Disclaimer: I don't own them. My new years resolution was to steal them but eh, who ever manages to keep those things.
Warnings: Slash, swearing and mature themes.
Authors note: The theme of sleep has cropped up in my notes repeatedly but this is the first time it has ever made it into anything tangible. I really enjoyed writing this and know for one how sleep (or lack of) can affect your perceptions and change a lot in your life.
Thankyou to Suzumia (FF) and Celestlyn (LJ) for their encouragement and wonderful beta work on this story. And also for putting up with me shunning grammatical correctness in the face of sounding the way I want. Any mistakes are mine- I've had a play since they sent it back and may have inadvertently missed a couple of their notes.
I. Conloquium -i n. [talk, conversation, conference].
The voice is low and even if the word hasn't given the owner away, the tone does. It sounds petulant already, even though they're only a word into the conversation.
Harry turns and sure enough, there stands Draco Malfoy, expression nearly sulky, not quite scowling and definitely nervous. Interesting.
"Can I talk to you?"
Draco refuses to look up at Harry, training his gaze on the floor instead, staring down at the flagstones without blinking. Harry doesn't know what to say, really.
"Push off, Ferret," Ron says from next to Harry, sounding tired and not altogether convincing. It's a well rehearsed line; feels familiar on his tongue and to Harry's ears.
"Shut up," Draco snaps back and Ron bristles. That's more like it- just how it used to be.
"It's okay," Harry mediates, a hand on his best friends shoulder, not really wanting things to be how they used to be. "He just wants to talk."
Ron stares at Draco like he's lost his mind and Harry hides a tired smile. Draco blinks, then looks up at Ron as if he can feel his gaze. He sees the stare and lifts his chin defiantly, although the crossed arms and shifting from foot to foot betray his apprehension somewhat.
"Ron," Harry says softly and he nods. Sighs and walks away, disappearing into the crowd in the eighth years common room, heading over to where Hermione is sat with Neville.
Draco doesn't say anything. He looks back at the floor and crosses his arms tighter, frowning.
"Malfoy?" It's a question this time and he jerks his head in irritation, as if Harry was the one to request the conversation and is wasting his time.
"I wanted to talk to you," he says.
"You said that."
"I know," Draco snaps back and Harry is startled by the sudden frustration, and even more so when grey eyes lift to meet his, staying there through the next batch of aggravated words. "I always want to talk to you and I never know what to fucking say."
Harry gapes at the admission and struggles to find any words to use as Draco looks back at the floor. He looks up and around the room for help or inspiration, feeling lost. He sees his troupe of Gryffindors on the sofas by the fireplace. A few Hufflepuffs are with them, the rest with the Ravenclaws by the bookcases. The other Slytherins are in the corner, nervous and wary, just as they have been since the first night they spent in the tower.
Seamus glances up at him and frowns and Harry looks away, feeling a slight flush rise in his neck. He knows he and Malfoy must look ridiculous; three feet apart and staring at each other but neither saying a word.
"Do you want to go somewhere else?" he suggests lamely and Draco looks sharply up at him again.
"Why?" he asks resentfully. "So I can think of nothing to say in a different room?"
Harry sighs, rubs his face. "I just- you know what, forget it."
He climbs to his feet and walks away because really he can't be dealing with Draco Malfoy and his wanting-to-talk-but-not-about-anything predicament. He'll let him work it out himself, and when Malfoy works out what it is he wants to say, he'll listen.
It's a fortnight later and Harry is approached by Malfoy again as he lounges around on the sofa in the common room, reading a book Hermione said would help with Thursday's potions session. He suspects it will but it doesn't mean he's going to like it or find it interesting.
"Malfoy," he replies, letting the book fall forwards onto his chest, not bothering to sit up. He's knackered, finds it harder than ever to sleep at night, what with all the memories of the war on top of a previous seventeen years of restlessness.
"I-" Draco starts then breathes out sharply, shoving his hands in his pockets. He looks up at the ceiling and swallows; Harry can see his Adam's-apple bob in the centre of his pale throat. Draco looks back down and then frowns.
"What are you reading?"
"A book," Harry replies and is amused as Draco scowls at him.
"I know it's a book," he says, moving his hands in his pockets, pulling the material tight across his thighs.
Harry's lips twitch in a smile. It's still far too easy to wind Malfoy up, even though it doesn't carry the same venom it once would.
"For potions," he offers. "It's the antidotes work on Thursday."
"I know," Draco replies. He looks down at Harry, still sprawled out on the cushions, one leg on and one leg off the sofa, and then turns heel and walks off.
Harry frowns bemusedly and then shakes his head, returning to his book, thoughts distractedly centred on Malfoy's Adam's-apple.
II. Comitas -atis f. [courtesy , friendliness, civility].
"He's an odd one, isn't he?"
Harry knows who Ron is talking about; he's noticed Ron glancing at Malfoy every couple of minutes since they sat down in the common room to do some work. Malfoy is curled up in a chair by the fire and his eyes are shut, his book tilting dangerously in his hand.
He's obviously sleeping about as well as Harry these days.
"Yeah," Harry replies, watching the slow rise and fall of Malfoy's back as he breathes. God, he'd love to be asleep right now, too.
"Has he tried to talk to you again?" Ron asks.
"Yeah, a couple of times. Never says anything though, he just gets mad or walks off," Harry says.
"Wonder what he wants to talk about?" Ron muses, shuffling a deck of cards in his hand, ready to deal another round that Harry will undoubtedly lose.
"The war, I'm guessing," Harry says heavily.
"Blaming you for what happened to his Dad?" Ron suggests.
Harry watches him a little longer, then shakes his head. "No. I don't think he blames me. I think it's something else-"
"You saved his life," Ron says suddenly and Harry pauses. "He probably wants to say thank you but doesn't know how."
"He said thank you-" Harry falters.
"Well no, he kind of mumbled at me when I gave his wand back," Harry says distractedly. "I told him it was fine and not to worry about it-"
"Would you forget about it if he'd saved your life?" Ron asks shrewdly, eyebrows raised slightly.
"He did kind of," Harry remembers. "In Malfoy Manor…"
"And can you forget about it?"
Harry sighs, casts his eyes over the sleeping Slytherin one last time. He likes Malfoy asleep; he's all vulnerable and still and Harry can just look at him without the risk of Malfoy looking back and scowling at him.
He looks back to Ron and shakes his head.
