I have decided to post the first chapter of my new fic. I am still in need of a beta for future chapters so if anyone is interested please contact me!
Title: A Gentleman's Gentleman
Pairing: Harry/Draco, (a little draco/blaise)
Rating: Eventually NC-17
Warnings (For this chapter ONLY. Please check warnings for each chapter, though there won't be anything hard-core): none
Summary: The Malfoys lost their fortune, and Draco has become the wizarding equivalent of a valet. Harry Potter is has suddenly inherited a huge sum of cash and desperately in need of help in this new and strange world his fortune has opened up for him. A match made in heaven?
Note: This story is set in about the late 19th century, but since it's the wizarding world I take a few liberties. In my mind house elves are tied to families and can't often be bought. "New money" must therefore employ people.
Note 2: Inspired by the wonderful series "Jeeves and Wooster" with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. I haven't read the books, it should be said, and have actually only seen one episode (so far), but this idea popped right into my head.
This chapter has been beta-ed by Victory by Grace and my new beta Hidden Lily
Chapter One: the new Lord and the new Valet
Harry groaned, his head waking him up by beginning to pound fiercely. He rolled over, feeling every inch of his body like a ton of dead weight. There was a horrible knocking somewhere, inside his head most likely. Knocking and pounding, the tiny part of his brain that was still conscious thought. Wasn't that a bit much?
Ah, silence- apart from the pounding. Harry allowed his brain to turn back off, planning to sleep at least another twelve hours.
The knocking returned after only a slight pause. It was polite, not a decibel louder than necessary, but to Harry it sounded like Armageddon. There was something in the nature of the knocking that compelled Harry to drag his sorry hide out of bed. It was as if each knock on wood told Harry that this person wasn't going away anytime soon.
He staggered, swayed, lurched, wobbled, and stumbled his way to the entrance hall. It was a large, though slightly narrow room, with a high ceiling and dusty, sombre furnishings. The wallpaper was a sort of grey-green colour with flowers so faded you hardly noticed them. The expensive everlasting-candles were, of course, still burning, but they only made Harry squint. He managed to get the door open eventually, glaring feebly out into the street.
'Who're you?' On his front steps stood a blond man dressed in perfectly cut black robes with the traditional white cuffs of a servant. He was about Harry's height, but that's where the likeness ended. His shining hair matched his light grey eyes well, and his skin was flawless. The only thing that marred the ethereal beauty of the man was his blank stare and ever so slightly pursed lips.
'Are you a Mr. Porter?' The man's voice was refinement itself and caused Harry to stop blinking at the man's appearance and focus, a little at least.
'Potter,' he corrected.
'Ah, yes, my apologies,' the man smiled thinly. 'I meant Mr. Potter, or rather Lord Potter now, is that not so? Your friend, Mr. Finnigan, said you were in need of a valet, and I have come to offer my services. My name is Draco Spinks.'
That was a lot of information for Harry's probably-still-drunken mind. He blinked and tried to shake his head, but that only brought back the pounding.
Harry was indeed in need of a valet, as all his friends and associates had informed him. Normally, a fortune such as the Potters' would include one or more house-elves, but the former Lord Potter's house-elf staff had been reduced to one lonely elf, who had died shortly after his master. Since all available house-elves were owned by the big families, it left Harry no choice but to hire a human servant, although privately Harry preferred paying wages to a human rather than owning a magical creature.
'Perhaps I may come in and show you my excellent references?' Harry nodded numbly, turned, and tottered down the hall, past the grand stairs, and into the kitchen at the back of the house. He could hear Spinks following him. Too tired to think about manners or the like, Harry dropped into a chair at the large table. It was a well-used and old wooden table, having been utilized to prepare food for perhaps as long as the house had stood. It now served to carry Harry's head, as he was unable to.
He heard something being set quietly on the table in front of him and from the sound of it he reasoned Spinks must have brought a bag of some sort with him. He distantly heard rummaging and then something else was set by his right hand.
'If you would drink this, Sir.' It was the "Sir" that did it- he still wasn't used to people calling him that. At least it was better than "Milord," which made him shudder every time he heard it.
