"Go away," Harry muttered.
Someone tugged on his robe sleeve, bouncing behind him.
"C'mon, Harry," said Hermione. "Tell me! Who are you taking?"
It was February, and The Valentines ball was coming up. Apparently this was something most people (especially girls, for some reason) got excited about. And now that they were older, and the war was finally over, eighth years were pretty much expected to go. It would be good cheering up after those few gloomy months back at Hogwarts.
"You know, mate, I can always help set you up with someone if you don't have any luck," another chimed in.
Hermione let go of Harry's sleeve. "Oh please, Ronald! Harry can take care of himself without you inserting yourself in the middle of him and-"
"Oh, shut up, the both of you," Harry said, hurrying ahead of them. They immediately stopped bickering and followed.
The trio made their way through the halls, which were swarming with students- particularly first years. Hermione stopped when a group of younger boys asked how to get to the potions classroom, and ended up leaving to direct them. Harry and Ron scurried out of the corridor as quick as possible, not wanting to be stopped by any more students.
"Hermione doesn't know what she's talking about. I'm good help, right? I mean, just because I've had a few issues in the past, doesn't mean I don't know anything... And Harry, the ball is in a week! Don't tell me you haven't even considered anyone..?" Ron went on, trailing behind his friend. Hermione still hadn't caught up.
"I have thought about it," said Harry. "And I don't think I should bring anyone. Could be a disaster. I'll just trail behind you and Mione, yeah?"
Ron laughed. "Right. Harry, how come you never- OOF!"
As they rounded a corner, Ron and Harry collided with another student, sending books and papers flying. Ron caught himself on the wall. Harry, however, fell backwards, taking the other student down with him.
It took Ron a moment to process what had happened, but when he did, he realized that the student was none other than Draco Malfoy. Harry seemed to have figured that out, as well, judging by his terrified expression.
"Potter, you idiot!" Draco hissed, pulling himself off of Harry. "Watch where you're going!"
Harry made a noise that sounded almost like a whimper, and grabbed Ron's arm to hoist himself up. He straightened his robes and his hair, not looking at either of them, bent down to gather his things, and sped off around the corner without looking back.
"Harry! Harry, you alright mate?" Ron called, running after him. He slowed as they neared their classroom.
Harry nodded absently. "Fine," he said. "We're late to class, though."
Dinner time came around and, for the most part, Harry had recovered from his encounter with Draco. Ron, on the other hand, seemed to have forgotten the whole ordeal altogether. He was stuffing his face with bite-sized muffins and chatting happily with Seamus Finnigan about Quiddich. Hermione was reading a book about magical creatures, occasionally looking up to comment on one thing or another. She seemed to notice that Harry was having and off day, and did her best not to put the spotlight on him.
At 6:30, the three left the Great Hall for the library. Ron had his complaints, but Harry was actually excited to spend a few hours in a peaceful environment. He suddenly understood why Hermione loved spending her free time there.
The library was pretty empty. A group of Ravenclaws were chatting at a table in the far corner, and two Slytherins were discussing polyjuice potion near the restricted section. Nobody seemed to notice when they walked in.
Hermione set her bag down on a circular table and dashed off towards the selves of books, leaving Harry and Ron to sort out their work. Harry plopped down in a chair and pulled out a roll of parchment.
"What's your paper on?" Ron asked.
Harry pulled out a book, Everything You Need to Know About Animagi, and turned it around so his friend could read the cover. Ron groaned.
"I've got poltergeists," he said. "I'll switch with you."
Harry laughed. "No thanks, mate. Peeves has taught me all I need to know about poltergeists, and it's because of him I'm so not interested."
Hermione returned to the table ten minutes later with a small stack of books and began to silently read. Harry glanced at her, then began to write. He continued writing about Animagi for nearly an hour, only looking up when Ron nudged his shoulder urgently and said, "Harry, behind you!"
Harry spun around in his chair, nearly knocking Draco Malfoy over for the second time in a day.
"Potter!" Malfoy yelped, catching himself. His eyes were wide.
Ron stood up out of habit, looking worried and a little confused. Hermione closed her book and pulled out her wand, but kept it lowered.
"What do you want, Malfoy?" Harry said.
Draco reached into his pocket and pulled out a crumpled piece of parchment, then spread it out in front of him. There were words, carelessly scrawled onto the paper, but they had been mostly blotted out by ink splatters. "I- erm- Parkinson ruined my potions assignment."
