A/N: I have a confession - I'm really nervous about posting this. It's been a long while since I've shown you guys anything and I think I've lost a bit of my confidence. That being said, updates between chapters will be pretty slow (between RL and trying to make this story, and the others coming up, as good as I can). I hope you'll stick with me anyway.
Draco nearly jumped out of his skin when the sound of the buzzing intercom woke him from an unintended doze in his office chair. Fumbling for the talk button, he hastily responded to his secretary's summon.
"Yes Terri?" he asked, stifling a yawn. He really should try harder to stay awake at work. Merlin only knew who would poke their head into his office and decide that he really didn't deserve that post-war second chance after all, and should be thrown out on his arse instead.
"Mr. Malfoy, you have a visitor. A Mr. Zabini?" Terri sounded mildly flummoxed, as though such a name did not meet with her definition of a proper wizard. But the amusement he normally would have felt at her disapproval was smothered by the wild thumping of his heart.
Blaise is here? What the hell for? He hadn't seen the man since Pansy and Theo's wedding almost four years ago. And even that meeting had been...awkward.
Clearing his throat, Draco replied. "Of course, send him in please."
In the following seconds, Draco conjured a mirror in front of him, checked his hair, and hastily straightened the piles of parchment on his desk. He shook the mouse of his Computer Wiz and pulled up the National Quidditch Association home page to make it look as though he'd been busy. A quick knock came at his door just as he was flicking a piece of lint from his black button-down.
Draco looked up at the doorway and watched as Blaise Zabini strode into his office. The man looked just as he had four years ago, all long limbs, smooth caramel skin, and gleaming white smile.
"Zabini," he said calmly, standing to greet his visitor at the door with a gentlemanly handshake.
"Draco!" His one-time friend exclaimed happily, ignoring Draco's outstretched hand and reaching out to pull him into a crushing hug. The blond's breath caught at being in Blaise's presence and embrace yet again. It had been...well, it had been a long time since they'd been in such a position. Back when Draco had been cursed by a combination of youth, naiveté, and general randiness.
"What brings you here?" Draco asked, gingerly removing himself from the man's hug and putting an appropriate amount of distance between them.
"Can't a bloke come visit one of his best mates at work? Christ, the Wasps are certainly treating you well, aren't they?" He looked around Draco's large corner office and took in the gleaming Quidditch awards and Daily Prophet articles decorating the walls. In true ostentatious Malfoy fashion, a 60-inch TV Wiz dominated the room, all so that he could keep up with breaking sports news and the media, of course.
Draco couldn't deny the fact that his career lifestyle was rather plush. The Wimbourne Wasps treated him quite well, along with providing a rather generous salary. It was the least they could do considering he was the only one who could corral their most prominent player.
"Can't complain," Draco said lightly, gesturing to the leather couch across from his desk for Blaise to sit down.
Once seated, Blaise looked at Draco for several beats without saying a word. Draco refused to be held captive by those chocolate orbs and looked down at his hands instead. He simply would not allow himself to fall into Blaise's clutches again.
"Blaise," he prodded quietly, wanting the other man to get on with things.
"Right. I'm here because I need to ask you a favor."
Draco snorted. He couldn't help it - it was just so very Blaise. "Which would be?"
He could see Blaise's Adam's apple bob up and down as he swallowed.
"I need your help. Mother is getting remarried," he paused to roll his eyes and Draco smirked, wondering if this was husband number eight or nine. "The thing is, she's really serious about this one and she's sort of kicking me out of the estate. So I need somewhere to stay."
Draco blinked. The flickering of his lids was the only outside sign of the turmoil that sprang to life inside his blood. "And you want to stay with me," he finished the thought. He had to admit - the man had bollocks of steel to try something like this.
Blaise nodded solemnly.
The breath that had been running through Draco's respiratory system abruptly stopped and caught in his chest, making his lungs feel ready to burst.
Blaise. In his flat. Twenty-four-seven. The idea was ludicrous.
"I-" Draco began, but was cut off.
"It wouldn't be forever," Blaise added hurriedly. "Just until I get things sorted out. Two, three months tops."
Draco was preparing himself to lecture Blaise on what a bad idea this was when someone stepped through the doorway.
