"I must not tell lies."
Harry Potter stared at the spindly lines and curling loops, all still oozing blood, that spelled out those five ugly little words on the back of his stinging hand. He was hurrying away from Dolores Umbridge's office, backpack slung over his shoulder, robes askew and tie undone, thinking only of being back in the Gryffindor dormitory; of wrapping something soft and warm around his aching hand and sliding under his covers, pulling them up over his head and shutting his eyes and willing this whole stupid year to have been a dream. He couldn't remember ever wishing before that he would wake up at the Dursleys' and find that it was still the summer holidays…Surely this said something about his mental state right now…possibly the evil old hag was driving him actually mad…maybe The Daily Prophet would get their wish after –
Whatever Harry had just slammed blindly into was warm and solid and made an oomph noise as it staggered back from him, into a suit of armor Harry could have sworn also gave an indignant cry. A hand shot out, closing around his wrist; that hand was all that kept Harry from toppling headfirst down a stone staircase, by yanking him sideways and shoving him roughly up against a wall.
"Sorry!" Harry said, automatically, to whoever he had just ploughed into. "Should've been wa – "
The words seemed to die on his lips, burning to a sudden crisp like a piece of parchment tossed into a roaring fire. Harry fought to swallow around the dryness in his mouth as he (slowly, almost painfully) blinked, hoping against hope that when he looked again, he might be looking at someone other than the person he knew he was still going to be looking at.
The pair of icy gray eyes staring back at him from a familiar pale, pointed face did not blink. They only narrowed, slightly, as Draco Malfoy's lips curved into one of those infuriatingly silky smirks. "Well?" he drawled, in that equally infuriating – and equally silky – aristocratic voice. "Go on, Potter. You were saying?"
"Shove off, Malfoy," Harry snapped, wedging an elbow against Malfoy's chest (God, he hated that Malfoy was so much taller than he was!) and, out of pure spite, giving him a good, hard shove out of his path as he turned to stalk on down the staircase. He saw Malfoy's lips part and ducked his head, gritting his teeth against the jinxes crowding his tongue; he couldn't afford to keep losing his temper, but he just might if the other boy started gloating over him being in detention right now…
"What's wrong with your hand?"
Harry froze. Actually, it was more like the slack went out of his arm: Malfoy's fingers were still wrapped around his wrist, tethering Harry to him. He was frowning quizically down at the letters carved into the back of Harry's hand, slowly crusting over with blood as the cuts healed enough to stop oozing.
Their eyes met. Malfoy's were silver. Harry's were emerald. There was probably a meaning in that somewhere, something to do with the Sorting Hat wanting to put Harry in Slytherin, and Malfoy offering to be Harry's friend the first time they had met, before either of them had ever set foot inside Hogwarts; but before Harry could read into it, they had both whipped around at the sound of footsteps approaching from the direction of Umbridge's office.
This was followed a second later by a girlish little hem, hem.
Harry's stomach turned over. It was late; Umbridge had kept him for hours this evening, making sure her message had time to sink in, and the last thing he wanted was to be caught wandering the corridors after hours. Who knew what sick punishment their new High Inquisitor would dream up for that? Of course Malfoy wouldn't have anything to worry about, Harry thought darkly, his brain racing ahead, unlike his feet, which seemed to be rooted to the floor; Malfoy was a Prefect, wasn't he, and a perfect little pureblood angel as far as Umbridge was concerned. So different from that nasty Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lied…
"What?" Harry hissed. For he had just become aware that he was staring at Malfoy through slitted eyes, and that Malfoy was looking at him with arched eyebrows, his expression falling somewhere between bemused and irritated.
"I said," Malfoy hissed back, "come on."
And, hauling on Harry's wrist, he began dragging him down the corridor.
Harry was so startled he actually allowed this. He had no idea where they were going, or why Malfoy would be running away from Umbridge, whose footsteps had been drawing nearer all this time; nor did he have any idea where they were going, and, after they had darted up and down a half-dozen different staircases, past several empty classrooms (Malfoy jiggled doorknobs, but they were all locked, and the portraits on the walls huffed warningly whenever he pulled out his wand to unlock them) and slumbering statues and the gauzy figure of Nearly Headless Nick, who appeared to be staring dreamily into the moonlit night, he realized Malfoy didn't know where he was going, either. Away, seemed to be the general idea. But Harry had wandered the castle enough at night to know it was only a matter of time before they ran across Mrs. Norris or Snape or someone else they wouldn't care to meet at this hour.
