I had some time between attempting to revise a Lit essay and other homework and came up with this. I hope it's decent. I'm always very pleased to get con-crit, so no one be afraid to say anything. I got the title from a Nickelback song, in case anyone was wondering.
Maybe I can actually update this one. Reviews/constant hassling equals incentive to write. Remember that.
For Adica Finch, because we won't get to astound and amaze our fellow students with our HP/DMness (costumes).
Harry's heart thrummed in its cage, his lungs contracting strangely. He closed his eyes, damning – who? Himself? His hormones? Or him? Harry closed his eyes.
"Oou uhry, muai?" Ron asked him. Harry took a deep breath, and opened his eyes, translating his best friend's question to reasonable English.
"Yeah, I'm alright. Just not feeling great." Harry rearranged the food on his plate in no particular design. Ron shrugged and took another bite. Harry realized that among Ron's myriad of useless talents, another one had made itself known in balancing three spoonfuls worth of food on one spoon, and then managing not to choke swallowing it all.
Hermione rolled her eyes, but said nothing; she was well accustomed to Ron's idiosyncrasies involving food.
"You've finished your Potions paper, haven't you, Harry?" Hermione questioned. Harry cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Harry! We've had three weeks to do research and get it done! What have you been doing?!"
Daydreaming about Draco Malfoy, Harry thought bitterly. Bastard.
"I've got some books – it'll be fine, Hermione." Harry parted from his fork to put his head in his hand.
"I certainly hope so. You only have this weekend."
"Owlom– " Ron began to ask. Hermione shot him a look. Ron swallowed what he'd been shoveling in. "How long does it have to be, again?"
"Nine feet." Harry's stomach sank into itself.
"Great. Four more feet to pull out of my arse." Ron had five feet worth of essay? Harry felt a heady rush of panic on his insides.
He shoved his plate away and rose to leave.
"If you need help finding information, Harry…" Hermione told him. He grinned. She was probably much more miffed than she was letting on, but she was still offering to help. Harry wasn't about to pass up that kind of an opportunity.
"That'd be great. Library tomorrow morning?"
"Tonight?" she suggested, and not without force. Harry took a step forward anxiously and sighed. He nodded.
"All right, seven then. And your topic was…?"
"Well," he flushed, running a hand through his untidy hair, "I got… seduction potions," he mumbled. If Harry had despised Snape before, he absolutely loathed him now. The snarky Potions Master had assigned specific topics to those in the class. In his mind, Harry could still see Snape smirking with glee. And the way the papers were set up, every detail had to be provided, including ingredients, make-time, short-term effects, long-term effects, and personal views. Every angle needed to be covered, making Harry acutely embarrassed to commit to paper… er, certain physical aspects.
"Oh," Hermione said. "Well, then," she smiled with false cheerfulness, "there'll be enough to get down, won't there?"
"Right," Harry muttered.
"He really has it in for you, doesn't he? Seduction Potions!" Ron ducked his head as Harry glared at him – as well as a goodly portion of Gryffindor table.
Before things could get any more awkward, Harry ducked out, heading for–
"Anywhere but here."
And somewhere he wouldn't have to think. The only place like that was in the air and on a broom. Walking swiftly to the broom shed, Harry grabbed his Firebolt, a Christmas present from Sirius a few winters ago.
He tried to enjoy the exhilaration flying brought on. However, Harry had no respite. Subtle and not-so-subtle thoughts about Draco circled his mind as he circled the pitch.
Malfoy. Not Draco, it's M-A-L-F-O-Y, Malfoy.
Harry gripped the broom tightly, somersaulting in the air.
