Tittle: Two Heads are Better then One
An: The end is hear... Sorry guys. I thought I posted this already. Ooops.
Disclaimer: I'm happy to announce I've found new voices. But I still don't own Harry Potter.
Chapter Eight: What? You want an ending?
Things went back to normal quicker then Harry would have guessed. Those students who had been avoiding him because of his foul mood, treated him as though nothing had happened. His headaches stopped and he went back to fumbling over his potions answers. Most obvious was the only voice in his head now was his own.
Harry had no further contact from Malfoy. They went to class, ate in the same hall every meal and even saw each other around the castle, but neither boy acknowledged the other. Harry choked down the disappointment.
Instead he focused on enjoying in the normalcy of his life again.
Or at least he tried.
Hermione insisted that he continued to go to the meetings and after Ron nearly offered his first born as motivation Harry reluctantly gave in. His biggest concern was how to act around Malfoy.
Going back to petty insults and teasing didn't seem like an option. Besides, he no longer even wanted to cut the blonde down. He'd seen too much. Not to mention he could do some serious damage with the knowledge he had now and likewise so could the blonde.
On the other hand the past few days left Harry with no doubt the blonde didn't want anything from him. Malfoy hadn't even looked in Harry's direction once since they'd parted ways. Not that the brunette was watching. Anyway, it seemed like acknowledging what happened and becoming friends was not something Harry saw them doing. If Malfoy didn't want it, neither did he.
But then where did they stand? They aren't friends, but no longer enemies, so what are they to each other? Harry wasn't sure.
Luckily he'd come up with the solution. He would just stay away from Malfoy. If they didn't talk, they wouldn't have to worry about what to say. Nothing would have to be defined.
It wasn't going to be difficult with the way the blonde was avoiding Harry. It seemed just as he was so intent on staying away from Malfoy, the other boy was equally intent on avoiding him.
And so he went. Malfoy and him sat three people away from each other and the earth didn't swallow them up. Harry felt better after surviving the initial meeting. But only slightly.
He didn't think he had to live with it much longer, anyway. The study group was teetering on the edge. It was holding on, but Harry didn't think it had much of a chance. After the first few disastrous attempts to get everyone in harmony or to stop the ceaseless chatter that quickly took over the study sessions, Hermione nearly broke down.
It was impossible to cover every students subject matter. Angry and annoyed, people began to complain and accuse the leaders of playing favoritism. They lost half the group in the first few weeks. One would think that less people would cause less problems. But the opposite happened. With fewer people they began to demand more.
No one had respect for each other and the leaders were losing control. Harry knew that the only reason people kept going was because Professor Slader, a.k.a. Professor Amor, offered each student house points and extra credit for each meeting. And as nice as she was to look at, she was twice as hard to get a decent grade from.
Her reasons for supporting the group were that they were all equals in the battle against evil and so they should learn to get along as equals. Harry doubted she would be impressed by what they meetings had turned into. It was a noble attempt on Hermione's part, but there was too much hostility between the houses.
Now going to the meetings was more of a chore. Harry felt out of sorts, like anything he did would draw attention to himself, more specifically attention from Malfoy, Ron was always on the brink of asking out Almeda, contemplating and debating with himself and Hermione spent her time arguing with twelve of the twenty people left.
It was falling apart. So when Harry walked into this particular meeting, to find no one arguing, yelling or insulting each other he was mildly shocked. Everyone was seated in chairs and the leaders were up front. They had cut down to one class room now and everyone fit comfortably. Harry took a seat on the side, Ron at his heels.
" Hello." Jenny gave a wave.
"I know we've all been getting a little frustrated lately. But we are trying to make this work, and we appreciate you staying with us. Do to recent events it has come to our attention that this may not be the best venue for our needs. Things will be changing."
Harry watched the girl speak. She was clinical, but at the same time smooth. She didn't often speak during their meetings and Harry had to wonder why. She was professional and respectful. They definitely saved her for the right occasion.
" I want to ensure everyone here that their opinions matter. But at the same time I want to warn you that if things don't change this will be the end."
She was quiet as the thought sunk into people's head.
"We all hoped this would work, but it will take effort. You each need to make the decision to change your attitudes right now. Other wise, feel free to leave. We are trying our best and this is new. Your lack of respect and useless arguing are not welcome."
" None of you are being forced to be here. You are here because you believe, like us that there is more to people then the house they are in."
" Now as far as the changes. First, we will be meeting twice a week. Once on Tuesday evenings and once on Saturdays."
A low mummer swept through the crowd. Weekends?
" As I said before. No one is forcing you. The Tuesday nights will be a free study night. No specific subject, just people around to help you out if you need it. There was a reason that we are the representatives."
