Title: When the war is over, you can read the paper, 2/2
During midmorning break that Friday, Harry decided to talk to Snape. He had wanted to earlier in the week, but he’d had to oversee detentions, grade a pile of essays set aside for too long, and see to the boggart he’d kept in an old cabinet for the third years’ test. The bugger was not shy at all, jumping out and scaring the children during class.
Harry knocked on Snape’s office door with apprehension, but he was relieved to see only Snape writing on his desk.
“I don’t mix work and pleasure, Potter.” Snape set his quill down. “Why are you here?”
Snape stood and looked up at Dumbledore’s portrait, who shrugged and resumed its midmorning nap. “I was wondering when you would bring that up.”
“This school needs Quidditch.”
“It has done well enough without it since the school’s re-opening.”
“For seven years?”
“The board believes it promotes violence and discord among the students.”
“Malfoy said something about that before–”
“You’re talking to him now?”
“Defending your virtue like a Victorian maiden, I see.”
“Who said I still have it?”
“Touché, but don’t hint at that again.”
“And the Quidditch?”
“Bring it up at the staff meeting this month.”
Harry made his way to the door. “Thanks.”
“I can’t guarantee anything. And Potter?”
Harry turned back to the Headmaster, who was seated once more.
“Try to keep your eyes open for something other than the Snitch.”
That night, Harry put on his heaviest cloak and flew to the pitch. He swooped over the overgrown grass, circled the hoops that needed to be polished to their former shine. Harry flew next to the stands, unable to count all the spider webs that congregated on the unused structures.
How could I have missed it before?
Heading back to the Northern hoops, Harry searched the pitch for Draco, seeing nothing but the moonless sky and the ghostly puffs of air he released after every exhaled breath.
Draco wasn’t there.
It doesn’t matter, Harry reasoned, sitting on the front stoop of Hagrid’s hut on Saturday afternoon. Snape had informed him that the Ministry paid for the Maintenance Magi to attend to the school during the summer months, making the hut another relic on Hogwarts grounds.
It doesn’t matter that he didn’t play Quidditch with another person last night. That said person was Draco Malfoy. That he’d had another inappropriate dream featuring Draco the night before.
“I could have sworn someone was over here.”
Harry looked up. Craig was standing in front of him, arms crossed and smiling.
“Hello,” Harry said.
“Hello to you, too. Haven’t seen you for awhile. Well, there are meals…”
“Yeah.” After a moment, Harry added, “Let’s get out of the cold. We could have tea in my office.”
“Only if you admit the Falcons don’t have a chance this year.”
If Craig was really out to get Snape, Harry thought, then he has the chance to do it right here. He could harm me somehow and a few conjures later, Snape could be incriminated for attempted murder within a snap of a house-elf’s fingers.
“Sorry for the mess,” Harry said as he Banished the papers on the chair Craig was to sit in. “I’ve been grading–”
“It’s fine,” Craig said, sitting down. “I decided this year that the O.W.L. students and up should learn how to write their assignments with a ballpoint pen – they’ve gotten used to it now, but the essays I had to read in September…”
Harry laughed and made an attempt to organize the surface of his desk. He found several back issues of the Quibbler he had already read and handed them to Craig.
“You read this?”
Harry shuffled some more parchments to a corner of his desk. “Yeah… the editor and owner sends me them.”
“But this rag is–”
“They always publish the latest Quidditch stats and latest goings on at the Ministry, and they report with honesty and integrity.”
“Honesty, Harry? They write about… dragon and Crup crossbreeds and other nonsense. Why not read the Prophet?”
Harry deposited some scraps of paper and other rubbish into the bin under his desk. “It’s not a reputable news source.”
And it never will be until this war ends.
They had talked for awhile after that, and their continual debate over the success or failure of the Falmouth Falcons reminded Harry to write a letter to Ron after Craig left.
Once the letter was folded and sealed, Harry extinguished the candles in the office. He also spelled the boggart’s cabinet shut in case it decided to wreck havoc upon Hogwarts at night.
Arriving at the Owlery, Harry chose a brown owl to send his letter. After fastening the parchment to the owl’s leg, he watched the owl fly off into the darkening sunset.
“Didn’t you have an owl before?”
Harry turned away from the window, even though it was Draco who spoke.
