This is the final chapter.
One Harry Potter, Please
(If Possible, Seduced and Ready)
Harry rushed up the stairs that led to his apartment with his heart thumping madly. He had been in too much of a hurry to wait for the elevator, but now he reconsidered and regretted not waiting — it might have been faster.
He had wasted at least half an hour searching through the Manor and thinking up various scenarios, some of them truly frightening, of where Draco could be. Draco could have left forever, which made no sense because he hadn't packed, but he could have planned to send someone back to pick up his stuff. Or, since the wards were down, someone could have broken in and kidnapped him; someone coatless who made sure that Draco took his coat with him so he wouldn't catch a cold. It was fortunate that that idea made even less sense because Harry would have already rushed to the Ministry to report Draco missing.
It occurred to Harry, much too late, that the only place Draco could have gone with Harry's coat was a place where he thought Harry was. That, too, made little sense since it was the middle of the night and the matter was hardly urgent, but Harry did leave with Derek; and who knew what conclusion Draco had drawn from that? Besides, Draco's actions lately had been nearly incomprehensible to Harry. Which meant that he could be wrong about that theory as well, but he had to check. If Draco was at Harry's while Harry had been at the Manor then it was possible Draco would leave and conclude that Harry had left for Derek's house. Which was something Harry didn't want Draco to believe under any circumstances.
He had almost stayed at the Manor to wait, but he knew he had no right to be there. Draco was already angry and hurt and Harry didn't want him aggravate him even more. They were in too deep; it was time to fix things, not make them worse.
He had left the Manor after casting several charms to protect the wardless house and grounds. He was pants at that sort of thing but it was better than nothing. After Apparating to a deserted back alley nearby, he all but flew to his apartment. His stomach was in knots as he drew nearer, hoping for the impossible and chastising himself for expecting something as amazing as finding Draco waiting for him there.
He reached the turn that led to his hallway and then froze as he heard a familiar voice whisper, "Potter."
Incredible relief washed over him and he almost laughed but managed not to. Instead, he peered carefully around the corner. Sure enough, Draco was there, standing in front of Harry's apartment door with the missing coat tossed over his arm. His forehead was pressed to the door and he seemed to have leaned in on it with his full weight. He looked tired and exasperated, as though he had been there for a long time, which, Harry realised, was probably true. Harry was mildly impressed that Draco hadn't broken in yet.
Already taking a step forward with every intention of making Draco aware of his presence, Harry paused when Draco spoke again.
"I'm sorry, all right?" Draco grumbled, sounding sorry. "Just open the damn door and let me explain. Damn it, Potter!" Draco sighed and banged his forehead lightly against the door. "I'm not leaving until we talk. I didn't mean what I said earlier. I was just upset. And I'm sorry. I didn't mean it," Draco repeated quietly and then lowered his voice even more, clearly not wanting his next statement to be heard, even though Harry heard it. "You were the first person in my bed, Potter, and it wasn't boring. It was . . ." Draco sighed. "It fucked me up for good. And now I'm gay and you're a fucking drama queen, so just" — Draco raised his tone again — "open the fucking door, Potter!" He yelled so loudly Harry feared that the neighbours would call the police, if they didn't think Harry was police.
Harry closed his eyes for a moment, letting Draco's quiet words soothe his nerves. There was a compliment hidden beneath the excessive use of the word fuck. It was all that Harry needed to hope again.
"Fuck!" Draco bellowed and a corresponding "Fuck you, arsehole!" drifted from the distance. Harry quickly stepped forward to silence his too-loud partner, but Draco didn't hear him.
"Potter, I will break this door if you don't open it. I swear, I will. I know you're in there."
"Draco?" Harry said quietly.
Draco turned around swiftly, pointing a wand at Harry and staring at him in shock. Then he narrowed his eyes and glared at Harry, the door, and then Harry again.
"You did that on purpose," he said accusingly, waving his wand. "You Apparated here to make me look ridiculous."
Harry would have laughed if he wasn't so nervous, and if he hadn't noticed a tiny, at the moment not-so relevant, thing: Draco had put on his coat all right, but he had only managed to fasten one of the buttons of his shirt, which meant Harry was treated to the sight of the smooth pale skin of Draco's chest.
Harry tore his gaze away from Draco's skin with difficulty and looked up at his distressed expression.
"No, I just got here," he said, his voice low or maybe his hearing was impaired due to Draco's screaming assault.
Draco just looked even more upset. "Where were you?" he asked forcefully, though he lowered his wand.
"The Manor, actually, looking for you."
Draco snorted. "Oh? You got lost, I suppose?" He shook his head and scowled, but then he frowned and asked worriedly, "Oh Merlin, did you get lost in the Manor? Because things like that have happened before. Hyperion, my cousin twice removed, got lost once. It took us days to find him. He was in the dungeons, apparently. Father always claimed he had nothing to do with it, but Mother never believed him. Hyperion was a bit of strange. My father and he never got along very well. I liked him, though. He was . . . funny . . ."
Draco trailed off and pressed his lips tightly together. He must have realised he was babbling nonsense. Not that Harry minded. It was endearing.
"No, I didn't get lost. I just took Derek home, but then I came back."
Draco's gaze darkened. "How nice of you to escort poor little Hogan home. I'll bet he was grateful. Gave you a little kiss, did he?"
Harry was never so pleased to see Draco scowl. Because Draco was jealous. He was so obviously jealous Harry couldn't stop himself from grinning in delight, knowing that he was finally on the right track.
Draco must have misinterpreted Harry's reaction because he looked even angrier. 'Well, whatever," he said. "I just came to give you your coat back. That's all. So I'll just —"
"No!" Harry interrupted quickly. "I just wanted to make sure he got home. He was a little out of it. Memory Charms do that to a person."
"He didn't look out of it to me, earlier," Draco said haughtily.
"Well, he got himself Obliviated again. Twice in one night. It's not recommended." Harry could not help smiling at Draco's surprised expression.
"You Obliviated him?"
Harry nodded, oddly proud, though he really shouldn't have been. "He convinced himself we should be together. Honestly, I think it's better for him if he just forgets this whole thing."
Draco narrowed his eyes and the corner of his mouth twitched. "Oh, I see. Is this a Gryffindor thing? 'I Obliviated him for his own good, so that makes it okay'? Nice rationalisation. I like it."
"No. I Obliviated him for my own good." And yours, Harry added silently, though he had no intention of telling Draco that. He didn't know how Draco would react. "Things turned a little nasty for a minute."
Draco paled and edged closer. His gaze raked over Harry's body worriedly. "He didn't do something to you, did he? Oh Merlin, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have left you without backup. The man is clearly unstable. I was just so pissed."
"I'm fine. He didn't do anything to me," Harry said, basking in Draco's honest worry. He remembered how Draco had grabbed him during that ridiculous Jarvey rescue, and how tenderly he had healed Harry's injury — the one he inflicted, sure, but for a good reason. But Draco's expression now and his expressions then seemed very similar. He did seem angry and disgusted, but now it was clear that he was angry at Derek and disgusted by the thought that Harry could have been hurt. Those negative feelings weren't directed at him. They probably never were, Harry realised giddily. "Can we just forget about Derek Hogan?" Harry asked, wanting to talk about them.
