Summary: 'Tis the season to be… divorced, drunk and depressed. No, wait. That was Halloween. Now it's Christmas…
Warnings: SLASH and language.
Disclaimer: All of them belong to J.K. Rowling. I get the Nogtail's Nest. Lucky me.
A/N: This story was originally supposed to be a most humble response to reader Lizzy's review of another one of my Bill/Draco works in which she asked me for a story with Draco being the one to seduce Bill – and not the other way around which is my usual style. Well, Lizzy… If you are reading this… in my defence, I tried. Also, since the final word count exceeded 15500 when the story was finally finished I will post it in two parts with the second and final part appearing sometime tomorrow.
In which Harry is on a mission and Draco helps out. And there are completely unexpected consequences.
In consideration of the copious amount of talk that the episode caused it could have been regarded as a personal insult to the parties involved that the affaire only merited a small notice in the Society section of the Evening Prophet. It was almost enough for Draco to set down his wine, push back his chair, cross his kitchen floor to open the window and call for Remington and send him over to the Potters with an enraged message. Almost.
It was not the fact that he dreaded crossing the floor (nobody on this Earth should be deprived of the pleasure to set foot on Draco's high polished mahogany kitchen floor) or even abandoning his wine for a moment (though this was a particularly fine vintage that old Slughorn had… well, that had come into the possession of old Slughorn who generously had allowed Draco to sample it). No, rather it was the fact that Draco did not much care to Accio quill and parchment and actually compose the bloody letter. It was Tuesday and it was his night off.
Draco did not do drama on Tuesdays.
More specifically, Draco did not do Potters or Weasleys or owls or howlers or singularly extraordinary silly things like compassion and devotion or commitment on Tuesdays.
Therefore it was that he topped up his glass of wine and turned the page of his newspaper.
"She spent the whole night crying, apparently." Harry gave a sort of lopsided, bleak grin that spoke more about his personal sentiments than his actual words did.
Even so, Draco arched an eyebrow. "And that surprises you, somehow?"
"No, I guess not... Albus, let go of your brother!"
Further up the street, James was shoving at Albus who was fervently reaching for the bright orange and purple paper bag his older brother held above his head to keep safe from harm. "Get off me! You heard dad!"
"But I want to see! Jami-ie!"
People were looking. Draco plastered his Aw-but-are-they-not-sweet-the-bickering-little-children-remember-when-we-too-were-kids smile on his face and tried to breathe (through his nose, of course) through it.
Harry was several paces ahead (fine by Draco), hurrying to pry his sons apart. "Albus, leave your brother alone! Jamie, put that away if you're not eating it! Don't tease your brother."
"But I want to see! Daa-ad?!"
"I'm not showing you!"
"You pushed me!"
Draco slowed his steps and elegantly glided (he flattered himself) by a shop window. He needed new dress robes (he decided in that moment) and these looked suitably expensive. Wool, by the look of them. With that sleek finish that he appreciated so much in finer fabrics. He did not very often window shop in Diagon Alley these days and every other shop he walked by was new which was both pleasant and a little disturbing. It told him that he had better things to do than to spend his leisure time loitering about a shopping district and it told him he was getting older and not keeping up with…
"James Sirius Potter!"
Harry's hair was sticking out in every direction when Albus flung himself at him as James, red-faced and sheepish-looking, bravely squared his slim shoulders before his father's anger.
Even Draco had to admit that there was a certain level of attractiveness to Harry in moments such as this one (and they were innumerable). His jaw was sharper, his words were certainly sharper and his eyes flashed with that energy Draco almost missed from their teenage years. On the other hand, Draco was also quite aware of the simple fact that rage ought never be a turn-on in any relationship, no matter how casual.
Not to mention the small detail that Harry was a married man.
Also as straight as his own wand.
Draco tugged at his collar against the crispy cool October air and steeled himself, and walked up to the irrepressible Potters. It was very lucky for Harry that he had once saved the wizarding population of Britain because the way this portion of his little tribe was clogging the narrow street was not greatly approved of by any passers-by.
James was sullen and quiet and refused to meet his father's eyes. Albus had streaks of tears painted on his face and he was holding his father's hand while glowering at his older brother.
"Are we going?" Draco asked. "I thought we were on a mission?"
"Yeah." Harry ran a hand through his hair. His green eyes were apologetic behind his spectacles. Spectacles which Draco had helped him pick out a couple of years back. Spectacles that were lightweight and modern and which framed his face much (much, much, much) better than his old ones had ever done thank you very much. "Come on, you two. We're going to meet up with your mum and then Draco and I will go and find your uncle."
Or, more likely, pry him off a counter and shove some fresh air down his lungs to counter the effect any alcohol was having on him, Draco was guessing, but he was tactful (he had evolved) enough to keep his mouth shut about that.
Ginny was waiting for them outside a new home décor and interior design shop Draco had never seen before. Huge gap-toothed pumpkins were set on both sides of the stone steps leading up to the front door and silvery grey spider webs were artfully – though hardly tastefully – draped across a completely innocent and rather plain coffee table in the window.
"Well, hello Ginevra," said Draco, as he kissed her cheek. "I could hardly tell the difference between you and the pumpkins."
"Draco," she smiled, sweetly. "It is you, after all. I thought Harry had bought one of those life-sized Halloween Muggle costumes and compelled it to walk by itself."
