. He glared at her and she put forth her most icy mood. "If you continue to push him he will retaliate. He is your son after all." Lucius looked at his son, taking a new measure of him. "Draco, do you think the blue today?"

"I like the tan for today actually, Mother, it's supposed to be quite sunny and warm. The blue is thicker. With an updo for your hair?" She smiled and patted his hand. "Father, did you need help with your clothes today as well?"

"No, I can dress myself without help," Lucius told him, looking down at his son again. "Are you so weak that you need a doll, son?"

"No, but I enjoy it. It gives me great pleasure to see people looking their best. I'm working on getting Blaize into real clothes this next year, instead of his funny-looking uniform."

"I see. And why would you do that?"

"Because the house's reputation falls upon the strongest shoulder," Draco reminded him. "By the way, I drank all the chardonnay in the favor's cavern. Would you mind ordering me some more?"

"Dining a girl?"

"No, solitary drinking to get away from the stress of having to put up with Blaize," Draco told him. He finished off his juice and blotted his lips again, pushing back enough to cross his legs. "Thankfully I haven't needed to resort to the harder things you left in there.

Only some of the smoked meat and crackers and the wine so far."

"That was to go to win you favors and to woo a mate," his mother pointed out firmly, but gently.

"I don't need help getting favors or mates," Draco informed her with a smile. "I have plenty of both waiting for me as soon as I step onto the train."

"And the Potter boy?"

"He's a force in his own right. We trade minor favors back and forth. Homework help, practice help, things of that sort of nature. He won't come to me for the harder things because he distrusts the family." Lucius glared at him. "It's only the truth. With the whole diary incident last year what little ground I've captured with Potter was lost." He conveniently left out his own version of the mess he had created. His father's eyes narrowed and he shrugged. "We did have words on the subject of our friendship but nothing too major to get across with a paddle and a boat." Lucius shook his head. "He really hasn't trusted me since that first time he met me in Madam Malkin's. As I was spouting off some of your garbage, he decided I'm not worthy of him. Thankfully he happens to adore Blaize and Ron Weasley."

"He does?" his father asked, dropping his fork. Draco nodded. "Why?"

"Because Ron stuck by him even when he was missorted and Blaize has always tried to be his friend. They're very close now. They even comfort each other in the night when they have nightmares."

His mother sighed. "I'm sorry, son."

"It's not a problem, Mother. Blaize and I have something that won't be destroyed by that relationship and Harry is coming around again to see me as a decent enough sort to hang around with."

"Malfoys do not hang around," Lucius informed him. "Nor do we have friends," he said snidely. "Those are for the weaker sorts. All families bow to the Malfoys."

"Bowing gets to be boring, father. Why be bowed at when you can have interesting discussions about many topics with those around you? Fear isn't what I want, I want respect from my peers because I earned it." He looked at his mother. "What you used to have."

She laughed and patted his hand. "I'm sure you have it from everyone, Draco, it's just they're too afraid to show it."

"Yes, I'm seeing that as the problem as well," he agreed. He stood up. "I'm going to write Harry a note, see if I can't drop by one afternoon. He's been thinking about getting a new broom."

"Do you even know what respect is?" Lucius demanded.

Draco looked at him. "It's when people come to you because they value your opinion and you don't have to force it onto them," he told him. "It's people not being afraid to walk up to you and to ask you for the simple things in life, like 'may I borrow your pen because mine broke'." He walked off, going to write that letter. His owl flew out the window, making him smile at the grace it had.


Harry looked up as Draco joined him at the table. "Want lunch?"

"No, I ate at home. Our house elves cook very well." He smiled at the young boy across from him. "Any luck on the new broom?"

"I've been looking but they're really expensive. I've been thinking about leaving it off for another year if possible. The broom shop has next year's models out to show and I wanted to try a few of them if you wanted to help me look." He took another bite of stew.

"Slow down, the food will still be here and I'm not leaving for another few hours," Draco pointed out gently. "You'll only make yourself sick if you rush."

Harry shrugged and took another bite. "There's another store I want to visit and I think you can show me where it is. It closes earlier."

"Might this be a certain bookstore?" Draco asked, starting to smile. Harry nodded. "What were you wanting?"

"Something like what Blaize has."

"Then you're sticking with him?" Draco asked casually.

Harry stopped eating to look at him. "Why?"

"There are quite a few students who would fall over you for your affection, Harry. Almost all our girls would."

"I don't like our girls, they're icky," Harry told him, leaning closer. "There's a few guys that I get fluttery feelings for and only one girl, and she likes Ron, so I was going to go for the obvious choice until Blaize gets tired of me."

Draco felt his stomach twist. There were others in his affections. Possibly him? "Anyone in particular?" Harry blushed. "I see." He straightened up, forcing himself not to embarrass himself by dancing in joy. "Then I would gladly show you where that shop is if you'll let me be your confidant in such matters. It's only fair."

"I'd feel..." Harry searched for the right word, one that wouldn't insult him.

"Awkward since I'm one of them?" Draco asked gently. Harry looked stricken. "Am I wrong?" Harry slumped down and whimpered lightly. "I'm honored, Harry, and I feel the same, but," he decided what he wanted to say, making himself sound much more adult to the young man, "I don't want you to come to me until you're ready to see me as I am. Until you're ready to share confidences with me like you do with Blaize all those nights when you lay there whispering to each other." Harry blushed brighter so he touched his hand. "Some day, when you're ready, I'll be there. Or you could simply tell me I'm wrong and laugh at my foolishness," he said with a smile.

Harry shook his head. "You're not wrong, and thank you for understanding."

Draco shrugged. "Blaize and I have been friends now for years, Harry. I know what sort of attraction his personality has. It's much less difficult to date him than it would be to date me."

"You wanted to date?" Harry asked.

Draco nodded slightly. "If you wanted. I'm not ready to settle down yet though."

"Maybe some day, Draco. When we don't piss each other off for no reason," Harry sighed. Draco nodded, smiling at him. "You won't mind helping me?"

"I have no fonder desire. I'll look at it as training you for my future enjoyment." Harry snickered and shook his head. "What? You don't like that viewpoint?" he teased.

"No! That's the height of arrogance!" He kicked him under the table. "We might not even suit each other that way."

"I see you as taking it and enjoying it. Blaize likes it both ways, and I prefer to top most of the time." He gave him a naughty look. "Just you wait until we're old enough to go out on our own, Harry Potter. The world may tremble at our feet when we raise hell."

"The four of us?"

"If you feel the need to bring Weasley, we can do that," Draco agreed easily. "As long as he's not always there."

Harry nodded. "I wouldn't dream of letting my other friends get between myself and my boyfriends."

"Good." He pointed at the bowl of stew. "Eat. I want to try out a new broom myself."

"You don't play," Harry pointed out.

"I would if you weren't on the team," Draco said warmly.

"Oh. Sorry. I get hurt enough, you could be our backup seeker." Draco smiled at him for the suggestion. "I'll tell Flint."

"Go ahead and see if he says anything," Draco agreed. "I look forward to hearing what he thinks."

"He'll say it's brilliant since I'm suspended for the first game by Snape and Dumbledore," Harry told him with a shrug.


"They won't tell me."

"Those stupid men," he said in disgust. "You're the best we have!"

"Everyone's been really worried about me this summer, it's like they're watching me or something," Harry admitted. "It's odd but even Ron's family is in on it. They're staying over the last night so we can all go to the station together." He took another bite of stew and put down his spoon. "I'm full."

Draco looked at him. "You only ate half of it."

Harry frowned at him. "My stomach shrunk over the summer."

"So I can see," Draco said gently. Harry scowled more. "Don't give me that look, I was only noting the obvious, Harry."

"How did you find out?" Harry ground out.

"Ron was so worried he wrote me to see if I could get you sprung sooner. I was formulating a plan when you ran away." Harry shivered. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," Harry told him, patting him on the hand. "Come on, day's wasting." He waved at the waitress and put some money onto the table, following Draco back into Diagon proper.

Little did he know that Draco's mother was paying his Aunt and Uncle a visit to scare the hell out of them. Or that Ron's mother knew and had approved of the secret visit.


Draco had once again blown his chance on the train up by laughing at Harry's reaction to the dementors and pouted through most of his third and fourth years as Harry and Blaize became more intimate with each other. They cuddled up all the time and usually slept in the same bed now, even though they weren't doing anything but sleeping. It made Draco's temper boil and his stomach heave each time he saw his perfect Harry and his former best friend, Blaize. That's why it surprised him so much when he caught the bad signs from Harry in the beginning of their fifth year. The boy was already under stress, he wasn't sleeping, and Blaize didn't seem to understand this time. Blaize was distancing himself at a time when he should be clinging to Harry and he didn't understand it in the least. Unless Blaize had bowed to his mother's geologic-strength pressure and decided to dump him. She was a Death Eater and her son had taken up with her Lord and Master's worst enemy, of course she was pushing. But why wasn't Blaize catching the signs that he was? He started watching Harry closer, which he knew prompted Crabbe and Snape to do so. He noticed Ron was watching him hard as well and decided to arrange matters so they could have a little talk. He caught Ron from behind and dragged him off to an empty greenhouse on the way to Herbology one afternoon, shutting them in. Not even his bodyguards were there. "You know something's wrong with Harry and I need to know what," Draco said calmly.

"Why? So you can pick on him more?"

"I haven't picked on him yet, Weasley. Now give!" he demanded. Ron glared at him. "Who do you think watches out for him in *our* house? Blaize is off with someone else right now, and it's just you, me, and that loony Ravenclaw!"

"Fine." Ron glanced back at the door, then back at Draco, not realizing he had shifted closer. "Harry's heard what they're saying and he's about ready to snap and break down in tears," he admitted. "Some of your older kids have been picking on him in the halls, where they know you and I can't hear him." Someone tapped on the door. "Pretend," he hissed, stepping closer.

Madam Sprout walked in to see them necking and blushed a bright red. "Boys!" she said sharply. "Wait until after school for that." She walked away.

Draco nodded, pulling back. "Thank you for that. I'll do my best to help him. Meet me later?"

"You wanted another snog?" Ron teased.

"No, and please brush your teeth the next time before you do that to anyone. I need to know what you know. Harry bought a knife this year for his school supplies and I'm rather worried he's going to use it on someone."

"More like himself," Ron said thoughtfully. "I'll see you tonight, after curfew. We can pretend to run into each other on patrol and argue or something." He walked out, going to class.

Draco touched his lips and smiled. "That was unexpected," he told himself, following after him. Pansy and Goyle gave him a knowing look so he glared at them. "What?" he demanded. "You wanted to slake my appetite today?" They both shook their heads. They had heard *rumors*.


Draco walked up behind Harry, stopping the shouting match he and Blaize were having outside the Slytherin door. "What is going on?" he asked.

Harry gave Blaize a bitter look. "My ex so thoughtfully told me just now that we broke up months ago and that he's been cheating on me." He slammed through the door, not noticing it didn't stick.

"You stupid bastard," Draco breathed. "How could you do that to him?"

"Draco, get off your high horse. You've started to sleep around yourself."

"Yes, but I wasn't dating anyone," Draco pointed out coldly. "I didn't make a promise to someone and then break it in the most vile means possible. You, however, did. Stay away from him."

"Why? He's not going to go for you," Blaize taunted.

Draco swung and knocked Blaize onto his rear. "If I had wanted him, I could have made my move ages ago. As of this moment, Harry doesn't need to be dating, he needs someone who gives enough of a damn to be there for him!" he shouted.

"What is going on here?" Snape demanded as he walked toward them. "I could hear the fight in my office." He looked at both boys. "Get up, Mr. Zabini and explain why you're in your second argument tonight," he ordered.

Blaize stood up. "My love life is no business of yours either," he said haughtily, stomping into the house. He found all his things neatly piled on the unused bed in the dormitory and sighed. "Harry, I'm sorry."

"Go away," Harry called from within his bed.

"No!" He walked over and opened the curtains, taking the candle away from the boy and blowing it out. He climbed in. "I'm sorry," he said, more quietly this time. "I didn't want to hurt you." Harry barked a bitter and cold sounding laugh. "Fine, don't believe me, but I didn't want to hurt you. It's just that you're extremely dangerous right now for me."

"Blaize, I'd be killed if my uncle found out I was interested in boys. If you can't handle a little bit of heat, there's plenty others out there who believe me."

"Fine," Blaize sighed. "But I still want to be your friend, Harry." Harry shook his head. "You need one."

"I have Ron," Harry said firmly. "I can even talk to Crabbe if I have more nightmares. Go away."

"Fine." Blaize climbed out of the bed and ran into a stunned Draco. "Of course he wouldn't go to you with his nightmares, you'd make fun of him," Blaize snapped, making him shake out of it. He looked in Draco's eyes and saw his protection of Harry, nodding at it. "Good." He walked over to his bed and stuffed his drawers, then grabbed his books and shut himself in for the night.

Draco tapped on Harry's curtain. "Harry?"

"Go away, Draco! I don't like people."

"I know, but you've told me often enough I'm not a real person so I shouldn't count," he said lightly, repeating Harry's taunt at him. Harry glared as he slipped inside and closed the curtain behind him. "Let me help," he ordered gently.

"You can't make them stop."

"No, but I can shield you." He leaned forward and kissed him gently on the forehead. "Blaize has always had bad timing, Harry. Right now, you need someone you can cling to. You need either me or Ron right there with you the whole time."

Harry shook his head. "I don't need watched."

Draco touched the recent burn on Harry's palm. "Don't lie to yourself." He made Harry look at him. "Have you talked to the Headmaster?"

"I don't want to. He's distracted and it won't do any good."

"It will. I promise it will do some good. Even if I have to go up there myself and tell on you." He shifted closer, pulling Harry into his lap. He was so much smaller. "Didn't you eat this summer?"

"I ate all the time, but the worry wore it out," Harry told him.

"Then let me worry. Remember, no matter what, a lot of people are counting on you. Even the idiot smearing you is counting on you." It was a slight lie, Fudge wanted the glory for himself. Harry nodded, resting against his chest. Someone started to move the curtain. "Go away!" he ordered.

"Fat chance," Ron snorted, sliding in and closing the curtain again. "Harry, Snape told me to come up and check on you. Said something about how I should kick Blaize's ass." Harry shrugged and leaned over to give him a hug. "You all right?"


Ron noticed Draco's subtle head shake and raised an eyebrow. Draco nodded at Harry's hand.

"I can tell you're doing that silent talking thing, Draco."

"I simply feel he should know too," Draco explained, letting Harry move off him. "They were yelling at each other in front of the door."

"So we all heard. You could hear it all the way to the library." Ron looked at Harry's hand, gently touching the burn. "He's not worth it and neither is Fudge."

"I know," Harry sighed, shaking his head. "It's just getting to be too much."

"Then we'll use your cloak and sneak out this weekend," Ron said firmly. Harry brightened up a little. "That okay with you?" he asked Draco, who nodded briefly. "Anywhere you want, Harry. Where do you want to go?"

"Somewhere that people don't know me," Harry sighed, leaning against his best friend. Ron always had a great answer to problems. Unless they were about girls, Ron didn't understand them at all either.

"We can do that as well," Draco assured him confidently. "That's what disguise spells are for." Harry smiled at him. "Now then, why did Snape let you in?"

"He thought Harry might be close to the breaking point and I'd keep him from killing someone."

"I'm not like that," Harry complained.

"There are people who think you are," Ron gently pointed out. Harry looked shocked. "It's that whole destiny thing. But don't worry, those of us who know you know it's not true," he finished quickly when the hurt look didn't ease.

"It's the way they're trying to force him to go," Draco said thoughtfully. He shook himself. "Ron, did you want to stay tonight?"

"I'd never hear the end of it," Ron pointed out. He gave Harry a perfunctory hug and got out of the bed, letting one of the big goons escort him back to the door. He hurried back to his tower to talk to Hermione, maybe she could help them watch Harry.

Draco looked at Harry. "Tomorrow night?" Harry nodded. "Deal." He slid out of the bed, closing Harry back in. He suddenly cackled and his bodyguards looked at him like he was losing it. "I can start a reign of raising hell legitimately," he announced. He heard Harry laugh and grinned at them. "Don't worry, we're perfectly sane." He went to his own bed and shielded himself.

*** The Sixth Year, Right Around Halloween ***

Harry looked at his renewed boyfriend. Blaize had come back crawling, literally, and begging for Harry to take him back. Harry had held out for all of half an hour before giving in, Blaize looked so pitiful. He saw Draco's disgusted head shake but it hadn't affected their somewhat friendship. He and Blaize had made quite a name for themselves. They were known to be very playful with each other and even known to have been caught numerous times snogging in the halls. The whole of Slytherin groaned whenever Harry gave out a particular chuckle because they knew some pouncing was going to be going on. Especially when it happened in class. Harry had lost them a great number of points in Transfiguration because of his pouncing nature.

By the end of their second month back at school, everyone knew that Harry was again happy and sane. Everyone knew that Blaize was getting bored. Everyone knew that Harry was going to have to do something wild to keep his man in check. Even the more clueless about human relations, the most nerdy of the nerds in Ravenclaw, knew that Harry was about to do something really odd to help his man stay his. The only one who didn't realize this was Harry himself, because he was happy.

That's why it came as no surprise when Blaize leaned over during dinner and said the two little disastrous words, "I'm bored," that sent a shiver up and down the table. Even though no one but Vincent Crabbe had heard them.

Harry looked at him. "Bored how?" he whispered.

Blaize put his head on Harry's shoulder. "Do you ever fantasize about things, Harry?" he whispered back. Harry shrugged. "Odd things, things that make your whole body tingle."

"Yeah, but we do most of those at least once a week," Harry offered.

Blaize laughed. "I know we do, ducks, but there's something I've always wanted to try and I haven't been able to." Harry gave him a 'go ahead and tell me' nod. Blaize leaned closer so no one could overhear. "I want more than one at a time, just the once," he pleaded.

Harry's face went through many emotions. Shock, surprise, a bit of disgust, then interest finally won out because he forced it to the top. "How and who have you thought about?"

Blaize grinned and nodded at Harry's hand, the initials tattooed there as a reminder of their sneaking out last Yule. "Them. Mostly." He gave his best pitiful 'humor me' grin. "Please, Harry? Just the once?"

Harry looked into Blaize's eyes. "You want him, don't you," he said evenly. Blaize shrugged. "I'm not a surrogate."

"I just want a taste of the forbidden, just that once, Harry. Please?" he begged.

"We'll see." Harry stuffed his mouth as he thought. How would he even approach them? He caught Draco's eye across the table and blinked a few times, letting his confusion show. Draco nodded that they'd talk later. Harry sighed in relief. He looked over at Ron, who was laughing and carrying on with Neville and Dean. Then back at Draco. Draco's eyes bulged and Harry blinked a few more times, glancing at his lover. Draco held his fork tighter and Harry shook his head, nodding at him too. Draco rolled his eyes.

"Later, Harry," Draco assured him. He looked at Blaize, who was looking confused. He had learned to read Harry from many nights playing together, the same way Ron had. Blaize was at a serious disadvantage. He didn't read people well. He licked his lips and saw Blaize react, and he understood what this was about. A changeover done quickly and painlessly. Blaize wanted both of them and he couldn't have them. He finished his dinner and walked Harry out, taking him into a room they often used for quiet talks. They were both Prefects this year and had the run of the school. "What did he want?"

"You, me, Ron, and a special time all at once." Draco's eyes widened and Harry crossed his arms. "I'm not sure I shouldn't be upset. He wants you, Draco, not me. It's like I'm his security blanket."

"You are," Draco agreed. "He does like you but you're never going to be adventurous enough for him." He patted Harry on the shoulder. "Can you still get us into the Chamber of Secrets?" Harry nodded, starting to frown. "Is there a safe and easy way in that's not going to show up with slime trails?"

"Yeah, I found a back way," Harry told him.

"Good. Is the carcass gone?"

"I showed it to Snape last year and he snatched it like it was gold. The water's running clear again because it's a small river. It's cold as hell, and you have to put up with the statue, but it's clean and dry. Why?"

"What better place to do something that you don't want the whole school to hear about, Potter?" Draco asked blandly. Harry blanched. "Do you think you could?"

"Watch him do that?"

Draco stepped forward, eyes shining in the dim light. "That wasn't totally his idea, Harry," he breathed. Harry shook his head and stepped back. "Are you sure?"

"Yeah, I'm very sure," Harry agreed, shivering. He crossed his arms over his chest to try and find some warmth. He was really cold suddenly. "I'm not the sort to do that sort of thing," Harry assured him.

"Can you handle Blaize doing it?" Harry looked so miserable. "I know, Harry, it's him cheating but with permission. He's hoping it'll make you feel better."

"But I don't and I don't want to lose him again!" Harry said angrily, throwing his arms out to the side. He hit Draco on the chest. "Sorry."

"It's all right," Draco promised, giving him a smile. "Go find Ron and ask him. I'll do it if he will, and I'll bring the other two." He saw the look that could only mean that Harry's mouth was now dry. "Don't worry, he'll like it and he'll agree. I'll talk to the boy myself and make sure he understands what this is doing to you."

"I can't stop him from wanting it," Harry argued.

"No, but if he's with you then he should be with you," Draco reminded him. "Not off sucking half the school."

"He has?"

"Not yet," Draco said, giving him a grim little smile. "Go find Ron and talk to him. We'll do this the night of the Halloween party, after it." Harry nodded and walked out, going to find his touchstone to sanity. "Why me?" he asked the painting on the wall. "The boy's going to die when Blaize leaves him this time." He walked away, shaking his head. He knew the paintings gossiped but that was had been flowers. The little old lady that usually sat in it had left as soon as they had walked in. He tapped both his bodyguards on the way through their common room, leading them up to the Prefect's room he, Harry, and Blaize shared. "Crabbe, Goyle, Zabini has just asked Potter for the dreaded multi-partner experience." They looked interested. "That's what I thought you'd say. Pick a good costume that will cover you fully for Halloween. Mask and all." They nodded. "Nothing that would spook his boyfriend though." They nodded and went to discuss it. Draco laid down on his bed with a sigh of relief. At least he wouldn't be alone in this.


Harry found Ron in the library and smiled at Hermione. "Can I grab him for a few?"

"Go ahead," she agreed. "He's being a prat anyway." Ron glared at her. "You are."

Harry dragged Ron out into the halls and as far away from the library as possible. "Blaize just asked me to have you and Draco do him," he said matter-of-factly. Ron spluttered. "That was my feeling," Harry admitted with a smile of relief.

"That's just odd, even for him," Ron complained. "I'm with her!"

"I know, and I'll tell him that, but I thought I should warn you at the very least."

"No, that's a good thing," Hermione said as she walked up behind them. She smiled at Ron. "You've been wondering, I know you have. Go for it."

"Hermione, this isn't just a fling," Harry told her.

She looked at him. "I've read those books too, Harry. I know what's going to happen." Ron blushed. "It's up to you. If you want, I'll accept it and won't bring it up ever again. It's natural to be curious." Ron's blush picked up. "I won't have you coming home and expecting the same from me, but I can see you trying it out *once*."

"You're more understanding than I am, Hermione," Harry admitted.

"That's because I don't think Ron will like it all that much." Ron gave one of his scared looks to her and she smiled, kissing him gently. "Go, have fun, try it out. Come back to me and tell me why you don't want to do it again." She walked off, leaving them to discuss it.

"Where?" Ron ground out.

"The Chamber." Ron gave him the disgusted look. "Draco decided, that way no one could walk in on it."

"Good point."

"I've cleaned it up. You can come see if you want," Harry offered. "I was told I had to blindfold anyone I led in through the back way, but I'll gladly show you around."

"Maybe," Ron sighed. He scratched the back of his head. "I don't know, Harry."

"It's not until the party, Ron. Let me know the day before? That'll give you some time to think."

"Sure." He watched as Harry walked away looking really upset. "Harry." Harry looked at him. "I'd do it for you if it was you," he offered.

Harry grinned. "I know, Ron. I think it's really unfair of him to ask for you two. Anyone else but my best friends." He went back to his house and flopped onto his bed, closing the curtains around him.

Draco looked over at that bed. "You all right?"


"Do you want to talk?"

"Hell no."

"Fine. I'm over here if you want to." Goyle stuck his head in. "What?"

"Zabini just got back and he's giggling," he informed his boss. "Should I send him up?" Draco nodded. "Yes, sir." He left and Blaize strolled in like he owned the room, or like the room owned him.

Draco crooked a finger and Blaize sat on the end of his bed. "Why me?" Blaize blushed and mumbled something that he barely heard. "Fine. Why now?"

Blaize looked at him then leaned closer. "Because I saw what was in Harry's trunk," he whispered. He stood up and walked over to Harry's bed. "Can I come in?"

"Not tonight, I'm thinking."

"Fine. I'll be in my own bed." He strolled out, going back to his own room.

"Harry, were you planning on anything...special that might have spooked him?" Draco asked. Harry's hand came out and something was tossed at him. A ring. A very nice ring with emeralds and a large center diamond. Suitable to be an engagement piece. "Shit!" he sighed.

"Yup," Harry agreed from behind his bed curtains. "Put it in my trunk please? I don't want to look at it again tonight."

"Fine." Draco put it in the little box he found on top of Harry's broom. It was a beautiful ring. If it had been him, he would have accepted it and marked the boy right then. He went back to his bed to try and figure out how this could possibly get worse.


Ron nodded at Harry the next day in the only class they shared and Harry gave him a weak smile. It was Potions so he couldn't move closer to talk to him. He saw Snape's interested sneer and shifted over anyway.

"Ten points off for copying Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley, do your own work," Snape said, looking very satisfied.

"I was going to ask him why he looked like crap, sir. We're working on different things." Snape scowled and he ducked his head. "Sorry, sir." He looked at Harry. "Are you okay?" he asked quietly. Fingers pinched the back of his neck. "Let go!" he said, batting at them.

"And another twenty for striking a teacher," Snape said smugly, dragging Ron out of the room. He noticed Potter following. "Did I give you permission to get up?"

"Go away," Harry begged. He kicked the door shut, making it slam. "Ron's worried. I was going to present my boyfriend with a ring last night and he decided he wanted to fuck other people. Best friends are like that, so please give the points back," he pleaded coldly. Snape gave him a look. "Want to see it? I've still got it upstairs. Draco's seen it."

"No, that's not necessary. Fine, fifteen points back for being so thoughtful to one's friends," he ground out, going back into the classroom.

"You were?" Ron asked. Harry nodded. "Oh, man." He hugged Harry gently. "Are you sure you want to let him do this to you?"

"He wants to try it out before he switches over," Harry said bitterly. "At least it'll thrill him to no end." He kicked the wall, making him wince when he felt a toe pop. "Ow." Ron grinned at him. "It'll be fine. I've dislocated it before." He forced himself to bend the toe and it did pop back in, but he grunted in pain.

"What are you doing now?" Snape demanded.

"He popped his toe out of joint on the wall," Ron told him.

"Then take him to the infirmary."

"The second grunt was it going back in," Harry said, pushing past him to go back to his seat. Ron joined him and he looked at him and shrugged. "Sorry."

"Not a problem," Ron said happily. "It's less than usual."

Harry laughed and shook his head, making Draco look at him. He shrugged and Draco nodded. "Tonight, we'll let you see it first," he said quietly.

"Thanks, Harry." Ron gave him a nudge on the arm, making Harry smile. "Butterbeers this weekend?"

"Yeah, I could use a few," Harry agreed, getting back to work.

"There's no outing this weekend," Snape hissed in Harry's ear. He got a shrug and a pleasant, mindless grin from the boy. "Do not sneak out, Mr. Potter. You could be in danger."

"I'll be fine," Harry sighed. "Really. I can handle myself."

"Like you did last year?" Snape asked. "When you lost your last relative."

Harry stood up and shoved him back into Draco's table, making it tip over and spill everything. "Do not mention him in front of me," he growled, stomping out.

Ron was carefully measuring. "No snide comment?" Draco asked, nearly laughing.

Ron shook his head. "Not a single one," he admitted. He added the powder to the potion, watching as it fizzed up. "Did I put in too much, sir?"

"No. Out! Leave! Now!"

"Yes, sir," Ron said, freezing his potion and gathering his things so he could chase after Harry. He heard the rest of the class leaving as well and knew where Harry was going. He was honorable enough to go up and tell on himself. So he waited at the bottom of the stairs for his best friend.


Harry led Ron in through the back entrance, the one that came around the statue of the head. He removed the blindfold. "I'm not allowed to show anybody the corridor we just passed through," he said with a 'sorry' shrug.

"That's fine," Ron said, looking around. He tested the water and shivered. "Ice cold. Where does it come from?"

