Author's Note- For those of you who don't know, I am a new Mommy. My pregnancy was extremely rough and my daughter was born premature with some health problems. Fanfiction has been the least of my concerns. I really do appreciate everyone who has read my stories, and I hope to finish them both eventually. I can't promise regular updates, but I will do what I can.

Unbeta'ed Chapter 19

I woke the next morning with the taste of vomit on my lips and a raging headache. My stomach lurched as I rolled out of bed. Hazy memories of the night before began to rush over me. I could remember how the seniors kept handing me bottle after bottle of spiked soda and how they all seemed so damned happy to have me there. I also remembered being helped to the bathroom to puke at some point, but nothing else was clear. I buried my head in my hands and tried to massage away the agony from my skull. My first hangover served as a lesson in restraint.

In my misery, I was too focused on my own stupidity to notice much else. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I felt a hand on my shoulder. Harry was knelt down in front of me with a sympathetic look and a bottle of Gatorade.

How did you know? I asked accepting the drink greedily.

Harry chuckled. "You really don't remember much about last night do you?"

I shook my head.

Slytherin's victory parties are legendary. It didn't take a genius to figure out where you were last night. I managed to sneak over to the party last night in time to carry you to the bathroom. Blaise and I put you into bed, he explained.

You should have left me to my misery. God knows, I deserved it. I'm sorry for standing you up, I told him before finishing the Gatorade.

Harry blushed sheepishly. I kind of did the same thing last year. After my first big game, Oliver Wood practically dumped a bottle of Captain Morgan down my throat.

I laughed and then instantly winced. Thank you for taking care of me.

Go get a shower and meet me in the room. You owe me, he told me with a smile that told me exactly what he wanted in return—something I was only too willing to provide.

After making sure that Harry made it back to the secret passage, I went back to my dorm to get my toiletries. I was eager to work on my debt as soon as possible. Even a hangover didn't make me want him less. I could already picture myself doing all sorts of fun things to Harry.

I was nearly to the bathroom when I caught sight of something very interesting indeed. It was sheer chance that I spotted them. Tucked inside a tiny alcove, I noticed a pair of lovers entwined in a kiss. Had it not been for the distinct gray and auburn combination of Professor Lupin's hair, I might have dismissed it. I edged a bit closer to the corner I was using for cover and watched as they broke apart. Professor Snape pushed a lock of hair behind Professor Lupin's ear in a gesture that was so uncharacteristically gentle that it nearly took the breath from my lungs. Professor Lupin smiled and tucked his head into Snape's shoulder. He must have whispered something to make Snape laugh. I think that was the first time I had ever seen two people truly and honestly in love. My heart instinctively tightened in my chest at the thought that someday that could be Harry and I.

I disappeared down the hall that day still thinking about what I had seen.

Hockey season had a profound effect on Harry and I. It seemed that first night of partying was only the beginning. Harry's first game against Ravenclaw took place the following weekend and was a brawl to the very end. Gryffindor barely managed to pull off the win. It was only when I was watching Harry on the ice that I truly began to think about the inevitable showdown between us. Seeing Gryffindor nearly fall to the much weaker Ravenclaw team made me realize that perhaps we really could beat them, but what would that mean? Harry was still extremely fragile, and the Slytherin-Gryffindor rivalry was bound to get pretty fierce. Would I sacrifice my own chance at glory to make sure Harry didn't start doubting himself? Just then I couldn't say, but I did realize that something had been changed inside of me. For the first time since our truce almost a year earlier, I saw Harry as competition.

That night, I told Harry that I had a headache and that he should go celebrate with his team. Instead of going straight to my room, I went straight to Riley's door.

The team captain didn't seem too surprised to see me. He opened his door wide and motioned for me to come in. I think all along that he was waiting for me to come and dish on the Gryffindors. It was a logical assumption--a very Slytherin assumption. Riley was the epitome of our house. He was the perfectly mannered, bred and groomed son of wealth with the iron streak of cunning ruthlessness who seemed to manipulate all of us with his invisible strings. I won't lie: I admired him for it.

Riley gave me a wry half-smile. "Good game, wasn't it?"

I swallowed hard and nodded.

"I really didn't think Gryffindor could pull it off. Potter is slipping," he said matter-of-factly.

"I don't think so," I replied feeling the need to come to Harry's defense.

Riley merely shrugged. "He didn't look as sharp as he used to. It must be all the anti-depressants he's taking."

My jaw dropped. "How did you...I mean, I don't think he's on anything."

"You don't really think there are any secrets in Hogwarts, do you? Everyone knows all about his little psych problems. His own housemates won't quit talking about how fucking drugged up he is. Christ, Draco, I know you can't hear, but don't you listen to any of the gossip?" he asked provocatively.

"I don't get involved," I told him flatly.

"I suppose that's the best thing to do," he replied with a grin that said otherwise.

I shifted uncomfortably and ran a hand through my hair. "So do you think we'll be able to beat them?" I asked nervously.

Instead of answering me, Riley flopped down on his bed and gestured for me to join him--which I did apprehensively.

"Most people have heard some very nasty rumors about you and Potter. I've done my best to keep certain people quiet and to stop some of it, but I can't do it all. I know that you and Potter are close. It can be hard to give your all against a friend, and I understand," he assured me. His smile was nothing less than ruthless as he continued, "but not everyone would understand. You see, it's more important for you to help me beat Gryffindor than you realize. I doubt certain people would keep quiet anymore if they thought you hadn't given your all for your team."

My stomach did a back flip. I knew right then what was at stake. If I didn't see to it that we won the game, Riley and the rest of Slytherin would turn on me. They'd brand me as a fag and enjoy rubbing it in my face. In that moment, I knew exactly why Riley had put me on the team. I felt sick. All of the acceptance and camaraderie I had found as a hockey player had stemmed from Riley's fucked up plans to beat Gryffindor. I hated that I had been stupid enough to fall for it. Worse, I hated myself because I knew that I would have to play along if I wanted to keep my sexuality a secret.

"I'll do what I can," muttered through numb lips.

I avoided Harry the next day. I told him at breakfast saying that I had some things to take care of with Blaise. He didn't say so, but I could see that he was hurt. I promised myself that I'd make it up to him somehow. Even then I was aware of just how selfish I was being.