DRARRY! Male/male slash! Don't like, don't read!
The Slytherins were getting restless, even Harry could tell that much, and he'd never been particularly good at observing such things. They all seemed to hold their collective breaths whenever Harry came in range of their elected leader, tensing up at his approach and only relaxing once he'd left. For his part, Draco had pointedly not looked at him whenever this occurred.
Harry didn't know what to think of this behaviour, but it made him nervous.
Did they know what was going on with him and Draco? Well, good for them, because he for one still had no bloody clue. He wondered what Draco had told them in regards to the matter, if anything, and what their sharp-eyed perusal meant.
He'd taken to following Malfoy around after classes had finished, trying to get within talking (or snogging) range, but so far, their dance was on the out-swing. His fellow Slytherins had drawn in around him like an entourage and refused to let him get near.
It was the most confusing situation he'd ever been presented with.
He asked Hermione about it one day, frustration overcoming his natural reluctance in discussing the subject with anyone.
"Playing hard to get?" Hermione considered Harry's first suggestion with a frown. "I don't think so, otherwise they would have let you get closer by now, probably."
"Then what the heck is going on?" Harry threw is hands up in the air and ruffled his hair in exasperation. "This has been going on for almost two weeks!"
"Slytherins," Hermione shook her head.
"He hasn't even looked at me for days!" Harry was feeling a bit miserable by this point, not to mention he was going through something like snog withdrawal.
Ron came by not long after and asked, "Why the long face, Harry?"
"It's Malfoy," Harry sighed. "How am I supposed to court him if he's not even letting me near him? I guess I could try sending him a note by owl again. But it's risky to send such a blatant note in his direction."
"Maybe that's what he's after," Ron said, taking a pack of sugar quills out of his bag. "He wants to know how much of you're willing to let the public know about your intentions."
"How does that make sense?" Hermione frowned harder.
Harry grinned behind his hand, knowing that she got annoyed whenever Ron thought of something that she hadn't when a problem came up. Well, anyone, for that matter.
"Pureblood tradition," Ron sighed. "Official declaration of intentions and all that rot. You know, send a letter, etcetera. In this day and age, I guess it's weird to send it to their head of household like the old days, but Purebloods really like their alliances to be written down as solid proof, you know?"
"No," Harry goggled at his friend in surprise. "I had no idea whatsoever."
"Oh," Ron said, not even noticing that he'd casually solved Harry's mystery without any trouble. "Well, then, just send him a letter stating your intention to court him. It's easy, hardly needs more than a few lines even."
"How do you even know this?" Hermione asked, sounding rather put out.
"It's how my Dad started courting my Mum," Ron said, as if it were obvious. "We get to hear the story every summer on their anniversary."
Harry painstakingly wrote out the letter of intention to send to Malfoy, getting Ron to look it over before he sent it. Ron had checked it over just as carefully as Harry had written it, for which Harry was surprised. He didn't think Ron really approved of his courting of Malfoy. He had it written out, folded and stamped with wax, ready for Hedwig to take to Malfoy before Ron said anything.
"Are you really sure this is what you want to do, mate?" Ron asked.
"I think so," Harry replied quietly, tying the letter to Hedwig's leg as securely as possible.
"Be sure, Harry." Ron said, voice serious. "Cause if this isn't what you definitely want, then don't send it. You know, this letter, back in the day was like saying that you eventually wanted to marry someone, right?"
Harry hadn't known that, actually. Why was everyone around him assuming that he knew anything about proper courtship? He was basically stabbing about in the dark hoping that he got it right, and at the same time, hoping that he wasn't going to end up putting everyone on his side in danger.
He paused for a second, considering. Then, with a small sigh, continued to tie the letter, patting Hedwig reassuringly when he thought he had it firmly in place.
Even Hedwig seemed anxious, before finally taking off through his open window.
"Ron, please tell me I haven't just made a huge mistake."
"Can't say yet. You'll have to see."
The next day he was sitting in one of the outdoor courtyards on a break, wrapped up in a cloak and scarf against the late autumn chill, when Malfoy found him. For a few moments, all the two of them could do was stare at one another. Malfoy's expression was unreadable, his silver eyes not giving away anything.
"I didn't think you actually would," Malfoy said finally, eyes dropping to the ground between them.
"I wasn't sure that was what you wanted," Harry admitted, stuffing his hands in the pockets of his robes. "But I was going crazy being separated from you, so there wasn't anything else I could do."
"I was going to come back," Malfoy said, sounding almost angry. "Everyone in Slytherin knew what was happening and told me not to let me be pulled in. But still, I couldn't stand it, so I was going to just give up and come find you."
"What are we doing?" Harry asked, a tad desperately. He still didn't know, really.
Malfoy took a step forward, then another, slowly. Cautiously, he approached until he was right in front of Harry. He reached into his robes and brought out the letter that Harry had written him.
"This... this could change everything."
Harry could see the slight waver in his fingers as he held it between them.
"We could burn it," Malfoy said, not looking up. "We could continue on, as we were doing before. I... didn't mind. Because you don't have to make promises like this to get me to agree to see you."
Malfoy was giving him an out. Malfoy didn't want to scare him away with intentions that brought so much pressure and might drive him into backing off. He wasn't sure if Harry really meant it, as everyone in their right mind was asking.
But right now, Malfoy looked afraid. He could see it now that he was looking. It was there, in the tremor of his fingers, in the way he held his body rigid as if expecting rejection, and how he looked at the ground to avoid looking him in the eyes to hide the emotion in them. He was holding out the letter, giving Harry the option of avoiding the risk inherent in an intention to court him.
And he was hoping Harry wouldn't take it.
He smiled, holding out a hand. Malfoy's fingers jerked, then held very still. He reached out to give Harry back his letter, jaw stiff. Harry took his hand, turned it over, then pressed Malfoy's hand holding the letter back up to his chest.
"Keep it," he whispered.
Then he brought his free hand up to Malfoy's face, tilting his chin up to look him in the eye. When Draco finally met his gaze, hesitantly, he smiled and leaned forward. Their lips met, and he felt Draco exhale shakily. Harry gathered him close, holding him with one arm while his hand slid around the back of his neck.
The moment felt fragile, like breathing too hard might shatter it.
When he finally drew away, Draco was smiling tentatively.
"I still don't really know what I'm doing," Harry admitted. "I want to promise anyway."
Draco doesn't answer, simply leans forward to kiss him again, carefully and slowly, like he's telling Harry a secret. Harry responds, smiling against Draco's mouth. He draws back and leans their foreheads together. This isn't about seducing anymore. They don't need the fierce melding of mouths to convey meaning to their interactions.
Harry honestly doesn't know what's going to happen anymore. He got drawn in so fast, and he couldn't pull back, even if he wanted to.