Mingling, Mistletoe & Misdeeds
A/N - This is a monster sized drabble, but please enjoy my first Christmas fic! (Rated T)
Pairings - Drarry, Ronsy, Theomione
Draco hated these Ministry events.
Once, he had relished in the chance to strut about, asserting himself as a kind of figurehead among his colleagues. He had managed to build his reputation back up to that of respected Auror over the past few years, and when Kingsley had announced that he was splitting the Auror department into two teams, he had been selected to lead one of them. Naturally, Potter was selected to lead the other, and it became somewhat of a competition between them as to whose team was truly the best, but competition aside, Draco was good at what he did, and people knew that, and he was moving forward with his life, and he was happy.
But then, as was usually the case, Potter ruined everything.
Draco hadn't asked him to stay back and help him that night. In fact, he had vehemently and repeatedly insisted Potter leave him alone, but Potter being so infuriatingly Potter had insisted he help Draco finish his paperwork. They had argued. They may have gotten into a tussle. And then in all his stupid, clumsy glory, Potter had somehow ended up spilling ink all down his front and had removed his shirt, right there in the middle of the office, and that had been the moment Draco's fate had been sealed.
Because Draco had noticed before that Potter wasn't awful to look at; he'd reluctantly admitted that maybe he thought about Potter more than the other people in his life; he'd even possibly cried out Potter's name once or twice while wanking to images of him on his broom during the Ministry's Annual Charity Quidditch Game, but that moment — shirtless, up close, chest heaving from the exertion of their tussle — that was the moment Draco was forced to admit not only that he wanted the Boy Who Lived, but his desire had feelings attached to it.
And oh, how he hated Potter for doing that to him.
So now all these never ending events amounted to were hours of slow torture as he watched Potter and his stupid hair and his stupid face circulate the room, not even knowing that the way he brushed his fringe back or the way his throat bobbed every time he took a drink was maddeningly attractive and was slowly driving Draco insane. Not caring in the slightest that Draco had been half hard since he entered the room tonight and saw Potter in a muggle suit of all things that hugged his arse and made him look fucking edible.
"You're glaring again, Draco."
He looked around and was met by the smirking face of his best friend.
"I've no idea what you're talking about, Nott" he replied defiantly turning away and leaning his back against the wall, looking anywhere but toward the bane of his existence.
"Oh, we're doing last names, are we?" Theo mused, joining him against the wall. "You must be in quite the mood, Malfoy. Hiding in the corner and drinking alone. What's Potter done now?"
Rather than answer, Draco took a long drink from his tumbler.
"We're feeling mature tonight, I see," Theo chuckled. "Right, no Potter talk then." He inclined his head toward the center of the room. "Hall looks good."
Draco scoffed. "Of course it looks good. I'm not in charge of the Events Committee for nothing."
"Technically, you're not in charge of it at all. Pansy is."
"Yes, well," Draco sniffed. "I haven't even seen her today. She didn't bother to show up to help set up the room, so you'll forgive me if I consider the person who actually does all the work to be the one who is in charge."
"You know," Theo said thoughtfully. "For someone who has spent the last year telling me how much he loathes these events, you spend an awful lot of time planning them."
Draco drained his glass. "Shut up, Nott," he muttered, as he scanned the room for a waiter. He had already decided he would not be getting through this night sober.
Theo laughed quietly again. "If you're wondering where Pansy is - " He gestured to one of the side doors that lead to the Auror offices, where Ron Weasley had just slipped back into the main hall, smoothing down his crumpled dress shirt.
"He should be more worried about his hair," Draco said, rolling his eyes. "Those two are so fucking obvious. You don't walk out with fucking sex hair if you want to be discreet."
They continued watching the door and a moment later, it opened again and Pansy quickly closed it behind her as she reentered the party. She paused, tousling her hair and then rearranging her dress so that her breasts sat higher.
"Discretion has never really been Pansy's strong suit though, has it?" Theo mused as she spotted them and made a beeline for their corner.
"What the fuck are you two doing skulking in a corner?" she demanded when she reached them. "This is a fucking party! You're supposed to be having a good time!"
"Are you having a good time?" Theo asked with a smirk. "We've not seen you before now, where have you been?"
"Mingling," she said flatly.
"Is that what the kids are calling it now?" he chuckled.
"Shut up Theo," she quipped, before rounding on Draco. "Why are you not talking to Kinglsey? I thought you wanted to try and get your team ahead of Potter's. You won't do that standing here like a fucking boggart in the shadows."
Draco reached out to grab another drink off a passing waiter. "Fuck off, Parkinson," he grouched. His night bad enough without Pansy reminding him of his work responsibilities.
Pansy quirked a brow at Theo.
"Last names so early on in the night? What's Potter done to put Malfoy in such a foul mood?
"I think it's the muggle suit," Theo shrugged, and Draco winced at the mention of the offending garments. "I heard some witches talking about him earlier and apparently he looks good. I wouldn't know."
"For fucks sake," Pansy shook her head, then reached out and snatched Theo's drink from him.
"Hey!" he protested as she shoved it toward Draco.
"He needs it more than you do," she said.
Draco took the drink and downed it in one gulp, ignoring the burn that followed, and then pushed the empty glass back into Theo's hands.
"Here, I don't need this." He held up his own full glass. "I already have a drink."
"Where are you going?" Pansy asked as Draco pushed away from the wall suddenly. "To talk to Kingsley?"
"Maybe," Draco shrugged, though he knew he wasn't. "But your tits are giving me a headache because they're so in my face, so I need some air before I do anything."
"You're an arsehole Draco Malfoy," she called after him as he slipped away.
"Where were you?" Harry asked as Ron sidled up to him at his table.
"Er - nowhere," Ron replied sheepishly, straightening his tie and not meeting Harry's eye. "Just - in my office. Checking something"
"Right," Harry said absently, tapping his fingers against his glass and gazing around. He hadn't particularly wanted to come tonight, but he had heard a rumour the Events Committee had booked the Weird Sisters, and he couldn't miss that. It really hadn't been too bad so far, not like he had thought it would be; he had managed to avoid Kingsley's overly flirtatious assistant, the waiters that seemed to keep popping up whenever his hand was empty were serving all of his favourite entrees and drinks, and Malfoy hadn't caused any trouble yet.
