A/N: Thanks to the movie Peter Pan, the DVD of which I just watched again a couple of days ago, for giving me the additional inspiration for this fic. I hope this will be appreciated. Reviews are welcome. One big ficlet in chapters, because I felt like doing it. This is dedicated to my high school best friends Trina, Jomay and Donna.
"Hmmm," Cho Chang, Ravenclaw seventh year and Harry Potter's girlfriend since the beginning of the term after the Christmas holidays, moaned in between fiery kisses with her boyfriend.
Harry tilted his head to the side and smothered Cho's upper lip. The glasses on the bridge of his nose precariously wobbled on its perch and hit Cho's cheek as they paused for a moment to get some air. Harry whimpered, locked his arms around his lover's slim waist and pulled the other body close to him. Tongue awkwardly met tongue. Lips gauchely clamped lips and teeth knocked against teeth in the fierce heat of the clandestine kiss. The black-haired Gryffindor cupped his hands around the back of Cho's neck and pulled her even closer. Fingertips traced Harry's rough chin and then dug through the mess of black hair from the side of his head to his collar. Breaths came in short ragged gasps between stolen moments. Roughened Snitch-catching palms slid over bare and smooth arms just becoming slippery with sweat.
The stuffy air in the Quidditch broom shed mixed with their stifling need. But just as Harry was starting to get carried away with passion, Cho suddenly pushed him away and broke the kiss. Her lips were red and swollen, glistening with Harry's passion in the afternoon sun through the cracks between the wooden boards of the broom shed. "What?" Harry raised his arms in mild protest.
Cho touched her lips and slightly narrowed her eyes. "Harry—I think we have to go back to the castle," she murmured, looking around and, by the look on her face, hoping that something would come up as a viable excuse.
"But baby—we were just getting warmed up," Harry murmured huskily, pulling Cho back in his embrace.
The Ravenclaw pushed him away more forcefully the second time and started for the door of the shed, but she paused in mid-stride to face the pissed-off Harry, squarely and asked very bluntly, "you didn't know what you were doing, did you?"
"Kissing me. I don't want to be rude, but I think you didn't know what you were doing," Cho said.
Harry narrowed his eyes, a little shocked with what he was hearing. "Point blankly-put, I sucked, right? That's what you want to say, isn't it?"
Cho averted her eyes, a little disgraced at Harry's hurt and also angered reaction. "Look baby, that's not what I meant. It's just that—you kiss a little awkwardly. And it's somewhat uncomfortable. I'm not saying you suck; it's just that…" But Cho just trailed off, looking for appropriate terms for what she meant to say. She took another stab at it. "Maybe you should try to be more controlled and…and well—you could make do without the glasses because I always rub my cheek against them. And maybe you should, you know, start shaving, too, and try to tame the hair. You have the potential of a good kisser, Harry. You do; it's just that—well—you do understand me, don't you?"
"I miss the part where my glasses and my hair have something to do with my inability to kiss," Harry practically spat out.
"Well—baby—they become factors when I get my fingers entangled in your hair in the middle of the kiss and when I get my cheek rubbed raw by your glasses. You know?"
I still don't! "No, I don't actually," Harry mouthed. He pinched his puckered lips and stormed out, leaving Cho in the broom shed.
Heavy footsteps thundered through the almost-empty Gryffindor common room. Night had fallen and Harry was just making his way back to Gryffindor Tower after a romp in the outskirts of the Forbidden Forest to soothe his anger.
How could Cho say something like that? She never had a problem with how he kissed before. She had never complained and actually blatantly told him he sucked before that afternoon's little rendezvous. Although there was always a degree of awkwardness in their little intimate moments before, Cho had never been mercilessly vocal about it. Harry could always sense a level of discomfort in both he and his girlfriend when it came to intimacy but it had never reached a level where they ended up fighting and walking out on the other. After all, Harry understood that they were still in the adjustment process in their relationship. But this time was different.
Harry was so mad after the incident; he left without a word, made a beeline for the Forbidden Forest without any acknowledgement to the people who greeted him on the way, kept on walking until he reached the outskirts and walked back and forth, screaming swear words that would make Argus Filch look like a saint in comparison. Small shrubs, which happened to unluckily lie in his path, were either fiercely uprooted or stomped on and crushed. In the end of his little fit, he just collapsed by a protruding tree root, holding back tears of disappointment and disbelief that Cho could be so cruel and blunt.
"Where have you been all afternoon, Harry?" Hermione looked up from her thick volume of the day and asked the new arrival. She narrowed her eyes when she saw that Harry had on the expression that was a cross between a food-poisoned look and a crestfallen face. "Is something the matter?"
The black-haired boy just breathed a deep sigh and carelessly collapsed on the nearest armchair. "Cho and I are having problems," he confessed.
"Well, that's just normal isn't it? Considering that you two are just trying to adjust to each other in your relationship. It's been only two months since you were formal about it," Ron interjected, entering the common room with his book bag slung over his shoulder. He had obviously heard the tone of Harry and Hermione's voices.
"This is different," Harry replied, and to which Hermione raised her eyebrow in question. "She has a problem with how I kiss."
The last thing Harry needed then was for Ron to burst out laughing… which he did.
Harry covered his head with his hands and crushed the sides of his skull like a vise. "I know it's trivial. And it's really funny. Merlin knows how much I just want to laugh my ass off right now. But if you had been there to hear her pray tell all of her criticism, you'd be hurt, too," Harry groaned.
"What did she say anyway?" Ron plopped down on the chair across from Harry's seat and waited for an answer.
"She said I didn't know what I was doing. She said I have the potential to be a good kisser—potential—potential! It means she doesn't think I'm a good kisser. In fact, she wanted to say I sucked, but she just stopped herself! I can't believe she could say something like that!"
"Oh I was expecting more along the lines of: You kiss like a goldfish, scrambling for air in a canal; or you kiss like a rampaging rhinoceros sticking your tongue in her mouth and having it come out of her ass, or something. It's not so bad, mate," Ron brushed off with a casual wave of his hand.
"Not so bad? Not so bad? She broke my heart! She never had any problems with how I kiss before! Or at the very least, she had never been this openly critical about it!"
"That's the problem with guys! You never want to be criticized," Hermione commented, casually flipping the page of her book, barely interested.
"Maybe it's because she never knew any better. Until now," Ron mysteriously hinted.
Harry snorted, "and what exactly does that mean? Are you trying to insinuate that now my girlfriend has found someone to compare me with, is that it? That now that she knows and has had something better, I'm suddenly below par, is that it?" Harry challengingly faced Ron, daring the redhead to elaborate.
"Look mate—how many girls have you kissed?"
"What does that have anything to do with this?"
"It has everything to do with your problem. This hurts you more because you've been faithful—too faithful, in my opinion—and that you don't have anything to compare kisses you've shared with, while she seems to be getting adequate experience elsewhere," said Ron. "Don't close your doors on learning from others and you'll see how much you're missing out on. What I'm saying is: you cannot expect to be good at something that you technically know nothing about. When you kissed Cho last year, you've never really had anyone after that, not even flings or your occasional friendly kisses. I mean , how can you expect to know a house well if you've only just looked at one wall so far?"
"So how am I supposed to change that?"
"From where I'm coming from, the only way to have Cho take back what she said is to gain experience. Then if you've gained enough, dealt with what was supposedly wrong and discovered some confidence, she'd eat her words," Ron concluded.
"That would be like cheating on my girlfriend. I don't want to do that!" Harry folded his legs and tucked them under him on the oversized armchair. He furiously shook his head, closed his eyes and said, "I'm not doing it. There has to be another way of learning how to kiss without sticking my tongue in people's mouths like some asshole."
"Kissing is not some specimen you can study from afar. Its essence is experience; its essence is feeling it for yourself, Harry," Ron lectured.
"Ron is a pervert. And we both know he's not very fond of Cho. He's just going to get you in hot water, Harry. You should try to look in the library for self-help books on that subject. I'm pretty sure, there's something in there about your problem. Don't let Ron influence you to cheat on your girlfriend. He doesn't know the meaning of the words commitment and loyalty and respect," Hermione glowered.
But Ron remained unfazed. "Well—just because you find some consolation and a solution to every one of your problems through books doesn't mean Harry will, as regards his own problem. Kissing is not chronicled in manuals with bulleted appendices on do's and don'ts or described in detail, complete with illustrations. Kissing is experienced. Kissing is learned with feeling," Ron reasoned.
Harry grunted, "I don't know, Ron. I don't think becoming a renegade and kissing people just because my girlfriend pissed me off would work."
"Well, don't say I never gave you helpful advice, Harry," said Ron with a casual wave of his hand. Hermione just snorted, sarcastically.
Harry leaned his back and found a more comfortable position, a quizzical look splayed on his face. He puckered his lips again, pinched his lower lip between his index and thumb and groaned softly. "She also has a problem with my hair, my glasses and the fact that I still consider myself too young to start shaving."
"She seems to have a problem with everything about you. Maybe she wants you to have your face replaced or something. Who does she think she is to be so demanding anyway?" Ron slammed his thick Defense Against the Dark Arts book on the table between him and Harry, opened the book to a dog-eared page and started underlining the page with a quill.
"They're trying to adjust to each other, Ron. What do you know about relationships?" Hermione tucked her legs under her and propped the heavy volume between her knees, giving Ron a cursory glance.
