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I Feel You

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I feel you, your heart, it sings.
I feel you, the joy it brings.
Where heaven waits, those golden gates, and back again.
You take me to, you lead me through oblivion.

This is the morning of our love.
It's just the dawning of our love.

 

 

Professor Slughorn's round belly pressed against the side of the pewter cauldron. His stomach seemed to have grown even larger over the summer, the fabric of his vest stretching across his protuberant midsection, testing the integrity of its stitching. His lips, almost hidden beneath his thick, wiry mustache, were pursed as he examined the potion in front of him.

 

Harry held his breath while he waited for Slughorn’s pronouncement. He needed to pass this course and receive a good mark on his N.E.W.T. if he wanted to become an Auror. Without any specially annotated textbooks to help him this year, he was on his own. Well, he wasn't entirely on his own. He had a partner, of course, but that partner was Draco sodding Malfoy of all people, and Malfoy hardly counted for anything.

 

Pairing up students from different houses had been Slughorn's 'brilliant' idea to foster house unity. It came on the heels of McGonagall's announcement that the so-called 'Eighth-Year' class would leave the sanctuary of their previous houses behind, and would share a new set of dormitories with each other.

 

Judging by the glum faces around him, Harry didn't think that either of these efforts were doing much to bolster unity.

 

Hermione was partnered with Pansy Parkinson, who didn't look at all concerned with the potion they were supposed to be brewing. Parkinson seemed content to sit on her stool and examine her manicure while she left all of the work to Hermione. Ron and Blaise Zabini were at the table behind them, pointedly not talking. Blaise was solemnly stripping a piece of limewood, while Ron stared a hole in the back of Hermione's head. Neville didn't seem to have it so bad though, Harry thought. He was paired with Theodore Nott, who was so soft-spoken and unassuming that Harry couldn't help but wonder how the quiet boy had made it this long in Slytherin.

 

If only Harry had been partnered with Nott, he thought. But of course he hadn’t been, he didn't have that sort of luck. By some cruel twist of fate, he'd ended up having to share a three-and-a-half foot work station with Draco Malfoy--evil git and all-around unpleasant person--for two double-lessons a week.

 

Slughorn finally nodded, withdrawing his wand from the potion and slipping it back up his sleeve. He tucked his thumbs into sides of his vest and rocked back on his heels. “Good work lads. Everything seems in perfect order, nothing less than I'd expect from such bright young men.” He gave a wide smile. “Carry on.”

 

Harry let out his breath as Slughorn shuffled away. His eyes slid to Malfoy, who was tracing the lines in his textbook with one long finger as he read the rest of the instructions.

 

Just because Malfoy wasn't openly bullying any lower years or Muggleborns didn't mean that he was suddenly some nice person, Harry thought. He was still a total arsehole to Harry, in fact.

And no matter what the Ministry seemed to think, Harry knew that Malfoy was still a danger, and needed to be watched carefully.

 

“Stop staring at me,” Malfoy said curtly, his eyes never lifting from his book. “Go and do something useful for a change. Get the lily we need from the supply cupboard.”

 

Harry's instinct was to tell the lazy git to go get it himself. Who was he to be giving Harry orders? Instead, he thought about how much he wanted to be an Auror, and how unlikely it was that he would pass this course if he upended the cauldron on Malfoy's head. Biting his tongue, he trudged to the cupboard and snatched one of the red lilies from the shelf. He returned to the table and began to pull the petals from the stem, making a list in his head of all the things he hated about Malfoy: his pointy face, his girly hair, his stupidly elegant hands, his low, drawling voice.

 

Malfoy, who had set himself to the task of crushing the coriander seeds into a fine powder, made a noise in the back of his throat.

 

“What?”

 

“Oh, nothing...”

 

“Just say it.”

 

Malfoy spared him a fleeting glance. “It's a flower, Potter, not the head of your enemy. There's no need to tear it to shreds.”

 

Harry looked down at the petals he'd dropped onto the table, their fleshy skin crumpled and torn. He scowled and returned to his task, although he did try to pluck the remaining petals with a little more care. They worked in silence, adding the final ingredients to the cauldron with as few exchanged words as possible.

 

When finished, Malfoy said the incantation as Harry stirred: five times clockwise, fourteen anticlockwise, and then fifty-three more clockwise stokes. By the time he was done, Harry’s arm was beginning to cramp.

 

Around them, other groups were already ladling their potions into small vials. He heard a shriek of laughter come from Hermione and Parkinson's table, followed by Hermione's voice. “It is a rather odd sensation.” Harry cast a glance back at Ron and Zabini, who were staring at each other with wary expressions.

 

From the front of the classroom, Slughorn clapped his hands, drawing everyone's attention to him.

 

“As you will all experience in a matter of moments, the Lifeline Potion is designed to bind the cardiovascular systems of two subjects, allowing each of the drinkers to connect to the heartbeat of the other. Although predominantly used by Healers to monitor the vital signs of patients at risk for heart failure, Aurors often use this potion to keep tabs on their partners, particularly during dangerous missions where they might become separated. If brewed properly, the subject will be able to feel any changes to the rhythm of his or her partner's heartbeat immediately. One would be able to know if his partner--or patient--were in danger, or if they had expired.”

 

Harry accepted the small vial from Malfoy without a thanks. Closing one eye, he peered into it. The ounce of potion inside was a delicate pale orange, swirled with golden flakes, and let off a faint, floral fragrance.

 

Malfoy cleared his throat impatiently.

 

“Fine,” Harry grumbled, holding up his small vial in a mock toast. “Bottoms up.”

 

He threw his head back and swallowed the tasteless potion down as though it were a shot of Firewhiskey. He heard a small snort come from Malfoy's direction, and turned to see Malfoy watching him closely as he sipped his own potion.

 

They set their empty vials down and waited.

 

Another one of Parkinson's giggles rent the air. Malfoy's fingers drummed against the tabletop. Harry's elbow itched.

 

“Do you feel anything?”

 

“Not yet.”

 

Malfoy's fingers began to tap again.

 

One, two, three, four.

One, two, three four.

One, two, three, four.

 

“Will you knock it off?”

 

Malfoy shot him a withering glare before leaning around him. “Pansy,” he hissed. “Pansy!”

 

Parkinson, who had one hand clutched to her temple, whirled around.

 

“How long did it take for your potion to work?”

 

She glanced at Hermione and shrugged. “I don't know, about a minute, maybe. Why? Is yours not working?”

 

“No, it's fine,” Malfoy said, drawing up. “I just thought it was supposed to be instantaneous.”

 

Malfoy returned his attention to their cauldron, glaring at the potion inside as though it'd done him a grave injustice. He turned and stole a peek at the potion in Seamus and Millicent Bulstrode's cauldron at the table behind them. “Looks the same,” he muttered to himself as he pulled his textbook towards him.

 

Harry pulled his stool out and sat down. He braced his elbow on the table and rested his chin against his palm. “Why didn't it work?”

 

“That's what I'm trying to figure out. I'm sure it’s something you did, so just shut up and give me a moment to think.”

 

Harry's fist curled into a ball beneath the table, but he didn't rise to the bait. He turned his attention to the other students, gasping and tittering in amazement as their potions took effect.

 

“How does it feel, boys?” came Slughorn's voice from behind, causing both Harry and Malfoy jump. “A little strange at first, isn't it?”

 

The boys exchanged glances. Malfoy's expression screamed at Harry for him to keep his fat gob shut.

 

“Yes, sir,” Malfoy said, his voice suddenly soft and ingratiating. “It's as though I've got two hearts.”

 

A puzzled frown appeared on Slughorn's doughy face. “Two hearts? You don't feel it in your chest, do you?”

 

Malfoy opened his mouth to respond, but Harry cut him off quickly. “No, sir. It's like--” he glanced around, noticing that Parkinson wasn't the only person with a hand to her head. “It's like it's in my head. I can hear Malfoy's heart--” he said, raising his hand to press a finger against his temple, “right here.”

 

Slughorn beamed. “Excellent, boys. Very well done. It can be a startling sensation at first, but it settles with time. People who use the potion over long periods report that a steady heartbeat will eventually fade into the background of their consciousness, only breaking through when the pattern changes abruptly.”

 

Harry chanced a glance at Malfoy, who was still frowning, a deep line between his eyebrows. “How long is it supposed to last?”

 

“Only until you take the antidote,” Slughorn said kindly, gesturing towards the front of the class, where a row of vials were sitting in a line on his desk. “After you've cleaned up your stations, you are dismissed. Grab an antidote on your way out and enjoy the rest of your afternoon. Good work,” he repeated with a smile, before shuffling along to Seamus and Millicent's table.

 

Before Slughorn was even a foot away, Harry was racing to vanish the remnants of their half-used ingredients from the worktop. He didn't have anywhere important to be, but anywhere was better than in this dingy dungeon with Malfoy.

 

He stopped his frenzied cleaning abruptly when he noticed that Malfoy was ladling out another portion of the potion. “What are you doing?”

 

Malfoy didn't stop to look at him, just conjured a second vial and began to fill it. “Do you feel anything, Potter. Anything at all?”

 

“No, but so what? We were able to convince Slughorn that we did it.”

 

Malfoy took a deep breath. “We drank a potion, Potter. Something happened. We just don't know what yet.”

 

Harry looked back into the cauldron and frowned. “How can you be sure?”

 

“You're such a fucking Muggle sometimes,” Malfoy grumbled underneath his breath. He continued, louder, “Because it was a fucking potion, you twat. Just because it didn't do what we expected it to do doesn't mean it didn't do anything at all.”

 

Harry found himself torn between common sense and the desire to get as far away from Malfoy as humanly possible. It probably wasn't a good idea to have an unknown potion swirling around his system, but still, Malfoy was prone to dramatics. “You're just being paranoid. We'll just take the antidote and be done with it.”

 

“You want to take the antidote for a potion we didn't even take?” Malfoy sneered. “We've got no clue what we just drank, Potter, no clue what effect it's had on us, or how it will interact with the antidote. Are you really that thick? ”

 

Hackles rising, Harry squared his shoulders. “You don't have to be a prick about it, Malfoy.”

 

“I do when you're being an idiot.” Malfoy shoved the filled vials into his satchel and pushed past, knocking his shoulders into Harry's as he went.

 

“Hey!” Harry shouted at Malfoy's back, loud enough for the few remaining students to look up at them curiously.

 

Malfoy stopped and glared at Harry over his shoulder.

 

“We're not done cleaning.”

 

“Do it yourself.” Malfoy turned around and took a step towards Harry. “And do not, I repeat,do not even think about taking that antidote. I will not be held responsible if something happens to everyone's precious little Potter,” he spat. He paused, and his hard glare softened a fraction. “Just give me a few days to figure out what happened. I'll sort it.”

 

“And if you can't?”

 

Malfoy’s nostrils flared as he pulled himself to full height. “I can.”

 

Harry chewed on the inside of his cheek, trying to decide what to do. He wasn't keen on leaving his well-being in the hands of a Slytherin, but if he went to Madam Pomfrey or Slughorn, he'd have to admit to taking credit he hadn't earned. He should have just admitted that it hadn't worked in the first place.

 

“Fine, I won't take the stupid antidote. But be quick about it, all right?”

 

Malfoy rolled his eyes and left without another word. Parkinson was waiting for him by the door, watching the exchange with a raised eyebrow. He grabbed the arm of her robes and yanked her out of the classroom after him.

 

With a sigh, Harry turned back to the table and surveyed the mess he'd been left to clean up. He poured a bit of the mystery potion into his own vial and slipped it into his pocket. If Malfoy couldn't figure out where they'd gone wrong, he'd ask Hermione to take a look at it. But that, of course, was a last resort. He'd never hear the end of it if she knew he'd cheated.

 

By the time he left the classroom, sans antidote, Malfoy and Parkinson had disappeared. Ron and Hermione were waiting for him, leaning against the stone wall of the dungeon corridor, whispering quietly, full of secret smiles. Ron's fingers were wrapped around the end of one of Hermione's loose curls, while his other hand clutched hers tightly. Harry cleared his throat and watched as they jumped apart.

 

“Keep it 12A, you guys,” he said with a strained laugh, ignoring the strange feeling that twisted inside him. It wasn't quite jealousy, per se, but it didn't feel particularly good either. “There are children in this castle.”

 

Hermione smiled brightly and slipped her arm through his. Ron frowned in confusion, but followed dutifully as they set off down the hall. Together, they left the quiet dungeons and made their way back to their new common room.

 

***

 

Uncomfortably full after an enormous dinner, Harry settled himself in an armchair facing the fire. Warmth, tiredness, and a full belly conspired to drag him into a contented slumber, lulled by the muffled sounds of the bustling common room. No one paid him any mind, used to seeing him kip on the sofa or snooze his way through History of Magic. If it were too quiet, he couldn't sleep; his mind would race with anxious thoughts, and his ears would strain to hear things that weren't there.

 

The occasional crack of a burning log as it split was the only thing that interrupted his light doze. That is, until he heard a familiar voice call his name and felt the harsh impact of another body against his own. With a groan, he opened his eyes and found himself with a lap full of Ginny Weasley.

 

Her proximity – the closest she'd been in well over a year – made his stomach flip, but it wasn't the normal, nervous, fluttering feeling that he'd come to associate with her or other pretty girls. It was something more akin to panic.

 

“Ginny,” he said, trying to gently push her off his lap. “You shouldn't be in here. You'll get in trouble if you're caught.”

 

Naturally, she didn't budge. She grinned at him, half-cocked and cocky, as she slid her hands around his neck. Her voice fell a register and came out more seductive and teasing than it had any right to be. “Going to tattle on me then, Harry?”

 

Harry felt his face heat and cast a desperate look around the common room. Thankfully Ron wasn't here to see this. “Of course I wouldn't, but others...” he sent a pointed look towards the study table on the other side of the room, where Malfoy and Goyle were sitting together. Malfoy’s hands were moving quickly as he tried to explain whatever was in the book that lay on the table between them, but Goyle just stared at him, mouth hanging open stupidly and eyes blinking.

 

“Malfoy wouldn't dare,” Ginny huffed, tossing her long red hair over her shoulder. “Even he's not that stupid.”

 

“But, still...” Harry said, his pitiful argument dying on his lips.

 

What was wrong with him? What bloke wouldn't love to be in this exact position, with a beautiful woman like Ginny straddling his lap and playing with the hair on the nape of his neck?

 

“We could go somewhere else if you'd prefer. Somewhere a bit more private.” She leaned forward and whispered, her breath hot against his ear. “We could go down to the lake. Maybe the broomshed by the pitch? It's been far too long since we've been alone together.”

 

Harry's swallowed the saliva that was pooling on the back of his tongue. His hormones shouted a triumphant 'Yes!'even as his brain countered No, no, no.' He was tempted, and sorely so, by the suggestiveness of her suggestion. His mind flashed with images—no, memoriesof their time together at the end of his sixth year. The way Ginny had laughed and thrown her head back, bearing her throat to his mouth. The way her fingers had dug into his shoulders and her legs had curled around his waist as they kissed lazily on the shore of the lake.

