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De-nied!

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Summary: Well, Connor, Draco and Blaise have done something REALLY dumb and Dawn, Ginny and Luna are not amused. No copyright infringement intended, no money being made.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Connor-CenteredmsgordoFR1517,291252,8535 Jan 055 Jan 05Yes
Title: De-nied!

Author: msgordo

Rating: PG13 (there’s swearing)

Disclaimer: Not mine, not a one.

Pairings: D/C, Dr/G, B/L, kind of a mention of H/K but in NO WAY related to Freak.

Synopsis: Dear GOD, men can be stupid at times…

A/N: I’m out of practice and decidedly rusty, don’t be too harsh.

Dedications: Jo, Laura and Echo; because not only have they continued to mod the Freaks list for me without a word of complaint, they are also proving to be absolutely selfless and supremely patient as they await me getting my act together and pulling my head out of my butt. Erin and Raye, for a fantastic time in London in November and for basically *telling* me to get my head out of my butt and start writing again. ::grins:: And for resisting the temptation of slapping me when I kept whining anyway; good job, ladies! For everyone else who keeps mailing so nicely and enthusiastically and basically reiterating the whole get-your-head-out-of-your-butt-thing…Happy New Year, guys!

~*~*~*

Connor Angel, Blaise Zabini and Draco Malfoy stood looking up at the window currently concealing the objects of their separate desires and then looked with trepidation at the innocuous door that guarded the entrance to the house where their beloveds resided. Connor placed his hands on his hips and scowled in annoyance. “This is ridiculous. We should just go in there and make them talk to us.”

Blaise slanted a look at his friend from the corner of his eye and quirked an amused eyebrow. “Would this be before or after the stupidly vicious vampire rips our throats out or that bloody twat with the scar hexes us all into next week?”

Draco snorted. “The day I bloody well turn tail and run because old scar face might pull his over inflated head out of his arse long enough to get it together for a proper curse is the day you’ll see me hand over all my galleons to St Mungos and willingly wear hand-me-down robes from Weasel-boy.” He tilted his head as he considered the house. “Mind you, I’m not *that* enthusiastic about meeting that loopy blonde bird again. What was her name; Busty? Bit too happy about cutting bits off people to my way of thinking.”

Connor huffed out an impatient breath. “I can take her.” He scowled as he looked up at the window again. “*She* probably won’t be too happy if I beat up her sister though. And it’s Buffy, not Busty.”

“Agreed.” Blaise folded his arms over his chest and rocked thoughtfully on his hells. “She’s definitely a bit lacking in that region, and the arse is certainly nothing to write home about either.” He leered and nudged Connor in the ribs. “You can certainly see who got smacked with the gorgeous stick in that family.”

Connor kicked the ground with an annoyed boot and glared up at the window once more as he muttered darkly, “That’s what I should have done, hit her with a freakin’ big stick and just locked her up in our room till she came to her senses. It wasn’t like this in Quor’toth, y’know. Women knew their places there, there was none of this…”

Draco rolled his eyes and thumped his friend on the shoulder. “Yes, and did you actually get *laid* at any point in this wonderland of abused females and testosterone leakage?”

Connor scowled harder. “No, but that isn’t the point! I was still a kid when I left there and…”

Blaise took up Draco’s point effortlessly. “And the *women* were actually *demons* and all scaly and quite possibly green. The totty in this dimension may lead us a merry chase when we piss ‘em off and make us suffer for our sins, but at least they all only have two eyes and take the old skin care seriously.”

Connor huffed and switched his glare from the window to the ground. “S’not the point. She’s my mate, she should damn well learn her place.”

Draco and Blaise looked alarmed and sidled abruptly away from Connor. “Bloody hell, Angel, have a care and lower your voice, will you?” Blaise shot a distinctly hunted look up at the house and edged a little further away from Connor just to be on the safe side. “You might have taken leave of your senses when it comes to your own woman, but I’d quite like to be able to take mine back to our bed *sometime* before the next apocalypse.”

Draco patted his friend on the shoulder bracingly. “S’okay, we’ve got plenty of time, it’s not due till next Wednesday, that gives us nearly five days.”

Connor huffed impatiently to himself. “Still think we should just go in there and drag them out by their hair.” He wheeled suddenly on his heels and glared at the three vampires that were sneaking up behind them. “And what the fucking hell do you want?”

