Title: Aurors Abated

Summary: Harry Potter hadn't seen Draco Malfoy since school, hadn't talked to him, hadn't interacted. So, when they were assigned on the same Auror case, it wasn't as if he was happy about the fact, especially when Malfoy showed up tall and blonde and reasonable. He wasn't exactly sure how he was supposed to focus on his job at that point.

Warnings: Slash, meaning boyXboy, sex, minor violence

Pairings: Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter, (background) Hermione/Ron

Author's Note: This story if pretty focused on Harry's physical attraction to Draco. As such there's going to be a lot of descriptions of him, not all of which are entirely appropriate—cough, cough. They do talk, and like each other mentally, however.

This story is going to be three chapters long at about 13,000 words.

As far as I know, there's no such things as A Dark Arts Retrieval Department in JK Rowlings Potter verse, especially not the one I describe.

Disclaimer: I am writing this for fun and not profit. I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters therein.

Chapter 1

"But I don't want to work with him," Harry answered, and he knew he sounded dangerously close to a whine. He knew but what was he supposed to do? It wasn't like he could actually work with Malfoy. The last time he'd really talked to the git had been the battle of Hogwarts, when he'd tried to return said gits wand and said git had cursed him, snatched his wand back, and turned his back on Harry as if Harry hadn't tried to do something nice for said git.

Said git had gone into Dark Art Retrieval while Harry had gone into Auror work. Since they'd mostly trained in the same building, they'd of course seen one and other, but they had tried their best to avoid each other, because the one time they had acknowledge each other had been epic. And no, not in a good way. There were still stories about how two trainees had managed to break the dueling mat without casting a spell.

They would end up killing each other.

And that was the only reason Harry was resorting to whining to his boss about how he'd gotten assigned to work a case with Malfoy.

"Well, I don't really care what you want," Shacklebolt answered, staring Harry down from across his desk. He had on his no-nonsense face, which was getting progressively more no-nonsense since Harry had come in. But seriously. This was Malfoy they were talking about.


"He's the best we have at identifying Dark Arts. You'll need that," Shacklebolt interrupted. "So, suck it up and work with him."


"Now get out of my office, Potter," he said, turning back to his paperwork, and Harry really didn't have much of a choice except to do what he was told—unless he wanted to be pulled off the case, which he really didn't want. He'd been working the Bradbury case since the beginning; he wasn't about to give it up because of Malfoy.

Jasmine Bradbury had been murdered in her own home, no evidence of anything left behind. Of course, the first thing suspected had been foul play, but there was no way to prove anything. It had taken Harry a week of digging and looking into people and searching her house before he discovered the traces of dark magic that pointed to the involvement of a certain Dark Arts artifact that had been the cause of Mrs. Bradbury's death. Unfortunately, for all of them he still hadn't be able to identify the culprit. And once Dark Arts was involved the Dark Arts Retrieval Department got involved.

He just didn't understand why Malfoy had to be the Dark Arts retrieval agent he worked with. There had to be someone else. Someone Harry wouldn't kill. Anyone.

He huffed as he kicked the door closed behind him. He figured he probably didn't have to actually talk to Malfoy until tomorrow. After all, Malfoy would still need to go over the case, make sure he knew the facts, get the details. He'd only gotten the file last night, while Harry had had it for over a week.

"Done complaining, Potter?" he jumped, turning to face the source of the voice. Malfoy was leaning against the wall next to Shacklebolt's office, one long leg draped almost casually over the other. His head was tilted as he looked at Harry, long blonde hair pulled in a low ponytail at the base of his neck and just falling over his left shoulder in a way that shouldn't have been attractive.

"I…" Harry trailed off as he stared at Malfoy. His features were still sharp, but somehow less in the pointy, childish way and more in a defined way with high cheekbones, a distinct chin, and clear grey eyes that were looking at Harry as if he'd lost his mind. Harry cleared his throat, looking away with what he knew was a blush on his face. He hadn't seen Malfoy in so long, hadn't known he'd gotten-

"What are you doing here?" he asked, and Malfoy frowned, one blonde eyebrow raised with an attractive quirk. That wasn't actually attractive, he decided.

"I came to speak to you," Malfoy answered. "Obviously."


"Because I'm working with you on a case?" Malfoy said, standing suddenly from the wall, his frown deepening as he looked at Harry. "You were told you were getting help from Dark Arts Retrieval, weren't you?"

"I… of course," Harry snapped. "But why are you here, now. Don't you have to look over the case?"

"I've already looked over it," Malfoy answered, looking agitated now. As if, somehow, Harry was the one who had done something wrong. "Why, Potter, hoping you could find some way to get rid of me?"

"Like you didn't complain when you heard who you were working with," Harry rolled his eyes.

