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The Lip-Lock Jinx

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Harry figured that it was Ginny's that had hit him and knocked him off his broom. Ginny had always been good with hexes, was Harry's first thought two minutes later as he lay sprawled on the ground of the Quidditch pitch. His second thought was shit, ow, my bloody arm.

Knew I shouldn't have agreed to practice today with these wankers, was his third.

Ron, sometimes I hate your sister would have been his fourth had the Gryffindor Quidditch Team not suddenly flocked around him and proceeded to drag him towards the Hospital Wing in panic that they had done permanent damage to the Savior of the Wizarding World.

What, so now you're worried about me? Shoulda thought that one when you lot were firing jinxes at me while I was twenty-feet in the air, thought Harry sullenly.

Ginny tightened her grip on his shoulder (Ow.) as if sensing his thoughts and grinned at him, eyes shining with glee. "You'll be all right, Harry," she said cheerily.

Throughout the pain that he and his arm felt at being manhandled by a bunch of burly fifth and seventh years, Harry glared at her which simply made Ginny's smile widen, as if she was even relishing the fact that she had just jinxed him mute.

Your brother and I are going to talk about this, you realize, Harry thought grumpily as his vision started to swirl. He barely had time to mouth a very rude "Fuck you" at her before the pain consumed him and he lost all consciousness, dreaming of Skele-Gro and jinxing Ginny Weasley's hair into snakes for a month.


When he woke up, it was to the white ceiling of the Hospital Wing. He and the white ceiling of the Hospital Wing had grown to have a very loving relationship with each other. Harry visited often (more often then he liked, if he was to be honest) and the white ceiling kept him company whenever he'd be confined and gave him comfort by… well… alright , so the white ceiling wasn't very comforting.

Harry appreciated its efforts though.

"Mister Potter, how nice of you to join us," said Madame Pomfrey with amusement as she neared him with two glasses and a bottle of questionable liquid.

Harry opened his mouth to say hi then remembered right, shite, he couldn't. He settled for looking at the bottle suspiciously instead.

Madame Pomfrey raised an eyebrow. "It's not Skele-Gro, dear. You'll find that your elbow and wrist are perfectly aligned with your lower arm, though I suggest not moving it yet," she added, as Harry had raised it experimentally and was now sporting a very pained expression.

"Honestly, one would think that after all the bones you've broken, you would have gotten used to it by now," tutted Madame Pomfrey as she poured the contents of the bottle evenly into the two glasses. She gave one to Harry and the other, she gave to the person lying down on the bed beside his.

Harry was startled, realizing for the first time that someone else was in the infirmary, but his surprise did not compare to the blood-chilling shockhe felt when he saw just who it was.

Draco Malfoy.

The one who got him in this whole mess.

Well, okay, not really. It was really Ginny's entire fault.

After all, it wasn't like Draco had any idea…

Draco raised an eyebrow at Harry's jaw-dropped expression and merely nodded his greeting quietly, before ignoring him completely and turning to the arduous task of swallowing a glass of medicinal potion that probably included all sorts of animal tongues.

For a moment, Harry was filled with a sense of longing and maybe even anger because the old Draco would have insulted him on the spot without a second thought. He didn't know if he was angry at Draco or at the world in general for having made him that way. Draco wouldn't have… just sat there, looking sullenly at the empty glass.

"Your friends have kindly informed me of your predicament, Mister Potter," Madame Pomfrey said, shaking him out of his stupor. She clucked her tongue in disapproval. "Lip-Lock Jinx. What you kids are coming up with these days."

Draco raised his head in interest but otherwise didn't look at Harry, who flushed excessively.

"You realize that I can't do much for you," Madame Pomfrey continued. "The Lip-Lock Jinx can only be removed by the caster, or if you fulfill the requirements expected of you." Here, her lips curled up slightly in amusement.

Harry wanted the floor to eat him.

Oh, he knew of the requirements.

The Lip-Lock Jinx was a jinx that rendered the victim mute, until he or she kissed the person they desired. It was a common prank in parties, if one was desperate for either a snogging show or a slapping one. It had recently grown to be quite popular in Hogwarts, as started by the eight years. Seamus Finnigan, in particular. The professors had tried to stop it by forcing the casters to take off the spells, but most of the time, the victims themselves refused to tell who cast it on them for the sake of pride.

The last one who told was called a pansy by the rest of her house.

And consequently the rest of the whole student body.

There circulated a rumor that her 'heart's desire' was actually Draco Malfoy, and Harry knew it was awful of him to be glad that the girl didn't go up and plant a big, wet one on Malfoy.

"I don't suppose you'll tell me who cast the spell on you, so we can give them the proper reprimands?" Madame Pomfrey asked, one eyebrow raised.

Harry only smiled at her sheepishly.

She sighed. "Thought not."

She then gestured to the glass of the questionable liquid in Harry's hand, which Harry had actually planned on Vanishing as soon as her back was turned. Unfortunately, she seemed to read his mind and waited patiently for him to drink it in front of her.

Harry did, and thought that jinxing Ginny's hair into snakes for a month was too merciful.

When Madame Pomfrey was satisfied that he had drank the very last drop, she took his and Malfoy's glass with her and left them stern instructions to get some rest!

Almost as soon as she walked away, Draco lay back on his bed, pulled the covers up to his shoulders and turned on the bed so that his back was facing Harry.

Because of this, Harry had no qualms about staring openly at him. Err. His back.

After the war, Harry didn't hear much of Malfoy, other than he was on probation for three years. Harry was surprised the day he arrived in the newly-renovated Hogwarts for his eight year and saw Draco Malfoy in the Great Hall. What surprised him even more was that the Slytherin had looked so pale, so subdued… so very different to the proud and regal Malfoy demeanor.

As weeks passed, Malfoy kept mostly to himself. The only other Slytherin eight years were Blaise Zabini and Theodore Nott, but Malfoy kept away from them as well. For what reasons, no one knew.

It was mid-October when Harry Potter realized, with a sense of dread, that he was once again growing to be very much obsessed with Draco Malfoy.

It had been easy to ignore when he was busy with the war and even easier during the summer after Voldemort's death. Out of sight, out of mind after all. But now, seeing Draco everyday made him hyper-conscious of the boy's every movement. It was like sixth year all over again. Actually, it was like every other year in Hogwarts, only this time, Harry had no excuse to hide behind.

Dark Lords were vanquished, Wizarding Worlds were saved, and he and Ginny had come to the agreement that they were better off as friends.

Speaking of Ginny…

Harry wasn't the only one who realized the appearance of his rapidly growing obsession.

Hence The Plan that Ginny had badly influenced the whole Gryffindor Quidditch Team into implementing with her to hit Harry with the infamous Jinx. The bloody wankers were more than happy to oblige, saying that they merely wanted to give their beloved captain's very stagnant, almost nonexistent love life a happy ending. (Bollocks, really, because they just wanted to see Harry embarrass himself.)

As if Harry was going to come up to Malfoy and suddenly snog him.

No, that would be disastrous.

Harry knew he was a Gryffindor, but he wondered if Ginny realized that he wasn't suicidal.

Sighing, he burrowed deeper under the covers and succumbed to the drowsy effects of the potion, dreaming of kissing Draco Malfoy.


The next time he woke up, it was to sticky sheets and the realization that he really did miss Malfoy's sneer. The bed next to his was empty and so was the rest of the Hospital Wing. With a burning face, he quickly Scourgified himself and the bed, and convinced himself that Madame Pomfrey wasn't going to send an army of Inferi towards him if he went out of the infirmary now.

He could already move his arm without wincing after all.

As he walked through the corridors of Hogwarts, he realized that it was already night time. He cast a quick Tempus and hurried to the Great Hall when he found out that it was time for dinner.

It really shouldn't have surprised him that the whole Hogwarts population now knew that Harry Potter was under the infamous Lip-Lock Jinx, but the outburst that greeted him still made him freeze. There were a lot of whistles and catcalls, and a lot of "Kiss me, Harry!" from girls that made him flush to the tip of his ears.

When he arrived at the Gryffindor Table, he promptly ignored the grinning faces of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team and sat next to a sympathetic Ron and Hermione.

"Sorry, mate," Ron said, glaring at his sister a few seats down who happily ignored him. "Told her off, but older brother powers don't work when your sister's Ginny," he muttered.

Harry shrugged and grinned at him to tell him it was fine, to which Ron brightened up considerably.

"Alright, now that I've apologized and stuff," Ron said, grinning widely with mischief. "Who's the lucky girl?"

Hermione elbowed him quite harshly, which made him double over the table with a pained oof. She turned to Harry. "We visited you in the Hospital Wing earlier, but you were still sleeping. Don't worry, I'll talk to Ginny later," she said firmly, giving the mentioned girl a stern glare.

Harry touched her elbow to catch her attention and shook his head.

Hermione looked at him with a dry, withering expression. "Harry James Potter, if this is about your pride –"

It was, actually, so Harry ducked away from her stare and scooped himself some mashed potatoes.

Hermione sighed exasperatedly but simply turned back to her dinner with a huff. "You better know what you're doing," she muttered.

Harry didn't, honestly. It was either kiss Malfoy or wait for Ginny to take pity on him and take the spell off, and since he wasn't feeling particularly suicidal at the moment, he was dead-set on accomplishing the latter choice.

Oh, it was on.


The next day, Harry was already rethinking his decision. If he thought that his eight year subjects were hell, it was nothing compared to the experience of going through them when you couldn't speak let alone cast a spell. Harry was good with non-verbal magic, but those were easy spells like Scourgify and Accio-ing Yorkshire pudding from Dean's plate. Definitely not for fighting Scandinavian Goblins in Defense Against the Dark Arts.

Harry barely survived that meeting and had come out of it with his glasses broken and his manly pride shredded to pieces.

Whenever he and McGonagall would pass ways, he would smile at her sheepishly in greeting and she would stare at him from above her spectacles as if she wanted to say something, but she would always just shake her head and sigh and walk away with a simple "Good day to you, Harry."

He'd think about just kissing Malfoy to get it over with, and it's not like it was such an unwelcome event for him – but then Malfoy would turn the corner and they'd pass each other, Draco with his head turned down as usual and Harry with his heart caught in his throat.

Okay, so.

Kissing Malfoy is out of the option.

So is begging Ginny to take the spell off.

Definitely not.

(As if Ginny would take it off anyway.)


Another day later, Harry wanted to scream.

So he did.

And punched a tree when no sound came out.

After half an hour, he sat in the infirmary with Madame Pomfrey tending to his bloodied fist littered with splinters.

"Still not going to tell me who did it?" she asked calmly.

Harry very stubbornly shook his head no.

It was at that moment that Draco Malfoy walked in with a slight limp and a cringe marring his features. It should be embarrassing how suddenly Harry found himself very worried.

Madame Pomfrey immediately stood up from her stool in front of Harry and walked over to Draco, frowning thinly. "What is it this time?" It wasn't accusatory. It was more of… deeply concerned.

Quickly, Draco's eyes skirted over Harry behind Madame Pomfrey before they returned to looking at the floor. He shrugged, before wincing as he realized that the motion was not very wise. "Stinging Hex," he muttered lowly, but in the empty infirmary, Harry heard it all the same.

He felt the same anger from a few days ago return.

Madame Pomfrey made a loud, disapproving sound. She looked so very upset and angry. "Merlin, children these days – I ought to –" she quickly cut herself off, taking a deep breath. "Sit down, Draco. I'll get a potion for you in a bit."

She led him to sit on the bed beside the one Harry was sitting on, very conveniently making them face each other. "Harry, just sit for a while, I'll get back to you, dear."

Harry nodded, even though she had already turned away from him and disappeared in the backroom of the infirmary where some of her potions were stored, leaving an uncomfortable silence to hang between the two boys.

In Harry's part, he didn't really have much choice in the matter since he was currently rendered mute.

Draco sat on the edge of the bed, his back straight and stiff. Once in a while he'd shift, always with a wince.

Harry couldn't take it anymore. He made a grunting noise (Yes, way to go, Potter, very civilized.) to get Draco's attention and when Draco snapped his head up to look at him, motioned towards him with his hand.

Draco raised an eyebrow at him.

For a moment, Harry was scared that Draco wasn't going to talk to him. After all, the boy had barely spoken to him since the school year started except for the seemingly forced and quiet "Morning, Potter." whenever it was inevitable.

"Why do you care?" was Draco's stiff reply, almost bitter.

Almost out of habit, Harry glared sullenly at that. I do, he thought, but couldn't say it. Even if he could, he didn't know how to say it so he just sat there, sulking.

When Draco spoke again, Harry almost jumped out of his skin in shock.

