Disclaimer:All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Written for the HD_Seasons Valentine's Day fest on LJ.
Love and adoration to lorcalon, as always, for the beta work.
"Fred," Harry greeted as he entered Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, kicking the door closed behind him to fend off the icy, early January breeze. The ghost paused on his path across the empty shop and floated nearer to Harry with a mischievous grin gracing his translucent features.
"Harry, great to see you again! Dropping by for a visit or looking to stock up for the train ride back to Hogwarts?"
"A little of both, actually," Harry answered, unable to stop the amused smile from pulling up the corners of his mouth when Fred clapped his hands in silent excitement. If he hadn't known any better, he'd have sworn he saw a glint of good-natured glee in the ghost's eyes, but quickly dismissed the notion. "So, have you got anything new?"
"Don't we always?" Fred swooped quickly to his side, and Harry suppressed a chill as one ghostly arm went around his shoulders; he was beginning to think Fred did that to the customers on purpose, knowing how disconcerting it was to be touched by a spirit. "May I present one of our finest creations to date," Fred began, guiding Harry as best he could toward a circular display near the centre of the shop, "'Weasleys' Karmic Kissing Lip Balm'."
Unable to help his curiosity, Harry reached out to pluck one of the tubes of lip balm from the display, turning it in his hands to find the Obligatory Weasleys' Product Description that George had begun printing on every new product. Apparently, it was faster than having to explain each of the new creations to their many customers, and also added a bit more humour to their marketing – as if it was really in need of the boost.
'One great kiss deserves another, and with our new Karmic Kissing lip balm, you can ensure that your next lip-lock is one to remember.' Harry arched one eyebrow as he read the description before returning his attention to Fred, who was looking just a bit too satisfied with his suggestion. "I'm almost afraid to ask what you've dosed this with."
"Ah, Harry, you know – it's not good business to give our secrets away to the customers," Fred chastised, although his grin seemed to widen a fraction. "Although, as our generous benefactor, I might be able to tell you that it's mostly a standard moisturising lip balm for chapped lips."
"And what about the rest of it?" Harry asked, his tone suspicious as he considered the product in his hand.
"It may also be a slightly modified and very diluted lust potion," George said as he stepped out of the back room of the shop, carefully balancing a large box of merchandise in his hands to restock the shelves. "All entirely legal," he added as Harry's eyebrows disappeared beneath his fringe of hair. "We checked."
"Yeah, I think I'll have to pass," Harry said, returning the tube of lip balm to its place on the display with a hint of reluctance. "What else have you got?"
Harry left the shop nearly an hour later, as the lunch rush of customers began to swarm in, with his arms laden with two bulging bags. Tucked discreetly in the bottom of one bag, beneath a fresh Skiving Snackbox and a load of other candies and knick-knacks, was an array of the twins' new Valentine's Day products, including their new fourteen 'Wooing Words' cards collection and an assortment of new treats. As he stepped out into the crowded street, his eyes caught sight of a shock of blond hair and he took off at a brisk walk in the other man's direction. Draco had paused to look into the window of the Quidditch shop a little further down the road, obviously ignoring Pansy Parkinson's annoyed tugging on his arm.
Despite knowing that Draco had no interest in her- or any witch, for that matter, seeing as they lacked the proper equipment for his tastes- Harry couldn't help a twinge of jealousy at seeing her hanging on him the way she was. Quickly suppressing the emotion, though, he fixed his best smile in place as he approached, calling Draco's name when he was near enough to be heard over the other passing witches and wizards on the street. As he'd been doing the entire school year, Draco turned his grey eyes towards Harry with a hint of suspicion at the friendly greeting.
"Po- Harry," he said, still stumbling over the first name basis that the dark-haired wizard had insisted they should be on.
"How've your holidays been?" Harry asked, leaning against the window only a few steps away from Draco, glancing briefly at the bags he was clutching in his pale hands. One of them was marked with the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes logo, and he silently wondered what the blond would have found of interest from there. He'd always been more the type for home-made chocolates from his mother than a mass-produced Trickory Treat, and Harry couldn't say he'd ever heard of Draco playing a prank with a Weasleys' joke product.
"Eventful," Draco answered simply, although Harry was happy to note that there was no hint of his usual icy tone. It was progress, at least, towards his ultimate goal of getting the blond to at least like him. Of course, his hopes went beyond simple friendship, but one step at a time, and all that.
"Good, good." Harry shuffled his feet a little nervously, always at a loss for how to proceed in conversation when Draco left him nothing to work with. "So, are you looking forward to going back next week?"
"Draco, come on," Pansy whined from his other side, pouting her lips at her friend while managing to shoot a glare in Harry's direction. "I want to finish shopping, and I can't choose my new robes on my own!"
