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“Bloody Potter!” Draco curses for the eighteenth time as he hastily scrubs his arms. He’s been in the shower for almost an hour, but the damned Glow-Goo on his wrists and neck hasn’t even faded.  

He hears a snicker, followed by the unmistakable sound of Blaise Zabini’s throat clearing. “Rage wanking to the Savior again, Draco?”

Draco steps out of the shower, pointing at the glowing hand print around his neck. He doesn’t care that he’s naked and dripping water all over the tile. “He accosted me last night and left this—this infernal glowing residue all over me!”

“And you’re jacking the beanstalk to the memory of it?” Blaise shakes his head. “We’re going to be late for Potions.”

“I am not touching myself to thoughts of him,” Draco seethes.

Blaise glances at Draco’s arms, taking in the raw, red skin still glowing green and yellow despite Draco’s efforts. “Mate, that’s exactly what you’ve been doing. Come on.”

In haste, Draco dresses, throws his silk scarf over his neck and grabs his leather flying gloves, the only pair he can find. He strolls into Potions behind Blaise, sits next to Pansy, and starts setting up his station.

“Your hair is still wet,” Pansy says, brown eyes wide and nostrils flaring. Draco’s hand shoots up to his hair. He’s forgot to spell it dry. Pansy’s gaze falls to the leather gloves. She grabs Draco’s hand. “Draco, dear, what is going on with you this morning?” She lifts her wand and casts, “Crinis Habitus!” Drying his hair before she runs her fingers through it. She styles it back behind his ear the way he likes then rests her hand on his shoulder, brushing against the scarf.

Draco flinches.

Pansy fixes him with a penetrating stare, narrowing her eyes. Before he can twist out of her reach, she’s pulled the scarf down and seen the glowing skin beneath.

“Is that a handprint?” she asks, eyebrow raised in judgment.

“Circe, Pansy,” Draco hisses and grabs the scarf, tying it frantically in the vain hope that no one else gleaned a look.

Professor Twellman rushes in and steals any chance for Pansy to further mortify him. Twellman finishes up explaining their new assignment just as Potter and Weasley burst into the classroom.

Draco’s mouth drops and half of the class gasps at the sight of them. Both of the Gryffindors are covered in the Glow-Goo, from their faces, necks, and hands, to the faint glow pulsing through their clothes, it’s evident they’d been drenched in the obnoxious neon substance.

“Sorry we’re late, sir,” Weasley gulps.

Twellman nods and directs them to their workbench. Potter’s zeroes in on Draco, eyeing the scarf with contempt. As they pass, Pansy stares and then snorts, rolling her eyes before giving Draco a knowing look. The classroom breaks out into quiet murmurs as everyone gathers their ingredients and readies their cauldrons. When Pansy returns with the ground eye of natterjack toad, she prods Draco in the shoulder.

“So, how was it then?”

“How was what?” Draco frowns, knowing exactly where her line of questioning was headed. His eyes fall to Blaise as he sidles up to their workbench, smirking like an idiot.

Draco regrets ever acknowledging her question as Pansy’s face curves into a grin, triumphant that someone else is there to witness what she’s about to say. “Being the meat in a Gryffindor sandwich.”

Draco snaps his head and stares at her, flabbergasted.

Blaise leans over the table. “It wasn’t both, just Potter. In the Forbidden Forest.”

“Draco!” Pansy feigns shock. Draco begins to wonder why he remains friends with such ridiculous people. She shakes her head and adds, “You were supposed to be working on that special Herbology project with Yumbottom.”

“That’s right!” Blaise claps his hands. “I’ll have to ask him what happened.”

“Don’t bother,” Draco rolls his eyes. “Longbottom stumbled in just as Potter was leaving. I’m telling you, he practically attacked me.” But even as he’s saying it, Draco doesn’t believe his own words.

It strikes him how different their interaction had been in the forest. All snark and no ill will, not really. In the past, they’d always met on opposing sides, only now, it seems there are no sides, nothing to divide them. Now it seems there’s only space not yet explored in what exists between them.

What was between them, he wonders. Not much, his mind supplants as it drifts into the memory of Potter’s body on top of his, Potter’s breath hot and sweet on his face, Potter’s hands on him. Draco rubs his wrists at the thought.

Pansy narrows her eyes and purses her lips. Draco knows that look. It’s the face of someone contemplating something diverting, provocative, and undoubtedly mischievous.

“Well,” she huffs. “If he came after you with Glow-Goo, what are we going to do about it?”

The three of them decide to put off discussion of their plans until lunch. Blaise returns to the workstation he shares with Dean Thomas, and Draco and Pansy work on their Draught of Flame Resistance.

“Excellent colour,” Professor Twellman notes. He casts a fire spell, and the muddy brown liquid splurts, unaffected. “Perfect.”

Draco and Pansy pack up, excited to get to the Great Hall to fashion their scheme. When Draco slings his bag over his shoulder, the strap catches on his scarf and tugs it down. His hands reach up and tighten the knot, readjusting the silk making it cover his glowing skin. As he looks around to see if anyone had noticed, his gaze meets Potter’s intense green eyes. Draco pats the scarf and smirks. Potter follows the motion of Draco’s hands, eyes widening before turning away, busying himself with his own bag.

“Draco?” Pansy catches his attention.

“Just a moment, Pans,” he says. He walks up to Potter and Weasley, fixes his face with as snide a look as he can muster. “Potter, you look ridiculous. Maybe you should modify your potion and douse yourself in the Draught of Flame Resistance. Surely something could help alleviate your star-like brightness.”

Potter narrows his eyes. “Are you saying I’m hot?”

His words send heat to Draco’s cheeks, and maybe another part of his body as well. He gathers himself quickly and replies, “I’m saying in your current state, it hurts my eyes more than usual to look at you.”

“Then don’t look at him,” Weasley interjects. “It’s easy. Shove off, Malfoy.”

Fleeing from the classroom, Draco heads to the Great Hall where he finds Blaise and Pansy huddled over some parchment.

