Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter
Draco Malfoy Harry Potter Original Female Witch
Slash Drama
Harry and Classmates Post-Hogwarts
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix Quidditch Through the Ages
Published: 04/22/2005
Updated: 07/30/2008
Words: 247,857
Chapters: 31
Hits: 79,195

The Bet


Story Summary:
It all started with a little bet. "I bet you can't do it." "Do what?" "Seduce him." Draco Malfoy's never been one to back down from a perfectly do-able bet. But when that bet involves Harry Potter? Draco's realising that this bet isn't as cut and dry as it seems, nor as easy... AU post-war, post-Hogwarts, Harry/Draco/OC

Chapter 19

Chapter Summary:
Ambivalence. Uncertainty. Anger, frustration, and lust. Someone realises they can't handle it. What happens when they fall?
Author's Note:
Well, this got out faster than I thought, but a day later than I intended once I knew it would be coming out sooner. I'm already working on Chapter Twenty, but I've also taken another original story under my wing, and have NO IDEA what it'll become. It's also a BIRTHDAY present for my illustrious, beautiful, beta,


Chapter IXX - Ambivalent Nature


Draco was pleased to note that his conversation with Chaikovsky was still affecting the Chaser, and grinned and winked mischievously at him throughout practice. Harry rolled his eyes, between nudging at Draco to stop antagonising his boyfriend, and shooting Mikhail apologising looks.

After practice, Draco sauntered off with one more lascivious wink before disappearing into the forest. Harry shook his head, approached Mikhail and smiled. "I'm sorry about Draco. He's gotten it into his head that you like blonds."

Mikhail winced and dragged Harry to the storage shed. Once inside, he took Harry's hands into his own and said, "I don't care what colour they are, I like men. However, I don't like Draco. Not that way. I was just...feeling insecure because of that article, I guess. He told me that he likes blokes, but that he has a girlfriend. I don't know what to make of that."

Harry's smile grew and he threaded his gloved fingers through his boyfriend's. "I'm not worried," he replied. "Draco's just playing it up. Being Draco, I suppose. He's not easy to like anyway. And I think it's sweet, that you were worried."

Mikhail looked at Harry in the dim light. Looking for what, Harry wasn't sure. But he didn't have much time to think about it, as the next thing he was aware of was that he was being kissed. His eyes went wide in surprise for a moment before they closed and the kiss intensified. Moving closer, Harry tilted his head back, and Mikhail untwined one of his hands to card it through Harry's hair. Harry opened his mouth and Mikhail took a sharp breath and plunged right in.

Wrapping his other arm around Harry's waist, he lifted him up slightly and pinned him to the wall. Harry's head bumped against the thin wood, but it didn't bother him; he was so lost in the feeling of Mikhail's tongue in his mouth and his firm body pressed so hard against his, he couldn't think of much else. Mikhail's hand wound up on his ass, lifting him up higher, so that Harry's toes were barely brushing the ground. As it was, one of his legs was half-wrapped around Mikhail's waist, and his hands were around the older man's shoulders, hanging on and holding close. Things were so hot and sweat was beginning to build on their already sweaty skin, and when Mikhail moved his hot mouth to lick the salt from Harry's neck, it was like the passion-haze was lifting, after the shock of breathing cold, musty air. His eyes opened fractionally to look around him, and he suddenly felt confined; this was too like before, too like the small little room, with the musty smelling air and heat and bodies and...


Mikhail jumped from the stuttered sound and pulled away quickly, without letting go of Harry. Taking in the startled wide eyes and the harsh breathing, he realised quickly that he might have moved a bit too fast.

"Oh god. I'm sorry-I didn't-"

"No, no. It's fine. Just...too fast. I need to breathe."

"O-okay," Mikhail breathed, willing his passion to subside for the time being. He gently lowered Harry until his feet touched the floor again, and backed away, muttering an apology and averting his gaze, his hands up in front of him slightly as if to ward himself away.

Harry quickly caught his breath and grabbed a hold of one of those hands. "Mikhail." The man's eyes closed and his jaw clenched as if mad. "Mikhail. It's okay. Don't be mad at yourself. I know...I know that I told you that it was too fast, and it is, in a way. But I'm not naïve. I want this as much as you, I'm just...unsure of myself, I guess." Now Harry averted his gaze, and cursed himself for telling half-truths to his boyfriend. "I just don't know anything about relationships like this, let alone with a guy. I mean, what's too fast? What's normal? I don't know. And, well...I just didn't want to lose my virginity in a broom shed, you know?" he joked under his breath.

He heard Mikhail chuckle right before he was embraced. "I'm still sorry. I just...get carried away, sometimes. I'm glad you stopped me, because I was probably about two seconds from taking it a bit further, and I want...well, if I'm your first, I want it to be good. Like it should be."

"Well, it's good I have a soppy, romantic boyfriend then, huh?"

Mikhail smirked. "Yeah." He kissed Harry's hair and said, "You ready to go out tonight? Show all those people we don't care what they think about us?"

Harry nodded. "Yes. Just let me get home and shower."

"Okay. Meet me at Cel's then? Or shall I pick you up?"

Harry leaned back and smiled. "How about the courtyard, in an hour?"

"Sounds perfect. Dress warm, I feel a frost coming on."


Harry realised that he was rather nervous, walking with Mikhail to his flat in the modest apartment building--the only one in Rookwood. Most of the students from the small university lived there, and it was almost like its own community of friends and co-workers and classmates. Mikhail was lucky enough to have a corner room on the top floor (it was only five stories), so he didn't get a lot of disturbances from his neighbours.

They had spent the evening at Celestine's, a busy Friday with not only the usual fare and company, but also the small collection of rather nosy and rude patrons looking in their direction, and none too discreetly.

Finally, after enduring the staring of a table of five older wizards nearby, Mikhail broke and snapped, "What? Don't you have something more important to pay attention to?"

The one sitting closest to their table was grizzled, with old teeth and deep lines in his face. He growled, "We don't like fags."

"Then it's best you don't smoke them, eh? Bad for your health."

Harry dearly wanted to snicker at Mikhail's cheek, but dared not to. In fact, he was wondering why they didn't just leave, or cast a notice-me-not spell. Or better yet, use his 'fame' to get them to bugger off. Perhaps he just wanted someone to take care of him for a change, rather than him having to use his latent abilities to get people to stop noticing him.

The old man spat at Mikhail's feet and sneered. "You're a cheeky one, ain't ya? Well, I'm tellin' ya, we don't like fudge-packers. Fags. Gays."

Mikhail glared and leaned forward menacingly. "I don't give fuck what you like or don't like. Public domain, old man. If I want to take my boyfriend out, I can. If you don't like watching it, leave."

"Why you-"

"What is going on here?"

The old men all looked up to see Celestine standing behind their table, looking archly down at each of them. "Trying to start something in my place, Archie?"

Archie sat back and said, "No. Just lettin' this young bloke know that we don't take kindly to people like them." He jerked his thumb back at Mikhail and Harry.

"Well, Archie, I'll have you know that these are special friends of mine, and I don't care who they like, they are welcome here. If you don't like that, you can leave. Or, you can stay and be civilised. As long as you don't start anything, you're welcome. Otherwise, leave these boys alone."

Archie looked like he'd rather do anything but stay, but there wasn't anywhere else in town to get a pint on a Friday night. "Alrigh', alrigh'. I won't start nothin'."

"And I best not hear any of you gave them any trouble on the way home."

The old men all acquiesced, and Cel left them alone, coming over to whisper a word to Mikhail and Harry.

"Don't let those arses bother you. There will always be someone hating someone, for something or another, be it blood, love, or skin. I don't swing that way myself, but I like you guys, and that's more important than who you're fuckin'. You like who you like. I wish you two happiness."

