Title: It Always Comes Down to Malfoy
Author name: Triola
Sub Category: Humor
Summary: Draco is in love, Hermione is annoyed and Harry is oblivious. The amusing tale of how Harry finally realises who his secret admirer is.
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.
Author notes: Oh, I've been wanting to write this story for ever so long, so now I did it! It is the longest oneshot I've ever written, and I hope you guys like it. It is a bit silly, but yeah, tell me what you think?
Introduction to "It Always Comes Down to Malfoy", as faithfully set forth by Triola.
Sixth year. That's when everything changed. Up until then Harry Potter had been leading a simple life, he had his routines, and he followed them to a T. He could foretell what would happen each year, and he could prepare. At the beginning of the year, he would meet up with his two best friends, and they would, as always, be the inseparable 'dream team', or 'golden trio' depending on who you spoke to. Then as the year proceeded they would bury themselves in homework, one of them more than the two others, and use their spare time to play Quidditch and practice defence. Hermione and Ron, Harry's two best friends, would banter back and forth every now and then and he would watch amusedly from the side. Around Christmas time Ron and Hermione, or Ron and Harry depending on the circumstances, would have a huge row that would last everything from two weeks to a month, but by then the third person would be able to reconcile the others and everything would be back to usual. After Christmas they would start discovering clues as to what Voldemort's new big plot was, and right before summer they would have a confrontation where Harry would, as always, somehow manage to come out on top and escape with his life, and the lives of his friends, still intact. Then he spent a horrible, horrible summer with his relatives, and then it would start all over again.
All the while while this went on, there were other aspects to his life that were less important, but just as unchangeable. They were, just to mention some, for example the fact that Professor Severus Snape was a greasy git who hated Harry Potter; Professor Dumbledore had twinkling blue eyes, and wasn't as senile as he would like people to think; Professor Trelawney would, at least once every class, predict the downfall of Harry Potter in a tragic voice that should be reserved for bad actors; And last but not least, Harry Potter loathed Draco Malfoy with a passion. And it was mutual.
However, when their sixth year came, everything changed. Well, maybe not everything, but the balance of things certainly shifted, and things got a lot more interesting
Sunday the 1st of September 1996, 10.55.
Harry was running the quickest his short legs could carry him. He had never been so angry at his small frame in his entire life! Ok, so maybe he had, but still, if he'd had Ron's long legs he would most certainly have been by the train by now. Panting, he clutched Hedwig's cage closer to his chest, and ran just a little bit faster. If that was even possible.
For all you who are wondering why Harry was running, and why in the world he was in the middle of Kings Cross railway station in London clutching an owl cage to his chest, let me refresh your memory. It was September 1st, which in the wizarding world means the first day of school. And the train leaving for said school, called Hogwarts for those of you with bad recollection abilities, would be leaving in five minutes. No, make that four.
Reaching the barrier between platforms nine and ten, Harry didn't even stop to make sure the Muggles weren't watching before tearing through. He reached the platform nine and three quarters easily and quickly made his way through the throng of parents waving goodbye to their children, before jumping up on the train, dragging his trunk with him. He was barely able to catch his breath before he heard a loud whistle sound, and then the train started rolling.
Harry breathed out in relief and quietly made his way past the various children clogging up the hallway until he reached compartment 27A. Harry had always wondered why the compartment had such a name, seeing as there was no 27B to be found anywhere. Shrugging, he silently opened the door, but the sight that met him made him close the door again as quickly as he could. He looked at the compartment number one more time, and slid open the door a few centimetres, before closing it again. Yep, he had the right compartment, and yes, that was Hermione and Ron in there. The only problem was that they didn't look as though they would appreciate being intruded on any time soon. If at all.
Shuddering slightly, Harry made his way further down the hallway. He was only glad his two friends hadn't noticed him. Catching his friends in a heated moment was one thing, but catching them and they knowing he did so, that was even worse. That was almost as bad as walking in on your parents having sex. Almost. Especially when you didn't have any parents and the closest thing you would ever get to a mother was Hermione's constant nagging about how you're too thin and how you ought to put on warmer clothes.
Suddenly a mental image of Hermione with red hair, wearing an apron and waving a spoon around popped into Harry's head, and he couldn't help laughing a little. Hermione would make a splendid Mrs. Weasley one day, he was sure of it, if it ever got that far. He smiled and shook his head, before sliding into an empty compartment. Number 13M actually. Of all things.
Sunday the 1st of September 1996, 15.13.
