Disclaimer: Don't own it. Never have, never will. I just like to play with the boys.
Notes: AU. The Potters and Malfoys are friends, but their sons have never met. Draco has always been away when Harry comes with his parents to visit the Malfoys, and vice versa. They're both about six in this. Voldemort does not exist.
Written with avonicon and now dedicated to her. On 5/17/15, I found out that my coauthor passed away. This story wouldn't be here without her. I owe her a lot for helping me through the process of writing this. Thank you, Leah.
Two Little Boys Meet
By hashire and avonicon
A house elf opens the door for the Potters, who step inside as soon as the house elf motions them in. Little Harry is gripping his mother's hand tightly as he glances around the wide entry way. He frowns, knowing that he'll be off in the Malfoy's large playroom for most of the day while his parents chat with the Malfoys. His mother squeezes his hand and he looks up at her. She smiles down at him and says, "Harry, say hello."
He whispers inaudibly and looks away to study the flagstone pattern on the floor. He's so surprised to see a pair of shoes the same size as his own that he jumps and squeezes his mother's hand a little tighter. Narcissa steps forward and smiles, laying one of her white slender hands on his shoulder. "This is my son, Draco. You two can play together today."
Harry looks at Draco warily. He glances at his fancy clothes and wonders why Draco is so dressed up just to play. Harry only has to get dressed up when he visits his aunt and uncle. Harry, having no tact because he is six, blurts out, "Why are you wearing those clothes? You're just going to mess them up when we play." Harry knows that his mother hates it when he dirties his good clothes.
Lily Potter looks embarrassed and pulls Harry's hand, aiming to scold him gently for his rude comment. Narcissa quickly laughs. "Draco just likes to look nice, Harry. When his clothes get dirty, the house elves clean them." Draco adds, "But they don't get dirty very often."
Harry frowns again, wondering how Draco's clothes could not get dirty very often. Harry always gets dirty when he plays. If his mother is in the mood, she'll give him a bath, but sometimes she just mutters a cleaning spell and sends him off to bed with a push. Harry doesn't realize that his parents are talking to the Malfoys until Lily tugs at his hand and starts to lead him further in the house.
Harry angles himself slightly behind Lily's skirt and he discreetly watches Draco obediently trot after his parents into the lounge, where a house elf is setting out a tea tray. Lucius offers seats to the Potters and Narcissa indicates to Draco that he should take Harry and leave. Draco nods quickly, takes hold of Harry's hand and walks swiftly out of the room. As soon as the door closes behind them, Draco's shoulders relax. Harry is a little relieved. Maybe they aren't so different after all.
Harry looks around the large hall, then back at Draco, who's still holding his hand. "Well, what are we going to do?" he asks, shaking Draco's hand off. Harry only lets his mum hold his hand. He learned to never let anyone do that after Dudley had led him into a mud puddle a few years ago. Fighting resulted, and his aunt and uncle were mad at him while his parents were mad at Dudley. A much larger fight had erupted and Harry had shrunk into a corner near the fireplace, waiting for his parents to Floo them out.
Draco doesn't seem like the kind of boy who would do something like that, though. He doesn't sneer maliciously the way Dudley does and he almost looks hurt when Harry withdrew his hand.
Harry shrugs and Draco clasps his hands together near his stomach. "Want to play in my room?" Harry leans his head to one side in a noncommittal way and Draco makes a sort-of grin. Almost taking Harry's hand again, but remembering not to, he turns and leads the way up a marble staircase to their left.
Harry follows Draco closely, looking around at all of the paintings on the wall. A few of them look down their noses at him, and the others refuse to look at him at all. Harry knows that all of the paintings in the Malfoy's home are of ancestors, who obviously weren't very nice during their lives. Harry is jerked out of his thoughts as Draco suddenly comes to a stop. Harry slows down as quickly as he can, but his momentum still pushes him into Draco. The two boys fall down on the marble at the top of the staircase.
