Harry let out a hum at the back of his throat, feeling it reverberate through his mouth, looking at the Hogwarts bulletin board in deep concentration. Tried it a few times more, chuckling at the feeling. "Potter, has the fame gotten to your head?"
And there was that shrill, annoying tone, at it again. Harry turned. "I don't know, has the ferret rumour died away yet, Malfoy?" he was aware that it was low of him to resort to that, but the speechless and offended look on Draco's face was worth it.
"Just you wait Potter, your smile will be a ghost on your face the moment I get back at you." he rebuts, though Harry knew he was not as fierce as his words implied.
Harry's small smile grew wider. "I'd like to see you try," he said, after he and his duo of cronies were far in the large hallway. "Maybe your comebacks will get better."
He returns to the bulletin board, watching figures move in black and white newspaper cut outs. He turns to a small corner of it, labeled brightly with neon colours: "Notes From You". Cringing at the lame corner title, he reads the little post-its stuck to it, little confessions and questions from anonymous people about the best outfits for a date at Hogsmeade, or the worst thing they've tasted at the Weasley's. Anybody could write anything on it.
He sees the stack of blank post-its set on the side of the board and Harry unconsciously fell back to humming. He's tempted now, an idea hatching in his mind, involving Draco, of course. Not a good one, but his ideas were never good when it came to Malfoy. Reaching out for the pen on the table near it, there for small suggestions to the headmaster and teachers, he takes a neon green post-it and starts writing.
'draco malfoy can suck a bogart's arse'
After making sure the penmanship was the farthest from his as humanly possible, he smiled and stuck it, quickly fleeing the scene to where he knows Ron and Hermione are during free period, the library. It was a childish statement, but nobody would know he wrote it anyway. Just a little way to tease the nosy ferret. He laughs a bit just imagining his smoking ears after reading the note.
He didn't know why he did that, to be honest. He convinced himself he didn't want to be involved with the guy, but he couldn't help teasing him. It was like a knee-jerk reaction to give a salt-filled retort to his insults.
He wondered if it was also a knee-jerk reaction, however, how his breath hitched as he saw Draco laughing after a match against another student, sweat dripping off his hair. Or how he stilled in the Great Hall to listen and focus on the sound of Draco's voice in the Slytherin table (not that he had to focus much, Draco always had a loud voice). Or when he would wait just outside the library with Hermione for Ron, and though he says it's because they go there anyway, it really is because that's where Draco passes to get to Herbiology.
Hermione and Ron were just about to leave as Harry arrived, and he was brought back to the real world. He had taken his time strolling to the library, the Hogwarts hallways large enough to keep him entertained. The gingers berated him for his lack of punctuality, just before they checked the clock, finding only minutes before they have to return to class, rushing to grab their things and return their books (Hermione grabbed them rather angrily as Ron and Harry left, rambling about how it was rude to leave them there, talking about pity for the elves; the other two mentally rolled their eyes). Ron splits from the duo, having a different class at this hour. Harry passes by the bulletin board to his next class, albeit on purpose, slowing as he nears it.
'My father will hear about this.'
Harry smiled, a bright pink post-it stuck on his green one in reply, Malfoy not even trying to hide his penmanship. He hurries himself to Divination, Hermione walking slowly behind him as she dreads the class in mutters. As he sits, he plans to reply later, keeping the thought at the back of his mind, and Trelawney drawling on about Saturn's placements turn into white noise for his thoughts.
"Harry, what are you doing, hurry up!" the loud voice, slightly pompous yet intelligent in its tone, called out for him.
"Yes, yes, I was simply checking the news," Harry replied, leaving yet another note, notes rather, both in neon green and in the same penmanship he used for the first.
'what a ridiculous report to make'
'how'd it go?'
He laughed, catching up to his friends.
Every day, the post-it conversation grew. Between teases and obvious sneers, humble and arrogant statements, the two communicated through the board. Ever since Draco replied with 'Are you daft? I am not so much of an idiot to report this to my father.' to which Harry responded with 'yes, of course, and that wasn't why your face had a hand mark'. He enjoyed Malfoy's face as he read it, hand trailing to his cheek.
