“Potter, what are you doing amongst the leaves? You’re going to get your new robes, which I’ve paid for, all soiled. Get up,” Draco said with disdain etched on his pointed face. Harry was currently lying on the cold fall ground amid a pile of autumn colored leaves.
“I’m embracing my inner child. You should try it sometime,” responded Harry leaving his eyes closed.
“What do you mean?” Draco asked curiously. He kicked at a rock, sending it flying through the air.
“Haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like had Voldemort never come into power?” Draco tilted his staring at the brunette curiously. The silence stretched out between them.
After a few moments of mulling the question over in his mind he replied. “No, not really.”
“Never?” He questioned, eyes opening. He lifted a hand to block out the afternoon sun as he waited for a response.
“I’ve said no. Why, do you?”
“Yes,” Harry whispered. “Every time I dream about the muggles he’s tortured.” There was silence between them again, Draco unsure how to respond. “Come down here and try this,” Harry said suddenly.
“What? Are you joking? I’ve just told you to get up, why on earth would I lie on the ground. In leaves of all things! Malfoy's do not play in foliage,” he said, shocked that Harry would even consider such a thing. He crossed his arms over his chest (jutting his hip sideways at the same time). Harry rolled his eyes.
“Just come here for a moment,” he urged, patting the golden leaves beside him. “I’m not talking a long time just two minutes. I just want you to lie next to me and clear your head. Don’t think about anything but the feel of leaves crunching under your back and the shapes the clouds are making in the sky. Can you do that for me?” He blinked upside down at the other boy.
“I hardly see the point. I don’t want to get dirty. It’s very unattractive to go around in public with bits of twig in your hair. People talk, you know. And they do not say nice things.” He lifted his right hand from his bicep examining his perfectly acute nails.
“The point is to know how it feels to be young.” He tossed a handful of leaves into the air.
“What do you mean feel young? I am young. We’re both young, for that matter. We’ve only just turned 17”
“You never wish that you could be a child again? You don’t wonder what it would be like to have a normal childhood instead of it having been stolen. Ever?”
“My childhood was not stolen. I had a very pleasa...”
“An abusive father who would kill you, just as soon as look at you if he ever found out that you were gay? The same man who expects his only heir to become a death eater and serve the Dark Lord just as faithfully as he and let that bastard…do things to you? All the times you were beaten until you passed out? You call that pleasant? If that was pleasant, then I must have had enormously splendid forming years,” he seethed, flipping over to his belly to stare properly at the boy standing above him.
“Aristocrats hardly show affection. And my father was not abusive. You do not know anything about it, so shut up,” he growled, licking his lips.
“You’re acting like a twit; just lie down next to me for fucks sake!” He slammed his fist onto the hard pavement.
“You really don’t know anything about me, do you?” Draco questioned letting his arms drop to his sides.
“Right, because you won’t let me in. You know what? Maybe you were right. Maybe, this will never work. Just go back to the castle. I’ll talk you later.” Harry returned himself to his previous position and closed his eyes again. He took a deep breath as he heard footsteps receding. “Bloody Malfoy.”
“Oh Draco, have you seen Harry? I thought he was with you,” Hermione asked, placing her hand on the shoulder of a very disgruntled blonde as he walked past in the direction of Hogwarts.
“He’s in a pile of sodding leaves.” He stalked on into the castle leaving a confused Hermione standing with books held close to her chest. She made her way down the path Draco had come from and found to what the boy had been referring. She smiled fondly at one of her best friends as she spotted him lying in a huge pile of gold, red and orange colored leaves.
“Harry? What’s happened to Malfoy? He looked positively livid.” She put her books on the ground then lay down next to him gazing into the sky. “The sky is lovely today.”
