Title: It All Started At the Bookstore
Disclaimer:JK Rowling owns Harry Potter. I own 11 Harry Potter books (4 American, 4 Australian, 1 German, 2 supplemental), 4 audio CDs, and assorted merchandise. Obsessed much? Lol
A/N:Inspired by BlackRose's H/D "Candid Camera" picture: An older Harry and Draco have been interrupted mid-- well, mid-something. g What's the backstory behind this moment? Thank you hah and Bennie for beta-reading.
**Warning for those who were too lazy to read the A/N section**This story contains m/m slash. If the very thought makes you shudder, press the back button now.
Harry scanned the row of science fiction/fantasy titles in front of him, hoping something would catch his attention. He'd decided at breakfast a good book might be just the thing he needed to relax on this warm summer day. So here he was, at the Muggle bookstore on the corner, looking for something to enjoy on his day off.
He pulled a book off the shelf and scanned the back. Kingmaker's Sword. It had possibilities, certainly. He smiled at the thought that, more than ten years after he'd learned he was a wizard, he still got a kick out of the creative magic used in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. A lot of it was so outrageous, it made the stories all the more entertaining. But sometimes an author had a notion that actually seemed conceivable, and Harry had used some of those ideas at his job. His fellow Aurors were continually impressed by "his" innovations and, no matter how many books Harry showed them, refused to believe that any Muggle writers were actually the source of the ideas.
Walking a little further along the row, another title caught Harry's eye: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. A broad smile split his face as he remembered the story; he'd started reading it way back in his youth, after finding it buried in a heap in the room he'd inherited from Dudley. Apparently his cousin had received it as a gift and had summarily discarded it, unread. Unfortunately, once he'd seen Harry chuckling over it, Dudley had immediately grabbed it back, whining noisily that it was *his*, and so Harry had never finished the tale. But he remembered how much fun it had been. Yes, that was the ticket -- he needed something lighthearted to take his mind off the seriousness of his normal life. Deftly, he plucked the novel from the shelf and tucked it under his arm with the first book.
Thus fortified with reading material, Harry threaded his way through the little shop, squeezing between the narrow aisles as he headed toward the cash register. Upon reaching the "Mysteries" section, however, he found his path blocked by another shopper, one who was thoroughly engrossed in selecting his own books.
"Er…. Excuse me," Harry murmured, with a light touch on the man's arm. "Could I--" But the words died in his throat as the other customer looked up.
"Malfoy? Draco Malfoy?" Harry couldn't believe it. And yet there was no mistaking those silver eyes and the pale pointed face.
"Potter," drawled the familiar voice, with a hint of a languid smile behind it. "Well, well. We meet again."
Harry couldn't help himself. The only thing he could think to say was, "What are you doing here?"
"Clipping dragon toenails." Draco rolled his eyes. "What do you think I'm doing here? I'm getting something to read, same as you. Seemed like a good idea, this being a bookstore and all."
"Yes, but it's a Muggle bookstore," Harry hissed, grateful no other customers seemed to be around at the moment. "Since when have you read Muggle mysteries? Or wanted anything do with Muggle-- well, Muggle anything?"
"Since getting seriously involved with a Muggle about three years ago," Draco said with an impatient sigh.
Harry stared. "You're dating a Mug--"
Draco held up his hand and cut off Harry's incredulous response. "Was. Was dating. And, Potter, before you go on, let me point out that this really isn't the place to be playing twenty questions. If you're going to insist on grilling me, is there someplace we could go to at least sit down first?"
"Umm…." Harry stopped to think. "Well, uh, my flat is just down the street. And there's the tea shop round the corner, too."
"What? And pass up the chance to see where the famous Harry Potter lives?" Draco smirked. "Oh, no -- it's too good an opportunity. And anyway, I never was much of a tea drinker."
As they walked down the street, Harry kept flicking his eyes over at his unexpected companion. It had been, what? Five years since he'd seen Draco? Six? Something like that. In the intervening time, his former nemesis had turned from a still-growing teen to a man. Well, duh. So did you, Harry berated himself silently. He had to admit, Draco made a very good-looking man: He stood perhaps an inch or two taller than Harry, and his light blond hair had gotten a bit longer, with an almost careless, tousled look. He was dressed appropriately for his trip into the Muggle world in ordinary, but rather slim-fitting black jeans, with a sleeveless black and green V-neck top. Yes, the result was extremely attractive. Harry shook his head to clear it. The notion of being even remotely attracted to Draco Malfoy was a little too jarring. The cute young wizard who was apprenticing for Tom at the Leaky Cauldron was one thing, but Malfoy? Uh-uh.
Resolutely pushing thoughts of Draco's appearance out of his mind, Harry led the way to a modest stone building, and up the stairs to the third floor. Then he turned the key and pushed open the door. "Well, here it is. Pretty ordinary, actually."
