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Letter Perfect

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Title: Letter Perfect
Name: [info]alisanne
Prompt: Written for [info]hd_smoochfest's Prompt #25: Time-period / theme: Hogwarts/Humor - Age of Innocence, Place: Great Hall, Object / word prompts: Love letter, Action: stealing a kiss and running away from the other boy, Preferences / Other notes: No smut, just fluff for the cavities.
Prompt Given by: [info]ebilgatoloco
Word Count: 3450
Rating: PG
Betas: [info]eeyore9990 and [info]sevfan
Author's/Artist’s Notes: Thank again to the Smoochfest mods for allowing me to play. Nothing you recognize is mine.
Summary: The quill can be mightier than the wand.


~*~

Letter Perfect

~*~

Potter,

It’s clear that you are completely obsessed with me. I’ve noticed you following me about the place, and while the attention is flattering, it’s also somewhat disturbing.

As it appears that you aren’t about to stop stalking me, we need to discuss this in person. The most acceptable venue open to us is the Three Broomsticks, so meet me there on Saturday evening.

If you do not show, Potter, I shall be very put out. In fact, I won't stand for it. So I'll be expecting you at 8.00 p.m. precisely. And for Merlin's sake, wear nice dress robes. Perhaps something green to accent your eyes. I'll be looking forward to seeing you.

- DM

Harry frowned, blinked, and, after rereading the letter for the umpteenth time, looked up, paranoid that someone was watching him. It was Saturday morning, and most people seemed involved in eating breakfast and waking up. The Quidditch match the night before had gone late, so most people who had made it down were yawning and drinking cup after cup of tea in an attempt to fight fatigue.

At the Slytherin table, Parkinson and her band were chatting, and as Harry watched, Zabini raised his head, looked at him and sneered. Harry sighed and looked back down at the letter he was holding. It had to be a joke, hadn’t it? Malfoy wasn’t at breakfast, and a part of Harry was glad. He wasn’t sure he’d know what to do or say to the other boy at that moment.

Ron would dismiss the whole thing as a prank, Hermione would want to examine the parchment for hexes and spells, and both of them would tell him not to go, but something about Malfoy’s offer seemed genuine, real. Harry really wanted it to be real.

Folding the letter up, Harry shoved it into his pocket to read again later. He put it away just in time, as, a moment later, Ron and Hermione walked in and made a beeline for him.

“You’re down here early,” Ron said, somehow managing to sit and fill his plate simultaneously. “What time did you get up?”

“Woke up at seven,” Harry said, neglecting to mention the tingle of magic that the note from Malfoy had caused as it appeared in his bed that morning. He’d read it, checked it for any signs of Dark magic, then, finding himself completely awake, he’d got up and come down to breakfast to contemplate Malfoy’s offer.

“Why didn’t you wait for us?” Hermione asked, making a plate for herself.

Harry smiled. “I thought the two of you might have had some private things to talk about,” he said, grinning as Ron blushed.

Hermione raised an eyebrow. “You knew about that?”

“Ron’s been going on about asking you out to Hogsmeade for weeks,” Harry replied, enjoying Ron’s discomfiture. After all, it took the attention off Harry’s dateless status.

Unfortunately, Hermione’s perceptive nature chose that moment to raise its head. “Would you like to come with us, Harry?” she asked softly. As she spoke, her eyes darted towards the entrance to the Great Hall.

Harry followed her gaze only to see that Ginny was walking in, hand in hand, with Michael Corner. They were engrossed in conversation and didn’t even look up as they sat together at the Ravenclaw table. “No, it’s fine,” he muttered. “I’ve no great desire to go to Hogsmeade today anyway.”

“We can postpone our trip,” Hermione offered. “Stay here with you. I have that Charms project I could get a head start on--”

Ron’s head popped up. “What? Why?” He winced as Hermione glared at him. “What?”

“Harry will be alone,” she whispered to Ron as if Harry wasn’t there.

Ron shrugged. “So? He can take care of himself.”

Hermione rolled her eyes and seemed to be contemplating hitting him.

Harry laughed at their antics. “It’s fine,” he repeated. “You guys go ahead; I’ve plenty here to keep me occupied. I may even spend that day up in my room; I’ve been meaning to organize my trunk.”

Ron eyed him for a moment, then leered. “Oh, yeah, I bet. Have fun, mate.”

Harry looked at him blankly for a moment before blushing when his meaning became clear.

Hermione, of course, couldn’t leave it alone. “Since when have you been worried about organization?” she asked.

“Aww, come on, Hermione,” Ron mumbled. “Give a bloke some privacy, yeah?”

“What does that mean?” Hermione was now looking back and forth between them, and, while Harry didn’t want to contradict Ron’s assumptions about what he’d be doing with his free time, he also didn’t necessarily want to confirm with Hermione there. “What are you really planning to do, Harry?”

