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Draco, normally, did not consider himself an idiot. Usually he was quite cunning and smart; there was a reason he'd been sorted into Slytherin, after all.

However, it could not be said that he was acting very Slytherin-like right now. He was being more of a damned fool than anything else—and to think that he was acting this way to save the skin of another idiot.

He'd watched the Granger girl run into the bathroom earlier that day, wiping tears from her cheeks as she did. He'd just shrugged and continued on his way. But Professor Quirrell had interrupted the Halloween feast with news of a troll.

It was terrifying to think that a troll was inside the school, and so Draco had hurried down the halls with the rest of the Slytherins to the safety of their common room. But as they'd passed the girls bathroom he couldn't help wondering... couldn't help thinking that Granger might still be in there.

Already cursing himself, he'd stepped out of the line, shrugging off Greg and Vince's confused looks with a sneer, and disappeared into the bathroom.

"Hello?" he called now, still unable to stop thinking himself a fool. He should just hurry right back out from where he came, should go to the Slytherin dungeons with the rest of his house.

There was a surprised sounding hiccup from the last stall, one that sounded suspiciously watery—as if the maker of the sound had been crying. Granger.

"Granger," Draco announced imperiously, a gasp of surprising answering him. "You must go to your common room right away. There’s a troll, you see."

A moment of silence. "Liar."

Draco was offended. "What?"

"You're lying," Granger hiccuped, and Draco hissed in annoyance. He bothers to save the mudblood's life and this is the thanks he receives?

"Fine then," Draco spat. "You can just wait around to be eaten by the troll for all I care, but I won't be sticking around.” With that, he spun around and marched towards the door, his shoes smacking loudly off the linoleum. And then the door creaked open.

Draco paused, not daring to believe it was true, not daring to believe his luck could be so terrible. But there it was: a great, ghastly hand appearing around the edge of the door, pushing it open. Draco took a step backwards, and then another, and another, until he was pressing himself inside the stall directly next to Granger’s and locking the damned thing with a decisive click.

“Be quiet,” he whispered, backing up, up, up, until he was pressed against the very wall. The thought of the germs surrounded him… Well, it was disgusting, but Draco supposed he would have to deal with it if he wanted to live. He heard as the door creaked back shut, clicking into place, and he closed his eyes and tilted his head up and cursed himself once more for being a complete idiot.

“You’re tricking me,” Granger said, but she, too, was whispering. Some part of her understood that they were in danger, even if her so-called smart brain didn’t.

“Shut up,” Draco said, barely even daring to breathe. Heavy footsteps thudded outside the stalls, and Draco watched as the troll’s ugly toes stopped outside his stall, a club dragging along the ground beside them. Eyes wide with fear, he ducked to the floor and crawled (Merlin, the germs) into Granger’s stall, shoving her up against the wall and pulling her to the floor with him. He communicated with nothing other than his terrified eyes and a finger pressed urgently against his lips.

He at least had the sense of mind to pull out his wand.

And then the stall next to them exploded, taking part of their own stall with it. Toilet water exploded into the air (Draco prayed to Salazar himself that it wouldn’t touch him) and Granger—damn her—screamed. The troll honed in on them immediately, its hearing much better than its eyesight, something every wizard knew. Come to think of it, Granger probably knew too, though she was apparently too addled with fear to think properly.

The troll raised its club once more, and Draco, like the hero he was, grabbed Granger’s wrist and yanked her to her feet, shoving her out the stall door and past the troll as it swung its club and destroyed the stall they’d previously occupied.

“Oh God!” Granger whimpered as it turned to face them once more. It was blocking their way to the door and Draco didn’t know of any spells that could defeat a troll. He didn’t know how to perform Avada Kedavra yet, anyway.

Exactly then, the bathroom door burst open and Potter himself trampled in, his hair a mess and panting like a heathen. Weasley tumbled in immediately after.

“Good of you to finally show up,” Draco said snidely, before the stupid troll swung its club once again and Draco shoved both himself and Granger back to the floor.

“Malfoy!” Weasley said intelligently.

“Hermione!” Potter cried, looking entirely too distressed for the person not currently about to get smashed with a giant club.

“Do something!” Granger cried, and she began crawling under the sinks, trying to get closer to the door. Draco remained where he was, his grip on his wand firm but sweaty. Maybe he could do something, could do some spell that would distract it long enough for them to escape.

A sink exploded at the troll’s hand and Draco flinched away as shrapnel flew in all directions. He vaguely felt something graze his cheek, felt a faint stinging, but he ignored it.

Potter—like a bloody idiot—charged the beast, his wand held aloft. He leapt onto the troll’s back and clung on for dear life, as if he could actually hurt it this way. The troll didn’t even seem to notice him, instead it turned its beady eyes on Draco and advanced. Draco backed up until he was climbing over the wreckage of the destroyed stalls, the troll following him still.

“Run!” Potter yelled, and Draco would’ve sneered at him if he weren’t otherwise occupied. What did it look like he was trying to do? Sit down and relax?

The troll let out a roar right before a rock nailed it in the back of the head, barely missing Potter, courtesy of Weasley. “Oi!” he yelled. “Pea brain!”

The troll wasn’t bothered. It wasn’t anything but angry and hungry for Draco’s flesh.

“Run!” Potter cried again. Realizing that he was fairly out of options, Draco took this advice to heart and jumped out of the rubble, trying to dodge around the beast. It made a swipe for Draco, which he tried to jump out of the way from. Key word: tried.

Draco was lifted into the air by his legs, a very manly scream pervaded the bathroom. The troll lifted him high up in the air, aligning its beady yellow eyes with Draco’s face and squinted, as if he were the ugly one.

He looked at Potter desperately. While normally he tried to keep his interactions with Potter limited to taunts and insults, he decided that now was an exception. “Help me!” The troll took to shaking Draco, as if by doing so it might discover his purpose. It gave him a headache.

It raised its club, trying to smack Draco out of its other hand, while Draco screamed. Potter shoved his wand up the thing’s nose in an attempt to help, and Granger stared on in shock, definitely not as smart as Draco had been lead to believe. Weasley, on the other hand, did something actually helpful.

Wingardium Leviosa!” he cried, and the troll’s club levitated out of its hand and above its head, where it then dropped with enough force to knock it out. Draco was immediately left to plummet to the ground, but Granger called something that had the hard floor feeling like a mattress, which he had no idea how she knew how to perform. Potter yanked his wand out of the troll’s nose looking slightly embarrassed.

“Well,” Draco said a bit breathlessly, carefully reaching up to fix his hair. Now that the danger was gone he felt a bit embarrassed about his screaming, though he supposed he hadn’t been the only one doing it. “I’ll just be go—”

The door burst wide open and Draco had a brief moment of—not another troll—before a bunch of professors poured into the room. Oh Merlin, this is what he gets for trying to do something good?

Draco had to resist rolling his eyes during the entire time they got reprimanded—and the subsequent giving and taking of house points—before they were all being shooed out of the bathroom to return to their houses.

They all paused at the end of the hall, left towards Gryffindor, right towards Slytherin.

Potter nodded amicably and Draco blinked in surprise, taken aback. Without a second thought, he nodded back before turning and stalking towards his common room.

After that, Draco found Potter and his lackeys sharing a table with him in potions, something to which he didn't even object. After all, there were some things you couldn’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll was one of them.

— — —

Draco liked the eighth year common room. Mainly because it was shared between all the houses and he no longer had to traipse all the way across the castle just to see his friends.

“Move over, Weasley,” he demanded. “You’re in my spot.”

Ron did no such thing. He gave Draco a sullen look before turning his head to the side and sighing dramatically. “Hermione hates me.”

Draco rolled his eyes and threw himself on top of Ron’s legs. “She does not.”

“Oh, she might,” Harry piped in, showing up out of nowhere and leaning over the back of the couch. He turned his face—already much too close to Draco’s—to grin, and Draco managed to grin back while subtly scooting away, his face probably red. He was ridiculous. He cursed his pounding heart and prayed it would stop altogether.

“What did you even do?” Draco questioned, and Ron sighed loudly once again.

“He—”

“No!” Ron protested. “If Draco knows I’ll live in shame for the rest of my life.”

Draco piped up. “Well now I have to know.”

Harry climbed over the back of the couch, frowning as he stepped onto Ron’s legs. “Move, Ron.”

“Nobody loves me,” Ron moaned. “Not even Hermione.” He did move his legs though, finally letting Draco sit on the actual couch, Harry falling in right beside him, his side pressed against Draco’s. Godric, he was going to die. At least when they’d lived in separate houses Draco could get a break from his insufferable grins and casual touches. Now they slept in the same room! Draco couldn’t even wank in there knowing Harry was just a couple beds away!

“She’ll forgive you,” Harry insisted, at which point Hermione walked in through the door. They all paused, turning to look at her, and she rolled her eyes and stalked towards them.

