Think for Yourself
Dancing days are here again
As the summer evenings grow
I got my flower
I got my power
I got my woman who knows
—Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, "Dancing Days"
19 October 1996
Harry stood in the dorm room with Neville, waiting for Seamus to come back from wherever he'd gone. Today was his second date with Jackie and he was a little nervous. Seamus had arranged for them to go dancing at a local hang out but Harry wasn't sure that was such a good idea. He was no dancer.
Seamus ran in, a bit breathless. "Why aren't you dressed?" he asked.
"I don't know what to wear to this thing. You'd have changed what I chose anyway," Harry said, his nerves putting an edge on his voice.
"Come now, let's not be uncooperative." Seamus looked quickly through Harry's things before pulling out a rather faded knit shirt and holding it up to Harry. It was a little snug, unlike Harry's other clothes. "Put this on and take off your boxers."
Harry stared at Seamus. "Um, why?"
"You can't wear boxers under tight jeans! Sheesh!" Seamus pulled a pair of black button fly jeans from his own closet. He'd bought them tight but had filled out enough that they were now too small for him. "You can have these."
Harry slid the jeans on. They were snug but not tight enough for Seamus. He pulled out his wand and began to alter their fit slightly.
"Seamus!" Neville warned. "Tight is one thing but …"
Seamus laughed and loosened the jeans a bit. As Harry reached for shoes, Seamus said, "Boots please, not trainers." Harry rolled his eyes but did as he was told. Once he was dressed, Seamus performed the appearance spell and the three boys went down to the entryway to meet Susan and Jackie.
Jack couldn't see what clothes Jackie was wearing under her cloak but he could see Jackie's appreciative look at his outfit. He grinned and held out his hand. "Ready to go?"
"Ready as I'll ever be," replied Jackie. She winked at Seamus as she and Jack walked toward Hogsmeade.
Seamus looked at his watch. He had about 30 minutes before meeting Draco but he liked to be early; it gave him more control of the situation. He thanked Neville and Susan for their help, then headed off to Hogsmeade.
Ginny, meanwhile, was walking through the common room, only slightly nervous about her meeting with Draco. She'd felt much less upset since she'd sent the owl; she was confident this was the right thing to do. Still, in the back of her mind she wondered if he would even show up.
Hearing her name, Ginny turned to see her brother walking down the stairs from the boy's dorms.
"So, you're meeting Draco today," Ron said.
Ginny smiled weakly. "I hope so."
"Do you want some company while you wait?"
Her eyes widened. "Do you mean that?"
"Well, I have nothing better to do," Ron replied with a shrug.
Ginny smiled to herself. It was so like Ron to make such an offer then disguise it as convenience. "No Padma?" she teased.
"She had other plans. Which I found out about before I asked her, thank goodness." Ron walked down the stairs. "I'm doing this for you. I haven't changed my mind about him."
Ginny nodded. She knew Ron wasn't nearly as intractable as people thought but she was very glad he'd come around, even a little. "I accept that."
"I still think you're making a big mistake, Gin," Ron said.
"I know," Ginny replied, taking Ron's arm.
"Well, as long as we understand each other." Ron smiled, then added, "Anyway, I love you more than I hate him. I won't let him take you away from me."
"Neither will I, Ron," Ginny promised as they passed through the portrait hole.
Jack and Jackie walked into the club Seamus had directed them to. It was dark and a bit dingy, and smelled rather strongly of beer and cigarette smoke. A sign near the door announced that the band performing that evening was The Takers, a classic rock cover band. (Jackie had been amused when the bands her parents had listened to when she was a kid had become the "cool" music among wizarding teenagers.) It was warm inside as there was quite a crowd, and Jack and Jackie put their cloaks up on pegs in the back of the room. As Jackie took her cloak off, Jack couldn't help but grin.
Jackie was wearing a bright orange dress that came to her mid thigh, an expanse of leg framed between the hem and the top of her knee-high boots. The top was low-cut with straps just wide enough to conceal her bra.