"Gladly." Draco straightened and cleared his throat. "Speaking of forgetting things, I wanted to talk to you about something."
"Good, because I wanted to talk to you, too." Harry swallowed nervously; he didn't like the phrase "forgetting things." He stepped around Draco and opened the door, waving his hand towards the dark interior of his apartment. "Want to come in? Or else my neighbours will call the police." Harry bit his lip, regretting he had constructed his offer as a threat.
Draco seemed reluctant at first, but he accepted Harry's reasoning quickly and stepped inside the apartment.
Relieved, Harry took a deep breath, turned on the lights and closed the door. He had no idea how to begin the conversation. It would be ideal if he could just tell Draco how he felt about him and then hope for the best, but he wasn't sure he could get the words past his lips. He also wasn't sure if Draco was ready to hear such declarations.
"All right, Potter," Draco said, standing rigidly by the armchair where he had tossed Harry's coat. "I have to tell you some things —"
"I have to tell you some things, too —"
"And I would be grateful," Draco talked over him, "if you would shut up and listen."
Harry worried his bottom lip, not sure he wanted to hear what Draco had to say. For all he knew, Draco would make things worse with his statements, not better. Harry should explain things first. "I really think I should —"
"Potter. I need you to listen," Draco insisted and Harry opened his mouth to object again, but Draco sighed and added quietly, "Please?"
That word from Draco Malfoy's mouth took Harry off guard, so he fell silent and nodded.
"All right." Draco closed his eyes for a moment as though summoning courage and then he looked straight at Harry. "First, I want you to know that I don't speak French."
"Just listen. Honestly, Potter. I had lessons when I was a kid, but I just never learned it. Mother was very upset. Still is, actually. Which leads me to my second point. I love my parents. I do. But Father, he's tiresome and Mother, she nags a lot and they're just spending their days purposely trying to drive me insane."
Harry listened, completely lost and completely fascinated by this babbling version of Draco.
"So you see, Potter. I can't move to France. I can't. Also, I love my job. Yes, it's much dumber than I imagined, but I am hoping things will get better, eventually."
Harry shuffled his feet and pushed the overwhelming feeling of guilt away.
"But I do love it," Draco continued. "And I love my house. It's too big and hard to maintain and it's eating my salary, but I love it. So I have to stay here. I can't leave. I don't want to leave."
"I don't want —"
"Potter!" Draco glared and Harry fell silent again. "I know I made a huge mess here. And you have every right to be angry. And you have every right to demand a different partner; in fact, that might be for the best. But I want to stay and I don't want you to hate me. You don't have to like me, but —"
"I just need you to forgive me."
Harry blinked, completely floored. He had never expected Draco to apologise. In fact, he had been prepared to apologise himself. Well, actually, he had been prepared to apologise and beg, possibly even crawl. Quite literally, if necessary.
However, Draco wasn't finished. "I deceived you and I'm sorry. I came to that date today to protect you, that's true, but I don't know why I pretended to be your secret admirer. I'm forced to plead temporary insanity. I don't know what I was thinking. And I'm sorry for the things I said earlier, and I'm sorry I said them in front of Derek, though I suppose he can't remember, so that's comforting. I didn't mean any of it. I was upset, but I thought about things some more and . . . I don't blame you for what you've done. You just wanted to figure out what I was trying to do and I understand that. If I were you I would have done the same thing. That was a compliment, by the way, in case you missed it. And I understand that you probably don't want to have anything to do with me and that's fine. I just ask you to forgive me and forget this ever happened. I'll never meddle in your life again." Draco exhaled as though he had run a marathon. "Well, unless I think your life is in danger, then obviously . . ." Draco fell silent again.
Harry tried to breathe, but he couldn't. Despite how wonderful it was to hear Draco apologise and to hear him confess that if Harry was in danger he would have to try to save him, Harry was more worried about Draco's tone. He sounded as though he was saying goodbye.
Harry took two steps forward, peering carefully into Draco's face. Draco looked nervous and sad.
"I can't forgive you," Harry said and Draco's eyes darkened, so Harry hurried on, "because there's nothing to forgive. I mean, this wasn't one of your brightest moments, but I'm not very proud of my actions, either. You don't have to apologise to me."
"Oh. All right." Draco nodded, still pale, not looking relieved as Harry hoped he would; he just looked confused.
"Do you still want to be my partner?" Harry asked.
"I think it would be best if we went our separate ways."
The knot in Harry's stomach was painful now. "You didn't answer my question. Do you want it?"
Draco bit his lip. "If you continue to glare at me at every turn and if you distrust me, then, no."
"I want to trust you."
"But you can't. And I understand. It's fine, Potter." Draco sighed, clearly agitated.
Harry was beginning to panic. This was going all wrong. He had to make Draco talk about things that mattered. Tentatively, Harry began, "That day when you were waiting for me at the diner and then showed up here —"
"Oh no," Draco interrupted quickly. "I wasn't waiting for you. Telling you that was a part of my evil scheme." Draco nodded emphatically.
Harry grimaced. "Please, don't start lying again. You were doing so well."
Draco growled quietly and ran a hand through his hair. "Can't you let a man walk away with a little dignity, Potter?"
"I don't want you to walk away. And I need to know — was that a date? Did you ask me out?"
"No." Draco glared and Harry opened his mouth to complain again, but Draco continued, "That's the truth. I just wanted to spend some time with you. I just wanted us to be friends. That's all." Draco's eyes were much too bright, or maybe that was just a play of lights.
"And now I think my wishes were unrealistic. I don't think we can ever be friends."
"Why not?" Harry dared to ask because Draco sounded disappointed when he said the word ever.
Draco closed his eyes again and shook his head. "Dignity, Potter," he said quietly. "Please let me keep it."
Draco was completely distressed so it was probably wrong of Harry to be so happy. If Draco was worried about his dignity then that had to mean he had feelings for Harry and he thought Harry didn't feel the same.
Harry took a deep breath. "What would you say if I told you that I want us to be more than friends?"
Draco blinked and took a step forward with an unreadable expression on his face. Harry had already imagined them kissing and making up on the sofa, but Draco shook his head and sneered as he said, "I'd say that you're the very noble fool I always thought you were. I've been sidetracked for awhile, but this is you. You don't go around having random sex with people. You want it to mean something. You feel obligated to try and see if this would work. It's actually a little insulting."
Harry shook his head, incredulous. "You're wrong. This has nothing to do with being noble. I've been thinking about it for a long time. About us, I mean. About you."
Draco's face contorted; he didn't look pleased with that confession. "Then Hogan had a point. You are forgetting who I am."
"I'm not following your line of thought, Draco."
"Obviously," Draco grumbled and then he came closer, savagely pulling up the sleeve on his left arm. "I'm talking about this. Remember this?" he asked as Harry's gaze fell on the ugly Mark on Draco's forearm. It had faded, but it was still clearly visible against Draco's pale skin. "Remember an ugly bloke with red eyes I swore allegiance to? Remember all those nasty things that happened back at school? Are you telling me you forgot all about that? How could this possibly work, Potter?" Draco spat Harry's last name as he used to do all the time, and then, with less venom and more sadness in his voice, he added, "I don't plan to wait around for the day you realise you were wrong."
Confused, Harry reached out and almost touched the Mark before Draco pulled his hand away.
