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Title: Harry Potter and the Mysterious Portrait Painter (or How Harry Came To Realise Draco Has A Magnificent Arse)
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco
Rating: T
Warnings: None
Summary: No one had much minded when the pictures first started appearing; even Draco only greeted them with a raised eyebrow. Now it seemed Harry really should have given them more thought.
Word Count: 1,614
Disclaimer: 'That Picture' is a work of and belongs to alekina. The general non-profit, fair-use disclaimer for Harry Potter fanfiction and fanart applies.
Author's Notes: Thank you to my beta [ profile] avrildulac who convinced me that I should leave this as it is. This fic was written for the 'That Picture' Flash Fest over at [ profile] hd_remix. Thank you to the mods for running such a wonderful fest and thank you to [ profile] birdsofshore, who submitted the prompt that inspired this piece.

Harry Potter and the Mysterious Portrait Painter (or How Harry Came To Realise Draco Has A Magnificent Arse)

No one had much minded when the pictures started appearing. Of course there’d been a bit of a stir at the very first one, with speculation rife about who had painted it and more than one comment on the artist’s technique and their ability to capture a likeness in their portraits, but with a new one appearing every week in different parts of the castle, fresher interests had pushed them to the back of most people’s minds. Even Draco only greeted them with a raised eyebrow and that twisted half smile that seemed to be his default expression since returning to Hogwarts.

Apart from a brief snigger with Ron when the one of Draco wearing an earring had appeared outside the potions classroom Harry had mostly ignored the paintings. There seemed to be no malicious intent in them – indeed Harry thought that if anything the portraits were excessively flattering – and his only concern was to worry about the mental health of whoever was so deeply obsessed with a former Death Eater that they’d cover the castle in his likeness.

Since the answer didn’t seem to be forthcoming, Harry all but forgot about the images and just got on with working to pass his NEWTs.

At least that’s what he’d been trying to do.

Now there was this picture.

Harry couldn’t actually identify the subject because it was currently being waved in his face by an enraged looking Draco Malfoy. Harry’s first thought was that it made a nice change to see something other than the raised eyebrow and half smile, and his second thought was that there was something shiny in Draco’s ear.

“Malfoy, are you wearing an earring?”

The question seemed to surprise Draco enough that he ceased the shouting and the picture waving, opting instead to preen a little as if he expected Harry to admire his new accessory, rather than laugh in his face.

Actually Harry was alarmed to find that he had no desire to laugh in Draco’s face. The diamond stud, which had seemed so amusing just a week ago, now looked exactly right, and Draco seemed to have done something to his hair to make it look a little more like it had in that particular painting. The look, in real life, was alarmingly attractive and Harry felt his cheeks redden.

“Why, yes Potter, it is,” Malfoy said, touching his earlobe with one long, pale finger. Harry found his eyes tracking the movement and he forced himself to bring them back to Malfoy’s face, which was flushed from the shouting, but now wore a very familiar smirk. “Like it?”

“I uh…” Harry cleared his throat and tried to pull himself together. “Very… nice.”

Malfoy raised an eyebrow. “Can’t you think of a better adjective, Potter? You might try dashing, or daring, or even devastatingly attractive. Nice is an adjective you might just achieve if you ever deigned to brush your hair.”

“I do brush my hair!” Harry exclaimed, and then realised it was entirely pointless, and rather embarrassing, to be having any sort of argument about his grooming habits with Draco Malfoy of all people. “Anyway,” he added hoping the lie didn’t show on his face, “an earring does not make you devastatingly attractive.”

“I beg to differ.” Draco dismissed the notion with a wave of his hand and then gave Harry a penetrating look that made him feel distinctly uncomfortable.

“What were you yelling about anyway?” Harry muttered, shifting a little and trying to will the blood away from his cheeks, which he was pretty sure were scarlet by now.

“This, Potter, I was yelling about this.”

A painting was thrust in his face. A painting that… contained Draco’s arse.

Harry suddenly very much wished he’d let the blood stay in his cheeks, on the basis that it was preferable to other parts of his anatomy that suddenly seemed very keen to be filled instead.

“What are you doing to my arm, Potter?” Draco asked, which at least had the advantage of drawing Harry’s attention away from that arse… (sweet Merlin, did it look like that in real life?) and towards the rest of the painting, which mostly contained Harry, scowling in concentration and waving his wand at Draco’s Dark Mark.

He blinked once or twice, cleared his throat, blinked again and then shuffled awkwardly against the wall, suddenly uncomfortably aware that Draco had stepped up close to him when he’d started yelling and hadn’t stepped away again.