Seamus saved them all. Bumping her shoulder, he muttered, “Oi, Hermione, what do you think Harry will be doing? Blokes need a bit of alone time every now and again. Leave him be.”

“I don’t understand what you’re all getting at. Organizing one’s trunk is a useful thing to--” Hermione’s eyes went wide. “Oh. OH!” Face flaming, she stood up. “Right. I see. Well, I’ll meet you back here in twenty minutes then, Ron, shall I?”

Clearly amused, Ron nodded.

Hermione couldn’t look at Harry. “Have a good -- um-- bye, Harry!”

She rushed off, and the assembled boys all dissolved into laughter. Harry smiled, glancing over to the Slytherins once more. He froze.

Malfoy had just arrived and was watching him, and when their eyes met, Malfoy held the gaze for a couple of seconds before looking away and muttering something to Parkinson. Parkinson smirked and looked at Harry before replying. Harry really wished he could read lips.

“--right, Harry?”

Harry blinked and looked over at Seamus. “Sorry?”

“You’d best make good use of your free time,” Seamus said, standing up. “You’ll have the room to yourself all day, after all. We expect your trunk to be well organized when we get back.”

Harry blushed and everyone laughed again. As they all left, they clapped him on the back.

Looking back across the room, he saw all of the Slytherins standing up and walking away, all except Malfoy, who was staring into his tea. As if sensing Harry’s eyes on him, Malfoy’s head snapped up and he sneered half-heartedly at Harry before pushing back from the table and sashaying away.

Harry sighed. Where was he going to find green dress robes?

~*~

MalfoyDraco,

You don’t mind if I call you Draco, do you? I mean, I hope you don’t mind, I call you that in my head. Not that I think about you... Except, I do, actually.

Right, so I guess you’re wondering why I’m writing. I am, too, really. This could be a mistake, but something tells me it’s not. Something tells me that you’re as tired of this whole feud situation as I am.

If that’s true, if you’d like to talk about the situation, meet me the Three Broomsticks tonight at 8.00 p.m.

No tricks, no other people, just us, yeah?

Hope to see you there.

-HP

Draco reread the note for the tenth time, pursing his lips. He’d only just managed to hide it from Pansy, who, aware of his longstanding crush on Potter, would have insisted on him going, and then would have followed him and hid outside the Three Broomsticks in case Potter decided to hex him.

Not that Draco could blame him if he did that, Merlin knew Draco had done that to him often enough. He was still a bit ashamed about how he’d acted on the Hogwarts Express the year before. Breaking Potter’s nose hadn’t been his intention, it’d just sort of happened.

Draco settled on his bed, his back propped up by pillows as he contemplated the parchment that had been waiting for him when he’d returned from breakfast.

Why would Potter want to talk to him after all he’d done? They were rivals, enemies! But you don’t have to be, an inner voice said. You’ve been wanting to mend fences. It doesn’t take a genius to know that the Dark Lord is a madman. This could be your chance to get out of having to join the Death Eaters. Plus, Potter is fit.

He sighed, closing his eyes as he contemplated what to do. It was probably fortunate that he’d decided not to go to Hogsmeade with everyone else, despite Pansy’s urging. He needed time to think about how to respond to Potter’s note, after all. Or should he be calling him Harry?

Draco cursed under his breath and, rolling over, read the note once more. “What could he be planning?” he whispered.

Potter had been watching him at breakfast, not that that was such an unusual thing. But there had been something different in that stare. He’d been more intent somehow, speculative. Waiting to see my reaction to his letter, Draco’s mind supplied.

Summoning the latest shipment of Honeydukes chocolate his mother had sent, Draco ate three hazelnut truffles as he slowly read the note word by word, looking for any hidden meaning. He even read it backwards a couple of times.

By four, Draco had picked and discarded three separate outfits for his meeting with Potter. By five, he finally decided on dark grey robes with a silver trim, and, wanting to avoid any other Slytherins, he went to the library to kill time before the meeting. Not date!

Madam Pince gave him several suspicious looks, but since Pansy and Blaise weren’t with him, and they were usually the ones who caused trouble, she left him alone.

At 6.30 he slipped out of Hogwarts and began the walk to Hogsmeade. He encountered several Hufflepuffs, who, upon seeing him on the path, gave him a wide berth.

He arrived at 7.58 and, taking a deep breath, pushed his way into the Three Broomsticks.

At first glance, he didn’t see Potter. After a moment, he turned to leave but then he spotted the familiar tousled hair in a corner.

Potter noticed him at the same moment and stood up, tugging on his robes as if nervous. That somehow made Draco feel better.