"Thank you, Celestine," Harry said.

"Yes, thank you," Mikhail echoed.

"It's no problem. I look after my mates. Drinks for you tonight on the house, to make up for the riff raff."

The two young men had actually left shortly afterwards, with a sharp and rather demonstrative warning for anyone who wished the follow them. But they already knew that come morning, the headlines would read all kinds of salacious activities between the two of them. Someone was bound to go to the press to get their fifteen seconds of fame. There was nothing for it, really, and Harry almost pondered the idea of making those possible headlines come true, until he thought of the semi-disgusted look on Draco's face just before he left practice on Wednesday. It made him wonder why he agreed to spend the rest of the night at Mikhail's, but it was as good a place as any other to spend some time alone. Better, perhaps, because Mikhail didn't have any roommates.

And horribly scary, for the very same reason.

They walked up the beaten dirt path, while Mikhail took out his wand to unlock the front door. They slipped inside and took the immediate flight of stairs up. While they were both rather athletic, Harry still got a bit winded, using muscles he hadn't really used since his Hogwarts days of roaming a vast castle full of stairs and no lifts. Mikhail chuckled at Harry's loss of breath, but led him down the hall and to a door with "514" in brass mounted upon the wood. Another unlocking charm, special to the door and combined with a specific brass key, opened the flat to them, and the older man gestured Harry inside, spelling the candles and gas lamps on.

Harry looked around the flat, and noted immediately that it seemed to be a studio. A very large studio, but a studio none the less. It was all hardwood, with a few sparse rugs, and a very comfortable-looking couch and armchair set, which were covered in a soft-looking deep chocolate material. A small hearth was set in the left-hand corner, right next to the modest kitchen area, which ran right up to the entryway. The entryway ran a little long on the right, extending out into the main room a bit. There was a door in this wall, which probably held a nice closet. In the opposite corner, there was a raised area, atop which stood a rather large bed, swathed in navy blue and cream. There were two doors off to the right; Harry assumed they went to the bathroom and another closet. Bookshelves lined the far wall between two large windows. The room seemed much too big for fourteen or more of them to be crammed on each floor of the little building, but Harry figured that it must be done up with space-enlarging charms, which were probably set to a certain size and no more, so as not to over-work the space continuum of the building. Even the stretches of matter had its limits.

It was modest, lived-in and bachelor feeling, however, it wasn't as messy as their dorm was most often. Harry wondered if Mikhail was just really neat, or if the taller man was expecting Harry's company. He emboldened himself and asked.

Mikhail chuckled, kicking off his shoes. "No, I'm generally neat. I haven't much else to do, other than Quidditch, classes, and homework. Though I did tidy up a bit for you."

This made Harry blush in that aggravating way again, but he decided to ignore it and toed off his own trainers. Mikhail took his denim jacket from him, and opened the closet door (Harry noted he was right), taking off his own jacket, and hanging them up.

"Thirsty? Hungry? I could fix something up quick. I know we didn't get much at the café."

Harry shrugged. "I'm a little thirsty...food can wait."

Mikhail walked into the kitchen area. "I can set something to cook itself. Or, I've got some leftover soup in the icebox I can reheat. Butterbeer okay with you? I don't really keep anything stronger at home."

"Yeah, butterbeer's fine. And soup's fine too. What kind?" Harry asked, as he ventured into the living area and looked at some of the pictures mounted on the wall and mantle.

"Chicken vegetable." Mikhail could be heard clanking pots and pans around.

As Harry was browsing over pictures of witches and wizards he didn't know, except for a few shots of Mikhail with those people, the man in question came up behind him, offering him a cold butterbeer. "Who are all these people?"

"Friends from school. My parents. This one here's of me and my best mate Jason. He's a Welsh bloke, and is living there now with his wife and three kids."

"Wow. What house were you in, by the way? I don't remember you from Hogwarts...I can't tell what house you were in by this picture."

"I was a Ravenclaw. I wasn't really involved in Quidditch my last few years. My father told me not to bother if I was to become a law-wizard like him. I graduated...a few years after you started there. '93, I think."

"That makes you...twenty-eight?"

Mikhail nodded. "Just turned in August. I'd better go check on the soup."

While the Chaser tended to their dinner, Harry approached the closest window. It looked out over the village, a random smattering of warm lights from below. Over the orange and red treetops, Harry could just make out a ring of golden light from campus. The stars were out and twinkling merrily and Harry could almost hear the crashing of the waves against the shore just past the school.

He was so enthralled with the view beyond the window, he wasn't paying attention to the inside reflection. So when he felt warm arms encircle his body from behind, and felt warmth against his neck as his boyfriend kissed him there, it startled him.

"I could just eat you up," Mikhail whispered huskily into his ear. The sensation made Harry shiver and his groin leap to attention.

Turning around in the embrace, he smirked, saying, "Why don't you, then?"

Mikhail raised an eyebrow before taking hold of Harry's butterbeer and setting it on the windowsill behind them. Keeping his dark eyes focused on Harry's, he slipped his hands beneath Harry's jumper and caressed the firm skin there, running his fingertips over nicely defined ribs and flat planes of muscle. Harry raised his arms up and leaned in to kiss the taller man, who took no time in ravishing Harry's mouth. They broke apart and Mikhail tugged Harry's jumper off of him, knocking his glasses askew. Harry righted them before asking breathlessly, "What about the soup?"

"I put it on low," came the similarly breathless reply.

Taking a hold of Harry's belt loops, Mikhail steered them across the flat to the raised bedroom, kissing Harry's neck and face, humming with pleasure while Harry caressed his hair, trying to keep an eye out to where they were headed.

"Too fast?" One murmured into fair skin.

"No," was the panting reply.

Once they stepped up to the bed, Mikhail released Harry and started to divest himself of clothing. Harry got the cue and removed his glasses, tossing them on the nightstand, and then nervously stripped down himself. He barely had time to register how good what he could see of Mikhail looked, or just what they might be heading to before Mikhail's lips were upon his, and he could feel his warm and broad chest against his, his stomach against his, his thighs against his, his erection against his, and Harry flew into delirium and knew not much else than the feel of their skin upon each others.

It was like Mikhail's hands were everywhere, and while Harry could feel the other man cupping his arse, he could feel his own hands through wild, spiky hair, soft and thick, to heated skin and flexing muscles and then Mikhail's sweet lips on his, their tongues curling around each others and sucking and teasing and pushing-

-and then Harry was on his back on the bed, and while the homey smell of chicken soup wafted to his nostrils, he was also overwhelmed with the aftertaste of Mikhail in his mouth, and the smell of him, and the sensation of that thickly wild hair tickling his chin as Mikhail moved down his body, teasing Harry's nipples and caressing his sides. Harry almost giggled at the soft touches, but then his most sensitive area was greeted with warm breath and a slick tongue, and the giggle turned to a gurgle in his throat.

Catching his breath, Harry gasped as Mikhail took a gentle hold and licked his penis, swirling his tongue around and kissing the sides. It was a sensation that Harry had never felt before, and he was suddenly amazed that he made Draco feel this good and better without any idea as to how it actually felt. He could feel Mikhail nuzzle his groin and breathe him in, right before he muttered, "You smell wonderful and you taste even better." It was like Mikhail knew what effect those words would have on him as he felt himself hardening even more; it was going to start becoming painful soon if something didn't give-

Upon the immense heat that suddenly engulfed his prick he eyes flew open when he didn't even realise he closed them and his back arched off of the bed. Oh...Merlin...