He read the note for the next day: 'I fell asleep on my hand.'
He chuckled, 'of course you did'
This continued on until someone, obviously not one of them, judging by their penmanship, posted a note:
'If you two are in such friendly conversation, why don't you do it in the corridors?'
"Corridors?" Harry whispered, confused.
A low, soft voice popped up behind him. "It's a code word."
The brunet cocked his head, turning to face this voice. It was Ginny. She smiled as she replied, "My brothers are holding a party in a part of the school, they were planning to invite you, but they couldn't find the time." to brothers, she was obviously referring to Fred and George, Harry thought, Percy never straying from his prefect status.
She continued, "They have yet to say where, but that's all for security." The boy hummed, continuing to look at the note in contemplation.
"Oh, are you looking at that?" Ginny stepped so that she was by his side, looking at where his eyes were directed to.
"Yes, I was simply curious." he replied, throat dry. He was never a good liar.
"Ah, I wrote that," he exhaled slightly as she bought it, "they were so cute in their banter."
Ginny looked at him, and then looked away. "Well, I have to get going, see you Harry."
Harry waved her off. "Yeah, I'll be seeing you around."
He paused at the board once more. Corridors, huh. Might be worth a try. He then left, leaving a note in his wake after making sure nobody saw him.
A day has passed, and Harry passes by the bulletin board once more; he seems to be passing by it more often now.
'I barely know you.'
Well, yes, Harry thought. It was unfair how he knew it was Draco he was talking to, yet the other was oblivious to this.
'yet here you are, talking to me'
He sighed and put down the pen, heading to his dormroom, just as he hears a very familiar voice. "Speak of the devil," he whispers, hiding behind the wall like a very cliche movie character, waiting for him to go away. But to Potter's unfortunate luck, they were rooted to their place.
"I swear, he keeps annoying me to my hairs' end!" he hears him say, and can only imagine his face, the disgusted expression he so commonly sees plastered on it. He seemed really mad, and if Harry had to put a name to this tone, it'd be his prissy mode.
A voice speaks up, anxious tone prominent in his voice, like they were afraid to even question him. "Uhh, why do you keep replying, then?"
Draco snorts like it's obvious. "I have my pride to keep, shouldn't you know that by now?"
God, he's such a pain.
"It wouldn't hurt your pride to ignore some small sticky notes though?" the other says.
He huffed in reply. "I have to put them in their place, of course. Even the littlest things can affect your image, remember that."
A pompous pain.
Another voice spoke up, "Nobody looks at that board, though?" a collective stream of yeses went through the area. Harry notes it to be about the bulletin board, and now he's pressing his ear as near as he can, suddenly interested in the conversation.
The voice continued, "And you ignored it before, when it showed your loss in Quidditch against Potter so blatantly."
"Well, you're right...." Malfoy admits, and the brunet behind the wall could just see the embarrassed look on him as he hears a cough from Draco to hide it. He's been backed up, and he knew it.
Silence remained, an uncomfortable one. There was the noise of nervous tapping shoes and a still atmosphere. A brave young one broke it, coughing, "Why do you still reply then?"
Harry hears nothing, and he turns to peek at Draco, whose answer hasn't been heard yet. And as he sees his expression, he realizes that's all the answer he needs. Harry stays still at his spot for a moment, simply spellbound.
Draco's face was flushed, his arm raised in a futile attempt to hide his embarrassment. His eyes were wide, like they have just made a discovery they did not want to make. The redness of his face reached his ears, wonderfully contrasting with his skin colour and hair, lips twitching like they ached to smile. His green eyes were sparkling, breath hitching visibly, and Harry had to hold his hand back from reaching out. The widened eyes started blinking rapidly, looking around in disbelief.
"Draco?" his crony asked after studying his expression. "Do you perhaps li-"
Draco squeaks, and Harry almost laughs at it, with its similarity to a ferret, but brings a hand to his mouth. The silver haired boy quickly pressed his hand against the other's mouth. "Stop right there! We don't go there!" his eyes were still wide, blush creeping to his neck, his voice lowering to an almost whisper. "That's impossible."