"Oh?" Harry countered, amusement creeping onto his lips. "And what, Malfoy, do you expect me to do about that?"
Malfoy paled. "I need to copy your notes."
Harry sighed and stood up to face his enemy at (nearly) eye level. "That's it? Are you done?" he said. "Because I'd really love for you to leave us alone now. Unless you want to join us for a cup of tea and the exchange of our deepest, darkest secrets?"
"Oh, shut up."
Harry's lips began to form the words "make me", but he stopped himself. He didn't know how Malfoy would respond to that, and he didn't care to find out.
"Go away," he muttered, shoving Draco. "I'll shut up as soon as you're gone."
"Find someone else."
Draco scowled and, miraculously, turned to leave. Harry watched him go, then turned back to his friends and rolled his eyes. "Git."
The next day in potions, they made amortentia. Hermione, of course, finished first and spend most of class looking around the room to watch the reactions of her peers. Ron and Seamus, who had been working together, must have done something wrong in one of the steps, because soon enough the whole room was smelling of smoke and melted plastic. Harry had a fun time throwing beetles at Draco for bothering him.
His amortentia wasn't as perfect as Hermione's, but it smelled nice. It smelled like a mix of treacle tart and pine (which usually would not smell nice together), and some sort of hair gel or cologne. He wished all potions smelled this good.
The lesson afterwards was a drag. Harry nearly fell asleep with his head on his desk, but Hermione wasn't having any of that. Every time he tried to close his eyes, even for a moment, she would pinch his arm or yank on his hair or snap in front of his face. They were assigned potions to make over the weekend, (Ron had groaned. "Great, more work."), and class was dismissed. Draco made a deal of holding Harry and his friends back for as long as possible.
It was Friday, so the trio went straight to Hagrid's from there. Hagrid was outside his hut, carrying a bucket of something towards the lake. Hermione ran ahead, leaving Ron and Harry behind, and offered to help him. Hagrid greeted her and shook his head.
"No thanks, 'Mione. I've jus' been tossin' out some scraps, yeh know, chicken bones 'n such," he said, then looked past her to where Harry and Ron were approaching. He waved them over.
"Hello, Hagrid," said Harry.
"Hey," said Ron. He looked at the bucket. "What's that?"
Hagrid laughed. "Jus' been explaining to Hermione 'ere. Scraps, mos'ly."
"Oh." Ron glanced at Hermione, then back at Hagrid. "Can we go in?"
"'Course," said Hagrid. "Go right ahead. Jus' be careful. I've got a student in there, holdin' em for detention, yeh see."
"Who is it?" Harry asked.
"Doesn' matter. You lot wouldn' recognize 'im," Hagrid replied, waving them off. "Make yerselves at home. I'll be in soon."
The three ran inside, excited to see who it was in the hut and why Hagrid had thought they wouldn't recognize him. They were eighth years- there wasn't anyone at the school they hadn't seen before.
Harry realized the second they stepped in that he had seen this student before, just not like this. It wasn't much of a students, really, when they walked in and found it scrambling around on Hagrid's table. It stared up at them with round, black eyes, before running off to hide under an open book. Not as smart as the human version of itself.
"I thought Hagrid said there was a student!" Ron said, lifting up the book. "As far as I know, this isn't a student. Just a bloody pathetic ferret."
Harry shook his head, watching as Ron grabbed the unwilling creature. "Ron, that is a student."
Ron stared at him, confused. "What?"
"Wait, Harry," Hermione said, looking between him and the ferret. "Is that... Malfoy?"
Ron shrieked and dropped the ferret immediately, ignoring its squeals of protest. "WHAT?"
Harry shuffled uncomfortably. He knew far too much about Draco.
"Um, yeah," he said. "Yeah."
"How the bloody hell do you know that?" Ron wailed, still wiping his hands on his shirt. Harry shrugged, not wanting to go into that.
The door flew open, and Hagrid came in, muttering something about a curse and paying the owl for delivery. He pulled out an envelope and scribbled a name, then handed it to a tiny owl sitting on the window sill. He sighed and went over to the stove.
"Have yeh seen a ferret?" He asked, turning on the fire. "I'm supposed to keep 'im safe in 'ere. He should be runnin' around somewhere."
Harry, Ron, and Hermione shared a look.
"Er, yeah," said Harry. "I think he's under your chair."
Hagrid grabbed a pot from the shelf above him and set it down, not so graciously, on the stove. "Oh, good. I was thinkin' he'd of run off, you know, like he would. You mind fetchin' him for me? Need to cage the little bugger up, see."
