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“Mate, you’ve got to stop looking at Malfoy or people will think you’re in love with the git.”

“I was not looking at him, Ron.”

“Look, Harry-“

“What I think Ron is getting at here, is perhaps that...you do seem awfully fixated on him, Harry. It’s no good dwelling on non-existent things and-“

Harry snorted. “I love that you just implied Malfoy doesn’t exist.”

Hermione spluttered for a moment whilst Ron barely concealed a small laugh with a cough.

“No! For Merlin’s sake- I mean that you obviously think there’s something going on with him- you’re paranoid and quite frankly, obsessing over the smallest things is not a productive way to spend your time-“

“Who on earth says I give a damn about anything Malfoy does?”

“Well if you don’t mate, you really have to start acting like it. I swore I saw you swoon while you were looking at him once.”

“Ron, what in Merlin’s name are you on about? Me swooning over Malfoy? I’m beginning to think you guys have lost it completely.”

Seeming exasperated, Hermione dropped the subject and returned to her work. Ron, who generally went along with what she did, dropped it as well. Relief washed over Harry for a few moments but it wasn’t long before guilt began clawing at his insides.

He knew it was wrong to deny that he had been watching Malfoy closely as of recent, but admitting it out loud honestly just seemed embarrassing. He wasn’t sure what led him to a similar fixation as the one he had in sixth year. Maybe it was the carefree air of confidence Malfoy quickly began to stride around the castle with- as if the war hadn’t happened. Maybe it was the way he was so clearly trying to unlearn the traditional views of his parents and apologise to all the people he had hurt. Harry had definitely been in utter shock the first time Malfoy had outright worn muggle clothing- which quickly morphed into frustration when he realised just how ridiculously good he looked sporting lightly ripped jeans and a graphic tee. 

Maybe it was just the way everything seemed easy for him- he worked hard in his classes, he laughed with his friends at the eighth year table, he happily joined in on the drinking games that Seamus would host in the eighth year common room- eventually, he even began to regularly play quidditch against a few Gryffindors between classes.

Of course- there was also the embarrassingly possibility that Harry simply couldn’t get enough of the way the blonde-haired boy looked. He could be oblivious at times, but even he couldn’t deny that Malfoy was certainly attractive- particularly now that he looked healthier and happier. Everything he had changed, from not using hair gel to wearing those stupid graphic tees, really didn’t help this fact if you asked Harry. He found himself cursing the fact that Eighth years were allowed to wear whatever they wanted on a daily basis.

Although initially hesitant to admit it, he was jealous of the way Malfoy had just picked himself up and carried on after everything. He was annoyed that the boy could just brush off the people who rattled on about him and his family, he was annoyed that he was able make fun of the articles about him in the Daily Prophet, which frequently suggested that he would begin some sort of death eater uprising. He was also annoyed that Malfoy seemed to be able to focus on the people who were kind to him rather than those who tried to hex him in between classes.

Malfoy was obviously still snarky- and slightly arrogant if you asked Harry- but he seemed much less like the haughty asshole he once was. He was a far cry from the scared boy who was solely living to appease his parents and it shocked Harry to no end.

 

Everything that had happened to him, from being mistreated by the Dursley’s to watching his friends and classmates die during the war, was slowly suffocating him. In all fairness, it was naive to think that once Voldemort was dead his suffering would be over. He found out the hard way that the damage caused by Voldemort often paled in comparison to the damage his own thoughts could do.

Everything was hard at first- he couldn’t look at Ron and Hermione without being reminded of everything they had been through, he cried uncontrollably whenever he saw a thestral because it reminded him of all the people who had died for him, he could hardly look at George over the holidays because he would begin tearing up, he could barely eat or sleep because burning guilt was constantly clawing at his insides and he could barely concentrate on his class work because he was so completely unused to normal living. He couldn’t even bring himself to hang out with the other eighth years at first.

Obviously, things became easier as the months passed. He was still alive for one, his teachers were mostly understanding and Ron and Hermione both worked tirelessly to help him in any way they could. From things such as noticing when he was on the verge of tears in class and taking him outside to smaller gestures like smiles and jokes and chocolate frogs to cheer him up.

So yes- apparently Harry was jealous of Malfoy, and yes, he was also attracted to him for some wild reason- and without seeming dramatic, it was kind of ruining his life.

 

~

 

It was when Hermione came up to him in the library and snatched a book out of his hands that Harry realised he had probably been studying for too long.

“Harry. I love you and all but I’ll hex you and then levitate you away from this stupid library if you don’t come with us and get lunch.”

Ron was standing next to her, a slight grimace on his face.

“Yeah, mate. You look ghastly- no offence. I think you need food and some sun...and sleep, probably. Also, Hermione just called the library ‘stupid’, which is saying something.”

They both tried to keep their tone light, but Harry could see from the way Hermione bit her lip anxiously that she was worried about him. Ron’s slight laugh seemed half-hearted too. For their sake, he didn’t put up a fight and simply packed up his books, turning to follow them to the great hall.

When they arrived, he couldn’t help but notice the enlivened atmosphere within the large room. People seemed particularly divided today, with many sitting in tight groups and murmuring excitedly. As he sat down, he turned to Ron and Hermione with a frown.

“Have I missed something?”

Ron laughed. “The ball. Remember? For house unity or whatever sappy cause it was.”

“Oh- that.”

Harry’s stomach dropped at the mere mention. He was hardly in the mood to attend a ball- or deal with any of the associated things for that matter. Dress robes were generally a nightmare in and of themselves. There wasn’t a chance he could skip though- his friends would be far too insistent.

“Harry-“

“I know, I promise I’ll go. Just don’t expect me to invite a date.”

Hermione beamed at him. “Thank Merlin! We can buy your dress robes today, along with Ron’s. It’ll be good to get out of here for a little while.”

“Do you already have yours?” he asked.

“Yeah. Ginny, Luna and I went out last week.”

Ron snorted. “Yeah, they’ve been prepared for far too long if you ask me.”

Hermione playfully smacked his arm. “Shut up, Ron. Harry may not be inviting a date, but I’m expecting you to finally ask- um- that one person. You told me about.”

That piqued Harry’s interest. He finished swallowing a bite of his sandwich and raised an eyebrow at Ron.

“That one person, huh Ron?”

“Hermione,” he groaned. “I said in passing that I found them attractive and now you’re acting as if I’m bloody in love!”

“Who’s them?” Harry chimed in.

A voice suddenly came from behind him. “It’s a Slytherin, would you believe? I’ve never seen Ron swoon so hard in my life.”

Harry turned around with a laugh and quickly forgot about ‘them.’

“Hi, Ginny.”

“Hey there.”

She sat down beside him and wrapped an arm around him. “How’s my second-favourite person in the world going?” she asked.

“I’m doing spectacularly, thanks. The first one being your girlfriend, I’m guessing?”

“For some reason that seemed sarcastic, Harry. And yes- you’d be correct.”

Harry couldn’t help but grin. Ron just rolled his eyes.

“Your brother’s here too, you know. In case you’ve forgotten what I look like.”

Ginny turned to Ron and Hermione with a laugh. “I’m sorry- you’re very forgettable. Hello Hermione.”

“Hey Ginny. Would you fancy helping me drag Harry out of here to get his dress robes for the ball?”

The red-haired girl appeared scandalised for a moment. She quickly retracted her arm and turned to look at Harry. “You’re getting your dress robes tonight! When the ball is tomorrow?”

“Yeah I am, thank you for the observation.”

“You madman!”

“Ron too.” Hermione added.

Ginny then turned to Ron with a deeper scowl. “Do you two just enjoy last minute rushes, is that it?”

“Oh please, we have all of today to choose.”

She rolled her eyes. “Please tell me you’ve at least asked someone to go with you.”

“Errr...”

“Ron you bloody idiot!”

“Oh come on, you can just take Luna! Some of us don’t have the luxury of a stable relationship and are forced to go through the awful process of asking people out and facing rejection!”

“I still had to ask her out on a date at the start of the year, you coward! I could’ve been rejected then!”

Harry and Hermione both laughed at the exchange, and suddenly Harry felt a surge of affection for his friends. He already felt some of his worries about the ball slipping away as he continued to talk and laugh with them throughout lunch.

 

~

 

Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny had all headed to the three broomsticks for some butterbeer to ‘celebrate’ them all having their outfits for the ball. Really- it was just an excuse for them to order firewhiskey afterwards and get a bit tipsy before heading back and retiring for the night.

He honestly wasn’t sure what had triggered it- all he knew was that suddenly, his heart was racing and he felt as if he could barely force air into his lungs. Everything seemed to blur and as he looked around, all he could notice were groups of people that could’ve been whispering about him. Blinding panic began to grow inside him, and he felt the effects of the firewhiskey all too much as he clambered to his feet and stumbled towards the bathroom, offering his friends a mumbled ‘I’ll be right back.’

Goosebumps began to form on his skin as he slammed the door shut behind him and threw himself onto the sink for support. Feeling frustrated at his sudden panic, he shakily slammed his fist down against the cold surface.

He was splashing his face with water when the door to one of the stalls opened with a slight bang.

Harry watched in horror as Draco Malfoy emerged, his short, gel-free hair flattened against his forehead slightly and his grey eyes glinting in a way that had Harry instinctively reaching for his wand. His stomach flipped when Malfoy stepped forward, a low chuckle falling from his lips.

“Well this situation feels uncomfortably familiar, doesn’t it Potter? The question now is- do I comfort you in your panicked state or do I throw a hex at your for old time’s sake.”

The raven-haired boy continued to watch him in the mirror, seemingly frozen in place. After a moment, he was able to get his mouth moving.

“Neither. Wash your hands and get out.”

“Someone’s feisty.” Malfoy said airily, sweeping forward and turning on the tap.

After washing and drying his hands at an infuriatingly slow pace, he casually turned to Harry and tilted his head curiously.

“I’m beginning to think I accidentally casted a wandless petrificus totalus- although you don’t seem to be on the floor. Are you quite alright there, Potter?”

Harry scowled and instantly moved away from the sink, hastily drying his face with the sleeve of his jumper. Despite breathing deeply, he still felt as if the air wasn’t getting to his lungs, which sent him into a further panic. His voice was wobbly when he spoke.

