"Don't judge a person 'till you've walked a mile in their shoes."

"Draco, what I don't understand is why you're taking Muggle Studies in the first place." Pansy examined her nails and gave him a look from under her lashes. "You don't like Muggles, must I remind you?"

Draco scowled at her. "I'm taking it because I felt like it," he said. "And it makes a point." (At first that point had been 'know thy enemy'. Now the point was 'I am not a bigot or a Death Eater'. Draco liked his points to be flexible.) "Now help me with this."

"How should I know what it means?" Pansy asked, shrugging. "I, rather sensibly might I add, took Arithmancy. You'd like Arithmancy, Draco. Pretty numbers and a pretty professor. You could have proved your point by...oh, I don't know...being nice to Potter instead?"

Draco sighed. Pansy just did not get the intricate hate-hate relationship he and Potter had. And she also didn't seem to understand that he needed help, not a lecture.

The assignment they'd been given that day was a part of a section on Muggle proverbs. They were supposed to deduce what the proverb meant, try to re-enact it, and write a paper about it. Draco didn't know quite what stealing a person's shoes had to do with judging them, but he was supposed to figure it out, and Pansy wasn't helping. In fact, the entire Slytherin common room wasn't helping. He needed fresh air.

"I'm going outside," Draco announced. Pansy waved him off, putting her feet up on an ottoman and picking up a book. Draco rolled his eyes and left.

When he arrived in the Entrance Hall, Draco was pleased to find Harry Potter talking with the Weasley girl. He'd given it some thought on the way upstairs and had come to the conclusion that his professor couldn't fault him for making an attempt, and who did Draco judge more than Harry Potter? It was time to take a walk in Potter's shoes.

How, though, was another story. Potter was not likely to just give up his shoes at Draco's request. This would take a delicate touch. Draco pulled out his wand and surreptitiously cast an itching charm on Potter's feet. That ought to do it.

As he waited for Potter's reaction, the Weasley girl noticed him standing there. She raised a superior eyebrow at him, which appalled Draco.

"Did you want something, Weaslette?" he sniped. "I'm afraid I don't give to charity, but I'm sure Potter here wouldn't mind paying you for your services."

The Weasley girl turned satisfactorily red and pulled out her wand with an angry gesture. Potter glared at Draco and twitched a bit. Draco noted with glee that the itching charm was working very well. This was why he'd taken Muggle Studies, he decided. Ample opportunity for bothering Potter with the excuse of schoolwork behind him.

"Don't you have somewhere else to be, ferret?" Potter asked, eyes narrowed. Draco noted that he was holding the Weasley girl back with a hand on her arm. Apparently Potter didn't want a fight, which Draco considered unusual. Personally, he was always up for a fight with Potter.

"Actually, this is precisely where I need to be," he said blandly, shrugging. "I've an assignment to complete."

Potter gave him a strange look. "I'm not sure if you're aware, Malfoy, but this school has a library. Third floor? You might not have noticed it with your goons in the way."

Draco responded with a superior look that put the Weaslette's to shame. "It's a practical assignment, for your information, Potter. I'm afraid not all of us flee to the library at the slightest provocation like your Mu-ggleborn friend."

Draco might have liked harassing Potter, but if he was going to steal his shoes, Draco didn't want Potter throwing a fit and getting him expelled. Sadly, the less riled up Potter was, the better chance that Draco could escape unscathed.

Potter blinked and dropped his hand from the Weaslette's arm.

"What class is it for?" he asked. Draco noted with approval that Potter looked confused and his feet were squirming, a good combination if Draco was to leave him standing here in a moment, gobsmacked and shoeless.

"Muggle Studies, as a matter of fact," Draco said carelessly. "We're studying figures of speech this week."

Gobsmacked Potter, check. Now for the part where Draco made off with his shoes.

"Alright there, Potter?" Draco asked, hiding his amusement. Potter's jaw had literally dropped for a moment, and the Weaslette next to him had looked equally shocked.

