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Refuge - How to Love a Slytherin in Seven Days

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Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
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24th of June, 2000

There were many things in his daily routine that Harry relied on magic for, but boiling water for his late afternoon tea wasn't one of them. He also had a terrible habit of forgetting the kettle on the stove. The hot kettle would always whistle for several minutes, annoying the few portraits around the house, before Harry would rush into the kitchen to remove it from the stove. He poured the hot water into the cup with loose tea before returning to the sitting room to resume reading his book.

Love Letters: A collection of over two hundred irresistible love letters from over the centuries, historical and fictional, written by poets, princes, tragic, comic, and superbly selected for any literature enthusiast.

Every Sunday, in the late afternoon, Harry would retrieve one of his books of literature from an epic era and read about love adventures and declarations. It was his weekly ritual. Today the routine was simply the same. He would sit on his rocking chair by the fire with tea in one hand and the book in the other for a few hours. The fireplace was charmed to look as though the flames were burning, soaring high, but no heat emitted from them. Then he'd effortlessly fall asleep and take a quick nap. A Floo wake-up call from Hermione would remind him to get ready for their Sunday night dinner at the Burrow. Life was peaceful and Harry was content. Or so he'd convinced himself. This was his refuge.

An abrupt knock on the door chucked out his Sunday afternoon plans. When Harry answered the door, he saw two enthusiastic young men with bright beaming eyes that sort of reminded Harry of Colin Creevey.

"Mr Potter?" the two boys questioned, as if they needed to.

"Yes. Can I help you?"

"I'm Mark and this is Jake. We were wondering if we could disturb you for a few moments?" Mark, the taller of the two, with bright brown eyes and olive skin, spoke.

"What is this about?" Harry asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I think you'd prefer to speak in private," Jake spoke this time. "It's about your poems in the Prophet." The last few words of the sentence were hushed and Harry immediately removed himself from the doorway, allowing the two boys to enter his home.

Mark and Jake followed the long hallway and didn't stop until they had reached Harry's living room. They looked around the house in amazement as any person did when they'd entered the home of the Boy Who Lived for the first time. Harry was never sure what they were amazed by; the house was old and rundown, and in serious need of a fix–up.

"So how can I help you?" Harry asked immediately as they freely sat down on the sofa.

"We wanted to talk to you about the anonymous poems that are submitted to the Prophet by you," Jake answered.

"If they are anonymous, how do you know they are from me?" Harry raised his eyebrow again.

"Several reasons actually, but it would simply be easier if you'd admit to us that they are from you," Mark spoke this time.

"I don't want to waste your time, but I really don't know what you're talking about."

"Mr Potter–"

"Harry. You're making me feel ten years older than I already am," Harry interrupted.

"Alright then, Harry," Jake began, "you let us in your home so you've already confirmed our suspicions that you are, in fact, the writer of said poems. You didn't even ask what poems we are talking about, so you've yet again confirmed. Additionally, Mark here brilliantly had solved the code of your pseudonym, The Golden Seeker, when we suspected it was you, and we just needed proof."

"Anybody could be The Golden Seeker," Harry announced.

"Yes, we know that, but it made perfect sense. Your poem about your legacy, your love, and your longing to be with your family. The fact that your father was a Quidditch player as well and a Gryffindor is what truly established my theory." Mark smiled; Harry could see the pride in his eyes of claiming to have deciphered a code. "And," Mark added, "my aunt is Rita Skeeter, so she technically couldn't tell us who the anonymous authors were, even if she had the ability to find out, so she let us volunteer at the Daily Prophet during the Christmas hols and we found the information we needed."

"You mean stole the information you needed." Both Mark and Jake shrugged at Harry's accusation. "How exactly did you find this supposed information?"

"It wasn't an easy task, I'll tell you that!" Jake replied. "We had to go back and forth in correspondence between the poetry editor and the anonymous writer. There was no valid residential address provided that we could find; it was to an owlery. We went to the owlery where we discovered that the letters were rerouted to the recipients. We used our status as employees of the Prophet to indicate that a letter was sent to a wrong recipient. That's how we discovered that only three wizards used the rerouting service. We also learned how much it costs for this extra service, so not a lot of wizards use it. Out of the three names that popped up, two belonged to wizards that were over the age of seventy–five, and the third was you."

"That doesn't prove anything," Harry replied.

Jake looked at Mark who decided to continue. "Yes, that is true, so we wrote you a letter. We wrote you, Harry Potter, a fan letter and you replied. Consequently, we matched the handwriting between you, Harry Potter, and the author, The Golden Seeker, and it was a perfect match!"

"What letter?"

"Did you ever receive a letter from a Hogwarts student that wanted advice on how to become a Seeker just as good as you?"

"I thought that letter was written from a first year?"

"Yes, and Hufflepuff," Mark and Jake answered in unison. "We didn't want any suspicions on us so we had a first year write that letter on our behalf," Jake answered the rest.

"And let me guess, you two are – "

"Slytherin," Mark and Jake confirmed.

"Of course. So what do you want from me? Money? You think you can blackmail me because I don't want to associate myself with the poetry I submit to the Prophet? It's true that I don't want anyone to find out that it's me who writes it, but not badly enough that I'll pay a couple of Slytherins for it."

"We don't want your money," Mark answered.

"Far from it," Jake said.

"Then what do you want?"

"Mark and I, and another friend, Sheila, are in a faux Muggle indie rock band. Do you know what that is?" Jake asked.

"It's wizards playing music pretending to be Muggles, using Muggle instruments. It's been all the rage since last year, after the defeat of Voldemort," Harry answered.

"Exactly!" Mark exclaimed. Harry looked confused.

"Let me explain further," Jake said.

"Mark and I have never been very good at anything; we simply get by based on our cleverness and our family influence. However, that's never really helped us with our schooling. We've never been interested in potions, charms, or herbology. We like Transfiguration, but what kind of a career path is that? What we really like is –"

"Music!" Mark chimed in, "Especially Muggle music!" Harry nodded, attempting to understand where the two boys were headed with this story. "We noticed your poetry since last year in the Prophet, but we could never find out who it was, even though we had our suspicions from the start. As we told you, we volunteered at the Prophet so we could find more information, but we couldn't do anything outside of Hogwarts; with magic I mean, because we weren't of age then. We waited until January when we turned seventeen to start–"

"Stalking me," Harry interrupted. Mark and Jake looked at each other and nodded in agreement smiling.

"We have been practicing a lot, and we're really good, all we need is a – " Mark paused.

"Songwriter," Jake answered.

"So, you want me to be your songwriter?" Harry asked, looking baffled.

"Not just that, we want you to join the band! Play an instrument," Mark commented.

"I don't play any instruments, Muggle or Wizard!"

"That's not true; we know that you recently answered an interview in the Prophet where you said that you and Ms Hermione Granger have been taking guitar lessons every Thursday at a Muggle music school!" Jake whinged. "And we went to the Centre for Music Studies to enquire and a woman told us all about you two. She said that she was very impressed with your ability to learn the bass so fast, and that you yourself had expressed an interest in perhaps joining a band."

"Yeah, a Muggle band," Harry answered.

"We are a Muggle band!" Both Jake and Mark screamed in unison again. It was something about the way these two boys reacted that reminded Harry of Fred and George, same enthusiasm, same keenness towards getting into trouble, wrong house, but quite similar nonetheless.

Harry rose from the chair he was sitting at across from the boys on the sofa and began pacing back and forth.

"Mr Potter, Harry, we have received 'Acceptable' in most of our NEWTs and 'Poor' in the rest of them. We truly have no career path laid out for us, except for returning to our prospective homes and working in our family businesses." Mark's voice quivered.

"And, from what we've heard, you really aren't doing anything with your life," Jake added and Harry stopped pacing to glare at him. "It's true, and you know it to be true. You write beautifully, and you're taking music lessons, what else is a good selection for you? After the war was over, in one of your last interviews, you had stated that you didn't wish to be an Auror because you didn't want to see the negativity of the world anymore– "

"And you couldn't be a healer because you were rubbish at Potions," Mark added. "You can do anything you want, but what's expected of you is becoming a Healer, or working at the Ministry," Mark paused and both Mark and Jake visibly shuddered at the thought, "or becoming a Hogwarts professor yourself."

"Don't you want to do something that will shock the world? Something that is so fun and brings happiness to other people as well? Don't you want to rise from your shadows and let the world know that you, Harry Potter, have truly won!?" Jake stood up, eye to eye with Harry with his arms open, his body matching the enthusiasm of his words.

"You're quoting from one of my poems," Harry chuckled, "I wrote about longing to rise from the shadows of what's expected of me and –"

"Finding where you truly belong, yes. That's the poem that I wrote into a song and played it for Sheila and she agreed to join the band," Jake confirmed Harry's statement.

"You boys are quite ambitious," Harry said.

"We are Slytherin, nothing if not a bit too ambitious," Jake answered.

"For our own good," Mark added.

Harry was quiet for several minutes as he sat back into his chair and thought. He looked up at Mark and Jake staring at him with hope gleaming through their eyes. "I can't just say yes yet," Harry answered. "Can I get you something to eat or drink?"

"Definitely–" Mark began to speak when Jake elbowed his ribcage.

"We don't want to distract you from your thought process," Jake answered.

"It's no distraction, follow me to the kitchen. We can talk some more in there.” Harry smiled and led the two boys to the kitchen.

Harry poured all three of them a small shot of Firewhisky and noticed that Jake was grinning with delight. "What is it?" Harry asked.

"Well, regardless of what your answer will be now, I'm just happy that you didn't completely shoot down the idea and toss us out immediately. It's not a yes yet, but it also wasn't a 'not even over my dead body, no' either."

"I need time to think it over, and I would need more information. Give me a few days and we should talk again," Harry replied. The two boys beamed in delight and the three future bandmates took their first shot of Firewhisky together.

As Harry walked the boys out to the front door, he promised a meeting with them at the Leaky Cauldron on Wednesday evening. When Harry returned to his sitting room, he noticed the Floo light up and Hermione's head floating through. "Harry, are you awake? Harry, where are you?"

"I am here Hermione; I didn't take a nap this afternoon. I just got an interesting proposition, I'll tell you all about it over dinner, see you in a few hours," Harry replied, unable to hide his grin. Even though he'd told the boys that he needed time to think it over, and still wished to discuss it with his friends, Harry was quite certain that he was going to be a bass player in an indie rock faux Muggle band.

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1st of July, 2001

Music News. The Daily Prophet is pleased to bring you a new designated section in our paper titled: 'Contemporary Arts' where we will be discussing the latest trends in the Wizarding world. So, what has occupied our young wizards these days? Why, faux Muggle bands of course!

After the defeat of the Dark Lord, many young wizards 'rebelled' against their pure–blood traditions and incorporated use of Muggle technology in their daily lifestyle. Many students at Hogwarts retreated themselves to Muggle music and hence created the birth of 'faux Muggle bands.' One of the celebrities in the faux Muggle music world is none other than our Saviour himself, Mr Harry James Potter.

Harry Potter, Jacob Weismann, Marcus Belgarde, and Sheila Desai are part of a new Wizarding sensation, indie rock bands that play Muggle style music with Muggle instruments and incorporate no magic in their shows except for occasional theatrics. Lead vocalists and guitarists Jacob Weismann, who prefers to be simply referred to as "Jake," and "Mark" Belgrade formed the band initially during their seventh year at Hogwarts. They recruited their drummer Sheila Desai a few months later, and completed their group by adding the band songwriter and bass player, Harry James Potter. The name of the group is 'Adjusted to Myself.' When asked about the selection of their band name, band leaders Jake and Mark state that the answer is simple: "It's obvious, this is our band, this is our world, and this is our era. I am not going to change myself for you, to fit your needs, I will not adjust myself to the world, I am adjusted to myself." All the band members similar to all the other faux Muggle bands in the
Wizarding world learned the musical instruments on their own accord. No magic was involved in the learning process and it seems that many Muggle teachers were consulted, hired, and paid handsomely for their lessons to these wizarding children.

Whether or not Muggle music training will one day be incorporated in the Wizarding school curriculum still remains to be seen. Many wizarding parents are worried that the Muggle lifestyle has ruined reasoning amongst the youth. Many adolescents are now considering music as a career option and are less worried about their OWLs and NEWTs. Some parents are hopeful that this is 'just a phase' and that eventually the children will find their way back home. It seems that most of the wizarding population that has fused itself in the music industry are of pure–blood families; the second distinguished band after 'Adjusted to Myself' is led by former Death Eater, Draco Malfoy, titled 'The Serpent's Kiss.'

Although it may not be intentional, but it seems that former school rivals Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy yet again find themselves against each other in their vocation. Both band members have refused to comment on the matter and have refused to work together at a show. The Wizarding world is waiting for collaboration and many have insinuated that the reason they hold on to so much animosity is due to their deep rooted attraction towards the other. We all know that love is truly a battlefield.

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Harry read the latest article by the Daily Prophet and scoffed at the comment about him and Malfoy. When the celebrity of their band took off, they had heard that Draco Malfoy had also formed a band and was performing in similar venues as Adjusted to Myself. Harry had heard their music, and in this business, you have to listen to the competition, and vocally he denied that he enjoyed it. However, when he was alone, he often found himself inspired by the lyrics that were hidden behind the heavy metal music. Lyrics supposedly written by Malfoy.

"I am telling you it's a great idea!" Harry heard Sheila exclaim to Jake as she entered the Marauder's Ride, their tour bus.

"And I am telling you Harry will never agree to this. This was one of his very few conditions when he signed on with us. We have a legal wizarding contract; we can't make him do something he's refused to do in writing!"

"What are you arguing about now?" Harry asked, turning to his band mates who were startled by his presence.

"Harry, I thought you were going to be spending today with your friends and meeting us at our next venue?" Jake asked, catching his breath after being startled by Harry.

"There was a change in plans; they're going to come to our next show, so I don't need to Apparate there. I'll just hang out with them there." Harry answered, then looked at his two bandmates again. "Oh, did I intervene in your shagging time?" Harry asked, doing his best to not laugh. "I can leave if you want. I'll return in an hour or so."

"Honestly, Harry, how many times do we have to go through this?" Sheila asked. "We are not shagging!"

"Everyone knows you're shagging and no one seems to care, so I don't know why the two of you do. Even the Prophet is more interested in a non–existent romance between me and Malfoy than the two of you!" Harry threw the Prophet away across towards the other table.

"The Prophet's mentioned us again? That's wonderful! What does it say?" Jake rushed over to the tossed paper and began reading the article.

"Nothing of importance, just how we're corrupting the youth," Harry answered insipidly. "Now tell me what you two were arguing about. Otherwise, I'll just sit here and Mark will be back and the two of you will get no alone time."

"Sheila suggested that we should collaborate with another band for the St Mungo's charity show we are going to do in a few months. She thinks that we should join forces with The Serpent's Kiss and open for each other at shows. It'll bring a bigger crowd to our shows and we will make more money, then the hospital will make more money." Harry listened to Jake and looked at Sheila in puzzlement; Sheila never seemed to care about income before. "Sheila's sister is a healer at St Mungo's. They could really use a new wing in the children's department. She's sort of being pressured." Sheila darted towards Jake and punched him in his arm. "Sorry, but if you want him to do it, then I have to tell him why."

"Why does it have to be The Serpent's Kiss?" Harry asked.

"It's the next best band out there and they are slowly gaining up on us. I don't want to be the next best, so we should keep ahead of them before they pass us!" Sheila answered.

Slytherins, I am in a band full of Slytherins.

"What does Mark have to say about this?" Harry inquired.

"He's on board, it was his idea to begin with," Sheila answered before Jake could.

"Even if I agree, which I am not saying that I am agreeing to anything because as Jake pointed out earlier, my legal contract says that I can refuse to work with anyone I so desire, what about Malfoy. He doesn't want to work with me either."

"I've already talked to their bass player, who is their contract manager, and there is no such requirement from him in their band contract. Even if he's the band leader, they can outvote him and he'll have to do what they say or the band will break up!" Sheila smirked as she answered, causing Harry to do nothing other than shake his head in disbelief. "Well serves him right to appoint a Ravenclaw as the legal representative."

"Think of the children, Harry! Think of the poor, orphan, sick children!" Jake pleaded. Harry knew that he was just having a go at him, but he was right, this was bigger than him, bigger than Malfoy. It had been over three years since he'd spoken to Malfoy and maybe it was time to put all the negativity from the war behind him. Malfoy was a victim of Voldemort's scheme just like everyone else. But, how would Malfoy react? He'd probably blame Harry for his bandmates tricking him, he'd probably hold a bigger grudge than before.

"I need time to think," Harry answered as he stood up from his chair. "I'll be going for a walk and I'll give you my decision soon. Just don't go sending owls announcing it to the world. This is not a yes, this is very much a no, and I need time to make sure it's still a no." As Harry left the bus, he heard Sheila squeal with joy. He wasn't sure if it was because now they were free to shag or because they thought they had him in agreement.

Even though Harry wasn't due to meet his friends, he knew he needed advice. He Apparated to the Burrow and knocked on the door. Hermione opened the door and was delighted with the surprise. "Harry! What are you doing here? I thought we weren't seeing you until next week?"

"Hermione, I am glad you're here, I wasn't sure you would be," Harry answered, smiling at the sight of his best friend. "I've missed you and I've come for some advice." Harry walked into the house and saw Ron sitting on the sofa.

"What do you need, Harry?" Hermione asked as she took a seat next to Ron and opposite Harry.

"My bandmates want to do a joint show with another band to raise funds for a charity event, but I am just not sure if it's a good idea or if I should just go ahead with it," Harry answered.

"Who is it?" Ron asked.

"The Serpent's Kiss, you know–"

"Malfoy's band," Ron confirmed.

"The papers are always covering news about your two bands and how they're in such close competition to being number one," Hermione spoke. "Why did they pick that one instead of another one?"