“I hear you hate Weasley,” Draco announced. “Tell me why.”

“Don’t!” Ron protested.

“I don’t hate Ron,” Hermione insisted. Draco sighed dramatically.

“I knew it. You all hate me.”

Harry laughed his stupid, horrible, beautiful, wondrous laugh. Draco wanted to die. Draco vowed to never say anything funny again, despite the possibility that he was, in fact, a comedic genius.

“Did you finish your Transfiguration homework, Harry?” Hermione questioned, already spreading out her books on the table. Harry winced.

“I saved the wizarding world, I shouldn’t have to do homework,” he whined. Hermione scoffed.

“How else will you learn?”

“By listening in class.”

“Alright, then transfigure Draco into a cat,” she said decisively. Draco stiffened.

“You will not.”

“I could do it,” Harry said, sounding completely sure of himself. Nonetheless, Draco did not trust him.

“If you so much as point your want at me I’ll vanish the hair from your head,” Draco promised. Harry frowned. “And even your hair is better than no hair.”

“Just let me,” Harry said, even daring to reach for his wand. Draco was standing and had his wand centered between Harry’s eyes in a second. A hush fell across the common room and Draco remembered that they weren’t, in fact, in the Gryffindor common room like they used to be. Surely nobody in here actually thought Draco would harm Harry?

Harry pouted. “You don’t trust me?”

“Not at all.”

Draco was wondering just how exactly Harry had defeated Voldemort when he had managed to best him so easily, when Harry whipped his wand out with a wicked grin and pointed it at Draco. In a matter of seconds he was on the floor and feeling incredibly disoriented. He tried to protest.

Meow.”

Realizing that he was, in fact, a cat, Draco let out a vicious hiss.

“Aw, you’re so cute,” Harry cooed, and Draco cursed him to hell and back. If only he could say that when Draco wasn’t a cat. Though preferably he’d go with ‘ruggedly handsome’ or ‘an angel’s incarnate’.

Draco’s tail swiped angrily as he waited for Harry to turn him back. It was humiliating, being bested by Harry, but definitely not foreign to him. After all, they’d often gotten into little spats and duels over the years, and Draco had rarely won them. Their minds had been otherwise occupied over the last year, however, on the run from Voldemort. Draco couldn’t even remember the last time they’d been able to do this. It finally felt normal again, despite the fact that Draco was currently raging in his tiny cat body.

“Oh Harry,” Hermione protested. “I didn’t think you’d actually do it.”

Draco turned to glare at her. After all, it was her fault for putting the damned idea in Harry’s head .

“Yeah, you’ve ruined the night, Harry,” Ron agreed, seeming not so sad anymore now that Hermione had assured she hadn’t hated him. “You know now he’s just going to sulk for the rest of the night.”

Damn right, Draco was going to sulk. He was going to spin around and stalk up the stairs and lay in his bed until morning, when Harry would have to beg for his forgiveness.

“How can something this cute be angry?” Harry grinned—and Godric—reached down and picked Draco up. Draco hissed directly in his face. He debated swiping at him with his claws, adding some new scars to that pretty face of his.

“Put him down, Harry,” Hermione reprimanded. Ron looked amused. Draco was going to rip his stupid red Weasley hair out.

“Fine,” Harry sighed, setting Draco back down on the couch and pointed his wand at him again. Draco tried not to flinch. That wand had done so much… seen so much…

There was a flash of light and Draco was himself again. He sneezed violently.

He swiftly stood, sniffing and wiping at his nose with his sleeve, and stared down his nose at Harry.

“I’ll kill you for that, Potter,” he spat. His voice sounded congested. “Prepare yourself for Voldemort part two.”

“More like part seven.”

“Why do you sound so weird?” Ron questioned. Draco sniffed again.

“I’m allergic to cats,” he announced, before spinning around and stalking into the boys’ dorm. He blew his nose about fifty times before crawling into his bed, cursing his friends, and closing his eyes.

Draco woke abruptly with the breath knocked out of him. It was thanks to Harry catapulting himself onto Draco’s bed, as if that was any way to gain his favor.

“What the fuck—” Draco gasped, once air had decided to return to his lungs. He tried to roll over to no avail, Harry a solid weight on his back. "You think this is the way to regain my love?”

“I never lost it,” Harry replied, and Draco once again tried to struggle out from under him. His face was pressed into the pillow, back to back with Harry.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Draco wheezed, trying to sound snide but failing miserably. “My love is quite fickle.”

All the talking about love was making Draco lightheaded, of course, it also could’ve been the lack of air in his lungs.

He didn’t know when he’d fallen in love with Harry. He only knew that one day, years ago, he’d realized that he was in love with him and didn’t know how. He didn’t know what had lead up to it, what had caused it. He only knew that his heart chest ached when he thought about it for too long, how his stomach got twisted up in knots whenever he was with Harry. Which was all the time. His stomach hadn’t felt normal in ages.

“Get off!” Draco whined, and Harry finally obeyed, rolling to his side and sighing loudly.

“It’s just not as comfortable over here.”

“Shut up, you bastard,” Draco muttered, before ripping open his hangings and climbing out of his bed. He rolled his eyes as Harry continued to lay there and made his way into the bathroom.

Honestly, Draco didn’t know how Harry hadn’t realized it. He felt like his feelings for him were obvious, that what he thought and felt were easily transparent. He knew that Hermione probably knew, though she’d never brought it up to Draco or anything. She was too smart for her own good, always realizing things that she had no business realizing. On multiple occasions Draco had found himself staring at Harry unthinkingly, his feelings probably written all over his face, until suddenly remembering and snapping out of it, only to find Hermione already looking at him.

He knew why she had never brought it up with him before, though. It was obvious. Harry wasn’t gay.

For all anyone else knew (besides Hermione) Draco wasn’t either. Mostly because it was nobody’s business but Draco’s. It wasn’t like it affected anyone besides himself. And if everyone did know that he was gay, it’d probably take Harry no time to realize what Draco truly felt for him. He was afraid that if Harry ever knew he’d be disgusted—weirded out at all the times he’d changed in front of Draco or fallen asleep on his bed. Draco didn’t want that. He didn’t want Harry to stop liking him because of something he couldn’t even control.

And so it had to stay a secret.

“Draco?” Hermione called, probably having come into the boys’ dormitory. Draco didn’t see how that was fair, didn’t understand what kind of sexism applied to let girls into the boys’ side, but he was too apathetic to actually try to do something about it.

“He’s in the bathroom,” Harry said, and Hermione continued on her merry way into the bathroom. For Merlin’s sake, Draco could’ve been peeing or something!

“What do you want, Granger?” Draco asked blandly. He wasn’t peeing, as it turned out, so he didn’t really care that she was here. He continued to fix his hair, gel in one hand and wand in the other. It didn’t really seem like cooperating today.

“McGonagall wants to see you,” she said, hopping up onto the counter and watching Draco curiously. Draco raised an eyebrow at her.

“I could fix your hair too, if you want,” he suggested, wiggling his hair-product-covered fingers at her. She glared.

“Keep that crap away from me.”

Draco just sighed. “Oh, the wonders I could do for you.”

“McGonagall wants to see you now,” Hermione repeated. Draco huffed in annoyance.

“How come?”

“I didn’t ask.”

Draco rolled his eyes. “When will you learn? I could need to do some serious avoiding right now, depending on what she wants me for.”

“Just go see her!” Harry yelled from the dorm. Draco leaned to the side, finding him still lounging on his bed.

“Get off my bed!” Draco yelled back. Harry stuck out his tongue and bundled further into the blankets. Draco decided it was time to give up—on both his hair and getting out of whatever McGonagall wanted—and turned to head down the stairs, pulling on the rest of his clothes as he went. He was in the midsts of tying his tie, distracted as he came down the stairs, when he stopped dead. McGonagall was in the common room.

Everyone looked uncomfortable at the fact that a professor was in the common room, and Draco glanced around carefully, trying to see if there were any clues as to what the hell was going on. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he was in trouble somehow, though he had no clue what he’d done.

“Professor,” Draco greeted.

“Mr. Malfoy. Come with me.”

Draco nodded and followed her out of the common room, a colossal sigh from everyone in the room following behind him as he removed the professor from their house. It still felt weird—their house being where it was. He still found himself taking a right outside the Great Hall as if to head to the dungeons, or climbing an entirely wrong staircase as if to go to the Gryffindor common room. Instead they lived in a magically modified room fairly close to the library.

“May I ask what I’ve done, Professor?” Draco questioned, his hands shoved deep in the pockets of his robes. The castle was almost always cold, but especially now as autumn was slipping into winter, the chill from the outdoors seeping through the stone walls and making the entire school feel like ice.

“A refrigerator,” Harry had said once as they’d walked to whichever class they were going to. Draco could hardly remember now—didn’t even recall which year it had been.