“She died during the war.” Bringing him a Horcrux from Snape, Hedwig was spotted and fatally wounded by Death Eaters on her way to number twelve, Grimmauld Place.
“I’ve always assumed you had one yourself,” Harry added.
“I used to.” Draco removed an envelope from his robes and selected an owl from the other side of the room, murmuring something into its feathers as he tied on the envelope and led the owl to the window near Harry on his arm.
“I didn’t know you were so good with animals.”
“As long as said animal cannot tear me into shreds…”
“Why didn’t you come last night?”
“I was working.”
“The holidays are coming up. Working through them would defeat their purpose.”
“So you won’t be here for Christmas?”
“I didn’t say that.”
We already mailed our letters. We should be leaving.
“I’m going to speak at the next staff meeting.”
“About the Quidditch games?”
“I’ll be sure to attend.”
“I never thought you were one for following rules.”
There wasn’t much space between them before, but now there was only Draco, his robes radiating warmth to Harry’s chest. He faced him, blond hair so close Harry could touch it.
“There are rules about this sort of thing, too,” Draco whispered, causing Harry’s breath to quicken.
“What exactly do you mean?” Was this what Snape was talking about before? Was Draco affirming it?
Why couldn’t Slytherins just say things clearly?
The sound of laughing children interrupted Draco’s words, and suddenly, he was on the other side of the Owlery, striding toward the exit.
Harry breathed deeply and left behind him.
“Any new business?” Snape gave Harry a look.
“Yes.” Harry unfurled the notes he had put together while his second years took a written exam and glanced at the professors around the table, all paying rapt attention to him.
“I’m putting up a proposal to reinstate Quidditch at Hogwarts.”
“That’s an excellent idea,” Professor Sprout said. “My Hufflepuffs have been clamoring for it all year.”
“And my Ravenclaws as well,” the Arithmancy professor said.
Draco also spoke. “The Slytherins, too, wish to play.”
“And I’m sure Remus would agree that the Gryffindors feel the same,” Sprout added.
Professor Bryar coughed, and the room fell silent. Harry steeled himself for her upcoming words.
“I’ve never heard my Charms students say anything.”
“That’s not a reason to keep Quidditch from Hogwarts,” Sprout said.
Bryar lowered her glasses. “Then I should make my point clearer. What would Hogwarts gain from the sport?”
Harry looked at his notes. “The players would gain a sense of unity from a playing on a team.”
“That’s what the Houses are for.”
“In addition,” Harry went on, “they will increase school spirit, which is lacking.”
“How can you say–”
“What does Hogwarts have to be proud of, besides education? For Merlin’s sake, even that’s compromised, with the smaller curriculum we offer. Besides that, our grounds aren’t well kept. There are weeds growing all over, and the school itself is falling apart because we have no caretaker–”
“The school is taken care of in the summer.”
“Yeah,” Harry spat, standing, “so I’ve heard.
“And what about the students?” Harry went on, his face heating. “All they have to look forward to now is holidays, when they don’t have to be here, where there are no Hogsmeade visits, no Quidditch games… and when you enter the school, the wards are so heavy that you stagger in!”
“There are many indoor activities the students can engage in – the Gobstones Club–”
“Do you honestly think that can accommodate the entire student body?”
“Do you think, Mr. Potter, that the board will agree to this? My husband–”
“We are all aware who your husband is, Professor.” Snape looked at Harry, prompting him to sit. “Let us not forget that a reluctance to face certain truths helped cause the Second War.
“I will send Potter’s proposal to the board tonight with a majority of the staff’s vote. Whoever approves of the game, please raise your hand.”
As Harry raised his hand, he saw that most had done the same, with the exception of Bryar and the Ancient Runes professor.
“So off it goes.”
“No one else is against this… perversion of school policy? Do you have the werewolf’s vote as well?”
“Professor Lupin was informed of the proposal before the moonrise and gave his full support to it.” Snape took out his wand and tapped the table, his hand shaking. He wasted no time in leaving, almost at the door before Harry could speak.
“Snape,” Harry called out.
Harry reached him. “Thanks.”
“Save it for when the board makes their decision. Goodnight.”
Harry looked for Craig, spotting him talking with Bryar in a corner of the room.
Shaking his head, Harry stepped back from the door, bumping into someone.