She swept her hand to acknowledge the three people behind her.
" Between us, there is no subject we can't help you with. This group was intended for a place where people can go for harmonious learning and we will continue to make it so. However, we know you all work hard and want to enjoy yourselves. So the Saturday meetings will be more of a group activity day."
" We're actually going to start that part right now. So everyone who is still interested in staying go to your rooms gather your snow gear and meet us in the castle entrance in twenty minutes."
Just as everyone was rustling around to leave Jenny spoke once more.
" But only come back if you are going to take this seriously. Believe me when I say it will be different now. The disrespectful behaviors most of you have gotten used to will end. I know a lot of you are only here for the points. And that's fine as long as you play by the rules. But don't continue to waste our time if you're not going to prove you can be mature enough for this group."
Harry found himself nodding even though nothing she said really applied to him. Jenny spoke to the group like they were adults and that made a lot of them want to show her they could be. She had power over the crowd.
The boys left Hermione to talk amongst her peers. She shoed them away after warning them to dress warmly and whispering they were going to have a snowball fight.
Once in their dorm each boy searched for their clothes. Harry was rummaging through his trunk for his boot. The only part of his gear he was still missing. He found it with a triumphant yell and turned around to find Ron pouting.
The red head was holding an old fuschia colored jacket. A pair of one size too big for his feet boots laid on the floor. He was debating over a white sweater and a green one. Green looked better, but would clash with the coat.
Harry took the time to note his friend's attitude. Ron had really matured over the last year. Harry could tell he was nervous, no doubt a certain dark haired girl on his mind, but he didn't complain. Even though he was forced to use hand me downs and worn out clothes that looked to be picked out by the color blind. He just worked with what he had. Which wasn't a lot.
Despite the weather they didn't have much heavy gear. They tried not to travel outside when they didn't have to, especially when it was snowing and if they had to their usual outer ware would do. But Hermione's warning let them know it was a good idea to pull out the heavy artillery. A snowball fight would mean pro longed exposure to the biting cold winter air.
Ron's clothing was unfortunately lacking. Not warmth or protection, but the ability to impress. He held his tongue, accepting the realization this was all he had. Harry never admirered him more. It shocked him how much they had all grown up over the years. He looked at the newly bought coat laying on his own bed.
" Hey mate, why don't you use mine."
Ron looked over to him.
" Come on. I'll make you a deal. I'll let you use my gear if you promise to finally ask Alemda out."
Harry watched his friend contemplate the offer. With stained cheeks he agreed and Harry took the purple coat, that he soon found smelled like onions.
When they reached the front entrance they waited five more minutes before being moved to outside. There they were divided into houses. Harry saw a flash of blonde and his heart sped up.
He'd almost forgotten.
Jimmy started to talk.
" All right. I see we've added a few people. No problem. Is everyone in their house? Okay, here are the rules. We'll divide into four groups. Each team gets a different colored scarf. That will be your team color. You each must have a home base. The object is simple. Don't let the other team get your scarf. If you're hit with five snow balls, you must return to your base before continuing the game. No spells, no physical contact, no insults. Let's have a good clean game."
Harry caught Pansy's eye and she smirked at him.
" Each house representative will pick a member from each house. Pansy, I believe you wanted to go first."
The dark haired Slytherin stepped froward. She choose two boys Harry didn't know from Hufflpuff and Ravenclaw. Then she chose him. Never having managed to decipher her looks Harry's stomach gave a lurched when she followed him with her eyes. He knew something was coming.
And it came in the form of a blonde. Malfoy stepped away from the crowd of his house mates and joined their team. Harry kept his gazed fixed in front of him. In his peripheral vision he saw Malfoy stand next to the Hufflepuff. John, Harry learned as the boy introduced himself and asked if he was sick. Harry gave the boy a smile and waved him off.
When the picking was done they all had five minutes to plan. Pansy quickly made their base a tree, just outside the forest edge.
She assigned two people to begin making a wall of snow. They weren't allowed to let anyone pass and get the scarf. Two more were assigned to capture the other teams scarves. The rest were free agents, able to move between the offense and defense.
Harry was luckily not assigned a job. He floated around, watching the other teams planning until it was time to start.
The boundaries were limiting, but it was easier to dictate what was happening. There was enough room to play but not so much that people could get lost. Pansy wasn't participating like Harry thought she would. Her and the rest of the representatives were monitoring for cheating and to make sure any one hit five times was sent back to their base to start over.
Harry looked over to Hermione's team. He spotted Ron fumbling through the snow. He was talking with Almeda. Most of the times he watched them interact was painful. Ron would mumble or say something random or didn't even make it to her table before he turned and ran the other direction. This was the first time he saw them so open around each other.
