Disclaimer: Harry Potter and associated characters belong to J.K. Rowling. I clearly worship her work, and no copy-right infringement is intended. Circles and Lines is property of Nick Thomas and again, no copy-right infringement is intended.
Everything was going just as planned.
I, for once, felt confident in making my stand...
suddenly my spine went slack again,
and there it was -
the vision of us from way back when.
round and round
/ Circles and Lines by Nick Thomas
When the kiss ended, his forehead settled against his. He didn't open his eyes, not then, too content to shatter the illusion of what ever this was. Because he knew it was little more than an illusion – he knew it. Draco didn't – couldn't – feel the same toward him – he couldn't because he was pathetic and worthless and – and then Draco's hand was against the side of his face, his fingertips drawing a line over the contour of his cheek, touch dipping down to graze across the undercut of his jaw. Harry swallowed thickly, eyes still closed, and tried imagining how it would feel if it were true – if Draco wanted him like that, needed him, cared for – about – him – if his touch was more than a simple tease.
He tried imagining the light in his eyes and the quirk of his lips and the color of his cheeks and how warmth would flood his chest at the mere sight.
Draco's touch dragged around and to the contour of his throat, further back to settle on the nape of his neck. His fingertips touched Harry's hair, dragging briefly through the thick mop, and then his touch retreated, hands disappearing until their only contact was their foreheads pressed against one another's.
Finally, loathe he was to do so, Harry opened his eyes, green irises focusing on cool silver.
No, not silver.
His eyes were more of a pale blue with gray accents and specks of darker blue around his pupil – how had he never noticed that before?
He swallowed thickly and then Draco was shifting, his hands coming up to brush along either of Harry's forearms, touch gentle and fleeting, his face tilting against his. Their noses bumped and there was a faint brush of lips against his – Harry wanted to chase his mouth with his own but then Draco was moving further away, his eyes no longer on his. He was looking down at the floor to the shattered glass and Harry could feel it happening – could feel the disconnect, the confirmation that this was just a – just a... mistake or a game or something – and he couldn't. Not then.
"Please -" the word was choked, simultaneously louder and softer than intended, and Draco's eyes reeled up and to his. "Please – just... give me today." He hated how pathetic he sounded but he couldn't – he couldn't lose him again and maybe he was being dramatic, maybe he had never lost him – or maybe he had never had him – but what ever the case was – he just... couldn't. Not then. "And then if you want to go back to... how ever we were – we can. Just... please. Give me today."
His heart was loud in his ears and his chest was tight and already it was becoming harder to breathe. Pathetic. No wonder he doesn't want you – no one wants you. You're pathetic, worthless.. his jaw quivered and twitched and he looked away, color rushing to his cheeks.
There was a slow exhale, a deliberate breath from the other man and already he could hear the rejection swelling in his chest.
"Never-mind," he muttered roughly. Pathetic. You're pathetic. He pities you – how pathetic do you have to be for someone like him to pity you? the voice mocked. It was right. He was pathetic and his body practically vibrated with that knowledge. He moved to step back, pain shooting through his bare foot as he did so – a hand was against his forearm a mere millisecond later, grip tight and drawing him closer before could move further away. Harry didn't meet his eyes.
"Dammit," Draco muttered, voice edged. "Stop being such a Gryffindor. C'm'ere."
Draco applied pressure to his arm and guided Harry toward his bed. Harry didn't try resisting, instead moving willingly and then nearly cursing at the pain shooting through his foot. He had stepped on the broken glass, he realized – the pain wasn't nearly as satisfying as when he acted deliberately. Draco pushed on his shoulders with his other hand, prompting him to sit and take his weight off of it. He saw movement in his peripheral and finally he looked toward the other, shame caught in his throat as the other crouched in front of him and guided his foot up, setting it carefully on his knee.
"Hold still," he muttered, voice softer than before. Harry didn't reply but he didn't move either and Draco was relieved to see that, at the very least, only a few shards had caught in his skin and they were bigger ones at that – he withdrew them carefully with his fingers. Harry didn't appear to be too badly injured; any pain he had felt was likely caused by the bits of glass digging further in when he applied weight to his foot. Drops of blood rushed to the surface and he withdrew his wand, casting a spell that caused the glass to crack loudly, vanishing in wisps of smoke mere seconds later. Harry blinked at the show of magic, still carefully avoiding Draco's gaze.
Draco sighed, searching the other's face before commanding: "Stay here."
