Author's Note: Many thanks to GothicBlackRose and Mrs. Cenalovesmalfoy for their beta work. It was going to be a oneshot, and then it grew quite long, so I'm breaking it in half. Enjoy.
It was probably an important indicator in every young man's life, something he would keep close to his chest, especially if it contained a secret fetish or preference. Harry still remembered the day he snuck into Dudley's room one summer afternoon, the boy was probably out beating on someone much smaller than him, and his accidental discovery of his first pornography magazine. It was littered with women with large chests, pinching their nipples and squeezing their ample bosoms together and it had been shoved haphazardly under the bed, not well hidden from Petunia, but she'd probably already found it and deemed it acceptable since it was 'normal'. Harry decided right then that he didn't care for large breasts, partly because his cousin did like them, and Harry would have hated to have anything in common with the lout, and partly because they were just plain unappealing to him.
His first magical pornography magazine was introduced to him by Luna Lovegood, who had brought over a dozen or so to his flat when he'd mentioned one night at a party that he'd never seen one before. There was a wide range in her collection, everything from thin lesbian women to big, hairy gay men, and Harry found he liked something in between.
The pictures were far more entertaining than that of a Muggle magazine; each image was like a snippet of video, where the witch or wizard teased the reader with their bodies. The one Harry continually gravitated toward, however, was 'Broomstick and Rider', a fun little periodical featuring Quidditch fit men zooming around naked on their brooms, posing in only scarce parts of their gear or lathering up in the locker room showers. He tried to mask his interest, laughing about how impossible and uncomfortable it would be to fly nude in reality, but Luna caught on rather quickly and sneakily left the magazine in Harry's possession when she left his flat that afternoon.
How Harry had gone his entire life without realizing that he had far more appreciation for the male body than the female he didn't know. He didn't recall being particularly aroused when changing or showering with his team, nor did he recall ever being compelled to kiss another boy in the same way he was compelled to kiss Ginny, but with that relationship fizzled and long behind him, Harry had to wonder if he was gay.
Apparently, he was one of the last to make the discovery, because one morning he had decided to take it up with Hermione, by far his most clever and insightful friend, and she seemed unfazed.
"Really, Harry," she commented lightly between sips of her Earl Gray tea. "It's not as though that's news."
"Not news?" he blurted, abashed that she could say such a thing so flippantly. "I just tell you that I think I might like cock and all you can say is that? What kind of therapist are you?"
"Not yours," she quipped. "If you wanted me to come at this from a professional angle, you should have said so. I thought I was here as your friend, and as your friend, I already had a pretty confident inkling that you're gay, Harry."
"How could you know but I didn't?" he groaned, shoving his own tea aside. His stomach was heaving as if he'd lose whatever he decided to ingest at this point.
"Two and a half years of training, I've known you for more than a decade, I'm unusually observant," she listed, "pick one."
"Fine, so you knew, do you think anyone else does?" Harry wasn't sure he actually wanted the answer to that, but he asked anyway.
"Probably only Luna, Ginny and I," she replied easily enough. "Boys are often far too oblivious of such things unless they are blatantly staring them in the face, and even then sometimes they manage to overlook it."
"I think it might be safe for you to call us 'men' now, Mione," Harry sighed, his mind still reeling from what his friend had just told him. Ginny knew? It was quite humiliating to discover that his ex somehow knew he was gay.
"I'll start calling you a man just as soon as you start behaving like one," she muttered in response. "Ron's flat is a sty, and he seriously thinks that one day he's going to move in with me," she pointed out.
"Don't pin Ron's faults on me, Mione. Our flat is plenty tidy," Harry corrected, gesturing to the immaculate living room.
"That's because of your roommate. I'd gamble that your bedroom isn't nearly this spotless, so don't even try to play games with me, Harry Potter," she announced with a grin.
Harry rolled his eyes but didn't try to correct her. The last thing he needed was for her to march into his room and attempt to prove herself right, which would be easy. "I clean around here, too," Harry countered. "Malfoy always bitches when he comes home and it's dirty, even though he spends all his time in his room."