“Oh,” Harry began to say. “Sorry–”
Draco turned Harry to face him. “Not bad, Potter.”
Harry pushed up his glasses. “Thanks.”
“The moon is full tonight.”
“You’d be up for playing?”
Draco chuckled. “Yes, that too.”
And in true Slytherin fashion, Draco left the staff room before he could get an exact answer.
The winter holidays came, and Hogwarts did its best to celebrate. The Great Hall looked as festive as it had in years past, though Harry noticed the fairy-lighted trees were much smaller, and there was less holly and mistletoe throughout the castle than before.
Perhaps, Harry reflected as he passed the suits of armor decorated with garland, that was a good thing.
Harry entered the Great Hall for the Christmas feast, well aware he could have spent the hols with Mrs. Weasley’s substantially smaller family that would always include Hermione and himself.
But Snape wanted Harry to watch, and watch he did, settling in between Remus and a Slytherin sixth year at the table and tucking into his meal.
“Happy Christmas, Harry, and thank you for the old Rolling Stones forty-fives. How did you know I liked them?”
“I was looking through the picture album you had given me for my seventeenth birthday – there was one of you and my dad, and you were wearing a t-shirt with them on it.”
Snape snorted from his place on the other side of Remus, and Harry thought he was threatening Lupin not to turn the record player on that night.
“Well, thank you all the same,” Remus said.
Harry smiled in return and piled more food on his plate. He was refilling his goblet when the quiet chatter of those around the table silenced.
“Please move over, Miss Flint.”
And then Draco was sitting next to him, putting a roll on a fresh plate as though it wasn’t the first time Draco was eating in the Great Hall since September.
Harry grinned. “Happy Christmas.”
“Happy Christmas.” In a lower voice, he added, “When you’re finished eating, come to my office to receive your present.”
Harry swallowed his food, took a swig from his goblet and wiped his lips clean, soon making a quick exit and waiting outside for Draco.
“You could have stayed,” Draco said from the Great Hall’s entrance.
Harry shook his head. “Needed to get some air.” He would have had an embarrassing reaction to be so close to Draco’s warmth, to having their thighs touch under the table.
They began taking the stairs to the dungeons, silent until Draco spoke again.
“The magazine – where did you get it?”
“It’s just that I’ve been looking for the first issue of Quidditch Quarterly for ages. When I was in Hogwarts, even my dad couldn’t–”
Draco breathed through his nose sharply. “Thank you,” he said once they had rounded a highly decorated part of the dungeon by the Slytherin common room.
“You’re welcome – oh!” Harry stopped and looked up at the archway above him.
“What is it, Potter? I haven’t got all day.”
Harry said nothing and waited for Draco to look up at the mistletoe hanging there.
He then lowered his gaze, his eyes locking with Draco’s. Time slowed while his heart raced and his breathing quickened. Draco was so close to him now, not even air between the press of their chests, Harry’s chin almost fitting into the hollow of Draco’s neck and his fists at his sides, itching to finally touch that blond hair.
“Oh, so you want to follow the spirit of the holiday?”
Harry nodded once and closed his eyes with a tilt of his head.
A swish of fabric later and Harry was aching and cold.
He opened his eyes.
Draco was walking away, headed for his office once more. Looking over his shoulder, he smirked and said,
“Come and get your present. And for Merlin’s sake, Vanish that mistletoe.”
Harry wanted to tear into the gold wrapping paper as soon as Draco handed him the small gold box, but Draco shook his head.
“Open it when you’re alone.”
“What’s in it?” Harry held the box to his ear and shook it. He heard no sound.
“I’m not telling you.”
“A hex in waiting?”
Draco looked at him sharply.
“So if I have to open it alone… something exciting for Christmas?” Harry asked with a suggestive lilt to his voice.
Draco straightened in his chair. “Don’t be absurd.”
“Do you fancy me or not?”
Draco stood up so fast his chair fell to the floor. “Get out of my office.”
He was sick of Slytherins and their untruths. “Fine!” he gritted out, exiting Draco’s office and taking the stairs two at a time to reach his rooms.
It was only when he was seated on the edge of his bed, his head still spinning, that Harry realized that box was still clutched in his fist.
He raised his hand to throw it, but he caught himself and decided to open it instead.
Within the box and wrapping paper lay a silver case, and within that, a golden ball, its wings retracted.
