Be it spring, summer or fall, the air that breathed at the peak of Hogwarts' tallest tower each night always felt like winter was the only season all year, every year, the cold was enough to cut through one's tailbone. Yet the sight it held never ceased to be breathtakingly tranquil. Just like the adamant wintry chill that lingered to defy every cycle of the four seasons, no matter what weather the cosmos brought, glittering if not perpetual stars would always be made visible from the castle's pinnacle.
That particular Friday night, the moon was beaming so brilliantly that it lit up the entire night sky like as though a giant lamp had been borrowed from the heavens. It was just so bright.
"Someone up there adores me..."
The door creaked open yet remained empty at its wake.
"My lucky night, no one's shagging up here tonight..."
Someone was unmistakably heard muttering. The mystery of the smug voice was duly unveiled when its owner revealed himself as he emerged beneath his silvery invisibility cloak only to slide down on the cold floor, leaning heavily against a turret.
It was Harry Potter.
"Should've brought my sheets along...Ahh... damn my stupidity, shite..."
Clad only in his pinstriped blue pyjamas and a piteous black woollen sweater, shoeless, feet warmed by a pair of worn out murky blue socks that spied an open toe in one of them, the sixth year Gryffindor was heard muttering some other not so nice vocabularies along with his lack of hindsight to keep him warmer.
Now Harry, upon closer scrutiny wasn't really what one would deem as hideous to look at. With his fair, unblemished skin and rather slight build, although he had a spurt of growth somewhere after his fourth year, he was still significantly missing the height of most his peers belonging to the same gender, yet that didn't seem to stop the unassuming, refreshingly innocent aura he carried around him from exuding.
Enviable, brilliant green eyes whereby even those poorly fitted glasses couldn't hope to overcome, delicate yet strong, pulling features that graced his face, yes, he was undoubtedly attractive in an almost effeminate kind of way. Even his black mop of unruly hair couldn't take away that dainty look from him.
Not one to bother about keeping appearances, of course he never noticed his own physical merits but quite a number of hormonal girls and some of the more adventurous boys had certainly begun paying more attention to this intriguing boy.
"Well, well, what do we have here..."
The soft drawl snapped Harry out from his laments and his head jerked up to eye at the source. His body tensed like a strung up harp when he saw a tall, lanky, pale looking boy with sharp jaunty features, could be determined as handsome if one favoured the Prince of Darkness kind of look, magnificently clothed in black pyjamas made of heavy but soft velvet, complete with a luxurious furry blanket to keep him warm, shoeless as well but the newcomer's feet were snugly fitted into thick, grey woolen socks.
"I could ask the same," Harry muttered with quite a commendable skill to appear nonchalant as his eyes rested on the other boy, subtly letting his fingers curl tightly around his wand. "What do you want, Malfoy?"
The intruder, in the form of one Draco Malfoy, who was also to be Harry's long time arch rival, merely arched one aristocrat brow up. Not wanting to lose out on the remarkable display of civilised decorum his least favourite person was maturely projecting, he merely dropped to the floor next to him.
"You're sitting at my favourite spot, Potter," Draco said curtly at the lone Gryffindor, who by the way looked somewhat confused if not startled when his space was rudely encroached. "Don't you have some other place to be?"
"How come I don't see your name vandalised anywhere here," Harry retorted sullenly, quite refusing to budge, which was hardly surprising considering their colourful history. "I got here first, Malfoy."
"I thought you're not supposed to prowl around at this time of the night, Potter," Draco tossed back, crossing his knees and jostling for space just as determinedly to mark his spot. "Aren't you barred at all costs from your nightly gallivanting, the result of nearly sending me to my grave last week?"
"You'll never let me live that down, will you?" Harry sputtered out indignantly, his neck gave out a sound crick when his head swiveled sideways just to glare at the blond. "It wasn't intentional and you're the one who tried to repeatedly Crucio me first for Merlin's sake, Malfoy."
"Well, what can I say, you rudely intruded my most private moment," Draco glared accusingly. "Face it, Potter, you're not sorry for hurting me."
"You started it!"
"Damn you, Potter, keep your voice down," Draco hissed as he stole a swift but deliberate elbow at Harry's side. "Do you want to wake the whole Hogwarts with your bloody tantrums already? We'll both get into trouble if Filch finds us here."
Harry seemed to struggle with himself at the logical brush off before he finally retracted into a deep drawn out sigh, palming the sore spot at his ribs. "I'll apologise if you do the same, Malfoy," he acquiesced sourly. "But I bet you won't."
"Oh, Potter, you know me so well," Draco shot back sweetly, voice drenching with sarcasm. "You're completely missing the point here, Crucio won't kill you, but another minute late that damn Sectumsempra you fired will definitely make me history."
"Now look here, Malfoy," Harry gritted, voice tensed with an obvious effort not to yell out loud. "You're over reacting, if Peeves hadn't so kindly interfered by branding me a murderer at the top of his voice to mar my good name, I would've run for help, don't think I won't. You seriously think I'll let you bleed to death?"
Draco scowled and then smirked. "Okay, since that was close enough to an apology, I'll let it pass."
"I wasn't meaning for that to be an apology... oh just forget it, Malfoy," Harry grunted when he saw Draco opening his mouth again. "Okay, you win alright, happy now?"
"Potter, now I'm disappointed," Draco said smugly as he made to briskly pat Harry's rigid shoulders like some docile pet. "Aren't you going to contest my statement? You're losing your roar."
Harry crabbily pinched the slender fingers off him and pointedly looked up to admire the glorious moon, refusing to rise to the bait, obviously not seeing the short triumphant grin on Draco's face. He continued to ignore his Slytherin classmate and the latter inevitably ended up gazing at the stars. The two most unlikely company were soon lost in their own worlds.
"Oh shite..." Both boys tensed.
"Potter, take your hands off..."
"Shut up, you stupid twit..."
The tower door creaked open and in strutted Filch, doing his customary night parole, with Mrs Norris purring loudly at his heels.
"Come, Mrs Norris, there's no one here..." Filch swooped down to retrieve his mangy beloved just as the cat was about to poke an experimental sharp claw at the empty space of one lone turret, quite far apart from the rest near the parapet. "I doubt anyone of them troublesome lot would want to be out here in this cold."