"Sheila thinks that if you can't destroy them, join them. Also, she thinks it'll raise the most funds for the children's charity and I have to say I agree. I just don't know if I can be in the same vicinity as him after everything that's happened. I mean, I never apologised for what I did in sixth year, then he saved my life, and then I saved his. We've never talked and he's openly been vocal about how he doesn't want anything to do with me. Even if I can forget everything and want to start anew, I am not sure he'd be willing to do that. I don't really want to involve myself with so much negativity all the time. I enjoy what I am doing, what we're doing; I am afraid he'll just bring it all down." Harry looked up at his friends to see their reactions. Ron seemed to have an 'I agree with you' face and Hermione seemed a bit more contemplative.

"But, maybe it's a good idea to collaborate and put all the animosity behind you. You did great with your poetry and it led you somewhere positive with your music. Maybe this will be a positive thing, maybe it'll finally let you two make amends and move on. I mean, Harry, I've heard his music; his lyrics are about redemption and understanding. Underneath all of that heavy music, he's still just as lost as you were. Maybe you can help him." Hermione looked towards Ron for validation and he simply shrugged.

"Or this could all just blow up in your face," Ron answered, causing Hermione to hit him on his arm.

Harry laughed. "Maybe you're right, maybe I could give it a go. If it doesn't work out, we can go our separate ways and at least it'll be confirmed that he'll always be the nitwit we've thought of him as."

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Three months later

Hermione was very wrong.

Malfoy felt cheated. Nobody had to be exceptional in Legilimency to know that; Malfoy was quite vocal about it. He hated being part of a 'collaboration,' and he hated Harry. At their first band meeting, Malfoy had done nothing but insult Harry and his band for everything. He threw insult after insult towards Adjusted to Myself, and nit–picked everything that he thought was wrong with each band member, saving Harry for last. Harry hadn't spoken the first ten minutes whilst he was in the same room as Malfoy because he simply was incredulous by Malfoy's appearance. He couldn't believe that the man standing in front of him was the same boy he'd known when they had attended Hogwarts.

Malfoy still had the signature white–blond hair, but everything about him was completely different. He wore black leather Muggle jump boots, with tight leather black trousers, a hunter green velvet shirt that was tucked in from the front but loose from the back. His trousers were tight enough that he didn't need a belt, but he displayed a silver and black snake belt, which was the signature logo of his band, The Serpent's Kiss. His smooth white skin seemed paler compared to the black nail polish he was sporting, along with the black eyeliner that made his silvery grey eyes pop. Harry stared at him in disbelief; he caught Sheila staring at him, looking like she thought that Harry was mute because of how rude Malfoy was being and not because of his appearance. He was hoping that's what she'd thought.

After Malfoy was done insulting the members of Adjusted to Myself, he turned around to face his own band mates. Harry caught himself bemoaning the fact that Malfoy's shirt was loose in the back, hiding his arse under the tight leather trousers. Harry snapped out of it.

"Oi, Malfoy, you need to calm down. This isn't a party for me either but you don't hear me whinging like a lost little girl," Harry retorted, causing his band mates to giggle and Malfoy to snap his head towards Harry. "Why are you so cross anyway? Is it because I saved your life all those years ago, or because after everything, you're still second after me and my band?"

Harry knew he'd probably crossed the line, but what was done was done. The rest of the members of The Serpent's Kiss charged one step towards Harry after being insulted. To them, insulting the band wasn't just about Malfoy, but themselves as well. He thought about apologising right away for insulting the others, but he changed his mind. He had to stand behind his insult; he'd been spending way too much time with Slytherins.

"Listen, this isn't about the two of you," Sheila interjected. "I think we can make some really great music together and put on a great show. This is about helping the charity event. I don't know what's going on with you two; you've obviously got some animosity that isn't going to be solved in one night. So why don't you talk it over with your mates, and we'll talk it over amongst ourselves, and hopefully come to a harmonious conclusion." Everyone shook their head in agreement, except for Harry and Malfoy.

"C'mon, Draco, just give it a go," the female drummer from Malfoy's band advised Malfoy sweetly. Harry immediately wondered if they were involved.

"Let's call it a night and we'll get back to our bus and you lot can sort it out here. If you're interested in meeting up tomorrow, just contact us through this," Jake spoke as he handed the same girl drummer a small silver coin. "It's enchanted with the Protean Charm. After you send us the message, we'll let you know where we are and you can Apparate to the bus."

"We'll have it set up so that there are extra rooms for you lot to stay with us," Mark added.

"Why do you travel in a bus anyway? Why not just rent regular practice space like the rest of us and just Apparate with your equipment to your destination?" Malfoy asked. His tone had changed from defensive to inquisitive and he seemed calm now. Harry wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that the drummer girl had her arm on Malfoy's shoulder, or the fact that his bandmates were speaking to him with respect. He knew how much this cooperation meant for Sheila, and Jake did everything Sheila wanted, while Mark simply went along with it.

"Several reasons," Mark commented. "The bus was Harry's idea, along with the name, because he likes being on the road. When we're not in a rush, it works like a normal bus just driving at standard speed on the motorway, but if we're in a hurry, it operates faster than the Knight Bus. It is quite soothing once you get used to it."

Jake spoke next saying, "The other reason is the funds, or lack of. When we announced to our parents that we weren't, in fact, going to join the family business, they cut us off. Harry was kind enough to loan us the starting fund for our touring until we got proper gigs and began getting paid in Galleons. He bought the bus for us and we paid him back with our share when we had enough. Now we don't rent any rooms, and if we stay in hotels, it's usually paid by the people who hire us. The Marauder's Ride is our home, it's our everything."

"So you can use an extension charm and make room for us on the bus?" the Ravenclaw asked. I really have to start learning their names, Harry thought to himself.

"That's the idea," Harry finally chimed in. He loved his group; they read each other's minds and they knew who should answer what question. This past year and a half had been a great experience for him and he hoped that this new partnership wouldn't ruin it.

"That's amazing!" the Ravenclaw responded, earning herself a glare from Malfoy.

"So, we'll be off. You know how to contact us.” Harry smiled as he spoke to the members of The Serpent's Kiss, avoiding eye contact from Malfoy and the drummer girl in his arms.

Harry's group Apparated back to their lounge room on the bus. "So I reckon we'll need five new rooms on the bus!"

"Well, if they do decide to work with us, and if I play my cards right, I might get Lauren to sleep in my room, and then we'll only need four!" Mark declared.

"Which one is Lauren again?" Harry asked. He'd noted that the band had five members, three blokes, including Malfoy, and two girls, the drummer girl and the Ravenclaw.

"Lauren was the one with the blond hair, the drummer," Sheila answered, "and the other one is Madeline, I think."

"Oh, I thought the drummer girl was with Malfoy," Harry said.

"No, she just likes him and thinks she can change his mind. Honestly , Harry, do you not read anything about their band in the news?" Sheila said, exasperated.

"I try to stay away from any Malfoy news if possible. What do you mean change his mind?"

"Malfoy's bent," Mark answered, "just like you. Maybe if you two can get over whatever resentment you have with each other, the two of you can share a room, too!" Jake laughed at Mark's comment, but quickly quieted down after reading Harry's reaction.

"I thought whatever they were on about in the Prophet was utter rubbish, please, you don't need to start with it. And I didn't know Malfoy was bent. How am I supposed to know that?" Harry retorted.

The group shook their heads in unison but didn't say anything. Eventually, everyone went off to bed while Harry stayed in the lounge looking out on the road before beginning to write a new song.

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It had been a month since The Serpent's Kiss decided to join Adjusted to Myself on their tour bus. Sheila and Jake took care of most of the preparations in the bus to accommodate the additional inhabitants. They placed extension charms to add four new rooms; Madeline was dating the bass player Timothy and they had requested to have one sleeping quarter arranged for them. They also extended the second floor of the bus for a bigger practice room for the additional equipment.

The first few weeks most members intermingled and got along well, with the exception of Harry and Malfoy, who often kept to themselves with the excuse that they were busy writing new songs. Harry got along well with Lauren, Madeline, Timothy and Stuart, who was a keytarist. If the group ever shared a meal together on the bus, arguments often erupted, leading to both Harry and Malfoy drawing their wands on each other's throats.

Mark and Lauren joined forces, bonding over the fact that "enough was enough!" Their first show was in one month and they had barely had any practice time because the members were busy making sure Harry and Malfoy don't kill each other. Mark called the first "official band meeting" to discuss the gig.

"So, we'd like to begin with a discussion on how the show should start and let's talk about what your ideas are," Mark stated. "Since it was Sheila's idea to collaborate together, she's got a setup of how we should start. Let's listen to what she has to say and keep our questions and comments for later." Mark stared at Harry and Malfoy as he made his declaration.

"Thanks, Mark. So our first show is in exactly 28 days. What both Jake and I were thinking, and we discussed this with Madeline, is that you should open the show playing Adjusted to Myself, our first song we ever played live, which conveniently is also the name of our band. Then the second song can be one of your songs. Then we'll take a break, talk about the charity and the good work the St Mungo's foundation is doing, then we'll switch and follow the same routine." Sheila paused and Jake took over.

"Adjusted to Myself will play a song of your choosing, one of The Serpent's Kiss' famous songs, then we'll play one of our own songs. After another break we should switch bandmates. This is something that hasn't been done before in the Wizarding music community. We can have Lauren switch with Sheila and Harry switch with Madeline for our group. For the second set we'll have The Serpent's Kiss perform with Sheila as the drummer and Harry as the bass player."

"You can't be serious!" Both Harry and Malfoy screamed in unison.

Mark hung his head low, and Lauren chimed in. "Whatever the order, can be discussed later. Right now, it's better to come up with the order of what we're playing and how. We can try to reason with you later as to why we need to switch the members."

"I understand why we need to switch the members –" Harry said.

"But I refuse to play with him! That was never part of the deal," Malfoy added, interrupting Harry

"Listen, you're both from the same year at Hogwarts and you both were part of the War. We will sell more tickets once it's announced that you two are playing together!" Madeline argued.

"There's more," Sheila added. "We want you and Harry to sing the last song of the night together. It needs to be a brand new song, something the two of you wrote. Depending on the lyrics and the pace of the song, we can discuss who will be performing in the background, but it has to be the two of you."

The room became quiet; everyone looked at Harry and Malfoy for their reaction. Malfoy had stood up previously when he was arguing about playing with Harry in the first place, but now he simply sank back down on his seat. Harry sighed.

"You want us to work together to write a song? That means we'd be in the same room to plan and think as one? You realise that finding a new songwriter to replace me might be a lot easier?" Harry asked.

"We can't work together, that's impossible," Malfoy added, "I have a different style than Potter; our words, our styles aren't going to connect."

"That's not true , Draco, and you know it," Lauren spoke up. "I have heard you humming Save Me From the Fire, in the shower, and you even admitted to me one time that you wanted to write a song like Escaping the Shadows, but you couldn't come up with the right sentiment."

"That's before I found out who had written it!" Malfoy exploded, then placed the palm of his hand on his mouth as though he may have said too much.

"See you admit it, you like their songs. You just stopped admitting it when you found out that Harry Potter was the songwriter for their band," Lauren exclaimed.

Everyone turned to look at Harry standing quietly in the corner; he was dreading his secrets being revealed. "I don't think we have enough time to come up with two new songs, practice and perform all in 28 days' time," Harry answered the inquisitive eyes. From the corner of his eye, he thought he saw Malfoy sigh in relief.

The bus stopped. The driver of the bus walked back to the lounge area where the musicians were gathered and spoke, "It is dinner time, we've reached L'Ambroisie, per request of Ms Madeline Hornshack. I shall be taking my leave for a few hours. When you are ready to leave, please contact me and I shall return. I've woken Lance up and after his bath, he'll be heading out for a quick bite. Thank you."

"Thank you, Leon," Sheila smiled at the driver and turned to face the group, "I don't know why he insists on being so formal every time. It's been over a year; doesn't he get tired of it?" The group laughed at Sheila's comment. It was true that the drivers had been with the group for over a year, but they always insisted on formally announcing the start and end of their shifts. Harry smiled in formality and noticed that Malfoy was also not laughing. This was going to be a very long month.

At dinner, a few patrons recognised Harry and came up to him for a chat or to take pictures. Soon everyone got the whiff of the fact that the Saviour was dining at the restaurant. Harry turned to Madeline and spoke, "I thought you said we would be discreet here?"

Madeline answered, "We would be, and we are; they recognise you the Boy Who Lived, not the Wizarding world famous bass player!" Malfoy snorted and Harry glared at him.

"Sorry to disturb you, Monsieur Potter, but can we get a picture for Le Monde Magique?" A French reporter approached Harry. "And perhaps a quote from you for your fans?" Harry was about to answer the reporter to come back in an hour, when the reporter recognised Malfoy as well. "Oh, is this Monsieur Malfoy? Oh, is it true then, are you two romantically involved, en amour?"

"What?" Malfoy spat out his question before Harry said anything.

"No, we are musicians," wait, that's not good enough, "we are all in a band. You've heard of Adjusted to Myself and The Serpent's Kiss? We are members of a rock band and we are simply all out to dinner. So if you wouldn't mind –"

"Oh, yes, yes, you are going to be performing in London next month, we heard about that. Oui, c'est merveilleux, so let's get a picture of the whole group, yes?" The French reporter wasn't budging and it was starting to frustrate Harry. He turned to the group and they all shrugged in agreement.

"I told you he'd get recognised; that's why we often get meals delivered on the bus," Jake looked at Madeline and spoke. She had insisted on eating at a proper restaurant at least once a week if they were all to be living on the bus and travelling to their gigs until the main concert in London.

"I don't see a problem in getting a few pictures taken. After all, it's free publicity," Stuart stated. He was often the quiet one in the group. Everyone turned to look at him and considered his suggestion. "He's right," Mark added.

Sheila quickly grabbed a piece of parchment from her bag and wrote down the details of their first concert. 28th of December, Holiday Charity Concert for St Mungo's Hospital, London. "Make sure you publish this in the caption so your readers will know when and where to come and see us!" She handed the parchment to the reporter before joining the group for a picture.

"Wonderful!" the reporter exclaimed. "Let's set up the picture. Monsieur Malfoy, please come stand next to Harry over here, and please, monsieur, if you wouldn't mind," the reporter turned to Jake, "switch with this lovely mademoiselle." Malfoy hesitated but Lauren and Madeline pushed him to go stand next to Harry. "Please, messieurs, act like you know each other," he said to Harry and Malfoy. Sheila took Harry's arm and wrapped it around Malfoy's waist.

"What in the bloody hell?" Malfoy nearly shrieked.

"Just bloody do it for one damn picture, Malfoy," Harry whispered. "The sooner we do this, the sooner this torture will be over." Malfoy glared at Harry as Harry stared back at Malfoy. Everyone else was standing still for the photo and the photographer took the shot.

A few days later, the copies of the picture taken by the French photographer at L'Ambroisie was in every newspaper. Harry stared at the picture in the Prophet. Harry placed his arm around Malfoy, who turned to look at Harry and Harry saying Malfoy to get it over with, of course in the picture it didn't look like Harry had said something scornful to Malfoy, so The Daily Prophet captioned it: Still refusing to be out in the open with their relationship, Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy conveniently join their forces together to raise funds for charity!

"Doesn't it bother you?" Harry asked Jake and Stuart, who were sitting in the lounge drinking their morning coffee while the rest of the band mates were still asleep.

"Doesn't what bother me?" Stuart asked.

"That they turn it around and make everything about me, and now Malfoy?" Harry asked, looking at Jake. "I had warned you about this when you had signed me on, and it still hasn't died down."

"Our music speaks for itself and our talent speaks for itself. If the fact that we have Harry Potter, the great Saviour, the reason why our sales are so high, why people buy our records or travel all over Europe to come see us play, then that's okay with me. You know that we didn't just sign you on for your songwriting, we wanted the fame. This is just a secondary effect. If I can play music on my own accord, if Mark, Sheila and I can be part of a team and be free, then taking the back seat isn't that big of a setback."

Harry had become close to his bandmates in the past year and knew that they would always be honest with him. Even though they had said that they didn't care, the sense of duty inside Harry still let this fact bother him. He turned to Stuart and waited for him to respond.

"I am twenty–four years old and I am the oldest in our group. In fact, I am one of the oldest members in any faux Muggle band. I used to work at a shop and I read it in the Prophet that The Serpent's Kiss was looking for wizards that could play Muggle instruments. I don't own the band; I go where the music takes me. If I can still play the keytar and get paid, I really don't have a problem with anything. It's only the two of you that make such a big deal out of it. If you didn't want so much attention, you shouldn't have become musicians. Deep down, the two of you wanted to do something different, wanted to be recognised and be set apart. It's honestly the two of you that can't handle the celebrity. That's why you let everything get to you. You are more like each other than you'd care to admit."

Harry nodded at Stuart's response and turned towards the kitchen counter to grab himself a cup of coffee. From the corner of his eye, he noticed Malfoy standing behind the door, where he'd heard the entire conversation. Malfoy walked into the kitchen as Harry poured coffee into a mug. Malfoy walked up to the counter and picked up the cup before walking away. Harry scoffed at him for his rude conduct but Malfoy didn't even flinch. Harry shook his head and poured himself another cup.

"Malfoy, I made you a copy of some of the songs I'd been working on since we've been asked to write a few songs together." Harry took out a small notebook from his pocket and placed it in front of Malfoy. Malfoy looked at the journal and paid no regard to it for more than one second and returned to sipping his coffee. "Maybe you can take a look at it and perhaps we can discuss some ideas you might have for the songs."

Malfoy didn't say anything, but Harry thought he might have heard him grunt in acknowledgement.

"What did you say, Draco? I didn't quite understand you." Madeline, followed by Lauren, walked into the kitchen as well. "Didn't we agree that you were going to be nice from now on?"

"Or at least try," Lauren added.

