Rating:
R
House:
Astronomy Tower
Characters:
Draco Malfoy Harry Potter
Genres:
Slash Romance
Era:
Multiple Eras
Stats:
Published: 06/14/2003
Updated: 09/28/2003
Words: 53,207
Chapters: 11
Hits: 178,233

All Bets Are Off

Allegra

Story Summary:
I am SICK of Good-little-innocent!Harry...````Enter Playboy!Harry and his Overinflated Ego, a challenge, a bet, a couple of Really Cunning Plans - and there you have it, "Forty days and forty nights", Hogwarts style. Mayhem ensues! ````Warning: judicious use of Emphatic Capital Letters and idiotic one-liners.

Chapter 09

Chapter Summary:
I am SICK of Good-Little-Innocent!Harry...Enter Playboy!Harry and his Overinflated Ego, a challenge, a bet with Slytherin-Sex-God!Draco, a few Cunning Plans, some serious humiliation, and a lot of laughs...This Chapter: Sex. I can't glorify it any more than that. Sex Sex Sex Sex Sex and More Sex! Whee!
Posted:
09/28/2003
Hits:
14,864
Author's Note:
The one you've all been waiting for....this is it boys and girls....gimme an S....gimme an E...gimme an X....what does it spell? Harry and Draco finally going for it....YAY! Okay, so this is the VERY EDITED chapter. if anyone wants the uncut, oh-so-porn-like real thing, please email me:)


All Bets Are Off

Chapter nine

Irresolution

It was midafternoon and Draco slept fitfully in his dorm, tangled in silk sheets and dreaming of Harry Potter. He had not slept a single minute of the previous night, being otherwise occupied with wallowing in guilt and confusion, and was trying desperately to make up his lost time, but failing miserably. Draco had decided that he was possibly the world's most prodigious idiot. He had had Harry absolutely writhing under his hands, begging for release, and he had pushed him away. Pushed him away. What had he been thinking?

You were thinking that you were tired of making the boy you love suffer, I believe, said his inner smart-arse. "Yeah, yeah," Draco sighed out loud, wishing the stupid voice would just die of some incurable disease. "I know. But don't ask me what the fuck I'm supposed to do about it. I mean, yeah, I love him. And no, I don't want him to suffer. And no, I don't give a fuck about the stupid bet anymore. But damned if I know how the hell I'm gonna fix the absolute mess I've made of my chances with him."

The inner smart-arse had no answers either. Damned thing - so exceptional at pointing out what he already knew, so fucking useless at answering oh-so-important questions to which he had no response.

He had just fallen back into unconsciousness when his dubious peace was suddenly shattered by a voice shouting in his ear, drawing him from black oblivion to even blacker reality.

"I want to know what the fuck you think you're playing at, Draco Malfoy!" it ordered fiercely.

"Go on, get up you sick prat! I want a fucking word with you!" the voice became more strident, and was accompanied by warm hands seizing his shoulders and giving him a bone-rattling shake that jolted him to full awareness.

"What the fuck?!" Draco howled, arms striking out at his unseen adversary. The other person thankfully backed away, leaving Draco to untangle himself from his sheets and stand beside his bed, eyes seeking his attacker but finding nothing. Things began to dawn on him.

"Potter?" Draco asked tentatively, feeling stupid. Be funny if it weren't Harry, wouldn't it? his idiotic subconscious piped up, giggling hysterically. Draco wondered if he wasn't a bit insane.

With a whirl, the invisibility cloak came off and dangled carelessly from the artistic fingers of one extremely rashed off Harry Potter. He was flushed and shaking with anger, legs tensed and braced, hands curled into fists and arms akimbo, green eyes turned to hell-coloured, shadowy pinpoints of light in his lean face. Everything in his stance screamed 'Come near me and I'll pick up the nearest blunt instrument and beat you to death with it, motherfucker! Come on, try me, I dare you...', and it frightened the absolute shit out of Draco. He took an involuntary step backward.

Harry's eyes lit with triumph. He took a step nearer. "Fail to answer me and I'll kill you where you stand, Malfoy," he said in an ominous sort of tone. "Don't think I won't."

Draco eyed him speculatively. "Well, what is this about, then?" he said with no little confusion colouring his words. "Here I am, minding my own business and sleeping like the innocent child I am when you come barging in, shrieking like a banshee -"

"Shut the fuck up, Draco," Harry murmured icily.

