Like you mean it 😘
Cho Chang. Cho Chang? Really? Cho. Chang!!
“Draco, are you alright?” Pansy was waving a hand in front of his face, scrutinising him intently. She looked worried.
“Cho Chang,” Draco muttered for the umpteenth time. Pansy sighed, letting her hand drop to her side and leaning away again.
“Yes, Draco, Cho Chang. But she said no. She’s already going with someone else.”
Draco couldn’t help but sneer. Thank Merlin Chang was already going out with Diggory! But Potter seemed to fancy her nonetheless. Draco had caught him staring at the Ravenclaw in the Great Hall several times. It made him want to dump his porridge on Potter’s head.
When he saw Potter the next day, he noticed how tense his shoulders looked, how he was walking with his head bowed. Draco would have liked nothing more than to go over there and end Potter’s misery. There were only a few minor problems. Draco had a reputation to uphold. He couldn’t just walk over there and ask him to the Yule Ball. Besides, Potter didn’t even like him.
The more Draco thought about the impossibility of ever being with the stupid Gryffindor, the angrier he got. As he watched Potter cross the courtyard, he acted on impulse. He scooped up a handful of snow and threw it with as much force as he could. It hit Potter right in the back of his head.
“Ow!” He whirled around and narrowed his eyes when he saw Draco sneering at him.
“Potter!” Draco didn’t even have to force his voice to sound gleeful, it was an automatism. “Could you be any more pathetic?” He approached Potter with a smart pace, flashing his ‘Potter stinks’ badge before he came to a halt in front of him. “How does it feel, Potter, to realise you’re not everybody’s darling?” He cackled scornfully, jutting his chin forward. “The Boy Who Lived… can’t even find a date for the Yule Ball.”
Potter glowered at him and Draco felt almost embarrassed about how much he was enjoying it.
“Oh, because everybody is begging you to go with them?” Potter said in a mocking tone. Draco straightened himself, attempting to look as superior as possible.
“Unlike you, I get to pick and choose amongst my devoted admirers.”
Draco scowled when Potter snorted.
“Right. The one devoted admirer being Pansy Parkinson. And you call me pathetic.”
Draco struggled to keep his composure. But he wouldn’t let Potter win.
“Should I build you a snowwoman, so you won’t end up alone after all? At least she’d have as much charisma as you.”
“Don’t bother, Malfoy,” Potter said gruffly. “Worry about yourself. I bet you can’t find someone other than Pansy who’d want to go with you.”
Draco felt his cheeks burn up. He didn’t want to go with Pansy but had already made his peace with it, seeing as the person he really wanted to go with wasn’t an option.
“I already told you, I have lots of choices,” Draco fumed. It was an outright lie and he suspected Potter knew it. The Gryffindor crossed his arms in front of his chest and gave Draco a speculative glance.
“Alright, let’s make a bet then.”
Draco pressed his lips together to keep himself from gaping. He squared his shoulders and forced himself to smirk.
“Sure. But if- I mean when I turn up with my date, who won’t be Pansy, you’ll kneel in front of me and kiss my hand.” Draco chuckled inwardly.
“What? I won’t be kneeling-”
“Scared you’ll lose, Potter?” Draco said tauntingly. Potter gritted his teeth.
“Fine! Since you seem to be so sure of yourself, I’ll make it easy for you. If I win, you’ll kiss your date in front of everyone! Like you mean it.”
Draco bit his lip. Potter wasn’t playing fair. He knew Pansy had a thing for Draco and she would kill him if he went to the ball with somebody else and kissed them right in front of her. But he couldn’t back down now.
“You’ve got yourself a bet, Potter,” he growled and stalked off to the Slytherin common room. What had he gotten himself into? This was bound to end badly. He knew it from the second he had agreed to this stupid bet and was proven right again when he talked to Pansy.
“What do you mean, you can’t go to the ball with me?” she screeched. Draco sighed.
“I made a bet with Potter,” he said, plopping down in an armchair.
“And that bet excludes me as your date?” She was probably going to start throwing things any second now.
“It does,” Draco replied. “Just ask Blaise or something.” It was obviously the wrong thing to say. Pansy’s face was red and blotchy, her nostrils were flared and her eyes look murderous.
“I will kill Potter for this,” she yelled and stormed off into her dorm. Draco let his head fall back and tried not to think about how Pansy would react if he actually had to kiss someone in front of her. Like you mean it. Potter’s words echoed in his head. That would be a tough sell. The only person he could imagine kissing in earnest was the one he’d had to beat in this stupid bet.
Draco looked around the Great Hall and wrinkled his nose. Finding a date to the Yule Ball had turned out harder than he had anticipated. Every single person he had asked was already taken, or at least they said they were, and time was running out fast. The stupid ball was tomorrow. His only consolation was that Potter didn’t seem to have had much luck either.
He didn’t know why he did it, what idiocy drove him to provoke Potter further, but when Potions class was over, he strode over to the Gryffindor and casually leaned his hip against his desk.
“Time’s almost up, Potter. We can do a test run if you like, to familiarise your knees to being bent.” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Granger and Weasley blinking at him.
“I don’t think that will be necessary,” Potter said, standing up. “You on the other hand should probably take better care of these.” Without warning, Potter’s thumb was brushing Draco’s lower lip. “They look a bit chapped. Wouldn’t want your date to cut themselves on your lip.”
Draco could only watch Potter and his friends, who were still gaping at Draco, leave the classroom while he stood there, dumbfounded and rooted to the spot. His heart was about to jump out his chest and his legs felt like he had been hit with the Jelly-Legs-Jinx.
He was still slightly swaying when he found Blaise in the library.
“Got a date yet?” he asked, putting down his quill. Draco groaned.
“No. And Potter is driving me insane!”
“Honestly, you should just ask him to be your date and be done with it,” Blaise suggested.
“You’re very helpful,” Draco barked.
“Seriously, Draco, I swear to Salazar, if you don’t do anything about it and I have to endure you talking about him every waking minute until we finish school, I will throw myself into the Great Lake.”
“You know very well I can’t do anything about it,” Draco huffed. “And I do not talk about him that much.”
Blaise gave him an exasperated look and sighed.
“Why do you even like him?”
“How should I know? I just… do.”
Shaking his head, Blaise took his quill and stuffed it into his bag.