Author's Note: This is slash, PG-13 or possibly higher for innuendo.
This story was the result of a two-part challenge, and has two chapters. Please read the warning re. chapter 2.
Chapter 1 is a response to the first half of the first challenge of hpobstruction, a challenge community on livejournal. The prompt was "A prophet did once say that honesty's a lonely word," and we were told to "use the quote within the story or write from the idea/feeling of it".
It is, IMHO, readable. Actually, I kinda like it :)
However, the second chapter, which is basically the same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse, is not good. Trust me on this. It does not continue the action, it does not add to the plot, it just retells the same story with a few tweaks.
There is no reason to read it other than idle curiosity. If you read it and are disappointed because it was boring and badly written, I will point and laugh at you.
... OK, maybe I won't point and laugh, but I'll definitely roll my eyes and snicker behind my hand.
Thanks to oldenough and chibitoaster for spot-beta!
A prophet did once say that honesty's a lonely word
"Oh my god you're home," said Draco, absolutely horrified.
Harry blinked. "All right, that's not exactly the welcome I was hoping for," he said slowly, hanging up his cloak and walking into the living room. "Not that I expected 'Darling, I missed you so much,' but..."
"When are you leaving?"
"Erm. I just got here," he said, dropping onto the couch next to Draco and pulling him into an embrace. "Are you... not happy to see me?" he asked, his words muffled by Draco's hair.
"Are you daft? Do I look happy?" Draco said, giving him only the briefest of hugs before pulling away and standing up agitatedly.
Harry frowned. "Erm... Draco, I've been away for two weeks-" he began, and Draco put out an impatient hand to stop him.
"Wait, stop, let me - don't say anything."
"What? Why not?"
"Because I have to answer anything you ask and-"
"-because I can't not answer and - bloody hell. Just shut up! Don't ask me anything! Don't. Say. Anything!"
Harry blinked up at him, rather lost.
"Right." Deep breath. "There was an accident at the Institute today."
"Oh my god. Wha-"
"Sh! We were working on improving potency in Veritaserum."
"And Genevieve pulled a Longbottom. Well - not quite, she didn't make her cauldron explode, but her potion started to boil over and became rather more airborne than it was supposed to be. We were all choking on the stuff for about ten minutes before Madam Perkins managed to get rid of the fumes. So I won't be able to stop myself from answering or even commenting on anything, for who knows how long."
"Is that why you're home early?"
"The whole building was evacuated. You wouldn't believe the mess."
"Why, what happened?"
"First off Floria told Genevieve that she was a brain-dead cow, then Genevieve called Floria an uptight, hysterical bitch, and John agreed-"
"I thought John and Floria were dating?"
"Were, yes. Floria telling us all that John's got a bit of a prematurity problem might have put a stake through that. Then the Institute Head came in, Madam Perkins asked him to bugger off and told him he was an interfering dolt and ugly to boot, but by then of course he'd been affected by the fumes too, so he told Perkins that the only reason he didn't fire her was that she had nice tits - I believe he called them 'bouncy' before he ran off looking mortified - and then Perkins informed Genevieve that she'd as much chance of earning her Master's grade in Potions as You-Know-Who had of being sorted into Hufflepuff, which is sadly very true, and then there were fights breaking out all over the entire building, the Laboratories were a mess, one of the Apothecary apprentices hexed the Alchemy Master's nostrils closed, the bloody Aurors were called in, I've no idea how they're going to deal with the Muggles around the building - I believe there's some sort of beauty parlour next door to us, I can only imagine what happened in there - and everybody was sent home."
Harry was laughing helplessly, and Draco scowled at him.
"This isn't funny. I didn't think you'd be here. I thought you were coming home tomorrow."
"I finished early," Harry said, trying to look sympathetic. "So what do you want me to do? Keep quiet?"
"No! Just go away!"
"But... but you know I'm supposed to go training in Aberdeen two days from now. And then I won't be home for another two weeks," Harry said, a little plaintively.
"I don't care! Get out! Go stay at Weasley's!"
