Title: Snapshot Memories
By: Saber ShadowKitten
Category: Crossover, romance/drama, futurefic
Pairing: Draco Malfoy/Lex Luthor
Rated: M for sex and language
Spoilers: PS-GoF, though I suppose nothing counters OotP. Written before HPB. General spoilers for Smallville s1-4.
Notes: Both Draco and Lex, according to canon of
each series, were born in 1980, which makes them the same age.
Many people think Draco is younger, but that's only because Lex acts
like a middleaged man on Smallville.
Summary: Life is remembered not as a whole, but as a series of snaspshots taken by the heart.
The landscape rolled like lush, green waves in an ocean called Scotland. Tiny white, pink, and violet flowers dotted the area, prettiness disguising the harmful weeds. Broken, weathered stone marked an outline where the land was gutted, the heart dug out in an appropriate metaphor.
Lex Luthor snorted at his thoughts, kicking at a stone with disregard for his genuine Italian shoes. Dust speckled the shined black toe, as the stone sailed over the edge into the former dungeon of the Luthor "ancestral" castle (land and residence bought at auction in the 1970s). Over-grown weeds and lichen covered the chipped rock floor and walls. A stagnant pond filled several cells, a visible stench rising in the summer heat under the nearly cloudless blue sky.
Lex's suit coat was in his car, parked at the edge of the property. His white dress shirt, unbuttoned at the collar and rolled at the sleeves, clung to the sweat-dampened skin under his arms and between his shoulder blades. Driving to the estate had been a whim; his business in The City having had concluded early, leaving Lex at ends – again.
Tired of the same scenery, Lex had packed a bag and left his flat within an hour of finishing his meeting. He'd made reservations at a Bed and Breakfast in Braemar, the closest town to the old Scottish estate, on drive north. London had abruptly become claustrophobic after six months of living there trying to forget his broken heart.
His heart hadn't healed, as evidenced by his maudlin thoughts. The hole in the ground where the castle had been was just that, a hole in the ground, and not an ironic jibe at the sad state of his emotions. Clark Kent's marriage and the permanent end to the illusion of a future between them had nothing to do with the scenery, other than by sending Lex fleeing overseas.
The twenty-nine year old circled the ruins of the castle's remains and walked slowly across the property. The countryside was beautiful, the air freshening the further he moved from the castle. He let his thoughts drift, rebuilding a manor of his own design on the property in his mind, one in which he'd inevitably live alone.
It was relatively pathetic, in his opinion, that he still moped over Clark. Lex had run the gambit of alcohol, anonymous sex, and overworking in an attempt at stopping the hurt, but time would be the only cure. He was much better now than he had been when he'd climbed into the private plane the night after Clark's wedding, having barely stopped from doing himself irreversible harm. He could wish Clark begrudged happiness from an ocean away.
Lex found the low, rock fence that divided the Luthor property from the neighbor's, pulled up his trouser legs, and sat on the weathered wall. The sun beat on his bare scalp and he squinted behind his sunglasses as he surveyed the land. A gently sloping hill on the neighboring property blocked his view of the manor house. The peace and quiet was broken, however, by an irritated British-accented conversation on the other side of the rise, getting louder as the arguers approached.
"A spark in the air is all you were."
"A drunk squib can maneuver better than you now, Potter."
"How you didn't see that flock of birds with me screaming about them in your ear—"
"It was your screaming that caused me to run into them."
"Don't blame me, blind boy. It was a flock of birds."
"Shut up. Why we couldn't have just Apparated…"
"That would defeat the purpose of sneaking up on them. Though with your steering skills—"
"After I check my sources and verify it isn't too late, we'll take the bus. Hold still."
"Hey! Why did you do that?"
"Mordred, haven't you learned anything in your Department? We're heading into a Muggle town on foot, dimwit," Malfoy said as they crested the hill. "We should at least try not to draw attention to ourselves."
"Too late." Potter, Lex presumed, gestured at Lex, coming to a halt. Malfoy stopped, too, and stared at Lex.
Lex's sharp gaze catalogued the two men about his age. They were equal in height and lean build, dressed nearly identical in short-sleeved polo shirts and dark trousers. The similarity ended there. Potter had black messy hair and a healthy tan. His square-jawed features were partially obscured by a pair of thick-rimmed spectacles.
Malfoy, on the other hand, was as pale as porcelain. His pointed features bespoke of aristocracy in the tilt of his chin. The sunlight made his pure white-blonde, shoulder-length hair glimmer with silver. As the two began down the hill towards Lex, he could see Malfoy's eyes were true gray and unsurprisingly piercing.
"Hello," Potter greeted pleasantly, though Lex could hear suspicion in his voice.
"Afternoon." Lex stood and extended his hand. "Lex Luthor."
"Harry Potter." Potter shook and released Lex's hand. "This is Draco Malfoy."
"Mr. Malfoy," Lex said, offering his hand again.
Malfoy clasped Lex's hand, holding it longer than appropriate, catching Lex's attention. His gaze was unwavering, as he corrected, "It's Draco."
Lex felt a flare of attraction in response to the subtle probe of interest from Malfoy – Draco – and a slight flirtatious smile curved his lips. "Call me Lex."
"You're American, if I'm not mistaken." Draco released Lex's hand with a caress of his fingertips against the palm. "What brings you out here, Lex?"
"Business. Although I am currently taking a leave of absence to pay a visit to my 'ancestral' estate," Lex said, gesturing widely at the property behind him.
"You drove out here?" At Lex's nod, Draco asked, "Would it be presumptuous to request a ride to town?"
"Not at all." Lex stepped back and Draco climbed elegantly over the wall. Potter nearly fell on his face doing so. He reminded Lex of Clark when he smiled sheepishly, and Lex turned quickly away. "My car is parked on the drive."
Heaviness settled on Lex's shoulders again, and the walk to the car was made in silence. He wanted to be out of Potter's presence and his unintentional reminders as soon as possible. Upon reaching the car, he moved his suit coat to the trunk and waited as Potter scrunched into the tiny backseat, with Draco beside Lex on the passenger side, before starting the vehicle.
The ride to town was short, no longer than ten minutes on the twisting, unpaved road. Lex remembered hearing that they'd planned to take the bus, and parked the car in front of the station that doubled as the post office.
"Thanks for the lift," Draco said. He got out of the car before Lex could speak, shifted the seat, and let Potter out. After pushing the seat back, he ducked his head in the open doorway and added, "It was much appreciated."
"If the wait is long, you're welcome to join me for a drink," Lex invited suddenly, without thought. "I'm staying at the Mead Bed and Breakfast two streets over."
Draco's smile was regretful. "I doubt it'll be that long. Perhaps when we meet again."
Lex hid his disappointment with well-practiced ease. He'd hoped to recapture that fizzle of attraction from earlier, but it didn't seem likely. "Perhaps then."
Draco nodded, straightened, and shut the car door without a word of goodbye. Lex watched for a moment as Draco strode away before chastising his girlishness, putting the car in gear, and driving off.
That night, Lex answered a surprise knock at his door, to find Draco standing casually in the hallway.
"I know I agreed to a drink," Draco drawled, a seductive smile hovering on his lips. "But why don't we skive off and move directly onto where this evening is going to end."
Lex didn't have to think long. He stepped aside, allowing Draco to saunter into the room, and closed and locked the door behind him.
Lex watched from his perch on the bed, his robe wrapped around him, as Draco finished dressing. Draco's wet, pale hair clung to his shirt over his shoulders, making damp spots.
"Right," Draco said, sliding on his last shoe. He checked his left pocket, and then looked at Lex. "I'm off. See you tomorrow night?"
"I'll be here," Lex agreed, as he had for the past five evenings.
Draco tipped his head and then left without any awkward goodbyes.
Lex stood and stretched. He went to lock the door and then wandered past the chest of drawers to the small table near the window. Good sex deserved good Glenfiddich afterwards, and Lex had both.
He sipped his drink, parting the curtains slightly to peer outside. The streets of Braemar were dark; the lateness of the hour promised everyone was asleep. Lex would be joining them shortly and sleep the heavy sleep of the well-fucked.
Lex smiled to himself and let the curtain fall. A glance at the bed showed its extremely rumpled and stained condition. His room smelled headily of sex. Tied-off condoms, condom wrappers and tissues filled the trashcan, and an open lubricant bottle and unused condoms cluttered the bedside table. The room had been in the same state for the past five nights, most likely to the morning maid's dismay.
Lex was certainly enjoying his newfound lover. Yesterday and this evening, they'd ventured out first for drinks down at the pub before returning to Lex's room at the Bed and Breakfast. Draco had a sharp wit and equitable aristocratic tastes to go with his good looks and better sex skills. Lex was beginning to like him outside of bed, too.