Harry nearly laughed when Draco rolled his eyes, but stopped himself when the blond's expression became fairly sincere. "I'll... see you on the train, Harry?" Taken aback by the question, Harry nodded silently, watching as Draco returned the gesture and turned stiffly away towards the witch still clinging to his arm. "Come on, Pansy, let's get this over with."
"Erm... Bye, then," Harry said to Draco's retreating back, wondering exactly what had gotten into the other wizard today.
"Got room for one more?" Harry looked up from the book splayed open in his lap to find Draco standing in the opened door of his otherwise empty compartment. Snapping his head to one side to look over his shoulder, the blond's expression grew anxious and he stepped in without waiting for Harry to answer, slamming the door closed quickly.
"You're hiding too, then?" Harry asked, watching curiously as Draco warded the compartment closed just a second before someone came to rattle the handle furiously.
"Malfoys do not hide, Potter," Draco hissed quietly as he backed away from the door and took a seat on the opposite bench, pressing himself as closely to the wall as he could, as though it might swallow him and protect him from the witch outside.
"Really? Because that's what it looks li-"
Suppressing a laugh at Draco's frantic expression, Harry fell silent and glanced at the door as it rattled loudly for another moment. Pansy's voice on the outside called Draco's name a few times, although he continued to ignore her. After a few more fruitless tugs on the compartment door, she seemed to give up, and the sharp clicking of her heels faded quickly as she moved to a different part of the train.
"So..." Draco drew his eyes away from the door to meet Harry's questioning gaze and sighed, leaning back against his seat and threading the fingers of one hand through his short blond hair.
"Thank you," he said, focusing his grey eyes on the ceiling of the compartment in an attempt to avoid Harry's eyes. "She's incredibly difficult to shake sometimes, and I could really use some company other than hers."
"And my company is preferable?" Harry heard the nervous uncertainty in his voice as he spoke and hoped that Draco would not notice. The other wizard lazily rolled his head to one side against the back of the seat, not quite bothering to lift it in his effort to meet Harry's gaze again.
"I haven't left yet, have I?"
"Draco Malfoy is staring at you," Hermione said under her breath as she focused on the textbook open on the table in front of her. It was a statement Harry was getting rather used to hearing, since she'd muttered it to him at least once a day since they'd returned to Hogwarts from the Christmas holidays.
Moving his head as close to subtly as he could up from his Charms textbook, Harry glanced across the library and briefly met Draco's eyes. Both wizards dropped their gazes immediately and Hermione sighed in annoyance beside Harry. "When are you going to put the lot of us out of our misery and just ask him already?"
"What?" Harry looked at his friend with a somewhat startled expression before looking nervously around their study table to see if there were any other students hovering around to listen.
"Oh really, Harry, did you think we hadn't figured it out by now? You've got larger doe eyes for him than... Well, there isn't anyone who comes close enough to compare, actually. But you get my point." Satisfied that she had said her piece, Hermione plucked the quill out of her hair and scratched a few notes on the parchment she kept beside her book, ignoring Harry's still shocked expression.
Shaking himself out of his surprise, the dark-haired wizard glanced at Draco from the corner of his eye and found himself being watched once again. Ducking his head, he tried to focus on reviewing the pages from his Charms lesson earlier that afternoon, although he found himself unable to focus. In the back of his mind, a voice reminded him of the 'Wooing Words' Valentines that were still tucked safely away at the bottom of his trunk, along with the tube of Karmic Kissing balm George had apparently tossed for free into his shopping bag.
When he opened the package of cards, Harry was surprised to find that they were much less 'wooing' and far more suggestive than he had expected. Not that he was entirely complaining – he certainly wouldn't mind if Draco agreed to go skinny-dipping with him in the Black Lake. Still, it would be incredibly hard to sign his name to any of the cards without risking complete humiliation if it was ill-received. After worrying his lower lip for several minutes and going back and forth between several of the cards, he decided that the best option might not be to sign them at all. A few anonymous Valentines to kick things off, and then, perhaps if Draco hadn't discovered it was him behind them and hexed his bollocks off, he might chance signing one or two and go from there.
Content in his new brilliant plan, Harry set out to sort through the various cards, picking out a few he liked the best and sorting them from least to most suggestive. If he was going to do any form of 'wooing' with the bloody things, he may at least make it gradual, rather than start off with a blatant request for a shag.
On February 8th, Harry sent the first of the more blatant cards with one of the school owls and watched as it arrived at breakfast less than an hour later. Draco was mid-bite when the tawny bird perched on the table in front of him, snatching a piece of bacon from his plate once he'd untied the letter rather warily. Each of the seven he'd received so far had been read and stuffed immediately into a pocket of his robes; whether he destroyed them later or not, Harry had no idea. It was a lucky thing Draco tended to mouth the words to himself as he read, and Harry privately imagined hearing the brief lines of the Valentine as he watched. 'Spring flowers are pink & snowdrifts are white;
For Valentine's, let's make your bed rock all night!'
