Denial is the new black
[Harry Potter and all of it's characters belong to J.K Rowling, not me. This is a non-profit fanfiction based on her world]
Chapter 1: Truce
Draco walked through the dark corridor silently, enjoying the solitude of a sleeping castle. Such moments were rare, and as such, were much more beautiful for it. He had just finished his prefect rounds, parting with Pansy in the Slytherin Common Room. It had been a relatively quiet night, but Wednesday's generally were. It was the middle of the week, halfway between the previous weekend and the next. Students were too busy writing essays, reading textbooks and perfecting spells to wander the gloomy halls of Hogwarts castle.
He enjoyed Wednesday patrols the most because he and Pansy always finished their rounds quickly, leaving him plenty of time for a long, relaxing bath in the Prefects secret bathroom. He was never interrupted, allowing him time to think things over.
The Slytherin entrance to the bathroom was located in between the Potions classroom and the Slytherin common room. Guarding it was a large painting of the Garden of Eden. Draco had always thought it ironic that not only had a wizard created a portrait of such a plebeian muggle concept but had also seen fit to place it amidst the halls of the primary pureblood faction of the school.
Shrugging, Draco stroked his finger along the snake hidden in the branches of the tree, whispering the password "Tempt me not". With a creak, the portrait swung open, leading him into a private stall where he could stow away his clothes. He undressed quickly and quietly, folding his expensive clothes neatly and placing them carefully in a locker. Wrapping his towel around his slim waist he opened the door and allowed his eyes to flit appreciatively around the bathroom.
It was an elegant room, with the trimmings of the various houses adorning the high, white walls. Hanging from the only blank wall was a large tapestry of the Hogwarts founders and Draco took a moment, as always, to admire it. The four founders stood proud and strong; Helga Hufflepuff was staring straight at him, a small smile on her face, Rowena Ravenclaw was scribbling away on parchment, looking up every now and again to frown at him, and Godric Gryffindor was glaring at him, a sneer adorning his mouth. Finally, his attention slipped over to Salazar Slytherin, his distant ancestor. He was currently ignoring Draco completely, looking past him with an amused smirk.
Turning, Draco sought out the object of Slytherin's regard, and immediately slunk back into his cubicle, his eyes wide. In the large pool that dominated the majority of the room was his arch-nemesis, Harry Potter. The tanned Gryffindor boy was currently floating on top of the water with his eyes closed, seemingly unaware of his audience. Draco's mind raced as his eyes drunk in Harry's naked body in awe and surprise.
He was floating on his back, his powerful arms locked behind his head, holding his face about the water. His ebony locks clung to the sides of his head, wet, it was long enough to fall against his neck. His upper body was smooth and slender, and Draco's eyes swept over it, eagerly noting the tight muscles of his abdomen. Finally, with an uncharacteristic blush, he feasted upon the sight of Harry's manhood nestled within a bush of curly black hair.
Draco shut his eyes tightly, but the vision of Harry naked did not leave his mind. Shaking his head furiously he closed the door, his hands pressed hard against his temples. He could not, would not be attracted to Harry Potter. It was unthinkable, impossible. He clothed himself angrily and rushed from the room, determined to push the temptation to open the door and join Harry in the bath from his mind.
Malfoys did not have fantasies about other men, especially goody-goody Gryffindor men with a stubborn penchant for saving the world. It just would not do! He slammed the portrait door open, stalking off in search of Pansy. Surely she would know what to do about these ridiculous feelings welling up inside of him and how to banish Potter's naked form from his mind!
"Pansy!" He yelled, hammering on her door desperately. "Pansy, open the door!" He pressed his forehead against the door, squeezing his eyes shut as he listened to Pansy move around the room. Finally, she opened the door, wrapped up in an emerald silk nightgown. Draco noted cynically that it was the exact shade of Harry's mesmerising eyes. He was so screwed.
"Draco, what is it? What's wrong?" She asked him in concern. Wordlessly, Draco slid past her into his room and settled himself on her lavish bed. Pansy had a room of her own, paid for by her rich and powerful father. It was compact but it reflected her personality perfectly.
