Detention, as we all know from the clichéd stories you must have read, can be fun. Written before Half-Blood Prince. (Harry/Draco)
Harry shook his head. He had to stop letting his thoughts wander during Potions. He had to get good marks. His entire life was dependant on this class - well, among others, but this was the most critical. With McGonagall's help, as well as some tutoring from Hermione - though how she could manage such a thing was beyond him - his grades were gradually improving in every class... except Potions. Snape seemed determined to fail him, if that could be considered news. Almost every other class he insisted that Hermione and Pansy Parkinson switch partners.
"...an Attraction Potion."
"A what?" Harry sputtered, looking up. Draco rolled his eyes, smirking, as Snape glared down his nose. He had a bad habit of reacting suddenly when he wasn't paying much attention. Behind his frown, he knew Snape absolutely loved it.
"Mister Potter," he began, sweeping across the room to his desk with a flourish of his cape, "if hope to ever pass my class in this lifetime, I strongly suggest you learn to pay attention. Five minutes into the class and you're already daydreaming. Of what, may I ask? Saving the world and gaining even more glory?"
Harry reddened, casting his eyes down as he shook with silent anger, but didn't respond. He knew better by now than to try to block any of Snape's jabs at his past. It only encouraged him to give him awful grades, to knock his potions over, to "misplace" his homework... it just wasn't worth it. Hermione gave him a reassuring look, quietly proud of him for not rising to the challenge in those words. When Snape looked her way, she quickly pretended to be engrossed in her notes, which were already three times as long as Pansy's, and many more times his own (which consisted of the words "Potions Notes" and "the").
Snape stared at him for a moment, and then, with another flourish, returned to the front of the room. "Ten points from Gryffindor, Potter." Draco snickered next to him, and Harry would have sworn his hands were possessed, the way they seemed to want to punch him. Was it possible for someone to cast the Imperius Curse on one part of your body?
The students, flipping open their textbooks and glancing up every now and then at what was written on the board, began taking out ingredients. Having only the faintest idea what they were making, he turned to Draco, who was staring just as expectantly back at him, eyebrows raised. "Well?"
"Well what?" Harry asked. "Do you expect me to do this all myself?"
"You can't fail this class. It doesn't matter if I get one bad grade."
Harry glared. "I can't do this on my own. And what would your father think if you failed an assignment and lowered your grade even further below Hermione's?"
That wiped the smirk of his pointed face. He paled a little, turning away. "Fine," he snarled, "but you're doing the work! I'll just tell you what to do."
As much as he didn't want to ever have a Malfoy, especially Draco, tell him what to do, it was a suitable compromise, all things considered. He carefully measured, cut, peeled, and prepared each of the many ingredients as instructed, muttering his complaints under his breath as Draco criticized his cutting technique ("You're going to cut it's head off like that!"). Finally, sick of the complaining as he slowly stirred the potion, he cleared his throat and made a weak attempt at pleasant conversation. "So... what does this potion do, anyway?"
Draco scoffed. "If you were capable of paying the least bit of attention, Potter, you'd know that." He paused, and then continued anyway. "Whoever drinks it his or her their appearance altered - in subtle ways, mind you - so that they look more..." He glanced up at Snape, then lowered his voice slightly. "Sexy, basically."
At the way Draco said it - as though he were six and it was some horribly naughty word - Harry snorted. "Why, exactly?"
Draco shrugged. "Closest thing to a legal Love Potion, I guess."
"Oh." He continued stirring, not really concentrating. Then he began to wonder something. "Er... which of us will be taking it, then?"
Draco smirked again, and Harry really, really wanted to punch him. "If you're so /desperate/, Potter, I suppose I could let you take it. I wouldn't want to be poisoned, I suppose. Besides, I'm already godly anyway, and you can't make perfection better."
If Draco was perfection, Harry reasoned, he wanted to be as imperfect as possible. Done stirring, he watched as the potion bubbled thickly, an odd, glowing red. "Do we have to add anything else?"
"Three veela hairs," Draco replied, dropping them into the brew - obviously they'd already been given them by Snape, as it wasn't a part of their basic supply set - which gave a small, fiery explosion and then settled into an annoyingly bright shade of pink. Harry grimaced; it smelled like burning hair... probably because that was in it.
