The whole thing was an accident. A terrifying, horrifying, wonderful accident. Yet, somewhere, in the ensuing confusion, he was positive he didn't really mind all that much.
Draco Malfoy had never been evil, despite all the rumors and the mark on his arm in the shape of a skull and a snake. He had always just been mistreated and misunderstood.
The war had taken its toll on everyone, Death Eaters and those of the Order alike, losses suffered equally on both sides. Draco had known when he joined Voldemort's side that it was a mistake. He wasn't evil, he was just confused. He had thought that by joining, he would get the recognition from his father he had always wanted and for once that cold disappointment in his eyes would fade and instead shine in pride for his son. Lucius, however, never knew the concept of love and as the years passed, Draco could not bring himself to grieve for his father.
He did miss his mother. Terribly. So much so that the ache was sometimes too much to bear and would strike him so that he was doubled over, gasping for breath and streaming tears. She'd given up everything for him and now he was alone. So alone.
The trials for captured Death Eaters had been brutal, with the fear of darkness still gripping the memories of the people of the winning side and they had been no less harsh on him. He had the mark, after all, had had been in the Dark Lord's confidence, even if just for a short while. Somehow, failing to do Voldemort's bidding lightened his sentence. Sill, it was off to Azkaban for him. Well, that was until a one Harry "Golden Boy" Potter had strode into the court room just as they were about to take Malfoy away and had, yes, spoken on his behalf. The man hadn't looked at him once and as soon as the court agreed to pardon Malfoy but keep his movements restricted (after much staring at the blond in handcuffs and loud arguments that had echoed through the chambers for almost and hour) he had strode back out, his good deed done.
Draco hated him for it. Damn Potter and his pity.
So he had gotten a job in a lower ministry department not long after that, so that he could be kept within range and a close eye on. After everything that had happened, he was honestly happy that he was allowed to live like a human being instead of being caged up like some wild animal. It gave him some of his dignity back, even if he was being watched by the ministry.
He burned his family's house down, moved to London and tried to forget. Forget how alone he was.
So after work at his incredibly boring job filling out paper work in one of the more obscure departments in the ministry, he would go home to his tiny flat, take a scalding shower as if to remind himself with the pain he was still alive, throw on some jeans and form fitting shirts that he wouldn't have been caught dead wearing when he still considered himself a Malfoy and make his way to his favorite dance club, strictly Muggle of course, to lose himself for hours. The music had become his only friend.
It was there that he met him.
The night was colder than it had been for a while, the warning of winter on its way and Draco huddled in on himself as he walked, trying to ignore the fine mist that was dampening his almost waist length hair (the only sign of his pureblooded lines left) and making his teeth chatter. There was no way of warming himself up with magic because he was on a busy street and he had left his wand in the apartment. He usually did. There was no use carrying it around; people had forgotten him as surely as they had forgotten the names of all those who had died fighting for the side that had lost. It was fine. He was used to it by now.
The bouncer at Fever, the dance club he liked so much, recognized him on sight now and usually let him in with a slight nod, past all the other hopefuls stuck behind the black ropes outside the door.
Five years ago, he would have thought rubbing his aristocratic shoulders with so much Muggle filth would be unthinkable but he discovered they were people too, with their own problems and their own lives, just as fucked up as his own. It wasn't their fault they were born without magic. It was odd at first, thinking like this, but it seemed the death of his mother had put a lot of things into perspective and wasn't he just a bloody saint?
The music assaulted him as he slipped into the club, accepting the blue stamp on his hand without comment, and it felt good, the throbbing of the beat as it pulsed through him, seeping into his blood, his bones. Ah, yes, he loved this. It made him forget, if just for a while.
It was crowded that night, the crush of bodies almost as pressing as the smell of sweat and mingling of hundreds of different perfumes that assaulted his senses. He loved it. Everywhere, people were dancing, because the music was intoxicating and once caught in its seductive sway, who could refuse it? He acknowledged the sly smiles he got with quick nods, used to the attention, as he walked down the iron stairs to the large pit of the dance floor where it looked like a seething, angry ocean, undulating violently. He could see hair flying as someone tossed their head, hands rising and falling, the rough beat steady and thick. It was like sex. It was breathtaking. He shook as he descended the last of the stairs, the music already threatening to pull him under.
