Disclaimer: Full acknowledgement goes to JK Rowling for her characters and pre-stories. This is a not-for-profit work of fiction.

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A/N: If you choose to read this without having read the pre-story "The things you learn"?

Then welcome to an alternative pigtail universe in which you will probably understand very little of the story below.

But, if that's you're 'thing'? Fair enough, good luck to you, and I hope you enjoy it nonetheless!

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The pigtails maketh the man

Draco's point of view:

Mirrors had always been Draco Malfoy's best friend. Even the talking ones. Hell, especially the talking ones. Some days they were even more complimentary to Draco Malfoy than he was to himself. And that was saying a lot.

But not today, it seemed.

For, right now, Draco's eyes were as large as (recently transfigured) fine-china dinner plates. He was standing in Harry's bathroom, and looking at his hair in the reflection of the large mirror... with sheer terror. A blonde twirl was sticking out either side of his head, and he, quite literally, screamed.

Lucky for Harry's butt-ugly mirror that it was a silent Muggle one, for Draco would not have hesitated to smash it (or even a more tasteful looking one) into complete oblivion should it have dared throw a single comment his way today.

"Fucking - Harry!" he yelled. But Harry Potter was in the kitchen cleaning up breakfast ovaman- ovna- oven- Oh, whatever- filth, like a stupid fucking Muggle, that he didn't hear Draco's loud and urgent calls.

Draco screwed his face up in the heat of pure, unadulterated fury and brushed his hands angrily through his hair, whacking those pigtails clean off his head while he firmly gritted his teeth. A moment later, he went one step further, throwing his head forward and shaking it wildly from side to side, just to ensure that any remnant of pigtail was long gone.

Only, when he looked back up, there were remnants. There were remnants!

He looked in the mirror and fumed; jets of steam almost shot downwards out of each nostril. The pigtails may have disappeared, but his hair there was all... sort of wonky... and kind of standing on end.

Few things were sacred to a Malfoy: their hair, their riches, their hair, their riches. And, their hair.

Draco upped the volume, because this was, quite honestly, seriously-serious shit. "HARRRRRRY!!!!"

No response.

And then…

"Draco…? Did you just say something…?"

"YES! Stop your fucking 'filthy shit' and get in here!"

Harry wandered in just moments later with an utterly confused expression on his face.

"What the fuck did you DO to me?"

Harry raised an eyebrow. "Huh?"

"Harry!"

Harry titled his head. "Draco, I've no idea what you're talking about."

Draco huffed. "Don't play dumb with me! You know exactly what I'm talking about – what you just did this morning!"

"Er. Okaaay." Harry let out a snort. "But, what? Do you really want me to go over it in detail? Blow by blow?"

"I'm not talking about the best sex of your life, you idiot!"

"Oh, well what then?"

"You traumatised my hair! You - you made me look like... A GIRL!" he squeaked. Upon reflection, Draco conceded that such comments would be better delivered in his most-baritone of voices. He made a mental note of it for later.

Never mind anyway, as Harry hadn't seemed to have noticed in the least; instead he was frowning and scratching his head in bewilderment. "What...?"

Then realisation dawned on Harry's face. "Oh! Oh, yeah…" He began to smile at the memory. "That's right."

"What - Harry! Don't you dare fucking smile at that!" he growled.

Too late. Harry was most certainly smiling. And now chuckling.

"Just - just don't you dare fucking laugh, either!" Draco stammered angrily.

"S-sorry, I'm s-sorry," Harry said trying to get control of himself, but the chuckles were still continuing, just a little.

Draco saw red. He scrunched his entire face up, his whole body tensing, and bellowed, "You'd better not think I'm a FUCKING GIRL!"

That stopped the sniggering.

"Draco!" Harry's eyes widened. "Draco. I know you're not a stupid girl. Good grief!" He sighed. "I was just playing with your hair. It's just so nice to play with." He reached out a hand and smoothed down Draco's soft locks. "Merlin. I'd forgotten I'd even done it."

Draco scowled and crossed his arms, exhaling a furious and loud breath, turning swiftly away from Harry.

"Okay – look, I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."

"You'd better be!" he replied, spinning back towards him.

"I am. I honestly am." Harry looked at him with bright eyes and genuine regret.

Draco scowled. "Yeah, well - just make sure it doesn't happen again! It is the height of the height of rudeness to make someone, like me, look, in anyway, like that!"

Harry leaned back against the bathroom sink and casually crossed his arms. "The 'height' of the 'height' of rudeness?" he asked raising an amused eyebrow.

"Yes! Even higher than tagging along on someone else's Apparition – or kissing Draco Malfoy, without prior consent!"