“See how you were just able to lie next to me? No questions asked. And I didn’t have to prod you into doing it?” He began as he propped himself up on his elbow. “Malfoy cannot understand the concept of lying in a mound of leaves and just being young. Feeling young. Is it so abnormal to mourn my lost childhood? Stolen rather, but is it? Really? Because if it is, then obviously I have gone mental and you might as well call off the war now, because I should be in St. Mungo’s, instead of saving the ruddy wizarding world,” he huffed resuming his position of staring into the late afternoon sky.
She smiled sweetly before speaking. “Harry, you have to have more patience. He’s new to this whole relationship thing. He is still getting used to acknowledging that other people have feelings. You’re lucky you’ve gotten this far with him,” she offered gesturing about with her hands.
“Why’d I have to bloody fall for him? Why couldn’t it have been someone normal? Why couldn’t it have been Ginny or someone the like?” He sighed.
“Could you really picture yourself with her as your girlfriend for more than a month or two? Seriously?” She inquired picking up one of the leaves to examine it thoroughly.
“No, I guess not. But still, there are plenty of other people that I’ve fancied. Why couldn’t it have been Zabini... or Justin? Justin is kind of attractive. Or even...”
“Because,” interrupted Hermione, “nobody else can elicit the same kind of emotion that Draco does from you. Between the two of you, and this has been going on for several years now, there is so much sexual tension that you can nearly see it crackle every time you’re in the same room together.” Her cheeks tinged pink as she finished her sentence in a rush.
“...well, that settles it then,” he said snapping.
“Settles what?” She dropped the leaf she was holding and turned to face Harry.
“I’m only attracted to him physically. I’m not attracted to him, only to his body,” he said nodding.
“And you came up with this logic how?”
“Well, you’ve just said that there is so much tension that it crackles, obviously that means we want to shag. Therefore, it’s purely physical and neither of us loves the other. Simple really, I should have seen it before.”
“What on earth are you on about? You aren’t just attracted to him in a physical way, Harry, and you know it. That’s not even logical. If it was a purely sexually-driven thing, then you wouldn’t have made him wait so long to do anything other than light snogging in a very public common room.” Again she blushed remembering a time when the boys had made out in the Gryffindor common room. Draco had tried his hardest to get Harry to go further, but he was completely unsuccessful that evening, which left him irritated and horny.
“No, you would have just shagged him and been done with it. Might have even become only sexual-partners, but instead, you went a step farther and be-friended him, as well as shag him. But the shagging came well after you had become friends. I was there Harry, you cannot rationalize with me.”
“It’s only physical,” Harry grinned.
“Whatever.” They both turned to face each other and burst out laughing. Harry grabbed a handful of leaves tossing them onto Hermione. She squealed with delight hopping up and grabbing her own fistful, throwing it at the still lying boy. He got up and both teenagers started kicking and tossing the leaves about.
“We’re through! I cannot stand him, Pansy!” He said entering the Slytherin common room loudly slamming the portrait behind him. “What was I thinking? Why did I even give in? I told him. I told him it wouldn’t work! How long?”
“This time or on the whole?” Draco turned and glared at his friend. Pansy gave him a bored stare before answering, “three days, four hours and 21.3 seconds.” She said sneering with her pug face.
“This is it. This is the last time. It’s done with now.”
“What was the fight about this time?” She asked, standing up and following Draco across the common room.
“Off a tree?” She questioned as they entered the dorm room.
“How did greenery end your relationship?” She perched herself at the foot of his bed watching him pace the length of the room.
“I would not lie in them with Potter.”
“But, had you lain in them, you would have gotten muddy. It was very wise of you not to do so. I wouldn’t have either.” She visibly shuddered.
“I know!” He said arms flailing. “I don’t see why he got all upset. It’s not like I’d called one of his mates a horrid name. I just wouldn’t get on the cold, hard, filthy ground. I don’t understand,” he raved still gesturing wildly “He was moaning on about his ‘stolen childhood,’ and then suddenly he’s calling me a twit and telling me I was right and this would probably never work. He’s so ruddy confusing. I just want to tear my hair out!” He threw himself dramatically down onto his feather blanket.
“He called you a twit?”
