Harry wasn’t exactly sure how it had started. Well, scratch that, he knew how it had started, he just wasn’t sure why it had continued or what had possessed his classmates to allow it to continue.
Sixth year for Harry had started out slowly, and progressed even slower. Everyone was nervous and tense due to the war that grew inevitably closer. Voldemort hadn’t surfaced since the incident before summer holidays, not even within Harry’s dreams or through his scar. And somewhat unexpectedly, none of the captured Death Eaters had escaped from Azkaban.
Harry himself had been understandably moody since returning to Hogwarts. Sirius’ death had hit him hard, even if he’d only known him for a few years. He’d been the closest parental figure Harry’d ever had. The only other wizard he could put in that position would be Dumbledore, and the betrayed feeling he’d had after parting with him the year before hardly helped with Harry’s feelings of loss.
It had actually been Hermione’s idea to throw the combined House party. After Gryffindor had beaten Ravenclaw in Quidditch, with Harry reappointed as Seeker, the party they’d had in Gryffindor had left everybody considerably relaxed and cheerful. So Hermione reasoned that a big sixth year party would help everyone relax.
What had started out as an everyone’s-invited-but-really-only-Gryffindor-Ravenclaw-and-Hufflepuff party was soon crashed by the Slytherins. No one said anything outright, if only because it was supposed to be a combined House party, but the distaste was evident enough.
Malfoy, leading the rest of his House, only answered this with a smirk.
* * *
Draco had felt the effects of the events before summer as strongly as everyone else, if not more so. His entire world had nearly been pulled from beneath his feet. For the first time in his life the Malfoy name was openly scorned, and it was the longest amount of time he’d been away from his father while actually being home. His feelings towards the whole Light and Dark issue hadn’t changed much. He still despised muggle-borns, and he wasn’t about to welcome them with open arms, but at the same time he was currently harboring bitter animosities toward Voldemort with a passion only rivaled by his feelings for Potter, because the git hadn’t done anything about his father being in prison. Draco had expected a breakout attempt at the least two weeks into summer, and when it hadn’t come, nor showed any signs of coming, he’d been left shocked, hurt, and confused.
His mother wasn’t dealing with anything much better than Draco was. While she was his mother, her maternal instinct left a lot to be desired, and it didn’t help that over the past five years Draco had been away from home more than he’d actually been at home. Their relationship had become desperately bland, and Narcissa had spent most of her summer shut up in her bedroom, or out gallivanting between formal dinner parties and get togethers to try and dig the Malfoy name out of the sludge it had fallen into.
Despite his confusion, Draco actions regarding Potter and his two sidekicks hadn’t much changed. Things had continued much the same way that they had the years before, if only growing more intense as the boys discovered how benefiting fist fighting could be. Something about a bloodied face and having real evidence that they were physically destroying something just added fuel to the fire.
So when Draco got word of the combined House party, he wasn’t about to not attend.
* * *
Sometime after the Slytherins had arrived, bringing with them complaints about how boring the party was, things started to pick up a bit.
It was Pansy who suggested Spin the Bottle. Apparently parties weren’t complete without a little action going on.
Which was how Harry found himself in his current position, several weeks later.
It had started out innocently enough. Seamus had to kiss Susan Bones, Parvati kissed Blaise Zabini, Hermione kissed Terry Boot… Then somewhere along the line, Lavender spun and the bottle landed on Padma…and everyone paused.
“What happens now?” Lavender asked, glancing nervously at Padma out of the corner of her eye.
“Kiss the boy nearest to her right,” Morag MacDougal offered. Lavender nodded and was turning towards Dean when Pansy cut in.
“No! No, where’s the fun in that?” the black-haired girl said, lips curving into a smirk. “The rules were that you had to kiss whomever the bottle landed on. We didn’t say to do anything different when it happens to be a member of the same sex.”
Lavender blinked, her mouth forming a small ‘o’ as Padma’s cheeks colored slightly. “A-alright, then,” she said softly, and crawled the remaining distance towards the other girl.
“Well I have to admit, I thought there’d be a bit more protesting,” Pansy said, laughing shortly. She arched a single eyebrow at the girl.