"Oh, I don't know," Draco replied, stepping across the threshold and looking around. "It's actually not bad. For a Muggle place, that is. So why'd you choose to live here, instead of one of the wizarding flats across town?"
Harry shrugged. "I was raised with Muggles, and so was Hermione. We're used to it. And the rent was cheaper, when you compared the cost in pounds to galleons."
"So, Granger lives here, too, eh? Does this mean you guys are--"
"No," Harry replied, shortly. "Everyone always asks that. She's with Ron. He lives here, too -- they got married last year. But they had an extra room, and didn't mind sharing their space with me, so here I am."
"Always the three Musketeers," Draco observed dryly, sitting down on one of the kitchen chairs. "So, where are your partners in crime?"
Harry bristled at other man's tone, but held his tongue. It was, after all, the most civil conversation they'd ever had, and he didn't want to ruin that. Not yet, anyway. Besides, he was still dying to know just how Draco had gotten involved with a Muggle girl. So, instead, he swallowed his ire and replied simply, "At work. Ron is a design engineer for Nimbus, and Hermione works as a Muggle-Wizard liaison for the Ministry."
"Ah." Draco replied. Harry braced himself for further sarcastic remarks, but none were forthcoming.
"So, uh," he went on, pulling open a few kitchen cabinets, "can I get you anything? We've got tea -- oh, no, you said you don't like tea -- uh … coffee, pumpkin juice, Coke -- that's a sort of Muggle soft drink--"
"I know what Coke is, Potter."
"What? Oh, right. That Muggle you were with. Well, that's about it, unless you'd rather just have water."
"Eh, pumpkin juice will be fine," Draco answered with a careless shrug. "Haven't had that in a while."
Harry poured them each a glass of the familiar orange drink, and then brought them back to the table along with a small packet of biscuits. "I had breakfast a long time ago," he explained, as he sat down. "I usually get up pretty early."
His guest just nodded noncommittally.
They sat in silence for a few minutes, sipping the juice and crunching on a few biscuits, until finally Harry set down his glass and looked pointedly at his former adversary. "So, now that you've seen my terribly unimpressive home and have had a chance to sit down, are you going to tell me how you came to be involved with a Muggle, enamoured with Muggle bookstores, and recognizing Muggle soft drinks?"
Draco sighed as he set down his glass next to Harry's. "Ok, fine. You want to know? Here it is. About three years ago I was at a Quidditch game -- the Montrose Magpies against Puddlemere United, since you seem to want every little detail -- and happened to sit next to Dana. Dana's brother played Seeker for the Magpies, and we struck up a conversation about flying styles and similar topics. I was attracted, Dana was attracted, we ended up having late night drinks … and then early morning coffee." He grinned at Harry's open-mouthed expression. "Oh, really, Potter. It's the new millenium. Don't look so shocked. Anyway," he went on, "it wasn't until a few weeks later that I learned Dana was a Muggle; actually, the whole family was Muggle, except for Stuart -- the brother.
Well, after a night spent being horrified, I realized, much to my chagrin, that I was still attracted. It took a lot of adjusting, and a lot of patience on Dana's part, but I eventually got used to being around Muggles and doing things their way. I still spent a lot of time pointing out how much harder they made everything, and we got into a lot of fights about it, but it almost became more of a habit for us than anything. I'd say it was stupid that they had to do laundry by machine and then go through all the trouble of hanging it out to dry; they'd say it was much nicer to have sunwarmed laundry, rather than just the sterile effect of magically cleansed clothing. You get the idea."
"Yeah, I do." Harry said distractedly. He was still trying to get used to the idea that, despite the apparently almost ritualized arguing, Draco had managed to get along in the Muggle world at all.
Harry glanced out the window at the warm summer sun. Well, if Hell had frozen over, it wasn't apparent yet.
"So, what do you do?" Harry asked as he bit into his sandwich. They'd spent the rest of the morning talking; eventually, however, getting some lunch had seemed prudent. A quick trip via Apparation to the Leaky Cauldron had solved that problem, and now they were tucked in a corner table with their chosen meals.
"Well, I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you," Draco grinned over his plate of fish and chips.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "I'll take my chances."
"Actually, I'm serious. I'm an Unspeakable. Can't tell you anything more than that."
Harry had thought he'd already seen and heard it all, but even after everything he'd learned, this completely astonished him. "Seriously? For … for the Ministry?"
"You know of another organization?"
"No. Wow. Ok. I just didn't expect that."
"So, what were you expecting? Let me guess -- Death Eater."
"Yes. No! I don't know. I just never thought about it, I guess."
"Well, as a matter of fact, all that Dark Arts preparation I got as a child ended up being quite useful for my job. As a means of combating it."