The door slammed shut with a resounding bang.
"That was close," Harry breathed as he wrenched his cloak away, folding it neatly and proceeded to sit on it, quite ignoring the supposedly furtive glances that the Slytherin was blatantly sending him. "What?" he asked finally.
Draco puckered his pink mouth down at the Cloak of Invisibility. "Why did you do that for?" he began slowly. "Shielding me with your cloak when you could just shimmy away."
Harry slanted him an astounded look, one that was filled with mockery. "As if you wouldn't rattle on me if I did that, Malfoy?"
The aforementioned appeared insulted for a moment.
"Truth hurts, eh?" It was Harry's turn to gloat.
Draco resolutely let his mouth clamp shut, indicating the sore subject was closed. Harry looked only too glad to oblige the temporary truce, contented to drown into the quietness. Apparently both had a million things to brood about. One had a heavy burden of saving the entire Wizarding world placed on his shoulders while the other was in turmoil to make a life turning decision.
In the meantime, the night grew excruciatingly colder. Harry began to quake, eyeing rather wistfully at Draco's warm blanket. Then he quietly flicked his wand, attempting to cast a warming charm only to be disappointed that it failed to work. Not thinking anything strange, the Gryffindor probably figured he didn't twirl his wand right.
"Where are you heading to, Potter?" Draco turned his head when the Gryffindor heaved up to his feet. "Am I boring you already?"
"Past my bedtime," Harry shrugged. "The turret's all yours, Malfoy."
Draco's victory smirk emerged for a few seconds before he too rose to stand. "Might as well leave," he agreed in a snotty tone. "I'm right after you, my fair hero."
Harry rolled his eyes as he briskly made his way to the door, the only door that would lead them out of the Astronomy Tower. Rather companionably Draco soon fell into steps next to him.
"The door's locked."
"Here, let me try."
It was no use, said door refused to budge.
Harry looked at Draco and Draco looked back at Harry.
"Alohomora!" Both brandished their wands at the same time.
The door remained gloriously shut.
The two boys exchanged baffled glances and simultaneously pointed their wands at the metal door knob again.
Still no luck.
"I think this could be one of the after hours safety measures the Heads of Houses were talking about, Malfoy," Harry said stiffly.
"I heard that too, Potter, I doubt we'd be able to get out till morning," Draco replied just as tersely. "Stop shaking, will you?"
"Can't help it, I'm freezing," Harry mumbled crossly.
Draco leveled him a long suffering look. "You should've worn something warmer other than those miserable getups."
Harry ignored him and padded hurriedly back to the turret, sprawled graceless down again, curling into a ball and proceeded to rock back and forth.
"Good Lord, are you a wizard or not?" Draco snapped impatiently as he positioned himself on the floor as well. "You need me to charm a warming spell for you too?"
"You think I haven't done that already?" Harry replied testily. "Oh, just go away and leave me alone will you?"
Clearly the Slytherin had no such intention whatsoever of obliging that simple demand.
"How incompetent can you get, Potter?" Draco sneered and after only a slight hesitation, raised his own wand most elegantly. "Watch and learn, this is how you do it..."
Alas, no comforting warmth breathed upon them.
"See? I wasn't incompetent at all was I?" Harry crowed, artfully concealing his relief. "This entire place appears to ward off our magic as well, Malfoy, quite out of your expertise I must say."
"Oh shut it," Draco chided, snuggling deeper into his blanket. "I'm not the one who's about to freeze come morning."
It was a statement of truth that the poor shivering Gryffindor was clearly very much aware of.
"What on earth are you doing now?" Draco asked curiously when Harry was soon put to task of palming his chest up and down a few dozen times. "I seriously doubt you'd be warm like that, Potter."
"Haven't you heard, Malfoy, this is a survival tactic," Harry said. "Keeping my heart warm, the rest of my body will take care of itself and..."
"And you know what, Potter," Draco cut in with another sneer. "It'd really make sense for you to close this huge berth between us so that some of the heat oozing from me could at least warm you a up a bit."
"No can do," Harry flatly refused. "Wouldn't dream of owing you anything."
"Suits you, Potter," Draco sighed, arms leisurely crossed into his chest, looking utterly relaxed. "Go freeze then."
Harry stubbornly shivered.
"Okay, here's the deal, Potter," said an annoyed Draco after about five minutes, seemed like the grating sounds coming from Harry's teeth clanking together was beginning to grate on his nerve wire big time. "I'll share my expensive warm blanket with you and that'll make us even."
Harry tossed him a suspicious eye. "Even for what?"
"What did you just say?"
"You heard me the first time, Potter," Draco responded haughtily. "Or maybe you should try some ear candling to melt the excessive wax residing in those dainty ears of yours."
Harry blinked rapidly, quite ignoring the jibe in order to make sense of the glued syllables which had been muttered out in rapid procession. Shortly after, the edges of his quivering lips tugged upwards into a wide grin.
"Malfoy, you're losing your bad arse appeal, I'm touched..."
"Not another word, Potter," Draco warned as he made busy spreading the blanket over his head in order to make way for the smug boy. "Well, what are you waiting for, Christmas?"
Harry hastily inched closer and for one last awkward moment he stalled, face constipated as if he was trying to figure out the best way to slip into the offered warmth without having to graze any part of the blond's body, who was glaring with nothing short of impatience at his side.
"Oh for Salazar's sake, Potter, hurry up, I'm freezing," Draco chided, scooping Harry's ramrod shoulders with his long arm to forcefully bring him under the blanket. "I'm not out to steal your bloody virtue, you know!"
The startled boy hero wasn't fast enough to turn his face down for the glowering blond not to witness the mortified beet red flush that was fast creeping onto his cheeks, ears and neck.
"Gods, Potter, are you blushing?" Draco wheedled, his earlier peeves swiftly swapped with amusement. "Am I making you that uncomfortable?"
"Says who?" Harry retorted and if possible, he blushed even harder. "This is just too weird, Malfoy."
