Title: Rumour
Archiving: just ask.
Rating: PG
Date: August 2002.
Summary: When Draco takes a risk, Harry's reaction leads to a school full of gossip. Now Harry must convince Draco--and himself--of the truth. Dialogue only.
Notes: In this fic I am consciously imitating Shalott's style in "Weather of the Heart." This story should in NO way be compared to the Weather series; they are far far far apart and I am borrowing only Shalott's form, not her talent.

"What are you doing out here, Potter?"

"I'm just having a smoke." A glare. "What, now I can't bloody enjoy a fag without you trying to ruin that for me as well?"

"I've never ruined anything for you, Potter. In case you haven't noticed, it's my head that's always on the chopping block because you're running around breaking every sodding rule in this school and no one's man enough to stop you but me, but naturally nothing could ever happen to the great Harry Potter, so I get hell for it while you get to strut around like a sodding hero."


Crossly, "What?"

"...Um. Nothing."

"What, now you're going to act like you never knew any of this before? Like you didn't enjoy it?"

"So what if I did enjoy it, Malfoy? It's not like you didn't get off on making me miserable. And you know you did, don't play innocent!"

A smirk. "Me, innocent? That, Harry Potter, is one thing I never play."

Grumbling. "Fine. I don't know why I'm even out here talking to you."

A faint smile, averted eyes. "Thought you were just having a smoke."

"Yeah, well, looks like that's a bloody impossibility with you right beside me, isn't it?"

"We could do other things if you like."

A snort. "Right, Malfoy, let's play tiddlywinks. Ooh, I know, we could skip stones together. I've got a better idea, why don't I feed you to the giant squid?"

Sternly, "Why don't you just shut up for a minute?"

Startled silence, then gulping.

Smoothly, "That's better."

"Malfoy, what... what are you doing?"

"You've got something in your hair."


Silence. Quickening, unsteady breathing.

"This... this isn't... Malfoy, what--"

"You've got something in your eye too, I think."

"St-stop touching me."

"And on the corner of your mouth."

"I said stop touching me!"

Another silence, this one heavy and tense.

"... Fine, Potter."

"What was that?"

"It was nothing."

"It was not nothing."

"Yes it was, to you it bloody well was, just like everything I've ever been to you! Nothing, it's all nothing!"

Shocked, "Malfoy, I--"

With finality, "Just go to hell."

Stunned silence.

The crunch of shoes in the grass. Fading away.

More stunned silence. Faintly, "What... what just happened?"

Silence all around.


"God damn him, goddamn the stupid clueless prat to bloody fucking hell!"

"Woah, Malfoy, what's wrong with you?"

Seething, "Nothing."

"Been mooning, whoops!--I mean, "fighting," with Potter again, haven't you?"

"Sod off before I hex your brain into oatmeal."

"Ooh, so scary. Bet you wouldn't be so mean to your sweet ickle Harry--oof--OW!"

"Shut up, will you? Just shut up and leave me alone!"

Muffled sounds, struggling.

"Malfoy, there you are! Look, I--" Gaping. "...Malfoy? Uh, don't you think you should, uh--let go of Blaise?"

More muffled gasping.

Coldly, "We're fine, thanks."

"Um. Could you at least let him have some air?"

A snarl. Choking gasps, coughing.. "God! Thanks, Potter. Christ, Malfoy, you're a piece of work."

"Get the fuck out of here, Zabini."

Retreating footsteps.


"What do you want?"

"You. I mean!--to talk to you!"

"We are talking."

"Can we talk somewhere else?"

"Oh, like where? Ooh, Harry, let's go back to your room so we can be alone!"

"Fine, I get it. Nevermind. And don't call me Harry."

Smirking, "All right, Harry."

"Gah! Just--Just shut up and listen to me, okay?" Silence. "Good. Now--look. You and I are enemies, you can't just expect me to know how to react when you start changing things and... and doing stuff like--like what you were doing before."

"What was I doing before?"