“I’m not asking for trouble, Malfoy. Get out.”

“Nor am I.” he responded simply, stepping forward again. “I do, however, know what panic attacks are like. So- are you alright?”

Harry couldn’t stand the sincerity in Malfoy’s voice, and suddenly he found himself backed quite literally into the corner of the bathroom, pressed against the wall and the sleek wood of the stall. He gritted his teeth when he felt tears pricking at his eyes.

“Yes. I’m fine. Get out.”

“I’m not leaving you like this, Harry. I’m tired of owing you.” Malfoy said flatly, his voice losing it’s playful edge.

For some reason, hearing his first name come from Malfoy sent his heart racing further and now, he was gasping for air. Briefly, he wondered if this is how he would die- in the bathroom of a pub with Draco Malfoy of all people.

“Harry, I-“

 

The door was suddenly slammed open and Ron stormed in, holding his wand threateningly. He looked unsteady though, and Harry remembered with a small smile that he was tipsy- if not drunk at this point.

“Harry! Are you okay? You were taking a while so I came here to check on you but I heard Malfoy and I thought he had hexed you or something.”

Harry couldn’t help but laugh weakly at the firey glare Draco shot Ron.

“For your information Weasley, I was actually-“

“Oh shut it, Malfoy.” he growled, pushing past him and pocketing his wand.

Harry watched as the other boy rolled his eyes and stalked out of the bathroom. Something about the familiarity of that prideful walk soothed him for a moment.

“Blimey Harry, are you okay? Breathe for me.”

Apparently, Ron could recognise a panic attack even in his tipsy state, which was nice to know. He instructed Harry to sit down, which Harry couldn’t help but think was because Ron looked increasingly unsteady standing up, and took him through the breathing exercises he could remember. Despite his shakiness and his foggy memory, the red-haired boy was eventually able to calm him down enough to bring him out to Hermione and Ginny.

As they further attempted to sooth him, Harry noticed with a start that Malfoy was leaning against a nearby wall. He watched Harry intently, and seemed to find what he was looking for, because soon enough he was pushing himself off the wall and sweeping out of the pub. Completely bewildered, he stared at the empty space for a moment before turning back to his friends. Maybe he was finally losing it after all.

 

The whole situation had been utterly bizarre. What was even more bizarre was that later on when he was lying in bed, he couldn’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if Ron hadn’t of barged in. He’d never admit it, but that night he dreamt of grey eyes, blonde hair and stupid graphic tees. If he woke up significantly more cheery than he did usually, Hermione and Ron didn’t mention it as they headed to breakfast the next morning.

 

~

 

At breakfast, Harry couldn’t believe he had dropped the person who Ron apparently fancied so quickly. He lightly shoved Ginny.

“You distracted me yesterday!” he said accusingly.

“Maybe it’s your fault for being so forgetful!” she retorted, playfully shoving him back.

Harry smiled when Luna wrapped a protective arm around her girlfriend and pulled her close.

“Fine,” He pointedly turned to Ron. Hermione laughed. “Who is it? Have you asked her to the ball? Why Slytherin?”

The red-haired boy just rolled his eyes.

“Oh this is so unfair! Hermione and Ginny know!”

“I do, too. But Ron didn’t tell me.” Luna chimed in.

The raven-haired boy looked scandalised. “Rubbish! Everyone and their mother knows but me apparently then?”

“Don’t be dramatic mate, that’s three people in case you can’t count.”

“Three people that aren’t me, your best friend in the whole world!”

Ron rolled his eyes again. “Fine. Don’t be a git about it, okay?”

Harry raised his hands in surrender and nodded solmenly. “It’s Parkinson, isn’t it?” he asked.

Harry raised an eyebrow at the brief shock and- something else- that flashed across Hermione’s face.

 

“What- no! okay, listen,” He leaned in closer and lowered his voice. “His name is Blaise.”

His?”

“Yes.”

Harry’s voice was becoming more and more alarmed.

Blaise?”

“Yes.”

Malfoy’s friend?”

“Yes, you git!”

 

The raven-haired boy leaned back and immediately began to grin. “I can actually see that, never mind. You could’ve told me you swung both ways though, we could’ve bonded over that sooner.”

A flush was slowly beginning to reach Ron’s face. “Yeah, well, plenty of time for bonding now that there’s no psycho after you, isn’t there?”

Harry nodded. After a few moments, his eyes lit up and an excited smile was on his lips. Hermione narrowed her eyes. “You look way too happy to be thinking about voldemort.” Harry just laughed.

“No way. I’m thinking about how Ron absolutely has to ask Blaise to the ball today.”

“What!” Ron spluttered. “I don’t even fancy him that much!”

“Really? Because I recall Ginny mentioning something about swooning yesterday.”

“Ginny, I’m going to kill you.”

“Empty threat at this point, Ron.”

Luna looked highly amused.

“I think Harry’s right. The worst that could happen is that Blaise rejects you.”

“Luna agrees with me, mate. That’s it.”

Will you guys lower your voices.” Ron hissed, wearily glancing down at the other end of the eighth year table.

 

Draco was leaning over the table and speaking quietly to Blaise and Pansy, who seemed fairly engrossed in what he was saying. Harry narrowed his eyes when he began to notice the glances Blaise and Pansy were throwing him. Pansy caught his eye for a moment and Harry swore she had a small smirk on her face.

“You alright?” Ron asked.

“Yeah,” Harry said with a smile, prying his eyes away from the trio. “Spectacular, actually.”

 

~

 

Harry had ended up choosing dark green dress robes that Hermione insisted ‘brought out his eyes.’

He spent 10 minutes attempting to flatten his hair with a comb, which proved to be a task that was both tedious and pointless. Hermione was sitting on his bed, watching in amusement as he touched up his apperance.

“Harry, you’re primping. You look very handsome.”

A light blush coloured his cheeks as he turned towards her with a sigh. He honestly wasn’t sure why he was worrying so much about his appearance all of a sudden- at other events he barely gave it a second thought.

 

Well, Malfoy is going to be there his brain supplied unhelpfully.

 

“Thanks, Hermione. Are you ready to go?”

“More than ready.”

“You look great by the way.” He added sincerely.

They began to make their way to the common room, where Ron was talking to Dean and Seamus.

“Thank you, Harry.”

It was very true- the front strands of her wavy hair were tied back and her dress was a glimmering dark blue all the way down to her feet. If Harry wasn’t mistaken, he could also see that she was wearing shiny pink lipgloss.

Once they had retrieved Ron (who wore red dress robes that were ‘not maroon thank you very much’), they made their way down to the great hall.

 

He was just greeting Ginny and Luna when he caught a glimpse of white blonde hair behind them. He must’ve stared a moment too long because suddenly, Ginny was turning around.

“Who are we looking at?”

“Er- no one! You two look really lovely by the way.”

Luna smiled, whilst Ginny still seemed to be looking around for who Harry had been staring at.

“Aw, thank you Harry. I love dark green on you.”

He beamed at Luna, who began to tug her girlfriend away to greet Neville. This left Harry to sigh with relief and move forward to fully take Malfoy in. His hair was styled up with gel, he was wearing a dark pink fitted muggle suit and -bloody hell- was that eyeliner? He brought a hand up to his forehead in alarm. It was not possible for one person to be so tragically beautiful- absolutely not.

He was quickly trying to compose himself to avoid looking like a gaping idiot when, as if he had felt his gaze, Malfoy swiftly turned around. Their eyes locked, and Harry felt slightly dizzy all of a sudden. He turned away in a hurry and sought out Hermione and Ron, mortified by his own reaction to the other boy. He quickly found them by the punch bowl, which (to his utter disappointment) had not been spiked by Seamus this time around. He quickly remembered however, that there were sixth years there whose parents likely wouldn’t approve of them getting drunk at a school ball.

He felt nerves begin to creep in when the great hall became more and more crowded, and he quickly began to devise a plan to get through the night. So far, it involved: not having a panic attack and avoiding Draco Malfoy. Fantastic. The loud voices of everyone around him began to send panic through his veins, and he quickly joined the conversation that Ron and Hermione were having before he could become too overwhelmed.

“He’s sitting with Malfoy. You know I’d rather die than sit near Malfoy, right? Did I tell you he hexed Harry at the three broomsticks-“

“He didn’t hex me, Ron.”

“Yeah, well I did show up, didn’t I?”

Harry smiled slightly. “Don’t think he would’ve tried anything.”

“Right. Well I still don’t want to be near the bloody git, and Blaise is practically glued to him. What a shame that is.”

Hermione just shook her head and began dishing out some punch for the three of them into large glass goblets.

“If we don’t have alcohol, then we sure as hell need sugar at the very least in order to dance.”

Harry’s stomach dropped at the mere thought of dancing in front of everyone. That was certainly not an option for tonight- he’d add that to his plan, right after ‘Dont drink too much punch because sugar makes you ridiculously tired and you don’t want to collapse during the ball.’

Yeah. This would be great.

 

~

 

At 10pm the hall was only slightly less populated than it had been before. Slow songs were beginning to play, giving sappy couples an opportunity to dance to their heart’s content. To everyone’s surprise, Pansy had swooped in to take Hermione and they had ended up sitting down with punch on the opposite side of the room, talking. This left Harry and Ron sitting awkwardly to the side- both of them had already had enough of the ball and all of the people there.

Harry nudged Ron, who’s eyes were glazing over as he stared at the floor.

“Look- if I distract Malfoy, maybe you could talk to Blaise.”

Harry found the words spilling out before he could stop them. Malfoy and Blaise were on the opposite side of the hall, sitting on two chairs and talking in seemingly hushed tones. He thought back to the plan he had made with a scoff; it was practically impossible to avoid Draco Malfoy anyway. He was beginning to come down from his sugar rush, and he almost didn’t have the energy to panic over the fact that Malfoy was glancing at him now.

“You’re daft. You distracting Malfoy? How?”

Harry thought it was a pretty good question.

“Er- well...”

