Disclaimer: Characters from the Harry Potter Universe belong to JK Rowling and are used without permission but with no intent to defraud.
Author's Notes: Many thanks to my fantastic beta bewarethesmirk. And the brilliant xnuinx has done some fanart for the fic (you can find a link on my user profile page). Please go look and tell her how amazing she is!
This story contains SLASH so if you do not like it - or don't know what it is - then DO NOT READ. Thanks :o)
"Harry, mate, you don't have to do this," Ron whispered, timing his words so he wouldn't be overheard by Snape, who was patrolling up and down the Potions classroom.
They were meant to be copying down the recipe for the day's potion, but instead Harry was nervously tugging the feathers out of his quill, and Ron was busy staring at Harry.
"I've got to," Harry said sullenly.
"No, you don't," Ron argued. "Nobody would blame you for chickening out." He winced at his choice of words, seeing Harry's jaw clench. "No, er, I didn't mean…"
Snape's footsteps sounded behind them and Ron's mouth snapped shut. A wand thrust between the two boys and smartly whacked the back of Harry's fidgeting left hand. "Get to work, Potter. Being the hero of the wizarding world is not a valid excuse for laziness in my classroom." The wand withdrew, and Snape stepped away.
Harry jabbed the quill onto the parchment in front of him, and a blob of ink spread in a bleeding stain across the textured surface. He drew the tip of the quill through the ink and began writing out the ingredient list, copying the directions from the board.
Across the aisle to Harry's right, Draco Malfoy sneered, "'Hero', Potter?"
Snape paused mid-stride, and turned to glare at Malfoy. The blond's head dropped back down to his neatly transcribed parchment, and away from Harry.
The quill trembled in Harry's hand, but he continued writing. He was aware of Ron's eyes still on him, and even Hermione turned in her seat to check that he wasn't upset. Feeling her gaze on him, he lifted his head, and tried not to scowl at the pitying smile she threw in his direction, before she returned her attention to her work.
"I have to do it," Harry repeated quietly, staring at the back of Hermione's head. He dropped his eyes back to his own ink-stained parchment. "I lost, so I have to." He wasn't sure if he was trying to convince Ron, or himself.
"Yeah, but no one really expected you to lose. C'mon…since when did you ever lose a broomstick race?"
"Seamus is better than you all think," Harry muttered.
"I suppose," Ron said, frowning. "I definitely never thought he'd beat you."
"Well, he did," Harry snapped, his voice louder than he intended, but he was getting irritated. "And going on about it won't change it."
"Potter," Snape said sharply from the back of the room. "I won't tell you again."
Sliding lower in his seat, Harry stabbed his quill onto the parchment and scraped out some more words.
"Sorry, mate," Ron murmured.
A few minutes passed, and the sound of scratching quills gradually quieted as most students finished writing. Snape cast an eye around the room, and satisfied they were ready to continue, walked back to his desk and turned to address the class.
"I assume you have all completed the arduous task of copying down the details of the potion." His eyes rested briefly on Harry, the only student whose quill was still in motion. "And the more advanced amongst you," his gaze shifted to the cluster of Slytherin students, "may have managed to absorb the intricacies of the potion-making process."
Folding his arms and tucking his hands in his sleeves, he straightened to his full height. "You are aware that I will have to leave the class for a short time to attend an ill-timed – but apparently essential – staff meeting." His displeasure was clear in his tone and the curl of his lip. "And as loath as I am to leave you unattended, it seems I have no other option.
"I am warning you now that any infractions whilst I am gone will incur the severest penalty. I expect impeccable behaviour from everyone. Are you listening, Potter?"
Under Snape's sudden focus, Harry sat up in his seat and nodded, annoyed. "Yes, sir."
Snape raised an eyebrow. "Why do I not find myself reassured?" Harry glowered at the sarcasm. "Well, I suppose I have been left with very little choice. I expect the potion to be completed by the time I return and the classroom looking just as I left it." The last was said with a glare in Neville's direction.
He stopped speaking and stared at the class. The students stared back.
"What are you all waiting for?" he snapped. "Get to work."
As the room shifted into a bustle of activity, Snape strode down the aisle, leaving the room without a backwards glance, assured that the threat of punishment would be enough to keep the class in check.
