Authors Note: So this story was written for my lovely friend and beta Laurel for her birthday. In it I was to include a fear of balloons, a Monty Python quote/reference (50 points to anyone who catches it) Leather pants & Fairy lights. I'm fairly certain I crammed them all in there between either the first or second part. This was supposed to be a oneshot, but it's rather long so I'm breaking it into two parts, so technically for her birthday she gets a cliffhanger (which is only appropriate I think). The second chapter will be posted tomorrow. Many thanks to my army of emergency beta's Shannon, Cris and Andrea!! Love you Laurel and Happy Birthday!!


Let the Flames Begin – Part 1

Draco had never really considered himself much of an action guy. He played the odd bit of Quidditch but mostly because he liked to fly, not particularly because he enjoyed the game or even the camaraderie. He was good with a wand, but not the best by any means. He had always shied away from getting his hands dirty, preferring instead to assign such tasks to fat brainless lumps like Crabbe and Goyle.

No, Draco was more of a voyeur than a doer. He liked to watch; people mostly, for their habits, strengths and weaknesses. He liked to size them up and weight them against himself so that he could better determine their value to him. That was what made him sit through Quidditch games when he was young, what had him spying on his father's business meetings and what had him eavesdropping on his mother's private tea parties.

Once school began however, Draco found that his skills were put to the test when he came across one Harry James Potter. The Gryffindor -who without a second thought chose a poor excuse for a pureblood over a Malfoy- was nothing but an anomaly. He was like action incarnate, always running, shouting, doing and being; it was as if he were in every way Draco's opposite, which intrigued the Slytherin to no end.

Even their appearances were vastly contrasted; Harry was dark and warm while Draco was light and cool. Harry was kind and considerate toward others while Draco tended to lock others out of his heart and mind altogether. It frustrated Draco so immensely that he couldn't seem to understand his nemesis; so he watched him.

Now, his voyeurism was not what brought him –at twenty-three years, four months, eighteen days and six hours old- to live in the home of the very same Harry Potter who he'd feuded with for as long as he could recall, but it was what had him sitting in a chair and watching the man sleep soundly.

It was one of those nights where the former Gryffindor hero had been so exhausted that he fell into bed without a care. When Draco had arrived in the room, carefully avoiding the three squeaking floorboards near the door, he set to work carefully removing the raven-haired man's glasses and his trainers and setting them quietly beside the bed. He then tucked Potter in and with a barely there press of the lips, kissed the scar on Harry's forehead before retiring to his usual chair in the corner.

Draco had no real idea why it was so relaxing to watch his former enemy sleep, but he often found himself there, gazing in secret until dawn blossomed through the windows and forced him back to his own room before Harry woke and found him there. Insomnia seemed to be the curse placed upon him for years of maliciousness as a child. Nightmares plagued him if he ever attempted to sleep at night, so he'd venture to Harry's room –always masked by darkness and a well-placed disillusionment charm- and it would calm him enough that he might sleep for a few hours afterward, while the rest of the house bustled together for breakfast.

He lived with several others at Harry's home –the most Ancient and Noble House of Black, otherwise referred to by the various tenants as Number Twelve. The war was over, the dust long settled and though living with a herd of Gryffindor's wasn't his first choice, he was happier there than he would have imagined possible. He'd been sharing the home for several years now, having moved in shortly after turning eighteen. Both of his parents were tried and convicted of their crimes during the war, and they warmed a cell together in Azkaban while their fortune and property were auctioned off. Draco was left with nothing, or near to it, and felt broken and battered by the world around him. No longer did he have a place as Pureblood elite, but instead he was often treated as yesterday's rubbish. Eventually he had to stop sulking and do something about it though, so he found a job in St. Mungo's mental therapy department.

The position utilized the best of his skills; allowing him to watch, listen and assess a person's issues with ease, though he found the act of having to sit through mundane life story after mundane life story a bit… well, mundane. Still, it afforded him a small flat, ghastly and remote, but his. It was at the prestigious wizarding hospital that he began making amends for his past sins. Not only was he helping people for a living, but he was also working side by side with none other than Hermione Granger.

