Harry had stirred his potion three times counterclockwise before adding the daisy roots. He knew he had. His potion should have been turning this strange pink colour, yes, but it shouldn't have been bubbling so angrily. He took a small step back and checked the instructions on the board.
The potion exploded, coating him with a lurid pink substance. Damned if he knew why.
Snape closed his eyes for a moment, looking exasperated beyond measure. Potter had somehow managed to destroy a simple love potion, and Draco didn't blame him for looking annoyed. They were in sixth year. Potter couldn't think his fame and his pretty face would get him by forever, even if it was a very, very pretty face.
Draco glanced at the Gryffindor, covered in bright pink love potion, cleaning the goop off his glasses. Even doused in a potion, Harry somehow managed to look gorgeous. Draco rolled his eyes at himself as Professor Snape sailed past to begin railing at Harry over his cauldron. He really had to stop thinking dirty thoughts about the Gryffindor during Potions. Snape was too good a Legilimens to be letting speculation on things like the colour of Harry Potter's pants drift across his mind in this class.
"What is the meaning of this, Potter?" Snape hissed, cleaning up the mess with a brisk sweep of his wand. "Did you not read the instructions? Is your mind too infantile to comprehend the words 'sliced toad'?"
Harry snapped his head up to glare at Snape. "I did slice the...the..."
He trailed off halfway through, staring at Snape with his mouth slightly open, his face gone slack and his eyes dreamy and glazed.
"I'm sorry Professor," he said breathlessly. Professor Snape took a small step backward, alarmed. "I don't know what came over me. I can serve detention with you tonight if you'd like."
Draco's jaw had dropped from shock, not that this was any different from the rest of the class. Granger looked like she was about to fall off her chair.
Professor Snape's skin had an even greener cast than usual. "No, Potter. Granger, take Potter to the hospital wing immediately."
Harry gave Snape doe eyes. "But sir, I did something very wrong! I should spend at least three...no, four hours in detention with you!"
Draco was not incredibly jealous of Professor Snape right now. He just wasn't.
"Come on, Harry," Granger said, tugging on Harry's arm rather desperately. Harry didn't move, only stared besottedly up at Snape.
"Go with Miss Granger now, Potter," Snape snapped, glaring at him. Harry pouted a little and nodded.
"Goodbye, Professor Snape," he said as Granger pulled him urgently out of the room. "I...I'll see you at dinner!"
He blushed. Draco reminded himself harshly that Potter was under a potion and that this wasn't the most disgusting display he had ever witnessed. His aunt Bella with the Dark Lord had been much, much worse. Probably. The mental image of Harry flirting at Snape was too overpoweringly horrible to even allow previously scarring thoughts of Aunt Bella and the Dark Lord to enter his head, so he couldn't exactly compare them at the moment. Sitting horrified at his desk would have to do for now.
Professor Snape excused the rest of the class as he bent over Potter's cauldron, scooping up a sample of the potion and corking it. When Draco was the last person left in the classroom with him, Snape grimaced horribly and shook his head at Draco.
"The idea of that boy looking at me with anything more than loathing makes me want to scoop out his eyes with a rusty ladle," Snape shuddered. Draco nodded. He felt much the same way, though he'd let Harry keep his eyes. That shade of green was very unique, and ruining them just didn't bear thinking about.
"Do you want any assistance with that, sir?" Draco had always been Snape's favourite student, though unlike what most of the school thought, it was because Draco was actually very interested in potions. And right now, not only was he interested in finding out what bastardised version of a love potion Harry had managed to dump all over himself, he was very interested in getting the antidote brewed as quickly as possible so that Harry could stop staring at Snape in such a disturbing way. It dawned on Draco to wonder why he hadn't realized what was going on and immediately shoved Snape out of the way and forced Harry's gaze on him. Snape probably would have given him a medal for it, if he'd had the means, and Draco could stand to have Harry's attention on him. Could do a lot more than stand it, in fact.
"Go ahead and prepare the cauldron," Snape directed, and Draco got to work. Snape began to grumble darkly under his breath as he tilted the vial of potion in the light. Draco definitely should have yelled or thrown something at Potter's head or something, because it was clear that he, Draco, was much more suited to the role of Harry Potter's eye candy than Snape was. He wasn't nasty and foul, for one thing. Draco respected his teacher for his mind, not his hygiene.
They worked together in near silence for what could have been an hour before they heard someone knock lightly on the door. Snape didn't react. When the knock sounded again, Draco sighed and paused in his work to go see who it was. Snape could be selectively deaf sometimes, as Draco and all the Slytherins had learned over the years. It didn't matter if a first year was being dangled from the Astronomy Tower by a rabid troll. If Snape was brewing, he didn't care. You gained a slightly better chance of his attention if the rabid troll was from Gryffindor House, but not by much.
