Rainfall - by Sara's Girl
Disclaimer: JKR owns this stuff. I'm just playing with it to cheer myself up.
AN – there really isn't any point to this at all. I just wanted to write about the rain.
7th-year fluffy!verse, so not to be expecting character development or anything profound, ok? Ok.
Please forgive me if this is totally surreal, but I'm not well at all. I have a fever and keep going alternately sick and head-swim lightheaded. A hug would be nice, I promise not to breathe on you.
For dannyfranx, who is lovely, just because. And there's a word in there for you, my dear. You've made it my little mission to get it into every fic :)
Lots of people like strange things.
At least, that's what Draco tells himself. On days like this, it's practically his mantra; he allows those words to echo around his head until he feels better about being the only Slytherin at the breakfast table with a smile on his face—albeit a small one—at the sight of the heavy, portentous grey of the enchanted ceiling. Strike that, he thinks, looking around at the gloomy faces of his fellow students, perhaps he's the only one in the entire Hall.
Miserable bastards. He's always thought grey was a rather nice colour, apart from anything else.
With a small sigh, Draco chews his not-crispy-enough bacon and passable fried tomatoes and glances up once more at the ceiling. The clouds swirl ominously now, saturated, and it won't be long. Despite his better efforts, he's already calculating furiously and trying to work out just when he can slip outside without someone following him and stand in the impending deluge.
And he will, because however strange it may make him, Draco Malfoy has a bit of a thing about the rain. A secret thing, though, because when people are watching, there are things you do, and things you do not do. Although really, it's no stranger than—
"Get some last night, Draco?" Blaise interrupts his musings from the opposite side of the table. "Because I can't see any other reason for looking so pleased with yourself on such a disgusting morning."
Slowly, Draco lowers his gaze from the ceiling and meets the enquiring dark eyes. "Yes, Blaise, as a matter of fact, I did. I started with Professor McGonagall, then I had Potter, and then I finished off with your mother."
His friend's handsome face twists immediately in disgust and Draco's small smile reasserts itself.
"Tosser," Blaise mutters, looking away from Draco and at his unfinished breakfast with ill-concealed distaste.
"Well, then. Don't ask stupid questions."
Draco resumes eating, allowing the tines of his fork to drag heavily against his tongue as he thinks. There's a reason that he doesn't like anyone to speak to him before coffee. Stupid Zabini, not being afraid of him. Pansy's just as bad, but Merlin knows where she is this morning; that girl just isn't very good with anything a.m.
Ah. That was it. It's not just him, he knows that. Everyone's got a weird little thing or two. Some innocent, some... not so much. Draco flicks a covert glance at Blaise, who, to his satisfaction, still looks rather nauseated.
Blaise, for example, likes it when Professor Sinistra tells him off. Draco knows this, because he and Blaise are in the same Astronomy class, and Blaise is actually very good at Astronomy, though one wouldn't think it from the work he turns in. He's dedicated to his art, Draco will give him that, and he supposes Sinistra's not bad, if you like women of a certain age. Or women at all.
Greg is weird about his toast. He always has three slices at breakfast, and he always has raspberry jam, and then strawberry, and then apricot. Outside of Slytherin House, there are a lot of students who are afraid of Greg, but Draco suspects that watching just one No-Raspberry-Jam-Left hissy-fit would put paid to that.
Pansy has her thing about the Weasel that she thinks no one knows about. The trouble with Pans, though, is that she isn't very good at staring.
Draco is an expert starer. That's how he knows so much about Potter, and it's certainly not just because Potter, like the rain, is one of his weird little things. Even if he is a bit.
Potter likes to write with green ink, which isn't very Gryffindor of him, and Draco thoroughly approves. He gets turned on when he rides his broom, and Draco knows this because he's seen the evidence for himself; it's not as though Quidditch gear leaves a lot to the imagination. Draco has to admit that he thoroughly approves of this, too. Both the kinky broom-riding arousal and the tightness of Potter's pants while he's doing it.
He also likes to read the Daily Prophet with breakfast every single morning, even though from what Draco can see, it seems to make him angry more than anything else. To be frank, though, angry is a pretty good look on him, along with aroused and confused and wet. Draco would deny it under torture, but Potter looks pretty damn good when he smiles, too, but he never smiles at Draco, so the point is immaterial.
