Title: Automatic Writing
Author name: Airiviel
Author email:
Author's fanfiction or fanart homepage URL: www.airiviel.tk
Category: Romance
Keywords: Draco, Harry, Snape, automatic writing, potions
Pairing: Draco/Harry
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: All five books.
Summary: This is a fic that's sort of branched off of The Essential Ingredient, an epic Draco/Harry I've been writing that is currently on pause. (It's not necessary for you to have read EI to appreciate this fic -- but some things will probably be clearer if you have read it. But do check out the novel-length piece if you're interested at all -- you can find it on my site or on schnoogle.) This is pretty much an alternate scene that's a hint of what's to come in the novel-length.
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. Other citations shall be made where necessary.
Warning: This fic contains slash.

Automatic Writing

Professor Snape had decided to assign a long-term project, and one of the required components was a record of observations. The Professor had said, with obvious distaste, that the journal to be kept would be partly related to automatic writing. Automatic writing, he'd explained, could be used for various purposes -- one of which was divination. The journal had to be neat, include meticulously written procedures and sketches of the substances used, and lastly, descriptions of the effects. This latter part had to be written without thought, and Snape had instructed the students to clear their heads before writing. "I will know," he told them, sneering, "if you begin writing without this crucial step."

Although Snape was a Legilimens, Harry wasn't sure how the professor might be able to figure such things from only their journals, but he wasn't about to fail another Potions assignment. Especially when it was worth three hundred points.

Harry reluctantly pulled out a parchment volume he had purchased at Hogsmeade. He turned to the first blank manila page after his procedures and list of substances. He needed to do his automatic writing entry for the evening. Hermione had looked up extra information about automatic writing, and told Harry that he could start by listing random things to clear his mind. This was going to be a dull night.

He decided to begin with a list of words that could describe the potion continuing to brew in the cauldron adjacent to his desk:

dark

red

boiling

thick

bubbling

smoking

blood

strange

scented

illuminated…

Draco sighed, irritated. He stared at a blank page in his journal, his fingers poised above it, holding a silky black quill. His father had purchased the quill for him -- supposedly it had been enchanted to provide inspiration and studiousness, but Draco suspected that the purchase had, in fact, been nothing more than a big waste of money.

He sat stiffly in his seat, annoyed at the automatic writing assignment Snape had assigned. Tonight was "Potions night," as Lupin termed it. Potter, he could see, was already well into the journal entry. He'd begun…what? An hour ago? Draco pushed his chair back restlessly, and the legs scraped against the marble floor with a piercing screech. He cringed and waited for Potter to send a glare his way, but the boy didn't move. He seemed to be too caught up in his writing to notice. His quill scratched across the parchment with almost a steady rhythm to it. Draco stared curiously. Potter's eyes had glazed over, and he appeared to be in a trance. His eyes stared blankly at something across the room, rather than at the parchment, and his quill never ceased, moving across the page mechanically.

Draco stood up quietly and crept closer to Potter, who sat at the only other desk in the classroom. Some strange interest flared up inside, impelling him to try and glimpse the words scribbled messily on the parchment. He took a couple more cautious steps until he was close enough to Potter to smell him. Involuntarily, he inhaled deeply, and a foreign, bittersweet scent filled his nostrils. The aroma reminded him strangely of enchanted sachets that his mother used to place in his bedroom.

He peered over Potter's shoulder at the parchment. The hand continued to move across the page as if it were detached from the slouched body. The handwriting was messy, and hard to make out. It was written in cursive and in such a way that every word was connected to the other. Draco squinted, barely able to make out the word "with". He realized that it repeated down the page. Curiosity took the better of him, and he tugged a piece of paper out from under the parchment volume, and slid it back onto the desk on top of the parchment under the moving hand. The hand continued to scribble, and in one swift movement, Draco slipped the journal out from under the hand. Potter didn't notice.

Draco looked through, squeezing his eyes together until they were mere slits. The latter part of the phrase, most messily written of all, seemed to say "him"…if Draco was deciphering correctly. He flipped through, and found "be with him" written repeatedly for a few pages back. Even farther back, it said "want him…want him…" Want him to what? Draco wondered. And who? He continued to turn the pages, until he saw a change in the mess of scribbles. There was a long description here, and the handwriting was significantly neater. "There is a disgusting shine to his hair, and yet there is some sense of appeal to it. It looks rather fragile, with its unnatural color, and reflects the pale tone of his delicate skin." Draco's head spun with thoughts, his brain racing as it connected two and two. With a detached and faint amusement, Draco wondered…was this how Potter sounded in his head? It couldn't be…it must've been an effect of automatic writing, he concluded. Nobody spoke this way aloud, let alone in his head. He scanned the passage, seeing what other bits said. "He even sits in a smugly rigid way, a small example of the pride he carries so stubbornly. I am sometimes given to believe that it is nothing more than a shell to protect the soft insides of a gentle being. Then, at other times, I am afraid I'm quite wrong, for he takes on a air of hatred that—"

"Malfoy, what are you doing?"

