"To the left, Katie, the left!" Harry shouted, streaking down to where one of his Chasers was having some trouble with the opposing team. He hovered on his broomstick, watching as Katie Bell and a Slytherin Chaser fought for possession of the quaffle, using a series of spins, dives, and dizzying speed. His head snapped around as he spotted a glint of gold in the corner of his eye; there was the golden snitch, flitting rapidly around just out of reach! Harry turned his broom with the slightest manoeuvre, and within moments he was racing after the tiny gold sphere. He dodged past beaters and bludgers, keeping his eye trained on the most important ball in the game. Suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, the Slytherin Seeker rammed hard into Harry's side, forcing him to swerve erratically and fall sideways from his broom. Harry gave a shout of surprise, clinging to the broom handle with sweaty hands. He swore loudly; his fingers kept slipping. "No, no no no no!" he exclaimed desperately, doubling his grip. A loud whooshing sound made itself present in that second. Harry peered around nervously, still trying to get back up onto his broom. There was a loud crunch, a collective gasp from the crowd, and suddenly he knew a blinding, sickening pain. His grip on the broomstick loosened and then he was free-falling, his stomach dropping even as he sank into unconsciousness...
Ugh... Harry gave a mental groan, feeling his head spin. Waves of nausea washed over him, his face throbbing painfully. He opened his eyes, and blinked several times to adjust to the bright afternoon sunlight streaming through the windows. He was in the hospital wing, tucked cosily into one of the many beds. Turning his neck stiffly, Harry could see Ron and Hermione in deep conversation by the far window. Hermione gave a worried glance in his direction, double-taking when she realised that his eyes were open.
"Harry, you're awake!" She rushed over and gave him a hug, Ron grinning blithely.
"Thanks for stating the obvious, Hermione," said Harry with a chuckle.
"Well, we thought you were a goner, mate!" said Ron, gesturing at Harry's face. Harry frowned, an expression which made his face all the more painful. He quickly assumed a relaxed expression once more.
"Er, why do you keep looking at my face like that? Has my scar vanished or something?" Harry joked, laughing uneasily. Hermione wordlessly handed him a small mirror, and Harry gasped in shock when he saw his reflection.
Two huge black bruises ringed his eyes, giving him the look of a panda. It would have been funny if the rest of his face weren't in such a serious condition. The thing that Harry had once called a nose was red, scarred and oddly shaped. A bump stuck out on the bridge, right where Harry's glasses would sit. His lips were puffy, and had a purplish hue to them. He ran a finger along his bottom lip; it felt very solid, and tingled faintly underneath his fingertip. The rest of his face was blotchy, covered in bruises in some places, and stark white in others. The only bits of it that seemed unharmed were his vivid green eyes. Harry cast a queasy look back up at his best friends.
"Was it worse before?" he questioned. Ron nodded grimly. Madam Pomfrey came rushing in, a bottle of potion in her hand. "Alright you two, visiting time is over! I need to administer this to Mr Potter!"
Hermione gave Harry a sad wave. "We'll see you tomorrow Harry." Ron waved too, and then caught up with Hermione who was almost out the door. Harry frowned again, wincing.
"Do I have to stay here overnight, Madam Pomfrey?"
"YES silly boy, you need careful medical attention! That wasn't the golden snitch that hit you in the face, after all. It was a bludger... dangerous uncontrolled things..."
She muttered to herself as she set about applying a smooth paste to Harry's face, and his heart sank. As soon as she had mentioned what had happened, he remembered the game. Slytherin must have beaten them by a mile. That was Gryffindor's first loss for a long time, and there was no doubt that the Slytherins would take joy in gloating. Oh well, too late now, thought Harry with a roll of his eyes.
"Don't roll your eyes at me, Mr Potter! You can either have this medicine or go about with a sore face."
And, having finished administering the paste, she bustled back into her office. Looking out the window, Harry could see that the sunlight had now faded and a few twinkling stars were beginning to appear. Deciding that there was nothing else to do, he closed his eyes with a sigh and tried to get some more rest.
Harry opened his eyes at about four in the morning, feeling very awake. As he lay there in bed, he realised it was because it felt like someone had been holding his hand. Lifting it to his face, he put it to his cheek. Then he felt his other hand, and sure enough, one was cold and one was warm from body-heat. A movement in the corner of his eye made Harry's head snap around. He caught a fleeting glimpse of a black shoe disappearing around the corner, but not much else. He could have sworn that he saw a flash of white-blonde hair in the dark though... Harry raised his eyebrows. He grinned as he realised that this didn't make his face hurt. Eagerly picking up the mirror, he checked his reflection. And there in the mirror was Harry Potter, looking completely normal and unscathed, save for his lightning bolt scar. Putting down the mirror and picking up his wand and glasses, Harry scrambled out of bed. He padded lightly out into the hall in his pyjamas; ready to dash into hiding should a teacher appear. Deciding not to light his wand in case he was discovered, Harry advanced down the pitch-black corridor. He jumped violently when someone spoke right in front of him, and held up his wand.
