A/N: Feels good to be back... -greases rusty fingers-
Draco Malfoy could not recall when he had began noticing the expressions, actions, and words of his nemesis; his enemy; his rival, much less his personal preferences in food. All he was certain of was that Harry Potter didn't deserve his attention. Yet he caught himself giving it time and time again, and he found the habit a bit uncomfortable.
He usually caught his disobedient eyes roaming towards Potter during meals at the Great Hall. Numerous times he had noticed himself gazing at the small boy at lunch or dinner, when his fellow Slytherins were too busy fighting over the last piece of turkey or tart or crooning over various male bodies that were attending Hogwarts. It was during this time he could stare without being noticed; his croonies were oblivious to everything around them when it came time for food, and usually Pansy and Millicent were too busy arguing about every topic imaginable to notice his wandering eyes.
He never ate much himself. (A moderately observant person could connect that to his slender figure; instead he was always asked how he could manage to keep that shape by fawning girls and his mother's party guests.) No; instead, he observed.
Harry Potter wasn't a very picky eater, Draco had discovered during his fifth year. By sixth year, he could name Harry's favorite dishes and his preferences of tea over coffee. He noticed Potter disliked dark green vegetables, and picked out carrots from his food before eating. Otherwise, he took some of everything from the limitations of arms' reach.
He knew that Harry was partial to buttered toast and pumpkin juice on rushed mornings, and that Harry ate more of dessert than of anything else on weekends. And that Harry liked fruit.
Oh, especially on weekends. There was always fruit on the tables after every meal on weekends. It was then when Draco was conspicuously alert to the infamous Harry Potter.
Harry preferred melons to citrus, apples to melons, grapes to apples, and berries to melons. Hell, he even knew that Harry disliked yellow and green apples, and instead settled on pink or red ones. He grabbed green grapes rather than the purple ones, and grapefruit rather oranges. But his preferences in berries was Draco's favorite aspect of Harry's food choice.
You see, Harry was partial to strawberries. Draco doubted anybody noticed but him or Harry. Harry's inane and mundane friends were more concerned in bickering at each other rather than paying attention to Harry and his strawberries. They didn't know what they were missing.
Every day there were strawberries Harry's eyes would light up just the tiniest bit and he would pluck at least five from the platter at once. Harry's fingers would gather the tiny green leaves of the strawberries back towards the stems, then bite, chew, swallow, then lick. His pink tongue would emerge the slightest bit from his parted lips and run over the bitten part of the strawberry before it retracted and he took another bite.
Harry would always eat the strawberries down to the leaves, and when he finished with those on his plate, he would reach for more. Draco once noticed Harry lick his lips and his throat dried instantly, and he had to tear his eyes away from his enemy to swallow and answer a question Pansy directed at him about her hair. As if he cared.
When it was safe to look back, Harry had already finished his last strawberry and was leaving the table with Granger and Weasley. Draco mentally cursed all females and returned his attention to poking and prodding at his food.
Draco himself didn't really like strawberries. They were much too feminine, and besides; most of them were sour. If they weren't sour, they were too ripe and almost mushy. There were even those who dared to sport bruises. Nasty, wet, squishy bruises. Even if they happened to be perfectly ripe and bright red, most of them were oddly shaped. He had barely encountered any "normal" strawberries. Besides, the fruit was red. Gryffindor's color. Disgusting. He had decided long ago that strawberries were below his tastes.
He just didn't know how someone could make strawberries look so delicious, let alone that someone being Harry Potter. He hated Harry. Not while Harry was eating strawberries, but certainly after, when Draco had been caught by some annoying Pansy and had to hastily shove the apple in his idle hand in his mouth and pretend nothing had diverted his attention from his babbling "girlfriend".
No. Draco would then have to wait until next week when strawberries were served again. He eventually found himself looking forward to weekend meals. However, his eagerness began to bother him after the first few times. It soon blossomed into an uncomfortable knot in his gut, which turned to guilt the first time Harry's name was brought up at the Slytherin table while Draco had been watching the said boy intently from across the Great Hall. He had plastered a sneer on his face immediately, before even comprehending what was being said about the boy.
Draco knew this was a dangerous "hobby" of his. A nagging feeling in his gut told him that he was going to be caught, and the consequences wouldn't be worth watching Harry eat a certain fruit. Maybe?
'But,' he argued to himself, 'it's a good blackmail...' before the words died inside his head. With an uncomfortable twang in his gut, he knew that he shouldn't be looking forward to Harry and strawberries. Harry was his enemy, his rival. And Draco didn't like strawberries. So why couldn't he take his eyes off Harry's tongue as it licked the juices of the fruit?
