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: Another chapter! I'm still alive! Just barely, might I add. With finals fast approaching, I'm just about at the point of tearing out my hair (and I have super short hair, so that'd be a very bad idea). But these last couple of pages just wrote themselves, so I'm quite happy about that. I hope everyone has enjoyed this fic so far because we have reached the end... So, without further ado, read on and enjoy!

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The next morning, Harry told his friends to go without him to breakfast, as he had something to do before he joined them. So Hermione and Ron complied, and now they were waiting for him to show up. Twenty minutes had already passed, and Harry wasn't really one to miss meals, as he, much like Ron, had a great affinity for food.

"Was he acting funny to you?" Hermione asked, tapping her fingers on the table as she glanced at the door for the hundredth time. "Harry usually doesn't skip breakfast."

Rolling his eyes, Ron answered, "He obviously has a good reason for missing, then. If there was a problem, he would have told us."

"I hope you're right... Oh, there he is!" she squealed as Harry walked through the door with Draco. "Draco's with him," she reported to Ron, who only snorted and continued eating. "Oh, good. At least now we--are they holding hands?"

Now *that* got Ron's attention. He swiveled around in his seat to stare at the two. "Hermione, my dear, I think you are losing it. They're doing no such thing."

Sure enough, further inspection showed the two not touching. She rubbed her eyes. "I could've sworn..."

"I hope there's some food left for us!" Harry rang out cheerfully as he sat down next to Ron, Draco sitting across the table next to Hermione. "I'm just starved!"

"What were you doing this morning?" Hermione asked at once, her scrutinizing stare demanding an answer.

"Working up an appetite," Draco grinned cheekily at Harry, who smiled in return.

"Doing what?" Ron asked distractedly as he continued eating, while Hermione looked like she was about to fall out of her chair in a dead faint.

"We took a quick fly around the pitch," Harry supplied as he joined Ron in his eager consumption of breakfast. "Was quite nice."

"Too right," Draco agreed as he helped himself to a stack of banana pancakes.

Hermione looked back and forth between the two before finally shrugging and returning to her own breakfast. Just where was her mind at, reading more into things than were really there?

"Who's up for a game of Exploding Snap later?" Ron asked as he cleaned off his plate and began to heap it with more food.

"I'll join, but it'll have to be after Draco's and my meeting with Snape." Harry made a face at the mention of the potions master. For some mysterious reason which he refused to divulge at the time, Snape had requested their presence that morning.

Hermione clucked her tongue sympathetically. "I hope he didn't find some bogus way to take off points."

"That couldn't be it. Why would Malfoy be there, then?" Ron pointed out, waving his fork for emphasis.

"To gloat?" Harry joked. Then he shrugged. "I'm sure it's fine. Anyhow, the meeting is soon, so then we'll see."

As they finished up breakfast, Ron rose from his seat. "I'm going to ask Dean, Seamus, and Neville if they want to play cards with us." He moved down to the other end of the table.

Draco checked his watch. "Well, we have fifteen minutes before our meeting," he told Harry. "Fancy a quick snog?"

Hermione spit out a mouthful of pumpkin juice, spraying it all over an unsuspecting and much indignant Harry. "What?" she shrieked.

"I asked if Harry would fancy a quick jog. You know, to work off our breakfast?" Draco stared at her like she was crazy.

"No, no, that's not what you said!" Hermione accused, pointing her index finger back and forth between the two.

"What else would I have said? Are you feeling all right, Hermione?" Draco gave her a concerned look.

Her suspicions faded with his concern. Heaving a sigh, she murmured, "Apparently not. I must have slept funny or something."

"Maybe you're still tired," Harry suggested. She did look a bit fatigued, not to mention more than a little confused. "But Draco and I have to go. Will you be all right?"

"Yes, fine," she waved them away, rubbing her temples with closed eyes. "I'll see you later."

"Right then. Shall we?"

Draco nodded to Harry's question as they got up and left the Great Hall. Once out of earshot of any people, they burst into laughter. "It's quite amusing messing with her head like that," he gasped out. "We should do that more often."

"It is amusing, isn't it?" Harry agreed wholeheartedly. While he loved her dearly, she really did need to learn to keep to her own business. It was good that her meddling worked out successfully; otherwise he would have been highly livid.

"Want to head down to the meeting early?" Draco asked. "Severus wasn't at breakfast, which means that he's already waiting for us."

"Might as well get this over with."