"God!" he gasped out loud, and it never occurred to him the oddity of thinking a curse of the most powerful wizard in history, and verbally cursing an entity mostly only Muggles believed in. It was just...so hot, and so intense, and Harry had no idea how long it took, but the rushing tingle building up in his groin and abdomen exploded in a white-hot pleasure, and the feel of Mikhail swallowing it all down and licking the vestiges away was distant in his mind yet severely jarring upon his sensitive flesh. He moaned low in the back of his throat; a low-pitched keening noise that came from somewhere feral inside of him.

As Harry was still catching his breath, Mikhail was sliding up his sweat-glistened body, his weight heavy but comfortable. He nestled their groins together, slowly lowering his body atop Harry's; kissing his neck and cheeks. Gradually, Harry came to feel Mikhail's kisses, and wrapped his arms around the man's middle, splaying out his hands on his back, shifting slightly and registering Mikhail's still hard length, which only urged his slowly into action.

Mikhail raised himself up from Harry's neck and smiled. "I know we said we'd go slow..."

Harry chuckled. "Does it sound like I'm complaining?"

The Captain's grin grew wider. "No, I suppose not."

Harry shifted again, experimentally, and Mikhail took that as a cue to move as well, and started rubbing their erections against each other. Harry moaned, arching his back and pressing his fingers into Mikhail's back. Mikhail ran a hand through Harry's hair, curling his fingers around the thick locks of black before trailing that hand down Harry's neck, chest and side, settling it upon Harry's thigh, caressing the muscle and kneading a bit of his ample ass. It wasn't even so much of the friction that was making it feel so good, or the pressure between their bodies...it was more that the movement quite simulated something else...something Harry knew he wasn't ready for, but yet wanted so badly at the same time...

"You're so beautiful," Mikhail whispered softly.

He dipped down to steal a kiss, and afterwards Harry looked up at Mikhail and his dark brown eyes and that look of awe and lust on his face, and immediately, Harry was thrown back into the last time someone was looking down at him like this. But then, it had been a sparkling grey watching him, with shiny blond hair falling forward, and the look wasn't one of reverence and yearning, but of utter adoration and intense desire; a small and partially amused smirk on parted lips, and a healthy flush upon pale cheeks. The vision in front of him clashed so horribly with his memory that he stiffened, and Mikhail caught it immediately and stopped.

"Harry? Are you okay? Is something wrong?"

"I...I just-" Harry shook his head, "I'm sorry, Mikhail. It's not...I just..."

"You think we're moving too fast. I'm sorry, I told you we'd move slow and I-"

"No! Don't...it's not you. I said I wasn't complaining, I just...can you...can we...just lie here? I'm feeling a little..."

"It's okay, you don't have to explain. I just want you to be okay with what we're doing. I remember my first time with a guy...I was bloody terrified."

Harry let out a breathless laugh, looking away. "I really liked what we were doing, if it makes you feel better." He took a fistful of his own hair and tugged on it a bit.

The Chaser kissed Harry's cheek soundly and lifted himself up, smiling. "No worries, love. I think the soup's done anyway. Would you like to eat some now, or just lie here?"

"Mmmm...just lie here, for a minute, I think. Then food."

Mikhail nodded and slipped down to Harry's left side while Harry rolled over on his right side, facing away from his boyfriend. Mikhail automatically spooned up behind him, wrapping his arm around the slightly smaller man, kissing his shoulder and neck as they lay there.

This was not how Harry pictured his night to be going--having random Draco-centric flashbacks in the middle of getting it on with his boyfriend.

But isn't that who you want? Draco Malfoy? A sarcastically humoured voice said in the back of his mind.

Not. The point. He shot back.

Harry was pretty sure the voice didn't reply not because of defeat, but for the accomplishment that it had brought up the very thing Harry was trying to avoid thinking about. He realised very early on (let's say Mikhail and Harry's first kiss as boyfriends), that playing Mikhail the way Raven had told him to and the way he thought he would just wasn't an option. Mikhail didn't deserve that. No one did. And what kind of person would that make Harry if the first boyfriend, the first relationship he'd ever had was completely false in pretences? So Harry decided to really give Mikhail a shot. To put Draco and that whole emotional disaster behind him, or at least out of his mind for the time being. Focus on Mikhail and their new relationship, let Draco and Raven work things out, and then start hanging out with them again. As friends.

But apparently, he couldn't keep Draco out of his head. It didn't help that they shared classes and Quidditch together. They had been amicable, but as Harry closed his eyes to fight back the sudden unwelcome water in them, he knew that it still stung. It hurt. Harry had laid his heart and his feelings out to Draco, and Draco took those feelings, caressed them and almost nurtured them, and then swiftly dashed them to pieces upon waking. Harry had to give Draco credit for warning him off about the situation, but hell, Harry was more than happy to be with both of them! He knew he really liked Raven, was even falling for her in some way, before he had been blindsided by his overwhelming desires and feelings towards Draco.

But it still all fell apart.

Harry cursed Draco as much as he cried for him.

If this is what finally letting myself get close to someone is supposed to feel like, than I'd rather go back to feeling nothing at all.


17 October 2003

Dear Harry,

I have no doubt that you've been receiving letters already about the article in today's Daily Prophet. I can only imagine the variety of responses you've already received, and I hope mine doesn't get lost in the fray.

I'm writing to tell you that I support you. Assuming Rita Skeeter is supplying at least a partial truth; as I am sure I know you well enough to know what's real and what's not; if not, then give her hell. I cannot say what your parents' or Sirius' feelings were on the subject, but I know that they loved you, and if that love was even a fraction of what I knew it to be, or of my own, know that they would have kept on loving you, and would have supported any decision you made in life, if it made you happy.

I wish you the best of luck with this relationship of yours, and any other endeavours you choose to pursue. I will try to make it to your next home Quidditch match.

Much Love,



A dark-haired man stood on a low wooden porch, frowning and fiddling with the buttons on his cloak. Steeling his nerve, he knocked sharply on the wooden door, waiting anxiously for an answer, yet praying that no one would, so he wouldn't have to have this conversation, which he was positive would not go well.

After what seemed like forever, the door finally opened, and a short, blond, bespectacled man greeted him with a rather confused frown.


"Er...is Draco in?"

Giving him a once-over, and seemingly okaying what he saw, the young man moved out of the way to let him pass. "Yeah, he's upstairs in his room. The door across the stairs."

"Right. Thank you."

He took a few steps inside, nodding to the man holding the door, and took the unforgiving wooden stairs in front of him. Wood, he thought. Trees; the vitality and immortality of life. Merlin, give me strength.

He paused at the top before taking the few short steps to the door opposite. Knocking softly upon it, a very timid repeat of his rapping on the front door, he waited for permission to enter, or for the occupant to open it. When he heard Draco's tenor, he paused again, only for a moment, before turning the handle and stepping inside.

He found his quarry sprawled out on the midnight-swathed bed in the centre of the room, like a great white cat, lounging in silk and sunlight, and reading one of many books surrounding him. Draco looked up when he entered, and he felt glued to the spot, the cat's questioning gaze quickly becoming a glare, one of which he was quite sure he'd never like to be the focus of again. Yet the scowl didn't mar the blonde's features, it only cast him in a much cooler light than that of the warm sun shining in through the window. Like silver and gold.

"Chaikovsky. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

Mikhail swallowed quickly and said, "I was wondering if we could talk. About Harry."

Malfoy seemed to regard him, weighing something only he knew of. Finally, he sat up from against the headboard and said, "Would you feel more comfortable taking a walk in the public, or staying in here, away from prying eyes and entirely in my domain?" A small smirk accompanied the question, and it threw Mikhail off centre, as only Draco Malfoy probably could. God, he even exudes an aura of a tiger eyeing some prey that just happened upon its lair.

