Title: In Bed, Corridors, and Elsewhere

Warning: Gets a bit hot…but not enough to burn. Also a bit on the OOC side. Oh, and watch out for grammar mistakes and run on sentences. It'd be nice if someone would like to edit this for me.

NOTE: We're pretending that a Yule Ball occurs annually for the convenience of this story. I'm not quite certain which year they're in either, but if it really bothers you, make something up. I'm also not a Harry Potter expert—I'm but a Draco/Harry fan, so please excuse any inaccurate details. Oh, and this is my first HP fanfic. Yay!

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The fact that two arms were looped around his neck didn't help the situation one bit, as Draco reluctantly pulled himself back, and stared back at hazy green eyes that were heavily shrouded with lust, much like his own. The two boys paused for a moment in an attempt to catch their breaths, Draco on top of Harry, in Draco's own bed. The first few buttons of Draco's shirt had came undone, although upon closer inspection, they appeared to have popped off due to some intense tugging of the shirt. Sheepishly, Harry noticed it, and ran a hand through his unruly hair, trying to sit up, although it was a bit difficult, as Draco hadn't budged.

"Sorry…" Harry muttered, after he felt that he had enough breath in him to speak. He was supporting himself on one arm in a slanted position while the other hand was busy trying to render his mussed attire proper.

"Never mind that…" Draco said smoothly, as he leaned forward to plant a solitary kiss on Harry's forehead before he climbed off of Harry entirely.

The light blonde-haired wizard promptly pulled his white dress shirt off, leaving Harry to feel turned on by this notion, and went over to his dresser in search of a new top to put on. Finally, Harry stood up and adjusted his glasses and robes, trying not to become distracted with Draco's bared, creamy, smooth back.

"You should leave now." Draco said briskly, in a tone completely different from moments earlier. "They're probably wondering where you disappeared off to."

Harry nodded, not unfamiliar with the sudden change in mood, and he quietly slipped out of the Slytherin dorms beneath the safety of his invisibility cloak, through the Slytherin common room, passing Crabbe and Goyle who were unsuccessfully trying to plan an assault on a first year.

Quickly dodging a few stray students who were on their way to their dorms, Harry made for the portrait of the fat lady, pulling the cloak off just before he appeared in her line of vision

"Fizzlesnaps." Harry said.

"Well, what are you waiting for? Go on in." The fat lady fussed as her portrait swung open, revealing a common room buzzing with animation, and Harry stepped in.

"Harry! Where've you been? You've got to check this out!" Hermione's voice sounded out amidst the room. Harry felt a hand latch onto his arm and before he knew it, he was being dragged towards the wall to stare at a giant cloth banner, which had obviously just been posted. "The date for the Yule Ball has been decided, and we're to reserve seats for us and our dates." Hermione indicated the long scroll next to the banner where many students were lined up, waiting to sign their names.

"I don't know…" Came a glum voice from behind Harry. Harry spun around to face the speaker. "It seems like everyone already knows who they're going with. You reckon there'll be anyone left?" Ron asked, without the slightest trace of hope.

"Well…" Harry began to say, but Hermione was quick in getting her word in first.

"Oh, don't worry Ron, I'm sure you'll find someone." She stated confidently. "But even if you don't, I'm sure not everyone will have a date."

"Right, and those of us without dates will just stand by the punch bowl, doing others a service, pouring some punch. Sounds lousy if you ask me." Ron scowled, but then turned to Harry. "Who are planning on asking, Harry?"

Harry bit his lower lip as he watched a random Gryffindor throw his arm around a girl. "I…I'm not sure if I'm going to go with anyone."

Hermione's eyes widened at the news. "Well for heaven's sake, why not, Harry?" Hermione shrilled. Harry shrugged.

"There's not really anyone I want to ask… And I doubt Parvati would want to go with me again."

"But Harry, you know you're going to be bombarded with requests!" Ron exclaimed, nodding at a gaggle of silly second and third years giggling in Harry's direction and pushing each other forward.

"I could just reject them you know…"

"I don't know Harry…" Hermione said ominously. "They're going to persist as long as they know that you don't have a date. You know how it's been for the past few years. I say it's better to find yourself someone who you're at least semi-willing to go with lest you land yourself in a desperate position you can't get out of."

Ron nodded in eager agreement. "Girls…they're completely vicious."

"Most of them, anyway." Hermione snapped. Ron shot Harry a 'see-what-I-mean?' look, who only raised his eyebrows, not knowing how to respond.

"I'm a bit tired…" Harry said, faking a small yawn and beginning to head off into the boys' dorms. "I think I'll retreat for the night… I'll see you tomorrow, Hermione. You coming Ron?"

"Uh…yea, just a sec."

Harry shrugged to himself and entered the dorms, catching a snip of Ron's voice nervously asking someone to go with him to the ball.

He flung the invisibility cloak into his trunk and entered the bathroom. As he started to brush his teeth, he looked up to catch the sight of familiar green eyes looking back at him. Silently, Harry studied his reflection in the mirror as he rinsed out his mouth. He remembered how his own fair, tanned skin, darkened from hours of Quidditch practice, contrasted starkly with Draco's rather light complexion, and how it was even noticeable in the dim candle light by Draco's bed. It wasn't the first time they had fooled around, but they never went far in their endeavors, leaving Harry to wonder if Draco was usually just looking to work off some sexual frustration or if he just wasn't seeking the commitment. Either way, Harry blushed hotly at the idea of going all the way and his daring to even think of it, and pulled off his glasses to douse his face with cold water.

