Ron: you goin out tonight?
Harry glanced at the message from Ron and rolled his eyes. If he went out with Ron and Hermione tonight, he knew how it would go. They would have a decent time until about midnight, at which point Ron and Hermione would reach the level of drunk where their affection for each other crossed the line from ‘sappy but cute’ to ‘oh god, can they do that in public?’.
Right as Harry had decided to text Ron back, declining, he got another message.
Ron: it’s at sig phi!!
Ron: pleaseeeeeee it’s been ages!!
Harry scrubbed at his face with his hand, now torn with indecision. Frat parties, as a whole, were a mess of dudebros with terrible music taste and shitty alcohol, so Harry had stopped going to them after attending a few in his first year. But sig phi was one of the few frats on campus that hadn’t been busted by sexual assault allegations in the past couple of years.
And on top of that, they did tend to be one of the few frats capable of throwing bangers.
Before he could think better of it, Harry texted Ron back.
Harry: fine i’ll go
Harry: but i’m bringing a spray bottle to use on you and hermione
Harry set his phone aside again, thinking back to the last time he had gone to a party at the sig phi house. Abruptly sitting up straight, Harry finally remembered something very important about the sig phi house.
It had been ages since he’d gone to a party there. Harry had been younger then, and he’d had more shame– too much shame to do the one thing he now realized was so easily attainable.
Like most frats, the music at sig phi parties was controlled by a single brother who had their phone hooked up to the speakers. The thing that made sig phi unique was that the speaker connection was in a nook that was semi-isolated from the rest of the party.
This made the brother in charge of the music a prime target for motivated flirtation. Flirtation motivated by Harry’s desire to mess with every single party attendee
To pull this off, Harry would need to be on top of his flirtation game. So to that end, Harry grabbed his phone again and sent Ron a follow up text.
Ron: oh my god!!!! yes!!!!!
Ron: wait ur not serious about the spray bottle are you??
Ron: Harry u tell me right now, r u serious
Harry: i can neither confirm nor deny any spray bottle allegations🌧
Harry: also is the party themed
Ron: and uhh hold up let me ask Hermione
Harry snorted, then got up properly. If he was going to follow through on his threat to bring a spray bottle to use on them, he was going to need to get one ready to go.
The only bottle he had in his dorm was the bottle of air freshener his Mum had insisted he bring with him. Since the concept of spraying Ron and Hermione down when they got too rowdy was also his Mum’s idea, Harry felt justified in repurposing the bottle.
Snagging the air freshener and his cereal bowl, Harry headed over to the sink to empty out the air freshener into the bowl.
Task complete, he filled the spray bottle with water. A quick sniff confirmed that it did still smell vaguely of Tropical Breeze. Harry could have rinsed it out further, but frat parties tended to smell gross, so it was better for everyone involved if he left it be.
Harry pulled out his phone again and saw that Ron had texted him back.
Ron: it’s a graffiti party and ur supposed to wear all white so we can write on each other w markers and shit
Ron: but Hermione and I know a brother so if u wanna go and not dress up we can still get u in!!!
Ron: it’s really no big deal!!! you should still come!!!!
Harry: it’s fine i’ve got a white t-shirt i can wear
Ron: phew!!! so did you want to pregame with Hermione and I or
Harry debated it for a moment, trying to decide if the free alcohol was worth the grilling he’d get from Hermione. Because surely she was going to be suspicious that not only was Harry going out with them, he was also willing to dress for the theme, something he hadn’t done since their first year at uni.
The thing was, Harry likely had to dress for the theme in order for his plan to work. He needed to fit in so he could gain the trust of whoever was in charge of the music. Harry’s entire plan involved getting his hands on that aux cord– preferably in such a way that he could maintain the connection throughout most of the song he planned to play.
Really, sacrificing a t-shirt was worth the personal enjoyment Harry would get from seeing the expression on everyone’s faces as they realized exactly what song was playing on the dance floor.
But that brought him back to the pregame issue. Harry did have alcohol of his own he could drink, but– did he want to get drunk first?
Harry might be more successful at seducing the DJ if he were sober…
On the other hand, he’d probably be braver and better able to actually manage flirting if he had alcohol in him.
