Candyman by xErised
Sin and Sex
Two pairs of eyes track Harry as he paces back and forth around the counter, runs his fingers through his poor hair, fusses with the desserts on display, darts glances across the road and finally sighs, a long deep sigh brimming with feeling.
"He's pining," Ron declares around a mouthful of popcorn.
"Should we... do something?" Hermione wonders, thrusting a hand into the bowl of popcorn on Ron's lap.
They follow Harry's gaze to Sin, which has been closed for four days straight.
"Only they can fight by sending each other hand-crafted desserts," Hermione remarks. "At least I managed to slip in the black-haired man comment."
"It's Harry and Malfoy, they've always had a bloody round-about way of doing things," Ron huffs and shovels another handful of popcorn in his mouth.
They've noticed that the two men had become closer the past few weeks — some nights, Harry would bow out of dinners with them to eat with Malfoy, and whenever Hermione quizzed him about Malfoy, he would turn a bright red, mumble some vague answer and run to his kitchen. One morning, Harry had stormed towards Sin with an armful of his Muggle rock band records, muttering something along the lines of I'll show him... ACDC... how dare he... Pink Floyd... and returned with a different set of records — Malfoy's own music, Ron and Hermione had surmised — and Harry had spent the entire day in his kitchen blasting rock music.
Things had seemed to be going according to plan, until the Slytherins had simply stopped showing up for work.
And that was when Harry had Truly Started Pining.
They caught snatches of oh, so that's the game he wants to play?- while Harry was slamming the oven door closed; stupid, stupid Malfoy- in between puppy-eyed gazes across the street; I don't care, I really don't- as he chucked things around in the display counter, accidentally smacking the poor Transfigured lion in the bum with a wayward sugar muffin.
"If you miss him that much, you could always just owl him. He could be sick," Hermione had suggested in her gentlest tone, the sort of tone one would use towards a stubborn child in mid-tantrum.
"Miss him? Miss that stupid, pointy, pasty git?! No way!" Harry blustered, before frowning in worry. "D'you think he could be sick, though?"
Ron brushes popcorn crumbs off his jeans. "I bet you ten Galleons he's gonna crack in three days or less."
"Three days? I call a week," Hermione pauses to catch herself. "Oh what am I talking about? It's Malfoy. Five days."
Ron grins. "You're on."
I don't miss him, I really don't, Harry thinks again. But as days pass and the doors of Sin stay closed, the conviction of those thoughts begin to crumble.
He reaches into his fridge and retrieves a bar of Malfoy's finest dark chocolate.
"I'm giving this to you. Perhaps this'll boost your chocolate sales," Malfoy had quipped with a smirk, his words holding no bite. Harry had pulled a face, but accepted it nonetheless, although deep down he knew that there was no way he was gonna sell this.
Sighing, Harry carefully unwraps the chocolate (which is surprising, because he's the rip-the-wrapping-off-presents sort of person), breaks off a small chunk and pops it into his mouth.
Look at him, missing Malfoy and eating his chocolate.
Merlin, he'll be pulling petals off flowers next.
Malfoy made for amusing company — dinners were spent in spirited discussions about Muggle rock music and different baking techniques. He loved it whenever Malfoy talked (which was most of the time, the git had opinions on everything) — whether he was regaling Harry with stories about integrating into Muggle society and culinary school (Malfoy had a brilliant flair for storytelling with his animated facial expressions and hand gestures) or launching into a tirade about inferior chocolate quality when Harry had made the mistake of ordering chocolate cake to share on one occasion.
And the outside's not bad at all, Harry muses. He takes another bite of chocolate and recalls Malfoy's soft blond hair, long pale fingers, twinkling grey eyes that did funny things to his insides whenever Malfoy looked deep into his eyes, and Malfoy's wicked smile, as if he was privy to secrets that Harry didn't know.
There were times when Harry felt that the other man was flirting with him, but that was probably just his overactive imagination-
He's jolted out of his recollections when Ron bursts into the kitchen.
"Harry! They're back!"