Harry bit back a grin. "Even higher… than just some random person grabbing you, putting their lips on you, and pretty much assaulting you?"

Damn, that ruffled Draco more than he'd ever like to admit. "Well, it depends who is doing the kissing, but it definitely shits all over the Apparition thing."

"Okay." Harry nodded seriously. "Fair enough. I will watch my wandering hands and make sure I do not twist little girly hair-do's into your hair, alright?"

"Good."

"Come here," Harry moaned longingly. He pulled a still huffed-looking Draco into his arms. "I know you're not a girl. And thank Merlin for that too. I wouldn't be the least bit interested in you if you were." Soft fingers traced his face.

Draco all but hmpf'd at that.

"Besides, remember me saying that I wasn't certain you were gay?" Harry smirked a little.

"Yes." Draco scowled.

"Why do you think that was?"

"Because I'm incredibly rugged of course!"Draco yelled fiercely, stamping his foot. Twice. Maybe even a third.

"Exactly," Harry said matter-of-factly.

"And masculine!" Draco continued loudly and indignantly.

"Very true."

"And no one, NO ONE... would ever dare pick a fight with me!"

"I know."

"Not unless they were prepared to get the absolute crap beaten out of themselves!" Draco pounded a fist into his hand several times, looking out towards faceless enemies who had dared to cross him.

Harry merely nodded in firm agreement.

"And walk away looking even uglier than they did before I started with them!" Draco continued to proclaim, throwing his hands up into the air dramatically.

Harry nodded again. "I, for one, would most certainly not take you on."

At that Draco paused, and then finally beamed, blinking appreciatively up at the dark-haired wizard.

Harry chanced a tiny smile himself and, scooping Draco's hand up in his, he asked, "So, how can I make it up to you?" He spread Draco's fingers in his and raised them higher towards his eyes to allow for a closer inspection, stroking them gently as he did so. He looked up at Draco, hitting Draco with a significant, meaningful look.

Draco froze. He looked at Harry's earnest expression and mulled over the question. And then suddenly, he smirked a wicked little Malfoy smirk.

Oh, well what do we have here? Heh heh

Draco Malfoy recognised upper-hand when he saw it. He was raised to detect the sweet, delectable scent of potential power from a good mile away, and he was now quite good at it. His powers of detection were not only highly sensitive but incredibly accurate too, rarely wavering or failing him in the times he needed them most. And right now - looking at Harry's soft gaze - the 'potential for power' reading was 'off the chart'.

Yes, this could quite seriously work to his advantage.

Few things were sacred to a Malfoy: upper-hand, their hair, their riches, upper-hand, their hair, their riches.

And, all of the above. Times a million. And then some.

"Well…" he began. His little conniving brain began to flitter through all the possibilities that now lay at his excited, twitching fingertips.

To start with, what would most show Harry that Draco was in charge here…?

A-ha!

"Well," he said, crossing his arms angrily, "I don't care what you say, I get to be on top next time--"

"Of course."

"Supposing there is a next time--"

"I wouldn't have even dreamt of assuming there would be."

"Good. And if anyone ever asks, I'm always on top--"

"Naturally."

"And you're the bottom in this relationship--"

"Yep. Sounds completely plausible to me," he concurred. "Although," Harry added under his breath, "I'd probably just tell them to bugger the Hell off for asking..." Then he looked up at Draco expectantly. "Anything else?"

Draco froze. What? Else? There could be… more?

Draco's Inner Power Detector began to do giggly star jumps.

"Well… I seem to have developed a bit of a thing for mochas of late…"

Harry gave him a lopsided smile. "Would you like me to Apparate over to Bill's and bring us back some mochas?"

YES!

Draco's Inner Power Detector was now doing back flips and high-fiving his Inner Sneakiness. "Well. I suppose that might be alright." Harry interwove his fingers with Draco's and squeezed lightly, almost putting Draco off his current quest. "Just make sure you get it with the cream and fudge sauce," he added to ensure he did not let the git get to him.

Harry nodded. "No problem."

Draco's eyes sprung open. It was almost too easy.

He inspected Harry closely, warily, to assess the reality of the situation further. But Harry was was looking at Draco like he might well kill Voldemort - all over again, this time with his bare hands - just to make things right with Draco. "Anything else I can get you while I'm in Hogsmeade?"

Anything else? ANYTHING ELSE!!! YEEESSSS!!!!!

Draco's Inner Sneakiness, Inner Power Detector, and Inner Smugness were now dancing around each other in delighted circles, laughing at their serious good fortune.

