Author's Notes: This actually started off as a dream, which just goes to show that one should never, ever read more than 400 pages of Harry Potter in a row at 3 in the morning. ^^ Meant to be humor, though my sense of humor is kinda weird... oh well. Enjoy! E-mail please!
When Harry Potter woke up, the first thing he did was to stumble, wearily, over to the window. His next considered action was to move aside the curtains, followed by the blurry peering out of the window. He would then proceed to blink, mutter a few choice words, and go rummaging about for his glasses. Once those were secure upon his nose, he would attempt to repeat step number three.
Every morning his roommates watched with mounting tension, awaiting his report. This morning, the morning of December 2nd, was no different. Neville, Seamus, Dean and Ron alike waited with bated breath as their glorious leader took the plunge, and checked the weather.
They'd been having a good run of it so far, each thought privately, crossing fingers and holding good-luck charms. It was, their hanging Yule calendar proclaimed, only twenty-three days until Christmas; more importantly, only seven days until the end-of-term and winter vacation, and so far, so good...
...but when Harry turned to them with a tragic look on his face, they knew that their good fortune had come to an end.
Neville gulped. "Is it..."
The Boy Who Lived nodded once, grimly, and instinctively the other four occupants of the room looked warily around and assumed a variety of defensive positions. "I'm afraid so," he sighed in resignation.
The momentous event had not gone unnoticed, of course. If nothing else, the enchanted ceiling over breakfast would have made the weather conditions painfully clear, but by the way students were entering the Great Hall in groups, looking wary with wands at the ready, Harry felt it was safe to assume that everyone's respective dormitory spotters had performed their job correctly.
The talking in the hall was subdued today, held down to a dull roar as students watched the area around them nervously. The true focus of their attention, however, was the headmaster. Albus Dumbledore was sitting with apparent unconcern and implicit innocence in his accustomed seat at the High Table, chatting with Professor McGonagall as if nothing was out of the ordinary. McGonagall's face betrayed her, though; a corner of her mouth kept tugging upward as if she wanted very much to smile. That half-smile confirmed every student's worst fears: Dumbledore had gone into action, and if McGonagall found it amusing, they were all in Very Big Trouble.
Harry's worries were momentarily shunted aside as, while watching the entrance for signs of Ron and Hermione (who had been briefing the first years about what to expect), he spotted Draco Malfoy entering. Harry hated Draco. Oh, absolutely. There could be no question that he, Harry Potter, detested, abhorred, intensely disliked, and despised one Draco Malfoy, currently walking across the hall in his customary robes (and didn't Slytherin green look rather well on him?). Yes, Harry hated Draco. In fact, possibly the only thing he hated more than Draco was-
My, my, he does look hot today, doesn't he?
-the annoying voice inside his head.
Annoying? I like that. Just because I am not in some fairly serious denial here--
Idly Harry wondered whether there were any magical cures for multiple-personality disorder.
Oh, don't be such a twit. I'm not a multiple personality, I'm your repressed self. Welcome to puberty, Harry, hormone population 3.5 million and growing.
Harry didn't intend to dignify that with a response, but when his subconscious added a few more flattering observations of his archrival he couldn't take it lying down. Give it a rest, why don't you! I hate Draco. Got that? Hate.
Oh, sure you do. I'd hate to see your definition of 'like' then.
I liked Cho Chang, he replied promptly.
His little voice sniggered, which was the one thing Harry himself hated above all others. Oh, yes, I remember that, and how well did that work out? Now that girl was a bundle of hormones, always bursting into tears or starting rows with you- really, is that who we want to get involved with? Of course not. Now, if we're in the market for someone a little more mature- elegant, shall we say, and refined, and more on your level intellectually, and with more chemistry with you than you can shake a wand at--
Harry was saved the necessity of having to reply to that obviously preposterous statement by the appearance of Ron and Hermione, who took the seats next to him with worried expressions. "'Morning, Harry," Hermione whispered nervously. "Any news?"