“A what?” Draco had muttered, his teeth practically chattering. Harry barely looked bothered by the cold, but then, he was always warm. Draco was endlessly jealous, but whenever he happened to brush against Harry’s hand, no matter the season, it was warm.

“It’s a muggle thing. A giant box that keeps everything inside it cold. That’s what the school feels like,” Harry had explained.

Draco had taken a moment to try to comprehend just what the fuck Harry was going on about, before stating, “Muggles are ridiculous. They should try a box of heat. I feel as if I’ll never be warm again.”

“Well, they have that too, actually. It’s called an oven.”

Draco had huffed. “Stupid muggles.”

“You’ve done nothing wrong,” McGonagall said now, snapping Draco out of his thoughts. They were walking down the halls but Draco was sure there was no true destination in sight. They were just walking to have something to do other than simply converse. But why?

“Then what—”

“It’s about Harry.”

Draco felt taken aback. “What about him?”

“I’m worried about him.”

Draco had to force himself to keep walking, surprise trickling through his veins. “How come?”

McGonagall cleared his throat. “You’re not with him at all times, are you, Mr. Malfoy?”

For some reason, Draco felt as if he were being accused. “Of course not,” he answered. “That’s impossible! Granger and Weasley aren’t—”

“I’m not accusing you of anything,” McGonagall interrupted. “It’s just that I’ve realized that he may be acting… differently… when he’s alone.”

“What?” Draco breathed. “What’s he doing?”
“Just the other night I came across him in the library. He wore such an expression of sadness… I was sure something must have happened. I asked him what was wrong, of course, but he just jolted upright and said that he was late for a chess match with Ms. Granger.”

“Hermione never plays chess,” Draco said, because that’s apparently all he could take from this conversation.

“Exactly.”

“Are you sure he wasn’t just sad about school work?” Draco asked. “Essays are bound to make anyone feel depressed.”

“I just think you should take strides so that Harry is rarely alone. It seems to me as if he’s suffering in silence.”

“Why me?” Draco finally questioned. “Why aren’t you telling Hermione this? Or Ron?”

McGonagall just looked at him, her eyes serious. “I think you’ll do the best job,” she said calmly. Draco swallowed thickly. She couldn’t see what he felt for Harry, could she?

“Alright,” Draco said, nodding. “I’ll do my best.”

“That you will.”

“What did McGonagall want?” Hermione asked as Draco wandered back into his dorm. She was now on his bed as well, Harry still just as present there as before, his face pressed into Draco’s pillow, apparently dozing. As Draco stood there, Weasley came striding out of the bathroom, toweling off his hair, and climbed into Draco’s bed as well. For Merlin’s sake, it was only a twin! What were they all doing there?

“Why are you all on my bed?” Draco demanded, ignoring Hermione. Ron shrugged.

“You have the best bed?” he attempted. Really, this was ridiculous. It might have been less ridiculous if it didn’t happen so often.

“What did McGonagall want?” Hermione repeated.

“Oh, nothing,” Draco said easily. “She just wanted to talk to me about my essay—said it was some of my best work.”

Hermione’s mouth dropped open, her eyebrows narrowing furiously. “What?” she demanded. “What about my essay? I was sure it was great…”

“Not great enough,” Draco said airily, before stalking closer to his bed, twirling his wand around his fingers. “Now what spell shall I do to get you all off my bed? Levicorpus?”

“No,” Ron moaned. “You always drop us too quickly.”

Sectumsempra?” Draco said, grinning wickedly.

“Don’t joke!” Harry protested, prying his eyes open and proving that he was, in fact, awake. He frowned at Draco.

It was true, cutting Draco open from shoulder to navel definitely wasn’t one of Harry’s greatest moments, but Draco had forgiven him for it ages ago. Sixth year had been a wreck for the two of them. They’d constantly gotten in fights and had even gone about ignoring each other for extended periods of time. It’d all been because Voldemort had been threatening Draco’s parents, which they’d told Draco and begged him to join their forces in order to save them.

He’d refused, of course, but that hadn’t stopped him from worrying about their wellbeing. They were still family, after all. And he’d tried to come up with ways to save them all year long, too. He’d been adamant about pretending to join Voldemort, if only for long enough to safely get his parents out of his clutches. Harry had insisted it was a stupid idea and that his parents were already evil anyway, and that’d been when Draco had blown up and they’d stopped talking for an entire month.

Hermione and Ron and tried over and over to get them to make up but neither of them had felt up for it. Even though Draco had loved him, even then, he hadn’t wanted to see Harry. Because of that he’d barely been able to see Hermione and Ron either, mainly because he liked to be dramatic and he felt that he might as well avoid all his friends in one fell swoop. Plus, he couldn’t have just strolled into the Gryffindor common room when he was in a fight with Harry.

Although none of that was to mention the fact that Harry had found that stupid book that year. Hermione had been constantly berating him about it, begging him to turn it in or at least throw it away. She had been very adamant about not trusting it, and though Draco had felt strongly intrigued, he’d had to agree with her. Not to mention the fact that he didn’t like getting worse grades than Harry, especially in potions.

When Harry had seen him crying in the bathroom that day… He’d been beyond angry. He’d started throwing curses and hexes at his friend, embarrassed and angry and scared for his parents’ lives. And when Harry had uttered the curse, the word that they’d both spent time staring at and questioning one late night in Harry’s dorm, Draco had only had a moment to feel rage at Harry using the curse made ‘for enemies’ on him before he’d felt nothing but pain.

He’d collapsed immediately, warm and cold all at the same time as blood had spurted out of him in disgusting amounts. He could even remember the sounds of Harry’s screams, could remember the way he’d sobbed as he’d dropped to his knees beside Draco and pressed down over his wounds, trying his best to keep the blood in.

“Draco, Draco. I’m so sorry, Draco,” he’d whispered, over and over. That was the last thing Draco could remember before he’d woken up in the hospital wing.

His entire front had still hurt viciously, had felt a bit like it was on fire, and it’d hurt to even move. But he’d pried his eyes open to find none other than Harry asleep in the chair next to him, his eyes accompanied with dark purple bags.

“Harry,” Draco had croaked. Harry’s eyes had snapped open immediately, and he’d leaped to his feet and called for Madam Pomfrey, worry etched into every inch of his body.

Afterwards, Harry had offered to help Draco pretend to join Voldemort, had suggested asking for Dumbledore’s help, but Draco had declined. He’d insisted that Harry had been right all along, that it’d been a stupid idea in the first place.

Avada Kedavra it is, then,” Draco sighed, pointing his wand at Harry’s forehead. Harry glared. “Get out of my bed.”

In the blink of an eye, Harry whipped his wand out from under his pillow and disarmed Draco, catching his wand with a smirk. He tucked both wands back under his head. Draco sighed in annoyance.

“You truly are the worst. All of you.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Hermione muttered, a book propped open on her lap. Where’d she even get a book anyway? Draco squinted at the cover before realizing it was his book, one that had been propped open on his bedside.

“Did you lose my page?” he demanded.

Hermione shrugged, unconcerned. “You should’ve left a bookmark.”

Draco positively growled before turning around and descending the stairs. He truly hated the three of them, sometimes. Draco ended up going to the library, one of the only places he could get some peace and quiet. Harry and Ron never came to the library voluntarily, and Hermione was otherwise occupied currently, so he would be fine.

“Why does this always happen?”

Draco groaned, his neck aching. He pried his eyes open, blinking the sleep out of them as he tried to lift his head. The page of the book underneath his face stuck to his cheek and he had to reach out to dislodge it.

“Harry?” he murmured, squinting into the dim light of the library. Harry was right, it did happen quite often—him falling asleep in the library. He couldn’t help it though, he was too stubborn to admit that he was tired and never felt willing to go back to his dorm, and so he stayed and continued to read until he literally passed out from exhaustion.

He’d even gotten in trouble for it a few times in past years, usually thanks to Filch creeping about during the night and waking Draco up by screaming at him. On even more occasions, however, Harry had appeared under his invisibility cloak where he’d conveniently get Draco out of harms way. Sometimes he would just walk Draco back to the Slytherin house, but on other, rarer occasions, he would claim he was too tired and that Draco owed him one, and they’d simply go back to Gryffindor and sleep in Harry’s bed together. Those were both the best and most anxiety riddled nights of Draco’s life, though he’d probably do anything to experience it again. Now that he and Harry shared a dorm they’d never have a reason to share a bed.

“Man you really are tired if you’re calling me Harry,” Harry laughed. Draco blinked a few more times, finally waking up a bit more.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Potter,” he muttered. “I would never say such a thing.” Draco stood up as dignified as he could with a crick in his neck and indents from the page on his face. Harry simply rolled his eyes.

“Let’s get out of here before someone finds us.”

