Could it be?
The sweltering heat of the sun was upon the grounds of Hogwarts making it hard for one to focus, let alone think about the lessons. Ron was pondering a number of things he'd rather be doing than being inside the Potions classroom. Granted, it was certainly better for the Gryffindors now that Snape is no longer hounding their heels, but he certainly would not mind being somewhere else, far away from the their steaming potion cauldrons, sweating over the lumpy green colored clay like material that insists on sticking at the bottom of the pot. Beads of sweat trailed down his neck and he made an unconscious swipe at it. It was already hot outside, and even the normally cold dungeons do not seem to provide a relief. He tugged at his neck once more, loosening his tie and giving himself more room. Looking over his shoulder, he saw that Harry has now removed his robe completely and rolled his sleeves past his elbows.
'At least Harry is doing better in his potion than the rest of the class. Hermione would certainly not like that,' he thought. It was bad enough that someone bested her this time, but to see that person doing no effort at all is really bound to make her angry, Harry or not. 'But at the very least, its not Malfoy ' he continued to himself, his face forming a grimace. He took deliberate pleasure in seeing that Malfoy is having a hard time with his potion just as he was, maybe not as much, but still, the ferret hasn't even had the chance to get Professor Slughorn to even glance at his work.
"Bravo Harry! Like mother like son eh? I think this warrants a perfect score my boy. Ten points to Gryffindor!" Slughorn exclaimed, his belly bouncing a bit as he moved excitedly, examining Harry's perfectly brewed Draught of Peace .Harry stood there, a little bit embarrassed by the attention. Ron immediately looked towards the other side of the room, and true enough as he predicted, Hermione did not look too happy, but at least another person was bitter about it. Even if Ron did not get any marks for the coagulated "something" sitting at the bottom of his cauldron, it was like getting ten points himself just by looking at Malfoy's face. Ron caught Harry's eye, signaled to Malfoy and both grinned.
As Potions ended, Hermione immediately brushed past them and exited the dungeons in a huff.
"Mione, don't be mad," Harry gingerly approached her in her favorite corner by the library. Ron didn't want to make the first move as everyone knows by now of Hermione's proverbial bursts of anger. So much for Gryffindor courage.
"Stop apologizing. It is useless to me for as far as I can see you have not stopped using the book even though we have voiced our suspicions against it."
"And you yourself have tested it and have seen nothing against it."
"I gotta say that the book is bloody brilliant mate. Hermione you should start looking at Malfoy's face every time Harry here gets the better of him in class. Not just in any class but POTIONS!" Ron added, his voice not at all concealing his glee.
"It is always about bloody Malfoy isn't it? First Harry, then you. If you're not obsessed then I do not know what"
"Oh really, then Harry why do you insist following Malfoy every chance you get even when we have already proved before that he was not really up to something? The last time you followed him, we only saw him skiving class just to spend his time with a Slytherin twerp of his! As for you Ronald, this should be beyond your childishness. Something is not right with that book and I know it is only bound to get you in trouble"
"Is that a prediction Hermione, cause divination has never been one of your strong suits"
"While handing out snarky replies isn't your forte either Harry" Hermione glared, her cheeks slightly tinting.
"Seems like all that trailing around Malfoy has indeed affected me then. " With that Harry turned around and left while Ron was left uncertain where to go.
Ron settled down and buried himself in a book instead.
Harry exited the library in a great huff, pushing the door back not-too-gently, earning him a glare from Madame Pince, the strictest librarian they had ever seen. Luckily, Harry was already exiting and the madam was in no mood to chase errant pupils at that time.
"I am not obsessing about Malfoy; he's really up to something." He grumbled to himself. Somehow he knew that there was something more to Malfoy's disappearances than having some "quality time" with Slytherin girls when everyone else is preoccupied with something. He badly resisted the urge to go up the Gryffindor tower to check with the Marauders map and see where he Malfoy is.
As he walked by the long corridors of Hogwarts, it seems that his irritation has not yet abated. "I am not obsessed with Malfoy", he thought to himself a little bit more purposefully this time. 'Perhaps it is the heat that stops her from seeing reason. Malfoy is definitely up to something. His two lap dogs Crabbe and Goyle are now definitely missing from his entourage and I certainly don't see them down the kitchens engorging themselves. "
"It is not being about paranoid or obsessed really. Aargh!" Suddenly Harry realized he should be doing his Defense Against the Dark Arts essay during this period. He made a move to turn back and return to the library but thought against it. Scowling, he just continued walking aimlessly down the passages. He realized that with Snape teaching that subject now, it would not really matter.