Harry pulled back, heaving at his chest. What was that, he thought, shaking his head incredulously. That couldn't be. And as he fast walked away, as quietly as he could, he ignored the pain in his chest, resorting to clutching at his uniform. He made sure to stare at him long enough to burn the image in his mind, as much as he hated to admit it.
'That's to put you in your place, filth.'
Harry almost chuckles. A voice then appears, "So this was what you were looking at?" The boy turns to see Ron, in all his ginger glory.
"Ah, they've been at it for quite a while, these messages. It's like a romance scene of some sort," he tries to play it off, hoping Ron doesn't see the redness of his cheeks or the slight shake of his hand as he crumples the piece of sticky paper he had the intention of writing on. "Quite amusing, actually."
Ron snickers. "Well, if you say so. But if you keep standing around, we'll be late."
Harry smiles, raising his hand to show the quill in it. "You can go ahead, we have a few minutes anyway. I'll write something to try and shut them up."
"Alright then, don't go overboard after your Cho Chang heartbreak." he says, already off and running.
Harry heaves out a breath of relief and writes.
'not something you have to do, though. like going to corridor with me.'
He leaves in high hopes for that note. Not a good thing to ever have high hopes for The Draco 'My Father Will Hear About This' Malfoy, but Harry knew he has gone too far deep at this point. He then sits down next to Ron, who like the good buddy he is, saved a seat for him. The class hasn't started yet, so he was okay.
"What'd you write?" he asks, eyes not leaving his paper, doodles keeping him busy.
Harry shrugged. "Decided not to. Too tiring to get into a conversation like that."
Ron huffed a laugh, hands tracing out a badly drawn dragon breathing flames. The chosen one joined him in his land of horribly drawn wizards and something that looked very much like a frog (Ron says it was a horse, to which Harry replied with a very doubtful nod. It looked more similar to Umbridge than a horse). He tried to ignore the silver glinting in front of him, obviously trying to hold back laughs at his group's lame jokes. He unfortunately remembers the reaction he was a witness of, and winces at the clench of his chest. Indeed, he has fallen too deeply.
Before he knew it, Professor McGonagall was giving assignments, neither of the two seated at the back actually absorbing any of what she said, no matter how many times their names were called. As the class filters out, Malfoy races to the door, and Ron elbows Harry to attention, gaze following the hated Slytherin. "He hasn't bothered you for a while now, hasn't he?"
Harry nods, suddenly more absorbed in his cloak, rubbing the cloth between his fingers single mindedly. He hummed to further his neutral reply.
Silence occurs between them; the uncomfortable kind. Harry hated when this happened, because that always means Ron was onto something. And that was a bad thing, because Ron may be an idiot sometimes, but at times he had an unnatural way of seeing through him (he argues that the brunet was just as dense as a brick, and his feelings would surface his face quite clearly sometimes, and Harry couldn't respond as well as he usually does).
The boy beside him raised a brow. "Something's on about you nowadays. Thought is was just you being weird at first, but now I want to know. What's up?"
Harry sighs. He can't keep this up for longer, hide it more and he'll explode. He has to tell someone, and who better than Hermione and Ron?
"Let's talk in the library later. I'll tell Hermione too." he says, hurrying his steps. The library would be a good place. Not many of the students hang out there like the lobby, and it also prevents them from shouting their opinions across the table. Either of those reasons were good enough.
Ron looks over curiously and sees his serious expression. "Alright." he nods.
Harry feels blessed he's this understanding right now. Who knows what he'd be like after knowing what the young wizard has been up to with his 'archenemy'. He braces himself.
As he passes by the bulletin board, he reaches out for the note, folds it carefully and places it in his cloak pocket, tucking it into its depths.
'Maybe I will.'
God, how he wishes he stared at his flustered face longer
The brown haired wizard laid back in his seat, preparing himself for the outburst after his explanation. The two sat surprised and silent, gawking at him as he sat across them.