Jack leaned over to Jackie and asked, "Where do you keep your wand?"
Jackie grinned. "In my boot," she answered. "Where's yours?"
"Can't you tell?" Jack winked.
Jack cut through the crowd, leading the way to the bar. The band was too loud for them to talk over comfortably so they stood at the bar, leaning against each other and watching the wizards and witches crowding the dance floor. Jackie guzzled her pumpkin juice, trying to remember grapefruit juice and flashing lights to conjure up the party girl within her. Then, she heard a familiar guitar riff.
"Zeppelin!" she shouted.
"Who?" Jack asked.
"Led Zeppelin!" she yelled back, leaning close to Jack's ear. "My father used to play this all the time when I was a kid. I would dance to it in the house when I was like, four." She reached down and grabbed Jack's hand. "Come on! Let's go!"
Jack put down his glass and followed Jackie out onto the dance floor. His uncle hated rock, so Jack didn't have the independent knowledge of classic rock that Jackie had; he only knew what was played on WWN. He vaguely remembered this song from the radio and figured it was a popular one, as the floor was even more crowded than it had been a few minutes ago. He leaned over to Jackie and shouted, "What's this song?"
"Whole Lotta Love!" she shouted back. She closed her eyes, raised her arms above her head and as the drums kicked in, she undulated with the beat of the song.
Jack stood for a moment, surprised. He'd never seen a girl dance like this right in front of him. He looked around at the other dancers and started to move like some of the other men he saw, which turned out to not be that difficult. But as soon as he'd got the hang of it, the drums and bass dropped out of the song until all that was left was the guitar and a ching-ching-ching on the cymbals.
The dancers all slowed down and Jackie opened her eyes to see Jack standing before her. She walked toward him, wrapping her hands around his neck, and began to move slowly against him. He put his hands on her hips and vaguely remembered Parvati teaching he and Hermione how to lambada at his birthday party. This sort of dancing he could handle. He pulled Jackie even closer until his hands were wrapped around her waist and they swayed to the rhythm together.
Then the drums kicked back in and Jackie jumped out of his arms to dance alone again for a few moments before the band stopped again and the singer was on his own: "Way down inside!"
Jackie and several others screamed back at him, "Woo!" Then somehow Jack and Jackie were at the center of the stage, in front of the singer.
"Woman! You need love!" The drums kicked back in again and the driving rhythm of the bass and the guitar, and the singer pointed to Jackie and sang, "Shake for me, girl!"
She proceeded to do so, turning from the singer to Jack as she did so. All too soon the song was over and everyone was clapping and shouting for the band. Jackie, out of breath, pushed her hair back from her forehead, and smiled at Jack.
Jack impulsively reached out and pulled Jackie into his arms and kissed her. He wanted to say something complementary but all he could think was, "Who is this girl?"
If Sirius or Remus had been there, they would have recognized his expression as another Potter being run over by a truck.
Seamus sat in the window seat, smoking a cigarette and thinking, when he was roused from his reverie by an impatient knocking at the hotel room door. He rose to let Draco in.
"Well. I wasn't sure you'd show up," Seamus admitted.
"I always do what I say I'm going to do," replied Draco.
There was an awkward pause. Seamus looked at the floor, then out the window, then back at Draco. Seamus had basked in the gaze of other men before, but this felt different. He supposed that was because he wasn't sure what Draco wanted. He put out his cigarette in the ashtray.
Draco leaned back against the door, crossing his ankles. "So, what usually happens up here?"
"What do you want to happen?" Seamus asked.
Draco crossed the room in three steps and put his hands on Seamus' shoulders. He paused for only a second before planting a very solid kiss. Seamus was so surprised it took him a moment to react, but he began to relax into the kiss, almost in spite of himself. It took a moment before Seamus could gather enough wits about him to push Draco off. The other boy, off balance, fell backwards onto the bed.
"Hey!" Draco yelled. "What was that for? Isn't that what you do up here?"