Draco opened the door to find Harry Potter, his pupils dialated impressively, staring at him lustfully. Draco had to bite the inside of his mouth to stop himself from doing or saying anything incredibly stupid, and not a moment too soon. Once Harry realized he wasn't Snape, his expression dropped into mild annoyance.
"Is Professor Snape in there?" he asked, craning his neck to see into the room. Draco shifted so that he couldn't. Snape knew what the change Harry had made was, now, and Draco was not going to see a display like the one in Potions again if he didn't have to. Snape would figure out the antidote and they would give it to Harry and this would be done.
"No he isn't, Potter," Draco said politely. "You know what? I think he went up to Gryffindor to look for you. Why don't you go see?"
Harry's eyes brightened for a moment, then he frowned. "You're such a liar, Malfoy. He's too shy to come looking for me himself. That's why I'm here."
Draco just about gagged. Snape? Too shy? Where did Harry come up with these things?
"Right," Draco said, voice muffled by the fact that he was trying not to laugh hysterically. "Well why don't you just let me check if he's here? I'll be right back."
Draco closed the door in Harry's expectant face and went back to the desk Snape was working at.
"Professor?" he prompted, slightly too worried about what Snape would do to him if he caught the man by surprise to nudge him. "Professor? Potter's here. What should I do with him?"
Snape muttered something that sounded suspiciously like 'dump his body in the lake', before looking up at Draco.
"Just get rid of the brat," he said irritably. "If I'm to brew this potion, he has to be out of my hair." Snape shuddered again, and raised an eyebrow at Draco. "I don't need you here anymore. It's your job to keep him distracted. Return him to his friends if you must, but make certain he stays there."
Draco nodded absently, envisioning all the ways he could keep Harry distracted. Snape turned back to his work and Draco went back to the door.
"I checked in his office and everything," Draco informed Harry once he was outside with the door closed securely behind him. "He's not in there. Why don't we go look for him together?"
Harry bit his lip and looked uncertain. Draco quashed the urge to touch and started off down the corridor. Harry followed after a moment.
"You're certain we'll find him?" he asked earnestly. "Only I need to talk to him."
"I'm sure you do," Draco muttered, trying very hard not to think about what Harry might mean by 'talk'.
"He's really a very good person, you know," Harry said. Draco raised an eyebrow at Harry, confused.
"Who are we talking about?" Harry rolled his eyes.
"We're talking about Professor Snape," he said, smiling at the name. "He really is good, you know. Actually, I know you already know, since you decided not to get the Mark and he helped you. He's wonderful."
Draco wondered why not getting the Mark didn't make him wonderful too, then quashed the bitter thoughts. Love potion. Harry was under a love potion. Draco closed his eyes briefly.
"You know that just because he's not working for the Dark Lord, that doesn't make him 'good', right? He's not exactly the most pleasant person to be around."
Harry's eyes widened earnestly. "That's just a mask! He's actually very nice underneath all that, you know. I'm sure of it."
Draco nodded along. "Oh, I am too. You know I once caught him tending to a small fluffy bunny that had hurt it's leg. He was very furtive about it."
"Really?" Harry asked, looking thrilled that his hypothesis had been proven. Draco rolled his eyes.
"No, not really," Draco said, exasperated. "It was him that hurt its leg. He needed a rabbit foot for a potion. Potter, if you weren't drugged right now, I'd slap you and you'd deserve it."
Harry glared at him. "You're just jealous because you know you can never have him!"
"And I'm sure he's just panting after you."
"Shut up, Malfoy!"
Draco led them down a corridor that led to the opposite end of the school from Snape. "You're going to be mortified after you've taken that antidote. I just thought I'd point that out."
"No potion could make me feel the way I feel about him," Harry sighed, lapsing back into what were probably incredibly disturbing thoughts about Snape. Draco really didn't want to know. "I've wanted him forever."
Draco took a moment to pray to anything that was listening that this was just the potion talking and that Harry didn't have a real secret crush on Snape. That might be too horrible to bear.
"How did you get down here anyway?" Draco asked, in part to change the subject and in part because he was honestly curious. Harry was supposed to be in the hospital wing under Granger's watchful eye, not roaming the dungeons.
Harry sighed. "Hermione just didn't understand. She kept saying horrible things about Severus. She said he was greasy. So I escaped."