He looked around blindly for a moment after having wiped his face with a towel. Something felt missing, and Harry hastily put his glasses back on to find that he had left his scarf back in Draco's room. Frowning, he walked out of the bathroom and withdrew to his bed. There was no reason to go running back to Draco's room, as much as Harry would've liked to. It was only a scarf, after all, and he could easily retrieve it at any time. He reached over to turn off the lamp, pushing all thoughts aside.

------

The next morning, things moved along at its usual pace. Harry, Ron and Hermione had just finished breakfast, where Harry had been stealing quick glimpses at Draco throughout, although the pureblood Slytherin spared him not a single glance, until finally he saw Hermione's face block his view.

"Harry," She had begun huffily. "We've been trying to talk to you for the past twenty minutes but all you do is nod your head. What are you looking at?" Without waiting for a response, she had turned her head in the direction that Harry had been facing. "I don't get it Harry. The only thing over there is the Slytherin table."

"Oh, let him be." Ron said, unconcerned. "Probably just plotting ways to get back at Malfoy's dirty tricks." Hermione pursed her lips disapprovingly but made no further argument of it.

Now, the trio had made their way down into the dungeon and was waiting for potions to begin.

"So, Ron… I heard you asking someone to the ball last night. Any luck?" Harry asked.

Ron's ears turned bright red. "Not really…" He muttered. "She said something about how my hair wouldn't match her dress…but I don't give anyhow." He quickly added, as if to assure Harry—or himself.

Hermione made an impatient noise. "Ronald Weasley, I think your problem is that you've got no confidence when you ask girls. It's so noticeable when you're talking to them!"

"Well what's that got anything to do with it?" Ron protested.

"Think about it." Hermione rolled her eyes. "If you don't have an ounce of confidence in you, and it shows, how will a girl be able to place her own confidence in you? Would you trust someone to pour you a goblet of punch if they can't even keep their own goblets straight? No! So even if you don't have a date, you can forget about serving any punch." She ended flatly.

Harry thought about it for a moment and was surprised to realize how much sense it seemed to make.

"Thanks, Hermione. I think I've got a pretty good idea of how to…" Harry slowly trailed off as he saw a sight that always made the heads of several girls turn.

As if in slow motion, Draco Malfoy came walking down the hallway in a brisk, yet sophisticatedly dignified approach.

"Well, if it isn't Weasley." He had called out. "I knew it was you when I spotted that horrible red hair of yours from the other end of the hallway." Draco had stopped in front of the three with his two lackeys standing stupidly behind him.

"You shut your face, Malfoy." Sputtered Ron, who was clearly flustered.

"Ron, just ignore it. You know he's doing it just to unsettle you." Hermione stated frigidly, giving Draco a glare.

"That's right, keep your pet in check."

Harry stood there, feeling numb sensations at the end of his fingertips, as he drunkenly took in all of Draco's exotic beauty, from the acute glint in his eyes and downwards on his slim face, which ended in a sharp chin.

"Why don't you do us all a favor and keep your own pets 'in check' before you tell me what to do? They're disturbing everyone with their ugly faces!" Hermione fumed.

Draco stepped back slightly. "Watch it, Granger." He said delicately. "Wouldn't want the spit of a mudblood soiling my fine robes."

"To hell with your prissy robes!" Ron retorted automatically.

"Is that the best insult that you can pull out of your ass, Weasley?" Draco sneered, as Crabbe and Goyle snickered in the background.

Seeing that Ron was ready to pull his wand out and Hermione's eyes were hot with angry tears, Harry quickly snapped back into reality and stepped in.

"That's enough, Malfoy." Harry articulated, pressing Draco with a firm look. Stony, grey eyes turned on Harry, and for a moment, Harry kept his stance, although Draco's eyes showed no giving in.

"You watch yourself, Potter." His eyes narrowed slightly, as he enunciated delicately. "Good day Weasley, Granger." Draco gave a curt nod of his head, and eerily, the elegant corners of Draco's mouth turned up to form a crude smile before the pale blonde gracefully turned away without a lingering glance and resumed his walk down the hall. Harry continued to watch the figure leave him, growing smaller and smaller.

Hermione scoffed. "He couldn't possibly fool anyone with that gentlemanly pretense of his."

"Wow, Harry." Ron breathed, giving Harry a few pats on the back while still staring at Draco's receding back with wide eyes. "Now that's power."

"Right, and that's exactly what I'm talking about." Hermione exclaimed as she continued her lecture from before. Meanwhile, Harry sunk into his own thoughts.

It was always like this between Harry and Draco, when others were around, but Draco seemed to be able to control himself with absolute willpower. He could casually glance at Harry and then past him, onto the next person for a split second without making it look painful. If he was insulting anyone and everyone, Harry was fair game. The same callous words would be inflicted in his direction, if Draco saw it befitting in the situation. If he wanted to smile, he would make sure there was no trace of amicability in the wicked curves of his lips.

