Author's Notes: - Sorry for the delay between posting, I've been sick. (Awwww, poor me) Thank you again to everyone that reviewed the last three chapters! Shiny, shiny reviews, I love them all. Keep them coming, this is the conclusion!

Disclaimer: None of this is mine; it is JKR's. While I like to pretend that it is mine on occasion, I would never claim it to be true.    

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PIGTAILS 4

"Potter, do not close that!" Draco insisted as the door to his private room in the hospital wing clicked shut. "How do I know that you're not here to slaughter me in my sleep?"

"Well," Harry replied, nervously clearing his throat. "I'm kind of here to try to fix this, not to smother you with your own pillow."

"Anything is possible Potter," Draco replied shrewdly. "I have been drugged, I'm very vulnerable. Maybe if you come over here and curl up beside me – you're just trying to get closer so you can smother me all the easier, aren't you? AREN'T YOU?"

Harry's face was blank. "Have you taken your sedative?"

"Oh, I'm on to you," Draco continued. "Wandering around all adorable all the time and winning trust… there were more Weasleys before you came along, weren't there? Admit it!" He broke out in a spasm of maniacal laugher and rattled the chains attached to the leather straps around his wrists. "I am ON to you!" he repeated, shoving himself up into a sitting position and leaning back against the wall. He wondered briefly if his pupils were even visible anymore.

Harry sat carefully down on the edge of the bed and looked thoughtful.

"You're plotting," Draco accused darkly.

"I got an idea from a book I read once," Harry informed him and then inhaled deeply, scooting a bit further up the bed. An alarming red hue was beginning to blaze up in his cheeks as he scrunched up his brow and made direct, unnerving eye contact.

"Was this a murder-mystery?" Draco asked, his tone suspicious.

Harry moved even further up, close enough that the shackles binding Draco were rendered useless.

"Just let me give it a go."

"Give what a go? What are you talking about? Why are you this close to me?"

And with that Harry leaned in and grabbed Draco by the face, pressing his mouth down hard onto feverish lips as Draco froze on the spot.

Clearly, Harry had not done a lot of this, and Draco was uncertain as to whether or not pulling back was a good idea. The love-starved can become violent when they're denied physical contact. But the kiss was rather pleasant in a startling, wholly inappropriate kind of way, and he was suddenly glad that the sedative was kicking in.

When Harry broke away, he squinted and looked off into the far corner, his cheeks red and his nostrils flaring.

He had most certainly been driven insane by all of this, Draco decided. Surely, the Veritaserum was doing wild things to his mind, forcing him to go around kissing boys willy-nilly without a thought to the consequences. He had become some kind of awful nymphomaniac and obviously did not feel a thing for poor, shackled, sedated Draco.

"HARLOT!" he suddenly shouted, lunging forward at the cold, unfeeling monster invading his bed. "Sexual assault!" he cried, and Harry threw himself down onto the floor and skittered away on his backside, looking utterly terrified.

"Wha-what?"

"You callous, unfeeling freak, you didn't mean any of that! Come here so I can properly injure you!"

Harry looked crestfallen. "I don't get it, a kiss always works for this sort of situation."

"I am not bleeding Snow White, Potter! And this is obviously not the day that my Prince will come!"

Harry snickered.

The bastard.

"This is no time for double entendres," Draco snapped icily. "You kiss terribly, I could teach you. No, I meant I could show you the proper... Damn it all to hell, I could…"

"Ha!"

"What?"

"I knew you fancied me!"

Draco sighed and crossed his arms as best he could, considering the chains. "Are you just tuning in? I believe all of this has been established already."

Harry stood, a look of triumph spreading across his face. "So you admit it!"

Really, for a hero, he was quite dense.

"Of course I admit it, you goddamn tosser. Now run along and find a proper way to fix all of this so I can go back to being witty and hilariously condescending to you and yours."

"Oh, Snape's on his way or something," Harry told him, waving a dismissive hand and seating himself in Draco's personal space.

"What, with the cure? He's found a cure and you had to go and slobber all over my face anyway?"

Harry smiled affectionately, brushing a bit of hair off of Draco's burning forehead. "It's not definitely a cure. He has an idea."