They were finished just in time. Looking over at Hermione, he saw her re-reading her notes - possibly checking for errors in spelling or grammar - and Pansy calmly studying her nails, which were a color shockingly similar to their potion. It looked just like Harry and Draco's, so Harry was fairly confident it had been done right. They looked as though they'd been done for some time - so Hermione had probably taken the potion-making over and let Pansy do... whatever Pansy did in her free time.
"Mister Potter..." Harry looked up to see Snape standing over his cauldron once again, staring into his cauldron with a look of utter distaste on his face. He was, obviously, quite disappointed that Harry had managed to get it at least looking right. If he did have it right, there was no possibly way he could fail this assignment. Harry smiled a little. "You will be the first to test your potion. Let us hope that you have it correct, as mistakes with this particular potions have caused my students to sprout antlers in the past."
Draco sniggered. Harry watched as Snape ladled a bit of the potion into a goblet, shoving it at him rather forcefully. A little apprehensive, though confident that he wouldn't have antlers popping from his head, he took it, looking at it tentatively, watching it bubble, before downing it in one gulp.
Suddenly he felt... warm. Not just warm, but scorching hot. It wasn't unpleasant, though, that feeling as though his insides were boiling; it merely felt odd. He looked at his hands, and his skin seemed to have turned red - and then it was normal again, but different, somehow. He was just barely able to see his reflection in the shine of the goblet; his hair looked tidier, the bridge of his nose a little straighter, his chin ever-so-slightly different... and his glasses were no longer round, but thinly bordered and square-ish. He looked quite... good.
And he saw Draco in the reflection, too; looking at him, mouth agape, a hint of red on his cheeks. Smirking in his own, less-arrogant fashion, Harry turned to him, daring him to make some sort of snide comment. He didn't; instead, he turned forward, utterly still, that light blush still there.
Looking around, it seemed like much of the rest of the class agreed with him. Even Pansy was looking at him - not directly, of course, but watching him out of the corner of her eye as she attempted to do her nails, accidentally streaking bright pink across the back of her hand. Hermione gave him a quickly thumbs up, smiling. Her eyes seemed unable to tear themselves away from his face... on penalty of ending up elsewhere. More of the male members of the class were sneaking appreciative glances than he would have thought, but that didn't bother him that much. Only Snape's twisted, disgusted frown bothered him.
"Mister Potter, it seems you have failed once again."
"What?" He couldn't stop himself that time. Hermione gaped, Pansy didn't bother shrieking, and several other classmates began protesting, though none so loudly as Draco.
"Professor!" he said, standing up. "I assure you, I watched over everything he did, and the potion was perfect! You can't say there weren't at least some improvements! I made sure he did it right."
Snape seemed to have forgotten that his favorite student was also working at this particular cauldron, and looked stunned. After a moment, he regained his cold composure, muttering to himself. Snarling and taking another glance into the pink liquid, he nodded and turned around, off to check another pair's potion.
Only a few other groups had successfully brewed the potion. Crabbe and Goyle had turned theirs a rust color, and Crabbe had, indeed, grown antlers when it had been tested. Somehow, it didn't seem to make that much of a difference, besides his inability to get through doors without knocking himself over in the process, and constantly hitting Goyle over the head with them. Hermione's had been successful, of course, and Ron took notice as they walked to dinner together.
"Your teeth... are so shiny!"
Hermione grinned, and, indeed, they seemed to sparkle.
"And you look taller, too."
It was her legs, mostly. She was hardly a few inches shorter than the redhead.
"And your hair..."
"I /know/, Ron."
"And..." Oh, don't say it... Harry mentally begged him. Unfortunately, Ron was not telepathic. "You've got giant-"
Harry thought it seemed quite lucky for most of the passersby that Peeves had decided to launch a Dungbomb attack, causing several third-year girls to shriek loudly. The next thing he knew, Hermione was walking away huffily, and Ron was rubbing the side of his face. He frowned.
"Well... she /does/."
"I know, Ron. I know."
Harry guessed that he would have continued to be slightly amused by Ron's bluntness, had Malfoy not decided to show his face once again. "Hey, Potter," he sneered, a sure sign that he was about to say something both insulting and stupid at the same time, "even with that potion you're still stuck with the Weasel. Though, I'm sure he appreciates it."