Draco smoothed his palms down the front of his coat. "It's a cashmere and wool blend."
Her brown eyes twinkled as she gestured at her cloak. "This, my dear, is just a blend."
Then Harry was there and Draco had to suffer through their kiss (which thankfully was one of their more modest ones) and listen to her upbraid her sons, post-fight.
The street was littered with flaming autumn leaves fallen from invisible trees. Above them, looking quite forlorn – and some of them not a little perturbed – handcrafted muted ghosts sailed aimlessly through the chilly breeze. Initially, the ghosts had moaned and screeched the shoppers to near deafness, but on the third day the shopkeepers of Diagon Alley had had enough and made a collective stand against the Ministry's opinion of appropriate public Halloween decorations. The protests had been civil in the beginning – until somebody had captured a couple of said ghosts and sneaked them into the Ministry. After that, a harassed ministerial servant had come out to Diagon Alley to subdue the crowds and shut up the decorations.
Draco drew a deep autumny breath and prided himself on his own acceptance of Potters and Weasleys and their insanity. He allowed himself an inward smile. Imagine what a decade could do to a human being!
Well, Ginny had put on a few pounds but it was all in her favour, actually. She was a woman these days and not a girl anymore. Objectively speaking, she was quite pretty.
And Harry… Draco looked at Harry. There were fine lines around his eyes. Not many, but there they were. His voice had matured along with his skin. He was… Harry Potter was all grown up. It suited him, too.
Draco turned his eyes to his own reflection in the window but for once he had trouble judging his own appearance. He did look like a Muggle (a stylish Muggle to be sure, but a Muggle nonetheless). He could never decide how long his hair should be. If perhaps he should be a little daring in the morning and mess it up just slightly. Or if it was better simply slicked back.
He always put his socks on last. Unfailingly. Well, not after he put on his shoes or his coat or robes, but definitely after his shirt and trousers. Draco Malfoy was an expertly designed creature. Which was... impressive. If that sort of thing turned you on.
As of late it seemed that it didn't.
Turn anybody on.
"All right, we're off! I don't want to leave Lily with mum for too long. Not after… what happened."
Draco shook himself and cleared his throat. "Well," he made sure to drawl, "I was going to say that Mrs Weasley can hardly be considered the victim in this bit of business."
Ginny shot her sons a glance and then grimaced. "You know mum, Draco. This hit her hard," she said in a low voice.
He shrugged. "That's life. Sometimes it hits you hard." He held up his hands in a defensive gesture. "But I won't argue."
Before she could answer that, Harry dropped his hands to his sons' shoulders and gave them a small squeeze. "OK, boys. You go with your mother and I'll see you later."
Draco waited for them to sort out the details of their Halloween shopping and this mission of intervention, respectively. He had never wanted children of his own and watching Harry with his offspring was more than enough to keep him on that track for years to come. But he could not deny that they made an amiable (in their own quaint little way) picture. Ginny smiling, with her perpetually flaming red hair, Harry only minimally unsure of himself – as if he somewhere deep down still did not entirely believe that this was all his – and Jamie and Albus, always fighting, eternally inseparable. And Draco was not so above everything and everyone these days that he refused to see this for what it really was: love.
"So," Harry sighed, as his wife and sons took off down the street. "You ready?"
"Remind me again why I agreed to this?"
"Because we're friends?"
The Halloween shoppers that swarmed the streets were laden with parcels and pumpkins. Draco and Harry wove through them in a growing, uneasy silence.
Too much drama.
"Why exactly is your wife afraid of leaving your daughter with your mother-in-law?"
Harry shook his head as they turned a corner. "Molly broke down when she heard the news. I guess Ginny is just worried that she won't be very attentive. And Lily isn't at the age when you sit down and colour garden gnomes."
"Harry," said Draco, darkly. "None of your kids have ever been that age."
It drew a smile from him.
The door swung closed behind them as if it had preferred to not let them in in the first place. Draco had never before set foot in this obscure little pub and now he could see why. The Nogtail's Nest was gloomy and grimy, and largely empty. Which was a good thing since it was only afternoon and engaging in a large intake of alcohol so early in the day was not appropriate behaviour, he was quite convinced. A thin, greyed and hollow-eyed man behind the counter watched them suspiciously as they moved deeper into the pub. Draco evaded the distrustful gaze as best he could.
Their footsteps seemed to thunder like centaur hooves as they passed the bar and made for the dreary shadows in the far-away corner. Draco trailed after Harry, for once quite happy to not lead the way.
The figure at the table was so slumped in his chair that he could just as well have been a pile of rags. A near-empty bottle of Firewhisky adorned the otherwise unburdened table top. They came to stand beside it. No reaction.
They exchanged a glance during which Draco silently communicated to Harry that this certainly was not his mission and that he was only there as some form of moral support. Which was hilarious considering but never mind. Harry's glance shifted to a glare but Draco only bothered with a slight raise of his eyebrows.
Harry licked his lips. "Bill?"
"Bill? It's me, Harry."
Draco decided that this was not the time for a snarky remark.
"Bill? Hey?" Harry took a step closer and laid a hand on his brother-in-law's shoulder. "Bill?"