"Ouch!" Draco exclaims as his knees hit the solid floor and Harry awkwardly collapses on top of him. They scramble apart but Draco remains on the floor, rubbing his knee. Harry crouches near him, chewing his bottom lip and wondering what he should do. "'M sorry," he finally mumbles, and looks down. He doesn't see the reproachful glance Draco gives him before pulling himself off the cold stone.
Draco had stopped to grandly show Harry around the wing, but his throbbing knee makes him decide not to. Instead, he continues walking toward his room, limping slightly. His knee really doesn't hurt that much, but his parents usually fawn over him when something like this happens, and he wants to see what Harry will do. He's not sure what to expect. They reach the room silently, and Draco pushes open the door.
Harry meekly follows Draco into his room and stands next to the door as Draco flops onto his huge bed. "Do you want me to do anything?" he says almost inaudibly. He's never been good at dealing with a peer in pain. Draco shakes his head.
Tentatively, Harry walks to the bed and climbs up to sit by Draco. "Does it hurt?" he asks, probing the bruise with his fingers. Draco frowns, but not because it hurts. It's not really that bad a bruise. He's just not accustomed to people touching him in that way.
"A bit," Draco says anyway, making a bit of a face and shying away from Harry's touch. Harry watches Draco's face for a moment before looking around the room. His breath catches as he sees all of the toys and trinkets around Draco's room. There are a lot more than there ever were in the playroom. Harry pushes himself off the bed and walks toward a trunk overflowing with toys. He reaches out and picks one up.
Draco's eyes follow him silently around the room as Harry admires his little glass dragon collection and other decorations. There are some pictures of the Malfoy family, and their eyes follow him as well. When Harry realizes that he's the center of attention, he drops his hands and blushes, trying to pretend he isn't quite so enamored with all the pretty things.
Forgetting to limp, Draco hops off the bed and picks up a glass figurine of a Hungarian horntail. It snaps at his fingers harmlessly and he shoves it towards Harry unceremoniously. "You can have this."
Harry's mouths opens and closes as he looks at the little dragon in his hands. It latches onto his thumb with dull little teeth that don't break his skin, but he yelps nonetheless and tries to shake it off. Draco reaches over and pinches the sides of the dragon's jaw, something he learned to do years ago with all of his snapping toys.
"Don't fuss, he can't hurt you." Draco places the small dragon in his palm and holds it out to Harry once more, who eyes it cautiously. "Go on," Draco urges, holding his hand a little closer to Harry. Very slowly, Harry reaches out and runs his index finger over the ridges of the glass animal's back.
The dragon relaxes under his fingers, and he gingerly lifts it out of Draco's palm. When Harry's fingers brush against Draco's, Draco reaches out and clasps his hand for a moment, then pulls away, as if he suddenly remembers that Harry didn't like that. "Thanks." Harry mutters, poking at the dragon to see how it would react. When he gets no response, he looks up and sees that Draco is on his bed again, watching him.
Harry has very caring and adoring parents, so he's used to being the center of attention. When Draco's watching him, however, he's very conscious of his movements. Still holding the little dragon, he turns around and faces away from the eyes staring at him, only to discover Draco at his side a moment later, as if he can't decide where he really wants to be.
Draco studies him for a few moments, and then says, "Let's go outside." Harry nods slowly, and starts for the door, but Draco stops him. "This way," he gestures, pointing at a door on the other side of the room. It looks like a closet door to Harry, but, when Draco opens it, Harry clearly sees that there isn't a closet behind it. He thinks it must be charmed, because all he can see out the door is grass and trees and sky. Draco is already out the door before Harry has fully taken in what happened, and Draco turns with a look on his face that says, "Are you coming or not?"
Harry follows him, taking in his surroundings. There's a tree with low hanging branches, a perfectly blue sky, and a pond nearby. It can't be real. Draco's room is above ground level. Harry decides that although it didn't make sense, it was definitely worth exploring.