The vampire in the lead – a rather obviously overdeveloped young man that looked as though he had been turned at the height of his high school football glory days – looked startled and stopped dead in the middle of reaching out to grip Connor’s neck. “What?” He reached up to make sure he hadn’t come out without his game face, but on feeling the ridges above his eyes and his beloved fangs didn’t look especially reassured to find out he was wearing his demon credentials for all to see. “Er…”

Draco raised a laconic eyebrow and tapped an impatient foot as he eyed the other two vampires – one looking suspiciously like she had risen only that night thanks to the clumps of dirt and grass sticking to her cheerleading uniform. “Well? Come on, we haven’t got all day.” He glanced up at the sky and amended grouchily, “Night. We haven’t got all *night*.”

The football player shifted nervously from foot to foot, uneasily aware that there were certain codes of conduct your prey were meant to follow when you snuck up on them in the dead of night in Sunnydale and having said prey glare and demand to know what the hell you thought you were playing at was most certainly *not* how this particular game was meant to be played. He looked worriedly at the house behind the three boys, sniffed the air and then stared in sudden dark suspicion at Connor. “You’re not a vampire with a soul are you?”

Against all probability the dark scowl on Connor’s face got even darker. “No I’m not!” He squinted his eyes menacingly at his soon-to-be-dead-demon. “Do I smell like a vampire to you?”

The vampire sniffed again and failed to look reassured. “Are you some kind of sorcerer then?”

Connor managed to look even more insulted. “No!”

The vampire squinted his own eyes thoughtfully and wracked his brains for any other possible otherworldly creature that wouldn’t be impressed by a vampire showing up behind them with intention to bite through their jugular and suck out all their blood. “Um, werewolf?”

Blaise smirked at the very annoyed growl that erupted from Connor’s chest and couldn’t resist winking at the very pretty dead girl that would shortly be feeling the sharp end of his wand if he had anything to say about it. “Believe it or not, he’s just human. Boringly so in fact.”

Connor stopped looking annoyed and instead looked hurt. “I’m not! I’m very interesting, Dawn said so.”

Draco snorted in disbelief. “Was this before or after she absconded from England in the middle of the night just to get away from your extremely riveting person?” He remained unmoved by another warning growl from Connor and continued mercilessly, “Or perhaps after she decided he-of-the-scar was more fascinating company and took him along to meet the family?”

Even Blaise looked shocked. “I say, Malfoy, there’s no need for that kind of language, there *is* a lady present after all.” He shook his head reprovingly at his friend. “I don’t think we’ve *quite* reached the stage where we actually need to start pretending that Potter is a subject fit for discussion in mixed company.”

Connor started snarling again and started to reconsider tearing off the three disconcerted vampires heads in favour of ripping off Draco’s. “She said they were just friends.”

Draco refused to look even slightly worried. “Yes, well she *also* said that she loved you and would stand by your side for the rest of her life, but as you can see…” He looked pointedly at either side of Connor and then – for good measure – turned in a fast circle to indicate the absence of any Angel mates in the near vicinity, “That plan doesn’t seem to be working out as hoped.”

Blaise tilted his head to one side and nodded in reluctant acknowledgment of this indisputable fact. “Okay. Good point.” He heaved a sigh and cast another look back at the house which held his own particular love interest. “Bloody women.”

Connor was now making a sound generally more associated with a particularly powerful engine. “That’s it, I’m going in there and I’m going to drag her out and then I’m going to…I’m going to…”

Draco waggled his eyebrows helpfully. “Go down on your hopefully unshattered kneecaps and beg and grovel until she takes pity on the brittle shell of the man you used to be and re-opens her shapely, womanly arms to take you back to her surprisingly cushiony bosom?”

Connor glowered, hissed out a seriously irritated breath and then barked out a defeated laugh. “Yeah, that’s the plan. There may be some wailing involved as well.”

Draco and Blaise exchanged concerned looks. “There’d better bloody not be, that was *our* plan.” Blaise switched his attention back to the three vampires who were now all sidling backwards as fast as their demonic feet could carry them. “Sorry, who said you could leave?”

The three demons froze and the football player licked his upper lip nervously and then yelped when he cut his tongue on his own fangs. “Ow!” He blinked away the tears of pain and continued with his slightly frantic retreat. “This really isn’t the time for this and you’re all obviously very busy, so we’ll just come another night…”

Draco looked down his nose and raised an eyebrow. “I don’t think you will. You still haven’t explained why you’re here *tonight*.”

If possible the demons looked even more nervous.

Connor eyed them suspiciously. “You weren’t just attacking at random, were you?” He shot the confused looking blonde cheerleader a withering look. “I mean, you were here for something else than just trying to bite us, weren’t you?”