"Weird enough to make you blotch almost purple, Potter?" Draco smirked. "When people blush, it's generally the case whereby they're sodding mad, or guiltily shy."
"What kind of stupid logic is that?" Harry grumbled as he massively shifted this way and that just to make his self more at home with the too cosy ambiance "You probably just made that theory up, Malfoy."
"A theory whereby only thick headed Gryffindors such as yourself you usually failed to grasp," Draco returned glibly. "Stop moving your arse about, you git!" The blond pressed one knee over Harry's crossed thigh to keep him firmly in place before he spoke again. "So which one is it? Are you mad at me or are you shy perhaps sitting so close to me, Potter?"
"Oh, just zip it," Harry muttered, grabbing the blanket tightly. "Keeping me warm doesn't mean you have the privilege to annoy me all night long, Malfoy."
The blond let out a well entertained round of snickers and only stopped when Harry snagged him a half-hearted fist down his lap.
"I know you're not in dreamland yet, Potter," Draco sounded again when Harry continued to ignore his presence for the next ten minutes. "Say something, will you?"
"You never give up do you, Malfoy?"
"You wound me, Potter, really, I thought you knew me by now."
Harry bit back a smile and quite unconsciously had sagged heavily against Draco to make the most of the warm blanket for the benefit of them both. "Like I mentioned, this is kind of weird... no, understatement, it's too bizarre for me right now, Malfoy," he said.
"Fraternising with the enemy you mean?" Draco questioned.
If any, Harry caught the significant lack of the usual stealthy malice in Draco's tone.
"Whoever says anything about us being enemies, Malfoy?"
"That's the popular theory about us around here, Potter."
Harry considered this. "Okay, if we're going to spend the entire night here alone together without ending up in the hospital wing by the end of it, Malfoy, I propose we skip that overly popular theory for now."
"Wouldn't want it any other way, Potter," Draco returned pleasantly. "You were saying something about our current situation being bizarre I believe."
"Yeah, that," Harry nodded. "Name me any moment in time that you could remember us talking, actually talking without you tossing me your charming sneers and me not snarling at you for antagonising me."
"Is that what we've become?" Draco gasped and Harry barked out a stifled laugh, perhaps not wanting his laughter to alert any possible night adventurer who might be lingering behind the tower door in a bid to seek a place for a solitude getaway like them. "By the way I'm quite flattered, I bet you're the only who finds my sneers so endearingly charming, Potter."
Harry looked to restrain another chortle and ended up pursing his lips. "Be serious!"
"Okay, alright," Draco drawled. "Merlin, this is rather disappointing, I can't think of any, Potter."
"Exactly, Malfoy, exactly!" exclaimed Harry, his fist strayed onto Draco's chest in his excitement to prove his point and then almost immediately began rubbing the sore spot apologetically when the blond scowled menacingly. "So don't blame me if I'm kind of... overwhelmed by this sudden..."
"Overwhelmed?" Draco interrupted. "I know I'm rich and charming and all but don't need such a big word, Potter."
"I swear you're in love with yourself, Malfoy." Harry flicked the smug blond on one ear with his thumb. "Will you stop interrupting me?"
Draco returned the favour in spares first before nodding. "Go on, Potter, time is gold you know."
"The moment's passed, lost track of what I wanted to say," Harry announced after quite significant pause.
"Smooth, Potter, really smooth," Draco shot him a quelling stare, the effect completely ruined when his lips twitched upwards. "Just string up the suspense only to leave me high and dry, why don't you."
"Since you're quite the chatterbox, why don't you talk, Malfoy," Harry tossed back with a lopsided grin. "Let's change topic shall we?"
"How come you're so horrible at Potions?" Draco promptly asked.
"It's a complicated subject, that's why," Harry quickly complained.
"Indulge me," Draco urged, his usually icy eyes were sparkling with real interest. "Not meaning to sound conceited but I am good at the subject, maybe I could give you some pointers, Potter."
"Oh go on..."
"I just can't seem to connect with the logic on how a potion is brewed in the first place," Harry began hesitantly but at Draco's encouraging looks he soon went on more steadily. "Okay, let me put it his way, if I'm down with cold, I'd just swallow a few Muggle flu tablets and I'd be fine soon enough. That's modern medicine, proven and tested. Potions, we'd chuck in a few ingredients, supposedly equipped with its own magical properties, stir this way and that way accordingly to instructions, very often without any incantation and..."
Just then a gust of icy wind blew into the entirety of the Astronomy Tower making Harry give out a violent shudder. Instantaneously Draco's long arm curled around his waist to pull him closer to shield the smaller boy from the chill, generously ignoring the gobsmacked expression on Harry's face.
"I'm afraid I don't quite see your point, Potter," said Draco again with a straight face, like he hadn't just obliged Harry his most gentlemanly gesture. "You are trying to make a point I assume?"
Harry looked as though he wanted to point out something else and it had absolutely nothing to do with Potions whatsoever but the earnest look Draco was currently employing apparently changed his mind.
"When you think about it, isn't the process the same? I'm sure a normal Muggle, if given the chance would be able to concoct a simple potion as well don't you think?" Harry returned with a long query. "So where and when does magic actually comes into play, Malfoy? Merlin, just thinking about it gives me a blooming headache already."
Draco's smooth forehead creased. The Slytherin had always thought himself to be a very intelligent Pureblood and yet he appeared to be having quite a difficulty in enlightening the puzzled Gryffindor.
"Look, Potter," Draco said finally. "I think I know why you're having problems, you're obviously trying to apply a logical reasoning to everything."
"There has to be logic in everything we do, Malfoy," Harry insisted stubbornly. "I just can't help it... I lived the first eleven years of my life in the Muggle world, its hard for me just to take magic at face value."
"Potter, let's say a Muggle doctor uses the mandrake for medicinal purposes..." Draco explained slowly, somehow majorly distracted when Harry twisted in his arm to blink rapidly at him with big confused eyes behind his unfashionable glasses. "Urmm... where was I? Oh, yeah, it'll serve the doctor nothing simply because he's not a wizard to render the mandrake its real effect. You get what I'm saying? It's the magic in our blood, the one that we're born with that makes it possible for us. Magic is magic, Potter and you don't have to crack your head questioning its every source."
