Disclaimer: Characters from the Harry Potter Universe belong to JK Rowling and are used without permission but with no intent to defraud.
Author's Notes: Many thanks to my fantastic beta bewarethesmirk.
This story contains SLASH so if you do not like it - or don't know what it is - then DO NOT READ. Thanks :o)
I Like the Way You Move
Almost a year to the day since Voldemort's defeat on the grounds of Hogwarts, Harry Potter was sitting in the middle of a crowded nightclub, staring morosely into an almost empty glass of Firewhisky and seriously contemplating ordering a whole bottle.
Someone banged into his seat and Harry heard a drunken, mumbled apology as the reveller made their way past, completely unaware that they'd just jostled the chair of the magical world's most celebrated hero. All they saw was a very unremarkable young man with untidy, brown hair, spectacle-free eyes and a wan complexion; a picture of mediocrity, and completely forgettable, and that was just how Harry wanted it.
Battling Voldemort had been nothing compared to the days of absolute torture that had followed. Hounded mercilessly by the press, with every painful detail of his life exposed to the world, unable to even go and buy a pint of milk without being plagued by crowds of intrusive well-wishers; it had taken only a week after his release from the hospital before Harry had begged Hermione to brew some Polyjuice Potion. Which was why he was now an exact replica of her Muggle cousin, who was quite happy to supply the odd strand of hair in return for the occasional day trip into Hogsmeade.
Harry Potter had vanished from the wizarding world. But despite Harry's assumption that the furore would die down eventually and he could return to the life he'd left behind, his whereabouts had become a matter of national importance, and not a day went by without a reported sighting appearing in the headlines of the Daily Prophet. The Quibbler had accurately reported his change of identity on the day following his first drink of potion, but no one had given the story a second glance, and the paper had never mentioned him again.
The only other subject that seemed to hold the wizarding world's attention with almost as much fervour was the daily life of the infamous Death-Eater-turned-spy, Draco Malfoy. With Harry gone, the nation - or Rita Skeeter at the Prophet - had looked for another hero to follow, and the arrogantly handsome young Malfoy who had killed his own father to protect The-Boy-Who-Disappeared was the obvious choice. Especially as he provided the Prophet with some of the most scandalous headlines they'd ever printed. And he never sued - usually because the stories were completely true.
So wherever Draco Malfoy was, Rita Skeeter and a gaggle of other journalists were never far behind, which explained why Harry - when he looked over the bowed, blond head of his boyfriend - could see her leaning against the bar and staring at their table.
Because, of course, the latest topic of interest was Draco Malfoy's inexplicably bland choice of partner, and the growing suspicion that all was not well in Malfoy Manor. A million teenage readers - and quite a few not-so-young - were hoping their pin-up would soon be free and single again.
Harry tipped the last of his drink down his throat and slapped the glass back onto the table. "Anyone for another?" he asked, digging his hand into his pocket for some money and checking out the easiest path to get to the bar.
"Don't you think you've had enough?" Draco asked coolly, lifting his head to look at Harry, his face an expressionless mask.
"Not yet," Harry replied.
From where she was sitting on the other side of the table Hermione winced; over the past few weeks Harry's behaviour had deteriorated, the infamous Potter sullenness in full force. It was obvious that as surprisingly tolerant as Malfoy could be to Harry's moods, this time Harry was in danger of pushing it too far.
Noticing Ron's attention was on the scantily-clad dancers on the podiums, Hermione gave him a swift kick under the table. Ron whirled around in his seat, the indignant, "What?" on his lips silenced by a pointed look from Hermione to the brewing tensions at their table. He rolled his eyes - a familiar gesture in a stranger's face. Both he and Hermione were forced to don similar Polyjuice disguises whenever they went out with Harry and Draco - it was the only way to ensure no one made the connection that would have been so obvious if they stayed themselves. Ron missed the old days.
He looked over at Harry. "You going to the bar, mate?" he asked. "Want some company?"
"Don't you need your wife's permission?" At Harry's flippant words, Draco's eyes narrowed and Hermione resisted the urge to lean over and clip the back of Harry's head with her palm.
"No, Paul," she said, using the name Harry had chosen for his disguise. "My husband doesn't need my permission; he's quite capable of making decisions on his own."