Harry tossed the quill onto the parchment and rubbed a hand wearily over his face. From the corner of his eye he could see Draco Malfoy slide elegantly from his seat and, with his parchment in his hand, head towards the Potions cupboard with Crabbe and Goyle trailing obediently at his heels.
Taking a deep breath, Harry pushed his chair back from the desk. At Ron's questioning look, he explained, "Might as well get this over with."
Ron looked as though he was going to argue, then planted his hands firmly on his desk and shoved his own chair back. "I'll come with you," he said.
"You don't have to," Harry began, but Ron shook his head.
"You're not doing this on your own, right?"
"Okay," Harry said, feeling a rush of warmth towards his best friend. He glanced over to the open cupboard door and back at Ron. "Just try not to let him get to you."
"I'll be as good as gold, mate. You can count on me."
Harry looked at him sceptically, but Ron didn't notice, too busy trying to untangle himself from the strap of his bag that had somehow managed to become twisted around his feet and the chair legs.
Harry got to his feet slowly and stood, waiting for Ron. His fingers picked at a piece of thread sticking out from his sleeve, acutely aware that the eyes of every Gryffindor were focused on him. News of the bet had spread through the entire house at breakfast, and he'd received more than a couple of solemn "Good lucks" and consoling pats on the shoulder on his way out of the Great Hall. Not a word had been mentioned about it in the classroom, an unspoken consensus to keep the news from the Slytherins as long as possible. The other houses remained largely oblivious of the undercurrent in the room, but when Harry lifted his head he could see at least one Ravenclaw eying him and his housemates suspiciously. He assumed that by the time it was over, the whole Potions class would know what had happened.
Ron squeezed between the chairs and came out to stand at Harry's side. "Not too late to change your mind," he said, frowning at Harry's tense stance.
Harry gave himself a mental shake and tried to smile. "No way," he said. "I'm not letting anyone say I'm a coward."
"No," Harry said firmly. "Let's just get this over with."
As he turned towards Snape's desk, he caught sight of Neville giving him a thumbs-up sign. Harry acknowledged the gesture with a grateful smile before leading the way towards the open cupboard and Draco Malfoy.
They could hear Malfoy's voice reciting ingredients. He sounded bored, the words drifting out of the open cupboard door in a drone, broken only by the odd sharp sounding reprimand. "Powdered marrow… ground allspice… chaste berry. No, Goyle, the powder, not the leaf. Scale of newt… eye of frog. Watch that bottle, Crabbe, you'll break it."
Not giving himself any time to change his mind, Harry walked straight into the cupboard - although 'store' would have been a more accurate term – and was grateful for Ron's reassuring presence. Ron swung the cupboard door closed as soon as they were far enough in, effectively shutting the rest of the class out and giving them privacy.
Malfoy was leaning back against the stack of shelves on the left, parchment dangling from his fingers. Crabbe and Goyle were both perched on ladders farther back in the store, arms filled with bottles and jars. They turned at the sound of the slamming door and, upon seeing Harry and Ron, shoved their burdens onto the nearest shelf and thudded down from the steps, cracking their knuckles reflexively.
Malfoy, however, barely flinched. His eyes slid lazily from the closed door to Harry and Ron, secure in the knowledge that Crabbe and Goyle were there. "Potter. Weasley," he drawled. "To what do we owe the pleasure of your company?"
"I need a favour," Harry blurted out. He winced at the immediate blast of laughter from all three Slytherins, but stood his ground and waited for them to stop.
"A favour?" Malfoy said eventually, looking gleeful. "From me? Now that's a first. Mind you, if it's financial, then I have to warn you I've already given to charity this month." A twist of his lips as he looked over at Ron, considering. "Although, I 'm sure I could spare a few Knuts to buy Weasley some new clothes…"
Ron let out a small growl, and Harry shot him a warning glance, clamping down on his own irritation.
"No, Malfoy, I don't need your money." Harry kept his tone deliberately light. "I just need a favour."
"I can hardly wait to hear it." The grin was challenging. "Go on then, don't keep us in suspense…"
Harry swallowed, his throat suddenly constricted. "I lost a bet," he began, and stopped.
