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East Bay Boys

Somnio Salvus
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Chapter 10

Harry woke abruptly, writhing and sweating, and vaguely aware that he had just cried out. The dream was still fresh and vivid in his mind, and he knew what he must have said. He desperately hoped that nobody had heard him.

He lay still, listening for sounds of movement from any of the other four-posters. It was hard to hear anything over the deafening thump of his own heart, so rapid it sounded like a drum-roll. For a moment he thought he had got away with it, but no...

There was a creak of bedsprings, a shuffling sound, then the hangings of his own bed twitched.

Oh no, Ron go back to bed, please, he thought frantically. His sheets barely covered him up to the waist, and he was painfully aware that the dampness of his pyjamas was due to more than just sweat. He yanked his covers up to his chin and wiped the perspiration from his face with his sleeve.

At that moment Ron's sleepy ginger head poked between the bed hangings, looking pale and ghostly in the moonlight.

'Y'okay, Harry?' he yawned.

'Yeah. I'm fine,' replied Harry, whispering to hide the fact that he was out of breath.

'Another nightmare, hmm?'

'Yeah. It's okay, Ron. Go back to sleep.'

'Mmm, 'kay.' He turned to go. Harry began to breathe again, but then Ron was back. 'Uh, Harry? Was Malfoy in your nightmare this time?'

'Why do you say that?' said Harry in a very small voice.

Ron looked puzzled for a moment, and yawned again. Then he waved a hand dismissively, saying 'Dunno. Night, Harry'.

Harry waited until he could hear faint snores from Ron's bed, then he waited a few more minutes to be on the safe side. Only then did he get up to have a wash and change his pyjamas.

***********************************************************************

The following week was a tough one for Draco. In classes he could feel Harry's gaze on him but couldn't think of a way to react. He couldn't look back, what if Harry could see in his eyes that he was well aware of what he had been dreaming about?

He knew that what he ought to do was act normal; hurl a few insults and make snide remarks about Weasley's poverty and Granger's parentage. But he wasn't sure he could do it convincingly now that his heart wasn't in it. Besides it wouldn't feel right after what he and Harry had shared, even if it wasn't real. So he kept his head down and tried to occupy his mind with his work.

In the corridors he went out of his way to avoid the Gryffindor trio, terrified that he might give himself away if he was drawn into an altercation.

At mealtimes he half-heartedly joined in the conversations between his housemates, but clammed up the instant anyone started expressing political opinions or discussing dark magic. At these times he allowed his eyes to wander until they settled on a certain green-eyed Gryffindor. He would stare, fascinated, until the green eyes stared back. Then he would hurriedly look away and start a mundane conversation with Crabbe or Goyle.

Night times were the worst. On Monday night he lay awake thinking about Harry, and how easy it had been to pour out his heart to him. He thought about how right it had felt, lying in Harry's arms. Then he reminded himself that as far as Harry was concerned, none of it had actually happened, and a painful knot formed in his stomach.

He came close to pouring the potion away in the Slytherin boys' bathroom, but stopped himself as the first drops disappeared down the drain. Just one more time - one more dream and then I'll dispose of it, he assured himself.

One more time became two more times, and then three. He began to abandon all thought of throwing the potion away, and accepted that it was too late. He was addicted.

Once he'd accepted that, the situation wasn't so hard to cope with. As long as he allowed Harry some natural sleep he wasn't doing anybody any harm, after all. He couldn't see how he could ever reveal his feelings for Harry in real life, but he could in a dream, and there was no need for Harry ever to know that he was really there.

*******************************************************************

Harry found his recurring nightmare more of a problem than ever, mostly because it wasn't really a nightmare any more. It kept coming back, almost every night, and Voldemort had ceased to appear in it at all.

It usually started with a friendly little chat between himself and Malfoy. Then it would get more friendly, until...

Harry shuddered. He tentatively raised his head and looked across the busy hall, already knowing what he would see.

Sure enough, his gaze met with a pair of expressionless grey eyes, already trained in his direction. They looked away almost immediately, like they always did, but not before Harry felt a jolt in his stomach.

Images from his dream kept popping up in his head at the most inconvenient moments. For example when he was in the library revising Disfiguration curses for Defence Against the Dark Arts, and Ron had asked him the best way to defend oneself against the Furnunculus curse. Harry had opened his mouth to say 'block it', but caught sight of Malfoy at that moment and unwittingly said 'blow it' instead (much to Ron's confusion).

There had also been a few very awkward moments during Quidditch training. Harry had discovered that flashbacks of an erotic dream made for rather uncomfortable seating on a broomstick.

Which brought him to his current, most pressing problem. The Slytherin/Gryffindor match, which was due to start in...Harry looked at his watch...forty two minutes.

How he was going to clear his head of...impure thoughts...when Malfoy was in front of him at every turn, he had no idea.

As it turned out, the match was not such an ordeal. Or rather, it was, but it was a very quick ordeal, being over after barely twenty minutes of play.