Harry was lost somewhere on the road between here and dreamland, when he faintly heard the door opening and closing again. Assuming that the someone who had opened the door had just closed it again and left, he just snuggled deeper into his coat and ventured further down the road leading to the vast land of his imagination, and his dreams.
Sunday the 1st of September 1996, 15.40.
When Harry woke up he didn't immediately open his eyes. No, he lay still, basking in the drowsiness and warmth that came with just waking up. However, when he did open them, he got the shock of his life. There, sitting on the place opposite him, was none other than Draco Malfoy. And he was studying Harry intently. The surprise of this discovery was so hard on poor Harry's mental state, that he yelped loudly and landed on the floor. Looking up from his new position, he could still see Malfoy sneering down at him.
"You should be more careful, Scarehead." He said. Harry could just blink and look at him. Draco Malfoy was quite willingly sitting in his compartment, and if his calculations were right, he had been sitting there for almost half an hour, doing nothing but studying Harry. He could have hexed him, hell, he could even have killed him, but instead he chose to study him. The mere thought of what that might possibly mean sent Harry's mind reeling, and he chose to blink one more time instead of thinking too carefully about it.
He was brought out of his confused state of mind when Malfoy spoke again. "Kneazle got your tongue, Potter?" Blushing, Harry realised he had been so preoccupied with blinking that he hadn't said anything for five whole minutes.
"Shove off, Malfoy." He muttered and got to his feet, brushing imaginary dust off of his pants.
"Is that the best you've got, pot-head? Must have taken you hours to think that one out!"
"Can't you just go jump of the train or something? I'm really not in the mood to deal with you right now." Harry sighed and sat down at his seat again, looking out the window.
"Hm," Malfoy mused out loud, looking for all the world as if he was thinking hard. "No, I don't think I will." Then he smirked in that annoying way only a Malfoy can pull off without looking stupid, and added: "This is so much more fun."
Sighing, Harry closed his eyes and counted to ten. He only got to seven before Malfoy's voice once again filled the compartment.
"What's the matter Potter? Not feeling well? Oh what a shame. I guess to a delicate person as yourself, falling down on the floor is just too much of a strain. Do you need to lie down for a minute? You're looking a bit flushed, I certainly hope it's not deadly!" The mockery in his voice was clear as daylight, and Harry could hear himself growl.
"Fuck off, Malfoy," he said before getting to his feet and walking towards the door. However, he didn't get far before he was forcefully pulled back to face the blond.
"No one walks away from me, Potter," he growled and his face was so close Harry could feel his breath ghosting over his skin. Slightly alarmed, Harry could only stand still as Malfoy's face came closer and closer, his eyes dilated and his breath laboured, until… "And you'd do good remembering that." Then he spun on his heals and stalked out the door, leaving a very confused Harry breathing hard in the compartment with nothing to do except look after him.
Sunday the 1st of September 1996, 19.30.
The students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry had never been known to say no to a feast, and this particular day was no different. Nevertheless, while the others stuffed their greedy little faces with pudding and cake, it was one student who hadn't even touched his spoon that evening. Yes, you guessed correctly, one Harry James Potter. At the beginning of the feast, he had been just as happy as everyone else to be back and just as ready to gobble down as much as possible, but then he did the dire mistake of looking around him, and as his eyes swept over the High Table he noticed that something was not entirely right about the picture presenting itself to him. He just couldn't put his finger on what.
And that was the core of the matter. He knew something was wrong, and he couldn't let it rest until he knew exactly what it was. He would stay up all night if it was necessary. However, that was not needed, because Harry suddenly got a great idea. He would ask Hermione! The bright witch would have it figured out in a jiffy. Turning to his best friend, Harry tapped her on the shoulder to dislodge her face from where it was fastened to Ron's. That had happened a lot since they got off the train, and Harry was pretty used to it by now. If you look away from the wince and the slight nausea that occurred every time he had to watch them for a longer period. He tried not to though.
"Yes?" Hermione smiled at him with her swollen, red lips and Harry could feel himself wince again. He forcefully pushed away any thoughts arising about parents, sex or Hermione in aprons.
"I was just wondering if you could take a look at the High Table and tell me what is wrong about it. I can't figure it out."
Hermione turned to look at the table, and studied it for about twenty-two seconds before turning her head back. "Professor Snape has washed his hair." Then she turned back to Ron again and continued her quest to suck his uvula out.