"And?" Malfoy prompted, still presenting an image of lazy calmness, but a spark in his eyes betrayed his growing interest.
"And," Harry said, shifting from foot to foot, "I have to kissyourarse." He said the last few words quickly and Malfoy frowned.
"You have to what?"
Harry dropped his eyes, feeling his cheeks reddening. "I have to kiss… your… arse."
There was a stunned silence. All Harry could hear was the sound of Crabbe and Goyle's nasal breathing, and the soft rustle of fabric as Ron adjusted his position beside him, preparing for a fight.
Malfoy's eyes widened incredulously, his thin mouth stretching, as his smile went from mildly amused to positively malicious. "I'm sorry. My hearing must be slightly deficient. I could have sworn you just said you wanted to kiss my arse."
Harry glowered. "Don't start, Malfoy."
"What?" the blond asked innocently. "If you could just clarify what it is you need me to do." He gestured to the door. "Unless, of course, you want me to get some more of my housemates in here? Someone with better aural skills than mine?" Pushing away from the shelves, he started towards the door, hand outstretched to grab the handle.
"No, Malfoy, don't," Harry said, grabbing Malfoy's arm before he could touch the door.
Crabbe and Goyle started forwards, but Malfoy shook his head at them. He raised a sculpted eyebrow and looked down at Harry's hand pointedly. Blushing, Harry released his grip, and Malfoy made a show of brushing off his sleeve. "Control yourself, Potter," he said softly. "Or I'll have Crabbe and Goyle escort you out."
"They could try." Ron spoke up. "I don't fancy their chances much."
All the eyes in the room – including Harry's – looked at him in disbelief. Ron squared his shoulders and tried his best to look intimidating. Harry rolled his eyes, and then frowned, an idea forming. Very slowly, he returned his attention to Malfoy.
"Look, if you don't want to help out then that's fine. Just say so, and we'll leave you alone."
Malfoy tilted his head to the side as he considered Harry. "If I say 'no', then does that mean you get off the hook?"
Harry nodded slowly, the look of hope on his face fading as he waited for a reply.
"But that wouldn't be fair," Malfoy said, the smirk reappearing. "I never said I wouldn't allow you to complete your task. In fact, in the spirit of inter-house relations I feel it's my duty to grant you the favour. You may kiss my arse, Potter."
Harry tried one last time. "Are you sure? I really don't-"
"No," Malfoy interrupted, "I insist. How can I possibly refuse a personal request from the famous Harry Potter?
"Now," he said, "how exactly do you want to do this? In here, or out-"
"In here," Harry interrupted quickly. "I only need you to tell them I've actually done it. That should be all right – there's no way they'd ever believe you'd lie for me."
Enjoying the role of gracious benefactor, Malfoy nodded. "All right, Potter. I'll go along with that. But you'd better do it properly."
"Properly?" Ron repeated, before Harry could ask. "What the hell are you on about?"
"I mean, no kissing through robes," Malfoy said slowly as though talking to a child. "I couldn't tell people in all honesty that you'd performed your task, if you don't do it properly. A Malfoy doesn't lie."
Harry and Ron both snorted in disbelief, and Malfoy's face darkened. "If that isn't acceptable then I'll just leave now, shall I?" He turned to the door again.
"No, wait," Harry said, his hand just stopping short of grabbing Malfoy's robes. "I'll do it."
"Harry, no…," Ron gasped as Malfoy paused, and turned to look at Harry.
"No robes, no clothing in the way at all," Malfoy clarified, daring Harry to back out.
The blood rushed to Harry's face and he gulped, but forced himself to nod.
Ron was spluttering at his side, having lost the ability to form a coherent sentence. Crabbe and Goyle were just blinking at the exchange, their brains unable to comprehend exactly what was going on.
"Okay," Harry said quietly. "Whatever you want, Malfoy."
"Oh, Potter, I never thought I'd hear you say that." The words purred from Malfoy's mouth, and Ron's left eye began to twitch furiously.
"Harry," he said disbelievingly, finally managing some words. "You can't…"
"Shut up, Ron," Harry said over his shoulder. "Please."
"Bloody hell," Ron muttered, folding his arms and glaring at Malfoy, who only looked amused at his posturing.