"Ohh... " Harry's bright green eyes grew even greener as understanding dawned. "I see what you mean, damn... I never thought I'd say this but thanks, Malfoy."
"Anytime, Potter," Draco smiled amiably in return to Harry's warm one. "Oh, one more thing, I'd advise you to refrain yourself from consuming anything that comes from those awestruck admirers of yours, could be a Love Potion for all you know. I heard of late that the Vane girl attempted to give you some rare chocolates?"
The Gryffindor gave another round of shudders but it wasn't from the cold and Draco snickered. It was all over the school how Romilda Vane had tried to seduce Harry with Love Potion.
"I didn't eat those, Ron did and..." Harry stalled mid-sentence to slant Draco a burning gaze. "Ever wondered why he almost died from the mead that Slughorn gave him afterwards, Malfoy."
It wasn't even a question and they both apparently knew it.
Draco quickly withdrew his hands and inched apart his body that was currently keeping Harry snug and comfy. His light if not carefree mood dissipated and his face adopted a most tortured expression so full of anguish. It wasn't hard to single out that guilt was riding in it as well.
The sight made the blaze from Harry's eyes soften considerably and it wasn't long before an uplifting sort of look crossed over his face. It was like he had finally deciphered something truly monumental about the blond.
"I finally figured what had been baffling me since just now, Malfoy, our voice doesn't seem to carry any echo around it," Harry said with a too bright smile when their eyes eventually met again. "You reckon its part of the ward? Good thing though, right, at least we can holler like how we used to do it. It's tedious keeping my voice down already."
If any, the pained Slytherin only made to stare harder at Harry's transparent attempt to remedy the sudden tensed situation. Said boy, never one to back out on any staring duel, held his ground and did not skitter his eyes someplace else even though he looked as though he very much wanted to.
"Harry Potter, you're so full of surprises, aren't you?" Draco relented as he ran his pale fingers to comb his sleek blond head before letting his hand rest around Harry again who in turn, curled into the offered warmth almost greedily. "How do you do it?"
"See the good in people all the time."
"Malfoy, I'm touched." Harry rewarded him a toothy grin. "Is that a praise I hear?"
Draco grinned despite himself, obviously quite contented to put behind the tension already. "Git." He ruffled Harry's gravity defying hair non-too gently, emitting a sound protest from him. "How come your hair doesn't feel quite like the barbed wires as I'd always imagined? Merlin...smells like a girl's too."
"The fantastic outcome from a good old Muggle shampoo I'd say," Harry nodded serenely. "Magic is great but I still prefer the luxury of lathering my head any day rather than charming my hair clean."
"That's probably why you're late almost every morning," Draco returned, not missing a beat. "Oh at least the scrawny git has finally blossomed into a fine young man."
"Stop making pot shots at me," Harry huffed. "I know I'm not much to look at but don't need to keep drilling that point across, Malfoy."
"Sensitive much?" Draco smirked. "I'm just stating a fact, Potter."
"Fact my arse," Harry grumbled. "I say it's time to switch topic, Malfoy."
"Seriously, I think you're quite easy on the eyes," Draco said, pursuing the topic relentlessly on, quite enjoying himself. "Even Pansy says so, imagine that, hah! Only yesterday too I caught Nott ogling your pert behind in class and I'd be careful if I were you, Potter, not wise to go gallivanting alone at night all around the castle, not all the blokes over here are as honourable as I am you know..."
"Nott did what?" Harry looked more and more alarmed as he processed the new piece of alarming information. "But he's a bloke, Malfoy!"
"So?" Draco's brows knitted unglamorously together. "You should know already that it's pretty common among wizards to have male consorts, and witches to have like gendered life-mates, Potter, that's part of the major reason why pregnancy potions were created in the first place you know."
"Come again?" Any wider, Harry's eyes would have rocketed out of its sockets for sure. "You mean... it's not a scandalous deal over here for a bloke and a bloke to get it on? Girls too? Bloody hell, are you suggesting that a bloke could carry a child? How's that even possible? That's plenty scary if you ask me!"
The Slytherin gave the blabbering Gryffindor an appraising once over.
"You really don't know do you?" Draco asked and Harry shook his head fervently. "No wonder you're so...so..."
"So what?" Harry inquired with ill disguised astonishment. An eloquent Draco proved to be a rare occasion. "What?"
"Nothing that a shallow arse like you should know about," Draco replied dryly.
"Shallow?" Harry frowned. "In what way am I shallow, Malfoy?"
"Oh come on, if anything, your reaction was enough giveaway, Potter," Draco told him brusquely. "Obviously your mind is not opened to something that is deemed not normal and acceptable. The gay, lesbian and bisexual communities are obviously beneath your sainthood ideals."
The Gryffindor took a moment to process the rather unfounded accusation.
"Now wait a second, Malfoy, I was merely surprised that's all," Harry argued heatedly, his eyes had darkened most passionately with every word. "I don't judge people that way nor do I even give a damn on how two human beings choose to love each other. Live and let live I'll always say."
"I'm most gratified to hear that," Draco drawled, eyes gleaming with wicked mischief. "So I guess it isn't a problem then."
"What isn't a problem then?" Harry echoed suspiciously.
"Letting a very persuasive gay bloke coddle you in a cold, deserted place like this where anything could happen..."
"What?!" Harry shrieked unattractively as he attempted to subtly peel the Slytherin off him, to no avail of course. "Why didn't you tell me earlier, Malfoy?"
"I thought you knew," Draco smirked. "Besides, it's a delicate issue that I'm certain anyone sane would rather not volunteer offhandedly, right, Potter?"
The Gryffindor finally gave up his quiet struggle to break free from Draco, looking as constipated as could be.
"I guess you have a point there after all," Harry said in a stiffen pose, apparently not daring to move, not wanting to risk looking like a shallow individual like the blond had branded him earlier. "I'm okay with it, Malfoy, really, but I'll have you know that I'm... I'm not that way, alright, just don't want you to get the wrong idea about us right now."
