Part the Fifth—
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, but not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy, for the apparel oft proclaims the man, and they in France of the best rank and station are of a most select and generous chief in that.
—Hamlet, Act I, scene iii
Harry had never felt so nervous in his life. He knew this should be easier, really, it should—he was a guy, after all; he should not be worried about clothes.
The night before had been a bit tense. After Potions, he had hung around with Ernie, Justin, and Hannah of all people, not really wanting to be in a position to have to run into Hermione—especially as he had rather publicly revealed that she was illegitimate. Muggles didn’t really care about such things usually, especially as the Drs. Granger were now married, but Harry had become all too aware just how deeply the wizarding world felt on the subject.
The three had escorted him back to the Hufflepuff table where everyone good-naturedly laughed at him and Octavian and the fact that neither seemed to be able to take their eyes off of the other. News had circulated throughout the house that Harry Potter was Octavian’s boyfriend and soon everyone knew how he defended not only him, but his father to his own best friend. The other houses were still in the dark, but Harry knew that after today the entire school would know that not only was Harry Potter gay, but he was openly with someone most people wouldn’t speak to unless they wished to make some derogatory remark.
He really didn’t want to know what either Ron or Hermione would say at that.
“Neville,” Harry said desperately, “I really need help.”
Neville looked piteously at the pile of Muggle clothing on Harry’s bed. “Better ask one of the girls.”
“I can’t ask Hermione,” Harry sighed, sitting down on the bed morosely. “And I’m not going to Lavender or Parvati.”
“Well, there are other girls in our year,” Neville stated. “They’re all friends, and Eselde likes fashion, but she’s not like Parvati at all.”
Neville nodded. “Want me to get her for you?”
Harry flopped on the bed, exasperated. “Better, otherwise I’ll never make it to breakfast before Hogsmeade.”
A few minutes later, he found himself facing a petite witch with dark hair that fell to the small of her back. “Hi, Harry,” she greeted before she started looking through his clothes. “What’s the occasion?” She held up a pair of jeans and put them aside for further consideration.
“First date,” Neville added in conversationally.
“Ah, with the mystery Hufflepuff, I take it?” She smiled to herself. “Poor Romilda.”
Harry rolled his eyes.
“What does she normally wear when she’s not in uniform?” she questioned.
Harry blushed. “Blue or gold robes. I’ve never actually seen him out of his school robes, though.”
Her eyes widened slightly, but she said nothing. “Well, you don’t have anything but formal robes and that’s too much for a first date, so we’re going to have to go with something slightly formal if he wears robes.” She plucked out a pair of gray trousers that Harry noticed were usually part of his uniform, before tossing them aside and grabbing tailored ones that were black. She then extracted a dark blue button up shirt that Harry didn’t even realize he owned. Hesitating, she then took a light gray t-shirt that he hadn’t worn since third-year and then a pair of gray socks.
“Okay. Trousers, t-shirt, and then put the blue shirt on top. Button all but the top button, or top two. Make sure the t-shirt is showing so that you don’t look like a Muggle taking his sweetheart out to propose or something. No tie, you want to be relaxed.” She eyed the shirt apprehensively. “I think you shouldn’t tuck it in, but I need to see the ensemble before giving it my final seal of approval.” She looked at him expectantly.
“Oh, right, I’ll just go and change then.” He rushed into the bathroom, leaving a grinning Eselde behind him.
When he came out, Eselde immediately demanded that he take off the shirt. “It’s all wrong on you.” She looked through the clothes again and picked out a long-sleeved black knit top. “Throw this on over the t-shirt.”
She looked on approvingly at the finished product, the light gray t-shirt, hugging his form and creating a layer of color above the top. “Neville,” she asked, “do you maybe have a black wizard coat? You know, the type one wears to formal functions without being a cloak. Maybe from a year or two ago so it will fit Harry?”