It was like watching somebody forcing life into a puppet. A very reluctant puppet. A most likely very, very reluctant and exceptionally drunk puppet. Draco tried his best to not be seen by any of the other handful of patrons – which would have been much easier if he'd had Harry's Cloak. Or if he had not entered the pub on the heels of Harry Potter. Or had not himself been Draco Malfoy. As it was, he mostly prayed for invisibility, but suspected he was not successful.
"Bloody hell, Bill. C'mon!" Harry gave Bill a gentle push.
"Wha th'fuck…" The pile of rags, allegedly a human being, finally stirred and Draco marked that as a victory. "Fuckoff…"
"No, Bill, I'm not fucking off," Harry sighed. "You, on the other hand, are getting up."
"I don't know if I've ever heard you say 'fuck' before," Draco mused in wonder.
"Shut it, Draco."
"OK. Excuse my input."
Harry rolled his eyes at him and Draco made sure Harry caught his smirk before he turned back to the man at the table.
"Come on, Bill. It's over. You're pissed as hell."
The thing called Bill groaned.
"Get up," Harry repeated. "Draco is barley handling this as it is so do us all a favour and come with me."
Then it happened.
Bill lifted his head.
And Draco felt it like a punch to his gut.
He was a complete mess. Bill Weasley looked as though he had not slept properly for six months, give or take. His hair was long and a dreadful tangle and there was just a dash of grey at his temples. His eyes were as unfocused as could be and his t-shirt was torn at the collar and there were suspicious stains spattered on it in a band across his shoulder.
But oh. Fucking. Shit. Holy. Merlin. Bloody. Hell. That. Jaw.
And those shoulders. Broad as fuck. And Bill might have been drinking away the colour in his cheeks and the light in his eyes but his muscles were certainly intact.
It was Draco's turn to lick his lips. While he stared at Bill's mouth.
It had been ages since they'd last met. (When was that?) Obviously.
And that scar. It stretched from Bill's hairline, down his temple, brushing the corner of his eye, past his cheekbone, ending in a gentle curve towards his mouth. It was safe to say that there was nothing cashmere about Bill, but this was just as sexy.
So Draco did what he did best.
He grabbed the chair opposite Bill's, swivelled it out from under the table and promptly planted himself across from the werewolf.
"Cliché, Weasley," he drawled. "Your wife leaves you and you head for the nearest bar to hide in the darkest corner with a bottle of Firewhisky." He snorted. "Pathetic."
"Fuck you Mmfoy."
"No thank you." Draco smiled sweetly. "Not before you have bathed anyway."
Something in Bill's face twitched.
Harry made a noise. "Draco…"
But Draco gave him a look. "Come on Weasley. Harry is right. This really isn't my scene so the sooner we are out of here the better."
Bill growled. It was a low sound, coming from the back of his throat. His eyes, still dull, narrowed.
It would be lying to say that Draco did not feel a thrill speed through him, equal parts excitement and fear. Theoretically, what he was doing was absolutely insane. He had never really bothered to ask anyone who knew Bill how much werewolf he actually had become after the Greyback incident. (Because for holy Merlin's sake since when did Draco Malfoy care about Bill Weasley?) On another level, however, certain parts of Draco's body were eagerly insisting that he should keep up whatever the hell he was doing.
He leaned in a little. "Good to see you, William. It's been too long."
Harry shifted beside him. "Bill, mate, let's go. We'll go back to The Burrow, yeah?"
Bill's attention tore from Draco. Some energy seemed to awaken in him and he emitted a rumble that did nothing to suppress Draco's building interest. "Think I'm going home, Harry?" When he truly focused he sounded soberer and his voice became more growl than slur which certainly was impressive considering the amount of alcohol he had downed.
"To mum and dad, eh?" A ripple of something powerful ran through his bare arms (and they were very bare). "Don't you think I know she's crying like fuck?" He snorted a bitter laugh. "I disappointed her, Harry," he enunciated carefully. Suddenly he spread his hands with such force that his chair wobbled. "My wife left me!"
"I know," said Harry, quietly, as if to balance his outburst. He managed to look unmoved by the power amassing in Bill and that, too, was rather impressive, Draco was forced to admit. To himself. Never out loud. "But it'll be OK."
"It'll be OK," Bill repeated with derision. "The fuck it'll be OK."
"Maybe if you talk to Fleur…"
"Talk?!" he spat, and for the first time there was a flash in his glazed-over eyes. "She's gone. She's fucking gone."
"You've got a daughter together," said Harry, still quietly but more sternly this time. "You've got Victoire. Fleur can't be gone, she wouldn't leave her daughter."
At the mention of his child Bill seemed to soften. In fact, he seemed to shrink, to inflate, before Draco's eyes. "She hates me."
Harry frowned. "What?" He rubbed his hand over his chin. "Victoire doesn't hate you. You're her dad. She loves you."
"She will," mumbled Bill. Then, quieter, "When she learns of it."
When he reached for the bottle Draco laid a hand on his wrist. "No."
Bill's eyes flashed a second time. "Shut your gob, Malfoy."
Draco forbade himself to swallow. Instead, he sighed and shook his head. "Pathetic," he repeated.
He met Bill's gaze straight on. His insides threatened to squirm themselves inside-out but he held still. Bill's breathing was harsh and his breath stank of whisky but Draco endured. He could feel the tension crawling under the skin, under his palm, the warring emotions boiling in Bill's veins.