"I didn't, actually," Malfoy answered, and Harry couldn't stop himself from staring.

"I… why not?" Harry asked, and now Malfoy was staring at him as if he were something particularly distasteful, his grey eyes sharp and cutting and cold, and Harry was sure that whatever the answer was, he wasn't about to get it right now.

"Because, unlike you, I'm a professional," he said, turning on his heel. And he was walking away, heading into the Auror offices, right toward Harry's desk, which how he even knew where Harry's desk was….

"What are you-?" Harry asked, scrambling after him in a way he was sure was entirely undignified. But Malfoy was walking toward his desk without asking him and talk about unprofessional.

"We have a case to work, Potter," Malfoy interrupted, his voice cutting smoothly through Harry's in a way that Harry decided right then he would have to find a way to counter if he didn't want to end up strangling Malfoy.

"Stop doing that," Harry snapped, throwing his paperwork across the desk in favor of glaring at Malfoy. Malfoy, who was sitting on the edge of Harry's—Harry's, not Malfoy's, Malfoy, who had an office, with a desk and everything, up in Dark Arts Retrieval—desk. Again. His legs were crossed under him, his shoes abandoned on the floor. He wasn't even wearing robes today, because apparently the Dark Arts Retrieval Department had a much less strict dress policy than the Auror Department. Which didn't make sense, but Harry was done arguing with Malfoy about it.

He could still remember when Malfoy had walked into his office three days ago, the day after he'd been assigned to work the case with him. Malfoy had showed up in a white button up shirt and loose black pants that were a little too tight around his arse for Harry to be able to keep his eyes at the proper height. Before that, he hadn't even known Malfoy owned muggle clothes, much less that he willingly wore them.

He wondered vaguely if Malfoy was being blackmailed or something. Maybe he should ask.

"What are you wearing?" he'd asked when Malfoy had barged into his office, and Malfoy had stared at him with those sharp grey eyes until Harry was able to close his mouth. Though he was sure he'd never stopped looking like an idiot.

"We require a free-thinking environment down in Dark Arts Retrieval," Malfoy had said, and he'd looked entirely too pleased with himself. "They don't much care what we dress like as long as we get things done." Harry hadn't said anything to that, hadn't known what to say, had been pretty sure that Malfoy was screwing with him.

"We've talked about this, Potter," Malfoy answered, wrenching Harry back into the moment. Malfoy, of course, hadn't bother to move his arse off Harry's desk. He hadn't even bothered to open his eyes.

He was still sitting with his long legs crossed under him in black slacks, eyes closed, looking for all the world as if he was completely relaxed in his black button down muggle shirt with the sleeves pushed up and arms resting in his lap. The only part of him not relaxed was his right hand, which was holding his wand and ever so often flicking as Malfoy muttered.

"No," Harry grumbled. "You've told me to shut up every time I've told you to not to sit on my desk while you go throwing my paperwork on the floor."

"Exactly," Malfoy answered, the smirk playing across his lips for half a second before it was gone.

"What are you even doing?" Harry sighed, giving with Malfoy for now. He had yet to win a single argument between them, mostly because Malfoy either refused to acknowledge Harry's points or Harry's existent entirely.

Harry had never wanted to strangle someone so badly, which was probably the main reason why they'd gotten nothing done. Though Malfoy insisted it was really because they had nothing to work with. Harry supposed that was probably a factor too.

"I'm trying to track Dark Arts signatures," Malfoy, to Harry's surprised, answered, opening his eyes and letting out a frustrating sounding sigh.

"What?" Harry blinked, somehow managing to look away from Malfoy's fluttering eyelashes. Seriously, how did he have such long eyelashes?

"All types of Dark Arts leave different signatures," Malfoy answered easily, sounding surprisingly patient, almost as if he didn't mind explaining the technical aspect of his job to Harry in the least. Which, couldn't be true, because… Well, because Malfoy was supposed to be petty and impatient and not want to explain things to people he obviously didn't like. "The bigger the use of the spell or artifact, the more signature they leave," Malfoy frowned, his lips turning down as he swung his long legs down off Harry's desk and deposited them back into his shoes. Harry abruptly snapped his eyes back up to Malfoy's face. "But the signature's too faint for me to really pick up, no matter what I do."

"What does that mean?" Harry asked, and Malfoy frowned, raising his hand to run through his hair. It was down today, falling around his face and framing his cheekbones in a way that made them stand out even more than they usually did.

"It could mean the artifact just isn't very strong, or maybe it's been too long since it was used. I think it's more likely the person who's using it doesn't know what they're doing," Malfoy answered.

"What makes you say that?"