Ron would've given Malfoy a black eye, it was clear, but Harry got to him first. Of course, he got his own in return, but Harry managed to give him a bloody nose before McGonagall came along and gave them both detention - together.
"I just want you to know," Harry grunted as he moved yet another crate - they weren't allowed to use magic, and he strongly suspected that McGonagall didn't even need them moved - into the classroom, "that I hate you. I really do."
"The feeling," Draco panted - he really was quite scrawny - as he followed, "is mutual."
"Good to know." He dropped the crate and sat down in an empty seat. Draco looked at him for a moment, then turned up his nose and took a seat on the other side of the room. Harry shook his head. "Are you incapable of polite conversation?"
"With you, yes." Draco rubbed his arms. "We must've moved a hundred boxes..."
"More like eight." Indeed, there were only eight boxes in the room.
Draco rolled his eyes. "Whatever. It still feels like a hundred."
"Maybe to a pampered little git like you, who's never done any hard work a day in your life. If you ever washed even one dish, your bones would be so /fragile/." Perhaps it wasn't the best idea to pick a fight with Malfoy when that was the reason they had detention together in the first place, but Harry wasn't sure it was possible to hold back the insults with no one else to keep them in check. He didn't really want to.
"Pampered?" Draco scoffed. "Hardly. You call spending ten months in a school like this /pampered/?"
Harry didn't bother to reply. To stifle his annoyance, he stood up and quickly left the room, walking down the hall to retrieve another crate. After a moment he heard quick steps behind him, and knew Draco was following. "What /is it/, Malfoy?"
"No insults? No comebacks?" He snickered. "I'm /disappointed/, Potter."
Harry rolled his eyes and quickened his pace. He walked into the storage room, lifting a crate with an "oof". He continued out of the room and back at the same pace, still followed by the blond boy. He noticed that he hadn't picked up a crate himself. He was about to comment on it, but decided against it as his nemesis fell into step beside him.
As he dropped the crate and headed back for another, making sure to ignore Draco to his fullest - though he still kept walking beside him, the arse! - the other boy stepped ahead of him a little. Casting a sideways glance at him - and Harry couldn't help but notice how strikingly similar it was to the way he'd looked at him after he'd taken the Attraction Potion earlier, which was just beginning to wear off (he could feel the bones in the bridge of his nose shifting and tried not to show his discomfort) - he muttered, "So..."
"Don't even try," Harry hissed, walking even faster than before, "to make conversation."
He couldn't see Draco's face, but could hear the mock-hurt in his voice. "Potter, /dear/, I only want to-"
"Shut up/." He picked up another crate, and once again noticed Malfoy's lack of work. Work that they were /both supposed to be doing. They were silent for the duration of a few more rounds, during which Malfoy did nothing more but walk beside him - which Harry found slightly disturbing. When Harry had managed to move the fourteenth crate into the classroom, Draco spoke again.
"That potion helped, you know."
Harry almost thought that was a /compliment/, for a moment. Dropping down on top of the crate he'd just brought into the room, he shoved his once-again-round glasses up his nose. But of course it wasn't a compliment. Like Draco Malfoy would ever compliment him. It was a creative insult. That was amazing in itself, though. Malfoy rarely did much more than the old "Mudblood" and "poor ickle Potter" routine. He looked Draco in the eyes for a moment, glaring. "Pity you didn't take it. Could've prevented your face from giving me nightmares."
Draco fumbled in his robes for a minute, searching his pockets for his wand; he'd forgotten for a moment that McGonagall had confiscated them until their detention was finished, partly to make sure they didn't cheat with their task and mostly to make sure they wouldn't hex each other into oblivion. Remembering this, Draco, looking quite offended, stuck his nose up and stared down at Harry. "I don't need it, Potter. I've got every Slytherin girl after my arse."
"Like that's such an accomplishment." Harry rolled his eyes. "Pansy Parkinson's the best looking among them, and her face looks like a pug. Then again, I suppose that makes her perfect for you." He paused, looking thoughtful. "But I guess I'd always supposed you went after men."
Draco sputtered. "If men want me, it's not my fault! I'm just that damned good. And, for your information, plenty of girls from the other houses agree."
"You keep telling yourself that. I don't suppose wishful thinking ever hurt anyone."
"Damn it, Potter!" Draco raged, storming up to him and looking as though he could hex him with a glare. "I'm sexy, just admit it!"
And Harry laughed.