"Stinging Hex," Draco said slowly, as if carefully choosing his words.

'Who?' mouthed Harry, frowning.

Draco looked at him inquisitively, searchingly. When he spoke, it was with a quiet voice, and shame passed briefly over his face before quickly being covered up by the calm Malfoy demeanor. "I don't know," he said tightly.

Harry's fists clenched, making more blood trickle out of his wounds. 'Bloody fucking wankers,' he spat angrily, not caring if no sound came out. He glared at the infirmary door.

He didn't know if Malfoy understood what he said, so he was surprised when an amused smile stole over the other boy's features.

"They are, Potter," Draco said agreeably, before a look of discomfort clouded his face. "I suppose I deserve it though," he muttered bitterly, body stiffening once again.

Harry immediately shook his head, messing his already disorderly hair. Nobody deserves it, he thought fiercely, but didn't know how to tell it. Alright, so Voldemort does. A whole bloody lot of Stinging Hexes. And your aunt too. But not you. At least, I don't think so.

He suddenly felt very sad.

The war was over. Why couldn't everyone move on?

He made a noise of frustration, sulking at not being able to say anything.

Draco smirked at him slightly. "Don't worry, Potter, I think I get it. No need to worry your little brain over it," he said, and just like that, the sadness dissipated.

Draco was actually insulting him now.

That was improvement!

Harry rolled his eyes but grinned openly at him, even though he felt kind of stupid just sitting there and not saying anything.

A look of surprise flittered over Draco's face, and Draco quickly looked away in discomfort.

Another awkward silence enveloped them after that and Harry had no idea how to break the ice this time. Asking about the weather was already pretty lame, more so when you're rendered mute. And Draco had this disposition that seemed like he didn't want to talk anymore. Harry scuffed his shoes against the floor, feeling very self-conscious, and they stayed that way until Madame Pomfrey returned, fussing over the both of them and all but forcing them to drink more questionable liquids.


"I think you're looking at this very negatively, Harry," Ginny remarked the next day as they were walking the edge of the Hogwarts Lake. They walked side by side, relishing the quiet atmosphere along with the slightly cold wind that brushed past their cheeks.

Harry gave her a withering look. He held up three fingers. Three days I've not uttered a word, he thought accusingly. It's a wonder the professors aren't kicking me out of classes yet!

"Oh, don't think like that, Harry," Ginny said nonchalantly, waving whatever thoughts that Harry was presumably having with a scoff. "I'm trying to help here."

Harry shoved his three fingers closer to her face.

"Hardly the point," Ginny said. She suddenly stopped walking and turned to him, hands on her waist and an eyebrow raised. "So? Any improvement?"

Harry raised an eyebrow right back at her.

Ginny sighed exasperatedly. She looked crestfallen. "None?"

I don't know why you look so down. I should be the one sulking seeing as I'm the one who haven't spoken a single word FOR THREE DAYS, Harry thought, inwardly fuming.

Ginny ignored his glare, and sighed once again. "I don't see why you can't just suddenly go up and kiss him, Harry. It should be really easy."

Harry stared at her in incredulity. Maybe because he's, oh, I don't know, Draco Malfoy? And maybe because he hates me? Yesterday flashed before his mind and he quickly fixed that thought. Alright, so maybe he doesn't anymore, but I don't think he's ready for his ex-rival to snog him senseless so suddenly just yet.

Ginny continued on nonchalantly. "Grab him and shove him in the Potions classroom."

Harry was horrified. Snape's ghost would haunt me until my dying days!

"Slughorn probably wouldn't bat an eyelash."

I don't care about Slughorn, Ginny. Snape! Snape!

"All I'm saying, Harry, is that you deserve to be happy," Ginny said, sniffing.

Harry's expression softened and he sighed, rolling his eyes as he leaned forward to capture her in a hug. I know.

When they pulled apart, Ginny's eyes were bright.

"So you'll do it then? Soon?"

Harry's dry look made her shoulders droop. You're forgetting his feelings here, Ginny.

"Oh, come on, Harry," Ginny said, almost whining. "You practically turn into mush the minute he steps into the same room as you!"

Harry was gobsmacked. I do not!

"Yes, you do. I used to watch you, remember? Back when I had this hippogriff-sized crush on you? I know." Ginny's look was triumphant.

Harry flushed. As I said, you're kind of forgetting his feelings. How would you feel if your ex-rival suddenly came up to you and kissed you? He'd probably think it was a prank. Probably punch me too. Or render me impotent.

"Anyway, I'm still not taking the spell off you."

Harry glared at her.


The next day, Hermione pulled him aside just after leaving the Great Hall for breakfast with a hand on her hip and a stern look.

Harry shifted nervously. From behind his girlfriend, Ron sent him a sympathetic look.

"Still not going to budge, huh, Harry?" Hermione said accusingly with narrowed eyes.

Harry hung his head guiltily.

"Honestly, your grades are suffering because of this. You can't even cast spells!" Hermione said, sighing dramatically. "You may as well be a squib!"

Harry gave her a pointed look, almost hurt. Hey, I can still cast spells, you know. Just not… Patronus charms or something.

Hermione rolled her eyes. "You know what I mean, Harry!"

Harry shrugged. He looked at Hermione's worried expression and softened a bit. Reaching out, he grasped her shoulder and squeezed reassuringly. 'I'll be fine,' he mouthed. To prove his point, he shuffled through his bag to get his Transfigurations essay, finished and complete that he had finished yesterday after his and Ginny's 'talk' in an effort to get Draco Malfoy out of his mind.

Hermione was mollified for the time being.


It had been four days since the jinx first hit him. You'd think that people would have gotten tired of it by now, but a lot of girls still called to him whenever he'd pass by and ambushed him whenever they'd catch him alone. There were a few guys who tried to plant big, wet ones on him, but Harry always immediately Accio-ed whatever near object there was to hit them. (Alright, so he did feel a bit sorry for the one who was stupid enough to ambush Harry in the greenhouse, of all places. Harry didn't think that getting hit by a pot was very comfortable.)

And really, when did this become a Grab The Chance to Snog the Golden Boy parade?


On the fifth day, it seemed like everyone was starting to get desperate for Harry to be released from the spell. People were getting frantic, whispering of just who Harry Potter's secret love was. There was also talk of just who cast the spell, but that didn't compare to the list of possible love candidates that Lavender Brown was compiling with some of the fifth-year Hufflepuffs.

Harry missed talking. Really. There were times when he'd get frustrated again, but memories of the splinters imbedding themselves in his skin always stopped him whenever he'd feel the urge to punch something.

He also thought about kissing Draco Malfoy just to get this over with.

But then as quickly as that thought had come, he'd think no, that's too risky.

Draco would probably never forgive him for that.


"Just kiss her already!" Ron sighed exasperatedly as they all sat in the Gryffindor common room, books open and quills at the ready. "I have no idea why you're being so bloody stubborn!"

"Well, maybe he doesn't want to hurt the girl's feelings, Ron," Hermione said, albeit a bit distractedly as she scribbled furiously onto her parchment. Suddenly, she stopped and narrowed her eyes at Harry. "What I'm wondering about is why you haven't talked to Ginny yet," she said, sniffing haughtily.

Whatever snide thought that Harry was about to conjure in reply to that did not come to fruition as Ron replied for him, quite confusedly. "Uhm. Harry can't talk, remember?"

It was Hermione's turn to sigh exasperatedly. "You know what I mean!" She put her quill down.

Harry and Ron shared greatly alarmed looks. Hermione putting her quill down can't be good.

"Honestly, Harry, I miss having a decent conversation with you," she said softly.

After a small pause, Harry nodded slowly. Taking a small piece of spare parchment, he picked up his quill and wrote on it.

'Okay, I'll talk to Ginny.'

Hermione's responding smile was bright.


'Hermione wants me to talk to you,' Harry wrote on the Self-Erasing Parchment that Fred and George bought him during fifth year.

Ginny raised an eyebrow. "You know my answer's still going to be no."

Harry shrugged. 'I thought I'd try anyway, for Hermione.'

"You're really admirable, Harry," Ginny said with a smile. "Now if you'd just direct that charm to certain blond wizards…"

Harry hurriedly walked away.


That night, Harry and Ron stayed up late talking. Or, in Harry's case, writing.

Five days, Ron, wrote Harry in messy, careless handwriting. FIVE DAYS.

"I can always talk to Ginny, mate," Ron said in between tearing the limbs off his chocolate frog. "Not that it'd be much help, but it might knock some sense in her."

Harry blinked at him. I've got more pride than asking my best mate to tell his little sister off for bullying me.

Ron grinned. "Just wondering if you're already that desperate."

D'you reckon she'll take it off anytime soon?

"No," was Ron's unapologetic reply. He peered nervously at Harry. "You're not mad at Ginny or anything, are you?"

Harry sent him a dry look. 'Course I am. FIVE DAYS.

"But not mad mad, right?"

Harry's dry look remained.

Ron grinned. "Thought so, mate. You haven't Trip Jinxed her once."

Harry raised an eyebrow. She's a girl.

"'Atta boy, Harry. You know, I think I like you two better as friends. Not that I don't mind you being her boyfriend –" Harry's eyebrow rose higher. "Alright, so I did mind. That was just… weird."

Harry snorted.

Ron shoved the rest of the frog in his mouth. "So, who is it?"

Harry blinked.

Ron rolled his eyes. "I mean, the lucky girl?"

When Harry merely pursed his lips, Ron's expression looked hurt. "You know, the only reason why I haven't asked yet is because I kind of figured that you'd tell me anyway."

Harry was ashamed. He turned to his best mate and cringed, both at Ron's expression and what he was about to say. Or write. He groaned. Merlin, he had planned to tell Ron, not… write him.

It's not that, Ron, he wrote. Ron raised an eyebrow at him, before looking back down at the parchment, waiting for him to write more. Harry closed his eyes and counted to five. You're not going to like who it is.

Ron made a strangled noise of confusion. "Not going to like who it is?" he said, looking at Harry funny. He rolled his eyes. "Come on, Harry, is that what you think of me? I think I'm perfectly capable of accepting my best mate's love interest." Then, a hilarious thought appeared in his mind and he cackled with glee. "Unless you're actually wanking to Malfoy."

Harry choked on his own saliva.

Ron sniggered. "I know, right. So, who is it really?"

With his face burning, Harry very pointedly not looked at him.

Soon, slowly but surely, Ron's eyes widened and Harry would have found the gradual discoloration of his face funny at some other moment in time, but now he was too busy wallowing in his embarrassment.

"Oh, God," Ron said, sounding like he was going to be sick. "I think the frog's still jumping in my stomach."


DROP IT, RON, wrote Harry on the Self-Erasing Parchment the next morning as they were walking to the Great Hall. Hermione had already gone ahead of them since they had woken up late after staying up until two in the morning.

"But Harry," Ron said, whining pitifully. "Why him? I mean, I've no problem with you liking blokes – really, I had my guesses when you dumped Gin –" Harry's glare was ignored. "But really. HIM?"

Harry raised an eyebrow at him. I thought you'd be mad.

Ron looked at him incredulously. "No, YOU'REmad! And – and –" He paused, and Harry actually saw how his emotions transformed from disbelief to a reluctant realization to utter defeat. "And I know how it feels. S'not like you can help your fee –" Ron's nose scrunched up in disgust. He tried again. "Feelings."

Harry grinned at him.

"Well, certainly explains your stalker tendencies during sixth year," Ron muttered.


"He doesn't even talk anymore!" Ron blurted out during breakfast, effectively spraying soiled bread crumbs all over the table. His eyes were fixed firmly on Malfoy's figure sitting in the Slytherin table, beside Nott and Zabini but none of them were talking. In fact, Malfoy was just staring at his plate, poking his pancakes absently. "And he's gotten so thin," he muttered.

Harry frowned, eyes glancing over Draco as well despite his efforts not to be obvious, because someone had to be and Ron was pretty much announcing to the world that he was incapable of discretion. Draco really had gotten so thin since the school year started. Well, the boy was already thin enough to begin with, and Harry didn't really expect anything less because of the war and Lucius being sent to Azkaban for life and Narcissa and Draco being held on probation.

That didn't mean he still wasn't worried though.

"Oh, God, Harry, don't… look like that," Ron moaned pitifully. "Next thing I know you'll sweep him off his feet and feed him breakfast in bed."

Harry flushed and, as enticing as that thought was, glared at him. He then picked up the Self-Erasing Parchment and scribbled furiously on it.

SHUT IT, RON, OR ELSE I'LL TELL HERMIONE THAT YOU WERE THE ONE WHO BLEW UP SLUGHORN'S CAULDRON SO THAT WE COULD HAVE AN EARLY DISMISSAL

Harry's fingers hurt from writing so fast but Ron shut up and Harry finished his breakfast in peace, with Ron only muttering about Malfoy from time to time.