"Say Draco, fancy getting some lunch? Oh – I'm sorry, I didn't know you were in a meeting." The dark haired man backed up a few steps, looking contrite.
"No, it's fine Harry, come in." Draco beckoned Harry Potter into the office with a wave of his hand and stood up, once again grateful for the space between him and Blaise.
"Blaise, you remember Harry Potter-"
"Of course," Blaise interrupted in a cool tone while standing up. "How could I forget the Savior?"
A dark looked passed over Harry's face. "Actually, I prefer to go by 'Harry Potter, Seeker for the Wimbourne Wasps' these days. You were in Slytherin with Draco, right?"
Blaise sneered. "Right, and-"
"You said something about lunch Harry?" Draco cut in, really not wanting this conversation to go any further.
"I did, but that was before I knew you had…company." Harry's expression was one of forced cordiality. Draco wondered if he knew it made him look constipated.
Draco waved him off. "Come on, I'm starved. We can get something from across the street. Did you want to come with us Blaise?"
Please, for the love of all that is good, say no…
Blaise eyed Harry malevolently before turning to face Draco. "No, I'd best be getting back to work. Can we talk later about what I proposed?"
"Of course," Draco replied. "I'll owl you tonight."
Throwing another scathing look in Harry's direction, Blaise moved in close and hugged Draco tightly to his body. Draco patted his back awkwardly and then gave a tentative smile to his former lover once released from his embrace.
Blaise smiled back, countenance quickly fading into a scowl as he nodded goodbye to Harry, exiting the room.
"What the bloody hell was that all about?" Harry asked once Blaise had gone, wearing dual expressions of confusion and anger. "I thought you two stopped speaking ages ago."
Draco sighed. So did I.
"We'll discuss it over lunch."
Across the road at Mercator Café, Draco and Harry were dining at a small table near the back of the establishment. Even after two years of being Harry's publicist, they still endured stares nearly every time they went out together. He reckoned it did look a bit strange to an outside observer. The great Harry Potter and former Death Eater Draco Malfoy on friendly terms and enjoying an occasional pint together? Blasphemy.
To say their friendship didn't happen overnight would be a gross understatement. After completing a second seventh year (one that was thankfully Voldemort-free) and graduating, Draco had done some traveling, not keen on the post-war atmosphere in Britain or the treatment of his family.
While he was gone, Harry went on to begin training with the Wasps, who'd been salivating for him to finish up at Hogwarts so they could draft him as a reserve. By the time Draco returned home a year later, Harry had married Ginevra Weasley and was on the Wimbourne Wasp's main squad, playing games regularly.
However, his celebrity status proved to be a bit overwhelming for the team's manager, Alan Carruthers. While most managers were used to the soaring popularity of players like Krum and Gwenog Jones, those names weren't even in the same stratosphere as The One Who Saved Them All.
To be honest, the whole thing had really been a product of happenstance and quick-thinking. He'd been milling about after one of the Wasps' games against the Appleby Arrows and noticed that Harry had been surrounded by a mob of reporters, pummeling him with questions. It had to have been one of his first post-game interviews and he looked positively ill at all the attention. Draco remembered watching for a moment, thinking that he'd feel a vindictive bit of pleasure at seeing Wonder Boy out of his element, but it never came.
Instead, he sprang into action after a particularly crude question about Ginevra Weasley and went to Harry's aid.
"Mr. Potter will not be responding to personal questions. You may inquire about the team or his performance in today's game or you will not inquire at all. Now if you'd be so kind, your star Seeker would like to take a shower and unwind after his strenuous match."
Faces turned in his direction, puzzled by his appearance and wondering if he actually had the authority to order them about. Some bold soul decided to question him as Draco made his way to Harry's side, already attempting to pull him away from the throng. "Who are you then?"
Giving his haughtiest Malfoy sneer, he responded, "I'm Mr. Potter's publicist." With that, he grabbed Harry's wrist and dragged him away from the pack of media personalities, pushing him toward the locker room.
"My publicist? Really Malfoy?" Harry was blinking at him rapidly, both relieved to be away from the crowd and disturbed that Draco had been the one to save him.