No-one in the entirety of Hogwarts knew her as well as he did. They only knew her mask; the sarcastic Slytherin princess, with a grating laugh and biting wit.
In reality, Pansy was a caring and loyal friend, intelligent, funny and observant. She had been his best friend for a very long time. Their parents had always thrust them together, hoping that they would come to love each other, though he had never felt that way about her. Pansy was his confidant, his best friend, his sister. She would always be there to help him in times of distress, such as now.
"Draco," she said quietly, sitting down beside him, pulling his hands into her own delicate palms. "Tell me why you're here at nearly midnight hammering on my door. Why are you so upset? I've never seen you like this." She stroked his hand reassuringly and he looked up into her caring brown eyes.
"Something happened," he whispered, "I don't know what to do. Pansy, you have to help me." He entreated her with wide, terrified eyes.
"Of course, Draco. What's bothering you?" She asked him, squeezing his hand.
"I went to the bathroom, same as always," he began, looking away from her, blushing as he remembered what had occurred.
"Of course," she replied. "You always have a bath on Wednesdays; you say it helps to clear your mind.
"Yeah well, it had the complete opposite effect today. I didn't get to have my bath. There was someone else there," Draco explained. Pansy frowned, wondering why he had let that stop him.
"Who was it? Why didn't you just tell them to leave?" She questioned him. He turned red and looked down at their entwined hands, his silver locks hiding his expression from her piercing gaze.
"It was Harry Potter. He didn't see me, his eyes were closed and he was floating on top of the water. All I could do was just stare at his naked body, and then I ran away," he whispered, biting his lip in embarrassment. Pansy gasped, completely floored. From what Draco had said and the way he was acting, it seemed as though he had feelings for Harry.
"You... were staring at him? Do you like men? Do you like him?" Pansy questioned, her breathless voice betraying her shock.
"I... I don't know. I just couldn't stop looking, I was checking out Harry Potter for Merlin's sake! What on Earth am I supposed to do?" He asked her, his eyes pleading for her to have all the answers. She shook her head and stood up, walking away from him. She stopped in front of a photo on the wall and studied it.
It was of her and Draco, taken during the previous holidays. She had been so happy then, spending time alone with him. Pansy had hoped that he was finally starting to show interest in her, that this year would be the year he would fall for her. But now, it seemed that he might actually be gay. She had to help him and keep the truth from him; she needed to be his friend. Burying her love for him away, she made a decision.
"Ok," she said firmly, turning around to look at him, "what you need to do is get to know him. Decide if it's just lust, hormones ruling your adolescent mind or whether it's something deeper. You don't need to rush into this just because you think you might like Harry. Take your time, Draco." Pansy counselled, smiling at him.
He smiled back, and then ran a hand through his immaculate pale blonde hair. "Right," he agreed. "Get to know him, explore these feelings, and take my time. Got it. Thanks Pans." He stood up, pulling her close in a rare hug.
"What would I do without you, Pansy Parkinson?" He mused into her long black hair. She laughed bitterly, pulling back to stare up into his pale face.
"I shudder at the thought, Draco. Now, go to bed. You've interrupted my beauty sleep long enough," she said, still smiling as she pushed him out the door.
"Goodnight Pansy," Draco said, waving one hand in farewell. She watched him walk away, her eyes brimming with tears. Finally, she needed to accept what, deep down, she had always known. Draco was not, and would never be hers. Shutting the door quietly, she climbed into bed and blew out her bedside candle.
The next day, Draco rolled out of bed and began his regular morning routine. First a shower, then many complicated hair spells until it sat back into its usual slicked back perfection. Finally, he stood in front of his wardrobe wearing only a towel and holding a steaming mug of premium coffee.
Using his wand he lazily skimmed through his collection, deciding finally on his finest black pants, white silk shirt and form-fitting grey sweater. Over this he wore his school robe and Slytherin green tie. Draco stood in front of his mirror, admiring his reflection. Today, he needed to look especially good if he wanted to begin his 'make Harry Potter notice me and fall desperately in love with me' campaign.