"You're in Muggle Studies?" Potter echoed. Draco nodded.

"Yes," he said, as though he considered Potter exceptionally dim, which wasn't far off the mark anyway. "I just told you that."

Draco was delighted to see that Potter was now flushing. More importantly, he was beginning to lift his heels out of his shoes. "It's my favourite class, as a matter of fact," he added, just to see the reaction. It was his favourite class if it could render Potter speechless like this.

Potter closed his eyes for a moment, as though wondering who Draco was and where the real Malfoy had gone. Draco took this as his cue to summon Potter's now very loose trainers right off his feet. Potter yelped and fell back against the wall and the Weasley girl as his shoes flew away from him. Draco grabbed them and took off for the exit, dodging Weaslette's hex and cackling internally.

Shoeless Potter, check.

Now to put his shoes on and walk a mile. Draco stopped running when he made it to the lake and saw that no one was following him. He sat down on a large rock, feeling inordinately satisfied with himself, and took off his own shoes, replacing them with Potter's. He stood up.

Potter had huge shoes, in the worst way. They weren't exceptionally long, but they were incredibly wide. It made for a very sloshy and uncomfortable fit, and Draco knew they couldn't possibly fit Potter, because he had seen Potter's bare, narrow feet before, and even at a glance he could tell they weren't shaped for these shoes. Maybe this was why Potter was always such a pissy git. Draco would be in a strop too, if his shoes were this uncomfortable.

Draco had already looked up how far a mile actually was, and it turned out to be about a kilometre and a half. The distance around the lake from where he stood was about that much, and that was where he had planned on going, but after actually trying the shoes on, he decided to walk to Hogsmede instead. It wasn't too much further, and he could buy Potter a pair of shoes that would fit. Maybe then he would calm down a bit. Even Draco, who enjoyed fighting with Potter, knew that a happier Potter would mean a happier Hogwarts. He was doing the school a favour. He wondered if Professor Burbage would give him extra credit.

"I just want to know why!"

Potter sounded distressed, Draco noted as he neared, ducking behind a pillar for stealth. He was standing with two of the Weasleys and Granger, still in the Entrance Hall even though it had been an hour or so since Draco fled with his trainers.

"Harry," Granger said in that annoyingly reasonable tone she always used. "Tell a teacher. He stole your property. Just-"

"He stole your shoes!" Weasley said, sounding flabbergasted. "I can't believe the ferret stole your shoes! It's probably an evil plot-"

Draco stood behind them, listening quietly and waiting for them to notice him.

"He said he's taking Muggle Studies, though," Potter said uncertainly. "He said it's his favourite class."

"He is in that class," Granger confirmed, nodding. "I was suspicious back in third year, but he does well."

"Of course I do well, Granger." Draco had grown impatient of waiting. The entire group of them jumped and spun around, wands ready. He raised his hands in supplication, one holding a box. "No need to get twitchy, Gryffindors."

"What did you do with my shoes?" Potter asked, trying to sound intimidating. He couldn't pull it off when his face was still slack with bewilderment, and Draco smirked at him and his bare feet.

"I had an assignment to complete, like I said," Draco explained. "Now, thanks to you, all I have to do is finish the essay that went with the practical."

"You didn't answer the question, Malfoy," Granger pointed out suspiciously. "Where are Harry's shoes?"

"I tossed them in the bin." Draco shrugged and ignored the outraged glares. "Those monstrosities couldn't possibly have fit, Potter. I've replaced them with something respectable."

He held out the box that contained Potter's new shoes. "They're designed to fit the wearer comfortably, so get used to not wearing boats anymore."

The group of them stared at the box, and at Draco. They were silent. None of them took it.

Draco rolled his eyes. "I didn't curse them, Potter." After a pause, he considered the fact that Potter would never believe him in a million years, ever, and added, "I swear by my magic. They're harmless. The cobbler in Hogsmede enchanted them, not me."