“What are you doing?” Draco asks as he slides in next to Pansy.

She looks up and grins. “Blaise borrowed some of Thomas’ notes. Using that spell you showed me to mimic handwriting, we’re writing the manufacturer for the Glow-Goo antidote.”

Draco shakes his head. “I thought there wasn’t an antidote? And why are you using Thomas’ handwriting to ask the manufacturer?”

“It’s Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Draco.” Blaise licks his lips.  

Realisation hits him, and Draco smiles. “Alright. Tell me the plan then.”

Pansy explains their plan, and Draco shakes his head the entire time. It’s convoluted, relies too much on other people, and it breaks half a dozen rules. But it means he can get the antidote for the Glow-Goo and get Potter back for accosting him.

“This is going to be an expensive prank,” Blaise sighs.

“No price is too high,” Draco remarks, casually adjusting the scarf around his neck.

They finish the handwriting spell and compose the letter to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Writing as Dean Thomas, they order the entire stock of antidote and two more cases of Glow-Goo, asking for rush delivery and discretion. “You know how it goes, pranking those daft Slytherins.”  

“Do you really think they talk about us like that?” Pansy glances over at the Gryffindor table and frowns.  

“Who cares?” Blaise smiles. They finish up the letter and fold it up. “I’ll head up to the Owlery and send this off right away.”

And thus begins the waiting. Draco goes about the rest of his day full of anxiety. What if the elder Weasley knows Thomas better than they’d anticipated? What if something goes awry? How is Draco supposed to sneak into Potter’s dormitory unnoticed with two cases of Glow-Goo?

Draco spends most of the evening distracted, pretending to work on his History of Magic thesis research but really working out how to get into the dormitory.

“The easiest ways in are through honest means,” the Portrait of Darlintia Aquitaine advises him while he stands outside his Charms classroom the next morning.

It hits him. “That’s it! You’re a genius, Lady Aquitaine!”

“They don’t hang you in the Charms Corridor for anything less,” she replies and smiles down at him.

He enchants a note to Blaise who’s busy making sure Dean Thomas doesn’t get the packages they’d ordered. Once he’s out of Charms a few hours later, he decides to seek out Longbottom.

Pansy trails behind him, listing things she needs to do for her part of the plan. Draco ignores her when he spots Neville Longbottom.

“Longbottom!” he calls out as a crowd of seventh and eighth years shuffles into the Great Hall.

Neville turns around. When his eyes catch Draco’s, he smiles and walks up to him. “I told you to call me Neville, Draco.”

Draco sighs. “Right. Neville. It’s just—it doesn’t roll off the tongue quite like Longbottom.”

Pansy snorts. 

Neville arches a brow, and his smile deepens. “What did you need?”

“Oh,” Draco takes a breath. “I was wondering if you wanted to work on the notes from our findings tonight. I haven’t been able to get anything done and you have all the samples anyway.”

“Sure. How about we meet after supper tonight? The library, eight o’clock?”

Draco put his hand to his mouth and leans in. “I was hoping to stay out of the public eye.” He points to the new green silk scarf around his neck. “I’ve still got a bit of that Glow-Goo on me and...well you know how people talk. My mates won’t stop teasing me about it.”

“We could work in the Gryffindor common room?” Neville offers. “I’m not sure it would be better than the library if you’re looking to avoid that sort of thing.”

“That’s perfect,” he replies. He grabs Neville’s shoulder and squeezes. “You’re such a good friend.”

 

-/-

 

“Sorry I’m late,” Draco breathes.  

“No problem,” Neville smiles. He turns toward the portrait of the Fat Lady and says, “Sic Semper Tyrannis.” The Lady narrows her eyes at Draco but eventually swings open for them. Neville directs him through the portrait hole and leads him to a large red sofa in the rather cozy, if overly red decorated common room.

On a large table in front of them, Neville’s spread out all their samples in their various jars and phials. Draco sets his bag down and wanders over to inspect everything. A hand on his shoulder stops him. 

“I thought maybe you might want to talk about what happened.” Neville eyes him cautiously.

“What do you mean?”

Neville gulps. “In the forest. With Harry.”

Draco’s heartbeat quickens as he turns away. “You know how it goes. He’s always after me for something.”

“Yes,” Neville agrees. “But before, well, everything...you were usually acting out. And—”

“And?” Draco wants to feel insulted, but he knows Neville’s right.

“Well, for one: he was naked.” There’s a pause and then, “And on top of you.”

Draco frowns. He doesn’t need to be reminded. “Yes, I was there, thank you, Neville.”

Neville walks around to the other side of the table and stares at Draco. “When I walked up, I couldn’t figure out if you were fighting or…”

“You think—you thought—” Draco stumbles through his thoughts. “—he came at me! We weren’t…” He shakes his head and searches for the words but can’t find anything that fits what he’s feeling. Thinking about Potter makes his blood boil, but also sends a surge of something tense and hot between his legs.

“It’s okay,” Neville reaches out and grabs Draco’s arm. “You don’t have to put a name to what you’re feeling. I often find myself conflicted between my past and present feelings.”

Draco hasn’t thought about it that way before, and Neville’s words pull something forward, a sort of aching in his chest. He doesn’t want to think about it and decides to ignore it by turning the subject back to Neville.

“And what are your present feelings?” Draco asks.

“Have you ever…” he trails off. He gazes at the Slytherin crest on Draco’s jumper. “It’s as if all your life, you were told that for your own good, you can’t...eat—let’s say—cottage pie.”

“Alright,” Draco nods, “Go on.”

Neville squares his shoulders. “They say it’s for your own good. It will only bring about bad things, and it is better left untouch—uneaten.”

“Wait, who are ’they’?”

“Your friends and family,” Neville explains.

“And they’re speaking from experience?” Draco inquires.

“Well…” Neville tilts his head. “That’s the thing. Not really. So you start to think...Why can’t I try it? How do they really know? Not everybo—cottage pie is the same.