He could sort of recall the beginnings of realization, but it had been steadily progressing since first year. He would walk into the Great Hall, or Potions, or Transfiguration – or one of the other numerous classes that Gryffindors shared with Slytherins – and would instinctively be looking for a blonde head of hair. He could pinpoint a whisper from him across halls and classrooms, could interpret most every nuance in that drawling, aristocratic voice. The voice that made his stomach muscles clench in excitement, sent shivers down his shoulder blades. Harry wouldn't have bothered to respond to Draco's – Malfoy's – taunts and ridicule if indifference kept Malfoy around rather than getting rid of him altogether. Harry didn't even know what he said in response, only that it was loud and as rude as possible. And he was certainly learning not to insult Narcissa Malfoy within her son's hearing distance.
Frowning, Harry pulled the broom upwards, reminding himself of every despicable quality the Slytherin had. Lying, cheating, stealing, bragging (there was always a "father says" in Draco's – Malfoy's – speeches), the way his face was probably permanently contorted into a sneer, the way his hands moved around so much…
Harry swerved to avoid a pillar decorated in Ravenclaw colors. It angered him to no end that these thoughts about his voice and his hands – perfectly manicured, long and slender fingers without calluses – caused him to react to strongly. Maybe hating Draco – Whatever, I'll call the prat by his first name – had been the initial mistake. He should've just avoided him, ignored him. Bit late now, though.
Obviously, flying wasn't working to clear his mind. Maybe doing work on that ridiculous essay would consume him.
With reluctance, Harry flew low, snaking around nonexistent obstacles until he was close enough to the broom shed to dismount and put the broom away.
The green-eyed boy sighed, shoving one hand in his pocket and the other through his hair as soon as he'd shut the door.
"Enjoyed yourself, did you, Potter?" Harry's system thrilled, his heart's tempo increasing ten-fold. He turned to face Draco, alone without his rock-headed cronies. "You'd know all about the pleasure of riding broomsticks, wouldn't you?"
Color blossomed on Harry's face.
"Sod off, Malfoy," Harry said carefully, not rushing in case he slipped on the blonde's surname.
"Really, Potter, is that all you can come back with? Sod off? I must've really hit home. Or maybe something about me dazzles you."
"Dazzles me into Hexing your sorry arse, you mean."
Draco sauntered forward. Harry thoughtlessly stepped backward and hit the wall of the shed. Draco put a hand to either side of Harry's head and leaned in, effectively trapping him. If Harry had been thinking properly and not letting his mind run away with his good sense, he would've sucker-punched Draco in the stomach, drawn his wand, and Jinxed the other boy.
But Harry's heart worked in conjunction with his stomach to eddy and swirl in dreadful, unfounded hope. His system short-circuited as Draco's face hovered inches from his, Draco having to bend his neck to meet Harry.
Harry refused to breathe, afraid he'd latch onto the boy in front of him.
His heart started back up with a vengeance as Draco's lips parted. Moments pulsed by.
Draco's lips pulled back over his teeth to reveal a mocking grin, his cold eyes dancing merrily at Harry's response to his nearness.
Draco shoved away from Harry, laughing harshly.
"God, Potter, you're just a fucking pouf!"
The rejection was expected, but painful all the same. Harry could feel as his heart ripped itself to pieces. He wouldn't let it overflow from his eyes, though. Let me have that dignity, at least, he thought. It's only Malfoy.
Not only that, but by nightfall the entire castle would undoubtedly know Draco's side of events, and the revelation that Harry The-Boy-Who-Lived Potter was gay would have him scorned unlike much else.
He tried to say something, anything to rebuke his tormentor's words. He couldn't summon anything past his clogging throat.
"Aw, are those tears I see? Going to cry, Potter? Can't even take it like a man and threaten to Hex my balls off! But you wouldn't want that, now, would you?"
In the depths of Harry's affection was a great tangle of hatred interwoven with it. It loosened itself now.
As Draco threw his head back in laughter, adrenaline laced with rage pumped through Harry's veins. He stepped forward and pulled his hand back. Harry's fist connected with Draco's jaw. Draco dropped to the grass, curling around himself, a hand over his lower face.