Decisions were hard. Harry wished he could go pregame with Ron and Hermione without worrying about Hermione being suspicious, but Harry was honestly surprised that he hadn’t yet received a text from her asking if he was okay.
Harry supposed he could let them in on his plan, but he wanted them to be surprised too. He could just show up a bit before they left for the actual party. That way he’d satisfy their desire to spend time with him without giving them much chance to voice their suspicions.
And by the time he got there, they would hopefully be too drunk to care much about anything. This also solved Harry’s alcohol dilemma. By showing up late, he’d only have enough time to get a bit tipsy before heading out– which was probably the perfect level of drunkenness for this endeavor.
Bold enough to manage to flirt, but not so drunk that he was a sloppy idiot.
Plan decided on, Harry texted Ron back in the affirmative and set about finding a shirt to wear.
“Y’know, Harry,” Ron declared boisterously, “you’re a good mate. Did you know that? A really, really good friend.”
Harry grinned and slung his arm around Ron’s shoulder. “And did you know that you’re a good mate?” he replied.
They were on their way to the frat party now, walking down the street from Ron’s apartment. Ron and Hermione were already well on their way to excessive PDA levels of drunkenness, but they were managing to keep it in their pants for now.
Which was for the best, since Harry had little desire to waste this evening on bailing them out if they were arrested for public indecency or something like that on the way to the party.
“I did know!” Ron said, with an enthusiastic bob of his head. “And did you know how I know?”
“How did you know, Ron?”
“Because you told me!” Ron said. He jabbed his elbow into Harry’s side with a bit more strength than strictly necessary.
“I sure did,” Harry said, rubbing at the sore spot.
“And Hermione!” Ron exclaimed, tilting his head back so he could peer at Hermione, who, thanks to limited space on the sidewalk, was walking a bit behind them.
“And Ron!” Hermione mimicked.
Ron gasped. “That’s what I said!”
Harry snorted and reached back with his free arm to flick Ron on the nose.
Ron gasped again. “That’s my nose!”
Harry glanced over his shoulder at Hermione. “How much did he have to drink?”
Hermione squinted at Ron thoughtfully. “Several. Probably.”
They were now nearly at the frat house, and Harry could see the person by the door checking people in. He put his arm down and said, “Alright guys, tighten it up. We’re almost there.”
Ron and Hermione both nodded. Ron took in a deep breath, and the look of constipation on his face was almost enough to make Harry crack and lose his own composure. Really, they probably didn’t need to worry about being too drunk since it was still relatively early, but Harry was the most sober one present, so he was in charge of getting them all in.
“21?” the frat bro asked, clearly bored.
“Yeah, fuck– I forgot my ID, though,” Harry said with a shrug. He’d been too distracted gathering the other supplies for tonight to remember his ID. It was fine though, because the ID check at the door was more of a formality in case the cops dropped by. They would serve alcohol to anyone, regardless of if they had the sharpie mark that the frat bro now carelessly applied to Harry’s hand.
Ron and Hermione did have their ID’s, so the frat brother just nodded and let them in.
There was a table with a handful of red solo cups filled with markers by the door. Harry snagged one and slid it into his pocket, figuring it would come in handy when he started his mission.
Behind him, Ron gasped, having clearly spotted the markers. “Oh! Oh, I wanna go first,” he said, snatching one up and whirling clumsily around to face Hermione.
Hermione sighed and obligingly tugged down her shirt to provide proper tension for Ron to write on.
Ron’s face became creased with his utter, single-minded concentration.
Harry shuffled to the side to get a better view of what Ron was so utterly focused on writing across the top of Hermione’s shirt. A moment later, he snorted. Ron was clearly writing out ‘Hermione’.
Hermione had her chin pulled down towards her neck to also try and see what Ron was writing, and the moment she figured it out, she tilted her head back towards the sky and sighed. “It’s my turn next,” she informed Ron.
“Shh,” Ron said distractedly. His intense concentration lasted all the way until he wrote the last ‘e’ with a dramatic flourish. “Hermione!” he read out.
Harry snorted as Hermione plucked the marker out of Ron’s hand. She placed one hand on Ron’s shoulder and gently pushed him until his back was firmly against the hallway wall. This reminded Harry that they were still standing in the entryway to the frat house, the sounds of the party loudly emanating from where the dance floor was.