Actually, Harry did not finish his breakfast in peace.

A lot of the Gryffindors and even some Hufflepuffs came up to him in random intervals demanding—err, asking him who the lucky girl was. The Patil twins were very persistent. Justin Finch-Fletchley asked him if it was a guy. Romilda Vane threw herself on his lap and tried to kiss him but only managed to spill his pumpkin juice on her.

Harry was more than ready to run out of the Great Hall when Seamus tried to kiss him.

Well, at least Ron had a good time.


He's a Death Eater, Ron wrote on the Self-Erasing Parchment as Professor Binns talked about The Third Troll War that no one was listening to.

Harry frowned at the parchment, and then frowned at Ron.

Ron shrugged, taking the parchment back. His earlier statement had already disappeared, so he had no problem scribbling hastily all over it. I had to say it.

Harry rolled his eyes and took it from him. He was. And not by choice.

Alright, fair enough. He's a git.

Part of his charm.

Ron stared at him incredulously.

It was Harry's turn to shrug.

Ron stared some more.

Rolling his eyes, Harry took the parchment back. It is, okay? And besides, he's sort of softened up now.

Ron snorted. Softened? He doesn't even talk anymore, he wrote, repeating his statement from that morning.

Harry frowned again, shoulders drooping. I know. I hate it.

Ron also frowned, but only because of the sudden downturn of his friend's mood. He grabbed the parchment from him and tried again.

He made your life hell.

Harry paused at this. Not really. Sort of. He paused again, still thinking hard by the time the words had already disappeared on the parchment. Well, it was a mutual thing.

He always started it, Ron wrote.

Maybe he just wanted me to notice him? Harry asked, a wry grin on his lips despite how far-fetched the notion seemed.

The sound of Ron's head hitting the table was ignored by Binns and the rest of the class, who were already fast asleep.


It was on the seventh day, a week after the Jinx first hit him, when Lavender Brown decided she couldn't take it anymore.

Where was all the gossip? All the rumors were dead-end rumors, that it just didn't feel good to spread them anymore. Harry Potter was so tight-lipped! (No pun intended.) After a quick plan-making session in the girls' bathroom, she took almost half the female student population of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with her to get to the bottom of things.

And so it was on the seventh day that a determined mob of girls flocked to the Gryffindor Table during breakfast and stared pointedly at Harry Potter, who had his sandwich halfway to his mouth.

Expectedly, all eyes were on them. After all, everyone was also very eager to find out just who stood in Harry Potter's heart. And, err, well, between Harry Potter and the ability of speech.

Ron, out of the habit that he had grown to have the past few days, looked around for Malfoy but was confused when he didn't find him.

Harry flushed at the attention, put his sandwich down and fidgeted in his seat.

"Harry James Potter," announced Lavender Brown. "It has been a week. SEVEN DAYS."

A murmur of agreement passed over the Great Hall, though Harry didn't know what was there to agree about.

"That's probably the longest that anyone in Hogwart's been under Lip-Lock," Parvati mused.

Another murmur of agreement, although it was louder this time.

"Do you not have any plans at all to break that spell?" Lavender asked exasperatedly.

"Oh, for goodness' sake, Lavender!" Hermione said, infuriated.

Lavender ignored her.

"We demand that you kiss whoever your heart desires right NOW!"

It was like madness had ensued. Harry, in retrospect, should have probably already run away from the Great Hall around that time and maybe hid himself in the Shrieking Shack. The girls had by now abandoned all civility and had started pushing and yelling and whistling and shrieking horrid pick-up lines.

"We can't take this anymore!"

"All the suspense is killing us!"

"Kiss one of us already!"

"Kiss me, Harry!"

"No, me!"

"No, ME!"

"HARRY, I LOVE YOU!"

Harry only managed to escape the chaos and the grabby hands grasping at his clothes with the help of Madame Hooch, who had come to save the day with broomsticks.

By the time that Harry, shaky and disoriented, had flown out of the Great Hall, Ginny was still eating peacefully at the Gryffindor's Table, silently sniggering to herself because if only these girls knew that they had all the wrong equipment.


Unfortunately for Harry, he had flown out of the Great Hall doors, not the high windows where the owls flew in and out of every morning to deliver mail, so the mob had no problems chasing after him whatsoever.

Even more unfortunately, he was only riding a Cleansweep.

Ruddy fucking broom! Harry thought as he swerved sharply to the left, almost hitting the wall as the broom responded late to his movements. Madame Hooch was flying beside him, muttering under her breath. Then, she suddenly swerved so close to him, almost dangerously so, and tapped her wand on his head. It hurt, really, since she had involuntarily used more force than what was necessary due to their shaky flying, but Harry could forgive her since she had just cast a Disillusionment Charm on him.

They were crossing the Stone Bridge now, heading for the Transfiguration Courtyard.

"I'll stop them. Go and get that blasted Jinx off you, Potter!" she yelled over the wind, and then she was gone and Harry flew for his life.


The thing was, how was he supposed to get the blasted Jinx off him? Ginny was still back in the Great Hall and Harry really didn't want to entertain the thought of begging her. Kissing Malfoy was, of course, not a choice. There must be another way for him to take the spell off!

Should've asked Hermione, he thought grumpily then made another sudden swerve.

When in doubt, go to Hermione.

If Hermione's not available – or, err, back in the Great Hall with a mob of crazed students, then one has to make do with the library.


The library was empty, thank Merlin. Even Madame Pince was not present, as she was in the Great Hall finishing her breakfast. Harry quickly dismounted, placed the broom in one corner, and went straight for the 'J' aisle.

He really had no hopes that he would find something to get the Jinx off. If no one has been able to find or makethe counter-spell, then what were his chances? Still, he had nothing better to do anyway. It was either that or let the mob chase him all around the castle.

He hurriedly took the first five books he found on Jinxes, just in case the girls (and some boys) reached the library, and carried them towards the nearest table that – ohfuckingMerlinonastick.

Well, shit.

There was Draco Malfoy, sitting beside the window and reading a book, his expression one of relaxation and with the sunlight bouncing off white skin and blond hair. It was almost unfair, how purposelessly gorgeous he could be. He wasn't even trying!

Harry had frozen in place, five books weighing heavily in his arms as he stared and thought rather pitifully:

Everything is Ginny's fault.

Realizing that he was not alone anymore, Draco looked up and he blinked hard at the sight of books hovering in mid-air. Quickly, Harry put the books down on the nearest hard surface and fished his wand from his pocket to take off the Disillusionment charm. He carried the books again.

Surprise flitted over Draco's expression when he saw Harry standing just a few feet away from him, looking flustered and mussed and wind-blown. He blinked at the books in Harry's arms. "Potter," he greeted, slowly, almost cautiously.

At that, Harry flushed and nodded in greeting, managing a weak grin. Draco nodded back, and then simply returned to his book.

Swallowing, Harry willed his feet to move. He awkwardly placed the books on the table beside Malfoy's and proceeded to flip through the pages, feeling very self-conscious.

Oh, if Draco just knew that he was the reason why Harry was agonizing right now.

Actually, no, it was Ginny's fault, but really.

Silence enveloped them and the only sounds that could be heard were the flipping of pages, Harry's still unsteady breathing due to flying and Draco's relaxed one. Harry could feel the silence's heaviness, and wondered if he was the only one feeling awkward. Draco looked as he always did, impassive and nonchalant.

Then, a shrill voice sounded from outside and made Harry jump from the shock.

"HARRY, I'VE BEEN WHOMPING MY WILLOW THINKING ABOUT YOU!"

Harry's face burned a fiery red and he groaned. He did not want to look behind him and see Malfoy's expression. He looked out the window and gaped as the mob spread out all over the courtyard, screaming his name and other obscene pick-up lines.

"Well," came Malfoy's drawl. "Seems like everyone wants to get a piece of our Savior," he said softly, but the edge of his lips twitched upwards in amusement.

Harry didn't know whether to be embarrassed or happy because Draco was actually talking. To him. Without being talked to first! And he was actually going back to his former self, insults and all! Well, he still talked below his normal volume, but it was still an improvement.

Not wanting to let this pass, he quickly got the Self-Erasing Parchment from his pocket and turned around in his chair, placing it on Malfoy's table to write on it.

I'm terrified of girls now.

He hoped that Draco didn't find this too weird, Harry actually trying to start a decent conversation that wasn't out of necessity or obligation to schoolwork.

Draco probably did, if his look of surprised confusion was anything to go by.

"Tough," Draco said merely, shrugging. He paused, as if wanting to say something more. His eyes flickered back to his book, contemplating on ending the conversation there. Either way, Harry still would have forced the conversation to continue, but it made him grin when Draco looked back up at him again, struggling to hide the curiosity in his voice.

"So? What's the angry mob for?" he said, nudging his head towards the window.

Harry shrugged. Lip-Lock Jinx.

"Ah," Draco said in understanding, glancing at the books about Jinxes behind Harry. He paused again, before thinking better of it and returning back to his book, forcing himself to read.

Harry wasn't going to be swayed that easily. What is it? He wrote, and then kicked Draco's leg under the table.

"Ow!" Draco exclaimed, glaring at Harry.

Now that was more like it. Harry pointed at the parchment quickly, before the writing dissolved.

Draco looked uncomfortable. He frowned, eyes fixed on the parchment even as the words disappeared. Finally, after a brief period of silence, he shrugged, seeming nonchalant. "Haven't kissed her yet?"

Of all the questions that Malfoy could have asked, that question was not one of those that Harry had expected from him. Harry flushed, the redness of his cheeks creeping to his neck as he very pointedly tried not to stare at Malfoy's lips.

No, he wrote.

Draco's lip curled. "How chivalrous," he said, and then turned to his book, making it clear that he did not want to talk anymore.

Harry felt put-out but figured that he was already lucky to get that much. Still feeling rather proud of himself, he turned back to his own books and started flipped through them once more, not really reading.

Still, he found himself relaxing against the chair, the silence of the library and Malfoy's breathing lulling him into calmness. He'd start whenever another shrill scream of his name would resound from below, but otherwise kept his eyes on the text in front of him.

He wished he didn't sit with his back facing Draco though. His eyes still burned with that image of Draco sitting under the window and the sunlight, looking relaxed for the first time in weeks.

"Potter."

Draco's quiet voice made Harry jump, both in surprise and anticipation, and he quickly moved in his chair to look behind him.

Draco looked like he was struggling not to look uncomfortable. His cheeks were tinted pink, and he shifted in his seat, fingers nervously playing with the pages. Harry blinked in confusion.

"My wand," Draco said slowly, hesitatingly. He brought himself to meet Harry's eyes. "Do you still have it?"

Oh, Harry thought. He blinked some more, not really expecting that but thinking that he probably should have. He did have Malfoy's wand, in his trunk in Gryffindor Tower. He had thought of returning it, but either forgot about it or lost his nerve whenever he'd try to. Besides, Draco already had a new wand, but Harry reckoned it didn't work as good as his old one.

His silence obviously unnerved Draco, who quickly looked away and summoned his cool façade once more. "You don't have to give it to me. I have a new wand anyway, and it's not like I'm allowed to do magic outside of Hogwarts. I just thought that – maybe –"

Harry cut him off by sliding the Self-Erasing Parchment towards him.

On it, he had written:

I'll give it to you later.

Draco stared at the parchment, then it was like all the worries in his face had disappeared and he let out a breath of relief. He looked at Harry. "Thank you," he breathed out.

Harry felt like his face was going to break because of his grin.

Lunch? Same place.

He almost laughed, because it was like he was scheduling a date. He hoped that Malfoy didn't find it weird, but if he did, he didn't show it. Draco simply nodded, before standing up.

"Time for class," he muttered, looking pointedly at Harry's messy table of opened books.

Harry quickly set to work on gathering everything up.

Draco's curiosity got the better of him. "Did you find anything?" he asked.

Harry smiled at him sheepishly. Absolutely nothing, he wrote on the Parchment.

Draco raised an eyebrow. "You do know who Jinxed you, right?"

Harry hesitated, before nodding. No begging. My dignity is already bruised enough.

Draco's lips twitched upwards. "And you haven't kissed her yet because?"

Oh, this was awkward. They were actually talking about kissing. Harry felt his face burn, because oh, if only Draco knew.

They'd hate me forever, he wrote then quickly gathered the books in his arms before rushing towards the shelves, leaving Draco to stare, baffled, at the Parchment.

Draco raised his eyebrow, both at the exaggeration and the careful use of pronoun.

When Harry returned, Draco was already gone but the Parchment still lay on the table with words on it that Harry didn't remember writing.

