Slipping Away

Rating: M for mature

Word Count: 25,253, Complete

Pairing: Harry/Draco, HP Universe, post-Hogwarts

Summary: What would you do if what you've taken for granted suddenly goes awry?

It was a Wednesday night in the cozy flat shared by the males Potter and Malfoy.

A pretty ordinary week day night actually; Draco was leaning forward on his elbows, busily writing stuff down in his planner while peering at the screen of his desktop computer, while Harry stretched out on the couch, reading. Every once in a while, one of them would look up and catch the other one's eye and smile, then go back to what they were doing.

While still scorning most things Muggle, Draco had developed what Harry thought was a rather disturbing attachment to information technology; but every time he started to harass Draco over it, he would be forced to admit that he loved the laptop Hermione had gotten him for his birthday and would settle for rolling his eyes as Draco demanded that Harry come peruse his latest E-Bay purchase.

Eventually, Draco had to get up and stretch, going over to the couch and nudging Harry's legs aside, sliding in under them. "Hi."

"Hi yourself."

"You're actually reading a book?" His surprise was evident. Harry raised a brow. "What, you think I can't read?"

"I don't think I've ever seen you voluntarily read anything that wasn't a school book or Quidditch-related, no. What's it about?"

Harry shrugged, sitting up. "Spies, secrets, war…right up your alley."

"Our war?"

"No…he's a Muggle author, so their World Wars. Still cool stuff though."

"Ah…" Draco reached over and stroked Harry's hair with one hand, sliding it through his fingers approvingly. "It's looking good, Potter."

"It's too long, Malfoy." Harry sighed. It was driving him insane, but at least Draco's touching it felt brilliant.

"Wizards are supposed to have long hair, Potter. Yours looks perfect now; it's past your shoulders, finally. You could tie it back."

Harry rolled his eyes. "I could…I could also go to the barber and get it chopped off but you'd probably kill me."

"Yes I would. I love it like this and don't want you to change it. You look hot."

"You choose to fixate on the oddest things, Malfoy…seriously." Nevertheless, Harry arched his head into Draco's hand, encouraging him to stroke his hair. Draco smirked and twisted his fingers into it. "I'm going up to bed. You coming?"

"Not yet…but maybe if you want to change that…"

Draco laughed. "That could be arranged."

"Maybe you could pencil me in for 11," replied Harry, stretching. "You know, in your super-planner. And I'll be up in a bit; I want to check email one last time."

"And you think I'M obsessed with that thing…" Draco stood up and stretched too. "Ten minutes…then I'm coming back down and dragging your arse upstairs."

Harry snorted. "Yeah. Ten minutes and you'll have wanked and will be asleep."

"Then you better come up and give me a reason to stay awake." Draco smiled over his shoulder as he went up the stairs, wiggling his arse for good measure.

Harry shook his head – he didn't feel like booting up his laptop this late, so he went over to Draco's desk. He hadn't logged off, so Harry sat down and clicked on the open browser window…and stopped short.

He stared at the screen in disbelief.

It's not like they both hadn't looked at online porn before; hell, Harry had discovered it (by accident, of course) and yelled for Draco to come look. They had spent time discussing various personages on screen and rating them on a scale of one to ten…sometimes 20…but they had done it together.

Harry knew he shouldn't…but he couldn't help it. He looked at the history, which conveniently noted how many times a site had been visited.

Thirty two the last month alone…he'd gone there every bloody day, plus.

Staring at the screen, Harry noticed something he hadn't before…a number you could call to send one of the "models" to your home for "fun and companionship." His eyes flickered down to the number.

Against his better judgment, Harry stood and walked over to the table where he and Draco generally dumped their pockets when they came in the door. Draco's mobile lay on top of his wallet. Harry picked it up and looked at it, lying in his palm.

iDo you really want to do this?/i

He clicked it on and scrolled through the numbers called for the last month.

There it was.

And there it was again.

And again


The number scrolled by, but Harry wasn't even registering it any more. He shut the mobile off and flipped it shut, setting it down where it had been.

He stood there for a long moment.

Draco had not only visited this website every day for the last month, he had also made god knows how many calls to what amounted to a male escort service.

"Fun and companionship," his fucking arse!

Harry thumped up the stairs and into their room, where true to his prediction, Draco was already asleep. Harry stared down at him as anger and hurt flooded his body. He reached down and shoved Draco's shoulder, hard. "Wake up!"

Draco blinked and opened his eyes. "What the fuck?" he complained, rolling over. "Why did you do…" He caught the look in Harry's eyes. "…Harry? What's the matter?" He sat up.

"Just had a couple of questions for you," replied Harry, his voice even and low with great effort. "Did you pick a new one every time? Or did you find a favorite? Or a couple of them? Did you measure their cocks first to make sure that numbers didn't lie or…"

"Harry, Jesus, what the hell are you talking about?"

Harry looked down at him, his expression breaking to show the desperate hurt underneath. "You should close all your browser windows and shut down when you're done; just a word of advice for the cheating boyfriend."

Draco paled. "Oh…Harry, that website is just…"

"Well-traversed by you, I know. Thirty-two times in the last month, and at least that many calls on your mobile, if not more. I lost count when the numbers scrolled past 24 or so."

Draco scrambled out of bed and took his shoulder, gripping it tightly. "Harry, I…it's nothing, just an amusing pastime, a diversion. They don't MEAN anything to me."

"Good, we have something in common then; I also don't mean anything to you." Harry wrenched his shoulder away and went over to the closet, grabbing his jacket.

"Where are you…Harry!"

Harry Apparated and Draco stared at the space where he'd been.

Harry stepped into their flat, tossing his keys on the highly polished telephone table; they didn't have a regular phone, but Draco had liked the table. Harry emptied his pockets like he always did and went into the kitchen to get a drink.

"Harry?" The voice came from the living room, and a moment later, Draco appeared in the doorway, nearly sagging with relief. "Thank God…I've been so fucking worried about you!"

Harry popped the cap on his beer. "Really? That's nice to hear."

"I have been, I've been frantic, called everyone you know and we know and…just, fuck. I've missed you." Draco came over and ran his hand over Harry's hair, threading his fingers through the long locks before crushing his lips against Harry's.

Harry kissed him back briefly, then let his lips still as Draco kissed him. After a moment, Draco pulled back, puzzled. "Hey…kiss me back?"

"Did," Harry replied. "Whores don't kiss on the lips I'm told, so you actually got more than your money's worth with that one." He smiled slightly and moved past Draco, his beer held loosely in his fingers. "Do I have mail?"

Draco stood there for a moment. "Yes…on the desk." Then he shook himself and went after the other man. "Harry, let's…we need to talk about this."

Harry looked up briefly, then went back to his mail. "No we don't. I understand, Draco. We've been together a couple of years, it's gotten routine…I get it. You want variety, and so you've been looking elsewhere… its fine."


"Sure…I mean, it's not like we ever planned on being exclusive or committed, and it's not like we're in love with each other." His voice was expressionless. "You like me, I'm fond of you, but that's about the extent of it, so yeah. I'm fine with it." He drained his beer. "I just came by to check up, say hey, and pick up a change of pants." He looked at Draco, who appeared stunned. Harry smiled. "Close your mouth, Malfoy. I am going out tonight, though, so you know and won't worry."

"With Weasley?" Draco couldn't believe his voice actually sounded hopeful that Harry might be with Weaselbee.

"No, by myself; I'll be late, I think, so don't wait up, k?" Harry rolled up the important mail and tossed the rest in the bin. He pulled out his wallet and checked his funds. "Excellent. I'll see you then."

"Potter…" Draco caught his arm before he could leave. "You're…staying, right? Here?"

Harry gave him a smile. "Course I am…I live here. Later." He kissed Draco's cheek lightly and left the way he'd come, his keys jingling in his hand.

Draco stared after him and then went back to his computer.

* * *
He stared in the mirror when he was finally allowed to look; he was glad he'd worn his contacts and not his glasses, cool though they now were. Though skeptical at first, he had to admit that the burgundy tones looked good… almost purplish, they set off the black of his hair well. Well, what was left of it at any rate; most of his hair was being swept up at the moment, the remainder gelled into soft spikes. He looked like a character from Bleach, an anime show he'd gotten Draco hooked on. They'd always watched it weeknights together before bed, before Draco had…

The stylist was waiting expectantly and Harry mentally shook himself, instead thinking of how completely pissed off Draco would be to see him now. Good. "Thanks, I really like it."

He left the far too trendy salon with a smirk and continued with his other errands before returning to the flat with his packages. Again, he entered as usual. And again, Draco came to find him…and stopped short. "Oh, shit….Harry!"

"Oh, shit… Draco!" he responded, slipping his jacket off. "Ever heard of a simple hello?"

"Your hair," said Draco softly. "Why?"

"Not the look I'm going for anymore," said Harry, tossing his jacket on a chair. "Sorry to be brief, but I need to get ready." He moved past Draco without touching him and up the stairs. His stomach felt odd but he ignored it and began to get dressed.

20 minutes later, he came back downstairs. Draco was sitting on the couch where they usually watched the telly, but it was off, as were most of the lights. He looked up when Harry entered the room…then stared at him.

The leather trousers he could have handled…maybe…but not paired with the net shirt that showed patches of tanned skin throughout, or the studded belt and the boots, the entire outfit accentuated by the short, spiky haircut. It all looked amazing on Harry, but he NEVER dressed like this. EVER. Even if Draco had begged, he wouldn't have…not for him.

iIf not for him, then for whom?/i

Harry went over to the liquor cabinet and poured himself a short scotch, neat, no ice, drinking it down in a couple of swallows. He then crossed over to the closet and pulled out his leather jacket that Draco had gotten him to celebrate their first month together.

"What are you doing tonight?"

Draco had turned to watch Harry, feeling like he was watching a stranger. "I didn't have any plans, really…."

"Oh, too bad…well, I'm sure you'll find something or isomeone/i to do. Have a good one, Draco, ok?"



"Why are you…I'm sorry, all right? It was a stupid thing to do, I don't even know WHY I did it, it just seemed…"

"Like the thing to do at the time, sure. I understand Draco, told you I did. You wanted more and wanted it right then. And fuck, you can ring up for this…its brilliant marketing, genius, really." Harry smiled and went to pull his hair out of the collar out of habit, looking momentarily confused. "Oh, right, don't need to do that anymore."

"I really wish you hadn't cut it all off," said Draco sadly. "I loved your hair."

"Not that much, surely," said Harry, zipping up. "All the men you fancied had much shorter hair than mine was." He moved out to the hall. "Night."

He was gone… again.

The lights stayed off that night and the man on the couch scarcely moved.

Days went by; Harry was often not home until the early morning hours. No matter how soundly he was sleeping – which wasn't very – Draco would wake when Harry came in. It wasn't that he was loud, or drunk…well, all right, occasionally drunk…it was more that Draco just knew when he was there. The air shifted and changed. Draco wasn't sure if it was magic or if it was just that he was super-sensitive to Harry's presence. But he always knew.

What was worse in a way, was that Harry and he still shared the king-sized bed they'd bought their first week of living together…after they broke the double and queen-sized ones they'd conjured. Whether it was the construction or the fact that the sex had somehow slowed down, this bed stayed firm. Harry would come in and slide into his side of the bed – still naked, as he had always slept – and turn on his side away from Draco. Draco would pretend to be asleep, most of the time…but he would open his eyes and let them travel over Harry…from the top of his head, down to his smooth, bare neck…a sight Draco hadn't seen in months, granted and would refuse to admit that he'd missed…to the curve of his shoulders, down the ridge of spine bisecting his muscled back. Sometimes Harry would throw his leg outside the sheets and Draco, up on one elbow, would trace with his eyes the curve of calf and the line of his thigh.

If he was extremely lucky, Harry would turn on his back as he slept and Draco could watch his face, watch the black lashes flutter as he dreamed, watch the lips part slightly as he breathed. Harry smelled like alcohol and smoke and sometimes cologne which may or may not have been his.

When he would wake, he would smile at Draco – odd in itself, for Harry was by no means a morning person – and lean over to kiss him on the cheek. If miraculously, he kissed him on the lips, it was brief, and if Draco tried to reach for him, pull him down, Harry might let him. Or might not; it seemed to depend on nothing in particular.

One night, Harry came home before dawn, and Draco, still awake, waited for him to slip into bed…then he slid over to Harry, fitting himself against the sweet curve of his back, brushing his lips gently across the bared neck and reaching around to grasp Harry's cock. "Hey."

"Hey…what are you doing still up? Did I wake you?"

"No…I was awake. And now, I really am."

"Oh…yeah, guess you are." Draco was still stroking Harry and whatever else might be going on in the brunet's head, his body was responding to the touches. Draco knew how to touch him, and soon, Harry was making the little moans and sighs that drove Draco wild, and had since their first heated encounter in 6th year.

He rolled Harry over and straddled him, pinning his arms above his head. Harry looked up at him, but there was very little expression in those green eyes. Draco leaned down and pressed his lips against Harry's and he let him.

iLet/i him.