"I was just thinking that I might not have time today because we're stopping over in Berlin for a concert. Perhaps we could start tomorrow?" Malfoy spoke, sneering at his bandmates.

"Well the concert isn't for ten hours and we don't practice the day of the show, so there's nothing else you need to do. Why don't you get started after you shower?" Lauren asked.

"Or in the shower?" Madeline added.

Malfoy made a disgusted face and stormed off from the kitchen, leaving the girls giggling to themselves. Harry shook his head at their devious behaviour. He didn't like being associated with Malfoy romantically either, but enjoyed watching him squirm.

Late morning, Harry found Malfoy sitting in the lounge looking over the journal Harry had given him. "What do you think so far?" Harry asked, curious to hear Malfoy's thoughts.

"I can't believe I had to go through these lyrics, they're absolutely tripe. I have to say, Potter, not your finest work."

"You know, Malfoy, if you hate me that's fine, but there's no reason to insult my work. If you actually have something constructive to say about it, then why don't you start with that?" Harry retorted.

Malfoy was about to dart out another insult when Sheila and Madeline walked in the room. "Why are the two of you shouting again?" Sheila asked.

"Malfoy has decided to waste the better part of the morning insulting my writing as opposed to presenting any useful ideas," Harry complained.

"It would just be easier to write songs in my sleep and give you recognition for it. It'll still be better than the rubbish that's in this journal." Malfoy threw Harry's journal on the table, but it flew past and landed on the floor. Harry glared at Malfoy and he launched himself towards him, fist ready to meet Malfoy's jaw. When Harry approached, Malfoy grabbed Harry's collar, ready to land a punch back at him.

"Stop!" Sheila screamed. "I didn't want to do this, but I can't take it anymore!"

"I am sorry , Draco, but this really is for your own good," Madeline commented.

"What's going on?" Harry asked, as his hand was still grabbing onto Malfoy's neck and Malfoy still had a hold of Harry's collar.

Sheila and Madeline raised their wands and whispered an incantation. Harry saw a spark leave both of their wands and the string of light surrounded Harry and Malfoy. They both let go of each other and were thrown back against the wall.

Harry felt disoriented and looked towards Malfoy, and the look on his face confirmed that he felt the same way as Harry. "What did you do?" Harry asked, looking towards the two girls.

"We've bound you together by an Amitié Hostem spell. For the next ten days, you are not allowed to be more than ten metres away from each other, until you say at least three nice things about the other, every day. If you fail to acknowledge three cordial compliments, you'll be next to each other, even at night, forced to sleep in the same room. The easiest way to get rid of the other person every day is to say three nice things." Sheila and Madeline walked closer to Harry and Malfoy and took their wrists in their hand. Sheila tapped Harry's right wrist and Madeline tapped Malfoy's left and three small black lines appeared. Sheila continued, "Every time you say something nice to Harry, that is genuinely kind, a line will disappear. If it doesn't, then it means that the sentiment was fabricated."

"When the three lines disappear from both of you, then you're free to leave each other's company," Madeline added. "This is the only way the two of you will learn to get along. Also, we expect at least three songs by the end of the ten days or we can continue the spell. Only we know the original words spoken, so don't get any ideas on trying to disable the charm."

"I hate you both!" Malfoy scowled at Madeline and Sheila.

"Well, providing you hate Harry less, I am okay with that!" Madeline commented and Sheila giggled as they left the room.

Harry didn't react. He simply walked across the room to pick up his journal that Malfoy had thrown on the floor. He left the room going towards his private quarters until he gathered that he couldn't take another step. He heard Malfoy scream profanities in the other room. He must have tried to walk away as well and couldn't because they had reached the ten metre limit. Harry stood his ground; he refused to let Malfoy walk unless it was in his direction.

"Bloody hell this spell is real!" Malfoy shouted as he entered the kitchen where Harry stood.

"Yeah, I didn't think they were joking," Harry answered politely.

"What can we do?" Malfoy anxiously asked Harry.

"We can return to the lounge, try to work on a song, and perhaps say a few nice things to each other?" Harry's tone was incredulous.

"This is such rubbish!" Malfoy exclaimed as he turned to revert to the lounge. When he left the room, he screamed again, "Potter, you coming?"

Harry rolled his eyes and walked towards the lounge. He sat across from Malfoy at the table, his journal in his hand. Malfoy grabbed the journal from Harry, his fingers gently brushing against Harry's wrist. Harry felt a chill up his spine but ignored it immediately.

"Alright, Potter, let's start this say something nice to me. I want to see if this works," Malfoy commanded.

"If you could stop being such a demanding arse, it might help," Harry retorted.

"Oh! Whatever, let's just work on the song." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a similar journal and handed it to Harry. "This is something I have been working on as well for the past few weeks. Take a look and see if you like something." Harry noticed that Malfoy's tone suddenly changed from hostile to business–like.

"Okay, great," Harry answered. He opened the journal and flipped through a few pages. "Your handwriting is so much more legible than mine. I am sorry if you have trouble reading some words." Malfoy looked up at Harry with one eyebrow raised, before he immediately darted his eyes towards Harry's wrist and noticed a line vanished.

"Look! It works!" Malfoy practically screamed. "And you probably didn't even mean to compliment me," he added.

Harry beamed. "No, I didn't, this is bizarre," Harry replied.

"Okay, keep going!" Malfoy demanded again, and Harry shook his head. "What? What are you laughing at now?"

"I can't just keep throwing you compliments, Malfoy, it doesn't work like that. I am sure. It has to mean something. Let's just get on with our work. Why don't you tell me something nice, something genuine about my songs?"

"This one's nice, we can work with this," Malfoy commented. He immediately pulled the sleeve up on his left arm to check if one of the marks had disappeared. It hadn't, but Harry also caught a glimpse of the Dark Mark on Malfoy's arm. He immediately pulled down his sleeve when he saw Harry look and growled.

Harry returned his gaze to Malfoy's journal and began reading some of the songs. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a Muggle pen. Before he did anything else, he looked up at Malfoy and asked a question. "Do you mind if I write some notes?" Malfoy nodded and Harry returned to write something on the side of the page. They worked quietly for a while.

"What are you doing?" Malfoy finally asked.

"I am just highlighting some points I noticed that have the same idea or theme as one of my songs in my book. I thought maybe I can, we could, write something on this topic together," Harry answered. Malfoy took his journal from Harry's hands and looked at the song he was talking about. Harry grabbed his journal back and flipped through the pages until he found what he was looking for. "See here, you wrote about working with your enemy, and I wrote a poem here on our greatest enemy is from within, maybe we could start with this," Harry spoke as Malfoy nodded.

"I sort of stopped writing in the middle of it because I lost inspiration. Do you really think it'll make a good song?" Malfoy asked.

"Yeah, I love the beginning; it's a great line. We should definitely use it!" Harry spoke excitedly. He reached across the table to grab Malfoy's journal when both of them noticed that another line had disappeared. Both men gasped at the instance. Harry's grin widened, causing Malfoy to grin in return. This could be fun.

Malfoy looked pensive for a moment before saying, "Potter, thanks. You are quite thoughtful in your compliment." He stayed still for a moment, then he slowly pulled a bit of his sleeve up on his left arm, where the first black line had disappeared. Malfoy squealed with joy. Harry thought he had never seen Malfoy this happy, unless he counted the time when Harry had practically died during the Triwizard Tournament their fourth year. That was the last time he'd seen Malfoy ecstatic.

Malfoy paused for a moment, then spoke again, "You're brilliant at compliments, Potter, really!" He was saddened when he noticed that a second line hadn't disappeared.

"I don't think you can use the same compliment twice, Malfoy," Harry commented as Malfoy rolled his eyes.

Madeline and Sheila returned to the lounge to check on Harry. "How is it going, boys?" Madeline asked as Sheila grabbed Harry's right hand and saw two lines had vanished. "Good job, Harry," Sheila commented, "and what about your boy, Maddy? How did he do?" Madeline tried to grab Malfoy's left arm, but he yanked it away.

"I only succeeded once, okay?" Malfoy all but growled at the girls.

"Honestly? You two have been here for over an hour. The result is a lot better than I had originally thought," Sheila answered.

"What about the show tonight? How am I supposed to perform if we can't be more than ten metres away from each other?" Malfoy asked.

"Harry will just have to be backstage then, simple. It'll give the media something to write about," Madeline giggled and left the room again. Harry and Malfoy returned to working after the girls left. For the next hour, they didn't fight, but they didn't praise each other either.

During lunch, Harry and Malfoy developed a new appreciation for personal space. They couldn't go into their quarters if one was sitting in the kitchen or the loo. Harry waited outside the door of the loo for a few moments, until he began to walk away and stopped when Malfoy yelled at him to stop walking. He didn't try to push his buttons too much with that because he figured with Malfoy, his revenge would be crueller.

Malfoy had originally requested that his quarters be the furthest away from Harry's; this caused a problem when it came time to dress for the show. Harry waited outside Malfoy's room as he took his time getting ready. When Malfoy stepped out of his room, Harry caught his breath. "What is it, Potter?" Malfoy barked at Harry.

"Nothing, just you … don't you overdo it a bit? With the makeup and the nail polish and everything?" Harry asked; he wasn't about to give Malfoy a compliment. He had decided to wait until Malfoy offered him another one first.

"Whatever, Potter, I've got an image to keep with my band. I can't just always look like I rolled out of bed the way you do," Malfoy snapped.

"If you had ever cared about anyone else other than yourself, Malfoy, you'd know that I dress differently for my shows as well. But you wouldn't know that; all you think about is yourself!" Harry replied as he prepared himself for a punch that Malfoy would draw at any moment.

"Okay, not again!" Lauren interrupted them as she was passing by. "I just came to check if you're ready. We need to leave soon, so if you can now follow Harry and get him to prepare himself, we can be on time for the show."

Harry began walking away towards his room, hoping that Malfoy would follow him. When he reached his room, he pulled a chair by the door so Malfoy could sit. He hadn't been courteous to Harry, but Harry wasn't about to stoop to his level. Malfoy didn't pause behind Harry; instead he continued to walk past him into Harry's room.

"Malfoy, what are you doing? Why can't you wait outside?"

"Just because you chose to stand outside my door like a royal guard, I am not about to do the same. You could have just come in my room. I'll just sit here and read more of your fabulous poetry as you get dressed. Given the way you normally look, it shouldn't take too long anyway," Malfoy answered.

Harry sighed but decided not to argue back, as he didn't want to get yelled at by Lauren for making them late for the show. Harry grabbed a t–shirt from his dresser and began to unbutton the plaid shirt he was wearing. He remembered his silver chain on the side table of his bed. Harry usually wore his chain under his shirt when he was not on the bus. It had a locket that carried his parents' picture. Harry paid no mind to Malfoy sitting on his bed and walked across the room to grab his silver chain necklace from the table. As he was putting it on, he saw Malfoy staring at him.

"What?" Harry asked.

"Nothing!" Malfoy responded with contempt. He turned to read the journal he was holding.

Harry scoffed and returned to the dresser where he'd left his t–shirt. He grabbed a blazer next and put it on before changing into his denims. He didn't turn to look at Malfoy again and only hoped that Malfoy wasn't staring at him again. Harry hadn't dressed and undressed in front of someone in a while and he was nervous, even if it was just Malfoy.

"What does it say on your t-shirt?" Malfoy asked when Harry turned to look at him again.

"Sex Pistols, they were a Muggle punk rock band from the 70s," Harry answered.

"Yeah, I know who they are, Potter. I've just never seen that shirt before. Stuart has played their records sometimes. They're alright," Malfoy said, causing Harry to chuckle.

"Yeah, they are," Harry replied.

"Why do you wear such baggy clothes all the time?"

"What do you mean? These aren't baggy."

"Yeah, I know. But around the bus you're dressed like you've got no taste or shape. Obviously you're in good shape, so why don't you dress like this all the time? You look almost fuckable," Malfoy said. Harry stared at Malfoy wide–eyed. "You know, considering it's you," Malfoy retorted.

"Whatever, Malfoy, let's go," Harry answered. As they left Harry's room, they saw Madeline and she stopped by to check up on them.

"Alright, boys, let's see those wrists!" Madeline said. Both Harry and Malfoy lifted up their sleeve to show her their progress. They both only had one black line left. Harry raised an eyebrow; before they had gone to his room so that Harry could get dressed, Malfoy had two black lines. That part about me being 'fuckable' was a compliment? He thought, but didn't say anything.

________________________________________
0–0–0–0–0–0–0–0
________________________________________

When the Marauder's Ride arrived at the location of the concert, the band members of The Serpent's Kiss left right away. Harry was forced to chase after them since he still couldn't be over ten metres away from Malfoy. Madeline suggested that Harry would simply have to wait backstage as they performed and the rest of his band would be in the crowd. Harry and Malfoy had no other option than to simply agree.

The concert was brilliant, or so Harry thought. He'd realised that he had found the perfect compliment of the night for Malfoy. Song after song, the band members, especially Malfoy, really knew how to rile up the crowd. Jake and Mark were excellent with the crowd and they always had the best banter back and forth that kept the audience engaged. However, Harry couldn't help notice the vibe that The Serpent's Kiss gave off to the audience. Everyone loved them. Harry had never actually seen a live performance this engaging in a very long time, and he loved absolutely every minute of it. He knew most of the songs that the band had performed, and even though he was backstage, he was totally rocking with them. This was the first time Harry realised that the collaboration would actually work, and he was looking forward to presenting a great performance to the Wizarding fans.

When the concert finished, Harry finally went and caught up with the band. During their breaks he had kept the distance; he didn't wish to disturb their composition by accidentally starting an argument with Malfoy. At the end, when everyone was gathering backstage for water and sustenance, Harry went to the lounge to greet them. He saw Malfoy in his post–performance glory. He was sweaty and his eye makeup was sort of runny and his shirt was sticking to his body. Harry thought that was the hottest thing he'd ever seen. If it weren't for Madeline's over excited squeal that distracted him, he was afraid that his cock would have betrayed him.

Harry knew this was his chance. He felt that Malfoy was in a good mood and he should shoot him a compliment and finish off his quota for the day. "Malfoy, that was brilliant, truly everyone, that was simply amazing. You lot really rocked!" Harry was grinning; he had a fantastic time watching them perform and he wasn't too proud to admit it.

"Thanks, Potter, that means a lot. Glad you were here to watch us live!" Malfoy responded. Immediately, they both looked at their wrists and the lines had disappeared. They were home free, for the night anyway. Harry was just glad that he wouldn't be forced to spend the night with Malfoy. Or at least that's what he told himself.

Maybe it was because he was still excited from the performance or maybe he was just happy that the lines had finally disappeared, but Malfoy launched himself towards Harry and gave him a hug. Unfortunately for them, a reporter had just walked into the lounge and took a picture of the two men hugging.

"Fantastic, this will go brilliant for the concert review tomorrow along with some fantastic shots I took of you lot performing on stage."

"Why will this be brilliant?" Malfoy inquired irritably.

"Harry Potter--waiting backstage at his lover's concert and the sweet embrace you shared after the show! The fans will love it!"

"We are not –" Harry began to reply, but was hushed by Lauren.

"Be sure to add on the information about our show together with Adjusted to Myself, so the fans can come and watch the lovers perform live together!" Lauren stated.

"Perform music of course, we are not that kind of a show," Madeline added.

The entire group laughed while Harry and Malfoy angrily stared at everyone.

"I cannot believe you all threw me under the bus like that!" Malfoy snapped at his bandmates. Harry didn't wish to agree with Malfoy, but he did concur. He hated false publicity. He dealt with that quite a lot as a child and didn't wish to become a part of wrongful gossip again.

"Oh come on, Draco, if you ever managed to have a successful relationship, then we wouldn't exploit your celebrity so much. But you had agreed to this when we all signed on together, and this thing with Harry is making itself into a story. We are simply trying to sell tickets," Madeline responded.

"Besides, you hugged Harry!" Lauren added.

"But it just isn't fair! What are you going to do when our bands decide to go our separate ways? Tell everyone we broke up?" Harry asked.

"That's a brilliant idea!" Lauren and Madeline said at the same time.

"Yeah, Draco, just think of this as a minor inconvenience. You two will be out of the news soon enough when your fake relationship will break. It's really only for a few weeks. Then we will have the charity show. And if that doesn't work out, then we'll be going our separate ways again and we can tell everyone that you two broke up!" Madeline said.

"And it's not like either one of you was in a relationship to begin with, so there isn't a significant other that'll be damaged by any of this," Lauren added.

0–0–0–0–0–0–0–0

Day 2.

When Harry woke up the next morning, he saw three brand new black lines marked on his wrist. Shortly after, he heard someone scream and curse. He figured that Malfoy was awake and had discovered the same thing. The only enjoyable thing about this curse was that Harry enjoyed watching Malfoy in agony. He wasn’t sure why this was so much fun, but he figured mainly because Malfoy had barely said a nice word to anyone since he’d come to live on the bus. This truly was the most perfect punishment for him. Whenever Harry came across a difficulty in his adult life, he needed to only remind himself that he had defeated Voldemort at the age of 17; everything else from then on would only be a piece of cake.

Harry found himself alone in the kitchen and was glad to have a few moments of peace in the morning before he was literally stuck with Malfoy for the rest of the day. The worst would be, Harry realised, when it would be time to take a shower. I don’t even want to think about that right now. Harry poured himself a cup of coffee and turned to grab some bread and butter from the Muggle refrigerator they had on the bus. As he neared the refrigerator, he heard Malfoy enter the kitchen. He didn’t exactly say ‘good morning,’ but simply made a grunting sound to make his presence known. Harry turned to the coffee pot before he realised that Malfoy had taken his cup of coffee again.

“Honestly, Malfoy, why can’t you just pour yourself a cup?” Harry said, exasperated.

“Why would I when there’s a perfectly good cup waiting for me?” Malfoy retorted.

“It’s mine. It’s no wonder…” Harry didn’t finish his thought.

“It’s no wonder, what?” Malfoy asked.