"Consider the suggestion, Harry. I'm sure there're a lot of girls who would be more than willing to be your guinea pigs," Ron said as if he'd never heard Hermione's mocking question. Harry hung his head backwards in exasperation, finding it better not to reply. Kicking his legs from underneath him, he stood up and made his way to the stairs, leaving Ron and Hermione in the common room still lightly bickering about Harry's dilemma. He suddenly felt too tired to study, and felt like sleeping instead.
That night, Harry dreamed that Cho was kissing a goldfish while her biting insults were echoing over and over like a broken record.
Harry took the book from the shelf and curiously opened it right at the middle. It was one of those self-help books that Hermione told him to go look for in the school library. He scanned the first few paragraphs of the page and closed the book again to study the cover more closely. It was entitled Making Your Lover Moan With Want: A Guide To Lovemaking. It wasn't exactly what he needed but he thought he'd find something interesting in the book. He reopened the volume to the indices to look under kissing and found several pages dedicated to the subject. Harry tucked the book under his arm and walked deeper into the shelves to try to find more material.
There were books on masturbation, oral sex, anal sex and even bondage. There were far too many books that were too extreme for Harry's tastes and needs that he merely traced a finger through the spines, lightly murmuring to himself and occasionally issuing tsk tsk sounds as the topics got more and more scandalous, without taking more titles from the shelf. Who would have thought there were shelves full of these in the very respectable library? And trust Hermione to know about them. Harry went to look in the adjacent shelf hoping to find more titles that would focus more on what he really needed. The next shelf contained books on Tantra and the Kama-Sutra. When Harry became bold enough to actually open one, he returned it so hastily after barely turning a few leaves, half laughing, and half blushing at the very detailed and moving illustrations.
He was about to pull out another interesting looking book when a slight cough distracted him at the end of the hallway between the shelves. Seated in the library table at the very mouth of the stacks that Harry was in, all by his lonesome and studying a book casually, was Draco Malfoy. The blonde Slytherin was staring at the book so intently that he was looking nowhere else. If he'd just raise his head and look to the right, he would see Harry, poised to get a book from the more malicious shelves of the library.
The Slytherin's profile, from Harry's point of view looked stoic, inscrutable but slightly bored just the same.
The Gryffindor pulled out the book he was meaning to see and nonchalantly leaned his back against the shelf, while cautiously watching Malfoy's profile out of the corner of his eye. Malfoy, on his part, looked dead enough not to notice his rival lurking by the nearest shelf, studying a volume about orgasms.
Harry had to admit that his rival was an enigma. Lately, he had been riddled with a new brand of mockery from the Slytherin seeker, one that specifically employed rampant name-calling directed at Harry's girlfriend. Either that or the blonde just point-blankly ignored him. Malfoy just hated him and his 'entourage' as, he so lovingly called Harry's friends and his girlfriend. Harry remembered that just last week he got into a fight with Malfoy and several Slytherins when they insulted Cho as she and Harry happened to pass by, holding hands. And now, remembering Malfoy's sadistic heckling of Cho, Harry's blood still boiled. But Harry had to hand it to Malfoy for never running out of techniques to irk him: first his friends, then the people close to him and now his girlfriend.
From out of the corner of Harry's eye, he saw Malfoy scrape his chair against the library floor to stand up. Harry returned the book he was pretending to read and walked back to where he came from to transfer to the next shelf. He found himself in the shelf with books about magically-induced pregnancy, Veela mating, cross-species breeding, and anything reproductive.
Oh joy! Harry thought sarcastically. Dispassionately walking while studying the shelves, Harry just stayed quietly in the stacks, dreading Malfoy's discovery and subsequent mockery of his presence in that specific area of the library: the area that exhaustively discusses reproduction—Malfoy would never let this pass without a biting remark.
And Harry waited for the axe to fall, calmly hugging his only find close to his chest and strategically hiding the very disturbing title. Just his rotten luck that Malfoy was around, lurking while he was hiding in the stacks about reproduction, wishing he were invisible and carrying a book that dissected lovemaking complete with illustrations, bulleted guidelines and suggested positions. Absolute rapture!
He, as calmly as possible, pulled a random book from the stacks to study it while preparing for the worst. He had pulled out a book about same sex pregnancy. And I thought it couldn't get any worse! But between the books, from where he had pulled the title he was holding, he saw Malfoy who was some three shelves away, through the gaps in the bookcases, with his blonde head downcast, eyes serious and mouth in a small pout.
It was then that Harry started wondering how many girls Malfoy had kissed in the past. Had he kissed Cho? Malfoy was infamous even in the Gryffindor Tower for his exploits. Half the Gryffindor sixth years had claimed to have kissed Draco Malfoy, but Harry never bothered to find out how many of them actually had, for real.
What's so interesting about kissing him anyway? I mean, OK he's somewhat good looking, clean cut and suave, but that doesn't mean he kisses well. Yeah well, ten out of eleven girls who claimed to have kissed him probably don't even know what they were saying. He's probably never kissed all of those girls; he probably just paid them to create a resounding rumor to make him well known. Yeah—that's probably it.
An hour later, after watching Malfoy more from out of the corner of his eye, trying to find any more books close to the topic of kissing, scuttling around to cover his tracks, and finally checking out the book as stealthily as possible, Harry left still wondering what all the girls could possibly find in Malfoy and exactly how many girls had kissed him in the past.
The ceiling was high but not as high as that in the Great Hall. There were a few cobwebs in the dark corners of the vaulted ceiling, some cracks, uneven surfaces, old-looking wooden beams, weather beaten intersections of cement, water drippings, pockmarks on the stone face, and the occasional dragonflies or bats zooming in and out and finding shelter in the dark corners of the ceiling.
There was really nothing interesting about the ceiling, but then again studying it beat the tiresome replays of Cho's criticisms in Harry's head as he lay there, beaten and desperate to have Cho take back everything she had said. He couldn't take the mental torture any longer. Something has to be done. He refused to talk to Cho the whole day, refused to talk to Ron as the latter was still trying to convince him to start some kind of kissing spree, and kept thinking about what Malfoy has that he doesn't.
In a nutshell.
He was pathetic.
Harry sat up from lying spread-eagled on his four-poster in the boys' dorm. The rest of the beds were still empty and in order. The window nearest his bed was open to display the azure blue sky dotted with minuscule stars. The cloudy firmament of the past Christmas holidays was replaced by the spotless skies of the incoming Easter.
Folding his legs closer to his body, Harry fingered the Hogwarts uniform that he was yet to peel off from his body. The pants were wrinkled and the vest was bunched up around the lower abdomen and armpits. The tie wasn't properly tied any longer but neither was it removed from underneath the collar, and the white blouse was messily untucked and the first three buttons unfastened. Harry propped his elbows on his knees that were level with his shoulders as he hunched there on the bed in deep thought.
He just flat-out refused to do what Ron suggested, but after reading the book he checked out of the library, and so stealthily too, he realized that it wasn't going to be much help either. If reading Snape's lessons couldn't get through to his gray matter, how was learning how to kiss going to fare any better?
Harry folded his legs in front of him, grabbed a pillow from behind and hugged it close to his still uniform-clad body.
He pressed his lips to the pillowcase and closed his eyes to try to find a way out of his dilemma. The section on kissing in the book he borrowed was somewhat insufficient. It just reduced kissing to something insubstantial because it was merely for foreplay, a preview to the main event. He knew the first moment he had started reading the short section on kissing that he shouldn't have taken the book out because it was mainly about sex and not kissing. And if he really sucked in the kissing part, as Cho had made explicit, how much more so for the actual sex, right?
Harry turned to gaze at the book lying, dog-eared on the bedside table and shrugged. He needed to find a better way to deal with this problem. He buried his face in the pillow again and closed his eyes.
If he concentrated hard enough, it felt like kissing a real person. Maybe, he should, at the very least, try to put into practice what meager learning the book had given him. Harry opened his mouth slightly and touched his tongue to the surface of the pillow.
Guideline #1: Lightly touch tongue to the surface of the lip of partner for warm-up. Don't smother. Don't lick. Just lightly graze the tongue to wet the other person's lips.
He tilted his head to the side to attack a different angle and started applying sucking pressure, very lightly at first.
Guideline #2: Control sucking. Don't suck like a vacuum cleaner. Your partner is not some ball of dirt. Don't suck if partner's mouth is closed. Suck lower lip ever so gently for partner to get a clue.
Harry moaned and hugged the pillow tighter to his chest. He stuck out his tongue, lightly, apprehensively. Moaning, he began sucking again, careful to maintain moving his head and refrain from biting and sucking too much.
Guideline #3: Don't bite. The author assumes that you are not an animal. If you want to bite for effect, don't make a hard bite. Just a teasing bite on the lower or upper lip will suffice. Try to maintain the soft suckling and don't include any teeth. Restrain yourself from biting the tongue. Don't stick your neck out too much to avoid teeth crashing against teeth.
"What the fuck are you doing?"
Harry's eyes snapped open. Ron was standing by Harry's bed with a horror-struck look on his ashen face. The redhead's mouth was slack, eyes dilated with shock, nostrils flaring.
"Umm, nothing," Harry covered up, throwing the pillow away from his body. The part he had been kissing displayed a wet patch.