With Draco leading the way, the two set out for the dungeons. He really was quite curious to see what the meeting was about. It couldn't be about their performance in class, as each potion they brewed together had been successful. The request was unexpected.

In no time they were outside of the Potions classroom. Taking a deep breath, Harry knocked. As they were bid entrance, they entered and were greeted with a nod.

Draco took a seat at the table in front of Snape's desk, followed shortly by Harry. "To what do we owe the pleasure of this meeting, Severus?" he asked breezily.

Wasting no time, Professor Snape rose from his seat, moving around to stand in front of them with his arms crossed. "Is it true?"

His vague question only won him two blank stares. "Is what true, sir?" Harry asked cautiously.

"The rumors! Surely you have heard the talk going around?" Snape asked in disbelief. He knew the boy was thick, but this was just bloody pathetic. It was all anyone had been talking about!

"What rumors?" Draco asked curiously, leaning forward in his seat.

Snape blanched. Draco hadn't heard them either? "Have you not been around *any* people in the past two days? Has no one told you?"

"You know how I detest gossip," Draco shrugged.

"So do I," Harry piped up, wanting to alleviate some of the annoyance Snape had been shooting in his direction.

"That still doesn't explain it," Snape muttered to himself. To them he said, "There are rumors floating around the castle about you two. Absurd, really. I just wanted to confirm what I already know." He snorted, lips twisting into a sneer. "Honestly. A rumor that you two are secretly dating..."

The two students exchanged amused glances, a silent conversation passing with the simple raise of an eyebrow. "Oh, *that* rumor!" Harry smacked his forehead with his palm. "Yeah, it's true." His words hung in the silence that abruptly squelched Snape's ranting.

"That's right," Draco answered smoothly, reaching over and placing his hand over Harry's. "Harry and I are dating."

"What?" Snape's dark eyes flashed. His student, his prized Slytherin student, was dating a Gryffindor? And Harry Potter, at that?

"It's true." Draco stood, pulling Harry with him. "And now that you confirmed these so-called rumors, we don't have to hide our relationship any longer. So thank you, Severus." And with that, he dragged Harry out of the classroom.

Snape inwardly groaned as Harry winked slyly at him before disappearing out the door. Oh, Merlin help them all.

******

Let's give them something to talk about

A little mystery to figure out

******

"Did you see his face?" Draco cried gleefully. He was still tugging on Harry's hand, leading him down the deserted hallway. Snape's expression made up for Draco's irritation at the rumors. "He gave us the perfect opportunity," he laughed. "Of course, now that he knows and that Hermione suspects, we're going to have to tell the rest of the world."

"That we will. And we still need to personally thank Hermione for starting that rumor..." Harry paused, somewhat curious about the evil glint that lit up Draco's eyes.

"Don't worry; I have a plan that will take care of both at once." Draco rubbed his hands together in anticipation. "I think at lunch would be perfect."

"Lunch it is, then." Harry hopped from one foot to the other, quite eager. "I should go talk to Hermione, though. I want to make sure she's not going crazy yet."

"All right then. Meet me before lunch in the kitchens so I can fill you in on the plan." He swooped over and caught Harry in an ecstacy-laced kiss, pulling away abruptly and whistling nonchalantly as he began to walk away, leaving a thoroughly disheveled and stunned Harry behind. He turned around and blew a kiss before rounding the corner.

Already plotting sufficient punishment for the blonde for that kiss-and-run, Harry made his way to the library, where he knew Hermione would be. Whenever anything confused her, she always headed toward the library whether her problem was one that could be looked up or not. He loved the way she was so predictable.

Casually waving to Madam Pince and receiving a glare in return, Harry strolled to the back of the library, where Hermione was in her usual 'thinking chair.' He pulled out the seat next to hers, startling her so that she practically jumped out of her own seat.

"Harry, don't so that!" she gasped out as he sat down.

"Sorry. I just wanted to check on you."

There was that concern again... She really must have been acting all loopy. Sighing, she replied, "I'm fine, really. I just don't know what happened earlier. I was apparently hearing things."

"Hearing things? Like what?"

"Well, I could have sworn that Draco asked... no, never mind."

Harry nodded sympathetically as he tried to keep a smirk off his face. At breakfast, he had had the most difficult time keeping from laughing. Her expression had been absolutely priceless! But if Draco's plan was as ingenious as it probably was, then her expression at lunch would be even better! "Well, as long as you're feeling better."