Their union was tenuous at the start, both of them choosing to speak only when spoken to and otherwise avoiding each other. After awhile, however, Hermione learned to appreciate Draco's dry humor, and he began to respect her infallible work ethic. They started a more 'friendly' relationship –nothing unseemly, just the occasional lunch together or shared tea in the mornings.

One morning, Draco made the mistake of letting Hermione come to his flat before heading out for breakfast. That was when all hell broke loose.

"Draco, you can't possibly live here," she demanded with a turned up nose. Hermione wasn't one who paid much attention to outward appearances, but even she couldn't stand to look at the place. Her shoes made a sticking noise on the floor when she walked, the air was musty and stale, and the wallpaper was peeling and yellowed. The furniture was nothing to speak of; just a rotten looking couch and a rickety table with a matching chair, and since it was a studio, the bed was crammed into the living room with the rest of it.

It horrified Hermione to think of someone she cared about –and for some odd reason she had started caring for Malfoy- living in squalor.

"What do you spend your money on?" she asked nosily. "You really need to prioritize."

"Thanks, but this is it. It's not as if I have a closet full of high-end designer robes," he huffed. He had hoped that Hermione would have been tactful enough to grimace and leave the subject alone, but clearly that had been too high an expectation.

She rolled her eyes and shook her head knowingly. "I know you can afford better than this; we do the same job, remember? Is it drugs?" she asked, shooting him a pitiful look.

Draco narrowed his eyes and waved her out of the flat, following and shutting the door tightly behind him. He rummaged through his robe pocket, procured a stub from his recent paycheck and handed it over. She studied it for a moment, and Draco suspected she was contemplating checking it for masking charms. Eventually she simply handed it back to him and looked rather furious. "How can you make so much less than me?" she demanded. "We do the same work, and you're just as good. I don't understand!"

"I'm the son of two convicted Death Eaters, and you're the best friend of the hero," Draco replied, a slight bitterness to his tone. He knew it was unfair, but he also knew there was little he could do to change the minds of a committee of bureaucrats.

"That shouldn't matter! This is an outrage! Why, I'm going to go to them and demand-" she began, her voice raising to a shrill octave that made Draco cringe.

"You'll do nothing," he interrupted. "I'm not losing my job because you lost your temper. Just leave it be. I'm fine; I don't need anyone's charity."

He knew his tone had slipped into his old haughty nature, but he didn't care. He didn't like the way things were, but he knew that the only way to change them was to prove that he wasn't his father and that would take time.

Luckily, Hermione dropped it, and they were able to have a pleasant day. At least, Draco thought she had dropped it. Later that week proved him wrong however.

He was invited to where Hermione lived with several others, and though he was reluctant to go, he thought it best not to rudely turn away her offer of lunch with her friends since he was in fact one of them now. Draco was under the impression that it would be better to get everything out of the way all at once, sort of like ripping off a bandage –it would sting, but only for a moment- so he begrudgingly agreed to lunch with all of her friends.

At the door, he was greeted by Weasley –the Ron variety, which he soon realized was only one of four Weasley varieties living there. The man grunted a greeting, obviously not thrilled with Malfoy's arrival but determined to be civil. Draco was equally determined, as Ron was Hermione's fiancé after all, and if Draco wanted to be friends with Hermione, he'd have to be friends with her future husband – or so Granger told him anyway.

Next in line –because it seemed that the entire household had set up a receiving area of him- was the girl Weasley, followed by the twins. After that was Looney Lovegood -who he had to make a conscious effort not to refer to her as such- Neville Longbottom and last but certainly not least, the man of the house, Harry Potter. Draco suppressed a groan as he looked upon the man he'd been an enemy of for years, even though the last they'd seen of one another was right after the war.

Draco had to admit, Potter looked good. Auror training had done well by his physique and his obsidian hair –though still messy- fit perfectly with the chiseled jaw line and broad shoulders he had developed. His glasses sat rather lopsided on his nose, just as Draco remembered from school, and his eyes shone bright green behind them. He smiled weakly at Draco then left the group and headed toward what Draco suspected was the kitchen.

Hermione looked on from the corner and shrugged slightly, a gesture Draco knew to mean that she had no idea why Harry simply took off. She led Draco into the other room where a nice lunch was all laid out, and they sat chatting awkwardly yet amicably over sandwiches and pumpkin juice. Potter joined them later, but just hung back quietly and ate without a word.