Blood blossoming from between his fingers, Draco whimpered. Harry ignored his distress at the Slytherin's pain, opting instead for anger.
"You're completely filled with shit, Malfoy. You are nothing, have always been and will always be nothing. So get fucked."
Harry walked away, overcoming the Gryffindor-ish urge to haul Draco up and to the Hospital Wing.
It won't control me, he doesn't control me. Damn Draco Malfoy into the farthest regions of hell!
It was getting dark, and was most likely nearing seven. No one stood outside the entrance to the library. Harry clenched his fists, shoving everything down into the deepest folds of his mind. Breathing out, he opened the door. Hermione was already at a table, a myriad of books rapidly making a fort around her. Harry plopped down on the chair across from her.
Hermione didn't look up as she asked, "Run into Malfoy, again?"
Harry stiffened in reflex.
"You know, ignoring him works just as well as pointing your wand at him." She flipped through a thick brown volume, jotting down notes here and there; she didn't realize that Harry might take her comment the wrong way. Harry stared at Hermione until she looked up.
"Here," she said, shoving a stack of books at Harry, as well as a quill and spare parchment. He sighed gustily, but cracked open the topmost book. He missed the appraising look Hermione gave him. She opened her mouth to say something, but bit it back. She'd tell him later.
Draco was exceptionally skilled at hiding things, especially the fact that he was extremely accident prone. So Madame Pomfrey was not surprised when she greeted Draco in the Hospital Wing, a bloody hand covering his mouth.
"What's happened this time, Mr. Malfoy?"
Draco slowly removed his hand. Madame Pomfrey's face scrunched up.
"Have you been fighting?"
I wouldn't call getting punched fighting, per se, he thought.
"I was out on the Quidditch pitch and my mouth connected with the broom," he told her stoutly. Using her wand as a light, she ordered Draco to open his mouth. He did so carefully. She clucked in reproach.
"We'll need to fix some teeth. And your tongue and lip could do with some sprucing up, as well."
Madame Pomfrey walked off and came back a moment later with a cherry-colored potion. She handed it to him, instructing him to drink it all.
"Then I want you to lie down for fifteen minutes. After that, you're free to go."
Hopping on a bed, Madame Pomfrey made sure he downed the stuff, and then left him. Draco settled down. His eyes felt weighted, but he didn't want to doze.
Fucking Potter, he growled internally. Draco had been eyeing him in the Great Hall, and had followed him out. As Harry had taken to the air, Draco had watched from the shadows of one of the pillars. He'd used his eyes to follow in a dazed comfort as Harry dipped and raced, a frown covering his forehead. Draco had wondered at it, desperate to know what the boy was thinking. And when Harry had dismounted, Draco couldn't keep himself from following.
Draco groaned, covering his eyes with a hand. He hated to think that he was actually an idiot, but the moment had come.
He could still feel the trill through his body as he backed Harry against the broom shed. Recalling the consequences of following through with it, Draco squirmed in discomfort, trying to keep his heart from sinking. But Draco was good about accepting his circumstances, whatever they might have been. He was accustomed to the way his father treated him after all; never had Draco received more than a "sloppy work," or a "useless Squib!" His mother didn't seem to care all that much, either. So why did it shock him find the object of his affection rejected him as well?
It doesn't, he lied to himself, looking at the clock. Eight more minutes.
Draco was, indeed, exceptionally skilled at hiding things. His burgeoning belief that he was an inadequate human being, ultimately leading to a decline in his self-confidence, didn't show through his outer façade. Draco hated the sneer that graced his features. But he'd been taught to always have it ready from his earliest lessons with Lucius, his father.
Yes, lessons learned from Father that currently apply to my life: Dark Lord good, Potter bad; get the best grades or expect a beating; Mudbloods bad, too; scouting out potential mothers for my future offspring means not having homosexual feelings for my greatest nemesis/rival. Well. Things seem to be going fucking splendidly. Huzzah for Draco.