Harry removed the Snitch with his thumb and forefinger and saw that the bottom was engraved with his initials.
His smile came involuntarily as he put both Snitch and case on his dresser and picked up the box and wrapping paper to throw away. The paper fluttered in his fingers, revealing a small white card. Harry took it, and read the single word written on it.
“The last time I saw you, new leaves were growing from the trees.” Ron brushed the snow out of his hair with the sleeve of his jumper and sat across Harry at the table.
Harry winced, remembering. “Wasn’t my fault your team actually started doing well last season,” he said, mustering a smile.
Ron grinned and set his cloak on the back of his chair. “So, Harry, how’s the teaching going?”
Harry shrugged. “Everything’s good. You’ve read my letters.”
“Yeah, but–” Madam Rosmerta appeared at their table and took their orders.
“But,” Ron continued, “you’ve been leaving things out.”
“I have not.”
“You write about classes and Quidditch and that Craig bloke, but what about the other teachers?”
“Nothing to say,” Harry said, drumming his fingers against the tabletop. They made no rhythm, not like Draco’s steady beat.
Harry ducked his head.
“Come on, there has to be something about Snape, at least. Is he still a great murderous git?”
“Not so sure on the murderous part…”
Ron shrugged. “As long as you believe it. Bastard still probably hasn’t showered in years, no wonder he’s never gotten any…”
“I’m not so sure about that.”
“Ugh! Not that I want to hear about Snape, exactly, but you never write about anything interesting. I mean, I tell you–”
“Now, there’s ugh. Your letters read like a Broomshed magazine. Have you caught anything from these girls you…” Harry made a rude hand gesture.
“No,” Ron said in an affronted tone. “But you’re changing subject again!”
Ron clasped his hands and leaned across the table. “Tell me about Draco Malfoy.”
Harry sipped the beer that had arrived. “What do you want to know?”
“There’s nothing really to–”
“Bollocks. Hermione has been writing to me–”
“And she told me you were playing Quidditch with him at night–”
“Why did she tell you?”
“You didn’t even want to play with me professionally–”
“I don’t tell her about your sex life–”
“And she reckons you fancy him–”
Ron practically leered at him, and Harry knew he had lost.
“You know what.”
Harry sighed, wrapping his fingers around the pint’s handle, and began his tale.
Harry staggered into the castle, thankful that he didn’t pass out from the castle’s wards. Ron’s encouraging words and the beer he had consumed brought back some of his Christmas spirit, and he made his way to the dungeons carefully with jumbled apologies forming in his mind.
Only when he knocked on the door of Draco’s office, no one answered.
Harry was sure Ron was partying somewhere on the continent, Hermione was spending New Year’s Eve at a fundraiser party for her cause du jour, and that Snape and Lupin were…
Best not to think of any of them right now.
Not with his bed sheets tangled around his feet, his hair sticking to his sweaty forehead and neck, and his cock hard and heavy in his hand as he stroked it.
It was best to think of nothing but the sweaty sounds of sex as he wanked, to another body fitting against his, matching him in thrusts and moans and kisses, another cock rubbing his own on the bed, another face pressing on his, lips grazing his jaw, foreheads touching, blond hair meeting black–
Harry came with a long groan, let his breathing even out and surveyed the mess around him, caused by a man who wasn’t even there.
“Happy New Year,” Harry muttered to himself, cleaning up and falling asleep.
He woke to a scratching sound at the window.
Harry left the bed to let in the owl and remove the envelope in its beak. Rubbing his eyes, Harry opened the letter, holding it close to his face so he could read it.
As a late Christmas present of sorts, the board has allowed us one game.
Fuck this up and I’ll have you regret every time “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” has been playing in my chambers.
The letter was unsigned, but Harry knew which surly Headmaster to thank as he found a quill and scratched out a “Thank you” as a reply.
Snape decided the particulars of the game and explained them at the impromptu staff meeting held after the holidays.
The match would be played by combined House teams – Hufflepuff with Ravenclaw and Glyffindor with Slytherin. When asked by an amused Remus about the hateful Houses joining forces, Snape replied, “I might just have a little Dumbledore in me.”
The Heads of House were responsible for the try-outs and practices of their teams, Remus asking Harry to take over his duties.
Harry ignored Bryar’s complaints about the game at this staff meeting and also paid no attention to Craig’s concerned glances.