“And you didn’t hex him?”
“No, I was too shocked”
“You’ve gone soft Draco, darling,” the girl smirked straightening her robes.
“So, what are you going to do now that you’re officially broken up? Anyone new on the horizon? A girl maybe? Perhaps a pureblood, even?” She raised her eyebrows in what she considered a seductive manner. Draco on the other hand, thought she may have gotten a bit of dust in her eyes.
“Is there something in your eyes?” Pansy pinked and shook her head. Draco shrugged and continued. “Pansy I’m sorry to tell you, for the seventeenth time, I do not fancy girls. I will not marry you no matter how many times my parents try and tell me that it’s been arranged since we were born. I’m gay and I always will be, I’m sure.”
“Just thought I’d ask,” she pouted.
“Are you coming to dinner?” She said briskly changing the subject.
“Well there’s no use moping about it.”
“I’m not moping. I’m brooding. There is a difference.”
“Suit yourself. Would you like me to bring you some Shepard’s pie back?” She said as she got to the door of his dorm.
“Yes, please. Some chocolate pudding as well. Oh, and some custard.”
“Alright. I’ll see you after dinner”
“Also, bring me some potato and leek casserole. And some treacle tart”
“Don’t forget the pumpkin juice either. And utensils. I cannot eat without utensils.”
“I know that. Anything else, your great?”
“No, that should suffice. Maybe a piece of roast beef.”
“Ok, I will be back in a bit.” She shut the door quietly behind her rolling her eyes as she went.
“Alright, oh and bring me back some chocolate cake!” Draco hollered as the door clicked closed. “She probably didn’t hear me,” he sighed and positioned himself atop his fluffy pillows.
“Where’s the ferret?” Ron said in-between mouthfuls of mashed potato.
“Ron,” Hermione chided
“Just because he and Harry are buggering each other on a daily basis, doesn’t make him any less of a rodent.”
“Ferrets aren’t rodents, Ronald. Besides, don’t you care that Harry may mind you’re calling Draco a ferret? After all, he hasn’t called you or me any names this year. He is making an effort; you should do him the same courtesy.” She primly cut her lemon-pepper chicken into lady-like pieces.
“I don’t mind at the moment 'Mione. I’m still cross with him,” Harry spoke tipping pumpkin juice past his lips.
“Ron, please do not speak with your mouth full of half-chewed food. It’s putting me off mine,” Ginny said disgustedly.
“I was down the hill a bit lying in a stack of dried leaves...” Harry began.
“Why were you lying in leaves?” Ron interrupted.
“I was just thinking and imagining what it would’ve been like had I been privileged the beautiful childhood I long for. I think, after the war...I’m going to sit in a muggle swing set and just swing all afternoon,” Harry said wishfully.
“That’s a good idea. I’ll swing with you,” Hermione chimed in.
“So, how did playing in tree bits make you break up with Malfoy? Again,” Ron asked shoveling more food into his already stuffed mouth.
“I told him to lie next to me and he refused, and it just kind of spiraled on from there,” Harry answered waving his fork about.
“You broke up with him because he didn’t want to play in the leaves?” Ron asked confusion showing all over his face.
“No,” he said shaking his head “I broke it off with him because he isn’t open to trying new things. He’s a selfish spoilt brat and I want nothing to do with him anymore. Who needs him? I sure don’t. I need him like a blasted goldfish needs an auto.”
“I feel bitterness coming off you in waves, Harry.”
“Stay out of this Seamus,” Ron interjected.
“I told you I was a better choice than Malfoy. He’s a prat. Give me a chance and I’ll make it worth it,” Seamus flirted while raising one eyebrow suggestively.
“Seamus, we’re trying to eat. We do not need you both drooling and hitting on Harry,” Ron muttered groaning.
“No drooling at the table!”
“No drooling at the table!” Fred and George said simultaneously.
“Boys, calm down. This is a very serious discussion,” Hermione scolded, in an uncanny impression of Mrs. Weasley, putting her fork down.