"Hah! So I was right -- I *knew* your dad was teaching you the Dark Arts back when we were students!" Harry gloated smugly. Then he bit his lip as Draco took on a somewhat introspective expression. "I'm sorry, Malfoy." He'd forgotten that Lucius had died at the hands of his fellow Death Eaters a few years back.
"I'm not. Not sorry, that is," Draco responded curtly. "I learned a lot from him -- all of it Dark, much of it outright horrifying; that knowledge is useful to me now, but I wouldn't wish it on anyone. And anyway, my father disowned me when I joined the other side -- the night I was supposed to get the Dark Mark branded on me." He tossed his napkin onto the table and pushed the empty plate away. "Trust me. My life is much simpler with him gone."
Harry looked out the window again. Nope. Still no indication that Hell had frozen over. He looked back at the blond man across from him. "Hmmm … Since you're such an expert, maybe I should ask you for some pointers on the way the Death Eaters think," he replied, trying to put a more positive spin on the conversation. "I'm an Auror."
"You do? How? No -- wait. You'd tell me, but then you'd have to kill me."
"You always did learn fast, Potter," Draco replied with a grin.
"Looks like a storm's brewing," Harry observed as he passed by his living room window, his arms full of photo albums.
Draco looked up from his position on the sofa. "Probably just one of those summertime things."
"Probably." Harry sat down next to him and opened one of the albums. "You wanted to know what my life's been like for the past five or six years, so here you go. This one's of my trip to the United States -- I went there while Ron and Hermione were on their honeymoon."
"You managed to separate yourself from the two of them? I'm impressed," Draco responded drolly.
"Oh, shut up." Harry shoved his shoulder into Draco's in mock-annoyance. Over the course of the day, the two men had gotten much more comfortable with each other, and Harry knew Draco's teasing was no longer malicious as it had been in their childhood. "We spend plenty of time apart. All day at work, for instance. And I was hardly going to tag along with them on their romantic trip to Tahiti, you know."
"Mmmhmmm," Draco murmured, flipping pages. "I don't know -- looks like you had a pretty romantic trip yourself." He pointed to a picture of Harry and another male, standing in front of a waterfall. "Who was this and where did you find him?"
Harry blushed. "Oh. Umm… That was near Portland, Oregon -- there are a lot of trails and waterfalls, and it's all really green like that. And that was Derek. Met him at the local wizarding hostel. Didn't last any longer than the trip, though."
"Too bad. You guys look good together."
Harry choked. "That's it? You find a picture of me with another guy, and there's no snide remarks?"
"You're expecting me to say something snarky?"
"Well … yeah. Isn't that your usual reaction to things?"
Draco raised an eyebrow. "Hmmm… Snark on demand…. How about 'I wish I'd been around when you guys broke up so I could snap him up myself'?"
Harry stared. "You -- You're not."
"Not what? Attracted to men? Do you not recall grilling me this morning over Dana?"
"Dana is a guy?"
"Yes, Dana is a guy." The first rumble of thunder drowned out some of the sarcastic tone, but his expression was clear.
"Well, excuse me for not being up on all the gender-neutral names," Harry retorted. He leaned back against the cushions and crossed his arms. "Ok, talk. Tell me more about Dana. Male Dana."
Draco groaned. "Are we back on our starting topic again?"
"Yep." Harry grinned. "This changes everything. I want to hear all about him."
"It changes nothing," Draco said in exasperation. "I met him at a Quidditch game, found out he was a Muggle, decided to date him anyway. We were together two years. End of story."
"No, 'he was the love of my life' stories?"
"Potter, this is me we're talking about." Draco rolled his eyes. "If you're looking for mushy stories, I'm sure your roommates could supply them."
"Oh, fine," Harry grumbled. Then he swore as thunder crashed again and the lights suddenly went out. "Damn!"
He heard a slight rustle of fabric as Draco pulled his wand out of … somewhere.
"Lumos," the blond man hissed. Then he smirked at Harry over the dim wandlight. "See? Here's a perfect reason to live in a wizarding apartment. You're too dependent on electricity."
"Bite me." Harry had pulled out his own wand and was now moving around the darkened room lighting candles. "It's not like we don't have the standard wizarding stuff around, after all. We just use a mix of Muggle and normal equipment, depending on what seems easiest. Trust me -- on a daily basis, the electric lights are easier and cleaner."
Harry finished lighting the last candle. "There. Happy now?"
"Yep." Draco reached into his shirt to tuck his wand back into an inner pocket. Harry caught a glimpse of his smooth chest as the shirt was briefly tugged out of shape. Then he turned his head away.
"So, uh, where were we?"
"Talking about guys."
But neither of them pursued the subject further. Instead, they stood in silence for a while, watching the storm.