Sometimes, when he's reading that horrible excuse for a newspaper and trying to eat his scrambled eggs, he's so absorbed that he misses his mouth, and then what happens next is always the same. The Weasel laughs, and Granger prods Potter with her wand and fingers and handkerchiefs and sighs a lot—she's good at that—and Potter blinks those ridiculous green eyes at her and merely looks exasperated while she fusses over him as though she's his mother. Which is a disturbing thought all of its own, and not just because Potter's mother is dead.
Draco's not even going to begin with Granger and Weaselby. They seem to like one another, which he supposes qualifies as strange all on its own.
Potter doesn't spill breakfast on himself this morning, but as Draco watches the three of them over the top of his coffee cup, Granger pokes Potter in the ribs and points up at the swirling grey ceiling, where, to Draco's silent delight, a fast, heavy rain has begun to fall. In here, of course, the droplets dissolve into nothing long before they reach the tables, but the promise of the real thing is enough to set Draco's pulse racing with the anticipation of the smell and the taste and the sensation of the water on his skin.
Potter looks up, following Granger's gesture, and shrugs lightly with one shoulder. Draco inhales his coffee steam and hides his sudden jerk of a smile behind his cup. Potter looks brilliant wet, and idly, Draco wonders if he can't find some excuse for shoving Potter out into the rain today.
Things just do look better wet. Most things, anyway. Pansy doesn't. He remembers that time she got caught in one of those sudden, Scottish flash-showers and was drenched by the time she'd had time to draw her wand and cast an Umbrella Charm. She'd just looked bedraggled and furious, dark hair dangling in rat-tails around her face, eyes flashing ire and mouth twisted up like a cat's behind. In hindsight, Draco probably shouldn't have laughed quite so hard, but, well. He'd had to buy out half of Honeydukes to placate her that day, but it'd been worth it.
Pansy aside, he sticks by his theory. There's something about a rainstorm that makes everything looks more beautiful, more dramatic. The lake looks dangerous in a storm, the grass lush and water-darkened and the stones of the castle rain-slicked and lashed, dripping, like something from a landscape painting.
Not only that, but it tastes different depending on where you are. Draco doubts that most people have bothered to notice that, but then he's never been 'most people'. In the grounds of the Manor, it's sweet, and like the exotic plants that his mother loves, even though they're completely unsuitable for the climate. The rain in London doesn't taste good at all; it tastes like smoke and rubber and all kinds of disagreeable things, and, though it feels vaguely traitorous, he thinks the rain at Hogwarts tastes best of all. He expects it's to do with all that Highland air, or whatever.
When he was a child, his mother used to indulge him and let him stand out in it, so long as his father wouldn't see and go mad about ruining another set of robes. Though, quite how rainwater could ruin fabric was—and still is—beyond Draco. Better to just say, 'Yes, Father,' in any case. But his father's not here now, is he?
He's not anywhere near Draco and can do approximately fuck all about it if Draco wants to stand outside on a wet day in April until his hair and clothes are saturated. And he doesn't know how he's managed to acquire this reputation of being vain about his hair, because the charm to fix it even when it's dripping wet is the work of a moment.
April is best, too. It's the best kind of rain. And, being the connoisseur of precipitation that he is, he's very aware that the rain changes with the seasons. There's the cold, harsh, stingy stuff that falls during the winter months; the warm, fat, fragrant summer rain that tastes delicious; the kind in the Autumn that smells like moss and turning leaves and reminds him of new terms and fresh parchment and opportunity-slash-fear, and his favourite—spring rain—is fresh and cleansing and the perfect balance of warm and cool.
He looks up one more time at the enchanted ceiling as he drains his coffee and gets to his feet without a word. Looks as though the storm is going to be violent. Draco allows himself just one more small smile and on balance he lingers just a moment too long, because when he steps over the bench and glances automatically across the Hall, Potter is regarding him with a very strange look on his face. Startled, Draco holds his gaze for a split second that seems longer and his stomach flips over.
Potter drops his eyes hurriedly and the ensuing tide of relief at not having to glare or sneer or scowl is such that he barely registers Pansy as she finally drags herself into the Great Hall and presses her morning-sour expression into the shoulder of his robes.
"I sincerely hope you saved me some of the good coffee," she mumbles, breath warm even through two layers of clothing.
Distractedly, he leans into her, enjoying the warmth at his side as he continues to gaze discreetly at the Gryffindor table. "Mm," he says. "Coffee, yes."