He barely managed to read it before it dissolved into nothing.

No one could hate you.


Harry figured that McGonagall had given the students a good scolding, if their proper behavior was anything to go by when Harry arrived in his first class that morning. Lavender was still shifty though, and kept giving him suspicious glances. Ron sniggered at him and Hermione was oddly quiet. Not so odd since they were in a classroom and she did usually ignore them for the sake of studies, but odd because she hadn't raised her hand once nor had she even commented on the scene that happened that morning during breakfast.

Still, Harry wasn't one to take his blessings for granted so he took his seat and tried to pretend that everything was still normal.

He also tried to listen to the lecture, but his thoughts were faraway, filled with Draco Malfoy and Self-Erasing Parchments.


On their way to the next class, Harry halted his friends. He put the Self-Erasing Parchment against the wall, wrote on it, before presenting it to Hermione.

Do you know if there's a counter-spell for the Lip-Lock Jinx? He tried to look pitiful and desperate. Begging Ginny was out of the question but begging Hermione, now that was another case. After all, it wasn't like he and Ron hadn't gone on their knees and begged her for things before. (This happened more than they'd like to admit.)

Amazingly, Hermione looked apologetic. "I'm sorry, Harry. I've tried. But surely, if a counter-spell exists, then someone must have already found it. If no one's found it yet, then I don't see how I could."

And she was off, happily walking down the hall towards their Charms classroom, leaving Harry and Ron looking at her retreating back with dropped jaws and gobsmacked faces.

"Did you just hear that, mate?" Ron said disbelievingly. "That's the first time I heard her say that she couldn't do anything. And she's Hermione!"

But you're Hermione, thought Harry meekly as Hermione disappeared inside the classroom. His shoulders sagged.

If Hermione couldn't find anything, then all hope was lost.

He was doomed.


Lunch came very slowly for Harry. When it did, he all but ran towards the Gryffindor Tower to get Draco's wand. Ron and Hermione let him go easily, deeming it understandable that Harry wouldn't want to go inside the Great Hall just yet and promised to bring him food later.

When he arrived at the library, it was empty once again, except for a few Ravenclaw second years. They gave him no trouble though and even slinked away hurriedly when he came near. He quickly walked towards the 'J' aisle, reminding himself firmly not to be so excited.

You're acting like a first year, Harry, he scolded himself.

Still, when he saw Draco already sitting at the same place he sat in that morning, he couldn't stop himself from feeling lighter.

Draco looked nervous. His eyes were on his book but one could see that he wasn't really reading, more of idly flipping the pages back and forth.

Summoning his courage, Harry walked over and placed the wand on the table.

Draco jumped in shock, eyes whipping up towards Harry's face.

Harry motioned towards the wand and tried to smile, to show that he was giving it back with no hard feelings and no strings attached.

The look on Draco's face was positively glowing. He looked so relieved when he touched his original wand again for the first time in a long time and he almost looked like a child during Christmas, seeing the first snow of the season and the fairy lights.

"Thank you," he breathed out, looking uncomfortable as he did so but determined anyway.

Harry nodded, grinning.

"You're…" Draco started, swallowing nervously as Harry sat down on the chair across him. "You're really giving it to me?" he said, once again in that quiet and unsure voice of his that Harry had come to hate.

Harry was confused. He took out the Self-Erasing Parchment from his pocket and wrote on it. Why not?

Draco let out a humorless laugh. "Why not? Potter, I'm a Death Eater!"

Harry frowned. Was.

Draco snorted. "As far as I know, once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater," he muttered bitterly. "There's no quit option."

Harry was finding it ironic that he actually disliked this moment that Malfoy actually talked to him for more than five words. You didn't exactly pick the join option either.

Draco stared at him incredulously. "Are you daft, Potter? I knew you were hopelessly Gryffindor, but this is just pathetic," he spat, so unlike his quiet demeanor just a few minutes ago.

Harry glared at him, frustration making his hands go cold. Anger getting the better of him, he reached across the table to grab Malfoy's arm, barely registering the way that the other's eyes grew wide with fear, and yanked his sleeve up.

The Dark Mark was no longer there.

It had disappeared the moment Harry defeated Voldemort.

Harry looked at Draco's unblemished skin a little bit smugly, a little bit longingly. He caressed it gently with his thumb. 'It's gone,' he mouthed.

Draco yanked his arm away, shaken and disgruntled.

It doesn't matter anymore anyway. The war's over, Harry wrote on the parchment, pushing it towards Draco. He looked at the words sadly, wishing that the world thought the same.

He felt very depressed suddenly.

Draco stared at it too. "You really are daft," he murmured. His old wand lay beside the parchment, forgotten, and Harry gently pushed it towards him, urging him to take it and keep hold of it.

Slowly, Draco did.

Harry gave him a small smile, before standing up from his seat.

"Potter," Draco called out suddenly.

Harry stopped, looking at him in question. With him standing and Draco sitting down, the latter actually looked… small like that, eyebrows knitted in confusion and insecurity marring his features.

"Don't…" Draco said, voice soft and weak. "Don't you hate me?"

He sounded desperate and Harry had to close his eyes to push down the anger that was bubbling inside of him towards the wizarding world for being so close-minded, towards Lucius Malfoy for being a selfish bastard and towards Voldemort for fucking everything up.

He wrote on the Self-Erasing Parchment.

I'm not sure if I ever did.

As he waited for Draco to finish reading, he noted the way that the other's breath hitched and the way his eyes widened almost imperceptibly.

The smile that appeared on Harry's face was easy.

With one last nod, he took the parchment with him and left the library, feeling considerably lighter with his admission.

Underneath the window and the sunlight that made his hair shine gold, Draco stared dumbly at the wood of the table and slowly fell apart.


"So Harry," Ginny said smoothly, after she had pretty much ambushed Harry as soon as he had stepped out of his last class. She had dragged Harry away from an incredulous Ron and Hermione for a walk to the Paved Courtyard, taking advantage of his inability to voice out his protests. "Anything new?"

No one was present in the Paved Courtyard for everyone was busily scurrying off towards the Great Hall for dinner. Harry wondered if now was a good time as any to hex Ginny's hair into snakes.

He looked at her dryly and then pointed to his mouth.

Not unexpectedly, Ginny rolled her eyes and reached into his trouser pocket for the Self-Erasing Parchment and his Self-Inking Quill. (Harry loved the Weasleys, really. They make life so much easier.)

Harry took it from her and began to write furiously against the wall.

Other than the fact that half the school population is very willing to wrestle me to the ground to interrogate and possibly molest me?

"You should tell them you like blokes," Ginny said helpfully. "I think the blokes are less likely to molest you."

Harry shot her an accusing look.

Do you know how frustrating it is not being able to talk?

Ginny tried to look offended. "Harry," she exclaimed, scandalized. "Do you know how hard it is for me, knowing that you're unhappy?"

Harry was not mollified.

"Unhappily pining over a love that may not be as unrequited as you think," Ginny added, a true smile gracing her features. "Where's that Gryffindor courage?"

Seeing that accusing Ginny of anything wasn't going to lead him anywhere, Harry sighed in defeat. I appreciate what you're doing – he stopped. Wait, no, I don't.

Ginny waited for the words to disappear on the parchment patiently.

But Malfoy's not going to like me suddenly snogging him out of nowhere.

Ginny shrugged. "Take a chance?"

He'll hit me.

"Then get hit."

Harry will never understand girls.


After their walk, Harry had refused to go to the Great Hall for dinner.

He quickly evaded Ginny as soon as he could by running away, which wasn't very Gryffindor but was very necessary, He didn't think he was ready to be mobbed again quite yet.

So he went to the library.

Yes, the Gryffindor Tower would have been more practical and less of a hassle, but he figured that some advanced reading wouldn't hurt… and Hermione really was worried about his grades since he still couldn't speak and he didn't want to worry her any more than she already was.

That's all.

It wasn't like he was actually hoping that he'd see Draco in the library again.

What a preposterous thought.

Draco! He thought happily upon seeing the unmistakable blond hair.

The boy was sitting in the same chair, reading something that suspiciously looked like it was about potions.

He looked… relaxed.

And Harry found himself smiling a bit, because it felt good seeing him like that after weeks – no, months of seeing him so strung-up and stiff and cold like it was sixth year all over again but worse, because back then, Draco had something to fight for.

With one last fleeting look, Harry turned and left the library.

He went to bed happy that night.


"You're whipped, mate," Ron commented that morning, after he had eaten breakfast and carried a tray of treacle tart for Harry who refused to leave the Boys' Dormitory. The other boys were still in the Great Hall since a good forty minutes were still left for eating so Ron had no problems rubbing Harry's whipped-ness because of Draco Malfoy in his face.

Harry did not answer, only stuffed his face with more of the sweets.

"Absolutely whipped," Ron clarified, stealing one of the tarts from the tray.

Harry shot him a glare.

"When are you going to keep this up anyway?" Ron asked, shoving half of the tart in his mouth. "Really, Harry, I'm also starting to miss having a conversation with you," he said through a mouthful of tart, which wasn't very comprehensible but being his best mate has its merits so Harry had no problems understanding him.

Accepting his tendency to spit mashed food out whilst speaking was another thing.

Ron swallowed loudly. "And aren't you frustrated?"

Harry was confused.

"You know, at not being able to talk. It's been eight days."

Harry raised an eyebrow. He reached for the Self-Erasing Parchment. OF COURSE I AM

Ron gave him a funny look. "You sure don't look like it."

That was mainly because the last time Harry did reach boiling point, he ended up with broken knuckles. And he also did not want to go back to the Hospital Wing because that meant Madame Pomfrey forcing the culprit behind the Jinx out of him.

And it was just that all these encounters with Draco were keeping him in this good mood.

And also…

It's nice not having to explain myself all the time.

Ron stared at the words for a long while, before snatching another treacle tart. He shrugged. "Alright. Whatever floats your boat."

A knock at the door interrupted them.

"Harry, open the door right this instant!"

Harry's face slowly turned pale.

Ron gave him a sympathetic look, before standing up to open the door, but it burst open before he could even take a step and in came Hermione, eyebrow raised and arms akimbo.

Harry, who was sitting on the bed, felt small as she stood in front of him in all her bossy glory.

"Harry James Potter, would you mind telling me just why Draco Malfoy is on the other side of the Fat Lady's Portrait asking for you?"

Harry's face remained dreadfully pale. Oh God what did Ginny do was the first thought that came to his head.

Ron clapped a hand on his shoulder. "Well, your Knight awaits."

Harry shakily walked out of the room, but his hand was steady when he flipped Ron the bird.


Draco really was waiting outside the Fat Lady's Portrait. He stood stiffly and his face was pale and he looked like he wanted to be anywhere else than here, but Harry felt his own heart catch in his throat anyway.

You're whipped, mate, repeated Ron's voice in his head.

He walked closer and hoped his smile looked confident.

If possible, Draco paled even more. He looked away nervously, shoved a hand in his pocket and quickly pulled out his wand.

His old one, Harry realized.

Draco stared at him. "You're not… you're not going to do anything?"

Harry blinked, feeling embarrassingly stupid. He had left the Self-Erasing Parchment upstairs with Ron, so he had nothing to write on. He only hoped that his confusion showed clearly on his face.

Draco's stare turned incredulous. "I just took out my wand, Potter. I might as well be ready to hex you!"

Harry was even more confused. He had no idea why Draco came here, and this certainly wasn't helping him any.

Then, Draco laughed lowly. It was a hollow laugh, one that made Harry cringe and vow to never hear again. "Right," Draco said, swallowing with difficulty. He closed his eyes, and then opened them again. "Right, you don't think I can. After all, what can I do against Harry Potter?" he muttered, but there was no bite, just… resignation.

Harry grabbed his wrist abruptly.

Draco's head snapped up in surprise and they stared at each other's eyes for a while, with Harry silently begging him to try to understand what he was about to say. Harry desperately wanted his Parchment right now.

'It's not that,' he mouthed slowly, hoping that it was clear but thinking it probably wasn't. He kept his hand on Draco's wrist, but softened his grip. Then, hesitatingly, 'I trust you.'

Harry did. Ever since that night in the Astronomy Tower, and that time in Malfoy Manor when Draco had been asked to identify them and didn't. Harry trusted him.

Draco's face fell, and he suddenly looked very broken.

"My – my wand," he muttered, yanking his wrist from Harry's grip. He then took his wand and shoved it in Harry's palm. "Take it. I might… I can't – You keep it. I can't."

Then he turned and briskly walked away.