Harry raised both his eyebrows and looked up at the High table again. It didn't take him long to figure out that Hermione was indeed right. Shaking his head, Harry took a bite from his pudding and hoped that this was not a forecast of how the rest of his year would be. Greaseless, strange and oddly fluffy.
Monday the 2nd of September 1996, 08.02.
Harry was sitting next to Ron and Hermione at the Gryffindor table, peacefully eating his toast when suddenly something big and feathery landed in front of him. Looking down he discovered it was a very mean looking, black owl, and it was holding out a sharp clawed foot where it was attached a letter. Wondering who in the world would send him a letter so early in the school year, Harry carefully removed the piece of parchment from the birds foot, and opened it. There, elegantly written with green ink, was a poem. Frowning, Harry read it.
The brilliance of stormy grey
Meets the charming lure of green
There's nothing that can quite portray
The feelings in between
Perhaps it's hate, but not alone
There's also something more
A feeling that is still unknown
But neither can ignore
Love and hate have always been
Opposed, but yet so close
The boarder line is very thin
And few know where it goes
Monday the 2nd of September 1996, 08.42.
Harry, Ron and Hermione were walking up the stairs towards the Transfiguration classroom, discussing the letter Harry got at breakfast. Or rather, Hermione and Harry were discussing it, Ron was just teasing Harry mercilessly.
"Well, the lines about the 'stormy grey' and the 'charming lure of green' obviously say something about your eye colours. So we'll be looking for someone with grey eyes." Said Hermione matter-of-factly, her eyes scanning the paper slip.
"Oooh, Harry's secret admirer has stormy grey eyes!" crooned Ron, furiously batting his eyelashes. Harry only glowered at him before turning to Hermione.
"What more can you figure out?"
"Well, it does mention hate, so it's probably someone you're not too good a friend with, and looking at the writing style, I'd say it's a male. The green ink might be significant as well."
Harry didn't quite catch that last sentence, as his brain shut down after the word male. "M-m-male?" he stuttered, and Hermione glanced at him.
"Yes, male. You don't have a problem with that, do you?"
"'Course he doesn't, Har here is as gay as they come, aren't you Harry?" said Ron, slapping Harry on the shoulder.
"Sure you are, don't tell me you haven't noticed? Blimey mate, everyone knows that!"
Looking at Hermione, Harry could see that she was nodding. "Honestly Harry," she said. "You shouldn't be so surprised. You described your first kiss as 'wet', for crying out loud! Surely you must have suspected something?"
As a matter of fact, Harry hadn't suspected a thing, but now that he thought about it he could see that they had some very valid points. "But if I'm gay, and I'm not saying I am, I'm just wondering, you don't mind?"
"Of course we don't," smiled Hermione. "As a matter of fact, we've been planning to find a nice guy to set you up with for quite some time now, we just haven't gotten around to it yet."
"Yeah, mate," answered Ron. "We think it's about time you settled down a little and got yourself someone to hold at night. Or someone to hold you. Whatever floats your boat, man."
"And this secret admirer," continued Hermione. "He sounds perfect! He really must like you to send you a poem like that, especially since there seems to be a bit of bad blood between you in the past. I can't wait until you figure out who it is!"
Harry looked between them and then he smiled softly. "But you'll help me, yeah?"
"Oh, no, we can't do that!" exclaimed Hermione.
"Sorry, mate," added Ron. "It's the universal 'secret admirer rule' that the receiver of the affections must figure it out for him or herself." Then he leaned down closer to Harry and whispered. "But of course I'll help, when Hermione isn't looking."
"Ronald Bilius Weasley, I heard that!"
The rest of the way to the Transfiguration room Harry spent in deep thought, while Ron ran as fast as he could from Hermione.
Wednesday the 4th of September 1996, 11.58.
Despite having thought long and hard about the poem, Harry had not been able to figure out who the mystery guy was. Hermione had badgered him for two days now, but he had finally been able to get away and was now munching on a piece of bread in the Great Hall and happy to be left alone. In fact, he was so happy and caught up in his own thoughts that he almost didn't notice it when Seamus pushed Ron to the side and took the seat next to him. Not until he felt the warm breath next to his ear.
"My, my, Harry, you have certainly changed over the summer. And not for the worse either." Harry was so taken aback he jumped almost a meter down the bench to get away from him. Of course, Seamus being Seamus, he only followed. He put his hand casually on Harry's knee, and smirked when he blushed. "You're so sweet I could eat you," he breathed in a way that probably was supposed to be seductive, again with his face very close to the other boy's ear. "What do you say, shall we skip dinner and devour each other instead?"