He shook his head. "Not a peep, but you're just in time- I think- yes, he's starting--"
The hushed murmurs died away as one as Dumbledore rose for the morning announcements. Every eye was fixed upon him; even Fred and George Weasley were, for the moment, silent. No student missed the deadpan expression, nor the ominous glint of half-moon spectacles.
"Good morning, students!" Dumbledore chose to beam cheerfully. A murmur of distrust ran through the hall, which the headmaster chose to ignore. "I trust you all slept well! As most of you have undoubtedly noticed, it has begin to snow- our first snowfall of the season!" He paused to beam at the assemblage and wave a hand at the ceiling to confirm this observation. "It actually began snowing around midnight last night, giving us plenty of time to set up our Christmas decorations! We've been preparing so that we could do them quickly- we're having a late snowfall this year and we wanted you students to have as much time to enjoy them as possible!" Another expectant, beaming pause; sardonic whispers circulated. "At any rate," Dumbledore continued, "I am pleased to announce that our fine old Hogwarts traditions have been upheld for yet another year! As some of you older students know, every year since the school's inception there has been one Christmas decoration that is not what it seems. This year's unique twist is already deployed, just waiting to bring you holiday cheer!" He beamed again, seemingly waiting for applause. Fearful, halfhearted claps rang out and died quickly. He seemed not to notice. "First, let me point out a few classic comebacks that we've resurrected for your benefit! In 1378 Headmistress  came up with the singing firewood! Logs were enchanted and mixed in with the festive firewood in the common rooms; when thrown on the fire they burst into your favorite Yuletide carols! I have always," he smiled, "been partial to the one with the hippogriffs, myself."
A wave of nervous laughter made the rounds.
"The second old joke we've brought back is Headmaster Dippet's ornament shell game, a recent innovation that he introduced in 1972. Reach for an ornament and it jerks out of your reach! Never get the same one twice!"
Another wave, this time of jealously. "But that's not bad at all!" Ron murmured to Harry and Hermione. "Why did the other Heads have good ideas and we get Dumbledore?"
"And of course there's this year's little gadget," Dumbledore continued, looking inordinately pleased with himself. "Hopefully you'll soon be running into it! I'm quite proud of it- ought to bring us all closer together! Promote interaction You've only got a week to experience it before winter vacation so try, try, try!" Dumbledore laughed merrily. "Ahem," he glanced down. "Oh, yes, one other announcement- O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. prep classes are cancelled for the last week. And now, let's enjoy breakfast!" He sat down.
Food immediately appeared, but students were more interested in whispering distrustfully to their neighbors. Harry couldn't even bring himself to touch his bacon and eggs. "What d'you reckon it'll be this year?" he whispered aside to Ron and Hermione.
"Dunno," Ron muttered nervously. "Don't like the sound of it, myself. Dumbledore's jokes tend to be- well, you remember last year."
The other two nodded. The memory of the large number of Christmas Trees in the palace becoming animated and doing a highly improbably chorusline of "Lord of the Dance" through the halls every time some student inadvertently named a tree was not a pleasant one. Fir trees, Harry was sure, were not meant to Irish Dance. The trio indulged in a collective shiver at the memory.
"It can't be like that again," Hermione tried to reassure herself. "That was just downright evil. No one could come up with something that bad two years in a row."
"Well, I hope so," Ron concurred, shooting a nervous glance regardless at the High Table and its serene and expectant occupants. "Oy, we'd better get going if we're going to make it to class. We've got Trelawney today and if we're going to be watching out for booby traps the whole way to the Tower..."
"You're right," Harry agreed, taking one last sip of his pumpkin juice. "We'd better get going."
"Good luck, you two," Hermione waved at them. "I'll see you in Transfiguration."
"Yeah, see ya," Harry said. "Have fun in Ancient Runes."
Together Harry and Ron made their way out of the Hall, wands ready.
At first they had been going to go together- safety in numbers- but then Harry pointed out that it would be no good for them both to get caught; if they split up and took separate routes to the Tower, then if one of them were late the other one would know they needed help and could come bail them out (both still had a small supply of Skiving Snackboxes, so getting out of class wouldn't be a problem). Accordingly, they parted ways by the Ravenclaw staircase, with Ron taking the stairs and Harry the hallways.