He pointed to a tiny birdcage sitting on the table.
Harry sucked in a breath. If Malfoy remembered any of this, he'd never hear the end of it. Reluctantly, he got onto the ground and peered under Hagrid's arm chair. A little, white ferret stared up at him, probably plotting Harry's murder. Harry reached forward tentatively, knowing that the little animal was going to put up a fight. Just as expected, it nipped at him, and he pulled back.
"Git," he hissed. For a moment he considered trying again, then remembered the wand in his pocket. He reached down and pulled it out, then pointed at the ferret.
"Accio Draco," he whispered.
The ferret's eyes widened as he flew out from under the chair and into Harry's hands. He squealed in protest, scratching angrily as he was lifted in the air and placed in the cage. Ron and Hermione came over and pressed their faces close, watching the ferret - Draco - as he tried to burrow himself into the dirt Hagrid had supplied.
Harry thought, 'Draco is kind of cute as a ferret,' but pushed it away. Draco was a disgusting little rodent with dirty paws and probably carried diseased. Not cute.
Hagrid whistled quietly, adding some spices to the boiling water. "Turned himself into a ferret trying to run way from me. Thought I couldn't catch him! Just can't seem to turn himself back, an' I'm not really allowed to perform the sort of spell that would change him back, at least not on students, mind. Gotta talk to McGonagall about that."
Ron snorted. "He's an idiot."
Draco turned and glared at him.
A few minutes later Hagrid turned off the fire and brought them over a few cups of tea. Harry eagerly took a cup and sipped at the sweet liquid, its scent taking him home.
"Hagrid," he said, glancing at the cage. "When he turns human again- Draco, I mean- will he remember all of this?"
"'Course," said Hagrid. "Just as any animagus would. No doubt you knew that, though?"
Harry shrugged. "I guess. I just didn't know if it applied, since he's not exactly an animagus."
The cage rattled. Apparently Draco disagreed with that. Hagrid explained the way to change him back and told them as soon as Professor McGonagall approved it he would be turned back to normal. Draco stuck his nose out of the cage as Hagrid spoke, clearly involved in what was being said, but stared directly at Harry. He didn't move after that, only staring at him. Hermione and Ron noticed eventually, and turned to watch with interest.
"It's a bit creepy, don't you think?" asked Ron.
Harry raised an eyebrow at Draco, challenging him to keep staring. The ferret's nose twitched. 'I wonder what he's thinking.'
"Yeah, a bit," he said, turning away. Draco immediately started to make high-pitched distress noises. Harry tried to ignore it and smiled nervously at his friends, but the creature's cries got louder and louder until Hagrid had to stand up and bang his hand on the top of the cage. Draco shrunk back into the dirt.
"'Arry," Hagrid said, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I think you ought to get him out. Put him on the floor, would ya? I'll take care of him later."
Harry nodded, really wishing Hagrid didn't put so much trust in him. Hesitantly, he stood and opened the cage door. Draco stared up at him, grey eyes gleaming. He reached in, slowly, and held his hand an inch away, testing the ferret's reaction. Nothing. He wiggled his fingers and moved to pet him, expecting the creature to doge away. Instead, he touched soft fur.
'You're playing a dangerous game,' he said internally, smirking at Draco. The ferret seemed to understand that, and put his ears down, feigning innocence.
Harry wrapped his hand around the ferret's long body and lifted him, careful not to move too quickly. Draco's brain inside a ferret made for a quite intelligent animal, and one wrong move meant he'd be bitten. He quickly set Draco down as soon as his body was all the way out of the cage. Draco scuttled away triumphantly.
Harry sighed and sat down at the table with his friends.
Hagrid did not hear back from Professor McGonagall that night, but had to leave grounds for job-related reasons. This left him with no choice other than to send the three back up to the castle with Draco, to keep him safe for the night.
"Now, you send me a letter if you can't handle it," Hagrid told them. "I don't think McGonagall's in the castle tonight. Didn't respond to my owl."
The three covered up the owl cage with an old cloak so nobody could question them on why they suddenly had a pet Malfoy, and so their pet Malfoy wouldn't be able to figure out the way to the Gryffindor dormitory. Ron, of course, whined the whole way back to the castle, saying things like "I don't want to sleep with a bloody Slytherin in the room!" and "Harry, you could just toss him out the window."