Draco walked over and sat down. “Potter.”

“Malfoy,” Potter replied.

“What, not Draco?” At Potter’s evident surprise, Draco faltered. “Never mind, last names it is.”

“No, no.” Potter smiled tentatively. “I didn’t think... I’ll call you Draco if you’ll call me Harry.”

Draco pondered this. “All right...Harry.”

Rosmerta chose that moment to bustle over and interrupt. “I never thought I’d ever see the day that the two of you could sit together and have a civil conversation.” She eyed them both sternly. “And it’d better be civil.”

“I am very civilized,” Draco muttered.

Harry just smiled at her.

“Mm hm.” She shook her head. “Right, what can I get for you? The special tonight is lamb stew and I’ve berry crumble for dessert.”

“I’ll have that,” Harry said. “And a Butterbeer, please.”

Draco nodded. “I’ll have the same.” His eyes narrowed at Harry’s surprised look. “What?”

“You just surprised me.” He smiled. “I thought you’d want something fancy like, I dunno, caviar or escargot or something.”

Draco made a face. “I hate caviar, too salty. And escargot is okay, but only in France.”

As soon as their Butterbeers appeared in front of them, Draco grasped his mug, taking a sip. Harry did as well. “So, we should talk,” he said after a few silent moments passed.

“All right,” Draco said, sitting back. “Talk.”

Harry sighed. “Why are we enemies, anyway?” he asked. “I mean, we got off on the wrong foot our first year, but honestly, why do you hate me?”

Draco raised an eyebrow. “Hate you? Who says I hate you?”

“You’re always hexing me!”

Draco shrugged. “That’s just practice.”

“For?”

“For honing my reflexes.” Draco smirked. “You know, keeping my skills sharp.”

Harry rolled his eyes. “Uh huh.”

Draco pursed his lips. “And what’s your excuse?”

“For?”

“For following me about.” Their meals appeared, and Draco picked up his fork and began to eat. “God, I swear, I think that if I stop walking too suddenly you’ll run into me!”

Harry sighed. “You’re right, I have been following you.”

Draco smiled. “I knew it!” he crowed. “I knew that wasn’t my imagination.”

Harry blushed. “It wasn’t. I... I thought you were up to something.”

Draco looked away. “I guess I was.” Taking a bite of food, he considered his next words carefully. “Look, Pot--Harry, what would you say if I told you that I don’t want us to be on opposite sides?”

“You don’t?” Harry looked surprised. “Why are you, then?”

“Why do you think? It’s my family, of course.” Draco pushed away his half-eaten meal. “There’s a lot of pressure,” he whispered.

“What sort of pressure?”

Harry looked concerned and, for a moment, Draco wanted to reassure him. He suppressed that feeling. “To be Marked,” Draco whispered. “Now that Father is in prison, though, Mother keeps telling me not to do it.”

“Don’t do it,” Harry said.

Draco smiled. “That’s a second vote.” He shrugged. “I don’t want to. You Know Who is mad.”

Harry nodded. “Good, and you’re right, he is.” He exhaled audibly. “Um, I could help you.”

“Help me?”

“We could go to Dumbledore. He’ll know what to do.”

Draco didn’t say anything as their dishes vanished and their pudding appeared. “You’d do that? After all I’ve done to you?”

Harry smiled, “Sure.” He blushed again. “I like to think that we could even be friends.”

Or more. Draco smiled. “I suppose anything is possible.”

The rest of the meal passed in comfortable silence, and by the time they were ready to go, Draco was actually feeling optimistic. God, Pansy’s going to be insufferable, though. She’s been telling me that Harry would help me for months.

Harry actually paid for the meal, telling Draco that he could pay the next time. Draco all but floated out the door of the Three Broomsticks.

They started for Hogwarts, and it was late, but there was a full moon, so the path was well lit. Later, Draco would say that the utter romance of the scene had addled his brain, but just then, standing next to Harry in the moonlight, he couldn’t resist the pull of Harry’s lips. He leaned forward and pressed his mouth against Harry’s.

Harry froze and Draco immediately drew back to see Harry gaping at him.

“Oh fuck,” he muttered, taking a step away. Gathering himself, he closed his eyes and Apparated, inwardly cursing all the while.

~*~

“Draco?!”

Harry was running up the path. Draco couldn’t have gone far, the Anti-Apparation field that operated around to Hogwarts wouldn’t have let him go directly to the Slytherin dungeons, and they’d been close enough to the school that Harry still had a chance to catch him.

He walked into Hogwarts and started out for the dungeons. He wasn’t sure what he’d do when he got there; he had a vague idea that he could put on his Cloak and slip in with a Slytherin, although he wasn’t sure that would actually work.