Fifteen minutes had passed. Draco rose silently from the bed. He wasn't sure where he wanted to go, but he knew where he didn't want to go. He didn't have any immediate homework, having finished his Potions paper a week ago, and other than flying, that was all he cared for.
There's always my incredible social life to occupy the endless hours. The thought of Pansy draping herself over him made Draco nauseous. And Crabbe and Goyle didn't count as friends; they were more like breathing, endlessly ravenous rocks. No Slytherin had true friends, and that was all there was to it. Draco never dwelled on it long enough to regret not having any.
He swiftly turned down the corridor and made for the staircase. In years past, Draco had found solace in exploring the near-endless rooms of the castle, even going so far as to read Hogwarts: A History. He hadn't yet been through a fourth of the rooms in his six years at the school, but he took his time.
Hell, maybe I'll come back to teach.
Teach what, he had no idea. Bullshitting, maybe?
Draco climbed to the fourth floor and set off, watching the portraits and the people residing in them. Every once in a while, he'd engage them in a chat, but not much.
Opening the sixth door on his left, he discovered a vacant classroom. By the look of accumulated dust, it hadn't been used for ten years at the least. Draco walked around slowly, running his fingers through the dust on the desks. He could imagine just where the Golden Trio would sit, could see their leader biting his lip trying to figure out the important key phrases for notes.
Draco sat down next to the unreal Harry, tracing patterns where his arm would be. A desire to brush his hand along Harry's was nearly overpowering, but the feeling was less effective than being physically near the Gryffindor.
Where had it all started, this obsession with Harry Potter? When he'd rebuked Draco's offer of friendship before their Sorting? Possible that's where it really started. No one had ever refused Draco, not with his father being as important and high-ranking as he was. The prestigious name of Malfoy was beneath Half-Blood Potter's? It had infuriated the tow-headed boy to the point of a driving desire to see Harry Potter fail at everything, and Draco outshine him, his superiority obvious to all. And it didn't hurt that Potter was sorted into the rival House, either.
It never worked, though. Most of Draco's attempts to bring Harry down either didn't work, or backfired on Draco; he was a constant failure, something his father repeatedly drilled into him.
And why didn't Draco call him – within the confines of his mind, of course – Potter, anymore? Because, whether he liked it or not, Draco wanted to be as close as possible to him. And using his first name was more personal… more intimate.
The feelings were progressively getting worse, and Draco was dreading where it would lead him. It had always been natural for Draco to spout off to Harry, and still was sometimes. Mostly, though, his voice died, to be replaced with his rebellious heart. Those times when he could say something, it was always callous. He didn't want anyone, especially his father, even speculating that Draco had any sort of fondness for Harry. It gave Draco bitter satisfaction to throw himself into tearing the boy down, but it was necessary. Besides, it was instinct to jeer at him, and instincts were difficult to overcome.
Breathing was a bit problematic, as well. Either Draco couldn't breathe from the sheer force of feeling, or it was erratic and infrequent. That feeling like an electric current racing through his blood, under his skin; he knew where it was going and enjoyed it as much as he allowed himself. And there was a sort of…energy – he had no other word for it – that surrounded Harry, making Draco severely aware of the heat of Harry's body, every shift in motion, every breath, every half-whispered word.
It was exquisite and painful. Draco enjoyed feeling something deeply, but he loathed feeling that something for Harry. That feeling had been dissipating, but was still there.
His stomach abruptly informed him that food was in the Great Hall, not being eaten. If Crabbe and Goyle didn't get to it, that was.
Draco sighed, stirring the dust before him. He took one last look about the room before leaving.
Harry ran up the steps as fast as he could. His head was throbbing from having to read so much small print in one sitting. All he wanted now was sleep, or Wizard's Chess with Ron, or anything that didn't entail reading, really. The thought of having to do the same for longer the next day filled Harry with a great deal of disgust.
He didn't see someone coming down the hall. Harry collided solidly with this someone else, knocking him over.