Harry obeyed, feeling too pathetic and ashamed to do anything but, and silently cursed his own stupidity and foolishness – why would Draco ever want him like that, even for a day?
He kept his eyes trained on his bare feet and applied pressure to the wounded foot, trying to focus on the slight burn that blossomed from his skin, only half-aware of Draco moving around beside him to clean up the rest of the glass. A minute or two later there was weight beside him, Draco sitting near him on the bed. Tension drew itself along his spinal column and he applied more pressure to his foot.
Draco's hand found his knee.
"Stop that, Potter."
Potter. He was Potter again. Not Harry, not anymore. Potter.
A muscle along his jaw twitched and then Draco was smoothing his fingers along his knee, his eyes drawn to the movement. He could feel Draco's eyes on his face as the other man stroked a hand along clothed skin, the gesture surprisingly calming – his leg relaxed and Draco made a noise of acknowledgment in the back of his throat. "Better," he muttered, touch retracting. A crease formed along Harry's brow and why was Draco doing this? Why was he acting like he actually gave a damn? You're pathetic. He only pities you – this is just a game to him. You're a game, a pawn on the chess board. You're mildly amusing and that's it, that's it because you're PATHETIC.
Harry closed his eyes, his fingers turning into his palms, nails digging into his skin, face tilted down, chin tucked toward his neck – the voice seemed to grow louder, seemed to intensify, and it was screaming at him, yelling in his head until it wasn't just one but hundreds and he couldn't think - couldn't argue - and it wouldn't stop and – and then there was a hand covering his, drawing his attention away from them. He opened his eyes and turned his head toward Draco, hesitantly looking at him. Draco's hand tightened around his.
His lips twitched into a faint line, his thumb brushing against the back of his hand, and Draco's eyes searched his.
"Why... are you doing this?"
He hadn't intended to ask that, hadn't intended to voice the thought aloud, but there it was and Draco's brow twitched in response. Harry expected him to either ignore the question or deflect it but instead received an answer in way of three simple words: "I don't know."
Not only was the answer itself entirely unexpected but it sounded far more honest than Harry could have even hoped for. It was said softly and with a slight exhale, a sigh of sorts, and then Draco's lips were twitching. "I could ask you the same thing... but I think I already know the answer." It was said flatly, matter-of-factly, and Harry swallowed thickly, anxiety blossoming in his stomach.
"...which is?" he managed, gaze a bit jumpy, flicking away and then back to Draco. He already knew what the answer was, of course. He found himself connecting with Draco in a way he hadn't connected with anyone in a while – since Voldemort, since fulfilling his purpose, his apparent destiny. Quite simply, and rather unfortunately, he found himself fancying him. And he knew Draco knew that. Somehow, he knew that.
But then Draco was smirking and replying with an equally obvious answer, if not almost teasing: "You're mad as a hatter."
Harry scoffed, the noise only slightly amused because somehow, being called mad wasn't such an insult anymore. Not from Draco, anyway.
He didn't reply, unsure of what to say, and instead settled with finally meeting his eyes again. Draco stared back, gaze steady and almost unnerving again, and the anxiety in his stomach intensified, only to melt moments later when his hand stirred against his again. His eyes dropped to their hands and hesitantly, on impulse, Harry turned his hand palm up beneath Draco's. Draco's fingers tickled his palm before weaving in between his own, lacing their fingers together and clasping their hands. Harry's stomach flipped, an odd combination of anxiety and anticipation then, and he dared looking at the other, Draco's eyes already on his.
Draco's eyes searched his again before dragging further down, flicking down to his lips, and the anticipation overshadowed the anxiety, his gaze instinctively mirroring his, flicking down to his mouth. There was movement in his peripheral and Draco's hand settled against the side of his face, his fingers hooking along the juncture of his jaw and ear. There was gentle pressure and Harry closed his eyes, anxiety melting away almost completely – at least for the moment – as Draco angled his face against his, pressing their lips together.
It was much like their second kiss. Slow and gentle. Exploring. And he understood it as much then as he did before... as in, not at all. Why was Draco acting like this? Touching him like this? There were no voices then to answer, to yell or scream about how pathetic he was or how Draco pitied him – there was nothing but the sound of his own thoughts, his own confusion, and the sudden silence was almost deafening. Draco's lips stirred further against his, deepening the kiss, and Harry willingly opened his mouth to taste the other, swallowing down a whimper. He kissed him so damn so gently – so damn saintly... it was wonderful and nerve-wracking and confusing and brilliant and luckily for him, the kiss lingered in the best of ways.
