Chapter 1: Set Up
Harry finds himself seriously annoyed at his meddlesome friends.
"Hello Harry," Luna's soft voice carried through the crowd at the Leaky as she stepped forward to greet him.
"Nice to see you, Luna," Harry turned and looked straight into what some took to be rather vacuous, blue-grey eyes, but Harry knew better.
She had owled him that she wished to meet with him and he was happy to oblige, but as she wasn't in the habit of inviting him out for drinks alone, his curiosity was up. He'd known Luna since his fifth year at Hogwarts. She'd been teased and poked fun at for her odd habits and eccentric behavior, but Harry had always found her rather engaging, if a bit strange. He guessed that living without a mother was even harder for a girl and really, he'd never known his. He liked to say he missed her and he supposed, in a way, he did, but he'd been a baby when his parents were killed and he had no concrete memories of her. Luna's father, Xenophilius Lovegood, was a good man and had cared for his only child the best he could. She was a smart girl and had been sorted into Ravenclaw, as her father had before her. More often than not, she held some closely guarded secret that she could be talked into sharing if you treated her kindly. That's why Harry tended to pay attention when Luna had something to say.
"Shall we sit and order first?" Luna asked, leading the way to an empty booth. She tossed her flaxen-blond hair over a shoulder and plopped onto the smooth, hard wood seat. They were likely the same seats that had graced the Leaky for half a century. She smiled with that quirky calm so unique to her.
"Butterbeer?" Harry asked and when she nodded he signaled the waitress for a round. "So what's this about, then?"
"Well, Harry, you should have come out with us last weekend," Luna began, not quite sure how he would react, but pretty sure he would be less than pleased. "We all had a wonderful time and we missed you. There was a big group this time and some of the old Slytherin crowd joined us again, too."
Harry scratched his head and looked down for a moment, wondering what the upshot of this little meeting was going to be. He'd missed the last night out with his friends after working an extra shift at the Ministry. Ron hadn't mentioned anything about it, nor had any of his other friends.
"So you partied with some Slytherins." he said, not really all that interested. Since the end of the war, they had occasionally crossed paths with various members of Slytherin house and after two years, it hardly seemed important anymore. In the wake of Voldemort's death and the death or capture of nearly all of his followers, those remaining had managed to put aside their old school rivalries and move on with their lives. Harry vaguely remembered that Millicent Bulstrode and Theodore Nott had joined them once at a Wizard club in London. They had apparently dated for awhile, but Harry had no idea if that was still going on, as he hadn't seen either of them since and he really didn't care, either.
"Oh, yes," Luna assured him in her almost child-like voice. "We partied until the wee hours, but that's not really the point."
"Then what exactly is the point?" Harry asked, tiredly. Feeling the weight of too many late nights at the Ministry, he wanted nothing more than a hot shower and his nice warm bed. He looked over at the girl who had once worn a pair of radish earrings to the Yule Ball and had told him he had Wrackspurts in his ears. She was every bit the airhead she had been then, but she still fascinated him, in a purely platonic manner.
"Well, they elected me to be the one to tell you," Luna said, suddenly. "I didn't really want to be the one, but no one else would do it; so that left me to share the news with you."
"What news, Luna?" Harry demanded, growing tired of her stalling. "I have no idea what you're on about."
"Alright, I'll tell you," she said. "But you must promise not to hex me into next month just for saying."
"Fine, fine, Luna," he impatiently waved the thought away. "Just tell me why you've asked me for drinks on a Wednesday, when I'm tired and I have to get up early in the morning."
Luna looked a little wistful and sighed. "Well, it all started when Justin Finch-Fletchley showed up. Everyone had a lot to drink and we started playing parlour games."
"Parlour games...great," Harry said with more than a little lack of enthusiasm.
"It was after Justin joined us that we drank a bit more than usual. Then Theo, Millicent and Pansy showed up. Actually, they were already there, but they came and sat with us and we played some drinking games."
"And then what?" prompted the young Auror.