"As far as I found in the research, it's a fully underground stream," Harry told him. He had purposefully stayed on this bank so he wouldn't have to see the dried blood on the other side, his dried blood. He watched as Ron looked around. "Think this is creepy enough for a halloween thing?"

Ron nodded. "It fits my description. Where does the light come from?" he asked, looking up. "There's a skylight?"

"It's under one of the greenhouses, masquerading as a floor vent," Harry told him. "Then there's some sort of lighting spell during the night." He walked over to Ron's side. "That's our wonderful founder I guess," he said, pointing at the statue of a head. "Doesn't look much like his paintings, but I guess it's different in statuary." He and Ron shared a grin. "Did you want to see anything else?"

"What's in the corridor?"

"Something that'll drive you insane if you haven't killed someone," Harry admitted. "Or so Dumbledore said." He shrugged again. "There's even a dressing room down here. Come see." He led Ron off to the left side, showing him the dressing and waiting area he had found. "I guess Slytherin used to hold camp meetings down here, or had cheerleaders or something like it. I got rid of the ratty old robes I found hanging around. A few turned to dust under my fingers." Ron looked impressed. "Here, look at this," Harry said, opening another door into a small bedroom. "It's the room Snape should have but doesn't. I caught him in here once and had to show him around." He closed and locked the door securely, just in case. "I don't know where the entrance to that room is or what the password is."

"Cool," Ron breathed, going back to look around. He grinned at Harry. "I hope your former boyfriend likes his night."

"Are you going to try?"

"Yeah, I guess. Just to see if I like it. I guess it's not much different."

Harry winced. "A bit. It's tighter for one. It squeezes better. You have to do a bit of preparation before going in. That and dicks taste different."

"Wonderful," Ron said, grinning at him. "Who'd you go with the last time you and Blaize had a spat?"

"No one. Not that anyone believed me, but I wasn't with anyone. Malfoy proved his mouth was ruled by a lower function and I couldn't touch him at all. I tried one of the nicer girls and it just didn't appeal to me in the least." He stepped closer. "I was hoping you'd take me in, but then you and Hermione got together."

Ron sighed and nodded. "She blind-sided me. Otherwise I might have made you beg me for it." He winked and kissed Harry on the cheek. "What are you going to do?"

"One last goodbye and then I'm going to wait in the cloak room. I can't get my mind past the cheating part, even if he wanted to come back this time. I nearly drove myself insane the last time, I can't this time."

"That's fine. We've always known you had more moral fiber than most of your housemates put together." He winked. "C'mon. Let's get me blindfolded and back into the main part of the school. Before someone decides we're missing. I had practice earlier and someone's bound to come looking for me to ream me a new one for missing so many shots."

Harry shook his head and put the blindfold back on him. He led him back into the safer part of the school and removed it, leading him the rest of the way so he'd know where Harry liked to hide. Then they parted ways and he went back to his room. He found Crabbe on his bed, looking at the ring, so he snatched it from his hand. "No."

"Sorry, Harry, I just wanted to look. Draco said it was really pretty. I'm thinking about buying one of my own some day you know." He grinned, making Harry relax. "Are you okay?"

"No," Harry said honestly, tossing the ring back into his trunk. "I feel like shit and like there's an elephant inside my stomach dancing around." He sat on his bed but didn't pull the curtains. "Aren't I a nice guy, Vincent?" Vincent nodded, he liked Harry a lot because Harry had always treated him well, even when he and Draco were fighting. "I'm good to Blaize, right? I've never denied him anything, never done anything to hurt or scare him, nothing like that?"

"Not a thing," Vincent agreed, patting him on the foot. Harry looked at him. "For some people, the nice guys don't do it for them. They need the bad boys. Draco seems to thrive on those sort. That's why he's always getting laid."

"He is indiscriminate," Harry agreed.

Vincent laughed. "Tell it like it is, Harry, the boy can be a slut when he wants to be." The door up to their room slammed. "I think he heard me," he said with a smile.

"Must have been with Pansy, it always puts him in a bad mood," Harry agreed, looking at the door as it opened. "Professor Snape, is there a problem?" Harry asked, shocked by the visit. Usually he left them alone. More precisely he left Harry alone.

"Did you go down there again?"

"I tend to spend a lot of thinking time down there," Harry reminded him. "But yes I was. Why?"

"Because Ginny Weasley just started having fits in the library."

"As far as I know, she shouldn't," Harry offered. "She never has before when I've been down there. Did she mention Ron?"

"You took him down there?"

"His sister was nearly killed, Vincent, I wanted him to be able to see it before...." He trailed off. "Did she?"

"No," Snape admitted. "Just started to throw a tantrum for no reason." He stepped in. "You really were going to ask him to marry you?"

Harry nodded. "Yup, and then he asked for something that he knew would make me cringe." He used his wand to summon the ring, showing it to him. "See?"

"It is very nice," Snape agreed, taking it to look at. He handed it back. "It is hard to be with someone who fights and who is expected to fight, Potter. Remember that."

"Yay," Harry said dryly, tossing it back into the trunk. "He's been with me this long and he hasn't minded it so far." Snape gave him a look. "What's going on this year? Another attack here or an attack somewhere else?"

"I believe it will be somewhere else this year. We're hoping so anyway," Snape admitted. "You will not be involved."

"If I can get him sooner, then I can have a normal life," Harry said simply. Snape frowned. "Yes, me. Normal. Even if I have to have plastic surgery on this stupid scar to get it to go away. I want to be unknown, normal, and just have a life. Is that too much to ask?"

Snape shook his head. "No," he agreed gently, "it's not. It may not be in your future though. You may have to give up yourself to kill him."

"Then at least I won't have to look at another picture of myself in the paper," Harry said coldly. Snape nodded and left the boys alone. "I want a drink," he said suddenly. "Something hard and nasty that'll put me to sleep tonight so I don't have to see anything."

Vincent looked at him for a moment then broke into Draco's private liquor stash, pouring him a large glass of scotch. "Here," he said, handing it over and relocking the treasure trove. "Don't tell anyone where you got it."

"I won't," Harry promised, gulping the strong liquid. He grimaced but finished it all. Within a few moments, his head was spinning. He saw the drapes being closed and grinned at whomever was doing it. He couldn't see straight enough to tell.

Draco turned and looked at his bodyguard. "What did you give him?"

"Some of the scotch," he said, handing over the glass. Draco looked at the line the liquor had left, then at him. "He wanted to not feel for a bit, Draco. I thought it'd be kinder to knock him out."

"As long as he doesn't die from it," Draco agreed as he put the glass away. "The rotgut or the older stuff?"

"The really old stuff. He gulped it like there was no tomorrow."

"He only wishes there wasn't a tomorrow," Draco sighed, settling himself on his bed. "What did Snape want?"

"To see the ring, to tell Harry he's not fighting this year if there's an official attack. To warn him he might have to commit suicide to stop the Dark Lord." Draco raised an eyebrow so Crabbe shrugged. "I don't know, Draco. That's what he said. I'm starting to think they want him to die after the battle."

"It'd be easier to brush some things under the carpet," Draco agreed, glancing at Harry's bed. The boy was giggling at something he had just said. "Sleep, Harry," he called.

"Yes, Dracie-poo," Harry called back, then he giggled more. "The bad man says hi."

"What?" Draco asked, getting up and pulling Harry's curtains open. He looked at Harry, seeing the red eyes. "Crabbe, Snape, now." Vincent ran from the room and Draco raised his wand. "You'll thank me later," he told him, casting a stunning spell. It knocked Harry out, making him gasp in pain. Snape came running up. "Vincent let him have a large drink. He was talking to Voldemort," he summed up. "His eyes were red." Vincent nodded his agreement for that statement.

"What did he say?"

"He was giggling about names and things," Vincent told him, looking worried. "I gave him some really old scotch, sir."

"Fine. I'm sure it weakened his shields. One of you get the Headmaster." He looked at Vincent, who nodded and left. "Scotch?" he asked Draco.

"Father's stores," Draco said simply. Snape understood, he had went to school with Lucius. "Vincent gave him a good tumbler's full. Like a fist and a half. He said Harry gulped it right down." The Headmaster walked in. "His eyes were red and he was laughing with Voldemort."

The Headmaster looked at him. "What made him drink?"

"Zabini's stupidity," Crabbe said candidly. "Shouldn't we be getting him somewhere? Like the infirmary?"

"Yes, we should. Get him up there, Severus. Draco, alcohol is not permitted in this school."

"My father sent it to me, sir," Vincent volunteered. "Harry needed a drink to make him forget, he asked for one."

"It's part of my father's stores," Draco admitted, patting Crabbe on the back for his attempt.

"I see. I'll be discussing this with your father later, when I can get to the prison," Dumbledore told him, following Snape out and up to the infirmary. "Poppy, he about drank himself to death," he told her.

"It's not his first time drunk," Snape told her. "Old scotch, about a milk glass full." She nodded, using her wand to make him expel the liquid. He quickly got out of the way. "What are we going to do, Albus? The boy isn't weak enough to take the suggestions."

"Then we'll have to be more pushy with him," Dumbledore said quietly. "He'll have to kill him."

"I think it's the 'he's supposed to die afterwards' part that's getting to him," Ron said from behind them. He was glaring at the Headmaster. "Why don't you let him decide that part, sir? He's already fighting when you don't want him to. It's not like he's going to back down from the challenge of the last battle." He walked over to take Harry's hand. "It's me," he said gently in Harry's ear. "Come on, I know you've had more than that before," he teased. "Someone went to beat up Blaize for being a pompous asshole." Harry cracked his eyes and looked at him, making Ron smile. "Hi, Harry." Harry mumbled something. "I did," he sighed. "Hopefully Goyle will stop them. Are you okay?" Harry whispered something else. "Why would *he* want Draco?" Harry lifted himself up and looked in Ron's eyes, whispering three words. Those three words made Ron blanche. He understood. "Dirt!" He looked at Snape. "You might want to keep Draco here, no matter what, sir. The Dark Lord seems to want an heir. He wants Draco to be the father of the heir. His bloodline and brains are looking good to him." Snape slowly went white and the nurse sat him down.

"I'll make sure he's protected," Dumbledore assured them, going back to his office. He called Molly and told her what had happened. She was in charge of the boy's welfare when he was at school.


Ron walked up to the Slytherin door and tapped gently. A first year opened it and sneered at him. "Prefect business. Where's Malfoy?" he demanded.

"I'll get him, you keep your cooties out there," the boy said, slamming the door in his face.

Draco came out a few minutes later. "Prefect business?" he asked, smiling slightly.

"Has Dumbledore talked to you yet?" Draco shook his head. "Good. Wonderful in fact. Harry was right. It seems," he said, drawing Draco down the hall. "Voldemort wants you to give him an heir, Draco. You're his prize this time." Draco grabbed the wall and slid down it. "That's what he was seeing. Voldemort was making plans and picking out the woman he would breed you to, and then he would raise it as his own, after you had died. Your line seems to have been going on too long for his tastes."

Draco looked up at him. "Harry's fine?"

"Right as rain, if rain had a hangover," Ron said with a grin. "He told Dumbledore and Snape. The Headmaster said he was going to talk to you."

"He is setting him up," Draco breathed, putting all the pieces together. Ron nodded. "You've suspected?"

"My mother did, she's been harping on me to protect the boy." He pulled Draco to his feet. "What do you want to do about this?"

"I need something that will convince the other purebloods not to go to him," Draco decided. "Does Harry know anything?"

Ron grinned. "We found it a few years back, during our first year. Voldemort was a halfling. His mother was a witch, his father was a muggle. His father tossed him into an orphanage to get rid of him and his taint." He tipped his head the other way and smiled coldly. "Is that enough?"

"More than," Draco agreed, his face hardening. "Where's Harry now?"

"The infirmary. Madam Pomfrey's watching over him and you know how she is about the boy." Draco nodded, going back to his house. "You're welcome." Draco waved a hand and Ron grinned. "Never changing, you ugly ferret." He went up to check on Harry again, making sure he was still all right.

Draco called his house to order, which bugged the top Prefect to no end. He glared at him. "This is important," he told the whining bastard. "As many of you know, a lot of our parents serve the Dark Lord." They nodded and there was some grumbling. "Well, word has just come to me about some of Potter's older research." A few people looked interested. "He's not a pure blood."

"He was in here!" the top Prefect shouted. "He has to be!"

"No, he doesn't. Potter's not and he's in here," Pansy pointed out, glaring at him. He wouldn't sleep with her and she hated him for it. "What is he?"

"His mother was a witch of unknown origins. His father was a muggle. His father hated him so much he tossed him away, letting the authorities have him."

"That's why he hates muggles," Millicent said, getting the point. "But what do you want us to do, Draco?"

"Not follow him. He's not worth our sweat, much less worrying over how he's going to screw you over. In case you didn't know, he and Potter connected minds tonight while Potter was drunk." A few of the kids shuddered and one got ill in the ash bucket. "Exactly. He's decided to toss over the Malfoy family now. I'm asking you to not follow him. If you don't, he will die off. He tortures his own people for shits and giggles."

"How do you know?" one of the third year girls asked. "Been to a revel? My mother said he's very sweet to her."

Draco looked at her. "Your mother's also been taking drugs since he came back. My father used to make them, Perfecta." She started to glare. "Ask her if you don't believe me. Get her first thing in the morning, before she's eaten or anything, and ask her. Watch her start to cry for some of the things she's done. She and my father used to roam around all the time killing children." The girl turned green. "This beast is attacking the pure blooded families now. He attacked Ginny Weasley in her first year." That got some grumbling. "The soul that took her over was his. He had it stored, just in case, so he could come back as a seventeen year old again. She's as pure as my family is, only weaker. If she was targeted, what makes you think you won't be."

"Pretty words, but you're avoiding your fate," one of the seventh year girls snorted. "If you don't want to take it, don't. No one's going to force you."

"Some of us don't have that option," a fourth year boy put in. "We've been promised."

"So was I. Do you see the mark on me?" Draco asked him. He shook his head. "Do you think you will?"

"Your father's as good as dead, Draco. You can get free of it. For some of us, it's a bit harder with living parents in debt to him."

"The final war is coming, people, and it's not going to be pretty," Draco told them. "It won't be too long now. Potter knew that, there are people pushing him to die instead of Voldemort. Including some of the higher ups in the Ministry." A few people looked skeptical. "Think! Why would they decry Potter when he told what happened?"

"Because Fudge wanted it for himself," Crabbe agreed. "My dad used to say he always wanted to be in control of the world. Look where that's gotten us." He stood up. "For those of you who feel you have to, go. For the rest of you, there are ways around it."

"The price is too high for some people," the top Prefect noted. "You as well?"

"My father joined because he was bound to Lucius and Lucius forced him to. Draco won't force me and my father can't. The only marks I want on my arms are nail marks from a girlfriend." That got a few tired laughs.

"Pick, people, it's only going to get worse. There have been three attacks in the last four days." Most of the students went pale. "Most of them on wizarding families with unpure blood."

"Being too pure weakens the strain," Ron agreed from the door. "Harry escaped from the infirmary, Draco. He was shouting something about an attack in town." A few of the younger kids started to cry. "Was his wand with him?"

"I think so," Vincent said, starting to frown. "Aren't you going?"

"Right now," Ron agreed. He waved toward his own house. "Malfoy, make sure my sister can't follow. You can't go," he said at the opening mouth. "Not unless you want to provide him an heir and then die." Draco shook his head. "Happy protecting. Can I have Harry's cloak?" Vincent ran off to get it for him, coming back with it and a spare wand. "Harry's?"

Vincent nodded. "It was wrapped up inside it," he said quietly. "Be safe, Ron. Bring Harry back."

"Of course," he said cockily. He hurried off, taking one of the tunnels that ran to the Shrieking Shack. As soon as he was out there, he put the cloak over himself and snuck down to where Harry was fighting. There were only about seven Death Eaters, but it was more than enough to start the town burning. "Here," he said, handing over the extra wand. "Just in case." Harry nodded and smiled as soon as Ron uncovered himself. They went back to back, fighting the nasty creatures off. When the last one fell, it was from outside assistance, and they looked over to find Remus Lupin standing there. "'Bout time," he panted. He saw Madam Pomfrey hurrying down and winced as he felt the welts on his flesh. Someone had a whip hex that had lashed him badly a few times. "I ache," he told her, letting her lead him off.

"Harry?" Remus asked, stepping closer. He saw the dead look. "What's happened?"

"He's around here somewhere, Remus. Not at the school, not yet. Fall back!" he called. "They're heading for the school!" Most of the able runners took off, the rest slowly formed a ragged line back that way, that way everyone was protected. The night passed and only a minor attack occurred. By morning, everyone was tired and looking at Harry. He shook his head time and again, staring off into the woods. He saw movement and clutched someone's arm, pointing. "There," he said finally. Everyone turned and the battle started for real. Harry was shoved into the background when it looked like Voldemort wasn't there. He locked the doors personally, making sure no one was coming in or out. The Headmaster looked at him. "There are little kids in there, Albus, I'm not having them killed if we fall."

"Thank you, Harry, but I don't intend to."

"Neither do I." Harry forced himself to start casting again, ignoring the strain he felt. His vision was starting to blur. He couldn't make out more than shapes. He wanted to cast something that would end this so badly, his whole body was aching with the strain of staying upright. Then a touch of power moved up his feet. He could feel it. It was benevolent. It was Natural. It was Power. He took a deep breath and did the stupidest thing in his life, aiming it at the others. "Duck," he croaked and everyone on their side got out of the way as he let it go. It flowed through him, making him glow. "Die!" he shouted, strengthened for that last second by it. As the power left him, he fell to the ground in a dead heap, barely breathing.

Their opponents all died, falling over with what would later be seen as grotesque and horrified looks on their faces. Someone got the door open and Harry was carried inside to be treated.

Madam Pomfrey started to cry as she treated him, but she went about it. She stabilized him, making his heart beat regularly again. Ron Weasley hobbled over. "No," she ordered.

"I'm feeding him energy whether or not you like it," Ron argued. "I'm man enough to do that without permission." He put the tip of his wand in Harry's hand and forced energy through it, just like Harry had told him to do if his sister ever got injured again. Harry coughed and settled in to sleep. Ron was caught before he fell over. "There," he announced. "Someone call my mother and Malfoy?" he pleaded, letting one of his older brothers help him back into his bed. "I ache," he admitted.

"I know you do, Ron, you rest for now," Charlie soothed, stroking through his hair with his good hand. One was limp with a hex. One of his legs was frozen in stone. But he was going to make sure his brother was fine.

Madam Pomfrey rounded on the Headmaster. "What did he do!" she shouted.

"He drew power from somewhere and released it at them, telling them to die," Remus said gently. "They did. He fell over."

She frowned at him. "It's his mother's gift, don't look so startled." Dumbledore looked amazed. "Maybe you should have told him about that, had him trained in it." She looked over as Hermione walked in. "Unless you can clear hexes and bandage, get out," she ordered harshly.

Hermione walked over and started to remove hexes. She wanted to be there and she could fit both demands if she had to.

Madam Pomfrey glared at the headmaster. "We will be speaking," she warned. She stared on the less serious patients, checking every now and then on Hermione's progress. "You did very good," she praised. "Now sit beside Ron and make sure he stays asleep. His flesh won't grow back if he doesn't."

Hermione nodded. "Who's guarding the front door?"

"Malfoy," someone told her, she wasn't sure who they were.

"Wonderful, the person they wanted," she told him. A few of the more able bodied went out to spell the guards so they could get checked out. Malfoy was dragged in by Remus Lupin and set at Harry's bedside. "Thank you, Professor," she said quietly. "Should I take a turn now?"

"Go ahead, I'll watch him," Charlie agreed, smiling at her. He liked this young woman. Not at all like how Ron had described her. She walked out, leaving Ron in his care. "Is anyone brave enough to call my mother? We could use the reinforcements for a bit."

Lupin looked at him. "I did, but Arthur answered. He threw something." Charlie nodded so he turned his attention back to his boss. "Did you know about his mother's gifts?"

"He's never shown any sign," Dumbledore told him. "Not a bit of one."

"Well, he's apparently got it now," Remus said bitterly. "You're going to have him trained, right?" Dumbledore nodded.

Draco looked at him. "Would that be like the promise to tell me that they were after me this time?" he asked. Dumbledore glared at him and he flinched. "Just a question," he said, going back to sponging off Harry's face. "He's still fevered." The nurse rushed back over to help him. "We need Professor Snape."

"No, we can handle this," she assured him. "Can you make him drink a potion?" He nodded so she got one for him and went back to her checking patients again. Ron got a nod and a smile for Charlie, and Charlie's arm was finally unhexed. Hermione hadn't gotten to it.


Harry woke up in the infirmary. He was definitely seeing the pattern now. He tried to sit up but a hand in the middle of his chest stopped him. He looked at Ron, seeing the worry lines on his face. "Who died?" he asked.

"You nearly did," Ron said, frowning at him. "It's the middle of June, Harry." Harry winced. "Yeah, you nearly died. Killed a lot of Death Eaters, but you nearly died in the process. Draco didn't want to leave." He leaned down to kiss Harry on the cheek. "Your uncle wasn't impressed when I and my mother went to tell him about how you were too injured from the battle to move. Apparently he's decided you're troublesome." He grinned. "So mum's gotten permission to have you all summer until you have to go back there." Harry groaned and pulled the pillow over his face. "Hey, now, don't waste all my good mothering acts," he said as he stole the pillow. He hit Harry lightly with it. "Bastard."

Harry laughed. "Thank you, Ron. You're very kind."

"Well, yeah, what else did you expect?" he said with a grin. He noticed a shadow outside the doorway. "He's awake!" Professor Snape walked in. "He just now woke up."

"Are you thirsty?" Snape asked quietly. Harry nodded. "I thought you might be." He poured some water and let Ron help him drink it. "Do you know what month it is?"

"Ron said June," Harry said between gulps.

"Slower, boy." Harry drank slower. "Good. Yes, it is the middle of June. Can you tell me what you did?"

"I was so tired I wanted to collapse and then the power sort of...climbed up my legs. Like ivy on a house," Harry said with a shrug. "It said I could do that."

"And you did," Ron agreed. "It's still June though, Harry." Harry gave him a pathetic look. Ron handed over the glass. "Here, you do that, I'm calling my mum. She'll want to come up and fuss with Ginny." He walked away, leaving them alone.

"Did anyone else die?" Harry asked as he held the glass with two hands so he could drink more. It was refilled for him.

"Two people in town from the fires. Hagrid's dog, Fang." Harry lowered his head at that, such an odd response for a dog. "None of the staff or students. Your locking spell nearly cost you your life but it did keep them from joining in. Apart from the few who fired out windows." Harry sighed, sliding down again. He took the glass to put it aside. "How are you feeling?"

"Like I just woke up from a long nap," Harry admitted. "Nothing more. I'm not weak, dizzy, or in pain."

"Good. Then the medicine worked. You will be going with the Weasleys as soon as you are released. Then you will check in with Mr. Malfoy each week until school starts again. You are going to be co-Head Boys. Feel honored, it's only happened six other times, and always with twins."

"Yes, sir, thank you," Harry agreed. "Who's the Head Girl?"

"Ms. Granger."

"I thought so," Harry said with a smile.

Ron rejoined them. "You heard about Hermione?" he asked, sounding happy. Harry nodded. "You and Draco will have a suite to yourselves, but she's decided to stay in Gryff for right now." He stroked over Harry's unshaven cheek. "Mum's on her way up. You're getting half of my room and I'm to watch out for you." He winked. "We'll talk about boyfriends later." Harry nodded, looking a bit happier.

"Mr. Malfoy did very good during his stint as a guard," Snape admitted.

Harry grinned at him. "I'll tell him you said that when I see him in a few days."

"I doubt he's going to come visiting," Snape countered, nearly smiling at the boy.

"Why not?" Harry asked.

"Because you need no stress and Mum said he couldn't come over," Ron told him. "Even though he has started his own crusade against the fucker." He stroked Harry's forehead. "You rest. When you wake up next time, you'll be in my room. Got it?" Harry nodded, yawning on cue. "Good boy, Harry." He waited until Harry was asleep to look at Snape. "What about his leg?"

"It's fine. Fully restored."

"Then why didn't he move it?"

"Because he didn't know he had to," Snape told him, walking away.

Ron sat down to watch Harry sleep. His butt had worn a spot in this chair, it now conformed to his body. He smiled as his mother walked in. "He's napping again. I said we'd move him while he was under."

"That's fine, Ron." She gave him a smile and created a stretcher. "Help me get him onto it and we'll take it now. Are his things packed?"

"I had one of the house elves pack it for him, his wand and the ring are lying on top," Ron told her. He went down to grab the trunk from Harry's new room and followed his mother outside so they could portkey away. Since no one came to say good bye, he guessed his mother had warned them all off. As soon as Harry was settled into his new bed, Ron put away his things and snuggled in beside him to hold him. Harry was having nightmares and it always seemed to help him in the past from what Blaize had admitted when he had told Ron to look out for him.


Harry had spent the last month recovering and he was much better now. He and Ron were shoving each other playfully in the back yard when the twins popped around to get Ron to do something with them. Harry gave them a pitiful look so they invited him along as well. They could use another observer. They sent themselves off to the space they rented for larger experiments, settling down on the floor to finish mixing the ingredients.

"This will give boys a chance to see what girls feel like," Fred assured them as he mixed.

Ron looked uneasy so George smiled at him. "Don't worry about it, Ron. I'm going to take some too. I'd never take anything I thought harmful, right?" Ron nodded and relaxed. He had been doing some spell testing for them anyway, it gave him some extra pocket money.

Harry sat back and watched as the mix was finished and formed into little balls. He watched as George ate one then as Ron ate his. Then he watched as Ron flopped around while having a seizure and George was stunned stupid. "Ron!" he shouted, moving closer to try and hold him still. "Isn't there an antidote?" he pleaded. The twins were staring in shock at Ron. "Guys!" he shouted. Still not luck. They had a small fire and Ron had snatched some floo powder so they could get back that way. He tossed it into the fire. "Malfoy!" he shouted. Draco's mother showed up. "We need Draco, now, please!" he begged.

"Get him to the hospital," Narcissa ordered. "I'll send him there." Ron started to have another. "Now, Potter!"

"Yes, ma'am." He called the hospital, getting the front desk. "This is an emergency, Ron's having a seizure and I can't get the others to move."

"Where are you?" the nurse asked calmly, clearly trying to get him to calm down.

"Can't you trace it or something? They apparated us here!" he shouted, frantically trying to help his best friend. "Please?"

"Just a moment. Step away from the fire." He nodded and moved back and she let a paramedic through. She did something and more people appeared.

"What happened?" the one who grabbed Harry asked.

"The twins were trying to make something new. It was to let a guy know what girls felt like. Ron took it and started to have seizures. I've got to tell his mother!" The paramedic stopped him from moving. "She'll need to know!"

"We'll send word from the hospital. Is that it?" he asked, pointing at the bowl. Harry nodded quickly. "Okay, and those are the notes?"

"As far as I know," Harry agreed, watching as Ron was apparated off by two guys with the stretcher. "Help him?"

"Of course. Come along, young man. We'll let you call his family. Are they family?"

"They're his big brothers. He's a Weasley." The paramedic grimaced but they got everyone else moving. Harry was shown to the floo for calls, and he did his duty. "Molly Weasley," he called. She appeared a few minutes later, mostly asleep. "Something happened with the twin's latest experiment. We're at the hospital. He's badly off!" he said frantically.

"You wait right there, Harry, we'll be right up," she said firmly, breaking the connection.

A few minutes later she and her husband walked in. They were shown back to their sons. Draco stormed in right after and he headed for Harry, pulling him up. "What happened?" he asked calmly.

"They were trying something to make guys feel like girls. It backfired. Ron had a seizure. The twins freaked out and just stared at each other."

Draco's face tightened up. "Fine. Get them, we're going to my house. Now, before anyone else learns of it." Harry looked confused. "This makes Ron the bigger target, Harry, we're going to protect him. Get him now! People will be coming to kill him."

Harry sprinted down the hall, running into Ron's room. He knocked out the doctor and forced Ron to stand up. "Come on. Draco said the bad people are coming for you," he told Ron as he started him moving. "You too," he told Arthur. "Now! He said they want to kill Ron!"

"Fine," Arthur agreed, frowning but he followed Harry down the hall. His wife got the twins. They joined Draco and he sent them all to his private floo line. Once they were at the house, he looked at Draco. "What were you talking about? You made Harry panic."

"Your son's a changeling, Arthur. What are they used for?" Draco snapped. Molly gasped and pulled George closer. "It was my father's favorite area of study, how to make one. He used to get me involved to help him, it's how I learned to research." He looked at Ron, then back at Arthur. "Get them settled, I'll show you what I have. You can use this room and the room next door if you need it." He walked down to suggest his mother take a long trip. He didn't want her in the way if this became a fight to protect Ron. Having Harry and Ron together was dangerous. His mother was already packing a bag. "You heard?" he asked, kissing her cheek. He helped by folding some of the clothes for her.