His tongue touched his, sending sparks of electricity skittering down his throat to nestle in his chest, near his heart, and Draco tasted like mint and clove and warmth. He didn't know warmth had a taste but it did and it was brilliant, dizzying, and then there was a gentle nip to his bottom lip, a mark quickly smoothed by the other's tongue, and when the kiss ended, Harry was warm and content, breathing slightly uneven.
Much like before, Draco's touch lingered, his fingers skirting over his bare skin, and the words were spoken against his lips, more of a breath than anything else: "Just today."
Harry's heart simultaneously soared and plummeted. He had today – but just today. Tomorrow they'd go back to what ever they were – acquaintances, perhaps: not quite enemies, not quite friends. He didn't know how he would handle that. If he could handle that. He already found himself craving Draco's touch, his hands and his lips, as if he were his new addiction, a new way to let the turmoil bubble from open wounds and seep out of his body.
Hell, maybe he was.
Maybe this was a new way for Harry to hurt himself because Merlin, he knew it would hurt. Tomorrow it would hurt like Hell.
It was already starting to.
He opened today, able to taste Draco on his lips when he repeated those two words: "Just today."
A short while later, Harry found himself curled up on the couch, his body tucked carefully against his. Draco's arm was draped over his shoulders, warm and weighted, and they both had a book sprawled over their laps. Draco's was potions again (Harry was fairly certain he read it for enjoyment) and Harry's was advanced charms. He still had more than half of his essay to write and maybe this wasn't what Harry wanted them to spend their day together doing but it was something. It was something and maybe once Draco became more comfortable with the idea of 'just today', that something could turn into more, could turn into the slide of his hands against his bare skin and his lips against his collarbone.
Harry had never been the overly hopeful type. There wasn't much point.
But on the same note, he had every intention of enjoying what was offered. Enjoying Draco's presence, his warmth and scent and taste.
Harry shifted a bit, his legs tucked beneath him, and leaned his head against Draco's shoulder. Draco's hand twitched against his shoulder, giving it a slight, affectionate squeeze, and Harry made a content noise in the back of his throat, closing his eyes and almost burrowing his face in the crook of Draco's neck.
Draco scoffed, voice laced with a snicker when he said: "You're a bit like a cat."
Harry made a face but didn't stir, perfectly happy with enjoying the warmth radiating from his form and the smell of his body wash.
"How so?" he managed, voice muffled, breath tickling Draco's neck. The other squirmed a bit and it was his turn to snicker. "How so?" he repeated.
"Annoying," Draco answered, head shifting a bit. His lips brushed against Harry's brow and Harry smiled despite the comparison. "Moody. All claws, even when they're sheathed." Harry scoffed, shifting to kiss at Draco's jaw, giving his skin a slight, playful nip. Draco scoffed again. "Exactly," he muttered, although his voice didn't hold any sort of edge. It was with a flare of bravery that he repeated the slight nip, shifting to kiss along his jaw and to his ear, one of his own hands settling against Draco's abdomen. He pointedly swept his hand down to push the book from his lap and to the floor. "Always in the way," Draco continued, voice a breath. "Can't get a thing done when you're around."
Harry's lips twitched into a slight smirk and he began kissing and licking at Draco's ear, hoping to illicit a shiver or two.
"Distracting," Draco added, sighing a bit around the word.
Harry's smirk widened and he kissed and bit at his earlobe, breathing over the mark to say: "Is that a complaint?"
"Depends on your mood," Draco admitted, finally turning his face toward his. Their lips met again and then Draco was pushing the book from Harry's lap, his free hand moving around to tug on his shirt. Uncertainty laced the movement as he shifted to climb onto Draco's lap and straddle him, their kiss breaking, and his eyes were still closed as their foreheads bumped. The worry that he had taken this too far was swept away as Draco's hands settled against either of his sides, fingers running idly down and around to his back. He opened his eyes to briefly meet Draco's before shifting to press their lips together again.
The kiss was slow-starting but quickly escalating, gentle touches and slow sighs melting into the crash of teeth against skin and quivering inhales. One of Harry's hands settled against the back of Draco's head as the kiss deepened, their tongues touching, and Harry pressed himself further against the other boy, his hips bearing down and onto his. His nails scratched gently along his scalp, fingers tangling in his hair, and he gave blond locks an experimental tug. He felt as if he were drowning in the best of ways, his lungs full and aching, stomach tight, body practically vibrating under the strain of it all. Every touch sent fire through him and it was such an unbelievable contrast, such a dizzying change of pace from the emptiness that usually blanketed his chest, that he never wanted it to stop.
