Disclaimer:NOT MINE!

Parings:Draco/Harry. Implied: Ron/Hermione (Later. Much later…), Severus/Hermione.

Rating:R / M (just to be sure…)

Summary:Harry and Draco, who are paired up together for Muggle Studies, are forced to live together without magic for two months. Will they survive each others' wit and charms or does fate have something else in mind?

-:-:-:-I'm Not In Love-:-:-:-

Chapter 18

One step forward, two steps back.

"It stopped raining," Harry mumbled quietly to himself as he exhaled slightly into the body that was underneath him. At the slight rumble from the other male, Harry cracked his eyes open and lifted his head up to meet the slightly amused one of his companion. "What?"

"It's just that you have this tendency to state the obvious; did you know?" Draco replied as he glides his right hand down Harry's cheek. In a burst of childishness, Harry stuck out his tongue in response, earning another chuckle from Draco. Shifting slightly, Harry rested his chin onto his folded arm on top of Draco's chest. The hand that was previously stroking his cheeks now moved to burry itself in Harry's now disarray hair. They held the position for some time, just lying in silence, basking in each other's company, steadily ignoring the chaos around them that was created as a result of the storm billowing through the open sliding door of the balcony earlier that night.

Sighing quietly, Harry pulled himself inward to bask in the feeling channelled to him from Draco through the bond. It astounds him that what he felt there previously now seemed to intensify in intensity and magnitude. What once was only brief burst of emotions, Harry now feels a steady inflow of warm comfort from the other end of the bond. Sensing that their interaction has change somewhat from its previous state, the bond seemed to evolved, now enveloping Harry in a peaceful sense of serenity and completeness, making him feel as if he is falling deeper into Draco's embrace.

Subconsciously, Harry's mind drifted back to Ayden and the relaxed hand that was on top of Draco's shirt curled lightly and grabbed the baby soft fabric as he realized that Draco brought up emotions that was buried along with Ayden when he died. The feeling of emptiness left by Ayden's passing was something nobody – not even Severus – could fill; leaving behind a void that Harry thought would never be filled. The void only deepen when Severus too died, suffocating Harry with the intensity of absolute hopelessness of having to lose another one of his family. At this, Harry suddenly felt as if he was drowning in the memories of both their death all over again.

"What are you thinking about?" Draco enquired as if somehow sensing that Harry has not really present, unknowingly breaking Harry's inner thoughts that were fuelled by the demons of his past. But suddenly, everything stilled and Harry focus on Draco's now nervous expression.

The bond that was somehow pushed to the background now thundered back to life, shattering the coldness that always accompanied Harry since Ayden and Severus left, warming every part of him that had been frozen for a long time. Harry's grip of Draco's shirt tightened as he softly gasped for air as the floodgate that held all his buried emotions open, draining all the negativity away from him. Throughout this, Draco's hand that was soothingly rubbing his back, as if assisting him to breathe while his expression shifted from nervous to worry, was the only anchor that steadied him throughout the purging of the now unwanted feelings. Throughout this, all Harry could see was Draco's molten eyes and feels the warm vibration of strength pulsing through the bond.

It terrifies and excites him all at the same time.

As soon as it started, everything was over. It was only then that Harry gathered the residual strength from the scattered remain of his once dark past to answer Draco's worried question.

"You're warm," Harry answered truthfully, earning a puzzled look from Draco at the rather ambiguous reply as well as the abrupt shift in behaviour. Shifting slightly to bring his other hand to the back of his head, Draco shot him a questioning look.

"If I wasn't, I'd be very worried if I were you," Draco smirked and Harry shook his head with a small smile.

"I don't mean your body. Through the bond; you feel… warm," Harry explained clumsily and at that, Draco's expression cleared. Another emotion flashed through his eyes – wonder – and the bond sang in response. Harry smiled; everything seemed to be falling into place.

"What… I mean, how -," Draco started but stopped mid-sentence. Fidgeting slightly, he opened his mouth to ask but before he could say anything, he shook his head and frowned. Eventually, he settled for a simple question. "What's it like?" he ask in a small voice.

At this, Harry smiled. As the last of the ice that enveloped his heart melts away, there was only one way he could answer that question to a man who had become so much to him without Harry even realizing it.

His rock. His strength. His everything.

"It's like coming home," Harry answered shortly and Draco's resulting smile towards him was like breathing life back into Harry's lifeless existence.

"I can't believe we still have to have lessons in the bloody greenhouse at this temperature," Ron grumbled as the three of them tracked together behind their classmates towards the greenhouse at the edge of the school. Shifting his book bag more securely onto his right shoulder, Ron then brought his hands up towards his face and blew into the cupped hands, before rubbing them together, trying to gather back heat into his freezing hands. At this, Harry chucked while unconsciously mimicking Ron's earlier movement and shifted his backpack more securely onto his left shoulder. Hermione, on the other hand, rolled her eyes and sighed.

