This was just a random thought that crossed my mind when I should have been trying to go to sleep, but I ended up writing it down. It's a little short (okay, it's very short), but I like it, and I figured I might as well post it in case someone else likes it too. Oh, and I apologize if the tense is confusing... I normally don't write in present tense, as it's sometimes difficult to get my point across, but I think it helped set the mood a little better, and although I struggled with wording at times, I like the result enough that it was worth it.

The Word

I haven't slept right in days. I can't eat, can't study. Ron and Hermione are worried. They don't know what's wrong, as much as they badger me to tell them, but they couldn't understand. They don't know how powerful one word can be. One word... One word will seal my fate. Forever change myself and so many others who know me. The knowledge of it tears into me like a knife. Just one tiny little word, sitting in the back of my head, never forgotten.

The word yes. I say it all the time; everyone does. And said to anyone but him, it's nearly meaningless. But to him...

I can picture myself telling him, of course. Perhaps in the hallway between classes, or at Quidditch practice, which the Slytherin team occasionally watches. No one but the two of us would know what I meant, or why I was even talking to the 'slimy git.' But he would know, and that thought both gratifies and terrifies me.

I know what I want to say, what my heart is constantly nagging at me to say, but what I should say is an entirely different matter. No. That should be my answer, if I follow my duty as the 'Chosen One', Savior of the Wizarding World, and as the model Gryffindor. And I know what they would all tell me to do, if they knew the source of my troubles.

"Harry! How can you even think of doing such a thing? He must have cursed you, or slipped you a potion when your guard was down. I'll go to the library to find out what it could be. Don't worry, Harry. We'll fix this."

"Bloody hell, Harry! Did you just say you might... might... argh! How could you do this to me, Harry? I thought I was your friend, but I turn around for one second and you're off with some snake!"

"Harry... why are you doing this? Is this some kind of plea for attention, some way to break free from your self-instilled bonds? I'm terribly sorry that I didn't see this coming, that I wasn't there to guide you through this rough time. But I am here now, Harry. Everything will be alright now."

And they're right, of course. This can't be real. I can't really be in love with a Slytherin. And even if I am, it's my duty as the Boy Who Lived to keep it secret, keep it hidden deep under the surface, because the Wizarding World couldn't handle the shock of finding out their Golden Boy isn't as Golden as he appears. I should say no. I must.

But all my logic is cracking before my eyes, and my heart is winning out over my duty. My resolve is weakening, and the more I try to stay strong and hold my rationales together, the more they slip through my fingers.

And one day, they simply shatter into a million tiny pieces and scatter to the four winds. I sit in the Great Hall, slowly pushing my food around my plate when he comes in. Nothing is different, he just swaggers in as usual, snickering at something Blaise says, but the familiar scene touches something within me, breaks through my last resistance. He heads for the Slytherin table with not a glance at me, but before I know it I'm up and blocking his path. He raises his eyebrows expectantly at me, wearing his perfect mask of calm superiority. My mouth goes dry, and I'm suddenly painfully aware of Ron and Hermione hurrying to catch up to me in confusion.

"Is there a reason you have accosted me, Potter, or was it simply for the view?" He says derisively, causing Blaise, still beside him, to smirk gleefully. I feel my face heat in embarrassment. I know that he's only teasing me and that we would have a good laugh later, but I'm the only one who knows that, and Ron glowers at our supposed enemy.

"Actually, there is, if you can pull your head out of your arse long enough to hear it."

Ron grins viciously at my words, but then glances at me in mock concern, saying, "I don't know, I think he might hurt himself if he tried that. His head's so big I don't think it would fit coming back out- like a ship in a bottle." I just barely manage to catch myself from speaking the logical retort, and one glance at Draco tells me he has thought of the same thing. Oh, it'd be fine. I think we've stretched that particular hole enough for anything to fit through... I laugh at the thought, but Draco has to hide his mirth to avoid suspicion.

"Before this becomes more violent than it already is, might I point out that you confronted me for a purpose," he comments, seemingly without a care in the world, but somehow he seems almost nervous, as though he can guess why I've finally come to talk to him.

I hesitate, teetering on the edge of oblivion, preparing myself to willingly jump... "Yes."