Serpentes by xErised


The past few days have been exhausting.

A groggy Bacon slips off Harry's body and goes to his basket at once. They've just Apparated home from the office without even stopping for dinner. Harry strips off his Auror uniform and heads straight for the shower.

Things have moved fast since that last night in Serpentes — the Aurors had raided the club and obtained all the proof that they needed. The interviews with the snakes — after they've had the drugs flushed out of their systems — had proved to be surprisingly useful. Since the Aurors have been tracking Pietro Labelle ever since Harry identified him from photographs, they've finally managed to capture him and two other associates in one fell swoop just hours ago.

Despite all of the furore, Harry had also assigned two junior Aurors to keep a discreet eye on Malfoy in case any of Labelle's lackeys decided to come after him.

Parvati, Kingsley and a few members of the Magical Creatures Department are currently hatching a plan to round up the other criminals, but Kingsley had taken one look at Harry and kicked him out of the office to get some rest.

Harry steps out of the shower to see Bacon on his bed.

"Are you going to see him tonight?" The snake asks, bouncing eagerly.

It's strange how the thought of Malfoy scrubs away some of Harry's weariness.

"Um," Harry hedges, buying for time while he pulls on a sweater and jeans. He's not sure what's going to happen when Malfoy sees him in his own body. "It's pretty late and I wouldn't want to-"

"Harry, it's eight in the evening. Even children aren't in bed at this time. "

Harry, suddenly flustered, escapes to his kitchen with Bacon dogging his steps the entire way.

"Finally, someone comes along who isn't like a chopped Flobberworm, and here you are, hemming and hawing. I still don't know why you're hesitating — he knew it was you and he kissed you anyway, and judging by how much you touched yourself that night it was a pretty damn good kiss!"

"I told you to stop watching me!"

"I didn't watch you, I've got better things to do with my time," Bacon sniffs. "It's not my fault that you sound like a wounded Hippogriff when you're touching yourself!"

Harry lets out a scandalised gasp as his head pops up from the open fridge.

"I do not sound like that!"

Bacon slithers over to peek in the fridge and draws back to look at Harry, his eyes narrowing in glee.

"I see you've got nothing to eat. What a great opportunity to ask him out for dinner!" Bacon declares and he's off, snapping away at Harry's heels, chivvying him out of the kitchen and towards his coat-stand. "And don't tell me you're not curious about how he figured you out!"

Well, yeah, Harry has been wondering about that.

"Off you go! What would your dull, drab love life be like without me?" Bacon says, sighing theatrically.

"A lot less bloody dramatic, I'd think!" Harry huffs, shrugging his coat on.

Besides, Harry owes Malfoy breakfast the morning after — his brain supplies helpfully — and er, Harry's always a man of his word.

With Bacon sending him off with a cheery wave of his tail, Harry Apparates to Malfoy's front door and knocks.

The door opens, and Malfoy's right there. Once again, Harry detects that whiff of cherries and vanilla that remind him of designer lips and breathless kisses. Upon seeing Harry, Malfoy blinks in mild surprise.

"Are you here on official or unofficial business?" Malfoy asks, one corner of his lips hooking up in a predatory smile, but Harry can see a tinge of worry in grey eyes.

Harry's eyes dart to Malfoy's mouth.

"Unofficial. Definitely unofficial."

"Come in then."

Harry closes the door behind him and turns to face Malfoy. "Why did you help me?" He asks without any preamble. "I overheard the conversation that you had with Labelle when he told you that I was on the case."

Instead of answering, Malfoy chuckles dryly and Summons a bottle of wine and a glass. He settles on the couch and makes a good show of pouring the wine out. Swirling his glass slowly, Malfoy places his chin in his palm and rakes his eyes all over Harry, as if he's seeing Harry for the first time.

It's like the auditions all over again. Harry frowns and takes a step closer, refusing to let Malfoy have the upper hand in this power play.

"It's because of your mother, isn't it?"

"Going straight to business, I see. I don't mind, if it means we get to have fun sooner rather than later," Malfoy murmurs, taking a long gulp of wine and licking his lips deliberately.

Harry feels his body reacting to Malfoy's words and that swipe of pink tongue over his lips.