Draco pushed his tongue against those lips, which opened for him, slack, while Draco slid his tongue through Harry's mouth. His breath was scotch and cigarettes, and tasted nothing like the Harry he knew. His Harry didn't smoke although Draco often did, and his Harry definitely didn't just LET Draco kiss him…he kissed back.

His Harry didn't LET him do anything; he pushed back, he wrapped around him, he moaned out loud and clenched him with his heat and strong muscles and kissed him as though it was the last moment on earth and all he wanted before the abyss opened and took them all, was Draco.

Draco pulled back and Harry gave him a small smile and turned his head to look out the window as Draco slid two fingers into him, stretching him. He did arch a bit when those slick fingers pressed down on the rough bump of nerves, and when Draco's cock slid into him, but while he was being thrust into, he stayed inert. He changed position slightly once, and just before Draco climaxed, he turned his head back. "You gonna be done soon?"

Draco came a moment before the words had a chance to register, but when they did…"Obviously," Draco answered, his voice curt, the hurt evident. "Sorry to keep you up."

"S'ok," said Harry, stretching. "As long as you got off, I'm sure you're fine. Always are." He waved the mess off the sheets with a lazy hand gesture and extinguished the small lamp Draco had lit and turned over. "Night, Malfoy."

Draco lay there in the dark room, still sticky, still feeling Harry's heat on him, and felt, for the first time in years, tears prickle the back of his eyes.

"What the fuck, Potter?"

It was a little after 9 am that same morning and Harry had the day off from his job as an editor at Equinox Publishing, a Muggle establishment in London. He was sitting in the kitchen, drinking his coffee and reading The Daily Prophet for the Quidditch standings. Some things had not changed.

Harry looked up at Draco, who was standing opposite him at the table, his hands gripping the curve of the chair. "I don't know what the fuck, Malfoy." He went back to his paper, a moment before it was ripped away from him. "Last night, this morning! "Are you almost done?" What the hell?"

"Oh, that," said Harry calmly, sipping his coffee. "I was tired and you took forever."

Draco gaped at him. When he could find his voice, he rasped "You might have found it more enjoyable had you actually fucking participated, instead of laying there like a wet towel!"

"Possibly," Harry agreed. "But, you know, I know you have your escorts when you're in need of "participation," so I'm sure you're…"

Draco's hand slammed down into the table in front of him, cracking the mug…coffee ran in rivulets everywhere. "I Have Said I Was Sorry a million fucking times now! What the hell else do you want from me? Check the computer, check my mobile! I know it was wrong, and I stopped, but you keep punishing me!"

Harry stared back at him, and for the first time in over a month, there was a spark and snap in those eyes. "Ever think that something, ANYTHING is not about you? Ever? This is about me, how *I* feel, what I'M doing…but of course, nothing is ever about me, its all you; how stupid of me to forget that!"

Harry stood and looked him in the eye. "I'm doing what *I* want from now on, get it? And even better, I'm telling you now, not hiding it or waiting for you to find out by accident!"

Draco reached out for his arm as Harry left the kitchen, catching it. "Harry…what can I do? What can I say to make this better?"

Harry stopped. "I don't know, Draco. Maybe there isn't, finally, anything to say."

After three more days had passed in either silence or the occasional cutting comment, Draco had had it. He was angry, frustrated and he was determined to find wherever Harry was going, brace him there and MAKE him talk to him. From the way he was dressing – a bit sluttier and more come hither-ish every night - Draco figured he had to be going out clubbing. Fine then; he would just go and search his boyfriend out and put a bloody end to all this bullshit. It was a plan.

The clubs were crowded, smoky, sticky with sweaty bodies…and in the end all the same, depressingly so. Draco got approached an average of 10 to 12 times an hour and told them all to sod off.

He'd get a badly watered down drink – unless it was beer in a bottle, and Draco DID have his standards – and go the balcony that all clubs seemed to have and scan the crowd for a black-haired man who would no doubt be either merely swaying in place or awkwardly cavorting around like a newborn calf; Harry couldn't dance to save his life. He was also terrible with chatting people up and generally rather socially awkward in crowds, which is why Draco usually arranged their social calendar…or had. It had been empty now for over a month.

Draco looked and looked…and sometimes he'd be sure he saw him and nearly break his neck getting down to the floor…but it was never Harry. Close, perhaps…maybe it was the wave of the hair, or the highlights or the flash of skin…but in the end, the bloke was never who he sought.

There were some beautiful men in London, but none of them were Harry Potter.

Draco stared morosely into his drink, his cigarette burning down between his fingers, until Blaise sighed and reached over, taking it from his hand and taking a last drag off it himself before stubbing it out in the ashtray that already had far too many butts in it. "Draco…look, stalking Potter isn't going to help matters."

Pansy nodded, draining her appletini and signaling for another round. "Blaise is right Draco…Harry needs to come around on his own time. He's stubborn as hell, you know this." She smiled at the Muggle waiter and discreetly slipped him her number written on a coaster in eyeliner. Blaise rolled his eyes.

"He won't accept any of my apologies, Pans…I've fucking tried and tried. He just nods in that infuriating way and then makes some little, pointed comment that just…it hurts. He knows how to hurt me. He's never been cruel before. Ok, nasty sometimes…like when we're fighting and he's pissed off at me…but never cruel." He looked up. "He's acting like …like I never knew him at all."

Pansy and Blaise exchanged looks, including one raised eyebrow. "What's he done, Draco?"

"He's…he's cool; just this side of cold. He's dismissive. He acts like we're roommates, not even friends, let alone lovers. He turns over and goes to sleep in bed, doesn't even say goodnight unless I say it first. He's going out ALL the time, comes home smelling like smoke and spilled booze. He dresses like a slut…which aesthetically is pleasing, but it's not for my enjoyment, dammit. And worst of all, he cut his hair off, almost all of it; it had finally gotten to look perfect and he went and did that."

"Oh well then, throw the bastard out by all means…he had the temerity to cut his hair! Damn him all to hell." Blaise tried hard not to laugh and Pansy smirked. Draco scowled. "Make fun of me all you want, but it looked so good and felt even better….thick, soft…"

He actually found himself biting his lip as he thought about it. Pansy interjected with "Yes, but Draco…he grew it for YOU. HE couldn't stand it, but you loved it, so he put up with it. When you wronged him, not surprising that it was one of the first things to go. I'm sure he was relieved to have it gone; plus, I bet he looks hot." Draco was still scowling. "He does, doesn't he? And you hate that."

"So what if he does? He still did it to spite me." Draco drained half his vodka in one gulp. Pansy sighed, "How did this become about you, Draco? It seems that this is about the changes Harry has made, how HE reacted to what you did…so why am I hearing "me me me?"

Blaise snorted and lit a cigarette. "Because it's DRACO, Pansy love…it's always about him. No one else has thoughts, feelings, emotions, likes, dislikes…its all him."

"Fuck you, Zabini…and buy your own cigarettes. Jesus." Draco took it from him and dragged deeply, exhaling a cloud of smoke. He'd smoked more in the last couple of weeks than he had in six months total. Harry hadn't said anything about the layer of stale smoke hanging in the air in the flat, just casually opened a couple of windows on his way through…in the past, he would have nagged Draco to distraction over it until Draco stopped just to shut Harry up.

In the past.

He rubbed his face with his free hand. "I've looked bloody EVERYWHERE for him…where the hell is he? Where does he GO?"

Pansy looked at Blaise and raised her eyebrows; Blaise shrugged. "Have you tried places like The Factory? Down Under? Goo Lagoon?"

Draco looked up. "Those are hard core….Harry'd be eaten alive at places like that!"

Pansy smiled. "On a good night, yes he would be; and that might be exactly what he's looking for." Draco glared at her, and Blaise hid a smirk in his whiskey. Draco shot him a dirty look, before saying authoritatively. "MY Harry would never do that; he'd be fucking terrified."

Pansy laughed out loud. "YOUR Harry, Draco, killed Voldemort with a combination of his bare hands and wandless magic…decimated His remaining followers in the year after that…and in his most stunning display of bravery and guts yet, he's been your lover for two years and actually LIVED with your pain in the arse self for a year. Your Harry isn't afraid of anything…and a hard core gay club or fetish bar isn't about to change that."

"What would Potter possibly want in a fetish bar?"

Blaise took the nearly gone cigarette from Draco's fingers and finished it again. "What were YOU looking for on .com? A book club partner?"

"Oi," said Draco, resting his forehead on the table. "Pans, Blaise…you don't really think he might…?"

"I don't know, Draco love…but if you've looked everywhere else…" Pansy trailed off. She was glad that she was so marvelously adept at keeping a straight face, because honestly, the thought of Potter…all dressed up and looking even hotter than usual…in a gay bar…well, it made her feel all sorts of squirmy and damp. She casually smoothed a perfect eyebrow as Draco lit his umpteenth cigarette of the afternoon.

Blaise, meanwhile, was advising Draco to go and check them out, drag Potter home and…"No, no, no, you moron! If Draco goes to one of those places, finds Potter, all he'll do is make it worse! Especially if he LOOKS like Draco.

Draco lifted his head. "What do you mean, if it looks like me? Who the hell else would I look like?"

"Someone else…someone he doesn't know, but might be attracted to…someone he might open UP to…" Pansy deliberately let her words trail off as her brain worked busily.

Draco narrowed his eyes. "Are you suggesting that I fucking polyjuice myself into someone else and go Potter-hunting?"

"Ewww, no…polyjuice is weak, and it doesn't last unless you slug it down constantly, plus, it's disgusting." Blaise wrinkled his nose. "No, I was thinking YOU could change the way YOU look…and maybe a glamour for some of the facial features, cause frankly, they are pretty distinctive…and Potter is no fool."

Draco sighed and took another long drag, letting the smoke settle in his lungs. "I shudder to think exactly what you two have in mind."

"Well, what did Potter do to look so different?" Pansy raised an eyebrow, and then took out her mobile, punching a number in from memory. "Hello…Paul? Pansy! I know, darlingest, it's been what, a week?"

Blaise and Draco exchanged pained glances. Darlingest? Draco mouthed to Blaise, who made kissing noises and a rather obscene hand gesture at the same time, causing Draco to nearly choke on his vodka and Pansy to glare at both of them in turn. Draco chose to tune Pansy out then, his thoughts returning to Harry in those leather trousers and mesh shirt…and ok, fine, the hair too. His own trousers were feeling uncomfortably tight and he looked up only when Pansy snapped her mobile shut. "We're in luck! Paul has time this afternoon…someone cancelled. But we need to go NOW." She pulled out some money and left it on the table. "Up, up boys!"

"Both of us?" Blaise sighed. "I was planning on getting pleasantly sloshed and chatting up the bartender."

"He's straight, I checked. Now up! Draco's going to need moral support. Come on." She tugged on Draco's arm and he blinked. "Moral support?"

"Yes. Finish your cigarette and drink and let's go." She tapped her foot impatiently while Draco stubbed out his smoke and finished his Stoli, then pulled on his jacket, the full impact of Pansy's words just beginning to register on him. "Who the fuck is Paul?"

"He's her darlingest, Draco… weren't you paying attention?"

Pansy punched Blaise rather hard on the arm. "Shut up Blaise. Paul is my stylist and he's gonna make you beautiful." She took his hand and began to tug him towards the door.

"I'm already beautiful, Pansy…wait…no, no, no, I am not changing one single damn thing about me when I could…"

She ignored him completely and yanked him down the street. "Do keep up, Draco, for Merlin's sake."

Blaise trailed along behind them, too amused to stay abreast. Besides, he wanted to be clear of the explosion when Malfoy finally got what Pansy was getting at.

She pulled Draco into the door of a very tony, very posh salon and up to the desk where a young man was idly doodling. "Paul, my love, how are you?"

Air cheek kissing followed and Draco winced inwardly. Snotty though he might be (in Harry's words anyway) he hated places like this. He was aware that he was being sized up, and then a surprisingly strong hand gripped his. "Hullo, Draco…Pansy says we need to transform you." He looked him over. "Although I'm not entirely sure why… she was a bit vague on that point."

Before Draco could spit out a snappy rejoinder, Pansy broke in. "Well, love, our Draco is a choice piece, I know…but you see, his boyfriend has essentially left him and just…" she waved her hand, "…started going out without him. So Draco wants to find him. But the boyfriend…let's call him Harry…"

"Yes, let's," said Blaise from the corner, where he was sitting well out of hexing range. Pansy ignored him. "Harry has started going out without Draco, which upsets our boy here. He wants to find him. But Harry will no doubt either ignore him or leave if he should attempt to, mmm, connect with him. So, WE thought that if Draco could look much, MUCH different, then maybe he could chat Harry up and…"

"Ah…and Harry wouldn't run screaming, might talk to him, and he might be able to find out what's the matter and be able to correct it, yes?"

"YES! See, you understand perfectly. We thought of polyjuice, but that's nasty and not precise. We know there will need to be a bit of a glamour on the face, different clothes, but the hair is what we need from you."

Paul nodded. "And you, Draco, are you on board with this? You look slightly less than enthused." Blaise snorted in the corner but said nothing. Draco sighed. "I want to find Harry, yes…more than anything. But I don't see the point of this. If I pick him up, so to speak, he will eventually figure out it's me and be totally pissed off that I resorted to less than honest means to find him."