Not that he wanted to be paying attention to what Malfoy was doing. Because he didn't. He had only been keeping an eye on him tonight because it was his job to watch out for potential infractions. That Malfoy had a cleaner record than either himself or Ron these days, and that he was a respected member of the Ministry's Auror teams, and that Harry knew these things better than anyone, was... irrelevant — he might do something, and as such it was Harry's duty to pay attention to everything he did. Just in case.
He had lost sight of him a few minutes earlier, though, and now he was scanning the room trying to spot him again.
For work. Not because the way his hair was gel free and falling over his eyes tonight had Harry's stomach in knots.
"He's just ducked out," Ron said quietly from his right.
Harry whipped back around. "Who?"
"Whoever you were looking for," he shrugged.
"There you two are!" Hermione appeared at their table suddenly, out of breath and looking flustered.
"You okay?" Ron asked.
"I'm fine," she said vaguely, her eyes roaming the room as she spoke. "Draco has just gone a little over the top again with all of this." She gestured around the room. "And I've been running about avoiding Kingsley so he can't ask me why I allowed it."
The familiar jolt Harry felt when someone mentioned Malfoy was just because he was partially in Auror mode and had lost sight of him. No other reason. That was it.
"Why did you allow it?" he asked, trying to force his gaze to remain on his friends and not wander. "I mean, it's not bad, you know — for Malfoy. I like the theme being white and gold — it reminds me of the photos in my office of my parents house at Christmas. And the band will be good, but why'd you let him get away with so much?"
Hermione gave him an impatient look, but rather than answering she turned to Ron.
"Do you know where Pansy is?"
"Er - no," he said hesitantly. "Why would I know that?"
"Why is your hair such a mess?" she asked pointedly.
"What?" he blushed. "It's - I don't know. It's not."
"You two," she shook her head, "are impossible. I have to ask her about the contracts for the Ennis file and - "
"Hermione," Harry groaned. "No contract talk. It's a Christmas Party. Drink! Have fun! You deserve to relax."
"Good luck getting Parkinson to talk about work when there's free alcohol," Ron snickered quietly.
Hermione rubbed at the back of her neck. "We need that contract signed before the New Year. And because of the holidays I've been so busy all week and I've - " She stopped short, spotting Kingsley cross the room at the same time Harry did. "Oh no. I have to go."
She ducked her head and moved quickly into the crowd, disappearing a moment later.
Ron rolled his eyes. "She realises Kinglsey loves her right, and would never question her on anything?"
"Probably not," Harry grinned. "You know what she's like."
Another waiter appeared at Harry's side then, at the same moment he swallowed the last sip of his Fire Whiskey. He accepted the fresh drink and then the waiter was gone again.
"These waitstaff," he said. "They're... scarily efficient."
Ron made a face at him and held up his empty glass. "Only with you, mate. I think the Events Committee must have instructed them to keep an eye on you tonight."
"I doubt that," Harry said, wrinkling his nose. "Malfoy was in charge of tonight. If it was up to him they would probably ignore me all night. Unless he's told them to poison me."
He eyed his drink thoughtfully, and Ron snorted.
"You'd be the last person he would poison," he said emphatically.
"Right," Harry agreed, nodding. "Too obvious to go for me when everyone knows he hates me."
"Sure," Ron said sarcastically. "That's the reason."
The frigid air outside had cleared Draco's head a little and made his buzz start to recede, which was definitely not what he wanted, so he rejoined his friends, eyes flicking involuntarily around the room and settling on Potter.
"Feeling better?" Theo enquired, his tone much too casual for Draco's liking.
"I'm fine," he dismissed, narrowing his eyes when Potter's eyes met his from across the room. Potter looked away quickly, and Draco wanted to punch him in his stupid face.
"Could you at least try and enjoy tonight?" Pansy said, exasperated. "It's not often we get to dress up and have a night out like this."
"Did we not have a Halloween Ball just a few weeks ago?" Draco huffed at her.
"Exactly," Pansy cried. "That was weeks ago! You should be having a good time!"
"I'm having a great time," Draco muttered darkly. He saw Pansy give Theo a pointed look, who sighed.
"Oh, fine," he said, pushing his glass across the table to Draco. "I didn't want it anyway."
Draco drank down the burning liquor in one mouthful and then took Pansy's glass and did the same. He gave himself a slight shake as the after burn slowly receded, and he smirked at his friends.
"You're incorrigible," Theo said in mock annoyance.
Draco looked up again just in time to catch Potter watching him again. The prick was keeping tabs on him tonight, he was sure of it. He was so fucking infuriating; it didn't matter how much good work Draco did, it didn't matter that was doing his best to a good fucking person now — Potter still had a grudge and watched him like he was a fucking criminal.
His attention was pulled back to Pansy, who was glaring at him.
"Are you fucking listening to a word I say?" she demanded.
"Er - yes? I disagree with... whatever you said."
"Really?" she said flatly, crossing her arms. "You disagree that you deserve a pay raise for the work you did on the McFadden case?"
Draco flushed. "No, I - "
"For fucks sake, Draco," Theo exhaled. "Just go and talk to Potter already before you drive us mental."
Draco glared at him before stomping off, and Pansy punched Theo in the arm.
"See, this is why we don't invite you to Sunday brunches, Theo," she said irritably.
"You invite me every week, and I refuse to go," Theo corrected her. "And I will continue to refuse because all you both do is talk about how much you loathe Potter and Weasley and it's incredibly taxing on my mental health."
"Draco bitches. Why on earth would I talk about Weasley?" she asked defiantly.
Theo thrummed his fingers on the table impatiently. "Are we seriously still pretending you two aren't... mingling?"
Pansy glared at him. "I've not idea what you're talking about Theo, but if you think you'll be welcome at any more brunches you're very much mistaken. You are formally uninvited."