Draco, Lex decided, was exactly what he needed to get over Clark and back into the game. The whim that had brought him to Scotland had been definitely worthwhile.
"Malfoy, what are you doing?"
"Paperwork. Again." Draco didn't look up as Harry wandered into his cubbyhole. "You know why they call us Unspeakables? Because we've said it all already in words on parchment. In triplicate."
"I meant with that Muggle," Harry said.
"Lex?" Draco's mouth twitched in a satisfied grin, as he glanced up at Harry. "I'm shagging him rotten. Why, jealous?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "You wish."
"Sorry, but no. You're not my type. I prefer redheads." Draco went back to his writing. "Better tell your pet Weasel 'back to the wall' next time I'm around."
"Don't call him that."
"Oh, so you're the pet?"
"Will you take your mind out of the gutter for one second and explain this Muggle?"
"I can't do that if you want my mind out of the gutter."
Harry huffed in his usual put-upon manner and threw himself into the second chair in the small room. Draco smirked and continued his paperwork.
Harry was silent for a bit. Draco's quill scratched against the parchment as he wrote his latest report. He had been sent to retrieve a Dissembler from an old friend of the family, without that person's knowledge. It put Draco in an awkward position, but he was used to it. The Department of Mysteries tended to use him for his name and his parents' former Death Eater connections.
"A Malfoy and a Muggle, that's not on," Harry said finally.
"He's a redhead." Draco blotted a mistake. "Though you have to look real close to see that, and I most certainly have."
"For Merlin's sake, I don't want to hear about your sex life."
"But I thought you wanted to talk about Lex," Draco said innocently. Well, as innocently as he could pull off.
"He had a sad aura," Harry said.
Draco lifted his eyes from his parchment, jaw tightening. "I see where this is heading. You're protecting the Muggle from the big, bad Malfoy."
"That's not true—"
"Stuff it, Potter. I'm twenty-nine years old and who I shag is my business," Draco said, irritated. "Lex is an adult and not under any spell. So, get back on your high Pegasus and fly off."
Harry pushed up his glasses and rubbed his eyes. "Fine. Whatever. I didn't come down here to argue with you anyway."
"Then, why are you here?"
"Your source in Bristol," Harry said. "We have an Auror Alert for someone suspected to be in that area. Think you can persuade him to give us a hand?"
The name of Malfoy was needed again. Draco sighed silently. "Give me five minutes to finish this, and I'll be up."
Draco was propped on his forearm curled behind Lex, fucking him. He held Lex's bare leg, opening him for penetration. Draco thrust into the tight grip of Lex's body, watching over Lex's shoulder as he stroked his swollen shaft, the blood-darkened, cut head poking through his fist again and again. The low light from the bedside lamp in Lex's room at the Bed and Breakfast allowed Draco to see every delectable inch of the man he'd been shagging for nearly three weeks.
Lex didn't look sad. His face was slack with pleasure, fair eyelashes casting faint shadows beneath his closed eyes. He breathed heavily through his open mouth, defined chest rising and falling at a quickened rate. The corded muscles in his arm bulged with every pull on his hard cock.
Draco brushed his lips against Lex's neck and ear, and ordered huskily, "Save that for me."
Lex's breath hitched and he grasped the base of his erection tightly on the downstroke. Draco nipped Lex's earlobe, hips moving faster at the anticipation of being filled, feeling that thick shaft penetrating him…
Draco's fingers bruised Lex's leg as he came with a hiss. He quaked as pleasure washed over him, pulsing out of his cock and into Lex.
He sucked a kiss on Lex's neck as his body calmed, but not hard enough to leave a mark. He pulled out of Lex carefully, skinned off the condom – an annoyance, but a Muggle necessity – tied it, and tossed it in the bin.
Lex rolled onto his back as Draco fetched a new condom from the bedside table. Lex watched with heavy-lidded, hungry eyes as the condom was rolled on him and as Draco used the slippery lubricant on himself. A spell cast before Draco had arrived kept him stretched for sex, keeping preparation down to a minimum, and as he straddled Lex's waist and lowered himself on Lex's cock, he was self-satisfyingly grateful.
Lex's strong hands rubbed up and down Draco's thighs, as Draco rocked his hips. Draco's head lolled, reveling in the pleasurable sensations centered in his arse. Sex sounds filled his ears. His fingernails scratched Lex's sweat-glistened chest, leaving parallel red lines, stark against the faintly tanned skin.
Lex didn't last, coming snugly inside Draco with a twist of his features. Draco hadn't re-hardened, which was fine, and he sat for a moment, drinking in the lingering feeling of being fucked. Lex licked his lips and opened his eyes. Draco shot him an appropriately cocky grin. He shifted off Lex with a satisfied moan and flopped onto the bed beside him.
"I'm hungry," Draco declared a moment later. He glanced at the clock. "It's early enough. Care to grab a bite?"
"Sure," Lex agreed. He tied off the condom and dropped it in the bin. He rose fluidly and strode unselfconsciously for the en suite bathroom.
They showered and dressed. Draco used the comb he'd left at Lex's a week ago. He examined his reflection in the mirror and then Lex's. They were similarly wearing pressed trousers, Lex in black and Draco in beige, and button-down shirts in lavender and pale blue respectively. They looked like a couple of poufs.
Draco smiled to himself. If the wand fit…
MacConnelley's Pub was more family oriented than the pub they usually patroned. Lex and Draco sat across from one another at a plain wood table. Around them, wait staff bustled, serving delicious-smelling meals and drinks to the other guests.
Draco set down his tall glass of stout, and continued, "Sometimes I'm on assignment for days, or weeks even, and other times I don't do anything at all."
"What about your partner?" Lex said, wondering at the irrational surge of jealousy.
"Who?" Draco looked confused.
"Harry Potter," Lex said. He chased a tomato around his plate of salad. "Isn't he your partner?"
"Potter? No, he's not. He's in a different Department entirely," Draco said. "He's like one of your – what do you call them? US Marshals? Anyway, at times we work together, but not often, which I'm happy about."
"Potter is an annoying, unknowingly egotistical, ungroomed martyr with a horrid taste in friends," Draco replied, gesturing with his fork in emphasis. "I've known him since we were eleven and he's been nothing but a pain since, even if I now call him 'friend.' If it weren't for the fact that he's one of three people who trust me unquestioningly, I'd probably have nothing to do with him."
"Three people, that many?" Lex smirked self-deprecatingly. "You have me beat."
Draco appeared curious. "What did you do to deserve the lack of trust? Me – I was born a Malfoy."
"I was born a Luthor."
Draco chuckled. "We're both rich, affluent, work in some form of acquisitions, are bogged down by our names, have exceptional fashion sense, and are terrific lovers. If we get any more alike, things will become boring."
Lex picked up his glass and raised it slightly. "Well, we'll always have Braemar."
Draco laughed without restraint. Lex was pleased with himself to have caused it, and he smiled widely.
"Yes, we'll always have Braemar," Draco said, picking up his glass and clinking it against Lex's. He took a draught and set it aside. "Speaking of, how long are you planning on staying?"
"I suppose until things get boring," Lex said off-handedly. Draco rolled his eyes and Lex continued to smile. "Actually, I have a place in Chelsea and don't know when I'll return to the States. My welcome at the Bed and Breakfast is up at the end of the week, so I'll be heading back to London."
"Good," Draco said with a wicked twinkle in his gray eyes. "We'll be able to continue this, then."
Lex tipped his glass towards Draco, a new sensation swimming in his belly. It felt a lot like happiness. "I'll look forward to it."
Lex hit the snooze on the alarm clock, rolled over, and buried his face in Draco's hair. Draco flailed his hand back and smacked Lex upside the head. "Geddup."
Lex grunted and shoved himself into a sitting position. His yawn cracked his jaw and he rubbed his eyes. Groggily, he climbed out of bed and stumbled naked into the bathroom in his Chelsea flat.
Squinting against the light, Lex relieved himself, brushed his teeth, and splashed cold water on his face. The alarm sounded in the other room, followed by cursing. Lex slapped on deodorant and dodged a grumbling blonde on his way out of the bathroom.
Lex dressed in sweats, a long-sleeved t-shirt, and running jacket. He laced his trainers and began stretching, using the bedpost as a support. Draco wandered out of the bathroom, stretching up on his toes, arms high about his head. Lex observed with blatant appreciation, earning a wink and a wiggle as Draco went into the walk-in closet. A minute later, he returned, dressed similarly to Lex, and took up the spot at the opposite bedpost.
