Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. Plot and original characters are mine and may not be used without prior consent.

Being exploited in his ministry job and feeling the need for someone to quench the loneliness in his life. What would you do in place of Draco Malfoy when a stranger's letter lands on your table, while working overtime again?

H/D, M/M, Fluff, WAFF, sexually explicit, Anal, neither HBP nor DH complient

This little, mostly plotless (I know that word didn't exist, but now it does, kay?) story popped into my head a while ago and I write on it for a while now – every time when I need a break from 'Barking Dogs Do Not Bite' to be precise.
It won't be a story of epic proportions – not at all. Six or seven chapters and we're done with this little thing.
As I already mentioned this is not meant to be profound and action-packed. Just something bitter-sweet to calm your nerves after a fierce story. hehe. So, no need to tell me that the plot's non-existent, cos I know it.
I know there'll be many mistakes and awkward words, because the story's not proof-read, but please go easy on me with your complaints about it. I do give my best and I'm still learning. But nonetheless, please enjoy the story and tell me what you think about it.
'Nough said.

Strong Hands
xxxx CHAPTER I xxxx
'May I introduce myself'

Draco Malfoy sat in his office in the Ministry of Magic and stared at the small clock on his desk, trying to will the small hands to move faster by sheer force of his will. But, to his chagrin, they seemed to budge not even an iota.

He growled lowly and slumped back in his desk chair. Another night spoiled with working overtime. If it would go on like this Pansy would never shut up. But how was he supposed to go out and meet people if he was damned to work overtime for all eternity?

She could talk. She had married Theodore right after graduation and spent her day with spending money. He, Draco, was entirely different. He had also inherited the money to spend, but couldn't stand to idle away his time. He needed to be busy and had decided on a regular employment at the Ministry.

Not that he found much excitement in his job, but days went by and that was the only thing that mattered. The disadvantage was those goddamn overtime hours that decimated the small free time he had even more.

And Pansy kept nagging and nagging that he had no time for his friends anymore and that he was living a reclusive life and that he needed to go out and find someone, even if it was just for the fun part, because he seemed sexually imbalanced and nag, nag, nag. She could go on for hours and hours, even though she knew he wasn't listening anymore, but talking with Blaise and Theo about Quidditch.

Of course that only happened when he met with his friends, what hadn't happened in a while… tada, his mind was back at his loathsome overtime hours. Maybe he should send Pansy and Blaise an owl and ask them to meet for dinner tomorrow, but they were probably already meeting someone else. Who would be at home on a Saturday night, except for one Draco Malfoy?

Maybe he could ask, if he could come… naaahh, the last time he had gone clubbing with them had ended in a full-blown disaster with Blaise lying on the floor with a bleeding nose and Theo trying to deter his wife from jumping another bloke and scratching his eyes with her freshly manicured nails out. Pansy had again tried to pair him up with a bloke she thought would be perfect for him. The idiot had just forgotten to mention that he was engaged with another man, who was about two metres tall and one metre broad.

Maybe they had some time on Sunday for lunch. Draco grabbed a quill and some parchment with the Ministry's letterhead on top. He penned a small note for Pansy and Theo and another one for Blaise, asking if they would like to have lunch with him on Sunday.

He got up and went to his window to call his eagle owl that always eagerly waited for something to deliver. He opened the window, but before he could call Hugo, his owl, another small owl flew unsteadily through his window and tumbled on his desk over. Draco lifted his eyebrows in wonder, but called Hugo before taking care of the other owl.

His personal owl was on its way to Pansy and Blaise and he scrutinised the much smaller owl. It looked ruffled and worn out and he had no idea where this owl belonged to. It definitely was no Ministry owl and none of his friends' ones.

Draco untied the neatly folded letter from its leg and gave it some water and food. He broke the seal of wax that looked like an emblem he had seen before, but he wasn't certain. The blond opened the letter and read.

Hello Thomas,
I'm really sorry, but I've to cancel our appointment for today. I know you said you needed the massage really badly, but my housekeeper broke my massage table today. Please, don't ask how she did it, I Have No Idea!
If your back still aches and you can't wait until I've a new table, I could give you the address of a friend.
I'm sorry!

Bye, James

Draco looked at the letter and snorted amused. How could someone break a massage table? Did they weigh five hundred pounds and jumped on the table? He leaned back against the backrest of his chair and sighed. A massage… oh, that would be just perfect now. He hadn't had one in ages and his muscles were tense, especially his shoulders felt sometimes sore.

He grabbed another piece of parchment and pondered what he could write in response. Apparently the letter wasn't meant for him.