Harry watched them laughing and wondered what happened. He was glad for his friend and smiled as the red head got flustered when Almeda put her hand on his arm. It was obvious they had a connection.
" She fancies him."
For one whole second Harry forgot. He forgot the spell was over. He forgot the weirdness around them. He forgot the fact the Malfoy had been ignoring him for a week straight.
Then reality hit him.
He looked over to the blonde, now standing next to him, but Malfoy was still watching Ron and Almeda.
" She told Pansy."
Harry just looked at the boy who wouldn't even spare him a glance yesterday. Who still wasn't looking at him.
" Who would have thought Weasley would fall for a Slytherin?"
Harry blinked. Malfoy shuffled.
" Nice coat by the way."
By that comment he'd finally found his voice and was going to respond when Pansy called him to her. Harry nearly tripped on his way over, eager to leave the puzzling blonde behind. If he had been wearing the read head's boots he would have gotten a face full of snow. Seamus, who wasn't in the group, took pity on him and let Ron burrow his boots. Harry had to remember to thank him later.
" Here. Take this." She shoved the scarf at him when he reached her. He frowned at her.
" I thought it had to be in the base."
" No, don't you pay attention? That wasn't in the rules. Here, don't let anyone see it."
Harry didn't move.
" All right. Time's up!" Jimmy shouted.
" Potter! Everyone else is doing it, even Granger. It's a twist. Roll with it."
Then she shoved her hand in his coat and pushed him away. He stumbled before finding his footing. She joined the other representatives in the center and the game began. Harry shrugged and shoved the scarf fully into his jacket.
The game started.
He walked slowly around the edge of the perimeter and a snowball hit his face. He looked up to see Glenda, a girl Harry never really liked smile at him.
The smile died on her lips as another snowball flew into her side. She quickly turned her attention in the direction of her attacker. A boy with red hair, one Harry recognized as being on his team, slung another at her. She sent a wayward ball at him, before ducking behind a tree.
Harry left them to it. He nodded to his team mate and kept on his way. Instead of aiming for the bases. He was looking at people. He was searching for someone behaving oddly or maybe like him. Someone who knew the scarf wasn't in a fort, but on a body. He stayed out of as many fights as he could and quickly got through the ones he had no choice in joining.
Along his way he came face to face with Ron. They both smiled before launching an attack. Harry noted Almeda was backing the red head up. He was out numbered, but he fought gallantly. With a swift motion he found cover behind an abandoned cart. Probably one of Hargrid's.
Four hits in, two on the girl on three on Ron, Harry rested behind his protection.
If he lost now he would have to walk all the way back to his base. It would waste his time and what he wanted was to get closer to the other teams bases. He guessed anyone with the scarf might be staying under protection.
He still had a chance at this. Ron was sticking out and two well placed balls would end him. The girl hid well, but once Ron was gone Harry was sure he could handle her.
The only problem was that Harry didn't want to embarrass his friend in front of his crush.
One memory of his friends smiling face decided for him. He stepped out and aimed. A snowball hit him square in the chest. He hung his head and retreated. Ron's look when Almeda hugged him in victory was worth the trudge back to base.
When he reached his base he waved at Ellen and George, the guards of nothing, before heading in the opposite direction he had at first.
Sometime in the middle of the game it began to snow. Light white confetti trickled from the sky. Harry wanted to pull his hood over his head, but knew he was already a target. When a snowball hit him from behind he dropped to the ground and spun around. There was a solid wall of snow just to his left.
He didn't see who hit him, but he took shelter as he searched. Another white ball landed where his head had been moments before. Someone was trying to get him. He gathered snow from around him and started making his weapons. He stuck a quick foot out to the left as a decoy and his upper body out the right.
He couldn't make out his attacker and almost didn't get his foot back in time. He debated just walking out and letting the person win. But his Gryffindor pride wouldn't let him. Harry looked at his surroundings. Sounds of laughter and shouting could be heard, but no one was in sight, which gave Harry an eerie feeling.
He gathered snow in his gloved hand and threw in the direction he thought was right. He had no way of knowing if he was even close. His head never moved from behind his wall.
" Bloody hell!"
Harry was surprised by the yell. It seemed he'd hit some one after all.
" Hey. Owww. Alright. Alright! Stop. That's five already!"
" Hey. What's you're problem?"
Harry popped his head out from behind the wall. He saw two shapes walking out of the forest, their voices preceding them.
" I don't have a problem. This is a game of war is it not?"
Harry found he wasn't surprised to see Malfoy come into view. A large dark skinned boy was walking next to him, nursing his arm.
" Yeah. The operative word being game."
