A/N: Part 5/5. Finally finished. Like, for real! I'd fully intended this to be a short one-shot. Then it grew. Sorry it took so long to get this up. Hope you like it!
This chapter is dedicated to nosyrosie16 and everyone who reviewed, because without you I never would have finished. It took a while, but I do keep my promises.
Our Story So Far: Harry's finally fulfilled his dare, but ran away when he realized it was real. Is there any hope for our hapless hero?
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling, not me. No money being made here.
Taking the Dare
A whirlwind raged through Hogwarts that night.
Hermione searched frantically for Harry, determined to help him through this latest crisis (and really, what could be a bigger crisis than Harry liking Malfoy?).
Ron eventually dragged himself out of the library to find Hermione and insist she help him with the Harry situation. He was extremely disturbed to hear that Harry had finally given in to the insanity, but that meant he wouldn't be thinking about Malfoy anymore, right? ("Really, Ron. It wouldn't have gotten so bad if he didn't like Malfoy. Try to keep up!")
Draco stalked to the dungeons feeling supremely irritated. His plan wasn't turning out the way he'd thought it should. He wasn't supposed to care about Harry! And he'd been enjoying that kiss. Of course Granger had to come and interrupt it. And Harry had only kissed him because he'd thought it was a dream! And then the idiot didn't have the decency to stick around and finish what he'd started when he realized it wasn't. (Stupid Gryffindor. Thought they were all about bravery.) And to top it all off, the very worst of all: he had to have the image of the Weasel dreaming about Granger in his head. This day was an unmitigated disaster!
Pansy noticed that poor Draco was upset when he stormed through the Slytherin common room. Ignoring Blaise ("You know better than that, Pans. Didn't you see his face? Stay away!"), she followed him up to the seventh year boys' dorm to comfort him. It's what best friends do, right?
Blaise sighed, and waited a few minutes before following Pansy. He managed to retrieve her (petrified, bound, and gagged; with bright green skin and silver feathers for hair) without attracting Draco's attention, and cast the strongest locking spell he knew on the way out. Apparently the seventh year boys would be sleeping in the common room. Again.
Professor Snape felt a disturbance in the wards around the Slytherin dorms. He recognized Draco's magical signature, weighed his options, and decided to ignore it. Everyone knew better than to disturb Draco when he was this irritated, and whoever had forgotten wasn't worth leaving his tea for. Hopefully Potter had stumbled into the dungeons, and was getting what he deserved.
Harry slept beneath Neville's bed, peaceful and oblivious to the turmoil around him while visions of pale blond hair and sparkling grey eyes danced in his head.
Above him, Neville sat awake, wishing he remembered how to cast a silencing spell and listening to Harry moaning and murmuring Draco's name all through the night.
It was nice, living in the dungeons. The sun never shone into the room in the early morning, birds never sat on the windowsills singing at dawn. There was absolutely nothing to awaken the inhabitants of the dungeons before they were ready. Of course, that assumed they hadn't been up all night, unable to sleep due to the completely incomprehensible actions of the Boy Who Bloody Lived to Irritate Everyone, with his bright green eyes and soft, sweet lips and—
No! I'm not going to keep thinking about him! I'm not going to think about kissing Harry, or holding Harry, or licking Harry, or the way Harry would moan if I sucked him, and I'm especially not going to think about how he'd only let me if he thought he was dreaming!
The dorm was too confining. And he'd already blasted all his dorm mates' beds to pieces, and he really didn't want to be there when they found out. Granted, a quick Repairo would set it to rights, but still. He needed room to pace, and more things to destroy, and he wasn't going to find any of that here. Slamming the door open, he almost tripped over Goyle who had—for whatever idiotic reason—decided to sleep across the threshold.
It's just… it's insulting, that's what it is. Golden boy's too good to touch the slimy snake, although apparently there's no ban on fantasizing about me. Damn it all, the bloody war's over! We might not have been friendly, but we weren't enemies anymore. And he obviously likes me enough to at least dream of kissing me.
Draco stomped up the stairs, still furious. No matter how he looked at it, something didn't add up. Harry's—Potter's behavior had changed too quickly, and too drastically, to be natural.
Which means there must be magic involved. The only question is why I didn't suspect something from the moment I noticed the change! It's not like I'm a mudbl—muggleborn. Merlin, I hate political correctness.
Why didn't I realize something was wrong? No one knows Harry better than I do! And all right, that's weird. Who would cast a love spell, or lust spell, on Harry that targets me? Anyone with that ability, who doesn't mean him harm, would be trying to get him for themselves. Maybe Longbottom misfired? No, he doesn't swing that way. I'd have heard if he did. Besides, a misfire of that sort of spell would make Harry act. Actually, it'd make him act the way he's been acting towards me.
He snarled at some early-rising third year walking through the corridors, the frightened look giving him a brief moment of pleasure before he retreated into his own thoughts.
I don't want him to want me because of a spell.
The realization was sudden and shocking, and completely explained his own reactions to Harry's rather confusing behavior.
Merlin, Mordred, and Morgan le Fay… I think I'm in love with him!
Harry woke slowly, stretching his arms out and reveling in the silence in his head. He lay there for several minutes, eyes closed, trying to figure out where he was and why it was so dark. That's right; I hid under Neville's bed. Embarrassing. At least no one knows.