It took Harry a few seconds to get himself together and ask himself, what the fuck was that? It occurred to him to run after Draco, but the boy had already turned the corner and was nowhere to be seen and Harry thought that he really needed his Self-Erasing Parchment.

So he walked to the Fat Lady's Portrait, wrote the password on her dress with his wand, and sprinted up to his dorm.

Ron and Hermione were still sitting on the bed, having a Deep Conversation when he entered but Harry simply ran past them, grabbed his Self-Erasing Parchment, his Self-Inking Quill, and the Marauders' Map from his trunk.

Ron and Hermione stayed dutifully quiet as he dashed back out.


The Marauders' Map told him that Draco was in the library.

This both surprised and not surprised Harry, because Draco did spend most of his time nowadays in the library but he was so rattled earlier, that Harry wondered why he didn't retreat to the dungeons. Harry was glad he didn't though – made it so much easier to get to him.

When he finally reached the library though, he found that he had no idea what to say.

He had no idea what that whole thing earlier was about.

Draco was sitting under that tall window again, the light from outside casting a glow around him. Harry found himself pausing just to look.

Nervously, he walked nearer and saw that Draco had a book open in front of him. He reckoned that the blond wasn't actually reading though. When he got closer, Draco's shoulders visibly tensed.

Harry frowned. Sighing, he told himself to abandon caution and gingerly took the seat next to Draco.

It was an awkward silence.

Harry fished around in his pocket and took out Draco's wand. Slowly, he took Draco's hand, ignoring the way the other stiffened as if by reflex, and placed the wand on his palm.

Draco's eyes closed. "No, Potter. I'll –"

Harry picked up his Self-Inking Quill and wrote.

On Draco's palm.

You won't.

He had no idea how it came to this. Just a week ago he was agonizing that Draco Malfoy wasn't talking to him and showed no interest in doing so. Now he was here in the library, sitting beside Draco and comforting him because of things that he didn't fully understand.

He quite liked the feel of Draco's pulse underneath his fingers though. And how Draco's eyes, bright, widened almost imperceptibly as he stared at the messy handwriting on his pale skin.

You won't.

Won't. Not can't.

That meant he had a choice. He could choose.

His eyes strayed to his forearm, where the Dark Mark used to be.

With a strangled, choking noise, Draco nodded and curled his fingers around his wand.

Harry grinned when he felt, more than saw, Draco relax. Reluctantly, he let go of Draco's wrist and also allowed himself to relax in his chair.

Draco's eyes shifted to him. "Potter," he started slowly, nervously. "I – well…"

Harry's face was beaming when he realized what the other wanted to say. He took the Self-Erasing Parchment and wrote two simple words.

You're welcome.

And Draco, now at ease, nodded and returned to his book. Harry stayed where he was, content with the sound of Draco's soft breathing beside him, the quiet turning of pages, and the morning sun shining on the two of them.


They found themselves in the same position a few hours later, when the rest of the student population was in the Great Hall eating their well-deserved lunch after four straight, grueling hours of classes.

Harry had no qualms unabashedly plopping next to Draco once more when he entered the library, and couldn't have smiled a bigger smile when Draco moved a bit to make space for him.

Why aren't you eating? He wrote on the Self-Erasing Parchment, before shoving it right under Draco's nose, above the book that he was reading.

Draco's eyebrow quirked up at the rude gesture, but Harry just eased back into his chair to get more comfortable.

"I'm not hungry," he replied easily.

Harry frowned and took the parchment back. But you didn't eat breakfast.

Draco shrugged. "You didn't either."

I did, in the dorms.

"Why not the Great Hall?" Draco countered, though it was probably more of a diversion tactic to steer the conversation away from him.

Harry could forgive that at the moment, since Draco seemed to have unconsciously abandoned his book and was all ears – err, eyes. He shot the other an amused look. I'd be eaten alive.

The edge of Draco's lips quirked up just a tiny bit. "We have the same reason then," he replied softly, and Harry had no idea what that meant but didn't ask because Draco had already turned away from him, very blatantly telling him that the conversation was over.


When dinner rolled in, Ron proved once again why he was Harry's best mate by bringing him a tray of food in the dorms.

Harry hesitated, holding a treacle tart in one hand. He took out the Marauders' Map, held up the treacle tart, pointed to the dot that said 'Draco Malfoy', and smiled sheepishly.

Ron simply rolled his eyes exasperatedly. "Well, go on then. I'll go have a romantic dinner with my girlfriend, and you go have one with yours."

Harry was torn between hugging him and flipping him the bird.


With the help of the Invisibility Cloak and Hover Charms, Harry managed to get the tray to the library with no problems. The library was empty, even Madame Pince was at the Great Hall eating her dinner, but Harry knew that there was at least one occupant that he would find seating at the very back of the room.

Draco wasn't surprised when he saw him, and even nodded in greeting.

Harry grinned and with his wand, set the tray on Draco's table rather loudly. Draco jumped at the noise, since he couldn't see just what had caused it.

Sitting next to Draco in his usual seat again, Harry took away the Invisibility Cloak and reveled in Draco's wide-eyed, slack jawed expression. When Draco turned that expression to him, Harry could only shrug self-consciously.

He took out the Parchment and wrote. Ron brings me too much. Eating alone in the dorms sucks.

Draco's lips curled upwards. "We're not allowed to eat in the library," he said amusedly.

Harry shrugged again. Disillusionment Charms?

Draco's shoulders shook, and Harry almost panicked at the thought that he did something wrong – Draco probably thought he was a creep – until Harry turned to look at him, and he realized with amazement that Draco was laughing.

Not an insulting laugh, a… free, easy laugh that seemed to light up his whole face.

With a relieved grin, Harry grabbed a piece of treacle tart and took one savory bite.


"Hullo, Harry," Ginny greeted him innocently as she sat down on the couch beside him in the Gryffindor Common Room.

Harry shot her a wary look.

Ginny ignored it. "I hear you've been in the library a lot," she said smoothly.

Harry glared at her. I'll be slaughtered alive in the Great Hall, he wrote on the Self-Erasing Parchment.

Ginny merely looked at it before smiling at him charmingly. "I haven't seen Malfoy in the Great Hall either."

At this, Harry turned a faint hue of red.

"Uh-huh," Ginny said and thankfully left it at that.

She remained smiling for the rest of the night though, much to Harry's chagrin.


The next day at breakfast, Ron took it upon himself to throw in more food than usual in his Harry-tray. When Harry looked at him in surprise, he merely shrugged, grinned and said, "No getting sappy on me now, mate."

In response to that, Harry walked over to him and gave him a big, bear hug, much to his horror.

When Harry reached the library, Draco was already there, as always.

Harry found it incredibly endearing how Draco swiped an apple before the tray had even landed on the table.

Git, he mouthed with a roll of his eyes.

Draco merely smirked at him.

Ever since breakfast yesterday, Harry was finally getting glimpses of the Draco that he once knew. Hell, Draco was even starting conversations now. He was also starting to get back to his habit of snarky comments and insulting Harry's hair, which Harry was undecided whether it was fortunate for him or not.

"So?" Draco started, idly flipping the page of his book as Harry sat down.

Harry raised an eyebrow at him. So?

"You're still here. That means you're still in hiding from Brown and her little posse of delusional teenage girls," Draco said, shrugging. He raised his own eyebrow. "You still haven't gotten that Jinx off you."

Caught off guard by the topic, Harry flushed heavily.

How was he to say that the ticket to getting the Jinx of him was actually sitting in front of him? And that it didn't matter, because it's not like Harry's going to do anything about it or anything stupid like kiss him or something. No, that would be disastrous.

He was already just managing to get Draco to talk to him, and Draco was very good company that Harry actually wanted to keep, and if Harry had to suffer a few more days without the ability of speech because Ginny was being a twat, then so be it. One cannot have everything.

Ginny won't take it off, he wrote, feeling rather pathetic at admitting that it was a girl who got him in this mess. Never mind that the girl was Ginny Weasley, who was the one in the predominantly-male Gryffindor Quidditch Team to always wrestle bludgers to the ground in order to shove them inside the ball box.

She was the only girl, but the rest of the team had long since accepted that she was the Man in the group.

Draco's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "The Weaslette? Is it some kind of revenge for breaking up with her?"

Harry quickly shook his head. No, we're friends. She was the one who broke up with me, he wrote, smiling sheepishly. Mainly because I was too chicken to.

Draco stared at the words, blinking. "Huh," he said. "Always thought you'd hook up and have Potter babies and live happily ever after." As an afterthought, he added softly. Thoughtfully. "I still do, actually. Why would she jinx you?"

Harry cringed at the thought of making babies with Ginny. He nearly threw up his toast.

No, he scribbled hastily, face ashen. No babies with Ginny.

The thought of a pregnant Ginny made him shudder.

Draco shot him an amused look.

She said she wants me to find happiness, Harry wrote, snorting softly.

"By rendering you mute, yes," Draco said wryly, nodding his head in mock-understanding.

Harry grinned.

Draco opened his mouth to say something more, but then seemed to think better of it and simply closed it, reaching for one of the glasses of pumpkin juice. "Good luck then, Potter," he said instead, returning to his book.

Harry wasn't about to let him go that easily.

What is it? He wrote and then slipped the Parchment directly on top of the page that Draco was reading, making him jump in surprise.

Draco rolled his eyes. "Must you always be so charming?" he muttered, but took the Parchment anyway to read it. He put it down, and then tried to look nonchalant. "Then do the other thing."

At Harry's confused expression, Draco went on but kept his eyes firmly on the book as if the conversation bored him. "The other thing, to take the Jinx off."

Harry got what he was talking about, and flushed again.

He remembered what happened a few days ago, when they had last talked about the Jinx. He still had doubts on whether Draco was the one who wrote the words No one could hate you on the Self-Erasing Parchment. Hell, he doubted himself, if he really did read those words. It could have been just a dream, or – or his imagination, or something.

He wondered if Draco will say it again.

They'll hate me, he wrote.

It was to his disappointment when Draco merely said, "Really."

He sounded skeptical, and looked skeptical as well with his raised eyebrow.

Harry nodded. It made him nervous, talking about this when the person he really was talking about was the current person he was talking to who absolutely had no idea. Still, he didn't want Draco to return to his book, so he urged the conversation forward. We're not really friends.

Draco snorted. "You're Harry Potter. Who wouldn't want to be friends with you?"

Harry felt humbled, and ducked his head to hide the redness of his cheeks. He shrugged self-consciously. You? He wrote, chuckling and meaning it as a joke.

He probably did the wrong thing though, since Draco bristled and then stiffened. "Yes, well, we all know what happened the last time I offered my hand in friendship."

Harry remembered first year and immediately felt bad. He returned to scribbling. Sorry, he wrote and meant it. I didn't mean to.

What he didn't mean to, Harry didn't know. Didn't mean to refuse his hand in friendship? Didn't mean to bring back old memories?

"Save it, Potter," Draco muttered. His shoulders drooped but remained tense. "I was an insufferable prat, I know."

Yeah, you were, was his reply.

He raised his head sharply to glare at the other boy, but stopped short when he was greeted by Harry's dazzling smile. What he did to deserve that smile, he may never know, but it never stopped him from wondering.

Draco was just as clueless and dumbfounded when he read Harry's next message.

I want to be friends now though.

And Draco could only stare, and mumble dumbly in reply. "You do?"

Harry nodded, and wished he could speak.

For a while, Draco remained silent, frowning at the Parchment. Harry almost thought that he was mad at him or something. Finally, Draco looked away, and returned to his book. "Whatever, Potter," he muttered stiffly, but his ears were pink and Harry was smiling.


"Harry," Hermione started in the middle of Astronomy. Harry and Ron shared greatly alarmed looks, because Hermione ignoring lessons meant that they were in for some serious berating, but she merely continued on as if she were talking about the weather. "You've been in a good mood lately," she said.

Harry stared at her. Warily, he nodded.

Hermione stared at him for a long time, with those big, brown eyes of hers, before nodding as well.

She flashed him a sweet smile.

"Good."

Then she turned back to the professor and the lecture, and didn't talk to them until they were dismissed.

When Harry looked at Ron with a dumbfounded expression, the redhead merely shrugged exaggeratedly, as if to say, Oy, don't look at me.


Ron only brought him food during breakfast and dinner so when lunch rolled around, Harry found himself sitting quietly in the library, a Potions book in front of him, listening to Draco's soft breathing beside him and just reveling in that feeling of simple contentment.


Dinner came, and Harry brought with him a tray laden with sweets and his Potions homework.

As he nibbled on a treacle tart, Harry thought about Snape and how the man must be laughing in his grave right about now at how Harry was suffering at the hands of Advanced Potions. Slughorn was a good teacher, but there were moments that Harry just… had no fucking idea what he was talking about.