"You know," Harry finally murmured, "if someone had told me at breakfast that I'd be spending the day with you, and actually enjoying it, I would have thought someone had slipped a Delusional Potion into their tea." He turned to face the man next to him with a wry smile. "Seriously, though, Draco -- Even though I think you managed to surprise me at least once every 47 seconds, I had a good time."
Draco smiled back. "Don't forget the hourly insults. I'll have you know I keep to a strict schedule, even on my days off." Then he chuckled.
"What's so funny?"
"I just realized -- I think that's the first time you've ever called me by my given name."
Harry furrowed his brow. "Huh. I didn't even notice I'd done it. It just … came out. I guess it's because everything else is already so different between us today." Then he looked back at his companion with a light smile. "But I can go back to hating you and calling you Malfoy if you'd rather."
"Ah, the good old days," Draco responded languidly. "Although, from my perspective, at least, they were rather fun." He nudged Harry with his elbow. "Remember the midnight duel?"
"The one you conveniently 'forgot' to show up for? How could I forget?" Harry sighed. "Don't ruin the moment, Malfoy. I'm rather enjoying the novelty of getting along with you."
Draco put his hand over his heart theatrically. "We're back to Malfoy again so soon? Ah, how fickle you Gryffindors are!" Then he sobered. "All kidding aside, though, Potter, I've had fun, too. You've changed."
"I've changed? You're one to talk -- You're almost unrecognizable. But all for the better, I'd say. Of course, you didn't really have anywhere to go but up in the improvement department."
"Thanks heaps. And yes, you've changed, too," Draco replied, growing serious again. "You seem more secure, more confident. You're better able to take a joke without taking it too seriously. You seem to know what you want, and you don't apologize for it, even if it's about living as a Muggle. But you're not blindly defensive, either." Draco's eyes were a luminous slate in the candlelight as they turned to look at Harry.
Harry felt pinned by that gaze. The mood in the apartment had suddenly changed and he was all-too-aware of how close the other man was standing. "What I want…." he echoed softly.
Harry didn't even notice the use of his name. He was too busy being lost in those gray eyes. So close -- they were a foot away … they were six inches away … and then the world went dark as Harry's own eyes closed in automatic response to the kiss Draco brushed against his mouth -- light as a feather, soft as silk.
They pulled apart again for a moment to look at each other, gauging their reactions. Harry supposed he should be shocked, and yet after all that had transpired between them today, he felt as if the gesture had been entirely natural. It had only been a single day, but they had shared so much, it felt like a lifetime. The gray eyes reflected a sea of emotions, but Harry could tell Draco felt much the same way Harry did.
Then, without a word, Draco gently reached out and pulled off Harry's glasses.
"What are you doing?" Harry whispered.
"Getting these out of the way so I can kiss you better," Draco murmured in response, handing them over. Harry felt a tingle as their fingers touched, and he nearly dropped the metal frames. Then Draco's lips were upon his again, and he had no more thought for his glasses. Time stopped -- the world stopped. It was just the two of them -- changed, older, and now meshing together as neither of them could have ever imagined.
A key rattled in the front door, and the lock clicked open.
"Ugh, what a night. It's raining cats and -- Oh!" Hermione stood in the doorway, soggy umbrella in one hand, transfixed by the sight of Harry and Draco wrapped in each other's arms in her living room.
It took a few moments for Harry to remember where he was, and his first reaction was to glare at Hermione for interrupting them. All he wanted was to go back to that magical moment when he'd been alone with Draco. Then, shaking his head, he allowed reality to intrude; he stepped out of Draco's embrace and slipped his glasses back on, smiling weakly at his friend.
"Sorry, Herm. I guess we lost track of time."
"We?" Hermione looked archly between the two men. "Either you've been keeping a really big secret, or you've had one hell of a day."
It was Draco who responded. "It's been quite an interesting day all right." Then he turned to Harry and murmured, "And as much as I'd like to make it an interesting night, I don't think I want to try that with witnesses around." He grinned at the expression on Harry's face, then raised his voice back to conversational level as he stepped away and headed for the door. "I suppose I should go home and get some supper. I'll send you an owl tomorrow, if that's all right, Potter?"
Harry nodded silently as Draco slipped past Hermione and headed down the stairs.
Hermione watched him go, then shut the door and turned to face her friend. "Start talking."
With a sigh, Harry pulled out one of the kitchen chairs and plunked down. He knew there was no deterring her once she set her sights on getting some information. At least this way he would be able to live the whole day over again, including the incredible kiss at the end. "Well," he began, as Hermione bustled around, getting something for them to eat, "it all started at the bookstore…."
**Just for the record – Kingmaker's Sword is by Ann Marston, and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is by (sniffle) Douglas Adams.
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