"You what?!" Ron whisper shouted, for he had the decency to remember that they were in the library. "He's your enemy!"
Harry's hands spring out, slowly cautioning him back to his seat. "I know, I know, it's just,"
"What?" the other girl interrupted, voice mad but very clear she was trying to be patient. "Just what, could explain why you would lead The Draco Malfoy, your bully and nemesis, to ask him out to the corridors."
The wizard across them nervously rubs at his nape. "Well, I've kinda," he paused for a gulp, "liked him for a while."
They collectively gasped. There. He admitted it. Not that he wanted to, but his months of pining surely wasn't just because he thought Draco was attractive. Sure, he had the most wonderful jade greens and silky silver hair, and his laugh (when he wasn't making fun of Harry) was like a melody Harry didn't want stopping any time sooner, but there's no need to pay that any mind. He said it now, there's no going back.
Hermione slumps back into her seat, rubbing her temples. "So? What do you want me to say now? How ridiculous you are to fall for somebody who so utterly hates you? Or how idiotic it was to make him have a reaction like that, when he could be heartbroken after knowing it was you all along?"
Hermione's words were harsh, so much so that Harry winces at their cold tone. Ron stepped in. "Hey, hey, I know you're mad Harry likes that guy," he says, tone going dark when referring to Draco, "but we're his friends, and him telling it to us means that he trusts us."
The ginger haired girl pouts slightly in response, straightening her back from her slump. "I guess, so." she says, hesitantly.
The relieved boy looked at Harry, eyes serious. "Look, I'm surprised too, but I'd like you to know that I'll support you, no matter how much I hate the guy." he pauses in thought. "As long as you know what you're doing. Do you?"
Harry smiles a soft smile. "Yeah. I do."
How lucky he is.
It was the night of the corridors, and Harry was still anxious.
His pacing was restless in the Gryffindor common room, and his the two others in his group were staring at him worriedly. Weasley then talks, snapping the boy who was so anxiously playing with his glasses, from his thoughts. "Hey, don't go chickening out now."
"I'm not!" he bursts, to which Hermione and Ron raises eyebrows at, showing their point. He continues exasperatedly, taking a seat with the two. "I'm just worried about what you said, Hermione. What if he doesn't want it to be me?"
She grabs his face by the cheeks, forcing him to look at her. "Listen. We're in these outfits," she points at her very flattering casual dress, "even though I would rather be in my pajamas right now, to support you and your crush."
Crush, huh. Feels weird when she says it.
She holds his shoulders this time, grasping them firmly (he was thinking about how manly that was, but held back his tongue). "So man up."
He peeks at Ron, who was behind her, smiling gently. He looked as if he was supporting Harry, but the brunet knew his silence was only because of his fear to say what exactly was going through their minds about her actions. The wizard holds back a laugh, and Hermione's grip loosens. "I will, I will."
She huffs. "Good, let's get going." she stands up, grabbing her purse.
Ron speaks up this time, "Don't want to make him wait, his father may hear about this." they all chuckle, Harry elbowing him lightly, knowing it was a good-humoured joke.
They made their way with the directions on the invitation Fred and George sent specially for them, with some sparkles and confetti in Ron's. They had also given Malfoy, as per their request, much to the twins' confusion. However they shrugged it off as a chance to see the the glasses wearing boy bring him down, as he quickly denied their suspicions.
As he follows Ron, who was obviously getting lost even with the invitation (he claims it was because he couldn't read anything with the sticking sparkles), he looks down at his clothes. He hopes he doesn't look too shabby in his jeans, shirt and worn-out varsity jacket. Ruffling his hands through his hair, he feels anxiety kick in breathes in. Looking back at the two in front of him ("How are you so lost with directions?!" "It's the sparkles, woman!"), he smiles and hums happily. He's not alone on this one, as cliche as that sounds.
The trio arrives, a bit late, but the twins didn't mind. The party was in full swing, the music especially loud since this place was a bit far and hard to get to, even with directions. They were welcomed, and Fred immediately led Ron and Hermione to the dance floor, George trailing behind with some drinks probably mixed with something for the two. It was no secret they knew the duo's chemistry at this point, and Harry trusted whatever was there probably wasn't so bad.