"Well then, Potter. Shall we get this over with?" Malfoy spoke as he shrugged off his robes, folding them neatly and laying them on a shelf. Underneath he was wearing his uniform: a v-neck jumper over his shirt and tie, plain black trousers adorning his legs.
Harry looked startled at the sight of Malfoy disrobing. "No, er, wait," he stuttered.
"What now?" Malfoy had his long fingers underneath his jumper, and with a questioning frown at Harry, he pulled it off in one fluid movement. His hair stuck out at odd angles as his began to tidily arrange the jumper on top of the robes.
Ron made a strangled sound in the back of his throat, and Harry stumbled over his words. "Wh-what are you doing?"
Malfoy unbuttoned the top button of his shirt, and yanked his tie down a fraction. "Well, I don't know about you, Potter, but I'm feeling a bit warm in here."
Now that Malfoy mentioned it, Harry was indeed feeling the heat of the store. It was hardly surprising, though, with all the people inside it. That observation reminded him of another point he had to make.
"Can we do this without an audience?" he asked. The whole thing was embarrassing enough with just Malfoy, without his entourage being present as well.
"Oh, come on," Malfoy whined. "Where's the fun in that?"
Harry glared at him, and Malfoy let out a long-suffering sigh. "Oh, all right, Potter. Since I'm such a reasonable person, I'll agree. I certainly don't want Weasley leering at my arse anyway."
Ron flushed angrily. "No way am I leaving, Malfoy. Not a chance in hell."
"Ron," Harry said sharply, to get his friend's attention.
Ron dragged his gaze from the smirking Slytherin to look at Harry and frowned at what he saw. He shook his head. "No way, mate. Absolutely no way am I leaving you in here, alone, with him." He forced out a final word. "Naked."
"It'll be fine, Ron," Harry said. "He won't try anything." Malfoy chuckled and both Gryffindors stiffened. Harry's tone darkened. "And even if he does," he said, "I'm perfectly able to kick his arse."
"Kick my arse, Potter? But I thought you wanted to kiss it?"
Harry bit on his lip hard enough to taste blood, but didn't rise to the bait. He kept his eyes on Ron. "Go on, Ron. I'll be fine, honestly."
Ron looked far from convinced, but gave Harry a nod, reaching behind him for the door handle and resting his hand on it. Before he pulled the door, he looked straight at Malfoy. "You try anything…," he warned.
The Slytherin waved an impatient hand. "Yes, yes, Weasley. If I try anything, you and your ginger-headed family come after me with pitchforks. I get it."
Harry placed a palm on Ron's chest to stop him from launching at Malfoy. "Ron," he said. "Ignore him."
Letting out a noisy breath, Ron forced his eyes to Harry and nodded again. "Shout if you need me, all right?"
Harry forced a smile. "Yeah, don't worry, I will. This shouldn't take long."
"Speak for yourself, Potter."
The Gryffindors ignored the comment. A final exchange of glances, and Ron tugged the door open, scurrying sounds instantly erupting on the other side as students raced away from the door, pretending that they hadn't been trying to eavesdrop. Ron strode out of the door and waited, staring in at Crabbe and Goyle. "You two coming, or what?" he asked.
The two boys looked at Malfoy, who gave a small nod. "Best get started on the potion," he said. "Remember to take the ingredients with you."
They nodded in unison, and with surprising speed, retrieved the items they'd discarded earlier from the shelves above. With full arms, they plodded past Malfoy and out of the door.
Malfoy reached out behind them and gripped the edge of the door in his hand. Ron stood just outside the cupboard, his expression tight. "Don't look so worried, Weasley," Malfoy said. "I promise I won't damage him too much." Before Ron could respond, Malfoy swung the door hard on its hinges, and it slammed shut with a resounding thud. A quick twist of the key, and it was locked.
"What did you have to be so rude to Ron for?" Harry snapped the instant they were alone. Malfoy ignored him, taking his wand out of his pocket and pointing at the door, muttering a Silencing spell. With his wand dangling from his fingertips, he turned back to face Harry, who was looking far from happy.
The Slytherin sighed. "Oh, come on, Harry. I was just having a bit of fun. It is Weasley after all. If I'd been nice to him, he'd have been suspicious."
"You still didn't need to be so bloody nasty," Harry objected. "You promised, Draco."