People looked at him here too, with his long, long hair that was pulled back into a simple pony tail and his confident stride, lithe body, piercing grey eyes and sharp good looks. He commanded attention, even now when he didn't really want it. As he worked his way into the middle of the crush, beat working into his brain, his senses, women and men alike glanced at him and every time it was the same look; would he dance with them? It made him smirk while at the same time gave his ego a boost it didn't need. This was defiantly a perk to a Muggle club. No one knew him here. They didn't know what the long hair meant or recognize the trade mark smirk. They didn't know he and his parents had been war criminals. They didn't care. The only thing anyone there cared about was the music and how it took over everything and commanded.
Draco let it.
Good old London, with its bitter temperatures in mid-September and dim, stony landscape and dull, work ridden people. A fine mist fell, sufficiently freezing anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in it, a thin cloud of wet and cold falling from the black, expressionless sky to cover the dank, miserable city. Ah, how Harry hated it.
Luckily for him, being an Auror usually meant mission abroad, thank God, for if he was stuck in the city all the time, he would probably go insane. How did people live their entire lives here? There was pain here, a persistent lack of sunlight and a thick history bathed in blood and the cries of agony that he could still hear echoing off the expressionless stone buildings sometimes, even though the pain had been inflicted centuries ago. So he would take any mission that would get him out of London, no matter how low or petty it was.
Being the Wizarding world's Golden Boy, however, gave him some pull in that respect, allowing his to request harder, more interesting missions.
Another thing he hated about London. People stared. It didn't matter where he went, if there was someone magically inclined in the immediate area, chances were they were staring at him. Or asking for autographs. Blimey, it was a bloody circus! The war was five years ago, for Christ-sake! He had never wanted to be their "savior" (though he felt the title ridiculous and an extreme overstatement) he just wanted them to leave him alone so he could do what he needed to do. Was that too much to ask? He just wanted to take a walk without that witch across the street ogling at him in a crowd of oblivious Muggles. He wanted to grocery shopping without the group of older witches and an ancient wizard puffing up in pride because Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived was in the next aisle. But more than anything else, he wanted all of those who he had lost to come back, come back to him because every time he thought of them it hurt.
Tonks, Lupin, Fred, Cedric, Arthur Weasly, his parents, little Creevy, Dumbledore. Sirius Black. So many others. The list of names was forever implanted in his brain and he remembered them as he brought another criminal to justice, as he closed another case, as he found another escaped Death Eater. The latter most gave him the most satisfaction even as it brought back memories he kept buried deep in the back of his mind. He let the life of an Auror take over and soon had even successfully alienated his closest friends.
He told himself over and over, especially when he was alone in his musty and barely used flat, that it hadn't been intentional, that they had just grown apart like people do. Ron, Hermione and even Ginny had finally stopped Floo-ing and sending him owls, none of them knowing how to crack the wall that he had thrown up around himself. Hermione still owled and he answered with his own abrupt messages but he never saw her anymore. At times, he was grateful that she remained as stubborn and as loyal as she was the day he had met her. It wasn't true that their growing apart wasn't his fault and he knew it but it made him feel better to say it. The war had changed him and it seemed it wasn't for the better but he just couldn't bring himself to care. He still did visit Mrs. Weasly, as all her children had moved out and her grief was as strong as his, having lost both a husband and a son. Their conversations over a cup (or five) of tea were comforting and a bright light in the pessimistic world that was Harry Potter's.
For some reason, however, instead of holing up in his dark flat like he usually did after returning from a mission and drinking himself senseless, he found himself out in the wretched weather in nothing but a long sleeved black t-shirt and jeans. He kept his bright green eyes (no longer burdened with those heavy rimmed glasses as he had perfected a spell that helped him see clearly without their aid) on the slick pavement and hands buried deep in his pockets so as to keep them from running through his thick, collar length unruly hair. It was pulled back into a short pony tail and he really wished avoiding loosing another band as it was his last one. People stared now because he was either touched a bit in the head or was lost, wandering as he was without an umbrella or a jacket. Often times, he wonder which was the truth.