Pleased with his appearance, he finished his coffee and made his way down into the common room where Crabbe and Goyle were waiting for him. After exchanging the usual pleasantries with his fellow Slytherins, he sat down on a couch and settled in to wait for Pansy.
As he waited, he looked around the Slytherin common room, with its stylish marble arches, plush cream carpet and tasteful leather couches. Everything about the room screamed class and an inordinate amount of money.
After a few more minutes of waiting, Pansy finally appeared and they four Slytherins made their way out to the Great Hall. It had always pleased Draco that it took them only a few moments to reach it as opposed to the rest of the castle, who all lived at least ten minutes from the Hall. It allowed him a few minutes of solitude in which to eat his breakfast before the rabble of Hogwarts descended upon them.
Sitting quietly, Draco got stuck into his full English breakfast while listening to the Slytherin's inane chatter around him. From time to time, his eyes drifted from the Gryffindor table to the door, waiting for Harry to enter. He was more than halfway through his meal before the Golden Trio finally walked through the door and over to the Gryffindor seats.
First was Ron Weasley, a lanky red-headed boy with more freckles than galleons, demonstrated by his tatty maroon sweater and second-hand robe. Draco had never had any patience for the blood traitor, such a disgrace to the pureblood ways. Following him was Hermione Granger, Harry's muggle-born friend. As usual she sported the traditional school uniform, frizzy brown hair and a loud mouth spurting out a hundred words a second.
Finally, he turned his attention towards Harry, using his new perspective to study him. Harry was tall, with messy raven locks and deep emerald pools that were framed by thick lashes. His skin was tanned and free of blemishes and he had a long, graceful neck. His body was lean and muscled, kept trim by hours of Quidditch training. His clothes, although plain, fit him well, seeming to cling to his frame in what Draco perceived as a seductive manner. He wondered how he had never noticed how absolutely gorgeous Harry was before.
Frowning, he looked down at his plate, trying to decipher the feelings welling up inside of him; happiness at seeing Harry, desire for his attention and gorgeous body, shame at his feelings and fear that Harry might reject him if he learnt of them.
Pansy, noticing his glum expression, nudged his arm and smiled at him supportively. He smiled back, feeling better for knowing that she always had his back. Still smiling, he continued his breakfast and watched Harry eating his own, wondering if he would ever have a chance to be with him.
"Mate," Ron muttered to Harry between mouthfuls, "Malfoy has been staring at you for at least the past ten minutes." Startled, Harry looked over at the Slytherin table, his emerald eyes connecting with those of the pale Slytherin boy. For an immeasurable amount of time they looked at each other, and Harry shuddered at the look in the boys eyes.
Throughout the many years that he had been acquainted with Draco Malfoy he had come to know him quite well. He kept his emotions hidden with precise control; his face was a mask that never betrayed his thoughts. From studying the Slytherin and trying to provoke him, he had discovered how much the boy expressed with his eyes. Draco's eyes had always told him when he had hit the right mark.
From his observation, Harry could quite easily read Draco's emotions; anger, amusement, boredom, happiness, confusion. Now, however, Harry could not get a hold on the emotion in Malfoy's eyes. It seemed to flicker between confusion, shame, and something else that he didn't quite understand. Confused, he studied the blonde Slytherin as he finally looked away.
"I wonder what that was about." Harry mused aloud, exchanging a bemused glance with his best friend.
"I don't know Harry. I just wish I knew why he was staring at you and blushing like a little girl," Ron sneered. Harry looked over at Draco again, and sure enough, the boy was blushing as he exchanged words with Pansy Parkinson.
"How very peculiar," Harry said with a frown. Something was very wrong here, and he would get to bottom of Draco Malfoy's strange behaviour, one way or another.
He finished his breakfast off quickly, knowing that during Potions, his first lesson of the day, he would have time to study Draco and decipher his intentions. Harry, Ron and Hermione stood together and walked out of the Great Hall towards the dungeons. Harry watched on with fond exasperation as Hermione lectured Ron over his refusal to finish homework on time.
