written for the QLFC training camp game round 2 and the hogwarts assignment #1 —

QLFC prompt: SEEKER; write about a third party interest in your OTP

hogwarts prompt: Ancient Runes, Task 2; Write about someone facing his/her fears

wc: 1645

a/n: yet another drarry bc it's my OTP and this was an OTP task so

. . .

Harry hates Pansy Parkinson, and it's for a reason that he hates himself for.

She likes Draco: Draco who's dating Harry. And they were childhood friends. She was never really subtle about it; Harry had known since sixth year — but they'd actually kind-of-sort-of dated. Harry will freely and sadly admit that he's scared.

He and Draco both have murky pasts with each other. The slate's been cleared, of course, but what if Draco still holds on to some of that lingering enmity with Harry? Pansy Parkinson had always been much sweeter to Draco throughout their older days, and Harry? Harry had thrown a Sectumsempra at him. It's no secret that both of them are attracted to girls and guys, but what if Draco decides he likes the girl better?

Pansy is not even a bad person; she's somewhat of a bitch and she's a terrible gossip, but hey, Harry can't blame her for that because the Auror office is rife with trysts and scandals. Plus, Harry is kind of really into gossip. He doesn't really have anything better to do.

So there's his dilemma: he needs all the gossip and Pansy, spill the goddamn tea — is Neville cheating on Hannah, and how do you even get news from Hogwarts? But there's still Draco, Draco, Draco, and Harry can't go through a day without loving the words that spill from her lips because Wow, that's actually pretty juicy while simultaneously hating her stupid, Merlin-forsaken pug nose because Draco might like it.

Love is not something in a fairytale; it's more like a crazy, ugly web of self doubt and self deprecation and cheating and a risk of everything — and somehow it manages to be worth it in the end.

. . .

He tries to be friendly and simultaneously give off a Back off my man vibe — Harry doesn't think it's working.

"Hey, Pansy," he says, strolling into her compartment for lunch break and holding out his sandwich. It's going to be another long day. "So —"

"— The rumors are true," she interjects. "Shelby and Daniel are having an affair, and I know this for sure because they were chatting in the lounge yesterday and I was kind of suspicious, so I hung back for a while, and they were — saying some pretty weird things…" She leans in a little closer and her voice grows a little more hushed, which is the telltale sign she's about to dish the real stuff. "Like, dirty talk...and I swear Shelby said, 'What he doesn't know can't hurt him.' They were trying to be quiet but I could tell — so that's a first person confirmation, they're cheating on their spouses!" Pansy seems opposed to the very idea, grimacing. As if she wouldn't willingly drop Harry under the bus for one single look from Draco.

"Ahhh," Harry says in his I see tone. He shakes his head. "Trysts these days. Can't even properly keep them on the down low."

Pansy nods. "Like, okay, cheating. Whatever. But at the very least people owe it to us to not do it in the office, like, I work here...I don't need that kind of imagery…"

Harry shudders at the thought of inappropriate happenings in the office. "Well. That's a nice mental picture...but cheating, it's so not cool, you know…?" He hopes he's sending the right message. Code for Don't you dare cheat with my man, you damn — okay, you're not that bad, but still.

. . .

Harry tends to forget when they're cuddling. Because when Draco looks at him like that and when Draco has his arms around him like that, who wouldn't forget?

Draco groans and turns to face Harry. "I got another snob patient today."

Harry groans with him. "Another one."

"I know. It's like somehow my holding of a vaccine makes it poison. It's insulting to me as a Healer, and frankly," he says snarkily, "half these patients are hardly worth a syringeful of a dose…"

Harry laughs. "Ah, Draco...you won't believe what's going on in the office."

Draco sits up, then, intrigued — the Auror scandals are a topic of interest for everybody, even Draco — who's a little bit of a grouch with people he doesn't trust — because honestly, Harry and Draco are both terrible gossips. That's probably why they even got together in their Hogwarts repeat, because Hogwarts scandals are the best scandals.

"Are Shelby and Daniel dating? I swear, you make them sound so shady. And now I have to know. Not fair. You get all the hot gossip." He mock-pouts.

"Ah, but you get all the hot looks…" Harry stares at Draco in a sultry manner. Draco looks on in understanding, and finally a smirk crosses his face.