Potter met his eyes with uncertainty and tentatively took the box, lifting the lid to look inside.

"Your assignment was to steal Harry's shoes and buy him new ones," Weasley said, understandably skeptical.

Draco raised his eyebrows. "My assignment was to walk around in someone else's shoes, then judge them," he corrected. "I judged that Potter needed new shoes." He paused, and frowned. "You had better not have athlete's foot, Potter."

Granger stared at him incredulously.

"You must be learning figures of speech," she said after a moment of thought. Draco nodded.

"We were supposed to interpret the metaphor, do what it said to do, then write a paper about the whole thing," he explained. He felt rather smug about the whole affair. "Potter just got me an O."

She blinked. "I suppose you mostly got it right," she said, brow furrowed as she looked at him. "But, you know, you didn't actually have to steal his shoes. You just had to think about what it must be like to be him."

"Malfoys do not do things by halves," Draco said snootily, though inside he began to worry that he had done something stupid. "And I think we all have a pretty good idea of what it must be like to be Potter. I assume even he doesn't like thinking about it."

Potter gave him a strange look, half unsettled, half glare. Granger expression was speculative, which, quite frankly, worried Draco. He decided to make his escape.

"Off to write my essay, then," he said, and left to go back to the Slytherin dungeons. He hoped this situation wouldn't change things between him and Potter. He'd get an ulcer if he couldn't take out his frustrations on his Gryffindor.

Potter had been watching him a lot since the shoe incident. It worried Draco. Potter had also been wearing the shoes Draco bought him. It wasn't as though he had any choice, since Draco had thrown out his other pair, but still. Draco was becoming suspicious.

In Muggle Studies, they had moved past figures of speech (Draco had indeed gotten an O, after the incorporation of Granger's idea, though his hands on approach seemed to have gained better results than just sitting there thinking about Potter's life. All he'd gotten from that was an urge to go back to Hogsmede and buy him some better clothes, and perhaps ask what was wrong with his Muggle relatives, letting him dress like that).

Now they were focusing on the various forms of Muggle entertainment. Draco was fascinated by the moving portraits they had, which apparently even acted out stories for the viewer and were much more versatile than wizarding portraits. According to his book, the portraits were always changing characters and backgrounds. They kept them in a telly-box, and Draco assumed they used the electricity to move portraits back and forth inside the box. The book wasn't very clear on how that worked.

Draco's assignment for this lesson was to research various telly portraits, which were called 'shows', and decide which one he liked best, and to explain what happened in that show. This was tricky, because Professor Burbage had not told them how they were to find out about the shows, and short of sneaking out of school to visit a Muggle town and watch one of their telly boxes, Draco was at a loss. The library didn't have anything about tellys that he hadn't already learned in class, and he certainly didn't want to ask one of the muggleborns. He preferred to not call attention to the fact that he was in Muggle Studies.

"Do you know any discreet muggleborns, Blaise?" Draco asked one morning, as they walked to Potions. Blaise glanced at him from the corner of his eye and Draco realised belatedly that he'd said that entirely wrong.

"Interested in a bit of experimentation?" Blaise asked, intrigued. "Because, you know you don't need to go that far if you're curious, Draco. I'm right here to fulfil your kinkiest fantasies."

Draco rolled his eyes. "I'm not looking for any illicit sex," he said, exasperated. "I want to ask them about telly-boxes."

Blaise cocked his head. "What's a telly-box?"

"It's a muggle device," Draco explained. "They can watch plays and things with it. Portraits act them out."

"Plays? What kind of plays?"

"Any kind, I suppose." Draco shrugged. "I don't really know. That's what I need a muggleborn for."

"You and your Muggle Studies," Blaise mused. "If your father knew, he'd kill you, you know."

Draco rolled his eyes as they arrived outside the Potions door. "Yes, and that's why we tell him I'm taking Ancient Runes."

