Title: Talk Is Cheap

Author: GrapeSmshr

Rated: PG-13

Coupling: HP/DM slashy goodness

Disclaimer: These things are really pointless... Charas aren't mine; the song is Something To Talk About by Bonnie Raitt

A/N: I cannot express my joy right now! I'm actually getting somewhere with this fic! I started it almost a year ago and then abandoned it when I started working on HLaS, but I'm working on finishing it up right now. So here we are, another new fic! Read on and enjoy!






Harry Potter took a few steps back from the garden gnome who had just savagely bit him in the ankle. He, along with the rest of his Care of Magical Creatures class, was helping Hagrid de-gnome the garden that had become full of the creatures over the summer and just wouldn't leave, even months later.

"All right there, Harry?" Hagrid called from across the garden as he accidentally kicked a large plant, sending it and a hiding garden gnome flying into Lavender Brown. As she shrieked, Hagrid turned his attention to her.

"Garden gnome getting the best of you?" a silky voice drawled from behind.

Harry whirled around, now face-to-face with Draco Malfoy. He watched in amusement as a garden gnome snuck up and slowly began to untie the laces on the Slytherin's undoubtedly expensive shoes. Giving the gnome time to finish up, Harry answered nonchalantly, "Not so much. What about yourself?"

Snorting, Draco said haughtily, "A simple garden gnome could never outwit Draco Malfoy." As he turned to leave, he lost his balance and tumbled face first into the dirt. He was quickly on his feet again, laces fixed, glaring at a now laughing Harry.

"Perhaps you should rethink your words," Harry managed between his laughter as Draco stalked off. Walking up behind the prankster gnome trying to sneak off, Harry grabbed him by the ankles. "Good show," he told the struggling gnome before swinging it over his head a few times and letting it fly. Harry watched as it smacked into another group of gnomes, bowling them all over.

As the bell signaling the end of class resounded from the castle, Harry breathed a sigh of relief. After an hour and a half of being chased around, those garden gnomes were getting downright vicious. Harry rubbed his injured leg gingerly, starting his on way back to the castle.

"Evil little buggers," someone commented as he fell in step beside Harry.

Straightening up, Harry couldn't help but chuckle at Draco's appearance. His usually perfect hair was disheveled, falling in loose strands around his face, and there were dirt spots on his robes from when the gnome tripped him. "I agree with you wholeheartedly on that one. However, if it were a choice between them and the Blast-Ended Skrewts, I would definitely go for the gnomes, hands down."

"I don't know. Those Skrewts weren't that bad."

"That's because you ran away from them," Harry pointed out, to which Draco huffed but didn't bother to deny.

"So, where's your fan club?" Draco asked as they headed into the castle with the rest of the class.

Harry gave a quirky grin. "Finishing their shrine to me, no doubt." He laughed as Draco made a face, then continued, "Ron and Hermione had to stop in at the library really fast."

"Ah. Quick snogging session?"

"Quick snogging session," Harry confirmed as they turned a corner.

"Should give me a reason to tease Granger in Arithmancy." Draco chuckled, stopping next to Harry. Granted, he could have made fun of her about anything, but this at least gave him new material.

Harry shook his head in amused tolerance at Draco's antics. As Draco turned to face Harry fully, he saw that the blonde had a smudge of dirt just below his left eye. "Hey, you have dirt on your face." He indicated the spot on his own face.

Raising a perfectly manicured hand, Draco succeeded not only in not getting rid of the smudge but also smearing it more. "Is it gone?"

"Nope, still there."

Draco tried again to no avail. "Now?"

Harry gave an exasperated sigh. "Oh, honestly, Draco! You'd think you were helpless or something." Taking a step closer to the Slytherin, Harry raise a hand to Draco's face, delicately running a thumb over the smudge and wiping it into nonexistence. Even though the spot was already gone, Harry let his hand linger on the soft, pale skin for a fraction of a second longer.

At the contact, Draco froze. Harry's hand still rested on his cheek, fingertips pressing lightly into his skin. It wasn't moving, and Draco was going to make no effort to move it.

Wait. Was he enjoying the gentle, innocent caress administered by one Harry Potter? He blinked, cheeks flushing.

This was what snapped Harry out of his apparent daze. He took a quick step back, removing his hand from Draco's face. Their gazes were locked, smoldering silver and burning emerald, neither one wavering, both holding confusion.

Draco was the first to break the silence. "We should get to class before we're late."

That's right! Class! Harry still had to make a mad dash to the opposite end of the school for Divination, one of his least favorite subjects, second only to Potions. Although he didn't mind being late, he knew it would only develop into an even longer version of Professor Trelawney's list of Harry's faults and misdeeds, which would ultimately lead him to an untimely and painful demise. It happened every time.