"I foresaw weeks ago," she gently corrected. He looked at her. "Let him come to you, Draco. You will be rewarded for your patience. Make sure you get what you need out of it, but otherwise they will be yours." Draco hugged her. She kissed him on the head. "Be safe. We'll write soon." She finished packing and left him to calm down.

Draco went down to his study and found Arthur and Molly waiting on him. "Sorry, I had to see my mother off." He pulled down a thick journal and handed it over. "My father's research," he said as he sat down with a grunt of irritation. He hated it when his mother got cryptic. "There are ones back in your family. There seems to be a Weasley girl born right before each major confrontation." Molly gasped and he looked at her. "Miscarried?" She nodded, letting her husband sit her down.

"That doesn't explain a lot, Draco. Why did you evacuate us that way? It only caused more attention."

Draco looked at him. "If they had treated him for his seizures, there's nothing else they could have done," he said simply.

"They were running tests on this new problem," Molly snapped.

"Those can be run with a home chemistry set," Draco said tiredly. "There are some standard facts about changelings. Any of them who change on a set schedule are in danger. Their blood is used to create power raising potions. The only thing stronger than a freely given sample is heart's blood." Arthur blindly sat beside his wife, clutching the book. "All changelings are considered female. The more corrupt they are, the less innocent of carnal things, the more powerful their blood is. Ron would have to be tainted in both areas to be fully initiated. The only thing more powerful than it being done freely is it being done with pain and fear." Molly moaned and covered her mouth. "There are other factors. If Fred and George are as close as they appear, you'll have to change whichever one wasn't done. Otherwise they'll start to pull apart. It can kill them because the other twin won't be around when necessary because they can't possibly understand," he said quietly. "When I got there, before I saw Harry, I snuck a look at the charts. Your new daughters had been discharged to Dumbledore." Arthur glared at him. "Fortunately they hadn't come yet. Dumbledore is so desperate to win because he's getting older and he doesn't see anyone he can pass on his skills to. He never had children and now he knows why that was wrong."

"But Harry," Molly pointed out, her voice barely above a whisper.

"We've seen signs that they're trying to get Harry to die, Mrs. Weasley. Snape said as much to him before the scotch incident, before that battle. They knew where he was living and what was going on. They knew that he had nearly died a few times in their care." Molly started to glare at the wall behind him. "The same as they know that you would take care of him if he was left to you most of the summer. It's classic brainwashing. Deprivation, giving them someone to cling to, then they're willing to do anything for you. Voldemort uses it himself for special cases he really wants in his ranks. The mother of his future heir had that done to her this summer. Pansy's still very ill because of it. She was his second choice. The first died during the battle." Arthur tensed up. "I can give you enough time to find a way to protect the twins."

"What sort did you have in mind?" Arthur asked.

"You have two choices. You can either hide them somewhere far away and make sure that no one ever sees them again. Totally uproot them and change their identities. You might even have to break contact with them to keep them safe." Molly started to cry. "Or you can find them a spouse that can't be taken out. Someone who will protect them, and which the public will raise bloody hell if they're taken as well." He noticed Harry at the door and waved him in. Arthur gave him the book to read. "I think they know someone, but I'm not sure if he'd be willing to."

"There's three of them," Harry pointed out.

Draco gave him a gentle smile. "A changeling makes it a legal trio, Harry. They could both go together." He looked at the parents again. "It is the best solution if you think about it. Get the rest of your family and come right back here." Molly nodded, hurrying off. "I'm sorry, Arthur, I truly am."

He shook his head. "Fred said they had gotten the idea a few years ago, in a dream. They'd been mulling it over for a while now." He stood up and looked at Harry. "George isn't on a schedule."

"I noticed," Draco said with a faint smile. "Do you think they'll care?" Arthur shook his head. "The bad thing will be wondering which side is coming for them. A changeling in their grasps is a powerful thing," Draco said softly. Arthur shuddered and left them alone, closing the door behind him. "Harry," Draco said, looking at him. "How much did you hear?"

"Most of it. I came in while you were giving the list of stuff." He shifted so he could face Draco. "Ron's in more danger?" Draco nodded. "Can it be reversed?"

"If he's a total virgin. Is he?" Harry shook his head. "I didn't think he was. Most changelings are done on children so their actions can be controlled." He leaned closer, tapping the top of the book. "That's mine and my father's research on the subject. You should let Ron read it. It's more for her than it is for George."

Harry gave him a weak smile. "He's going to hate to be called a girl."

"The female is always stronger, Harry. That's why they're called that. Having a changeling wife used to be a badge of honor, something to brag about. It was seen like having a Veela for a wife, but less dangerous. Veelas can kill, changelings start to like their mates. They start to crave their touch and their caresses." He touched the top of Harry's hand. "If you're thinking about saving her, it can't be you, Harry." Harry looked stunned. "They will go through you and Voldemort will only cheer more as he drinks the potion. If you take her in, you're going to have to find a protector for the both of you. You're going to scare those who know what Ron can be used for, especially those on the side of good. You're going to start to feel stronger. The mate of a changeling will do anything to protect them. It becomes as innate as the changeling's desire for their mate is."

"When was the last one?"

"During the Renaissance, there was a surge of making changelings for status. Not many of them were used because we weren't at war. Those who did use them, had to kill entire families sometimes, or they got it by consent by marrying a changeling and making her care for their cause. Since the late seventeenth century, the number of forced childhood changings dropped dramatically. It's nearly unheard of today. Since then, the only use a changeling had was in war. The stupid Puritans put most of them and the records to death and the practice was never revived. Those who knew were the ones who hoarded the knowledge for their own benefit. People like my father."

Harry looked down at the book. "What do I do, Draco?"

"For now, you tell Ron and think with her. Help her figure out what she wants to do. I doubt she'll run. She's not like that." Harry shook his head quickly and stood up, walking out. Draco leaned back and took a few deep breaths. Vincent walked in through the other door and gave him a confused look. "What? Just heard?"

"Yeah. I just heard Ron and popped in to see if it was really him. He's a girl, Draco."

Draco nodded. "The twins messed up and made another Weasley changeling. The family used to be known for it," he said quietly. "They have just painted the biggest target on their backs and they didn't even realize what it meant." He accepted the glass of sherry Vincent poured for him. "Thank you. Tell the house elves that no one gets in. Not unless I personally go retrieve them after all the Weasleys get here." Vincent nodded. "No one is allowed in or out without my authority."

"Yes, Draco. Are they coming?"

"It's a race to see which side gets here first," Draco agreed, looking at him. "If it comes down to a fight, you are to get Potter and as many Weasleys as possible to leave. You are to take them to the hidden spot we used to hide and play in. You are to make sure they do not return to that school without a protector." He grabbed Vincent's arm. "My mother foresaw it and didn't say anything."

"She probably didn't realize," Crabbe said with a shrug. "What about Goyle?"

"Send him to his father. He's becoming more like his father every day," Draco said with a wave of his hand. He picked up the sherry and sipped it. "Thank you, Vincent."

"Precious things are supposed to be guarded by the best, Draco," Vincent pointed out, leaving him with his thoughts.


Later that night, Harry walked to Draco's door and tapped lightly. Vincent opened it and let him in. "Is he still up?"

"He is. He's in the bedroom reading on the bed," Vincent told him, leaving the room so they'd be alone. He went to check on Ron, finding Goyle breathing down at her in her sleep. He had one hand on her blankets. So he broke that hand. Ron woke up and ran away from them, but Goyle was pounded into the floor and hit repeatedly until he gave up. "You're going to leave Ron alone," he sneered at his friend. "She's not for you!" He hauled him up and out of the room with a nod for Ron, going to toss him out the door into the garden. He turned and found one of Ron's older brothers, Percy, standing there. "He's very sorry," he said, slipping past him. "He won't do it again." He went to tell Draco, tapping gently on his door. "Draco?"

"What?" Harry called, opening it. "What happened? Ron ran in here like someone was breaking into her room."

"Worse, Goyle was starting to remove her covers before I stopped him," Vincent said, looking at Draco. "He's out back bleeding."

"I'll deal with him," Draco said coldly. Vincent nodded and went to take a turn around the halls to make sure everything else was fine. Draco looked down at Ron, stroking over her back. "Shh, it's all right," he said smoothly, trying to calm her down. "It's all right, Ron." Harry walked over and took Ron from him, holding her tightly. "She's more like that than tactile?"

"I don't know, but a hug usually makes me feel better," Harry said with a shrug. Draco gave him a short hug. "Thank you." He looked at Ron's face. "Are you all right? Did he touch you?"

"I woke up and Vincent was trying to kill him beside me," Ron told him. "I freaked, I'm sorry."

"It's normal to freak, as you put it, when someone's getting into a fight near you and you're woken by it," Draco assured him. He got a blanket and helped Ron onto his sitting area's couch with it. "There, you stay there."

Harry pulled Draco away. He looked at Ron, who nodded. Then he looked at Draco. "We talked earlier. Were you hinting?"

"About?" Draco asked.

"About you taking us in," Harry said blandly. Draco looked down at him, staring into his eyes. "I have never asked you for any real favors, Draco, and I will never do it again. All I need is an answer. Will you protect us?"

"The both of you?" he asked, a touch of smugness leaching into his voice. Harry glared at him. "Sorry." He kissed him on the forehead. "Things aren't that simple in my social class. There are things that have to be considered, Harry." He sat him down beside Ron so he could look at both of them. "Yes, I can do that. I am one of the few people on this earth that can get Voldemort to go away before he tries to attack my family. I am landed gentry, so making me disappear will alert both the muggle and the wizarding press." Ron nodded. "There are still other matters to consider." He looked at them. "It would be permanent. Not something that would last until the war was over. I cannot have a divorce by English law and remarry. Not unless I become a widow." Harry clutched Ron and shuddered. "Yes, I can have a consort and a changeling wife. I can easily do it, but that would mean that I would have the both of you as *mine*, not you as each other's with me added in. You would be mine," he said fiercely. "I am very protective, as Harry well knows. I dropped Blaize because he wanted to have fun with Goyle a few times."

"You don't share with them?" Ron asked.

Draco grimaced. "That was Goyle's doing, he was trying to impress someone enough to have them sleep with him." He pulled a chair over and sat across from them. "I would have to produce an heir, that means Ron would have to bear it. That means Harry might have to if you can't, Ron." Harry shivered and clutched Ron tighter. "Do you understand, Harry? What you asked is doable and even a decent thought to me, but you would become my husband. My legal consort. Ron would become my legal wife. Permanently. I would have complete say over your lives in almost every area. I would dress you, feed you, have sex with you, and hopefully you'd enjoy it." Ron laughed and pulled Harry onto her lap. "You would be mine and I would be yours, but you wouldn't necessarily be each other's."

"Would we have to ask?" Harry asked.

"No," Draco sighed, shaking his head. "I don't believe in that sort of marriage. Some people might think that, but I believe in a true threeway if you're going to have one. Do you really want to be Harry Potter-Malfoy and Ron Malfoy?"

"Why do I get my name hyphenated?" Harry asked.

"It's the custom, Harry," Ron explained. "Wives take their husband's names. Consorts take their lover's name partially." Draco nodded. "You would help me protect my family?"

"They would become mine," Draco agreed. "The same as my mother would become yours."

Ron nodded and patted Harry. "We'd have to be together, wouldn't we?"

"Fully," Draco agreed. "That means Harry would have to bottom for both of us, the same as you would, Ron."

"You don't?" Harry asked.

Draco rolled his eyes. "Very rarely. I'd have to on our wedding night, after that would be my decision. You would be my sex toys of choice," he admitted with a smile. "You're much more stunning than your sisters, George and Fred." Ron looked startled. "Harry didn't tell you?"

"I didn't know it had gotten Fred."

"Twins that close will be pulled apart if they're separated like that," Draco said gently. "Do they know what they're going to do?"

"They called Oliver Wood earlier," Ron admitted, blushing. "He was stunned by them telling him he was needed here. He's coming up tomorrow."

"That's fine," Draco agreed. "He's an excellent choice. If he's so much as late to a practice, there will be a deep cry from his fans. Those ladies are vicious." He smiled at them. "I'll ask you now. Do you want to bear the Malfoy heir, Ron? Harry, do you want to be considered my legal lover for life? That's what you would be."

"What about the war?" Harry asked.

Draco gave him a slight grin. "I've been doing some research and some sneaking around. Did you know that your parents had another vault? One where their most personal belongings were? They had been in hiding, were moving each week at that point. The manifest I found on Dumbledore's desk said there were spellbooks belonging to your grandmother, Harry."

"But my grandmother wasn't a witch," Harry said, frowning at him. "How can that be?"

"Don't you think you should find out?" Draco suggested.

Harry nodded. "I should." He shifted so he was sitting on his own. "My father would hate me for even considering this, Draco, but it's the only way to protect Ron."

"And you. Voldemort was trying to get rid of me because my family fortune is vast, my family's influence is thick, and my family controls some of the things he wants."

"That's why he wanted your child," Ron breathed. Draco nodded and smiled. "When did you have to have one?"

"As soon as humanely possible, though not while we're in school this year," Draco told him. He stood up and pulled Ron to his feet. "Do you think you could stand to see me every day for the rest of your very long life, Ron? Am I the one you want to wake up next to?"

"What about Hermione?" Harry blurted, then he covered his mouth.

"That's another problem," Ron agreed, giving him an encouraging smile. He looked at Draco and leaned in, kissing him gently. "If you hurt me, I'm going to kill you."

Draco laughed. "As I was telling Harry earlier, the stunning thing about changelings is that you will grow to desire your mate above all others. Both of them if there's two. The same as your mates will become fiercely protective of you. There will be nothing that can come between a mated and joined couple or trio. Not unless the changeling is frigid and allows her husband or consort to have a lover on the side for more kinky things," he said with a wink and a smile. Ron chuckled and shook his head. "No?"

"No, you'll find we're evenly matched for the most part. As long as you don't expect to give or want pain, we'll be fine. Harry?" she asked, holding out a hand. Harry stood up and stepped closer. "Will it bind us as well?"

"Definitely," Draco agreed, giving her a confident smile. "The person who takes your remaining virginities will be bound closer than the other one. I'll even be generous and let him have you first tonight."

"Tonight?" Harry asked, a little stunned. His eyes were wide and his nose was flaring as he breathed. "We have to do it tonight?"

"The faster the better," Ron soothed, stroking Harry's back. "I'm not fully changed over."

"That can be manipulated once we're joined," Draco assured him. He laid a hand on the side of Ron's face. "Trust me, I can make you fully female. I can help you be so stunning your mother won't recognize you. I'm going to dress you in clothes that will be pleasing and sometimes naughty. Harry as well."

"You want to dress me?" Harry squeaked.

"I like to dress my lovers, and my Mother when she needs me. I have very good taste, I simply like clothes," Draco told him matter-of-factly. "Does that bother you?"

"Will you let me pick out some things?"

"Some things," Draco relented. "The same as Ron can have her beloved worn out jeans. But I'm tossing most of the rest of it unless she hands it to Ginny."

Harry looked at Ron. "Your parents?"

"Will throw fits," Ron admitted. "I was going to tell them I've decided." He stole a longer kiss, earning a moan. Then he took one from Harry. They made up his mind for him. "I'll be right back." She slipped out of the room.

Harry leaned against Draco's chest. "What do you want for the favor?" he asked, looking up into the silver eyes.

"I want you to win," Draco told him. "I'll help you train and I want you to do your best. You are mine now, Harry, and not even Dumbledore can tell you what to do. Do you understand? You are my second-in-command in the family. You can rule Vincent and Ron." Harry shuddered and snuggled into the arms that came around him. "I know you don't want it. All I'm asking is that you try to care for me, that you don't interfere when Ron has to bear me an heir, and that you let me play with you. Is that too much to ask?"

"I was going to sneak into your room this year," Harry admitted quietly. Draco tipped his face up. "I have always desired you, Draco, but I couldn't be with you before."

"This is different?"

"Now we'll have a buffer, which we'd need to be serious with each other." Draco looked amused. "You have to admit, you and I can have some petty fights. Ron will stop that because you won't want to pick on me with her around."

"I don't like picking on you now, Potter, I don't know why I do it."

"Because it gives you attention," Harry said with a smile. "Does that mean I'll have to bottom for both of you all the time?"

"You'll get your share of time with Ron. I won't hog her."

"I didn't like being with a girl. She didn't taste good and I didn't like what she wanted me to do."

"Ah!" Draco smirked at him. "Try the taste of a nipple. You seemed to like Blaize's."

"Don't talk about him."

"Sorry." Draco kissed him again. "I promise, when you're between her thighs, she'll adore you, Harry. You'll be able to indulge all your oral fantasies with her. Hogwart's favorite bottom boy will definitely like it with a woman if the woman is only ours and if she likes to be licked. Besides, I am rather good and I can satisfy those urges you have to be taken hard and fast." He let one hand wander lower to brush against Harry's rear. Harry shivered and rubbed his cheek on Draco's chest. "Do you think you can take me?"

Harry touched the hard cock. "I think you're a good size but not enormous," Harry noted. "I should be able to do a lot with it."

"Not yet," Ron teased as she walked in. "My mother expected it. My father's drinking himself to sleep tonight because he's horribly depressed about what's befallen his beloved children." She walked over to take Harry's back. "What about my male times?"

"Harry's a confirmed bottom. He hates to top," Draco said with a leer. "You?"

"I've never had sex with a man. I don't know," Ron admitted. "Harry, is that true? Blaize always talked about what you did to him."

"That was more orally. Harry likes to suck on things. He even stroked him off one day during Transfiguration," Draco said with a shrug. "They liked to blow each other at every chance and Harry got to enjoy it. He also enjoys taking it on all fours." He could feel Harry's blush. "Sharing a room with him is very eye-opening about Mr. Potter's sexual habits. There was more than one night when they didn't close the curtains all the way."

Harry lifted his red face. "I think that's because Blaize wanted you to watch," he admitted. "Why aren't you with him?"

"He wanted too many times with Goyle. I might have indulged his playful nature, but I wasn't about to be compared with him." He kissed Harry until the other boy couldn't breathe. "Tonight, Ron?"

"If we have to," Ron sighed. "I'm not so sure I want to do that yet. I still have to tell Hermione." He looked at Harry. "Did you know someone told Ginny that Dumbledore had foreseen us together, that's why he made sure we would stay friends?" Harry giggled and hugged him. "That's what's being said about us. That we're already together."

"Then was Blaize really noisy window dressing?" Harry asked. Ron nodded. "Wow. Expensive window dressing." He looked around. "I guess I should find you another ring, huh?" he asked suddenly.

"Why? I helped you pick it out to suit my own tastes," Ron teased. "We'll have to find one for Draco."

Draco beamed at them. "Later. For now, we have a bit of a ritual to go through." He took off the signet ring he was wearing and twisted it, then blew on the white hot top. "Ron, come here." Ron stepped forward and Draco lifted his sleep shirt, burning the mark onto his side. "Once it's there, there's no going back," he said as he removed it. "The only more intimate place I could put it I won't because that's cruel and mean. Harry?" Harry took off his shirt and stepped forward, turning his head as the burning happened to him. "There, perfect as only the Malfoy marking can be." He pulled his wand off the table and touched Ron's mark with it, making her hiss and arch her back. "Harry, you as well." Harry moved closer, hugging Ron. He smiled at him and did the same to him, making him flood with the need to touch Draco. "One last thing," he promised, laying a hand on Ron's mark. They all watched as Ron's body sped up the change, becoming fully female. He locked it into place, starting the cycle from there. "There," he said happily. He led Ron to the bed by the hand, letting her undress and climb in.

Harry stood there and watched until Draco pushed him forward, then he kissed her gently. "I don't have much experience with women," he apologized. He moved down, playing with her neck. He found the spot that made her hiss and tip her head off to the side and sucked a mark on it for his later reference. Then he moved down to the nipples, making them hard and upstanding. He liked nipples, he always had. He would have adored it if Blaize had big nipples. He looked at Draco. "Take off your shirt?" Draco did so and his mouth watered at the sight of the large, dark nipples. He leaned over to take a lick, making a face. "Cologne."

"Sorry, I'll go bathe. You break her in for me and I'll be right back." He went into the bathroom to take a quick shower. This was not the time for good smelling skin. This was a time to be manly and to take what was now his. Harry had agreed easily. He heard Ron's wail of pain and winced. "Potter," he sighed, stepping out and drying off. He found Ron panting and scratching up Harry's back. "Wasn't he gentle?" he asked as he laid beside them.

"She did it," Harry panted, trying to hold on for dear life. Whatever he had done had turned Ron on so much she was trying to knock his head off with her heels. Ron squealed again and he felt a flood of liquid. It made him come and he flopped down on top of her. "Thank you, Ron," he breathed. She hugged him tightly. "Give us a few to recover, Draco."

Draco laughed. "Recover while you clean her up, Harry." Ron looked stunned. "Let him, Ron, he'll like this part. I promise." Harry slowly moved down between her thighs, looking at what he had invaded. "Start with gentle licks, like you used to do when you thought that was cute." Harry nodded and sucked some of the excess moisture off her hair then moved inward. He was liking this. Ron tasted much better than Pansy had. Soon he was energetic and Ron was wiggling to get his tongue in certain places that had felt good before. He found the little nub as it pushed up and licked at it. It made Ron groan the sweetest sounds. He decided to suck on it for a bit, and she screamed again, kicking her feet around his body. He moved lower, noticing that more fluid was coming out. He feasted on it, enjoying it wholeheartedly. He'd have to find some way to give Draco a present for telling him about this. Finally, someone was pulling him away. He came up for air, looking at his husband. "I do like it," he said with a messy grin.

"Good," Draco agreed, smirking at him. "Now do me, Harry." Harry leaned over and looked up at him as he took a lick. Draco nodded his contentment and Harry decided to show off a bit, taking all of Draco in.

"Don't expect me to be able to do that," Ron said, getting out of the way so Draco could lay down with them. She stroked his stomach as she watched Harry go down on him. Draco groaned and shifted under her hand. "You don't like?"

"I do," he said but he did pull her hand up to kiss it. "Harry, off. I have to have Ron now."

"I'm sore," she whispered in his ear.

He kissed her. "We'll be gentle and put you in a long bath in a few moments," he promised. He swatted at Harry so he would get off him. "I need that more than you do," he said with a smug look. "You'll get it again in a minute." Harry got out of the way so he pulled Ron on top of him. "Whenever you're ready. I'll take my time tomorrow so you can rest tonight."

"Thanks," Ron said, grinning at him. "Just climb right on?"

"However you want," Draco agreed. Ron straddled him and lowered herself, hissing a little. "Just relax and set your own pace, that's why I'm doing it this way. You'll find I usually like to play a bit more beforehand but we'll go quickly tonight for you." Ron nodded and finished sinking down with a groan. "Better?"

"Much," Ron agreed, smiling at him. "I could get used to this."

Harry moved up behind him. "Just wait until you feel it as a male," he whispered as he played with the large breasts. Ron groaned and arched against him, letting Draco thrust up.

"Harry, take me," Ron pleaded. Harry shook his head. "Please?"

"I...I don't like being on top."

Ron pouted at him but Harry stayed firm. "You should have been the girl, Harry."

"Don't pick on him," Draco warned. "Some people don't like being the one in charge. They prefer to lay there and take it. Harry's very much like that. He feels like he loses control when he's on top. We'll work on it, Ron." Ron nodded, getting on with her duty. Draco smiled at her and stroked her stomach. "Just think, in a few months, you should start a formal cycle," he said gently. "After that, we'll have to pick a good date." Ron blushed and looked down at his chest. "Look at me, Ron. This isn't the last time we're going to be doing this. I might like to pound Harry into the bed each day, but I'll be doing the same to you."

She shivered as one of his fingers moved lower, touching where they were joined. She shrieked and wiggled, liking that a lot. Someone pounded on the door. "Go away! I'm fine!" Ron shouted, then she let out a loud, long, satisfied wail of contentment, flopping down over Draco's chest. "Wow."

Draco kissed her. "As I said, soon," he promised.

She smiled at him. "Then what?"

"Then it would depend on your body and your maternal leanings. I certainly don't want as big a family as you have, but I wouldn't mind letting Harry have one if you're agreeable." Ron blushed. "I'm not going to turn you into a baby factory, Ron, don't worry about it."

"I'm not." Someone pounded again. "Let me get that. You please Harry since I've already had him." He grabbed Draco's robe and went to answer the door, staring at his big brother and his father. "What?"

"Are you all right?" Bill asked.

Ron nodded. "We decided earlier to ask Draco to protect Harry and I," he admitted, walking out and shutting the door. He could see Harry cleaning Draco off the old fashioned way and Draco preparing him. He moved the robe aside, letting him see the marking on his stomach. "It was the only way to get what we wanted, Bill. We're not leaving."

"You're also not fighting," Arthur said firmly, staring down at his son...daughter. "Changelings do not fight in wars."

"Fine," Ron agreed, nodding. "I'll help Draco and Harry with his training and then I'll sneak off to help from afar." Bill snorted and shook his head, hugging him. "I know it's going to be a big adjustment, but it's the only way we saw. Harry can't run away and I'm not leaving him here to face this alone." He looked at his father. "The twins?"

"Fred changed himself a few minutes ago." He nodded at Ron's chest. "You're changing quickly?"

"Draco shifted me ahead and said my cycle would start from here," Ron said with a shrug. "I guess we're figuring out cycles tomorrow." He heard Harry chanting and smiled. "Those two really do like each other, they're always at each other's throats though."

Arthur made Ron look at him. "As long as he's good to you. If he ever hurts you, even your feelings, you are to come home immediately and you will stay home for good. Do you understand me?" Ron nodded so he smiled. "I know he's not like his father, but I'm not taking any chances with you, Ron." He kissed him on the forehead. "Now go play with your new mates. Put a silencing charm on the door if possible." He led Bill back to their rooms.

Ron slipped into the room and found Harry curled up with a teddy bear asleep. "Where did he get that?"

"Blaize," Draco said, patting his chest. "He'll cuddle in a few minutes, he always did." Ron took off the robe and laid down across him, getting comfortable. Draco shifted her off to the side but otherwise let her settle herself. "Comfortable?" Ron nodded. "Good. Le's rest for now and then we'll figure everything else out tomorrow." He nudged Harry with a foot. "Potter, Weasley's back." Harry rolled over and hugged Ron's back with his bear between them. He smiled at Ron. "Are you ready to lose your last name tomorrow?"

"So soon?" Ron asked. Draco nodded. "Why are we hurrying?"

"Because otherwise we're giving the other side an advantage. I'll get Hermione here just after breakfast and then we'll do the ceremony in the afternoon. The twins can have their own if Wood agrees." He kissed Ron gently. "Then we'll send the forms to the school and you'll be moved down to my room. Of course, we'll have our own bathroom and all that, so it'll be wonderful."

Ron sighed and closed her eyes. "I think you're being jumpy but I understand, Malfoy. Thank you."

"This is as much a treat for me as it is for you," Draco reminded him. He felt the smile. "We will have to go tell my father," he noted smugly. Ron looked at him in alarm. "He'll kill himself over it." Ron snickered and laid his head back down on his chest. "Sleep. Tomorrow's going to be a long day." He stroked Harry's back, making him wake up. "Use Ron as your bear, Harry." Harry nodded and cuddled Ron, letting his friend have the spare pillow. Draco decided he could get used to being their bedtoy.


Draco woke up the next morning and yawned, then he felt the person in bed with him snuggle into his side and smiled. He remembered. It was a nice feeling. He could feel the bond they had established and they were both very calm. He decided to lay there for a bit longer in hopes of getting a better incentive to get out of bed. Harry was the first one up, giving him a big-eyed look he got most mornings when the other boy woke up. "How do you feel?" he asked, reaching over to touch the scar on his forehead. Harry brushed his finger off it. "You play with it."

"I hate the thing, I'm usually trying to scratch the skin around it to make it look different," Harry told him, shifting until he was closer. He looked down at Ron's back, then shrugged. "How are you doing this morning?"

"Well enough." He stole a kiss and Harry started to smile. "So that's what used to put you in such a good mood."

"I'm not a morning person without incentive," Harry pointed out, leaning down to play with a nipple. Draco let him, playing with his hair as he smiled. Ron was waking up and would soon turn to look at him as well. When she did, he smiled at her, pulling her up with a kiss. "Morning, Ron, " he said, a bit happier now.

Ron smiled at him. "It's good that you're not grumpy." He looked at Draco. "This really is real?"