He let his head fall on the table with a dull thud, his essay not even halfway finished.

He had a feeling that even if he passed an essay that was two feet shorter than the requirement, Slughorn would probably pass him or something, but Hermione probably wouldn't be too happy about that.

"Do you need help?" came the soft voice beside him that snapped him out of his stupor.

Harry immediately sat up, blinking incredulously at Draco, who flushed shortly afterwards.

"Don't look like that, Potter," huffed Draco. "I was only asking," he muttered, turning back to his book.

Harry quickly touched his wrist, trying to get his attention back.

It was funny, how Harry had been competing with books for Draco's attention for the past few days.

Now that Draco was looking at him again, Harry nodded enthusiastically, almost pleading with his expression.

Draco quirked an eyebrow upwards, and Harry half-expected him to say something snarky or something, but when Draco simply scooted closer and grabbed his quill, Harry thought his heart would burst.


Three feet of parchment and a guaranteed O.

Harry had half a mind to give Draco the biggest hug ever, but figured that the boy wouldn't appreciate it very much, coming from him. He couldn't help smiling big and beaming though, even after they had already cleaned the table up.

As soon as they passed through the library doors, Harry took out his quill, grabbed Draco's hand and started scribbling.

Draco spluttered in indignation at having his smooth skin so utterly defiled. "Potter, you ingrate –"

Harry merely flashed him a goofy smile, mouthed 'good night', and hurriedly turned tail towards the Gryffindor Tower.

Scowling, Draco looked at his hand – and paled.

He wanted to curl into a ball.

"What horrid handwriting," he muttered as he started walking towards the Dungeons. He hurried his pace, just in case someone saw him and decided to have some fun.

On his hand, in messy black ink, were the wobbly and crooked letters forming the words THANK YOU.


As soon as he reached the almost empty Gryffindor common room, he was met with Hermione's raised eyebrow.

"Harry," she said with a serious voice that made Harry dread. "Have you been doing well in your studies?"

Ron cringed from his position by the fireplace but stayed dutifully bent over his own Potions essay.

Hermione's eyebrow remained lifted, a reminder that the only reason why she has stopped nagging him about forgoing his manly pride and going on his hands and knees to beg Ginny for mercy was his assurance that his grades would not suffer because of his condition.

But Harry had no worries today.

Realizing that Hermione was not about to slavedrive him into studying for NEWT's (which were months away) today, Harry immediately brightened up and he showed her the scroll of parchment he was holding in his hand with a goofy grin.

When Hermione read it, her eyes grew wide and amazed. "Harry, this is –"

Another parchment was shoved in front of her, and she realized that it was the Self-Erasing Parchment that Harry had just messily scribbled on.

Brilliant, I know, it read.

Ron finally raised his head, his curiosity getting the better of him.

Then Hermione's eyes narrowed. "Harry, you didn't…?"

Harry immediately shook his head, feigning hurt. He scribbled some more. Draco helped me, he wrote, looking giddy and smug and just a little bit shy.

Hermione's eyes widened even more and her mouth dropped. "Draco?"

Ron, who was not able to read what Harry had written on the Self-Erasing Parchment, perked up at the use of Malfoy's first name and – well, Malfoy in general. He was up on both feet and immediately by their side.

His eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets. "Seriously?"

Harry nodded. He was wary of Ron's reaction, wondering if he'll start ranting or just blurt out things that should not be blurted out so suddenly. Still, he couldn't help grinning at him.

It wasn't that he didn't want Hermione to know. Quite the contrary, in fact. But he didn't know how Hermione would react at hearing it from Ron's ranting.

Then, Hermione did something very surprising.

She suddenly jumped and enveloped Harry in a big hug, smiling widely. "Harry, that's great!"

Ron and Harry shared similar looks of bewilderment and just a little bit of apprehension.

Great? Harry thought, and hoped that Hermione would pick up on his confusion soon.

Hermione pulled back, grinned at him, and then ran towards the Girls' Dormitories. "I've got to tell Ginny!"

It was Harry's turn to be gobsmacked.

Beside him, Ron was a deathly white.

"Girls," he muttered fearfully.


Two minutes later, an ecstatic bundle of ginger hair bounced down the stairs to the Girls' Dormitories and shot straight for Harry, enveloping him in his second big hug.

Harry really had no problems with all the hugging – really. But compared to Hermione, Ginny was jumping up and down while hugging him and it was actually kind of painful at being squished so tightly like that.

A few feet away, Ron muttered sulkily to his girlfriend. "So you two've been planning this all along?"

Hermione kissed his cheek in comfort. "No, it was all Ginny's idea," she whispered to him with a smile. "It just didn't take much for me to figure it out."

Ron rolled his eyes. "Of course, you're you."

Hermione's smile widened. "But I was still quite shocked when I noticed that you had started to stare at Draco so frequently. It made me wonder."

Ron slowly turned green. He quickly decided to forget and purge from his memory that his girlfriend had ever mentioned him being (Merlin help all of us!) infatuated with Malfoy. In fact, he may just Obliviate himself later.

"What, so it's Draco now for you too?" he muttered despairingly.


It's not like we're boyfriends already, wrote Harry with a bit of a cringe once they had managed to escape the girls and had retreated to the safety of their own dormitory. (Such safe grounds, the Boys' Dormitory.)

"Ah, but that's the thing, Harry," Ron said wisely. "For them, you already are."

Harry looked stricken.


Harry knew that the Lavender and her girls wouldn't follow McGonagall's orders and stay quiet for very long, but that didn't stop him from hoping.

He didn't exactly expect them to trap him in a Full Body Bind though.

That was just low.

And creepy.

And Ron wonders why I'm gay, Harry thought bitterly as the girls crowed and started to run towards his stiff form on the very cold floor like predators to their prey.

"Finite Incantatem!" a voice rose from the other side of the hall.

Harry could suddenly move again.

He wasted no time scrabbling from the floor and turning around to hide behind his protector which was –

Harry's eyes almost bulged out of their sockets and his heart almost burst with joy as he looked at his savior.

Draco? Harry's befuddled mind supplied.

Suddenly, something – or rather, someone – shoved against his back and knocked him over, and Harry would have yelled something crude had he the ability to do so. Behind him, the girls were in a similar state of shock as they all stared at Draco's form, the wand in his outstretched hand, and the haughtily raised eyebrow that aimed to remind them that they were lesser beings.

Harry didn't have much of an opportunity to be annoyed at whoever knocked him over though – he was still having a hard time processing the fact that Draco Malfoy was in front of him and had just saved him from being mercilessly harassed by the completely mental.

"A body bind, ladies?" Draco's sarcastic drawl resounded in the hall and snapped Harry out of his stupor. "That's very… un-Gryffindor of you," he finished harshly, eyes narrowing particularly at Lavender Brown, who had also snapped out of her own stupor and had started to turn a very dark shade of red.

Harry had almost forgotten just how mean Draco could look like.

Lavender, however, was starting to look like his Aunt Marge when he accidentally spilled coffee on her dog when Harry was eight years old. Lavender straightened her back and glared, nose upturning. "Back off, Malfoy! We don't need Death Eater scum here!"

And amidst the few, shocked gasps, Harry heard the blood rushing in his ears.

In front of him, he could see Draco's sharp intake of breath and the minute change in his expression – like his world had just crashed down upon him.

But it was gone as soon as it had appeared, to be replaced by his mask of indifference and yet Harry still felt like punching someone or kicking someone in the shin or – or – breaking his knuckles again on a tree, because he didn't hit girls.

Fucking hypocrites! Harry thought angrily, and the chandelier floating above them broke into pieces and rained shards on them.

The girls screamed and some ran away with their arms above their ducked heads.

Harry didn't even feel sorry – he was absolutely shaking with anger as he stood up from his position on the floor and rounded on Lavender.

How dare you? Harry mouthed, his frustration building even more when no sound came out. That's exactly the kind of thing that those Death Eaters you hate so much would say! The war is over!

Lavender stared at him fearfully, eyes wide as she looked at his blazing green eyes. She could see his mouth moving to form angry words but she couldn't hear anything and that in turn made her more nervous.

Another crash resounded in the hall and more broken shards of glass fell upon them noisily.

Draco watched all this with wide eyes and a bewildered expression, taking in the image of a furious Harry shaking with suppressed fury and magic.

"Harry –" Draco started, forcing his voice out to reach the other boy.

It worked.

Harry snapped back as if in shock, his body going stiffly straight. Draco couldn't see his face since Harry had his back turned, but he could see Lavender's. He didn't know what happened, maybe Harry said something or at least, mouthed something – probably an apology – that had Lavender wiping her wet eyes and nodding quickly through her sniffles. She glanced over Harry's shoulder to look at Draco, but after that, she immediately scurried away.

Then, Harry turned but Draco still couldn't see his face because he had his head ducked down. His body remained stiff and Draco could see Harry's hands still shaking because Draco notices stuff like that, especially about Harry, who was walking towards him now and Draco actually held his breath in – fear? Nervousness?

…Hope?

But Harry just walked past him, sending a light breeze to blow softly by Draco's cheek, and Draco was left there, amidst the broken shards of glass that resembled the state of his heart ever since his mother had told him through tears that he was scheduled to take the Dark Mark.


Draco actually wondered why he even bothered to look for Harry bloody Potter.

It wasn't like Potter would welcome his company or something.

…But that's just it.

Draco hoped that Harry would.


Finding him was easy enough.

The only place that Harry could go to nowadays without the danger of being mobbed by students who sucked at minding their own business was the same place that had recently become Draco's favorite.

Harry had the gall to look surprised! As if he didn't expect Draco to come after him. Soon enough, the surprise gave way to an expression of mixed regret and embarrassment.

With a sniff and haughtily raised eyebrow, Draco walked over to him and gracefully sat himself down on the chair beside him.

Immediately, Harry opened his mouth to say (or at least try to say) something stupid like sorry and the like so Draco saved him from further humiliation by quickly raising a hand up. Harry obediently shut his mouth, looking remorseful and just very put-out.

It made Draco's lips quirk up in amusement.

Just a bit.

"Sod it, Potter," he said smoothly, relaxing in his chair.

Harry opened his mouth again, only to close it immediately after. If it was because he didn't know what to say or because, well, he couldn't really speak (but as if that's ever stopped him), Draco would never know, but when Harry opened his mouth again, Draco quickly cut him off.

"Whatever you're going to say, I don't want to hear it," he said firmly.

Harry looked rather affronted.

"And spare me your horrid handwriting. I want functional vocal chords and complete, grammatically correct sentences. In English." Draco sniffed at the air haughtily. "If that means that I have to suffer with hearing your voice, then alas, one cannot have everything."

Then, he added, more softly. "I'll listen when you can properly speak."

Throughout his speech, Harry had looked at him in incredulity, then amusement, then – well… Draco didn't know what that last expression was. If Draco dared, he would think it was… affection.

But no. That was impossible.

Slowly but surely, Harry's shoulders started to relax, until he was slumped against the chair in his usual careless manner.

Even if it was an utter lack of decorum and social grace, it was what Draco preferred. Then again, it wasn't very hard pleasing him nowadays, especially since the one doing so was Harry and that sort of set the whole standard.

Harry gave a soundless laugh, the tension easing away from his body until Draco felt rather smug and very satisfied with himself.

They probably looked rather weird – Savior of the Wizarding World and a former Death Eater sitting beside each other at the back of the library under a window with sunlight that made their hair shine and their eyes brighter.

But Draco didn't feel it was weird at all.

It was only during these moments that he could feel once again that he was just Draco.

Not with the expectations and repercussions of being Lucius Malfoy's son.

He settled more comfortably in his chair.

"For now, just sit there and shut up. I like you better when you can't defend yourself from my clever wit."

Grinning, Harry just rolled his eyes and took out his quill.

Draco almost started his 'what did I say about sparing me from your horrid handwriting?' speech when he realized that Harry wasn't taking out any parchment. Instead, Harry directed the sharp nub of his quill to the table and slowly carved out a word.

Git.


The next day, it was Draco who started the conversation.

"Still not speaking, Potter?"

Harry, who had just arrived and was in the middle of sitting down, flopped ungraciously on the chair in surprise at the question.

Draco's amused smile did little to ease his embarrassment. He shook his head.

"How many days has it been?" Draco asked with a little exasperation and haughtiness in his voice.

Harry raised his fingers, but then remembered that he only had ten and he was pretty sure that ten days had already went by and passed him. He opted for mouthing it instead, but ended up closing his mouth shortly afterwards.

Draco's eyebrow quirked up in amusement.

Harry shoved a hand in his pocket, took out the Self-Erasing Parchment and the Self-Inking Quill and wrote.