Malfoy – Draco – took a step closer to Harry, reaching out to the side to leave his wand on top of his robes. "Technically, I only promised to try to be nicer to Weasley and the Mu- Hermione," he corrected quickly. Another step. "And I did try," he said. "But he provoked me."
"He did not," Harry retorted, watching the blond's approach through narrowed eyes.
Malfoy took another step and reached out a hand to grasp Harry's robes. "He did," he argued. "I'm such a sensitive soul, and he so was unbelievably rough." The fist tightened and pushed, and Harry found his back pressing against the wall of shelves. Some jars rattled. Draco stepped in closer with a predatory gleam in his eye. "And you know how upset I get when someone's rough, don't you, Potter?"
Harry suddenly found it rather difficult to breathe, his Adam's apple bobbing convulsively against the restrictive collar and tie encircling his throat. He grabbed hold of Draco's wrist, the smooth texture of his shirt seductively soft under his Quidditch-calloused fingertips.
"Draco, we can't," he forced out. "Someone could come in."
Draco leaned in, right cheek brushing Harry's as he put his mouth close to Harry's ear. "The door's locked. No one can hear us."
"Yeah, but," Harry's trousers were becoming uncomfortably tight, and he shifted his stance, "they're waiting on us to come out." He tried to ignore Draco's soft laughter at his choice of words. "If we stay in here, they'll think something's up."
"Something is up," Draco murmured, and pressed closer to Harry to emphasise the point. His head dipped forwards and sharp teeth nipped at Harry's earlobe, a light touch of tongue instantly soothed the tender spot. Harry let out a little whimper, and the teeth nipped again.
"Draco," he begged, although whether he was begging for more or for him to stop, he couldn't be sure. A swirling lick of tongue was almost his undoing. Mustering all of his control, he repeated, "Draco. Stop."
Draco let out an irritated huff of air that cooled the wet spot on Harry's ear. With pursed lips, he pushed back and tugged his hand from Harry's grip, folding his arms and glaring.
Despite it being his doing, Harry felt disappointed when Draco moved away, his ear tingling from the blond's ministrations. Trying to settle his breathing, he said, "So, we go outside and you tell them I did the bet." He looked over to the cupboard door, wondering how dishevelled he looked, and if Ron would notice anything odd.
It took a moment for him to realise that Draco had spoken; thinking for a fraction of a second that he'd mentally answered his own question. He whipped his head around to stare at the Slytherin. "No? What do you mean, 'no'?"
"I should think it fairly self-explanatory," Draco replied, his expression calculating. "I meant what I said earlier about not lying. If you expect me to tell them you kissed my arse," his lips twitched, "then you're really going to have to do it."
Harry gaped. "Don't be daft. You can't really expect me to…?"
Draco raised an eyebrow. "I most certainly do."
Colour flooded Harry's cheeks, and suddenly he didn't quite know where to look. Malfoy expected him to…He wanted… Harry remembered Draco's earlier comments, and he asked in a strangled voice, "Properly? Without your…?" He gestured at Draco's trousers with a flapping hand.
"Yes, Harry. And I seriously suggest you stop waving your hands about and get on with it. As you so eloquently put it, they're waiting on us to come out." Draco unfolded his arms, and he dropped his hands to unbuckle his belt.
Harry swallowed, nervously. "Draco, I'm not sure I can do this."
Frowning, Draco lifted his head. "Do what exactly? Kiss my arse?" Harry looked pained, but shook his head slightly. Draco's eyes narrowed. "What, then? See me naked?" Harry flinched. Draco blinked once, twice, and stared at Harry incredulously. "You're nervous about seeing me naked? For Merlin's sake, Harry, how long have we been going out?"
"Two months," Harry mumbled after a few seconds pause to work it out in his head. "But you've never, you know." He bobbed his head at Draco's hands.
"What? You've seen me in the showers after Quidditch loads of times. I distinctly remember a lack of clothing there."
"Yeah, but that was different."
"Why?" Draco asked.
"Because I wasn't going out with you then."
Draco let out a breath. "Harry, sometimes you astound me. You can quite happily snog me senseless, after deliberately hitting me in the head with a Bludger – which, by the way, I've still not forgiven you for. But now you're nervous?"