"Listen to Harry," Draco suggested, gently. "Go home."
"I don't have a home, Malfoy, if you need to know," Bill hissed. "Does that please you?" His eyes were blue. Hideously bloodshot but definitely blue. Had not Draco always liked blue?
"No, surprised as you may be, William, that does not please me," said Draco, aiming for bored. Which was quite a feat in light of the fact that something liquid warm was licking its way up his spine simultaneously. "I don't know if you know – and I cannot even guess if you care – but Harry and I are friends these days and so I harbour a… reasonable amount of interest in his family's wellbeing."
Bill growled. "I find that bloody hard to believe." As if the bottle had suddenly burnt him, he pulled away his hand. "I'll do what I bloody well like."
"Enough with the drinking, at least." In a pleasantly decisive fashion, Harry snatched the bottle off the table and with a flick of his wand sent it flying back to the counter. It landed neatly, making only the most modest, muted chink on the notched wood. The hollow-eyed innkeeper jumped but did not protest.
"The fuck, Harry!" Bill was on his feet quick as a pixie. Although there was nothing pixie-like about him. Which – it must be noted – was a positive thing in Draco's book. "Leave me the fuck alone!"
Draco read him the same way as did Harry but it was not for nothing that the latter was called the Saviour of the Wizarding World. Draco gave him that. He was quicker than anyone Draco had ever seen and a flick later, and a wave and a stab of his wand had Bill pressed up against the grubby wall as if invisible ropes bound him to it and his own wand was secure in Harry's grasp.
He even stood calm in the face of Bill's threatening snarl.
"Nonverbal magic, eh?" Draco mused. "Had it been any other bloke I would have considered it sexy."
Harry did not so much as deign him with a glance but Draco caught it: the tiny twist in the corner of his lips that made it obvious that he would have grinned – had he deemed the moment appropriate.
Bill made an attempt to lash out but Harry's wand stopped him.
"Enough," Harry proclaimed. "You're coming with me, Bill. You can have any of the spare rooms at Grimmauld Place if you don't want to go back to the cottage. Or The Burrow. Whatever."
Draco nodded in approval. "Definitely sexy. This taking-charge thing, I mean."
"Fuck off, Malfoy," Bill spat.
But Draco only clicked his tongue. "Language, Weasley. And if not, at least expand your vocabulary. You bore me." He gave the werewolf a drawn-out once-over. "But, since you keep bringing up the fucking, I will inform you that I'm not entirely averse to the idea."
"Draco…" Harry murmured, in something that could have been a warning tone.
While Bill glowered at him Draco only smiled serenely and took a step back. "Fine. Can you handle the rest by yourself Harry? I think I've been supportive enough for one day."
Harry's gaze slid from Bill for a moment. "Yeah, thanks." He looked as though he meant it.
Draco gave him a quick smile. One of those he reserved purely for his old nemesis. "No problem."
It was a genuine smile. It said what Draco had never really put into actual words. He was not very keen on over-analysing but it had something to do with him liking Harry these days. Somewhere along the way when they had both grown up and their paths had crossed again at the Ministry and they had attended the same meetings and Merlin knew why they had got to talking but here they were, that was when that smile had been invented.
Because Draco liked Harry. And Harry liked Draco. It turned out.
Although not – making that very, very clear here – in that way. Draco shuddered. Harry had no taste.
Draco gave the ragged, irate shape that was Bill Weasley a last look and felt a whoosh of something warm in his stomach.
Then again, he didn't seem to have any taste either, all of a sudden.
When the doorknocker announced that someone had come to see him, Draco briefly considered pretending that he was not at home. Granted, it was only Monday but he really was not in the mood. Of course, on second thought, it might be a reporter and Draco never turned an opportunity for publicity down.
And so it was that he opened his front door – after having made a thorough inspection of his appearance in the hallway mirror (gilded frame, early 19th century, for your information) – and found Bill Weasley on his doorstep. Looking rather sober this time around and distinctly humbler.
Draco ran the tip of his tongue over the ridge of his teeth, trying to think of something fitting to say. Bill got there before him.
"I'd like to apologise, Malfoy," he announced, gruffly.
He was wearing a leather jacket. That was almost enough to win him Draco's forgiveness in a heartbeat but that would be showing his hand too quickly.
"Yeah." Bill's eyes were clear today and his hair was washed and pulled back in a ponytail. In the fading early evening light his skin was pale enough to highlight his scar. He wore faded jeans and a pair of reddish-black boots that possibly were, or were not, dragonhide and which he was more than welcome to walk up to Draco's door in a second time.
How old was he? Forty? The effect ought to have been ridiculous – a grown-up man dressing like a teenage Muggle rock star but it really was the opposite. To use a definition Bill himself might have understood: he looked perfectly – perfectly –fuckable.
"I was rude the other day." Bill licked his lips (thank you!). There was a tension in his jaw. "I'm sorry."
Draco nodded slowly. "I get it."
"No you don't."
Draco raised an eyebrow.
Bill sighed. His gaze fell to the granite stone steps. "You don't." When he looked up again there was something almost beseeching in his face. "I truly mean no offence, Malfoy, but you don't get it. Because you don't know."