Maybe it's the tongue—no, wait! That's even worse..
Over time, the "hobby" turned to "obsession" and Draco couldn't look at strawberries without thinking immediately of Harry. Of Harry's lips. His tongue.
It caused him quite a lot of frustration, especially in one particular class of Potions where strawberry leaves and seeds were required in a complicated concoction. Draco had not been paying attention when Snape had administered the instructions, and had only risen subconsciously to his feet when he heard the scraping of chairs and saw Granger's bushy brown head as she passed him to the ingredient cupboard and table.
He reached the table and imagine his surprise when fresh, innocent strawberries peeked their lush, red, seed-speckled flesh at him. He was quite the wreck when he heard Harry's voice right behind him telling him sarcastically to stop ogling the poor fruit and get on back to his seat.
Draco was so flustered he grabbed the strawberry and headed back to his seat before realizing that he also needed crushed wild basil leaves as well as three sprigs of dried olive leaves. He headed back to the cupboard under the stare of Snape and a mad blush forming on his pale cheeks.
Weasley was sneering at him as he passed, and he shot the freckled red head with a glare to kill and headed back to his seat. He heard a snort and turned slightly just in time to catch a smirk passing on Harry's lips. Needless to say, he swallowed hard and prodded Blaise to ask him for the page number with a warning glare.
"What are you blushing at strawberries for?" Weasley had asked as soon as class ended and they were heading out the dungeon doors. "I'm sure they'd say yes if you asked them for a date...oh, maybe not, considering you're Malfoy, and you can't resist strawberries. Poor strawberries, Draco Malfoy has his eye on you chaps. Better watch out, or he'll turn you over to Death Eaters for not being pure-blooded."
"Shut it, Weasel, you don't even know what you're blabbering about." Draco spat. Harry and Hermione appeared after Ron and Draco noticed the strawberry that Harry was holding in his hand.
"Really, Harry, don't tell me you're planning to eat that," Hermione was saying as Ron smirked at Draco. "You don't know who's touched them."
"Like Malfoy here," Ron said.
Draco glared at Ron, but his attention was diverted by Harry, who gently rubbed the strawberry on his sleeve and took a bite.
"Relax, Hermione, a strawberry's not gonna kill me," Harry said, swallowing and then licking the damn fruit. "No, wait; imagine what Voldemort would do if he heard I was done in by a strawberry, haha."
Ron chuckled, then turned his attention to Draco. "What are you still doing here? Don't you have first years to terrorize? Pansy to attend to? Strawberries to molest?"
Draco's grey eyes flicked from Harry's mouth to the red-head and his fingers curled. "The thing would be getting more than you ever would," he shot back. He turned his heel and walked off before he could tempt himself with the idea of hurting Weasley's jaw so bad that he couldn't even eat mashed potatoes, let alone strawberries.
Draco felt he had to do something about his fetish with that certain red fruit and Harry when his dreams involved said thing and person, only it wasn't at the Great Hall or Snape's dungeon; it was his bed.
He didn't know what he could do, or how he could stop thinking about it. It centered itself in Draco's thoughts and dreams. For Merlin's sake, he transfigured pillow into a plush strawberry when he was attempting to make it puffier. He had hastily shoved it in his trunk a second before Blaise entered the dormitory, followed by Goyle and Crabbe.
"What's got your knickers in a bunch?" Blaise questioned, eyebrow raised. Goyle and Crabbe were too busy laughing at a photograph they had stolen from the Creevy kid.
"Couldn't find my best cloak," Draco muttered.
Blaise stared skeptically at him before climbing into his four poster and drawing his hangings shut.
Draco growled as he eased open his trunk, pointed at the distinct red shape inside, and transfigured it back to his pillow before looking around and taking it out. "Never again," he muttered and threw himself onto his mattress and pulled his hangings around. He punched his pillow into a better shape and settled in on his side.
'Bloody strawberry,' he thought before giving in to sleep.
The next morning Draco woke with a taste of chocolate ghosting his mouth. He bolted up in bed and touched his lips with his pale fingers, then checked for the source of the taste. Nothing. It was a dream. He groaned and swung his legs over his bed, then ripped aside the hangings and stalked to their bathroom to start his day.
After washing his face and brushing his teeth, he leaned on the porcelain sink and started at himself in the mirror. Water droplets clung to his eyelashes and the strands of his bangs, which reached to his nose. His flat grey eyes stared into themselves as he thought on his dream.
Then he decided on a cold shower.
