"Inter-house unity party?" Ron whisper-screamed incredulously. "Mione, you can't be serious?"
"What? I think it's fun! The war's over, we're eight-years, we should have some fun and unite the houses, don't you think? After all, the sorting hat was right."
Ron still didn't look thoroughly convinced. "But it's going to be weird! I mean, yeah, inter-house unity and that crap-"
"What? I can't use crap?"
Hermione shot him a look.
Ron sighed. "Fine. Inter-house unity and that- er hokum, is important, and I get that! But nobody's done it, 'Mione, and trust me, it's going to be awkward."
"I know Ronald, that's why we're doing a party. With party games," Hermione emphasized impatiently.
Ron whistled lowly. "Suit yourself, but there's no way in hell I'm going."
Hermione directed her attention to Harry instead. "Harry, you're going, right?" she asked sweetly.
Harry snapped up from his thoughts. He does that a lot now, every time he sensed an argument brewing between the two lovebirds his brain automatically shuts down so that he didn't need to hear their bickering/flirting. He blinked.
"Inter-house unity party! Come on, Harry, it'll be fun!"
"Harry, are you mental?" came Ron's panicked
voice. "In-ter-house-u-ni-ty," Ron enunciated slowly. "This Saturday night, at the Room of
Requirement," Hermione said brightly, ignoring
"Sure. Whatever," Harry replied carelessly. Judging by the look on Hermione and Ron's faces, this would be an event he would have to attend even if he didn't want to.
"Merlin's frilly stockings, Harry!"
Hermione swept to her feet triumphantly. "There! I'm going, Harry's going... Ron?"
He buried his head in his hands and let out a muffled and defeated 'yes."
"Excellent!" Hermione chirped. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spread the word. Anyone in eighth year who is interested is welcome to attend," she said in a high voice.
Ron groaned as Hermione skipped back to the girls' dormitory. Then he punched Harry on the arm.
"Ow! What the hell?"
"That's for taking 'Mione's side, you git!"
Harry rolled his eyes. "Come on, Ron, I thought you'd know better since you're her boyfriend. Did you really think we could weasel out of this?"
"No," Ron admitted. "But at least we could tone down her triumphant arrogance a little."
Harry peered at him from his copy of Quidditch Through the Ages. "'Mione's a lucky girl,"
Hermione was pacing in front of the Room of Requirement, in front of a lot of eight-years who decided to join this inter-house unity fiasco.
Harry scanned the crowd. Most of them were familiar faces. It seemed that many eight-years were still a bit weary of the inter-house thing, and many of the people who showed were only supporting Hermione.
His eyes landed on a particular blonde. What the hell? Why is he here?
Malfoy was leaning coolly on the stone wall of the corridor with his hands in his pockets. He was chatting quietly with Blaise Zabini, who had an arm around Pansy Parkinson. A couple of other Slytherins were also there- Millicent Bulstrode and Daphne Greengrass
The number of Slytherin eight-years here was already far over the amount of which Harry predicted- he had thought zero. In fact, besides Gryffindor, Slytherin was the house with the most people attending, which was another surprise. see
A door appeared and the whole lot stepped inside. It was a large and comfy-looking common-room-like space. Twenty plush white beanbag chairs were in the center of the room assembled in a circle, one for each person. Harry figured that the white might be Hermione's idea of not associating with any particular house.
A humungous rug was laid underneath the beanbag chairs, the four house animals linking together painted lavishly on it. Harry had to admit, Hermione must have worked really hard for this party. Even Ron looked awestruck.
All twenty eight-year students clambered inside. Hermione went to the center of the circle and began pulling out foods and snacks from her tiny beaded bag.
"Sweet! Chicken! 'Mione, I love you, Ron ran 11 over and hugged his girlfriend tightly when Hermione set out a large platter of drumsticks. She blushed.
There was treacle tart, chicken (Harry strongly suspected the two were to butter him and Ron up), rice pudding, and large bags of Honeydukes' sweets. Hermione really went all out.
"'Mione, did you take food from the house-elves?" Harry asked, highly amused.
"For your information, I asked them very nicely and paid them," Hermione sniffed.
When everyone had grabbed a glass of Butterbeer and a little of something to eat, they settled back into their beanbag chairs. Hermione cleared her throat.
"Hello! Welcome to the first inter-house unity party!
"Since we are all eight-years and the wizarding world is now at peace, I think we should all get together and strengthen the bond between the four houses!"
Harry saw Malfoy discreetly roll his eyes. He wondered why the Slytherins were there.
"So, I thought we could play a game of Never Have I Ever to get to know each other better first!"
"How does it work?" Anthony Goldstein piped up.
"For example, if it's my turn, I'll say something I have never done. If anyone else had done it, you take a shot of Butterbeer."
With that, shot glasses appeared beside everyone's glass of Butterbeer.
"Everyone clear?" The room exchanged nods.
Hermione cheerfully hopped back to her own beanbag between Harry and Ron.
"I'll start! Never have I ever... kissed a girl on the lips who's not my relative."