"Don't," Draco said, letting the shirt and coat hide the black skull.
"Draco," Harry said gently, "that was before. You're a different person now, a person I could — I person I do —"
Draco laughed bitterly; Harry hated the sound of it. "A different person?" Draco sneered. "See, that's why this wouldn't work. You think I've changed and I don't blame you. I do pretend I've changed."
"Yes, pretend." Draco bared his teeth, looking quite angry now. "You think I care about Muggles? I don't. I hate them. I don't understand them. And I don't want to understand them. They're just bloody odd. And Muggleborns are too much like them. Bringing ideas and views and oddities to our world; a world they don't understand. I still hate them all. Look, see that?" Draco unexpectedly pointed at Harry's television set. "They've infected you, too. That thing is stupid and unnecessary and I hate it."
Harry's mouth twitched. "Funny, that's what Ron said when he saw it."
"Oh, and Weasley! I hate him as well. All of them. And Granger. Especially Granger. It's her fault I can't buy a house-elf — something I need — because she made the Ministry declare that selling and buying house-elves is suddenly illegal. And I bet that soon they'll be freed. I hate that too. No, wait I don't. If I can't have one, it's only fair no one else can."
"You also hate the Smurfs, I imagine."
"Muggle joke," Harry murmured.
"And I hate Muggle jokes. I don't get them."
"That's a lot of things to hate."
"Well, I'm a hater. What?"
Harry quickly wiped a smile off his face. "Sorry. I wouldn't call you a hater. I just think you're very grumpy."
Draco frowned, his expression full of incredulity. "Don't you get it, Potter? I'm telling you that I'm pretending I've changed my views. I haven't."
"Really?" Harry asked, amazed that Draco was so blind. And so silly. And so lovable.
"Funny you should say that, because as I recall, you were very excited that day when you thought a Muggle woman had been abducted. You seemed very eager to save her."
"I just wanted some action."
"Right. You do realise that if you had been right and there was an abduction, you would have had to put your own life at risk and attack a pureblood family, your distant relatives, apparently, in order to get your action?"
"I don't know them. I don't care about them. That's just proves that I'm only concerned about my own welfare."
"Do you care about yourself, Draco? Because this is a funny job you picked out, considering that as an Auror you're required to save Muggles and Muggleborns from peril, often endangering your own life in the process."
"Oh please, isn't it obvious why I picked out this job? If you haven't noticed the Wizarding World hates me, the newly important part of it at least. I'm just trying to garner some respect by pretending I'm reformed."
"Oh, of course, that's obvious. I mean, obviously when one wants to garner respect they don't become members of the Council of Magical Law, aiming for the Wizengamot, they don't work for the Department of Mysteries, and they don't become Healers. It's not like those people have more respect and bigger paycheques and are just generally more appreciated by the public. Oh wait, they are. Plus, they don't have to worry about dying on their job. Why not Magical Law, Draco? You could push through legislations you think are all wrong just to impress others. You would have money and respect. And it would have been a lot easier to get a job there with your grades and no special 'are you a good person' test?"
Draco blinked, not speaking for a long time, and Harry half-expected him to say, "Oops, I should have thought of that."
But Draco looked away and sniffed before he murmured quietly, "I picked this job because it makes me feel better about myself. If I spend my days saving Muggles and Muggleborns, I can spend my nights hating them without feeling guilty. But the bottom line is that I do hate them."
Harry smiled, a little amused. "You're right, I was wrong about you. You've gotten further than I thought you have." He had not expected Draco to have a guilty conscious.
"You're mental," Draco accused as Harry drew nearer.
"No, you're mental. You're mental because you've been apparently spending your time thinking you were cheating when in fact you're on the right path."
Draco hooked heavenward. "You heard nothing I said."
"I heard everything. Draco, I never expected you to have a sudden epiphany and change your views overnight."
"I'm not changing them ever."
"That's a strong statement, but never mind. My point is, I never thought you stopped disliking Muggles and I don't expect you to ever love them. You were raised to hate them and I understand that. The fact that you're going against what you believe in is what made me admire you. You're not pretending to be someone you're not, Draco, you just don't know who you are."
"Great. I always wanted you to psychoanalyse me. Does this make you feel better?"
"Yes, actually, it does. And I see that you're unconvinced, but I'm looking forward to helping you discover more about yourself. I did assist you in discovering one thing you didn't know, so maybe you could give me some credit and believe me when I say there's more." Harry took another step forward; they were closer now, merely a foot apart. Draco looked like he wanted to run away but he stayed put.
"We'd fight a lot," Draco said suddenly as though he was desperate to find a reason against their potential relationship. Curiously enough, saying, "I just don't want to be with you," had apparently never occurred to him. And that was the only thing that would make Harry back off. Draco was just afraid and Harry could see it now. It made him want to laugh and scream with joy.
Draco was still arguing. "I'd want you to change your views; you'd want me to change mine. Things would get messy."
"I'm counting on that. I'm also counting on making up. By that I mean lots and lots of make up sex."
Draco's eyes widened and he blushed a little as he said, "Sex, sex, sex. Maniac."
Harry grinned. "You are grumpy."
Draco swallowed heavily. He stopped sneering and he stopped looking angry, but he still seemed troubled.
"Potter, look, I've seen what you like. When you received those gifts and all those letters, I saw your face. You love being treated like that."
"I thought they were from you."
"But they weren't. Because that's not me. I'm not romantic. I wouldn't spend that much money on gifts because I can't afford it, and I wouldn't send you love letters, because, Merlin, I can't write those. And I definitely can't write porn. I couldn't make you happy no matter how much I tried. You want someone who's romantic and considerate and sappy and that's not me."
"I want you," Harry said earnestly, wondering if Draco was truly unaware that he had just admitted that Harry's happiness meant more to him than getting what he wanted.
"No, you don't. You're just being a romantic idiot. I'll bet you think that if you spent some time with me you'd change me and save me."
"I don't want to change you. I want to know you."
"And what if you don't like what you find out?" Draco asked quietly.
"Isn't that a risk that comes with every relationship?"
"Potter, I have nothing to offer you. You had fun today and now you think we'll ride into the sunset. That's cute, but not very realistic."
Harry sighed, wishing he could just tell Draco that he loved him, but he knew Draco wouldn't believe him.
It's time for drastic measures, Harry thought as he reached for his coat.
Potter was insane; that much was obvious. When Draco had decided to go to his apartment he had expected a lot of things, but not this apparent insanity.
Earlier, after he had spent five full minutes planning his trip to France and imagining his reunion with his parents, Draco was even more depressed. He realised he liked it here, Potter or no Potter. He liked his house and his job and his peacocks and the shops and people who spoke his language. He didn't want to leave. But he couldn't stay if Potter hated him, not just because it would be difficult to deal with Potter's hatred every day, though there was that, but because Potter could make things harder for Draco. In more ways than one. Not to mention Potter's horrified expression when Draco had told him that he hated what happened between them. Draco had to apologise.
Therefore, Draco had gotten up and returned to the ground floor only to find it empty. That had been the point where Draco had panicked. Potter and Hogan had left, possibly together. Which meant that they were somewhere talking and bonding. Or that Hogan had kidnapped Potter. Both of those possibilities were terrifying, but naturally there was always the chance that Draco had made a mistake and that Hogan and Potter had gone their separate ways. Which was when Potter's coat came in handy.