Harry drops the chocolate on the counter at once and hurries out. Sure enough, he sees the backs of Zabini and Parkinson as they open up Sin and step inside. Parkinson catches his eye. Harry frowns and looks away. He doesn't want to see Parkinson; he wants to see Malfoy!
Harry picks up a cloth and scrubs at the spotless counter.
"I'm not going over there. Not a single owl or note, what's he expecting me to do? Sit around and wait for him? Ugh, no one's waiting for you, stupid Malfoy," Harry fumes, but there's no denying the sharp relief that he feels. Anytime now, the bell of Sugarcoated is gonna tinkle, admitting a suitably-apologetic Malfoy.
Minutes tick by.
Harry's playing it cool.
He discards the cloth and pats his hair, trying to tame it to some semblance of submission.
For some reason, Hermione's pulled out her wallet, and Ron's got a shit-eating grin on his face.
Harry shoots an impatient glance across the street.
Time continues to pass.
Ron clears his throat.
Hermione drums her fingers on the table.
Damn it, Harry's never been able to play anything cool.
He throws his hands up in the air, roars and storms out of Sugarcoated. He dimly notices Hermione passing a handful of coins to Ron, but he's already out the door. With his head full of steam, Harry barges into Sin and barks, "Where's Malfoy? Where the hell is he?"
Zabini — in the midst of straightening out the tablecloths — simply stares, before his gaze slides over to Parkinson. Her back to Harry, she slowly turns to face him, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.
"He's been hauled to the Ministry for questioning."
Harry steps back, stunned. He wouldn't have put it past Malfoy to vanish for a much-needed holiday or a particular bad bout of the flu, but the Ministry?!
"He's been there for days. They took him in the middle of the night, and we couldn't stop them," Zabini adds, his eyes downcast.
"We don't know what's happening, he hasn't done anything wrong, but they took him anyway!" Parkinson shouts, advancing towards Harry.
"Why didn't you tell me earlier?! I could have done something!" Harry rages, fists clenched. His anger towards Malfoy has retreated, giving way to worry and a different sort of anger directed towards the Ministry.
Parkinson laughs, a thin, reedy laugh. "I didn't get the impression that you were friends," — but we are friends! Harry thinks, — "Besides, wouldn't you be glad to have him out of the way?!" She staggers into a chair and dissolves into a fresh bout of tears. "We d-d-don't even know where he is, they could have thrown him back to Azkaban. We tried all we could, but how could we..."
Zabini bends down and wraps a comforting arm around her shaking shoulders.
"That's it. I'm going to the Ministry now. Who's his reviewing officer?" Harry asks between gritted teeth.
Parkinson looks up, her tear-streaked face shining with hope. She utters a name — a name that Harry knows because of his brief Auror training.
"Don't worry, I'll get him back," he promises and hurries out. It doesn't take him long to enter the Ministry, ignoring the whispers and stares as he rides the lift up to the Auror offices. With each step, terrible images of Malfoy — Malfoy shivering in Azkaban, all alone without his chocolate; being held in cold, sterile rooms for questioning — tumble through Harry's mind. He has to clear this up, because Malfoy's entirely innocent! With that thought adding fuel to the fire, his footsteps quicken, and he's practically running to Andrew's office. He yanks the door open, sees Andrew and Malfoy together, and before he registers the scene in front of him, he's ranting and raving away-
"He's done nothing wrong! Yes, he's annoying and a pain in the arse, but he's my annoying git! You can't lock him up again! Do you understand-"
"We're not going to take him away!" Andrew soothes after he's got over his astonishment.
"You're... you're not? Then what's all this about then?" Harry asks, confused. It's only now that he realises he's barged in on a perfectly civil conversation between Malfoy and his officer — Malfoy's even got a sodding cup of tea in front of him.
"Firstly, how have you been, Harry? I've been well. It's good to see you after so long," Andrew begins, gesturing to a seat beside a shell-shocked Malfoy.
Harry shakes his head and crosses his arms, waiting for answers.
"I don't know what relationship you have with Mr Malfoy, but I assure you, he is not going back to Azkaban, nor is the Ministry holding him-"
"But Parkinson said-" Harry interjects and a stray thought hits him like a Bludger — she lied. But why would she do that, unless someone told her... Harry's eyes narrow at Malfoy, who starts at Parkinson's name.
