Title: Couldn't Catch A Cold
Author: Prince Edwin
Disclaimer: The following is a work of fiction created by and for readers of the Harry Potter books. No copyright or trademark infringement was intended, and all of the characters, situations et c. belong to, though aren't limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros. Inc, as well as being the original fiction work of J. K. Rowling.
Summery: Harry Potter is ill, no matter how much he tries to deny it; it isn't magic that's making him feel this sick. Draco Malfoy, acclaimed Slytherin opportunist, decides to take advantage of the circumstances. This story will contain SLASH with a HP/DM pairing.
Couldn't Catch a Cold
Harry James Potter, at sixteen years old, had faced Lord Voldemort (in one form or other) and survived no less than four times; he was an excellent Quidditch player who had led his team to victory in all but one of the matches he had played in; he was hailed as the Saviour of the Wizarding World by a prophecy and the unsuspecting masses; he was considered the most powerful wizard in the world, with the only exceptions being Dumbledore and Voldemort, who he was considered equal to by many; and there was no way on this planet or any other he would admit to having a damn Muggle cold.
Harry James Potter, Saviour of the Wizarding World or otherwise, currently sat on the edge of his bed in the Gryffindor sixth year boys' dormitory, eyes closed in pain against the brash red and gold décor of the room. He flinched as the sound of Ron's snoring sent a wave of hot pain ricocheting around his skull, and held a cold palm to his head, feeling a strange heat from his temples and noting the light film of sweat that covered his skin. Harry sighed and pulled himself from bed, deciding to take advantage of his wakefulness to use the showers undisturbed.
He groaned loudly in protest as he dragged himself from the room, clutching the wall to keep his balance as he struggled with the dial that controlled the temperature; with his flushed body, he opted for one far lower than usual, despite knowing the damage that cold water would likely do to his already cold-ridden body.
Having successfully cleansed his body of the sickly moisture which covered it, Harry sat on the cool tiled floor of his cubicle, exhausted by the effort it took him to remain standing for so long, and allowed the running water to soothe his stiff back. He was soon lulled into sleep by the rhythmic sound of the pounding water, and woke three hours later at half past seven to the sound of his waking dorm mates noting his absence.
He stretched uncomfortably, his limbs stiff from spending so much time curled up beneath the near-frigid water, and shivered as cold air made contact with the droplets that littered his skin. He pulled a scarlet towel from the rack in front of him and wrapped it tightly around his waist. He took a few moments to prepare himself, breathing heavily through his mouth, before stepping as casually as he could manage into the dorm room, stilling his roommates' pondering on his whereabouts as they became aware of his presence in the room.
"Harry, mate, what's with the early shower?" questioned Ron as Harry strode over to his dresser and removed his school robes. Harry was silent as he contemplated an answer, but was saved the effort by a half naked Seamus who was preparing for his own shower, and who replied with a widening grin.
"Perhaps our Harry here found last night's dreams particularly stimulating, and needed a little time alone to… work through his thoughts before the rest of us woke up," he put in slyly, before disappearing into the showers himself. The others in the room turned to Harry for his answer, who figured this was as an excuse good as any, and lowered his head in apparent embarrassment, allowing a light pink to stain his cheeks. As the lads laughed at him appreciatively, he quickly pulled on his clothes and sat on the bed, waiting for Ron to finish dressing so that they could go down to the common room and meet Hermione for breakfast.
In the Great Hall, Harry watched his toast with an apprehensive look on his face that suggested he was wary that it would retaliate with weapons if he dared imply that he might try to eat it. He drank three cups of water with gusto, and was pouring his fourth before realising just how much he had imbibed. Luckily, Hermione was reading some textbook or other and paying him very little notice, and Ron was concentrating on his food in much the same way as Harry was, though he was playing by the rules of "eat it before it has the chance to eat you."
Harry began to wonder how he would manage to feign attention in his first lesson that day without arousing suspicion. As it was a Monday (just his luck that it couldn't have been further from the weekend) he would start the day with double Potions, and he knew that if he appeared to be slacking, Snape would not hesitate to humiliate and punish him. Sighing, he hoped he could work with Hermione, who would pick up most of the work and leave him with some of the less strenuous jobs. He began to get ready to leave, relieved that at least no one had noticed his loss of appetite or increased thirst before the end of his first meal that day. Unfortunately, he was wrong.
Draco Malfoy sat across the hall from Harry, and had surreptitiously observed him from his arrival that morning, as he did every other. However, this morning he noticed a change in Harry's behaviour that was peculiar, and which might require further investigation. Instead of piling his plate high with various foods, as though never given another chance to eat, this particular morning Harry had merely glared suspiciously at a slice of toast, without eating any of it, replacing any missing food with gallons of water.
Draco supposed that the Boy Wonder might even be sick, because he seemed to have lost some of his balance, which he had spotted as Harry edged his way out of the hall, practically falling on the Mudblood at least twice. Potions ought to be interesting, Draco noted, as he wondered why none of Harry's friends had noticed his illness.
Snape swept into the dark classroom, and all conversations faded into silence with the presence of the teacher. Harry, however, had not been having any sort of conversation that morning, although he was definitely aware that he was being talked at by Hermione; he hadn't understood what she had been saying because he was concentrating too hard on staying on his stool to really comprehend another of Hermione's complicated theories.
Halfway through Snape's opening speech, describing the potion they would be making and its properties, Harry let out an explosive sneeze and shot a few inches backwards on his stool. The entire class turned to him, Snape falling silent and fixing his eyes on the Boy Who Lived to Interrupt, clearly livid that anyone would dare make a sound during his customary preliminary lecture. Everyone held their breath as Harry opened his mouth to speak to his least favourite professor, expecting his usual sarcastic retort.
Harry's red-rimmed eyes met the Potions Master's black furious ones, and he intoned in a stilted and quiet voice, "Excuse me, sir," before breaking the gaze to apparently take notes on what had been said before the interruption (he was in fact hoping to distract Snape's attention by doing this, and was unable to write an actually legible sentence). Snape's nostrils flared for a few moments, whether in rage at the initial interruption, or at the lack of proper provocation to remove House Points it wasn't clear, before he settled on a suitable punishment that wouldn't appear to be one, should the boy choose to complain to Dumbledore.
"Today," he hissed in continuation, "I shall require you to work in pairs –" here he paused to see each student move instinctively towards their friends, "– which I will choose myself."
He delighted in the disappointed faces that greeted this statement. With an inward grin, he added, "And which will contain one member from each House." The Gryffindors and Slytherins both groaned loudly to hear this, but Snape was disappointed to see that he had garnered no reaction from his intended target. 'Insufferable brat!' he fumed to himself, 'I shall have to throw him into a situation where he is sure to lose points.'
He allowed his eyes to sweep across the class, as though considering who he might group together. To build tension, he grouped Hermione Granger with Pansy Parkinson (he was still slightly surprised that Parkinson had managed an 'Outstanding' on her Potions OWL, having previously considered her as bright (and attractive) as a mountain troll), and Dean Thomas with Blaise Zabini before going in for the kill. "And Potter, I would like you to work with Mister Malfoy. If you would collect your things and move to his bench now."
The class reacted in the expected outrage, neither House happy to have their unofficial leader working with the enemy, but Snape noticed that neither boy really reacted. Disappointed once more, he waved his wand and the instructions appeared on the board. He then returned to his desk to sit quietly and contemplate what had gone wrong with his Plan to Ruin Harry Potter's Life this morning, his scowl becoming more pronounced than ever as he failed to reach a conclusion.
Harry dumped his bag in his cauldron and hauled them over to Draco's bench at the back of the room, unaware of the sympathetic looks he was getting from Hermione, or at least, indeed, unaware of why he might deserve them, other than the feeling of wire wool up his nose that he was experiencing, though no one need know about that. He settled heavily onto the stool next to Draco, setting up his cauldron once more so that that it was ready for ingredients to be added.
Draco watched him closely, aware of the slight heaviness to Harry's usually fluid movements. He saw Harry take a moment to prepare himself before casting the charm to make water flow out of his wand, aiming it at the cauldron with a miscalculation that meant he extinguished Draco's magically induced flames that had been licking the cauldron's bottom. Closing his eyes in frustration, Harry stopped pouring water and made to wipe the spilt water away with his sleeve. Draco was there first with a rag, and he looked up at Harry to catch his eye.
"Potter, I'm well aware of your pathetic condition. Why don't I just make this potion to save us both from the contents exploding in our faces?" Draco asked, already moving on to dice the frog's liver that would be the first ingredient added.
Harry was not willing to give in quite so quickly. "What condition are you on about, Malfoy?" he queried wearily, sitting back down on the stool in such a way that implied he had collapsed onto it by accident rather than consciously decided to sit down. He was already covered in another film of sweat from the heat of the flames, and his flushed cheeks contrasted starkly with his pallid complexion. His tired eyes did not notice Draco's smile, which was one of the few honest ones he had had this year.
"Let me think… Hmm." He mocked thought, tilting his head as though in confusion, before snapping his fingers in apparent realisation. "The condition that means you can't stand up properly for two minutes, never mind do something like hold a knife steady to slice caterpillars. Perhaps that's the one I mean," Draco replied sarcastically, enjoying teasing Harry when he was so out of sorts.
'It is ridiculous really,' he thought 'how much I love Harry. Teasing Harry, of course. Teasing him is what I meant.' Draco blatantly ignored his mental Freudian slip, and refused to acknowledge images of the dreams he had had the previous night that floated forward, in which he had been again teasing Harry with his spitefully talented tongue, but without the use of words this time.
Harry leaned back against the wall, unwilling to get into an argument when he would much rather just accept Draco's help and spend the lesson resting so that he could fool Hermione and Ron in Herbology next. He knew Draco was expecting a reply, and didn't want to spark the Slytherin's rage by being rude to him. "Thanks, Malfoy. You're right," Harry rasped the words, his throat unnaturally dry. He swallowed, hoping to moisten the baron environment there, but with little success.