No more had he thought that when he heard the squeak-squelch of Filch's creaky old boots coming their way. Harry looked around desperately. "This way," he whispered, pulling on Malfoy's sleeve.
"He's just a Squib, Potter," Malfoy whispered back, his backpack banging against his hip as Harry drug him toward an old, moth-eaten tapestry hanging across a bare expanse of wall halfway down the silent – and, for a few more seconds anyway, empty – corridor. "Surely even you could hex a Squib if you had to – "
"We're not hexing Filch," Harry snapped, as he shoved Malfoy through the pockmarked wooden door that had just appeared in what had, seconds before, been a solid stone wall.
Malfoy tumbled inside. Harry shouldered in behind him, reached around, and pulled the door shut with a barely audible click; then he dropped his backpack on the floor and pressed his ear against the wall, listening with all his might.
There was no light in the room. He was dimly aware of Malfoy's shadow falling over him, and somewhat more keenly aware of the taller boy breathing down his neck, as Malfoy stepped up beside him, shaking silvery-blonde hair out of his face as he rested his cheek against the wall, quite close to Harry's. His eyebrows were drawn together as he, too, strained to make out the voices on the other side.
"…saw them come this way, ma'am, I swear I did," Filch was saying.
"Well, I don't see anyone here now, Mr. Filch," said Umbridge, a hint of impatience underwriting her breathy little-girl voice. A fresh zing of pain shot through the back of Harry's mangled hand; he bit his lip, not meeting Malfoy's eyes. In the dark, they were less silver, more slate, fringed by eyelashes as fair as his hair. It was rather like looking at two slivers of ice underneath a delicate lacing of snowflakes.
Harry almost snorted with mirth. Malfoy's eyelashes, a delicate lacing of snowflakes? Since when did he come up with clever metaphors to describe Draco Malfoy's eyelashes? Maybe his brain had been addled in that graveyard…
As soon as Harry thought those words – that graveyard – he felt the air go out of his lungs, simultaneous with a fierce burning along the lightning-shaped scar on his forehead that seemed, unless he was imagining things, to coincide with Dolores Umbridge's irritable sniff as her footsteps receded down the corridor.
"God's sake, Potter, you're pale as death," Malfoy muttered.
Harry looked up at him. Malfoy's eyebrows were still drawn together, his lips pinched into a frown; if Harry hadn't known better, he would almost have said the other boy looked…concerned. For some reason, Harry felt his cheeks get hot, and was suddenly glad it was almost pitch-black in the room. "I'm fine," he said, through his teeth.
"Yes, you look it. Now stop being an idiot and sit down." Malfoy's tone was brisk. Gripping Harry by the elbow, he steered him over to – a bed, Harry realized, as he sank down onto something soft. His cheeks flamed hotter. This was the Room of Requirement, he knew that, of course. But just why had Hogwarts decided he required a bed for his unscripted game of hide-and-seek with Draco Malfoy?
Light blazed up; Harry squinted his eyes, and when they adjusted a second later, he found himself looking at a small, dingy room plainly furnished with an old four-poster bed, a battered bureau, and a writing desk equipped with a bottle of ink, a stack of parchment, and a quill. A small but cozy fire was sputtering in a soot-blackened grate, throwing Malfoy's long shadow up the peeling white-washed wall next to Harry's.
Recognition prickled across Harry's scalp. The room reminded him of the one he had taken at the Leaky Cauldron the summer before his third year at Hogwarts, after he had run away from the Dursleys' following that unfortunate incident with Aunt Marge. He smiled a little, feeling some of the bleakness go out of his mood for the first time in what seemed like forever. Those had been a wonderful few days, probably the freest Harry had ever been: sitting in the sunshine, talking to every witch and wizard who wandered past, gorging himself on ice cream sundaes at Fortescue's; trying to figure out how to open that ridiculous chomping book Hagrid had assigned them; sleeping until noon, staying up half the night if he wanted – and most importantly, being free of somebody scowling at him every time he walked into a room, like he was such an unnatural creature his head was liable to spin all the way around on his neck at any moment. He hadn't even realized he had been thinking about that brief, happy time when he had asked the Room of Requirement to give them a place to hide. He had expected them to fall into a broom cupboard, like the one Fred and George had said the castle had conjured for them to hide from Filch in once; yet, as it always seemed to, Hogwarts had known exactly what Harry needed, and it hadn't just been a hideout.