Draco nodded his agreement and slipped under Harry’s invisibility cloak, despite the fact that not only was their house only a couple hallways away, no professor would bother to get mad seeing Harry Potter wandering the schools at night. They’d all seemed to accept that as the Savior he deserved to do a little midnight wandering if he so pleased. Although now that McGonagall had confronted Draco about Harry being alone, he wondered if Harry did so more often than he knew of. He couldn’t help feeling guilty having abandoned Harry and escaped to the library mere minutes after promising he would attempt to not leave Harry alone. He’d spent the entire day here, only taking quick breaks to steal snacks from the kitchens before returning and attempting to read the entire library.

Draco tried to can his thoughts as they crept through the library, their bodies practically pressed together. He simultaneously loved and hated Harry’s invisibility cloak. He liked being so close to Harry but he hated having to control himself, having to feel so embarrassed and weak facing his feelings for him. Plus, they were much too big to be sharing the cloak anymore. Not to mention that Draco was a good bit taller than Harry, which forced him to crouch so that his ankles didn’t show when they walked.

“You know,” Draco said conversationally. “I’m pretty sure we could walk through the halls at night without your cloak. You are Harry Potter, after all.”

“Where’d be the fun in that?” Harry whispered back. He turned his head to face Draco, which was much too close in the close quarters they were already in.

“The ability to walk freely.”

Harry scoffed and elbowed Draco in the side. “We can do that whenever we want.”

Draco tried to ignore his heart pounding in his ears as they continued down the corridors and into the eighth years’ house. Harry whipped off the cloak triumphantly once they were safely back inside their dorm, sharing a familiar conspiring grin with Draco.

“You guys are nerds,” Ron commented, peering through the openings of his hangings. Draco saw Blaise nodding from his own bed. Draco declined to respond and climbed into his bed without bidding anyone goodnight.

Draco, as usual, did not feel inclined to get up. When he was younger he'd always been one of the first to wake up, though only because he'd wanted to go to Gryffindor tower as soon as possible. Of course, he never would've admitted that to anyone.

He could still remember his first time in the Gryffindor common room. It'd been only a few weeks after the four of them had defeated that troll, their friendship easily growing despite Draco supposedly hating them.

Afterwards he'd refused to admit that he was friends with Harry, Ron, and Hermione for quite some time. Even when they’d talked during every class they’d shared, studied in the library together, and shared meals at each other's house tables he'd refused to admit it. Whenever asked he would claim that he hated Harry Potter, even when on his way to meet them.

His first trip into Gryffindor House had been memorable only because none of them had actually known if students from other houses were allowed into each other’s. Obviously they'd decided to sneak Draco in. The first time he'd been under Harry's cloak and he'd sat with them on the plushy chairs by the fireplace, utterly silent so that no one would be the wiser of their invisible guest. Draco had felt incredibly anxious and like he was breaking a thousand rules the entire time, and yet he’d kept coming back.

Whenever someone tried to sit in the chair he was occupying he would be forced to dive off and catapult himself onto Harry or Ron, afraid that someone would trod over him if he were seated on the floor. He was eventually caught after they'd become careless, long after he'd stopped being silent and had started whispering to them, long after he'd started to slip off the cloak when they happened to be the only ones in the common room. Draco had been lounging on the couch, one much more comfortable than the ones in Slytherin, which wasn't fair at all, when an older student had walked through the portrait hole.

They'd all frozen, eyes wide and terror creeping through their bodies. The older student had rolled his eyes.

"Nobody cares, you know," he'd said. "You can stop hiding all the time, no one’s going to tell on you."

And after that, Draco had never had to hide while in their common room again. He'd also ended up with all their passwords, and no one ever batted an eye when he came strolling into their common room, with or without his Gryffindor companions.

Over time, of course, the excitement of seeing his friends had faded and his desire to sleep had increased. It'd increased so much that his friends had started coming to Slytherin, if only to drag Draco out of bed and back up to their common room.

"Draco," Blaise had snapped from the doorway on multiple occasions. "Your Gryffindors are here."

"Tell them to leave," Draco had almost always said, only to have his friends storm into his dorm and force him through his morning procedures. Honestly, sometimes he wondered if befriending them had really been worth it after all.

Thing were no different now, unfortunately, even after he'd spent the year on the run with Harry, his sleep patterns completely destroyed. They'd all been too high strung to sleep properly during those days, though Draco had had virtually no trouble reverting back to his old ways upon being safe again.

He wasn't so sure about everyone else, however. Harry always went to bed after Draco, even when Draco stayed up into the dreary hours of the early morning reading whatever novel his nose was currently stuck in. He was always awake before Draco as well, which left him wondering when the hell he even slept. Sometimes Harry accidentally fell asleep in the common room, but perhaps it was because he was unable to avoid it, exhaustion finally taking over his body and shutting him down.

McGonagall had told Draco to look after Harry after all. Maybe she'd noticed the bags under his eyes as well—the bags Draco had been convinced were left over from the war. Maybe he couldn't sleep due to nightmares or something. But what could Draco possibly do to help him out with that? McGonagall had told him to try to never leave Harry alone, but she couldn’t possibly mean during the night as well. Right?

Unless she had some horrible inkling to Draco’s feelings, as if she expected him to leap at such a chance.

"Draco," one of his annoying friend's persistent voices said. Draco groaned in response, a sound that clearly meant both no and leave me alone. "Wake up."

"Fuck off."

By now Draco was able to discern that it was Ron talking to him. He would kick Ron in the stomach if he continued.

"Seriously, wake up."

"Seriously, fuck off." If Draco were left alone right now he'd still be able to go back to sleep. Although his friends letting him go back to sleep had always been an extremely rare occurrence, one so rare that Draco had tried to train himself to never hope for it.

"It's Harry," Ron said seriously. Draco was sitting up and stumbling out of bed faster than if it’d been a fire, struggling into his clothes as he did.

"What's wrong with him?" Draco panted, shoving his hand through his hair in an attempt to tame it. Ron snorted and hooked his arm through Draco's, leading him down the stairs.

"Nothing. We're just going to get breakfast."

Draco had to take a moment to process. "You bastard!" he shouted, finally understanding. He struggled against his grasp but Ron was much stronger than him—bulkier too. Draco was all skin and bones; he could never beat Ron without his wand. "I'm going back to bed," Draco announced, even as Ron continued to manhandle him into the common room.

"I definitely can't go to the Great Hall with my hair like this," Draco said desperately. Ron wouldn't really make him go like this, would he? Draco would suffer endless embarrassment!

He was finally yanked the rest of the way down the stairs and he stumbled into the common room. Harry and Hermione were leaning against the couch, evidently waiting for him.

"I don't understand what you mean," Harry was saying quietly. Hermione just rolled her eyes, before apparently spotting his and Ron's appearance.

"Oh good, you're here," she said.

"Not for long," Draco responded, his hands up and concealing the horror of his untamed hair. They were the only ones in the common room, everyone else probably already at breakfast. Draco was surprised they'd let him sleep for as long as they did. "I'm not going anywhere looking like this."

"You look fine. Let's go," Harry said, and despite himself, Draco blushed. Harry was examining his hair curiously, which Draco absolutely didn't want to happen. It was a mess. It looked... it looked like Harry's hair!

Draco made to protest again but Ron was already dragging him, Harry latching onto his other arm jovially. Struggling was useless. Draco dug his feet into the stone floors regardless, wishing that he hadn't fallen for Ron's stupid trick. At the very least he could've allowed Draco to grab his robes. Now he was only dressed in his trousers and a sweater, leaving him vulnerable to Hogwarts' insistent chill.

Draco pouted as they sat down at the Gryffindor table (eighth years were allowed to sit wherever they wanted) and ducked his head in an attempt to keep his hair from view.

"I feel like everyone's staring at my hair," he muttered. Harry snorted and kicked him in the shin. Hermione started serving great spoonfuls of breakfast onto all of their plates.

“Nah mate, they’re just staring at Harry as usual,” Ron answered easily.

"I think I like your hair like this," Harry commented a little while later. Ron laughed as best he could with scrambled eggs stuffed in his mouth. Draco just glowered.

"You only think that because it looks half as bad as yours."

"My hair’s not so bad," Harry said with a shrug.

"Potter," Draco began, in an attempt to start an argument they shared probably three times a week. Hermione flicked a piece of bacon at him in an attempt to stop him before he began.

“Guys, look," Ron said, his voice hushed. He'd managed to swallow his mouthful without choking after all! Every meal brought with it possible death for Ron.

They all twisted to look towards the front of the hall where Ron had indicated.

"What are we looking at?" Harry questioned.

That,” Ron emphasized.

“I don’t see anything,” Harry said, glancing around desperately. Other students were looking around the hall as well, some of them gasping in awe or surprise. Draco decided that he was going to have to betray himself to curiosity and he looked up towards the front of the hall as well.

It was beautiful.

“Woah,” Draco whispered, his voice gone embarrassingly soft as he looked around with wide eyes.