"Just…" Malfoy shifted against Harry's desk, making it wobble under him. He didn't seem to notice. "It feels so messy." Harry wondered vaguely if Malfoy knew all this just from his training or if he'd been taught growing up. Surprisingly, there weren't that many purebloods in Dark Art Retrieval, and a lot of the other Departments considered them odd, strange. He supposed their strange dress code was at least one thing that fit with the ministry rumor of how they were indeed strange.

"Ok," Harry answered, settling for the safe reply. Unfortunately, he seemed to break Malfoy out of whatever he was thinking about, because he turned his face toward Harry, his grey eyes suddenly sharp.

"Why the sudden curiosity, Potter?" Malfoy asked, one lip quirking up, and Harry knew he was about to be insulted before Malfoy even opened his mouth again. "Considering a Department transfer."

"As if I would want to be in the same department as you," Harry snapped back, watching in satisfaction as Malfoy's smile dropped. He pushed himself off Harry's desk, his shoulders tense as he moved across Harry's small office.

"I was reviewing the file last night, looking for anything I missed," Malfoy said, and Harry blinked at his rather awkward change of topic. Was he really not going to insult Harry back? "I've been thinking the landlady might know something more than she said in her initial interview."

"Why?" Harry asked, looking down at the papers on his desk and shifting through them, even though there was nothing he needed to rearrange. It's easier than looking at Malfoy's sharp cheekbones and grey eyes and for some reason complete disregard of Harry's rudeness.

That wasn't how it was supposed to go between them. Malfoy was supposed to make a mocking comment, and Harry insulted him, and Malfoy said something petty back, and Harry would curse him, and it would end badly. Sure, they hadn't really had a real argument the past few days but they was because Malfoy had been too busy sitting on Harry's desk, apparently checking for Dark Arts signatures. Not because...

"She just seemed nervous, evasive," Malfoy shifted his feet, his slacks clinging to his arse as he moved. Harry willed himself to keep his eyes on his desk. On his desk. Don't look at the arse.

"I guess it's worth a shot," Harry shrugged. "Not like we have anything else to do."

"We'll go in the morning?" Malfoy answered, his voice lilting in the end as if it were a question, not a command. And when had Malfoy stopped being haughty and commanding and telling everyone who could get within earshot what to do? Harry blinked at him, feeling confused and startled and having no idea why. "What?" Malfoy asked suddenly, his voice sharp with annoyance, and Harry realized he was still staring like an idiot.

"I- nothing. The morning sounds good."

"It's like he's a different person than the guy we knew in school," Harry complained, gripping the firewhiskey in his right hand as he threw his left in the air with exasperation.

"Really," Hermione answered, looking somewhere between annoyed and amused as she nursed her own firewhiskey.

"Yes," Harry insisted. He was starting to feel just a tad drunk, tipsy even. He took another large gulp of firewhiskey. "He's reasonable."

"Come on, mate," Ron said, patting his back sympathetically as Hermione glared at the two of them. "It can't be too bad. 'sides, you just have to put up with him until the case is over, right?"

"'s true," Harry slurred, looking halfheartedly down at his firewhiskey.

"Oh, for goodness' sake," Hermione grumbled before she turned to Ron. "How has your case been?" she asked. Ron was also an Auror, though as far as Harry knew, his casework hadn't been near as frustrating to solve as Harry's. He'd been dealing with some kind of break in at some pureblood's manor that was becoming progressingly difficult to solve. But then at least Ron hadn't had to contend with bloody Draco fucking Malfoy and his unreasonable reasonableness.

Harry sighed dramatically. He might actually have been drunk. Maybe.

"And he wears these muggle clothes," he continued to complain. "It's not fair." Ron blinked at him, slow as if just beginning to figure out why Harry was annoyed by Malfoy so much. It wasn't as if Hermione and him didn't know he was Bi. He'd told them years ago after he'd broken up with Ginny, and he'd been experimenting, getting to know himself. But still, he figured it short circuited Ron's brain to think about Harry being attracted to Malfoy.

"Harry Potter," Hermione snapped, making Harry look up at her in befuddlement. "Stop being so stupid."

"What?" Ron answered, setting his won firewhiskey down with a clack. "But he's working with-."

"Draco Malfoy's not actually so bad anymore," she interrupted. "I've worked with him a couple when we had to prosecute some tricky Dark Arts cases. He's really changed since school."

"But-," Harry started.

"Did you know his mother was murdered last year?" Hermione asked, talking over him. He opened his mouth and then closed it; he did know actually. He'd read about it in the paper; there had been a small picture of Narcissa Malfoy with a mention of Malfoy himself but no picture, and the article had said he'd been unwilling to comment. "She was killed by a pureblood. Some Voldemort supporter, who managed to get away. He apparently blamed her for Voldemort's death, since she lied about Harry being dead."

"I didn't know that," Ron muttered, and Hermione just looked at him until he flushed crimson and buried his head in his firewhiskey.