"Potter, now I'm seriously hurt," Draco said with a suave smile that sent Harry's deep pools of green to narrow into slits. "I'm a real gentleman when it comes to making my moves, but I'll have you know too that I'm quite apt in assessing certain body languages..."
"What are you getting at?" Harry demanded.
"That you may be quite receptive to certain experimental and seductive moves, Harry," Draco purred.
Harry's jaw dropped down so low that it may as well sweep the cold hard floor.
"I am not some cheap specimen for you to experiment your seductive moves on!" he sputtered. "How dare you even think...wait, did you just call out my name, Malfoy?"
Draco calmly thumbed off the Gryffindor's spittle that had just rained on his cheeks. "Is that a crime, Harry, me remembering your given name I mean," he said simply.
To his credit, Harry recovered his wits fast enough. "No, course not," he said in a dignified tone. "It's about time though, Mal... Draco."
"Cool then," Draco nodded and then added with a teasing grin, "and don't worry, I was just ragging you just now, hero boy."
"S'matter, playboy, I don't meet your picky criteria?" Harry teased back.
"Would you like to find that out yourself?" Draco smiled wolfishly as he caged Harry into a hard squeeze. "Come to think about it, I've never shagged a Gryffindor before, I wonder what they'd be like under me..."
Said Gryffindor squirmed and turned a fiery shade of red at the improper monologue.
"Take your hands off me, Draco," Harry ordered sternly, quite unable to move or most probably too petrified to do so. Being made an object of desire by another boy was obviously way out of his Gryffindor league. "Don't make me hurt you... you smooth talking prat."
The Slytherin loosened his grip but did not fully let go of Harry though.
"You're blushing again," Draco said matter-of-factly as he peered closely at Harry. "Why is that I wonder?"
"You're making me quite nervous that's why," Harry said as he pulled his head back a bit. "I mean, how am I supposed to react, Draco?"
"You are one repressed bloke, Harry," Draco announced with a snort. "Haven't you ever thought about experimenting with blokes before?"
"Draco, right until tonight," Harry told the amused blond slowly, deliberately. "I didn't even know there're gays, lesbians and bisexuals here in Hogwarts, so why would I even waste my time thinking about it in the first place?"
"So I take it that you're now currently shagging the Weasley beauty?" Draco probed.
"You're making me giddy by jumping from subject to subject," Harry scolded. "By the way, don't speak about Ginny like that, Draco, she's a nice girl."
"Too nice that her poor boyfriend ends up frustrated all the time?" remarked Draco with a knowing grin. "You haven't been getting any for a long time have you, Harry?"
"Believe me I could've done it anytime, plenty of lusty girls around here but it's my choice not to get it on with her or anyone of them for that matter!" Harry exploded a little too loudly and shortly after looked to regret his explosion. "Oh just shut up and let me choose the next topic."
Too late because the next few moments saw the sly Slytherin utterly paralysed with howls and howls of boorish cackles.
"Oww! Oi! Okay, okay, stop, that hurts, Harry, stop..." Draco caught Harry's flyway fists and thwacks that came down bearing on his arm and side. "Sorry... I didn't mean to pry that far." His profuse apologies came out in a hiccup, the result of trying to contain his merriment.
"Shut up," Harry warned.
"Okay, okay..." Draco nodded. "Virgin boy," he hooted.
"Rub it in why don't you," Harry glared hotly.
"I must say you never cease to surprise me, Harry," said Draco after he got his mirth under control. "I was under the impression that you'd be... you know... more indulging like the rest of your mates. Not quite long ago I saw Weasley, quite by accident actually, doing the deeds with that Brown girl in that abandoned classroom one night, the berk stole my spot, damn him."
"Ron? Seriously?" Harry tapped on a betrayed lip curl. This was obviously fresh news to him. "He never said anything and he promised he'd tell..."
"Merlin, Harry, be it wizards or Muggles, we're all at that age already," Draco soothed when Harry continued to brood. "Hey, can I see your wand?"
Obviously too glad to be discussing something else Harry gratefully obliged. "Here, let me see yours too, Draco."
"Quite an impressive wand I must say," Draco praised. "Exceptionally warm, I daresay it likes me, likes me a lot too."
"Yours too," Harry volunteered kindly. "I wonder why, Draco, my wand is quite picky you know. Merlin, yours feels right at home in my hand too, strange huh?"
"I'll say," Draco agreed wholeheartedly as they took back their wands. "You do know the theory about wands don't you, Harry?"
"Not much, really..." Harry shifted guiltily. "What about it, Draco?"
Draco took his time showcasing his wandlore knowledge, making quite a show of examining his buffed fingernails and smoothing back his already impeccable sleek hairdo afterwards.
"Do you need a mirror? Get on with it!"
Draco smiled sweetly back. "You Gryffindors are too impatient," he laughed when Harry muttered out a foul adjective. "My mother religiously believes that a wand is like one's own child, when it picks you it simply means that it likes you at first sight. However, just like any innocent and impressionable child, it adopts how one chooses to wield it. But don't get me wrong, a wand in itself is neither good nor evil, it's more like a preordained companion to its owner."
"If you're a bad arse your wand will be too?" Harry asked seriously.
"Something like that," Draco nodded just as gravely as well. "However there're to be rare instances, when a wand would create ways for a change of ownership. As a matter of fact, when push comes to shove, it's actually never easy to disarm a wizard of his wand."
"But we've disarmed each others' wands during lessons without much fuss," Harry reasoned quite intelligently.
"I'm talking about real duels, Harry..." Draco spoke so softly that Harry had to lean in closer to hear what the Slytherin was mumbling. "It's those life and death deals or those in line with it. A wand does have a life of its own. The weaker ones naturally would fall prey to stronger if not often evil owners and thus it becomes a most powerful tool, instigated by the wielder's ugly whims. An extremely powerful wand chooses you because it likes your inbred if not honourable qualities, whatever those may be. It thrives on a challenge to make something out of you, quite rarely will it fail but when it does fail, that's when you will inevitably lose its significant allegiance."
"Whoa, that's... Gods, Draco, I never knew all that," Harry breathed, quite fascinated. "That day when we..." he tossed Draco who was watching him closely a contrite look. "When I hurt you..."
