It was late by the time Harry finished Quidditch practice. It was even later still when he decided that he'd had enough of flying. Even exhausted from worry about Voldemort and NEWTS and girls and Quidditch and his parents and the Dursleys and... everything else in his life that seemed to be a bloody sodding mess right now, Harry was never too tired for the simple pleasure of flying.
He landed softly and dismounted, his muscles aching in a familiar yet satisfying way as walked over to the change rooms. The water was hot and it stung his skin and Harry leant into it as though it could cleanse him of all the fear and doubt that seemed to cloud his mind whenever he was not flying. He felt untouchable up there among the clouds, as though the worries of the world were not his own, as though he could be anything, do anything, as long as he could keep his feet firmly off the ground.
But like all pleasurable things, flying was a treacherous lover and the moment of release could only ever be a transient one. Harry's feet had to eventually return to the ground.
Harry pressed his hands against the white tiles, liking the way the cool played out upon his palms and contrasted sharply with the heat pouring in torrents through his hair and down his shoulders. He tipped his face up to meet the water, arching with pleasure as the shower beat out a rhythm against his skin, massaging away the tension stored deep in his bones.
God, this was good and if he could just ignore that faint prickling feeling beneath his skin it would be even better. He might even be able to walk out of this shower and back into his life feeling completely relaxed. A thing that he had not been able to achieve in a good long while. But no the prickling sensation did not subside and Harry was starting to suspect that he knew the reason.
He was being watched.
Carefully, making it look like a stretch, Harry turned his head.
"Fuck!" he yelped, nearly sliding onto his arse amongst the slippery tiles and the soapsuds.
"Good evening to you too, Potter," drawled the figure in black leaning nonchalantly against the lockers on the far side of the room.
"Fuck, Malfoy. What the hell do you think you are doing?" Harry shut off the faucet with a snarl, launching out of the cubicle and fixing Draco with his best death stare which was weak admittedly even in the best of times but even more so now, with his hair dripping into his blurry vision and the streams of water cascading down his face.
Draco's gaze drifted over him like a caress and Harry suddenly felt very naked. Hell, he was very naked. Far too naked to be having a confrontation with Malfoy.
Draco shrugged. "What does it look like I'm doing?"
Harry grabbed his towel off the hook and wrapped it around his waist self-consciously, quickly wishing he'd brought another towel to wrap around his shoulders as Draco contentedly shifted his eyes up to play upon Harry's chest.
"I don't know, Malfoy, actually, I don't even want to know. I'm leaving."
Draco's eyebrows rose. "In your towel?"
"Yes, Malfoy, in my tow - oh, um..." Harry looked helplessly at his towel then over to the pile of rumpled clothes that was his uniform. Then he looked at Draco. Who smiled. And Harry was not going to be getting changed in front of him under any circumstances.
"It's funny isn't it," Draco said in a conversational tone. "They stick a whole bunch of sweaty, teenage boys in a hot steamy room together and they convieniently forget to put any doors on the cubicles. Not that I mind, mind you. Getting to watch you in the showers after a game sure does take the sting out of losing to you..."
"Shut it, Malfoy."
"...but it does make you wonder," Draco continued, blithely, "whether they actually expect any of us to turn out straight."
"Well you certainly didn't," Harry shot out angrily, wondering whether he should be more worried about the loaded nature of the conversation or about the fact that Draco was choosing to conduct it with him.
"No," Draco said simply, "I didn't."
Harry stared at him, mouth agape. "You're gay?" he blurted out, unable to stop himself.
"No, Potter, I'm not gay," Draco said, tiredly, staring at the floor, "I'm just not straight. There is a difference."
"I... I'm sorry, I didn't mean to... I mean I thought it was a joke, sorry."
Draco stared at him a moment. To Harry's surprise, he gave a short, sharp laugh. "Trust you to think that sexuality is something to be sorry about."
Harry felt his brow crease. "That's not what I said or meant and you know it," he said angrily, turning away to fetch his robes off the floor. "Why are you telling me all this anyway? Shouldn't you be off having this little heart to heart with your Slytherin pals? Shouldn't you be - " Harry turned back and caught Draco looking at him intensely like... like a lover and the look sent an involuntary shiver down his spine.
"You don't know?" Draco said in that sardonic drawl that had cost Harry's fairly level-headed temper far too much over the years. "You honestly don't know, do you?"
Harry looked away, hoping he was reading the expression on Draco's face completely inaccurately. "It was you, wasn't it? Out there on the Quidditch pitch today?"
A faint flicker of surprise showed itself on Draco's face. "Yes."
"I thought I sensed a Disillusionment charm. You were watching me?" Harry's voice was not accusational.
Draco gave an almost imperceptible nod.
"Jesus, Malfoy. How long have you been watching?"
Draco looked away. "A few years."
"A few - But why?"
"Think, Harry." The sharp, snide tone snapped back into Draco's voice. "I'm sure you can make an educated guess."
