Author's Note: Sequel to "Certain". Thank you to everyone who gave me feedback -- without your encouragement, I might not have felt so inspired to continue the story. Special thanks to my HP Slash Queen - Rhysenn - and to Bennie and hah for their beta-reading talents. Credit goes to Rave and Cassie for the song title. ("I May Be A Tiny Chimney Sweep....")
DISCLAIMER: JK Rowling owns all things Potter.
Feedback: Oh, yes, definitely! Both positive and constructive remarks are fine.
The Longest Day
Harry waited nervously for the morning's mail to be delivered, unable to swallow more than a few bites of his own cereal. He'd been up before dawn, slipping off to the owlry to tie his note to the leg of Malfoy's eagle-owl. And now that he'd done so, all Harry could think about was that he must have been crazy to let Ron talk him into it. Was there any way he could possibly intercept the owl before Malfoy received the letter?
Apparently not. The morning mail arrived, thoughtlessly on schedule, and Harry watched with a sinking heart as Malfoy's bird flew straight to the Slytherin table, the familiar envelope attached to his leg.
Ron chose that moment to lean in and make exaggerated kissing noises in Harry's ear. Harry silenced him with a sharp elbow in the ribs as Hermione simultaneously smacked Ron lovingly upside the head on his other side.
"Ow!" Ron muttered, rubbing his sore spots. "Well excuse me for stating the obvious. That is what you want, isn't it? Snogs with--" Ron wrinkled his nose briefly, but smoothed his expression hurriedly as Hermione glared at him. "--snogs with Malfoy?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "I'll thank you for not broadcasting that to the entire school." Then he sighed. "And I don't know *what* I want, really. To say nothing of what *he* wants. What if you're wrong?"
"I'm not," Ron retorted.
Harry knew Ron meant well, but he still couldn't get rid of the nagging doubt. Abandoning all pretense of eating, Harry watched in suspended terror as Draco read the letter. Then the other boy raised his head and stared at Harry across the crowded, bustling room. Gray eyes gazed into green, and held for one long moment. Then Draco nodded, a very small, single up-down motion, but enough for Harry to notice before they both looked away. He was too uncertain to even try interpreting Draco's intent behind those eyes. Instead, he forced himself to take a few bites of toast, and then he gathered his books and fled the Great Hall before he could do something really stupid -- like run over and grab the note out of Malfoy's hand, or throw up, or break into a chorus of "I May Be A Tiny Chimney Sweep But I've Got An Enormous Broom," which had inexplicably gotten suddenly stuck in his head.
Herbology was normally a quiet, soothing class; nonetheless it failed to calm Harry's nerves. They were repotting the latest batch of Mandrakes, and somehow Harry managed to knock one of the pots over on his way out of the greenhouse. For the first time he was grateful that Professor Sprout had recently insisted they keep their uncomfortable earmuffs on until they left the enclosure, as the plant immediately began wailing in distress. With a sigh, Harry put his bookbag back down, and stayed behind to help Professor Sprout clean up the mess and soothe the young Mandrake's hysterical crying. Only after Sprout had checked the plant for concussion and proclaimed it healthy was Harry able to make a mad dash for his next class -- Potions.
Panting and sweaty, Harry just barely managed to slide into a seat in the back of the classroom before Snape strode in. He saw Malfoy turn and give him an uncharacteristically curious gaze, eyebrow raised, and Harry was suddenly glad he'd been delayed at Herbology. There was no chance for Malfoy to question him about the note.
As they began the day's lesson, however, Harry discovered that Ron had been right. He really *did* follow Malfoy around with his eyes. How had he failed to realize this before? Even as he measured out turnip paste and dried iguana tongue for his All-Purpose Repellant potion, Harry found himself glancing up constantly to search out Malfoy's silver-blond hair, to watch as Malfoy's long, thin fingers deftly handled the ingredients. He tried not to think about where he'd rather have Malfoy put his hands, and twice he barely managed to pull his eyes away before the other boy could look up and catch him staring.
His reprieve from questioning, however, was short-lived. After the potions had turned an acceptable shade of bilious green, and Snape had worked in his daily dose of criticizing Neville, class was dismissed and everyone filed out, eager for lunch. Since he'd been sitting at the back of the room today, Harry was one of the last ones to leave. As soon as he entered the corridor, Malfoy stepped in front of him and cut off his escape route.
"Go on ahead," the blond boy commanded his ever-present sidekicks, Crabbe and Goyle. "I'll be there in a minute."
