Title: Games People Play or The Things Your Friends Will Do When You’re Just Too Stupid To See What’s Best For Yourself
Pairing/Characters: Harry/Draco, Hermione, Pansy
Summary: Harry and Draco are no longer together. And they are both fine with that. Really. No, really, they are. Enter the women.
Rating: Adult (to be safe)
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning: It may not be as "crack-ish" as you wanted, but I tried!
Word Count: ~4500
Author's Notes: The request was for angsty crack with a happy ending. Full request can be found here. I have never written this genre before (hey - what's life without a challenge, right?) I hope I pulled it off, and that it's to your liking.
“What the hell?” Harry grumbled, as no less than a dozen owls fluttered outside his bedroom window, tapping on the glass at seven o‘clock in the f-ing morning on a Saturday, thank you very much.
After ten minutes of pulling the covers over his head, throwing pillows at the window, and making noise to drown out the tapping, he gave up and opened the window to let the owls in.
One by one, he removed the parchment from the legs of the winged messengers of Satan, and sent them on their way. That done, he cast a Silencing Charm on the window (apparently, he had been too groggy to think of that before) and went back to bed.
He woke up two hours later, sat down to breakfast, and opened the letters.
“What the --?” Each letter was from a friend or co-worker, inquiring as to why they had not been informed of his upcoming participation in the Daily Prophet‘s “Win a Date With a Hero” Contest.
After reading all the letters, and determining that they couldn’t all be in on some big ruse, he tried to figure out how something like this could have happened. He had been asked to participate in the event, but had pointedly turned them down -- five times. Surely they hadn’t thought that announcing his involvement would make him feel obliged to participate?
He remembered back a couple weeks to a conversation he had had with a certain friend of his. A conversation that he suspected might be the key to this. A conversation that had ended in what he thought was an empty threat. He marched into his living room, threw some Floo Powder into his fireplace, put his head inside, mumbled a location and screamed, "Hermione!"
Two weeks ago ...
“Enough is enough, Harry. Enough with the sulking. You need to get out of here. Come out with us tonight,” Hermione had said without taking a breath.
“I am not sulking,” Harry huffed.
“Pining, brooding, pouting, whatever you want to call it. We‘ve had enough of it. And so have you. It‘s time to get out and about again.”
“Hermione, I’m perfectly fine. And besides, I don’t want to go out.”
“No, you’re not perfectly fine. Ever since you and Draco split up, you have been anything BUT fine. And you can’t wait around for him forever --”
“I’m not waiting around for him! It’s over. Finished. Done. Never to go back.”
Hermione eyed him suspiciously. “And who are you trying to convince?”
“Well, it seems to me -- no, it seems to all of us -- that you are wasting away. You have had plenty of time to mourn the loss of your relationship with Draco. Now you need to dust yourself off and re-enter the world outside your home.”
“Hermione, I appreciate what you’re trying to do. Really I do. But I don’t want to go out tonight. Or any other night in the near future. I'm fine. I will be fine. Just let me be.”
“Fine,“ she grumbled. “For tonight, I’ll agree. But I’m warning you. Don’t make me do something drastic.” With that parting remark, she had left.
Meanwhile, in Wiltshire ...
Looking out over the gardens of the Manor, Draco took a sip of his tea, and opened his Daily Prophet, as was his custom to do every Saturday morning.
Nearly choking, he read the headline, “Malfoy Heir to Join in Bachelor Auction.”
He remembered back a couple weeks to a conversation he had had with his soon-to-be ex best friend. Walking over to the fire, he threw in a handful of Floo Powder, stuck his head inside, called out an address, and screamed, “Parkinson!”
Two weeks ago ...
“Draco, I’ve had enough. We all have. You are getting dressed and you’re coming out with us. Tonight. Now get ready!” Pansy had ordered.
“No, I’m not. Now if you would be so kind as to show yourself out, I shall go back to my important research.”
“And what might that be? ‘How to wallow in self-pity and wither away into nothing?’ I think you’re doing quite well enough with that already. You don’t need to conduct any more research on the subject.”
“Piss off. I am not wallowing. I am reflecting.”
“Reflecting? On what? How you managed to let Potter slip through your fingers? Here, allow me,” she said as she smacked him upside the head. “Reflect on that!”
“Wha -- what was that for?”
“That was to rattle your head around a bit. You are wallowing. Ever since you and Potter split up. He’s the best thing that ever happened to you, and you let him get away.”
“You did not just say that! How dare you! I will have you know that I was the best thing that ever happened to him, not the other way round.”