"When we were being complete arses," Draco amended with a rueful smile. "Just admit it, Harry, we were at our worst that day."
"Right," Harry smiled quietly back. "My wand felt hot and heavy in my hand, like as though it was... I dunno... angry maybe."
Draco's eyes darkened considerably when he heard that. "Mine too, it misbehaved for a few days afterwards," he admitted. "I noticed yours weren't working properly either."
"That's right," Harry agreed. "So I guess we're one of those lucky ones to have been chosen by powerful wands, Draco."
"Too powerful for me," Draco half scowled, to no one in particular. "I'm not cut out to be noble like you, Saint Harry."
"Then you'd better not misbehave again." Harry took the pale and larger hands in his in the briefest but firmest hold. Their eyes met for the longest time though. "It's really not wise for you to be wandless in these trying times, Draco."
"I'll behave if you stay out of my way." Draco just as briefly dropped his head against Harry's. "Go hide or something when your saw me next time."
"So not happening, Draco." Harry shook his head determinedly with a magnificent pout that absolutely no one had had the privilege to witness before, appearing quite puzzle when the blond suddenly broke into a grin but decided to ignore it all the same. "Now that I know a bit more about wandlore, I'll be everywhere to make sure you stay out of trouble."
"Hah! You do care about me," Draco pounced back gleefully. "Just admit it, Harry, after all these years I did manage to grow on you, didn't I?"
"Shameless aren't we, Draco?"
"Denial, denial and more denial, Harry."
The absolute rarity of their quiet moment thus gave way to juvenile jibes and puns once more although privately it was quite a different story altogether. Both were no doubt fervently banking the treasured memory deep inside their minds and hearts.
"Draco, I'm still curious, how come my wand likes you and yours me?" Harry asked sometime later.
"Mother says when that happens..." Draco hesitated, quite unlike his cocky self. "I'm not sure whether I should be telling you this, Harry."
"What?" Harry urged, somehow panicked. "Damn it, Draco, what? What?"
"It means entwined fates between said persons, deep emotional involvement as in soulmates," Draco explained in a single breath, sounding and looking totally out of character with an unmistakable bout of quite an endearing shyness.
Harry who was obviously seeing the adorable if not unimaginable side of the blond for the first time, gaped like a stranded fish until the impact of Draco's statement hit home.
"S...Soulmates?" he let out a stuttering whisper. "Us? But... but... that's... that's... I must talk to Dumbledore about this... this... is absurd... Must go to the library tomorrow... Gods...I need Hermione for this... This... is.. un...unthinkable..."
"S'matter, Harry," Draco drawled, gaining his usual momentum upon seeing the Gryffindor's rather comical state. "I'm not up to your standards? Or maybe the mighty hero is perhaps still so shy of me? Don't worry, kiddo, I've got a wealth of experience under my belt, I promise I'll be real gentle with my virgin bride."
"Don't joke about such things!" Harry snapped waspishly, looking as mortified as could be. "If anything, you'll be the bride and you'll be carrying all the babies, not me, Draco. The world will never get to see me waddle around with a bloated tummy, no way, I'll ensure of that. Yeah, and the child will bear my good name, not yours..."
Draco positively howled and sly as could be, he quickly clamoured Harry's slighter form to avoid being slapped or thwacked so that he could laugh to his heart's content.
"Anytime you're done just let me know, Draco." Harry was looking at Draco like he would desire nothing more than to Avada Kedavra him on the spot. "You're having me on, aren't you? Oi! Let me go damn it, I can't breathe, you prat!"
The blond hastily loosened his death grip on him and was duly rewarded with a sound smack on his high forehead. That soon made him hold Harry captive again.
"Do that one more time and I'll kiss you good and proper till you forgot your own name, Harry," Draco threatened and the helpless boy stiffened at the threat. "Okay, okay, simmer down, please, alright, alright .. just chill will you..."
"You deserved it, Draco," Harry huffed as he struggled to break free but Draco's strength was far greater. "Damn it, when did you get to be so strong? I always thought pale and blond people were frail creatures."
"Well you thought wrong obviously," Draco said with a grin so feral that made Harry swallow and look away. "I could manhandle you right here right now if I want to, princess but my mother brought me up better in that sense and so I won't."
That gave someone plenty to worry about that he quite missed the royalty title Draco bestowed him. "Don't you dare even think about it, Draco," Harry hissed.
"You really think I'd stoop that low, Harry?"
"Course not, Draco, we both know by now that you're actually okay for a slimy Slytherin."
The blond smiled reverently as he slowly heaved his body off the Gryffindor who immediately let out an inglorious yawn in his face.
"Sorry, I'm not usually this rude," Harry muttered when Draco sent him a reproaching look. "I'm suddenly so damn sleepy."
Draco found himself replicating the yawn just as ungraciously merely seconds later. "Me too actually, how do you reckon we should sleep?"
"Not fussy," Harry said. "On second thoughts, I gather we'd be more comfortable lying down?"
Draco was already maneuvering him to lie down. After a brief contemplation, Harry slipped his own folded cloak to pillow their heads. He didn't argue when Draco pulled him snugly close, in fact, he generously wrapped his hands around the blond as they curled under the thick furry blanket, each seeking the very much needed warmth to see them through the night.
The blond soon rested their foreheads together and grinned one last wicked grin. "I swear I didn't make that part up about the soulmate thing you know, you can even confirm that fact with Dumbledore and he'll tell you the exact same thing."
Harry grinned just as deviously back. "You're such a persistent prat aren't you, how many times must I tell you that I am not gay."
It wasn't long before their eyelids drooped low. It had been a long night after all.
"Whatever happens after tonight, I'll have you know that I don't have a choice, I never did have one to begin with."
"As long as I'm still alive and kicking, I'll have you know too that I'm never the sort who'll give up that easily, you will have a choice and I promise you that with my life."
~ dh ~
Harry finally gained entry to the Room of Requirement. He had been shadowing Draco closely for the past three months. The room was like a junkyard that evening, books, cloaks, shoes, socks, unwanted presents, broken chairs and tables, there was even a few dusty cupboards and empty bookshelves in the heavy mess. The Gryffindor wasn't interested in the useless whatnots.
