Disclaimer: All rights belong to J.K. Rowling. I do not claim any ownership of the characters or settings contained within. This story is for entertainment only and is not part of the official story line.
Warnings: Contains mature language and sexual content
Summary: Harry's friends want him to find true love. But when a spell that promises happy endings goes out of control, fairy tales come to life and Draco becomes Harry's Prince Not-So-Charming.
Author's Note: A recent review of Bringing Up Weasley called it "almost crackfic." So I thought it was time to go all the way. Poor Draco loses his dignity again and again, but it's all for the greater good.
"Hurry, he's coming."
"Quickly, add it now!"
"Don't let it spill!"
"Get out of the way."
When the golden mist billowed out of his friends' cauldron and surrounded Harry as he entered the Gryffindor common room, he knew something was terribly amiss. First off, one didn't usually find golden mists shooting out of cauldrons. Second, spells and potions weren't typically worked up in the common room. Third, his best friends respected him too much to plot against him.
The fog cleared slowly, swirling around him and then dissipating throughout the room and seeping into the walls. Hermione, Ron, Ginny, and Neville stared at him with expectant grins. Maybe plotting wasn't the right word. But they were certainly meddling in his life once again.
"What did you just do?" Harry sighed.
"True love!" Hermione squeaked.
"What about it?"
"Well," she took a deep breath and Harry knew he was in for a big explanation. "Ever since Ron and I started dating, and since things have gotten serious with Ginny and Neville, we felt you were becoming the odd man out. So we thought, wouldn't it be nice if you connected with someone and fell in love and then you could go out on dates with us."
"Keep going," Harry folded his arms across his chest.
"We found this spell for finding true love," she continued breathlessly. "It finds your perfect match and brings you together." She sighed and gazed up at Ron dreamily. "It finds your fairy tale love, the kind they write stories about."
"We cast the spell, and now it's going to go out and find your soulmate," Ginny said. "You'll find each other and fall in love in no time."
"My fairy-tale true-love soulmate?" Harry repeated. He eyed Ron and Neville. "You thought this sounded like a good idea?"
"It didn't sound like a terrible idea," Ron ducked his head and avoided meeting Harry's gaze. "But anything sounds terrible if you say it in that tone of voice."
"They said you would appreciate it," Neville added. "I only went along with it because they said you would be grateful."
Harry sank onto a chair. Behind his friends the fireplace crackled merrily and the soft glow of lanterns along the walls lent a cheery hominess to the familiar space. He would have loved to curl up with a blanket and a chess set and relax for the evening. Instead he was dealing with this. "You have to stop meddling in my life," he said. "We're not kids anymore. I don't need you to cast spells on me and fix things. I'll find someone in my own time."
"But that's just it, you don't have to wait for it to happen in its own time," Hermione still sounded excited. "And you don't have to do anything. The spell does the work for you."
"That's assuming a lot," Harry leveled a steady gaze at her. "The world is a big place. Who's to say my soulmate is here at Hogwarts?"
"Well," Ginny started to answer and then stopped. The four friends exchanged a confused look.
"You didn't think of that," Harry said.
"Of course your soulmate is here," Ginny looked baffled. She pointed to her brother, then Neville. "I mean, we found..."
"Right," Harry nodded. "You assumed that because you found someone to date, the world of options would naturally be this narrow for everyone."
"So what happens if it can't find someone?" Harry asked. "Let's be sure this isn't going to backfire on me and make me fall in love with, say, an owl."
"It doesn't make you fall in love," Hermione hefted the tattered old spellbook and pointed to a page within. "It just brings you together so that you can discover the love that will surely happen on its own."
"And if that doesn't happen," Harry repeated. "How much punishment am I in for?"
"None," Hermione said, quickly scanning the supporting text that surrounded the spell. "It just goes out and looks for your fairy tale love, and brings the two of you together. That's all it says."
"Can you rescind it?"
"I don't think so," she murmured into the book.
"Of course not," Harry pinched the bridge of his nose and prayed for patience. "I guess there's nothing I can do about it. Your spell is out there looking for love on my behalf and will serve it up on a silver platter."
"See, it sounds better when you say it that way," Ron said.
"It will be fine," Hermione's grin returned to her face. "It will be fun. It will be brilliant. Imagine that moment of joy ahead of you when the spell returns the person you're meant to be with."
"That will be great," Harry murmured. Wouldn't she be surprised? Assuming the spell worked at all, wouldn't they all be surprised? Wouldn't they all be in for the shock of their lives when the sodding spell brought back a boy?
He didn't want to think about it.
At first nothing happened. In fact the day was so totally normal that Harry suspected the spell had fizzled. It supported his theory that there was no one at Hogwarts who fit the bill. He reminded himself that he couldn't be disappointed, he already knew that the likelihood of being connected with someone on the school roster was slim.
It wasn't until after the last class of the day, Slughorn's Advanced Potions class, that something seemed strange. Harry was walking down an empty corridor past the second floor boys' lavatory when it happened.
He wasn't sure what he was hearing at first. It was soft, nearly a whisper, then it grew louder and more confident. Harry stopped in his tracks, breath suspended as he listened to the melodic sound. It was a male voice, a tenor with rich, clear tones and perfect pitch. His eyelids fluttered and his heart beat faster as it ascended to a beautiful high C and then descended again through a spine-tingling run of notes.
He grasped the door frame and wondered who in all of Hogwarts could produce such dulcet tones. They went straight to his heart and then his groin and he became light-headed with desire. He wanted to march into the restroom and seize the owner of that voice in his hands and do all sorts of delightful things to show how much he enjoyed the performance. It was enlightened. It was inspired. It was-
"Bollocks," the voice interrupted itself. "All over my sodding robes." Harry heard the gust of a warm air spell and then footsteps. He jumped back and hid behind a suit of armor in an alcove as the footsteps' owner crossed the threshold of the restroom into the hall.