Four weeks into the new term, November arrives with frost and biting wind, and Harry makes an unexpected friend. He's partnered with Theo Nott for potions. Could have been worse- he was half expecting the gods of fate to partner him with Malfoy, who has determinedly avoided him since the not-knowing-what-to-talk-about incidents. Everyone has noticed; the group of eighth years is small. They're together for all lessons and even share a tower now. As a result, any relationships - or lack thereof - are quickly noticed.
He and Theo start work in silence, eyeing each other carefully. Harry's a little wary; he knows that Theo's father was a Death Eater, but as far as he can recall Theo wasn't ever involved. He was always just the quiet boy at the back. That is, until half an hour into that first session together-
"Thank you, Potter."
Theo's voice is quiet and Harry nearly misses what he says.
"For saving the world," Theo says and Harry thinks he's joking around but it's hard to know with that soft voice. "No, for not being awful to us," Theo continues as he carefully slices up salamander tails. "Us Slytherins."
It's not what Harry has expected at all. Strange how that keeps happening. He's having to revise most of his former opinions of everyone he knows.
"Well…it's all over now, isn't it?" Harry shrugs, feeling a little uncomfortable.
"Mostly," Theo says, seriously and sadly, and Harry sees his eyes flick up over to Malfoy who is partnered with Seamus. The Irishman looks wary, a small frown on his face. Malfoy just looks tired, paler than usual.
"Still some things that aren't quite right. Like they never went back in the right place." Theo says and Harry finds himself understanding and nodding.
Silence falls for a few minutes as they continue brewing. Veritaserum. NEWT-level potions without the Half Blood Prince is proving tricky, but the war has taught him patience and that helps, as does the knowledge of the Slytherin next to him.
"Just for the record," Harry begins and Theo looks up at him, expectant. "I don't blame any of you."
"You don't?" Theo asks and Harry knows that he's going to like talking to Theo; he's quiet, calm and understanding and seems to actually listen and think before he speaks. It's just what Harry needs right now; he's too weary to be dealing with anyone loud or brash or overly excited.
"No," Harry says. "It wasn't our fight. It was our fathers fight. You didn't really do anything, so you don't deserve to be blamed."
Theo glances up at Draco once more and his tone is careful when he speaks again. "Does that include all of us, or just some of us?"
Harry stares at the back of Draco's head for a while, not blinking or even really seeing. The splash of Theo adding a moonstone to the potion makes him blink and pull his eyes away, picking up his knife.
"All of you."
"You share a room with Malfoy, don't you?" Harry asks casually one late November morning over a cauldron of pepper-up potion. He's been good lately, not thought about Malfoy at all. Well, as much as he can help, and he certainly hasn't mentioned him or asked Theo about him.
That morning at breakfast, however, he'd seen Malfoy fall victim to a trip jinx sent his way from the Ravenclaw table. Draco had fallen forwards awkwardly on the flagstones to a gale of laughter and cheers from the upper ends of both Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables. Harry had held his breath to see what would happen, toast suspended and forgotten in front of his face. He was a little surprised at what did transpire: Malfoy merely sat up and drew his wand in order to heal the graze on his left palm and repair the tear on the knee of his trousers. He then stood up, brushed himself off and carried on to sit at the Slytherin table, his jaw clenched tightly and held up defiantly.
Harry's starting to get used to being surprised by Malfoy.
Theo doesn't look up when Harry asks his question that he just couldn't hold back any longer; he's too busy working. "Yes. Why?"
Harry shrugs. "Just wondering."
"You knew that, Potter, so what do you really want to know?" Theo asks with a sigh, dropping a handful of something or other into the potion which immediately fizzes and turns ice-blue.
"Not sure," Harry admits.
"You two are as bad as each other," Theo complains softly. "If you want to know, ask each other and stop asking me."
"He asks about me?" Harry asks and Theo's hand pauses in midair, about to drop a small purple leaf into the cauldron.
"Sometimes," he says and his hand moves again, dropping the leaf. The potion turns silver.
Harry is sat on the sofa in the common room with Quidditch Through The Ages on his lap, half reading the book and half watching Ron and Hermione across the room with a faint smile on his face. He knows they're together now and wishes they'd stop trying to hide it. He knows they disappear to spend 'couple time' together when they claim to be studying and it amuses him no end that they pretend they don't.
"Something good actually came out of this war then," a soft voice says right behind him and he jumps, his pulse quickening.
"Shite, Malfoy- don't scare people like that!"
"Sorry Scarhead." Malfoy doesn't sound sincere at all and Harry rolls his eyes, rubbing his chest and straightening the book on his lap.
He risks a glance sideways; Malfoy is leant over the back of the sofa on his elbows, his face cupped in his hands, also looking towards Ron and Hermione.
"Why do you still call me that?" Harry asks curiously.
"Because I don't like calling you Potter anymore and I can't quite stomach Harry."
"Why not Potter? I like that better than Scarhead."
"Because I never heard anyone say 'when we kill Scarhead,'" Draco says quietly. "Was a pretty common phrase in my house last year. Don't care too much for being reminded of that."
Harry turns to look at him so quickly his neck nearly cracks. Draco is looking at him properly for the first time in ages but looks away as Harry stares.
"Stop looking at me like that," he says, a pink flush appearing high on his cheekbones, looking suddenly uncomfortable.
"You started it," Harry replies and Draco twitches irritably. "Sorry, I- Malfoy…I-"
Draco glances to him and Harry's mouth opens and closes a few times uselessly without making any more words. What to say?
"I don't know," he finishes lamely.
"See," Draco says quietly. "Not so easy, is it?"
Harry shakes his head and Draco gives him an odd twisted smile before pushing away from the sofa and walking away.
III. Exsomnis -e [sleepless , wakeful ]
The first night of December gives way to the first snowfall of the year. As the flakes settle on the frozen ground, Harry is in the library with Theo and has been wanting to go back to the common room to play cards with Ron and Dean for the last half an hour.
"You won't be able to do the potion tomorrow if you don't learn the theory," Theo says as if he's reading Harry's thoughts. He's watching Harry staring out of the window at the snow and looks faintly amused.
"I know," Harry says, dragging his book back towards him half heartedly. "But I'm bored-"
"Half an hour more," Theo says and Harry rolls his eyes, earning a small laugh.
Theo's like Hermione but watered down, Harry decides. He's determined, clever and puts his work first, but not quite on the same level as she is. And Harry likes the way Theo encourages and guides him to get the potions work done without being overbearing.