The conversation was interrupted by Sheila’s entrance in the kitchen. “At it again this morning?”

“Whatever, doesn’t matter. I need to take a shower,” Harry said, irritated.

“Why do you decide who takes a shower first?” Malfoy asked, equally upset.

“Ugh, don’t start with this, Malfoy. I just want to take a shower in peace. Why can’t you just work on some writing in the lounge while I am in the shower? I am going to have to wait for you when you’re in there,” Harry answered.

“No, I will be taking a shower first!” Malfoy announced.

“No, you will not!” Harry argued back. He didn’t know what Malfoy was thinking, whether or not Malfoy thought that this was a just as ridiculous as Harry did. Regardless, Harry wasn’t going to back down from this fight.

“Boys!” Sheila shouted. Malfoy and Harry turned to look at her, both turning red due to the embarrassment of it all. “I’ve got a coin here, it’s a Muggle coin. They have a tradition where you flip the coin and each person gets a side, and if your side pops on top, then you win. So, Draco you’ll be tail and Harry you’ll be head, okay?”

“Why do I get to be tail?” Malfoy asked, causing Harry to roll his eyes. He argued about everything.

“Because, Draco you like being on top, so you get tail. Alright?” Malfoy nodded. “And Harry…” Sheila paused for a moment, “you enjoy getting head, so you’ll be head?”

Harry paused to ponder for a moment before saying, “sounds about right, okay.”

“Kinky, Potter,” Malfoy answered. His tone was genuinely praising Harry.

“Thanks, Malfoy, right back at you, mate,” Harry responded.

“Look, each of your lines has dissolved!” Sheila exclaimed, causing the both of them to look at their wrists. They had just complimented each other on their sexual preferences.

“This is so bloody odd,” Harry commented.

“You know, instead of arguing about who should take a shower first, maybe the both of you should take one together. I would reckon that the lines on your wrist would disappear quickly,” Sheila declared.

“Sheila!” Both Malfoy and Harry screamed at the lean, dark–skinned girl, causing her to jump.

“Alright, alright, it was just a thought. No need to bite my head off!”

0–0–0–0–0–0–0–0

For the rest of the morning until lunch, Harry and Malfoy worked independently. They barely talked, causing them to be courteous around each other, though Harry felt that they weren’t really being productive, since actual talking would result in an actual development. Harry was about to say something to Malfoy when Sheila interrupted.

“Harry, we are going to practice for an hour before lunch. We’ve got a show tomorrow in Messe Essen before we head back to Belgium for The Serpent’s Kiss concert in Brussels on the seventh,” she announced.

“Alright,” Harry answered. “What about Malfoy? I think the distance is too long for him to stay here.”

“Unless you’ve resolved your troubles of the day, unfortunately, Draco will have to sit in and watch,” Sheila answered as she winked at Malfoy.

“This is ridiculous; we haven’t fought the entire time we’ve sat here. I think that should be worth some sort of a commendation,” Malfoy said.

“Yes I noticed it’s been quiet. Actually a bit too quiet. The entire point of this exercise is for the two of you to resolve your issues, not to continue ignoring each other!” Sheila answered. “Now, grab your stuff and let’s go upstairs!” Harry grabbed his small journal, placed it in his pocket and he followed Sheila, not looking back to see if Malfoy was following him. He figured if he’d eventually stopped walking, then he’d know if Malfoy was good at following orders or not.

Harry successfully made it to the practice room and finally turned around to see a disgruntled Malfoy. He shot him a sympathetic smile and turned around without waiting for a response. He was beginning to act more like Malfoy, cold, and blasé.

When the band members grabbed their instruments and Sheila began to talk about their set and their practice is when Harry finally became nervous. He’d performed in front of a crowd of thousands; all of a sudden this had become personal, so intimate. Harry still remembered the night before, when he’d seen Malfoy perform live. He couldn’t deny that Malfoy was so bloody brilliant. Harry was truly doubting his abilities. He thought, what if I forget how to play? He couldn’t understand why he was so nervous. He turned to look at Sheila, pleading with his eyes and hoping she’d understand what he was trying to tell her. She nodded and whispered to him, “I am sorry, Harry, but I can’t do anything about it. I can’t mend the rules of the incantation.”

He smiled weakly in return. She turned to the group and spoke, “Well, since we’ve never had such an intimate audience before, let’s start with my favourite song!” She nodded at Jake and took the lead. He starting the tune slowly and Harry recognised the song right away; it was his favourite song too, not just Sheila’s. It was called Hidden. Harry cheekily grinned and turned towards the audience. Harry tried not to stare at Malfoy, but he noticed that Malfoy’s eyes had widened in surprise and recognition. Malfoy knows this song too.

When they were halfway through the song, Harry noticed that Malfoy had stood up and turned around. He looked as though he was about to walk out the door. Harry wondered about the current distance between them and speculated how far Malfoy could go. Malfoy eventually left the room, but Harry could still see his right arm from outside the door. The pale hand under the long black sleeve shirt simply hung there for several more minutes until the song completed.

“Can we take a break?” Harry asked.

“Take a break? We just started!” Sheila answered.

“I know, but play Dark Shadows. You’ve performed it without me before so just practice that. I’ll be right back!” Harry didn’t wait for a response as he ran out the door, unsure of what he was doing. “Malfoy, are you alright?” Harry whispered as he pulled Malfoy away from the door and the practice room. He saw that there were tears in his eyes.

Malfoy nodded without saying anything. He wiped his tears with the long sleeves on his shirt that Harry was admiring moments before. “I am fine, Potter,” he spat back, eyes bloodshot red. “I am sure you’ll have a nice laugh now!”

“Do you see me laughing, Draco?” Harry asked. “I just want to make sure you can survive the rest of the practice,” he added as he smiled. Maybe I might have a tiny laugh.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to act like a sappy first year,” Malfoy said.

“Can you tell me what’s wrong?” Harry asked. Harry had pushed Malfoy against the wall of the corridor they were standing in, and his hands were grabbing onto Malfoy’s waist lightly. He didn’t want to let him go until he explained himself or until Harry knew that he was feeling better.

Malfoy closed his eyes and took in a deep breath, then he smiled. “Everyone sees me, but doesn't know me for who I am, I am on my knees, knowing where I belong?” He looked at Harry who simply nodded. Malfoy had just quoted Hidden. “I cried when I heard that song for the first time. I thought it was incredible; it inspired me to come out to my parents. I just didn’t expect you lot to start with that song. I haven’t thought about those feelings in a very long time. So I just sort of lost it.” Malfoy raised his left hand to wipe out a tear with his finger when the loose fabric of the sleeve trickled down, exposing his Mark along with the black lines. However, instead of two, there was only one.

“Look,” Harry said, pointing at Malfoy’s arm. “You made another one disappear.”

“Oh,” Malfoy said. “I suppose telling you that I cried like a girl at your lyrics can be considered a compliment.”

Harry laughed and spoke, “I am just glad to realise that you’ve got a real heart after all.” Malfoy laughed in response as well and Harry gestured towards the practice room again. “Are you ready to go back?” Malfoy nodded, but he didn’t move. Harry was still holding him back against the wall, his hands on Malfoy’s waist. “Oh,” Harry answered. He pulled back and noticed that he too had lost one dark line from his wrist. “Look, apparently you having a heart is a compliment.” They both laughed again.

“Having a lover’s quarrel?” There was a flash and Harry recognised the voice as it was all too familiar. Rita Skeeter had walked up the steps to the second floor of the bus and found Harry and Malfoy close together, talking, and took the opportunity to snap a picture.

“What the –?” Malfoy began speaking but stopped when Madeline came out from behind Rita spoke up.

“Ms Skeeter, you cannot go upstairs. Please wait in the lounge,” Madeline said.

“Sorry, but I was just so curious when I saw these two arm in arm. Mr Potter was comforting a distraught Mr Malfoy, so I wondered if I could do anything to help!” Rita Skeeter answered.

“What are you doing here?” Harry asked, his tone full of contempt.

“We have a lunch interview scheduled with the Prophet, I told everyone about it three days ago!” Madeline answered. “I didn’t think they would send Mark’s aunt,” she added.

“You’re always scheduling something, how are we supposed to keep track?” Malfoy exclaimed as he smacked Harry’s hands away from his waist and glared at him. They had been caught in ‘the moment’ again, and Harry knew that Malfoy would eventually blame him for it.

Malfoy went down the steps and Harry quickly followed. They passed Madeline, who quickly pulled them both in, whispering, “Remember, you’re supposed to be in a relationship!” She smiled, causing Malfoy to scoff and Harry simply rolled his eyes.

“Where’s the rest of the group?” Malfoy asked.

“They’ll be joining us shortly. Ms Skeeter indicated that she wanted to interview the two of you first, then everyone else,” Madeline said.

“Why?” both Harry and Malfoy spoke simultaneously.

“Ooh, collective thought! How interesting?” Rita Skeeter's Quick–Quotes Quill began writing itself. Harry knew that Quill all too well. He shook his head and looked at Malfoy who nodded in acknowledgement. There was no hope.

“So, how’s the sex?” Rita Skeeter asked.

“What?” Harry exclaimed as Malfoy let out a frustrating moan before standing up from the sofa he had been sitting in.

Throwing his arms up in the air, Malfoy turned to Madeline and spoke, “I am done.”

“Touchy subject, perhaps trouble in paradise?”

“Aunt Rita, you need to stop,” Mark said as he walked into the lounge. “You promised that you were going to stick to normal questions and fan questions,” he added.

“I am, this is a fan question. Fans wish to know whether Draco satisfies Harry in bed and what was their first time like? Did Harry really lose his virginity to Draco? I am working from a list of questions that were owled to me by my fans,” Rita answered.

“I did not lose my virginity to Malfoy!” Harry roared.

“Ooh, like to be promiscuous I see? Draco, how does it feel to be dating someone who likes to be uninhibited?” Rita Skeeter had just about tested the last of Harry’s nerve when Malfoy spoke.

“I don’t mind it!” he responded. Harry glared at him in shock. He was playing along with this? “I like a man who knows what he wants, and if he’s got a lot of experience, then even better. I like to experiment.” Malfoy smiled at Rita Skeeter in the typical, condescending Malfoy manner. Harry was all too familiar with that look; he’d been on the receiving end of it. He enjoyed watching someone else get singed by Malfoy’s belittling behaviour for once.

“Harry here,” Malfoy continued, “can provide me with all the satisfaction I could ever want. He’s even taught me a few things.” Malfoy turned towards Harry and winked as Rita Skeeter gawked at him in shock.

“That’s enough,” Mark interjected. “We’d like to talk about our music and the bands collaborating, not gossip for your column!”

The rest of the members joined the group and Rita continued her questions, but mostly read from ‘fan questions’ about music and working together. Harry and Malfoy continued to sit next to each other, their knees gently bumping into each other from time to time. An hour later, Madeline announced that it was time to break for lunch and that the band had to return to practice shortly after. Rita Skeeter hesitantly left as she was insisting on a quote from Harry and Malfoy about their romance and wanted a picture of them kissing, for the fans. They didn’t agree and she left muttering.

“Thanks for that,” Harry whispered to Malfoy as they placed food on their plates.

“For what?” Malfoy asked.

“For chiming in and sort of just doing what you do, for being…Malfoy,” Harry answered.

“You just have to give the people want they want or else they’ll never shut up until you eventually say what they want to hear. Also, I could tell how she was riling you up. She probably would have printed an article about how we are not shagging, or that you might be sexually frustrated.”

“We are not shagging,” Harry said, almost as though he was reminding Malfoy.

“I know that, but she doesn’t need to know that. They all think we are in a relationship, so why not give them the gossip they want. The more you hold back and act all straight–laced, the more they’ll pry. It’s easier to just give them false information and have them be on their way. It’s just the Prophet, and it’s not like it matters or anything.” Malfoy stood across the table from Harry and looked at him, really looked at him, and Harry became flustered. “You’re too uptight about your sex life,” Malfoy stated, as though he had made a grave observation.

“What do you mean?” Harry’s voice escalated a few pitches.

“That, that’s what I mean. Someone says sex and you are unsettled. It’s just sex! You’re a famous person and they want to know how many blokes you’ve shagged? Tell ‘em thirty!” Malfoy said.

“But who will want to shag me if I say I’ve shagged thirty blokes?” Harry asked, confused.

“Everyone!” Malfoy answered.

“I am not like you; I can’t just shag everyone that’s in my way. I don’t shag my fans,” Harry stated.

Malfoy raised an eyebrow and stared at Harry. It wasn’t hateful, he simply examined him. “See, that’s my reputation. I am a rock star, and I shag my fans. Who cares if it’s true or not, people come to see our show because they think they might get an opportunity to shag Draco Malfoy.”

“And what about the time I actually want to – do something with someone I actually like?” Harry asked.

“Then you tell them the truth. If they actually care about you then they won’t care if you’ve shagged thirty or –” Malfoy waited for Harry to answer him.

“Three,” Harry whispered.

“Three? Blimey, Potter, that’s two more than I thought,” Malfoy joked. Harry threw a piece of bread at him and they both laughed. This was a weird feeling, Harry was having fun, he was talking to Malfoy and they were joking and they were having fun.

Sheila came into the room and watched as Harry and Malfoy sat across from each other at the kitchen table smiling and chatting. “This is an interesting turn of events,” she commented. Both of the boys turned to look at her. “Don’t tell me that little Rita Skeeter actually managed to get the two of you to actually be civil to each other without chaperones?” She came closer and looked at both their wrists, where the lines had disappeared. Harry was more surprised than she was because he knew that before the interview, both him and Malfoy had one line left and now they both didn’t have any.

“Great, we can return to practice,” Sheila announced. She walked out of the room and Harry stood up with his plate of food.

“I should go after her,” he said. “Now that we’re free, you’re not obligated to come to the practice room. Let’s keep the rest of the civility locked and try again tomorrow.” Harry smiled at Malfoy and left the room. Malfoy didn’t respond and continued sitting at the table, eating. The practice ran later than expected and Harry spent the rest of the evening locked in his room. He thought of writing another song to work on with Malfoy the next day. His thoughts eventually drew back to the conversation in the kitchen, attempting to think of the compliments they would have paid to each other without realising that their lines had disappeared.

Harry wrote a small poem and decided to send it to the Daily Prophet; it had been a while since he’d made a contribution as The Golden Seeker. He couldn’t exactly turn his feelings into a song at the present moment because then everyone would know his private thoughts. If his bandmates ever came across the poem, Harry was sure they wouldn’t reveal his identity. Harry eventually fell asleep thinking and writing, without realising he’d skipped dinner. That night he dreamt of flying atop a silver dragon that had a beak–like nose and a strong chin. The dragon kept angling his head up as he flew so Harry could pet it.

0–0–0–0–0–0–0–0

DAY 3.

When Harry woke up the next morning, he witnessed the reappearance of the three black lines on his wrist. Predictably, Harry heard Malfoy’s scream. He chuckled. Seven more days.

After he washed his face in the bathroom, he walked over to the kitchen to make coffee. He turned on the machine and as the dark water began to pour in, Harry inhaled in the sweet smell of the coffee. He heard flustered footsteps behind him and turned to find Malfoy standing by the entrance looking annoyed.

“I should have taken a shower before I entered the kitchen,” Malfoy mumbled. Harry brought out a mug from the cupboard above and poured some coffee in the empty mug. He heard Malfoy’s footsteps again and he smiled to himself, slightly shaking his head. He reached for a second mug. Malfoy walked past him and grabbed the mug Harry had just poured. Malfoy’s arm gently brushed against Harry’s. Harry turned to look at Malfoy. but he hadn’t even reacted. Harry poured himself coffee in the second mug. He sat across from Malfoy and they both drank their coffee in silence.

“You missed dinner last night,” Malfoy finally spoke, breaking the silence.

“Yeah, anything good?” Harry asked.

“We went to this small restaurant located in a Muggle village. Madeline had suggested it since we didn’t want to be recognised. It was quite nice. Sheila’s fluent in German, did you know that?” Malfoy asked, his face awestruck.

“Yeah, and French and Portuguese,” Harry replied.

“That’s incredible.”

“I know,” Harry answered with a smile. “But you speak several languages as well,” he added,

“Don’t you?”

“Just French, which is pointless,” Malfoy replied.

“It’s not pointless, that’s amazing. I don’t speak anything besides English. Sometimes, I wish I’d learned another language. Maybe I could write songs in a different language or something,” Harry replied, looking into his empty coffee mug as he stood up to refill it.

“It’s not too late,” Malfoy said as he stood up and placed his empty mug next to Harry’s.

Harry refilled his mug as well and spoke, “What’s not too late?”

“To learn a new language, loads of people do it. If you can learn to play an instrument, you can learn a new language,” Malfoy said. Harry looked sceptical. “I could teach you. I could teach you French.”

“Are you volunteering to spend more time with me? More than the required three lines?” Harry laughed.

“We can start on a trial basis. I mean we are required to be next to each other and we can’t just keep writing songs. We’ll need to take a break. I can teach you a few words and phrases and if you like it, then we can start properly,” Malfoy replied.

“Sure, that sounds good,” Harry replied as Sheila entered the kitchen with Jake. Harry stood up eventually to place his mug in the sink before heading to take a shower. He stopped when he realised that he probably couldn’t go too far without Malfoy. He hung his head down, fearing the drama to begin again when he noticed that a line had disappeared. He snapped his head towards Malfoy who looked at him confused. Harry pointed at his wrist and Malfoy looked down on his left hand then raised his head, his eyes wide in disbelief.

“Sheila, can I ask you a question?” Harry said and she nodded, pouring herself coffee as Jake grabbed a few slices of bread. “How does this work exactly, the lines on our wrist I mean. We just had a quick conversation this morning and one line has disappeared. I thought it only worked when we actively gave each other a compliment?”