"Yes, my mother's not well. I've been keeping it under control with home-made potions, but she's... taken a turn for the worse lately. She needs St. Mungo's, but they barely gave us the time of the day," Draco explains, his voice getting softer with every word. He looks away from Harry's indignant expression and toys with his earring.

"Don't be so surprised, Potter," Malfoy says, looking back at Harry and sneering. "That's how life is for us. Sure, men love the whole bad-boy act, but off the stage and out of the costumes, that's how it is, and that's how I've learnt to live."

Malfoy's chin juts with resolve, and despite his words, Harry can still see that strong veneer of Malfoy pride — brittle and maybe just a little bit broken at the edges, but still there, and this only attracts Harry even more.

Harry sits down cautiously on the sofa.

"So you really didn't have anything to do with the trafficking?"

Draco shakes his head.

"He asked me if I wanted in, of course. He knew my history, knew that Death Eaters did some potion and poison trafficking on the side. I refused. He wasn't happy, but he probably saw the novelty in having a Death Eater strip for his club," Draco laughs mirthlessly. "He hired me eventually, but with the additional stipulation of granting me ownership of the club on paper.

"Imagine my luck when he told me that you were in charge of this. If it had been any other Auror, they would have locked me up in a heartbeat. I can't leave London, not with my mother in this condition, but neither could I stay, so you were my best bet. I helped you, and you, in turn, will help my mother get treated at St. Mungo's," Malfoy smirks at Harry, angling his body towards Harry. "Never knew that Gryffindor integrity would end up in my favour one day."

"I would call this manipulation, Malfoy," Harry snarls, his fists bunching up. Again, Harry finds himself wondering about Malfoy's character, which still seems to be as grey as his eyes.

"Manipulation," Malfoy parrots and places his wine on the coffee table. "Such a... crass word. It's just a matter of helping each other out. Without me, you would have taken ages more to solve your case."

Harry isn't sure whether he'd like to kiss or punch that satisfied smirk off Malfoy's face.

"We'll still have to question you," Harry says, trying to suppress a spike of anger.

"That's alright. I have nothing to hide. I just have one last request of you," Malfoy says, his smirk fading as he looks down and fiddles with the corners of a cushion. "You've sent Aurors after me. Not to arrest me, but to watch over me, haven't you? You didn't have to do that, but I... appreciate it. I also know names involved in the trafficking ring, more names that I'm sure would have escaped your notice. Grant my mother and I further protection, and I will give you information. Can you promise me that?"

Harry nods tightly.

"Good. I can assure you of one thing: the others — Matthew, Alex, Jacob — have nothing to do with this."

Harry thinks back to the easy manner that Malfoy interacts with them, and he realises that they're the closest that Malfoy's had to friends.

"Did you think I had any other reason for helping you?" Malfoy asks, looking curious.

Harry blinks.

"I thought that maybe... you wanted to do something right?" Harry tries uncertainly. Apparently this isn't the right thing to say at all, for Draco's eyes flash angrily.

"You think I'm looking for redemption? I've paid for my mistakes! I've paid by starting from the bottom on the stripper pole, getting pawed at, mocked at for my scars! I've paid by having the Mark branded on me, my family name dragged through the mud, and this!" Draco shouts, yanking his collar down and clawing at the Azkaban serial number. "The truth of the matter is that I'm a stripper, Potter! I bare my body for strangers to drool over. Hardly a respectable profession for the last Malfoy heir."

"I didn't mean-"

"Of course you didn't, Saint Potter! There you go in your fancy Auror robes and your perfect life and perfect friends! No one spits at you when you walk down the streets, no one refuses you service when you're at a shop. You can get any job you want, but you've signed up for a life of catching criminals and locking them up, oh I'm sure the wizarding world sleeps better at night knowing that the great Harry Potter is looking over them! Must be easy being you, isn't it, life divvied up into black or white, good or bad people!"

This is the first time in a long time that anyone's spoken to Harry like this.

And he loves it, loves this sear of challenge and this cocktail of red-hot anger and lust bubbling up within him.

This is something that only Malfoy can give.

Harry loves that he's the one to break Malfoy's polished, pristine composure, revealing this glimpse of Malfoy from the past.

"Is this what you really think of me?" Harry says softly, trying to rein in his own annoyance, because being an Auror has taught Harry that life isn't black or white, good or bad, in fact, it's the exact opposite-

Malfoy smiles tersely — a smile chained behind gritted teeth and sealed lips.