"Pansy and Millicent wanted to cast a revealing spell to determine who our soulmates would be. You know, Millicent was always very good in Divination," Luna hurried on, but it had drawn a quick shake of Harry's head.
"I'm glad I wasn't there!" Harry said flatly. "I would have hated Divination, even if old Trelawney wasn't predicting my death every week. If you all want to listen to that nonsense, it's fine by me, but I'm glad I wasn't there."
Luna squirmed a bit in her seat and took a deep breath. "Well, you see, that's just it, Harry. We divined our soulmates and we did yours, as well. Of course, Ron got upset about it and he and Hermione left early. She refused to be part of it at all and said some unflattering things to Millicent about how unscientific and silly the whole class at Hogwarts had been. So they left, but we went ahead and played the game and everyone else had a good time."
"Wait a minute, Luna!" Harry stopped her. "Did you say that you divined my soulmate? Why would you do that? I wasn't even there."
"Well, Seamus and Neville said that you rarely date anymore since you and Ginny broke up. Everyone thinks you should start dating again, Harry. We want to see you happy and we know you haven't been very happy for awhile. We thought if we could find your soulmate, it would give you a reason to enjoy yourself more."
"I do enjoy myself, Luna." Harry protested. "I just haven't found the right person yet." He wasn't ready to explain to Luna that he really preferred the company of men over women when dating, although he'd done precious little of either the last few months.
"So aren't you curious who came out as your soulmate, Harry?" She wasn't going to let him off easily.
"Not really, no," Harry said, fumbling with the buttons on his shirt-sleeve. He'd rather hear her wax poetic on the existence of the Crumple-Horned Snorkack than pick out his dates. "I'm sure she's a lovely girl, but I'm just not all that interested in dating right now and I just want to concentrate on work. I have a lot on my mind."
"Well, Neville and Seamus said they wouldn't want to be on the business end of your wand when you found out. Ron was so mad he almost hexed poor Millicent, and all she did was cast the spell. It wasn't her fault who turned up as your soulmate. After Ron and Hermione stomped out, everyone started laughing and no one would volunteer to tell you. I said I would because it isn't fair for everyone else to know and talk behind your back, Harry.
"Fine, Luna. Just tell me. I promise I won't hex you! I don't even believe in that nonsense, anyway." Harry felt the tension rise and a rock formed in his gut. "Who is it that has everyone so afraid to tell me?"
"WHAT?!" Harry shouted, not caring who heard him. "Have the lot of you have taken leave of your senses?!"
It was probably the stupidest thing anyone had ever said to him, and that was saying something! It was a good thing he didn't take that whole 'soulmate' thing seriously. He looked at Luna with an incredulous expression, then he began to laugh. Not just a polite chuckle, not just a sarcastic, sneering laugh, and not even a 'you-got-me' giggle. He tossed his head back and laughed heartily until tears formed in his eyes and streamed down his face. Luna looked put out and Harry finally stopped laughing and took a long swig of butterbeer. However, it was just too ludicrous to imagine and he burst out laughing again.
Harry was wiping his eyes and trying his best to breathe again when he heard someone clear his throat. He looked up and straight into the icy, grey and unamused eyes of Draco Malfoy.
"Laugh it up, Potter!" Draco raised his eyebrows and stared at him. "I must confess to much the same reaction a while ago when Pansy spilled her guts to me."
The whole scene had taken a surreal turn and Harry had begun to feel like the butt of a colossal joke. He glanced behind Malfoy and cringed as Pansy bent to whisper in Luna's ear. Luna giggled then scooted out of her spot and Pansy nudged Draco toward the booth and the newly empty seat.
"Harry, I have to make a quick stop at Flourish & Blott's before heading home. I got you here and Pansy has delivered Draco. The rest is up to the two of you."
Chapter 2: An Awkward Situation
Harry struggles with being set up with Malfoy.
Harry gazed after Luna and Pansy as they exited the pub and headed in opposite directions. The irony of it was not lost on him as he wondered if there were ever two wizards less suited for one another than he and Draco. He'd been taken a bit off-guard seeing the git there. Last he'd heard, the man had taken himself off to Paris after the war, for whatever it was that Malfoys do in Paris.