"Or he might be touched at all the trouble you went to…look, honey, nothing else is working. He's left him notes, mobile messages, tried to talk face to face," she was addressing Paul now. "And nothing works. This way, at least, Draco could get close to him and see what's going on in his head and where he's at and…" She shrugged. "I hate seeing my boy sad."

Pansy was an extravagant, overdramatic and occasionally annoying flake, decided Draco, but she did love him; he loved her too, and squeezed her hand, knowing she'd understand. She squeezed it back.

Paul was nodding. "I can see both sides, myself. You ideally want to be open and honest, but occasionally, you have to go another route. And this isn't exactly dishonest…you could change your look for any number of reasons."

"Harry changed HIS," said Draco glumly. "Totally… just to spite me, too."

"Draco, you need to get over that, honestly." Pansy was looking at him pityingly and he scowled at her. Paul took his arm. "Come back here and let's decide what to do, ok?"

Draco let himself be pulled; thinking of Harry not wanting to be near him had sobered him entirely and he felt nothing but sad now. He vaguely heard Pansy and Paul discussing him. "Well, he can't be a blond, its too noticeable…at least not that shade; Harry always did like blonds though…" Draco didn't say anything, just thought to himself that this conversation would amuse Potter to no end.

Fuck, Harry…where do you go? Why isn't sorry enough? What the fuck do I have to DO to get you back?

"Draco? Ok?" Paul's voice was gentle. "Huh? Sorry, wasn't listening."

"Well, Pansy and I came up with a couple of looks that would be amazing on you, so if you want to pick one…"

"I don't care; let Parkinson pick. She has good taste… whatever she says."

The alcohol had definitely worn off and all Draco really wanted to do at the moment, truth be told, was go home, crawl into their bed and pull out the sweatshirt of Harry's that he'd taken to sleeping with, rest his face on it, and cry until he couldn't any more.

Malfoys didn't cry… he'd always been told that. iSorry Dad, fucked up again/i. His esteemed father might never have shed a tear over anything, but he'd never loved anyone either. Not like his son loved Harry Potter, green-eyed git extraordinaire.

Deep into his thoughts, he barely registered the ministrations of the stylist or the resulting conversation. He heard voices; that was all, swirling and eddying around him. He felt gentle pulls and tugs, and heard the snip of scissors, but even the feel of something wet and smelly being applied to his hair didn't rouse him. What did, finally, was a story Paul was telling Pansy about going out a few nights ago.

"…so there was this new guy there; I mean, I'd never seen him before, you know, he could have been a regular, but I don't think so…anyway…beautiful? Oh my god. He was a god, honestly. Not that tall, which is normally kind of a turnoff for me, but he MORE than made up for it with how he was built. Compact, you know?" Paul set the bowl of color down and pulled off the gloves, "There, let it set a bit and we'll see how it takes. So anyway, this guy was just…the eyes, the greenest eyes I have ever seen anywhere, and this full lower lip that was just…well. He had a line of guys waiting to dance with him."

Draco managed to speak. "Green eyes?"

"Yeah…gorgeous eyes, dark hair, kind of spiky with some kind of color in it so it looked really deep purplish red in some lights. And he had – has – these great hands too, not soft and sissy…hard, they actually had calluses on them, like he does real work. He was choice."

It was only Blaise's hand on his shoulder, his fingers digging into Draco's skin that kept him from jumping up and doing fuck knew what to the man waxing rhapsodic about Harry…HIS Harry. Pansy looked down at him. "What was his name?"

"Don't know; he said no names were necessary. And he can dance! I mean, I can dance, but he's amazing."

"Can't be Harry then," said Blaise, who hadn't let go of Draco. "Harry has all the grace of a Hippogriff in heat on the dance floor."

Paul laughed. "That's descriptive. Yeah, this guy told me he used to be pants at dancing, but he'd been coming out for about a month and finally just gave in and went with the beat… good call on his part. And the other thing that was incredibly sexy? He has this tattoo of a dragon on his back…I saw it the night the air conditioner broke at Goo Lagoon, and everyone was stripping. It was a huge dragon that curled around his spine and had some writing circling on it in gold…very cool."

i"Pour toujours mon amour,"/i whispered Draco, almost inaudibly.

"Something French, yeah…it was…" Paul stopped and stared at him. "Oh…"

Draco was having a hard time breathing, and Pansy sat down beside him. "Breathe, darling…in and out, in and out…."

"Oh…god, I'm so sorry, I had no idea…"

"Of course you didn't." Blaise shook his head. "No way of knowing. So Harry goes to Goo Lagoon, huh?"

"Uhm yeah, I guess he goes to Skin City sometimes too…but if it makes you feel any better, Draco? He doesn't stay with any one person. If they ask for his number, he just smiles and says no, and if they push it, he walks away. Drives people crazy; he's got this huge mystique…this incredibly hot guy who seems so far away."

"Great." He was still trying to steady his breathing. Panic, anger and an average of a pack and a half of cigarettes a day was not helping him catch his breath.

"Draco, love, this is good. This is information. You know where he goes now… you know he doesn't hook up…you can make a plan. Paul, is he ready to rinse?"

"Yes, it should be ready…let me look." He wiped a thick strand with a tissue. "All right, come back here and we'll get you set up."

Pansy helped him up; his legs felt weak, but something else was breaking through now as well…anger. Goddamn Potter, how fucking dare he go out dancing with other guys, or let them buy him drinks or…

iSearch the internet for hot boys to fuck without consequence and without telling his partner…/i

Draco really, really hated his conscience; he'd grown one only with extreme reluctance, and only cause Harry had made him. Now all it did was fuck with his head and make him question his own actions…constantly.

He was grateful to sit down again and the hands rubbing his head felt good; he closed his eyes and tried to relax. Panicking was not going to help. Killing Paul was not going to help…and only an idiot killed his stylist before he was done anyway. Said stylist was now rubbing some sort of sticky substance between his fingers and applying it to various pieces of hair before stepping back and nodding. "This works."

Pansy was nodding as well; "It really does, Paul…we're brilliant! You're brilliant! Draco, look."

"Do I have to?"


He sighed and looked over at Blaise who was eyeing him appraisingly. "I'd do you."

"You'd do me anyway, you slut." But Draco turned to the mirror and nearly passed out cold. His own shoulder-length pale blond hair was a memory - what he had now was far shorter and much darker blond with selective lighter streaks artfully placed here and there, twisted and waxed at strategic points. "Holy fuckamoley."

Pansy was hanging over his shoulder. "You look beautiful!"

"I look like a rentboy…an expensive one, yes, but still…fuck, Pansy, I still need to go to work every day!"

"Fuck, Draco…you own the bloody company! You could go to the office in a gorilla suit and no one would flinch. But this is perfect…you look nothing like you, really, but still, so hot…when Harry spies you he will be so hard for you that…"

Draco swallowed. "Yeah, he'll want to do me on the spot. Go me." He took his eyes away from the mirror and faced Paul. "How much do I owe you?"

Paul sighed. "Nothing; I don't charge clients who are unsatisfied with the result."

Draco felt bad…fucking conscience again. It wasn't this guy's fault that he'd found Harry hot. Apparently, a whole shitload of people now did. "No, no, its not that, the result is fine, it looks good, you did a tremendous job, er, Paul. It's just the whole reasoning behind this change that has me bothered. So please, what do I owe you?"

The amount would have made even Draco blanch in any other circumstances; if this was routine for Pansy, he hoped Nott kept making money and invested it wisely, or his wife's expensive tastes were gonna land him in debtor's prison. But he handed the man his Gringott's card and added a large tip to the amount, signing off and leaving the salon, Blaise beside him, close, a silent show of support.

On the street, Draco pulled up his collar. "My bloody neck is freezing, Zabini."

"The sacrifices one makes for love, Malfoy. You do look incredible though; the darker color suits you, makes your eyes 'pop' more."

"Excellent; here I spend hours with liquid eyeliner and all it took was chopping my hair off and dying it bloody ibrown/i, for fuck's sakes." Draco sighed and dug his hands into his pockets; the wind really was chilly, but then again, it was November. Harry and he had fought at the end of September….now it was the second week of November. Christmas was approaching and Draco wondered if he would be spending it alone this year in that big empty flat. The thought made his eyes prickle for the second time in ten years.

iI miss you, Harry. I miss you so much. Don't walk away from me, please. I don't think I can stand it without you./i

He bit his lip hard and felt Blaise squeeze his elbow gently

Pansy had caught up with them. "Now for clothes and…."

"Pans, I'm taking Draco home to my flat. He needs a little time and if he's going out tonight he has no clothes for clubbing that Potter might not recognize. I, on the other hand, have an enormous closet full of slutastic outfits so leave this part to me." Over Draco's bowed head, he mouthed. iHe's feeling like shit, let it go./i

Pansy obviously did not WANT to 'let it go,' but for once she listened to Blaise who made a mental note to write it on his calendar under the heading of "Things I never thought I'd live long enough to see."

She settled for kissing them both, telling Draco once again that he looked amazing, and giving Blaise the look that clearly said i"You will tell me everything!"/i before flouncing away and Disapparating.

Blaise sighed and guided Draco back to his flat where he poured them both a stiff shot of whiskey and sat next to Draco while he downed it. "You gonna be ok, Drac?"

Only from Blaise (and Harry if he was being an asshole) would Draco tolerate "Drac."

"I guess so…I don't really have much choice in the matter, do I? If I want him back – and I do, more than anything – I have to play by his rules, even though I have no fucking idea what those rules are."

"Well, he's doing things that are new to him, so guess you'll be doing things that are new to you too."

"Yeah, like going out and enticing my boyfriend back by not being me but someone he might like better." The whole thought was depressing, and Draco swiftly downed another whiskey.

Before he could get drunk and maudlin, Blaise pulled him up and took him into his dressing room, to the far rack. "All right now…we need to get you looking like club material. Hmmm." Blaise surveyed him. "I'm thinking leather…but not too much leather; leather and classical at the same time. Nothing too over the top." He rummaged through the rack and pulled out a pair of supple cordovan suede pants and a gray silk shirt. "Gray?"

"Sets off your eyes, along with the darker hair….which despite your bitching and moaning about it, does look hot." Blaise handed him the clothes. "Get dressed and I'll do the glamour."

Draco grumbled, but slipped into the outfit and looked at himself in the mirror. He did look good…not much like himself, but still good. Blaise nodded behind him. "Ok now…" He muttered an incantation and Draco's face changed subtly; the shape of his mouth was a bit different, the slope of the nose, the contours around his cheekbones. It was not drastic, but it was enough. Blaise nodded, satisfied. "There…you're gorgeous yet not Draco-gorgeous."

"Great." He sighed. "Sorry, Blaise – its not you, I appreciate this, really. It just all feels so fake. Why can't he talk to me? Why won't he accept my apology? Why? I don't get this! I've tried over and over and I want to tell him how much I love him and miss him and he doesn't even want to hear it." He bit down on his lip.

"Probably because all the times you told him how much you loved him before, you were fucking professional sluts on the side." Blaise had decided it was time for tough love…not to mention that a feisty, even nasty Draco was preferable to the mopey, self-flagellating Draco of late.

Draco looked like he wanted to snap at him, but nodded instead. "Probably."

"Drac…" Blaise sat down beside him on the chaise lounge he kept in his dressing room for, well, lounging. "Tell me something; you had a boyfriend who loved you, was IN love with you…did what you wanted him to do even if he hated it… who, by your own admission was fabulous in bed, and just… perfect otherwise. What in the hell possessed you to go and fuck that up with whores who'd been had by god knows who? I don't understand."

Draco listened, rubbing his forehead. "I don't know. I really don't. Everything you've said is true and I have no good answer. I'm an asshole and I know it; I'm a pain, I'm a snob, I'm demanding and exacting and spoiled bloody rotten. But Harry knew all this and still loved me." He shook his head. Talking about it in the past tense was only gonna make him cry again and he'd wind up with tracks of eyeliner streaked down his face. He took a deep breath. "Where do we start?"

"No, Draco, where do YOU start? I can't go with you; it would be a dead giveaway. And I like how I look, thanks, and plan on changing nothing. You need to go alone."

"Fuck. I knew you'd say that."


"No you aren't." Draco stood up and took a last look in the mirror. "Fucking BROWN, of all bloody colors."

"Dark blonde with streaks… make the best of it."

"Easy for you to say; you still look hot."

"So do you." Blaise wrapped his arm around Draco's shoulders and walked him back out to the living room; he kissed his cheek briefly. "Good luck."

Draco nodded and turned away to Apparate.

A moment later he was back, looking flustered. "Shit, Zabini…home! I can't go HOME looking like this, the game would be…"

"Calm down; Pansy fire called me while you were performing miracles with eyeliner and let me know she'd arranged a room for you at the Colchester in Zurich, where you are on unexpected business for an indeterminate time. Should Harry check, Maggie will back you up."

"Maggie agreed to this?" His secretary was the most unabashedly honest person he knew and normally would not lie for him under any circumstances; money, theater tickets, expensive meals, spa trips…the woman could not be bought. He had tried.

"How'd you get her to agree to this?"