"What I meant was: why me? Fuck, Malfoy, we've been mortal bloody enemies for- "
"As long as we've known each other, yes." Draco gave him a measured look and Harry couldn't shake the feeling that his eyes were seeing more than they should be. "Didn't you ever wonder why you hated me so much? Why you couldn't stop hating me even though the feeling was exhausting?"
"No," Harry said very firmly.
"Not ever?" Draco prompted, a little more insistent.
"Potter, you nearly covered a length of parchment writing I hate Draco Malfoy over and over. I watched you do it. Why would you spend so much time and energy on such a futile task?"
"I know what you're trying to imply, and it's so way off the mark it's not funny."
"Dammit, Malfoy, I am not gay," Harry burst out heatedly.
"I never said that you were."
Harry practically screamed in frustration. "But you just - "
"But you are most certainly not straight."
"Argh, Draco, talking to you is like chasing the snitch. Just when I think I've got you pinned you managed to throw me completely. And then you smirk, yes, just like that, as though it's my fault that I'm so confused. And just so you know my sexuality is one thing that I'm not confused about. I like girls. That makes me straight. See? No confusion."
Draco gave another one of his smirks and Harry had to fight the urge to smash his fist into it. "'The lady doth protest too much'"
"Draco, I have no idea what the hell that means and I am sure that I would not like it if I did. But listen to me now for I will only say this once. I am straight but even if I weren't I would never be attracted to you."
"Why not?" Harry looked at Draco, wondering if he even knew how completely fucking insane he really was. "Come now, if we're going to play hypotheticals, let's play. If you were attracted to guys, why wouldn't I be at the top of your list?"
"God, Malfoy, you are a piece of bloody work, do you know that?" Harry shook his head. "If you don't know the answer to that question then I'm not sure that even Fred, George and a pair of bludgers would be blunt enough to beat it into you."
"Because we're enemies, then. That's the reason?"
"That's the very, very, very condensed reason, yes."
"So what if we weren't."
"Malfoy, what are you asking? Do you even know what you're asking?"
There was no reply.
"I thought as much." Harry turned away, picking up his robes and trying to get into them without dislodging the towel.
"I know exactly what I'm asking, Potter. My problem is the fact that you don't seem to know the answer."
Harry swore and disentangled himself from his robes. "Let me make one thing perfectly clear. Me writing that I hate you all over a piece of parchment doesn't mean that I entertain any other feeling for you besides loathing. Me staring at you in class only indicates the likelyhood that you have a magical marker on your back saying 'kick me'. There is nothing that you or anyone else can do to change the fact that I despise you utterly. Now go, before I find my wand and hex you inside out."
Draco's eyes were suddenly very cold. "I'm a Malfoy, Potter. You could never give me an order I would obey, nor would your paltry attempt at a threat ever instill fear."
Harry felt his blood begin to run hot. He clenched his hands into fists at his sides. "You're not going to leave are you?" he asked with difficulty through a tightened jaw.
Smiling with his lips only, Draco cocked his brow in challenge. "No."
Harry was furious but this time Malfoy was not going to get the better of him.
With a flick of his wrist Harry dropped the towel, leaving it pooled somewhere at his feet. He stretched a little as he bent to get his shirt, allowing Draco to see the full play of muscles down his side and along his powerful arm. He heard Draco's breath hitch a little as he turned his back to him, sensing Draco's gaze shifting across his shoulder blades as he pulled the shirt on.
Harry turned back, deliberately leaving the shirt open. In a calculatingly casual move, Harry stretched an arm up to tousle the remaining drops of water from his hair. Then he looked across at Draco, standing frozen to the spot, his lips moist and his eyes drinking in every inch of Harry's skin. And Harry hated to admit it but damn, this felt good.
So Harry continued, watching Draco watch him and pulling on every bit of clothing as slowly and deliberately as he could manage.
When he was finished he gathered his things, intending to leave without saying another word. But when he looked up his eyes collided with Draco's and that suddenly all of his intentions flew out the window.
It shook him to no small extent that he had been the cause of this; the flush in his cheeks, the heat in his eyes and he wanted Draco to remember this. Remember that it was Harry Potter that made his knees grow weak and his breathing shallow. Remember that it was Harry Potter that could wipe his mind with a flick of a wrist.
Remember that it was Harry Potter that now pressed him to the wall and took his lips in a gentle kiss that sent a shiver through his body and drew a moan from his throat. That made his lips part and his muscles tense into an arch as Harry held him.
And Harry suddenly realised that one of them would most definitely remember this and he wasn't at all sure that it would be Draco bloody Malfoy.
But he's a boy, screamed a voice from some portion of Harry's brain not completely enveloped by the feel of Draco's mouth, and was immediately silenced. But he's Draco Malfoy, clamoured another and Harry groaned, wishing he could ignore that pertinent little piece of information and just Keep Kissing Draco Malfoy. But therein lay the very problem. Harry pulled away.
He gave Draco a look that dared him to say something, say anything, so that Harry could make him regret it. Draco didn't.
Snatching up his things, Harry moved towards the door, trying desperately to ignore the taste of Draco on his lips.
He almost missed the words that Draco whispered shakily at his leaving. "Enter confusion. Stage right."