Author's note: This is a rewrite because I had left this story for so long and my writing has changed a bit. I left most of the story the same because I still enjoy this one. Sorry to any of the story followers who've come back- I know, it's been too long.
Interhouse unity my ass, I grumble. I don't know why Pansy bothers coming to these ridiculous "parties". No, I do know- she hopes a certain Gryffindor will start to see her in a better light. What I don't know is why I let her drag me along. These scheduled get- togethers are just ridiculous. As though playing games together can erase years of contempt and, in some cases, outright hate. As though we could erase the years of war by hoping hard enough.
Sometimes I think eighth year was a mistake. I think there is just too much pain. Too much that we've seen or done. Too much loss. But I suppose that's just me now. Everyone else has found a way to move on and be happy again.
I'm not sure I ever will.
Pansy yanks impatiently on my arm, interrupting my somber thoughts. "Come on! We have to get there early!" I don't ask why as I already know. Anytime smaller groups form at these parties, the Golden Boy is always first choice. Last time I had made Pansy late we were in groups of six for some childish game and she pouted all night about her group. It was rather funny watching the reactions of our group, particularly a skittish Ravenclaw, sure she was going to hex them. It was less funny when she dyed my hair an astonishing shade of red until I promised to be early for these.
She yanks my arm again as we approach the door to the large space dedicated solely to eighth years. "Alright, alright Pans. Calm down." She sticks her tongue out before opening the door. Despite her impatience we actually had arrived fairly early- only the Hermione types had arrived. Pansy's grip on my arm tightens as she spots the brunette near the center of the room. She practically skips across the room forcing me to an awkward half jog to keep up.
"Hello Hermione," she greets courteously.
"Ah, Pansy! We were just discussing what to do this time." Hermione says with a vague gesture to the others around her. I'm not sure when exactly she stopped being mudblood or even Granger. All I know is it hardly seems to matter anymore. The animosity is gone. At least on my end, I amend as I notice her expression pinch up slightly when her eyes pass over my face.
"Oh fun, whatever it is I hope we're in the same group this time- ah, I mean as far as mending house rivalries." She hurriedly explains. I resist the urge to roll my eyes. For a Slytherin, she has no tact.
Hermione doesn't seem to notice though as a pondering look crosses her face. "I suppose we have been doing pretty small groups the past few weeks. We should play a game with more players." Pansy opens her mouth probably to agree when Hermione cries out, "Oh boys! Excuse me."
Pansy gives a soft sigh as Hermione runs to the door where Ron and Harry had just come in. We share a sympathetic look as Hermione hugs both boys, raising up on her toes as she does.
"Truth or Dare!" Hermione declares excitedly as she heads back toward the group she had left, friends in tow.
"What's that?" Pansy asks eagerly. I nearly shoot her a look before I decide it doesn't matter anymore if she lacks propriety.
"Wizards don't play truth or dare?" She asks, directing her question, not to Pansy but Ron.
He shrugs, "I did."
I sigh in exasperation, "Because your family allowed games, Weasley." I never call him Ron aloud. His face scrunches up and I realize I may have made a mistake saying anything. I sigh again and explain, "You may be poor, Weasley, but your childhood was better in ways than ours." He snorts but I continue anyway, "Most high society families believe children are meant to be seen not heard. To play any games would draw attention and that is- was intolerable." Everyone's expression displays some degree of discomfort and, fighting a rising blush, I snap, "Just explain the rules, then."
Harry's eyes don't leave my face even as Hermione explains the rules. His steady and piercing gaze does nothing to help my blush and I childishly turn away. Instead, I concentrate on what Hermione is saying.
"When the bottle lands on you, the spinner will ask 'Truth or Dare'. If you say 'truth' the spinner comes up with a question you have to answer honestly, if you say 'dare' they come up with something for you to do. Usually, they're embarrassing but sometimes they're just hard. If you spin and the bottle lands on yourself the group comes up with your question or dare. Got it?"
I nodded warily.
"Is there some kind of spell involved, then?" Pansy demands. "Like, how do you know the person is telling the truth?"
"Um, well- I've only played with muggles so- you just accept what they say," Hermione says, a bit unsure.
"I've got the solution," Ron pipes up. A mischievous grin spreads across his freckled face as he turns and reaches into a bag. It suddenly becomes clear why he and Harry are friends. With a look like that they could get up to all sorts of trouble and I know he would always be ready to have Harry's back.
After a bit of rummaging in the clearly charmed bag, Ron pulls out clinking bottles of Firewhiskey.
"Ronald!" Hermione exclaims, slapping his shoulder, but she too has begun to look mischievous.
"Drink up!" Ron cheered.
I graciously accept one and take a deep swig, knowing I will need it if I am to spill my guts for these people.
"Who goes first?" Pansy asks, nearly ecstatic with the alcohol helping her mood.
"Spin it, whoever it lands on is the first spinner," Hermione says, Pansy spins, once, twice- I'm nervous, though I shouldn't be. It's only a game. I take another deep gulp.
