Disclaimer: The world of Harry Potter and its characters are not mine (no matter how I wish it to be otherwise).

Warning: Light D/H slash. Don't like it? Then please go somewhere else.

Muses by the Gaslight

Like white feathers snowflakes were fluttering down from the red moonless sky above and onto the empty streets of London, dancing this way and that as the wind carried them through a dizzying ballet. The snow on the ground laid largely undisturbed, resembling white icing smeared on a gigantic cake. In this blissful tranquillity, the serene chorus of Christmas hymns could be faintly heard from a small church around the corner.

A lone dark figure was casually walking down the lonely street, leaving behind a trail of footprints on the snow-covered pavement. Like a black shadow he seemed, clad in pure black, made visible only when he stepped into the yellow circle of the street lamp, and blended into the dark once more when he departed. His face was pale white and his eyes were of the keenest of grey. One might suspect he was a figure born out of a black-and-white film, if not for a splash of blond atop the black.

It was Christmas Eve, and Draco Malfoy had just murdered a man in cold blood.

He did not know the man personally, nor did he care. His superior ordered the man dead, and Draco simply carried out the execution. It mattered not why his superior wanted the man dead; Draco was not in the position to ask questions. That was just the way it was.

A lock of blond had fallen over Draco's eyes, and impatiently Draco flicked it aside. The ring on his ringfinger flashed a silver gleam as it caught the light of the street lamp. It was of a simple design: a simple band of silver adorned with a simple black gem. But it was more than just a piece of jewellery; for within the secret compartment beneath the gem contained a fast-acting poison. Whether Draco were to use it on his enemies or on himself was left to his own discretion, but Draco already understood his superior's intention when he gave him the ring. After all, the kind of agents who can truly keep their silence are the dead ones.

Trading other people's lives for his own was hardly a fair deal, but he could live with that. It was simply a matter of survival, that was all. He had made his choice long ago, and he never looked back. However, no amount of rationalization could possibly keep the ghosts away and his sanity intact -- although he had always suspected he did not have much of it to begin with.

The wind sighed as Draco's feet brought him to the mouth of a familiar-looking dark alley. From here, if he were to look outward onto the main street, he could clearly see a series of weather-beaten, three-storeyed buildings lined none too neatly across the road. The Victorian-styled lampposts along the sidewalk lit up the street with their soft, comforting glow.

His sharp grey eyes surveyed everything around him, be it visible or invisible, but his attention was ever cast upon one of the dark windows located on the third floor of a certain building.

Many nights Draco had found himself standing at the same spot, leaning against the same wall, watching the same window from afar. Like a stalker he seemed to have become, but he cared not what others might think. He had no reason to explain his actions to anyone, least of all to himself.

The shade behind the glass window was drawn, and there was no light peeking through the small cracks in between. The owner of the flat obviously had not come home yet, not that Draco expected him to stay at home on Christmas Eve. After all, he had places he could go to and friends he could be with. Chances are he was celebrating Christmas Eve with his surrogate family like those folks in the other flats, drinking and laughing and singing their off-key Christmas tunes. Draco could not recall the last time he himself actually celebrated Christmas; it belonged to another lifetime when his mother was still alive and his father...

Draco shook his head to clear his thought. He did not want to brood on his past; it was all over and done with.

As the night wore on, the weather was getting colder and the snowfall heavier. He instinctively tightened his scarf when a gust of brisk chill seeped into his collar and made him shudder. Snow had settled on his clothes and his hair, and absentmindedly he brushed it away. He rather liked the feeling of snow landing on his cheeks; the tingling sensation of chill made him feel awake and alive.

But Draco's limbs were growing numb from the cold, and the gentle glow of the electric gaslight across the road was looking more and more enticing; it silently reminded him that he had better started heading back before he froze to death. After all, it would be too ironic for an accomplished agent such as himself to die in the hands of the elements.

As Draco was about to leave, a series of faint, muffled footsteps reached his sharp ears. Alerted, Draco silently slid back into the shadow and listened closely to the sound of shoes crunching the blanket of snow. At length, a lithe figure clad in dark brown entered his line of vision. The figure had his hands stuffed in his pockets, his back hunched slightly as the falling snow continually beat his face. Draco could not see his face, but there was no mistaking that nest of raven hair.

