This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoat Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
"Damn it, Malfoy, get out of the way!" Harry yelled, shoving the blond aside to pound on the heavy oak door.
"If it didn't work for me, Potter, why would it work for you?" Draco sneered, crossing his arms defensively over his chest.
"Fuck," Harry groaned, letting his bloodied hands fall to his side as he slid down the door, coming to rest at the bottom.
Draco rolled his eyes, retreating to the middle of the room, which was scattered with comfortable chairs and sofas. He sank into one, propping his feet up on the ottoman in front of him.
"So eloquent, Potter," he drawled, examining his own bruised knuckles.
"Stuff it, Malfoy," Harry spat, settling into his position on the floor. Sure, there were more comfortable seats, but he wanted out the second that door opened. Stuck in here with bloody Malfoy of all people, he thought, grimacing.
"Ooh, point to you for such a brilliant comeback," Draco mocked, absently wishing for some Bruise Salve to soothe his aching hands. No sooner had he completed the thought than the salve appeared on the table next to him. "Looks like parts of the room still work."
Harry looked up, watching as Draco unscrewed the cap and dipped a pale finger into the salve, massaging it onto his discolored knuckles. Sighing, Harry concentrated on thinking of a Healing Ointment for the broken skin covering his own knuckles, disappointed when nothing appeared.
"It didn't work for me," he said glumly, flexing his fingers. A sharp pain alerted him to the fact that his frantic pounding may have broken more than just his skin. Perfect, he thought sourly.
Surprised by the sudden pity he felt for the dejected Gryffindor, Draco pushed thoughts of a balm to heal Harry's knuckles to the front of his mind, plus a Pain Relieving Draught for both of them. Watching Harry wince as he flexed his hand, he silently added a Bone Knitting potion to the mix. A pale eyebrow rose as the requested potions and salves appeared, and he sighed heavily, gathering up several to toss to Harry.
"Heads up, Potter," he said, chucking one of the Pain Relieving Draughts to Harry.
The Gryffindor caught it reflexively, grimacing as his hand closed around it. Definitely broken, then, he thought as he examined the potion in his hand. He looked up when he realized what he held, surprised Draco had bothered helping him at all. He downed the potion, watching as Draco did as well, both of them relaxing slightly when the pain disappeared.
"Here," Draco said, tossing Harry the Bone Knitting potion next.
Harry didn't even bother to examine the vial, uncorking it and downing it without a thought. Even with the benefit of the pain potion, his hands throbbed as the bones weaved themselves back together. Draco rolled his eyes at the trusting Gryffindor, amazed that all it took to garner the Boy Who Lived Twice's trust was one simple act of kindness. Idiotic Gryffindor, he huffed. It's amazing he lived once, let alone twice. I'll never understand how that insufferable prat defeated Voldemort. Draco's brow furrowed at these uncharitable thoughts, his conscience suffering the slightest twinge. Not that I'm not grateful he rid the world of that abomination, he added. And he's not always a prat.
"One more, Potter," he drawled, flinging the Healing Balm in Harry's direction.
Harry uncapped the balm, spreading the soothing gel over his battered knuckles. Not a prat all of the time, apparently, he thought, though he would have been mortified to know Draco had just thought the same thing. I suppose he hasn't gone out of his way to be an arse to me in awhile, he acknowledged grudgingly. He nodded at Draco, easing himself up from the floor.
"Thanks," he said tersely, turning to inspect the lock on the door once more. Seeing his efforts were futile, he crossed the room, collapsing in a chair across from Draco's. "I wonder why the room responds to you, but not to me?"
They had been locked in the Room of Requirement all morning, essentially helpless. The morning had started out normally, but during breakfast, Hermione had pulled Harry aside, telling him that all of-age witches and wizards were to attend a meeting in the Room of Requirement right after the meal.
"Sunspots," she had said matter-of-factly, nodding her head gravely. "A few times a century, the sun and the planets align in a way that makes adult magic go haywire. Only witches and wizards who are of-age are affected, but the results can be disastrous if you try any advanced magic while the interference is there."
Harry had, of course, never heard of sunspots interfering with magic, but Hermione often knew things he didn't, so he didn't even think to question her. He'd dumbly followed her to the Room of Requirement after breakfast, noticing Pansy and Draco trailing along not too far behind. That, too, had seemed perfectly normal, since Hermione said the meeting was for all of-age students. Most of their class had returned for their make-up seventh year, meaning there were quite a few of-age witches and wizards around Hogwarts these days.
"I don't know who told you that, Pans, but I think they're having you on," Harry heard Draco say behind them as they reached the Room of Requirement. "I've never heard of such a thing."
Pansy had just smiled sweetly, opening the door and urging them all inside. What happened next would shame Harry for the rest of his life; Hermione and Pansy had managed to disarm them, locking them in the room alone.
"Pansy!" Draco had screamed, pounding on the solid door. "What the hell, Pans?"
"This is for your own good, Draco Malfoy," the petite brunette had answered, her voice faint through the thick door.
"And yours too, Harry Potter," Hermione had added, a note of censure in her voice.
"The two of you have some things to work out, and you'll have the entire weekend to do it," Pansy yelled, audible after casting a Sonorus on herself.
"What?" Harry had screamed, pounding the flat of his palm against the smooth door. "You can't lock us in here all weekend!"
"We can, and we did," Hermione said, her voice smug. "The room has been very specifically designed, so don't waste your breath trying to get out. You'll have everything you need for a comfortable weekend if you just work together."
"What the hell are you talking about?" Draco had screamed, kicking the door with his dragon hide boot.
"Oh, I think you know," had been Pansy's answer, accompanied by a knowing laugh from Hermione.
After that, their pleas had been met with only silence. After yelling themselves hoarse for hours, trying everything they could think of to budge the impenetrable door, Harry and Draco had given up.