"He is a different person than the one we knew in school," Hermione said confidently, eyeing Harry with a knowing look that he didn't want to try interpreting.

Draco Malfoy was waiting in his office when Harry came in the next morning. With his head still pounding mildly in his ears from the previous night's hangover, and his and Hermione's conversation about Draco hovering over him, Harry almost turned back around and left. Except he thought that would be a little too transparent. He did, however, flush bright red as Malfoy turned toward him with his grey eyes bright.

He was actually dressed in robes, the thin tight kind they issued to ministry employees, dark grey that made his eyes look even sharper than normal. His hair was pulled back in a low ponytail, flicked away from his face, and Harry could just see the outline of his wand strapped to his thigh. Malfoy had obviously dressed expecting action. And somehow it just made him that much more attractive.

"They've brought in Ms. Bisham," Malfoy told him, seemingly oblivious to his reaction.

"Huh?" Harry answered smartly.

"The landlady," Malfoy huffed, and then he seemed to really look at Harry, his lips twisting into satisfied smirk. His hips shifted, one hand falling to his waist as he almost posed. "Unless, of course, you had something else in mind," he said, his voice soft and silky in the air between them, his chin turned to the side, grey eyes soft and amused as he stared back at Harry. And Malfoy's blatant mockery of Harry's attraction to him shouldn't have been attractive.

"Oh, bugger off," Harry snapped, his face heating up even more as he turned on his heel to storm out of his own office, and he could hear Malfoy laughing quietly behind him.

He knew where Bisham would be, so it wasn't particularly hard to stomp across the Auror Department and stop in front of the squat little office door with a plate glass window. Malfoy was right behind him as he went, reaching past him and grabbing the door handle as soon as he stopped. Harry jerked back, glaring at Malfoy's invasion of privacy, but Malfoy just smirked at him and went into the room.

"Ms. Bisham," Malfoy said as soon as Harry had closed the door behind him. The room was small, well furnished, cozy. There was a dark brown table that Ms. Bisham was sitting at, and that Malfoy had also sat across from her at. Harry chose to stay standing. "I understand you knew Jasmine Bradbury."

"Oh, yes," Bisham answered, her eyes flicking around the room before settling on Harry, up to his forehead, widening, down to his eyes, back to Malfoy. "Such a sweet girl. It was terrible what happened."

"Indeed," Malfoy answered, and Harry had a feeling if they weren't talking to a witness, his top lip would have curled when he said it.

"Ms. Bisham?" Harry asked, stepping forward before Malfoy could say something that would probably get them both fired. "Was there anything strange about Jasmine's life? Either personal or professional? Anything you may have noticed?"

"Something you may have forgotten to mention the first time you were interviewed?" Malfoy said, his voice low and Harry could hear the accusation, half-hidden. It was obvious from the way Bisham sat up straight in her chair that she could too.

"Well, I don't know."

"Lives are at stake, Ms. Bisham," Harry said, glaring at the back of Malfoy's head.

"Unless, of course, you don't care about that?" Malfoy answered, leaning back in his chair. He brought his hand up, examining his nails as if he couldn't care less about her reaction, though Harry could see the way he watched her out of the corner of his grey eyes.

"Are you saying you think I did this?" Bisham asked; Malfoy just shrugged, and Harry glared harder at him.

"We're not saying that," Harry reassured her.

"Jasmine was a nice girl," Bisham insisted.

"Then why is she dead," Malfoy asked, blunt, still staring down at his nails.

"She was a nice girl but she wasn't always a good girl," Bisham sighed. "I know she was having an affair of some sort. Some older man, someone she wasn't supposed to be seeing."

"Did you know his name?" Harry asked.

"She never told me," Bisham answered. "But I know where they usually met," she shrugged. "Maybe you'll find him there."

"Why didn't you tell me this before?"

"Didn't want to drag her through the mud, I suppose," she sighed.

"You'd prefer we never caught her killer?" Malfoy asked, standing, and Bisham bit her lip as she looked up at him. And Malfoy swept out of the room with a dramatic brush of his robes that he had to have learned from Snape. Harry smiled thinly at Bisham before following him.

"What was that?" he snapped at Malfoy.

"What?" Malfoy answered, pausing in the corridor and raising an eyebrow.

"Why were you acting like that?" Harry gestured behind then, pointing vaguely toward the room Bisham was still in. "If you were going to be rude to a witness-."

"She needed to be manipulated into telling the truth," Malfoy interrupted, frowning at him. "I thought we actually worked well together." Harry could only stare at him; Malfoy thought... he'd been planning, and Harry had... He couldn't exactly argue; they had worked well, Malfoy pushing her buttons while Harry soothed her enough to get her to talk. Still, it felt- it shouldn't have felt good.

"Next time," he said. "Tell me." Malfoy just shrugged.