Mainly, he couldn’t even comprehend what he was seeing, a rush of feelings and emotions pouring out of him and rushing through his body simply because he was gazing at it. And there wasn’t just one, there were plenty, all fluttering around around the Great Hall, making Draco feel warm inside.

Belatedly, he realized they were butterflies. Golden butterflies, dancing and shimmering through the air. God, what were they?

“Flutterflies,” Hermione answered, whether because Draco had accidentally said that last part out loud or because she seemed to have a sixth sense of knowing when her friends needed her knowledge, he would never know.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Harry muttered.

“They resemble butterflies. They’re kind of like threstrals; you can only see them if you’re in love,” Hermione answered. Ron blushed scarlet at this, though he shared a shy glance with Hermione.

“Wait a minute,” Hermione said, blinking in confusion. Draco caught up with her moments later. Fuck, she was too smart for her own good! “Draco? Who are you in love with?” And she was a bitch as well! As if she didn’t already know, what good did she think would come of this?

Luckily, Draco was an amazing liar. “I’m not. I pretended I could see them because I was jealous. And thought everyone was also pretending.” He cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Are they still here? I can’t see them.”

He knew damn well that they were still there. The fuzzy feeling in his stomach knew that they were still there. His eyes, accidentally darting around to look at all the creatures and probably giving himself away, knew that they were still there. But nobody else knew that he knew they were still there, thanks to the fact that he had lied so swiftly.

“I want to see them,” Harry huffed, glaring into his oatmeal.

“Me too,” Draco quickly agreed. Hermione rolled her eyes. Draco hated her. “But since I can’t, I think I’ll go to the library.”

With that Draco swiftly stood up and departed, his friends looking after him in confusion.

Draco blinked, confusion washing over him as he watched both Ron and Hermione walk into the library. Without Harry.

He couldn't entirely blame them for leaving Harry alone when no one had warned them not to, and technically it was his responsibility, but he'd been hoping that he'd be fine to run away and sulk, seeing as he assumed Harry would still have company.

"What are you doing?" Draco asked as they sat down at his table. They should've known him well enough by now to know that when he ran to the library he typically wanted to be alone. It wasn't like he was putting on a farce and hoping his friends would follow him, he just wanted to go away and be alone for a while. Mainly he was upset because some small, annoying part of him had held some stupid, minuscule amount of hope that Harry might actually secretly be in love with him. (Seeing as Draco was secretly in love with Harry, he’d thought that anything was possible). But now that dream was crushed and Draco was forced to realize, not for the first time, that Harry was straight anyway. Just because he wasn’t necessarily “good” with the ladies didn’t mean that he wasn’t attracted to them.

Still, Draco could understand why Ron and Hermione had decided to follow him to the library. In typical fashion of his friends, they adored him much too much to lose out on his company for so long.

"Retrieving you," Ron said with a shrug. He slouched back in his chair and propped his feet on the table, which Draco wrinkled his nose at.

"What about Harry?"

"Harry is a busy man, Draco," Ron said, shaking his head.

"No he's not," Draco argued. "Not anymore."

Ron blinked as if realizing this for the first time. Hermione just shook her head. "I think he wants to be alone," she said.

"Well!" Draco started. "He shouldn't be!"

"Why?"

He tried to come up with an answer that wasn't 'because McGonagall said so’. "He's still recovering from the war," Draco said with a shrug. "I don't think we should leave him alone."

"He can be alone if he wants to," Hermione said defensively.

"What if he's just basking in depression?" Draco argued. "We should be there to keep his mind off it."

"What's gotten into you?" Ron questioned. "You weren't saying this last week when he decided to stay inside instead of playing quidditch with us."

Draco's eyes widened after hearing this. How could they have been so blind? Harry Potter—who happily played quidditch even during his years long struggle with Voldemort—not wanting to play with them. Were they really all so unobservant?

"I have to go to the bathroom," Draco said suddenly, giving them each a nod in turn. He then gathered up all his supplies ("Why are you taking your bag to the bathroom?") and departed. He would be there for Harry. Maybe he'd been too obstructed by his own feelings for him to notice his sadness, but not anymore. He would do whatever he could to keep Harry's mind off the events of the war.

Draco hurried down the halls to the eighth year common room, prepared to burst through the door and force his presence and happiness upon Harry. He paused right outside the door though, debating. Maybe he should go in silently, to see if Harry actually seemed sad all on his own.

Deciding that this was the best possible option, Draco eased through the common room door. Blaise was sitting on the couch facing the door and he rolled his eyes as Draco came tip toeing through. He made a rude gesture at Blaise and continued on his way, carefully climbing the steps to his dorm and peering around the doorway.

Harry was sitting on his bed looking perfectly pleasant, a book balanced open on his knee.

Draco wasn't about to let himself be fooled. Harry was depressed. McGonagall had said so and only he could save him. Harry flipped the page. Draco squinted at the title. Maybe he was reading a book about depression.

“Why are you spying on me, Draco?” Harry said. Draco abruptly fell through the door with surprise, having lost his balance.

“I’m doing no such thing,” he said, dignified. He was lying on the ground.

Harry held up the Marauder’s Map, shaking it in the air like proof. “I could see you,” he stated.

“As if you don’t regularly spy on your friends,” Draco scoffed, finally standing up and coming to stand by Harry’s bed. “Why were you looking at the map anyway?”

“Just curious,” Harry muttered. Draco shoved him aside with his knee, forcing his way onto Harry’s bed. He casually glanced at the book on Harry’s leg, which he’d apparently only been pretending to read. But maybe he’d been pretending to read a book about depression. And maybe he’d been looking at the map to make sure that no one was spying on him while he read it.

Draco yanked the book out of his lap, suddenly sure it would contain the answers he was looking for, and looked at the cover. “Hey,” Draco protested. “This is my book.”

“And I was reading it.” Harry plucked the book right back out of Draco’s hands.

“But I wasn’t finished with it yet,” he lied.

“Too bad.”

“You barely even like reading,” Draco argued, itching to get his book back. In all actuality, he just didn’t want Harry to get to the end of the book. It was a story about a love triangle between a gorgeous woman and two men hopelessly in love with her, but in the end they realized that it was each other they loved, not the woman. Draco was afraid of what Harry would think—either that it in general was gross or that Draco was gross for reading it. Of course, Draco could always deny that he knew it was going to happen. There was no way Harry knew that he’d read it before. Many times.

“I like the books you read,” Harry replied, reaching up to wrap one of his already messy locks around his finger. This was why his hair didn’t stand a chance. He was always messing with it, always unable to keep his hands by his sides.

“No you don’t,” Draco said, mostly for the sake of disagreeing. Harry raised an eyebrow at Draco, who shrugged in response. He was doing the best he could.

Then again, if reading Draco’s books made Harry happy, then Draco had to let Harry read them. He had to keep him happy!

“Actually, you can keep it,” Draco said, at which Harry gave him an even more incredulous look. Draco normally wasn’t one to go back on his word, wasn’t one to change his mind so easily. “Since you like it so much.”

“You’re acting strange,” Harry said finally, shutting the book and holding his spot with his finger. “What’s up?”

“Nothing’s up!” Draco said immediately, laughing uncomfortably when Harry continued to look at him. He swallowed thickly, glancing around the room for a distraction.

“Just tell me,” Harry insisted. “It’ll take a lot less time and effort from me if you do. Otherwise I’ll have to take to snooping and spying until I can figure it out on my own.”

“Seems like you’re already spying,” Draco scoffed, indicating the Marauders Map, now folded up and resting under the book in Harry’s lap.

“You know I’ll just figure out eventually,” Harry said, ignoring Draco. “Are you really gonna make me do all the work to get to that point?”

Draco thought about it. “Yes.”

Harry sighed, loudly and dramatically, before climbing out of his bed and stalking towards Draco’s.

“What are you doing?” Draco demanded, as Harry dropped to his knees at the end of his bed, reaching for his trunk.

“Snooping,” Harry answered casually. With that he flicked open the latch and threw open the lid, immediately burying his grubby hands in Draco’s property.

“Stop that!” he cried, leaping out of the bed and stomping towards Harry. He tried to restrain his friend’s arms, but Harry was utterly resistant to his efforts. Draco ended up clambering onto his back and throwing his hands over Harry’s eyes, all the while Harry continued to dig through the trunk with one hand, his other one trying to pry Draco’s fingers off his face. They were both yelling as they fought, Harry eventually giving up with the trunk and trying to elbow Draco off.

“What the fuck are you guys doing?” Ron’s voice demanded from somewhere behind them. They both ceased their fighting, turning to look at their friend, sweaty and panting.

“Wrestling,” Draco answered easily, climbing off Harry and straightening his tie imperiously. “I’m sure you’re acquainted with it, coming from your family…”

“Draco,” Ron said threateningly. Draco just shrugged an elegant shoulder.