Harry glanced at the doors, then turned his attention back to where Hermione was writing on Ron. Her inscription was much larger than Ron’s had been, clearly meant to stretch from his right shoulder to his left hip. Then Harry frowned in confusion when he realized that Hermione was writing ’Hermione’, of all things.
Harry supposed the matching couple shirts were kinda cute, but really it was just further evidence of how drunk the two of them were.
When Hermione got to the final ‘e’, Harry perked up, assuming they were going to go grab another set of drinks. Hermione continued to write, however, carefully inscribing an apostrophe onto Ron’s lower left stomach, eliciting a giggle from him.
“Stay still,” Hermione snapped.
“You know I’m ticklish there,” Ron complained, his voice a high-pitched whine.
“Whatever, I’m done now,” Hermione said proudly, stepping away to allow Harry to survey her work. Ron’s shirt now proudly declared him as ‘Hermione’s’, an appellation that was proven all too accurate by the sloppy smile that adorned Ron’s face after he finally managed to read the writing.
“We good to get drinks, then?” Harry asked.
“No!” Ron exclaimed. “You need something too!”
Harry sighed and held out his shirt for Ron to write on. Over his head, Harry asked Hermione, “Seriously, how much did you guys have to drink?”
Hermione scoffed. “Not that much. Or, I didn’t. I think Ron pregamed our pregame a bit–”
Harry raised his eyebrow. “You think?” he asked sardonically.
“All done!” Ron declared, then.
Harry nervously glanced down and was relieved to see that Ron had merely written ‘Harry’ in small print on his shoulder.
“Did you want to write something?” Harry offered to Hermione.
Hermione squinted thoughtfully, then shook her head. “Nah, we gotta leave some space for whoever we’re gonna set you up with to write on you.”
Harry blinked. “What?” he asked blankly.
“Hermione–” Ron said, a level of clarity in his expression that had been heretofore absent.
Suspicions essentially confirmed, Harry looked between the two of them. “You are not to set me up tonight, do you understand me? I will leave if you try something. Nod if I’m getting through to your drunk asses.”
They both nodded slowly, though the look they exchanged made Harry wonder if he was going to have to make good on his threat. He hoped not– it would make this whole trip a waste.
“I’m going to go get drunker,” he declared, tossing his earlier plans to not get too drunk out the window and walking off without checking to see if they were following. Their loud, clumsy footsteps immediately confirmed their presence anyways.
When Harry pushed open the door to the main party, he was assaulted by a tidal wave of sound. He grimaced and wove his way through the crowd, making his way towards the bar at the back. He scanned the array of shitty vodka flavors available, then the smaller array of store-brand soda.
“Can I get–” Harry had been planning to ask for his usual– the most cursed drink he could think of– but then he decided he wasn’t here to mess around, so he changed tact at the last second. “Can I just get a couple shots of the whipped cream flavored vodka. No mixer.”
The frat bro manning the bar rolled his eyes, but obligingly poured out a healthy portion of the vodka into a red solo cup.
Harry gratefully accepted the cup and moved away to a clear spot along the wall to hopefully down the alcohol quickly. The party was already nearing its peak, and he wanted his plan to have the most maximum impact possible.
Before Harry started in on his drink, he was joined by Ron and Hermione. He raised his eyebrow at their full drinks before taking a deep breath and knocking back as much of his own drink as he could.
He pulled a face as the light buzz he had already been feeling slid into straight drunkenness. This shit was absolutely vile , but it got the job done admirably well. Before he could chicken out, Harry tossed the rest of it back.
“You okay there, mate?” Ron asked.
Harry crumpled the cup and met Ron’s gaze with a lopsided grin. “Never better! Now– are we gonna dance or what?”
Ron and Hermione exchanged another look, then each of them took one of Harry’s hands and towed him onto the dance floor.
They danced together for a couple songs– all of them perfect for drunkenly dancing to– and occasionally taking the time to slip away for another drink. By the time Ron and Hermione were beginning to get particularly handsy, Harry was feeling bold enough to enact his plan. He considered spritzing them with the spray bottle he’d hooked to his belt before he took off, but decided to save it for when he came back.