“O-Oh, right,” he stuttered, getting up from the bed. “I think I have just the thing. Never wore it, but Gran insisted I bring it,” he said to himself. He rummaged through his trunk, tossing a few knit sweaters onto his bed.
“Trouble’s coming, I think,” she said conversationally as footsteps pounded up the stairs.
A nondescript girl burst in, panting, and said quickly to Eselde, “Sorry, but I think Weasley and Granger are coming up,” before turning her eyes to Harry.
“Don’t you look smart, Potter.”
“Dunbar,” he greeted.
Harry blushed. “Y-Yeah. Eselde is picking my outfit.”
Fay Dunbar nodded her head in approval before sitting down on Ron’s unoccupied bed. “She’s really good at fashion, Muggle and wizard, which is odd considering she’s a pureblood.”
Eselde laughed quietly as if she had heard that comment several times before.
“Harry,” Hermione said as she entered the room and then stopped dead when she noticed the two other sixth-year girls. Ron was right behind her. “What are you doing here?”
“Eselde is serving as a fashion consultant, Granger,” Fay supplied helpfully. “And I’m here because I want to see the finished product. What are we waiting for anyway, Eselde? He looks completely fit.”
“Date? Right on, mate. Is it Abbott then?” Ron asked.
Eselde, though, ignored his comment. “He’s taking out a pureblood who is rather traditional. Neville’s looking for a wizard coat that might do.”
“Excellent,” Fay responded. “He’ll look both casual and fit in with the current pureblood fashions. I doubt even Malfoy could say anything against the finished product.” She looked Harry over appreciatively. “She’s one lucky witch, whoever she is.”
Hermione sighed. “First Prince and now another traditionalist? Harry, this is getting to be a bit much.”
“I don’t comment on your love life,” he said quietly before accepting a coat from Neville.
“If you like it, Harry, you can have it. It doesn’t fit anymore and you’ll need to use it if things go well.”
Harry smiled softly. “Thanks, Neville, I owe you one. Could I maybe get you something you would want to wear?”
“You don’t have to, Harry.”
“No, really, I’d feel much better. Or maybe a book on Herbology?” He smiled. “Look around and get back to me.”
He turned his attention to the coat in his arms and drew in a sharp breath. The wizard garment was simply stunning. It was made out of black brocade and was lined in silver. It appeared to have a charm on it to keep the occupant warm in winter, but also had a silk lining that had been charmed to keep one cool in summer. He quickly put it on and was happy to see that it fit the width of his shoulders perfectly, falling down in a straight line to about his knees. It was slightly too long in the sleeves, but that was hardly noticeable. “You never wore this?” he asked incredulously.
“Never my thing,” Neville smiled. “It looks amazing on you, though.”
“I think I’m in love,” Fay said happily before bouncing off the bed and attacking Harry’s hair. “I think if we made it slightly more disheveled, he would be absolutely perfect. You’re going to have every girl drooling over you as it is.”
“And every boy,” Eselde added in helpfully.
“What are you on about?” Ron asked, defensive. “Harry is not a poof.”
Three heads turned to him incredulously.
Hermione was still glaring at the coat for some reason while Fay was messing up Harry’s hair artfully. “Can I transfigure your glasses? Maybe into something a little more stylish? I got an ‘O’ on my O.W.L. so I can assure you I can do it.”
“Er, okay,” Harry responded, blinking at Fay when she took away his horn-rimmed glasses and tapped them a few times, before presenting him with thin wire frames that were rectangular.
“Much better,” she said, stepping away, and then she noticed the tension running through the room. “Um, did I miss something?”
“No, Fay,” Eselde put in quickly before pushing Harry toward the door. “Come on, I can’t wait to see the reaction when your date sees you.”
“Er—” Harry hedged, making to turn around to grab his bag of Galleons from his trunk.
“Got it,” Neville said, grabbing the sack and pressing it into Harry’s hand. “And I have got to see this, as well.”
Before Harry knew it, he was being marched through the common room and out the portrait hole.