Blaise smiled. "She hates to see you sad too."

"She deserves a raise."

"Pansy gave her one…15%, retroactive to last New Year's, just so you know."

"Fuck me…" but he had to give Blaise a small smile in return. "Thank God Pansy doesn't run my office, I'd be bankrupt."

"Theo will be, soon enough; then he'll come to you for a loan and you can have the fun of making him beg, the git. Now go."

Draco gave him an almost normal looking smirk and left again.

Blaise poured himself a drink and flopped down on his couch, saying a small prayer to the gods of clubbing and hooking up that Potter would be easy to find; and wouldn't catch on; and that they'd talk and fall back in love and everything would be perfect again.

Something had to be perfect in this world.


It was almost a week before anything happened - before he had any luck at all.

The Colchester gambit paid off; Harry actually DID call Maggie to see if it was legit, and god bless her, she'd lied her innocent little heart out for Draco, thereby earning her raise handsomely. Draco stayed in his small flat in Paris, Apparating when he trawled the clubs.

He'd developed a pattern; sleep till noon or better, go out and get a paper, some pastry, and sit in the patisserie for a long while, smoking and watching people go by. Invariably…and it never, ever failed…someone would remind him of Harry and his heart would leap wildly in his chest…but of course, it was not him. The letdown would be intense and Draco would leave the café and go back to his flat and cry. And then wank. And possibly cry more, depending on his mood and how much the person had reminded him of what he'd lost.

He'd sleep more, waking only to get dressed and go out on his increasingly fruitless search; he had to be careful of what he drank, lest he be too drunk to Apparate back to the City of Lights. And when he did get home?


He'd sit and stare at the lights on the river Seine, thinking until the thoughts drove him insane and he drank a bottle of wine so he could sleep.

This went on for six days.

Then came the seventh day; if not tonight, Draco had sworn he'd admit defeat. Admit he'd lost.

He dreaded it with every fiber of his being.

Draco paid the entrance fee and moved into the packed club. This was the third one he'd tried tonight, and his patience was wearing thin. He'd been hit on, had drinks spilled on him, and come perilously close to being burned more than once by the odd careless cigarette. He now remembered why he only enjoyed these places now if he had Harry with him…being pawed got tiresome fast.

"Down Under" was a popular place; not just for its servers who were all gorgeous men, with equally gorgeous Australian accents, but also because its back room came equipped with padded walls and padded benches, so that when someone did go "Down Under," their knees wouldn't give out. Ever-changing fountains provided a means to wash out one's mouth and complimentary mints and handy-wipes were close at hand, offered by a ubiquitous little man who was, rumor had it, a human tripod and available for threesomes.

Draco took a moment to let his eyes adjust to the lights and started moving purposefully through the crowd towards one of the bars; always a good vantage point. He ordered a vodka rocks and was gratified to see that the bottle of vodka was top shelf and new with his drink; a point to the Aussies of the world.

He leaned against the bar and scanned the crowd; DU was not as large as some other clubs and that was a great advantage as far as Draco was concerned. He hoped to hell that Harry was here, but he wasn't holding out much hope anymore. For weeks now, every dark head had caught his eye as had every flash of olive skin that showed ink. Even the line of the nose, the curve of the chin…

But no.

Draco closed his eyes and took a deep breath, regretting it almost immediately as he coughed. Fuck it – if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. He lit a cigarette and ran a hand through his hair, taking a sip of his drink.

A very distinct tingle caused his head to snap up. A tremor along his spine, a sudden feeling of "Right there…"

And he WAS right there, beside him, almost touching, asking the bartender for a …

"…short scotch, no ice, thanks."

Harry. Draco closed his eyes and fought the urge to turn and throw himself on the other man and pin him to the bar…he counted to five and then opened his eyes and made himself turn very casually towards the man beside him.

No leather pants or mesh shirt this time, but faded, ripped jeans, so tight as to be nearly obscene and a black fitted t-shirt that clung to every ripple and muscle. Fuck, had he been working out?

Or had he just stopped noticing his lover's body about the time he started taking the man who inhabited it for granted?

"Excuse me," said Harry, and oh, God, that voice…

"Yes?" he managed to say, his voice husky; the glamour affected his voice as well. "I'm sorry, but could I possibly bum a smoke off you? I'm all out and this place…"

Draco swallowed. "Yeah, you need one here."

"For gaining some personal space if nothing else." He could hear a small smile in Harry's voice, and he wordlessly offered him his pack, watching his hands as he pulled one out, tamped it and lit it with a practiced air. "Thank you."

"No problem." His throat felt dry as dust and he sipped his vodka to moisten it.

Harry didn't move away, just turned his back to the bar as well, surveying the crowd.

iLooking for someone?/i

"It's crowded as hell in here." Hello Captain Obvious, thought Draco with disgust. But Harry smiled. "It usually is…especially on Tuesdays for some reason. You'd think later in the week would be worse, but…"

"Maybe people need incentive to get through the rest of their work week."

"Possibly; I guess you could either be inspired or be traumatized by a night in here." Harry took a long drag off his cigarette, and Draco watched his mouth, hypnotized.

He realized it was time for a rejoinder; he dragged his eyes away from Harry's lips and focused his eyes upward. "Which one are you?"

Another small half smile. "Depends on the night."

Harry stretched then, and Draco saw something small and gold flash in the lights; but then it was gone again. "Do you…I mean, are you a regular here?"

Harry shrugged and took another drag off the cigarette, exhaling smoke upwards into the swirling colored lights. "Not really. I go to a lot of different places."

"Looking for adventure?" Fuck, his voice was squeaking…it hadn't squeaked since he was twelve!

"You could say that." Harry turned slightly and gave him a long, appraising look. "I haven't seen you here before."

"I'm uh, new to the whole club scene thing."

"Yeah? Me too." Harry stubbed out his smoke and took a sip of scotch. Draco took the moment to look at Harry, really look at him; the messy, slightly spiky hair, the curve of his cheekbones, how his lips moved when he talked, smoked, drank.

A ruckus on the dance floor caught his attention…apparently someone had just been proposed to, propositioned, possibly punched out…it was hard to tell. But whatever it was, it called for a round of shots - Jaegermeister being the poison of choice. Draco fully expected Harry to demur, being a strictly scotch and beer man, but as the shots slid down the bar, Harry grabbed two, pushed one at Draco and picked up the other, tossing it back easily. He shook his head after swallowing and gave Draco a smile. "Tastes like NyQuil."

Draco had no idea what that was, but figured it was some Muggle thing…this WAS a Muggle club after all. "Does it, to you? Tastes like cordials or something to me."

"Either way it packs a punch; three of those and I'm on the floor somewhere or against the wall and won't remember a damn thing afterwards." He gave the shot glasses to the bartender. "I'll be sticking with tequila for my shots, thanks."

Tequila????? He and Harry had had that ONCE, at George Weasley's wedding, and Harry had, at Seamus' urging, swallowed the worm and been absolutely loony and delusional for the next three days. It had been alternately hysterical and worrisome as Harry claimed the toast was quoting Shakespeare to him, and that his soap on a rope was really Draco's dead father speaking from the grave.

Frankly, Draco wouldn't put it past Lucius to find a way to bitch at them from the underworld…and of course he'd find a way to do it while they were both naked, the pervy bastard.

So Harry was dressing in a slutty manner…doing shots of liquor that resulted in him being pinned against the wall, having Merlin knows what done to him (although Draco could well imagine), smoking and talking to strange men like he'd been doing it all his life.

Never mind that Draco was the 'strange man' in this scenario. Where had his Harry gone?

iMaybe he was never yours and you never knew him anyway.

Maybe you bored him senseless, but his stupid Gryffindoric loyalty kept him with you until you fucked up and he could flee. Maybe he LIKES this….loves this.

More than he ever loved you./i

"I can't believe that." He wasn't aware for a moment that he'd said it out loud.

"Hmmm? Sorry, did I miss something?" Harry was watching him, one eyebrow raised in the first familiar gesture of the night. Draco shook his head. "No, nothing…talking to myself I guess."

"Ah…glad it's not just me. Sometimes I'm sure I'm the only one who listens to me." Harry gave him a smile just as an attractive blond man came up to Harry. "Hello Handsome."

Draco watched Harry give the man a slow, appraising look and then a look entirely foreign slid over Harry's face. It was…fuck, it was lust and something else…something predatory. With a sick lurch in his stomach, Draco realized he'd seen that particular look before…on his own face as he surveyed whatever he'd rung up for.

And when Harry accepted the unspoken offer and took the proffered hand and was led away to the velvet-lined walls without another look back, Draco knew he had to leave before something happened that even Obliviate couldn't mask; he could feel his hands shaking and his throat close up. He threw some Muggle money onto the bar and blindly made his way to the door, pushing several people out of his way as he moved. He made it outside and leaned against the concrete block wall, gasping for air.

When he could breathe, he began to walk shakily towards a spot he could Apparate from…but a slight movement in the windows that lined the street made him glance up.

The windows were blue tinted so as not to be patently obscene and run the risk of being shut down…but behind them he could glimpse people moving, see heads thrown back and arms raised. Shadows, yes…profiles.

One profile….

Head thrown back, neck arching, mouth open in what Draco knew was a long, drawn out moan of pleasure…Harry's hands would be in the other man's hair, his hips bucking shamelessly, and his eyes…Draco knew the eyes would be wild and dark.

He barely made it to his flat, stumbling in and slamming the door till it bounced open on its own.

And for the first time in his life, Draco Malfoy didn't care who heard him cry.

Harry woke with sticky eyes and a throat that felt like he'd swallowed steel wool; he cleared his throat, a single harsh sound that quickly became a string of racking coughs.

Christ, he really needed to not smoke so much; he sighed as he thought of Draco and how the air in the flat the past two or three weeks had been stale and dead. Draco was smoking like a chimney and Harry knew that he was the reason why. He didn't know why in hell HE'D picked up the habit, except that it seemed the thing to do in a bar or club…and sometimes you just needed something to do with your hands.

Of course, others seemed to know what to do with their hands just fine; like grope him, fondle his arse, or "accidentally" rub against his crotch. At first it had been fun, different…he felt like he was getting one over on Malfoy-that-cheating-bastard and LIVING a little. Now he knew that it wasn't living at all.

"Living" was waking up next to someone you loved and feeling them curl against you in their sleep. It was knowing how they took their coffee and what part of the paper they'd want. It was drying them off when they stepped out of the shower, and smiling when your mobile rang and it was them. It was falling back asleep at night, thoroughly shagged and smelling your lover's scent all over you.

THAT was living. This was…existing. Going through the motions.

Harry got up and used the loo, taking a cursory glance in the mirror; his skin looked a little pale and he looked like he hadn't slept well….which he hadn't, because Draco wasn't there. Even angry, even jealous and hateful, whatever the emotion they were embroiled in at the long as he was in the bed, Harry would sleep. And more often than not, when he awoke, those cool grey eyes would be watching him and if he turned and smiled at Draco, and reached out to stroke his cheek, the eyes would grow warm and he would open his arms to Harry who would willingly crawl into them. Because Draco was his home….no matter where he was.

He hadn't called in days – when Harry came home from work, there were no messages flashing on their machine. His mobile rang, sure, but it wasn't Draco…it was Ron, Hermione, sometimes Neville, or Ginny or whoever.

But Draco didn't call.

Had he moved on? Grown tired of them not talking, gotten irritated, decided he didn't need this, didn't need him? Harry knew Draco had tried to talk to him many times but he hadn't been able to get past his hurt and anger. He would decide mid-day that yes, they NEEDED to talk, they WOULD talk, he'd come home early and they'd sit down with a bottle of wine and talk it all out, everything. And then they would be ok.

But when Harry came home, Draco might be in the shower. Or worse yet, on the computer; Harry hated that he couldn't bring himself to believe that Draco had stopped with the ring-up boys, and whenever he saw the blond sitting there with his planner and his mobile beside him, hurt and distrust would well up in him and he would go and change and leave the flat, desperate to make his mind just bstop./b

All his 'boys' were blonds, without exception; he'd become known for it. And no matter what they wanted, he never gave them his name, never kissed them on the lips, and never let them do more than blow him…and it had taken him more than a month to let that happen.

At first, it had been an act…'cool' uncaring Harry, up for random encounters of all times; he'd had to force himself. But one night it had become more. One night he had been dancing and looked around to see desire on more than one face; desire for him. Realized that men waited to ask him to dance, or buy him drinks; realized he was uwanted./u

It was a heady feeling and lost and alone as he felt, he'd embraced it. But no one could replace Draco, and Harry knew enough to not even try. But for a little while, it had helped assuage his loneliness, helped him feel a little better…but it would never be enough to replace what was missing in his life.

His mobile rang as he was putting on his coat for work…a bit late, but he had hours and hours of personal time accumulated and no one seemed to mind if he was a little late now and then. He picked it up, not recognizing the number, but "Hello?"


"Draco." He felt a wave of something wash over him and he sat down hard on the back of the couch. "Hi."

"Hi…uhm, how are you?"

"I'm all right…you?"

"Fine." There was a long pause. "How is Zurich?" asked Harry, just to fill the silence.