Love potion, Draco said firmly to himself. "You must have noticed that Snape is greasy, Potter." Draco then proceeded to entertain horrible thoughts about what Harry might say next about the useful properties of viscous fluids during sex, and attempted to block the following mental images with images of his Aunt and the Dark Lord and their forbidden love.
"He's not that greasy," Harry said uncertainly, cutting off Draco's horrifying train of thought. "We only ever see him when he's been making potions. Even Ron is greasy sometimes after class, depending on what we made."
"Potter, you realize that making potions is pretty much all Snape does," Draco informed him helpfully. "Aside from that whole spying gig and grading homework. And Weasley is only greasy on mornings we have sausages and he misses his mouth, that's not the potion's fault. Snape's not going to stop being greasy anytime soon, trust me. I'm around him more often than you are."
Harry's eyes lit up and he gave Draco a brilliant smile. Despite the fact that Harry had clearly not paid a bit of attention to what Draco had just said, he found himself blinking and smiling back reflexively.
"You do know him pretty well, don't you, Malfoy? Could you tell me some about him?" Harry's green eyes pleaded with Draco, and Draco stared back almost helplessly. "What can I do to make him love me?"
The word 'love' snapped Draco out of his stupor and back into reality. Harry was in potion-induced love with Snape, and Draco had to keep him out of the way. Nevermind that this was pretty much the first conversation he'd ever had with Harry that had lasted longer than three exchanges and didn't look likely to end in bloodshed or tears. Someone out there hated Draco very much to be willing to put him in this position.
"Snape doesn't deserve your time, Potter," Draco said, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "He certainly doesn't deserve your l-love. I know you don't care, and I know you'd normally know this, but still."
"Please tell me about him," Harry said softly, ignoring Draco's comments. Draco stopped walking and slid down to a seated position against a wall, frowning. He was beginning to hate this.
"You know what? Fine. I'll tell you about Snape. Sit down."
Harry sat happily on the floor next to Draco, leaning against the wall. Draco was tempted for a very small moment to be incredibly cruel and tell Harry the blunt truth, but only for a moment.
"Snape is...very dedicated to his work," Draco said, feeling slightly uncertain. Harry nodded encouragingly. "He takes care of us Slytherins, as long as he's not distracted by a potion. But he's incredibly strict. He's not a happy person."
Harry frowned and opened his mouth, but Draco held up a hand.
"I don't care how you try to spin this, Harry. He's not a happy person. He's just not. Accept that I know better than you."
"I could make him happy," Harry said earnestly.
"No, you couldn't," Draco said, suddenly not caring that it was just the potion talking, and that he might upset Harry. He had gone out of his way to avoid upsetting Harry since he'd refused the Mark, but right now, he just didn't care. "You could make someone else very happy. You could be everything to them. But to Snape all you'd be is an annoyance."
Harry's face fell. "But...I love him."
Draco closed his eyes and cradled his head in his hands. "Just wait until the antidote is finished, Potter. I promise you that if you still love him after that, he'll pay a lot more attention to you."
Draco decided not to add that this would be because Snape would be convinced he'd made the antidote wrong and would be determined to fix it. He thought maybe Harry could have a bit false hope, as Draco hated the broken hearted expression on his face right now. He felt like a fool for allowing himself to fall into this stupid conversation with Harry. He wasn't drugged, he had no excuse. He shouldn't have allowed himself to get so carried away.
"I have to prove myself to him," Harry said, realization dawning on his features. "He doesn't believe that I could love him without the influence of the potion."
Harry really was incredibly sweet, Draco decided. It really was unfair.
"You're right, he really doesn't believe that you could." Draco didn't either. He sincerely hoped, for Harry's own sake, that the Gryffindor had better taste than Snape. "I mean, are you even gay?"
The answer to this question was something Draco had been dying to know for quite a while now. There was no way he could have passed up asking it with such a perfect reason behind him. Harry frowned.
"You know, I've actually talked to Ron and Hermione about that." Harry looked thoughtful. "They said they wouldn't mind if I was, but I wasn't certain until now. I thought before that I might be both, but now I know the truth."
Draco was immensely cheered by the idea that Harry had been thinking about such matters prior to this fiasco. When he wasn't under the influence of the potion anymore, he might be more open to the idea of liking boys. Or liking Slytherin boys. Or more specifically, liking Draco.
Draco smiled at him and stood up. "You know, Potter, eventually Snape is going to end up at the hospital wing, expecting to find you there. We should probably get you back."
Harry stood with him and smiled happily. "He'll be looking for me," he said, following Draco down the hall. Draco nodded absently and led them back through the twists and turns of the dungeons until they reached the stairs to the Entrance Hall. Harry had a soft, hopeful smile on his face the whole way.