There was nothing at all to prove that Draco had a different side to him. Harry was usually impressed with Draco's performance, but sometimes he wondered if Draco was truly putting on a show. Sometimes he wondered if he was simply being taken for granted, as a toy of sorts. Yet other times…

"Harry? Harry? Hey, is something wrong?" Hermione was trying to catch Harry's attention.

"Oh…uhm…yea?"

"You alright, mate?" Ron asked anxiously. "You've been zoning out a bit on us these past weeks."

"Sorry, I guess I just can't focus much…you know…holiday season's coming up…exams and everything."

Hermione nodded in understanding. "Well, I was asking what you were about to say, before Malfoy…" Her face turned sour at the name. "…Came strutting up to us." Harry furrowed his dark eyebrows, appearing to be confused for a second until he suddenly remembered what he had been thinking about before.

"Oh! Uhm…" He could feel a shade of pink slowly creeping onto his cheeks. "Nothing…I meant nothing by it." Raising a suspicious eyebrow, Hermione opened her mouth to speak, and Harry inwardly winced at the questions that would be pressed onto him.

"Where's your scarf, Harry?" She asked as she peered at him curiously. "I noticed you haven't been wearing it."

"Oh…I lost it." Harry replied.

-------

Harry sat down in his seat, taking in the damp, musky odor of the dungeons—a scent that he had came to loathe.

"Turn to page 63 of Brewing the Perfect Draught." Came the sound of Snape's unenthusiastic drone. "Today, we will learn how to concoct a potion that temporarily warps the drinker's vision to sense the mood of another based on the aura of color surrounding that individual. The intensity and characteristics of the aura will also determine the nature of the feelings…"

With a heavy sigh, Harry opened his textbook, mindlessly flipping through the pages. He wondered if Draco had known about the Yule Ball. Most likely, he did. Perhaps the true question was if Draco was going, and if he was going with anyone. A pang of jealousy struck him deep somewhere in the gut at the thought of Draco attending the ball with a girl. But of course, Harry knew that the two of them could never be seen friendly in public together, much less openly displaying signs of affection.

It was an impossible wish, and dismayed, Harry ran a hair through his untidy, black hair.

"Ten points from Gryffindor." Harry found Snape's shadowing looming across his book. "Apparently, Potter has more important things on mind than passing potions." Snape smirked. "Stop sulking like a love-sick school girl, Potter." He mumbled under his breath, and slowly slid away, quietly gloating in this small victory. At once, Harry was alarmed at the possibility of Snape having practiced legilimency on him. Oh, wait. Snape had just demonstrated the effects of the potion, Harry realized.

It must have allowed Snape to detect my mood… Harry thought miserably, remembering what the point of today's lesson was.

"The effect will wear off in approximately twenty seconds. A rather useless potion and quick to expire, but difficult to create, and will thus cover the basics for the next lesson. The first indication that you have made this potion exceptionally is a clear liquid that will continually flash tints of color. One wrong step in the process may render your vision no more, so proceed with caution…"

Harry began retrieving the ingredients and reading the directions in the book out loud.

"First begin by adding two ounces of frog bile…"

"Hey Harry!" Ron interrupted. "What were you thinking before? What do you reckon Snape saw in you when he took that potion?"

"Dunno..." Harry said distractedly as he looked down again to read the directions.

"Oh, get to your work, Ron." Hermione was well on her way on the sixth step. "You don't want to end up having to gouge your eyes out because something went wrong with your potion." She added after another thought.

Ron let out a sigh as he sprinkled some powdered troll nails in his cauldron. "What's the point, really? I never get it right anyhow…"

Harry bit his lip, wondering if he had just stirred the brew three, or four times.

Finally, Snape announced the last ten minutes of class left. "We will begin by having each of you sample your potion and see if it takes on the desired effect."

Up first was Ron, who gulped as he stared at his pure red potion. "Bloody hell…" He muttered to himself.

"Well, what are you waiting for? Don't you wish to see if you've done it right?" Snape's dull, mocking voice sarcastically echoed in the silent dungeon.

Shutting his eyes tightly, Ron downed the potion in one breath. He slowly opened his eyes to see his classmates peering at him curiously.

"How do you feel, Ron?" Hermione inquired timidly.

Ron blinked several times. "Blimey…everything's in black and white!"

"It could have been much worse." Snape muttered, moving on. "And what have you got to show, Potter?"

Harry held up his vial up for everyone to see. It didn't quite match the description that Snape had given, but it was close. Instead of clear colors, Harry's potion was displaying a series of solid colors, and not wanting to give Snape a chance to sneer, he drank the potion confidently.

Instantly his vision altered dramatically, and everything he saw was in a shade of intense red.

"Nice try, Potter, but you've only succeeded in creating a simpler form of this potion. The only mood you can detect is your own, with your failed potion, and the color floods your entire vision. Even more worthless of a potion, unless if you cannot realize your own emotions." With a sneer playing on his lips, Snape passed onto the next student.

Frowning, Harry wondered how long the effect would last, as he scanned the lesson on the page until he located some notes on the bottom of the page that showed what each color represented.