"I apologise for my outburst. I think... you should go. I'll be awaiting word from the Aurors," Malfoy says, retreating into politeness and tugging on his earring again.

Harry could think of ten reasons off the top of his head saying that it'll be a terrible idea to pursue something with Malfoy, but Harry isn't going to leave, can't leave now, because in the past few weeks, they've unleashed something between them — something like a runaway train that's already left the station with no possibility of turning back.

"I'm not done with you yet, Malfoy. Not even close," Harry moves closer to Malfoy. "You knew it was me."

This is the second time in his life that Harry has said this to Malfoy.

Malfoy suddenly grins. "Bet you've been going mad trying to figure it out, haven't you?"

Harry pulls a dumb look onto his face, biting back a smile. They've both changed throughout the years, but Harry knows that Malfoy would never miss a chance to lord anything over him.

"It wasn't that difficult, actually, ever since I knew you were involved. I was thinking over Labelle's words, and I found it strange that there hasn't been any overt raid or surveillance on the club — if there was, my guards would have told me at once. So either nothing was happening, or someone was working undercover, probably someone new. That was when I started noticing Dan properly. He had no references, and he was particularly good with snakes, as if he could talk to them.

"I had brushed it off at first because there's no way you could dance like that, but if you had one of the snakes, it could have taught you some things. I noticed small things here and there that were easily dismissible, but when you put them together, it fits," Malfoy says, counting them off his fingers as he warms up to his theme. "Polyjuice hides the way one looks, but not how one moves and talks and acts. You're too clumsy off the stage, banging your ankle on table legs and knocking things over, as if your body is too big for you.

"You still rub the back of your neck when you're embarrassed. I noticed it dozens of times in Hogwarts — for example, when you were reading gossip about yourself in the Prophet and when your friends make fun of you. When you're caught in a tight spot, your eyes dart to the left, drop and then look back up before you fumble an answer. Your hand keeps nudging your nose, as if you're adjusting glasses that aren't there. The way you run your fingers through your hair, exactly the same. Your hair still looks as if a small baby bird could fly out of it any moment," Draco says, wrinkling his nose as his eyes snag on Harry's hair. "I would have thought that if you were under Polyjuice, that would be the first thing you'd change."

Harry has no time to feel indignant before Malfoy powers on.

Draco's gaze drops to Harry's eyes. "It doesn't matter what colour your eyes are, you've always had that intense stare, like how you look like when we're fighting. When you eat, your drink's always on your left — doesn't matter whether it's wine or pumpkin juice — and your main meal in the middle and dessert — always treacle tart — on your right."

"You remembered that my favourite dessert is treacle tart?"

"Potter, everyone and their grandmother knows that you love treacle tart," Draco says, waving a hand dismissively. "If there are different things on your plate, you always eat them in proportion. That's why I cooked three things that night: pasta, chicken and vegetables. I was waiting for you to excuse yourself to drink Polyjuice after an hour, but I reckoned that the Ministry would have Polyjuice with longer durations.

"I returned to the office after you tried to break in, and sure enough, the security spells had been tampered with. That's how I knew that you had discovered the safe and needed the key-code."

"With those skills of observation, you should have been an Auror."

Malfoy scowls. "You still don't get it, do you, Potter? It works only on you."

Malfoy must have known how that sounds, because he immediately blushes a bright red.

"I didn't know you've been admiring me so much from a distance," Harry says coyly and closes the distance between them on the sofa. "I've been watching you too, you know."

Malfoy looks wonderfully cornered.

Harry smiles, loving that he has the upper hand now.

"When I sent you home after the pub, I watched you."

"W-Watch me?"

"I watched you as you touched yourself. How long have you been thinking about me like this?"

Draco tries a dismissive laugh, but it comes out rather strangled.

"It was just that one night-"

"Rubbish. You moaned my name too easily for that to be the first time. You wanna know something, Malfoy? Ever since then, I can't stop thinking about you in that way too," Harry admits. "So when did it start, hmmm?"

Malfoy's fiddling with the pillows again and he refuses to meet Harry's eye.

"Fifth year. The year you got hot," he whispers.

"What?!"Harry squawks.

Malfoy looks incredulous.

"You didn't know? You didn't notice how all the girls and some of the boys were looking at you like they wanted you for dessert?"