"Oh, how you wound me, Pans," he sighed, resting his hand over his heart. He could not fathom either of his friend's refusal to acknowledge what literally everybody else knew. They were so caught up in denial that he wasn't sure they would ever come out of it.
A flash of bushy brown hair caught his eye then, and he turned his head slightly to see Hermione heading out of the hall toward the office they had shared for the last few months. He hadn't had a chance to speak with her yet tonight and had been keeping an eye open for her all evening.
"I suppose you have to go," Pansy said, and he looked back to find her watching him with raised eyebrows. A waiter paused at their table, and he grabbed two flutes of champagne from the tray before smiling coyly at Pansy.
"Honestly Pans," he said. "I've no idea what you're talking about."
Pansy spotted Draco a little while later, stood opposite Harry and Ron at their table. By the looks of it they were arguing, but that alone was not usual. That Draco had willingly approached Harry in such a public place when Ron was there was a little more out of character.
But, she mused as she headed toward them, at least they two of them are actually communicating in some capacity.
"Draco, there you are," she cut in. She linked her arm through his and felt his weight automatically shift as he leaned into her.
"Hey, Pans." His slur had became a little more pronounced, and she noticed Harry reach out subtly to edge Draco's glass away from him. Well, dense as he seemed to be, at least he wasn't completely stupid. "I'm just talkin' to these idiots about why the Weird Sisters are awful. Wasn't my choice to book them, and Potter reckons they're really good. He's so bloody stupid."
"Fuck off, Malfoy," Harry snapped.
Pansy gave them both a nod in greeting. "Potty, Weasel."
"She-devil," Ron gave her a curt nod back, and she bit back a grin. He wasn't as funny as he thought he was. No way.
Draco laughed loudly, but then seemed to catch himself and stopped abruptly.
"Merlin, you are drunk," Pansy observed.
"Am not," Draco pouted.
"You laughed at Weasley's joke," she said dryly. "As he's the very definition not funny, either you're drunk or you're having some kind of stroke."
Draco was watching Harry, who was whispering something to Ron now.
"I was remembering something I said earlier about Potter's stupid hair," he said loudly, and Pansy almost rolled her eyes at his attempt to regain the dark haired man's attention.
"You can't lie to me sober, let alone when you reek of Fire Whiskey," she murmured into his ear, digging her fingers into his arm to try and get him to stop staring. Merlin, he was so in denial! "Reel it in a bit."
Draco stuck out his chin defiantly. "S'what if I am?" he said, eyes glued to Harry's face as he and Ron continued to whisper.
"What are you trying to do, Draco?" she sighed. She wasn't a fool; despite their jokes, she and Theo both knew how much deeper this ran for Draco. He refused to admit it, and far be it for her to tell him he had to confess anything he didn't want to, but for fucks sake — how fucking oblivious could Harry be?
Draco ignored her and continued to glare.
Frustrated, she rounded on Harry. "What did you say to him?" she demanded.
Harry's head snapped up, and he looked affronted. "Me? Why would I have anything to do with him being sloshed?" Ron shot her a brief, knowing look, and then Draco yanked his arm away from her and grabbed for the sleeve of Harry's dress shirt.
"I need to talk to you in private, Potter. Outside. Now."
"What – "
"Now!" He turned toward the doors, still gripping Harry's sleeve and dragged the bewildered man away.
"Should we follow them?" Ron asked, watching warily as Harry and Draco disappeared through the crowd. "They'll probably hex each other."
"They'll be fine," Pansy said, waving a dismissive hand. "Maybe they'll finally fuck, and I won't have to listen to Draco gripe about what an arse Potter is,"
"Yeah, but then you'll just have to listen to him talk about what an arse he has," Ron pointed out.
Pansy snorted. "That was almost funny," she conceded.
Ron grinned. "It's been known to happen." He edged around the table, so that they were stood elbow to elbow, leaning against the high table.
"How's your night been?" he asked.
"I'm at a Ministry function surrounded by idiots. I'm sure even you can do the maths."
"At least you had a good day though," he remarked suggestively. Pansy felt her cheeks warm at the reminder of the afternoon they had spent in his sheets.
"'Good' is a bit of a stretch," she murmured, as his fingers slid across the table top to stroke along the back of her hand. He ducked his head to her ear.
"You didn't seem to have too many objections when you were screaming my name," he said quietly. Pansy suppressed the shudder that threatened to ripple through her as his breath ghosted over her skin.
"I know another Ron Weasley," she replied shortly. "I was thinking of him."
He laughed, and then his tongue snaked across her lobe, and he bit down gently. She leaned into him without thought as is hand wrapped around her waist and squeezed her hip.
"Do you want to go back to my office?"
"Do you want to be any less subtle?" she said, remembering where they were and knocking his arm away.
"Is that a no?"
She glared at him, but it was for show. A moment later she had turned on her heel and was heading for the door that would lead to the Ron's office.
"Granger, what are you doing in here?"
Hermione jumped and her head snapped up, but her face relaxed into a smile when she saw Theo leaning casually against the door frame.
"Theo. Hi. You scared me."
"Sorry," he said, stepping into the room and kicking the door shut behind him. "Thought if you were sneaking away from the fun, you might need one of these." He held one of the flutes out to her, and she accepted it gratefully. He dropped into his desk chair and pushed himself into the middle of the room so they were sitting closer.
"Thank you," she smiled brightly, and he felt the familiar clench in his stomach that was reserved only for when she smiled at him like that. "It's been a long week. I wasn't particularly in the mood for a party tonight." She sipped at the champagne and made a face. "This tastes expensive."
"Yes, well," Theo chuckled. "With Draco heading up the Events Committee, what did you expect?"
Hermione took another long drink. "I warned him to stay under budget this year. He takes over from Pansy every time and always exceeds what we agree on."
"I don't think he listened. You realise he's booked the Weird Sisters to play later?"
Hermione sighed and closed her eyes. "I know," she said. "But he's... well you know why he's doing it. I felt bad for him so I approved it. But I told him he had to make cuts in other areas." She laughed dryly. "So much for that."