It had been an escape.
From the way Malfoy was saying his name, Harry had the feeling it wasn't the first time he had said it. He transferred his gaze from the fire to Malfoy's face. It was on eye-level with his, as Malfoy was kneeling in front of him, holding Harry's wrist lightly in his hand. "What's the matter with you?" Malfoy demanded.
His briskness was gone. He sounded like Malfoy again, hateful and snide. Harry couldn't have said exactly why he was relieved by that. "I'm – tired," he said, lamely. Then, to his horror, he blushed.
Harry wished the floor would open and swallow him whole, but for once, the Room of Requirement did not oblige. What was the matter with him? Why was he so embarrassed to draw attention to the fact that he was sitting on a bed? It was just that everything about this situation was off-kilter, Harry decided, curling the fingers of the hand Malfoy wasn't holding (yes, definitely something off-kilter about that) into the thin, moldy-smelling sheets. He still didn't understand why Malfoy had run away from Umbridge.
Or was it that he had been helping Harry run away?
He was about to ask what Malfoy thought he was up to when the other boy glanced around, his eyebrows drawing together again, and said, "Where in the name of Merlin are we, anyway?"
"It's…called the Come and Go Room, I think," Harry said quickly. Mentally, he kicked himself. Brilliant. He had just led Malfoy straight to the room where the D.A. practiced. Although, he doubted Malfoy would be able to find it while they were using it, as he didn't know anything about the D.A. and you had to be very, very specific about what you wanted the Room of Requirement to become for you. "I heard about it from Dumbledore."
"The Come and Go Room," Malfoy said, thoughtfully. "I've read about that in Hogwarts: A History, but I didn't think it was – what?" he snapped, as Harry made a choking noise.
"You've read Hogwarts: A History?"
Malfoy's eyes narrowed again. This time, Harry thought there might have been a tinge of color on his pale cheeks. "Unlike you, I happen to have an intellectual side. What's so funny about that?"
"Nothing," said Harry, still smirking. Only that Hermione Granger references it about every other conversation…Malfoy muttered something that might have been "whatever" and bent his blonde head over Harry's hand.
"Roll up your sleeve," he ordered.
Harry stiffened. "I – "
"Potter," Malfoy did not look up at him, but his voice had become quiet in a way that drained the moisture out of Harry's mouth again, "just roll up your damn sleeve, would you?"
Wanted a look at Umbridge's handiwork, did he? Almost angrily, Harry pushed the sleeve of his robe up to his elbow. He waited for Malfoy to snigger, at which point Harry fully intended to pull the wand from his pocket and curse Malfoy with the worst jinx he could think of, maybe something to make that silky hair grow into a rope and strangle him.
But Malfoy did not laugh. Instead, he sucked in a breath on a sharp hiss, his eyes leaping from the words cut into Harry's skin to the loathing written into Harry's eyes; and Harry, his anger doused in a split-second, sucked in a breath, too.
Just for a moment, he had seen something fierce blaze up in Malfoy's expression. He was at a loss to define what, exactly, but he was pretty sure that was not how enemies were supposed to look at one another when one of them had been hurt and humiliated.
Letting go of his hand, Malfoy stood up, mumbling under his breath – Harry distinctly caught the word "murtlap"; at once, the air above the writing desk shimmered, and a small glass bowl, a few phials of herbs, and a mortar and pestle appeared next to the stack of parchment. Malfoy blinked. He looked so surprised Harry bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing.
"It's the room," he said. "It knows what you need, and it grants it. Like a wish."
"Fascinating," Malfoy said, being sure Harry could judge by his tone how far from fascinated he was. He walked over to the desk, busied himself uncorking phials while Harry, feeling awkward again, toed off his shoes and folded his legs up under him on the bed. He hadn't been lying when he had said he was tired, and the urge to curl up on the soft pillow behind him was nearly more than he could stand.
He resisted. Napping with Malfoy in the room would have been about as wise as snuggling with one of the dragons his nemesis was named after.
Now that he wasn't barrelling headlong into him or being drug down a dark corridor behind him, Harry noticed for the first time that Malfoy wasn't wearing his school robes; he was dressed like a Muggle in loose, faded jeans, subtly expensive, and a plain gray T-shirt. The tips of his fingers were stained blue and black with what looked like paint. Or was it some kind of juice? Harry frowned at the back of his sleek head. "What were you doing out and about so late, anyway, Malfoy?"