"You can't mean that!"
"I can't lie, remember? I mean it. I want you to go away and not come back until I send you an owl saying it's all right."
"Draco, don't be daft. What are you worried about, anyway? You don't lie to me."
Draco's mouth dropped open. "Excuse me?"
Harry chuckled at the astonished disbelief on Draco's face. "Only you would take that as an insult."
"Harry, what colour are all of my ties?"
"Green or silver or both."
"Does that mean anything to you? No, of course not, brains have never been your forte - oh god."
Harry's eyes narrowed slightly, but he smirked at Draco's dismayed expression and Draco couldn't decide what pissed him off the most: the fact that he'd just blurted something rather tactless, the fact that he was embarrassed by what he'd said, or the fact that Harry seemed to be finding his chagrin highly amusing. "Don't worry about it," Harry said easily. "I know you're smarter than me, and I know you think you're even smarter than you are." And the bastard had the gall to laugh at Draco's indignation.
"Harry, get out. I don't want you here."
"You're being ridiculous."
"I am not! You're being even thicker than usual!"
"I'm used to you being a rude git. If I let my feelings get hurt over everything you say, we would've ended this a very long time ago."
"Yes, but the difference is, I can't stop myself from saying anything right now! And you're being abnormally thick-headed and that's a recipe for disaster."
"Then let's both just not talk until it wears off."
"No. Please, just get out. Go to Weasley's."
"You can't really mean that-"
"Oh for Merlin's - I can't lie, you nitwit! I can't! So if I tell you I want you to leave, you have to believe me! Bloody hell, you're usually so gullible it's painful, but now that I'm under ultra-Veritaserum you decide to not take me at my word."
"I'm not gullible!"
"I could tell you I want a pet Hippogriff for Christmas and you'd believe me. You're so easy to manipulate or dupe that most of the time it's not even worth the effort."
"Why, do you lie to me a lot?"
"All the time," Draco said promptly. Harry's eyebrows shot up. "Everybody does!"
"I don't lie to you!"
"I'm not talking about huge lies, having affairs or selling you out to the Death Eaters, I'm talking about small lies that we all say, all the time, to the people around us to make it easier to get along with them. Yes, that's a lovely tie, no, I prefer my dinner burned to a crisp, yes, I read that novel you recommended and it was fabulous. It's basic courtesy."
"Since when have you ever been courteous?"
"I am, and so are you. Don't tell me you're actually interested in all of Weasley's chess stories, and Granger's dissertations on 1001 uses for fairy tears."
Harry looked sheepish.
"Because you're not. But part of how you stay friends with them - god only knows why you'd want to - is that you don't tell them so."
"Look, I don't want to keep arguing about this. But I don't want to go away, either. I've only got two days home before I'm off to bloody Aberdeen; I want to spend them with you."
"Why don't I just do a silence spell?"
"We tried that at the Institute. Didn't work at all."
"So I'll do it on myself. So that I can't ask you anything."
"Please," Harry said softly, and Draco felt his resolve falter.
Damn. It had been a long two weeks. And it was going to be longer before Harry came back. He'd been looking forward to having Harry home; while he had enjoyed the orderly peacefulness of their flat without Harry's things piled everywhere and without his friends traipsing in and out, life was simply better when Harry was home. To talk with, to spend time with, to go to bed with...
No, no no no. Not the big green eyes thing.
"It'll be all right. Let me just do the spell," Harry said, his voice dropping low, the way he knew always got to Draco.
Draco let out his breath and nodded, feeling like ten different kinds of idiot. This was not a good idea. But the idea of missing what little time they had together...
Harry came closer and kissed him, and Draco revised his opinion of his decision upwards. Ah, yes. He'd almost forgotten. Harry in their flat also meant sex. A lot of sex, usually. The "no talking" thing could make things interesting there, too.