Ron narrowed his eyes, a little disgusted. "You were kissing your pillow? No, no, you were raping your pillow," Ron hissed. Harry's cheeks flushed pink in shame, mirroring Ron's flaming face in disgrace at having caught his best friend desecrating a pillow. "Harry, you might want to practice on someone that can actually kiss you back. I think you might find this set-up a little one-sided," Ron advised. "What exactly are you trying to prove here, mate?"
"I don't want to cheat on my girlfriend, Ron," said Harry, returning to his sedentary state of being spread-eagled on his bed and wrapping his legs around the pillow he was kissing a while back. "You always think about her. You always consider her. Did she even consider your feelings when she told you such harsh criticisms to your face? Think about it, Harry. You always think about her, but you don't know what she could be doing right now while you're kicking yourself right in the balls, if she's even thinking about you and how you might be taking what she had told you," Ron reasoned. "You think you can learn something about kissing by doing a pillow? Or—or reading books?" Ron pointed to the book on Harry's bedside that the latter had been reading earlier. "There are a lot of girls out there who would kill for the opportunity to be with Harry Potter, to be kissed by Harry Potter," finished Ron.
"What would you have me do? I love Cho. At the very least, allow me to think that I actually do. And I respect her. I don't want to cheat on her, by kissing a whole load of people just to have her take back what she said. I'm not that kind of person," murmured Harry.
"I know you think I'm biased because Cho is not one of my favorite people, but consider this Harry. You obsess so much about this, bend over backwards for this, but for what? You love her so much, but there are so many things she wants to change in you, so many things she's critical of. You like to think she loves you as much as you do her? Live in a dream, Harry. That's fine by me. But don't lower yourself like this. Have some dignity, mate," said Ron. He grabbed something from his own bed and left without another word.
The corridor looked bleak in the moonlight pouring through the huge windows, bathing the floor in pale light. The stone columns that usually blaze with fierce yellow glow in the early evenings were all bare of their warmth in this ungodly hour of night. The walls spoke the most silent of whispers as the unseen wanderer pressed against them to steal their comfort, their silence. Soft disembodied footsteps echoed throughout the hall while unseen wind changed the landscape outside, strummed the tall trees in the Forbidden Forest to create eerie music and send the nocturnal animals in frenzy.
Harry's breathing was controlled underneath the invisibility cloak. He wanted so badly to be alone. He wanted so badly to be unseen. He wanted so badly to blend with the walls and be one with the unseen wind so he didn't have to feel so incompetent, so useless. Being Harry Potter always sucked. Being lionized was always hand in hand with being criticized. People always have expectations of him; people always have different faces of Harry Potter and when he failed to show them the face they wanted to see, the face they expected to see, they put him down. He never asked people to idolize him; he never asked them to expect so much from him, never asked them to build their own version, the version that suited their fancy, of Harry Potter.
When will people realize that I cannot be everything they expect me to be? Cho expects that I'm some kind of stud; Ron thinks someone like me has the power to play with people and that they would actually be thankful to be my toys; the whole school thinks I'm some kind of savior. When are they going to realize that I'm just… me? Poke me, I hurt.
Harry pressed his back and the back of his head to the wall. There was dense silence. No one could see him, so no one could have expectations of him—expectations that he could never meet.
He never knew kissing could be so difficult. He had always thought kissing was easy. For him, kissing used to be something abstract, something that need not be understood. He never knew kissing could be so technical, so calculated. Obviously he only thought so because he didn't know any better. Harry had only kissed one person: Cho. He had always believed there was nothing wrong with lack of experience, but that had ceased to be the case.
A disembodied moan filled the empty corridor and Harry looked to his sides to check for company. There was no one there. There was nothing out of the ordinary save for a door that was ajar a few yards down the hall. Hugging the cloak closer to his body, Harry made his way to the room. The door was only slightly open, hardly noticeable. Harry fingered the doorframe and the handle for any wards to the room, but there was none. A green wire framed eye peeked through the gap in the door and saw shadows moving inside.
Though the room was poorly lighted because there was only one stout candle burning feebly inside, there was a huge glass window opposite the door. The window was thrown open; fingers of moonlight showed the moving bodies inside while the soft wind carried the almost imperceptible moans and purrs.
Harry encircled a hand over the knob and gently pushed the door open, careful not to let it creak to announce the invisible intruder. He slipped soundlessly through the thin gap in the door and into the room. With a sharp intake of breath, the intruder pressed his body close to the threshold, and momentarily closed his eyes to control the ferocious beating of his heart.
When he opened his eyes, he saw a boy and a girl pressed close to each other on the worn out sofa directly in front of the huge window and perpendicular to a derelict fireplace. A beaten up side table was between the hearth and the sofa where the feebly burning candle was placed on an ornate candleholder. On the floor, aside from the cast off robes of the room's occupants, was a severely battered carpet in ugly blue, judging from the moonlight falling on its surface. The rest of the room was filled with weathered and dilapidated furniture.
The two occupants, Harry just horribly realized, were doing some serious snogging. Harry averted his eyes in embarrassment; he wasn't supposed to be here to see this. It was something even he wouldn't intrude upon, if he could help it.
But just as his moral-laden self was winning against his lecherous and immoral self, just as he was deciding that he should leave, the boy on the sofa tilted his head. It was Draco Malfoy.
Draco fucking hell Malfoy.
And the girl…the girl…really looked like she was having fun.
Harry froze, eyes wide as saucers to drink in the sight of his mortal enemy sucking the tongue out of some girl. He took a step closer, before his moral self could stop him and tell him it was unethical. And before he knew it, he was barely an arm away from the couple sticking their tongues down each other's throats. Shit. The girl looked like she was having a blast. And Malfoy looked…
… he looked like he knew what he was doing.
'You didn't know what you were doing, did you?' Cho's accusation echoed in his mind again, and something erupted like magma in the pit of his stomach. He was jealous… Looking at the girl, who was having the time of her life, looking at Malfoy, Harry was jealous that Malfoy could be so suave and in control while he could be such a klutz, as his loving girlfriend so bluntly put it. He watched in openmouthed amazement as tongue-fighting ensued in front of him. Malfoy's tongue was inside the girl's mouth and the girl's mouth was open to accommodate the intrusion. Somehow, Harry could see, could definitely conclude from the body language of the girl that Malfoy was a damn good kisser. Damn good kisser.
The two paused for air, but barely a heartbeat later, they were at it again. Malfoy started planting little kisses on the side of the girl's mouth, on her upper lip, lower lip then to her jaw, her neck, her collar, the hollow of her throat. And Harry then realized that he had forgotten how to breathe.
Malfoy returned to the lips to pay homage, his tongue so lightly and teasingly grazing the girl's lips. This guy has the Guidelines to Kissing down pat. He traced more kisses to her jaw and back to her neck. Malfoy shifted in front of Harry, planting his two hands on either side of the girl's tilted head, and sucked her neck. It was so sexy that Harry found himself suppressing a moan as the girl was practically squealing in delight.
Malfoy is a pretty damn fucking amazing kisser; I got to hand him that. The girl was barely coherent already but she was speaking, "Oh god Draco, take me, take me please. Oh god!"
The girl was just starting to unbutton Malfoy's shirt when the latter gripped her wrist and hastily pushed himself up and off the girl. Breathing a heavy sigh, he said, "I'm sorry, Belinda. I'm not ready yet. I'm really sorry. You're great, you really are. But—I don't want to lead you on. I'm so sorry."
Harry's mouth positively dropped to the ground. Malfoy just rejected a pretty easy and willing lay. Yup, it's affirmative. My mouth just dropped to the core of the earth. What is the world coming to? Well—Harry never knew Malfoy had it in him. Merlin's beard—the guy could have had the greatest lay on that dusty sofa, and he brushed it off. Malfoy is a pretty damn fucking amazing kisser with a helluva lot of control!
The girl was disappointed. But what could she do? She picked up her cast off robes, put them on and left with a slight but obviously disappointed sigh. Harry wanted to run after her and console her. Either that or he would walk up to Malfoy and kick the latter's balls.
Harry watched as Draco stood up from the sofa and walked to the open window where a healthy breeze was blowing. Draco climbed on the sill and sat looking sideways out of the window, the back of his head on the window frame and his arms across his chest. Harry continued to watch as the blonde closed his eyes to the moonlit view, touched his slightly swollen lips and started crying softy as the lone candle went out.
Harry crawled to bed, softly groaning. It was two o'clock in the morning, but who was asking, right? All of his roommates were asleep and snoring soundly, thrashing in their sleep and dreaming about goodness-knows-what while he was still up and nursing a cluttered mind full of Malfoy and his flavor of the night. Tonight it was Fiona Wesley, Slytherin fifth year. Harry closed his eyes and rubbed his lids. Malfoy had stamina, all right, and it was a pretty long session for the night. But Harry wasn't complaining; after all, he was getting all the proper instruction he was looking for.
The bed was comfortable under his back as he folded his arms and tucked his hands at the back of his neck. All of his roommates' bedside lamps had all gone out for the night and it was so dark that Harry couldn't even see the end of his nose. Wrapping his sheets around his body, the black-haired Gryffindor's mind went back to the night's 'lessons,' which Malfoy wasn't really aware of. He was actually teaching Harry for a little over a week now, and found himself nurturing a morsel of admiration for Draco Malfoy. The guy had guts, and an air of detachment without being too rude to the girls he had rejected so far. Harry never knew that Draco was so polite in terms of declining his numerous chances of a mind-blowing lay. And somehow, being an invisible audience for the past week had shown him a Draco he had never taken the time to understand under normal circumstances. Harry had found himself someone to idolize and emulate, though he would never admit that to a living and sane soul not even under threat of death.