Finding some strength within him, Harry made his hand move and found a small glass vial. He raised his head and sniffed at the contents. Being of a rather reckless disposition and known for his trusting nature, Harry merely shrugged inwardly and swallowed the liquid in one gulp. It burned down his throat and felt like acid in his gut, and for a moment Harry was in danger of believing himself at death's door. Then a strange sensation spread from his stomach out to the tips of his extremities. He was all at once as he had been yesterday before his night out. His head was so suddenly clear he was sure it would float off his head at any moment. He stared at the man in his kitchen with amazement and growing delight.
'Merlin's beard, what on earth was in that stuff?' he exclaimed, eyeing the empty vial with curiosity.
'An extra strength sobering and pepper-up potion, Sir, of my own creation.' This made Harry even more astonished, and by the curl of Spinks' lip it was clear this pleased the man in a deep, quiet fashion. Being now completely sober and feeling utterly refreshed, Harry was able to find the manners his dear friend Miss Granger had instilled in him since childhood.
'I must compliment you then, on your brilliant potion skills.'
'I thank you, Sir.' Spinks turned to his bag, a plain looking handbag (with handles), but which Harry guessed to contain wizarding space. This surprised him somewhat, as those kinds of bags were expensive, and few could make them themselves. It was unheard of in the lower class, where a servant like Spinks would most likely have come from. Elegant, long-fingered hands pulled out a small stack of letters. 'I have references from Lady Defaux and also the Comtesse-'
'Please, please, put them away,' Harry waved his hand, surprising the young Spinks. 'This potion is all the reference I need. Consider yourself hired.' Spinks gave a graceful bow of the head, not like the pathetically extravagant bows Harry sometimes had to endure from others.
'Thank you, Sir. I shall endeavour to serve you to the best of my abilities.'
'Yes, I'm sure that will do splendidly.' Harry grinned, feeling a little out of character due to his joviality, but unable to stop smiling at his handsome new valet. Finally, perhaps his life would not seem so disorganized, nor his duties so intimidating with someone to help get him up in the mornings.
'Let me show you to the servants' rooms,' Harry pronounced and rose.
'That won't be necessary, Sir, I will be able to find my own way. Incidentally, do you prefer I call you Sir, or Milord?'
'Oh, Sir is just fine,' Harry nodded emphatically to underscore this point.
'I thought so,' Spinks murmured, that same odd curl of the lips making Harry feel strangely proud to have been the cause of it. Grey eyes, so full of thought compared to what Harry saw in the mirror - he considered himself from the lower class when it came to the cognitive processes – looked him up and down before meeting green eyes, and Harry felt a heating of his cheeks almost immediately when he realised what he was wearing! In his stupor he had come down in his nightshirt! It reached to just past his knees and was white with thin blue stripes. And what must his hair look like? Harry had never been a vain man - his upbringing would not allow it - and he knew his hair as "the untameable beast" courtesy of Miss Granger, but after a night of frivolities and five hours of sleep, "bed head" would most likely not even begin to describe it.
'Would Sir like to rest a few more hours, while I settle in and acquaint myself with the house? I should have realised I came far too early on a Saturday morning. I can have a bath ready for you when you wake up.'
'That sounds-… lovely,' Harry stuttered. 'But I do think your potion has quite woken me up.'
'Yes, it does that,' Spinks murmured. 'Shall we go upstairs then, Sir, and you can have your bath straight away.' If Harry felt it strange to be ordered about in his own house, his mind did not put those sentiments into thoughts. Indeed, he felt entirely at ease to do as his new valet suggested, and led the way up the stairs and into the bedroom. Spinks immediately surveyed the room – Harry felt a slight blush of his cheeks again – but ignored the mess in favour of inspecting the bathroom. Within moments Harry heard the water running and spied steam rolling from the door.
Padding in after Spinks, Harry saw the man putting in salts, which he realised he had never used himself. The bath was an old lion-clawed thing, but spelled to keep a perfect temperature and to be filled without delay. The size was not what you would find in a country manor, but for a bachelor in a city house it was just fine.
'Sir?' Harry's head snapped to Spinks, who was holding his hands out as if to take something. 'May I take your nightshirt, Sir?'
'Oh, right.' Harry lifted the garment, and Spinks helped him get it smoothly off his head, leaving him completely naked. Feelings somewhat exposed – not used to servants or bathing in company – Harry's face and chest heated for the third time that morning. Spinks, however, was all professional, and gestured to the tub while saying:
'I shall be in the other room if you need me Sir.' When he was gone Harry hastened into the water, forgetting his embarrassment the moment it enfolded his flesh. Sighing and groaning a bit, Harry leaned back and allowed himself to feel nothing but the pleasure of the water and the scent of the salts.