"Lucky for him," Harry muttered.
Draco pushed his chair forcefully back from the table and stood up. "How about I go to the bar and get everybody some drinks?" He took a step nearer to Harry, and placing a hand on the back of his chair, bent low so his lips were near his boyfriend's ear, "And I'll bring you, Potter, a whole bottle of Firewhisky so you can get yourself well and truly pissed. That's what you want isn't it?"
Harry glanced nervously around, and Draco's lips twisted - a nasty little smile so reminiscent of his father that it made Hermione - though she couldn't hear the words he was saying - shudder. Draco kept his voice low. "What's the matter, Potter, afraid your little secret is going to come out?"
"Don't be such an arsehole," Harry snapped, keeping one eye on Rita Skeeter whose quill was positively dancing across the pages of her notepad.
In a mockery of a loving gesture, Draco touched his lips to Harry's cheek and stood upright, his eyes icy blue with inner anger. "Keep my seat warm for me won't you, dear, I'll be back in a moment." He flicked his gaze to the bar and back. "The lovely Rita is at the bar and calling for my attention, I'll give her your regards, shall I?" And before Harry could stop him, he was off, striding towards the bar, the throng clearing a path before him.
"What is your problem?"
Harry reluctantly tore his gaze away from the sight of Rita, her arm draped possessively around Draco's shoulders and nails playfully flicking open the buttons of his black shirt. He met the stares of his two friends and shrugged. "What problem? I don't have a problem."
Hermione snorted. "You really are insufferable at times," there was a pause where she usually would have said Harry James Potter in her most scolding tones. She sighed. "Look, there's obviously something going on that you're not telling us, and I know it's none of our business, but we're your friends. It's our job to tell you when you're screwing up your life. And Ha- Paul," she corrected hastily, "You are seriously screwing things up with Draco."
Ron nodded his head in agreement. "She's right, mate." He shifted his pint glass out of the way and leaned further across the table, lowering his voice, "You know that me and Malfoy aren't exactly the best of friends," he grinned, but seeing Harry's tight expression the smile fell away. "But even I see you're treating the bloke like shit. If he's done something to deserve it then just say the word and I'll beat him into a bloody pulp, but if he hasn't, then Hemione's right. He's gonna dump you."
Harry slumped in his chair, and pulled the vial of Polyjuice Potion from his pocket, rolling it back and forth on the table under his fingers. His mumbled words were inaudible in the noisy club, and Hermione and Ron looked at each other in puzzlement.
"Sorry, Paul, we didn't quite catch that. What did you say?" Hermione asked.
Harry looked up, and repeated his words, "I said, he asked me to marry him."
Hermione blinked. "Oh."
"But that's great," Ron grinned widely. "That's brilliant, that is. Wait until I tell Neville...and Fred and George. Bloody 'ell, they're going to be a nightmare when they hear about this. My mum's going to- OW!" he yelped, rubbing his shin and glaring at Hermione. "What did you do that for?"
She shook her head exasperatedly and turned back to Harry. "So what was your reply?"
"I said 'no'."
"Eh?" Ron frowned. "What the heck did you do that for?" He dodged his leg out of the reach of his wife's foot and snapped, "Leave off, will you."
Harry rubbed a weary hand across his eyes, and when he took it away, Hermione noticed the colour was fading, the brown showing a faint trace of green; the potion was wearing off. She opened her mouth to point it out, but then saw Harry idly look down at a faint thread of pink appearing down his arm, one of the scars he'd gained in the final battle. He turned the potion vial over in his hand and stared at it thoughtfully.
"He thinks I said no because I don't love him enough to tell everyone I'm gay. That I'm embarrassed by him or something."
His friends said nothing, sensing there was more.
"I don't know why I said 'no.' I think maybe I was scared." The vial glittered under the strobe lights and Harry watched the pattern dance across his palms. "I honestly don't know why he wants to spend the rest of his life with me - he could have anyone he wants."
"Not me," Ron muttered, but Harry didn't notice, too intent on his own thoughts.
"What the hell does he see in me? I'm a nobody," he said, lifting angry eyes to Hermione. "What the hell good am I to him?"
