A/N: Hello my beauties! I hope you enjoy this chapter ^_^ 3 3 3

Chapter 18

"Harry!"

Harry braced himself for Hermione's hug, her bushy brown hair whipping him in the face as the female practically tackled him in the middle of the common room.

"Ooft," Harry groaned, catching the female and hugging her in return. "Hey, Mione."

"How were your holidays?" she asked as she pulled away, a knowing glint in her eye.

"…eventful…" Harry replied with half a smile. "Hey, Ron," he said, catching sight of his best friend behind Hermione.

The red head smiled. "Have a good Christmas, mate?"

Memories flashed through the brunet's mind and he hid a grin. "It was… peaceful," he said innocently. "What about you guys?"

Ron opened his mouth to fill Harry in about his holiday, when Hermione suddenly interrupted, her eyes narrowed suspiciously.

"Don't you have any news to tell us?" she asked.

"Well yes but it's not really common room conversation," Harry replied. "I promise I will tell you when we have some privacy, alright?"

Hermione seemed to calm at this news. "Alright," she said with a grin.

"Am I missing something here?" Ron asked with a confused frown as he looked between them.

"You'll know soon enough," Harry assured. "I'll fill you in after dinner. So, Ron, you were saying? How was your holiday?"

"Pretty good actually," Ron admitted. "I sometimes forget that I don't get to spend a lot of time with my parents considering we're at school for most of the year; it was nice just being with them you know?"

In a way, Harry did. He felt this way whenever he remembered the time he'd had with Sirius, or when he was finally reunited with his friends after the summer break. Smiling at Ron, Harry clamped a hand on his shoulder.

"I'm glad you had a nice time, mate," he said, genuinely.

"You have to come next time though, alright?" Ron said, frowning at Harry seriously. "It actually felt weird not having you around. Plus the fact that mum wouldn't shut up about you."

Harry grinned. "You got it."


"Good evening, Draco! Did you miss me? Your fantastic, beautiful, awe-inspiring best friend?" Pansy exclaimed as she threw open the door to Draco's bedroom.

"Hello, Pansy," Draco replied distractedly, eyes on his laptop screen as he sat cross-legged in the middle of his bed.

Pansy snorted. "Is that all I get? I'm away for days at a time and all I get back is 'Hello, Pansy'?" she scoffed, shutting the door behind her with a bang.

Draco glanced up at her. "Your influence is so strong it hardly felt as if you were gone."

The female rolled her eyes as she crossed the room and sat herself down on the blond's bedspread. "But you did miss me, didn't you?"

"At times," Draco said with a small smile. He closed his laptop and placed it aside. "Alright I'll bite. How were your holidays?"

"Pleasant," Pansy replied. "Despite the homework."

"That's it? You come barging in here and you don't even have exciting news?"

"Actually, that's something I wanted to ask you," Pansy replied.

Draco frowned. "What do you mean?"

"You and Potter! Did anything happen?" she asked, bouncing excitedly on the bed. "Well?"

Draco paused. "Nothing's changed."

Pansy's face fell. "What do you mean?"

"Exactly what I said," Draco replied, leaning back on his pillows. "We avoided each other all holidays. I did try at dinner one evening to see if he was tolerable but alas there were no sparks."

Pansy's eyes narrowed. "Are you messing with me?" she asked suspiciously.

"No."

Pansy's face fell. "Oh."

Draco wasn't sure why he had decided to lie to Pansy—after all, he and Potter had already discussed that they would be telling their respective best friends once they returned from holidays.

Could this be consideration for Potter that you're currently feeling? Going to double check with him before blurting all of your secret sexual adventures…?

It seems so… Draco thought as Pansy began rattling off all the presents she had been given for Christmas.


"So what sort of news is this? Is this important news? Scary news? Are you secretly a girl, Harry?"

Harry chuckled as he shut his bedroom door behind Ron and Hermione. "Damn, Ron, you got it in one."

The red head grinned as he sat down on the edge of Harry's bed. "I always knew," he said, pressing his hands to his chest and blinking at Harry.

Hermione snorted elegantly. "So that explains the crush you two had on each other during first year…"

"Oh shut up, Mione," the boys said unison.

"So," Hermione began, grinned over at Harry excitedly. "Fill us in about all the details!"

"Details?" Ron asked, a confused frown tugging at his brow as he looked between Hermione and Harry.

"Let me fill Ron in first, Hermione," Harry said as he approached the bed. "So, um, do you remember the conversation we had about how there is a certain type that I like in a guy?"

"Yeah…" Ron said slowly, racking his brain. "You said Neville wasn't your type and that you preferred blonds." His eyes suddenly narrowed. "Oh Merlin—you didn't."

"Yeah, I kind of maybe did," Harry said sheepishly as he sat down in between his two best friends.

"But Malfoy?!"

"Yep."