"You were--what do you mean?" Staring. "You were running your fingers through my hair."

"Yes, I was, wasn't I."

Backing away.

"I thought you wanted to talk."

"I--" Breath catching. "I do, I think we need to talk, yes."

"So let's talk."

"Malfoy, what's--what's gotten in to you?"

"I thought you wanted to talk, I'm just talking."


"Come again?"

"You don't have to talk quite so close."

"The better to hear you with, my dear."

Horrified, "Stop that!"

Soft chuckling.




"Then why don't you do something about it?"

"Like--like what?"


"How am I supposed to do that with you standing two feet away from me looking at me like that?"

"Like what?"

"Like--" Shifting. "I don't know, like... like that!"

"Like I'm about to kiss you?"

Blinking. "What?"

Chuckling. "Not very observant, are you."

"Malfoy, I don't know what you... ..."

Soft kissing.

"Mmph! Mmmmph! ..."


Breaking away, spluttering. "What the hell was that, Malfoy, you sick bastard!"

"Just trying to help you relax."

"But you kissed me!"

A shrug.

Gaping, a long silence. "Stay away from me, Malfoy. Just stay away from me. Understood?"

"Why did you follow me back just now?"

"What? What's that got to do with--"

"Or didn't you want to know what it'd be like? To have me touch you like that again?"

"I did nothing of the kind! I just thought--I wanted--"

"Yes, Harry. You wanted."


"Don't call me Harry."

"Okay, Harry."

"You are such a selfish, stubborn, impossible bastard."


"Yes what?"

"Yes, you are."

An exasperated sigh. "I don't know why I even bother."

"But I do."

"Oh, right. Why is that? This ought to be good."

"Potter, you're standing in the middle of the hall where anybody could walk by and see us. I don't really think you want me telling you like this."

"You didn't have any problems just now when you-- when you-- you know what you did!"

"No, what did I do?"

"You kissed me."

"Did you enjoy it?"

"You sick fuck."


"You think just because you can get to me it gives you the right to take advantage of me like--"

"I told you, I was just trying to help."

"You'd help me right off a cliff, Malfoy!"

"Maybe, but only if I thought you needed to fall."


"And I'd be there to catch you, you know."

"What... what is this?"

"Just me, Potter. Just me."

Crossly, "Well then, what are you?"


"I already told you. I'm nothing. Nothing to you, Potter."


Softly, "You're not nothing."


"I don't know what you are, but it's not nothing."


Terse. "Good luck figuring it out, then."

Retreating steps, then silence.

A heavy sigh.




Exasperated sigh. "What is it, Harry? You've been sulking about something all night, why don't you just tell me what it is?"

"I can't."

Startled, "What? Why not?"

"Cause it's about Malfoy."

"About Malfoy, then? Let's hear it!"

"No, Ron."



"Well, can't you just least give me some i--"

"No, Ron."



"Is it about--"

"And don't try to guess, because I'm not going to tell you!"

"Oh. Well...fine, then."

A sigh. "It's just that I-- it's kind of private."

Alarmed, "Private? What could be private between you and Malfoy? Don't tell me you two are getting chummy now?"

"See, this is exactly why I didn't want to talk about it! Things are bad enough without you jumping to conclusions like that!"

"Well, what else am I supposed to do when you throw something like that out there and leave it hanging? I mean, Malfoy?"

"Okay, fine."

"You'll tell me?"

"Yes. Yes, I'll tell you... but you have to promise me not to tell anybody else."

"Of course I won't tell. I mean, I'd never give away any of your secrets."

"It's not my secret so much. It's his."


"I--I know how this is gonna sound, but I-- I think he's got a crush on me."

Shocked silence.

"Have you lost your mind, Harry?"

"I know. I know it's crazy, but he--"

"This is Malfoy! I mean, I know the git's off his rocker but that is just--"

"But he--"

"--completely insane, like Malfoy would ever even like you, plus he's always letting women hang all over him and he--"

"Ron, he kissed me!"



"What do you want, Malfoy?"