He wasn't yelling, but the tone wasn't friendly either. He was frowning at the blonde. They came closer to Harry.
" Yes, a game. Which you just lost."
The boy didn't look to upset at that. He shrugged, a smirk almost on his lips, before they stopped in front of Harry.
" I lost a battle. The war still continues. Potter here knows what I'm talking about. Don't you?"
Harry didn't, but he nodded anyway. Slytherins were kind of confusing. Harry couldn't tell who was trying to look more in control, non-chalant, and threatening at the same time, this boy or Malfoy.
" The war continues." He said again.
Then he walked away.
" Thanks." Harry mumbled, his attention on the blonde. Malfoy nodded.
" Krieger has been doing that all day. Hiding in the bushes like a coward and ambushing people. I've finally been able to stop him."
Harry followed the blonde's gaze. Krieger was walking away still. Harry noticed a red something sticking out of one of his pockets. It contrasted with his white jacket and the snow around them all. Suddenly everything made sense.
" Malfoy." He whispered in a rush.
The blonde looked at him. Harry almost forgot what he was going to say. He felt a strange rumbling in his stomach. For some reason he couldn't think. The blonde waited.
" Umm. He has a scarf."
Malfoy smiled, leaned a little closer and whispered back.
"A jacket and pants too."
The blonde didn't understand and Harry didn't blame him. Malfoy's sudden nearness was causing his mind to go on the fritz.
" No. The scarf. He has it in his pocket."
Malfoy looked after the retreating boy. Then back to Harry.
" You sure?"
Harry nodded. Just the sight only wouldn't be enough, but the boy was way too cocky before. He had been bragging. But that was his mistake, because now Harry was on to him.
" Should we get back up?" Harry suggested.
" No time. If he gets away we won't be able to find him. Believe me, he can hide."
Harry followed Malfoy into the forest. They decided to use that route so they wouldn't been seen. They walked in silence intent on not making too much noise and keeping track of the boy they were tracking. Krieger walked fast and half way back he turned suddenly.
Harry jumped back as if the Slytherin had spotted them. He tripped on a root and would have fallen, but Malfoy helped him. He turned his focus back on the target and not the blonde eyeing him funnily.
Krieger looked around then darted into the trees, not far from where they were hiding. Harry froze. They weren't spotted and Malfoy gave him a look that said 'wait'. They could see the other teen. The scarf still sticking from his pocket. Harry tried to think of way's they could get it.
Not too long went by before two people could been seen from outside. Krieger, who had been working on snowballs and had a large pile, picked one up and shot it towards the couple. The first girl yelled, looked around and then crouched low. The second pulled the first to her feet and pulled her away.
Krieger looked disappointed. He went back to making more balls.
Harry looked at Malfoy. He made a motion which Harry didn't understand. The blonde rolled his eyes and pulled Harry closer.
" We have to distract him."
" I'll go around and draw his fire. You sneak up and..." He broke off, turning his head. Krieger was sitting up and looking around. They weren't exactly covered and they held still and hoped he didn't see them.
A group of people passing by distracted him. Malfoy dropped his hand from around Harry's neck and moved silently towards his fellow Slytherin. The other boy was so caught up in attacking the unprepared students he didn't even flinch when Malfoy slid the red garment out of his trousers.
Harry silently beamed at the blonde. They left the forest and when they were a safe distance Harry spoke.
" That was brilliant!"
" He was an idiot. I wonder who has our scarf?"
Harry looked around to make sure they were alone and then pulled out the green cloth. Malfoy laughed.
" That's what Pansy interrupted my apology for?"
"Yeah, I nearly...Wait. What? That was an apology?"
Harry gave him a skeptical look.
" I was testing the waters. I didn't know if you'd accept or not."
" So you insulted my coat?"
" That was after you ignored me."
" You've been ignoring me all week!"
Harry suddenly blushed. He didn't mean to say that out loud.
" I'm sorry."
Harry didn't know what to say except,
" Okay. Me too."
" I think we make a pretty good team. What do you say we go see how many more scarves we can gather?"
Harry smiled openly as he and Malfoy spent the rest of the game together. They didn't find more scarves, but they were the only one's who managed to steal one from the other team.
Harry smirked as he watched Krieger fumble around in his pockets when they announced it to everyone. They won. People cheered and grumbled around him, and Jimmy reminded them next week would be another chance to win. He gave the time for Tuesdays meeting and dismissed them.
Harry bid Malfoy and his team goodbye and walked back to the castle with an optimistic Hermione and a gushing Ron. He'd asked Almeda out. All in all Harry was glad he decided to go to this meeting.