“Well I’m a Gryffindor, aren’t I?” Lavender said airily. “Known for being brave and all that. Can’t refuse a simple kiss.”
“Touché!” Pansy grinned generously. Next to her, Draco scoffed.
“Pansy, stop making friends with the Gryffindors,” he muttered, and Pansy smacked him on the shoulder.
“Shove off, Draco, I can be as friendly as I want.”
“Oy, a bit whipped, aren’t you, Malfoy?” Ron quipped, eyes never leaving the two girls in the circle who shared a nervous peck on the lips before scuttling back to their seats. “I can’t believe you’d let a girl talk to you like that,” he said, laughing scornfully.
“At least I can get a girl to talk to me, Weasel!” Malfoy snapped back, turning cold grey eyes on the redhead.
“Don’t start!” Hermione spoke, before Ron could reply. “No, don’t you dare. I don’t want to deal with that tonight.” Next to her, Harry turned bored green eyes onto his friend, trying to smother an amused grin.
“Heh, talk about being whipped,” Malfoy smirked. Harry’s head snapped around, and he glared at the blond.
“Shut it, Malfoy!”
“Really, Draco, I hate to agree with her, but Granger’s right. It was just starting to get interesting!” Pansy said, pouting. “Save your passionate rivalry for Potions class, would you?” Draco stared at her incredulously before accepting a quick kiss from Hannah Abbot, as her spin had landed on him, while Harry once again tried to hide his amused grin. Hermione sniffed.
“Thank you, Pansy,” she said lightly. The Slytherin pursed her lips.
“Oh, get over yourself, Granger, I wasn’t trying to build any bridges,” she replied haughtily, shaking her short hair out of her face. Hermione frowned slightly.
“Right,” she replied evenly. Harry opened his mouth to offer words of comfort or some such, but never got them out as his attention was called back to the game he had previously been ignoring.
“Harry!” Seamus was calling, and for half a second Harry was scared he was going to have to kiss the Irish boy. Seamus was openly and notoriously gay, and Harry certainly had no problem with that but he really didn’t want to have to kiss him. Honestly, there was no telling what could happen. Seamus might very possibly try to lengthen the kiss beyond its allotted third of second time, and then people might start rumors and there would be more untrue stories going around about Harry and the Daily Prophet might even pick up on it and-
Harry blinked. “Yes, sorry, what?”
“The bottle’s landed on you, mate,” Seamus said, a strong Irish tilt in his voice. Harry blinked again and glanced at the bottle disinterestedly.
“Right then, who am I kissing?” Aside from one or two nervous coughs, silence answered him. Furrowing his eyebrows in confusion, the bespectacled boy turned to Hermione, who was also looking a bit confused. Finding no help there, he then turned to Ron, who was staring across the circle in horror. “Erm…” Harry followed his gaze and his eyes found Malfoy, the blond boy’s lips curled in disgust. He blinked once more, wondering who on Earth he would be kissing that had this effect on Malfoy even-
Eyes going wide, Harry snapped his gaze back around to meet Malfoy’s and found, much to his own horror, that Malfoy’s disgust was directed at him.
“Oh no…no way, no way in hell am I kissing Malfoy,” Harry said, falling onto all fours and backing up slowly. “You can’t make me!” There was still silence around the circle until Malfoy smirked and started casually observing his fingernails.
“Well, well, well, Potter. So much for that notorious Gryffindor bravery.” He raised his eyes to meet Harry’s, and his smirk widened. “Scared off by a little kiss. Even Brown wasn’t afraid of kissing another girl.”
“I have no problem kissing another boy, Malfoy, I just have a problem kissing you,” Harry spat. Draco’s eyebrows rose.
“Oh ho ho! No problem kissing a boy? Something you’re not telling-“
“That’s not what I meant!”
“I think it was.”
“It was not!”
“Boys! I don’t care who has a problem with what, I want to see some kissing!” Pansy broke in. She had a strange glint in her eyes.