"I see your manners haven't improved." Draco's voice brought him back to the situation in front of him.
"Sit down, Malfoy," he said, waving his hand at the empty side of the booth, "before you create any more of a spectacle than I already have."
Draco slid gracefully into the booth across from Harry and leaned back against the high wooden back, crossing his arms in front of him. "You see, that's where you're mistaken, Potter. I could never hope to compete with the spectacle that is your life."
Harry snorted and lifted his pint in salute. "Touché! That's a fact," he agreed, "and a very unwelcome and irritating one. Seems as though I'll always want for a bit of privacy. So, say your piece and leave me alone."
"Why so cynical, Potter?" Draco watched the other man carefully, seeing a side of Potter he hadn't seen before and wondering if it had always been there or if the war had cut as deeply into the Gryffindor's psyche as it had his own.
"Look, Malfoy, I don't mean to be rude, but I really don't appreciate being made a fool of; particularly by my so-called friends. Besides being hauled out to the pub in the middle of the week to listen to a lot of nonsense about Divination and Revealing Spells, that I don't believe in, I'm tired and I have to get up early tomorrow. Some of us actually work for a living."
Draco's jaw clenched and his face hardened as he pinned Potter with an icy stare. He was trying to be civil, but the young Auror was making it exceedingly difficult.
"Listen, Oh Great Auror! No one was trying to make a fool of you! I know Pansy. She's been mothering me since we were kids. If she was in on this, it was an attempt to set us up. Plain and simple. Why can't you just accept it in the spirit it was intended?" Draco really didn't know what the fuss was about. He didn't know about Potter's friends, but Pansy was just being Pansy and it wasn't the first time she'd fixed him up. He doubted if Potters friends were interested in making him look foolish. "And I'll thank you to not make assumptions about my life that you know nothing about. For your information, I was not languishing about in Paris. Nor was I there to socialize. I've been studying to take my Potions Mastery and I've been apprenticed to Slug and Jigger's Apothecary, just two doors down, for the last month. So, yes, I work as well, and I also have to be up early."
Harry stared at Draco in genuine surprise and had the grace to look embarrassed but found it hard to wrap his mind around his former rival's words. Not only had he just learned that a Malfoy actually had a job beyond politics, but he was completely bewildered over his attitude toward being set up by Luna and Pansy. Did the ponce really intend to go through with the scheme? He hadn't known that Malfoy fancied blokes, but then he'd never really given it any thought. He'd known that Oliver Wood was a little bent. There had been gossip about that back at Hogwarts. Other than Oliver, Harry couldn't think of anyone else that he knew. He'd suspected as much of himself back around sixth year but he'd kept it strictly to himself. Skeeter would never have let him live it down. After Hogwarts it hadn't mattered. He'd managed to quietly date a few guys. No one in particular, but he'd been out a few times. Ron and Hermione had known, of course, but he supposed that after tonight everyone would gossip. Merlin! He hated being the center of attention. He really wished they'd left him out of their little 'parlour games'.
"Malfoy, look, I'm sorry about the work comment. I wasn't trying to be rude."
"Could have fooled me," Draco responded, still a little annoyed.
"Well, yeah, I guess I was acting like a git," Harry admitted, with resignation. "I wasn't really irritated at you. It's just this whole thing... And Luna's gone. And you're here."
"Yes... I'm here."
Harry took a deep breath and blew it out, dragging his fingers through his hair. Wow! He sure hadn't seen that one coming. Not at all sure how he should react, he downed the last of his pint and signaled for another. For a few moments, the two men sat quietly considering each other.
"Tell you what, Potter. Why don't we call a truce; forget the unpleasantness and just start over?" Draco raised his glass and after hesitating a bit, Harry picked his up and they clinked mugs.