He sat in the corner after accepting George's offer at some punch (the twin whispered something about it being mixed with some muggle alcohol, to which Harry replied with a comment on his strong alcohol tolerance), observing the room. It was semi-crowded, with just enough people to have fun, but also enough to still have some space left when a romantic song comes on and couples start grouping up. The lights were pink and blue, music ringing in your ears, and the muggle-raised boy knew the twins should've referred to a muggle movie for this atmosphere, this scenery.
His eyes were panning the crowd, getting bored already. He was slightly let down as he hasn't seen a single swish of the silky silver that he has been searching the sea of people for. Then the door creaks open, and there he is, in all his glory, sauntering the room shyly with a plastic cup of punch his hand.
He was wearing dark skinny jeans, and an inserted peach turtleneck, bringing the cloth around his neck to hide his face, ears red as he navigates his way to the sides. Harry admired his figure silently, eyes tracing the legs leaning onto the wall and the arms crossed over his chest as he waits for his secret penpal. His face was flushed red, eyes focused on finding whoever's been talking to him through those little notes on the board. He looked as if he was bouncing off his seat, and no matter how much he tried to hide it, Harry saw the excitement in his eyes.
He watched as Malfoy brought a drink up to his lips and stared. The mind of the chosen one suddenly fogged up. He hated seeing Draco like this, especially when he knew the moment he cones up to talk to him, the green eyed boy would scrunch his face up in disgust. Harry knew how much the Malfoy heir hated his guts, but he couldn't stop this feeling, when he had fallen so deeply already. He simply accepted the fact he could never get him to feel the same, his hatred for the brunet being a big obstacle Harry would not dare underestimate.
He didn't want to admit it, but he wanted to see more of that excited face of his, and it felt good knowing he was the cause. Penpal him, of course, but him nevertheless. The young wizard slides further into his seat, clenching the thoughtfully folded post-it in his hand, its sticky side dirty and messed up. He takes a deep breath in and stands, hoping his bad idea's luck will prove to be a longstanding type of luck.
The brunet walked over to the other, bracing himself and his fragile feelings. He tries clearing his mind to avoid any negative thoughts. If he was going to get nervous and regretful, he knew it had to be after. In Hermione's words, he can't chicken out now.
"D-draco! Didn't expect you to be here." Harry pinched himself at the crack of his voice and the stutter of his words; the anxiety was starting to get to him.
As expected, the boy's face scrunched, a sneer growing unconsciously on it. The other despised how naturally it came to him now. "Well, well, well, Potter. Coming to talk to me because your little friends had a date and now you have nobody else to talk to?" Harry responded with a scoff to the side. "Not so famous now, are we."
"I simply choose not to talk to anybody right now." he said, fiddling with the paper in his hand.
Malfoy snorted, facing the crowd. "And you decide you wanted to talk to me, of all people?"
"Yeah, you're not that aggressive nowadays anyway."
The silver haired boy paused, eyes widening as he realized how caught up he was with his notes that he didn't even find the time to bother the other. Harry continued when he didn't say anything. "Heard you've been talking to this guy on the bulletin board."
He said this just as Draco took a sip of his punch, which the boy spit out after his statement. He wiped off the liquid with a woolly sleeve. He tried playing it cool, leaning back and flexing his shoulders a bit. "Where'd you hear that?"
"A little birdie told me." the young wizard looks at the other fiddle with his cup in contemplation. A bout of silence passes, not an uncomfortable one, it was simply there, interrupted by small sips and several glances at each other.
"So, what do you think about him?" he asked, taking a sip of his own drink.
Draco paused in thought. "He's bothersome," he says, and he laughs immediately after that. "But he's okay."
Harry smiles. "Why are you laughing?"
"Well," he replies between laughs, "I remember that one time he tried telling me a common wizard joke, to which I responded with the right answer, and he didn't reply for days at a time."