"Not really any of your business, is it, Potter?" Malfoy rejoined. But his voice was lacking his usual venom, Harry thought, and he went on, smoothly – possibly too smoothly: "I work with Madam Pomfrey in the evenings sometimes. I'm hoping for an internship at St. Mungo's next summer." He half-turned, waggling his stained fingers, a little grin toying around the corners of his mouth. "This is what happens when you open a bottle of ditany too fast. Managed to splash it all over my robes, too."
Harry was still gaping at him; Malfoy's words seemed to be taking an inordinately long time for his brain to process, and he thought, vaguely, that this might be related to the renewed stinging in his hand and his forehead. His body was conducting a little symphony of pain, one note striking in his scar, the next in his barely-healed cuts. "You…want to be…a healer?"
"Considering it. It is O.W.L. year, you know. We'll have to be having the Career Talk soon enough." Brisk again, Malfoy walked back over to the bed, nodding with his chin to indicate that Harry should scoot over. Harry did, pulling his robes around to make room for Malfoy to sit down beside him. Was it worth mentioning that the stairway to the Gryffindor dormitory was nowhere on the route from the hospital wing to the Slytherin common room?
No, he decided. Not worth mentioning. Because that suggested Malfoy had been waiting on him to come along.
He looked on, almost like he was observing a stranger instead of himself, as Malfoy picked his wrist up, rolled his sleeve back several times, and started to place his hand in the sweet-scented water. At the last instant, Harry recoiled. "What is that stuff?" he demanded.
"Basilisk venom. Guaranteed to melt the flesh off your bones in less time than it takes for you to work up a good scream." Malfoy rolled his eyes. "It's murtlap essence, Potter. Want me to stick my fingers in first to show you it's safe?"
"Give me that." Glaring, Harry jerked the bowl away from Malfoy. He dunked his hand in it, more to prove the point that he wasn't frightened than anything.
To his amazement, the stinging went out of his hand immediately. He practically moaned with relief. Malfoy smirked, looking satisfied, and fell back on the pillows, crooking his arms behind his head.
Harry looked away from him. He hadn't the first clue what to do with himself now that every inch of Draco Malfoy's lean self was stretched out next to him. Should he keep sitting up, or should he lie down, too? Should he get up off the bed entirely? You should go back to your bloody dormitory, he thought, that's what you should do.
One thing about Harry Potter, though. He very rarely did what he should.
At least Malfoy wasn't looking at him, either. He was looking up at the ceiling as though contemplating the secrets in the cobwebs veined across it. Harry compromised on the sit-up-or-lie-down conundrum by inching backward until his shoulders were braced against the headboard, his legs stretched out in front of him, the bowl of murtlap essence resting on his lap. He tried not to notice that Malfoy's hair looked like pale satin spilled across the pillow, or that his cheekbones curved up perfectly for his long eyelashes to rest on.
"You should tell someone about that," Malfoy said, matter-of-factly.
Harry glanced down at his hand. Seen through the murky water, the cuts looked even uglier. "Like who?" he said, unable to keep a trace of bitterness out of his voice. "My parents?"
Malfoy flushed. Harry took a petty satisfaction from that. Did Malfoy know his father was a Death Eater? Did he know just a few short months ago Lucius Malfoy had stood idly by while Harry had been pinioned against the grave of Voldemort's father, sliced open and tortured and very nearly killed by the same monster who had murdered his parents?
"What about Dumbledore?" Malfoy said. "I'm sure he'd want to know one of his pets is being mistreated. Doesn't he always arrange things to go however ickle Potter wants them to go?"
Sure he does. Unless he hasn't spoken to me – nix that, hasn't looked at me – in months… "I can take care of myself, thanks," Harry said, shortly.
"Sure you can." Malfoy closed his eyes. Harry glared sidelong at his profile. He had a strong desire to tip the bowl of murtlap essence right over Malfoy's head. What the hell was he doing here, in bed with Draco Malfoy? Honestly, the whole thing was beyond bizarre…He didn't need Malfoy's pity, or whatever this was…He really should just get up and walk out, let Prefect Malfoy find his own way back to the Slytherin dungeons…
"She knows it's not true. You do realize that."