“The easiest way to get rid of them is to give genuine compliments, but the way we designed the incantation is for the two of you to work through your anger and actually become friends. When you start thinking genuinely nice things about each other and communicate that in conversation, the lines will begin to dissolve without any effort. That is what I assume happened before we got here? You boys have a nice chat?”

Malfoy scoffed. “I still think this is stupid.”

Of course.

After breakfast, they had another coin toss and Harry won this round and got to shower first. He then waited in the lounge when Malfoy showered. Harry had taken his towel and his set of clothes in the bathroom and changed in the bathroom after he’d showered. Malfoy came out in a towel for the second day and Harry had to chase after him and stand outside his room as he dressed.

When Malfoy came out of his room after a good twenty minutes, Harry finally spoke. “Maybe you should think about showering and getting dressed before you decide to join me for breakfast.”

“Whatever, let’s get this over with,” Malfoy retorted. Harry didn’t understand what had happened. Earlier that morning they had a pleasant conversation, but now Malfoy was back to his grumpy self.

“Why don’t we have our meeting in the practice room?” Harry asked. “We can test out the two songs we wrote with music. I can work on the notes while you sing it out?” Harry thought this might cheer Malfoy up. Malfoy agreed but his frown hadn’t disappeared.

Harry had been correct and his plan somewhat worked. As they began to jam with the music and Malfoy sang the first song they’d written together, his mood was getting better. “You have an incredible voice, Malfoy.” The compliment was genuine. Harry thought about giving him a compliment simply because he figured Malfoy could use some sort of a boost. A second line from Harry’s wrist disappeared. He didn’t look down on his wrist to confirm. He didn’t want Malfoy to think that that’s why he had praised him. It wasn’t the reason.

“You are just saying that so your lines can disappear,” Malfoy responded coldly. He didn’t look up to match Harry’s eyes. He turned the page of their notebook and began examining the lyrics.

“I am not, if I were, the lines wouldn’t disappear. The comments and conversations have to be genuine. You know that. I just wanted to say something nice because I noticed you’re in a foul mood and I am not sure why. So, I just thought – I should make you feel better or something.”

“You’re not my mother.”

“For crying out loud, Draco,” responded Harry. “I can’t go anywhere; otherwise I would storm out right now. I am just trying to be nice. Why don’t you try that sometime? Don’t make me punch you.”

“You punch like a girl,” Malfoy replied.

“And you throw hissy fits like one,” Harry retorted.

Malfoy glared at Harry, his frown was intact, but Harry could see the gleam in his eye, he was holding back a laugh. Harry chuckled, eventually causing Malfoy to burst out in laughter as well.

“Now if you’re done with insults, can we get back to work?” Harry asked. “We have to get three songs finished by the end of the ten days and we are only at one so far.”

Malfoy nodded and they returned to work, tweaking the song as they tried it out with music. First Harry on the guitar as Malfoy sang it, then the other way around. By lunchtime, the third line on Harry’s wrist had also disappeared, but Malfoy still had two left.

The group had arrived in Essen by one o’clock in the afternoon. Adjusted to Myself was due to perform on stage in four hours. Harry was getting frustrated by Malfoy’s silence and he was still attached to him and constantly followed by him everywhere. They arrived at a restaurant called “Landhaus Rutherbach,” where Madeline had failed to inform them that a few reporters would be popping by.

Harry had hoped for a quiet lunch, but he knew that was not going to happen because Malfoy was still by his side. When Harry spotted the reporters, he met Madeline’s gaze and figured out what she had done. They were all hell bent on making Harry and Malfoy look like a couple, even though they had agreed to play along with it. Harry looked over at Malfoy and whispered, “Want to make a run for it?” Malfoy nodded, a sly smile plastered over his face, if not for Harry, Malfoy agreed just to make Madeline miserable.

Harry and Malfoy ran out of the restaurant and after a few short blocks, hid in an alleyway. The German reporters were more determined than any other they had ever encountered, but Harry had come prepared. He reached in his bag and grabbed his Invisibility Cloak. He wrapped it around himself and Malfoy. “We are going to have to be a bit closer together if we are to fit inside it and not be seen.” Malfoy nodded. He turned his back towards Harry and rested his left side on the concrete wall of the alleyway. Harry stood behind him less than an inch away. They weren’t touching, but Harry felt as though the heat in between their two bodies was making it impossible for him to breathe. How did I think this would be a good idea?

Malfoy kept a lookout as Harry simply stared at the veins on Malfoy’s neck. He found it mesmerizing. Every time Malfoy breathed, a vein would pop out more prominent than the others. Harry’s left hand was pressed in between his body and the wall and his right hand he’d wrapped around his stomach. He had an intense desire to wipe the small drop of sweat that was trickling down Malfoy’s neck, over the vein he was so fascinated with. They had run pretty fast from “Landhaus Rutherbach” and had managed to sweat even in the coldness of the air. Their bodies were beginning to cool down as he felt Malfoy shiver.

“Do you think we lost them?” Harry whispered.

“I think so. Even if we didn’t, I don’t think I can stand here any longer,” Malfoy replied.

“Okay, let’s go this way,” Harry said, pointing at a direction behind them as he removed the Invisibility Cloak and folded it, placing it back in his bag.

“That’s a rather convenient item you have in your travelling bag,” Malfoy commented as Harry led the way down another alleyway.

“Yeah, it’s also gotten me in trouble a few times. I am sure you remember,” Harry replied casually, referencing the time he’d been caught by Malfoy and had gotten his nose broken by the blond.

“Yeah, that,” Malfoy replied. Harry figured he understood what he was talking about.

They eventually arrived at a small little cafe called “Cafe Geheim.”

“I’ve been here a few times; it’s a tiny Muggle cafe. No one will recognise us here,” Harry assured Malfoy.

“You mean, I don’t have to hold your hand?” Malfoy said with his very Malfoyish sly grin. He had offered his hand on the table as they sat down. Harry noticed another line had disappeared. Harry tried not to show the recognition on his face, but couldn’t help but wonder when the supposed compliment had been made.

“You can hold my hand all you want, they’re just not going to care,” Harry replied with a wink.

The waitress seemed to have recognised Harry, as he had been there several times before. “This is my safe haven from the celebrity,” Harry commented. “It’s one of the few places I can come to and no one recognises me more than the fact that I am simply a Brit here for some lunch.” Malfoy nodded in acknowledgement, but didn’t say anything. They stayed at the café for an hour and enjoyed the peace and quiet, though Harry was annoyed that Malfoy was being too quiet again.

The only conversation that occurred at the table was between the German waitress, who spoke in her broken English, and the two wizards who attempted to construct a functioning sentence in German. Eventually, Malfoy realised that the waitress spoke French as well, and communicated to her in French for the rest of their conversations.

“Do you think they’re still at the restaurant, or should we Apparate back to the bus?” Harry asked.

“Last time we all went out together, we had been there for over three hours. It usually takes that long whenever we are anywhere between seven to nine people. I suppose if we must, we have to make an appearance. Or, I fear that Madeline might hex us some more with a new and equally ridiculous curse.” Malfoy responded as he finished the last of his Weizenbier.

The waitress returned to their table and cleared out the dishes and the beer glass as she dropped off the bill. Harry took the piece of paper from her hand and looked at it. He reached in the back of his denims’ pocket and caught Malfoy’s eye, who looked devastated.

“What’s wrong?” Harry asked, worried.

“I haven’t got any Muggle money,” replied Malfoy. “Madeline usually took care of that stuff, so I never bother –”

Harry laughed. “I figured that much, don’t worry about it. You helped me escape reporters today, my treat.” Harry placed several notes and coins atop the bill and spoke again. “Ready to go?”

“Thanks, Potter, I owe you –”

Harry interrupted him again, “It really is no problem, Malfoy. It’s what good boyfriends do.” He grinned at Malfoy as he walked past him towards the exit. Malfoy quickly followed.

“We should probably get under the Cloak again and we can Disapparate to the restaurant. The restaurant is in Wizarding Essen, but I don’t want to take any chances,” Harry commented when he reached the end of the street and looked around to make sure no one was there. Malfoy nodded in agreement. He inched himself close to Harry and Harry, with his hands shaking, wrapped them under his Cloak again.

A few seconds later, Harry, and Malfoy arrived near “Landhaus Rutherbach.” Harry removed the Cloak quickly and the two made their way to the restaurant. Harry spotted their group at a table and waved at them. Madeline stood up immediately and Harry was afraid that they were about to be recipients of quite a few curse words if not a curse itself. A reporter approached the two before Madeline could. He paid most of his attention towards Harry as Malfoy began to walk away. Harry quickly grabbed Malfoy’s hand and pulled him towards himself. Madeline paused when she saw the gesture and let the reporter ask his questions. When he walked away, Madeline finally approached them and Harry let go to Malfoy’s hand. Malfoy was simply standing in shock the entire time.

“What is going on?” Madeline asked, looking into Harry’s eyes then glancing over at his hand that had been holding Malfoy’s moments ago.

“I didn’t want Malfoy to suffer your wrath alone, so I asked him to stay with me as I talked with the reporter. I know you want us to act like a couple so that’s what I was doing in front of him,” Harry said, gesturing towards the reporter. “It was my idea to flee the herd you’d collected before for us, so I didn’t want him to receive an earful from you. We can’t really be apart; again, thanks for that, so I couldn’t really flee on my own.”

“Kiss,” Madeline commanded.

“I am sorry, what?” Harry and Malfoy both asked simultaneously.

“You won’t suffer my wrath if you two kiss right now. In front of everyone at the restaurant. If you want people to believe you’re a couple, you’re going to have to make them believe. Kiss,” Madeline stated, standing firm on her ground, her arms crossed in front of her, looking like a force one should not reckon with.

“But we don’t –” Harry said.

“But we haven’t –” Malfoy said.

“We are not a couple,” Harry added.

“Maybe that’s a bit too much,” Timothy, Madeline’s boyfriend, whispered. He’d approached them shortly after Madeline began speaking to them. “Sorry, she’s a bit extreme sometimes.” Timothy looked towards Harry and spoke. Malfoy was probably already aware of Madeline’s extremism.

“No, I am tired of this. This isn’t your group. You don’t own The Serpent’s Kiss, and you,” Madeline glared towards Harry, “don’t own Adjusted to Myself. I don’t have a problem sharing the spotlight, and you two are famous, for obvious reasons, but I am tired to picking up your slack. It was enough when I had to do it for Draco, now I have to do it for you too, Harry. Draco always refused to be interviewed by reporters and often gave them lip. I can’t have the two of you join forces and retaliate. If you’re going to do that, then I will need something in return. There’s a herd waiting right there. I want you two to kiss and make it look real. It is either this or at your show tonight, you’re going to announce that you love Draco.”

“What? You can’t make me do that!” Harry snapped.

“I can. We can vote, and they’ll agree. Let’s go!” Madeline turned around and began walking towards the table. Timothy followed Madeline and they returned to the table and took their seats. Mark and Jake grabbed two more chairs and everyone adjusted their chairs so they could make space for Harry and Malfoy.

Harry looked at Malfoy with extreme nervousness. “I don’t know what to do,” he whispered only so that Malfoy could hear.

“I am lost too, shall we run away again?” Malfoy asked, chuckling a bit.

“I have to return to the bus. The show’s in a few hours and I wanted to shower before the show. I got quite sweaty when we had run for three blocks.” They both chuckled nervously. “Also, I’d like to spend some time alone to gather my thoughts,” Harry said as Malfoy nodded. “So maybe we should just get this over with?”

Malfoy nodded again and gently brushed some hair off of Harry’s forehead.

“What are you doing?” Harry asked.

“Getting in character,” Malfoy responded. “No tongue,” he added with a firm look, and raising an eyebrow.

Harry smiled and he slowly pulled Malfoy towards him, their lips casually brushing against each other’s. Harry leaned back some more and Malfoy fully leaned into Harry, his left hand supported the small of Harry’s back. Harry gently sucked on Malfoy’s lower lip as Malfoy bit Harry’s lip almost carelessly. Harry let out a silent moan. Their lips parted slightly and they repeated their action, switching the lip position. Malfoy sucked on Harry’s lower lip as Harry bit Malfoy’s top lip. Harry didn’t know when it happened, but his hand had travelled up to Malfoy’s hair, tugging on his blond locks as he continued the fake snog.

By the end of the kiss, Harry had managed to make a mess of Malfoy’s perfect hair and realised that now both of Malfoy’s hands were in his hair. They rested their foreheads together before breaking apart, unsure who would speak first.

“Wow,” Malfoy whispered, breaking the silence. Harry grinned, his eyes were still closed. “It seems you’re free to go off on your own, Potter.” Harry opened his eyes and caught Malfoy’s gaze who, with his eyes, gestured towards his clean wrist. The reaction to the fake kiss was genuine. A thought that confused Harry more than it should have.

“Erm...” Harry was lost at words.

“Don’t read too much into it, I still hate you,” Malfoy said.

“The feeling’s mutual,” Harry responded. He looked over at the table where the band members sat, they all stared wide–eyed and open–mouthed towards the two of them. Harry nodded curtly and walked away, exiting the restaurant.

0–0–0–0–0–0–0–0

Harry returned to the bus and locked himself in his room. He felt hot. He felt as though he couldn’t breathe. The kiss, no matter how much he wanted to deny it, regardless of telling Malfoy he still hated him, overwhelmed Harry. We didn’t even use tongue.

A few moments later, Harry was standing alone in his room with nothing but his pants on. He had discarded all of his clothing. His chest was burning up, his denims were too tight. He was panting. I’ve kissed blokes before, I’ve kiss blokes for real, this was fake. What is wrong with me?

Harry sat on his bed for a short while, collecting his thoughts. He then grabbed his bathrobe and his towel and headed for the shower. Unfortunately for Harry, his thoughts didn’t leave him be and he found himself longing for a release. His mind kept remembering Malfoy’s lips, how much Harry wanted to creep his tongue in between those lips. How soft his lips would feel sucking on his cock – and then, he came undone. He let out a soft moan, wanting to scream Malfoy’s name as he came, but he didn’t wish to risk it. If by any chance someone had heard him, he could never take it back. Malfoy had announced, very vocally, that he still hated him. Why would Harry want to admit wanking off to sexual thoughts of his sworn enemy?

When Harry left the bathroom, he quickly walked past the kitchen to his room. He saw Malfoy sitting in the lounge with Lauren and Mark. He didn’t make eye contact with anyone. An hour later, the band members of Adjusted to Myself and a few from The Serpent’s Kiss left the bus as they’d arrived at the destination of their show.

Harry noticed that Malfoy and Stuart had stayed behind. He knew that Stuart was feeling ill so he wasn’t really up for attending the concert. Harry stayed nonchalant and acted as though he didn’t notice that Malfoy wasn’t with them. When someone mentioned him in conversation, Harry pretended as though he didn’t hear it. He decided to concentrate on the performance. It worked.

Adjusted to Myself performed in front of an audience of 600 wizards in Messe Essen. It was their biggest attendance ever. The band started with their world famous song “Dark Shadows,” then continued to play several songs from their first record. Much to the audience’s surprise and as a surprise to their fellow travellers, Adjusted to Myself played a song that belonged to The Serpent’s Kiss; it was a secret that the band had kept. They were going to perform a song by the other band and then announce to the audience about their Christmas collaboration concert. The group only had practiced a handful of times under a silencing charm in the practice room, because they wanted to make it a surprise for the group. It was well received, both by the audience and the members of the other group.

When the show was just about finished, the group invited Lauren, Timothy and Madeline onstage and they sang a few lines together of another song. Afterwards, Madeline apologised to the audience for the absence of Stuart and Malfoy. Harry felt a sting when he heard Malfoy’s name. His mood had returned to gloom and the feeling of rejection had encompassed his heart again.

I can’t believe I might have fallen for Malfoy. Typical.

A half hour later everyone was back on the bus and Harry immediately returned to his room and didn’t come out. Everyone was laughing and squealing in the lounge. Harry thought he heard Malfoy’s voice when Lauren excitedly told him about the surprise by Adjusted to Myself and how he really missed a great show. Harry groaned and fell on his bed face forwards; he wished he could share the excitement. He only felt miserable. He knew he wouldn’t be able to fake it so he decided sleeping would be best. After he undressed and lay under the covers, he heard a knock on the door. It was a soft knock but he was sure someone was knocking. He chose to ignore it and let the person believe that he was asleep. He was in no mood to entertain guests or search for his bathrobe.

TBC

0–0–0–0–0–0–0–0

Day 4.

As soon as Harry woke up the next morning he headed for the shower. He was determined to spend the least time possible making Malfoy wait around for him. He wasn’t sure how he’d spend his day bound to Malfoy given how upset he was. He felt hurt, rejected, and betrayed by his own heart. He couldn’t believe he’d fallen for Malfoy in less than three days’ time. The worst part of it all was that Malfoy didn’t feel the same way. At the end of the month, after their collaboration concert, they might publicly break up.

When he arrived at the kitchen for his morning routine, he saw Malfoy, a freshly showered Malfoy sitting at the table. He must have used the second floor shower, Harry gathered. Malfoy looked up at Harry and smiled.

“What are you doing?” Harry asked.

“Waiting for you to make coffee,” responded Malfoy.

Oh.

Harry walked over to the counter and turned the coffee machine on before bringing out two mugs from the cupboard. He didn’t say anything, as he thought staying quiet would be best.

“I knocked on your door last night,” Malfoy announced.

“Oh?” Harry pretended to be surprised.

“Yeah, I wanted to know how the show went. I wanted to apologise for not being able to make it. I didn’t – I didn’t realise you lot were doing a surprise for us in the show, I just didn’t think you’d want me around. Especially after everything that happened during the day.”

“What do you mean?” Harry turned around and raised an eyebrow.

“We are forcibly stuck to each other for a good part of the day, every day. I can tell that you get agitated since you don’t get any time alone. Yesterday you had to escape with me, then the forced kiss. I just figured we should give each other as much space as we can, if we can help it.”