Draco shut the fuck up. For a second, anyway, but then his damned ungovernable tongue started talking without asking his brain: "Well, spit it out, Potter. I haven't got all d -"

Draco found himself pinned against the wall by a very strong hand which had attached itself to his throat rather forcibly. Breathing suddenly became somewhat difficult. Apparently that will happen when someone compresses your trachea.

"I'm here," Harry said evenly, "For answers. And I will be satisfied. Get me?"

Draco was turning blue. He nodded fervently.

Harry released him, but Draco didn't move away from the wall. His eyes were fixated on Harry, like a mouse watching a cobra dance before its paralysed eyes -- wanting to run but completely incapable of movement. Fatal attraction or something equally improbable.

"I want to know," Harry went on in that same slow, flat voice, "Exactly what game you think you're playing." Payback be damned for the moment, he wanted answers first.

Draco made a moue of incomprehension.

"For the past month, I have gone through absolute fucking hell because of you. I have suffered, Draco, just the way you wanted. God, how I've suffered. I've suffered through things you can't even imagine, Malfoy, and I've borne it because I thought I had a chance of proving myself to you. And then last night, just as I finally gave up all the pride I had left and told you I wanted you, you left me. God, is there no depths to your hatred for me? Do you really despise me that fucking much? To make me want you and need you and fucking beg you and then leave me there like that? How could you?" For a second, Harry's face was completely, nakedly vulnerable.

Draco stared at him silently, astounded by the depths of Harry's misunderstanding. Didn't the boy realise that Draco had sacrificed everything last night just to make sure that Harry didn't lose the stupid fucking bet?

The ice-cold mask slid back across Harry's features. He continued, "You won, Draco. You broke me." He closed the gap between them and began to murmur menacingly, "And I'm not leaving here until I know why. I want you to tell me why you hate me so badly. I want you to tell me what you meant last night when you said you 'couldn't do it'. I want you to explain to me exactly what you think you are doing, fucking with me like this. Because, so help me Draco, if you don't, I am going to pull out your spinal cord and use it for tooth floss."

Draco's mouth tightened at the visual.

"I don't owe you any explanations, Potter," he spat. "I don't owe you anything."

"You owe me more than you can ever repay, Draco Malfoy. More than you'll ever know," Harry returned with a soap-opera-esque glare into the distance, his eyes then flickering to lock with the icy grey ones of the Slytherin.

"Really?" Draco drawled, drawing it out into several syllables and sounding just a bit demented in the process. "Here's me thinking I did you a favour last night. Remind me again why it is that you're angry about the fact that I stopped anything from happening and in so doing saved you from a thousand galleon payout?"

"See now that's what's pissing me off the most, Malfoy. Why the fuck would you do something like that?" Harry asked, his anger rising to the surface. Why wouldn't the little prat just stop playing games? What was he hiding?

Harry advanced, still speaking in a dead flat tone of voice that boded very, very ill for Draco's health. "Why would you sacrifice your own money and gratification for mine? Why would you make any kind of unselfish gesture when it goes against every part of your sodding awful nature? I know you had money on yesterday. Why would you give up all that profit?"

"I don't need your small change," Draco said flippantly, tossing his blonde forelock with affected casualness. Harry was very close, and Draco could smell the hot anger mixing with the spicy scent of cologne and aftershave and yummy Harry smell that made his senses reel.

"And why," Harry murmured, closing in on Draco further, making the other boy cringe away a little, "Would you push me away when every single molecule of your body was alive with wanting me last night? You think I couldn't tell? You wanted me as much as I wanted you. Why would you do that?"

"Maybe I changed my mind! Maybe I decided that shagging you wasn't such a sodding great idea after all!" Draco shouted.

"WHY?!" Harry shouted back in his face.

"Did it ever occur to you, Harry, that maybe I felt BAD about what I was doing to you? Fuck knows when, but somewhere along the fucking line I grew a God-damned conscience, and as a direct consequence, I found myself unable to play out a hand that I'd been working on for the better part of a year!! And if you think that fact doesn't piss me off royally, you are severely mistaken. However, it doesn't change the fact that I couldn't go through with it because I couldn't stand to see you suffer at my hands anymore!" Draco was huffing by the time he was through with that particular monologue.

"Why?" Harry asked again, his voice wavering.

"BECAUSE!" Draco shouted, flushing in hot pink slashes across his beautiful cheekbones.

"Because WHY?" Harry bellowed back.