Theo nodded thoughtfully. "I did hear a rumour that Potter's musical preferences had recently expanded to include that particular band. I suspected that may have been Draco's motivation."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Harry is obsessed with them," she said, exasperated. "It's all he talks about — when he's not complaining about Draco, that is." She shook her head and sipped at her champagne again. "How Draco found out, I have no idea."
"Don't you?" Theo asked doubtfully. "A certain best friend of yours and a certain best friend of mine are almost definitely exchanging notes about the rest of us between their mingling."
"Mingling?" Hermione looked up at him with a puzzled look. "What do you mean? Aren't you talking about Ron and Pansy?"
"I'll explain some other time," Theo laughed, relaxing leisurely back into his chair.
"So, no Terry tonight?" he asked casually. He'd wanted to ask the moment he walked in, but they were friends now, he and Hermione, and any obvious prying would only serve to cause awkwardness between them. "I haven't seen him," he added.
Hermione blushed and ducked her head.
"No," she said. "I er – I broke up with Terry."
Theo fought not to show anything on his face, least of all the elation this news brought him. "You broke up with your boyfriend at Christmas? Harsh, Granger."
"No of course not!" she said. "It was a few weeks ago."
"You didn't say anything," Theo frowned, feeling selfish for his initial reaction. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine. I – didn't want to bother you with it," she said, abashed. "And everyone liked Terry. I didn't know how they would take it."
Theo snorted. "I'm your friend Granger. And as your friend it is my duty to tell you that he was insufferably boring, and I thought from the beginning that you could do better."
"He wasn't – "
"Hermione," Theo said, giving her a serious look. "He took you to see a mime on your first date."
Hermione bit at her lip, fighting back a smile. "Yes, but in some cultures - "
"A fucking mime, Granger."
She gave in and laughed, her head falling back as she sank into her chair and matched Theo's pose. "Well I suppose it wasn't the most exciting of dates. But he was… reliable. He was always on time."
"No wonder you couldn't keep your hands off him," Theo drawled. "What happened then? It must have been something awful to outweigh his incredible time keeping skills."
She reached over and slapped his arm playfully.
"Don't be mean," she said. "I just – I knew it wasn't going anywhere. We only dated a few weeks really. I didn't want to string him along when I knew we had no future."
"Always so sensible," Theo mused.
"You say that like it's a bad thing."
She lifted her legs and tucked them underneath herself, and Theo swallowed thickly as her dress revealed more of her thigh. He needed to get a hold of himself. Just being near her now was intoxicating. He had been in a haze since their first day working together, when she had come bounding through the door with her curls falling across her face and her eyes bright with the excitement of the successful meeting she had just come from, but he had long since accepted that as a work colleague and friend she was off limits. Unfortunately though, his body, his brain and his heart all had very different definitions of what "platonic" meant.
He lifted his glass to his lips but changed his mind and lowered it — alcohol would only lead to him making a fool of himself. His friendship with Hermione was too important to him to screw it up.
He realised he hadn't answered her and shrugged noncommittally. "It's not a bad thing, if you're balancing it out."
"My life has plenty of balance, thank you," she countered stubbornly.
Theo gave her a disbelieving look. "I've only worked with you a few months, Granger, but I am yet to see you do anything that would fall outside the category of sensible."
"I let Draco plan this ridiculous party," she offered.
"He would have done it with or without permission," Theo laughed. "And you only let him do it to make him happy and by extension to make Potter happy."
"Well they're both so miserable and won't wake up to themselves!" she exclaimed, throwing her hands up. "What do you do, anyway, that makes you so much different to me? I see you everyday, and you're just as sensible as I am."
"Ah, I have a system," Theo said with a devilish grin. "A system that ensures I'm doing things that I shouldn't every single day."
"No you don't," she scoffed. "I would have noticed."
"I think," he said, winking conspiratorially at her. "I need to teach you my secret to living a life of fulfilment."
Draco didn't let go of Harry's sleeve until they had exited the Ministry and were on the street, refusing to answer his questions or listen to his protests as he pulled him through the atrium and got outside. Harry shivered as the breeze hit him and cursed himself for leaving his coat inside. Muggle suits just didn't offer the same warmth as robes.
Wrapping his arms around himself to try and fight off the chill, he watched as Draco began pacing a few feet away, carving a path through the thick snow, a single street light the only thing illuminating the spot they stood.
"Malfoy - "
"I don't want to talk to you," Draco growled, not looking up at him.
"What are you - you dragged me out here because you wanted to talk to me!" Harry argued, hugging his arms tighter around himself.
Draco looked up and sneered at him "You just have an answer for everything, don't you Potter?"
Harry threw his hands up in frustration. "Fine! If you're going to act like a prick I'm going back in."
Draco reached out and grabbed his elbow to stop him moving away. Harry looked down at the pale hand gripping the crook of his arm and frowned. He knew Draco was quite drunk, he had seen how much he had been drinking all night, but even so, it didn't explain his odd behaviour now. If he wanted to be a prick he could do that in front of everyone else, like he normally did.
Draco wasn't looking at him, focused instead on a spot behind Harry on the street, which was fortunate because Harry couldn't drag his eyes from the other man's face. The urge to reach up and push the blonde hair back off Draco's forehead was strong, but that was absurd. He shivered again, though he wasn't sure if it was from the cold this time.
"I've never been skiing," Draco said suddenly, letting go of Harry's arm and stepping back from him. Harry's frown deepened as Draco stared at the ground and kicked at the snow with the point of his black shoes.
"Er – okay. Neither have I," Harry said slowly.
Draco let out a humourless laugh. "Oh please. Don't pretend you don't have every opportunity to ski whenever you want to."
"I guess there have been opportunities," Harry agreed, though he was still confused. "I guess I've just never really wanted to go."
"For Merlin's sake!" Draco exclaimed, running a hand through his hair. "I'm not actually talking about skiing!"
"Then what are you - "
"It's a metaphor, Potter!" Draco sighed dramatically, digging his hands into the deep pockets of his robes.
"A metaphor for what?"