You know, I'm not really sure. Thirteen?

"You must be mental to keep that up for so long," Draco muttered in reply, still staring at the Parchment thoughtfully.

I agree, Harry wrote with a snort.

Draco leaned back in his chair. "Still no plans on taking that Jinx off you then?" he asked coolly.

Harry flushed. He knew that Draco wasn't asking whether he would go to Ginny and beg for mercy. (Not that it'd work, anyway.) He shook his head.

"How long are you going to keep doing this?" Draco asked with an expression of incredulity.

Harry paused. He didn't really know the answer to that one. Actually, he did: Not long, hopefully, but he wasn't really in charge of this one. Until Ginny realizes that she has a human conscience after all, he wrote instead.

Draco rolled his eyes exasperatedly. "And you can't just go and snog this girl because?"

Because he's not a girl, Harry thought wryly.

On the Parchment, he wrote, I like my bits intact.

Alright, so that threw away Draco's exasperation. Draco found himself smiling a bit.

And Harry kind of wished that he chose something else to say, because it really was awkward talking about his bits with the person he'd been pathetically pining after for years.

And then Draco asked softly. "It's not a girl, is it?"

And Harry just wished that he never got out of bed this morning at all.

Well, no, not really. Not getting out of bed meant that he didn't get to see Draco, but – he supposed it would be fine, if it meant not having Awkward Conversations about his bits and sexuality with Draco Malfoy.

But still, Harry couldn't bring himself to lie.

With his face burning, he slowly shook his head.

"I suppose it's not Finch-Fletchley," Draco mused thoughtfully, as if oblivious to Harry's internal turmoil.

Harry cringed at the prospect.

"He's been sending you smoldering looks for the past week and you haven't given him a second glance," Draco said wryly. "Or a first."

Harry shook his head vehemently.

"It's not…" At this, Draco's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "The Weasel, is it?"

Harry looked at him in horror.

Draco visibly relaxed. "Alright, then." He continued listing through the male population of Hogwarts. "Who else would hex your bits off though? I mean, everyone –" Draco meant this, as he glanced at Harry's flustered form. "— would love a piece of Harry Potter."

Harry ducked his head in embarrassment. He didn't really care about everyone, nor did he believe what Draco just said. Still, he thought miserably, Not everyone.

"Even the Slytherins," Draco added as an afterthought. Then, he blinked. "Is he a Slytherin? Only a Slytherin would want to hex your bits off. Not that they do anymore, but you know, stereotypically speaking."

Harry quickly scrabbled for the Self-Erasing Parchment. ARE WE REALLY GOING TO TALK ABOUT MY POTENTIAL LOVE-INTERESTS, he wrote, not really meaning the capital letters but it was just that his hand deemed it appropriate.

Draco raised an eyebrow at the hasty capitalization. "Touchy," he murmured with amusement. "I'm just trying to help here, Potter," he said casually.

As easy as that, Harry felt guilt wash over him in waves as he wrote on the corner of the Parchment. I know. Sorry.

And as easy as that, Draco felt the same waves of guilt crash down on him. He cleared his throat loudly. "Quite alright, Potter," he said. "I was only teasing."

He was certainly not about to apologize for teasing Potter. It was just not done.

Nevertheless, Harry's cheeky smile told him he was forgiven.


During Potions, Harry sat next to Draco. It may have been because he liked being close to Draco or because it was the only seat left.

Hermione and Ron knew better though.

Even Ron was grinning madly in a smug way.

(This was at least after he had finished his shudder of horrified disgust, which was more out of obligation than his actual dislike for Malfoy.)


Harry didn't listen to Slughorn at all during that lesson. He didn't mean to really, but he guessed it was okay, because that meant he can ask Draco about it later.


Draco also did not listen to Slughorn at all during that lesson. This was on purpose, because really, Harry Potter was sitting beside him, and Harry Potter had sat beside him before but this time was different because Draco was different and he's feelings things that he already told himself he wasn't supposed to feel.

But it's okay if he wasn't listening; Snape had been a great mentor to him after all.


Draco didn't know what possessed him to write such a thing on Harry's Self-Erasing Parchment that was laid carelessly on top of their table (just in case Harry needed to write something urgent).

Maybe it was because of the sudden memory of Snape, or maybe because Slughorn is a good professor but not Snape (he was great), or maybe it was because he was paired up with Harry again for the first time since he took the Dark Mark.

Or maybe it was because Harry was sitting too close and smelling too much of soap and Quidditch and grass and mornings, and it makes Draco think unclearly.

I wish Severus was still alive,he wrote.


Harry did not know what to do with such and sudden honesty.

He stared at the Parchment, at Draco's curving handwriting, and wanted to give something of himself in return.

He thought about Snape, too. He thought about Snape being the most cold-hearted professor that Hogwarts has ever seen and about Snape not being so cold-hearted after all. He thought about all the times he had been angry at the man, and all the times that he had been saved by him. They weren't the best of friends, that was for sure, but…

I wish I appreciated him more when he was alive, he wrote.


Draco smiled fondly.


When he and Harry parted ways, he to Arithmancy and Harry with his friends to Transfiguration, Draco realized three things:

He couldn't lie to himself that he wasn't in love with Harry Potter anymore.

Hogwarts was still not as safe as Dumbledore had once upon a time wished it to be.

And Stinging Hexes, on the other hand, were still as painful as Draco remembered them to be.


Harry thought that he might be dreaming. After all, he hadn't been this happy since Sirius died. He had this little fear that something must be up if things were going so well for him because things never go well for him. It was like an unwritten rule in the way of life.

In retrospect, he really shouldn't have felt so downtrodden when Draco didn't turn up in the library during dinner.


A part of Harry thought that he should probably rejoice, because maybe this might mean that Draco was returning back to civilization and eating in the Great Hall again but a greater part of Harry knew that this was (in a small, minute way) wishful thinking.

So with his heart beating nervously in his chest, he rounded the corner and headed straight for the Hospital Wing.


When he arrived at the Hospital Wing, Draco was there, alright, even though Harry could only see his white-blond hair. Madame Pomfrey was standing beside Draco's bed, her back turned to Harry who realized that the Mediwitch's shoulders were actually… shaking.

"Such insolence, I ought to give them Stinging Hexes and see what they think about it –" she was muttering, and this was already a very serious thing because Madame Pomfrey swore an oath to heal, not the other way around, but Harry wasn't thinking about the irony of this because all he could think about was the blood rushing in his ears and Stinging Hexes and Draco

Madame Pomfrey turned around, having sensed his presence, and she blinked in surprise. Though her back was still stiff, her shoulders relaxed at the sight of him. "Mister Potter," she said kindly. "Yes?"

And Harry would apologize for what happened next, really he would, because Madame Pomfrey had finally stepped aside and Harry could finally look at Draco and see the angry, red welt marking a path on the pale skin of the side of his neck, from his jaw to hide under the collar of his cloak and if Harry closed his eyes, he could imagine what it looked like before Madame Pomfrey did her fancy wand-waving, bleeding and open and red –

A window broke.

Madame Pomfrey jumped in surprise, breathing out a high-pitched "Dear Merlin!", and clutching Draco's bed sheets in her fists.

Draco was looking paler than ever, and he looked at Harry with wide eyes, shocked and a little – scared…?

Harry took one step back, ashamed and face burning with both embarrassment and anger.

He closed his eyes, dug his nails into his palm and desperately tried to calm down, but it was difficult with the magic running beneath his skin and sending sparks all over and his blood still rushing in his ears.

He shot Madame Pomfrey a desperate, apologetic look, and the glass shards of the window fixed itself again on the window pane.

Without looking at Draco, Harry turned away and walked out of the Hospital Wing, shameful and at the same time burning with rage.


Harry had already traveled to the Astronomy Tower and then to the Great Lake before he was confident that his head was a whole lot clearer. When he returned to the castle, he was just tired and ready to sleep this all away.

The darkness and echoing quiet of the hallways of Hogwarts calmed him, despite his thoughts of the war and Voldemort and Draco and Stinging Hexes.

He just felt defeated somewhat, like all his fight had been for nothing. No – it wasn't for nothing. After all, Voldemort was dead and his soul had been thrown away to burn for all eternity but – did it really make a difference?

There was no madman going around killing half-bloods with an army of blood purists, but Harry felt like that was the only thing that changed.

He didn't expect the wizarding world to suddenly change their views on muggleborns like a switch at the death of Voldemort, but he also didn't expect… this

"—don't have the Dark Mark to brandish around anymore, do you? Still haven't learned your lesson yet, eh, Malfoy?"

Harry's blood ran cold.

Laughter rang through the halls and made Harry's ears itch. It came from just around the corner and he almost didn't want to step forward in fear that what he might see will trigger his magic to run wild and uncontrollable again but Draco

"You're not doing a very good job, you see," came Draco's bored drawl but Harry wasn't listening, not anymore, because his feet were taking him forward, and he rounded the corner just in time to see a burly seventh-year raise his wand in agitation and press the tip of it deep against the bruising welt on Draco's neck and Harry saw Draco's wince and heard Draco's sharp hiss and thought –

Draco.

The chandelier broke.

I didn't fight the fucking war for this.

It seemed very dramatic, the way that the glass shards rained down on them like sparkling snow, but it wasn't like that at all, at least, not how Harry saw it because what he saw was the seventh-year's head turn as if in slow motion and the look of horror and fear slowly spread across his face the moment he laid eyes on Harry Potter through the rain of glass.

What Harry would remember was the way that Draco's head turned sharply towards him in shock, and how the seventh-year stepped back in fear before completely about-facing and running away with a yell that Harry would keep on hearing that night as he laid in bed.

When the last of the glass shards had fallen, and all that was left was the broken glass on the floor and the darkness of the hall, Harry felt like his throat had clogged up.

When he finally mustered the courage, he looked up at Draco and he had already stepped one step forward to make sure if the other was okay – but Draco was looking at him with wide eyes and a set jaw and he looked… torn?

Harry also didn't expect this either.

He may be a Gryffindor, but he had never forgotten that the Sorting Hat wanted to put him in Slytherin once upon a time, and at that moment, his Slytherin sense of self-preservation was easily winning against his Gryffindor courage, and so it was with shaking legs that Harry turned tail and ran away.


Harry entered the Gryffindor common room, which was empty except for the three figures by the fire. Hermione and Ginny both sprung up from their respective chairs and on their feet, faces glowing and expectant and grins big and smug, and that only served to make him feel more miserable.

From his position sitting on the carpet, even Ron stopped writing his Potions' essay and looked at him with expectation like a child waiting for his gifts on Christmas.

Harry took out his Self-Erasing Parchment and his Self-Inking Quill and sat down beside Ron.

Hermione, he wrote.

Hermione and Ginny shared a curious glance, before Hermione sat down on the carpet as well, lending comfort. Even Ron gave Harry a worried look.

It was with misery that Harry wrote out the next words.

Can you Reparo a chandelier for me?


He doesn't like me, Ginny, Harry wrote on the Parchment slowly an hour later, as if he really didn't want to write it at all.

Actually, he really didn'twant to write it at all. He had spent the last hour being generally quiet (which was easy, really) and even attempting to retreat to the sanctity of the Boys' Dorms, but his friends were having none of that.

It felt embarrassing to be writing something like this, and it felt like a child crying to his mom what the big bully did to him, but Ginny was standing by the fireplace, arms crossed and determined frown on place, and her hair shone brighter and redder as the fire burned stronger, reminding Harry that this was a Weasley he was talking to.

He kept his eyes glued on his handwriting stubbornly, ignoring Ginny's huff from beside him.

"You don't know that," she insisted, crossing her arms.

"Come off it, Gin." It was Hermione who spoke, her voice quiet and soft. "You don't know either."

Ginny's lips pressed together more tightly.

Harry sunk lower on the couch, sulky.

Then, Ron spoke what they had all been thinking but didn't want to bring up:

"Take the Jinx off him, Gin," he said with a sigh, but his eyes stared unnervingly at his sister, just as stubbornly as she stared back.

"No."

"There's no reason for you to keep him like this anymore!" Ron exclaimed, exasperated.

Harry felt even more miserable, having his friends fight his battles for him just because he lacked the voice to.

Hermione glanced at Harry, and then bit her lip. "I'm going to write Molly," she whispered.

All eyes snapped to her, and Ginny blinked, shocked and then betrayed. Her lips pursed, and her eyes went suspiciously bright.

"No, I'm not taking the Jinx off Harry," she said firmly, before stalking away towards the Girls' Dormitories, stomping as she went.

Ron looked a bit red, but maybe that was because of the fireplace. He looked at Harry apologetically, and Harry shrugged and wondered if he'll ever get his voice again.


