Draco slouched against the wall, utilizing the dim light from the streetlight to his best advantage. He knew his hair gleamed silver in the flickering glow and his skin looked even paler than usual. He shifted his hips forward minutely when a small group of passersby approached, causing his shirt to ride up a bit and expose a large strip of flesh above the low-slung waistband of his tight black trousers. His shirt was barely that—a mere strip of fabric in white silk. It barely covered his ribs and hung from his shoulders to expose his collarbone. He held a Muggle cigarette between his fingers, but it was only for show. He would sooner suck the nether parts of a Blast-Ended Skrewt than put the burning piece of shit near his lips. A vile habit, but quite useful if you wanted to loiter without looking like you were loitering.
The group passed by, talking amongst themselves. They were a varied lot, both male and female, some loud and some not. One had a boisterous laugh, another had a thick Scottish brogue, and one looked like he wanted to hex them rather than spend one more moment in their presence. Without exception, their eyes turned to Draco as they walked by, some surreptitiously, some openly. He grinned at them and it was just shy of a leer.
Draco slid his fingers lazily over the waistband of his trousers, as though their tightness chafed and he could hardly wait to remove the offending fabric. The motion caused the footsteps of one chap to falter.
"Damn," the man said. "I left my favorite quill at the club."
"Oh, come on, Bernard. It's a quill. You've got dozens," a woman complained, turning when the man stopped just beyond Draco.
"It's my favorite, Lucy. You know how pesky hard it is to get them to write just right. I'll be along. You're going to The Plump Hen, right?"
The woman pouted. Draco thought she rather resembled a French poodle, all tight ringlets, trimmed nails, and artificial glamour. The man was little better. He seemed slightly less than middle-aged with a paunch starting to rise over his belt from too much food and too little exercise. His hair was dark, receding somewhat, and slicked back in a manner Draco had once favored. No more, though. Now Draco's hair hung over his forehead to occasionally tangle in his lashes, worn loose and flowing around his shoulders.
"Yes, damn you, and you'd better not be long or I'll toss you over for Reginald. See if I don't!" The woman turned and took the arm of a sticklike man, who bellowed a laugh and made a lewd comment. The fellow waved them on with good nature and soon the group rounded the corner and disappeared while Bernard backtracked toward Draco. Rather than passing, he paused.
"Waiting for someone?" the man asked.
"Waiting for you, maybe," Draco replied seductively.
Bernard drew in a breath and licked his lips slowly before looking pointedly up and down the street. When he was satisfied that they were unobserved, he stepped closer.
"You up for a spot of fun, then?" Bernard asked. Draco's practiced eye raked the man from head to toe. Good suit, not ridiculously expensive, but not bad, either. The shoes were top shelf. Bernard's hair screamed conservative. Ministry, Draco decided. He could spot them a mile away. A lesser official, though. Definitely not an Auror, thank Merlin. There was always something about their eyes that gave them away. No, this fellow was an underling with a desk job. Muggle Affairs or some obscure division.
"A spot of fun if the price is right," Draco said amiably and tossed the fag into the street as he straightened. He made sure to slouch a bit, however, as his height had been known to scare off a mark or two.
"Price," Bernard repeated. He sounded disappointed. Draco moved forward and leaned slightly against the man. His lips skated over Bernard's jaw and parked near his ear. He reached up and drew circles with his long fingers over the man's fleshy abdomen as he whispered into his ear.
"Surely you don't think anything this hot is free," Draco said and chuckled. "Don't worry; it will be more than worth your while."
The man drew a shuddering breath. "How much?"
Draco smiled. It was easier than shooting babies in a barrel… or however that Muggle saying went. And it was so much more lucrative.
Harry fixed a steely gaze on the man across the table, who wiped the back of his hand across his forehead in an effort to diminish the sweat gathered there. Veritaserum had that effect, and the man had been nervous even before it was administered.
"Now, Bernard. Say we go over this once more," Harry said in an even tone. "We know you have been nicking funds from your department coffers for quite some time. We'll talk more about that later. What we are curious about is your memory. You seem to be under a strange variation of a Memory Charm."