"It really is real," Draco agreed.

"Okay then." Ron slid out of the bed and went into the bathroom, running himself a bath. She was sore.

Draco gave Harry free reign of his body, enjoying his skills very much. He would help Ron bathe in a few minutes. He would need to be closer to her before school started and it would take a few times before the protective benefits kicked in.


Oliver Wood walked into Malfoy manor, looking around in interest. He hadn't been here before and it was like nothing he had expected. There wasn't a single torture victim hanging from the walls. The decorations were tasteful, though obviously expensive. He was shown into a sitting room by one of Malfoy's thugs, one that looked a lot worse for the wear, and decided to sit down and wait on the twins. Why they were here and why he had been called here he wasn't sure. Their mother hadn't said anything when she had called him, and it had his curiosity peaked. The door opened and a woman who was obviously a Weasley, though he didn't know which one, walked in and locked the door. They turned and he thought they looked like the twins. So obviously a close relative. "Ma'am," he said in greeting, smiling at her as he shook her hand and stood up.

"Sit, Ollie, it's me, Fred," he said, sitting across from him. Oliver looked stricken, finding the couch by feeling behind him as he fell. Fred grinned at the look on his face. "We goofed badly."

"How?" Oliver squeaked, then cleared his throat.

"We wanted to make something so blokes could figure out girls. Well, now we can," he said with a grim smile. "That's left us with a few problems."

"What sort?" He cleared his throat again. "What is George.?"

Fred nodded. "He and Ron tested it. I had to change over so George and I wouldn't be ripped apart." He leaned forward. "Ollie, we've got major problems. We're now considered magical creatures."

Oliver's lips pressed together. "Did Malfoy do something?"

"No, he saved us from the people who wanted to cut us up and turn us into potion ingredients." Oliver frowned worse. "He snatched us from the hospital before Dumbledore could get there. From the paper this morning, there's a great call to find us so we can be," he coughed, "protected for our own goods. Which isn't the truth and we know it now." Oliver nodded briefly. "So we've got two options. George and I can run for our lives or we can find a protector that no one would *dare* touch."

"Malfoy?" he squeaked.

Fred laughed. "No, from the sound of things Ron and Harry decided to go that route. George and I are still trying to decide. We thought we'd explain it to you so you could tell the ladies we adored and make sure they know it's all right."

Oliver shook his head. "You can't give up the shop, it's your dream, Fred." He stood up and looked down at him. "You couldn't open a new one if you ran."

"Then that leaves us being married very quickly to someone that the public would lynch if they hurt us or would go on a rampage if they were lost," Fred said gently. Oliver's eyes widened. "George suggested you, but I thought you might freak so we're talking now."

"Me?" Oliver squeaked. Fred nodded. He sat down again, going back to shock. Fred nodded once he quit hyperventilating. "Why me?"

"Because we know you wouldn't hurt us," Fred pointed out. "Your fans are rabid and would shred anyone who dared come near us."

Oliver nodded, that was true. His female fans had egged his coach when they found out he had made him miss a family reunion. "But you don't like me like that."

Fred shrugged. "Draco said that wasn't going to be a problem." Oliver looked confused. "The formula we used is from something his father left in the library," he admitted. "Lucius was one of the foremost researchers on changelings today. He brought his son into it." Someone knocked on the door. "Not yet!" He looked at Oliver again. "Those are the only two choices we've seen."

"I...can't think." Oliver got up to pace.

"Calm down, Oliver, this is like planning a strategy for a game," Fred soothed.

"It's not! This is a war and it's bad!" Oliver told him. "You'd have to give up everything you've ever dreamed of because of a small mistake."

"Yeah, well, it's that or death. You find that death is the less enjoyed option in this case," Fred said dryly. Oliver glared at him and he shrugged. "Humor works in this situation too."

"Now's not the time to be funny," Oliver said firmly. He sat down, looking at him. "Ifif I do it, what would happen?"

"It's be the both of us. A changeling is an allowable third partner, fully legal and all that," Fred told him. Oliver nodded. "Draco should be getting up soon. He's got all the knowledge already and he's said something about a protective instinct that pops up as part of being married to one of us."

"Yeah, but what about games?" Oliver blurted out.

Fred grinned. "Season tickets?"

Oliver laughed. "Sure, of course you can have season tickets." He swallowed. "How is George taking it?"

"Not well. I found her crying in the bathroom this morning and had to put her back to bed." Oliver frowned at him. "According to the law, we're now officially females, no matter that we started out as guys."

"So I'd have two wives?"

"Who changed at a moment's notice," Fred agreed, nodding as he changed. He had felt the tickle that meant he was going to for a few minutes now. Oliver's eyes bugged out. "It happens this way to us. Ron changes on a set schedule from what little we know so far."

"What about when you want to have kids?" Oliver blurted, then he blushed. "Sorry, that was really personal."

"No, it's all right. It's one of those questions we have to answer too," Fred admitted. "We're not thinking beyond the main problem, running or not."

"You're not. It'd be too hard to write to you on your birthdays," Oliver said with a smile. "Though you'd better not prank me."

"I'd only do it when you needed it," Fred agreed. "You'll have to make your own arrangement with George on that matter. Plus, as our mate, we'd have to give you some interest in the store."

Oliver waved a hand. "I make an excellent salary, Fred." He smiled at him again. "Would you rather run or have me?"

"Personally, I'd rather have you. From what we heard around the school, you were really good to your girlfriend and happy to indulge her when she wanted to be touched. We like that in a prospective mate." He looked up at the loud screaming. "Either George is frustrated with her hair or Ron just did something spectacular again," he said dryly. He looked at Oliver. "The poor boy can't be quiet."

Oliver snickered. "I've met a few like him in my time." He shifted over to sit next to Fred, watching his friend for her reaction. She didn't seem to mind. He shifted a bit closer. Fred gave him a blush and a grin. "You're blushing!" he said in amazement.

"Oliver, I'm a girl half of the time, I'm supposed to do that," he pointed out. Oliver laughed and he smiled at him. "So, do I freak you out?"

"You look a lot like your mother," Oliver admitted. "You have that same gentle, yet steely nature that she does."

"I guess that's a compliment."

"Your mother's a very nice woman," Oliver pointed out. "Not as great as mine, but still nice." They shared a grin. "Come on, we should go talk to George."

"Sure. Malfoy put us up in a nice room upstairs." He led the way, knocking first. He found his mother standing in there hugging George. "The scream was him?"

"Yes. He changed fully and woke up in a panic," she said, smiling at Oliver. "Did they tell you everything?"

"Everything that I could," Fred agreed.

Oliver moved closer, smiling at George. "I'd hate to have to miss your birthday parties," he offered. George pulled him closer, letting go of his mother to hug him. "It's all right."

"No it's not. I'm a girl right now."

"Yes, but you're a cute enough one. A lot like your mother," Oliver said firmly. Molly blushed and left them alone. "Are you handling it okay?" George looked up at him and shook his head. "Then we'll deal, George. Want to talk about it?"

"I could use another ear," George agreed, hugging him again. "You're very comfortable."

"Thanks. It's all those exercises I started doing so I could sleep at night." The twins looked at him. "The howling outside the doors is getting extreme," he said with a shrug. "I had a fan break in last week."

"We'll protect you, Oliver," Fred assured him, hugging his back.


Hermione looked up as Draco walked out of her floo. "What are *you* doing here?" she demanded coolly. Her parents looked at her. "Mother, Father, this is Draco Malfoy. Harry's best friend."

"Harry and Ron's present savior," he told her. She grimaced, starting on a glare. "A new test prank backfired and it's endangering Ron's life," he told her. "Harry and Ron both want to talk to you."

"Is it contagious?" her mother asked.

"No," Draco told her, smiling at her. She relaxed. "Come along, Granger, it's going to be a long day for you as well."

She nodded, taking one last sip of her milk before hurrying back to her bedroom to brush her teeth and grab a robe. She came out and followed him through the floo, landing in his living room. "Why are we at your house, Draco?"

"Because it's a long explanation. Would you like to sit?" he semi-ordered. She sat, crossing her legs. "Would you like the shock or the explanation?"

"The explanation," she said firmly.

He sat down across from her. "Last night, Fred tested a new prank on George and Ron." She nodded. "It was to turn one into a girl for a bit. It backfired and they're now changelings."

She frowned. "I've only run across a few mentions of them. Do you know what that means?"

He nodded. "My father was the top researcher of changelings. He brought me into it at a very young age. A changeling is a person who changes gender." Her eyes opened further but she calmed herself quickly. "Ron and both twins are now. They're considered magical creatures."

"That's what's endangering them?" Hermione asked. Draco nodded. "Then why are they here instead of with Dumbledore and their parents?"

"The whole family is upstairs. Dumbledore will want to use at least one of them, probably Ron since he's a true changeling and the twins aren't. They're half because they're not on a set schedule." She shook her head. "Yes, Hermione, they will. Watch him when we go back, he's not as pure as you want to think. He's been trying to get Harry to commit suicide after the battle is over with. Even Snape's been helping him with that goal. That's why Harry drank so hard that night the battle happened, because Snape pointed out that fact bluntly." She scowled, but he didn't think it was aimed at him. "That left Ron and Harry with two options since they were dreadfully attracted to each other," he continued calmly. "Leaving and turning their backs on their family and the war, or joining with a protector strong enough to make sure no one could take them."

She looked at him, and he knew she had gotten his subtly worded 'I stole them from you'. "You?" she asked coldly. He nodded. "When?"

"Last night. It was the only way to protect both of them from everyone, Ms. Granger. Do not start to throw a fit at anyone. Ron's still processing what happened."

"You took advantage of them!" she said angrily.

"I did no such thing, they came to me."

"But you didn't turn them away, did you?" she sneered. "You've always wanted Harry, since that first day you argued before the sorting."

"Yes, and I could have had him this coming year without this. This only complicates matters greatly. If you want, Ron should be out of her bath and I'll bring her down."


"All changelings are female, no matter what," he informed her with a bit of chill in his voice. "You will not scream at her. She doesn't need it at this moment, Granger."

"Fine. May I see her, make sure this is what she wants?"

"Of course." He smiled at her and rang a bell. A house elf popped in, making her glare at him. "Would you request Ron join us in here?" he said. The house elf nodded and disappeared, going to tell Ron his message. He sat back and got comfortable, smiling as a house elf brought in some tea and small sandwiches. "I know it's barely breakfast, but eat if you think it'll help settle your stomach. As I said, it's going to be a long day."


"Because the wedding is today," he told her. She frowned at him again. "It really is the only way. Not hurrying gives them an advantage we can't negate. Dumbledore's already calling for them to be handed to the authorities for their own protection." He stroked his family crest and she looked shocked. "What?" he asked smugly.

"You marked them?" she asked. He nodded. "That's an archaic tradition, as outdated as having a family serve yours."

"That was my father's idea, not mine, and this way I could protect them better. Since I know now when they're in danger, I can react more swiftly." The door opened and Harry led Ron in. "Good morning. Granger wanted to make sure this was your own free will."

Ron flopped down beside her and noticed the tears. "What's wrong?"

"You really are a girl," she sobbed, getting up to move away from him.

He nodded. "Yeah, I am. Have been since last night. Why didn't you tell me it hurt you that first time? I would have been a lot more gentle with you." She looked shocked.

"It had to be done to set in the marking," Draco said calmly. Ron looked at him and he smiled. "Not that I didn't enjoy it."

"Good point," Ron said with a grin for him. He looked at his ex. "If there had been time, I would have told you before this happened, but we don't have the time for nice explanations." She sniffled and nodded, but didn't sit next to him this time. "Fine," he sighed, looking at Draco. "We have to do the whole wedding thing today?" He nodded. "That's fine I guess." He looked at his ex. "I know it hurts, but would you be there for me?"

She stood up and walked over, hugging him. "If you want. Even though I'm not dressed appropriately." She looked at Harry, then at Draco. "You had better treat her right for however long this lasts. Otherwise I will hurt you."

"This is permanent," Harry said quietly. "This is the only way to protect Ron and you know I'd never let her be hurt." She nodded, her face set as emotionlessly as possible. "Then you'll help explain things to Ron when she needs it?"

"Of course." She pulled Ron up. "Come on, we'll have to get you dressed."

"There's the traditional dress. The twins and their mother may need more help. Ron will only need help with her makeup and her hair."

"Fine," she agreed, letting Ron lead her away. "You're really like that forever?"

"Forever," he agreed, nodding. He gave her a smile. "He's not going to be mean to me. Harry will protect me if Draco loses his temper."

"With how those two fight, I suggest you find a room to hide in fairly quickly," she snorted.

"I can keep them from fighting," Ron assured her. Harry had told her that she would be the buffer that kept them from rubbing each other wrong. "Come on. The door to the bride's chamber opened when I walked into Draco's dressing room." He showed it to her, letting her see the old wedding dress. "Help me? Please? Mom's got her hands tied up with the twins."

"What are they going to do?" she asked quietly as she found the buttons and worked on getting the dress off the form it had rested on.

"They summoned Oliver Wood this morning to talk to him."

She stopped working and looked at him. "He's a good choice. He's got that whole team of his plus his fans to help him watch over them." She finished getting the dress free and lifted it off. "All right. Have you bathed?" He nodded. "A full one, Ron?"

"Yeah. I got up and soaked to take care of that ache," he said with a blush.

She shook her head. "Next time won't hurt as badly. Trust me." She let him pick up something marked 'bride's set' and followed him back to the room. "Out, Potter."

"Yes, Hermione," he sighed, taking the old suit with him.

"What was that?"

"I'm guessing that the males have a traditional outfit, the same as the brides do." He shrugged and let her help him into the dress. "What about deodorant?"

"You should have thought about that already," she pointed out, then she shook her head. "Ron!"

"What? It's a hot dress!" she complained. She helped her back out of it and into the underwear Molly had found for her. She let her ex guide her in all the necessities, including perfume and how to do her short hair. She lengthened it a bit, turning it into a chin-bob and then brushed it gently. "I'm sorry, Hermione. I should have tried to get you here last night."

"It's all right, Ron. You did what was best for you." She put down the brush. "Is it permanent?" Ron nodded. "Then I'll miss you," she said, stealing one last kiss. Ron started to cry, hugging her. "Shh, we'll still be friends. You can't get rid of me that easily. I'll be on you like mud after Magical Creatures." Ron laughed and pulled back to wipe her face off. "Good girl. That feels odd to say."

Ron laughed. "It does," she agreed. "Thank you for not throwing a fit."

"I'll have a fit with ice cream later," she soothed, stroking the beloved, yet different face. "We'll be fine. Where are you going to stay this year?"

"With the Head Boys," he said, giving her a smile. "We'll have a large room and our own bathroom."

"Wonderful." She patted him on the stomach. "What about that stuff? I know you want children."

"Draco set one of the conditions that I had to give him the Malfoy heir. So we both win." She shrugged. "I guess I can wrap my mind around it after it happens."

"That's fine." She hugged her again. "I'm so sorry, Ron. You shouldn't have to go through this."

"I know, but it doesn't feel that odd from this side. The only difference is that I have breasts," Ron said with a shrug. "My tool'll come and go. The breasts will come and go. I'll adapt as it happens." She shook her head, but was smiling. "How long do you think we have?"

"I don't know, let's work on your makeup," she suggested, sitting Ron back down to work on getting her made up. She would definitely need ice cream and pudding later. Possibly even for dinner.


Draco lifted his champagne flute to his new family. "Thank you all for coming. Not that I gave you much of a choice." Charlie and Bill laughed, they had been pulled from work by Percy. "Thank you for allowing your new sisters to make their own decisions. I'll do my best to make Ron happy."

"And Harry," Molly Weasley said firmly.

"And Harry," he agreed, smiling at her. "I also swear not to produce the heir to the family name this year." That got some laughter from Molly as well. "They are mine now, and no one had better try to get between us." He looked at his godfather, Snape, and knew he understood he was pass that back along. "You are welcome to stay in my house as long as you want. We'll be going shopping tomorrow for a bit and you're welcome to tell me I have wonderful taste then as well." The twins laughed and hugged their new husband. "We'll have you three moved to a larger room tonight."

"Our present one's fine," Oliver assured him. "Thank you for helping them, Draco." He paused. "It feels really strange to say that. I never really liked you before."

"I was living in my father's shadow. Thanks to Potter, I was able to move past that dreadful barrier and find my own light." He drank his champagne, watching his spouses as they talked to everyone. Music started on Molly's cue and he walked over, taking Harry's hand. "Consorts then brides get the first dance," he told him. They moved slowly, getting to know each other this way as well. Harry had taken lessons from some of the girls on the more formal aspects of dancing during his fourth year. They moved smoothly around the dance floor, smiling at each other as they chatted quietly about what would be happening over the next few days. Harry thought they should sit down and make emergency plans before going shopping, and Draco relented because it did make sense. Though he wasn't going out with them alone just yet. Harry even relented and allowed him to make a formal statement about their union to the papers. When that dance ended, Draco picked up Ron's hand and took he out to dance with her. She agreed with his plans and it made him happy. She agreed all the way up to the point of letting him buy her dresses. He had to remind her that she'd need them and as a married woman she couldn't wear those horrible little skirts the other girls wore because they were too short. He handed her off to Harry, watching as they danced off for a few minutes before going to talk to his Godfather. "Don't you think they're stunning?"

"Very," he agreed, sipping his drink. "Are you happier now?"

"Very," Draco agreed, smiling at him. "I'm also making a formal announcement." Snape looked stunned. "What better way to show that there's a 'no touching' zone around them?" He noticed one of his bodyguards staring and frowned at him. "I believe I'm about to have a problem. Excuse me." He walked off, taking both his bodyguards into the study with him. "Goyle, I want to know why you were watching my wife," he said in his most deadly and cold voice.

"We know you're doing this for some plan," Goyle sneered.

Draco slapped him. "I am not. You will treat her like you do my mother, Gregory, or I will make you the most miserable wizard on the face of the earth." Goyle continued to sneer so Draco walked over to the desk and pulled out a piece of paper he had written out after getting dressed. He signed his name and handed it to Crabbe. "For him." Crabbe looked stunned as he read it, handing it to Gregory. Goyle looked very hurt. "I will not have you disrespecting this family," Draco repeated. "Go tell your father I said so. I'll have your things sent home so you can pack for the train." Gregory slammed the door on his way out, his ears nearly steaming. Draco looked at his other bodyguard, his best friend in the entire world. "I was going to offer you your contract's end when you get married," he assured him. "With a good salary afterwards." He smiled. "Can you handle that?"

"Of course," Crabbe agreed breathlessly. "Thank you, Draco." He beamed. "Do you think Ron's ex would let me dance with her?"

"You're very smooth and manly, she might. You have only to ask," Draco suggested. Crabbe nodded and left, going to ask her to dance. Draco smiled at the other paper, then closed and locked the desk drawer before going back to his reception. He found Professor Snape. "We'll only need one extra bed," he said as he walked up to him.

"I saw Mr. Goyle leaving," Snape admitted. "Did you free him?" Draco nodded. "That was a good idea."

"Thank you. You will tell both your masters?"

"Of course." He smirked as Harry laughed, a true and joyous expression on his face. "He hasn't looked like that since he and Blaize got back together."

"That's another hurdle I'll have to cross," Draco agreed, watching his spouses play with each other. "They're quite lively."

"Good, you could use it." He looked at the boy. "I take it your mother agreed?"

"She foresaw it actually," Draco noted, taking a new glass of champagne from a house elf so he could sip it. "She's traveling about now, just in case something happens."

"Good idea." He nodded at Molly and Arthur as they walked over. "Are you satisfied with their unions?"

"It may not be love matches, but they seem content," Molly said happily. "Oliver was always such a nice boy to the twins. Ever since their first day he was a darling to them." She smiled at Draco. "You've always tried to guide Harry, even when he was in his blackest of black moods." She kissed his face. "Remember our talk, young man. If you hurt Ron, there are many things I can do to you that would be worse than your own father could dream up. Mothers are always more scary than Fathers." Arthur laughed and patted her on the back. She smiled at Snape again. "Will they be allowed to be together?"

"I'll be taking a copy of their license back with me to file it for them. Harry and Draco were already sharing a room, that will get Ron down with them. I'm sure Dumbledore will be most happy that he's being protected in such a strong manner." He sipped his drink, still on the first one. "Are you looking forward to the grandchildren?"

"There won't be any of those yet," Draco said firmly. "Not until we're out of school. Ron hasn't started a cycle yet so we've got to wait on that." Snape inclined his head.

Harry walked over and leaned against Draco's side, whispering in his ear. All the others got was that Ron had an idea. Draco smiled at him and shrugged. "Would that be possible or even helpful?"

"I'll consider the implications tonight," Draco agreed. He gave him a stunning kiss, making the new brothers-in-law clap. "Go tease Ron some more. I'm sure you're working her up quite well for me." Harry blushed but went back to teasing Ron. Draco smiled at the parents. "I made sure they knew they were mine," he admitted, walking away. He put an arm around Harry's waist, smiling as he felt him react to his presence. "You don't do that for her?" he teased, whispering in his ear.

"I made him stop thinking about my breasts," Ron said with a smile for him. "How much longer do I have to wear this dress?"

"For another few hours. I'll help you out of it myself," he said smoothly, winking at her. She blushed and Harry kissed her. Draco had his turn and Ron melted against him. "Good girl, Ron. Just a while longer and then I'll leash Harry to your thighs if you want. Of course, I'll get to really satisfy myself this time." She blushed brighter and cleared her throat, nodding behind him. He looked and saw Ginny. "Yes?" he asked pleasantly.

She scowled at him. "If you think my mother can do horrible things, it's nothing compared to what I and the twins can come up with. Remember that, Malfoy." He smiled and kissed her on the cheek. "Thank you. Now may I have Harry to talk to him? Percy wanted to tell him about what he had read over the years. He used to do the same research."

"Okay," Harry agreed, following her back to Percy's side. "What did you find?"

"Something a bit interesting. There may be problems if and when Ron gets pregnant," he said gently. "It's said that so many of them miscarry and die that it's not reasonable to expect it." Harry's face tightened. "Though that is only in the most recent times."

"Draco and I will research it fully. I'd never want Ron hurt, Percy."

"Good." He smiled at the boy. "See that you don't make her scream like she did last night."

Harry blushed. "That wasn't in pain," he admitted, then he scuffled off before he could become more embarrassed. He smiled at Oliver and held out a hand. "Welcome to the family," he said with a grin.

"You too," Oliver said, shaking it. He pulled Harry in for a hug. "I wish I had gotten to know you better, Potter. You're a neat little guy and you play great. Thinking about going pro?"

"I think I'm going to wait and see what the war brings," Harry said, looking sad. "I'd love to, but if I have to fight I don't want to lead on some coach."

"Good point. I'll tell my coach you said that." He ruffled the messy hair. "You be good to my sister-in-law or I'll get you when you do start playing pro. I started out playing beater you know." Harry shook his head. "I did, but then our keeper got ill and I found that I excelled there." He winked. "Go behave with your new mates. They looked like they could use a good hosing off." Harry blushed and he laughed. "Not like that yet. Save that for later."

"After we're gone so we don't have to hear it," one of the twins offered. Harry nodded, going over to hug his new mates hard. That twin laughed. "He's so see-through when it comes to them."

Oliver leaned closer. "And you're not?" he whispered. She blushed. "I'm flattered but I think we'll spend some time tonight talking instead. I want to know more before I dive in."

Fred kissed him and George hugged him from behind. "We can accept that," George agreed, giving him a squeeze.

"We're looking forward to it even," Fred agreed. "I never did understand why some women looked so bored."

"I'll show you later," George assured him. Oliver coughed. "With your help. I'd never dream of touching my own twin, Ollie."

"Good." Oliver kissed her and pulled her closer to hug her. Fred had been getting all the attention so far. He noticed Harry and Ron sneaking off and nudged them. "Maybe we should go talk now?" They nodded and helped him sneak away from their families.

Draco laughed and shook his head. "We're going to retreat for a nap. Celebrate for as long as you want." He strolled out, going to make the announcement to the press first. He wouldn't dream of interrupting Hermione and Vincent Crabbe while they were dancing together. Somehow, they looked like they fit together very well.


Three weeks later found Harry and Ron in their usual compartment and Ron changing back to an in-between spot. They looked at each other and nodded, going to find the women of Ron's house. She was going to need a few girlfriends and the Slytherin females were not to be trusted. They tapped on and entered one of the Gryffindor girls' compartments, sitting down near them.

"Harry, Ron," Parvati said, then her mouth opened. "RON?" He grinned and nodded. "YOU have breasts!" she said in shock.

"Don't you get the paper?" Harry asked. She glared at him. "Sorry, but it was in there."

"Whatever. Explain yourself."

Ron cleared her throat. "Due to a mishap with the twins, I'm now a changeling. That means I spend three weeks in each phase: male, female, or in-between. Right now, I'm in-between."

"You mean you have both?" another girl asked. Ron nodded, grinning at her. "That's got to be odd."

"Yeah, but it's kind of fun. That's why we wanted to talk to you lovely ladies before we landed at the school."

"What about Hermione? She's not into girls."

"I know. We broke up," Ron sighed. He looked at his hands. "There are three problems that are going to crop up. The first is this changing thing is going to cause some problems for me. I don't know what I'm doing most of the time and it's really odd. I'm not really fond of the skirts they put me in either."


"That's a shame," Parvati overrode, the other girl frowned at her for it. "We can help you with that though. It's not a big problem to talk to you and tutor you with the girl stuff. You are stunning."

"Thanks," Ron said with a light blush. "That leads to the second problem. This will make people want me very badly. I'm now considered a magical creature."

"Hagrid's going to love that," Parvati teased, earning another fabulous smile from Ron. "What's the third?"

"Why is Goyle looking in the window?" the other girl asked. "He's got a scary look on his face.

Harry coughed. "To protect Ron the best, we had two options. Find a protector or run screaming from the country and hide for the rest of her life." He held up his ring. "We both needed protecting."

She lifted Ron's hand to look at his ring. "That's the Malfoy crest," she said in confusion. She looked at Harry's held-out ring. "That is too, wrapped around your stone." She looked at Harry. "*You* had to run to him too?"

"He's protecting him from the people who only see him as a dangerous tool, to be used and then tossed away," Ron said firmly. "We both ran to him of our own free will. He's been wonderful about this so far."

"What do you have to do for him?" Parvati asked.

"Let him dress me, bear an heir sometime in the near future, and get a lot of sex," Ron said honestly, making the girls giggle. "I'm also officially Mrs. Malfoy now and Harry's a Potter-Malfoy. A changeling makes a legitimate trio to a couple." He leered. "I get woken up each morning and have someone help me with my hair and dress me."

"You get woken up for more than that," Harry said dryly.

"You mean." Parvati said, waving a hand.

Ron nodded. "I get a lot of morning wake ups for that. Harry's still a randy bugger."

The other girl laughed. "You mean the jump-happy Harry is back?" she teased him. He blushed and nodded. "Good. Do you do good things for her?"

"I'm having to wear undies to keep his fingers and tongue away," Ron said, blushing but felt she had to say it. "We're mostly happy. There has been a bit of adjustment but I'm going okay, mostly. I just need girlfriends and friends." They nodded. "Thanks."

"What about Hermione?" the other girl asked.

"She's upset, but she's sticking by us," Harry told her. "Can you start the rumors going the other way?"

Draco shoved Goyle, sending him crashing to the floor, then casually walked in. "Ladies," he said with a nod. He smiled at his mates. "You should probably change."

"Draco, do I have to wear a skirt when I'm between times?" Ron asked, nearly pleading.

"Just wear the appropriate underthings," Draco told him. "We'll make you stunning again in nine weeks." Parvati looked interested. "His schedule's set so that he's each phase for three weeks. So I'll do it in seven weeks." He blew a kiss. "Would you like to come sit with me? You are entitled to it."

"No, I want to sit with Harry like every year," Ron told him, smiling at him. He lost it when he saw Goyle staring at him. "He's doing it again, Draco."

Draco smiled confidently. "Let me handle it." He walked out and grabbed Goyle by the collar, dragging him away. He wouldn't dare hit him, it was too ingrained into his nature. He did try to struggle, but Draco's grip was cutting off his airway. He drug the boy into the compartment where the new Defense teacher was sitting. "Please keep him in here. He's staring at my wife and making her uncomfortable. If I catch him doing it again, I'm going to have to do something horrible and cruel to him." He strolled off, going back to the Prefect's compartment. He was the Head Boy, he ruled them all now.

Harry and Ron went back to their compartment after telling a few more of Ron's friends what had happened. Most of them took the paper and greeted him cautiously, but once they had it all explained to them they were fully behind Ron. They would spread it around the house so that nothing serious happened to Ron because of this necessity. Some of them even joked that this was a punishment of Draco for his smart mouth and ways. None of them picked on Harry, knowing he should have been one of them. He was even welcome in their common room if he was with Ron or Ginny.