Unfortunately for Harry, that turned out to be the longer route; the wide hallways, lined with paintings and suits of armor and the assorted debris of Hogwarts students in a hurry to class had him jumping at every turn, and being forbidden to cast Shielding Spells (no magic in the hallways) slowed his progress even further, so that he was at best halfway to his objective when the bell rang.
Oh well, he thought, better late than caught. Besides, it was just Divination; Trelawney wouldn't care and he didn't all that much either. The only real danger in being late was getting caught and losing points for Gryffindor, but it was generally only a five or ten point fine and those happened all the time anyway.
Slightly cheered at the prospect of missing Divination with a good excuse, Harry continued to work his careful way down the corridors, wand ready, taking no risks. He slid around a corner, threw a glance behind him, and started to move down the hallway.
"Well, well, Potter," a voice he knew all too well drawled from the shadows cast by the suit of armor standing guard in the hall. Draco Malfoy moved out of it to stand in a shaft of light, which did altogether too flattering things to him in Harry's opinion, and smirked. "Skiving off class, are we, Potter? That's going to cost you some points."
"What are you doing out of class?" Harry demanded acidly, surretipuously reaching for his wand. "Just 'cause you're a prefect--"
"I," Draco said, raising an eyebrow, "am excused, not that it's any of your business, because Professor Sprout isn't feeling well today. What's your excuse, Potter?"
"Forgot my books," he lied, checking the hallway for others and finding it empty.
"Did you now, Potter?" Draco moved closer, pale eyes glittering. "Or perhaps are you're sneaking off to do something else? Something worthy of the great Harry Potter, who is, of course, above rules..."
Harry went for his wand. So did Draco. He shouted "Expelliarmus!" a split second too late to counter Draco's "Explosus!". Draco's spell, not quite focused, exploded behind Harry, knocking him forwards into the other boy; they both careened a few too many steps down the hallway.
Energy surged in the air around them, sensible in its intensity.
Harry figured it out a split second too late. Even as he dove for safety, walls of golden light snapped up around them, forming a box out of which they could not get. Harry hit the wall hard and leaned on it, panting, glaring at the other occupant of the box.
Draco seemed stunned, staring around him at the trap in which they found themselves. Then, slowly, he tipped his head backwards to look up at the ceiling, silver hair falling backwards, and his eyes alighted on a sprig of mistletoe, hanging innocuously from the otherwise empty ceiling in the otherwise empty box.
Two boys cursed in hushed voices at the same moment.
Draco was the first to recover. "Nice going, Potter," he sneered. "Now look what you've done."
Harry gaped at him. That was just too much. "Me?" he exclaimed angrily. "You picked the fight! You used the Blasting Charm! You knocked us both off balance and into its range! I'd say this is your fault, Malfoy!"
"And I'd say you're wrong," he sniffed, but Harry noticed with satisfaction that he no longer looked quite as sure of himself.
"Regardless," Harry snapped, "we're stuck in here until we figure out how to get out of here. Any bright ideas, Malfoy?"
The silver-haired boy turned slowly around once, surveying their prison from all sides. He rapped on the walls, first with his hand, then with his wand; then he checked out the ceiling once again. "Well, now we know why Dumbledore said it would 'promote interaction,'" he said calmly. "We can't break out of this box by force."
The Boy Who Lived gaped at him. "You mean we're stuck in here? No way!"
"Oh, don't be an ass, Potter," Draco said impatiently. "Of course we're not stuck in here. There's a trick to this. The mistletoe triggered this box when we both came into its range. You'll notice it's dead center above us-" he pointed "so getting out of here obviously has to do something with that. Now, what uses has mistletoe..." he trailed off, muttering to himself.
