So nice to be uploading something again. This 'oneshot' took me ages, and you can see why: because it's pretty long. Also I edited it like a madwoman. I hope it's good. it's probably one of the most domestic things I've written. It has sex in it but it's not very graphic so I might lower the rating, what do people think? It's more of an exploration into the private vs public aspects of a relationship. I hope you like it. I'm not kidding about the length though, so maybe you ought to get a cup of tea to drink while you're reading it; a few biccies would be good too.
Disclaimer: I own no part of Harry Potter, and use these characters for a little non profit game called fanfiction. :-)
Oops. Forgot to say: Draco has blue eyes in this story. I know that sort of thing offends some people so I thought I'd say it now so that we can get over it. Basically I wanted him to get 'indigo' eyes when he's in bed with Harry, and that're why they're blue. I know, I'm the devil aren't I?
Under his Hands
a oneshot by skinnyrita
POTTER THROUGH NEW EYES:
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE BRINSBOURNE BEATERS' SEEKER!!
'The day is just dawning for most of us, fresh and dewy, as I make my way to meet the exulted Seeker of the top of the league team, Brinsbourne Beaters. But for Harry Potter, the day started at five A.M, and the team practice and fitness training session is taking a half hour break after a gruelling two hours of press-ups, squats, running, broom loops, diving, feinting, fall-breaks, wind-rolls, and all manner of team-trust exercises. I took the opportunity to have a brief talk with him about what we can hope to expect from the team and their seeker this coming season…
He sits in front of me with that shy smile seen so often in the press; a truly modest young man dealing with the public eye with a maturity and grace befitting his polite demeanour. He offers me a cup of coffee and we park ourselves in the visiting manager's box with our drinks – Potter on a strict bottle-of-water-with-multivitamin-cocktail combination – and I begin by asking him firstly about his new look, glasses-free.
"I think most Quidditch players would pay for what I've had done: it's muggle laser eye surgery, and is very popular amongst muggle athletes. I'm not saying it's for everyone, and you need to have yourself registered with the muggle health authorities, but I've had so many glasses-related accidents in the past, it seemed like the best solution until wizards develop a method for eyesight-correction."
"Your fans are certainly going to appreciate this new look, have you been inundated with dating offers?" [Pwistel]
"I'm not sure my training sessions leave that much room for dating at the moment…"
"No special woman in your life?" Potter blushes at me in that adorable manner we are so accustomed to seeing on this twenty-four-year-old handsome face. The Seeker still eludes the kind of steady relationship status enjoyed by Quidditch players such as the team's own Herbert Bungo, whose marriage to broom research analyst Maria Gladswell was joyously covered in the Prophet and various wizarding weeklies last year. Notorious playboys and Beaters for the team, Tom Jenning and Max Hollyfeather, have as yet held the unbeaten records for tabloid headlines and broken hearts amongst the other players of the BB's. It seems that for now, at least, Mr Potter has no intentions of joining in. You've got to wonder when it will be this handsome hero's turn to snap up a lovely lady of his own…'
Draco folded the paper in half before he could read any more, and stood up, checking his robes for creases. He was about to land the best-paid job of his life, had already landed it on paper, in fact, and was waiting with a slight edginess for Bill Wandersley, the manager of the Brinsbourne Beaters and a quietly formidable character according to the press. He shifted his briefcase a little to the left so that he couldn't see Harry's faintly uncomfortable-looking face staring at him. The outline of Wandersley's figure was standing on the other side of the frosted glass doors, talking to someone. The door pushed inwards, letting the fuzz of their voices mould into more coherent words, "…went well, but now Witch Weekly keep contacting Janet about my doing a topless spread and I don't really think I…"
"…ridiculous, Potter…AH!" Wandersley's face had made it round the door and he had spotted Draco standing awkwardly in front of the large ebony desk. "Ah, ah, Malfoy, isn't it? Potter, come in son." Draco shook the hand being offered to him. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Harry slip into the room.
"A pleasure to meet you, Mr Wandersley. Potter."
"Hello, Draco," Harry said, quietly.
"Know each other, do you?" Wandersley was now rifling through his inbox, searching for Draco's contract, who supplied a short, "yes, we were at Hogwarts together," before turning slightly away from the unwelcome addition. Harry took a seat in one of the leather chairs behind him. Wandersley had produced a sheaf of parchment. "Always good to see a familiar face in a new job," he was saying. Draco made a non-committal noise. "It's all here waiting for your signature, I've heard great things about you, Malfoy, great references. Potter, you're looking at our new physiotherapist, let me book you in first, shall I? Malfoy, the facilities are just down the corridor behind the team rooms, should find everything you asked for, let my PA, Sharon, know if there's anything else. Ah… anything else?"
"This all seems correct," Draco replied, scanning the contract with half an eye on Harry. "Thank you sir, I'll get acquainted with the facilities. The team can start signing themselves in tomorrow. I'd recommend half hour slots for everyone over the next week just to do a few checks, and then I'll be on hand during training and matches. Here is my contact card…" he fished it out of a pocket, "in case there are any emergencies. I'll see that everyone gets one."
The facilities were much as Draco had expected. All newly kitted out for the new physio, attractive wall-charts of vertebrae and various major body parts and muscle groups. He opened the windows to try to dispel some of the new-paint smell, and lay on the therapy bench to check it was level and comfortable, before spelling it with a professional blue cover and locating some towels. The cabinet of oils and massaging healing potions was well stocked and worthy of the impressed nod he afforded it. Taking the bundle of contact cards from his pocket he dropped it into the new holder on the corner of his desk, and opening his briefcase he began re-arranging the place as necessary, stowing his contract in the lockable top drawer, and shoving the offending issue of the Daily Prophet under some new manilla folders in the very bottom drawer.
He was just about to give in to his curiosity and whip the article out again, when the door opened and Harry shifted into the gleaming space. "Um, hi," he said, peering round at the facilities, noting the upgrade since the last (useless) physio.
"What is it?"
"Wandersley sent me for a check-over, since no one else is here until tomorrow morning, he thought now would be a good time."
"In future you'll need an appointment."
"Look, Draco, I know-"
"I read your interview, Harry. Tell me, why haven't you found that 'special woman' yet?" Harry gave him a wounded look and kept his mouth shut. Draco inhaled. The smell of paint fumes instantly pervaded his senses. He hoped they would air out soon. "What's wrong with you then?"
"It's my back. I did it in last week some time…"
"Last week? Jesus, Potter. Take your shirt off and get on the bed. Bench. Table. …Lie on your front." He put his hands on Harry's warm shoulder blades and instantly wondered whether it was a good idea taking the job, no matter how well paid it was. "Any pain here?" Damn, gentle voice. He had a soothing, 'physiotherapist' voice when he was in professional mode, and he didn't want Harry to have access to it.
"Um, I'm not sure, I think it's worse lower down. I'm not sure what I did, I think I was doing one of those twist-dives, the Mermaid's Tail Twist, do you know what I mean?"
"Yes, I know what one of those is… right, how about this?" he pressed his thumbs gently along the vertebrae midway down from the shoulder blades. Harry groaned and nodded against the padded bench. "Okay, the muscles are very tight here…hold on I'll be right back…" he rifled in the cabinet and found a vial of oil blended with a mild muscle relaxant. Taking the stopper out, the calming scent cleansed the room of paint fumes for the moment. Touching Harry in this professional way wasn't so bad. He could do this easily, and wondered whether he should apologise for the comment on the interview. No, he wasn't quite that charitable. Drizzling a little oil into the dip of Harry's shoulder blades he began working and kneading the muscles, coaxing them into gradual relaxation. Harry sighed, relieved as the knots began to shift. His back really was quite lovely to massage, all muscle sculpted over bone, barely half an inch of excess fat anywhere on his Quidditch-honed body.
"Do you do massages while you're working here? I mean, tension massages, not 'he's screwed up his back again' massages."
Draco hummed and worked a particularly tight area with the pads of his thumbs before using the heel of his hands to knead the tan skin. "Only by appointment. I'm going to move on to your right shoulder; I thought it seemed a bit off. Over-reach, did you?"
"Hmm. So only by appointment?"
"Harry. Stop it."
Draco continued to knead him in silence for a while, half a mind on his task as he rhythmically pressed and pulled gently, remembering the last time he'd given Harry a massage – not by appointment. He frowned, and took his hands off him. "We're done. Book an appointment when the list goes up. You're all going to need your pre-season physicals. And if you hurt your bloody back again, try to get it looked at, would you? Not wait a whole week."
"Right." Harry rolled over, all pectorals and hot skin. A sudden image of rolling muscles and limbs shaking under pale hands in bunching white sheets flashed across Draco's subconscious. He turned round and started writing on a piece of parchment already printed with grids and statistics, filing Harry's check-up and treatment. Behind him he heard Harry putting his shirt back on. When he thought he'd be safe to look, he turned and extracted a bottle from the cabinet.
"Okay, I'm going to give you seven of these capsules," he said, shaking them into a small pouch and sealing it, then writing a prescription receipt. "Take one at the same time every morning with water, before training, for a week, and then we'll see how your back's doing."
"What are they?"
"That's a muggle drug."
"Well it seems to serve you well. You, look good without your glasses."
"Thanks. Look, Draco, about the interview, you know they just print whatever they like, I mean I never said-" the exchange was cut off by a loud ringing sound. Harry went red and fumbled in the pocket of his jeans. "Sorry. Mobile – easier to keep in contact with my PA… hello? Yeah, Janet, can I ring you back? What? They want to what? Look, I already said I'm not comfortable doing that, but – hold on-" he put his hand over the microphone and gave Draco a perplexed look. "Sorry. I'll book in for a check-up probably on Friday, if that's okay. I'd better go to my offices and sort this stupid photo shoot bollocks out. Bye, Draco." And in a flurry of bumbled excuses, blushes and confusion he was gone.
Draco sat on the side of the bench and stared into space.
"Your physiotherapist? Harry that's a bit… well, I mean isn't it a bit unhealthy? You've only been apart for about six months."
"Eight months and six days actually. And he's not just there for me; he's there for the whole team. He's very good, Wandersley must've had some good reports about him anyway, because he basically shook his hand and pushed a contract at him. All new facilities too."
Hermione leaned forward, the end of a loose curl straying dangerously close to the rim of her coffee mug. "Harry, are you alright?"
"Why wouldn't I be?"
He sighed and stared into his mug as though the secret to life the universe and everything was lurking at the bottom. "He hates me, 'Mione. You have no idea just how much it hurt, having him address me as 'Potter' and tell Wandersley that we met at school, as though we'd never… and I hate myself for not hating him back, but I just can't, and he was right I am a totally spineless bastard who pretends all the time. And his hands, Hermione, his hands on me again… okay so it was just a back check-up, right, but he was so kind about it, so professional, and all I could do was lie there making lewd suggestions and… shit! I am such a cock, I really am!"
"I take it he read the interview then."
"I guess so. He mentioned it." He swallowed the rest of his coffee and drew patterns in some spilt sugar. "I didn't realise how much I missed him," he sniffed and looked away. "Sorry."
"Don't be sorry, Harry, at least, not to me. Come on, let's take the kids to the park for a while and have some fun."