Hello James,
(I'm sorry for the rudeness, but I don't know how to address you otherwise)
I really regret to have to tell you that I'm not Thomas, because I feel in dire need for some relaxation and a massage sounds just perfect at the moment, but if your table is anyway broken… (seriously, how did she do it?)
I don't know why, but your tiny owl tumbled in my office. I'll send her back to you when she's feeling better.


He didn't bother to sign the letter. There was no need to, was there? Draco got up from his desk when the letter was safely tucked in an envelope and left for the Ministry owlery since Hugo wasn't back from his tour yet.

On the way up the stairs and down along some halls he wondered why he was even bothering to tell this James that his owl had messed things up. But some little voice in his head forced him to react and it definitely killed some time.

Draco decided on a pretty and eager owl. He tied the letter to its leg and it was off without waiting for any instructions like it sensed where to take the letter. The blond meandered back and when he eventually reached his office he decided that it was time to call it a day. He closed the opened folders on his desk, pocketed his belongings and checked again on the tiny owl. It looked lively and energetic and Draco decided to send it back to its owner.


Draco opened the door to his flat and was immediately confronted with an angry house-elf and his angry owl fighting over a letter. They didn't even notice his appearance and he rubbed his forehead to maybe release some of the stress he felt growing inside of him.

"Scone!" Draco said sharply and the elf froze in its motions. She (yes, it was a she) let go of the corner of the letter she had held tightly with her tiny hands and looked up at her master with huge watery blue eyes. "May you care to enlighten me what's going on here?" He said and calmly watched when his house-elf bowed low and almost touched the wood flooring with her aubergine-shaped nose.

"Master. Scone, is sorry, sir. Really sorry, sir."

"Scone." Draco softly chided the elf and took his cloak off to hang it into the closet, before picking Hugo off the floor and untying the letters from his left leg.

"Master, the owl didn't let Scone take the letters. It hurt Scone with its beak." The tiny creature sulked and flapped its ears to show Draco the bleeding cut on its right bat-winged ear.

Draco scowled at Hugo and kneeled down in front of his house-elf. "You two are incorrigible." He said and patted Scone's head affectionately, that the elf gave him a broad smile. "How often do I've to tell you to stop fighting? You two need to stop being so pig-headed."

He got up and Hugo took off to his bird perch in the living room.

"Would Master like to have some supper?" Scone asked and followed the blond into the living room. Draco looked at his wrist watch and shook his head.

"No thank you, but I'd like to have a butterbeer." Scone nodded and vanished into the kitchen. It was always the same. When her Master came home late from work, he never ate supper and it upset the female house-elf. She was concerned about him and wanted him to be happy. But he rarely seemed happy. Scone knew she was just a little house-elf that was treated very well by her Master, but she was smart and knew that Lord Malfoy was lonely.

Draco heard the silent 'pop' that announced Scone was back with his beer and smiled when she also put a plate with fruits on the coffee table. "Scone." The elf looked up and flapped her ears nervously. "Don't you dare punish yourself now. Thank you for the fruits." The elf nodded with a shy smile and vanished.

The letters had been from Pansy and Blaise, who had, to his delight, agreed to meet on Sunday for lunch. Pansy asked if it would be okay if they brought Jonathan or if she should bring him to his grandparents. Actually Draco didn't mind either way as long he could spend some quality time with his best friends. Besides, his godson was a little rascal and had his parents, with his one year, already wrapped around his little finger.

Draco grinned when he toed off his shoes and stretched out on the sofa. He knew that he could be partly blamed for Jonathan's behaviour, but as a godfather he had the right to spoil the boy rotten, hadn't he? Taking a sip from his butterbeer, he grabbed the remote control for his hifi-system with his free hand and pressed the power button.

At least Muggles were useful for some things, he thought for the umpteenth time when his favourite music began to play softly. How had he ever survived without his hifi-system?

Malfoy closed his eyes and sighed. Another Friday night alone at home – if you didn't count Hugo and Scone. But what should he do? He wasn't made for loud, overcrowded places like clubs and otherwise he didn't know how to get to know new people and maybe even find this special someone.

He closed his eyes to enjoy the music and forget those depressing thoughts for a moment when a sharp crack was heard at his balcony window. With an irritated sigh Draco got up of the sofa and opened the balcony door for the owl that was alien to him. He had thought it would be Pansy's, again asking if it was okay now to bring Jonathan or not. Sometimes she could purposely pester someone like that and there was only so much you could do about it.

Looking closer at the owl, when it landed on the backrest of one armchair, he noticed it as the Ministry owl he had used to send a note to the masseur, some hours ago. His eyebrows narrowed automatically, but he handed the owl a treat nevertheless, before untying the letter.

