Author's Note: Part 3 of "Certain". This segment is Draco POV. Also, the "secret bedroom fantasy" line is the genius of our ever-talented Rhysenn, and can be found in part 2 of her story Windswept Feelings. If you haven't read that yet, I *highly* recommend that you do so. Pronto.
DISCLAIMER: JK Rowling owns all things Potter. I'm just borrowing them for a bit.
Feedback: Yes please. Even short notes mean a lot to me. I accept constructive as well as positive remarks.
Closing the Distance
Draco paced in the shadow of Giuseppe's statue, checking his watch for the tenth time. Two minutes before eight. He'd had Quidditch practice that night and, after showering and changing, it had been late enough that it had seemed pointless to sit down with his homework. Instead, he'd headed straight for the fourth floor, hoping Potter would also arrive early, so they could get this talk over with. Draco figured it would be just like Potter to do something goody-goody like arrive early.
He sighed. There were so many things to hate about Harry Potter, and being a goody-goody was only one of them. Potter had fame; he somehow always managed to weasel his way out of serious trouble; rules bent in his presence as if suddenly made of rubber -- look how Potter had been given the team Seeker position as a first-year! -- and people flocked to give him sympathy whenever he got so much as hangnail. None of which had Draco ever experienced. And to make it worse, Potter was a Mudblood, had been raised by Muggles, had another Mudblood as a best friend, and didn't seem to give a damn what pure-bloods like himself thought.
And yet and yet as much as Draco hated to admit it, there was something sort of refreshing about Potter. Nauseating, but refreshing. Goody-goodies could be sickening, gullible saps, but they, or rather, this one, could also make for a good, honest change from the perpetual cunning displayed by his fellow housemates. And Potter was strangely handsome to boot. Try as he might, Draco had been unable to stop himself from watching the dark-haired boy. Almost from day one he had been sneaking glances at Potter whenever they were in the same room, on the same Quidditch field, on the same train. However pitiful his parents might have been, they had left him some rather striking features, and Draco had been unable to squelch the attraction he felt.
He had never said anything to anyone about his feelings. Potter was a Gryffindor, for Salazar's sake! Instead, Draco had allowed his natural Slytherin attitude to surface whenever the other boy was near. It wasn't too hard -- despite his attraction, he still found Potter damned annoying most of the time. So he concentrated on their discord, even doubling up on the nastiness at times, to keep his less comfortable feelings buried, and temptation at bay. Maintaining the distance, and using Crabbe and Goyle as additional shields, ensured that Draco's cool veneer would never crack. He had a reputation to protect, after all -- the last thing he needed was for someone to find out he, a hardcore Slytherin, had an interest in the Hero of Gryffindor.
But now Potter had called this meeting, god only knew why, and they would be face to face. Alone.
The sound of approaching footsteps broke into his reverie. Finally. Draco craned his neck around Giuseppe's enormous stone calves, expecting to see the other boy's wiry frame, but he saw no one.
"Am I late?"
"Gaaah!!" Draco jumped, nearly bumping his head on the statue's elbow.
"Er sorry, Malfoy. I forgot you couldn't see me."
"Well, isn't that convenient?" Draco snarled, as Harry pulled off his invisibility cloak. "And yes," he pointed at his watch, "you are late. Three minutes. Do try to do better, Potter. If you're going to drag me out here, the least you can do is show some courtesy."
"Since when have you and courtesy been nodding acquaintances?" Harry snapped back.
Draco was glad for the animosity. Maybe being alone with the dark-haired boy wouldn't be such a challenge to his resolve after all. "I'll have you know," he said, drawing on countless generations of Malfoy haughtiness, "that my family sets *great* store on courtesy. I had lessons in protocol long before I flew my first broom."
"Could've fooled me," Harry muttered. Then he bit his lip, as if regretting his words.
Draco quirked an eyebrow at Potter's rueful gesture. "So, did we meet here in secret so you could slander my social habits? Or was there some other purpose to this little assignation?"
He was surprised to see Harry flush in response. The Gryffindor boy seemed to have entirely lost his aggressive stance. "Well, um. " He trailed off.
"'Well, um'?" Draco's biting voice filled the silence. Potter made it too easy sometimes. "'Well, um.' Wellum William? Let me guess -- you've discovered a treasure trove buried beneath a Muggle statue of William the Conquerer, and, being the immensely kind-hearted person that you are, you decided to share the spoils with me."
"No!" Harry cut in. "It's just that, well what I wanted to say was, er ."
Draco started getting impatient. "Potter, did Longbottom accidentally put a lip-locker curse on you? I know he's incompetent, but surely your know-it-all friend Granger should be able to put it right." He crossed his arms and glared at Harry. "For god's sake, just say it so I can get out of here and finish my homework. Or was that your evil plan? Keep me from my work so I'll look bad in front of Flitwick tomorrow?"