Seamus wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "Not necessarily, no. Usually there's a bit of talking first."
Draco leaned back and stared up at the ceiling. "Talking about what?"
"Boys. Coming out. That sort of stuff." Seamus pulled a chair over next to the bed and sat with his feet on the bed, rocking the chair onto its back legs.
"Coming out?" Draco snorted. "I thought this was Seamus' House of Shagging."
Seamus sighed at the familiar rumor. "I've never shagged anyone up here, actually," he admitted.
"Then you're even dumber than you look, Finnigan," Draco said.
"That isn't why people come up here," Seamus replied.
Draco smirked. "Really? That isn't what Justin said."
The mention of his ex-boyfriend set Seamus' teeth on edge. He pulled his feet from the bed, his chair tipping forward with a thump. "Justin is full of shit," he said, his temper flaring more than he meant it to. "He doesn't know a damn thing and he always thinks the worst of every situation. Usually because that's what he would do."
Draco nodded, as Seamus calmed down, then asked, "So why do people come up here?"
Seamus shrugged. "To talk in private, I suppose. They know that I'll understand and I won't tell anyone they were here." He smiled slightly, thinking of his own experience. "Not everyone at Hogwarts was lucky enough to come out at the same time as their best friend."
Draco shook his head. "You expect me to believe you're that selfless? Sure you are."
"I don't give a shit what you believe," Seamus replied. "I'm just trying to figure out why you're here. If it's to piss off Lucius by fucking a half-breed wizard, you've come to the wrong place."
Draco flinched. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Seamus rolled his eyes. "Being gay isn't about making your parents angry. Frankly, I should be insulted. Coming out is about getting to a place where what people think is less important than being who you are. When's the last time you made a decision without worrying about what other people would think, Malfoy?" he asked.
Draco sat up on the edge of the bed. "Since I got back to school, Finnigan. Since my mother was killed."
Seamus shook his head. "You haven't been doing what you want. You've just been doing the opposite of what think your father wants." He began to count on his fingers as he recited the list: "Skipping class, acting out, coming here, almost quitting Quidditch. In fact, staying on the team is probably the first independent decision you've made."
Seamus chuckled. "That was eloquent. I expect more from you, Malfoy." Seamus rose from the chair and sat on the window seat, pulling out another cigarette. "Smoke?"
Draco rose and accepted a cigarette and a light from Seamus, then sat at the foot of the bed.
Seamus looked at Draco. "We both know one thing you never stopped wanting, all appearances to the contrary. I bet there's an owl post burning a hole in your pocket right now."
Draco looked up, surprised. "How did you—oh. I bet you helped write it."
Seamus smiled in reply. "You know, you can get what you want and still piss off Daddy. She's a Weasley, after all."
Draco dragged on his cigarette. After a minute, he said, "What time is it, then?"
Seamus looked at his watch, then said sternly, "You have fifteen minutes. You were late coming here. I do not suggest you be late going there. I also suggest you tell her you were here. Because if you don't, then I will."
Draco stared out the window for a while, thinking. Then he looked at Seamus. "So, healer, is it?"
"Looks like," Seamus said.
"Ever thought about doing mental stuff?"
Seamus shook his head, smiling. "Dean says I would become insufferable."
Draco cocked his head. "Why aren't you with Dean, anyway?"
"Honestly? When you figure it out, tell me because I don't fucking know."
The two boys sat quietly smoking, then Seamus said, "Well, we should go."
Draco stood. He felt as though he was being led off to the gallows or to nirvana but he wasn't sure which. Either way, everything was changing, really fast.
Jack and Jackie danced on, Jackie telling Jack what songs they were listening to and Jack gradually getting comfortable enough to nearly keep up with Jackie's dancing. Jackie found dancing with straight men rather different than dancing with gay ones. Gay men might appreciate how you look as an aesthetic statement but straight men made you feel sexy. Jackie remembered how people had stared at her at the Yule Ball two years ago but this was different. Then, they'd just been shocked to discover she was a girl. Now, they were giving her energy and she was feeding off it and dancing even harder. She didn't think she'd want to do this alone but she trusted Seamus and Seamus trusted Jack, so she felt fairly safe. Besides, she had her wand.