They were standing outside the muggle inn, both cast in disillusion charms as they watched the entrance. It was the place Bisham had said Jasmine used to meet her lover; she'd only known because Jasmine had owned a key with the room numbers and name of the inn on it. So far though, no one had come or gone. The owner hadn't known anything, and Harry was stuck standing outside with Draco Malfoy.

Malfoy, who still somehow looked immaculate and sexy, even after three hours of standing outside in the heat. It was just starting to get dark, and Harry's stomach was starting to growl, and this was getting ridiculous. How long were they going to stay here?

"You're hungry?" Malfoy asked, and Harry felt him move around next to him.

"No," Harry snapped. Truthfully, he was starving. He was just still pissed at Malfoy for what had happened in their interview. Even though he knew rationally his plan had been sound.

"For Merlin's sake, Potter," Malfoy hissed at him, his grey eyes dark and annoyed, and Harry realized it was the first time since they'd started working together that Malfoy had actually snapped at him. "Do stop being a child, will you?"

"What? Like you?" Harry answered back, and Malfoy's grey eyes darken even further. He turned toward Harry fully, shifting around as his robes brushed across the floor.

"If you have a problem, maybe it's time you just out and said it."

"I don't know what you're talking about," Harry muttered, tilting his eyes away from Malfoy's face.

"You're such a liar, Potter."

"I'm the liar!" Harry answered, wrenching around to get in Malfoy's face before he could stop himself. And it was just like Auror training all over again, both of them facing each other, eyes flashing, panting, the air charged between them, knowing they should be mature enough not to yell like teenagers but doing it anyway.

"Yes, you!" Malfoy snapped, his lip curling up so Harry could see his perfect teeth. "You pretend like you're not prejudice but you've been judging me for no reason the past three days! You keep pretending like you have any idea who I am, when it's obvious you have no idea!"

"In case you forgot, Malfoy," Harry answered. "I knew you in school. You were the one who called my best friend a mudblood; how much different could you possibly be?"

Malfoy's eyes widened as he stepped closer, and he was obviously blazing with anger, with self-righteousness, but Harry was right. They both knew he was right.

"I was a stupid kid in school, who believed every word my father told me," Malfoy said, and Harry jerked in surprise. Malfoy just stared at him, his grey eyes wide and riveting. "My father was so full of hate and prejudice that he couldn't see how wrong he was about everything, and he breathed that same hate into me." He had one single strand of hair falling out of his ponytail, draping across his face in an attractive arch. And they were standing too close, Harry just realizing he could feel Malfoy's breath blowing across his face. His eyes dropped down, focusing on Malfoy's lips for half a second before he forced his gaze back up.

"You have no idea how much I wish it didn't take a war and a Dark Lord and my mother dying for me to realize just how wrong my father had been," Malfoy answered, his voice barely a whisper of a breath between them now, and he was looking down, his grey eyes right on Harry's own lips, "No, idea," Malfoy managed, and Harry could just see the beginning of a blush across his cheeks, and it shouldn't have made him want to kiss Malfoy more, especially since he wouldn't have even thought up until that point that Malfoy could blush. Harry was leaning forward, Malfoy's startled gasp hot on his lip, and he-

Then Malfoy was wrenching away from him, turning abruptly toward the inn, his grey eyes suddenly alert.

"Someone went into her room," Malfoy muttered, already running toward the inn doors, and Harry blinked once, twice, staring after him and wondering what the Hell he was talking about. "Potter!" Malfoy called over his shoulder, sounding exasperated; Harry jumped, looking up at Jasmine's shared room with her lover to see the light on, a shape moving around on the inside, and he remembered abruptly that they still had a job to do.

"Right," he blinked, racing after Malfoy.

When Harry entered the inn, Malfoy was already turning the corner toward Jasmine's room. Her door was ajar, the light still on as they approached. Malfoy paused, looking back at him, one hand wrapped around his wand, the other on the door. Harry slipped his own wand into his hand before nodding, and they were bounding into the room, the door shoved out of the way.

There was only one person inside, her brown hair whipping around as she turned to face them. Her eyes widened as she fumbled with her wand.

"Aurors," Harry yelled. "Drop your wand!"

"Aurors?" the woman answered, dropping her hand away from her wand. "Why are Aurors here?"

"We're looking into the death of Jasmine Bradbury," Malfoy answered lowering his wand as he cocked his head at her.

"Jasmine Brad-," the woman sighed, running a hand over her face. "I don't know a Bradbury. I'm looking for my father. He's been missing for a couple days now, and I found this key in his things. I thought…" she sighed, shrugging, and Harry looked over at Malfoy, watching as his grey eyes sharped in that way he was coming to understand meant Malfoy was putting the pieces together.

"Should we be worried?" Angela Johnson asked, stepping forward with her eyes on Malfoy.