He was laughing so hard that his eyes began to water, and Draco's slightly blushing face became blurred. He clutched his sides, leaning forward, afraid he might fall off the crate. He had to admit, it wasn't so much what he meant that was funny - he didn't consider himself a prize, if he were honest with himself - but the way he said it. It was just... hilarious.
His laughing didn't subside until he felt Draco's hand on his chin, lifting his face. It didn't stop completely until he felt teeth crashing against his own - and that hurt, damn it. He was stunned for a moment (and he told himself it wasn't because Draco's lips felt so... feminine), but after that moment he found himself able to push the slimmer boy away. He was glaring, challenging, as though what he had just done was not only normal, but perfectly acceptable - as though he walked up to his enemy of six years every day and kissed him like it was the cure for cancer.
"What-what the bloody hell was that?" Harry demanded, standing up. For a moment he was angry for one reason only - not because it wasn't a girl, and not because it was Draco Malfoy, but because he hadn't started it - but he shook that thought out of his head.
"You liked it!" Draco insisted, not backing down. "So admit it: I'm sex on a stick!"
If he hadn't been so angry, he might've laughed at that. Of course, that might have ended in the same way... "I did not like it. You pounced on me, you little..."
"...Argh! I'm going to-"
"Going to what/? Show me /you're sexier? Sure. In your dreams, Potter."
Harry fumed silently for a moment, getting up and walking down the hall for another crate. Draco followed. He was sexier than Draco! Wait - why were they arguing about this again? Oh, yeah. The potion. "Why did Snape teach us a potion like that anyway? There doesn't seem to be any real point to it..."
Draco shrugged, though he looked a bit uncomfortable. "How am I supposed to know? Do you honestly think I know everything about Snape?"
Harry raised an eyebrow, noting the edge to Draco's voice. Something was definitely putting him in a state of unease. He decided to push. "Well, you know, you do spend a lot of time in the classroom after Potions... and I've heard some rumors..."
Draco looked at him, eyes wide. "Wha-what sort of rumors?"
"Oh... you know," Harry replied vaguely. He didn't, himself. Well, he had an idea... but such rumors hadn't really been going around, and he didn't want to think about Draco and Snape doing... things. Just... things. He went to pick up a crate, but Draco put his hands on it, holding it down with his weight. Harry probably could have lifted it anyway, but he waited, patiently.
"They're lies, Potter!" He sounded almost panicked. Harry wondered if he really... "I just get extra notes and-and I sometimes-" He stopped.
"Sometimes?" Harry questioned, very interested in anything that could make Draco so uncomfortable.
Draco glared, straightening up and stepping away. Harry didn't lift the crate, but stood straight as well, meeting Draco's eyes. After a moment, Draco looked away. "It's none of your business, Potter."
He chuckled. "Sounds like denial to me, Malfoy."
Draco looked like he was trying to find something to say, but instead turned his nose up once again and left the room. Harry rolled his eyes and picked up the crate, in no hurry to catch up. When he reached the classroom, Draco had positioned himself on the edge of a crate, legs crossed in what Harry thought was a distinctly feminine manner, watching the dark-haired boy as he set down the crate. Harry was about to leave when he finally spoke. "Why so interested in what I do in my free time, Potter?"
"Just looking for ammunition for our never-ending feud, Malfoy. I like to be prepared when you pick a fight."
He remained in the doorway for a moment, wondering if Draco would say anything, wondering if he should say something. He nearly commented on the Slytherin's utter lack of help, but decided against it and went to retrieve another crate. When he returned, Draco was still on the crate, but looking at the wall a little left of the door, as though lost in thought. As Harry put the crate down, he spoke again. "We talk," he said, still looking lost in thought, eyes slightly unfocused. "It seems strange, I know, but... he listens. Usually he won't say much in response, but it's better than talking to Crabbe or Goyle. They hardly understand a word you say. None of the other Slytherins are much for anything but the bare minimum of conversation. Zabini will talk once in a while, but Professor Snape is the best bet."
Harry hesitated, and then, feeling as though to remain silent would be to lose their game of Pleasant Conversation, he weakly offered, "What do you talk about?"