At last the band stopped for a break. Jackie looked at Jack and thought of the boys in the corners at the clubs. She took his hand, whispering in his ear, "Let's sit down."
He nodded and led her through the dispersing crowd to a booth at the back of the room. They were both sweaty from the dancing, and Jackie remembered that conversation she'd had with Harry about manly smells. Maybe there was something to that, she thought, as she slid very close to Jack in the booth. They sat for a moment, catching their breath. Then Jackie turned to Jack and pulled him into a kiss.
Jack leaned into the kiss, turning to wrap his arms around her waist. Being who he was, Jack had never had a woman tackle him like this but he rather liked not having to take the initiative. Their bodies moved closer and closer until somehow Jackie was almost on top of him. He used his foot to push the table out slightly, then slid his hands over her hips to pull her more fully into his lap.
Jackie put her hands on either side of his head to kiss him even more deeply. She was Miss Pommery now, and Jack wasn't going to forget it, even when he found out who she really was.
As if he could read her mind, Jack pulled back slightly and whispered, "I need to know who you are."
Jackie nodded. "Not tonight. Next time. I have an idea." She leaned down for another kiss, and they sat snogging in the booth until Jackie heard the band starting up again.
She disentangled herself from Jack and said, "Come on, let's dance."
Reluctantly, Jack stood and led Jackie back to the dance floor.
Ginny, sitting at a booth at the Three Broomsticks with her brother, checked her watch. "Right, you need to go now, Ron."
"He'll never come over if you're sitting here glaring at him. We need to talk by ourselves." She kissed him on the cheek. "Thanks for waiting with me. Now be a good boy and go sit at the bar."
Reluctantly, Ron got up from the table and walked over to an empty stool. No sooner had he sat down than Draco walked in, followed by Seamus. The look on Ginny's face when she saw Draco made Ron queasy but he resisted the urge to make a scene, if only for his sister's sake.
Seamus sat down at the bar next to Ron. "Steady as she goes, Ron."
Ron turned to Seamus and growled.
Draco meanwhile was making a beeline to Ginny's table. He sat down next to her and said, "You wanted to see me?"
Ginny's stomach fluttered, but willed herself to remain calm. "You've been running around like an idiot," she said bluntly.
Draco avoided eye contact. "I've had a bad couple of months," he said, shrugging.
"You deserved them, for being such a bastard," she said.
Draco turned, surprised that Ginny was being so direct. "Did you ask me here to insult me?"
"No," Ginny replied, clutching at the seat with her hands to keep her voice level. "I asked you here because I wanted to know if the boy I met this summer is still in there somewhere."
Draco shrugged again. "What do you think?" he asked.
Ginny reached into her robes and took out her pendant. "I think he is."
Draco stared at the pendant. "Why do you still have that?"
"Did you really think you could get rid of me so easily?" Ginny asked softly, shaking her head.
Draco blinked twice, staring at Ginny. He looked from her eyes to the fish, merrily flipping at the end of its chain. "I'm sorry," he said at last, looking down at the table. "I reckon I wasn't thinking at all."
Ginny took his hand. "You're going to have to start thinking for yourself now."
Draco nodded, his eyes focused on their clasped hands.
"Do not disrespect me ever again."
Draco looked up at Ginny, seeing the same steely determination she'd had that summer. "No," said Draco quietly.
"Are you quite finished behaving like a complete prat?" Ginny asked, gently.
"Yes," said Draco. He felt like a scolded puppy.
She smiled. "Good. Are we going to have dinner?"
Draco's heart lightened. If Ginny was thinking about food, things were back to normal. "Yes, of course, if you want to."
She raised one eyebrow. "And when are you going to kiss me?"