On his way past the Great Hall, however, he saw lights, and peering around the corner, he blinked. There was Draco, slumped in his seat, Parkinson sitting next to him, rubbing soothing circles in his back.

Pulling his Cloak out of his pocket, he slipped it on and moved closer to hear.

“--should have told me what you were up to,” Parkinson said in a scolding tone. “I could have been there and given you advice.”

Draco shook his head. “No amount of advice could have got me out of that situation,” he muttered. “Harr--Fuck, I’m going to have to get used to calling him Potter again! Potter offered me a way out of the situation and I bolloxed it up.”

“It may still be salvageable,” Parkinson said. “Are you or are you not Slytherin?”

Draco’s head popped up. “Pans, I love you, but do shut up.”

She stuck out her tongue. “You know I’m right, but you’re not ready to listen to advice tonight. Let’s go back to the dungeons and plan a strategy to get your man.”

Draco rolled his eyes. “One: he’s not my man. Two: he’ll probably be there waiting for me and I can’t face him now. I’ll stay here for a bit.”

“Fine.” Parkinson stood up and, to Harry’s surprise, leaned over and kissed the top of Draco’s head. “Don’t stay up too late. You’re a horrid worrier. Come get me when you want to do something about this.”

She moved towards Harry, and he only just got out of the way. Sweeping past him, she was almost out the door when she turned and said, “And, Draco, you should talk to him soon. Something tells me you didn’t mess it up as badly as you think you did.”

Draco ignored her, his head hitting the table with a thunk.

Harry licked his lips. He’d been more shocked than disgusted by Draco’s kiss. I wonder if he’d let me give it a go?

As if in response, Draco lifted his head and leaned back, stretching. Harry stared at his lips. In the candlelight they looked almost luminous. Drawn closer, he hesitated before leaning down and pressing a kiss onto Draco’s lips.

He’d forgotten he was invisible, however, until Draco’s eyes popped open. “What the--”

Rearing back, Harry retreated, hurrying toward the door, embarrassed. He didn’t make it far.

Stupefy!”

Harry fell over with a thud, the edge of the Cloak riding up to reveal his leg.

“Harry?” Draco was leaning over him, and, in a moment, had pulled the Cloak off. “What the hell were you doing?”

Harry, unable to answer, just lay there.

“Oh, right. Finite Incantatem!

Harry turned his head to look up at Draco. “Sorry, I didn’t mean--”

Draco sat back on his haunches. “You didn’t?” He smirked. “You were out in your Invisibility Cloak and you accidentally fell on my lips?”

Harry grinned. “Nope. There was nothing accidental about it.”

“Does this mean that you’re not about to hex me for kissing you earlier?”

“No.” Harry sat up, pleased when Draco didn’t move his face away. “I’m sorry I didn’t respond before. I was surprised.”

“What about now?” Draco whispered. “Would you be surprised if I kissed you now?”

“I’d be disappointed if you didn’t, actually.” Harry exhaled as Draco dragged him closer.

“Let’s try this again, shall we?”

Harry barely had time to nod before Draco’s mouth was moving on his. This time, he pressed back, moving his lips, sliding his tongue along the seam of Draco’s mouth.

Draco responded by opening his mouth, turning it into a true snog. They clung as they thoroughly explored each other’s mouths, and a moment later, Harry found himself straddling Draco.

A noise in the hallway made them both pull apart.

“This isn’t the best place for this,” Draco whispered.

Harry smiled, lifting his Cloak. “Oh, I think it could be.”

Draco grinned. “I think I could get used to being able to snog anywhere.”

“Mm.” Harry sniggered and pressed close. “Exhibitionist.”

“I don’t see you rushing to leave.”

“Point.” Draco moved forward again and Harry exhaled. “I’m glad you sent that letter.”

Draco paused. “What letter?”

“You know, the one where you asked me to meet you tonight, although, really, you sort of ordered me to show up.”

“I sent you a letter?” Draco shook his head. “You sent me a letter.”

Harry frowned. “No I didn’t.”

Draco stared at him. “Someone set us up!”

Harry looked around the empty Great Hall. “I suppose so. It seems to have worked, though.”

“You don’t care who it was?”

“Actually, no.” Harry grabbed the Cloak and settled it over them. “Now, where were we?”

~*~

Luna smiled as Harry and Draco began to snog in earnest. Fortunately, she had always been good at Illusion Charms, and her special Spectrespecs made everything going on under the Cloak completely visible to her.

She stayed long enough to be sure that nothing would go wrong with the new relationship she had worked so long to cultivate before leaving them. Apparently, her letters had worked well.

Making her way back to Ravenclaw, she decided she needed to write more of them. Maybe Parkinson and Finnigan, she finally decided before crawling into bed. They could be well suited.

~*~

The End

~*~