Andrew clears his throat over the growing tension and continues smoothly. "Mr Malfoy did not update the Ministry about his whereabouts after he completed his studies in Paris, so we brought him in for routine questioning. Because Sin is registered under Mr Zabini's name, the Ministry was not able to discern his place of work. We requested paperwork documenting the completion of his studies. Mr Malfoy had to return to France for that, which is what we were discussing."
"Just tell me one thing, Andrew," Harry says, even though his eyes are still fixed on Malfoy's. "Did the Ministry specifically request for him to open shop right opposite mine so that I could keep an eye on him?"
Malfoy closes his eyes.
"There is no such Ministry stipulation. Mr Malfoy is free to open his establishment anywhere that he chooses to."
Harry plasters a tight, thin-lipped smile on his face. "Thank you. Sorry for barging in like that. Please continue." He turns away-
"Potter, wait! Could you just... I'll be finished soon, just wait outside for me," Malfoy rubs a hand over his face. "Please?"
He's never heard Malfoy say please to him before.
Without facing Malfoy, he nods and exits the room. He leans against the wall and tries to make sense of things. Parkinson lied, and apparently put on a bloody good show for that. Malfoy lied, but why would he lie to Harry about the location of Sin? What other explanation is there for Malfoy to want to be so physically close to Harry every day? They've hated each other before they had struck up this friendship.
You know why he wants to be close to you, don't you? You've felt it. A small familiar voice in Harry pipes up.
The door clicks open, and Malfoy's standing in front of him, his face pale and drawn.
Harry immediately rounds on him. "Don't you know how worried I was?"
"You were worried? For me?" Malfoy asks, the beginnings of a smile blooming on his face.
"Yes, I was worried when Parkinson told me they took you away! I come right down to see you having a cup of tea with Andrew! She lied to me!"
Malfoy's smile wilts and falls off entirely when Harry continues his rant.
"I didn't hear anything from you! And I thought we were friends!"
Something crumples in Malfoy's face at the word friends. He takes a step closer to Harry. "Potter, we are friends. I didn't expect you to be so worked-up over my absence. I had no plans to be gone for so long; I ended up meeting old friends when I was in Paris-"
"Black-haired boyfriends, you mean?" Harry grits out, even though he doesn't know where this hot flame of jealousy has come from. "You know what? I don't really care what you do. See you around, Malfoy. Or maybe not." With that, he stalks towards the lifts, leaving a whiff of burning anger in his wake.
Harry continues walking, ignoring the panicky note in Malfoy's voice.
"Potter, you come back right now so I can tell you I like you, you... big dumb dodo!"
Harry freezes in his tracks. Turns around slowly to see a mortified Malfoy staring at him with wide eyes and a hand clamped on his mouth. He can see Ministry workers milling about, busy with their own activities, but he's got eyes only for Malfoy.
"Did you just call me a… dodo?" Harry asks, shock frittering his words. He closes the distance between them.
"That's the only thing you took away from that?" Malfoy laughs weakly.
Harry passes a tongue over dry lips. "I mean, of course you like me, we're friends-"
"Friends?" Malfoy snarls, pushing Harry up the wall right in the middle of the Ministry, his hands fastened on Harry's wrists to keep him in place. Hellfire dances in grey eyes, and Harry gulps at the proximity. "Friends?!" Malfoy repeats, incredulous. "Trust me, Potter. I've never seen you as a friend. When I said I like you, I meant it in a romantic way — in a... I want to hold your hand and kiss you and spoil you rotten and do things to your body that friends would never think of doing. I've wanted you, wanted this for so long you wouldn't believe-"
Malfoy closes his eyes briefly to compose himself. He lets go of Harry and steps away. "It's been the sweetest torture, being your friend when I want more than that... so much more than that," he trails off, his eyes sweeping over Harry's body. "And unless I've got my signals really messed up, I think that maybe... maybe you're starting to like me back too?"
A silence, thick with expectation, crackles in the air.