Draco made a quick evaluation of the situation. "Would you like to come in, Weasley? And enlighten me?"
While Bill fought to make up his mind (he was a Weasley, Draco was a Malfoy and even werewolves were cautious in a dragon's lair, after all. On the other hand, given those boots, maybe this particular werewolf was a bit adventurous) Draco occupied himself with leaning against the doorframe. He was just about to push the matter a little further when Bill's shoulders – oh the shoulders! – dropped and he nodded. Once.
Draco smiled. He had no idea what was in that smile however because Bill looked all the more uneasy for it, but it did not matter.
"Well, by all means, then, William. Do come in."
Bill stepped across the threshold and Draco held his breath.
"Holy fucking hell, Malfoy!"
He exhaled, silently. "Out with it, Weasley. No point in subtleties."
Bill was already three strides ahead of him (which Draco did not mind in the least since that gave him a perfectly pleasant view of his arse.) "What the fuck's this place?" He spun to face Draco, eyes wide and adorned with a glimmer of complete shock. "Your own personal house of horrors?"
"If by any chance you are referring to the casket I can reassure you that it is empty and has been thoroughly examined and de-magic'd. As a matter of fact," Draco sauntered over to the casket, "the intendant at the Museum of Alexandria was expressively clear on the fact that the mummy who used to be confined to his eternal sleep in here ran off in direction of Heliopolis on a sunny Sunday morning over fifteen years ago."
He withdrew from the casket. "I do mean to find an ideal spot for it downstairs but the renovations are taking longer than I had hoped for."
Draco gestured languidly at the centrepiece of the hallway, the grand, gently curving staircase in polished oak. Down the stairs," he clarified.
"And what's down there? Your mausoleum?"
"Currently, only water damaged wood, mortar and stone. Or whatever houses like these are built of. I don't know." Draco shrugged. "I'm not a…" he waved a hand dismissively, "… an expert."
But Bill was not looking at him. He was appraising the bloated, inelegant chest of drawers Draco had shoved alongside the wall. "What are these markings?"
Draco drifted over to stand beside him. If his guest found that to be disturbing he did not indicate it. "I don't know," he confessed. "I am waiting for someone to show up and take a look at them and tell me."
Bill's eyes met his and something tugged at the corner of his mouth. "An expert?"
Something in Draco's chest took a whooping dive for the depths of his stomach but he held that gaze. "Precisely."
If there was just a hint of a slightly breathy quality to Bill's voice it was only a compliment. "Thought you'd be living in a castle of diamonds and gold, Malfoy."
Draco allowed a slow smirk to crawl across his face. "Who says there are no diamonds, Weasley?" It was only four in the afternoon and this kind of flirtatious gambling he usually reserved for too-early morning hours, but for once he decided that maybe he could risk to come off as cheap. He lowered his voice a little. "You've only seen a fraction of what's on display, after all."
He was almost certain Bill swallowed but he was too busy maintaining eye contact to be completely sure. Then Bill turned his eyes away and took a step back. "You should have it checked for any magical residue."
Draco collected himself. "Thank you for the concern, Weasley, but I have already seen to that. Besides, I just might enjoy any lingering traces of curses and hexes. Work within the field of international representation can be quite dreary and dull."
Bill snorted. "Yeah, sure. Boring as hell to travel around the world shaking hands and seeing…" He floundered, in the end simply splaying his hands. "People. Sights. Whatever."
Biting his lower lip, Draco tried to assess his mood. "Bored, Weasley?" he asked, lightly, as if the answer really was of no interest to him.
His guest shot him a quick glance. It was a while before he answered. "I don't know." His jaw worked as his eyes raked over Draco, in some kind of estimation of his receptiveness. "Shouldn't be. Not after…" He dropped his gaze to the floor.
"Ah, yes. About that…" Draco inclined his head towards the doorway leading deeper into the house. "There is liquor, Weasley, if that makes you less taciturn."
Bill followed him into a drawing room that Draco to his dismay had discovered was dreadfully droughty, but the house-elves had been given strict orders and today there was a fire in the fireplace and the chill of early November was kept at bay fairly well.
"Do sit anywhere you like," Draco offered. "Except on that pouf over there. It appears that the leather contains some corrosive acid that I have not yet discovered how to extract."
If Bill thought him completely mad he did not say so. Instead he sank down on the yellow silk couch with the gold brocade Draco had been gifted in Paris and which now delicately covered up an ugly burn mark in the wooden floor. In his leather jacket and his boots – it had to be dragonhide – Bill looked so out of place against the brocade that Draco was tempted to throw out the couch. Or possibly suggest that Bill simply undress.
"The kids must love it," Bill suddenly ventured.
Taken by surprise, Draco blinked his fantasies away. "I'm sorry?"
An uncertainty had caught hold of the other man. It did not necessarily suit him. "When they come here. I did know you're friends with Harry. These days."
Draco weighed his alternatives. He walked over to the small glass table by the window and ran a fingertip against a dusty bottle of sherry Slughorn had sent over for his judgement. Draco had not looked twice at it until now.