"Of course I'm right, I always am," Draco replied, noticing Harry's discomfort. He conjured a glass of water and pushed it into Harry's hand before adding the last ingredient to the potion. Fifteen minutes later, Draco congratulated himself on his fast work, which would allow him to simply simmer the potion for another half hour waiting for the lesson to end and relax, perhaps whilst watching the gap of skin that had appeared where Harry's shirt rode up when he leaned back against the wall. He hurriedly glanced away as Harry's eyes opened so that he could take a drink of the carefully cooled water in his hand (Draco prided himself on attention to detail).
After a few moments of silence whilst Harry slowly sipped his drink, he turned to Draco with confusion creasing his brow. "Why are you being nice to me all of a sudden?" It occurred to him that the drink might have been poisoned, but Draco did not look to be anticipating anything, and he had tasted nothing unusual, so he discarded that idea fairly quickly. Draco did not reply instantly, appraising Harry slowly, as though considering whether to tell him or not. He seemed to decide that Harry passed the test, though, as he began to explain himself.
"Potter, I have grown up. I no longer derive such pleasure from hurting you quite as I once did." At Harry's snort of disbelief he grinned. "I do, however, still enjoy teasing you a bit." This explanation made sense, and Harry nodded, seemingly accepting what Draco said. Draco then lent forward, adrenalin pumping as his lips neared Harry's ear. He kissed the ear slightly as he whispered, "Get better. You're no use to me like this, Harry," before collecting a vial of their potion and marching to the front of the class to give it to Snape for grading.
By the time he had returned, Harry was still looking a little dazed, though it was no longer obvious whether this was a reaction to Draco close proximity a few moments ago or a result of whatever ailment had settled in the boy. Suddenly, Harry fell backwards off his stool, pulling it down behind him with a crash that drew the attention of everyone in the room.
"This is the second time you have disrupted my lesson today, Potter!" Snape shouted, glad to have reason to punish the boy. "Detention in this room tomorrow night, at eight o' clock. Now explain to me what happened." Knowing that Harry did not want his friends to be suspicious of his health, and aware that falling off his stool with no provocation would arouse suspicion from Granger, and also seeing an opportunity for himself (all Slytherins were excellent opportunists), Draco spoke up to reply for Harry.
"I pushed him, sir. I was expecting his balance to be slightly better than that, I must admit, but it seemed that I overestimated the prowess of the great Harry Potter. I was hoping to initiate a fight."
Snape gaped at Draco, before catching himself, and rearranging his features so that he once again looked scary and intimidating, rather than simply gormless. There was no way, he knew, that he could get away with not punishing Draco at least equally to Harry, and he suspected that Draco was conscious of this fact and had arranged it this way. He wondered about this boy, sometimes, but decided that he would not question his actions, at least not yet, and would instead obey them.
"Fine then. Detention. Same conditions as Potter's. Class is dismissed." With that, Snape disappeared from the room, only his billowing black cloak visible for a few seconds before he vanished completely. He was secretly proud of this exit, and had practised it in front of his mirror a few times over the weekend in case such an occasion should arise. He was lucky that he had Harry and Draco in his class so early to warrant such a dramatic exit, he pondered as he moved on to practising slinking in shadows for a few hours before his next class started.
Harry struggled through the rest of the day, supporting himself on walls, and destroying his food with a fork so that it would look like he'd eaten. By the time he collapsed into bed at ten (an hour earlier than usual, he'd need an excuse by morning) he was beginning to think that he ought to consider a career in acting. Aside from Draco, there wasn't a single person who suspected his illness.
Before he drifted into another, what would likely be both disturbed and shortened, sleep, Harry wondered why he was so adamant that no one would know that he was sick. Before he could figure this out, he heard Draco's voice in his ear whispering "You're no use to me like this, Harry," and he drifted off into a fairly peaceful sleep.
Draco Malfoy sat in the Slytherin common room wondering what to do with the new piece of information he had found out about the Golden Boy today. He was, after all, a Slytherin and opportunist, and would have to use this information to his advantage before his chance passed. So, Harry was ill, and he didn't want his little friends to know about it. Draco was confused about this; why didn't Harry just take the time off school and have all of his minions fawn over him as a result? Perhaps he would use the detention tomorrow night to find out.
Meanwhile, he needed a plan. Harry Potter was vulnerable. He didn't know what was wrong with him, but there was no way Draco wasn't going to use this to his advantage. An image of Harry begging for his mercy, trapped between a wall and Draco's own body flashed before his eyes, and suddenly Draco began to develop the beginnings of his plan. Tomorrow night, Draco would begin to weaken the defences of the wizarding world's hailed saviour; it would be easy with the illness working to his benefit. And then, when Harry least expected, Draco would strike, and the victory he had longed for since before the summer, the dominance over Harry James Potter, would be his.
Draco began to cackle, head thrown back as he imagined his successful plan. He went unnoticed by the others in the common room; it was unusual if someone did not cackle at some point each evening in the Slytherin common room, and Draco especially was known to collapse onto the rug and roll around with tears streaming down his face as a result of his diabolical plans, which he somehow never managed to pull off. A few of his friends rolled their eyes at the inevitable moment when Draco would return to them, sullen faced, muttering about that 'damn Gryffindor, half-blooded, Golden Wonder Boy', and they hoped that this time Draco would return without a red and gold mane.
Harry had stumbled down the staircases that led from the Entrance Hall with a difficulty he would have found hard to hide should anyone else be present. He was getting worse, and it was only a matter of time before he ended up embarrassing himself in front of his friends. As he reached the final staircase down to dungeon level, a light, airy feeling filled his head, and he was suddenly unaware of his feet, or indeed the rest of his body.
After taking two steps he found himself hurtling into the gloomy corridor below, eyes closed against the impact of each of the stairs he hit on the way down. Upon landing, quite ungracefully, in a small heap at the first of Snape's classrooms, Harry simply groaned and lay still, hoping for the pain in his head to retreat so that he could calculate the damage caused by this fall.
This was how Draco found him fifteen minutes later, as he wandered up the corridor to his own detention. At first, he thought he had sighted a small pile of robes, dropped by a careless house elf. However, upon closer inspection, he found it to be shifting slightly, and so he approached with caution, wand in hand. With reflexes borne from years of being a Seeker, Draco pulled the cloak back and leapt backwards as though fearing combustion (which, to be fair, is fairly probable in Hogwarts). His face drained when he saw the broken form of Harry looking up at him in confusion. With a few simple healing charms, he managed to pull Harry to standing, despite protests, and lead the other boy to their joint detention by the hand.
Whilst Harry was unaware even of his whereabouts, never mind the presence of Draco's hand wrapped around his own, Draco was blissfully aware of the fact that he was currently holding Harry Potter's tiny (and slightly clammy) hand in one of his own. A smile spread wildly across his face as he contemplated doing this when Harry was closer to consciousness, which he carefully schooled into indifference as he released Harry's hand and knocked on the door they had been requested to visit.
Twenty minutes later, and Harry and Draco were sat at the back of their Potions room, apparently completing their detention. Snape had left them alone, secretly hoping that they would get in a fight that he could blame on that damn Potter to detract House Points from the leading Gryffindor hourglass. They were supposed to be labelling ingredients, but Harry was instead slowly regaining his equilibrium, and Draco was watching this process with ill-concealed amusement. Eventually, Harry was able to sit on his stool upright, and without requiring Draco's hand on his back to keep him from falling every so often. They began their assigned work in a taut silence.
Unsurprisingly, Draco broke it first.
"So, Potter, falling for me at last, eh?" he shot Harry a lecherous wink, but offered a grin to show his good humour.
Not up for witty banter with his mind in this state, Harry replied with his old favourite. "You wish, Malfoy."
Draco merely raised an eyebrow at this, making Harry consider what he had just said and its implications. This resulted in a light blush staining his cheeks as Draco failed to correct him. 'He really does have the prettiest blush,' thought Draco, examining Harry's faced unabashedly. 'I'll have to embarrass him more often, if I'm rewarded with this.'
He also took in Harry's eyes, and had the strangest urge to remove the glasses that shielded their true colour. As a Malfoy, Draco decided that he would do as he wished; as there was no one around that he could order to do it for him, he prepared to complete the task himself. To Harry's confusion (for he did not know what Draco intended, and had he known, he would probably just have been more confused) Draco shuffled his stool closer and gently removed Harry's thick-rimmed glasses.
"Not bad at all," he murmured, brushing Harry's fringe out of his way, and leaning in for a closer look. He was satisfied to hear Harry's breathing increase with his proximity, and allowed the small breaths to ghost his neck, suddenly glad that he was so much taller than Harry so that he could experience this without awkward positioning. He gazed down into Harry's dazzling eyes, watching in awe as their green darkened with an unknown emotion.
Harry, in turn, was rendered speechless as he saw Draco's eyes up close for the first time. He had always thought them to be harsh, like steel or silver, but instead they were a soft dove grey that reflected a spectrum of unexpected colour in the light of the flickering candles. Draco's soft hair fell onto Harry's face, the blond strands tickling his skin, but he refused to move away.
Feeling that this must be a dream, because Harry could not imagine he and Draco ever acting so… amicably in reality (and in truth, he was still a little out of it as a result of his fall), he decided to be bold and reached his hands up to Draco's shoulders, resting them there comfortably. Draco responded in kind, placing his hands on Harry's hips. He realised with a shock that they were both standing, and wondered for a moment how this had occurred, before turning his mind back to the boy watching him expectantly.
Seeing Harry like that, his face upturned innocently, his red rimmed eyes unfocused without their required lenses, and his nose tinged by whatever virus had struck him, Draco could almost forget that the future of the wizarding world was standing comfortably in his arms. Then he remembered his plan; this was perfect, Harry would soon be his. He leaned down towards Harry, who titled his head in question. The door banged open, and the Potions Master entered.