"What the fuck are you doing here, Harry?"
Startled, Harry stumbled over a fallen bookcase and would have kissed the dirty floor had Draco not caught him in time, bringing him up to stand again in one swift motion.
"I could ask you the same, Draco," Harry said. "What the hell are you up to now?"
Draco glared and shoved him away, storming off without a word. Undeterred, the ever determined Gryffindor followed suit, glowering as they came upon an empty clearing nearby a dusty cabinet.
"Why won't you let me help you and your mother, Draco?"
"Stay out of my business, Harry."
Harry simply made to grab for Draco's shoulders with a bruising grip despite the blond's warning snarl. "You know I can't, Draco, why can't you just wake up already, you're on the wrong side and you know that!"
"Your ridiculous naivety astounds me sometimes, Saint Harry," Draco mocked as he effortlessly twisted away and roughly shoved the Gryffindor against the wall, trapping him there with his weight. "I don't have people watching my back like you do!" he shouted. "I could be murdered in my own home for all you know! My time is running real short! I can't be like you, I can never be like you and..."
The blond's sudden burst of rage went on for a long time and Harry let him, not bothered, stubbornly not resisting when Draco shook him like a rag doll, only his green eyes flickered with pain when his head hit the gravelled wall behind him quite a few times.
"Draco...Draco..." Harry called in a voice that was barely a whisper. "I will never give up on you, I promised you didn't I?"
That pulled Draco out of his delirious state and he pulled Harry close, who immediately slumped against him with a huge expulsion of breath.
"Gods, Harry, I'm sorry, damn it, your head's bleeding," he gasped, horrified when he saw a trail of crimson liquid trickle down the back of Harry's nape and he hastily reached for his wand, muttering out a healing charm to stem the bleeding, gently massaging the lump behind the Gryffindor's head. "Why didn't you slap me or something, you arse. I could've seriously hurt you."
"Like I could ever manhandle you, you mental berk," Harry chided, offering out a small smile, he tilted his chin up to gaze at Draco. Almost tentatively he let both his palms rest on each side of the pale cheeks, emitting a sharp intake of breath from the estranged blond. "Look at you, Draco, you're a mess, when was the last time you slept, I hardly ever see you during meals nowadays too. Your hair looks awful, worse than mine even and that's saying a lot..."
"Harry, please, just go away okay," Draco implored, breath ragged when Harry's hands slid back to grace his ears, fingers brushing the lobes in slow, feathery touches only to slip down to circle around his waist like a tight vice, all the while not breaking their eye contact. "Harry, you're torturing... Look, okay, listen here, I'm not exactly in my right state of mind right now, just go before I do something we'd both regret later, please."
"Like what?" Harry challenged. "What are you going to do if I refuse to leave you alone, Draco?"
For the two pained boys, the oncoming war between the dark side and the light side was instantly forgotten the moment Draco's lips met Harry's in a bruising kiss. The Gryffindor parted his mouth readily, welcoming the blond's seeking tongue just as feverishly as he responded to the fierce kiss, whimpering when Draco tugged his head closer, fingers curled around his hair in an overly possessive hold.
Reckoning filled the depth of Harry's beautiful seas of green, perhaps at last comprehending some of the obscure yearning he had felt for what seemed like forever, the Gryffindor surrendered himself to the sensation when Draco branded him with a lusty hiss on his throat with his teeth, suckling the tender flesh there almost greedily.
Yet apparently it wasn't enough.
"Harry, wait, listen... Damn... I want you... I've never wanted anyone as much before and I don't think I could ever let go of you after this..." Draco whispered when they were rid of all their clothes, lying on a thick mattress that somehow had mysteriously appeared. "Look at this hideous mark on my arm, Harry... Gods, please... please just say you don't want this and I'll stop, I'll stop just for you because you deserve someone better..."
Harry merely made to sprawl Draco on top of him, thrusting his hip up to meet Draco's throbbing hardness. The Gryffindor was without a doubt raring to know what it'd feel like to have the Slytherin move in him.
"I don't have a clue what we have right now, Draco, but I sure as hell know that you're the one who I want, you're the one who I need most right now," Harry whispered back. "I have faith in you, Draco... I always have, even before that night, your wand never did make the wrong choice, it believed in you, it still does and so do I..."
That apparently was enough for Draco and he kissed Harry hard, letting his hands explore the Gryffindor's flaming skin, soon going down on him but this time his mouth and tongue were doing the exploring instead, pale digits intruding Harry's tight cavern reducing him into delirious whimpers and when Draco finally thrust into him, Harry lost himself completely.
The next night saw a distraught and trembling Draco, pointing his wand at the aging wizard.
"My boy, I can help you," the headmaster called softly. "Do not destroy your soul, Draco, you're not alone, my boy, you're never alone, there are others who are willing to lay down their lives just to save yours."
Draco's eyes pooled and he lowered his wand just as Bellatrix and the other Deatheaters swept into the tower.
Somewhere nearby, stood a rigid figure, held by a full body binding curse, courtesy from the headmaster and his pair of brilliant green eyes were tearing as well.
Chaos erupted as the chandelier crashed onto the floor, shards of broken glasses few everywhere. Through the jets of red flashes, Draco's gaze caught Harry's and the blond bobbed his head down almost imperceptibly, his lips gave a one second twitch up at the corners. Harry's eyes flashed, his mouth copied the blond's hint of a smile and he lunged at Draco, wrestling the wands from him.
Little did the boys know, their brief exchange had captured the attention of two others who loved them just as dearly.
It had apparently escaped Harry's mind that the capacity of his best friend's emotions had more than once proved larger than a teaspoon.
In his anxiousness, Draco had no doubt forgotten too that his mother knew him better than he knew himself.
"What are you doing the door's that way!" Draco screamed.
"Okay alright, quit the act, no one's paying attention, you're making me deaf already!" Harry snapped. "How did you know about the diadem and why are you here in the first place?"
"I wanted to tell you something of marked importance... Deathly Hollows, Horcruxes I knew about them, I didn't remain idle, I researched everything, too bad those two blithering idiots saw me and butt in because they thought I wanted the glory alone," Draco hissed. "Listen, Snape is not a traitor, he's with Dumbledore all along."