Professor Snape had set them 11 inches on the properties of mugglewort and its use in the dreamless sleep potion in the previous lesson. Ron had left it until the last minute, and so his writing was large and messy, containing facts written directly from the textbook. His own essay was written only marginally better.
They waited in front of the classroom door as students began to clutter up the hallway. They still had ten minutes until Potions began but many of the students were exchanging notes on their essays, with some using the free time to finish them.
Harry watched from the corner of his eyes as Draco and Pansy reached the classroom together. Pansy had her hand on his arm as she talked to him, while Draco was scowling faintly. From all appearances, she appeared to be telling him off. Inwardly, Harry smirked at their resemblance to Hermione scolding Ron beside him. Perhaps the Slytherins were not so different to them after all.
Suddenly, Draco began walking towards him and Harry looked wildly around him for Ron and Hermione. They were gone, however, having entered the classroom while Harry had been lost in thought. He reached for the door handle and was about to turn it when a pale hand closed over his.
"Potter," a voice drawled into his ear, "allow me." Harry shivered at Draco's proximity and stood aside as he opened the door. Muttering a thankyou at the blonde Slytherin, Harry slid past him and sat down next to Ron. Draco and Pansy followed after him, taking their own usual places.
Burning red with embarrassment, Harry studied Malfoy through lidded eyes. What was he up to? First staring at him during breakfast and blushing, and now he was touching him and whispering in his ear, even opening a door for him. It was completely uncharacteristic and Harry couldn't understand his behaviour.
Professor Snape began the lesson and Harry zoned out, instead glared at the back of Draco's head, trying to figure out his behaviour. Was he planning something to humiliate Harry? Befriend him and then betray all his secrets to his Slytherin friends? Or perhaps he was being nice so that he could spy on him, passing along information to his Death Eater father? Whatever, he was up to, it was suspicious.
"Potter," Snape yelled, snapping Harry from his reverie, "Could you perhaps explain to the class exactly what I've been talking about for the last ten minutes?" Harry shrugged, looking embarrassed and chastened. "Pay attention, Potter. Twenty points from Gryffindor,' Snape proclaimed with a sneer.
"As I was saying, you will now partner up and begin brewing the Dreamless Sleep potion. The instructions are on the board," Snape continued. Harry glanced over the directions, noting that it seemed to be quite a difficult potion. He and Ron would probably have quite a bit of trouble brewing it. Turning towards his friend, his jaw dropped. Ron and Hermione were standing at a cauldron, getting all of their things ready. He and Ron had always partnered while Hermione had always worked with Neville.
Unfortunately, Neville had dropped out of Potions after receiving a T in his Potions OWL. Looking around, Harry searched for a partner. All of the Gryffindors were already paired up and so he looked over at the Slytherins, rolling his eyes towards the ceiling when he noticed that the only person left was Malfoy. It seemed that Pansy was working with Blaise Zabini, a quiet Slytherin boy. Scowling, Harry collected his books and moved over next to Malfoy.
"Potter?" Draco asked, astonished. "What are you doing? Harry rolled his eyes, looking down at his book to avoid the Slytherin's gaze.
"Everyone else has already paired up," Harry muttered angrily, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. Malfoy nodded and gestured for Harry to join him. They worked together in a surprisingly comfortable silence, with Harry slicing up ingredients as instructed while Draco tended to the potion.
After an hour, Malfoy lowered the temperature of the fire, allowing the potion to simmer. Harry looked from the blackboard to the potion, pleased to see that it was the necessary pale blue described.
"Well, that's all we need to do for now," Draco said casually. "The potion needs to simmer for twenty minutes until we add the final ingredients. Harry nodded in response and wandered over to where Ron and Hermione were working. Harry smirked when he saw that his and Draco's potion was better than that of his friends.
"Hey, Harry," Hermione said with a smile, patting the seat beside him. "I see you got stuck with Malfoy."
"Yeah, sorry about that mate," Ron said apologetically. "Hermione asked me yesterday if I'd be her partner today, it completely slipped my mind."
"It's alright," Harry reassured them. "Malfoy's been pretty civil so far. He's not so bad." Ron raised an eyebrow sceptically, looking over to where Draco was conversing quietly with Pansy and Blaise.