He smiled as Harry's pulse quickened and his hands slid into Draco's hair, and then their tongues and lips were caressing each other. He pulled Harry closer, a delicious warmth starting to spread through him as he felt Harry's excitement rise, and his own pulse starting to speed up as he started to pull Harry into the bedroom-
"Oh." Harry stopped in midstep, and drew back slightly.
"Ah. Erm." Harry cleared his throat, suddenly uneasy. "Listen, I didn't know this was going to happen, right? You're not usually home from the Institute until six at least. So, er... I haven't seen Ron or Hermione in a while, and-"
"Weren't you travelling with them?"
"We, erm... got separated."
Harry hesitated. "About a day or so after I left."
"You said you were travelling with them! You mean you've been on your own? For two weeks? Hunting down bloody Horcruxes with no back-up-"
"I was perfectly safe! Only Ron injured himself, so we thought-"
"Erm... nothing serious..." Harry blanched a little at Draco's scowl. "All right, it was a banshee. But he was fine-"
"Oh, marvellous. That's supposed to make me feel better. Bad enough you're out there being a typical Gryffindor brainless oaf, blundering about among Death Eaters and banshees and god only knows what-"
"I was perfectly safe!"
"You were by yourself! You said you were going to be with Granger and Weasley! What's the bloody use of having them around if they're going to just flit off the moment there's a spot of danger-"
"Listen, that banshee wasn't just a-" Harry swallowed his words, evidently realizing that finishing that sentence really wasn't likely to calm Draco down.
"And just when were you going to tell me about this?"
"You weren't, were you. And you have the gall to say you don't lie?"
"That wasn't lying, that was just..."
"I didn't realize you'd be this upset-"
"Oh, no, of course not, why would you? You're skiving off Auror training to go track down pieces of VOLDEMORT'S SOUL, why should I get upset? Why should I worry about you when you're off-"
"You worry about me?"
"Of course I worry, you imbecile!" Draco turned around and stalked into the kitchen, furious with Harry for taking unnecessary risks and with himself for not having the slightest bit of control over whatever sentimental mush came out of his mouth. He accio'd a shot glass and a bottle of icegin, reflecting bitterly that his parents would've been appalled at any Malfoy making a spectacle of himself by turning to drink to deal with a frustrating domestic situation.
The hell with them, he thought angrily as the icegin flowed into the glass with a tinkle of crushed crystals. Neither one of them had had the dubious pleasure of being married to a foolhardy Gryffindor with delusions of heroism, who went traipsing about tracking down dangerous magical objects with two witless companions - well, all right, Granger wasn't quite witless, but still - coupled with the indignity of a hyper-potent Veritaserum potion...
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I won't do it again," Harry said quietly. "I promise, next time I'll come home if anything happens to Ron or Hermione."
Draco glared at him, downing the icegin in one swallow, its strange icy liquid-crystal texture warming his throat as he poured himself another shot, and Harry swallowed nervously.
"Erm, so, about Ron and Hermione. I thought you wouldn't be home, and we had some things to sort out from the last week or so, so... er," he checked his watch. "They should be here any minute."
Draco choked on the crystals and nearly spat them out. "They're coming here?"
"NO! You can't have them here!"
"Draco, calm down. You're never polite to them anyway, you never stifle yourself at all-"
"Are you INSANE?"
"Listen, last time they were here you called Hermione a tiresome pseudo-intellectual and said Ron had the social graces of a troll! That's not what I call stifling yourself."
"It was. With great effort, I might add. D'you have any idea what I actually wanted to say to them?"
Harry grimaced. "God, Draco, I knew you hated my friends but-"
"What?" Harry finally asked Draco.
What? Draco asked himself.
"You don't hate them? Then how do you feel about them?"
"They're the two most annoying people I know and I can't stand being near them but I love them because they usually keep you safe and you get to do things you like with them so I don't have to do them with you and oh my god kill me now and please do it quickly."
And now Harry was biting his lip and trying to keep himself from laughing out loud, and Draco wanted to hit his head against the wall repeatedly, and he was going to hunt down Genevieve and strangle her with her own intestines if Floria didn't get to her first. Assuming there was still a Potions class to go to tomorrow, and the Institute Head hadn't fired their teacher with the - admittedly fairly attractive - bouncy tits.