The third vampire – a youngish accountant looking type – adjusted his unnecessary spectacles and shuffled his skittish feet. “Well…”

Blaise rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest before saying in his best Senior Prefect voice, “Come on, out with it, what were you up to?”

Accountant-boy looked at his companions, looked at the three human boys and then at the house over their shoulders. “The Slayer lives there.”

Draco nodded gloomily in agreement. “Unfortunately.”

Connor’s hand twitched in anticipation of someone getting a good staking before the explanation was over. “What of it?”

Cheerleader spoke up. “We were meant to deliver a message to her.” She flicked her blonde mane back over her shoulders and brushed a clump of mud from her skirt. “But then you guys got all weird and started being mean to each other and not scared of us like you’re supposed too, ‘cos we’re like *vampires* here and…urk!”

Connor – and his hand – felt a lot less twitchy when she exploded in a shower of ash, courtesy of the stake he had concealed up his sleeve. “Moron.”

Football-guy yelped again, this time with shock. “Oh my God, you killed Symphony!”

Blaise rolled his eyes. “Good grief: Symphony? Only in America.”

Connor divided his glare between his friend and the two remaining demons. “Yeah, because ‘Blaise’ is *such* a dignified name. Your mom and dad might just as well have called you ‘Steele’ or ‘Flame’.” He tilted his head at his remaining friend as Draco began to snigger at Blaise’s affronted look. “And I don’t know what you’re laughing at Dragon-boy.”

Draco hurriedly sobered. “Oi! I’ll have you know that Draco has been an honoured name in the Malfoy family for generations.”

Connor looked unimpressed. “Yeah, *that’s* something to be proud of. You come from a family of megalomaniac psychos that keep calling their kids after flying lizards.” He turned his back on Draco’s livid spluttering and re-focused on the unsettled vampires still staring down in disbelief at the sad little pile of ashes that had been the unfortunate Symphony. “Anyway, what’s the message for the Slayer? There’s some new big bad in town that’s calling her out, right? Could be a real nasty player that could keep her and her pals out of the house for, oh, say the next couple of hours?”

Accountant-boy looked confused. “Uh, no?” He looked at Connor’s impatient face warily and then said hesitantly, “Actually we were meant to tell her that we’ve got her sister and some of her friends and that if she didn’t hand over the Jewel of Anakesh to us immediately then the girls would be drained and turned before dawn.” He took a step back as Connor’s mildly hopeful and curious expression melted into one of deep, murderous rage. “Um…”

Draco forgot all about the insult to his family and his name and he whipped out his wand. “One of these friends wouldn’t happen to be a small, ginger English girl who swears like a sailor and has a kick like a donkey, would she?”

Football-guy eyed the slender wooden stick in the blond boy’s hand with gloomy trepidation. “Maybe.” He took another step back and wondered how far he’d get if he tried to make a run for it as he remembered the distressing ease with which Symphony had been staked by the moody definitely-human-boy. “Why?”

Blaise pulled out his own wand and idly tried to decide which demon to set on fire first. “There’s a slender, blonde girl with ravishing blue eyes and a mouth the colour of fresh cherries as well, isn’t there?”

Football-guy looked a bit confused and then said doubtfully, “Uh, well she’s blonde and her eyes are a bit more goggly than ravishing, but she didn’t stop asking us questions on how it felt to be a demon and what it was like to claw our way out of our graves so I can’t really swear to what colour her lips are.” He looked worriedly at Blaise’s wooden face and swallowed heavily. “Is that right?”

Blaise looked gratified to find the setting-on-fire question had been settled so easily. “Her eyes are *not* goggly!” One sharp slash of his wand and a muttered curse later and Accountant-boy was horrified to find himself standing over another pile of ashes, although these ones were considerably warmer than the late unlamented Symphony’s. Blaise pointed his wand at the petrified demon. “Do you have anything to add?”

“NO!” The poor vampire was visibly shaking in his shoes as he stared from one uncompromising face to the other. “I thought she was delightful! A truly unique beauty!” He darted a look back at the Slayer’s house and – possibly for the first time in vampire history – started to pray for the sworn enemy of his kind to come save one of the demons she was meant to destroy. “Can I go tell the Slayer now?”

Connor – although naturally concerned to find out his errant love was in the hands of evil *again*-- gave a slow delighted smile. “I don’t think so.” He moved forward and slung an arm around the vampire’s neck, charitably ignoring the panicked whimper from the creature. “Let’s talk.”

*~*~*

Connor, Draco and Blaise were slightly disconcerted to find that after they’d gone to all the trouble of racing across town after obtaining their missing lovers’ locations from their gibbering captive, kicking in three extremely heavy doors *and* fighting hordes of screaming vampires, the first reaction they received to their dramatic entrance to the chamber where torture and death were shortly about to happen to their beloveds was to be shouted at and told most emphatically to…”BUGGER OFF!”