Red…was passion. Harry stared at the words, and understood that this was what Snape had seen, suddenly feeling somewhat mortified.

At least he can't tell that I fancy a guy… Harry thought gloomily, as the crimson color began to fade from his sight.

The lesson ended with a few students having to take a trip to the infirmary, and Snape rubbing his temples, growling over the fact that all students, except for Hermione, had failed to complete this 'simple task,' as he had put it.

Ron was frowning as he stepped out of the room. "I'm still seeing everything in black and white." He was complaining.

"If it doesn't wear out, you can see Madam Pomfrey later." Hermione said, dismissing the issue.

Ron shrugged and left for the infirmary. "In fact, I think I'll go now, just to get out of transfiguration."

"Harry, may I speak to you for a moment?" Hermione was looking at Harry strangely.

"Erm…sure. What is it?"

"When I took that potion…" Hermione took in a breath.

"Let me guess, you found out that I was a love-sick school girl." Harry groaned.

"Well—sort of, but see…" Hermione was flustered, unsure of how to put it. "I know it's none of my business, if you don't want your love life revealed, but I want you to be careful. The intensity and characteristics of the aura will also determine the nature of the feelings." She repeated Snape's words.

Harry paused, confused. "And?"

Hermione blushed. "You had a very focused and tame aura, Harry. If it were purely lust, the characteristic of the aura would be utterly wild. But…it's not. It's something serious, isn't it? Whatever that's going on with you and…someone else."

Harry furrowed his eyebrows, wondering if it was as serious as Hermione said.

"Well, just something to think about. Good luck, Harry!" Hermione flashed Harry a quick smile before hurrying on to Arithmancy.

-------

"Alright, we're going to go through a few flying drills!" Harry ordered at the commencement of Quidditch practice. Today, Gryffindors had the field, and as Harry nonchalantly watched his team members soar in the air, his center of thought gradually drifted towards a certain grey-eyed Slytherin.

Little did he know, the team was beginning to slacken under Harry's unwatchful eye, performing aerial antics, as loud taunting from the ground below reached Harry's ears.

"Potter doesn't seem to be made of captain material! Look at him sitting like a deadweight on his broom!" Pansy's shrill voice shrieked.

"Knock him out with a bludger!" Someone menacingly called out.

Harry darted his eyes downward, and lo and behold, it was none other but the blonde boy of his dreams, who was quietly looking straight back up at him with an expression so seemingly icy. Nervously, Harry pried his eyes away.

"Knock it off!" He called out, and ordered the team to assume their field positions.

"Blimey…are they going to keep this up for the rest of the season?" Ron frowned, swinging by Harry on his broom.

"Never mind them." Said Harry irritably, as he began to shout instructions out to each player, secretly hoping that Draco was impressed with what he saw. A part of him felt sheepish for feeling like this, kind of like a 'love-sick school girl,' as Snape had mentioned.

By the time practice was over, the Slytherins gathered below had dispersed, filing indoors for dinner.

"Alright, practice is over!"

The quidditch players rushed into the dining hall with fresh energy, eager to start the meal.

"And later, I need to look something up in the library…" Hermione was speaking to Neville when she caught Harry and Ron's eyes as they sat down next to her. She wrinkled her nose as she picked up a roll and began to butter it.

"Don't take any offense to this, but you two smell horribly…well…horrible." She remarked. "You couldn't have taken some time to freshen up first?"

"Well, Hermione," Said Ron, pouring himself some pumpkin juice. "You try practicing on the field with a bunch of greasy Slytherins distracting you every second. It really eats away at you, ya know?" He crammed a forkful of ravioli into his mouth and looked over at Harry, who had reached into his robes and pulled out a container.

"Oh—oh Harry, not around the food!" Hermione squealed, edging her plate away from Harry, as he doused himself with a scented spray. Meanwhile, Ron was coughing up a storm and cursing in between each cough.

"God, Harry!" Cough. "I think I just—." Cough. Cough. "—Swallowed a mouthful!"

"Sorry," said Harry, apologetically. "You're right, I should probably just take a shower. I'm not that hungry anyway." He backed his chair from the table and stood up, excusing himself.

"We'll bring you leftovers, or something." Ron called after Harry.

As Harry stepped out of the dining hall, he spotted two girls heading in his direction.

"Harry! Harry Potter!" They began running towards him, and panic flared up instinctively inside of Harry, and he took off.

Oh God, what do they want with me! Harry wondered as he dashed up the stairs onto the next floor.

"Harry! Would you come to the Yule Ball with me?" One of the girls shouted out.

"And if not, would you come with me?" The other said.

Harry quickly slipped into a classroom and slid up against the wall stiffly until he heard the running footsteps dash past him. Relief washed over him, and he listened as the girls stopped and asked someone if they had seen Harry.

"…Potter?" Harry froze upon hearing the familiar voice pronounce his name with exquisite care. "No, I haven't seen him."

Dejectedly, the girls seemed to return down the stairs, and only after awhile did Harry dare peek out of the room.

"You're quite popular, aren't you Harry?" Draco was sitting down against the wall in the corridor, staring at the opposite wall across from him.