When Snape called it to an end, Harry caught Draco by the door.
“Why didn’t you stay at the castle this Christmas?”
Draco started at the corridor. “Working.”
Harry’s mind scrambled to find something else to say, but Draco left the staffroom in a sweep of charcoal robes.
Harry was about to follow him, but a hand fell upon his shoulder.
“Anything wrong?” Craig asked with a frown.
Harry shook his head, staring at the doorway. “No. Everything is fine.”
He taught as he had before he hols, assigning essays and perfecting his students' defense spells. At meals, he would converse with Craig or Remus, refusing to look at that empty seat in the Great Hall.
When Harry chose and coached their combined Quidditch team, Harry and Draco did so from other sides of the pitch, avoiding conversation unless it was about the team.
And when Harry woke at night, restless form a fitful sleep, he looked at his broomstick, closed his eyes, and tried not to dream of flying.
"They’re coming on the twenty sixth and want to see the match during their visit.”
“But that’s two weeks away. Our normal teams would have almost three months of training before–”
“You forget, Potter, that this isn’t a normal Quidditch game and that the teams aren’t normal to begin with.” Snape looked at the other coaches in his office. “Be ready by the twenty sixth.”
“Severus?” Pomona stood. “What should be done with the uniforms?”
“It’s already been handled,” Snape replied with a scary looking smile.
“Merlin,” Harry said as he saw the red and green robed team fly above him, “They look like oversized Christmas decorations.”
“Snape must have been laughing his arse off when he ordered them.”
Harry kept a steady grip on his broomstick as he faced Draco. “After a month, he declares it ready to speak to another human being.”
“Just because I wasn’t speaking to you doesn’t mean–”
“Professor Potter!” shouted Ryan McCormack, a Gryffindor fourth year, from the posts. “We’ve been flying for almost four hours!”
“Fine. Practice is over, but you’ll be making up for it tomorrow.”
The Slytherin players turned to Draco for confirmation and cheered with their Gryffindor teammates when their Head of House nodded.
“Good,” Harry said as he backed into the stands, hidden. “Now we can finish this.”
“Finish what?” Draco said, remaining where he stood.
“This.” Harry grabbed Draco’s arm, pulling him up against one of the wooden pillars holding up the stands.
“Answer my questions and I’ll answer yours – without a Quaffle.”
“Let go of me and I might.”
“Will,” Harry said, his fingers still wrapped around Draco’s arm.
“Fine, Potter, I will. Now let go of me!”
Harry let his hand fall. “Where were you during holidays?”
“I was working. On gaining my inheritance.”
Harry stepped back. “That’s it?”
“Did you think that I was finding a way to destroy Hogwarts? Bring all former and suspected Death Eaters together for a third war?”
“No – I–”
“You think my spying was a sham? My Order of Merlin undeserved? Because I did my part just as you–”
“Shut up, Draco! I believe you, okay?”
Draco narrowed his eyebrows. “You do?”
“Yeah.” Harry took in a breath. “Snape’s been telling me about the threats at the school. Out of all the people here that would do it, you’re not even on my list.”
“Then why do you bother?”
“Trying to talk to me. Playing Quidditch with me. Taking liberties with my first name.”
Harry’s face heated. “You’re not a suspect to investigate, if that’s what you mean.” He leaned on his broomstick. “I was going to apologize while you were away.”
“On the twenty-eighth. Of December. I knocked on your office door, but you didn’t answer.”
“I had left after Christmas.” Draco’s eyes flickered for a moment.
“Why did you try to kiss me?” he asked.
“The mistletoe – and you were there–”
“Do you even know my sexual orientation?”
“Snape – he said something–”
“And then you just ask me if I fancy you–”
“I’m sorry I assumed–”
Harry stopped. “You do?”
“Yeah,” Draco breathed. “I mean, yes.”
“Always have to speak proper.”
“Especially since you don’t.” Draco smiled, tilting his head low, blond hair falling into his eyes.
“Dammit. I haven’t gotten it cut in ages–”
“Don’t,” Harry said, letting his broom clatter to the floor as he reached up to touch it.
Harry felt the mood change again, from anger to understanding to uncertainty. As his fingers brushed Draco’s fringe behind his ear, he didn’t know how to proceed. Not when Draco was with him, speaking, breathing, puffs of air mingling between them and fogging Harry’s glasses.