Finally, the bottle lands on Ron, "I've got the perfect dare!" He crows, giving the bottle his own vicious spin.
No longer round and pasty-faced, Neville was now the object of most girls', and some guys', fantasies, but that doesn't mean he had changed completely. His eyes widen and he gulps visibly.
"Sorry, Nev," Ron says cheerily, "Truth or Dare?"
Neville turns his wide eyes toward the others, as though begging Harry or Hermione to save him. "Um, truth?"
Ron's grin grows, "Brilliant. Did you really make out with that muggle boy at the village last summer?"
Neville's face grows bright red. "Well, um, yes I- who told you?"
Ron chuckles, "Don't worry, Ginny didn't mean anything by it."
"Oh, well, my turn then?" He spins the bottle landing on some Ravenclaw who's name I always forget. "Truth or Dare?"
"Dare." The spiky haired boy replies.
"Um... I don't know a dare. How about you, um, do a flip?"
The boy's grin is already lazy with alcohol. This is going to be hilarious. He stands, holding his arms out for balance.
"Maybe he shouldn't-" Hermione starts before Ron cuts her off.
"No, no, just let him. This is gonna be awesome."
"Ready?" The boy asks no one in particular. He crouches and straightens out several times before actually jumping. His feet go flying through the air and it's clear he won't land. He flails a bit before landing on his butt. More than his failure of a flip it is his bewildered tone as he asks, "Did I do it?" that sends everyone into a laughing fit. Even I manage a chuckle.
"Oh, that was great!" Ron practically has tears in his eyes and several other people are still holding their sides. The Ravenclaw spins the bottle and everyone manages to move on when a Hufflepuff has to dance like a chicken. Several other people go, doing more stupid dares or answering things like, "Who was your first kiss?"
Then, the dreaded moment arrives. The bottle lands on me. I only feel slightly buzzed and am nowhere near ready. Still, I answer, "Dare," calmly. The Hufflepuff girl- Abbott or something- giggles and says, "Okay, I dare you to... make out with the hottest girl here."
I realize immediately what she hopes from her dare and I grin at her, not kindly, but with a savage edge, before turning to Pansy. I could have gotten away with a simple peck, I'm sure but the rotten part of me hopes she'll dissolve into tears. I lightly push Pansy's chin up giving me access to her face. I press my lips against hers, pull away briefly with her bottom lip between my teeth, and glance in the direction of the Hufflepuff. I smile wickedly as tears start to fill her eyes. Part of me feels sick but it's too small a part of my consciousness to stop. I wink at the girl and continue to kiss Pansy. The girl jumps up and rushes to the door. Pansy breaks off the kiss staring at the girl, confused. She turns to me with a glare.
"You! Promised! No! More! Ice! Prince!" She growls accentuating each word with a blow to my arm.
Ron cuts in with a snort, "Ice prince?"
"It's nothing." I say.
At the same time Pansy explains, "It's what we call Draco's darker, albeit charming side."
The more daring of the group chuckle, though most stop at a look from me, Ron continues laughing. Eventually, he wipes at his eyes and gives a boisterous "Whew!" It was definitely not that funny. I look back at Pansy to find her still glaring.
"You! Know! What!" She says hitting me again.
"Alright, alright Pans. I'm sorry."
"Don't apologize to me."
"You want me to apologize to the girl?"
"Hannah deserves an apology."
I don't know if I agree because of the liquor or to get Pans to stop hitting me but I say, "Fine, I'll do it in the morning." We turn back to the game to see all around amused faces, especially from the Golden Trio.
"Guess we know who wears the pants," Ron says laughing more.
"Oh, we aren't together." Pansy explains.
"Really? Even with a show like that?" Hermione asks. We both shrug and the game moves on.
Truthfully, it would be easier if we were together. Pansy would be happy, despite her crush on the Gryffindor girl, our families would have loved us to marry (though neither of us worry so much about that anymore), and I truly do love her. I had thought once that I loved her that way, but it's just different. Kissing her is fun but nothing more. I can't make it mean anything more to me. She never minded though and somehow understood even when I wasn't sure I did. Just one of the reasons she's my best friend.
I sigh a bit too loudly, but the game is loud, and no one takes notice. Except, of course, the dark-haired savior. His emerald eyes seem clouded with concern though I know it's just me seeing what I want.
He doesn't care for me in any way, I scold myself.
I realize I hadn't been paying attention to the game when Pansy nudges me. Shit, the bottle is pointed at me. I try to focus on the spinner, the loud-mouthed Irish boy from Gryffindor. He only occasionally spent time with the Golden Boy so I never bothered to learn his name. I take a sip of Firewhiskey, still not drunk enough for this.
"I dare you, to kiss me."
"What?" Half the group asks at once.
"Aw come on, I just want a bit of fun with him. Besides, if Malfoy is straight I'm a Leprechaun."
Ron looks amusedly at me, "That would make sense." I ignore that and cross the circle to the Irish. It's just a game.