Harry shrugged helplessly. "I was fairly sure you'd be up for it," he said, "and even if you weren't, it wasn't like you'd have been able to do anything about it. I figured I could just say your brain was scrambled and deny everything."
"Why, Harry, how positively Slytherin of you. I... I'm so," Draco held fingers to his lips, "proud."
Harry tutted. "You're not funny."
"No?" Draco dropped his hand. "I thought I was hilarious." He pointed a finger at his trousers. "Are we going to do this now, or what?"
"C'mon, Harry, this is going to be fun," Draco chided, unbuttoning his trousers and sliding down the zip. His shirt was tucked neatly into the waistband and he tugged it free, giving Harry a flash of bare skin, soft curling hair, and a definite lack of any form of underwear.
"You're not wearing any pants," Harry blurted out, before he could stop himself.
"Of course not," Draco said scornfully.
"But how can you…? I mean, if I try that, then bits get caught everywhere."
Amused, Draco replied. "Magic, Harry. There's a spell for everything if you look hard enough." The way he said it made Harry think of all sorts of other spells that could come in handy. He dropped his gaze, thinking it wasn't possible for his face to get any hotter.
"Oh, yeah, right."
A soft chuckle and Draco slid his trousers down, turning away from Harry to face the wall, lifting his shirt-tails up and revealing smooth pale flesh stretched over taut muscle. Draco's skin looked tantalisingly soft, and Harry's fingers itched to touch it.
Only Draco could have an elegant looking arse, Harry mused. He licked his lips nervously and stared.
Draco tilted his head to look over his shoulder, hair falling over into eyes. "See something you like?"
Harry struggled to lift his gaze, but he did so reluctantly. "Maybe."
The calculating look was back on Draco's face, and Harry was beginning to recognise it meant trouble.
"What?" Harry frowned.
"Get on your knees, Potter," Draco ordered.
Something fluttered in the pit of Harry's stomach, but pride made him automatically rebel. "You have got to be joking," he said.
"Scared?" Draco asked, a challenge in his tone, but there was something else, too, an unspoken plea. "Get. On. Your. Knees."
Harry bit his lip, feeling heat racing through his body and drew in a shaky breath. "I swear, Malfoy, you are going to regret this later," he said, dropping to his knees on the floor at Draco's feet.
"Did I give you permission to speak?" Draco said softly, twisting around to fix Harry with a grey-eyed stare.
The blood rushed from Harry's face directly to his groin, and he sucked in a breath of air. Mutely, he shook his head.
"Good boy." There was no hint of amusement on Draco's face, his eyes were darkening with lust as he looked down at his boyfriend, and it was all Harry could do to stay still.
Harry waited obediently, insides cart-wheeling with the sheer, delicious dirtiness of what he was doing; thinking how the wizarding world would react if they could see him, Harry Potter, kneeling on the floor behind a bare-bottomed Draco Malfoy.
"Potter," Draco snapped. "Pay attention."
Harry almost opened his mouth to apologise, but seeing the warning look on Draco's face, he snapped his mouth closed again. Although what would Draco do if he disobeyed? He shivered at the thought.
Draco turned away to face the wall, lifting his shirt higher. "You have a job to do," he said sternly. "Get on with it."
Harry was almost trembling in anticipation. He reached out with his hands to grip Draco's hips, but Draco, sensing the motion, warned, "Not your hands. That wasn't part of the agreement."
Harry growled in frustration, dropping his hands to his side and tilted his body forwards, Draco's smooth, tantalising arse only inches from his face. He could feel the heat radiating off the blond's body - the faint but unmistakable scent of Draco - and he blew a light stream of air across the unblemished skin.
Draco bit back a moan, and placed his hands on the shelf in front of him, gripping the edge tightly.
Smiling in satisfaction, Harry blew again, following the gentle puff of air with a light touch of lips to flesh. The body under his lips shuddered, and he pulled back, waiting.
"Again," came the soft order, and he obeyed; this time planting a row of kisses downwards, stopping when he heard an audible groan.
Draco dropped his chin to his chest with a softly exhaled expletive, and Harry's hands edged under his own robes, searching for the buckle of his own belt with trembling fingers. He moistened his lips.