"But he—doesn't he—don't you hate each other?" Ron asked. "He's such a prat! How can you manage to even stay in the same room as him?"

"We might have gotten drunk one night and talked," Harry admitted. "He's actually not as bad as we thought—I know; don't give me that look, Ron!"

Hermione, who had been sitting patiently while Ron came to terms with the news, spoke up.

"So, how are things between you?" she asked. "Is he treating you well?"

"Yes," Harry said with a smile. "He really is."

"Well good," she said, getting to her feet.

"Hey wait, where are you going?" Harry asked with a startled frown. "I thought you would have been dying to hear all the details."

"No, no, Harry, that's your business," Hermione said, pausing beside the bed. "I just wanted to make sure that you were happy."

Harry blinked in surprise. "But… you were so impatient before. You said you wanted to know everything."

Hermione giggled. "More the fact that I wanted you to admit it," she said honestly. "I'm happy for you, Harry, as long as Draco behaves."

"This is so weird," Ron announced. "Malfoy—really, Harry? You don't find Neville attractive at all?"

Harry chuckled and shook his head. "Sorry, Ron, but Malfoy is the one who does it for me at the moment."

Ron stared at Harry for a couple of seconds before releasing a great sigh. "Well, mate, if he makes you happy then I say go for it. Be warned though, if he hurts you in any way he's a dead man."

Harry nodded. "Understood."

"Good," Ron said, crossing his arms stubbornly. "And tell him he has to be nicer to us otherwise you'll break up with him."

Harry snorted with laughter. "I don't know if that is much of a threat," he chuckled.

"Why not?" Ron asked. "He likes you, doesn't he?"

"Well yeah I guess so but what we have is more—well we're not boyfriends or anything… just mucking around," Harry said with a shrug. "It's not serious."

"Oh," Ron said, brightening. "Then there's a chance you'll get over him."

"Ronald!" Hermione said disapprovingly, glaring at the male as she crossed her arms in annoyance.

"Or he could get over me," Harry continued. "Face it, Hermione, Malfoy and I still don't know each other very well and considering our past… there's a good chance this won't last."

"Well…" but Hermione fell silent. She knew he was right. "Still, as long as he keeps you happy then no harm done." She nodded, as if ending the matter right then and there. "Come on, Ron, I don't want you pestering Harry about this."

"I'm not pestering!" Ron exclaimed. "I'm just concerned. Harry's my best mate, excuse me for having doubts about the man we've had issues with since first year."

"Actually there's not really much more to tell," Harry admitted. "I'm not really sure how we plan on acting now that school's back."

"Are you going to pretend that you still hate each other?" Hermione asked curiously.

"No, I don't think so—but it's not like we're going to hold hands as we walk down corridors or anything," Harry replied with a crooked smile. "I might go see him tonight and clarify."

"But… how will you get in?" Ron asked.

"Invisibility cloak and password," Harry said.

"Shame you don't have his—oh! I'm such an idiot," Hermione said, smacking herself on her forehead. "I have his email if you want it, Harry."

"Why do you have his email, Hermione?" Ron asked with a frown.

"Because we're study partners, remember? Everyone was supposed to exchange emails with their partner when you were assigned," Hermione explained patiently. "Harry?"

"Yeah that's actually a good idea," Harry said. "It's probably best that I avoid sneaking into his room now that everyone's back." He grinned impishly at Ron's groan. "Better get used to this, mate, you're going to be hearing about it for a while."


Malfoy,

Hermione gave me your email if that's alright. I figured it was better than trying to sneak into your room now that everyone is back. Speaking of which, I wasn't sure how we were planning on going about once classes resume. Are we going to pretend to hate one another still or act somewhat friendly? I don't mind either way, whatever you're comfortable with.

- H.

"Anything interesting on the internet, Draco?" Pansy asked from her position further down Draco's bed. Her laptop, which she had gone and gotten from her room, was lying open before her.

"Not really," Draco commented as he hit 'reply'. "What about you?"

"Can't say I've found anything of importance. Hey, can you show me that blog site thing later? It looked pretty interesting."

"Sure, give me a minute," Draco said as he began to type out a reply to Potter.

Potter,

It was probably a good idea for Granger to give you my email, it'll make conversing with you in private a lot easier. In regards to how we'll act in front of the school, I really don't mind what we do. For the sake of our sanity it'll probably be best to keep our… affection… for one another to a minimum. However, I don't mind associating with you in public, I am happy to reveal that we have gotten over our issues.

On another note, I'm sure you've told Weasley and Granger about us by now. I have yet to tell Pansy because I was unsure if you were comfortable with me doing so. Knowing Pansy she is bound to expect a lot of details. Are you happy with me telling Pansy about us?

- D.M

Draco reread his reply before sending it to Potter. He glanced at Pansy over the top of his laptop screen. How will Pansy take the news I wonder…?