Nobody seemed to notice they were carrying a large, cloaked object, and they made it into their common room without any problems. As soon as the portrait swung shut, Harry pulled the cloak off the cage and tossed it aside. Draco's ears perked up and he stuck his nose through the bars. Again, Harry found himself thinking he was cute, though this time didn't deny it.
'Draco's a ferret right now, and yeah, ferrets are a little cute,' he reminded himself. 'Ferrets are cute. Just ferrets, not Malfoy. It's okay to say he's cute.'
That night, Ron changed for bed in the downstairs bathrooms because he was afraid that Malfoy would stare. Harry offering the cover the cage while he changed wasn't good enough. Hermione had gone to bed as soon as they arrived back, telling them she was tired and needed to wake up early in the morning.
Later, after his friends had gone to sleep, Harry got into bed. He tried to ignore the ferret staring at him. Even after turning away, the feeling of eyes on the back of his head unsettled him. He closed his eyes and tried to think about something else, but everything turned into little, fuzzy, white creatures. The room was almost silent, with the exception of Draco clawing away at the metal at the bottom of the cage. Harry rubbed his eyes. It was going to be a long night.
He had almost dozed off when something heavy landed on the bed beside him. Alarmed, he turned over, only to find that Draco had somehow managed to tip the cage off Harry's night stand. Dirt had spilled across the comforter.
He let out an anguished sigh. "What, Malfoy? Want to make my life hell as a ferret, too?"
Draco bobbed his head up and down.
The ferret kicked up some of the remaining dirt in his cage, right into Harry's face. Harry sputtered and stuck out his tongue at the little white creature.
"You're a git," he muttered, turning the cage right-side up. He fumbled with the lock for a moment and pulled it open, giving Draco a warning glare. Draco seemed to understand this and stuck out one paw, cautiously, before stepping all the way out onto the bed.
Harry braced himself for Draco's attack, but it never came. The ferret just paced around back and forth for a moment, then settled down on the pillow next to Harry. The boy eyed him curiously.
"Not even gonna try to run?" he said.
Draco shook his head.
"Hm," Harry hummed. "Good. Please don't kill me in my sleep." He ran a hand over the ferret's head. Draco was soft. He relaxed into the touch and closed his eyes.
When it occurred to Harry that he was sharing a bed with Draco Malfoy, he had already fallen into a sort of half-sleep and was too tired to care. The last thing he remembered from that night was a tiny, furry body curling up to him.
Harry groaned. He tried to turn over, but something was stopping him. He sighed and blinked awake, slowly.
He froze, suddenly coming to the realization that there was another body pressed up against his. A surge of panic rose in his chest as the body wrapped themselves tighter around him, moaning softly. It was then that Harry became aware of something pressed firmly up against is crotch and his own, half-hard cock.
Through the corner of his eye, he spotted a head of blonde hair. Oh, shit.
"Draco?" he whispered. His throat was dry. Draco pulled him closer.
"Mmm, Harry," he mumbled into Harry neck. Harry shivered.
"Draco," he said, louder this time. "Erm, Malfoy, wake up."
The other boy loosened his grip, and Harry wondered if he had fallen completely back to sleep. But then, the sheets moved and Draco rolled away. There was a loud thump, signaling he'd fallen off. Harry held his breath, turning slightly to watch Draco stand up, blinking.
"Potter?" he said. He jumped back. "What the hell?"
The owl cage fell to the floor with a loud clank, spilling leftover dirt all over. Draco stumbled away from the bed, looking around frantically, pulling on his hair. Then, without saying anything else, turned and ran out the door without closing it behind him.
"Watch it, Weasel!" Harry heard him shout, followed by several girls' screams. He rolled over and groaned into his pillow.
The next moment, Ron was in the room, slamming the door behind him. Harry didn't bother looking up.
"Listen, Ron, I-"
"I don't know what you were thinking, letting Malfoy out last night," Ron said. He sounded angry, but controlled. "He's never gonna let you forget this, mate. Probably telling Goyle and Zabini about it right now!"
Harry sat up abruptly, facing his friend. "I don't know what I was thinking! I don't know why I did it! He just, I dunno, I just thought he wanted out, and-"
"Of course he wanted out!"
"No," Ron said. "Listen, mate, I don't care why you did it. I only care about the shit everyone's gonna give you after this! I don't think you understand that people here are so thirsty for gossip- they'll believe anything they hear."
Harry opened his mouth to respond, but no words came out. His friend had a good point.