In some act of destined punishment, Harry had been paired with Draco Malfoy in Auror training. He'd been recruited into the team because of his intimate background knowledge of the Death Eaters and apparently went into the program willingly. Harry had been more than a tad suspicious of his motives at first, but in the first two years they were forced together, living in quarters half the size of these, Harry grew to know and respect the blond. It was still a tenuous relationship, what with their rivaling outlooks on life and the fact that Draco was either at training, locked away in his room, or out on a date. Harry saw very little of the man, and that was fine by him.
When they were given the option of moving from the training dorms into Ministry flats, Malfoy had surprised Harry by asking that they continue to room together. What Harry thought was a new turning point for their friendship, turned out to be nothing more than the fact that the former Slytherin was simply more comfortable with Harry than any of the other Aurors in their year.
"So, back to this gay business," Hermione blurted, noting Harry had drifted off into his own little world while staring at the closed and locked bedroom door of his roommate. "I think that if you want to know for certain, you'll need to experiment a bit, covertly of course."
"Experiment?" Harry repeated warily. He didn't like the sound of that.
"There is this club called 'Wand' in Diagon Alley, it's notorious for catering to people of your… orientation," she informed him.
"Mione, are you daft? My photo would be on every paper in Europe if I were to show up at a gay club," Harry groaned.
"That's where 'covertly' comes in. I would come with you of course, and we could disguise you, or have you drink Polyjuice before going in," she suggested.
Harry's stomach gave another heave at the memory of the first and only time he'd drank the putrid green concoction and he wasn't eager to try it again. Although, he knew at some point it would be necessary for work, and he did suppose it was a decent idea. That way he could get up close and personal with other gay men without alerting the tabloids. He could finally be certain of where his life might lead so he could finally toss out the notion he'd had since birth that he would grow up and have a wife and family of his own.
"Fine," he agreed at last, much to Hermione's shock and dismay. She'd had seven other points lined up to convince him because she was sure he would need more persuasion. Perhaps Harry was growing up after all, or maybe he was just tired of living a lie.
"Excellent." She beamed at him, rubbing her hands together as if plotting something evil. "I think this Friday will work for me and the girls," she said. "How about you?"
"The girls?" Harry groaned, not liking where this was going.
"You'll need back up," she informed him sternly, "people to guide you in the right direction."
Harry rolled his eyes and nodded. He'd already agreed to go, and Hermione wasn't likely to back down on this point. If they became too annoying, Harry could always ditch them in the crowd.
"My, my, my, don't you look nice?" Draco purred condescendingly.
"Hm?" Harry asked distractedly, looking up to meet Draco's piercing gray gaze as Harry stumbled into the kitchen for a glass of water. His throat was unnaturally dry from nerves for what he was about to do. "Oh, this?" Harry gestured to the outfit he was wearing, one Hermione and Luna had collaborated on. It was composed of a tight fitting vintage tee shirt in a faded aqua color and a pair of arse hugging denims in a dark gray wash. He felt ridiculous, especially with the way Malfoy was staring at him like he'd never seen his roommate before. "I'm going out."
"A date?" Malfoy asked, his sharp blond eyebrow quirked up into his fringe. He was sitting at the kitchen bar wearing a similar outfit; only his was black on black, something Harry tended to refer to as the 'Malfoy uniform'. The man only wore black, gray or green and Harry always imagined Malfoy's closet was just a sea of shadows, not that Harry was complaining. His roommate always looked perfect, his hair falling in just the right way, his clothes fitting as if they were made for his body, even his skin seemed to have an unnatural glow to it that constantly drew Harry's attention.
"Sort of," Harry replied, and then thought about his answer, thinking that he wasn't going to meet any one in particular so a date wasn't terribly accurate. "Not exactly," he amended.
Malfoy smirked and shook his head lightly, a lock of hair falling out of his perfect coif to cover part of his gaze. "Okay, Mystery Man," he teased. "Then don't tell me."