Bernard's eyes widened with surprise that did not seem feigned.
"Memory Charm?" he asked.
"Are you admitting to knowing nothing about it?" Harry asked. He thought it was a stupid question, since the whole point of a Memory Charm was to keep one from remembering something, but people had been known to request Obliviation from others. It was prudent to ask.
"No! Of course not!"
"Have you noticed any gaps in your memory recently? Unexplained blocks of time that you can't account for?"
He gave Bernard a minute to cast back, seeking anomalies. When he shook his head, Harry felt like gnashing his teeth. Bloody hell, but this was turning into a time-consuming cock-up. What should have been a simple case of embezzlement followed by a speedy trial, possibly some jail time, and a hefty fine now needed to be handled with kid gloves. Not only was Bernard a well-respected Ministry official, he was also the nephew of the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She would have Harry's head in a vice if he "falsely accused" her precious nephew of a crime unless the evidence was incontrovertible. The evidence itself was impeccable, but this Memory Charm business could be twisted by the defense until it smacked of possible magical coercion by an outside party. Which was, Harry admitted, entirely feasible. He simply felt in his gut that Bernard was guilty.
"All right, then," Harry said as he repressed a sigh. "I'm going to need a list of all the places you've been in the past month." That should be a long enough span of time to satisfy Bernard's lawyers. Any Memory Charm issued prior to that would have had little effect on Bernard's skimming tendencies.
"All… all places?" Bernard asked in a sickly tone. Harry nodded curtly, wondering what Bernard had to hide that was worse than the embezzlement they had already uncovered. The man swallowed hard. "Um… this won't be made public, will it?"
Harry relaxed slightly. "Not unless it is pertinent to the case." Most likely the man had something else to conceal—a mistress, illegal purchases, drug use… things any prudent man would prefer not to disclose. Harry slid a piece of parchment and a quill across the table to Bernard, who sighed in defeat and started writing.
Harry had discovered Bernard's list to be rather tame. The man had a pretty boring life, actually. He spent most of his free time with the same group of friends, hanging out at a local pub and watching Quidditch on the new Wizardvision. He rarely made bets, drank little, and seemed quite conservative. Harry began to wonder why he had embezzled at all—Bernard did not seem to have expensive inclinations. He lived in a modest flat near the Ministry, bought nothing ostentatious, and had no bad habits. It was a conundrum. The only piece of the puzzle Harry had left to investigate drew him finally to a small street off the beaten path. Bernard had admitted to occasionally picking up a prostitute near a restaurant he and his friends frequented.
Harry had been unable to extract much information about the visits. Bernard had mentioned only that his prostitute of choice was blond with grey eyes. The man was extremely close-mouthed and absolutely refused to give Harry a name, stating only that the name was probably false and didn't matter. Harry could only assume Bernard hoped the prostitute would not be called upon and that his secret would remain hidden from his friends and family.
It was, however, Harry's job to leave no stone unturned. Thus he stood in his invisibility cloak beneath a tiny awning in a persistent drizzle at 11pm on a Wednesday night. He shivered as the growing chill seeped through his clothing and reflected that sometimes his job was not all it was cracked up to be. He would not trade it for the world, of course, but it made him feel better to complain, if only to himself.
Harry perked up when movement finally appeared across the street. Bernard had disclosed the location as that frequented by his blond paramour. He had not mentioned that the blond in question was a man. Harry blinked a few times to make sure his eyes were not playing tricks on him, but the person slouched against the opposite wall was every inch a male. Bernard's close-mouthed silence suddenly made a lot more sense.
A small group of people left a nearby pub and headed down the narrow alley, approaching the waiting blond. The figure straightened slightly and arranged himself in a more seductive pose. There was something almost familiar about him, but Harry could not quite put a finger on it… He resolved to move closer and waited until the approaching footsteps muffled any sound he made crossing the street.
A woman stopped and made small talk with the blond as Harry quickly headed across the street. He had cast a Silencing Charm on his shoes, but it was always possible to slip on the wet pavement. He carefully ducked into a doorway and peered out to view his mark's profile. The man turned slightly to chat up the woman and only Harry's training kept him from gasping aloud in recognition.