Ron and Hermione could enjoy a little gratuitous PDA. As a treat.
Harry weaved his way– a tad unsteadily– through the throng of drunkenly dancing college students. His single-minded determination to get to the DJ served him well in allowing him to make it there quickly.
The tucked away nook was entirely empty but for the rigid figure of the DJ. He was standing with his back to the opening, scrolling his phone. “If you’re here to request a song, go away.”
Harry raised his eyebrows. A challenge, it seemed.
“And if I’m not here to request a song?”
The DJ paused in his scrolling for a moment, then scoffed. “Sure, I’ll humor you. What are you here, in this out of the way corner, for?”
Thinking quickly, Harry grinned to himself when a brilliant idea occurred to him. “My friends dared me to get the DJ to sign my shirt– so here I am!”
The DJ failed to visibly react to this. “And why should I do that?”
Harry wished the DJ would at least turn around and face him. It was hard to seduce someone who wouldn’t even look at you.
“I’ll get you a drink if you do,” Harry said decisively. This was clearly an antisocial person– someone who clearly would not want to brave the crowd just beyond the nook and risk having to interact with people.
At this, the DJ slowed his scrolling once more. “Fine. But after that, you have to leave me the hell alone.”
“It’s a deal! Do you have any particular drink preferences…?” Harry asked.
“Get me a shot of vanilla vodka, a shot of cherry vodka, mixed with half a cup of whatever the knock-off of Dr. Pepper is called,” the DJ rattled off, still without looking up.
Harry frantically pulled out his phone and pulled up the notes app to write the order down before he forgot it. “Right, got it. I’ll be right back.”
“You do that.”
Harry hurried back through the crowd to the bar and acquired the drink, also ordering himself another half a shot of vodka. He was clearly going to need it to get through this. He downed the vodka on his way over.
When he turned the corner into the nook, the DJ was finally facing him. And– he was– much hotter than Harry had been expecting. Well, Harry wasn’t quite sure what he’d been expecting, but it wasn’t this. Though the carefully-sculpted hair, haughty posture, and arrogant expression leant the strong impression that this man was an asshole .
But that was fine, Harry wasn’t afraid of a challenge.
Harry’s expression slid into an easy smile as he approached the man. He held out the drink. “For you,” he said, finding himself winking. God . He hoped that, for once in his life, the wink had turned out sexy rather than awkward.
The DJ slid his phone into his back pocket, the aux cord dangling out, as he accepted the drink. He gave it a dubious look before taking a tentative sip.
Harry resented the implication that he would have messed it up, but then, he was pretty obviously drunk, and he had needed to write it down.
“So? How’d I do?” Harry asked.
“Acceptably,” the DJ said. He took another, larger drink, then set it down on the shelf behind him. He held out his hand and said, “Hand me the marker, let’s get this over with.”
Harry pulled the marker out of his pocket and handed it over. “So, is this where I finally get to learn your name?”
The DJ did not respond, engrossed in the process of uncapping the marker and surveying Harry’s shirt.
Harry obligingly pulled his shirt down to make it easier to write on.
The DJ placed his hand on Harry’s chest to brace against while he wrote, but the unexpected action caused Harry to stumble back.
“Sorry,” Harry said. He backed up a couple more steps so his back was braced against the wall and flattened out his shirt again. “There we go– problem solved.”
The DJ muttered something to himself and braced his hand against Harry’s chest again. He started to write in the top right corner of Harry’s shirt, clearly intending to write– whatever he was writing– in large, orderly letters.
“So do I finally get to learn your name now?” Harry asked again, watching the DJ carefully write… something.
“Shut up,” the DJ said absently.
Harry shut up. He focused on trying to angle his head so he could see what was being written on him. But the trouble was that he had to angle it without moving his chest, because he could tell that wouldn’t go over well. The restrictions on his movement prevented him from getting a good look, though, so he sighed impatiently and leaned his head back against the wall.
Finally, the DJ finished writing. He capped the marker, thrusting it back at Harry. Then, as he slid his phone back out of his pocket, he said, “A deal’s a deal– go away.”