Harry sat in thought for awhile, considering his options. He could continue to act like an arse, which would do nothing but make him look worse. He could have a good laugh with Malfoy over this whole thing and then be on his way. Or he could take the opportunity to look at the git a little closer. Perhaps, just perhaps, he was missing something. Luna and Pansy obviously thought so.
He couldn't remember a time when their relationship had been anything but contentious. Right from that first moment in Madame Malkin's, when he'd insulted Hagrid and the meeting on the train when he'd made fun of Ron and his family, right up through the years to the episode in the loo at Hogwarts that had ended so horribly with Malfoy bleeding out right in front of him. Of course, the prat hadn't given him away the following year when they'd been captured and taken to Malfoy Manor and he'd been gracious enough after being rescued from the fiendfyre and when Harry'd given his wand back. He sighed and relaxed back into his seat.
"Malfoy, do you even date wizards?" he ventured. No need to play games. He preferred to get straight to the point. Let Draco be the one caught off-balance for once.
The question did seem to surprise Draco, causing him to glance around them, but he recovered quickly and nodded his head. "I've dated both, actually, but I think I prefer men. How 'bout you? Is the great Harry Potter keeping secrets?"
Harry laughed then. "I used to. Keep secrets, I mean. Truth is, I was a disaster with girls at Hogwarts. I really liked Cho Chang, but it was always so awkward with her. I took Parvati Patil to the Yule Ball and I tried to act like a gentleman, but she was only interested in my notoriety and she barely spoke to me for a long time after that."
"What about the Weaslette?" Draco asked. "You two were pretty hot and heavy there for a few months before the war. I assumed that you'd be married with babies by now."
Harry wasn't sure he wanted to discuss Ginny with Malfoy, but he figured he owed him something, seeing the situation they were in at the moment.
"No big deal. After the war, Ginny returned to Hogwarts for her seventh year and I started Auror training. We saw each other over the holidays and by that time I knew it wouldn't work. I'd already dated a couple of wizards. Nothing serious, but enough to know that I clearly preferred men. She was disappointed at first, but by spring she was dating Dean Thomas again."
"So you didn't know you were gay until after the war?"
"Oh, I knew, for sure, by sixth year-probably sooner-but with the war and having my face plastered all over the Prophet every other day, I kept it to myself. I did my share of looking, though. The Quidditch locker rooms were good for showing a guy where his interests lay."
That made the other man laugh and he nodded in agreement. It had been clear to him at an early age that both girls and boys held his interest. Pansy was like a sister, but that's not to say they hadn't messed around a few times. And he'd been caught by Snape a couple of times in rather compromising situations; once in his dorm room with Blaise and later in the Quidditch locker room with Theodore Nott.
"Yeah," he said. "An angry Snape came looking for me once in the locker rooms. Took him about two seconds to take down the wards we'd put up."
That made Harry laugh. "I can just see the look on Snape's face," he said.
Malfoy snorted. "His own fault for taking down the wards," he stated. "He was really angry, though. Threatened to see that I wouldn't sit for a week if he caught me again. That was the second time. After that I made sure I never got caught."
The unlikely pair continued in that vein for another hour when Harry finally pushed away from the table and Draco got up and followed him out the door. As they wandered by the Apothecary where Draco was apprenticed, the Gryffindor reached out and pulled him into the dark shelter of the shop stoop.
Harry had spent the last hour looking alternately between Malfoy's eager grey eyes and a pair of full, pouty lips and he suddenly wanted to taste them. He wanted to suck Draco's bottom lip into his mouth and nibble on it. He wanted to touch his face and his hair and he wanted to feel his body straining against him. He knew he'd had too much to drink and that he'd regret it in the morning, but even so, he wanted to push Draco up against the wall and make him beg.
Instead, Draco was the one who turned and leaned in, capturing Harry's lips in a long, soft, kiss that made Harry's knees go suddenly weak, causing him to realize that he had indeed drunk too much. He wasn't given to hallucinations, but he had to wonder if the world had just shifted into another reality. He sent a silent thanks to Luna.
Before he could react, Malfoy released him and stepped back, clapping him on the shoulder. "So, are we on then for Friday?"