"I thought it was because of the Triwizard Tournament the year before, I didn't..." Harry casts his mind back. Come to think of it, Hermione had hinted something to that effect, but Harry hadn't paid much attention to it...

"You got ridiculously fit that year, Potter, and everyone noticed."


This is probably why Ron emotional-range-of-a-teaspoon Weasley and he, Harry as-observant-as-a-brick-wall Potter are best mates.

"Merlin, I can't believe you're still so damn hopeless about this. Just makes me want you even more," Malfoy hisses through gritted teeth, resting a palm on Harry's knee. "I've noticed so many things about you, but I'm drawing a blank when it comes to sex. How are you like in bed? Where are your sweet spots? Maybe I'll find out tonight.

"After all that's happened, it's a fitting way to end this, isn't it? You don't know how much I want it, want you and your stupid messy hair and your green eyes. Just give me one night, one night for me to do anything you want." Malfoy's pushed Harry down on the sofa, and they're both breathing heavily.

The air around them shivers with scorching expectation.

"And you think I'd do what you want, Malfoy?" Harry asks, licking his lips. "Have my way with you till you can't remember your name? I want you so much, Draco," Harry hisses, loving the effect that using Malfoy's given name has on him. "You have no idea how much-"

"Then do it already," Malfoy snarls, pawing at Harry's jeans.

Harry closes his eyes briefly, letting an image of the Auror's Handbook of Proper Code and Conduct float in his mind.

"I can't," Harry says shortly. Summoning every sliver of his self-control, Harry shoves Malfoy off.

"What the hell, Potter?"

"You're due for questioning under my case. We can't get involved."

"You break every damn rule back in Hogwarts, and you're suddenly all for following the rules now? I don't believe this!"

"I've worked hard at my job! I'm not gonna throw it all away just for one night with you!"

"Well then, question me tomorrow so you can spend tomorrow night with me!"

Harry shakes his head.

"We need to close the case officially first. And that includes paperwork," Harry says, wincing when he thinks of the mountain of paperwork a big case like this would involve.

"Fine. I'll cash in that night when you're done then. Come back when you're ready," Malfoy huffs in frustration and takes a step towards the door.

Harry stays put.

"I don't want just one night with you, Malfoy. I want you all the time, every time. Anywhere, everywhere. However you'd like it, but I wanna do this properly," Harry pulls Malfoy closer to him and grabs his waist. He inches up (unlike Dan, he's shorter than Malfoy) and before the other man can react, Harry's pressed his lips against Malfoy's. They're kissing all over again, exactly like their last kiss in the club, but it's different now — it's Harry's own hands moving all over Malfoy's body, his own lips kissing Malfoy's, his own voice moaning in Malfoy's mouth and it's absolutely divine.

Harry doesn't just want sex.

He wants more, but he doesn't know how Malfoy feels. Nevertheless, Harry's still going to try, because you know what, if Harry could get his kit off every night and dance in a strip club, he could bloody well ask Draco Malfoy out on a proper date.

Harry pulls away and lightly traces the outline of Malfoy's thoroughly kissed lips with a thumb.

A dazed Malfoy is quickly becoming one of Harry's favourite things.

"Right, then. Get your coat. We're going out for dinner," Harry says briskly.

Malfoy gapes at Harry, flustered. "You mean… Like a date? But all that stuff you said about your work..."

"It's just a meet-up between old schoolmates, isn't it, if anyone asks," Harry says, shrugging. "But here's what's going to happen: we're going back to that burger bar for dinner, I'm going to eat that treacle tart again, and after an entirely delightful evening, I'm going to kiss you goodnight and send you home."

Harry thanks his lucky stars that his voice doesn't betray the nervousness that he feels.

"You're mad," Malfoy says faintly, but he's moving towards his coat-stand. "Do I not have a say in this?"

"You do, but you're putting on your coat. So I reckon this means that you're as interested in me as I am in you."

"You infuriate me to no end, Potter," Malfoy declares as they walk out the door into the cool night air.

Harry chuckles.

"Always a joy talking to you too, Malfoy."

"Potter, your pet keeps staring at me," Draco calls out from Potter's living room as he scoots forward on the couch to take a better look at the animal. It's a sleek grey part-Gaboon viper and if Draco's guess is right, part-Runespoor — the snake that had been rescued during the raid. Noticing that it hasn't been Marked, Draco surmises that it must have fled fairly early in the process.