 

It seemed so long ago, far longer than the year and a half it truly had been. It seemed like a lifetime away. Harry didn’t think he knew who those children in his memories even were anymore.

 

He dug his fingernails into the soft flesh of his palm, willing those images and the traitorous response they were having on his body to go away. It would be easy, too easy, to give into his perfectly reasonable impulses, especially with a girl as beautiful and willing as Ginny. But it wouldn't be right, he reminded himself. It wouldn't be fair to her. There was a reason it’d been so long since they’d been alone.

 

The thought of returning to Ginny at the end of the war had been one of the few things that got Harry through those hopeless, lonely nights during the hunt for the final Horcruxes. He'd had  romantic fantasies of returning to her, of walking up the long pathway to The Burrow, bruised and broken. She'd see him from the kitchen window and run out to meet him, her beautiful, coppery hair flying wildly in the breeze. He'd fall into her arms and receive a hero's welcome home, pledges of undying love and endless rounds of enthusiastic sex included.

 

The reality, it almost went without saying, had been much less cinematic.

 

Instead, he had been just one of the many bruised and broken people huddled into The Burrow. He'd slept in the bed of a dead man and tried to ignore the sad eyes of everyone around him, all while fighting back his own bitter tears. The dreams that plagued his sleep woke him with a start in the dead of night, shaking and covered in a cold sweat. Molly Weasley hovered, lavishing her remaining children with so much care and attention that Ginny wouldn't have been able to slip out of the room for a piss without her mother noticing, let alone for a snog with her estranged ex-boyfriend.

 

As the summer after the war came to a close and life returned to a semblance of normality—although with a few glaring absences—Harry realized that it'd been a long time since he had lain awake at night and thought of her like that. When he was asked what he was going to do now that Voldemort was gone, the life he imagined for himself no longer had her at the front and center. Feeling guilty, he'd try include her in his mental fantasies, but he knew, at least privately, that it was always as an afterthought.

 

They hadn't officially gotten back together, and he knew now, pinned beneath her and feeling trapped, that he didn't want it to happen at all. And although his body still responded to her in a way that his heart did not, he couldn't take advantage of her like that. He was Harry bloody Potter, too fucking noble for his own good. He was destined to die a virgin. Twice.

 

Ginny didn't seem to notice his hesitance, her lips still hovering just an inch away from his ear. She leaned forward, her breasts pushing against his chest as she kissed his neck, nipping lightly at the skin as she pulled away. Harry shut his eyes tight, willing his erection away, but it swelled further, encouraged by Ginny's weight in his lap. He shook his head, his lips pressed together in a grimace, as he tried to fight back any sounds that might spur her on.

 

Eventually, she pulled back. “Harry, is something wrong?”

 

He cracked one eye open and peeked out at her, noting the concern and confusion on her face. Oh god, was he actually going to have to say it? He didn't want to hurt her.

 

“I can't,” he croaked. “I've...I've got too much homework!”

 

“Homework?” she asked incredulously. “You were sleeping when I got here.”

 

“Wasn't,” he lied. Putting his hands on her hips, he tried to dislodge her once more. Thankfully, she complied this time, sliding off of his lap and onto her feet, where she crossed her arms over her chest and looked at him expectantly. “I was just...outlining my essay in my head.”

 

“Outlining your essay in your head?” Her hands went to her hips, a gesture Harry instantly recognized. She was gearing up for a fight, or at least a severe telling off. “Do I look like an idiot to you?”

 

“Ginny, please,” he said in an undertone, leaning forward and dropping his voice. “Don't make a scene.”

 

He looked around the busy common room, checking to see if anyone was watching them. No one seemed to be paying attention, although he noticed something odd as his eyes slid over the study table. Malfoy had a panicked look across his face and was fussing with the fall of his robes.

 

“A scene?” Ginny repeated flatly. “Why would I make a scene, Harry? Because I risked detention in order to see my boyfriend, who has been ignoring me for months, only to have him lie about needing to do homework? My boyfriend who, by the way, copies all of his homework off his best mates the morning it's due.”

 

“I do not!”

 

Harry winced at his own defensive response. Not the point right now, he reminded himself. “And Ginny, I'm not...I'm not your boyfriend. We broke up, remember?”

 

Her lips pursed. Harry prepared himself for the telling off of his life, but all that came when she finally responded was a tight, “I see.”

 

“I didn't know that's how you felt about it,” she said shortly. “In that case, I'll just bugger off then, shall I?”

 

“Ginny...please...”

 

He reached out for her hand, but she snatched it away. “Don't, Harry. Just don't.”

 

Ginny turned on her heels, her hair flying wildly about her as she stormed towards the doorway. She almost barreled into Zacharias Smith and Pansy Parkinson in her haste, but they jumped out of her path, sending hateful glares and rude gestures at her back.

 

Slumping into his seat, Harry glared down at his crotch. Despite all of that, his cock was still annoyingly hard. “I hate you,” he told it glumly.

 

He hadn't noticed that across the room, Draco Malfoy had mumbled a hasty excuse to his friend, promising that they'd pick up tomorrow where they'd left off tonight. He'd then made a beeline for the boys dormitories, his face red with embarrassment and a visible bulge in his trousers.

 

***

 

Harry lay awake, staring at the dark patch of ceiling above his head, listening to the quiet snores of his roommates. He envied their ability to pass the night peacefully. It didn't seem fair that he was the only one still riddled with nightmares of such palpable terror that a full night's sleep was made impossible. There was no telling what terrible images he'd find behind his eyelids when he finally drifted asleep, what painful memory he'd be forced to relive in his dreams.

 

Last time he checked, it had been just before two am. But that had been ages ago. With a sigh, he cast another Tempus charm and groaned to see it was already half-past. If he could fall asleep right now, he could get four and a half hours of sleep before Neville's alarm went off in the morning. Not bad, he thought, all things considered.

 

But sleep remained elusive, and Harry waited patiently in the dark for its return.

 

There was a noise in the corridor: the squeaking hinges on an opening door. Soft footsteps moved past the door to the Gryffindor quarters, and then a beam of light filtered in through the crack. Harry strained his ears for further sounds, curious to know who would be up and about at this hour. And then, as sure as he was of his own name, he knew: It was Malfoy.

 

Who else could it possibly be, sneaking around in the dead of night? Malfoy was up to something, no doubt. He might not have had a snake-faced overlord to serve anymore, but that wouldn't prevent someone as nasty as Malfoy from his evil-doing. And just as it was in Malfoy's nature to be up to no good, it was in Harry's to keep an eye on him.

 

Harry slid off the bed, wincing as his bare feet touched the cold wood floor. Quietly, he rummaged through the trunk at the foot of his bed until his fingers clenched around the familiar weight of his invisibility cloak. He threw it over his shoulders and made his way into the corridor, careful to keep his footfalls silent as he moved towards the slightly ajar door at the end of the hall.

 

An odd sensation stole through him, curling in his gut and making his groin pull tight. It was not unlike the feeling he got when he caught a glimpse down a girl's shirt and noticed the roundness of her breasts inside her bra. Harry shook his head, trying to push away the strange thought. There was a certain thrill in sneaking around the castle in the dead of night, yes, but it wasn't sexual.

 

Or, it never had been before.

 

There were stranger things to get off on he assured himself when he realized that the sensation was not going away. If anything, each step he took make his heart beat harder and his cock—well, it was getting rather hard in turn. Still, he wouldn't let something as inconsequential as an ill-timed erection distract him from his mission. He was an eighteen-year-old boy; a strong enough gust of wind could get him hard. It didn't mean anything.

 

The sound of steadily falling water made him draw up short. Was Malfoy taking a shower at two in the morning? It was odd, but not necessarily devious. Filled with disappointment, Harry turned away and began the retreat to his room when another thought struck him. Maybe Malfoy was trying to wash away evidence of some dastardly crime. Why else would he need a shower in the middle of the night?

 

Harry nearly trembled with excitement as he pressed his face against the heavy wood of the open door, closing one eye tight so he could peer through the crack. He expected to see Malfoy inside, with red stained water swirling down the drain, washing away the blood of an innocent victim. Instead, he could see nothing besides the thick, swirling steam that filled the tiled room.

 

He needed to get inside.

 

Pulling his cloak tighter, he inched the door open slowly, wincing at the loud groan the hinges made. When there was enough space, he slipped through, and was immediately assaulted by the heavy scent of Malfoy's bath soaps that clung to the humid air. He moved towards the sound of the falling water, and found Malfoy in the very last shower stall. The curtain had been closed haphazardly, and if Harry stepped close enough, he could peek through the gap between curtain and wall.

 

Malfoy was not, as it turned out, covered in blood. His skin was clean and pale, flushed a pretty pink under the heat of the water. His back was turned, allowing Harry an unobstructed view of surprisingly broad shoulders, a narrow waist, slim hips, and perky, round arse. Harry felt his bothersome erection swell at the sight.

 

He wanted to curse: what had just been an ill-timed annoyance was now a major problem that throbbed inside his sleep pants.

 

Harry watched, transfixed, as water sluiced down Malfoy's back, over hard muscle and skin that looked as soft as any girl's. Some of the water slid down the dip of Malfoy's lower back, before disappearing in between the crack of his arse. How had Harry never noticed how fit Malfoy was? No, fit wasn't the right word; Malfoy was more than fit—he was gorgeous. His pale hair was darkened slightly by the water, his thighs were lean but strong looking, and his shoulders... Harry couldn't tear his eyes away from Malfoy's shoulders. They were held in a tense line as Malfoy braced himself against the tiled wall with one arm, his other arm moving back and—oh. Oh!

 

Malfoy was wanking!Harry realized with a start.

 

He thought he should leave then, but his feet wouldn't move. His eyes refused to fix on anything besides the steady rocking motion of Malfoy's left shoulder. Harry willed Malfoy to turn around; he wanted to see what his cock looked like. He wanted to watch as it slipped through the tight ring of Malfoy's fingers.

 

Malfoy gave a low groan that echoed off the tiles. He pressed his forehead against the wall as his hand began to move faster. His breath came in shallow pants that were almost swallowed by the sound of the shower, but Harry could hear them, almost as loud as his own blood roaring in his ears. Harry's cock ached with the need to be touched, and without thinking, he slipped his hand inside his pajamas. His erection felt like a burning steel rod in his hands.

 

If he'd been able to think, he would have tried to stop himself. He would have told himself it was weird and wrong and just a little bit creepy to hide underneath his invisibility cloak, touching himself while he watched another boy wank. But his mind had shut down, and all that mattered was the feel of his fist wrapped around his aching cock, and the sight of Malfoy's round arse flexing as his hips pushed forward into his own hand.

 

Harry hadn't expected it to last very long, but his orgasm took him by surprise. He'd barely got a half dozen full tugs in before Malfoy let out a strangled cry and Harry felt his own orgasm being wrenched from deep within him, making his toes kink and his eyes cross. Thick globs of come clung to his fingers and coated the inside of his sleep pants.

 

Malfoy was flushed from head to foot, his head still pressed against the tiles, taking deep, steadying breaths. Harry dropped hold of himself and took a blind step backwards as the reality of the situation came crashing down around him. He couldn't believe what he'd just done, and now that his brain was back in working order, he wanted nothing more than to escape the oppressive heat of the sweltering bathroom.

 

Wrenching his eyes away from Malfoy, he stumbled back another step. His foot tangled in the hem of his cloak. He could feel himself falling as though in slow motion. Panic seized him, he was going to be found out! He landed squarely on his bum and scrambled to make sure his sprawling limbs were all still hidden beneath the cloak, but there was no way Malfoy hadn't heard his fall.

 

Sure enough, Malfoy's head poked out from behind the shower curtain. “Who's there?” he called out. “Zabini, is that you?”

 

Harry held his breath as Malfoy's looked around the abandoned bathroom. Please don't let him look down, please don't let him look down, he chanted silently. Time stretched out until his lungs burned with the need for air. Eventually Malfoy seemed satisfied that he was alone, and he disappeared inside the stall again. The water stopped, and a moment later the curtain was thrown back to reveal Malfoy, still dripping with water, wearing a towel slung low on his slender hips.

 

Frantically, Harry crabwalked out of Malfoy's path. He pressed himself against the wall, trying to take up as little space as possible. Malfoy strode out of the shower and over to the row of sinks, where he examined himself in the mirror. He poked and prodded at invisible blemishes on his skin for what seemed like unnecessarily long time, even for someone as vain as him.

 

Malfoy untied the towel from around his waist and began to dry his hair, leaving the entirety of his lower half exposed. Harry didn't want to look, but he couldn't help it: Malfoy's cock and balls were just there on display, hanging heavy and limp between his legs. Malfoy turned and began to towel off his arms and chest and then—oh god!—he bent over to dry his legs.

 

Arse pointed directly at him, Harry could see the darkened shape of Malfoy's bollocks in the shadowed gap between his thighs. He shut his eyes tight, but the image had already taken root in his mind. It was positively pornographic! Helpless to stop the thoughts from coming, Harry imagined himself approaching Malfoy from behind. He imagined running his hands over the round globes of Malfoy's arse, digging his fingers into the soft flesh, slipping them between the shadowed valley between the cheeks.

 

Harry let his head fall back against the wall behind him with a dull thud. This couldn't be happening, he couldn't be sitting here on the floor of the bathroom imagining what it would be like to fondle Draco Malfoy's arse.

 

Malfoy snapped to attention, straightening up in a flash. “Who's there?” he asked again, his voice uncertain. “If this is some sort of sick joke, Zabini, I swear to Merlin...”

 

Harry said nothing, just prayed for the floor to open up and swallow him whole. Malfoy looked around again, scowling. Quickly, he tied the towel back around his waist and snatched his bath supplies from the stall. Without another word, he scuttled towards the door and was gone.

 

Minutes passed before Harry thought it was safe to venture out of the bathroom. His bum was sore from sitting on the hard tiled floor and the come on the inside of his pants had dried, hard and crusty and humiliating.

 

He got very little sleep that night, but the images that assaulted his dreams were not of snake-faced men or dead loved ones; they were of flushed pink skin and flexing arsecheeks.

 

***

 

Harry's hands shook as he tried to slice the frog livers. He had almost cut himself twice already, but couldn't concentrate properly with Malfoy sitting so close. Less than a foot away, Malfoy sat, prim and proper and as fussily dressed as ever.

 

Malfoy was by no means the first bloke Harry had even seen naked. Or even naked in the shower. He'd played Quidditch for six years, and sharing a room with Seamus Finnegan had taught Harry early on that casual male nudity was an inescapable fact of dormitory life. But Malfoy's nudity had been anything but casual.

 

On the surface, Malfoy looked the same as he did every other day, but now that Harry knew what he looked like underneath the layers of neatly pressed cotton and wool, he was seeing Malfoy in a totally new and lust-tinted light.