Draco whispered into Harry's ear "Perhaps I have use for you yet, Harry. Meet me at the astronomy tower tomorrow at eleven. Come alone." He then strode out of the room, leaving Harry standing abandoned by the back bench, feeling cold and confused, and with Snape glaring at him for failing to remove himself from the room the instant he was dismissed.
On returning to Gryffindor tower, Hermione was the only person left in the room, curled on a cosy chair in front of the fire, a tome larger than she was resting open on her lap. She indicated that Harry should join her, and he gladly collapsed onto the chair facing her, unwilling to climb the spiral stairs to his dormitory just yet.
"How was your detention with Malfoy? You didn't end up fighting, did you?" Harry was suddenly glad that Draco had thought to heal his bruises so they were no longer visible, because it saved him from some awkward questions.
"Um, no, Hermione, nothing like that."
Noticing a distant look in her friend's eyes, Hermione marked her page and closed her book, pushing it onto the floor with a muffled thump as she leaned towards Harry.
"Something's happened, hasn't it? Why don't you tell me what?" She spoke gently, hoping to sooth a confession from Harry. She knew him well enough, and was certain it would work, though only with her. He consequently launched into a detailed account of what had happened since he left the tower, backtracking to explain the events of yesterday's potions lesson, conveniently leaving out the real reason for his fall on both occasions, hoping she believed he was that clumsy. (Although Hermione knew her friend was that clumsy, she was also aware of his weary demeanour, and had already surmised the reason he hadn't been quite right since Monday morning.)
"Harry?" Hermione probed, wondering if he was really as slow as he seemed and truly did not know the cause of Draco's behaviour. "Do you… Do you understand why Draco is acting like this?"
Harry slowly shook his head. "Not a clue. That's kind of why I told you. I hoped you could help me, you know? Figure it out and stuff."
Hermione laughed at her poor clueless friend, wondering if Harry even knew that Draco was gay. 'Probably not,' she concluded, 'though how anyone could not know with all the preening he does, in between following Harry's arse around the room with his eyes, is beyond me.'
"I'm afraid there are some things that you have to figure out on your own, Harry," Hermione replied, watching Harry's face fall in disappointment.
"You know, Harry, sometimes I think you're so slow that you couldn't catch a cold." Harry opened his mouth to retort, obviously offended at her jab at his intelligence, but instead sneezed three times consecutively. "Although, it seems that I'm wrong on that one." Hermione gave him a warm hug, before steadily making her way up the girl's staircase, leaving Harry to figure out what she had just said.
Harry overslept on Wednesday morning, missing breakfast completely and was already fifteen minutes late for his first lesson that day (Care of Magical Creatures) by the time he had dressed and ran from the tower. His body protested about the energy he was using, shouting at him that it had not yet rested enough, despite the hour or so lie in.
He stopped in the Entrance Hall to catch his breath, but found this an increasingly difficult task to complete. With every deep breath he tried to take, he felt as though his throat was closing up that little bit more. Soon, he was leaning against the wall with one hand, the other covering his mouth as he coughed violently, desperately trying to coax oxygen into his lungs. His eyes were streaming like waterfalls down his paling face, and his lips were gaining a blue tinge. Close to fainting, thoughts ran wildly through his mind as he tried to think of a way to get help.
All classrooms were either a level up or down, and there was no way he could make the stairs. His throat protested against another round of coughing that shook his body, and he decided to leave the school, hoping that someone from Hagrid's class (which he forgot was in fact the class he was late for) would notice the huge doors opening. He stumbled forwards clumsily, and threw one of the oak doors open with all his might. It crashed against the opposite wall, and the sound similar to that of a wounded animal falling was the last Harry heard before slithering to the ground.
Draco was sitting lazily stretched out near the back of his care of Magical Creatures class, paying little attention to his so-called professor drone on about the proper care and handling of Mokes to prevent them from shrinking as you approach. This subject rather bored Draco, so he was glad of the distraction when he heard a distant bang, that reminded him of a large animal settling down too heavily, come from the direction of the main school building. Upon turning to see what had caused it, though, his expectant smirk disappeared, and he rose quickly from the grass and sprinted towards the steps back into Hogwarts.
The class, upon hearing his departure, watched in amazement as he practically flew towards what appeared to be a small heap lying by the open door. With a cursory glance at Hagrid, Hermione acquired permission to follow Draco, and soon everyone was making their way back to Hogwarts curiously, teacher included, to see why Draco had taken off like that.
Meanwhile, Draco had arrived at Harry's fallen form. He panicked when he realised that Harry's lips were blue, and he was clearly not breathing. He closed his eyes, praying to Salazar that this would work, and aimed his wand at Harry's throat, muttering an incantation before leaning forward and forcing his breath into Harry's mouth. Suddenly, Harry gasped against Draco's mouth, sitting up with a start and nearly head butting the blond. "So this is the thanks I get for saving your life? Tut tut," he smirked, before pulling away from Harry and standing up, reaching out his hand to help Harry stand too.
The class reached them just as Harry released Draco's hand, and suddenly Hermione had thrown herself at Harry, arms flung around him as she alternated between relief at his safety, and scolding Harry for not telling anyone how sick he was. Draco stepped forward, briefly touching her arm. "Careful, Granger. I just got him breathing again." As Hermione acquiesced, Draco slipped away from the crowd of Gryffindors surrounding the Boy Who Lived Again (with a little help from Draco Malfoy, not that anybody need know about that).
Harry woke in the dimming light of dusk, in a fairly familiar bed adorned in crisp white sheets. The hospital wing. He pulled himself to sitting weakly, and scanned his surroundings for anyone who might know what had happened. He had distant images of coughing, then Draco, and then Hermione, but the images were faded, and flickered madly in his mind phantasmagorically. Suddenly, Hermione and Ron appeared from the next bed, which was separated from his by a curtain. Hermione instantly rushed forward, hugging him delicately before pulling away and gazing at him in wonderment.
"How on Earth did you get Draco Malfoy of all people to come running to your aid?" she queried, hands moving to rest on her hips as she shook her head in disbelief.
Flashing his eyes at Ron in worry momentarily, Harry's eyes suddenly widened. "He did? Dra- Malfoy really helped me? I thought I must have dreamt it or something, I mean, why would he do that?" He saw Hermione's smirk, and was worried by it for a moment, before her face fell suddenly, and a serious frown creased her previously laughing expression.
"Madame Pomfrey thinks that you were hit with a choking curse, and that Malfoy reversed it just in time. She is accustomed to dealing with magical maladies, Harry, and wouldn't know if you had a Muggle ailment. Harry, be honest, have you got flu?"
Ron looked bemused about the whole situation, personally more comfortable with the idea that Harry was fine now that the curse had been removed (by Draco Malfoy though, that was a bit screwed up!) and didn't have some odd Muggle disease called 'flu'. Stupid name for a disease, that, anyway: 'flu'. What were those Muggles thinking? He turned to Harry expectantly, awaiting his answer with Hermione.
Harry took a deep breath. "Hermione, I have not got flu. At worst, I might have had a cold, but I'm fine now. I don't know what that was this morning, but a curse sounds just about right."
Hermione nodded, accepting Harry's lie as Harry inconspicuously wiped his nose on his sleeve, and tried to figure out a way to keep Hermione from noticing as his headache continued to worsen and his temperature rose. It was going to be a fun few days.
As Madame Pomfrey had decided he was fully healed, Harry was allowed to go to dinner, which, for the first time in his frequent visits to the hospital wing, he was not eager to do. Harry sat at the Gryffindor table, surrounded by the smell of food making him want to vomit, with Hermione eying his plate to see of he was actually eating the food. Every time she glanced away, Harry slipped the food onto Ron's plate, who didn't notice what was in front of him and simply scooped it up with his fork and appeared to absorb it into his mouth without hesitation. Watching this occur with fascination, Harry began to wonder if he would be able to get rid of Colin Creevey by slipping him onto Ron's plate and waiting for the inevitable.
Across the hall, Draco watched Harry sneak his food onto Ron's plate with a hint of a smile. Not knowing what was wrong with Harry was slightly worrying, but Harry seemed to be dealing with it okay, and Madame Pomfrey had obviously not noticed anything wrong, so it couldn't be serious. He instead amused himself with Harry's antics as he fooled everyone around him into thinking he was perfectly fine.
With slight distaste, he watched the Weasel King demolish the food on his plate (the majority of which had already been on Harry's plate) with all the finesse of a drunk shark, and finally turned his head to the Slytherin table. Quickly regretting this decision, he noticed that Crabbe and Goyle managed to eat with even less grace than Weasley. Sighing, he rose from his table and left the hall, making sure to catch Harry's eye before departure and mouth "tonight" as a reminder before exiting.
Harry sat in shock staring at the space Draco had been stood in moments before. Tonight? Then it clicked together beautifully like a dancer snapping his fingers. The astronomy tower, eleven, come alone. The conversation slowly drifted back to Harry on separate tides until it all made sense. How could he have forgotten about his meeting with Draco? He was quite exhausted as it was, and did not know how he would manage a secret meeting at night time, especially with all the sneaking he would have to do to avoid Hermione upon exiting the common room. And he knew she would be up at that time, because it was Wednesday, and every Wednesday Hermione sat up late to update her revision timetable and add to her notes. Time to dig out his father's cloak again. He only prayed he wouldn't give himself away by sneezing.
Harry sat on his bed, having rested for an hour before he had to set off to find out what Draco wanted. His head was thumping, but he decided to ignore it in favour of finding out what Draco wanted. Wrapping his father's cloak around himself tightly, Harry was instantly grateful for its warmth, which he had never noticed before. He was shivering slightly, and paused to rid himself of as many sneezes as possible (which turned out to be around thirty) before leaving his dorm room to sneak past all of those still up in the tower. He waited for the Fat Lady to open, admitting a seventh year returning from Merlin knows where, but with pink feathers in his hair, and took the opportunity to leave.