"Okay," he agrees. "Half an hour."
Half an hour turns into an hour but Harry doesn't complain; they get all the work done and he's pleased to leave the library feeling accomplished and prepared rather than weary and panicking about his workload.
They reach the common room which is warm and welcoming compared to the corridors of the castle. It's mostly empty, except for a lone figure lying on one of the sofas, fast asleep.
Harry freezes midway across the room, eyes wide.
"Again," Theo mutters softly, shaking his head.
"Again?" Harry asks stupidly, gaze fixed on the blond.
"He keeps falling asleep down here," Theo explains, walking over and crouching down beside Malfoy, picking up the book that's fallen to the floor and setting its crumpled pages straight.
"How come?" Harry hangs a few paces back. He wants to go closer but doesn't known why, really. He can't look away- Malfoy is asleep on his back with one arm held over his chest, hand fisted near his collarbone. The other arm is hanging off the edge of the cushions; his shirt sleeve has rucked up and Harry can see a bony wrist exposed.
Another couple of inches and Harry would be seeing a Dark Mark.
Strangely, that thought doesn't affect him as much as the sight of the pale skin of Malfoy's wrist, bones clearly visible just below the surface.
"Doesn't sleep well at night so he falls asleep all over the place," Theo says softly, then looks back at Harry over his shoulder. "Why are you asking?"
Harry shrugs and his eyes are drawn back to that strangely strong but somehow delicate wrist, and then his gaze travels up across Malfoy's form to his face.
Just before he tears himself away and leaves to go up to his own room for the night, he concludes that yes, he definitely likes Malfoy when he's asleep.
That night he dreams of pale hands, pale fingers threading through his hair, pulling and tugging, fingertips pressed against his jaw, a hand resting against his cheek, another pulling open the knot of his tie.
He opens his eyes in the darkness and curses under his breath.
"You look tired," Theo comments as they work side-by-side on their potions.
Harry nods. "I am. Didn't sleep very well. Don't sleep well at all really."
"A lot of that going around," Theo comments and Harry smiles weakly.
"You mean Malfoy, right?"
Theo's lips twitch. "It's amazing how often your thoughts jump to him as the conclusion."
"Sod off," Harry says without heat. He's too bloody tired for a battle of wits this morning. "I'm just curious."
"And I've told you before, if you want to ask, stop pretending you're not interested and just ask. I'm not going to run to him and tell him everything you've said, you know."
Harry nods again. "I just want to know…him." He finishes a little lamely, unsure of how to say it. "I don't really know him at all. And now the war's over…"
"He's quieter. A lot quieter. Less being mean." Theo fills in, hearing Harry's unspoken request to hear about Draco. "More thinking before he speaks, a lot more thinking." He pauses. "He misses Vince."
"Oh," Harry's not sure what to say about that, seeing as Vincent Crabbe nearly got them all killed.
"Spends most of his time sleeping, as I'm sure you've noticed. And he does ask about you."
Harry nearly drops his pestle. "What? Who?"
"Who have we been talking about?" Theo asks with a pointed look. "Draco. Asks about you. Asks me how you are, if you seem sad." He pauses. "I know you saved his life, but he won't tell me anymore about it. Won't tell anyone about it."
"I did," Harry said softly more to himself than anyone else. "Why does he care if I'm sad?"
"Why do you keep asking about him?" Theo responds immediately and Harry gets it.
"I don't know," he says, as his mind flashes back to the memory of Draco's Adam's-apple moving as he swallowed nervously, of that wrist in the dark.
Theo gives him a look. "Exactly."
Harry yanks the drawer of his dresser open and pulls out the Marauders map, tapping it with his wand immediately. Ron looks up from where he's lying on his bed in his pyjamas, fiddling with some sort of toy from the twins shop.
"Who you looking for?"
"No-one," Harry says vaguely.
Ron snorts and sits up. "Ginny or Malfoy?"
"Eh?" Harry looks up, thrown. Ron's getting too bloody perceptive these days. Harry makes a mental resolution to take him back off of Hermione for a couple of days.
"Well…you're either avoiding Ginny or watching Malfoy these days, so which one is it?"
"I do not avoid Ginny," Harry says primly, looking back down at the map and pushing his glasses up his nose.
"You know she's seeing Neville?"
"Really?" Harry asks, turning the map over with a frown.
"Six months ago you would have cared a lot more about that statement," Ron says, shaking his head. He doesn't seem angry though.
"Yeah I know," Harry sighs. "I know everyone thought we'd pick it back up after the war but…I don't know. Some things just didn't go back in the right places."
Ron nods in understanding and Harry internally cringes, choosing not to tell Ron he's just quoted wise words from Theodore Nott. Bugger.
He turns his attention back to the map then finally spots what he's looking for; a dot labelled Draco Malfoy walking a corridor towards the tower, possibly having come from the library.
"Aha," he mutters under his breath.
"Malfoy then," Ron says and Harry looks up, irritated. Ron's grinning. "Oh come on. He's the only person you ever invest this much time into stalking."
Harry scowls. He can't argue when they both know Ron's right.
Harry's pretty sure that Malfoy has fallen asleep in the common room again.
His dot hasn't moved in almost an hour. The last other dot marking someone - Terry Boot - in the common room left twenty minutes ago. Theo Nott is clearly marked in bed in his room, probably fast asleep or reading. Either way he's not moving.
Ron is snoring away to his left and the sound doesn't falter as Harry climbs out of bed and heads to the door, his feet making next to no noise anyway.
His heart is fluttering strangely against his ribs as he slowly makes his way down to the common room. It's like a bird in a cage, and doesn't relent as he walks across the shadowy room. The only light is being given out by the dying fire which is flickering and dancing just like his nerves.
He doesn't really know why he's doing this. He just has to see Malfoy asleep again. Inexplicably, seeing Malfoy sleep makes it a little bit easier for Harry to do the same.
He's easy to spot; his hair bright in the gloom, reflecting the last of the light from the fire. He's almost exactly how he was last time; fast asleep on his back with hands curled into fists high on his chest as if he's protecting himself from something or someone as he sleeps.
"Again," Harry whispers with a small wan smile. "Problem with sleeping in your own bed, Malfoy?"
That's another thing he likes about Malfoy being asleep. He doesn't answer back.
