*It's started,* Draco thought. The murmurs. He hadn't flirted with anyone lately. Well, he'd never really done generic flirting. He'd leered, mostly. And now, he'd stopped. People were noticing. Lucius would probably be happy to hear of this, as he'd never approved of his son's overly active sex life. On the other hand, Lucius would have questions concerning this abrupt change in behavior. Draco shuddered to think what would happen if Lucius got answers. Draco was treading on dangerous ground. Still, he couldn't help feeling a joyful anticipation at the thought of seeing Harry again.
He missed Harry in the morning, though he'd never admit it. He found himself reaching across the bed for someone who wasn't there. He'd avoided beds in past relationships, if they could even be called relationships. He hadn't trusted anyone enough to reach the level of relaxation required for sleep. Harry was different, it seemed. He'd seen Draco completely vulnerable, yet Draco knew that Harry would never take advantage simply because of who Harry was. Draco had spent only the one night with Harry and, after the Ron incident, never intended to do so again. It seemed, though, that in those few hours he'd gotten accustomed to the company.
He managed to force Harry out of his mind for most of the day and concentrate on his classes. After class, he'd made his way up to the Slytherin common room, and the dam had burst. Thoughts of Harry flooded his head. He envisioned the green-eyed Gryffindor as he had been the night before in the locker room showers, hips bucking helplessly over Draco's erection, inhuman cries erupting from his mouth. He loved hearing Harry like that, seeing Harry like that. It was pure animal eroticism.
Draco wanted to go back there, to the locker room, but this time with the showers on. He wanted to see Harry in the bare minimum of clothing, cloth clinging enticingly to his drenched form. He wanted to peel away each soaked garment with his teeth. He wanted to feel the wet slide of Harry's hips jerking under his hands as he sucked a hardened shaft into climax. Slippery Harry was the best kind of Harry.
Draco left his common room, drifting towards the boys' restroom in a daze, searching for a stall to find relief in. He locked the door behind him with clumsy hands, undid his robe in the front, and shoved down his pants. He brought himself off into the toilet, choking out a name at the moment of release. Afterwards, he leaned weakly against the wall of the cramped stall, closing his eyes against the unwanted return of rational thought.
Once he'd regained his composure, Draco strode back to his common room, taking the stairs to his sleeping quarters. He scrawled a quick note and tied it to his owl's leg - another rendezvous request. With some effort, the blond pushed all thoughts of the Gryffindor out of his mind and began his homework.
After Ron had stormed away from the table, he refused to speak to either of his friends. Hermione urged Ron to say something, but all she got for her urgings was some subvocal grunting. It wasn't until the next evening in the common room that Ron finally spoke. "I can't believe you're encouraging Harry. He's going on with Draco Malfoy, and you're just perfectly fine with it?!"
Hermione sighed. "Ron, I am trying to be mature about this. Harry's love life is his own business. I don't like Malfoy any more than you do, but something tells me that Harry won't just end their relationship if we tell him we don't approve. We oughtn't let him drive a wedge between us and our best friend."
"So you think that he's just with Harry to drive us away?"
"No. I don't think he even wanted us to find out. I don't think Malfoy wanted anyone to know, or he'd be boasting about it and humiliating Harry in every conceivable way."
"So what do you think, 'Mione? You're the smart one. What makes you think Malfoy's not using Harry?"
"Well, if there's anything I know about Malfoy, it's that he's always the one with the power. Everyone he's with plays by his rules. I don't know what's going on with him and Harry, but it's different. I don't think either of them is setting the rules, this time."
"So what you're saying is -"
"That it's complicated, and Harry doesn't need us to complicate things more."
The two sat in silence for a moment. Then Ron raised his eyes to look at Hermione. "Wanna play some chess?" Hermione grinned, knowing that this was Ron's way of saying 'all's forgiven.'
"Sure Ron. Why not?"
Harry walked into the common room to find his two friends playing chess on the floor. Ron was winning. Chess was probably the only activity where Ron had an intellectual advantage over Hermione. Hermione looked up and smiled. Ron didn't smile, but he did beckon Harry over. Harry grinned, happy that Ron seemed willing to speak with him again, and sat by the pair to watch their game.
Ron won, of course. He always did. Harry didn't think he'd ever seen the red-head lose. The three started talking about classes, Quidditch, anything but Draco. Harry silently thanked his friends for avoiding the issue. Honestly, he had nothing useful to tell them - he had no idea what was going on with him and Draco. He'd decided not to let himself get tied in knots over it, though. He laughed with his friends for a few minutes, and then ran up to his room with the intention of fetching his books and bringing them back down so Hermione could help him with his potions essay.
Upon entering the boys dorm, Harry found an owl tapping its beak frantically against the outside of a window. He quickly opened it and the owl hopped onto his bed. Harry quickly untied the piece of parchment from its leg and unfolded the message:
~Meet me on the forest side of the lake at midnight
Harry jumped when a blue flame, strangely without heat, ghosted out of the center of the parchment and
consumed it, leaving soft ash in Harry's hands. He smiled, dusting the remnants of the message out the window, mentally chuckling at Draco's paranoia. Harry shook his head of all thoughts of the blonde and gathered his schoolbooks to head back to the common room.
He tried to keep his mind on homework. He really, really tried. He kept drifting back to Draco, and the way the Slytherin's eyes seemed to glow with arousal, the way his voice rolled down Harry's skin and straight into his pants, the way he smelled - like winter. He looked like winter as well, cold and pale, white planes and gray shadows. Harry remembered how he'd felt coming with Draco inside him, torn and mended in the same moment. Someone was calling his name...
*Wait. What? Oh - Hermione.*
"Harry, you've been staring at that page for the past ten minutes."
Harry gave her a look that was both guilty and defensive. "It's a long page."
"There's a giant picture on it and about three sentences underneath, and somehow I doubt that drawing of a hyssop plant has powers of hypnotism."
"'m sorry Herm. Just preoccupied is all."
"Goodness, you have no attention span at all."
"Oh, it doesn't matter anyway. The essay's not due for another week. I think I'll head to bed."
"Alright. Goodnight Harry."
Ron looked up from his own work. "Yeah, g'night Harry."
Harry returned to his dorm while Ron and Hermione settled back into their own work. He reached his dorm, where he found nothing to do but watch the clock and pace. Finally, he could no longer stand the slow crawl of minutes. He set an alarm for twelve, midnight, and threw himself onto his bed and into a fitful sleep.
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