"Everyday things." His eyes were still unfocused. "I talk about weather when it's bad, tell him how McGonagall gives us too much work-" Harry snorted quietly, because McGonagall gave them no more work than Snape "-discuss the day's Potions class, complain about how you and your little friends are always exempt from the rules-" Harry could tell he was trying not to start a fight by the way he kept his voice completely casual "-and get a bit of help on the work, sometimes." Harry thought it quite unfair that Snape would help some students and not others - certainly Gryffindor never received any help from him - but realized that no member of his house would ever take him up on an offer of help, anyway. They'd rather have spent hours in the library struggling over an essay than five more minutes in the dungeons than absolutely necessary.
"That's all?" He didn't mean it in an offensive way. "I don't suppose Slytherins are much for heartfelt talks, eh?"
Draco was silent, eyes still unfocused. Then, suddenly, they snapped to Harry, clear. "Occasionally," he said, and the way he looked at Harry made him think of the Professor they were speaking of, "I let something slip. Snape has never told anyone any of my... secrets."
He slipped off the crate, and they finished their work in near-silence, occasionally muttering something about the weather or how utterly boring Professor Binns was. When they were done and their wands were returned to them, McGonagall commended them on their good behavior and cooperation (though she managed to sneak in a complaint about their slowness) and they parted ways silently. Hermione and Ron, though a little cold towards each other - apparently the earlier slap in the face and the reason for it had not been forgotten - both expressed sympathy for Harry, having had to face a detention alone with "that rotten little bug" (or "slimy git", as Ron had put it later). He muttered something that he was certain expressed some appreciation for their concern, and spent the rest of the night on homework and a game of Wizard Chess with Ron ending with a few crushed pawns and another victory for the redhead.
Harry, having visited Fred and George Weasley's shop in Diagon Alley before the school year had begun, had an Extendable Ear ready in his robe pocket for his next Potions class. It wasn't as if he was particularly interested in what Malfoy did in his spare time; it just happened to be his last class of the day, and he was a little bit bored and maybe a tiny bit curious about exactly what kind of "secrets" he "let slip" to Snape. Giving Hermione the excuse that he was going to use the toilet - and Hermione didn't question him, but did give him a bit of a suspicious look - he waited until the other students walked away and hid in a small alcove, in the shadow of one of the building's many statues. He held one end of the flesh-colored string to his ear, the other just by the doorway to Snape's classroom. Draco was still inside; he hadn't left, though he'd watched Crabbe and Goyle's lumbering figures head off to dinner with the rest. He heard the clank of a cauldron and the movement of supplies, and then...
"Professor... why did you...?" Draco sounded a little unsure of himself. Harry was surprised.
"I may hate the boy," Snape said, slowly, evenly, "but I don't hate you."
"But... why? Why waste a class on that?"
Silence, for a few minutes. "I usually have an extra class at the end of the year anyway. At least this way more students will know how to do it on their own, so fewer of the girls will end up in the Hospital Wing."
"Mister Malfoy, I simply hoped that you might decide to be pleasant with him, for once."
"But Professor, you-"
"I know I'm calling the cauldron black, Mister Malfoy, but I also know your loyalties are faltering. How could I help myself but to give my best student a push in the direction I'd like him to follow?"
"I still don't understand, Professor."
Another moment's silence, and then... "As hopeless as student as he may be, Potter is destined to lead. Though a Slytherin should never follow, and should especially never follow a Gryffindor, perhaps you could... walk beside him."
Draco didn't say anymore. Harry hurried away before he could step out, and before Hermione began to wonder what was taking him so long.
Reluctant as he was to reveal that he'd been spying, Harry felt it was his right to clear up what he had heard, as it was about him. Perhaps he could say that he'd dropped a book and heard his name mentioned; but no, he'd heard more than that, and there was more he wanted to know. He couldn't think of any better way to talk to Draco alone, so he haphazardly formulated a plan and set it into action with very little fine-tuning.
He thought it might be easiest to do it during a class, and knew McGonagall was the most likely to give them a fair - or at least equal - punishment. Transfiguration was a little tense, and Hermione noticed it more than Ron - he wasn't sure what Ron was trying to work towards becoming, nor entirely sure that Ron knew, but he at least knew that he was taking the same NEWT classes as he was, save for Potions - who was having extreme difficulty turning a tray of teacups and a teapot into a mother bird with nest and eggs (the mother bird kept blasting steam in his face and the baby birds kept coughing up tea). Once again, however, she didn't say anything, but kept giving him glances that he thought were saying, "I know you're up to something stupid, so you should seriously reconsider before you get caught and end up with a detention".