"I don't think so," Harry answered, though truthfully, he had no idea. He shifted as he watched Malfoy; they were standing in the middle of Martin Johnson's house, his daughter standing a little off to the side as she watched them search. After she'd explained that her father had been missing for several days, she'd been more than happy to drag them back to his house and see them in.

Malfoy had immediately started muttering spell after spell, frowning at nothing as his scowl grew wider every time he flicked his wand. For Harry's part, he saw nothing out of the ordinary, definitely nothing he would have found suspicious. Even the daughter was no help. She'd told him she'd had a feeling her father was seeing someone, but she'd never seen who. She also had no idea why he'd been meeting her at some backstreet inn instead of his own home, considering he was divorced.

"Well, the artifact was definitely here," Malfoy muttered, flicking his wand one more time.

"What does that mean?" Harry asked.

"It means the signatures still too faint for me to really pick up," he sighed, running a hand through his hair and somehow still leaving the ponytail looking perfect. "I could maybe find something, but it'll take time."

"Ah," Harry answered, though he didn't really understand. Malfoy raised an eyebrow at him, grey eyes sharp as if he knew Harry didn't understand; Harry cleared his throat and turned to Angela. "We'll be out of your hair."

"But-," she started.

"We'll let you know if we find your father," Malfoy interrupted. "Otherwise, let us know if you get any new information."

"I…" she sighed. "Alright."

Malfoy nodded to him, and Harry turned feeling awkward as he walked out of the house, watching as Angela shut it behind them. He hesitated, half-turning toward the nearest Apparition point and half-turning toward Malfoy as if they had any more business to do. Except they didn't. No doubt Malfoy wanted him out of his hair.

"Should we get dinner, then?" Malfoy said, clearing his throat, and Harry turned toward him completely, blinking slowly. Malfoy was still standing there, looking as if he hadn't moved an inch, just standing and watching Harry as if he had nothing better to do with his life. He was all haughty arrogance, one raised eyebrow as if he was daring Harry to say no, one side of his mouth lifted into a smirk. And it shouldn't have been so attractive.

"Alright," Harry answered before he'd really thought about it, and Malfoy's lips curved up into a genuine smile, and he was turning away, but not before Harry saw the pleased surprise on his face. Not before Harry realized that Malfoy had really thought he'd say no.

"I know a good place not fair from here," he said. "We could walk if you'd like."

"Alright," Harry repeated, and he was following Malfoy down the street.

"You're staring at me," Malfoy said once they'd turned the first corner, and Harry started. He turned away abruptly, realized that yes, he had been staring. He could feel his face flushing bright red, and he almost tripped over his own feet when he realized Malfoy was smiling, the left side of his mouth curved up. And Harry couldn't decide if he was being mocked or not. "See something you like?" Malfoy asked. Definitely mocked. Well, Harry could play the game too.

"Maybe," he answered, his voice a low challenge, and Malfoy's sharp inhale was loud in the quiet night around them.

"I don't think your girlfriend would much appreciate that, Potter," he said, coming to a stop, turning to face Harry, and Harry had no choice but to do the same.

"I don't have a girlfriend," he didn't know why he said it. He could have just shrugged and nodded; he'd done it before when someone he didn't like was coming onto him, and it was clear from the way Malfoy's grey eyes flicked down his form and then back up that Malfoy was coming onto him. But this seemed important. It seemed important to make it clear that Harry was not taken.

"Oh?" Malfoy answered.

"No boyfriend either," he said.

"Oh," Malfoy answered, his voice low, intense, grey eyes sharp on Harry's face. His lips curved up, eyes crinkling as he smiled, and for some reason, Harry knew he wasn't being mocked this time, though he had no idea whether he could trust the feeling, should trust it.

Then Malfoy was stepping back, gesturing behind him and up toward a brightly lit building behind him that Harry was just now noticing. It was labeled Monto's Italian, the sign lit up with several magical lights.

"We're here," Malfoy said.

"Italian?" Harry asked, and Malfoy just shrugged before heading inside. They were given a table almost immediately, swept off into a booth at the back of the restaurant with a candle placed between them. Malfoy stared down at it for a long minute before letting out a snort and turning his face away.

"What?" Harry asked, frowning across the table at him. He rather liked the candle.

"Just the romance of it all," Malfoy answered, sighing heavily, and Harry was suddenly reminded of why he'd always thought Malfoy to be so conceited. "As if it's what everyone wants."

"Isn't it?" Harry snapped back, and Malfoy fixed his grey eyes on him, looking somewhere between offended and angry.

"Since it's not what I want, and I happen to be included in everyone, I'd say no."

"Then why are we here?" Harry asked, his voice unintentionally sharp.

"Maybe because the food is good," Malfoy snapped back, his eyes flashing.