"I love you! That's fucking why!" Draco hollered, and then clapped his hand over his mouth as if he couldn't believe what he had just said.

Harry looked at him meditatively. Then he exploded. "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?! Even now, you'll do anything to win this bet, won't you?! Just when I think you can sink no fucking lower you go and pull that shit on me?! What the fuck am I supposed to do, Malfoy?! I can't fight you when you don't play fair! I just can't fight you anymore!"

Harry shoved Draco back against the wall and for just a second, Draco knew with absolute certainty that Harry was going to kill him. All bets were well and truly off. Goodbye world, Draco thought hysterically as Harry's hands hit his throat.

Harry watched Draco for the briefest of moments.

And then he kissed him.

And that was it.

Everything broke into a thousand pieces. Because it was the most soul-shattering thing that either boy had ever experienced. Because it was more than a kiss, it was an everything. Because it was beautiful and hurtful and terrifying and intense, and it shouldn't be happening but - Oh God - it was happening, and there was nothing anyone could do about it because it was so wrong and so right and too much and so badly not enough that it hurt like hell. And because it was the beginning of an ending that should have been impossible, and yet suddenly wasn't.

It was a raving, beautiful bitch of a kiss.

And suddenly nothing mattered to Harry. Not the bet, not the world. Nothing mattered because Draco Malfoy was moaning into his mouth, and Draco Malfoy's tongue was dancing against his own, and Draco Malfoy's lips were softer than a kitten's belly and felt like absolutely nothing else on Earth.

They kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed. Hot and feverish and sweet and wet, it was a brutal, beautiful, voluptuous thing of sensate pleasure and absolute intensity. Harry drew Draco's lower lip between his teeth and the blonde groaned in pleasurable agony, until Harry took pity on him and soothed with his tongue, finally slanting his lips across the other boy's and kissing him properly. His heart was pounding in his chest, and then Draco's tongue moved across his own and he was certain his heart stopped working altogether and he didn't care because - oh GOD - what a way it was to go...

Harry moved his hands away from Draco's throat and down his arms, caught the Slytherin's hands in his own and intertwined their fingers with aching sweetness. He pushed Draco's arms gently against the wall, and Draco used the leverage to inch his hot, hard body up against the entire length of Harry's. Their mouths were forced apart as they gasped at the sudden contact. Harry shuddered against Draco and his hips slid involuntarily into the other boy's. Draco closed his eyes and his head tipped back against the wall at the sheer pleasure of it. Surely nothing ever felt this good, he thought in rapture. So goddamned good...

And then he didn't think anymore, because Harry had decided to take advantage of his momentary inattention and position to glide soft lips and tongue across his cheekbone to his ear and that spot right there behind the lobe that was definitely connected to every nerve ending in his entire body because once Harry touched his mouth to it there was absolutely no going back or around or any-which-way.

"Harry," he groaned softly and felt the other boy smile against his neck.

Harry didn't trust himself to say a word. Payback seemed to have died a horrible death. Odd the way that happens when one is presented with the far more attractive option of seduction, isn't it? He moved his mouth down to the strong column of Draco's throat and slid a hot, wet tongue into the hollow at the base of it, making Draco shiver and whimper softly.

Harry started unbuttoning Draco's sleep-rumpled shirt with his teeth and instead of doing what any normal boy or girl would do and enjoying it, the little voice that was Draco's newfound conscience woke up. Fuck, Draco thought with a mixture of irritation and panic. The voice persisted. Should you really be letting him do this? it asked. What if this is just some game? What if he's only doing it because you've pushed him too far for too long and he really doesn't feel anything at all...?

Shut UP, Draco thought at the sodding little nagger. But it wouldn't go away. Like relatives at Christmas. Who CARES if he feels anything? Harry Potter is - OH GOD - devouring my collarbone and he FINALLY wants me so why are you trying to fuck things up by worrying about what he FEELS?! God, what is WRONG with you?!

But the voice kept whinging. If you really loved him, you'd give him a chance to think about this, it groused. You forced him into this. Maybe you aren't what he wants at all.

Draco went cold.

And then he pushed Harry away.

It felt like the world ended.

They stood there a second, looking at each other with identical expressions filled with want and need and love and hate and fear and pleasure and panic, gasping for air, hands still entwined and bodies absolutely vibrating with longing.

Draco pulled his hands away from Harry's and placed one of them flat on Harry's heaving chest, closing his eyes for a moment at the heat invoked by that simple touch. "We can still stop this, Harry," he whispered like a man in agony, which, funnily enough, he was.