This jumble of information is too much for Harry to process wait, Malfoy likes me in that way... for a long time? And he wants to... do things to my body- His heart's thudding ponderously in his chest, he doesn't know what to think, and the hopeful, vulnerable expression on Malfoy just makes it worse — as if he's expecting Harry to throw his arms around him and eagerly reciprocate his feelings.
The hope in Malfoy's face fades with each passing second.
As always, Harry falls back to the dominant emotion associated with Malfoy — anger; anger at being lied to by Malfoy and his friends, Malfoy not bothering to explain his absence, worrying over him, Malfoy not being upfront about his feelings right from the start because this changes the entire fabric of their relationship... and this roaring, dangerous, frightening jealousy, surfacing like some ugly serpentine monster rising from the depths of the sea — Malfoy kissing old flames in Paris, those long capable fingers smearing chocolate all over tangled limbs in bed...
"You thought wrong," Harry snarls, his own lie, as light as soufflé, tripping out from his tongue. And that's when Malfoy's dull smile dims even further, creaking on his lips like the leftovers of every happy little thing that had never worked out in Malfoy's life.
Harry minces away, his true feelings for the other man trapped in the thistles of his thoughts and buried beneath anger and jealousy.
It's a slow burn that gnaws away at Draco. It hurts the most when he chances a glance towards Sugarcoated only to see Potter turning his head away; and when the both of them open shop at the same time, sometimes he'll look back to see Potter staring at him before he breaks the connection.
They're still so hyper-aware of each other even when they're not on talking terms.
Draco stretches in bed to open a drawer, pulling out Potter's Pink Floyd album. He's supposed to return it, but well... he scowls and puts it back. Perhaps he'll keep it, just out of spite. He lies on his back, links his hands behind his head and stares up at the ceiling.
He hadn't found the heart to be angry at Pansy and Blaise when he had returned to Sin after the fiasco with Potter. Their triumphant smiles vanished at the expression on his face. He had no idea what they were playing at, but that paled in comparison to the fact that Potter had once again rejected him.
Strangely, Draco feels relieved at the confrontation, because he meant every word — it really had been the sweetest torture, the ultimate test of self-control; every time they walked together, Draco had to push down the desire to hold his hand; every time he made Potter laugh, he just wanted to reach over and kiss him. At least now everything was out in the open. He had thought that some Potter was better than no Potter, but Draco realised he couldn't do that — it had to be all or nothing.
Maybe I should go back to France, Draco thinks. He's got friends there — of course no one could ever replace Pansy and Blaise — he has the contacts to set up his own shop, and most importantly, he wouldn't be seeing Potter every day; it was like dangling a tasty forbidden treat in front of him.
He hears Pansy's vivacious laughter filtering from the living room of the flat that the three of them share, and Blaise's deep voice chuckling in response. Draco sits up and hugs his knees to his chest, angry at himself for even considering leaving just because of Potter. Britain is his home, his best friends are here, Sin is already up and running and getting great reviews. To leave would be to undo all of the good work they've done.
He's done nothing wrong, Draco reasons. The only thing he's done was to confess his feelings to Potter, who had thrown those feelings back in his face.
Now that Draco's got his answer, he can start the process of finally getting over Potter.
It takes Harry two days to come to terms with the fact that he had acted like a complete arse, one day for him to realise that perhaps Malfoy hadn't been entirely wrong about Harry's feelings for him, and another day spent worrying about what he could do to salvage the situation.
Harry drags his gaze away from Sin and fastens it on his two best friends instead.
He clears his throat nervously.
"Malfoy likes me. Not in a friend way," he quickly clarifies, "but in a… he wants to hold my hand and kiss me and spoil me and-" He stutters at the last bit. That's probably information that his friends didn't want to know, although if Harry's honest with himself, he really can't stop thinking about the things that Malfoy wanted to do to his body.
Harry's heart clenches as Ron goes very still, while Hermione puts down her teacup.