Harry nodded and laughed. "Friday, seven o'clock at The Leaky. Can't wait to see their faces."
Chapter 3: The Tables Turn
Harry and Draco exact a bit of revenge on their friends.
Harry put the finishing touches on his glamour and admired his handiwork in the mirror; light sandy-brown hair tied back, hazel eyes, handsome angular face, leather trousers. Draco's idea had been brilliant. Their friends had messed with them and they were going to see that they got some back tonight. Not normally one for pranks, Harry thought they deserved a little payback.
He arrived at the Apparition point right on time and strolled into The Leaky. The usual Friday night crowd was there and he could see Seamus, Neville and Luna already seated and sipping ale. Harry seated himself at the bar and ordered his own pint, suddenly wondering if he ought to order a Firewhisky instead.
He sat quietly for awhile, observing the activity. The mix of folks that frequented the popular pub on the weekends could only be described as unique. Harry recognized many of the patrons from Hogwarts or the Ministry. He hoped the scene that was to come would not land him on the front page of the Prophet the next day. He and Draco had cooked up a bit of fun and he looked around, relieved not to see Skeeter or any known reporters lurking about. Casting a quick Tempus, he looked up just as Draco and Pansy entered with Theo and Millicent, making their way to the long table occupied by the Hogwarts crowd.
Pansy winked, giving Luna one of her conspiratorial looks. It had come as a surprise to Harry what a wicked sense of humour Pansy actually had and he knew she would appreciate their effort later, when she cooled off.
Draco approached the bar and a glamoured Harry spun on his stool to face him. He leaned back, elbows on the bar, and propped his legs out in front of him, crossed at the ankle. He watched Draco order a pint from the bartender and spoke quietly to him. As Draco turned, he looked him up and down, lifting an eyebrow in obvious invitation. Draco leaned in and whispered in Harry's ear. Harry laughed and reached an arm around him, pulling him closer. After a few moments of mutual flirting and talking Draco picked up his pint and looked over at the groups table, where several pairs of eyes were staring at him in obvious annoyance. He reached for glamoured Harry and pulled him up and they ambled over to the table; his eyes never left Pansy, who glared at him viciously and then at Luna in panic.
Seamus picked up his pint and took a long drink as Draco proceeded to introduce his new friend.
"Everyone, this is James," he drawled, turning then to glamoured Harry. "I'd like to introduce you to some of my friends from school; Theodore, Pansy, Millicent, Dean, Neville, Seamus and Luna. I'm sure you all have a lot in common," he said, then nuzzled James' neck and added, "like me!"
Pansy looked like she wanted to hex his balls off and Luna looked anxiously at the door, stammering a polite, "Hello, James," while the others mumbled greetings and looked decidedly uncomfortable.
Not one to take a slight lying down, Pansy turned and faced Draco, eyes blazing. "Luna says that Harry will be joining us tonight, Draco. I didn't realize you had a prior date," she hissed.
"Oh, I just met James," he said, "but then I'm sure he'll get on famously with Potter. After all, I always have."
Several snorts and guffaws sounded from around the table. Pansy looked more annoyed by the minute and Luna stared curiously at James. She glanced once more at the door and then down at James' feet.
"I'm assuming you are talking about Harry Potter?" James asked. "Nice bloke. Not much in the looks department, but seems like a decent sort."
Pansy looked as if she wanted to agree, but thought better of it. She no longer had any real animosity toward Harry and while she wasn't entirely convinced of the soulmate thing between him and Draco, the rest of the revealing spells had gone well. She'd gone along with getting them together and now just over a week later, Draco was fixing to spoil it all by picking up a complete stranger. He'd be hearing from her tomorrow.
Draco made small talk with James for awhile and occasionally appeared to grope him under the table. The interloper was quiet, but spoke now and then when included in the conversation. He mostly focused on Draco. As the evening wore on, Neville, Seamus and Dean wondered aloud what was keeping Harry, while Pansy and Millicent took turns watching the door and looking anxiously at Draco and his date.