After that things between them shifted once more. Harry had never been through so many types of relationships with one single person before. Now they were acquaintances, but slowly becoming friends. They'd get there, to place he and Ron and Hermione were, eventually.
It was obvious they were all getting closer. The Slytherins and Gryffindors. Hermione was thrilled about her group, but this small connection between them was even more satisfying. They were all become good friends.
But there was something else. Something underneath it all, that kept Harry wondering. Kept him from being able to really compare Malfoy to Ron or Hermione.
He was never sure about the boy. He offered his companionship openly and freely, but then sometimes he did things that left Harry's mind going to other places. Things that never let Harry relax entirely around him.
The touching was one of them. It was all casual, just a pat on the back or letting his fingers slide across Harry's when he borrowed a quill. Leaning too close when they sat next to each other, putting a hand on his knee or arm to get his attention, when saying his name would have gotten the same result.
For all Harry knew that was how Malfoy treated all his friends. He didn't piture Malfoy as the touchy feely type, but he also never would have guessed he would have seen the other boy cry. You can't know everything about a person.
With his theory in mind Harry watched to find out. he found the blonde didn't touch Blaise and Harry never expected him to lean his shoulder into Ron's when he wanted the red head's attention.
Other then that he didn't interact with many other people and he kept a stiff distance from those he did. Hermione was always managed to be far away from the blonde so she gave no insight.
Malfoy didn't appear to be the type to hand out his touches to just any one. Unless you were Harry.
The girl got just as many touches as Harry, if not more. The Slytherin slipped into her space as though he shared property rights. It was easy to see they cared deeply for each other. It was almost like watching a brother and sister. The female brunette often punched his arm or poked him. Harry even saw her go as far as to tickle him once.
So in the end he concluded it was the same for Malfoy as it was for him. An effect of the spell. They'd gotten used to being in each other's space. After weeks of doing it, the act became second nature to them. When they started hanging out, it was only natural to fall back into what they knew.
Both of the boys went through a unique experience together and they couldn't pretend it didn't change them. It brought them closer together, allowed this relationship to form. It was all innocent.
Harry would have liked to have taken his observations and called it the end. He could reason that Malfoy wasn't even aware of what he was doing and it didn't mean anything.
But things were never that simple.
Beacuse the touching wasn't the only thing.
Malfoy had an unusual way of speaking around Harry. Sometimes when others were around, but mostly when they were alone. He'd often use words that had double meanings, words that would mean quite a different thing if one were to mean it that way.
Harry wrote that off as a private joke between them.
But then there were the looks.
Harry wouldn't define them as lingering so much as waiting. He would often shift his head to find the blonde's eyes on him. Un-able to decipher the emotions swimming in Malfoy's grey orbs, Harry stared back. They wold hold each other's gaze as Harry tried to figure out what the blonde was thinking.
Harry guessed he was going over the past few weeks and wondering how they ended up in this moment. The Gryffindor did it often enough. He couldn't blame Malfoy for his watchful eyes. Harry himself had taken to studying the other boy. So much time they had known each other, but Harry marveled at how much he'd never really known at all. Small things he could have noticed if he just opened his eyes.
Malfoy hated chocolate for one. Shocked that there was a person in the world who could have such a disdain for the sweet and even more shocked Harry had known that person for years. He took to noticing other things about the boy.
He was funny. In a sarcastic, I hate everything kind of way, but still funny. Harry had a taste of that already. But it was nothing compared to what he got now. Even Ron had broken down and chuckled at the blonde's humor. That was a big moment for them and the first time that Harry realized this could actually work.
He loved Pansy. It was obvious the way he treated her. The affection and care he let show when he was caught up in a moment with her was hard to miss. She was his Hermione. It was no wonder the girls got on so well. They were similar, both head strong and resilient. Malfoy was different when he was around the other girl. She got away with more then anyone else.
Some where during his research Harry realized he still wanted the blonde to push him into the wall and kiss him senseless.
But too much time had passed. He knew that. If they ever had a chance it was lost long ago.
Harry didn't mind so much. They were building something stronger between them. Maybe in the end it would be better for them both.
Malfoy was a friend now and Harry valued that friendship more then he wanted to admit.
As long as he ignored the fine string still connecting them like no two other people Harry could live with side effects of the spell. Like the tiny thrill he got when Malfoy's attention was on him. Or the smile he couldn't stop when the blonde sent a look his way. Eventually they would leave.
They had to.
" Maybe we should start a business."
Harry looked up from his charms essay.
" We've successfully matched up three different couples now. We should be getting paid for our troubles."
" Yes, Potter. We. I helped with Weasley just as much as you did."
" All you did was shove Ron into the girl."
" Yes, which gave them something to talk about."