Draco brought himself up short and stared in hurt amazement at Ginny, hanging most fetchingly in some chains dangling from the ceiling and wearing not very much of what had previously been quite a sedate dress. “I beg your pardon?”

Ginny ignored the burning in her arms from hanging from the same position for too long and scowled at the man she had only two days previously been laughingly calling the light of her life. “I said, BUGGER OFF!”

Draco stopped looking hurt and started looking confused. “But I’m here to rescue you.”

Dawn Summers butted in helpfully with a rather spiteful, “Yeah? Well Luke Skywalker, you ain’t, pal. Get lost!”

Draco blinked at her and looked even more confused.

Ginny sneered and ignored the overwhelming evidence of her current situation to say most convincingly, “Do I *look* like I need your help? GIT!”

Dawn narrowed her eyes at Connor as he stepped towards her through the ashes of the last vampire still trying to fight the valiant rescuers off and spat warningly, “You lay one hand on me, Angel, and I swear the minute I get loose I’m cuttin’ it off!”

Connor stopped and looked at least as perturbed as Draco. “What?” He looked around the dark, dank basement they were currently occupying and frowned in disapproval. “You don’t want to stay here, do you?”

Dawn twisted in her chains as he reached out towards her and kicked out viciously. “If it means never laying eyes on your lying, ugly, soon-to-be-pox ridden face again then YES!”

Blaise smiled soothingly at his own recovered love and just stopped short of batting his eyelashes at her in a bid to escape the less than enthusiastic welcome that his friends had received. “Darling…”

Luna Lovegood sniffed and turned her back as best she could considering she was chained to a wall and slightly off-balance because she’d lost one of her heeled boots. “Go away, I don’t want to see you.”

Blaise chuckled and cupped her mutinous face with a gentle hand as he bent his head to taste her aforementioned cherry coloured mouth. “Beloved, you don’t want to stay down in this nasty old…FUCK ME!” He reared back in astonishment as Luna demonstrated that behind the cherry coloured velvet lips lay a set of teeth any self-respecting piranha would be happy to posses. “You bit me, you little bitch!”

Luna glared defiantly up at her ex-lover. “And I’ll do it again. You don’t take from me what I’m not willing to give, Zabini, remember that.”

Connor stared in sudden alarm at Dawn. “Hang on, what do you mean ‘soon-to-be-pox-ridden-face’?” His hands flew up to touch his – for the moment – unblemished skin. “What did you do?”

Dawn looked desperately pleased with herself and exchanged wicked looks with her co-damsels in distress. “I think boils on the penis are *so* last year, don’t you? Jerk!”

Three pairs of male hands clamped protectively – and slightly manically – on three male groins. “WHAT?!”

Dawn chuckled meanly. “Don’t worry, I *said* that the penis thing is so last year and I meant it.” She waited to see the three men relax and then finished with great relish, “You just have to worry about the boils showing up everywhere *else*!”

Draco and Blaise immediately released their groins to clutch worriedly at their faces instead and Connor narrowed his eyes at Dawn furiously. “You did a spell!”

Dawn stuck out her chin and spat, “Darn right I did a spell, you scumbag. After what you did to us…”

Connor threw up his hands in exasperation. “I was trying to protect you, you stupid girl!” He included Ginny and Luna in his irate glare as he continued, “Although why we bothered when absolutely the first thing you do when we turn our backs for five minutes is run off to America with fucking Hero Potter and get your ass snatched by the forces of darkness *again*…”

Ginny gasped and took the time to bite Draco’s hand that was trying to stroke her face before answering, “Don’t you talk about Harry like that; he’s sweet and kind and he helped us!”

Draco snatched his hand back and ground his teeth in frustration. “Yes, and don’t think there won’t be a reckoning for that, Gin. I thought something dreadful had happened to you when I came back to our room and found you were gone.” He tried for a roguish grin and missed by a mile under Ginny’s contemptuous look. “I frowned so hard I very nearly gave myself wrinkles.”

Blaise didn’t make the mistake of getting anywhere near Luna’s mouth again, but he did shift around until he was bent awkwardly in front of her and peering up into her dismissive blue eyes. “Sweeting, please, we were only doing what we thought was best for all of you. You must know how we feel about you by now.”