Giving a hesitant smile, he nodded slowly, almost as if she were not quite sure of her answer. "Yes, better," she echoed.

"Good. Then I'll leave you to yourself." He rose from his seat, giving her shoulder a reassuring squeeze before taking his leave.

While he did feel some genuine sympathy toward her, he couldn't help but be highly amused by the way they were tricking her. Hermione was the most observant person he knew, so pulling one over on her was not an easy task. He and Draco deserved gold stars for this!

How was he supposed to wait until lunch? Granted, it was only a couple of hours away, but still. He wanted to go find Draco and snog him senseless, but he had run off without telling Harry his destination. Pouting slightly, Harry decided to go find Ron. The redhead would surely know a good way to pass the time.

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Tapping his foot impatiently, Draco glared down at his watch yet again. Lunch had just started, and Harry was still nowhere to be seen. He was starting to become a bit worried at the Gryffindor's absence.

Just then the door swung open and Harry ran in, panting. He held up a hand as he tried to catch his breath. Once the pounding in his chest died down, he apologized breathlessly, "Sorry I'm late. Ron and I were racing each other on the pitch, and I lost track of time. You know how it is when you're flying." He shrugged sheepishly.

"You're late because you were playing?" Draco asked in disbelief. "I was worried about you! And you were just--"

His words were muffled as Harry stealthily pounced on him, swallowing the indignant cry and replacing it with a satisfied purr.

Ending the kiss, Harry's lips curled into a smile. "Hi."

"Hi," Draco answered, effectively forgetting his being peeved. He was about to dive in for another kiss when Harry pulled away and sat down at one of the tables. Draco glared at the other teen for interrupting their kiss.

"So, what's the plan?" Harry asked in a businesslike tone.

At the mention of the plan, Draco immediately brightened. Taking a seat next to Harry, his grin broadened. "All right, this is how it's going to go."

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Peeking his head into the Great Hall, Harry did a quick sweep of the Gryffindor table. Good, Ron was still getting cleaned up from their race. Giving a thumbs-up to Draco, Harry pushed open the door and strolled in.

"Hey, Harry," Hermione greeted him as he sat down beside her.

"Are you feeling better?" he asked, eyes boring into hers.

"Yes. Um, thanks," she stuttered eloquently, quite uncomfortable under the intensity of his gaze. Averting her eyes, she focused on her food but was all too aware of him still looking at her. Finally unable to stand it, she looked at him again and asked in exasperation, "Why are you staring at me like that?"

"Sorry," he apologized, turning to fill his plate with food.

Satisfied, Hermione went back to eating. After a minute, though, she was aware of eyes on her again. She glanced at Harry, who was once again staring at her. Turning to face him fully, he asked, "Are *you* feeling all right, Harry?"

"It took me a while, but I am now." He continued his unabashed staring.

Shifting in her seat, Hermione cleared her throat. "Was there something you wanted to talk about?"

He nodded slightly. "I know."

She stared at him blankly. "Know what?"

"All of those hints you've been dropping about noticing things. I've been noticing."

Her face lit up in comprehension. "Harry, that's wonderful!" she cried, pulling him into a tight hug. She went to move away, but his arms were still latched around her waist. "Harry?"

"I've been noticing certain feelings," he continued, "about a certain someone. This someone has been a close friend for a while." As he said this, his arms tightened around her, causing her to jump slightly.

"Harry, you're gay," she murmured nervously as if trying to remind him of the confession he had made the year before.

He only shook his head slightly. "I can't deny my feelings any longer, Hermione."

"Harry!" she cried, jumping out of her seat and gaining the attention of some of the other students.

"Hermione, I can't deny my feelings for you," he said dramatically, standing up and facing her. By this time, all attention was on them. "I can't deny my feelings because... I'm in love with you!"

"What? No, you're not!" she argued.

"Oh, but I am," he insisted, taking her hand. "All of these rumors really got me thinking, and I have to own up to my feelings. I love you!"

"Like hell you do!" another voice bellowed.

Hermione spun around, thinking that she would be saved by her boyfriend.

Instead she was met by a fast approaching Draco, who was glaring daggers at Harry. "Good! Draco, please talk some sense into him," she begged.

"Gladly." He approached Harry, arms crossed. "You don't love Hermione. You can't possibly love Hermione."

"And why not?" Harry demanded.

"Because *I* love her!"