A knock on the door kept Harry from elaborating, and he rushed over to answer it. Ginny was standing on the other side of the door in an outfit Harry was certain her brothers would never approve of. A hot pink corset made her look like she had far larger breasts than Harry knew she did, and the tiny black skirt paired with hooker boots that made her nearly as tall as Harry left nothing to the imagination. Her hair was teased and big, falling in perfect ringlets around her face and her makeup looked like a glittery fairy had vomited on her face. Harry wasn't sure if the fact that he found none of it attractive helped to confirm he was gay, or if it just made him normal.
He ushered her in with a delayed wave and she smiled when she saw Malfoy sitting at the kitchen bar. "Ready to go?" she asked sweetly, threading her arm through Harry's.
"Er, yeah," Harry replied and shot a crooked grin over to his roommate before following his ex out the door.
"We're meeting Mione and Luna there," she informed him when they'd made it into the hall. "Luna will be inside checking out the available men and Hermione will meet us in the alley outside with the Polyjuice."
"Great," Harry muttered, his stomach tightening with nerves and anticipation.
The Polyjuice was possibly worse the second time he ingested it than the first time. Maybe it was because he was expecting it to be foul and wasn't disappointed, or maybe it was because it was actually more putrid, he didn't know. Although, the actual shift wasn't as painful as it had been the first time, probably because Hermione had managed to secure the hair of someone with the same lithe build as Harry.
Still, the fact that his body was roughly the same height and level of fitness didn't stop the shock from seeing a different person when he looked in the mirror Hermione held up for him. His cheekbones were higher, his hair was a light chestnut brown and his eyes were a bit hazel instead of the brilliant shade of green he was used to seeing.
"Very handsome," Ginny cooed, fluffing up his hair a bit.
"Not that you weren't handsome before, mind you," Hermione noted, and Ginny agreed with a nod. Harry didn't know what to think, but he didn't have much time to process it as the girls tugged him into the club.
Hermione was dressed far more practically than the other two in a pair of dark, low-slung jeans and a black top that fit her nicely, while Luna stood at the bar in a long flowing blue gown that made her look like she'd arrived from the wrong time period. It was as if he'd come out with a drag queen, a princess and one bossy, yet mostly normal person.
"So, there are a group of fit looking men on the dance floor and one troll who keeps working his way through them," Luna pointed out, "and then you have the booths along that wall, but most of them seemed paired –or grouped up- already."
"I'm a rubbish dancer," Harry noted, thinking this was idea was leaning more and more toward bad as the evening progressed. "And there is no way I'm breaking up a cozy moment. Maybe we should just sit here at the bar for awhile?"
"You can't just sit here at the bar and wait for them to come to you," Hermione chided.
"Watch me," Harry muttered as he sidled up to the bar and asked the bartender for a firewhiskey.
The girls all sat to one side of him so that the chair to Harry's right would remain free for anyone who decided to approach him. Two drinks in and someone actually did. The man was blonde, not Malfoy blonde, but more of a sandy color, and he was certainly good looking. He was slightly taller than Harry, and quite fit and his eyes were a dark sapphire blue, but upon closer inspection Harry noticed they had been altered with contact lenses. Harry smiled at him and started to offer his name but the man simply pulled him from his stool and toward the dance floor. "Someone as delicious as you isn't allowed to sit at the bar with his fag hags all night."
Harry laughed at the term and the boldness of the man pulling him across the club. It wasn't exactly the personality he would normally go for, but he was there to experiment after all. He tried to relax into the music as they entered the dance floor, but every time his body brushed against someone else, which was every other second, his heart sped up in his chest. The pulse of the music matched his thrumming heart, and before long he was grinding and thrusting in a sea of attractive men.
"I'm Tommy," the man introduced himself before lacing a finger into Harry's belt loop to pull him nearer as they danced.
"James," he responded, remembering the name Hermione had suggested he use tonight. He couldn't believe how blissfully uncaring he was that this stranger was pressing his erection into his leg. There was really no denying it any longer, he felt comfortable here, aroused, and knew that if this handsome man tried to kiss him, Harry wouldn't balk. "I'm gay," he announced, more for his own benefit, but the other man seemed amused.