Luna sniffed and looked down into his imploring face with every ounce of feminine dignity at her disposal – the look was surprisingly effective considering all she was wearing was muggle jeans, a slightly bedraggled sweater and the sleeve of what looked like to be a fairly expensive leather jacket. “No, Zabini, amazingly we don’t.” She bit her lip and looked away from the look of stunned hurt on his face at not only her dismissal of his feelings, but also her continued use of his last name. “It must have something to do with the fact that you keep lying consistently about your so called feelings whenever you’re questioned by your friends and the fact that you were photographed with other women in sordid little clubs not once but FIVE times in the last week alone!”

“Oh.” Blaise straightened and -- possibly for the first time in his life -- flushed with shame. “That.”

Ginny glowered at Draco as he looked away from her to the floor and said waspishly, “Yes, that. Or did you think that we would actually be *happy* that the men we’ve been involved with for the past *year* were quite happily running around town and shagging the life out of any witch that moved *and* making sure that the bloody wizarding press was there to record every single squalid detail?”

Draco coughed uncomfortably and shuffled his feet. “Well, no, not happy as such…”

Connor shook his head impatiently and reached for Dawn’s chains to yank them out of the wall. “We are not talking about this now. We’re getting you out of here and taking you back to England and then we’re going to…OOF!”

Blaise and Draco winced as Connor folded inelegantly in half clutching his most private area and then toppled over to curl on the floor with a pained wheeze. Then they hurriedly stepped out of range of Ginny and Luna who were both looking between Dawn’s still raised foot, Connor gasping on the floor and the unprotected groins of the Slytherins. Dawn waggled her foot threateningly at Blaise and Draco and said firmly, “The next two-timing slimeball to come near me gets this up their *ass*.” She turned her head in dismissal away from the said two-timing slimeballs and stated calmly, “Now get lost and leave us alone. I’m sure Buffy and the others will be here soon and they can get the chains off.”

Ginny bared her teeth at Draco. “Yeah, what she said.”

Blaise and Draco eyed the three obviously insane women and then eyed each other. “So, just to get this straight,” Blaise quelled the first pang of real annoyance at the somewhat inflexible attitudes the little bit…minxes…had displayed since being almost rescued. “You’re so pissed off with us, so utterly incensed with our ungentlemanly behaviour, that you’d rather stay here in this dank little room and possibly get eaten by demons on the off chance that the Slayer will show up and rescue you, rather than come with us and get warm and have something nice to eat whilst we have a little chat and explain a few things?”

The three girls looked at each other and then Luna nodded firmly as she spoke for herself and her friends. “Yes, that sums up the situation quite nicely I would say.” She looked pointedly at the ruined door hanging from its one surviving hinge after Connor’s size eleven sneaker had kicked it down. “Try not to let the door ram sharp and incredibly painful splinters in your decidedly podgy bum on the way out.”

Dawn rolled her eyes in exasperation and ignored Connor finally uncurling at her feet and tottering unsteadily upright. “How many more times, Luna? *Pithy*, the insults should always be *pithy*! That was far too complicated.”

“Yeah. Like this.” Ginny curled her lip disparagingly at Blaise and Draco and spat, “Fuck you *and* the broomstick you rode in on!”

Dawn nodded approvingly. “That’s more like it.”

Draco pulled himself up to his full height and glowered at the ginger witch that he was head over heels in love with – despite the rather condemning evidence that had appeared in the Daily Prophet to the contrary earlier that week. “Now see here, you filthy mouthed little tart, we came here to rescue you and that is *exactly* what we’re going to do whether you want us to or not.” He glared pointedly at Ginny. “Personally I have no problem adding a gag to the chains if it means getting you out of here any quicker.”

Ginny gnashed her teeth at him. “Just try it and see what happens, you sod!”

“Right,” With great dignity – and grimly holding onto his increasingly precarious grip on his temper – Draco turned to the now recovered Connor and said coldly, “You know that big stick you were talking about earlier?” Connor stopped scowling darkly at Dawn and perked up visibly as he nodded at his friend. Draco’s mouth stretched in a terrible smile. “Go fetch it, I’ve had just about enough of this nonsense and one way or another they *are* coming with us and they’re bloody well going to listen to what we have to say.”

Ginny, Luna and Dawn all gasped in shocked outraged and stared wide eyed at their grim faced rescuers. Luna darted a glance up at Blaise and gulped as she realised that the tender, loving man she’d been quite happily shagging rotten for the last few months was now apparently quite happy to consider…”You wouldn’t dare!”

