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East Bay Boys

Somnio Salvus
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Chapter 12

Harry woke with a placid smile on his face, which was becoming a common occurrence, these days. Images from his dream played back in his mind, making him blush as he opened his eyes and rubbed them sleepily. He sat up and fumbled for his glasses, knocking everything else on the bedside table to the floor as he did so.

Eyesight restored, he stooped to retrieve his watch, his wand and a scrap of paper on which was written "The Psychic Shield" and a scrawled incantation. He frowned as he tried to get his sleep-addled brain to register what that was all about.

Not the quickest of thinkers first thing in the morning, he stood up and became vaguely aware that he was going to have to wash out his pyjamas in the sink again today. His spare set wasn't back from the laundry, and these ones seemed to have turned to cardboard around the groin area. Most uncomfortable, but an unavoidable result of another 'Draco Dream'. Harry grinned to himself as he padded off to the bathroom. He hummed a happy little tune as he locked the door. He burst into song as he turned on the taps and filled the sink. He splashed his face with cool water and shivered with the sudden shock of becoming fully awake. Then he stopped abruptly in the middle of a chorus and gaped at his dripping reflection in the mirror. The previous day's discoveries flooded back and arrived in his thoughts like waves crashing onto a beach.

He's been in my head again. I was supposed to tell him that I know what he's up to. I was supposed to kick him out...

As he absently cleaned his teeth he began to wonder if perhaps his dream self was not able to carry out the will of his waking self. That must be it, otherwise he would have remembered to confront Malfoy in the dream, wouldn't he?

A little voice in the back of his head timidly muttered something about how his dream self would have remembered - if that were what he really wanted. Harry chose to ignore that and spat viciously into the sink.

Wiping his mouth, he weighed up his options. He could confront Malfoy in real life - and be subjected to ridicule and abuse that Dudley Dursley would have been proud of. Or he could simply go ahead with the Psychic Shield charm - that would keep Malfoy out, but then he'd never find out why he'd turned up and fought off the nightmares, and he very much wanted to know that.

The only other option was to do nothing. Carry on letting Malfoy into his dreams and see how things panned out. After all, the Slytherin was not aware that Harry knew about the Somnio Salvus potion. He could just pretend that everything was fine, and wait and see if he would give anything away.

'Give him enough rope and he'll hang himself,' Harry muttered.

Having successfully justified his chosen course of action, without having to admit that he desperately wanted Draco to keep visiting his dreams, Harry strolled back into the dorm to get dressed.

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Draco spent the day feeling surprisingly sad. The night's activities had been wonderful, as always. But sitting in Potions, staring at Harry made him realise that his addiction was starting to make him unhappy.

He'd used up half of the potion already. If he carried on like this he'd run out in a matter of weeks and then what? He wasn't sure he could think of another excuse to raid Greenhouse Five. And Madam Pomfrey would be sure to get suspicious if she returned to find her store cupboard unlocked again.

Even if he did manage to make another potion, that too would eventually run out. He realised with a sinking feeling that sooner or later he would have to give it up. Either that or...no. Impossible. He watched the green-eyed Gryffindor stir his potion, absently scratching the back of his neck with his other hand. Only last night he had kissed that very spot, making Harry shiver and whisper his name.

Draco sighed and returned his eyes to his own work. No way could he ever tell Harry the truth.

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The library was busy that evening. Nearly all the sixth years were there, working on the Carnivorous Plants assignment for Herbology (except for Hermione, who had finished it weeks ago and was now working on Arithmancy past papers for practice).

Harry and Ron arrived late, because they had run into Peeves in the Transfiguration corridor. Entering the library they were dismayed to note that there were only available seats at a table which was mostly occupied by Slytherins.

They looked at each other and shrugged, then tried to slip into the available chairs as unobtrusively as possible. Harry found himself facing Draco Malfoy. He froze for a moment, then felt himself going red.

Oh why now? Why here...? he thought desperately. He slouched down in his chair and piled his books in front of him so that he could hide behind them. This wasn't easy, as Malfoy had managed to spread his own books and notes out so that they covered almost every inch of tabletop.

The Slytherin didn't acknowledge Harry. He didn't even look up from his work. Harry relaxed a little and opened 'One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi.' He started copying down the dietary habits of Predatoria varigata, but soon found his mind wandering.

I wonder what plant Malfoy is doing his essay on? It looks like he's written loads already...how does he write so fast but keep his handwriting so neat? Harry's eyes came to rest on Malfoy's quill, mesmerised by the flowing movement. He stared at the pale, long fingers and took in every motion as they progressed across the parchment.

His fingernails are so clean - how has he not got loads of pinesap under them from potions? And there's not even a smudge of ink on his skin. His skin is so pale...I can see all the little veins in the back of his hand... Harry's train of thought suddenly derailed as he remembered those pale hands tenderly gliding over his own skin.

Does he even remember what that hand was doing last night...?

The hand in question suddenly paused and left the parchment. Harry's eyes followed it automatically. He watched, breathless, as Malfoy paused for thought, absently stroking his lips with the feather end of the quill.

Suddenly Malfoy glanced up, locking eyes with Harry for a moment. Harry jumped, then bent his head low over his work and wrote furiously. He could feel his face burning.

Oh, God I hope he didn't see me blush. It's bad enough he saw me gawping at him...I was practically drooling...Oh God!

He was acutely aware that the Slytherin had abruptly thrown himself into his work as well. Stealing a glance over the top of his books, Harry noticed that the handwriting was not half as neat any more. I guess he does remember...and he knows I do too. But he doesn't know that I know that it wasn't really a dream...