"Draco," she says, tone suddenly sharp, "if you don't look at me right this minute, I shall tell everyone just what you find so interesting over there."
Panic spikes and Draco snaps his eyes to hers in an instant. "What?"
Pansy smiles slowly and her dark eyes glow. He hates, detests, resents the fact that his heart is racing like mad but there's precious little he can do about it, so he just focuses his energy on keeping his face impassive and lifting one eyebrow in the casual, imperious action that's possibly the one useful thing he's learned from his father.
Pansy's inelegant snort tells him she's not fooled for a moment. She's known him too long, that's the problem. "You're not subtle," she whispers, leaning up to kiss him on the cheek and brushing glossy dark hair and a smirk against his skin.
Horrified, he watches her settle herself at the table in the seat he's just vacated. Unable to stop himself, he twists around to see if Potter's looking, and he is. Intently. Draco exhales hard through his nose and casts one last glance at Pansy.
"Neither are you," he announces petulantly, gratified to see her eyes widen just before he turns on his heel and stalks out of the Hall.
He fucking well is subtle, anyway. He's incredibly subtle. He is a paragon of subtlety. A veritable—
"Do you know you're muttering to yourself?" Blaise wants to know, prodding Draco with his quill.
Draco frowns and lifts his chin. "Of course," he lies.
It's not as though Binns is going to notice whether he is or isn't muttering, but even so. Just to be on the safe side, Draco bites the inside of his mouth and looks away from the back of Potter's messy-haired head and the way the dark strands curl over his not-quite-white collar. Instead, he gazes out at the grey sky and listens to the rhythmic lash of the rain against the window panes. He has long ago given up taking notes and his fingers slide on the rough grain of the desk, itching for the cool moisture he can see but cannot touch.
Still, he has a free period next. So does Potter, if he remembers correctly, and he does remember correctly. With the knowledge comes a small but significant tug of self-loathing, but there's no use denying it, not least inside his own head. That way madness lies.
For the most part, he blames time. Time does funny things to people, and it's the best excuse he has for why he finds Harry messyridiculousGryffindorgracelessbeautifulstupid Potter so interesting to look at. That, and the fact that it's only now, almost a year after the end of the war, that he's finally adjusting to being allowed to think for himself, and he's realised that perfection is boring and imperfections are fascinating, infinitely so. It's not his fault that Potter has lots and lots of them.
Lots and lots and lots. And he doesn't know when it started to feel like falling, only that it does, and he hates bloody Pansy.
"...this, of course, pre-dated the thirteenth Goblin Revolution, which we covered last week," Binns offers.
"Fascinating," Blaise mumbles beside Draco. "I'll be able to sleep tonight now I know that."
When the Weasel snorts and mutters something, Potter turns to him, face thrown into profile and he grins around the nail he's biting. Flawed, see? Draco tells himself. Potter's always got something in his mouth. Draco suspects that what's indicated here is dropping his forehead onto his folded arms and releasing the 'nnggg' sound that's clawing to get out, but he doesn't, of course.
Potter turns back around to face the front and Draco glares at the back of his head, kicks Blaise under the table, and listens to the rain.
For once, there's no effort required to shake off the friends that usually like to follow him everywhere, and not for the first time, he's thankful he had the foresight to avoid NEWT-level Divination. Not only is it a spectacularly pointless subject, taught by a morbid, badly-dressed bint of questionable sanity, but Draco's evasion of the subject means that he has an hour to himself after History.
He hides his smile until he's across the Entrance Hall, out of the main doors and halfway across the grass. The rain splashes his hair, face, and robes and, flooded with relief, he lets the smile go and picks up his pace as he approaches his usual rainy-day spot. The location is perfect, if he may say so himself—just beyond a crop of oak trees running along one side of the Quidditch pitch; it's shielded from the castle and there's a convenient tree branch over which he hangs his robes.
He loosens his tie and rolls his shirtsleeves to his elbows, peering out at the grey, shimmering sky and inhaling deeply the heavy, earthy scent of the approaching storm. Then, with a deep breath and with no sense of drama whatsoever, that's for sure, he steps out from under the tree, closes his eyes and turns his face up into the driving rain.
"Yes," he mumbles to no one but himself, tasting the sweet, cold droplets as they dribble over his parted lips and splash onto his tongue.
His hair is waterlogged within seconds and he shakes it back from his eyes, tipping his head back further and splaying out his fingers down at his sides, all but arching his whole body into the rainfall. Cool rivulets of water stream under his collar, electrifying the sensitive skin of the back of his neck and the quickening fall plasters his thin shirt to his body.