So intent were the two boys on their current situation, neither noticed when the handle of the cupboard door twisted violently. They weren't aware of the key rotating in the lock, and definitely never realised that beyond the closed door, a storm was brewing. It was only when the door flew inwards, and a furious Severus Snape stood silhouetted in the entrance, wand raised and pointing directly at them, did they realise that anything was amiss.
Harry scrabbled away from Draco, sprawling on the floor in a tangle of robes, and stared up at the professor with horrified eyes.
Snape regarded him as a spider would a fly before sliding his eyes to stare at the bare-arsed Malfoy leaning against the shelves, hair tousled and trousers around his ankles. He reached out and grabbed for the door handle, knuckles whitening as he gripped it tightly.
Draco, however, seemed unaffected by Snape's attention. He pushed away from the shelves, reached down and calmly pulled up his trousers, taking time to tuck in his shirt. Finally, he looked at the uncharacteristically silent professor. "I'm sorry, sir. Did you want something?"
"Did I want…?" Snape's voice cracked a little and he stopped. He lowered his wand and took a steadying breath. Trying again, he spoke with more of his usual sharpness. "Just hurry up with whatever it is that you are doing, and get back to your potions." He looked down at a wide-eyed Harry. "And, Potter, get up off the floor. You'll get it dirty."
With one final glance between the two boys, he gave a minute shake of greasy, black hair and backed out of the door. He pulled it closed with a sharp, "Hurry up."
Draco was pulling his jumper back on, and Harry looked up at him, completely confused. "What was all that about?"
Draco's head popped out of the neck of the jumper, and he quickly slid his arms into the sleeves. "That, my dear Harry," he offered a hand to Harry, "was compensation for me walking in on him and my father last summer."
Allowing Draco to pull him to his feet, Harry gaped. "Snape? Snape and your dad?"
"Yes," Draco said. "It's a particularly unpleasant memory that I'd rather not discuss. At All. Ever."
Harry nodded quickly. Wait until he told Ron about- And then his face fell as he couldn't tell anyone, not without telling them of his relationship with Draco, and he didn't think any of them were quite ready for that. Not yet, anyway.
"We'd better get back out there," he said.
Draco didn't miss the despondency of Harry's tone, and he had a fair idea what had caused it. "Yes. Wouldn't want Weasley to have an aneurysm, would we?" He picked up his robes. "Room of Requirement at nine?" he asked offhandedly.
Harry immediately brightened. "Yeah, great." He reached out for the door handle, and paused when Draco spoke again.
"Oh, Harry, I meant to ask earlier, what bet did you lose?" Draco was shrugging on his robes, one long-fingered hand smoothing down the creases. He caught sight of his reflection in the side of a cauldron perched on a shelf, and he let out a horrified gasp, immediately trying to smooth his hair down.
"What?" Harry frowned, privately thinking Draco looked much sexier with ruffled hair, but well aware it would not be the most sensible thing to point it out.
"You said you had to do this because you lost a bet. What was it?" Satisfied he had returned his appearance to its usual tidy state, the blond turned to await Harry's reply.
"It wasn't a bet, really. More a forfeit for losing a race."
"No," Harry said, "on poodles."
Draco ignored the sarcasm. "Against whom did you race?"
There was a pause. "I don't believe it."
Harry shrugged. "He flew faster. It happens."
"No," Draco said slowly, "I really don't believe it. There is no way Finnegan could ever beat you on a broom. I could, but him? Never." His eyes narrowed. "Which means you lost deliberately."
Harry blinked innocently. "Did I?"
The Slytherin was staring at him with growing admiration. "You did. You lost on purpose. You set this whole thing up."
A slow grin spread across Harry's face, chasing away the shroud of awkwardness. "Not all of it."
"So, the nerves? The whole 'I'm a little, innocent Gryffindor' act?"
The smile twisted into a very passable imitation of a Malfoy smirk. "You seem to like it when I behave like that." Harry saw Draco's eyes gleam. "And I was nervous."
Draco shook his head in wonder, heading over towards Harry and the closed door. He jabbed a finger into Harry's chest. "You really should have been a Slytherin, you know."
In his head, Harry laughed, but didn't comment, just opened the door and followed Malfoy out into the classroom.