Blaise squinted down his nose at her and quirked an eyebrow and said calmly, “Try me.” He folded his arms over his chest and tilted his head enquiringly. “And while we’re beating some manners into you I think it would also be an *excellent* opportunity to discuss you running off with Harry fucking Potter…who – I can’t help but notice – is nowhere to be bloody seen whilst you and your fellow harridans are languishing in a fucking cellar waiting to be some scabby demon’s supper!”

Connor looked around the room accusingly. “Yeah, where is the great Bore Wonder? Off brooding over his tragic and traumatic life again, is he?”

Three vicious pairs of female eyes focused on Connor and narrowed. “No he’s not. *Harry* is out with a friend of mine tonight, *not* being a selfish, lying piece of demon crap…” Dawn sneered at Connor and tossed her head. “Unlike some bastards I could mention.”

Blaise, Draco and Connor were momentarily derailed from their ire at the continued hostility in the room by the astonishing news that Harry Potter was actually out on a date. Blaise blinked. “Pardon? Potter’s out with a *girl*?” He blinked again. “A real one?”

“Blimey.” Draco looked desperately impressed. “Who knew he had it in him?”

Connor sniggered and nudged his two friends. “Wonder if she’s gonna get it in *her*.” He caught the outraged expressions on the girls’ faces from the corner of his eye and held up his hands in apology. “Joking, just joking!”

Ginny stuck out her chin and shot a withering look at Draco as he tried to stop laughing. “Kit isn’t that type of girl, and Harry most certainly wouldn’t take advantage of someone like that. *He* happens to be kind and gentle and respectful of other people’s feelings, unlike…”

Draco stopped laughing and rolled his eyes. “Yes, yes, we know. Unlike *us*.” He shook his weary head. “Look, don’t we at least get points for chasing you three halfway across the bloody world so we could try to explain things and work them out?”

“Unless your explanation includes hard evidence that three people have taken on your appearance thanks to a large ingestion of Polyjuice potion and have been running amok around London in a bid to discredit your names, then no.” Luna’s voice was cool and controlled but she couldn’t quite suppress the look of hope in her eyes as she looked from one guilty face to the other. She shook her head when none of the men could meet her gaze and slumped in her chains. “Then no, no points for you. Just go away and leave us alone.”

Blaise scrubbed hard hands through his hair, selflessly disregarding the fact that he was now slightly rumpled instead of his usual immaculate self. “For Merlin’s sake, we were doing it for you! Do you think we liked tarting ourselves about like that?” He stabbed one annoyed finger in Ginny’s direction when she opened her mouth to reply. “Before you say anything, Weasel, just you bear in mind that we didn’t lay a single, solitary *finger* on any of those women aside from what was captured by that little creep Creevey.” He looked back at Luna slightly desperately. “And *anything* that was captured and published in that bloody rag of a newspaper was carefully choreographed and set up by *us*. We knew exactly what we were bloody doing at all times!”

Dawn snorted. “Oh, well, that’s okay then. Seeing my boyfriend with his tongue down the throat of a girl the size of a house with all the natural charm of Voldemort in his *decapitated* state just seems so much more bearable now.”

Draco and Blaise shuddered in remembered horror. “Ugh, Bulstrode.”

Connor looked like he was fighting the urge to be sick, but manfully got control of himself and shook it off. “Right, like I was enjoying myself, I had no choice!” He stared pleadingly at Dawn. “Honey, someone was on to us, they’d found out about you and me and they were gonna tell *everyone* they could. I *had* to do something to protect you!”

It appeared to the three desperate men that even the rats held their breath after that dramatic proclamation.

Dawn shook her head as though she was trying to clear water from her ears and said, “I’m sorry, what?”

Blaise looked beseechingly at each female face and lowered his voice to a sincere growl. “It’s true. I was contacted by an old family friend last week saying that they had in their possession irrefutable evidence that I was in a relationship with Luna and that Draco and Connor were bound to Ginny and Dawn and that unless we agreed to their demands then the knowledge would be made public and we would be ruined.” He stretched out one cool hand towards Luna and stroked her rigid cheek. “Darling, I don’t care about me, but the thought of what you’d have to bear if your friends – Merlin, your *father* -- found out about us.” He shook his head wryly and smiled. “I couldn’t do that do you. Obviously we went after the person responsible and got their evidence and destroyed any hope of you being used against us like that in the future, but there was a risk that the person blackmailing us might have talked and we needed to divert attention away from you and solely onto ourselves. Hence the rather degrading charade of the last few days and our withdrawal from you.” He stepped closer when Luna remained frozen in place, staring at him with wide eyes. “I’m sorry, I knew you wouldn’t let us go ahead with the plan if you knew, I swear I never meant to hurt you.”