 Draco laughs. “No, you’re right. Not all cottage pies are created equal.”

“What I’m trying to say, and failing because I’m hungry...outside influences shape how we see others—things. They dictate how we interact. But sometimes there are things from within that make you rethink everything. And suddenly you see them—the things in a new way.” Neville eyes Draco carefully, and then reaches out and pats his knee. “If you—er, suddenly fancied a cottage pie, no one would hold it against you.”

“Me?” Draco bursts, “Cottage pie?”

Neville rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “What I saw in the Forbidden Forest the other night was someone who wanted a taste.”    

Draco narrows his eyes. “Is that so?”

Nodding, Neville stands and starts unpacking his notes.

“And are you referring to Potter or me?”

“You both had the same hunger in your eyes,” Neville states. “Now can we get a few notes down so I can casually take a break in a few minutes and run to the kitchens?”

“Yes, please. And we were supposed to be talking about your life anyway.” Draco pulls out his notes and then has an idea. “You know, I already started drawing up the charts. Why don’t you head down to the kitchens now and I’ll sort everything out for our comparisons.”

Neville’s face lights up. “Are you sure?”

“Bring me back a cottage pie,” Draco smirks.

 

-/-

 

He’s gone for two minutes when Draco gets up to do some reconnaissance. Luckily, the only person in the common room is a boy who’s fallen asleep on top of his potions textbook. Draco makes his way over to the dormitory doors. There are two, and neither is labelled. Sighing, Draco opens the one closest to him and takes a step forward.

“Malfoy, what are you doing?”

Draco jumps, startled, but recognises the voice immediately. “Schoolwork. Maybe you should try it sometime instead of prancing about naked under the moonlight.”

When Draco turns to sneer at him, he isn’t quite prepared for what he sees. Potter is shirtless, and in some distant part of his mind, Draco is reeling that his comment had such perfect timing. But his present concern is the way the Glow-Goo and Potter’s sweat create highlights and shadows across his tanned skin, defining his muscles and showcasing just how much he’s filled out in the last few months. Not running for one's life could do that, Draco supposes.

Potter’s posture is rigid. His right hand clutches his Firebolt, knuckles turning white from the stress of his firm grip. Draco glances up to meet his gaze. Beneath the wild, windswept hair, Potter’s gaze is devastating. To Draco, it’s downright murderous, and the intensity sends shivers up his spine. There is a rush of fear and anger, and a fight bubbling up inside him.

But then Neville’s words ring in his head—something about hunger in his eyes. Draco takes a step back into the common room, suddenly hostage to his erratic thoughts. Is Potter angry or—something else?

“I was at Quidditch practice,” Potter frowns. He glances at the scarf around Draco’s neck, and for a moment, he looks confused. He seems to gather himself and schools his face in a smouldering glare. “And now I’ve come back to my common room to find you here. Where you don’t belong.”

Draco takes a breath. “Once again, Potter, you’ve accosted me in the middle of my research project with Neville.” He points to the dormitory door, still askew. “I was just heading up to his dormitory to grab the rest of his notes on our findings,” Draco smirks. “You remember, of course,” he says wickedly, taking a step toward Potter. “That was the night you rudely interrupted me gathering samples.”

Potter’s gaze falls to Draco’s smirk. He gulps, and offers a strained reply, “Well you’re about to fall on your arse.”

“Excuse me?”

“That’s the girls' dormitory,” Potter eyes him deviously. “The stairs are enchanted to turn into a slide if a boy sets foot on them.”

Glancing back at the open door, Draco scoffs.

“This,” Harry points to the other door, “is the boys' dormitory.”

Draco raises his brow expectantly.

“What?”

“Well,” he says. “Are you going to show me to Neville’s school things?”

Potter shakes his head. “Why don’t we wait for Neville?”

“He went to the kitchens to get food.”

“Ohh,” Potter drags out the word. “Alright. He’ll be gone a while.”

Draco rolls his eyes, “Yes, which is precisely why I want to grab his things and get to work.”  

Surprisingly, Potter nods and leads the way through the other door and up the stairs. Draco follows and tries not to stare at the planes of Potter’s back or the curve of his Quidditch trousers over his arse. His breathing changes as he catalogues the different traces of Potter wafting on the air, a heady mix of sweat and citrus soap that should be disgusting but somehow stirs a physical reaction within him. At first, it makes him think of flying. He can almost feel the wind whipping around him and the power of his broom between his legs. But then Draco realises there’s something else stirring within him, beneath his trousers, and he desperately tries to concentrate on the details of the dormitory. After all, he’s there to catalogue the place for when he returns to enact his revenge, not get off to Potter’s post-Quidditch stench.  

Draco’s keeps his eyes carefully glued to the floor, but when Potter stops and pushes open one of the doors, he’s practically panting as he walks right into Potter’s back.

The collision sends him falling to the floor.

Draco glares up as Potter turns around. “Why would you stop in the doorway?”

Potter shrugs. “Why were you staring at my arse?”

“I wasn’t!” Draco protests, pulling himself up off the floor.

Suddenly, Potter’s in his face, practically pushed up against him, and Draco holds his breath.

“You’ve been panting this entire time,” Potter says in a low rumble. Draco focuses and realises Potter’s pupils are blown, his cheeks flushed.  

“I’ve—” As soon as Draco starts talking, Potter’s eyeing his lips. “I was trying to avoid your horrid stench. Really,” Draco pushes past Potter and strides into the middle of the room. He notes the positions of the four beds and eyes the door to the bathroom. “You couldn’t bother showering in the changing rooms?”

Potter slams the door. “All the stalls were taken,” he says.

Draco stares at him, certain Potter looks even wilder than that night in the Forbidden Forest. “Get on with it then,” Draco manages to say.

Pointing to a trunk next to one of the beds, Potter narrows his eyes. “Those are Neville’s things.” He crosses his arms.

“Well?” Draco eyes him.

“I’m going to watch you and make sure you only take the Herbology Project notes.”  