Ron walked into the Great Hall and up to the head of his house, McGonagall. "Where am I sitting?" he asked quietly.

"Shouldn't you be in a skirt?" she asked.

"No, ma'am. I'm in a spot between either end. Draco said it was appropriate." She nodded her agreement on that. "I'm at three weeks in each phase and I'm two days into this one if it helps any. I have a schedule in my bags."

"That's fine," she agreed, smiling at him. "Are you satisfied with him?" Ron blushed. She laughed. "That's all the answer I need then. You may sit at either table, but we did honor your husbands' request that you be placed in his room. He'll know where it is or Snape will lead you down." She reached over to touch Ron's hair. "I like that look on you. Very sassy, which suits your nature."

"Thank you, ma'am." He beamed and looked at his table. Ginny pointed at the spot she had saved. Then he looked at Draco, who nodded at his old table. Ron nodded and went to sit beside his sister. "Thank you, Ginny."

"Shouldn't you be in your new house now?" a fifth year girl asked. "You did marry into it."

"That's what I was asking and McGonagall said I could sit at either table," he told her firmly. He saw Snape look at him and he shrugged. Snape pointed at his table and McGonagall had a quiet word with him. He shook his head and pointed at his table again. Ron sighed. "I guess I will go over there. Professor Snape seems to think it's more appropriate and I can't embarrass Harry."

Harry jogged over and kissed the back of Ron's neck. "They're debating it right now. A few of the sixth and seventh years don't want any of us over there." Ron smiled and kissed him for real.

"There will be none of that," Snape said as he walked over. "No public displays of affection of that nature." He looked down at Ron. "The teachers have decided that you can sit at either table, though I feel it is more appropriate for you to don Slytherin colors and sit at ours."

"Technically, we did marry into his house as well," Harry pointed out dryly. "I could don a Gryff outfit and sit with them." The kids around them laughed and cheered. "So could Draco."

Snape grimaced. "He is the stronger spouse, you married into his house," Snape said dryly. "Besides, there are two of you and one of him." McGonagall joined them. "Mr. Potter decided to be humorous and suggest they join your house," he told her.

She laughed. "They could. It has happened in the past." She smiled at Ron. "For special meals, you are to sit here, with your house. For the rest of the meals, you may be with whichever you want. Please do follow appropriate gender guidelines with your attire and everything should be fine," she assured him.

"Tell Draco that, he dresses us," Harry told her dryly. She smiled and Snape rolled his eyes. "Sorry." He gave Ron a kiss on the cheek then darted back to his seat on Draco's left. Crabbe was beside him. "They decided any event was to be over there and she could decide all the other times," he told Draco. "They also warned her to be in appropriate gendered attire. They're going to tell you that as well since I said you were in control of that."

Draco smiled at him. "Good reporting, Harry." He stroked Harry's thigh under the table. "Good boy." Harry moaned. "Just another hour and a bit and then we'll be in our rooms," he soothed. Harry swallowed. "Can you behave that long?" He looked where Harry was and saw Blaize. "Don't worry, he won't be upset."

"I didn't even think to write him."

"Why would you have? You've broken up," Crabbe pointed out.

"Yes, but we're still friends," Harry sighed. He felt the squeeze to his thigh and looked at Draco. "Sorry."

"It's all right. I understand. Look at the looks Pansy and the girls are sending our way." He smiled and kissed Harry gently. "There, that should prove it," he said with a smile.

"Snape said no PDA in the halls," Harry said with a grin.

"He can bite me, you are mine and I enjoy proving it," Draco said, his eyes lighting with an internal fire. Someone grabbed the back of his neck. "Yes, sir?" he asked, then had to revise his opinion when he saw it was Madam Hooch. "Sorry, ma'am, I was expecting Professor Snape."

"That is fine," she agreed stiffly. "You will find I am now your advisor. The Headmaster put me in charge of any married couples or trios in your case. I will see you in my office directly after dinner so we may have a discussion on proper etiquette." Draco nodded. "Good." She smiled at Harry. "I am always on your side, young man." She looked at them, then over at Ron, then back down at Harry. "Are you happy?" Harry beamed and nodded. "Then I will not be too hard on you. Being a newlywed is hard enough." She walked up to her seat, taking it regally. "They will be fine," she assured everyone. "Mr. Potter is happy."

"Wonderful," McGonagall said lightly.

"Yes. Wonderful," the Headmaster agreed. He watched Draco during dinner, he was so solicitous to Harry, being very careful with him.

After dinner, the trio came together and followed Madam Hooch down to her office. They were seated on a comfortable couch and watched as she filled out some paperwork, allowing them to switch among the houses when necessary. She handed over the blanket passes to Gryffindor and Slytherin. "I will expect those to be locked in a drawer," she told them. They nodded. "I was told you have your own room?"

"Harry and I are the co-Head Boys this year," Draco said proudly, though he felt it was only his due. He had worked hard to become the top student in the school. "I believe our room is now a single with a larger bed instead of the suite we nearly had."

"That's good," she agreed. "Mr. Potter, are you still playing?"

"Yes, ma'am." He pulled a letter Oliver had given him out of his pocket. "Mr. Wood sent this for you after his own marriage to the Weasley twins, Madam Hooch."

She smiled as she opened it, laughing at the good news it contained. "I shall send him a letter immediately," she agreed. She smiled at Ron. "What about now? You're not in proper attire."

"I'm in-between at the moment," Ron admitted. "Draco said pants were appropriate as long as I had enough male equipment." She nodded. "May I have a spare girl's uniform just in case I have to play while changed?"

"Of course." She retrieved it and handed it over. "You will want to practice, there are differences in balance between the male and female form." Ron nodded. "Good boy. If you need any help, let me know." They nodded and she dismissed them to their new dorm room. She smiled at their backs, they were quite cute together.


Draco looked around his room, smug that it was perfect for him. The house colors were everywhere. The bed was large enough for five people and they did tend to cuddle during the night so it would be more than large enough. The house elves that served Slytherin had already arranged everyone's things like they had them in their past rooms. For some reason, Ron was a slob since most of his things were piled neatly on the chest at the foot of the bed. He looked in each of the closets, they were full. No wonder Ron's things were piled on the chest at the foot of the bed. He found a small scroll lying on the personal desks, opening it to read the enclosed message. "We have a special hidden room," he said with a smile. "Plus access to a thermal spring." He walked over to where the note had said the special room was, opening the doors. He saw what was inside and shut it quickly. "That must have been Flint's influence," he decided, going back to the main closet. He found the portrait in the back, just like the note had said. When opened, it revealed a stone path leading down to a steaming lake. "Very nice," he said, smiling at whoever was looking over his shoulder. "Do you like it?" he asked Harry. Harry nodded. "We'll try it out this weekend."

He turned to find Ron napping on the couch and smiled. "Get her into the bed and I'll be right there once we figure out how to store her clothes." Harry nodded and walked over, gently waking Ron so he could lead her to the bed. It was interesting, she shrank three inches to her female form. Her feet were smaller, everything about her was smaller, except her chest. He saw the house elf popping in with a free-standing wardrobe and nodded them to put it against the desks. The remaining open space was meant for something he had in his pockets. They nodded and arranged it, quickly putting her clothes in there. It was a pitiful pile, but they had managed to pack a shrunken chest of clothes for her and they could always pop home and get more if they needed to change out.

He waited until they were alone then set up the privacy minders, the spells that would ensure they weren't spied up and couldn't be found unless they wanted to be. As soon as that was done, he reached into his robe pocket and pulled out a small case with drawers. In each one was a shrunken piece of furniture. The first to go up was the hidden cabinet. Unless the doors were open, it was invisible. The next was the bar set. He loved a drink now and again and Harry usually joined him these days. It helped him keep the nightmares away before tests. Then the hidden wardrobe and chest went up. They were full of his favorite Ron outfits and he would encourage her to wear them whenever possible. Last came his favorite reading chair and table lamp. It was the one he had always read under. It was a large whale oil lamp and it gave out wonderful, warm light that left creative shadows against the walls. He flopped down into his chair and put his feet up on the end of the couch. "There," he said in satisfaction. He decided to shift the sitting group one-hundred-eighty degrees so he could always face the door. That was more than enough and he was happy with that. Now no one not already in the room could sneak up on him and everything suited his finicky nature.

"Draco, come to bed, I need a cuddle," Harry called softly.

Draco smiled. Yes, everything suited his nature. He stripped off and walked into the bedroom area, climbing in to hold his husband tightly. "No bear?" he teased.

"I left it in the nursery," Harry whispered. Draco smiled at that. "I have two teddy bears now. I have a Ron bear and a Draco bear," he said with a naughty grin.

"I'm not that hairy."

"No, but you're definitely cuddly and perfect when I want something shaggy," he teased. Draco moaned at the word play but let Harry do whatever he wanted. He almost always enjoyed it and Harry was very well trained by Blaize for his pleasure. The only thing that ever bothered him was that Harry never gave suggestions about what he wanted. He stopped the boy from moving past his nipples. "What do you want tonight?" Harry looked stunned. "Have you never been asked that before?"

"Not often. Blaize and I had a routine. Why? I'm happy with whatever you want."

"I know, but I want to pleasure you. Give me some idea of what you want." Harry shrugged and Draco had to rein in his temper. He knew the boy wasn't being that way on purpose, but it was rather irritating. "What would you like me to do to you?" he asked again. "Should I kiss you?" Harry nodded, grinning as he leaned in for a long, slow kiss. Draco liked those, but it wasn't what Harry was craving and he could feel that through their bond. He could feel something interesting through the bond as well. "Harry, do you want me to tie you down?" he asked finally. Harry blushed and shook his head, not looking at him. "Shall I send away for something so I can do that to you?"

"Draco, don't read me like that," Harry whispered. "Please? I just want what's normal."

Draco laughed, waking up Ron. "If you want it, then it is normal. There's nothing wrong with that desire. If you want something like that, all you have to do is tell me. That's part of what a husband does for his mate." Harry looked stunned. "Did you never think about that? That I'm here to pleasure you as much as you are to pleasure me? Harry, consider it. I can wait to have you beg me for attention, but I will be treated like your equal in the bedroom."

"You're more than my equal," Harry said firmly. Ron goosed him, making him jump. "Don't do that!"

"Sorry," Ron said with an unrepentant grin. "What does Harry want you to do, Draco?"

"Just to please him I guess. Nothing special, nothing in particular; I suppose we'll have to teach him to be more demanding. At least until he gets his breast fix for the day." Harry drooled and swooped in to lick his again now that Draco had reminded him of what he had been doing.

Ron shook his head. "Don't worry, you'll get plenty of that when I'm nursing," he said, patting Harry on the back. Harry moaned and came without touching himself. "Hmm. A kink," Ron said with an evil smirk.

Draco felt so proud, he had corrupted Ron to his side of the house war. "I'm sure we can accommodate that as well once you're stuffed up," Draco agreed dryly. "Either that or do what he suggested and do it then."

Harry pulled back. "That was something I wanted to mention to you. Percy said he found a mention of most changelings having problems with being pregnant."

"I've found some mention myself, but the historical ones didn't. I doubt Ron will, Harry. She's a very strong girl and most of the ones who miscarried were either made to miscarry or they were attacked while they were pregnant. Since we won't let that happen, we'll simply spoil her rotten. That will be the only danger she'll be in."

"Yes, Draco," Harry said, believing him. Percy didn't like him and had never hid the fact that he didn't like him. He could have said that to upset him or to try and force space between them. He went back to his sucking, liking it quite a lot.

Draco patted the back of his head before pushing him off. "How about we play with yours for a bit?" he suggested. Harry's eyes lit up. "Would you like that, Harry? For me to torture your nipples like you do mine? So your shirt rubs them sore the next morning?"

"Yes, please," he said happily.

Draco laughed but he did lean down to play with them, teasing and licking them until they were in sharp points. He bit one and Harry arched up with a loud moan. "Good Merlin, he likes those things," Ron breathed. Harry latched onto one of his since they were in his face, making him look down. He reached past Draco but found the hand already stroking him. He had to pull away from the incredible mouth to shift around for a better grip. Harry grabbed him and turned him so he could taste his other favorite treat, making Ron wiggle and laugh. "Harry!"

"Tough," Harry said from between her thighs. "You like it."

"I know I like it, but you're being lewd."

Draco kissed her. "There's nothing lewd about that. Now if we had you in a sling and he was doing the same thing in front of strangers, that would be lewd." Ron shivered. "Really?" he asked, interested in that reaction. "You want to be watched?"

"No," Ron squeaked. "Tongue!" He grabbed Draco's arms to hold onto as Harry got her off the first time, going limp against the wiggling body. "That's it, no more tongue," he said, pulling away. Harry shifted down and sucked him in to give him a helping mouth there as well. "Draco, do something about him! He's going to make me faint."

"Harry," Draco warned. "Don't make her faint on top of you. She's the same size you are."

Harry pulled back. "I like the fact that you're both bigger than I am," he assured them, then went back to what he had been doing.

Draco and Ron shared a kiss and Draco caught her when she did indeed faint from the last spurt. He laid her carefully aside and attacked Harry the way he had done Ron, making him shriek and giggle, but he liked it. Draco pulled off and looked at him, a sneaky look on his face. "If you want more, you have to tell me what you want."

"Draco!" Harry complained.

"I'm waiting and so are you," Draco pointed out.

"Fine." He pouted at him. "May I please have more?"

"Yes, you may, Harry," Draco agreed, sucking him gently. He felt the gentle touch to his hair and pulled back. Harry was getting close, he could feel him tensing. His head was pushed back down and he mentally smiled. He played some more and his head was guided for him. He tried to touch his husband and he clenched up and actually told him not to do that. It was a clear victory for him. Now if only he didn't backslide after school tomorrow. Harry got off with a quiet groan and went limp under him. Draco lifted his head. "Did you want anything else?"

"Mark me?" Harry asked quietly, staring into his eyes.

Draco leaned down. "How, Harry? Should I nip you? Suck a mark onto you? Should I leak over you and rub it in? Tell me what you want."

"I want a sucked on mark," Ron said sleepily. Draco smiled at him. "And the rest of that," he said with a point at Draco's hardness, "if Harry doesn't." They both looked at Harry and he shook his head. "Does that mean that you don't want it or that you don't care?"

"I want it," Harry said firmly. "That and a small, private mark sucked onto me."

"I can do that," Draco agreed, shifting up to let him have his cock, and then turning to suck a mark onto Harry's stomach. It made him giggle because he had picked a ticklish spot, but he did suck one onto there. While Harry played he even gave one to Ron on his neck. "There," he said, satisfied with his handiwork. He stroked Harry's forehead. "You're going to be cranky tomorrow if you don't hurry up."

Harry looked up at him and swallowed hard, making Draco groan and come. "There, now I'm satisfied," Harry said happily. He snuggled against Ron's side, getting comfortable with him. Draco curled up against his back. "Thank you," he whispered.

Draco kissed the back of his neck. "You're welcome."


Snape looked at two of the people in his advanced class, sneering at them. "Mr. Malfoy. Mr. Potter-Malfoy," he said grimly. "Am I to be blessed with another year of your shenanigans?"

Harry smirked and nodded. "Yes, sir, just to make you beg for mercy." Draco snickered. "Well, it will," Harry pointed out with a wink for his mate.

"I see someone's managed to cure Mr. Potter-Malfoy's morning grumpiness. However did you do that, Mr. Malfoy?"

"By fucking him until he begged for mercy this morning before breakfast," Draco assured him. "It works wonders on Harry's bad moods." He heard Crabbe whisper in sotto-voice that it would probably help Snape too and had to hold in his laughter.

"Fine. I suppose you're beingcareful?"

"Of course. Harry and I do quite well together, even if he does appreciate nipples too much." He rubbed the sore one Harry had attacked after breakfast while they were waiting for the door to open. Harry grinned a naughty grin at him.

"In the future, do not share such incidences," Snape warned, going back to his desk. "As we are now blessed with a married trio, I feel it necessary to jump ahead. I'm sure you will all fail," he told the combined Advanced class. There weren't enough of them to warrant separating out the houses. "Mr. Potter-Malfoy, kindly move away from your husband and two seats down. Mr. Crabbe, behind him. Mrs. Patil, with Mr. Potter-Malfoy" He continued to rearrange the class to break up the friends. When he was done, he gave them the potion to work on, an infertility one. He had to have the last word. "See that you get yours right, Mr. Malfoy," he sneered.

"I'm very careful to get all sexual potions right, sir. As you very well know." Draco gave him a look that said he probably wouldn't want the potion they had worked on during a detention last year to get out. Snape went back to his desk, leaving him alone for the rest of the class. Of course, he had someone who didn't do things the way he did, but that was fine. He instructed her quite easily. She had always taken instruction quite easily when it came to doing things for him.


Ron looked up as the Care of Magical Creatures teacher, Hagrid, walked up to him outside. "Hi." He gave him a hug. "I'm not on the syllabus, right?"

"Not at all," Hagrid said with a smile. "I'd never do that to you, Ron." Ron giggled and let him go so he could teach the rest of them.

Pansy looked over at Ron. "Why aren't we studying him?" she asked, sneering at him as she stopped the class.

"Because she's not a creature, she's a person," Hagrid said firmly. "The same as you are most of the time." She huffed and stomped off. "Didn't want you in here anyway," he noted. He went back to his introductory lesson on what they would be studying this year, making sure they knew they were going to have a lot of homework. It was the best way really. They had to know a lot of things by the end of the year.


That night, Ron and Harry wandered into their room tired and sore. Harry had watched Ron flying around and one of his own teammates had tried to beat him up. Fortunately, Crabbe had beaten the other kid and no teachers had been around. Draco joined them a few minutes later and gave them quizzical looks. "Fortuna," Harry told him. "Ron was at practice."

"Wonderful." Draco walked over to give them both backrubs, but Harry winced and Ron shook his head. "Ron, why don't you take a long, hot bath? I'm going to take Harry up and have his ribs checked. One doesn't feel right."

"Sure, Draco. Are you locking the door behind you?"

"And I'm sending Vincent down to make sure you're fine. I'm not sure why they wouldn't let him have an accessory room off ours." He used the floo to call the house, starting Crabbe on his way, then took Harry upstairs once he was safely settled onto the couch. "Madam Pomfrey, I think he has a broken rib or two," he said quietly.

"I've seen his opponent. He probably has more than that," she noted, her lips pursed. "Onto the table and take off your shirt." She checked him and smiled. "Only some deep bruising this time. Tell me, who finished him off for you?"

"My bodyguard," Draco assured her. He helped Harry back into his shirt. "Liniment and a long hot bath?"

"Some gentle massages would probably help as well," she agreed. Vincent came running in. "What's wrong now?"

"Someone knocked me out to prove they could, Draco," Vincent panted.

"Ron?" Harry asked calmly.

"She's fine. I sealed the bathroom door shut so nothing could get in there."

"Good work," Draco praised. "Let's go see to the wife. Thank you, Madam." He accepted the liniment and walked down first. He found his Head of House waiting on him. "Was it you?"

"No. The general spell cleaning did it," Snape said, looking earnest.

"Bullshit!" Ron called. "Let me out?" Vincent let him out, making sure he had a towel to cover him. "The privacy spell's still on, I can feel it in the bathroom," he pointed out coolly. "Who was going to take me?"

Snape shrugged but he caught Potter's face. He could also feel him starting to build up magic again. "Enough," he said calmly.

Harry winced as he pushed him against the wall with that extra power boost. "WHO!" he shouted.

"Harry, calm down," Draco soothed, patting him on the back. "You'll have to excuse him, he gets a bit upset with people when they try to take what's his." He checked Ron over, smiling when she readily let him examine what was under the towel. "Thank you, Ron. You look wonderful." She blushed and wrapped herself back up so she could hit him on the arm. "Ow! Shrew."

"And don't you forget it either," Ron taunted, then he looked at Snape. "Do you trust him?"

"Not in that state," Harry said quietly. "That's not the usual Snape. He would have killed me if I had pushed him like that before."

"Good point," Draco agreed, walking over to him. "Harry, can you break spells? Unforgivables?"

"In theory."

"Then try to clean him up. Fight, sir, it's the only way," he said gently, nodding at Vincent to hold him in place.

Harry tried, but it was still sticking. "We need Hermione," he announced.

"Going," Ron said, slipping into some clothes. He jogged out of the room, heading directly to the tower. No one would dare snatch him in the middle of the hall. They were trying to be sneaky and he would be fine. Though he could feel the paintings watching him. He walked in and looked around. "Granger?" he panted. They pointed up the stairs. "Good. Thank you." He headed up to the top room, that's where she said she was earlier, and knocked gently. "Hermi?" She opened the door, looking at him. "We need your help," he said quietly. "Harry and Draco found Snape under a curse. Harry can't break it."

"He only fails with the...." she trailed off. "Really?" she demanded. Ron nodded. "Let me get my wand and my notebook, I'll come with you," she agreed. She grabbed the necessary things and followed him back down the stairs, only smiling slightly when she saw him rubbing his chest. "Yes, they get in the way, especially yours at that size." He grinned at her. "Let me in?"

Ron said the password so she could hear it and let them in, following her so he could lock the door. No one was in the room. There was a note on the table. "The Chamber," he said, trying to remember the way. "Okay, come on. They've moved him."

"Which chamber?" she demanded, following him out the door.

"The Chamber of Secrets." He smiled at her. "Harry led me down there before, don't worry about it." He managed to find the entrance and took off his shirt. "Here, we'll need to be blindfolded. Harry said it can drive you mad if you haven't killed something."

She nodded and ripped the shirt for him, taking half. "How are you guiding us?" she asked, taking his hand so he could lead the way.

"Easy, I'm homing in on Harry and Draco." He followed the feeling of the bond, getting closer. Until they ran into a wall. "Oi!" he yelled. "Come get us!"

"That's another way," she smugly agreed. Someone took her hand and she led Ron this time, just a few steps to the side, then the shirt was removed. "Wow." She looked around, blinking at the size of the cavern. "You fought in here?" she asked as she walked over to where Draco was sponging off Snape's face.

"Yeah, I did," Harry admitted, smiling at Ron. "I liked that shirt."

"So buy me a new one," Ron teased, stealing a kiss. "I don't remember a wall."

"A few stones fell," Harry said with a shrug. "You were going the right way." He walked Ron over, leaning against her side while they watched.

It was Vincent who noticed Ron didn't have a shirt on. He stood up and offered his to her then got back down to help. "Thank you for wearing it, Ron. Just put it into the wash."

Draco looked at Ron, watching as she put on the overly big shirt. "You had been wearing a shirt."

"We used it for a blindfold," Hermione said primly. "It's not like I wanted a peek at them. I know what breasts look like." She found the counter she was looking for and cast it, blocking him from having it cast on him again. It was something Bill Weasley had found for her in the course of his studies. She smiled at him. "Good evening, Professor, how do you feel?"

"I have a headache," he noted, sitting up. He looked at everyone. Then at the room. "Why are we in here?"

"You stunned Crabbe and entered my chambers to try and do something with Ron, sir," Harry told him. "We had to get Hermione's help to free you from the curse you were under."

"You were Imperious'd," Vincent agreed. Hermione smiled at him and he felt the earth lighten around him. Then he shook himself, this was a time to be serious. He did smile back at her though. "Do you remember what you were sent to do, sir?"

Snape nodded slowly. "I was sent to examine Mrs. Malfoy," he told them. "Earlier a boy was sent to the pitch and I had to check her over." He looked at Ron and used his wand on her. "I don't know what I was looking for."

"They might not have told you, only expected you to answer questions later," Harry soothed. He helped the man up. "We should probably move him to that bedroom area," he pointed out. "His head's got to ache."

"Fine," Snape agreed, letting him lead the way.

"How did you get in here before, sir?" Ron asked. Draco looked at him. "Harry said he had seen him in here before."

"There's a portal in the dungeons that leads in here," Snape admitted. "The password is Ritual." Harry nodded. "It's a picture of a river."

"Thank you, sir. We'll go out it and reset the password to something you'll know," Draco informed him. Snape nodded, letting himself be put into the bed. Once he was down, he led the way back next to the statue of the head. "What do we do now?"

"Either they think Ron is pregnant or they're hoping Ron's schedule could be found out," Vincent suggested.

"The second takes a test kit," Draco told him. "If it's the first, then there's a reason. Harry, we'll be researching tonight through my father's books." Harry nodded. "Ron, you are not to move from one of our sides. I trust everyone here and no one else. Do you understand?"

"Ginny," Harry put in.

"They could be using her and she wouldn't even know," Draco reminded him. "He can talk with his sister in our room. I've got a few more powerful shielding and protection spells I can use. I found them in my father's things. It was how he shielded his workroom so no one could find it."

"I have some as well," Hermione put in. "We'll compare notes, Draco." He nodded. "That's fine, now what?"

"Now we can either leave the new way and reset the password or we can stay in here and watch him," Draco offered. "Up to you, really; what do you want to do tonight."

"I think we should set up a small emergency pack down here," Harry put in. "We can always disable the other entrances. The one in the bathroom is keyed to a parsletongue. It gives us a safe place to hide."

"Plus, once we disable the other entrances, that means we could have the bed in case we needed to hide down here," Vincent put in, blushing when he saw Hermione's look at him.

"Just kiss her," Draco sighed. "Hermione, he's a very nice young man who never wanted to sleep around. He only did it to fit in with the other boys our age." She blushed but did let him kiss her on the cheek. "Thank you." Draco looked at Harry. "What did you find in your vault, the letter that upset you?"

"I found the notice that I was listed as a national treasure when I was a baby."

"Wow." Ron blinked at him. "That's wonderful. What does it do for you?"

"It means if anyone kills him they're guilty of treason," Draco said with a fond smile for Harry. "It also means that he has the authority to do things like marry couples and to speak in front of the courts on his own, without a councilor if he wants. It also means that any important birthday, like his next one, can be declared a national holiday and day of celebration, giving a lot of people the day off." Vincent snickered. "Harry, you're official, marry them," he said, waving at Hermione and Vincent. She squawked. "That way it's done and you can't escape us," he told her, smiling at her. "I think you'd make a darling couple. Vincent, propose."

"Draco, no offense, but I've only danced with her. I'd like to speak with her for a bit if I can." Draco grimaced at him. "Of course I will if you say so."

"I would never do that to you," Draco sighed. "Fine, take her into the cloak room and get to know her. Harry and Ron know her. She's got to trust one of the two of us." She glared at him, her lips white where they were pressed together. "Oh, do get over it," he sighed. "There's no need to get pissy. You will like him. I know you will. Vincent is not the thug everyone thinks."

"He's not," Ron agreed. "He's a really nice guy who likes to read a lot at home." Hermione raised an eyebrow. "Our friends should be friends," he said firmly. "At least talk to the guy and get to know him."

"Fine," she sighed, leading him across the river to talk to him. He put down his robe for them to sit on like a gentleman, impressing her greatly. "Thank you. Vincent was it?"

"Vincent," he agreed with a slight smile. "Named after my father. I'm a Junior."

"Wonderful." She smiled and patted his hand. "Don't worry, I won't let them force us to do anything like marry." She shuddered. "We're much too young for that activity."

He shrugged. "Half of our house was betrothed at birth. The other half is now picking their mates. This is the normal level of activity for us. Besides, Draco seems very happy and he wants that same happiness for me."

"You don't even know me, Vincent."

"So tell me," he said with a smile. "I know you're beautiful, you're intelligent, you read a lot. You're nearly as good at hexes as Draco is. You've got fire in your eyes," he said, shifting closer so he could take a sniff. "You smell like gardenias. You're very understanding and you're really hot," he finished with a hopeful smile. "Can I kiss you for real?"

She sighed and shook her head. "There's more to me than the fact that I'm stunningly smart and fast. What do you like to read?"

"Mysteries mostly, some fantasy stuff," he admitted, looking down at his own lap. Staring at hers would get him into trouble. "You?"

"I mostly like to read science fiction and fantasy," she admitted. He gave her a smile and she felt her insides make that motion that Ron used to cause in her. "Why me?" she asked.

"Because you're wonderful and you're caring. The way you stick by Harry and Ron is something that I understand. Even if I wasn't bound to Draco, I'd be beside him most of the time. He's my best friend and the closest I'll ever get to being a brother." She did smile, and it was a wonderful sight. "Also because you let me dance with you during the wedding and you never said anything when I stepped on your foot," he admitted with a shy look at her. It was an act but it seemed to help him a lot. He could not steam ahead with this one. "Besides, I think you're wonderful. Isn't that enough of a reason?"