Routine had them out the door, jogging up the street before the newspaper was delivered. They ran in silence in the early morning mist. Other runners were out in the gray light of dawn, nodding a greeting as they passed. It was cold outside, their breath visible and their feet kicking up slush.
The route was the same as it had been for months, an easy five-mile circuit. They cooled down on the steps to Lex's flat, stretching their muscles before heading inside. Mrs. Rubenstein, Lex's housekeeper, had arrived fifteen minutes earlier, like clockwork, and fresh breads, pastries, and hot coffee was on the dining room table, along with two bottled waters.
Lex sat at one end of the table with Draco to his right. They shared breakfast and the newspaper in silence. Half an hour after they sat down, Draco rose and left the room. He returned shortly, wearing the same clothes from the night before.
"I'm off," he said, bending to press a quick kiss on Lex's upturned lips. He slid an open portion of the newspaper closer to Lex and tapped one of the pictures. "Dickey Jerome is playing at the 100 Club on Friday. Do you think we could get tickets?"
"I'll be sure to," Lex said.
Draco smiled, rapped his knuckles on the table, and left without another word. Lex heard the front door open and close, and returned to his reading.
The day continued as normal. Lex dressed in full suit and tie and retreated to his in-home office to work. At lunch, he met and brokered a deal for LuthorCorp and had further meetings in The City. He picked up tickets at the 100 Club and returned home around seven. Changing into more comfortable clothes, he headed back into his office to kill time until Draco arrived.
Mrs. Rubenstein had put lex's mail on his desk. At the top of the short pile was an envelope with only his first name on it. Inside, on the odd paper that Draco favored, was a note in exceptionally neat penmanship.
Went on assignment. See you when I return.
Lex felt disappointed, but not overly so. It wasn't the first time one of them was gone on business; Lex had made several trips to Germany in the five months they'd been lovers.
Mentally shifting gears for the evening, Lex went downstairs to find out what Mrs. Rubenstein had left for dinner.
Lex hadn't realized how quiet and lonely it was in his flat with Draco gone. Perhaps it was because it'd been at least a full month since either of them had been unavailable for more than a night that left him feeling at ends. John Watson said behaviorism was about prediction and control and humans were creatures of habit. Comfort and security were found in routine. While Lex and Draco didn't live together, Draco spent the night nine times out of ten, and went running with Lex each of those mornings.
("If your bloody alarm is going to wake me up at the arse-crack of dawn anyway, I may as well get up and go with you.")
Lex tried to engross himself in the science program on television, but was having trouble. The show seemed boring without Draco sprawled beside him on the sofa, sock-clad feet propped on the low coffee table in the living room. Lex was unsettled. It wasn't just tonight, either. Getting up and running the last four mornings had been a chore by himself. The second cup set out at the breakfast table stood as an empty reminder that he was alone. Though they barely spoke a dozen words to each other in the mornings, without Draco there, the silence had been deafening.
Lex shut off the television and dropped the remote on the sofa cushion beside him. He leaned his head on the backrest and looked up at the stippled ceiling. It was ridiculous, he thought, watching a spider make a web in the corner. He was lonely. The last time he'd felt like this was in the first few weeks following Clark's wedding, nearly a year ago.
Lex started, jerking upright as he connected the dots. He stood abruptly, crossed to the wet bar in the corner, and poured a triple-finger of scotch. He slammed it down in a manner insulting to the scotch and poured another. His knuckles whitened with the tight hold on the glass.
Somehow, when he wasn't looking, Draco's presence had become as comfortable as Lex's favorite cashmere sweater and equally as cared for.
Now, what was he going to do about it?
The door opened, and Draco stepped into a kiss. He cupped the curve of Lex's skull, walked him backwards, and kicked the door shut. Lex's hands gripped the front of Draco's winter coat, as they snogged passionately in the entry hall.
Draco turned them, bumped into the hall table, and pressed Lex blindly against it. He pushed Lex's hands away and shoved the unbuttoned coat off, never parting from Lex's mouth. He bit hungrily at the lips beneath his, mouth sliding roughly against Lex's. His thigh wedged between Lex's legs, bringing them closer. Splaying his hands on Lex's lower back, Draco rocked against him, eliciting a pleased sound. Lex clutched Draco's hair, holding him captive as the ravaging kiss went on.
Draco came in his y-fronts with little warning, making a choking noise in the back of his throat. Rutting in the hallway like a teenager was déclassé, but Lex was bucking against his thigh, breath hitching and mouth slack beneath Draco's as he came, too, and no one was watching them anyway.
Draco rested his forehead against Lex's, eyes closed, listening to Lex's heavy panting. "Six days without sex is too many."
Lex chuckled, still trying to catch his breath. "I agree."
Draco dropped a kiss on Lex's lips, stepped back, and picked up his coat. He tossed it on the banister and the two headed upstairs.
Lex's two-story flat was in a posh neighborhood in Chelsea. Tastefully decorated in pale blues and beiges, a living room, dining room, and kitchen made up the first floor, with three bedrooms and two baths taking up the second floor. One of the bedrooms had been converted into an office, though it rarely was used when Draco was around.
"When did you get back?" Lex asked, as they entered the master bedroom.
"Just now." Draco toed off his loafers near the tall chest of drawers and unfastened his trousers.
Lex gave him a sidelong glance. "You came directly here?"
Draco frowned. "Why? Am I interrupting something?"
"Not at all." Lex stripped out of his trousers and y-fronts, and retreated to the bathroom.
Draco was confused and a bit hurt. Contrary to the evidence staining both their trousers, Lex didn't sound happy to see him. He had missed Lex more than he'd admit and it had been a long, lonely week. A concealing charm hid the circles under his eyes from sleeping poorly the past six nights.
Draco went into the walk-in closet, pulled his wand from his bespelled, expanded left pocket, and cast a cleaning charm on his soiled garments. "Abstergeo."
He set his wand on the shelf holding his running clothes, removed his trousers and y-fronts, and slipped on a pair of track bottoms. His wand returned to his pocket – all his running clothes had been previously charmed with an expanded pocket – and he left the closet.
He bypassed Lex on the way to the bathroom, looking appreciatively at his half-naked lover dressed only in a dark v-neck cashmere jumper. Draco washed quickly and examined himself in the mirror. His reflection didn't comment on how tired he appeared even with the concealing charm, which was a bonus for the Muggle object.
Lex had left the bedroom already and Draco found him downstairs in the living room. He stood at the wet bar, pouring two drinks, still in the dark jumper and a new pair of trousers. Draco accepted the glass of bourbon handed to him and took a seat with an audible, pleased sigh. "It's good to be home."
"Robert Frost once said, 'Home is the place where, when you have to go there/They have to take you in.'"
The glass halted partway to Draco's mouth. He lowered it slowly and looked over at Lex. "Do you not want me here?"
"I want you to consider this your real home." Lex faced Draco, glanced down at the drink in his hand, then at Draco again. "Move in with me."
Draco was gobsmacked. There was also a fluttery feeling in his belly. He hoped he wasn't coming down with a case of Butterflies, because he had no potions and getting ill would ruin what might be the best night ever.
Lex took Draco's stunned silence wrongly as a negative and turned away. "I understand if you don't—"
"Yes!" Draco blurted embarrassingly loud. He set his drink on the coffee table and leapt to his feet. He stopped midway to Lex, his features twisting in painful realization. "Wait. No. Bollocks. Don't move. I'll return shortly."
Draco changed course, heading towards the rear of the flat, into the empty kitchen. He made certain Lex hadn't followed and Apparated with a pop to his own flat in Rowena Glen. The Malfoy family portraits watched down their noses, making disparaging noises at his state of dress, as Draco rushed upstairs of his cramped one-bedroom home, barely dodging his house elf, Twinkles.
"Master Malfoy is home. Master Malfoy is wanting supper?" Twinkles said, following Draco.
"No, I'm only here for this." Draco grabbed the book he'd purchased a month ago from the shelf on the wall and went back downstairs, to where the wards ended. He Apparated with another pop, reappearing in Lex's kitchen.
Lex still stood at the wet bar, with his elbows on the surface, rolling the nearly empty glass between his palms. He straightened as Draco came into the living room, lines of strain at the corners of his mouth.
"Here," Draco said, handing him the softcover book.
Lex set aside his drink, accepted the book, and read the title with upraised brows. "'A Muggle Guide to Wizardry.'"
"Yes. You are a Muggle," Draco said, sliding his hands into his pockets. He fingered the handle of his wand with sudden nervousness. "And I am a Wizard."