"He loves you, you stupid prat. Although at this moment, I fail to see why," she replied, looking over at the bar where Draco was still in deep conversation with Rita, the woman's hands now resting on his leather clad hips. She turned back to see Harry had likewise focused on his boyfriend, his face flushed. "After everything the two of you went through, I can't believe you'd question his feelings for you."
Harry shook his head forcefully, still watching Rita molesting his boyfriend. "I never said I doubted his feelings. I just think he can do so much better than me, that's all. I was just unlucky enough to get stuck with a stupid prophecy I had to fulfil. He's the one who risked everything to defeat Voldemort. He's the one they should all idolise, not bloody me."
"Oh, Harry," Hermione said loudly, and immediately clapped a hand to her mouth in horror.
"Glad you did it first," Ron muttered, looking smug.
Harry turned a tired smile to his friends. "Don't worry about it, Hermione. No one's paying any attention to us; they're all too interested in Draco. Which is how it should be," he finished, and Hermione could see a familiar stubborn set to his jaw as he made a decision, fingers tightening around the vial in his hand.
"What are you going to..." she started to ask, but was cut off as a large, umbrella-laden drink was placed on the table in front of her.
"Your drink, milady," Draco said, with a chivalrous bow. In his journey to the bar he'd regained his usual sarcastic charm, and he dropped a brimming, pint glass of beer in front of Ron. "Try not to inhale it all in the one go."
Ron pretended to be offended, and scowled at Draco, earning a challenging bob of the eyebrows.
"And for you, sir," Draco brandished a full bottle of Firewhisky in front of Harry's nose, "your very own path to an empty bed and an early grave." Harry said nothing, his eyes large and luminous as they met Draco's stare. A tiny frown line flickered on Draco's brow and was gone. With great care, he placed the bottle on the table beside Harry's glass and looked up at the crowded dance floor. "Well, I don't know about you people, but there's a song playing out there with my name on it. And I, for one, plan on having some fun tonight."
Without a backward glance, he skirted around the table, and hips slightly shaking in time to the beat of the song, made his way into the crowd where a host of people greeted him warmly, hands reaching out to touch the blond's body in friendly recognition. Draco's shirt flapped open as someone managed to undo the final buttons Rita hadn't the audacity to touch.
"Harry, you're an idiot," Hermione said.
"Tell me something I don't know," Harry agreed, unscrewing the bottle with one hand, tossing the lid to the side and taking a healthy swallow, eyes never leaving Draco on the dance floor.
Draco swayed in time to the rhythm, hand running through his hair as he twisted to the side. His eyes crinkled into a smile when a familiar face appeared in the throng, one of the few friends he had left from his schooldays, Theodore Nott.
"Theo, it's so good to see you," he called out and danced his way closer, noticing Nott had bleached his hair and lost a few pounds since the last time they'd met. Shorter than Draco, he's always carried a bit of extra weight, but he'd obviously been working out and Draco eyed the toned body with appreciation.
Nott smiled back and waited until he was within normal speaking distance, before leaning in. "You look a bit too glad to see me," he said in Draco's ear. "Everything alright? You look tired."
Draco flicked a dismissive hand. "I'm fine. Just men problems," he said flippantly, and after a moment's pause, he added with a lascivious smile and waggle of his brows, "Want to help me out?"
Theo laughed, fully aware that Draco was putting on a show, but for whose benefit he wasn't quite sure. He placed a hand on Draco's shirt and playfully pulled him closer. "No chance. Been there, done that. You're way too much for me to handle, Malfoy. Anyway, I believe you're spoken for."
Draco slapped a hand on his heart and moved closer, bumping his hip into Nott's. "You're breaking my heart, Theo. I'm offering you a chance of a lifetime here and you're throwing it in my face?"
Nott shook his head. "No, from the way your bloke is glaring at us, all you're offering me is a one-way ticket to St Mungo's."
Draco swayed closer, and gave Nott his sexiest grin. "Ignore him," he purred, his hand reaching up to cup Nott's face, pulling him closer still until their bodies were practically glued together. "Pretend he doesn't exist and maybe he'll go away." His fingers trailed down to trace the collar of Nott's shirt and the smaller man gulped nervously. "But if he looks like he's heading this way, let me know."
Realisation dawned on Nott's face and he shook his head a fraction. "You're playing a dangerous game, Malfoy. Hope you know what you're doing."