"You sure you don't need us to hold him down for you, so you can get a good punch?" Goyle sniggered.
Malfoy's gray eyes narrowed. "Do I look like I need help? Just go." Shrugging, the other two boys lumbered away. Harry could see that, beyond Malfoy, Ron and Hermione were also lingering. One face held worry, the other a suggestive smirk. Harry nodded his head slightly in their direction. Go on, I'll be fine. He hoped it was true. God only knew what Malfoy had in mind. Harry couldn't decide if he should be afraid, annoyed, or thrilled to be alone with the blond boy.
"So " the Slytherin drawled, "what's this about, Potter?" He pulled the scrap of parchment out of his pocket and waved it in Harry's direction.
"You--You'll see," Harry stammered. Oh, real smooth.
Malfoy quirked an eyebrow. "A mystery? Well, well well. Not enough adventure for the Gryffindors lately, so you're having to create your own, hmmm? But why drag me into your little game? Trying trick me into a wizard's duel, perhaps?"
Harry sighed. Annoyance was quickly winning over the other emotions. "Look, Malfoy, I just wanted to talk to you. That's why I sent the note."
"We're talking now. Or has the term 'talk' been redefined and somehow I missed it?"
"Just show up by the bloody statue at eight, all right? I have my reasons." Harry pushed past the other boy and started to climb the dungeon stairs on his way to the Great Hall. He felt rather than saw Malfoy shrug behind him. "Fine. Whatever floats your boat, Potter."
It didn't take long for Harry's annoyance to fade back into nerves. How he got through the rest of the afternoon and evening, he had no idea. His afternoon classes passed in a blur, as did both lunch and dinner. The only thing he remembered was Neville excusing himself rather abruptly at lunch, after some of the Repellant potion on his hands accidentally came off on his food. Otherwise, Harry's entire mind was focused on seeing Malfoy again. At night. Alone.
At a quarter to eight, Harry closed his books and rolled up his untouched Charms homework. "Well," he said nervously to Ron and Hermione, "I guess I should go."
They both gave him what were presumably encouraging smiles, although Harry could see they still thought he was nuts for pursuing Malfoy. "Have you worked out what you're going to say?" Hermione asked.
"Er no." He tried not to dwell too much on this fact.
"He won't need words, Herm," Ron interjected brightly. "You know " He gave Harry a winsome smile and then puckered up.
"It's a tempting offer, Ron, but no thanks," Harry snapped.
"Oh, Ron," Hermione sighed, "can't you forget about kissing for one minute? I'm sure that somewhere deep down -- deep, deep, deep, down -- Malfoy has the ability to carry on an intelligent conversation, right Harry?" She looked up at him and sighed again. "You know, things would probably be easier if it weren't well, you know him. The only thing I could ever say to Malfoy would just get me into trouble. And it definitely wouldn't be conducive to any sort of romance." Then she shook herself. "Sorry Harry. I want you to be happy, really. But -- well, did you have to choose someone so difficult?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "I didn't really choose him. It just happened. Recall that until a few days ago, even I wasn't aware of it. And yes, I realize I'm probably crazy for being attracted to him. But, if I can quote Return of the Jedi for a minute, 'There is good in him.'" He bit his lip. "I hope."
Hermione nodded. "I hope so, too."
Ron furrowed his brow. "Return of the what?"
"Muggle movie," Harry explained shortly. The other boy shrugged.
"Well, anyway," Hermione cut in, pasting an encouraging smile back on her face, "I'm sure you'll be fine. Just relax."
"Thanks," he muttered. He headed for the dormitory stairs.
"Uh, Harry?" Ron called after him. "The statue is that way." He pointed out the portrait hole.
"I know. I just want to get something first." He didn't want to announce his plans to use the invisibility cloak to the entire common room. It wasn't that late, so he wouldn't *technically* be breaking any rules by wandering the halls, but you never knew. Harry didn't want to chance being seen by anyone. It was bad enough that Ron and Hermione knew what he was up to.
He quickly located his father's cloak at the bottom of his trunk, then draped it around his lean frame. The familiar liquid material soothed him, somehow, giving him a boost of much-needed courage as he returned to the common room. A whispered request to Hermione got him out through the portrait hole without a hitch. Then, with eight o'clock ticking nearer and nearer, he hurried off toward the fourth floor and his meeting with Draco Malfoy.
TBC <evil grin>
Return to Archive | sequel | prequel