Lex studied him intently for a moment, and then walked over to the sofa, sat down, and opened the book. Silence prevailed, making Draco uncomfortable. He occupied himself by fixing Lex another drink, as he waited for Lex to say something. He brought the drink over, set it beside his unsipped one on the coffee table, and perched on the edge of the sofa beside Lex.
Most of Draco's job as an Unspeakable consisted long periods of time waiting and he'd learned patience because of it. He'd also been in spotty situations before, but this was a corker. He really liked Lex, so much that he enjoyed Muggle activities when done with his lover.
"Do you have a wand?" Lex asked suddenly, causing Draco to jump, startled. Lex's lips twitched as he looked up from the book.
"Yes. Of course." Draco shifted and pulled his wand from his bespelled pocket. He balanced it on both palms in presentation. "Rosewood, twelve-inches, rigid, with a single unicorn mane hair."
Lex seemed rather unimpressed as he glanced at it. "The book says for you to demonstrate wizardry, something difficult for me to explain away."
"All right. I'll transfigure my clothes into what I normally wear to work." Draco aimed his wand at himself, pictured clearly his black robes with the silver clasps down the front, and cast the transfiguration. "Transformatio."
Lex reacted finally, his blue eyes widening and lips parting in wonder. One side of Draco's mouth tilted up. "Do you believe me now?"
"I've seen many unbelievable things when I lived in Smallville years ago, so for some reason, this isn't inconceivable," Lex said slowly. "I have no reason to distrust you."
Draco was relieved. He wouldn't have to obliviate Lex now. He put his wand on the table. "Does your offer still stand?"
"I would never have asked if there was a chance I'd rescind it."
"Then, your answer is yes."
Lex appeared briefly off-center, then a smile curved the corner of his lips. "Good," he said. He set the book aside, shifted closer to Draco, put his hand on Draco's leg and rubbed in a sensual circle. "So tell me, what does the sensible Wizard wear under his robes?"
Draco smiled seductively, lay back on the sofa, and raised his arms above his head. "Why don't you look and find out?"
"What?" Harry started stupidly at him from behind a desk at the Ministry. Around them, other Aurors came and went about their business, memo planes flying above their heads.
"Do you want my house elf?" Draco repeated. He perched on the edge of the desk and picked up a charmed figurine of a Hungarian Horntail dragon. "I'd give Twinkles clothes flat out, but she's been with me exclusively for the past decade and I don't want her telling tales in a household I don't trust."
"Why are you getting rid of her?"
"Lex already has the Muggle equivalent to a house elf," Draco said. He smirked self-amusedly. "Though Twinkles is taller than Mrs. Rubenstein."
"Malfoy, you're not making sense." Harry took the figurine from him and set it on the opposite end of the desk. "What does Lex have to do with Twinkles?"
"Potter, try and keep up," Draco said. "I don't need a house elf because Lex has a housekeeper already. Once my belongings in Rowena Glen are boxed for the move, I won't need Twinkles any more."
Draco looked ceilingward with an exasperated sigh. "Have you been paying any attention? Yes, I'm moving. To Chelsea. To live with Lex."
Harry goggled. "You're moving in with the Muggle!"
Nearby Aurors stopped suddenly and stared at Draco. Draco glared at them. "Piss off."
When they left whispering with each other, Draco aimed his glare at Harry. "Thanks a lot. Now everyone will know my business."
Harry pulled out his wand and waved it at Draco. "Febris deprehenere."
"I'm not ill." Draco shoved the white glowing tip of Harry's wand aside.
"Then, you've gone spare," Harry said. He tucked away his wand and grabbed a quill and piece of parchment. "I'll owl St. Mungo's and see if they have an empty bed for you."
"Will you quit." Draco snatched the quill and bopped Harry on the head with it. "Lex and I've been lovers since June. This shouldn't come as such a shock."
"Living with someone is way different than casual sex," Harry said. He frowned. "Does he know you're a Wizard?"
Harry slumped back in his chair. "Bugger me, this is serious, innit?"
"Serious enough," Draco admitted, twirling the quill between his fingers. "Besides, his home is posh. My flat in Rowena Glen would fit in one room."
"I never understood why you lived there. The Ministry didn't take your money, and I thought Malfoy Manor had been returned to you," Harry said.
"It was, but I'd rather not run into memories of my parents around every corner. Their portraits are well enough," Draco said. "I don't need all that space, either, it just being me and one house elf – which you still didn't agree you'd take on."
"You sure you don't want to keep her?" Harry said. "This Mrs. Rubenstein knows how to clean robes, accept mail owls, and answer firecalls, I gather?"
"Er… hmm." Draco frowned slightly. "I didn't think about that. Perhaps I should hold onto Twinkles and instruct her to stay invisible while Lex's housekeeper is around."
"Good idea," Harry said, taking his quill back from Draco. "Hermione would kill me anyway if I got a house elf."
Lex stared at the odd-looking creature standing knee-high beside Draco in the bedroom of his – their Chelsea home. The illustrations in the Muggle Guide to Wizardry didn't do it justice. Bulging blue eyes and bat ears made up most of its head. It had long limbs on a tiny body, dressed in a striped pillowcase and rope belt. "This is a house elf?"
"Yes," Draco said. "Her name is Twinkles. Twinkles," he looked down at her, "this is Master Luthor. You're to do everything he says."
"Yes, sir, Master Malfoy, sir," Twinkles squeaked. "It would be an honor, sir."
"Good. Go unpack," Draco instructed. "You'll make your bed in the attic. Hang the Malfoy family portraits up there, as well."
"Twinkles is going, sir!" Twinkles said, and vanished with a pop.
Lex blinked at the empty spot Twinkles had been standing. "That's going to take some getting used to."
"You won't even know she's here, unless you call her or she has a message for you." Draco walked into the closet, stripping off his sweater. "There's an obscuring charm on all my belongings to prevent Mrs. Rubenstein from examining things too closely. I'll have to cast a counter charm on you so you won't be effected."
Lex came to an abrupt halt inside the closet doorway. The side he had emptied for Draco's clothing was completely filled. Long robes of various colors, mainly dark, hung neatly on the rods beside pale dress shirts and trousers. The shelves held sweaters, folded casual shirts, and running clothes. Dress shoes, gym shoes, and tall boots lined the shoe shelf. Lex suspected the drawers in the other room were filled with underclothes.
"I was mistaken in thinking we would need all weekend to unpack," Lex said wryly, leaning against the doorframe with his hands in his pockets.
Draco tossed his sweater over the valet and smoothed his white button-down shirt. "It would've taken longer without Twinkles. Most of my stuff will remain boxed in the attic, anyway."
"What about your furniture?" Lex asked.
"Shrunk and boxed, except for my desk and a secure cabinet, which are in the office by now," Draco said. He looked seriously at Lex. "I have to ask you to stay out of the cabinet. Its contents are confidential and pertain to work."
Lex tipped his head in acquiescence. "I know you'll extend the same courtesy with my computer."
"That won't be difficult, considering I have only rudimentary training in Muggle machinery," Draco said. He pulled his wand from his trousers pocket and approached Lex. Lex straightened and Draco pressed the tip of the wand to Lex's forehead. "Obscuro compaere."
Lex felt a brief itching where the wand touched him, before Draco put it away. "There. Now the obscuring charm won't affect you. Don't be surprised if you begin noticing people in robes walking on the streets or places that you sworn hadn't been there. Best you ignore them all, unless I'm with you."
"Any other rules I should be following?" Lex said drolly with a lift of his brows.
"Yes." Draco draped his arms over Lex's shoulders. "We will have sex daily and twice on Sundays. You will let me suck your cock whenever I want. I want snogs every morning, but not before brushing our teeth."
Lex slid his hands around Draco's waist, drawing him closer. "Sounds reasonable," he said, lifting his chin a fraction.
"I thought so," Draco murmured, and lowered his mouth to Lex's.
Lex opened under Draco, inviting him to deepen the kiss. Lips parted, he sucked lightly on the intimately stroking tongue, leaning into the embrace. The intensity of the kiss was tempered, unhurried, need soothed by the fact that neither of them was going anywhere. This was home.
Lex looked up from the computer as Draco ricochet off the office doorjamb in his rush. Draco's hair was escaping its tie and his dull gray robe was wrinkled. He stuck the apple in his hand into his mouth and rubbed his shoulder as he hurried to his desk.
Lex watched with unconcealed humor as Draco pulled one of the desk drawers completely free and dumped its contents on the pristine desktop. He bit into the apple, taking it from his mouth to chew, as he sorted through the pile on the desk with his free hand. He came up with a pair of glasses, thick-rimmed and even thicker-glassed, and jammed them on his face.