Harry froze in the process of sliding off the bed. He looked back at Malfoy, who had rolled onto his side, the flickering firelight picking out the hollows under his cheekbones. Harry clamped down on a shiver. "What are you talking about?"
"What she's making you scratch into the back of your hand," Malfoy answered, evenly. "She knows you're not lying. The whole Ministry knows you're not lying. Whatever rubbish they put in the Prophet, they know if Dumbledore says Voldemort's back, he's back."
This was such an absolutely shocking thing for Malfoy to say – not in the least because he had used Voldemort's name – that Harry's mouth dropped open. Everyone else winced or whimpered when that name was uttered. Malfoy, whom Harry had seen cowled by hippogriffs and thestrals and even his own shadow in the Forbidden Forest, didn't blink. "So?" Harry challenged, doing a rather poor job of covering over how flustered he was.
"So, it just seems to me that if it's a choice between shutting up and getting tortured, you might as well shut up about it," Malfoy said.
He was playing with the fringe on the pillowcase, looking at Harry from under his eyelashes. It occurred to Harry, suddenly, that possibly Malfoy didn't know what he was doing here, either.
He sat back down.
For a long while neither of them spoke. The only sounds in the room were the soft crackling of the fire, punctuated occasionally by a snapping log, and the sloshing of the murtlap essence whenever Harry shifted position. He didn't look at Malfoy, and Malfoy didn't look at him. A couple of times Harry was almost certain the other boy had fallen asleep; but then Malfoy would scratch his nose or curl his toes up (he had kicked his shoes off, too) or lick his lips, and Harry, watching him out of the corner of his eye, would know he was still awake.
The longer they sat there, the faster and louder Harry's heart started to beat.
Finally, Malfoy pushed up onto his elbow, motioning for Harry to hold out his hand. Harry reluctantly took it out of the herb-water; the cuts had stopped bleeding, but the stinging started up again at once. He folded his lip in his teeth as Malfoy turned his wrist over, skating his thumb just below the cuts. "That's going to leave a scar," he said, softly.
"Wow. Never had one of those before," Harry said.
Malfoy snorted dryly as he got up, sauntering back over to the desk. Harry couldn't see what he was doing, though he could hear him rustling around. The fire had burned down so low it was almost completely out. He realized it was cold in the room and drew the rumpled covers up over his lap, lying his stinging hand on top of them.
"I'd like to know what time it is," he said – and just like that, a clock appeared on top of the bureau.
He and Malfoy both looked at it, then at one another. Malfoy's eyebrows had shot up again. "I wonder," he said, "what would happen if you wished for a pile of gold while you were in here?"
"Guess it'd depend on whether or not you really needed it," Harry shrugged.
"Who doesn't need a pile of gold?"
Harry laughed. He didn't exactly mean to; he wasn't in the habit of laughing at Malfoy's witty comments, and anyway, that one wasn't even all that witty. He was glad Malfoy didn't call him on it as he came back over to the bed, holding a soft white bandage soaked in more of the murtlap essence, which he wound skillfully around Harry's aching hand. Unsure where to look with Malfoy so close to him, Harry focused on counting the streaks of caramel in his white-gold hair.
"Do you remember the first time we met?" Malfoy asked, out of nowhere.
Yet again, Harry blushed. Did Malfoy know he had been thinking about that earlier? "Yes," he said, stiffly, then wondered if he should have denied it. He didn't want Malfoy thinking that day was etched into his memory or something.
"I thought you were so lucky," Malfoy said.
When Harry laughed this time, it was distinctly razor-edged. Malfoy laid his hand down, gently, and looked up at him. It wasn't his usual sly, smirking look, and Harry's heart began to pick back up its fast, irregular rhythm. "I thought you were lucky to be famous," Malfoy went on, seeming, Harry thought, almost surprised to be saying this – or maybe he was just surprised to be sitting here, on this bed, in this room, with his least-favorite person in Hogwarts Castle? "I was insanely jealous of you, you know. It took me until last year to realize I'm the lucky one."
"Yeah?" Harry said. "How do you figure that?"
He wanted to sound snide. Only succeeded in sounding breathless.