For long moments, Harry's mind spun back through time, remembering the Slytherin in school. He had been an unmitigated bastard. After the war the Malfoy assets had been seized to make reparations and Draco and his mum had dropped out of the wizarding world completely. Good riddance, Harry had thought at the time. Now, though… Had Malfoy been working as a rentboy all this time? How long had it been? Four years? Five?
He moved closer, hoping to hear the conversation between Malfoy and the girl, whose companions had paused and waited for her nearby, but it was over too quickly. She walked back to her cohorts and the group wandered down the street once more. Harry maintained his position near Malfoy and was rewarded a few minutes later when footsteps returned. Harry expected it to be the girl and was surprised to find it was one of her other friends. A bloke.
A brief price negotiation ensued, causing Harry's brows to rise. He had not known how lucrative a career in prostitution could be, but perhaps Malfoy was a special case. He half-feared they would Disapparate, but instead Malfoy tossed his cigarette butt, turned, and walked a short distance down a nearby alley. The man followed, as did Harry.
A tiny awning marked a doorway and Malfoy opened it and courteously held it aside for his companion. Harry scowled as the door shut and waited, hoping he could find them inside the building. After what he hoped was an appropriate amount of time, he turned the door handle and eased open the weathered door. It creaked only slightly and Harry ducked inside before shutting it quietly. A short hallway and a set of stairs met his gaze, but the murmur of voices led him to the steps.
He hurried up soundlessly, sticking close to the wall to minimize creaking from the wooden steps. He shrank back when he caught sight of two pairs of feet as his head neared the third storey landing. Malfoy unlocked a door with a few quick spells that Harry memorized. Two were standard Locking Spells, but one was a bit trickier and probably contained a Malfoy twist, likely with an attached Dark Arts curse.
Harry reached into a pocket for the pair of Extendable Ears he carried, but he had no idea of the layout of the room beyond—the ear could be detected the moment he slipped it beneath the door. Besides, it was really no mystery what Malfoy and his guest were up to, was it? Although it sort of was to Harry. He wasn't sure how two blokes would get it on. The more he thought about it, the warmer he became. To take his mind off of the idea, he seated himself across the hall and draped his cloak around himself.
It was a shorter wait than expected. Harry barely had time to acquire sore arse cheeks from the hard floor before the door opened and the two men appeared. Harry did not dare move, afraid the sound might give him away. He had positioned himself far enough away that they would not accidentally step on him when exiting.
"That was amazing," the man murmured, clutching Malfoy in an almost tender fashion. Harry saw the blond roll his eyes over the man's shoulder. "Can I see you again?"
"If you bring the Galleons, you can see me any time," Malfoy purred and stroked one hand up the man's spine. He shivered like a cat and Harry's mouth went dry.
"I'll be back as soon as I can," the fellow promised. He pulled away and tried to kiss Malfoy, but the blond head tipped slightly and the man's lips pressed into the smooth cheek instead. He chuckled. "Sorry, I forgot."
"Forget again and you'll wish you hadn't," Malfoy warned. His tone was teasing, but there was enough iron beneath it that the man stepped back. He swallowed hard and then waved awkwardly before turning and ducking down the stairs. Malfoy sighed heavily and leaned against the doorframe for a moment. Harry felt a flare of unwelcome pity. Malfoy no longer looked like an arrogant prat. He looked tired and worn and dejected. Harry wondered how low the Malfoys had sunk for Draco to have taken up such a profession. It had to have been drastic to force the pureblood into selling himself to strangers.
Malfoy turned abruptly and went back inside, closing the door softly. Harry got to his feet and departed, vowing to check into the Malfoys. He had completely forgotten the case that had driven him to the alley to begin with.
The news was grim. Lucius was dead—of course Harry had not missed that newsworthy event several years back, although now he felt almost guilty for his feelings of satisfaction at the time. Lucius had been a complete prick, but he had still been a father that seemed to care greatly for his son. Draco had probably taken his death hard.