The apple was set on the edge of the desk and Draco turned to the dark wood cabinet behind him. "Pax nullum." The scrolled doors opened with the password and Draco pulled them apart. Lex caught a glimpse of shelves filled with scrolls, books, bottles, boxes, and other things. Draco grabbed a battered briefcase, an abacus, and a handful of scrolls.
The abacus and scrolls went inside the briefcase, along with quills and ink. Draco closed the cabinet, pulled his wand from his belt, and tapped the top of his head. "Colorocoma suffuscus."
Draco's white-blonde hair turned dirty brown in color. He stuck the wand in his belt, shut the briefcase, grabbed it and the apple, and finally looked at Lex from behind his coke-bottle glasses, which made him look bug-eyed. "I'm off. Last minute assignment."
He disappeared with an apple-wave and a pop.
Lex shook his head, lips curving in unfettered bemusement, and went back to work.
"No. No. Tell Groening that I'll be there in three hours and I expect the projected damage report to be in my hand the second I arrive," Lex said into the phone wedged between his shoulder and ear. He emerged from the closet carrying several hanging dress shirts, trousers, and suit coats. He laid them on the bed. "And I'd better not find that anyone has talked to the press. See that it hasn't."
Lex disconnected the call and shoved the cell phone in his pocket. Draco sat on the other side of the bed near the pillows, watching Lex pack hurriedly. Draco helped by staying out of the way and keeping quiet so as not to distract Lex, just as Lex did for him when he was in a work-related crunch.
Lex disappeared into the bathroom and returned a few moments later with a shower kit. It joined a pair of shoes at the bottom of his suit bag. The clothes went in next and the bag zipped closed. Lex left the room once more, coming back with a silver briefcase full of papers and folders, to which he added the book from his bedside table. He snapped the briefcase shut and looked at Draco. "I don't know how long I'll be gone."
"That's all right." Draco half-smiled with melancholy humor. "We've seen less of each other since I moved in than in the months prior. I'm becoming used to it."
Lex opened his mouth to speak and hesitated. He appeared torn about saying whatever it was, and Draco forestalled him with a raised hand.
"No worries," Draco said. "I'm not some clingy bint that demands all your attention. Go, do your executive arse-kicking. I'll give you a good seeing to when you return."
Lex picked up his briefcase and suit bag, rounded the bed, and kissed Draco's upturned mouth. "Bye. I'll call tonight."
"Bye." Draco watched as Lex left their bedroom. A few moments later he heard the front door open and close, leaving him alone.
Lex's skin was the color of buttermilk in the soft light from the bedside table lamp. Flecks of cinnamon freckles sprinkled his shoulders, back, buttocks, and legs. Spread prone on the pale cotton sheets, arms crooked by his head on a pillow and another pillow under his hips, his breath hitched in anticipation when Draco spread his nether cheeks.
The copper hairs exposed, lining the cleft down to Lex's balls, sent a surge of arousal directly to Draco's cock. Draco had a serious fetish for redheads. He brushed his thumb against the wiry hairs, snagging them on the whorls of his fingerprint. Lex's muscles jumped and clenched in sensitive response.
Draco shifted between Lex's spread thighs, kneeling back and lowering his mouth to Lex. Hands holding Lex open, he licked a stripe from balls to back, earning a hiss and a wiggle. Smiling wolfishly, he pressed a sloppy kiss to the base of Lex's spine before sliding lower, layering quick kisses down the shadowy cleft, his lips and nose tickled by the hairs.
He reached Lex's balls, opened his mouth wide, and took them in. Saliva dribbled from his overfull mouth while he tugged gently at the sac. He slurped obscenely as he drew back, releasing Lex. His wet chin slid against Lex's slicked skin as he dragged his tongue upwards.
The coarse hairs scraped his tongue and he paused to tug lightly at them with his lips. The muscles under his hands quivered when he reached the puckered flesh that was his goal. He turned his head and nipped Lex's rounded buttock. Lex shifted his legs in anticipation, drawing his knees higher on either side of the pillow under his hips, opening himself further with unspoken invitation.
Draco dove in without hesitation, his thoughts blanked by lust. He burnished a kiss on the wrinkled hole before laving it with the flat of his tongue. He licked at the opening with a swirl, drew back, and thrust right in the center.
"Uhngh," Lex moaned inarticulately. Draco buried his face between Lex's arse-cheeks, breathing deep the strong scent of musk and soap. Lex tasted like skin and tightened around Draco's reflexively.
Draco flickered his tongue in and out and around. He rubbed his saliva wet chin with his hand, drew his arm underneath himself, and grasped his own aching cock. Lex's writhing became rhythmic against the pillow. Draco pulled at his cock with his damp hand, riding Lex's rocking hips, listening hungrily to Lex's hitching, panting breaths and the scrape of his fingernails on the pillowcase as he clawed the pillow under his head.
Lex's scalp flushed deep pink, the muscles in his neck and shoulders tensing visibly, and he climaxed with a raspy gurgle. He tremored under Draco, vicing around Draco's tongue. Draco stilled, waiting until Lex went limp suddenly, sucking in large gulps of air.
Draco knelt up and scooted forward. His fist worked hard at his cock, eyes trained on the shiny, wet red hairs matting Lex's cleft. The fingers of his other hand tightened on Lex's buttock, holding him open, and Draco shot his load across Lex's upraised bottom.
Shuddering, he knelt with his head bowed, panting in the aftermath. Eventually, he wiped his hand on the sheets and his wet chin against his shoulder. He crawled over Lex's leg and collapsed onto the bed beside him.
Lex shifted his legs, tossing the pillow under his hips off the bed. He didn't move anymore than that, other than to blink lazily while looking at Draco with half-lidded, pleasure-hazed eyes over his curled hand on the pillow. Draco reached over and lightly clasped Lex's wrist. Lex smiled.
"Hmm. Harry Potter. Isn't that your friend?"
Draco looked up from his copy of The Goblin Journal of Finance at Lex's question. "Sadly, that is true. Why?"
They were in their pajamas in bed, the house locked up for the night. Lex tilted the hardcover Twentieth Century Wizarding History book, a Christmas gift from Draco, so that Draco could see the page. Draco shifted against the pillows propped up on the headboard, leaning closer to Lex, their bare shoulders touching. He skimmed the passage Lex was reading. "Ah, the Final Confrontation."
Draco blanked his face and returned to his side of the bed. Inside, his gut twisted. A moment later, the memories came back fast and furious, and as clear as if it had happened yesterday and not more than ten years ago.
"Then, it was your friend that fought against Voldemort?" Lex said.
"Yes," Draco answered shortly.
"All by himself?" Lex sounded skeptical. "It says here that there were twenty Death Eaters as well as those Dementors."
Draco stared down at the magazine on his lap, but he didn't see it. His focus was turned inward, remembering another time and another place. "The Dementors were chased away before we landed."
Lex paused a moment before softly prompting, "We?"
"Potter needed a ride." Draco closed the magazine and set it on the bedside table. His knees rose under the bedcovers but he refrained from clasping his arms around them in a defensive posture.
Lex waited, the air becoming thick with tension in the bedroom. "What happened?" he asked eventually, curiosity tempered with concern.
Draco hesitated, then the words came, though it felt like it was someone else speaking through him. "He found me that Tuesday and said he needed the best flier in school to take him to Cethegus. I remember it was a Tuesday because I was in the Quidditch locker room polishing my broom. I always polished my broom on Tuesdays."
Harry had looked determined, his jaw set and green eyes hard behind his glasses. The scar on his forehead had been vividly red. "I was his choice. He couldn't fly or Apparate because of a grounding spell Dumbledore put on him. I knew the 'best flier' bit was crap and called him on it, so he told me the real reason."
Draco smiled humorlessly. "See, everyone, including and especially Potter, thought I was a Death Eater. The name Malfoy was synonymous with the Dark Lord, linked irrevocably during the Second War. Most wizards still make that connection.
"Back then, they would've been right."
Draco shook his head at past foolishness. "I was seventeen. What did I know about war? I was sheltered from the realities of it at Hogwarts and at home. I ran my gob about the glorious ideologies of You-Know-Who and the deaths I read about in the news didn't affect me in any way. I didn't know those people. My father's brief incarceration during that time – caused by Potter, I may add – only served to make me furious and support His side even more," he said.
"Then, Potter came and asked me to deliver him into the Dark Lord's hands. 'If you're already a Death Eater, you'll get high props. If you're not a Death Eater, they won't kill you and you'll still get high props. It's a win-win situation for you,' he said," Draco told Lex.
"So, we went, because I hated Potter anyway. He shot off three patronuses and other curses from the air, causing the Dementors to flee and me to dodge the spells aimed at us. There were, in fact, twenty-three Death Eaters as well as the Dark Lord gathered in a cemetery in Cethegus."