"Yes," he said, finally. "I have bestowed the grace of my friendship upon the Potters. And by association, you Weasleys." He opted for the Firewhisky instead. Bill did not seem like the sherry type. "Truth be told… I don't…" This was harder than expected. "I don't mind Harry. Or your sister, for that matter. Of course, the kids are a bumbling flock of undisciplined little urchins but I endure. Besides, it's not their fault Harry does not know how to keep them in line." He carried two tumblers over to the couch. "If they ever sit still all of them at the same time the work is Ginevra's and the praise should fall to her."
Bill accepted the tumbler with mild suspicion. Draco smiled. "It's not werewolf poison."
"I don't usually drink so much," Bill muttered, as Draco dropped down on the edge of a red velvet armchair with clumsily wrought iron claws as feet instead of the more customary gilded lion paws. "I mean, when you picked me up at the Nest the other night… I was in a pretty bad state."
"You don't say."
"I'd just… told Fleur. Or, she'd told me, rather," Bill continued as though he had not heard him. He lifted the tumbler to drink but stopped just before it happened. He sniffed the amber liquid. "This is good."
Draco sat back a little. "Scottish. Small distillery in the Highlands, near Aviemore. Not anywhere near that mordant brew you downed a bottle of at the Nogtail's Nest." He watched, secretly delighted, as Bill took an experimental sip of the Firewhisky and failed to hide his appreciation. "But you were saying…?"
"Oh, yeah…" The temporary boost of pleasure was wiped from Bill's face immediately. "Yeah… Well, Fleur and I decided it was for the best if we… separated."
"And why is that?"
Bill cradled the tumbler in his big hands. He sat hunched over, looking miserable. Which really was an absolute waste of such an extraordinarily attractive man. "I don't know why I'm telling you this."
With a heavy sigh, Bill took another sip of the whisky. "Don't know."
"Fine with me." Draco stretched out his long legs before him.
"Fine." Bill's eyes narrowed. "Fine, Malfoy. I'll tell you. I'll tell you that I never once looked twice at a girl. Never. Never bothered. Never cared. Never was interested." His voice filled with contempt and the blue of his eyes darkened. "Didn't say a word, though. To anyone. The twins were too young to care, Ron only a kid. Percy… whatever. It was Charlie and I, y'know. Thick as thieves, as the Muggles say. He snogged a girl and boasted a week. I just didn't care. Wanted to get away. As soon as school was over I was done."
He unfolded his lean body, got to his feet and walked over to one of the high windows. "So I got this job at Gringotts and it sent me half a world away where I didn't have anyone but goblins to answer to and they don't care." He turned his back firmly on Draco and supposedly stared out the window at the overgrown lawn and the wistful junipers grouped together near the west wing of the house. "Well, they care about the Galleons and gold of course but not whom you… bed."
Draco was leaning forwards again, gaze intent on Bill. He kept his silence and stillness with some difficulty. The whisky – however exquisite – was leaving a burning trail down his throat just as the cheap stuff did. Not that Draco had any cheap stuff at home, mind you.
"Then things started to happen," Bill went on, and his voice grew strangled. "There were signs… Harry came to us. You all went to school. Things… Dark things were stirring so I came home. And then I met her."
Draco shifted his glass in his grasp.
"She was beautiful. And… she didn't care about the werewolf thing. Everybody else did but she just shrugged it off and told me I was just as… just as good as before. We figured it out together. To everyone else I was either damaged goods or bloody dangerous – or both – but not to her." He sighed for what felt like the hundredth time. "I guess I fell in love, or came to love her. It doesn't really matter." When he turned back to Draco the light had gone out of his eyes. "But you can't change who you are, can you? In the end."
Draco was not sure he was ready to compete with this honesty but he surprised himself. "No, William, you can't." He looked down into his glass and swivelled the liquor around idly. "Believe me, I tried for a while. I'm a Malfoy, after all. The only son. The only child. My parents never found out." He looked up. "I never told them."
Bill nodded. "But you don't hide it now."
"The world has changed." Draco gave a crooked, reluctant grin and raised his glass in a mock toast. "Harry changed the world."
"Is that why you're friends?"
"No." Draco shook his head. He took a sip of whisky. "Potter is director of the Auror training programme and I work in International Magical Relations and Representation. Our paths crossed one too many times for us not to get to talking. Also, I was damned tired of masquerading as someone I was not." He licked his lips. "If I had any hope of restoring my reputation after the War that killed my Dark Marked parents then I might just as well go all the way and present my true self to the world."
"You think the world cares that much about you?"
Draco smirked, casting a glance around the room. "Evidently."
Bill rolled his eyes but the brush of a smile touched his face. "You know I used to have your confidence, Malfoy."
"So regain it."
"Damaged goods, remember?"
Draco slid off his seat and set his glass aside. He crossed the floor that behaved well enough and did not squeak under his feet and disturb his determination. The lengthening shadows of the encroaching night were creeping across the withering grass in his sorry excuse for a garden he'd had no time to tend to yet. The failing light made the firelight dance even brighter off Bill's auburn hair.
Bill waited for him by the window. Draco stood to face him, catching and holding his gaze. "Or bloody dangerous," he said quietly. "Or so I heard."
"What the fuck are you doing, Malfoy?"
"You looking for danger?"
But Draco shook his head. "No. I'm just showing you your options."
Bill's expression was cautious in the flickering light. His voice strained. "Why me?"
Draco shrugged. "Because you seem to need it." He glanced down. "Besides, those boots."