"You don't say?" he teased before pulling Harry into his very first kiss with a man. Never had Harry felt so alive, so warm and right as when his tongue tangled with the stranger's. Harry Potter was gay and part of him wanted to shout it out loud because finally the world made sense to him. He wasn't supposed to find some delicate woman to marry and bear his children, it was okay that he'd never wanted to sleep with Ginny, kiss Luna or date Hermione. He wasn't a freak; he just wanted something else from his life.
Luckily, his logic reeled him in just in time to recall that he was still the famous Harry Potter, only in someone else's body and that he still wanted to control how and when this fact leaked to the public. It might impede his Auror training, not to mention further tax his already strained relationship with his roommate.
Or would it?
Harry's gaze left Tommy's for just a moment as a lithe blond walked into the club, all eyes on him. He was graceful, breathtaking and Harry felt as though he was seeing his roommate for the first time ever. The colored lights reflected off of his nearly white hair, his toned flesh rippled beneath his shirt and Harry felt a tug of yearning wash through him. Sharing a flat with Draco Malfoy had suddenly taken on a new layer of awkward.
Tommy followed Harry's gaze and laughed. "Yes, that's sex on legs Draco Malfoy," the man noted. "No offence, Doll, but you have zero chance. Every bloke in this place has tried for a piece of Malfoy arse, but he's denied us all."
It was rather shocking and enlightening all at once to finally know where his roommate had been spending all of his time away from home. "Why does he come here if not for the men?" he asked his dance partner, slightly confused. He didn't mind the fact that Draco wasn't some man-whore, but it still seemed odd.
"He says he likes to dance," Tommy replied with a shrug. "Personally, I think he's just waiting for the right guy to ask him out."
"But you just said I didn't stand a chance," Harry observed, his lips quirked into a grin. "How would you know that if I've never tried?"
"Aw, Sweetie, you're cute, but it's not like you're Harry Potter cute," Tommy quipped and Harry couldn't help but blush.
"Why would that make a difference?" Harry asked.
"Have you ever even read 'Witch weekly' or do you live under a rock?" the man asked. "Anyone who has ever seen a photo of Potter and Malfoy together can tell that his hot Slytherin arse is pining over his partner and waiting for the moment his hero wakes up and discovers he's gay."
Harry choked on the air around him at Tommy's words. "You think Harry Potter is gay?"
Tommy simply rolled his eyes as if the answer to that should be obvious. "If he isn't than he should be. It would certainly make one of us very happy," he added, motioning toward the blond dancing on the other end of the room.
His heart skipped a beat at the realization of this man's words. Sure Tommy was just some strange gay man who didn't even know who he was talking to let alone who he was talking about, but what if there was truth to it. Harry hadn't even known Draco was gay, could he have also been oblivious to the man's feelings for him? He had to find out for himself, but he didn't want to ditch the man who had been so kind and attentive all night.
As if reading his mind, Tommy shook his head and pointed in Malfoy's direction. "Be my guest, but don't look shocked when I say 'I told you so' when you come back to me," he teased and Harry kissed the man on the cheek before making his way through the crowd of grinding dancers toward Draco, the only man on the floor dancing alone.
"Fancy seeing you here," Harry whispered into blond's ear and Draco whirled to face him, his eyes lit up with surprise.
The smile on his face quickly diminished however, when he met Harry's hazel eyes. "Not interested," he told Harry bluntly, and turned away, falling into step with the music once more.
"Not even curious?" Harry asked, his voice a breathy whisper against the shell of Draco's ear.
"Has anyone ever told you that you sound exactly like Harry Potter?" Draco asked, gracefully whirling toward Harry once more.
"I haven't been told that, no. I suppose no one knows him as intimately as you, though," Harry observed, trying to keep the smirk off his foreign features.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Draco demanded.
"Well, you live with the guy, surely you two must have… you know?" Harry hinted, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.
"Potter and I are just friends," Draco pointed out sharply. "If you're just looking for a story about my flat mate, you'd best be off pestering someone else. I don't reveal details about Harry Potter's personal life to strangers."
Harry's heart warmed at the sentiment. He'd often suspected he could trust his secrets to his roommate, but hearing his assumption confirmed from those very delicious looking lips made it all the better. "I'm not a reporter," Harry countered, still smiling.