"It'd be a pity, if he found out," Blaise said, lowering his eyelashes as well as his voice. "If some poor, sexually frustrated yet incredibly handsome Slytherin boy just blurted it out in a letter and sent it off with an owl completely by accident. You know, because he was so sexually frustrated that he didn't know what he was doing."

"Gee, Blaise, if you were any more subtle I might have missed your point," Draco said in a flat voice, though he was aware of the other students around, and kept his voice down as well. "Lucky for this particular incredibly attractive and sexually satisfied Slytherin, that other Slytherin boy wouldn't dare, because then his mother might get an owl herself, about her sexually frustrated son's escapades with every boy in school."

Blaise glared at him. "Not every boy in school."

"Right. Me, Harry Potter, and probably the Weasel," Draco sneered. "If I had to be in a group with them, then 'People-Who-Haven't-Shagged-Blaise-Zabini' is probably the best choice. Sexually frustrated my arse."

Blaise grinned. "Speaking of-"

"No." Draco cut him off. "Not speaking of my arse. You leave my arse alone, understand? We've had this conversation. No blackmail or bribery will convince me. And you can't get me to do your bidding by threatening to snog me, either. It didn't work last time and it's never going to. I have standards."

"Damn," said a voice. "I was going to try that."

Draco turned and saw the very last person he had wanted to overhear that part of the conversation standing right behind him and grinning. He was still wearing his new shoes.

"Did you want something, Potter?" Draco asked icily. Potter ignored the clear warning.

"Well," Potter said, sticking his hands in his back pockets. "I was going to threaten you with a snog unless you did my Potions homework for me, but clearly you have too much character for that. Good to know." Draco glared. Potter grinned.

"Was there something you wanted, Potter?" Draco repeated through gritted teeth. Blaise was snickering over Potter's words and it was not to be borne. "I'm afraid just standing near me isn't going to make you any less of a prat by association."

"I wanted to thank you for the shoes," Potter said, ignoring his snide comment. "They're very nice and haven't tried to kill me yet. I have to admit I'm surprised."

Potter grinned at him again, this time in the same friendly way a puppy might. Draco took a small step backward, alarmed.

"Right," he said, unsettled. "Now...go away."

Potter tilted his head slightly and continued to smile. "Oh come on, Malfoy. You did something nice. It's not the end of the world."

Draco was beginning to fear for the future of his rivalry with Potter.

"Just because I made you less of a general eyesore-" he began, but Blaise nudged him.

"Oh come off it, Draco," he interrupted, very rudely. "Potter's trying to make friends. It's cute."

Blaise gave Potter a once over and put on his most charming smile. "I always did think Gryffindors were underrated," he said. "Draco, why don't you ask Potter about the telly-boxes? He grew up muggle, didn't he?"

"Blaise." Draco stepped between them, turning his back to Potter and giving Blaise a very serious look. "I will not be in a group alone with Weasley."

Blaise grinned. "Well you wouldn't be if you just let me-"


"Damn," Blaise pouted.

"Telly-boxes?" Potter repeated, and Draco turned back around. Potter gave them another smile. "You mean the telly. What do you want to know about the telly?"

Potter was being way too friendly, and it was creeping Draco out. Fortunately, Snape chose that moment to finally open the classroom door. Draco escaped inside and ignored Blaise and Potter for the rest of class, though he did make Potter's potion explode with a bit of well-placed shrivelfig. He was only human, and it wiped the smile off Potter's face pretty quickly.

"So tell me about telly-boxes, Potter." Draco froze on his way into the Defence classroom. Was Blaise really trying to chat Potter up over Draco's homework?

Draco poked his head into the room and looked around. There was Potter, standing near his desk while Blaise lounged against the wall, looking graceful and appealing. Draco's face twisted into a scowl, and he made his way over to them.

"Well, I don't really know how they work," Potter was saying, "I mean, you plug them in, so they run on electricity, but you can only get the stations that broadcast to your area."