As he'd done all of the other days, Draco read the card before tucking it away into his robes, ignoring Pansy as she leaned over, presumably to ask what it had said, in favour of the remaining strips of bacon on his plate. Reluctantly, Harry took that as his cue to return his own attention to his breakfast, catching Hermione's knowing smile out of the corner of his eye as he dug into his eggs.
On February 12th, Harry had gotten frustrated enough with Draco's lack of reaction to the cards to chance signing his name for the first time. If it happened to blow up in his face, he would deal with playing damage control, but he'd be damned if he was going to let Draco continue to seemingly brush off each of the rather flirty and suggestive cards. Even if he hadn't had the courage to make it clear who they were from until now.
That morning, Harry watched a little more eagerly than he had on the others. If his name at the bottom of the card didn't make it clear to Draco who had been sending the cards for the past twelve days, he was certain that the almost stalker-like way that he was now watching the Slytherin table would. The black owl he had chosen for the latest card swooped down and landed directly on the other wizard's empty plate, holding out her leg in annoyance.
He watched as Draco's mouth formed the words scrawled on the yellow-toned parchment, reciting them again in his own mind as well. 'Forget buying flowers –
I'd rather spend hours
making some noise in the Quidditch Pitch showers!'
From across the room, he could see Draco's gaze flick to the name scrawled messily at the bottom of the card and he felt as though his heart stopped when the grey eyes glanced up at him. There was no smile, nor was there any sign of disgust in the blond's expression, only a kind of acknowledgement before he looked away. Indifferent as always, Draco tucked the Valentine into the pocket of his robes and snatched an apple from the bowl an arm's length away.
As he pulled himself out of bed on the 13th, Harry considered not bothering with another Valentine after Draco's continued lack of a reaction. He'd been trying since the beginning of the 8th year term to catch the blond's attention and convince him that his interest was sincere. But even this latest idea, while probably not his best, seemed to be meeting with failure. With a sigh, he resigned himself to the fact that since he'd already started this, he might as well see it through, even if it got him nowhere in the end.
Reaching into his trunk, Harry rummaged around for the last two Valentines when his fingers brushed against an object that didn't feel familiar. Pulling it out, he looked down at the untouched Karmic Kissing tube, considering, for a moment longer than he probably should have, the consequences of using some and then cornering Draco in a hall before class. The only thing that stopped him, in truth, was the knowledge that he would likely get himself hexed quite thoroughly for such a thing, and probably kicked in the groin for good measure.
No, probably safest to stick to harmless cards.
On his way to the Owlery, however, a figure stepped out of the shadows just ahead of him in the deserted stairwell. "Harry," Draco greeted, in a tone that was either as friendly as it seemed, or one of the most convincing traps that Harry had ever heard. "Since I'mlucky enough to have caught you alone, I have something for you."
Half afraid that whatever it was would explode in his face, Harry stepped down a stair, much to Draco's amusement. Reaching into one pocket, he withdrew a card in a dull green colour, holding it out toward the dark-haired wizard. Uncertainly, Harry accepted it and looked over the few lines of text, recognizing them immediately as one of the 'Wooing Words' cards; specifically the same one he had left in the bottom of his trunk, with the intention of sending the next day. 'You could whisper sweet nothings 'til my eyes are all misty,
Or quit all this foreplay and shut up & kiss me!'
He'd had to read it twice to be sure that his eyes weren't playing trick on him before finally looking up into Draco's face. The other wizard wore an expectant expression, and without allowing himself to second guess it, Harry stepped up onto the same stair as him. When Draco didn't retreat, he leaned in to brush his lips against the blond's in a gentle caress.
There was a strange tingling sensation, and he found himself pushing Draco gently against the wall of the stairwell as he pressed their mouths together more firmly. He felt arms slowly drape themselves around his neck and took it as a sign of encouragement, canting his head slightly to one side and humming in approval when Draco's lips parted beneath his. Not wanting to stop, Harry reached one of his hands up to cradle the back of Draco's head as his tongue traced the other wizard's lower lip before slipping into his mouth. After a few more breathless moments, they pulled apart, and Harry looked into Draco's slightly glazed grey eyes for a moment.
"Were you... Are you wearing Karmic Kissing lip balm?" The corner of Draco's mouth twitched in amusement as he looked back at Harry, reaching up to smooth his hair as though it had gotten dishevelled during their brief snog.
"Malfoys do not need such tricks to make a kiss memorable, Potter," he answered, although there was a playfulness to his tone that thrilled Harry to hear. "Although it is possible that I accidentally used some this morning."
"Purely by accident, of course," Harry said, stepping closer to the other wizard and leaning in towards him a second time.
Draco tried to echo the words, 'of course', but was silenced when Harry's mouth closed over his again.