" Yeah, how much they disliked you. And they were already going on a date."
" Yes, but I was also the one to convince Pansy to talk with Almeda. Which lead her to summon up the stomach to accept Weasley's date. So I am responsible for that."
He pointed to Ron and Almeda. They were holding hands and whispering in each others ears.
Almeda giggled then pecked Ron on the cheek. It quickly became more.
" On second thought, you can take the credit for that one. I don't want to be held responsible for subjecting the public to that."
Malfoy turned away from the snogging couple. He caught Harry's eye and the brunette's heart skipped a beat. He quickly looked away. It was hard, but things were finally getting less awkward between them. Harry didn't want his lingering feelings from the spell to ruin the friendship that evolved with him and Malfoy.
" Fine. You helped with them, but what about Jane and Adam?"
" If you recall it was me who pointed out his feelings in the first place."
" That doesn't mean anything. You didn't encourage them or help in any way."
" True, but I could have. I saw the potential. We have an eye for this thing. That's all I'm saying."
He held his hands up in mock defeat. Hermione dropped into the chair next to Harry.
" Have an eye for what?"
Malfoy turned to the girl, eager to share his idea.
" Finding people a suitable partner."
Hermione scoffed. Malfoy scowled at her.
" Right. Then why are you both alone?"
Neither boy answered right away.
" I bet we could. How bout it Potter, want me to find you the perfect bloke?" He winked at the brunette.
Harry's entire body seized up. He had almost forgotten he told the blonde his secret. And only the blonde. He shot a quick look to Hermione, the nervousness in his belly increasing ten fold. He could feel the sweat forming on his forehead and silently pleaded for this not to be happening. He didn't feel ready.
Could any one around them hear what they were saying? Too many people were in the room. He wanted out.
Hermione questioned, turning to a near panicked Harry.
" Well, let's face it no girl is going to go near him. So what's left. Unless... How do you feel about goats, Potter?"
Malfoy caught Harry's uncomfortableness and delivered a smooth cover. If it had been any one but Hermione he might have gotten away with it. But the witch was too clever. She ignored Malfoy and kept her gaze on Harry.
He didn't look at her.
" Harry?" She said quietly, putting a hand on his shoulder.
Three heads snapped to Pansy as she motioned for the bushy haired girl to join her. Hermione sighed and stood up.
" Harry... I'm here if you want to talk." Then she walked across the room.
Harry held up his hand.
" Don't. I..." He faltered.
" I didn't know. I mean. I figured you would have told them first."
" I know. It's just they... It's hard... and it was easier to tell some one I..." he stopped again.
" Some one you don't care about?" Malfoy filled in for him. Harry looked him in the eyes.
" Some one I didn't think would judge me."
They stared at each other before Harry looked away.
" They wouldn't judge you." Malfoy said quietly.
" I know." Harry answered just as quieltly.
"Besides, it was three in the morning. I didn't know what I was saying. I can't be held responsible for what comes out of my mouth."
Malfoy laughed, they went back to his homework and Harry tried not to dread going back to his dorm that night.
" It's like picking ice cream."
They were in the common room, huddled together. Ron was out for a walk with his new girl friend. Harry was trying to explain to Hermione how he thought he might be gay, but it wasn't coming out like it had before. Maybe he needed to be half asleep. Or maybe he needed a different analogy.
" Harry. It's okay. I don't need an excuse. I just wanted to be here if you want to talk about it."
" Like how?"
Hermione gave a very un-Hermione like answer.
" I don't know."
" Do you fancy any one?"
Harry gaped at her.
" Is it too soon?"
" How about if we stop talking about it. I don't want it to be forced. I just want you to know I'm here if you need me and I support you."
Harry smiled at her and relaxed into his chair. Some of the tension he wasn't aware he was carrying left his body.
" So what do you think of Ron's girl?"
To be truthful Harry hadn't gotten to know her very well. He'd spoken to her a few times but mostly he watched from a distance. Ron never brought her around and Harry had to wonder why. Hermione seemed to be thinking the same thing. They decided to invite the couple to join them in Hogsmead this week end.
When Harry imagined it, he had a hard time getting past the idea of Ron and Hermione not getting together, but one afternoon with Almeda quickly helped him over that hurdle. They met, Ron, himself and Hermione and the Slytherins, Pansy, Malfoy and Almeda. Blaise couldn't make it, a previous engagement he said, and Harry was glad to see him not there.
Malfoy was different when the taller boy was around. Not mean, but more aloof. He definitely spent less time around Harry. The brunette got the feeling Blaise didn't like him. Malfoy assured him he was wrong, but it didn't change the vibe he got from the Slytherin.