The icy water hitting his skin was a shock as well as a thorough morning call. He gasped and froze for a while before slowly relaxing and washing his hair. His lips were pulled into a frown as he worked conditioner into his blond locks and lathered his body.
What could he do to stop his situation? Confront Harry? Hah. That would do as much good as confronting the strawberries. Not to mention his face would resemble a strawberry during and after the confrontation. No, no, that simply wouldn't work. Never in a million years.
Disgruntled, he quickly rinsed the rest of his body and shut off the taps and stepped out. He dried himself with a dark green towel, dressed in a crisp white shirt, black pants, and shook his arms into the sleeves of his cloak before grabbing his Slytherin tie and book bag. He didn't feel like eating today; he decided he was going to head straight to his first class.
He arrived at McGonagall's door and set his bag down before opening it and taking out last night's homework. He had been too preoccupied to write a decent conclusion, and had angrily stuffed it in his bag before retiring to bed. Now was a good time as any to finish it.
He dug out an expensive, self-inking, silver-lined quill from his bag and muttered the incantation for the ink to start flowing. His eyes skimmed to the bottom of his parchment and he absently touched the tip of his quill to his lips, musing. After a few moments, he lowered his quill and scribbled a few sentences to the essay. He checked over his essay quickly, and with a satisfied nod to himself, he rolled up the parchment and deactivated to quill.
Draco was just straightening from putting his quill in a pocket of his bag when he saw scruffy looking trainers, black slacks, and the hideous red and gold striped tie of a Gryffindor. A smirk was immediately on his lips as he rested his hard eyes on the person.
"Well, if it isn't Potter," he said lazily, careful to keep his voice in a drawl.
"Malfoy," Harry returned icily.
"Where are your two tails? Or is Weasel still trying to put on his socks? Mudblood do-good-ing?"
"Don't you have anything better to do?" Harry said coldly. "This is getting old, Malfoy,"
"Ohh, Potter," Draco said softly, pretending to be hurt. "Not so creative without those two pieces of filth by your side, are you?"
"Speak for yourself, ferret-boy, where are Goyle and Crabbe? And that pug of yours, Pansy Parkinson?"
"Potter; Crabbe and Goyle aren't taking Advanced Transfiguration; neither is Pansy, if you haven't noticed with that wire-crap blocking your view." Draco smirked.
Harry's eyebrows furrowed and a blush crossed his cheeks. Right. He'd forgotten. Though it wasn't like he was taking attendance of Malfoy's gorilla-like assistants, anyway...
Draco's eyes lingered on the flushed appearance of Harry's face before glancing down to his lips. His moist, pink, speechless, realization-parted lips.
He vaguely wondered if there were strawberries at breakfast...
"Oi!" Weasel shouted as he rounded the corner. Draco quickly plastered a sneer to shoot at the freckle-faced red-head's direction before rolling his eyes lazily and turning away, hands in his pockets.
Transfiguration passed uneventfully; as did the rest of the day. He did notice, however, that Harry wasn't at lunch or dinner. 'Must be too important, being Gryffindor-bloody-Seeker, that stupid boy...' Draco had thought sourly as he quickly downed his food and hurried off to his next class.
He wasn't assigned too much homework, thankfully. Perfect, since it was Friday. He didn't want to spent his time working. Draco put an ending sentence on an essay for Snape, checked it over, rolled it up, put it in his bag, then stretched. He had crammed all his homework in after barely eating dinner. He checked the clock over the Slytherins' common room mantelpiece. 12:48. Great.
Draco looked around as his stomach rumbled quietly. He got up and checked Crabbe's bag, which was left carelessly next to him. The bottom was sprinkled with crumbs, the pockets were littered with various sweets wrappers, but there was no food. Draco threw Crabbe's bag irritably back to its spot. He looked at the dungeon doors, then decided on slipping out to get a bite from the kitchens. He brought his bag to his dorm, then came back up and quietly slipped out the doors.
The halls were dark and silent. The only sound was of Draco's heeled footsteps on the cold flagstones. He doubted he would run into any trouble. Filch, after fifth year, had become more lenient towards him and his friends. Draco supposed he was still reminiscent of Umbridge's rule. No matter to him, though.
He turned the corner and strode to the hallway opposite of Snape's dungeons. His slender shadow danced along the still-life paintings with the brightly burning torches that lined the walls. He reached the picture with the enormous green pear and was about to extend a forefinger to tickle it when the door swung open.
Somewhere beyond the painting, he heard a house elf squeaking, "Goodnight, Harry Potter, sir! Sleep well, sir!" as he hastily stepped back.