Harry didn't see Malfoy's reply until the next morning. After sending the original email, Ron had demanded several games of wizard's chess and some 'best friend bonding time'. By the time they two of them had gotten to bed, it was very late and Harry, too tired to check his emails, had crashed into bed and fallen asleep.

After checking and replying to Malfoy, Harry felt strangely happy. He wasn't used to Malfoy asking after his feelings—it meant that the Slytherin actually cared. How about that?

Grinning to himself as Harry got changed into his school robes, he discovered that he was actually looking forward to the day, despite having Potion's with Snape first off. Swinging his bag over his shoulder and ruffling his hair, Harry began his way down the staircase to meet Ron and Hermione in the common room.

Hermione was already there, leaning against one of the couches, her laptop open and resting on one of her hands and she typed with the other.

"Don't let it fall," Harry warned and he joined her.

"Oh please," Hermione scoffed with a smile.

"Seen Ron yet?" Harry asked.

"No not yet. I figured he probably slept in or something," Hermione replied.

"I did not." A third voice joined them and Harry and Hermione looked over to a rather dishevelled Ron.

"Your robe is inside out, mate," Harry pointed out with a grin.

"Bugger, hold this will you?" Ron asked, handing over his bag.

Hermione and Harry exchanged smirks as Ron righted his robe with a sleepy yawn.

"No more late nights for you, Ronald," Hermione stated, shutting the lid of her laptop and sliding it into her bag.

"It wasn't even that late when we went to bed," Harry said. "What time did you go to sleep?"

"…three thirty in the morning," Ron replied sheepishly. "I found those things that muggles call 'movies' and watched a couple. It was so cool though! The stuff that muggles can come up with without the use of magic is amazing—Harry! Why didn't you tell me about this sooner?"

"Erm… I didn't really consider it," Harry replied, handing Ron back his bag. "Come on, we better get a move on if we want breakfast before Snape tears our heads off in Potions."


"Today will be a theory lesson. Copy down the notes on the board on either parchment or computer. Your homework assignment is listed at the bottom," Snape said in a drone. "Do not forget that your essays are due at the end of the week." Without further hesitation, Snape swept off to his desk. Harry's brow lifted in slight surprise at Snape's lack of effort.

These laptops were the best thing that ever happened to Hogwarts… he thought with a grin.

He retrieved his laptop from his bag and opened it, Hermione and Ron doing the same beside him. In fact, most of the class were opening their laptops and soon the classroom was filled with the tick-tack of keyboard keys.

Before long, Harry had copied down all the notes from the board and, considering that Snape was immersed in whatever it was he was doing, Harry decided that some net browsing wouldn't go amiss. He checked his email first and was happy to see an email from Malfoy.

Potter,

Meet me in the library after Potions?

- D.M

Harry glanced across the classroom to where the blond was sitting beside Pansy. The two of them were hard at work it seemed, comparing notes on a particular essay that had probably been set over the holidays.

I wonder if he's told Pansy yet…? Harry thought, turning his gaze back to his screen. He quickly typed back a reply, not sure if the blond would see it in time or not. Then he turned to his friends.

"Do guys mind if I go to the library to meet up with Malfoy during our free period?" he murmured quietly.

"Of course not," Hermione replied immediately. "Why what's wrong?"

"Nothing," Harry replied. "I think he might want me there when he tells Pansy about us."

"You mean he actually waited?" Ron asked, aghast.

"He wanted to make sure that I was alright with him telling her. See, I told you he's not that bad," Harry said with a smug smile.

Ron snorted. "Hold on, allow me to contain my excitement at the fact that Malfoy was actually considerate for once."

Laughing softly, Harry returned to his work. He wondered if Malfoy had mentioned anything to Pansy yet and if so, how much.

Would she really dig for details like Malfoy said she would? I don't know if I want to be there for that particular conversation…

Harry felt his cheeks burn. It was one thing to tell Pansy that he and Malfoy were now fooling around, but it was another to tell her everything that they've done behind closed doors.

Only one way to find out… Harry thought, glancing at his watch.


"And I'm worried that I didn't answer the actual question… did you find that when you read through my essay?"

"Your essay was fine," Draco replied as he and Pansy entered the library. "Perfectly acceptable."

"But you know how Professor Snape is! 'Perfectly acceptable' isn't good enough for him," Pansy continued.

"Fine, we'll go over it again tonight, alright?" Draco promised, spying a table in a rather secluded corner. Perfect…

"Why don't we go over it now? That's why we came here isn't it?" Pansy frowned.

"No, there's something else I want to discuss with you," Draco replied, placing his bag down on the wooden table-top and pulling out a seat.

"Something serious?" Pansy asked.

"No… I wouldn't say serious." Draco smirked.

"Well?" Pansy questions as she sat down. "So spill."