Harry's breath caught in his throat and he meeped and tried to scoot further down the bench. Unfortunately, Seamus had snaked his hand around his waist and efficiently kept him from moving. But of course, Harry Potter was world famous for escaping dangerous situations by pure luck, and this time was no different. Hermione, as the knight in shining armour she is, came to rescue the damsel in distress.
"Seamus Finnigan! Unhand Harry this very minute! He is spoken for and you are not to lay a hand on him if you enjoy having your lower bits intact!" Seamus paled spectacularly and instantly moved two seats down the bench. Inside Harry silently cheered Hermione on. "Much better, but if I catch you hitting on Harry in the future, I won't be held responsible for my actions." Hermione growled, and it was one of the rare moments where Harry realised that Hermione was not only scary, she was downright dangerous.
"Thank you, 'Mione," he said, taking a deep breath in relief. "But, I mean, we do have some bad blood between us in the past, you don't think –"
"No, I don't think so. For one, he has brown eyes, and secondly, you don't really hate him, do you? The poem did talk about hate." Well, when she put it that way Harry realised that no, it couldn't be Seamus. Despite being a bit wary around him, he didn't hate him. But after all, who wouldn't be wary if they woke up one morning in their fifth year with a very aroused Irishman draped over their bed trying to snog them while they were asleep. Poor Harry was scarred for life.
Saturday the 7th of September 1996, 18.20.
Hermione was getting annoyed, and Harry was avoiding her at all costs. She was annoyed that Harry hadn't figured it out, yet she was even more annoyed that she hadn't figured it out. Clever witch that she was, she felt she should have managed it by now. If only to be able to gloat and say she knew it first. Because obviously she couldn't help him. That wasn't allowed.
Growling, Harry headed down the corridor towards the kitchens. He hated that damned rule! Why in the world couldn't people help him? It was really unfair! However, fortunately for him, many people didn't care about the rules. The whole house of Gryffindor knew about the poem by now, and they were all eager to help. They were all constantly coming up with people Harry didn't like, and the list was rather long now. Fortunately, he had been able to remove a few on mere eye colour.
Lavender had told him Zacharias Smith's, while Seamus supplied Terry Boot's. How they found out, Harry wasn't sure he wanted to know, but he was still grateful for the help. Of course, everyone who helped him got a firm tongue lashing from Hermione about traditions and rules, but that didn't stop them. The Gryffindors had seven years ago made up their very own proverb, and for those who wished to survive in the tower, it still applied; What Hermione doesn't know, Hermione cannot yell about. So, for the most part, Hermione was left in the dark about the helpfulness of the house.
Moving down into the dungeons, Harry was so deep in thought he didn't see where he was going until he suddenly walked into something big and solid. He landed on the floor with a loud oomph, and looked up dazedly, only to find Draco Malfoy looking back down at him.
"You do seem to have made a habit out of falling for me, Potter." He smirked, and Harry groaned, getting to his feet.
"Shove off, Malfoy." He muttered and made to walk around the other boy, but once again he found himself pulled up against a strong chest by the front of his robe.
"Harry, Harry, Harry, what have I told you about walking away from me?" Those grey eyes were staring down into his again, so excruciatingly close. If Harry had wanted to, it would have been easy to just lean in, and, just like that, kiss the other boy. Blinking in surprise over his own thoughts, Harry pushed away from Malfoy to make him loosen his grip. It didn't work.
"Fine," he growled. "I'll stand here and watch you leave, happy now?"
"Very." Nodded Malfoy, and turned to walk away. Just like that. Closing his eyes Harry tried to count to ten, but it was impossible. Behind the darkness of his own eyelids, the only thing he could see was a pair of glowing, grey eyes.
Saturday the 7th of September 1996, 18.32.
After the confrontation with Malfoy, Harry continued walking down towards the kitchens, but it wasn't long before he was stopped again. This time by the yell of one Hermione Granger. She looked like she had been running, her cheeks were flushed and her eyes sparkled with excitement. "Oh, Harry, you won't believe who I just walked past! Draco Malfoy! Much hated Slytherin, handsome bloke with grey eyes–"
"Wonderful, Hermione," Harry mumbled, not really listening to her.
"But Harry, are you listening? Stormy grey eyes, you hate him –"
"Mhm, of course, but 'Mione? I have been thinking, what if I don't find this bloke at all? Do you think I'll get another note with more clues?"
"Well, that depends on him I guess. If he thinks you're worth it or not. But obviously he thinks so, since he sent it in the first place, so yeah, I guess you'll get one."