This time the envelope wasn't closed with a seal of wax, but bore the same emblem as an embossed printing. 'Strong Hands' was printed under the emblem in flourish writing. Now he remembered the emblem. He had seen it many times in the Daily Prophet in an advertisement. So, James was a fully-fledged masseur? At least that suggested the ad.

Hello stranger,
I don't mind if you call me James, but don't you think it's a bit impolite to keep your name a secret in return?
Well, you're working at the ministry, eh? Hopefully the owl will find you, cos I don't think you're still at work, are you?
Thank you for writing me about Cete's little mistake and taking care of her. It was her first delivery ever and she was a bit overeager.

I really can't tell you what my housekeeper did to my massage table, but when I got home from grocery shopping the padding was ripped open that the foam welled out. She was even impudent enough to argue that my dog had done it, but considering that he's broken his leg a week ago, that's highly unlikely.

Of course, I fired her immediately and we're going our separate ways now. I tell you, this day had turned out as a complete disaster. At first got my 100 Galleons massage table destroyed and now I'm without a housekeeper. I could use a massage myself now. Brilliant, isn't it?

Actually I just wanted to say thank you and now I mither you already with my problems. Sorry.
So, again, thank you for taking care of Cete. I hope you're not that stressed anymore, otherwise I'd offer you a massage, but, well, you know my problem.


(A/N: 100Galleons are approximately 500£)

Draco folded the letter and put it back into the envelope. He didn't know why, but he was smiling and the stupid smile didn't want to go away. James' day seemed to be much worse than his own and felt a bit sorry for the man. He sounded quite nice and the way he wrote awoke Draco's interest. Maybe they could keep in touch and talk a bit. Of course, he had his friends, but sometimes it was easier to write a letter.

Oh, what was he thinking here? He'd only gotten one personal letter from James and already thought about turning him into his pen pal? He definitely needed to get out more often. Draco let the Ministry owl out of the balcony door and went into his bedroom to fetch a quill and parchment from his escritoire.

Hello James,
and here I thought I was famous enough to get recognised by my handwriting. No, seriously, I'm sorry. I didn't think it necessary, because I hadn't expected a response from you.
There's no need to thank me, I just hope Cete found safely back to you after I send her home when I called it a day.

Did your house… eh, ex-housekeeper find anything in your massage table you tried to hide? Maybe she expected some money. It had been your only table, hadn't it? For me it would be catastrophic if I couldn't work, even if just for a couple of days. Noooo, I'm no workaholic.
Do you have enough money to buy a new table? Or do you know someone who could lend you some?

Maybe you should take a day or two off, until you get a new table. My grandmother would have said that it was fate and that one need to accept it.

Draco (yep, that's my name)

Draco knew he tried at any cost to appear witty and smart with this letter, when he reread it. But who cared he wouldn't hear of James anymore, anyway. He called for Hugo and sent him with the letter off through the bedroom window.


He had been wrong. All Saturday they had sent letters to and fro and he got to know James' 'real' owl Severe. James had named the owl so, because he never saw her laughing and Draco wondered if he had ever seen an owl laugh.

He learned that James was 'Strong Hands'. It was his business and he worked always alone. Apparently 'Strong Hand's' services were by now so extremely sought-after that you only got an appointment if you knew someone who was already a client of James.

Lucky bastards, Draco had thought when he had read that specific letter, wishing he'd get a massage from James. The idea to ask the male for an appointment had crossed his mind more than once, but he always dismissed it as a stupid idea. He didn't want to bug James.

He had told James that he considered giving his momentary Ministry employment up for the training to become an Unspeakable or Potions Master. The paperwork made him sick and he thought he turned into a dim-witted person. And he didn't even want to start about the overtime hours.

In return he got to know that James had enough money to buy a new massage table, but it would take about two weeks until he'd get it, because he had decided to order a custom-made one that was more expensive than his old one, but much more comfortable for the clients and healthier for his back. And NO, he hadn't hid anything in the padding.

James' dog was called Dust, because he was a Great Dane with blue coat colour. Yes, exactly, blue. James had then enlightened him that it wasn't an ocean blue or sky blue like many people thought when they heard 'blue', but a steel blue that looked more like grey.

So he had told him about Hugo and Scone. Not that Scone was a pet. And James had laughed and he had needed to explain that Scone was Scone, because she refused to eat anything but sweets.

And he had learned that he and James were the same age and that he was single, what made the 25 year old even more interesting for him. But not once did he mention if he liked women or men, but it was probably much too early to tell or ask about such personal things.

All that, had he learned in one and a half day and now, even though he was around his friends and had just had a wonderful lunch, he couldn't stop thinking about James. Blaise and Theo stood on the balcony, smoking and talking, while he and Pansy were in the living room with her sitting on the sofa and him sitting on the floor with a sleeping Jonathan in his lap.