"And I think I like him back just a little, you know? Er, no, scratch that. Maybe... a lot," Harry announces bravely, grimacing when something twitches in Ron's face. Any second now, Harry gulps with mounting apprehension, Ron's gonna explode in fury and disbelief, ranting and raving about Malfoy and a barrage of how could you, Harry?! while Hermione will shake her head, purse her lips and look at him with disappointment.
Ron jumps up from the table so suddenly that his chair topples over, and Hermione closes her textbook with a loud thump.
Harry braces for impact.
"Hallelujah! Finally he gets it!" Ron whoops in relief and does a funny sort of jig around the table.
"It really was getting rather exhausting after a while," Hermione says, beaming.
Harry blinks, entirely wrong-footed. "Hang on. That's not how it's supposed to go! You," — Harry points at Hermione — "were supposed to go all" — he pitches his voice to a higher register and laces his fingers together — "Malfoy?! Have you forgotten all those nasty things he did to us at school!"
Harry drops the pretence and indicates Ron. "While you were supposed to shout things like... like..." — Harry's voice goes all gruff and menacing —"Yeah, how dare you fancy his pointy, ferrety, handsome, charming face?! How would you like it if I re-arranged his face, huh?!" He impulsively punches the wall behind him for good measure, regretting it the moment pain lances across his knuckles.
Ron stops dancing and stares at Harry. "Mate, I wouldn't call him charming or handsome. That's all you."
"We've known for quite some time now, Harry," Hermione says matter-of-factly.
"How is that possible? I literally just figured out my feelings for him, and you're telling me that you've known all along?! Couldn't you have just, I don't know, dropped me a note telling me hi Harry, we think you're absolutely mad for Malfoy instead of mad at him, so why don't you-" Harry stops mid-rant when it dawns on him how ridiculous he sounds.
Ron sits down and picks up his slice of half-eaten blueberry crumble. "No, we couldn't have done that! You've always been a bit... er..." Ron pauses and looks to Hermione for help.
"Stubborn," Hermione supplies.
"Well, if he's fancied me for so long, he could've just come out with it!"
"He couldn't have. You've always been rather..." Ron gestures vaguely with his crumble.
"Oblivious," Hermione says, sweeping blueberry crumbs off her textbook. "He did tell you in the end, and you walked away from him," she points out, effectively throwing his indignation off-course and careening into the memories of that day at the Ministry.
Harry slumps into a chair, dejected. "So now what? I don't know what to do to... get him back, if he was ever mine to begin with." He looks at Ron and Hermione. "But you're both alright with it, if this thing becomes… serious?" He asks, a waver in his voice.
Ron stops eating. Hermione fiddles with the corner of a page of her textbook.
Ron speaks up first. "We're best mates, Harry. All of us. We didn't go through all that shit together only to have something like this destroy our friendship. I don't want to see you and Malfoy snogging all over the place, and it's gonna take me some time to get used to things, but if he's what you want, then we're gonna be supportive."
Harry feels a warmth spreading through him at Ron's loyalty.
Hermione nods. "We're not blind to the sort of person Malfoy used to be, but I think he's changed. Zabini and Parkinson too, they've all changed. Just like us," she says, placing a reassuring hand on Harry's.
A strange sort of happiness soars in Harry, taking flight like a hawk taking to sunny blue skies. Emboldened by his friends' blessings, he stands up, puffs his chest out and announces, "That's it. I'm gonna do it."
He's gonna end this full-blown Malfoy crisis once and for all.
Ron and Hermione exchange a look, but Harry can't find it in himself to care. He's already washing the crumbs off his hands, smoothing his wet palms over his hair to try to flatten it.
"What are you going to do, Harry?" Hermione asks, alarmed. "You can't just storm in like that and declare your feelings for him. He must be feeling hurt, confused and angry at you. You've got to sit down and think of what you want to say!"
Harry shakes his head as he dries his hands. "I've never been good with words or planning." He throws the cloth into the sink. "I'm gonna go over there, and we're gonna end up fighting or kissing, I don't know which one. Wish me luck," he says with false bravado and tosses a crooked grin to his two flabbergasted friends over his shoulder as he leaves the shop.
"Harry, no!" Hermione calls out.