"Erm…" Harry wasn't sure of what to say, as he approached Draco, and discovered what Draco had his attention fixed on. It was an identical banner of the one hung in the Gryffindor common room, announcing the date of the Yule Ball. Harry sat down awkwardly next to Draco.

"I don't suppose you've—."

"No." Harry interrupted.

"No, what?" Draco looked at Harry in mild surprise.

"No, I haven't got a date for the Yule Ball, yet." Harry replied, wondering if he should've let Draco finish his sentence first.

Draco smirked, leaning close to Harry's side. "I see." Gently, he brushed his lips against the Harry's cheek, and very quickly, Harry grew uncomfortably warm, as he felt Draco's soft lips slowly work their way up to his brow, leaving a trail of small, brief kisses. Then, Draco fell back and moved towards the ear, catching the lobe in between his teeth, and lightly nipped at it.

"Mmm…" Harry fidgeted as a low moan was involuntarily evoked from him, hating the fact that he was weak towards Draco's promiscuous conduct, and hating the fact that he loved it. "D-Draco…"

Draco paused. "Yes?" He whispered huskily, before traveling down the length of Harry's neck.

"Will you…will you…" Harry was fighting hard for control over his mind, which was quickly suggesting indecent ideas and images, as he struggled to form a coherent sentence. "Will you attend the Yule Ball with me!" He quickly blurted out. It hadn't sounded very dignified, or very confident, but it had stopped Draco in his tracks.

Draco backed off and looked at Harry in the eye with incredulity. Slowly, the look of amazement turned into one of amusement.

"You would ask me, Potter?" Harry nodded, deep green eyes locked onto lustrous, silver ones. "And your friends have no problem with this?"

"Well…" Harry bit his lip, as Draco looked away.

"I'm not going."

Harry stared at Draco, abashed.

"Why not?"

"No reason." Draco peered up at the ceiling, feigning innocence.

Of course, Harry thought bitterly. Draco obviously wouldn't throw away his entire life and position of heir for Harry. At the same time, Harry wondered if he really would've been able to do the same. Ron might never forgive him, Hermione might be able to accept it after convincing herself that Harry had lost it and there was no doubt in his mind that his peers would feel uncomfortable in his presence while it would give the Slytherins another reason to loathe him, and those around him.

"Sorry, it was a stupid thing to ask." Harry muttered, looking down at his hands. Draco smiled serenely and gently turned Harry's chin to kiss him on the nose. He slid his arms around the dark-haired boy without responding and proceeded to acquaint his lips with every inch of Harry's face, and drew back, lazily admiring Harry's blushing face.

Roguishly, he eyed the pink lips that had slightly parted in lust, and descended upon them, determined to claim them as his own. This time however, Harry wasn't going to give in without a fight. He bit down on the invading tongue, provoking a hiss from Draco at which Harry grinned at. Roughly, he tasted the depths of Draco's mouth, recognizing a faint trace of blood mixed in with saliva, and he pulled back to stare concernedly at Draco.

"Did I hurt you?" Harry asked, startled. Draco only smiled perversely, as if he had enjoyed it, and somewhere in Harry's mind, he didn't doubt that Draco had.

In the end, Harry had won out, and had Draco lying on his back while Harry was slightly on his side, and partially on top of Draco. Things had taken a more innocent turn, where only chaste kisses were being shared between the two, again and again, while long, elegant fingers tentatively stroked the face and hair, momentarily meeting to interlace with one another.

"Oh!" A feminine voice cried out.

Harry and Draco snapped up in attention. The light thundering of many pairs of feet could be heard exiting the Great Hall and Harry hastily crawled off of Draco, who was adjusting his robes to look as decent as possible.

"Well, I'll say!" A woman in a painting, who had just woken up, exclaimed, clearly in appall. "If you must, not in my sight!"

"Just the painting." Draco muttered.

"Odd…" Said Harry. "It didn't sound like her at first."

"By the way, Potter. Although I wouldn't hesitate to ravage you in any state, I hope you do shower, tonight." Draco threw Harry a smug look and Harry returned the favor with a defiant stare before the two of them parted in different directions.

Ravage me…maybe. Harry recalled Draco's words. But is that all?

Racing up the stairs, Harry said the password for the Gryffindor common room and ran into the showers, rapidly switching on the hot water faucet. Soon enough, he heard the Gryffindors filing in, while a few of them shuffled into the bathroom.

"Are you still in there, Harry?" Harry heard Ron call out.

"Yes, I am."

"You've been in there for an awfully long time, don't you think?" The shower in the stall next to his turned on as well.

"Just erm…trying to get the dirt out from under my fingernails." Harry replied casually. After five minutes of a lightning quick shower, Harry turned off the water, only to realize that he had forgotten a change of clothes in his haste. Groaning inwardly, he contemplated on what to do.

He peeked outside of his shower curtain and saw Ron's towel and clothes lying there. Harry grabbed the towel and wrapped it around his waist, rushing into the dorms.

So this was life on the wild side—having to steal your best friend's towel as a result of your secret romantic endeavors and blunders.

--------

"So you're really going without a date, Harry?" Hermione asked, putting on tiny, jeweled earrings that matched well with her pink attire.