In retrospect, maybe Harry should have done this in the first place just to get things over with.

He'd probably have a bruised face and an even more bruised ego, and maybe even be rendered impotent forever, but that was inevitable from the beginning, wasn't it? At least, from the moment that Ginny had decided it was a good idea to hit him with the Lip-Lock Jinx while he was in mid-air, thus sending him to the infirmary at the same time that Draco was in there.

Well, it wasn't like the Lip-Lock Jinx experience had been that bad… After all, he did enjoy half a month with Draco, and maybe they were even friends now.

Harry just didn't know if they would still remain friends after what he was about to do.


Probably not.


The next day, Harry woke up with a headache and a stomach feeling like lead. Nevertheless, he was decided that he wasn't going to spend the morning wallowing in self-pity and hiding from the rest of the world.

That would be for the afternoon.

That morning, he got out of bed, took a longshower in an effort to calm his nerves, got dressed, brushed his teeth, and tried to brush his hair.

(He failed at that last one.)

Then, still feeling like how Ron must have felt when he vomited slugs in second year, he marched towards the library.


Draco looked as immaculate as ever, sitting under that arched window with a book open in his hands. The sunlight bounced off white-blond hair and Harry didn't think that it was possible to fall in love again.

As soon as the butterflies rose in his stomach, it fell into an acidic death as Harry thought pitifully that he was doomed. If he was this smitten, then what hope did he have to forget his feelings after… well, after this?

Half of him hoped that Draco would be blunt and brutal.

That would make it easier for him to forget.


Draco had started on a new book titled Potions, Jinxes and Hexes: Laws of Attraction. It was definitely not about love magic. He had been sitting there for the past half hour already and hadn't quite gotten past the third sentence of the first page yet, but he kept his eyes firmly on the paper and not on the shelves where Harry usually appeared from with a shy grin and a tray of breakfast.

There were days when Draco would let himself believe that he could get used to this, that he could allow himself to. He wanted to believe that Harry would do, that they'd keep doing this even after they've graduated and maybe more – but he would crush that thought quickly because it wouldn't do good to dwell on petty wishes and dreams.

That's what his whole life had been about, right? His father had told him countless of times that he was foolish for still wanting to befriend Harry Potter after the boy had refused his hand during first year, so Draco stopped mentioning it. His aunt Bellatrix would pull him aside, press her nails against his forearm, and whisper to him to forget all about Hogwarts and his friends and just be a good boy.

He was a good boy – until the end, when he refused to identify Harry in the Manor.

The wizarding world already considered him bad. After that incident, the dark side considered him bad too and not the approved kind.

Draco knew that that was what this was all about.

Harry felt like he owed some kind of wizarding debt to him, or he just couldn't help playing the hero once more and saving the disgraced victim of the war.

Draco didn't mind.

He'd take what he could.

Then Harry sat down beside him.

Draco almost dropped the book on the table, barely managing to save it from making a loud noise that would surely attract Madame Pince and ruin their hiding place. (Not that it was actually hidden.)

Harry's shoulders were slumped, and his eyes were wide and green and nervous as they stared at the table. It was that that made Draco know that this morning wasn't going to be like the rest, aside from the fact that Harry didn't have any treacle tart with him.

Draco knew that Harry expected him to talk about what happened yesterday. Draco wanted to – but not right now. Right now he really wanted to enjoy his morning because Harry's eyes always looked much more beautiful in the early morning.

"You look like shite, Potter," he commented airily, placing the book on the table in front of him, opened somewhere in the middle so that it didn't look like he'd been stuck on page one for the past half hour. He turned to Harry and made a show of raking his eyes disapprovingly down Harry's form. "Not that it surprises me anymore, really, because you've always looked like –"

And Draco thought that this morning really wasn't going to be like other mornings because it was then that Harry's eyes turned to him and they were unusually brighter than normal and Draco realized that oh

Harry was kissing him.

Harry placed his lips on top of Draco's, and it felt wonderful, and soft and chapped and gentle and Draco's world shattered.

He wasn't even aware that a tear had fallen down his cheek unsuspectingly until he tasted it and he summoned all his strength and frustration and punched Harry – hard – in the face.

Harry felt the wind blow out of him as his head whipped back and the side of his body hit the edge of the table painfully.

"Then get hit," Ginny had once said.

Easy for her to say, thought Harry bitterly with a wince. She's not the one with the broken nose.

He had expected that hit, but it still hurt. He could take the punch, or even the broken nose, just not… how Draco was standing in front of him, looking down at him with such anger that he was almost shaking. The tear that Harry had fleetingly tasted was nowhere to be found now, only a hard-set jaw and shoulders shaking with fury.

An unusual silence filled the library, and Harry could feel it heavy on his shoulders. He couldn't look at Draco, couldn't even raise his eyes. All he could do was bow his head in apology and run his tongue once more across his bottom lip and remember how wonderful Draco felt and tasted beneath his lips. He didn't even taste the blood.

When Draco spoke, it was sharp and hissed.

"I'm not a fucking charity case," he said, and it sounded broken even to his own ears.

Harry could feel his eyes watering. Maybe it was because of the pain in his face or from somewhere in his chest, but whatever it was, it made his vision blurrier than usual.

"No," he rasped out, and it sounded painful to his ears. His throat hurt, after having not spoken in a long time, but Harry forced it to anyway because he needed to say this, needed to tell Draco.

He stood up, met Draco's bewildered eyes and looked almost desperately in it.

"No," he whispered. "You're not."

And that was all Harry could take – his feet decided the rest for him. His legs took him away, and he was so intent on leaving and never looking back that he almost didn't hear Draco say his name.

"Harry," Draco whispered.

When Harry turned back, gone were the anger and fury that once held Draco's shoulders stiff. What replaced them were shock and bewilderment.

"You – you're speaking," Draco breathed out in amazement, eyes wide. Then, his mind caught on, and he let out a small gasp of realization.

Harry smiled at him weakly. "Yeah," he said, but he didn't know what exactly he was agreeing to or both. "Sorry, sorry, I'll –" he stopped, finding that he couldn't find his voice again but not because of some jinx. He swallowed down the lump in his throat and tried for his voice not to break once more. "I'll stay away," he whispered instead.

He turned away, his heart eating itself and his whole body tense and wanting to leave before he made an even more fool of himself, but Draco called his name again, this time almost pleadingly.

"Harry."

When Harry turned back again, Draco's shoulders were now slumped in defeat and tiredness, but his face showed determination as bright eyes stared into Harry's –

Hopeful.

"If I'm not a charity case," he murmured, continuing their earlier conversation. He blinked his eyes to keep them dry. "What am I then?"

And Harry could feel the lump again in his throat now, though it wasn't because of the underuse of his voice. He had a lot of replies to that, a lot of answers, but his nose was still bleeding and he couldn't get rid of the look of betrayal on Draco's face from his mind's eye, so he opted for the safest answer.

"A friend," he murmured.

Their eyes remained level with each other, even after Draco asked his next question. "Maybe more?"

It was embarrassing how Draco's voice broke off at the end of that sentence because he wanted nothing else.

Somewhere in the silence and the look of cautious hope in Draco's expression, Harry forced his courage up little by little.

"Definitely more," he breathed out.

It felt wonderful to say it out loud, though maybe that was because Harry could finally say things out loud after more than half a month, but no, no, it wasn't.

And Draco was walking up to him, closing the distance between them in one, two strides and he was cupping Harry's face gently, his fingers smeared with blood, and Harry couldn't believe it.

"Sorry," Draco whispered, his breath ghosting against Harry's lips. He blinked his eyes rapidly to fight back the tears and swallowed to push his heart back down from his throat. "Sorry, I'll fix that," he muttered, his voice breaking off at the end once again.

He scrambled for his wand in his pocket with one hand but the other never left Harry's cheek. With a few whispered words, Harry's nose righted itself with a snap and the blood disappeared from Harry's face.

Harry winced, but that still didn't lessen the shock at having Draco so close, and if Harry just moved a little bit, then their lips would touch again and they'd kiss and –

Draco moved.

Harry couldn't resist his eyelids fluttering closed or the sound of pure contentment that rose from him as Draco pressed their lips together for the second time. He hovered there, as if hesitant, but Harry pressed back eagerly and the moment's hesitation was gone.

Draco pried Harry's lips apart gently with his own, experimentally sliding his tongue across Harry's bottom lip.

Harry flushed; he had no idea about French kissing. He and Ginny had never gotten that far, but – but oh.

All thoughts of Ginny fled from his head as Draco slipped his tongue past Harry's lips, caressing Harry's tongue, and that was all Harry could feel along Draco's warm hand on his cheek and it was wonderful.

With one last swipe at Harry's bottom lip, Draco pulled away, his face flushed. "Was that…" he asked weakly, turning a darker shade of red.

"Yes," Harry said, breathless and flushed as well. "Yes, it was okay. Amazing."

Draco's answering smile rivaled the morning sun.

"I'm sorry I didn't bring breakfast," Harry muttered awkwardly, giving a shy smile. "Breakfast's probably over."

"That's okay," Draco said. "It's Saturday. You can call your house elf friends of yours and we'll stay here."

Harry grinned. "You want to stay here all day?"

"Yes," Draco answered immediately and flushed afterwards.

Harry couldn't resist.

He kissed Draco again.


Later that night, when dinner had went and gone by after being secretly spent in the library, Harry trodded up to the Gryffindor Tower with a skip in his step and a smile on his face.

"Hullo, everyone!" he greeted as soon as the Fat Lady's Portrait swung open.

Ginny fell out of her seat.

Ron stood up from his.

Lavender cried out in shock and stomped over to him like a girl on a mission but was stopped when Hermione swiftly cast a Total Body-bind. (Neville winced, because he knew how that felt.)

Ron took one look at Harry's grinning face before sharing with him an air high-five and a very manly fist pump.


Ten minutes later, Lavender was finally deposited into the Girls' Dormitories by a well-said threat from Hermione. Ginny finally snapped out of her stupor and proceeded to hop around the room sideways in joy.

And Ron finally realized what this whole thing meant and paled at the prospect and just the general wrongness of now having to be around Draco Malfoy 24/7.


"I still don't get why the Weaslette jinxed you," Draco said the next day, peering curiously at his pudding.

Once again, they were having breakfast in the library and once again, Harry couldn't keep his eyes off Draco and how the sunlight bounced off his hair.

"Don't call her that," Harry said automatically.

"Old habits die hard," Draco replied with a wry smile.

Harry couldn't help the answering smile that crept up on his face. "She wanted me to come up to you and kiss you."

Draco raised an eyebrow, but an amused, mischievous smile made its way to his lips. "And you couldn't have done that in the beginning because…?"

They've talked about this before, Harry was sure, but he just couldn't remember because the way Draco ate pudding was so distracting…

"You hate me," he blurted out. Then he realized what he just did and flushed in embarrassment.

Draco's expression softened, all hints of mischief gone. "I'm not sure if I ever did," he murmured, repeating Harry's own words from a few days ago.

Harry stared at him, disbelieving.

"The Weasel's another story though," Draco continued on thoughtfully.

"Why?"

"But not anymore," Draco admitted, not answering the question because he didn't like talking about the handshake incident. "What if I didn't return your feelings?"

Harry paused, blinking. Then he turned to Draco again, eyebrows furrowed with worry and looking almost vulnerable. "Err – do you?" he asked awkwardly.

Just like that, Draco's mood lifted.

He put his pudding down, leaned in and pressed his lips against Harry's for the umpteenth time in two days. Harry immediately pressed back, parting his lips slightly as an indication of what he wanted.

Draco fulfilled it without preamble, thinking of just how it was possible that Harry did not know that Draco did when Harry's the one that's basically occupied Draco's mind since first year.

"You can cast the Lip-Lock Jinx on me," Draco said when he pulled away, just a little bit. He licked his own lips, tasting Harry. "See if it works. I certainly wouldn't mind," he added, smirking.

Harry rolled his eyes. He took Draco's hand and gingerly guided the long fingers to trace the one word etched on the wood of their table.

Git.

Draco looked satisfied with himself.

"I suppose I'll have to thank the Weaslette for this," he said thoughtfully.

"For hexing me mid-air and rendering me mute for more than a fortnight?" Harry asked suspiciously.

"I always did live to torment you," Draco quipped.

A smile broke out on Harry's face at that. He glanced at the word 'git' on the table and tapped it with his finger.

"I'll miss the Self-Erasing Parchment though," Harry mused, glancing sideways at Draco with a grin. "Brilliant thing."

Draco thought about kissing Harry again and hearing Harry's confession coming from those lips.

He looked into bright, green eyes and smiled softly.

"I won't."