"I suppose," she sighed. He pulled her over and kissed her, a long, hard, probing kiss that made her pant when she finally got away. "That was quite enough. I expected a small peck."

"Sorry," he said with a grin. "As Aunt Narcissa says, boys my age have problems with controlling their bodies. They tend to run us instead of the other way around." He ran a finger down her nose. "I still think you're more than stunning, you're splendid and wonderful."

"If you say so." She looked him over. "We can start having talks in the hallways and walking each other to class if you want."

"Sure," he agreed, even though it wasn't the shag he wanted. She smiled because she knew he wanted more. "It's enough for now," he assured her. "I won't jump you in the halls the way Harry used to do to Blaize."

She nodded. "That might be a good idea. I'd get a reputation."

He laughed and shook his head. "Your reputation is that you're frigid to all the blokes, Hermione. Not that you'd go out with any of us until we jumped through a lot of hoops for you. Besides, I don't brag. I haven't about either of my other conquests."

"Don't tell me, I don't want to know," she said quickly.

He laughed. "I wasn't going to. That is not gentlemanly behavior. Draco taught me that."

"He brags."

"No, others brag on him. He only teases Harry with them to get his goat." He shrugged and stood up, helping her up. "Come on, we should stop their cuddling before it becomes sex. I've seen more than enough of that already."

"You watched them?" she asked, feeling a bit warm.

Vincent noticed the flush on her cheeks and guessed she might want to see it. "We could stay over here," he whispered in her ear. "Pretend to be chatting and the like." She gave him a big eyed look and he grinned. "It's very impressive." She nodded and they sat back down, watching as Draco subtly moved Ron's underwear out of the way so he could enter her while she sat on his lap. Harry was pouting at them. Ron's voice echoed around the room, getting higher and higher. Harry started to pant and touch himself, making Hermione get a bit warmer. Vincent stroked a finger down her upturned arm. They were now lying against each other, blatantly watching, and she was more than shocked at herself. Suddenly, Harry pounced Draco, getting him onto his back and taking what he wanted for himself. He slid down the hard pole like it was greased and moaned the whole way down. They heard the quiet words Ron was soothing his husband with as she stroked his back, watching as well. Draco came and Ron shifted, pushing Harry onto his hands and knees, climbing behind him so he could finish him off. Harry wailed as he came, then he was put next to Draco while she teased herself for their pleasure. When she was done, Harry pulled her closer so he could clean her up with his mouth, making her come again.

Hermione blinked a few times. "I have never watched before," she admitted.

"I told you they were good," he whispered, stroking down her neck. "May I kiss you, Hermione?" She nodded, nearly attacking him in her eagerness. She felt a finger slide under skirt and panties but wasn't going to say anything about it. Not right then. He smothered the noises she was making. "Shh. Watchers have to be quiet," he whispered in her ear. "Otherwise your quarry knows." She smothered her noises against his chest, letting him get her off. "Good girl," he praised. He licked off his fingers. "You look wonderful like that." She blushed as she looked up at him. "You do. If I wasn't ready to blow myself off, I'd do more to you, make you make more sounds like those." She smiled and shifted around to give him a helping hand, making him come and cover his eyes in embarrassment. "Thank you, Hermione."

"Hermi," she whispered in his ear. "This stays between us," she told him. He smiled at her. "I will be seeing you again?"

"All the time. I even know a quiet place to do this with the other kids. I'll show you?" he offered. She nodded. "Thank you."

"No, thank you. That was brilliant." She kissed him again and snuggled up against his chest. "We should wait on them to wake up," she explained at his stunned look.

"I adore cuddling," he promised, holding her tightly against his chest.

Across the stream, Draco smiled at his sleeping mates. That had been a good show. He knew what Vincent liked and he had been right, Hermione liked it as well.


When they emerged the next morning, the new couple went their separate ways but they did give each other a longing look. Professor Snape went to breakfast, just like usual. The trio decided they'd had enough for the week and went out to get ice cream. It was what they usually did when they didn't want to be in class. This year they were just starting a bit earlier than usual - it wasn't November yet. They grabbed Harry's invisibility cloak and headed out through the tunnels, going to the town, where they bribed the owner of the sweet shop to let them use the floo. He even gave them some cocoa when they came up out of the basement. He seemed to enjoy their jaunts as much as they did. So they went to London to do some minor shopping. They went to Paris, courtesy of Draco, to do some major shopping and for lunch. They flooed back to Hogsmeade and ran up the tunnels so they could appear at dinner. Then Snape caught them afterwards, dragging them off by their collars to the Headmaster's office.

"Boys," the headmaster sighed, shaking his head. "What were you thinking? You're supposed to be a good role model, Draco."

Draco snorted. "I'm a Slytherin and I'm bored! What did you expect?" he asked with some humor. "Did you expect me to not cure the nagging itch of mental boredom with something more worthwhile?"

"Shopping for underwear was mentally worthwhile?" Snape asked.

Harry looked at him and nodded. "Very," he said smugly. "You should try it sometime, sir; it'd probably help you a lot. Help you imagine all sorts of new potions that you could torture the students with."

Snape frowned at him but his black eyes showed some amusement at that suggestion. "I have enough imagination for that task as is. You students give me all the reasons I need to think up new and horribly disfiguring potions. As a matter of fact, we made one today in the class you missed. It's worth half this term's grade."

Harry shrugged. "Yay. Like I'm going to be working for a living."

Dumbledore sighed. "That's not the point, Harry. Even if yourhusband does take care of you and decides that you aren't to work, you still have to know the class."

Draco gave him a harsh look. "Because I'm so unskillful?" he asked in a deceptively calm voice.

"No, because you may die before he does," Snape semi-promised. "Now, you have detention with me every day this month. We will have a lot of enjoyable times together I'm sure." He smirked at Ron. "You, of course, will get to scrub things. Mr Potter-Malfoy will get to do some of that as well." He smirked at his godson. "You can scrub all the cauldrons for all the classes."

"Yay," Draco said dryly. "That means I get to make them disappear as well, doesn't it?" he asked, giving him a look. "That would be an acceptable mental challenge, wouldn't it?"

Ron smacked him on the thigh. "Stop it before he robs his own house of points."

"Yay," Harry said dryly. "We don't care. The rest of the creatures in the house are on their own, they always have been, Ron. They don't like me, I don't like them, they tend to leave us alone." He looked at Dumbledore. "Anything else, sir? I'm rather tired after our trip to Paris today."

"I believe we should talk about your extra training, Harry," Dumbledore said quietly. "How is that going?"

"Draco's a whiz at getting him to work," Ron said, smiling at Harry, then at Draco. "You do very good in the motivation department."

"I should, I lived in the same room with the boy for the last six years. I know what motivates him the fastest." He touched his wife's ear. "Don't hit me again."

"Fine, sorry," Ron said with a small grin. "We like you."

"I like you as well," Snape agreed. "Are you drunk?"

"Nope, not today," Ron told him, standing up. "Are you taking their Head Boy status?" Dumbledore sighed and shook his head. "Then we're going to go back to our rooms and unpack our new clothes. Female clothes I might add." He tugged Harry up and Harry kissed Draco firmly, making him follow along. "Really," Ron sighed. "Two of us are adults, what do they think we're doing?"

"That's true, Mr. Potter-Malfoy isn't," Snape agreed from behind them. "Perhaps we should need a permission slip from his guardians?"

"He's married, that means I'm his guardian," Draco reminded him. "And I say Harry is to follow me all day every day for the rest of his natural and unnatural life." He put a hand on Harry's rear to make his point clear to his godfather. "Do try more things. It's not like you're going to win. We can leave. Us being married means that Harry can have our permission to leave and that's all he needs by Ministry standards." He blew a kiss. "Excuse us, I have to teach Ron how to wear a thong now. They so delight Harry. He drools." He walked them to his room, undoing both locks and letting them in. He relocked it and kissed Harry soundly. "You, behave in front of the people trying to mold you." He kissed Ron. "You, never hit me again or you'll be put over my lap and spanked like your mother should have. You may pinch, bite, nibble, or even suck, but you may not hit."

"Yes, Draco," Ron said, giving him a miserable look.

"Fine, you can give light love taps," Draco sighed, giving in. That's when he realized the protective part of the spell had kicked in. "Ron, are you *needy*?" he asked, purring slightly.

"I am!" Harry said, bouncing slightly.

Ron grinned at him. "We know that, Harry, you've been all but in my clothes with me all day." He looked at Draco. "I want you to touch me but it's not a *need* yet, why?"

"Because I believe that the bond has sparked," he said, giving her a kiss. "You are rather a special creature, Ron, you were even before you were changed." He pulled away and picked up Harry, tossing him onto the bed. "Stay there. No touching anything on yourself or on us until we're fully unpacked." Harry pouted but he did as he was told. Draco wouldn't play with him otherwise, he had already learned that lesson today. Draco had Ron put on one of the flimsy nightgowns they had bought and get onto the bed, but not to touch Harry, then he put everything away except tomorrow's outfits. He walked over to look at his prize possessions, remembering the question Harry had asked during the reception. He made it so anything said by them was inaudible to an outside and frowned. "Harry asked me a question and I think we need to discuss it," he said quietly. "He wanted to know if anything about this, that he could do, would help him in the war." He sat on the end of the bed looking at them, prompting them for an answer.

"If we did the process on him before the final battle and made him spend the day under us would it help?" Ron asked.

Draco nodded. "It will make him stronger. As it did you, Ron." Ron nodded, that was true. "What I'm concerned about is that he could be used if we did it."

"Or that old stinky butt will pant?" Harry asked.

Draco nodded again. "Also a good point." Ron groaned. "What?" he asked, looking worried.

"A thought. If you put me in a thong tomorrow, I'll have to wear it to detention."

"Harry, set her back on track," Draco ordered. Harry leaned over and kissed her then moved down to her neck. "Thank you." Harry didn't let go so he sighed and went on anyway. "There is a way to use Ron's blood without her dying," he continued. "It won't make him as strong as he would be on his own though."

"Is there a temporary one?" Ron breathed, getting into what Harry was doing.

"I don't know," Draco admitted, thinking about it. "I've never seen one."

"Could we make one?" Ron moaned as Harry moved down, bypassing her breasts for once.

"We might be able to make one, but we'd risk it not working or being permanent." Harry shrugged. He pulled him away from Ron's stomach and the new sensitive spot he had found. "Was that an answer?"

"Draco, can we do it while I train?" Harry asked. Draco nodded, thinking it sounded like a reasonable suggestion. "Then I'm willing to take that chance. Right now, it's a slim ray of hope in a dim future. If it's permanent, it is. If it doesn't work, we'll train me harder."

"Plus, if we can get the twin's notes it's started for us," Ron added, stealing Harry back. "Do more, Harry."

"Yes, Ron," he said dutifully, going down on her.

Draco rolled his eyes at those two's act. "Fine, I'll be the brains. It's not like I'm not the smartest anyway."

"Brilliant," Ron agreed.

"Genius," Harry put in between licks.

This time Draco stole Ron. "Brains now, brainlessness later, boys."

Harry attacked Ron where she was sitting on Draco's lap. "If I wanted to use my brain, I wouldn't be ripping Ron's clothes off."

Ron swatted at him. "No ripping clothes," he ordered.

Draco kissed her ear. "He can rip that one, that's why we bought it." Harry ripped the nightgown with a look of unholy glee and carnal delight. "Can we get the twin's notes?"

"I'll beg tomorrow," Ron moaned, spreading out for Harry's pleasure. "They'll agree if they think it'll help."

"You can't tell them why," Harry reminded him before moving lower.

"I can get around that," Ron groaned. "Draco, make him suck!" he demanded.

"Harry, quit teasing," Draco said patiently. "Or else you'll get it later and you hate being teased." Harry quit teasing and Ron suddenly stiffened on his lap, making him hold her up while her mouth opened and she let out an ear piercing wail of joy. "Banshee," he teased. She gave him a dopey grin and slid off onto the bed. Someone pounded on the door. "We're going to have to get you a gag," he said as he got up to answer it. He found a worried Snape on the other side. "She screams when she gets off. She even scared her father," he noted. Snape shook his head and forced his way inside. "Fine," Draco agreed, looking at the bed. "Harry, let her up for a few. You can finish licking her later," he said as he closed the door. Almost immediately someone knocked so he opened it again. "Granger," he said, letting her in. Vincent was right behind her. "What do we owe this pleasure to?"

"McGonagall just told us to come down here," Hermione said with a shrug. She saw Harry and Ron cuddling on the bed, Harry covering an obviously nude Ron. "You could let her get dressed, Draco," she said, turning to him.

"Harry just ripped her clothes off, why would she want to get dressed?" Draco asked.

"Good point," Vincent agreed, smiling and waving at the duo on the bed. "Maybe a robe? I don't want to leer at her but she's got a nice chest, Draco."

"Ron, robe," Draco agreed quickly. Ron sighed and let Harry grab her a robe and a new nightgown to lounge about in. "Thank you." He looked at Snape. "Why did you come?"

"Minerva heard something and she's worried," he said, getting comfortable. Someone knocked on the door. "That should be her."

Draco let in the other teacher, nodding at her for her look around. "I brought some touches of home," he admitted smugly. "Do sit, tell us what's going on."

She sat and looked at Harry. "Harry, I've found something out and you're not going to like it." He shrugged. She frowned. "I'm serious."

"What's happened now?" Hermione asked.

"His cousin was attacked by a Death Eater tonight. Fortunately the boy beat him senseless and took his wand before he got off more than a hex." Harry shrugged. "That doesn't concern you?"

"Dudley's a bully. Was he in a group or did they stalk him?" Harry asked.

"As far as we were told, he was in a group. They don't know about your aunt and uncle. Or about the boy's relationship to you. He did tell the muggle police that the man had a wand. That has been removed from the official reports." She smiled at him. "We thought there might be more to it so I sent someone to watch the house. For some reason, they're allowing him contact with them. I saw him chatting with one in full kit and mask." Harry's face hardened even as one eyebrow went up. "We don't know what's going on but we have to believe that he's consorting with them."

"Then that's his problem," Draco told her, moving closer to Harry, the same as Ron was.

"Why would they let a muggle that close and actually talk to him?" Hermione asked.

"Because they're searching for Harry's weaknesses," Ron told her. She slumped down a bit. "That means that they have to know and there's a leak in Dumbledore's office, right?" She nodded. "Do we have any idea who?"

"One of the house elves," Draco said, coughing to clear his throat. "Vincent, remember how many times we thought he was talking to a child?"

Vincent nodded, looking grim. "I do. It seemed like it was at least once a month until we started school, then we heard it every once in a while," he said thoughtfully.

"Well, we know it's not Dobby or Knuppy," Ron pointed out. "One's drunk most of the time and Dobby's too happy about being freed for it to be them."

"The school employs nearly eighty house elves," Snape offered. "None of the traditional truth methods work on them either."

"What is Dumbledore doing about this?" Hermione asked.

"He's letting it go for now. He doesn't believe the second report," McGonagall told her. "That's why I came to you directly. I know we're not exactly on the same side any more, but we are all fighting for the same reason." Harry nodded. "Let me say I am sorry. I thought it was necessary up until the end of your first year, Harry. After that I did push to have him let you go. I was very wrong about you."

"Hindsight is wonderful," Harry said bitterly. "I'm not going back there. They can run away like everyone else."

"I understand," she agreed.

"Understand what?" Snape asked.

Draco cleared his throat. "His cousin is a bully greater than Goyle only he has to have a pack around him. You could say he and my father share similar qualities of courage." Snape's face went paler. "Add to that the fact that his aunt and uncle support this behavior and encourage it. That's all he's shared with me about that person, but I fear there is more," he said, looking at Ron. "Don't you have more facts?" He kept Harry from saying anything or protesting.

"They decide not to feed him now and then for weeks on end," Ron added. "They put bars on his windows so he can't get out of his room. Little things like that too," he noted bitterly.

Snape slumped in on himself. "Lucius was the one who told us the boy was spoiled."

Harry gave a bitter laugh and Draco eased up on him. "I'm no more spoiled than you are," he said dryly. "Now if you wouldn't mind, we're planning things now. We'll factor this in as well. I'm sure my uncle and aunt support their son, if only so they can get rid of me in a more permanent fashion."

Draco suddenly smirked. "We never told your adoring relatives about our marriage," he told everyone. Harry and Ron burst out laughing. "With your permission, we're going to go out to dinner the day after tomorrow. I believe I should meet my adoring in-laws." McGonagall looked astonished but Snape did nod and look very smug. "Harry, find us somewhere suitably upscale where they can't throw a fit. Ron, love, may I fix your gender tonight?"

"Male or female?" she asked. "And for how long?"

"We'll be skipping the male part this time," he assured her, giving her a kiss. "I'll try to put you back this weekend."

"Is that wise?" Hermione asked.

"It will only hurry his cycle," Snape told her as he stood up. "I'll allow you out of your detentions tomorrow night for such an event. Do tell me how it went," he said with a nod before leaving.

McGonagall smiled at them. "If you do, remember she must be in an appropriate school uniform," she reminded. "That means she must be wearing the uniform."

"Technically, I don't have to," Ron told her. "I'm only in three classes, the rules say full time students." She smiled smugly. "The book was handed to me by Percy even."

She rolled her eyes. "As long as you are enrolled here, I will expect you to be properly attired as a student, Mrs. Malfoy. Until such a time as you drop out." She walked out, leaving them there.

Draco looked at his bodyguard and Hermione. "Did you know we have an extra room?" Vincent shook his head. "We do, but it needs cleaned up. If you want, you may have it for overnight stays. I'm going to get some of my father's stores up from the closet." He walked Vincent over and opened the door, showing him everything in there. "I suppose Flint left it. There's not enough dust for it to have been any other Slytherin Head Boy." He clapped him on the back and walked out, heading to get them the usual stockpile of liquor and treats.

Hermione walked over and looked inside, then gasped. "That's horrible!" she said firmly. "Help me take it down, Vincent." She walked into the small room, working on the first leather strap to get it free of the chain holding it up.

He walked in and the door shut. There was an exit marking so it should be fine. "Hermione, it's not for bad things. Otherwise there would be a drain. This was for people who liked to be whipped for pleasure." She scowled at him. "Sorry. Of course I'll help you take it down. The same as you can help me move in a comfortable bed and chairs?" She nodded and he found her something to stand on, helping the most by steadying her as she worked with his hands around her trim waist. Slowly the restraints and chains came down, piled in a heap on the floor. He'd have to send those to Blaize, he would adore having them. He kissed her lower back suddenly, making her wobble a bit. "You look hot doing that."

She looked down at him. "Why?"

"Because you're stretched out and I can see your breasts jiggle and I think you're really pretty."

"Vincent," she sighed. "Now is not the time for such sentiments."

"Now is the perfect time," he corrected, lifting her off and over his shoulder. There was a small mattress in the corner so he laid her on it, kissing her gently. "I'll try for romantic next time," he assured her, then he kissed her again. She moaned and arched up under him, making him wiggle against her a bit. "I do like you, Hermione. Draco was being pushy because he knew I like you. He wants me to be happy and you make me happy."

"I always thought you were more a man of action," she teased. He grunted and nipped her hard on the collarbone. "Sorry, I enjoy your voice."

"You wouldn't know this but I was forever asking for words to help me with my crossword puzzles," he told her, kissing her gently. "May I do what I did the other night?" he pleaded. "Without or with your clothes on if you want."

She laughed and pushed up against his hips, making him shiver. "I wouldn't mind at all, but seeing those straps disturb me, Vincent. Help me get them all down and I'll let you take off my clothes and kiss me some more."

"Like Harry does to Ron?" he asked, looking excited by the prospect. "Please?"

"What do those two do?"

"He licks her here," he said, touching that favorite spot. Her eyes widened. "Please? I'll even let you tie me up if you want."

She swallowed. "Is that something you want to have done?"

"No, but you're so forceful I thought you might want me to be that way."

"No, I like manly men, Vincent, you don't have to pretend for me." He kissed her again, rolling her on top of him and squeezing her. She whimpered against his lips so he squeezed her rear instead, making her moan. "Vincent, straps and then that," she repeated. "Then I'll tell you my treat."

"What treat?" he demanded.

"I found the spells that built the castle, including a scrying spell for inside," she whispered, staring down into his eyes. "For any room we choose to any room we choose." He noticeably hardened. "Now help me get the straps down and I'll be in the perfect position for that licking you wanted to do."

He nodded, helping her up. They had the wall-mounted cuffs left and she did have to lean up a bit. As soon as she was up on tiptoe, he knelt behind her and took down her panties for her, letting her step out of them. He noticed she had grabbed one of the straps to hold onto so he started licking, sopping up the juices she was producing. "You taste sweet," he told her, going back for more. She was resting her face against one of the straps, holding on for dear life now. He smiled and lifted her up again, one hand in a very convenient spot to touch her, and took her back to the mattress. "We'll be putting a good bed in here, one that doesn't squeak," he promised her. "We'll need it when we use that spell." She nodded, guiding his head back down underneath her skirt. "You want more?" he teased.

"Now, Vincent, or pay the price," she warned.

"What price?"

She pointed at the set of cuffs still on the wall. "You'll be staying there while I play with myself." He quickly got back to what he had been doing, making his girlfriend go gooey with lust.


Ron walked out of her first class that morning, glaring at her husbands. She wanted to pull the thong out of the crack of her butt so badly but she knew it wasn't polite. She stopped them so everyone else would pass them by and they could have a bit of privacy. "Can't I change?" she begged quietly. "These things are cutting me in half and I'm getting rubbed."

Harry started to drool. "Really?" he asked, glancing around before pulling her closer and putting her between them so he could get a quick grope in. "These are too tight, Draco," he whispered. "But she's very wet."

Draco nipped Ron on the shoulder. "We'll deal with that later," he promised them both. "Think of it as punishment for being naughty this morning, Harry."

"Why do I have to be punished when he's the one who told you he wouldn't blow you?" Ron asked, looking a little warmer than usual. Harry hadn't removed his fingers yet and he was gently teasing her. She was going to lose her mind soon, she just knew she would.

"Because he knows that he can't taste what you're putting out," Draco pointed out, smacking Harry's hand and taking its place with his own. She bit her lip, then grabbed Harry to kiss as Draco finished her off. He glanced around before pulling out his fingers and licking them off. "There, how's that feel, Ron?"

"Better," she admitted with a sappy grin. "Much better." She gave him a hard kiss. "I'll get you back for that some morning, Draco. Now I'll have to go through all my classes like this." Harry moaned, a pitiful sounding whimper. She kissed him gently. "I think we'll have to buy me the bigger size next time."

"Those were the smaller ones," Harry reminded her. He tried to cop another feel but she shifted out of the way. "Ron!" he pleaded.

"Lick your fingers off," Draco instructed, patting Ron on the rear so she could hurry off to class. Harry whined as he licked off his fingers, giving him pathetic looks. "Next time, give both of us a turn in your mouth in the mornings," he chided, walking Harry off to Charms.

McGonagall came out of her classroom, blushing hard. It was a good thing she didn't have a class this period.


Hermione looked at the book of spells she had found, giving it a smug look. This would be a suitable surprise for Ron and Harry's wedding present from her. She hooked into the spell matrix and talked to the castle, asking it nicely for what would make Draco and Vincent happier - to expand their room. She smiled when she felt it be done, thanking it politely. It told her where a room she had wanted to find was and switched it down so it was one of the ones in Draco's new suite. She thanked it again and gave it the mental equivalent of a hug, stunning it. She slipped out and went down to find Ron in his study hall. She slid into the seat next to his. "Tell your mate I just got you guys a bedroom door," she whispered. He looked at her, giving her a quizzical look. So she put the book in front of him. "The school's spells. You now have a dressing room for the three of you. It's my wedding present for you guys, and a prezzie for myself. Don't use the blue door, that's for me. Okay?" He nodded and she left to find a book for herself and put that one back on the shelf, misshelving it like it had been when she found it while looking for something for a Magical Creature's essay. She found the book she had been looking for in the Potions section and drifted off to check it out.


Ron stopped Harry in the halls. "Tell the blond one that Hermione did something to our rooms for a wedding present," he said with a grin. "We need to go look at it."

"I've got my next class with him, we'll go during our free time, or during lunch," Harry agreed, stealing a kiss. He went to join Draco in their second-half of double Charms, sliding in close enough to nearly be on his lap. "Hermione did something to our room for a wedding present," he whispered. Draco looked at him. "Ron told me."

"Ah." He smiled and stole a kiss. "Strawberry lip gloss. Got a kiss?"

"A brief and nice one," Harry admitted with a grin. "I said we'd go look during our free period or lunch."

"We'll go after this one and miss Sprout. We have to get dressed anyway. Where are we going for dinner?"

"I haven't decided. Somewhere with a large bar or just somewhere nice?" Draco looked at him. "I couldn't find a listing for one with any stars of note, but the two I picked out are very nice sounding."

"Fine. We'll leave a bit early. Which one did you tell them?"

"I told them we'd be stopping by to pick them up, but not that we'll be in a limo," Harry told him.

"Oh, really?" Draco asked, shocked at that step up. "Why?"

"Because I've always wanted to ride in one and it's the one thing my uncle will respect most," Harry said smugly. "He always looks at the car the people drive."

"And how are you renting one?" Draco asked, giving him a rub of his thumb across his bottom lip.

"I have money, Draco."

"Really?" Harry nodded. "Well. I wish you had told me that." He stole another kiss. "That's fine, we'll leave after lunch and go find the perfect spot and make sure they'll accommodate us. What did you feel like eating?"

"I don't know. They'll judge it both by the rating and the price. I was going to get a tourist's guide when we picked up the ride." He smiled at the teacher as he walked back in after his break. "What is Ron wearing?"

"I'll figure that out when we go for lunch," Draco whispered back. The teacher looked at him and he shrugged. "Family business."

"Of course it is," Professor Flitwick agreed, smiling smugly at them. "The Headmaster wanted to speak to you two. Why don't you go now? You mastered this charm last class." They nodded and left, going up to the Headmaster's office. "For those of you who didn't get it, we're doing the same one again," he said happily. "Practice makes perfect and gives you good scores on your upcoming tests."

Draco led the way into the Headmaster's office. "You needed to see us?" he asked, sitting in the pointed-at chair, Harry behind him with his hands on his shoulders.

"It seems someone's adjusted your room for you," he said quietly. "Might you know who?"

"No, sir, we were in class," Harry reminded him.

"Fine. Could you ask the school nicely to return the extra rooms?"

"Would it work?" Draco asked.

Dumbledore shook his head. "Probably not. Oh, well, at least we'll be able to move Vincent down there with you three, Mr. Malfoy. I know you've had him down there until after curfew each night recently." Draco nodded. "That's fine. It appears Ms. Granger's Head Girl's room is also connecting yours. Remember to lock it at night." They nodded. "Thank you, boys. Return to class."

"Actually, sir, we had an appointment tonight with Harry's family for dinner, they wanted to meet me. Professor Snape said it was all right if we took the afternoon off."

"We did ask for permission," Harry put in. "He agreed."

Draco patted his hands. "He's a bit anxious. May we leave now and have the extra time to get ready? We'll appear for lunch and leave directly after that."

Dumbledore looked at him. "Why would you want to meet his family, Mr. Malfoy?"

"Because I told them about my marriage and they want to try and convince him he's an idiot, either that or they want paid back for keeping me," Harry said stiffly. Dumbledore slowly looked at him. "Just like they did last summer, sir." He pulled Draco up. "We're going to gather Ron out of Creatures and then get ready. We'll see you at lunch, sir."

"Harry, they are adults, you are not."

"He is married, that allows *me* to make the decision about letting him out or not," Draco pointed out. "We'll be bringing Vincent of course for our protection and we promise to stay in London and look like a normal Lord and his consort." He let Harry lead him away, not listening to the spluttering going on. "Pick the most expensive and I'll make the reservation," Draco promised, smiling at Harry as they walked outside. They found Ron digging in the flower garden and Harry hugged him, whispering in his ear. "Come along, you two. We've got to make you stunning in a muggle way." He led them back to their rooms, hissing when he saw what had transpired. "I do believe we have one of the guest suites," he said fondly, looking around. They now had a sitting room, a full bedroom, two guest bedrooms, a blue door, an open dressing room door, and a larger bathroom. "What's that one?" he asked, pointing at the blue door.

"Hermione said we can't go through it. It's hers," Ron said quickly.