"Is he bothering you?" Potter asks, emerging from the kitchen with two beers. He tosses one to Draco and hisses to the snake. Draco's eyes widen for a moment before he looks away quickly. Potter shouldn't be so damn sexy when he's speaking Parseltongue — bright focussed eyes, sibilant rasps and rough guttural voice.

Draco recovers and shoots him an exasperated look.

"I've spent the past two years with snakes wrapped around my privates, thank you very much."

"Oh, yeah," Potter says, grinning.

The snake rouses itself from its basket and slithers towards Draco. It hisses something back to Potter, who rolls his eyes and flaps his hand in Draco's direction. It hoists its long sinuous body up to the sofa, sandwiching itself between both men. To Draco's amusement, it climbs up to his lap and swirls all over his thighs, letting out a dangerous hiss and showing a flash of long fang.

Draco doesn't even flinch.

"Is he trying to scare me away? Is your pet jealous of me?" Draco bites back a bubble of laughter.

"No, he's not. He's just being his usual annoying self," Potter replies wearily. He snarls something to the snake and beckons it off Draco's lap. It follows, pulls itself up to its full height, tosses its triangular head in the air and hisses loudly.

Potter immediately blushes.

"What did it say?" Draco asks at once.

"Nothing. He's just going hunting," Potter insists, turning his attention back to the snake and communicating with him in low, furious hisses. The snake doesn't even register Potter's reply; it simply turns to Draco-

-and winks.

"No, that's definitely not what he said," Draco says, smirking.

Draco and the snake prowl closer to Potter, cornering him at the couch.

Potter eventually throws his hands up. "I can't win with him, and with you... fine. He just said that..." Potter's blush deepens. "He approves of you."

Draco blinks in astonishment before bursting into laughter.

"He approves of me?! Does your pet have to approve everyone that you go out with?"

Draco's mind stutters to a stop. They just meet up for dinner and drinks and hang out once every few days, and sure, sometimes they do end up snogging, but that's not really going out going out, is it? Draco darts a quick look at Potter, who seems unfazed by Draco's choice of words.

"No! But that's what he does, anyway. He thinks he knows what's best for me, and well..." Potter trails off. He looks down at his clasped hands rather shyly, "he means you, 'cos you're the first one that he's approved. Everyone else that I take home, he just... er... chases them away."

"Well, he's got good taste then," Draco says, preening. He looks at the snake, whose head is flicking back and forth between the both of them as if trying to follow the conversation. "But why? He barely knows anything about me."

Potter rubs the back of his neck, refusing to meet Draco's gaze.

Draco's eyes widen. "You've been talking to him about me, haven't you?!"

"No! Not exactly. He just reminds me of you, y'know? He's like you, if you were a snake — all snarky and sarcastic and witty. I didn't notice it at first, but when I translated his words to Hermione, she pointed that out to me. And he has a problem with Ron too, for some reason," Potter says, wincing.

The snake bounces up and down and hisses, tilting its head to the side as if waiting for an answer.

"He likes it that I'm dating someone similar to him. He's now wondering if I told you all of that."

"Well, I like him already," Draco declares. "Tell him that."

"That's the last thing he needs," Potter grumps, but translates it anyway. The snake looks delighted at Potter's words and grins affectionately at Draco. It wends its way towards the door, throwing a last hiss to Potter.

Potter snarls back and shakes a fist before settling back down on the couch and taking a long swig of his beer.

"He's just very good at riling me up."

"Just like me," Draco points out with a triumphant grin.

He looks around and spies Potter's Auror uniform draped over the back of a chair, reminding him of the time when Potter and his partner had come to Draco's house to question him about the case. Those scarlet robes had always taken the top spot in Draco's fantasies.

That was probably why, coupled with lewd gestures and meaningful eyebrows towards Potter's uniform, Draco had mouthed do me in that to Potter when Patil's back was turned. She had glimpsed Potter's expression and sighed, "I know you've got issues, Harry, but we're not in school anymore. You've got to get over it."

To which Potter had replied in a rather strained voice, "Trust me, Parvati. We've got way over it."

All in all, it had been a very amusing interview for Draco, who of course had to be wearing the tightest leather trousers that he owned and bending over at every possible moment to give Potter a nice long look at his arse.