Harry stared at the innocent-appearing sprig, trying to think; but his mind was blank. Maybe he could figure it out before Malfoy... Yeah, that'd impress him, wouldn't it? You just want him to look at you with something other than superior contempt. Well, what if he did? The problem was just that he couldn't remember ever using it for magic. He didn't remember using it in Potions, and all the Transfiguration he knew involved living animals on at least one end... change the mistletoe into an animal? What good would that do?... no, he couldn't think of anything magical... the last time he'd seen mistletoe had been Christmas... they had it every year at Hogwarts... Harry could even remember Aunt Petunia hanging some of it over the fireplace so that, she'd said coyly, if Uncle Vernon were to wander over...
The other boy turned. "Got an idea, Potter?"
Harry noticed almost absently that his tone seemed almost civil. He doesn't want to be stuck in here with you is all, a little voice in the back of his head sighed. He wants to get out before anyone notices, he can always deny it later... "Yeah," he said, trying to sound casual. "But... well..."
"Out with it, Potter," Draco said impatiently.
"Well, I couldn't think of anything wizardly, but there's a Muggle tradition involving mistletoe..."
Draco snorted and waved his hand dismissively. "How could that help?" he muttered. "We're in the middle of a wizarding castle, in case you haven't noticed- but then again..." he frowned slightly. "Dumbledore always did have rather a soft spot for Muggles... what's this tradition, then?"
"Er," Harry swallowed nervously. "Well, it's just that... well... when two Muggles are standing together under mistletoe..."
"Yes?" Draco asked, a note of interest seeping into his voice. "You might just have something here, Potter..."
"Well..." Just blurt it out! "They're supposed to... well... they're supposed to kiss."
A moment of dead silence ensued. Harry, afraid to look at Draco, contented himself with checking the corridor for other students. Still empty. "Of course I'm sure that's not what he would-"
"That's it," Draco said in a flat, emotionless voice.
"I mean not even Dumbledore could expect-- what?" Harry blinked. Had he heard Malfoy correctly?
"I said," Draco sighed, "that that's it. The answer. The solution."
Harry deliberated between several expressions, finally settling on a jaw-on-the-floor gape. "It- it is? How do you-"
"I know," Draco said heavily, "because it happened to Pansy. She missed History of Magic, we have it just now, I went to look for her and caught her running towards the girls' loo and asked what was the matter. She muttered something about being caught with Crabbe and having to brush her teeth. I thought she was being rather silly," he went on, not looking at Harry, "because his breath isn't quite that bad, so I asked her 'What did you do, kiss him?' and she looked terrified and bolted. I thought she just couldn't take the joke."
Harry, stunned, forgot he wasn't supposed to be looking at his archrival and stared in blatant amazement. "Crabbe? And Pansy?"
"Yep," Draco said. "Disgusting, isn't it?"
"Yeah," he nodded without thinking. "I mean they're both so- well, they're Slytherins and- I mean," he added hastily, remembering suddenly that Draco, too, was a Slytherin, "that is to say..." Open mouth, insert foot. Way to go, Harry. Even his subconscious sounded disgusted.
"Oh, don't worry about it, Potter," he smiled- Wait, he's not smirking? Did he just sound... amused? Yes! This is good! "Being in my House didn't make them my friends. Neither did it teach them personal hygeine..." he added as an aside.
Harry, reduced to shock, could only blink dazedly. He didn't snap at me. He didn't pick another fight. If he insulted my friends I'd hex him...
But friends don't mean as much to him, do they? Harry snapped at the voice.
How would you know? He doesn't even know. He's got no friends. Remember?
Harry, taken off guard again, could only reflect how unfair it was that, even when he was arguing with himself, he couldn't win.
Don't try to win. Try to kiss Draco. This is your big chance.
"Big chance?" he yelled, forgeting himself and speaking aloud. "It's hardly been my lifelong ambition!"
Draco lifted a single, silver eyebrow. "Something you'd like to share with the class, Potter?"
"No," he mumbled, blushing, then cursing himself for blushing under that elegant gaze. Oooh, he looked at you. Cue the raging hormones. Who the heck are you trying to fool?
Not you, Harry snapped in return, then took a deep breath. "Can you think of any other ideas that could be it?"
"No," Draco said impatiently. "That's it, I'm sure of it. Let's get it over with, I don't want to be caught in here with you..."