He turned to his side and tucked an arm under his head. He was still wide-awake with visions of Malfoy's most recent rendezvous. Fiona looked really pretty, especially in the starlight and half her clothes discarded so voluntarily at that. But apparently, her charms didn't do much for Harry's 'teacher' when the blonde politely declined a very willing Fiona, who looked like she was ready to pounce on Malfoy with the smallest of provocations. Harry was slightly disappointed that Draco played hard-to-get again, but he was subliminally expecting the climactic brush-off. He was actually holding silent bets under his breath whether Fiona would be able to crack Malfoy's evident celibacy or not. If he had placed his bets on the affirmative, he would have lost. Good thing, too that Malfoy was very predictable. As always, after the girl for the night left him alone in the abandoned room, he took his spot by the window and burst out in tears. This part, Harry was yet to get used to. He hadn't yet discovered the reason for Draco's coldness to the ladies and his subsequent breakdown. Harry could only surmise the real reason behind the bitterness and the detachment. It would probably be because of a past brush-off or a nasty lay or something.
Darkness completely enshrouded him when he closed his eyes. But sleep was elusive. He couldn't get the image of the kissing couple on the sofa out of his mind.
Fiona must have been really, really disappointed.
Harry snapped his eyes open again and stole a short glance at Ron's sleeping figure. Ron had made it clear a couple of days ago when Harry had made casual mention of what he was up to, that he didn't think it was a wise choice to make. They were in the common room when Harry just casually brought up his very safe and quite foolproof solution to his dilemma, and Ron just blew the roof.
"What are you thinking, Harry? You think you can just casually walk in on other people while they kiss and take notes, watch closely and have a blast?" Harry then defended his very clean method of learning how to kiss to an adamant Ron who had had his mind made up that it was a hundred percent wrong, a hundred percent immoral and a hundred more percent ludicrous. "Harry—I'm telling you; Kissing cannot be taught or studied by watching other people smother each other. It is something that is felt; something that is personally experienced; something that cannot be memorized and scrutinized in a Petri dish like Snape's potions ingredients. You cannot just watch others do it, take notes and claim to be an expert all of a sudden," Ron practically snarled. He never knew Ron could be such a nag. "Have you no shame? Scrutinizing people while they smooch? This is just as bad as molesting your very defenseless pillow. And no—I haven't forgotten that ridiculous scene in the dorm a week ago, I wish I could, but I still haven't… thanks to you, I'm going to have nightmares about that for a very long time!"
And Harry had wanted it to stop. He even considered putting Petrificus Totalus on Ron just to shut the latter up.
"I can't believe anyone would even allow you to sit back and watch something like that! Who have you been watching anyway?"
Like hell I'm going to tell you! "Oh various people. Different people," Harry covered up. Technically, it was true. Malfoy always had a different girl every night, so it wasn't exactly a blatant lie.
Harry settled back to his comfortable position, hugging himself in the dark. What would Ron say once he found out that I've been watching Draco Malfoy for over a week now? That it's him that I study and take notes on? That I actually enjoy watching him kiss all those girls night after night?
Harry was about to surrender to sleep finally when a question, a mystery, suddenly found its way to his murky consciousness: I wonder what it feels like if I were to kiss Malfoy…if I were to be in those girls' place… What would it feel like?
Draco had been acting strange lately, stranger than usual even. And Harry didn't mean the nightly rendezvous. The blonde was still pretty much consistent in his nightly ritual of luring girls, kissing them so seductively and then rejecting them when things start to get a little too hot. No—Draco was still predictable in that aspect of his life. It was his normal, Malfoy-is-being-an-asswipe-which-is-what-could-be-expected association with Harry that was changing. If Malfoy used to induce a balance between dripping mockery and flat out disregard, it wasn't the case any longer. He seemed to be partial to the latter method nowadays, not that Harry minded much. It was just… weird. Malfoy had stopped the name-calling propaganda versus Cho, the hate crusade against Harry's friends and all the rest in-between.
Harry once thought that Malfoy had found out by some miracle that Harry was studying and keeping up with his nightly rituals. But it was impossible. He had never told a soul that it was Malfoy he was actually studying, that it was his fiercest rival that he subconsciously admires and desires to emulate. He just noticed the peculiarity of everything because he just kind of missed the everyday Slytherin-Gryffindor clashes between him and the blonde, loath as he was to admit it.
Well—Draco's issues, as long as Harry was kept out of them, weren't Harry's business. There was the new shipment to ponder and pore over.
The Gryffindor hastily tore the packing tape from the mouth of the small box. He had ordered this through owl and now after two weeks, it had finally arrived. He excitedly flipped the box flap to reveal his owl requests. In the box, nestled among wads of stuffing paper, were canisters of hair gel, tubes of lip balm, a jar filled with a clear liquid that was supposed to be the Vision Correction Potion, and containers of magical shaving cream and aftershave. Operation Cho-will-eat-her-words-even-if-it-is-the-last-thing-Harry-does was put fully in effect.
Harry lifted the containers, carefully transferred them to the common bathroom and concealed them from the prying eyes of his roommates. The transformation procedure was kicked in full throttle.
After putting away his stuff with a self-satisfied smile, Harry returned to the common room to pass the time while doing his homework. It was still early and his 'lessons' for the evening won't be starting until about ten.
The wait wasn't that uncomfortable. Aside from the occasional catcalling and teasing, the very normal green jokes circulation and the sporadic surfacing of concern and curiosity over Draco Malfoy, it was a regular evening in the Tower. When the common room started to empty out, Harry volunteered to stay in the pretense of doing more work, but when he had made sure that none of them would be returning to check up on him, he split.
The Hogwarts corridors at ten o'clock looked bare and quite foreboding, but since Harry had been doing this clandestine travel from the Tower to the now familiar room for a little over two weeks now, the creepiness of the scene was something he had gotten used to. Hugging the invisibility cloak close to his body, Harry rounded the bend towards the room where Malfoy had been holed up with his various women for the past fortnight. The door was ajar, as always, and Harry let himself in soundlessly. The scene he found inside was a pretty common one: a girl sprawled obscenely and wantonly on the old sofa underneath the blonde-haired Slytherin, robes scattered on the dirty carpet by their feet, the lone burning candle on its holder, the open window and the bare hearth. Malfoy has his hands firmly planted on both sides of his flavor of the night to keep his body from pressing against the girl. The first four buttons of the Slytherin's blouse were unclasped, revealing creamy and lightly muscled chest. When the bodies shifted in front of Harry, he got to see that the flavor of the night was fifth year Helen Carmichael of Ravenclaw. Lips burned against lips and murmurs of soft arousal joined the silence of the night while Harry kept on watching, mouth slightly slack.
Pressing his back against the wall of the room, Harry narrowed his eyes to be able to focus on the face of his archenemy. Malfoy's eyes were closed and his lips planted on his partner's. His expression was somewhat inscrutable save for the flushed cheeks that were the ones giving his state of excitement away. And Harry found himself holding his breath in excitement to match his rival's. Unconsciously, Harry's tongue slipped out of his mouth to graze the chapped surface of his lips. What Malfoy was doing was masterful that even Harry was starting to get carried away. If Malfoy rejects this one yet again, I swear I'm going to scream. He couldn't imagine being this carried away to the very edge for nothing. His hands found their way inside his robes' pockets and he clenched them in effort to maintain self-control. Licking his lower lip, Harry found himself moaning so softly in the eroticism of the scene unfolding before him.
"Wait," Malfoy whispered, and Harry sneered. Ah—the moment of truth… "Helen, I—I—can't. I—"
Helen Carmichael's eyes narrowed in slight anger at hearing a hint of rejection and discomfort in her partner's voice. Malfoy pushed himself up and moved towards the window, his back carefully turned towards the girl who was silently fuming on the sofa. "What? You don't want to fuck me?"
"It's not you; it's me," Malfoy lamely said.
Harry snorted under his breath. What's going to come next? 'You deserve someone better… yada, yada, yada—the whole speech?
"I'm not ready for that. I respect you—I do. And I don't want to take advantage of you this way. Please understand me," Malfoy softly intoned, and the girl threw up her arms in disdain, although Malfoy didn't see this. "Draco—tell me the truth. Is there something wrong with me? Something you don't like?"
Harry inched forward, wanting to catch what Malfoy had to say. Maybe he was finally going to get the explanation for Malfoy's tears in the moonlight.
"No—you're perfect. And I'm not the person to appreciate that perfection fully," Malfoy said, lowering his head to look at his shoes. And Harry's eyes narrowed at the self-pitying tone he sensed in his rival's voice. What was he playing at? The blonde was obviously turned on, but he was also obviously confused. There was a shadow of lust in his eyes, like he wanted to take back his rejection of the girl, but the frustration and sadness etched on his dark gray eyes won over the desire to take things to the next level.
Helen Carmichael left without another word, hugely disappointed and Malfoy was left to his own devices again, to look out the window and ponder over the night's festivities. Harry scrunched the cloak in his palms, picked up his feet to walk closer to the blonde who was in front of the window. The Gryffindor couldn't really place what he found so interesting in Malfoy that he couldn't stop himself from watching and waiting how things would turn out. Every single night, he would wait, shrouded by the cloak and the shadows, watching Malfoy kiss all those girls so passionately, and then being left behind after the moment of rejection to cry in front of the window.
