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Beaten to the Snitch

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Harry grins as Viktor finishes a very funny story involving two cats, a brand-new broom, and rather too much Firewhiskey, and takes a deep breath, trying to figure out how to word this. ‘Would you like to get a drink with me after this is over?’ - yes, that will do nicely. He opens his mouth -

“Mione!” Viktor cries, delighted, and Harry turns to see Hermione heading towards them, looking regal in dark blue formal robes. She walks right into Viktor’s embrace, and goes up on her tiptoes to meet his kiss.

“I hope you weren’t too bored waiting for me?” she asks, grinning.

“Harry has been listening to me - how do you put it - natter on,” Viktor says cheerfully. “He is very good audience!”

“Thanks, Harry,” Hermione says, turning to beam at him.

“No problem, Hermione,” Harry says weakly, and retreats in confusion to refill his glass, leaving Viktor and Hermione to focus on each other to the exclusion of all else.

Malfoy is leaning against the wall near the end of the bar. He raises his glass to Harry in an ironic sort of salute. “Some Seekers we are,” he says dryly. “I see Granger has beaten both of us to the Snitch.”

Harry snorts an undignified laugh and takes the empty spot next to Malfoy. “She could have told me that’s who her mysterious new boyfriend was,” he grumbles, not really as irritated as he could be. How can he be angry when Hermione is so happy? “You tried to ask him out too?”

“I beg your pardon, Potter, I did ask him out,” Malfoy says snootily. “He turned me down very politely.”

“One better than me, then,” Harry says, shrugging. “I didn’t even get that far.”

“It’s really not fair,” Malfoy sighs. “Every other Seeker in the professional leagues is gayer than a tree full of monkeys on Cheering Charms. It’s practically a qualification. But no, Krum has to be the one straight Seeker in the league.”

“...Didn’t you try out for a professional spot?” Harry asks, frowning.

“Potter, I just asked Krum on a date, and you’re surprised I’m gay?” Malfoy says, giving Harry a very skeptical look.

“...That’s fair,” Harry says sheepishly. “I just thought - um - actually I don’t know what I was thinking, sorry.”

“Potter, I’m never sure you’re thinking at all; wondering what you’re thinking is frankly a step up,” Malfoy says, smirking.

“Oi,” Harry says. “I have one of the best solve rates in the Aurory, you know.”

“Yes, well, I assume that’s some sort of idiot savant talent,” Malfoy says. “See evil, smite evil.”

Harry muffles another snort of laughter with his drink. “I’ll have you know that these days it’s see evil, arrest evil, present evidence in court,” he says primly. Malfoy rewards him with a startled bark of laughter.

“When did you get to be funny, Potter?” he demands.

“About the time I stopped having a genocidal madman after me, I think,” Harry says.

“...Fair,” Malfoy admits. There’s a brief pause while they both watch Viktor and Hermione sway on the dance floor. And then Malfoy says, “So, I am a little too drunk to know what I’m saying. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

“Alright…” Harry says dubiously.

“I have a thing for dark-haired Seekers with senses of humor and ridiculous hero complexes,” Malfoy informs him. “D’you happen to know anyone like that who’d like to get a drink after this dreadful party is over?”

Harry blinks at him. “You’re not evil anymore, right?” he checks carefully.

“Nope, gave that up as a bad job,” Malfoy says. “Also my mother’d kill me.”

“That’s fair, she’s terrifying,” Harry says. “Well then. There’s a pretty good pub down Quizzic Alley.”

“The Sickle on a String?” Malfoy asks, looking startled.

“Yeah,” Harry says.

“You have surprisingly good taste in pubs, Potter,” Malfoy says, clicking his glass against Harry’s. “This might work after all.”

“You are such a snob, Malfoy,” Harry says, and slides sideways a little so their shoulders are pressed together. “It’s a good thing you’re pretty.”

Malfoy grins. “Why Potter, you think I’m pretty?” he teases.

“Merlin, we’re going to kill each other,” Harry sighs. “Oh well. It’ll be fun while it lasts.”

“That was the most Gryffindor thing I’ve ever heard,” Malfoy says, giving Harry a rather impressed look. “This is a terrible idea.” He pauses for a moment, thinking, then shrugs. “Eh, who cares, I’m drunk, and Gryffindor insanity did win the last war.”

“Oh Merlin,” Harry sighs. “This is going to be fun.”