He didn’t have to think too creatively- at that moment, Malfoy looked up again and stared over at the pair of them. His grey eyes met Harry’s and he suddenly (and pathetically) felt himself get hot all over. Pointedly, whilst ensuring he maintained eye contact, the blonde-haired boy stood up and Harry’s eyes followed as he slipped out of the hall with a final glance at him. A knowing smile was on his lips.

“Okay, Blaise is alone. Go now!”

 

With that, Harry was quickly standing up and pushing through crowds to follow Malfoy down the nearly empty corridor against his better judgement. He wasn’t even entirely sure why he was doing it- he only began to question it when he finally stepped out of the great hall. Normally, relief would’ve flooded his system to be away from the crowds, but the idea of following Malfoy was sending his blood running all over again.

He rushed down the empty corridor and hurtled around a corner, completely missing the boy who was casually leaning against the wall.

“Thought you might’ve followed.” said a voice that was entirely too smug.

He wheeled around and nearly jumped when he noticed Malfoy was right in front of him. At this distance he could even smell the citrusy scent of his expensive cologne, which was actually rather pleasant. He swallowed and shifted nervously.

“What are you doing?” Harry asked, his voice much higher than he would’ve liked.

Malfoy pushed himself off the wall, still looking overly casual. “I could ask you the same thing. You don’t think I’m up to something...do you?”

Harry’s mouth went dry as he watched the other boy slowly walk around him, eyeing him as though he was seeing right through him. All he could do was stare, wide-eyed, and turn with him. He had only ever known how to respond to Malfoy with hostility, but his situation didn’t seem to require it. What on earth was he supposed to say? He wasn’t used to this. He could do insults and hexes but he couldn’t do- well- whatever this was.

During Harry’s frantic internal conflict, he had stopped turning as Malfoy walked around him. The blonde-haired boy stopped behind him all of a sudden, and Harry could hear the smirk in his words.

“You wouldn’t want people to think you were stalking me, would you? I thought our sixth year was behind us.”

He whirled around. “I didn’t stalk you in sixth year.” he said flatly.

“Then what would you call it, Potter? You just happened to be near me under the invisibility cloak all the time?”

Harry swallowed and anxiously pulled his bottom lip between his teeth.

“I became quite skilled at spotting you under your invisibility cloak that year, you know? Half the time all I had to do was listen closely. You’re not very good at keeping quiet.”

He could feel his cheeks burning at that, and he hoped desperately that it wasn’t be obvious.

“Why are you bringing up sixth year anyway, Malfoy?” he asked forcefully.

Harry’s hand tightened around his wand at the dangerous glint in the other boy’s eye. Malfoy, ever so observant, followed the movement with his eyes. He smiled and stepped forward.

 

“I’m not in the mood for a duel, Potter.”

“I didn’t really ask you though, did I?”

 

As if it were the most casual thing in the world, Malfoy raised his hand and sent Harry’s wand flying out of his pocket. He gasped when it clattered on the ground a fair distance away.

“Wandless magic.” he murmured.

“You always have to be on your feet in a house with Voldemort...particularly if you don’t have your own wand.”

Harry swallowed again, feeling nervousness and guilt begin to swell inside of him. He did end up saving the git’s life though.

“You-you’re saying his name now.”

“Yes, well,”

He paused for a moment and soon enough, Harry’s wand was flying back towards him. Malfoy caught it with ease.

“Name and shame, I say.”

He paused again to step forward. Harry watched in bewilderment as Malfoy gently took his hand and placed his wand in it, closing his own hands over Harry’s for a moment.

“Promise you won’t hex me?” he asked quietly.

The word fell out before Harry could stop it.

“Promise.”

 

Seeming satisfied, Malfoy stepped back with a smile. Then, after a few moments of clear hesitation, he let out a small laugh.

Merlin, What are we even doing, Potter? You’re practically itching to hex me and quite frankly the feeling is mutual. Bad habits die hard.”

Harry shook his head and covered his mouth with his hand in an attempt to stifle the laughter that was bizarrely beginning to fall from his own lips. Soon though, the pair of them were laughing as if they had been told some sort of hysterical joke. It only increased when a sixth year boy walked past them with a positively bewildered look on his face. Harry was so beside himself that he didn’t even push Malfoy away when he leaned into him for support.

After their laughter had died down, Harry did gently push him away, but he immediately reached out to steady him afterwards.

“God, we’re idiots.”

It was relieving to know that even Malfoy wasn’t entirely sure what to do now that they weren’t hurling insults at eachother.

“Mostly you.” Harry said.

Malfoy scowled. “No, I think it’s mostly you.”

“Whatever helps you sleep at night.”

This new form of teasing felt lighter; and much easier. Harry knew however, that it would take one moment of anger on either of their ends to break it.

“I have firewhiskey in my room. Would you fancy ditching and taking a shot or two?”

Harry really only had to hear the word ‘firewhiskey’ before he was nodding. “Yeah. I’m too sober at the moment.”

Malfoy smirked at that. “Couldn’t agree more. Do you want to say goodbye to anyone?”

“Er- no. I can explain to them later. But I do want to check something...”

Malfoy stayed a few paces behind him as Harry rounded the corner again and peered through the doorway at the end of the corridor. He spotted a head of red hair, and grinned when he noticed that upon closer inspection, Ron was sitting next to Blaise. That’s all he needed to know before he was turning around again and smiling.

“Lead the way.”

 

~

 

“So how do I know you haven’t poisoned this, Malfoy?”

The other boy leaned over with what Harry swore was a flirty smile before he wrapped his fingers around the bottle and tugged it from his grasp. Malfoy poured some into a cup he had transfigured and downed it in one go without flinching.

“If there’s poison, I’ll be dead soon.” he said simply.

Harry smirked and swung his legs onto the bed. Malfoy’s side of the room was unbelivably tidy- the only sign of inhabitance was the his trunk full of belongings and the books that were stacked next to his bed. There was also a poster that Harry couldn’t help but smile at hanging on the wall near his bed, which read in big bold lettering: ‘There is no such thing as a superior blood status.’

Clearly noticing where Harry’s attention had drifted to, Malfoy smiled.

“It’s a good reminder. Prejudices aren’t just unlearned overnight, after all.”

For a horrifying moment, Harry felt genuine affection for Malfoy. He shook his head and resisted the urge to go and splash himself with cold water. He couldn’t even blame that feeling on the firewhisky yet.

“It’s great, you know. That you’re making this much of an effort.”

Malfoy waved his hand dismissively. “Don’t go all hufflepuff on me now, Potter. It’s only right after everything I’ve done.”

Harry could see from the blush on his face that Malfoy had appreciated the comment anyway, so he just smiled and accepted the small glass he was being offered.

 

Soon enough, Harry was a few shots in and he could feel the pleasant warmth that was beginning to spread through him. He sighed in content when he felt some of his anxiety begin to diminish.

“Maybe you aren’t awful, Malfoy.” he decided, trying hard to keep his words from slurring. He wasn’t drunk yet (or at least he thought), but he was certainly beginning to feel the effects.

“You’re far too kind.” Malfoy drawled sarcastically.

He too was a few shots in, but he was nowhere near the lightweight that Harry was. The thought amused him to no end.

“You don’t seem drunk- or even tipsy for that matter!” Harry said accusingly, almost spilling his drink as he brought it up to his lips.

“Not everyone is a lightweight, Potter.”

Harry laughed slightly, but then, as if he had suddenly processed the words, he frowned. “I’m not a lightweight!” he insisted.

Malfoy had to fight for a moment to keep ridiculous thoughts- like how absolutely endearing Harry was when he drunk- out of his head.

“Of course you’re not,” he soothed, reaching out to take the glass from Harry’s hand before he could drop it.

When the other boy fell backwards onto the bed with a giggle, Malfoy found himself thinking that it had been very worth it to invite him up here. Feeling slightly bad that he still had his wits about him when Harry clearly didn’t, Malfoy sculled another shot of firewhisky, revelling in the burning sensation as it slid down his throat. He smiled slightly when the other boy sat up again.

“I forgot to ask- is Blaise single?”

Malfoy was shocked at the hot jealousy that immediately reared it’s ugly head inside of him. He took a few moments to compose himself.

“Yes,” he said quietly, trying to keep the sharpness from his tone. “Why?”

Harry grinned with relief, clearly not picking up on Malfoy’s odd reaction.

“Ron fancies him.”

Malfoy’s face relaxed with relief for a few moments, but then he began to laugh in disbelief.

“No way!”

“Yes way!” Harry mocked.

“Blaise- the bloody idiot- has been staring at the Weasel for as long as I can remember.”

“Hey!” Harry said, adopting his accusatory tone from earlier. “Don’t call him that.”

Malfoy smiled. Under any other circumstances, he would’ve been affronted.

“Doesn’t he still call me ‘ferret’?”

“Yeah, but I promise I’m trying to get him to stop.” Harry sighed, falling back down on the bed dramatically.

Malfoy was having a very hard time keeping the ridiculous thoughts out of his head as he watched the other boy giggle again.

 

Of course Harry Potter was a cute drunk. Of fucking course he was.

 

“And you were a ferret in fourth year.”

“Well if we’re going by that rule, I’d be more than happy to temporarily turn Weasley into a weasel.”

Harry laughed. “Touché. It was very funny though, Malfoy.”

 

At this point, his speech was beginning to slur slightly and a telltale flush was creeping up from his neck to his cheeks. After taking another swig of the whiskey, Malfoy sealed it tightly and hid it under his bed- away from Harry. His inhibitions must’ve really been disappearing, because Harry was beginning to compliment Malfoy on his eyeliner. In response, Malfoy just laughed and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Thanks, Potter.”

Drunk words are sober thoughts his brain supplied unhelpfully.

 

Soon, Malfoy was just as gone as the other boy and they began having drunken conversations about Hogwarts and quidditch and how they were going to get Ron and Blaise together if tonight had failed.

Harry couldn’t remember a time that year where he had been so carefree- although, the alcohol probably helped.

 

~

 

Harry supposed after that night, he and Malfoy had struck up some sort of fragile friendship- although, when he was sober, he still had several urges to hex the smug git and Harry made sure to avoid him at all costs if he was angry or irritated. Maybe they were somewhere between enemies and friends- was that possible?