Hidden within the shadow that no eyes save the sharpest ones could penetrate, Draco watched Harry Potter enter the apartment building. And soon enough, faint light was leaking out from the window on the third floor. Draco could see a vague silhouette moving about, before it disappeared altogether. Harry did not seem to notice his presence, then again, he never did -- Draco was well versed in the art of stealth and secrecy after all.

Draco pushed himself off the wall and slowly marched across the road. Discreetly he kept up his vigilance, reaching out with his well-honed senses to make sure there were no unfriendly eyes observing his every move. And as always, there was none. He supposed he should give Harry some credit for wisely choosing to dwell in a Muggle neighbourhood instead of staying in the closely knitted community of the wizarding masses. For one, it was much harder for them to find him; and for two, any powerful magic performed in this place would most certainly alert the authorities.

Warmth welcomed Draco as he entered the threshold of the building, and an inevitable sigh of relief escaped Draco's cold lips. He pressed once on the intercom button that would connect him to Flat 3b, where one Harry Lewis -- that was the name Harry went by in this place -- lived. After several heartbeats, a slightly muffled voice came through the speaker, "Yes?"

"It's me," Draco said vaguely. He did not dare say his name aloud for fear of prying ears.

Nevertheless Harry recognised his voice. "I didn't expect you to drop by," Harry said, in what Draco thought was a rather hesitant tone.

Normally Draco would throw some witty comments at him, but right now Draco was too weary to humour him. "I know. Can I come up?" Draco asked quietly. He did not beg, nor did he plead; he still had some pride left in him.

There was silence at the other end of the line for several seconds, and then he heard Harry's sober voice saying, "Sure."

A buzz signalled the unlocking of the main door, and half a minute later, Draco found himself gazing at the pensive expression on Harry Potter's youthful face. Harry was standing by the open door of his flat; his startling green eyes were studying Draco carefully. Draco distractedly thought those eyes were like those of a ferocious cat, within which hid an eerie green blaze that could never be quenched.

Draco always had a thing for green eyes, although he did not actually realise it until much later when, in a heated moment of defiance, he allowed himself to be carried away by his sudden fancy. After that, it was simply one thing after another, and look where he ended up -- right in front of Harry Potter's doorstep.

Harry was obviously ready for bed before Draco showed up: He was wearing a loose, ash grey jumper over his chequered indigo pyjamas. His hair was as carelessly messy as ever, but his trademark glasses were no longer framing his boyish face -- he had his vision fixed two years ago. Draco would hardly describe him as fetching per se, but admittedly Draco rather liked what he saw.

"Hi," Draco smiled wryly as he brushed the snow off his shoulders, but it was a hopeless cause since most of the moisture had already seeped into his coat.

"Hi," Harry replied passively as he gazed at Draco with darkened eyes that seemed to have deepened into a shade of forest green. Draco could never get tired of those ever-changing eyes; it never ceased to amaze him as to how the colour within their depths changes whenever the mood of their owner changes. And at the present, judging by the deeper shade of green, Draco could tell Harry was troubled by his presence, or perhaps by what he saw in Draco's manner, of what Draco could not even begin to guess.

Draco, ever a creature ruled by impulse, allowed himself to be led once more. In three brisk strides Draco brought himself before Harry, who raised his eyebrows at Draco. Ignoring Harry's bewildered expression and silent inquiry, Draco pressed his cold forehead lightly against Harry's warm brow, a gesture that seemed almost shamefully intimate.

Harry shied away slightly at the contact before he sighed, and moved away no more as Draco leant in closer to him. "What's gotten into you all of a sudden?" Harry asked, his warm breath blew lightly onto Draco's face like a summer breeze. If Draco were to lean in even further, he thought he could almost taste that unique blend of mint coupled with vanilla and sunlight lingering on Harry's warm lips.

He was getting too close, he knew. The world was larger than the two of them, and sooner or later, it would catch up to him, as surely as death would catch up to him at some point. Nevertheless, he could not get away, for there were simply too much history between them. And truthfully, he did not really want to get away.

"Nothing," Draco replied as he closed his eyes in contentment, his arms gently cradling Harry's head to his, "nothing at all."


A/N: First time posting on ! So I guess I should say, nice to meet you and thanks for reading my fic. Love it? Hate it? Don't care? Tell me what you think. And in case you are wondering, there IS a back story buried here somewhere. I might do a companion piece to go along with this one, so we'll see.