Hogwarts (Challenges and Assignments).

Assignment 7 — Divination: Zoology — Myrmomancy — write about a group of at least three people working together to do something they wouldn't be able to achieve alone

Going, Going, Gone! — (dialogue) "I love you. I know I'm not supposed to, but I do"

Room of Requirement.

Broaden Your Horizons: Romance Stories — Favorite Slash

A/N: this is dedicated to Lil (nerd-writer-otaku) because friends write friends fics, and Lil is my friend ;)

Love you, Lils!

Draco bloody hated Harry Potter. Not only did he have to work with the precious "Boy Who Lived," but the fact that he was actually being nice made it infinitely harder to hate him.

All three of the Golden Trio had returned to help rebuild Hogwarts. Draco was forced to be there as part of his probation. And of course McGonagall had to group him with Potter, Blaise, and Theo. At least two of his only friends were with him. But he still had to get along with — or pretend to get along with, at least — Potter. Thank goodness Weaselbee and Granger were in another group with Pansy, Daphne, and Astoria — all of whom had volunteered. It was moments like when they told him they had chosen to come back and help out that he questioned his friends' sanity.

"We're needed up in the Astronomy Tower," said Theo, checking the list McGonagall had handed out to everyone.

Draco nodded brusquely. "Let's go."

They made remarkably quick work of the Astronomy Tower — especially considering its state. The walls were nearing the edge of collapse, there was dust everywhere, and several chunks were torn off the stone rampart.

Draco paired up with Blaise to work on cordoning the edges off; stones would eventually be levitated in to fill the gaps. Harry and Theo siphoned away the multiple layers of thick, heavy dust, turning their heads away as they sent it over the side of the tower.

There was nothing they could do to fix the walls except cast a strong, collective stasis spell to ensure they didn't come tumbling down.

Then they were off to the next part of the castle that needed fixing.

The teams that day made amazing progress. McGonagall's smile was a bit warmer as she dismissed them that afternoon.

"Hey." Potter stood in front of Draco, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. "Er, want to go out for a drink or something? Hermione and Ron and I are heading to the Three Broomsticks. You can invite Nott and Zabini too, if you want."

Without waiting for an answer, the wizard spun on his heel and strode away, back towards his friends who were waiting for him.

All six of them were drunk by the time they stood up and stumbled out of the Three Broomsticks. Granger and Weasley were leaning on one another and singing "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" in very out of tune voices that hurt Draco's ears and they were all shlurring their eshes.

"We should," Potter hiccuped, a sound that Draco found, for some reason, quite hilarious, "do this shhome other time." He hiccupped again, and Draco's laughter doubled.

"Let'sh get home," he suggested. "Shhee you to —" he hiccuped "— morrow. Latersh, Potter." He giggled.

Granger butted in then: "We shouldn't try to Apparate. Come on, Malfoy. You can crash at our place. You all can."

Draco was too sloshed (shloshed, as Blaise called it) to care. All he heard was "crash."

"Let'sh go," he slurred.

Draco woke up in the crook of Theo's elbow. Blaise had his arm flung over flung around the blond, and his head was pillowed on Draco's stomach. He heard a faint giggle and raised his head to peer blearily towards the source of the noise.

Hermione Granger had her hand over her mouth and her shoulders were shaking with suppressed laughter.

"What's so funny?" he asked, voice rough from sleep.

She shook her head. "Nothing. Get up, Malfoy. We're supposed to be at Hogwarts in two hours. Bathroom's down the hall, take a shower. I'll make breakfast."

She was bossy, he mused as he untangle does himself from his sleeping friends. But it made him feel normal — she bossed her friends around constantly. He wanted to continue to feel like that.

They worked on the walls of the Astronomy Tower that day along with four other groups. Three groups held the walls up and Draco's and Pansy's team — Draco, Blaise, Theo, Potter, Pansy, Weasley, Granger, Daphne, and Astoria — all worked on levitating the ruined stones out and placing new ones in.

"Watch out!" Potter yelped suddenly, shoving Draco to the side. He stumbled and opened his mouth to make a smart remark but a crash came from beside him and he looked to his right to see a stone the size of his head on the floor with a bunch of smaller rocks surrounding it right where he's been standing. If he hadn't been pushed, he probably would have been clobbered and maybe even killed.

"Er, thanks," he said, rubbing the back of his neck.

Potter nodded at him. "I'd do it for anyone," he replied before turning away, back to the others.

Draco found himself more than a bit annoyed at the black-haired wizard's casual response.

The rebuilding went smoothly for several weeks. The nine helpers had actually become quite good friends — due mostly to McGonagall's insistence they work together for everything. But they had discovered that they weren't as different as they had once thought; they had discovered that they shared hobbies and likes and dislikes, and they often just hung out together.

One day, about three months after the rebuilding process started, Draco and Harry — who'd insisted they use their first names — were cleaning down in the dungeons, siphoning away water and whatnot. They both wore galoshes and clothes spelled to repel water.

"Do you ever think about Snape?" Harry asked suddenly as they walked down the corridor to the Potions classroom.

"All the time," answered Draco honestly. "He was my godfather, you know."

"Oh." Harry was silent for a moment. "Er, sorry for your loss."

Draco spun around. "Are you really?" he inquired, doing his best to imitate Severus' silken drawl.

"Yes. We might have had our differences, not to mention a mutual hatred of one another, but I am thankful he was on our side and I can respect that his actions were usually done according to orders from one or both of his masters." He too had stopped walking, and the two men faced one another.

The blond nodded. "I thank you, then, for your well wishes."

They began walking again, and soon reached the classroom. Harry pushed open the door. "Whoa," he said. The room was immaculate. Not a single drop of moisture on the walls or in the air, not a single jar of Potions ingredients out of place. It looked eerily similar to how it had for all seven years they had attended classes there.

Nearly simultaneously, they walked down the aisles between the desks and slid into their usual seats. They realized, as though for the first time, that they were directly across the aisle from one another.

Draco opened his mouth to ask a question relating to Potions, but instead what came out was, "I love you." As soon as he said it, he knew it to be true. He continued, "I know I'm not supposed to, but I do."

Harry's mouth was slack as he stared at Draco in surprise. The blond flushed a pale pink, a spot of color appearing high on his cheeks.

Then, just when he was about to blurt out an apology and say that he hadn't meant it — even if he had — Harry leaned over and planted a kiss on his lips. It was just a peck, but it warmed Draco inside and yet, at the same time, made a shiver run down his spine.

"I love you too," admitted Harry. "And I know it's all rather sudden, but I think this was a long time in coming."

Draco nodded, still rather shocked. He cleared his throat and slipped back into his suave character. "I hope our friends won't take this news too badly."

They didn't.

Pansy passed Astoria a small pouch of coins and Blaise punched Theo in the arm, grinning all the while.

"Mate." Ron rolled his eyes at his best friend. "You seriously just noticed the tension between you two?"

Draco and Harry glanced at one another and shrugged.

Hermione shook her head in amusement. "Finally!"

word count: 1383