From an outsider’s perspective, nothing really would’ve changed aside from stares that lingered a bit longer than they had before.

He was still uncomfortable with the idea that they weren’t exactly enemies, and Malfoy seemed to sense it. Despite being a snarky prat, Harry had to admit that the boy was observant. He could pick up body language better than anyone else he knew, which proved to be a bit intimidating from time to time. He knew when he shouldn’t push something, he knew when Harry was becoming overwhelmed and he knew when he should stop talking- this admittedly did make conversations with Malfoy a whole lot easier.

 

A few days after the ball, classes had returned to normal and Harry spent most of his spare time in the library. He allowed Hermione and Ron to drag him out of there to get food when they felt he had studied enough, which was certainly an improvement from before, when he would spend all of his time working with little to no breaks.

Something about spending time with his friends in the days leading up to the ball had reminded him of how much he appreciated them, and he certainly didn’t want them to waste time worrying over him. Ron seemed to be rather preoccupied with Blaise (he supposed that night had gone well), and the same could be said about Hermione with Pansy.

Two days after the ball, Harry also had an unsettling nightmare- which wasn’t out of the ordinary- but this one in particular had rattled him. It had been the kind that wasn’t outright horrifying, but equally disturbing nonetheless. He had woken up in an absolute panic, and it had taken him a while to get his breathing relatively normal again, with the only problem being that whenever he thought about it, his heart went racing all over again.

He looked over at Ron for a moment, who still looked fast asleep, and felt a pang of guilt when he realised he had already probably annoyed him enough with his nightmares- and Hermione too for that matter. Before he could really think about what he was doing, he was slipping on an oversized shirt and padding out of the room as quietly as possible. He found himself headed towards Malfoy’s room, which was only a couple of doors down from his own. His tired justification for this was that he didn’t want to bother Ron or Hermione, but he couldn’t bare to be alone either.

Maybe the lack of sleep was finally getting to him, he thought as he approached the door.

 

Harry hesitated for a few moments, wondering briefly if Malfoy would hex him for waking him up. Why was he even entertaining the idea that Malfoy would want to listen to him at all? They really weren’t close by any means, and they had both been drunk during their last few civil conversations. He wasn’t sure how long he stood there with his hand hovering over the handle before he turned away and decided against it.

Just as he was turning around however, the door swung open. He jumped and whirled around again, freezing when he was met with a tired looking Draco Malfoy. He had a brief thought that Malfoy’s bed hair looked entirely too good to be allowed, but he quickly pushed it aside.

To his shock, Malfoy didn’t look surprised in the slightest to see him, and instead regarded him with curiosity.

“Potter. What brings you to our door at this hour?”

“Er- I was...just walking past?”

Harry could feel himself blushing as he realised it had come out more as a question.

Malfoy saw right through him in an instant, but was kind enough to go along with it.

“Right, of course. Did you want to come in?”

All he could bring himself to do was nod and follow him inside.

“Blaise is asleep, so we can’t talk too loudly.” Malfoy whispered.

Harry nodded again and hesitantly sat down on the bed while the other boy grabbed something from his trunk.

“Were you heading out to get something?” Harry asked.

Malfoy closed the trunk and smirked up at him. “Yeah, you could say that.”

He raised an eyebrow but didn’t ask any further questions. Malfoy paused for a moment and handed him a chocolate frog.

“You seem like you need it.”

“Oh, thanks.”

“No problem.”

Then, the blonde-haired boy proceeded to draw the curtains of his four poster bed that were facing Blaise’s side of the room. He sat down next to Harry. There was silence for a few moments- Malfoy looked as though he was waiting for Harry to speak first, so he did.

 

“I had a nightmare.”

He could feel his heart racing again. He took a deep breath.

“I haven’t had this one in a while.”

“What happened in it?”

As Harry thought about all the details, his breathing became unsteady. Malfoy realised this and hesitantly placed a hand on his back. When the raven-haired boy didn’t throw it off, he began to move his hand in small circles.

Suddenly, Harry was rambling. He was telling Malfoy about the nightmare, how in it he was back at the Dursley’s and Hogwarts hadn’t happened, how he was trapped there with no escape in his tiny cupboard, how it suddenly changed to Dudley and his friends continuously kicking him away from a wand that was barely out of reach, how he heard the deafening yell of his uncle constantly in his ears, how the taunting from his family seemed never-ending, how the worst part was that in the nightmare he was 18 which meant he had missed out on going to Hogwarts.

Malfoy took this all in with a frown and continued to rub (what he hoped were) soothing circles on Harry’s back. When the rambling had finished however, he sighed and pulled the other boy into a hug. For once in Malfoy’s life, he had no idea what to do. He suspected that Harry’s upbringing hadn’t perhaps been fantastic- there had always been rumours after all, but he hadn’t realised it had been, well- this.

He pulled away for a few moments. “Is that what it was like? Living with those muggles?”

Harry was hesitant to respond, but Malfoy seemed to understand if the expression of horror on his face was anything to go by.

“Do you want me to hex them?”

“It’s in the past. Doesn’t matter now.”

“Really? Because that nightmare was from a few hours ago.”

Harry didn’t say anything. Malfoy sighed again.

“Listen Potter, I get them too. Dreamless potions help. I can give you some for now, but if you see Madam Pomfrey she can also administer it.”

He watched in bewilderment as Harry actually began to laugh. “Merlin, sorry. All of this is so ridiculous, I can’t believe you’re helping me right now.”

Harry grimaced when Malfoy narrowed his eyes.

“I’m sorry, I honestly do appreciate it.”

Malfoy opened his mouth to say something, but the raven-haired boy was surging forward and hugging him again tightly. That was enough to shock him into silence.

 

 

~

 

“I never thought I’d be laying in my enemy’s bed.”

Malfoy snorted. “Well, Potter. I’d like to think we aren’t enemies anymore.”

“What would you call us, then?”

“Frenemies.”

“That’s an awfully muggle term.”

“I dabble in muggle fiction every now and again.”

“What kind?”

Harry didn’t miss the blush that was creeping onto Malfoy’s face.

“Lots of different kinds.”

“Teenage romances, right?”

“Absolutely not!”

“Ah okay, that’s a yes then.”

Malfoy shifted so that he was facing Harry and scowled. “I will kick you out of my bed.”

“You wouldn’t dare!”

“Try me.”

The raven-haired boy really didn’t doubt it, so he just smiled. “You’re keeping me awake. Go to sleep.” he said.

Despite rolling his eyes, Malfoy turned away from him again.

“Goodnight, Potter.”

“Goodnight, Malfoy.”

 

~

 

Harry was staring in frustration at the book on his lap- he had been re-reading the same passage for at least 10 minutes and not taking any of it in. Finally, he slammed the book shut and threw it forcefully across the room. Malfoy laughed without looking up from his book.

“Drama queen.”

Harry huffed in annoyance. “I’m tired of it.”

“I can see that.”

 

Malfoy then looked up at him then with a surprisingly kind smile and closed his own book, placing it on the bed next to him. They had been reading together after dinner, which Harry had found comfortable at first but quickly began to find frustrating. His brain wasn’t functioning enough to take in any of the words.

“How do you do it?” Harry asked suddenly.

Malfoy arched an eyebrow. “How do I do what?”

”I mean...” He bit his lip and looked down at his lap, cursing himself internally.

“I hope you’re going to ask me how I maintain my skin, because I can tell you all about my routine if you want.”

Harry was grateful that Malfoy clearly sensed his discomfort, but he didn’t want to shy away from asking now that he had created tension anyway. He took a deep breath and looked up again.

“You can still tell me about that sometime. But what I was going to ask is how you’ve...kind of...gotten past everything. You seem happy after the war, even with everyone dragging your name. And you’ve become so likeable that even Seamus and Dean are willing to practise quidditch with you! I just- don’t understand I suppose. You seem alright, and I’m...”

Not.

Malfoy’s expression didn’t change, but he had moved forward slightly. He regarded Harry closely for a few moments.

“Well, that’s easy. I’m not.”

“Not what?”

“Alright.”

“Oh...But-“

“Potter, I really didn’t have much choice after the war. I could either have given in and holed up at the manor for as I long as I lived without acknowledging what anyone had to say about me, or come back to Hogwarts and at the very least try to be better. I want it to seem like I’ve moved on, but I haven’t. If I don’t seem at least somewhat out-going though, then everyone would assume I’m plotting to miraculously revive voldemort or something.”

Harry was almost speechless. He was well aware that he probably looked like a gaping idiot, but he couldn’t help it.

“But...you did have a choice. You could’ve holed up at the manor. So why didn’t you? Not that you should’ve...I’m happy you didn’t...but, it would’ve been a lot simpler.”

“Well. The Slytherin in me would’ve been appalled if I had just decided to do nothing with my life. And...I don’t think the loneliness would’ve been worth it.”

Harry nodded slowly, trying not to let the sudden rush of admiration he felt for Malfoy show on his face.

 

“So...when you skip class sometimes...” he trailed off.

“Yeah. I still get days where I’m horribly insecure and everything seems pointless- those are usually days where I can’t handle being in class. And...I...”

Malfoy’s voice became quieter.

“I still get nightmares about living with voldemort when I forget to take dreamless potions. They usually manage to psych me out for a day or so.”

Harry nodded again and bit his lip, trying to process everything Malfoy had told him. Even though Malfoy had off-days, he still managed to socialise and seem so composed when he was around other people. The same really couldn’t be said about Harry- he spent his time in class or at the library. He hoped his face hadn’t visibly fallen at the thought.

The other boy smiled at him, and Harry found himself wondering if he would ever be used to kind smiles from Draco Malfoy rather than arrogant smirks.

“I know what you’re thinking, Potter. Just because you haven’t been able to throw yourself back into life, doesn’t make you weaker than anyone else. What you went through was horrific- you bloody died for merlin’s sake. No one but you had to go through that.”

Harry was nodding despite himself.

“Thanks, Malfoy.”

Malfoy smiled slightly, before averting his gaze.

“You...um...you can call me Draco if you want.”