“I’m only insinuating that large families likely play all sorts of games together, Weasley.” He smiled innocently. Ron rolled his eyes. Hermione came up the stairs then, glancing around carefully and seeming to take the atmosphere in stride.

“Draco’s acting weird,” Harry piped up from the floor. Draco glanced over at him while wondering if he should kick him, only to see he was now digging through Draco’s trunk unobstructed.

“Potter, you bastard!” Draco cried, leaping forth once more. He drew his wand, casting a spell to slam the trunk shut, and another to send Harry sliding across the room. He then sat atop his trunk, crossing his arms over his chest and one leg over another.

“He is acting weird,” Ron commented, tapping his chin thoughtfully and examining Draco with suspicion. “What are you hiding in there?” Deciding that he was tired of being accused of weirdness, and that Harry would eventually figure it all out anyway, Draco owned up.

“I know, Potter.”

“Know that you’re acting weird?”

“No. I know.”

“Maybe we should take him to Madam Pomfrey,” Ron suggested. Draco groaned loudly.

“Potter is depressed,” Draco announced. He gave Ron a significant look, who only frowned in confusion.

“Er—are you, Harry?”

“No,” Harry said lightly. “I feel pretty not depressed, actually.”

“He’s lying!” Draco cried. He stood with a huff. “McGonagall told me everything, Potter!”

“What did McGonagall tell you?” Hermione asked, speaking up for the first time.

“She said—well, she said that… Potter was depressed. And that I should try to accompany him at all times.” Annoyingly enough, saying this made that insufferable look appear on Hermione’s face, the one that showed up when she’d figured something out and didn’t feel inclined to share it. Usually, Draco was only steps behind her in the realization factor, but for once he felt totally left in the dust. What did she know that he didn’t?

“I’m not depressed,” Harry said again, as if to remind Draco that some subplot was going on that he didn’t know about.

“Then why don’t you sleep?” he demanded.

“Of course I sleep,” Harry said with a frown. “I’ll admit I still have nightmares, and I probably don’t sleep enough, but I’m definitely sleeping.”

Draco threw up his arms in a gesture of exasperation before marching out of the dorm and into the common room. He didn’t care for whatever this trickery was that McGonagall had subjected him to. He didn’t like being made a fool of, that was for sure.

Without anywhere else to go, Draco stomped all the way to the place he usually sulked nowadays: the library.

Draco sighed, pulling his comforter tighter around his shoulders. The eighth year common room grew quite chilly, something which Draco attributed to the lack of people. The Slytherin common room seemed like it would be cold, seeing as it was located in the dungeons and under a lake, no less, but he’d always found it suitably comfortable. He figured it was the abundance of students from all the years that really made the houses so warm (or, the two that he’d actually been in, anyway). This new common room just didn’t heat up the same way, and Draco just barely stopped himself from huffing in annoyance before he pointed his wand at the fireplace and stoked the fire.

Another reason why it was so cold might’ve been the fact that it was the middle of the night. Draco closed his eyes and tilted his head back against the couch cushions.

“I thought I might find you down here.”

Draco inhaled sharply, opening his eyes and turning his head. Hermione stood leaning against the entrance to the girls’ dormitory, her arms crossed over her chest.

“And why is that?”

“You’ve always liked to brood in front of the fire.” Hermione stepped away from the wall and came to the couch, settling herself down next to Draco. He turned his head away from her.

“I’m not brooding,” he lied. Hermione ignored him.

“You figured it out, didn’t you?” she asked. Draco huffed. He wasn’t stupid, after all. If Hermione could figure something out, then Draco could very well follow in her footsteps. It was only that it was extremely disconcerting to think that his feelings for Harry were so obvious that even McGonagall had felt the need to step in.

“You’re nosy as always, aren’t you?” Draco rebutted.

“I’m here if you want to talk to me,” Hermione said quietly. And she always was, wasn’t she? Draco had gone to Hermione with many different problems over the years, though it always tied a knot in his pride to do so. But this was probably the most personal thing—sure, Hermione was well aware of his sexuality and even his love for Harry, but that didn’t mean he wanted to admit it to her. He’d never told anyone before, and if she weren’t too smart for her own good even she wouldn’t yet know, which is what Draco would prefer.

“I don’t have anything to talk about,” Draco muttered, pulling his duvet more securely around his shoulders. He’d dragged it from his bed and down the steps, the weight a comforting thing around his body.

“Draco,” Hermione said softly. He felt her hand rest on his shoulder, and that’s when he broke.

“I’m scared,” he admitted, his voice barely a whisper. He almost hoped that Hermione hadn’t heard him, but Hermione being Hermione, she of course did.

“Don’t be,” she said firmly. “You know Harry. Do you really think he’d be upset about this?”

Draco’s fear outweighed his reasoning. In all actuality, he couldn’t see Harry becoming disgusted with him or hating him because he was gay, nor for being in love with him, either. But the very slim, minute possibility that he could… It left him trembling in his shoes.

“You really think after seven years of being his friend, despite all your fights and accomplishments, that he could hate you after finding out you love him?”

Draco stiffened, barely resisting from sucking in a breath. Salazar, she couldn’t just say that out loud! As if it were something flippant, or minimal, or… or… not life-changing!

“You never know,” Draco muttered crossly. “He grew up with muggles.” And muggles did have some strange misconceptions about homosexuality, which didn’t make any sense to Draco. They didn’t even have pure bloodlines that they were trying to keep clean or anything, and wizards had come to terms with it long ago.

“So did I,” Hermione pointed out. A moment passed. “You should tell him.”

“Fuck no.”

“I’m serious,” Hermione said.

“So am I. What good could come of that?”

“You’d be surprised,” Hermione said, in that kind of tone that she used when she knew something you didn’t. Except Draco wasn’t quite sure he trusted her. She was the kind of person who might speak in that tone especially to make Draco think that she knew something, just to make him act on it. She was entirely too clever for her own good, and Draco had always insisted that she would’ve been a good Slytherin.

“So would you,” Draco sneered. “I have no interest in getting my balls hexed off for coming onto Harry Potter.”

“I don’t think he would go for the balls,” Hermione said thoughtfully, and Draco groaned.

“I’m not talking about this any longer. I’m going to bed.”

“Think about it, at least!” Hermione called after him. He bloody well would not.

He bloody well did. It was impossible not to think about, after all. His treacherous mind insisted on playing a repeat of scenes in his mind, all of them somehow ending up happy. He imagined himself telling Harry and Harry expressing the same feelings. He imagined saying nothing and just kissing him instead, and Harry kissing him back. He even imagined just sneaking into Harry’s bed every night, and having Harry do nothing to deter him. But that was just it: none of it was real. He was only imagining these outcomes when in reality Harry was more likely to hex him if he just started kissing him.

Not to mention the fact that Harry was straight. Also not to mention the fact that nobody knew Draco wasn’t straight (except Hermione).

He couldn’t stand for this. He was going to have to do something would have to wrangle his thoughts back under control. It was much too distracting, letting them run rampant like this. And it wasn’t any good for him either, letting his hopes rise higher and higher as his fantasies provided him with situations that would never actually occur. Perhaps he could take some sort of potion, something that would dim the ferocious and persistent imaginings of his mind.

In the end, he settled on telling Harry he was gay. It was mildly less nerve-wracking than telling the man he loved him, and Draco really did have a desire to tell his friends about what seemed like such a major part of himself. However, whenever he thought about bringing it up, he felt more likely to vomit than to say the words needed to convey himself.

In the end, he did it because of his book.

He’d been watching anxiously as Harry got closer and closer to the end of the book he’d filched from Draco, closer and closer to the big reveal, the discovery that the two men had actually been in love with each other the whole time. When it did happen, Draco was sure the his face was on fire. Harry sat on his bed, the ankle of one leg resting on his knee, and a surprised sound escaped from his lips. Draco tried desperately to appear occupied, to seem like he wasn’t watching and waiting for Harry’s every reaction. He strained to see Harry out of the corner of his eye, trying to see his expression, to see whether he was disgusted or not.

After all, Draco would probably stay in the closet forever if Harry so much as wrinkled his nose. This was Draco’s favorite book, for slightly obvious reasons, and he wondered now if Harry could tell how well-worn the pages were. Sometimes when Draco was in a bad mood he even just reread the ending itself. Oh Merlin, what if Harry could tell? And figured out Draco was gay?

Finally, after what felt like an excruciating amount of time, during which Draco mostly pretended to do homework and wrote what he was pretty sure was gibbering nonsense, Harry closed the book. And he stood, crossing the few feet between their beds and sitting down next to Draco.

“I finished the book,” Harry announced. The sock on one of his feet was only half on, his heel completely exposed, and Draco couldn’t help wondering how he could actually deal with that. Wasn't it uncomfortable? Wasn’t it driving him insane?

“Did you now?" Draco commented, as if he hadn’t been entirely invested in Harry this entire time.