“Hufflepuff table?” Eselde asked conversationally as they finally made it to the Great Hall.
As they approached, the entire table looked up and several people looked on the transformed Harry Potter in awe. Ernie Macmillan smiled widely and Aidan looked completely gobsmacked, kicking his best friend under the table. Octavian quickly glanced at his friend and, following his gaze, his eyes landed on Harry. “Mon dieu,” he whispered before he blushed a becoming scarlet. “Est-ce que je suis au ciel?”
Caspar laughed brightly before calling out to Harry, “You clean up quite well, Potter!”
“Blame Eselde,” he teased back, smiling at her.
“All you need is the Potter insignia ring and you’d be set,” Caspar added conversationally, as Harry sat down next to his boyfriend, Eselde and Neville dragging a confused looking Fay away.
“It’s probably in the vault,” Harry sighed. “I have no idea what it would even look like.” He turned to Octavian. “Good morning.”
Octavian was dressed astonishingly similarly to Harry. His lean form was encased in black trousers and a black turtleneck. He wore black dragon-hide boots that gave him a couple of inches as well as a dark blue wizard coat with a high collar. Unlike Harry’s, he wore it buttoned across his chest, although it flared out loosely from below his waist. His honey colored hair fell loosely to his shoulders and his hands were encased in black fingerless gloves.
“Bonjour,” he whispered shyly before placing several pieces of eggy bread on Harry’s plate. “Mangez!”
Harry could only laugh happily, his nervousness completely melting away as he began to eat his breakfast with his boyfriend. He didn’t really care that everyone was staring at them. He just smiled happily at Octavian and even, without thinking about it, rested his hand on top of Octavian’s when the younger boy nervously bit his lip. “What’s wrong?” he asked softly, only to see Octavian was now blushing.
“A Gryffindor is coming our way,” he replied just as quietly, before he entwined their fingers.
“Je suis désolé. I am unfortunately a bit of a—celebrity.” This at least garnered a small smile.
The two wizards looked up to see a red-faced Ginny Weasley standing behind them, her eyes focused on their interlocked hands.
“Ginny,” Harry greeted, smiling slightly.
“You’re holding hands,” she stated, still not looking up.
“Yes, we are.”
“With Prince.” Her ears had strangely gone white.
Caspar, who was sitting across from the couple, began to snigger.
“You’re also wearing a wizard coat,” she finally said, looking up into Harry’s green eyes. “Merlin, what happened to your glasses?”
“Oh, you like them?” Harry asked casually. “Fay transfigured them for me this morning so they wouldn’t look so out of place with the coat and all.”
Octavian looked closely at his boyfriend’s new frames before plucking them off his nose. Harry blinked rapidly a few times, but only smiled as Octavian inspected them. “I ‘ad not noticed. Vous êtes très chic, Henri Jacques. Vous êtes très beau.”
Harry grinned widely as Octavian placed his transfigured glasses back on his nose, soft fingers brushing against his cheeks.
“Wh-What did he say?” Ginny asked, now going completely white.
Caspar looked up at her, confused. “You don’t speak French?”
She shook her head.
“No,” she responded defensively. “Why?”
He groaned. “Please tell me you speak German—or at least Italian.”
Ginny looked at him blankly.
“Any foreign language?”
Ginny reddened and glanced away.
“Amazing,” Caspar said under his breath to Aidan. “You and Harry speak another language and you’re both half-bloods!”
Harry was completely confused. “Am I missing something?” he said softly to Octavian.
“Traditionally, purebloods are taught two or trois languages before zey attend ‘Ogwarts. French is usually one of zem. As a pureblood, one is expected to know at least anozzer fluently. Aidan, ‘oo is a ‘alf-blood speaks Gaelic and a bit of Italian. You, ‘oo are a ‘alf-blood and raised by les Muggles, even know enough French to understand me. I take it she is a pureblood by Caspar’s response zat she does not know Français. It shows zat ‘er family is uncultured.”