He was not sure if Bill was shocked, insulted or amused. Most likely, a little of everything. But he did nothing about it.
"How did you know?" Bill asked with a restless gaze that moved from Draco's eyes to his lips and back again.
"When you know what to look for it's not very difficult." Draco told him while lifting the glass out of his hands and depositing it on the windowsill. "It can be a choice of words – some particular turn of phrase. A gesture, perhaps. It's all there. You looked at me as though you wanted to kill me when I didn't turn your drunken, crude suggestions down with revulsion."
"That turns you on?" Bill's mouth twisted into a grimace. "That was what gave it away?"
Draco smiled coyly. "Apparently so. And in your case, yes."
Bill was a fraction taller. His shoulders were broader, his jaw firmer. His hair longer. Bill was simply more of everything. Draco had no complaints.
"You don't have to stay," he said. He was loath to let this moment slip out of his grasp but he could be considerate when the need arose. "You may leave. We forget we ever hinted at this and move on. I'll see you at Christmas, perhaps."
"Let's not talk about Christmas," Bill said, a rough note on the edge of his voice.
"Fine with me," Draco agreed. "I do not mind your family overly much but more than twenty-four hours in the same house…"
"Problems with my family, Malfoy?"
"Draco." Leaning forwards, he breathed in Bill's husky scent (still no objections) and allowed for their chests to lightly press together. "Call me Draco," he whispered, before he brushed his lips to the corner of Bill's mouth.
When that elicited no more reaction than a tiny intake of breath on Bill's part, Draco moved his lips to his ear and exhaled softly. "I confess. I want you."
The growl in Bill's throat made his blood sizzle. Bill turned his head enough to catch Draco's wayward mouth with his own. But the kiss that followed was shallow and cowardly. Draco pulled back with narrowed eyes.
"I don't believe you, William. For a man that's supposedly bedded a ton of other men at some point in his life you don't impress."
He did see the warring emotions in Bill's eyes but this was not the hour of compassion. "I'd rather you not pretend." He drew back. "After all, just because we have declared that we both fancy men it doesn't mean we absolutely must be attracted to one another." He took another step back and smoothed down his navy blue shirt (organic cotton, for weekdays. It was a Muggle trend Draco had picked up on but would never admit to). "As I said, we forget and move on."
"No." Bill's hand was on his arm. "Stop."
Draco arched an eyebrow at him. "I thought I just did."
"You don't get it." A remnant of growl was in Bill's voice. "You just don't get it!"
"Apparently not." Draco moved around the couch and dropped down onto it. "And apparently you are very reluctant to explain."
"There's nothing to explain! It's all bloody clear." Bill snorted in contempt, and something ignited in his eyes. "It's not about… about… this! It's not about sex, Malfoy. About me finding myself again or some other bullshit. It's about me telling my wife that I no longer fancy her because somehow I've got over that infatuation and now I'm back at openly ogling blokes on the street, wondering if any one of them would ever shag me and what kind of person does that make me?!" His voice was building an earthquake and sparks of a rage such as Draco had never seen in a Weasley (not even Ronald on his worst Hogwarts behaviour) were reaching out to him on the couch and making the hairs on his neck stand on end.
"What the fuck do I tell my daughter?" Bill hissed, his hands uselessly fisting at his sides. "How do I know that Fleur just won't take Victoire and leave for France and how the hell do I know that I will see her again?!"
Draco suddenly felt cold. Bill's eyes were flashing and it was only imagination – it had to be – but his lips seemed to draw back and show unnaturally visible teeth.
"Do you think I care about my own needs when my own mother is crying herself to sleep every bloody night since she found out Fleur and I split up and why?" He rounded on Draco, the floor keeping deadly silent under his weight as he closed the distance between them. "And here you are, Malfoy, playing your game, collecting your creepy treasures from all around the world and being free and careless and able to fuck whomever comes in your way because it doesn't matter!"
Draco swallowed. He tried to keep his breathing steady and even but the pulsating energy around Bill was wrapping around his lungs and threatening to choke him. "It doesn't…" He swallowed a second time. "We don't have to…"
"You think I don't want to?" Bill snarled, eyes like blazing bonfires. "You think I don't want to fuck you?!"
Draco steeled himself. Gathered his courage. With a bit of luck, some of Harry's tedious and infamous Gryffindor courage had rubbed off on him. (Which, for the record, was not something Draco usually wished for since Potter suffered from a distinct lack of anything that was remotely refined.)
Draco stood. Bill's breathing was harsh in his face, firelight inflaming his whole being. Draco had done many stupid things in his life but this was likely to be one of the least intelligent. Before he had a chance to change his mind and run for cover he placed his palm on Bill's crotch.
He gave a small squeeze and Bill's answering groan rang through Draco's very bones. He was not sure he wanted Bill inside him when he was like this, though. So he squeezed again and started rubbing the denim, harder than most men liked but William Weasley was not like most other men, Draco was quite sure.
Bill was breathing through his mouth, violent breaths that scorched Draco's lips. Still he persisted. And he felt it. He felt the response from Bill's body, felt the hardening of his cock that rose to meet his touch. Well, at least Draco was not out of practice.
"Don't think," he whispered before he dropped to his knees and exchanged his hand for his cheek.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Bill's voice was a raspy rush of air.