He feels vital, charged, alive, and right now he couldn't give a fuck how weird he is; this is the best feeling in the world. Full stop. And if he's a little bit turned on by the whole thing, then so be it. He laughs out loud, euphoric, and lifts both hands to rake through cold, saturated hair, so absorbed in his own little world of beautiful rain-soaked abandon that he almost doesn't hear the sound.
Almost. It's the characteristic whoosh of a broom—a very fast broom, at that—and Draco's eyes fly open. Turning on the spot, he blinks wet eyelashes rapidly as the world swims into focus and he attempts to locate the source of the sound, even though deep down, he already knows. It's always fucking Potter.
Draco sees him, finally, swooping out over the pitch and looping around the goalposts. Potter's face is utterly focused as he cuts a determined path through the deluge, and there's no way he's seen Draco.
As he retreats back out of sight under the tree, he wants to attribute the painful stutter of his heart to the fact that he's almost been caught... doing... well, undignified and slightly kinky things in the rain, he supposes, but he knows it's partly—if not mostly—because of Potter.
Because let's face it, he thinks, crossing his arms over his wet chest and sighing, Potter + rain = delicious.
Draco doesn't know what he thinks he's doing, flying by himself in a downpour for no good reason. He looks good doing it, wet Quidditch gear slicked tight to his body, hair whipping in recalcitrant, water-darkened strands around his face, jaw set, and the sight of his gloved hands wrapped tightly around his Firebolt makes Draco breathless. Good, yes, but he's going to catch his... Draco swallows hard and grips the rough, wet bark of the nearest branch. He looks good. That is all.
Unwilling to reveal himself or give up on a free show, Draco stays put and watches from behind the tree; he knows the angle from the pitch will conceal him well enough, and this is Potter after all. He's not exactly famed for his observation skills.
When he touches down lightly on the grass and shakes the rain from his hair, Draco finds himself mirroring his small, satisfied smile before he can stop himself. At this improved proximity, he can see the flush to Potter's wet skin and the rapid lift of his chest under soaked fabric and the delicious pull at his tight, wet trouser fabric.
Mouth incongruously dry, Draco watches him sling his broom over his shoulder and set off back toward the castle at an unhurried pace.
He watches as Potter's dark, messy figure becomes smaller and smaller and eventually disappears from sight before he steps back out into the open and allows the bouncing rain to drench him once more as he waits, giving Potter enough time to go wherever he goes and do whatever he does before he risks heading inside.
"Well, that was a nice interlude," Draco murmurs, stretching both arms over his head and extending them luxuriously toward the grey sky. Idly, he wonders if he should be concerned about the talking to himself, but he suspects that that is the least of his worries.
His sigh and the dull ache of his arousal are equally heavy as he retrieves his robes and trudges back across the grounds. As he walks, the rain begins to fine down to a drizzle, and Draco reluctantly spells his hair and clothing dry and casts a lazy Umbrella Charm over himself.
He's so intent on doing so that he almost smacks straight into Potter on the front steps of the castle.
Startled, he stops on the same broad step, drawing level with Potter and staring at him hard. All he can think is, 'You're not supposed to be here', and 'I want you', and 'I wonder what you taste like.'
Potter is close, but not close enough to be covered by Draco's Umbrella Charm, and he's just standing there, broom resting casually in one hand as the water sluices down his face. He doesn't speak, just pins Draco with eyes that are intent and fiercely green, and it's unnerving.
Potter's eyelashes are black and water-spiky around those eyes, and Draco is caught. There's no one here to save him, no distractions, just him and Potter standing out on the steps in the rain, and as one dark eyebrow lifts slowly in inquiry, Draco suddenly has the sinking feeling that his covert observation mightn't have been so covert after all.
He's always been good with words, especially when he needs to defend himself, and yet as he continues to stand there, wishing pointlessly that he was wet and Potter was dry (just in case that might help), every word in his vocabulary has abandoned him.
"Malfoy," Potter begins, and Draco's fucked.
His eyes follow the gentle parting of those wet lips and the panic in his gut crackles and explodes into a seething mass of heat. Within seconds, he's dispelling the charm that's keeping him dry, closing the distance between himself and Potter and kissing him desperately.