"Ronald, where are your mittens?" she asked, turning towards the redhead, who shrugged in response.

"If I knew, I wouldn't be so cold now would I?" Ron retorted under his breath while shifting slightly away from Hermione, who was walking in between himself and Harry. Nevertheless, Hermione's sharp ears picked up on what Ron had said.

"Well, serves you right if you come down with a cold. Honestly Ronald, at your age, it wouldn't kill you to be more aware of where you discard your belongings you know," she huffed and at this, Ron rolled his eyes.

"Come off it, Hermione – it's just a bloody pair of mittens. It's not like I'm going to freeze to death," Ron replied offhandedly and at this, Harry cringed slightly. Knowing what will happen in the next few seconds as a result of Ron's unfiltered words, Harry quietly walked further up to put some distance between himself and the bickering couple.

Inhaling deeply, Harry smiled slightly to himself as he heard Hermione's full blown nagging a few feet behind him. Looking over his shoulder, he saw a rather sheepish Ron looking straight at him, both hands stuffed into his rather worn coat. Shaking his head, Harry then continued to walk further up, cleverly moving away from the eye of the storm.

As Harry watched a small group of red and gold figures enter the greenhouse, their group of silver and green counterparts exit the said greenhouse in a similar manner. As the events that happened the night before resurfaced, Harry couldn't help but sought out Draco, somehow needing to see, even a glimpse, of the man. At this, Harry could feel his heart jumped slightly as he recognizes the familiar shock of blond hair amongst the crowd, slightly behind the rest, walking towards them. Slowing down his movements, Harry let Ron and Hermione pass him – the two of them barely notice the absence of the other – and finally, his movement came to a halt.

Harry felt the world around him dimmed out, save for the blond, who was quite a distance away from him. Watching Draco's movement, Harry felt a sense of calmness washed over him that he hadn't felt in a long time, echoing the events that happened last night. Wanting to analyse it, he was stop dead in his train of thoughts however when Draco finally realized that someone was watching him and looked up, meeting Harry's gaze.

Draco lowered his eyes slightly, a small smile tugging at the corner of his lips. At this, Harry cocked his head slightly in shock and amazement at the blonde's sudden display of shyness. Almost as he was pulled forward by an invincible string tugged forward by the slight smile across Draco's lips, Harry found himself walking to meet Draco halfway.

It was only when he was a few steps away from the other man however did he managed to see the slight sparkle of mischief that was twinkling in Draco's mercury eyes. Harry couldn't help but chuckled as he further walk towards Draco, only coming to a stop when he was directly in front of the Slytherin. Draco, however, shook his head slightly, the smile never leaving his lips.

Walking forward, Draco's shoulder brushed against his and Harry felt a shiver run down his spine as the back of their hands then brushed slightly against one another. From beside him, he heard a breathless laugh in response as Draco leaned towards him, his nose barely bumping against the outer shell of his right ear. The shiver intensify as the felt the soft whisper of Draco's breath caressing the side of his neck and Harry eyes slammed shut.

A gust of cool wind blew towards them and Harry breathed in slowly, smiling as he inhaled the fresh air of fall mingling with Draco's intoxicating smell. Unconsciously, Harry turned his body towards Draco, wanting to bury himself into the other's warmness. Draco however, slip by him and lightly pressed his front against Harry's back, reminiscing of their position at the skating rink. At this, Harry felt his breath leave him altogether as the memory of their first kiss flooded through him. As he was reaching back towards Draco but he was pulled out of his trance by Hermione's piercing call.

"Coming," Harry called out, albeit softly, towards Hermione and again, Draco chuckled softly from behind him. Placing a chased kiss at the back of his neck, Draco then moved away towards the castle, leaving a slightly dazed Harry behind.

Blaise watched Draco silently as his classmate finally approached him while laughing softly to himself. Looking up, it was only then Draco realized that he had and audience and schooled his once smiling feature back into its usual mask on indifference.

"Yes?" Draco drawled, causing Blaise to smirk.

"Come off it Draco; I saw that look," he replied as they fall into step together, walking towards the Library. At Draco's blank look, Blaise stopped in his track, effectively halting Draco's movement as well. "You're happier with him."

Blaise was not sure why he was surprise at the sudden laughter that came out of Draco. Crossing his arm, he looked unimpressed at his usually level-headed housemate as Draco continued laughing in mirth.

"Good one Zabini," Draco said walking past him towards the Library. As Blaise falls into step next to him, only then he realised the slight frown present on the other male's face. "What?"

