Title The Ugly Duckling Syndrome
Gift For: mayfly_78
Rating: Hard-R, for swearing, slash, boy-on-boy lovin' action, sexin', whatever else you wanna call it…
Word Count: 2,029
Summary: Harry Potter works at the Ministry of Magic on the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad with Draco Malfoy, who had turned out to be a surprisingly good friend. Harry's been getting gifts from an anonymous sender for the past two weeks, gifts that have more to them than he may think…
A/N: I'm so excited! This is my first fest I'm participated in, so I'm super duper excited for this, hahaha. XD Hope you enjoy, mayfly! :D
Harry glanced up from where he was sitting at his desk, dread filling him at the familiar voice. "Yes?" he asked expectantly.
"Get your arse over here this instant!"
Harry did as he was told, though he did it slowly, walking over to Malfoy as though he were being sent to the Guillotine. "Yes?" he asked again, obviously thoroughly annoyed at having to leave his work. He raised an eyebrow and folded his arms over his chest as he spoke.
Malfoy's face softened instantly as Harry reached him, his face breaking out in a large grin at seeing how much he could affect the smaller wizard. "How you doing, old chap?" he asked with a smile as he clapped him on the back.
Harry only glared at him at this. "I hate you, you know," he told him, walking sulkily back to his desk.
"Aww, come on Har-Bear, you know you love me," Draco replied smugly, "after all, how can you resist me?"
Harry peered up hatefully through his glasses at the blond. "I resist you quite well actually, thanks," he said with just the tiniest of smiles. "And if by love you mean despise, then yes, I love you."
"You're coming out with me tonight, yeah?"
"Yeah, yeah, pick me up around my flat at nine. Now go back to your desk, will you?" Harry continued to shuffle through his papers.
Draco threw his hands up at this in mock surrender. "Fine, fine, I'm going, I'm going… you prat."
Just then a dark brown-feathered owl flew in through the open window there, heading straight toward Harry's desk. Draco stopped mid-stride as he turned around only to see the bird dropping a package on Harry's desk.
"That's the third one this week, Potter," Draco commented as he raised an aristocratic eyebrow.
"Yeah…" Harry agreed dubiously, obviously surprised as he turned the package over in his hands as he looked for the return address.
"Well go on, open it," the blond prompted.
Harry did, and was surprised to find that in the box was a first edition of the Muggle children's book The Ugly Duckling.
Harry ran a hand gently over the cover as he breathed in softly. "O-oh my god… this, this was my favorite book as a kid. I-I used to take it from Dudley's room after he went to sleep. And then one-"
"-And then one day you forgot to return it, remembered belatedly, went to return it, and were surprised when he didn't even notice, he had so many toys and books. I know, Harry, I've heard the story a million times."
Harry blushed. "I know, it's just… I can't believe they found an original copy – I've been looking for one for ages."
"Whoever it is must really like you…" Draco surmised.
Harry smiled slightly, still staring at the book as he turned it around in his hands. "Heh. Yeah, I guess so." He turned his smile up at Draco, who grinned wryly back at him.
"Alright, so I'll pick you up later, then?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah, I'll be sure to be ready by then."
"Good, I'll see you then," Draco told him and turned to go back to his desk.
Harry looked on after him, smiling all the while.
The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen, the title page read.
Harry smiled at the thought of someone who could put so much time, energy… such thought into picking out such a wonderful gift for just him. It amazed him that someone would even want to "woo" him in the first place.
Flipping through the pages, he stopped as his eyes caught sight of handwriting on a random page.
Looking closer at the page, "Or maybe not so random…"
There, on the last page, the sender had written an inscription.
You're a beautiful person, Harry, inside and out. Don't let them tell you any differently. I love you and have for years now. Please give me a chance.
P.S. You had better figure this out soon or I may just have to punch you. You're very slow at this game – prat.
Harry raised an eyebrow at this, though he couldn't stop the grin from stretching across his face.
Okay, what kind of person calls a guy a prat when they're trying to woo him…? Harry thought to himself contemptuously.
"Potter, you in here?" Draco shouted as he walked through the kitchen.
Harry jumped up from the bed he was laying on and opened the door to his bedroom, shouting back. "Yeah, I'm in here; just give me a moment, yeah?"
He moved to the mirror on the dresser and tried (but failed) futilely to make his unruly locks of what dared to be deemed hair even a semblance of a normal person's.
"I'm taking a soda from the boxy-thing in here," Draco told him, still yelling.
"It's called a refrigerator, you pureblood snob, and no, you're not," Harry called back, giving up on his hair and walking back into the kitchen.
"Yeah, yeah, I know what it's called – refillinatior."
"Refrigerator," Harry corrected him with a quirk of his eyebrow and a slight smirk planting itself on his face.
"Right, that's what I said."
Harry only rolled his eyes and grabbed his jacket from where he had thrown it earlier over the living room chair.
Draco's eyes scanned the loft. "You know, you should really get someone to clean this place for you," he drawled.
"It's fine, Draco."
"But, really, I'm sure if you just got a House Elf in here to clean every once in a while –"
"Leave it, Draco."
"Sod off, Malfoy!"
"Fine, you stupid cranky pants," Draco grumbled.