It was nearing two in the afternoon, and Draco couldn't believe he'd spent so long there. The twins were vastly entertaining with their tales about running the Weasley Wizard Wheezes stores; there were now three of them. Luna was the only non-Gryffindor, but you'd never be able to tell she was in Ravenclaw unless you really listened to some of her dreamy advice. It worried Draco when he discovered that she was beginning to make sense. She and one of the twins were an item it seemed –though he couldn't tell which was her boyfriend because both Fred and George looked the same to him. Then Ginevra and Neville were paired off as well, which made Draco to wonder if the rest of the house was coupled as well –leaving the other twin and of course Harry. He was displeased to realize he didn't like the idea of the two boys together; not one bit, but laughed it off as a fairly preposterous suggestion.

"So Malfoy," one of the twins asked; Draco thought it might be George. "Hermione's always got great stories from her job. Tell us one of yours."

"Yeah," the other twin piped in… maybe that one was George. "Who's been your craziest patient?"

"They're not crazy!" Hermione chastised, and Draco imagined she must have to say that a lot around this crowd, but the twins ignored her.

Draco knew exactly which story to tell them. "Okay, so there's this woman named Laurel, she's not a patient really, as in it's not as if she stays there. She just has regular appointments set up so that she can tell me what's bothering her."

"It's because she's hot for your body," Hermione teased, having met the woman he spoke of on a few occasions.

"Not true, but apart from that I see her about once a month, maybe a little less," Draco explained.

"So, aside from her being attracted to you, what's wrong with her?" Ron asked playfully.

Draco rolled his eyes but continued. "Well, nothing much at first, I mean she has some quirky hobbies-"

"Like what?" Luna asked, clearly interested in something she might be able to relate to.

"Like writing gay romance stories," Draco offered.

"Gay men or gay women?" the twins asked in unison.

"Men," Draco replied and both boys grimaced dramatically and waved for Draco to continue. That answered his question about Fred –or was it George- and Harry he supposed. In fact his eyes flicked up to the green-eyed hero, but found Harry staring at his own cup.

"So what else?" the twins prompted when Draco didn't continue immediately.

"Well, she just does this writing for fun, so no harm no foul. She's Australian-" he began again, but was once more cut off, this time by laughter from everyone at the table.

"Say no more, mate. She's crazy, we get it," Ron teased.

"Throw another shrimp on the barbie," one twin joked in a terrible impersonation of an Aussie accent.

"A dingo ate my baby!" the other exclaimed in an equally bad tribute.

"That wasn't the funny bit," Draco groaned and shook his head.

"Go on then," Ron prodded.

"Well, last session I find out she has Globaphobia," Draco laughed, but everyone else just stared at him blankly, not understanding what that meant.

"She's afraid of balloons," Hermione explained and the rest of the table joined Draco's laughter.

"Balloons?" Ron asked when he caught his breath.

"Yup. She's afraid of them popping," Draco elaborated.

"It's not nice to make fun of people," Hermione lectured through her own snicker.

It was nearly dark outside before the group quieted from their story telling and retired to the sitting room. Harry again hung at the back of the group, and they all cast knowing glances at him. Draco felt completely left out of the loop for the first time that day.

"Let's put it to a vote then," Harry said cryptically. "All who agree to 'Mione's terms raise your hand."

Every hand went up, and Draco looked at them all quizzically and began to wonder if he was about to be sacrificed or voted out of England.

"So be it," Harry said with a curt nod and walked off again, this time heading upstairs.

Hermione squealed and grabbed Draco by the hand pulling him up the stairs with the rest of the group in tow. Harry was nowhere to be seen when Hermione got to the top floor and flung open one of the doors there. Inside was a bedroom -a very nice bedroom- complete with a large four-poster bed, a wardrobe, a sitting area and a private bath. It was actually bigger than his flat and Draco looked at Hermione quizzically.

"No offense Hermione, but I'm just not attracted to you, and you're engaged," Draco said motioning toward the bed.

Hermione rolled her eyes and swatted him in the arm. "Stop being ridiculous. We want you to live here."

Draco's eyes widened slightly, and then he burst out laughing. "And I'm the one being ridiculous?"

"We're serious," she protested. "I told them all about your flat-"

"You told them?" Draco whined, feeling his face heat up.