"Draco?" the young mother said softly and smiled at the picture of Jonathan sleeping, cuddled to his godfather.

"Hm?" Draco's hand didn't stop stroking the dark, short locks that grew already on the tiny head.

"It's good to have the old you back." Draco's head snapped up and he looked at his best friend with one raised eyebrow. "I definitely won't complain about it, heaven forbid, but you seem much happier today than the last times we met. Did something good happen?" Her lips curved into a delighted smirk. "Or should I ask about someone?"

"No, it's not like that, Panse." Draco assured her and hoped she wouldn't notice that he looked everywhere but at her. Of course, fate was ruthless and didn't like liars. Just as he had spoken the last word and Pansy was about to tell him that she didn't believe him, an owl flew through the open balcony door and landed on the armrest of the sofa.

"Severe." The blond said affectionately and missed Pansy's confused look. He cradled Jonathan in his arms and stood slowly up to take the letter out of Severe's beak. Blaise and Theo came back inside and didn't even try to hide their curiosity.

"Who's that from?" Blaise asked boldly and caused Draco to sigh heavily.

"It's from his new lover."

"PANSY!" Draco screeched and Jonathan began crying in his arms.

"Now you did it. Look what you've done." Pansy grumbled and took the small, crying bundle out of Draco's arms. She glared at him, while snatching the dummy for Jonathan, but failed to intimidate Draco at all.

"It's not my fault that you start spreading lies." The blond huffed and slumped down on the sofa to snatch Jonathan out of the mother's arms to calm him down. That was much easier than listening to Pansy's raving.

"So, who sent that letter, then?" The only girl of the group asked exasperated and couldn't believe her ears and eyes that her son –HER SON- loved it more to be in his godfather's arms than his mother's, her, arms.

"His name's James." Draco said quietly and kept his gaze fixed to his godson that he didn't need to face the dirty grins of his friends. He heard Pansy taking a deep breath and went on, before she could start her salvo of, probably embarrassing, questions. "He's a masseur and his owl landed mistakenly in my office with a letter to cancel an appointment with someone else and I sent him a quick note to tell him what had gone wrong. Well, and we kept writing."

Suddenly brave enough to face his friends he looked up at them with stoic calmness he didn't feel inside. Blaise and Theo grinned impishly – Draco hadn't expected else. Pansy, on the other hand smiled at him. "Do you like him?"

"Panse." Draco cried. "I just know him for one day and not even that good, because we've only exchanged a handful of letters. He could have lied in every letter." The blond young man gasped and threw his hand over his mouth. He hadn't thought about that before. "Oh god, what, if he lies?" He whispered and felt a strong hand landing on his shoulder. He looked up, at the unsmiling face of Blaise Zabini.

"Then we will kick his arse." He said seriously and it had the desired effect – Draco smiled. "Well, now that we're already talking about love and probable lovers – hey, no need to kill me with your looks, Draco, but you want that stranger." Blaise teased the blond, when he glared dangerously at him. Draco knew that it was a lost war to argue, he pursed his lips to show his disapproval about that choice of word, but kept otherwise quiet.

"What I wanted to say," Blaise started again. "is that I got to know someone as well… well re-know," the tall, buff man waited a moment that felt like hours, but when the choice of word didn't seem to have the dreaded impact he went on far more relaxed. "… and I want you to meet her next weekend. So, eurm, how 'bout dinner on Saturday, that way we could plan Draco's birthday party for the weekend after next."

Pansy clapped her hands as if she was a school girl again and grinned goofily. "So many wonderful news in one afternoon. How is she? Who is she?"

All of a sudden Draco handed his godson back over to his mother and stood up. "There'll be no party. I've no ti…"

"Draco Lucius Malfoy! Don't you dare end that sentence!" Pansy barked and the three men thought Narcissa Malfoy stood in the room. The young mother handed Jonathan over to her husband and stalked over to her best friend. That the baby boy was handed around like a doll, didn't seem to bug him, for he giggled and squealed in his daddy's arms loudly.

Pansy poked her finely manicured index finger in his chest that it hurt more than a bit. "You, mister, will have a birthday party the weekend after next and you will be happy about it!"

"But… but Pansyyyy." Draco whined and backed up against a wall. Damn, he was caught.

"No, Draco, NO! You've already backed out last year, telling some rubbish about overtime hours and some such bollocks. And that had been your twenty-fifth, an important birthday signalling that you're a quarter of a century old…"

"Don't remind me." Draco butted in and received another sharp poke of Pansy's long nails.

"You. Will. Celebrate." She insisted and poked one and the same spot with every word.

"Yes, mum." Draco caved in and rubbed his sore chest when Pansy took a step back, a satisfied expression on her face.