Title: Skipping Stones (or, Subliminal Messages)
Fandom(s): Harry Potter Series (HP3, specifically)
Written for: @lissataylor1
Prompt: Harry Potter/Marcus Flint
Summary: Harry knew Hermione would say (if they were speaking) that he was “exploring his sexuality.” Somehow, whatever he had with Marcus (even if he did look like a troll) seemed slightly more significant than that. AU HP3.
Warning(s): slash (m/m), underage (18/13), secret relationship, noncommunication
“You’re a bit of an idiot.” Harry threw another rock into the Black Lake. He wasn’t certain why he said it, he often thought it, of course, but saying it was perhaps not the wisest thing to do.
Then again, hanging out with Marcus Flint wasn’t actually the wisest thing to do, either.
Of course, Marcus didn’t answer. He never really did.
Harry wasn’t sure how this had even come to pass. The walking beside each other, the rock throwing, the snogging near the Forbidden Forest… it was, really, all one big mystery. If he were to ask Hermione (not that he was going to ask Hermione, because she reported his beautiful Firebolt because it might be “cursed”) – but if he were to ask Hermione in a way where she might not lecture him, she’d probably give him a lecture about this being about the age and time “school children explored their sexuality.”
Then again, Harry didn’t really need to even imagine it. He’d heard Hermione give the same lecture just the other day to a stuttering Parvati Patil.
Glancing over, Harry was reminded (again) that Marcus looked like he had troll blood in him.
Why Harry found that attractive was yet another mystery.
“Graduating this year?” Harry asked casually, wanting to know how long this might last. He was selfish that way, he could admit it.
Marcus picked up a stone and skipped it expertly about seven times before the squid reared up and claimed it. His blue eyes were deep in thought, but he looked over at Harry with a sheen of desperation in his eyes.
“I could get Madam Hooch’s job after.”
Confused, Harry didn’t glance over, but attempted another skid. One plop, nothing. The squid didn’t bother to come this close to shore to catch it. “Is she likely to retire?”
“If I pay her enough.”
The words were quiet, barely whispered, only just caught on the wind. Harry wasn’t entirely sure he was meant to hear them.
Dropping the stone he was fiddling with, he took a step toward Marcus. He was hunched over on himself, his Slytherin scarf about his thick neck, teeth clearly clenching at the jaw even in the spring heatwave (not that you could call the weather anywhere outside of Scotland).
Marcus didn’t look up when Harry’s cold fingers gently landed on his shoulder, tentative despite the hours of having their tongues down the others’ throats.
At first, Harry thought he was going to be ignored, and when Marcus skipped another stone (nine, ten skids, even) which became the latest trophy of the squid he thought that would be the end of the conversation.
“Why are you here, Potter?”
Harry immediately withdrew his hand, which finally caused Marcus to look up at him. His words were abrupt, his tone was unforgiving.
Feeling ashamed, though not certain why, Harry looked down at his fingerless gloves. He swallowed once, wondering why his glasses suddenly seemed a little fogged up, especially in this wind. “Right,” he decided, looking over his shoulder, back at the castle. “I’ll just—”
But Marcus didn’t let him finish. With a surge upward from his odd, crablike crouch, he was looming over Harry and dragging him into a harsh, unforgiving mesh of lips and teeth. It could hardly be called a kiss. It certainly wasn’t tentative or remotely romantic, but Harry’s knees went weak all the same.
When Marcus pulled away, his face nearly as trollish as it usually was, he grasped Harry’s face between his rough hands and looked him directly in the eye. “If I wanted you to go, I would say, Potter.”
Opening his mouth to respond, Harry could find no words. Instead, he leaned into the touch, hoping that Marcus would kiss him again and perhaps steal his soul before the dementors could.
It was only the setting of the sun and the chill of March that drove them back inside, the sounds of the Great Hall falling over them like an unwanted homework assignment.
They didn’t talk again that night, entering separately (more than five minutes apart, Marcus timed it for them), but Harry couldn’t help but have his gaze drawn over to the Slytherin table. His heart clenched to see Marcus’s arm around some girl’s shoulder.
Seventh year, pretty, nothing like Harry.
In less than a moment, Harry hated her, even though he didn’t even know her name.
Of course, that didn’t stop him from tripping Marcus on purpose, one of their signals to meet later (or sooner, if chance dictated). He barely had to wait for the halls to clear before Marcus was shoving him up against a back corridor, in full view of anyone who might look, knee between his thighs, lips sucking just beneath Harry’s ear.
They didn’t talk about it again, not really, even one cold evening when Ron and Hermione were bickering about Scabbers (it’s all they talked about, not that Harry was talking to Hermione at all)…
“They’re executing Buckbeak tonight,” Harry murmured when they lay on the shores of the lake, bits of broken shell piercing uncomfortably into his shoulder. “I can see you doing something like that.”
It wasn’t meant to be an insult, more of a compliment. Harry often tried to figure out what Marcus would do once he graduated—once he left Harry, being all but unsaid, not that Marcus ever really gave him an answer.
“I like things that fly too much,” Marcus confessed, his hand snaking down Harry’s chest to play with the buttons on his blazer.