"Can I get you anything to drink?" a new voice asked, and Harry jumped at the sudden appearance of their waiter.

"Water," Harry answered, not even bothering to look away from Malfoy, who seemed to take his order as a challenge.

"A glass of Didier Dagueneau," Malfoy ordered, and the waiter was gone in the next second, obviously glad to be away from them. Harry blinked at him; he knew the wine Malfoy had order was expensive. One of the most expensive probably, but he also knew it was nowhere near the most expensive. And he was mildly surprised that Malfoy hadn't bothered to order something outrageous.

"Practicing moderation?" he asked.

"Well," Malfoy blinked at him, long and slow, and Harry was suddenly reminded of a cat right before it caught its prey. A very attractive cat. "If the war taught me anything, it was moderation."

And Harry couldn't help but deflate at that. He leaned back in his seat, looking away from Malfoy, and he suddenly wished their drinks were there so he could do something with his hands. Somehow, he'd forgotten everything the Malfoy's had lost in the war, how much reparations they'd had to pay. The endless rounds of court before they were finally placed under house arrest.

"Don't look so chastised, Potter," Malfoy sighed abruptly. "It's hardly a good look on you." Harry looked up to find Malfoy, leaning back as well, looking at him through his eyelashes, his hands wrapped tight around each other as they sit on the table.

"You know, I saw you," Harry told him, and Malfoy raised an eyebrow, as if telling him how absurd his statement was. "During the war. I saw how Voldemort made you torture people. I saw how scared you were of him."

"You…" Malfoy stared at him, his eyes wide. "How could you have…"

"We…" Harry cleared his throat, already regretting bringing it up. "Voldemort and I shared a connection. I could- you know, I could sometimes see into his mind. See through his eyes."

"And you saw me?" Malfoy asked, and Harry couldn't tell if he was angry or not. He certainly looked angry, looking at Harry with narrowed eyes, his cheeks slightly flushed, but he didn't sound it.

"Not only you," Harry said, as if that somehow made it better.

"Here you are," the waiter said, and Harry's water was suddenly out in front of him, followed closely by Draco's wine. "Are you ready to order?" he asked, looking outrageously hopeful that they were.

"Uh," Harry answered, looking down at his menu, because no, he wasn't. And no, he hadn't even looked at the thing. He'd been completely wrapped up in Malfoy.

"I'd like the lobster ravioli," Malfoy said, and Harry found himself snorting before he could hold it in. Because really, of course, Malfoy would order something like that. Malfoy glared at him from across the table.

"Uh, fettuccini alfredo, I guess," he said, picking randomly. The waiter nodded and was gone again. Harry turned his gaze away from Malfoy, feeling awkward. He cleared his throat, took a liberal drink of water before clearing his throat again, all the while feeling Malfoy's eyes on him. This had all been a terrible idea.

"I'm surprised your breakup wasn't in the daily prophet," Malfoy said, breaking the silence after what felt like forever.

"What?" Harry blinked at him.

"The Golden Couple," Malfoy raised an eyebrow. "Potter and Weasley. You know? I'm surprised it was never reported; the daily prophet seems to get a kick out of reporting your love life."

"Oh, yeah," Harry felt himself blushing, though he had no idea why. He'd talked about this before; he shouldn't be embarrassed just because it was Malfoy of all people asking. "After the war, we just kind of fell apart. We wanted different things."

"You wanted romance?" Malfoy asked, his lips quirking.

"So, what if I did?" Harry snapped back, and Malfoy just sighed, turning his face away. And the regret shot through Harry so fast, he almost didn't know what to do with it. Malfoy had been mocking him; he'd reacted as he'd always had, so why did Malfoy look so…

Maybe because Malfoy wasn't really mocking you? a little voice whispered, tickling the back of his mind, and Harry shoved it away before it could say something else absurd.

He glanced up, managing to actually seeing the waiter approach this time. He smiled at Harry, showing shining white teeth as he placed the alfredo in front of him, followed by Malfoy's Ravioli.

"Everything look alright?" he asked.

"Wonderful," Malfoy answered, looking as if didn't mean it at all. "Thank you." The waiter gave him a curious look before nodding and heading away.

Malfoy spun his fork between his fingers as he began to eat, occasionally picking up his knife to cut the bigger ravioli into smaller pieces. He didn't look up at Harry once, though Harry was staring at him, and it was clear that Malfoy wasn't going to be the one to start a conversation this time.

Harry cleared his throat awkwardly; Malfoy's eyes flicked up to him, then away. He put another piece of ravioli delicately in his mouth. Harry resisted the urge to sigh. He supposed he deserved the silent treatment after the way he'd shot down the previous topics. He didn't even know why he cared whether Malfoy talked to him or not. He should have been happy enough just finishing his food and leaving. Except he just wasn't.