Harry relaxed deeper into the over-stuffed chair, closing his eyes.
"All weekend," he muttered, shaking his head slightly against the headrest.
"Tell me about it," Draco said, restlessly moving his legs.
Harry considered letting himself drift off to sleep – perhaps the best way to get through 48 hours with Draco was to be unconscious? – before deciding that would be the cowardly way out. He sat up, stretching.
"You hungry?" he asked, looking up at Draco, who was also lying back with his eyes closed.
"Yeah. I tried requesting food a bit ago, while you were healing your hands, but it was a no-go."
Harry focused his thoughts on food, and moments later, the long table in the corner of the room sagged under a veritable feast.
"I see you're definitely hungry, then," Draco said, smirking at the ridiculous spread.
Harry blushed, wondering why he cared what Draco thought at all. That's funny, his inner voice – sounding a lot like Hermione – mocked, you keep wondering that.
The Gryffindor pushed up from his chair, wandering over to the food-laden table. It was all food he particularly liked, including his absolute favorite dish of the moment, a saffron curry with almonds and pistachios. A dish most definitely not on the menu at Hogwarts.
"Kreacher," he growled.
"What?" Draco asked, startled by Harry's low growl. He paused, plate half-full of Shepherd's Pie and roasted vegetables, looking at Harry.
Harry sighed, filling his own plate with the curry.
"Kreacher," he repeated. "My house-elf. He's the only one who makes this curry, so I'm sure he's helping them somehow."
"Kreacher!" he yelled, hoping the room couldn't interfere with the bond between a wizard and his house-elf.
The wizened creature Apparated in, clothed, Harry was relieved to see, in a relatively clean tea towel, worn toga-style.
"Master Harry?" Kreacher asked, the picture of house-elf deference, bowing low before the two boys in front of him.
"I demand you get us out of here, Kreacher," Harry said, trying his best to infuse his voice with authority.
"Kreacher is sorry, Master, but he is not taking Master and his friend out of Hogwarts," the house-elf said, grabbing for a pot on the table to punish himself.
"No! Kreacher, I forbid you to punish yourself," Harry said quickly, cursing himself for forgetting once again how house-elves operated.
"Why can't you take us away from here, Kreacher?" Draco asked, his voice stern, exactly the measure of calmness and control Harry had aimed for.
"A house-elf is bound to protect and serve," Kreacher said, his long fingers trembling with the effort of holding back his punishment.
Harry struggled to retain his temper, rubbing his temples to stop the headache that threatened anytime he tried to reason with a house-elf.
"You may protect and serve me by getting us out of here, Kreacher," he said, his thinly veiled impatience clear in his voice.
"Yes, Kreacher is protecting Master," the house-elf said, nodding quickly.
"Protecting Harry how, Kreacher?" Draco asked, and Harry felt a tingle shoot up his spine at the sound of Draco using his given name.
"Kreacher is a good house-elf; he is looking out for Master Harry," the creature answered gravely, pulling on his ears when he saw Harry's thunderous expression.
"Damn it, Kreacher, why are we here?" Harry yelled, finally losing his temper.
The house-elf cowered, taking a step away from Harry, instantly shaming the Gryffindor.
"I'm sorry, Kreacher," he said, contrite. "But I don't understand how being here protects me. Hermione and Pansy locked us in here, and we would like to leave."
"Master Harry is not leaving!" Kreacher said, his eyes wide. "Master Harry is staying! Miss Hermione said –"
Harry's cheeks colored instantly, the blush spreading up from his neck and turning his face hot. He had a very good idea just exactly what Miss Hermione had said.
"Fine. That will be all, Kreacher," Harry said, watching as the relieved house-elf Disapparated.
"Why did you release him?" Draco asked, incredulous. To his mind, they had just started getting somewhere with the creature.
"If Hermione got him to agree to this, there is no way to convince him otherwise," Harry said, relieved he'd stopped Kreacher before the elf said something Harry would live to regret. "She probably threatened to free him or some such rot."
Harry sat at the table, grateful for the Warming charms that had kept their food hot. He dug into his curry, savoring the flavors that exploded on his tongue. He didn't notice Draco watching him, fascinated by the way Harry's eyes fluttered shut at the first bite, or the tiny moan he made when saffron and cardamom hit his palate. Draco's pulse jumped at the sight of Harry so thoroughly enjoying his food, and he quickly looked down at his own plate, afraid his reaction to the sensual sight would be evident.
"Why don't you just call one of yours?" Harry asked, forking up another bite.
"I'm sorry?" Draco replied, his mind still replaying Harry's first bite.
"One of your house-elves. Why don't you try calling one of yours?"
Draco shook his head, scooping up a bite of Shepherd's Pie.
"I can't," he explained, swallowing. "I'm not sure how Kreacher got through, but most house-elves can't make it in through the wards."
Harry nodded thoughtfully, dragging a piece of buttery naan through the creamy yellow sauce on his plate before popping it in his mouth. His tongue darted out to catch a stray drop near the corner of his lips, and Draco had to suppress a moan of his own.
"Kreacher worked here during the war. The wards are probably keyed to accept him," Harry reasoned, licking a bit of sauce off his finger before pushing his plate away.
"Are you finished?" he asked, nodding at Draco's mostly empty plate. When Draco indicated he was, Harry concentrated on clearing the food away, pleased when the dishes disappeared. "I suppose that means I'm in charge of food, then."
Draco smiled, standing to walk to the fireplace.
"What was it they said? That we'd have to learn to work together to be 'comfortable'?" Draco asked, shaking his head. "I suppose it's worked already. Hours gone, and no blood lost."
He looked at the pink skin on Harry's newly healed knuckles, laughing.
"Well, none we shed intentionally, at any rate."