"Just go with it, Theo, please." Nott's eyes widened at the plea - it was the first time he'd ever heard Draco say the word 'please' in his life. But, still, he looked dubious, so Draco resorted to bribery. "I'll set you up with Charlie Weasley..." Nott's long-term crush on the dragon-taming Weasley was common knowledge amongst the Slytherins; he'd undergone a constant barrage of ridicule and scorn but his affection had never wavered.
"Really?" Nott said incredulously. "You could do that?"
"I can, if you help me out."
In reply, Nott stepped closer and slid a hand around Draco's waist. Draco smiled.
At the table, Harry was seething. His eyes were boring a hole in the back of Draco's head, and one hand gripped the neck of the whiskey bottle so tightly that Hermione feared he planned to use it as a weapon. She leaned across the table and tried to tug it free, the motion snapping Harry's attention from the dance floor. "What?" he snapped.
"You're going to break the bottle, Harry," she said calmly and gestured to his hand.
He stared down at the whisky bottle in confusion, surprised it was in his grip, and gave it over to Hermione with an embarrassed shrug. "Here," he said. "Probably had enough of it anyway." A quick glance back at his boyfriend, cavorting with Nott near one of the podiums, and he added, "Probably about time I left, I think. Get myself out of here before Rita's quill explodes, trying to keep up with all the scandal. Can't wait to see the headlines tomorrow - 'Malfoy Single Again': 'boyfriend resoundingly dumped at local nightspot, whilst the young Malfoy parties the night away with his old flame.'" He tried a grin, but it was a tired attempt and it fell away.
"Harry," Hermione said softly, and he shook his head.
"It's alright; it was going to happen eventually."
"He's just trying to make you jealous," she said, and Ron nodded in agreement. "She's right, mate."
Harry shrugged. "Yeah, I know. But it's better this way, really. Better for him." He started to push his chair away from the table. "Tell him...," he faltered, "tell Draco..."
"Tell me what?" Draco said loudly in his ear and Harry flinched away. In the noise of the club he hadn't realised Draco had returned to the table, Nott trailing behind, looking decidedly uncomfortable.
"Tell you I'm leaving," Harry said boldly. If he expected a significant reaction, he was disappointed.
"Yeah, fine. Don't wait up." Draco smirked. "I'm not planning on coming back to the house tonight."
The words were like a knife wound to Harry's heart, a million times worse than any pain Voldemort had ever inflicted; he gave a small nod, not trusting his voice.
Hermione and Ron were likewise speechless, and they stared at Draco with identical open-mouthed stares.
Draco looked back to Nott and said, "I very much apologise for the behaviour of my companions." Harry smarted at the casual word. "Usually they have the capacity of speech, but tonight they seem to lost even that rudimentary skill. I recommend a hasty retreat before we are likewise afflicted."
He turned back around and leant across the table past Harry, giving the shocked boy the full view of a well-sculpted chest as his shirt flapped open, the familiar smell of aftershave and undiluted Malfoy wafting into his face. Harry pressed back into his chair, trying to distance himself - and his subconscious arousal - from the view before him. Draco, seemingly unaware of the effect he was having, snagged the bottle of whisky from Hermione's hand and stood upright, lifting it in salute to the silent group and taking a swig. "See you all later," he said and sashayed his way back to the dance floor, herding Nott ahead of him.
Harry stared at his retreating back, his hand clenched tightly around the Polyjuice vial. He barely noticed the sharp snap as the glass cracked, only the horrified shriek of Hermione brought his focus back around.
"What's wrong?" he asked and she pointed to his hand, grabbing for her bag and delving inside.
Feeling like he was viewing the scene from a distance, Harry stared at his clenched fist; blood and potion dripped onto the floor from his knuckles. He automatically drew his hand closer and the blood splattered onto his clothes.
Ron whistled softly - and seeing his wife was still rummaging about - pulled his chair around the table in front of Harry's and grabbed his friend's wrist, gently prying his fingers open and forcing him to drop the remnants of the shattered glass container onto the floor.
Pulling out his wand, Ron muttered a well-practiced Clotting spell and the blood stopped flowing from the wound. Other patrons were beginning to notice, so he quickly cast a Cleaning spell to get rid of the mess; the floor and Harry's blood-stained jeans returning to their former cleanliness.