Draco leaned over and kissed Ginny. When he sat back, he saw her looking at him, smiling calmly. It was as though all the confidence he used to have had been transferred to her. Or had that been confidence? He looked up to the bar, and saw Seamus physically restraining Ginny's brother. He'd forgotten about that part. Driving Ron to distraction was definitely going to be a nice fringe benefit.
At last he spoke. "I'm tired."
Ginny was looking across the room at the menu on the chalkboard. "You should be," she said casually. "You've been doing a lot of unnecessary fencing. Let it go."
She turned to look at him. "Fuck them" she said, matter-of-fact. "Do what you want."
Draco had never heard Ginny curse before, about anything. His surprise must have shown on his face, because she spoke again.
"What do you want, Draco Malfoy?" she asked, seriously.
Draco's reply was automatic. "I want to kill my father."
"I'm sorry, he isn't here just now," she said. "Anything else?"
Something in Ginny's tone made Draco feel that he was back on his feet again. "I want to get out of here and snog you senseless," he said, playfully.
"Very well, but can we eat first?" asked Ginny, signaling to the waitress.
Draco chuckled. "Practical girl."
Ginny shrugged. "Romance is for kids. And I can't kiss properly on an empty stomach. I'd just try to eat you."
"That can be arranged." Draco grinned and raised his eyebrows.
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Get your mind out of the gutter please, Malfoy."
Jack and Jackie left the club after a while, hungry after all that dancing. They stopped by a street stand to grab pumpkin and meat pasties to eat as they walked back to Hogwarts. They ran through the chilly fall night, stopping occasionally to kiss the crumbs off each other's mouths. When they got to the entrance, they were laughing and breathless, and ran up to Seamus shouting, "We have a plan!"
Seamus stood in the door, his arms crossed. "Oh?" he asked.
Jackie replied, "We want to be revealed. Next date."
Seamus frowned. "At the beginning?"
Jack shook his head. "No, at the end. We want to wait out the charm."
"In private," Jackie added firmly.
Seamus raised his eyebrows. "So, you want the room?" he asked.
Jack and Jackie nodded.
"You can't go back, you know," Seamus said.
Jack and Jackie looked at each other, then nodded again.
Seamus turned to look at Neville and Susan, who were standing just behind him. They shrugged. Neville whispered, "Isn't this what you wanted, Seamus?"
Seamus looked back at the couple and said, resigned, "Very well. Jack, go with Neville. I'll go to Jackie first."
Jack gave Jackie a last, lingering kiss then followed Neville inside and up to Gryffindor Tower. As the others walked to the prefect's bathroom, Seamus said, "Right, what happened tonight?"
Jackie started to laugh. "I did you proud, Seamus. Miss Pommery 1926 came out in all her glory!"
"Are you sure you want him to know who you are?" Seamus asked. Jack and Jackie were progressing much faster than he and Sirius had planned which Seamus didn't like one bit. It certainly wasn't like Hermione to throw caution to the wind like this.
Jackie gave the password that opened the bathroom door and looked in, then pulled the others behind her. She turned to Seamus. "Hey, this was your idea. Now, change me back so I can have a bath and get my other clothes on."
Seamus complied, hoping that he hadn't made a horrible mistake.
Sometime later, Harry was sitting on a couch before the fire, thinking, when he heard someone come into the common room. He looked up to see Hermione wandering in through the portrait hole. She was smiling a little to herself, and she had a small bag under her arm.
"Good day in Hogsmeade?" he asked.
"The best," she answered, stepping over his outstretched legs to sit next to him on the couch.
Harry felt a twinge of jealousy before remembering how spectacular his own date had been. "So, who's this bloke you're seeing?" he asked slyly.
Hermione shook her head. "Third date's the charm," she said. "If things go well next time, I'll tell you all about it."
"It's a deal," he agreed, shaking her hand.
Harry and Hermione slid closer to each other on the couch, losing themselves in daydreams as they stared at the fire.
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