Ch. 8- "Crash and Burn"
Notes: This fic will probably be kind of long... bear with me if there are lapses between chapters, as I do have a career that exhausts/frustrates me quite often. I have never written HP fanfiction before, either, so sorry if I do the characters OOC or something.. ok, scratch that, there will be OOCness. This IS a slash fic, after all. =p And I think this is my first non-anime fanfic, too... o_O scary...
Thanks to Mami-san for beta-ing the fic- goddess knows I'm too damn lazy to spellcheck my own junk. @_@
I got the title frum the song of the same name from "Fushigi Yuugi"- it's Soi's song, I believe.
Warning: This is a Draco/Harry SLASH fic. Don't like that, bugger off. -_- And for those of you who despise Draco, I understand.. ^.^; He IS quite the shithead... but I can't help but like this couple. Also, if you haven't read all 4 current HP books, this fic will most likely contain spoilers. You've been forwarned.
Ron was acting colder than usual, Harry observed in bewilderment later that afternoon as his best friend brushed by him for the umpteenth time that day, deliberately looking the other way. The redhead was practically emanating disgust and hurt. As if he'd been betrayed somehow.
He tried to ask Ron about it a few times, but gave up in frustration when all he got was a cool look or a turned back.
'At least Hermione's still talking to me..' Harry thought ruefully as he sought the girl out.
But she was nowhere to be found. "She's upstairs with the other girls fixing her hair," Dennis Creavy told him when he asked. The shorter boy rolled his eyes. "Makeup, hair, nails.. you know, all that sissy stuff girls do before a dance."
"Oh. Thanks." Harry sighed, glancing outside at the sun. It was almost five already. His stomach grumbled a little. Dinner would be put off until the Ball, so he was just going to have to deal with a little hunger. He had almost two hours before the Ball, and nothing to do to fill up the time. Retrieving his scarf and gloves from one of the chairs, he set off to see if Hagrid was busy, feeling glum and irritable.
It was getting colder as evening crept forward on velvet feet, and Harry walked quickly, arms wrapped around himself to ward off the chill, his breath puffing in front of his face.
He knocked on Hagrid's hut door, shivering on the doorstep until he heard his friend's loud footsteps and the door creaked open. "Oh, 'ello 'arry," the half-giant greeted in pleasant surprise, looking down at him. "What brings you 'ere?"
"Nothing much," Harry edged. "How are you, Hagrid?"
"I'm fine." Hagrid glanced around outside, puzzled. "Where's 'Ermione an' Ron?"
"Uh.." Harry hemmed, "they're getting ready for the Ball."
"Then what about you?"
"Oh, I'm fine," Harry said quickly. "Can I come in?"
"Yeah, sure." Hagrid opened the door fully, still watching him a little quizzically.
Harry entered the warm hut gratefully, rubbing his gloved hands together and following his large friend to the table.
"'Ere, I just made tea an' cookies." Hagrid beamed, offering a plate full of lumpy, charred cookies. "Try 'em!"
Harry laughed nervously. "Uh.. I'm full, thanks."
"A'right." Hagrid poured him some hot tea, glancing towards the window as Harry seated himself at one of the big wooden chairs. "Gonna be a cold night t'night," he said with a gusty sigh. "Fang's too much of a bloody coward to go out 'n this weather."
Harry pulled off his gloves and reached for the proferred mug. "Thanks."
"So who's yer date for the Ball?" Hagrid asked with a wide grin, looking happy to have company as he seated himself across from the young boy. "Did you get Cho t'go with you? You never told me."
Harry felt a twinge of guilt; he and his friends hadn't been down to see Hagrid in some time outside of Care of Magical Creatures, and the big man must have gotten lonely in their absence. "Actually, she's going with Draco," Harry sighed, gazing into his tea and blowing on it to cool it. It suddenly occured to him that he wasn't sure if he was upset that Draco was going with Cho or vice a versa. The thought startled and scared him, and he only half heard Hagrid's growl of annoyance.
"'e's only doin' it to annoy you, 'arry. It's Cho's last year, ain't it?"
"Yes," Harry said. "I'm going with Ginny."
"Ron's sister?" Hagrid grinned. "Oh, good boy, 'arry. That's the type of girl for you." He nodded firmly, munching loudly on one of his burnt cookies.
Harry stared wordlessly down at his tea again, the warm mug thawing his hands. At least Hagrid hadn't noticed him calling Malfoy by his first name. THAT would take some explaining...
He and Draco had been getting tentatively along ever since that day Harry had pulled the Slytherin off the steps and saved his life. Seeing this other, teasing side of the other boy left options open for friendship that had not previously been there. Draco had a charisma to him that instantly attracted the other Slytherins to him; a character that had grown stronger since their fifth year. Harry had watched him sometimes, wishing that the other boy wasn't such a cruel git so they might have been friends. Still, it had been pretty amusing to see some of the Gryffindor girls turn him down coolly despite his good looks because of his attitude. But this year it seemed the majority of the females in Hogwarts couldn't help but be attracted to the aloof, handsome young man.
Handsome young man... what the hell's wrong with me? Harry shook his head, trying to focus on what Hagrid was saying. For god's sake, he was sounding as if HE had been pining after Draco like those silly girls... Stop it!! he ordered himself frantically.
"'Arry? You OK?" Hagrid looked concerned. "You don't look too good."
"Oh- uh.." Harry set down his mug hastily and offered a weak grin. "I'm fine, Hagrid. Just uptight about tonight, I guess."
"Don't worry, 'arry," Hagrid soothed. "You'll have fun."