Draco approaches the trunk, trying to keep calm, but he’s a few breaths away from panicking. He curses Potter. How was he supposed to find a suitable place for his prank if the damned target was watching his every move?  

Kneeling down in front of Neville’s trunk, Draco runs his hands over its ornate carvings and leatherwork. It’s a beautiful piece of Pureblood history, and idly, he supposes he has more in common with Neville than he expected. He fingers the metal latches with reverence, admiring the craftsmanship.  

“Do you have your father’s?” Draco asks, suddenly aware he needs to distract Potter from the fact that there were no notes or samples to be retrieved.

“Do I have my father’s what exactly?”

Draco grins. “His trunk, Potter. They’re passed down in Pureblood families from father to son.”

“Right,” Potter says flatly. “He didn’t exactly get the chance between bedtime and Voldemort’s Killing Curse.” Turning to get up, Draco’s stomach drops when Potter’s warm hands grip his shoulders, preventing him from standing. Potter’s breath dances across the back of his neck and a warm tension surges down his spine. “Stay. You look better on your knees.”

“Potter—”

“Get the notes, Malfoy,” Potter whispers in his ear. His breath is scalding against Draco’s skin, but he’s frozen, unable to move. His hands tremble over the latches of the trunk as Potter leans over him, running his fingers over Draco’s arms. Potter swats Draco’s hands down and opens each latch with a slow, pointed motion. “Open it,” he says in a commanding tone.

The words seem to travel from his ears straight to his cock, and Draco’s mouth falls open at the shock of it. He’s losing his composure, his mind unexpectedly overrun with memories of Potter’s warm, naked body pressing him into the cold dirt.

“Make me,” Draco breathes. Potter exhales and grabs the scarf from around Draco’s neck. He tugs it off and tosses it across the room. “Hey!”

Potter falls to his knees behind Draco, leaning against him. This time, nothing is separating them but the fabric of Draco’s robes. Draco can feel the strength of Potter’s chest and pictures the glowing muscles as they press against him. He’s immobilised by the currents of hot sensation skirting through his body, and the tantalising thoughts of skin and corded muscle within his reach. Potter stretches his arms in front of Draco and reaches up, slowly wrapping his fingers around Draco’s neck. Without even thinking, Draco leans back and closes his eyes.

“I said open it,” Potter whispers, his nose against Draco’s neck. Potter rolls his hips forward. With his legs on either side of Draco’s, Potter’s trapped him there, kneeling on the floor.   “You do want Neville’s notes, don’t you?”

Draco groans and Potter’s grip around his throat tightens.

“We both know there were never any notes,” Draco admits, his eyes fluttering closed as Potter grinds his crotch against Draco’s arse. “Bloody hell,” Draco says as he arches back, seeking more.  

“So you admit that you’re a liar.”

Potter’s hands fall away and he abruptly retreats from behind Draco. Hanging his head and panting, Draco scowls down at the half hard erection tenting in his trousers.

“You’re the liar,” Draco sneers, searching for something—anything—to free him from the trap he’s found himself in. Out of the corner of his eye, he spots Potter’s Firebolt strewn on the floor. That’s it! “We both know there are enough stalls at the Quidditch Pitch for two teams.” Draco steadies himself and slowly rises to his feet. “Just admit your vanity! You wanted to parade your stupid muscles around the castle!”

“Shove off, Malfoy,” Potter says. Draco hears him shuffle across the floor and into the bathroom before he slams the door.

Overcome with mild surprise that his deflection actually worked, Draco takes a breath and wills his arousal away. He eyes Potter’s broom, flung between Neville’s bed and another one, a bed with hastily tidied linens and a soft, oversized red jumper hanging from the bedpost. Draco smiles. It had to be Potter’s bed.

The shower lurches on and Draco takes one more look around before making his way back down to the common room. He sits down on the sofa just as Neville emerges, arms full of various snacks and treats. As Neville sets it all out on the table, he throws Draco a concerned look.

“Are you alright? You’re quite flushed.”

Draco shakes his head. “Oh yes, I’ve been a bit under the weather. I have a potion for it back in my dormitory.” He shrugs and points to the first sample of Cyndadian Briarswort. “Shall we?”

Having just shoved a biscuit in his mouth, Neville simply nods.  

They pour into their notes, Draco making clinical observations from the samples and Neville expertly calculating conclusions based on his impressive encyclopedic knowledge of their specimens. They’re more than halfway through when a loud group comes bustling into the common room.

Draco doesn’t bother looking up from his chart, but can’t help eavesdropping when he hears the Weasel shout across the room.  

“What in the bloody hell was that about, Harry?”

Draco pauses in the middle of a thought. He hadn’t realised Potter had come down from the dormitory.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Potter replies. Draco glances over his shoulder and takes in Potter’s form huddled over a desk in the corner, his potions textbook propped up and dozens of parchments spread out around him.

“Well, I want to know,” Weasley demands, “Where do you get off insulting my sister!”

Potter sighs and throws down his quill. He rises to his feet and shoots Weasley an annoyed look. “I didn’t insult her, Ron. I just pointed out that if she wants to captain the team, she needs to stop making out with the new Keeper for half of training!”

“You’re jealous!” Weasley exclaims. “I can’t believe it!”

“I am not!” Potter shouts. “I’m pissed that we’re left to manage the team instead of training alongside them. What does it even matter? We can’t play!”

Draco turns back to his parchment and shakes his head. He can’t believe he forgot that eighth years couldn’t participate in the competitive games. He hadn’t even considered joining the team; he needed to concentrate on this thesis. Getting into the Potions Master program of his choice was of the utmost importance. He didn’t have time for distractions.

He glances over at Neville who’s still scribbling away at his notes, unaware of the loud argument behind them. Eruptions of loud noise and fighting must be regular occurrences in the Gryffindor common room.

“Savages,” Draco mutters to himself, then sneaks another peak over his shoulder.  

“I thought—we all thought––you enjoyed helping out,” Weasley says, casting his eyes around and lowering his voice. He spots Draco and scowls.