"Out for a walk, are we Potter? I would have thought that you'd be hiding under the covers for days after seeing your own ugly face."
Harry cursed under his breath. He knew that sneering tone. And sure enough when he lit his wand, there was Draco Malfoy, leaning casually against the wall. Harry stared him down.
"I might say the same to you, Malfoy," he retorted, putting as much loathing into the name as he could. He then continued, remembering what he had been thinking in the Hospital Wing.
"I... were you in the Hospital Wing before? Because I swear that someone was holding my hand. Getting a bit soft, are we?" Harry smirked in a pleased way; surely now he had unnerved Malfoy, talking like that. It seemed that he had; the tall, now-not-quite-dignified blonde looked uneasy, and his eyes seemed glued to the floor.
"I- I- wasn't... no! Have you gone completely berserk, Potter? Why on earth would I do such a thing?" And he stormed off, his slim figure lost in the darkness after a few seconds. Harry stood in the middle of the corridor, stunned. Did that mean...? Shaking his head to clear it, Harry murmured 'nox' and made his way back into the Hospital Wing in the dark. No use risking Madam Pomfrey waking up and catching him out of bed. Sliding back under the covers, he put his glasses and wand back on the bedside table, and closed his eyes. After that little conversation, he had quite a bit of trouble getting back to sleep.
"Now, here the word 'independent' is used quite inappropriately. Can anyone tell me for what reason the Self-Watering Juniper plant is NOT independent?"
Professor Sprout spoke in enthusiastic tones to her bored, tired Herbology class. For some reason everyone seemed to be a little less willing to participate today than usual. Harry however was in quite high spirits; he had been discharged from the Hospital Wing first thing in the morning, and he made it down to the Great Hall in time for breakfast, properly dressed and with all his books. Now, looking over at the Slytherins, Harry could see that Draco Malfoy was missing. Where was he? Was he afraid to show up because of what had happened last night? Hahaha... good, thought Harry with a snigger. Professor Sprout pursed her lips at him, with an incredible resemblance to Professor McGonagall.
"Potter, if you are going to laugh at my teaching, I suggest you go to Professor McGonagall and take up the matter with her," she said irritably, her pleasant smile vanishing instantly.
"Yes Professor, sorry, it won't happen again," said Harry, mixing all that he knew she wanted to hear into one sentence. The professor nodded contentedly, and then went back to teaching. Ron and Seamus both gave Harry looks of approval, grinning and snorting quietly to themselves. Neville and Hermione just shook their heads in disdain. They were perhaps the only ones in the whole class that took an interest in Herbology. With a low sigh, Harry opened his workbook and began sketching the plant as Professor Sprout had just instructed. He might as well not spend the whole lesson dawdling around and thinking about Malfoy...
Ok, ok, he's sure to come along some time, thought Harry, leaning on the wall under his invisibility cloak. It was night-time, and he had left the Great Hall early after dinner to get to where he was waiting; outside the Slytherin common-room. He tapped his foot impatiently, and then, realising that it was making quite a loud noise, ceased. Checking his watch, Harry groaned. He had been waiting for over half an hour. What was taking Malfoy so long? He wasn't already inside the common-room, THAT Harry was sure of. His breath caught as the familiar blonde walked around the corner. Harry watched, creeping silently up to the portrait hole as Malfoy spoke the password.
"Parseltongue," he said confidently, and the door swung open. Harry slipped silently inside after Malfoy, giving a mental cheer at once more invading the Slytherin common-room. Looking around, he cast his memory back to when he and Ron had snuck inside in their second year, disguised as Crabbe and Goyle... but now was not the time for reminiscing. Careful not to trip over the feet of various Slytherins sprawled lazily in front of the fire, Harry followed Malfoy up into the dormitories.
Harry had to suppress a remark of annoyance when he entered the dormitory; this room was much classier and more expensively furnished than the Gryffindor dormitories. The bed hangings were made of green silk, embroidered with the most intricate of silver patterns. All of the bed frames, bedside tables and closets were made of polished dark wood, which shone dimly in the moonlight. There were some wide French doors set into one wall, which led out to a cosy balcony complete with lounges and cushions. Harry scowled, but turned his attention back to the only other person in the room. He was surprised once again to find him mere inches away and getting closer! Before Harry could do anything at all, Malfoy ran straight into him and they fell over in an untidy heap. Both boys struggled away from each other and whipped out their wands.
"Expelliar-... you- what? What are you doing here, Potter?"
Harry stood awkwardly, his wand half lowered. He thought it seemed a bit stupid to still be ready to blast Malfoy's arm off when he had already lowered his wand.
"I er... well, you see, I was just-"
"Oh, shut up Harry! I mean uh, Potter...um..." Draco blushed faintly, giving a nervous laugh. "You don't know why you're here, do you."
Harry shook his head vaguely. He was surprised that Malfoy hadn't insulted him already. And why had he called him 'Harry'? It wasn't exactly normal for them to know each other on a first-name basis. Malfoy smirked, like he was hiding something.