Only, Draco was now racking his brain for more things he could squeeze out of this situation and, shit, he was almost at a loss, he was almost at a complete and utter loss... when he thought of one more thing. "Well, unfortunately, I'm still craving venison sausages…"

Harry grinned. "Then for dinner, we'll have premium venison sausages, cooked just to your liking!" He chuckled.

Draco cocked an eyebrow. "With the turnip mash on the side?"

"Absolutely." Harry laughed again. "Is that all?"

Is that- what?!

Draco only just managed to stop his eyes from quadrupling in size. He could still get MORE? Fuuuucckk…

His mind was racing now. Think of something. Quick. Quick! Anything. ANYTHING!

But his Inner Smugness, Inner Sneakiness, and Inner Power Detector had buggered off with his Inner Astuteness... and they were all drunk and giddy on the high of upperhandedness, leaving Draco to fend for himself.

Draco frowned, twirling some of his hair in his hand as he desperately tried to think of something. Then he stopped the twirling - suddenly overcome with the fear that he'd make his own hair-matters even worse - when it hit him. He drew his mouth back slowly into a sly smile. "As a matter of fact, there is one more thing…"

Five minutes later, Draco sat watching Harry from across the table as they drank their take-away mochas.

Harry's hair was in pigtails (with a third one in the middle of his head, for extra punishment) and Draco was smirking a most pleased smirk to himself.

"You're such a girl, Harry…" Draco sighed and turned the page of The Daily Prophet. "Honestly."

Harry grinned, his chin resting casually on his hand. "That's Miss Harry to you," he said, scratching his five o'clock shadow. "And, anyway, Bilius thought they suited me."

oooo

After finishing his mocha, Draco headed back to the bathroom, threw his clothes on the ground, and stepped into the shower... grinning like a Malfoy cat (a really cute one with white fluffy paws) with a Potter pigeon in his mouth (an undeniably helpless pigeon, completely under the cat's control). He was deliriously joyful at the realisation that if ever there was a stupid girly-girl in this relationship? It was most certainly SILLY, SAPPY Potter, who was all but cross-eyed for Draco.

He sniggered at the thought of Harry, still wandering around the house somewhere, in pigtails – all three of them – for the rest of the day.

Stupid, stupid Potter.

Heh heh…

He turned the taps on and let the hot water run down his body. He dipped his head back and allowed the stream of water to turn his blonde hair into a darker shade of brown. He glanced towards Harry's small array of shower products and shook his head miserably. How on earth did the man manage to look and smell so good?

He picked up a bottle of shampoo that could well have been a caustic cauldron cleaning solution for how uninspiring the bottle was. Men's shampoo. That was all it said in black writing on a white label. There wasn't even a single reference to fruit oils or intensive moisturising on the front. Draco resisted the urge to turn the bottle around and read the ingredients for fear that he may well faint and crack his head open on the porcelain edge.

He frowned, squirted some shampoo into a hand which he held out far from his body (in case the smell of the shampoo disturbed him too much) and lifted his nose up in to the air in a show of distaste. That pointed little nose was still squirming in the air a moment later when he transferred the product on top of his head and began to work it into a thick lather.

He sighed wearily. The pigtail incident made the potential for split ends, and other kinds of major hair damage, a serious concern. Draco drew his eyebrows together and thought that, under these dire circumstances, it would be wise to give his scalp a proper, full-lengthed massage. Rubbing his fingertips gently in circles, he encouraged the skin's natural oils to flow and release, and continue to make his fine blonde hair exceptionally glossy.

Draco was always a very methodical person when it came to grooming. First the gentle clarifying shampoo, followed by the nourishing conditioner or weekly deep moisturising treatment, either of which he left on his hair for at least five minutes to ensure maximum softness, which then gave him ample time to exfoliate his whole body with an apricot scrub. An all over Aloe Vera shower gel cleanse topped it off before washing the conditioning solution out of his hair. Now he'd just have to make do in the suburban-nanna-plastic-carnival that was known as Potter's Place and all the inadequate bathroom products that went along with it.

Once he was satisfied that he had consoled his upset hair enough with the soothing massaging attention, he dared to look back down at Potter's products to see what he'd have to put his hair through in terms of conditioner.

Only…

Oh, God. That was it, that was IT.

He'd have to break up with him. Draco Malfoy would have to break up with Harry Potter.

The man had no conditioner. No conditioner. No conditioner to speak of. Anywhere.

ANYWHERE!

Few things were sacred to a Malfoy: their hair, their hair, their hair – their fucking hair!

Fuck! What kind of person - in their right mind - does not replace essential moisture and oils - after stripping their hair of dirt and grime, with a cleansing shampoo?! He's INSANE!