He didn't know if it was because of the affinity he felt for the girls. After all, he had felt rejection, tasted its bitterness and felt, for himself, the shame of not knowing exactly what you did wrong. Or maybe, it was something else, something else entirely different that even he couldn't accept for himself. Carefully, he walked towards the Slytherin who was unknowingly facing the window and the scenery it offered.
The invisible intruder was almost on top of the blonde when the latter turned abruptly around and cast a hex in Harry's general direction, which made the Gryffindor jump and lightly curse in shock that the blonde almost hit him.
"I may not see you, but I can feel where you are in the room because of the wards I've placed all over it. So I suggest you show yourself before I blow your fucking head off," Malfoy warned gravely. Harry, a little shaken, swiped the cloak aside to face his attacker with an equally menacing stance and demanded, "what the fuck was that for, Malfoy? I wasn't attacking you!"
"No—you have only been watching me and so closely, too. I should've guessed," said the blonde Slytherin, mildly irked, but for someone who just discovered their archrival underneath an invisibility cloak and watching them closely while they smooch and get nasty with different girls every night, he was taking the sudden turn of events quite graciously.
"How long have you known that someone was watching you?" Harry casually draped his cloak on the old sofa although the blonde was yet to express that Harry was welcome to feel at home.
"Since last week. I've put wards in the room last week for security purposes. I thought it best not to reveal yet that I know that someone was watching at least until I find out who it was. I didn't expect that it would be the Great Harry Potter that has been trespassing into my private domain," said Malfoy quite sarcastically, twirling his wand like a baton.
Harry narrowed his eyes and met those of his enemy. Even in the dark, the unspoken tension was there as he challenged, "and now that you know?"
"Well—I was thinking that you'd offer me a barrage of negotiations. But allow me to define the terms this time around; what's it going to be, Potter? Should I dock a hundred points from Gryffindor for being out after curfew or should I go to Snape and tell him that you've been spying on me—a Prefect—and leave it up to his discretion to give you detention from now until the end of the world?"
Harry's breath caught in his throat when Malfoy faced him with a nerve-popping sneer. Malfoy was, is and always will be a sadistic bastard, and whatever Harry had been entertaining in his thoughts about emulating Malfoy had just flown out the open window. "And am I supposed to beg for you to reconsider? Bribe you to think it over? Or better yet offer to be your slave for a week in exchange for your silence? You have another thing coming, Malfoy," Harry spat.
He furiously grabbed the cloak that was draped on the sofa, slung it over his shoulder and turned around to leave Malfoy in the room, without settling anything. Let the sadistic bastard do whatever he wanted to do, but Harry wasn't about to lower himself by begging.
Harry didn't want to admit it but maybe, for once, Ron was right. That this—watching other people smother each other—was a very bad idea.
"You think I should have cut her some slack? You think I should have slept with her after all?" Malfoy suddenly asked the retreating Harry and the latter froze in mid-stride on the way out the door. But Malfoy went on, "you are very partial to Ravenclaws, are you not? Do you think I should have just slept with Helen Carmichael?"
The Gryffindor was still silent, not knowing whether he should answer.
"Do you think she would have been a better lay that Dolores Wakes of Slytherin?" Malfoy was expecting an answer to his persistent questions.
"No," Harry answered. "She's more beautiful than Dolores, but the Ravenclaw last night, Jena Lowellson, was less eager. Now, that one would have been a better lay," Harry replied, a small smile playing on his lips.
Surprisingly, Malfoy chuckled, "you were actually paying attention? I'm impressed."
"Look Malfoy, I'm not going to try to beg you not to go to Snape about this. I admit that this was a very nasty idea—"
"What was? Watching me, you mean? Potter—Harry—tell me exactly why you've been watching me," Malfoy asked. Something in his tone was harsh. But Harry couldn't blame him, of course.
"I can't tell you that. That's my business, just keep out of it," said Harry, who had forgotten that he was supposed to be leaving.
"I'm making it my business, then. After all, it's me you have been watching. Don't you think you owe me an explanation? Does your little slut know that you harbor some kind of twisted satisfaction in watching other people stick their tongues into each other's mouths?"
At the mention of Cho, Harry's blood started to boil. "Leave Cho out of this."
Draco faced him, leaned on the sill and crossed his arms over his chest, "Ah—so your girlfriend doesn't know about your little misadventures, does she?"
Harry noted that the word girlfriend seemed to have left a bad taste in the Slytherin's mouth. "No—why do you even give a rat's ass about my girlfriend, anyway? What is it to you that she doesn't know about these exploits?"
"Nothing. But when you start watching me while I stick my tongue into other people's mouths, that's when I start to give a damn. Look—if your girlfriend is no longer enough to satisfy your little fetishes, leave other people out of it. If you want to get yourself off, go buy yourself some porno and do whatever it is you, sexually deprived people, do," Malfoy casually waved his hand in Harry's face.
"Sexually deprived? As if! Look who's talking! Think you can abstain from sex altogether? What is it with you that suddenly all these girls aren't worthy of the Great Draco Malfoy?"
"Don't talk like you know me—"
"Well don't talk like you know me!"
"Quit stalling and answer the question, Potter. Why have you been watching me? Waiting to get your hands on stuff to blackmail me with?"
Harry shook his head, fiercely. He didn't even know why he was still hanging around for this. "There's something you can do well that I can't. I wanted to learn it but I didn't want to have to cheat on my girlfriend to be able to," Harry, in a squeaky voice, admitted.
Draco raised his eyebrows to prompt the other boy.
"Kissing," Harry murmured, barely audible.
"Pardon?" Draco turned an ear to the Gryffindor.
"Kissing? You wanted to learn how to kiss? Wow, I know you're a virgin, Potter. That much I can surmise but don't you think this is very low even for you? Are you saying you haven't kissed anyone and you don't know how?"
Harry shook his head so adamantly at the insinuation, "I've kissed before. Gods Malfoy, how could you even think that? It's just that I don't do it well."
Draco scratched the tip of his nose, pocketed his wand and stuffed his hands into his pockets entirely. "And who told you that you should learn how to kiss?"
Harry scratched the back of his head and breathed a very disgraced sigh. He didn't know why he was telling Malfoy all this. "It doesn't matter," Harry said.
"Do your sidekicks know about this little obsession of yours?"
At the question, Harry groaned, "yes—Hermione advised I should try reading self-help books and Ron thought the best way for me to learn is through experience. But I thought that that would be unethical. I didn't want to cheat on Cho." There was no use admitting to Malfoy that he and Cho were having relationship problems and that it was Cho who actually pushed him to want to learn how to kiss. Malfoy would die laughing…
"Then I saw you in this room kissing someone and I thought you looked like you knew what you were doing and so I decided to come here night after night to study how you do it—how you kiss. And in a way, I took both of my friends' suggestions: I am helping myself and learning something without having to cheat. I know this set-up just sucks for you. And for all it's worth, I'm really, really sorry," Harry said.
Draco scoffed, "I'll say!"
Harry fell silent. But Draco stepped closer to him, his hands still deep in his pockets and his buttons were still undone, exposing such creamy skin. "And did you learn a lot?"
"I, uh, think so."
"And how did you know that you even learned anything? Have you tried kissing your girlfriend to test your newfound kissing prowess?"
"N—o," Harry painfully admitted.
"Well, as your teacher, I think I want to give you a pop quiz. You know how teachers like to assess if their students learned anything? Well, I want to know if you actually learned anything from me. And if you ace this test, you're ready for anything. Do you want to hear the directions? It's pretty simple," Draco asked, crossing his arms over his chest again and tapping his left elbow with the fingertips of his right hand.
Harry gulped; he didn't like the sound of that.
"You said you want to know if you've learned anything. And only the teacher can proclaim if indeed, you have learned something. Don't you want your girlfriend to be happy about your 'performance'? Don't you want to have the bitch, who told you that you don't kiss well, swallow her words and fart it out?"
"What exactly are you playing at, Malfoy?"
"The direction is simple. Do you want to try the test or not?"
"Kiss me," Draco urged, putting his face closer to Harry's and smiling demurely.
And Harry could've jumped right out the open window at what he had just heard Malfoy say. "What?"
"Kiss me. You want to know if you've learned something; I want to know if you've learned something from me. Kiss me, and we will see exactly how much you've learned," Draco sneered again, scratching the side of his nose. A strong draft blew into the room and the lone candle in its holder died, engulfing the room in the meager light of the crescent moon of the firmament outside.
"You. Have. Gone. Mad," Harry pronounced the words so carefully so Malfoy wouldn't get lost and turned around again to leave, and for real this time.
"Fine. Suit yourself. I just hope you can take another putdown when you kiss your girlfriend and she'd tell you that you don't know the fuck you're doing," Malfoy mocked. And Harry froze in his spot again. OK, so that struck a nerve. It came so close, too close, to a very, very sensitive spot. And Harry turned to face Malfoy again, with contempt.
"I don't care what you're trying to do here. But whatever it is bring it on," Harry murmured through gritted teeth.
"Kiss me. Do anything that you think will show me how much you've learned and we will see," Draco dared, bringing his lips close to Harry's tightly-set ones. Harry didn't know the pull that Malfoy was exuding at that moment, but he found himself bringing his lips to meet Draco's.