And that was when Harry realized that something was very wrong with his classmates. Glancing around nervously, he noticed the same hungry look in many of the other girls’ eyes, and Seamus’ for that matter, but he ignored that. Most of the other boys simply looked interested, aside from Ron who was outright disgusted.
“Ew, gross, I agree with Harry, he shouldn’t have to kiss Malfoy!” he exclaimed, nose wrinkling. Harry nodded vigorously and turned to Hermione, expecting the same support, only to find her with a thoughtful look in her eyes.
“No, Ron, I think Harry should do it,” she said softly. Pansy glanced at her and smirked. “After all, Lavender and Padma had to. It’s only fair.”
“Hermione!” Harry exclaimed, looking completely scandalized. Draco chuckled. “Shut up, Malfoy!”
“I just find it funny that you’re so scared, Potter. Maybe that’s what the Dark Lord should do, eh, offer to bugger you or some such? That’d send you running.” He looked very smug.
“And why are you so eager, Malfoy? Something you’re not telling us?” Harry snapped, finally turning back to face his nemesis. Draco opened his mouth to retort, paused, made some sort of indignant sound, and finally managed to speak something that made sense.
“Oh you wish, Potter!” Ok, so it wasn’t his best comeback.
“If I don’t see you two snogging in the next few seconds,” Pansy started threateningly, pulling out her wand.
“Alright, fine!” Harry finally conceded, eyes narrowed angrily. “Get over here, Malfoy.” Draco stared at him incredulously.
“Right, I think not. How about you come over here?”
“You were the one who was so eager to kiss me, you can move your own lazy arse!” Inwardly, Harry cringed as the argument quickly deteriorated into grade school nonsense.
“I don’t think so, Potter, I was not eager to-“
“Alright, that does it!” Hermione stood and pulled her own wand out. She suddenly seemed very intimidating, looming overhead with a stormy expression on her face. Harry scowled at her and reluctantly dragged himself across the circle towards Malfoy, wondering when he’d wandered into an alternate universe where Slytherins and Gryffindors had parties together and Hermione wanted him to kiss Draco Malfoy.
“I knew you wanted it, Potter,” Draco smirked at him. Harry decided not to point out the light pink blooming in his cheeks.
“Malfoy, shut up,” he said tiredly instead.
“Make me, Potter,” was Malfoy’s reply, until what he said caught up with him and the smirk fell right off his face and apparently onto Harry’s.
“Told you you wanted it,” he said, eyes glinting, and then he reached out and grasped Draco by the chin, pulling him forward and placing his mouth determinedly on the other boy’s.
Harry’d only kissed one other person before, and while the disaster with Cho had certainly not been the best experience of his life, he was glad he could still say he at least enjoyed that kiss far better than the one he was currently partaking in.
It lasted less than two seconds, but even that was too long for Harry. He pulled back almost immediately and wiped his mouth on the back of his sleeve, though that was completely unnecessary because there had never been a kiss that was more tightly close-mouthed than the one that he and Draco had just shared.
Draco was doing the same thing, cheeks growing a deeper pink to match the color that Harry could feel burning in his own.
“Well that was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever experienced,” Draco eventually said, breaking the deafening silence that had fallen. He sneered at Harry, and the green-eyed boy scowled right back.
“Not my fault you suck at kissing.”
“Oh, sod off, Potter.”
* * *
And that was the start of it all. At some point during the hours of the night following what had been deemed ‘The Kiss,’ Pansy and Hermione decided that combined House parties should be a weekly event to allow for stress relief and to give the students something to look forward to. No one was quite sure how the two girls had managed to form their uneasy truce, but they both agreed together that the parties would continue.
So they did.
Every Saturday night.
And this was what Harry couldn’t quite figure out. The Spin the Bottle games stopped, replaced with the ever popular Truth or Dare, and things went from bad to worse. His classmates seemed determined to watch he and Draco kiss, and it was unnerving Harry more than he liked to admit.
“It’s the whole rival thing,” Hermione had told him one week after a particularly annoying dare of Harry having to kiss Draco for ten seconds straight. Of course this just meant that they sat there, mouths pressed unmovingly together for the allotted amount of time, but still. In any case, this didn’t explain anything to Harry. What was so exciting about two rivals snogging?