Potter replies, “I did—I do. It’s just...I’m not training at the level I need to be to try out for a team. All I’ve been able to do is running drills and critiquing other people’s form.”

“Still think you’ll go for a pro team?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.”

“What happened to the Aurors?”  

Draco bites the end of his quill, eager to hear Potter’s answer. Was that why he was in such a terrible mood when he’d found Draco?

“Look, I’ll apologise for yelling, but I’m done riding around doing her job for her.” Potter sighs loudly. “I thought we’d be training alongside with them. It’s not so bad until I realise we won’t get to play. It stings.”

“I know. I feel it too, mate. Me too. Look, she thinks you’re mad she’s seeing someone else.”

“That’s not—”

“I tried to tell her you like blokes,” Weasley sighs.

Draco decides that’s his queue to leave. He ignores the rest of their conversation and starts packing up his things.

“You’re heading out, then?” Neville asks.  

Nodding, Draco says, “We have accomplished quite a lot tonight.” 

Neville agrees, starting to gather the samples. He puts them in their crate under the table. “Look,” Neville stops and stares at Draco. “About earlier. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. Maybe I was projecting.” He leans in and smirks. “Thing is—I rather fancy one of your friends.”

“What?” Draco cries.

“Just don’t tell anyone yet,” Neville says. “I’m waiting for the right moment.”

Draco can’t hide his shock and confusion. “I wouldn’t know what to say,” he laughs. “But your secret is safe with me.”

Neville smiles, his gaze focuses on Draco’s neck. He frowns and stares up at Draco. “Did you lose your scarf?”

“Like I said earlier, Neville. I was overheating.”

“I hope you feel better.” Neville walks Draco out of the common room and offers him a soft smile.

Draco returns it, eager to set his plans in motion. “I have a feeling I’ll be feeling much better soon.” He dips his head. “Good night.”

When he makes it back to the Slytherin dorms, he pulls Blaise aside to discuss and finalise their next moves. Blaise tells Draco he managed to get their order and Pansy got the word out about the exclusive party of eighth years.

“Perfect,” Draco grins as he watches Blaise forge a letter from the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes to Harry Potter, offering the Glow-Gloo antidote as long he doesn’t share it with—Weasley. Blaise, you need to erase Weasley and write Ron. His brother wouldn’t call him by their last name.”

“You never know,” Blaise frowns as he looks Draco over. “Where’s your new scarf?”

Draco pales. “I lost it.”

Blaise narrows his eyes.

“I’m sure it will turn up.”

Turning his attention back to the letter, Blaise says, “Be sure to use some of the antidote on your neck. And maybe a few healing spells. It’s bruising.”

“Of course,” Draco nods. He grabs a towel and the bottle of antidote and heads to the bathroom.

He can’t stop himself from staring at the marks around his neck. At first, they make his blood boil in anger. He thinks about Potter’s audacity in the forest. To think, he’d stick up for Draco at the Wizengamot and then later accuse of him of—what? He’d thought Draco was up to something criminal in the Forest. He’d thought he was lying earlier in the dormitory.

You were lying, he thinks.

He brushes his fingertips over the handprint and the purple bruises and remembers the surge of arousal that spiked through him when Potter squeezed his throat. He remembers hot breath against his ear and Potter’s hips against him.

Draco steps into the shower. He quickly turns on the cold water, but his hand lingers over the hot water nozzle. As the spray rains down on him, Draco wishes it would wash away the memory of Potter’s warmth against his back and the searing arousal it stirred within him. He stands there a long time wishing for something that doesn’t come.

 

-/-

 

The next morning, Draco, Blaise, and Pansy watch from across the Great Hall as Potter receives the parcel with the antidote at breakfast. Just as Draco suspects, Potter quickly shoves the note and package into his bag and distracts his housemates from the spectacle.

As predicted, after missing lunch, Potter is seen rushing into Defense Glow-free. Pansy describes Weasley’s reaction as “extremely betrayed” and “loud, whinging, and anguished”.

“You don’t seem happy to hear it, Draco,” she frowns as they descend the stairs after History of Magic.

Draco lets out a heavy sigh. “We’ve so much more to do,” he says. “Tell me, did all the Gryffindors agree to attend?”

“I don’t know, why don’t you ask Yumbottom?” Pansy quirks a brow.

Speaking of Neville, Draco stares at Pansy as she gazes at her nails. Was it her? Did Neville Fancy her? “Why don’t you ask him?”

She rolls her eyes. “As if anyone from Potter’s inner circle would come to a party if they knew I was throwing it.”

“You might be surprised.” Draco eyes Neville at the bottom of the staircase and points. “I’ve forgotten my favorite quill back in the classroom. Look—” he pushes Pansy toward Neville. “There he is. Make sure he’s coming and the rest of them too.”  

Draco runs back up the stairs and ducks around a corner. He peers back to spy on Pansy as she makes her way up to Neville and strikes up a conversation. Draco watches Neville closely, but nothing screams unrequited love to him. In fact, as Draco watches the scene unfold from afar, it’s Pansy whose cheeks flush and she bats her eyelashes, casting her gaze downwards.

Interesting, he thinks.

Backing away and heading to the deserted corridor, Draco leans against the wall. The quiet calms him, and he ruminates with his thoughts, trying to figure out what in Merlin’s Beard he’s going to do once he has the Gryffindor dormitory to himself. How is he supposed to douse Potter with more Glow-Goo?

He closes his eyes and pictures himself at a party. He makes his way around the room, drinking, smirking, possibly flirting with a few imaginary people. When he suddenly realises they all have bright emerald eyes, he decides it's time to leave. When he walks into his dorm, he throws off his clothes and crawls into bed. The firewhisky has set his skin on fire, and the memory of the green eyes on the face of a handsome bloke has Draco reaching for his cock before he can think twice. He casts a privacy spell and closes the curtains around his bed.

Draco’s eyes fly open.