Draco stood with the shampoo still in his hair, thinking of his options. Ditch stupid Potter, or stick with stupid Potter. Ditch stupid Potter, or stick with stupid Potter.

But he kind of sort of maybe liked Harry a little bit.He clenched his jaw angrily. Damn him to hell and back!

The decision was made.

Draco squeezed his eyes shut and Apparated to the Manor, appearing a second later in his largest bathroom: wet, naked, and with a thick layer of shampoo foam coating his hair.

He chose to ignore the high-pitched, "Mr Malfoy – Eeeeeeeeeeek!" that came from one of his house-elves, preferring to instead pretend this was not in actual fact happening. THIS WAS NOT HAPPENING.

He quickly went about fixing said Not Happening problem, ignoring the chilly tiles beneath his wet, bare feet as he moved towards the large sunken tub in the middle of the room. With a quick bending action (he prayed that the house-elf he pretended to not be there had left long before he gave the world behind him that prime view) and, with a desperate sweep of his arms, he gathered together all manner of hair, body, and beauty products in his reach - whatever he could get his hands on. He needed it all – IT ALL – ALL OF IT! - and closed his eyes to Apparate back.

Only, a split second before he popped out of the Manor, some shampoo foam dribbled into his eyes and, panicking, he found himself two seconds later standing naked in Harry's kitchen.

Screaming.

"HARRRRRRY!"

Harry's point of view:

Harry was standing in the kitchen, leaning on the bench with one hand and holding a cup of tea with the other, his eyes scanning a news article in the latest edition of Quidditch Watch. But it was hard to read without breaking into a smile. Something was just resonating within him. He was feeling... relaxed and, well, happy. Merlin, he even felt giddy, giddy with excitement. So much so that he was certain his magic could stop the rain and turn the sunshine on - twenty-four hours a day - in every city in the world, for as long as he liked, on the power of these feelings alone. Never mind feeling like a giggly Lavender Brown following yet another 'golden' Trelawney lesson, it was worse: he was one step away from bloody dancing! Or singing! Or, Merlin, whistling happily to himself... And he couldn't sing or whistle, and his dancing? Well, it should never reach the light of day. At least not without a qualified Obliviator on hand.

He chuckled to himself at these silly thoughts, ruffed up his own hair sleepily with one hand, and then took another sip of his tea before flicking over to the next page of his magazine... when a naked, wet, shampoo-foamed - shrieking - Draco appeared not two feet away from him.

The tea cup slipped right out of Harry's hand and descended towards the ground; the sound of china breaking into a hundred pieces soon followed.

Harry's jaw also hit the floor. "Draco? What the--"

"Quick, quick!" Draco screamed. "There's shampoo in my eyes! QUICK!"

"What--"

"Just FUCKING FIX IT!"

"Okay, okay, hold still." Harry placed his hands gently on Draco's eyes and murmured a cleaning spell.

Draco kept his eyes shut for a moment longer, still panting in recovery.

"You alright now?" Harry asked.

Draco opened one eyelid and looked at Harry angrily. "Yes! I suppose! No thanks to you, though!"

"Oh. Right." Harry scratched his head. "Erm, what did I do?"

"What did you do? What did you do?!"

"Er… well, yes."

"You - you had the audacity to make Draco Malfoy stay at your house, expecting him to shower and cleanse... in a completely inadequately stocked bathroom! And you call yourself a super fucking filth cleaning machine!"

Harry hesitated. "Okay, firstly? I don't think I've ever called myself that. But, you know, it does have a nice kind of ring to it." He chanced a small smirk and was most pleased when that smirk did not result in his immediate death. "And secondly?" Harry continued, more seriously this time. "Please explain to me, in English, what the actual problem is?"

"Well, in case your shonky shampoo was not detergent-like enough for my fine, delicate hair – not to mention the fact that it stings like ALL HELL when it gets in your eyes - but, fuck, Harry? You didn't even have any conditioner! No conditioner! NONE!"

Harry's face froze in an expression which could only be described as: damn I want to smile so hard it hurts, but I rather like having a penis, and testicles. And would really prefer to keep them both. If it all possible.

"Okay," was instead Harry's chosen reaction. He nodded slowly, attempting to calm the angry, wet, naked (albeit, gorgeous) monster in his kitchen.

Harry's eyes darted towards the countless collection of bottles clutched in Draco's wet arms. "Erm… where'd you get all those from?"

"The Manor!" he snapped.

Harry's mouth fell open. "You Apparated there naked?"