Draco lowered himself into his chair. "I'm screwing around with Potter."

"Yes I know." Pansy frowned. "Although I'd hoped that you'd cut him a break—"

"No," Draco interrupted, his smirk growing on his lips. "I'm physically screwing around with him."

Pansy's jaw dropped. "Since when?" she hissed, "for how long?"

Draco lent back in his chair. "A little while," he replied.

"Draco Malfoy, you lying bastard!" Pansy exclaimed in a furious whisper. "Did this happen before or after Christmas?"

"Before. In fact I'm pretty sure we spent most of Christmas day on my bed—"

"Alright I get it," Pansy said, holding up a hand. "Well that's good isn't it? You've bagged the Boy-Who-Lived."

"I wouldn't settle for anything less." Draco chuckled indulgently.

Pansy snorted. "Obviously. So what is the relationship between you?"

"Unclear at the moment," Draco replied. "We haven't really spoken about it."

"What do you want it to be?"

The blond shrugged, fiddling with his bag strap. "I'm content with how we are."

"And if Potter want's something more?" Pansy questioned.

"I don't think he does," Draco said in reply.

"You don't sound very sure."

"What do you want me to say, Pansy?" Draco sighed. "We've only been screwing around for a week."

Pansy frowned. "You need to make it clear with Potter about where this might go. You know I love you, Draco, but if you break his heart you won't just have Weasley and Granger after you but me as well."

"So much for Slytherin loyalty," Draco moped, folding his arms.

Pansy smiled and patted him consolingly. "Don't worry; if Potter breaks your heart, he's as good as dead."

"Malfoy's don't have hearts. There's nothing to break."

"Don't you care for Potter?" Pansy asked curiously.

"Liking him and caring for him are two completely different things," Draco clarified. "Aren't we allowed to enjoy ourselves without making it too difficult with silly female emotions?"

"If you say so," Pansy said wryly. "Just don't be surprised, alright? You don't know Potter very well, neither of us do. And you never know, you might come to care for him."

"I can't see that happening any time soon," Draco retorted. "What Potter and I have at the moment is probably nothing more than lust. We find each other physically attractive."

"Positive?"

"At the moment, yes."

"I don't believe you."

"Then don't."

Pansy rubbed her eyes. "Draco…"

The blond quirked an eyebrow. "Would you prefer to hear it from the man himself?"

"What?"

"Hey Pans, Malfoy."

"Potter, care to join us?" Draco smirked, offering the chair beside him.

The corner of Potter's lips quirked in a half smile, his eyes warming. "I'm not interrupting am I?"

"Not at all," Draco replied, "only Pansy involving herself in matters that don't concern her."

"So what's new?" Potter said snidely, sitting beside the blond Slytherin.

Pansy glared at the two of them. "You've been hanging with Draco for a week and he's already rubbed off on you."

Potter smiled charmingly. "You know I don't mean it, Pansy."

"Oh Merlin, how could I ever say no to that face?" Pansy groaned.

Tell me about it… Draco thought, keeping his gaze set firmly away from Potter's. "Pansy is determined to find out exactly what our relationship is."

Potter frowned faintly. "Why?" he asked.

"Because it's Pansy," Draco replied.

"Ah," Potter said, pulling a face. "Is she expecting us to hold hands in the corridors or something?"

"Would you?" Pansy asked curiously.

Potter smiled but shook his head. "I'm not altogether fond of public displays of affection."

"A man of fine taste," Draco stated.

"Would you expect anything else?" Potter replied with an impish grin.

"Of course not."

Pansy watched the two young men carefully. Their interaction had certainly improved since they'd begun this—well, whatever this was, and it amazed Pansy to see them both so at ease with one another. She was also happy to note that neither of them dominated the other. When Draco bit, Potter bit back. Their chemistry was immensely interesting to observe and although Draco had attempted to deny it, Pansy was positive there was something there between them. She only wondered how long it would take for either boy to figure it out.

"Perhaps Pansy would be satisfied if we started calling each other a sappy pet name," Potter said with a smirk, winking in the female's direction.

"Alright, I get it," she replied with a glare. "But one day you two are going to get to a point where screwing around just isn't enough."

Potter turned a frightened look to Draco. "That can happen?" he gasped in mock-horror.

"Apparently," Draco replied, smirking at the annoyed Slytherin.

"Merlin you two are frustrating," she growled, jabbing a finger in their direction. "You'll want my help soon enough."

"We're content, thank you."

"Shut up, Draco."

Potter smiled. "Pansy, relax, okay? I'm sure at the first sign of trouble you'll be the first to know. Fortunately for Draco and myself, we aren't too worried about defining what we have. If it develops it develops. If it doesn't, it doesn't, no harm done."

"I knew there was a reason why I enjoyed your company, Potter."

"You mean all those years were just an act? I'm appalled!"