But that was what he wanted.
Unfortunately, his concentration was faltering, and his teacups turned into small tortoises instead of baby birds. He blinked at them, almost feeling as though eh should be commending himself; they were quite good, for what they were. It opened a perfect window of opportunity, however, so he would endure the extra work McGonagall would surely give him with a smile. Maybe.
"Harry!" Hermione hissed, staring at his teacups in wonder. "How on earth did you get /tortoises/?"
"They're better than mine, Hermione," Ron said, poking at a baby bird dejectedly as it spat hot tea onto another.
Hermione had been louder than she'd surely intended. But not loud enough. Harry shrugged. "They're pretty good tortoises, Hermione..."
She gaped at him, horrified. "But... but they're /tortoises/!"
That time she was loud enough. Most of the other students glanced up, and several of those close by glanced disapprovingly at Harry's creation. Harry, making sure not to look around at their reactions, heard Draco snicker from somewhere behind him. Perfect.
"Tortoises, Potter? That's the best the Boy Who Lived can do?" He laughed sharply. Of course, his baby birds weren't that much better; Harry noted that they all had handles instead of wings on one side.
Normally, Harry wouldn't have responded to such jabs; normally, Hermione's "don't-do-anything-stupid" looks would have stopped him. Normally, however, he didn't want to get Draco in a room alone.
To talk. Just to talk.
"Shut up, Malfoy." He forced himself to sound much angrier than he was; it didn't work very well, but, apparently, it was well enough.
"Ooh, what a comeback, Potter." Draco pretended to shiver in fear, still snickering. He glanced at McGonagall, who was scolding Seamus Finnigan for trying to turn his tea into rum. He leaned forward, speaking in a slightly quieter voice. "Afraid to let your wand speak for you, Potter?"
Harry smirked (partly to keep himself from laughing) and turned to Draco. "Not at all." With that, despite Hermione's protests, he stood up, wand at the ready. Within moments, Draco had been hit with a rather nasty Unibrow Hex, Harry was struck with a Cross-Eyed Curse, and both boys had detention. Together.
Draco didn't say anything to Harry until the detention that night, as McGonagall watched over them like a hawk and their next Professor knew better than to let them sit anywhere but on opposite sides of the classroom. When they were once again forced to do the tedious business of physically moving crates - and Harry strongly suspected they were even the same crates, magically moved back to the office once again - he finally exploded at Harry.
"What the bloody hell was that all about?"
"What was what about?" Harry asked innocently, picking up a crate. He noticed that, once again, Draco refrained from actually working. He walked beside him instead, positively fuming.
"You attacked me!"
"You've attacked me before, Malfoy."
"But we're talking about /you/, Potter! The bloody Boy Who Wouldn't Fucking Die!"
Harry raised an eyebrow. "What? Can't I strike out, too?"
"No!" Harry laughed a little. "You've never done that before! You've got some sort of secret agenda, don't you? What are you up to?"
Harry laughed again, but didn't answer. Not immediately, at least. He was in the classroom and setting down the crate before he spoke. "So... you're going to walk by my side, Malfoy?"
Malfoy's eyes widened, but he tried to keep from looking shocked. "I... have no idea what you're talking about, Potter."
Harry made a sound of disbelief and amusement. "I'm sure you don't, Malfoy. Not that I heard you talking to Snape or anything."
Draco looked as though he wanted to kick himself, and Harry was sure he regretted telling Harry anything. "Screw pleasant conversation," he muttered, kicking the crate.
Harry dropped his amused expression. He wanted answers, not to poke fun at Draco. "I just want it cleared up, Draco. I'm not trying to humiliate you, if that's what you're thinking."
Draco rolled his eyes. "It was nothing." He stormed out of the room. Harry followed him, but not too quickly. He didn't want it to seem as though he was all that interested.
"C'mon. What was it? He was acting like he did you a favor by making us do that stupid potion."
Draco didn't answer him, but picked up a crate. Harry hesitated, and then picked one up, too.
"What? Did he think you'd take it? Were you doubting your own /perfection/?"
Draco made a sound somewhat like a snort. "Never, Potter. My perfection has always been clear to me."
Harry rolled his eyes, guessing again. "To make Crabbe and Goyle look... not quite so apish, maybe?"