Mikhail took a quick glance around, noticing the full-length mirror in the corner (with just a little quirk of an eyebrow), the immaculate tidiness--minus the desk--and the silk sheets that just begged to be used salaciously in the warm light, and suddenly being outside, in the wild serenity of nature with crisp, cool, wintry air seemed much more appealing than staying in a warm room bathed in fabrics and man-made things with one of his boyfriend's best friends.

"Outside is fine."

Draco's lips quirked up in a smile and he said, "Meet me downstairs. I just need to get some things in order."

Mikhail nodded without a word, gratefully slipping out of the seclusion of the room, and quickly made his way down the stairs and back outside to the cool woodenness of the porch.

A few moments later, after Mikhail felt he sufficiently cleared his head and fortified his fraying nerves, Draco stepped outside, a black cloak around his shoulders and black dragon hide boots adorning the seemingly perfect white feet he saw earlier.

"Where would you care to go?" Draco asked, not even sparing him a glance as he stepped off of the porch.

"Anywhere's fine."

"Alright." And Draco led Mikhail towards the path that led to the Quidditch pitch. "What is it that you feel you need to talk about with me that involves Harry?"

"Well, I was wondering, if he's ever talked to you about...any, er...intimacy issues he's might have had."

Draco stopped dead in his tracks, and when Mikhail turned back to look at him, blinked, and promptly broke out in laughter.

Through his guffaws, Draco managed, "You-you're asking f-for love advice with Potter from me?" At Mikhail's grimace and nod, he only doubled over in continued mirth, holding his stomach in almost-pain.

Mikhail took a hasty look around and was pleased to see no one nearby, though he thought he saw a swish of a curtain in one of the windows of the second dormitory. "Malfoy," he whispered intently, "I'm serious here."

Draco righted himself with a grin and his cheeks flushing with amusement. "I'm sure you are."

Mikhail scowled and stepped close to Draco, and the blond immediately sobered, his grey eyes meeting Mikhail's brown ones directly. "You say you care about Harry," the brunet said fiercely. "If that's true, you'll listen to me. I think there's something wrong."

Those grey eyes narrowed. Draco grabbed Mikhail's arm, hard, and steered him into the woods. Stopping several metres in, he turned to the older man and let go. "It's none of your business how little or how much I care about Harry. But I'll listen. If there's something wrong, I want to know."

Mikhail took a few calculating moments before giving a slight nod and speaking. "He seems afraid of something. Like...well, you probably don't want to know this, but when we start getting intimate, he pulls away. He'll kiss me, and even a bit more, and I'll think everything is fine, but then he suddenly freezes up, and I'm not sure why."

Draco took a moment to freeze his own thoughts from showing on his face and said with more than a hint of coolness, "Have you thought that maybe you're moving too fast for him? You're his first relationship, Chaikovsky. Have you thought about that at all?"

"Yes, and he's told me so. I've apologised each time it's happened; in fact, it happened twice yesterday."

"How many other times?"

"I think that's been it, so far. But I told him, before we even really kissed, that we would take it slow. And I know I might get carried away, and he says he likes what we're doing, but I can't help but think that there's something more. Something he won't tell me."

Draco felt that he a rather good idea about just why Harry might be freezing up on Chaikovsky, but it was too much to hope for. And he wasn't about to divulge the information that the man was looking for. Instead, he asked, "I'm sure I will regret asking this, but how far have you gotten?"

Mikhail's steady gaze flickered away for the barest of seconds before resting back on Malfoy. "Not far," he answered. "We've made out a bit, and I...I gave him a blow-job last night."

Draco grimaced and turned away slightly. Oh, bad thoughts... Draco rather thought he'd like to pummel and hex Chaikovsky just for touching Harry that way. Jealousy burned like poison in his belly. He roughly shoved it aside in favour of giving the man a level stare.

"I'm assuming he pushed you away during that?"

Mikhail's brow furrowed slightly, thinking that it seemed odd that if Draco liked men, he seemed to be uneasy about talking about sex involving them. "No, actually," he answered. "He seemed to like that no problem. It was afterward. I was lying on top of him, and we were sort of moving a little, you know..." he waved his hand in a vague gesture, trailing off.

"Yes, I'm sure I can figure that out. Is that when he stopped you?"


"Then perhaps he's just terrified of sex. It wouldn't surprise me, seeing as he's never had it before, even with a woman."

"I've thought of that. I know I was terrified with my first time. But there's something different in Harry's eyes. I don't know how to explain it. I'm just asking if he's ever mentioned anything that might be the reason behind it. I mean...was he abused or anything growing up? It's hard to rely on what's in papers, and I never read that stuff anyway, so I'd rather ask someone who might know."

"And what makes you think I know? I hated Harry for years. I've told you that. Our rivalry is nearly legend. Why aren't you asking Weasley and Granger these questions?"

"Because I thought perhaps...well. I'm not blind, Malfoy. I know you two were really close, at least until recently, and I..." the British-born Russian stopped, staring at Draco for a moment before hesitantly finishing with, "I thought that since he seemed to sort of, figure his sexuality out when he was your friend and not before, that perhaps he might have told you more about himself." The question he really wanted to ask, however, he decided to keep to himself, for the time being. He didn't have any evidence.

"He's still my friend. And if you want to know about his past or his family, ask him. It's up to him to tell whom he wants about things."

"You know, though, don't you?"

His tone was firm. "What I do know, I can't tell you." And that was most definitely true. "And I wouldn't say Harry was abused. At least not...sexually."

"You 'wouldn't say'?"

"Look, Chaikovsky, I'm not going to tell you. It's for Harry to tell. If he doesn't want to, then he doesn't. If he doesn't feel comfortable with sex-related things, don't press him. I know you know that he was still rather fucked up after the war, even up to this year. It's a precarious balance, the board he's walking on. Don't fuck it up by pressuring him into doing things with you. Keep your head out of your dick, alright?"

"Fuck you, Malfoy. I'm not just thinking with my dick. I actually give a shit about Harry, why do you think I'm asking? I don't want to pressure him into something he doesn't want. If what you know will help me from fucking up, I'd rather think it's your responsibility to tell me."

"No, it is not. Harry has a right to his privacy, as I'm sure you are well aware of. Just ask him, and if he doesn't want to tell you, just play it on the safe side. Or dump him, if he's not satisfying your libido."

Mikhail growled and clenched his fists, his already rosy cheeks flushing darker, and his nostrils flaring slightly in anger. "You're an asshole, Malfoy. It's a wonder Harry was ever your friend. I think it's plainly obvious why he's not close to you anymore."

Draco settled back and crossed his arms. "Oh? Then please, do tell. My relationship with Harry has absolutely nothing to do with you, or anyone else. If you want to know why or how Harry could ever be friends with me, ask him. Like I've bloody well been telling you to do this whole conversation. Harry knows who I am. He's known it first-hand since we were eleven."

"Then what changed?" Mikhail cut in quickly.

Draco smirked. "That, is between Harry and I. And no one else. Now if you'll excuse me, I have important thesis work to get back to." And Malfoy stepped past Chaikovsky, shoving his shoulder rather hard as he walked past.

Mikhail watched the blond go, determined not to rub at his smarting shoulder, and felt like he rather got nowhere. Why did Draco have to be such an ass? Didn't he care about Harry? Maybe that's just it, his mind supplied. Maybe he does care for Harry...much more than he should. And won't help me just for the very reason that Harry's with me, and not him.

Letting out a calming breath, Mikhail hurried out of the woods, determined to get past whatever it was that was stopping Harry from wanting to get to close to him. I just hope it really is just him being terrified, he thought.

But, he mused, he's also a twenty-three year old male who's never been with anyone. Shouldn't he want sex and want it now?

Not unless he's sexually repressed. I can probably bet that the war made him more worried about his mortality than any amount of affection he might receive from someone.