"No way!" Harry's shock was cut short when he swerved the broom to avoid them both being singed to ashes by the malicious serpent residing in the horrifying Fiendfyre. "No, it couldn't be, he murdered Dumbledore, Draco."
"I overhead him talking to Dumbledore's portrait when I sneaked in one night in his swanky headmaster's room," Draco explained rapidly, cringing when another furious blast of the cursed fire flew their way, clamouring Harry with his body to shield him from the hellish heat. "Trust me, Harry, Dumbledore staged his death and he was the one who instructed Snape to kill him."
"Why didn't you tell me earlier?" Harry scolded severely, his eyes growing wild, frantically searching for the exit.
"I couldn't exactly owl you could I?" Draco shot back snidely. "Look, listen, you are now the true master of the Elder's wand and you're much more intelligent than you think you are so go figure, Harry... I can't go on any further because our route to survival is right there in front of us. Speed up slowcoach!"
Harry gaped in confusion and then howled in triumph.
"Why did you come back for me?" Draco hissed as Harry brought the broom to whiz at a tremendous speed to bring them both to safety. "If you die here everything would be lost."
"We're supposed to be soulmates that's why! Is that so fucking difficult for you to understand?" Harry hissed back moments before they sailed through the door.
Draco blinked, quite possibly wondering whether he had heard it right the first time.
As Harry hurried through the throngs of people in the Great Hall, he appeared not to hear them calling out his name, touching him, thanking him, his eyes remained fixed at the tall blond, looking as worse for wear as he was. Draco was pacing full speed towards him as well.
Harry broke into a light run when Ron suddenly came upon Draco's path but his sudden anxiousness appeared unfounded when the tall redhead out his hand at the blond who took it without hesitation. As Harry came upon them, Ron gave him a knowing grin and pushed Draco right smack into his arms.
"I love you, Harry."
The entire hall went quiet at the blond's loud albeit deliberate and rather dramatic declaration of love. Then barely a moment later a deafening buzz of loud gasps and whispers broke through the silent stillness when Draco tilted Harry's face up to kiss him long and hard for the world to see. The audience watched gapingly as the two boys swayed at the spot, indicating just how passionate the kiss was.
"I love you too, Draco," Harry whispered when the kiss broke, blushing most furiously as if just realising that all eyes were fixed on them. "Come on, let's get out of here, Merlin, I'm so embarrassed, everyone's staring at us..."
Draco looked surprised when he caught his mother's face breaking into one of her rare, sweet smiles whilst his father appeared too stunned to provide any reaction.
"All the better, I intend them to see that you are mine," the Slytherin muttered defiantly as his arms swept around the mortified hero.
"Look, Granger and Weasley are signalling us to follow them."
"They're heading towards Gryffindor Tower and I can already hear a full round on of interrogations around the corner," Harry lamented under his breath, face red when Neville winked at him and somewhat startled when Ginny grinned approvingly. "Hey, Ginny doesn't look disappointed at all, I wonder why..."
"I dunno, maybe she finds Longbottom who's as straight as an arrow a much better option to shag rather than her gay ex-boyfriend?"
"You do know something, spill it, Draco."
"Gossips later, I'd rather find a bed for us to shag right now, soulmate."
"Draco, must you?!"
"What? You left me hanging for so many months!"
As usual their bantering soon kicked off even as they were resolutely holding their heads high, walking hand in hand through the utterly mystified crowd.
The largest portrait that held one of the greatest wizards of all times ever since Merlin, had strangely remained unscathed after the final battle ended even though the headmaster's room looked as though a hurricane had just run through it.
"Finally I can rest in peace..."
The boys may not know it, but Albus knew. How could he not? He could always see the puzzled look on their faces after every spat that transpired between them. The same look one gave the other when they thought no one was looking during meals in the Great Hall. Year by year he watched them grow up, more and more drawn to each other and their secret gazes became more and more intense. Too bad circumstances were a hindering factor for them to have time to decipher what that strange intensity they carried inside their hearts was.
Yet strangely love would always find means and ways to unite two clueless hearts.
During that tournament back in fourth year, the second task had demanded someone precious to be taken from each champion. The goblet sputtered out bits of parchments stating that Viktor's precious was understandably Hermione because he was infatuated with her, Fleur's was her sister Gabrielle, Cedric's was Cho and Harry's precious to be rescued from the black lake was Draco.
Unfortunately for them, he being a most talented wizard, had changed it to Ron before the rest could see it.
All he could think back then was the hell that would have broken loose if two fourteen year old boys, both apparently still immature, not to mention those raging hormones, especially Draco who was already an established young romeo and Harry who was known for his Gryffindor stubbornness, discovered that they were unknowingly in love, very, very deeply at that one too.
Love could be blinding sometimes. He knew that well, too well. He experienced that blindness with Gellert. Ariana's death had brought him back to reality, of how potent love and desire could be. Someone like Harry would go all out for love. Draco would too, only that the poor lost boy hadn't known it yet back then.
However that bathroom incident had forced him to reroute his selfish plans even if it was for the greater good. He was there, under his own Disillusionment Charm of course, he saw the look of heartbreaking pain in their eyes, the words that they wanted to say but couldn't because they didn't even know what to say in the first place. He had to remind himself that not all love would end in tragedy such as his and Gellert's. Draco and Harry deserved that chance of which he had unfairly deprived them of.
So he gave them that tiny, little push on that fateful night on top of the Astronomy Tower.
And true enough, true love would always prevail no matter what.
"I'm surprised that the Weasel isn't such a berk after all, Harry, and Miss Know-It-All Granger, does she always bawl like a baby...Ow! What was that for?!"
"No more name callings from now on, Draco!"
He quietly indulged himself a silent chuckle, he was certain that their epic romance would be the talk of the entire Wizarding world in the many years to come.
"Why do you insist on seeing him now, Harry..."
"Need to ask him something about the Elder's wand, Draco..."
Albus had to quickly store away his amusement and his face looked all somber and wise when the door pushed open to let in the two delightful young soulmates.