With an amount of difficulty, he manoeuvred his way through the hallways as quietly as possible, stopping to rest every fifty feet or so, which slowed his progress amazingly; he hoped Draco would be patient and wait for him.
Draco Malfoy arrived at eleven o'clock precisely. Fashionably late was last year's trend, but damned if he wanted to be early. His smirk faded when he noticed his companion had yet to arrive, and he heaved a sigh as he settled himself down on the wall, legs dangling precariously over the edge. After ten minutes, he was becoming fed up, when he heard laboured foot steps snailing ever closer. The door swung open dramatically and admitted… no one. Confused, Draco hopped off the wall and carefully approached the door, only to leap backwards in fright as Harry Potter appeared in front of him, leaning against the wall as though it was a life-long friend and panting with the exertion caused by the multiple spiralled staircases he had (bravely, he thought) faced in order to get to this meeting.
"So, you made it then?" Draco drawled with usual sarcasm. However, at Harry's feeble nod, he found himself losing his anger; no matter that he was late, he was here, and at peak to be manipulated, and that was the main thing.
Harry was not quite aware of his surroundings any more. His eyes were sore and his vision as fuzzy with glasses as without. It took tremendous effort to concentrate on anything but his heavy head, or cotton-stuffed nose, but he was willing to put that effort in. "What," he started, but was broken off by a series of coughs. He made a second attempt, which was more successful. "What do you want?" he had hoped for a less ambiguous question, but was losing his voice, and simply hoped it would suffice.
Draco contemplated simply saying 'You' and snogging Harry senseless (which would currently take less effort than under normal circumstances), but decided against this plan as it simply was not subtle enough for a Slytherin such as himself.
"I want to talk, Harry. That much was obvious in my asking you to meet me here." That's right; don't give anything away yet, Draco. Now pout so that he focuses on your lips, then lick them seductively. Harry inclined his head questioningly, squinting up at Draco's face, which was closer than he had realised, and trying to figure out if Draco had really used his given name.
As Harry appeared too incoherent to understand the subtle cleverness of his carefully designed plan, Draco considered for an option, and then discarded it in favour of improvisation.
"I must admit, Harry, I had rather hoped we wouldn't get around to much talking tonight," Draco whispered huskily into Harry's ear. Harry's breathing hitched as Draco allowed his tongue to flick out and trace the outer shell, and a shudder ran through him. He breathed out a soft 'oh' that could have been affirmation that he had heard Draco, a question probing him to continue, or simply his reaction to Draco's teasing.
"Oh, indeed, Harry. And I hope that after what I do next, you'll have more to say to me than 'oh'!" Draco pulled Harry's glasses from his face once more, amazed at Harry's beautiful eyes. He folded them and placed them safely in his pocket before softly stroking Harry's cheek, his other arm now wrapped around Harry's waist, holding their bodies firmly together. Harry was managing only to cling to the robes at Draco's chest to support his body, and his eyes slipped out of focus as he registered the warmth spreading to him from Draco's body.
Just as Draco leaned forward to claim Harry's flushed, parted lips as his own, he felt Harry's grip fail as a dead weight fell into his arms. He flickered his eyes open again, and saw, to his utter disbelief, that Harry had fallen asleep in his arms. With a slightly disgruntled 'humph', he stared down at the sleeping form in his arms, gradually beginning to admire the peace that had spread across Harry's face. He brushed his lips against the raised skin of Harry's scar, before settling down on the floor with Harry curled on top of him, pulling his cloak around the both of them, and happy to enjoy Harry's weight upon his legs as he slowly fell asleep.
A sharp tendril of light cast out from the rising sun spilled across Draco's face, rousing him from a comfortable sleep. For a moment, he allowed the light to bathe him, cooing lightly as he felt a warm body on his lap snuggle closer to him, before his eyes snapped open in shock; there was no sunlight in the dungeons, and there were not usually warm bodies curled up with him in his bed. As soon as his eyes grew accustomed to the brightness, Draco glanced down to see a head of scruffy black hair and smiled as recognition and memory settled in.
Groaning slightly, he stretched beneath Harry, and then stood carefully, collecting the form of a vulnerable Savoir of the Wizarding World in his arms, invisibility cloak in hand (which he was determined not to steal- once he had Harry, he would be able to borrow it anyway), he set off in search of the famed Gryffindor Tower, aware that there was at least another hour before any movement would be sighted in the lions' den (and even then it was likely to be that mouse, Creevey, up early to sneak photos of unsuspecting innocents).
Following the path he had often observed Harry taking, Draco was able to locate what he assumed was the entrance to the common room about twenty minutes after his search began, causing him to feel a small amount of pride, and award himself personal Draco Points, his mental equivalent to House Points that he kept totalled in his head for such situations of resourcefulness as this one. Settling Harry gently onto the floor in the corner, with his cloak folded neatly on top of his lap, Draco turned to the large woman in the portrait who had been watching his progress curiously.
"Excuse me, but is this the entrance to Gryffindor Tower?" Draco addressed her in a low, polite voice, glancing at Harry to ensure that he had not been disturbed.
The Fat Lady appraised Draco, taking pity on him as he appeared tired (and apparently as a result of caring for one of her own) but she took her duties very seriously. "I'm sorry, dear, but I'm afraid that I cannot possibly dispose to you the whereabouts of any common room that is not your own."
Draco's face fell momentarily, but he quickly figured out a way around this. "That's alright. But say I were to leave Harry Potter sleeping there, and return to my common room, would you be able to obtain one of Harry's Gryffindor friends to make sure he got to bed alright?"
Smiling at Draco's semantics game, the Fat Lady nodded. "Of course I would. Nobody could simply leave Harry sleeping in a corridor, especially not when he's sick."
Draco, who had been preparing to leave, whipped around at that. "So you noticed too. Do you know what's wrong with him? Or why he won't tell any one?"
"I know, dear. I have watched him for neigh on six years, and I know when he is ill, Muggle disease or not. And I suspect he won't tell anyone because he is unwilling to admit his weakness. And he detests having everyone fawn over him, anyway."
"Thank you," Draco uttered gratefully, turning to watch Harry before he left. "Make sure he's safe for me? And don't tell any one that I was here." Draco suddenly grew afraid that someone other than this portrait might witness his tenderness towards the boy, and vanished quickly down the hallway, his footsteps echoing as he descended the stairs.
Shaking her head at yet more of her students' antics, the Fat Lady slipped into a portrait in the common room the find Colin Creevey polishing a framed photo of Harry. Deciding against asking for his help outright, she sent him upstairs to collect Ron Weasley, who carried his friend to bed unquestioningly before returning to sleep himself. As she settled herself back into her portrait, the Fat Lady wondered if the young Mister Weasley would even remember this incident come morning. She looked forward to the confrontation if he did.
It was midday on Thursday, and Harry's eyes fluttered open to see broad daylight filter through the curtains surrounding his bed and climb across the scarlet covers. Pushing himself unsteadily out of bed, Harry grabbed his wand and searched for his glasses. They weren't on his bedside table, where he always left them. They weren't on any of the other tables in the room, on the windowsill, or under his bed either. Panicking, Harry muttered a charm which would audibly tell him the time.
"Twelve thirty post meridian," echoed eerily around his empty dorm room, and a panic swirled inside Harry's chest. He had missed all of his classes that morning, and lunch was just beginning now. He would have to brave the hallways without his glasses and hope he could make it to the Great Hall before Hermione and Ron were finished eating.
Ten minutes later, everyone in the Great Hall stopped eating their meals and chatting with their friends as a huge crash thundered through the hallway. Snape stopped yelling at a Ravenclaw who had inadvertently turned her boyfriend into a flamingo during a study session that had got out of hand for the third time this week to look up in the direction of the interruption. The massive doors had swung open, and a swaying Harry Potter meandered in the direction he always turned to.
The Ravenclaw used the distraction to dart away from Snape, mouthing apologies to a still feathered Gryffindor who had watched her exchange with the Potions Master in amusement. Arriving near the Gryffindor table, it was clear to those resident there that Harry did not have his glasses. Hermione rushed forwards and helped him to sit down, her questioning gaze wasted as Harry struggled to recognize his friend.
"Sorry, 'Mione," whispered Harry, his voice still hoarse. His memory fought viciously to obtain last night's events. Flickering images told him that he had snuck out of his common room to meet Draco Malfoy. He knew he had arrived there to see Draco settled on the wall, his feet hanging loosely over the edge, and could recall Draco bounding over to him. After that, he just remembered a sweet smell, warmth, comfort, and waking up in his own bed that morning without his glasses.
"Harry, what happened to your glasses? And why did Ron collect you from the hallway this morning on request from the Fat Lady? Where were you last night?" Hermione bombarded with questions he barely knew the answers to himself. Taking a deep breath to still his shaking nerves, and holding a hand up to beg her silence, Harry closed his eyes briefly to take charge of his headache and blocked nose before beginning to speak. Most of the Great Hall was listening, curious themselves.
"I don't know what happened to my glasses, Hermione. I must have lost them at some point last night coming back from meeting that person we discussed a few nights ago," at this Harry raised his eyebrows at Hermione, who immediately understood who Harry was talking about. 'Who else would it be?' she wondered wryly, as everyone else in the hall questioned 'Who?'.
"I got tired, I guess, and fell asleep in the hallway," Harry explained, not knowing entirely whether it was the truth or not himself. Cursing the damn flu, which was making it increasingly difficult to talk without taking huge gulps of his drink first, Harry gazed around the hall, finally realising how many people were listening in. "I guess I'll try to tell you what happened later."
Everyone began to question what happened, and with whom, when the latter question was quickly answered. Feeling brave, Draco Malfoy stood from his table and walked over to Harry, who looked up at him slightly fearfully. "I found these, this morning, Potter. You should take better care of them in future." And with that, Draco was gone, and Harry had his glasses back, leaving the people around him to wonder what he had been doing last night for Draco to end up with them in the first place.