His head felt like it was filled with wool, thick and fuzzy, and he could only remember bits and pieces of the last few days. The only thing he could see clearly was that one heavenly moment when he'd been kissing Draco, and nothing else in the world had existed.
Stupid Hermione. Why'd she have to go and show up and ruin everything? If she hadn't shown up just then…
Huh. What would have happened, if she hadn't shown up?
After all, he'd only been acting like that because of the spell (okay, maybe a bit because Draco's gorgeous, and hasn't acted like a stuck up spoiled brat since the war ended), but Draco had kissed him back. Kissed him back like he'd wanted it just as badly as Harry did. Wonder why?
He turned his attention inward, focusing on clearing his mind—good thing Snape finally decided to teach me Occlumency properly—and letting the unimportant details drift away.
He was left with three facts, startling in their clarity.
First, he had completed his dare. Rather spectacularly, too, until Hermione had come along.
Second, he still wanted to kiss Draco.
Third… Draco had looked at him with real compassion, right before he'd shoved him up against that wall. And he had looked—well, hurt when Harry had mistaken what was happening for a perfect, perfect dream.
Only one conclusion, I guess… I like Draco, maybe more than that, and he cares for me, and I may have screwed things up before even starting.
There was really only one thing to do now. It was dangerous, terrifying, and possibly stupid. Pulling together all of his Gryffindor courage, Harry crawled out from under the bed. He brushed off his robes (although there wasn't any real need—the house elves would never let dust accumulate in the castle), ran a brush over his hair (which didn't do any good whatsoever), and walked out of the room.
He had to go face the Dragon.
"Did Harry just crawl out from under your bed?"
"Was he there all night?"
"Say, me and Seamus were wondering if you'd maybe like to join us toni—"
Harry didn't have any trouble finding Draco. The Marauder's Map led him to the Astronomy Tower. Draco stood at the top; a glowing silhouette against the pre-dawn light.
Harry couldn't stop his smile at the sight. Really, could he be any more posed? It was almost a shame to ruin the picture he'd created, but…
"Draco?" Harry's voice was soft, almost frightened.
Draco's shoulders stiffened, drawing him up to his regular perfect posture. He gave no other sign that he was aware of Harry's presence.
Right. He has no way of knowing what's been happening, and I ran away from our last—our only kiss. More than kiss. Whatever. He's proud, I have to work with that if I want anything good to come out of this.
He let his mind wander back to how he'd felt when he kissed Draco: safe, and warm, with a good deal of teen lust thrown in. Yes, definitely want something good out of this.
"I know you're angry with me, but I'd like just two minutes to explain? I know it's a lot to ask, but… I want to explain to you, and you deserve to know… Please?" He waited for a response, sighing when Draco kept his back stubbornly turned. "All right. Just… let me know if you want me to leave, and I will." He took a deep breath. "Here goes.
"I guess I should start by telling you that that kiss yesterday? Was bloody perfect. And amazing, and… I don't have words, you know? And, yeah, I was a bit messed in the head, but I'm all better today and it was still the most amazing feeling…
"I didn't realize it until this morning, but I've been thinking about you, and dreaming about you, for a while now. Longer than my, um, funny behavior. I mean, you've always been" beautiful "attractive, but since Voldemort died and all, you've been… nicer? Sort of. Still snarky as hell, but it hasn't felt as mean… It's like, you're not trying to hurt me anymore, and I've noticed. Actually, you're pretty funny most of the time. Or maybe I can just appreciate it now. I just…
"I wasn't allowed to think of you as anything other than an enemy for six years! It's a hard habit to break. And I'm sorry for that, so sorry you wouldn't believe it. The worst part of it is that it took a stupid fucking game to get me to see what I want, to see you, and that just screwed everything up. Not that I think any of this is a game! I swear, I don't see you as a game, or dare, or… I'm just trying to say, I'm serious about this, even though I didn't really get that until this morning.
"When we were firsties, I found this mirror over the Christmas holidays. It showed your heart's desire. I saw my parents standing with me. I must've spent hours staring at it… I think that, if I found it today, you'd be there too, and—"
"You talk too much."
"Oh." Harry's heart sank, his shoulders slumping. I tried… and it's not like anything's really different… Just a broken heart, nothing serious. "I'll just, I'll leave you be then."
He turned to climb down the ladder, and find somewhere to hole up and cry. He was halfway there when Draco's voice stopped him in his tracks.
"Just say you love me, idiot. Less words, kissing sooner, where's the bad?" Harry turned back to Draco, not quite believing what he was hearing. Draco had crossed the tower. He was smirking. "And I love you too."
Draco and Harry missed breakfast that day. It being a Saturday, nobody really noticed until lunch, and even then only a few people put the facts together.
Hermione, of course, arrived at the correct conclusion almost immediately. It rather put her off her lunch—not because Harry and Malfoy were both boys, but because they were Harry and Malfoy. Ron agreed, but told her to keep it to herself, because didn't Harry deserve some happiness?
Snape saw the dual absence as evidence that his hopes of the previous evening had come to fruition, and Draco was merely avoiding notice when Potter's condition came to light.
And Neville, trying to avoid the corridor where he'd seen Dean and Seamus last night, stumbled across two very involved, very naked young men in the secret passage between the Great Hall and Gryffindor Tower.