He was sweat-gilded in the aftermath of battle. From the pale ridge of his collar bone to the narrow hoist of his hips, Draco glistened with the patina of exhaustion and triumph. In victory the silver haze which had always crested the slick dishevelment of his blonde hair now converged into a single band.
Harry coughed, from the doorway of the changeroom showers, and Draco looked up expectantly. When he recognised Harry, however, a blankness swept the self-congratulatory twist from his countenance.
"Oh. It's you." Shaking his head, as if affronted by the mere presence of the boy, Draco set aside his watch and closed the locker door.
"Yes. Who did you think it was?"
"Certainly not the Easter bunny."
"My father, actually," Draco relented, clicking the lock into place. "Not that it's any of your business."
Turning back, Draco saw that Harry was advancing down the aisle, on the other side of the central strip of benches. Realising that their paths must intersect at some median point, and to allow Harry the luxury of avoidance, Draco remained where he was.
The pale boy wrinkled his nose. "Come to congratulate me, Potter? Yes I suppose that would be something you'd do." He sighed. "Good losers take all the fun out of winning."
"To congratulate you?" The pitch of Harry's voice was high, a flush spotting his cheeks. "What for?"
"Gee, Sherlock. I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count."
He laughed, or chuckled, at least, but the sound was hollow. This persona Draco had so many had been surfacing far too often for Harry's already weakened sensibilities: this fragile Draco, a Draco whose taunts, while malicious, carried only the bite of indifference, rather than true cruelty.
Harry gritted his teeth, forcing himself to keep his gaze leveled to his rival's face because any lower, and his mind would slip off on a thousand terrible tangents, and all of them unhelpful to the current situation. He concentrated on formulating an appropriately scathing retort, but his mind drew a blank.
There was a feeling Harry got about Draco that he couldn't shake, the way you couldn't shake off a cold once it got to the chest. It wasn't an uneasyness, not exactly, but it manifested in the sudden clumsiness of his speech. Quiet by nature, Harry found his words now spooled to a standstill in the Slytherin's presence. He'd felt this way before, in the days preceeding the Quidditch final an amalgam of frustration, anticipation and discomfort.
It was a curious sensation, lust, not completely dissimilar to the nerves before a game a belly pang, something deep rooted and unspeakable. A quiet sin, something you kept secreted away in your bed, a wicked treasure you could only indulge when the lights were out, and you green-eyed insomniac could breathe easy without fear of discovery.
Draco had turned away again, under the pretence of removing something else from his locker, and Harry found his breath was bated, held close in the capture of his chest. The upraised bones of Draco's shoulderblades ached against the pallid sheath of skin, their shallow curve molded breifly into the likeness a primitive snare.
Adolescence played strange tricks on a boy, caused him to see things he'd always thought ridiculous and obscene in a new light. Harry found it better not to question why, because the why of it always encouraged him to contemplate the when, and all those dizzying fantasies which stemmed from this point, tempting and unreachable as the moon.
He spoke now he forced the words from him, ineloquent in his disquiet.
"You cheated. There were two snitches I know there were. I spent the entire game chasing an illusion, while you looked for the real thing. How many balls were there on that field, Malfoy?"
A quiver of movement curled the left side of Draco's mouth, but never matured to a smirk. He pivoted on a heel to regard his bespectacled accuser, chin elevated and there it was, that gritty arrogance, as alluring when it surfaced as an aphrodesiac's unguent.
"Three, Potter. A gold one in my hand and the remaining two in my pants." A pause he adjusted his towel. "Your first taste of failure, Potter. It's a life lesson, this. You should thank me for it."
"If you really believed that, you'd be gloating," Harry challenged. "You'd have found me, not the other way around you'd have taken great pleasure in rubbing it in my face."
Draco sighed again, and ran a hand through his silver hair. He appeared bored with the issue now, and bored with Harry, too. "My god, Potter," he avered. "It's only a game."
"It's not a game!"
Inchoate in longing and anger, Harry trembled: this misguided squeak had burst from him unexpectedly, and his lips reeled with the force of its ejaculation. Draco was staring at him strangely now, a solitary brow raising in startled inquiry.
Harry's fingers bunched into a fist, white-knuckled incensed, he raised his hand, intending to smash that look from Draco's face, to remove forever that peerless beauty, that misconstrued concern or was it pity? Fickle, bitter pity, a greater blow to his ego than the smart of any bruise could ever be, and Harry lunged foward wildly, his balance offset by the vertigo of self-loathing.
But somehow the punch never landed, and instead his fingers unfurled from the capture of his palm and stole into the depths of the pale boy's moist hair, pulling Draco closer and for a second's span they were held there, frozen, the aquiline profile parallel to the snub, silver eyes reflecting mercurial green across the closing void, with only the stubborn solidity of the benches between them. Harry stared, myopicly, at the blur of white, and lost himself somewhere in the achromatic swirl caution, control, thrown blindly aside in this tempest of desire.
He touched Draco's lips with his own, a tentative epanchement then again, savagely, with every nerve, every tendon, and even the rhumba of his heart beat straining toward release. Draco gasped or moaned, perhaps, in the fervour of the moment and Harry bit flesh and tasted a liquid ambrosia, oily, noxious, and tantalisingly real.
They parted a strand of saliva glittering between them, a single thread of bondage, flimsy as a spider's thread.
"Let me go, Potter."
Draco's voice bore no anger, no emotion to speak of. Harry floundered; his fingers recoiled from the silken weft of Draco's hair.
Draco straightened. His lower lip was bleeding he wiped the budding droplets away with his forearm, disaffected. A spreading numbness began to overtake Harry's body, a radiating fear.
"If you touch me again," said Draco, quietly, "If you even think- about touching me again, I will kill you, Potter. I will slit your throat as you sleep. I will poison your food. I will destroy you, and everything that belongs to you. Do you understand me, Potter."
He did not pose a question. Harry nodded dumbly, anyway.
"I'm going to have a shower, now. And if I come back, and you are still here, I can only promise you that you will be very sorry indeed. I hope I've been clear to you."
Draco turned, hitching his towel about his waist. He did so in the manner of a boy alone, ignoring Harry's presence as if the memory of their encounter had been completely forgotten. His lack of further acknowledgement resigned Harry to the familiar position of a voyeur always on the outside, looking in.
Harry felt feverish, too close to tears. Draco was half naked and haloed by the flourescent lights of the changing room, and the sight of him illuminated in such a manner, a sight which Harry had found so arousing only minutes before, now caused him a sickness in the depths of his stomach.
"You won't tell anyone, will you?" he ventured, softly.
Draco spun within the frame of the shower doorway, and stared.
"What sort of fool do you think I am, Potter."
Another question which begged no answer. Draco closed the door.
Harry closed his eyes. He felt a searing pain in some ephermal, parting place a dislocated body which remained his own. It was the sting of a horrible transgression, a hideous rejection, and its repercussions would bleed him in his disease of insomnia, that darkness which painted his green eyes wide and pupil-small upon the onset of dusk.
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