"Like last year?" Harry asked dryly.
Hagrid laughed his booming laugh. "I 'ope not," he said. "You should go back an' get ready, tho'. You've got less than two hours."
"All right," Harry agreed reluctantly, sliding down from the huge chair. "See you tonight, Hagrid."
"Bye 'arry! Stop by anytime!"
Harry waved his assent and went back out into the cool early evening air, pausing outside the hut to tug his gloves on once more.
He caught movement out of the corner of his eye and peered curiously towards the shadows of the Forbidden Forest. Someone was standing at the edge of the trees, staring up at the looming foliage overhead. It wasn't tall enough to be a professor or Kyle, so Harry catiously walked over.
He stepped on a dead twig as he got closer, and the figure turned quickly, eyes narrowed and body tense.
"Draco," Harry said in surprise, stopping. "What are you doing here?"
Draco hesitated before glancing away from him, back towards the trees. "Listening," he said shortly.
Harry picked his way through the dead limbs scattered about to stand beside the taller boy, crossing his arms over his chest and wondering why Draco didn't seem affected by the cold. "Listening to what?"
Draco stared into the forbidding forest with a strange, tense look on his face. "I thought someone was calling me," he murmured, almost as if unsure himself.
Harry looked up at him sideways, a little hesitantly. "Aren't you going to get ready for the Ball? It starts in two hours."
Draco gave an unconcerned shrug. "I have plenty of time."
"Not going to go get all prepped up?" Harry teased with a grin.
Draco sent him a sharp look.
"Joke," Harry mocked. "Can't you take a joke?"
Draco rolled his eyes. "Sarcasm does not become you, Potter."
Harry gave into the childish urge to stick out his tongue.
Draco stared at him incredulously, and Harry couldn't help laughing at the look on his face. The hint of a smile twitched at the corner of the pale boy's mouth. "You're an idiot."
"You're a jackass," Harry shot back honestly.
Draco shrugged, seeming unoffended. "It's what I do," he said drolly.
Harry's face grew serious. "You don't have to be like that," he said, "just because your father's like that."
"You'd have a lot more friends," Harry continued, turning his eyes away to look with a slight shudder into the unfriendly depths of the forest. "You can't go on by yourself forever, you know. What happens when you need someone to watch your back instead of stabbing you there instead?"
Draco sneered at him. "Don't preach to me about loyalty and friendship, Potter," he said scathingly. "You're a Gryffindor- I'm a Slytherin. We'll never be alike."
Harry hesitated. "I.. was almost put in Slytherin," he admitted finally.
Draco peered at him. "What?"
"Our first year, when I put on the Sorting Hat, it tried to put me in Slytherin," Harry said, still not looking at him. "After our second year, I can kind of understand some of that. But..." He finally looked up at the other boy, blinking as the night breeze blew some of his wayward bangs across the front of his glasses. "Maybe we're not as different as you think we are."
Draco said nothing, simply looking at him with an unreadable look on his face.
"Why should you," he asked at last, voice level, "try NOW to be civil to me after the shit I've put you and those whining friends of yours through?"
Harry shrugged. "Everyone deserves another chance. And I never *wanted* to be your enemy in the first place. You just acted like a git to Ron. That's what turned me off."
"Turned you off?" Draco's lips curved in a smirk. "You should watch your wording, Potter."
Harry sputtered, feeling his cheeks flush. "Th-that's not what I meant-!"
Draco reached out, and Harry gave a little jolt as cold, slender fingers slid across his cheek to bury themselves in his hair at the nape of his neck. He stood staring breathlessly up at Draco as the other boy continued to grin at him in that infuriatingly sultry way of his.
"Should I turn you on, now, then?" Draco breathed, leaning in.
"Wha-" Harry gasped a little, trying to lean back, but the hand holding his head was surprisingly strong. His heart was hammering in his chest and his face felt red-hot. "D-"
"Go ahead, Potter," Draco teased in a murmur, their faces mere inches away. "Stick out your tongue again."
Harry took in a shuddering little breath, eyes sliding helplessly closed as he felt hot breath on his mouth and then finally the soft, almost tentative brush of lips against his own. He opened his own mouth instinctively, his body trembling at the feather-light touch, at the same time begging for more.
"Am I interrupting anything?" an amused voice asked suddenly, shattering the warm world Draco had pulled around them.
They leapt apart instantly, like guilty lovers, and Harry was sure his face couldn't possibly get any redder.
Draco looked flushed and furious. "Who-" His eyes widened, his challenge dying off as a figure stepped from the impossible darkness of the Forbidden Forest.
"Kyle??" Harry gaped at the tall boy. "What were you doing in the Forbidden Forest??"
Kyle ignored him. "Draco. Come here."
"What?" Draco snarled, glaring daggers at him and looking stiff. "Leave me alone."
Kyle chuckled, a dangerous sound. Then he was leaping forward with startling speed, swinging his arm in a precise chop.
Draco was completely caught off guard. He gave a startled grunt at the vicious blow to his neck before toppling over into Kyle's waiting arms.
"Draco!" Harry took a quick step forward, staring wildly at Kyle. "What did you do?!"
"Relax, lover boy," Kyle purred, shifting Draco so that he could brush blond bangs from the pale boy's closed eyes. "He's just unconscious." He finally looked straight at Harry, his eyes burning with triumph. "You think you deserve Draco, Potter?" He lifted Draco's limp body effortlessly into his arms, flashing a chilling grin. "Come and get him," he challenged softly. Then he turned and strode silently into the Forbidden Forest.
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Chapter 12 + Epilogue