“How am I supposed to know?” he countered eventually, realising that he had to say something and that Draco was giving him that look again, “I didn’t paint it.”

The look hardened and Draco’s eyes narrowed suspiciously as he scrutinised Harry’s face, apparently looking for any sign he might be lying. Since he wasn’t, Harry could only put his uncomfortable feeling down to the fact that an image of Draco’s arse was emblazoned on his mind and the little niggling thought that if only Draco would turn around and walk away he’d get to see whether the artist had captured his arse as perfectly as they seemed to be able to capture his face.

“There’s a snake, Potter,” said Draco eventually, his tone suggesting he thought he was speaking to a very small child – or possibly just that he thought Harry was stupid. “And I appear to be wearing a waistcoat. And you are messing up my hair.”

“It’s not real,” Harry pointed out, slightly unsure what direction Draco was going in with this.

“Yes,” said Draco testily, as if this was simply a minor inconvenience, “but what are you doing?”

“I don’t…” Harry stopped, frowned and then glared at Draco, feeling that somehow he was being made a fool of. “Is this some sort of joke, Malfoy? How the hell am I supposed to know what’s going on? Go find whoever painted it and ask them.”

“Maybe you’re removing the Mark,” Draco speculated, apparently deciding to ignore Harry’s suggestion and fixing his gaze on the picture instead. “Or maybe it came to life somehow. Or maybe…”

“You really aren’t getting this are you?” Harry snapped, exasperated beyond belief that Draco was perusing the point when he had no answers. “Listen very carefully, Draco. I. Didn’t. Paint. It.”

That snapped Draco out of his reverie and he glanced up, subjecting Harry another of those penetrating looks. “Well, done, “ he murmured, “You learned my name.” He scrutinised the picture again, giving Harry no time to object before he added, “You know, whoever this is they’ve done a very good job on my arse. Very lifelike, don’t you think?”

Harry’s face caught fire. At least, he was pretty sure it must have done, since there was no way it could actually have got so hot without spontaneously combusting.

“I um…” He cleared his throat for a third time and tried to pull himself together enough to snap, “I wouldn’t know, Malfoy. I don’t spend my spare time staring at your arse.”

“No?” Draco gave him a look that could only be described as sympathetic. “Oh well, your loss, Potter. I have a magnificent arse. You really should check it out sometime.”

Harry gaped. Draco had not just invited him to check out his arse, had he? He replayed the last few seconds of conversation. Oh bollocks, he had. The blood in Harry’s cheeks found somewhere else to be.

“Unfortunately they’ve also captured your hair rather well,” Draco continued, apparently unaware of Harry’s reaction as he returned to the picture. “Honestly, Potter, have you never heard of a brush? I could lend you one if you like.”

The sympathetic look returned and Harry gave a strangled gasp at the idea of using Draco’s hairbrush. “Look I just have excitable hair, okay?” he spluttered, “It’s not my fault.”

Draco gave Harry’s hair a final doubtful glance and shook his head in a way that suggested he wouldn’t be seen dead with hair like that. Harry was rather glad he didn’t personally share the sentiment – he rather liked being alive.

“Whatever, Potter,” he said dismissively. “I think it’s about time we found out who it is that’s painting these things.”

“We?” Harry echoed faintly, wondering whether Draco was actually suggesting they worked together, or whether it was just a slip of the tongue.

“Yes, we, Potter. You’re involved now too. I refuse to allow someone to go around painting you doing unspeakable things to my arm without finding out who they are and doing unspeakable things to them in return.”

“What do you mean?” Harry felt he was rapidly losing the thread of this conversation. “What are you going to do to them?”

“Oh I don’t know,” Draco said airily, “I know a few choice hexes. But on the other hand…” He peered knowingly at Harry for a long moment, forcing him to shift uncomfortably against the wall again.

“Um…” Harry cleared his throat once more and then realised he’d done it so often in the last few minutes that it was starting to hurt. He swallowed quickly and tried, “So, uh, what are we going to do?”

The look Draco gave him this time could only be described as one of pure satisfaction. He smirked and patted Harry on the arm in what might have been mistaken for affection, but which Harry correctly interpreted as patronising.

“I’ll be in touch, Harry,” he said smoothly, and before Harry could react with a sarcastic, I see you learnt my name too, he’d turned and walked away.

Really Harry should have shouted it after him, but somehow the words got lost on the way to his lips.

Draco really did have a magnificent arse.
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