Author's Note: This was written for the hd_smoochfest community on LiveJournal, as a gift for tomatoe18 (my lj name is b00kaddict). The prompt was as follows:
Post-DH, EWE, traveling; Harry and Draco cross paths during their travels and fall for each other. Somewhere in Europe (author chose Santorini). Words: Umbrella, American tourists, currency. Action: sitting down and holding hands in a coffee shop.
Harry and Draco are the property of J.K. Rowling, but they're really fun to write about.
Beta: Thank you to Phoenix Torte lj user="phoenixtorte" for the amazingly fast beta-read!
Warnings: Nothing explicit, sexual situations implied. Wee bit of violence and drama around a vampire. Snarky Draco at first, but he warms up.
Summary: Draco went to Santorini to disappear. Harry is there on vacation. Neither is thrilled to see the other. After an unfortunate encounter with a vampire in a nightclub, Harry's fate is in Draco's hands.
The Relative Merits of Sunburns
The Santorini sun beat down on Harry. His t-shirt was already drenched with sweat, and his dark hair was hot to the touch. He wished he had brought a hat. He could transfigure one easily enough, but there were too many people about. He'd have to wait until he was alone.
If that ever happened. October was supposed to be off-tourist season in Greece; that was part of why he had agreed to come here. Nevertheless, a crowd of people waited for the bus to Akrotiri—a bus that, Harry had been assured, did not run according to any particular timetable, but would arrive sooner or later. He had long ago given up the shade of the lone fig tree, figuring that the families with small children needed it more, so he waited in the sun.
Waited in the sun and cursed Robards for sending him here. Although, to be fair, Robards had insisted only that he take vacation; he hadn't specified where. The location had been Hermione's idea. Something to do with a fascinating Wizarding history that was outlined in detail in the guidebook she had given him.
She had made him promise to visit a place called Akrotiri and bring her a full report, so here he was. Might as well get it over with on the first day. Then he would be free to… well, he wasn't sure what. But having nothing to do unnerved him, so if Hermione wanted a report on Akrotiri, he'd start with that.
An old woman in black, barely elbow-height on Harry, bumped into him. She said something that Harry didn't understand. He took it to be Greek, and an apology, so he smiled at her. She scowled and turned away.
He took a few steps in the other direction. The day was too hot and his skin too clammy to bear physical contact. At least there was a breeze, once he stood clear of the crowd. He tugged his sticky t-shirt away from his body and let the breeze wash over him. Eyeing the crowd to make sure no one was close enough to hear, he muttered a quick cooling charm. Ah. Better.
He was feeling almost congenial by the time the bus rattled into view.
The Greek letters in the front window meant little to him. "Er, excuse me," he said to the old woman who had bumped into him. He pointed to the bus. "Akrotiri, parakalo?"
She scowled at him again, but a younger woman smiled flirtatiously. "Oui, to Akrotiri, I think." Her accent reminded him of Fleur's.
"Thank you. Merci," he said. He smiled, but did not move any closer; no point courting a misunderstanding. After she boarded, he allowed himself to be swept along with the crowd jostling and cramming its way onto the bus. A cluster of tourists with loud voices and American accents shoved ahead of him. He let them.
After an embarrassing incident where he presented a handful of Greek coins and the driver picked out the ones he wanted, Harry found himself standing halfway down the bus, holding onto a strap that hung suspended from the ceiling. The benches were all taken and most of the standing room was, too, by the time the bus lurched into motion.
His cooling charm wasn't up to this. Sweaty bodies, packed tightly. The few open windows did little about the smell. A baby shrieked, and Harry was torn between annoyance and commiseration. If this was how Muggles traveled, Harry was glad there were usually other options available to him.
It was a relief to disembark when they finally reached Akrotiri some twenty minutes later. There wasn't much to see. Parched grass, dry ground, dusty rocks. Even the sky looked hazy and yellow. Dust filled his nostrils. The wind was stronger here, carrying a hint of grit and sand that stuck to the sweat on his skin.
Harry felt battered. Rather than join the rush to the gates, he stood back to observe. The older crowd seemed to be headed to Akrotiri, queuing up at the gate. That made sense. Akrotiri was an archaeological dig, from what Hermione had told him. Not the kind of place you brought your kids for fun.