He crouches down beside him, sitting back on his heels. "Why don't we sleep?" Harry murmurs, lifting a finger and holding it a fraction away from Draco's temple, not quite daring to touch. "What's keeping us up? What's still missing?"
He draws his breath in sharply as Draco moves, rolling over in his sleep. Harry snatches his hand away and slips backwards, landing on his arse, eyes wide.
The top two buttons of Draco's shirt have become unbuttoned and Harry can see an endless expanse of pale skin, a flat chest, and collarbones running towards shoulders. He has a mad urge to lean forwards and kiss the gentle hollow where they almost meet and scrambles back a little, shocked at himself.
He can't tear his eyes away though, even as Draco makes a soft sighing noise in his sleep, twitching slightly. He wants to run his finger along that collarbone, to feel the skin and the bone underneath, to lean forwards and press his mouth to that skin, to taste as Draco threads those fingers into his hair-
Panicking, he scrambles to his feet and turns heel, running back up to his room. Not stopping until he's safely through the door, pushing it shut and leaning back against it, breathing heavily.
He tries to control himself, pressing his hand over his heart and feeling it thudding against his palm.
He breathes out slowly. Looks heavenward and murmurs to himself.
"What the fuck are you doing to me, Malfoy?"
IV. Proelium -i n. [battle , fight, strife].
"Has Malfoy asked about me lately?"
Theo looks up, surprise being his expression of choice. "No preamble today then Potter?" he asks mildly.
"No. Tell me." Harry says shortly.
Theo raises an eyebrow. "This morning at breakfast. Said you looked tired."
Harry ran his hands through his hair distractedly. "I don't get this- he's hated me for years, he's still off with me- why is he asking?"
"Have you never thought about why he was such an unreasonable twat to you all this time?" Theo asks carefully.
"What?" Harry is baffled. "You think he was unreasonable?"
"Focus, Potter," Theo sighs and reaches for his quill. "Rerun that sentence in your head in about ten minutes and see if you get it then."
Harry re-reruns the sentence over more times than he can keep count. He doesn't get any further with it, and by the time he sits down at dinner next to Neville and opposite Parvati and Lavender, he's thoroughly confused and mentally cursing Theo for being so bloody…Slytherin.
"He doesn't mean it," Lavender says soothingly to Parvati as Harry toys unenthusiastically with his stew. He knows they're talking about Seamus; that's all the two girls ever talk about these days.
"It doesn't matter, he's being totally out of order," Parvati says glumly. "I know he gets cocky and shows off, but that's not an excuse to be mean."
"I know," Lavender agrees. "Its what boys do though isn't it? When they're insecure and they like someone-"
"They get mean-"
Their conversation stops abruptly and they look up, startled, at Harry who is choking on a mouthful of stew.
"Sorry," he gasps, eyes watering. "Swallowed wrong-"
Neville thumps him on the back, alarmed. Harry's heart is hammering.
He re-runs that sentence one last time.
Oh holy fuck.
Harry ignores Ginny's quietly concerned voice and instead continues to scowl down at his juice. He hears Ron's voice somewhere behind him, murmuring with the words woke up, bad mood, he'll be fine.
Yeah, damn right he's in a bad mood. And he knows exactly what has caused it. It kept him up all of last night and this morning it's even worse, exacerbated by lack of sleep.
The prick- he's messed everything up. Why does he have to go and ruin a perfectly good schoolyard rivalry by fancying Harry? And why the fuck does he have to ruin what could have been a perfectly acceptable truce by making Harry like him too? The twat-
Accepting it - how Malfoy feels, how he feels - isn't an option right now. He's far too angry to think rationally or to try and empathize with Malfoy's plight. All he can do now is sit seething, growing steadily angrier and angrier at his breakfast.
"Are you sure? Harry?"
Oh for Gods sake Ginny, leave it alone,Harry curses internally, managing to keep his outburst contained. The words never leave his lips but he pushes up away from the table, stalking off and away from the questions.
People are throwing him curious glances as he walks away but he doesn't pay them any heed; he just shoves his glasses back up his nose and his hands in his pockets and leaves the Great Hall, needing to be alone, to think, to get some damn sleep-
Oh fuck, shit, wank, twat. He knows that word and that voice and he really doesn't want to have to do this right now. However, against his better judgement and quite unwillingly, he stops just inside the Entrance Hall, turning his head towards the shout. Of course it's Malfoy, walking over to him, looking tired and nervous but also eager. He's wearing his sleeveless-jumper ensemble and his shirtsleeves are rolled up slightly; not enough to reveal the Mark but enough so Harry's gaze is drawn immediately to those wrists and hands.
He stops, standing just in front of Harry and Harry curses mentally as he looks into those grey eyes. Hears his brain slyly whispering maybe it's not just Malfoy who fancies you…and clamps down viciously on the thought. No.
"I thought about what I wanted to say," Malfoy says, rocking on the balls of his feet.
Malfoy frowns and stops moving, standing perfectly still. "What?"
"Go away, Malfoy," Harry says shortly.
Now he blinks, confused. "But you said…"
"I know what I said," Harry snaps. "Leave me alone."
He turns away and walks off, fuming.
Harry spins around at the shout, even angrier that Malfoy has followed him, walking behind him and looking a little desperate. Harry gets there first before Malfoy can say anything.
"Just fuck off, alright? We're enemies, Malfoy, always have been. Nothing's going to change, not now, not ever."
Malfoy stops dead two feet away and stares at him. He looks confused, hurt and all of a sudden so young.He could be eleven all over again, upset and angry over a refused hand in friendship. Present day Malfoy's eyes are bright and his jaw tightens and he looks like he's about to fucking cry-
Something inside Harry slips. A something that all his anger and defensiveness had been resting on, and it disappears disconcertingly quickly. "Malfoy-" he starts helplessly, already regretting his outburst.
It's too late. Draco is swallowing thickly, then shaking his head and turning away. He walks back towards the hall, his head bowed.
Harry watches him go, his throat feeling tight.
"Are you okay?"
Harry looks up from the Marauder's map as Ron edges into their room, looking concerned. He carefully shuts the door behind him as if he thinks any loud noises will cause Harry to flip his lid.
"Yeah," he says and Ron visibly relaxes, walking over to sit on his bed and toeing his shoes off. "I just…" he pauses, and then decides to tell Ron what's gone on. "Malfoy tried to talk to me again earlier and I was a complete twat about it."