"Sorry, I didn't–" Harry wished he could retract the apology. Draco picked himself up, not bothering to brush himself off. The blonde was covered in a considerable amount of dust.
"See me, Potter? I can't fault you when you have your head up your arse. Or maybe–"
Harry drew his wand. His anger hadn't diminished in the last hour-and-a-half. Hopefully the prat would try something.
"Say it, and I'll Hex you," he threatened. Draco merely raised an eyebrow and grinned. The grin threw Harry off, a firework exploding in his chest, sending signals to the rest of his nervous system.
Draco saw the pause, and worked his way in front of Harry, quickly grabbing Harry's right hand in his left, pointing it away. Harry hardly noticed. All Harry could see were Draco's eyes blazing, searching his face. Like before, he leaned in close to Harry.
Draco wanted so much at that moment to press his lips to Harry's. Only McGonagall's random appearance stopped him. Barely.
"Mr. Malfoy, Mr. Potter. What is the meaning of this?"
She approached them, hands on her hips. Frustrated beyond belief, Draco released Harry and stepped backwards.
"N-nothing, Professor," Harry managed weakly. Draco didn't bother saying anything. He had an idea as to how it would all end.
"Well, then," she said nodding, "with that very reasonable explanation, I shall just have to invite the both of you to my classroom Monday evening for a bit, won't I? Seven is reasonable, I believe."
Both were wise enough not to argue, even though Draco had Quidditch practice that night.
"Get to your dormitories, you two," she told them brusquely, continuing down the corridor.
Harry turned back to Draco, mustering as much hatred as he should have naturally been showing.
"Save it for Monday, Potter." Draco brushed past Harry, subtly drawing his hand over Harry's. Harry felt it and shuddered.
Draco felt Harry watching him until he rounded the corner, out of sight.
Harry stood there for some time in a thoughtless stupor. When he finally wanted to function properly, he propelled himself toward Gryffindor Tower.
"Password?" the portrait of the Fat Lady asked.
People were scarce in the Common Room, only a few first years sitting with their heads together over a History text. Harry went straight for the stairs.
In the dorm, Ron was throwing on a coat.
"Where're you going?" Harry inquired. Ron held up a letter.
"For Fred and George. They want to know if I'd be willing to test out some 'developmental products,'" the redhead said, zipping up his jacket. "You want to come with me to the Owlry?"
"All right, then. Later, mate." Ron left, closing the door behind him.
Harry dropped onto his bed. He kicked his shoes off, and drew the hangings together around his bed. He wasn't sure how long he stared into nothingness for, but at some point, he began dreaming. Unrelated images blended together only as dreams could. In the midst of it, Harry could see himself from a distance in the form of a stag. He was running through the dungeons of Hogwarts from something merciless and hungry for his death. But he rammed into another form, soft and gray. The legs of both stag-Harry and the wolf tangled. The thing was getting closer, and as the woven two rose, Harry was surprised to find that they could run much faster and farther together.
Harry woke, a crash and shattering coming from outside his bed hangings. Harry reached outside the curtains automatically for his glasses, but realized he already had them on. He pulled the fabric back. Ron and Seamus were staring intensely at each other, something in the form of a compact mirror smashed on the floor.
"What's going on?" Harry asked. Neville and Dean, too, were looking at the pair from a roused sleep.
"Nothing," Ron said, "I was just getting to bed." He looked away from Seamus. Grabbing his pajamas, Ron hopped onto his bed and flung the curtains round with violence.
Seamus shook his head and muttered a cleaning spell. Instead of his bed, Seamus went for the door. Harry looked at Dean and Neville. Both shrugged, just as confused as he.
Harry took his glasses off and settled back again. Harry only briefly wondered at the silence from Ron's bed. By now, he would have been snoring.
Whatever. Ron'll tell me tomorrow, anyway.
Harry closed his eyes. He forgot about the previous dream as others came forward to replace it.