The next following days saw Draco's integration into the running of the team practices and test matches –another 'facility' at their disposal, with a vital role of keeping an eye on muscle strains, encouraging physio work to keep joints supple, and generally reassessing the well-being of the players. Harry had already been booked in a couple of times; as one of the team's key players and an integral factor in securing a win, his back had to be in top condition again for their opening match of the season on the first Saturday of November. He was so far managing to maintain a professional, if a little strained, relationship with the new addition to his workplace. He was anxious to avoid giving Draco a reason to demand that Harry be referred to someone else for treatment so that he wouldn't have to work with him – having him in such close-quarters again was too wonderful to jeopardise.
"You really enjoy this job, don't you?" he groaned, hands braced on a wall-bar as Draco instructed him on back-strengthening lunges as the bout of assisted physiotherapy was drawing to an end, and Harry needed to continue the exercises at home to allow the muscles to adjust to the desired fluidity. At present, however, said muscles still harboured complaints.
Draco leaned over and adjusted the position of Harry's right hand so that his wrist held a less twisted pose. "I think everyone enjoys doing something they can see a good result from."
"Plus you get to rub down Quidditch players all day," Harry quipped; only thinking afterwards about what he was saying. He flushed furiously, hoping he hadn't gone too far. To his relief, Draco laughed.
"Yeah that's one of the perks I must say. Now move your knee forwards as far as it will go. Can you feel a pull in your back and thighs?"
"Quite strongly in my thighs – if I keep doing this after my physio's done, will it be like a toning exercise?"
"It can be but I doubt it would make much difference, most players get toned enough on the thighs from gripping the broom between their knees," Draco replied professionally, smoothly omitting to imply that Harry personally had good thighs. Harry noted the omission and smiled inwardly, wondering whether Draco still found him as attractive as he found the blond. He refrained from asking, hoping that with a few more casually handled sessions such as this one, he'd be able to get the massage he'd been holding back from booking, and slowly attempt to rebuild their shattered relationship in stages. He couldn't tell whether Draco would be interested in rekindling their relationship after its explosive ending eight months ago, but one never could tell. "Lean back for me, pulling from your arms, back arched and feet flat on the floor," Draco was saying. Harry jolted out of his musings as the blond's hands materialised on his shoulder blades. "Lean into me here," he was saying. Unfortunately, after a few moments the hands were busy with a clipboard, and Harry had missed the opportunity he hadn't even realised had presented itself until it was too late.
Harry shrugged a training shirt on over his head and fixed the collar as Draco leant on his desk for a moment with his back to him, writing. He looked at the whirl of platinum hair that had escaped the neat tie, and wondered what his doctor's reaction would be if he were to go and plant a kiss there. From what he remembered, Draco liked to be kissed on the back of the neck very much, not because it made him savage with lust, but because the softly tickling sensation made his knees all limp and his voice breathless and giggly. Harry's heart suddenly ached very much, and plan-be-damned, he wanted to say to Draco at least how much he had missed him. But at that thought, his mobile inevitably started to ring.
"Hi Janet, I'm in a physio appointment. Erm, I'm not sure, the file's under W and has one of those green sticker thingys on it… right, well if they want to owl me they can, or there might be an appointment slot tomorrow. Have you got the master diary? … Uhm…" Draco had turned and was looking at him interestedly. "Yeah, yes. Well I'll be back at about three, I did book a couple of hours off today but I suppose if we have to talk about it we could try half three… yeah. Okay look I really have to go I'm sure Draco has people to see after me. Right. Right see you later then. Sorry," he mumbled, shutting the phone and sticking it in his back pocket, "she rings me every five minutes."
"Are you doing the Witch Weekly photo shoot?" Draco asked, bluntly. Harry blinked. "I heard some of the other players talking about it. They want Jenning and Hollyfeather to do it too, but I know they wanted you as the… centrefold."
Harry blushed and looked at a wall chart over Draco's shoulder. "I'm trying to get out of it, actually. I thought they should use our new Chaser, he's like, eighteen or something I'm sure his manager would love the publicity it would get." He propelled his attention back to the grey eyes. "And no, I don't want hundreds of witches putting my pecs on their walls, if that's why you're asking."
"If you got a centrefold in World of Wands you know you could fix that issue in one swoop," he replied, scathingly.
Harry flushed again, angrily this time. "Do you really think I'd want that, either?" he spat, riled, "to have the whole gay wizarding population worldwide wanking to me? You don't know me at all, Draco, if you did maybe things wouldn't have ended that way with us. I don't want anyone, of either sex, having access to my naked body, except my lover, is that so hard to understand?" He turned his head away, blinking his hot eyelids. "I haven't come out to the press because I don't think Wandersley or any of our managing team want this team to be re-named 'the gay team', that's the only reason. It had nothing to do with you, or my feelings for you. Then or… now."
Draco sat down on the edge of the desk behind him. "Sorry, I didn't mean to… If it means anything, I haven't told Wandersley I'm gay either. I wasn't sure he'd let me do massage and oil therapy if I did," he admitted, quietly.
Harry sighed humorously. "God, we are a pair," he said. Draco twitched a grin. Harry watched him nostalgically. "Come for lunch with me?" he offered, spontaneously.
The blond looked at the clock and twitched his nose, considering his appointment book. "For an hour tops."
The café Harry usually lunched at was not especially fancy, nor was the food anything out of the ordinary. What he liked about it was the anonymity. It was in a muggle area of London, but one only a few minutes walk from his office off Fraction Alley, the wizarding business district. Although he knew that a few wizards did choose to eat there now and then, he had never been photographed, stalked, or autograph-hunted here. It was his own private world – and now he was sharing it with someone.
"Damn, muggle money, I should pop to Gringotts, it'll only take me about ten minutes to do it if I apparate," Draco said, frowning at the pound signs on the menu.
"Leave it, it's on me this time," Harry waved the idea away, knowing that he carried a reasonable sum of muggle money with him daily in case of such occurrences. Some of his money was exchanged and banked at National Westminster. He had always remembered Aunt Petunia telling Uncle Vernon that it was better to have two accounts with money spread across two banks, in case one went bust, and since Harry had become quite wealthy, this was one of the very few pieces of Dursley Advice that he had decided was a pretty good idea – one wizarding and one muggle. He checked his wallet and found a twenty and his debit card.
"I'd better have something cold or I won't get back in time. The Ploughmans looks good," Draco said, scanning the list quickly. Harry went to the counter and ordered them both identical lunches, conscious of his impromptu meeting that afternoon with Witch Weekly's PR team. He rearranged his cutlery nervously, wondering whether he'd be able to get out of the shoot after Wandersley had tried to endorse the idea to him so forcefully.
Draco sipped his pear juice, watching him. "I really am sorry about before," he offered, setting his glass down. For a moment Harry thought that he might take his hand, but he didn't, lacing his own fingers together instead.
"It's fine. This photoshoot thing is proving harder to get out of than I thought, that's all. In the past all I had to do was say no and they'd accept it, but maybe I've said no to them too many times."
"What does Wandersley think of it?"
Harry snorted and traced a line through the condensation on his glass. "Thinks it's a great idea and wanted me to pose with that Keeper for the Hollyhead Harpies, Megan. In a bikini," he added, shuddering.
Draco considered, then smirked. "Oh I don't know, Harry," he said, playfully, "you might look quite ravishing in a bikini!"
Harry groaned. "Cheeky bastard," was all he said. But inside he felt a lot lighter.
Against all odds, Harry managed to negotiate the topless spread down to a light interview with pre-prepared questions (none of them about romance) and a three-page clothed photo shoot in-flight and on the ground, wearing his quidditch strip. It was duller than either PR team had been wrangling for, but the shots were handsome nevertheless.
A week following the season's opening match, after which he had been too busy to see let alone speak to him, Harry made the massage appointment he'd been planning. Draco was alone in the massage room when he arrived, all evidence of the previous appointment already cleared away, a fresh white towel laid out on the padded bench. There was a side table near the head, with a tray of assorted aromatherapy oils and muscle relaxing balms on it. The only image that ruined the atmosphere a little was the sight of Draco sitting behind his desk reading the copy of Witch Weekly containing Harry's interview.
"Having fun?" Harry inquired guardedly. The last thing he wanted was another shouting match, and seeing the photo shoot in Draco's hands left a chilly sensation in his chest.
To his relief, Draco looked up and smiled at him in a friendly manner. "It went better than you had envisaged. Are you happy with it?"
Harry relaxed a little. "I'd rather not do it at all, but I suppose it was an alright compromise, considering. What do you think of it?"
"I think it's very… clever. A lot better than your last interview at any rate. Do you want to get undressed then?"
"Massage? There's a changing room over there. Just wrap the towel around your waist. I think we'd better have a look at your back first and then we can discuss what type of massage you want."
Harry undressed at speed behind the slatted changing room door, heart pulsing. He wondered whether Draco would jump him if he emerged naked, or whether he would be so angry that he would never agree to massage him again. At the risk of the latter, he made sure the towel was appropriately secured and walked out to the massage table with a professionalism that did not belie his feelings. The last time he had been clad in only a towel before Draco was after a very intimate morning, barely two or three days before the relationship went to pot. He lay on his front appropriately, trying to ignore the pang of regret that had passed through him as he realised that Draco was turned towards his notes for a reason other than that of recording information.
He gasped at the sudden impact of the blonde's hands on his middle-back. "Sorry, too cold?" Draco asked, raising them to rub them together without waiting for Harry's reply. He replaced his warmer palms and kneaded the muscle carefully. "Your back muscles in the problem area seem a lot more relaxed, are you still doing your exercises?"
"Yes, but I cut out the lunges from last Friday because I was getting some cramp in my thighs when I was on my broom for more than two hours, and we had the match on Saturday." He heard Draco's self-inking quill scratch a new notes somewhere behind him, and then flinched slightly again as he felt fingers again, this time on his thighs.
"Tell me when I find the area prone to cramp."
"I think just a little up…yeah it's there. It starts with pins and needles and then a little cramp."
"Hmm. But apart from the lunges you kept up the floor exercises and other stretches?"
"If you mean that weird ballet stuff, then yes I did despite the fact I looked like an utter prat."
"Hmm," Draco's hands relocated to the base of his neck and Harry realised that the real massage had begun. The lights dimmed down to a pleasant sleepy glow around them and Draco had begun to burn a flame under some of the cinnamon oils, that he knew were Harry's favourite, using a balm with a very mild muscle relaxant, he slowly made his way down his back and then to his thighs, only bypassing the area covered by towel. After a good half an hour he finally reached the sensitive soles of his feet, kneading his thumbs carefully into the arch, caressing the tan skin in silence, and Harry was embarrassingly hard against the bench. "Roll over," Draco said. At first Harry thought to refuse, but then he remembered that the blond had already seen him a hundred times before in such a state, and if he couldn't deal with it… then… well he'd think about it later. He rolled over.
Grey eyes halted briefly on the tented white towel, but as if determined to remain the consummate professional, Draco began kneading his calves again. Harry nearly whimpered now that he could see his former lover's hands moving over him, skimming upwards over his thighs. Draco's eyes found his intense green ones for a moment before nimble fingers flipped the tucked side of the towel off his hips, and his stiff hardness was assaulted by the sudden air exposure.
Draco nodded his head in the direction of the door and Harry registered an audible locking sound. It had always been his favourite party trick of the blonde's. Pale fingers dipped into the oil rather than balm, and slicked, one, two, three times up and down. His face was quite close to Harry's: he could smell the aftershave he remembered waking up to daily for two-ish years. The smell evoked a massive stirring of pain beneath his heaving ribs, and his eyelids fluttered closed to relive a lost morning in bed, seemingly a very long time ago. Intense darkening blue eyes were watching his reactions intently, and when he came all over his own stomach, with his habitual cry of 'Oh my God, Draco…' he opened his eyes to an expression that conveyed a mixture of longing, regret and lust, if not love. He raised a lethargic hand to cup the fair jaw before guiding the full lips down to his own.