Draco jumped in when he realised that Ginny was also temporarily lost for words. “Ginny, please, it’s all true. I couldn’t take the chance of your family finding out about us, not now. We were just starting to find our balance and if the news of our relationship had come out now…” He swallowed heavily. “I just *couldn’t* let you go yet, I’m not ready.”

Ginny stared speechlessly at his stricken face and then darted a look at Dawn and Luna, both looking like they’d been unexpectedly slapped with a wet fish. She licked her lips and looked back up into Draco’s earnest face. “Wait a minute, do you mean you’re planning on letting me go at some point, then?”

“God, no!” Sensing an opening, Draco darted forwards and cupped her face in his hands as he stared down at her stunned face. “Gin, everything was just starting to fall into place and given more time then I could have changed how people saw me, maybe left some of the taint of my family name behind and perhaps people would have forgotten what my father did and what I used to be and then we could have…” He shook his head as words failed him and leaned forward to press his forehead against hers in supplication. “Ginny, I just need more time.”

Dawn eyed Connor with a little less softening around the eyes than her fellow captives and with considerably more unspoken promise of a major hurt fest heading his way. “That your excuse too?”

Connor, never that comfortable with his feelings anyway, refused to spill sweet nothings in front of an audience even if it did help his cause and glared back at her. “It’s not a freakin’ excuse, okay? I know exactly what you’d have done and I’m not going to be the cause of you turning your back on your family just because they don’t like you hooking up with a demon’s spawn for your mate. You know how things are between your sister and my dad – that’s not even counting fucking Spike ripping my head off for touching his little Nibblet – and I don’t even want to *think* about what the goddamned wizards would be saying about the great and pure Key getting screwed through the bed by the nasty, mean Destroyer every night.” He flung up his hands in exasperation as Dawn snorted in disbelief. “You’d turn your back on your family because they’d disapprove and then all the wizards would turn against you and then you’d blame me and we’d hate each other and then you’d leave and…”

Dawn cocked an impressed eyebrow. “Wow, got it all worked out there, dontcha?” She peered with interest at the pockets of his jeans. “Ya got some kind of hinky prophecy tucked in those pants, mister? Something like that just *has* to be written in stone somewhere.”

Connor, beyond furious, punched the wall beside her head. “Tell me you wouldn’t do that! Go on, deny it! Say you wouldn’t choose me over them!”

“OF COURSE I’D CHOOSE YOU, YOU MORON!” The bellow from Dawn’s throat had Connor rearing back in surprise and Draco and Blaise jumping with a couple of very unmanly yelps. “It’s ALWAYS going to be you, there’s not even a choice to make!”

Connor blinked and muttered rather lamely, “See? I told you.”

Dawn hissed at him and strained at her restraints. “You just wait until I get free, buddy, I am *so* going to kick your ass!” She writhed against the chains and tried to kick out at him. “I can’t believe you did that to me! YOU IDIOT!”

Draco yelped again when Ginny’s foot connected with his ankle. “Ow! What was that for?”

“You stupid, idiotic…” Words failed her and she tried to kick him again, snarling when he dodged smartly out of reach. “You actually thought that I’d worry about losing my family more than losing you?” Ginny tried to kick him again. “I’m going to KILL you.”

Blaise – always quick on the uptake – was already moving and thus managed to avoid his own bruising kick from Luna. “Now, Sweeting…”

“You lied to me.” Luna blinked huge wounded eyes at Blaise and shook her head in disbelief. “You actually lied to me.”

Blaise patted the air. “Luna, I know, but we did it with the very best of intentions and I was just trying to protect you, my love. You, Ginny and Dawn are some of the war’s most well-known heroes; just imagine how it would look if it were found out that you were involved with three turncoats that most people believe only fought Voldemort at the end to save their own skins.”

Draco rolled his eyes at his friend’s apparent *extremely* selective memory. “We *did* do that.”

Luna ignored the rest of the room and focused once more on Blaise. “I don’t mean about that, I mean about reading ‘The Quibbler’. You lied about *that*.”

Blaise flinched guiltily. “What? Nonsense, I haven’t missed a day of your dear old father’s publication since we first kissed, darling.”

Luna stared at him coolly. “Really? Then perhaps you’d like to explain how you missed the centre page spread that daddy ran three *months* ago telling all our readers how happy we were and how much in love Ginny and Dawn were with their chosen partners?”

The silence was deafening.

Eventually Connor cleared his throat. “Sorry, could you repeat that?”

Luna turned a withering look on him. “I *said* that daddy already ran the story about all of us *months* ago and the sky has yet to fall in.” She stared back at Blaise with her huge reproachful eyes. “In fact, I’d go as far as to say that, aside from a very small readership, no one even believes it.”