The brunet thought back to that. He really thought the joke was funny, and to have Draco of all people not fall for it was disappointing. But he didn't reply because he was busy, too busy to even check the board, not because he was let down. However, he got to see Draco laughing in front of him, and he decided the green-eyed boy could think it was like that for as long as he wanted.
"That sounds immature." he says, amused at the other's laugh, the alcohol in the punch starting to get to Malfoy.
"Yes," he laughs, tickled pink just remembering it. "It was quite cute, actually."
Harry's neck started to burn, and he could feel a blush creeping onto his face. "Do you like him?" he asks, voice hesitant.
"He's good company."
The other misunderstood his question, so he rephrased it, "No, I meant, do you like this person, as more than just a friend?"
The other's silver hair, once bobbing with the music, stilled to a halt. "I-" Draco looked down to his drink, playing with the rim of the plastic cup. "I don't know."
Potter's breath came to a stop. He observed Malfoy's face, the slight blush spreading across his features, the twitching of his mouth to a smile, the way his eyes looked at his cup as he seemed to remember something fondly. He wished he didn't have to tell him.
"Are you," he decides to say, forcing himself to utter words when his own throat felt restricted. He didn't want to ruin this. "Are you waiting for him?"
Draco said, voice a mere whisper now, "Yeah."
Taking a deep breath, Harry took the paper out of his pocket. He hesitated though, as he stared at Malfoy, admiring him closely whilst the other seemed interested in his cup. He could see the little things about him, being this close. He could see his chest heaving as he took short breaths, could see the shuffling of his feet with energy, could see the bubbling excitement in him as he awaits his penpal. Harry returned the note.
"Let's dance, shall we?" He held out his hand to the silver-haired boy, which he considered for a moment, and took.
The chosen one knew he was cowardly, that his usual bravery was nowhere to be seen. But he hadn't time to think about that, as the moment the two stepped onto the dance floor, the music was romantic, a slow song, and couples were appearing once again in the crowd.
The two awkwardly leaned toward each other, and Draco, being a centimeter or two shorter (as much as he didn't want to admit it), rested his chin on Harry's shoulder for support. The heir was quite tipsy at this point, just enough for his usual reactions to be a bit slower, but it didn't hinder his mind. He knew he was there, with his enemy on the dance floor, dancing slowly and resting on each other's bodies. But when he was there, with Harry's breathing calming him and the sound of old muggle jazz in the background, he didn't bother moving away.
"Draco?" Potter breathed, hips swaying. "I have something to say."
Malfoy scoffed. "Of course you would have, Potter."
Harry laughed, squeezing tighter as he moved his hands on the other's waist, feeling as Malfoy's hands moved to hook around his neck. "I'm serious."
Draco paused this time, sensing the weight of his words. "....Okay."
The brunet shifted a hand up to the other's ear, brushing hair away and touching it slightly, loving the visible shiver he sent down Draco's spine. He breathed slowly, as if he was afraid he'd break the smaller boy if he even exhaled wrongly. His lips neared the boy's ear.
"I'm your man."
He watched as Malfoy stilled. "What?" he asked.
"I'm who you're waiting for." Potter observed his back pause, felt breath hitch on his chest. Harry didn't want to pull back right now, he didn't want to see his face, how disappointment might've spread across it by now; dread, even. After all, Draco has fallen for him, the penpal.
Instead, he sees a slight pink on the tips of his ear. "Draco?" he dared to say. He pulled back now, not disappointed with what he saw.
He saw a flustered Malfoy heir, his normally disgusted face flushed, similar to his reaction that day, only, there wasn't an arm in Harry's way. Draco tried opening his mouth, only to close it, as he seemed to be mimicking a fish. He wanted form words, but his throat wouldn't permit it.
"I–" he finally said. "I have to go."
And Harry was left on the dance floor, staring as the peach-coloured sweater rushed out of the door, still in his face, his feet rooted on the floor.
After a moment, he speaks, to nobody in particular. "Was that...a good sign?"
The next day, Harry passed by the bulletin board once more, slightly nervous from the night before. He smiles at what he sees; a neon pink, with words written in the same Malfoy-esque penmanship:
'I'll see you in the library.'