Draco had Apparated in front of Potter's apartment with a silly but valid excuse and then spent half an hour banging on his door. He would have broken in if he hadn't been afraid that Potter and Hogan were doing something horrid, like having sex, which was a visual Draco didn't want to even imagine, let alone see.
He didn't expect to learn that Potter had Obliviated Hogan and gone back to the Manor; he didn't expect that Potter would show no signs of anger and that he would be kind to Draco after everything that had happened; and he certainly didn't expect that Potter would declare he wanted more now that he'd had sex with Draco once. All these things were surprising, but not shocking. Not even the last one. That was classic Potter: he couldn't shag them and leave them, he wanted more. He was a romantic fool thinking he and Draco could be together, convincing himself it was the right thing to do. That reasoning was probably aided and abetted by the fact that Potter knew he had been Draco's first as far as gay experiences went.
Draco understood it, but he couldn't fall for it. It would be so easy. Why not seize the moment and try? But Draco knew he couldn't do it. Potter had deluded himself with romantic thoughts, but sooner or later he would change his mind and leave Draco broken. And then Draco would have to move to France. The situation was hopeless.
Potter didn't stop with his surprises. Draco showed him his Mark and told him point blank that he still hated Muggles and resented Muggleborns — something Draco was careful not to show — and Potter didn't even flinch. That was shocking.
Potter had brushed all of Draco's complaints aside and reacted just as he would in Draco's crazier fantasies. Actually, Draco had never dared to imagine that after he told Potter he had only decided to become an Auror for selfish reasons that Potter wouldn't mind but then argue that Draco didn't know what he was talking about. Argue so sensibly that Draco almost believed him.
In fact, Draco feared that if he stayed for a minute longer, he would start believing he was the person Potter wanted him to be. A person who didn't have to fear that one day Potter would snap out of his daze and see Draco for who he really was.
Not that Potter was as big of a catch as Draco would have believed before. Mind you, the man was a basket case.
Draco shook his head disbelievingly as he stared at Potter, who fumbled with a watch that he had taken out of his coat pocket.
"It's late. I should go," Draco said, confused.
"No. Wait." Potter grinned at him in an "I know this looks crazy" sort of way and then pointed his wand at the inside of the watch's metal cover. He murmured a charm and tossed his wand on the sofa. Draco recognised the incantation; it was an Unsticking Charm, which meant Potter had something in his watch he wanted Draco to see.
Incredulous but curious, Draco automatically extended his arm when Potter offered him the item in his hand. A small object fell into his palm and Draco knew what he had to do. He should gently but firmly suggest a visit to St Mungo's special ward. It would be beneficial for Potter to spend some time there.
Potter stared up at him, expecting something, looking the way he had when he had sucked Draco's cock and waited for praise.
Draco frowned and stared, but found nothing to praise this time. "This is a paperclip, Potter," he said at last, slowly, so Potter would understand him.
"I know." Potter nodded, still expectant. "But it's not just a paperclip. All right, it is, but you gave it to me. Don't you remember?"
Draco gritted his teeth as he felt his cheeks heat up. He was repressing that particular embarrassing memory. "Vaguely," he allowed. "I was drunk, you know that. Are you making fun of me?"
"No!" Potter gasped. "I just wanted to show you that I . . . well, I kept it. Doesn't that tell you something?"
Potter's eyes were wide and greener than usual. Draco wanted to say, "Yes, you kept it to make fun of me at an opportune moment," but he knew that it wasn't true. Potter looked so earnest.
"That you have a thing for stationery?" Draco said quietly, not daring to think what he wanted to think.
"Not for stationery. For you." Potter moved closer and Draco realised that if Potter moved any closer he would step on Draco's toes. It didn't make Draco want to move away, however. Potter lowered his voice, almost whispering, "When I realised you definitely weren't my secret admirer, I threw away the gifts — well, I ate the chocolate, but that's because it was chocolate — but I threw away everything else, and I burned the letters. They meant nothing to me. But I kept this because you gave it to me."
"I was drunk," Draco repeated weakly.
"I know. But looking at it . . . it reminded me that you were here, sleeping on my sofa. It reminded me that for a little while I had you and I thought, even though you were drunk, you remembered me and you decided to spend the night here. With me."
Potter's face was curiously blurry. Draco had to blink to see properly again. "This is nothing, Potter. I didn't give you anything. It's nothing. It's a paperclip."
"I know," Harry said, laughing. "That's my point. I don't need you to change your views to correspond with mine, I don't need you to seduce me, because you already have, I don't need you to buy me gifts and write me love letters, I just need this."
"You giving me what you have. Even if you think it's nothing. That's all."
Potter's face was blurry again and Draco had to close his eyes a few times to restore his vision. "That was weeks ago," he said. "You wanted . . . then?"
Potter took a deep breath, looking exasperated. "That's what I've been trying to tell you. This didn't just happen because we had sex. You're right, I don't have random sex. I wouldn't have been with you if I weren't . . ." Potter stopped speaking, lost for words. "If I weren't . . ."
Draco sniffed, disturbed to find that he was shivering. "Fond of paperclips?" he helped.
Harry chuckled. "Yeah. I'm very fond of them. I was fond of them for months. Love them, actually," he added, his voice barely above a whisper.
"Oh." Draco forced himself to breathe as the meaning of Potter's words washed over him. He looked down at his palm and then at Potter again. "But all this time, you were so cold. Even rude."
"Because you were cold. Even rude."
"I was rude because you were rude. And you were rude first."
Potter laughed, shaking his head. "Can we agree that we were rude to each other because we expected to be rude to each other?"
"No. You were rude first." Draco nodded, then added, "But I forgive you."
"Thank you." Potter was still smiling infectiously so Draco had to smile too.
He looked at the paperclip in his hand again and forced himself to laugh. "Sweet Merlin, Potter, you're such a sap."
Potter leaned in, peering closely into Draco's face. "But an endearing sap?"
"I'm making no statements that could come back to haunt me," Draco declared, unable to stop smiling as he wrapped his arms around Potter's waist, carefully, still unsure if he was allowed to do something like that or not. But Potter sighed contently and his hands slid beneath Draco's parted shirt, stroking the skin of his stomach and back, spreading familiar tingles everywhere, and Draco took a moment to enjoy the knowledge that he didn't have to say goodbye to them.
"I thought you hated me," Potter whispered, troubled. "I thought you hated my hair and my glasses and my clothes and my sexual orientation and the very sight of me."
Glasses, Draco thought. He needed glasses, too, because there was something wrong with his vision. He had to blink and blink for a long time before Potter's face returned into focus. "I love your hair," he said firmly, raising a hand to push his fingers into the black messy locks. "And I only hate your clothes because they hide almost all the good parts." Draco sobered for a moment. "But I did hate your sexual orientation."
"You did? Because you were secretly afraid of your own —"
"All right, Potter, you have to stop with your analysis now. And you're wrong, not because of that but . . . I hated it because it meant that if I were different, if I were changed, which was not likely, then I could have you. It made you accessible and I still couldn't . . ."
Potter's breath tickled Draco's lips as he murmured, "You can have me."