"Harry, yes!" Harry shouts back in return. He hears the entrance bell tinkling behind him and footsteps clambering out of the shop, but he doesn't stop, instead he increases his pace till he's practically running to Sin. With each step, the desire to shake Malfoy silly or kiss the living daylights out of him or whisper apologies in his ear escalates, Merlin, he's never felt so much conflicting emotions for any single person before-
He barges into Sin, ignores Zabini's look of curiosity, waves away Parkinson's squawks of indignation, yanks the kitchen door open and Malfoy's right there.
"Potter, what the hell-"
Harry hears Pink Floyd's music — his own album that Malfoy's supposed to return — and he greedily soaks in the sight of Malfoy in his crisp white uniform; streaks of flour all the way up to his elbows with his fingers sunken into a ball of dough. Again, he finds his eyes hooked to Malfoy's fancy uniform, reminding Harry of his stupid posh French school, which leads to images of black-haired lovers feeding him cheese and peeled grapes and chocolate, romancing him in French and probably... fanning him in bed with gigantic palm fans or something equally over-the-top. He's jealous of anyone who's ever laid hands on Malfoy, possessive about Malfoy's summer laughs and secret smiles.
Harry's Jealous Chest Monster judders awake and roars.
He's angry too; angry at himself for hurting Malfoy with his lie and the way he handled things. Adrenaline buzzes in his veins as he stalks towards Malfoy, turns him around and grabs him by the collar.
"Unhand me, you ruffian!" Malfoy demands. He's trying to push Harry away, but Harry's not having any of it.
"It's all your damn fault, Malfoy. All your fault that I can't eat or think of chocolate without thinking of you," he snarls. Anger, anticipation and arousal crash through him in waves, and he's lost, lost in Malfoy's gorgeous grey eyes, grey like a sky that could either bring rain or sunshine-
Malfoy turns away, frowning. "So… you don't like chocolate anymore?"
"No," Harry murmurs, willing his heartbeat to slow down as he places his fingers on the other man's jaw, forcing Malfoy to meet his gaze. "I'm bloody mad for it now."
With that, Harry shoves Malfoy against his counter, closes his eyes and kisses him.
It's not gentle, nor is it delicate. It's heaving with all the emotions that Harry feels thundering in his heart, but those emotions narrow down to uncertainty because Malfoy isn't kissing him back; instead, his hands — which were bunched up in anger — fall away from Harry's shoulders and lay limply at his sides. But Harry plods on with his characteristic bull-headed obstinacy, his arms tightening their grip on Malfoy's waist as he tilts his head and deepens the kiss.
He feels Malfoy's hesitant fingers graze the back of his neck and his lips moving slightly. Harry slides a hand down Malfoy's body, finally resting on his hip to pull him closer. This must've encouraged Malfoy, for he sighs, wraps both arms around Harry's neck, buries his fingers in Harry's hair and finally, finally returns the kiss, ramping it up and making it so heart-stoppingly intense that all of Harry's synapses begin firing at full cylinders.
"I doubt doing it on the work counter is sanitary."
Both of them spring apart at Zabini's lazy drawl, and it's only then that Harry's world clicks back into place. Their friends are staring at them, with the exception of Ron whose eyes are trained on a spatula lying at a corner of the kitchen. Parkinson's lips are pulled wide in a triumphant grin, one of Zabini's eyebrow is arched in amusement, while Hermione's smiling.
"Go away," Malfoy orders, reaching over and tossing a whisk in their direction. Ron flees the scene at once, while Parkinson calls show's over, people! and finally, Harry and Malfoy are left alone.
"Where were we?" Malfoy whispers, his voice low and seductive, but draws away when he sees Harry's look of disbelief. When Malfoy speaks, his voice is flat and devoid of any trace of sexiness. "You're thinking now. Which means that you didn't think before you barged in here and mashed your lips onto mine. Which means that you regret what just happened."
"No! I don't regret kissing you at all! I just can't believe I did that without asking you first."
Sometimes Harry really wished that he thought things through before acting.