A flurry of cold night air enters through the windows, raising goosebumps on Draco's skin. He's bone-tired, having just finished a night's work at Club Eden. Draco nudges his way into Potter's arms, head lolling back on Potter's shoulder with his eyes closed. He sighs blissfully when Potter puts his beer down to hold him properly — he can already feel his exhaustion ebbing away.

Potter's presence is like a bright, refreshing breeze in the middle of a muggy summer day.

They stay like that, all wrapped up in each other, for a while.

"D'you wanna... dance?" Potter pipes up in a rather shy voice.

Draco expects to feel indignant — he's been grinding away on the dance floor the whole night — but he doesn't feel anything like that at all. Instead, he sits up in curiosity and watches as Potter clicks through songs on his iPod. He chooses one and moves back to Draco, who brazenly pushes himself up against Potter even before the music has started.

Potter gulps.

"Draco, could you er, stop humping my thigh? It's not that kind of dance."

Draco stills at once.

"Sorry, occupational hazard," Draco mumbles and puts some space between them, feeling thrown off-kilter. If it's not the sort of dancing that he did in clubs, then what-

The first few chords of a saxophone — slow, sweet and romantic — start to croon.


Potter brushes the stripper glitter off Draco's eyelids with his thumbs and trails his hands down the sides of his face in a heart-stoppingly intimate manner. And there it is again, that shining, green-eyed intensity that makes Draco's heart flip over like a pancake and does strange things to his insides.

Draco vaguely wonders how Potter looks like without his glasses.

Draco knows that Potter isn't entirely happy with his line of work — he remembers how Potter, disguised as Dan, had growled possessively with his arms around Draco during their last dance in Serpentes; knows it by the way Potter kisses him a little bit too roughly right before Draco goes to work. Spurred on by Draco's encouraging gasps of pleasure, Potter always leaves a snaking trail of blooming love bites behind his earlobe (the one with Draco's snake earring) all the way down to his collarbone.

For some reason, Draco loves being Marked by Potter.

They're turning slowly to the music now — Draco's hands resting on Potter's shoulders and Potter's palms on Draco's waist. It's the first time in years that Draco's danced without taking off a stitch of clothing, yet he feels even more naked than if he'd been stripping.

Draco's dated many men, but none of them have ever made him feel anything close to this.

It's been three weeks since Potter had dragged him to the burger bar, but there are still many things that they have yet to talk about — Draco's stripping and the War (sometimes Draco catches Potter's eyes lingering uncomfortably on his Dark Mark). Nevertheless, Potter's already moved on to addressing Draco by his first name, while Draco's still stuck on Potter.

Potter stops moving and Draco follows suit, momentarily confused. With a strange new sort of intensity glittering in green eyes, Potter clears his throat and pulls Draco closer to him.

"I think I'm falling for you, Draco Malfoy."

Potter's words, sparkling with sincerity, stumble over themselves as they fall from his lips and Draco can only duck his head in the crook of Potter's shoulder, entirely speechless.

A heartbeat of hesitation thuds in Draco as he tries to say something coherent. But how can he put into words the feelings that Potter conjure, just like magic, in him? He wants to remember this moment, gather it all up in cupped hands — this very song the soundtrack to Potter's admission, the way Potter is holding him as if he never ever wants to let go, this jumble of emotions I'm not ready yet, how... how can you be?- tangled in Draco — he wants to press this moment to his heart and preserve it forever, like flowers pressed lovingly between the pages of journals.

"Potter, I-"

For once, he doesn't know what to say.

Potter smiles with an uncharacteristic patience. "I'll wait, you know I will."

It's times like this when Draco suspects that, despite knowing Potter's idiosyncrasies, he's never really figured Potter out at all.

And this only makes Draco want to know him even better.

He can't deny how Potter's unchained his smile bit by bit, even though Draco always hides it beneath a subdued sneer, behind a hand or reluctant twitch of lips, but as the music fades away, Draco lets a genuine smile blossom on his face...

... a smile like a careful confession.

Draco frowns at the television screen, his hand pausing its rustling in the popcorn bowl. Even though it's not Draco's first time watching television, he still doesn't understand how Muggles can spend hours in front of this little box watching mind-numbingly boring shows.

He points at the simpering female on screen.