"What's new?" asks Ron as Harry looks back to the map. There's no point in hiding it; every time he lies and says he's not looking for Malfoy, Ron pulls him up on it anyway.
"No, it was different," Harry says. "I was beyond mean. He said he'd thought of what he wanted to say to me and I pretty much told him to shove it and that we'd never be anything but enemies."
"Ouch," Ron says with a grimace.
"Yeah, ouch," Harry mutters, turning the map around agitatedly. "And now I can't find the bugger. He was in the tower but he's wandered off and I've no idea where. He's not in the hospital wing and he's not near the library-"
"Harry?" Ron breaks in, sounding resigned. "Will you just go and find him and snog him already? Enough of the bloody faffing about, you're putting my nerves through hell."
Harry chokes and splutters, and manages to cough out a "what?"
Ron grins apologetically and scratches the back of his head. "I know mate. I've seen the way you look at him lately. And it's not…eh, well it's not looking in a way that can be called straight, y'know?"
Harry is open mouthed and wide eyed, gaping at his best friend who is looking amused.
"It's okay," Ron continues, moving to pick up a sock from the end of his bed. "You fancying blokes, I mean. Although I wasn't too thrilled at first that it had to be Malfoy. Hermione had to give me a lecture and told me it was your choice, which I guess it is. And he's not that bad anymore, I mean he was under a lot of pressure to do the stuff he did…And it takes a lot of energy to keep hating someone, even Malfoy, and Hermione takes up all of my bloody energy right now, y'know? And I suppose that the whole pointy blond thing is alright if that's what you're into-"
"Ron!" Harry protests weakly. "I do not fancy Malfoy!"
Ron cocks his head to the side, one eyebrow raised in scepticism. "Right. Then look me in the eye and tell me all your thoughts about Malfoy have been 100% heterosexual."
Harry opens his mouth but no words come to rescue him; his brain has apparently given up on argument and has instead flicked back to memories of Malfoys neck, that damn wrist, all that pale skin and the collarbones he wanted to kiss, those grey eyes that see him inside out-
"Shit," he finally says and Ron snorts with laughter.
"Exactly," he shakes his head and then pauses, looking back at Harry seriously. "Just-" he takes a deep breath. "If it has to be him…just make sure you know what you're doing. Make sure you fix everything before you get involved…because I think you two are going to spend enough time bickering without dragging up all the past stuff that you've not laid to rest, yeah?"
Harry nods dumbly.
Ron is really getting too much like Hermione for his own bloody good.
Eventually, he finds the dot he's looking for.
Of all fucking places, at the top of the fucking astronomy tower.
The prick- why the hell would he go there? Back to the scene of that night, where all those bad memories are sure to haunt. Where Harry vowed never to step foot again- Astronomy classes be damned- where Dumbledore-
Can't even think the rest of that sentence without getting angry, so angry he hopes Draco fucking jumps off the top of that fucking tower- but then the rage dies down as quickly as it had flared up.
He realises that as much as he dislikes the principle, Draco must be feeling way worse to even contemplate visiting the astronomy tower. Guilt replaces the anger, crawling uncomfortably through his skin and twisting his stomach.
It's Harry's fault that Draco is feeling like this; with how he acted and the words he said.
He has to go and fix it- even though he doesn't know exactly what it is. But, as much of a ball-ache it is to admit, he's wronged Draco, who was probably only trying to apologise or explain.
And as for the whole fancying Harry part…now that he's thought about it…maybe it's not such a bad thing after all.
Especially if Harry kind of thinks he might just fancy Malfoy a teensy little bit too.
It's gone midnight when he finally works up enough courage to leave his room to go and find Malfoy. As he slips through the door he hears a sleepy mumble of good luck with the Ferret, coming from Ron's bed.
He slips through the castle silently. The journey seems to take forever, and he can never remember the three hundred and twenty-four steps up to the top of the tower taking this much effort before. He's never been this drained before though, feeling dead on his feet and like he could sleep at the slightest invitation.
Strange how his brain has inexplicably linked being able to sleep with being able to find Malfoy.
Heart thudding in his chest, he takes the last step, rounding the corner and immediately sees Draco. He's sat down, leaning against a wall, long legs folded up against his chest with his arms wrapped around his shins. His chin is resting atop his knees and he's staring out into the inky blackness.
Harry steps forwards quietly out of the shadows and speaks softly. "Malfoy."
The blond head jerks around, eyes wide in the pale face.
"What the fuck are you doing here?" He scrambles to his feet, back pressed against the wall, looking wild. His hair is ruffled and his collar is askew and the bastard's never looked quite so fetching in eight years of Harry knowing him.
"I need to talk to you-" Harry begins, taking another step.
"No," Draco says venomously, pointing at Harry. "No. I wanted to talk earlier and you told me to fuck off, why should I talk now just because you're ready?"
"I was angry-"
"Yeah, and I'm not going to put myself in the position where that's being directed at me for no good reason anymore. Get lost, Potter."
"Malfoy, please-" Harry tries, stepping closer and closer, close enough to touch-
Draco's eyes widen at the outspoken plea and his expression flicks from cross to uncertain in a blink. He looks at Harry for half a second and then the little courage he'd been showing so far in this confrontation falters, then fails him. He looks away and then in one quick darting movement lunges sideways, heading for the stairs and away-
Harry moves quicker. He reaches out and grabs Malfoy - by one of those cursed wrists no less - and yanks him back before he can get more than two steps. Malfoy cries out and stumbles into Harry's chest, nearly head-butting Harry in the jaw as he tries to right himself-
He makes a violent movement and tries to yank himself out of Harry's grip but Harry's desperate and not letting go. Even as Malfoy leans back, wriggling and twisting madly, his free hand pushing against Harry's chest, pushing him back-
"No," Harry pants, grabbing the hand that is pushing against him and pulling it roughly aside, trapping Malfoy's arms in-between them and pressing them tightly together, limiting the space that Malfoy can use to struggle in. It doesn't stop him trying.
"Let me go," he demands. "You made it perfectly clear that I'm not worth your time earlier, let go."
"No," Harry replies, holding fast. "I didn't mean what I said-"
"You did, or you wouldn't have said it," Malfoy says, bending his knees and leaning back so Harry staggers forwards with the effort of keeping hold of him. "Fuck off was quite a clear instruction, don't you think-"
Harry yanks him closer, his mouth near his ear, pressing his cheek hard against Draco's to avoid being knocked. "I didn't mean it, I was angry-"
"You did-" Malfoy says and gives another pull, trying to get out. "You did, and I was only trying to say- I was trying to tell you-"
He falters and shakes, and then he's falling to pieces, suddenly he's breaking apart right in Harry's arms.