Slowly, with no destination in mind he wandered the dark streets of London, coming across very few people until he reach a part of town he had never been to before and wondered if it had always been there. Clubs and bars lined the street, littering the road with the gaudy colors of their neon lights. It was perfectly Muggle and immediately Harry felt at ease, glad he hadn't bothered to bring his wand with him. Intrigued, he walked a ways, feeling the delicious pull of alcohol from behind the closed doors of the bars but then a sign caught his attention and he found himself heading towards it without really knowing why.
The sign flashed a purple "Fever" obviously a dance club, as there was a bouncer in front of the door, though it seemed the lines that had been stalled behind the black ropes were either gone home or grinding within the club. Harry walked up to the bouncer, a giant of a man (though not giant in the literal term because Harry would have run in the other direction if he had been) with a tattoo on the back of his shaved head. He eyed Harry dubiously, asking for the wizard's id. With a grimace, he dug in his back pocket for his wallet, pulling out his Muggle driver's license (which he didn't actually need as he could Floo or Apperate wherever he wanted) to show the man. A stamp on the hand and a curt nod later and Harry was in the club.
The music was a living thing, permeating everything until it became part of his blood. The club was dark, blue lights kept dim on the balcony he had entered on and colored strobes roaming the floor below, making the surging crowd seem ethereal, as if it was suffused with a dark magic. Harry puffed out a short breath as he moved to an abandoned spot on the balcony so he could watch. They all looked lost, every one, as they bobbed to the beat, hair and sweat flying, faces either cast in deep shadow or illuminated by bright strobes, bringing out features in stark relief. They looked like they belonged to the music as bodies moved against each other, grinding, jerking, and by God, if it didn't look like bliss. Bliss because they were lost, forgetting, just like Harry wished to be.
There was a polite tap on his shoulder and he turned to find a blonde waitress in a short black dress and a tray with a martini glass balanced in her hand standing behind him, her smile as polite as her interruption.
"This is from the gentleman in the corner," she said in a loud voice to be heard over the music. Harry followed her finger to a dark corner where a well dressed, dark haired man sat with a similar drink to the on he sent Harry and a smile when Harry found him amid the surging crowd. Harry took the drink and smiled back, thanking the waitress. Turning back to the pulsing dance floor, he took a sip of the fruity drink and almost gagged. Ugh. Somehow, vodka and, what was that, raspberry?, did not belong in a drink together.
The he saw it. Or him rather, out on the dance floor, completely lost to the music, body moving with a grace that sent Harry's pulse off on a rather painful tangent and left him staring at the familiar face soft with what looked close to ecstasy, no thought in his head and he jaw lost somewhere on the floor.
Draco Malfoy was the last person he expected to see grinding on the dance floor in a Muggle club.
Bloody hell, was the man always that beautiful?
Harry hadn't seen Malfoy in five years, since he did his old school nemesis a good turn that at the time had brought bile to the back of his throat and a pounding migraine that had plagued him for a week. He had done what he knew was right and he was sure, on that day, Dumbledore, wherever he was, had had a huge grin hidden behind that beard of his. It hadn't made Harry feel any better, however, when putting in a good word for a Death Eater, innocent or not. Even after all that Malfoy had done to him, the slimy git, he was still innocent of the charges that were being leveled at him and Harry, damn his conscience, had swooped in and saved the day. Again. Maybe Ron had been right. Maybe he did have a hero complex.
What he had been trying to forget for five years since and what had probably prompted the headache back then was the look he had seen on Malfoy's face when the only person that could save his ass actually did. He had looked like crap, silvery blond hair falling ragged in his face, clothes tattered and grey eyes swollen like he had been crying for weeks. And he had looked at Harry while he was addressing the court with a speech of Malfoy's innocence with something close to tears, an emotion visible that was far past gratitude. That look had cut Harry deeper than he cared to admit.