Draco huffed. "For… I don't know! My life!"
"It's a terrible metaphor. I don't even know what you mean," Harry grumbled.
"You probably don't even know what a metaphor is," Draco muttered.
"Look," Harry said indignantly. "You dragged me out here to talk. If you just wanted to be confusing and insult me you could have done that in there," he pointed back to the Ministry's visitor entrance. "But if you're just going to talk rubbish, I'm leaving."
"Fine!" Draco scowled. "If you insist on knowing everything, I'm angry at you."
Harry just rolled his eyes, wondering if he should just leave before it started snowing. "What else is new? What have I done now to wrong you, Malfoy?"
"You know what you did, Potter!" Draco said, swaying slightly when he reached out to jab Harry's chest with his finger.
"I really have no – "
"You stole it!" Draco exclaimed furiously.
"What? I didn't steal anything from you!" Harry argued angrily. "I would never - "
"Phoenix!" Draco said, jabbing his finger into Harry's chest again and making him wince. "Your team's code name is Phoenix, and I wanted that name for my team, but you took it first! Just like you take everything you want without thinking about anyone else and how it affects them!"
Harry gaped at him. "What the fuck are you talking about?" he demanded. "How could I have possibly known you wanted that name?"
"Oh, you knew," Draco said darkly, glaring.
"I did not!" Harry protested. "And that was three years ago! Are you honestly shitty about a team name I didn't even know you wanted from that long ago?" Draco opened his mouth and Harry put his hands up and quickly cut him off. "I swear on my life, Malfoy, if you say it's a metaphor I will fucking walk away right now."
Harry saw the corners of Draco's lips quirk. "An analogy?"
"No," Harry growled.
He rolled his eyes. "Not really applicable, Malfoy,"
"Symbolism," Draco crowed triumphantly, swaying again. "That's it, that's what it is. You stealing my name is symbolism."
"It's really not – "
"Shush, Potter!" he lumbered forward and clamped a hand over Harry's mouth, stumbling as he did so that they ended with their chests pressed together.
Harry reached out instinctively and his hands ended up resting on Draco's hips as he steadied him.
"Christ, Malfoy," Harry said, trying desperately to ignore that his body did not object at all to Draco's body being pressed up flush against his own. "How much have you had to drink?"
Draco's hands had dropped to Harry's shoulders, and his eyes were dark as he stared at Harry with a strange expression. Harry swallowed thickly, and his heart began to race, but then Draco sighed and pulled away. Harry immediately missed the warmth he hadn't realised Draco was giving him.
"Not enough apparently," Draco said, sinking down to sit on the curb, his head resting on his knees.
Hermione shot out of her seat suddenly. "Oh my god, I completely forgot!"
"What did you forget?" Theo asked, amused. She was digging through her bottom drawer, and her arm suddenly disappeared up to her shoulder. "You have quite a fondness for Undetectable Extension Charms don't you?" he said, thinking of the small bag she carried with her everywhere.
She grinned over her shoulder at him.
"They're one of my specialties. Hah! I knew I had it!"
She sat back and revealed a dusty bottle of Elf Wine.
"How is this for sensible? I bet you don't keep alcohol in your drawers!" she said smugly.
"Is that even yours?" he asked skeptically. "It looks like it's been there for years."
"It may or may not have belonged to Stephanie Thistlefoot back when she had this office," she admitted. "From what I've been told, she was quite fond of a glass of Elf Wine or two while she was working. I suppose she forgot about it when she moved departments, but the Statute of Limitations clearly dictates that it's mine now. It doesn't go bad either; I've looked into it." She pulled out her wand and summoned two glasses. "The point is," she continued, setting the glasses on the carpet in front of her. "I kept it in my drawer all this time, and now we're going to drink it all, right here, and it will be completely unsensible."
She waved her wand again and the cork popped out. She grinned triumphantly at Theo and then poured two generous glasses.
"I'm not sure this counts," he laughed. "And unsensible isn't even a word."
"Theodore," she said seriously, setting the open bottle down. "You are ruining the atmosphere with your know-it-all prattishness. Get down here immediately and be unsensible with me."
Theo obediently slid off his chair and sank to the floor, choosing not to point out the irony in her words, and scooted over to her. She held up one of the glasses and offered it to him.
"I wasn't going to to drink too much tonight, you know," he said as he accepted the glass. "You're a terrible influence."
A laugh bubbled from her lips. "No one ever calls me that," she said.
"I feel honoured." He raised his glass to clink against hers. "To being unsensible."
She grinned. "To being unsensible."
He kept his eyes on her as she drank, watched the way she tipped her head back and exposed her slender neck, watched the satisfied smile that played on her lips as she lowered her glass, and he felt the tightness in his chest intensify.
"Are you going to tell me then?" she asked, breaking him from his reverie.
"Tell you what?"
"What it is you do everyday that you shouldn't. Your secret to living a life of fulfilment." She kicked off her high heels and stretched her legs out, leaning back on her hands. "You can't tell me you possess such profound knowledge and then keep it from me!"
"Ah," Theo smirked. "Well, it's a rather simple formula. Obviously it would differ for every person, but my personal key to happiness is to ensure I do at least three things a day to dishonour my father."
She laughed. "Are you serious? How does that - what do you even mean?"
"It's surprisingly difficult to think of new things every day," he said. "Being a constant disappointment isn't easy. You should be thoroughly impressed that since I began on this path, I'm yet to fail."
"But," she said hesitantly, twisting an errant curl through her fingers. "He's in Azkaban. He wouldn't know what you're doing, would he?"
"No," Theo agreed. "But I know. And knowing that I'm doing everything in my power everyday to go against the things he stood for is more satisfying than you can imagine."
A slow smile spread across her face. "What have you done today?" she asked curiously.
Theo grinned mischievously. "I encouraged Draco to talk to Potter about how he feels."
"Draco and Harry working out their issues would upset your father?" she laughed.
"Encouraging someone from the noble Malfoy family to pursue the very reason his beloved Dark Lord was destroyed would not bode well with him."