"Looking to date the man then? Don't bother, he's straight," Draco informed him.
"Are you sure?" Harry asked, his smile unwavering.
"Positive," Draco remarked. "Unless you have some evidence otherwise."
"What if I were to say that Harry told me himself that he finds you attractive," Harry asked, but Draco just rolled his eyes.
"I'd ask who the hell you are, and point out that everyone thinks I'm attractive," Draco replied smugly. Harry couldn't hold back his laughter then, thinking that the statement was just so very Draco, the man he'd grown to trust and care for, but Draco scrutinized the sound. "Who are you?" Draco demanded.
Harry could have come clean then, told Draco that he was his Polyjuiced roommate, but his Gryffindor courage fled from his veins. "James," he replied, holding out his hand for the blond to shake. The hand was spurned just as surely as Harry had rejected Draco's offered hand in first year.
"Listen, James, I don't know what you're playing at, but I'd like you to leave me alone now," Draco told him curtly, turning away one final time to begin dancing anew.
With a sigh, Harry slunk back across the dance floor toward his friends, his face sullen but otherwise unreadable by the girls who were unfamiliar with his altered face. "What happened?" Hermione asked, running at once to his side.
"I… I think I like Malfoy," Harry admitted, and the brunette's eyes shot back across the room to spy Harry's roommate gliding suggestively across the dance floor without a care in the world.
"What do you mean… like?" she asked tentatively. This was not something she had been expecting from the evening, she hadn't even an inkling that her old Slytherin nemesis was gay, but she thought it was fairly obvious by the way that Draco remained reclusive in the boys' shared flat that Malfoy probably didn't feel the same way. She always knew at some point that she would have to deal with a broken hearted Harry, but she didn't think it would be tonight.
Harry didn't answer her, instead narrowing his unfamiliar eyes as if to say 'you should know exactly what I mean'. Was Draco really interested in him, or was that crackpot Tommy just making things up? He couldn't deny the images he got in his mind of being with Draco were hot, but what kind of pervert just dreams this stuff up out of nowhere about complete strangers? All Tommy knew of him and Draco he'd gleaned from newspapers and magazines, not the truth. Could he really trust anything that came out of that man's mouth?
"Oh, Harry," she sighed, her hand stretched out to comfort her friend. Harry just slumped into her arms and let her, Luna and Ginny lead him away from the club. Ginny and Luna parted at the door, but Hermione followed him in and helped him into bed.
"So, you don't think there is any chance do you?" Harry muttered as Hermione tucked the covers in around his neck.
"There is always a chance, Harry, but don't you think you'd be happier with someone… nice?" she tried. Honestly she didn't know what chance Harry had with Malfoy, and didn't want to give it too much thought. The pair would certainly be hot together, but it takes more than looks to make a relationship work and Harry and Draco couldn't be more opposite.
"Draco's nice," Harry rebuked. "You guys never see it, but he can be very considerate."
"Like what?" Hermione prompted, hoping Harry might enlighten her.
"Well, he asked me to keep living with him, didn't he?" Harry offered.
"But, I thought you said that was because he was most comfortable with you," she replied, not buying into it.
"Exactly!" Harry exclaimed. "He was most comfortable with me!"
Hermione sighed and smoothed her friend's hair, which was now shifting back to its normal ebony locks, away from his forehead, kissing the skin just next to his reemerging scar. "I love you, Harry, but do you think it's possible that you're trying to read more into the situation because it suits you? Maybe we should give it until the morning, sleep on it and see what you think when you see Malfoy at breakfast?"
The request was reasonable, and though part of Harry wanted to wait up for the blond to get home so he could accost him with questions, he didn't want his friendship with Draco to end either. It was best not to spook a Slytherin, Harry found that out the hard way during their first year of training when he'd snuck up behind the boy and got a vicious stinging Hex to the chest.
"Alright, Mione," he conceded. He was dreadfully tired after the night's activities anyhow, so perhaps it was best to do exactly as his wise friend instructed.
Author's Note: So, cute? Terrible? Terribly cute? Oh, and as a side note, I just recently got a little gray kitten and need to name it. Any suggestions?