"Yes! And I will never again look one of my bleeding house-elves in the eye – only I don't know which one because I didn't wait to find out who it was – so now I'll have to just avoid looking all of them in the eye. Now do you see the fucking problem? Now do you understand?!"

"Okay, okay," he soothed quickly. "Here." Harry delicately freed Draco's arms of all the products, removing one at a time and placing them on the kitchen bench as he went. A good two minutes later (well, there were just so many) he was finally done. An idea suddenly sprung into Harry's mind. A still fuming Draco looked at Harry strangely as Harry smiled and said, "Hold on," placing his hands gently around Draco's wrists.

POP.

Draco's point of view:

A second later and they were standing in Harry's bathroom. Draco still had a confused - and not just a bit still pissed - expression on his face. He opened his mouth to ask why the Hell Harry had just Apparated them both there when Harry raised an eyebrow and asked, "What's your favourite colour, Draco?"

"What?!" he barked.

"What's your favourite colour? In clothing?"

"Green! Forest green! And why, in the Merlin's name--"

Harry picked up a white towel in his hands and transfigured it into a lush, dark green bathrobe. He then flicked the folded robe open and swept it around Draco's shoulders. It took Draco a couple of seconds to realise what Harry had just done before he allowed Harry to slip his arms into the sleeves and wrap it around his body. A quick touch of Draco's hair by Harry a moment later and Draco's shampoo-sudded hair was back to being shampoo-free. And Harry fucking Potter had not even uttered a single word. Draco blinked.

"Baths or showers?"

"Huh?"

"Which do you prefer?"

Draco hesitated. "Baths."

Harry turned and then, wandlessly, transfigured the shower into a huge tub.

"Now," Harry said, "which bath product should I put in the water?"

Draco stood there dumbfounded.

"Draco…?" Harry asked softly.

"Erm… the - the... rose oil… one…"

"Okay, rose oil it is then."

A moment later, and all of his products flew into the room and, Seeker Harry, caught each one swiftly and placed them on the side of the bath, being attentive enough to separate out the rose oil bottle as it travelled through the air. Soon, he was unscrewing the cap off the decorative bottle and pouring the oil into a now-filling bath.

"You'll have to help me out here. I never have baths. Is that enough of the stuff?"

Draco stared at Harry, wide-eyed, before turning his attention to the liquid Harry was pouring in the tub. Draco swallowed and nodded vacantly.

"Good. There you go, then," Harry said but not without then turning to Draco and looking down at him softly and placing the gentlest of kisses on his forehead, his eyelids fluttering closed as he lent forward to do so. Harry let the soft pressure of his lips stay there for several seconds, and sighed, like heaven, before he turned and walked away.

"Wait- Harry?" Draco quickly called out.

Harry stopped and turned around in the doorway. "Yes?"

Draco stared at him with large eyes for a moment, his breaths coming in rapid succession. He gulped. "Erm. This is forest green." Draco pointed to the green-coloured label of his Aloe Vera shower gel bottle. "Not this." He then pointed to the robe he was now wearing.

Harry chuckled and shaking his head, retransfigured the bath robe into the correct shade. "There you go, Mr. Malfoy."

"And wait- Harry?!" Draco said again in an urgent tone, surprised at his own desire to not want Harry to leave, not just let.

"Yes?" Harry replied.

Draco wet his lips and then smirked. "You can take the pigtails out." Draco released a small laugh. "They don't much suit you, anyway."

Harry quirked an eyebrow. "Really?! Oh, I thought I looked good." Harry chuckled and walked back towards the mirror. "Arrgh-e-y-eeeew! Okay. I see what you mean, Draco. Oh, well. Farewell, Harrietta!"

He smiled at his reflection and pulled the rubber bands out of his hair. He ran a hand roughly through his dark locks and the hair quickly returned to its perfectly tousled yet contained mess. He glanced Draco's way and gave him a soft, boyish smile - the one that was like an Acceleritas spell, cast straight at his now pounding heart - before walking out.

Draco stood there and watched him go, speechless in his wake.

Few things were sacred to a Malfoy:

Their hair…

Their pride…

And people who knew how to keep both of these things intact.

ooooooo

A/N: High-maintenance? Did someone say high-maintenance? He's not high-maintenance… he's just like a cute fluffy bunny who places demands on no one. At least, not that much. Only in life and death - and hair-threatening - situations. Heh heh...

This is not my planned sequel (still to come). This is just a little extra fic - an answer to everyone who demanded Draco get revenge for the pigtails. And, yeah, ahem... the revenge came, but not without a wee bit of cruelty to poor lil Draco again after revenge was exacted. Sorry!