Draco's fingers curled in the bedcovers, the events unfolding in his mind. "I remember Potter jumped off the broom before I landed and the Death Eaters stopped firing curses. Then, the Dark Lord addressed me, thanking me for bringing him Potter and dismissing me. And I left."
Silence descended heavily in the bedroom again. Draco saw himself flying away, leaving Potter standing tall and alone against the vilest, most powerful dark wizard of their time.
"How far did you get?" Lex asked quietly.
"Too far." Draco closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. "No matter what my beliefs, Potter's death would've been squarely on my shoulders. And I couldn't—" He swallowed past the lump in his throat. "I knew Potter. I fought with him every single day. I knew that he chewed his left thumbnail when he was bored and that he flew like he had wings, and that saying anything about his parents made him grab his wand. I knew his hair still stuck up even in the rain, and that he's blind without his glasses but that didn't stop him from hitting you. I knew him."
Draco dropped his hand and looked at Lex. Shame, self-loathing, and old fear reflected in his eyes. "I turned back and flew high, so I wouldn't get hit before I could do anything. The Death Eaters, for some reason, were fighting each other. I later learned a spy had imperioed a few of the Death Eaters and was controlling them," he said.
"Potter was on the ground, writhing at the point of the Dark Lord's wand. I knew I would have to get closer to do anything and could maybe cast one spell before I was cursed myself. There was no guarantee I would hit, either. So, I forgot the wand, aimed my broom, and shot out of the sky as fast as I could fly.
"I rammed into the Dark Lord like a bludger, knocking him down and sending me arse-over-tit. I hit the ground hard and broke my arm." Draco lifted his left arm briefly. "One of the Death Eaters came running towards me, and I managed to roll out of the path of the Killing Curse.
"I nearly blacked out from the pain. The bones were sticking out and I'd rolled directly on my arm. I thought for certain I was going to die; the Death Eater had to have been about to recast Adava Kedavra and I was in too much pain to move again.
"But then, there was a deafening crack, as if the very earth had broken. I was on my side on the ground and I saw the air ripple as a shock wave rolled above me and cut like a blade at chest height through anyone standing."
Draco stopped a moment and took several, measured breaths. His mind had blurred the memories of the bloody aftermath in self-preservation.
"That was the end of the fight," he continued in a subdued voice. "I moved eventually. I was unable to hear a single sound, but I could see just fine. All the Death Eaters were felled in one way or another. Same with the Dark Lord. And Harry Potter."
Draco plucked at the bedcovers, a frown between his brows as his memories became even hazier. "I remember Potter was dead, but apparently not dead enough, since he's walking around now. I know I transfigured a marking beacon before somehow flying back to Hogwarts with Potter's body on my broom. I had to have reached the school, because the next memory I have is waking up in the Hospital Wing," he said.
"And that's it." Draco glanced at Lex, lips curved in a self-effacing manner. "I never told anyone that story, and obviously neither has Potter since the historical accounts are so vague. I have a feeling Headmaster Dumbledore knew, because he offered me a place to stay after graduation and later, along with Potter's help, got me a job as an Unspeakable within the Ministry."
Silence settled in the room once more. There was nothing more to say or that Draco wanted to hear. The years after the Final Confrontation filtered through Draco's mind, some good, some miserable, and some—
Lex took his hand, entwined their fingers, and went back to reading the book.
—Some quite perfect.
Draco removed his gloves, swept his stocking cap off, and combed back his damp hair. He followed Lex into the house. Clasping his hands, the cap in his grip, he raised his arms above his head, stretching further after their morning run. He shed his running jacket and dropped it, his hat, and gloves, along with Lex's outside garments on the chair in the entry hall. Their trainers squeaked on the floor as they headed for the dining room.
It was a cold morning. Draco's nose and cheeks were numb and a glance in the hall mirror showed his ruddy complexion. He was looking forward to hot coffee after drinking the required water.
Lex stopped walking suddenly in the dining room doorway and Draco bumped into him. His hands caught Lex's arms, steadying them both. "Sorry."
Lex didn't reply to him though. "Hello, Dad."
"Lex." Lionel Luthor sat comfortably in Lex's seat at the table, dressed in a full Muggle suit and tie at six o'clock in the morning. He folded the newspaper he had been reading, set it on the table, and gave Draco a sizing look. "And guest. I don't believe we have met."
Lex stiffened under Draco's hands at Lionel's derisive undertone. Draco caressed Lex's arms as he lowered his hands and lightly urged Lex into the dining room.
"Draco Malfoy," Draco said, sidestepping Lex but not approaching Lionel. "A pleasure. Pardon if I do not offer my hand, but as you can see we have just returned."
"Normal people find it polite not to show up unannounced before nine," Lex said snidely.
"My apologies for thinking I'm welcome in my son's home." Even though Lionel spoke plainly, the sarcasm was clear. "The time change has played havoc with propriety."
"Then you won't stand on propriety as we clean up." Lex about-faced and motioned for Draco to precede him. Draco inclined his head politely to Lionel and allowed himself to be ushered out.
"You've obviously not told your father about me," Draco observed once they were behind the locked door of their bedroom.
"It's none of his business," Lex said shortly. He shed his running clothes with jerky movements and practically stalked into the bathroom.
Draco followed, stripping down to his y-fronts. He leaned against the sink, speaking loudly as Lex started the shower. "How do you want to do this, then? Are we flatmates? Casual lovers? A one-night fuck that overstayed my welcome?"
"Don't play the wounded card with me."
Draco glared at Lex through the frosted glass shower door. "You'd best rethink your response."
Lex was silent. Draco fumed. He didn't move from his spot, glowering at Lex as he shut off the water and emerged from the shower.
Lex took a navy bath towel from the wall shelf, dried himself, and wrapped it around his waist. He slapped on deodorant, then folded his arms and glowered back at Draco. "What do you want me to do?"
"You tell me," Draco said. "He's your father."
"He'll have you investigated," Lex said.
"I can erase his memory," Draco responded. "Or, I can obtain a Muggle back-history through my Department."
"It won't hold up. He'll know it's fake and then there'll be questions."
"Lex," Draco sighed. "I can be a nobody if that'll be easier."
Lex looked skeptical. "You don't care?"
"No," Draco said. "I don't care what your father thinks. I only care about what you want."
"And if I imply you're a whore and want you to leave?"
Draco shrugged. "Then I'll go after I shower and you can send Twinkles to fetch me when he's gone. I'm not a woman that needs to be coddled. And it's not like I've introduced you to my parents, and they're in the attic."
"Your parents are in the attic?" Lex said in surprise.
"Yes. Well, their portraits are, along with my other relatives, which is close to the same thing only easier to ignore," Draco replied. "But we're not concerned with my family at the moment. What are you doing about yours?"
Lex lowered his folded arms. "Are you sure you don't care what I tell him about you?"
Draco shook his head. "I love you, not him. His opinion doesn't matter to me one knut."
A slow smile bloomed on Lex's face, raising his ears and crinkling his eyes. He crossed to Draco and planted a firm kiss on his lips.
"Shower, get dressed, and join us in the dining room." Lex pivoted on his bare heel and headed out of the bathroom, saying over his shoulder, "I'll set up your falsified history later today. I have better contacts. My father won't find fault with my live-in lover."
"Are you certain you want to do this?"
"You survived being subjected to my father. It's only fair that I meet yours," Lex said, standing at the base of the ladder in the hall. "Besides, I am uncomfortable not knowing the people living in my attic."
"They're portraits," Draco said, adjusting the line of his white button-down shirt. "They're not really people."
"Then why are you nervous?" Lex said with a quirk of his lips.
"I'm not nervous." Draco caught himself patting his neatly tied-back hair and dropped his hand.
"There are certain cultures throughout the world – the Aborigines in Australia, several tribes in Africa, and some natives of Central America – that believe a camera captures your soul in a photograph," Lex said. "From what I understand, a wizard-portrait actually does this."
"I don't know how it works. I only know there are centuries worth of Malfoys about to find fault with every little thing about me." Draco smiled tightly. "Luckily, I don't care what they think."
"Of course not," Lex agreed readily. He reached out and smoothed Draco's collar. "Shall we?"
Draco nodded, turned, and climbed the stepladder to the attic.
The attic was a largely empty, sloped-ceilinged room, with a wood floor and no windows. A switch turned on a hanging bulb light. Dust-free boxes were stacked against one side, all Lex's, and a single trunk with the initials DM scripted on the side rested beside them. A pile of blankets in the corner was where Twinkles made her bed. And along one flat, magically expanded wall, hung the Malfoy family portraits.