That’s it. He knows what he has to do.

 

-/-

 

Dressed in a ridiculous set of silver robes, Draco leans against a desk in the back of the unused Charms classroom that’s now crowded with raucous eighth years. Pansy insisted he wear the slim fitting silk robes, but the sleeves are too long and he can’t stop nervously picking at the embroidery around their edges.

He supposes their one redeemable feature is the high neckline. Anyone who knew of the Glow-Goo on his throat would never be able to tell he’d removed the marks. More importantly, no one—especially Potter—would know he had the antidote.

“Here,” Blaise joins him, offering him a cup.

Draco takes it and peers inside. “What in Avalon’s Isle is this?”  

“Liquid courage.”

“I’ve no need for this for what I have to do,” Draco frowns.

Blaise takes the cup back and downs its contents in one gulp. He licks his lips and eyes Draco. “How you can be in such a sulky mood when you’re about to pull one over on your biggest rival is beyond me.”

“He’s not my rival.” The words are out of his mouth before he can stop them.

“He’s many things,” Blaise nods his head.

Draco glares at him and then stares out into the crowd of people. He thinks maybe twenty people have shown up, almost their entire class, or what’s left of them. He spots Neville wearing a flower crown and rocking back and forth to the music next to Thomas and Finnigan. He’s wearing a tight black jumper and fitted black trousers. He looks quite dashing, more so than he usually does in his baggy house robes.

“Longbottom’s a few things,” Draco leans over and says in Blaise’s ear.

Blaise licks his lips as his eyes trail over the crowd, landing on Neville. “That he is.”

Pansy approaches them. “Granger, Weasley,” she smiles, “And Potter just arrived.”

“You’re up,” Blaise grins, winking at Draco.  

“You know the Charm?” Pansy grabs Draco’s shoulders and pats them softly.

“In my sleep,” Draco replies, certain he could recite the Flooding Charm and the Trigger Curse if he were half-dead. He nods at them both and then strolls out into the crowd. Approaching Neville and his friends, Draco stops. “Having a good time?”

Neville smiles at him. “Oh yeah,” he shakes his hips. “I’m working up the nerve to...you know…” He wiggles his eyebrows suggestively.

Draco laughs. “Had some liquid courage, have you?”

“Maybe,” Neville says as he adjusts his flower crown.  

“The object of your intentions likely has as well, so—” Draco glances back at his friends and grins. “—now is your chance.”

He pats him on the shoulder and then nods to Thomas and Finnigan. “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of your labor,” he nods. “Rumors of your wager with Weasley and Potter made it to the dungeons. I have to commend you on your creativity.”

“It’s a wonder,” Finnigan laughs. “Part of me wishes we had the stuff all these years, and another part is glad we didn’t.”

“Yes,” Draco squints. “Glow-Goo could be dangerous in the wrong hands.”

Finnigan nods his head. “That’s what I said! I told George, he better keep track of who he sends it to, and to always have reserves of the antidote. Though we aren’t supposed to know about that.” Finnigan leans in and lowers his voice. “George says it takes two months to brew, and the ingredients are hard to come by.”

“Is that so?” Draco raises a brow.

“I overheard Ron complaining to Hermione, sayin’ he’s wrote to George begging for it.”

“What kind of person only sends enough antidote for Harry but not enough for Ron?” Neville chimes in, shaking his head.

“A brother,” Finnigan roars. “That’s who! ‘Sides, who doesn’t love getting a rise out of Ron?”

Draco stares at Seamus Finnigan in newfound appreciation. “I feel as if there is a story there, Finnigan. When I get back from the loo, you’ll have to share it.”

“Which one?” Thomas leans down and smiles. “There’s a few hundred.”

“Think of the best ones,” Draco says. “I’ll be right back.”

“Get us a drink, will ya?” Finnigan shouts as Draco makes for the exit. He raises a hand in acknowledgment and then rushes into the dark corridor.

He makes his way up to Gryffindor Tower in record time. Panting, he greets the Fat Lady. “Good Evening, my Lady. Sic Semper—” He takes a breath. “—Tyrannis.”  

“Are you supposed to be here?” she asks.  

“Yes,” Draco nods. “Seamus Finnigan’s just asked me to grab him something.”

“Hmm, you may enter,” she says, narrowing her eyes but allowing him entry nonetheless.

 He casts a quick Disillusionment Charm over himself and rushes inside. His blood is rushing through his veins, and he feels intoxicated with purpose. He edges around the room, careful not to attract attention from the various groups in discussion or playing games. Making his way to the dormitory door, he takes a deep breath and bounds up the stairs.

Once in the eighth years’ room, he approaches Potter’s bed and raises his wand. Reaching into his pocket, he carefully pulls out the shrunken case of Glow-Goo.

“Engorgio!” he points his wand and returns the crate to its original size. He sets it on the bed and turns his attention to the drapes surrounding the bed. “Clusus Nolo Transinsupus!”

With the curtain triggered to hold in the glow paint, Draco sets to work on the perfect storm. A Glow-Goo storm, that is.

 

-/-

 

“Draco!” Pansy squeals as he walks back into the classroom with a bottle of firewhisky in each hand.

“Malfoy!” Finnigan throws up his arms in welcome.The party seems to have devolved into everyone sitting in a giant circle. Gone are the desks, cleared away and propped against the far wall. Draco casts a judgmental eye on his classmates who all seem to be content to sit on the floor. “Malfoy!” Finnigan repeats, scotting over and into Thomas’ lap. Finnigan pats the spot he vacated. “Come sit here. Bring a bottle with you.”


Draco eyes him with a smile until he realises Potter is sitting on the other side of him.
 

Someone grabs one of the bottles out of his hand as he makes his way toward his doom. He turns to see Blaise opening the bottle and handing it to Neville.

“Draco,” Pansy says from across the circle. She’s cozied up with Millie Bulstrode and that blonde Ravenclaw, Brocklehurst. He raises a brow. She smiles. “We’re all saying one thing we like about Hogwarts that’s different from when we first started. Something new.” She eyes him. “Since the war.”