"You're good at that," Hermione observed as she appeared beside them, a tube of healing salve in her hand. With a gentle touch, she rubbed the ointment across the weeping wounds on Harry's palm and they sealed closed, a final piece of glass tinkling onto the ground as it was pushed free. It wasn't a complete treatment, only a temporary adhesion designed to let the wound heal naturally; it would be red and angry for a few days yet, so Hermione transfigured Harry's glass into a bandage and bound his palm firmly.
"Thanks," Harry said flatly and drew his hand out of his friends' grip.
Ron, completely at a loss for something to say, looked over at the dancing clubbers, and right into the concerned eyes of Draco Malfoy who'd obviously witnessed the whole incident. Realising he's been spotted, the blond swivelled away quickly, hands pulling Nott closer as the music pulsated.
"Bloody hell," Ron muttered and turned his attention back to Harry.
Hermione was speaking in hushed but urgent tones, "The potion's wearing off, you're going to have to go. Your hair is getting darker by the second and I'm guessing in about ten minutes there will be no doubt who you really are." She paused. "Are you even listening to me?"
"Yeah," Harry mumbled. "I've got to go." But he showed no signs of moving.
"Harry," she hissed. "You have to go now."
"Uh-huh," he agreed, and then looked at her, large green eyes shimmering, "He doesn't care, Hermione."
"Oh, for Merlin's sake, we don't have time for this." Hermione's eyes flicked to Rita Skeeter at the bar, who was looking in their direction with growing interest. "Of course he cares; the stupid prat is just attempting to push you into doing something to show you actually care for him. He's just doing it in his idiotic Malfoy way."
Harry blinked at her, disbelieving. She gripped his chin and turned his face to the dance floor. "Look at him, Harry, just look. He keeps on flicking his hair every couple of seconds - just so he can look back to see what you're doing. And does Nott look like someone who is getting pleasure out of Draco's fondling?" She slapped a hand lightly off the side of his head and Ron bit back a bubble of inappropriate laughter at Harry's shocked expression. "It's all for your benefit, you idiot. So either you get your backside up there and do something about it, or go back to the Manor and start packing up your stuff." When he didn't move, she added, "You defeated Voldemort, Harry, how can this be any more difficult?"
"Compared to Draco Malfoy, Voldemort was a piece of cake," Harry stated firmly.
On the dance floor, Draco was staring intently at Nott, body on auto-pilot as it followed the beat of the song. "Well?" he hissed. "What's he doing?"
Nott's gaze was fixed on Harry's table. "Nothing. They're all just talking." He frowned, and Draco pounced on the change of expression.
"What is it?"
"Nothing really." His eyebrows knotted. "I just could have sworn your boyfriend had brown hair - it must be the light. Makes it look black."
"Oh Merlin," Draco cursed. "He broke the vial."
Nott looked at him. "What vial? What are you talking about?"
Draco eyed him carefully, weighing up whether to trust the boy or not. He recalled that Nott had been the only other Slytherin to go expressly against his father's wishes and not support Voldemort. And with the years of friendship they had shared… He made a decision. "A vial of Polyjuice Potion. He must have been holding it in his hand. That's what smashed."
Nott processed the information, and Draco saw the instant his mind made the connection of Polyjuice, and a black-haired boyfriend who would want to hide his identity. "He isn't...? You haven't been...? You've got to be joking," Nott stuttered the words and Draco smiled tightly.
"He is, we most definitely have, and I can assure you I have never been more serious in my life as I am at this moment. Although whether he is or not remains to be seen."
"Well, you're about to find out because he's heading this way," Nott said, taking a nervous step back. "Merlin's beard, I'm going to get killed by Harry Potter."
"Oh, don't be so melodramatic," Draco snapped. "He doesn't have his wand with him - the Ministry can trace its residue."
"That's comforting," Nott said sarcastically and plastered a fake smile on his face as he saw Harry stepping up behind Draco.
Harry didn't even notice, his hand reaching out to grip Draco's shoulder and spin him around, forcing Nott to dodge out of the way. He placed a bandaged palm flat on Draco's chest and propelled him back against the podium in an awkward sprawl. He didn't give the blond time to collect himself, stepping between his splayed legs and taking a handful of shirt, pulling Draco close so their noses were almost touching.