Harry looked at him without comprehension. His mouth was flushed and swollen from Draco's kisses; he ran his tongue hesitantly across his lips and his cheeks glowed hot as he looked right through Draco with feverish eyes that were glittering in the half light. His thick, dark hair fell across his brow to partially obscure his expression, and his chest rose and fell rapidly with his erratic breathing. He was simply the most fuckable thing Draco had ever seen, and it made a physical pain rise in Draco's chest. Jesus, he thought. No wonder he's a Sex God. Just fucking look at him.

"I'll walk away from this if you want me to," Draco continued in a whisper, grey eyes turned black with want. "But... God, Harry, please don't want me to."

Then Harry smiled and Draco couldn't breathe anymore. But that was okay. Who the fuck needs oxygen anyway?

And then Draco suddenly found himself on his back on his tangled sheets, and Harry's mouth was doing absolutely wicked things to the pulse-point at his throat and he found that he couldn't do much of anything at all, because Harry's body was aligned so perfectly with his own, and it felt so damn good and he had waited so damn long and it was so damn right that everything else in the world felt wrong.

So while Draco did very little but moan and writhe and clutch pleadingly at various parts of Harry's anatomy, Harry took the opportunity to explore every inch of Draco's body with his tongue, removing clothing as he went. When Draco was finally naked, Harry sat back on his heels for a second and just looked at the smooth, alabaster perfection of Draco's body.

"What?" Draco asked indignantly, when Harry just sighed and kept looking.

"You are..." Harry started, and then found himself quite without words, for Draco had pulled himself up to kneel in front of Harry and claimed his mouth in a hot, sweet, sensuous kiss that was at once completely perfect and absolutely unsatisfying. As he did so, he managed very skilfully to divest Harry of his shirt and trousers, until the other boy was just as naked as he was.

"Gorgeous, I know," Draco smirked arrogantly when he had finished making Harry moan loudly. He pushed the other boy down onto his back and slid his own body across Harry's, relishing the exquisitely pleasurable contact of skin on skin.

As Draco slid his hips into Harry's, Harry flipped them over and attacked Draco's shoulder with his mouth. "I was going to say edible," he murmured seductively.


Draco gasped as Harry's mouth found his nipple. "That works for me," he finally ground out, running artistic fingers down the length of Harry's spine and back up into his messy, adorable black hair.

Harry grinned at him. "Me too," he said. He kissed Draco until he was quiet, then he kissed him some more until he was very, very noisy. And he decided, while all this was going on, the Draco Malfoy, whilst writhing and moaning under his expert ministrations, was the most beautiful sight he'd ever seen. Conversely, the image hurt more than it should have, because he couldn't, for the absolute life of him, figure out was how the hell he was going to be content with just one chance to see the blonde this way.

So Harry ignored the little voice in his ear that screamed at him to just 'not do this', and set about making the most of his one opportunity to have Draco Malfoy fall apart in his arms.

* * * *

Two hours later, Harry Potter was screaming Draco Malfoy's name as the blonde applied his very clever mouth to very sensitive places on Harry's anatomy. It was debatable who was falling apart in who's arms, in this situation, but for some reason, neither boy could bring himself to give a flying fuck. Harry dragged Draco's mouth to his, unable to tolerate such excesses of sensation for any great length of time, and as Harry's hands slid down to Draco's shaft, the blonde's voice joined Harry's in the quiet of the room, incoherently sobbing out his pleasure on gasped breaths as he ground his hips into Harry's and waited for the world to end.

Then, just as Harry felt his orgasm begin to swoop down upon him like a thousand Dementors in reverse, and Draco found himself similarly stricken, their mouths met as if in a choreographed dance, with Harry sliding one hand into Draco's hair and tightening the other around Draco's shaft. Draco ran his tongue across Harry's and slid one hand down Harry's back to his arse, pulling Harry's straining erection into hard, tight contact with his own and concurrently thrusting his hips into Harry's as if he'd die of the lack.

The sensation was absolutely fucking mind-blowing.

Somewhere in the middle of all this pleasure, the siren went off with an ear-splitting howl. Harry, not entirely coherent at this point, wondered idly if it were the sound of the ambulance coming to take him away because surely he was dying - this feeling of absolute, ravishing pleasure was so utterly improbable that it was possibly fatal. Which was a worry. But then he was coming and he couldn't find it in himself to worry about much of anything, really.