"Oh really," Blaise asked, leaning closer and touching Potter's arm. "That's so interesting." Draco rolled his eyes. Blaise probably hadn't understood one word in five. Draco barely had an idea of what Potter was going on about, and he was taking the class!

"Blaise, go away," Draco said, stepping into the conversation and ignoring Potter. "You are not getting into Potter's pants. He's got a girlfriend."

Potter chose this very inopportune moment to speak up. "Er, no I don't."

Draco shot him an annoyed glance. "Well, then he's straight."

Potter had the beginnings of a smirk on his face. "Well, actually," he began, and Draco threw his hands in the air.

"Potter," he said, turning to face the Gryffindor. "You are not getting into Blaise's pants. He's a man-whore."


"Well you are," Draco said, to which Blaise shrugged.

"If Potter's interested in riding the Zabini Express," Blaise asked, and grinned when Draco shuddered, "Then who are you to stop him, Draco?" Blaise turned to Potter, and put a hand against the side of his mouth to hide his words from Draco, though he didn't bother to lower his voice. "And I'm not really a man-whore. Draco likes to exaggerate. You know how he is."

"The hero of the wizarding world does not need an STD to worry about while he's trying to kill the Dark Lord," Draco said, though he was beginning to wonder if he should just drop it and tell Weasley that they needed to make badges. They could be silver, with gold letters, and say 'I Am Single and Yet, I Have Restraint'. Though Weasley probably hadn't encountered Blaise because he was drooling over Granger. That practically put him in the 'Straight Boys With A Girlfriend' group, which Blaise had only been able to breach with copious applications of alcoholic beverages (which Weasley was admittedly fond of). Maybe he could just make the badges for himself.

Potter was grinning at him again. This was really becoming a problem. "I didn't know you cared, Draco," he said, and Draco frowned deeply.

"Malfoy," he said helpfully, through clenched teeth.

"Malfoy," Potter allowed, though he didn't lose the smile. "And for the record, I don't want to shag, Zabini, but thank you for the offer." He gave Blaise an apologetic shrug.

"Oh well," Blaise said, and turned to Draco. "Draco, Potter rejected me. I'm feeling vulnerable and insecure. Won't you hold me?"

He fluttered his eyelashes at Draco while Potter covered his mouth with one hand and watched with wide eyes. Draco wondered if he was laughing at Blaise or in awe of how much Draco was about to kill someone.

"Blaise," Draco said, putting a hand on his fellow Slytherin's shoulder and pushing him back out of Draco's personal space.

"Yes, Draco?" A small, hopeful smile crept onto Blaise's face. Draco rolled his eyes. He was doing that a lot lately. One day they were going to get stuck that way and his mother would never let him hear the end of it.

"Go be a vulnerable and insecure man whore over by Theo. You know how much he loves that."

Blaise was surprised into laughter at Draco's words. "You're right," he agreed. "Theo's more fun to taunt than you are." He prowled off toward Theodore Nott, who had just walked in and was putting his bag on a desk.

Draco watched for a moment as Blaise stood very close to Theo and gave his arse a squeeze. Theo jumped a mile, and Draco grinned.

"Is he always like that?" Potter asked, apparently torn between horror and amusement, from the expression on his face.

"Are you still here?" Draco asked, pulling out his book. "Go away, Potter. Class is starting."

"But, listen," Potter said quickly. "I was thinking, we could have a truce, or-"

Draco spun around to glare at Potter. "Have I not been clear, Potter? Go away. That doesn't secretly mean, 'I want you to stay here and talk to me.' It means 'Go Away'. Strange how that works, isn't it?"


Draco took a deep, fortifying breath. "I do not want to have a truce with you. Understood? Go away."

Potter stared at him. "But why not?" he asked, and Draco noted that he looked genuinely confused. Idiot.

"Because I like making you cry, Potter," he said, taking pity. "Just because I bought you shoes doesn't mean we're friends." He paused. "It might make me your pimp, actually. Maybe you can shag Blaise, if I get a cut of the profits."