He drops his voice. "I... I really liked kissing you. I wanna do it again." To prove his point, Harry grabs Malfoy's hand on impulse, which makes things even sillier because now they're two grown men holding hands in a kitchen with their faces engulfed in pink glowing blushes and their kiss-swollen lips trying not to smile. Malfoy's got a smear of chocolate on his chin, while sugar crinkles under Harry's fingertips, and he's sure he's got flour in his tousled hair and on his cheeks.
Malfoy looks down at their joined hands.
"That day at the Ministry, you said-"
"I lied. I'm sorry. I wanted to hurt you because I was angry and confused and..." Harry trails off and rubs the back of his neck sheepishly. "What you said was right."
Malfoy gives him a little shove. "You really hurt me, you git."
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that," Harry says, contrite. He squeezes Malfoy's hands. "I should have told you the truth — that I'm starting to have feelings for you and I wanna get to know you better." He suddenly thinks of Malfoy bopping along to Led Zeppelin and he smiles. "I really want to."
"Perhaps I could forgive you… if you'll have dinner with me this Saturday night?" Malfoy offers without missing a beat, lips turned up in a tentative smile.
Damn, Malfoy's as smooth as his chocolate.
Harry laughs. "Yeah, I'd like that very much." He suddenly frowns when he thinks of something he's been wondering about. "But why d'you like me that much?"
Malfoy refuses to meet his eyes, but he's still holding Harry's hands. "I tried to forget you over the years. It's hard."
Although he knows that Malfoy's side-stepped the question, surprise wells up within him at the word years. He strokes Malfoy's cheek, loving how he leans into his touch.
"Then don't," Harry whispers, promptly wrapping Malfoy up in his arms and kissing his smile all over again.
Sin and Sugarcoated are no longer safe; that's why they're here at the Leaky for refuge.
Ron returns with another round of Butterbeers and slides back into the booth beside Hermione.
"Well, it worked!" Pansy cheers. Both Hermione and Pansy raise their pints, beckoning Blaise and Ron to do the same. They follow, albeit rather glumly.
They were so focused on setting Harry and Draco up that they failed to think about what would happen after.
They weren't prepared for all the kissing.
"You're so pleased about this because you like to watch," Blaise says to Parkinson.
"Yeah. What the bloody hell's wrong with you, Parkinson?" Ron croaks, pulling his pint closer to his chest. He still remembers how they had entered Sugarcoated one evening just to see Harry stick his tongue down Malfoy's throat with a fresh tray of mince pies cooling beside them. He had only managed to squawk out a bloody hell, Harry, again?! before beating a hasty retreat.
Ron would never look at mince pies the same way again.
Hermione had blushed, grabbed her textbooks and ran off to the library.
It's a similar story at Sin: Blaise had sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose when Potter smashed his palm accidentally into a chocolate sponge as Draco hoisted him up onto the counter.
"You're narrowing our profit margin by wasting perfectly good merchandise," Blaise pointed out in his best professional voice, trying to drown out the sound of vigorous kissing.
"Really? I don't think I'm wasting anything," Draco said, licking his lips when he broke the kiss. He picked up Potter's chocolate-smeared fingers, and when he began to suck, Blaise fled.
Pansy... well... she had thoroughly enjoyed herself. "Yeah, Potter, do it like that. That's how he likes it," she had growled under her breath as she watched Potter reach with both hands to grab Draco's arse.
A giggling Pansy had promptly got chased out of Draco's kitchen with a chocolate bar hurled towards her head.
"Well, I'm gonna get some food. Orders?" Ron offers, standing up and stretching. After he's finished taking orders, he asks, "Your usual fags too, Zabini?"
"Not today, thanks. I'm trying to cut down," Blaise replies pointedly.
Hermione presses her lips together to hide a smile.
Harry checks Draco out surreptitiously as he refills the display counter with vanilla cake. The glimmer of Luna's fairy lights reflects off his blond hair, making them look like strands of spun gold. Harry's lips twist in amusement as Draco's eyes wander from his book — no doubt something about chocolate — to Hermione's poster of dancing doughnuts tacked on a wall.
He knows that Draco would never admit it, but Draco loves that damn poster.