"Potter, I don't understand..." Draco starts, but stops when he sees how Potter's looking at him. He's been like this, distracted and jittery, sneaking secret glances at Draco all evening.

"D'you want to stay for breakfast tomorrow?" Potter asks, his gaze sliding all over Draco's body like oil over water.

"Breakfast?" Draco replies faintly.

"With me. Here. Tomorrow morning. The morning after." Potter seems to have lost the ability to speak in full sentences.

"Does this mean..."

"Yes. Wrapped up the case today."

Draco carefully places the bowl of popcorn on the coffee table, not taking his eyes off Potter.

Potter follows his cue by reaching for the remote and switching the movie off.

This very moment, crackling with pent-up sexual anticipation and energy, stretched as taut as a rope, lingers between them, as they simply stare at each other.

And then without warning, they pounce.

"When were you going to tell me?!" Draco snarls between fiery kisses and the urgent tussle of limbs. Potter's kissing him hard, hands clawing at the buttons of his shirt and grabbing his bum all at the same time-

"After the movie. Thought I could wait, but I can't. Not a second longer. I've been turned on since dinner." Potter frantically unbuttons his jeans and he's about to pull his zipper down when Draco fists a demanding hand in Potter's collar, his grey eyes dark with desire as he trails a hot-blooded gaze all over Potter's body.

"I'm going to dance for you, just for you, and you're going to watch me. And then we're gonna end up in bed and not stop until both of us are satisfied, yeah?"

"Yeah, Draco. Anythin' you want, I'll do it," Potter slurs, green eyes cloudy with lust.

With that, a smirking Draco hauls the other man off the couch and drags him to the bedroom.

This isn't his room.

Draco blinks himself fully awake when he takes in the unfamiliar decor and the messy clothes strewn all over the floor.

He would never leave his clothes out like that.

Images from the night before gradually filter into his consciousness — Potter's bedroom, Potter's clothes and sex with Potter.

Mind-blowing, earth-shattering sex with Potter.

"Sweet Salazar," Draco murmurs and presses his fingers against closed eyes.

He remembers the private striptease that he had performed for Potter and admiring green-eyed gazes dropping down the length of Draco's body, clocking every delicious detail, swell and dip. And the way Potter had kissed him... kissing him over and over and over again as if he was the only person in the entire universe that held the secrets to Draco's arousal. He could still feel Potter's touch all over his body, especially the feeling of his fingers ghosting over Draco's scars held sharp and shocking against the pale backdrop of his skin — his Azkaban serial number, down to the Dark Mark and the Sectumsempra marks.

No one else had touched Draco like that before — his previous lovers have all ignored those scars, and by extension — Draco's past.

Draco blushes when he recalls how loud they were — Potter liked it loud.

Really loud.

He could stay here forever, cocooned in those memories and in Potter's bed, surrounded by the scent of Potter and sex, but he hears movement in the kitchen.

Suddenly he's consumed with a desire to see Potter, touch Potter-

Draco pads to the bathroom to take a leak, brush his teeth (Potter's left a spare toothbrush, how thoughtful) and pulls on his clothes from last night. He looks in the mirror, finger-combs his hair and tries on a smirk for size.

Yep, still looking good and completely unruffled by last night.

Right, as if.

Draco smells freshly-brewed coffee before he enters the kitchen. True to his word, Potter's at the stove making breakfast.

"Good morning," Draco greets, leaning against the doorjamb.

Potter looks up from the pan and smiles at Draco — just like how he had smiled at him last night — Draco's heart starts beating in double-quick time.

Draco takes a deep, steadying breath.

"Just in time," Potter says and tilts the pan to the side, topping up the small tower of buttermilk pancakes. Draco sets the table and it's not long before they're sitting down to breakfast. Draco drizzles more maple syrup and takes a big bite of fluffy pancake.

Potter raises an eyebrow at Draco's blissful expression. "Glad you like it."

Draco swallows and nods, grinning. "Have you been doing this your whole life, then?"

He had meant for it to be a light-hearted comment, but something closes up in Potter's face and Draco wishes at once he could take it back. Curious, Draco wants to know more, but Potter catches it and says brusquely, "Not now."

Potter hesitates, and when he speaks again, it's with a much softer tone.

"There's just some things in my past that I'm not ready to share with you yet," he offers by way of explanation.