Now, as he stared at the blond, whose hair almost reached his waist, the only visible sign of what he was, he realized there was no hate left in him anymore. Instead, admiration vibrated in his chest in time to the music and the steady dip of Malfoy's slim hips. And apparently it seemed Malfoy had changed because that was a Muggle who was currently slipping their hands around the blonde's waist and drawing him close so their hips ground together in a way that made Harry's mouth go dry and something close to jealousy flare hot behind his eye lids. Hadn't Malfoy hated Muggles and Muggle born wizards when they were at Hogwarts?
It was that thought that rang through Harry's mind, clear and bright, pushing past the muddling affect of the music. Malfoy had changed.
Then he was moving, foul drink forgotten on the railing, without remembering having actually told his feet to move, through the press of bodies on the balcony, weaving his way down the stairs, all the while watching that shimmering hair and pale face unawares in the crowd, lost, lost not noticing and not caring.
And as Harry pushed through the dancers, he realized he wanted that.
He wanted that…
His blood raced, heat pressed in against him on all sides, his hands pressed against himself, against another. Man, woman, by himself, he didn't care. His feet moved, his hips rocked and his body swayed and there was nothing but the music and the heat and the forgetting. One song then the next, then the next; he danced every one, people around him forgotten unless someone was brave enough to approach him and press against him for a time, moving together in a way that sent the heat raging through him. It was then that he would open his eyes, look to see with who had slipped through and had taken his hand or his waist or was straddling his leg. He would offer them a small smile, shift closer. He liked the touches, the contact.
Tonight it had been a bloke, as soon as he started dancing, with dark hair and dark eyes and a grin that held a question that Draco never answered no matter how many times he received it. He came for the dancing, not the promise of sex. After three songs, the other man had slunk off, probably in search of easier prey and Malfoy had smirked, though he'd admit the stranger had been a good dancer.
Not too many people seemed all that brazen today though, because he had danced alone now for quite some time, though if he peeked through his silvery eye lashes often enough, there was at least one person staring, watching, longing in their eyes. It didn't matter. The music was a good enough dance partner.
Draco was slipping, falling, breathless in the surging sea of humanity. The pulse of the music raced like electricity along his skin and blimey it felt good. His thigh muscles ached pleasantly as they constantly took his weight, moving his hips in the way that the music dictated, dipping, dipping, using his hands to feel, touch. Along his stomach they danced, down his sides, into the air and his head followed as he tipped it back, feeling his now damp hair wrapping and unwrapping around his torso. Breaths came in pants but he couldn't stop, not until the lights came up and the last beat had been played, wrung out of the tired speakers like the last drop of water for his starving soul. Sweat was dripping down his back, dampening the waistband on his trousers but he didn't care. He couldn't care because if he cared, it would mean he would have to stop and stopping would mean death because he would be alone again.
Hands were back, slipping around his waist, bringing him close, wonderfully close to another hard body that moved with his. He cracked open an eye to the flashing impression of vibrant blue eyes and dirty blond hair. Hmm, another man. Not that he minded but usually it was women that sought him out as a dance partner. He just didn't care because the music was still playing and it was liquid sex in his veins, so good, so good. The stranger held him closer than usual, their hips grinding together and Draco let a sigh escape, though it came out more like a gasp. He could almost feel the bloke smile. There was fire behind his eyelids and a beat that held his body in a vise and the pleasure of another body was making his mind go more hazy than usual. Because he had forgotten…
Which was probably why he didn't feel the powerful magical signature until too late.
Suddenly the body pressed against his, insighting little curls of bliss that was beginning to get dangerous, stopped moving abruptly, the warmth and movement disappearing, bringing everything a startling halt. Draco opened his eyes in annoyance, not caring is his icy gaze gave the prat freezer burns because why the fuck was he making Draco stop dancing, but the stranger wasn't looking at him. He was looking over Draco's shoulder with a look close to, wait, was that fear? Surprised now and wondering if maybe he shouldn't have left his wand at home, he turned.
Sudden lack of oxygen almost made him faint.