I'll just have to play it safe. Take it slower. Gently pull him along, and let him lead more. Make him comfortable with intimacy. Don't demand any type of sex. Ask him questions, like the holier-than-thou Draco Malfoy suggested.

The only good thing that's come out of that snide and pouting mouth in my presence.

Mikhail was well aware that he had quite a bit more sexual experience than his boyfriend, and that was liable to scare many people off, if they were in Harry's position. But he was also quite aware that there was something that Malfoy was hiding, and for the sake of helping Harry become more comfortable with himself, he was going to find out what it was. If it involved Harry, it involved Mikhail.


Harry was sitting on his bed in the late morning of Saturday, dressed in a faded grey tee-shirt and dark blue jeans, one white sock on, the other held limply in his hands. He had a rather dazed look on his face, as if he had forgotten just what it was he was doing, but didn't much care.

He broke out of his stupor when there was a rapping at his door, and he dazedly granted permission for entry.

"Hey mate," said Ron, closing the door behind him. "How'd it go last night? You got in rather late." His freckled face lit up in a suggestive grin.

Harry shrugged, and resumed putting on his near forgotten sock. "It went alright, for my first, real date." He grinned. "Some parts were better than others."

"Uh-huh..." Ron intoned in that 'knowing' way, leaning back against the door behind him. "Did you...?" Though his question was proposed in a rather inquisitive manner, versus the queasy despair of the last time he had asked.

Harry rolled his eyes. "No, Ron. God, why so interested in my sex life? I know you can't possibly want to know the actual details."

Ron grimaced. "Yeah, you're right. But if only some parts went better, what else happened?"

Harry got very quiet and introspective. "I...froze up, I guess."

A puzzled frown marred the redhead's features. "Froze up?"

Harry nodded. "It's happened twice. Mikhail and I, we'll be kissing, and things will get...more, I guess, more heated, and then I...freeze. I stop it from going further."

Ron bit his lip. "But why do you 'freeze'?" he asked.

Harry looked even more miserable and buried his hands in his hair. All Ron heard was "co".


"It's Draco," Harry said a bit louder, obviously clenching his teeth.

"Malfoy?" Ron frowned. "What the hell does he have to do with anything?"

"I can't stop thinking about him!" the Seeker exclaimed, standing up suddenly and pacing his room.

Ron moved forward from his semi-relaxed position against the door. "Calm down, mate."

"No! I can't. You don't understand, Ron. I was lying there, getting my first and most amazing blow job, and then Draco just popped into my head! It's...it's just...unnerving. I shouldn't be thinking about Draco when I'm with my boyfriend!" Lost in his ranting, Harry didn't notice Ron's startled look at the amount of information Harry just let out, nor did he notice when Ron came up to him; not until he was grabbed by the shoulders and shaken out of it.

"Harry, you have got to calm down." When Harry took a deep breath and nodded, Ron went on. "Now, I may not know anything about relationships with guys, or at all, really, outside of Hermione, but I reckon that the fact that you're not over Draco, and you rushed into a false relationship with Mikhail has something to do with your current predicament."

But Harry was shaking his head. "But that's just it, Ron. I decided at the beginning that I couldn't do that to Mikhail. Use him. So I've been really giving him a chance. And I like him. He's nice and good-looking, and cares about me. Just me. Draco loves Raven, and I can't compete with that."

"But you still like Draco, don't you?" Ron asked quietly.

Harry's eyes closed and he looked pained. "Yes," he whispered, before turning away. "Very much, sometimes. I miss him. There's like a huge block between us now, but I can't say I regret what happened. Not really. I never would have known..."

It hurt Ron to see his friend in such a state of warring emotions, but he honestly didn't know how to help him. For Merlin sakes, he didn't even like Malfoy, so why did the thought in his head sound like he was rooting for the pointy-faced git? Ron mentally sighed. It had to be said.

"Do you think it's fair to Mikhail then? Or you? That you know you still care for Malfoy but you're in a relationship with Mikhail?"

"No. I suppose it isn't." The green-eyed man took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "But what should I do? Draco does have Raven; shouldn't I just stay with Mikhail and let them be happy together?"

"I don't know, mate. Do you want to be with them? Both of them? Do you like Mikhail more than you like Draco and Raven?"

"I..." And Harry grimaced. "I don't know what it's like to be with Raven. But all I wanted when I was with Draco was Draco. And when I'm with Mikhail, he won't stay out of my head."

"Do you think you might just want Draco, then?"

Just as Harry was resigning himself to the possibility that Draco was all he really wanted (though he couldn't really deny the curiousness of what being with a woman was like), footsteps were heard pounding on the stairs right before Hermione burst in, breath hard and her cheeks rosy.

"Harry! You have to read this! I almost didn't notice it, but Ginny pointed it out to me this morning. It was buried in the last pages, strangely enough. He must have just barely made it before printing!"

"What? Who?"

"Draco! He wrote an article for the Evening Prophet. Here, look!" She thrust the ripped page out at him.

Looking at her intense brown eyes, he took the paper carefully, so surprised at the news that he didn't know what to expect.

The article was about a quarter of the page or more, squished between an advert for Sleekeasy's Hair Potions (which Harry belatedly remembered he had still to get) and a moving picture of a sleazy-looking witch modelling for a 'muggle' clothing shop (though the mismatch of clothing she was wearing didn't secure Harry's faith in the shop's services any). He swallowed nervously before settling his eyes on Draco's words, murmuring them under his breath.

Harry Potter, Never the Boy-Who-Lived

By Draco Malfoy

It's not easy being a friend of Harry Potter. Granted, our friendship is relatively new, but I've known him as long as any of this other friends. His fame will follow him anywhere, and he has a knack for severe moods and attracting trouble. But he's also loyal to a fault, witty, and has a mischievous side to him that makes me wonder if he ever was a true Gryffindor. The frivolities of our mutual friendship and how it came about are not important. However, the fact that I am his friend, and remain so, is.

Rita Skeeter has done all of us, including you readers, a grave injustice. She writes slander and lies and weaves them with just enough truth that even the relatively well-informed are caught by her trap. I am not going to bother telling you to not believe anything you read; that would defeat the purpose of me writing this column. If you want the truth, read The Quibbler. Though this is probably the only instance I would suggest such a thing.

Many of you might ask if I was surprised to find out that Harry Potter likes men. I don't I think I was surprised, no. But then again, isn't it best to know all the secrets of an adversary? To know them better than you know yourself? Because that's what Harry and I were to each other until this September; adversaries. Yet we are friends now, and I will not sit idly by while someone tries to damage my friend's life and make a mocking of mine. And his or those that he is close to.

Formal charges against Rita Skeeter's person will be publicly announced in this very newspaper, as well as The Quibbler, through Mr. Stanislov Chaikovsky, Law-Wizard and father of the offended Mikhail Chaikovsky, as well as Misters Ira and Roy Oswold, Law-Wizards of the Malfoy Estate. Any grievances with Misters Harry Potter, Mikhail Chaikovsky and myself, Draco Malfoy should be made through them. All other correspondence by unknown persons sent directly to the above persons and their acquaintances will be automatically destroyed. Keep your opinions. You can have them. It's nobody's business but our own. Just as your life is your business. Harry Potter has had quite enough grief and public meddling in his life, and wouldn't you like to be left alone if you were him? He is not just a hero of the Wizarding World, he is not just a poster boy for the survival of life as we know it; he is a man, a friend, a lover, a Quidditch player, a son, and an adversary still, to some individuals. He should be treated as such by all. He survived; we all have, to be given a second chance. Not to spend it delving into others' lives when it is not our place.

Harry Potter is a person, as are we all. Never should he have been seen as The Boy-Who-Lived. Or anything less than the proud, strong, and intelligent man that he is.