"So maybe I should just wait then, and search more later?" Harry sighed.
"Oh no, Harry, don't give up! Not just yet, even though it seems difficult sometimes." Hermione smiled at him, and then her grin got bigger and she grabbed his arm, dragging him down the corridor. "Let's go eat ice cream!" She exclaimed, heading off towards the kitchen. "And on the way, I will tell you everything about who I just ran into before I met you! Draco Malfoy, grey eyes, much hated…" Nodding and smiling Harry followed along, blocking out her voice for the sake of pondering why something about Malfoy's icy, grey eyes really bothered him.
Tuesday the 10th of September 1996, 14.15.
It was a glorious day and the sun was shining when Harry walked the path up to the castle. They had just had Care of Magical Creatures with Hagrid, and that was always a pleasant affair. Well, almost always a pleasant affair. Today they had studied Mackled Malaclaws, an interesting creature that gave people bad luck. He was beginning to wonder if he hadn't been bitten by one as he saw Malfoy making his way down the path towards him. But then he remembered that it was just his usual bad luck.
"Scareface." Sneered Malfoy as he came closer. "Not falling? I'm impressed."
"Get lost, Ferret Face," Harry mumbled and found himself, for the third time since school started, wrapped up against a warm chest the minute he tried to walk away. It was turning in to quite the routine.
"Potter, you know the rules." Malfoy all but purred and Harry turned his head away defiantly. However, it was to no avail, because the blond forcefully grabbed him by the chin and turned it back so that he had no option but to look him straight into the eyes. Those grey, grey eyes. Something tickled Harry's memory, but it got lost in the sudden urge to lean up and kiss the other boy. Confused and not quite sure what to think, Harry could do nothing but continue to stare into the eyes that haunted him so.
Fortunately for him, Hermione chose that moment to come walking down the path. He sighed in relief, knowing she would save him, but to his big astonishment, she just nodded at Malfoy and kept her distance. "Hermione, what the bloody hell!" he yelled from his position next to Malfoy's chest. "Why aren't you helping me?"
Hermione just looked at him with her big, brown eyes before she turned her gaze to Malfoy. "He has the most lovely eyes, don't you think, Harry?"
Harry's life had officially hit the bottom. Here Hermione was, talking about Malfoy's eyes in stead of helping him! Something was definitely going on.
"Indeed, Granger is right," answered Malfoy, bringing Harry's attention back to him. "I have very grey eyes, stormily so." Hermione nodded and Harry could only look between them and gape.
"Are you two out of your bloody minds?" He shouted, pulling fiercely on his robe and finally managing to get it out of Malfoy's grip. "Hermione, I'm taking you to the infirmary!" He grabbed her arm and proceeded to drag her back towards the castle.
"Harry, stop! There's nothing wrong, really, everything is fine!" Hermione cried, but as usual, Harry didn't really listen to her. And why should he? Today she most certainly wasn't in her right mind anyway.
"HARRY!" That certainly wasn't Hermione's voice.
Harry turned around, looking down the path where he spotted Ron running towards them. "Yes?" he asked impatiently, wanting to get Hermione fixed up as soon as possible. He needed her for his transfiguration homework.
Ron panted and gasped to regain his breath before answering. "Where are you dragging 'Mione?"
"To the infirmary, she has hurt her head or something and gone all crazy!"
"Harry James Potter, how many times must I say this? I have not hurt my head, and I am not crazy!" cried Hermione exasperatedly, turning to Ron for support.
"Well, mate, she doesn't sound anything out of the ordinary," said Ron, scratching his head confusedly.
"But she was bloody complimenting Malfoy's eyes!" Harry roared, once again turning to drag Hermione away.
"SHE WAS WHAT!" bellowed Ron.
"Oh, for the love of magic… " sighed Hermione, and then turned to Ron. She whispered something in his ear, and Ron turned a very interesting shade of red.
"HE IS WHAT!" He shrieked, before Hermione whispered some more. Harry tried to listen in, but he suspected she had thrown some sort of spell because all he could hear was buzzing sounds. "NO WAY!" More whispering. "YOU HAVE TO BE BLOODY KIDDING ME!" Whispering, whispering, whispering. Just in case you're wondering, yes, Harry did feel left out. Yes, it was getting bloody annoying. And yes, he wanted to strangle Hermione.
When they finally finished, Hermione was looking mighty smug and Ron, well, Ron was looking like Snape on a good day. After eating a whole lemon. With a topping of Polyjuice Potion. "Well?" Harry said, tapping his foot impatiently. He was not used to his two best friends keeping him on the outside.