“Whatever. But the way you’re acting, how could I tell? You sure aren’t much of a catch these days. You need to smarten up and get your sexy arse back out there for the world to see.”
“But I don’t want to,” he whined.
“Do you hear yourself? You’re whining, for Merlin’s sake.”
“I am a Malfoy. Malfoy’s don’t whine.”
“Whoever you are, I’ve had enough of you. Tonight you’re coming out with us, and --”
“I’m not going out tonight. I'm busy." He waved his hand around. "Research. Now leave me be."
"For tonight I will. But don't say I didn't warn you. This is your last chance before I take matters into my own hands." Before he had a chance to process what she said, never mind ask what she meant, Pansy was gone.
Meanwhile, at an undisclosed location ...
"So, do you figure they've got the news by now?" Hermione asked, grinning mischievously.
"If not already, they will soon," replied Pansy. "Did you read this article? It's to die for! And Draco's name is even in the headline."
"I saw it. Did you read the one about the contest? Harry will have a conniption fit when he sees it!"
"I for one am not going to go home for at least a few days. Best to let Draco cool off."
"You're welcome to stay here. I have no intention of going home either."
"Thanks, partner. I think I'll do just that."
Two weeks ago ...
Hermione had left Harry's place fit to be tied. That man needed to get out. Better yet, he needed to get back together with Draco. He was positively miserable, and Hermione knew her friend was in love. Now if only he could see what an idiot he was being.
Pansy had left Draco's feeling much the same way. Her friend had turned into a walking zombie. He was going through the motions of life, and when he thought nobody was looking, he would sulk. She knew he was in love, but he was too stupid to do something about it. If he didn't get back together with Potter, it was her duty as his friend to at least ensure he did something besides wallow in self-pity.
As Hermione entered the coffee shop, she saw Pansy sitting alone at a table, and she decided to take some decisive action. She bought herself a cappuccino and made her way to the Slytherin's table. "Mind if I sit down?"
"Go right ahead." Pansy eyed her warily, knowing they weren't exactly friends.
"I have a proposition," Hermione said. Pansy's eyebrows lifted at the comment. Hermione blushed. "Not that kind of proposition!" she said.
"What is it, Granger?"
"Well, I have a problem. Actually, Harry has a problem, and if I'm not mistaken, Draco has the same problem."
Pansy rolled her eyes. "If he would only take a minute to see how miserable he is, I swear!" she responded.
"That's what I thought. I can't stand being around Harry the way he is anymore, and he refuses to come out with us to improve matters. He just sits at home."
"Draco too. It's pathetic really."
"So why don't we do something about it? Force their hands, so to speak?"
Pansy looked impressed as a smile crept onto her face. "What did you have in mind? A love potion?"
"No. Too unpredictable. Maybe get them together, so they fight until they realize their feelings go beyond that, and start snogging?"
"Nope. Been there. Done that. That's how they got together in the first place."
Hermione pondered for a minute. "How about locking them in a room together, with nothing to do but talk, or ..."
"No good. That's what Snape did, remember? That’s when they stopped denying the feelings that had surfaced during the fighting/snogging session, and they really got together. They'll see right through that."
"Right. How about Truth or Dare?"
"Or maybe a game of 'I Never'?"
"Or dragging them to a club, where they see each other dancing, and can't keep their hands to themselves?"
"Or get them drunk?"
"Or spike their drinks with an aphrodisiac?"
"I have a better idea ... "
Three weeks after the contest announcement ...
Harry found himself grudgingly attending the draw at The Three Broomsticks, with all the fanfare expected of such an event. When the name of a wizard that he didn't recognize was called, Harry smiled politely. The Prophet would be contacting the man to arrange for the date to take place that Friday night at an undisclosed restaurant. Harry was to be given the name of the restaurant later, but the gentleman would receive a portkey that would take him directly there. There was no such thing as too much security where Harry Potter was concerned. Harry rolled his eyes. They were to meet at seven o'clock.
Friday night arrived and Harry had been ‘made over’ by Hermione. She had insisted that he go out looking like he had at least made an effort. She had chosen a pair of black trousers and a deep green button-down shirt that brought out the colour of his eyes. Unfortunately, the outfit she had chosen was one that Draco had bought him.
“So what?” Hermione had scoffed. “They are clothes, and they are meant to be worn.”
“Yes, but --”
“But nothing, Harry. You need to make a good impression.”
“Why? What difference does it make when I’m going out with a perfect stranger?”