He buried his face in Draco's platinum halo and forgot to breathe.

He felt the slow implosion cleave him apart and turn him inside out and he might've shouted a silent 'I love you' somewhere in there but he didn't really care, because for some reason there was nothing else he'd rather have said, and there was never any choice and that didn't bother him nearly as much as it should have. And why didn't anyone warn him that this was going to be so fucking amazing?!

Harry pulled an unresisting Draco with him to the brink of that absolute, exquisite nowhere and realised there was absolutely no-one he'd rather chase the edge with than the beautiful, cunning prick of a blonde who was slack-jawed and writhing with pleasure beneath him. It was his last coherent thought.

There was a long, eternal instant where both were blinded by orgasmic starburst imprinted upon eyelids like white fire, as their bodies imploded in unison.

And then the world went black.

* * * *

Several minutes later, Harry opened his eyes slowly, the lazy smile of post-coital smugness sliding across his lips quickly erased as the bloody siren started up again. With a slight frown he stretched voluptuously, feeling the delicious ache of apr├Ęs-orgasm pleasure twinge through his muscles. Coming fully alert from his state of catatonic afterglow, Harry caught himself turning his head toward Draco, and stopped.

The blonde beside him was awfully quiet. Harry didn't want to be the first to speak. It was awkward as fuck. But someone had to say something. It's not, after all, every day that two worst enemies end an argument by shagging one-another absolutely sideways. Some words had to be exchanged, if only 'oh dear lord what have I done!?' Or more ominously, 'what are you doing with that flick knife...?'

"Draco?" he finally whispered, the smile sliding southward involuntarily. And now for the after-moment from hell, he thought morosely.

Draco said nothing.

He hates me, Harry thought in sudden panic. He hated it, maybe. Oh GOD, I've lost my touch! Let there be mass suicides among the sixth year virgins! My life is over!

He risked a small glance at the Slytherin, and breathed out a slow breath at what he saw.

Draco was asleep. Harry didn't know whether to be pissed at Draco's lack of stamina, or relieved that he was so exhausted, therefore signifying that Harry had done something more than a Good Job.

In the middle of trying to work it out, Harry became entranced with watching his sleeping lover. And God what a beautiful sight it was. There was a delicate flush across Draco's cheekbones, his silver eyelashes painted crescent moons beneath shadowed lids, the kiss-swollen mouth was slightly parted, the sweat-oiled chest rising and falling softly. Draco was elegant even in repose (the graceful bastard), and he slept like a child, deeply and trustingly, as if he hadn't a care in the world because he was loved and protected and cherished. What Harry didn't know was that this was the first time Draco had ever slept that way. Because it was the first time Draco had ever felt that way. Ever.

Harry felt his heart soften, and was so startled at the feeling he nearly squicked.

Love hurt quite a lot, really. More than one would have suspected given all the fluffy bears and hearts and cupids and squidgy Hallmark cards overflowing with gooey sentimental bollocks that usually went along with it. Harry hadn't expected this raw, hurtful, beautiful beast to have taken up residence in his ribcage, sinking tender claws into his spine and leaving wounds that he suddenly didn't want to ever heal. He hadn't expected the pain or the pleasure, the wild elation and dizzying plummets into agonising, angry depression. Hadn't expected love at all, when you come right down to it.

But no doubt about it, he was in love with Draco Malfoy.

With a bleak expression on his face, Harry stood and started picking up his clothes.

* * * *

A whole lot of people sat around the tally board in a morose sort of post-mortem silence. Gryffindors, Slytherins, Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws; all watched the parchment with a morbid fascination, feeling the last minutes of The Bet ticking away, and with it their chances to make considerable fortunes. Still, no-one had been stupid enough to bet on the last day. No point, right? Regardless of the seduction tactic, surely Harry would be able to hang on, knowing he only had a few hours to wait.

There were, in fact, only two names written down for day thirty: anon and anon. A few people looked at them with disinterest, but most just sat and groaned about the horrible unfairness of fate and suchlike.

"I can't believe, after all of this effort and angst and time, not even one of us poor sods actually made any money off this," Ron moaned to Ginny and Hermione as they sprawled on the opulent green and silver rug in front of the fire.

Several other students around them nodded and groaned sympathetically. All of them had lost varying amounts of money to the collective pool. Not one of them had seen, or would see, any reimbursement.

"Who gets the final pool anyway? Is it Draco, or Harry, or Seamus?" Hermione wondered.