So the kids were going… where? Most of the young families were following a dirt trail through dry grass and weeds. A wooden signpost had words on it in several languages. Harry scanned until he found the English: Red Beach. Might be worth checking out, later. He hadn't brought a bathing suit, but he could transfigure his denims if he found somewhere private enough. Hot and sticky as he was, the thought of wading in the ocean appealed.
With a sigh, he joined the queue for Akrotiri. Duty first. Besides, the Americans were heading to the beach.
He got through the gate by holding out a handful of money once again and letting the gate attendant choose the appropriate bills. He really was going to need to get a handle on the currency here.
A young woman with dark hair held up a sign that read 'English'. He joined the cluster of tourists surrounding her and let himself be swept up as she started the tour.
Most of the archaeological dig seemed to be underground. It wasn't what he had pictured, but it made sense, once he stopped to think about it. The ancient village of Akrotiri had been buried in a volcanic explosion sometime around 1450 BC; the explosion had destroyed it and preserved it at the same time, burying the abandoned buildings in layers of ash
After a while, he tuned out the tour guide and concentrated on looking around. After all, he could buy Hermione a book to satisfy her thirst for facts. No need to try to remember it all.
The entire site was covered in a steel roof. Inside was a labyrinth of partial walls and broken steps, ceramic pots and miniature houses. One doorway that Harry saw couldn't have been more than three feet high. He filed that detail away for Hermione.
The archaeologists worked in roped-off sections, even while the tours passed through. Harry admired their concentration. They knelt, taking measurements and making notes, oblivious to the tourists. In another area, they seemed to be unearthing another building. Slowly, painstakingly, they sifted through the ash.
One worker in particular drew his eye. He crouched up on a ledge with his back to Harry, dressed only in a pair of khakis. His skin was tanned to a pale gold and his longish hair bleached almost white. He held a trowel in his right hand, brushing it across a section of wall. Harry admired the play of muscle under skin.
The worker paused to wipe sweat from his brow with his forearm, his face half turned toward Harry. The familiar, aristocratic profile had Harry reaching for his wand before he remembered himself.
What in the name of Merlin was Malfoy doing here?
It was him. There was no doubt. The way he moved, the slender build, everything was the same. Now that Harry recognized him, a faint shimmer gave the trowel away as a glamoured wand.
Anger built inside him. He was here on vacation. The last person he wanted to deal with was Draco Malfoy.
A small, rational voice in the back of his mind (sounding oddly like Hermione) pointed out that, from all evidence, Draco had been here first. He ignored it.
Harry never knew what alerted Draco to his glare. Some sixth sense? A ward to detect the presence of other wizards? He knew only that Draco froze, then stood slowly and fluidly, and turned. From the ledge where he stood, he towered over Harry. Light curved over his shoulders. "Potter," he said. It was an accusation.
"Malfoy," Harry said, keeping his voice even. Auror training was useful for something.
The tour group moved on without him.
Harry and Draco continued to stare each other down. Draco looked… good. Toned and tanned, sunlight making a halo of his hair. It was wrong for Draco to look that way, just wrong. He was probably doing it on purpose.
Hermione's voice pointed out that that made no sense. He gave it the usual attention.
Draco, who hadn't moved during the stare-off, raised one eyebrow. "What do you want, Potter? I assume that, were you here to arrest me, you would have done so by now."
His mouth suddenly felt dry. He licked his lips. "What are you doing here?"
Draco crouched, then leapt to the ground in a motion as smooth as a cat's. "I work here. What are you doing here? Wizarding tours are Mondays. My day off." He was close enough to speak in an undertone. Close enough for Harry to realize that Draco did not smell like sweat. More like… sage. Figured. He took half a step back, hoping Draco hadn't noticed that he didn't smell quite as fresh.
Draco's eyes narrowed. "You can't honestly expect me to believe that Harry Potter, pride of the Auror Corps, is here by accident."
Suspicion flared. "Why, Malfoy? Are your whereabouts supposed to be secret?"
"I have nothing to hide, if that's what you mean," Draco said. "Just a preference for being left alone." He folded his arms across his chest.
"I didn't come looking for you."
"Ah. So you're here on vacation. What, the Death Eaters are all rounded up? Crime is at a standstill?"
"Not bloody likely," Harry said.
"Then how could they spare you?" Sarcasm dripped from his voice.
"…made me take time off," Harry muttered, looking at the dusty ground.