This time it was easier to fight against his blurry vision. Draco simply closed his eyes and pressed his lips to Potter's.
The kiss surprised him again. He expected it to be slow and careful, now that they didn't have to worry about it being their last. But there was nothing slow about it. It was hard and messy and just a little desperate as though they still couldn't believe their luck. Draco clutched Potter's hair and angled his head, wanting to deepen the kiss to taste more of Potter, revelling in every tiny sound Potter made, and every moan and every purr that sent fire through Draco's body.
Boldly, Draco pushed one leg forward and grabbed a handful of Potter's arse, pressing him closer as he made him spread his legs and straddle Draco's thigh. Potter liked that a lot, judging by his choked moan and the way he rocked his hips, shamelessly rubbing himself against Draco's leg. Draco felt two fingers slide down his spine as Potter pushed them beneath the waistband of Draco's trousers, the light caress making Draco lose his breath and buck forward.
He pulled back, breathing heavily; his lips were still pressed to Potter's and Draco moved them slowly against the softness. Potter didn't stop the movement of his hips, so they stood swaying, gently rocking back and forth as though dancing. Potter's eyelashes fluttered and small puffs of air escaped his lips.
"So are we dating?" Draco asked quietly, his voice muffled as his mouth was busy. "Are we partners? Boyfriends? Manfriends?"
Potter struggled to keep his eyes open. "Um, we are partners and . . . lovers?"
"I like that. Lovers." Draco twitched his leg upwards, pleased when Potter gasped against Draco's lips, then murmured something before he sped up their rocking.
"We should arrange a date," Draco said, rubbing his nose against Potter's. "One where we both show up as ourselves. You could eat oysters again. I liked that."
"You did? I was trying to be seductive. Almost choked a few times, though." Harry laughed a little and the resulting vibrations felt pleasant against Draco's already tingling lips.
"I noticed. It was still spectacular. I love to watch you . . . swallow."
Potter licked his lips or rather both of their lips as they were still pressed together. "I'm free tomorrow," he said.
"Dating. I could pick you up around seven."
"Hmm." Draco frowned. "I could pick you up at seven. Sharp."
"Or we could just meet somewhere."
"Oh. Compromising. I'm not sure I like that. It means neither of us gets our way."
"You'll get used to it," Potter said ominously. Draco didn't feel threatened, but rather excited about the prospect of getting used to doing things with Potter.
"It's a date, then," Draco said, pleased, but then he pursed his lips worriedly. "But we're still having sex now, right?"
"Sex, sex, sex. Is that all you think about?" Potter laughed and then gasped as Draco pushed his leg upwards again and grabbed Potter's arse harder.
"Complaints?" Draco asked smugly.
"None," Potter breathed.
"I thought so." Draco kissed Potter again, walking him backwards at the same time. "Bedroom?" he asked, bending to nibble the skin of Potter's neck.
"Sofa," Potter said, then moaned quite loudly as Draco pressed his lips just below Potter's ear. Intrigued, Draco sucked on the spot, making Potter moan again and buck his hips wildly. Oh, a weak spot, Draco thought as he happily planned to find all of Potter's weak spots. He would have to search slowly and carefully and thoroughly.
It took them some time to reach the sofa even though it was just a few feet away. Potter kissed him again and Draco managed to take off his coat, never breaking their frenzied kiss. They tumbled down on the sofa in an ungraceful heap with Draco landing on top of Harry and settling himself snugly between Potter's thighs. Shifting his weight on his side and bracing himself on one elbow, Draco took a moment to admire the sight of Harry Potter lying beneath him, his hair wild, lips wet from kisses, gaze fixed on Draco.
Carefully, Draco took off Harry's glasses and set them aside on the coffee table. Potter blinked, refocusing his gaze as Draco searched the green eyes for that emotion that had scared him earlier. It was still there, and it was still terrifying, but now Draco could see it without the desire to look away.
"I should have seen it," Draco said quietly, trailing his thumb over Potter's flushed cheek.
Potter's brow knitted as he frowned and Draco promptly bent down to kiss away the two lines that appeared between Potter's eyes. He slid his lips lower, over Potter's nose, lips and chin, heading straight for the spot that had made Potter melt in his arms earlier. This time Potter sighed a little and tilted his head to give Draco better access. He pushed his hips upwards and raised one leg, pressing his calf to the back of Draco's thighs and murmuring mournfully, "Clothes."
"Oh, not this again," Draco grumbled and, as Potter reached down to take off his shirt, Draco struggled to find Potter's wand that should have been on the sofa. He picked it up in triumph and grinned down at Potter's confused expression before he said, "Evanesco!"
Potter cried out in indignation and spluttered, "You Vanished my clothes!"
"I did," Draco said smugly and set the wand aside. He trailed his hand over Potter's lean chest, then lower over one protruding hip, a strong thigh and firm buttocks. He realised that they had left the harsh lights on, which meant that Potter's nude body was completely exposed to Draco's wandering gaze.
Potter grumbled and complained but shivered at every touch.
Draco looked down as he touched the springy dark curls of Potter's crotch and then trailed his thumb over the bulging vein on the underside of Potter's cock. Potter's breath hitched as Draco wrapped his hand around the warm length, testing its weight, remembering, amazed, that the thing had been inside him.
"Draco," Potter purred.
Draco looked up, wetting his dry lips. "I love the sight of you," Draco promised and released Potter's cock, then slid his hands upwards over the hard muscles of Potter's stomach that quivered satisfyingly beneath Draco's light touch.
Potter looked relaxed and happy, but then he scowled at Draco's clothes and picked up his wand.
Smiling, Draco bent down to kiss the very middle of Potter's chest, tasting and licking the smooth skin as Potter cried Evanesco and waved his wand three times to no avail — Draco's clothes remained intact.
"That is why, Potter," Draco mumbled as he flicked his tongue over one dark-brown nipple, "wizards wear Wizarding clothes. It's much more resilient and not so easily manipulated." Draco looked up as he twirled his tongue over the hardening flesh.
Potter shuddered, but then growled and grabbed Draco's arms, pushing him upwards, forcing them both to sit up.
Displeased, as he was having fun, Draco managed to say, "What?" before Potter grabbed the ends of Draco's shirt and pulled on it sharply, sending a button flying to the corner of the room.
"Brute force works, however," Potter declared happily.
Draco shook his head, amused. "That was very manly, Potter. You showed that little button. It quivered before your overpowering strength."
"Stop talking," Potter demanded, tugging on Draco's shirt.
"I don't think I can," Draco argued, frowning, but then Potter determinedly shut him up with kisses.
Draco impressed himself by taking off his shirt, toeing off his shoes and returning Potter's demanding kisses all at once. He had to pull back to take off his trousers and socks but it took him minutes to make Potter pause in his fervent assault long enough to do that.
Finally naked, Draco sat up and planned to push Potter back down on the sofa, but a loud bang resonated through the apartment and Draco's head snapped up in time to see Potter snatching a tube of lube from midair.
"Sorry." Potter grinned as the bedroom door snapped shut.
"Subtle," Draco teased, eyeing the tube. "You have a whole stash of those, I suppose?" he asked grumpily, then yelped as Potter swung his leg over Draco's lap and straddled his thighs.