“It would have been fun if you had come to the show, but I understand. I know getting some time alone has been tough, but it hasn’t been so bad…” Harry paused. “Don’t tell Sheila I said that.” Malfoy laughed. “I think the point is that we should become friends, and you know, it might be working.”

“Yeah, but a forced friendship?” Malfoy asked. “If we were meant to be friends –” Malfoy stopped talking.

“Is that why you got so upset yesterday?” Harry asked. “You don’t think I would actually want to be friends with you?”

“You didn’t the last time I tried,” Malfoy responded.

“Ten years ago?” Harry asked, his voice almost wailing. Malfoy shrugged. “The conditions are quite different than how they were on the Hogwarts Express.” Malfoy didn’t respond so Harry continued. “You insulted my friend and told me you’d be a better friend. You were quite the arse.”

“And now?” Malfoy asked.

“You’re still an arse, but now you’re different. You’re your own man. After I met your father, I understood why you were the way you were, but now you’re different,” Harry responded and their conversation was cut short when Lauren entered the kitchen.

“Morning, boys,” Lauren said.

“Where are we headed today, do you know?” Malfoy asked Lauren.

“Brussels,” Lauren responded. “We’ve got an interview scheduled at a school with autographs and pictures at a children’s hospital.”

“What time?” Malfoy asked. Harry shook his head; he was the only one on the entire bus who never had a clue where they headed and what they were scheduled for.

“Three–thirty in the afternoon, you’re going to do that thing of yours aren’t you?” Lauren asked as Malfoy nodded in confirmation. Harry had no clue what they were talking about. Lauren wrote the name of the hospital on a piece of parchment. “Have fun, boys,” she added as she turned towards the counter to get coffee.

“What’s going on?” Harry asked.

“Potter, have you got any plans today?” Malfoy asked in return. Harry shook his head. “Alright, come with me.” Malfoy grabbed Harry’s hand and walked to the lounge. “Ready?” he asked as Harry nodded. He Disapparated them from the bus.

Moments later, Harry found himself standing in an alleyway and when he turned around at the end, he saw the top of Eiffel Tower peeking through. “What are we doing in Paris?” he immediately asked Malfoy.

“From London I usually need a Portkey, but from Germany it’s simple enough to Disapparate. I’d never tried this before, but I’m glad we’re in one piece,” Malfoy announced, ignoring Harry’s question.

“Malfoy! What are we doing here?” Harry asked again.

“We are here to practise French of course!” Malfoy responded. “You showed me you know no–name hidden café’s in Essen, I can show you a few in Paris. Come on!” Malfoy said as he began walking away and Harry rushed after him.

“Malfoy, you’ve gone completely insane do you know that?” Harry stated as he caught up to the speedy blond.

“If you don’t want to spend half a day in Paris, then by all means, Potter, Apparate back to the bus,” Malfoy responded.

“What did you have in mind anyway?” Harry asked.

“Well, to begin with, breakfast at this pastry shop around the corner, then perhaps going up to the Eiffel Tower. Then I wanted to take you to my favourite café where we can practise some French. We have to arrive at the Children’s Hospital in Brussels by 3.30 so that should give us enough time.”

“Why are you doing this?” Harry asked, still in shock by the itinerary of the day.

“You said you wanted to be friends, this is what I do with my friends,” Malfoy answered as though it was the simplest and most obvious thing in the world.

“Take them to Paris for the day?” Harry smiled at his own question. It was beginning to sound like fun.

“Yeah, Potter. Get with the programme,” Malfoy responded, rolling his eyes.

“But, what if there’s a queue at the Eiffel Tower? Aren’t we going to waste most of our day simply waiting to go to the top?” Harry asked with genuine concern.

“Honestly, Potter. Do you think this is the first time I am doing this?” Malfoy scoffed. “We won’t need to wait in queue, that’s for Muggles.” Malfoy spoke with a matter–of–factly attitude making Harry feel stupid.

“What about Muggle money? Or are we going to wizarding pastry shops and café?” Harry asked.

“I’ve come prepared. I realised that I never want to feel stranded ever again and I’ve got francs, and Euros, along with Galleons. Just in case,” Malfoy responded without turning to look at Harry.

Soon, they were at a little pastry shop called Une dent sucrée. Malfoy ordered for the both of them and explained to Harry what they were eating and how to say it in French. Harry was a quick learner and by the end of the forty–five minutes he’d spent at the shop, he’d easily translated what he liked and didn’t like to the waitress, along with what he wanted more of.

An hour after that, they were at the top of the Eiffel Tower. The cold wind on his face felt as though it was raiding Harry’s senses. He was surrounded by a cage of steel, simply staring out into the world. Everything seemed so distant now, so small. It wasn’t the same rush he’d received the first time he rode Buckbeak, but it was still amazing because there were so many people around. Everyone was astounded not just by the view, but by the senses they were undergoing.

Harry turned to look at Malfoy, who had turned his head. Was he watching me? Harry dismissed the thought as nonsense. “So, you do this a lot?”

“Do what a lot?” Malfoy asked.

“Bring all your boyfriends to the top of the Eiffel Tower?” Harry joked. “Real and fake?”

“Only the real ones,” Malfoy replied. He was looking out into the city and didn’t flinch when he’d responded. Harry was staring at him but eventually looked away himself. I am reading too much into this, he told himself.

It didn’t take long for someone to recognise the two of them, or Harry first, then Malfoy. The girl squealed when she saw the two of them, gaining strange looks from the Muggles around them. Eventually when she calmed down, both Harry and Malfoy gave her an autograph and took pictures with her. The Muggles began to gather around the two of them because they didn’t know who they were, but thought that they must be some sort of celebrities. Ultimately, Malfoy managed to pull Harry away from the crowd, but not before they heard the girl express how ‘sweet of a couple’ she thought they were.

After their escape from the Eiffel Tower, Harry and Malfoy walked around the side streets of Paris where Malfoy talked about various houses he was a fan of. He told Harry that eventually in a few years, if and when he’d stopped being in a band, he would enjoy settling down in one of these houses. Harry thought that that sounded nice and expressed he has no idea what he’d be doing if and when he’d stop playing with Jake, Mark and Sheila. They were like his second family. Ron and Hermione, of course, being the first.

“I like them more than your first,” Malfoy murmured.

“No surprise there,” replied Harry.

By two o’clock, Malfoy took Harry to his favourite cafe, Un petit coin de la maison, where many recognised Malfoy. It was a Muggle cafe, and Malfoy was getting along well with Muggles. That’s an odd thing to see, Harry thought. Malfoy insisted that Harry order in French and a reluctant Harry did the best he could, given his lessons in the morning. He enjoyed watching Malfoy converse with the owner in French and constantly found himself staring at Malfoy’s mouth when he did that.

Snap out of it.

For the rest of the visit, Harry simply observed. He wasn’t sure if it was because he wanted to learn more French or whether he feared that he’d butcher Malfoy’s favourite language if he tried to speak it. At fifteen minutes past three, Malfoy suggested for them to leave. They had to arrive at the Queen Fabiola Wizarding Children's Hospital. Harry wanted to ask if Malfoy wished to go alone since the autograph signing and the small performance was scheduled for The Serpent’s Kiss, but Malfoy has already led them back to the alleyway and the Apparition point. Harry found it hard to construct a sentence that indicated separation when Malfoy was holding onto his arm the entire time. He knew separation was a possibility because he no longer had the three lines on his wrist and was sure that Malfoy wouldn’t have them either.

“Ready?” Malfoy asked as he stood in front of Harry, holding onto his shoulders. Harry nodded. Moments later they arrived at the hospital.

It took Harry another second to recuperate from the Apparition after–effects. When he looked up, Malfoy was staring at him, his hands still resting on Harry’s shoulder. Suddenly there was mayhem and a set of bright lights flashing every few seconds. The press had seen them arrive together. What had been a wonderful morning of friendship and desire had quickly turned to the fake romance again. Malfoy held Harry’s hand as he smiled at the reporters, making his way towards the door.

“We are here for a quick show and we will not be taking any questions,” Malfoy announced as he headed in the hospital to meet the rest of the group.

From the corner of his eye, Harry spotted the Marauder’s Ride, and pulled on Malfoy's hand. “I am going to head back to the bus, if that’s okay,” he said. He looked over Malfoy’s shoulder and saw the rest of the group approach them. Malfoy smiled and then nodded, acknowledging Harry’s need for some space. Harry let go of Malfoy’s hand and began to walk away, when he was interrupted by Madeline clearing her throat. Both Harry and Malfoy turned to look at her and she edged her head towards the reporters and photographers that were standing steps away from them. Harry realised that she required them to continue with the façade of being boyfriends. They would be required to kiss goodbye.

Harry looked into Malfoy’s eyes that showed annoyance. Harry couldn’t help wonder if he was irritated because he was getting tired of Madeline or because he didn’t wish to kiss Harry. Why would he WANT to kiss me, we’re not in a real relationship? Harry seemed lost in his thoughts when suddenly he felt the presence of a familiar set on lips on his mouth. It was as though he hadn’t realised what hit him, but he craved for these lips at the same time, and he instantaneously opened his mouth. The kiss awkwardly continued for another few seconds until Harry remembered the words, no tongue. Harry immediately woke up. He closed his mouth and fake snogged Malfoy back for a few seconds until they parted.

“Sorry, it’s still a bit awkward,” Harry whispered as he tore himself apart from Malfoy’s embrace.

“Yeah, me too,” Malfoy replied.

Harry looked towards the group standing on his left; they all still had a look of shock, similar to the one from the night before, except for Madeline, who was smirking with arrogance. Harry nodded and walked away towards the Marauder’s Ride.

When Harry arrived at the bus, he was confronted by his bandmates who were apparently waiting for him. Harry had forgotten that they had scheduled a practise at three–thirty. For the rest of the afternoon and well into the evening, Adjusted to Myself practised with minimal breaks. They wanted to perfect the execution of the songs chosen by the other band for their performance.

Hours later when the band dispersed, they arrived downstairs at the lounge to meet with the other members, but Malfoy wasn’t there. Harry smiled kindly at the group but indicated that he was tired and wished to retire to his room. He closed the door behind him and crashed on his bed again. He’d skip dinner again because he was too miserable in his confused feelings. The possibility that he had, in fact, fallen for Malfoy was too much to handle. He wrote a letter to Hermione expressing his sentiments. He held onto the letter for the night, unable to decide whether he should send it or not. He chose to owl it in the morning and quickly fell asleep still in his clothes from the day.

0–0–0–0–0–0–0–0

Day 5.

Harry woke up in the morning sweating from a nightmare; all he remembered was falling off of a dragon. Given the multiple layers still on his body, including his denims and socks, it was no wonder his body had been burning up. Although, he didn’t remember removing his shoes as they lay next to his bed. The clock indicated it was seven o’clock. The sweat that formed on his body had made it difficult for Harry to breathe, feeling as though he was back in first year, stuck in the Devil’s Snare. He concentrated on relaxing. Harry closed his eyes again and just breathed, beginning to feel better. Next, he removed all of his clothes and threw them on the floor, covering himself with only the cotton sheet on his bed. Now he lay naked in the bed, feeling unshackled, and smiled.

The lazy feeling of slumber was shadowing itself on him again and he closed his eyes. He knew in a few moments he’d fall asleep again. He decided to concentrate on his recollection of the nightmare he’d just woken up from. He remembered the dragon and clouds, and the fact that it was a clear day. He suddenly remembered that he was near the Eiffel Tower. Immediately, Harry forgot all about his dream and began to think about his wonderful day he’d spent with Malfoy. How he looked at him, confusing Harry. He felt there were times when Malfoy had crossed the lines of friendship and displayed yearning. Am I crazy?

He would have liked to believe that he didn’t know how it happened, but Harry knew quite clearly how it did. With his eyes closed he concentrated on Malfoy’s lips, his hands slowly slid down to caress his cock to full hardness.

He settled into the familiar rhythm. He had done this two nights before in the shower, before the show, and he missed it. He enjoyed the feeling of a full cock in his hand, even if it was his. He closed his eyes and imagined what Malfoy’s cock would look like, and his eyes snapped open. He relaxed again and closed his eyes. Allowing his thoughts to divert towards Malfoy, they eventually would have anyway.

He ran his thumb over the head and his body reacted punctually, but he didn’t mind the predictability. He thought about Malfoy’s lips again, and his tongue, the tongue he hadn’t gotten to taste yet. He imagined what it would be like sucking on that tongue that at first barely spoke a word not covered in disdain; the tongue he now knew articulated itself exquisitely in French. Harry was harder than before; he was whimpering silently, he was aching. At last, Harry remembered a feeling. Just a simple feeling of what it was like when their skins touched. Malfoy casually brushed his hand or arm against Harry without grimacing, barely acknowledging the touch, but Harry, he noticed it every time. He would get goose pimples consistently every time Malfoy held his shoulder to say something, to prove a point. Harry realised at those moments he’d stopped listening because he’d simply wanted to remember the touch, the smell of being so close to Malfoy. A whimper ruptured from him and a jolt went through his body, and he came undone. He finally opened his eyes and took in the darkness of the room again.

Harry continued to lie in the dimness of his room, unable to see beyond a two-foot radius, panting, gasping. He hoped he wasn’t too loud. He knew it was early enough that his bandmates wouldn’t be awake and walking about the bus, but he’d remember to set a silencing charm next time. He looked over at the clock again and decided that perhaps it was time for an early shower. He grabbed his wand and spelled the sheets clean, and grabbing his bathrobe, he headed for the shower. It wasn’t until Harry stood under the water in tiny square shower, did Harry realise that the three lines on his wrist were missing.

After the shower, he quickly ran in the direction of his room when he noticed Sheila in the lounge, lying back and reading A Muggle Brain on Music. Still semi–soaked under his bathrobe, Harry stood next to the sofa awkwardly waiting to ask Sheila a question.

“Trouble, Harry?” Sheila asked.

“I was just wondering, how many days did you say that you had cursed me for? I mean both, Malfoy and I,” asked Harry.

“Ten days. Isn’t today the fifth day?” Sheila placed her book down on her stomach and looked up at Harry, raising an eyebrow. “What’s the matter?”

“My lines, I just noticed in the shower, they’re not on my wrist today,” Harry answered her, his voice a bit hushed.

“When did you notice them missing?”

“Just now, when I was in the shower,” he answered, pointing at the shower door.

“Did you see them before you went to the bathroom this morning?”

“No, when I got up, it was still dark, then I just put my robe on and went to the bathroom.” Harry was still confused and Sheila still had an eyebrow raised.

“Did you wank?” she asked uncomfortably. In the many months they had spent on the bus together, Sheila had always managed to not engage herself in a conversation about sex. Harry felt his ears burning; it usually happened when he was caught in a lie.

“I am sorry, what? How is that the matter?” Harry asked.

“The Amitié Hostem is designed to make two individuals see positive qualities and dissolve any hostility into friendship. There are cases when these friendships can turn into romantic feelings or sexual attraction.” Sheila paused.

“What are you saying?” Harry demanded.

“You are supposed to have three lines your wrist in the morning, and if you had a sexual urge this morning and you helped yourself with thoughts of your enchanted affiliate, at least three to be exact, then the lines disappear,” she hesitantly answered as Harry glared at her. “I didn’t make the rules to the magical spell, Harry.”

“Why didn’t you say something before?”

“I didn’t think you’d – I don’t know, fall for him,” she replied. “I know the two of you were starting to get along, but I didn’t think that you’d wank thinking about him.”

Harry was speechless and embarrassed.

“What do I do now?” he finally said.

“Why don’t you tell him how you feel?”

“What? I can’t. He hates me, and I don’t even like him. I just happened to help myself this morning and thoughts of him came across my mind. I didn’t think about him when I was doing it. I don’t –” Harry didn’t know what to say.

“I am sure he doesn’t hate you,” Sheila replied.

“He told me,” Harry retorted.

“When?”

“A few days ago, after the first public kiss.”

“But, you two seemed to enjoy that. I thought he liked it, because he was blushing when he came to the table,” Sheila answered, surprised.

“He was just acting,” Harry answered her.

“And what about yesterday when you spent the day in Paris, you were at the top of the Eiffel Tower?”

“What, how do you know about that?”

“It was in this morning’s Prophet. It arrived an hour ago and I saw the pictures. A fan had spotted you two and took several pictures,” Sheila informed him.

“He’d promised that he’d teach me French. He was trying to be nice because he felt bad for missing the show and our tribute to their group,” Harry answered.

Sheila shook her head, “Harry, he likes you. Just like how you like him. You two may be acting that you only like each other because you’re forced to and in reality you hate each other, but I can see that he’s starting to get under your skin. You’re genuinely starting to like him.”

“In the meanwhile, what should I do about this?” Harry asked, pointing at his wrist.

“Wear long sleeves?” Sheila shrugged. She took her copy of A Muggle Brain on Music off of her stomach and started reading it again.

“Sheila –” Harry began to speak again.

“Yes, Harry, I promise, I won’t tell anyone.”

Harry quickly returned to his room and dressed for the day. He wore a pair of black trousers and a dark green, long–sleeved, button-down shirt. He soon left his room and entered the kitchen for breakfast. He wasn’t sure what was planned for the day, but he remembered that he was going to send his owl today to Hermione. Perhaps a bit of an outside perspective would be in order.

Harry followed his usual routine in the kitchen. He brought out two mugs and poured coffee for himself and Malfoy who entered the kitchen shortly after. Malfoy smiled briefly when he noticed that Harry had already poured him a cup. Malfoy was wearing a pair of Muggle denims and a short–sleeved Led Zeppelin t–shirt. Harry noticed the three lines on Malfoy’s wrist and became self–conscious again.

“What’s wrong?” Malfoy asked

“Why?” asked Harry in return.

“You look weird, something happen?”

“No, everything is normal.”

“Why are you dressed up?”