“The Weasleys are not uncultured,” she stated flatly and in a rather loud tone. Before, their conversation had gone primarily unnoticed, but now a few Slytherins looked their way, and even Draco Malfoy began to grin widely at the argument that was about to blow up.
“Clearly they are if you don’t know French or any other language,” Caspar said nonchalantly. “I can’t believe we’re second cousins.” His voice carried and Harry, who had been getting to know Caspar, suspected that he might have done it on purpose.
Harry glanced up at him in surprise. “Second cousins?”
“Yes. My great-grandmother Charis Black was her grandmother Cedrella’s younger sister. We’re second cousins once removed.”
“So what did he say, then?” Ginny snapped at him. “Who are you anyway?”
Caspar looked at her smoothly before humming in the back of his throat. “Caspar Bartemius Summers.”
“As in Bartemius Crouch?” Harry inquired.
“Crouch Sr. was my great uncle on my mother’s side. It’s depressing that my first cousin once removed was a Death Eater and actually teaching me. You’d think he’d actually bother to say ‘hello,’ or something,” he deadpanned, clearly not liking to think about his cousin, Crouch Jr.
Ginny breathed deeply through her nose.
Caspar took pity on her and drawled, “Octavian said, and I quote—‘They are very chic, Henri Jacques. You are very handsome.’”
Aidan perked up. “I agree with Octavian. They are nice and they look good on you. Especially with the coat.”
“Why would Prince say Harry was handsome? And why are you still holding hands?” Her words tumbled out, almost stuttering, and she looked like she was on the edge of a minor panic attack.
“Ginny,” Harry said warily, “are you all right?”
“When did you get a wizard coat?” she demanded again, her voice rising. Noticing an empty space next to Harry, she shoved the girl who was sitting there over and promptly sat down.
Harry looked at her cross-eyed. “Um—this morning,” he admitted. “Eselde thought a wizard coat would work and Neville had an old one he’d never worn, and he said I could keep it since it fits. I’m going to get something for him in exchange. I mean, I know nothing about clothes, but it’s absolutely gorgeous.”
“Do you have any idea how much a coat like that costs? Two thousand Galleons at least!”
Harry shrugged. “Doubt that will make a dent in my trust,” he said nonchalantly, picking up his goblet of pumpkin juice.
Caspar and Octavian were both laughing quietly at his statement and the horrified look on Ginny’s face.
“I think I’ll get a few more over Christmas,” he added conversationally. “Where do I get this type of thing?” he asked Octavian.
“Twilfitt and Tattings; it’s in Diagon Alley. Zey only accept vault numbers as payment and zey ‘ave to know your name, to make sure you are acceptable. You will ‘ave no problem, I think.”
“Are you seeing Kellan then?” Ginny asked as she seemed to relax.
The three Hufflepuffs and Harry looked at her askance. Hannah Abbot sighed in disbelief before making a face at Justin, obviously to show exactly what she thought of the youngest Weasley’s intellect.
“No,” Harry stated slowly and loudly enough for the rest of the Great Hall to hear if anyone was listening. “She helped me pick out an outfit for my date with my boyfriend.”
Ginny paled completely, her freckles standing out harshly against her paper white skin. “Y-You’re not gay,” she said in a small voice.
Harry rolled his eyes. “I am very much gay, thank you. And how can you assume to know my sexual orientation? You’re not me. You’re not inside my head. How can you know who I am and am not attracted to?” He squeezed Octavian’s hand lightly and felt a reassuring squeeze in return.
Ginny shook her head. “You cannot be gay.”
Hannah sighed, turning to the girl. “Weasley, Harry just said he was gay. Save yourself the heartache and accept that he will never fancy you, and move on.”
She looked up at Hannah and squeaked in astonishment.
Hannah rolled her eyes. “It’s not as if it’s a secret even if you are dating that other boy in Gryffindor.”