"I know-" Harry whispers, his own throat feeling tight.
"No you don't," Draco manages three words before his throat catches and then the dam gives way and he breaks down in sobs. Tears course hot rivers down his pale cheeks and his whole body shakes with the force of it all. "I wanted to…to tell you all these things and you, you said no, and you alwayssay no and I'm trying, I know I fucked up but I'm trying-"
The words dissolve under his sobs and he suddenly goes limp in Harry's arms. His weight is too much for Harry to hold onto; he stumbles and then they sink to the floor awkwardly, tangled and bumping together. Harry's legs hurt being bent that way with Malfoy half sat on them and there's an elbow in his ribs but he doesn't dare move. He's fairly close to petrified to be honest- with a girl crying on him he'd know the role he was meant to play, and try and talk and awkwardly comfort her, no matter if he's pants at it. But with a sobbing Malfoy- what the hell is he meant to do? Is it alright to rub another guys back if he's crying? To stroke his hair? Hang on- is it even okay to be hugging another guy like this as he's crying over something you've caused?
What on earth are you meant to do with an upset Draco Malfoy, full stop?
A memory flashes back to him and he blanches; the last time Draco was crying, Harry ended up cursing him. He winces and his grip on Draco tightens ever so slightly, then he takes a deep breath and calms himself. Whatever he does, it can't be any worse than last time, right?
Draco's still sobbing and there's so little fight in him that Harry can manhandle him into a more comfortable position with next to no resistance. He ends up with his back against the wall and Draco sat sideways in-between his legs, leaning against Harry with his head on his shoulder. His face is nestled against the curve of his neck and his breath is warm against Harry's skin where the collar of his shirt has been pulled to the side.
"It's alright-" Harry whispers clumsily against white-blond hair. The body in his arms twitches.
"No it's not," Draco manages to choke out. "It's not, it's never, you still hate me and I'm so tired, so tired I can't sleep and it's all…"
He can't finish the sentence because he's crying too hard. Harry wishes he would stop because it's making him want to cry too.
"I don't hate you, please, just- don't cry," he runs a hand up and down Draco's back, feeling the knobs of his spine under his palm.
"I'm so tired," Draco replies as if that's an answer, and somehow it is.
"Me too," Harry replies thickly.
Suddenly, without warning, Draco relaxes. Harry's no idea what he does to elicit such a response but it's no less tangible for the lack of reason; the sobs subside and Draco's frame stops shaking and his weight becomes more pronounced against Harry's body as he slumps.
"I-" he tries.
"No," Harry whispers back. "Don't talk, just sit."
Miracles do happen because Draco doesn't reply or snap back. He just rubs his cheek slightly against Harry's collarbone and breathes out deeply.
Harry holds him close, eyes shut, breathing slowly in and out. The breeze lifts his hair and he shivers slightly, then two arms slip around his waist and the trembling stops.
It's cold and not altogether comfortable…but with Draco calm and quiet in his arms, he feels like he's just won a war all over again.
It might be minutes, hours or days later when Harry feels Draco shift slightly in his arms. Even though his legs ache and his arse is numb from sitting, Harry stays perfectly still, his head resting against Draco's, hoping that it's just him moving in his sleep.
No such luck.
Slowly, lethargically, Draco sits up. He rubs his face, still looking tired. They've been dozing half-asleep for the past gods-knows-how-long, staying close together to fight off the cold, listening to the wind and feeling the steady thump of each other's heartbeats.
Its one of those moments that they both know is somehow important, but regardless of how it will shape their future together, it has to end at some point.
"Okay?" Harry asks softly, his hand still on Draco's back between his shoulder blades. Runs it up and down as Draco shivers slightly.
"Yeah," Draco replies back, his voice low. "I should go, though. We should go back."
"Yeah," Harry nods in reply even though he doesn't want to.
Draco stands and offers a hand to Harry who accepts it, letting Draco pull him to his feet. Draco lets go quickly, tugging his jumper straight and running his fingers through his hair.
"I'll see you soon," Draco says, so quietly, but Harry can clearly hear the hidden question in that statement.
Harry reaches up before he can stop himself, running his fingertips along Draco's chin. "Yeah."
Draco's eyes flutter shut as Harry's fingertips trace his skin. He swallows thickly and seems to force them open again. Grey eyes meet green and a small half smile hitches the corner of his mouth. His own fingers come up and he returns the gesture, gently touching the side of Harry's jaw, and then he turns and leaves, Harry's hand left hanging in midair.
He lowers his hand, shoves both of them in his pockets and watches Draco swing around the top of the staircase to disappear from view.
He breathes in and out deeply and counts to a minute in his head to give Draco a head start, before making his own way back to the tower to try and steal some sleep before the sun rises again.
Before he leaves he hesitates, then turns at the top of the stairs to look to the spot where he and Draco spent the past few hours together.
He looks for a moment longer, and then as he leaves, he smiles.
V. Debello -are [to fight to the end , finish a war]; transit. [to fight out] a fight; [to conquer an enemy.].
"Oh, would you look at that."
Harry smiles weakly but his low mutter doesn't wake Malfoy who carries on sleeping on the sofa, this time curled up on his side with his fist in front of his face.
The Gods either love Harry or are conspiring against him at that moment because it's not even been twenty-four hours since that thing on the astronomy tower, and he's stumbled across sleepy-Malfoy once again.
Harry likes sleepy-Malfoy, yeah of course he does. The problem is that it's not enough now. He's being drawn to awake-Malfoy now as well, even if he is still a git. The strange pull he feels when he sees him asleep is creeping into his daylight hours too.
The main issue is that if he wants to spend time in any capacity with awake-Malfoy, they'll have to talk. And he's really not sure if they're up to that just yet.
So for now…he doesn't want to talk or think or examine his feelings anymore. He just wants to sit and be with his Malfoy-git again like he did last night, thankyouverymuch.
He pads across the common room and sits down next to the sofa, near Malfoy's head. Blinks tiredly because he's just as damn tired as Draco is and wants nothing more than to lean forwards, rest his head against those cushions and fall asleep. He didn't sleep after he left the astronomy tower last night, he was too busy thinking about Draco and now he's paying for it.