"That's fine as well," Draco agreed, letting them go to take showers. He looked in the dressing room, smiling at the organization that was what he would have wanted himself. He opened the special cabinet and trunk, pulling down a gorgeous deep green dress for Ron and the attending accessories he couldn't resist. Then he walked over to Harry's side and pulled out a stunning outfit in deep blue so dark it was nearly black, laying it out as well. For himself he chose a wonderful black robe. Then he remembered where they were eating and put back both his and Harry's outfits, pulling out instead a suit in a forest green for Harry, it had been the one he liked the best when they were shopping for him, and for himself a pair of black pants and a medium gray shirt with a gray tie. He decided on a dull black jacket to go with it. Then he looked at Ron's dress. What was the current muggle fashion? "Granger?" he called when he heard the door open. Parvati walked in. "Oh, Patil," he said happily enough. Any port in a storm. "We're going to meet Harry's guardians. Do you think that dress is too much of ours and not close enough to muggle fashion?"

She walked over to lift it up so she could see it. "Yes, Draco, the fabric is moving itself." She put it back and pulled out a simple slip dress in rose pink, showing it to him. He shook his head. "No?"

"Dinner at a fancy hotel," Harry said as he came in. "Having trouble?"

"I don't usually dress to stun muggles," Draco admitted, starting to frown. He walked over to look in Ron's wardrobe, finding the perfect outfit between them. A gray slip dress with a flared skirt that fell just past the knees. It had a little jacket but he decided against it because it had been so warm recently. "Thank you for your help, Patil."

"Not a problem. Hermione sent me to tell you to leave the blue door alone." She shrugged. "Whatever that means." She kissed Harry on the cheek then left them alone.

"Ron, hurry up, we've still got to do your hair and makeup," Harry called. "Shoes?" he asked Draco. Draco held up a pair of fashionable mules. "Good enough then." He did all the necessary things before dressing, shaving, deodorant, all that personal hygiene stuff, and then slid into his new clothes. A pair of black socks was handed to him for his patent leather loafers and Draco helped him tie his tie to make sure it was perfect.

Ron came out swaddled in towels, letting Draco dry him off and work on his skin and hair before getting him dressed. Then they did the makeup and let him pack his bag while Draco finished dressing. By the time they were done, the lunch gong had rung. They walked up there together, Ron sitting with them this time. They got a few interested looks but Ron glared at most of them. "We have to go out on family business," he said loudly enough to make sure everyone heard. "We'll be back tonight before curfew." They ate a hearty lunch and then flooed off.

Harry rented the limo and the driver had an excellent suggestion. Not the best place but an up and coming place that was famous enough and expensive enough, John Burton-Race off Maylebone Road in London. They had a wide menu and were getting a lot of good press recently. They had a good wine list and they were a French place, but that could be excused because they served a lot of seafood. By the time they had reserved a space for themselves it was time to start toward Surrey. Harry gladly paid the fees for the limo out of his own accounts, he had always wanted to do this. He joined his mates in the back, smiling at them. He patted Ron's hand. "Remember, we're going fancy. Nothing that squirts," he said.

"I know, Harry," Ron sighed.

Draco patted both their hands. "Calm down. It will be fine."


Harry let Draco lead the way up to the front door, he even let Draco knock for him. He smiled at his aunt as she opened the door. "Nearly ready?"

"Almost. I hope you don't mind that we're bringing Dudley to meet your new spouses?" she asked dryly.

"No. We're going to a modest, yet fairly new restaurant that has been getting good reviews," Draco assured her. The limo door opened and Ron was handed out. "Come." Ron walked up to where they were, smiling at the woman in the doorway. "May we wait inside?"

"Please." She let them into the living room, watching as they sat. "I was surprised when I received your letter," she said, sitting across from them.

"It was rather quickly done," Ron agreed demurely.

"And yet you're not showing," Aunt Petunia noted dryly.

Ron laughed. "It wasn't for that reason, Mrs. Dursley, really. We're waiting until we're out of school for that." She looked over as the door opened and Harry's uncle walked in. "Hello."

"Sorry I'm late, a bit of traffic problem, those rubberneckers," he said, nodding at them. "Rented?" he asked.

"We have no need of vehicles," Draco pointed out dryly.

"You can get around through the fireplaces, I remember," his aunt agreed.

"That and for adults there's a method called apparating," Harry told her. "It's fairly quick. We went to Paris the other day for some shopping and it only took about half an hour to get there." She looked impressed. "Plus, we all are avid broomers. We all play quidditch," Harry told her.

"Isn't that a bit rough for a girl?" Petunia asked. It seemed like she was trying not to be condescending.

Ron shrugged. "No worse than Rugby or some of the other muggle games," she offered. "Though that is one of the reasons we married quickly. Me and my new twin sisters."

Vernon Dursley looked her over. "I thought you looked familiar. Changed genders?"

"A spell backfired and now I change on a set schedule. For now, I'm female."

"It's what allowed us to be a trio instead of forcing me to decide between them," Harry said smugly. "Oops, I forgot. Draco Malfoy, this is my Uncle Vernon and my Aunt Petunia. The young man who'll be joining us is my Cousin Dudley." He smiled at his Uncle and then his Aunt. "Aunt, Uncle, this is Draco, Lord Malfoy." She looked stunned but his uncle looked unimpressed by the title. "Are you ready, uncle? Our reservations are at six and it's about halfway across town."

"Give me a moment to clean myself up," he told him, heading up the stairs.

"You're landed gentry?" Petunia asked Draco. He nodded. "Wouldn't your own social class disagree with your union?"

"We don't know what Harry's father was," Ron pointed out. "He could have been gentry himself, only wizarding gentry. They were moving around so much during those last days that no one really reported anything on them and most of the records have been sealed. All we know is that most of their worldly possessions ended up in a bank chamber so they wouldn't have to move it all. Harry will be getting it next year."

"There's been a small inheritance that's paid for my education, but we're not sure about anything else," Harry said demurely, smiling at Ron. "I doubt he was, but they were well enough off that it wouldn't matter." He smiled as Draco brushed a hand over the back of his hair.

"Plus Harry is a national hero, listed on our list of National Treasures. We expect him to have nothing but more praise after he ends this upcoming war." He smiled at Harry, then at Ron. "Ron's family might have been poor, but their bloodline is impeccable and nothing can really be said about it." He looked Dudley over as he ran down the stairs. "Your cousin, Harry?" Harry nodded. "Very nice to meet you." He didn't offer to shake his hand.

"Who're you?" Dudley demanded. His mother glared at him.

"These are my spouses," Harry said, and he could see the jealousy spring up in Dudley's eyes. "This is my wife, Ron, and my husband, Draco, Lord Malfoy."

"Oh. You're royal then?" he asked.

Draco nodded. "A distant cousin; we've kept the family name, lineage, and purity for over twenty-six generations. Before that the records aren't scrupulous so we don't say much about them." He smiled at him. "Is your father nearly done? We've had a bit of a day today trying to figure out where to eat tonight. Harry couldn't find my dining guide for hours."

"You managed reservations within a day at a trendy new restaurant?" Vernon said as he came down the stairs. Draco nodded. "Flicked your wand?"

"Used my name," Draco corrected. He stood up and helped Ron and Harry up. "Come, the limo's waiting. We thought it best to use your method of transport instead of ours tonight." He led the way out, handing Ron and Harry in first, then Petunia since it didn't look like her husband was going to. His mother had been fierce in his protocol training. You always handed a woman in and out of any sort of vehicle. He climbed in and settled between his mates, taking both their hands to hold. Harry was nearly vibrating with the desire to show them up. "James Burton-Race," he ordered the driver. They took off, cruising through the early evening traffic. They could hear a bit of talking between the driver and Vincent, who was sitting up front.

"I've heard of that place, it serves wonderful seafood," Petunia put in to break the silence.

"So we've heard. It is French, but they serve enough traditional food for even the less discriminating eaters. They also have a good bar and wine list. We've reserved a quiet corner table so we can chat and get to know each other," Harry told her. He looked at Dudley. "You can order whatever you want," he assured him with a faint smile. Draco squeezed his hand. "So, Uncle Vernon, how is the factory?"

"Doing well. We're retooling a line to do oil drill bits since we won the bid earlier this year," he said proudly. "Quite a feat for us. It added sixteen new jobs and I got a bonus for it."

"Wonderful work," Ron agreed. "My own father is in government work. He's one who liaises between your kind and our kind. Head of his department and very happy where he is."

"And your mother?" Petunia asked.

"She's stayed at home with all us. It meant that there was a bit less money but she's a wonderful woman. You met her a few years back." Petunia nodded, she remembered that event. "Right now, the whole family's involved in helping the war end faster."

"Your kind are at war?" Vernon asked.

"Yes, we are," Harry said, looking directly at Dudley. His uncle caught his look. "As a matter of fact, we heard a report that said you were being visited by some of the other side." Dudley went pale. "Dudley, those people don't like you. They're using you and they like to hurt people like you," he said gently, with a somewhat sad smile. He had worked that part out with Draco earlier, though Ron did look a bit surprised to hear his sentiments.

"How did you hear about that?" Petunia asked.

"We have people who check on you now and again. It's all part of the protection you earned for taking him in," Draco said smoothly. "Harry, less talk of the war," he said gently. Harry nodded and smiled at him. "Sorry, but it does take up a lot of our attention these days. Harry's doing double training because of it and this is a wonderful treat for him to escape the school for a few hours." He patted Ron's hand. "She is just wonderful and so very supporting of us."

Ron smiled at him. "I think my hair pin's coming down, would you check it for me?" She shifted and he fixed the hair pin. "Thank you, Draco," she said, giving him an alluring smile. He smiled back, his eyes half closed at her sultry nature. Harry coughed. "Sorry. Newlyweds and all that." She looked at Petunia. "We would have invited you but it was necessary to be married as quickly as possible when the spell backfired. There are people who would hurt me because of what I am and can now do."

"That makes you more special?" Dudley scoffed.

"No, it makes her more powerful," Harry corrected with a smile for his cousin. The car slowed and he looked out the window. "I suppose we're nearly there?" The window between them and the driver went down. "What's going on?"

"It's a licensing check, sir, we're three vehicles behind the checkpoint. Should I call ahead and warn them?"

"Should we make it in time?" Petunia asked.

He looked back there. "Possibly, but they're very full recently."

"Then have Vincent call ahead," Draco agreed. The window went back up. "Sorry about that. It was an unexpected event."

"Who is Vincent?" Dudley asked.

"My bodyguard," Draco told him. "Now Ron's and Harry's as well. He's up front." He patted Ron's hand, then kissed Harry on the cheek when he leaned close. "He's been very good about helping them for quite a while now. Ron and Harry have been friends since we started school and I and Harry shared a dorm room. This year, we share a suite together."

"They're also the Head Boys," Ron said proudly, smiling at Harry. "For someone who can make certain teachers blow their tops, you do very well."

"I know," Harry agreed smugly. "Third highest in Defense and Magical Creatures."

"You study creatures?" Vernon asked. The limo started to move again then stopped. "This is bothersome."

"It's a planned event, they're cracking down again," Petunia soothed, touching him on the hand. "Have you studied many creatures?"

"A few of the ones you'd recognize from mythology. We have a centaur doing Divinations now." He stopped as the window lowered again. "Is there a problem?"

"Possibly, sir. They had the passengers get out of the car in front of us." They pulled up to the checkpoint and he left the window down.

One of the officers opened the back door. "If you would please step out, sirs and ladies, we'll have you on your way quickly. This is an initiative to raise awareness about bad driving."

"By having passengers get out?" Petunia asked. "Aren't you causing a problem instead of solving one?" She let him help her out and stood in front of her son.

Draco looked at the man and frowned at him. "Why would you need to see us? We obviously do not drive."

"Sir, we're looking at everyone's ID's," the officer said patiently. Only Harry handed over one. "The rest of yours?"

"Give them yours," Ron whispered. "The pretty one for the House of Lords." She watched as he looked it over then his eyes went wide. "We're newly married and meeting my in-laws," Ron told him. "Can't we hurry this up?" A hand was held out. "I didn't bring one," she scoffed. "I have no need to carry one." They looked at her.

Draco put an arm around her. "This is the Lady Malfoy, the twenty-seventh one. My wife." The officer nodded and let them get back into the car, waving them off. "Tiresome problems," he said with disgust.

Harry leaned closer, giving Draco a light kiss on the lips. "I'm proud of you, you didn't hurt him," he said gently. "You'll get rewarded later for being so good." Draco smiled and kissed him this time, a bit more hard and something guaranteed to make Harry whimper with need. "Thank you."

Ron shifted over and kissed him as well. "Be a good boy, Harry, and I'll let you give me a backrub." Harry beamed. "Good boy." He slid back into his original position. "Sorry, it has been a long day. Classes all morning and the settling in period, all that stuff." He looked at Dudley, who was nearly panting. "Something wrong?"

"I've never watched two guys go at it," Dudley said.

"Don't you even think about it," Vernon warned. He looked at Harry. "You're with both of them?" Harry nodded. "Do you think that's the right way to be?"

Harry grinned. "They love me, Uncle Vernon. They care enough to check on me throughout the day, to support me when I'm having a bad day, and to take care of me. Draco lets me be the needy and caring individual I am. He lets me take care of him and pamper him as long as I want."

"Harry really is very caring and loving toward us," Ron agreed. "Besides, with what I am, it made our trio legal among our kind," he said quietly. Draco put the separating window back up. "Thank you, dear." She kissed him and had to moan as his lips touched hers. "I think that part of our bond is kicking in."

"Good," Draco said with a small smirk. He looked at the other family. "Harry is wonderful to us and never demands anything. You might say he even had a problem expressing the fact that he wants things. At least he's easy to retrain so he expresses his desires, but also his wants on the more physical plane. We adore taking care of him, the same as he does us." He scratched his ear.

"You might even say that Harry is a lot like a puppy, always ready to give and receive attention and affection," Ron added.

"It's a gift that I happen to admire in a mate, that intense need for my attention," Draco agreed. "Thankfully he's kept it, even though he had to do more than every other student in the school to catch up and find himself." The limo stopped and the door opened, this time Vincent was helping them out. "Thank you, Vincent," he said as he stepped out. "This is Harry's Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin," he said with a wave of his hand. "Learn who they are." Vincent nodded, giving him a discreet smile. "Come, let's eat. It's been hours since lunch and it wasn't that wonderful today."

"Hermione got onto the house elves again," Ron said before they could enter the restaurant. She took Harry's arm, letting him walk her in while Draco led the way.

"We have a reservation," Draco told the hostess. "Malfoy, party of six?" She nodded and led them to an intimate table shielded by a small, decorative bush. "This is excellent," he said with a smile and a small tip. She left them to seat themselves so he helped Ron into a seat, then Petunia, then Harry on his other side. "Do get whatever you want," he said as he picked up his menus.

"Is your house on the tour circuit? So many manor houses have to resort to that these days," Petunia noted. "It takes the mystery out of the gentry."

"No. We have a few farms in the Caribbean that have supported us for centuries, plus a wide investment base. We don't need to give tours."

"It wouldn't feel like a home, more like you had to be careful in half the house," Ron pointed out.

"What sort of home does your family have?" Dudley asked.

"A three story out in the country," Ron said honestly, leaving out the unlevel nature of the house. "We have a pond and a bit of woods behind us. On the outskirts of one of those quaint little towns." He smiled at him. "It really is beautiful country."

"I'm sure it is," Vernon agreed. "Is it also a manor house?"

Ron laughed. "Not hardly, but it is a home. Very warm and inviting. Mum already adores Harry and he's been with us most summers you know." She looked at Draco. "What do scallops taste like? I can't remember if we had them as some of the functions dad had to go to."

"They're very delicate but with a slightly fishy taste," Draco told him. "That did look wonderful." He smiled at her and she grinned back. "Get whatever you want."

"I want the roast," Harry decided, putting down his menu. "With a salad beforehand and a small glass of wine."

"You're underaged," Petunia reminded him firmly.

"He is, but I do indulge over dinner," Draco assured her. He looked at Harry. "You can have a sweet later or wine now."

"A sweet later," Harry said, looking at Ron. Draco tapped his hand. "Sorry," he said with a blush. "I like the taste of her skin."

"I know you do," Draco agreed, smiling at him. "Later. When we're back in our rooms." Harry nodded, he could wait that long. "Thank you." He shook his head but he was smiling. "I never expected my newlywed year to be like this."

The manager walked over and smiled at them. "Lord Malfoy?" Draco looked up. "If you would come sign our register? We ask all nobility and famous personages to sign it for us."

"Of course." Draco followed him. "No, I'm not my father," he said quietly.

The manager laughed. "We have one here on staff who thought you'd be him. That's why I was asking. We had a rash of people pretending recently."

Draco nodded. "I understand." He looked at the man. "My father is presently... indisposed overseas due to his...intolerance." The manager's eyes widened. "He has been removed from the family for it," he said quietly. "I am the twenty-sixth Lord Malfoy, not the twenty-fifth." The manager nodded and let him sign the book. Draco smiled at the fountain pen and signed it with a flourish. "Is there anything else?"

"No, Lord Malfoy. Which one is yours?"

Draco smirked. "They both are. Ron is my legal wife by your standards. By mine they are both mine. A consort and a wife. I wasn't going to make Harry choose between us." He smiled as he went back to his table. "Sorry about that. Someone here knew my father."

"Is he still living?" Vernon asked.

"He's presently ...indisposed for his ...intolerance of things not of his own making and unlike him," Draco told him. "That's why he's been removed from the family."

"Since we're in town, we should stop by during visiting hours to tell him about us," Ron said with a small, cruel smirk.

"That would be a wonderful idea, if it wouldn't take too long," Harry agreed. "His sentencing is tomorrow."

"Good point," Draco agreed, patting him on the hand. He kissed Ron's cheek. "We'll see if we can do that before going back to the school." The waiter came to take their orders. "I want the steak and lobster dish with a large glass of water with lemon. The caesar salad as an appetizer."


Harry led a sleepy Ron back to their rooms, Draco behind him. "Come on, Ron, you can nap on me tonight," he suggested when she stopped to rest. "I'm much more comfortable than that wall." Ron nodded and followed behind him, letting him undress them both and put themselves into bed while Draco checked them back in.

Draco walked into the Headmaster's office, giving him a bright smile. "We're back. The other two were sleepy so I sent them immediately to bed."

"How did it go?"

"Very well. We rubbed their noses in all the hell they had caused Harry and proved to them that he is a wonderful young man, more than worthy of their love and respect. Oh, on the way home, Dudley's father told him he was not to see those, as he called them, masked freaks that kept popping up in the backyard again. Also, their plant is being bought out so Vernon announced he was going to be moved closer to the company headquarters in Japan." Dumbledore's mouth started to open. "Then we visited my father and watched him go ballistic for a few minutes because I had married Harry." He shrugged and turned away.

"Mr. Malfoy, your father committed suicide not thirty minutes after you left," Dumbledore said quietly.

Draco looked at him. "Good. One less thing I have to worry about explaining. We had to explain how I was now the Lord of the Manor to the restaurant's manager. They had a person who was obsessed with the nobility and she only knew my father." He strolled away, going to tell Vincent the happy news. "Guess what?" he asked as he walked into his house. Everyone looked up at him. "My father committed suicide instead of being sentenced." Many of them clapped, they all loathed Lucius. "As long as he stays dead, everything should be wonderful in our world." Vincent came down the stairs with his trunk. "Did you hear?"

"I did, I was closing the door after making Blaize sit on his bed," Vincent agreed with a smirk. "Nice going, Draco. And thank you for dinner by the way. It was very nice of you to have them bring me something out."

"You deserved it for listening to those 'popular muggle' stories," Draco noted. "If anyone needs anything, I've reopened the cavern and I can usually be found in my rooms." He followed Vincent down there, stopping to smile at his mates as they napped together like a pack of puppies, tangled up in each other. "What is behind that blue door?"

Vincent blushed. "Something to let us see things," Vincent mumbled, going to his new room. He firmly shut and locked the door. "Night, Draco," he called through it.

"Good night, Vincent. Remember, we have a bedroom door now," he called back, going to bed himself. He even remembered to close the bedroom door. Then he opened it and walked over, tapping on Vincent's door. His best friend opened it. "Why did you have to make Blaize sit on his bed?"

"He was pouting and whining about you being a man thief," Vincent said with a slight shrug. "I pointed out that he had lost Harry all by himself but he pouted more. He did appreciate those straps however, but said it didn't make up for the loss of his Harry teddy."

Draco rolled his eyes. "Fine. Thank you. The cabinet's in that obviously open space, the handles are still halfway down." He went back to his room and closed the door again, getting undressed so he could try to unwrap those two so he could climb under them. Harry felt him and rolled over top of Ron's body to land on top of him, then pulled Ron on top of him. "That's fine, Harry," he said with a smile for the sleeping antics of his husband. He kissed the top of his head and then switched off the lights.


Things went along pretty well for the next few days. Both boys were high on their subtle put downs, and from the death of Draco's father. Ron was in a good mood because she was changing back to a male and would get more time in that phase this time because Draco had promised not to help it along any. The good mood lasted through cranky teachers, and frustrating papers. It lasted through a long stint in the library researching Ron's condition. It lasted all the way up to the point where a first year Gryffindor tried to run through Draco before breakfast one morning.

Draco growled at the student, making him flinch and start to cry. "Thirty points off," he ground out.

Ron walked up behind Draco and kissed him on the cheek. "He's sorry, Draco. Please don't remove points from my house," he pleaded, whispering in his ear. "Please?" Draco glared at him, proving once again that he was not a morning person. Ron kissed him on the cheek. "If you don't take the points from him, I'll do anything."

"Anything?" Draco asked, starting to feel interested.

"Within reason," Ron consented with a grin. "Nothing *too* outrageous or kinky. Nothing in front of your house." He gave him a deeper kiss, making him groan and grab him. "Please? I'll be your personal body servant for a week."

"You already are and Harry would get jealous," Draco said thoughtfully. He looked at the crying boy, then at Ron. "One week, no complaints?"

"As long as there isn't any changing me back, doing something permanently harmful, and you don't push me too far," Ron agreed with a grin. "Nothing on your house's couch for instance, or in front of my sister."

Draco smirked. "Deal. We'll discuss details in Defense this afternoon." He gave him another kiss. "Feel lucky, runt, your elders stick up for you." He walked Ron away.

The boy looked at Ron's back, sighing in a bout of hero-worship. He went to tell all his friends about what the Prefect had done for him. That was just so special! Taking on Malfoy for him and making him smile!


Harry looked up as Ron plopped down beside him in Defense. "Have you heard the latest rumors?" Harry asked.

Ron nodded. "I saved a young one from thirty points being taken off because he tried to run through Draco before he had his morning tea."

Harry shuddered. He tried not to get noticed before Draco had eaten breakfast, unless he wanted sex. "What do you owe him?"

"We'll figure that out today," Ron said with a grin. The teacher this year was an auror and he was looking at them. Ron liked the guy, he was nice and supportive, he was even trying to get him to join Harry in his training, but Draco was very worried about that, and his mother had heard something that she wasn't sure she liked about the aurors at the moment. She was pushing Harry to train on his own or to end the battle in a fast manner before the war got rolling too fast to stop quickly. He raised his hand and the teacher nodded at him. "Sir, I need to work with either of my spouses today so we can have a discussion."

"Fine, Ron. You and your whole group can take the back room and pair off however." They nodded and tromped that way while the auror shook his head. He didn't understand married couples. Didn't they talk at night? Well, at their age probably not he supposed. He opened his notes and looked at the rest of the class. "Since they've already gotten this set of lectures, it's your turn," he said with a sneer at the slower students. They groaned and pulled out papers. "Remember, there will be a test on this as well."

Ron locked the door and did the anti-eavesdropping charm, then turned to look at his mates. "Have you figured out what you wanted yet?" Draco nodded. "Will I enjoy it?"

"Possibly," Draco admitted, smirking at the others. "It gets us out of a repeat lecture," he told the shocked people. They nodded, that was a good reason to have skipped back here for practice. "Ron, you're mine. Potter, deal with someone else and then I'll try to kick you about later." Harry raised an eyebrow and crossed his arms. "No?" he asked.

Harry pulled his wand and got Draco faster, even though Draco had his wand in his hand. Then he watched as Draco inflated and started to glow. "You were saying about being better?" he teased, grinning meanly at him. He blew a kiss at Ron. "Okay, who wants to learn that one?" he asked happily. "I've broken open a new book." His favorite students gathered around as he pulled out the book to show them. There was some discussion then they started working their way up to the more fun hexes and curses.

"Let me down," Draco ordered. "Or you're sleeping on the couch."

Harry looked at him and grinned. "Can I have a dog?"

"We'll have children for you to lavish attention on," Ron soothed, stroking his back. "Can't you wait?" Harry shook his head. "Fine, you can have a dog, as long as you take care of it. I'm not feeding the beast." Harry beamed and they both looked at Draco.

"Fine," Draco sighed. "Let me down!" Harry released him and turned back to watch the group go at the new spells. He stomped over and turned Harry's face up. "Do not do that again," he said calmly. "You will not attack me."

Harry grinned. "Maybe you should have some more caffeine, Draco," he encouraged. Draco glared at him. "Sorry." He tried to give him a hug but Draco pushed him away. "Fine, be that way. It's not like I hurt you worse than our usual spats." Draco glared at him again. "Do you not want to learn this new one?"

"I'll take your book tonight," Draco said, retreating to the doorway to look out through a spying spell.

"I'm taking it," Hermione told him. She smiled at him. "You can learn it with the rest of us, we won't pick on you about being a blimp." He growled and her smile brightened up more. "Come on, you can help Ron learn it," she soothed.

Draco straightened up, deciding to enforce his place in the hierarchy of the group. "Potter, here," he said, pointing in front of him. Harry looked at him from about ten feet away. He glared at him. "Now," he said with a deadly calm. He was going to show who the master was and who the husband was.

Harry gave him a sly grin and touched the bond mark, thinking the nastiest thought he could. Draco's eyes widened. "I don't come when called, I'm not an animal," he said quietly, making sure Draco heard it. Draco looked him over. "If you want to talk to me, you can come to me or you can ask nicely. I'm not your beast of burden."

Draco pointed at the spot again. "Now," he said with a smirk. Harry crossed his arms and stood his ground. "Harry," he warned. Harry shrugged. "Do you really want to get into punishment?" he asked quietly. The other students started to move away from them. "Now," he repeated, pointing again.

Harry pulled his wand and immobilized his husband, then he stepped forward. "I'm just as big and bad as you," he noted with a slight smile. "And I'm more than capable of hurting you if you try anything against me, Draco. Do not try anything dumb. You won't like the consequences."

Draco's eyes were doing his ranting for him.

"Stop it," Ron warned. "I won't be the mediator when you two fight. I can always go sleep back in the House tonight." Hermione coughed and he looked at her. "On the couch." She shrugged and nodded. "Now, stop it. Harry, let him go. We all know you're not some beast and you're not being kept. Draco knows that. I know that. You're an independent being and you can give yourself orders without our input." Harry looked at him, and Ron could see the cold fury in those eyes, the sort that used to scare him until he had learned where it came from. He stepped closer. "Come on, we'll talk," he encouraged gently.

Harry shook his head and freed Draco, then let whoever was next to the door in. He walked past the teacher and out to get himself a drink.

The teacher looked around. "Did something happen?" he asked.

"Draco and Harry had a small disagreement about his training," Ron said with a cool smile. "Don't worry about it, we'll handle it later." The teacher nodded. "Guys, go back to your practice," he ordered. They followed his lead, he was Harry's second-in-command when it came to fighting and Defense. Ron smiled at the teacher. "We have it, sir."

"I'm sure you do. I'm only checking up on you. What are you guys working on today?"

"A new book," Hermione told him, showing him the cover. "We always start at the beginning because we figure there's an elementary progress needed to get to the harder spells. So we're doing fluff stuff right now." She lifted her wand and used it to do the puffing spell Harry had done on Draco. He smiled at her. "Next comes blowing someone past their ability to stand it and causing pain, or making them glow so brightly they blind someone in the middle of a battle. Then we move up from there."

"Good," he encouraged, taking the book to look through. "Not much in the defensive spells," he noted.

"No, but most of us won't be doing at standing duel either," Ron pointed out dryly. "Most of these kids, if they're going to be fighting, are going to be on the backs and edges and distractions are invaluable. That's what we're working on this month," he said. He noticed Draco looking at him. "Harry said so," he told him.

"Fine. I trust Mr. Potter to give you what you need to survive a fight."

"It's hard to hit a target when you're so bright you glow and blind yourself," Draco agreed, reluctantly holding up Harry's ideas.

"Fine. From now on, I'd appreciate a lesson line or something that tells me what you're doing?" he told Ron. Who shrugged and nodded. "Thank you." He handed Ron the book and left them alone.

Ron relocked the door and tossed the book back to Hermione before looking at Draco. "You'd think that living with the guy for six years would teach you his limits," he said quietly. "Harry doesn't take orders. It gives him flashbacks to his youth." He stepped closer. "You're going to be groveling for a while, Draco, and you knew it before you started."