When their lips met, it was like being struck by a tidal wave. The mere touch of warmth against warmth was enough to drive Harry mad because of the ferocious pounding of his heart in his chest cavity. Nothing else mattered but the soft lips on his own and the warm fabric and firm upper arms underneath his palms. All of the bulleted guidelines flew out of his brain and it was blissfully blank. There were no guidelines, no blow-by-blow procedures swimming in his brain. All that his mind could focus on were the soft lips, the light pressure and the heat of the arms snaking around his shoulders and his neck. Draco slowly opened his mouth and Harry's tongue slid inside to meet the other's tongue in a very virginal French kiss. And Harry found himself wanting to taste more. He pulled Draco close to his body and wound his arms around the latter's waist, tilted his head to gain better access into Draco's mouth. There was no awkwardness when Draco lightly took off Harry's eyeglasses and dropped it on the sofa, an arm away. There were no teeth, no excess saliva, no mundane and carnal hunger. There were just the loud and frenetic beating of heart against heart, pulsing of heat against heat, the melting of tongue on tongue and sweetness of lips on lips. Harry's tongue flicked in and out, lightly, experimentally, once or twice grazing the soft surface of the Slytherin's lips.
And it came back to him that he had been thinking, no—imagining—this moment that he would be the one in the position of all those girls, that he would be the one moaning against Draco Malfoy's lips in the moonlight-bathed room, that he would be the one whose robes would be carelessly torn off his body and thrown to the floor along with the invisibility cloak, that he would be the one desperately slammed on the sofa with Draco Malfoy undulating on his lap, devouring his mouth until they burst into flames of need.
His mind ceased to feel like a tangible mass. It had become a semi-liquid blob in his skull as both he and Draco's mouths opened to each other's intrusion, as their hands caressed each other's skin like fire sizzling against ice as their feet entangled with each other's on the creaking sofa, as wet and hot lips trailed over cheeks, throats and collars. Harry fought to stand to try to regain a sense of reality to everything. He was kissing Draco Malfoy. No—scrap that—he was smothering Draco Malfoy like there was no tomorrow in an empty classroom without any chance of interruption while they pressed against each other on a very accommodating sofa, three articles of clothing away from being buck naked and really, really, disbelievingly having the time of his life…
Hell—he didn't have the time and the will to complain.
It wasn't a special kiss; it was just like every other kiss he had had, but it didn't have demands; it didn't have control; it didn't even have a conscious and lucid mind to it; it felt like it didn't have expectations that couldn't be fulfilled. But it contained willingness, spontaneity, abandon; it contained the mindless passion that asks nothing that couldn't be given. It contained affirmation of who he was, exactly as he is. It didn't ask too much, expect too much, demand too much, want to change too much.
Pressed so close against each other with Draco on his lap, arms around his bare neck and hugging the other body tightly, they broke the kiss, catching their breaths and having the soft midnight breeze kiss their lips stinging with passion. Draco's lips were near Harry's ear and the latter could feel the former's hot breath on the side of his neck, sending tingles through his spine. "Congratulations, you just aced the test."
He didn't want to let go, but it was Draco who first extricated himself from the embrace, stood up and walked to the window again. "Let me guess, you're not ready. You're sorry. You respect me but you don't really want to sleep with me, right?"
"Would you want me to sleep with you?"
Harry was shocked that Draco was even asking. But then… For the first time since having Draco's lips on his, Harry started to think about Cho and the now glaring fact that he was technically betraying his girlfriend. Shit. "No, I wouldn't," Harry said, still seated on the sofa, with his back facing Draco's back. But the No just sounded like he really didn't want to say it, but he just had no choice.
"You know how the student always asks the teacher if there's something about the lecture he didn't understand? Can I ask you a question?"
Draco's silence was taken as a yes.
"Why do you always cry after you reject all those girls and they leave you out here all by yourself?" And Harry stood up, grabbed the invisibility cloak and his robes from the floor and slung it over his shoulder. He found his glasses in the corner of the sofa and put it on. He turned to look at Draco who was still facing the window, unspeaking.
"Harry? You know when teachers feel like they're not sure of what kind of answer to give their students, they give it as homework? So that's your homework. Think about it; consider it. Figure it out. Why do you think I always cry whenever I end up alone after a potential fuck that I turned down? Why indeed?"
Harry knew he wouldn't be able to coax anymore out of the Slytherin, and he turned to make a beeline for the door, feeling befuddled, heart still beating furiously. He opened the door, stepped out, cast burning green eyes on the Slytherin he was about to leave behind one last time then closed the door behind him.
He didn't sleep a wink the previous night. He just kept on tossing and turning in bed until about six in the morning, and when he was sure he was not going to get any sleep any longer, he abandoned the effort, left the bed and took a quick shower before breakfast. He hung out in the common room while waiting for the rest of his house to wake up, sitting on the armchair, staring deep into the fire he stoked and thinking about last night—the kiss, Draco Malfoy, and his very cryptic 'homework.' Sometime between four and five in the morning he harbored a burgeoning fear that Draco played him for a fool and that the whole Slytherin house would know the little kissing spree by morning. But now that he had had time and a much-needed bath while thinking deeper into it, he felt like there was nothing to fear. He felt like Draco wasn't playing with him; he was sincere and what went on last night was not a joke.
At least for Harry, it wasn't.
He hugged his knees close to his chest as he stared at the orange tongues of fire in the hearth. He had recounted the kiss over and over in his mind. And in his imagination, he could still taste Draco, the feel of his lips, the softness of his touch, the emptiness of his brain, the spontaneity of it all. And Draco didn't criticize him for being an inexperienced kisser. Somehow, the naturalness of last night was something he had never felt with Cho. The tidal wave of passion and excitement of last night was something he had never known before. He loved and enjoyed kissing Cho; after all he had never had any better. He would like to think that he still loved her, that in reality, Draco's kiss didn't really change anything between him and Cho—in their relationship. He would want to convince himself that it was still Cho he would like to kiss for the rest of his life, that it was Cho he was meant to kiss. One kiss with his archrival was supposed to mean nothing, was supposed to change nothing.
But that was not the case. Somehow, mere thinking of the kiss, whether it really happened or not, changed everything. And all of a sudden, all the past kisses with Cho were so superficial in comparison to what transpired with Draco Malfoy last night. Somehow, the kisses with Cho were starting to mean very little in comparison to one fleeting kiss with Draco. It was just a simple kiss and yet its spontaneity was something he had never known until now; the rightness of having been there and fitting so perfectly in his arms, that nothing was amiss—nothing was wrong or awkward was something Cho had never made him feel. Sure, before the last time they kissed, she had never voiced out the awkwardness of their kisses, but the awkwardness—the brimming wrongness was there, submerged, threatening. And they all came out that afternoon in the broom shed. Those unspoken criticisms that had always been brimming with Cho weren't there with Draco. There was contentment, satisfaction, as if they had found those lips that their own were meant to kiss.
In the advent of another busy day, when the students started to flood the common room dressed in their crisp Hogwarts uniform, Harry momentarily shelved the thoughts of Draco. He thought that before he let himself get carried away, he had to make sure first that Malfoy wasn't playing him for a fool and breakfast would be the perfect time.
He arrived at the Great Hall, half-asleep, with Ron and Hermione, dreading the catcalls that he was half-expecting would be coming from the Slytherin side of the Hall. But when he entered, sat down and started eating his morning bagels, there was nothing. He reached the comfort level of eating his morning banana without any hostility from the Slytherin crowd. Once or twice, he would catch Draco openly staring at him from the other side of the Hall.
Then he remembered the 'assignment.'
"Hermione?" Harry tapped his friend on the shoulder.
Hermione turned to face him and smiled. "Yes?"
Harry dropped the banana peelings on his empty plate and wiped his mouth clean of morsels. "I've—uh—been reading a book lately. It's a novel and the main character, a guy, has a very peculiar thing with kissing girls. He kisses different girls every night in a secret room. He likes to kiss them and seduce them until they beg for him to have sex with them, but he always, always declines politely. And every time these girls leave him alone after he rejects them, he always walks to the lone window of the room, looks out and cries. Always. And I'm yet to read the ending because I just picked it up and I can't even remember the title but it was very weird that's why I just can't stop thinking about it. So what do you think is the reason he always cries after snogging these girls but never having sex with any of them?"
"W—ell, that's a very interesting book. I just might look it up in the library myself. You know, Harry, a lot of things could be wrong with this character. Maybe it's psychological—maybe he's had a traumatic experience as a child. Maybe he was raped—" I don't think so… "—or maybe it's a physiological connection between the tear glands and the testes—" Now that is just funny… "—or… kissing right? He has issues with kissing? Have you heard of the Legend of the Embedded Kiss?"
Harry's ears perked and he shook his head.
"I've read it somewhere, and it goes something like: A long time ago, we were made by a Creator who formed us from loam. But what He created was inanimate, very unresponsive. So the Creator gave it the Kiss of Life. The Creator kissed the being to give it life, to give it the gift of happiness and completion. The Creator gave the creature this, but later on the creature became proud, self-centered and ungrateful to the Creator who gave it life. The creature got the notion that he could live by himself because he was happy and complete, that he didn't need the Creator anymore. The Creator became so disappointed that what He had created had become an ungrateful monster, so He cut the being in half, right at the center creating mirror images. The creature that was once whole was split, and from one, the being became two halves. The Creator, in His disappointment even halved the Kiss of Life, the gift of happiness in completion. And so it came to pass that there is one person, your other half, the finding of whom will finally complete the Kiss of Life. There is only one person who can fill the void, completing you, and it is only with this other half's kiss that the Kiss of Life and the gift of happiness and completion can be regained by the creature that has fallen from grace. It is only upon finding your other half can you be whole again, can you be truly happy.