He tried to compose himself by reading over what he had just written. It was complete gibberish. He screwed up the parchment and spread out a fresh sheet to start again. Something jumped in his stomach as he noticed Malfoy surreptitiously do the same.

I'm making him nervous. That's weird...why should he be nervous? He's the one meddling with MY mind.

Harry abandoned trying to write anything coherent, instead attempting to draw a diagram of a Predatoria's digestive system. He put his left elbow on the table, resting his head on his hand as he worked. It wasn't so easy to get distracted by Malfoy in this position. If his eyes wandered he could just stare out of the window. Not that there was much to see - it was getting dark.

He scribbled a few labels on his diagram, then drew a picture of a Predatoria catching a moth with one of its tongues.

Eventually he reluctantly turned his attention back to the essay. It had to be written; there was no point putting it off. He glanced towards the window as he paused to gather his thoughts. Then he stared in amazement. He could clearly see the section of the library they were sitting in, reflected in the glass against the darkening sky. There was Ron; hair messed up where he'd been scratching his head in thought. There was Harry himself, wide-eyed with astonishment.

And there was Malfoy. The quill that had been scratching away feverishly a moment before was now stock still, tightly gripped in his hand. He was breathing rather quickly - Harry could see the rise and fall of his shoulders. The customary poise and carefully guarded countenance were gone. Instead the blond boy was gazing at Harry with an expression that looked like...desperate longing?!

Harry's insides did a little dance. Just what the heck was that all about? He turned back to his work and stared, unseeing, at his blank parchment. Could it be that...could it even be possible?

He gulped. Maybe he's not trying to drive me to dementia. Maybe he...likes...being in my dreams. Maybe he... Harry tugged at his collar. He was suddenly a bit hot...wants me?

Something that was a combination of a laugh, a shout and a sob grew rapidly inside him and fought its way out. He panicked and quickly disguised it as a cough, but not very well. It sounded like he was choking. Ron helpfully slapped him on the back and he bit his tongue painfully.

Great. That must have sounded attractive', he thought, keeping his head down. I bet if I look up now he's got that disdainful sneer all over his face again.

Somehow, he didn't really think so. The old Malfoy would have sniggered out loud and said, 'That's right Potter, choke to death on your own tongue and do us all a favour.' But this Malfoy didn't say a word.

He fought to get his racing pulse back under control, but treacherous thoughts kept sneaking into his mind. Thoughts about testing this new theory, for Merlin's sake!

What's the worst that could happen, the absolute worst, if I just look up now and...smile at him? He could hardly believe he'd even thought that.

He could SEE me. That's what!

He took a few deep breaths and straightened up, still looking down at his parchment. He was going to do it. He had to know. There was only one way to find out. He tried to remember how to work the muscles that make a smile, but he felt as though he had someone else's face on. Surely his mouth wasn't normally this dry?

He pressed his lips together, trying to get some feeling back. I can't believe how difficult this is. Just smile for God's sake!

He raised his head a little, just enough to see that Malfoy was still looking his way. Ok. This is it...his hands were shaking. Here we go...He licked his lips.

Malfoy suddenly stood up and started gathering his books and papers, cramming them carelessly into his bag. As quick as a flash, he was gone. Harry didn't have time to react. He was still trying to regain control of his facial muscles when he noticed that Malfoy had left his copy of 'One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi.'

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Draco raced through the corridors until he was a safe distance from the library. He turned a corner and sank against the wall near an open window. He gulped great lungfuls of air in an attempt to cool himself down.

He'd been coping all right. He was getting on with his work, quietly minding his own business. Why did Potter have to turn up and sit there, right in front of him?

And he couldn't just sit there quietly, could he? Oh no, he had to fidget and fuss and scrunch up bits of paper so that he couldn't be ignored.

Draco sighed and ran a hand through his hair, trying to compose himself. Every time he'd glanced at Potter it was to find him either looking back at him, or blushing furiously, or both.

Draco rubbed his eyes, trying to clear the image of Harry gazing at him with his mouth open. He had looked flustered and breathless and tousled, just like he did in his dreams when the two of them were...doing what they did. Thinking about that had made it very difficult to concentrate on his essay. In fact it had been difficult to concentrate on anything other than his rapidly increasing state of arousal.

He had shifted uncomfortably in his seat a few times, but he was quite aware that...it...wasn't going to go away while Harry was sitting there...breathing at him.

If only he'd kept his eyes down. He just couldn't help it...he'd sneaked another glance, only to catch a glimpse of the Gryffindor undoing his collar button and then licking his lips!

That was the point at which it had become necessary to make a sharp exit.

Draco sat down on a stone bench beneath the window and breathed deeply, trying to expel the image from his mind. Think about something else, anything else!

Ah! It would be dinner time soon...he was quite hungry. He tried to think about what might be on the menu. Then he tried to think about dessert. It had been a while since the house-elves had made his favourite - vanilla pudding. Maybe tonight was the night? He hoped there would be hot chocolate sauce with it, it was far better than raspberry and...

How come all I can think about is Harry Potter licking chocolate sauce off my chest?

It was no good. Something had to be done. He ran for the nearest boy's toilets and prayed there would be nobody else in there. He wasn't at all sure he could take care of this problem quietly.

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Harry briefly considered the possibility of going after Malfoy to return the book. He picked it up and flipped to the front flyleaf. It had been stamped with the Malfoy family crest, and underneath was written 'Property of Draco Malfoy'. Harry found himself running a finger lightly over the name, before cursing himself and slamming the book shut. As he did so, a piece of parchment fell out and landed in his lap. It was obviously a letter, and therefore private.

He picked it up, abandoning the thought of running after Malfoy. Instead he did what any decent, honest, normal person would do. He looked around to check that he was unobserved, then he read it.