Disclaimer: Characters are, of course, owned by J.K. Rowlings. I own nothing but the silly situation.
Warning: Mild Harry/Draco slash.
It was with a great feeling of relief that Ron opened his door when the bell rang. He had invited Harry and Draco over to help him decorate his and Hermione's apartment for her 21st birthday party later that evening. It would be the first party since their wedding that summer, and the first ever that he had tried to plan on his own. Both sets of parents were coming, as well as lots of friends and relatives, and Ron was nervous. So he'd asked Harry for help, which of course, meant Draco too, because since their seventh year at Hogwarts, they had become inseparable, and neither of them went anywhere without the other.
Both Harry and Draco came in laden with presents and bags, as they had shopped for food and decorations on the way over. Draco disappeared with his, but Harry set the ones he was carrying down in the parlor, and triumphantly pulled a small package out of one of the shopping bags.
"What's that?" asked Ron.
"Balloons," said Harry with a grin.
"Balloons," repeated Harry. "They're Muggle party decorations. Hermione will like them."
Ron looked askance at the thin limp rubbery thing that Harry pulled out of the package. It was a dull dark blue color. "I don't know, Harry. Those look pretty weird to me."
Harry laughed. "Watch this," he said. He put one end of the rubbery thing up to his lips and blew into it.
To Ron's surprise, the thing puffed up, turning a beautiful shade of turquoise as it expanded.
Harry continued to blow into it until it had swelled up into a long cylindrical tube. He held tightly to the end as he removed it from his mouth, and held it up for Ron to look at.
"Wow!" exclaimed Ron. "What happens if you let go of it?"
Harry grinned and held the balloon up over his head, then let it go. The balloon flew wildly about the room for a few seconds making a funny noise.
"That's wicked!" snickered Ron. "But I'm not sure that's the kind of thing Hermione will go for. And anyway, how are we supposed to decorate with those, when they fly all about like that?"
Harry retrieved the fallen balloon and proceeded to blow it up again. "Like this," he said, as he tied off the end. "You tie string or ribbon to the end and hang them from the ceiling. They come in lots of shapes and colors, so they look pretty when you get a bunch of them together."
Ron smiled. "I see," he said. "Yeah, Hermione will like that. Thanks, Harry. I want everything to be extra special for her today."
Just then, Crookshanks strolled into the room and jumped up on the couch. He turned around twice, then settled down into a furry ball to sleep.
"Bloody cat," muttered Ron. "I just cleaned that sofa. Hermione lets him go anywhere he wants, so he gets hair all over the furniture."
Harry looked down thoughtfully at the balloon in his hand. Then he smirked at Ron. "Hey," he said, "here's something my cousin Dudley used to do." He rubbed the balloon back and forth several times on his pants leg.
"What on earth are you doing now?" asked Ron.
"Building up a static electricity charge," replied Harry with a mischievous smile.
"Never mind. Just watch." Harry took the charged balloon and crept quietly to the couch. He lowered the balloon over the sleeping cat, until he was holding it about an inch away from that orange striped fur. Then he moved it slowly back and forth.
To Ron's amazement and delight, Crookshank's fur stood straight up, crackling and shooting off sparks. The cat came instantly uncurled, took one look at the balloon hovering over his back, and with a panic-stricken yowl, leaped off the couch and shot from the room like a pack of howling banshees were after him. "Oh god, Harry!" laughed Ron. "That was great. He'll think twice about sleeping on the sofa now."
Harry laughed too, as he handed the balloon to Ron. "Dudley used to do that to me," he said.
Ron took the balloon cautiously. "You mean it will do that to people's hair too?"
"Sure," said Harry.
Ron suddenly got a devious glint in his eyes. "Where's Malfoy? Does he know about this?"
"No," said Harry. "He's in the kitchen, putting away the cake and ice cream we brought." He paused, taking in Ron's scheming expression. "Oh no, Ron. . . ." But Harry couldn't help giggling. "Please don't. . . ."
"Don't what?" said a cool voice from the doorway. Draco sauntered in, licking his lips, holding up one finger that was coated with chocolate frosting. He walked over to Harry and draped one arm around Harry's shoulders.
Harry put his arms around Draco's waist. "I thought we agreed that you would stay out of the cake this time," said Harry softly.
Draco looked at him with mock insult. "I didn't hurt it. You can't tell I touched it at all." Then he smiled and held up the frosted finger. "This bit's for you, love."
Ron rolled his eyes as Harry licked the icing from Draco's proffered finger. Then he remembered about the balloon and, imitating what he had seen Harry do, began to rub the balloon vigorously against his pant leg.
Draco turned to look at him for the first time since he'd entered the room, puzzled by the raspy noises. "What are you doing, Weasley? And what's that . . that thing. It looks like a bloody blue transparent sausage."
"It's a balloon," said Ron, knowledgably. "It's a Muggle decoration for Hermione's party."
Draco eyed Ron skeptically. "That does not explain why you were rubbing it on your leg. Talk about kinky. . . ."
Harry started to laugh quietly. "Show him what it does, Ron," he said.
"Hold him," said Ron grinning.
Harry tightened his grip around Draco's waist.
"Hey," said Draco, as Ron advanced toward him, holding out the balloon. "Weasley, you keep away from me with that." He squirmed in Harry's arms. "Harry, why are you helping him?"
Harry laughed. "It won't hurt you, silly. It's just . . . something funny."
"I don't care. Weasley, I'm warning you. Don't. . . ." He stopped in mid-sentence, startled, as Ron held the balloon over his head and he felt all of his carefully styled hair stand straight up in the air. "Arrrgh!!! Weasley, you rotten. . . ." He grabbed at the balloon intending to yank it away from Ron, but Ron had a good grip on it.
Harry ducked out of the ensuing scuffle and fell laughing onto the couch. Draco's hair was still sticking up. It was too funny.
Suddenly there was a tremendous bang!
Draco staggered back and fell on top of Harry on the couch. Ron went sprawling to the floor.
"Oh," said Harry wiping tears from his eyes. "I forgot to tell you. Balloons pop."
"Balloons," decreed Draco, scowling and trying in vain to flatten his now static-y, flyaway hair, "are evil. Why anyone would want to use them for party decorations is beyond me."
Harry laughed again. "They'll be great. And you," he said, putting his arms around the disgruntled and shockingly disheveled blond in his lap, "are going to blow them up for us."
End Chapter 1