"No." Draco pulled back before they could connect and turned round, wiping his fingers briefly on Harry's towel before continuing. "Don't make it hard for me to work here, Harry."
"For you? Do you give that kind of massage to all the players?" Harry asked, indignantly, scrambling to sit up and cover himself again. Draco turned to look at him in half-profile, before registering that he was covered and turning round to face him again. He looked embarrassed, which was not a very natural expression for him.
"I shouldn't have done it. If we can't work together I should leave."
"You can't leave. It's your dream job and you're on a contract," Harry told him. He sat up and tried to make the stickiness on his torso look less obvious. "I miss you. I miss you every day. Can't we… I mean, would you accompany me to dinner?"
"Dinner?" Draco was incredulous.
"Just dinner. I promise."
"Draco, please. Just dinner. Dinner and a talk. I love talking to you. I miss talking."
"I – fine. Tomorrow. But it's only dinner."
Harry stood in front of his bedroom mirror in his town flat, holding up different shirts and trying to remember which one Draco used to like on him. The blue one he had just picked up was baby-soft and thin from age, and he knew he had worn it a lot when they were together. Hermione was sitting on the bed behind him in a nest of discarded clothes, berating him for his untoward actions at the Quidditch club.
"I mean, the physio room? On the bench? That's a little tacky, Harry." She folded a shirt absently.
"He instigated it, not me," Harry argued, shrugging into the blue shirt and taking off the chain Draco had given him last year, just in case it provoked an unnecessary reaction from the blond. He paused, considering shoes. "He wouldn't let me touch him at all, actually."
"Maybe he wants to be the one in control. You can't blame him after all that's-"
"Mione, it's past seven," Ron stuck his head round the door. "Alright mate?"
"Yeah," Harry stared moodily at his reflection.
"Ron, have you left the kids on their own?" Hermione shot to her feet and pelted out of the door towards Harry's floo before waiting for an answer. Ron shrugged and grinned sheepishly at Harry in the mirror.
"So, the big date, is it?"
"Hm, not sure," Harry muttered, rummaging around in the bottom of the wardrobe for his other loafer. "He made me promise it was a dinner-only scenario so that we could 'talk'."
"Best not to rush these things, eh?" Harry made a noncommittal noise in reply. Ron ambled over and gave him a clap on the back. "Glare at that mirror much more and you'll crack it in half. Off you go now, don't want to be late," he advised, before departing himself. Harry stared into his own wide green eyes for a few moments, and pulled himself together.
Exquisite. That was the first word that popped into his head when he saw Draco's lean frame waiting for him on the bench outside Flourish and Blotts. Draco was always handsome, classically so, all pale (pale all over, as he remembered, and flawlessly to boot,) and delicate-looking, sensuously curved lips coloured with the merest blush, and ice-blue eyes that could pierce like a shard from a falling chandelier. Eyes that darkened right down to ink when aroused. His ex-lover was clad in simple cream trousers and a tan shirt, a combination that should have marred against his platinum hair and washed him out, but managed to serve as illumination in the dim light, and the well-cut garments clung and hung on his body as if they had been tailor-made just for him – and knowing Draco, perhaps they had. Harry felt instantly inadequate in his soft blue shirt, indigo-blue jeans and oaky loafers. When Draco turned to look at him, however, all thoughts of inadequacy melted, as they had always done. The quiet appraisal of seconds reached a minute finale in the softening of eyes and slight lift at the right corner of the blonde's mouth; a flutter of attraction that would have gone unnoticed by anyone who did not know what to look for. Thankfully, Harry knew exactly what reaction he was searching for. The knot of terror instantly dissipated.
"You're late, you know," Draco chided him cheerfully, unfolding himself from the bench and waiting for him to approach. "Got anywhere booked for us?"
"Scott's," Harry replied, biting his lip. "It's um, a muggle place in the West End of London…"
"Yes I know where Scott's is, it's on Mount Street," Draco frowned at him. "Are you sure we're dressed for that place?"
"I made a reservation so it shouldn't be a problem. Besides, they allegedly have no dress code."
"We should go by Gringotts so that I can exchange some muggle money then."
"It's on me, Draco," Harry insisted, quietly. Draco gave him a searching look.
"I really don't want you to spend that much money, Harry. Buying me an overpriced dinner is not going to fix us," he said, bluntly.
Harry stared at him. "It's not about that. I just wanted to take you out."
Draco snorted. "Yes, so much so that you're willing to shell out a bucket of cash, but not so much that you'd reserve us somewhere in the wizarding world." Harry blushed and turned away, hands in his pockets. His eyes felt hot and he wanted to rub them but he didn't want Draco to think he was tearing up or anything equally as pathetic. The blond must have been hit by a wave of guilt nevertheless, because after a moment or two Harry felt cool fingers brushing his wrist. He gripped the hand briefly, but it was removed before he could gain a proper purchase. "What time is this reservation?"
"To arrive between eight and half past."
"It's only quarter to, come on, we'll make it." They passed the journey in near-silence, and Harry could only hope that the night's events would pick up again once they arrived at their destination.
"Is this the private room?" Draco halted in the doorway, breaking their uneasy silence for the first time and staring at his companion with a mixture of horror and awe, knowing full well (from aristocratic experience) that a minimum expenditure of £1800 applied there, and that however much money Harry had planned on shelling out for their dinner, it was rather unlikely that such an amount of food could be consumed between two people. Harry smiled gently and pulled a chair out for him.
"Not 'the' private room, don't worry I'm not that mad. I just thought this would be a better arrangement if we want to talk about things." 'And make wizarding references in a muggle restaurant' was left unsaid. "I did have to choose a set menu for us though, I hope you don't mind. I picked a different one for each of us so that we could swap dishes." The waiter entered again and showed a bottle of wine to Harry who nodded, and then admitted that Draco was more the wine expert than he was. The waiter showed the label to the blond. The Riesling he offered was worth at least thirty-five pounds. He accepted a taste without commenting on the price again.
The waiter left them with the bottle of wine and a glass each of 10-year-old apple brandy to enjoy before the starters. Draco swirled the amber-cloudy liquid nervously before glancing up to find Harry gazing at him with a warm and amused expression. "You're thinking about this too much. I'm a very wealthy man, you know that."
"I know that. It's just that you don't usually flash it about." That's more my style, he thought, wryly.
"I don't think the occasional indulgence counts," Harry grinned, leaning back in his chair and swirling the brandy before taking a sip. Something like intense attraction fluttered and jarred straight through Draco's body and he sipped his own drink pensively.
Between the wild mushrooms and roasted partridge, a new bottle of wine, this time red for their meats, and enough time to relax a little into the private world Harry had acquired for them, they allowed each other to steer the career-related conversation over to the question of their failed relationship.
"I think I should just… listen to you, for a while," Harry ventured, pouring more wine. Draco dipped an asparagus spear into butter and paused. "I'll listen properly, I promise," Harry added, earnestly. He replaced the asparagus and washed his fingers neatly in the lemon-bowl.
"My reasons for putting an end to our relationship haven't changed, Harry," he murmured, steepling his fingers before recovering his impeccable table manners and removing his elbows instinctively. "We were together for such a long time… two years is a long time to me, anyway. You were my longest relationship to date." Harry fidgeted, but said nothing, settling instead for swirling his wine to oxygenate it. "I won't deny that what we had back then was amazing, particularly as after our first encounter I felt sure you'd only been after me for a one-night stand."
"I don't have one-night stands," Harry interrupted, upset. Draco paused, and then continued.
"I felt sure you'd only been after me for a one-night stand," he repeated softly, "but then what came out of that night was just so much more… intense, growing all the time… there's no one who knows me like you know me, Harry. For the first year I liked our secrecy, how only the most trusted friends could be privy to our true relationship, how the papers speculated on how long it would be before you snapped up the latest It-Witch, when we both knew the real truth…but then it stopped being fun. Don't you realise how demeaning it was, for me to go out with you: 'Harry Potter and friend,' or 'Harry Potter and his acquaintance, Draco Malfoy,'… 'Harry Potter, and reformed Malfoy heir 'build bridges' at the Hollyhead Harpies match this Sarurday'. It hurt, Harry, it hurt so much! I couldn't even hold your hand in public: I couldn't even do that! It wasn't as though I wanted to snog your face off at a public event! I just wanted to be …with you." Draco wiped his eyes furiously with his fingers; suddenly glad of the privacy the room Harry had chosen afforded them. He had not planned on getting so passionate, but now that he had begun speaking it was difficult to stop, as though the dam blocking this torrent of emotion had collapsed in one felling. Harry leant across the table to take his hand, a look of consternation on his face, but Draco pulled it out of reach before he could do so.
"I understood the need for secrecy the first season you played at Brinsbourne, I really, really did," he continued, trying to get a hold on himself. "It was the beginning of your professional Quidditch career and you needed to prove yourself before anything potentially controversial could come out. I didn't say anything to you then of my feelings because I knew there was a lot going on. But then the second season came, and nothing had changed for us, in fact it was getting worse. You – you took women to ministry functions! I had to stand in the corner and pretend to be an indifferent acquaintance, an observer!" Tears were coursing down his face and Draco was mortified: he had never lost control like this, not even in front of Harry. "If you had even just come out to the press, it wouldn't have hurt so much! The lie was getting so big, much bigger than me in your life. Letting the papers assume you were straight and not correcting them in interviews…why did I keep coming home to you? Why?" Draco laid his head on his hands and sobbed.
"Please, please, Draco, don't…" Harry came and knelt by his chair, and cradled his head onto his shoulder. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed a waiter begin to enter carrying a tray of the next courses, and then retreat again quickly. "I still love you, I love you so very much," Harry whispered fiercely. "But there are so many, many people who could suffer from this, not just me, and you, but the whole team, everyone I employ, any alibi I have used for the past two years… this lie is so much bigger than just me, Draco, and if I come out to the press, there is a chance – a big chance – that it won't go down well, and the aftershock would affect many more people than just you and me. Don't you see that?"
Draco pulled away from him. His normally immaculate features were pink and white and streaked with salt. "I know that, Harry," he gritted out, "I am not stupid. But you are a fool if you think that you will ever have a happy life, and any real relationship, if you don't come out." He cast a glance over the beautiful table and the food that was now cold. "Take me home, please. I don't want to be here anymore. I'm tired." As he said the words, he realised that it was true: the emotional outburst had shattered him. He sat quietly and composed himself while Harry talked to the waiters and settled the bill –the full amount for a meal that had never been eaten. Plus service charge. He found that he didn't care that much. It was Harry's money. He could do what he liked with it.
Harry apparated them both to the foot of the steps that led up to Draco's town house, just outside the apparition wards, and put an arm around the blonde's waist to steady him, alarmed by his exhausted state. "Stop it Harry," Draco tried to wriggle away from him.
"You're not well," Harry argued, holding him tightly, "just let me get you inside. Please." They managed to navigate the steep steps and through the imposing ebony doors into the elegant foyer. Harry loved Draco's town house, and would have gladly taken in the surroundings nostalgically, had he not been otherwise occupied. Thankful for his own fit physique, he lifted the protesting blond into his arms and carried him up the curved staircase into the master suite.
"Put me down at once," Draco flushed, angrily. He glared at Harry as he recovered his balance. "I am not a child."