"And we agreed to have you over and see if you got on with everyone," she continued, ignoring Draco's outburst. "Then we voted."

"No need to consult me I suppose," Draco griped, feeling desperately awkward. He didn't need a group of Gryffindor's (and one Ravenclaw) deciding to pity him and add him to their little family.

"That's what we're doing now," Ginevra pointed out. "We had to make sure we could all get on with you before Hermione offered though."

"But we do," the twins added with mischievous grins, and Draco suspected all they cared about was a fresh guinea pig living upstairs.

"So?" Hermione prompted.

"I have a flat," Draco protested.

"You have a rubbish bin with a door," Hermione corrected.

"It's already really full here. I don't want to inconvenience anyone by being one more roommate," Draco added.

"Ginny and Neville are getting their own place soon," Hermione countered.

"It's not even your house, it's Harry's. You can't just vote me in here. It's pretty clear that he doesn't like the idea," Draco pointed out, hoping this last ditch effort might relieve him of this embarrassing situation.

"How is that clear?" came a deep and sultry voice from the back of the group, and Draco watched as everyone parted to reveal Harry leaning against the doorjamb and looking like sex incarnate having changed into a pair of low slung pajama bottoms and a tight vintage tee-shirt.

Draco couldn't find the words that had been on the tip of his tongue only moments before as he stared into Potter's brilliant green eyes. "You haven't said a word all day," Draco replied at last, happy that his voice didn't betray his dry throat.

Harry merely shrugged, his shirt riding up just an inch or two and revealing a flash of sun-kissed flesh. "I didn't have anything to say," he replied simply.

His entire body began to burn as Draco watched Potter's eyes sparkle like jewels. When had he become so damn sexy? "Y-you didn't vote," Draco stammered.

"All in favor," Harry said, and everyone raised his or her hands again, this time Harry did as well. "Better?" he asked, and Draco nodded dumbly, having found it quite better to be flashed a bit more of Potter's tight torso.

"So it's agreed, Draco you're now living at Number Twelve, go get your things," Hermione ordered, and Draco shuffled down the stairs under the watchful eye of his new roommates, baffled that he had agreed to it in the first place –and not sure he actually had agreed, but every time he thought of refusing again, Potter's stare flooded his vision and his stomach clenched violently at the idea of not being near him always.


It was rather odd how easily Draco settled in with the rest of them. Despite Hermione's bullying him into moving there, he was quite happy with the arrangement. The surroundings were a huge improvement of course, and the company was nice, but everyone had their own schedules, so they all just came and went as they pleased so it never really felt like Draco was living with over half a dozen other people.

As Hermione mentioned, it wasn't long before Ginevra and Neville moved to Hogwarts where Longbottom had been offered a position in Herbology, so then it was down to three Weasley's and one less Gryffindor.

The worst part about living there wasn't the fact that there were so many others there too, however, it was that Draco rarely saw the one roommate he was eager to see more of.

Harry's work hours made him quite illusive. He was rarely at meals, never joined them in the sitting room afterward, and when he was there he was quiet –a vast difference from the energetic boy he'd gone to school with.

"So what's the deal with Potter?" Draco asked one morning on their way into work.

"How do you mean?" Hermione inquired softly, as if she were hiding something.

"I mean," Draco replied dramatically. "Why is he so different from at Hogwarts."

"He's not that different. He's just busy," she denied, and Draco could tell it was an evasion of the truth because he specialized in the trait –or used to at least.

"Bullocks. I might not have been all buddy-buddy with him in school, but I remember what he was like," he said, and Hermione sighed.

"I think he's –and if you repeat this to anyone I'll hex your arse off- I think he's lonely," she replied at last.

"How can anyone be lonely in a house full of people?" Draco asked, but deep down he understood. Harry had been trapped in a house full of couples for over a year, while he remained alone and unattached.

Draco already felt a little like that himself, and he'd only been there a few months. It wasn't anything big; it's not as if the happy couples would start shagging on the sofa for everyone to see or anything, but it was little things that always made Draco feel left out. Luna and Fred –for he found out later that night that it was Fred, not George she was dating- often snuggled by the fireplace or fed each other at meals. George had his girlfriend Angela over pretty often, and they loved to snog in the kitchen when they thought no one else was around. It was even tormenting when Hermione and Ron argued because in the end, Ron would shoot Hermione a crooked grin, Hermione would sigh, give in and all would be well again, and Draco knew what would come later when the two were alone.