"I'll believe that when I see it," Ron responded sarcastically. Harry laughed, in total agreement with his best friend.
"Well, our twenty minutes are nearly up, sorry Harry. We need to prepare the next ingredients," Hermione said repentantly. Harry nodded and returned to his seat next to their potion and Draco returned not long after. They began to work again in silence, preparing the ingredients for the final component of the Dreamless Sleep potion.
"Thanks,' Draco muttered, as Harry passed the ingredients over to him. Looking down at the potion, he added the ingredients one by one, occasionally stirring it. Harry watched Draco's hands, mesmerised by how long his fingers were. They moved with poise, twirling the stirring rod gracefully through the thick potion. Shaking his head in confusion, Harry looked up at Draco, surprised to see the Slytherin watching him with obvious bemusement.
"Like what you see, Potter?" Draco asked teasingly, smiling when Harry blushed.
"I have no idea what you're talking about, Malfoy," Harry protested. Draco smirked and began to bottle up their potion in the beakers provided. He handed them to Harry, who labelled them and placed them inside a potions rack. When they finished, they carried it over to Professor Snape's desk, who studied their potion with surprise and approval.
"I must admit to being surprised, Potter. I didn't think you were capable of helping to create such a perfect example of the Dreamless Sleep potion. Five points to Gryffindor and Slytherin," Snape said quietly. Draco nodded while Harry gaped at him in shock. Had Snape just awarded him points? It seemed that this Thursday was a day for firsts!
Harry packed up his belongings and rejoined his friends, making their onwards to their next lesson; Defence against the Dark Arts. Hopefully this lesson would proceed as normal, allowing him to gain his bearings.
This year had seen the arrival of a new DADA teacher, a famous warlock called Alphonse Detirré. He was an old friend of Professor Dumbledore and had apparently helped in the defeat of Grindelwald. Harry found him quite fascinating; he was an endless fount of knowledge in regard to the Dark Arts and the best ways to counter them. Unlike many DADA professors before, except for perhaps Professor Moody, he taught them spells that would defend them against dark creatures and wizards.
This lesson saw them studying a large cage in the middle of the classroom, which was covered by a thick black blanket. All the windows of the classroom were blacked out, with the only light in the room coming from a floating chandelier.
"So, class, can anyone guess what it is that we will be studying today?" Professor Detirré asked, looking around with an amused smile. Immediately, Hermione raised her hand. "Yes, Miss Granger."
"Due to the lack of light, I can only assume that we are studying a creature that lives only at night, and fears sunlight. I think there's a vampire in the cage," Hermione stated loudly, glancing nervously at the cage.
"Very good, Miss Granger. Ten points to Gryffindor. You are, of course, correct. Today we will be studying vampires and how to protect against them," Professor Detirré instructed, pulling away the shroud. Harry looked in fascination at the vampire who was vastly different to the muggle portrayal.
He was not beautiful, although his skin was a translucent white that seemed to glow eerily, highlighted by his blood red lips. His eyes were bright red, glinting with malicious hatred as he surveyed the humans before him. The vampire's hair was a silky black that fell sleekly down his back, stopping at the back of his knees. He was also unnaturally thin, bordering on what muggles would call anorexic. Overall, the creature looked gaunt, menacing and really hungry.
"According to myth, vampires are the perfect predator. Their red eyes can pierce the dark that so inhibits the human race, they are immeasurably strong and fast, far outstripping our own capabilities. To make it even more difficult, they generally hunt in packs. On your own, it is very difficult to defend against a pack of malicious vampires," the professor explained, as he circled the vampire.
"Now, what do we know about vampires, absolutely?" He questioned, smiling at Hermione as again her hand shot straight up. "Very well, Miss Granger, proceed." Hermione clasped her hands before her and sat rim-rod straight in her chair. Harry mentally rolled his eyes at what he and Ron had dubbed her 'lecture mode'.
