Disclaimer: I was possessed by the Dark Lord during the writing, editing, and posting of this fic. J.K. Rowling, Scholastic, etc. own the characters and places you recognize.Reading
The Gryffindor common room was warm and alight with laughter and conversation. It was a Friday evening, homework could be ignored, and a Hogsmeade visit was scheduled for the following day.
The savior of the wizarding world sat in his favorite armchair by the fireplace, his best friend and fellow war hero sitting in the chair beside him. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley had gotten down from their celebratory high after Voldemort's demise in the summer after their sixth year. With the war behind them and the rest of their lives twinkling merrily in the future, Harry settled into seventh year with some simple objectives: to snog Ginny Weasley senseless, to "study," play Quidditch and enjoy his friends, and to harass Draco Malfoy at every possible opportunity.
Harry was easily accomplishing his first few goals, but the last one aimed at the former Death Eater-turned-spy had been much harder to achieve. Everything had changed however, earlier that afternoon after their N.E.W.T.s Potions class. Harry had been one of the last students to leave the classroom, as Snape needed to arrange another detention with the increasingly inattentive student.
When Harry ascended the stairs, he looked up to see a piece of parchment loosely hanging from the opening of Malfoy's satchel. Harry watched as the parchment bounced with Malfoy's every step until it finally fell out of the bag and glided down the stairwell.
Using his Seeker reflexes, Harry had snatched the parchment from its descent and stuffed it into a pocket of his robes. Now the parchment was unfolded and rested in Harry's hands. The wizard was looking over at Ron, whose face had turned a ghostly shade of white.
"What's wrong, Ron? Do you need something to drink?" Harry pushed up his glasses to get a better view of his friend.
"N-no, I'm f-f-fine." Ron gulped and leaned back into his chair.
"Okay, then… but something isn't right; you're stuttering like Professor Quirrell." Harry focused his attention back on the parchment in his hands, a look of pure delight and mischief on his face.
"Ready to see what's inside, Ron?" Harry had already told him about the parchment on their way back from dinner in the Great Hall. Ron had seemed eager to read it then – he kept trying to snatch the parchment from Harry on their way to the Gryffindor tower. But now, Ron looked as if he'd rather be kidnapped by Death Eaters and tortured by giant spiders rather than be where he was seated.
"Oh, come on, Ron, don't get sick now that we have time to read the parchment," Harry said.
"I'm just a bit unwell… Harry, why don't we wait until Hermione shows?"
"Shows for what?" The bushy-haired witch sat in a chair facing the two boys.
"Bloody hell," Ron muttered, grimacing at the girl.
"Ron, what's the matter with you? It looks like you're going to be sick!" Hermione got up and laid a hand on Ron's forehead. "You don't have a fever, thank goodness." She ruffled her friend's hair and sat back down.
"So what were you up to before I came?" she asked, taking a book out of her bag.
"I found this in Malfoy's bag," Harry said proudly. "And now we're going to read it."
"Harry, that's despicable, reading someone else's letters," Hermione said with disdain.
"How'd you know it was a letter?" Harry asked with a slight smile.
Hermione frowned. "I can't help it if I have good vision… just read it, already!"
"Curiosity got you this time," Harry said as he held the letter up to the candlelight.
"Got me, too," said Ron.
"Hush, I'm about to start." Harry pushed up his glasses and began to read.
"Draco, I've been thinking about you all day. At least we know it's not hate mail."
"Go on, Harry," said Hermione.
"Oh sure, go on," Ron said, glaring at his shoes.
"I am looking at your blond hair now, and I am so glad you don't gel it back anymore. It feels so much better when it's longer and smooth so I can run my hands through it. It must be Parkinson, even though they broke up ages ago… There you are now, standing up from the stool and going to the back of the class to get ingredients… thank Merlin you don't have your robe on so I can get a good view of your body. That's odd, Parkinson and Malfoy were in separate pairs in Potions today, and they both got up to get ingredients."
"Observant of Parkinson's movements, aren't you, Harry?" Hermione noted.
Harry went back to the letter. "Now I'm thinking about what happened last night on the Quidditch pitch. You were gorgeous there, lying back on the grass, the cool sweat on your chest gleaming in the moonlight… I'm getting hard just thinking about it right now."