"Robards made me take a vacation, all right? It's not like I wanted to be here."
Draco's mouth hung open for several seconds before he started to laugh. "Potter, you kill me." Harry thought that sounded like a decent plan. "Sent to the most beautiful island in the bloody Mediterranean and you're sulky about it? Such a difficult life you must lead."
"Piss off, Malfoy."
"Oh, gladly. I wouldn't want to keep you from your vacation any longer. I'll just get back to work, then, shall I?"
Harry glowered at him, but Draco was already walking away.
"Come back on Monday, Potter," Draco called over his shoulder. "I won't be here."
* * *
Giving up on the tour, Harry turned his back on Akrotiri. Hermione would just have to be satisfied with a book; there was no way he was returning to Draco's workplace, Monday or no Monday. In fact, he might even see about arranging a Portkey to a different island. Or better yet, back home. This had been a bad idea.
There was work to be done, damn it. Even without Voldemort at their head, the Death Eaters kept going. Hate crimes against Muggle-borns. Fenrir Greyback and his werewolves still on the loose. There wasn't time for vacations. He didn't want vacation. Harry took every shift he could, overtime when available. Robards used to say they needed more recruits like him, with the same drive, the same intensity.
He didn't say that anymore.
No. Now, he made noises about work-life balance, the importance of perspective, and the dangers of burnout. And 'take a vacation'.
Reluctant to face the bus again so soon, Harry started down the beaten-dirt path to Red Beach.
Take a bloody vacation. The whole world to choose from, and where did he end up? Face to face with Draco sodding Malfoy.
He kicked at a rock and was rewarded with a small puff of dust. A tiny lizard scuttled away.
The path meandered around dry hills, bringing him ever closer to the sea. Another curve, and Harry saw sunlight rippling on blue water. A moment after that, he tasted salt on the air. Finally, the beach spread out before him.
Red Beach. The sand wasn't red, exactly, at least not by Gryffindor standards. More of a dusty rose, really. Still, it was striking. A handful of tourists lay on towels under umbrellas; some strolled along the beach.
The path dropped down a final, stumblingly steep, rock-cluttered slope before he felt the give of sand beneath his trainers. Acting on instinct, he removed them and his socks, then rolled up his denims. The water called to him.
None of the tourists—the other tourists, he corrected himself—had ventured near the water, except for a pair of small children playing in the sand. The sun beat down on him, but here on the coast the wind carried a chill. He supposed the water wasn't going to be terribly warm. Still, it looked inviting.
Carrying his shoes and socks in one hand, he walked to the water. Closer and closer, not hesitating when the sand became damp beneath his feet, not stopping when the first, cold wave crashed over his ankles, dampening the rolled-up cuffs of his denims. He turned, then, and walked parallel to the beach, feet in the sea, wind tugging at his hair and t-shirt. The wind and sea drowned out all other sounds. If he focused just on the water, kept his vision narrowed that way, he could pretend he was alone.
Slowly, he felt his tensions unravel. His shoulders relaxed. At one point, he realized he was smiling.
He walked like that to the far end of the beach, away from anyone else. When his arms were covered in goosebumps and the cold water had numbed his feet, he left the sea behind him. Sand clung to his feet, but the heat of it was welcome. He tugged off his t-shirt to use as a pillow and then lay down on his stomach, face turned to the sea, letting the sun and sand warm his body.
* * *
A sharp pain in his side woke him. He reached for his wand. Gone.
His body was heavy and sluggish, rousing slowly to panic. He raised his head and blinked, trying to focus on the figure before him.
"Potter, you moron, you're burning. At the very least, move under an umbrella."
There was no mistaking that voice. Maybe it was a bad dream. If he closed his eyes and opened them again, Draco would be gone. He tried it. Didn't work. "Wand," he managed. His voice came out as a rasp, his lips so dry they might have cracked with the motion. He wasn't sure.
Draco tossed the wand down in front of Harry. "I took the liberty of removing it before I, er, nudged you with my foot," he said. Well, that explained the bruised ribs. "I didn't want you attacking me with your highly-trained Auror reflexes. Clearly, I needn't have worried. You sleep like the dead."
"Portkey lag," he croaked. He rolled over. That hurt! Hissing through his teeth, he turned back onto his stomach. Moving more carefully, he sat up.