"Right," Harry said heavily. Naturally he just wants to get away from me.
Don't start angsting now, you'll ruin some perfectly good denial. The voice in his head actually sounded happy. A little eager to kiss you, isn't he, being your archrival and all? Just a bit too fast to discount any other possibility, don't you think?
Harry paused. Really? You think so? For some reason he was starting to feel rather warm...
I'm sure of it. The voice was downright smug. I'm the expert here, remember?
If you say so...
I do. Now get on with it.
Harry looked nervously at Draco- specifically, at Draco's lips- and unconsciously licked his own. His opposite smiled suddenly.
"Well," Draco drawled, "no sense in putting it off." Graceful, he swooped down on Harry and pressed their lips together.
Wow, he thought dazedly.
Yes! a voice cheered exultantly.
Then Draco pulled away, and Harry found himself quite disappointed that he hadn't stayed longer.
"Well, Potter," Draco sounded a bit disappointed himself. "First kiss? Didn't practice on Cho Chang, did we?"
Harry blinked, stunned, then suddenly angry. What right did this slimy git have to say something like that? It's not as if he'd wanted to kiss Malfoy, that was for sure! It had been a chore, an ordeal, certainly nothing he had any interest in repeating, and if Malfoy hadn't approved, well, that was just fine and dandy--
One step forward, two steps back, the voice sighed.
Draco smirked slightly, then looked around, appearing slightly startled. "We're still stuck."
"Well," Harry snapped, "Maybe that wasn't the solution then. You were a bit quick to jump on the idea of kissing me, Malfoy."
The other boy's eyes narrowed. "Oh? I didn't catch you objecting." He paused, then looked over at Harry though half-lidded, smoky eyes. "Maybe," he said in a very different tone, one that sent shivers through Harry, "we just didn't put enough effort into it."
Harry gulped, which turned out to be a very good idea, because no sooner had he got breath in his lungs than Draco was kissing him again.
This was much better than the first kiss. For one thing, Harry wasn't quite so dazed as to not appreciate the fireworks going off behind his closed eyelids, or the rush of warmth that filled his whole body. Secondly, he was determined to show Draco that he could, indeed, kiss, and was putting quite a bit more of himself into it (as opposed to standing there doing nothing, as he'd done the first time). Thirdly, Draco was one hell of a kisser, and now that they'd pried each other's mouths open and were really going at it he was doing some very interesting things with his tongue...
A tinkling sound of wind chimes filled the air, and with a magical shiver that both boys clearly felt, the barriers collapsed.
The two broke apart, breathing hard, and looking wildly around. Yes, the golden walls were gone. Yes, the mistletoe was gone as well. Yes, they were still unobserved.
And yes, that was one hell of a good time! There. You see? I do so know what I'm talking about!
Harry had to admit it had a point. The one and only time Cho Chang had kissed him, it hadn't felt anything like that. In fact, nothing in his whole life had felt like that, and he had no objections whatsoever to trying it again. Maybe he could find some more mistletoe...
Harry jerked out of his reverie and stared, wide-eyed, at an evidently self-satisfied Draco Malfoy who, his dazed mind registered, had just called him by his first name.
"It seems we've broken the enchantment," the silver-haired boy noted. "Seems like it only wanted a little genuine affection." And he smirked in a very cat-got-the-cream way. "I didn't realize you were such a good kisser, Potter. Perhaps if you weren't so straight-laced all the time we could have tried that sooner."
Sooner? Harry nearly choked on the implications of that statement. Did that mean Draco wasn't going to pretend it never happened? Wasn't going to run off? Wasn't going to tell the rest of his House what a terrible kisser Harry was and compose deprecating songs about it to sing at him in the corridors?
All of the above! his subconscious cried gleefully. All right! Kiss him again! Go on!
Draco, however, was giving him a look that made his knees too weak to even contemplate the required movement. "You know," he said after a moment, "As a prefect I can technically excuse us from our classes this hour... how about we drop by that Room of Requirement and see what it conjures up for this situation?"
For once, Harry and his subconscious were in complete agreement.
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