Harry starts toward the tree, but is stopped by a hand on his arm. He turns and looks at Draco, who is staring at the tree. "You have to be careful with that tree. It's moody." When Harry gives Draco an odd look, Draco just shrugs and doesn't bother to explain. Instead, he walks toward the pond, picks up a stone, and skips it across the water. Slipping the dragon into his pocket, Harry follows, and is about to try to skip a rock when something large breaks the surface of the water.
He gasps and jumps away from the shoreline but Draco calmly selects another flat stone. "That's my pet." Harry is mesmerized as the shell of a very large turtle becomes more visible as it comes toward them. Draco kneels in the sand to pet its head, which slowly moves as if to say 'hello.' Harry has never seen such a strange pet. Draco turns to look at Harry. "You can pat him. It likes it when you rub his neck."
"Um . . . okay," Harry replies, stepping carefully across the sand, in case the turtle decides it wants to eat him. Harry has the scene mapped out in his head by the time he reaches Draco and the turtle, and he's surprised when nothing happens. Harry's hand moves toward the turtle without his permission, and he strokes its neck. The turtle leans into the touch and makes a such weird noise that Harry can't decide whether it's enjoying the stroking or not.
"He likes you," Draco says absently, settling himself down the on sand.
Nobody has ever told Harry that an animal likes him. How does Draco know? Maybe Draco meant that he likes Harry as well. Pets and wizards may sometimes be connected that way. On the other hand, Harry is probably just being silly.
He continues to stroke the turtle's neck. Draco does as well, and this time when Draco's hand touches his, he doesn't flinch or pull away.
Harry jumps when the turtle suddenly pulls itself back into the water. "Wha?" he manages, the images of the turtle eating him fresh in his head.
"He just wants to go back to sleep," Draco says lightly. Their hands are still touching, and Harry still doesn't pull away. There's nothing wrong with Draco's hand, and Harry really doesn't mind it anymore. Harry turns toward Draco slightly, and Draco looks at him out of the corners of his eyes.
"Is there anything else out here like that?"
"Nothing you need to be careful of. Except that tree." He indicates the branches he had warned Harry about earlier, which appear to be waving benignly in a breeze. "I made a fort here. Do you want to see it?" Harry nods. Draco straightens importantly. "You have to promise never to tell a soul where it is, living or dead." Harry holds up one hand and swears that he won't tell. Draco grins and races off, pulling Harry with him by their clasped hands.
They run farther than Harry saw at first from the door in Draco's room. He watches with interest as the flowers bow to them as they pass, and almost trips over a rock. Draco slows and pulls his hand up a bit to right Harry, and then continues when Harry is sure he has his balance back.
Harry is beginning to wonder just how far this fort is, thinking of what might happen if his parents come to get him and find him gone. When Draco finally stops, Harry is unprepared yet again, and knocks into him. This time, Harry pulls Draco up before he can hit the ground, and the boys look at each other for a moment.
"Thanks," Draco whispers, still staring at Harry. After a moment he remembers himself and turns around. "This is the entrance." He drops to his hands and knees and crawls forward, pushing aside the underbrush. Harry doesn't hesitate to follow. They crawl for only a few feet and then straighten up. Harry looks around and sees that they're in some sort of rock cavern. The top is open and sunlight streams in. Draco walks to one of the rocks and sits down with his back against it, looking up to admire the sky. Harry goes to sit with him, also squinting skyward. It's very bright. After a moment or two he drops his head to Draco's shoulder, because it seems like a good thing to do.
After a few moments, Harry asks, "Do you come here a lot?" Draco shifts and looks down at him, and Harry immediately feels dumb for saying such a thing, even if it was just a simple question. His mum always told him he was too curious. "Um . . . " he mutters, trying to think of a followup to the question, but nothing comes to mind and he gives up.
Draco smiles into Harry's hair. "Yes," he says simply. Harry is relieved that Draco didn't make fun of him or swat at him like other children do. It makes him feel comfortable.
The sun doesn't bring much warmth through the chinks in the rock, and Harry shivers involuntarily. Draco curls his toes and clasps his small hands together. He looks just like Harry's dad when he does that. Harry giggles and squishes himself against the warm body next to him.