Harry’s eyes widened. “Oh- er- okay? I suppose it would only be fair that you call me Harry then.”

“I suppose it would be.”

 

Draco blushed when he noticed the expression on the other boy’s face.

“Oh, shut up. Don’t make me get any more Hufflepuff than I already have. That’s my sentimental limit for the year, I swear. I’m awful with this stuff.”

Harry just nodded again, not being able to contain his grin in the slightest. “Okay, that’s it. Just one more thing though- I really am sorry about the sectumsempra thing. I honestly didn’t know what would happen and if I had any idea, I would never have-“

“Don’t mention it. You already made up for that by saving my life anyway...and by testifying for my mother and I...and-“

“Okay, okay, I get it.”

Harry grimaced as he remembered what Draco had said at the three broomsticks. “And just so you know, I don’t expect anything in return for any of that. I didn’t do that stuff so I could hold it over your head or anything- you don’t owe me.”

Draco looked shocked for a few moments, then slightly sceptical, but soon enough a gentle smile was settling on his lips.

“Okay. Well thank you anyway, Harry. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you, as much as I don’t like to admit it.”

Draco rolled his eyes when Harry began to laugh. “You laugh at the most inappropriate times you twat! I swear to merlin-“

“I’m sorry! It’s just- everything was so fucked up. We were only 17.”

“That’s not something to be laughing about!” Draco spluttered, trying to prevent a grin of his own. Harry’s laughter was awfully contagious, after all.

“I know! I swear it’s just a coping mechanism or something.”

Draco rolled his eyes again. “Git.” he muttered, grabbing his book again. Harry didn’t miss the small smile on his lips as he continued to read.

 

 

~

 

 

Ever since Draco had mentioned his nightmares about living with voldemort, Harry couldn’t stop thinking about it. Obviously- he was well aware that living in the manor during that year must’ve been awful, but he hadn’t stopped to really think about it. Draco had been cooped up in his own home, with voldemort and his death eaters around every corner. He shuddered at the mere thought. Being around voldemort during their confrontations had been bad enough- but for a whole year?

 

The next time he and Draco talked they were in an empty classroom. He was laying down on the floor (which earnt him a disturbed look from the other boy) while Draco was sitting on one of the tables.

He really didn’t want to steer their comfortable conversation into past-trauma territory, but the urge to do so was far too strong. He lowered his voice slightly.

“Draco...”

The blonde-haired boy seemed to have sensed the seriousness of what Harry was about to say, because he shot him a questioning look and hopped down from the table.

“Yeah?”

“A few days ago you- er- mentioned your...nightmares?”

Draco’s eyes visibly darkened as he sat down next to Harry. It could’ve been the lighting, but his skin also seemed to pale slightly.

“Yes, I did.”

He was waiting for Harry to speak again, so he did.

“What was it like living with voldemort in the manor?” he blurted, internally kicking himself for being so awfully blunt. Draco seemed shocked for a moment too.

Harry quickly sat up with an apology on his lips, but the other boy spoke before he could get any words out.

“No, it’s fine. It’s just...”

He sensed that Draco needed some sort of comfort, which he had regrettably never been good at giving, so he placed a hesitant hand on his knee and silently hoped it would be enough.

Apparently it was, because suddenly Draco was pouring his heart out. He was telling Harry about living with voldemort, being constantly on edge and absolutely miserable, feeling out of place in his childhood home, the horrible things he had been forced into doing that haunted him relentlessly, how quickly he had realised just how wrong the dark side was, how close he constantly was to doing something wrong and being tortured for it, how he felt so completely helpless when his parent’s lives were being threatened, how terrified he had been that voldemort would see his disloyalty when he looked into his mind, all of his regrets about becoming a death eater and how much he hated looking at the dark mark on his forearm.

He was unable to stop once he started, and Harry found himself wondering if the other boy had ever talked about this with anyone. All he could bring himself to do was frown, nod and squeeze Draco’s knee supportively.

Towards the end of his rambling, although the blonde-haired boy was choking the words out, to Harry’s shock not a single tear managed to escape his watery eyes. It was only when Harry pulled him in for a hug and mumbled a quiet “I’m so sorry.” that tears began to make their way down his cheeks.

He felt more than he saw sobs wracking through Draco’s body as he clung to him. It became clear to Harry why the people in his life constantly told him it was unhealthy to bottle emotions- or trauma.

 

Draco eventually pulled away and tried to regain his composure, an embarrassed flush staining his pale cheeks. He groaned slightly.

“Oh merlin, I can’t believe I just had a mental breakdown in front of you.”

There was a slight grimace on his face as he shuffled backwards. Harry just shook his head.

“Draco, that must’ve been awful.” he managed to stammer.

The other boy tried to seem dismissive. “I probably deserved it.”

“Rubbish. No one deserves that, especially seeing as you were a child.”

“Harry...”

“No, I’m serious. You did everything with your parents in mind, you went along with everything they said so you could protect them. You’re not a bad person, even if you made some wrong choices, and you’re clearly trying to make the right ones now.”

Draco shook his head. “I’m sure you went through worse-“

“I can’t think of one other kid who had to spend a whole bloody year living with Voldemort. Even if I did go through worse, why would that matter? Still doesn’t mean your life wasn’t hell.”

Draco slowly nodded and bit his lip, bowing his head slightly. “I hated him so much.” he murmured.

“Me too- trust me. But he’s gone, and we’re still here.”

 

Silence fell for a few moments.

 

Harry let out a startled yelp when the other boy surged forward and hugged him, knocking him to the ground with the force of it- he ended up laying on his back with Draco ontop of him, holding him fiercely. Laughing breathlessly, he wrapped his arms around the other boy, who had quickly buried his face in the crook of Harry’s neck.

“This isn’t very cool and collected of you.” Harry remarked.

“This didn’t happen. If you ever talk about this, I’ll pretend I don’t remember it.”

He couldn’t help but grin. “Okay.”

They remained like that for a few minutes, with their steady breathing being the only sound to fill the empty room, until Harry reluctantly pointed out that they had Herbology next. Draco scoffed at that, begrudgingly detaching himself from the other boy and standing up.

“Okay. Let’s go wrangle some Venemous Tentacula.” he sighed.

Harry snorted. “Yeah. We all know how that went for you last time. Let’s hope you won’t be paying the hospital wing another visit.”

“Oh, sod off. I’m not helping you up now.”

Harry groaned and sat up, slowly getting to his feet. He watched as Draco stepped into the corridors, laughing.

“Git.” he mumbled.

“I heard that!” came the smug reply.

He rolled his eyes and followed the other boy outside.

 

~

 

Gradually, Harry became more and more comfortable with the idea of being friends with Draco. Although their interactions were limited over the next two weeks, he still found that his urges to hex him had greatly reduced, which had to count for something. At this point though, neither of them had spoken at all with others around. They had certainly acknowledged eachother, but outside of small smiles and nods, they hadn’t interacted.

Harry was honestly quite scared that he often found himself wanting the other boy around while he was in class, or studying, or sitting in the common room.

 

Finally, while he was in the library one Saturday, Draco approached him. Harry hadn’t even noticed him walking over.

“Hey.”

Harry looked up and his eyes immediately widened. “Draco- Hi.”

He hastily gathered his books from the chair next to him and placed them on the small table in front of him. The other boy sat down with a small smile.

“What subject are you doing?”

Harry, who was still slightly shocked, blinked and looked down at the essay he had been writing.

“Oh! Um- I’m just writing that potions essay. Have you done it yet?”

“Oh, that one. I’m about half way through it, I think.”

The raven-haired boy nodded. He leaned over slightly and looked at the book Draco was holding. "Oh- Arithmancy! Hermione is great at that, but I hear it’s really hard.”

“It is. But I’m a bit of a genius.”

The git actually had the nerve to wink at Harry.

“Oh, haha. I’m sure that line works spectacularly on people.”

“I haven’t tried it, but you’re probably right. Wouldn’t want to come across as an arrogant bastard.”

“But you are an arrogant bastard.”

 

Just like that, their comfortable banter had returned- which Harry was thankful for. Being overly polite with Draco really didn’t feel right.

 

Draco used his book to playfully whack Harry on the arm. “At least I’m not a specky git.”

“At least I’m not drowning under a mountain of arithmancy work.”

“What’s this about arithmancy?”

Harry and Draco both looked up in alarm to find Hermione standing there, peering at them over the huge pile of books she was carrying. Harry raised an eyebrow at her.

“Hermione! Hey. Do you- er- need help with that?”

“Hey Harry, Hey Draco. No it’s okay, I’ll just-“

She paused to carefully place the pile of books on the table.

Harry refrained from inquiring when she had started calling Draco by his first name- he was sure Ron would’ve fainted if he had heard it. He knew that Draco had practically given Hermione an apology speech during their second week of school, but the way she greeted him seemed friendly; suspiciously friendly.

“Oh, you’re doing the work from today! Do you mind if I sit with you?”

Draco smiled and patted the seat next to him. “Yeah, that’d be good actually. There was this one passage that she was rattling on about that I still don’t quite understand...”

Harry watched in amazement as Hermione casually sat down next to Draco and grabbed a book from the top of her pile, leaning over to read the passage that he had been referring to. He couldn’t help the smile on his face as he turned back to his essay. That was one person who certainly wouldn’t have an issue with the semi-friendship he had struck up with Draco, he supposed.

 

~

 

After that day, Draco seemed to have taken on the role of dragging Harry away from his work when he felt he had been going on for too long.

Hermione and Ron must be grateful he mused as he noticed an exasperated Draco approach his table.

“Honestly Harry, it’s like you want to waste away in this damned place. Come on, we’re going for a walk outside.”

He didn’t wait for a response before he was taking Harry’s hand and pulling him to his feet. The raven-haired boy stuffed his book in his bag and slung it over his shoulder before allowing himself to be dragged away. Privately, he was very appreciative that Draco was able to notice when he needed breaks.

For some reason, his stomach flipped when he realised they were still holding hands by the time they reached the entrance. The other boy cleary realised this too, and quickly dropped his hand with a mumbled apology. Harry looked away to stop himself from doing something stupid- like asking him to take his hand again. He told himself as they walked outside that it was simply because he was comforted by contact from anyone, not just Draco.