"You're right. We should head off," Harry answered once he found his voice. "See you at lunch?"

"Lunch, then." With an affirmative nod, Draco turned and left down the long hallway as Harry sprinted up the stairs.



Taking a deep breath, Harry filled his lungs with air that wasn't saturated with the heavy perfumes of the Divination classroom. He never could quite be happy enough when it was time to leave, especially since he was now headed to lunch.

Whistling softly, he turned a corner and found himself trailing behind a group of gossiping fifth-year Ravenclaws. He went to move around him when he heard his name.

"Can you believe it?" one of them exclaimed. "I knew there was more than friendship there."

"I heard that a second-year Hufflepuff caught them snogging in the library."

"I heard it was in Filch's office."

"Either way," interrupted the first girl, "it makes sense, doesn't it? I mean, they were enemies that became friends. It's only natural to escalate into something else. Can you imagine? Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, secret lovers!" She swooned, and the other girls giggled.

But Harry didn't giggle. In fact, he didn't even breathe. Frozen in midstep, staring after the girls long after they turned the corner, he couldn't even command his brain to function. As black dots swam in front of his eyes, he took a few heaving breaths and leaned up against the wall, trying to make sense of what he just heard. Because he did just hear that, right? He wasn't going crazy? But as two young Hufflepuffs passed by, they glanced his way and started giggling.

Collecting his wits, Harry hurried on his way, stopping only to dodge people. He wondered how far the rumor had spread.

Upon approaching the Great Hall, Harry found Draco waiting for him, impatiently tapping his foot. "It's about time," he told Harry. "What took so long?"

"Oh, you'll find out soon enough," Harry answered as he grabbed Draco's arm and steered him into the Hall.

As soon as they entered, the Hall went silent as all eyes were on them. After a moment, the room began to hum with loud whispers accompanied by furtive glances.


People are talkin', talking 'bout people

I hear them whisper, you won't believe it


"So you didn't hear the rumors, either?" Harry asked in a low tone.

"What rumors? Why are they staring at us?"

Leaning in closer to the blonde, Harry said, "There are rumors floating about that you and I are, well... dating."

It took a moment for this to sink in. People thought they--he and Harry--were dating? "What? Wait, what?" His voice rose a couple of octaves as his eyebrows shot to his hairline.

"My thoughts exactly." Harry sighed. Well, he wasn't about to let some rumor get the best of him. Still holding onto Draco's arm, Harry led them both over to the Gryffindor table and to the two empty seats next to Hermione Granger. As they sat down, everyone's eyes at the table fell upon them. Harry shot them a glare, and they turned away quickly. Satisfied for the moment, he gave a half-smile to his friends. "Hey, guys."

Ron gave him a look of disbelief before shaking his head and saying, "Hey, mate. What took you so long to get here? We left Divination at the same time."

"I, uh, ran into some people." Should he tell them what he had overheard the girls saying? He was sure they had heard the rumors. Maybe they knew where the gossip had started. "Hey, uh... you haven't heard any rumors about Draco's and my torrid love affair, have you?"

The blunt question caused Ron to spit out a mouthful of pumpkin juice all over his plate. "So it's true?" he asked incredulously, eyes bulging.

"Of course not!" Hermione scolded. Then she thought a moment and asked uncertainly, "Is it?"

"No!" Draco exploded. And they called themselves Harry's friends?

"Just making sure. No need to get huffy," Ron retorted, wiping the pumpkin juice off of his plate.

"No, it's not true," Harry reiterated after throwing the tiniest of glances in Draco's direction. For some reason, the way the blonde answered so vehemently really struck Harry, and he didn't know why. He chalked it up to annoyance at the rumor, nothing more.

"That's a relief, mate," Ron said cheerfully as he began piling his now empty plate with more food.

"Why? What would be wrong if I *were* dating Draco?" Harry asked sharply, more sharply than he meant to. In all reality, he didn't mean to ask the question in the first place. It just... slipped out.

"Well, if you were, I'd like to think that you would be the one to tell us so we wouldn't have to hear it from the rumor network."

Hermione watched as Harry's face erupted into a myriad of emotions. He seemed satisfied enough with the answer, but there was something else under that thin veil of satisfaction. He looked relieved that Ron wouldn't judge him. He also looked... happy? Yes, she decided, there was no denying that new glint in his eyes or the tiny grin that had settled upon his lips. Hermione glanced at Draco. He was staring down at the table, lost in thought. But she swore that she caught the faintest wisp of the same emotions that Harry possessed. Smiling knowingly, Hermione made plans to talk with some people after lunch.