Harry was hopelessly distracted. The sight of Malfoy smoothly swooping and gliding on his broomstick had never seemed so fascinating. He was so busy watching him that he hardly noticed when the Snitch appeared between them. If it weren't for the fact that Malfoy suddenly started flying straight towards him, he wouldn't have noticed at all.

He made a dash for the Snitch and reached for it at the same time as his opponent. Inevitably, his fingertips just brushed Malfoy's. He reacted oddly - he froze for a moment and nearly fell off his broom. Surprisingly, Malfoy seemed similarly afflicted because he didn't catch the Snitch either. With a little zipping noise, it shot up and out of sight while the two Seekers were still staring at each other in shock.

Slytherin were a hundred and twenty points up, and Harry had just about given up hope when the Snitch made another appearance. By an extraordinary stroke of luck it shot out from behind a Slytherin Beater and almost collided with Harry's foot. All he had to do was perform a quick barrel roll and the little golden ball was fluttering in his hand.

Naturally the whole of Gryffindor House were full of praise for their champion, but Harry had no doubt that it was only pure luck that had handed him the match. If Malfoy hadn't been as distracted as he was...

Why, though? he thought to himself, as he got ready for bed that evening. Why should Malfoy have been distracted? And why has he not been his spiteful, obnoxious self lately? And why does he keep LOOKING at me?

Harry climbed into bed and closed his eyes, trying to push thoughts of Malfoy out of his head and go to sleep.

It's almost as if he knows... he thought as he yawned and snuggled into his blankets.

...he knows... echoed his brain, as he settled comfortably on his back.

...he KNOWS! Harry sat bolt upright. He ran a hand through his hair in bewilderment. 'The bastard's cursed me!' he muttered out loud.

**********************************************************************

Draco waited until his dorm mates were asleep before getting ready for bed. The idea of them finding his body while he was on one of his 'visits' was unthinkable. The last few trips to Harry's subconscious had yielded a strange result. He had been somewhat shocked to discover that his body reacted to Harry's dream as if it were his own. Returning to himself after enjoying the...well, the pleasure of Harry's company...was enough of a nasty shock to the system without finding himself in a damp, sticky pair of pyjamas.

So this time he decided to be prepared, and that meant ensuring absolute privacy. He cast a soundproofing spell on his hangings; uncertain what embarrassing moans and cries his body might emit in his absence. Then he lined up the Somnio Salvus potion, a clean towel, and a travel pack of Wizard Wipes on his bedside table. Feeling slightly silly, he took off his clothes and stretched out on his back.

Just before taking the potion, he pulled the curtains tightly shut and muttered a basic privacy spell; the only one he knew. It would prevent anyone entering by mistake (as Goyle had done on occasion, after sleepy visits to the bathroom), but was ineffective against anyone who was deliberately looking for him.

But who would be deliberately looking for me at this time of night...? he reassured himself.

********************************************************************

Harry Potter was incensed. He leapt out of bed and paced the dorm angrily.

I might have known. The slimy git has found a way to mess with my head. He's just been piling on the pressure, hoping I'll snap...all this time he's been watching me, waiting for the right moment to tear me down. Harry winced as he pictured the scene - Malfoy cornering him in a crowded corridor, or even the Great Hall. He could almost hear the drawling voice: Potter! You've been having dirty dreams about me? How sweet!

Harry grimaced with anger and frustration at his own stupidity. There was something else though - a sort of hollow pain below his ribs that he was trying unsuccessfully to ignore. It felt like disappointment.

He pulled himself together and made a decision. He was going to discover exactly what the rotten little toe-rag had done to him, and find out how to counteract it.

He threw his invisibility cloak over his pyjamas and pocketed his wand, then sneaked downstairs and out through the portrait hole. He fumed quietly as he made his way quickly to the dungeons, coming to a stop at the hidden entrance to the Slytherin common room.

At this point he began to realise that he hadn't really thought this plan through. How the heck was he supposed to get in?

The entrance to the Slytherins' lair was guarded by a huge portrait of an austere looking couple in Victorian costume. There was no way they would let him in without the password. He was considering blackmailing Mrs Victorian into admitting him (he could threaten to tell Mr Victorian what he'd seen her doing with Sir Cadogan), when he heard footsteps approaching. He shrank back against the wall and prepared to run for it. If Filch had brought his damned cat the game would be up.

But it wasn't Filch. Harry couldn't believe his luck - it was Bruce Plunkett returning to his dorm (after a secret liaison if the smudge of lipstick on his chin was anything to go by). The seventh-year walked straight past Harry and tapped at the portrait, waking up Mr and Mrs Victorian. He muttered, 'Catweazle' (Harry stifled a snigger) and the portrait swung open, allowing Plunkett to disappear through the opening. Harry dashed in after him, a split second before the portrait closed with a click.