"Yeah, because--what?" Hermione shrieked, head whipping around to face Draco. Now she knew it wasn't *she* that was crazy but everyone else. "Now, wait just a minute..." She backed up a step, hands splayed out in front of her.

"Hermione, you can't say that you're surprised," Draco said reasonably. "You're the one who forced me to recognize my feelings for what they really were." He stood directly in front of Hermione now.

"What about Harry?"

"Yeah, what about me?" Harry piped up, standing next to Draco.

"I'm not letting you have Hermione."

"First off, no one is going to *have* me," Hermione spit out vehemently, hands on her hips. "And secondly, I meant, why are you wanting to *have me* when you should *have* each other?"

Harry looked over at Draco. "Well, she does have a point," he answered thoughtfully.

"In that case..." Draco wasted no time in pouncing on Harry.

Hermione joined in the collective gasp as the entire population of the Great Hall watched in shocked intrigue as Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy all but ravaged each other. And from the look of things, the two were thoroughly enjoying it!

When they finally pulled away, both were grinning madly, hands entwined.

Looking back and forth between the two, Hermione could no longer stay quiet. "What the hell was that?" she demanded.

Harry gave her an apologetic grin. "Sorry, Hermione, but you deserved it for meddling in our affairs."

"But--you mean this--it was all a setup?" she spluttered.

"As beautiful as you are, even you can't turn me straight," Harry teased.

"Well, I never," she bristled, but then a smile broke out. "So you two are..."

"Yes, we are," Draco confirmed, squeezing Harry's hand affectionately. "You know, Hermione, you didn't have to start those rumors. You could have just talked to us."

"But... I didn't," she answered slowly, brows furrowed.

"Come off it, Hermione. You've been plotting for days. Both Harry and I noticed."

"I didn't, though," Hermione said again.

There was no doubt in Harry's mind that she was telling the truth. He had known her long enough to recognize when she was attempting to lie. "If you didn't start them, then who did?"

"Bravo! Wonderful performance!" someone from the main doors shouted, the words accompanied by clapping.

Everyone looked over and saw Ron approaching, a look of pure amusement lighting up his face. He just about cracked up at their shocked expressions. "What is everyone staring at?" he asked innocently.

"Ron Weasley!" Hermione screamed, face red. She grabbed him by the collar and shook him roughly. "You started those rumors?"

He nodded, calmly removing her hands from his collar. "Yes, I did."

"But why?" Draco was suspicious. Ron must have known what would happen when the rumors were inevitably confronted, and that made no sense. Why would he try to get the two together when he had a general dislike for Draco?

Rolling his eyes, Ron explained in a tone conveying that they should know the answer already, "It was obvious that you two fancied each other. And while I'm not the biggest fan of yours--far from it, actually--I knew it would only be a matter of time before you got together. However, as neither of you decided to take the first step, *I* decided to move things along." Ron was very proud of himself. He wasn't one for orchestrating grand schemes and implementing them by himself, but he had successfully masterminded this plan. And bonus, he no longer had to keep his brilliance a secret.

"This was all your doing?" Harry asked in disbelief.

Ron nodded. "You're not angry, are you?" he looked back and forth between the two.

To his and everyone else's immense surprise, Draco suddenly launched forward and gave Ron a brief hug.

He pulled back, an embarrassed flush on his cheeks. "Something I said to Harry earlier," he said cryptically by way of explanation.

"Ah." Ron was confused, but he wasn't about to question it. "Good thing that was it, 'cause I'm already taken," he joked, smiling at Hermione. She shook her head but returned the smile.

"Not like I'd let that happen, anyway. He's mine." Harry wrapped an arm snugly around Draco's waist, pulling him close.

"Am I now?" Draco asked in amusement, eyes sparkling.

"You better believe it," Harry smirked before claiming Draco's lips in a kiss that immediately set the others abuzz.

******

Let's give them something to talk about

How about love, love, love?

******

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The end! Now, everyone's assignment is to go out and listen to this song. It's a total pick-me-up. Anyway, I am sooooo excited to finish this fic! I've had the ending in my head for a good week now, and I finally got to write it down! I only hope I did it justice. So, please review! I love love love hearing what you guys think! Besides, the more positive (or even constructive) reviews I receive, the more it makes me want to write. And believe me, I have *tons* of ideas for more fics. Thanks bunches to everyone who read and/or reviewed this fic and my others as well. It means peppermint sprinkles to me, and I adore every single one of you.