“Nothing,” Ron had answered when he asked him. “Absolutely nothing. It’s disgusting.”
“It’s hot,” Seamus had countered, cutting into the conversation and saying what Hermione hadn’t wanted to admit to Harry. “You and Malfoy snogging each other is about the hottest thing Hogwarts has seen in years.”
Harry had to disagree.
Draco, for his part, was ready to call it quits after Susan Bones of all people, a Hufflepuff for crying out loud, had issued the ten-second dare. It was getting too disgusting for even him to handle. Pansy nearly threw a fit, however, when on the fourth Saturday of their little parties, he told her he wasn’t going. Startled and more than a little freaked out, he agreed to show up one more night.
He should have known that wasn’t a good idea.
* * *
Pansy looked decidedly shifty tonight, Harry decided, after the sixth years had settled into the circle and the first few truths had been told and dares done. She had to be scheming or something. After having to watch her flash her, admittedly quite impressive bosom to the crowd, he found out why.
Straightening her top and brushing the hair out of her eyes, Pansy cast a sharp eye around the group. “I was wondering when we were going to work up the guts to start in on the crude dares,” she said slyly, smirking at her attentive audience. The shift that occurred then was almost palpable. Like something had just switched and now there was no going back. Harry could practically feel it happen, and against his will he cast a nervous glance at Draco, slightly surprised to find the blond clenching his fists and looking uncomfortable. “Potter!” Pansy’s voice rang, and Harry’s eyes shot back to the short-haired girl.
“Er…yeah?” he replied, shifting slightly where he sat. Pansy’s smirk widened.
“Truth or dare?”
Harry gulped. Really, there was an easy way to get out of all this nonsense with Draco, but with the sort of information Harry had, about the Order, the prophecy, and Voldemort in general, he couldn’t afford to be asked damaging questions. Not that anyone would take advantage of it, but it made Harry nervous nonetheless. He had no idea what Draco’s excuse was, but he just had to face it. “Dare.” He’d be kissing him again.
If possible, Pansy’s smirk widened even further, stretching into an almost feral grin. He blinked, gaze shifting to Hermione, and he was dismayed to find her trying to bite back an excited grin.
“I dare you,” Pansy started, darting a look at Draco, “to kiss Draco.” Harry groaned, nose wrinkling in annoyance more than anything else, and Draco turned and glared at him. But Pansy held up a hand. “Let me finish,” she said, and continued, “French kiss him…until I say stop.”
Harry swore that he literally felt his stomach turn right then, and his eyes widened. Across from him Draco’s jaw dropped, and he shot a wild look at his supposed friend.
“Pansy!” he said incredulously, brow furrowing. “What the bloody fuck are you trying to do?!” Pansy smiled sweetly at him and patted his hand.
“Nothing, Draco darling, just getting my kicks for the evening.” Draco continued to stare at her as if she’d just grown an extra arm or something.
“What-…but I… Awww, bollocks, do I have to?” Harry whined, finally finding his voice. Hermione gave him a frightening look.
“Yes, yes you do, Harry.”
“That’s the dare, after all,” Seamus piped up, cheerfully.
“Oh, bugger off, Finnigan,” Draco snapped. He then glanced at Harry, eyes hard. “Well, come on then, Potter, get it over with.” Harry swallowed nervously, and nodded. He tried not to think about the fact that he’d never gotten this far with Cho.
Harry crawled across the circle to sit in front of Malfoy, staring at the other boy’s mouth. His lips were pressed tightly together, and Harry was half afraid that when he tried to follow through with the dare, he’d get his tongue bitten off. Clearing his head, he took a deep breath and lunged forward.
It began no different than any of their previous three kisses. In fact, Harry began to wonder if maybe he could just pretend he was frenching-
“Get on with it, Potter. Remember, I’m the one telling you when to stop,” Pansy’s voice broke through his thoughts, and he withheld a groan. He vaguely realized that he was staring at Draco’s nose, and he raised his eyes to see if Draco’s were still open.