"I guess so." Originally, Harry had announced that he wasn't going to go. He was none a match for Hermione's persistent lecturing however, telling him that he had to come—he would regret it if he didn't, although Harry wasn't sure if it was because he would miss out on a good time or if he would never hear the end of it from Hermione.

"You think I look alright?" Ron asked, nervously running his hands over his deep blue dress robe over and over again, which Fred and George had purchased for him several months ago. "What if Fred and George bewitched the seams to rip open or something?" He complained.

"Oh, come off it. I don't think they're quite that horrid." Hermione assured.

Harry nodded. "Besides, I'm sure Hermione knows some sort of spiffy spell if that ever happens."

The three of them walked out of the common room and headed for the Great Hall. Harry was decked out in handsome dark green robes, and his hair fashionably untidy. They entered the Great Hall, which was splendidly decorated in a winter theme, with shimmering snow flakes glittering about the ceiling and several majestic pine trees, royally dressed in red ribbons. Pastel colored laces twisted their way around stone pillars and twirling streamers danced about in midair.

"If you get lonely, Harry, come find us." Hermione said to Harry seriously, and she turned, dragging Ron with her.

As friends, Hermione had quickly explained when she told Harry that she was going to the Yule Ball with Ron. Yes, as friends, Ron confirmed, a bit red in the face.

Harry found a little corner to sit in, hoping that no one would be able to recognize him with the large plant next to him that was partially hiding his face. He watched as each pair spun gracefully about, the scenery much like out of a fairytale.

"Dreamy isn't it?" A pensive voice said next to him. Harry jumped to find Luna next to him.

"W-what are you doing here?" Harry asked, recovering from the shock.

"My date's getting me a drink." She replied happily. "Where's yours?"

"I don't have one." Harry replied.

Luna turned her wide eyes on him. "Well, why not? I'm sure there's someone out there waiting for you. The Quibbler says that invisible creatures called Envoies carry your brainwaves to whom you're thinking about, and vice versa. If you ignore them, the Envoies won't give you any peace until you acknowledge your feelings." She stated as-a-matter-of-factly.

Normally, Harry might've stared at Luna in speechlessness and hidden skepticism. Instead, he studied the dance floor before his eyes thoughtfully.

"But how do you know if they're genuine feelings?"

"Oh," Luna gave a small shrug. "If they're not, the Envoies won't deem those messages important enough to deliver."

"You know, I suppose you're right." Harry looked down at the tiles.

"Of course. If The Quibbler says so, then it must be true."

"Thanks, Luna." Harry stood up and proceeded in confident strides as Luna followed him with her eyes.

His poise quickly faltered as he stepped out of the Great Hall. Snow was lightly pelting from the evening sky, illuminating everything outside. Instinctively, he went towards the open doors of the entrance, in awe of the inspiring sight, and walked out onto the courtyard, blanketed by white sheets. He held out his hands, feeling the cold kisses of each snowflake as they melted in his warm palms, relishing in this simple pleasure. His breath escaped in ghostly puffs and a dissipated like smoke into the air. Harry strained his eyes to make out the dark silhouette of a figure meters away.

Draco Malfoy was standing in the snow, decently dressed in only robes and a green scarf that Harry had never seen before. His pale hair glimmered especially brightly in the moonlight. Harry wondered how long he had been standing there, and if he was getting chilled. After a few minutes, he finally remembered to breathe.

"Draco." Harry called out, putting one foot forward, which sunk into the snow. Draco turned his head calmly and looked up dreamily.

A smug smile curled at his lips. "I didn't want to go, if I wasn't to go with you." Draco explained, and Harry felt his chest explode in a certain giddiness. Draco held out a hand. "Shall we dance?" It seemed as if Draco had suddenly glided across snow in one, inhumanly possible movement, closing the distance between them, and pulled Harry up close against him. Gingerly, Harry felt Draco's frigid fingers clasp over his own.

Draco, the slightly taller, and leaner boy led, as Harry followed, with uncertain steps.

"I don't think I can quite keep up…" Harry managed to blurt out as he quickly moved one foot back to prevent himself from stepping on Draco's polished black shoes, wet from the snow.

"Harry, look at me, not my shoes." Draco said tranquilly, with infinite patience, and he leaned down a bit just to press his forehead to Harry's. Feeling his cold cheeks quickly burning up, Harry could sense Draco's warm breath. Draco frowned. "Have you got a fever, Potter?" He pulled back from the embrace, much to Harry's dismay, and ushered him in, leading him to the Slytherin dorms.

Both students were miserably wet in frozen clothing. Harry kept his eyes locked on Draco, as the pale-haired boy pulled off his scarf and stripped himself of his robes and white shirt, leaving only his pants left. Draco paused, twisting his head with a raise of an eyebrow.

"Like what you see, Potter?" He smirked. Harry quickly looked away. "You must, if you so frequently turn your eyes this way."

Stunned, Harry was unable to speak. So Draco had known all along. He had noticed the numerous times when Harry had laid his soft, green eyes on him—in the Great Hall with the flickering candles above that played a silent game on Draco's well-shaped features, shadows deepening every now and then—on the Quidditch field, where Draco took to his aerial stunts, always in a handsomely confident form—and those brief moments of passing in the corridors, where those impartial grey eyes remained cool and unmerciful, with no trace of recognition towards Harry.

