Spoilers: Up to OotP. AU after HBP.
Summary: Oneshot! With future sequel. For more than one person Hogwart's great celebration is not as entertaining as it should be. Wandering away from the party, Draco Malfoy bumps into someone he didn't expect to see.
Authors Note: The title is taken from a quote by Sophocles, `One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.`
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is not mine. No profit is being made from this story.
It wasn’t healthy, Draco decided as he hovered by the drinks table with Blaise and Pansy, trying to ignore their knowing smiles. They kept `winking` at him, of all things. Could they be any more obvious? Draco almost kicked himself. Almost – because that would be undignified and far too muggle; hexing, hexing might be okay.
“Ooo, Isn’t he cute when he’s uncomfortable?” Pansy asked in that annoyingly high-pitched voice of hers, and actually pointed.
It wasn’t even subtle pointing. Subtle pointing might have been forgivable. But was Pansy ever subtle? No! She had to raise her arm to shoulder height, stretch it to full length, uncurl her index finger, and train her bright red talon straight at one Harry Potter.
“Don’t you think so, Draco?” She asked, smiling sweetly.
Draco immediately flushed a bright – but dignified – pink, and once again cursed the stupid bloody game of truth and dare – it was a childish game anyway, he shouldn’t have even given in to their taunts of cowardice. He grabbed the offending arm – it was still pointed at the oblivious Potter – and yanked it down.
“Ow! What was that for?”
Pansy really needed to work on her acting. Draco glared. It didn’t have the desired effect, instead causing the idiot girl to grin.
“Aww, is little Draco blushing? How sweet!”
Blaise snorted from his other side.
“Fuck you,” was Draco’s ever so witty retort. He glared harder, delberatley not looking at Potter.
“May I have you attention please!” Came the authorative tone of Professor McGonagall, hopefully saving him from future humiliation. “Students!”
All noise in the Great Hall ceased as the occupants turned to face the small dais where the teachers usually sat. McGonagall gave them all a small smile as she stepped aside and let Dumbledore take centre stage.
“Thank-you, Minerva,” the aging headmaster said, eyes twinkling as he surveyed the hall, decorated in every single colour of metallic streamer it was possible to conjure. But not as bad as some of the robes being displayed; Draco cast a disdainful glance at Weasley the elder – the younger actually looked somewhat presentable. Draco himself was dressed in his favourite silver-grey trousers, and white buttonless shirt under his powder blue robes. Money or no money, some people just didn’t put the effort in. Draco wasn’t one of those people.
“It is with great joy,” Dumbledore went on, “that I watch you all gathered here looking so happy. While it is important to remember those who lost their lives during the war, I have always felt that it is better to honour such sacrifice with celebration rather than mourning.”
“So, I will not take up any more of your valuable time, other than to ask Mr Harry Potter to step up and say a few words.”
Draco’s eyes shot, automatically, to Potter – it was involuntary, honestly. The horrified expression on Harry’s steadily reddening face made Draco smirk; he was horrid at public speaking, as he had proved at last year’s celebration. Really, he ought to have suspected something like this.
Draco’s eyes followed the man as he made his way, awkwardly, through the throng of students, to the stage. It took Harry forever to reach Dumbledore. Draco’s head tilted involuntarily to the side as Harry stepped up onto the platform.
“Um…” Harry made a muddled start, “I guess I should have expected something like this…” He scratched the back of his head and smiled sheepishly at the crowd. They chuckled, and even Draco couldn’t help the smile that forced its way onto his face.
“I really don’t have anything planned.”
No shit, Draco thought, still grinning like a bloody idiot.
“So, I guess all I have to say is, well…thanks to everyone who helped arrange all this,” he made a vague sweeping gesture, and Draco heard mass giggling from a group of girls near the stage – he didn’t pay much attention though, because the sweeping gesture had made the sleeve of Harry’s robe ride up revealing his wrist, and to Draco, all skin was good skin when it came to Harry. “Um…the food, and the decorations and stuff…And, enjoy the second annual Hogwart’s Victory Day celebration!”
His speech – if you could call it that – was met with thunderous applause and Harry sagged with visible relief. Personally, Draco preferred last year’s speech; Harry had stood up there, his body still bruised and broken from battle – on Merlin knows how many potions – and given a rousing, if somewhat slurred, speech on love and victory and coming together in the face of adversity – well, that’s the way Draco remembered it, though it probably wasn’t half so eloquent.