By the time Draco had led Harry all the way up to the hospital wing, he had asked Draco no less than three times, and was asking again as Draco opened the double doors to the infirmary, what Snape's favourite colour was.
"I told you I don't know, Potter," Draco said irritably. "Probably black, he seems the type."
"What about green?" Harry asked again, hopefully. "Don't you think he likes green?"
"Not all Slytherins like green, Potter."
Harry didn't look convinced. "What's your favourite colour then?"
Draco flushed. "Green." Harry smirked at him triumphantly, and Draco felt it was necessary to add, "Not Slytherin green, you dolt. The green I like is a bit lighter."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Whatever, Malfoy. I bet Snape does like green. Do you think he'll be here soon?"
"Probably," Draco said, now looking for an excuse to escape. "Just sit on one of the beds and wait. Where do you think Granger went?"
"Gryffindor Tower?" Harry shrugged. "I don't really care. She said some things she'll regret later, when she realizes that I really do care about Professor Snape."
Draco just stared at him for a moment. The potion Harry had managed was much stronger than the low level love potion the class was supposed to have made. The stubborn conviction in Harry's words and eyes was almost convincing.
"Right," Draco sighed. "I'll just go get her then. My free period is long since gone, and I have class after lunch. I can't spend all day with you, you know."
"No one asked you to," Harry said, head tilted slightly, watching him. Draco flushed slightly.
"Snape asked me to keep an eye on you," he admitted, knowing that Harry would take it the wrong way. He did.
"I told you he cares about me!" Harry's smile lit up the whole infirmary. "I knew it! When he comes here to give me the antidote I'll take it, just to reassure him, of course, and then he'll know that I return his feelings and we can -"
Draco closed his eyes and sighed before leaving the hospital wing, ignoring Harry's chatter.
After finding Granger with Weasley in the Great Hall and informing them that Potter was back in the infirmary and that someone should probably make him stay that way, Draco had something to eat and went to Arithmancy.
The Arithmancy classroom was on the floor above the hospital wing, so of course it was natural that Draco passed by on the way back to the dungeons after class. He figured that while he was there, he might as well check if Snape had finished the antidote yet. If Harry was back to normal, well, Draco thought he might sleep easier tonight with that knowledge.
Draco could hear voices beyond the doors as he stood in the corridor and debated whether or not to go inside. Once he heard Snape's voice, that decided it.
"Mr. Potter, take the potion this instant." Snape's cold voice greeted Draco as he closed the door softly behind him and took in the scene in front of him. Weasley stood by Harry's bed, offering a vial to Harry, who was ignoring him and gazing up at Snape in appeal. Snape stood several feet away from the bed, glaring furiously at Harry. Weasley was quailing, but it seemed the love potion had robbed Harry of any common sense along with good taste, and he continued to try to speak.
"But sir, I just wanted to say that I understand -"
"Mr. Potter," Snape said furiously, "If you do not take the antidote this instant, you will be in detention until the end of this term."
Harry opened his mouth, but Snape cut him off. "With Filch, Mr. Potter."
Harry deflated slightly. Weasley tried to hand Harry the potion again, before noticing that Draco was standing near Snape, watching the whole thing curiously.
"Why's he here?" he asked abruptly, staring. Snape's lips twisted into a dangerous sneer.
"He helped me brew the antidote, Mr. Weasley. Now give it to your dunce of a friend before you both end up in detention until the end of the year."
Weasley nodded quickly and turned back to Harry, but not without giving Draco a short glare.
"Just drink it Harry," he urged, placing the uncorked vial in Harry's hands. "It's repulsive watching you moon over Snape."
Harry still looked rather deflated, but he drank. When he finished, he handed the vial back to Weasley and sat quietly for a moment before groaning and burying his head in his hands. Snape nodded with satisfaction and swept out of the room, leaving Draco alone with Weasley and Harry. Draco wondered if he should leave too, but then Harry began to speak and Draco had to stay.
"Oh Merlin, Ron, why didn't you kill me?"
Draco bit his lips against a smile. There went the last of his vague worries about Harry's secret Snape-crush.
"It's okay, Harry." Weasley still looked very sick. "It was just a potion. Hermione and I know you'd never like a slimy git like Snape."
Harry shuddered. "Let's never speak of this again."
Weasley nodded solemnly. "Agreed."
Harry finally looked up, face scarlet with embarrassment. "I suppose I should thank you, Malfoy."
Weasley looked confused and Harry explained. "He distracted me and kept me from making a fool of myself in front of Snape."