Draco Malfoy, Slytherin Prince and amazingly beautiful, if he said so himself, was huffing like a petulant child in the Entrance Hall. He wanted Harry! But it seemed that Harry was too sick to understand Draco's clever plan, and therefore was not falling into the trap. Stamping his foot and pouting, Draco turned around to find Harry stood behind him looking curious. Suddenly fired up with new determination, Draco pulled Harry into a broom closet and slammed the door behind them.
His incantation spread light, and soon he was able to see Harry gazing up at him in confusion tinged lightly with fear. "Shhh, Potter. Harry. I'm not going to hurt you. I've just wanted to do this for a long time."
Before Harry could ask what, Draco had snaked one hand behind his neck, holding him in place, whilst the other hand curled around his waist, pulling his body closer. Removing one hand for a moment, he pulled off Harry's glasses, before finally swooping forward and crashing his lips onto Harry's.
Content for the moment just to feel Harry's chapped lips against his own, Draco settled, before beginning to move his lips, feeling Harry's move against them, and flicking out his tongue for a taste. Suddenly, Harry's mouth was open and Draco's tongue was exploring the wet depths, tracing the ridges of his teeth and dancing against Harry's tongue, luring it into his own mouth so he could suck it gently, enjoying the taste of Harry in his own mouth at last.
Before Harry could respond, Draco was suddenly gone. Harry stood alone in that closet, lips flushed, hair fluffed at the back where Draco had been playing with it, and with his glasses mysteriously in his trouser pocket. How they had gotten there without his noticing, he would never know. Although it might have had something to do with the distraction Draco had performed in the way of a mind blowing kiss. Reaching his fingers to his lips, Harry tried to figure out how much of what he thought had happened was actually real, and smiled when he realised that his imagination wasn't good enough to make him feel
By dinner time people had stopped asking Harry what had happened last night, for his response was invariably a shrug, and an attempt at an answer laced with sneezes as such that made it impossible to comprehend. Instead, rumours flew across the hall, and it became popular opinion very quickly that Harry was operating under some curse or hex applied by Draco Malfoy, and that was the reason for his ailments. Oblivious to these rumours, Harry stared at a treacle tart menacingly as he planned a strategic plot against it using his fork and Ron's inattentiveness again. This time, he was not so careful to avoid having Hermione see him. Unfortunately.
"Harry, pray tell, why are you siphoning your favourite dessert onto Ron's plate?" Hermione asked, her voice low with imminent scolding heard in it.
"Um, I'm just full and didn't want to waste the house elves' efforts?" Harry's answer was well designed to distract Hermione, but she heard the question in his tone and narrowed her eyes.
"How much have you actually eaten today, Harry?"
Flushing and shrinking away, Harry muttered something completely inaudible to all but Hermione's straining ears. He cringed as he awaited her outburst, and was distantly aware of others around him doing the same thing.
"What on Earth do you mean you haven't eaten yet today? You told me you were fine, Harry, and I know that this isn't some curse of Malfoy's. Tell me, when was the last time you ate?" By now, Hermione's tone was as quiet as it was dangerous, and had the attention of most people in the hall, which was nearly full as few people had finished eating yet. If not cursed, then what could be wrong with Harry Potter?
"I guess," Harry paused, unsure how to answer this safely. Deciding to go for the sympathy vote, unaware of the audience, he put on a slightly whimpering tone, which, in truth, wasn't too far from how he actually felt. "I guess I haven't been able to stomach anything since, er… since Monday. I vomited what I ate on Sunday and didn't want a repeat in front of the whole school." Harry looked so small and pitiful that Hermione simply couldn't lay into him. She shook her head and sighed, glancing to Ron for help.
"So what do you reckon it is then, Harry? A poison? I heard Snape say that their effects are sometimes slow." Ron could still see no explanation beyond magic. Hermione, however, looked suddenly inspired.
"Harry, why don't you go to Professor Snape for help? He knows of every magical ailment and cure, and would be certain to have you right again by the weekend." She hoped to push him into admitting that he had a simple Muggle illness, but to no avail. Relishing a chance to visit the dungeons in case he had a chance to speak with Draco and figure out whether his dream about the broom cupboard was real, Harry rose and nodded, leaving Hermione frowning, and trying to figure out what had gone wrong with her plan.
"You know that I cannot help you, Potter, so why do you waste my time?" Severus Snape had been rudely interrupted as he worked out a new way to make a pretty mist rise from a simple lip balm potion; he loved how he could turn the mist Slytherin green by adding a mint flavouring. He was now enraged at the boy who had interrupted him, and began to wonder vaguely what colour of mist a Harry Potter balm would give off. As he contemplated experimenting to find out, the insufferable brat spoke up again.
"I'm sorry, sir, but I'm not quite sure what's wrong with me, and my friends insist that something is, so I thought I would ask for your help, seeing as you know almost every ailment and cure there is."
Despite the obvious flattery carded carefully into Harry's words and tone, the Potions Master would not be helping Harry; he didn't know how. "Harry Potter, I'm sure that your fans will be disappointed to hear that you are not straining under another dark curse, but whatever ails you is not a work of magic. You have become ill the Muggle way, and almost all at this school are ill-equipped to help you fight that, myself included. Run along to the headmaster, he should be able to figure out how the fix you."
Harry looked up at Snape with exasperated red-rimmed eyes. The thought of disappearing off to see Professor Dumbledore with what he assumed to be little more than a cold was close to mortifying; any Muggleborns or half-bloods to find out would find it hilarious that he could handle the darkest wizard in over a century, but couldn't even handle this simple virus. He made a move to exit Snape's office as quickly as possible, but found himself falling back onto the chair with a heavy thud and a groan. A tight feeling began to envelope his chest, and he heaved.
Snape smiled to himself at Harry's failed exit; there was no one as skilled in this area as him, and it pleased him to see James Potter's brat not even managing to successfully leave the room, never mind with dramatic flair. However, he revised this upon the realisation that Harry's stay had been induced by a heavy wheezing which was certainly dramatic. Damn Golden Boy!
Half an hour later, Harry was slumped in a chair opposite Dumbledore, struggling to maintain his breathing and scrunching his eyes against the headache that squeezed mercilessly at his temples. Snape was explaining Harry's symptoms to the headmaster, who steepled his fingers together beneath his chin and nodded occasionally. From his expression, one would be led to believe that he was being informed of the misadventures of a purple hobgoblin, for he appeared to find the situation amusing in a way that Harry failed to see.
"Now, Harry," Dumbledore began, lowering his hands and attempting to catch Harry's eyes, which were currently aimed at his ornately carved desk. "I know that you understand that your malady is not one of the utmost seriousness, although it could progress that way, and if your condition worsens, you should alert me at once." His tone suddenly grew grave, as though the weight of Harry's ailment had finally caught up with him.
"Now, because this is a Muggle condition, and everyone in this school is therefore protected against it by magic, you will be able to attend classes as normal until you feel unable to do so. It would take extreme contact with a person for them to contract your illness, perhaps even the exchange of bodily fluids. Do you understand everything now?" Dumbledore asked kindly, inclining his head slightly as he observed Harry's pallid skin tone become broken by an unnatural flush over his cheeks.
"Yes, sir. Thank you, I think I get it now. May I go to bed? I'm awfully tired."
Not long after being dismissed, Harry was curled into a ball in his bed, lying fully clothed where he had fallen onto the covers, and blissfully unaware of the fitful sleep that the night would bring him.
The next morning, Draco Malfoy was exceedingly careful as he choose what he would wear that day; he had not seen Harry since their, ahem, exchange yesterday, and he was determined that Harry would not regret what they had shared. Selecting skin tight trousers rather than the loose fitting grey ones he wore most days, Draco tucked his crisp white shirt in, and set about shrinking his Slytherin jumper to make it appear tailored (though why the teachers refused to allow him a tailored jumper at least, if not one made from cashmere he simply didn't understand).
With a long look in the mirror, he nodded once, draping his robes over his shoulders and beginning work on his hair. It would be a long time before he had finished his hair, and by then the dormitories would be empty, permitting him to bring out his secret make-up bag to add the finishing touches.
By third period on Friday morning, Severus Snape was pinching the bridge of his nose to indicate a severe headache. He did not have a severe headache at that point, but knew that this expression would frighten all of the Gryffindors and many of the Slytherins that he was to teach next. He was not particularly looking forward to dealing with these impertinent brats for a full hour today, and predicted that by the end of this hour, pinching the bridge of his nose might have actually become a necessity.
Five minutes before the start of class, as always, the pupils began to arrive outside his classroom. He positioned himself so that he was beside the door, able to listen to the conversation going on behind it and thus select the opportune moment to slink out of the shadows and loom ominously over his students, sneer in place and in the perfect status to remove House Points from Harry Potter and his friends, and, if luck would permit, maybe even hand out a detention.
"Hi, Harry," a familiar voice drawled quietly, clearly close to Snape's target. "Have you thought anymore about our… conversation yesterday?" Whatever Draco Malfoy wanted, it was clear that he was trying to provoke Potter, and had begun the action of his plan the day before, meaning it was likely to work quickly. Deciding that Potter would likely fly up into a rage the instant this unfortunate encounter that Draco mentioned, Snape choose now to swoop out from his door silently and appear behind Potter in the perfect position to watch him react. However, he was not able to take note of this reaction, as he was too busy reacting himself.
Draco Malfoy, son of Voldemort's right hand man, junior Death Eater spy for the Light and Severus' own godson, was leaning against the wall, body turned towards Potter, with very carefully primped hair, a tighter-than-necessary uniform and pouting lips slick with what appeared to be pink lip gloss. Carefully sorting this image in his mind under the category 'Things Not to Ask About' with 'The Incident With Dumbledore's Undergarments' and 'McGonagall's Fur Balls', Snape swept back around and entered his classroom, cloak billowing behind him as he called in a (carefully rehearsed) cold voice "Enter," and set about instructing his class, and ignoring the seedling of transvestism he had spotted in his godson.