"Must be Draco, although I think Seamus must get a cut," Hannah Abbot said, swooning back across her armchair and sighing. "Surely Draco wouldn't give Harry anything. They absolutely loathe one another."

Ron gargled.

After that, the room fell silent.

And then a few very startling things occurred in very quick succession.

Firstly, with a plaintive wail the siren went off. People started looking at each other in shock and confusion.

"What the hell?" Ron squawked, looking for all the world like a goldfish with his mouth opening and shutting in a very unappealing way.

Minutes later, Harry Potter exited Draco Malfoy's room and stalked through the Slytherin common room, still buttoning his jeans and wearing the self-satisfied smirk to end all smirks. He didn't look left or right, nor did he say a single word; he just walked straight by his friends, through the room and out the portrait door.

Ron and Hermione shared a gobsmacked glance.

"What the hell?" said a Ravenclaw boy from his perch on the leather couch. He was looking at the still-swinging portrait as if it were of Harry doing a naked salsa in the foyer of the Ministry of Magic with Professor Sinistra and a large purple sheep.

And seconds after Harry left the room, the parchment started flashing.

Everyone in the room turned identical curious and shocked faces to the board as the anons were slowly morphed into the true names of the bettors.

People stared in shock. Jaws dropped. Eyes widened to extreme proportions. Eyebrows shot up into hairlines. People exclaimed in wonder. People fainted.

"What the hell?" Hermione whispered.

For the first anon had just turned into Harry James Potter.

In the absolute mayhem that followed, no-one thought to look and find out the identity of the second. It was a good thing. School children are too young to die of heart failure.

* * * *

Albus Dumbledore was reclining comfortably in a leather armchair by his office fire when the siren went off, shattering the peace of his Sunday nap.

A smile crept over his face that was quite at odds with the horrible whirring sound.

Still, a man that is suddenly many thousands of galleons richer is entitled to a bit of a grin, no?

"Fawkes, my lad," Dumbledore said cheerfully to the phoenix perched in his lap, "I think perhaps we'll visit Bermuda this year, after all."

Fawkes squawked with what could have been either approval or an imminent death-cry. It was hard to tell with phoenixes.

Dumbledore stroked his beard musingly.

"I always fancied myself in flowered shorts."

* * * *

Later that evening, Draco awoke slowly and stretched, groaning deliciously as muscles he hadn't even known he possessed protested vigorously. He reached out a hand and found the left side of the bed cold.

He suppressed a sigh.

Draco had known that Harry wouldn't be there. Only God knew why Harry had finally given in to Draco yesterday, but one thing was for sure and for certain - Harry was not going to be happy about it. Draco didn't know when Harry had left; he himself had fallen into a death-like sleep somewhere between the most intense orgasm he'd ever experienced and what potentially could have been the most awkward 'moment after' that anyone had ever experienced.

But that had never come to fruition, because Harry had left.

Draco hadn't expected cuddles and romance, hadn't wanted soft whispered 'I love yous' and talk of forever, sleeping in one-another's arms and waking up together in the morning only to make hot, slow, sweet, sultry love for three days straight. Truthfully, he hadn't known what to want, or what to expect.

But that didn't stop the overwhelming flood of sorrow and disappointment and longing and depression that swept him from tip to toe as he sprawled elegantly on sheets still sticky from sweat and loving.

It hurt like hell.

Suddenly unable to remain still, Draco bounced out of bed and tossed on a robe. As he did though, a flash of white against the emerald silk of his bed covers caught the corner of his vision. He turned slowly, for a second unwilling to cross back to the bed and find out what it was. Then he realised that he had to know, one way or the other.

The innocuous little note, folded on the left-hand pillow, contained an achingly familiar scratchy green scrawl that read:

Draco,

I'll never be able to explain how sorry I am that this was all for show, and that all it was to you was a stupid bet. Because it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Still, I suppose congratulations are in order, because you've won, Draco. You wanted me to suffer, and I promise you that I am. You've finally beaten me at something.

I hope it was worth it.

Unwillingly but unfortunately still yours,

Harry Potter

Newly reinstated Gryffindor Sex God

Underneath the note was a leather bag that chinked loudly in the deathly silence of the room.

Draco knew without looking that it contained exactly one thousand galleons.

He could have wept. But that wasn't very manly, really. So he poured himself an improbably large four fingers of Ogden's, draped himself becomingly over his favourite armchair, and brooded instead.