“Yes.”

“And what did you think?” Draco’s heart pounded loudly in his chest. He wondered if Harry could hear it. He wondered if Goddamned McGonagall could hear it.

“I thought it was brilliant,” Harry said excitedly, shifting and sitting on his knees, his feet tucked underneath him, in a position that Draco recognized as one that meant Harry planned on talking for a while. “That was the best twist! The whole time I couldn’t helping thinking Stacy was so wrong for both of them, and she was so invested in herself too. And she kept pitting them against each other! It got to the point where I wanted neither of them to be with her, as that would be more like a punishment than a reward, you know? And then when Maxwell confessed his love… I was shocked, but it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? I couldn’t help flipping back through the book. There were so many little moments where it suddenly seemed perfectly clear. Honestly, it was a brilliant book.”

Draco felt as if he were on top of a cloud. He realized Harry was just raving about his book (his favorite book) but it felt like Harry was applying a stamp of approval to Draco as well. It felt like everything was slotting perfectly into place, and Draco felt giddy and dizzy with happiness.

“Good. Well… good. I’m glad you think so.”

“I told you I like your books,” Harry said triumphantly, before stretching out his legs again and sitting next to Draco, both of them leaning against the pillows. This was good. It was better if they weren’t looking at each other.

“That’s really good,” Draco said. He felt like his brain was located somewhere else. As if he’d left it in one of his classes or something, and it was trying to control him from afar. “Yes. That’s good because… well, because…. I’m gay.” He stared determinedly ahead, eyes planted on the curtain at the bottom of the bed. He wondered if he could make it burst into flame with his eyes alone. Speaking of flames, he felt like his face was on fire, and he ignored Harry as he turned to look at him. Draco wanted to sink into his mattress and hide. Why had he thought this was a good idea again?

“Well that’s brilliant too,” Harry said easily, and he slung his arm around Draco’s shoulders amicably. Draco let himself be pulled into the hug, even though it kind of only made him hurt more. Godric, he really loved Harry. “Thanks for telling me. Were you really that nervous?”

Draco pleaded with some higher power to make him stop blushing. “Yes,” he practically hissed. Harry just chuckled and squeezed him tighter, and Draco let himself be held. It felt nice, after all.

“Does anyone else know?”

“Well, Granger does,” Draco admitted. “But that’s her own damn fault.”

“Are you going to tell Ron?”

“Of course. But now I’m petrified,” Draco said, and Harry laughed. “What?! You know he hates being the last one to be told a secret. He’ll go positively mental!”

Draco chewed resolutely on his quill, which was absolutely disgusting, he knew. He got on Harry for it all the time, demanding that he take that disgusting feather out of his mouth right this instant and didn’t he ever care about not looking like a slobbering dog? But he couldn’t help it now. Ever since he’d come out to his friends (and yes, Ron had seemed very forlorn about being the last to know, but he’d hugged Draco anyway) it felt as if there was only one other logical step. Harry already knew he was gay, why not tell him that he was in love with him as well?
Except for the fact that that was a stupid idiotic plan which Draco could never enact ever lest he risk death.

“Are you okay?” Harry asked. Ah yes, the subject of the fantasies himself. He wasn’t making this any easier, constantly being… around. Draco was starting to wish they’d never become friends! He imagined a life in which he hadn’t gone to rescue Hermione and subsequently ended up friends with them all. Yes, that would be the life—peaceful and uneventful and completely without feelings for Harry fucking Potter.

“Spiffing,” Draco answered, because he could be a person that said ‘spiffing’ if he wanted to. He could be anything he wanted! He could be a person not in love with Harry Potter, there was nothing stopping him!

“Maybe you should see Madam Pomfrey,” Harry said with a frown.

“He’s fine, Harry,” Hermione said quietly. Whilst they were all in the library, she was the only one actually accomplishing any work. Usually it was both her and Draco managing to get their work done, and sometimes managing to get their lesser-minded friends to do theirs as well. Now, however, Draco was much too distracted to actually try to complete any of his homework; he already knew everything he needed to anyway, expressing it over twelve inches of filler words and sentences didn’t sound appealing to him.

Thankfully, Harry actually did give it a rest, which wasn’t something often known to him. He was usually one to pursue a problem to its conclusion, which had worked out for them with the whole Voldemort situation, anyway.

Unfortunately, Draco should’ve seen it for what it was: a trap. Knowing who Harry was, he shouldn’t have actually expected for him to let it drop. For Draco was interrupted on his way to the Prefect bathrooms (he wasn’t necessarily a Prefect per se, but he had his sources) by none other than Harry.

“What do you want, Potter?”

“For you to tell me what’s going on,” Harry said easily. Draco continued walking, wondering if perhaps Harry would just continue to stand there and be left behind, but he fell into step beside Draco.

“What’s going on?” Draco said thoughtfully. “Well, first I’m going to take a bath. And then I was thinking I might read a book. After which I plan to—”

“Draco,” Potter interrupted, and Draco huffed. Perhaps he could stun him. Harry was normally faster on the draw, and also faster with both offensive and defensive spells, but maybe Draco would win simply by catching him off guard. “Seriously. What’s really going on?”

“What’s really going on is I want you to leave me alone so I can go wank in the Prefect bathroom,” Draco grumbled darkly. Harry stumbled a step.

“You have access to the Prefects bathroom?”

That’s what he got from that?

Draco sniffed. “A man needs a luxurious bath, sometimes.”

“I want to go,” Harry said, seemingly forgetting that Draco was both trying to avoid him and that he’d been trying to pry information out of Draco.

“Did you forget what I said I was going to do in there?” Draco demanded incredulously. Despite himself, he was beginning to blush, something that always showed quite easily through his pale complexion. He’d been hoping when he’d mentioned wanking the first time that Harry would just be flustered enough to drop it. And to leave him alone. Instead, Harry didn’t even seem to care.

“You can wait until once I’ve had my fill of luxurious bath,” Harry claimed.

“I have no reason to actually let you into the room, you know.”

“If you don’t, I’ll tell Hermione,” Harry said. Draco hissed through his teeth. Hermione was sure to disapprove, and to keep him from going back again. She was no longer a Prefect, seeing as eighth years couldn’t be as it would be unfair to the seventh years. She’d been completely understandable and hadn’t complained about her loss of access to the Prefect privileges.

Realizing that there would be no deterring Harry, Draco stopped in front of the bathroom, begrudgingly said the password aloud, and let Harry into the room. There goes his special wanking place. Practically his only wanking place.

“I’ve missed this bathroom,” Harry sighed, and immediately went about twisting several taps. He displayed no care for the scents he was mixing, such as bubblegum and jasmine flower. Honestly. Draco followed him around the edge of the pool-sized bath, turning off all the taps that displeased him until they were back to where they started. And Harry started taking off his clothes.

Now, it wasn’t as if he hadn’t seen Harry naked before. It would be suspicious if he was never seen bathing in their dorm bathrooms, and none of them really had any qualms about piling into the communal showers (separated only by small barriers) and scrubbing themselves clean. And, of course, there’d been that bout in sixth year when the four of them had discovered a new love for skinny dipping, during which Draco had seen way more breasts than he’d ever wanted to (Hermione couldn’t really help it, however, it was hard to make sure your shoulders were always under water).

This felt different, however. They were alone now. And Harry knew he was gay. What was he thinking, going to a big, empty bathroom with Draco and planning to get naked together?

Of course, Draco wasn’t going to dissuade him. He’d felt immensely relieved when neither he nor Ron had stopped showering or changing in his presence. Anxiety had clawed at his insides at the thought of that, but they’d continued everything exactly as normal, and Draco could never have been more appreciative. Now, he guessed it was probably up to him to not stare at Harry naked and molest him for it. After all, Harry was trusting him enough to accompany him here in the first place.

As Draco was lost in thought, Harry started stripping out of his clothes, and Draco hurriedly averted his eyes as he did. He then started the same process as well, figuring they might as well just get in the water and be protected from each other’s gazes with the help of the abundance of bubbles.

Once safely inside the pool-bath, Draco sank down until he could just barely manage to breathe. He wished he was alone. He really hadn’t been lying when he’d said he wanted a wank.

“It’s been too long,” Harry groaned, pushing off the wall of the bath and floating towards the middle. Draco closed his eyes and leaned his head against the edge of the tub.

“That’s because you don’t have good enough contacts.”

“Well I have you, don’t I?” Harry said. “I can’t believe you kept this to yourself for so long.”

“I can’t believe you think I would willingly share.”