Harry hung his head as he stepped down from the stage. Draco was still watching him when Blaise elbowed him in the ribs minutes later. Harry had gone back to his friends, and was once again swallowed up by his hoards of admirers. The lights had dimmed, the Hall lit only from above by hundreds of fluttering fairies, and the music started up, coming from the direction of the stage – Dumbledore had managed to get The Dragons to play this year.
“What?” He snapped at Blaise, turning on his patent glare.
Blaise actually withered a little under the gaze – having been on the receiving end of Draco’s wrath far more often than Pansy – and gestured somewhat limply to Draco’s trousers. Draco followed the gesture suspiciously.
“Bollocks!” He hissed, tilting his cup upright again – a pointless act as its contents were no covering his legs. The thin material was beginning to stick to his skin – the trousers were most likely ruined.
With a growl, he slammed the cup down on the table behind him, and stormed out of the Great Hall, once again contemplating the damage that fancying Potter was doing to his psyche, let alone his wardrobe.
When Draco returned to the party just over half an hour later, ready to ignore Harry Bloody Potter and the way his dress robes fit so snugly – he suspected the younger Weasley’s hand in that – Potter was gone. He found that it was far more uncomfortable not to know where Potter was, than it was to wander around with pumkin juice staining his favourite trousers. He wondered if he should worry about that. Was he developing stalker tendencies? That was so…plebeian.
Blaise was beckoning him back over to the drinks table, and for one grumpy moment he considered not going, but without Harry it should be safe.
“You took your time!” Blaise sulked, “Pansy made me dance with her.”
Draco responded with a glare.
“All you had to do was change you trousers after your little bout of Potter craziness-”
“Not your whole outfit.” Blaise finished.
“Co-ordination is important,” he told his friend.
He had changed into midnight blue robes to complement his tight black trousers tucked into knee-high boots. He’d actually kept on the same shirt, so Blaise was talking out of his arse.
“So you’re not just trying to impress Potter then?”
“As if he’d notice. Where is he anyway?”
“Disappeared ten minutes after you. I think he got sick of people fawning all over him.”
Draco `hmm’d` in agreement.
Pansy thought he might have followed you to pronounce his undying love for you, and the two of you were shagging like Kneazles in heat.
“I fear that is never going to happen,” Draco scowled, “why are you standing over here on your own anyway.”
“Why are you?”
“I’m being aristocratically aloof,” Draco answered easily.
“Me too,” Blaise said, unconvincingly.
Draco turned to his companion and raised an inquisitive eyebrow. Blaise rolled his eyes and nodded his head, gesturing to some point in the middle of the dark hall. Draco glanced in that direction. Finch-Fletchley was dancing with a sixth year boy. As Draco watched, the boy leaned forward and whispered in the offending man’s ear, Finch-Flatchley simpered and laughed accordingly. It was nauseating.
“I warned you about Hufflepuffs, Blaise. At least Slytherins don’t hide the fact that they’re self-serving.”
He glanced sideways at Blaise, who was making a valiant effort to smirk.
“Perhaps the occasion calls for something stronger than pumpkin juice,” Draco commented, rather more gently than he usually spoke.
“Do you suggest I drown my sorrows in butterbeer?” Blaise snapped.
“Or,” Draco suggested, smiling and reaching into his robes to pull out a small silver hip flask, “fire whiskey.”
“Draco! You Slytherin!” Blaise’s smirk was real again.
And that was the logic that lead to the two of them finding seats in a quiet corner with two glasses of pumpkin juice and a bottomless flask of fire whiskey.
“He’s an arsehole,” Blaise slurred, an hour and a half later. “I woulden-ve minded if e’d said it was just shaggin’, but ‘e made it sound like, like, like, you know…”
Blaise was quite an entertaining drunk; he tended to lose the airs and graces his mother made him put on and slip into his natural accent – a sort of mish-mash of south
Draco, who was considerably more sober, nodded his understanding and checked to see if anyone was watching them as Blaise slid down the hand that had been supporting him so that he was half-lying across the table.
“Maybe we should go,” he suggested, “we don’t want the bastard to see you upset.”
“Hmm,” Blaise mused, looking up at Draco from the table. A lazy smile spread across his face. “You know,” he said, looking at Draco with a mischevious glint in his eye. “Justin fancies you.”
“Oh,” Draco replied non-committedly, though his slightly hazy mind was already racing down the path to the conclusion he knew Blaise had clearly already reached.
Of course, if he had been thinking clearly, he would not have even considered it, but as it was, he was already quite tipsy, and when he caught sight of that bastard Finch-Fletchley glancing their way…well, he was a Slytherin.