Most of the boys poured Butterbeer in their shot glasses and downed it, including Harry himself. He was shocked to see Malfoy sitting still with his arms folded, unmoved. No one seemed to notice.
But people did notice Susan Bones and Hannah Abbott taking a shot.
"Bones and Abbott!"
"Hufflepuff's got guts!"
Surprised shouts and catcalling were carried all around the room, making the girls blush furiously. Paravati and Lavender squealed.
Neville gaped at her girlfriend. "Isn't this something I'm supposed to know?"
"No, no! We were just experimenting," Hannah. mumbled, burning red.
Neville breathed a sigh of relief.
"Clockwise! Ron, your turn."
"Er, alright- Never have I ever... kissed a boy on the lips who's not my relative."
Most of the girls, Dean, and Seamus took a
shot. It was no news that the boys were happily
Then the whole room went still.
Draco Malfoy delicately closed his fingers around his glass of Butterbeer and poured some into the shot glass. He swiftly downed it and wiped his lips with his sleeve.
Harry's heart leaped. He hadn't an idea why, but it did. He figured it was just the shock of the whole situation.
Malfoy looked around the room nonchalantly. "What?"
"You've kissed a bloke?!" Ron asked, wide-eyed.
"Yes. Problem, Weasel?"
"WHO WAS IT?!" Seamus shrieked.
Seamus had opened a gate. The eerie silence was broken and everyone was cheering loudly and prompting him to tell the story.
"It's not a bloody big deal!" he yelled impatiently. "I kissed a muggle boy to piss off my father before he was chucked in Azkaban. Happy?"
The commotion died down.
"So, you're not gay?" Terry Boot asked.
"Oh yes, I'm gay," Draco replied breezily.
Harry stilled. His stomach churned. Why the bloody hell was his stomach churning?!
Parvati and Lavender squealed again and the commotion revived, either shocked or wolf-whistling. Harry was a mixture of both inside. He took a long swig of Butterbeer.
When the cheers finally ceased Ron nudged Neville. "Your turn."
"Oh, okay!" he said cheerfully. "Never have I ever... cheated on a test."
To Harry's surprise, none of the Slytherins drank. Even more to his surprise, Justin Finch-Fletchley and Padma Patil both downed a shot.
"Dear Merlin, our Hufflepuff reputation..." Ernie MacMillan muttered.
Apparently, Padma Patil cheated once on a third-year astronomy quiz because she was too distressed, and Justin accidentally saw the answer to a question he didn't know on a potions quiz.
"I don't think that counts as cheating," Daphne Greengrass observed.
"It felt like it to me," Justin mumbled.
The game went on, covering three Hufflepuffs until it was Justin's turn.
"Never have I ever... talked back to Snape."
All the eight Gryffindors drank. Ernie MacMillan and Terry Boot also downed shots. Pansy, Blaise, and Draco tipped their glasses down their throats simultaneously.
"Never have I ever... had a super intense crush on someone," Daphne said.
Harry mused over the definition of 'super intense. He supposed his crush on Cho was intense enough, after all, it did last for two years. But for some reason, he couldn't bring himself to touch the shot glass.
Some people downed their drinks, including all of those in relationships. Across from Harry, he saw a certain blonde swishing his drink in the shot glass before downing it.
That meant he had had a 'super intense' crush on a boy. Harry shifted in his seat.
"Harry, you alright?" Ron whispered lowly to him.
"Yeah," he replied, distracted.
He zoned out of Pansy and Blaise's turns, only pausing to down another shot when Ron nudged him sharply saying, "Drink! You've got a P before!"
A cool, drawling voice pulled him back to planet earth.
Draco Malfoy's voice was suddenly smooth as butter. Harry shook his head a bit to clear his mind. It can't be the Butterbeer, there's hardly any alcohol in that thing.
"Never have I ever... confessed my feelings to my super intense crush."
Harry felt a pair of grey eyes meeting his own. Malfoy's gaze only lingered for a second, but it pierced through him. All of the couples drank. Harry's throat was dry.
Oh, good God. This is ridiculous. Harry took a swig from the large jug and let the drink run smoothly down his throat. There. He felt better.
"Never have I ever... wrote in a diary," Millicent said.
Parvati and Lavender drank, Neville and Terry both downed shots with slightly pink cheeks. As if Harry hadn't had enough for the evening, Draco Malfoy took a shot.
"He's sentimental," Pansy giggled, reaching across his boyfriend to slap Draco's arm repeatedly.
"Sod off, Pans," Draco replied irritably.
Harry felt drained. He just hadn't got the energy anymore. The game moved steadily around the circle, Harry only semi-consciously downing shots when he felt like he probably should.
"Your turn, Harry!" Seamus sing-songed.
"Last one," Hermione reminded him.
Harry was still slumped on the engulfing beanbag chair. "I don't know, never have I ever had a crush on someone unexpected?"
He just wanted to get this over with, he was the last one after all. But the game wasn't going to let him off the hook that easily.
Draco Malfoy took a shot.
Merci pour la lecture!
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