“People will see you, and they will know you are on the market.”
“The market? I’m not a piece of meat, Hermione!”
She chose that moment to ruffle his hair. “There!” she pronounced.
“What’d you go and do that for? You just spent forever on my hair, getting it to behave!” Harry was incredulous.
“You look sexy as all hell in that outfit, and that ruffled hair makes you look positively shaggable! In fact, if you were straight --”
“Argh! Hermione, stop that!” he said, covering his ears to block out her words.
“You know, you’re going to have to realize someday that you are truly an amazing catch. Draco’s a fool. How could he have ever let you go?”
“You don’t know him like I do, Hermione. I’m the fool for letting him go.” His face became sad, his eyes wistful. “Could we maybe not talk about Draco again tonight?”
“No problem,” she agreed. She hated to see Harry this despondent, but it would all be worth it. She was very pleased that she and Pansy were in on this together.
As she ushered Harry out the door to go on his date, Hermione giggled and ruffled his hair a bit more. “I could just eat you up!” she said. Harry turned a deep shade of Gryffindor crimson.
When Harry entered the restaurant, little did he know that he had been followed. By someone who was unimpressed with his choice of attire. Someone who was ready to blow (not THAT kind of blow) at any moment. Someone whom Harry would much rather be with.
All in all, the evening went fairly well. If you could get past the fact that Harry’s date, as nice a man as he was, kept spilling things on the table, on himself, on the wait staff, and on the floor. The only thing left unscathed was Harry. Bewildered by this, he tried to make light of it. The man (what was his name again?) kept insisting that he wasn’t normally a klutz, but Harry didn’t buy into that. By the end of the evening, Harry was convinced that more had spilled than had been consumed. It was like dating a very old toddler.
A certain unnamed but very blonde wizard was rather pleased with the way the evening had gone. Even if his ex looked like sex on legs. When said ex was with another man. Wearing the clothes he had bought him. Ungrateful prat. Ungrateful, gorgeous, delectable, sexy as all hell and shaggable prat. Merlin, he needed to get out more. Well, it was his turn next weekend.
Just as he was congratulating himself on a job well done, he saw Harry helping the stupid sod. He was ... what the hell? He was wiping him up! Oh, for the love of Merlin, he even saves people from their meals. That was just typical. Stupid Gryffindor. Draco sensed his anger getting the better of him. It wouldn't do to let Harry catch him here, and certainly not in this frame of mind. As gracefully as he could, he exited the restaurant, paying his bill as he left.
By the time Draco got home, all armour had been shed, and he was seething. Well, two can play at that game!
Meanwhile, Harry and what's-his-name shook hands and parted ways around ten o’clock.
One week later ...
The auction was attended by the who's who of the wizarding world. It was for Narcissa's favourite charity, which Pansy had obviously known. Therefore, she knew that Draco would not disappoint his mother by withdrawing his name once it was entered, even if he wasn’t the one to enter it. Surprisingly, his mother was pleased by this turn of events. Apparently Pansy had spoken to her too, and convinced her that Draco needed this. Women!
Thankfully, Draco was not the first man to get up on the catwalk. And even more thankfully, it was a tame, and even dignified event. Draco wore a pair of charcoal trousers and a steel grey cashmere jumper. He did, after all, know how to play to his assets. And those grey eyes of his were an asset, as was that “sexy arse” of his that Pansy mentioned.
When all was said and done, Draco had to admit that it hadn’t been that bad an experience. He had had nightmares about cat calls and jeers, and even worse -- crazed, middle-aged women pawing at him. *shudders* But as it happened, everyone was civilized and well-mannered (he should have known better, with Narcissa presiding), and a dashing, slightly older gentleman bid the highest for Draco. Which happened to be the second-highest bid of the evening. His ego intact, and a date in his immediate future, Draco left feeling vindicated.
The next night, Draco got ready, but the interest he had felt the evening before was gone. He kept seeing Harry in everything he did. Shaking away that thought, he got on with getting ready. Deciding on something casual that he most definitely had NOT worn to impress Harry, he took a last glance in the mirror, which winked and growled at him appreciatively.
The dinner went well, although Draco got the impression that the other man was a little more interested than he was. As the night wore on ... and on ... and on, it became clear that the other man was much more interested than Draco was. Always one to remain cool and calm in any situation, Draco resisted the urge to tell the man to piss off when he realized that his fingers had become entwined with the other man's. In his own defence, Draco was so caught up in his thoughts of another man, a man with black hair and green eyes, that he hadn't noticed what was happening until it was too late. Then he found himself desperately scrambling for an excuse to extricate himself.