Eyes roaming over the Hall, Harry found people openly grinning and winking at him. He turned to the Slytherin table, whose occupants were neither grinning nor winking but were looking at Draco expectantly. He nudged the blonde in the side, nodding toward the other side of the room.

Sighing, Draco obligingly rose from his seat. "Looks like I'm needed for damage control. Raincheck for dinner?" he asked Harry.

"Dinner," Harry echoed as Draco marched determinately across the Hall and over to his fellow Slytherins, where his Housemates were waiting. With a tiny sigh, Harry turned his attention back to his friends. He noticed Hermione staring at him, scrutinizing his every move. "What?"

"Nothing," she shook her head, absently munching on a wheat roll. But her nonchalance didn't fool Harry for one second. He could always tell when she was up to something, and this was definitely one of those times. He would have to keep an eye on her...



Heaving a loud sigh, Draco made his way to the Great Hall for dinner. He had spent the majority of the afternoon fending off questions from his Housemates about his supposed tryst with Harry. He still wanted to know where those ridiculous rumors started.

But was it so ridiculous?

Yes, yes it was, Ridiculous. Preposterous even. He and Harry dating? Just the though of it made him--well, he didn't quite know. And that was never a good sign.

Bracing himself for the crowd, Draco pushed open the heavy door and instinctively paused. His suspicions were confirmed when the majority of the Hall glanced in his direction. Ignoring the looks, he made his way over to the Gryffindor table and took his usual seat next to Harry. "I see the rumors haven't died down any," he observed astutely.

"That's an understatement," Ron grumbled from across the table. "I've had questions all day from Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs alike. They want to know if I've ever caught you two snogging in the common room and such nonsense. Nosy bunch, the lot of them," he finished loudly with a meaningful glare to the other tables, where the occupants flushed and quickly turned away to resume their whispering.

"So, how did the Slytherins take it?" Hermione asked, gazing at Draco sympathetically. She knew that his House was not likely to just let the rumors fly around without accusing Draco of something. After all, the Gryffindors did just that to Harry.

Actually, Draco didn't quite know how the Slytherins took the rumors. Their reactions were quite unlike what he would have expected from them. There were no angry retorts, no threats of death or hexes, not even any ill words spoken. Instead, his friends had sat him down and proceeded to question him on his friendship with Harry. No accusations, no name-calling, just simple, harmless questions. The lack of anger actually scared him a bit.

"They took it all in stride," he answered slowly, casting a sidelong glance at the Slytherin table. The occupants were eating and talking in normal tones. It was obvious that they weren't participating in the gossip.

"That's a good thing. Right then, let's eat," Harry said briskly as he vigorously spooned potatoes onto his plate.

With a slight shake of his head, Draco followed suit.

As dinner came to an end, the group filed out of the Great Hall to spend time outside before the sun went down. Harry and Draco were all too aware of eyes following their every moves.


They think we're lovers kept under cover

I just ignore it, but they keep saying


The foursome sat under a tree on the lake's edge, basking in the last few rays of sunlight. Several other groups were doing the same. It was the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

Ron had brought his chessboard out with them. After massacring Harry a couple of times, Harry had complained and in turn had challenged Draco to a game. Harry had no doubt that Draco would be good at chess since he was quite the strategist at everything else.

Turns out he wasn't.

Within five minutes, half of Draco's pieces had been captured, while in turn he had managed to seize only two of Harry's pawns. Growing more frustrated in each turn, Draco would order a piece to do something. That piece would shout about the non-strategy of unknowingly sacrificing important pieces before he would be captured by one of Harry's pieces.

And Harry, Harry was having a great time. He didn't care that he was winning. That was just an added bonus. No, the real treat was watching Draco get all flustered and yell at his chess pieces. His cheeks were red, eyes narrowed, hair slightly tousled from his hand raking through the silvery strands in frustration. Harry was having more fun watching Draco than playing the game.

And Hermione, bless her meddling heart, had noticed.

As the game ended only minutes later with Draco's inevitable defeat, the group decided to head in for the evening, as the sun had just about set. Harry and Draco walked together, while Ron and Hermione lagged behind, holding hands.

"That was a really pathetic game," Harry was teasing Draco.

Huffing indignantly, the blonde retorted, "Well, unlike *some* people, I spend my time studying useful subjects instead of playing pointless games."

"Pointless games, you say?" Harry snorted. "No wonder your strategies at Quidditch are so horrible."

Draco gave Harry a wounded glare, pressing a hand over his heart. "Really, Harry. That was low, even for you."

"I know you're not insulted, so don't pretend to be."