The bit of parchment felt fragile and delicate in Harry's hands as he blinked stupidly at the words blurring in front of his un-focused eyes.

"You alright, mate?" Ron asked, glanced at Hermione, who glanced worriedly back.

Harry seemed to shake himself out of it. "Yeah, I...I just didn't expect..."

"Didn't expect what, Harry?" Hermione asked gently, after a brief silence.

"For him to..." He shook his head again, keeping his thoughts to himself. "I wonder if Mikhail knows."

"That Malfoy is helping Mr. Chaikovsky? Yeah, I think so," Hermione said.

Ron looked at her curiously and Harry blinked. "Actually, I meant if he knew Draco is filing charges as well. But do you know something I don't?"

"I saw Mikhail and Malfoy talking behind Number Three this morning, just before I came here. Malfoy was laughing about something, and I couldn't see Mikhail's face, but Malfoy got suddenly serious and almost manhandled Mikhail into the woods. I couldn't hear what they were talking about from my window, though. I just assumed from the article that they were working together, and that Mr. Chaikovsky must have told Mikhail."

Harry's brow furrowed just for a moment before he shrugged. "I guess I'll find out later tonight."

"Another date?" Ron asked.

"Not exactly. He's coming over for dinner," the Seeker said, grinning.

"Ooh, a romantic dinner..." Ron crooned, slapping his friend on the shoulder.

"Not really. You're all invited. It's your house too, and I can't cook. Well, I don't know how to cook dinner things. Only breakfast. Wait! Except for Chicken Cacciatore."

Ron looked puzzled. "Chicken what?"

"Chicken Cacciatore. Zabini showed me how once. Sort of. I might remember it."

Hermione's lips parted in preparation to comment, but she refrained and only waved her hand as if to dismiss the rather strange information she just received. "Well, regardless of that, I'm guessing you were just going to wait for us girls to come over, cook dinner, and then bring Mikhail along?"

"Well, when you put it that way...yeah." Harry's grin widened.

"Tch. Men." The young woman smiled and shook her head as if to clear it. "Well, I'm glad you seem so happy with him, Harry. I can't lie to you and say that I don't feel some comfort to see you with someone other than Draco Malfoy. I was really worried you'd get badly hurt there, for a while."

Harry stood there, shocked for a half-second before letting out a terse breath and sharing a glance with Ron.

Hermione didn't miss any of this. "What? What is it?"

As Harry sat down on his bed, Draco's article still in hand, Ron offered a response.

"Harry's been...having problems...er..." He looked back at his friend for some support, permission, anything, but Harry was just looking at that article.

"Having problems with what? Harry?" Hermione inquired.

The man looked up, eyes wistful and pain filled. Quickly averting his gaze he said, "When Mikhail and I are, you know, I just sort of...freeze up."

"Oh," she responded softly. "I...see. So you're not happy with him then?"

"No, that's just it, I am. But I..." Harry rolled his eyes, fed up with being so shy about reluctant about the topic. "I keep thinking about Draco. When I'm kissing Mikhail, or more, Draco keeps popping into my head--the things we did that night--and I freeze up."

"I didn't realise that what happened with Malfoy was still affecting you so much."

"It wasn't, at first. Things have been great with Mikhail; he's sweet, and nice, and handsome, and he wants me. Only me. I'm really starting to like him. But it's just this one thing. I can't seem to shake off what happened with Draco for some reason, it just totally ruins the mood, but I don't know how to explain it to Mikhail. He thinks I've never been with anyone. And if I keep freezing up on him, he's going to want a better explanation than 'you're going too fast.'"

Hermione sat down beside him and took his hand. "Do the thoughts of Draco ruin the mood because it feels like an invasion between you and Mikhail, or because you want Mikhail to be Draco?"

Harry stilled. "What?"

"Do you want what's happening between you and Mikhail?"

"Yes, of course. It feels...really good."

"Okay. Do you want that with Draco more?"

Harry blinked, his eyes widening. "I-er...I don't..." His thoughts raced and he felt a rising panic fluttering madly in his veins as he realised that that was the catch, wasn't it? Who did he want more?

"I know what you're thinking, Harry. But what's best and healthy for you may not be entirely what you want most."

"But I don't even know what I want at all!" Except to feel loved and not alone anymore, his mind supplied.

"We're not saying you do, Harry. This is decision you have to make for yourself."

"Yet I know you two don't like Draco, so I already know what you want me to choose."

"We're not saying that-"

Harry jumped up and backed quickly away from both of his friends, not noticing his fist clutching the newspaper violently. "Yes you are! You could never accept that Draco was decent enough to be my friend, and I would want to be his! You've hated the idea of him and me together even as friends, let alone more. You've said as much yourself just a minute ago! You don't even like that I'm half-gay!"

"Harry, mate, that's not it at all-"

"No! That's the truth, isn't it? You don't like that I fancy blokes, but if I'm going to, I might as well be with the 'smarter' choice, shouldn't I? It doesn't occur to you that Draco helped me discover this part of myself, and that he and Raven broke me out of whatever place I was, that they made me start thinking about myself and what my desires are. What I wanted out of life rather than what I couldn't do in the past. As much as I know they have each other, and I have no future with them, I want what they can give me now. But you don't approve of that, do you? Can't have Harry just take what he wants, can you? Just let me be free to make my own choices, my own mistakes, and stop-"

Hermione had finally gotten fed up with Harry's diatribe, and slapped him across the face. "Now you listen here, Harry James Potter, you stop making Ron and I out to be the bad guys. We've always supported you, we don't care that you like men, or did we not make that clear to you a week ago? I am more than happy that Raven and Draco helped you out of your shell, Harry, so don't think for one minute that I hate them for that. Or that it didn't occur to us. I just told you not two minutes ago that it was your decision to make. What Ron and I think is best is not the point. We can only give you guidance. You're right; I'm not particularly fond of you and Malfoy together, but it's because I don't want you to be hurt. Because you will, and I know that you know that. But if it'll make you happy, then go for it. Live your life the way you want to. Make choices, make mistakes. Find happiness your way. If you don't know what to tell Mikhail about your 'freezing' moments, I suggest the truth. Before it's too late to be repaired. I don't gather that Mikhail will be too keen to find out you lied to him, but I imagine that he's forgiving enough and understanding enough to realise that you were scared to tell him. But it also sounds like you already know what you want, from what you just yelled at us. So that's my advice. Take it or leave it. It's up to you."

Harry's jaw clenched and a whimper caught in his throat. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," he whispered, hanging his head. "I'm just so confused. One day, I'll miss Draco more than anything--his company, his mean sense of humour, his smile, those kisses...and then the next, I'll almost completely forget about him, because Mikhail makes me feel like no one exists but me. I'm sorry. I know you guys support me. You always have. I just don't know what to do," he finished with frustration in his tone.

"Harry, mate, it's only been a week. I know you were only with Malfoy for one night, but maybe it'll just take longer to get over him. He was your first, after all."

"Oh? And what experience do you have with it, Ron? You're marrying the only girl you've ever loved."

"I've watched Ginny struggle to get over Dean."

Harry's eyes showed that he understood, but his mouth replied, "I don't want to talk about the war."

"Fine," Ron huffed, "we'll avoid that subject. But Harry, you've got to realise that Malfoy isn't good for you. Not in that way. Just stay friends with him, if you have to keep him around."

"I do have to. I know you guys don't understand, but Draco and I...we depend on each other, in a way that you and I don't. He's always been there, same as you. And he's always been bad for me. It's never stopped us before."

"Yeah, but then he wanted to kill you."

"And now, he's messing with your heart," Hermione put in.