What Draco wouldn't give to have a lover's spat and make-up sex. It wasn't fair. All around him, people were coupling up and getting married or at the very least getting engaged.

Hermione merely shrugged at his reply, not understanding at all since she was one of the people in blissful coupledom. "I don't know. He just can't seem to find the right gu- er person."

"You were about to say 'guy'!" he blurted. "Is Harry gay?"

"I never said that," she replied briskly and quickened her pace. She was no match for Draco's long legs, however, and he caught up in two strides.

"Tell me," he demanded. It couldn't possibly be true could it? Could the boy Draco was lusting after actually share the same feelings? He banished the thought right away though. Draco hadn't given much thought to the reality of Potter and him as a couple before when he assumed Potter was straight, but now it seemed fairly clear that Harry just wasn't interested. Why else would Harry avoid him as if he had leprosy?

"It's not for me to tell one way or the other," she admonished. "Why does it matter?" she asked, and Draco watched her face go from mild curiosity to abject shock in seconds. "Come to think of it, you've never introduced me to one of your girlfriends," she teased, or at least it seemed that she thought she was teasing until Draco spoke again.

"That's because I don't date women. I like men," Draco replied honestly, purposefully taking all the fun out of her jab.

"Really?" she asked, a look of genuine surprise on her face. "I was just-"

"Joshing, I know, but yes, I'm gay. I love the cock, can't get enough. Love to-" I began but Hermione shook her head, cutting me off.

"I get it," she replied. "No need to be crude."

Draco laughed. "I wouldn't find it offensive if you announced that you loved cock," Draco challenged.

"Oh yeah?" Hermione replied. "Well I do. I love cock with freckles and red pubic hair," she teased, and Draco made a choking sound.

"Now that was crude," he joked, and they shared a laugh.

"I guess we're even then," she remarked.

"Does it really have freckles?" he asked with a grimace, and Hermione slugged him lightly in the arm.

"Now about you and Harry," she mused, and Draco's eyebrows shot up suspiciously.

"What about me and Harry?" he asked, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

"Why don't you two go out?" she asked.

"You know, not all gay men are attracted to one another simply because they're gay," Draco told her rather firmly.

"Are you attracted to Harry?" she asked, already seeming to know the answer.

"That's not the point," he muttered.

"What is?" she asked with a laugh.

"He's rarely even home, and when he is he doesn't give me the time of day," Draco grumbled.

"Aw, you really do like him," Hermione replied pitifully and patted Draco on the back –to which he scowled at her.

"The point is I don't know if I like him. He's hot… really hot, but I don't know him," Draco replied.

"He's great," Hermione assured him.

"So you say," Draco muttered. "Anyway, if Harry were even remotely interested he would at the very least talk to me."

"Maybe," Hermione whispered, and then they had to part ways and get to work. It wasn't until that Friday night that Draco found out what that 'maybe' meant.


"I'm not going," Draco told her firmly.

"You will go, you will have fun, and you will wear this," Hermione demanded as she pointed to a tight, slinky black shirt and a pair of black leather pants.

"No I'm not," Draco repeated. "And where did you get these anyhow? Gay-R-Us?"

Hermione snickered and shook her head. "Harry's closet."

Draco's jaw dropped, and he began to laugh. "You're kidding, right?"

"They look really good on him, and you two were about the same size," she mused defensively.

"I'm taller," Draco corrected.

"Not by much," she protested.

"By enough to make those look ridiculous on me," Draco told her, holding them up to demonstrate.

"Fine," she said as she snickered at the gap the pants would have left at Draco's ankles. "Then what are you wearing?"

"Nothing," Draco replied.

"Well, that will certainly make an impression," Hermione noted with a wink.

"I'm wearing nothing because I'm not going," Draco repeated. "I don't do clubs, Hermione, and you can't even guarantee that Harry will come; even if he does it's not as if you can force him to notice me."

"No, but you can force him to notice you, and he will be there. He promised," she whined, and Draco already knew he was going to give in so he might as well get something out of the bargain.