Harry locked the door behind him and started walking toward the lift. "Besides, Hermione's still on her S.P.E.W. tirade anyway, and I'm already on her bad side after what happened last month with your own House Elves and how I supported it, you know that."
"Ah, yes, it always is fun to anger Granger," Draco replied, getting that dreamy look on his face as he did whenever he annoyed Harry's friends.
Getting in the lift, Harry only shook his head and couldn't help the smile that made its way across his face. "You're a prat, Malfoy," he teased.
Draco smirked at him, and waited for the lift to move. "Same with you, Potter. Same with you."
"No! No, no, no, I'm telling you, Potter, even with you as Seeker, the Chudley Cannons would still never win the World Cup! You're good, but not that good, you egotistical snob."
"Oh, piss off, Malfoy – maybe I could charm the other team while up in the air and distract them so much that they can't score at all."
"Yes, well, perhaps we should test out this theory sometime," Draco replied and chuckled as he took another swig of his beer.
Harry laughed along with him, agreeing. Shaking his bottle, Harry noticed it was empty. "I'm getting another, you want one?"
"Yeah, sure. Thanks."
As Harry came back to the table they were at and sat down, he grinned again at the blond as he continued their conversation. "So… you know that book I got today? Well, they had written something in the back, on one of the last pages."
Draco raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"
"Yeah, well, I copied it down before we left, thought I'd let you look at it if you wanted to?" he asked hesitantly.
"Uhm, so, I had a kid today at work who somehow managed to turn his aunt and uncle that he lives with into salamanders. Salamanders! Can you imagine! Of all things!" Draco replied, laughing nervously as he took another drink and averted his eyes from Harry's own obviously confused ones.
Harry only stared at him, wondering why he would possibly want to change the subject. It just didn't make any sense. "Yeah…" Harry replied slowly, still completely confused, "I had someone today who somehow turned her older brother into a warthog – though, if you ask me, I don't think it was really an accident," he joked, forgetting Draco's strange behavior from before.
"Draco? Why'd you change the subject earlier when I mentioned what was in the book?" Harry asked him hesitantly as they got back to his flat later that night.
Draco kept his head down. "I just… Damn it, Potter, you know I'm not good at this!" he cried out in frustration.
"What the hell are you talking about, good at what?!" Harry yelled, getting more confused and angry by the second.
"Confrontation! I'm not good at confrontation, you should know that by now, you've known me for thirteen years for fuck's sake…!"
Draco started to pace across the length of the kitchen. "I've tried everything I could think of and do you get it? No. Bloody no, because you're a dimwitted idiot who needs things spelled out for you, don't you?!"
"Huh? What d'you mean you've 'tried everything'? What the hell have you tried?"
"By Merlin you are such an idiot, Harry Potter," Draco growled, glaring at the brunet.
"Oh yes, insult me, that's really going to help… you…" And realization slowly dawned on him. "It was you. All along, it was you?"
"I suppose I shouldn't be surprised it took you this long –Gryffindor idiot…" Draco muttered, rolling his eyes as a soft blush took over his cheeks. He sighed. "Look, Potter, I know you don't like me and would probably never in a million years consider me, but at least don't lie to me when you tell me this, alright? Don't give me some bullshit about it not being me but rather you, or don't say something about how you don't want to 'ruin the friendship' – I think your rejection will hurt badly enough without you lying to me on top of it." He looked at Harry expectantly, who was still staring at the blond. "…Don't you have anything to say?"
All Harry did was gape at him, biting his lip in anticipation of what was to come, obviously hesitant to do or say anything lest it ruin anything that should or may happen.
"Say something! Come on, Potter, shake a leg, do something!" Draco cried out in frustration.
Harry strode forward determinedly, took Draco's strong jaw in each hand and pressed his lips to the blond's. He massaged his lips against Draco's soft ones for endless moments, stiff in shock as they were, before finally pulling back to merely stare into Draco's eyes unflinchingly. "You could have just told me."
"You wouldn't have listened," Draco countered.
"You could have just told me," Harry reiterated, and paused, before his face broke out into a large, goofy grin. "I mean, really, Malfoy – wooing me? I would have thought you of all people would have more self respect - and I'm a Gryffindor, we aren't exactly known for our subtlety," Harry quipped, eyes sparkling with mirth.
"Please. You needn't remind me of my shameful new sappy Hufflepuff tendencies."
Harry only laughed.
"And in case you're wondering, yes, I love you. I think I can swallow my pride enough to say just that," Draco told him, allowing a smile to break out onto his face with no more reservations.
"And in case you're wondering… I love you, too." And with that, Harry lent up to kiss him once again, overjoyed at the turn their relationship had taken.
Draco wound his arms around Harry's waist, moving his lips and tongue in time with Harry's as his hands found their way under the brunet's shirt.
Harry suddenly broke away violently from the kiss, finally something occurring to him. "Wait a minute!"
"What?!" Draco cried, annoyed, and tried to lean back down so that he could kiss Harry again, though Harry would have none of it.
"That means you think I used to be ugly!"
"No, that means that I just haven't made you speechless with my lovely skills as of yet. Now hold still, you prat, and allow me to do so?" he suggested silkily, diving back in and swallowing Harry's protests at once, simply leaving him absolutely speechless.