Some people can be so obvious...
A/N 2: Just the teeniest bit of smut in here. Just warning ya.
One Wizard Too Many
Broadcasting Ones Intentions
Harry wandered the corridors aimlessly, mentally chanting a mantra he hoped would help him become a better person. Or at least a slightly less homicidal one.
“Killing is wrong. Killing is wrong. Killing is wrong. Must repeat it until I believe it.”
Harry’s mind was fixated on that single thought, hoping it would permeate his occasionally dense grey matter. He was also hoping that the thought would subsequently pop into his consciousness at an appropriate moment and save the life of a witch or wizard who was evidently begging for a violent demise.
The reason for this attempt at self re-education had a great deal to do with a certain staff reporter with the Daily Prophet; namely one Rita Skeeter.
Ordinarily, Harry couldn’t care less about tabloid journalists and the tales they told: he’d been slandered repeatedly by segments of the Wizarding world over the past three and a half years, and learned to tune out their foolishness. Almost as bad was when he was lionized by those very same masses.
“At least people stay away from me if they fear me! Being feared is much better than being loved; much less annoying!”
What was more difficult to ignore, or to combat, was a disturbing new trend in Wizarding journalism:
Ms. Skeeter had taken to targeting Hermione in her daily column.
He had no problems with the implications that Ms. Granger was his girlfriend, even if they were a bit premature. He would attempt to make that part of the story correct by the time the Yule Ball came around anyway.
Rather, it was the insinuations that Hermione was employing potions to stimulate his interest that galled him. That, and the mentions of a developing ‘love triangle’ between the two of them and Viktor Krum at her instigation.
Harry took this article very poorly.
The combined efforts of Hermione, Neville, Dean, Seamus, and professor McGonagall were just enough to keep Harry from flooing down to the newspaper’s offices and destroying every thing and every one he would encounter. His vows that ‘the next edition will be printed with their blood’ only served to stiffen the Gryffindor resistance. Dozens of lives were saved by their actions that morning.
What had finally calmed Harry’s anger levels from ‘ravening lunatic’ to merely ‘extremely pissed off mage’ was Hermione’s whispered assurances that Ms. Skeeter would suffer at her hands, and soon. He could only hug her and offer to hold Rita Skeeter down while Hermione cut some things off with a rusty knife.
“The female of the species is far deadlier than the male.”
Harry kind of looked forward to what the intelligent and beautiful witch had in store for the doomed Ms. Skeeter. A symphony of pain and embarrassment was being composed.
Harry was distracted from his musings by the sound of feminine voices tinged with scorn. He looked around and saw no one addressing him directly, indicating he wasn’t the cause of someone’s ire. At least not yet. He noticed in passing his location near the Ravenclaw tower. As he wandered toward the location of the spat, he figured he’d see some Ravenclaw girls having a go. He was not incorrect in his assessment.
“Stupid Loony Lovegood! Why are you so weird?” A tall girl in blue and bronze trim seemed to be rudely addressing a smaller blonde girl from her house.
"Yeah, what’s wrong with you? Are you retarded or something?” Another ‘Claw, this one he identified as Cho Chang, was also haranguing the obviously frightened blonde.
A third Ravenclaw; shorter and with red hair said nothing. She instead gave the blonde a solid shove and knocked the books out of her hands. The girl identified as ‘Loony’ could only cower.
Harry, as a connoisseur of violence, usually enjoyed seeing others have a go at the mayhem game. In this case though, the obvious imbalance in strength and psychological dominance disturbed him. The little blonde was likely to remain passive and allow the three bullies to get away with their intimidation, and probably not for the first time.
This he could not allow to pass.
“Wow. You guys look like the villains in a bad after-school special!” Harry leaned against a pillar and regarded his fingernails as he addressed the girls. The complete picture of nonchalance was Harry. “Love the dialogue, too. Really scary.”
“Potter, what are you doing here?” A momentarily flustered Cho asked.
“Just watching you guys practice your lines for some poorly written PSA, I guess. Will this be performed during dinner?” The student body had developed a taste for dinner theatre after Snape performed his rousing version of Macbeth a few weeks prior. What had begun as a diversion had spawned a rather entertaining side effect!
“Uh, no. Not exactly.” Cho was beginning to become embarrassed, if her reddening face was any indication. The other two bullies looked a bit alarmed.
“Really? Are you sure? I thought your intimidation techniques were very cartoonish. It seemed just like something a school would throw together for an anti-bullying morality play.”
“It’s okay, you can tell me. I promise I’ll act surprised when you guys perform it.”
“Err… It’s like this, you see…” Cho really didn’t want to explain what was going on. The other two looked ready to run away.
‘Loony’ appeared faintly amused, now that her tears had stopped.
“I know, you guys are still practicing, and it may seem a little unnatural yet, but let me help you guys with this.” Harry was cheerful in his assistance.
Cho was now officially perplexed.
“You see, I have a fair bit of experience with intimidating people in real life.” Harry continued. “A lot of it is in the body language.”