Some would perhaps think it strange to hire a valet so quickly and putting him to work so directly, but Harry had done most of his transactions in life with his instincts. Draco Spinks was a man who obviously knew his trade very well, and he would without a doubt be a great asset to Harry in his new position as Lord Potter.
He had inherited the title, and indeed the name, just a few months ago when his grandfather died. Harry had not known his grandfather was named Lord Potter before then. He had not even known his father's name. The late Lord Potter had paid for his schooling, but Harry had only known him as an "anonymous benefactor to a poor orphan." Before becoming a Lord, Harry worked at the Ministry's Muggle Liaison Office. It was a dreary place in the basement where no one ventured except when in need of special permits for when a witch or wizard wanted to tell a muggle friend or relative of the wizarding world's existence. Harry had been a clerk there, and the only upside was that he had sometimes been allowed to come with his superior to the Ministry's fundraisers. There he had observed people whose lives were the envy of all others. Never had he dreamed he would one day be one of them.
Then Lord Potter died of old age, leaving a property and fortune that was entailed to the direct male line of decent, as it had always been, though without an heir it would have gone to the closest male relative, in this case to a family called Malfoy, though Harry was unaware of this fact. Unfortunately, the Malfoy family had left England several years ago and had disappeared. All searches proved futile. So, not wanting the money to go to the Blacks, whose only remaining member was in prison, Lord Potter had, with his last strength, penned a letter to his solicitor, explaining where to find young Harry. The proper bloodline spells had been preformed, and Harry had been taken to his new life.
And what a life it was, Harry thought as he allowed himself to prune. Parties and new friends desperate for his attention. It was all quite overwhelming for poor Harry. Only Miss Granger and young Mr Weasley were there to keep him on his feet. Now, though, he had Spinks, and surely the man would be able to help?
'Spinks? I think I'm ready to get out. I've got lots to do today, I've just realised,' Harry mused allowed. He had lunch with Aunt McGonagall, as she insisted on being called, did he not? That was a depressing thought. Luckily Spinks would be able to keep track of his appointments from now on.
Draco had been a bit depressed when the door opened to reveal a pathetic looking man with hair like a crow's nest, wearing a nightshirt far too big. The face was handsomely proportioned at least, and if the man lacked every kind of aristocratic manner and refinement, then at least he seemed kind. Draco would have to call himself content with that, and instead take it upon himself to make this man presentable.
Then he had looked him in the eye and Draco had seen only green. Perfect forest green. Pretty enough, he supposed, but that was hardly relevant.
Then he had taken off his shirt. A body, could a man not made of marble have such a body? Completely beside the point, of course, so it was wholly unproductive to entertain such silly wonderings. Still…
Draco's weakness had always been men with sculpted figures and bright eyes. It was a dangerous vice, when all wizarding men were practically required by law to breed. Servants got away from the high-society gossiping of course, but Draco knew that when a wizard reached a certain age people would start to whisper if he didn't have a wedding ring on his finger.
He tidied up quickly while his new employer took a bath and berated himself strongly for letting the images of Lord Potter's naked body linger in his mind. He swore at himself even more for entertaining fantasies of that flesh wet and dripping with soapy foam. No, no! He would not allow himself to desire another man ever again and certainly not his employer and a Lord!
With this resolution firmly in mind and all traces of naked Harry gone, Draco followed the summons he heard and promptly cursed the new Lord, though inwardly of course, for getting up at all.
'Allow me.' Holding a towel while Lord Potter stepped out, Draco was immensely grateful for his ability to shield all thoughts and feelings, not to mention desires. 'I have laid out the green and black robe, Sir. I thought it the best choice with the weather in mind and can be worn to both a nice lunch or just to the club.'
'Oh, can it? That's good, fine, I mean that's fine. Thank you, Spinks.' Harry went to dress himself and Draco drained the water.
'I can ignore his body and eyes,' he thought dispassionately. 'I haven't allowed myself to touch a man in years. I'm sure all such fantasies have left me. This will be a good job with a good employer. I must simply stay professional, keep a proper distance, and keep decorum at all times.'
Draco nodded, satisfied that he had solved his problems with his iron will, and went to assist his Lord.
Oh, how wrong he was.
Note: Cookies to anyone who gets the Oscar Wilde reference!