"Ah, of course," Hermione nodded.
"And on a more personal level," he added with a smirk. "I'm getting quite tired of the dance they're doing around each other, so it's also me being a little selfish in wishing they would just stop pretending that they don't want to shag."
Hermione snorted into her glass. "Do you think they will be more or less tolerable when they finally get their acts together?"
"You'd think they'd get easier to be around once they're able to relieve all their tension with angry hate sex," Theo said. "But those two never seem to do things the way other people do."
"Ron and Pansy are more tolerable now, I think," she said thoughtfully.
"I love that they think their discreet," Theo hummed.
She scoffed. "They both posses all the subtlety of a niffler in a gold shop. I think the only one who hasn't caught on is Harry."
"Does it bother you much that our saviour is so exceedingly dense?"
"Hey!" Hermione chided, tossing the cork from the bottle at him. "He's not dense. He's a brilliant auror!"
Theo grinned at her, twisting the cork in his fingers. "Can defeat London's worst criminals with next to no effort, can't notice his best mate eye fucking someone right in front of him."
"I think he's just too focused on Draco to be aware of any other relationships happening right in front of him."
"Oh, don't call it a relationship around Pansy," Theo warned. "I learned that the hard way recently."
"But they're practically dating!"
"Yes, but they don't know that."
Hermione burst out laughing, and once she started, Theo couldn't stop himself from joining in. They laughed until they were both clutching their aching stomachs, their eyes watering and their chests heaving.
"Honestly," Hermione choked out, reaching for her Elf Wine again as she caught her breath. "Having to deal with those four, its no wonder we've been driven to drinking alone in our office."
Theo couldn't help but be silently grateful to his friends.
"You're being... odd tonight," Harry said, dropping down to crouch beside Draco on the curb. The breeze had picked up and the air had a new bite to it; he thought it would probably start snowing again soon. He was probably going to end up sick after this, yet despite his doubts he couldn't bring himself to go back inside just yet.
"Yes, well you've been watching me tonight," Draco bit back, his voice muffled by his hands over his face.
Harry's cheeked burned even through the increasing cold of the wind. He had thought he had been quite discreet in his scrutiny, but he should have known better; Draco didn't lead one half of the Aurors for nothing.
"I haven't - "
"Yes you have," Draco said, lifting his head to glare at Harry. "You've been watching me because you think I'm a terrible person who does terrible things, and that's all you've ever thought of me, and it seems like nothing I do can change your mind."
Harry swallowed and stood up abruptly, the cold space between them suddenly not enough distance.
"Malfoy, I don't - "
"Please at least have the decency not to try and deny it, Potter," Draco snapped.
Harry gnawed his lip, staring at Draco's back as an uncomfortable tightness settled in his stomach. Because he had been thinking those things — that Draco was up to something — but he'd known, even if he wouldn't admit it before, that his obsession was not really a result of him thinking badly of him. He knew that the fire he felt burning through him every time Draco caught him staring was hardly from anger at all.
Draco jumped up again suddenly, shrugging out of the thick black cloak he was wearing.
"Fucking here!" He barked as he thrust it into Harry's hands.
Harry looked from the cloak to Draco. "What are you - "
"I can't stand listening to your fucking teeth chattering anymore!" Draco snapped. "Put it on!"
"We could just go inside," Harry suggested.
"Go if you want to, I don't care."
Harry didn't move, running the expensive fabric through his fingers.
"Won't you be cold?" he asked tentatively, because it was tempting, so tempting to slip the cloak on and be surrounded by something that would no doubt smell of him.
"I barely feel the cold," Draco said dismissively. "Put the fucking thing on if you're not leaving!"
Harry hesitated a moment longer and then wrapped the cloak around his shoulders. He was immediately enveloped by warmth and the strong, woodsy scent that he associated with Draco. He inhaled deeply, and then flushed when he realised Draco was still watching him curiously, a tinge of colour touching his own usually pale cheeks.
"Malfoy," Harry said, his breath hitching slightly. He cleared his throat, tugging the cloak more tightly around him to give him something to do with his hands. "Why did you want me to come out here?"
Draco hadn't taken his eyes from Harry's face, his usual sneer missing, replaced with a look of longing that Harry was sure was mirrored in his own features.
"Why did you follow me?" he countered, taking a step forward.
"You didn't give me much choice," Harry said, laughing nervously.
"You could have gotten away from me if you really wanted to, couldn't you?" Draco's voice was low and husky. It sent a shudder through Harry's body, and he nodded.
"Are you still cold?" Draco asked.
"I - no, I - "
"Here. Open the cloak."
Harry obeyed without thought and Draco stepped right up to him, his arms snaking around Harry's middle and the smell of Fire Whiskey on his breath, and Harry instinctively wrapped the cloak around Draco's back.
Draco's face was just inches from his, and he felt warmer already.
"I don't think those things about you," Harry admitted quietly, needing to say something, anything, to keep from losing self control when he had Draco pressed against him again. "The things you said before. I wanted to. It made it easier. But I knew I was just... lying to myself."
"What do you think then?" Draco whispered, his warm breath tickling Harry's lips as a gust of wind whipped his hair back from his face. Harry inhaled deeply; his brain had stopped working, everything else had ceased existing. The only real thing in the world right now was this spot, under the streetlight with his fingers digging into Draco's back, and then he was closing the distance between them.
"You still need two more things," Hermione said, passing Theo the wine. They had given up on the glasses and instead opted to drink the Elf Wine directly from the bottle. It felt decidedly more reckless.
Theo took it from her, taking a long drink. "What are you talking about?" he asked, hastily wiping away a trickle of the wine that landed on his chin.
"You said you do three things every day to dishonour your father, but you've only done one so far – you need another two."
"Ah, you're right." He checked his watch. "It's already 11:30, though. I think today might be my first failure."
Hermione scrambled to her feet.
"No, no, no, you can't fail!" she exclaimed. "I'll help you! We can think of two things! In the name of life fulfillment, we have to make sure you do all three things!"
Theo grinned at her. "You really are feeling insensible tonight, aren't you?"