Harry laughed and dived under the water, making Draco roll his eyes at his antics, before there was a sudden tug on his food. And then Draco was being tugged under the water, only barely managing to hold his breath before he was beneath the bubbles. He opened his eyes, only to find Harry already grinning at him, his hair floating around his face and looking just about as bad as usual. Draco glared at him. And he tried very, very hard not to let his eyes stray. They were both naked and under the bubbles, and Draco could see

He pushed off from the bottom and emerged from the water, gulping in air. Harry followed him, standing much too close for comfort. Their break from the water had sent the bubbles sloshing around, and Draco was much too aware of the clear water surrounding them, much too aware of how naked they both were. God, Draco wasn’t even looking but he could tell that Harry’s skin continued forever, tan and everywhere, continuing under the water where Draco was determinedly not looking.

Draco flushed as he realized that he nipples were hard, and that they were way above the level of the water, completely in view… Even as he thought it, as if he was saying it out loud, Harry’s gaze flicked down to his chest. Draco crossed his arms.

“Let’s race,” Harry said suddenly, and Draco merely had time to raise and eyebrow before Harry was turning and diving under the water, his arms and legs flailing like an untrained seal. Draco dove after him and easily surpassed him, having been taught properly how to swim when he was little. Except there was foul play, and Harry grabbed his ankle again and yanked him backwards. And Draco shoved Harry. And Harry clung to Draco. And then they were wrestling in the water, yanking and twisting and pulling and pressing, and then Harry somehow had both of Draco’s wrists pinned behind his back.

“I win,” he breathed.

“We never made it to the other side,” Draco pointed out, but Harry didn’t seem to care. Draco was trying very carefully to stay still. Harry holding his hands like this… well, it was doing something to him.

And Draco didn’t know what was wrong with him. Maybe he was a sick bastard. Or maybe he just liked making things more difficult for himself. But he leaned forward, hands still restrained behind his back, and kissed Harry. For a second, their lips moved softly against each other, their breath warm and intermingling, before Draco came to his senses. What the fuck was he doing?

With a gasp, Draco managed to pull himself away, where he then stared at Harry, aghast. Harry’s eyes were glazed over, and his lips were still parted. And, inexplicably, he was still holding Draco’s hands behind his back.

“I—” Draco managed, his eyes wide and panicked. “I don’t know what I was thinking. It was an accident, I—”

Harry shut him up. He shut him up with his mouth. Draco definitely did not whimper against Harry when he did this, and he for sure absolutely didn’t press himself closer, didn’t try to tug his arms out of Harry’s grasp so he could touch him. And when Harry finally released his hands, he definitely didn’t run them all over Harry’s chest, desperate to feel him and pull him closer.

“What’re you—” he managed between kisses, and then Harry licked a tender spot below his ear, before he started sucking on it. Draco found that he couldn’t unclench his hands from Harry’s shoulders.

“But you’re not gay,” Draco said, though the current situation didn’t necessarily agree with that statement. Harry laughed against his neck.

“Well I’ve never been quite sure,” he said honestly. “But then, I heard you and Hermione talking one night…”

Draco froze, mortification flooding through his body. “But I was sure I was misunderstanding, and it was wrong of me to be eavesdropping anyway… And then you came out. And it got me thinking even more…” Draco groaned. Between words Harry was kissing and licking and sucking his neck, making him realize he was sensitive in places he wouldn’t have even imagined before. “And I’m starting to think I didn’t misunderstand you and Hermione either.”

“That was a private conversation, Potter,” Draco hissed, as Harry pressed himself closer. Their cocks were touching under the water. He could feel Harry’s arousal against his, hot and thick and rubbing insistently against him.

“Sorry,” Harry gasped, sounding completely unapologetic. It was hard to rub themselves firmly against each other underwater, seeing as movements were slower and they could hardly stand still. This resulted in Harry dragging them towards the edge of the pool and pushing Draco up against the wall, his arms on either side of him. And then he started thrusting against him in earnest, his forehead resting against Draco’s shoulder as his hips snapped as fast as they could underwater, Draco’s thrusting up into him as well.

“Draco,” Harry panted, “can I… Can we—?”

“Yes,” Draco groaned. His hand had found its way into Harry’s mop of hair, and he found that he quite liked tugging it.

“You don’t even know what I’m asking.”

“Don’t care. Do it.”

“Fuck,” Harry breathed. And this his hand was hiking Draco’s leg up, holding it up against his side, and his other hand was snaking under Draco, now vulnerably spread out, and pressing against his hole.

“Oh Merlin,” Draco whimpered, as Harry’s finger pressed against his entrance. His fingers felt slicker than they would in normal water, and Draco wondered if one of these bath taps dispensed lube. He stopped caring about the logistics of it when Harry’s finger actually pressed inside him, and Draco was arching up, up, up into Harry.

He’d done this to himself, of course, but it felt completely different when it was someone else doing it. And sure, he’d bragged (many times) about having sex all the time, but those were all lies. And now it was clear to his friends as well, seeing as he’d quite willingly admitted to being gay.

“That feels good,” Draco felt the need to whisper, his head tilted back and his eyes lightly shut. Harry’s finger was just slowly stroking the inside of him, and he hummed in contentment as Harry lowered his head and licked Draco’s nipple. Soon, Harry was working more fingers into him, and instead of just carefully stroking, he was pulling them in and out, making Draco jerk against the side of the pull with every thrust. The water was slapping the edge obnoxiously, and the realization that they were actually doing this made him feel breathless.

Suddenly, Harry was lifting him out of the water, pushing him onto the edge of the pool and following after him. Draco didn’t argue, even as he was pressed against the freezing tile floor, Harry hovering above him.

“Cold,” Draco muttered, trying in vain to keep his butt and shoulders and back from touching the floor so much. Harry seemed to find this amusing, and he smirked.

“You look so good like this,” he whispered, his hand trailing over Draco’s side. It stopped on his hip, his thumb brushing over his bone. Whereas the floor was cold, Harry’s hand was hot, hot, hot, and Draco wanted his hands all over him; wanted them touching him everywhere.

“Are you gonna fuck me or what?” Draco responded, and Harry just snickered before bringing his mouth down to Draco’s. It started out slow, with Harry asking Draco if he was hurting him, moving so slowly and sweetly Draco thought he might explode. And then it got faster, the two of them panting in unison and reveling in the fact that they were experiencing this together, that they were doing this together.

“Harry,” Draco choked, his hands scrabbling over Harry’s back, unable to find solid purchase. He just wanted them closer; closer and tighter and more.

Right as everything was building, getting faster and harder and closer, Harry slowed down, painstaking as it was, to drag it out. Draco whimpered, but he didn’t mind, he wanted it to last longer too. Harry thrusted into him shallowly, his hands tracing shapes over Draco’s body as they kissed languidly, their tongues moving slowly and deeply.

“I like this a lot,” Harry admitted, resting his forehead on Draco’s shoulder again.

“Me too,” Draco breathed, and he buried his hand in Harry’s hair again, tugging on those messy locks and smiling when he succeeded in getting Harry to come back up and kiss him.

And then things got fast again, this time not slowing back down. Harry thrusted deeply into him and Draco pushed back with every chance he got, his chest arching up into Harry’s, trying desperately to be closer, for everything to be more, to happen faster.

Harry was the first to come, pumping furiously into Draco while he hovered so close to the edge. He barely took a breather once he was done, aware that Draco hadn’t come, and descended on his cock with his mouth. All he had to do was sink down, envelope him with heat, and Draco was crying out, his hand twisting in that beautiful, horrible hair. And then he laid there panting, and Harry swallowed and crawled back up his body to lay down beside him.

Draco turned his head to look at Harry, who was already looking at him, and they giggled.

“We should sleep in the same bed,” Harry whispered as they snuck back into their dorm. It was extremely late. They’d gotten back into the pool after they’d laid beside it for a while. And then they’d had a round two, this time with Draco on top. And then a round three.

“No way,” Draco hissed, pushing Harry away from him. “You’re totally gonna hog the blankets. And you always wake up earlier than me. I don’t want to wake up early!”

“Come on,” Harry begged, and he pressed himself up against Draco’s back, wrapping his arms around his waist. Draco couldn’t help leaning into him. He still couldn’t believe his luck, couldn’t believe that Harry actually felt this way about him.

“The second I wake up cold and blanket-less is the second you wake up on the floor,” Draco warned, and Harry squeezed him tightly for a moment before scrambling into Draco’s bed ahead of him, burying himself under the covers. Draco huffed an annoyed breath and followed him, though he couldn’t deny that annoyance really wasn’t one of the things he was feeling right about now.

Harry wrapped his arm around Draco’s waist and pulled him against his chest, and Draco let him. And when he woke up in the middle of the night without blankets, he shoved Harry to the floor and wrapped himself up in them instead. And when Harry climbed back onto the bed and flopped entirely on top of Draco… well, he didn’t really do anything to stop it.

Though he really could’ve lived without Hermione’s know-it-all looks the next morning at breakfast, along with the smirk that seemed etched onto her face. And he really could’ve lived without seeing the same expression on McGonagall’s face. And again, Ron got mad at them for being the last one to hear the news, but really, that was his own fault for being so unobservant.