Narcissa had dropped out of the social scene completely. The Ministry had swooped down on the Malfoy fortune even before Lucius's death—he had died in Azkaban, after all—and the remaining Malfoys had spent untold Galleons trying to keep their home and their possessions, to no avail. Harry remembered feeling another flare of approval when Narcissa and Draco had been booted from Malfoy Manor. It served them right, he had thought.
The knowledge of where Draco had ended up made him nearly ill. Harry had not lifted a finger to stop the travesty of justice that had laid claim to the Malfoy fortune, and now a former schoolmate of his was selling himself to anyone with enough coin. Harry wondered what he would have done if the positions had been reversed. Would he stoop to prostitution?
Of course not. I have friends. They would take me in and help me get on my feet.
As expected, the knowledge only made him feel worse. Malfoy's "friends" had likely abandoned him the moment the Galleons disappeared. And where was Narcissa?
Several hours and a gigantic stack of papers disclosed no additional clues. It was as if Malfoy and his mother had disappeard completely from the wizarding world until Harry had spotted the blond in the alleyway. There was no help for it; he would have to spy on Malfoy again and try to determine what had become of his mother. Harry did not examine his reasons for wanting to do so. Because of the case was justification enough.
Malfoy was in the same place the next night. Harry's invisibility cloak served him in good stead once more. This time Malfoy's client was a young woman, although it was difficult to tell through the thick robes she hid beneath. Obviously this one had no wish for her identity to be disclosed. Harry could tell it was a woman by the way she walked, however. A delicate saunter of her hips betrayed her as she walked beside Malfoy to his room. Harry thought about dashing ahead of them and hurrying inside, but the thought of observing Malfoy in action, as it were, made him feel slightly nauseous.
She returned surprisingly quickly. So much so that Harry felt their negotiations must have gone sour, but she did not seem displeased. She waved to Malfoy as he leaned against the doorframe and smiled at her retreating form. Perhaps they had made an assignation for another day. Malfoy did not return to the street, instead retreating back into his flat. After waiting a few minutes, Harry turned the doorknob and pushed the portal open a handsbreadth. When no warning sounded, he pushed it open further and slipped inside. Malfoy was not in sight, so he shut the door quickly, taking care that the latch did not click.
The place was small, but tastefully decorated, if rather austere. A highbacked sofa sat against one wall, flanked with small wooden tables. Two comfortable looking chairs faced the sofa with a tea table between them. A small kitchen area was visible, with a round table large enough to seat two tucked into a space near the door.
Harry started when a sound reached his ears, but he quickly recognized it as the shower. He hurried to an open doorway and peeked inside, but the bedroom was empty. A huge bed dominated the room, romantically lit with floating fairy lights in pale green, accenting the dark green coverings on the bed. Slytherin to the end, Harry thought wryly.
Another door was open across from Harry and he walked quietly in that direction, driven by curiosity. What he saw froze him where he stood.
Malfoy was in the shower. Harry had expected a curtain, but the shower was enclosed in glass, giving him a full view of Malfoy's lean body as he stood beneath the spray.
Merlin, Mordred, and Morgana, he thought in awe as he watched Malfoy soap his blond hair. Suds trailed in lazy rivulets over Malfoy's neck and shoulders, sliding across lean ribs and an incredible arse before oozing down Malfoy's long legs and joining the pool beneath his feet. Malfoy's arm muscles flexed languidly and he turned to face Harry for a moment before continuing the motion and tipping his head beneath the spray to rinse.
Harry stared at Malfoy's cock, fascinated by the pale curls and wondering how Malfoy would look fully erect. The thought made a delicious quiver ripple through his midsection. Bloody hell, no wonder people paid to have sex with him. He was fucking gorgeous. Harry would pay to have sex with him. The thought made his heart nearly trip out of his chest for a moment—a moment too long, as it turned out, because Malfoy finished rinsing his hair and turned away to fumble for the controls.
Harry fled, thinking Malfoy meant to turn off the water, but the sound continued as Harry returned to the central room. He let out a breath in relief and then spied a tiny desk in one corner. He hurried over and found it locked and warded. Before he could swear, he noticed a letter on top addressed to Narcissa Malfoy.
Harry snatched it up and committed the address to memory just as the shower shut off. He replaced the letter, hurried to the door, and departed.