Draco looked up. Potter had woken up from his trance.
"Are you reading my journal?" he said angrily. He pushed his chair back and stood up.

"No, I'm trying to burn a hole in it by using telekinesis." Draco rolled his eyes.

"I don't remember saying you could copy my work," Potter spat. "You're supposed to do the automatic writing yourself, Malfoy."

Suppressing a guffaw, Draco sneered instead. "You think I'd want to copy this? Are you mad? Do you think I want Snape to think my head's been put together backwards?"

"Whatever, Malfoy. Just do your own work. I worked hard on this—"

This time he couldn't help chortling. "I'm sure you did, Potter. Because I'd call this 'working hard' too."

"Look, I wrote a lot before I fell asleep. And that's more than what you've done! And I don't even know why I'm defending—"

"Fell asleep?" Draco stopped mid-snicker to stare at Potter. Did he really have no idea what had happened?

"Yes, Malfoy," Harry said irritably. "That's what they call it when you—"

"Potter," Draco interrupted, "what were you writing?"

"I'm sure you already know, since you were—"

"Tell me what you wrote. I didn't read anything…you woke up before I could," Draco feinted.

"Stop lying, Malfoy. I know you were reading it."

"You weren't sleeping, Potter." Draco said quietly.

Potter opened his mouth to send a retort, and then realized what the blonde had said. "What?"

"You weren't sleeping. Your hand was still writing."

Potter gaped at him for a moment, and then yanked the journal out of his hands and began reading.

Draco watched with vague interest as Potter's jaw went slack. If all that really was automatic writing, then that must be what he really feels. Draco felt a strange sensation rise up in him. Potter…likes me? His reaction was one of mixed disgust, intrigue, and curiosity. Disgust…because his father would never approve…and he was obligated to despise Potter. Intrigue…because what reasons did Potter have to be attracted to him? And curiosity…because Draco no longer knew how he really felt about Potter -- and what would happen if he…returned those feelings? Some gut feeling tried to force that last thought out of his mind, but instinct kept it there, and he couldn't help recalling Potter's sweet smell…

"How much did you read?"

Potter's hoarse voice called him back to the moment.

Draco looked away. "Most of it, I think."

"I didn't mean—"

"Don't say that," Draco said sharply. His harsh tone surprised even himself, and Potter raised his head to meet Draco's gray eyes.

"I, er, didn't realize the automatic writing would work," Potter said lamely.

"Why don't you hate me?"

Potter blinked. "I…don't. Should I?"

"I never would have guessed that you might have those feelings," Draco said.

"I never would have guessed that we might have this conversation," Potter replied evenly.

After an awkward minute, Potter said, "Do you hate me?" He was visibly tense.

"No." Draco's reply was simple, and he was slightly astonished at the ease with which he spoke the word. "No," he said again, just to hear it, and Potter's shoulders relaxed slightly, perhaps with relief.

"No," Malfoy repeated.

Harry felt the muscles in his shoulder loosen a bit. He drew a deep breath.

"I don't hate you. Not at all."

"Then why," Harry asked, "did you act like you did for all those years?"

"I don't know. But you did the same."

"I never acted like I despised you…I was only angry with you," Harry said.

Malfoy nodded. "Because I provoked you. On purpose."

"Yes. Why did you do that?"

"I wanted you to notice me."

Harry was surprised at the blatancy of the words, and stared at the blonde. "I always noticed you."

Malfoy cringed a little. "Because I was the stone in your shoe. Right?"

"Sometimes."

"I'm sorry," Malfoy said, and Harry wondered if it was the first time he'd ever sincerely apologized.

"Don't be. I should be the one saying sorry, for being so dense and thinking you hated me and—"

Draco drew Harry to him, interrupting him mid-sentence. Their lips collided, and Harry was momentarily staggered by the touch. His arms moved up to Draco's shoulders, and he revelled in the feeling of Draco's hands on his waist. The kiss was fiercely passionate, and nothing at all like his first one with Cho. That kiss had been dull and wet…and this kiss sent a shivering sensation down his spine. His lips tingled and he felt his tongue automatically push into Draco's mouth. Teeth clashed and tongues swirled together, and somewhere in the back of his mind, Harry made a mental note to never underestimate Snape's assignments ever again.

fin