They’d never gone much farther than snogging, but sometimes in the after-moments, they could nearly be sweet to one another.
“Is that why you sometimes like me?” Harry teased, only to have Marcus’s thick fingers still before they even touched bare skin.
Marcus looked up at him, dark eyes wide. Some would think it made him look stupid, unintelligent, more like a troll than a wizard, but Harry now knew this was a look of honesty on Marcus, a look that whatever he was feeling (and might even say) truly meant something to him.
With a lungful of breath, Marcus shuddered when he finally confessed, “I failed my exams so I wouldn’t have to stop watching you fly.”
The words twirled in Harry’s mind for a long second, trying to figure them out, before he sat up abruptly. Looking down at Marcus, his mind still shifting, he asked in a reverent tone, “You failed, again?”
“No,” Marcus returned, voice firm and unshaking. “That’s why I failed last year.”
The meaning dropped into Harry’s mind harshly and with all the torture of a dripping faucet, left on overnight and suddenly identifiable in the early hours of the morning. “And this year?” Harry’s voice was strangled, his heart in a vice. He was happy, astonished, although he knew he shouldn’t be feeling anything of the sort.
“I bribed Madam Hooch,” Marcus stated, as if the answer were obvious (and Marcus had half-mentioned the possibility several months before). “My mum wouldn’t take kindly to a second failure, even if I never have to work outside of maintaining the estate.”
The words washed through Harry as he turned them over. “Can you fly there?” he inquired, looking toward Hagrid’s cottage and wondering if that horrible man from the Ministry had come to do his worst yet. He tried not to sound desperate, but an idea was forming in his head.
“We have acres and acres,” Marcus returned, his fingers once again sliding down Harry’s clothed chest, teasing, a little too firm, but just how Harry liked it.
Hope fluttered in Harry’s throat, but he refused to look back at Marcus. “Fancy a house guest? They say, though, Sirius Black is after me.”
“Oh, I’ll just tuck you behind the wards,” he promised darkly, pleasure evident in his gruff tones. “I’ll snatch you up at King’s Cross and then bring you back September 1st, myself.”
A smile that Harry could no longer suppress twisted his lips.
As Marcus drew him down into a deep kiss, more teeth than tongue this time, Harry moaned out, “You’ll be sick of my flying come next term.”
“Doubt it,” Marcus returned, biting Harry’s lower lip just enough to leave an imprint (never enough to leave a mark for the clever Hermione to see). “I could watch you fly until I was old and in my dotage.”
Shivers ran up Harry’s spine, a large hand pressing his hips down into the rocky shore so he couldn’t find friction, and Harry moaned. “Is that a proposal?” he teased, really hoping beyond conceivable hope that it was true.
Marcus paused, stunned, and Harry wished he hadn’t said anything.
Then weight was being lifted off of him, and Harry felt cold in the cool June evening, and he looked up desperately to where Marcus was hovering over him, his dark troll-eyes searching as if he were a pig looking for truffles in the forest. “Would you say, ‘yes’?” he asked darkly, voice more of a stab of sounds in the hush between them.
Harry felt exposed, felt useless, felt as if the moment could end very badly after all—and there would be no more tripping in the hall, no more shoving, no more sneaking kisses or long looks after Potions Class.
“Yes,” he told Marcus firmly, wishing he felt that self-confident. One wrong word and the Slytherins would have enough personal information and dirt on him to make the next four years torture for him… with or without Marcus as Flying Coach.
Lost as he was in his own fears, Harry almost didn’t catch the blue glint of pure joy in Marcus’s gaze, but he felt the rough lips claim his in a searing kiss that could almost be described as sweet. “Better get you a ring, then, Potter,” he surmised, when he finally pulled away to allow Harry to actually breathe.
“And maybe you can call me ‘Harry’?” he asked hopefully, smiling just a little in the half-gloam.
“I’ll think about it,” Marcus promised, fondness etching his words, before he kissed the life out of Harry.
Of course, they snuck back into the castle much later (some first year had a message for Harry that Ron was in the Hospital Wing with a broken leg), but that didn’t keep Harry from kissing Marcus once before they separated, a new hope burgeoning inside him.
Everyone was looking at The Prophet the next morning, Slytherins especially, but Harry was still too happy to read the latest on Sirius Black’s break into Hogwarts and surprise escape. Marcus had kept him safe in his arms, and the rest of the world didn’t really matter. Of course, it was Hermione just before the end of breakfast, who gasped and looked up at Harry. “You’re engaged to Flint?”
Blinking, clearly confused, he glanced over at Slytherin where Marcus was looking unabashedly back at him.
“Didn’t know you knew,” he returned, arms folded, before she shoved a folded back page of the paper at him. It seemed to be a page of announcements and engagements, a couple of obits, but there in small print were the following words. They were simple, unhurried, gave all the information with the limited amount of fuss. Harry loved them and couldn’t keep the smile off his face.
M. Flint engaged to H. Potter June 1993. Wedding details to follow.
It was perfect. And who knew that Marcus could be romantic, after all.