He finally settled himself at the foot of a staircase. He looked around hoping it's not one of the rotating ones lest it suddenly moved and threw him off. "That would be a good thing indeed. " he said to himself "Imagine the Boy who lived dying all because he fell off the stairs and broke his neck" Suddenly he couldn't stop laughing …laughing like his heart hurt.
After taking a few deep breaths, Harry leaned against the bars of the staircase fully. It was a small relief that only the sixth years got this period free and most of them are out of sight. Is it even free period still? He had no idea on how long he has been sitting there thinking about his life. It's not all about Malfoy really. It is how he got into this mess in the first place- from the very beginning. Taking another deep breath and letting out a sigh, he started thinking about his life at Privet Drive if he were not a wizard. By now he would be finishing his education at St. Brutus Center for Incurably Criminal Boys, the school that Aunt Petunia was preparing him for when he was still eleven. Perhaps life would not be so bad there as Dudley would be at Smeltings, but then again, there are other bullies there most probably. Not really a peaceful and normal environment after all.
'Peace. Who am I kidding? Even if the rest of the world became quiet, my life would not be. ' Harry thought as he continued his introspection. 'It was just like before, I need not go looking for trouble, it always finds me. . I mean really, I'm just a kid too but suddenly someone just had to hex me to death and do a very bad job out of it, leaving me with this scar that makes all the difference in the world. Really now. Without the scar who am I? I'm just so tired. I want to rest. There are so many people but still I am alone. Sometimes I just want to run away and leave it all behind. The idea at times is too tempting but I digress. I have to live with it?'
"Malfoy, Malfoy, Malfoy, what are you really up to?... There are only a few people left for me…Is it such a crime to make sure they are safe?" Harry closed his eyes and calmed himself. Realizing that sitting there will not really do him any good; he finally sat up, gathering himself up and familiarizing himself with the surroundings.
For a moment Harry thought he was lost. The place looked dark, private and eerily inviting to just be there for a while that he had not really bothered to pay attention. Besides, the stone railing he leaned against was quite comfortable. Examining the corridor, he realized that natural light does not seem to filter through the surroundings but instead, the scone like things that hang from the walls gave the creamy radiance to the area.
But the place was familiar, it was tugging at the back of his mind, telling him that he has been here before. Nothing could have served as a better reminder when he saw the unmistakable pale blond head that emerge from one of the connecting passageways. He was acutely reminded of a past adventure with Ron involving the Polyjuice Potion.
"Malfoy!" He said out loud. To see the man that has been occupying his mind a lot lately materialize seemingly out of nowhere jolted him a bit.
"Pot-ter, to what do I owe this pleasure of seeing you here in our humble abode?" Draco Malfoy confidently walked up to him, and stopped within an arms length. He then tilted his head a bit to side, making a mock bowing gesture..
"I doubt anything about you even implies humility Malfoy, you'd think being a ferret would teach you to put your feet on the ground"
"Bet you just love imagining that don't you Harry? Me on all fours? You should be careful where you tread, this is hardly the lions den" Draco sneered.
"As much as I love to see you on all fours begging for my mercy, I'd rather not. Besides you wouldn't have the courage to do that anyway, you are just going to run off to Daddy wouldn't you? Oh I forgot he's already in Azkaban"
"Do not think for a minute that I had forgotten the stupid idiotic stunt you pulled Potter! Soon enough your tower of confidence will collapse and you'd be nothing. You are going to be so sorry that you have crossed paths with me"
"tut tut. None of that Draco. Do you really think that you can scare me? Last time I saw you, you were crying like a girl in the bathroom. Hardly terrifying. "
"Wha.." A small tinting at the normally pale cheeks of the blond can now be seen.
Quickly regaining his composure, he bit out "So is that your latest hobby now Potter? Watching me? Even at bathrooms…that's interesting. Am I always on your mind Harry? Tell me do I live up to your expectations?"
It took Harry less than a second to hear, but he was thrown off by the smirk on the blonde's face. 'Bloody hell Malfoy! Not that way!" Now it was Harry's turn to blush.
Enjoying the discomfort plainly shown by the shade Harry's face is turning into, Draco pressed on and inched closer "But then again, I can understand if you are still in denial. I imagine once you admit to the world that you are a shirt lifter you'd be losing your entire female fan base and your humongous ego will greatly suffer without it."