Draco had worn Muggle clothing in deference to Lex. He didn't want to mislead his relatives as to exactly what Lex was, a Muggle. The family was all present in their respective frames, painted in their finest robes, already looking down their aquiline noses at him and Lex. Draco addressed his parents' side-by-side portraits first, as protocol dictated, and refrained from wiping his sweaty palms on his trousers. "Lex, I'd like you to meet my parents, Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. Father, Mum, this is Lex Luthor, my significant other."
"It's nice to meet you both," Lex said as though he were talking to real people, not two-dimensional constructs. For a Muggle, Lex continued to amaze Draco with his acceptance of things in the Wizarding world.
Draco shifted closer to Lex, laying a possessive hand briefly on Lex's lower back, as Lucius surveyed them both with cold, gray eyes.
"A Muggle," Lucius said in disbelief. Narcissa pursed her lips. "Is this some sort of joke, Draco?"
"No, father," Draco said.
"It must be. You introduce us to a Muggle, a male Muggle at that, and expect us to believe you are involved with him." Lucius made a sound of derision.
"We are very much involved, Mr. Malfoy," Lex spoke up. "It is why I wanted to meet Draco's family."
"Please, Draco, this has gone on long enough. I do not know what you wished to accomplish, but I am not amused." Lucius waved his hand at Lex. "Take that filthy creature and be gone."
"Lex is not filthy," Draco said icily, taking a threatening half-step forward. "You apologize this instant."
Lucius' chin rose and he stared hard at Draco. "Do not take that tone with me, Draco. I am still your father."
"Which is why I agreed to make proper introductions, for Lex," Draco said. "Do not make me regret my decision."
Narcissa's pinched face grew more so. "You care for him."
"I do," Draco confirmed, unhesitant. "A great deal."
The other portraits' disgust was palpable. "Hundreds of generations of Malfoys, ended in disgrace," Lacroimia Malfoy, Draco's aunt six times removed, said. "It's appalling." There was a murmur of agreement among the Malfoy relatives.
"Father," Draco said, looking squarely at Lucius and ignoring the others. "I am thirty years old and no longer need your approval. However, I trust you to know that I would not embarrass the family name, no matter who I chose to make my life with, and my partner should be afforded all due respect."
"But, a Muggle?" Lucius persisted. "If I were still alive, there would be none of this foolishness from you."
"If you were still alive, many things would be different," Draco said. "But you're not and my filial respect only goes so far."
Lucius was silent for a moment, sizing up Draco. Finally, he graced, "Very well, Draco. It is your life. I shall refrain from besmirching your chosen companion."
"Thank you." Draco turned to Lex, desire to retreat and regroup evident in his eyes. "Lex, is there anything you'd like to say?"
"No," Lex said. "I think we've taken up enough of your parents' time."
"All right." Draco returned to the wall of portraits. "Father, Mum, everyone. Good day."
Draco knew, as he and Lex left the attic, that his relatives would travel far and wide spreading gossip about Lex. His relationship wasn't a secret before, but he tended to keep his private life quiet. Now, everyone would know Draco Malfoy was in a serious relationship with a Muggle.
Draco honestly didn't mind.
Wizards, Witches, and Muggle spouses congregated in the lobby of the Sonorous Auditorium during Intermission of the Eidological Choral Society concert. Dressed in resplendent robes, with Lex looking sharp in a tuxedo, Draco made introductions to anyone who asked – and there were plenty of people interested in meeting the Muggle companion of a Malfoy.
"Mrs. Veneer, Lex Luthor," Draco said for the hundredth time. "Lex, may I introduce Mrs. Dorthea Veneer, an old friend of the Malfoy family."
"Mrs. Veneer," Lex acknowledged politely.
"How do you do?" Mrs. Veneer said. Dressed in peacock colors, complete with plumage in her gray upswept hair, she peered through her half-spectacles at Lex as if he were a bug. "Are you enjoying the performance?"
"Honestly, I find it to be a trifle boring," he replied. He leaned in, like he was sharing a private joke. "Truly, how many times can one hear La Bella Noche without it becoming tedium."
Mrs. Veneer warmed up suddenly. "I could not agree less. Do you know Grace La Voca performed Illa Aria merely a month ago?"
"Simply scandalous," Lex said poshly.
Draco hid his smile as they began chatting like old friends. He didn't know how Lex did it. Lex had put every person he'd met at ease, from society matrons like Mrs. Veneer to staunch despisers of the name of Malfoy, who'd tried to warn Lex away. Draco, having grown up in high society, could relate to his aristocratic peers, but his snobbishness kept him from being more than polite to others.
"My husband beckons," Mrs. Veneer said eventually. She patted Lex's arm. "We shall have to get together for tea sometime."
"We will," Lex said, and smoothly sent her on her way. He shifted closer to Draco and whispered, "Remind me to be unavoidably occupied at tea time."
Draco laughed, drawing stares and earning a half-smile from Lex. "I'll remember."
"Malfoy, stop laughing. You're scaring everyone."
"If they weren't frightened off by your face, I think they'll survive." Draco's amused grin remained as he addressed Harry, as Harry joined them. He touched Lex's shoulder briefly. "Potter, you remember Lex."
"I do. Hello, Lex." Harry shook Lex's hand. "I'm surprised to see you both, actually."
"It's Lex's birthday," Draco said, the first truly honest explanation he'd given all evening. The general public didn't need to know it was a special occasion. "The concert is my gift."
Harry looked solemnly at Lex. "I'm sorry."
Lex chuckled, as Draco scowled. "It's not too bad," Lex said. "It took me a while to wrap my mind around the fact that the choral group is comprised of ghosts, but after that, I've been enjoying the performance."
"I'm glad someone is," Harry said. "The number of bruise marks on my ribs attests to the number of times Hermione's elbowed me awake."
Draco smirked at Hermione Weasley's name. "Couldn't find a date again, Potter?"
"By choice, again," Harry stated. "You know how The Daily Prophet, The Quibbler, and The Tattler are. I don't want anyone's name linked with mine. It's bad enough I have to come to these things for publicity obligations. 'Savior Supports the Arts.'" He looked pointedly at Draco. "I have half a mind to tell what really happened that day, if only to get me out of doing these."
"Why don't you?" Lex asked abruptly. Draco tensed and Lex laid a hand on his back. "Or do you like having something to hold over Draco? It's obvious, since he's not mentioned in any of the accounts I've read, that he doesn't wish to be recognized."
Harry shrugged, seemingly unoffended. "Malfoy told me not to say anything, so I haven't."
"That's the only reason?" Lex said skeptically.
Now, Harry's eyes narrowed. "I don't know about you, but when a friend requests something from me, I give it without conditions. If you'll excuse me."
Harry walked off, an irritated set to his shoulders. Draco waited until he was out of earshot before rounding on Lex. "What the hell did you do that for?" he hissed, well aware that they were in public.
"I don't know what you mean." Lex was confused, though it barely showed.
"I do not appreciate your questioning the veracity of my friends."
Lex's jaw tightened. "I wanted to make sure he wasn't blackmailing you."
"Do you think I'd be on companionable terms with someone blackmailing me?" Draco said in a low, angry voice.
"Then, why did you do that?"
"Because I refuse to let the person I love be used or hurt in any way," Lex ground out in reply.
Draco felt a surge to his heart and his loins. He hadn't realized that a near-admission of love from Lex would affect him; it was just a word. He was still peeved, but now he desperately wanted to strip Lex starkers and swallow him whole.
Draco stepped closer, invading Lex's personal space, and murmured gruffly, "I love you, too."
Surprise flickered in Lex's sharp blue eyes before a smile bloomed on his face. Draco couldn't help but echo it, and they stood there, staring at each other like besotted fools until the lights dimmed briefly, signaling the end of Intermission.
"Want to go home?" Lex asked, as people filtered past them and returned to the auditorium.
"Yes." Draco took Lex's hand, entwining their fingers. "Definitely."
Lex sat back on his heels, drinking in the sight of his lover on the bed before him. Pale blue veins crisscrossed beneath the surface of Draco's winter-pale skin that glowed preternaturally in the lamplight. His fine, white-blonde hair contrasted with the dark green pillowcase and draped like silk over his collarbones. Half-lidded gray eyes watched Lex lustfully, his mouth wet and swollen from rough kisses.
Draco was all planes and angles, whipcord thin and pointed features. His long fingers curled against the bottom sheet on either side of him. Lean muscles stretched along his arms and spread legs, and barely defined his chest and abdomen. His pale pink nipples were peaked. A trail of white-blonde hair arrowed down from his navel, fanned out, and thickened on his groin.