Hermione held up the now close to empty wine bottle. "I think my friend here might have something to do with it," she giggled. In truth, a lot of her current euphoria was to do with the man sitting on the floor in front of her and the excitement she felt whenever she was with him, but she was a professional, and that would be inappropriate.
"What did you have in mind?" he asked, rolling his shoulders as he stood up. Hermione's eyes lingered on the way the cotton of his shirt strained against his biceps when he stretched, before spinning around and pulling one her drawers open again.
"What are you looking for?" Theo asked from behind her. She pushed aside a few books and a couple of loose pieces of parchment and then found the faded tin and collection of badges.
"These!" she said gleefully. She handed Theo a badge.
"What is S.P.E.W?" he asked, looking warily at her. "Merlin, if you're going to be sick - "
Hermione laughed. "I'm not that much of a lightweight," she said. "S.P.E.W was a foundation I started back in Hogwarts. It stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare and was dedicated to trying to ensure house elves were receiving the basic rights they deserved." She reached for the pin in Theo's hand and undid the clasp. "I thought," she said, as she pinned it to his shirt. "That I could induct you as an official member."
Theo looked down at the badge on his collar and then let out a loud, throaty laugh.
"Oh, that's perfect," he trilled. "My father hates magical creatures. I am more than willing to join your noble cause, Granger." He gave her a mock salute. "What's the tin for?"
"This," she explained, picking up the old can. "Was my donation box, and I - "
She broke off as Theo whirled away from her and dove his hand into his robes, which had been discarded across his desk earlier. He pulled out an expensive moleskin pouch and held it out to her.
"Here," he said, pushing it into her hands.
Hermione grasped the pouch. "Theo this is - this is really heavy. How much is in here?"
"I've no idea, but don't worry about it," he grinned. "Donate it to whichever foundation you like that promotes magical creature welfare, and let me rest easy knowing I've not only helped you, but helped fund a cause that would make my father seethe."
Hermione opened her mouth and closed it again, regarding the man in front of her for a long moment. She had been so nervous back when she first heard they would be working together and sharing an office, but within hours of his first day they had established an easy rapport. Their friendship seemed to develop so naturally and now he was one of her favourite people. He was funny and kind and gentle, and while she wasn't sure if she should tell him the truth about Terry, it was becoming more and more difficult to ignore the mounting affection she felt for him that had prompted her to instigate the break up in the first place.
"Well," she finally said, a smile creeping back across her face. "Just one thing to go then."
"Fuck," Pansy panted, brushing her hair back from her forehead. "Not bad, Weasley. Not bad at all."
Ron chuckled as he rebuckled his belt. He pulled his shirt back on and started to redo the buttons, but Pansy stepped in front of him and knocked his hands away.
"Thanks," he murmured as she did them up for him. She smiled at him, one of the rare, real smiles that only he ever got to see. When she looked at him like that, when she let him see how she really felt, all his questions, all the uncertainty, it all fell away, and he just knew.
He threaded his hand through the soft hair at the nape of her neck and pulled her lips to his. She pressed her hands to his chest and her fingers curled into the fabric of his shirt as his other hand held her hip.
Kissing her was becoming as vital to him as air. Everything was — the taste of her lips, that she could keep up with his banter, the way she was so unapologetically herself. She was so under his skin now that he craved and needed her more than anything else.
When they broke apart, she stepped away from him and began searching for her shoes.
"Your office is filthy," she commented, moving aside a mess of parchment that had been scattered on the floor in their haste.
He retrieved his wand to put everything back where it belonged. "If you wanted the place tidy you shouldn't have insisted we use my desk."
"That was the first time," she said, retrieving her heels and slipping them back on. "You wanted to use it this time."
Ron watched her as she smoothed her hair back down, incredibly tempted to reach out and just mess it up again.
"What, Weasley?" she said irritably when she looked up and noticed him looking at her. "Why are you staring?"
He hesitated. "Are your friends... do they know about this?" he asked slowly.
She scoffed. "My friends know nothing about anything."
Ron raised an eyebrow at her, and her face softened.
"Yes, okay. Maybe. I don't know," she sighed. "They've suggested they might be aware of something, but I don't know exactly what they think." She pulled a face. "Theo is so wrapped up in wanting to impress Ganger, and Draco is busy lusting over Potter, so I'm surprised they notice anything else."
"Hmm," he murmured, leaning back on his desk, fiddling with his wand.
"What is it, Weasley?"
"I don't want this to be secret anymore," he said, hearing a strength in his voice that somehow masked the way the rest of him shook. If she walked away now, fuck, he didn't know what he would do. "I want people to know that we're together."
"Fine," she said curtly. He looked up.
"Does sex affect your hearing? I said fine. We won't be a secret anymore."
"You don't mind everyone knowing?"
"For fucks sake, Weasley," she said throwing her hands up. "Who are we kidding? We both know they all know. Except maybe Potter."
He reached for her, pulling her to stand between his legs and wrapped his arms around her waist, resting his head against her chest.
"Does this make you my girlfriend then? Officially?"
He couldn't see it, but he could practically feel her rolling her eyes.
"Are you a fourteen year old girl?" she scoffed, running her hands over his shoulders.
"Are you my girlfriend or not?" he said, cupping her arse and pulling her flush against him.
"Obviously I am," she said. "Which means if that assistant of Kingley's keeps flirting with you I'll have to hex her face off."
Ron laughed, and then relaxed against her as she ran her fingers slowly through his hair.
"We should get back," he sighed softly.
"Not yet," she said, pressing a kiss to his forehead. "Let's just... stay here for a bit longer. This is nice."
"You're going soft, Parkinson," he murmured.
"Fuck off, Weasley," she sighed contently.
Draco pulled back abruptly and Harry very nearly groaned.
"The Weird Sisters will be starting any minute," he said, studying Harry's face intently.
"So?" Harry replied, thrown by Draco's sudden distance. They were still wrapped together, and the wind was howling forcefully now, but Harry didn't want to move. Didn't want Draco to move.
"You're not going to go and watch them?" Draco said. "Don't you love them?