"You're right; I'm not." He grinned mischievously. "But that was still low." He promptly pushed Harry in the shoulder, causing the teen to stumble.

At Draco's chuckling, Harry's eyes narrowed. He thought that was funny, did he? Well, maybe he would think *this* was hilarious! Harry returned the shove, chortling as Draco tripped over his own feet and almost smacked into a tree.

"Ok, this means war!" Draco lunged at Harry, but Harry was ready for him. As the blonde reached out to shove him, Harry caught his wrists in mid-action. Unfortunately, Draco had gained a bit of momentum, so he crashed into Harry, sending them both sprawling to the ground.

Startled green eyes were locking with stormy gray. Harry was distinctly aware of Draco's body covering his own. He was even more aware of the fact that the other teen didn't seem to be moving from atop him, and Harry wasn't complaining. Why wasn't he complaining? Any other person, and Harry would have politely asked him to get up. But he made no such request of Draco...

When Draco had felt himself pitch forward into Harry, he instinctively grabbed for something to break his fall. As they toppled over, he had buried his hands in the Gryffindor's robes to try and regain balance, but it was fruitless. They still fell, and now Draco was lying on top of Harry, seemingly unable to move.

The two just lay on the ground, eyes locked, breathing growing more and more shallow. It wasn't until Hermione rushed over did they realize what kind of compromising position they were in.

"Are you all right?" Hermione asked, concern mixed with amusement. She helped Draco to his feet, then extended a hand to Harry.

"We're fine," Harry reassured her as he pulled himself up, standing awkwardly next to Draco, avoiding eye contact. But even as he said it, he wondered if it were true.


We laugh just a little too loud

We stand just a little too close

We stare just a little too long


Frowning at the two, who were too busy staring at the ground to notice, Hermione nudged Ron, who only shrugged in return. Throwing her hands up in frustration, she growled, "Oh, let's just go inside."

The others obediently followed, walking in silence until they reached the stairs leading to the dungeons. There the three Gryffindors bid goodnight to Draco as they continued on until they were safely in their common room.

Several people were lounging around, talking and laughing with their friends. Harry and Hermione sat down on one of the couches, while Ron went to talk to his sister, Ginny, and Neville Longbottom.

Taking advantage of the time away from Ron, Hermione dove right into interrogating Harry. "Just what was that all about?"

"Huh? Oh. We were just clowning around." Actually, Harry had been repeatedly asking himself the same question. He still hadn't been able to come up with a plausible answer. Why *had* he froze when Draco fell on him? Why *didn't* he asked the blonde to move? He had no clue, none at all.

But Hermione did, and she was about to inform him. "That didn't look like just clowning around," she said knowingly.

"We weren't fighting, if that's what you're insinuating," he burst out defensively, hands splayed out in front of him.

"Honestly, Harry, you are so naive!" Hermione sighed, wondering just how dense one person could be. But she knew Harry, which meant she also knew that he would never get her implication, so she'd have to plainly spell it out for him. "I meant that the way you two were acting was almost like you were... flirting with one another."

"What?" Harry screeched loudly, gaining the attention of several of the room's occupants. "You're crazy," he shot back in a more subdued tone. "We weren't flirting!"

"Really? Oh well." Hermione sighed dramatically. Then she added as an afterthought, "Too bad, because it looked to me as if he really likes you. Goodnight, Harry." She kissed him on the cheek, then went over to kiss Ron, then bounded up the stairs.

Harry didn't even notice her departure. He was too busy thinking about what she had just said. She thought Draco liked him? As in *like* liked him? That was ridiculous! He tried to chuckle, but it came out more as a cough. Apparently it wasn't as ridiculous as he thought.

And he had many a thought on the subject, the foremost being that he wasn't upset by her words. In fact, a tiny part of him felt joy over the speculation, and that confused him even more. Did he like Draco like that?

This wasn't something he'd ever considered. Sure, they were friends. Good friends, even. Best friends? No; he reserved that title for Ron and Hermione. But now that he thought about it... Maybe there was something else there, something he hadn't noticed before.

These thoughts followed him all the way upstairs and into slumber.


Maybe they're seeing something we don't darling

Let's give them something to talk about

Let's give them something to talk about

Let's give them something to talk about

How about love?






Oh, I do so love this song. And, of course, the power of rumors... Who started the rumors? Will they ever find out? And will anything ever stem from them? Stay tuned to find out! Please review! Tell me what you think. A sentence. A phrase. A word. Hell, I'd settle for a note saying that you loved the song and thought I mangled it (but please, if that's your reaction, tell it to me gently...)! Thanks for reading. I love you guys!