"Maybe," Potter said and pressed closer, aligning their cocks. Which was very nice, but Draco wasn't sufficiently distracted.
"Use it a lot, do you?" he asked, biting his bottom lip because he feared that he would have stuck it out and pouted otherwise.
Potter leaned in, still smiling as he pressed their foreheads together.
That was distracting and Draco almost forgot he was upset as he sneaked his hands behind Potter to cup his arse. He kneaded and squeezed as Potter pushed back into the touch, rocking between Draco's cock and his hands. The feeling of Potter's cock pressed against Draco's own was incredible and Draco decided that he liked this position a lot. Potter's whole body was right there in Draco's lap, every part of him completely accessible.
"Remember that picture from the Daily Prophet? The kissing one?" Potter asked a little breathlessly and Draco wished he hadn't because he was cruelly reminded that there were others here before him.
"Vividly," Draco said and squeezed Potter's buttocks much harder, which Potter clearly liked because his breath hitched and he gasped out a tiny Oh before he spoke again.
"That was the last time I kissed someone before you today," he said and reached down to wrap a hand around both of their cocks.
"Oh!" Draco moaned in double appreciation of both Potter's words and his actions. He squeezed the flesh in his hands again, this time as a reward, not punishment. "Funny, that was roughly the moment I stopped dating girls."
"Didn't that give you a hint?" Potter rocked his hips, his hands moving slowly, too slowly.
"This is brilliant," Draco moaned, letting his head fall backward on the sofa as he forgot their conversation.
"Mmm-hmm," Potter agreed, kissing Draco's chin. "But I'd like to do something else now."
"Right," Draco breathed, nervous but eager to experience that odd set of confusing feelings again.
Potter was looking down at him worriedly. "Are you sore? Because I thought —"
"I'm fine," Draco said quickly.
Potter peered closer and Draco tried hard to not look away and let Potter find what he wanted in his eyes.
"I'm a little sore," Draco relented after Potter refused to stop staring.
"Then maybe . . ."
Draco raised his head a little to take Potter's bottom lip between his teeth. "Give it to me, baby," he said as saucily as he could manage.
Potter's eyes widened and then he pulled back and burst out laughing.
"You're easily amused, Potter," Draco said fondly even though Potter had taken away that gorgeous friction between them. He watched Potter laugh, not wanting to miss a single moment of it.
Potter calmed down enough to say, "Well, right now I am. I'm unhealthily happy."
Draco reached out and grabbed Potter's head, pulling him closer. "I want this," he promised.
"Me too." Potter nodded and kissed the tip of Draco's nose. "I just thought that if you're sore then maybe we could try that again later and now you could . . ." Potter paused, his eyes twinkling. "Er, give it to me." Potter smiled a little uncertainly.
"Oh." Draco rose up a little, staring at Potter's nervous expression. He hadn't thought of that. He never really considered things in detail, or maybe he just never figured that Potter would be willing to do such a thing. Potter hadn't mentioned it before and Draco had presumed it was something Potter didn't like. But Draco had no idea what Potter liked and, abruptly, he realised that he didn't actually know what he liked either. He still had many things to discover about himself. Fortunately, Potter seemed extremely willing to help him out with that.
"Um. Or not," Potter said tentatively and Draco promptly snapped out of his reverie.
"This is my 'I want that so much I can't find the words to express myself,' expression," Draco soothed.
Potter grinned, instantly relieved. "It looks awfully a lot like your 'I can't believe what an idiot you are, Potter' expression."
Draco laughed. "That's because you are an idiot for thinking I wouldn't want this."
Potter answered him with a heated kiss and Draco lost his sense of time and place, but then Potter fumbled and made odd noises before he wrapped his suddenly slick hands around Draco's cock.
Draco made an embarrassing keening sound and sank lower into the sofa, breaking their kiss. Potter grinned down at him, his hands moving too expertly; Draco feared the whole thing would end too soon if Potter didn't stop doing that. But that wasn't the only thing that worried him.
"Er, shouldn't you lie down or something and shouldn't I use my fingers . . ." he managed to say before he had to stop speaking and gasp instead.
"No and no need," Potter rasped, his cheeks flushed from arousal as he skilfully slicked Draco's cock. "This is fine," he said and Draco had no idea whether he meant Draco's cock or the position or something else, but none of that mattered after Potter stopped moving his hands and leaned in, his eyes dark and expression full of desire. "I want you," he whispered, making that proclamation sound like a plea.
Draco's throat was too dry to speak so he answered by grabbing Potter's arse more firmly and pushing him upwards so he could take his own cock in his hand. Potter complied, aligning himself as he reached behind with both of his hands. It took Draco a moment to realise that Potter was holding his arse cheeks apart, which made Draco moan louder as the head of his cock pressed against the crease of Potter's arse. Potter threw his head back and rubbed himself against the head of Draco's cock, humming contently as though he wished to prolong and enjoy this moment.
Draco's whole body was shivering, but he didn't dare to push up. "Are you sure this won't hurt?" he asked, worried. "You don't need me to —"
"Positive." Potter shook his head, closing his eyes as he pushed down. Draco thought that his heart had stopped beating when the impossible heat and tightness slowly enveloped the head of his cock. He wanted to watch Potter's face carefully for any sign of discomfort but he was forced to close his eyes and gasp pitifully as Potter sat down fully with a small moan of surprise.
"It's been awhile," Potter whispered. "Don't move."
Draco almost laughed but what came out of his mouth was a pathetic whine. As if could move. As if this wouldn't end too soon if he did. He found a new respect for Potter for holding out for as long as he had earlier that night. Draco's whole body seized up and quivered on the brink of an orgasm. He had to recite potion instructions again to make the pleasure ebb away.
"Are you all right?" Potter asked, clearly unaware that he was ridiculous for asking. Draco should have asked Potter that question.
"You're so tight," Draco managed to say breathlessly and mindlessly. He concentrated with difficulty and opened his eyes.
Potter was staring at him with that intense, lustful gaze of his; his head was bowed, hair wild around his face, his cheeks flushed and forehead sweaty. Dazedly, Draco concluded that he would never be able to look at Potter again without imagining this moment.
Potter's mouth twisted into a wicked smiled and suddenly the tightness around Draco's cock became downright unbearable.
Panting heavily, Draco grabbed Potter's cock, giving it a hearty squeeze and then, wanting to give as well as he got, he moved his hand roughly up and down.
Potter promptly stopped smiling and instead he gasped and straightened his spine, grabbing Draco's shoulders.
And then he moved and Draco's mind shattered. He had no words to describe the feelings Potter's downward thrusts caused or to describe the sight of Potter, whose eyes burned as he moved steadily faster, his hips circling as he thrust forward into Draco's hand then sank down again, his breath hitching each time he was filled again.
Draco's brain had no control over his body and he only vaguely realised that he had dug his heels into the carpet and pushed his hips upwards to meet Potter's thrusts. He was probably moving too quickly and too roughly because Potter's gasps were getting increasingly louder and faster, but he didn't sound as though he had any complaints. Draco reached out blindly with his hand, grabbing Potter's hair and pulling his head closer. They kissed messily, awkwardly, teeth clunking and tongues colliding but Draco liked causing Potter's gasps with his cock and preventing them with his mouth.