Harry, having followed Draco to his destination and observed the events unfold, was livid. Draco was holding hands with this ... this ... argh! His blood was boiling, and he had a ringing in his ears that drowned out all other sounds. He could feel his magic starting to reverberate around him, and thought it best to leave before he made a scene. Until now, he hadn’t been noticed, and it wouldn’t do him any good for Draco to see him. Especially not like this.
Shortly after ten o'clock, Draco was able to end the date and head home. Alone.
One week later, after Hermione had been listening to Harry's rantings, and Pansy had been tuning out Draco's, the girls set out with another plan. Subtle manipulation clearly hadn't worked. These two were just too thick! Well, honestly, their plan actually did work. Both men had been jealous. The only thing the girls didn't count on was that each would follow the other, and completely misread what was going on.
Each had procured a portkey, and had handed it to their respective friend. At seven o'clock that evening, the portkeys activated, and Harry and Draco found themselves in an unfamiliar room. Alone. Together. Wandless. Well, no wands that they cast spells with anyway.
“WHAT DID YOU DO? THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!” Harry screamed, as he tried the door, only to discover it was locked.
“Did you just CAPSLOCK me? Tell me you did not CAPSLOCK me!”
“Eloquent as always, Potter. Listen, I don’t know how your mind worked out that this is somehow my fault, but I assure you it is not. I did not plan for this.”
“In what world do you imagine that I would choose to have my wand removed from my person, and have myself locked in a room with you?”
"Yes, Potter. While you were trying to bang the door down, I looked for my wand, and strangely enough, it seems to have vanished."
“Don’t whatever me, Potter!”
*poof* Two notes appeared, one before each of them, identical save for the handwriting.
"It's from Pansy. She says that we're to stay here and talk."
"Hermione's says the same thing."
"Granger, hmm? Well that explains the highly advanced confinement magic. Really, Potter, must you have such an accomplished witch for a friend? And a meddling one at that!"
“The name is Harry. You’d think after everything we’ve been through that you could at least call me Harry.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Why is that?”
Draco mumbled something unintelligible.
“I said it’s too personal.”
“I knew you wouldn’t understand. Just forget it, Potter.“
“No, Draco. What do you mean, ‘it’s too personal‘?”
“I mean that the only time I ever called you Harry was when we … well, when we were together. I suppose it’s just too difficult … oh, never mind.”
“Quite. May we perhaps not talk about it?”
“So how long do you figure they’re going to keep us in here?” Harry asked.
*poof* A note appeared before him, seemingly in response to his question.
Harry read the note aloud. “You will remain in here until you resolve your issues.” WTF?
“What the fuck!”
"My thoughts exactly."
"So what do you think they mean by 'resolve your issues'?" Draco asked.
*poof* Another note appeared, this time in front of Draco's face.
Draco read it aloud. "Resolve your issues means exactly that. Either you discuss what issues caused you to break up in the first place, and you both accept that things are over between the two of you and move on, OR you realize that you can't live without each other and get back together. Either way, you make your own lives -- and those of your friends -- much easier."
"Well fuck me," Harry grumbled.
*poof* The lights dimmed, and a bed appeared in the back of the room, complete with night stand, a jar of lube, handcuffs, blindfold, several dildos, and a box with who knew what inside.
"Very funny, Parkinson!" drawled Draco.
*poof* A disembodied hand appeared, smacked Draco upside the head and promptly disappeared. Harry laughed before he could stop himself. Draco glared. It was the patented Malfoy glare -- the one that struck fear into the hearts of all who were at the receiving end -- but under the circumstances, Harry wasn't inclined to cower beneath it. Instead, he snorted rather childishly.
"Funny is it, Potter?"
Two disembodied hands appeared, smacked them both upside the head, and once more for good measure before disappearing again. WTF?
"Not so funny when it's you getting smacked, hmm Potter?"
"Ha--" He stopped abruptly, not wanting another smack. "Whatever. How are we supposed to 'resolve our issues' if we know that people are listening? I'm not about to --"
*poof* Another note appeared in front of Harry.
"Nobody is listening to your conversation. The room has been charmed to respond to key questions or suggestions with prepared notes and other things. You will have complete privacy. The room will unlock when one of you gives the command, provided you have resolved your issues. If that doesn't happen, it will open automatically when one or both of you are dead."
"Right then. Shall we talk?"
"And what shall we talk about, Potter? The weather? The Chudley Cannons? Or hey, what's say we talk about that ridiculous contest you entered."