"Boring. High finance is always boring." Another pause. "How are the clubs?"

Harry shrugged, forgetting Draco couldn't see him. "Clubs are always the same."

"I guess so, yeah."

"Are you all right, Draco? You sound weird. Are you sick or…?"

"How do I sound?"

"Kind of congested, stuffy, hoarse."

"Ah, just smoking too much, I suppose, and haven't had my coffee yet."

"Oh. Well I guess that's to be expected then."

On the other end of the phone, Draco closed his eyes and gripped the phone tightly. "Are you going out tonight?"

Harry looked at the phone in his hand. "I might. Why?"

"You sound tired, like you need sleep. I bet you have circles under your eyes."

Harry snorted a bit. "I do. Maybe I'll skive out early, come home, take a nap."

"Good idea."

Another long pause. "Uh, when are you coming back?"

"I…I'm not sure when; I thought this would be over much sooner but it's just dragging on and on."

Was he talking about THEM? Harry's throat tightened. "Oh."

"Yeah, well…I just wanted to check in. You do sound tired though, Harry…"

iYeah, and you almost sound like you care…/i

"Yes, well, I sound that way a lot. So, like, another week or so? Before you're back?" He tried to keep his voice neutral.

"Something like that, yes. Have there been any messages or anything left for me?"

"No…why, was one of your escorts supposed to call? Do they miss you? Are you funding their gym memberships?"

iFuck, why, why, why did you say that?/i Harry closed his eyes and wished the words back as hard as he could.

Draco stared at the phone in his hand – he wanted to cry, but his tear ducts were empty, his eyes dry and head pounding.

He made his voice cold, thick with hurt though it was. "No. And if you're never going to fucking let this go, Harry, then why come home at all? For more barbs? More snide comments? You must have had time to think up new ones; I'm surprised you haven't owled me with them, or are you saving them up to welcome me home with?" Inside his stomach twisted and he felt sick.

Why won't you let me try with you again? Do you hate me that much now?

"I'm sorr…no. Look, it's entirely up to you whether you come home or not, ok? You bought this fucking place, not me, it's yours."

"No you fucking git, its OURS….except you won't let anything go, you won't talk to me, and instead you ignore it, ignore me, and seem content with our life together going to shit!"

Draco was breathing harder now, his voice raspy and hoarse. "You'll let it all slip away and not give a damn at all!"

"That is not true! I care, I cared! YOU didn't! You didn't say, 'hey, Harry, you fucking bore me senseless in bed, so I'm gonna call out for sex…' you let me find out the good old fashioned manner of everyone who's ever wanted to be caught!"

"I DIDN'T want to be caught!" That was not what he meant to say, at all. He tried to fix it. "I wanted to talk to you about it, all of it, but you wouldn't even give me the time of day! You went out, changed everything about you to spite me, and now won't…"

Harry was furious; his hands were shaking. He should just hang up, say fuck you, Malfoy. He should pack and move out. He should burn the place down along with all its memories. "Yeah, it was all to spite you! Of course it was! Nothing is about me, its all you, always you! Well you know what? I'M GLAD I found out about you, what you are! I'm GLAD I changed it all, the stupid goddamned hair, the clothes, everything! If it puts you off, so much the better! Then YOU can know what its like to not be wanted anymore!"

He squeezed his eyes shut tight as the pain washed over him in waves.

On the other end Draco was choking, trying to not let his sobs be heard. "I never stopped wanting you, ever…and if you think I did, then maybe…"

"…there isn't anything left. Right. I'll …I'll get my stuff together and move out tomorrow." He made his voice flat, cold, pushing it all down.

There was a long silence, each one of them with labored breathing, trying to work through the pain.

"Please….don't. Don't leave me Harry, please."

"Draco, I can't…"


Draco never begged; he shouted, he screamed, he slammed things down and threw things…but he never begged or pleaded. And somewhere in the back of Harry's mind, he knew this was costing Draco everything to say.

"Potter…please. Harry."

"We'll speak when you get home." It was all he could offer, and as he ended the call and closed the phone, he wondered what in hell was going to happen to them.

The rest of that day passed in a blur for Draco.

He cried again, more tears flowing than he ever thought he had in him. He hadn't cried like this when Lucius died, when Snape died… he just didn't think he had it in him. Obviously, he was wrong.

He fell asleep on the bed and woke late afternoon, as the sun was setting. He made himself eat some toast, drink some tea; he smoked half a pack of cigarettes, staring out the window at nothing. His fight with Harry had left him drained in ways he couldn't explain to anyone if he had to.

And when the light changed from gold to black, he got dressed and went looking for Harry.

Harry never made it to work.

He lay on the sofa where he had fallen right after he threw his mobile across the room where it hit the fireplace and shattered.

He lay there, not even knowing he wept until the tears soaked the pillows when he turned his head; he let them dry into salty, tight tracks on his face. Only the risk of soiling himself and the sofa finally made him move to use the loo; as he passed the window he saw that the sun had set and the streetlights were casting long shadows on the pavement outside their flat.

He went to his closet and stared at the clothes there; without thinking, he pulled out a white tank top and suede trousers that clung to…everything. He didn't bother with underwear and paused only long enough to dunk his head in the sink, towel off and rub some gel through his hair, spiking it up wildly – it seemed to work for him.

Then he shoved his ID and some money in his pocket and went looking for…

…He didn't know what he was looking for.

Skin City was aptly named, as many of its patrons preferred to be half clothed at best, and often wound up completely nude. This was partially due to the ridiculously high temperature the club was kept at, and partially due to the excellent DJ who got even the most jaded soul out onto the dance floor, working up a sweat. It was nearly impossible to talk there, or to hear anything but the thumping beat…or to feel anything except the music.

It was a good place to lose yourself.

Harry had drunk half a Heineken when he was approached for the first time; he'd been there all of five minutes. He smiled, downed the rest of the beer and danced.

Then another beer and another dance; and another and another until he decided that leaving the dance floor at all was stupid and just let himself move to the beat.

Draco watched Harry from the upper deck; he'd gotten lucky in figuring out where Potter might come that night. He sipped his vodka and watched Harry move, whether with one person or several. He watched men rub against Harry, watched Harry let them, watched him throw back his head and laugh. He'd never seen Harry dance before – not willingly anyway, and 4th year didn't count – and he was amazed at the other man's fluid grace. But hell, Potter was amazing in bed, so it figured the moves might translate to the dance floor…this type of dancing was merely vertical fucking after all.

When the DJ finally called a break, Draco made his way to the downstairs bar, fighting his way through throngs of men, some of whom would normally would have caused him to stop and stare or flirt outrageously until a frustrated Potter would drag him away. But tonight, he saw no one but Harry.

The club had tiny, two-person-at-best tables scattered along the perimeter of the floor, and it was there Harry headed, to one near the stairs; he flopped down and sighed, picking at his soaked shirt and trousers. Draco maneuvered his way over, holding the scotch neat high to avoid spilling it. When he reached Harry, he looked down. "Is this seat taken?"

Harry had been shoving his damp hair off his forehead and looked up, smiling. "Hey!"

"Hi…brought you a drink." Draco set it down on the table, careful to not touch Harry.

"Wow, thank you…how'd you know what I drank?"

"I remembered from last night, oddly enough."

Harry smiled his thanks and pulled out the chair next to him. Draco sat down with his vodka, trying not to get too close, trying not to act like himself. "Like to dance, huh?" he managed, taking a sip of alcohol immediately.

"Yeah, I do; I've never been much of a dancer, but I've found I like it, surprisingly. No one I know would believe it." Harry smiled and took a sip of his own drink, sighing and pushing a few stray strands of hair back. "Do you like to?"

Draco nodded. "Love it, just usually don't. My boyfr…" he paused, his stomach twisting a bit; what was Harry now? "He never liked it much, so getting him to go to a club like this was almost impossible."

Harry hadn't missed the stammer. "Sounds like you aren't sure what the status of your relationship is."

"I'm not," admitted Draco…fuck, this was weird. "We've had a pretty huge falling out and I don't know if things can be fixed. I want them to be, more than anything," he swallowed, "but if he doesn't feel the same, then…"

"I know the feeling…I'm going through that myself." Harry sighed and lit a cigarette, offering the pack to Draco, who took one as well. "Are you?" He tried to keep his voice casual. "It sucks, doesn't it?"

"Yeah…it does; especially when you can't seem to talk it through without getting nasty or yelling…or even better, crying. That's always fun." He turned his head and regarded Draco for a moment before giving him a small smile and putting out his free hand. "I'm Harry, by the way."

Draco almost didn't take the hand, not trusting himself to touch the other man, but he made himself do so. Harry's hand was warm and gave him the same electric flash/tingle it always had. He shook it briefly. "I'm…Aaron," he said, having decided that sounded like a decent-enough Muggle name. "It's nice to meet you."

"Same here…" Harry looked at him again. "I'm sorry to stare, but you remind me of someone. I'm not sure what it is about you, but you do."

"Ah…anyone good or a mortal enemy?"

Harry bit his lip for a second, then grinned. "Both…a mortal enemy who became someone very, very good."

The music came on again, making conversation nearly impossible, much to Draco's annoyance. Harry stretched his legs. "Would you like to…?

iTake you home and shag you rotten? Fuck, yes./i

"Yeah, sure, lets."

They both stood up and moved out onto the floor, finding a clear space and beginning to move; Draco tried hard not to dance the way he normally did, but that proved impossible. He was living proof that white boys could, indeed, dance. Harry though, he noted, was even better up close than from an aerial view; when the hell had he learned to move like that? He decided that if he and Harry managed to work things out, he was going to make him come out dancing at least two or three times a month.

If….no, bwhen/b. When. Draco was not about to let this go.

Harry, for his part, was enjoying himself; he'd found he really LIKED to dance, and blamed his former reticence entirely on 4th year and being traumatized by McGonagall and Patil. He doubted he'd ever waltz again, but fortunately his current lifestyle didn't entail many ballroom moves…ok, an occasional dip when Draco decided to get romantic and put on soft music before bed, but since that kind of dancing led invariably to shagging, he was ok with it.

Come to think of it, so did THIS dancing; for some people, at least.

Aaron was an excellent dancer; he moved with a lot of grace and obviously enjoyed it. Harry's smile at him was shadowed by memories of Draco on the dance floor – another man who loved to dance and was very good at it. He found himself wondering what Draco was doing right now…and with whom.

Harry might look different, act somewhat different, but his thought process had not changed, nor had his complete inability to keep his thoughts from being plainly evident on his face; Draco could read his mind, almost. The being almost painfully glad that Harry still thought of him at all was tempered by the extreme irony of the situation.

They danced through four songs before deciding that more libations were in order; their table was still mercifully open, and Draco longed to cast a Silencing, but showing himself as a wizard would just…well, it would make the world a bit too small, too fast. So he settled for sitting close so they could not have to yell so loudly into each other's ears.

They chatted – well, yelled – for a bit, then danced some more. Harry was approached by at least three other men, but smiled his no to all three, turning back to Draco. In turn, Draco brushed off two men, not having any interest at all in anyone save Harry.

Three drinks and two more bouts of dancing, and Draco felt the emotional rigors of his day catch up with him. "I'm sorry, but I'm knackered," he finally had to say when another set of songs began. "But…this has been a lot of fun. Thank you."

"It really has been," replied Harry, nodding. "Thank you for coming and finding me."

"It was my pleasure." Draco paused. "Uh, maybe we could have dinner or just drinks if you prefer, sometime this weekend?"

Harry thought for a moment; drinks were not a commitment, he wasn't cheating this way…

iNo, but getting blown in back rooms, Potter, that's just…/i

"That would be nice; I'd like that. We could speak without yelling."

"That'd be a plus…would Saturday around 6pm be all right?"

"That would be excellent – could we just meet at a pub?" He had given this man his actual name, which was unusual enough…he wasn't ready to have anyone know where he lived.

"Sure, yeah…how about The Guardian at 6 pm? It's a nice place; not formal but not a…"

"Dive?" Harry laughed. "I know the place, my mates and I have gone there a few times. It sounds great."

"All right…till Saturday, then?"

"Yes." Harry smiled at him, and Draco wanted so much to just wrap his arms around him and take him home and make everything ok again, somehow; the thought of going back to his Paris flat alone made him want to cry in frustration. And Draco wasn't sure how many tears he had left.

He managed to nod and exited the club first, waiting in a shadowy alley to make sure Harry came out alone too and made no side trips to say, the loo or a back room…but Harry came out, pulling up his collar against the cold breeze and Apparating as soon as he got to a suitable point. Draco then went home, crawled into bed with Harry's sweatshirt and dreamed of waking wrapped around Harry.

Harry didn't hear from Draco again that night, or the next day. He went to work and did his job mechanically, swatting all inquiries about his health and mental well-being away; he knew his co-workers meant well, but he hadn't talked about the situation so far and had no intention of doing so now.

Friday night he stayed in, for one of the first times since Draco had been away. He actually bought groceries and cooked all the things he liked that Draco didn't. He ate his dinner in front of the telly but turned it off soon after and listened to the silence of a home where only one person lived.

One, when there should be two.