"You're not well either."
"Well if that's the case then it's your fault." Unfortunately, at that statement a wave of lethargy swept over the blond and he staggered. The Seeker's arms were supporting him again in an instant, this time steering him over to the large dark bed and laying him on it carefully. "What are you doing?" he whispered, panicked as Harry's fingers swiftly divested him of the tan shirt. Harry didn't answer for a moment, instead taking it upon himself to have a rummage in the bottom drawer of Draco's bedside table.
"Roll over, I'm going to give you a massage," he finally announced, coming up with a bottle of Draco's favourite vanilla balm.
"No. Please, just leave now."
"I'm not leaving you like this, all… agitated. You need to relax. Come on. Just your neck and back. You'll feel better, I promise. Once you're relaxed I'll go."
Harry began to slowly massage at the base of Draco's neck. He fought the urge to nuzzle the area with his nose, as he knew he would most definitely be chucked out of the house and probably out of Draco's life. Whenever he had massaged his lover in the past, his hands had been followed by a trail of soft kisses and nose-nudges intended not only to relax, but also to arouse…however now was not the time, and he was quite happy to knead the perfect flesh in small, soothing circles. Very slowly, he felt the tension begin to drain out of the muscles under his hands, even enticing a sleepy moan of approval as he worked down into the curve of the lower back. Taking a chance, he pressed a whisper of a kiss to the left shoulder blade. "Harry?"
He rolled Draco onto his back again and gazed down at him in the soft light. "Don't hurt me like this. Can't you see I'm still in love with you too?" Harry lowered his eyes and took his hands off him. Draco was practically asleep and the last thing he had wanted to do was to make the blond feel as though Harry might try to take advantage. He wrapped the other side of the coverlet over him and pressed a soft kiss to the baby hairs ghosting a temple. By the time he left the room, the blond was sound asleep.
Draco awoke wearing his trousers, which he never did, and in a strange wrapped position in the bedclothes. He could only assume that Harry had left him there, but a quick self-assessment found that nothing physical had manifested itself between them. He was glad that Harry's usual iron resolve to 'do the right thing' had not broken. After showering and dressing appropriately, he wandered down to the breakfast room to see what his house elf had laid out that morning. On the table was a short note in Harry's unmistakable unsophisticated scrawl:
Please do not be angry with me for my actions last night. It was breaking my heart to see you so agitated, and I did the only thing I could think of to help you calm down at that moment. I know what you said at the restaurant was even less than I deserve. I have a lot to think about, but I promise you, I will find a solution to this, even at the cost of my own career. I love you, and I have never, ever stopped. Not a day goes by when I don't think of you and what I have lost from being parted from you. I know you don't believe it, but for two years you were my entire life. If you meant what you said about still loving me, maybe we can make this work again. I know that it is me who has to ring the changes.
Thank you for accompanying me to dinner, despite the ending I was happy to be in your company alone again. I'd better go now as I have to be at the club for practice at five tomorrow, so perhaps I'll see you after practice. I have no intention, nor did I ever, of making your job harder.
Draco folded the letter into halves repeatedly until it was as small as it would fold, and then pushed it under his saucer.
If Harry had made a conscious decision to avoid Draco over the next few weeks, it wasn't something he'd informed the blond of. As it was, he was rarely in the blonde's company. Training sessions and matches were going well, at least for him; when Draco did have to leave the club bench and attend to injury, it was never Harry who was privy to his ministrations. A nod here and there before or after a game was the extent of their interaction, and Harry's whole body ached at the thought that this might be the be all and end all of their relationship. After one particularly spectacular win he sat alone in his office and looked at one of his favourite photographs he had of them from when they had been together. They were in bed and Harry was holding the camera at a strange angle to try to get both of their faces in, the morning light glancing off their bare shoulders: Harry, all heavy muscles and tan, and Draco, pale and defined. Perfect. Gone. He gritted his teeth against the pathetic tears threatening to burst forward.
He stood up, pressing the photo flat and smooth onto the desk. He had to do something. He had to act before he lost Draco and any affection he had for him forever. He apparated straight to the steps of the large town house and stood looking up at the door. There was a good chance that Draco wasn't in. He could still be at work, with player after player to treat or massage. He might even be at the match after-party – the team had won, after all. He swallowed and wiped his palms on the back of his jeans. One thing was certain: he couldn't just stand out here forever. It would look very strange for anyone who recognised him to see Harry Potter, Seeker of the hour, standing staring at a building instead of cavorting with international It-Witches or whatever it was that his teammates liked to get up to at industry parties. With this in mind, he launched himself through the wards and up the steps.
Draco was passing between his study into the afternoon lounge, a cup of tea in one hand and a sheaf of physio notes in the other. He had managed to clear his afternoon from appointments that day and was looking forward to relaxing with his work at home. Unfortunately someone chose that moment to start hammering on the front door with an almost frantic beat. He paused, torn between ignoring it and running to the aid of the person on the other side. With a sigh, he took a compromise, setting the file down on the foyer table, and the cup on top of it.
The door opened inwards, and for a moment Draco's eyesight was assaulted by the weak sunshine streaming into the hall. When his eyes adjusted he blinked. "Harry… come in." He shut the door and stared at the other man for a moment. Harry looked distinctly unhinged, his face was all red and his mouth was tight against possible attack. "Are you… um, alright?"
"Not really," Harry replied, honestly. He leaned away from the blond and put a hand against the wall behind him. He wanted to cry, overwhelmingly so, and it scared him. "Draco, please, don't shut me out," he implored, voice cracking. Draco gave him an alarmed look and put a warm hand on his arm. He could feel the heat of it through his shirtsleeve.
"Come into the lounge. Come on, it's alright Harry, come on…"
Draco sat them on the couch and cradled him. Put his chin on the top of the soft thatch of coal hair and rubbed it soothingly. Harry was crying, and it made everything in the blond prickle over with despair. He wound his arms around him and made a few calming noises.
"I'm sorry. You hate me."
"I don't hate you, Harry, don't be ridiculous."
"Then why are you shutting me out?"
"We both needed space. Time to think."
Harry turned his head slightly and kissed the underside of Draco's jaw, softly, provoking a hiss of surprise, but no words, whether of rebuke or approval. He took this as a fairly good sign, but didn't want to push too much. He pressed the tip of his nose against the juncture of the blonde's neck and ear, nudging gently. Draco's fingers carded in his hair before pulling him slightly, manoeuvring their position so that Harry was half-lying on him, cocooned in his embrace.
Harry spoke first: "I can't live like this. You were right. I'm going to have to come out."
"You'd do that?"
"I'd do it for you."
"Not just for me, Harry. But it would mean a lot to me if you did. You know you've got my support in this."
"What are you saying?"
"Your letter gave me a lot to think about. That's all. I'm not saying we can get back together. Not yet."
Not yet. Harry fixated on those two words and clung to them. "We love each other," he pointed out, dumbly. Draco continued to stroke his hair, but he didn't affirm (or dismiss) the fact. "Do you remember that night we met again? At the ministry. You were the most real person I'd seen over a year. You looked exactly how I remembered, but completely different."
They lay in reminiscent silence for a while. That night at the ministry was indeed engraved into Draco's memories. A night of forced political politeness with faceless officials, melted by the sudden media scrum provoked by the anticipated arrival of a very embarrassed-looking Harry Potter. A Potter whose eyes had met his within a mere twenty seconds of entering the room, as though there could have been no one else to see. By the end of that night, entwined and trembling in Harry's bed, he had felt the most perfect, most complete relief. Truly sated.
"I wanted you."
Harry frowned. "I still want you."
"There's more than that now. I can't deal with what we had before, I just want… I don't know, I want to be with you, and actually be with you. I tried to get over you though. Probably shouldn't have taken this job with the team, it's making everything worse."
"Did you sleep with many people when you left?"
Draco tensed before jerking Harry out of his arms. He shifted so that he was perched on the edge of the couch, hands on his knees – a quick getaway pose. "You knew I was a slut when you started out with me, Harry, there's no need to rub it in my face."
"You were faithful to me," Harry acknowledged.
Draco shot him a hurt look. "You know I was. How can you even suggest otherwise? If we're going to get technical, you were unfaithful to me at practically every event we attended: every staged kiss on the cheek or touch of the hand was a betrayal."
"I'm so sorry."
"I slept with three people. One-night stands."
"That's it." Draco put his arms around himself, protectively. It was no secret between them that Draco liked sex, and his libido was particularly impressive – an almost insatiable drive. Harry scooted forwards and pressed his lips and teeth into the sensitive patch on the back of the blonde's neck, moving so that his chest was flush to Draco's back – he knew every erogenous zone on the man's body, but this was his favourite. Draco flinched away. "Please, don't." When he was aroused, he hardly ever managed to stop himself.
"No, Harry, I can't!" he whirled himself off the couch and into one of his armchairs in one movement. Harry sat back against the couch, angry with himself. "I think you should go."
"You always said that. 'I'm sorry.' You're not sorry, Harry. Go away, you have a press conference this evening anyway."
"Will you be there?" A desperate, last-ditch attempt to provoke some sort of pleasant interaction, just so that he could at least leave on a better note.
"I'll be at tomorrow's training session. I'll be in by nine."
Shut me out completely,
That would not be such a sin.
Lock up every entry,
Make sure that there's no way for me to get in
Won't try to pry them open,
Never mind knock upon your doors.
Truth is that there's no reason for me to even see your face anymore.
But I need your ears and I need them now I've got something to say,
I'm not here today to win you back just to remind you that.
Sure as the rain starts to fall,
Yes I'll always remember you dear.
And though we don't talk anymore.
I was crazy for you; yes I was crazy for you, that's for sure.
Nothings ever easy, I think we both know that it's true.
I was convinced you loved me, and I was pretty sure that I loved you too,
When was our final moment whats your favourite might have beens.
When was my fatal error that changed the way you thought of me ever since.
Cos I made you smile and I made you laugh, i made nice gestures and surprised you enough?
But I made you come, but I made you cry,
I wish this was true but I'm not gonna lie.
So sure as the rain starts to fall,
Yes I'll always remember you close
And though we don't touch anymore.
I was crazy for you; I'm still crazy for you, that's for sure.
Still crazy for you, still crazy for you, still crazy for you
-Paolo Nutini – Still Crazy Lyrics-
Harry turned down the album he was listening to and slouched forwards so that his forehead was on his desk. Now that the music was gone he could clearly hear Janet's voice filtering through the half-open door, as she was partway through a fire-call with the public relations team at International Witch, the monthly glossy magazine available to witches the world over. A publication at least five times the size and reputation of the UK's humble Witch Weekly. Unfortunately, this did not stop them from wanting the same from him as every other women's magazine. It was looking pretty bleak that he might be able to get out of it this time.
"…not entirely comfortable with even a partially nude spread…" Janet was saying. Harry turned his head so that one ear was fully open to eavesdrop.
"…tastefully done… Quidditch boots… snitch…"
Harry looked down through his arms, encountering Draco's photographic face smiling sleepily back at him. He shut his eyes and clenched his fists. "Just do it," he muttered to himself. "Fucking coward. Do. It."
Draco was standing before his office window, arms stretched over his head as he rolled his shoulders and concentrated on relaxing the muscles in his upper back. It was a very comfortable exercise. He rolled to the left, he rolled to the right. One of the Chasers had dropped their physio appointment so he had a free thirty minutes during which he intended to do absolutely nothing. So it was with some irritation that just as he thought such a thought, the sound of the door opening, an unwelcome 'clunk,' interrupted his thought process and he was forced to turn around, a 'happy to help' smile plastered on his unwilling face.