"Are you all right?" Harry said, and his voice was shaking with suppressed mirth.
Draco glared at him. "I have just discovered I love Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Do you think I'm all right?"
Harry gave up and started laughing. "I'm sorry, it's just-"
"No, I'm having far too much fun."
"I'm not! Damn you! This is excruciating."
"All right, so you love them. But you still tell them off on a regular basis, and you never care about their feelings. Why be worried about being near them now?"
"Because what I think every single time I'm near them is that Granger is a dried up old harpy far before her time and Weasley is a lovable buffoon and they are going to kill each other before they're thirty, or at the very least go through a messy and ugly divorce. And that'll mean no end of grief for you, which will mean no end of grief for me, not to mention it'll be horrible to watch them both get hurt-" and he was going to die of mortification right about now. "And I don't think anybody wants to hear me say that. Especially right now. You don't need them tearing away at each other, you need them to help you when you go off on your little hero-quests."
"You don't think they're right for each other?" Harry asked curiously.
"Of course not. They're completely wrong. He's no match for her brains, and she could drive a saint to murder. If she'd been the Chosen One, her weapons of choice against the Dark Lord would've been intellectual intimidation and crushing boredom."
Harry tried not to laugh, and Draco rubbed his forehead in frustration.
"Harry, please. I miss you. I wanted to spend time with you, and tell you what I've been doing, and hear what you've been up to, and then I wanted to - god I keep trying to say shag you senseless but instead what's coming out is blither like cuddle with you, stop laughing or you'll be bloody hell I can't even say 'sleeping on the couch tonight' because I know I won't follow through with it but please, just go. Go do what you have to with Weasley and Granger and I'll owl you when the potion wears off. Don't be near me, this is really embarrassing."
Harry was silent for a moment. "Can't I stay, if I promise to be silent? I was looking forward to shagging you senseless too." He smirked. "And, er, cuddling."
Draco sighed. "No. I can't not say what's on my mind. I'm bound to say something that'll kill the mood."
"Please? Go away? For me?" Draco said plaintively, wincing at just how intensely pathetic he sounded.
"All right," Harry finally nodded, and stepped closer to Draco to kiss him goodbye, and they both started as the sound of two people Apparating cracked through the flat.
"Harry?" Granger's voice came from their front hall.
"Oh - I told them to just pop in, you weren't supposed to be here, sorry - Hermione, I'll be right out!"
"Harry?" Weasley's voice called out. "Who are you talking to? Is-"
"Yeah, Draco's here," Harry said quickly. "But we can't stay here, we need to go back to your flat," he said as they exited the kitchen. Weasley opened his mouth and Harry held up his hand and shook his head. "Don't talk to Draco, Potions accident at the Institute."
"Oh. All right." Weasley glanced at Draco curiously. "Why can't-"
"Sh!" Harry said, and Weasley obediently shut his mouth. "All right, we're off, then," Harry said, and kissed Draco chastely on the cheek, murmuring into his ear, "I'll be back for the shagging, though."
"I'll owl you as soon as it wears off."
Harry put his cloak back on and motioned Granger and Weasley towards the door. "Right away?" he said, winking at Draco as they headed out.
"Are you joking? I've been wanking to the thought of you coming home for three days, I think I'm getting a blister on my hand-" Granger's mouth dropped open and Weasley abruptly turned a delicate shade of green, and Draco grinned as he added, unable to resist, "and we're almost out of lube."
Wait a minute. They weren't low on lube. That was a lie.
That probably meant Harry could stay.
... and so could Granger and Weasley.
Draco smiled cheerfully into the frozen silence. "Then again," he said, "maybe that's a good thing, remember I've always wanted to try rimming, and if the lube's all-"
And the last thing he heard as Harry pulled them out the door was Granger's horrified "Oh my god I did not need to know that!"
Draco smirked. He'd have to thank Genevieve tomorrow.