Sitting in the open spot, Draco pointedly keeps his gaze away from Potter and hands Finnigan the other bottle of firewhisky.

“It’s my turn,” Ernie Macmillan says. “I…”

Draco misses his answer as Finnigan leans over and whispers, “Someone stole my answer. Said they liked that McGonagall stopped teaching and took over as headmistress.”

He grins and watches Finnigan take a swig from the bottle before handing it back. Draco decides to have a few sips, and relishes the fiery burn it leaves in his throat. It’s not unlike similar feelings he’s had of late, of a different sort of intoxication entirely.

As if on queue, Potter starts speaking. “This is the first year an evil wizard isn’t trying to kill me,” he says, and everyone laughs. Draco doesn’t. Potter continues, “At least, I don’t think they are. It’s still early.”

Draco takes another sip from the bottle and then realises everyone is looking at him expectantly.

“I have to say something?” he mutters to Finnigan.

“Make it up,” is the response, though Draco doesn’t think it comes from the irishman.

He clears his throat. “I don’t particularly like how different things are this year.”

A few people gasp.

Draco licks his lips, tasting the traces of the alcohol fueling his honesty.

“I don’t like how I’ve made friends with most of you, or at least, established cordial relations.” He stares at the floor. “It makes me feel a bit ashamed. I regret all those years we never spoke, or—” he glances over at Neville. The intensity of his stare could break Draco in half. “I regret most of the things I did manage to say.”

Draco takes a deep breath.

“I see now that you were all quite extraordinary. Well, most of you.” He eyes Justin Finch-Fletchley on the other side of Dean Thomas. The look gets a few laughs and Draco smiles, “I suppose I rather like myself this year.” 

“Draco!” Blaise exclaims.

“No, no,” Draco laughs, “what I mean is that I like this version of me, and how I get on with all of you.”

Pansy squeals. “Draco Malfoy, my teeth are rotted. That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“Oy, mate,” Finnigan pushes Draco’s shoulder. “How am I supposed to follow that?”

The party devolves into jokes and conversations, and Draco steals away to a corner to gather his thoughts. He’d been riding such a high on his way down from Gryffindor Tower, feeling insidiously powerful, cunning and accomplished. It was a culmination of all his Slytherin qualities celebrated in one single act.

But then he walked in on an eighth year united. What was different about this year? Everything. Well, everything except Potter. His endearing speech is empty of meaning if he includes Potter in the sentiment.

“Great speech,” Potter says from behind him.

Draco rolls his eyes and curses his luck.

“I just wanted to have a few drinks and make fun of Blaise,” Draco shakes his head. “Not spill my soul to a bunch of—to everyone.”

Potter tilts his head thoughtfully. “Some of us were comforted to find you have one.”

Draco narrows his eyes.

“A soul, that is.”

“You know what’s not comforting?” Draco hisses. “Your attempts at humor, Potter.”

Draco eyes him in the muted light, taking in the shadows and smooth skin that made up his cheekbones and jawline. His skin looks perfect now that it’s without the blemish of that infernal neon paint.

“The Glow-Goo!” Draco exclaims, suddenly full of regret for the prank. 

Potter reaches up and draws his fingers over jaw. “Right, I happened to get my hands on the antidote.”

“Oh?”

“I think—” Potter stares at Draco and bites his lip. Draco rolls his eyes and stifles a groan. Potter raises his hands and protests what he interprets as Draco’s contempt. “No, what I mean to say is I think I need to apologise to you.”

Draco’s eyes bulge.

“For what happened in the Forest.” Potter gulps. “For accusing you of—fuck, I don’t even know.” He stares down at his feet. “For—touching you. Especially when you told me not to.”  

“Stop talking,” Draco frowns.

Potter furrows his brow. “I have a lot to say.”

Draco scoffs, “That’s always been your problem, Potter. You say too much when you should be quiet, and you’re ridiculously noble when it isn’t always necessary.”

That’s the root of all my problems? Thanks for filling me in.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Git,” Potter rolls his eyes.

Draco hands him the bottle of firewhisky. They stand in silence for a while, passing it back and forth until Draco watches Pansy leave the room with that Brocklehurst girl and suddenly he’s fueled with a familiar, raging jealousy. He knows what they’re about to do and he knows he couldn’t be farther from experiencing it himself.

“I have to go,” Draco frowns. He’s swimming in too many feelings. He needs to wank, take a Dreamless Sleep, and pass out for the weekend.

He thrusts the nearly empty bottle into Potter’s hands and makes for the door. Potter trails behind him. “Do you want me to come with you?”

“Come with me?” Draco whirls around. “Why on earth would you come with me?”

“I thought—”

Draco narrows his eyes.

“You know what?” Potter shrugs. “It’s been a long week.” He eyes Draco’s neck, covered in the grey silk fabric, and then brushes past him. “Have a good night, Draco,” Potter whispers as he passes, depositing the bottle on a nearby desk and disappearing out the door.

Draco’s stuck, frozen in place, unable to comprehend what just happened. He’s managed to have a conversation with Harry Potter that ended without bodily injury or Potter’s hands on this throat. He can’t figure out if he’s disappointed or impressed with their progress.

Progress, he thinks, would have been his tongue down Draco’s throat. Or his—Draco’s eyes close as he thinks about the things Potter could do to him, the things that would tear him apart piece by piece as that husky voice says, ”Draco.”

“Fuck me,” Draco hisses and turns to leave.

“Wasn’t that the idea?” Blaise wraps an arm around Draco’s shoulders. “Ouch, that was painful to watch. You’ve got some nerve, turning down the Saviour of the wizarding world.” Blaise leans in while simultaneously waving goodnight to Thomas and Finnigan. Draco nods to them as well. “But of course,” he whispers in Draco’s ear, “who would want to end up in his bed tonight?”

 “Oh fuck me,” Draco winces.

“I doubt he will be anytime soon.” Blaise smiles.