Draco looked up at him and plastered a smirk over his apprehension. "You may mess up my hair." Then he proceeded.
He rubbed his cheek against the denim, cupped Bill's arse and positively inhaled his arousal. The response was formidable. Bill's hands were in his hair not two seconds later and his roar told Draco everything he needed to know about pent-up desires and excruciating longing.
He tore at Bill's fly, forcing it open and now there was only one barrier left. Black cotton collided with Draco's cheek and lips and he mouthed his way along Bill's dick as it twitched in its confinement. He was too eager to see this through to bother with his own needs. If it ever came to taking care of that – however this ended – at least Draco had quickly built a new storage of fantasies to toss to for a foreseeable future. Resolutely he pushed the jeans further down Bill's legs and distantly noted the muscles in his thighs. Bill's hands cupped the back of his head and pressed him closer still to his groin.
"Fuck you, Malfoy."
Draco grinned to himself as he fingered the waistband of Bill's briefs, eyes closed and head spinning. He tugged them down and Bill's cock sprang free to meet his mouth.
The groan that greeted him as he swallowed as much of Bill's length as he could muster on a first go made his own cock jerk. But he had neither time nor courage to spare and instead set to work sucking Bill off with all of the tricks and twists he had ever learnt. Bill's hard length filled his mouth until he thought he might choke but he managed to stay in control. The first salty tang was soon wiped away and Draco's breathing came under control. When he used one of his hands to fondle Bill's sacs a rain of foul words floated down to him and Draco counted himself as a victor.
"Fuck, Draco…" Bill's hands pulled at his hair. "I need to…" A couple of shoves of his hips brutally sent Draco out of his rhythm and forced him backwards on the floor until the Parisian couch was at his back. Grabbing it for purchase, Bill loomed over him and forced Draco to angle his head upwards to be able to continue sucking him.
Held immobile as he was between the couch and Bill's legs, Draco could have protested but this was really not the occasion. He took hold of Bill's dick and guided it once more to his mouth and closed his eyes. He felt like twenty again with that thick cock pounding against the roof of his mouth.
When he came, Bill's roar could have woken a giant. His fingers were knotted in Draco's hair so hard his scalp stung and his cock was buried so deep in Draco's mouth that the latter gagged. But it was worth it. Draco swallowed and swallowed and thought he might leave bruises on Bill's arse the way he gripped it.
Bill was panting as he withdrew, sliding his still twitching cock from Draco's lips. But his eyes were burning. "Up. Get up on the sofa."
Draco, head spinning and jaw aching, tried his best to comply. He scrambled onto the couch so awkwardly he should have been mortified but he had no time to reflect upon that before Bill's hands descended on his trousers and ripped them open. (This was neither the occasion to lament the fine tailored cut and recall the price tag that had accompanied the trousers on the rack in the shop in Oslo.)
Bill had no compassion for underwear either but that seemed like a non-issue when his firm hands found Draco's cock and gave a stroke so urgent that Draco arched towards the ceiling with a keening moan of the kind he had never heard himself utter before. Bill dropped to his knees and Draco screwed his eyes shut as another stroke set him on fire.
"You're the… sexiest… bloody bastard I've ever seen." Bill's voice was so rough and breathless all Draco could do was to whip his hips upwards into Bill's hands again. "Someday I'll fuck you until you're begging."
It was beneath him (so, so, so beneath him) but Draco would have been begging now if he had not been so occupied with staying alive. Bill's warm and calloused hands moved all over, rolled his balls, twisted the head of his dick, squeezed the base so hard it almost hurt and made Draco want to scream. When he finally climaxed his shirt was completely ruined but Bill's hungry mouth on his was everything that mattered.
"So what about the lamp?"
Draco followed Bill's gaze upwards. "That's a completely standard chandelier."
"Yeah, but who gave it to you?"
"What do you mean 'gave it to me'?"
Bill turned his face to Draco. The firelight illuminated his scar and made Draco want to touch it. He refrained, however, as one short tryst – however spectacular – in a drawing room on a Parisian couch did not entitle him to such intimacy. "I mean, who gave it to you?"
"I bought it myself."
Bill's eyebrows shot upwards. "You bought that?"
"I did. As I said it's an entirely ordinary chandelier."
Bill dropped his head back on the yellow silk and closed his eyes. He was seated on the floor, fully dressed once more. Draco had stayed on the couch. He could think of very little to say that seemed like it needed to be said.
In the end, it was Bill who broke the silence once more. "So… I guess I should be off."
Draco examined his fingernails. "Will you be OK?"
"Do you care?"
Draco pushed himself upright. "Would it surprise you if I did?"
"I don't know." Bill stirred, eyes again seeking Draco's. "I don't know you. Last I saw you… I don't remember when, honestly, but you weren't a friend of the family, then. You were a Malfoy."
"I'm still a Malfoy," Draco said, quietly. Despite everything he had been through in his life his surname had never felt more like a stain.
Bill rubbed a hand over his face. "A new form of Malfoy."
There appeared to be nothing else to say after that so Draco followed Bill to the door.
They lingered a moment on the stone steps in the bluish evening until Bill gave a sort of nod and produced his wand. He Disapparated without another word.
Draco went inside and closed the door behind him. He stood for a while in the silent hallway.
He really should take a bath.
Tomorrow was Tuesday.
End of Part One