Completing the potion they had begun last lesson meant Draco and Harry had to work together again. Although feeling just as ill, Harry set about determinedly chopping ingredients to be added in order to distract his mind. He did not want to turn and see the first boy he had ever kissed less than a foot away from him because he did not particularly want to admit that he had enjoyed it. He had never thought about kissing a boy before, but if he had, Harry was certain that it wouldn't have been Draco he had imagined doing so with. However, despite all of his mental protests, Harry found himself glancing over at Draco.
Harry's hands stilled over their caterpillar as he saw Draco's fine body accentuated by fitted clothes; he was slightly taller and bigger than Harry, with a lean muscular frame and a tight arse. Glancing up, Harry saw shining lips smirking at him and suddenly found himself imagining himself kissing those lips, head tilted up as he allowed his rival to devour him… maybe he would have imagined kissing Draco after all…
Draco, meanwhile, was enjoying Harry's reaction to his attire. Congratulating himself on a job well done, he moved in for the kill, and shuffled across on his stool so that his leg and Harry's would always be touching. Calmly reaching over Harry to retrieve a knife, he felt rather than heard Harry's breath hitch, and had to hide a laugh inside a cough as he returned to his seat, glancing secretly at Harry's lap and taking note of his effect on the boy with a growing smirk. At the end of the lesson, Draco corked up their potion again and whispered close to Harry's ear "Midnight, Quidditch Pitch" before licking the outer shell of the ear once and striding away to the front of the classroom, leaving Harry both shocked and shivering as he cleared away their cauldron.
Sneaking out of Gryffindor Tower was never an easy task at the best of times: however, it wasn't the best of times, and the task had sunk even lower on the scale of things that one was able to do without forward planning. Unfortunately, Harry was never the kind to plan, and found himself facing Hermione Granger armed with a frown at the portrait hole.
"Harry Potter! I sent you to Professor Snape last night and you did not return until after I had fallen asleep, well after two in the morning. You refrained from explaining yourself at all today, and now you are trying to sneak out at eleven o'clock to Merlin knows where to do Merlin knows what, although even I could hazard a guess at whom with. Explain."
Knowing there was no leaving the room until Hermione's curiosity was sated, Harry leaned heavily against a chair. "I'm fine Hermione, honestly. Snape couldn't figure out what was up, so he took me to Dumbledore, who spent all night telling me that essentially there's nothing wrong to warrant time off school," here Harry broke off, carefully screening the truth so that Hermione would allow him out and believe he was fine without him having to directly lie to her. "He says I'm to continue lessons unless I feel unable to do so. If it was some Muggle thing, do you think Dumbledore wouldn't pick up on it and keep me away from other pupils or whatever?" Congratulating himself on a job well done, he allowed himself a dramatic exasperated sigh.
Hermione inclined her head in thought, before nodding her acceptance of this justification. She seemed to lose some of her defensiveness, and relaxed her frown. "But Harry, where are you going?"
"He wants to meet me again. I want to know what he wants. So, I'm going to meet him." Harry spoke in a simple tone that beggared no argument in its pure logic. Finally, Hermione's frown faded and she stepped aside, allowing Harry to make his way to the Quidditch Pitch after promising to tell her everything that happened.
"Tut tut. Late as always, Potter," Draco admonished on Harry's arrival. He was sat on the front row of the Slytherin stands, eyes focussed on Harry as though he was the Snitch. He rose, taking slow steps towards Harry, who had stopped ten feet away, still on the pitch. Harry looked incredibly nervous, eyeing Draco warily as the distance between them was closed.
"So, Harry. Have you figured it out yet?" Draco asked, now only a foot from Harry. Harry, instead of replying, gulped visibly, taking a tiny step backwards.
"I've given you enough clues. I know you aren't stupid, Harry. Come on…Think." Draco took another step forward. Harry was gazing upwards now to keep eye contact, allowing Draco to stare down at him in a wonderful position of the hero's hero. He noticed that Harry's eyes were unusually light, and didn't seem to be thinking at all; of course, Harry hadn't been well recently, and this had to be accounted for. "Oh, but you've been sick. I understand that your illness has made it difficult for you, but it has made this far easier for me. Forgive me if I am not properly remorseful for your lack of good health. But even so, Harry, do you not realise how much has changed about the way I feel about you?"
This time, Draco was prepared for Harry's step back, and had encircled an arm around Harry's waist to hold him in place. Harry's eyes shot up as he felt a hand against his back, and he met Draco's gaze once more. This time, instead of a light emptiness, Draco saw a glint of fear in Harry's eyes, and immediately let go, taking his own step back. He had assumed that he and Harry had called a truce; he had assumed, as Harry had participated in their kiss yesterday, that he was not adverse to another now; he had never assumed that Harry might be afraid of physical contact of his one-time-enemy.
Harry watched with a strangely detached interest as Draco retracted into himself, his arms hanging uselessly by his sides instead of holding Harry's body against his, and his head bent forward as though in shame. Struggling against his hazy mind, he remembered their encounter yesterday, and decided that he was actually hoping for a repeat when he had agreed to meet with Draco tonight. He had been nervous at their proximity, but by no means did that mean he had wished for it to stop.
Taking a breath to calm himself, Harry stepped forward. When Draco glanced up in surprise at his movement, Harry stumbled in shock, and found himself heading towards the soft grass of the Quidditch Pitch, grabbing an armful of robes, and pulling Draco down on top of him in a failed attempt to hold himself up.
They lay like that together for a short while, Harry enjoying the weight of the larger boy on his legs, and growing accustomed to someone else's warmth. Draco registered his position, and looked shocked, and vaguely horrified, to have ended up lying on top of the Boy Who Lived. He scrambled to pull himself up, praying to Merlin that Harry had not noticed how aroused he had become at the compromising result of their fall. However, he was stopped in his tracks in a way he would never have predicted (except in some of his wildest dreams, and then with surprising accuracy).
With a surge of strength that he didn't really possess since he had developed the flu, Harry pushed at Draco's body, successfully rolling them both over so that their locations were switched. Now sat on top of Draco's lap, and happily aware of the effect of this move on the Slytherin below him, Harry lay his hands on Draco's chest, smirking predatorily, before swooping down and devouring Draco's lips. Draco could only lie in shock as he felt Harry's hands shift over his chest, sliding under his shirt just slightly to caress the skin of his stomach, fingers lightly dipping into his naval.
His mouth opened in a soft gasp that Harry used to probe further, his tongue delicately licking the corners of Draco's lips before penetrating his mouth. Exploring the roof of Draco's mouth, Harry elicited a moan that vibrated against his tongue. Aroused beyond any level he had been thus far, he suddenly decided he wanted to taste Draco's throat as he moaned, and released his mouth to begin this experiment.
He licked down to Draco's Adam's apple, chuckling lightly as he felt Draco gulp, before suckling at the point in Draco's throat that housed his voice. Licking the skin tentatively, he tasted a sweetness he hadn't expected, and found himself nibbling enthusiastically, soothing the bite marks with wet licks as he felt Draco moan against his tongue, hearing him this time without his own mouth to muffle the sound.
"Harry… oh, Gods, Harry, please… can we… Gods don't sto- no, stop… Harry! Can we… can we talk?" Draco stuttered weak protests as he attempted to regain his faculties. By now, he was all but completely lost in the unexpected turn about, but he needed to understand it.
Harry stilled his ministrations, unhelpfully sitting back on top of Draco's lap. Grinning at Draco's load groan, he tilted his head curiously. "Yes, Draco? What would you like to talk about?"
"Harry, could you move so that I can think straight, please?" Draco requested desperately, now able to feel pre-cum leaking through his boxers.
"Like this?" Harry asked with a devilish smirk, rubbing himself against Draco with an unexpected movement that did nothing and everything for Draco's aching erection.
"N… No. I was kinda hoping that… Gods, Harry. Hoping that you would move off of my lap so we can talk sensibly for a moment." Currently, Draco wanted nothing less than Harry moving off of his lap, but he knew that this conversation was necessary if they were ever to develop into more than fuck buddies, as he wanted.
Allowing his smirk to fall slightly, Harry shifted backwards, settling himself on Draco's thighs before pulling the blonde into sitting, so that they were facing each other vertically, their faces mere inches apart again. "Better?" he asked, his breath tickling Draco's lips as he spoke. At Draco's stiff nod, he smiled genuinely. "Good, then talk."
"I want to know why you're doing this, if it's just because you're ill, or because-"
"I can't believe you are asking me this," Harry interrupted, "considering it was you who snogged me in a closet yesterday, and lured me out here to begin with!" He was utterly exasperated at Draco's sudden nervousness; he had discovered better things for them to be doing now than trying to call a truce he felt they had already agreed upon.
"I told you why I did those things; I feel differently about you now, Harry! I think you're kind, and sweet, and funny, and I want to know you. You're bloody attractive, I've known that for years, and I've spent months wanting to taste you. Do you know that I even like the way you smell now, Harry? That even as we speak now I-"
A finger fell against Draco's lips, effectively silencing him. "Shush, Drake. I know how you feel. Even as we speak now, you're heart is hammering in your chest from nerves, which only proves that this isn't a dream." Harry finished Draco's sentence for him, smiling softly. "I've liked you for a while, too, but never envisioned myself doing anything as bold as… um, what I just did." At this, Harry flushed red, as though realising what he had just done. He reassessed his seating arrangements, and made to pull away, only to find Draco tugging one of his hands lightly, urging him to stay there as he continued his explanation.
"It was just seeing how dejected you looked when you saw how nervous I was, I realised that you must… that you must care about me too." Harry's voice was little above a whisper as he said the last, but Draco caught it and smiled.
"I do, you know. Care. A lot more than any self-respecting Malfoy should, especially about the Boy Who Lived. But the thing is, for me, it isn't the Boy Who Lived that I fell for, it was you, Harry."