It was pitch dark in the common room, and Harry couldn't remember its layout well enough to risk blundering about in the dark. He fumbled for his wand, but didn't use the Lumos charm in case it alerted someone to his presence. Instead, he tapped it against his glasses, whispering 'luminovisus'. The common room came faintly into view, as if a stray moonbeam had suddenly found its way into the dungeon. A moonbeam that nobody else can see, he thought with satisfaction, mentally thanking the Weasley twins for telling him about this handy little spell of dubious origin.

He headed for the stairs, realising that this was the second flaw in his plan. He had absolutely no idea where Malfoy slept.

'Ah well, if I have to search this god-forsaken hole from top to bottom I will find the miserable little worm,' he muttered.

He set off up the stairs and kept going until he reached the top. His own dorm was at the top of Gryffindor tower - maybe the sixth years were housed on the top floor here, too. He opened the door quietly and headed for the nearest four-poster. He twitched the curtains aside to find that he was right - the sixth years did reside on the top floor. But he still wasn't prepared for an eyeful of Millicent Bulstrode's monstrous sleeping form. As Harry stood there in shock at the sight of her in a pink nightdress and rollers, she turned over, burped, and dribbled onto her pillow. Harry made a mental note to forget the image as soon as possible.

He backed out of the room, then dashed along a winding hall with no windows until he came to another door. He stood and stared at it. What the hell am I doing here? he thought. Just say this is the right room, and he's in there. What exactly am I going to say to him? And what's to stop Crabbe and Goyle from turning me into burger meat?

He struggled with potential answers for a while, but couldn't come up with a sensible plan. He began to think about giving up and going back to bed. He was tired, he was getting a headache, and he'd be just as cross with Malfoy in the morning. He could think about what to do then. As he turned away from the door, the more daring half of his brain pointed out that he had come this far - he may as well try to find out something.

Without stopping to talk himself out of it, he pushed the door open and stepped inside. It wasn't hard to tell which bed was Malfoy's. There was an expensive-looking mahogany chest at the end of it, with an engraved Malfoy coat-of-arms above the lock. Harry took a deep breath and stepped closer to the bed. His headache was getting worse, pounding away right in the centre of his head. He nearly lost his nerve at the last minute, but he firmly told himself that if Malfoy had left any clues to what he had done to Harry, they would be here.

He grasped his wand firmly and reached for the bed-drapes. He swept them aside...and forgot why he was there, dropping his wand in surprise.

Malfoy was lying motionless on top of his covers, a picture of serene slumber, as naked as the day he was born.

Harry stood rooted to the spot, and his jaw dropped helplessly. Of course, this was a sight he had seen a number of times before, in his dreams. But on those occasions he had usually been too preoccupied to really stand back and look.

He did so now. In fact for a short while he was incapable of doing anything else. In the magical moonlight of the visibility spell, Malfoy's creamy white skin glowed with an ethereal beauty that took Harry's breath away. He could have been carved out of marble, if it weren't for the glimmering flecks of fine gold hair that adorned his long legs, and the gentle rise and fall of his flawless chest.

Harry watched, mesmerised, as a slight breeze caught the sleeping boy's hair and lifted a few silvery blond strands off the pillow. He realised that he was holding his breath. Something as crass and vulgar as breathing would surely damage the fragile perfection before him...

Eventually he had to let out a silent, quivering breath, and reality began to return. He remembered what he was supposed to be doing, and reluctantly tore his eyes away from the sleeping boy to take in his surroundings. Aside from the fact that Malfoy was sleeping au naturel, he couldn't see anything obviously amiss. There was a strange smell though, which reminded Harry of a liqueur Aunt Petunia always drank at Christmas. He glanced around for the source of the smell, and spotted Malfoy's bedside flask and tumbler, which he picked up and sniffed.

Amaretto! he thought with satisfaction as the strong scent jogged his memory. So! Malfoy's something of an alcoholic, is he? Replacing the glass he noticed the pale, purplish pink liquid in the flask. It looked nothing in the world like Amaretto. He picked up the flask and peered into it, swirling the contents gently. The liquid began to froth slightly, as if he had dropped a soluble aspirin into it. Clearly this was no ordinary bedtime drink - Malfoy was taking some kind of potion.

He wondered if an Identification charm would work on it, and bent to retrieve his dropped wand from the bedside rug. As he did so, something protruding slightly from under Malfoy's pillow caught his eye. He carefully lifted the corner of the pillowcase with the tip of his wand, revealing an old leather bound book, which looked slightly familiar. He turned his head sideways to read the faded words on the spine: 'Moste Potente Potions'.

He wondered if he would be able to ease the book out from under the pillow without rousing the sleeping Slytherin, but ceased to wonder anything at all as his headache suddenly intensified. It got so bad he screwed his eyes shut and clenched his teeth in pain. It felt like someone had stuck a finger into his brain and was wiggling it about.

He gasped and shook his head, trying to clear it. He replaced Malfoy's flask on the table, but the pain made him a bit careless. He aimed poorly and clinked the flask against the tumbler. It wasn't a loud noise, but Malfoy was apparently a very light sleeper. His eyes flew open.

Harry legged it.

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