His swollen cock rose from the thatch of pale hair, curved and resting on his lower belly, pulsing steadily with his heartbeat. The flushed crown poked from the foreskin, a pearl of pre-ejaculate beading on the tip. His balls were drawn tight to his body, exposing the faint crease on his perineum that ran downward and disappeared beneath him.
Lex wrapped his hand around Draco's cock, raised it upright, and bent forward to lick away the pre-come. Bitter and salty, the taste was ten times better than latex. Wizards did not catch and couldn't transmit Muggle diseases and the use of condoms went by the wayside the night Lex asked Draco to stay.
Draco hissed as Lex licked him again, fingers scratching the bedsheets. Lex swirled his tongue around the hooded crown, kissed the tip, and raised his head slightly. He skimmed the foreskin down with his fist, licked his palm, and gripped Draco's erection firmly at the base.
"Yes," Draco groaned, as Lex lowered his mouth once more. "Suck me."
Draco's cock slipped between Lex's lips with familiarity. The cockhead bumped along Lex's palate, sliding deeper until Lex kissed his fist. His tongue wiggled against the thick vein on the underside of Draco's shaft. Draco made a choked sound as Lex began bobbing his head, fist sliding up and down the length beneath his mouth. Lex's lips stretched thin and tight around the hot, heavy cock, saliva escaping his mouth and wetting his hand. His tongue lashed back and forth, the spongy cockhead bumping the back of his palate.
"Merlin, you're good at this," Draco said breathily. He cupped Lex's head with both hands and hooked a leg over Lex's shoulder.
Lex sucked and jacked at a steady rhythm, Draco's fingers pushing in counterpoint on his scalp. Messy slurping, tongue-clicks, and pops sounded loud and lewd in the bedroom. Draco's breathing became rough and his hips twitched under Lex's ministrations.
Lex looked up the sex-flushed body and saw Draco twisting his head left and right on the pillow. The leg hooked over his shoulder trembled and tensed, pulling him closer. His mouth and fist tightened, head bobbing quicker. He shifted his supporting arm beneath his chest and rubbed the knuckle of his forefinger against Draco's perineum.
A strangled noise tore from Draco's throat and he bucked under Lex. Lex stilled his head and hand, allowing Draco to thrust wildly in his grip. Draco's cock swelled and erupted in Lex's mouth, thick streams of semen coating his throat. He swallowed what he could, the rest dribbling from between his lips.
Draco went limp and pushed gently at Lex's head. Lex released him, wiped his mouth with the back of his arm, and leaned his cheek against Draco's thigh. He tugged lightly at the pale curls surrounding Draco's spent cock and looked up.
Draco smiled faintly, breathing heavily, one arm propped behind his head on the pillow. He traced his fingers along the curve of Lex's face. "You're perfect," he murmured.
"And still hard," Lex joked, even as his ears heated at the compliment.
Draco shifted his leg, licked his lips, and his smile grew wolfish. "I can take care of that."
"I'm home." Lex heard Draco's voice drift faintly through the open bedroom doorway. In his pajamas in bed, Lex marked his page, closed the book he was reading, and set it on the bedside table. Outside, a nighttime summer storm beat against the bedroom window.
Lex shifted against the pillows propped against the headboard and adjusted the cotton sheet over his bare legs. He smiled at Draco, who walked with an exhausted shuffle through the door, closing it behind him.
"Hey," Lex greeted fondly, a feeling of relaxation washing over him. "How was your assignment?"
"Dismal." Dark circles etched beneath Draco's eyes. He released the hidden catches of his robes and let the garment fall around his feet. He stepped out of it, and hopped on one foot to remove his boot. "I had to work with someone who despises me because of my name."
"How long did it take before you hexed him?" Lex asked with a knowing look.
"Her. And four days," Draco replied. He smirked. "She doesn't know it was me, though."
"No chance for retaliation then. Smart." Lex watched as Draco removed his other boot and socks, and then wandered into the bathroom in his briefs. He heard the sound of Draco's evening ablutions and the comforting familiarity that had been missing all week returned.
Draco came out of the bathroom, wearing his pajama bottoms, climbed onto the bed, and kissed Lex. "Missed you," he said.
Draco slid under the sheet. "Six days," he said, snuggling into the pillow. One bare foot moved to Lex's side of the bed and pressed against his leg. "Six days without sex is too many."
Lex smiled as Draco drifted to sleep nearly before he finished his sentence. He turned off the light, adjusted the pillows, settled down under the sheets, and released a contented sigh.
Draco was home.
Lex stood at the living room window, looking out at the gray afternoon, a glass of dark alcohol in one hand, the other tucked in his pocket. Draco knew that stance – it meant something deeply concerned Lex. Draco didn't ask, however, as he came into the living room. Instead, he poured himself a drink from the wet bar and settled into the corner of the sofa. He chose a magazine from the neat pile on the coffee table and began idly paging through it.
Draco was on page fifty-six when Lex spoke. "Dad wants me to return to Metropolis."
Draco looked at his lover's back, as Lex continued to stare out the window. "For a holiday?"
"Do you want to?" Draco asked around something painful suddenly tightening in his chest.
"LuthorCorp does do more business in the States," Lex said.
Draco read the sidestepped response with practiced ease. "When do you leave?"
Lex turned from the window. "I haven't decided if I was going yet."
"Yes, you have," Draco said. He set his drink on the coffee table to hide his shaking hand. The magazine slid off his lap onto the sofa cushion. "When do you leave?"
Lex looked down at the glass in his hand. "I have a few loose ends to tie up, but after that…"
Draco wondered if he were one of those loose ends. It made him angry to think that he was, adding to the sharp ache in his chest. "You'd best get cracking, then. I can have Twinkles pack for you in a snap, so you won't be held up by that."
Lex's fingers tightened visibly around the glass, knuckles whitening. He raised his eyes, meeting Draco's angry gaze. "I suppose it's futile to ask if you'll come with me."
Draco stared in shock. "Move to the States?"
His hurt fled in a flash. Lex didn't want to end their relationship - at least, if Draco relocated. "What if I asked you to stay, instead?"
"I could." Lex hesitated, emotions flying across his features before his chin set stubbornly. "I would, if you asked."
Draco's chest tightened again, for a wholly different reason. He rose, crossed to Lex, captured his questioning face between two hands, and kissed him breathless.
"I'll put in my request for a transfer," Draco murmured against Lex's lips. He pulled back, drank in Lex's passion-dazed expression, and as arousal spiked, added huskily, "But not until tomorrow."
Their belongings had been packed by the house elf. The Malfoy portraits knew to stay at the Manor until their frames were reset. Mrs. Rubenstein had been released and she'd left them with a delicious apple pie. The bed had been stripped and the furniture covered with sheets. The heat had been adjusted to its minimal setting, to keep the water pipes from freezing. The postmaster had been instructed to forward the mail.
"We'll met you there, Twinkles," Draco said to the house elf. They stood in the entryway of the Chelsea flat, preparing to leave.
"Yes, sir, Master Malfoy," Twinkles said. "Twinkles will have everything in place when the Masters arrive."
"Good." Draco and Lex had spent the past two weeks furnishing their new flat in Metropolis via decorator, computer, and telephone. Draco had also been in contact with the American Office of Magic, obtaining an employment visa for both the Wizarding and Muggle worlds.
"All set?" Lex asked from the open front doorway. Draco could see the limo that would take them to the airport idling in the street behind Lex.
"Yes," Draco said. His travel bag was already in the limo, along with Lex's. "Are you certain I can't portkey and meet you there?"
"Positive," Lex said. "You need to travel with Muggle legality, so your presence in the States won't be questioned." He smirked. "Plus, I'm looking forward to initiating you into the Mile High Club."
"Very well," Draco sighed. He exited the flat, joining Lex on the stoop.
"See you in Metropolis, Twinkles," Lex said, before closing and locking the front door with her still inside.
Together, Draco and Lex walked down the steps to the limo. The driver had been instructed to remain in the auto, and it was Lex who opened the rear door.
Draco hesitated and looked back at the house. The morning sun sparkled against the windows and made the white paint gleam. "I'm going to miss this place," he admitted. "It always felt like home."
"Pliny once said, 'Home is where the heart is,'" Lex quoted quietly.
"Then, it's a good thing I'm coming with you," Draco said matter-of-factly, and then got into the limo.
Lex gazed at the Chelsea flat a moment longer. His place of escape had turned into much more in the time he'd been in London, because of one person.
Lex climbed into the limo, shut the door, and settled beside Draco on the bench seat. He took Draco's hand, interlinking their fingers and resting it on the seat between them. "I love you," he said the words to Draco for the first time.
It wouldn't be the last.