"Fine, but I'm picking out my attire and you're buying me a drink as soon as we get there," he demanded. Hermione nodded quickly and beamed at him. "And you'll buy me three more if Harry doesn't talk to me, four if he doesn't show," he added.

"He'll show, and he'll be all over you," she teased before dancing out Draco's bedroom door.


The club was full to bursting when they arrived. Everyone at Number Twelve came with them as if they were all in on the plan and wanted to watch the show of epic failure. There was a reason Draco didn't have a boyfriend already. There was certainly no shortage of hot guy men in London, but Draco was a watcher. It was much easier to catch a man while grinding together on a dance floor, but much more difficult when sitting at a dark corner booth -watching.

He had a sinking feeling that Hermione wasn't going to let that happen tonight though.

His first drink was purchased by Hermione -as arranged- and by one in the morning he was nudging her for his next one. "He's not coming," Draco groaned.

"He'll be here," she argued.

"The club closes in two hours," Draco protested.

"He'll be here," she repeated, and as if that was Harry's queue to enter, he emerged from the pulsing crowd and started walking toward them.

It was a sight for sore eyes watching Harry make his way across the dance floor. With every beat of the music Harry's foot hit the ground as if his journey to the table was his own dance. His eyes were locked on Draco, and they stayed that way as one after the other, different men groped, grabbed and tried to pull Harry's attention toward them instead. But Harry politely moved out of reach with a seductive shift of hips or a grazed hand on their shoulder. He moved like a ship through water, and the sea of men seemed to part willingly to let him through –even if it was for the chance to check out his arse.

"Hey," he shouted over the beat of music that still rang in Draco's ear. "I wasn't sure I would find you in here. Where the hell did you find this place, Mione?" he asked, his green eyes leaving Draco's for the first time.

"A co-worker told me about it," she confessed.

"Is this why you set these out for me to wear?" he asked with an amused smile, pointing at the black leather pants he was sporting. Hermione had been right, he looked great in them, better than great. They looked like an orgasm made from tight shiny fabric, and Draco just wanted to lick him –but instead he just sat there and watched.

Harry hadn't worn the slinky top that Hermione had tried to force on Draco though, instead opting for a subtler black tee shirt. "So, are you going to dance with me since you dragged me out to this infernal place?" Harry asked Hermione.

"No, but Draco will," she offered.

"Oh yeah?" he asked, his eyes going back to Draco. He thought there was something different about the raven-haired man, and he spotted it then –no glasses. His eyes shone brighter than ever without them. "Come on then."

A sharp elbow to the ribcage from Hermione forced Draco up, and he took Harry's hand and let him lead them out on the dance floor. He was desperately hoping not to make an arse of himself out there, but Harry made it seem easy, so Draco just went with it. The beat was heavy, and before long their hair was soaked through with sweat. Draco knew he probably looked like a drowned rat, but Harry looked like a glistening god as his body moved around Draco and pressed against him.

Just as Draco started to feel the awkwardness leave him and he got used to the rhythm he and Harry had created between them, the music shifted and a new song began playing –a much slower song.

Harry shot him a crooked grin and draped his arms across Draco's shoulders, locking his hands behind Draco's neck. Draco had no idea where to put his hands and so eventually just settled for wrapping them around the Gryffindor's trim waist. They just sort of swayed there while Draco tried to think of something witty or charming to say.

"So how do you like our lot so far?" Harry asked, beating him to the punch.

"I love you," Draco said and then blushed furiously. "I mean, I love guys –er you guys, all of you that is, Hermione, Ron-"

Harry laughed and shook his head in mock dismay. "I never thought I'd see the day when silver-tongued Draco Malfoy was at a loss for words."

"You make me nervous," Draco admitted and then wished that he hadn't.

"Why is that?" Harry asked, his head tilted to the side in a questioning stance.

He wanted to just blurt that it was because Harry was so damned delectable, but instead he shrugged. "I like it at the house, but you don't seem to like me there."

"I work a lot," Harry admitted.

"I work a lot," Draco corrected. "You work constantly."

A soft smile curled the edges of Harry's lips, and he nodded. "I always mean to slow down, but don't really have a reason to at the moment."