"Because my life is easy," Malfoy said. Sliding closer as he did so, and Harry found he couldn't move, even to back away; he might have been hit by a Body-Bind Jinx, the only part of him that was able to move at all his heart, which was now quivering oddly in his chest, like it was trying to beat in reverse. "My parents are wealthy, influential. I've never had to worry about making friends or impressing teachers. I don't have to be particularly good at anything – not Quidditch, not classes. No one really expects much out of me. I could be as thick as Crabbe or as useless as that git Weasley and I'd still come out all right in the end. My life's completely charmed, as it were. Nobody messes with the Malfoys."
Harry was sure Malfoy had a point to all of this. He was sure under another circumstance he would have been saying something hateful in return, but he couldn't seem to get his mouth working as Malfoy rushed on, "I think I was really jealous because deep down, I know – I always knew – that I'm not like you. The famous Harry Potter. The Boy Who Lived." His fingers came up; they hovered just above the scar on Harry's forehead, which prickled. Not unpleasantly. It was how Harry imagined it would feel for someone to have a feather poised over some ticklish part of his body. "I've never needed to be smart or brave or talented or special or even all that interesting. And you know what the damnable part of it all is?"
Somehow Harry managed to give a very small, very jerky shake of his head. Malfoy's face was right next to his, close enough for Harry to see that he had been wrong: Malfoy's eyelashes weren't like snowflakes – they weren't like snowflakes at all; they were too silky-fine for that, and the eyes behind them were burning with too strong a silver fire to be made of ice…
"I wish life could be like that for you, too," Malfoy whispered.
He leaned forward then, but it was Harry who kissed him.
Harry was quite sure of that, because the only thing that surprised him more than kissing Draco Malfoy was that Draco Malfoy kissed him back. Rather expertly, at that: The tip of his tongue slipped past Harry's lips, urging them apart; his hand dropped from Harry's forehead to his waist, snaking around so his arm was wrapped around Harry, drawing him closer; and Harry simply melted into him, his brain buzzing like he'd just taken a gulp of fire-whiskey. His fingers, of their own accord, wound around the silken threads of Malfoy's golden hair, his mouth pressing softly into his.
Softness wasn't really what Harry was after, but Malfoy had control of the kiss, and he seemed determined to be gentle about it: He used his weight to guide Harry back onto the pillows, his lips barely touching Harry's before they pulled back again, sweetly torturing him with dozens and dozens of tiny, feathery kisses interspersed with hot slides of tongue designed to make Harry wonder if you could die from wanting. He worked his legs desperately under Malfoy's, dizzily swimming in the silky heat of impossibly tender kisses.
On some level it registered that Malfoy was murmurring against his lips in French, which, though he didn't understand a word of it, might have been the sexiest thing Harry had ever heard in his life.
Somehow his bandaged hand had gotten pinned up by his head on the pillow. Harry left it there as Malfoy tugged at his robe, sliding it off over Harry's head, leaving his dark hair crackling with electricity; with his other hand, as Malfoy balanced above him, straddling his hips, Harry grasped the hem of Malfoy's T-shirt and drew it off, so swiftly he heard fabric rip.
Every bit of Malfoy was as slim and muscular as Harry would have envisioned from seeing him in his Quidditch robes, flattened on his broomstick as he soared around the pitch searching for that elusive Snitch. He had just enough time to note the dusting of freckles like specks of orange paint across Malfoy's ridged stomach; then Malfoy's mouth was on his again, kissing with a restrained sort of urgency, like he was holding himself back from kissing Harry the way he really wanted to…like he wasn't sure this was really what Harry wanted…
And, bloody hell, since when was this what Harry wanted? That thought intruded foggily as Malfoy's fingers (they were long fingers, and slender, and amazingly deft, Harry was finding) popped open the buttons on Harry's shirt, easing it off his shoulders and down to his wrists, where he left Harry's hands trapped in it as he started brushing his lips lower, lower, onto Harry's bare chest, paying special attention to the spots that made Harry shudder under him. Okay, so, on occasion he might have had the errant thought that Malfoy was good-looking, if you could get past the sneers and the smirks and, well, basically the whole of his infuriatingly superior personality. And, okay, so maybe a few times he might have woken up from a dream about gray eyes and golden hair to find Ron turning quickly over in his bed, pretending not to notice – because they were teenage boys, and stuff like this happened to all of them – that Harry had been moaning and thrashing in his sleep, even though it clearly wasn't his scar that was throbbing. But still. This was Malfoy. He was snogging Malfoy. Or, to be accurate about it, he was being snogged by Malfoy, who was making quite a thorough job of it, if Harry did say so himself…
"Is this all right?"
