Warning: This story may contain Deathly Hallow spoilers. If you've not finished the book, you probably don't want to read this.
It was a soft beep that woke him. Blinking eyes blurry from sleep, Draco Malfoy rolled over and glanced at the small gold clock resting on the night table. He exhaled slowly as he gazed at the numbers, watching as the shiny minute hand across the face. When the narrow second hand completed its twelfth lap, he rolled over and slid from under the scarlet covers. The person lying within the bed stirred, tossing restlessly and moving into the warm spot he'd abandoned. Smiling fondly, he scooped up his trousers and slid into them.
He moved easily through the darkened room, avoiding the heavy dressers and the clothes that had been hastily discarded upon the floor. Halting next to the bed, he reached out and lovingly brushed his pale fingers over the individual's forehead, soothing away the stray strands of hair resting there. Placing one hand on the bed, he leaned over and pressed his lips against the tanned cheek, lingering for a moment before straightening.
Turning to leave, he froze. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath and moved around the bed. His fingers found the handle of the night table drawer and pulled, easing the wooden compartment open. Dipping his hand inside, he removed the picture hidden under several pieces of parchment and set it calmly next to the crystal figurine of a phoenix. Ginerva Potter, formerly Weasley, smiled up at him, her arm wrapped around Harry's waist. Poking the frame into place with a manicured fingernail, he spun away. He gave the cozy bed one last look before slipping from the bedchamber.
In the kitchen, he retrieved his wand from where he'd hidden it and quietly lit several candles. Shading his eyes against the sudden brightness, he moved to the metal sink and turned the water on. As water sloshed into the deep basin, he added liquid soap that smelled like green apples. A dishcloth was pulled from a drawer and tossed into the deepening water, quickly disappearing under a mountain of white suds. Leaving the water running, he went into the dining room and picked up the dirty dishes, bringing them back into the shadowy kitchen. After contemplating the depth of the water, he reached out and turned it off.
He slid his pale hands into the soapy water, long fingers stirring the frothy bubbles in search of the dish cloth concealed beneath them. He blew out a deep breath as he rested his hip against the counter, shifting slightly to take some of his weight off his right foot. Lifting his gray eyes, he stared out the window before him and reached for one of dirty plates resting at his elbow. Under the soft pads of his fingers, the porcelain was eerily cool. A smile curved his lips as he lowered the dish into the sink, his thumb idly tracing the line of silver roses twining around the edge.
He had personally chosen the pattern from among many, going so far as to have them shipped from France. The silver and emerald design should have been a deliberate snub to the Gryffindor couple, but only one of them had seemed disgusted over its appearance. Ginerva Potter had stared down at the plate, her blue eyes narrowed. For one long moment, Draco had thought she would deliberately drop the dish just to watch it shatter. In the end, the red-haired witch had grudgingly accepted the gift, though her obvious dislike of the fine china had been written all over her freckled-face.
The shredded and torn dish cloth was dragged dripping from the water and run lovingly along the smooth surface of the plate, easing away thick gravy and hardened butter.
It had been Harry who rescued the dishes from her careless hands and settled them back into their box, closing the lid and shifting them away from the red-faced witch. For the rest of the evening the case of fine china hadn't left the raven-haired wizard's side, the calloused palm of one hand always resting lightly atop its wooden lid. When the newly wedded pair finally rose to depart, the box vanished with them, its contents remaining under the protective hand of the emerald eyed man.
Setting the plate aside to dry, Draco reached over and lifted the next, placing it carefully into the water.
Normally, Draco Malfoy wouldn't even contemplate washing dishes. Washing dishes was for maids. And house elves. However, these dishes were different. These dishes were one of the only things he'd been able to give Harry after the war. After they had been forced to marry. Forced to have kids with wives who wanted them only for their titles and the prestige that came with them. Expected to get a career that would benefit the wizarding world. And to a certain extent, they had done what was expected of them.
Raising the dripping plate free of the water, he gave it a light shake before lying it next to its mate. He ran a dish towel over them quickly, tossing it over his shoulder when the dishes gleamed.
Lifting the dried plates from the counter, he walked to the cabinet standing proudly in the dining room. The pale wood gleamed, as did the dishes displayed within it. Or at least they tried.
Silently snorting, Draco pulled open the glass door and slid a chipped and worn serving dish aside. Covered in dust, and hidden from the rest of the world, were the other pieces of the silver rose set. He slid the two plates into their places, frowning at the grime that had been allowed to build up on the delicate teacups. His eyes closed tightly as he fought the urge to wipe them clean, knowing that Harry's wife would wonder and begin to ask questions. Stepping back, he pushed the Weasley's heirloom china back into place and closed the glass door.
Those two plates represented their relationship; hidden from the rest of the world by an old facade. They played the part they were expected to play while secretly meeting each other under the noses of their wives. Ginerva Potter would always scream and yell when the Malfoy family walked into a hotel right behind them while on vacation, checking into a suite of rooms right down the hall. Pansy Malfoy would always hiss and snarl angrily when the Potters appeared at Ministry function, Ginerva dressed in the most expensive robes Harry's money could buy.
Striding back into the kitchen, he let the water out of the sink and hung the dirty cloth over the tap. He dried his hands on the dishtowel slung over his shoulder before tugging it free and hanging it on the door of the oven. Straightening it methodically, he glanced around the room in search of anything out of place. Anything that he might have forgotten; though how he'd forget a routine that had become engraved in his mind over the past twenty years was beyond him.
Seeing that everything was in its place, he fetched his jacket from where Harry had put it and slid slowly into it. The material was tugged into place and the buttons were slid through their holes, blocking out the cold winter wind that was whistling against the glass windows. Slipping a water wrinkled hand into his pocket, he removed the narrow golden band waiting there. He stared down at his left hand for a moment before placing the ring around his second finger, wiggling it over his knuckle until it was firmly seated. A wave of his wand extinguished the candles, plunging the kitchen into blackness.
Silently, he stepped out of the house and closed the door behind him, swivelling to slide the small house key he held into the lock. With a light click, the door locked and the key was slipped away. Leaning his forehead against the door, Draco sighed and ran a hand over the cold wood. Whispering a quiet goodbye to his sleeping lover, he turned and walked through the snow, disapparating with a faint pop.
And that's why Draco Malfoy washes Harry Potter's dishes at three o'clock in the morning.
- The End -