Hermione nudged Ron hard in the ribs, and the redhead scowled at her before turning back to Harry. "He does have very, eh, grey eyes. They're, uhm, shiny and, er, stormy. Yeah."
It was official. The whole world had gone mad.
Monday the 16th of September 1996, 17.31.
Harry had now been searching for his secret admirer for two weeks, and he was beginning to think he would never find out who it was. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack! And what was even more frustrating was that he got the distinct impression that Hermione knew something. It was in the way she looked at him when she thought he wouldn't notice, and the way she shook her head as if he was incredibly stupid. And I mean more incredibly stupid than usual. But alas, no matter how much he asked her, she refused to tell him anything. She just said that he had to keep looking. Damn her, Harry thought, he was looking! The first thing he ever did when talking to someone these days was to check their eye colour. Then their ink. It was getting more than a little annoying. However, he did try to think positive, to keep up his spirits. It was the only advice Hermione would give him. And it totally sucked.
Speaking of Hermione, she was sitting right down the table speaking animatedly to Ron and their new best friend, Draco Malfoy. Harry really didn't get it. Only days before, they were at each other's throats, but now they were sitting down there, all buddy buddy, sending looks his way and looking for all the world as if they knew something he didn't.
Pouting, he glared at the three of them before turning to glare at the rest of his house, and then the Slytherins, just for good measure. The Slyhterins really didn't have anything to do with it, but it always made him feel better to glare a little at them. His own house on the other hand, they had everything to do with it! Not only had they allowed Malfoy to sit at their table, no, they had also joined his fan club! The same one Hermione and Ron were part in, where they had to tell anyone who would listen at least once a day how very grey Malfoy's eyes were, and how truly handsome he looked. And then someone would throw in that they loathed him, just to make Harry happy. Of course, he didn't buy it. If they loathed him so, why would they praise his appearance? Sure, he was a nice looking bloke, but that was beside the point! He was Malfoy, for fucks sake!
As he stood up to walk to class, Hermione and Ron caught up with him, smiling as if everything was fine. Which I feel the need to remind you that it wasn't. Not from Harry's point of view.
"How are you doing, mate?" Asked Ron, and Harry looked incredulously at him.
"Fine," He scowled, lengthening his strides to try and lose them. Unfortunately, even Hermione was taller than him, and that meant both of them had longer legs.
"Have you found anything?" asked Hermione tentatively.
"No, and I was thinking of giving up."
"No, no, don't do that!" cried Ron. "It's not all that hard to find him, I mean, we already know–"
But here he was interrupted by a loud "Ron!" from Hermione. However, Harry was very interested in what he had almost said.
"What do you already know, Ron?" he asked dangerously calm, while smiling sweetly.
Ron gulped. And he gulped again. And Harry was sure he would have gotten something out of him if it hadn't been for Hermione. He loved the girl, really he did, but sometimes he just wished she would stay the hell out of his business.
"Be quiet Ron, you know we're not allowed to say anything. And Harry, you should stop asking! You have to find him by yourself, and your time would be better used searching in stead of talking to us. Now come on, we have potions in ten minutes." She grabbed one each of their arms and proceeded to tow them down to the dungeon. Luckily, they arrived on time and had already taken their seats when Professor Snape billowed into the room.
"Today," he said in that doom impending voice of his. "We will study Amortentia, the most powerful love potion in the world. The potion can get even the worst of enemies to fall for each other." Harry really wondered what was wrong with Professor Snape to make him emphasise every other word. "When you're finished the potion should have a stormy sheen to it, and if you've done it wrong, it will probably look plain grey."
The words grey and stormy seemed awfully familiar and he felt that something ought to click. But at that moment, it didn't. We can only blame the potion fumes.
"Now, go together in your usual pairs and get started! I want a four foot long essay on the Amortentia by the end of class!" And with that he sat down at the desk, leaving people to get into the usual pairs by themselves. It wasn't as if they didn't know them by now anyway, seeing as they had had the same pairs since fourth year. Harry was, by some bad stroke of luck, yet a very predictable one, paired up with none other than Malfoy. He quickly moved over and sat next to him, rubbing his forehead in irritation before turning over to face him.
"You oughtn't scowl, Harry dear, you'll get wrinkles," smirked Malfoy, making him scowl even harder.
"And why do you care?"