The stood in silence for a moment, which was comforting. Ron had nothing left to say, which was unusual, but nice for Harry nevertheless. Dealing with him when he was really, really upset was a total nightmare- things getting thrown across the room, shouting, shouting curses, and sometimes crying. He was Harry's best mate, but got a bit too worked up for his liking at times.
Eventually, Harry broke the silence. "I'm gonna go, you know, down to breakfast. Er, we can talk about this later, if you want."
Ron nodded. "Okay."
In the common room, Harry was greeted with several harsh stares. Only a few students from his house had stayed behind for breakfast, but among the few, he seemed to be the topic of discussion. Seamus Finnigan, who shared a dormitory with him, was looking particularly put-out. Ginny was sitting on the sofa, in front of the fire with her friends, whispering. Harry exited as quick as he possibly could.
All eyes were on him at the Gryffindor table. Even some kids from other houses seemed to be staring. He wondered how long it would be before everyone knew. He had already heard a rumor on his way in that he was Draco's sex slave.
'It doesn't matter,' he reminded himself. 'This will pass soon and everyone will realize me and Malfoy are still enemies.'
Hermione came over to sit next to him. She slammed her books down, looking annoyed. Her hair was still ruffled from sleep, and her tie was rather askew. She had obviously come downstairs in a rush, most likely because Ron was making a big fuss (despite him claiming to be more mature after the affects of the war). She hadn't even grabbed the right books.
"Morning," Harry muttered. 'Here it comes.'
"Harry," Hermione said, in her bossiest voice. "Can you please explain why Draco Malfoy was seen cuddling up next to you this morning? It's upset Ron quite a bit."
"Keep your voice down! I don't need people overhearing this," said Harry.
He then leaned closer to her, lowering his voice. "What did Ron say?"
"Well, he didn't exactly go into depth. He just yelled a lot, and then I walked into the common room and overheard Ginny telling one of her friends that you were running off with the wrong sort. I also heard some gossip on my way down to breakfast. So please, do explain."
Harry glanced around nervously before continuing. Everyone seemed to be leaning closer- eager to hear what he had to share.
"It's nothing," he said, quiet enough that only Hermione could hear him. "I guess he must of changed back in the night, while he was asleep. I dunno. Ask him, if you want to know."
Hermione didn't seem too convinced that he was telling the truth, but dropped the subject and turned to her breakfast.
Later that day, the trio found themselves again at Hagrid's. The gossip of Harry and Draco had made it around the school, but hadn't quite reached Hagrid yet, so they were safe. However, he wanted to know the story just as well.
"So, I let him out. It was stupid of me, I don't know why I did it. I guess, I mean, I was just too tired to think right. He was kind of sweet, too, cuddled up next to me..." Harry trailed off, turning bright red. "I mean-"
Hermione smirked. "And...?"
"And, that's it. I don't know the rest," he said quickly.
That earned him an eye-roll. "Oh, Harry. Just tell us what happened."
Slumping further back into his chair, Harry continued. "Alright. Um, I fell asleep with him next to me. When I woke up, he was sort of, erm, on top of me. I moved around for a minute, trying to wake him up. Eventually, he did, and he seemed a little confused at first, then got mad. He jumped out of bed and left."
Hagrid seemed a little lost. "Still don't quite get why he turned back. I guess it's for the better, though. You lot don't need to worry 'bout him anymore."
"I wouldn't be so sure of that," Ron mumbled. Hermione gave him a warning glare.
After that, conversation moved away from Malfoy, and they talked about classes and O.W.L.S. and the upcoming ball. Hermione mentioned that she heard rumors about Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas going together, and Ron kept asking Harry if he had anyone in mind.
Over the summer after the war ended, Harry had tried pursuing in a relationship with Ginny Weasley. He quickly discovered that while she was quite brilliant and caring, they were not a great match, and the relationship came to an end. Ginny was a little more upset about it, but she recovered quickly and spent the rest of the summer training with her Quidditch team. Ron still was stuck on the idea that she and Harry were soulmates, but the two had since moved on.
Harry was on his own. He still had his friends, of course, but they weren't always going to be his company. The two of them liked their privacy, too, and following his friends around still, at eighteen, was a little pathetic. And sometimes, he'd admit, it was lonely.
'Maybe that's why I didn't push him away,' he wondered. 'Because I'm lonely.'
They were sitting peacefully, enjoying their tea, when there was a loud thump outside, followed by the sound of pots shattering.
Harry stiffened. "What the hell was that?" he said.