 

No matter how carefully blank Harry tried to keep his mind, he was hyper-aware of Malfoy next to him. Every gesture, every flick of the wrist and roll of the neck, registered in his peripheral vision. Malfoy muttered to himself as he worked, but every word and distracted click of his tongue sounded as loud and clear to Harry as if Malfoy were using a Sonarus charm right in his ear.

 

They sat quietly, side by side, as they worked, Harry slicing slippery frog livers while Malfoy plucked the wings off a small pile of dragonflies with his bare hands. The same hands, Harry couldn't help but think, that he wanked with.

 

“Potter,” Malfoy said softly, though he didn't stop working or turn to look in Harry's direction. “I think I've figured out what went wrong with our potion.”

 

Harry's hands stilled. “Oh?” he asked, hoping his voice sounded normal and not at all like the voice of someone who sneaked about at night and watched other boys masturbate. He hadn't thought about the potion incident much over the weekend. Nothing had seemed out of the ordinary to him. He'd almost forced himself to forget the whole thing ever happened, truth be told. If he thought about the potion, he'd have to think about Malfoy, and if he thought about Malfoy, well...

 

“Let me ask you something, Potter. What color lily did the potion require?”

 

Harry frowned. He set down his knife and flipped through his textbook until he found the page for the Lifeline Potion. “Red,” he read from the page.

 

“And what color did you get from the supply cupboard?”

 

“Red.”

 

“Are you sure?”

 

Harry rolled his eyes. Looking at Malfoy may have inspired new, uncomfortable feelings, but talking to him only brought about the same familiar sense of irritation Harry had always associated with him. “Yes, I'm sure I got red. I know my colors.”

 

Malfoy's lips pursed. He looked up from his pile of dragonflies. “Be a dear, Potter. Go get a red lily from the supply cupboard.”

 

Harry had half a mind to argue, but found his heart wasn’t in it. He shoved away from the table and stomped towards the cupboard, grabbing another red lily from the same shelf he had last week. He stormed back towards Malfoy and dropped it onto the tabletop. “See? Red.”

 

Malfoy looked down. “That's orange.”

 

Harry looked at the flower again. In this light, perhaps it was a little bit orange looking. But a reddish sort of orange, surely. “Oh.”

 

He pulled out his stool and sat down, picking the flower up to examine it closer. “The wrong color flower was enough to make the potion not work?”

 

“The potion worked,” Malfoy said darkly. “Just not the way we intended.”

 

A cold current of foreboding trickled down Harry's spine at Malfoy's tone. “What do you think it did?”

 

Instead of responding, Malfoy just closed his eyes.

 

Puzzled, Harry examined Malfoy's face as he waited: the way Malfoy's eyebrows knit together in concentration, the way his lower lip was caught between his teeth, the way his nostrils flared. So distracted by watching Malfoy's Adam's apple bob when he swallowed, Harry almost didn't notice the tight pull of blood rushing to his groin.

 

His cock twitched to life inside his trousers. Fucking hell! He couldn't even look at Malfoy without getting an erection now!

 

Harry squirmed in his seat, trying to pull the excess fabric of his robes onto his lap to hide his growing problem. He bit the inside of his cheek until the skin was tender and imagined Filch in a string bikini, Hagrid naked and shaving his back, even the late Professor Snape in Augusta Longbottom's knickers. But nothing helped, no matter what terrible, repulsive images he called to mind, his erection continued to swell.

 

He heard a soft gasp beside him, and then an excited, “I knew it!”

 

Harry's eyes snapped open. Malfoy was sitting pale and rigid, his wide eyes fixed firmly on Harry's crotch. He peeled his gaze away and looked up, his eyes locking with Harry's. They sat, stock still, neither one speaking.

 

The moment stretched into the longest thirty seconds of Harry's life.

 

Malfoy broke the silence with a sudden, dramatic groan. He slumped against the table, burying his face in the crook of his arms. “I can't fucking believe this.”

 

Glancing around to make sure no one was looking, Harry reached down and adjusted himself. The ferocity of his erection was subsiding, but it was still there, a mocking firmness in his trousers. He could feel his cheeks burning with embarrassment, a sweat breaking out beneath his collar. Malfoy had known he wasn't alone in the bathroom the other night; he knew someone was watching him. And now Harry's traitorous body had given him away. He’d seen Harry’s erection and knew it had been him.

 

“Look, Malfoy, I'm sorry,” he said, his voice cracking as his guts twisted and turned. “It was an accident. I didn't mean--”

 

Malfoy lifted his head just enough so that he could peek out over the top of his arm. “You knew?”

 

Harry bit his lip and looked away.

 

Malfoy sat up, his mouth hanging open. “You knew exactly what you were doing when you grabbed that orange lily, didn't you? You're a sadist and a pervert, Potter. No one's ever believed me before, but I've always said so.”

 

“Malfoy...” Harry pleaded, an apology on the tip of tongue. He'd do anything Malfoy wanted as long as Malfoy promised not to tell everyone that he was some pervert who sneaked around after hours and wanked off over unsuspecting classmates. “I just--wait--” He paused. “What?”

 

“The orange lily! You knew it would serve as an activator for the the latent sexual properties of the limewood. You knew that it would alter the potion so that it would connect our reproductive systems instead of our cardiovascular ones. I can't believe you'd do this! I can't believe you'd go to this extreme just to humiliate me!” Malfoy sat up and raised one long finger, pointing it directly in Harry's face. “J'accuse, Harry Potter! J'accuse!

 

Harry just stared at him. “What the hell are you talking about?”

 

“Our cocks!” Malfoy nearly shouted. A few of the students around them gasped and turned to gawk at them openly. Malfoy's face flushed a deep shade of scarlet, and he ducked his head. “The potion didn't bind our hearts together,” he continued, quieter. “It bound our cocks. And you knew it would happen, didn't you? You did it on purpose to humiliate me!”

 

“What? No! I didn't, I swear!”

 

Harry dropped his voice and leaned closer to Malfoy, not wanting anyone to overhear anymore of their conversation than they already had. With the way gossip spread at Hogwarts, the whole school would know by dinner if they weren't careful. “What do you mean it 'bound our cocks together'?”

 

Could the potion be the reason he'd reacted so fiercely to the sight of Malfoy wanking? Was he just a victim of magic gone mad?

 

“Don't play dumb, Potter. I know it suits you, but don't do it.”

 

Harry sighed; he was tired and too confused to deal with this endless back and forth. Malfoy had a talent for making even the simplest conversation next to impossible. “I'm shit at potions, Malfoy, you know that. You remind me of it at least twice a day. Do you really think I could have possibly known that this would happen?”

 

Malfoy made a sour expression and stared down at his feet. “No, I guess not,” he said, sounding a bit disappointed. He pulled out his stool and slumped into it. “You're not clever enough. It's still your fault though. It was your incompetence that did this to us.”

 

“Yes, yes,” Harry agreed readily, “I am terrible and incompetent and utterly worthless. And I've got stupid hair, stupid glasses, and stupid friends. Now will you get on with it and tell me what the bloody hell is going on with our cocks? Please.”

 

Malfoy cast a furtive glance around and reached down to grab the leg of his stool, scooting closer to Harry. Their knees knocked, causing a tingling bolt of electricity to shoot up Harry's spine. He angled his legs away.

 

“A moment ago,” Malfoy said quietly, “I started to think about something—the sort of thing I wouldn't want my mother to know I thought about, if you know what I mean—and it affected you too. As far as I can figure, if I get, you know--” he paused and turned a little pink, dropping his voice to a whisper, “aroused, so will you. And vice versa. I don't know the exact workings of the bond yet, but I think it even extends to--” another pause, another blush, another lowered tone, “orgasmsas well.”

 

Harry blinked. It took his brain a second to process what he'd just been told, having been momentarily distracted by the need to wonder what Malfoy had thought about to produce such a swift and visceral reaction.

 

Malfoy was waiting for a response. “W-what makes you think that?” Harry asked, his voice cracking.

 

Malfoy sat up, back straight. “Did you wank this morning, Potter?” he asked, his gaze averted and voice as neutral as if he'd asked Harry to pass him a shaker of salt. Which, of course, was something Malfoy would never ask Harry to do.

 

“I-I--” How could he admit that to out loud someone, to anyone, to Malfoy? Malfoy was watching him now from the corner of his eye. Harry could feel his cheeks burning with such hot embarrassment that he was sure he could have cooked a dragon's egg on them.

 

“That's what I thought,” said Malfoy. “Just after seven?”

 

Not trusting himself to speak, Harry nodded.

 

“I got up early this morning so I could go over Greg's herbology homework with him,” Malfoy began. “Everything was perfectly normal at first, but then, suddenly, it wasn't. Out of nowhere, I'd gotten...” he trailed off, searching for a polite alternative to 'hard.' Finding none, he continued, “I was horrified, obviously, because I was talking to Greg at the time—and I don't even want to think what that would say about my tastes. I politely excused myself and hurried back to my room, but before I could get there, I was, uh, finished. In my bloody trousers. Untouched.” He paused and sent Harry a sly look through his lashes. “You don't last long, do you, Potter?”

 

Harry covered his face with his hands. Was it possible to die of embarrassment? “Sometimes you've got to be quick about it,” he muttered through his fingers. “It meets a need.”

 

Malfoy made a small, humming noise. “You must have a lot of needs then. The entire weekend was like that, though it took me awhile to figure out that it wasn't just my hormones going crazy. I know we're at an age Potter, but honestly, how often can one man wank?”

 

Dropping his hands, Harry turned back towards the table and glared at it. “Everyone does it,” he said defensively. “Don't act like you don't do it too.”

 

Harry knew for a fact Malfoy did, even though he knew better than to mention that. He also knew better than to mention that it was Malfoy's fault that Harry was wanking so much recently.

 

From the corner of his eye, he saw Malfoy shrug. “Never said I didn't. But everyday? Twicea day? I'm surprised any blood reaches your brain at all. Although, considering your marks, maybe it doesn't.” He smiled, visibly pleased by his own cleverness. “Wanked yourself brain dead, eh, Potty?”

 

Harry's embarrassment quickly morphed into anger. “Shut up,” he hissed. “What are we going to do? Can you make an antidote?”

 

The grin on Malfoy's face melted away. “I think so,” he said, suddenly somber. “I'll need to study the antidote to the Lifeline Potion and see if I can modify it. It may take a few days.”

 

“A few days?! We can't go on like this for a few more days! I don't want you to know when I wank.”

 

Because I'll probably be wanking over you, Harry's traitorous mind supplied.

 

With a final, withering glare, Malfoy turned back to the table and began to clear away the scattered mess of dragonfly corpses. “Simple solution: don't do it then. Surely even a wanker such as yourself can handle a few days without making love to your own greasy palm.”

 

Before Harry could bite out his retort, the bell rang. Slughorn strained to have his voice heard over the quiet roar of scraping stools and excited chatter, reminding the students to bring their prepared ingredients with them for the next practical lesson. Harry rushed to bottle his sliced frog livers and Scourgify the table top.

 

Malfoy was already standing, hoisting the strap of his satchel over his shoulder and preparing to leave, when Harry caught his arm. “You haven't told anyone about this, have you?”

 

Malfoy's eyes went comically wide. “Of course not! And don't you dare either. I don't care if you and your little friends have sharing circles complete with daisy chains and group hugs, you cannot tell anyone about this. Not Weasley. Not Granger. Not anyone.”

 

Harry released him with a light shove, borne more out of habit than true anger. “Of course I won't. But hurry up and make the antidote, all right?”

 

Malfoy straightened his back, emphasizing the two measly inches he had on Harry in height. “You can't rush genius,” he said loftily. “But don't worry, Potter, I'll be quick as I can. The less I have to think about your tiny prick, the happier I'll be.”

 

He pushed past Harry, knocking their shoulders with more force than usual, sending Harry stumbling back a step. Harry rubbed his shoulder and watched as Malfoy left the classroom, unsure if he could blame the potion for the fact that his cock had never fully deflated.

 

***

 

A sea of blank faces stared at him, waiting. Harry readjusted his grip on the wand in his sweaty palm. He had planned on using his lunch period to finish his Charms homework, but when he found himself in the Great Hall that afternoon, surrounded his friends and facing the Slytherin table, he'd become distracted and completely forgotten his plan.

 

He hadn't finished reading the chapter on construction charms, and as a result, had no clue what to do with the seven thin planks of wood that were lying on the floor by his feet.

 

Professor Flitwick cleared his throat. “If you please, Mister Potter.”

 

Harry sent a desperate glance to Ron and Hermione, hoping that by some miracle one of them had learned telepathy within the last twenty minutes and could tell him which charm to use. Ron was grimacing in commiseration, but Hermione looked annoyed. He couldn't hear her thoughts, but he could imagine them. 'I told you to finish your Charms reading last night, but you just had to play Gobstones with Dean, didn't you Harry? You've got no one to blame but yourself for this.’

 

Everyone else looked bored as they waited. Everyone, except for one person, who sat all the way in the back, with his arms crossed and one eyebrow quirked in amusement. When Harry's eyes met his, Malfoy's lips twisted into a dangerous smile. Harry watched with horror as Malfoy closed his eyes.

 

There was a tight, pulling feeling in his groin. Slowly, it relaxed and spread, a warm wave of pleasure that slithered its way through his guts and made his spine tingle. His mouth went dry and sticky; his pulse rose steadily. Harry could feel his limp prick begin to fill as a strong sense of need roiled inside him.

 

Frantically, Harry grabbed his robes and pulled them shut around his front. He shot what he knew was a desperate, pleading look to the back of the classroom, but Malfoy wasn't paying attention. His eyes were still closed tight, an evil smile spread across his face.

 

“Are you all right, Mister Potter?” asked Flitwick. “You looked a bit flushed.”

 

Harry took a deep breath, hoping to calm his rapidly beating heart. He'd heard jokes about teenage boys getting erections in the middle of a lesson, but it had never happened to him. And it wouldn't have, if it hadn't been for that bastard Malfoy. His embarrassment was as white hot as his anger. He felt a bead of sweat form and trickle down his temple. Shaking his head, he managed to croak out, “Sick. Fever.”

 

“You'd better go and see Madam Pomfrey. Mister Weasley, will you escort Mister Potter to the infirmary?”

 

Harry didn't wait for Ron to agree, he just ran. Down the center row, past the students, and through the heavy wooden door. He collapsed against the stone wall in the corridor, panting for breath and cursing Malfoy to hell and back. Ron appeared a moment later, concern etched into the lines of his long face.

 

“What happened in there?” he asked.

 

Harry shook his head. He was still terribly aroused and had to angle his body carefully to keep his erection hidden, but he felt better now that he had escaped the classroom. There was no way he could tell Ron what was happening though. It was just too embarrassing.

 

“Just not feeling well,” he lied, trying his best to give Ron an apologetic smile.

 

Ron didn't look convinced, but he threw one arm over Harry's shoulder. “Come on then, let's get you up to the hospital wing. It's been ages since you've been there, I reckon Madam Pomfrey's getting lonely without you.”