“Someone’s got...” started Fred.
“...her monthly!” George finished.
“Oi! Fred! George! That was rude!” Ginny said cuffing both boys on the back of their heads.
“Could everyone please stay out of my personal life? If I ask for your opinion say it, all other times – please keep your mouths closed,” Harry spat.
“Where’s your boyfriend, Harry?” Asked George.
“You two have another row?” Fred queried.
“Yes,” came the terse response.
“What happened this time?”
“Get tired of him primping in the mirror?”
“Finally had enough of his narcissistic ways? Oi! That’s why his mum’s called ‘Narcissa’ isn’t it?” The entire Gryffindor (aside from Harry, of course) table burst into fits of giggles at George’s (could have been Fred) comment.
“You’re a smart one. I’m going to study.” Harry pushed his food away and stood up.
“I’ll come with...”
“No, 'Mione – finish eating your supper. I’ll speak to you later.” She nodded taking her seat again. Harry left the hall and headed for the quidditch pitch as the last rays of sun faded across the sky.
“I’m not good at apologies. Malfoy's do not apologise. It has been exercised into my head since birth,” Draco said coming up behind Harry as the Gryffindor stood underneath the quidditch stands. If Draco's sudden presence had startled Harry, he didn’t let it show.
“I know,” replied the brunette. He made no move to turn around and face Draco. The Slytherin stood there staring at Harry's head and feeling self-conscious. He wanted to put his arms around the other boy. He wanted to get on his knees and beg forgiveness, but his pride stopped him. He fidgeted as a silent battle went on inside his head. The quiet between them extended farther on causing Draco to fall more nervous.
“I’ll get in the leaves with you,” he offered, his way of apologising. Harry smiled despite himself, but still didn’t turn around.
“I appreciate that.” Again the silence enveloped them. The last few rays of bright disappeared to become starless grey. Draco took a hesitant step towards the other boy. When Harry didn’t move, he took it as a good sign, moving forward again.
He stepped up behind the smaller boy and tentatively placed his hands on petite hips. He braced himself readying if Harry decided he did not like the contact and would spring away. Instead, Harry leant back into the embrace. Draco tightened his grip around Harry's waist.
“I’m sorry,” he mouthed soundlessly, unable to actually be able to say the words, against the smooth skin of Harry's neck. The smaller boy nodded and twisted his body in the other mans arms so he could face him.
“It’s alright,” he lifted his palms to the blonde’s face, cupping both cheeks. “I’ve realised that I haven’t been giving you much credit...” he began, searching the other boys eyes “nor appreciating the fact that you have been trying. You haven’t insulted Ron’s intelligence or called Hermione foul names since this started. You haven’t hexed anyone just because you ‘felt like it’. You’ve been quite pleasant this term, actually and I really haven’t been fair to you.”
“Harry...I’m never going to join Voldemort. I need you to understand that. I would die a thousand deaths before I ever joined that madman.”
“With all of my heart. I could never hurt you like that.” Harry leant in running his thumb across Draco's pink lips. Their heads moved closer together and their lips met. It was slow and timid. Not the kiss they were expecting. They started moving their mouths together gradually deepening the kiss. It was Draco who let his tongue slip past his lips to taste the edge of Harry's lower one. Their tongues slid together silkily, neither seeking authority. “Come on...” Draco said as he pulled away.
“You’ll see,” Draco entwined their fingers and pulled Harry to the spot he had occupied a few hours previous. The Gryffindor laughed as Draco threw himself down and into the leaves. “There. I’ve got in the dead tree bits. Have you forgiven me now?”
“Not quite.” He lay beside the blonde and wrapped his arm around his torso pulling him closer. He placed his lips on his lovers affectionately for a brief moment then drew away. “Now, I have,” he said smiling. The boys lay in the leaves kissing and caressing for the next two hours before heading back to Hogwarts, out of the chilly air and into the comforts of a nice warm bed in the Slytherin dungeons.