"Harry," he said, flatly. The pleasant smile slid from his features. Harry looked out at the corridor before shutting the door quickly and locking it manually. Draco started forwards. "Look-"
"I did it," Harry interrupted him. Draco paused, nonplussed. Harry pushed his fringe off his face and made his way unsteadily over to the massage table before shakily perching on one end. He stared at his fingers for a moment, then shook them briefly. "I told Wandersley. I told him I was gay. And that I don't want to pose naked in International Witch. Or in any magazine, for that matter."
Draco felt behind him for his chair and sat in it. He had been on at Harry to come out for so long that the idea that he might actually do it one day had escaped him entirely. "Does he know-"
"About us? No." Harry rested his elbows on his knees, forehead in his hands – a habit he would have to curb if he didn't want to get a permanent slouch. "I wasn't sure you wanted him to know."
Draco put a hand over his mouth and stared at him. A tear trickled onto his thumb and he jumped. Luckily, Harry wasn't looking at him. "What did he… say?"
"He was great, actually, um, he said that it was brave of me to tell him, that he wouldn't tell anyone but it would be good to tell the team… that if I come out to the press it should be at the end of the season so that they'd have until next season to get over it… I dunno he was saying a lot, he did a lot of talking. That I'm not the only sportsperson who's gay and that most athletes are too scared to come out…um… Draco?"
Draco raised his eyes from the wood-grain of his desk and latched to Harry's own wide ones. 'He's in shock,' he realised, abruptly, 'he didn't even think he could do it until he did.' And then he was up on the massage table, with Harry in his arms. Holding on. "You did this for me," he stated, hoarsely.
Harry leant back so that he could look him in the face. "I did it for us. I love you-"
"No, please, please let me say this. I love you. You probably don't want to talk about this anymore, and I don't blame you, but that doesn't dismiss the fact. You mean so much to me… if we can't be together, we could at least remain part of each other's lives. Now you can speak."
"Not sure I can right now," Draco murmured. His nose touched the curve of Harry's cheek as he shifted. Touched the quivering lips with his own. Soft, he thought, soft and a perfect fit. "Harry," he mouthed, "Harry." The quidditch player sighed into him for a moment before they recovered and pulled away. "I… we, might be able to work something out."
Harry gave him a shaky grin and snagged his fingers through a few blond strands, pulling them gently, playfully, out of the neat tie holding them. Draco permitted him to do it. "Will you come and have dinner, if I cook for you? At home?"
Home. Harry's flat in muggle London. Home, that Draco still kept the front door key for, and had spent more time in during the last two years than his own town house. "I don't think it's a good idea for me to move back in," he remarked, gently, softening the refusal with the addition, "at least, not yet. Maybe someday."
"I know." Harry put his fingers onto the blonde's mouth and held them there for a moment, just because he could, and he wanted to right now. "I really do mean dinner. A real dinner this time. No poncey restaurants and no obligations to anything. Just my boring cooking, if you can bring yourself to it again."
Draco removed the fingers and held them snugly in his own. "I always like your cooking, you monkey," he said, affectionately. In his peripheral vision, he noted the clock. "Harry, I have to get back to work. There's an appointment in less than ten minutes and I'm not set up at all."
"But will you come to dinner?"
"Alright." Harry stood up and the blond realised he was preparing to apparate. "Wait, one second-" and then it was a real kiss. A kiss of promise. And of hope too. He stood staring at the spot where Harry had vanished for a long moment before re-establishing his routine, allowing himself to feel a little more optimistic.
Harry had his attention turned to the hob when the jangle of keys opening his front door caused him to jolt into awareness. He had not anticipated the possibility of Draco being early, and was still wearing a pair of old jeans that had once been Dudley's, and little else. He tended to get overheated when cooking, and had planned to grab a lightning shower and change before his old lover could arrive. He froze, with his back still turned to the doorway, listening as Draco crossed the hall and dropped his coat on the "cloak chair" as they had once dubbed it, before halting just shy of entering the kitchen. The scene before him was so achingly familiar, and yet so long ago now. For a moment, it was as though he had walked into a time loop, opening their front door with his own key after a hard day's work, stealing into the kitchen to discover his lover had booted the house elf out of the flat and was creating something simple but delicious… and undressed in his habitual cooking 'attire'. He leaned on the doorframe for a second, staring at Harry's skin.
"Informal," he said. Harry shut his eyes, unsure of the tone.
"I'm sorry, I was still cooking," he offered. He didn't dare to turn around. Was it so wholly inappropriate for Draco to discover him half-naked in his own house, when the blond hadn't even had the decency to knock before entering? To his shock, two hands appeared on his waist. "Draco?"
"What're you cooking?" He kissed the bronzed shoulder.
"Lasagne, I'm just browning off the mince so that I can do the layers."
"That's my favourite; you remembered." Harry nodded and leaned back into him. Draco kissed the side of his neck a little, nuzzling, and sighed. "I really miss this, you know that, don't you?"
"So do I."
"And I very much approve of this cooking attire you have on. Is it part of the Italian cuisine experience?"
'He's flirting with me,' Harry realised, astounded. He said, "Are you trying to harass me in my own kitchen?" Draco laughed. Harry grinned down at the mince. Draco's laugh had always been rare and worth hearing.
"Do you need me to chop anything?"
"I let Kreacher do some of the work, but you could open that red wine over there and slosh a bit in here, then into a couple of glasses?"
"Hmm," Draco's arms slipped from his waist and he moved to the other counter. Harry added the chopped carrots, tomatoes and onions to the mince and stirred a swig of olive oil into the mix. "Harry?" He turned his head. "Do you, um… are you telling your team mates?" Draco was concentrating on reading the bottle label without really seeing it. Harry pulled the pan away from the heat and put his own arms around the blond.
"Would you like to tell Wandersley about us?"
"I don't know."
"Well… is there an 'us'?"
Draco faced him. "I'd like there to be," he admitted, tracing one of the tanned pectorals pensively, "but it's hard."
"Then, it can be on your terms, okay? You don't have to commit to me if you don't want to. I feel better now that Wandersley knows who I really am. I told Janet when I left your office today. I think she was a bit relieved. Like she had me figured out at last," Harry chuckled. Draco gazed at him for a moment, and then kissed him. Harry tightened his arms around the blonde's waist. Draco's hands were in his hair and feeling the muscles clenching down his back, tasting him with fingers and tongue and teeth. It made a strange pressure dissipate within his chest. They gnawed each other slightly, not daring to engage fully, for fear of what the other might think.
"Hmm," Draco flushed, and put his cheek against Harry's, caressing his shoulder blades. "Oh! Harry, you've pushed that muscle the wrong way again!"
"Have I?" Harry straightened and rolled his shoulders. "It doesn't hurt."
"Let's get this in the oven so I can have a look." Between them they managed to layer the lasagne quite tidily and tipped all the used utensils into the sink before sloping into the lounge with a glass of red apiece. "Couch, please."
"What are you, a psychiatrist now?" Harry smirked, but lay down anyway.
"On your front, let's have a look. Honestly, you're the limit."
"I know, but you love it."
Draco kneaded the muscle group silently for a while. The only sound in the homely room was their breathing, and it was very soothing. Harry shut his eyes and remembered evenings of lying entwined and silent together on this very couch, a glass of wine apiece and a low burning fire. A kiss landed on his neck and he rolled over so that the blond could be on top of him. Draco shot him a slightly frantic, uncertain look. "Just lie down?" He lay down with his cheek on Harry's chest.
"Your heart beat is very loud."
"Shh…" Harry carded his fingers through blond hair, massaging the scalp. White fingers traced patterns under his left nipple. He bit his lip, refusing to rise to the bait; Draco knew full well that the area was one of his major erogenous zones. He knew all of them. He angled his neck so that he could look down, and saw that the blonde's eyes were closed. He shut his own and concentrated on the sensation of being under Draco's hands once more.
The tinny ringing of the kitchen timer alerted Harry to how long they had been lying there. Carefully, he dislodged himself from underneath the sleeping blond, and padded into the kitchen, summoning a shirt from the pile on his bedroom floor in a late bid for respectability. Draco entered the kitchen looking mussed, just as he finished serving up, and gave him a sheepish look. "Sorry, it was a rather mentally stimulating day," he said, depositing their barely touched wine glasses on the scrubbed wooden table and taking a seat. Harry quirked an eyebrow slightly, refraining to comment on the decision to eat in the close intimacy of the kitchen, rather than the more formal tranquillity of the dining room. The flat was lacking severely in interior finesse in comparison to Draco's own polished and beautiful town house. He set the lasagne and salad on the table.
They ate in a companionable sort of quiet, sneaking glances at each other and occasionally commenting on how the team was doing, whether the recent injury to one of the Chasers' elbow joints would result in having to bring a sub in or not, and the errors in the Wasps' tactical manoeuvres. Harry's bare foot brushed Draco's ankle accidentally and he decided to leave it there until asked to remove it.
"Will you stay here tonight? It's late and we both have work tomorrow. There is a spare room… if you want."
Spare room. Draco stared at Harry. He had been 'spare room-ed'. Not that he had been planning for them to have sex or even share a bed tonight, but to have the Spare Room thrust upon him was all the same, a bit damning. He cleared his throat. "Uhm, I'm not sure that's such a good idea. We're still working things out, and we both have work tomorrow, and my house is just an apparition away…" he petered out, examining the depths of his wineglass.
Harry's jaw twitched. "There's no need to react like I was asking you to spread your legs for me." He got up and stalked over to the sink to dump their plates in it before snagging the wine bottle and pouring a little more into both of their glasses with jerky movements.
Draco's forehead creased angrily. "That's not what I meant and you know it so sit down, would you?" They sat and glared at each other in silence for a while.
"There're plenty of your clothes still here. A whole wardrobe, in fact," Harry told him, grouchily.
"Yeah, you never came back for them. They're in the spare room."
Draco pushed the chair back from the table and stalked away from the prickly Seeker, out of the kitchen and down the hall, until he reached the spare room and flung the door open. He paused, stunned. For a 'spare room,' it looked remarkably lived in. He turned in confusion and found Harry behind him. "It's this door."
Draco froze, staring at him; feeling like his lasagne might come up again. Their room. The master suite. Harry had made their room into the spare. His hand reached out and turned the handle of its own accord, and the door swung open. White linen, their linen he had made Harry buy one afternoon when shopping as a prominent 'couple' once in Muggle London, trying to get away with as much public debauchery as possible in a place where no-one knew them, and having a lot of fun doing so. It was still on the bed and hanging loosely from the curtain poles. The sheepskin rug he had given Harry as a surprise present was lying on the polished wooden floorboards. He marched over to the scrubbed pine wardrobe and yanked on the doors. There they were. Rows and rows and rails of his very own robes, shirts, shoes, pyjama bottoms, even boxer shorts. His toothbrush, his razors. Everything and anything he had left. Harry had put him in a cupboard. For a moment, he felt like getting into it himself. He felt his eyes spill. These emotional outbursts were rare for him, and draining. He stepped back and back again until his legs hit the side of the bed and he could sit down.
Harry hesitantly sat down next to him, running a hand haphazardly though his fringe. "I didn't know what else to do with them. I was going to get Kreacher to deliver it all to your house, but in the end…"
"You're not sleeping in our bed," Draco sucked in a breath and held it close.