He's not the most handsome of guys but I quickly decide he makes up for it with his kiss. I realize he might be too good when my body starts to feel hot and I break off the kiss.
"Told ya," the devilish boy says with a wink.
"Fuck you," I mutter halfheartedly.
"When and where?" He questions jovially, I stare a minute before deciding he's joking and playfully shove him back. I go back to my side of the circle, pointedly ignoring the stares as I spin the bottle. Thankfully, it's just Pansy.
"Truth or dare, Pans?"
I pause for a moment, thinking of the perfect dare for her. "I dare you to switch shirts with the person across from you."
"Okay? Oh. You don't have to Hermione."
Hermione's face flushes crimson. "Oh no, that- that's alright. It's a dare after all and- yes. Go ahead." Pansy smiles at the girl's rambling before pulling her shirt over her head in one swift motion. Pansy wouldn't care but, I think, it's good for Hermione that most people have left by now.
Hermione blushes again as she catches Pansy's shirt and starts unbuttoning her own.
Pansy is too enraptured by Hermione's now showing bra to notice, but I realize Ron doesn't seem bothered at all. Shouldn't he seem mad or upset by his girlfriend taking off her top? Then, as Hermione tosses her shirt to Pansy, I realize her eyes catch on pansy's laced bra.
Maybe the situation isn't as hopeless as we had thought.
With a shirt covering Hermione again, Pansy is free from her trance to spin the bottle. I decide to play matchmaker and cheat- just a little though. The bottle stops on Hermione and I don't think anyone notices me putting my wand back.
When Hermione answers, "Truth" I lean toward Pansy and whisper in her ear.
"I don't want to know that," she whispers back.
I pull away and answer aloud, "I think you do."
She gives me an odd look before turning back to Hermione, "How far have you and Ron gone?"
Hermione looks confused for a moment before her eyes widen. Ron is blushing madly and both stumble over each other's words.
"not together and-"
"she's like a sister"
"I don't like-"
"We're not together."
Harry grins amusedly at his friends, his eyes sparkling like he knows a secret.
"Really?" Pansy asks a sly smile spreads across her face. Hermione nods vigorously. I'm just glad I was right.
I saw that, Harry mouths to me. I half expected him to start cursing me, but his eyes remain jovial. He really has grown up, not two years ago, he would have jumped at anything to make me look suspicious. Of course, he was usually right.
I lean back on my hands, tilt my head, and stare at him through slanted eyes. The alcohol caused a slight blush against his cheeks and creeping up his neck. His emerald eyes sparkle with delight as he watches the others play, but his grin falters when he thinks no one is watching. I sit up and his eyes catch the movement, I saw that, I mouth. Not sure if he understands what I mean, I tap my own lips. His eyebrows scrunch together for a moment staring at the ground. Finally his eyes raise to search my face and he quirks an eyebrow as though asking me, what are you going to do about it? I don't get a chance to answer though when the bottle lands on Harry and our silent conversation is cut off.
"Truth or dare, Golden Boy?" Shit, Pansy. I'd lost track of the game again, I just hope Pansy doesn't do anything stupid.
"Dare," Harry says, his voice surprisingly unslurred.
"I dare you. . . to do a striptease." Right then and there I decide I will kill Pansy.
Ron chokes on his drink as he laughs at his mate. Hermione looks to Pansy with a mischievous grin and the two blush before looking back to Harry. Several others cheer as he stands up.
Harry holds his hands out in a shushing motion, "Alright, alright. Calm down everyone." He pushes his hair back, succeeding only in making it more ruffled, before torturing me. He pulls the edge of his shirt up only enough to expose a strip of tanned skin before it settles again. He does a complex hip shake, that should have looked ridiculous but on him was enticing. In one swift motion, he pulls his shirt off and tosses it away. The damn thing plops neatly in my lap and for one crazy moment, I wonder if it was on purpose. Another series of wiggles then Harry bows. I'm not exaggerating when I say the whole room bursts into applause. He sits down, a broad grin stretching across his red face.
"Um, Potter? Your shirt," I say stretching across the circle to hand it back.
"Thanks, Draco," he says taking it. I sit back, frozen in shock. Not only did he thank me, Harry just called me Draco. It probably wasn't a big deal, lots of people call me Draco but, he has never called me by my first name. And as crazy as it sounds, my name has never sounded so good.
Pansy giggles softly in my ear, "Draco," she sings with a mocking raise of her eyebrow.
"Shut up," I whisper a bit too loudly. My face heats up as several people looked at me.
Harry spins the bottle and it stops directly on me.
I might have taken it merely as chance- if I hadn't seen him slide his wand back into his pocket. I frown at him, I saw that.
He shrugs, his grin growing, "Truth or dare, Draco?"
It's just a game, I think again. It doesn't help my growing panic. Why would the Golden Boy purposefully stop it on me? What could he want?
Still, never one to back down from a challenge, I reply coolly, "Dare."