"I must say, Potter," Draco began as he tried to catch a glimpse of the tight bandages in a mirror behind them, "Your hands did not feel half as good as I imagined them to."
The bandages pulled tight against his sore flesh, but in a strange way the deep slashes felt protected. The painkiller in that potion had obviously began to work too, as the sparks of pain that had been taking over his life had reduced to a dull ache that was far more easy to manage. The first night after his punishment, Draco had lay face down across his bed with his hands clenching the thick blankets and silently prayed that Snape would come bursting through the door and reverse what he had done - that or he would allow him to seek medical assistance. That night he would have given anything for what Harry had just done for him. Of course, he was not going to display his gratitude by bursting in to tears.
Harry rolled his eyes and stuffed the remaining medical supplies back in to his bag. "The better half of me refuses to rise to that statement, Malfoy."
Draco turned around to face Harry again and raised an eyebrow. "I don't care about the better half. I'm all bad, Potter."
"My bad side is telling me to hit you!" Harry exclaimed, going slightly off his normal tone of voice.
"But your good side is telling you not to. You're a walking contradiction." Draco chuckled to himself, looking through the steam of the bathroom over to the huge bath in the middle of the room. "That looks good, doesn't it?"
Harry nodded. "I was actually thinking about taking a quick bath, just so when I return to my room it looks as though I have been gone for a suitable reason."
"Good plan." The blonde boy agreed, "I only wish I could join you. I haven't been able to have a proper bath for a few days. I feel disgusting despite the cleanliness charms."
Harry stepped into the steam and before Draco could even catch a glimpse of flesh, he was sinking down through the hot water filled with bubbles.
"You smell fine, don't worry." Harry spoke as he felt all of the tension in his body melt away in a sweeping gush. "It sucks to be you though."
"I know." Draco growled, pulling his knees up to his chest and letting his forehead rest against them. It stretched the hell out of his back, but the pain was fun for a change; just to test how much it would take before it came back with a striking vengeance.
"It feels so good to be able to talk to somebody about it. I've withstood Crabbe and Goyle slapping me on the back too many times to count."
Harry winced loudly in sympathy. "Is it really an impossible suggestion to tell them?"
"Crabbe and Goyle?" Draco scoffed, "Yes, it really is impossible. They literally couldn't keep a secret if their life depended on it."
"I'm sure that's an exaggeration."
"No." Draco replied bluntly. "It's not an exaggeration. You don't know them."
Harry didn't say it out loud, but he was certainly thinking that he didn't want to know them. He would stick to his Hermione and Ron any day. In fact, sitting in the room with Draco Malfoy, he actually felt incredibly guilty. He felt like a traitor, communicating with the enemy. In reality, harry absolutely hated the inter-house rivalry.
"No, I don't know them." Harry agreed after a moment. "Hey, Malfoy?"
Draco lifted his head from his knees and nodded softly, "Yeah?"
"You said you want to talk to me more often. Why?"
Draco shrugged, although it was pretty obvious that the other guy wouldn't be able to see the subtle movement.
"That is actually a very difficult question to answer, Mr Potter. I don't have a reason. I don't have a rational explanation. I will provide you with this, however; does it matter?"
It provided Harry with a thought to ponder over whilst he dunked his head under the water and held his breath whilst his hair was drenched. When he came back up, he only managed to conclude that it didn't matter at all.
"Nope." Harry smiled in response, "I don't think it does matter. As long as you don't have an ulterior motive." He was still smiling at the end of the sentence – he didn't give two owls if Draco Malfoy had an ulterior motive at that present moment. Draco probably just panicked when he saw Harry had spotted his injuries and decided to play the sympathy card and get something out of it at the same time. Even with that thought, Harry wasn't bothered. It was nice to feel needed for a change.
"If anything, Potter, you have the upper hand in this situation." Draco nodded. "Just think about it. It's not as though I can see what lotions and potions you're spraying over me."
Harry chuckled and pulled a towel over from the radiator closely situated to the bath. "That's true, but maybe you shouldn't have given me ideas."
"Oh, bollocks." Draco was grinning himself. "I think I'll just struggle with the bandages myself tomorrow."
"I don't think you will." Harry laughed, "You may find I've set a timer on that potion. The problems will really start in, say, two hours time."
"You're lucky I can see right through you, Potter." Draco lowered his legs back down onto the tiled bathroom floor, still smiling. "Otherwise I'd have my wand at your neck."
"I'm trembling, Malfoy." Harry scoffed, rubbing his hair with the towel. "Mmm.. that's so much better. Nice and clean."
"Screw you." Draco pulled what Harry could only describe as a pout. "No need to make fun of me just because I'm not my usual pristine self. It's very difficult to survive without two baths a day, I'll have you know."
"Two baths a day?" Harry didn't exactly want to mention that he had one every three days, if that.
"Of course. How else do you think I keep myself looking so good?" Draco chuckled, "Have you never noticed how shiny my – OW!" Draco yelped as something wet smacked him right in the face.
"What were you saying, Malfoy?" Harry was smirking yet managing to look surprisingly innocent at the same time.
Draco looked down to the floor and saw a wet towel. "You're evil, Potter." He whined, kicking the towel back over to the other guy.
"I'm just messing with you, Malfoy." Harry pulled himself up out of the bath and wrapped himself in a large red towel, letting his sodden boxer shorts fall to the floor. "Meet me here the same time tomorrow and I'll see what I can do about you getting a bath, alright?"
"Yeah, OK." Draco nodded. "I guess we had better be getting back to our rooms. It's fairly late."
"I'm going down to the great hall for some late dinner." Harry called over to Draco as he stood behind one of the cubicles and began to get dressed. "You going to come?"
"I'm not hungry, Potter." Draco shrugged once again, "I'm probably just going to go to sleep."
A moment passed before Harry appeared once again, wearing the same clothes as when he had entered the bathroom an hour or so ago. The only difference being that his hair was still slightly wet.
"Thanks for this, Potter." Draco spoke, motioning to the bandages. "I feel much better."
"It's no problem. Like I said same time tomorrow, yeah?"
Draco nodded and picked up his shirt that was hung on a peg. He pulled it on swiftly, but couldn't help but draw in a sharp intake of breath as the pain made itself known. He didn't say anything, just shook his head and pursed his lips.
"You're lucky you've made the right decisions in life so far, Potter. You wouldn't want to end up a screw-up like me."
"What are you talking about?" Harry questioned, stepping closer to Malfoy and passing him his cloak. "I could have helped you with your shirt you know."
"I'm fine, Potter. I'm just tired. I'll see you tomorrow."
Before Harry could decide what to say, Malfoy's back was already to him and he didn't have the courage to chase after him into the hallway, which would surely have other students in.