Harry Potter, Prince and Savior of the wizarding world was standing behind Draco, glaring at the man that had been dancing with him in a way Draco never knew he could. Power was mixed up in that look and the heat behind Draco was gone, scared off by a threat of green fire. Then that fire turned to Draco, searing him, morphing into something less of a glare and more of a touch as the taller man looked at him. Draco swallowed, once, then again, opened his mouth to speak and when words failed him he had to shut it again because he was probably beginning to look like a complete fool.
What does one say to a person that had once been a mortal enemy but had saved one's life so many times, it couldn't be added up on one hand?
He was losing touch with the music now, the not-there-ness and not-remembering starting to slip away and he had to say something to this man because he couldn't just stand there and stare.
"Potter…" he managed but stopped when the dark haired man shook his head, green eyes devouring.
"Don't. Just…will you dance…?" Shock left him wordless (he was really going to have to work on this; he was sure he was raised better than this) and all Draco could do was nod. Potter wanted to dance with him. With him.
Two steps brought them close but not touching and self consciously, Draco tried to find the music again, the beat pulsing like some raging wild animal, oblivious to the shift that had just taken place in Draco's life. Potter's eyes were as enticing as the music and as he began to feel the beat again, he found he couldn't escape like before, behind closed eyelids because he was stuck, his own grey eyes lost in fiery oceans of emerald.
His hair was longer than Draco remembered, though still in every which direction, half way tamed into a tail at the nape of his neck. He didn't wear glasses anymore and Draco gave half a mind to wonder if it was magic or some Muggle contraption. When did he get taller than Draco? Then again, did it matter? He was stunning and here, dancing with him, as if the past never happened and as if Harry wanted this his entire life.
They didn't touch at first, just looked, watched, eyes glued and there was no one else on the dance floor. Just them and the music. Harry surprised him; he never knew the man could dance. Especially not like that. His strong body moved wonderfully under a black shirt that showed hint of hard muscle that probably came from his job as an Auror and his hips dipped just as masterfully as Draco's did, finding the beat easily and sinking into it like he'd been doing it forever. Dark hair fell over his forehead, sometimes hiding pieces of his eyes and the scar that had been his trademark was invisible and he is just Harry because that's all he wants to be. For some reason, it made Draco a little less lonely.
The touches began with the eyes, heated pools of green and cool orbs of grey breaking away from each other, flickering down the smooth pale column of a neck or across a broad shoulder. Draco could feel those eyes as if they were fingers and he wondered if Harry was cheating and using his magic to brush upon the places his eyes just left. It wasn't fair, really, that one person could have so much power, they weren't aware of it when it began to leak out and do things without its owner's knowledge. The touches were light, circling around, meeting back with bright silver and burnished platinum, matching glance for glance.
The music was no longer the only thing commanding him one the dance floor.
It was Draco that broke from the heated flickering of eyes to reach out and take Harry's large, tanned hand in his own, more slender one and bringing it to his waist, as if to anchor himself in reality lest he be swept away. The gesture lit something in the deep emerald pools, making Draco's heart stutter and catch. It was acceptance. It was acknowledgement. It was trust.
After that, they drew closer and closer to each other, with each song slipping farther and farther away from the world, not seeing the looks of jealousy and longing they were getting. No one bothered them because obviously they were involved. How could they not be and still look at each other like that; like the world didn't matter because they were together? They pressed together, Draco's arms around Harry's neck, Harry's tight around Draco's back, hands splayed so he could feel the lean muscle move as Draco danced. Breaths came in ragged gasps, their hips grinding together again and again.
And suddenly it was enough.
They left together has the house lights came up, slipping out with the few people who had remained until the very end as they had and Harry found that he couldn't bear to drop Malfoy's hand, the warmth of it nestled comfortably in his own. It was strange but he didn't let go because it was wonderful too. The other man showed no inclination to let go either and they shared a small smile as they stepped back out into the night.
The mist has stopped, though the air still felt swollen and bitter, brushing frozen fingers along the sweat on the back of Harry's neck. Most of the lights had been turned off along the street and they walked together to the end of the street in semi darkness then stopped and turned to one another. Harry refused to let go of Malfoy's hand; if he let him go now, how would he find him again?