Draco wanted to think that Harry's eyes were looking hopefully at his, as if begging Draco to be the reason to slow down, but just then a foreign arm came between them and Harry was turned to face some new stranger. The music stopped, or at least it did for Draco, as he stared at the handsome man pulling Harry away and grinding against him. He took a step back and then another until he was stumbling off the dance floor back to his table.

"What's wrong?" Hermione asked, her voice twisted with the question.

"He's dancing with someone else," Draco muttered, barely audible over the thumping music.

"Then you go dance with someone else," she demanded.

"I don't want to," Draco replied, rolling his eyes and trying to sit down, but Hermione shifted so that he couldn't without sitting on her lap.

"Go out there and dance with someone and make him jealous," she ordered.

"That's not my style, Hermione. Plus, he'd have to be interested to be jealous," Draco huffed.

"He is interested. I've never seen him so interested in anyone before, and you were talking," she pointed out.

"Well, now someone else holds his interest, I'm leaving," Draco announced, feeling completely dejected and headed for the door. He only made it halfway across the room when Hermione grabbed his arm. "I'm leaving, Hermione, he's just not interested-"

"You abandoned me."

Draco whirled to see that it wasn't Hermione that had grabbed him at all -it was Harry. "You seemed like you were having fun, so I just left you to it," Draco replied.

"I was having fun dancing with you," Harry told him; leaning in so Draco could hear him over the music. The gesture brought with it the heady scent of Harry's skin and Draco nearly melted. "When I finally got away from him you were gone."

"Well I'm here now," Draco sighed, not really wanting to dance, but not wanting to part from Harry's side either. Harry grabbed his hand and led him toward the booths, squashing into a private one and patting the seat beside him.

Draco gladly obliged, and Harry turned in his seat to face Draco. "You really have changed haven't you?" Harry asked.

"What, from that arrogant git I used to be in school?" Draco teased.

"Yeah, that's the one," Harry replied with a grin. "I wasn't sure I could believe Hermione at first, but you seem so different."

"War and parental imprisonment are rather sobering," Draco admitted, but Harry only nodded.

"Hermione tells me you think I hate you," he said, a slight tinge of humor to his voice.

"That's not what I said," Draco rebuked. "I don't think you care enough to hate me anymore."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Harry asked, sounding slightly defensive.

"It means that at one point I think you hated me, but after all this time I don't think you care about me either way," Draco explained.

"I care enough to hate you," Harry told him, his smile returning.

"Oh?" Draco asked. "So Hermione was right after all."

"About?" Harry asked quizzically.

"She said you hated me," Draco lied, wanting to instigate trouble for the woman who tattled on his feelings about Harry to Harry.

"I don't," Harry replied seriously and with no drama or even a hint of a smile.

"What do you think of me then?" Draco asked as he looked into Harry's perfect green eyes.

Harry leaned forward slightly, and Draco's heart sped up; he was certain that Harry was going to kiss him. "I think you're a nice addition to my home," he replied and winked before leaning back.

Draco rolled his eyes and was about to press his luck further when Luna and Fred came and sat across from them. "So are you two going to shag or what?" Fred asked, and Draco's face blushed a brilliant crimson.

"Stop being an arse, Fred," Harry complained. "Draco and I are just talking."

"But was this talking leading to shagging?" he asked with a smirk.

"The talking was leading to more talking," Harry replied with a roll of his eyes.

"And that talking, was that talking going to lead to shagging?" Fred pressed.

"Would you stop it, I don't plan to shag Draco," Harry huffed, looking annoyed.

Draco's heart sunk a bit, not because he'd expected to wake up in the Gryffindor's bed the next morning, but just because of the adamant denial –as if it were such a preposterous notion that it was stupid to even mention it.

"You're no fun," Fred muttered and pulled Luna away.

"Sorry about him," Harry apologized. "He can be a bit gruff."

"Fred's fine," Draco muttered distractedly. "Hey, do you mind if we get out of here? I'm not feeling so well."

"Er, sure," Harry replied looking confused.

When they got to the house Hermione looked worried, and Harry hovered by the banister watching Draco trudge up the stairs. "Feel better, okay?" he called up and Draco responded with something rather inaudible before disappearing in his room.


Authors Note: So I put some of the challenges into this part, and a couple will be left for part two. I hope you all enjoy it (Laurel especially). Oh, and clearly there is no offense meant toward Australians… lol.