Harry found himself being pushed onto the soft, cool fabric, as Draco firmly locked eyes with him, glinting eyes hungry with yearning, and burning with one inevitable question.

Yes. Harry lifted his chin to briefly touch lips with the Slytherin boy on top, indicating that he was all too ready. Harry's glasses were pulled off; damp robes were impatiently shoved aside as buttons were forcibly undone. Hands roamed greedily across the flesh, and Draco voyaged a journey south, kissing Harry lovingly on the chin, on the collarbone, and on his bared, well-toned chest. A hand daringly slid lower, playfully tracing the edges of Harry's belt. Distracted by Draco's tongue working artfully against his neck, molding itself into every shallow crevice, Harry didn't notice the waist of his pants loosening and being slipped down.

Then, as if he had been unable to suppress his desires any longer, Draco suddenly took a more aggressive turn with his oral antics, fiercely attacking the vulnerable suppleness of Harry's throat, delighted as he elicited an array of exquisite mewling sounds from the emerald-eyed boy, who thrashed about sporadically, breaths growing heavier by the moment.

In a desperate attempt to return the burning tensions induced by Draco, Harry frantically ran his hand down Draco's stomach in an anxious wandering, knowing that he would be more than just responsive. Once he had found it, he pushed the flat of his palm against it and purposely slid his hand upwards in a blazing trail to rest his fingers on Draco's abdomen. The sinful gesture caused sensitive results from the pale haired boy, who abruptly abandoned his game above to let out a gasp, but quickly recovered to retaliate.

Grinding down on the boy beneath him, Draco was determined to punish and reward, and it was working, as Harry called out something unintelligible, clearly losing his mind with each fervent movement. Exposed, slim legs lifted, bending in the air, toes curling sensually and fingers intertwining with Draco's pale-blond strands.

Soon, both were but a tangle of expressive, stripped bodies in thrilling, perpetual progression, and both in an intimate contest of who was the more vocal one.

After both had reached the pinnacle of their sport, Draco affectionately doted on the side of Harry's mouth, pressing his warm lips to it, and then drew back to smile distantly, as if intoxicated. The same drunkenness had affected Harry, as he sleepily gazed at the pale angel next to him until his eyesight gradually faltered.

-------

"Mmm…" Harry stirred from his sleep to find that it was already well into the morning. Dizzily, he groped around the small table next to the bed for his glasses, and put them on. The vision of Draco Malfoy calmly tidying up in front of a full-length mirror came into focus. Silently, Draco acknowledged Harry with a sneer from the mirror. Harry pushed himself up on one arm and winced as he sat up, feeling the pain in his rear smart. He ran his fingers through his hair several times and was about to declare himself decent until he realized his lack of clothing.

Well. He certainly couldn't go walking out in his dress robes. It would be altogether too strange, as the Yule Ball had already passed and students had returned to their normal wear. Draco seemed to be thinking the same thing, as he reached into a drawer and tossed Harry a set of clean, black robes, pants, and a white shirt.

"Thanks…" Harry slipped on the clothes, taking notice of a fragrant scent, embedded into the threads, that was probably Draco's, and began to leave the room. He was stopped when he felt a hand grasp his shoulder, and he turned around to find Draco warmly kissing him on the lips. Feeling that he would burn up in Hell for his mounting number indecent thoughts, he quickly slid out of the Slytherin common room, which luckily for him was empty because most of the students were probably dining at the moment.

Harry took his place next to Ron and Hermione, his bottom aching. Both immediately pressed him with questions.

"Where've you been, Harry? I didn't see you at all last night so I figured you ran off somewhere secret with a girl…" Ron exclaimed, staring at Harry strangely.

"I suppose you enjoyed yourself?" Hermione asked, raising an eyebrow.

"It was alright." Harry remarked, before biting into a waffle, famished from the previous night. The pair was obviously unsatisfied with his answer.

"Say Harry," Ron eyed Harry up and down. "Did you get new robes for Christmas? From who?"

"Erm…I don't know." Harry replied lamely, unsure of what to say.

"You can't go around wearing robes when you have no clue where they're from!" Hermione shrieked. "It could be dangerous!"

"Well you're not about to strip me right now!" Harry argued, clutching onto the robes protectively as he took another bite.

Ron and Hermione said nothing as they continued to observe Harry with blank stares. Harry wondered if they were disproving of his somewhat disorderly state and he wondered if he should have showered first to appear more civil. But neither one spoke up about it. As he looked around, he caught the eye of many Gryffindors, who were perhaps noticing the same thing, as well as his new robes.

Well, no reason to let that distract him, Harry thought, and continued to down his breakfast.

"It's a delivery!" Someone called out, as a snow-white owl swooped down and perched on Harry's arm. Gingerly, Harry untied the two packages from Hedwig's leg and Hedwig crooned, dipping her beak into Harry's goblet before taking off. Harry looked curiously at the unmarked packages wrapped in black.

Ron looked over curiously. "Who do you reckon it's from?" He asked eagerly.