He rested a hand on Blaise’s head and gently stroked the soft black hair. He flicked his eyes subtly back to Finch-Fletchley, and smirked.
“He’s watching us,” Draco whispered, leaning close to his friend.
Blaise smirked, and propped his head back up on his hand bringing their faces close. Draco closed the distance, brushing his lips against a pair equally swollen by the heat of the fire whiskey.
He had kissed Blaise before – though not recently – and they quickly fell into familiar actions. Draco laced his fingers through soft hair. Blaise leaned in closer, and laid a drunken hand on Draco’s thigh. It was comfortable, which no doubt showed to however might be watching. They parted with a wet noise.
“This would be a good time to make our exit,” he whispered, glancing towards a staring Finch-Fletchley.
Blaise nodded, and pressed a quick kiss to his lips before staggering into a standing position. Draco slipped an arm around his intoxicated friend’s waist and stood up too, taking a moment to steady them both. They staggered out of the hall together, Blaise leaning heavily on Draco.
Once the doors had closed behind them, Blaise chuckled.
“Thanks,” he said, stepping away from Draco.
“You’re welcome. Just don’t laugh like that, you sound like a bloody Gryffindor.”
“I thought you liked bloody Gryffindors.”
“One Gryffindor. The rest of them can go to hell.”
“I’m going out for a smoke. Can you make it back on your own?”
“Oh, either that, or I’ll pass out somewhere,” Blaise grinned, teetering sideways.
“If I find you, I’ll drag you back to the dorm,” Draco told him.
“Ta,” Blaise raised a hand in thanks as he turned a tottered off to the dungeons, humming to himself and using the wall as support.
He waited until Blaise was out of sight before turning an, instead of going out of the heavy wooden doors, pressed a hand to the third stone to the left of the tapestry of the unicorn. The passage way behind the unicorn, which his father had told him about before his third year, led to a small grey-stone courtyard that Draco had never managed to find without the secret entrance. It was really a beautiful place – no matter the season – only twelve feet square and set into the wall of the castle. It was enclosed on three sides and had a pyramidal roof that made it an ideal place to watch storms. The front of the courtyard was a waist-high wall with columns rising every few feet, making arched, glassless windows that looked over fields and forests, and, in the distance, mountains. All in all, it had to be Draco’s favourite place in the castle.
He walked immediately to one of the windows in the dim candlelight. He leaned against the sill and pulled a packet of cigarettes from his robes, along with his wand and the silver flask, setting them out in a line on the thin ledge. He took a cigarette from the half-empty packet and used his wand to light it. Smoke curled out into the night. Draco inhaled gratefully, then relaxed to look out over the landscape.
“That’s bad for you, you know.”
Draco jumped about three feet in the air and span, grabbing his wand. His heart hammered against his ribcage.
“Oh,” he sighed, relaxing, and slipping his wand back into his sleeve, “it’s you. You scared the shit out of me, Potter.”
Harry shrugged. He was sitting on the stone bench set against the back wall.
Draco picked up his tabs and flask from the wall and skulked over to the other boy, taking a seat beside him.
“You changed,” Harry said, gesturing to his clothes.
Draco felt a smirk fall naturally onto his face as reflex took over – and his brain took a back seat; it often did that when he conversed with Potter.
“Do you often pay so much attention to my clothing, Potter?” He asked, and could have sworn that Harry blushed as he shrugged and stared out at the mountains.
“Have you been out here all night?” Draco asked.
“Do you often pay so much attention to where I am?”
Harry didn’t respond to that. Draco took a drag of his rapidly shrinking cigarette, blowing the smoke away from Harry, and offered him the flask. He was wearing light linen robes, and, June or not, must have been at least a little chilly, plus, the thought of Harry’s lips against his anything made Draco shiver. Harry took the flask and took a swig, choking as he swallowed.
“What the hell is that!” He spluttered.
“Fire whiskey,” Draco answered then, without meaning to, added, “to warm you up,” and flushed. He took the flask back and took a swig, trying to separate the taste of Harry from the taste of fire whiskey.
They sat in silence while Draco smoked. Harry was the first to speak.
“What are you going to do after we leave?” He asked.
Draco was a little surprised by the question. While they had been civil to each other since his father had switched sides and been released from Azkaban, they hardly had the kind of relationship that involved talking.
Draco shrugged, and then answered tentatively.
“Nothing really. I suppose one day I’ll have to get married and produce an heir, but before that…I haven’t got a clue.” He dropped the cigarette and ground it out with a boot. “You?”