Malfoy's voice was ragged, and right in Harry's ear. The long fingers of one hand were splayed on Harry's chest; his other hand was coasting down the flat plane of Harry's stomach to the waistband of his trousers, the tips of his fingers barely curling under. The button popped open and Harry instinctively bit down on his lip, but a soft cry escaped anyway. He liked how that made Malfoy breathe out sharply, his breath tickling Harry's neck. Harry swallowed. "It's just…it's just that I've – I've never…"
"Never? Not even…with a girl?" Teeth grazed his earlobe. Harry managed a quick shake of his head, felt Malfoy smile against his neck. "Saint Potter. You really don't abuse your fame, do you?"
Before Harry could rertort, lips smothered his – hungrily, which did nothing to ease the ache in the pit of Harry's stomach. He was almost disappointed when Malfoy's hand moved back up his chest, sliding around to cup his head as he rolled Harry over on top of him…Harry moaned…oh God, that felt amazing, being stretched out along the slender length of Malfoy…Finally disentangling his wrists from his shirt, he tossed it impatiently onto the floor.
He thought he saw a flash of amusement in Malfoy's eyes at that, which made his own eyes narrow. Found it funny that Harry was so eager, did he? Well, Harry thought, they had neither of them ever been anything if not competitive...If this was a game, two could play…
The stinging in his hand completely forgotten (in fact, the whole rest of his life and everyone in it, and the fact that another time or place had ever existed, or would ever exist, outside of this moment and this room, seemed to have been forgotten), Harry ran his palms down Malfoy's chest, pressing down with the heels of his hands to feel the hard muscles beneath the soft skin. His mouth slid off of Malfoy's, sucking softly just below his jaw; he knew he was leaving a bruise, and heat unfurled in his belly as Malfoy arched under him, making a noise something like a whimper as Harry hooked his thumbs through the belt loops on his paper-soft jeans, tracing the indentations above the other boy's hipbones with the tips of his fingers. He didn't really know what he was doing, but Malfoy seemed to be driven crazy by the way he was kissing across his collarbone, nipping here and there with his teeth.
"Potter," Malfoy gasped, as Harry's tongue flicked across a tiny, silver scar below Malfoy's ear – something he had always, secretly, wanted to do, when he had watched Malfoy bend his head over a book in the library, his silky hair falling across his forehead in that devil-may-care fashion that came so naturally to him; if only he had known, Harry thought, as Malfoy shoved him back on the pillows, breathing roughly into a kiss that was almost bruising in his intensity, that Malfoy would have reacted like this, maybe he would have had the courage to act out that fantasy.
Though it was cold in the room, Harry's skin was slick with sweat as it slid against Malfoy's. There wasn't an inch of space between them now; Malfoy's hands were running all over him; every kiss was growing fiercer; and it was becoming evident to Harry, as he wrapped his legs around Malfoy's, that if they didn't stop soon, they weren't going to stop. He hadn't made up his mind how he felt about that before Malfoy made the decision for him: Pressing his mouth to Harry's in one last, lingering kiss, a kiss that tasted alluringly of salt and cinnamon, he sat up, released Harry's wrists, and collapsed on the pillow next to him, one arm flung across his eyes, the other curled up on his stomach. He was breathing like he had just run a mile.
Harry, acting purely on instinct, reached over and linked his fingers through the other boy's, feeling the pulse skipping in Malfoy's wrist to match his.
The conjured clock on their conjured bureau told Harry it was close to two in the morning. Much too late, he thought drowsily, to even think of leaving the safety of their private little room for the cold, dark corridors beyond…
As though he were thinking the exact same thing, Malfoy reached down and drew the covers up to their chests. "'Night," he said, shakily, and Harry, who wasn't sure he had recovered the power of speech yet, what with the imprint of Malfoy's lips burned into his, merely nodded.
That was how they spent the night, stretched out side-by-side under the covers, Harry's ankle hooked over Malfoy's; and Harry supposed there were a million things he should have said to put things back to how they had been before, and would need to be again – I didn't want this to happen; I don't care about you; you'll always be the enemy to me – but he said none of them; for with their fingers laced so tightly together, he could feel the cuts on the back of his hand crack open and start to bleed again, spelling out the truth of it in his own blood: I Must Not Tell Lies.