Draco sped the movements of his hand and Potter shuddered violently. He probably would have screamed if Draco hadn't chosen that moment to press their mouths firmly together. Potter's cry vibrated against Draco's lips as warm sticky liquid coated Draco's hand and stomach, and Potter clenched around Draco's cock so tightly Draco's vision darkened. Potter tore his mouth away from Draco's and sucked in some air, not once pausing in his thrusts, his body still twitching and shuddering. Potter's fingernails dug sharply into Draco's shoulders as Potter braced himself and sped up, practically jumping on Draco's lap.
Draco cried out and grabbed Potter's thighs, then thrust upwards violently as pleasure rippled through him seemingly for so long that, for a moment, Draco thought it would never end.
He must have passed out because the first thing he remembered after the orgasm that left him feeling boneless, sated and utterly content was Potter nibbling his ear. Draco's head was thrown back, his whole body ached, and he felt very sticky. All in all, he decided he never wanted to move again.
Potter slid his lips over Draco's cheek, then pressed a kiss to Draco's mouth. He was smiling Draco's favourite dimpled smile and staring down at him with his expressive eyes.
"Still gay?" Potter asked teasingly.
"Hmm." Draco frowned, struggling to speak. "I'm not convinced. You'll have to try harder, I think. It might take you weeks, even months, to persuade me."
Potter laughed. "I could convince you some more tomorrow morning."
"Could? You must," Draco grumbled. "I hope you weren't planning to kick me out now."
"No, actually I planned to tie you up in case you declared you wanted to leave."
Draco licked his lips with a sudden crazy urge to claim he had been planning to leave. Instead, he said, "For the record, I expect you to carry me to bed now because I can't walk."
Potter shook his head, laughing. "Then you'll just have to stay here all alone."
"Come on — up," Potter instructed and pulled on Draco's shoulders and arms as he stood, making Draco sit up.
Draco grumbled and complained excessively because that made Potter laugh, but he got up, and then promptly yelped as he stepped on something tiny and cold.
He bent down, bemused, and picked up the small paperclip that he must have fallen down earlier as they had made their way toward the sofa.
"That's mine," Potter said promptly and reached out to take it.
Draco hid his hands behind his back. "Actually, it's mine now. You gave it to me."
"No, I just showed it to you."
"I'm sorry, Potter," Draco said morosely. "You'll have to fight me for it. I shall protect this paperclip with my life. In fact, its tiny metal body will never have to be wrapped around papers again," he declared with a sad nod of his head.
Potter laughed again, much to Draco's delight. I'm really good at this, he thought, pleased.
"Keep it," Potter said and wrapped his arms around Draco's neck. "I'm keeping you, anyway."
"Oh? Will you stick me to your watch?"
"I'll stick you to my bed." Potter grinned, waggling his eyebrows, then added more seriously, "But I won't give upon you without a fight."
Draco closed his eyes and smiled, comforted by the proclamation. He looked at Potter's adoring expression and pressed their lips together, murmuring, "Good."
"Is there something wrong with the eggs?" Harry asked worriedly after watching Draco frown at his plate for a minute.
"No." Draco looked up and smiled. "They're fabulous," he assured him.
Harry nodded, not quite convinced because Draco was unusually quiet. Harry had promised Draco a fabulous breakfast on Monday morning, but now he feared that it wasn't so fabulous after all.
Their weekend, however, was fabulous. On Sunday morning, Draco had woken Harry up by blowing in his ear and informing him that it was time to convince Draco again that he was gay. Harry had done so eagerly by lying on his back and making Draco straddle his hips.
The act of convincing had been very successful and while he watched Draco throw his head back and ride Harry's cock, Harry himself had been newly convinced that he was utterly and completely in love with Draco Malfoy.
Later, they had ordered in their food and Harry had scared Draco by turning on the TV.
"I hate Muggles," Draco had declared after five minutes of daytime television and Harry couldn't think of any argument to justify the silly things the television set had showed them.
They never went on their date, though at one point Draco did try to leave home to get some clean clothes. Harry lent him some of his own clothing but that had proved to be counterproductive. The sight of Draco wearing Harry's jeans and Harry's shirt made Harry feel oddly aroused and had ended up convincing Draco he was gay on the kitchen table.
The kitchen table that now no longer served naked Draco Malfoys but bread and sausages and eggs, which Draco clearly didn't like.
"Maybe they're too salty?" Harry asked. "Because I could try again —"
"Potter, I love the eggs," Draco said firmly. "Quit worrying. If I knew you could cook like this then this whole mess would never have happened. I need a cook."
Harry narrowed his eyes. "I'm not a house-elf."
"Fortunately." Draco grinned as he took a bite of his sausage.
Appeased, Harry asked innocently, "You like sausages?"
"Really? Have you always liked them or have you just recently discovered this?"
"Er, I always liked —" Draco stopped speaking and instead he glared. "You're a reservoir of bad puns, Potter."
Harry chuckled. "I just wanted to know whether you like all sausages or just mine."
Draco rolled his eyes, but blushed as he took another bite.
"What will I do with you?" he asked fondly after he swallowed. And then he checked his watch.
Harry tensed, worried again. Draco seemed very distracted this morning, as though he was planning something. "Are you going somewhere?"
"The Ministry? We still have jobs, remember?"
"We have to leave in forty-five minutes," Harry said, then added suggestively, "A lot can happen in forty-five minutes."
Draco bit his lip. "I have to go home first, Potter. I'm wearing your clothes, if you haven't noticed. I can't go to work like this."
"Why not? You look great," Harry said honestly.
"Because these are your clothes. Don't you think someone might notice?"
Harry looked down at his plate and stabbed a sausage. "Are we hiding?" he asked, trying to sound neutral.
Harry didn't plan to look up, but hearing Draco say his name forced him to do so.
"We're not hiding. I'm not ashamed of this, if that worries you," Draco said gently and Harry tried hard not to show that that had worried him. "But that doesn't mean we should advertise it, Potter. We work together, we're partners, some people will object and they could make things harder for us."
Harry sighed. When Draco put it that way it made sense. "You're right," he admitted reluctantly.
"Of course I am," Draco said smugly, then pointed his fork at Harry. "See that sentence right there? Memorise it. You'll need it in the future. A lot."
Harry grinned, but then sobered as Draco checked his watch again.
"You know," Harry began, "I have clothes I never wear —"
"Potter, I'm wearing cotton underpants. I am not happy." Draco took a sip of pumpkin juice and added, "By the way, we will discuss your underpants collection soon."
"Can't wait," Harry assured.
"I have no wish to be uncomfortable at work," Draco went on. "Especially since we'll end up with some stupid tedious assignment yet again. Can you believe our Head of Department?" Draco ranted. "She's horrid. Making us do stupid stuff all the time."
"Um. About that . . ." Harry said, thinking he should let Draco know that the stupid assignments were his fault. Draco looked expectant and Harry lost his nerve. He should be honest. Or, Harry reconsidered, he could be smart. Harry cleared his throat. "That woman is horrible," he said emphatically. "I should talk to her. Be very firm and everything."
"Yes!" Draco agreed eagerly. "We should talk to her. This just can't continue."
"Right. I'll talk to her."
"Potter, I think we should talk to her together. I mean" — Draco coughed a little — "don't take this personally, but I don't think she likes you very much."