Weasley stared over at Draco, who raised an eyebrow and addressed Harry. "I wasn't lying to you earlier. Snape really did tell me to keep an eye on you."
Harry blushed again and nodded. "Can we just assume that everything I said to you was the potion?"
Draco nodded, amused. "The only thing I think you were telling the truth about was that conversation of yours with Granger and Weasley."
Weasley himself was staring back and forth between them as Harry stared intently at his knees, cheeks stained permanently red. Draco thought absently that it was actually an attractive look on him.
"So you're not going to use this to embarrass Harry in front of the whole school?" Weasley asked suspiciously. Harry looked horrified and elbowed him hard in the side, hissing at him to shut up.
"Don't think it didn't occur to me, Potter," Draco said with a slight smirk. "But no, I won't. Not even the bits of truth you let slip. I can play nice, as I'm sure you must have noticed over the past few months, especially today."
Harry nodded, looking at him thoughtfully all of a sudden. Only then did Draco realize that Harry would remember all of the particularly stupid things he'd said and that he probably shouldn't remind him of their conversation.
"Well, I have to get to dinner," Draco said brightly. Weasley blinked at the unexpected cheerfulness, and as he left, Draco vowed to avoid Gryffindors until Christmas. It was the only way he could be positive that he wouldn't make too much more of a fool of himself.
Draco did manage to avoid directly interacting with Gryffindors over the next week, though he did catch a few staring at him, particularly Weasley and Granger. This worried him, because as far as he knew, he hadn't done anything to attract their attention recently aside from the love potion episode with Harry. And he didn't want Harry to think about what Draco had said to him that day, because it could only lead to bad things when Harry realised what Draco's words had meant and either scorned or pitied him for them.
It was for this reason that, when he arrived outside the potions classroom early one morning and Harry appeared soon after, he could only nod faintly at him, avoid his gaze, and pray that he wasn't blushing.
He nearly jumped when Harry leaned on the wall right next to him and gave him an uncertain smile, apparently planning on talking.
"So I've been thinking," he began, and Draco wanted him to stop right there.
"Are you sure that's safe?" he asked, blurting out the first thing that might shut Harry up. His plan backfired though, when Harry only looked at him like he was a small puppy that had just done something cute and carried on.
"I've been thinking about what we talked about while I was under the love potion," Harry said, barely blushing. Draco commended him. He certainly wasn't that controlled just then. "I remember you said some things that I wanted to ask you about."
Draco was never coming to potions early again. He would wait until the absolute last minute before he even entertained the idea of potions from now on. He had walked right into this because of his own stupid punctuality.
Draco stared down at his feet, hoping to hide his rapidly reddening cheeks. "Ask away, Potter. I won't stop you."
Harry bit his lip, then blurted out his question. "When you said I could be everything to someone, who did you mean?"
He just had to pick that particular slip, didn't he? "Oh, you know," Draco lifted his head and gestured wildly with his hands. "Just about anyone, really. My point was that you could do so much better than Snape."
"Oh, okay." Harry stuck his hands in his pockets and looked down at the floor, mirroring Draco's previous stance. "Did you have any particular someone in mind? Because I've been thinking, and I -"
Draco didn't know what Harry was trying to prove, but personally, Draco had never been one to beat around the bush. "Potter, don't play dumb, it doesn't suit you. I think you know exactly who I had in mind, so say what you came here to say and be done with it."
"Oh," Harry blushed furiously and rushed through his next words. "Er, in that case, I was wondering if you wanted to go to Hogsmede with me on Saturday."
Draco nearly bit his tongue, he was so caught by surprise. "Hogsmede? With you?"
Harry nodded quickly. "It was you, right? That you had in mind? I've been thinking about it and... and I think I'd like to be everything to you. If that's what you meant. I mean..."
He trailed off, cheeks red, eyes hopeful, and Draco just stared at him, feeling a small smile spread slowly across his face and threaten to take over.
"I'd like that," he said quietly as other students began to file into the hallway where they were standing. Weasley and Granger glanced at them as they passed by, and though there was a warning in Weasley's eyes when he looked at Draco, they both nodded graciously enough. Harry reached out and caught Draco's hand, their voluminous robes hiding the action from the other students.
Draco could have looked into the legendary Mirror of Erised right then and seen himself exactly as he was, leaning against a wall in the potions corridor, Harry Potter's hand warm in his own, heart beating wildly.
Then Harry shifted closer to Draco and whispered something that, sappy as it was, made Draco feel like he must be dreaming. "I think you could be everything to me, too."