Draco ended the pause by lifting Harry’s chin with glove-covered fingers, smooth leather gripping his jaw as their lips touched.
It started slow and soft, Draco’s fingers still holding Harry in place, Harry rising on his toes so that the other man didn’t have to hunch as much. Harry’s tongue pushed past his lips and into Draco’s, gaining entrance, and Harry closed his eyes, fisting his right hand into Draco’s hair, the other finding purchase on his waist.
And then it became hot and fast and loud, Harry pulling away for air, harsh gasps echoing in the stands and a moan escaping Draco’s lips when Harry slid his thigh in between Draco’s legs.
“We…can’t. Not here.”
“It’s too bloody cold,” Draco answered, a real wide smile forming on his lips. Harry could see that his bottom front teeth were crooked, and he wanted to run his tongue over them.
“My rooms then. The dungeons don’t get much heat either.”
“That’s what Warming Charms are for.”
Harry kissed Draco. “We’ll be too busy for that.”
Harry would never have guessed that post coital chat with Draco Malfoy would include Quidditch. Then again, he would have never guessed he’d be having coital anything with the blond, who was discussing the faults of Puddlemere’s latest captain.
“Well,” Harry said, “maybe they’ll come to their senses and choose Leafley next season.”
“But she’s Muggle-born.”
“They won’t pick her. Inferiority and all that.”
“I’m a half blood.”
“Sounds like you’re making an excuse not to feel bad after fucking me.”
“It’s not like that.” Draco rubbed his forehead. “I grew up with my beliefs. You grew up with yours. And no matter what, they are going to stay with me for the rest of my life.”
“And the war?”
Draco cringed. “My reasons for leaving him had nothing to do with blood politics.”
Harry didn’t know if he was referring to his father or Voldemort.
“I won’t curse your Granger or kill Muggle-borns in their beds. But I also won’t open my arms and declare equality for all, because there isn’t, and it’s not all by my hand.”
“Seems fair enough,” he said, pushing Draco into the bed and huddling with him under the blankets.
“Good to know I have your approval,” Draco muttered as they fell asleep.
Harry, wishing the team a final good luck, sent them out of the changing rooms. He waited until they had reached their flying positions until he left himself, finding Draco conversing with Professor Sprout at the sidelines.
Draco excused himself from the Hufflepuff coach. “The teams are out here, and so are Snape and the board members young enough to climb the stands.” He jerked his chin over to Bryar, who was sitting stiffly at the end of the Headmaster’s box.
Draco raised his eyebrows. “Someone is excited.”
Harry leaned in and whispered, “In more ways than one.”
A blush suffused Draco’s cheeks when he pulled away. Looking up, he frowned.
“He wants to speak to you.”
Harry looked up with Draco and saw Craig flying towards them.
“We’re almost ready to go,” he said once he landed. Turning to Harry, he added, “You’ll need to be careful.”
Harry gave him a questioning look. “Of course I will.”
With a nervous glance around him, Craig kicked off into the air.
The game began.
The Hufflepuff-Ravenclaw team was ahead by thirty points when a Slytherin Chaser was slumped on her broomstick.
Within seconds, Harry was in the air, almost perpendicular to the ground as he shot up to catch her in case she fell. He heard the announcer call a pause to the game as he reached the girl and made sure the she was secure for him to bring her down. But as he pushed her hair aside to check for Bludger marks, he saw unbruised skin.
A flash of red light and a sharp pain erupted in his gut, and Harry saw no more.
There were glimmers of light in the darkness. Harry looked for each one, disappointed by what he found, hopeless images flashing before him and fading to the dark void once more. The Order of Merlin ceremony, his medal cold on his palm, the only remembered warmth being Voldemort’s blood. Ginny storming out the door, tears spilling from red-rimmed eyes. Snape scowling at him with no emotion in his face, calmly handing him a dirt encrusted cup. Auror training. Headaches at night. Letters replacing hugs and conversation. Betrayal from a man with false dimples and long auburn hair. An empty Hogwarts. His students laughing, Remus and Snape communicating in their silent language. Quidditch talk and playing and flying and God Draco I’m coming, I’m with you, I’m with –
Harry opened his eyes.