At these words, Harry leant forward, wrapping his arms around Draco's back as he embraced him, and they finally shared a mutual kiss. They allowed their tongues to flicker over each other in a request for permission before dancing exquisitely together. Both boys fell down into a lying position once more, Harry shifting himself over Draco again to align their bodies once more.
They continued like that for two more hours, before suddenly realising that it was nearly three in the morning, and both were likely to be missed by their dorm mates. Slowly extricating their tangled legs, they stood, grabbing their discarded shirts and donning them as they walked from the Quidditch Pitch. Shyly, Draco brushed the back of his hand against Harry's, and they held hands as they walked back up to the castle in silence. As they kissed languidly goodbye at the stairs to their respective Houses, Harry was struck by a sudden thought.
"Draco, I'm ill with a Muggle virus!" he stated in a sudden panic. Draco appeared unaffected.
"I know, but it's okay, Harry. You'll get better, and I don't mind waiting for you." He winked, and then kissed Harry once more on the cheek, before disappearing down the stairs which lead to the dungeons.
Harry wandered carefully back to his own House, contemplating just how seriously he should have heeded Dumbledore's warning about the exchange of bodily fluids.
Harry groaned loudly. He was a damned fool for staying out last night, and he knew it. And Ron was a damned fool for dragging him out of bed this morning. And porridge was a damned fool for bubbling in such an unpleasant manner under his blocked nose.
He was sat at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall, toying with what was supposed to be his breakfast in a way that involved using a Banishing Spell to routinely rid himself of another spoonful every five minutes, attempting to distract himself with thoughts of where the porridge would reappear (when performing a weak Banishing Spell, the item being banished would usually reappear in the most inconvenient place possible within twenty-four hours; as Harry was ill, his spell work was a little wayward).
His head was pounding, and he was shivering with cold under his thick cloak, even as beads of sweat broke out on his brow. A small Quidditch Team currently appeared to be practising with his temples at goal posts, so he didn't notice as Hermione watched him openly Banish more porridge.
Hermione refrained from comment momentarily, watching her friend sink lower in his seat. He was incredibly pale, grey even, and she did not like seeing him like this. She slowly reached a hand over to him, laying it gently on his forehead, before pulling it back and hissing slightly. "Harry, you're burning up. I think your fever's hit. Please, just go back to bed; it's Saturday, you have nothing to do any way!" Hermione was close to begging, terrified at how high Harry's temperature had become, even as he continued to shiver.
Harry opened his mouth to argue his health, but his throat was so dry that he couldn't manage a sound. Swallowing carefully, he tried again, this time achieving a small croak, before a hacking cough warped his body, launching him forwards into himself.
Those around him, and even those at neighbouring tables, became aware of his outburst of coughing, which by now was dry enough to make everyone else reach for their glasses of water, and Draco looked over in concern. He watched Harry and Hermione share an urgent exchange, before Harry rose from his bench melodramatically, apparently unhappy with Hermione's conclusions.
There was almost silence in the hall once more, as every student was a keen audience to their hero during his more climatic moments. "I'll be fine, 'Mione. Honestly, you know it's just a little cold." Harry's voice was harsh, which many students couldn't understand, though more found difficulty with the words themselves. Cold? It really wasn't, and Harry had that thick cloak on, too. Some of the Muggleborns explained things quickly to their friends with magical backgrounds, eyes still focussed on Harry.
"Harry, even I know that this is more than one of them Muggle colds. Hermione told me about all of this stuff, and I reckon it's probably, um, flu, mate," Ron put in, finally conceding to Hermione's opinion of Harry's ailment.
Harry's face flickered as though he'd been betrayed. "Ron! Not you, too. Listen, it's not flu, and I'll be fine. You believed me yesterday!"
"Yesterday, you didn't wake up everyone in the dorm by rushing to the bathroom and emptying the contents of your stomach into a toilet! Nor had I heard you groaning half the night, when you had finally come in. Yesterday, you could move your head up without wincing! Though why you took it upon yourself to go for a midnight wander when you were clearly ill is beyond me!"
Draco squirmed guiltily in his seat; he understood very little of Muggle illnesses, but could assume that coldness and lack of sleep were not conducive to a quick recovery. He watched Harry wave slightly where he stood, suddenly nervous for the other boy's failing equilibrium.
Harry, his arm waving slightly at his side, stood his ground in a somewhat bleary sounding rant. "Why does no one believe me when I say there's nothing wrong with me? A cold! A damn cold! Do you not think I've been through more than this?"
Everyone held their breath, though Dumbledore was suddenly standing. Harry was bordering on hysteria, and the headmaster knew very well that Harry was indeed sick. In quiet tones, he tried to call Harry, but went unheard.
"I don't need anyone fussing over me when I can deal with this, okay! I've felt worse, and carried on, so this isn't going to finish me. Do you all think I'm so weak that I would let a Muggle illness affect my life, after facing off with Voldemort almost every year since I started here?"
Hermione looked shocked at Harry's outburst, her eyes round and wide as she began speaking tentatively. "Harry, no one would ever think that you are weak. But you are ill. It happens to all of us, and it doesn't mean anything about who we are. We just want you to be alright."
Harry eyed her blearily, his stance becoming more and more like a sailor attempting to keep his balance aboard a ship. Shaking his head in response to Hermione's soothing words, not quite believing he had spoken out loud, he hissed when the movement sent sparks of pain blazing through his head.
Weakly this time, Harry protested once more. "'M fine," he whispered, before closing his eyes against the wave of nausea and weakness that enveloped him. Before he could open them again, he had dropped to the floor in a dead faint.
A pandemonium of panic and concern had ensued, with everyone in the Great Hall darting towards Harry at once. Hermione was there first, but hadn't been able to prevent his fall; he had smacked his head against the stone floor with the full force of gravity, landing as gracefully as a sack of potatoes, and remaining there unmoving as the crowd moved in.
Hermione was kneeling by Harry, checking his pulse and smoothing his hair. She glanced around for Dumbledore, the only teacher capable of understanding a Muggle illness, and the repercussions of concussion upon them, when she witnessed Draco Malfoy pushing his way through the crowd. This in itself was not particularly uncommon; the blond Slytherin was often times found parting the seas of crowds in front of him with an air of over-importance. What struck Hermione was that, instead of strutting, Draco was rushing in a vaguely undignified manner, his face stricken with worry as his eyes sought out Harry.
Deliberately, she caught his eyes with her own, holding the glance as her hand moved to grasp Harry's cooling hand. Quickly, she conveyed a message to him, nodding to the Entrance Hall and mouthing 'midnight' before continuing in her search for their headmaster. She spotted him in an instant, souring through the thick crowd with ease.
"Professor! I… I don't think we can move him yet, not with head injuries. We have to ascertain the extent of the damage first. But with his temperature, and low pulse, I don't think we can afford to wait much longer." Hermione's voice was high pitched, a hurried delivery of all of the information she had gathered in the hopes of saving Dumbledore time in his prognosis.
"Thank you, Miss Granger. You're information is most valuable to me at this time. Fortunately, we have magic at our disposal, and need not take care with any head injuries that magic can fix."
As Dumbledore fixed his wand at Harry's head, Hermione flushed lightly with the beginnings of shame; in her panic, she had forgotten about their ability to heal with magic, much like she had forgotten about magically induced flames in her first year when faced with Devil's Snare.
A blue light flashed towards Harry's head, wrapping around him for a brief moment, before he seemed to absorb it, floating lightly off the floor. With a muttered "Mobilicorpus," Dumbledore had Harry on his way to the hospital wing, guiding him gently through the doorways and up the stairs, followed by hundreds of well-wishers who would not be persuaded to leave; they did not know what was hurting their hero, nor did they understand how it was, but they had to determine for themselves that he would be healthy. It was well after curfew when Madame Pomfrey managed to rid her hospital wing of every visitor, allowing her to tend to Harry in peace, though she could do little more than ensure his comfort at this point, which she did with relish.
It was midnight, and Draco was stood in a darkened corner of the entrance Hall, terrified that he had misinterpreted Hermione's message, or that the whole thing was a trick of some sort. His fears were alleviated slightly when he heard footsteps and saw Hermione arrive at the foot of the staircase alone, glancing around nervously. She consulted an old piece of parchment, tapping it with her wand and folding it away, before walking confidently to the corner that Draco was using to conceal himself.
"Malfoy," she began quietly, "here is not safe tonight. Will you follow me outside? We cannot be disturbed."
Curious, despite his trepidations, Draco nodded his acquiescence, sticking to Hermione, who crept in the shadows all too well for a Gryffindor, as far as he could tell. They were soon hidden by a tree, overlooking the lake in a spot that Draco recognised as one that Harry frequented most days during the summer.
He watched as Hermione laid her cloak out smoothly, settling herself down to sit on the fabric, and choosing instead to lean himself against the tree in vertical position to give him an edge.
"Granger," his voice, which he had intended to be cool and detached, came out cracked and unused; he had not spoken since that morning, when Harry had collapsed, choosing to shake his head to anyone who attempted to ask him questions to symbolise "I don't know and I don't care. Ask someone else." He swallowed, trying again, this time managing to speak clearly.
"Granger, what's the issue here?" He didn't know exactly why she had invited him out here tonight, and only realised this as the question left his lips. He definitely found difficulty in figuring out why he had agreed to join her.
"I assumed you would be curious in respects to Harry's condition," Hermione replied confidently, not at all abashed by Draco's harsh tone.
"And why would you take it upon yourself to assume that?" Draco was pulling a sneer onto his face, his heart beginning to race unnaturally as it dawned on him what Hermione might know.
"Because I know that your behaviour towards Harry has changed recently; because I've watched you watching him across the hall for months; because you have arranged to meet with him twice now, to my knowledge, privately at night time; and because I saw your face this morning when he collapsed. If I am mistaken in my conclusion, I apologise, and will return to the castle now." She began to rise from her make-shift seat.