"Maybe that's the reason for the character's sadness and his arcane behavior. But of course, legends and folktales are dodgy. They just romanticize everything. I'd still go for the scientific reasons available." And Hermione kept on regaling him with possibilities, the next as unlikely as the previous but she had already lost hold of Harry's attention.
It felt weird without the glasses. It felt even weirder with the shorter, tousled hair, the newly shaved chin and the crisp and heady smell of the aftershave. Harry got a lot of compliments and seductive stares from all over the school, in almost all of his classes, because of the new look. Cho, after almost three weeks of ignoring Harry because of the fight in the broom shed, started to pay attention to her boyfriend, the new heartthrob of Hogwarts, once again. At first, the changes Harry did to himself felt really weird but when midday came, he had gotten used to it already.
Once or twice, Harry would even catch Malfoy staring. And every time he would catch the gray eyes on him, Harry would feel tingly and horribly self-conscious. He still had not forgotten that he failed to report to 'class' for two nights now. It had already been three whole days since the kiss in the storage room, but Harry could still feel the sting and warmth on his lips, the taste of Malfoy in his mouth as if they had never stopped kissing. And whenever Draco would stare at him, Harry could feel the tidal wave-like intensity flood through his whole body. It was because of the impending transformation that Harry sacrificed the meetings with Draco. And it was because of Cho that the transformation even took place. He wanted to do it for Cho, and he used the transformation to occupy his mind, keep his imagination and thoughts away from Draco Malfoy.
It was not proper after all. He had a girlfriend. He was supposed to be in love with his girlfriend. There should be no one occupying his mind every waking and sleeping moment but his girlfriend. There should be no other lips on his but his girlfriend's. There should be no other person in his dreams, in his mind, in his heart, in his every breath, in his soul but his girlfriend.
He could almost convince himself, too. But then Draco's eyes would always stray to look at him, and his mind would be taken over by thoughts of the Slytherin again. What the fuck is happening to me? Harry knew it was wrong to keep thinking about Draco when he was supposed to be madly in love with Cho. But he couldn't help himself. Something was unleashed in him that night he kissed the Slytherin, something mysterious and powerful that made him rethink and reassess his relationship with Cho. He wanted to keep thinking that it was Cho he was still in love with, that nothing had changed. He wanted to convince himself that he loved Cho too much to have one kiss destroy that love. Because what happened with Draco was only one kiss. It wasn't supposed to turn his world upside down like it was doing now.
Harry slung his discarded robes over his shoulder, over his book bag strap and opened the faucet. The boys' bathroom was blissfully empty, and he decided to stop over before going back to the Tower to compose himself. It must be so obvious on his face that he was confused and preoccupied as hell. And Ron and Hermione would probably notice it, too.
He put his hands under the running water, scooped some in his palms and splashed it on his face. The door of the bathroom creaked open and someone came in. Harry bent over the sinks and splashed water on his face again, unmindful of his company. Pushing his sleeves up to free his elbows, Harry looked around and saw Draco Malfoy casually facing one urinal, the blonde hair unmistakable. Shit. Draco's back was turned towards the huge mirrored wall where the sinks were and where Harry was busily splashing water to his face, in hopes of drowning himself.
Draco zipped up his pants and faced Harry by the sinks; the black-haired boy's face was dripping wet. "What happened to your glasses?" Draco opened the tap at the very end of the bank of sinks and started washing his hands. The question didn't contain a shred of the patented Draco Malfoy sarcasm that Harry has gotten used to.
Harry gulped and secured his book bag on his shoulder. "I drank some Vision Correction potion. I thought the time was ripe for a change," the Gryffindor replied. He wanted to apologize for not showing up in the room, but he stopped himself. He's probably happier that I don't show up anymore. After all, having an audience probably cramps his style.
"Has your girlfriend seen you already?" Draco shut the tap and walked towards Harry. He raised his arms to reach something on the wall beside the Gryffindor, his arms ghosting over the black-haired boy's back.
Harry gulped again, the voice dying in his throat. So he just nodded.
Draco withdrew his hand and Harry saw that he was holding wads of toilet paper to wipe his wet hands with. "She's probably pleased with the transformation." And Harry wanted to ask Draco if he was, too, but didn't. The mantra of think about your girlfriend, think about your girlfriend had started playing in his head.
Before the Slytherin left, however, Harry blurted out, "will you be in the room tonight?"
Holy pile of shit!
"Just answer the question," Harry asked, not facing Draco who was about to step out of the bathroom.
"Maybe," Draco answered and left without another word. Harry finally shut the tap and angrily pulled wads of toilet paper from the dispenser on the wall beside him. What was he thinking asking Draco that? He was supposed to be thinking about his girlfriend.
'You always think about her. You always consider her. Did she even consider your feelings when she told you such harsh criticisms to your face? Think about it, Harry…' Harry heard Ron say in the back of his head. It was true. He wanted to think about Cho, wanted to remain in love with Cho, wanted to think he wouldn't want to kiss anybody else but Cho.
But is it worth it?
Angrily pulling the door open, Harry left the bathroom, with a more befuddled mind than when he had entered it. The hallways were less packed already at five-thirty in the afternoon. The students must be retiring in their houses by now. And Harry kept on walking, absentmindedly.
A hand suddenly appeared from a door that was standing ajar and pulled him into a dim room. An eager pair of hands started snaking through his book bag and his robes that were slung over his shoulder. His tie was pulled loose by his attacker as very excited lips covered his own. His heart jumped. Draco? Maybe he waited for me to leave the bathroom… But when the body pressed against his, he felt his chest press against breasts. And under his hands were long strands of braided hair.
In the dimness of the room, Harry's adjusting eyes could see the blue and bronze tie and the blue ponytails on the braided hair. It was unmistakably Cho. What happened after was a realization, something Harry wasn't prepared for. He was suddenly filled with the fiercest sting of disappointment that the one he was kissing was Cho and not Draco. A tongue forced his mouth open and hands eagerly unbuttoned his blouse. Lips feverishly ravage his and a body fervently bore down against him.
He should be ecstatic. He should be aroused beyond words. He should be filled with satisfaction. He should be willingly surrendering to a hot snog session. But he wasn't.
He shouldn't be thinking about Draco. He shouldn't be wishing he were someplace else. He shouldn't be disappointed that it was Cho in his arms. He shouldn't be about to burst out in tears because of the wrongness of it all. But he was.
Lips devoured, sucking gently yet passionately. Tongues scissored, fighting for domination. Hands rubbed, needing the feel of bare flesh. Flesh tingled, wanting to be touched. Cho had never been this willing, this eager, and this wild with abandon. She brought Harry's hands to her breasts as they pressed closer together. There had never been a more perfect kiss. Cho was moaning with want. The guidelines to kissing were screaming like broken records in Harry's mind. Harry's mind was blaring, surprisingly sharp and conscious of everything, the sucking, the tongues, the teeth, the touches. Everything.
And he was conscious that it was so wrong. "Harry, make love to me, please, please…"
It wasn't awkward like all the kisses before. It was perfect, in every way. He was kissing Cho as she had always wanted to be kissed, as he had always wanted to kiss her. But something was amiss. Something was wrong. It was still uncomfortable as if something was being done wrongly. But apparently, Harry was the only one feeling that. His mind was already screeching so loudly that it was a surprise that Cho couldn't hear it. It was then that he gently pushed her away, breaking the kiss. "H—Harry, is something wrong?"
"I—I can't. I can't make love to you, Cho. And I can't keep doing this. I'm—I'm so sorry," Harry murmured, his hands tightening on her forearms.
Cho's face fell. She was disappointed. But 'disappointed' was probably an understatement. She was crushed. "Why?"
Harry's mind strayed to Draco, to all the girls whose backs have felt that creaking sofa under them, or felt Draco's lips on them and heard his rejection in his ears. And suddenly he understood everything. It felt like being hit by a speeding truck. Slowly, he gathered his book bag and his robes from the floor in front of the frozen Cho, who was struck speechless by Harry's words. "You can never imagine how painful it was to hear you admit that I failed in making you happy because I couldn't kiss well enough, because there were so many things wrong with me, because there were so many things you wanted to change in me. I tried to change. See, I changed for you. I went so low just to prove to you that I can make you happy. And it's just now that I realized that I could never make you happy because if I could, I would have a long time ago. If I could, I wouldn't have had to change so much of me. If I were really for you and you for me, I didn't even have to feel so deficient, like there was always something lacking, like there was always something I have to prove to you, like there was always something I have to prove to myself. If I could really make you happy, I would already have as me, just me, simply me, the me you've met, the me I will always be. Not as the person you want me to be," Harry said. He slung the book bag and his robes over his shoulder again, walked to the door and opened it. "Be happy, Cho."
Harry left, but unlike the first time he walked out on Cho, he felt more and not less of a human being.