"You do realise that you can't trust him, don't you?" Blaise replied in a matter of fact tone that somehow confused Draco. Out of all the people Draco would expect to hear that statement from, Blaise was his last guess.

"Excuse me?"

"We're not good enough for people like them, Draco. We never will be. At the end of everything, what they've done for us, they will find a way to make us remember it. At the end of the day, their sincerity regarding what they have done to us; it's all an illusion," Blaise said with an almost detach emotion that surprises Draco but before he could say anything in return, Blaise started to walk away.

At this, both Ayden and the bond that Harry had formed for him flooded his mind. Was what Blaise said true? At the end of everything, was it all a lie?

"I'm home," Harry called out quietly as he stepped out of the fireplace, finally managing to get his bearing correct. Dusting of the soot from his clothes, his sight then lands on Draco who was smiling at him from the sofa, crossed leg while reading a book.

"Welcome home," Draco replied with a smile. After indicating that Harry should join him on the sofa, he then continued on reading his books while Harry busy himself with putting his stuff away before sitting next to Draco.

Not bothering to ask, Harry then pushed the book away from Draco's hip, earning himself one of Draco's 'what-do-you-think-you're-doing' look. Grinning, he then proceeded to lay his head on Draco's lap and tugged free one of Draco's hand away from the book, before intertwining their fingers together. Then he looked up innocently at Draco as if he had done nothing wrong.

"Am I to assume this is going to be a Harry Potter thing, this cuddling habit?" Draco drawled after a small pause.

"Yes, you are to assume," Harry replied cheekily, causing Draco to roll his eyes at the statement. He then continued to read his book but Harry noted that the other man was smiling in content.

Harry's gaze continues to study that of Draco's as the latter continued to read the book. It was interesting to watch Draco in this state; he seems to block out everything while reading that he didn't even realize the tiny quirks he does while he was doing it. Like how sometimes, when he is reading an interesting part, he would quietly dictate the book to himself, as if he wanted to be completely surrounded by the story from all senses, hearing included. Or the way he would tilt his head slightly to the left when he is reading a slightly complicated part of the book while wrinkling his forehead slightly in concentration. Or how his eyes would light up when something interesting would happen to one of the characters that he did not see coming.

Finding none of the quirks that Harry somehow grew rather fond of, his eyes then drifted towards the clock by the wall. Noting that it was only five past eight, he was surprised that he was so comfortable with his current position that he managed to forget that it was Draco's turn to cook tonight. 'It's like we're turning into one of those fifty something couple who's spends Friday night at home, uninterested in everything because they're too tired to something.'

Harry chuckled slightly as the thought ran through his head while unconsciously tightening his grip around their intertwined hand that was draped across his stomach. At this, Draco's gaze shifted down from his book to look at the mirthful ones of the Gryffindor.

"What?" Draco questioned, his lips stretching to a whisper of a smile. At this, Harry chuckled again.

"I was thinking what a boring couple we are; spending a Friday night curled up in front of the fireplace with a book. Never would have guessed it," Harry said with a slight snicker. The whisper of a smile turned into a full blown one as Draco shut the book close and tossed it aside. Raking the now free hand through Harry's wild mane, Draco laughed.

"Yup, like an old married couple," Draco injected and Harry shook his head in between laughs. "Or, we could do something else," he purred while pulling Harry off his lap and pushed him onto his back on the sofa. With a smirk, Draco then continued to straddle the now stunned man before crushing their lips together in a hot kiss.

"Is this more of what you have in mind?" Draco panted as he pulled his lips away while grinding their hips together. Harry's eyes slammed shut as he groaned while grinding his hips back in response and throwing his head back. Taking advantage of the upturned head, Draco bends down to nibble his neck, causing Harry to bury his right hand in Draco's soft hair while the other ran down the other's back.

"Not exactly but it's pretty damn close," Harry replied breathlessly before pulling Draco's head back and slamming their lips together once again. Hands roaming free, Harry slipped his right hand underneath Draco's shirt, dragging his short nails across the blonde's pale skin, causing a strangle moan from the other to vibrate against their crushed lips. Harry was about to rip Draco's shirt off when Draco pulled away.

"Let's cook dinner; I'm starving," Draco grinned before pushing himself up, away from Harry. He snickered once again as he saw the dazed expression on Harry's face and the obvious erection the other was sporting.

"Seriously?" Harry exclaimed as he pushed himself up slightly from the sofa with his elbows, looking at the somewhat immaculate blond, despite what they were doing only moments ago.

"Yup. C'mon Potter, it's dinner time," Draco exclaimed before leaning down towards the still panting Gryffindor. "Then maybe later, we can pick up where we left off," he whispered suggestively before kissing Harry, hard. Breaking away, he then walked over towards the kitchen, laughing. Collapsing back down onto the sofa, Harry groaned.