 

With a weak laugh, Harry said, “Thanks, mate,” and allowed Ron to steer him down the corridor. Hopefully he'd be back to normal by the time they got there, and Madam Pomfrey would just think he was trying to skive off class. Better her think that, than know the truth.

 

***

 

Malfoy avoided Harry for the rest of the day. Quite smartly, Harry thought, because he planned on beating the little twerp senseless the moment he got the chance. Malfoy didn't return to the common room until minutes before curfew, nor did he linger near the fire with the other Slytherins. Instead, he made a quick beeline from the door to the dormitories, his head turned to watch over his shoulder as he scurried.

 

Harry didn't mind though. If he had to wait to exact his justice, he could do that. Patience had never been his strongest suit, but sometimes it was best to wait for the perfect moment before striking.

 

The opportunity presented itself the next day, after the end of classes. By chance, he'd ended up walking a few paces behind Malfoy, Blaise Zabini, and Zacharias Smith. They were making plans to organize a pickup game of Quidditch before dinner, loudly debating who they should invite to play with them. As they argued about times and teams, Harry formulated a fun little game of his own.

 

Back in the common room, his leg bounced with impatience as he waited for them to leave. Finally, the players departed, still bickering back and forth as they went. Harry rushed to the window that offered the best view of the sprawling grounds. He watched as they emerged from the front of the castle and began the long trek down to the pitch, until they were nothing but small specks in the distance. After what seemed like an eternity, six tiny figures rose into the air, zooming about like Confunded hummingbirds.

 

Harry couldn't tell who was who, but it didn't matter as long as Malfoy was one of them. He rushed to the Gryffindor quarters and jumped onto his bed, pulling the curtains closed tight around him. Casting a privacy spell with one hand, he fumbled to unbuttoned his trousers with the other.

 

Just knowing what he was about to do had already caused his cock to stiffen a little, and it barely took more than thirty seconds of light fondling before he was fully hard. He shoved his trousers and pants down to his knees and licked his palm.

 

Harry began to wank in earnest: strong, firm pulls that had him panting and groaning in less than a minute. He tried not to think about anything, to just focus on the feeling of his hand wrapped around his weeping cock, but it was no use. The more he tried not to think of Malfoy, the more images of Malfoy his mind supplied him with. He let out a groan as he remembered the way Malfoy had looked in the bathroom, with water dripping down his back and his left arm moving furiously.

 

He could feel his groin pulling tight and his balls drawing up, signaling the rapid approach of his orgasm. Harry loosened his grip and slowed his pace, not wanting to come so soon. This wasn't just about getting revenge on Malfoy for his stunt during Charms. Malfoy had implied that Harry had no stamina, and Harry intended to prove just how wrong that was. He squirmed out of his clothing and settled in for the long haul. He ran a hand up his naked torso, thinking absently about how novel it felt to be sprawled naked on his bed in the middle of the day, indulging himself in a leisurely wank.

 

Harry brought himself to the brink of twice more before he finally gave in to the painful need to come. His arm was beginning to tire, and he was worried he might develop a blister if he kept at it. He sank back into the pillows with a contented sigh as hot spurts of come landed on his  stomach. A smile spread over his face as he slipped into a light doze, thinking that somewhere not too far from here, Malfoy had just come as well.

 

Harry hoped he'd ruined his trousers.

 

***

 

Harry slid into the Great Hall with only a few minutes to spare before the end of dinner. Most of the other students had already left, but a few still lingered, chatting in small groups over pudding.

 

Harry didn't mean to almost sleep through dinner, but he hadn't been able to resist sinking into the peaceful bliss of a shallow nap after his marathon wank session. He'd woken up when Ron and the others had returned after eating and come searching for him. Thankfully, he had had the foresight to spell his curtains shut, or else the other Gryffindor boys might have gotten quite the show when they tried to pull them open.

 

A mousy looking girl that Harry thought was a fourth year smiled at him shyly as he took a spot at the end of the long Gryffindor table. He gave her a strained smile in return, but had no time or desire for a chat. Loading his plate with the odds and ends that had been left behind, he began to scarf down his meal.

 

A shadow fell over the empty stretch of table at his side, and Harry felt someone approach him from behind. He didn't need to turn around to know who it was; he'd been expecting a confrontation, he'd just hoped he'd be able to put it off a bit longer.

 

“Potter,” came Malfoy's crisp voice. “A word.”

 

Harry shoveled a heaping forkful of potatoes into his mouth until his cheeks were full and bulging. He turned around and mumbled around the food, small chunks falling out and onto his lap. “Sorry, Malfoy. Bit busy.” He flashed a bright smile at the look of disgust on Malfoy's face.

 

Despite Harry's lack of manners, Malfoy didn't seem inclined to leave. He bent down and whispered, “Do you want me to make a scene in here, Potter? Because I will.” A shiver went up Harry's spine as Malfoy's warm breath tickled his ear. “You will not ignore me.”

 

Harry cast a final, forlorn look at his plate. Malfoy was determined to make him miss dinner, one way or the other. With a weary sigh, he followed Malfoy out of the Great Hall. Malfoy didn't speak to him as they walked through the corridors. He never once looking back to make sure Harry was following, and Harry briefly considered doing a runner. But that might make Malfoy think that Harry was scared of him, which he most definitely was not.

 

Malfoy led them into a dim, rarely visited portion of the castle that had been used mostly for storage since the end of the war. The torches on the wall didn't burn as brightly here, and cast long, flickering shadows on the walls. Harry's defensive instincts went on high alert as he followed Malfoy into the darkness. His hand hovered just above the pocket where he kept his wand, ready to grab it at a moment's notice in case Malfoy attacked.

 

Malfoy stopped so abruptly that Harry almost bumped into him from behind. Malfoy whirled around, but didn't draw his wand. The cold composure Harry had seen in the Great Hall was gone, replaced by a frightening look of anger that appeared more menacing than it actually was thanks to the ominous lighting. This was Malfoy, Harry reminded himself: ten times the bark of a normal man, but none of the bite.

 

“What the fuckwas that?” Malfoy spat.

 

Harry couldn't help but grin. He got such a perverse pleasure out of winding Malfoy up, and it tickled him to watch Malfoy's pale face turn ugly shades of red. “What was what?” he asked innocently.

 

Malfoy's eyes narrowed to thin slits. “You know damn well what I'm talking about.”

 

“Oh, you mean the wanking?” Harry asked lazily. “Just paying you back for your little stunt in Charms.”

 

Malfoy took a step forward, crowding Harry's space, but Harry held his ground.

 

“That was a joke. I didn't make you come your trousers in front of your mates. I was playing Quidditch, you arsehole! Do you know how painful it is to ride a broom with an erection? And we lost because of you!”

 

Harry knew there was a joke in there somewhere about erections and broomsticks, but he also knew what would really set Malfoy off. “I'm sorry you lost,” he said in his politest voice, “but honestly, you think you'd be used to it by now. I mean, you've never beaten me at Quidditch, have you? And then, of course, there was that war...”

 

As expected, Malfoy gave an outraged cry and lunged. Harry jumped out of the way, watching as Malfoy lost his footing and almost over balanced. He was scrappy, Harry would give him that much, but he'd never been an elegant fighter.

 

Malfoy whipped around to face Harry again. They stared at each other, waiting on tenterhooks for the other's next move. “You'll pay for this, Potter,” he growled, his lip curled into an ugly sneer.

 

“What are you going to do? Tell your Father on me?” Harry pitched his voice into a high, mocking falsetto. “Dear Father, Harry Potter made me come today, all over my poncy designer trousers. Isn't he just rotten? Oh yeah, how's Azkaban by the way? Cozied up to any Dementors yet?”

 

The screech Malfoy made was almost inhuman. It startled Harry enough that Malfoy was able to catch him off guard, tackling him around the waist and sending them both crashing to the stone floor below. Harry let out a groan as he landed flat on his back, but the pain that went shooting up his spine galvanized him into action. There was no way he'd let Malfoy beat him in a fight.

 

Kicking his legs out wildly, he was able to buck Malfoy off of him. They rolled on the ground in a violent tussle. Most of their punches and desperate kicks went wild, but a number of them landed. Harry heard a sickening crunch as his fist collided with the sharp bone of Malfoy's cheek. A moment later, Malfoy was able to get his hands into Harry's hair and slam Harry's head against the stone floor.

 

White spots of pain burst behind Harry's eyelids, but he wasn't out, not yet. He had no qualms about kneeing Malfoy in the groin when the opportunity presented itself; fighting a Slytherin meant Slytherin tactics were in play. Malfoy let out a high-pitched noise and grabbed his crotch, going slightly cross-eyed and toppling over on top of Harry. Harry flipped their positions and grabbed him. He wrapped his fingers tightly around the fragile bones of Malfoy's wrists and pinned them above his head.

 

Malfoy tried to wrench himself free. He spat out curse after curse as he flailed beneath Harry, but it was no use. Malfoy may have had him in height, but Harry was built just the slightest bit stronger and had gravity on his side. The more Malfoy struggled, the firmer Harry held him, until he was pressing Malfoy's arms into the ground and leaning forward with all his weight to try and keep him still.

 

“You're a motherless bastard,” Malfoy bit out through gritted teeth. He bucked his hips once more, trying in vain to dislodge Harry's solid weight. But Harry was unrelenting. He felt powerful like this, more alive and aware of himself than he had at any point since the end of the war. His blood thrummed in his veins, his heart pounded in his chest, his cock throbbed in his pants.

 

Harry sucked in a deep breath as the realization hit him. He was hard. Painfully hard. And if he was hard, that meant—

 

Harry rolled his hips experimentally, and sure enough, trapped between their stomachs was the firm line of Malfoy's cock. Malfoy let out a little gasp of surprise and went still.

 

“Er--” said Harry, shifting until he could feel the solid length of Malfoy's prick lined up neatly against his own. Even through their excessive layers of clothing, he could have sworn he could feel the heat radiating from it. “Is that yours or mine?”

 

“Yours!” Malfoy blurted. “I'd never- I'm not- You're the one who gets off on overpowering perfectly innocent people!”

 

Harry snorted. “You're many things, Malfoy, but innocent is not one of them.”

 

Malfoy squeezed his eyes shut and didn't respond. There were two high points of color on his cheeks, a telling blush that made Harry suspect that their twin erections might not have been his fault at all. He rolled his hips and grinned. “You like it,” he accused playfully. “Don't you, Malfoy?”

 

Malfoy's mouth was stretched into such a taut line that his lips nearly disappeared altogether. He shook his head.

 

“I think you do,” Harry said, rocking his hips steadily, dragging his erection down the length of Malfoy's. “You like this, admit it. You like being overpowered.”

 

The twitch of Malfoy's cock against his own made Harry’s stomach swoop as though he'd missed the bottom step of a staircase. Beneath him, Malfoy began to squirm fussily, his petulant mewls of protest turning to needy whines in the back of his throat as Harry continued to rut against him.

 

Harry couldn’t stop, his own breath was coming in short, ragged pants. He leaned down and pressed his face against Malfoy's neck, inhaling the bitter musk of Malfoy’s struggle. Groaning, he bit gently at the straining tendon beneath his mouth, and when he swiped his tongue out to taste Malfoy's skin, Malfoy moaned and arched against him.

 

Harry was too consumed by the coil of pleasure growing steadily in his groin to hold Malfoy's hands down properly. Malfoy slid his arms from Harry's grip; one came down to wrap around Harry's shoulders, while the other thread through his hair to hold his head in place.

 

When Harry bit into the crook of his neck, Malfoy let out a throaty moan.

 

It was as though Harry's brain had gone on holiday and left his cock in charge. Nothing mattered to him but the bitter taste of Malfoy's sweat, the flat plane of Malfoy's chest pressed hard against his own, the ragged moans and surprised gasps that escaped Malfoy's parted lips each time their hips came together. The sounds Malfoy was making were dangerous, almost addictive. Harry wanted to hear more of them, to hear them echoing loudly off the barren stone walls.

 

Reaching down, he shoved his hand between their bodies, reaching blindly for Malfoy's cock. “Admit that you like it,” he ordered.

 

“No,” Malfoy said with a gasp, sucking in a deep breath and trying to angle himself away from Harry. “I hate you,” he added, a weak but obstinate protest.

 

Harry slid his fingers up the length of Malfoy's bulge, imagining what his cock would feel like without the thin layers of cloth between them. “Admit that you like it,” he said as he found the button of Malfoy's trousers and popped it open, “and I'll let you come.”

 

Beneath him, Malfoy shuddered. Harry lifted his head from the crook of Malfoy's neck and looked at him. Malfoy's head was thrown back, his throat bared. Indecision and conflicting desire were visible in the crease of his brow, the grit of his teeth.

 

“Say it,” Harry urged, sliding his hand beneath the waistbands of Malfoy's trousers and pants. His fingertips brushed across the soft, fleshy head of Malfoy's cock, and dipped into the slit, which was wet with precome. “Say it.”

 

Malfoy turned his head to the side, his eyes squeezed shut so tight that Harry would have thought he were in immense pain if he hadn't known better. He opened his mouth, his pale lips forming soundless words.

 

Harry's hand trailed down Malfoy's veined shaft to cup his balls. Sparse, soft hair tickled his palm as he squeezed gently. “I didn't hear that.”

 

Malfoy's eyes opened. Slowly, he turned to look at Harry, blinking slowly. His face twisted into a sneer that was at once so familiar and at the same time so foreign. “I said, I hate you.”

 

In the low light of the hallway, the ugly expression was almost attractive. There was a challenge in Malfoy's sharp grey eyes and curled upper lip. The anger and bare lust visible in his gaze stole Harry's breath and made his already rock hard cock pulse.

 

Harry lunged, not caring that Malfoy hadn't said it yet. He'd make Malfoy admit it if it was the last thing he did. He caught Malfoy's lips in a bruising kiss, biting and sucking on his lower lip. Malfoy made a noise of surprise and went stiff as Harry plundered his mouth, but then, as if a switch had been flipped, he was returning the kiss with gusto, all teeth and tongue and strangled noises.

 

Between them, Harry fumbled with his own fly. Malfoy's hands flew to Harry's hips, tugging on the waistband until Harry was able to shove his trousers down to his knees. Malfoy's raised his hips just enough so that Harry could yank his trousers down as well.

 

Straddling Malfoy's skinny hips, Harry took himself in hand and gave his cock a few sturdy pulls. Malfoy was straining to see, his head lifted at an awkward angle, eyes narrowed on the cock in Harry's fist. His tongue darted out to wet his lips, and Harry groaned as the image of Malfoy on his knees—his face pressed hard against Harry's groin as he took all of his cock down his throat—flashed into his mind.

 

But no, that would be too much. Harry knew would never last if he thought about things like that; he was already ridiculously aroused, almost frantic with need. He hissed as his naked cock brushed against Malfoy's hot skin for the first time. Their mobility was limited, but he didn't care; he ground shamelessly against Malfoy's hips, his entire body tingling with an electric current of desire.