Hunched in the very recesses of the storage room was Harry, hidden from view and cradled by the darkness and grime of the room. He decided not to return to Gryffindor Tower in fear that somehow, someone had found out that he had already finished the relationship with Cho and would start to ask too many questions. He just barged into the storage room where he and Draco kissed not too long ago, shrunk himself in the deepest and darkest corner to contemplate what had just happened with Cho, what had just happened to him for him to say such things to the girl he once thought he was so in love with. He stayed there silently, and watched as the night sky deepened from six o' clock to ten o' clock. And he concluded.
Draco happened. That's what.
I wonder what it must feel like for Draco to kiss all those girls and yet feel so empty. How must it feel like to open yourself up to so many people in search of that someone to complete you and achieve nothing but more demands, emptiness. Kissing was all he could offer and yet they always ask more than what he was willing to give. In a way, he's no different from me.
I wonder what it must be like to find the other half of the Kiss of Life, to find that someone who completes me.
The door creaked open and a lone figure stepped in, carrying a candleholder with a feebly burning candle. The moonlight bounced off instantly recognizable blonde hair. Draco stepped through the threshold, set the candleholder on the dilapidated table in front of the derelict hearth, and walked to the window. He unclasped the latch to throw the window open and let fingers of moonlight in. And in front of the window he stayed, waiting and unmoving, just staring out into the night.
Harry just watched, drinking in the sight of the silent newcomer. He wanted to feel anger for Draco because it was he who ruined the postcard romance Harry had and had always wanted to find and nurture. Harry wanted to walk up to the Slytherin, scream insults to his face for affecting him with so much bitterness for the world, for love. But he just stayed in the shadows, watching. He couldn't walk up to Draco to blame the latter on how his own love life turned out so sordidly.
"Waiting for someone? Who is it for tonight?"
Draco turned away from the window to see Harry emerging from the darker part of the room, still toting his book bag and his discarded robes, his blouse unbuttoned and his tie dangling loosely under the collar flap. "You," Draco simply intoned.
"What's the lesson for tonight?" Harry asked again, detachedly, waiting for Draco to shift into his sarcastic self. But it didn't happen.
"The truth about kissing. So where do you think I should begin?" The tone remained soft.
"What are you talking about?" Harry dropped the book bag on the floor, along with his robes and stared openly at the blonde boy.
"Tell me the truth. Did you actually think either of your friends' suggestions was going to work?"
Harry crossed his arms over his chest to cover his unbuttoned state and didn't reply. He wanted the other boy to go on to his point whatever the hell it was. "Because kissing cannot be learned," Draco said, propping both hands on the windowsill and preparing to spring himself upward to sit on the ledge. "What are you talking about?" Harry asked again.
"Contrary to what your friends wanted to think and to what you, yourself, wanted to believe, kissing cannot be learned. Not from self-help books or by kissing sprees, not by watching how other people do it or by studying guidelines, not through any means available to the learned kind, Muggle or Magic," Draco exclaimed.
"And why not?"
Draco sprung himself up to sit on the ledge. "Because kissing cannot be reduced to mere technical procedures, do's and don'ts, No Brainers' Guides. That entirely defeats the purpose of kissing." Draco now had Harry's full attention. "Reducing it to something controlled and learned is like totally bastardizing the emotion that makes kissing, kissing. It is a sacrilege of emotion to learn kissing because the emotion itself cannot be learned. It is spontaneous; it is felt and not forced. I should have told you that for Kissing 101. But I was caught unawares and didn't have time to prepare a syllabus. So you must forgive me."
It sounded like a joke, and considering that it was Malfoy who said it, it probably was. "Why are you telling me this now?"
"Your girlfriend deserves better than forced emotion and learned kissing. So whatever it is that you believe you have 'learned' from me, screw it and forget it," Draco dismissed.
Harry kept his silence. But later on spoke up, "You cry after kissing all of those girls because you know in your heart that none of them completes the Kiss in your soul. And yet you open yourself to them in search of the one who can complete you. Am I right?"
"I have to congratulate your resource person. It must be Granger," Draco detoured, leaving the question unanswered.
"Am I right?"
There was silence. "Have you found the other half of your Kiss, Harry?" Draco slid on the ledge to lean his back on the side of the sill and gaze out the window.
"I thought I have. I was wrong," answered Harry as if the question really meant nothing.
"How did you know you were wrong?"
"Because it felt exactly that. Wrong," replied Harry.
"Did you know that there is and isn't such a thing as a good or bad kiss?" Draco asked again, this time leaving Harry befuddled by the paradox in the statement. "Let me put it this way: there is and isn't a good or bad kiss when you have found the other half of your Kiss. There is a good or bad kiss because the kiss from some person you merely lust after may be bad while a kiss, no matter how simple or how virginal, becomes the best you've ever had if it came from the one you love, the one who completes you. But at the same time, there isn't such a thing as a good or bad kiss because a relatively bad kiss without suction, without tongue, without arousal, without want, without sexual invitation, a kiss delivered so chastely over morning coffee on a sweaty forehead by a person reeking with morning breath becomes the best if it came from the one you wouldn't mind waking up to and sharing morning coffee with everyday. Every kiss is good and every kiss is perfect if it came from the one who completes you and whom you complete, the one you wouldn't mind kissing your whole life, the one your lips were meant to kiss.
"You are the best kisser to the one you love. Because they will love you and everything about you exactly the way you are. And yes, you were right. I'm touchy about the women I kiss because it has something to do with that. But contrary to what you think, I don't kiss those women because I want to find the owner of the other half of my Kiss and I certainly don't cry because none them turned out to be the one I was looking for.
"I have found the one, the person I know I should be kissing, the person I love even when I'm not supposed to. And it pains me so much that the one I love is so far away and in love with someone else. Whenever I kiss other people to try to fill the emptiness that I know only this person could fill, I'm horribly reminded that there is only one pair of lips I should be kissing but couldn't. And it hurts a lot. So I thought I should do something to try to ease the pain. And I went on a kissing spree. I wanted to reduce kissing to something technical, to something empty so I didn't have to think about the kiss I've always wanted to taste, the one kiss I couldn't have. And all those girls kiss well, too. It all depends on the parameters of what a good kiss is supposed to feel like: the proper amount of tongue, suction, willingness, level of sexual arousal achieved and all that shit. But then the beating of my heart always steps in and ruins everything. I am always reminded of the one I should be kissing, and I know it was none of those girls. And yet I tried to content myself with the empty kisses. But it gets too much for me and… well, it gets too much, you know," Draco said. And Harry just cast his eyes down to look at his shoes. It was such a revelation to hear Draco Malfoy pour his heart and soul out to him, Harry Potter. Harry didn't really know how to react.
Yes, it must be painful to be disillusioned like that. And Harry knew how it felt, too. After all, he did think it was Cho, tried to convince himself it was Cho. But then it wasn't, because all of those kisses were empty. Because all of those kisses demanded so much more than what he could give. "I know," Harry murmured, after the long silence. "I have a confession to make. Cho was the one who pushed me to want to learn how to kiss because she said I didn't know what I was doing. And I believed her. I did everything I could to learn what she wanted me to learn because I wanted to make her happy. But I just realized I couldn't. And she couldn't make me happy either. Because until I find the one who owns the other half of my Kiss, the one I will love and who will love me for who I am, my happiness would always be a shallow one," Harry began.
"I should tell you about the epiphany I had while I was kissing Cho," Harry, a little sheepishly, continued. He started walking towards the other boy who was seated on the ledge, looking out to the azure firmament, silent and contemplative. "I thought I kept on watching you because I was obsessed with wanting to know how to kiss like you, but then I realized just this afternoon while I was kissing one of the two people I have ever kissed my whole life that it was actually the other one I had always wanted to kiss, that it's the other one I should be kissing," Harry finished. Draco, who was leaning on the side of the window, abruptly turned to face him and Harry captured the blonde boy's lips in a simple kiss.
"Crazy, no?" Harry murmured, his lips still ghosting over Draco's.
"No, it makes perfect sense actually," Draco said, practically hopping off the sill and throwing his arms around Harry's neck. Their lips met and the cataclysmic explosion happened again; the tidal wave-like intensity engulfed both him and his partner as their souls breathed into each other what fills the emptiness, that which they've both been looking for.
And it ended in a tight embrace with Harry holding Draco's waist and breathing down his neck and Draco embracing Harry's neck like a life buoy and nibbling the latter's earlobe. "I hated your friends because they were so close in ways I thought I'd never be. And I hated your girlfriend because she can kiss you like I thought I could only do in my dreams. And now, here you are…holding me like I never thought you would, making me complete just like you always have even only from a distance, kissing me like I have never, in my wildest dreams, thought possible. Damn you," Draco finally cursed, playfully.
And Harry held him even closer, feeling the completion he had never had with Cho. "Shut up. And just kiss me, OK?" Although the shock was there to hear Draco's confession, the happiness and the contentment of hearing those words from the Slytherin more than made up for the shock. And he pressed his body closer to the other boy.
They breathed into each other the completion of the Kiss of Life, of happiness that only in each other could they find. "Draco, I should tell you. I don't know what I'm doing," Harry murmured, kissing Draco's neck and easing them both down on the old sofa.
"Hmmm, that makes two of us," Draco murmured back, continuing Cho's handiwork on Harry's buttons, breathing down the Gryffindor's shoulder. "But I wouldn't have it any other way," finished Draco.