"Fuck," Harry moaned as he buried his face in his hands.

It took Harry 20 minutes to calm his raging libido before he could get up and join Draco in the kitchen, in which, by then, the blond had already start preparing the ingredient for them to cook.

"Done so soon Potter?" Draco drawled, pointedly looking at his crotch and smirking at Harry as he pause his movements of chopping the carrots. At this, Harry blushed.

"Shut up. What's for dinner?" Harry replied, quickly changing the subject to something more appropriate.

"Nothing fancy. Just some beef stew," Draco replied, taking the hint, while continuing cutting the carrots. Harry then walked towards the island where Draco was preparing the vegetable and hoped up to sit on the it, next to where Draco was working. Reaching forward, he then grabbed an empty bowl nearby and placed the chopped carrots in it for later use.

"Hey, do you mind if we talk about Adrian?" Harry said quietly that Draco almost missed it. Looking up from his task, Draco was somewhat conflicted in answering the request, especially when Harry refused to make eye contact with him, so he didn't reply to the request.

Harry however, who was examining the chopped carrot with new found fascination, took his silence as a sign that he should proceed. "When Adrian died, how did you manage to cope?"

At that question, Draco's grip on the knife tightened. It was a simple question, Draco knew, but it brought up many painful memories that he did not wish to relieve ever again. It wasn't Harry's fault – especially after his conversation with Blaise earlier that day – but talking about Adrian was the last thing he wanted to talk about. And without the aid of the potion they had back at the peer, Draco was not generous enough to share his answer to Harry's question.

So, coping with it with the only way he knew how, Draco relapsed back to his old personality.

"I don't know Potter. How about you share with the rest of us on how you cope when Ayden died due to your mistakes?" Draco drawled as he released the grip on the knife altogether to grab a pot from one of the drawers. Filling it with water, he then turned on the stove, mainly to distance himself from Harry, completely missing Harry's hurt look at his response.

"Honestly, it was just a question. You don't have to answer it if you don't want to," Harry replied hotly as he slid down from the counter top. Walking forward, he then proceeded to fill up a glass with water and took a sip, his back to Draco.

"Yes, I don't want to talk about it. See, unlike you and your pals Potter, I don't share history with someone I just met," Draco bit back, dumping the entire content of the bowl into the slowly shimmering pot of water. From where he stood, he could see Harry's should starting to tense but he choose to ignore it.

"We haven't just met, Draco. I've known you since we were eleven. Or have you forgotten the fact that you practically tried to shove your believes down my throat," Harry retorted, glass of water in hand as he turned to face the blond. At this, Draco scoffs.

"No, you chose the weasel over me, remember. I was never good enough. Correction; I am not good enough," he replied and at this, Harry slammed the half empty glass down onto the counter, surprising Draco with the fact that the glass did not shatter with the force of Harry's action.

"I gave up my life for you. Please tell me how the hell did you managed to come up with the conclusion on how you are not good enough when I practically gave everything to you?!" Harry exclaimed in disbelieve, his hand pressing forward and poked Draco had in the chest as if to make a point. This time, Draco answered with an almost hysterical laughter.

"I see Blaise knew what he was talking about in the end after all. You will somehow find a way to bring the fact that you 'sacrificed your life for me'. What's next Potter? Do you want me to bow down to you like Voldemort did?" Draco cried out without thinking but as soon as the words left his mouth, he knew he had overstepped the line.

Looking directly at Harry for the first time since they started the silly argument – that was what it was after all, Draco knew – Draco noticed for the first time how stilled Harry was when he was truly angry. The man in front of him fixed Draco with such a hard glare that he felt a shiver ran down his spine at the intensity of it. As the air around him stilled, Draco opened his mouth to apologize but Harry growled out his response before Draco had the chance to.

"Don't you ever compare me to that maniac, Malfoy. I am nothing like him. I will never hurt those I love the way he did. The way you are adamant to hurt me now," Harry hissed, causing the breath in Draco's lung to leave him in response to Harry's words. Rooted to the spot, he can only watch as Harry moved away from the kitchen, his hand practically shaking with the pent up anger he was holding back. Without another word, he then used the floo network to leave Draco behind.

A small eternity later, Draco inhaled heavily as he realized he too was shaking from the aftermath of the argument. Turning the stove off as the dinner was officially ruined, he then proceeded to grab the glass that was on the counter, drowning the entire content in one gulp. Only when he tries to set the now empty glass down onto the counter did he realized that it was the same glass Harry had been drinking from earlier.

"Shit!" he yelled as he flung the glass onto the wall, watching it burst into tiny fragments of glass.