Hello! Another one-shot from meeeee! :D I had this idea, but failed to write it down until now. Anyway, enjoy!

Disclaimer: I own nothing Harry Potter.

PS: Lupin isn't dead, quite obviously. And, they're in their seventh year, so AU. Not so much as to change the story drastically, but it's just something to note on.

"Now," Professor Lupin said, snapping the clasps on his briefcase shut firmly. "I know that not all of you can produce a corporeal Patronus - probably very little can, anyway -, but in our next class - tomorrow - I want everyone to try it. Everyone, even if it's a mere vapor," he added, shooting a look at all the students. "Class dismissed."

Draco stood up, throat squeezing together so tightly he knew he shouldn't even attempt to try and talk. His fists, he realized, were clenched so hard that he half-thought the skin would break over the knucklebone. Blaise Zabini nudged him as they left the room.

"Draco, we've been studying the Patronus charm for ages now."

"So?" Draco grunted, shifting his books to his other arm and staring steadily in front of him. Patil was wearing another hideous butterfly clip, to his amusement. How she thought that looked even remotely attractive was beyond him.

"So," Blaise looked suspicious, "so, can you produce one?" Draco didn't reply, but instead turned the corner sharply, heading to the Great Hall for lunch, Blaise hot on his heels.

"I thought not," Blaise said quietly and decisively. "Come on, Draco, I'll help you."

"I don't need help!" Draco snapped, turning his head away from his friend, so as to not show the embarrassment lurking in his countenance.

"Sure," Blaise said sarcastically. "The first time you'll do it then, is tomorrow during class? With everyone watching, prepared to make fun of the infamous Draco Malfoy, who can't even get a damn wisp out of the end of his wand-?" Draco swore loudly, sat down with a glare at everyone, and pulled food to him. Blaise sat calmly to his left.

"Draco, I'm just offering because you're my best mate. Blaise Zabini does not give advice or help often, as you should know."

"I bet you'd give hair or fashion advice if a girl needed it," Draco snarled, tapping his fingers against the table. Blaise eyed the moving digits.

"I know you're scared."

"Scared of what?" Draco snapped immediately. "I'm not!"

"Scared of not being able to do a spell that everyone in our class can already mostly do, thanks to Potter," Blaise murmured, lowering his voice as a group of rowdy Ravenclaws chattered their way past. "You're scared, because even Longbottom has a clear, corporeal Patronus."

Draco's fingers stopped, and his hand lay there, splayed against the dark grain of the wood. He stared straight into Blaise's eyes.

"Tell anyone-"

"-and you'll fucking kill me, I know," Blaise said seriously. "After lunch we have a free period." Draco glanced down, a light blush resting on his cheekbones. "No one has to know that you can't create a Patronus yet, Draco."

Draco swallowed a mouthful of chicken, nodding slightly, and feeling more than a little bit humiliated.

"Right," Blaise said, hands on his hips, sleeves rolled up to his dark elbows. "Let's try again."

Draco sat in front of Blaise, staring up with a bored expression. "Try again?" he asked, thoroughly uninterestedly. Blaise frowned.

"Think of something happy."

Draco scowled at him. "Me? Think of something happy? Are you crazy?"

Blaise tapped his chin, observing Draco though hooded eyes. "I guess that's partly the reason why you can't… Hmm… You're not thinking enough…."

"I don't have any happy memories," Draco said scathingly. "I have memories of childhood beatings and Death Eater get-togethers."

Blaise's lips twisted. "Surely you've been happy before. I've seen you smile, and I've seen you laugh. So, you've been happy before."

Draco rolled his eyes, crossing his arms and leaning back against the couch. "A Patronus has to be the happiest moment in a person's life. For me, that's probably the worst day of your life."

"This is not supposed to be comparative," Blaise argued back. "Whatever is happiest for you will make the Patronus. For example, you hate Ginny Weasley - for reasons unknown to me. I, however, base my Patronus thought on her."

Draco fell to the side, clutching at a dark green pillow and glowering up at his friend with a jaded look. "I'm done with this."

Blaise ran his fingers through his hair. "How many girlfriends have you had?"

Draco snorted. "I don't think my fingers and toes can count that high."

Blaise pointed at him. "That's your problem, mate. Tarts like Potter think of something stupid, probably how his precious friends are so dear to him or something. Real people think of girlfriends or boyfriends. Except for you, since your longest relationship has lasted, what, a week?"

"It's not my fault," Draco said, eyes closed and still hugging the pillow, "if most girls are ugly, stupid, and incredibly annoying."

"You are very close-minded," Blaise said through narrowed eyes. Draco opened his. He stared at the opposite wall now, noting how ugly the stone looked with the green hangings. Everything was stone. Stone this, stone that. Draco supposed it was representing the Slytherins' hearts.