They walked along the path in moderate silence. When they arrived in town they hit the joke shop first. That was were Harry learned Almeda was a female Ron. She was dorky and a bit of a klutz.
Her love for sweets, any food for that matter, was matched only by Ron himself. She nearly eat her weight in chicken wings when they stopped for lunch.
When the dark haired girl and the red headed boy both erupted into a fit of laughter after having dropped a dung bomb in the street, and it not going off, Harry was convinced they were made for each other. Only two linked souls could find the humor in that.
She complemented him as well. Ron could be a bit of a show off when he didn't pay attention. Years of fighting for his place amongst older brothers shaped his personality. Almeda distracted him from becoming a clown for them, by suggesting they go for a walk.
The couple departed and the rest of the gang headed inside for drinks. Hermione and Pansy ordered while the boys stole... found a table for them. It was crowded and over flowing with students taking a break from their day of shopping. Hermione brought Harry his drink and squeezed in next to him. She nudged him and pointed to something across the room.
He looked up to find a pair of blue eyes on him. Startled he nearly spilled his butterbeer. Hermione nudged him again.
" His name's Luke and he's been staring at you since you walked in."
Harry swallowed and tried to will his blush away. Ever since their talk Hermione took it as her personal mission to shove as many guys as she saw fit in front of him. They still hadn't told Ron and so she wasn't announcing it to the world, but her efforts were clear.
Harry snuck a glance at the boy once more. He couldn't deny he was attractive. He was slim but fit, light brown hair framed his heart shaped face and he had an appealing dimple. And in fact Harry had notice him staring before.
" What do you say? I could introduce you."
Harry stammered. He was too aware of the eyes on him. More specifically the grey ones. He shook his head and kept the table in his vision.
" Hermione. How about we forget about these two losers, and focus our attention on a more productive outcome?"
Hermione followed her gaze to a table, where two young men sat. One was smiling at Hermione and the other looking indifferently at Pansy. The Gryffindor blushed. Pansy stood and gathered Hermione's drink bringing it and consequently the owner to the table, where the boys were hastily making room. Before she left the Slytherin gave Harry one of her now infamous looks.
Frustrate at his inability to communicate with the girl Harry vowed to ask Malfoy some pointers.
" If they end up dating. We get credit."
Harry had to laugh.
" How is that?"
" Well, it was my idea to come here and your's to be a stammering blushing fool. Which chased the girls away into the arms of other men."
" I don't think that's how it happened." Harry said through chuckles.
" You have your version, I have mine." Malfoy said before taking a swig of is drink. Harry followed the movement of his throat. He took a drink from his own bottle.
" I guess that's where Slytherins and Gryffindors differ."
" At their ability to tell the truth?" Harry said behind a smile.
" No, in their ability to tell a good tale."
They fell into a silence. After a minute a few sips later Malfoy spoke again.
" There's an example of another difference."
"Look at this."
Malfoy scooted his chair closer to Harry's so they were touching. He nodded towards the table their friends had gone to.
Hermione was fiddling with the label on her bottle as she ran her mouth. The boy, and Harry gave him credit, was actually trying to comprehend what she was saying. But Harry knew when she got nervous Hermione babbled worse then a little kid with a new idea.
" See how Granger avoids eye contact? For being so brave you Gryffindors can be quite shy."
Harry looked at his friend. She was focused intently on the bottle she was stripping, darting her eyes to the boy every few sentences, but always returning them to the glass in her hand. Malfoy shifted closer to him. Harry was twisted in his seat to get a view of their subjects and now the blonde's chest was lightly touching his back as he spoke.
" Look at how they aren't touching. How they don't sit close."
He was right. There was a considerable distance between them. And no part of them could be mistaken for touching.
" Now look at Pansy."
Harry shifted his gaze to the other girl at the table. He watched her interact with the boy next to her. She wasn't overly overt in her desire, but she wasn't being coy either. Her hand rested on the table near the blonde boy she was talking with and every once in a while she would touch his hand or shoulder.
They were also making eye contact. Harry wondered if the boy was in Slytherin as well.
" Us Slytherins make it more obvious when we are interested."
His arm brushed Harry's back as he returned to his own space.
" She doesn't like him though."
Harry watched her smile at the boy.
" How can you tell?"
" Look at her eyes. And her smiles fake."
He leaned back into his seat, which was still touching Harry's.
" You really do have a knack for this don't you?"
" It's just about reading people."
" And you can read everyone?"
Malfoy caught his eye.
" Not everyone."
" Harry! There you are. We've been looking for you."
Ron and Almeda joined them at their table. Harry noticed Malfoy discreetly inch his chair away. He wanted to tell him not to. He didn't understand the boy's uneasiness around Ron. They made a peace, but it was still stiff most of the time. Neither teen acknowledged it, but it was there. He supposed it was same thing he and Blaise experienced.