Draco batted his hand away. "And you couldn't wait ten minutes for him to try it out? Honestly, do you ever get tired of trying to save the day?"

"Well, yeah..."

"Perhaps you should have taken this whole situation as a kind of holiday from your daily adventures," Draco recommended. "You're probably going to get burnout by eighteen and develop unpleasant digestive upsets."

Harry looked down, the corner of his mouth twitching as if he was trying to make it say something it would rather not spit out. "I just, you know. I kind of wanted. I kind of wanted to see what it was like. Kissing you."

"Oh good. I'm relieved that you're not getting overly sentimental over this. You do realise that none of this is going to change the fact that we're bitter rivals, correct? You still drive me insane, and I may have to tackle you or lock you in a small room for hours on end just to be alone with you. To remind you that we hate each other, I meant. Yes."

He suddenly smiled brightly. "See? I-"

The door burst open.

A large cart carrying a massive wooden box rattled into the room, Snape doubled over behind it as he steered it carefully on its wobbling wheels. Behind him were Lucius, Dumbledore, Hermione, Ron, and Blaise marching in a solemn line. They created a semicircle around the bed, each of them wearing a sombre face, except Blaise who looked amused and winked at Harry when they made eye contact.

Snape threw the lid open, muttering to himself as he rummaged through whatever the contents were as the clinking of glass and an unsettling squishing sound filled the otherwise still air.

"How are you, son?" Lucius asked absently, watching the professor's progress with rapt attention.

"The straps are chafing and Potter attempted to molest me."

He nodded. "As long as you're rested."

"Aha," Snape grunted, raising one large vial in each hand and holding them out for all to see. "This is it."

"This is what?" Harry asked warily.

"Oh, a great many things, Potter," he replied in awe-inspiring tones. "I have discovered that undiluted Veritaserum cannot be digested by the human body. It remains in the stomach, exerting the usual effects to the fullest, but it does not pass any further. Therefore, you must each drink this. It will completely neutralize everything in your digestive tract."

"How does it do that?" Harry enquired, placing a protective hand over Draco's.

"It dissolves it."

"Like acid!" Hermione piped up in utter horror. She was leaning over the box and carefully lifted a thin, dusty book out of it. "It says right here that to neutralize any botched potion, the affected witch or wizard must consume this potion and be put under strict medical supervision. If any sizzling sounds become audible-"

"I refuse to consume anything that may make me sizzle!" Draco announced, yawning widely as he felt the sedative hitting him all the more strongly.

Lucius made a tutting sound. "If Severus says that it is safe, you can trust him. He would never hurt my son."

Snape beamed. "Thank you, muffin. Exactly."

"Oh, my God," Draco moaned. "Just give me the potion. Give it to me and let me sizzle. I'd rather die than hear that again."

"Stop being such a drama queen, Draco," Blaise advised, still looking overly smug and pleased beyond all reason. 

Harry looked conflicted. "No, I don't think we should take that. At least not Draco, he's been given a sedative as well. We don't know what all of those potions will do if he takes them together."

"Awww, aren't we the caring boyfriend type?" Blaise chuckled. "And you're holding his hand in a calming manner, too! It's just too sweet for words."

"Don't make me kill you," Draco muttered darkly, leaving his hand where he damn well pleased.

"Just take the potion and we can be finished with all of this," Snape interrupted.

"No!" Hermione cried. "No, they could be killed! We have to find something else to dilute it!"

"You mean dissolve it," Blaise corrected.

"Same thing," the Potions Master snapped, and moved toward the boys on the bed.

"He is not drinking that!" Harry announced, squeezing the hand beneath his.

"I'm really not," Draco agreed, squeezing back.

"Well, why don't they just eat some shrivelfig?" It was like the voice of reason had suddenly arrived.

Every head in the room spun to stare open-mouthed at Ron as he stood in the centre of the group, looking confused and worried as his sentence still clung to his lips.

"Well, it's just a thought," he added with a blush and an uncomfortable clearing of his throat.

"Perfect!" Hermione called out, clapping her hands excitedly and then thrusting them into the box again. "There must be some in here somewhere…"

"I highly doubt that simply eating a shrivelfig will properly dilute such a powerful potion," Snape huffed.