 

Malfoy keened, a broken, “Oh, God,” escaping the back of his throat. He hooked a leg around one of Harry's calves and arched into the thrusts. Harry wanted to look at him then, to memorize the sight of Malfoy's face, thrown back and unguarded in pleasure, but he was having trouble keeping his eyes open. The tight coil in his gut was straining. His toes were curling, and his thighs were shaking. He was losing control.

 

“Say it!” he demanded. He didn't think he could hold on much longer, but he wanted—no, he needed to hear Malfoy admit to it. “Say that you like it!”

 

“I-I-” Malfoy stuttered. The pale grey of his eyes disappeared behind his eyelids as his eyes rolled back. His body went taut and jerked.

 

Harry nearly collapsed as his orgasm overtook him. The painful need that was driving him forward exploded. He squeezed his eyes shut as his cock pulsed hot stripes of come between their bodies. He could feel their combined mess, warm and slick and sticking to his skin. His heart was pounding wildly in his ears, he could feel his hair stuck to his forehead with sweat. He felt shattered, every nerve in his body shot, overworked to the point of a tingling numbness

 

And Malfoy...Malfoy was still beneath him, his reedy chest rising and falling as he took quick, shallow breaths. His eyes were open wide, his expression unreadable.

 

They stared at each other for a long moment. Harry thought Malfoy looked like a frightened animal, ready to bolt at the slightest provocation. He didn't expect that Malfoy would surge against him, that he would wrap his strong arms around Harry's neck, and drag him into another forceful, artless kiss, one that was more teeth than tongue.

 

After a solid minute of this frantic snogging, Harry pulled himself away. He stared into Malfoy's eyes, a million questions on the tip of his tongue. Was this really happening? What did it mean? Would it happen again? He opened his mouth to ask them all, but no sounds came out. The surety and reckless need he'd felt just moments before were slipping away, leaving nothing behind but confusion and two loads of drying come on his stomach.

 

Malfoy closed his eyes and relaxed against the floor. His flushed skin turned a darker shade of red. Hoarsely, he whispered, “I liked it.”

 

Harry stared at him, eyes blinking as rapidly as his mind was whirling, voice stuck beneath the lump in his throat. He hadn't even begun to formulate a response before Malfoy was pushing him away and crawling to his feet.

 

Harry rolled onto his back and watched as Malfoy rose on shaky legs. He turned around and tucked his spent cock back inside his trousers. “I'll have the antidote ready by this weekend,” he said tonelessly.

 

He didn't wait for Harry's response, just turned and walked away without another word. Harry reached out and opened his mouth to call after him, but had no clue what he should say. Come back? I’m sorry? Want to go again? He shut his mouth and lowered his arm, pulling his legs up and hugging them to his chest.

 

Harry sat on the cold stone floor, staring at the empty space where Malfoy had just been, his brain swimming with too many disparate and contradictory thoughts to comprehend.

 

He didn’t return to the common room for a very long time.

 

***

 

Around him, people were chatting excitedly. Harry forced a grin in Seamus' direction as the bawdy Irishman finished his story and their friends began to laugh, but he hadn't heard a word of what Seamus had said. He'd spent the entire morning in a daze, going through the motions of being a somewhat attentive student and an engaged friend, but his mind was still stuck in the dark corridor where he and Malfoy had done...whatever it was one would call that. He wasn't quite sure what to call it himself.

 

He poked at the food on his plate, but had no real appetite. He'd woken that morning with a heavy sense dread in the pit of his stomach and little room for anything else. It weighed him down, making him feel despondent and distracted.

 

There was a limit to what sort of behavior was acceptable when it came to your one-time arch rival, and Harry knew that he had crossed it. The worst part, though, was that Malfoy didn't seem to be similarly troubled by what had happened. He was at the Slytherin table, holding court as though it were any other ordinary morning.

 

It wasn't that Harry wanted Malfoy to catch him staring, he just wanted Malfoy to look at him, just once. Even a glance in his direction would suffice. He wanted some sort of recognition, some admittance that last night hadn't been some strange fever dream or potions-induced hallucination on Harry's part. Harry felt as though the world had been pulled out from under his feet, while Malfoy appeared completely unaffected.

 

A soft, concerned voice broke through his thoughts. “Harry?”

 

Harry turned to the sound of the voice. Hermione was looking at him, her brow furrowed. “Are you all right?” she asked softly. “You seem...preoccupied.”

 

Harry flashed her the most authentic smile he could muster. “It's nothing,” he lied. “Just some things on my mind.”

 

“Anything you want to talk about?”

 

Harry almost laughed out loud at the thought of telling Hermione the truth. He could just imagine it: her eyes opening wide as she made those little squawking noises she made when she was so shocked she couldn't find the words to appropriately express her surprise or outrage.

 

“You worry too much about me,” he said. “I promise, I'm fine.”

 

Hermione didn't look convinced, but she nodded anyway. “If you change your mind...”

 

Harry's forced smile turned into a genuine one. He really did have the greatest friends.“You'll be the first to know.”

 

She smiled back at him, and then returned her attention to Ron, who was in the middle of a play-by-play description of the Chudley Cannons match he'd gone to over the summer. Harry stole another look at the Slytherin table, where Malfoy appeared to be in deep conversation with Blaise Zabini.

 

Harry continued to stare, but Malfoy never once looked his way.

 

***

 

He should have known that she wouldn't give up that easily. Hermione was like a dog with a bone sometimes. She cornered him after his last lesson of the day, tugging him along behind her by the sleeve of his robe.

 

“I want to talk to you. Let's go for a walk by the lake. ”

 

Harry dug in his heels. “I told you. There's nothing to talk about. I'm fine.”

 

“Well, maybe there's something Ineed to talk about,” she said irritably. “The world doesn't revolve around you, you know.”

 

Harry felt appropriately shamed. “Oh, sorry.” He wondered what Hermione could possibly want to talk to him about. Things were going well with Ron, weren't they? Maybe they weren't, and Harry hadn't noticed. Oh god, what if they were breaking up?

 

All the worries that Harry had had about his two best friends getting together came back in full force as he followed Hermione out of the castle and down the winding path to the lake. For a few moments, the dread that weighed like a heavy stone on his chest was about something besides Malfoy.

 

Hermione stopped a few meters from the lakeshore and settled herself in the shade beneath a cluster of trees. She indicated to the ground next to her, and Harry sat.

 

“What did you want to talk about?” he asked nervously. “Are things all right with Ron?”

 

“Of course they are,” she said with a little wave of her hand. “I actually did want to talk about whatever is going on with you.”

 

He gave her a half-hearted glare. “You tricked me.”

 

Hermione smiled, her nose wrinkling slightly, and shrugged. “You wouldn't have come down here with me otherwise.”

 

Harry plucked a handful of grass from the ground. He stared at his hands as began to rip the blades in half, peeling them apart down their spiny middles. “I don't really want to talk about it. It's kind of personal. And embarrassing.”

 

“Oh, Harry,” she sighed. “There's nothing you can't tell me, you know that. Embarrassing or not, you know I'd never judge you. Does it have something to do with Ginny?”

 

He looked up at her. He hadn't been thinking of Ginny at all. “Er, not really. I mean, I don't know, maybe. Not directly, but I guess in a way it could. It's...kind of complicated.”

 

Hermione's expression was open and patient. Harry threw the mangled blades of grass back to ground. “Fine. If you really want to know--” he casting a quick look around to make sure no one else was in earshot. “I kind of...I kind of had it off with another bloke last night.”

 

Her eyes went wide, but she didn't make any of the squawking sounds Harry had expected. It seemed as though he had managed to stun her into silence, a rare feat.

 

“That's certainly not what I was expecting,” she finally said with a short puff of laughter.

 

Harry snorted dryly. “Yeah, me neither.”

 

“May I ask who?”

 

He turned his attention back to his hands. “You can, but it doesn't mean I'll answer.”

 

Hermione was quiet. Harry could feel her examining him from the corner of her eye. He didn't like the feeling it inspired, like he was some sort of academic problem that she was trying to solve.

 

“And...did you like it?”

 

Harry felt his face burn hot and red. If he were being honest, he'd say it was the best orgasm of his young life, and that the memory of it had occupied his every waking (and sleeping) moment since. Instead, he just shrugged and said, “It was all right.”

 

She frowned and looked out over the lake. The wind picked up, causing the leaves of the tree above them to rustle loudly, emphasizing the awkwardness of their silence.

 

“Is that why you told Ginny you didn't want to get back together? Are you...”

 

“No!” Harry said quickly. “No, I'm not. Or, I don't think I am. It's not like I’m off of girls completely or something. I just don't want to be with Ginny, specifically. This thing with M--” Harry caught himself, “with this bloke...it just kind of happened. I've never done anything like that before.”

 

“But you've thought about it before?”

 

Harry reached for another clump of grass. “No more than anyone else,” he admitted quietly. He then added, defensively, “It's perfectly normal, you know.”

 

With a soft laugh, Hermione reached out and squeezed his knee. “Of course it is, everyone thinks about it at some point. If you know that it's normal, why are you so bothered by it?”

 

Harry didn't know how to explain what he was feeling without giving Malfoy's identity away. He honestly wasn't sure he'd know how to explain it even if he could. The anxiety he felt was less about the fact that Malfoy was another boy, and more about the fact that Malfoy was...well, Malfoy. And he was annoyed that a larger part of himself than he wanted to admit was desperate for it to happen again.

 

“You want to do it again, don't you?” Hermione asked, perceptive as ever.

 

He could still feel her eyes on him, soft and concerned and accepting. Would she be so accepting if she knew the whole truth? Though he felt ashamed, he nodded.

 

She knocked his shoulders with her own. “Well, then you should do it again,” she said with a sly smile. “If you liked it, and he liked it, what's stopping you?”

 

“I don't know if he actually liked it.” Harry said quietly. “We didn't really talk much. And then he left.”

 

Hermione nodded sagely. “Well, then there's only one thing to do. Talk to him about it, see how he's feeling.”

 

“I really don't think that's a good idea. He'd probably hex me if I even tried.”

 

With a sigh, she rolled her eyes. “I don't know why boys have to make everything so difficult. It's like you're all allergic to talking about your feelings.”

 

“I do not have 'feelings' for him,” said Harry firmly. “It's definitely not like that.”

 

“Then what is it like?”

 

It took Harry a moment to collect his muddled thoughts well enough to formulate an answer. “It's like...I'm attracted to him physically, which is weird enough in itself, and I can't stop thinking about him. I just want him to look at me, to acknowledge that it happened. But he won't! I feel like I could stand in front of him naked and doing the hula, and he still wouldn't notice.”

 

Softly, Hermione said, “Those sound like feelings to me.”

 

Stubbornly, Harry ignored her, and continued. “It's just so confusing, because before, I felt like I could never get him to leave me alone. He was always there, popping up and causing trouble. And now, for the first time that I want him around, he's suddenly too good to pay me any mind. He's a bloody fucking ponce and I hate him.” Harry threw his fistful of grass to the ground and  cupped his face in his hands. “I hate him, and I want to snog him to death for making me not want to hate him.”

 

“Harry...who is it?” Hermione asked, alarm creeping into her voice.

 

“No one. It's just-- don't worry about it. I'll figure something out.”

 

“If it's who I think it is, you really should be care—”

 

“It's not! Whoever you think it is, Hermione, it's not. It's not a big deal. It's just something that happened and won't happen again. I'm just being stupid about it.”

 

“Oh, Harry,” she said, in that tone of hers that was simultaneously loving and pitying. “You're not stupid. You're just confused, and that's all right. I still think you should be careful though, if it is who I think it is.”

 

Harry had nothing to say to that. Of course Hermione had figured out it was Malfoy—who else could it be? And of course she was right. He had to be careful; he couldn't let this sudden and strange sexual attraction get confused with actual feelings, which would be wrong. Malfoy was still a bad person: a mean, bitter, cynical person. Just because he made the most erotic noises imaginable and had the loveliest arse Harry had ever seen didn't change the fact that he was still a jerk. It was just sex, nothing more. And once they took the antidote and got this stupid connection canceled, it wouldn't even be that.

 

This was all down to the potion, he told himself. Maybe if he told himself that often enough, he might start to believe it.

 

Hermione gave his shoulder a gentle squeeze. “Do you feel better at all?”

 

He didn't. But he smiled and told her that he did. She blinded him with a bright smile of her own and threw herself at him, wrapping him in warm, comforting hug. Harry patted her back, unable to return the warmth of the embrace.

 

Back in the castle, they went to the Great Hall for dinner. Harry was careful to time his stolen glances towards the Slytherin table for moments when Hermione was distracted by conversation.

 

Still, Malfoy never looked at him once.

 

***

 

Harry's senses were on high alert the next morning, as he stood, once again, next to Malfoy at their small work station. It was the longest lesson of Harry's life, longer than all of Professor Binns' dull lectures combined. Every minute stretched into an endless eternity, with nothing to focus on besides his own frayed nerves. They worked in near silence, though Harry tried desperately to think of something to say.

 

Even Slughorn seemed to notice the thick tension between them. He usually lingered at their station, unduly praising Harry and begrudgingly complementing Malfoy's work. But this time, he scuttled away as quickly as he'd come.

 

At one point, their hands brushed as they moved to add ingredients to the cauldron at the same time. Harry jumped back a clear foot in shock and surprise, not expecting the simple touch to make his skin burn and his chest clench with an aching longing. Malfoy shot him an irritated glare, but refrained from commenting.

 

The lesson finally came to an end. They cleared their station, Malfoy's movements quick and efficient while Harry's were somewhat clumsy and frantic. Harry knew he had to say something. He couldn't let Malfoy walk out of that door without at least some sort of recognition. Steeling his nerves, Harry whispered, “Can we talk?”

 

All Harry's mental preparations had been for naught. Without turning to him, Malfoy simply said, “No.”

 

Frustrated, Harry reached out and grabbed Malfoy by the arm. Malfoy's eyes widened with alarm. He pulled himself free, backing up quickly and almost tripping over his stool.

 

“Christ, calm down,” Harry hissed. “We need to talk, Malfoy. About what happened.”

 

Malfoy made a show of rearranging his robes and neatly setting the stool underneath the station. “No, we don't. I've started the antidote already, it should be done on Saturday. We'll take it then, and then never discuss any of this again.”

 

“But Malfoy—”

 

“No,” Malfoy said fiercely. “We will never talk about it.”

 

Harry's frustration was mounting. Why was Malfoy being such a prick about this? Well, Malfoy was a prick about just about everything, but he could at least condescend to talk about this with Harry, couldn't he? This was a big deal, for both of them.

 

“Why not? We need—”

 

Weneed nothing, Potter. There is no ‘we’, there has never been a ‘we,’ and there will never be one either. The potion will be ready on Saturday, and then we’ll be done with it.” Malfoy shoved his textbook into his satchel and threw it over his shoulder. “Now fuck off.”