"You live close by?" Malfoy asked him quietly, and Harry noticed his smirk had been replaced with a warm little smile, the merest curling of the lips; he wanted that too. Harry glanced at the street sign, registered the name and realized the club was actually a lot closer to his flat than he had realized.
"I'm just over on Olde Shire," he responded with a wave of his free hand before regarding the blond in front of him, shivering in his thin shirt. It made Harry frown, "What about you?"
"The other way, on Cherry. It's a bit of a walk but I don't mind," and detangled his fingers from Harry's slowly, reluctantly, leaving Harry feeling bereft. He was slipping away again, just like five years ago, though then Harry hadn't realized he had wanted the other man to stay back then. So he swallowed the lump and took a step back, wishing it was in the other direction. But then Malfoy did something unexpected and not unwelcome. He threw out his hand and took hold of the front of Harry's shirt, balling the material into a tight fist. Harry couldn't see the expression on his face as it was dark and the other man kept his head bowed. The anguish was clear enough in his voice when he spoke.
"Why did you do it?" Malfoy breathed, long, long hair blazing in the muted light of a street lamp across the road. "Five years ago, you saved me. Why? Why did you continuously save me when you hated me, when I treated you and everyone else like rubbish? Why did you stand up for me? I was ready for the punishment…I…I wanted to…to…" Each word sliced through Harry as had the look he had been given five years ago and he couldn't bear it any longer. He reached out and brushed his fingers along Malfoy's pale cheek.
"You were innocent. There was nothing to punish you for. Sure, you acted like a complete git but you did it for reasons I understand and you lost as much as everyone else in that war, regardless of which side you were on. Do you wish I hadn't?" Harry now had his hand sunk deep into the silky strands of Draco's hair, the result bringing the shorter man closer. Shadowed eyes lifted and met his own and he could see how long these questions had haunted Malfoy. His lips twisted and Harry wanted nothing more than to wipe that expression away with a sweep of his tongue.
"I didn't, at the time. God, you were a fucking knight in shining armor," Harry blushed deeply at that, "But now…now…" Harry brought his other hand up and swept his knuckles over high cheek bones then down a pale neck, repeating the motion several times.
"Now?" Harry breathed, dreading the response. Malfoy was leaning into the gentle touch and Harry smiled.
"It's lonely," was the whisper and Harry's heart twisted, ached. No, that wasn't right. How could that be right? That word, that feeling, that hole needed to be banished from Malfoy's mind. Yet how could he do that when that same loneliness was eating him alive, slowly, one agonizing day at a time? Harry was silent for a long moment, allowing it to become an affirmation that he too knew that word with a body tingling intensity. Instead he leaned down and captured that small, warm smile that had become Draco, Draco who was breathing unsteadily against his own lips, Draco whose lips were so soft and tasted like salt and silver and something else that was so good it made Harry's teeth ache.
They broke apart just as slowly and for a moment, Harry was content to lean his forehead against Draco's, reveling in the feeling that there was someone there, someone who understood, who had changed as he had, who needed…
"Would you like to come back to my flat?" Harry asked abruptly, breath ghosting over the bridge of Draco's straight nose and Draco pulled away to stare up at the man. Harry was offering deliverance once more, a life line, and Draco would be a fool to refuse.
"Yes, I would like that,"
They wouldn't have sex for several months, Harry settling with sleeping on his couch with the taste of Draco on his tongue in the mean time. When they finally did, he was struck by the shining beauty that was Draco, the silvery blond hair spread out around him like a halo on the pillows and the sounds he made as Harry loved him holding no hint of loneliness. He did, however, give the blond the key to the flat almost right away and the invitation to be there as much as he'd like. It resulted in the blond moving in the following week, making Harry's heavy heart soar higher than it had since before the war that had almost broken them both. The flat was no longer dark or empty and Harry realized that London really wasn't a bad place after all.
For the first time in his life, Draco wasn't groveling for acceptance, cowering in fear or running from an empty heart. Loneliness fell away and even when Draco was alone in Harry's flat, it was okay because it was Harry and he'd come back. He always did.
It was enough.