He listened to the refrigerator hum; to the heater clicking on and off; to the cars going by their townhouse. To the water dripping in the kitchen; they had a leaky faucet there, and Harry just hadn't fixed it yet. He listened to his own heart beating, the sound his silver lighter made when snapped open and closed, and to his own breathing.

He thought about Draco; thought about how his voice had been shaking when he asked Harry not to go, not to leave him. He thought about how Draco had lain awake every night, waiting for him to come home, and then pretending to be asleep so that they wouldn't fight. He thought about the look in his eyes the day Harry hadn't responded to him in bed, the hurt when Harry had been so callous in asking if he'd come yet. He thought about Draco steadfastly not asking where he was going or who he was going with; he'd thought it was just thoughtlessness on the blonds' part, more not caring… but were the thoughts just so painful that he couldn't stand it?

He thought about himself; how angry he'd been and still was, how hurt and afraid he'd been when he saw that same number over and over again. How he'd deliberately set out to change everything Draco knew of him, everything he knew of HIMSELF. He thought about coming home, being in the same bed and not being able to reach out and touch; how just the sight of Draco on his desktop computer made him want to Incendio the whole setup. He thought about going to bed alone…or worse, with someone he never wanted to see again…and waking up alone.

What if they ended it? Truly ended it? What then?

He thought about the rest of his life with no Draco in it….and only then did he finally break down and cry himself to sleep.

On Saturday, Draco found himself feeling decidedly…antsy. He couldn't concentrate on anything except seeing Harry, having drinks or dinner or whatever with him; in a place where you didn't have to scream to be heard…and where they could, finally, talk; about the situation, about them, even though Draco wasn't supposed to be…Draco.

He showered and shaved, shaking his head at the hair; he didn't give a shit WHAT Blaise said – it was brown. It looked kind of cool, granted, but it was still brown. Jesus – the things he did for Potter. He hoped someday the other man would appreciate it.

He thought a while about how to dress; he didn't want to look like he was trying to seduce Harry – that wasn't the point of all this. If it was the end result, well…but no. Sex wasn't the goal here, getting his boyfriend back WAS.

He chose jeans –which he rarely wore and therefore would arouse no suspicion – and a simple pullover which clung to him just enough to show off his body, but not enough to be overtly sexy. He made sure he had Muggle money and slid into his new suede jacket…new so Harry wouldn't recognize it. Taking one last look at himself, he reflected that he'd always relied on his looks to get him what he wanted…and when that failed, he'd throw money at the problem till it either went away or got solved. Now suddenly it wasn't enough…nothing he'd ever done was enough.

The only thing that would be enough, in the end, was he, himself, being able to open up and show Harry how much he truly did love him.

And that scared the shit out of him.


Harry had spent the day thinking about Draco; he had pulled out photo albums and looked at them; saved notes; invitations addressed to them both…everything that reminded him of their life together. He'd replayed their fights in his head…and then the make-up sex later.

He wondered what he was doing going out with someone else, even in the most casual circumstances, but he told himself that he wasn't looking for anything from Aaron; they were both in fucked up situations and were just a couple of blokes crying into their beers…right?


Still, he wanted to look good, if for no other reason than to show that he wasn't LOST without Draco. That even outside of a club or work, he could function just fine. He combed his closet for something that bridged the gap between slutty and stuffy, finally deciding on jeans as well, and a long-sleeved blue button down shirt with a plain white t-shirt underneath. He pulled on his faithful leather jacket and left for the Guardian, just a short walk from their flat.

He spotted Aaron walking down the street from the other direction; he wondered briefly where the other man lived. They reached the door at nearly the same time and gave each other a warm smile. "Hi," said Harry first, feeling a little shy. "Hi yourself," replied Draco, catching his breath a bit. Tonight, Harry looked more like the boy he'd wanted all those years ago than he had since…well, all those years ago. And it took all Draco's resolve to not reach out and touch him.

Harry held the door open for him and they went into the pub, securing a corner booth. The interior was busy but not noisy, and the lights were low, the globes hanging over the tables dimmed for intimacy. They sat across from each other and ordered the house ale, sipping almost in tandem before setting them down and smiling at each other. "Thanks for meeting me here," said Draco quietly. "It's nice to not have to scream to be heard."

"It really is," agreed Harry. "It's kind of odd; I've missed quiet. My uhm…friend is away on business, so last night I stayed in. I cooked all the stuff I like and he doesn't, and almost watched some telly…but then I decided to just turn everything off and just listen to nothing. It was really peaceful, oddly enough."

Draco listened; he knew what Harry had probably made and true, he wrinkled his nose at it usually, but swore on the spot that if he ever got presented with it again, he would eat it, and happily. "I stayed in, myself…but I'm afraid I didn't do anything that productive. I kind of lay on my bed and stared at the ceiling, watching the patterns of light change till it was pitch black and I finally slept."

Harry smiled a bit at that. "Sounds like Dra…" he stopped, then pushed past the surge of feeling the name crossing his lips brought him. "Draco. He likes to just lay there on the bed or the floor or couch and watch the lights play over different shapes and textures."

Draco swallowed. "Is he the boyfriend?"

"I think so; I'm not entirely sure what we are anymore." Harry took a sip of his drink.

"Well, what do you want him to be?" Draco tried his damndest to sound casual, but Harry didn't answer, changing the topic to other things like cricket and jobs and things like that. Draco stumbled a few times – odd, given how accomplished a liar he normally was – but managed to carry on a conversation for a while, until he couldn't stand it anymore and asked again. "So, what about your friend? Are you still a couple?"

Harry shrugged and looked down for a long moment before looking up again. "What about you? You said you were in the same boat, so to speak…."

Draco had waited for Harry to answer him with baited breath and was completely disconcerted when the tables were turned; he flushed. "Uhm, yeah…I am."

Harry watched him from underneath his fringe, which devoid of gel tonight, brushed nearly against his eyebrows. He didn't say anything, just rubbed his thumb over a worn spot on the wood table between them. "I am, yes," Draco started, then found himself wondering how to explain exactly what he was. Somehow he was sure that "I'm a fucking asshole," while accurate, was not exactly the answer Harry was looking for. "I'd been living with someone for about a year, and we'd been together for a year before we moved into our flat."

Harry nodded and took a sip of his drink. Draco continued. "He thought things were fine between us…and so did I, actually, but I…" He bit his lip. "I did something phenomenally stupid and he found out and left me."

iLeft me/i…the words sounded a thousand times more terrible spoken aloud….and it was true. In many ways, Harry HAD left him, even if he was technically still present in the flat.

"What did you do?" Harry's eyes had not left his face.

"I cheated. Not just once but multiple, multiple times."

Harry's face changed then, became a little more guarded.

Draco cursed inwardly.

"That's what he…Draco…did too. He went to a…" Harry needed another drink and waved at the bartender, who brought them fresh ales. "He went to a website where you can…pick guys. Like, based on not only what they look like, but how big their cocks are and how long they need before they're ready to go again." He drained half his ale.

"That's…unconscionable." It sounded just as tacky spoken as it really was.

"That's Draco. He gets whatever he wants, however he wants it; and too fucking bad if it's not what I want too. Nothing matters as long as he gets his." Harry was unconsciously clenching his fist and had to pause and relax his fingers, flexing them.

Draco rubbed his forehead. Well then.

"How did your friend react when he found out about you? Because…I kind of just," Harry ran a hand through his hair, shoving it out of his eyes. "I just couldn't even talk to him about it…not without wanting to kill him, not without wanting to scream at him, call him every name in the book, plus some I'd make up as I went along."

Draco sighed. "He…well, he actually didn't talk to me about things either. Instead, he …just started acting differently than he'd ever done before. He stayed at our flat but pretty much ignored me. If I tried to talk to him, he'd just say something nasty or something designed to make me feel like shit…like I didn't already feel as horrible as I could possibly feel."

Harry snorted a bit. "He's probably not sure how to talk to you about it…and frankly, it probably hurts him too much to even broach the subject."

"I've apologized to him, though…you know? I've said I was sorry, said I was wrong, said I would do anything to make it up to him…and he doesn't want to hear it." Draco had forgotten momentarily that he wasn't supposed to be talking about them, but about Aaron and Harry's respective boyfriends.

Harry nodded and dug into his jacket pocket for his pack of cigarettes, but Draco beat him to it; they sat back against the leather seats of the booth and smoked in relative silence for a couple of minutes, each thinking his own thoughts, Draco covertly watching the other man. Harry finally broke the silence.

"Why did you do it?"

Draco sighed; he'd figured this was coming. He'd thought a lot about it, and still didn't have a good answer. That is, he had one, but he hated it – and knew Harry would too. But it was all he had.

"I was scared," he said flatly. There was no way to make it any more or less than what it was.



Harry's eyes were fixed on him, and Draco was proud of himself for not looking away or down or fidgeting.

"You were scared, and so you cheated on him."


Harry leaned back and looked at him intently for several moments. "Of what?"

"That I'd settled down too soon…that I WAS settled down: that I was more than fine staying in and watching the telly with him. That I didn't care that he was a slob, that he left his dishes in the sink and never rinsed them, that he actually used SOAP on his ha…" he stopped quickly. Too many details. "I got scared that I didn't want anything else."

"Were you happy with him?"

"God yes; he's all I've ever fucking wanted in this life. We shouldn't even BE together, given the shit we've lived through, but I love him."

"He's lucky then…despite everything. That you love him still."

Draco's heart twisted. "I'm sure your Draco still loves you too."

"My Draco…" Harry paused. "My Draco, by my count, fucked about 24 men in a month; one or two were repeat visitors; this in addition to still fucking me, the randy bastard."

"That many?" Draco tried hard not to wince; he hadn't kept a tally.

"Yes…that many. And despite his oft-professed love for me, his adoration of how I looked…or used to look, anyway, its different now…and his apparent worship of my body," Harry's tone had turned thickly sarcastic, "…I was, apparently not enough to satisfy him. He could, of course, merely sat me down on our couch and said, "Harry old brick, you're not bad in bed, but honestly? Little boring. Little stale. I'd like to fuck other people. How are you with that?"

The sarcasm had turned bitter. "At least then I could have said "How can we fix this? How can we make it better? I could have told him I loved him and I wanted it to work. Or I even could have said fine, fuck you asshole, I'm out of here… but no. He kept it secret till I found out one night…then the fucker had the balls to tell me it meant nothing, it was a diversion…." Harry's voice had risen. "Breaking my fucking heart was a bloody DIVERSION to him!"

Draco closed his eyes tightly; the pain he felt and that seeped through his demeanor was almost too much to bear…but he had to bear it. He had caused this; him and him alone. "Harry, I'm sorry," he whispered. "I really and truly am. You aren't a diversion; you're everything."

When he opened his eyes, Harry was staring at him and when he spoke, his voice was quiet again. "You don't need to apologize…Wasn't you, after all. And it's nice of you to try to encourage me….I appreciate it."

Draco took a deep breath. "Will you excuse me a moment?"

Harry nodded. "Sure."

Draco nodded back and made his way back to the loo, shutting himself in a stall and trying to control himself.

b"Breaking my fucking heart was a bloody DIVERSION to him!"/b

"No it wasn't, Harry," he whispered, huddled in a miserable ball against the door of the stall. "I never wanted to break the heart I treasured so much."

He closed his eyes again, but it didn't stop the tears sliding from underneath his lashes and down his cheeks.


Draco didn't know how long he'd been in there when he heard the door open and Harry's voice. "Aaron, mate? You all right? Not sick are you?"

"Uh, no," Draco managed, digging his palms into his eyes. "I'm ok; sorry to take so long."

"It's all right…do you want another ale?"

"Yeah, that would be great…I'll be right out, ok?"

"Ok…if you're sure."

"I am."

The door swung shut and Draco opened the stall door and moved over to the sink; his eyes were red and his lids puffy. He splashed water on his face and re-did the glamour, fiddling with it until he was satisfied before going back to the table.

Harry was making designs with his coaster mat on the dampness of the table and looked up when he came back and slid in opposite him. "Sure you're ok there?"

"Yes…sorry, sometimes my stomach gets irritated. I'm fine."

Harry nodded. "So do you think your…partner…will come back to you?"

"I don't know," answered Draco, after clearing his throat a couple of times. "I hope so…more than anything. It's pretty much all I think about – him coming back to me."

"You said he doesn't want to hear your explanations for why you strayed."

Draco shook his head, staring into his ale. "He doesn't seem to want to, no. But I…I mean, I'm the bastard in the relationship. Always have been, and why the fuck he even puts up with me is something I've puzzled over for years and years. But I think of how much I'm hurting over this and it amazes me that he doesn't seem to be hurting at all. And I wonder if he does love me. Maybe he never did. But dammit, I know that's not true either. Har…" He stopped, horrified and coughed to cover the slip. "Uhm," he scrambled for some Muggle name, "Henry isn't fake, ever. He doesn't lie, he doesn't pretend. So I don't know why this isn't affecting him."

"Aaron, I'm sure it is." Harry sighed. "I'm sure he's wrecked over it, but to show you that…well, it would give you power, wrong as that sounds. If he lets you see what you've done, that gives you power. You've made him feel terrible; he's cried, he's ranted and hit things …but I know, for myself? For the first month, I was feeling like "I'll be fucked if I let Draco know what he's done to me, how he's made me feel like shit…worse than shit. I mean, you know what I even did one night?"

