Harry pushed with every ounce of his strength until his arms shook with strain and he was certain the rock would leave permanent imprints on his palms, but it was no good. The concealed doorway had opened nine centimeters and would not move another jot without more pressure than he could exert alone.

He stopped trying with a curse of frustration and stepped back to glare at the stubborn portal.

"Malfoy! As much as I hate to admit it, I need you."

"Fuck off, Potter."

Harry turned his irate stare on the pale figure slouched against the far wall. Draco Malfoy sat on the hard stone floor, for once seeming oblivious to the fact that his black trousers were marred with grey streaks of dust. Malfoy's back rested against the stone wall and his silver-blonde head was tipped back slightly to regard Harry with that same imperious, disdainful expression he normally wore.

"I found a way out, but I can't open it without your help," Harry said in what he hoped was a rational tone. In truth, he would love to leap across the small space and throttle the Slytherin bastard for getting them into this mess in the first place.

"What's the point?" Malfoy snapped. Harry tore at his hair, though he had done it so often recently he was surprised he wasn't bald. He should have known better than to listen to Draco Malfoy. He also should have known better than to accompany him to this godforsaken place. However, Malfoy's urgency—and the evidence—had been convincing. Only the fact that Malfoy was confined down here with him proved it had been a trap for them both.

"What are you talking about?" Harry snapped. "The point is to get the hell out of here before Voldemort shows up to kill us both. Which won't be long, if Wormtail's taunting was correct."

"I don't care," Malfoy said. "He knows I'm a traitor since I brought you here. My parents are probably already dead."

Harry sighed explosively. Never in his life had he imagined he would need to reassure Draco Malfoy.

"Your parents are neither stupid nor helpless. I doubt they will be taken unaware."

"Just shut up with the optimistic Gryffindor platitudes, Potter." Malfoy looked away, as if dismissing Harry from existence. Harry wished to hell Wormtail hadn't snatched their wands the instant they had arrived at the abandoned monastery. Not only would Harry blast the stupid door, but he could level a hex at Mr. Perfect Pessimist and get him off his depressed arse.

"Look, Malfoy, they were stupid enough to throw us down in this wine cellar and I found a secret exit, so if you'll just fucking help me, we can get out of here, stop Pettigrew, and save your parents."

Malfoy shoved himself to his feet.

"Do you ever listen to yourself?" Malfoy yelled. "'Get out of here, stop Pettigrew, save your parents,'" he mocked. "Do you live in the same world with the rest of us?"

Harry stalked forward to halt before Malfoy, enraged.

"Are you saying I should just lie down here and give up? Wait for Voldemort to kill us?"

"At least it will be over," Malfoy said tonelessly. Incongruously, Harry burst out laughing.

"God, Malfoy, can you possibly get any more melodramatic?" he asked. Malfoy glared and Harry went on, "I tell you what—you help me push the door open so we can escape, and then you can lie down meekly at the front gate and wait to die. All right?"

"Everything always turns out roses for you, doesn't it, Potter?" Malfoy asked bitterly. "Because it always ends up shite for me."

Harry sobered. Come to think of it, none of Malfoy's grand plans had ever turned out well, had they? No wonder the git was depressed. Even his attempt to expose Voldemort's latest plan had ended with his own—and Harry Potter's—capture.

"It doesn't always turn out roses, no," Harry answered quietly, thinking of Sirius. Malfoy looked away. Harry reached out and put a hand onMalfoy 's shoulder. The grey eyes snapped back to Harry in surprise.

"Please. I need your help," Harry said softly. As much as it pained him to plead with Malfoy, it would pain him even more to sit here until Voldemort showed up.

At that moment, a shaft of light broke through the floorboards above them, likely from a window upstairs, as if the sun had suddenly spilled through the clouds. The sunlight outlined Malfoy's hair like a silver halo and Harry actually caught his breath at the unexpected sight. It really wasn't fair that someone so atrocious was so incredibly beautiful. Malfoy was so stunning that Harry had found his thoughts sliding into forbidden territory more than once and thanked providence he could always mask it with hatred.

The silver eyes opened wide and then wider still, obviously seeing something in Harry's gaze that he definitely had not intended to show. Harry became aware that his hand was still on Malfoy's shoulder and he snatched it away as if burned.

A smiled suddenly curved Malfoy's lips, making him look like a seductive angel with the nimbus of light around his head.

"I didn't know you swung that way, Potter," he purred. Harry took a step back. Malfoy followed, stepping out of the light. He still looked like an otherworldly creature, but now more of an incubus than an angel. Harry retreated until he ran out of room—his back touched the stone wall next to the maddeningly stuck hidden door.

The air of defeated hopelessness had left Malfoy and he seemed… electrified.

"What was it you said to me, Potter?" Malfoy asked conversationally. Harry swallowed.

"I need your help," Harry murmured. Malfoy stood so close to Harry that their breath mingled. Harry was disturbed to find his heart racing. He noted with some surprise that Malfoy was taller. It felt odd to have to look up—Harry had never been so close to him before.

"That's not quite how you phrased it when you were pushing the wall."

Harry's mind went back in confusion—what had he said? It came to him and his breath hitched in alarm. I need you, he had said. Oh God, Malfoy couldn't possibly mean to—?

"That's what I thought you said," Malfoy breathed and pressed his lips to Harry' 's heart leaped into his throat and he instinctively raised his hands to push Malfoy away, but Malfoy grabbed his wrists and clamped them to the wall on either side of Harry's head. He tried to resist, but Malfoy's tongue plunged into his mouth and coherent thought deserted him. The kiss was like liquid flame coursing through Harry's blood. Malfoy did not relent. His mouth sucked gently at Harry's lips while his tongue lapped teasingly at Harry's, evoking frissons of pure pleasure.

To Harry's utter horror, he felt his body responding as the blood rushed to his loins. He hoped to hell Malfoy didn't notice. It was bad enough he was returning Malfoy's kiss—his tongue twined with Malfoy's simply because it felt so bloody incredible.

Oh God, oh God, oh God, what am I doing? Even that thought was short circuited when Malfoy's tongue glided over the ridges at the roof of Harry's mouth and he crazily wondered if one could die from a combination of shame and ecstasy.

Malfoy's tongue retreated and his lips followed after a gentle tug of teeth on Harry's lower lip.

He stared at Harry with that superior smirk Potter hated, but this time Malfoy had definitely earned it. He did not liberate Harry's wrists.

"I could kill you right now," Harry said breathlessly, but Malfoy only chuckled.

"You're just upset because you don't want to kill me at all—you want me to fuck you right here on this dirty floor."

Harry glared, but he knew Malfoy was a skilled Legilimens. If Harry tried to lie, Malfoy would pick the untruth out of the air in an instant. Harry shut his eyes and groaned when his silence was just as condemning.

"Let's get your door open, Potter," Malfoy said, stepping back and releasing Harry's wrists. Harry's eyes snapped open.

"You're willing to help me now?"

"Certainly. I'm going to make sure you get everything you need from now on."