Draco makes a noise as Harry presses against him, but he doesn't move away. It's uncomfortable, but Harry's warm and . . . nice. It's the only way that Draco can describe it. Nice. He moves his clasped hands closer to Harry's, which is on the ground next to his left leg. Quickly, he unclasps his hands and grabs Harry's, kicking up a bit of dirt around their hands.
Harry squeaks at the coldness of Draco's skin and squirms. He pulls their clasped hands, soil and all, under his shirt to warm up on his tummy which is always warm. Draco tries to move without withdrawing his hand and collapses into Harry's lap. He sighs deeply and looks up at Harry, who is grinning like he knows a secret. Draco's mouth twitches as he admires Harry's dimples.
Draco wiggles his hand against Harry's belly, and Harry lets out a choked giggle. Draco smiles as he repeats the action, and Harry makes a louder noise. Before Harry can react, both of Draco's hands are under his shirt, and Draco's tickling him while he squirms and giggles. "Stop . . . stoppit!" he manages.
Draco's smile widens and he doesn't stop it. Harry collapses on his side against the stone of the cavern and Draco follows on his knees, leaning over him. Draco keeps tickling until tears are leaking out of the corners of Harry's eyes because he's laughing so hard. Draco finally stops and Harry takes huge gulps of air now that Draco's letting him breathe. Draco sticks the end of his tongue between his teeth unconsciously and rests his hand over Harry's belly button.
Harry tenses slightly, waiting for more tickling, but, when no more comes, he looks up at Draco. Draco is staring at him with an odd look in his eyes that Harry has never seen before in anyone. "Draco?" he asks uncertainly, propping himself up on his elbow.
Draco seems to wake up a little bit and he moves his hand up Harry's body, over his chest, his collar. His fingers move very softly over Harry's lips, which are dry. Without thinking, Harry flicks his tongue over them to moisten them and Draco gasps. He still has that funny look in his eyes, and Harry still doesn't understand it.
Harry takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly over Draco's fingers, uncertain about what to do. He watches Draco for a few moments more, then reaches up to brush his hand over Draco's hair. It's soft and warm, and Harry sighs softly over Draco's fingers as he works his own through Draco's hair.
Suddenly, Harry thinks he knows what that look means. He sometimes sees his parents grinning at each other with that look. He asked his mum what it meant, and she just smiled like a china doll and told him that daddy loved them both. With this in mind, the only thing that makes sense to do is to sit up and kiss Draco on the mouth, just like his parents do.
Draco takes in a startled breath but doesn't move away. He didn't know that this is what he wanted until it happened. He is completely still, unsure of what to do since he has never kissed anyone before. Harry doesn't seem to know what to do, either, and they just press against each other for awhile. Harry pulls back first, breathing harshly, and looks into Draco's eyes again.
Draco stares intently into Harry's eyes for a moment, as if he's crying. Harry blinks once or twice, but doesn't look away. Draco's face breaks into an impromptu grin once again and he launches playfully at Harry and they fall backwards together. Draco nuzzles his face into Harry's neck. Harry giggles and squeezes him tightly and wraps his body around Draco's.
They curl tightly together, quiet for the moment. Neither knows what to say. Neither is even sure what's happening, but Harry thinks that it feels good, and Draco silently agrees. A sudden noise outside of the fort makes them jump and pull apart slowly. "What's that?" Harry mutters, looking toward the entrance.
A tiny kitten appears near the entrance of the fort, looking fuzzy. Draco makes a mewing sound to it and says to Harry, "This is Tinky. She's my cat." Tinky pads toward Draco and arches her back against his fingers, purring. "Want to touch her? She's really cuddly." He considers for a moment and then adds, "Just like you." Harry smiles and scoots closer. Draco glances at him, eyes bright, and lifts Tinky into Harry's arms.
Harry reaches out and takes the kitten. She rubs her nose against his hand, and he giggles and says, "That's cold." She purrs softly and head butts his lower arm. He giggles again. "She's friendly." He strokes her back, and she begins to purr louder.