"Oh yes, let's listen to the man that wanted to fry me from the inside out," Draco commented reasonably.

"You just don't want to try it because a Gryffindor suggested it," Harry accused, glaring at the indignant man over the rims of his glasses.

He raised an eyebrow and remained silent.

"Found some!" Hermione called triumphantly. She placed two of them carefully into the palm of her hand and moved over to the bed, thrusting the tiny, wrinkled roots out toward them. "Go on."

Draco could smell it from where he was seated. Shrivelfig had a stench wholly unique to it that was just about as grotesque as the sight of the thing itself.  "I don't think I want to put that-" he began.

"Oh, just shut up and eat it," Hermione cut him off, taking one of the figs from her palm and shoving it unceremoniously into his open mouth. "Chew."

Harry picked the other one up and slid it between his teeth, grimacing and gagging lightly as he forced it down.

Once Draco had stuck out his tongue to prove that he had swallowed upon Hermione's insistence, the room fell silent.

"Well?" Blaise asked, tapping his foot.

*

"Potter, why don't you leave this up to me?"

"I won't forget anything this time," Harry insisted, staring down into the steaming cauldron and then squinting at the sheet of parchment in front of him. "Wait. Wait, I forgot the Mugwort. I'll be right back."

He stood and took off quickly for the cupboards at the back of the classroom, skirting Blaise Zabini as he slipped in through the door ten minutes late.

"So," he said, smacking Draco casually on the back and taking Harry's seat. "How're you feeling?"

"Fine," Draco replied, stirring his potion and wishing desperately for his friend to suddenly pass out.

"No more fever, then?"

"No. I'm fine."

"No more terrible truths?"

"No."

"No more Potter-lusting?"

"No – what?"

"You know," Blaise continued conversationally. "No more fancying Potter. That would have been embarrassing for all of us."

"How so?" Draco asked loudly, startling several people and causing Neville to spill the entire contents of his caldron onto the floor.

"It burns!" he wailed, rubbing at his ankles where the liquid had splashed up under his robes. "Hermione, it burns!"

"Oh, for the love of God," she muttered, grabbing him by the shoulder and leading him, limping and moaning, through the door.

Blaise seemed unruffled. "Obviously, we couldn't have you dating a Gryffindor. Especially not Harry Potter; it would've been terrible."

"How so?"

He was beginning to appear startled. "Well, it's just that… you know, Draco, you're-"

"What? I'm what?"

"Supposed to hate all of them. You're not supposed to fancy a Gryffindor. I mean, look at them, all giggling and saintly." He pointed to a group of them in the far corner, Seamus laughing wildly at Dean who had a wand rammed up each of his nostrils.

"Oh! Well I'm glad you told me, then," Draco spat. "You were informed that I was under the influence of Veritaserum, correct? Not an aphrodisiac potion?"

"Yeah, but now that it's all over things can just go back to the way they were. Just look at them!"

 "Would you shut up?"

"But, I mean, he's a Gryffindor, Draco. Don't you get it?"

He glared. "Potter! Come over here!"

"I'm coming, you bloody megalomaniac!" he yelled back, still staring into the cupboard. "I can't find the Mugwort."

"Forget the sodding Mugwort. Come here."

Harry shook his head. "Fine," he sighed. "But I'm not drinking anything missing an ingredient." He walked slowly, very probably deliberately, back over to the table and then leaned against the wall, looking deeply annoyed.

Draco stood. "I'm told that Gryffindors are off limits to me."

He nodded – somewhat bitterly – and crossed his arms. "Right. Great. That's good."

He looked irritated and embarrassed. Stern and unmoving. Rigid and cold. But he jumped inches when Draco lightly wrapped a hand around his jaw and tilted his face up to align with his own. He made a small sound of surprise in his throat as the other hand found its way to the small of his back. When Draco leaned in to kiss him, the eyes of everyone in the class locked on to them, he relaxed completely and sucked lightly at Draco's lower lip.

 "Yeah, Potter!" Seamus hollered from across the room.

"Ow-ow!" bellowed Dean.

Harry laughed and pulled back. "What was that?" he asked quietly.

"Oh, you know," Draco replied. "I just wanted to see what it was like."