"Alright, Dobby," Draco heard Harry say, and saw Harry emerging from the opening, looking back to the kitchen. His head turned and froze when he noticed Draco standing in front of him.
The two stood staring at each other for quite a while.
"Harry Potter?" squeaked a bundle of clothing. "Is there something the matter, sir?" The house elf buried under the disarray of random articles of fabric turned towards Harry's glare, and, like Harry, froze and emitted a gasp. "Malfoy master!"
"Potter," Draco finally said, completely ignoring the stricken house elf.
"What are you doing here?" Harry retorted immediately.
"I was hoping to obtain some food from the kitchens," he said, eying the red fruit clutched in Harry's hand, then the silvery material draped across the other. "Not like this place is exactly secret," he added, thinking that Harry surely doubted anyone else knew of this place but himself.
"Harry Potter, sir?" Dobby asked tentatively.
"I'm fine, Dobby. Go back inside." Harry said, eyes on Draco. "And thank you for the food."
Dobby hesitated, but retreated to the kitchens.
Draco stared at Harry's face as the painting swung shut.
"What?" Harry demanded tersely.
"Nothing," Draco answered. His eyes lowered to the collarbone and sliver of chest that was exposed from Harry's loosely buttoned shirt. The Gryffindor tie hung limply from Harry's neck. His shirt was untucked in the most appealing manner, and his hair was tousled; no doubt from him running his fingers through it when he was stressed.
Draco drew closer to Harry and vaguely noticed that the raven-haired boy tensed, his fingers twitching toward the wand stowed haphazardly in his pants pocket. Draco could smell the strawberries from there. He did like the smell of strawberries.
"No wands," Draco breathed, and pressed Harry's clammy hand to the wall. Harry's invisibility cloak slipped from his arm and pooled to a shimmery mass at their feet. Draco's other hand found Harry's hand with the strawberries, and he wrapped his fingers around Harry's occupied fist as he leaned in.
Harry's breathing shallowed, and his vivid green eyes were wide and wary. "M-Malfoy?" he said, voice cracking slightly.
Draco lowered his head and pressed his lips onto the warm flesh of Harry's neck. Harry stopped breathing for a few seconds, then inhaled a shallow, shuddery breath. Draco trailed his lips down to Harry's collarbone, then parted his lips and gave a slightly open-mouthed kiss to the heating flesh.
"Malfoy," Harry said again, weakly. He sank a few centimeters.
"Shut up, Potter," Malfoy murmured, and kissed upward to Harry's jawline, then up, pausing to suck gently on his earlobe, then moving again. He kissed the corner of the shaking boy's lips, to the side of it, below it, then pulled away slightly, lips hovering right above Harry's.
Harry gave a soft pant, his eyes closed and face turned slightly to the right. Draco lowered his lips and captured Harry's. He kissed gently, with a lazy push forward, then steadily harder and faster as Harry whimpered. The hand Draco had pressing Harry's into the wall rose and cupped Harry's cheek as they kissed fervently, breaking only for a fraction of a second to gasp for air.
Draco felt Harry give a step back and took a step forward, and felt the heat radiating off Harry's body. He broke away slightly, then returned his lips to Harry's and pushed him further into the wall. His long fingers were starting to comb into the base of Harry's raven hair, and his knee was bending and his slender thigh pushing slightly upwards in between Harry's quivering legs.
Slowly, his hips also pushed forward, insistently, into Harry. The Boy Who Lived gasped, and Draco took the time run his tongue along Harry's bottom lip. His innards were squirming with pleasure. He inched the pointer of his right hand into Harry's fist and felt a strawberry clutched tightly.
With one last, slow kiss that left Harry breathless and trembling, he smoothly nicked the strawberry from Harry's grasp and grinned crookedly down at the boy.
Harry looked owlishly back up at him, dazed.
Without a word, Draco pressed the strawberry to Harry's lips. Harry seemed dazed beyond comprehension, so Draco pushed the strawberry more firmly against the soft, kiss-reddened lips.
Harry hesitantly opened his mouth and bit the fruit, but didn't chew even as Draco pulled his hand away. His mildly confused eyes followed Draco's, but the Slytherin paid no heed and leaned in and licked the strawberry's juices off Harry's lips. His tongue was slow and deliberate, teasing, but not ravishingly so. He smiled against Harry's mouth, then pulled away.
"See you, Potter," Draco murmured, and turned and walked away. The taste and scent of strawberries lingered on his lips, and he could still taste it in his mouth. He smiled to himself and turned the corner, leaving Harry to sink onto the floor weakly behind him.
'Strawberries aren't so bad,' Draco decided. He licked his lips.