Draco shook his head again; he wasn't sure he really wanted to know.

Harry was staring somewhere over their heads. "He's always awake when I come home. He pretends he's not, but I know when he's sleeping; he wheezes like an old teakettle, this little, constant wheewheewhee sound." The corner of his lip quirked upwards. "It's a weirdly comforting sound that he absolutely insists he doesn't make…but anyway. He's never asleep. So one night I came home and got into bed…and yeah, we still sleep in the same bed, how fucked is that…and I turned on my side to face the window, like I always do nowadays, cause facing him hurts." Harry took a deep breath, and lit a cigarette to momentarily distract himself, taking a deep drag and exhaling upwards towards the ceiling.

"I just wanted to go to sleep; it had been a night where everything had crashed in on me, I'd had a horrible time out, felt guilty; all that shit. I felt him slide over to my side and wrap his arm around my waist and start touching me. And no matter what else I'm feeling – he knows how to touch me. So we started having sex, and I had to push it all down and pretend it wasn't my Draco, that it wasn't the person I love more than anything stroking me and kissing me…but I finally did it. Then I looked up at him and saw his face and had this sudden thought of how many other guys have seen his "come" face?"

Harry was biting his lip now. "And so I waited till I knew he was about to go, and then said "Are you almost done?" Harry laughed, but there was no amusement in the sound. "His face changed then and…he was so hurt. And then the next morning he was really pissed off at me and I just thought, "Yeah, see how it feels to have someone you love act like they don't want you.' That's what I mean about power."

Draco was silent for several moments – he would remember that moment for the rest of his life. Harry's voice had been so cool, so dismissive… i "You took forever…"/i

He finally managed to say, "And that was really hard for you."

"It was brutal." Harry's tone was flat. "I've never been much of a liar, but I rose to the occasion that one time – and I won't ever forget his face when I said it. Draco's not…he's not an open person. He makes getting to know him work. It took me two years to crack that shell of his – I thought I knew him, thought he knew ME…but for the whole last month we were together, he was ordering up sex like takeaway...because I wasn't enough anymore, apparently."

"Harry…" Draco struggled to stay calm. "It wasn't you; I can tell you that. It was all about Draco."

"No shit…it always is. That's the fucking problem!"

"No, no…I mean it's his problem, what he did." Draco leaned forward, desperate to make his point. "It didn't have anything to do with not loving you or wanting you anymore. It was solely his own stupidity, his inability to express himself, his fear that you wouldn't understand how scared he was, his lack of faith in himself…not you. He loves you more than anything."

He stopped; Harry was staring at him. "How would you even begin to know all this?"

"Because I just would, all right? I told you I was in the same predicament and I am and I know how stupid *I* am and I can gather from what you're saying that your Draco and I are just a little too fucking similar for words." He was breathing heavily now, his breath coming in short, staccato bursts. He reached for his ale and drained half of it.

iCalm down Malfoy…you're gonna totally blow it here any second./i

"You remind me of him." This was said abruptly and Draco looked up, his face a careful mask. "Do I?"

"Yes. You both…have a similar way of speaking, and you use your hands like he does. He thinks I talk with MY hands…I'd swear he was an old Italian woman and threaten to tie his hands behind his back when we argue; I'm always figuring I'll wind up cracked across the face one of these days."

Draco smiled involuntarily. "Henry mocks me endlessly for how I wave my hands around when we talk."

Harry smiled a bit into his ale. "See?"

There were several moments of silence as they both contemplated the bollixed-up turn their lives had taken….then Harry stood up.

"Do you shoot darts?"

"Uhm, yeah." Draco looked up at Harry and a wave of longing washed over him so strongly that he was glad he was still sitting; he might have fallen to his knees and begged the other man to take him back otherwise.

"Game then? Loser buys the next round."

"You're on."

Several games - and several ales - later, they were both royally pissed and had to occasionally prop themselves up on the other in order to shoot. "Thishh," said Harry finally, "Ish dangerous. Gonna put an…eye out here."

"So wha…got two." For some reason, they both found that hysterical and laughed till they hiccupped helplessly, the bartender shaking his head at them in amusement. "Yeah, buh…still. Need both. So…"


"Do ya…uh…"

For a brief moment, even in his drunken state, Draco hoped Harry would ask him to come home with him…but then…if Harry asked Aaron to come home with him, it wouldn't be him and…shit. The full on bloody irony of this situation was…

"…Wanna mebbe shoo some bill…billya…billyars tomorra?"

Draco processed this for a moment before smiling brightly. "Shurrr. Here?"

Harry shook his head and winced. "Noo…down tha street a ways. Whole parlor thing there. Meet, like, the corner?" He pointed vaguely out the door. Draco nodded. "K."

The next two nights went pretty much the same way; they talked, though not as intensely as they had the first night, and played billiards or darts, or even pinball, and drank. The night after that, they went to dinner. Draco had asked Harry this time, who had agreed, then, somewhat nervously asked if this was a 'date."

"Do you want it to be?" Draco didn't know if HE wanted it to be or not.

"I…I don't think its time to date anyone. I mean, Draco should be home in a couple of days and we'll need to talk, and then…and you have your own issues…"

"All valid points." Draco took a sip of his vodka before racking up the billiard balls to give himself something to do. "Are you looking forward to, or dreading, this talk with Draco?" It felt very odd to say his own name, like it had nothing to do with him.

Harry had leaned against the table, shoving a hand through his hair; Draco had been oddly pleased to see that when they were together, Harry was much more casual, much more like the Harry he'd fallen in love with years and years ago. While Club!Harry was hot, no mistake, he was also removed and unavailable. This Harry was warm and present and funny and kind….and sexy as hell.

"I don't know, honestly…both? I want to talk to him, because I've been thinking a lot about everything…about he and I and where we were and where I'd want to be if we stay together…but I dread it too because what if he's found someone else? What if that's why he's been gone so bloody long?"

In a way, it felt good to get his worst fear out in the open; the one that invaded his dreams and made him wake with a sick and shaky stomach. Aaron had looked at him and said simply. "If he has, Harry, then he is, without a doubt, the biggest fool the world has ever known."

Despite his fears, he'd had to laugh. "You sound so completely certain of that."

"I am. If Draco thinks, or ever thought he could find someone to replace you?" Draco had shaken his head. "Then he would deserve to be fucking miserable for the rest of his life."

"But I want him to be happy…I just want it to be with me." Harry's voice had grown small. "And he wasn't then, so why would he be now?"

Draco had reflected in that moment that if there really were a hell (well, one worse than having Voldemort killing Muggles on your formal dining room table) then his own personal one would be to have to relive these small moments when he knew for certain how his actions had affected Harry – and forever and ever, he would have to see the hurt in those eyes, hear the uncertainty in his voice, see the shadow pass over his face when he spoke about the night he'd found out that Draco had cheated on him and how afraid he was that Draco really didn't want him anymore.

It wouldn't be any less than he deserved.

"Just…just try to go in with an open mind, and heart – if you can – and listen to him. You're an excellent listener. I suspect that you might be surprised by what he has to say."

Harry had given him a sideways look. "You think?"


Harry had shrugged and handed him the cue for his turn, not saying any more about it; and for the rest of the night, Draco had watched him, trying to sort out all his feelings so that when the day DID come, he could express what was in his heart and head in a way that Harry would understand – and not take as his fault.

Because it wasn't…it never had been. Never in all the time they were together had Draco truly felt like he deserved Harry, or been sure that Harry would want him forever. But the long nights alone – then watching Harry relate to other people who wanted him – and now, talking to him, truly TALKING to him…he knew he was wrong. Harry did want him, as much as Draco wanted him in return; and god, did Draco want him.

It was the way he moved; the way he used his entire body to do even the smallest things. It was the half smile that played across his lips or the big open grin; the way he propped his head against his palm and listened to Draco like he was the most fascinating person in the world. It was the offer to walk him home to make sure he got there ok. It was the questions he asked after Draco had told him something, the way he reasoned things out in his mind before saying anything, as if making sure he gave good feedback. It was the way he got shy once in a while and cast his eyes down, then looked up through inky lashes.

Draco knew he was falling in love all over again….and when he lay in his cold and empty bed at night and watched the dawn break over the Seine, he couldn't remember why he had ever looked for anything else.

Yes, he was young…they were young. And yes, they were settled together and not every moment was fireworks and shooting stars. But there was love there and Draco cursed himself regularly for ever finding love…real love… either scary or boring.

All he could do now is hope that Harry would understand when he finally revealed himself.

That Sunday, there was a message on the machine from Draco when Harry got home from having dinner with Aaron. "Hey…I'm going to be home Monday night around 6…I hope you'll be home because we need to talk about a lot of things. And also because…I've really missed you, Harry. I hope that maybe you've missed me a little bit too."

Harry listened to the message four times. "I've really missed you Harry…"

iDid you, Draco? Did you really? How many people have you…?/i

No. No, he couldn't think like that. He and Aaron had talked a lot…he really WAS remarkably similar to Draco…or how Draco would be if he was more open, less guarded, more available. He was like…Draco 4.0. He mentally rolled his eyes at his own dorkiness.

So Draco would be home tomorrow night…and they would have to settle this one way or the other.

Harry didn't sleep much that night.

Draco was so used to not sleeping at night these days that he reflected that he better change the nature of his business to something nocturnal if he had any hope of ever actually BEING there to inspire his employees to…what? Hell, that's what he had minions and yes men for. Actually, he could probably never show up again and no one would notice.

Two months ago, that realization might have dismayed him; now he saw it as more time he could spend with Harry….assuming he ditched work and agreed to never leave Draco's bed/whirlpool tub/side ever again.

If he did; Draco felt like he knew Harry better now than he ever had, and knew himself even more. But what if it still wasn't enough?

As the rising sun burned its sparkling image into his corneas, he found himself repeating the same mantra to himself that he had since the day he arrived in Paris.

i"One more chance, god, please…one more and I will never ask for anything ever again. Just this one more time, please, please…"/i

"So, today is the big day," said Pansy, eyeing Draco as they sat on the black leather couch in his private office. He nodded; his stomach was full of butterflies and he thought he'd probably gone to the loo seven times in the last hour alone. "I suppose asking you how you feel would be rather stupid of me."

"You suppose correctly." His voice was tight and he stopped and sighed. "Sorry Pans."

"It's all right, love…how do you think it will go?"

"I have no idea, really; either wonderfully right or very, very wrong." He got up and started to pour himself a shot of vodka, then put the bottle down again; liquid courage wasn't going to help here…only old fashioned courage. God help him, he was channeling bloody Godric Gryffindor here.

Pansy watched him; he looked good, he looked calm, but she knew him well and knew that the tension lurked just under the surface. She was sure that if she reached out and touched him, his skin would literally thrum under her fingertips.

She desperately wanted to know how everything had gone, if Harry had fallen for Aaron, if things were going to be normal again…but she was afraid to, as well. She and Blaise had talked that morning over a late breakfast and both had been forced to admit that Harry and Draco…well, they gave them both hope. Hope that you really could find true love and work through the hard things and come out stronger. And both had admitted that seeing these two apart had been hard because in the end, Pansy and Blaise both had romantic streaks a mile wide that they tried very hard to camouflage; and they both wanted, more than anything, to see Harry and Draco cuddle, touch, kiss, and do all the things that they pretended made them sick to witness. Secretly, both Slytherins loved it.

"I scheduled time with Paul for you this afternoon," she said, deciding to change the subject.

Draco looked up from the tumbler he'd set down. "Why?"

"To get you back to looking like you, dunderhead…you aren't going back to Harry looking like someone else, are you?"

"I am someone else now, Pansy." He'd settled for water, desperate to do something with his hands, since his secretary had banned him from smoking in the office. Maggie rarely got fierce, but when she did, even Draco caved. "I'm not who I was."

"But Draco, when Harry sees you he'll know that you're…Aaron, is it?"

"Yes, he'll know. Look…if I went back to looking like Draco Malfoy, but acted like the person I've become…like Aaron…Harry would know something was wrong. And when he figured it out, he'd be pissed off all over again, that I was hiding something from him. Better to show up as me…him…and let the chips fall where they may. If he wants to hate me then, at least he'll know up front what I did to get him back."

Pansy twirled the ends of her hair around her finger. "It's risky."

"Love IS risky…and besides, I actually kind of like this." He held up a hand to forestall Pansy's snort. "I know…all I did was complain at first, but I'm used to seeing me like this now and I don't mind, really."

Pansy raised an eyebrow. "No more 'it's bloody BROWN, Blaise?"

He smirked. "No, its still brown…I just don't give a shit anymore."

Pansy did snort now. "What if Harry wants his blondie back?"

"Then you can hustle me right over to your darlingest and we'll worry about it then."


He sank back down on the couch beside her then and they sat in silence for a while. "I saw Harry this morning, on my way here."

Draco looked up. "Did you?"

"Mmmhmm. I was at my desk, looking over the park and he was walking along the path, looking deep in thought."