“Goodnight my Slytherin brethren,” Neville says just before he hugs both of them. As he pulls away, he stares at Blaise. “Picnic by the lake on Sunday?”

“Yes, darling,” Blaise grins. “You bring the basket, we’ll bring the wine.”

Neville grins, his eyes glued to Blaise’s. “Perfect.”

“A picnic?” Draco scowls. “It’s November.”

“Warming Charms,” Blaise replies. They stroll down the corridor and head in the direction of the dungeons.

“Potter...wants me?” Draco’s going to be sick.

“Neville seems to think so.”

“So it’s Neville now?”

“It is.”

“Our plan went off without a hitch, Blaise.”


His best friend grunts in response.
 

They stumble toward the entrance to their dormitory. Once inside, Blaise flings himself onto his bed. “Draco, the Hangover Elixirs...my trunk.”

Draco steadies himself against the wall and makes his way over to Blaise’s belongings. He opens the trunk and peers inside, feeling around the top of the compartment. He accidentally grabs three small phials instead of two.

“Got them,” he says as he hands Blaise one of the familiar opalescent blue elixirs. He takes the other one and then stares down at the third. It isn’t blue at all, it’s actually translucent. “Blaise,” Draco starts, holding up the phial. “What’s this?”

“Ugh,” Blaise tosses his head to the side so he can see. “That’s my lube.”

Draco sighs. “Right.”

He crawls into bed and falls asleep in his clothes, clutching the lube to his chest, his final thoughts are a warm embrace of green, and the soft, subtle echo of someone saying, ”Draco.”

 

-/-

 

When he wakes, Blaise is singing Puccini and scribbling furiously at his desk. When Blaise writes like that, it can only mean one thing: he’s composing a letter to his mother. Draco rolls his eyes and gets up, surprised to find the bottle of lube still in his hand. He pockets it and goes to gather his toiletries and have a shower.

 Blaise pauses in the middle of “E lucevan le stelle to wish Draco good morning.

“It’s too early for Italian opera,” Draco groans.

“You’d have me sing...what?” Blaise smiles.

Draco frowns and opens the door to the bathroom. “I wouldn’t have you sing at all.”

Blaise grins and starts singing “La donna è mobile”.

“Verdi?” Draco winces.

“He came before Puccini,” Blaise shouts. “You said it was too early for him! That means—”

Draco slams the door.

He starts the shower and disrobes, flinging himself under the spray in a desperate attempt to wash away the things he’s remembering from the night before. He props himself against the wall and bows as his speech replays over and over again in his head.

Grabbing his face, he turns around and leans against the tile. After the speech came his moment with Potter. He doesn’t even realise he’s wanking until he’s gasping for breath until he’s consciously loosening his grip around his neck and falling to his knees. Draco reaches out of the shower and feels around for his robes until he finds the phial of lube.  

He’s never done anything like it before, but in a matter of seconds, he’s got two of his fingers curved up inside himself and he’s rutting against them. It’s an exquisite mix of pain and some new sort of pleasure he’d never felt, and he can only imagine how much more intense it would be if his fingers were replaced with Potter’s cock.

“Fuck me, Potter,” he moans, remembering what it felt like having Potter behind him in the Gryffindor dormitory.

“Rage wanking to the Saviour again, Draco?” Blaise shouts.

Draco stops his ministrations.

“We’ve got twenty minutes until breakfast is over. Finish yourself off and get dressed.”

The door slams shut and Draco relaxes against the tile. After a few seconds, he starts stroking his cock again but it’s no use. His erection is already flagging. He stands upright and finishes washing, turns off the shower, and casts a quick drying spell.

He dresses quickly, meets Blaise in the common room, and they head to the Great Hall at a brisk pace. He’s on edge and he can’t decide if it was the Puccini or the lack of sexual release.

Both, he thinks as they make their way to the Slytherin table, now empty save for a few late risers. Slytherins aren’t known for sleeping late.

Blaise stiffens next to him and Draco stops.

“What’s wrong?” He turns to his friend.

“Draco,” Blaise says, the hint of warning in his tone.

“What?” Draco doesn’t understand, so he follows Blaise’s line of sight to the Gryffindor table.

He almost doesn’t notice at first. The sunlight’s streaming in through the windows, brightening the Hall in natural light and warmth. But behind the crowd of people huddled at the table, a light beams all its own. Draco’s heart sinks as he realises Harry must be soaked in Glow-Goo to be giving off that much of a glow.

“Well, shit,” Draco breathes. He turns away and starts dishing up his favorite Saturday morning foods, until a throat clears, and he looks up. He drops his plate.

Harry Potter is standing at the end of the Slytherin table holding out Draco’s forgotten scarf.

A few things happen simultaneously.

First, Draco smiles at him because Potter looks as if he’s just rolled out of bed and it’s adorable.

Draco blinks and it’s then that he realises there’s something wrong with the scene before him. As it registers that Harry Potter isn’t soaked in Glow-Goo, Draco notices Potter’s eyes focusing on his neck. Now that he thinks about it, his throat is clearly exposed and lacking one obnoxious Glow-Goo handprint.

And as he comes to all these realisations, he’s also losing feeling in his leg, where under the table Blaise grips Draco’s thigh harder and harder by the passing second.

“I thought you’d need this,” Potter says through clenched teeth. “Apparently not”.

Clearly, he’s upset about something. Potter isn’t covered in Glow-Goo, so Draco can’t think what it might be. And he can’t summon the words for a reply as he watches Potter retreat to the Gryffindor table.

“If…” Blaise trails off as he joins Draco in watching Potter approach his friends, and incidentally, the source of the glow.

“What the fuck?” Potter shouts, staring at the victim of Draco’s prank.

“It’s alright,” Draco hears Neville say from behind the crowd of people.

Potter turns and glares directly at Draco.

“Bloody hell, Draco,” Blaise whispers.

The entire Gryffindor table turns their heads to stare at them.

“We’re fucked.”

Draco gulps.