Connor coughed. “Right. That’s what I thought you said.”

Blaise was desperately trying to catch up. “What? You told your *father* about us?”

Luna sniffed and said practically, “Well of course I did. I wasn’t going to lie to him about something like that and, besides, I thought it might be quite nice to let him at least know the name of the man I plan to marry rather than just keep it as a surprise for our wedding day.”

Blaise rocked back on his heels and repeated faintly, “Wedding day?”

This earned him a stern glare from his self-declared wife-to-be. “Of *course* wedding day. You don’t honestly think I’d let any man do that thing to me that you do with your tongue and the ice cube and then *not* marry them, do you? What kind of a girl do you think I am?”

Ginny snorted. “Remember who he *has* been hanging out with lately, Luna, he’s probably got you lumped in with the likes of Pansy and that trollop Lavender.”

Luna’s eyes widened even further and she pouted prettily. “Blaise, how *could* you?”

Connor stepped in to rescue Blaise who looked in imminent danger of collapsing of a heart attack at any minute. “Wait, wait; so *everyone* knows about us?” His expression darkened considerably. “Do you mean I kissed that heifer for nothing?”

Dawn sniggered at the look of total disgust on his face. “Yep.” She shook her head in irritation at the thought of all the unnecessary heartache they had all been put through. “Which could have been avoided if you guys had just *talked* to us. We figured that someone was bound to notice sooner or later that we kept being seen in the vicinity of Draco’s townhouse and put two and two together, so Ginny figured the best way to head trouble off at the pass was to make an announcement in The Quibbler, which no one ever takes seriously anyway,” She paused and shrugged apologetically at Luna who was watching in fascination as Blaise’s face went from white, to red, to purple and then back to white again and wasn’t paying attention anyway. “And you guys were so *manic* about us keeping the whole sleeping together thing a big secret that we thought we just make it seem like a ridiculous rumour and then if anyone ever *did* put two and two together we’d just point them in the direction of The Quibbler and…voila!”

Draco rubbed a shaking hand over his pounding heart. “Hide in plain sight. Good grief, that’s brilliant!”

Ginny looked suitably smug. “Yes, I know.” She fixed him with a gimlet eye. “Of course if you’d have just *said* that the reason you were making us keep quiet about our relationships was because you were trying to protect our maidenly honour and not that you were ashamed of us or something then we’d have hit you with a really *big* curse and then a fairly large stick.” Her face softened as she looked at Draco’s stunned one and she continued in a low, intimate voice, “Then I would have shouted it from the rooftops that I’m in love with Draco Malfoy and I don’t care what anyone thinks about it because, despite him being a big arse, he’s makes me the happiest that anyone ever has and I want to stay with him for the rest of my life.” She smiled fondly at her speechless boyfriend. “And if you ever pull another stunt like this, then I’ll shrink your willy up so small it’ll look like a third ball and take pictures to put in the Prophet. You twat.”

Blaise wobbled and sat down heavily on the floor. “I’m getting married!” He swallowed and stared up at Luna’s amused face. “To you!”

“Well, not right at this minute, but someday, yes.” Luna beamed down at her newly restored boyfriend. “You fool.”

Connor and Dawn stared at each other silently for a long moment and then Connor – with considerable caution – moved forwards and lightly touched her face. “There’s no choice for me either, I just didn’t want you to lose everyone you love.”

Dawn stared, sighed and then tilted her cheek to press against his palm. “Connor, they’ll get over it. They love me, who I’m boinking won’t even be a consideration after a few apocalypses. When I promised you forever, I meant it, okay?”

A shuddering breath forced it’s way out from between Connor’s lips as he whispered, “You left me.”

Dawn smiled tremulously at the look of vulnerability in his eyes and pressed harder against his hand. “Not forever. We just needed a couple of days to find some really *nasty* vengeance spells and then we would have come back. “I’ll *always* come back.”

Connor closed his eyes for a moment and then opened them to grin at his love. “I’m an idiot.”

Dawn snorted most unromantically. “Yeah, this is news.” She returned his grin and then turned her head quickly to sink her teeth into his hand. “Now, about the big stick you guys were threatening *us* with…”

Connor yanked his hand back with a shout of pain and stumbled back once more. “Honey, come on.”

Dawn glowered and spat, “Don’t you ‘honey’ me, Connor Angel, you let me out of these chains right *now*, I’m gonna kick your ass all the way back across the OCEAN when I get my hands on you…”

~*~*~*

The End.

The End

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