"What's your Patronus, then?" he asked sourly, keen to get off the topic of girlfriends.

"It's a fox, but that's not the subject here."

"A fox." Draco's tone was flatly incredulous.

"At least I can produce one, genius."

"I'd rather show no Patronus than a fox one," Draco snapped, sitting up. Blaise threw his hands into the air.

"Fine! Mortify yourself in front of everyone; show you can't even produce the simplest thing!"

"It's not simple!" Draco said hotly. "It's-"

"What?" Blaise growled. "It's hard, you think, to think of something that makes you happy? Oh? Is your life that miserable and pathetic?"

Draco's steely eyes lost their shiny, light, silvery glimmer, darkening to an irate gray. He stood up roughly, somewhat irritated at how Blaise was taller than him. His shoulders shook as he burrowed his hands under his arms, suddenly realizing how freezing the dungeons were. An odd silence fell upon the empty common room.

"Try it," Blaise said, though with a softer glare. Draco let out a breath he hadn't known he was holding in.

"Expecto Patronum," Draco muttered. Blaise punched his arm. Hard.

"Try it for real, dumbass."

"That was for real, moron," hissed Draco, waving his clenched wand and flushing a dark red. Blaise raised his eyebrows; they nearly flew off his head.

"What were you thinking of?"

Draco said nothing, at first. "My father dying," he said finally. Blaise reached out with both hands and steadied Draco's quivering body, expression unfathomable.

"How about something else?" His tone was immensely gentler than it had been minutes before.

"I can't think of anything," Draco mumbled, "happier than that."

"Not even mist?" Blaise said, eyeing Draco's wand apprehensively. "Nothing?"

"Nothing at all," Draco repeated, turning away and heading for the entrance. Blaise followed him silently as the bell rang to signal the end of the period.

In the hallways, Draco turned the corner abruptly and nearly propelled Hermione Granger into the opposite wall. Hermione scowled, righting herself and adjusting her book bag.

"Watch where you're going, Malfoy," she snapped. Draco mumbled something despondently, and she raised her eyebrows. Blaise grabbed Draco's arm.

"Er - it's DADA, now, Draco," he said. "Uh… let's go… you know what we're doing-"

Draco stalked off toward Lupin's room, swearing under his breath and thoroughly ignoring Hermione's curious face, and Blaise's beaming one.

"Why're you so happy?" he snapped to Blaise, who merely grinned more.

"I have an idea! I got it when I saw how relaxed you were. I can't believe I didn't think of it before! I mean… it was obvious, Pansy and I knew for ages - but I just forgot! I can't believe it!"

Draco, who had sat down in his chair, sighed. "What?" he said, for Blaise seemed too caught up in his realization to actually tell Draco. Blaise shifted, looked around, and beckoned Draco closer.

The blond rolled his eyes, leaning his ear towards Blaise's mouth, and listened.

There were a few moments of quiet hissing, and then Draco shot up in his seat, fury etched onto his face and hands clenched so tightly, Blaise was sure blood would come spurting out of half-moon dents in his palms.

"Fuck you! No! Fuck you, you fu-"

"Mr. Malfoy," Lupin said mildly, entering the classroom and setting his briefcase down. "Don't swear at Mr. Zabini, and sit down, please."

Draco slowly sank into his seat, ignoring his smirking classmates. He planted his feet on the empty chair in front of him, a scowl deepening on his face, and a stubborn aura flitting around him. Blaise sent him a note as Lupin began talking.

Do it, it read. Draco scrawled something messily back, before shoving it back across the desk brusquely.

Go to hell. I'm not doing that.

Blaise crumpled up the sheet, an angry gleam in his eyes.

The first part of class passed with notes and explanations. The second part came entirely too quickly for Draco's liking, however, and pretty soon it was time for them all to try to produce a Patronus.

"Lavender, if you please," Lupin said, unfurling a roll of parchment and tapping his quill against his teeth with small clicks. "Again, class, this is just for fun, I'm not grading you on whether or not you can produce a Patronus."

Lavender smiled genially, before screwing up her face and exclaiming, "Expecto Patronum!"

A silvery mist swept out, somewhat in a shape, but mostly just a cloud of gray. Lupin smiled encouragingly.

"That's very good, Lavender… A few more tries, and I'm sure you'll get it."

Lavender beamed, the mist evaporating, and walked back to her seat. Parvati whispered something in her ear; Lavender smiled broadly.

"Worth Cadd." A tall Slytherin boy that skipped a year walked forward.

Draco assumed it was alphabetical. Let's switch names, he wrote on Blaise's paper. Blaise smirked, though his eyes failed at concealing the panic that was beginning to inch up Draco's spine. He squirmed in his seat, paranoia sweeping his senses.