"No! I…" Draco called out, but was unsure of how to explain himself. "I do want to know what has happened to Harry. I mean, how is he? Is he doing okay now? I couldn't follow because… Um."
"Because you don't know how he feels about you yet, and don't want to raise suspicions if he doesn't feel the same way back?" Hermione resurrected Draco's dying sentence. Draco nodded, slightly amazed by Hermione's perception, and beginning to see why Harry had always defended her so heatedly.
"Listen, Harry'll be fine. We have him on the best Muggle medicines available, so he should recover easily, given a bit of time and rest. Unfortunately, we can't heal this with magic, because the condition is Muggle, and by mixing magic with it, we would probably cause a reaction that could harm Harry more than help him. I think you'll agree that it's not worth the risk?"
"Definitely not!" Draco replied with vehemence, shocked by his own refusal of magic in this situation. Hermione merely smiled at him knowingly, and he grew nervous again. Slipping down the trunk of the tree to sit with Hermione, he glanced at her shyly, an expression almost never worn on his face.
"How much… How much do you know about me and Harry?" His voice was heavy with embarrassment, as though he felt that he should not speak of such things, especially with a Gryffindor. Especially with a Gryffindor girl.
"He has told me about everything that has happened between the two of you this week," at these words, Hermione saw Draco's eyes go wide, so she continued quickly, "with the exception of what occurred at last night's meeting, which he intended to tell me tonight, and would have done if he weren't… indisposed currently."
Draco had relaxed when he heard that Hermione did not know of how the smaller boy had seduced him, a little discomfited at how their roles had flipped so easily last night, but the tension slid back into him when he understood that Hermione would eventually know. A terrifying thought struck him.
"And Weasley? Does he know?"
"Harry does not talk to Ron about romantic situations… Probably because Ron is hardly known for his expertise in that area," Hermione said slyly. "And Ron has not figured it out for himself because he is so slow he couldn't catch a cold."
"Couldn't what?" Draco was confused by both Hermione's derogatory description of her friend's love life, and her metaphor. Deciding the first was too personal to ask about, he bid her explain the latter.
"Sorry, Muggle phrase. The illness that Harry has is like a severe version of what is called cold, which is incredibly common amongst Muggles, especially in winter. When a Muggle is particularly dense, we say they couldn't catch a cold as a result of their less than rapid thinking, implying that their brain works so slowly-"
"That they are incapable of even catching something as easy to catch as a, um, cold. And you mean catching like catching a Snitch, as well as catching an illness?"
Draco interrupted, oddly proud of himself for figuring it out as he watched Hermione beam and nod.
"Listen, Mal- Draco," at this, Draco started, unused to people inviting themselves to use his given name. He did not protest however; Hermione wasn't all that bad, for a Muggleborn, and she said some of the funniest Muggle phrases. He nodded for her to continue.
"I was worried about you pursuit of Harry when I initially heard of it; Harry can be very naïve at times, and did not understand why your behaviour had changed, but I did, and was afraid you might hurt him.
"However, having seen you run to his rescue following a coughing fit, and seeing your face today after he collapsed, I can conclude that your interest in him is not purely carnal. I can, however, warn you that, if you do hurt him, they will be finding your pieces years from now, burnt and desecrated, but I am fairly confidant that my threat is unnecessary."
Following Hermione's proclamation, Draco felt a warmth spread inside him; he had her approval. He had not known that he sought it, but now that it was his, he felt glorious. "Thank you. I am honoured that you would allow me to date Harry. After all I've put you through, you have little reason to trust me with someone as valuable as him."
"That you think he is that valuable lets me know that I have done the right thing in placing my confidence in you. A tip for you, though: let Ron find out as gently as possible, he is unlikely to react in a less than explosive manner, which could be cause for my amusement, but is unlikely to go down so well with whatever is in wand range of him at the time!"
When Monday morning arrived, Harry was finally released from the hospital wing. He had spent the whole weekend recovering in bed after his fever had broken on Friday night. Hermione had spoken with him, finally drawing out the details of Thursday night late on Sunday afternoon, after Ron had left them to find a chess set. Harry didn't tell her that Draco had visited last night to find a way of occupying the bed-bound Gryffindor.
He had spoken to Draco about the infectiousness of flu, but Draco had shrugged it off, scarcely concerned that a Muggle condition would ever affect a pure-blood like him. To prove his lack of concern, Draco had proceeded to snog Harry senseless until four in the morning; his walk back to the dormitory afterwards was slow, with a drifting quality that could only be explained by the huge grin that told anyone with eyes that Draco had enjoyed more than the company of a fellow student that evening.
On entering the Great Hall at breakfast, almost everyone exploded in cheers to see Harry standing strong again, though many were still unaware of the reason behind his collapse to begin with. An assortment of pure-bloods were certain, as a result of skewed rumours, that their saviour had collapsed simply because he was too cold, which instilled little confidence in them in respect to him defeating Voldemort.
As he sat and picked at one slice of toast (his appetite was slowly returning) Harry found himself inundated with questions from curious Gryffindors, and even some people from other Houses, who had come over to ask him about his experience. Harry glanced over to the Slytherin table, where he caught Draco watching him. He sent him a smile, and received one in return, before a smirk replaced the genuine show of happiness, and Draco allowed his eyes to travel over the amount of students surrounding Harry, and even a few teachers who had wandered over to hear what had actually happened.
Breaking his gaze with Draco at last, Harry sent an appeal to Dumbledore, hoping that the headmaster would so something to dispel the crowd. Eyes twinkling, Dumbledore acknowledged Harry's request, finding the lack of courage when dealing with his fellows amusing when compared to his amazing courage when faced with death.
"Students, as you will have been aware, one of our numbers fell ill over the last week," Dumbledore began, successfully drawing all attention away from Harry and to himself instead as he offered an explanation. Slowly, students returned to their seats, eyes still pinned on Dumbledore, who did not seem fazed in the least by all of the attention focused on him.
"Harry Potter was infected with a Muggle illness called influenza, but more commonly known as the flu. A similar illness with milder symptoms is often referred to as a 'cold', as it is cold, damp conditions which feed the virus, and it was this illness which Mister Potter originally believed himself to be affected by.
"However, what he actually had was the flu; Mister Potter's condition was fairly serious because, by mixing with the magic in his system, but taking hold before his magic could expel it, the virus ensured Mister Potter's increasing weakness, allowing his body to be affected by the adverse symptoms of this illness. Most wizards or witches would fight this off automatically, but it would appear that Mister Potter was infected by it at a time when he was not sleeping regularly, so his magic was not properly recharged.
"Now, this disease is usually highly infectious, which is why I find it appropriate that I inform you in as much detail on this topic as I am. Any person to contract this illness would not be affected by it as strongly as Mister Potter, because his magic is enormously magnified at this stage, and he also waited a tremendous time after contracting the illness before seeking help, which no one else would be foolish enough to do.
"In addition, as everyone here is actually protected by their magic it would take certain conditions for anyone else in this school to contract influenza. They would have to be in a weakened or fatigued state, such as Mister Potter's was, and they would need strong, frequent, and intimate contact with Mister Potter for the virus to spread."
Dumbledore's face broke into a mischievous grin, which neither Harry nor Draco appreciated. Harry didn't like it because he knew Dumbledore had been talking about him, and did not like to associate that mischievous grin with himself. Draco, however, had dug a little deeper; he had recognised some of Harry's earlier symptoms in himself this morning, and was sure the old coot would be aware of it. Praying to Salazar that Dumbledore, or his apparently flu-ridden body, would refrain from embarrassing him, Draco prepared himself for Dumbledore's next sentence.
"Unless any persons in this room have been involved in the exchange of bodily fluids with Mister Potter and simultaneously failing to sleep, possibly as a result of late night trysts, then nobody should become affected by this condition." The Great Hall broke out in laughter at Dumbledore's statement as Harry's flushed red, attempting with great difficulty to focus his eyes anywhere that Draco wasn't despite his instinct to catch his… boyfriend's eye (they had agreed on this form of relationship, but it felt weird thinking of Draco as his boyfriend). Were he to attempt to catch Draco's eye, as he so wished, he would have found the blonde distracted somewhat.
Draco was struggling to hold in a sneeze. He knew that everyone would make the connection following Dumbledore's proclamation, especially so soon afterwards, whilst everyone was still expressing their mirth. And he knew it would be loud enough to draw everyone's attention. Unfortunately, Draco did not know how to squelch a Muggle-induced sneeze.
Draco Malfoy, refined Prince of Slytherin, and master of control, shot backwards off his bench to land on the floor as a result of a rather tremendous sneeze. In an attempt to anchor himself, he had grabbed a pitcher or pumpkin juice, and, as a result, and pulled it to the floor with him, resulting in a thundering clang which ensured that those who had not heard his sneeze still focussed their attention upon him.
He opened his mouth, hoping that a snappy sarcastic barb might redirect their attention, but succeeded only in sneezing once more, his nose reddening as a result of this abuse. Suddenly, everyone in the hall began to shot glances between Draco and Harry, who caught each others' eyes helplessly. Draco shrugged, pulled himself up, and began to walk to the Gryffindor table.
By now, everyone had confirmed their initial reaction, and was grinning rather stupidly at the situation. Draco was approaching Harry casually, and both were smiling shyly at one another. Ron Weasley, however, was frowning, trying to figure out exactly why everyone, including his best friend, was grinning in such an inane manner. He glared suspiciously at Draco, who had stopped in front of Harry.
"What do you want with my friend?" Ron demanded, the tips of his ears turning red in his undirected rage.
Exchanging a smirk with Hermione, Draco returned his gaze to Ron. "Sometimes, Weasley, I think that you're so slow that you couldn't catch a cold" he stated with full confidence, before leaning down over Harry for a morning kiss.
A/N: Well there you have it. The oneshot that I thought would just keep growing! Loved it? Hated it? Drop me a review and let me know. 'Til then, keep on reading.
Yours, Prince Edwin