 

Harry watched Malfoy leave once again. But this time, he was angry, and not just with Malfoy, but also with himself. He shouldn't care that Malfoy wanted nothing to do with him, and yet, it still hurt. He was even illogically disappointed that Malfoy hadn't knocked shoulders with him as he stormed away.

 

Feelings, Harry decided, were the worst.

 

***

 

Come Friday night, Harry found himself in the common room, surrounded by friends and sipping on his third butterbeer of the evening. Hannah Abbot, who was on her fifth butterbeer and had turned quite red from drink, was telling a very inappropriate story about the first time she and Neville had sneaked off to the greenhouses together. Harry was only listening with one ear, however, both because of the horrific nature of Hannah's story and because he was distracted by the scene on the other side of the common room.

 

The Slytherins and their newest hanger-on, Zacharias Smith, were occupying the room's other seating area, closer to the fire. The Slytherins were stuck together as usual, refusing to intermingle with the other returning students of their year—save Smith, whose actions at the final battle had proven that he was just as low and cowardly as they were. Harry thought it was a proper fit.

 

Never to do anything by halves, were passing around a large bottle of firewhiskey. It wasn't the growing noise and possible consequences that they would all face if—or when—the Slytherins' drinking got out of hand that concerned Harry, it was the proximity that Malfoy sat to Pansy Parkinson, the pug-faced bitch.

 

As soon as the thought entered his head, Harry could picture Hermione's disapproving scowl at his language, but he ignored the imaginary lecture. Parkinson was a pug-faced bitch, and she was sitting far too close to Malfoy. If she got any closer, she'd be on his lap! And Malfoy, the egotistical arsehole, seemed to be basking in her attention. He even had one arm draped loosely over her shoulders!

 

Harry felt something against his thigh. His head snapped up, his attention rudely torn from the disgusting display across the common room. Hermione was standing above him, nudging his leg with the toe of her shoe. He scooted down a few inches, making room for her next to him on the floor. She sat down, leaning her back against the couch behind them.

 

“Have you talked to him yet?” she asked in a whisper.

 

Harry fought the urge to look at Malfoy again. “Tried to. He wouldn't let me.”

 

“Maybe it's for the best,” Hermione said carefully. “He's not a very nice person is he? And I hate to say it...but maybe someone put him up to it? He's trying so awfully hard to fit in the with the Slytherins these days. It sounds like something they would dare someone to do.”

 

He turned to look at her. “Huh?”

 

“Or maybe not!” she added quickly. “I didn't mean to imply that he didn't want to do it, or that he wasn't attracted to you. You're a very attractive person, Harry, honestly. I just meant, that's he's—well, he's just awful, and I wouldn't put anything past him.”

 

“Hermione, who are you talking about?”

 

Hermione blinked. “Zacharias Smith. You've been staring at him all night. That is who you...you know'd with, isn't it?”

 

Harry didn't know whether to laugh in her face or shudder in disgust. It would take more than a improperly brewed potion to make him interested in a prat like Smith. Nothing short of the Imperius could make that happen, and even then, Harry could thankfully resist Imperio. But as awful as Smith was, it was surely better that Hermione think it was him instead of know that it Malfoy, right? Smith was an arse, but Malfoy was Malfoy.

 

“Just promise you won't tell anyone.”

 

“Of course not! Harry, you can trust me, you know that.”

 

Harry offered her a soft smile, just as Seamus Finnegan appeared before them, three bottles of butterbeer in hand. “What are you two over here whispering about? Is Hermione finally spilling the dirt about what she and Ron get up to on their prefect patrols?” he asked with an exaggerated leer.

 

He handed one of the butterbeers to Harry and offered the other to Hermione, who tried to refuse it at first. “You know that I wasn't,” she said primly. “Ask as often as you'd like, Seamus, but my relationship with Ron is private, and I'm never going to tell you.”

 

Seamus shrugged and took a swig of his drink. “No worries. Ron'll just tell me everything anyway.”

 

Hermione's face fell. “He wouldn't.”

 

“Might do. You know how blokes love to brag.”

 

Hermione stood swiftly. Without a word, she marched through the circle of students and stopped in front of Ron, who was deep in conversation with Dean. He looked up at her excitedly, but  quickly his expression clouded. After an exchange of words that Harry couldn't hear, he watched as Ron stood and sullenly followed Hermione away from the gathering.

 

Seamus settled himself in Hermione's vacated spot, a sloppy and self-pleased grin across his face.

 

“Ron doesn’t tell you anything, does he?”

 

“'Course not,” said Seamus happily. “He's smarter than that.”

 

“You just got him in a world of trouble, you know.”

 

Seamus' grin broadened. “I know.” He held his bottle out, and Harry clinked his own against it, unable to hold back a grin to mirror Seamus'. It was their duty as Ron's friend to make his life difficult at all possible turns. It was only what he deserved for having a girlfriend.

 

“Seriously though,” said Seamus, “what were you two whispering about?”

 

“Um--” Harry sneaked another glance across the room, “just the, uh, the Slytherins. And how they never hang out with anyone from the other houses.”

 

Seamus' eyes followed Harry's line of sight. “Yeah, but do you really want them to?”

 

“No! No, Idon't. Definitely not. But you know Hermione, she's always on about 'house unity' and all that rot.” It wasn't a complete lie. Occasionally, Hermione would mention that they should take McGonagall's push for house unity a bit more seriously. She may not be 'always going on' about it exactly, but it sounded plausible enough, and Seamus seemed able to believe it readily. “She thinks we should work harder to include them.”

 

Seamus made a disbelieving noise and wrinkled his nose, as if the very thought repulsed him. “Don't know why she would. Although--” his head tilted, eyes squinting thoughtfully, “they do always have better liquor. Maybe we should try to include them more.”

 

“Yeah,” Harry said dryly. “I'm sure that's exactly what Hermione was thinking.”

 

Seamus ignored him and climbed to his feet. “Oi!” he called out across the room. Several heads turned in his direction. Harry tried to sink lower; he did not want to be included in whatever Seamus was pulling. “You lot, come over here!”

 

From the corner of his eye, Harry watched as the Slytherins exchanged glances. They bent towards each other, whispering furiously in a loose huddle. After a moment, they all sat back.

 

“Why?” Pansy Parkinson asked cagily.

 

Seamus looked around the small circle of his own friends, many of whom were looking at him as though he'd gone berserk. With a shrug, he said, “Just cause. We've all got to live together, don't we? We might as well be friendly.”

 

The Slytherins exchanged more inscrutable looks between themselves.

 

“Is this some sort of trick?” asked Millicent Bulstrode.

 

“What? No!” laughed Seamus. “I'm just trying to be nice. Come on over and hang out with us. Bring your firewhiskey.”

 

Theodore Nott was the first to stand. “He just wants our liquor,” he told his housemates with a little shrug. “Come on guys, it won't kill us to share.” Some of the Slytherins looked as though they really did think it might kill them. Nott turned his back on the watching crowd and leaned forward, whispering something in Parkinson's ear. She frowned at him, but then gave a heavy sigh and nodded. She turned and whispered something in Smith's ear.

 

Slowly, one by one, the Slytherins made their way over to the other group of students, settling themselves in empty seats or perching awkwardly on the arms of occupied chairs. Parkinson had to tug Malfoy along by the arm. By the time they reached the lopsided circle, most of the spots were taken, except for the stretch of floor in front of the couch where Harry was sat.

 

Parkinson gave a pained looking smile and nodded. “Potter.” She sat herself on the ground, but left a wide berth of space between them. Pointing to the spot, she said, “Draco, sit.”

 

Harry's entire body went stiff as Malfoy dutifully took his place. While he was glad to have someone as a physical buffer between himself and Parkinson, the fact that it was Malfoy only made matters worse. They were even closer now than they had been in Potions the day before.

 

“Malfoy,” Harry said politely, giving the boy next to him a curt nod.

 

Eyes staring straight forward, Malfoy returned the gesture with a nod of his own. “Potter.”

 

An awkward silence descended over the newly integrated group.

 

“So, now that we're all together,” Daphne Greengrass said with forced brightness, “what do we do?”

 

Blaise Zabini, who had managed to snag a chair all to himself, raised the bottle of firewhiskey above his head. “Why, we do what any other group of unsupervised teenagers would do,” he said with a broad smile.“We get drunk off our arses.”

 

Seamus gave a cheer and gladly accepted the bottle from Zabini. Conversation was slow to pick up, but as the liquor passed from hand to hand, people seemed to relax. Harry didn't feel like trying to the follow the thread of any of the many discussions that were going on around him. It would be too much work, especially when so much of his mental capacity was devoted to cataloging every minute movement that came from the boy sitting beside him.

 

A few minutes later, Hermione and Ron came back into the room, Hermione's hair a little more mussed than usual and Ron's face stained slightly pink. They both drew up short as they noticed the new seating arrangements. Hermione caught Harry's eyes across the room and gave him a puzzled look. He gave a little shrug and sent his best 'It-Wasn’t-Me' look in return. Carefully, they picked their way through the lounging students and found spots on the floor on the far side of the circle.

 

Harry considered standing up and going over to sit with them. Would that be rude? He wasn't talking to anyone really, and they were his best friends. But Malfoy might think he was trying to avoid him. No, that was stupid. It was Malfoy who was avoiding Harry. Why should Harry care if the git got angry about it? It wasn't as though he had any real reason to stay sitting where he was. Well, besides the warmth he could feel radiating off Malfoy's arm. That was rather nice.

 

He felt a tap on his shoulder. He swiveled around to find Susan Bones, who was sitting cross-legged on the sofa behind him, holding out the prized bottle of Firewhiskey. Finally, Harry thought as he took it from her with a thanks. He was better versed at drinking Firewhiskey than he had been little over a year before, when he'd had his first taste of the stuff as tribute to Mad-Eye Moody's death. But still, he didn't think he'd get ever get used to that initial burn of the stinging alcohol as it flowed down his throat.

 

“Careful, Potter,” came Malfoy's cool voice next to him. Harry lowered the bottle quickly, a few drops of the bitter drink dribbling from his lips and dripping onto his shirt. “You wouldn't want someone to take advantage of you in of your compromised state, now would you?”

 

Harry swallowed, his mouth feeling exceedingly dry despite the fact he'd just been drinking. He took another long sip and passed the bottle to Malfoy, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Malfoy tipped his head back and took a long pull of his own, and Harry watched, transfixed by the way Malfoy's throat worked as he swallowed.

 

“Depending on the person,” Harry said lowly, “I might not mind.”

 

Malfoy sputtered. He lowered the bottle quickly and looked at Harry, his pale grey eyes wide and searching. Harry held his gaze, not knowing what to make of Malfoy's words, or even his own. He just knew there was something strange, something like hope and desire, unfurling in his chest.

 

Malfoy tore his gaze away and shoved the firewhiskey at Parkinson, who took her own turn with the bottle. When she was done, she passed it along, and turned back to Malfoy, picking up their conversation where it'd left off.

 

Harry heaved a heavy sigh and turned away.

 

***

 

“That's not a proper snog!” Hannah Abbot yelled. “You've got to do it right or take the forfeit!”

 

Padma Patil turned around glare at her, not noticing the thumbs-up that Stephen Cornfoot was sending Hannah behind her back. “Oh, fine,” she grumbled, turning back to Stephen. “Let's just get this over with.”

 

She grabbed him by his face and hauled him towards her, mashing their mouths together sloppily. From his position, Harry could see the pink of their tongues as they moved against each other. He didn't know if it was the sight or the drink that was making him feel nauseous, but his stomach roiled violently. When Hannah called time, Padma pushed Stephen away. She turned to Hannah expectantly. “Satisfied?”

 

“Yes, thank you. Now, it's Stephen's turn.”

 

Padma scuttled back to her position in the large circle, while Stephen reached out and gave the empty butterbeer bottle a quick spin. They all watched as the bottle went round and round, eventually coming to settle on Pansy Parkinson. Parkinson gave a dramatic sigh and crawled towards the center of the circle.

 

“Keep your hands where I can see them, Cornfoot.”

 

Harry didn't watch this kiss. He was more concerned with watching Malfoy, trying to gauge the other boy's reaction to seeing his girlfriend—or whatever the Slytherin equivalent of girlfriend might be—snog someone else. But Malfoy looked bored by the whole thing, his long legs stretched out in front of him, leaning back on his hands.

 

When the tepid kiss was over, Parkinson took her turn. The bottle landed on Zacharias Smith. This got a reaction from Malfoy, though it was in the form of a loud groan. A series of jeers and catcalls came from the other Slytherins.

 

“Everyone shield your eyes,” Malfoy drawled. “And cover your ears while you're at it. Zach sounds like a dying kneazle when he gets excited.”

 

Zach flipped Malfoy two fingers, and Harry wanted to demand just how Malfoy knew that, but his attention was immediately grabbed by the sound of, well, a dying kneazle. Parkinson hadn't waited for Smith to join her in the middle of the circle, she had crawled towards him and climbed onto his lap.

 

They were snogging, but not like two people forced to do so in a childish kissing game. They were really going at it. Parkinson had her arms around Smith's neck, and Smith's hands were roaming all over her back, one dipping down to squeeze her arse.

 

“You might as well consider them out of the game,” continued Malfoy. “Once those two start, it's impossible to get them to stop. In fact--” he sat up, pulling out his wand and casting a quick Silencio on the pair, “that should do it.”

 

Harry looked around the circle, noting the other expressions of surprise and mild disgust. He must not have been the only who hadn't realized that Parkinson and Smith were an item. Hermione caught his eyes and sent him a sympathetic look. Harry did his very best to look disappointed.

 

“All right,” said Hannah slowly, her eyes still trained on the couple who seemed to have no intention of coming up for air soon. “Who's turn is it then? Draco, do you want to spin?”

 

“Thanks, but no,” Malfoy sniffed. “I don't need silly games to get people to snog me. I do just fine on my own.”

 

He tucked his wand back into his pocket and returned to his reclining position. As he reached back to brace himself, his left hand brushed against Harry's right. A tingling sensation flowed up Harry's arm and settled like a hundred butterflies in his stomach. He waited for Malfoy to snatch his hand away, but he boy never did. He kept it where it was, pressing lightly against Harry's.

 

“Oh really?” asked Zabini. “And just who have you been snogging recently, Draco?”

 

With his other hand--the one that was not touching Harry--Malfoy pretended to pick a piece of lint off his shirt. “That's none of your concern,” he said airily.

 

Blaise snorted. “Can't concern myself with something that doesn't happen, now can I?”

 

Harry could feel the tension begin to radiate off of Malfoy. He was about to snap. Harry pressed his hand firmer against Malfoy's, a nonverbal urging to stop. Malfoy's mouth closed and his body relaxed.

 

“Just because I don't feel the need to brag about my exploits doesn't mean they don't happen. There is such a thing as discretion, Blaise.”