Draco knows perfectly well what he means.

"I understand," Draco says, a quick smile flitting across his features. Potter smooths the conversation over with a smile of his own. They take their time over breakfast — probably too much time, because Potter glances at his watch and looks apologetically at Draco's half-full plate.

"I've got a meeting in ten minutes."

"It's alright. I'll wash up," Draco says. Potter hurries to his room and emerges barely a minute later; fully changed. Draco jumps up and paws desperately at Potter's Auror uniform. "I want you to wear this in bed."

"Soon," Potter says, and they're kissing all over again, just like last night, lips and tongue swirling all over like satin and silk — Potter tastes like coffee and honey. Potter pushes Draco's shirt off his shoulders, his breath hitching when he sees the slither of love bites from neck to collarbone.

"I won't be able to concentrate at work today," Potter hisses, licking the trail of love bites.

"Then don't go. Stay in bed with me today and we can do it all over again," Draco pleads when Potter reaches round to grab at his bum. "When can I see you again?"

"I've got dinner with Ron and Hermione tonight and I reckon I'll be working late tomorrow. See you on Saturday?" Potter asks, nipping on Draco's neck.

That same hunger thrums enticingly between their bodies, drawing them closer together. Potter clasps his hands around Draco's wrists and tugs them off his chest. He smiles and his green eyes are heart-stoppingly intense — honestly, how the hell does Potter do this brooding intense thing so well — as they travel all over Draco's face.

"Saturday," Potter promises. He inches up to press his lips on Draco's forehead, and before Draco can do anything else but lean back against the wall, he's disappeared in a flurry of red robes and a flare of the Floo.

Potter always did affectionate gestures like this — a kiss on the forehead here, a squeeze of the hand there and if only he knew how much these small, throw-away actions made Draco feel all warm and unexpectedly sweet, as if honey's slathered all over his skin-

Draco sits back down and blushes into his pancakes.

He finishes his food, deep in thought. Potter's fantastic in bed, makes a mean breakfast, he's considerate... various adjectives pop up in Draco's mind when he thinks of Potter as a... a what? A... boyfriend? Just a casual one-off? Somewhere in between? Before this whole thing with Potter started, he's only ever thought of the other man in a sexual context, but could he dismiss this as a fling? Draco's never really sat down and had a proper think about this. He imagines having dinner with Potter, Granger and Weasley. He can't — there's just something wrong with that picture, but if he wants to be a constant in Potter's life, that's something he'll have to deal with, isn't it, because the three of them practically came in a package deal.

"Harry," Draco says out loud, the name echoing in the empty kitchen. It sounds strange, saying it when he isn't lost in the throes of sexual abandon.

"Harry," he tries again. The name weighs heavily on his tongue, but it falls easier from his lips this time.

Draco thinks of all the dances they've shared — hot and heavy in the club and slow and sweet in Potter's living room.

"I'm falling for you, Draco Malfoy."

They've got so much baggage between them that it could fill up an airport — all their childish schoolyard fights and their blood-stained history wedged between them like a third shadow — and it seems impossible to craft a relationship out of this, but-

your hair is messy and your shoelaces are always untied-

Draco carries the breakfast things to the sink. Sunshine streams through the windows, sparkling with hope and promise. Outside, puffball clouds scud their merry way across the cornflower blue sky. Draco flicks his wand to wash the dishes — here he is, washing plates in Potter's kitchen after he's cooked him breakfast and had amazing sex after they've been... dating for a month.

but if I said I didn't like you that would be a lie-

It's bloody surreal, like he'd missed a step going down the stairs.

Maybe, just maybe, he can get used to saying Harry's given name soon.

Maybe all they need is time and a whole lot of patience and understanding to coax this potential — potential like a rose's first bloom in a fresh summer garden — into something worthwhile.

I think I'm falling for you too.

Draco lets out a short bark of laughter and sinks his face in his hands.

He should have known that nothing was easy when it came to Harry Potter.


Hello, I'm xErised. It's been a long time, hasn't it — 7 years since my very first fanfiction was published, and 5 years since my quiet departure from the fandom. You may know me from some of my earlier works — Flirt, Colors, Pandora's Box, to name a few. I've started writing for this pairing again, and I hope you've enjoyed reading Serpentes.

My next fic will be published in early January 2017. Come say hi on LiveJournal!