Draco picks up his quill and writes down something from the book onto a piece of parchment. His posture is relaxed, easy. There's a plate of jam roly-polys and a cup of chamomile (Draco's favourite tea) steaming gently in front of him.
Harry marvels at how well Draco fits into Sugarcoated...
... rather like how Draco has fitted himself into Harry's life in the past three months.
It hadn't been all smooth-sailing though — they had run into Draco's ex-boyfriend in a very busy square in Muggle Paris and he was foolish enough to flirt with Draco right under Harry's nose. Harry's Jealous Chest Monster had sat up and roared then and there, he saw red, so he had done the next most logical thing at the time.
He had punched the wanker right in the jaw.
"He was flirting with you! No one flirts with you except me!" Harry hollered, his monster nodding along with him when Draco had shoved him into a quiet corner to confront him about it. "And the way he was looking at you! The way everyone looks at you! Why d'you have to be so damn fit? You and your... stupid black-haired ex-boyfriends!"
"I was trying to excuse us politely! Did I actually do anything to encourage him, you hopeless git? And you're one to talk. If you'd care to remember, I've only got two more ex-boyfriends than you," Draco shot back with an eyebrow arched in challenge. "And you know I've only got eyes for you, you idiot!"
At a loss for words, Harry thinks it over for a moment.
"Well. Well," Harry muttered, feeling the monster's roars subsiding as it stood down, satisfied at Draco's answer.
While Draco had to deal with Harry's jealousy, Harry had to deal with Draco's pride during their fights. He could never understand why Draco hid himself away from the wizarding world; they only ventured to Muggle Paris and London for their dates. It also bothered Harry that Draco never took any acknowledgement for his work in Sin.
"Of course, I wouldn't expect you to understand, Golden Boy!" Draco had mocked, rubbing the inside of his left arm absently. "Do you think people will still come if they knew that a Death Eater was making their favourite desserts? It's my business, so go and stick your nose somewhere else!"
That night had not gone well.
Harry was always the one mending bridges whenever they fought, and he was so sick and tired of it. He told himself that he wouldn't be the one to approach Draco this time, but that worry was taken out of his hands when Draco had appeared, shuffling on his feet and wringing his hands, on the doorstep of Sugarcoated two days later.
"I shouldn't have said all those things to you. You want me to stop hiding, but I'm not ready. I know you care about me." And then he had looked right into Harry's eyes, gulped and said, "I'm sorry."
Harry had never heard Draco apologise before.
"Come in, you ferret," Harry said after a long pause, waving him in.
All in all, their relationship was a work-in-progress, but then again, weren't all relationships like that?
Harry suddenly has an image of himself, fat and happy, with Draco in his lap, funnelling treacle tart into Harry's waiting mouth.
Well, that's it then.
Draco is the one and only man for him.
"You're grinning like a loon, Harry," Draco pipes up. He bookmarks his page and heads over to him.
"Yeah, was thinking about... um. Your treacle tart," Harry hedges, refusing to meet Draco's curious gaze.
"Oh, you and your treacle tart. If you'd like, I can provide you with a lifetime supply of treacle tart made just the way you like it," Draco offers in a long-suffering tone with affection shining in his eyes.
Harry's smile only grows wider.
"We've got dinner with Pansy, Blaise, Granger and Weasley this weekend," Draco reminds him. Harry nods, then frowns when he thinks about Hermione. She's been acting rather strangely about Zabini these few days.
He wants to ask Draco about it, but the other man reaches over and plants a luxuriously long kiss on Harry's lips; a kiss that melts in his mouth like powdered sugar, warming his body as though he's sipping on sunshine.
"You're wonderful," Harry declares eventually.
An electric smile breaks out on Draco's face, and Harry kisses that gorgeous smile all over again, starbursts of happiness radiating in him when he realises that in Draco's quietly devoted way, he's carved Harry's name in blueberry kisses all over his own heart.
He's welcomed Draco into Sugarcoated; his sanctuary.
It's not love yet.
But Harry's getting there.
Thank you for reading Candyman, and I hope you've enjoyed it! I've got two other fics that will be released soon, so do look out for them if you like my writing!