He reaches out with a trembling hand, and his fingertip hovers over Malfoy's temple, and then he moves that last fraction of an inch and touches that pale skin.
Malfoy's eyelids flutter as Harry traces a line along his brow and down his cheekbone, stopping at the corner of his mouth. A small cleft forms between his eyebrows and Harry holds his breath, heart hammering-
The voice is croaky and slightly nervous as the eyes finally open, looking worried. Harry quickly stops the potential talking by pressing the finger over Draco's lips. He shakes his head slowly, eyes fixed on Draco's.
Draco nods in return - since when have they picked up this mad understanding and communicating without saying anything, anyway?- and Harry moves his finger. Draco shifts slightly but doesn't break gaze with Harry.
As long as neither says anything, Harry reckons it'll be alright. Right now they just cock it up when they try and talk, but actions seem to be working just fine.
Moments pass and then Draco moves again. He wriggles back so his spine is pressed against the back of the sofa, leaving enough room for-
Harry's body is working quicker than his brain because he moves before he realises he wants to; he uncrosses his legs and slowly, carefully, not breaking eye contact, climbs onto the sofa beside Draco. Lies down and finds himself nose to nose with the Slytherin, who thankfully doesn't say anything. He just breathes out deeply and then shuts his eyes again.
Harry knows his mind should be going a mile a minute, should be asking whyand how but it doesn't. His eyes are closing of their own accord, his mind slowly going blank and slipping into sleep-
A hand comes up to rest on the side of his neck, fingers curled around his nape and idly moving in the short hair. The fingers are warm and it feels so nice, and that's the last thought he's aware of having before sleep rolls over him like a wave and he willingly falls into the darkness.
Harry's body twitches uncomfortably, feeling cold and sluggish, not quite willing to follow his brain into the land of the living just yet. He stays perfectly still, hoping he will relax and sink into slumber once more but-
He knows that whisper, and the previous nights events all come back in a rush. He's not in his bed- he's on the sofa in the common room, and he's with Malfoy.
He doesn't know which is more bizarre; being with Malfoy or the fact he's just slept a whole night through without nightmares or waking up countless times.
Fingertips brush his cheek and he opens his eyes slowly, blinking tiredly. He hasn't got his glasses on but it doesn't matter because he can see Malfoy just fine when he's this close. They're lying face to face, head on the same pillow, bodies not quite touching but he can feel the warmth from his sofa-partner regardless.
"What time is it?" Harry asks, his voice low and hoarse from sleep. He shivers slightly; the fire hasn't been relit and the room is cold.
"Six," Malfoy whispers.
Harry makes a disgruntled noise and Malfoy's lips twitch in an almost smile.
"Did you sleep alright?" Harry asks before he can help himself. Malfoy stares at him, grey eyes wide and then nods slowly. His hair is ruffled and he's got sleep in the corners of his eyes and looks…different. Kind of like he does when he's asleep- he's not been awake long enough to shake that sleep-aura Harry likes about him.
But - dammit - he's apparently not willing to stay as sleepy-Malfoy because he's sitting up and stretching, looking away from Harry, his expression unreadable.
No,Harry's brain says, translated by his body as he props himself up on one elbow, reaching out and putting a hand on Malfoys knee. Startled, Malfoy stops mid-stretch and looks down at Harry who looks straight back, green eyes fixed on that face that's all blurry and too far away.
Malfoy slowly bends down and picks up something off the floor: Harry's glasses. He hands them to Harry who clumsily shoves them onto his face, immediately looking back to Malfoy, trying to say he-doesn't-know what.
"I-" he manages but then gives up. What is he doing to say? Sorry I know I hated you for years and we fought on different sides of a war and all that crap but apparently I've been stalking you and can't get you out of my head and want to lick your skin and can only get a decent nights sleep if you're within a couple of feet so would you mind staying?
He keeps his mouth shut and blinks.
"Come on," Malfoy suddenly stands and holds out a hand.
Harry frowns and Malfoys hand twitches so he reaches out and lets Malfoy pull him up.
"Come with me," Malfoy says, looking down at their hands. He's not letting go.
"Where?" is all Harry manages because his brain has up and left; those three little words have short circuited his synapses because they could mean anything,loaded with both innocent and suggestive intentions-
"Okay," he hears himself agree before Malfoy can reply or explain. Because really, Malfoy isn't that bad all things considered and Harry decides to invest in some of that fabled Gryffindor courage and just go with it.
There it is again, that almost smile, and it's nice to see even if Malfoy looks knackered and is shivering. He tugs on Harry's hand and then they're walking across the common room to the stairway that leads up to the rooms. They're climbing, up past Seamus and Dean's room, then up and past Harry and Ron's room, climbing right to the top and he knows who has got the room at the top-
Malfoy presses his palm to the door and it clicks open. He presses his finger to his lips in an indication for Harry to be quiet.
They steal in and Harry's brain promptly switches itself back on - I'm in Malfoy's bloody bedroom oh my fucking god -but he realises there can't be any nefarious intentions because behind the curtains of the other bed is Theo- still fast asleep.
Malfoy drops his hand and walks over to his bed which is way messier than Harry expected it to be. He had imagined military corners and neat and tidy stacks of stuff arranged obsessive-compulsively on the nightstand. What he does see is crumpled sheets, tall and haphazard stacks of books and countless items of clothing strewn around.
Reaching out, Malfoy starts clearing off his bed, moving the books and some stray trousers out of the way and then Harry realises what his intentions are.
More blessed, wonderful, underrated sleep, and Malfoy is Harry's new favourite person ever because he's decided they can now sleep curled up in a bed under those blankets, not cold and slightly uncomfortable on a narrow sofa in the common room-
And Malfoy is reaching for his jumper, pulling it off and is then reaching for his tie, and then the buttons on his shirt- determinedly looking away from Harry but not stopping.
Harry makes his hands move, following suit and doing his best not to stare as all that white skin is revealed because he's still so damn tired and he aches, and his whole body is crying out for sleep and getting an erection right now would really throw a spanner in the works. Turns away as Malfoy unbuttons his trousers and shoves them down, kicking them away. He can't watch because now Malfoy's only wearing a pair of black cotton boxers that somehow suit him more than the fine silk undergarments Harry was expecting, and Harry can now admit that he likes that sight way more than is heterosexually appropriate.