Draco Malfoy glanced up and down the corridor, straightened his robes, and departed for the stairs. Harry stared after him with slack jawed bewilderment. As soon as Draco was out of sight he ran into the lavatory and searched every stall and every corner for another occupant. But no one else was in there. Which only meant one thing: the owner of that voice, that amazingly alluring, sensual voice was none other than Draco Malfoy.
Which certainly couldn't be true. Because Harry was certain of two things: Draco Malfoy was tone deaf, and Harry would never think of him as sensual.
Which was what made it so strange . Because here he was and both things were true.
Later things were even stranger. On his way to the Great Hall for supper he passed Millicent Bulstrode wrapped in a cloak and carrying a basket of shiny red apples. Her eyes darted about in nervous little jabs, her other hand jealously covering the largest, shiniest apple on top.
A second-year Slytherin boy ran by, nearly knocking Harry into the wall in his haste. But when he spied Millicent's basket he screeched to a halt and turned around.
"Those look delicious," he said. "May I have one?"
"No!" Millicent's eyes darted up and down the hall and lingered on Harry for a moment. "They're all mine. I picked them myself. Go get your own."
Harry frowned. She had to have a half dozen apples in her basket. Not sharing seemed greedy, even for her.
"Aw come on, just one," the boy pleaded.
"No! Now go away before I hex you stupid," she snapped. Her eyes landed on Harry again. "What are you looking at, Potter?"
"Nothing," Harry said, and continued on his way.
"You eighth-years are so mean," the second year boy said as Harry rounded the corner.
"Just you wait," Millicent's voice drifted up the corridor. "You'll be glad I didn't give you one of my apples."
"That's unnecessarily ominous," Harry muttered to himself. But he pushed it out of his mind and continued on to supper. He found a seat with Ron and Hermione and put the incident out of his mind.
"Anything yet?" Hermione asked.
"Clearly not," Harry said. "I told you the spell wasn't likely to find anyone at Hogwarts."
"Maybe it takes time," Ginny suggested from across the table. "True love doesn't just happen, you know."
A ruckus at the Slytherin table caught their attention. Draco Malfoy had arrived with seven small first-years on his heels. The underclassmen were whistling a cheerful tune and followed him directly to the green and silver-decked table.
"Get away from me you miniature berks," Draco snapped at them. His cheeks were flushed with anger, which Harry noticed looked quite fetching against his pale skin. He shook his head. Where had that thought come from?
"He has an entourage," Neville said with chagrin. "Not even being a Death Eater wrecked his popularity."
"I don't recall him ever having an entourage of first-years," Ron frowned. "Maybe they're being coerced."
The first underclassman sat next to Draco with a grin. The second one ducked her head shyly as she sat. The third yawned and laid his head down on the table. The fourth glared at his lazy classmate and jabbed him in the side with a fork. The fifth sneezed uproariously and shoved a pepper grinder away from her plate. The sixth adjusted his glasses and sat primly in his seat. The seventh stumbled and giggled and flopped down at the end of the row.
"Honestly, you lot are starting to annoy me," Draco snapped, his voice ringing out across the Great Hall.
Harry squinted at the Slytherin table. Something was nudging at his brain, a familiarity he couldn't quite pin down. He stared at the back of Draco's head, his pale blond hair as remarkably platinum as usual, nearly white in its contrast to his dark robes. A soft, snowy white.
"Wait a minute," Harry muttered.
Just then the doors to the Great Hall flung open again and Milicent slunk through in her hooded cloak with the basket of apples dangling from her arm. She took a moment to glower around the room and then went straight to the Slytherin table. She tapped Draco on the shoulder and forced a smile. Harry leaned forward and watched intently.
"Draco, I picked some lovely apples today," Millicent said. She raised the basket to show him. "Would you like one?" And then the largest apple was in her hand, gleaming and red and delectable.
Draco looked up at her in confusion. He shook his head, his blond forelock falling back from his face. His white blond forelock. His snow white blond-
"Oh shit," Harry jumped up from his seat. "Malfoy! Don't eat that apple!"
He ran down the length of the table and made a beeline for Millicent's hand, which tried to press the apple into Draco's grip. Draco's brow furrowed at Harry's approach, totally bewildered by what was happening.
"Don't!" Harry smacked Millicent's hand, sending the fruit flying down the aisle between the tables. She and Draco shouted in protest, but Harry wasn't done. He dashed over to where the apple had landed and stomped on it hard enough to mash it into the flagstone floor. A noxious green puff of smoke rose from the blackened core and a disembodied yawn filled the air before it faded from existence.
"Sleep spell," Harry said, looking to Millicent for an explanation.
"Bollocks!" she spat, then whirled and ran from the hall.
Everyone was quiet. Draco looked at the mashed apple, then up at Harry. His bewildered expression took on a hint of annoyance. "What was that all about, Potter?" he sneered, like actually sneered, when he said Harry's name.
"Poisoned apple. Sleep spell," Harry repeated.
"I don't need your help, you nutter," Draco said. "In case it wasn't obvious, I wasn't about to eat one of her sodding apples. She was about as subtle as a Slugulus Eructo."
"I," Harry didn't know what to say. "Okay then."
"Go back to your table, Potter," Draco rolled his eyes and turned around. He glanced down the line of seats at the seven first-years. "And stop staring at me, every last one of you."
Harry trudged back to his table and sat down again. His friends were staring wide-eyed at him.
"What was that?" Ron asked.
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." Harry said. "I think we need to have a look at that spell after supper."