Ron and Hermione jumped up when they saw something in the window. Hagrid saw it, too, and set down the salamander he had been holding, then hurried out the front door. Harry, who had been facing away at from the window, was confused, but followed his friends and Hagrid outside.
"Oi, Malfoy! Get over here!" Hagrid yelled, running into the forest after him. Malfoy didn't look back, and disappeared into the forest.
Harry stopped behind his friends, watching Hagrid go after the blonde boy. He watched as Hagrid grabbed Malfoy's shirt sleeve and pulled him back, muttering something about detention. Harry smirked at the look of shame that flickered over the other boy's face momentarily. Hermione sighed.
"He gives Hagrid too much trouble," she said.
"Yeah, he should have just let Malfoy get himself killed. I wouldn't mind," Ron added, nudging Harry.
Hagrid returned with Draco a moment later- both looking explosive.
"My father will hear about this!" hissed Draco, struggling to get away from Hagrid's grasp on his shoulder. "Everything. I'll tell him about you trapping me in that fucking cage and forcing me to sleep with Potter!"
Harry's cheeks burned and he looked down. Malfoy ignored him.
"I owled yer father already, informin' him on what's happened," Hagrid said, pushing him towards the hut. "Get inside and sit down."
Draco was given detention for later that night, in the Forbidden Forest. Of course, he couldn't go alone, so Hagrid had to leave with him, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione were sent back to the castle early. This was especially upsetting to Ron, who was having a disagreement with half the Gryffindor house about something Harry didn't know.
It was unusual for teachers to care enough about the actions of eighth years to give them detention- since they were of age and allowed to do whatever they liked outside of class. Draco Malfoy was the only student who received detentions on a weekly basis. And for good reason. He was never where he was supposed to be, it seemed.
Filch was waiting in the entrance hall to make sure they didn't wander off someplace they weren't meant to be- as usual. The Gryffindor common room was busy when they arrived- dinner had likely just ended. Commotions had not died out since breakfast, and several students stopped to watch them pass.
It rained that night, and Harry watched from his window. He had no desire to sleep. He wondered, as he watched the drops trickle down the glass, how Hagrid and Draco were doing. They hadn't been out long. It was only a quarter past 9:00, and Draco was scheduled to stay out until 11:00.
"Hm. He's probably thrilled to be spending some quality time with Draco," Harry said to himself, pulling his knees up to his chest.
Someone huffed behind him. "Oh yeah, probably loving it."
Harry turned around to see Ron, sitting up in his bed. "I thought you were asleep."
"No," said Ron, pulling down his sheets. "Why're you not asleep?"
"You're never tired."
"So, you see, I'm not tired tonight either."
Ron sighed and stood up. "You want to go out, then?"
"Now?" said Harry. "Sure."
"I'll get 'Mione," Ron said, turning. "Get your cloak and we'll meet you in the common room."
They met a few minutes later by the portrait hole, Hermione carrying some sort of metal sheet. She quickly stuffed it in her bag and opened the door.
"This is so stupid," she said, pulling part of Harry's invisibility cloak over her. "Why are we doing this?"
"Becuase it's what we do best," Harry whispered. "And shut up or we'll get caught."
They made their way down the steps, silently. Nights like these, most of everyone was hidden away in their dorms, asleep. The sound of rain and damp air was cozy and relaxing. Even Peeves was nowhere in sight.
The grounds were wet and slippery, and the air was cold. Harry shivered as freezing wind whipped his robes around. This was stupid.
Across the muddy grass they went, Ron nearly tripping over his own feet. The rain was falling so hard now that the drops felt like tiny bullets pounding into their skin. The trees seemed to be their only shelter from the harsh weather.
"Where d'you think they are?" Ron asked, shouting slightly to be heard over the storm.
"Dunno, they could be anywhere," Harry replied. "We should probably split up!"
"That's even stupider than your first idea!" Hermione yelled. "Harry, it's too dangerous."
"And we've done a lot of really dangerous things!" Harry pulled his hood up and handed her the cloak to store away. "I'll send out a signal if anything goes wrong, or if I find them. You guys can do the same."
He didn't wait for a response from his friends before turning around and sprinting off into the trees.
The forest didn't feel as scary as usual with the rain falling. Perhaps it was because creatures seemed to be hiding away, keeping safe and warm. The only sign of life Harry saw for a long while was a large, black bird-like thing. It was creepy, but it stayed in it's tree, seeming to ignore him passing by. Thunder clapped in the distance. Rain came down harder.