But it did so regardless, Draco's hands circling around to settle against his abdomen and apply pressure, drawing him back. Harry whimpered as Draco drew himself away, tearing their lips apart, and Harry made the mistake of opening his eyes.
Draco's lips were parted and flushed, his cheeks a wash of pink and his eyes seemed both brighter and darker than before, pupils further dilated but irises a brilliant molten grey-blue, more silver than before. He was beautiful and Harry's stomach flipped before he made note of the crease along his brow and the downturn of his lips, his hands still flat against his abdomen.
"I – sorry," Harry stuttered quickly, seeing the rejection for what it was. He moved to climb from his lap but then Draco's hands were on his hips, holding him in place.
"Don't," Draco bit out, voice rough around its edges. The mere sound made Harry's stomach lurch again, heat coating it. "Just..." he hesitated, bringing a hand up to touch the curve of Harry's throat, "...stop acting like a Hufflepuff in heat."
Color rushed to his cheeks and Harry frowned, embarrassment drawing the line of his spinal column up and erect. Furrowing his eyebrows, Harry's lips twitched into a slight scowl but before he could reply, Draco added: "I'm not going anywhere."
The sentence short-circuited what ever reply he had fathomed and he blinked, forehead smoothing, eyes searching his.
"We can take our time," he clarified quietly, his fingers circling around to the nape of his neck.
Did he mean – did he mean what Harry hoped he meant? There was a flash of a memory, of his dream, and the heat in his stomach intensified, its temperature raising despite the embarrassment that accompanied it.
Draco shifted again, bringing his face forward to press a gentle kiss to his lips, his eyes slipping shut. Harry's soon did the same and he focused on letting Draco guide the kiss, startled by how sweet it remained. It was more lips than anything else – there was the occasional touch of his tongue, the occasional sweeping sort of tease, but it was gentle, building, and Harry felt himself melt into it.
Oh yes, this was certainly going to hurt like Hell tomorrow.
The day passed slowly but far too quickly. Too soon it was time for lunch and Draco was rather insistent that they go. Harry would have been perfectly content with remaining on the couch, their limbs tangled as they traded sweet, lazy kisses, but the Slytherin quite obviously had other plans. After they had both dressed, Harry found himself being lead to the Great Hall, quite happy with the weight of Draco's hand in his. He had never expected Draco would be one for such small shows of affection but wasn't about to complain. No, he was going to enjoy their day and what ever it entailed.
It wasn't until they neared the Great Hall and the halls became busier that their hands fell apart. Harry could feel the hollow in his chest increasing, expanding again, only kept in check by the occasional brush of their arms. Funny how his body seemed so completely in tune with Draco's so quickly – funny and damning, surely.
They sat at the Slytherin table again, Parkinson and Nott across from them. There was idle chatter, most of which Harry tuned out but some of which he – to the surprise of everyone, it seemed – participated in. He even chuckled once, a genuine smile touching his lips, his body leaning slightly to the left, toward Draco. He was completely unaware of the knowing look Parkinson pinned Draco with, his own eyes catching on the Gryffindor table across the hall. Hermione was staring at him, almost expressionless.
He could tell, even from there, that she had been crying. Her hair was a mess – more so than usual - and she looked pale and tired, Ron nowhere in sight. Harry swallowed, his hand instinctively finding Draco's leg beneath the table, brushing briefly against his knee. Draco glanced at him, eyebrows raised, and Harry finally managed to tear his eyes away.
"I should talk to her," he muttered quietly, strangely grateful for how Nott abruptly tried engaging Parkinson in a conversation of their own. Draco nodded once, his eyes searching his.
"Alone?" he asked simply. Harry could hear the question buried under the single syllable and he shook his head.
Alone wasn't a good idea, not at all, if what Draco had said was true and Harry trusted that it was.
Draco nodded again, shifting to take a sip of his pumpkin juice before moving away and to his feet. Harry followed suit, his eyes catching on Hermione's again. He offered her a strained smile and motioned, with a tilt of his head, to the door of the Great Hall. Hermione's eyes strayed to Draco before she nodded, moving to her feet as well.
All three of them started out of the Great Hall, all but Harry far too aware of the looks following their movement.