Harry looked between them, surprised, before quickly looking away. “Learn something new every day,” he muttered to himself, though Octavian smiled.
“I do not fancy Harry Potter,” Ginny said a little too loudly.
Hannah rolled her eyes. “It’s the worst kept secret at Hogwarts. Now, why did you come over in the first place apart from prying into Harry’s love life?” She looked at the younger student expectantly and Ginny flushed a deep scarlet that clashed with her hair.
She took a note from her pocket and handed it to Harry. “Professor Dumbledore asked me to give this to you,” she said quietly before getting up and hurrying back to the Gryffindor table where students were furiously whispering. Dean Thomas was glaring at her quite pointedly.
Harry stared at the scroll before breaking the seal and reading it through before glancing at the staff table, where he noticed Dumbledore was conspicuously missing. He hummed in this throat before rolling it back up and sticking it in his trouser pocket.
“Ready?” he asked, turning to Octavian. He stood purposefully before pulling Octavian gently from his seat.
“Au revoir, Caspar. See you later, Aidan,” he said to his friends as he allowed Harry to lead him out of the Great Hall.
“Where to?” Harry inquired softly when they reached Hogsmeade after Filch had scanned them with Secrecy Sensors, looking rather pointedly at their joint hands, a slight sneer on his face.
“Where do you want to go, Henri Jacques?”
Harry smiled softly at him. “The day is yours, completely my treat, though I would ask not to go near Madame Puddifoot’s,” he added with a shudder.
Octavian laughed, his voice clear in the autumn air. “It is said to be romantic, non?” he teased before turning until he faced Harry. His black eyes focused on Harry’s bright green ones for a moment before he exclaimed, “I feel to properly celebrate, we must ‘ave chocolate—magical, of course. Muggle candy is far beneath us.” He laughed.
“Honeydukes it is then,” Harry responded, as they headed toward the candy store. When they entered, it was to see dozens of students crowded around the various displays.
Octavian tugged on Harry’s sleeve toward the chocolate frogs, his eyes wide at so much chocolate.
“I can guess what your favorite is,” Harry said lightly, grabbing an empty basket from nearby, and he began placing several chocolate frogs in it for Octavian.
Blushing slightly, Octavian bit his lip, his eyes suddenly focusing on Harry’s in apprehension. “Pardon, Henri Jacques,” he said softly, “I did not mean to be a bozzer.”
Harry looked at him in confusion. “You’re not a bother at all. I was amazed when I was eleven and discovered chocolate frogs. I’d never come across anything so amazing—and strangely disturbing—before,” he added lightly.
Octavian, however, was still chewing at his lower lip.
Reaching forward, Harry grasped Octavian’s chin lightly. “What’s wrong, Octavian?”
“You were not criticizing me?”
Harry shook his head. “No, never,” he vowed, brushing the pad of his thumb against Octavian’s lower lip affectionately. He looked down at the chocolate frogs before looking at his boyfriend again. “Before I came to Hogwarts,” Harry admitted, guessing at Octavian’s reaction, “I had nothing. I wore my cousin’s old clothes and for Christmas, I’d be given old socks. I cooked all the meals for my Muggle relatives and . . . I slept in a cupboard even though Dudley had two bedrooms.”
Octavian looked at him, surprised.
“I still get excited when I’m allowed to eat my fill at dinner. Sweets are like Christmas coming early. Having clothes that are actually mine and weren’t worn by Dudley first is almost like a dream. I would understand if someone felt the same way.”
Suddenly, his arms were full of a thankful Octavian, who had thrown his arms around Harry’s neck. Harry couldn’t help but smile, before wrapping his arms around his boyfriend and burying his face in the shoulder of his wizard coat. “Merci, Henri Jacques,” Octavian whispered in Harry’s ear, breathing in the scent of Harry’s hair. He held on for a few moments and Harry just reveled at the feel of the other boy in his arms and was disappointed when Octavian pulled away.