"Wouldn't want that pretty little face of yours to be ruined, now would we?" Harry could only stare at him in astonishment. Pretty little face? However, he didn't get more time to ponder it, because at that exact time Professor Snape chose to come over and see what they were doing.
"Potter! Just because Mr. Malfoy has stormy, grey eyes, it doesn't mean you can spend the whole class staring at him!" The potions master bellowed. Suddenly the whole class was looking at him as if they expected him to say something, and Harry felt a blush creeping up his neck.
"Sorry," he muttered, and Snape sent him an incredulous glare while he distinctly heard Hermione banging her head into her desk.
"Potter, please tell me you're not really this daft!" Said Snape, and Harry looked at him in confusion. Whatever did he mean? He looked at Hermione, then at Malfoy, then back at Snape before letting his gaze reside on Malfoy again.
"Uhm, I'm not really this daft?" He said and the whole class groaned in unison. He got a peculiar feeling that he was missing something.
Saturday the 21st of September 1996, 07.43.
This was the day. Harry was lying in his bed thinking, and he had decided that if he didn't find him today, he would give up. He would give up the entire search, proclaim himself heterosexual, marry a nice girl and move far, far away. It almost sounded nice when he put it like that. Except for the fact that he'd slowly but surely figured out that Ron was right, he really was somewhat gay. Somewhat as in entirely, that is.
He sighed and took up the notebook lying next to his bed, looked intently at it. There, he had scribbled down a list of people he disliked and their eye colour, ink colour and physical appearance in general. It was surprisingly many who had green ink when he thought about it. Grumbling, he looked it over once again. It should have been simple enough, but the more he looked at the list, the more confused he became. It was as if he knew the answer to a riddle, but every time he tried remembering it, it eluded him. Like an evasive Snitch.
In his mind he had a picture of what this mystery guy would look like, yet when he focused on it, it became more blurry. When he didn't think about it, he thought he could almost see a familiar face, but to see better he started focusing, and then it disappeared again. All he was left with was a pair of haunting, grey eyes.
Hermione told him he wasn't trying hard enough, but really, it wasn't that. To tell you the truth, he really wanted to find this person. He had suspected it for some time now, that he had slowly but surely fallen in love with this guy, despite not knowing him. Or maybe it was just the idea of him, but nevertheless, Harry wanted someone to hold him, love him and take care of him. It would be nice, for a change.
Ron told him he was like a love starved kitten in denial; he wanted to find this guy, he wanted him to love him, but he wasn't ready to accept who he was. Hermione had looked at him in awe and told him he really had a point. "Harry isn't usually this slow", she said. Harry felt rather insulted.
But now, Harry had pulled himself together and he had decided that he would solve this mystery once and for all. That was why he was lying in his bed on a Saturday, in stead of being outside with his friends, and with his nose in a list of his enemies. Or, what was left of them. Some had been eliminated due to eye colour, and some by ink, but there were still quite a few left.
Looking out the window, he could see his friends sitting under a tree by the lake. Strangely, Malfoy was nowhere to be seen. Smirking a little to himself, he couldn't help hoping that they'd ditched him. Maybe they had all come to their senses over the night? A boy could dream. But still, it was rather odd, because after all, for the last few days it had always come down to Malfoy. Harry was actually almost getting used to –
Suddenly he shot up from his position on the bed and somehow managed to fall down on the floor. But at that moment he didn't really care. Something about his thoughts irked him, there was something in one of those sentences that he couldn't quite grasp, but he knew that somehow it was important. But what had he been thinking? Something about Malfoy. Something about how it always comes down to –
It always comes down to Malfoy.
Grey eyes. Eyes that always looked cold and condescending, but would light up when he knew he was winning an argument. Or get heated with anger when he knew he was loosing.
Loathing. The way they had always hated each other, yet Harry had never been able to shake the feeling that there was something more there. There's also… something more.
The way Hermione looked at him whenever he was near. The way Ron in his own stuttering way told him that Malfoy had grey eyes. The way everyone would scoot over and make room next to Harry when he came to sit at their table to talk with Hermione. The way Snape asked him in class if he was really this daft.
They had all known.
It was Malfoy.
Harry could see it clearly now. It was in the way he looked smug when he told Harry he was always falling for him. The way he said he was delicate, and that he had a pretty little face. The way he pulled him close and said he would never let him walk away. The way his eyes shone. Not with hate.
And as he lay there on the floor of his bedroom, Harry had the first epiphany of his young life.
It always comes down to Malfoy.
Saturday the 21st of September 1996, 19.24. – An Epilogue. Of sorts.