"Hermione Granger."

Hermione went to the front of the room, nervously pulling at her lip with her teeth. Draco's eyes followed the movement, and his thoughts strayed back to what Blaise had encouraged him to do.

Hell no. No. Just, no.

"Expecto Patronum," Hermione waved her wand, and a silver otter sprang out, sleek and no doubt, the brightest one so far. Lupin looked delighted.

"Excellent, Hermione, that's really excellent… if you don't mind me asking, do you know what the otter could stand for?"

Hermione suddenly froze, eyes watching as her otter twirled around her effortlessly, smooth hair gleaming and slick. She met Draco's eyes for a split second, before turning to Lupin.

"I don't really know, Professor, sorry," she said, but without any real conviction. Lupin's eyebrows met.

"Okay, Hermione. Great Patronus, anyway, it looks extremely powerful."

Blaise suddenly snorted, hands slapping against his mouth in a dire attempt to stifle the sound. Hermione's head whipped toward him.

"It's - it's not your Patronus," Blaise smirked widely. "I like the otter, though, Granger… It's so very sleek and shiny and silky…. " He patted Draco's shoulder, earning a glare from the blond. Hermione sat down, looking livid.

"Stop touching me," Draco hissed. A couple people surrounding them tittered.

More people were called up, and Draco felt the panic travel up to his throat, constricting his airway. His hands shook, and he crossed his arms. He felt a bead of sweat roll between his shoulder blades. He rolled up his sleeves, forgetting for a moment of what lay on his left forearm. Then, deciding that he'd rather be looked at with disgust for his tattoo than at disgust for his drenched face, he left his sleeves rolled.

Draco watched as nothing, mists, and sometimes animals sprouted from peoples' wands. If a person couldn't make even the glimmer of a Patronus, nobody laughed.

However, Draco knew that if he failed to produce one, that probably wouldn't be the case.

"Draco Malfoy."

Draco sighed, stood up shakily, and immediately thought, Oh, my God. I almost fell down.

That would have just been excruciatingly awkward.

"Are you feeling ill, Draco?" Lupin said concernedly, from his chair at the front. Draco shrugged and shook his head as he walked to the front of the room, very aware of his paleness and sweat. He saw Lupin looking at his Dark Mark for one fleeting moment, before looking determinedly at Draco's face.

He caught Blaise's eye. Blaise looked at him in panic, in pity, in trepidation and apprehension, and in amusement.

"I hate you," Draco muttered. Blaise laughed out loud, one short bark.

"Er," Draco started, and then his mind left him. He suddenly strode forward, towards where Hermione Granger was sitting between Potter and Weasley, and grabbed her by her collar, smashing his lips against hers. Her lips were soft and tasted like honey, which Draco suddenly had a craving for. It was really good, then, that Hermione's mouth tasted like honey, because he could just kiss her... and kiss her... forever... and kiss her some more...

Blaise's advice came to him once more.

"Kiss Hermione Granger," Blaise had hissed to him. "Kiss her before doing your Patronus, and I bet it'll work."

Ignoring the gasps and screams, and her friends' purple faces, Draco kissed Hermione like his life depended on it, and found that he suddenly felt… elated.

He broke away, flashing a perfectly white smile, and said, "Expecto Patronum."

Out from his wandtip gushed a large amount of silver haze, before solidifying and becoming a proud-looking… cat.

"Ew, it's Crookshanks!" Draco said, aghast. Blaise, from the other side of the room, exploded into raucous laughter.

Hermione, who had sat in her seat with a dazed but utterly surprised expression on her face, started as the Patronus sprang up to her desk and started licking her cheek.

She raised her eyes to Draco, who smirked.

"Thank you, Hermione," he said grandly, steering his cat away with his wand. "I'll see you in Hogsmeade next weekend."

He shot her another smile, and to his great relief, she smiled back somewhat hesitantly, as red as he knew his face was.

Professor Lupin had to stop class due to the fact that half of the class was too babbly and indecipherable to go on, a fourth was gaping wordlessly, an eighth was glaring an hurling insults (Potter and Weasley) and another eighth was roaring with laughter (Blaise and Pansy).

But, as Draco stared fondly down at his cat - Crookshanks - he smiled to himself. Hermione was now sitting across from him, staring too at his - her? - cat.

It was quite a relief, actually. He had, for a split second, thought his Patronus would be a ferret.

That would have just been embarrassing.

DOONNEE! Sorry for the fluff and the randomness! I still hoped you loved it!

Fun fact: I was actually going to do Draco's Patronus as a monkey, or as a squirrel. Something with bushy fur. But then, I decided on Crookshanks at the last minute.