"I'm the more powerful member of this trio," Draco reminded him, a bit coldly.

Ron smiled sadly. "If this was about power, you're not. If this is about influence, you are. Unfortunately, this relationship isn't about either of those for Harry or for me. Get over it." He walked away, going to help Neville.

Draco grabbed the book to read the section quickly, then went to work in his own corner. He kept looking at the door. Usually Harry had come back by now. He left the group, going to find him. He found him being talked to by the Headmaster. "Harry, I need to talk to you," he said, interrupting them.

Harry gave him a grateful look, but you could still see the anger. "Fine. Give me a moment, Draco." He looked at the Headmaster. "You'd be surprised, Headmaster, I'm working from the Elementary Auror's book at the moment." He walked away, grabbing Draco's arm and squeezing it so he wouldn't say anything until they were farther away. "What?" he demanded.

"Do not take that tone with me," Draco warned. "You are my consort, not the other way around."

"The last time I checked, that didn't make me your slave, Draco. If you want to give orders to a spouse, marry a house elf." He walked away, going back to class. "Sorry, sir, the Headmaster wanted a word." He walked in and slammed the door, making the blackboard rattle. "Ron, we're going off-campus tonight. We're leaving before Magical Creatures so I can hit the bank." Ron nodded, giving him a funny look. "I could care less, I can go by myself if you want," he offered.

"No, I'll go," Ron agreed, giving him a tentative smile. "Neville's figured out how to make the color change in the glow."

"Good job," Harry said, beaming at him. Neville smiled and he gave him a pat on the back. "That's very advanced. Congrats, Neville." He took the book to flip through then handed it to Ron. "We've got a double class, let's try to make it to there." Ron looked at the intervening pages. "They're not hard, it's the same movement with different words," he told them. All of them are personal insult and injury class spells; nothing fatal, only demeaning. If you can do that, then the roving stupidity that is the Slytherin sixth years this weekend are yours." They cheered and went back to work, taking the book to work through. Harry leaned against the wall and pulled out the book he was working through to read the next section. Severe injury spells required a bit more concentration and he wasn't going to be getting there with this group. Hermione walked over to look at his. "Cutting spells."

"That's rather sickening and forceful for a duel," she said gently.

Harry looked up at her. "Him or me, Hermione. You heard the prophecy yourself." She nodded, looking sad. "It has to be learned anyway. There's something in here that I need to learn after last year's problem during the battle." She gave him a smile and handed over a small piece of paper. "What's this?"

"I found a book on your mother's family, Harry. It's in the restricted section," she said quietly. "It might help you more since your father was supposed to be a pretty normal guy."

Harry beamed at her, losing his anger. "Thank you, Hermione. I'll check it out tonight." She nodded and went back to her practicing on the pillows. Harry looked at the title of the book and tucked it into his pocket. He'd go between classes, before he snuck out. He noticed Draco sneaking back in and went back to his reading, firmly ignoring him. He wasn't a toy. He wasn't a beast to be ordered about. He was a human being and Draco would learn that before anything else happened between them. Draco walked over and he glared at him. "Go away."

"Fine, I won't apologize."

"Don't apologize, learn the lesson," Harry said coolly. "I'm going out tonight. Did you need anything?"

Draco saw his happiness slipping away so he squatted down in front of his husband. "Have dinner with me?"

"I need to go to the bank first," Harry told him.

"That's fine, then I'll let you take me out to dinner. Afterward I'll leave you to your own devises for the night." Harry shrugged. "Thank you. Are we taking Ron?" Harry shrugged again. "Do you want him with you?"

Harry stood up. "Draco, this pretending to be concerned thing isn't you. Don't act with me either." He walked over to help Ron, who was stumbling over the unfamiliar word. He stood behind him and guided his wand movements, resting against him. Ron gave him a smile in thanks and Harry grinned at him. "Did you want to come with me?"

"I'd almost rather do the Herbology paper," Ron admitted. "It won't get angry and shout at me." Harry nodded, understanding that rationale. "If you want, you can bring me back some chocolate," he offered quietly.

"Sure, Ron. Thanks."

"You're welcome." He gave his husband a kiss and a grin. "Now help me with this. No one would believe I'm any good with the way things are going today." Harry nodded and guided his movement again, showing him. "Thank you." Ron did it on his own and got it right. "That's a great thing."

"You're welcome." Harry moved the group onto the next set of spells, smiling at them. "This one is to make them look like and feel like popcorn's popping under their skin." They gathered around to look at the spell then went for it on the pillows and dummies they had imported.


Harry looked across cart at his husband, then back at the vaults they were passing. Dumbledore had given him a set of keys today for his parent's hidden vaults and he was anxious to look through them. He had said it was mostly household stuff, but he could dream that there were more personal things, like photos, in them. The cart stopped and the goblin opened the door for him. He breathed in, looking at the whole house full of furniture, each in sitting groups to tell you where they went. "Wow." He walked over to the nearest table and ran his finger along it. "This is really old."

"Some of it is," Draco agreed, appraising it. "Decent copies mostly, but a few minor antique pieces." Harry's back stiffened. "Your mother had good taste. It's a beautiful and artful collection," he assured him. Some of the fabrics weren't to his taste, but they did look homey. He watched as his husband walked around, nearly smiling at his joy for finding a photograph sitting on a table. "Them?"

"Their wedding photo," Harry said, holding it up. He stuffed it into his bag and found the bookcase, running his finger over the faded covers. They were obviously well used. He found a defense book and pulled it down to look through it and decided to keep it. The goblin coughed and Harry looked at him. "Yes?"

"Special section in next cavern," he said, pointing. "We have security on that part."

Harry and Draco both walked over to that doorway, looking inside. On a small unfinished wooden table were two books. A book with an open silver box and a book with an open gold box. Harry slowly walked over to them, reading the letter lying on top. He started to tear up. "They were my mother's," he said, touching them. "She was supposed to teach me out of them when I turned sixteen." Draco moved closer, holding him tightly. He folded the letter into the gold box and closed them both, stuffing them into his bag, where they shrunk on their own. He looked around and saw the other vault door, walking closer to look at it. "Do I have the key to this?" he called.

The goblin walked over and took his keys to look at, pointing at one. "That one." Harry nodded so it opened it for him, letting him see the vault. "Not yours yet," he warned as Harry stepped closer. "Not until you're eighteen."

"That's next summer," Draco pointed out. "He's married."

"Other vault works," the goblin reminded him. "Another section as well. You go see?" Harry nodded, following him to it. The goblin took the keys and opened this other large sectional vault, showing them inside. "Mother's family," he told Harry. "Last in line."

"I know," he breathed, looking around. There were trunks and boxes everywhere. "What are all these? Can I get an inventory or something? I'm sure you don't have time for me to open everything."

The goblin snorted. "Inventories are available for a small free from the manager. It's a two sickle fee per month." Draco nodded when Harry looked at him; he had that feature on his vaults. He waved a hand. "From what I know, it's mostly clothes and books."

"Wow." Harry walked in and headed for the first trunk, smiling at the baby clothes he found. He found something with his mother's name on it and held it up. A little sundress. "Look," he said happily.

"That's held up very well," Draco noted, walking over to look inside it. "If Ron has a daughter, you may ask if he wants to let them wear some." Harry looked at him like he was odd. "If you wanted," he added.

Harry shook his head. "Only if I have a daughter," Harry told him simply. "Ron's mother has a bunch of stuff for any grandchild. This is only for mine." He tucked it in and found a small box marked 'family mementos'. He sat down to open it, smiling at the pictures. That was picked up and put into the cart by Draco. Harry looked around and found one old book that seemed to draw him. He pulled it out of an open box and glanced at it. He looked below it and found an ancient defense book. He put both of them into his bag. One was homemaker spells, Ron and Hermione might like to look through it. He walked out, going back up to the vault he usually had access to so he could withdraw a good sized bag of money. It had been announced that morning that they were having a Yule Ball again and he needed to find a robe and help Ron find one during their next trip to town together. Draco portkeyed back to the school, putting everything but the money in their room under Ron and Vincent's watchful gaze - with the instruction that no one touched anything until Harry agreed. When he came back they went to a modest and quiet restaurant up the alley from the bank, getting a back table so they could talk. Harry ordered a small drink and the waiter looked at him. "I've had a shitty day," Harry told him. "I'm not apparating." The waiter shrugged and went to get their drinks. When he came back, the boys ordered steaks and he went to bother other people. "Did you let them touch anything?"

"I ordered them not to," Draco said quietly. He watched his husband sip his scotch. He had given Harry the taste to enjoy that drink. "I'm sorry. I'm used to being the stronger member in my relationships," he noted. Harry shrugged. "Ron was correct, I shouldn't have ordered you about that way."

Harry looked at him. "Apologizing doesn't mean you've learned the lesson, Draco. If you *ever* do that again, you won't have to worry about taking care of me. Do we have a clear understanding?" Draco nodded quickly. "Good." He looked over as the waiter came back with salads. "Did someone tell you we had to have vegetables?" he asked.

The waiter smiled. "Deputy Headmistress McGonagall sent us a message as she knows you like to sneak away and eat here," he said gently. "The manager agreed, all young men need their greens." He bowed at Draco's laughter and left them alone.

Harry shook his head but he was trying not to smile. "I'll ream her a good one later," he decided.

"It probably won't do any good," Draco reminded him. He gave him a smile. "I have learned my lesson."

Harry gave him a penetrating look. "You're trying too hard to look innocent," he told him, digging into his salad. Draco snorted and shook his head. "With what you did last year, there's no way you're that nice or that innocent."

"I can be," Draco argued. "I can be very nice. I have very high standards and I'm nice to those who meet up with them." Harry shrugged and took another bite. "You usually do, but I won't have you not able to take orders."

"Draco, don't even start," Harry sighed. "I take my own orders and I give orders."

"There can't be two generals."

"What makes you think you're a general?" Harry asked dryly. "People aren't going to follow you during the upcoming battles. You can have an equal spot to Ron's, as my second-in-command, but people won't be following you."

Draco stared at him. "Are you sure our housemates will follow you?"

"Do you actually think they're going to be there?" Harry asked dryly.

"Some of them," Draco admitted.

"Then they'll probably be following me." Harry shrugged and gave him a mean smirk. "Let's face it, you don't have the disfigurements to prove that you're the leader." Draco reached over to touch his scar and Harry batted at his hand. "Don't. I hate it when people touch it."

"Sorry." Draco took Harry's hand to hold. "It's not that horrible," he said calmly, starting to see the upcoming fight. Harry had these bouts and they got bad, but not usually this bad. "I like your scar," he said with a faint smile. "It gives your face character."

"It's disfiguring," Harry said quietly, withdrawing. Draco caught his hand again. "Don't," he complained.

"Harry, listen to me," Draco said quietly. "It's not that bad. Your forehead is usually covered. Even without it, it's not that bad."

"It is, Draco. Don't lie about it," Harry complained, trying to pull away again, but his husband wouldn't let him. "Let go," he ordered. Draco gave him a smile. "Now please." Draco let him pull away. "Thank you." Harry stabbed a tomato and chomped it. "Draco, I don't take orders."

"I noticed," he said with a faint smile. "Do I usually give them?"

"No," Harry admitted, "but you enjoy giving them and playing the badass." The waiter walked in with their dinners and frowned at the lack of eating on the salads. "We'll finish it before we leave," he said calmly. The waiter smiled and left them alone. "I will get McGonagall later," Harry said quietly.

"I'm sure we can tell her that she doesn't need to watch out for your diet," Draco soothed. Harry shook his head. "Harry, would you mind relaxing? It's not often that we get to spend some time together without Ron."

"Maybe there's a reason for that," Harry pointed out. Draco looked hurt. "Sorry, but it's true."

Draco considered it. "I'm not sure that's a good idea," he said gently. "We have to learn to get along, Harry. My control issues, your anger and self-loathing about that scar, all of it. We're going to have to learn to get along. This is permanent." Harry nodded and grimaced. "Are you sorry?"

Harry looked at him. "Not usually. This morning I was more than ready to be a partial widow," he said honestly. Draco blanched. "Do not do that to me again. Not only did you undermine my authority within the group, you made me angry."

"I'm sorry."

"Again, learn the lesson, don't apologize. It doesn't make it any better for me." He stabbed into his steak brutally. Draco got the point that it could have been his arm. "Why would you even think that I would take that order?" he asked, starting to come back down from his anger. "I'm still not a house elf."

"I noticed, your ears are smaller," Draco said with a touch of humor. Harry grimaced at him but he had calmed down enough to not be upset with him for it. "From now on, let's talk about these things, all right? I'm not an ogre."

"Usually," Harry corrected.

"Usually," Draco agreed. "This morning was just a bad day all around."

"I was there, Draco, we had the same classes."

"I know, but you didn't see Snape glaring at me like I was an evil bastard when I leaned over to whisper in your ear." He gave him a hopeful smile and Harry rolled his eyes. "I promise, I won't order you about if you don't want me to. Not even in the bedroom. I'll try to be more thoughtful."

"Your mother get onto you again?" Harry asked, starting to smile. Draco nodded. "Why isn't she teaching Divination?"

"Because she turned the job down," Draco said with a shrug. "My father wouldn't have allowed that." He smiled. "I got the letter yesterday, telling me that I had to be more careful around you two, that I was being an ass. So I've been trying to figure out why for the last two days."

"Is that what made you decide you could order me around?"

"I started out being playful," Draco reminded him. "What put you into such a bad mood?"

"I don't need a therapist," Harry said firmly as he cut a bite of steak to eat. He grimaced. "It's dry today." He grabbed some of the red wine vinaigrette salad dressing and poured it over the dry meat. The next bite was a little slimy but much more tasty. "I'm fine."

"I'm sure, but you've been in a bad mood for the last two days," Draco said gently. "I know my mother didn't write you a letter so what happened, Harry?" Harry glared at him. "If you remember, I'm the persistent one," he said with a fond, but dry voice. "Even more so than Blaize was when he was hunting you." Harry shrugged and ate another bite and even ate more of his salad. "Please? I'm sure Ron would like to hear too."

"It's a bunch of things and nothing that can be solved. So drop it," Harry said quietly. Draco reached over to touch him and he didn't pull away this time. "I don't want to talk about it."

"If you tell me, I can shield you a bit. It's what mates do." Harry looked at him. "Really, it is. I can shield you from a lot of things if you'll tell me about them. I do the same for Ron when it comes to Goyle." Harry nodded, starting to frown. "If you tell me, I can help, or at least be there when it happens again."

Harry leaned back, forcing him to let him go. "It's not really one concrete thing. It's a bunch of little things and they're adding up again."

"Such as?"

"Such as... today Dumbledore came down on me about my training schedule. He doesn't think I'm doing it enough. Such as Snape agreeing with him and telling me that I couldn't be training because my work has gotten better this year." Draco grimaced, that had been his doing. "Between that, and all the crap with Blaize pouting at me and everything else I'm tired. That's all."

"Blaize is hunting you again?" Harry shrugged again. "That one I can stop," he said firmly.

"Don't," Harry said quietly. "He can't have me. He knows he can't have me. He's just playing."

"It's obviously upsetting you as much as the people trying to condition you to die," Draco pointed out. "I don't like either situation. I can have a gentlemanly talk with Blaize and it'll be fine," he encouraged with a bright smile. "Just a short one in the halls?"

"Draco!" Harry sighed, shaking his head. "I can take care of that. If you want to stop something, stop the Headmaster and Snape from breathing down my neck!" He wiped his mouth off. "I think I want another drink."

Draco moved his chair closer, clearly worried now. "Shh," he said, pulling Harry closer. Someone knocked on the door. "Go away!" He hugged his husband gently, trying to soothe him. "I will get between you and whomever you want me to," he reminded him. "All you have to do is tell me who I need to protect you from." The door opened and one of the twins walked in. "Oh, sorry. Didn't realize it'd be you."

"Not a problem," the twin said as he walked in and shut the door. "What's wrong?"

"They've been getting onto him about his training. Someone's actually remarked that he can't be training very hard because his school work has improved." Whichever twin it was snorted and sat down across from them. "Pick off our plates if you want."

"No, I came down to check on you because of Mum. She's decided something's up."

"Something is and I'm not sure what," Harry said quietly, his eyes closed. He finally pulled back and picked up his utensils. "I'd better eat."

"Yes, you probably should," Draco said firmly, smiling at him. "See, not an order."

"You gave him an order?" the twin asked.

"Fred, calm down, we've settled that one already," Harry said gently, giving him a smile. "He's since learned that he can't order me or Ron around."

George nodded. "Good. And I'm George, Harry. Where's Ron?"

"Not a clue," Draco admitted. "He said he'd rather work on his herbology paper than to come out tonight." George looked confused.

"I nearly threw a fit earlier," Harry admitted.

"Oh. I guess I can understand that. Draco, we need you to look over something that we found in our research. Would you come down tonight? Harry can come too."

"I'm going out for a long drink and possibly some dancing at a muggle place so I don't get recognized," Harry put in. "You can have Draco though." Harry looked at his mate. "That fine with you?"

"Not really," Draco told him. "I don't like you being without a bodyguard. You don't know what will pop up."

"We had some of that earlier," George admitted. "Just one single Death Eater and the whole alley shut down for the rest of the day." He shrugged. "It turned out to be a guy trying to be scary for Halloween." Both boys snorted and rolled their eyes. "It won't take more than a few minutes, Harry, then you can take him with you. I agree, I don't like you being out alone. Too many things can happen at a muggle place and no one would realize it until after the fight, or the arrest, or whatever was done with." Harry sighed but nodded. "Thank you," George said with a grin and a hug. "Now eat your salad and I'll go back with you."

"Not you too," Draco said with a bit of tolerance.

"You sound like your mother," Harry pointed out, but he did eat the salad. Too many people had told him to and he hated coincidences. They finished dinner quickly and Harry paid the tab, leaving a nice tip on the table. Then they followed George back up to the shop, slipping inside quickly when they saw the auror watching them. Harry thought it was odd, but he wasn't going to say anything yet. Draco, however, was giving the window a thoughtful look as he watched the auror watch the shop. "It's fine," Harry told him, patting him on the butt as he walked past him.

"It's not," Draco said firmly. "Do they think you were involved in that tasteless stunt?"

"They're probably stunned at Harry being here," Fred put in from his seat in Oliver's lap. He yawned and closed his eyes again. "Night."

"Knockout drops," Oliver said with a smile. "He spilled some on himself when the crowd ran in earlier to get away from the Death Eater." He patted Fred gently. "The books are on the kitchen table."

"We'll do that then we'll go out," Harry assured him, giving him a smile. He had always liked Oliver, he was a nice guy with a decent attitude and a smart way of blocking shots. They found the disturbing section quickly enough and it was one they were familiar with. They went out to explain the problems of pregnancy with the remaining couple, giving them everything they knew.

When they were ready to leave, Draco looked outside. "Two aurors, I feel honored," he said snidely. "Don't you?"

"No," Harry said honestly, walking out of the building and listening to the door lock behind him. Both aurors looked at him. "Sorry, family conference." He took Draco's hand and they disappeared up the street. Draco kept him from hurting them over their smug looks at them. He didn't like people who looked at him like he was some tool to be used and then tossed aside. It made him want to take the Dark Lord's place when he was gone, just long enough to get rid of all of them. Draco squeezed his hand and smiled at him. "Reading minds?"

"No, but I heard your rant at Ron the other day," Draco told him as they walked into the back of the Leaky Cauldron and through it. They waved at the bartender, smiling because even he knew they were going out to have a little fun. They did remember to stop and get Ron some chocolate, sending it home with their portkey. Harry had been apparating illegally now for a year thanks to Draco's tutoring, they could make it back to the school before breakfast.


Ron jumped when the portkey landed on the couch next to him, squeaking when he saw what was under it. "Why didn't they come back?" he said angrily, picking up the chocolates. He nearly threw them but Hermione stopped him so she could have one first.

"Because they went out to blow off some steam. I'm sure they heard about the attempted attack in the Alley." Ron slumped down again. "Where do they get this stuff? It's wonderful."

"A little shop about two miles away from the Leaky," Ron said, slumping down farther. "There's this immigrant from Russia and he makes it all by hand." He scowled at Vincent as he came out of the bathroom. "They're still out."

"I'm sure it'll be fine," Vincent said, giving him a hug. "Why don't you use the floo to call your family? It might make you feel better."

Ron nodded and got up to call his father at home. He got a smile and a hastily wiped mouth. "Dad, what happened during the attack earlier?"

"Not a thing," Arthur Weasley assured his youngest son. "It was someone picking out a Halloween costume in bad taste. How did you hear?"

"They canceled classes and sent us back to our dorms," Hermione told him. She stole another chocolate. "Speaking of, I'd better go patrol the halls." She kissed Ron on the cheek. "I'll check on Ginny for you." He gave her a smile and she left with Vincent, who wouldn't let her walk anywhere alone anymore.

Ron looked at his father again. "My mates are out having a night on the town."

"There's a curfew," Arthur sighed.

"No one told us that," Ron pointed out. "Dad, why are they trying to make Harry give up again?"

Arthur gave him a sad look. "Because most of the people who are worried about what Harry will do don't know him, Ron. There are even a few who think he's going to fill the power vacuum himself. Or that he'll let Draco have it. It's silly nonsense and no one with any sense believes that."

"Including the Headmaster?" Ron asked dryly. Arthur frowned at him and his mother's head joined his father's in the fireplace. "Really. I overheard him earlier going on about Harry having to sacrifice his life to train, not very subtle at all by the way. Harry's to the point where he's ready to walk away from the school and stay away."

"What happens if he does?" Molly asked. "Will you go as well?"

"I'd like to say no," Ron admitted, touching his wedding ring, twirling it on his finger. He looked at his parents again. "I can't lie though. Harry will pout himself to death if he stomps off. One of us will have to go with him and I doubt we'd be able to switch off without compromising his security." He shrugged. "I don't know, mum, do I stay in school?"

"It's a hard decision," she agreed, smiling at him. "I doubt you'll ever do anything that would necessitate your having a diploma. Even if Draco loses everything due to his father, Harry still has a nice income from his own inheritance. There's an equivalency if you really wanted to go for it. Or you could just be a housewife and mother. You'd make a wonderful mother, Ron."

He grinned. "Thanks, mother. I'm not really looking forward to that pain though." She laughed. "Really, I'm not. I did agree to have the Malfoy heir, and possibly one for Harry if he wants one. Oh, he wants a dog now."

Arthur laughed. "Of course. It'll be good practice for loving a child." He smiled at him. "You should help him pick one out if you and Draco don't gift him with one."

"Thanks, Dad. Can I tell the Headmaster?"

"Tell McGonagall. I told the Headmaster earlier," Arthur said with a shrug. He smiled. "Have a good night, Ron."

"Tell them they have to spoil you for making you worry," Molly encouraged. "Your father used to write some of the most lovely cards when he had messed up and made me worry."

Ron laughed. "I will, mum. I'll show you my results the next time I call." He waved and signed off, then stood up and dusted off as he headed for the halls. He found Snape just up the hall and cleared his throat. "Sir, I've got news from my parents."

"You of all people should be in your room," Snape said grimly. "You're much more vulnerable."

"You forget, Harry's training me too," Ron said dryly. "The attack earlier wasn't an attack. My dad said it was a bloke buying a tasteless costume for the holidays." Snape's eyes went wide. "So it's not really a danger to us."

"Unfortunately they found two real ones during the sweep," Snape said quietly.

Ron snorted. "Where else would they shop?" The professor looked stunned. "Even they've got to do some shopping. Clothes, trinkets for the missus and things like that, and they can't very well go to the village."

"That is an interesting point, but we still cannot risk you. Where are your husbands?"

"Wearing off some steam. I'm guessing they're teasing people at a dance club of some sort," Ron said bitterly. "I should have went with them."

"We would have hunted you down and forced you to return," Snape reminded him. Ron looked at him, a look that said he was trying to figure it out. "You are now the key to Harry succeeding in his quest to win this war. You can not be damaged or harmed."

"Bite me," Ron snorted. "Harry's got me, and my wand, whenever he wants it. The only way he's getting my blood is if he asks for it, in which case I'll give him a bit, or if he bites me like he normally does when he gets off and we're trying to be quiet and not wake you up." Snape's mouth fell open. "It's been like that now for a bit, sir. Don't worry, we've already gotten that part worked out. It's not a problem." Snape was still staring when Ron went back to their room to call his mother again and tell her what the professor had let slip.


Harry and Draco walked in during breakfast the next morning. There had been something that they needed to pick up before they could come back. Harry smiled at Ron and waved him over to their usual seats. Ron stood up and walked over, looking a bit upset with them. "I'm sorry," he said, giving him a deep kiss. "We got caught up in Monaco."

"You went to play cards?" Vincent asked.

"High stakes Baccarat," Draco corrected smugly. "Harry knows how to play cards."

"Dudley likes James Bond," Harry said with a shrug. "He's got all the movies and I've been forced to watch them more than once." He sat Ron down between them and pulled out his handkerchief. "This is for you. We didn't spend a dime on it," he said when Ron opened his mouth. "I won it from a guy who got to the point where he was going to try and bet his wife away too." He grinned. "She wasn't impressed and went to report him to the management. They let us leave with all his stuff and she's filing for divorce today."

Ron opened the present and his mouth fell open. He started to make squeaking noises and point at the bundle of present in front of him. "Harry! Draco!" he finally shrieked. "No!"

Hermione rushed over to support her friend. "What's going on?" she demanded. "Where were you two?" Ron shoved the opened present in front of her and her eyes bugged out. "Were you trying to go poor?" she demanded. "Ron doesn't need things like that."

"Ron deserves things like that and we won it in a few card games," Draco said smoothly, smiling at her. He tossed something at her. "We also won this as well but we thought it'd be more to your liking than Ron's."

Hermione opened it and squeaked, rewrapping it quickly so she could hit him. "Draco Malfoy! That was just mean!" She flounced off, taking her new mirror with her.

Draco shrugged at Vincent's curious look. "It's a platinum mirror. She could carry it around."

"Thank you, Draco," Vincent said with a smile. "Did I get anything?"

Harry pulled something out of his pocket and tossed it at him. "With a different sucker." He looked up as he felt someone older towering over him. "They wouldn't let us leave, sir," he told Snape. "There was a small investigation because the person we were playing cards with tried to bet his wife."

"I see," Snape said, picking up the diamond 'v' shaped necklace to look at it in the light. "This is very nice."

"I can't wear it," Ron complained.

"Nonsense, the Saudi Prince was quite charmed with your picture," Draco said with a smirk. "You'll wear it for us tonight," he said, stealing a kiss. "We'll even help you if you wanted to pierce your ears for the ones Harry won you."

Harry dug around in the small pile of gems, coming out with the large emerald-cut diamond solitaires. "I did buy these, but we won all that money back so I'm not counting it as buying anything," he said with a sheepish grin. "We're sorry we worried you, Ron."

"You'd better never do it again," Ron said, taking the necklace back so he could lay everything out and look at it properly. He smiled at the more tasteful pieces, deciding he could wear those. He put on the necklace he wanted for the day and smiled at his men. "Don't ever do it again. I don't need jewels." He wrapped everything but Harry's real present back up and carried them up to the head of his house. He trusted her. "Ma'am, would you please hide these for me? The gits won it in a card game," he said with a goofy grin. "How would I put on Harry's present?" he asked holding them up once she had taken the rest of them.

"Those are exquisite," she breathed, taking them to look at. "Very nice." She smiled at him. "You would come to see me later so I can open the hole and not make you bleed and swell." She handed them back. "You'll look stunning at the Yule Ball." He whimpered. "Is there a problem?"

"What do I wear?" he moaned.

She laughed. "Ask your main husband, he usually has decent enough taste." Ron slumped. "Let them spoil you. It is every new husband's fondest dream to do this for his new wife. They enjoy it and you're making good memories, in case something happens," she finished in a gentler voice. Ron's face hardened. "I'm sure he'll come out fine, but it is better to be safe than sorry," she pointed out. Ron nodded and went back to his seat, giving each of his men a hug and a kiss.

"I want a husband like that," Pansy complained to the person next to her.

Harry smiled at her. "Too late." She scowled at him. "You never liked me. I could have gone out with you and you could be in her place," he said as he stroked Ron's arm, making him shiver. "You decided I was awkward and not good enough. Pity." He smiled at Draco. "Can I have a kiss and then eat?"

"Yes, you should eat," Vincent agreed, smiling at them. "Remember, Draco, he can't go all night without food."

Ron grinned at Harry. "Eat a lot," he suggested, cracking most of their tablemates up with the lewd and suggestive tone he used.

Harry filled his plate and dug in quickly, before Ron could do more than wink at him for it.


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