 

Zabini laughed. “You've never been discreet for a moment in your life.” He shuffled forward and reached for the bottle. “I'll have a go, if no one minds. There's got to be at least two--maybe three--girls here that I haven't had the pleasure of snogging yet.”

 

Harry paid little attention to who ended up snogging whom, as long as he was left out of it. His heart sped up each time the bottle began to slow, not wanting the strange, small touch of his hand against Malfoy's to end if the bottle landed on either of them.

 

He tried not to think too hard about why neither of them were pulling away.

 

***

 

Harry awoke with a jolt. Sweat was pouring down his forehead, his heart was racing, thumping loudly against his ribcage. He had been dreaming, but they weren't nightmares. He'd been having the most vivid dream, sharp images of pale skin and fair hair and a purpled cock. It had been so real, as though he could have reached out and touched Malfoy, as if Malfoy was actually touching him.

 

Throwing back his covers, Harry hissed. His cock was rock hard, throbbing painfully within his pajama pants. There was a dark stain over the crotch, but Harry knew from the tenderness in his sac that he hadn't come in his sleep. He sucked in a gasp when he felt it: a ghostly sensation running up the length of his shaft, a firm grip beneath the head, the familiar tug of frenzied wanking.

 

What was happening to him?! He could feel someone touching him--there was no mistake about that--but he was alone.

 

Stumbling out of bed, Harry made for the door. It had to be the bond, there was nothing else it could be, but something had gone wrong. He felt stretched taut as a drum skin, every nerve in his body alight with a burning heat and desperation. He had to wake Malfoy, had to figure out what was happening. Maybe the antidote would be ready and they could take it now, no matter the time of night. Anything, anything would be better than this relentless need that made him ache inside.

 

His eyes adjusted to the darkness, though his vision remained blurry without his glasses. It didn't matter, because he could see a small strip of light coming from beneath the door at the end of the corridor. The bathroom! The same bathroom where Harry had spied on Malfoy as he showered. Oh god, was Malfoy wanking in the shower again? Harry didn't know if he could handle the sight in such fragile state, but another sharp tug on his cock urged him forward.

 

The bathroom was filled with steam, thick and heavy. The sound of falling water called to Harry like a siren's song, and he slowly approached the noise. With a trembling hand, he took hold of the shower curtain.

 

Malfoy was in the stall, soaked from head to toe, forearm and forehead braced against the tiled wall. One hand was between his legs, yanking roughly on the swollen cock that rose from a light patch of dark blonde curls.

 

“Malfoy,” Harry said with a cracking voice. “Malfoy!”

 

Malfoy lifted his head just enough to look at Harry with a heavy-lidded gaze.“Fuck off, Potter,” he said, his speech slurred.

 

The hammering in Harry's heart picked up. He could barely hear his own voice over the combined noise of the shower and his blood pounding in his ears. “W-what are you doing?”

 

“What do you think?” Malfoy growled. He pressed his forehead back against the shower. Groaning loudly, he added, “Think I drank too much. I can't...I can't fucking...goddammit!” He let go of himself and brought his fist up to pound against the wall. “I just want to come,” he said miserably. “It hurts so much and won’t go away.”

 

Harry stared at Malfoy's cock, flushed a dark and angry looking red. When Malfoy had dropped it, the ghostly wanking sensation had stopped for Harry immediately. Licking his lips, Harry said, “Touch yourself again.”

 

Malfoy glared at him. “I'm not putting on a show for you.”

 

“Just do it!” he said urgently. “I think-I think the bond has changed. I can feel it when you touch yourself. I could feel you wanking...it was like someone was wanking me.”

 

Malfoy's glare morphed into a look of disbelief and curiosity as he reached down once more, taking himself in hand. He did little more than wrap a hand around himself, but Harry could feel invisible fingers curling around his own cock. His let out a shuddering breath.

 

“Can you really feel this?” Malfoy asked, his eyes widening to the size of saucers as his hand slowly began to move.

 

He wasn't tugging on himself as harshly as he had before, and this light, delicate stroke, actually felt nice. More than nice. Wonderful. Harry's toes curled and his stomach flipped. He reached out blindly to steady himself and nodded.

 

“Now you,” Malfoy said, his pale pink tongue darting out to wet his lips. His eyes were narrowed, focused intently on the tent in the front of Harry's pajamas. “You do it.”

 

Without thinking, Harry reached inside his pajama pants. He winced as he touched his oversensitive cock; his balls were throbbing with the need for release.

 

Malfoy made a strangled noise and bracketed himself against the wall again, his hips moving minutely, humping empty air. “Oh my fucking god, why did I drink so much?” he asked, his voice caught between a moan and a petulant whine. “This is all your fault, Potter. You did this to me.”

 

Taking a tentative step forward, Harry said, “I could help you. If I come, you come, right?”

 

Malfoy looked at him again, his eyes bright. “Yes,” he said breathlessly. “Exactly.”

 

Harry had fully intended to wank himself to completion, but in a flash, Malfoy was on him, his fingers fisting tight in the fabric of Harry's sleep shirt, yanking him into the shower stall and throwing against the cold tile wall. The water rained down on him, soaking through his thin sleepwear in a matter of seconds. “W-what are you--”

 

But Harry was never able to finish his question. Malfoy fell to his knees, and with surprising precision for someone who was too drunk to properly wank, tugged Harry's pajama pants down to his ankles. Harry gasped as the warm pellets of water splashed against his exposed cock, but then he was engulfed in the warm, wet heat of Malfoy's mouth. He gave a strangled cry, his hand shooting out to grab onto something—anything—for balance.

 

That anything turned out to be the back of Malfoy's head. There was nothing hesitant or self-conscious about the way Malfoy slurped down Harry's prick. He sucked harshly, forming a tight vacuum with his lips as his head bobbed vigorously between Harry's thighs. He made glorious little moaning noises as he worked, and Harry remembered that Malfoy was feeling everything that Harry felt. His cock twitched in Malfoy's mouth at the thought.

 

A part of him wanted to draw this out, to take hold of Malfoy's head and slow him down. It was the most amazing sensation, but he knew they echo chamber of their combined arousal would be too much to fight against. He adjusted his grip on Malfoy's head, but instead of trying to set the speed, he held Malfoy in place and began to pump his hips, fucking Malfoy's mouth with long, sure strokes that had the head of his cock sliding across the roof of Malfoy's mouth and bumping against the back of his throat.

 

Malfoy moaned loudly around his mouthful and reached down between his own legs. Harry could feel the impression of Malfoy's fingers around his own cock as Malfoy teased his underside, massaging the sensitive web where shaft and head connected.

 

“Oh, fuck,” Harry groaned as his hips picked up their pace, moving faster, his thrusts hard and jerky. He was motivated by nothing but blind need, pushing deeper and deeper in that glorious mouth of Malfoy’s. He sucked in deep breaths through gritted teeth as his hips flew, and Malfoy just stayed there, taking it.

 

“I'm going to-I'm going to--”

 

Every muscle in Harry's body went rigid, and then a crippling wave of pleasure exploded from within him, radiating out through all of his limbs and making his entire body tingle. He held Malfoy's face against his groin as he unloaded hot spurt after hot spurt of come down the back of Malfoy's throat. Malfoy was making the most exquisitely tortured sound Harry had ever heard.

 

Belatedly, Harry realized he should probably let Malfoy go. He slumped back against the wall and looked down. Malfoy was still crouched on his knees, his hand and stomach covered with white globs of his own come, which were quickly being washed away by the falling water.

 

“Malfoy, I--”

 

Malfoy looked up at him, eyes suddenly clear and sharp. “Don't say anything.”

 

Harry closed his mouth and nodded, watching nervously as Malfoy climbed to his feet and washed the final remnants of come from his body. With a shaky hand, Malfoy reached over and turned off the water.

 

Harry wasn't sure what to do with himself as Malfoy grabbed a towel and stepped out of the shower. He didn't have anything to dry off with, and his sleep clothes were soaked through. He stood there, feel awkward and unsure, hot embarrassment sneaking up on him as the post-orgasmic glow faded.

 

“Do you plan to stay in there all night?” Malfoy called out.

 

Harry bent down and winced as he pulled his pajama pants back up, heavy and wet and growing colder by the second. He sloshed out of the shower stall, dripping water on the bathroom floor. Malfoy took one look at him and let out a short snort of laughter.

 

“You look absurd. Take those off.”

 

When Harry hesitated, hand on his waistband. Malfoy rolled his eyes. “I've seen it already”

 

Slowly, Harry peeled the away the wet layers, and was grateful when Malfoy threw him an extra towel without comment. They dried off in silence, though Harry caught Malfoy sneaking the occasional glance at him. Harry wrung out his soaking clothes in the sink and hung them on an empty towel hook to dry. He tied the towel around his waist and stood, feeling awkward and ridiculously naked, with his arms folded across his chest.

 

Malfoy spared him a fleeting glance before turning and walking towards the door. “Come along, Potter.”

 

Malfoy didn't wait, so Harry followed him down the corridor. If it weren't for the slight wobble to Malfoy's walk or the way he trailed one hand along the wall to help steady himself, Harry might have been able to forget that he was drunk.

 

He stopped outside the entrance to the Slytherin quarters and brought one finger to his lips. “Shh. You have to be quiet, Blaise is a light sleeper.”

 

“Malfoy, wait--” Harry said, reaching out to grab him by the wrist. “What are we do--”

 

“Shut up!” Malfoy said in a rush of breath. “Don't ask questions. You're just going to ruin it.”

 

Ruin what?Harry wanted to ask, but didn't.

 

They crept into the room, tiptoeing carefully past the beds of the sleeping Slytherins. Malfoy took his wand from the nightstand and cast a warming charm on the bed in the corner. Pulling back the curtains, he motioned for Harry to get in.

 

Harry looked from Malfoy, to the bed, and then back to Malfoy, torn between what he should do. His survival instincts were telling him to turn face and run the other way, but there was another, reckless part of him that wanted to see this through. The rational portion of his brain tried to warn him that when Malfoy awoke in the morning, sober and cranky, he might very well hex the living shit out of Harry for being in his bed. But the other, louder portion of his brain was thrilled by the idea of being in Malfoy's bed at all.

 

Putting one foot in front of the other, Harry crept towards the bed. He spared one last look at Malfoy before parting the hanging curtains and peeking inside. It seemed like a normal bed, with rumpled sheets and two pillows, not at all different from Harry's besides the color of the bedding. He put one knee on the mattress and climbed on.

 

Malfoy grabbed at the towel around Harry's waist, yanking it off and tossing it to the floor. Harry's head whipped around, to find Malfoy wearing a sly grin.

 

Harry swallowed thickly and turned back towards the bed. He could do this. He crawled to the other side of the bed, painfully aware of his own nudity. He shimmied under the covers and held his breath as Malfoy slipped inside and closed the curtains behind him. Malfoy cast a series of locking and privacy charms, then shoved his wand beneath his pillow.

 

“Malfoy,” Harry whispered into the darkness. “What are we doing?”

 

“It's nighttime,” came Malfoy's voice from mere inches away. “We're going to sleep.”

 

“Yes, but why are we doing that together?”

 

“I told you not to ask questions.” There was a long silence. “I'm not forcing you to be here. You can leave if you want.”

 

Harry's fingers curled around the top of the duvet. He should leave, he thought. He shouldn't be here. This was weird and strange and not at all right. But at the same time, the bed was so warm and comfortable, and he could feel Malfoy's presence in the dark, so close to him. He knew she should leave, but he really didn't want to.

 

“I'll stay.”

 

“Good.” Malfoy shifted lower into the bed, and Harry felt the tug of the covers being rearranged. “Now shut up and don't ask me anymore stupid questions. Just go to sleep.”

 

Harry nodded, though he knew Malfoy wouldn't be able to see the gesture. He slid down in the bed and pulled the covers up, almost to his chin.

 

“Potter?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“If you're a cuddler, at least have the decency to wait until I've fallen asleep. If you're going to molest me, I'd rather not be aware of it.”

 

Harry didn't respond. He is thoughts were now all focused on the idea of molesting Malfoy. He lay back against one of the pillows and stared blankly at the ceiling above him, unable to see much in the dark. There was the quiet ticking of a clock coming from somewhere in the room, and Harry used it to measure the slowly passing minutes.

 

He didn't think he'd ever actually fall asleep; he was far too anxious. Beside him, Malfoy was lying unnaturally still, tension radiating off of his body in waves.

 

Suddenly, there was a flurry of movement. “This is stupid,” he heard Malfoy growl.

 

Malfoy rolled over, swinging one long leg over Harry's. He wrapped an arm around Harry’s waist and buried his face against his chest. “Don't,” he said against Harry's skin. “Don't say anything. You’ll only ruin it.”

 

Harry didn't ruin it. He felt his body relax as he let his own limbs entwined with Malfoy's. Malfoy’s skin was soft and warm from the shower, and his steady breaths the perfect metronome by which to count the time. Sleep, for once, came easily.

 

***

 

Something was tickling the side of Harry's face. He reached up to brush it away, only to find that his arm was trapped in place. The events of the previous evening came back to him in a rush. He sucked in and held a deep breath as he took inventory of his surroundings. There were green and silver curtains to his right, and a heavy, dead weight on his chest.

 

Malfoy was sprawled across him, his face buried deep in the crook of Harry's neck, the soft puffs of his breath making Harry's skin tingle. He had one leg rucked up around Harry's waist, and one arm thrown across Harry's chest, his fingers curling possessively around Harry's bicep. Malfoy's hair, soft and pale blonde and sticking up in small tufts from the top of his head, was tickling the bottom of Harry's nose.

 

Harry took a moment to examine Malfoy in the morning light. He craned his neck so he could see Malfoy's face: soft and peaceful in sleep. He'd never noticed before, but Malfoy had a light speckling of freckles that ran across the bridge of his nose and a small scar right above his left eyebrow. Although his hair was paler than cornsilk, Malfoy's eyelashes were dark and long, fanning out over high, delicate cheekbones. And his lips, which were usually twisted into an ugly sneer or pulled tight in anger, were actually quite plump and soft looking—kissable, even.

 

Slowly, Harry lifted the arm that was not pinned between their bodies, watching Malfoy's face carefully for any sign that he was waking up. He reached up and smoothed down Malfoy's hair, then let his fingers trace the line of Malfoy's jaw. His hand trailed down the length of Malfoy's neck and came to rest at the hollow of his throat.

 

The gentle, steady pattern of Malfoy's breath changed. Harry could feel the muscles underneath his fingertips tense.

 

Malfoy lifted his head, blinking dazedly. “Wha--?” he said sleepily. “Potter?”

 

“Shh,” whispered Harry. Something inside his chest his uncurling, filling his heart with unnameable feelings of tenderness. “Don't ruin it.”

 

Malfoy remained silent, watching guardedly as Harry bent towards him. He held Harry's gaze so long that he began to go cross-eyed before he let his eyelids flutter shut and accepted the soft press of Harry's lips against his own. He parted his lips to allow the intrusion of Harry's tongue without protest.