Harry was too busy holding his shirt out to try and get a better look at what had been written. The letters were certainly large enough, but his current drunken state and still-awkward angle made it difficult to parse out.
“Lord… Voldemort?” Harry said uncertainly, angling his head to the side, still surveying his shirt.
The DJ audibly sighed– an impressive feat in the thunderously loud environment of the party. “My stage name,” he said shortly, once more entirely absorbed in his phone.
Harry stood in silence for a moment, considering… Voldemort. Voldemort truly seemed to not care about the service he was providing here, and yet he had a stage name. Maybe it was a weird requirement of the frat? It was hard to say.
Then there was his overall hostility, hostility that was making it difficult for Harry to seduce him. Harry just wanted to play the one song– or, well, that had been his initial goal. Harry was now intrigued by the kind of person that would join a frat where social gatherings such as this one were regular requirements, despite seeming to actively detest participating in them.
“You’re still here,” Voldemort said.
“You’re fascinating,” Harry blurted out. Then he slapped his hand over his mouth, a bit more forcefully than he intended, and felt a hot blush bloom across his face.
Then the oddest thing happened: the corners of Voldemort’s mouth quirked up into a ghost of a reluctant smile. All he said, though, was a very bored, “Uh-huh.”
Harry’s hands slid down his face and he shoved them in his pockets. That had been the most progress he’d made this entire time. “No, really, you are ,” Harry insisted. “I’ve been to a couple of these monstrosities, and I’ve never met anyone like you.”
Voldemort raised a single eyebrow. “Monstrosity? Clearly you haven’t been to any of the parties I’ve thrown. Or else you wouldn’t have called them that, and you certainly would have remembered me.”
“I would have remembered you!” Harry agreed. “But I meant more frat parties in general. So do you usually throw these things? I might have to come out more often if you do.”
“I’m afraid I don’t make it a habit to participate in these events very often. So you’ll have to continue with your bland, uneventful existence as is.”
Harry took a clumsy half-step towards Voldemort, then attempted to lean casually against the wall– mostly succeeding, Harry thought.
Somehow, without even looking up, Voldemort crushed that thought. “Was that supposed to be suave?”
Harry immediately stood up straight again. He rubbed his hand against the back of his neck. “Er–”
“It was a good attempt,” Voldemort added, glancing up to meet Harry’s eyes.
The blush on Harry’s face deepened further, until Harry was sure he resembled a tomato. God. And he was supposed to be seductive right now.
“Anyways,” Harry said, trying to recover, “you have to agree that most frat parties are a waste of time at best.”
Voldemort looked up properly this time, an indecipherable expression on his face. “Since most frat parties are not organized by me, I suppose that’s a fairly accurate statement. But if you don’t like them, why are you here? You’re not a frat member.”
Harry smiled brightly at this and was glad he had an answer ready. He grabbed the spray bottle from where he’d shoved it into his waistband and pulled it out. “My friends tend to get a bit– over affectionate– at these things, so I’m here to discourage them.” He spritzed the wall to demonstrate.
Voldemort looked back down at his phone, and Harry was about to groan in disappointment at the lost progress, but almost as soon as Voldemort had looked down, he was looking back at Harry. Then Voldemort slid his phone into his back pocket and crossed his arms.
“Effective, if a bit crude,” he said.
Harry grinned. “Crude infractions deserve crude deterrents– and what they get up to is definitely crude. I’m doing a public service by spraying them down, really.”
Remarkably, this brought a smirk to Voldemort’s face, which was now slightly flushed from the alcohol Harry had given him. “Thank you for your service,” Voldemort said solemnly.
The grin on Harry’s face spread impossibly further. He had the impulse to grab Voldemort in a hug– a sure sign that he had had too much to drink. Harry glanced into his cup and saw that there was still a bit of vodka left. He knew that if he drank it, he’d probably end up making a fool of himself and fail to play his prank on the frat party-goers.
But on the other hand– alcohol.
Fuck it , Harry decided, and knocked back the rest of the drink. Almost immediately, he felt the alcohol rush to his head and– yup, there was that same urge to hug Voldemort, only it was even stronger now.