Octavian smiled impishly up at him. “I think we should buy all ze candy we could ever want and zen eat it all tonight instead of dinner and get sick!” he declared happily and Harry could only laugh.
“That’s a brilliant plan.”
He picked up his basket, which he had inadvertently dropped before seizing several more handfuls of chocolate frogs.
“Blood pops?” he asked and Octavian made a face before nodding happily.
“Zey will definitely make us ill.”
As they turned, Harry accidentally bumped into Professor Slughorn. “Professor!” he exclaimed. “I’m so sorry. Are you all right?”
“Of course, Mr. Potter, of course!” he replied jovially before noticing Octavian. “And Mr. Prince. I had heard you two had become friends, what with your rather deserved argument with Miss Granger. I quite agree with you that her position was more than a little hypocritical, all things considering,” he rambled, peering at Octavian with interest.
“Er—yes,” Harry answered, glancing over at Octavian who was looking quite pointedly at the floorboards.
“I’m quite glad I had not yet invited her to the little gathering I’m planning for Monday,” Slughorn continued, not noticing Octavian’s distress. “I had thought she might be an excellent addition to my dinner parties, but as it is, considering her unfortunate parentage . . . but never mind, never mind!”
“Party, sir?” Harry inquired, wanting to shift the conversation away from legitimacy.
“Yes, quite. I’m having one Monday evening. Just a few students, you understand. You are, naturally, invited.”
Harry smiled slightly. “I’m so sorry, sir, but I have an appointment with Professor Dumbledore on Monday.”
“Oh, that is just too bad. I’ll have to get to you quicker next time, will I not?” He eyed Octavian again, who was now looking at a selection of white chocolate, which he was beginning to slip into Harry’s basket. “Yes,” he continued speculatively.
Harry glanced over to Octavian quickly. “Of course, sir. I look forward to it.”
Professor Slughorn snapped his attention back to Harry, a smile on his face. “Perhaps next time you might bring along Mr. Prince?” he inquired.
Octavian looked up, surprised.
“I heard from Professor Flitwick that he is quite talented in Charms, a prodigy even, and that he is preparing to sit for his N.E.W.T. next year as well as his O.W.L.”
“Yes, sir,” Octavian answered quietly. “I would be ‘appy if Henri Jacques were also in attendance.”
“Excellent, excellent. Now, if you gentlemen would excuse me, I just nipped in to get my crystallized pineapple, and it’s getting quite crowded as it is.”
He made his way around them and pointedly ignored both Hermione and Ron, who were standing nearby. Hermione was looking at him rather reproachfully before glaring at Harry, who just ignored her.
“Zat was quite unexpected,” Octavian said quietly, reaching out for Harry’s hand. “My fazzer’s ‘eir ‘as not been invited previously, and I doubt ‘e will.”
Harry squeezed his hand. “Well, you are two different people and I doubt that he is a Charms prodigy as Professor Flitwick considers you his most talented student in his entire career.”
“But I am a Changeling-child, the son of a ‘ore,” he whispered, confused.
“If you are, then I am a freak and the son of a drunk who killed himself and his wife in a car crash,” Harry said sternly.
Octavian looked at him startled, and Harry could only smile sadly.
“That’s what I was told before I came here. Everyone back in the Muggle world thinks I attend St. Brutus’s Academy for Incurably Criminal Boys because that’s what my aunt and uncle tell them.” He brushed a piece of honey colored hair behind Octavian’s ear. “Now—do you like cockroach clusters despite the rather frightening name?”
Satisfied, and carrying several shrunken packages, Harry and Octavian headed to the Three Broomsticks for Butterbeer, passing Katie Bell and her friend on their way out.
French to English Translation.
Mon dieu. Est-ce que je suis au ciel?My god. Am I in heaven?
Je suis désolé. I am sorry.
Vous êtes très chic, Henri Jacques. Vous êtes très beau. You are very chic, Henri Jacques. You are very handsome.
Au revoir, Caspar. Goodbye, Caspar.