"I did not enter any contest."
"Oh, right. Sorry about that. You were the prize, weren't you?"
"At least I didn't sell myself to the highest bidder!"
"No, you gave it away for free, didn't you?"
"What did you say?" Harry's eyes narrowed menacingly, and Draco knew he had gone too far. So, naturally, he kept going.
"I said that you gave. It. Away. For. Free. Was it good, Potter? Did you have fun? Was it worth it, having someone grovelling at your feet, for the hero? Or was he grovelling a bit higher than that?"
"What?!" Where was that hand to smack him upside the head? That deserved a smack, dammit! "How dare you? After you strutted your stuff in front of hundreds of people -- on the catwalk no less -- and got sold to the highest bidder! Tell me, Malfoy, just what does three thousand galleons buy?"
He didn't even see it coming. Draco's fist connected with his face so quickly, it caught Harry completely off guard. "Why you --" Harry tackled Draco to the ground, causing the Slytherin's head to bang on the hard floor beneath him. Harry pinned Draco's hands above his head and glared at the blonde. "What did you go and hit me for?"
Draco squirmed beneath him, but Harry didn't loosen his grip. He merely glared, although with much less intensity than Draco -- sadly, he had never mastered the Malfoy glare. "You insulted me," Draco managed to spit out, now bucking his hips in a fruitless attempt at throwing Harry off him.
"Oh, and you weren't insulting me?" Harry asked incredulously.
"That was different!"
"What? How do you figure that?"
"I saw how that guy was fawning all over you. Then you were cleaning him up, saving him from his bloody food! He practically drooled when he looked at you. He would have done anything you wanted, and for all I know he did."
"You are joking, right? That other guy paid three thousand galleons for one night with you! The way he was holding your hand, looking into your eyes, removing your clothes with his gaze across the dinner table ... you can't tell me he wasn't planning on more than dinner. And probably got it too."
They both suddenly realized what the other had said. "You were there?" they both asked at once.
"Of course I was there," Draco said. "You didn't seriously think I would let you go off with that ... that ... whoever he was, wanting to paw you, did you?" Harry raised an eyebrow. "It was for your own protection," Draco insisted, but Harry wasn't buying it.
"You were jealous!" he said triumphantly.
Draco squirmed some more, as Harry still hadn't released his hold on him. Suddenly something clicked. "You didn't happen to have anything to do with the 'accidents' that kept happening to my date, did you?" Harry asked. "The soup in his lap, the glass of wine spilling down the front of his shirt?"
"Well, what about you? You followed me too," he pointed out, avoiding Harry's question. Harry had the good grace to blush at this remark.
"Yes, I did."
"You were jealous." Draco had the audacity to smile.
"No, I wasn't. I was ... well ... okay, I was jealous. I'll admit it. I thought about what he probably expected after paying three thousand galleons. Then I saw you holding hands, and I pictured the two of you together, and I just saw red. I imagined his hands touching you, his lips kissing you, his tongue tasting you, and --"
"And nothing happened."
"Nothing happened." Draco looked up at Harry, looking serious. "Unless you count a good-night handshake."
"Really?" Harry looked relieved, a hint of a smile warming his face. "But you were holding hands at the table."
"Yes, well, that sort of snuck up on me while I was otherwise distracted." At Harry's look of confusion, he continued. "I was thinking about you."
Harry's face broke into a smile.
"And you?" Draco asked, looking concerned. "How did your night end?"
"The same." Harry could feel as well as see Draco visibly relax. "Along with some parting words."
"Yeah. He said, 'that Draco Malfoy is one lucky guy'." Draco looked at him quizzically. Harry shrugged. "I might have mentioned you once or twice."
"Missed you so much."
"Missed you too."
*snogging continued; groping ensued*
"Why did we break up again?"
"Hell if I can remember."
*snogging and groping continued; relocation to bed took place*
"Want you inside me. Now."
*hot boy sex ensued*
Meanwhile, in an undisclosed location ...
"Oh, God, that's hot!" breathed Pansy.
*melts into puddle of goo* ... *fans self*
"You're telling me!" agreed Hermione.
*panties melted* ... *fans self*
"You're not going to go all noble on me, and tell them we really were listening, are you?"
"Hell, no! In fact, I wouldn't mind making use of this again some other time." She waggled her eyebrows to emphasize her point.
Pansy smiled wickedly. "You know, you would have made a great Slytherin."
Hermione's smile was equally wicked. "Who knew it would be this much fun?"