"Mmm." Draco doesn't deny Harry's statement. "But you know what else could be hot?"

"No," Harry plays along, "how about you show me, Mr. Malfoy?"

"I will, Mr. Potter, just as soon as you tell me if they're dating!" He pulls back from Harry all of a sudden.

"Blackmail," Harry gasps.

"Blackmail," Draco affirms. Then he pouts, for real this time. "Come on, you have been tempting me with every last droplet you've gotten and I know you know, or you would've told me, and you can't leave me on a cliffhanger…"

. . .

Pansy's got a dreamy look on her face as she enters the food court of St. Mungo's.

Harry's eyes narrow as he spots that pug nose — and why wouldn't he? He's been on the lookout for it for a long time. Her. What's she doing here? Where he works…? Are they — no, he assuades himself, Draco wouldn't cheat, Draco wouldn't cheat…

Harry forces a smile on his face and makes his hand move up in a wave. "Pansy! What're you doing here?"

"Annual check-up," she explains, walking over to him. "You? I mean, you look fine, so I'm assuming you're also getting checked up?"

"Draco," Harry says simply.

"Draco," Pansy repeats. She sounds a little wistful, voice almost a sigh; Harry thinks he might get it a little, because Draco's worth sighing over.

That's all they say for a while, but she hesitates for a moment before pulling a chair up next to him and sitting down. Harry and Pansy sit in silence, thinking, thinking — Harry doesn't know what she's wondering, of course, but he's debating. Should he speak to her about it? Should he tell her that he knows and he doesn't like it?

It's not him that breaks the silence, though. And maybe that's a bit telling, because isn't he the Gryffindor here?

"Listen," Pansy says, "I know you feel like — threatened by me — or something. I don't know. And, you know, I might like Draco, but I get that he's your boyfriend, that he likes you, and I — I respect that. He has boundaries. We do, too. I'm not trying to get in the way or anything," she tells him sincerely, "and to tell you the truth, I don't know a thing about your relationship; I don't understand it and maybe you do have reasons to feel threatened by me...but you don't need to be. I think, Harry, that I'm not the problem here, really. You know this — I think you're being paranoid. Because I don't see a reason. Maybe if I was falling all over him, maybe, but I'm not, I don't believe I am...you and Draco seem so happy, and that's all I really want for him, you know, to be happy. He has that with you. And I'm rooting for you, so if there's something that bothers you, you should go and tell him and be honest because that's the thing that fuels relationships; honesty, not fear." She smiles at him.

Harry just looks at Pansy for a moment, and thinks about the maturity it must have taken to say that. He thinks about how scared she must have been to admit that she likes Draco and admit that she wouldn't interfere.

Harry nods at her. He could learn a thing or two from Pansy.

. . .

"Draco," Harry confides that evening, "I'm scared."

Draco turns to face him, concern etched into his features. "Of what?"

"I — I know it sounds — really silly — but just hear me out, okay?"

"I'm listening," Draco assures him.

"I'm scared you're going to leave me."

There, Harry thinks, I said it, I said it, I'm not scared, no no no no no no no.

"Why?" he asks. "I — did I do something?" Draco looks a bit sad. "I'm not mad, but I'm a little — a little bit confused. Did I ever...make you think —?"

"No!" says Harry quickly. "I'm paranoid. That you'd decide you like girls better than you like me, and —" Harry's cut off by a pair of hands in his.

"I would never, Harry…"

"I know. I'm just —"

"— Afraid? Yeah. It's okay. I'm scared. I don't know if we can make it work. But I'm willing to try." Draco looks at him with resolve in his eyes.

Harry pulls him in a tight hug and buries his face into Draco's shoulder, the comforting smell of that ridiculous cologne he wears wafting around. Harry inhales it and thinks that he'd like to remember this moment. "I —" Harry's voice chokes up in his throat a little, but he faces his fears and says it. "I love you. And I'm so scared of losing you."

This time it's Draco who buries his face in Harry's shoulder, and he murmurs into it, "I love you too."

They stay that way for a while, just hugging each other and maybe crying just a little bit, but they breathe each other in and they live that way, because that's just life, isn't it?