"Well it wasn't really ours when you weren't in it," Harry pointed out, softly.
"Sleep in it tonight."
"Will you – I, are you staying?"
He released the breath and turned to look at him. "Yes."
Sorry, I know you always used to hate waking up to a note on the pillow instead of me, but it's 4.30 and I have a training session at 5am. I know you don't have to go in until 9 so I thought I'd let you sleep, you look so gorgeous and restful, and right where I'd like to be able to stay right now… anyway I am setting the alarm for 7.30 so that you can have plenty of time to floo/apparate to your house if you need to.
I am a complete coward so I'm going to ask you in this note – would you come and have dinner again tonight? Anything you want. Maybe you could sleep here, only if you want to. The truth is, I tried sleeping in this room when you left but your stuff was here and everything except you, I had weird dreams and you were missing when I woke up… anyway, I didn't mean to hurt you by it, is what I mean.
I finish training at 8 or 9 depending how well we get on, then have a test match and need to go to the office this afternoon. I'll come home by 8 latest. Let yourself in if you like. There's some good wine about that you bought a while back.
If I sound like I'm trying to bully you into having dinner again I don't mean to, and I know we had some bad moments last night but I really am trying to make this right, I love you and that will never change… as tomorrow is Saturday I was thinking maybe we could go out after training? I have Sundays all clear too… if you're not busy?
This is the longest and crappiest note ever and I'll be late,
Sleep well, see you at work,
All my love, Harry xx"
Draco finished his coffee pensively and folded the letter into his breast pocket before apparating.
When Harry entered his flat there was someone already in it, and the smell of chicken was drifting towards him. Stepping slowly towards the open doorway to the lounge he encountered first a bare foot, then the trousered leg, and then followed his gaze up Draco's body to his face. He was sitting calmly on the couch, swirling a glass of red wine, and looking at him expectantly.
"I thought I'd treat you to my own cooking, a la house-elf," he smirked, impishly.
Harry swayed slightly, letting himself absorb the lovely sight of a casually dressed Draco greeting him in the lounge after a long day's work, almost as if he had stepped back in time.
"Come here, Harry."
Harry collapsed onto the sofa and put his head against Draco's thigh. He shut his eyes for a moment, feeling the blonde's eyes on him, until he was prompted to open them by the gentle tap of a fingertip to each lid. "How was your day?"
"I can't remember now," Harry replied, honestly. Draco laughed, affording the Seeker a pleasant view of the tendons stretching the underside of his neck. He reached up and threaded his fingers into a lock of blond hair straying nearby. Draco glanced down again, setting his wine glass on the side table before leaning down to kiss his lips. His tongue tip parted Harry's lips easily, and gently slid in to curl against his own.
"Mmm," they parted after a moment, breathing quietly.
"Do you want to go to bed?"
Draco's lip quirked again. "I want," he stated, before claiming the brunette's mouth again, this time with a little more finality. Harry shifted in his lap until he could wrap his arms around Draco's neck and apparate them to their bedroom, rolling so that he was on top. He bit down gently on the white jawline, causing Draco's eyes which had been wide with the shock of suddenly being in another place, to darken instantly, a soft moan turning to a coarse gasp ripped from his vocals as Harry bit down again, sharply.
Harry lifted his head momentarily to look at him. "You think I wouldn't remember, Mr Malfoy?"
"Harry," Draco tugged a hand through the black hair, harshly, "uhm," his eyes shut again at the sensation of Harry's tongue lapping the sore area perfunctorily before transferring his attentions to the patch of neck directly under and behind the air, nipping, biting, kissing it, the tendon standing out as he swept blond locks out of the way of the assault. Draco keened, and Harry panted a laughing breath to have hit one of the blonde's most potent erogenous zones so perfectly. He traced pale lips blindly with his thumb, licking behind an ear, and nearly had it bitten off. He removed it hastily and cupped Draco's face, knowing that he had sparked that something within his lover that made him so different to anyone else he'd been with: that sudden, desperate and consuming jolt of raw passion that fired that strangely insatiable libido.
"Draco look at me," Draco opened his eyes glassily and stared into his own. Harry regarded him for a moment, smiling. "Hello there, indigo eyes." Kissed him softly, not too deep because Draco was panting and giddy. He mewled a little needy noise that was to prompt his lover back into action, and Harry fumbled with the fly of the blonde's casual trousers quickly before bringing him off fast with speedy strokes. It had often been like this when they hadn't had time to lie together for a while – he knew what Draco needed, a quick release to curb the lust that was stilling his brain, and then they could properly begin their terribly, terribly missed lovemaking proper. Draco could reach euphoria many times within one evening, whereas Harry took longer but could last and give more. He smiled into the juncture of Draco's neck, one hand still curled over heated flesh while his lover pay panting for a moment or two in the aftermath.
"Harry?" he released him and looked into his face again, smiling.
"There you are, my darling," a soft murmur. "Beautiful."
"Hmm," Draco nuzzled one cheek against the white pillow for a second, like a disorientated kneazle. "Shall we get out of these clothes then?"
"Here." In a moment he had them both undressed with practiced movements, and was underneath a pale tangle of limbs, holding him.
Harry was tan and muscles on the sheets. Draco bit a plump lip slightly before dipping back into his mouth, his senses reawakened from their initial desire-fuelled haze, the strange hormonal oddity that had been difficult to explain when he first started sleeping with and then dating Harry. Sometimes in the past it had made him act sluttishly or rashly in bed, and with other lovers, who saw what he privately thought of as a bit of a problem, too much of a turn on to resist; who might even hurt him just to see how far he would let them go in such a strange state. He skimmed his fingers on Harry's broad chest, reacquainting himself, and trailed them on his thighs, which moved apart immediately and trustingly.
"Don't you have broom sessions tomorrow morning?"
"I really don't mind," Harry 's head tilted back and he gave him an expression of such open trust that Draco was touched by it and very nearly tempted. However, he had a hold on himself now and could decide things again.
"I'll mind for you," he smirked and rolled them over with his legs around Harry's waist. "Condoms?"
"Where we last had them I guess." He leaned an arm over the bed and pulled out the bottom drawer of the bedside cabinet. "We seem to have natural or ribbed."
"Ribbed." The natural ones had been for Harry – they preferred different things, but that was good too. A wrapper landed on his stomach while Harry rooted for the vanilla oil Draco liked. He picked it up and flicked it between his fingers. "Get two just in case." Harry gave him a devilish look, but didn't comment on it.
"Oh my god, Draco, you really are so fucking gorgeous… oh god…" hands trailing up the downy blond thighs, lips on the taut tendons of a white throat peppered with chilli red marks.
"Draco…Draco I love you…"
"Love you." Legs around his waist, thighs crushing.
Afterwards they lay in bed just to be with each other, stroking skin and playing footsie under the covers. Draco shifted his head so that the curve of the bridge of his nose was on Harry's chin. "I love you too."
"I don't know how you have the energy."
"I don't, I'm starving, thank Merlin I left Kreacher to sort out the dinner."
"What is it?"
"Lemon chicken with roasted squash and savoy cabbage. Hopefully he won't have spat in it though, we need to practice being a little quieter."
Harry pushed himself up on one elbow so that he could look down into Draco's calm eyes. The blond had a wonderful rose flush of sex on him, his hair all falling whichever way it would, his neck and shoulders sprinkled with the red marks of Harry's passion for him. "So there's a likelihood of us practicing more often then?"
"I think there might be. But I meant it earlier about moving back… just not now, okay? The season's busy and it will soon be over. You have to get up at four every day and I have the team charts and stuff all in my office at home. But maybe on the weekends we can be together a bit. Have lunch together in the week. Okay?"
"You know, it is Friday night… that makes it the weekend…" Harry grinned cheekily at him and stroked a hand over the exposed stomach and hip laid bare above the sheets.
"And you have team training tomorrow morning."
"I'll be home by nine thirty."
"Then you'll be back when I wake up."
Someone was stroking him, oh so gently, between the wispy hairs on the back of his neck. Where he really liked being tickled. Draco wriggled, a sleepy smile stretching his paralysed features as he negotiated rolling over towards the source of the tentative caresses, his eyes slowly coaxing themselves into opening, their sapphire cores glinting in the rude sunlight that spread out in a rectangle of brightness over the already white bedclothes. "Hmm, you smell good," he muttered, inclining his nose into the juncture of Harry's knee. The Seeker chuckled and relocated his fingers from the blonde strands to the sandy arched eyebrows, smoothing them like little caterpillars.
"I've just showered," he replied. Draco opened his eyes properly and looked at him.
"You look nice," he said, truthfully, looking at the casual ensemble of That blue shirt with smartly darkwashed jeans. The chain he had given Harry at the height of their former relationship was winking at him every time his lover breathed. It gave him immense pleasure to know that it was there. "and here I thought you were going to come back to bed… occasion?"
Harry pulled the sheet away from the bare shoulders and drank in the pale, defined abs. "Teddy's birthday. He's six today."
"God, really?" Draco sat up and propped himself against the headboard, pulling the sheet over his groin. "That makes me feel so old."
"Me too," Harry admitted. He leaned in and offered the blond a lingering kiss before trailing his lips down across the jawline and settling his forehead in the crook of Draco's neck, who curled both arms around his neck. "Fancy coming to the party? It won't be that long, about one 'til three or four depending on how long it takes for kids to wear themselves out."
"I'll need to go home and change, and buy a present."
"What did you get him? I can tell you're itching to divulge it."
Harry disentangled himself and bounded away into the newly reinstated 'spare' room, only to re-emerge with a half-length thin package.
Draco leapt out of bed. "You didn't. You'll make him spoilt!"
"Oy, get your nakedity away from it. No!" Harry laughed, holding the box over his head. "Do you want to see it?"
"Go on then," Draco opened the top drawer of the chest and whipped out a pair of boxer shorts, hastily stepping into them.
A half-sized Firebolt, the 'Firebolt Junior Pro', rolled out onto the crumpled bed. They both made a small noise of appreciation. "I would have killed for one of these when I was his age," Draco sighed, running his hand over the handle, reverently. "I had a Racing Comet, but not until I was eight or nine, so that I could practice before Hogwarts. You're spoiling him rotten you know, he might turn into a little Slytherin."
Harry laughed and wrapped the broom up again before boxing it. "How can you be so blasphemous? He'll be a Gryffindor, through and through."
"We'd better get cracking if I'm going to find and buy a present that could even half way rival that one!"
The party was in full swing, loud, sticky, rambunctious and jam-packed with small children, when they arrived at Andromeda's house. Ron and Hermione were already standing in the kitchen with a handful of other parents when Harry arrived, and if they were surprised to see Draco with him again, they didn't say anything beyond a polite 'good to see you again,' for which he was thankful.
Harry nearly had the breath knocked out of him as a purple-haired child with bright amber eyes collided with his midriff. "Woah, Ted!"
"Remember what I said about being careful, Theodore! You're a big boy now!" Andromeda stuck her head round the door and smiled at them, "hello Harry dear, how lovely, I'll come and talk to you in a bit, this poor little girl's just been sick… oh, hello, Draco too, how nice to see you again… oopf, come on now, let's not cry, there's a girl…"
"Daddy Harry, Daddy Harry, look!" Teddy opened his mouth and gleefully pushed a loose tooth back and forth with the tip of his tongue. It was satisfactorily disgusting. "Isn't it gross?" he crowed, ecstatic, "I have only five left now because I'm so big!"