"Whoever wrote that was definitely not Pansy," Hermione remarked.
"It isn't a girl at all… unless we have new information on Millicent Bulstrode's anatomy." Harry expected his friend to burst out into peals of laughter, but Ron only gave Harry a wan smile. On further observation, Harry could see that Ron's face had ceased its pasty tone and was a light shade of pink.
"Let's see what else the letter says… Do you know how easy it is, seeing your hair, your face, and your arse, and just thinking how badly I want to kiss you? Touch you? Fuck you?"
Hermione caught the sight of a reddening Ron. "Harry, don't you think this letter is a little too personal?"
"No, I want to use this against Malfoy. I've been waiting almost all year to get revenge on the git, and now I have my chance. Besides, I want to figure out who wrote this letter."
"Then just look at the signature at the end," Hermione pointed out.
"Now, where's the fun in that?" Harry grinned, but the smile faded as quickly as it came. "Merlin!"
"What?" Ron asked, the blush on his face creeping up to his ears.
"Malfoy's gay!" Harry exclaimed.
"What did you think, Harry? Someone who uses that much hair gel has to play for the other team," said Hermione.
"He doesn't use that anymore," Ron said quietly.
"And how would you know that?" Harry asked.
"I'm listening to your nosy self reading the letter, that's how!" Now all of Ron's face, ears, and neck had turned a fine shade of red that brilliantly clashed with the color of his hair.
"Calm down, Ron, I was only joking."
"So you think it's funny that some guys are attracted to the same sex? It is some joke, that some of us are poofs and queers and fags? Well you know what, Harry? It's not funny, just like Draco mocking your scar wasn't funny. And you know what the most hilarious part of it all is? He never thought it was funny, either." Ron's face was darkening to a light shade of purple as he stormed out of the common room.
Harry still had a puzzled look on his face, watching his red-haired and red-faced friend run through the halls before the portrait blocked his sight. Hermione groaned and took the parchment from Harry's hands.
"Hey, what are you doing?"
"Being clever," Hermione muttered. She turned the parchment over and found the closing words.
"I hope that even though our families have issues with each other, we'll be able to work out our problems and become something more.
Once Ron raced out of the castle and was halfway to the Quidditch pitch, he felt his cheeks warm out of exercise and not out of embarrassment. He bent down and gripped the tops of his thighs to keep his balance as he let out ragged breaths.
When his breathing became more even, he rose and put a clammy hand to his face. He felt wetness there and held up his hand to the moonlight to see a dark stain on his palm. If he was in proper light he knew that the liquid would be as red as his interminable blush in the common room.
He had a nosebleed.
"Weasel is all alone, without his Gryffindor brats to save him." A cool drawl sounded behind Ron.
"Cut it, Draco, I'm not in the mood." Some of the blood from his nose reached his mouth, and Ron tasted the salty coppery tang on his tongue.
Instantly, the other boy's tone changed. "What happened, Ron? Did Crabbe or Goyle do something?"
"No, my own friends betrayed me instead." Ron turned around, wiping the blood on his nose with the sleeve of his jumper.
"Merlin, you're disgusting." Draco whipped out his wand and muttered a few spells to end the bleeding and vanish the blood. "What did they do?"
"Nothing intentional, honest." Ron tried to smile, but couldn't make an effort to bring his facial muscles up. "They found the letter I wrote you today."
"Those bloody imbeciles." Draco grimaced and ran a hand through his hair. "What happened?"
"When I left, they still didn't know I wrote it. I'm sure they finally checked the signature by now." Ron sighed and sagged unto the grass.
Draco sat beside him. "Don't worry, Ron. We can make this work."
"You read my letter?" Ron asked hopefully.
"Didn't get a chance to – Snape dismissed us before I could read it… and then I was in a rush to get to the library so I could open it, but it wasn't in my bag."
"So you don't know," Ron said.
"Know what?" Draco leaned away from the other boy. "Was it a break-up letter?"
"No, you insecure ferret. It was a 'I want to be serious' letter."
"Really?" Doubt still lingered in the shadows of Draco's face.
"Yes and no… it was also a letter inviting you to come tonight." Ron cocked a grin and loosened his tie.
"I think both conditions can be arranged," Draco murmured, inching towards Ron to give him a kiss.