“Oh, no reason,” Harry answered, causing Malfoy to raise an eyebrow. “I thought, in case we take any more spur of the moment trips today, the least I can do is look decent. Especially if people are going to take pictures of us and send ‘em to the Prophet.” Harry pointed at the article in the Prophet where there was a picture of him and Malfoy with the female fan at the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was captioned: A romantic getaway to Paris, there’s no stopping these two!

“Oh Merlin!” Malfoy responded. “I knew something would arise from that little fan encounter in Paris.”

Harry laughed and was about to say something when Jake came in the room and gave Malfoy a piece of parchment. “You’ve got mail, Draco. You too, Harry.”

Malfoy opened the piece of parchment and his eyes narrowed. He looked as though he was biting down a few curse words that he would usually not hesitate to express. Eventually, he sighed and crumpled up the parchment and took another sip of his coffee.

“Everything alright?” Harry asked.

“It’s a letter from my father,” answered Malfoy.

“Oh?”

“It seems he’s been following my updates in the Prophet and other news sources and utterly disapproves of my new lifestyle choices. He’s stated that it’s one thing that you’ve decided to ruin the Malfoy name by being a poof, but the least you could have done was choose someone who wasn’t equally such a waste of space.”

“I am supposed to be the waste of space?” Harry asked, to which Malfoy nodded. “He’s got some nerve.”

“You’re not a waste of space, Potter.”

“And you’re not the one who ruined your family name.”

Malfoy laughed. “I suppose it’s all payback for how I teased everyone when I received gifts and sweets almost every day at Hogwarts and now, only rightly, I receive nothing short of hate mail from my father.”

“You don’t deserve it. You helped us in the end, you helped me,” Harry answered, taking Malfoy’s hand and squeezing it a bit for comfort. “You’re one of the most sought after celebrities in the wizarding world, and that’s saying a lot for a former Death Eater.” Malfoy glared at Harry and his comment, and Harry was suddenly tense. “I mean, I don’t know anything anyway, I am quite the waste of space.”

They both laughed and the tension in the room eased.

Harry picked up the letter he’d received and opened it. He was quiet, almost too quiet, he realised because Malfoy was equally curious to know what his letter said.

“Well, what is it?” Malfoy asked.

“It’s a fan–letter,” Harry said.

“A fan–letter, what kind of a fan–letter?” Malfoy asked curiously.

“It’s nothing; I sometimes get letters where people write me poetry and such. I respond sometimes, so it’s from someone I know, from the past.”

“Oh, let’s hear it then?” Malfoy stated.

“No, if you don’t mind. I sort of keep them private,” answered Harry.

“What, are they erotic? Are you going to wank to them later?” Malfoy asked and Harry couldn’t tell if he was joking or serious.

“No, you tosser,” Harry retorted and their conversation was at a halt when other members started entering the kitchen for breakfast.

“Any other new romantic plans for the day, boys?” Madeline asked.

Harry noticed the contempt on Malfoy’s face towards her, and decided that he didn’t like Madeline either. She’d done nothing but make things uncomfortable for them. She’s like the worst version of Hermione.

“No, we are just going to write some more and practise a song or two,” Harry answered before Malfoy had a chance to insult Madeline. It was an ironic situation, for lack of a better word. In the beginning everyone had concentrated their energy to ensure that Malfoy and Harry wouldn’t have a fight, now most of the time, Harry concentrated on keeping peace between Malfoy and everyone else.

The rest of the day Harry and Malfoy spent in the lounge song–writing and taking breaks to practise French. Much to his surprise, Harry enjoyed learning French and having a chance to practise it as well. He looked forward to an opportunity where he could test it out to someone on the street or a restaurant.

The lines on Malfoy’s wrist had disappeared by late afternoon. Harry hadn’t checked and by the time he had, they were gone. They decided to take a break for a few hours and reconvene for lunch. The group had one more night in Belgium, then they were heading to the Netherlands, then to Germany for a few more days and ultimately, start their trip back to London where they would disperse for a few days to spend time at home for the Christmas holidays. The plan was to arrive in England by the 20th of December, then everyone would stay with their family, if they so chose, until the day after Christmas when they’d regroup for two days of practice.

Harry and Malfoy were only scheduled to be bound to each other until eleventh, and then they would be free to spend their days as they elected to do so. They would only be obligated to be in each other’s presence for practise and public appearances. Harry wondered if Malfoy longed for the next five days to be over, so that the requirement would end. He dismissed the idea and returned to his room. He wanted to re–read the fan letter he had received earlier that morning.

Dear Golden Seeker,
I had been actively reading the Prophet for a while these past few months hoping you would write again. Your words always provided me with a comfort that is inexpressible. As odd as this may sound, I always felt that your emotions tend to best convey mine. It is as though our lives are somehow interconnected. Anyway, not to sound like a complete stalker or anything, I just wanted to say I appreciated your latest poem and I do agree with the struggle you indicated in it. I am stuck in a situation which I cannot get out of with grace.

I do not desire to become this toxic individual, but somehow this bloke brings out the worst in me. He always has. It also doesn’t help that I have found him utterly attractive for many years and now we are forced to see each other every day.

Nevertheless, I am hoping that by the end of my sentence, I too will come out of this with something positive as you indicated in your poem. I don’t want him to hate me more than I already hate myself. We all have scars in our lives, whether they be physical or emotional, and I am glad to have anonymously shared mine with you in the past. Please continue publishing, I will always look forward to reading them.

Yours truly,
Die Verlorene Drache

Harry read the letter and smiled. He’d never returned a letter to Die, but he always enjoyed getting them. Harry would always dedicate his next poem to his biggest fan. He’d pick up a word from his fans’ letters and write a dedicated poem to them. Die would always reply thanking him. Harry had written a lot about emotional scars in his poetry and his music; it had always been a sensitive subject with him that came out beautifully in an art form. He always appreciated that Die was always there to value them.

Harry found comfort in his bed and under the sheets. He’d learned his lesson, do not wank in the morning. Having spent another day with Malfoy had been great. They got a lot of work done, lyrically, and Harry got to stare at Malfoy’s mouth without looking odd.

Harry remembered Malfoy’s mouth again, and the two kisses they had shared in front of the press. That was enough for him to grab onto his erection and pleasure himself, longing for Malfoy. He knew that this trial–basis friendship wasn’t going to last forever, and he feared a heartbreak in the end, but that didn’t stop Harry for one night. For one night, he dreamt of his sweet boyfriend, even if he wasn’t real.

0–0–0–0–0–0–0–0
Day 6.

The routine had become quite predictable: wake up, shower, make coffee, give Malfoy his cup of coffee, eat breakfast with the group. What veiled itself after breakfast was now the mystery. Lunch at his favourite German cafe, a trip to Paris, or just spending time with each other. It had all been entertaining. Harry couldn’t believe that he actually looked forward to spending time with Malfoy. What was even surprising was that Malfoy was becoming less and less contemptuous. At least to him, anyway.

They started the morning off by speaking French for several hours. Harry exercised the lines Malfoy had given him to practise before going off to bed. Whenever Harry would look away to say a phrase as though he was concentrating on it, he’d turn to see Malfoy staring at him peculiarly. Harry didn’t want to believe what Sheila had said, but he’d allowed his emotions to take over, and he was leading himself to believe that Malfoy was developing feelings for him as well. Harry tried to distance himself away from romantic feelings and for most of the day he’d succeed; then Malfoy would do something unpredictable or considerate and Harry was back to square one.

“Any plans for tonight?” Malfoy asked as they were packing up the French study guides and preparing for lunch.

“Not sure, we’re due to be in Amsterdam by tonight. I think we’ll be having dinner at a restaurant where Jake’s father is friends with the owner,” Harry answered. “His father insists that we stop by the restaurant every time. Something to do with morale.”

Malfoy rolled his eyes and Harry grinned.

After lunch they continued more songwriting. They’d successfully completed and tested out two songs, Fly Me to the Moon, and I’d Rather Be Famous than Righteous and Holy.

The lyrics to Fly Me to the Moon, was mostly written by Harry, who had taken inspiration from a song titled: Come Fly With Me from a Muggle American singer, Frank Sinatra, although he’d change the tune to be more Indie. Not much to anyone’s surprise, Malfoy had taken inspiration from The Smiths, for I’d rather be famous than righteous and holy. It was his way of raising two fingers to his father and the Ministry. Harry loved the way Malfoy performed it and the passion that came through his execution. He secretly imagined Malfoy dressed in the tight leather trousers and the leather boots, singing on stage. He remembered the first moment he’d realised that Malfoy was, in fact, the hottest thing he’d ever seen.

For dinner, the group visited the restaurant in Amsterdam that Jake’s father’s associate owned. The owner, Mr Jansen, was gracious and happy to host the dinner party. At the end of the meal he made an announcement to the group.

“I am very happy to have you dine with us tonight. I am not sure if you’re aware, but we have a stage at the front of the restaurant and we often hold live music performances,” Jansen said.

“Here we go,” Jake murmured.

“It would do us a great honour if some of your group members put on a show of a song or two for our patrons,” Jansen added.

“Told you,” Jake spoke again.

“I will, of course, compensate you with the free meal! I could use the publicity for our restaurant.” Jansen smiled at the group and spoke again. “Think it over and I’ll be back shortly.”

“Can you include dessert and two more bottles of wine?” Malfoy asked before Jansen could walk away. The table laughed and Harry shook his head. Malfoy turned to Harry and spoke, “What? I know we are going to do it. I just want to know if I can get some more free wine.”

“I like you, Draco,” Sheila commented, “I hope Harry decides to keep you for good.”

The atmosphere at the table was light, but Harry felt a sharp pain in the pit of his stomach for a moment. Every time something about their fake relationship would come up in conversation, Harry would be reminded that it was indeed fake and they were scheduled to break up.

A few minutes later a small group of reporters entered the restaurant. Malfoy rolled his eyes but Harry had a brilliant plan. Maybe I have been spending too much time with Slytherins, he thought again.

“Malfoy, I’ve got a plan. Do you want to get back at your father?” Harry asked, barely keeping his excitement. He was never a fan of Lucius Malfoy and now he liked him even less.

“Get back how?” Malfoy asked, raising his very defined eyebrow. Harry leaned in and whispered his plan and Malfoy grinned. “That’s brilliant!” Malfoy practically shrieked with excitement.

“What are you two on about?” Madeline asked.

“You’ll see,” both Harry and Malfoy answered together.

Jansen returned with two more bottles of wine that Malfoy had requested and the server began to take their dessert order. They were going to open one bottle of wine before the performance and one after.

The first group to go up on the stage included Lauren, Mark, Timothy, and Malfoy as the vocals. They performed an old song by The Serpent’s Kiss. They all knew it very well; it was one of the songs they had practised the most on the road. After the performance, the group cheered and Malfoy approached Harry, who was talking to the photographers.

“Are you ready?” Harry asked Malfoy who nodded a bit nervously. Harry looked at the reporters who nodded as well.

Harry walked back to his group of friends holding Malfoy’s hand as the five reporters formed a semicircle around them. Harry looked at Malfoy and was about to say “No tongue, right?” when Malfoy interrupted him and spoke, “Let’s give ‘em a good show,” and winked. Harry leaned in to kiss Malfoy, releasing his hand and pulling him in by placing it on the small of his back. Malfoy ran his right hand into Harry’s hair, who at the same moment parted his lips briefly and Malfoy slipped his tongue in. Harry sucked on it gently, savouring every moment of the pleasure, planting the memory of Malfoy’s taste slowly in his mind for eternity. They finally broke apart and Lauren whispered, “Wow.”

Harry looked at Malfoy who seemed just as winded as Harry felt. Harry turned to the flashing photographers to address them. “Now remember, every one of you has to send at least one copy to Lucius Malfoy, and make sure to sign it: With Love, Harry James Potter.”

Sheila banged the set of drums with a slight tap to add emphasis to what Harry had just stated and also as an indication for their next performance to commence. Sheila, Jake, Madeline were on stage and began to play the tune and Harry jumped up on stage and took the lead on vocals for the first time in a public performance. He sang I’d rather be famous than righteous and holy. At the last verse Malfoy approached the stage and finished the song off with him. Everyone loved it, and the group decided that they should definitely perform that song exactly like that when they’re on stage for their main event.

It had been a memorable night.

0–0–0–0–0–0–0–0


Day 7.

The mornings had gotten easier. The curse, once considered to be such a burden, had now become a blessing for Harry. He looked forward to spending time with Malfoy, and hoped that the other felt the same way. He continued with the usual routine of showering and waiting in the kitchen for Malfoy. Harry was almost always the first one to get up in the morning. This morning he was surprised when slowly everyone started to trickle into the kitchen except for Malfoy.

Where is he?

When the coffee finished, Harry decided to brew another pot. He was just about to ask if Malfoy was alright when a freshly showered blond walked into the room. Harry did his best to pay no mind to him. He poured the coffee and placed it next to him on the table where an empty chair was positioned. Malfoy nodded his morning grunt. He must be in a mood, Harry thought. He hadn’t done the grunt in four days.

Malfoy sat on the chair and held the cup with his both hands. That’s when Harry noticed. Malfoy wore black coloured cotton trousers and his dark green long–sleeved shirt. The sleeves were crumpled up in his hands as continued to hold the coffee mug with both of the hands as he sipped from it.

Long sleeves.

Was Harry reading too much into this? The only times Harry had seen Malfoy wear a long–sleeved shirt was the first time they’d met with the entire group to discuss the collaboration concert and the possibility of living together. That day the cuffs were unbuttoned and his wrists were visible. The other time Harry remembered Malfoy with long sleeves was when they had first been hexed with the amitié hostem.

Maybe he’s cold.

Harry looked up towards the rest of the group who seemed engaged in private conversations. Harry noticed Sheila constantly looking over towards Malfoy. She realised that Harry was looking at her and she smiled, before she turned to Madeline and continued the conversation.

Sheila was the curse expert and Malfoy would never ask Madeline about it. Maybe he did the same thing as me. Wait – Malfoy thought about me while pleasuring himself? That can’t be true. He hates me. Though, we did have a pretty intense snog session in front of the photographers, maybe it turned him on? I know I needed a helping hand last night. He should have just done it last night, wait, he didn’t know this would happen in the morning.

“Everything alright, Potter?”

Harry jumped up, startled by the interruption to his internal monologue. He nearly spilled the hot coffee on his lap.

“What? Yeah. Just – thinking about – some stuff.” Harry flustered over the words. “How – how are you?”

“Fine,” Malfoy answered curtly. “Maybe we can write that last song now? We’ve got a show tonight then we are all headed back to London, yeah?” Malfoy turned to look at his group and they nodded. They all seemed a bit puzzled by Malfoy’s conduct because he never before had given a care or pretended to know the schedule.

“Great! Maybe we can go to a café or something. Do something different for inspiration, we’ve always been on the bus,” Harry suggested. Perhaps a bit of a distance from the pressured eyes would ease him.

“Alright,” Malfoy replied. “I’ll need to change.”

“Me too.”

To make matters easier for the parties involved, Harry decided to wear a buttoned down long–sleeved shirt as well with a black blazer and denims. If they did go to a café and for some reason he’d needed to take his blazer off, his wrists would still be hidden. It would be more comfortable if they didn’t have black lines on the wrists to stare at.

If that was the case, if Malfoy did in fact want to hide the fact that his lines had faded.

Taking up Jake’s suggestion, Harry and Malfoy visited De Zeven Zonden. It was a Muggle café and the irony of the name of the establishment wasn’t lost on anyone. They worked for several hours at the café and decided to have lunch there as well. Harry asked if Malfoy wanted to take a break and practise more French, but Malfoy declined by stating that he was short–tempered that day and didn’t think he could be a very good teacher.

Harry excused himself to go to the bathroom. When he was washing his hands, he rolled up his sleeves and noticed that the lines had disappeared. He was grateful. It wasn’t even his concern and he was more nervous than the day he was the one with no lines on his wrist. He returned to the table with his sleeves rolled up and acted quite nonchalant. Ten minutes had passed and Harry was working on some lyrics out of his own journal when the waitress stopped by and asked if they wanted anything else.

“Mooi Kunstwerk,” she said.

“Excuse me?” Harry looked up; he hadn’t paid attention.

“The tattoo,” the waitress said, pointing at Malfoy’s arm. “Is it something special?”

Malfoy chuckled, “No, just a mistake.” She smiled at him and carried out the empty plates.

Harry stared at Malfoy’s wrist. He didn’t realise when Malfoy had rolled up his sleeves as well. He must have noticed when I returned from the bathroom.

“Do you want to head back?” Harry asked. “We can use the practise room to finish the song.”

Malfoy nodded in agreement. Harry thought his mood seemed better now. He did his best to again, not read too much into it.

As the hours passed, Malfoy’s energy continued to return. Something definitely had been bothering him and Harry knew it. He just didn’t know what was going on. Was it that Malfoy hated the fact that he found Harry attractive? Was it that he hated himself for giving into a desire that he truly didn’t care for? Harry was sure that Malfoy was upset in the morning because he was embarrassed that he had inadvertently vanished the three lines on his wrist. Should Harry confess that he knew, and that he had done the same thing two days prior?

Harry’s thoughts were interrupted again when Madeline, Lauren and Sheila came in the practice room to talk to them.

“Harry, Draco, we have some good news –” Madeline said.

“...and some bad news, depending on who you ask,” Sheila added as Lauren just stood in the background and snickered.

“What is it?” Malfoy asked, putting down the guitar he’d been strumming idly.

“You know The Quibbler?”

Harry snorted.

“Yeah, I am aware of its existence,” Malfoy replied.

“So, the good news is that the Wizarding world around the globe has absolutely believed the fact that the two of you are indeed in a relationship and that you are happily in love,” Madeline started.

“Okay,” said Harry.

“And The Quibbler’s fans have started writing stories, and poetry, dedicated to your love,” Sheila added, holding a copy up for them to see.

“Some of it is actually quite good,” Lauren declared.