They ended up settling down under a tree by the lake, with Draco watching in amusement as Harry attempted to create daisy chains.

“Just use magic, Harry. This is painful.”

“Absolutely not. That’s cheating.”

“That’s resourcefulness.”

The raven-haired boy gave him a light shove before returning to his task. After he failed to thread the same two daises together for what seemed like the hundredth time, Draco had apparently had enough.

“Oh merlin, give that here and let me have a go before I die of frustration.”

Reluctantly, he handed the daisies over to Draco and watched incredulously as he used his manicured nails to create careful slits in each flower. Soon enough, he was delicately weaving them together and throwing smug glances at an increasingly alarmed Harry.

“No fair!”

“It’s not my fault that I’m better than you at everything, Harry.”

That earnt him another playful shove.

“You can have the damn thing if you want, seeing as you’re so bloody fascinated by it.”

Draco carefully placed the daisy chain in Harry’s hands, an amused smile on his lips as he noticed how red the other boy’s face was getting.

“Thanks.” Harry mumbled, trying to conceal his delight as he inspected the chain.

 

Silence fell for a few moments, which was broken when Draco hesitantly spoke again, his voice low.

“Harry...”

Harry felt his heart skip a beat- that could only mean serious talk.

“Mhm?”

“Why do you do it? I mean- why do you stay in the library for so long?”

Harry’s eyes widened for a moment, but soon enough he was looking out at the lake with a sigh, the daisy chain still in his hands.

“Well, I suppose...sometimes, I, um, don’t feel like I deserve it.”

“Deserve what?”

Harry hesitated, pulling his bottom lip between his teeth anxiously. When he responded, his voice was quiet.

“Basic stuff- like sleeping, taking breaks, hobbies. Sort of like...I shouldn’t be enjoying life, I suppose.”

Draco looked as though he had paled considerably. He shuffled closer to the other boy. “Why on earth not?”

Harry shifted uncomfortably and swallowed, trying to keep his voice steady. “Because...all of those people died for me during the war. I could’ve handed myself over sooner- It’s my fault that they’re-“

“Don’t you dare,” Draco interrupted. “That was absolutely not your fault, Harry. That was Voldemort’s fault. They knew what they were doing when they made the choice to work against a powerful dark wizard. They certainly would not want you neglecting basic self-care because of their deaths.”

Harry hadn’t even noticed that a tear had fallen until Draco was frowning and carefully wiping it away. This seemed to have broken some sort of dam because soon, more tears were falling against his will. Draco didn’t hesitate for a moment before pulling him into his arms and allowing him to cry into his jumper. He rested his head gently on top of Harry’s and sighed as he felt his jumper become soaked with tears. Heaving sobs began wracking through the boy’s body.

Near the edge of the lake, he noticed Ron and Hermione both staring at him, clearly unsure about whether or not they should approach them. Ron seemed ready to storm up to them, but Hermione pulled him back and shook her head. She gave Draco a small, hesitant wave before dragging Ron back inside the castle.

Eventually, Harry pulled away with tear-stained cheeks and wonky glasses. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, it’s fine.” Draco assured.

He rummaged around in his pockets and found the chocolate frog he had stashed in there that morning. He gave it to Harry and was more than pleased when the other boy laughed.

“Do you just constantly have chocolate frogs on you?”

“Only when I know I’ll be seeing you.” he replied honestly.

Harry laughed again and tried to ignore the way his heart skipped a beat at the admission. “Well, thanks. I’m sorry if I’ve made you reach your sentimental limit for the next 2 years.”

“That’s okay, I knew I’d probably have to raise my limit if I began talking to a wonderful mess like you.”

“You think I’m wonderful?”

“Don’t flatter yourself. That was sarcasm.”

Harry couldn’t help but grin.

 

~

 

Over the next few weeks, Harry found himself outside more and more- he had even began to develop a slight tan. He went for walks around the grounds with Draco, who also seemed to have doubled his efforts to ensure Harry was around for mealtimes and that he always had a water bottle on him. He had always known that Draco was the kind to fiercely protect the people he cared for, and his heart stopped at the realisation that this probably meant he was one of those people.

Harry began to teach Draco about muggle-living, and found himself thoroughly amused by his bewildered (and amazed) response to electricity. He introduced him to more muggle novels, and even threw in a few teenage romantic comedies (Draco still read them all, which Harry was overjoyed about.) He had then written to Arthur Weasley, who was more than willing to send over a few muggle lollies and chocolates-like mars bars, jelly snakes and warheads- so that he could show the other boy. (“Are you sure these snakes aren’t going to start moving soon?”)

Draco had even managed to persuade Harry into playing quidditch, which started out with just the two of them until Harry was comfortable enough to join in on the small games that Seamus and Dean would organise amongst the eighth years.

In potions, Harry, who was partnered with Pansy, and Draco, who was partnered with Hermione, had all agreed to swap partners. This meant that Hermione and Pansy could work together, with the added bonus that Harry and Draco could also work together.

Miraculously, he actually found that with this way of doing things, he was able to complete more school work at a higher standard, which Draco obviously didn’t fail to brag about to anyone that would listen (“Did you hear? I was single-handedly responsible for improving Harry Potter’s marks!”)

 

A few weeks had passed when Harry spent the night in Draco’s bed again. He had stayed up ridiculously late in the common room, revising for a charms test the following day. The other boy had stumbled in, bleary-eyed, with touseled hair.

“Harry, what on earth are you doing awake at this unholy hour?”

Harry tried to fight down a slight blush, but he could feel it growing on his cheeks anyway. “I...wanted to stay awake, and I had to revise for the charms test anyway.”

“Full offence Harry, but you’ve been revising for this stupid charms test for weeks.”

“No offence taken.” he responded, smiling slightly.

Draco sighed and pulled out a chair to sit next to him. He took Harry’s quill and guided his hand away from his work. “Harry, have the dreamless potions helped?”

“Yes, they have- or- they did. I’ve sort of run out...I was going to get some from Madam Pomfrey today but I forgot.”

“Okay. Well, for now...”

His eyes swept over Harry’s face as if he was searching for something. He sighed again and looked away. “That night when you slept in my bed. Did you have a nightmare?”

“Er- no.” Harry replied, his tone suggesting that he himself had only just realised this. He hadn’t taken a dreamless potion that night either. He quickly reasoned that the presence of anyone would’ve soothed him enough to have a nightmare-less sleep, and that he had already had a nightmare that night.

“Do you want to stay with me for tonight?”

“Yeah. If it’s okay.”

“Of course it is- just don’t accuse me of reading muggle teenage romances and I won’t forcibly kick you out.”

“But you literally read the ones I gave you!”

“They were romantic comedies. There’s a difference. They’re much less sappy and much more respectable.”

“I don’t think there’s much of a difference. In fact, comedies are usually even more cheesy.”

“Oh, shut up Potter.”

“So it’s Potter now, is it?”

“Only when you’re being annoying.”

Harry couldn’t help but laugh as he packed up his books and followed Draco to his room.

 

He instantly felt a lot better than he usually did alone as he laid down, and sure enough- he didn’t have any nightmares that night. Trust Draco to have annoyingly good judgement.

 

~

 

As the weeks continued to pass, Harry became more willing to stop himself from studying when he needed a break and join in on the random games that often took place in the common room- like exploding snap and wizard’s chess (which Ron had been overjoyed about.) Draco in particular had been delighted to find Harry outside doing laps on his broomstick on varying days.

As time passed, Harry was also coming to terms with a very minor problem he had- he was beginning to think that he might’ve liked Draco in a more-than-friendly way. Really, the problem wasn’t minor at all, it was quite frankly beginning to ruin his life. The more he seemed to shove it down, the more effected he became by things that really shouldn’t have effected him the way they did- like Draco’s small private smiles, his sleep-touseled hair, his stupid expensive cologne and his stupid soft graphic tees. Sometimes, he swore that Draco might’ve felt the same way, but those moments were fleeting and really- why on earth would he like Harry?

Eventually, after almost falling over because the other boy had smiled at him, Harry become so bothered by it that he went to his friends for help. There was a hopeful chance after all that he didn’t like Draco- maybe he just admired him in a perfectly friendly way. Maybe he just platonically admired his angular face, the way it flushed so obviously when he was embarrassed, the way his grey eyes lit up when he genuinely laughed, his soft blonde hair and the way it looked when he forgot to style it in the morning, his wittiness and his weirdly extensive knowledge about potion ingredients, his annoyingly endearing snark...his- Fuck.

 

That was how he found himself in the common room on Sunday after lunch, sitting with Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Luna. He had to take a few deep breathes to calm himself down at first.

“Guys, do you think I like Draco?”

Ron snorted, which earnt him a light shove from Hermione. Luna, who was cuddling with Ginny, had a faint smile on her lips.

“Harry...are you asking us if you like Draco?” Ginny asked slowly.

“Well yeah, I don’t know. You guys are around me a lot so I just figured-“

“Mate, I’m not you. But I’d say you’re bloody head over heels for the ferret.”

“Don’t call him that, Ron.” Hermione chastised.

She then moved to sit next to Harry and placed a hand on his knee, giving him a kind smile. “I can’t tell you how you’re feeling...”

“But?”

“Not many people look at their friend the way you look at Draco, Harry.”

“Yeah, and sometimes you sit so close to him that you’re practically on his lap.” Ginny added.

“Hey! I just need to hear him, is all.”

“Harry. See the distance between us? You can still hear me, right? And you guys were in the bloody library.”

Ron had to put his hand over his mouth to stifle a laugh.

 

Harry sighed. Maybe his suspicions were correct after all- feeling his heart flutter in his chest when Draco so much as smiled at him wasn’t a normal friendly thing.

He buried his face in his hands. “What do I do?” he asked miserably.

Ron immediately stopped laughing at that and moved to kneel in front of him. “Mate, I know it seems like the end of the world, but it isn’t. In fact, I’m almost certain that Malfoy has got a bit a thing for you too.”

Harry looked up from his hands. “I really don’t think so, Ron.”

“Keep in mind Harry, that Malfoy lets you practically sit on his lap.” Ginny added again.