"No, you impatient git, I did not have an evil plan!" Harry bit out. "That's your department." He took a deep breath, obviously steeling himself for something. Malfoy watched the other boy's wildly shifting emotions in mild amusement. What could possibly have gotten Potter so worked up?
Harry blew out his breath. "Fine. You want to know why I asked you here? I wanted to tell you that I like you."
Draco stared, all traces of amusement gone. Potter couldn't possibly have meant what he thought it meant. Because if he did . Oh no. It would mean the end of everything. The strength of Draco's resolve rested solely on their public dislike for each other. He had always assumed Potter truly did hate him, which made things that much easier. But if his dark-haired opponent actually shared his feelings oh god.
Quickly, he reinforced his armor. "You 'like' me, eh, Potter?" he sneered. "Strange word choice, considering that not two seconds ago you called me a 'git' and implied I was capable of evil plans." He told himself that watching Potter bite on his bottom lip in response was not sexy. At all.
"Well, you are I mean er. Wait, I didn't mean "
A flustered Potter was a delectable Potter, a voice in Draco's mind whispered. The blush of embarrassment bore a remarkable resemblance to the flush of arousal, and it was beginning to call an answering warmth from Draco's body. He squelched the thought quickly. "You didn't? Somehow, I don't believe that. Well, well, who would have guessed? Perfect Potter likes evil gits. I can't wait to spread this around the school ."
"No! I mean. " Sweat broke out on Harry's brow. "Malfoy, don't you you know feel something too?"
Draco eyed a sweat droplet as it ran down Harry's cheek and neck, to disappear into the collar of his robes. Every instinct suddenly cried out to follow the damp trail with his tongue, to pull aside the robe so he could follow the droplet as it slid lower lower
No! Control. Cocking an eyebrow again, he retorted, "Feel what, Potter?" He was pulling out all the stops, relying on every bit of innate Slytherin craft he possessed to keep Harry frustrated and angry, and himself firmly behind his own walls. "You mean something romantic?" He drew the word out, sneeringly. "Where would you get such a ridiculous notion?"
Harry didn't reply. Draco could see he was mentally cursing whoever had given him the impression that Draco felt something for him. He wondered briefly who it was, thinking that he'd better start watching himself more carefully in the future.
"Look, Potter," he drawled, ready to end this little interview and return to the safety of the Slytherin common room, "don't beat yourself up. I mean, look at me. I already know I'm the secret bedroom fantasy of half the school. So, even though you've obviously been woefully misinformed, I'll give you some credit for having great ta--"
"Shhhh!" Harry suddenly jumped, all confusion and woe wiped from his face. "Someone's coming!" In one swift gesture, he grabbed the invisibility cloak off the floor and threw it over the two of them, hiding them from view.
"Potter, if this is just some lame excuse to get close--"
"Will you shut up?" Harry hissed. "I heard footsteps."
Sure enough, within seconds the sound of heavy feet could easily be heard making their way down the corridor. The two boys held their breath, waiting.
Actually, Draco was finding it hard to breathe at all. With no means of shielding himself verbally, pressed against Potter from nose to toe, his defenses were crumbling. Filch came into view, wearing his usual scowl and peering suspiciously into dark corners, but Draco hardly noticed that danger. He was much more aware of the danger posed by breathing in Potter's clean, almost woodsy scent, and feeling the pounding rhythm of the dark-haired boy's heart beat against his own chest. Their thighs were pressed together and--
"Ok, I think it's safe now," Harry whispered shakily, after Filch abruptly disappeared down a side stairwell, and the footsteps had faded into the night. He let the invisibility cloak fall to the ground again.
Draco didn't move. Safe safe No, he wasn't safe. His armor was gone, his control completely shaken. Damn Potter.
Harry turned to face him, heaving a great sigh as he did so. "Look, Malfoy. Clearly this whole thing was a bad idea. I have homework to do and someone to pound, and I need to find a way to transfigure myself into a rock before you can humiliate me tomorrow, so if you'll just excuse me--" He turned to go.
"Hang on a minute, Potter," Draco called. Harry paused, turning his head back to look.
"Let's make one thing perfectly clear." Draco closed the space between them in a few short strides. "If you ever, ever speak to anyone about what happened here tonight, I will send humiliating Howlers to you every day for the next year. Got that, Potter?"
Harry gave a short laugh. "You don't have to worry, Malfoy. Why would I want to tell anyone what an ass I made of myself tonight? Besides," he frowned, "what are you so worried about? What did you do that could possibly have spoiled your precious reputation?"
"This." Before he could change his mind, before the other boy could turn away again, Draco grasped Harry's robes and pulled him in until their lips met in a searing kiss.
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