“I…I want to travel,” Harry told him, and stopped.
“Escape your horde of fans?” Draco asked.
He looked startled.
“Where will you go?” Draco asked, there was a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach when he thought of Harry leaving, of not being able to see him every day, of maybe never seeing him again.
“I don’t know,” he answered, “far enough away that people stop recognising me.”
“My…my grandfather left me an apartment in
He couldn’t look at Harry as he made the offer.
Draco shrugged, and cursed himself for not being able to think of something witty to say. Harry tugged the flask from his chilled fingers and eagerly took a swig. Draco couldn’t help but watch Harry’s throat out of the corner of his eye, as he swallowed the burning liquid and coughed.
“So,” Harry’s voice was rough, “what are you doing here? How did you find this place?
Draco had made the mistake of turning to look at Harry as he spoke, and was now quite trapped by his sight, his mind blurring around the edges.
“My father told me about the passage,” he answered.
Harry twitched at the mention of Lucius, but Draco carried on, after all, his father wasn’t fond of Harry either.
“Finch-Fletchley broke up with Blaise,” he said as Harry took a drink, “so I’m pretending to have sex with him.”
Harry choked on the mouthful of firewhiskey. Draco smirked.
“You what!” Harry spluttered, “what happened to finding a wife and having an heir?”
“I’m eighteen,” Draco replied, “besides, I said pretending. I wouldn’t be here otherwise would I?”
“So you’re not shagging Zabini?” Harry asked, then seemed to realise what he had said and blushed violently.
Draco smirked, his mind waking up again, and his imagination kicking into overdrive.
“No, I’m not,” he licked his suddenly dry lips and watched Harry closely as he added, “anymore.”
The reaction he garnered was comical. Harry’s eyes widened behind his hideous glasses, and his mouth dropped open. Draco took the opportunity of Harry’s stunned silence to light another cigarette, hoping to calm his trembling hands.
“You…you…you’re,” Harry spluttered, and Draco started to think that he had misread the situation somewhat in his not especially sober state. That was about the same time he realised just how badly he’d bollock-sed up his reputation already, and he had little else to lose. Plus, he had no intention of carrying the stupid cruch around with him forever.
“Gay?” Harry managed to finish.
“I don’t know,” Draco answered honestly, and hoped that Harry appreciated the gesture, “I like you.”
Harry swallowed, and his mouth worked without success to voice a reply.
“Take your time,” Draco offered, smoking and trying to calm his erratic heartbeat. He wasn’t a naturally brave person, and this situation was taking all his reserves.
Harry finally seemed to recover and took a few more gulps from the bottomless flask as Draco ground out his second cigarette.
“I like you too.”
Draco’s head snapped up and towards Harry, so quickly that it hurt.
Harry nodded nervously. Draco smiled. It was the first time he had smiled at Harry, in fact, it was the first time he’d ever had a real conversation with the other man. He didn’t know what to do next, or rather, he knew what he should do, but his courage had finally run out.
“How did you know about this place anyway?” He asked instead.
“I have a map of Hogwarts,” Harry answered, distractedly.
“What kind of map?” Draco asked, noticing the way Harry’s eyes followed his lips as he spoke.
Harry didn’t answer. Draco was searching for something else to say when he felt someone else’s breath on his lips. Harry’s green eyes were suddenly so close, half-hidden by those hideous glasses. Draco’s breathing shallowed, and he reached up, removing the offending objects so had an unobstructed view. He held onto the glasses tightly, wondering if Harry would notice if he kept them. He didn’t have time to follow that thought to its disturbing conclusion, because Harry’s lips were suddenly on his, and his eyes fluttered shut as he tried to memorise the sensation.
Harry’s lips were rough, but Draco didn’t mind; Harry wasn’t the type to wear lip balm. When he opened his mouth, Draco drowned in the feeling of Harry’s tongue pressed against his. Draco moaned, leaning into Harry, and entangling both hands in his hair, with some difficulty due to the glasses he still held.
Hands tugged at his shirt, pulling it out of his trouser. And then Draco could feel calloused, damp palms gripping solidly at his waist. He didn’t know how long they stayed like that – the taste of Harry, and the little man doing a victory dance in his head, drowned out any concept of time – but when they parted, they were both breathing heavily, lips swollen and eyes glazed.
That was the first time that the thought flitted through his mind, the thought that maybe it wasn’t just a crush. After all, he had never been so afraid to act on a crush before. The though, however, was ignored as Harry kissed him again.