"Dunno…" Harry said slowly, picking up a rectangular package and unwrapping it. Hermione looked on worriedly as if afraid that the packages were jinxed. The first package was a small mirror and Harry puzzled his mind over it, wondering if it had any magical properties. He glanced into the mirror and nearly dropped it, as a reflection of two evident bruises on his neck, one on either side, mocked him. Harry quickly learned what everyone had been staring at, and buttoned his shirt right up to the collar.

"What does it do?" Hermione whispered.

"Nothing. It's just a mirror." Harry frowned, quickly setting down the mirror and glanced over at the Slytherin table to see Draco watching him slyly with a self-satisfied smile. Harry looked down at the remaining package and began to unwrap it, hands trembling.

It was a black, jeweled collar. A small piece of parchment paper slipped out, and Harry grabbed it, squinting his eyes to read the small, but refined writing:

Kitten, Harry colored at the name, horrified.

I love it when you look at me, because I know that you've thought about me for at least a second.

Hermione and Ron were staring over Harry's shoulders. "It's a sweet little message, Harry…" Hermione giggled, and Harry could only agree, feeling himself go red in the face.

"But—kitten?" Ron made a face, reflecting Harry's horror. "And what's with the collar? There's something mighty suspicious going on here… It's obvious you're seeing someone."

"Oh Ron, don't probe. He'll tell us when he wants to." Hermione said sharply. Disgruntled, Ron turned back to his hash browns, dipping them in ketchup as he mumbled something about his luck with girls.

Harry stared at Hermione, who was quietly mouthing something to Harry, in surprise. Pity the Boy-Who-Lived was no good at reading lips.

"Oh!" Hermione gave up and bit her lip. "Remember the day you left the Great Hall to take a shower, Harry?" She asked nervously.

"…Yes?" Harry remembered all too well.

"Yes, well, after you left, I…" And she didn't have to say anymore, as Harry stared at her in disbelief.

"You went to the library. So?" Ron shrugged.

Hermione ignored Ron and continued to speak in code. "Well, Harry, I just wanted to say that I approved of your err…decision to take a shower that day. I do have a bit of something against foul odors." She sniffed the air disdainfully. "But whatever makes you happy, Harry. You could not take a shower and dirty yourself however you'd like, and I wouldn't complain."

"I'm not following this." Ron said, staring at Hermione as if she was mad.

"You-you knew I went to…take a shower?" Harry was stunned. Hermione nodded.

"We both knew, Harry. So what? Quit being weird, both of you." Ron was becoming irritated.

Harry sunk down in his seat, and stared at the collar stubbornly. "If he expects me to put this on…" He muttered to himself. Hermione didn't seem to having a fit over what she had discovered, but he wasn't able to fathom why.

He took a draught from his goblet to relieve his parched throat, slightly quivering from the excitement. Instantly, the world flashed before him as colors began to emerge in his vision.

"What the—." Harry looked around and saw colorful auras emanating from each person, and realized that the effects seemed familiar. He eyes lit up. "The lesson in potions!" He exclaimed, as he saw that the overall aura of the Great Hall was green, meaning that spirits were high, and many were happy. He glanced over at Draco to see a tame, soft red coming from him. Red was passion, but it was of a self-realized and docile nature, not one of uncontained ardor—something that had matured to surpass naive lust. And that could only mean one thing.

Draco had excused himself, and Harry watched as he walked out, harboring a perfect composure as always.

"Harry, you haven't opened your other presents yet!" Hermione's voice broke into Harry's thoughts as Ron stood up excitedly.

"That's right! Mum probably knitted us a few sweaters, as usual… But you haven't seen what I got you!"

Harry quickly seized the collar.

The three left for the Gryffindor House only to meet with Draco on the way. He paused and patiently stared at them.

"What do you want, Malfoy?" Ron snapped.

"There couldn't possibly be anything I'd want from you, Weasley." A thin smile.

"Ron, Hermione, go on. I'll have a word with him." Harry stepped in front of Draco, staring at him resolutely.

"But Harry—."

"Trust me, just go!" Hermione latched onto Ron's arm, beckoning him to leave, and the two slowly backed away and eventually disappeared from sight.

Draco threw a parcel into Harry's arms. "The collar…just a little joke." Draco smiled as he took the collar from Harry's hand. "I'll be taking it back now. I actually borrowed it from Pansy…" Harry shuddered, having even entertained the thought of putting it on.

"What…what about the potion?" Harry asked. Draco raised an eyebrow.

"Courtesy of Granger."

Not knowing what else to say, Harry looked down at the parcel and cautiously untied the wrapped package to discover a familiar scarf, his eyes lighting up as he realized that it was Draco's scarf. He studied it carefully, the emerald color which seemed too rich for any amount of wealth. "Please accept this, in exchange for yours, which you so generously left for me."

Of course, Harry remembered his scarf, long abandoned in Draco's dorm.

"Draco, do you—." Harry began, but Draco immediately held a finger up to his own lips, signaling for silence. His expression softened tenderly, and subtlety, he kissed his finger and reached across to plant it on Harry's lips, allowing it linger for a moment before brushing away. An indirect kiss.

"I'm yours. No questions asked." Draco said it so quietly that Harry nearly missed it, yet it was unmistakable.

FIN