But fuck it, because Malfoy is crawling into his bed, sliding under the duvets and wriggling over so there's half the bed free and Harry can't quite believe he means for it to be for him- and he's suddenly only clad in his boxers which match Malfoy's, and Draco smirks tiredly as Harry climbs in beside him.
Oh god it's wonderful. The sheets are soft and cool, with the promise of turning warm and comfortable with two nearly nude bodies in there, and the pillows are so welcoming, and Malfoy's so close that Harry knows he'll sleep just fine.
They lie still for a moment but don't speak; they don't need to. They both know that yeah this is weird and no-one- not even Hermione Granger- can explain why they can sleep next to each other but not anyone else, but it doesn't matter.
Draco blinks and yawns and Harry pulls the duvet up tight over his shoulder. Breathes in as Draco wriggles closer, freezing toes brushing Harry's shins, and then knees are pressing into his thighs and Draco's so close Harry can feel his breath on his face.
Draco settles with his body slightly curled up, his arms crossed in front of his chest with his hands fisted under his chin in his usual semi-defensive pose. Harry reaches forwards under the covers and wraps his fingers around one of Draco's wrists.
He shuts his eyes.
Breathes in and out deeply.
And he sleeps.
VI. Novo -are [to make new , renew, revive; to change, alter; to invent]; 'novare res', [to make a revolution].
The next time Harry wakes, he's aware of only one thing, and that is the warm body that's wrapped in his arms.
He's on his back and Malfoy is on his side, body pressed snugly to Harry's. That blond head is resting on his collarbone and a pale hand is pressed to his chest, long fingers splayed out over his skin. One of his long legs is thrown over one of Harry's, tangling them up wonderfully.
He doesn't wake him; instead he lies there with his eyes still closed, thinking about how he's ended up waking from the best night sleep he's ever had in the arms of his former enemy.
He moves his hands under the covers, slipping them across Draco's waist and up his back. He feels different to how Ginny ever did somehow- feels more assertive in Harry's embrace even though he's not even awake. He can feel wiry muscle and bone under his palms, and warm skin. And he knows that it's probably going to be called wrong, but he can only helplessly think that it feels completely right.
They've both been through a lot, he muses. And maybe they understand each other better than they first thought.
And Christ, he wants to kiss him.
He runs his hands back down Draco's back again, harder than before, and feels Draco shift sleepily next to him. Does it again and receives a contented sigh for his trouble.
Smiles as Draco leans back, grey eyes blinking drowsily at him. "Sleeping better now, yeah?" he asks and Draco nods, almost eagerly despite his weariness.
Draco clears his throat. "Same again tonight?" he asks, and then buries his face back into Harry's neck before he gets an answer.
Harry almost laughs and then pushes Draco's face away from his skin so he can look at him. Draco twitches crossly and tries to move back but Harry holds firm.
"Stop it, I don't want to talk about this right now-" Draco begins.
"Neither do I," Harry whispers. Draco looks up, still cross.
"Later," Harry adds, and then seized by impulse and need, leans forwards, gently pressing his mouth to Draco's.
Draco makes a startled noise but doesn't pull back and they stay still for a long moment. Harry's forgotten how to kiss, but christ, he doesn't care, because Draco's mouth is warm and open beneath his and it feels so bloody fantastic he could stay there all day. He can't though; all too soon he has to move back in order to breathe.
He blinks, bites his lip, waiting for a Malfoy tantrum, but - thank the stars, planets and whichever benevolent deity is on duty- it doesn't come. Draco just stares for a moment and then hesitantly smiles at him. Leans in and gently kisses Harry again on the corner of his mouth, making his heart leap into the base of the throat. Much to Harry's disappointment there's no more kissing at that precise moment; before he can respond Draco pulls back and turns over in Harry's arms so his back is pressed to Harry's front. He wriggles back and pulls Harry's arm over his waist and places his hand over Harry's on his stomach.
"More of that tonight too, Scarhead," he mutters sleepily and Harry laughs, appeased.
"You're on," he whispers against the back of Draco's neck and then gently kisses his skin - just because it's right there and he can - before following Draco's lead, shutting his eyes and slipping into sleep once more.
VII. Annotinus -a -um [a year old , belonging to last year].
"Get your toes off of my feet," Harry murmurs. "They're cold."
"Exactly why I'm doing it," is the muffled reply.
Draco laughs and wriggles closer under the duvet, brushing his freezing cold toes against Harry's shins again, pushing his head under Harry's chin and pressing a kiss to the hollow between his collarbones.
"I hate winter," Draco sighs as Harry runs his hands over his skin, up his back and across his shoulders.
"I quite like it," Harry responds. "Perfect for days like this-"
"But its cold," Draco whines.
"Want warming up?" Harry teases and then suddenly rolls them over so Draco's lying on top of him. Draco lets out a yelp and then scowls down at the grinning face beneath his.
"Prat," Draco grumbles, shifting on top of him so they're more comfortably pressed together. He reaches behind him to tug the duvet back up over his back, holding it in his fists and wrapping it around them both.
"Complaining?" Harry asks, leaning up slightly to kiss his other half.
"I suppose not," Draco replies with a smile as Harry's hands start to wander under the covers, kissing him back and moving his legs apart so they're pressed together more intimately. Harry's hands steal lower and Draco makes a noise of approval low in his throat, starting to rock his hips into Harry's.
"Can we stay here all day?" Draco suddenly murmurs in-between kisses, stilling the movement of his hips much to Harry's chagrin.
"All day?" Harry asks, a little surprised. "We can't just stay in bed and shag all day-"
"Yeah we can, that's what we've been doing for the past three hundred and sixty five days." Draco replies, kissing Harry's shoulder.
"We've never stayed in bed for a whole day," Harry argues. "And we haven't been shagging for a year," he adds.
"As good as," Draco says, a smirk on his lips. "Only took about a week of sharing a bed before those hands started wandering, if I remember rightly."
"Wandering hands is not shagging, it was way over a month before- oh forget it," Harry huffs as Draco laughs. "You're a pain."
"Your pain," Draco replies and shifts slightly on top of Harry, kissing him again. "Come on. Just for today. Please?"
Harry sighs and smiles, knowing he can't resist the lure of that pleading voice, combined with the prospect of staying in their wonderfully warm bed, accompanied by lots of inappropriate behaviour.
"Alright," he says and Draco's smile's brilliant. "Just for today."