"He never wanted to kill me," Harry sighed, running a hand through his hair, before moving to sit on his bed. "Fuck. I...you're right. I should just...give it some time. I'll stay friends with Draco. He has Raven after all, though I..." He just let the sentence hang, and Ron and Hermione leaned forward almost imperceptibly in wait for the conclusion.

"Harry?" asked Hermione.

Harry jumped. "Yeah?"

"Though you what?"

"Oh! Er..." He blushed and looked away. "Though I...still wonder what it's like to be with a girl."

Ron and Hermione shared a blushing glance before Ron patted Harry on the shoulder. "I'm sure it's just as great as being with a guy."

When Harry and Hermione shot him odd looks, he amended, "Different, but just as great."

"So you still like Raven then?" Hermione clarified.

Harry tilted his head back and forth. "Yeah," he replied with a shrug. "It's kind of weird to think about, though. I thought I was falling for my friend's girlfriend, you know, and then suddenly I was thinking about Draco, and now, boys are about all I think about."

They all chuckled, and Hermione asked, "Do you feel better now, Harry?"

He shrugged again. "A little. We'll see how it goes. But thanks for slapping some sense into me. Literally."

"I didn't like doing it, but you're welcome." She brushed the pink skin of his perpetually rosy cheeks before giving him a swift kiss and hug and said, "Now, Ron and I have to go to London to finalise some wedding things, so we'll see you later, unless you'd like to come?"

"I'd like to, but I'd better go thank Draco, before I've got to work on my homework before meeting up with Mikhail."

"Okay." Just before leaving the room, Hermione asked, "What would you like for dinner, by the way?"

Harry smiled. "Surprise me."

The woman rolled her eyes, but replied, "Never want to make a firm decision anymore, do you?"

Harry cocked an eyebrow. "I think I've made enough of those 'firm decisions' to last me a lifetime, thank you very much."

"So be it then. Don't give me flack when I make something you and your sweetie don't like."

Ron put an arm around Hermione's shoulders. "You're an amazing cook, love. I'm sure you'll make something great."

With an exaggerated sigh, Hermione led the way out, rolling her eyes at her boys in exasperation. "Bye Harry."

"Bye. Have a good day. Let me know if you need any help."

"Will do."

After they left, Harry let out a cleansing breath. Now all he had to do was face Draco. And be firm. Because of that 'decision' thing he made. Yeah. Right.



Harry tucked the article away in his jacket pocket, making his way across the courtyard to Number Three. It was very chilly outside, and Harry was starting to wish he'd worn his heavy winter cloak, when he heard someone calling his name from ahead.

"Harry! Harry!"

"Oh, hey, Raven." He accepted the brief hug she gave him.

"Going to see Draco?"

"Yeah, how about you?"

"Coming to see you, actually. I haven't seen you in a while, thought we could spend some time together, if you weren't busy. How'd you like the article? I read it last night. Going to go maim our lovely blond journalist, or shower him with your greatest affections?"


"Then your plan is...?"

"To, er...thank him, actually. That's all."

"Oh. Well. Um, after you're done with that, would you like to hang out?"

"Well, I have a bit of homework to work on, but sure, if you just want to hang out and work on that together."

Raven screwed up her nose in a cute way. "Oh bother, you're no fun. But yeah, sure. Come and get me when you're done with our little Dragon."

"Sure thing. Later."

"Later, Harry."

He watched her walk back to her dorm, robes flowing behind her, before turning up the path that led to Draco's dormitory. Knocking on the door, it only took a moment before short, blond Stewart Ackerley to open the door. Pushing his glasses up, the younger man asked, "Harry Potter. Here to see Malfoy, I imagine?"

"Yes, Stewart. Is he in?"

"Yeah. Up the stairs, and I assume you know where his room is?"

"Yeah, I've been here before."

"I remember." Stewart opened to door wider to let Harry pass. "Your boyfriend was here earlier, did you know that?"

"I heard. Nothing horrible happened, I hope?"

The former Ravenclaw shrugged. "Dunno. Malfoy came back with a rather snide look on his face, though. But Malfoy almost always has a snide look on his face."

Harry chuckled. "Hmm. Well, thanks, Stewart."

"Yeah, yeah. Just promise to stop interrupting my homework time."

"Sure thing." And Harry gave a quick wave before jogging up the stairs. He knocked on Draco's door, calling out his identity.

"Come in."

Harry opened the door to find Draco sitting on his bed, absolutely surrounded with parchment, scrolls, and books. An open inkwell was balancing precariously on a large stack of books that towered from the floor, and Draco was hunched over a particularly long scroll, referencing a particularly large book on his lap, running the feather of his quill thoughtfully over his lips. He seemed to finish reading whatever it was he was reading before finally looking up at his visitor.

"Harry. Come in and close the door. Sorry about the mess. I'm getting a head-start on my Potions thesis."

"Its fine," Harry replied, closing the door and taking a few steps into the room. "To be honest, I rather thought you'd look up and be wearing glasses, looking such the scholar the way you did."

Draco wrinkled his nose. "And be a speccy git like you? Never."

Harry smiled as Draco took out his wand and cast a charm to banish all of his parchments and books to their proper place on the desk and shelves. The inkwell floated straight to his hand, where he recapped it and reached to set it on his night table, placing his quill next to it.

"Here, sit down." He gestured to the spot next to him on the bed, and as Harry settled down, making sure to keep his shoes from touching the duvet, Draco asked, "So...what's the visit for?"

"Oh. Well, I, er, wanted to thank you, actually. For this," Harry pulled the article out of his jacket pocket, flattening it out with his palms on his thigh. "It was...unexpected."

An amused expression grew on Draco's face. "You're welcome, Harry. I couldn't just let what that bitch said slide, you know. She damaged your reputation as well as mine."

"Well, yeah. But you didn't have to. You could have just announced your plans to put charges on Skeeter."

"Yes, I could have. But I wanted you to know how I felt."

Harry glanced up at his friend. "What do you mean? You could have just told me."

Unexpectedly, Draco took one of Harry's hands, placing it between his own. "I could have," he repeated. "But even with me helping Chaikovsky's father, I felt like I wasn't doing enough. I still don't feel like I am." Harry's unease grew as Draco looked up at him. "Tell me how you want me to help. I'll do it, no questions asked."

This sudden unwavering loyalty unnerved Harry more than ever, and he extracted his hand as delicately as he could, replying, "No, Draco. There really isn't anything to do, except let the lawyers handle it. I'm thankful for your help in that department too. But really, you don't need to do anything more. You've done more than enough. No less than I would expect."

Draco pretended not to notice Harry's withdrawal from him. "What does that mean, exactly?"

"It means," Harry said, putting away the article, "that I expected you to exact revenge on Skeeter, and you're doing so. You really don't need to help me. I'm fine. Mr. Chaikovsky's handling it, from what I gather from Mikhail."

"Yes, it's so perfect having a boyfriend with parents in high places, isn't it?" Harry didn't miss the animosity in his tone.

"Now, what is that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing. It means nothing."

"No, it does. Are you jealous?"

Draco levelled a look at Harry. "What do you think, Potter?"

Harry took a breath. "I think you are. I think you're beating yourself up about suggesting I date Mikhail, and you can't handle that maybe I might be happy with him. That maybe it won't be temporary. That maybe I want it to last."

Draco snorted, ignoring again the twinge of truth Harry's words had. "Don't kid yourself, Potter. You're not fooling me. I know that you're not entirely happy. Otherwise, your stupid brute of a boyfriend wouldn't be coming to me asking for sex advice when dealing with you."

Harry stilled for a moment, before saying softly, "Don't call Mikhail that. And what do you mean, going to you for sex advice?"

"You didn't know Mikhail came by this morning, about an hour or so ago?" asked Draco archly.