"I don't think even an Attraction Potion could fix that."
"To make Pansy look better for you? Sick of her pug face too, eh?"
Draco winced a little. "If I was every attracted to Pansy, I'd Avada Kedavra myself... or at least check in to St. Mungo's."
Harry paused, thinking. "Did he... want me to take it?"
"Shut up, Potter."
That sounded like a sore spot. He was right. "He wanted me to take it... but why? He wanted you to follow the right path... walk beside me..." He blinked twice, rapidly. "Did he want you to... be attracted to me?"
"Shut /up/, Potter." Harry swore that he saw some color on Draco's cheeks. He was blushing. That meant that Harry was right.
"He did. He wanted you to be - wait. That means... you are gay!" Harry supposed his eyes were about the size of dinner plates when he said that.
Draco dropped the crate and turned away from him, still. "Problem, Potter?"
Harry shook himself. "Er... no... it's just... You were attracted to me, weren't you? When I took the potion? And you... you kissed me!"
Draco turned back to him, glaring. "Fine. Fine. Whatever, Potter. Fine."
Harry took that as the closest he'd get to a "you're right". His eyes were still wide, though not so much as before. "You... he wanted you to be attracted to me... so you'd... walk by my side?"
Draco was shaking a little. He seemed, at first, to be enraged, but Harry studied him for a moment and noticed the twitching muscle at the corner of his mouth, the struggling motion of his eyebrows, and the clearness of his eyes. He was upset, yes, but not angry. "Yes, Potter. To walk by your side. To abandon my family name and my blood. To admit that maybe Mudbloods and - who knows? - even Muggles aren't all that bad, to reject the fate that has been set upon me since my birth. To keep me from becoming a Death Eater, as he did. Not that I think I could have done it. I can't even say You-Know-Who's true name. I can't help but think some of this might be wrong. I can't help but wonder whether or not my entire family might be warped. And I can't help but find myself attracted to other men, attracted to... to you."
All the reasons Harry had hated Draco in the past came back to him, and were slowly filed away as meaningless. He had never considered that Draco might not have wanted to follow his father's footsteps. He'd seemed pretty intent on gaining revenge for his father's placement in jail; and Harry realized that he'd never really followed through. He wondered, for a moment, what kind of relationship Draco had with his father, before he felt the silver-haired boy lifting the crate from his hands - he'd almost forgotten he was still carrying it. Then the Slytherin boy was standing in front of him, looking him evenly in the eyes. Harry felt slightly unnerved and grasped for any sense of what had been reality to him not so long ago. "But... I'm Gryffindor... and not a pureblood!"
"What part of that little speech didn't you get?" Well, Harry might have called it a tirade. "The part where I can't help myself? The part where I've been doubting my family's values? The part where I said even Mudbloods may not be so bad?"
"Er..." Harry was afraid this would end with everything changed. Not that everything hadn't already been changed. He was afraid Draco would no longer be the enemy. He was afraid he would actually be thankful for something Snape did - again. He was afraid Draco might kiss him (and it was scary to think that this thought should end with "again", too).
He was afraid, most of all, that he didn't really care all that much, and that he might actually be looking forward to the change.
"Draco, I'm not... er... I like girls." When he said it, he felt like slapping himself in the face, and wondered if he could have sounded any more stupid.
Draco hadn't moved at all, but he seemed to Harry to be much closer than before. He laughed now, obviously agreeing that Harry had, indeed, sounded quite stupid. "What? Do you think I'm going to kiss you or something, Potter?"
...Well, yes... But he wouldn't say that out loud.
"I'm not stupid, Potter. I know the 'savior of the wizarding world' has a thing for that Ravenclaw girl - what was her name? Chi Chung?"
"Cho Chang," Harry said, automatically, aware that Draco knew it just as well as he did. "But, er, I'm not... we're not... since our date last year..."
Draco stopped him. "The world isn't black and white, Potter. It's not all good versus evil, girls versus boys, gay versus straight. There are grey areas." He paused. "Of course, I'm sure you, the apex of all that is Good and White, are straight as an arrow. And maybe I had some sort of false hope..."