Harry took a step back, unnerved by Draco's closeness "I am not gay!"
"Really Harry…No need to be afraid of the truth" He walked to wards Harry closing the distance between them. "Or me." Draco added seeing that Harry backed himself to a wall.
"I can handle anything you dish out Malfoy."
"tut, tut, None of that Harry…I don't bite, wouldn't you just love to kiss me and see how you like it? ;) But I bet even the Gryffindor poster boy is afraid to do that to big bad Slytherins " The smirk of the git was so evident and….and endearing at the same time?
Confused with the sudden emotion he forcefully pushed Malfoy away from his person. He tried not looking at the blond as their brief stint in close proximity with each other made him focus on the blond in front of him, "Like I said Malfoy, I am not afraid of you"
"Care to prove that Potter?" Harry stared at him.Hard.
Now even Draco was sure that he was stepping on unchartered territory. Even he realized the folly of provoking a Gryffindor.
Without any further ado, Harry leaned in, grabbed him by his sides and kissed him. Draco could only stare at the man who's lips are now pressed to his and he only stiffened in response. He couldn't pull away. He was trapped in this position, with Harry pressing against his length.. Later on he would note how they appeared to 'fit together' so easily.
"Harr m mmphph! " He opened his mouth to speak only to have Harry cut him off. Harry took advantage of his action and now he could only suppress a moan threatening to escape his lips. His barriers seemed to be also affected by the heat as he felt himself melting like butter against the other man.
And just like that, Harry let him go.
Draco felt boneless and was very thankful for the wall that is now supporting his person for truthfully he felt that he would not be able to stand. Perhaps it was the shock if nothing else.
"I'm not gay, although at least one of us seems to be. Is that good enough for you Malfoy? " And with no further warning, he ran away towards the opposite direction.
Dinner has been a subdued affair, at least for Harry. Frankly he thought of skiving it too but thought against it after he heard his stomach rumble in protest while lying on his bed thinking about what happened earlier. He only came down when Ron looked in their dormitory, checking if he was already there as he disappeared sometime before lunch.
The more he thought about it, the more he cannot find reasons for his action. True, it was just a kiss no big deal but what is it for the other party? Would Draco be plotting his death too the next time he disappears from the marauders map? He certainly did not understand the look on the face of the blond before he left him at the corridor.
'I can just imagine what shade of green Ron's face will be turning into when he finds out about it and Hermione will now be thoroughly convinced I'm obsessed. What if Malfoy tells everyone, it would be just like him to do so. He did rat us out to Rita Skeeter before, did she not? In my mind I got a picture of the front page of the Daily Prophet - THE BOY WHO WAS GAY or THE BOY WHO SWUNG THE OTHER WAY! All this fuss for such a little thing. By this time they think that it is really confirmed- Harry Potter has gone mental. It made my life even more complicated.'
"Aargh! What was I thinking! "Harry suddenly burst out while stabbing the kidney pie that he has already kept moving around his plate viciously.
"Mate, what happened to you? " Even Hermione stopped and looked over Ron's shoulder to glance at him.
"Harry is everything alright?" she asked uncertainly, seeing that Harry has not stopped scowling at his plate from since he got there.
Letting out a deep breath, Harry briefly glance up and scanned the Slytherin tables and found him staring in his way. "Listen, have you two heard anything about that Malfoy had been doing this afternoon?"
"Oh Harry, has he been bothering your thoughts again? Well, I really haven't heard anything new about him from Padma while I was at Ancient Runes" Hermione replied.
Harry took it all in stride, but it was obvious that something was still bothering him.
"It's just, have you guys done something before, you know, that you would regret – like you already know the consequences before hand but still did it anyway, no meaning actually, just getting caught in the moment and wanting to do it because no one really expects you to" Harry rushed out, aware that he was now blushing under the scrutiny of Ron and Hermione's gazes.
"Mate, I think you've been thinking too much. I guess the heat really got to you too. Everyone seems to be in a fix lately. You should sleep it off if anything" With a nod, Ron resumed eating. Hermione though unsatisfied with Ron's explanation continued to eat as well. Sneaking another glance at the Slytherin, he saw that the he was still looking at his direction. They locked gazes for a moment and then he broke it off. Neither one of them looked up again to risk a glance at each other's tables the whole night.