Draco twists his fingers into sopping dark hair and holds on tight, brushing his mouth against Potter's over and over, sliding, hot breath and cold lips, swallowing his gasp of surprise and groaning out loud when a warm tongue flicks tentatively against his, just for a second. Pressing warm and dry against Potter's cold and wet, pushing their hips together and seeking out that hot, hard... oh, yes. Draco slides his fingers over cold cheekbones and presses tighter, not caring when the cold water starts to seep through his robes and shirt and onto his skin. He shivers hard, but he doesn't think that's why.
Potter makes a soft, delicious sound into his mouth and wraps a hand around Draco's hip, and the simple touch shoots painful, slashing desire right down Draco's spine. Potter tastes like sweat and Scottish rain and he feels like the most ridiculous, most exhilarating thing Draco has ever done.
When he pulls back, he's soaking wet once more and he still has his fingers tangled in Potter's hair. Letting go, he stumbles back on the step, looks into those bewildered bright green eyes and panics, cold regret cutting across his insides. His traitorous, confused mind is drawing attention to the fact that Potter looks debauched, hazy, beautiful, and it's because of him, but on the other hand he's just kissed Harry Potter out in the open for no good reason and he's so, so, dead.
"Er, well. Potter," he attempts, voice far too scratchy for his liking.
Potter blinks and lifts a hand to rub at his face. "Hm?"
An explanation is what's needed here and, if possible, a really good one. Aching and exposed, Draco glances around wildly and the rain once more flattens his fringe to his forehead.
"It's just the rain, you see? Because of the rain," Draco mumbles at last, gesturing vaguely and dashing back inside the castle with as much dignity as he can muster.
He doesn't know where Potter goes next or what he does, and he doesn't want to know. Not even a little bit. Heart pounding, he slips into the first available alcove and spells his robes and hair dry for the second time. He then heads for the Slytherin dorms and does the only sensible thing in a situation like this: he hides for the rest of the day.
Pansy manages to drag him out of his room the following morning with the use of threats that are inventive, even for her. Draco maintains that he was fully planning to emerge anyway, but Pansy's having none of it.
Of course, he looks perfectly cool as he takes his usual place at the table, and that is the main thing. He takes comfort in the fact that, on the whole, everything is as it should be. Pansy is looking at the Weasel, Blaise is talking about sex, and Greg is guarding the pot of raspberry jam with a scowl and a large hairy arm. A quick upward glance reveals that it's raining once more, and Draco feels a bit sick.
He doesn't eat. Instead, he watches the unholy trio over the top of his coffee cup and waits for the horrendous reprisal that he knows is coming. It must be. One doesn't kiss Harry Potter in the rain against his will and get away with it. Especially when one is Draco Malfoy.
Draco sips his too-hot coffee. It's bitter, and he likes it. At least, he thinks that it was against Potter's will. The whole thing has misted and coalesced in his memory overnight to such an extent that he's no longer sure if he imagined Potter kissing him back. Of course, even if Potter did, it doesn't mean that he's not out for Draco's blood.
And yet, just as he's about to look away and allow Blaise to engage him in an inevitably vulgar conversation, Potter looks up and meets his eyes. And he smiles. He smiles at Draco, just for a second, but for long enough for Draco to see, and those bright eyes are warm and knowing. His bitten fingers smooth over the pages of his Daily sodding Prophet, and Draco wonders where he got it from, because the post hasn't even been delivered yet.
He's messy as usual but clean and perfectly dry, and yet something still makes Draco's stomach twist. He hangs onto his composure and blinks slowly, sipping his coffee even though he wants to gulp it, and watches as Potter chews on his lip almost as though he's nervous and folds his newspaper pointedly.
The arrival of the owls steals Draco's attention and he watches their graceful circling of the Hall, less surprised than he should be when a small, nondescript school owl lands next to his empty breakfast plate and holds out a rolled scrap of paper.
With a long, controlled exhalation, Draco takes the paper and the owl flies away.
"What've you got, Draco?" Pansy demands, resting her head on his shoulder and trying to see.
"I don't know," he lies. "Just some idiot sending me bits of newspaper."
Unimpressed, she turns away and Draco bites down on his smile as he gazes at the little clipping from yesterday's Prophet.
Weather forecasts for the week ahead. Draco ignores the words and instead looks at the seven little pictures of shimmering grey clouds, and then the brief note, scrawled across the bottom of the page in green ink and Potter's chicken-scratch handwriting.
Looks like rain, Malfoy.