Potter's face went red with outrage. Draco helpfully shooed him away and sat down at his desk, next to Pansy.

"You have such wonderful social skills, Draco," she said, flipping through her text. Draco rolled his eyes for the seventeenth time in as many minutes.

Draco still needed to find out what his favourite telly box show was. Asking other students in the Muggle Studies class met with some resistance, as most of them were either having as much trouble as Draco or, having found their answer, were unwilling to share. Draco had even spent a fair amount of time spying on various muggleborns, hoping talk would turn to the telly. Disappointingly enough, all their talk revolved around wizardly things. Draco cursed assimilation with all his might. Even Dean Thomas, noted stubborn muggle sports fan, was only interested in discussing the upcoming NEWTS.

It was while spying on Dean Thomas that Draco was discovered by Potter.

"Er, what are you doing?" the idiot asked. Draco sighed, and closed his eyes for strength.

"What does it look like I'm doing, Potter?" he asked.

"Well, it looks like you're hiding in a bush," Potter said, ever observant. "But that sounds, and don't take offence Malfoy, a little bit insane."

"Does it."

Potter scratched his head. "Yeah. So I thought maybe you had a...reason? For hiding in the bushes? That meant maybe you hadn't gone mad? So I thought I'd ask."

Draco stood up and brushed himself off carefully. "I had a very good reason, and I am not mad, Potter."

Potter smiled at him. "That's good," he said, and waited. Draco turned around and began to walk away.

"Wait!" Potter was apparently surprised at Draco's abrupt departure. He frowned as Potter caught up with him.

"Potter, unless you're going to hit me or something, we have no business with each other."

"Hit you?" Potter asked, frowning. "Why would I hit you?"

Draco glared at him. "Because I'm a git and you're a prat and we hate each other and I'm about to call your mother something filthy, Potter, if you don't keep up your end of the deal." Draco was getting sick of this friendly attitude Potter had been trying out lately. It seemed Draco had been more right than he thought, and the source of all Potter's pissiness had indeed been those shoes. Draco missed them dearly, now.

"But I don't hate you," Potter said. "And I don't think you're a git. And what deal?"

Draco nearly pulled his wand, but stopped himself just in time. Potter would kill him dead in a duel, and they both knew it. Draco didn't get nearly as much practice, for one thing, having no insanely powerful wizards after his blood on a regular basis.

"Look, Potter," Draco said. Potter nodded to show he was listening. "It's shocking that you actually inherited your father's atrocious looks, considering that your mother was such a slut. We hate each other. Now go away."

Potter's jaw dropped. Draco turned on his heel and began walking again. Thomas was a lost cause. He thought Hufflepuff had a few muggleborns. Hadn't Finch-Fletchly been Petrified back in second year over it? He'd go search them out.

"You... Malfoy, wait!"

Draco broke into a jog, but Potter had caught him up and grabbed his shoulder.

"What do I have to do to convince you I don't want to fight anymore?" Potter asked. He looked very upset. Good.

"I don't give a damn if you want to fight, Potter," Draco said. He might as well explain it to the git; apparently he was completely unaware of what Draco thought they'd both always known. "I want to. I can't fight like this with the other Slytherins, and if you start acting all friendly I'm going to get an ulcer."

Potter stared, and his hand fell from Draco's shoulder. "So, fighting with me is just... stress release for you?"

"Yes, thank you," Draco said, throwing his hands up in the air. "And what with me going against my father and the Dark Lord on this whole war thing, I'm going to need you around to punch; else I'm going to start kicking first years. And no one wants that."

"No, wait," Potter said, desperately confused. "Can't you just...I dunno. Go flying or something? Take up running? Have a bath? Do you really have to fight with me? It might be stress release for you, but it's kind of the opposite on my end."

Draco raised an eyebrow at him. "So?"

Potter huffed. "Well how am I supposed to kill Voldemort and get rid of your stress, if all you're doing is causing me more?"