Suddenly, someone screamed his name. It was not far off at all, but it didn't sound like either of his friends. He looked around nervously, reaching for his wand in his robes.
Something grabbed him from behind and pulled him down, knocking the wind out of him. Quickly, he stumbled to get up, panic rising in his chest when he realized he'd dropped his wand. The creature grabbed him again and dug its claws into his shoulder, squeezing until Harry saw stars. Whatever it was could fly, and he was slowly lifted off his feet, rising a few inches in the air before he heard the scream again- this time much more clear.
"Let go of him!"
With a terrible squelch and the feeling of muscles being torn, the creature dropped him on the ground and flew straight ahead at something. Harry fought against the urge to close his eyes and pass out, holding himself up with one arm pressed against the mud.
The creature- he could see it clearly now- was the bird he had passed earlier. Only, it wasn't a bird. It was dark, has two very large wings, and a huge, thin, silver beak. As far as he could tell, it didn't have any eyes, and it's body faded away into a swirl of feathers once it reached the abdomen. At the end of its wings were two hooks- covered in Harry's blood.
In a flash of green light, and loud, defeated screech, the creature fell to the ground, its body sliding on the wet ground. Harry's eyes widened in shock when he saw Draco Malfoy standing over the body a moment later, his wand still raised.
He blinked, trying to clear his vision. A drop of water splattered on his cheek. Draco stared at him for a moment before dropping his wand and rushing over to help.
Harry collapsed against Draco's chest, taking in the heat of the other body. Somewhere in his mind, he was reminded that this was Malfoy, but that didn't seem important at the moment. He shut his eyes tight, feeling too tired and too shocked to cry. Draco held him there, unmoving for several minutes.
Harry breathed in the smell of rain and ashes on the other boy, and the faintest scent of coffee. He smiled and pressed closer.
Draco pulled away slightly, gazing into the boy's eyes, which were impossibly green and, Merlin, so fucking beautiful. Harry's glasses had been tossed aside and he could see the detail in his irises without the bulky lenses blocking the way. He smiled grinned and leaned in closer, so their noses touched. Harry's eyes fluttered shut.
"Draco," he whispered.
Draco closed the space between them, meeting their lips in a soft, chaste kiss. He pulled back after a moment, eyes wide, realizing what he'd done.
"I'm sorry," he murmured. He brushed a lock of hair out of Harry's face.
Harry laughed and kissed him again, this time relaxing into it completely. Draco remained tentative for a moment, unsure of whether he was permitted to respond. Harry's hands snaked up to Draco's shoulders, pulling him closer. Draco gasped and Harry flicked his tongue against his bottom lip. Draco responded eagerly to that and tangled his hands in Harry's dark, wet hair, pulling lightly on the strands and making soft noises.
Someone coughed behind them, and the two pulled away quickly and turned to see who had interrupted them. Harry turned bright red when he saw Hagrid standing several feet away, an umbrella held over his head. Hagrid gave them a questioning look, then beckoned for them to follow.
Ron and Hermione were waiting by the edge of the forest, sopping wet.
"Harry, we sent out a warning!" Hermione cried, flinging herself at Harry. It was unusual for Hermione to act so upset, but he assumed it was only because of the late hour and the rain. "We ran into Hagrid and he told us about a dangerous creature. Oh, Harry, you're bleeding! It attacked you, didn't it? Are you alright? You should have listened when I said-"
"He's fine, Granger." Draco stepped in. "Lucky for him, I was there to help."
Harry blushed again but nodded. "He killed it," he said, nudging Draco. "I might need to use a few healing charms on the wound, though."
Hermione looked unsure, but dropped the subject and grabbed Ron's arm to drag him along back to Hagrid's cabin. Draco went ahead, following the two, and Harry lingered behind with Hagrid, who still looked puzzled from what he had seen. He patted Harry on the shoulder.
"You an' Malfoy, then?"
Harry nodded at the ground. "I guess so."
"I don' see what you see in 'im. But if he makes you 'appy.."
"He makes me frustrated," Harry muttered, grinning. "And happy. I think."
Hagrid chuckled (A/N- I HATE the word chuckle but couldn't think of anything that fit better. Hopefully won't have to use it again). "You'll do fine, then."
The bandage around Harry's shoulder was being wrapped too tight and not in the right place at all, but he could tell Ron was trying his best not to hurt his friend. He just wished Ron weren't so concerned about casing damage, because his friend was taking forever, and he was soaked, and hungry, and he really wanted to get back to the castle so he could fix that, and maybe spend sometime snogging Malfoy afterwards.