It took the rest of the day to work up the nerve to find Malfoy, and when Harry finally did it he used the Marauders Map to make sure he was alone. Malfoy was standing in a hallway near the charms classroom, looking out the window at the sunset. The way the light played over his features made him seem almost translucent, and Harry nearly lost his nerve. Fortunately, he was put in Gryffindor for a reason, and even though his bravery was running solely on coffee and sugar at that particular moment, it was still there. Somewhere.
When Harry walked over to him, he just stood beside him for the longest while. Malfoy studied the down going sun, and Harry studied him. Up close, he could see that he didn't look as flawless as everyone wanted him to. His nose was slightly crooked, and his mouth was a bit broader than it should have been. He had a few pale freckles scattered across his nose, and the odd strand of hair was falling wrong. He wasn't flawless, yet somehow, that little fact made him all the more perfect.
"Isn't it beautiful?" he asked and for a moment Harry looked at him in surprise. It was the first time in his memory that Malfoy had ever spoken civilly to him. Somehow, it still hadn't quite reached his mind that he might be acting differently. Although, when Harry thought about it, why wouldn't he? Apparently, the blond was supposed to be in love with him, and you can't really go about loathing people you're in love with. At least not all the time.
"Yes, it is." Harry didn't really know if he meant the sunset or if he meant Malfoy. Both maybe.
They stood in silence for a while longer, before Malfoy turned to him and flashed him a lopsided grin. "Have you finally figured it out?" Harry nodded sheepishly, and he chuckled a little. "Took you long enough," Harry could only nod in response, he was too busy looking at him. He had never seen him like this, so, well, pleasant. It intrigued him.
"You're different," he said, cocking his head to the side.
Malfoy shrugged and looked out the window. "Not really, you just haven't looked closely enough before." It was probably true. Harry wasn't exactly known to be the best judge of character.
"How long?" Harry asked tentatively, and he knew that Malfoy understood what he was asking. How long had he been in love with him.
"Half a year maybe, I'm not sure, might be longer."
Smiling softly, Malfoy looked down at him through the blonde tresses of his hair. "Because you're you." It wasn't even a particularly good answer, but nevertheless Harry could feel the heat rising up his neck.
"And I suppose everyone knew about it?"
"Yes, everyone but you that is." Malfoy smirked again and Harry really wanted to hit him. Or kiss him. He hadn't decided yet. "Granger told everyone so that they could help her plot. She wanted everyone to constantly give you hints and little clues. She said you'd never get it by yourself. Although, I must admit, I didn't think you were going to get it anyway."
"Hey! So little faith in me, you wound me!" Harry threw a hand to clutch his chest in what he hoped looked like a very wounded manner and closed his eyes in mock despair. He only opened them again when he heard the snort of amusement from the blond. "But honestly, I'm not normally that slow, really I'm not. I was just subconsciously in denial and refused to see the truth." He nodded enthusiastically to show him that that was indeed the case, but Malfoy only laughed at him.
"But now that you have accepted the truth, isn't there something you ought to do?" He smirked at Harry in a way that could only be described as lewd and the black haired boy had to fight the blush from rising again.
"And what in the world would that be?" He said innocently, looking for all the world as if he'd recently descended from heaven.
Malfoy bent down so that his forehead was resting against his and then he whispered, "Tell me you're not really this daft."
Laughing, Harry smiled up at him. "I'm not really this daft." Then he did it. He'd been thinking about it many times, just how easy it would be to lean in and kiss the other boy, and now he finally did it. It wasn't a long kiss, nor was it a deep kiss or even a particularly good kiss. But the moment their lips touched Harry felt a warm and fuzzy feeling in his stomach that he was quite sure he had never felt before.
When he drew away, Malfoy grinned broadly. "Well, that certainly was nice."
Blushing, Harry smiled tentatively back, slightly embarrassed that he had dared to kiss the other boy, yet oddly thrilled. He wasn't sure what do no next, so he opted for a quick getaway. That way he could confer with Hermione before anything more happened. "Well, now that that is done, I think I will be on my way. I'll catch up with you later." Then he turned around to walk down the hall. He didn't get far though, before something caught his arm and he found himself inside strong arms, tucked against a broad chest.
"I'm not letting you walk away from me," Malfoy breathed, then bent down a placed a chaste kiss on Harry's lips before spinning on his heals and stalking down the corridor. And as so many times before, Harry could do nothing but stand and enjoy the view. This time though, he did it with a smile.