He pushed himself away from the pillar and stalked up to the slightly taller Cho.
“You see, you have to really get up in someone’s personal space; makes ‘em really uncomfortable.” He stood nose to nose with the ‘Claw.
“Then, you have to get the eyes right. Make ‘em think your glare is the last thing they’ll ever see in this life.” His green eyes hardened and glowed faintly in (ostensibly) simulated anger.
Cho gulped. Harry was very good at this.
“Next, you don’t need to yell, since you’re only inches away from your prey. You just pin them with your gaze and tell them in no uncertain terms that crossing you will result in Filch having to scrub their guts off the ceiling.”
Cho’s eyes were locked on what she would later liken to ‘green death’. In the back of her well developed Ravenclaw mind, she wondered if Malfoy and the other Slytherins were mentally deficient to toy with Potter. The boy seemed born to end the lives of the bigoted and stupid.
Harry grinned slightly, but held the pretty girls eyes with his own.
“Now, Cho. You wouldn’t think about trying to pick on anyone for real, would you?”
She could only shake her head emphatically.
Harry smiled and stepped back.
“Great! Wouldn’t think you’d stoop so low as to become some cowardly bully. I’ll be off now, but if you want anymore pointers, just ask of the Fat Lady at Gryffindor tower. She’s my theatrical agent, you know.”
The three bullies could just goggle at his change in demeanor for a moment, before hurrying off to attend to apparently important business elsewhere.
Harry shook his head and smiled to himself.
“For being the ‘House of the Wise’, sometimes those ‘Claws could act quite the fools!”
The little blonde girl stifled a snort and bent over to collect her things.
“Here, let me help you with that.” Harry went to assist the girl.
In a quiet, airy voice, she replied.
“I must thank you, Mister Potter. No one has ever stood up for me before.”
“Oh, it was nothing. Just an acting lesson is all.” He grinned.
“Well, I must say, the nargles were very impressed with your performance.”
Harry was a bit confused. “The what?”
Too polite to voice that aloud, he replied. “Ah, glad they enjoyed it.”
“The Blibbering humdingers also liked it, but would’ve preferred better lighting for the scene.”
Harry shrugged. “Guess I’ll have to take that up with the stage hands before opening night.”
“When in crazy town, act crazy too I guess.”
The girl smiled. “My name is Luna, by the way. Luna Lovegood.”
Harry bowed from the waist. “A pleasure, Miss Lovegood. Glad I could assist Ravenclaw House with some tips in ‘the method’.”
“Yes, I’m sure it’ll prove to be a most ‘enlightening’ lesson.”
Harry glanced at his watch. “Are you able to manage from here, Miss Lovegood? I find myself pressed for time at the moment.” He was currently running late for lunch.
She smiled. “Oh yes, I shan’t keep you. Good day Mister Potter, and beware of any errant veela you may encounter this afternoon.”
Harry grinned slightly, perplexed again. “Err… Thanks, I guess. Good day to you as well.”
As Luna skipped off towards her common room, Harry couldn’t help wonder what the hell just happened.
Harry entered the Great hall at a brisk pace, determined to get at least a little food before his next class. To his delight, he spied Hermione sitting behind a large opened book, idly snacking on some grapes.
“Ah, my little bookworm Cleopatra.”
Salacious thoughts of feeding her grapes as she lounged in some slinky Egyptian silk number danced through his head for a moment. It was a fantasy he swore would come true at some point, even if he had to drag her to Egypt to do it!
He kissed her on the cheek as he sat down next to her. She smiled brightly at the interruption.
“Welcome to lunch, slowpoke.”
“Yeah yeah, I was busy having a very strange encounter and couldn’t tear myself away.”
“Strange encounter? How many people ended up in the hospital ward?”
He chuckled. “Wasn’t that kind of encounter, for once. Saw Cho and the gang giving some girl a hard time. Quick glare and growl, and the bullies folded.”
She cocked an eyebrow. “Ever the hero, eh Harry?”
“As long as I’m your hero, you bet.”
“Always, Harry. My own personal troll-vanquisher.” She grinned.
Hermione continued. “Anyway, apparently you weren’t the only on to have a ‘strange encounter’ today. Our ginger moron over there had an interesting morning as well.”
Harry cut his eyes to a moping Ron, who was sadly shoving food down his gaping maw with the same speed, but without the same élan as he usually displayed.
At Harry’s questioning look, Hermione continued.
“It would seem our impetuous former-friend tried to ask Fleur Delacoeur to the Ball.”
“Really?” Harry was stunned. He really didn’t think Ron had the balls for it.
“Yup, the poor idiot stumbled up to the girl and shouted a series of words, if arranged and interpreted a certain way, could possibly be construed as an invitation to the Yule Ball.”
Harry was trying not to laugh, he really was.
“What happened then?”
“Fleur didn’t reply verbally, but her sneer spoke volumes.”
Harry shook his head. “Poor Ron. Didn’t seem to affect his appetite though.”
“Nothing short of a killing curse delivered at close range would affect his appetite.”