An hour later, ale flowed liberally and they were all getting louder. Draco was very attentive to James and it wasn't long before James wrapped an arm around Draco and pulled him in for a kiss. He gently took Draco's lower lip in his teeth and sucked on it and Draco's tongue licked at James' upper lip, then he opened his mouth and they shared a long, heated kiss that had Draco scooting over and straddling James' lap.
Pansy looked disgusted as she hauled Dean out onto the dance-floor. Theo and Millicent were attempting to dance, but looked more like they were merely holding each other up. Several songs played before they returned to the table, still uncomfortable with Draco's amorous behavior with James.
"Do you think it's time to put them out of their misery?" James whispered, grinning into Draco's neck.
"So soon?" the cunning wizard asked with an evil laugh. "And it was just getting interesting."
"Perhaps we should make this a private little party at my flat," Harry suggested.
"That's the best idea I've heard all night," Draco stated. "If I have to endure many more of Pansy's death glares, I'll likely be reduced to a pile of dust."
Draco lifted himself off his friend's lap and James got up and excused himself to the loo, leaving Draco to endure the ire of those left at the table. He stepped into a stall and removed his glamour then slipped his invisibility cloak on and quickly left the pub.
Draco settled himself at the table and rolled his eyes as Pansy proceeded to let him know exactly what she thought of him coming to the pub with her and then 'picking up' some strange guy at the bar. Draco protested, insisting that they weren't really 'together' and how he loved her like a sister, but he wanted to have some fun. She turned her back on him in a huff and that's when the door opened and in walked Harry Potter.
All eyes darted to him and to Draco in panic. Then they flew to the door of the loo expecting James to emerge and return to Draco.
Harry approached the table and greeted everyone with smiles and handshakes, then took the seat that had been occupied by James. A few people looked nervously around and Pansy looked almost sick. Luna smiled and met Harry's eyes and held them for a moment. Harry winked at her and then reached over and pulled Draco back over onto his lap. Every eye watched in shock as Draco settled himself as he had been a few minutes before.
"Now, where were we?" Harry asked loud enough for all to hear.
"Right about here," Draco said, closing his mouth over Harry's and kissing him deeply.
Gasps and squeals erupted around them as they indulged in a long open-mouthed snog. Harry sighed into the kiss, slipping his arms around Draco's waist and Draco ran one hand through Harry's hair as the other held his neck. Over Draco's shoulder Harry waggled his eyebrows at Pansy, whose mouth dropped open in utter surprise.
Seamus and Dean looked completely confused. Theo looked back and forth between the snogging couple and Pansy, clearly expecting hexes to start flying. Neville sat back and watched with amusement on his face and Millicent was the first to speak.
"WE'VE BEEN HAD!" she announced. "You two are having us on!"
"WHAT?" squealed Pansy and she punched Draco hard in the arm, suddenly realizing exactly what was going on. "There's no James?"
Harry and Draco both shook their heads.
"Draco, you bloody arse!" she sputtered. "That was horrible! I was so angry at you for picking up that guy!"
"Not nearly as angry as Harry was at his friends for going behind his back with that Revealing Spell and then setting us up," he argued back. "Not that it was a bad idea, in retrospect."
Harry nodded and looked around the table. They were all looking a little sheepish.
"Sorry, Harry," Neville said and then a chorus of similar sentiments ensued.
Luna reached out and touched Harry's arm. "I'm sorry, too, Harry," she said, sweetly. "But I knew that was you."
"How did you know?" Harry asked, not sure if he believed her, but knowing that of all the friends he had here she would be the least likely to lie.
"It was the shoes," she explained. "James was wearing your shoes and they don't go with leather trousers. Remember, I know all about shoes."
Harry did remember and he threw his head back and laughed, much to everyone's confusion. When he stopped laughing he shoved Draco from his lap and stood to leave.
Reaching over and grabbing Draco's hand, he addressed his friends, "Thanks for a brilliant evening. Now Draco and I have a private party to attend." They exited the club leaving behind more than a few stunned friends.