As if on queue, Draco snapped, "No, no, Weasley, you're doing it all wrong! Here, just let me..."
He snatched the gauze from Ron and gave him a light shove. Ron looked ready to throw a fit, but Harry just shook his head and said, "It's fine. You've done enough."
Draco placed a hand gently over the wound and muttered a few charms to stop the bleeding, then began to redo the bandages. Harry shivered when Draco's hands ran down his back and lightly massaged his shoulder blades, causing Draco to snicker and give a sideways grin.
"Almost done," he purred. "Then we can get you back up to the castle."
"Hurry up, then," Harry said, looking down to hide his blush. Hermione giggled.
"We sure appreciate your help, Draco. I know Harry's pleased," she bubbled, giving Harry the look. The look that said, "Look, I know something is going on between you two and Ron is completely oblivious and I'm sure Hagrid knows and I'm going to make you as uncomfortable as I possibly can without giving too much away".
Draco smirked. "Oh, I'm only doing what any good person would do. Now, I suggest we get Potter something dry to put on until we get back to the castle, so you two figure something out while I'm doing this."
"I'm not taking orders from you, Malfoy!" Ron sputtered.
"Do you want him to freeze? Because he's going to," said Draco.
The two argued for a while longer, and finally, Ron got up to find something. They settled on one of Hagrid's old sweaters that fit Harry like a loose dress, with old feathers and pieces of grass (A/N- Hagrid does love his grass) stuck to the fibers. It was itchy and torn, but it was the only thing they could find that actually stayed on Harry's shoulders, and the walk back to the castle was fairly short.
On their way out, Hagrid let Draco know that he was watching him, and gave the trio some cookies to take back to their dorms. The rain outside had slowed, but lighting overhead meant the storm was far from over. The four stepped out into the night and said farewell to Hagrid, then began the walk back.
When Ron and Hermione weren't looking, Draco grabbed Harry's hand and leaned in close.
"I hope to continue what we started, Potter," he whispered. "I rather like having someone smaller than me to push around."
"That's so messed up," Harry said, but he was grinning.
Harry fixed his hair for the millionth time that night.
"Sorry, mate, you just-" he started.
Ron clapped him on the shoulder, grinning. "Yeah. I'll go find Hermione, and you stay here and wait for your date. Still curious to see who you dragged along."
"Well," Harry said, "I'm sure you'll be thrilled when you find out."
Ron gave him a questioning look and he just shrugged it off, assuring him that it was "all good". Ron just nodded and went off to find Hermione somewhere in the Great Hall, which was now a dance floor, leaving Harry standing awkwardly by the entrance. The hall was packed with older students, all seemingly content for the first time in months. He smiled to himself, remembering that this was how things would have been for his parents when they attended Hogwarts. Peaceful, just as it should be.
"Potter." There was a gentle hand on his shoulder.
He jumped and spun around. "Draco!"
"Waiting for me?"
Harry nodded, taking in the sight of him. Draco was dressed in a tailored black suit, very much like the one he wore during their sixth year. It was nicer, though, and his hair was longer than it had been, and his face was so much kinder. He still had a mischievous glint in his eyes, however.
"You look..." he trailed off, at loss for words. "Great."
Draco laughed. "I know. Come on, Potter, let's join your friends."
They found Ron and Hermione almost immediately, seeing as the two were waiting just inside the doors. Hermione saw them and squealed, running over to hug Harry, commenting on how seeing him in formal wear brought back memories of the Yule Ball.
"We've got all four of us, then," she said, turning her attention to Draco. "As long as you refrain from using degrading names."
"I'll have to hold back the temptation," Draco mused.
Next to Hermione, Ron was still staring wide-eyed at the blonde. Harry stood there, waiting, wishing he'd say something, but his friend only stared, as if stuck on deciding what to say. Finally, he gave a small nod.
"Hell yeah I am," said Draco, grabbing Harry's arm. "I came here to dance, now, Potter, so if you would care to join me on the dance floor..."
Harry allowed himself to be dragged along.
A/N - I'm sorry that ending was so shitty! I kind of got stumped that last little bit, and I rushed through it. I have to work on another fic, though, so I can't really put any more time into this one. I'll probably go through and redo some of the parts when I have time.
Hope it was alright! This is actually my first official Drarry fic.. probably easy to tell /
Thanks for reading! Please review!