“I agree, but let’s talk about something much nicer and prettier than ginger prats and stuck up veela. How was your morning?”
Hermione grinned, and the pair moved on to more pleasant topics.
The cheerful pair had quickly finished lunch and was returning to the Gryffindor common room when Harry registered his second strange encounter of the day just outside the Great Hall.
“Arry! May I ‘ave a word with vous pour une moment?”
‘Arry’ looked over at the person addressing him in such an unusual manner and groaned internally.
“’Errant Veela’, huh? Why did I have to wake up in weirdo-land this morning?”
Fleur Delacoeur was approaching, with her best ‘encouraging’ look on her face.
Hermione tightened her grip on Harry’s hand in alarm.
Harry just grinned at Hermione, before turning back to the approaching Frenchwoman.
“Yes, Miss Delacoeur. What can I do for you?”
“I was wondering if vous avez une escort pour le Yule Ball?”
“Oui, Miss Delacoeur. I find myself blessed with a date for the occasion.” He favored Hermione with a warm look.
“Vous etes certain? Would you not rather go avec moi?” Fleur tried a pout on for size.
Harry gave Fleur an odd look for a moment.
“No, I must decline. I already have a date. Thank you anyway, though.”
Hermione squeezed his hand in grateful thanks. Her relief that her Harry could turn down the stunning French witch knew no bounds.
“Perhaps vous weesh to… Reconsider?”
Harry felt an odd tug on his subconscious. He looked around at the others present and noticed it.
Fleur was turning up the allure, and most of the other males in the area showing its effects.
“Ah, sneaky bitch is trying to ‘change my mind’, is she?”
“I’m afraid not, Miss Delacoeur. I’m quite happy with my date, thank you very much.”
“Let’s see how far she goes with this.”
Harry continued. “Perhaps, if you find yourself without an escort, Hermione and I could use our good offices to find you one.”
Fleur tried to pout harder, (or at least more emphatically). Harry felt a stronger tug.
He really, really hated mind control. Fleur’s attempt to sway him with some veela version of the Imperius was starting to piss him off. His anger helped hold off that pesky allure.
“Oh ‘Arry, I find myself drawn to you very strongly. Do you not feel this as well?”
“No, Miss Delacoeur, I’m afraid I don’t. Not towards you at any rate.”
The squeeze and grin he gave Hermione nearly caused the British witch’s face to split in half with her large smile.
The tug strengthened.
Ron, who was across the anteroom from them and snacking on a pilfered treacle tart, began to chew, drool, and to rub himself up against a column in equal measures.
Harry was split between laughing hysterically and becoming ill at the sight.
Neville was merely looking a bit glassy eyed, but Malfoy began to fiddle with the crotch of his trousers in a suspicious manner.
Harry was really trying not to laugh.
Crabbe and Goyle both could only stare stupidly, but seeing Pansy Parkinson begin to massage her chest in what she thought was a subtle manner caused Harry to allow a snort to escape.
“Pansy, hiding in the closet much? Now I know how she puts up with ol’ Draco so easily!”
Fleur gave Harry a smoldering look.
“I must have vous, Harry Potter. I will not be denied. I will make it worth your time.”
The tug increased yet again, but the strain of maintaining the allure at such powerful levels was beginning to tell in the French witch’s expression.
Ron had stopped eating altogether and began humping the stone column in abandon. Neville noticed this and looked faintly disgusted, the veela spell on him broken. Draco was trying to slip his hand down his pants for a bit of a ‘root around’, and Pansy tweaked her nipples through her blouse and was moaning audibly.
Crabbe and Goyle just looked a tad sleepy.
Harry did not want to speculate on the reasons for that!
Hermione tried to ignore the insanity going on around them (hoping not to become ill at witnessing their bizarre antics) and spoke.
“Mademoiselle Delacoeur, avez vous une ‘mal de digestif’?”
“Hermione asked her if she was sick to her stomach? Fleur certainly looks ill!” Harry agreed silently.
“Non, whatever do you mean?” Fleur replied, attempting to appear nonchalant.
Harry sighed, this silliness has gone on long enough.
“Miss Delacoeur, I’ll be frank. I’m going with Hermione Granger, the stunning witch at my side. Please stop using your allure to try and get your way.”
“Vous do not weesh to go weeth moi?”
“For the last time, no I don’t.”
Fleur sighed and turned off her allure.
“Quel dommage. I would ‘ave proved a most ‘accomodating’ escort pour vous.”
“Yeah, that’s great.” To Hermione, he asked. “Ready to go m’dear?”
“Absolutely. It’s beginning to smell of stale bouillabaisse in here.”
As the pair departed, Hermione couldn’t help but give the Veela a smirk and wink.
“Eat THAT you French slag! No one gets MY Harry! Vouz sale cochon!”
Fleur appeared momentarily enraged at the look, but clamped her mask of indifference in place. She strode away with her nose in the air.
Against a column, a totally spent Ron Weasley awoke from the trance.
“What in blue bloody hell just happened? And why do I suddenly want a muggle cigarette?”