"You came here with me," he said roughly, "And you're leaving with me."
Draco was completely thrown by the uncharacteristic behaviour - he'd expected a verbal argument, a typical Harry temper tantrum – and so he struggled for a response.
The music was still thudding in the background, but no one was dancing - the entire room had stuttered to a halt, every single pair of eyes was on Draco and Harry, and stunned whispers were rippling through the crowd.
It took a moment for Draco to process what the others were seeing. Harry was almost completely back to normal, the Polyjuice Potion had worn off and there was very little doubt about his identity - only the glasses he used to need were missing.
"You do realise the potion has worn off?" Draco said carefully.
"And you're not concerned?"
"Not about that, no."
Draco tried to pull back a little, but found Harry was holding too tight. "Any chance you could let go of the shirt, Potter?"
"Fine," Draco sighed. "Well, when you decide exactly what it is you're going to do, feel free to let me know."
Harry's fierce expression faltered. "I...I..."
"You...you...what?" Draco's composure was returning. To his disappointment he felt Harry's grip loosening. C'mon, Harry, don't give up on me now, he thought. "Scared, Potter?" he challenged, and smiled inwardly as he felt the grip tighten again.
"Yes," Harry replied firmly, and Draco's eyes widened. "I'm absolutely bloody terrified."
They were oblivious to the watching crowd now, unaware of the ripple of sound as those that couldn't hear were relayed the words of the sentences they uttered. So they didn't realise the whole room waited - along with Draco - with bated breath to hear Harry continue.
"I'm scared of facing everyone, of living up to the Harry Potter myth; that I'll never be able to forget what happened with Voldemort, and stop taking it out on everyone who cares for me. I'm scared you're going to finally get fed up with all of the shit I put you through and find someone better." Harry took a deep breath. "But the one thing I'm absolutely not scared of is telling the whole world that I'm in love with you."
Draco smirked. "Could you be any more nauseating, Potter?"
"Shut up," Harry replied and tugged Draco's forward, kissing him hard; an unrelenting kiss imbued with all of the emotion he was trying to express.
He pulled back breathlessly, and Draco, slightly dazed, looked up at him, eyes clouded with desire.
It was Harry's turn to smirk. "So, Malfoy, will you marry me?"
Draco paused long enough for Harry's expression to falter. The blond looked serious when he replied, "Only if you promise to never, ever embarrass me in public like this again." Harry frowned and Draco rolled his eyes. "That's a yes, you idiot."
The room erupted in a cacophony of noise and both boys looked around, startled. Face reddening, Harry let go of Draco's shirt, and they both stood upright, whilst all around them people applauded and cheered.
Across the room, Harry saw Hermione and Ron - both back to looking like their old selves. Hermione was smiling and Ron was giving him a huge thumbs up.
The clamouring voices were overpowering and Harry unconsciously stepped closer to Draco. Without thought, the blond grabbed his hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. He raised his free hand for silence and the room fell quiet - at some point the music had been switched off.
Draco cleared his throat. "I know you all have a lot of questions, but it's been a long and eventful night so I'll summarise: Yes, this is Harry Potter." He glared at a woman that looked like she was going to speak. "Yes, he is alive and well. And for the past year he's been living with various friends in Muggle disguise, and he has not - as some of the press has reported," he looked at Rita Skeeter as he spoke, "- been living with the giants or cavorting with Death Eaters. Well apart from me, of course." He smirked. "On that note, I would like to formally announce our engagement."
The clubbers applauded again, and a few wolf whistles sounded. Harry blushed.
"So," Draco continued. "If you have any immediate concerns, then I'm sure Ronald and Hermione Weasley - sitting at the table over there," he pointed with his wand and a shower of magical sparkles shimmered around the startled couple, "will be more than happy to answer them. Now if you don't mind, my fiancé and I have some celebrating to do."
And with a pop, he and Harry vanished.
There was a moment of stillness and then the room erupted.
"I'm going to bloody kill him," Ron muttered as people started to converge on their table.
"Wait until after the wedding," Hermione replied. "That way, at least Harry will inherit his money."
Ron grinned. "You can be a little scary sometimes, you know that?"
"That's why you married me," she said, and smiled brightly at the first person to reach their table. "Yes, Rita, how can we help?"