Luna, who had been quiet up until this point, nodded. “I agree. I really don’t think you have to worry, Harry. Draco looks at you the same way you look at him.”

 

Despite nodding, Harry couldn’t allow himself to believe that there was a chance Draco liked him. He didn’t necessarily want to be pessimistic, but the very last thing he wanted to do was get his own hopes up. He had only recently even gotten comfortable with the idea of him and Malfoy being friends after all, and he really didn’t want to be responsible for ruining everything. He had already done enough ruining in his lifetime.

 

~

 

This mindset led Harry to ignore the small things Draco would often do that weren’t particularly ‘friendly’ over the next week. His friends (Ron in particular) had become more and more exasperated the more obvious Draco became. Harry however, was adamant on not getting hurt, so he happily ignored what his friends had to say on the subject. It started with small things, like lingering touches and little stares. Ron was certain that they had always been there, but Harry really didn’t think so.

 

During potions one day, Draco had scolded Harry for preparing an ingredient carelessly.

“Oh- right sorry, didn’t realise we had to treat beetle eyes like little sacred-“

“Oh, shut up. Let me show you.” Draco interrupted, putting his knife down on the cutting board.

“I’m sure I can manage just fine on my own, thanks.”

The other boy just rolled his eyes and moved closer to him anyway, stepping behind him and placing his hands over Harry’s.

 

Oh bloody hell.

 

The raven-haired was finding it very hard to pay attention when Draco was this unbelivably close. All he could focus on was the warmth radiating from the other boy, the soft fingertips that were pressed against his hands, the smell of his stupid citrusy cologne and the soft fabric of his even stupider graphic tee brushing up against him. Draco himself should just be illegal, because none of this was remotely fair.

When he eventually pulled away and moved back to his bench, Harry swore the git had a knowing smile on his face.

“Thanks for the lesson.” Harry muttered, rolling his eyes when Draco laughed.

“I hope you actually learnt something.”

 

Not really, but that wasn’t exactly your fault.

 

For the rest of the lesson, Harry concentrated hard on ignoring Draco’s little stares and touches, both of which distracted him and infuriated him to no end. Ron was practically in hysterics when they reached common room afterwards.

“Your face! I didn’t even realise a human could blush so hard!”

“Oh, shove off.” he had mumbled, failing to keep a smile of his own from tugging at his lips.

 

Then, Draco began ‘flirting’ with him (somewhat subtly in his own opinion, but Ron and Hermione thought it was completely obvious.) Harry didn’t think it was flirting as much as it was platonic banter. When he told Ron this, he had sighed and fixed him with a glare to shut him up- a very intimidating one at that.

 

“Hey Harry.”

He looked up and smiled, pushing aside his books on the table and gesturing for Draco to sit down.

“Hey. What brings you to the library?”

“You, mostly. Just making sure you don’t die of loneliness in here.”

Harry laughed. “How noble of you.”

Draco smiled and grabbed one of his books before turning to face Harry. His smile morphed into a slight frown.

“What on earth have you done with your hair?”

The raven-haired boy blinked at him before realisation seemed to hit. “Oh! I’ve tried to tame it with magic. You’re always going on about how messy it is, so I just thought...”

Draco stared at him for a few long moments and Harry could feel himself blushing under the intensity of it. Then, the blonde-haired boy was shaking his head and raising a hand to run it through Harry’s hair. Despite being alarmed, he just watched as Draco leaned in closer and carefully ruffled his hair.

“There. That’s better.”

Harry couldn’t help but smirk. “So you like my messy hair?”

“It’s grown on me.” he admitted with a small smile. “But maybe I just like the person with the messy hair.”

Harry didn’t think his face had ever felt so warm in his life. He quickly looked away. Draco stayed at the same proximity while they completed their work, and Harry didn’t mind one bit.

 

During one particular night in the eighth year common room, Harry and Draco were sat on a couch opposite Ron and Hermione. Seamus and Dean were playing exploding snap beside them, and Harry couldn’t help but notice the knowing glances they were both shooting him. If they knew, he would 100% murder Ron.

Speaking of the devil, Ron had been continuously catching his eye and sending pointed glances towards Draco from the moment they had all sat down. Harry sent little glares back at him and tried to focus on the conversation Hermione and Draco were having.

“I swear, I’ve never taken a more rubbish subject.” Hermione said.

Harry frowned for a moment. “Wait- what subject are you guys talking about?”

Draco shot him an amused glance. “Divination.”

Ron snorted. “Oh come on, divination’s brilliant! You two just don’t have the mind for it.”

Harry smiled at that. “I’m not sure if we do either, Ron. I can’t say I’ve experienced any suffering I’ve been happy about so far.”

Ron burst into laughter, whilst Draco just shot them both slightly disturbed looks.

“In third year, Ron used Harry’s tea leaves to predict that he’d suffer...but be happy about it.” Hermione explained.

“Yeah, and Professor Trelawny also predicted that someone would die. Very cheery thing to tell a bunch of thirteen year olds!”

Even Draco laughed at that, which had Harry’s traitorous heart fluttering in his chest. He bit his lip when the other boy moved closer to him, and looked anywhere but Ron’s face when Hermione began to explain why arithmancy was a much better subject than divination.

While Harry had been recounting a few funny things that had happened to him, Ron and Hermione over the years, Draco casually placed an arm on the couch behind his head. He faltered for a few moments, almost completely forgetting what he had been saying, before shooting Ron a pointed look and carrying on. Seamus and Dean, who at this point had stopped playing to listen, exchanged a knowing look.

Harry was able to finish the story after that, which had everyone laughing except Hermione, who was trying to seem disapproving of their younger antics (but failing miserably.)

 

Later on, when Ron began talking about quidditch, Harry noticed with a slight jolt that he and Draco were now pretty much pressed together on the couch. When had that happened?

He could feel his heart racing even faster when the other boy absent-mindedly began to run his fingers through Harry’s hair. He took a deep breath and tried to relax, fighting back a smile when Hermione raised an eyebrow at him. He shrugged slightly, and decided he would just enjoy the casual contact while it lasted.

It was when Draco headed up to his room for the night that Ron and Hermione began all but yelling at him. Dean and Seamus had returned to their game, but they both had matching smirks on their faces.

“Mate! What was that?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Hermione scoffed. “Right, so none of that happened?”

“It was a perfectly friendly thing to do.” Harry insisted.

Ron raised an eyebrow at him. “Do you see Hermione and I doing that?”

“You guys cuddle sometimes-“

“That wasn’t just cuddling! That was ‘I’m his boyfriend so back off’ level contact.” Ron said.

Harry felt his cheeks burning at that.

 

He sighed and quickly stood up. “I’m almost certain he meant it to be friendly. Anyway, I’m going to bed now.”

Hermione, who seemed to have noticed the sad edge Harry’s voice had taken, gave him a kind smile and nodded. “Okay. Goodnight, Harry.”

 

~

 

Harry was very happy (or- as happy as he could be) with the idea of never telling Draco about his feelings and just remaining friends until they magically went away. He was even learning to tone down his reactions some of the things Draco did that would drive him crazy. However- with Harry’s track record, it was only inevitable that something went wrong.

Harry had been late for potions- not fashionably late, but the-lesson-is-almost-over late. He was honestly surprised that he had been on time for all his morning classes up until that point, because he was not a morning person by any means.

Just as he was about to open the door, it swung open to reveal a very disgruntled looking Draco. He could hear Slughorn shouting after him as he slammed the door shut behind him. Harry was shocked at how quickly the smell of Draco’s cologne overwhelmed him. It was so intense that he stepped back slightly.

“Harry, there you are-“

Merlin Draco, did you use your whole bottle of cologne today? I mean it isn’t bad, but damn.”

Harry raised an eyebrow when Draco froze completely, staring at him with a mixture of bewilderment and shock and- realisation?

Then, Draco was stuttering out an explanation, his eyes still wide. “Because you weren’t there, Slughorn assigned Ron to be my partner and he ‘accidentally’ split our vial of amortentia on me. I was fed up with him so I was going to go and drag you out of bed.”

Harry’s stomach turned. Everything blurred around him as he took a slow step backwards. This isn’t happening he thought desperately.

At that moment, Ron and Hermione came bursting through the door. Hermione’s face fell immediately.

“Harry, oh merlin, we didn’t get to warn you- we only just realised that you might- we’re so sorry-“

The raven-haired boy didn’t stick around for the apology. Instead, he whirled around and bolted down the corridor as fast as his legs could carry him. All he could see was the look of pure shock on Draco’s face as he blindly sprinted around serveral corners and ignored the alarmed calls of a few professors. How could he possibly forget that they would be brewing amortentia that day?

 

When he finally reached the entrance way, he kept running towards the forbidden forest until he had a sharp stitch that he couldn’t ignore any longer. He collapsed down on the ground in front of a tree and tried to catch his breath. Before, he had felt like crying, but now, it didn’t seem worth it.

Draco didn’t like him- of course he didn’t. Even if Ron and Hermione were right, even if he had been playfully flirting with him, all of it was friendly and comfortable. Harry had never entertained the possibility that it could actually lead to anything more romantic. (Or at least tried not to anyway.)

His head was swimming now, and his chest felt tight. He hated the idea of ignoring Draco after everything he had done for him, but it would be far too awkward for them to remain friends. If Draco had liked him back, he would’ve said something rather than gape at him.

The whole ordeal really just cemented what Harry already suspected- Draco didn’t like him romantically- which would’ve been fine if it weren’t for the fact that the other boy knew now.

If there was one good thing that came from all of this, it was the fact that hypothesis ‘Harry ruins everything and shouldn’t be allowed to make friends’ had officially been proven.

 

After half an hour or so, Harry had steadied his breathing and some of his frantic panic had washed away. He had resolved to avoid Draco at all costs until the end of the year, after which they would never have to see eachother again. With this plan in mind, he summoned his books and casted cushioning and warming charms so that he could settle down and do his work. He could talk to Mcgonagall later about the classes he would miss- for now, he was perfectly fine with being alone.