"Vampires are creatures of the night, created by injecting humans with their venom. They can be killed by direct exposure to sunlight or a wooden stake through the heart. There are rumours that they can be repelled by garlic or crosses and they are unable to enter hallowed ground but none of these are true. Vampires can only be repelled using a spell of light, such as lumos or by summing fire, which will burnt their eyes," Hermione lectured, her eyes bright with satisfaction.
"Take another ten points, Miss Granger," Professor Detirré said approvingly. "As Hermione suggested, light spells are the best way to repel a vampire, and so lumos can be useful. However, there is another light spell which uses the power of the sun to destroy the vampire completely. This is what we will be practising today." The class began to mutter appreciatively, looking forward to learning a spell that would kill vampires.
"Now, the incantation for this spell is levis candidus. In order to use this spell, you must concentrate very strongly on sunlight, from how it looks to how its rays feel on your skin. Allow this feeling to well up inside you, and then release the power through your wand as you say the incantation. Now, pair up and you may begin," he instructed. He then shrouded the vampire's cage again and sat at his desk, observing his students and calling out encouragement,
Harry looked around, again seeing that everyone had again paired up without him, leaving him with the Slytherin Prince. He wondered if fate was out to get him. This time, it was Malfoy who stood up and joined him.
"Potter," he nodded in acknowledgement, setting his things beside the annoyed Gryffindor. "You go first; I'll watch to see if you get it right," Draco instructed him seriously. Harry nodded and closed his eyes, summoning sunlight and it's aspects to the forefront of his mind. He visualised a glowing ball of light residing inside of him, warming him and lighting up his mind. Draco looked on, astonished, as Harry started to glow with an ethereal light.
"Everyone watch Potter carefully," Professor Detirré instructed, sounding excited. The class stopped attempting the spell and turned to look at Harry, gasping as they saw the light leaking from his skin. Draco could only stare in wonder as Harry's skin became saturated with light, making him seem even more beautiful. After a short amount of time, Harry opened his glorious emerald eyes, which were emanating beams of sunlight.
"Levis candidus!" Harry yelled, as the light seeped from his body and exploded from his wand. The entire classroom light up light the sun, and Draco could hear the vampire whining in fear. After a few minutes, the light subsided, and Harry slumped in his seat, exhausted.
"Well done, Harry!" Professor Detirré congratulated, beaming with joy. "And on your first try as well, marvellous! Thirty points to Gryffindor! Now everyone else give it a shot," he instructed merrily. Draco shook his head in amazement and shut his eyes, determined to do as well as Harry.
Harry watched from lidded eyes as Malfoy frowned, concentrating. The spell had been quite difficult, but was made easier by his training with Professor Lupin to produce a Patronus. Except that instead of thinking of a happy thought, he just concentrated on sunlight.
Draco growled, trying to and failing to picture sunlight in his mind. All he could think of was a glowing orb in the sky that hurt to look at. He'd never paid much attention to the sun, never focussed on the warmth of it on his skin. It was a part of nature; it rose in the morning and set at night, big deal. With a frustrated sigh, Draco opened his eyes and saw Harry looking at him in amusement.
"What are you looking at, Potter?" He snarled, embarrassed that he had been unable to do the spell on his first go as his nemesis had.
"I just think it's funny that we get paired up in two classes on the same day, and you help me get a passing grade in potions, and now I have to help you in return," Harry said, shaking his head as he smiled wryly.
"Whatever, Potter. I don't need your help," Draco scowled, annoyed that he had looked stupid in front of Harry.
"No, it's a good thing. We can work together. You help me in Potions, and I'll help you in Defence against the Dark Arts. That way we both pass. What do you say?" Harry asked, holding out a hand. Draco looked down warily at Harry's hand, wondering whether or not it was a trick. He longed to take his hand and agree but he wasn't sure if it was his mind or his heart speaking.
"Very well, Potter. We'll help each other," Draco decided, taking the Gryffindor's hand. They shook on it, both giving the other a small smile. Inwardly, Draco grinned with triumph. Here, finally, was the handshake that he had wanted from Harry all those years ago. Perhaps they could now be friends at last. For now anyway.
And there we have it, the first chapter. Please read and review to let me know what you think. Thanks to Erin for giving me inspiration for this story and helping me with ideas!