He had a good point, which gave Draco pause. "What am I meant to do, then?" he asked.

"I don't know!" Potter exclaimed. "Fly, like I said! Take Zabini up on his offer!" A blush bloomed on Potter's cheeks and neck. "I hear that sort of thing is supposed to be great for stress relief."

"I am not having sex with Blaise Zabini," Draco said, and somewhere in the back of his mind, he realised he was actually having this conversation with Harry Potter, of all people. "He likes to deny it, but he really is a man whore. I take pride in never having succumbed."

Potter looked kind of horrified at himself. The topic had hit him too, then. "Do it with someone else, then," he said valiantly. Draco raised an eyebrow at him.

"Who, exactly, am I meant to have sex with?" Potter's expression became even more mortified every time Draco said sex. It was kind of awe inspiring. "Do you have someone in mind? I mean, I can't just have sex with anyone. There are lengthy rituals and courting procedures that must first be completed, and I don't have time for that kind of effort right now, what with the NEWTs coming up. Then again, you must be aware of all that, right Potter?"

"Er," Potter said, crimson like a Weasley. "Courting procedures?"

"Yes. I mean, what are your standards?" Draco thought this might actually be better than fighting. "What does someone have to do to get into your trousers?"

Draco waited for Potter's answer with a polite, curious expression painted onto his face. "I...er," Potter repeated. He was fidgeting like he wanted to flee. Draco grinned and watched Potter flinch.

"Wait... Have you ever even had sex, Potter?" Potter's eyes had a cornered look to them. This was appropriate, because Draco had, in fact, cornered him against a low wall in the courtyard during their talk.

"Er," Potter said. Draco allowed a smile to spread slowly across his face, and was gratified when Potter looked faintly terrified.

"You haven't, have you?"

"Erm, I...that is to say..."

"How interesting," Draco said. He ran his eyes up and down Potter's body ostentatiously, and watched him press himself closer against the wall. Nearly there. Just one step closer, and...there. Potter toppled over the low wall and landed on his arse in the grass outside the courtyard, staring up at Draco with wide, mortified eyes. It was quite a sight.

Draco smirked. "I think I've found a new stress outlet," he said. Potter's face went slack with horror; he pulled himself clumsily to his feet and dashed away. Draco sighed, though he was cackling internally. Potter wasn't going to approach him again any time soon.

Potter approached him later on that very same day, in the library even, which was exactly why Draco had never bothered with Divination. He was obviously terrible at it.

"I was thinking about what you said," he began, as Draco packed his books away. Draco glanced at him.

"About how you're a complete virgin?" He made sure to say this very clearly, so as to be certain that Potter, and the rest of the library, would not mistake his words. Potter flushed bright red.

"No." Potter grimaced. Draco smirked. "About how you don't have any other stress relief aside from fighting with me."

"Potter, you poor, uninformed virgin, you." Draco picked up his quill and inkpot and packed them away as well. "I didn't say I didn't have any other possibilities. I said I have standards. There's a difference." Draco picked up his bag and made to leave the library. Potter followed.

"Stop saying that!" he hissed, flushed again.

"Stop saying what? That I have standards?" Draco frowned. "Well I do, Potter, and just because you're a virgin," he spoke very loudly, to be sure the Ravenclaw girls nearby heard him. "Doesn't mean you shouldn't understand that."

Potter huffed, and tried desperately to ignore the giggling coming from the Ravenclaws.

"You know what I mean," he said, following Draco out into the hall and glaring at him. "Stop calling me that."

"How about we make a deal, Potter," Draco said. Potter nodded hopefully. "I will stop pointing out your -- no doubt involuntary -- chastity, if you stop bothering me so often."


"You heard me, Potter," Draco said. "I will refrain from mentioning it when you are not around. If, however, you are in my presence for any reason aside from class or stress relief, then I will feel free to bring it up." Draco glanced to the side, where Potter was staring at him. "And I will bring it up."