Harry took a clumsy step towards Voldemort, but stopped himself from hugging the near-stranger at the last second. Instead, he gently patted Voldemort on the shoulder. “You’re funny,” Harry informed him. “And cute, when you’re smiling– I like when you smile. Not that you’re not cute when you’re not smiling, but when you’re not smiling you’re kinda scary, which ruins the effect, you know?”
With that, Harry clenched his mouth shut to stem the words that simply would not stop spilling out.
Voldemort plucked Harry’s hand off his shoulder, but before Harry could panic too much over the rejection, Voldemort held onto his hand for a moment longer than necessary, eyes lingering on Harry’s face before he finally released Harry’s hand.
“How about you pick out the next song,” Voldemort said, pulling his phone out of his pocket and unlocking it, “as a gesture of goodwill.”
Harry’s jaw dropped. “Wow– are you sure?”
Voldemort rolled his eyes and handed his phone to Harry, the screen pulled up to Spotify’s search function. “Of course I’m sure,” he said, derisive.
With exaggerated care, Harry took the phone in his hands. He narrowed his eyes and positioned his thumbs over the keyboard.
“Tom!” someone called, turning the corner into the music nook. “You gotta come quick– Bellatrix has her head, like, all the way down the toilet, and she won’t leave! You have to fix this, we’ve got a line building up for the bathroom.”
Harry blinked dazedly at the sudden appearance of another person, then turned to see what Vold– Tom? Tom made way more sense as a name. So Harry turned to see what Tom was going to do.
“Pick your song, Harry,” Tom said, already walking away. “Then make sure the music keeps playing afterwards– this won’t take long.”
“Alright,” Harry said to Tom’s back. This was the absolute best thing that could have happened for Harry’s plan. With Tom gone, Harry’s song would be able to play without fear of interruption. The current song was beginning to wind down, so Harry focused himself on typing in the name of the song he wanted.
The song came up as the first result, so Harry, using the same precision with which he’d searched for the song, queued it to play next. Then he carefully positioned himself so he would be able to watch the reactions of all the drunk people currently dancing to normal hits.
The previous song ended, and Harry felt a preemptive smile spread across his face.
As the opening chords of the jaws theme began to play, a couple people lost the rhythm of their dancing, and Harry spotted several confused expressions in the crowd. Then the song transitioned with a beat drop, clearly announcing that it was not the jaws theme.
Before anyone could get too into the transition, however, the real beat drop occurred.
Blasting out through the massive speakers was a child’s voice singing, “Baby shark doo doo doo doo doo doo.”
It took mere moments for everyone in Harry’s line of sight to recover from their shock. By the time the second line of the song played, many people had begun to do the stupid accompanying dance while they sang along. By the second verse, most everyone else had figured it out and also joined in.
This was not entirely what Harry had expected when he’d set out to do this, but it was an extraordinarily satisfying outcome. There was just something about watching a crowd of drunk uni students going hard to a remix of a nursery school song. Harry found himself doing the dance too, just because the environment was so contagious.
After Baby Shark finished playing, the music returned to whatever Tom had set up in advance, and after a few wary glances at the speakers, everyone resumed their regular dancing.
Now that Harry had accomplished his prank– and god, what a high that had been– he had to figure out how he was going to get away with it.
He could easily leave now and never look back, simultaneously dodging Ron and Hermione’s plans to set him up with someone. The problem was that he didn’t want to do that to Tom. So Harry had to figure out a way to get away with this without ghosting him.
In preparation, Harry set Tom’s phone down in the back of the nook. Then, trying to think through both the drunken haze and the lingering euphoria of a prank well-pulled, Harry cobbled together a plan.
As soon as Tom rounded the corner into the music nook, mouth open– probably to demand an explanation– and hands on his hips, Harry darted forward and kissed Tom on the cheek, freezing the man in his tracks.
“Thank you for an amazing night,” Harry whispered into Tom’s ear. Then Harry stepped behind Tom and whipped out the marker from earlier. As quickly as he could, Harry scrawled his number across Tom’s back. Then, for good measure, he drew a massive heart around the number.
“Good-bye, Tom,” Harry called out, beaming at the befuddled expression on Tom’s face.
With that accomplished, Harry hurried away into the crowd, determined to find Ron and Hermione so they could all make a quick getaway.