"I knew he came by. Not why. Hermione told me, and Stewart," Harry added.

Draco's arms crossed and he smirked a knowing smirk that Harry decided he definitely didn't like on the blonde's face. Right before he spoke, however, he grew serious. "He wanted to know if you were abused growing up. If that's why you kept 'freezing up' on him, as he claimed."

Harry's breath whooshed silently out. "What did you say?"

"To talk to you, as always. I'm not going to tell him anything, Harry. And I mean that. Anything. I promised you."

Harry pursed his lips. "I don't know what to tell him. The 'too fast' excuse will get old, fast."

Draco cocked his head. "So it's not 'too fast'? What is it then?"

Harry avoided Draco's gaze and fiddled with the buttons on his jacket. He quite realised that he couldn't just ignore Draco's question, but he also knew he might have said too much for their current standing of relationship.


The green-eyed man jerked slightly, before settling in with, "It is too fast, and it's not to fast. I don't mind what we've been doing, but I'm unsure of myself. I've never been with anyone other than you. And what we did was fantastic. It really was. But Mikhail expects a certain level of hesitancy from me, and sometimes that hesitancy is real. I just don't always feel completely comfortable. I'm afraid it'll lead to sex."

Draco hid his smirk as much as he could, cocking an eyebrow. "And this is a bad thing how?" At Harry's huffy roll of eyes, he clarified, "Don't you want to get laid? Finally lose that pesky virginity?"

"This might come as a surprise to you, Draco," Harry said, face set, "but I actually want to love the person I sleep with. I don't think I love Mikhail. Not yet."

"Harry, you are depriving yourself now almost as much as you were being a sulking mass of flesh. You hardly seem to have any problem actually jumping into the bed stark naked, doing things that I'm sure your mother would wash out your mouth for, yet you can't open up yourself to the possibility of exploring all venues of sexual pleasure?" Draco made a 'tutting' noise in his mouth. "Apparently, that book I left for you has been sorely neglected."

"Shove off, Malfoy."

"But what I'm saying is true, isn't it?"

"So what if it is? And why turn the tables, Draco? Make up your fucking mind. You don't want me with Mikhail, I know you don't, but now you're wondering why I won't sleep with him?"

"My opinions have never changed, Harry. Yeah, I still don't want you with him. I want you with me. And Raven. We know you. And we care about you."

Harry stood up and faced the man on the bed. "Mikhail cares about me too! Only me! You have Raven, so what the fuck do you need me for? I can't be second to someone else, Draco, I thought I could, and maybe a part of me wants to; wants to be with you both at once. But I can't just be set aside. I know that as a certainty now. And you can't give me your full attention. I'll always be vying for it with Raven."

Draco got up on his knees. "I want to try, Harry. I want to give you all the attention in the world, but you won't let that even be a possibility."

Harry paused. "What're you saying? Don't you love Raven anymore?"

"Of course I do. But I...I can't not have you in my life, Harry. I...I care about you too much."

Harry could feel his heartstrings being pulled so tight they might snap, and he didn't like the thought of the backlash. "I can still be in your life, Draco. We're friends first, right?"

"Of course, but I don't think I can live like that. It'll be too painful." The blond closed his eyes and sat back on his heels. "Besides, I'm not sure how long Raven and I will be lasting."

"What? What do you mean?" Harry found himself closer to the bed without even realising he took the steps.

The blonde's shoulders slumped some more before he sighed. "I don't want to doom our relationship, but I just can't find it in me to care for her as much anymore. I don't find myself always enjoying our private time together, though I do anyway, but just not with the same intensity as before. The thought of finally having sex with her isn't as strongly appealing as it was. And it's not because the fight, or because of anything else. It's just that...all I can ever think about is you."

Harry tried not to wince, and only stood there nervously. Before he could reply to that brutally honest admission, Draco laughed without humour and said,

"But it's not like you're thinking about me as much, is it? You've got Mikhail and your practically perfect relationship to think about now." The jab about Harry's 'problem' was left unsaid.

Harry, himself, was trying to reign in his instincts to get upset with Draco. Draco wasn't the same, and really, neither was Harry. The instincts to get angry with each other were so great however, that sometimes it was easier to fall back into habits of yesteryear than to think more rationally. Unfortunately, it was almost just as painful either way, because on one path, you hurt in a way that you never had before, even with familiar anger, because you knew too much about the other person, and they knew too much about you. But the other path led to near self-destruction in the extreme cases--you contained the anger inside of you until it burst free of it's confines in the most unflattering of manners, and at the worst time imaginable.

After successfully filing away the stinging wound of Draco's words he said, "I think about you all of the time too, Draco. But you're right--sort of--I do think about my relationship with Mikhail too. And homework and life and my best friends' wedding, and I...I don't know. I break down sometimes. I don't know how I feel; if dating Mikhail is the right thing, if I care about him enough to make it last, or if trying to be in a relationship with two people I know won't last will make me happier. I just don't know." Harry toed off his shoes and kneeled on the bed in front of Draco. "But I do know that I care a lot about you. And Raven, in a way. I understand that you might not feel like you care about her as much. My focus has always been on you too. Even before I ever thought about guys. I was always thinking about what you would think about me having those kinds of thoughts about Raven. I always cared what you thought. I still do. But, I also like Mikhail. He's a really great guy, and he doesn't deserve to be hurt or used. And, like I've said to you and Ron and Hermione; he cares about me. Just me. And if I can make it work, fall in love with him, than I'll try. I'm sorry."

When Harry coupled his last words with a brush of his hand on Draco's shoulder, the blond jerked back like a startled colt, but his gaze was wide, dark, and painful, as if he was trying to be cold and angry, but pain he was feeling was choking it down. Harry thought he saw the same battle he had just had moments ago in the other man's steel grey eyes. Draco's voice was soft and intense when he spoke.

"I want to be with you Harry, more than anything right now. More than the happiness I could possibly have with Raven, more than breathing, more than life. I think about it all the time. And besides knowing that I screwed up beyond measure, I want to try. I know that it seems stupid, that I do have Raven, and you could start having a life with someone else, instead of waiting for me to let you go, but Merlin, I don't want to. I don't want to let you go. Ever." He swallowed thickly, his intense stare darting away for just a fraction of time, as if he couldn't handle that he's just said something so soul-bearing. Or he was embarrassed by it.

Harry's chest was tense with some unnamed emotion. It was starting to hurt, and he realised he couldn't breathe, and he had never heard something so...honest and heartbreaking, or directed so solely at him, and he didn't know how to respond, and what was Draco trying to say? That he'd break up with Raven? That he'd only be with Harry? That he...? No. No, that wasn't possible. He couldn't possibly. And Harry knew he didn't, so... But he'd never thought about it before either, so... Oh fuck, I think I'm gonna pass out...

"Harry? Harry, please say something." The man with the deepest green eyes could barely hear the plea in Draco's words over the rushing in his ears, and his vision was starting to waver, and some dim part of his brain realised he was blacking out from lack of oxygen, and why can't I breathe? Oh, fuck...Draco...

Ah...I love cliffies. ^___^ I haven't done one of those for this story, I don't think. So it's long over-due. I'll try to get het next chapter out as soon as I can, but I make no promises. I can't. I really am surprised I got this one out so soon. In the mean time, tell me what you think is gonna happen in the next chapter. Or better yet, why Harry keeps passing out when bombarded with strong emotions involving Draco. I'd really like to see what you guys are thinking...it's almost inspiration, I swear.
Oh, and I'll respond to the reviews I can soon. Prolly later today. Since, of course, it is so late, and I've got two classes tomorrow. So yeah... Review responses. Soon. That I can promise.
I love you all! Thank you for reading, and please review!