"You worthless little shit, Potter--"

"Hey, back off, Malfoy!"

"Stay out of this, Weasel!"

"What the hell do you want, Malfoy?"

"You know something, Potter? I'm glad your parents died before they found out what a pathetic son they had."

A gasp. "Malfoy! Don't you ever talk to Harry like that again!"

"Don't you touch me, Mudblood." Retreating footsteps.

"Harry, what--what happened?"

Stunned silence.

"Are you okay?"

"What did he want?"

"What do you mean, what did he want? Didn't you know?"

Staring. "Know what, Lavender?"

"It's all over the school this morning that he's got this huge secret crush on Harry and tried to kiss him."


"Well, what are you three looking so shocked for, it's not like it's true. Is it?"

"Of course not. Ron, can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Harry, wait, I know what you're thinking but--"

"Right now, Ron!"

Gulping. "Okay. Wait for us, Hermione?"

"Sure." A moment. "No, on second thought, I won't wait." Sternly, "Ron, what did you do?"

"Ron, you didn't--" A garbled noise. "...Did you?"

A sigh. "Please don't hate me, Harry..."

"Ron! I can't--I don't believe this!"

A gasp. "You mean it's true, Harry?"

Grimly, "Yes. Who did you tell, Ron?"

"Just--I just told Dean but I made him promise not to tell any--"

Cries of dismay.

"Oh, Ron, how could you?"

"You're not helping, Hermione! Harry, I'm sorry."

A sigh. "I--I've got to find him."

"Who, Dean?"

"No, Draco."


"Just shut up, Ron, all right?"

"Harry, I said I was sorry!"

"Sorry's not good enough! It's one thing if it were a nasty rumour but this--you humiliated him!"

"Hey! I didn't humiliate the sorry bastard, he did that to himself. Besides, he deserves it!"

"Ron, did you ever think that maybe this is the first time Malfoy has trusted Harry with anything--trusted him enough to share something that personal with him, for the very first time, and now it looks like he's just taken that trust and thrown it right back in Malfoy's face? Made a mockery of it?"

A wince.

"Oh, Harry, I'm sorry--"

"No, Hermione, you're right. I'm the one to blame. I shouldn't have told anyone."

A shrug. "I still don't see what the big deal is! It's not like Malfoy wasn't prepared for this anyway. I mean, he probably only kissed you to see what you'd do!"

"God. I don't believe you. You don't even care, do you?"


"You don't even care that you've hurt him. No, that I've hurt him."

"And you're saying you do?"


"What, so now you care for him? What's next, Harry, are you going to go kiss him back?"

"Ron, that's enough!"

"Well, you don't see him denying it, do you?"

"What if I do, Ron? Are you going to humiliate me like you humiliated him? Why don't you just use the Sonorus charm next time? Make it a lot quicker! Sonorus! Attention, everyone, Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy are a couple of bloody poufs--"


"Harry, what is wrong with you?"

"Nothing! Nothing is wrong! I'm going to find Draco and try and talk to him, and I don't want you to mention a word of this to anyone else, period! And don't even think about going after him because of this. Understood?"

Gaping. Footsteps retreating.

"What was that, Hermione?"

An exasperated sigh. "Oh, give it a rest, Ron."


"Honestly! Boys are so blind!"



Timid steps approaching.


"Say one word to me, Potter, and you'll be eating your meals through a straw."

A long silence.

Softly, "I'm sorry."

"You're sorry. You think that's going to make it better? You think you being sorry is going to reverse everything? You--I can't believe you'd do that, Potter! Actually, the sad thing is that I can."

"I..." Stiffly, "What's it to you, anyway? If the rumours aren't true, then what do you care what people think?"

"They are true. I did kiss you, or have you forgotten?"

"I meant the other part."

"Oh." Wry laughter. "Why on earth would I kiss you otherwise?"

"I don't know, because you wanted to hurt me? I--I don't know!"

"It's quite obvious that you weren't the one hurt by all of this, isn't it?"