Potter's mouth twisted into a grimace. "Fine," he said, and he sounded annoyed. "I wanted to make a deal, but never mind. Do you know where Zabini would be right now?"

A deal? Draco was curious, even as he shook his head about Blaise. Then again, Potter was walking away. It was a good look on him.

Then the full meaning of Potter's words sank in, and Draco stopped abruptly.

"Potter!" Potter stopped, and glanced over his shoulder. He looked moody and annoyed.

"What do you want, Malfoy?" he asked. Draco pushed himself into motion again, and quickly reached him.

"You're going to proposition Blaise Zabini, aren't you?" he accused. Potter's eyebrows went up.

"I - what?"

"You're going to 'make a deal' with him, for sex!" Draco was appalled. He'd thought the Hero of the Wizarding World had more morals than this.

Potter's jaw dropped. "No I'm not!" he cried, flushing deeply.

Draco's expression was sceptical. "Oh, so you were just going to talk to Blaise Zabini about stress relief, and expect that conversation to stay platonic? Really?" It suddenly occurred to Draco that Potter had come to him first. "And you were trying to proposition me, just a moment ago!" he said, pointing a finger at Potter in accusation. "Potter, you harlot!"

"Malfoy, oh my god, shut up!" Potter cried, an expression of deep and abiding mortification colouring his face mauve. "I was not propositioning you, nor am I planning to proposition Zabini. I wanted to talk to you about maybe doing something with each other instead of to each other."

Draco stared at him suspiciously, and opened his mouth.

"No," Potter interrupted before Draco could get a word out. "I did not mean we could have sex with each other. I meant we could duel, or fly, or anything else but that. And for your information, I was going to ask Zabini to help me convince you to listen to me, because you're insane and I don't know what to do to make it stop. Also, you're a complete pervert, Malfoy."

Draco shrugged. "It's a definite possibility," he allowed, and frowned at Potter. "The pervert part, not the insanity. But I hope you're aware that Zabini is even more of a pervert than I am, and that asking him for a favour is the same as asking him for stress relief?"

Potter blushed. "I already told him no." Draco found it funny that Potter thought that mattered. Hadn't he been paying attention in the classroom? "I have no interest in shagging either of you," he continued firmly, which was somewhat disappointing. Sex is sex, after all, and Potter wasn't as bad looking as Draco always told him he was. He was just about passable, in fact, by Draco's lofty standards.

"That's a pity," Draco said, and began to walk away again. "We could have gotten rid of that pesky virginity of yours."

He turned a corner and continued walking, assuming Potter had let that statement be the last word. By the time he reached the staircase, he was nearly certain. Then, he heard pounding footsteps, and Potter came running around the corner, looking for Draco. He stopped when he saw him, and bit his lip uncertainly.

"Okay," he said.

Draco smirked.

"Alright, then, we'll go to my dorm, it'll be quiet there," he said, and led the way down the staircase.

Potter faltered at the landing. "I - we…right now?" he said, his voice getting somewhat squeaky.

Draco turned his head so that he could see Potter out of the corner of his eye, still standing at the top of the stairs.

"Well, if you're not interested after all," he began, and was gratified when Potter stepped hastily onto the stairs, nearly tripping over himself. Draco noted that he was still wearing his new shoes.

"No, no. I am," Potter said hastily. "Interested, I mean."

"This isn't going to be anything serious, Potter," Draco warned him. "We're skipping all the lengthy courting procedures for a reason. Also, tell me about your favourite telly box show." Potter nodded, swallowed loudly, and began to describe his show, relaxing even as they entered Slytherin territory.

As they reached the dorm and cast silencing and locking charms, Draco privately marvelled at his own involuntary cleverness. He had somehow managed to translate a few projects for class into Harry Potter, of all people, shedding his clothing and gasping his name as Draco licked his chest.

And Pansy wondered why he'd taken Muggle Studies.