 

~

 

Harry had definitely underestimated how hard it would be to avoid Draco. All of the eighth years shared a common room to start, he had several classes with him (which he would have to worry about once the week started), he ate at the same table as him and his bedroom was only a few doors down from his. Their lives were unbelivably intertwined, but he’d try anyway.

The day after the amortentia incident was Saturday. Hermione was sitting with Harry on his bed, desperately trying to convince him to talk to the other boy. So far, she hadn’t been successful.

“What- so you’ll just keep skipping meals at the great hall? You can’t steal sandwiches from the kitchens forever, Harry.”

“Good thing it’s only till the end of the school year, then.”

“This is ridiculous. I haven’t spoken to Draco but you haven’t even given him a chance, Harry. You don’t know what he was thinking!”

“I really don’t fancy being rejected, Hermione.”

A knock on the door interrupted them, and Harry’s stomach flipped. He looked frantically over at Ron, who had been watching them from his bed with a frown.

“Tell him I’m not here Ron, please.” he whispered.

The red-haired boy must’ve seen the panic written all over Harry’s face because soon, he was sighing and moving to open the door. He held it open only slightly.

"Is Harry there?”

“No mate, sorry. Try the library?”

“I’ve already tried. Thanks though.”

 

Ron closed the door and turned to them with a grimace. “I’ve never felt like such a bad person in my life. Harry- he looked miserable!”

“He...did?”

“Of course he did! The git’s in love with you!”

Harry bit his lip and turned back to Hermione. “Can we please swap potions partners again? Please?”

Hermione sighed deeply. Ron was shaking his head.

“Harry, I-“

“Please?”

“I really don’t think-“

“I can’t see him right now, Hermione please?”

She sighed again. “Only for a week.” she conceded. “I’ll talk to Pansy.”

 

“Hermione!”

“I know Ron, but-“

“We have to get the idiots talking somehow!”

“What if I don’t want to talk to him?” Harry asked.

“Well he sure as hell wants to talk to you, Harry!”

Ron stopped pacing and shook his head again at the miserable look on Harry’s face. He sighed and sat down next to him on the bed.

“I’m sorry, mate. Just...talk to him when you’re ready?”

“...Okay.”

The red-haired boy smiled and leant forward to hug him. “Good.”

 

~

 

Nearly 2 days of staying out near the forbidden forest past curfew, stealing food from the kitchen and hiding under his invisibility cloak had passed when Ginny had finally had enough.

“I’m dragging you along to breakfast. I don’t care anymore.”

“But Ginny-“

“Listen Harry, I will fight Draco off if I have to. But you’re coming to breakfast!”

Harry gave in pretty quickly after that- she could be very intimidating when she wanted to be after all.

 

Ron had an arm wrapped around him as they walked into the great hall and Ginny was walking next to him. Harry immediately shoved his hands into his pockets and tried to look anywhere but Draco’s end of the table as he approached- he felt as though he was doing some sort of walk of shame.

He heard Hermione let out a huff of laughter behind him. “Well, that didn’t take long.”

His heart skipped a beat when he noticed Draco watching him with wide eyes. Pansy and Blaise were frantically whispering to him, but the blonde-haired boy didn’t seem to listen as he stood up from his chair and walked towards them. Harry immediately stopped, which Ginny quickly noticed.

“Harry- it’s fine.” she tried.

Harry just shook his head and ducked out of Ron’s grip. He side-stepped Hermione and quickly began walking towards the doors again. He stopped dead in his tracks however, when he heard Draco’s voice shouting from across the hall.

 

“I smelt treacle tart! And...and your cologne- from the night of the ball!”

 

Almost everyone in the great hall had stopped talking. A strange hush had even fallen among the professors, who were clearly unsure about whether they would have to intervene. Slowly, Harry turned around. Maybe he heard it wrong.

“What did you say?”

Merlin, Harry. Don’t make me say it again.” he begged.

 

Ron was positively grinning. He gently pushed Draco toward Harry, which earned him a shove and an eye roll from Hermione (who was also trying to fight back a wide smile.)

“Let’s talk somewhere else.” Harry said eventually.

Relief spread across Draco’s face as he nodded and followed the other boy out of the great hall. Harry heard Ron- the git- begin laughing gleefully as soon as they had stepped out.

 

There was a tense silence as they walked, but the moment they had rounded a corner Harry was quickly turning to Draco and crowding him against the nearest wall, bracing himself on either side of him.

“I’m sorry. I’m an idiot.”

Draco let out a huff of laughter and placed a gentle hand on Harry’s cheek. “You are- you’re a massive idiot. But it’s okay.”

The only sounds Harry could hear was the distant chattering in the great hall and their own slightly ragged breathing. His eyes were pointedly sliding down to Draco’s lips, while the other boy was smirking and tugging at his shirt to bring him closer. Harry let out a shaky breath and finally- their lips were meeting. Their noses bumped at first, and their lips didn’t quite meet perfectly, which had Draco chuckling and tilting his head for a better angle. He slowly brought a hand up to tangle in Harry’s hair, while keeping the other splayed across the side of Harry’s face. Once they had found a better angle, the kiss quickly became messy and eager. There was obvious inexperience on both ends, but that didn’t seem to matter.

Soon, their hands were everywhere and Harry was beginning to seriously consider the possibility of it being a dream- nothing in the real world could possibly feel this damn good. Everything- the warmth of Draco's lips, the softness of his fingertips, the smell of his cologne, the sweet taste of his tongue- was making his head spin. Even through the thin material of his shirt, Draco's touches were making him tingle all over.

“Harry?” a voice suddenly cried.

The shout startled Harry enough to make him jump backwards. Draco sighed in annoyance.

“What in Merlin’s name-“ he began to splutter.

“Oh! there you are!”

Both boys whirled around to see Hermione and Ron standing there, looking guilty all of a sudden.

“Sorry. We just wanted to make sure it didn’t go badly.” Hermione explained.

A smirk made it’s way onto Ron’s face. “Judging from the way you both look right now though, I think you can except to have your girlfriend as your potions partner again, Hermione.”

While Harry could feel himself beginning to blush, Draco just huffed and looked back at them without a hint of embarrassment. The raven-haired boy was instantly reminded of the haughty, over-confident boy from their younger years and a brief smile graced his lips.

“Thanks, Weasley. Now that you know we aren’t firing hexes at eachother...”

Pointedly, he glanced in the direction of the great hall.

“Right, of course. Let’s go Ron.”

Hurriedly, Hermione took his hand hand and led him back down the corridor.

 

Draco turned to Harry with a smile. “What do you want to do now?”

“We have class.” Harry pointed out.

“One missed lesson won’t kill us.”

“We might get detention.”

Draco just shrugged. “If we can’t talk ourselves out of it, then I’d rather a detention with you than anyone else.”

Harry shot him an incredulous look. “Who are you and what have you done with Draco?”

“What are you talking about? I’ve always been a rebel.”

Harry snorted. “Right. Sure you have.”

“Git.”

“Prat.”

“Tosser.”

“Teacher’s pet.”

“Hey!”

Harry laughed slightly at the look of faux offence on Draco’s face.

“Well, if we’re not going to class then maybe you’d fancy teaching me how to make daisy chains?”

“Oh merlin, I think I’d die of frustration.”

He took one look at the expression on Harry’s face and quickly added: “Kidding! Let’s do that.”

Then, they were both laughing again.

 

When Draco held out his hand for Harry to take, the raven-haired boy wondered again if he was dreaming. When he pinched himself he didn’t wake up though, which was good enough for him.

“Did you just pinch yourself?”

“Er- no.”

Draco rolled his eyes.

 

~

 

*a few days later*

 

When Harry and Draco stumbled into the common room after a trip to hogsmeade with rosy cheeks and wind-swept hair, they were greeting with the sight of Ron and Blaise snogging on the couch. Hermione, who was sitting on a seat near the fire with a book, shot the pair a few disturbed glances every now and again, but seemed reluctant to give up her spot.

Draco scoffed at his friend and collapsed onto the opposite couch. “Never knew you were one for public display, Blaise.” he remarked.

Neither of them spared Draco so much as a glance as they fell backwards onto the couch in a tangle of limbs, their lips barely separating.

Merlin Ron, take it upstairs.” Harry pleaded.

He laughed slightly when Ron begrudgingly disconnected their lips and stood up, shooting him a glare. Blaise groaned in complaint, but got to his feet and followed his boyfriend to his room anyway.

“I guess you’re sleeping with me tonight.” Draco commented, watching as Harry collapsed down next to him. The raven-haired boy hummed as Draco pulled him closer, hauling him onto his lap and wrapping his arms around him.

He sighed in content. “I suppose so.”

Harry was summoning a book for them to read when Pansy entered, carrying a few books of her own. She ignored both of them and walked straight up to Hermione, a proud grin on her face.

“I read them all!” she declared.

Hermione looked up with a blinding smile and leapt to her feet, wrapping her arms around the girl. “Did you like them? I know muggle fiction is quite different, but-“

“They were great.” Pansy assured her, leaning in to place a kiss on her cheek.

Draco observed the pair for a moment, before looking at Ginny and Luna, who were snogging on a couch in the corner of the common room. He snorted and turned back to Harry.

“I really don’t think Mcgonagall was expecting this level of sappiness amongst the eighth years when she was inviting us back.”

“Yeah, well,” Harry paused to look up at him. “Shit happens.”

“Shit does happen.” Draco agreed, plucking the book from Harry’s hands. “Can I read this to you? I’m pretty quick and I don’t want to be bored to death waiting for you to finish a page.”

Harry was more than happy with that idea, but he tried to seem begrudging.

“Fine.” he sighed, not missing the knowing smile that came to Draco’s lips.

“You love my voice, asshole.”

“Unfortunately.”

Draco smiled again and pressed a chaste kiss to his lips. Then, he turned back to the book and opened it to the first page.

“Okay, I’m starting now whether you like it or not.”

Harry shifted a few times to get comfortable, then he snuggled into the fabric of Draco’s jumper and wrapped his arms around him.

“Go right ahead.”

 

~

 

That night, Harry slept in Draco’s bed for the third time. This time however, they were cuddled together at the centre of it with soft smiles on their faces and tangled limbs.