Draco reaches out to pet Tinky's with Harry, and his fingers brush over Harry's hand instead of the kitten's fur. Harry reverently holds Draco's hand in his palm and bends down to kiss it, like a prince coming for his princess. Draco's eyelids flutter before he can compose himself once more.
Tinky rubs their hands for a moment, then curls up in Harry's arms and promptly falls asleep. Harry and Draco don't notice at first, because they're staring at each other, but Harry breaks eye contact first and looks down at the kitten. "Oh," he says softly, sounding a bit surprised, "she's asleep."
Draco smiles at Harry and makes a strange noise in his throat which almost sounds like a cat purring. He pretends to lick the back of his hand and rubs it on his head like a cat cleaning itself. Harry giggles at his antics. Encouraged, Draco flicks his tongue out to lick Harry, as cats often do to humans they're fond of.
Harry grins and holds his hand out, trying to purr when he feels Draco's tongue on his hand. He meows softly when he finds that he can't, and Tinky wakes up and mews at him. She reaches up and licks Draco's cheek, since his face is still against Harry's hand.
Draco is unable to hold back his very human-like grin when he hears Harry mew. He nuzzles Tinky in return for her kitten-kiss, and then sits up to administer one to Harry. The light sensation of a tongue over his cheek tickles Harry, and he falls backward, giggling. Tinky makes a hasty retreat out of between the boys, and shakes herself off daintily before exiting soundlessly. Neither of the make-pretend animals notice.
Draco scampers next to Harry and sits upright for a moment, just watching the other boy, who is smiling. Harry reaches up, looking as though he's going to rub Draco's cheek, but, instead, he bats at it, like a cat batting at a piece of string. Draco makes a small noise of surprise, then pushes Harry's hand away when it doesn't stop batting against him. He pounces on Harry, pinning him to the ground. He then leans in to rub their noises together.
They crawl around on their hands and knees playfully for a few seconds, and then Harry launches himself at Draco and they roll on the ground until they're lying together, curled up like cats. Draco purrs again and then tucks his head under Harry's arm. Harry curls his body against Draco's and closes his eyes.
Draco watches Harry, then leans in to kiss his nose before closing his eyes. Harry opens his again, just to see that Draco has shut his, so he settles down and starts to doze.
About a half hour later, Narcissa Malfoy walks through the woods, Lily Potter behind her. Lily wonders where they're going. She's nervous and worried; she's never been in the forest behind the Malfoy's mansion, and finding Harry and Draco missing just a few minutes before shook her up.
Narcissa pushes aside a few branches, and says to Lily, "I'm sure they're in here. Draco likes to think that no one knows about this place, but I've seen him in it a few times.
"Draco? Dear, are you in there?"
Draco's eyes flutter open when he hears his mother's voice. He mumbles something sleepily, just loud enough for her to confirm that this is indeed where they are. He stirs a little and wakes Harry.
"Harry, love, it's time to go home," Lily says into the entrance of the fort. Harry grumbles and squeezes closer to Draco.
The two women stand up straight outside and wait patiently until two little heads bob out of the hiding place. Lily smiles down at Harry, who blinks up at her and smiles sleepily. He crawls out and hugs her legs, yawning into them.
She melts with affection for her son and lifts him into her arms. Draco, seeing this, tugs on his own mother's robes, wanting to be carried as well.
Back in the entranceway, Lucius and James were shaking hands and exchanging farewells. Seeing that their children are nodding off, they shush their conversation and silently wave goodbye. The Potters are just heading out the door when Harry shrieks and jumps from Lily's grasp. He runs to Narcissa, who sets Draco on the floor. Harry kisses him soundly and then turns to run after his family.
Draco smiles sleepily and leans against Narcissa, who exchanges a glance with Lucius before picking him up and taking him up to his room. When she sets him on his bed, he curls up and falls asleep. Narcissa hears him mutter, "Harry," before she leaves the room, and smiles.