Pansy reached over and took his hand, squeezing it gently. "What time did you tell him you would be back?"

"Around six pm…I thought maybe I could be there when he gets home from work."

"Well then…" she looked up at the clock. "It's nearly time."

Draco nodded and stood up, taking a deep breath. Pansy stood too and slid her arms around Draco's waist, hugging him briefly. "Good luck honey."

"Thanks." He set his shoulders. "I'll need it."

The CRACK of apparition echoed throughout the flat, and Harry, upstairs in the loo, shivered when he heard it.

Draco was home.

He'd left work at noon, at his co-worker's urging; they hadn't exactly said he was useless, but close enough, and he had agreed. He'd come home, tried fruitlessly to nap, and finally gave up and turned to cooking. He'd made chocolate chip cookies, two loaves of bread and a pie before finally shutting off the cooker and going upstairs to shower. He looked at himself in the mirror and was surprised to see that he looked calm, cause he sure as hell didn't FEEL calm.

"Harry?" Draco had cleared his throat twice before managing to call his name; his mouth was dry and he kept licking his lips to wet them.

"Up here…I'm coming down though, just a moment."

God, he sounded so inormal./i

Harry ran his comb through his hair one last time; it was almost behaving, but not quite. He gave up and shook his head till it was its Hogwarts-era unruly self again and called it good.

He forced himself to straighten up and exit the loo with measured steps, down the hallway and to the stairs, which he took slowly. As he entered the room, he spied a darkish head over at the window and stopped short. "Aaron? How the hell did you get in here?"

He stopped as the man at the window turned and took a few steps toward him. "I live here…I kind of have access." Draco bit his lip and looked Harry in the eye. "Hello Harry."

Harry closed his eyes and took a breath before opening them again. "It's been you all along, hasn't it?"

Draco nodded. "Yes."

Harry took a couple of steps back until the back of his knees hit the sofa and he sat down hard. He stared at Draco, who looked back at him with all the calm he could muster.

A million feelings were spinning through his head as he took Draco in. There had to have been a glamour, true, but the face wasn't ithat/i different. How in hell had he not known?

How had he not seen DRACO underneath?

Hot on the heels of astonishment was anger. "You lied to me."

Draco had expected this…sort of. "I know that it looks that way…"

"It IS that way! Why the hell didn't you talk to me as you, Draco Malfoy? Why did you hide behind someone else?"

"As you may recall, I DID try and talk to you…several times. You chose to either dig at me or ignore me…I had to do something, Harry! The regular ways for people to communicate weren't working, so I…"

"Chose to lie." Harry paused, fighting down the tears. "You lied to me instead. You let me think you understood, that you could empathize, that you knew how I felt!"

"I did! I do now! For fuck's sakes Potter, would I have gone to this extreme if I didn't have to? Would I have made myself into someone else for fun? It was the only way I could get close to you, the only way you'd listen!"

The words were coming hard to him now… Harry didn't get it. He was looking for reasons to reject him. "You…I…I tried Harry! I tried but you were angry and hurt and didn't want to hear it, and by the time I realized why I'd done what I did, it was like you had moved to another fucking continent, emotionally! What the hell else was I supposed to do? Body-bind you and MAKE you listen? No! I wanted you to listen because you cared and wanted to know why I was an asshole. And if you would only listen to Aaron, then you would only listen to Aaron! I did this…" he swept a shaking hand up and down his body. "For you! To get inside your head, to understand how you felt, to…god, fuck, to be WITH you, Harry. I love you."

His voice had gotten small and Harry swallowed. "And all this time when you were gone, I thought you had found someone else. I fucking tortured myself with the images and fears and all the time you were there, and you heard them and you could have said, "Harry, it's me, I'm here and…"

"And you would have gotten pissed off, just like you are now!"

"It's been weeks!"

"Two…two weeks! And you fucking ignored me or belittled me for much longer than that!"

"I was angry!"

"And I was sorry, but you didn't care, you were having a piss fit and…"

"PISS FIT? You were shagging half the Internet!"

Draco was shaking now, all over, not just his hands. "I said I was sorry. I told you I was scared. Shit reason or no, it's the truth. Nothing, bnothing/b Aaron…I…said was a lie. When he said he loved his boy, he did, and he does, more than anything else in this world. Life is NOTHING without his boy. When he said he'd been miserable and that it was his own bloody fault, he meant it. When he told you it wasn't you, it was his own fucking stupid scared self, he meant it. If you can't or won't see that, Harry…that I love you and there is nothing else for me than you…then there isn't anything more I can do. I can't…I just can't. "

Draco turned and moved blindly to the hall and the door, not even stopping for a jacket even though it was late November and snow was threatening the air. He pushed open the door and left the flat, stumbling blindly down the street.

Harry sat there on the couch like a stone, unable to think of anything else save Draco's halting words. "When he said he loved his boy, he did. He does, more than anything else in this world. Life is NOTHING without his boy. When he said he'd been miserable and that it was his own bloody fault, he meant it. When he told you it wasn't you, it was his own fucking stupid scared self, he meant it. If you can't or won't see that, Harry…that I love you and there is nothing else for me than you…then there isn't anything more I can do. I can't…I just can't."

He'd sounded so broken and his eyes…

Harry got up abruptly and left the flat himself, not stopping for his wallet, his keys, anything. Fuck it.

The Guardian was quiet on a Monday night, and it was not hard to spot the brunet head in the last booth near the wall. Harry walked over and reached down, taking Draco's arm. "Come with me."

Draco stiffened. "Why? So you can tell me I'm a lying fuck? Again?"

"No. Come on." He pulled and Draco stood up, bumping his knee on the table in the process. Harry tugged Draco into the loo without any further words, and shut and locked the door behind them before turning, tossing his glasses onto the sink and with one fluid move pinned Draco to the damp and slightly sticky cement wall. And before Draco could speak, Harry's mouth crashed down onto his, covering it and kissing him hungrily. He forced his tongue between Draco's lips and plundered his mouth, seeking and finding all the hidden spots, sliding his hot tongue along the roof of Draco's mouth.

Draco surrendered completely to the kiss, and sank his hands into Harry's hair, using it to pull him even tighter against him, wanting to swallow him whole; he could feel Harry's cock pressing against his thigh, his fingers digging into his arse. His lips grew suddenly cold as Harry's moved off them but before he could protest, the lips were back, trailing along his jaw and moving down to his neck, latching onto the sweet spot, the deep indent between neck and collarbone and sucking; Draco moaned and it was a damn good thing that Harry had him nearly immobilized, else he would have slid down the wall, limp with pleasure.

"Stay with me, Malfoy," Harry whispered before resuming his sucking and biting…and Draco wasn't sure if he meant in the moment or forever, but he didn't much care at this point; Harry was wrapped around him, and his hand was steadily moving…up his arse cheek and down inside the waistband of his trousers, his finger dipping and stroking up the crack till Draco gasped and clenched around his hand. Harry smiled against his skin at the sound, and still pinning Draco with a leg between both of his, Harry deftly unbuttoned the trousers and shoved his hand down the front of them, giving Draco's cock a rather hard squeeze and eliciting more moans. Draco kept one of his hands lodged in Harry's hair and reached down to fumble at Harry's jeans, ripping at the buttons and bruising his fingers in the process until he had yanked down the zipper and could rub his hand along the hard bulge and feel the heat radiating off him.

Harry nipped at the base of Draco's throat, leaving marks and not caring; he licked at the last one, then raised his head to bite Draco's chin before stepping back, stooping swiftly and pulling down Draco's trousers and pants, stopping to squeeze his balls and give a quick swipe of his tongue up his cock, swirling around the tip and sucking, pulling off with an audible pop and smirk as he stood back up, shoved his own trousers down and slid his arm under Draco's arse, effectively lifting him up and holding him against the wall. Harry reached backward and fumbled for the soap dispenser, filling his hand with liquid and rubbing it hastily between his fingers before sliding his hand under Draco and inserting one, then two slippery fingers into him, scissoring him, stretching him.

Draco was watching Harry through half-closed eyes; his eyes had fluttered closed with pleasure when the fingers first breached him, but he forced them open so he wouldn't miss a moment of Harry's face as he entered him and filled him. The fact that Harry was taking him, being forceful, being rough, only served to increase his arousal; and when Harry pulled his fingers out and pushed into him in one smooth move, Draco bit down hard on his lip to keep from crying out…fuck, it felt so good, so right to be filled by Harry, to smell him, taste him, feel his skin under his fingernails...he wrapped his legs around Harry's waist and groaned as he was slammed into over and over again.

Harry rested his forehead against Draco's shoulder and twined his fingers in Draco's hair, his other hand reaching into his shirt, ripping the buttons away so he could rub the rough pads of his fingers over tender nipples before reaching down to stroke, tug and twist Draco's cock, smearing the pre-come over the head and using it for soothing the friction of his hand against the soft skin. He set a rhythm in time with his thrusts, his body remembering everything about Draco…how to rock against him, how to move his hips to change the angle and force of the thrust…and Harry let his body take over, his mind echoing one word over and over…


His breathing quickened as he felt his orgasm build, and Draco strained against the knowing hand on his cock, wanting more friction, demanding it, even as he pushed harder and harder against Harry, their damp skin slapping wetly together; Draco was squeezing the back of Harry's neck, the other hand clawing at his back through the thin fabric of his T-shirt. His head was thrown back against the cement and he was sure he would be bruised all up and down his shoulders and back.

And it was so fucking worth it….every bit of it.

They both recognized each other's signs and didn't have to do more than mutter before they both came, at very nearly the same time, both of them straining and pulsing against each other…and to Draco, the sweetest sound ever heard was Harry gasping his name…HIS name.

"God, Draco…my Draco…" He felt Harry's chest rising and falling against his and felt his breath against his skin; and Draco wrapped his arms around Harry's soaked back and buried his face in thick black hair. "I am yours and you're mine, I swear on my life."

"I missed you." The words were muffled, but they went straight to Draco's heart.

"Me too…I need you."

"I know… and I need you too."

Their hearts slowly resumed their normal rates as they stood there, impaled and enmeshed in each other for long moments, until someone banged on the door…"You gonna be in there forever?"

Draco was tempted to yell "Yes! Go piss on a dumpster," but Harry laughed. "Just a sec, ok?"

Grumbling ensued but the steps shuffled away. Harry lifted his head from Draco's shoulder and turned his face to brush his lips over Draco's cheek. "Let's go home."

Harry slid out of Draco and Draco almost sagged from the loss of Harry's legs holding him up; he clutched the sink for a moment before he could stand on his own, reaching down with one shaky hand to pull his trousers up. Harry had made swift work of his, and was washing his hands; he caught Draco's eye in the mirror and smirked.

That smirk made him laugh and the strength seemed to return quickly after that.

They left the bar, ignoring the amused glances of several patrons as they exited; the bar had filled up while they were occupied, and apparently, they hadn't exactly been quiet.

They walked down the street towards their flat, Harry's hand curled securely around Draco's; that simple touch was enough to make his eyes burn and he blinked several times on the relatively short walk home.

Once inside, the door shut and locked and barred against the rest of the world, Draco turned to Harry and asked simply, "Now what?"

Harry didn't answer for a moment, just went to the bar and mixed them each their favorite drink, handing Draco his before sitting down on the couch and nodding to the seat beside him. "Now we figure out how you can learn not be afraid of us and I make you understand what its like to feel how I felt."

Draco nodded, his stomach tightening as he sat down beside Harry. He looked at Harry as he sipped his scotch, watching his throat move as he swallowed. "Harry?"


"Are we…are we going to work this out? Are we going to be all right?"

Harry looked up and met his eyes. "Yes…I think we will be."

The next morning found Draco leaning on the window sill, staring out over the river as the sun rose…but this time it was the Thames, in his own home, and while he still hadn't slept, he had good reason; the reason lay about five feet away haphazardly covered with a sheet, arms thrown wide and a decidedly shagged expression on his sleeping face.

They had talked much of the night…and cried, both of them…and screamed at each other…and when Harry had yelled that he wished he could shove the offending computer system up Draco's arse, Draco had responded by sending the entire system to the floor with a crash and promptly casting Incendio on it. Harry had watched it burn, caught between triumph and disbelief, which was only compounded when Draco tossed his mobile on the flaming pile of metal and plastic and then yelled "Happy now?"

Harry had been about to yell back, "Yes, yes I am," when Draco's face fell and he covered his eyes briefly, before removing his hands from his face. "I really, REALLY hope Maggie had backup files, cause otherwise, she's gonna kill me."

For some reason, that made Harry laugh and laugh and then finally Draco had to as well – then Harry had pulled him down onto the couch and made love to him, again and again until they were both exhausted, mentally, emotionally, and physically. They'd barely made it to the bedroom when Harry was out; and tired as he was, Draco lay and watched him, watched him breathe, watched his eyelashes flutter as he dreamed, watched as his sweat-damp hair dried into little curls on his neck and he sighed and turned over in his sleep.

He heard a rustle behind him and then his name, softly. "Draco."

He turned around and saw a barely-awake Harry stretch and reach his arms out to him; he closed his eyes for a moment.

Thank you.

Then he moved the few feet to the bed and crawled into those waiting arms.

- End