Draco was feeling a bit torn about the sudden turn of events himself. To this day he had no idea what had possessed him to rescue Harry Potter, other than a deep sense of irony.
"Yes well, you just thank your stars that you had someone to save your arse. You looked like you were being eaten by rabid werewolves over there."
Harry had given him a grateful smile and a quick squeeze of the shoulder before slipping into the lockers for a post-game shower. The next week Draco received an owl from the Wimbourne Wasps offering him the publicist position officially.
Granted, in the beginning, Draco had no idea what he was doing. He'd never managed anyone before and certainly hadn't had any sort of public relations experience. Luckily for him, he was still a Malfoy and years of watching Lucius lurk in the shadows of the political arena afforded him an edge until he could officially learn the ropes.
Soon enough Harry was dropping by Draco's office and joining him for lunch after practice, much like he had today. And in another one of those inexplicable moments, Draco found himself saying yes more often than not and forging a tenuous friendship with the Seeker.
Now, Draco could call Harry by his first name without flinching and honestly considered him not just a client, but a mate. The universe was strange that way.
"So what's the deal?" Harry asked again, digging his fork into a chicken Caesar salad and pulling Draco out of his thoughts.
Draco contemplated his friend's expression before responding. Harry's typically friendly and welcoming features were arranged in a bit of a scowl, green eyes narrowed.
It was bizarre. As far as Draco could tell, Harry and Blaise had never even spoken in school, and he knew for a fact that Blaise had never shown an outward animosity toward the Boy Who Lived. The Weasleys, yes, but not Harry.
But it was obvious that neither seemed too pleased with the other's appearance in Draco's life. Draco felt the beginning strains of a migraine.
"He wants to move in with me."
Harry coughed suddenly and beat his fist on his chest while trying to catch his breath. "He wants to what?"
"Not permanently. Just until he finds a new place."
Draco pushed his chips around on his plate absent-mindedly while Harry chewed. After a few beats the other man replied. "You told me you were an absolute wreck when you saw him at Nott's wedding."
"I know that, I was there Potter," Draco snapped, unable to keep his temper in check.
He remembered that night well. The Wasps had suffered a devastating loss to the Kestrels and Draco and Harry decided to share a bottle of Ogden's Old and drown their sorrows together. The drunken conversation turned to previous relationships, though calling what Draco and Blaise had a "relationship" was a stretch longer than the Thames.
They'd been nothing more than fuck-buddies really, so Draco was bewildered when he wound up falling for the great sod. Of course, that was until that whispered Floo conversation between Blaise and what would become his next conquest. The conversation Draco wasn't supposed to hear, during which Blaise so kindly clarified that while he loved Draco's arse and cock, the rest of him was not relationship material.
Brokenhearted, Draco cut off all communication with his so-called friend and avoided him like the plague for months. They managed not to see each other again until Pansy's wedding reception, where Blaise flaunted the young willowy brunette whose name Draco still didn't know.
"You're going to say yes, aren't you?" The question seemed to come out of nowhere, though it was more of a statement than an inquiry. Deep down both Harry and Draco knew that he would give in and allow his ex to stay with him for a while. The tough part was figuring out how he would survive the next eight to twelve weeks.
Shrugging, Draco mumbled something about owling Blaise that night and shifted the topic of conversation as soon as possible.
"How is Ginevra?" he asked, finally taking a bite of his sandwich and looking up at Harry inquisitively.
A shadow passed over Harry's face and his jaw tightened minutely before responding. "She's fine."
Draco quirked an eyebrow. He still didn't particularly care for the ginger-haired family that Harry had married into, but he was nothing if not polite these days. There seemed to be trouble in paradise.
"Your face says differently." He tried to make the statement sound innocuous, not wanting to incur Harry's wrath by treading too far into personal territory.
"Can we not talk about it?" Harry muttered, pushing his plate away and crossing his arms over his chest. Draco took in the way the gesture made his pectorals stand out in definition and then looked away quickly.
Don't even think about it, he admonished himself. Developing a physical attraction to Harry was the last thing he needed in his life right now.
"Whatever you say." In the looming silence, Draco looked back down to his plate and wondered what to do about Blaise.