“Wait – people have written stories?” Malfoy’s tone was scandalized.

“Poetry? You’re joking,” added Harry.

Lauren giggled again before speaking. “Yes, some people have a bit of a twisted imagination. They like to believe how you two fell in love, what kind of sexual positions you prefer –”

“I think that’s enough--I get the idea,” Harry stated, begging for her to stop talking.

“So–is that the good news?” Malfoy asked.

“Sort of,” Sheila said. “So, Madeline is really happy that the publicity for our show is going really well. Which I am really happy about too. It has a lot to do with our bands being awesome, but it has a lot to do with the celebrity gossip the two of you have brought, giving the concert at the end of this month much–needed attention. Therefore, we have decided to release the two of you from your punishment for the rest of the days. You’ve served your seven days quite well. And it’s obvious to see that the two of you have, in fact, actually become friends.”

They waited for Harry and Malfoy to respond, but neither one said anything.

“Still in shock, I see – so that’s good. If you promise that for the rest of our travel days the two of you can carry on with this benevolence towards each other, we see no reason to carry on with the hex,” Madeline added.

“However, if the two of you fight – again – even once, then I will force you two to sleep in the same room every night until you resolve your differences!” Sheila declared.

“I think that’ll resolve a lot of differences, according to Chapter Twelve of A Night of Passion,” Lauren said as she began to quote one of the fictions from The Quibbler.

“Please – spare me the details,” Malfoy begged.

“So, consider yourselves freed,” Madeline stated as she and Sheila both raised their wands and non–verbally uttered a spell. A faint yellow light emerged from their wands and surrounded Harry and Malfoy for a brief moment then vanished.

“Now behave!” Sheila commanded and the three women left the practice room. On her way out, Sheila turned to look at Harry and winked. If Madeline had all of Hermione’s annoying qualities, Sheila had all her best ones.

“So – that happened,” Harry commented when the room had been cleared of the powerful witches.

“That couldn’t have happened last night?” Malfoy asked. Harry couldn’t tell if Malfoy was talking to himself or Harry.

“Well you know, today is day seven,” Harry replied.

“What do you mean?”

“I think that given seven is the most powerful magical number so whatever they applied their magic towards, it makes sense that it was finished in seven days.”

“I don’t know if I believe that,” Malfoy replied, returning his gaze on his notebook.

“Well, do you feel the same way about me today than you did a week ago?” Harry asked, his eyes wide and hopeful. He knew he didn’t feel the same way about Malfoy, and given the fact that Malfoy arrived in the kitchen today without the three lines, he definitely didn’t feel the same way.

“You’re still a git,” Malfoy responded; however, he was unable to hide his grin. Harry threw his guitar pick at him and glowered. “Merlin, Potter. You really can’t take a joke.”

“You’re a tosser,” Harry retorted, his voice slightly high–pitched that made him feel like a first year. He raised his hand as though he was going to fake punch Malfoy when Malfoy grabbed his wrist. His touch felt warm and his grip was a bit too tight for a friendly gesture.

Harry looked into Malfoy’s eyes, then at his lips, then back at his eyes. He’d never had a bigger desire to kiss Malfoy than at that moment. Harry cleared his throat, bringing himself back to reality and Malfoy let go of his hand.

“So, we should take a break. Do you think we can practise some French soon?” Harry asked, changing the topic and the awkward mood. They had finished writing the song, and they only needed to have a few of the band members play around with it to fix up the tune.

“Yeah, okay,” Malfoy replied.

“Great, I’ll get my notebook from my room,” Harry answered, standing up and heading towards the door.

“Let’s practise in your room, or my room,” Malfoy said. “More privacy. I am sort of getting tired of being around Madeline and her – commentary.”

Harry gulped, he felt unusually nervous. “Alright, sounds brilliant. Let’s go to my room.” Harry headed out the door and Malfoy followed.

When Harry entered his room, he realised he’d left it quite the mess in the morning. He picked up his scattered shoes and socks from the floor and moved the blanket on his bed so that Malfoy could sit on it. He headed to his desk where he’d kept his French practising writing pad. He turned to look at Malfoy, whose face was whiter than normal, as though he’d seen a ghost or something.

“What’s this? Why do you have this?” Malfoy asked.

Harry didn’t know what Malfoy was talking about. He realised that Malfoy was holding a letter Harry had recently received, the fan–letter from Die. “I told you, it was a letter from a fan.”

“It’s addressed to The Golden Seeker.”

“Oh, yeah. That.” Harry took a step closer to Malfoy and tried to take the piece of parchment from his hand. “That’s – that’s a bit harder to explain,” he said.

“You’re The Golden Seeker? You’re the one who has been anonymously publishing poetry all these years in the Prophet?” Malfoy’s piercing grey eyes looked as though they were ready to jump out of his sockets.

“Guilty.”

Malfoy continued staring at Harry and Harry was so confused. What’s the big deal?

“Is everything alright, Malfoy?”

Die Verlorene Drache,” Malfoy said.

“Yeah, that’s the name of one of the people that write to me,” Harry answered.

“It’s not a name, it’s German. It means The Lost Dragon.”

“Oh,” said Harry. “OH!” Harry realised. “You’re him – he’s you?” Harry stared at the letter Malfoy was holding. “But, you hate me.”

“What?” Malfoy finally said.

“I suppose you can hate someone and be utterly attracted to them at the same time,” Harry said. “I know that’s the case with me.”

“What?” Malfoy said again.

“You know, Malfoy, for someone who is a songwriter, you’re being incredibly inarticulate at the moment!” Harry responded; he was nervous.

“And you’re rambling,” Malfoy retorted.

“Oh, fuck it,” Harry replied as Malfoy stared at him, wide–eyed again. Harry didn’t give Malfoy a chance to react or retort. His right hand had swiftly grabbed the back of Malfoy’s neck and pulled him in for a kiss. This time Harry hadn’t waited for permission and he wasn’t being cordial. He crashed their lips together and immediately bit Malfoy’s lower lip and sucked on it.

Malfoy moaned in Harry’s mouth, causing him to pull Malfoy’s body in closer with his other hand. He imitated the gesture from the night before when he placed his left hand on Malfoy’s lower back. This time, his hand went under his shirt and down his trousers.

Malfoy pushed himself on Harry and pressed him against the dresser where Malfoy had found the letter. Malfoy’s hands pulled up Harry’s shirt trying to find skin to touch. As Malfoy moaned once more, he briefly parted his lips and Harry seized the opportunity to slide his tongue in. It was an amazing feeling.

As Malfoy sucked on Harry’s tongue, Harry began unbuttoning Malfoy’s shirt. Malfoy replicated his actions and unbuttoned Harry’s. They now stood in the middle of Harry’s room shirtless, lips refusing to part and one not being able to get enough of the other’s skin.

Malfoy broke the kiss for a moment and Harry looked at him annoyed. Malfoy’s hands were on the buttons of Harry’s trousers. “May I?” he asked. Harry realised he’d broken the kiss because he wanted Harry’s permission to unbutton his trousers. Harry grinned and nodded desperately. Their lips were reunited again now that the two concentrated on ridding the other’s clothing.

“Harry, you’ve got a letter from Her – OH MY” Sheila barged into Harry’s unlocked room holding a letter in her hand. She stared at the two shirtless men snogging, with trousers dropped to their ankles.

“Bloody hell!” Malfoy screamed as his back was towards the door and he sprinted to hide himself behind Harry’s body.

Harry stood facing the door, his hands covering his erection over his pants. “Thanks, Sheila. You can leave now,” he said and waited for her to close the door. When she did, he charged towards the door and locked it. He heard girls giggling outside his room and shook his head.

“Honestly, hiding behind me?”

“Self–preservation.”

“Of course.”

“So, who knows about The Golden Seeker?” Malfoy asked as he approached Harry and ran his hand through his hair.

“About it being me?” Harry asked and Malfoy nodded. “Ron and Hermione, and – Mark, Jake and Sheila.”

“You told your bandmates?”

“They figured it out, that’s how I ended up in the band. Mark and Jake wanted The Golden Seeker as their songwriter and they were clever enough to figure out the mystery,” Harry answered, leaning in and kissing Malfoy’s neck. Malfoy made a deliciously whimpering sound.

“Shall we continue?” Malfoy asked.

“I’d like that,” Harry answered.

There was a knock on the door and Harry groaned. “Sorry to disturb you, boys, but, Draco, we do have a show shortly so we’ll need to leave the bus in a half hour.”

“A half hour? That’s not enough time,” Malfoy said to Harry.

“I don’t know, a lot can be done in a half–hour,” responded Harry, raising an eyebrow that matched his sly grin.

Harry held Malfoy's hand and pulled him close. He slowly guided Malfoy’s hand to his crotch as Malfoy pushed Harry against the door. Malfoy pushed onto Harry’s erection with his own, their bodies gliding together as they continued to tussle with their tongues. Malfoy pushed Harry’s pants down and grabbed onto his heat. Harry did the same for Malfoy and began to tug on his cock with his right hand. Their hands slid together on each other’s cocks. Moments later, Malfoy was coming. Harry covered his mouth with his own again and Malfoy moaned in Harry’s mouth as he continued to spill himself on Harry’s hand.

Malfoy didn't wait long before he dropped to his knees. Harry didn’t even notice when Malfoy’s mouth covered Harry's cock and his head began to bob up and down. Soon Harry’s hands grabbed onto Malfoy’s hair and guided his rhythm. Malfoy continued to suck and release as though he was having a great time getting to know Harry’s cock. Harry groaned as he released Malfoy’s head and grabbed his own hair, continuing to sigh and moan with pleasure.

A shudder went through Harry’s body and then there was a blast of hot liquid pouring into Malfoy’s mouth. Malfoy stayed concentrated on Harry until he had sucked and licked every bit of him. When Malfoy stood up again, Harry pulled him in for another deep kiss. He loved the feeling of tasting himself on Malfoy’s tongue.

“I have to go,” Malfoy whispered in Harry’s ear. “I should definitely take a shower before we head off.” Harry moaned. “I know, I wish it was that kind of a shower too,” Malfoy added.

“That’s okay, next time.” Harry smiled at Malfoy and kissed his neck before he began to dress himself. He figured he should take a shower as well if he’s going to attend the show.

“That’s a promise,” Malfoy said.

“I’ll hold you up to it,” Harry answered.

“You know where I live,” Malfoy teased.

“Go, before they start knocking on the door again!” Harry smacked Malfoy’s behind with his shirt before putting it on himself.

The two showered separately and were out the door with the group in less than twenty minutes. Harry had barely managed to wear a t–shirt with denims when Malfoy emerged in all of his bad boy glory.

He wore his signature leather jump boots, with the tight trousers and the green velvet shirt. His eye makeup was flawless and Harry couldn’t help but continue to stare at the silver and black snake belt that rested right about his delectable cock.

When they entered the venue through the back doors, a herd of fans were screaming and shouting Harry and Malfoy’s name. Some even screamed for Harry. Before going into the arena, Malfoy pulled on Harry’s hand and brought him in front of the small crowd. He leaned in and kissed Harry with tongue for all the fans to see.

“So, it’s real then?” Harry asked.

“It is for me,” Malfoy responded.

Harry grinned and allowed Malfoy to drag him into the arena. He waited backstage as the group performed for hours in front of a large crowd in the Netherlands. Harry thought about the past few months he’d spent dealing with Malfoy and how the last week had completely transformed his life. He went from hating, then pining over the beautiful blond man with charismatic stage presence, to now being his real boyfriend. He didn’t need to stay backstage because he was magically spelled to be with him. Harry was glad to know that now they would be in each other’s company willingly and eagerly.

The show finished and everyone was pleased! They had tried out one of the new songs Harry and Malfoy had written, and when Madeline announced to the audience about their upcoming show, Malfoy ran backstage and dragged Harry on the stage. The crowd cheered and Harry and Malfoy kissed on stage again.

After the performance, some autograph signing and photo shoots, everyone returned to the bus. Lauren and Sheila suggested going out to celebrate, but both Harry and Malfoy hesitated. Harry thought of words he could say that expressed that he’d rather stay on the bus and shag Malfoy. Everyone who didn’t know about Sheila’s encounter in Harry’s room had figured out that the relationship had become real when they witnessed the kiss on the stage. Even on the bus after everything was over, Harry was still holding hands with Malfoy.

Madeline was about to make a comment when her boyfriend Timothy stopped her. “Don’t,” he said, “let it go. I am worried I can’t protect you when Draco snaps and hexes you.”

Malfoy shot him a look of gratitude. With no more words, he grabbed Harry’s hand and left the room. Harry figured that was Malfoy’s way of saying “I’d rather stay on the bus and shag Harry.”

It had been a long day, and even a longer week, so Harry didn’t blame anyone when he and Malfoy collapsed on the bed and couldn’t do more than steal a few kisses before they started yawning. Harry undressed a tired Malfoy and then himself before slipping under the covers on his bed.

The warmth of Malfoy’s body was wonderful. Harry snuggled up to him, holding him tight, then realised perhaps he was being a bit too smitten. He tried to distance himself away from Malfoy who immediately said, “Where are you going, Potter?” Malfoy turned to hold Harry from behind and soon they both fell asleep.

That night again Harry dreamt of flying atop a silver dragon. He felt free, he felt whole.

When Harry woke up the next morning, Malfoy still had his arm around him. He pushed into the other man’s body gently and Malfoy’s grip around him tightened. He slightly moaned against Harry’s neck as he began waking up. Harry pushed himself on Malfoy’s groin again; the moan had begun doing its trick. Malfoy straightened up and lay on his back and Harry turned to face him. He looked at his left wrist, which held no lines. Harry looked at his right and it was also clear.

“I guess we’re not bound to each other anymore,” Harry said.

“Hmm,” Malfoy responded. Harry was unsure what it meant.

“If you want to change your mind –” Harry said.

“I don’t. I was just thinking about yesterday morning,” Malfoy answered.

“You mean, when you wanked?” Harry asked. Malfoy shot a look at him that said how do you know about that? “You didn’t have any lines on your wrist, is that why you were wearing long sleeves?”

“Wait, that’s happened to you?” Malfoy asked in surprise.

“Yeah, a few days ago,” Harry answered honestly.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” Malfoy asked, his tone still shocked.

“What? Tell the man that supposedly hated me that I touch myself thinking about his soft lips?” Harry laughed and he suddenly remembered Malfoy’s lips that pleasured him the night before.

“How often have you thought about my lips?” Malfoy asked, turning his body to face Harry as he rested his right hand on Harry’s hip.

“Since that day we kissed in Germany,” Harry responded. His hand travelled back to Malfoy’s neck and pulled him in for a kiss.

“What else have you thought about?” Malfoy asked when they parted for air.

"Your neck veins. They pop when you're stressed, and there's this corner..." Harry pointed at a spot on Malfoy's neck, "that turns red when you're flustered or upset."

“You’re very observant,” Malfoy responded, his hand gently sliding towards Harry’s arse.

“I started noticing since that day we were hiding from the reporters under the Invisibility Cloak,” Harry answered, pushing into Malfoy’s finger when his hand settled on Harry’s arse and his finger started to tease his hole.

“Oh, I wanked for hours that night,” Malfoy responded, pushing himself closer towards Harry’s body, as their erections began to gently graze each other.

“You did?”

“Yeah, that’s why I missed your show. I was spent and embarrassed. I thought if anybody saw me, they’d know.”

Harry’s body rocked against Malfoy’s he wanted – needed him. “Draco, stop teasing me.” Harry closed his eyes and pressed into Malfoy’s finger some more.

Malfoy grinned and took that as an invitation to push his finger into Harry some more. “Okay, Harry.” Harry groaned; it had been so long. Draco stopped and Harry whined at the loss of touch.

“My trousers, I put a small tube of lube in them last night,” Draco said. Harry turned his body so he could see the floor and spotted them. He leaned in to pull them off the floor, inadvertently giving a view of his backside to Draco. He leaned in and kissed Harry’s arse, lingering leisurely around his entrance with his tongue.

Harry stopped moving almost immediately. He moaned with pleasure and surprise. Apparently Draco had decided to pleasure Harry with his tongue, pulling in and out in his most personal place. Ultimately he stopped and asked for the lube again. Harry handed it to him. When Draco slid a damp finger inside Harry, Harry gasped again. He toyed with Harry for a while until he replaced one finger with two, then three. Harry moaned louder when Draco had succeeded in hitting the right spot.

“Draco –” Harry was almost begging.

“Turn,” Draco said and Harry obliged.

0–0–0–0–0–0–0–0

Six Months Later

Harry sat on his rocking chair at number 12, Grimmauld Place, as he drank his tea and read a love letter, not from a book he'd borrowed from Hermione's library, but a letter his Draco had written him.

Adjusted to Myself was on a holiday for a month and Harry waited at home for his boyfriend to return from touring with The Serpent's Kiss. Then, they were off to Draco’s birthday week celebration in France and Germany, to relive and remember their days of forced friendship when they both secretly pined over each other. Except this time, Draco had promised a proper shag at every monumental location.

If someone had asked him three years ago, Harry would have never thought that his life would have turned around so much. He had gone from sitting by the fire on Sundays and reading love anthologies, to playing bass in a band, to reading love letters written to him by a man that he was truly in love with.

They still argued, they still bickered, but instead of throwing hexes at each other or at least threatening to, they just ended up with a lot of make–up sex.

Harry had told Hermione that he was surprised at how quickly he’d fallen for Malfoy and of course, she had responded with the fact that she wasn’t surprised at all. She had seen this coming since their sixth year at Hogwarts. He didn’t believe her.

He didn’t know how his life had changed so fast, but he blamed a bunch of Slytherins for it. Eventually, he placed the blame on the one person he’d always been obsessed with, Draco Malfoy.

To forget the horrors of his past and the trauma of the war, Harry had begun to turn to music and poetry; it had been his refuge. Now, he had something else, someone else to turn to, to share his life with.

THE END

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