They were, and that startled Harry more than he cared to admit. He blinked twice and noticed that light pink spreading over the nose he’d previously been staring at. Then suddenly the kiss changed. It wasn’t just mouths pressed hard together. Malfoy had relaxed a bit, pressing more gently against Harry, and Harry decided he might as well get on with it, and opened his mouth tentatively.
The room was dead silent, everyone staring in rapt attention at the two boys. Draco squirmed slightly, uncomfortable with it all, before he felt Harry’s tongue sweeping over his lower lip. Gasping, he unintentionally opened up to the boy and then Harry’s tongue was in his mouth, running over his own, searching, seeking, and Draco could barely think. He felt his cheeks grow warm, his head swam lightly as he grew dizzy, and he felt like he was falling backwards.
Using your tongue to kiss someone, Harry determined almost immediately, was a wonderful thing. It almost managed to block out the memory of whom he was actually kissing. Carefully, shyly at first, he explored Draco’s mouth, leaning forward and into the other boy. Draco offered no resistance; he actually seemed to be inviting the other boy in. Harry kept leaning forward, vaguely wondering how this was possible, when suddenly Draco overbalanced and fell backwards and Harry realized it was possible because he’d been pushing the blond back. Quickly reaching out, he grabbed the other boy around the waist with one hand while the other leaned on the ground for balance, and Draco’s hands came up to grasp at Harry’s biceps.
The kissing started again without thought, Harry’s mouth crashing against Draco’s in a much more frantic pace. Their tongues swept wildly together, twisting and sucking and Harry had never felt anything more wonderful in his life. He felt one of Draco’s hands leave him and instead felt an arm curl around his neck, pulling him closer still. His knees were starting to ache from kneeling over the blond, but he plunged further still into the kiss and Draco arched into him, a muffled moan vibrating through into his mouth.
It was much too good to be true, and Harry refused to let himself remember that this was Malfoy he was kissing, but this was still new to Harry and he hadn’t quite mastered the art of breathing through his nose. So eventually he pulled back, gasping and staring in disbelief, and his rival, hair askew and mouth swollen from their kiss, stared right back in some mix of shock and disgust.
“Well it’s about time,” a somewhat breathless voice said, and the two boys turned their shocked gazes to Pansy, who was biting her lip slightly and giggling. “I’ve been telling you to stop for the past five minutes.” This wasn’t actually true, she’d actually forgotten that she was even supposed to tell them to stop and was quite content on watching them snog themselves into the new millennium, but no one felt compelled to correct her as they continued to stare in awe at the disheveled not-quite-couple.
Harry and Draco’s already flushed faces became a deeper shade of red when they heard this, and it got even worse when they realized they were still clutching each other. Simultaneously they sprang apart, Harry burying his face in his hands when he got to his original seat in the circle. Ron patted his arm sympathetically.
“Disgusting,” Draco muttered, wiping his mouth across the back of his sleeve as had become the custom after one of these dares. “Enjoyed that, did you, Potter?” he spat, glaring at his counterpart.
“Oh you’re one to talk!” Harry growled back, coming back to his senses. “Grabbing at me like that- you loved it.”
“Loved it-! What…h-how did you come to that conclusion!” Draco spluttered, before coming back to himself and schooling his face into a bored expression. “If kissing me bothers you so much, Potter, then why do you still come to these gatherings?” he asked snidely.
Harry blinked. “Why do you?”
“Why wouldn’t I?” Draco sneered. “It’s not like I’m…like I’m scared enough to back out or something. Or scared at all for that matter! Because I’m not!” Draco ignored Pansy’s snort and the fact that just earlier that day he had been about to forgo the party. But his reply hit the core of the problem between both boys.
“…Not scared…?” Harry murmured, eyes narrowing. “Well guess what, Malfoy?” Harry crossed his arms, raised his chin slightly, and stared determinedly at the Slytherin. “Neither. Am. I.”
That did it. Things shifted again, and the cards were laid out. Like nearly everything else between the two boys, this issue came down to one thing.
The challenge was set. Who’d be the first to cave?
Who would be the first to not show when things got too heavy to handle?