“I was hoping the year wouldn’t include a hospital stay starring you.” Snape stood over Harry’s bed in the infirmary, his arms crossed.
Harry found his voice after several attempts. “You were praying for the day I would get injured.”
“You’ll never know for sure.”
Harry looked around, seeing no one else. “Where’s Draco?”
“In the bed next to yours – the curtains are drawn.”
Harry tried to sit up, but a pain in his stomach kept him lying down. “Is he–”
“Just sleeping. You’ve been out for over two days, and I couldn’t have him trying to rest in that chair.”
“Miss Johnson, the Gryffindor who you so heroically tried to save, was hit by a modified Stunner, most likely to get you up in the air for an open attack.”
“What did they use on me?” Merlin, even breathing agitated the pain.
“A nasty cutting hex. The nurse spent most of the night healing you, as you had several organs damaged.”
“Good… ah… to know.”
“You’re not the least bit interested in who your attacker was?”
“Whoever it is should be caught by now.”
“Indeed she has.”
“She? Please don’t tell me–”
“Ms. Bryar was reckless for someone so invested in the Ministry. She could have had someone else cast the spells at least–”
“I think she tried.”
“So the Boy Wonder managed to notice something this year.”
“But I suppose you were useful for other things.” Snape glanced at Draco’s bed and left the infirmary.
The curtains beside him rattled. “Harry?”
“Yeah. I’m here.”
Draco came to his bedside, his robes wrinkled and his hair flattened from sleep. “He’s finally gone.”
“How long were you awake?”
“Since he came in.” Draco, raised his hands, fingers outstretched. Harry arched into the possible touch, but Draco’s hand lay on his pillow instead. “How’s the pain?”
“It could be worse.” Harry closed his eyes and sighed.
“It could.” A sudden warmth enveloped him, and Harry realized that Draco was embracing him, fingers cradling his shoulders.
His chest hovered above Harry’s now, the warm weight gone. “Yes?”
“Our Seeker caught the Snitch while you started flying. She didn’t hear the time-out.”
Harry frowned. “But since she didn’t get it during actual game play…”
“And the match was canceled after the attack.”
“Then there’s no clear answer.”
Draco’s lips found Harry’s forehead. “Then we’ll have a rematch.”
Harry insisted on getting back to work that Thursday, sick of being the infirmary oddity, though he had smiled when his Quidditch team visited with assurances that they would kick the other team’s arses next time – sorry for the language, Professor – and that Charms was a horrible class with her anyway.
But enough was enough when Hermione had returned to check up on him and patted his head and smirked whenever Draco entered the hospital wing to “bring salves to Madam Fucent.”
Harry finished teaching his last class of the day and was approaching his office when he saw Craig waiting outside the door.
“I should have warned you better.”
Harry went still, his hand inching toward his wand.
Craig’s eyes widened. “No! I didn’t know anything about what she was up to – it’s what I told the Aurors, I swear!”
“Then what happened?”
“Bryar kept cornering me, ranting about Hogwarts changing back for the worst and how people like you and Snape shouldn’t be allowed here. Then she’d go on about keeping the new order… I guess she thought I’d help her because of my dad, but I declined I just never thought–”
Harry observed his gesturing hands, the earnest focus of his eyes. “Will you be willing to say this under Veritaserum?” he joked.
Craig shuddered. “I already have.”
“Oh.” Harry reached for the doorknob. “Would you like to come in?”
“No, I still have exams to grade from earlier in the week. Maybe another time?”
Harry pushed open the door. “Yeah.”
“Okay. See you then.”
Harry was about to sigh and set his parchments down when a shadow fell across the doorway.”
“Hello,” Harry said to Draco. “What brings you here?”
“Snape allowed for us to have practice today.”
“But – we–”
“Can shag later.”
Harry blushed. “That’s not what I meant. Do we have approval for the next game?”
“It’s yet to be seen. And one more thing.”
“Keep a seat empty next to you for supper.” Draco moved to exit the office, but Craig stuck his head in the doorway.
“Oh, Harry, I forgot to ask you. Do you have anymore issues of the Quibbler on you?”
“Sure. I can pile them up and have them sent to your office.”
“Thanks. They are a highly reputable news source.” And with that, Craig smiled and left.
“What was that about?” Draco asked.
“When you show at supper, I’ll tell you.”