 

Warmth and affection surged through Harry, foreign and yet familiar, as if this particular feeling was the one he was born to have. This kiss was better than the brief, violent kisses they had shared on the hallway floor; it was even better than the feel of Malfoy's mouth wrapped around his cock. This was just a simple kiss, but it filled Harry's heart to the brim, until he felt as though he would burst from it, too full of joy and yearning to possibly continue living.

 

Pressing into him, Harry rolled Malfoy onto his back. Malfoy moaned against Harry's mouth, his hands coming up to thread through Harry's hair. Harry abandoned Malfoy's lips so he could dot a string of soft kisses against Malfoy's cheek, across the bridge of his nose and down the curve of his jaw, against his forehead and brow bone and eyelids. Anywhere he could reach, Harry kissed. Malfoy accepted Harry's kisses with grace, and a small smile playing at the corner of his lips.

 

Malfoy's skin was warm and sweet as Harry traveled lower, his teeth and tongue grazing over collarbone, sternum, and clenching abdominal muscles. Harry pressed his face against the sparse patch of coarse blond hair below Malfoy's navel, inhaling deeply.

 

“Potter...I don't--”

 

But whatever Malfoy didn't, Harry never learned, because his words were interrupted by a broken gasp as Harry continued his downwards path. Harry watched in fascination at the way Malfoy's cock twitched when he breathed a puff of hot air across it. His own cock throbbed sympathetically, and when he reached out the ghost his fingers up Malfoy's veined underside, he felt a phantom touch caress his own swollen member. Malfoy had sucked him off the night before, and Harry found that he was eager to return the favor.

 

Malfoy's cock felt heavy and salty on his tongue, and he hummed happily around Malfoy's length, shivering as the vibrations coursed through his own body as well. He palmed Malfoy's sac and felt his own draw up in turn. He massaged the smooth swatch of skin behind Malfoy's balls and, feeling bold, let his fingers wander backwards. Would he feel it too? he wondered. Would breaching Malfoy's body be like breaching his own?

 

“Potter!” Malfoy exclaimed, sucking in a sharp breath. There was a note of alarm in his voice, but Harry ignored it, his questing fingers pressing into the valley between Malfoy's arsecheeks, skimming over soft skin and hair until they found their goal: the crinkled skin of Malfoy's arsehole. He circled the rim, mapping the change in texture as the tip of his finger sought out the yielding center.

 

“Stop!” Malfoy yelled. Harry paused, finger pressed against Malfoy's entrance, Malfoy's cock filling his mouth. Malfoy was staring down at him, eyes wide, wild, and unbelieving.

 

Malfoy's hand scrambled beneath his pillow. He pulled out and his wand and tossed it at Harry. He flopped back onto the pillow, staring straight at the ceiling above him. “Use a lubricating charm at least,” he said breathlessly.

 

Harry would have whooped with joy if his mouth hadn't been so full. He took Malfoy's wand, which felt more than friendly in his hand, and cast the only lubricating charm he knew. He sucked hard around Malfoy's cock, until his cheeks hollowed and Malfoy began to moan again, before pressing his fingertip inside the impossible tightness of Malfoy's hole.

 

There was a mild flash of disappointment when Harry realized that he didn't feel anything, but he had no time to dwell on it. Malfoy let out a ragged expletive and bucked his hips, forcing himself deeper into Harry's mouth. Harry had trouble finding a steady rhythm--there was so much happening at once and it was almost all too much, but Malfoy didn't seemed to care. He moaned and pressed against Harry's hand, trying to force the single finger inside him even deeper. His hands clenched the duvet cover tightly.

 

"I can't believe this is happening. This is so wrong," Malfoy said, brokenly. "So, so, wrong. So fucking wrong."

 

Harry didn't agree. Nothing had ever felt more right. At that moment, he didn't care what it meant that he wanted to fuck another boy, he didn't even care what it meant that he wanted to fuck Malfoy. All he knew was that his entire body felt on fire, and that he was almost dizzy with desire. His cocked, trapped between his stomach and the mattress, was rock hard; he could feel precome oozing from the slit and wetting the covers below him. He pushed his hips against the bed, faintly humping the mattress, desperate for friction.

 

"Potter--" Malfoy gasped. He had a hand on his chest now, his fingernails digging into his own skin and leaving angry red trails behind. "Potter, I can't-- I'm going--"

 

Harry only had a moment to brace himself before the first burst of Malfoy's hot, bitter seed flooded his mouth. He swallowed instinctively, almost regretting that he didn't wait longer so that he could truly taste Malfoy. His orgasm came, a fraction of a second later, the wet spot on the covers below him spreading as his trapped cock pumped out load after roiling load of come.

 

He opened his mouth to take a desperate gulp of air, letting Malfoy's cock slide free to slap wetly against his stomach. Harry laid his forehead on Malfoy's thigh and closed his eyes, waiting for his thumping heart and ragged breathing to stabilize.

 

Above him, Malfoy shifted and cleared his throat.

 

"Oh, sorry," Harry said quickly, when he realized he still had his finger in Malfoy's arse. He extracted it carefully, wincing when Malfoy winced, and wiped his lube coated hand off on the top of the duvet.

 

Harry sat back on his heels, looking down at Malfoy, who was staring up at him, expression blank. Harry wanted to say something, to say that had been amazing. He wanted to thank Malfoy for letting him do that, but even he knew that would be a strange thing to say. So instead, he said nothing, waiting with an ache in his chest for Malfoy's reaction.

 

Slowly, Malfoy's eyelids fluttered shut. "We shouldn't have done that," he said softly.

 

The ache in Harry's chest burst, disappointment and regret flooding through him. He should have known better. He wanted to blame the potion, but Harry knew himself well enough to know that this was more than just a side-effect of a misbrewed potion. His attraction to Malfoy was as real as it was illogical.

 

There was a furrow in Malfoy's brow that hadn't been there a moment before. "Potter?" he said, sounding almost concerned. "Are you all right?"

 

Harry had never felt more naked in his entire life. He felt raw and exposed. He was sure Malfoy could see the disappointment etched on his face, that he would take one look at Harry and read the truth of his feelings. Feelings! Oh god, he had feelings, actual feelings, for Malfoy.

 

He was doomed.

 

Setting his jaw, Harry nodded. "I should go,” he said grimly, struggling to keep the hurt he felt from creeping into his voice. He couldn't let Malfoy know how upset he was; he wouldn't give Malfoy that satisfaction.

 

Harry searched the rumpled covers for his clothes, feeling flustered and embarrassed and more desperate to run away and hide his shame with each passing second. When he finally remembered that he'd left them in the bathroom to dry, he let out a frustrated curse. "Goddammit! Fuck!"

 

Malfoy was tracking his movements like a hawk. "There's no need to throw a fit," he said with a half-hearted sneer. "I know you're repulsed by what we just did, but don't worry, I won't be writing into this month's issue of The Harry Potter Lovers' Newsletter. You're under the influence of a powerful potion; you can't be held responsible for your actions."

 

"It isn't that powerful," Harry muttered under his breath as he tried to drape the covers over his lower half.

 

"Of course it is. I brewed it," Malfoy said haughtily, "And it must be, to turn the poster boy for all things righteous and heterosexual into an arse-loving deviant."

 

Harry glared at him. "I'm not a deviant."

 

"Of course you're not," Malfoy said with an exasperated sigh. "You're a--" he cut himself off. "Wait. Potter. Were you into blokes before we took the potion?"

 

Harry considered lying, just to prove a point. He'd never been actively into blokes, but he couldn't say the thought had never crossed his mind. He decided on the non-committal middle road, and just shrugged.

 

Malfoy's grey eyes grew wide. "Are you telling me that you're gay?"

 

Harry flushed. How could he have had such warm, affectionate thoughts for Malfoy only minutes before? Currently, the only part of Malfoy he wanted to touch was his neck, preferably while throttling him.

 

"Potter," Malfoy said, licking his hips. "Were you attracted to me before we took the potion?"

 

Harry could have said 'no' to that with all honesty, but there was something excited and hopeful in Malfoy's expression, in the way he was leaning forward slightly, waiting with bated breath for Harry's response. For some odd reason, Harry didn't want to disappoint him. He decided that another shrug was his best option.

 

Malfoy didn't respond. Harry waited as long as he could stand it before looking up. Malfoy was staring at him, not a shrewd, calculating gaze, but one of open curiosity and wonder. And all at once, Malfoy was on him, knocking him back against the mattress and forcing his tongue into Harry's mouth. Harry put up a feeble fight, but yielded quickly. No matter how much his brain wanted him to hate Malfoy, he couldn't get enough of the feel of him.

 

Malfoy kissed him artlessly, with sloppy, wet kisses that would have been disgusting if they'd been from anyone else. But that fact that it was Malfoy, that he was too overcome to be neat and prim, sent Harry's stomach into a gymnastics routine. It'd been less than five minutes since his last Malfoy-induced orgasm had made his toes curl, but Harry could already feel himself getting hard again.

 

The need to touch Malfoy everywhere, to have Malfoy touch him, was damped only by the confusion that still warred in Harry's brain. He tried to push away the incessant questions that niggled him and focus on the smooth glide of Malfoy's tongue against his own, but the longer his questions went unanswered, the more paranoid he became.

 

Pushing gently against his shoulders, Harry was finally able to get Malfoy to cease his relentless attack on his mouth. "Mal--Draco, I don't understand," Harry said. "Is this the potion or not? I don't think it is for me, but...for you?"

 

Malfoy shook his head, looking up down on Harry with reborn lust. "No, Potter. It's not." He leaned down again, capturing Harry's lips with his own.

 

Harry wrenched his mouth free, turning his face away. Malfoy was undeterred, dropping his head to nibble at Harry's neck. Harry's mind went foggy for a moment, but he fought through it. "Draco, stop. Are you saying that we...just what are you saying?"

 

Malfoy pulled his face back, and huffed dramatically. "What do you want? A written declaration? A notarized scroll? I fancy you, all right? Is that what you want to hear? For some inexplicable reason, I fancy you almost as much as I hate you. Now either shut up and kiss me, or get the hell out so I can begin to plot some form a painful retribution."

 

Harry swallowed thickly, staring up in amazement. Even with irritation clearly written across his face, Malfoy looked beautiful. No, not beautiful. Beautiful things were soft and fragile, meant to be put on a shelf and admired from afar. There was nothing delicate about Malfoy at the moment, he was sweaty and debauched and so bloody gorgeous. Harry didn't want to just look at him, he wanted to touch him, to consume him whole. "Yeah," he said, his voice hoarse. "That's what I wanted to hear."

 

Malfoy nodded sharply. "Good. Now shut the hell up and let's fuck."

 

***

 

Harry fell back, sprawling across the bed, blissed out and covered in a thin layer of cooling sweat. Malfoy flopped onto his back next to him, panting heavily. They laid in silence, their sides pressed together from shoulders to toes, as they struggled to regain their breath.

 

“That was...”

 

“Yeah...”

 

Harry rolled on his side, resting his chin on Draco’s shoulder. He examined the other boy, the papery thinness of his closed eyelids, the sharp jut of his chin, the highness of his forehead. Even after the urgency of his lust had been fulfilled, he still found himself oddly compelled by this man. It troubled and confused him, how quickly his feelings for him could shift, from near hatred to blind lust to gentle affection.

 

So what if Malfoy was an arse sometimes? He could be an arse himself, if provoked. And Ron could be an arse too, and Hermione--well, Hermione wasn’t so much an arse, but she could be very spiteful if she wanted. Harry was tired of trying to fight these tumultuous feelings of his, trying to sort out all that they meant and what they said about him. Maybe they meant everything, maybe they meant nothing, but at least they were something, weren’t they? They were new and exciting and more than he’d felt about anyone in a very long time.

 

Introspection wasn’t his style, he decided; he was a man of action. And if he saw an opportunity to be happy and crazy and young and free, shouldn’t he take it? He deserved that much after everything that had happened, didn’t he? And maybe the fact that it was Malfoy added to the thrill, or maybe it was completely unrelated.

 

Did it even matter?

 

“Draco?”

 

Draco cracked one eye open and looked at Harry from the corner of it. “What?” he asked, sleepy and slightly suspicious.

 

Harry tilted his head and pressed a kiss against Draco’s jaw. “I fancy you too.”

 

Draco gave a quiet huff. “Such a girl,” he drawled lazily, his eyes fluttering back shut. But just there, at the corner of his lips, was a smile.

 

***

 

Harry stared in disgust at the potion, poking his wand into the sludgy mixture with a shudder. He and Draco were huddled together in the abandoned storage cupboard where Draco had spent the past week secretly brewing the antidote, only a few feet from the stretch of corridor where Harry had first rutted himself against him. So much and so little had changed since then.

 

Harry didn't know exactly where they stood with each other, but the anxiety he'd felt coiling in his stomach for the past week had been lifted, replaced by a nervous sort of excitement that left his fingers and toes tingling every time he thought about Draco. For once, his future wasn't planned out for him; he had no cryptic prophecy predict how this would turn out. The freedom of it all thrilled him.

 

"Do we really have to take this?" he asked. "I don't think I mind the connection all that much anymore," he added saucily.

 

Draco rolled his eyes and ladled out two portions of the potion into small vials, passing one to Harry. "Just because you're obsessed with my cock doesn't mean I want you to know what’s happening to it at all times," he said dryly. "A man is entitled to his privacy,” he added with a sniff.

 

Something went tight in Harry's chest. He knew he was overreacting, but he couldn't help the momentary flash of jealousy he'd felt. "If anything happens to your cock," he said, trying to sound casual, "I'd better be the one doing it."

 

Draco smirked. "My, my, my. Who'd have ever thought that the famous Harry Potter would be so insecure and possessive?"

 

"I'm not insecure," Harry said quickly, though he knew that sometimes he was, maybe just a little. "And I'm not possessive. I just don't like to share."

 

"I've always believed selfishness to be a most noble trait," Draco said loftily, raising his vial into the air. "To not sharing your toys!" he cheered.

 

Harry threw his head back, swallowing down the sour tasting potion as quickly as he could. He looked over to Malfoy, who was pulling his own disgusted face.

 

"Draco...did you just admit to being my toy?"

 

Despite the darkness of the cupboard, Harry could see a faint blush creep across Draco's cheeks.

 

"That remains to be seen, actually," he said, his voice a tad too stiff. "There's a good chance that without the potion, you'll want nothing to do with me anymore."

 

Harry wanted to sigh, to pull Draco against his chest, to reassure him that whatever this mad thing they had between them was, it wasn't the result of a potion. It may have taken a potion to get them there, but there was no easy antidote that would make it go away. And even if there were, he wouldn't want to take it.

 

Tossing the vial over his shoulder, Harry took a step towards him, crowding Draco’s space in the cramped cupboard. He rested his hand on the waist of Draco's trousers and breathed into his ear. "Well, we'd better test that theory then, hadn't we?”

 

Draco's breath caught in his throat. Solemnly, he nodded. “Yes, I think we'd better.”

 

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