Stiff silence.

"Malfoy, you--do you mean that you--"

"Just leave it lie, Potter."

"... No."

"Yes. I mean it. Get out of my sight."

"No. Not before I've said what I came here to say."

"Say it, then!"

A deep breath. "I know that when you kissed me yesterday you were... you were giving me something. I don't know what it was, I just know that it was something private. And I betrayed that and I... kind of... I kind of hate myself for it, because now I know I'll never get that back, that gift. And I liked... I liked having it."


"Potter, was that supposed to make any sense?"

Sigh. "I don't know. I just--I am sorry. I know it doesn't matter, but--I am."

"Prove it."


"Prove it."


"Did you enjoy kissing me?"


Did you?"

"Well, hell, Draco, you had your fucking mouth all over me, I was sort of too stunned to think about whether I liked it."

"So think about it this time."


Advancing. "I said, think about it this time." Rustling of fabric.

"I--" A slow intake of breath. "... Oh."

"You called me Draco just now."

A small kiss.

"I... did I?"



"Does this mean I can call you Harry?"

A shuddering breath. "I..."

Tiny, muffled kisses on skin. "Yes?"

"Oh!--Oh... I--I--I guess--I guess so..."

Breathlessly, "Harry..."

A gasp. "Oh..."



Hands sliding over rough fabric.


"I--think I like this..."

"Me... me too..."


"You know, I was planning on just beating you to a pulp when you walked in, but I think I like this better."



Nuzzling sounds.

"I am sorry, really."

"I know. Who'd you tell, the Weasel?"

"Yes, but--but it's not his fault."

"God, you're so-- don't you ever lose faith in people?"

"All the time. Just not in my friends."

"And me?"

Sounds of shifting closer, robes meeting robes. "Mmm. What are you asking? Are we friends?"

"Are we?"

"Don't see why not. Oh!!!"

Chuckling. "Sensitive spot. I'll remember that."

"I like this."

"You said that once. already"

"I know, but... mmm. Draco..."

Soft gasps, kissing, light moans.

"Do you want to tell them about this?"

"No!" More kissing, hasty. "Why--do you?"

"Of course not."

"They can-- they don't have to know everything."

"Do they know you came to find me?"


"What? They're probably on their way here now to see if you're all right!"

"Why would they follow me? I can take care of myself."

"In case you haven't noticed, Potter, your little lapdogs are terrified of you getting hurt or killed, and I'm not exactly truth and light..."

A chuckle. "Mmm. I think you're alright."

"Hmmph. You're biased. Mmm. Harry..."

Steps outside. Then a knock at the door. "Harry?"

Blanching. "How did you know that?"

"Nevermind that, just--"

"Wait, what are you--OW!"

"Take that, Potter, you stupid, worthless prat!"

Cries. Scuffling. Door being thrown open.

"Harry! Malfoy, get off him, you slimy little--"

"You sorry git, Malfoy! I just came to apologise, you didn't have to jump me!"

"Did he hurt you, Harry?"

"No, I'm fine, Ron."

"You're pathetic, both of you."

"Go to hell, Malfoy."

"I'll see you there, Potter."


"God, Harry, what'd he do to you? Your neck's all red!"


"Maybe we should get you to Madam Pomfrey just in case--"

"Ron, no! I'm fine! And besides, haven't you done enough helping for one day?"

"...Oh. Okay. Fine. Help yourself then, Harry. I just wanted to make sure you were okay."

"And as you can see, I'm fine."

Long pause, then steps moving outside.

A sigh.

"You okay?"

"I hate fighting with him."

"Maybe you'd better go after him."

"I will in a bit."

"What do you see in him?"

"He's a good guy. And you're going to have to get along with him eventually."

"I'd rather feed myself hot coals."


"What? I'm just telling the truth." Soft kissing.

"Mmm. Okay. But eventually."

"We'll see."


Contented nestling together. Soft kissing. Sighs.



"...I think I could get used to this."

"...Me too."

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