"You certainly are!" Harry leaned down and swept him into a bundling hug. "Want your present?"
"Yes! Yes! I mean, yes please."
"You see, Harry? Teddy's a proper gentleman now he's all grown up," Draco remarked, an indulgent smile lifting the side of his mouth. Sometimes he could see his own family's blood in the little boy as clearly as if he was a young Draco learning his manners all over again. Teddy beamed at him, and turned his hair a honeyed version of his cousin's own platinum blond. When he glanced at Harry, Draco noticed a wistful expression frozen on his face.
"This is from me," he said, "Happy Birthday Ted."
Teddy stood for a few minutes with the practice snitch in his little hands, then gave Harry a sweetly confused look of quizzical intrigue. "You'll probably need my present, if you're going to play with that," Harry said. The box and wrappings became mulch in seconds.
"Granny! GRAAAAAANNNYY! Look what Daddy Harry's got me! It's a broomstick! A Broomstick and it's all MINE!!!"
Harry leaned against the doorway, watching as Teddy hared away and upstairs to wherever Andromeda had got to. The kids spilling between the sitting room and the hall and the back garden continued to put jam in each other's hair, regardless. Draco put his arms around Harry's waist, letting him hold onto them and lean back into his shoulder. He could feel Ron, Hermione and a few of the other adults behind him watching them.
"He's started calling me Daddy, all the time."
"He looked like he could be your son."
Draco shut his eyes and breathed out slowly. "It's the hair colour darling, you know it is. On any other day he'd be a dead cert for his own parents. He knows he's a Lupin. But I know what you want to say…there's lots of time. A chat for the next ten years." Harry nodded. "Come on, there's one untrampled pumpkin pasty with our name on it."
It was later, when the last exhausted and cake-encrusted child had either gone home or keeled over from too much excitement, that Hermione had a chance to corner Harry. Teddy was lying wrapped in a throw on the end of the biggest squashy sofa in the sitting room, his body all curled around his knees. Harry gave his blond hair an affectionate ruffle, causing the little boy to squirm sleepily. As he succumbed to unconsciousness, the wayward locks slowly melted back into their own natural brown. Harry tilted his head. There was no way he could mistake this child for anyone but Remus' now.
"He's a lovely little boy, isn't he? So much like Tonks." Hermione was standing behind him holding her three-year-old daughter, whose sleepy head was drooling on her shoulder. Harry inclined his head towards the big armchairs by the French doors and they seated themselves quietly.
She smiled and rolled her head in a luxuriating motion. "Hmm, a bit. I try to have a nap with the kids. Thank god it's the weekend."
"She's even bigger than she was last week."
"Ha, yup and she weighs a ton." She rearranged the tot in her arms so that her tousled red haired head could be supported in the crook of her arm. "She's a good girl though, aren't you? Hmm, asleep at last." She blew out a relieved sigh. "Too much excitement for everyone."
"Oh I think he took Robbie to get his nappy changed."
Harry raised an eyebrow at her. "How modern."
She giggled, "Yes he's been well trained. So where's Draco?"
"Catching up with his aunt. You know, you can ask me if you like."
"We're trying. I should have come out to Wandersley a long time ago. It was well overdue. I'm set to make a public 'announcement' about it at the closing press conference at the end of the season."
"That's an understatement." He rubbed his hands over his face and glanced at his sleeping godson again. "But I think it will be worth it. A lot of people are going to be angry, but he'll help me deal with that. I hope."
"He will." Hermione leaned forwards and caught his clasped hands with her free one. "Harry, I know you're worried about Teddy, I could see it all over your face, but if he wants to call you Daddy, you need to let him. He knows he's Theodore Lupin; he knows what that means."
"That's exactly what Draco said. I love him like he was my son, Mione, but I'm not ready to be a full time dad. You and Ron make it look so easy."
Hermione snorted. "You don't live in our pigsty of a house."
He chuckled – "Nope, it's bachelor pad heaven all the way." She swatted him. "I think I scared him with the mention of kids. It's all so fragile right now, I'm so scared of frightening him off again."
"You haven't." Harry jumped and turned round. Draco leant on the back of the chair and pushed his long fingers into the mass of black thatch at the back of his lover's neck. "Can we talk about it later?" Harry nodded, flushed. Draco glanced at Hermione. "Your husband's in the kitchen with a rather cranky baby."
"Damn, I knew all this domestic tranquillity was temporary. We'd better take the kids home before it turns into a zoo. Maybe we'll see you during the week," she suggested, carefully hoisting her bundle with practiced care and manoeuvring herself out of the armchair. "It's good to have you back in the throng, Draco."
"Thanks." He moved around and perched on the arm of Harry's chair, drawing him into a gentle kiss. "What do you want to do now? We could have some tea with aunt, and then get a bit more time with Ted when he wakes up? Show him a few broom moves?"
"I love you. God, I'm sorry-" he wiped his eyes furiously, embarrassed. "It seems like a really emotional day, I don't know why!" Draco laughed and pulled him against his chest. "Let's go out to dinner tonight. Anywhere you like."
"It'll be sexy tuxedoes all the way…"
"Good, I love you in a tux… come to think of it, I quite like me in a-" another kiss, and another. It felt so perfectly right, finally.
"Teddy!" Harry tried to rearrange his face into a less worried smile. Draco gave him an anxious look. "Did you have a nice sleep?"
Teddy stared between them. His eyes were so big and innocent. Harry felt himself stop breathing for a moment. "Are you…" Teddy scrunched his nose, his expressions still slow and sleepy. "Are you and cousin Draco… special friends?"
Harry looked at Draco, who swiftly took one of his hands. "Yes Teddy, we're very special friends. You see, sometimes adults who like each other a lot want to see each other all the time, and maybe even live in the same house, and that makes them very special to each other," Draco explained, carefully. Harry squeezed his fingers a little.
"Do you mind me being your cousin's special friend, Teddy?" he asked, gently. His voice sounded a lot quieter and steadier than he felt. Coming out to a six year old boy had not been on his to-do list today.
Teddy thought about it. "Is cousin Draco like a daddy too?"
"Would you like me to be your daddy?"
"Granny says I had a mummy and a daddy but they went to heaven, so they let Harry be like a daddy… can somebody have two daddies? I don't have a mummy but there's a girl in my school and she doesn't have a mummy either. But she doesn't get two daddies." Teddy looked perplexed at the greedy idea of having two people to call Daddy.
"Teddy," Harry let go of Draco's hand with another squeeze and knelt down on the carpet so that he could be level with his godson. "Your mummy and daddy did go to heaven, but even though you live with Granny, I will be your daddy too, and I love you this much!" He held out his hands on either side as far as they would go. Teddy giggled and shuffled a bit nearer to him. "But I also love Draco very much too. You can call both of us Daddy if you like. It is up to you, okay? Don't let anyone at school tell you otherwise."
Teddy put his arms around Harry's neck and gave him a smacky kiss on the cheek. "I like you being my daddy." He looked up at Draco, craning his neck until the blond got the hint and crouched next to them. "I don't think I mind having two daddies, but I think I must live with Granny because otherwise she'd be on her own and that's not nice," he stated, decidedly, and pulled Draco into their little huddlespace so that he could snuggle too.
"I think that's a very nice thing to do, Teddy," Harry said. Teddy burrowed his head into both their shoulders lined up together, and made a 'hmm..nuggle' noise. Harry's eyes met Draco's over the little tufty brown head. He was surprised to see tear tracks on the blonde's face. "Thank you," Harry mouthed.
"I love you, stupid," was the return.
"Do you want to try some of this swordfish?"
They were sitting in the private dining room at the York and Albany, dressed, as Draco had decreed, in tuxedoes, and looking very handsome. Harry set his fork down carefully against his plate.
"Thank you for today. It was so weird. I don't know how you kept me together."
"Was it harder to come out to Teddy than to Wandersley?"
"Different. He's not old enough to know what it really means. But Wandersley hasn't taken to calling me daddy."
Draco smirked. "Thank god."
"Are we… is this, becoming permanent? Have you decided what you want? Because if you're not sure, then maybe letting Teddy think you're another father for him isn't the best thing we could have done." Draco gave him a sharp look. "Look, I'm sorry, I don't want to spoil this evening, but it's been eating me up since we left. How do you feel about me? Us."
The blond sighed. "This is going very fast. You came out two days ago and we've already slept together, come out to your godson, told each other we love each other a hundred and fifty times, and …Harry it seems like two weeks, not two days."
"Right." He pushed his fork into his smoked duck salad.
"But I do want to make this permanent. Yes."
Their eyes met across the small table. "We're only eating our starters."
"Yes, rather heavy isn't it?"
"But then, we have eight months of lost time to make up for." Draco stared at him. Harry licked his lips. "So let's start simple. I'm going to kiss you."
"We're in public."
"So what?" They met halfway.
"No, no don't tickle me! AAArrrghh! Ah, Draco! Mmmm –kiss- I was only going to get us some tea."
"Oh no you don't, it's Sunday, I get to shag you all day, and this time, I'm on top." Blond thighs, surprisingly strong, and hands pinning him at the wrist. "Kreacher!"
"Relax, the sheet's covering us. Kreacher, could you make us some breakfast in bed?"
Harry freed one arm and carded his fingers through the silky strands of his lover's beautiful hair, following the motion down his neck, causing Draco to purr like a cat, before spreading his palm flat over his pecs, across his stomach and further to cup his arousal. "Well, someone's up."
"Mmm…" Draco nuzzled his nose into the soft dip below Harry's right ear and licked him. "So nice… I love Sundays. Our bed is great." He framed his lover's face with long fingered hands before guiding his lips to taste him. They spent the morning making love, and it was everything Draco remembered: Harry's skin all tan and muscles under his hands and on the sheets and wrapped up in him and them and the smell of satisfaction and completion around them like a mist. Taking him slowly, Harry's pleasure trickling along to a steady crescendo, in comparison to the blonde's hasty libido; bringing him to breathlessness again, and again, and again.
They lay curled up and sweaty, panting. "Can't go on. Spent."
"Mmmm…" Draco yawned, and stretched his muscles, listening to his back click satisfactorily. "Me too. Are you okay?" he spread his hand over Harry's back and found the contrary muscle, kneading it experimentally. Harry sighed into it.
"I'll be sore in a while, but I'm good now. Sleep."
"It's nearly three."
"Sleep then early dinner."
Harry awoke and Draco was still asleep. His fair hair was fanned back from the aristocratic framework of his face and his body was a perfect sticky mess of pale manliness. They fit perfectly in the bed they had bought together. Neither of them could have guessed that their tranquillity was about to be smashed with a very unwelcome sledgehammer.
HARRY POTTER'S SECRET GAY RELATIONSHIP!!
AN EXCLUSIVE BY RITA SKEETER
STAR SEEKER POTTER TAKES WIZARDING PUBLIC FOR A BROOM-RIDE IN A LIFE OF SHAMEFUL LIES!
While decent wizarding reporters have been forced to accept that the 'bashful' Harry Potter, the saluted jewel of the wizarding world and Seeker for the Brinsbourne Beaters, is too much of a wilting violet to discuss of divulge his romantic attachments to the tabloid press, the Truth is out!