His fingers were stroking deftly along Harry's spine, and it was such a nice feeling that he wasn't sure he could be the one to pull apart even if he wanted to.
"Yeah, I do, but I... Wait how do you know that?"
"Because I have fucking ears," Draco said quickly. "And you've spent the last four weeks nattering on about them."
"Oh," Harry frowned, a strange idea forming in his head. "Is that - I mean, that's not why you booked them is it?"
Draco scoffed. "You think pretty highly of yourself, don't you?"
Harry flushed. "I - yeah, sorry. That was stupid."
A muscle was working in Draco's jaw.
"What's wrong?" Harry asked. Surely he wasn't reading this wrong. Surely not.
"It's not - it's not completely stupid."
Harry processed this for a moment, and then a smirk spread across his face as the words sank in.
"Don't you dare say a word," Draco warned, but Harry couldn't stop his grin. "Do you want to go in or not?"
"I'd rather stay here, actually," Harry said, and feeling bold, reached his palm up to cup Draco's cheek. His pale skin was icy cold, and Harry heard his breath hitch in his throat.
"Wait," Draco said quickly, causing Harry to actually let out a growl of frustration this time. "There's no mistletoe."
"What are you talking about?" Harry sighed impatiently, his thumb stroking lightly over Draco's skin.
"There has to be mistletoe!" Draco insisted. "It's Christmas, and it symbolizes everything that we - "
"Oh my god, Malfoy, fucking here!" Harry let go of Draco and pulled out his wand. Above them a sprig of mistletoe appeared. "Better?"
Draco just stared at him.
"If you say you want candles or a fucking poem, or start spouting off metaphors I'm not – "
Draco kissed him then, and any other thoughts were drowned out by the sudden rush that tore through Harry as cold lips pressed to his, warming him instantly.
Theo lifted his wrist and glanced at his watch again. "11:58, Granger" he said, dropping his arm back to the ground. "It was a solid attempt, but I'm calling it."
He tipped his head to the side, where she was laying beside him on the carpeted floor.
"But we can't just give up!" she insisted, rolling onto her side to face him and propping herself up on one elbow. "There must be something we can do!"
Theo smiled. "You already helped me with the second thing for today. And you're the first person who's ever helped me with this, so in a way that one thing counts for even more."
She was studying his face, just inches away from him, and he closed his eyes.
Don't make a fool of yourself, he reminded himself. This had been one of the most perfect fucking nights of his life, and he'd be damned if he ruined it right now by doing something stupid.
He opened his eyes, and she was still looking, her deep brown eyes watching him studiously.
"It's honestly fine," he said softly. "If that's what you're worried about, I - "
She closed the distance between them in half a second and was kissing him before he knew what was happening. Her lips pressed to his, the faintest hints of wine and something sweet reaching him as melted under her touch. His tongue swiped along her lip, and then she was opening her mouth as she rolled onto her back, and he was hovering over her, one hand cupping her cheek and hers both buried in his hair.
It was slow and purposeful, the kind of kiss that made his stomach swoop and his heart race. He had thought about it before, what kissing her would be like, fantasized about taking her in his arms and trying to make her feel half the happiness she gave to him without even meaning to, but this exceeded anything his simple mind had been able to imagine.
She broke away first, grabbing his wrist and checking his watch, which he could see had just ticked over to midnight.
"You did it," she declared triumphantly. "Three things before the day was out. I guarantee on a list of things that would disappoint your father, snogging Harry Potter's muggle born best friend would be way up there."
Theo swallowed thickly, pulling himself off her and sitting back, hoping the disappointment he felt wasn't showing, because of course that was why she had done it. He was stupid, foolish, utterly naive to think she would -
"Theo?" she said, sitting up and reaching for his hand. She laced their finger together. "I didn't - that wasn't just because of your dad. I mean, I wanted to. To kiss you I mean."
His chest swelled. "You did?"
She nodded. "We could – " she hesitated. "We could head back to my flat," she smiled sheepishly. "Get started on Sunday's three disappointments? I mean, only if you want – "
He kissed her again, harder this time, urgently, hungrily.
"Yes, Granger," he growled, pulling her to her feet. "Yes, I fucking want."
Kingsley sipped at his Butterbeer, tapping his foot rhythmically as the Weird Sisters started another song. He made a mental note to ask someone where he could get a copy of their record - it was a little loud, but he was rather enjoying the music.
It had, overall, been a hugely successful night. It seemed that everyone was having a good time, including (much to his amusement) the six people he was quite certain had not wanted to be here tonight at all.
Only minutes earlier his gaze had fallen on the door leading to the Auror offices, and Ronald Weasley and Pansy Parkinson had exited, heading for the Floo. Pausing before they stepped into the flames, she had stood on her toes to reach up and kiss him, catching the attention of several surprised onlookers. Just a few moments after they had disappeared, Hermione Granger and Theodore Nott had been spotted darting through the crowd, hand in hand and laughing as they went. He lost sight of them as they wove through people, but then his attention was captured by Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy appearing on the dance floor in front of the stage, arms wrapped securely around one another. Harry had leaned his head to Draco's ear, who scowled at whatever he heard, but then he had pressed a chaste kiss to Harry's lips, and a reluctant grin spread across his face.
Kinglsey smiled into his glass. Of course, as Minister for Magic he was not one to partake in the triviality of idle gossip, but he was quite pleased that the worst kept secrets in the Ministry were finally out in the open. Christmas really was a time for miracles.
A/N - You should see my house right now - it looks like Santa threw up on it, there is sooo much Christmassy goodness everywhere :D
Sending huge thanks to my wonderful beta dragonsandotters, who so graciously deals with the mess that is my writing and makes it readable, and who is forever kicking my arse when I'm being ridiculously hard on myself, and also thanks to aurorarsinistra, who is so incredibly kind and made the most stunning aesthetic for this story, which you can find on tumblr: jadepresely dot tumblr dot com
Make sure you go and check out her blog so you can gush along with me at all the amazing aesthetics she creates aurorarsinistra dot tumbr dot com
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