Draco was talking again, but Harry didn't hear him; his mind was reeling. After the past year, many more of those grey areas had become evident; the Ministry, which he'd always thought would be on his side, on Dumbledore's side, had become the bane of his existence, and had had justification that he almost understood. Before his death, Sirius hadn't been a brother, a father, an uncle, or a friend, but rather a combination of each. He had felt hatred towards people at the same time as love - when Hermione and Ron had fought, he'd irrationally been angry, but knew that somewhere inside him they were more important than almost anything else. After the Occlumency Lesson Gone Wrong, as Harry so fondly called it, he'd been unable to see his father as the Shining Light he had once been, a force of unlimited good. He'd felt before that Dumbledore represented the greatest good, and Voldemort the worst evil, but he could no longer say for sure what that even meant (though he still, of course, hated Voldemort above all others, and trusted Dumbledore with his life). How could that related to what Draco had said, though? He didn't like boys because he liked girls, so...
So Draco had hoped that...
It wasn't something he'd ever really thought about. Not in the way Draco suggested, at least. If he'd ever looked aesthetically at any male, it had been someone like Snape, and only to dislike him more by thinking of how ugly his nose was, or laughing about how greasy his hair was. He'd never considered any other boy... especially not Draco...
He cleared his mind and looked at Draco. He was wiry. He has silver-blond hair that seemed a little too shiny. His face was a bit pointed. His eyes were grey. He looked arrogant. He looked noble. He looked Slytherin.
He didn't look that bad.
The realization startled and intrigued him. He was startled to think that the idea of kissing Draco didn't sound so disgusting anymore, and intrigued by the memory of the first kiss. It had been rushed, and perhaps a bit unpleasant for that, but what if...?
"What are you /doing/, Potter?" Draco was looking at him a bit uneasily, but not backing away, and Harry hadn't realized that he was leaning forward. He blushed a little, feeling awkward, but he had a sneaking suspicion that Draco knew exactly what he was doing. Draco had admitted it, anyway...
So, with a moment's confidence that he didn't want to spoil, he leaned father forward, kissing Draco, lips caught at an odd angle. Draco's eyes were wide, but he was almost immediately responsive, leaning into it as well to increase the pressure, and Harry didn't think it was all that bad. He wasn't quite sure what to do with his hands, but that problem was solved when Draco pushed a little, leading him to lean against the crate he'd only a few minutes ago set down, and the Slytherin's left hand was on his shoulder, slipping down to his upper arm, while his right hand was caught in Harry's unkempt hair. Harry was closing his eyes, his mouth opening just a little, when he heard the footsteps just outside the door. He put a hand on Draco's chest and shoved him away, gesturing quickly at the door and whispering harshly, a little out of breath, "Someone's coming!"
Draco jumped away, straightening up and running a hand over his hair, as though to make sure it was still smooth. Harry was still trying to even out his breathing when Professor McGonagall appeared in the door, looking stern. She put her hands on her hips, examining the two boys, and panic fluttered through Harry's stomach as he wondered if what they had just been doing was that evident - where his lips too red? Was he too flushed? What was she thinking?
"Well," she said sharply, in the same voice she used to reprimand those who giggled too loudly in her class, "I stopped by, wondering why the two of you hadn't been moving crates, hoping nothing had happened." Harry wondered briefly how she knew they hadn't been moving the crates, but quickly accepted that it was probably some sort of magic and that there were more important matters at hand. "I had hopes that the two of you could learn to get along with each other if I put you in detention together, but you have the gall - the very nerve - to fight! Without wands, even! Honestly, I'd never thought you two would result to fist fighting /during a detention/! A week of detention for both of you, together! And if that doesn't solve your problem of getting along, then a week's more!"
Harry's jaw had fallen open in disbelief. She thought they'd been /fighting/? "But-" He caught himself, realizing that it probably wouldn't be very smart to tell her that they weren't fighting, but snogging instead.
"Mister Potter, it's obvious to anyone with eyes that the two of you, in a rumpled state such as you are, have been fighting. Don't try to worm your way out of this. And I can tell you're both at fault; Draco clearly looks just as off-balance as you. No arguments; detention! And finish moving those crates!"
She left quickly, and Harry was relieved to hear her retreating steps. He looked at Draco, who, though keeping his cool outer confidence, seemed to be startled by her conclusion as well. They caught each other's eyes, and Draco smirked.
"I have a feeling," he said, moving closer to Harry again, "that these will be particularly enjoyable detentions."