"Why didn't you protest?" he blurted suddenly.

"What?" Malfoy asked, blinking up at him, a piece of ravioli half-way between his mouth and the plate.

"When you got assigned to work the case with me, you said you didn't protest. Why not?" he asked again, and he would be lying if he said the answered hadn't been burning at him. Malfoy sighed, putting his fork down.

"I don't hate you, Potter," he answered, his grey eyes steady on Harry's face. "I'm not sure I ever did. I was jealous of you, and I was foolish in how I showed it, but I didn't hate you. When my supervisor said I was assigned to you, I figured why not," Malfoy shrugged. "At least, it was a chance to get past all the bad, right?"

"Hermione says you've changed," Harry said, and again, he didn't know why he did, didn't know why he cared so much. But he just knew that this felt important. This conversation felt as if they were on the tipping point of something, and he just needed to know which way they would fall.

"Ah, Granger," Malfoy breathed out, and if Harry didn't know better, he would have said Malfoy's expression was fond. "She married to Weasley yet?"

"Engaged," Harry answered.

"Well, tell her to stop by when she gets the chance. I haven't had a good persecution case in a while," and then he was turning back to his food as if the conversation was over, except it wasn't. It couldn't be.

"So, she's right?" Harry asked, and Malfoy blinked up at him.

"Haven't you changed since the war, Potter?" he answered. "Is it so insane to think that I have too?"

"I just-."

"I told you how my father was full of hate, and I think you know how that hate cost him. How it cost me," Malfoy told him, grey eyes serious, unhappy. "And for what? How many people died just so we purebloods could say we were better? I didn't deserve what happened to me; my mother didn't deserve to die; Granger didn't deserve to be tortured in my house. All that nonsense because of blood purity, and no one even has any idea that the only thing it means is death," he smiled, looking bitter and tired, and Harry was reaching across the table, his fingers wrapping around Malfoy's.

And Malfoy was looking back at him, his eyes wide and full of some emotion that Harry didn't have any idea how to even start sorting through.

"I'm sorry," he muttered, the air quiet between them, intense, intimate.

"I don't want you to apologize," Malfoy answered, his voice just as quiet, his hand turning up, fingers twining through Harry's. "I want you to understand."

"I think I'm starting to."

Malfoy shoved him hard, his back colliding with the wall behind him as Malfoy's lips landing on his. Harry groaned in Malfoy's mouth, opening up as Malfoy's tongue entered his mouth, tracing the line of his top lip before stroking along his tongue.

Harry was only half aware of how they'd gotten here, and part of him was still back at the restaurant, sitting across from Malfoy and deciding whether he should trust him or not.

Malfoy's hand wound itself into his hair, yanking his head back as Malfoy attacked his neck, and Harry was making horribly loud needy sounds, echoing off the alley around them, hoping against hope no one would come. But it wasn't as if he could push Malfoy off when he was sucking right there—and how had he known exactly where Harry was sensitive, licking and then sucking, biting, and Harry knew he'd have a hickey there tomorrow, but he couldn't make himself care.

Malfoy had only paid for his own meal, casting Harry an unimpressed look when he'd said Malfoy should pay for both since it had been his idea. And Harry… had kind of liked it. It had been a while since he'd been out with someone new, who neither felt the need to fall over themselves trying to impress him or waited for him to impress them. Even Ginny had been that way, waiting for Harry to pick up the check everywhere they had gone.

They'd stopped just outside the restaurant; Harry had intended of just saying goodnight. He had been planning on running off, going back to his house and thinking long and hard about everything that had happened, because surely he had lost his mind somewhere earlier in the day.

Except he had stopped, and Malfoy had stopped, and just as he was turning to look at Malfoy—to say goodnight—Malfoy had licked his lips—licked his lips, as if people did that in real life. And Harry had attacked him, his arms thrown around his neck, lips pressed against Malfoy's. He would have blamed the drinks, except he hadn't had any.

And he still had no idea how they'd gotten into the alley. Not that he could care right then.

Malfoy released his hair, leaning back up and pressing his lips against Harry's again with a vengeance. Harry could taste the wine on his tongue, slightly bitter, obviously expensive. He moaned loudly as Malfoy pressed his thigh between Harry's legs, grinding against his crotch.

"Merlin, Harry," Malfoy said, and he sounded wrecked. Had Harry done that to him? It didn't seem possible, but then he felt wrecked too, and it was entirely Malfoy's fault. "Let me take you home?" he said, his voice pitching as if it was a question, as if it was entirely Harry's choice, and yet he'd still managed to word it like an order, and Harry moaned against his mouth, because it was all so entirely Malfoy.

"Yes, God. Yes!" he managed.

Thanks for reading, the second part will be up tomorrow!