Harry Potter has been deceiving the wizarding world for YEARS by concealing his romantic attachment to none other than the fallen heir of the Malfoy seat, Draco Lucius Abraxus Malfoy. Draco, who was dubiously acquitted of the crime of being one of the followers of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named at the age of just seventeen, has been seen as Potter's 'platonic' plus-one at several public events over the last two years. The duo have fooled the wizarding populous into believing that these events were the result of no more than a natural friendship, or even a business transaction for giving to charitable causes… well now this reporter can reveal that Malfoy and Potter have been seen to share a very different form of relationship by the few let into their sordid inner circle…
Only this Saturday afternoon, at a children's birthday party, thrown in the honour of Potter's own orphaned godson, one of the parents was so shocked by the behaviour she saw paraded by Potter and Malfoy, she simply had to come to this reporter to get it off her chest. The parent, who wished to remain anonymous, had this to say:
"Well, the party was going along very nicely and the children were playing and eating cake. I thought it was strange when I saw that Potter had arrived with another man, but it was soon to get even more interesting: Not only did Potter indecently spoil his godson, who refers to him as 'Daddy', by gifting him with a broomstick at a young age, he then 'snuggled' with the other man in the doorway, in plain sight of my children and the other young and impressionable little mites playing only a few feet from where they were standing. [See photograph below.] Potter's friends seemed to be unfazed by this activity and it was clear that they had been in on the true nature of the relationship all along. It is disgusting to think that a man who is looked up to as a role model in our society would exhibit this kind of sexual preference in full view of children."
The parent who witnessed Potter and Malfoy's close behaviour took a moment to regain her composure before she confided in me:
"I wanted to take the children home immediately but they were having such a nice time and I did not want to assume anything about Potter and his 'friend' who seemed to be connected to the host family, without further proof of their impropriety. However, I was sorely mistaken to be so trusting in my judgement, as I later witnessed them abandon the party for a few minutes of 'peace' – as if they needed to run out on poor children to get a bit of peace! – only to sneak out of the back door and embrace in the garden. I thought that that would be the most of it, but then there was a lingering kiss of a most horribly graphic nature, where any of the children could have come into the garden and seen them at it! [See photograph below.] It was then that I realised the extent of their torrid affairs and endeavoured to remove my children from the party as soon as possible, which was politely done after the cutting of the Birthday cake."
This reporter was indeed shocked and astonished by the graphic pictures our source handed her. One can only imagine that this level of physical contact is not the only 'pleasure' expressed between the two men.
Malfoy has stayed out of the public eye for many years, but this reporter has learnt that he is working as a physical therapist for a Quidditch club – none other than the Brinsbourne Beaters. Has this predilection for Quidditch players strayed beyond the vulnerable and trusting Harry Potter? Or are there more stories locked between the walls of the massage room? One can only speculate, however the manager of the Brinsbourne Beaters, Bill Wandersley, may wish to conduct a little investigative work of his own, and no doubt will want to divulge his findings to yours truly in due course.
As if there weren't enough surprises and indecently indulgent photographs in this EXCLUSIVE report, it seems that Potter and Malfoy have been lauding their sexual preferences for each other in public freely around Muggle London. These photographs below show the pair enjoying a romantic meal at York and Albany, a Muggle restaurant in Parkway, Muggle London, even locking lips at the table in full view of the other diners. We then have shots of the pair, dressed in Muggle dress robes called taxi-dos, walking towards Potter's penthouse flat in a Muggle district, holding hands – in this last frame, Malfoy has rested his hand under Potter's jacket: presumably on his backside.
Is this acceptable behaviour for a man who has for years been deluding the press and public into believing that he is straight?! This reporter asks: How many more lies has Potter told?
Draco leapt to his feet as someone crashed into his office. Harry paused in the doorway, breathless, a crumpled paper clutched in his own hand, his face scrunched and red.
"You've seen it then."
Draco nodded and sat down again. "Who the fuck took them?"
"I don't know. Wandersley wants to see us both. Janet and my lawyer, Paul, are flooing in, in about five minutes."
"Oh my god, I'm fired," Draco dropped his head into his hands. "Oh god. I can't believe this."
"You're not going to be fired… you didn't do anything with any of the other players, did you? I mean, when we were fighting."
Draco glared at him. "I can't believe you. No I haven't. You horrible… horrible…" his voice cracked. Harry came up and pulled him out of the chair and into his arms. "God, don't let me break. You mustn't break."
"I'm not going to break," Harry whispered, fiercely. "I can't believe whoever is was said that about me and Teddy, not to mention us. I will sue Skeeter for everything she has. But I'm done lying, and I'm done breaking. Anyone who looks at those abominable pictures can see that we're happy together. Neither of us is going to break, okay? Please, I love you so much."
There was a noise, and they realised that half the team were standing in the doorway, watching. A couple of newspapers were badly hidden.
Harry lifted his chin. "It's basically true. I am gay, and we are together. We were before and we are now. So if anyone has a problem with that they can just stick it. It's out now."
"Mate, it's no bones to us. We're behind you. And Malfoy."
SHY SUPERSTUD HARRY POTTER OFFICIALLY COMES OUT AS THE LOVER OF THE DASHING DRACO MALFOY
Interviewed by Veronica Pwistel
It is a beautifully sunny and crisp morning as I am met once again by Harry Potter, esteemed Seeker of the Brinsbourne Beaters, who recently topped the leaderboard for the Quidditch National League. We meet on the pitch, and I would be getting a little déjà-vu from our last interview, if it weren't for the slightly late edition to the meeting, jogging across the grass to meet us. Potter's eyes light up instantaneously, and any trepidation about talking to press seems to evaporate. "Late," he chides the newcomer, lightly, before pecking a chaste kiss to his cheek and linking their hands.
We climb up into the stands and get comfortable. It is only ten o'clock, but Potter has been training since half five as usual, and has a healthy glow about him as he sips his crushed up vitamins and water. His partner and I take our coffees gratefully and even tuck into a couple of biscuits, which Potter eyes covetously and his partner teases him lightly about the end of the season, a mere fortnight away – after which, Potter will be allowed as many biscuits as he pleases.
This charming partner who puts Potter so much as ease is none other than the Malfoy heir, Draco Lucius Abraxus Malfoy, the Quidditch club's highly sought after physiotherapist. It was Malfoy who was able to bring not only Potter, but also two chasers back to physical fitness after the horrifying clash with the Cannons that rocked the Quidditch world at the start of the season. Malfoy has an easy manner that obviously calms Potter, famously shy of press, to my presence. Potter has the impish attitude to make his sometimes-serious partner twinkle with affection. It is easy to see how Potter could have fallen for a man like Malfoy, beyond his undeniably good looks and endlessly long legs; his quick wit and expressive conversation keep us both in check.
"Anyone who knew us at school and then lost contact with us might admittedly find it hard to believe we could be so in love with each other now," Potter confides in me, earning a laugh from his blond mischief-maker, "we were at each other's throats all the time, and not in the best way. Looking back though, I suppose we noticed each other a good deal more than anyone else – we were a huge part of each other's lives. But things didn't get romantic between us until about two and a half years ago, when we met for the first time since the war, at a ministry benefit. I couldn't look at anyone else all night, and was finally old enough to realise what my feelings were – I was very lucky that Draco felt the same way!"
It's a romantic beginning, but the reality of the relationship was hard on the two young men, and listening to them talk, once can begin to understand why Potter was so reluctant to make his sexuality and his relationship public knowledge:
"Draco was my whole private life and I liked him being just mine, I was so blissfully happy at the time," Potter confesses. Malfoy takes his hand but does not interrupt him. "The press liked to speculate on whether I was dating every It-Witch or had a secret Muggle mistress in hiding, and sometimes their comments were quite graphic, so it was nice for me to know that they were speculating far from the truth, and that I had this relationship untouched by anything else. That was fun for both of us, I think, for the first year," he looks to Malfoy for confirmation, and he nods for him to continue, "but then it got increasingly hard because we were more-or-less living together, and the gossip was getting more insistent about my sex life. I hoped that if I took a couple of 'dates' to public functions it would help to shift the limelight a little, but all I managed to do was hurt Draco."
He looks at his partner for support, and it is instantly given as Malfoy continues: "I don't want people to blame Harry for 'deceiving' them or whatever they think about it… the more speculation grew around Harry, and the more talked about he was as his Seeking career took off, the harder it was for him to tell the truth about his sexuality. He's made it sound like I was blameless in this, but I wasn't; we began to fight about it and eventually I left without even talking it through properly, which just made us both miserable. We didn't see each other for eight months, when I was given the position at the club. I was still angry with him and he was upset with me for breaking it off, but we were still very much in love and knew that we couldn't leave our past wrongs unsaid."
He sighs and then they begin to talk together, and it is clear just how in tune they are with each other.
Malfoy: "We began to meet for lunch, and sometimes dinner, to talk about it, but I was a bit stubborn..."
"So," Potter continues, "I eventually pulled my idiotic head out of my own arse and confessed my sexuality to Bill Wandersley, who was very supportive, but suggested that we leave my public coming out until the end of the season. It was a massive relief to have told someone though. Only my closest friends and Draco's knew the real nature of our previous relationship."
"It took us a while to work on it – it doesn't help that we're both hopelessly stubborn, but we have found our way back into each other's lives again and that's where we're planning on staying, so please print that," Malfoy urges me. His possessiveness of Potter is touching.
I tentatively bring up the subject of the 'Skeeter Exclusive' that made this interview possible – two weeks before Potter was originally planning to 'come out', at the end of season press conference, although he will doubtless be answering a great deal more questions about this subject. Potter's face instantly darkens and Malfoy runs his thumb over his knuckles in a comforting gesture.
"We were very shocked, and still don't know which of the guests at my cousin's birthday party took the photographs of us," Malfoy tells me. "We have only three possible candidates of women there – we know she was female – that didn't know we were together, but at present we aren't interested in pursuing her. What shocked us more than the photos were the comments made about us and especially those insinuating that we could be some kind of harm to children."
Potter regains his composure and adds, "My godson was mentioned in the article, and this caused me more distress than anything else that was written about us – we have spoken to him about our relationship, in less candid terms, and he is old enough to understand that I can love him and treat him as my son, and also have what we have at present termed a 'special friendship' with Draco, who he is very excited to have as another back-up dad. However, I would firmly state that no photographs of him should ever be taken by the press, and nothing further printed about him unless sanctioned by his guardians."
I take a moment to assure him that I mean no harm in this matter. Malfoy murmurs to him whether he would like to stop, but the interview session is nearly over, and he apologises needlessly to me for his firmness, before I continue with my questions. I ask them what they think is next for the future, and the mood instantly lightens:
"Well, apart from the fact that Harry's promised we can have a bit of a holiday after the season closes, I am looking to sell my town house, so if anyone's interested, give us an owl!" Malfoy grins at me, unable to resist plugging his house. When pressed, they admit: "We're living in Harry's flat at the moment because it is more anonymous in a Muggle area, and as you can imagine we've been rather hounded by press recently… however we are house-hunting, and have talked about whether to move closer to Harry's godson so that we can be a bigger part of his life."
I nudge the question of adopting children in the future, but all I manage to get in return is a secret smile.
"At the moment we're happy to trundle along as we are. I still get up at a stupid hour of the morning, Draco still gets home in time to eat one of my grotty home-cooked meals, and my house-elf despairs of our lack of tidiness!"
Sadly time runs out before I can attempt to dip into the bedroom… but this reporter has a feeling that that door, where so many papers speculate, will be forever locked.
Veronica Pwistel, The Daily Prophet.
Whee, it was quite long. I apologise to those who whould have preferred me to split this into chapters, but I was having a hard time figuring out where to put the breaks. Please find time to review, it's lovely of you.