Pansy and Hermione returned to the table not long after that. Pansy with a dissatisfied look and Hermione with a date. When Ron slapped her on the back, earning a grin and blush form the girl, Harry finally gave in to the idea that they were all meant to be friends and nothing more.
Harry gasped as he was hit with what felt like a bucket of cold water. He shivered, dropped his wet books in surprise and looked around for the reason he was suddenly drenched.
It turns out he was hit with a bucket of cold water. Standing in front of him, his mouth open in shock, a bucket dangling from his limp hand, was Luke. Harry blinked. Luke blinked back. Then he moved.
" Harry. I'm so sorry. I didn't... I thought you were some one else."
The boy apologized and whipped out his wand. Harry stepped back, but before he could protest he was hit with a spell. He looked at his dry clothes with an impressed grin. The boy hadn't even singed his shirt, like Harry might have done if he tried.
" I'm really sorry. I was trying for my friend Carl. He was supposed to be coming back from detention. He always comes this way. And he did the same thing to me this morning. While I was asleep. I know it's not very original getting him back with the same prank, but I figured he wouldn't be expecting it. You know?"
" Yeah." Harry smiled at the rambling teen. He picked up his dripping books. They were his cover story. If he was caught, because Ron was borrowing his invisabiltity cloak, he was going to claim he lost track of time studying. Hence the books.
The boy smiled at him and his dimples did their magic.
" What are you doing out past curfew anyway?" He took a step closer.
" I was hungry." He admitted sheepishly, a blush staining his cheeks for some reason.
" You know where to get food after hours?"
Harry was surprised by his question. It never occurred to him that people didn't know about the secret passage to the kitchens. Although now that he thought about it, it made sense.
" Yeah. Kind of." Luke stepped even closer and Harry didn't back away.
" Maybe you could show me sometime?" He gave Harry the biggest puppy dog eyes he'd ever seen and combined with those dimples Harry couldn't resist.
Harry thought he was hearing things. But when Malfoy's blurry figure came into focus as the boy came closer he found he wasn't.
" Where did you come from?"
Malfoy ignored his question. He turned to Luke.
" Buzz off Triste. Potter and I have to talk."
Luke looked ready to object, but then changed his mind. He gave Harry a regretful look before walking away, his bucket swinging at his side.
" What are you doing?"
" I was returning from a walk." The blonde said simply as if that explained everything.
"I've had a lot on my mind lately and I went for a walk in the gardens to clear my head. I lost track of time. Have you seen the size of the flowers in there? Some were taller then me. It's really amazing."
" Are you mad? Do you think what you just did was okay?"
" What you mean? You wanted Triste slobbering all over you? I thought I was doing you a favor."
"He wasn't even touching me!"
" He wanted to though. You're lucky I came along."
" What? I... You... Stay out of my business!"
Some how they ended up yelling.
He continued before Malfoy could respond. He was on a roll.
"What difference does it make to you anyway? It has nothing to do with you!"
" Yes it does!"
Harry wondered if Malfoy had secretly taken to drinking. He searched for signs but found none. Something had to be driving this erratic behavior.
" And why would my love life be anything to you?"
" Because you're my friend! And maybe... Because I like you!"
" Well, maybe I like you too!" Harry shouted back.
They both stopped to evaluate what they'd just said and heard. Harry sighed and when he spoke he no longer shouted.
" Why didn't you say anything?"
"I've been trying to!"
"But it's bloody difficult now that I can't tell what your thinking. You're such a mystery. I don't know if was the spell or if you..."
" Malfoy, have you learned nothing by being in my mind all that time? I'm a stubborn Gryffindor. You need to be more direct with me."
Malfoy's head shot up.
"We aren't Hufflepuff's after all." Harry said before pressing his lips to Malfoy's. He pulled back and hesitated as he got no immediate response from the blonde. He was in doubt for a whole second, ready to take back his proclamation and retreat, when the Slytherin moved.
Harry was pressed into the wall by a warm body. Malfoy fused his mouth to Harry's. Teeth and lips and tongue moved and bit and licked and sucked. Soon Harry was getting dizzy. Malfoy pulled back, just enough to whisper into his ear.
" You know, Potter. I have been wondering just how many Slytherin traits you actually have."
Harry took his hand.
" Let's go find out."
In retrospect Harry probably should have found a better way to tell Ron then letting him find them making out in their room.
An: The End! That kind of crept up there didn't it? It was like... ladee da... Harry and Malfoy...ladee da...The End. I actually like this ending. I never like my endings. Weird.