"Well, if you like... I could make a reason for you to be here. Do you think you would like that... Harry?" Malfoy spoke his name with what could be described as nothing but desire.
Harry gawked, while Malfoy prowled closer to him, a cheeky grin on his lips. He ran a finger down Harry's torso, making the black-haired wizard shiver.
"D-Draco, I uh, um...Ron and- a-and Hermione will be er, waiting for me, I should probably, erm..." he stuttered nervously, mentally kicking himself a second later. Ah jeez, now I'm using his first name too! And why was that all so inarticulate?
Draco silenced him with a kiss, holding him gently. Harry reflexively put his hands on Draco's chest and tried to push him away, flinching. Draco responded by growling quietly, and pulling Harry in even closer, so that he couldn't wriggle his way out of it. As Harry's heartbeat accelerated, he felt Draco's tongue tickling his bottom lip lightly. With a moan of pleasure, he abandoned all previous resolve and parted his lips to let him enter.
Hands restlessly moving and exploring each other's bodies, they backed onto Draco's lavishly covered bed, kicking their shoes off in the process. Harry let his own tongue have free reign, and he used it to explore every bit of Draco's mouth, revelling in the feel of their lips moulded against each other. A cloud drifted across the moon, darkening the room as Draco began undoing Harry's shirt. He couldn't find the last few buttons though, and their fingers met as Harry ripped them undone. He did the same with Draco's shirt, and they began to kiss with fiery passion, both of them desperate for something a little more. Harry reached up and locked his arms around Draco's neck, thrusting his hips upwards as if daring Draco to take things one step further. He did; undoing Harry's pants he slipped one hand inside, his long fingers teasing until Harry arched his back high with ecstasy.
"Ngh, come on, do it Draco!" he panted through clenched teeth. With an amused smirk, Draco undid his own pants and draped them across the end of the bed, doing the same with Harry's. He pressed their lips together once more, and then began kissing lightly down Harry's torso, pausing to dip his tongue into his bellybutton. The black-haired wizard gasped, his breath beginning to come in ragged bursts.
Before they could get any further though, there came the sound of dim-witted laughter and Crabbe and Goyle burst into the dormitory. Draco moved almost in a blur; grabbing the invisibility cloak he threw it over Harry, then he dived under the covers and closed his eyes. Harry curled up at the end of the bed as much as he could, but he could still feel Draco's feet poking into him from under the blanket.
"Hey look, he's already asleep!"
"Yeah, that's nice. So... whadda we do now?"
"Uh... I dunno! Let's go to bed as well."
Harry rolled his eyes at this dull exchange, vowing never to lower his vocabulary to that standard. He watched as the two large bodyguards lumbered off to change, and then came back and got slowly into their beds. There was rather a lot of protesting from the bedsprings as they did this. Finally, all was silent. Harry cautiously removed the invisibility cloak, reaching over Draco for his pants. Pulling them on, he gazed down at Draco and smiled. He looked so peaceful when he was 'asleep'. Harry found his shirt (which had the huge rip down the front, but could be easily repaired) and shoes and put those on too, then picked up his glasses from behind the bed.
"Draco? I um, I'm going to go now... so... I'll see you tomorrow?"
Harry watched as one corner of Draco's lips twitched upwards in a lazy grin.
"Right?" Harry whispered nervously.
"You bet you will, Potter..." and Draco opened his eyes, waving his fingers in a dismissive fashion. Shaking his head with a small smile, Harry picked up the invisibility cloak and made for the door. He jumped as Crabbe began snoring lightly, his huge form making the whole bed shudder visibly.
Harry turned, catching a gasp of surprise in his throat as Draco leapt out of bed and kissed him one more time. He held on tight, clutching Draco's slim frame to his own with a new possessiveness. He licked his lips as they broke away, his smile wider than ever.
"Goodnight, Dray... and I know it might seem a bit too soon for the L word, but... I almost nearly love you," he rushed, blushing deep crimson.
"I love you too, Potter," whispered Draco back, kissing Harry's ear. He moseyed off into the darkness, and Harry could see him getting back into bed. Throwing the invisibility cloak over himself, he skipped down the stairs. The Slytherin common-room was now empty. He slid through the portrait hole and found his way back to the Gryffindor common-room, hindered only by Peeves, who tried to lock him in the trophy room as he passed.
"Porto Rico," he said brightly to the Fat Lady. She waved cheerily at him, brandishing a half-empty bottle of wine. She and her friend Violet giggled, falling clumsily over each other and knocking their party hats askew in the process. What they were celebrating wasn't evident at all, but they seemed to have drunk at least six bottles of wine. It took at least two minutes before they realised that they were the ones that actually had to open the portrait-hole. Harry waited patiently until it finally swung open.
The common-room was all but deserted; only Ron and Hermione sat by the fire.
"There you are Harry, we were wondering where you had gotten to!" said Hermione.
"Oh, I er, just went for a walk," Harry replied hastily. Hermione rolled her eyes, and Ron looked befuddled as always.
"Yes Harry," Hermione said with a knowing sigh, "of course. It was just a walk."