Harry couldn't argue against that as he suspected it was true, so he was left worrying about the upcoming conversation between them and an innocent woman.
"I really have to go now," Draco said and got up.
Harry pouted, but as he studied the way his jeans hugged Draco's hips, he suggested coyly, "If those pants bother you so much maybe you should take them off. In fact, let me help you." Harry grinned and sprang out of his chair.
Draco's eyes widened and he edged backwards, but Harry was faster. In no time, he wrapped his arms around Draco's waist, pulling his captive closer.
"Potter," Draco groaned exasperatedly. "I have to go," he grumbled against Harry's ear.
"I know," Harry sighed, burying his nose in Draco's hair and inhaling his scent. "I just wanted to make sure you don't leave without a goodbye shag. Er, I mean kiss. I meant to say kiss. I really did."
"The sad thing is, I really believe that," Draco chuckled. "My poor sexually starved partner." Draco tilted his head and gave Harry one lingering kiss that made Harry's toes curl and his limbs weaken.
"I'll see you in half an hour," Draco promised and freed himself from Harry's grasp, then took a step back and Disapparated, leaving Harry breathless.
Eventually, Harry snapped out of his Draco-induced daze and grabbed his cloak to Apparate to the Ministry. His plan was to wait for their Head of Department and accost her when she arrived. He planned to beg her for the most exciting assignment available. He hoped that some excitement would prevent Draco from complaining to her.
The whole thing backfired, of course.
Harry was promised excitement if he agreed to guard the Minster today while the Ministry presented a new law. The law was already approved by the Wizengamot and was meant to give more rights to various magical creatures. Riots were expected, had even been announced by people who thought that the Ministry was giving too much freedom to the half-breeds and by people who thought that it was too little.
All in all, it sounded promising and upon hearing the news even Draco had been excited at the prospect of arresting many many people.
However, the whole thing was just dull. Apparently, though many had been indignant they weren't bothered enough to show up and protest. A couple of drunken disorderliness that included two wizards and a witch yelling contradictory statements and waving a little "House-elves are people too" flag was all Draco had and Harry had to deal with. Which was just enough to make them do paperwork later.
They spent their entire day listening to boring speeches and then watching high Ministry officials drink and celebrate until they were so drunk they forgot why they were so happy in the first place.
The only bright moment of the day was Harry forgetting his gloves. He exploited that fact by claiming that his hands were freezing and spent every opportune moment discreetly shoving his cold hands into every pocket he could find on Draco's attire. That was more entertaining than it should have been.
At the end of the day, as Draco and Harry made their way toward the deserted Auror Department, Harry promised himself that he would never try to manipulate their assignments again.
Harry was completely exhausted when he collapsed into his chair, though his mind was busy trying to come up with a sensible reason that would convince Draco to leave their paperwork for tomorrow and to find a different way to spend their time.
He had just decided to claim that his hands had frozen and now hurt so much he couldn't possibly hold a quill when he was cruelly distracted by a rather frightening item lying on the desk.
The item was frightening because it was pink and heart-shaped. The general frilly look of it, with a bow and a golden-inked message that proclaimed something cheesy about kisses, seemed suspiciously like one of Derek Hogan's gifts.
Worried, Harry grabbed the box and mumbled, "I'll throw it away."
He had almost done so, but Draco stopped him by crying, "Wait!"
Surprised, Harry looked up, but Draco was looking down at the papers in front of him, a tiny smile playing around his lips.
"Maybe you should open it," Draco said innocently.
Perplexed but intrigued, Harry carefully opened the ridiculous box. He had expected chocolate because that was what the picture on the front displayed, but there was no chocolate inside; instead, the box was full of paperclips.
Harry laughed and shook his head. "Funny."
Draco didn't laugh, however, and he still avoided looking at Harry; his cheeks were just a little pink. He cleared his throat. "Well, you know what giving someone paperclips means," he said quietly. "Mind you, there are five hundred of them in there."
Harry blinked, not quite sure why Draco was blushing, but thinking about Draco's words he remembered that he had used a paperclip to tell Draco he loved him. Until now, he hadn't been completely sure if Draco had understood him or not. Harry looked down at the shiny metal paperclips again and suddenly the intended message was clear: I love you, too. Five-hundred times as much.
Harry swallowed heavily and carefully closed the box with shaky fingers. He put it in a drawer, the one with a key, for safekeeping.
"You planned this in the morning," he said and Draco grinned, still blushing.
"Guess I'm all set as far as paperclips are concerned," Harry whispered.
"That's the idea," Draco said and then finally looked up, his grey eyes intense and his smile almost shy.
Harry pressed his lips together, afraid that he would say something incredibly embarrassing.
Draco set his quill aside and opened his mouth, looking like a man with an exciting plan. Harry was already smiling and planning to say yes to whatever Draco suggested, but then Draco's expression transformed into a scowl.
Harry frowned and then froze as a file was placed before him and a familiar voice said, "Here you go, Harry."
Harry steeled himself and looked up at Derek Hogan, who had apparently sneaked up on them. Derek seemed tired and out of spirits.
"Derek." Harry nodded. "You stayed in late."
"I'm on my way out. Just thought I'd stop by and give you this."
"What is it?" Harry asked as Draco suddenly cried, "Hey, Derek!"
Harry winced and sneaked a glance at Draco, who was smiling beatifically at Derek.
"Er, hey," Derek said tentatively and then looked at Harry again. "It's just a report about those cursed objects you asked for last week."
Harry nodded, relieved that Derek remembered work related stuff, which he was supposed to, but worried it could mean that Derek remembered other things as well.
Draco obviously had no such concerns. He was still smiling widely as he said, "That was very kind of you, Derek."
Harry stepped on Draco's toes beneath the desk but Draco didn't even flinch.
"Well, I should go now." Derek sounded nervous.
"Bye, Derek!" Draco said pleasantly.
Derek grimaced and, after a sad sort of look in Harry's direction, he turned to leave.
Draco didn't stop smiling and Derek hurried towards the door, looking nervously over his shoulder at the overly happy blond.
"That was very rude," Harry chastised after Derek left.
Draco stopped smiling. "I was being polite," he said haughtily.
"He should know, in case he remembers something, that if he wants to get to you he has to go through me," Draco said darkly.
Harry sighed, amused but pleased. "Will this potential confrontation involve naked mud wrestling?"
Draco scowled, then pushed his papers aside and placed his palms on the desk. "Let's forget about Hogan and discuss something much more important."
Harry tensed. "Uh. Is this about my underpants? Because, Draco, I am not wearing silk . . ."
Draco's lips twitched. "We'll see about that. But no, this is about . . ." Draco looked around at the empty cubical. "This desk."
"Er, what about it?"
"Does it look" — Draco pressed his palms firmly on the desk and shook it, waggling his eyebrows — "sturdy to you?"
Harry grinned, thinking back to those times when he had imagined pressing Draco to that very desk and having his wicked way with him. Back then, such a thing seemed out of Harry's reach.
Harry bit his lip, rose up a little, and leaned in to press a small kiss to Draco's lips. Draco was in his reach now.
"Well," Harry said as he pulled away and placed his palms over Draco's, revelling in the warmth of Draco's skin and the warmth of Draco's smile, "there's nothing stopping us from finding out."