"Here," Draco said, crouching down and holding out a metal canteen.
Draco rolled his eyes. "It's only water. Had I known I'd find you sunbathing and dehydrated, I might have thought of something more exotic, but alas, you find me unprepared. Drink it, Potter, you need it."
Harry tried a small sip at first. It tasted like water. Slightly warm and metallic from the canteen, but water, nonetheless. Of course, that didn't mean Draco couldn't have laced it with veritaserum or something else. At the moment, though, for water, he was willing to take the chance. He swallowed again, letting it soothe his lips and roll down his throat.
"Easy." Draco pulled the canteen away. He sat down, facing Harry. "Give it a minute, then have some more."
Draco still wore the khakis that Harry had noticed that morning, but he had added a crisp-looking white shirt, open at the collar. Harry found himself oddly disappointed, remembering the way muscles had moved under smooth skin.
Clearly, he had had too much sun.
Draco passed him the canteen again. Harry drank, finally lowering the canteen to find Draco watching him with a strange expression on his face. "What?"
"What are you doing here, Potter?"
"I told you. Vacation." His head ached. He didn't have the energy for verbal sparring.
"Really." Harry handed the canteen back to Draco.
"And you just happen to show up at my work site, and then when I go for my usual walk after work, you just happen to be here on the beach."
"Believe me, I'm not thrilled to see you either." If Draco would just leave, Harry could crawl into the shade and go back to sleep. His headache increased to a steady pounding.
"Always the soul of courtesy, aren't you? You're welcome."
How did he do that? How was that no matter what they said, no matter what the circumstances of their meeting, Draco always managed to make him feel like an idiot? "Thanks," Harry said again. "You didn't have to help me. Why did you?"
Draco shrugged. "Excuse to ki—nudge you with my foot. That burn is bad, though. You should get out of the sun."
He stood. Harry followed suit, but as soon as he did, a rushing noise filled his ears. The world rolled away from him and went dark. Dimly, he felt Draco's arms wrap around him, painful across his sunburned back, keeping him from falling, supporting him until his vision cleared.
"All right?" Draco asked, when Harry started to pull away.
"Fine," Harry said. Fainting like a girl, in front of Draco Malfoy. Could this vacation get any worse?
Draco, surprisingly, was not smirking. He looked almost… concerned. "How long were you out here, Potter?"
Harry managed to stand on his own. The soles of his feet hurt. They were probably sunburned, too. "Don't know. After I saw you, I came here."
"No wonder." Draco shook his head. "Six hours in the sun. Every time I think I underestimate your lack of common sense, you prove me wrong."
While Harry was still puzzling that out, Draco started unbuttoning his shirt. "Put this on," he said, handing it to Harry. "Unless you'd rather wear that rag, but I suspect it would be an unpleasant experience."
Harry looked at his t-shirt, stiff with salt and gritty with sand. He accepted Draco's. "Thanks." The soft fabric hissed over his raw skin, but at least it was loose.
"It's silk. Try not to ruin it," Draco said.
Harry nodded. He wasn't sure how to react to a helpful Draco. A helpful, bare-chested Draco at that.
Things only became stranger from there. Draco reminded him to put his shoes and socks back on, and when he saw the state of Harry's feet, whispered a wandless numbing charm, promising to do more once they were away from the Muggles. Then Draco insisted that Harry lean on him—Harry's arm slung over Draco's bare shoulders, because any other way hurt too much—and helped him hobble off the beach.
Harry felt disoriented; he wasn't sure whether that came from the sunburn and dehydration or from the fact that Draco had suddenly decided to act like a human being.
Draco helped him up the hill and along the trail that led from Red Beach back to the bus drop-off point. Finally, Harry spotted a worn, wooden bench. "Enough," he said, panting. "Please. Can we stop?"
He collapsed onto the bench, lowering his head to knee level. His skull throbbed; pressing his hands to his forehead didn't help.
Draco remained standing. "I haven't seen you look this bad since… well, never mind."
Harry was happy to ignore him. The last thing they needed was a review of their shared experiences. "I'm fine," he said, his voice muffled by his knees.
Draco snorted. "Does the phrase 'heat exhaustion' mean anything to you? Or is the great Harry Potter supposed to be immune to that, as well as to the killing curse?"
Harry didn't bother answering.
"I'm going to get my bike," Draco finally said. "If you want a ride back to whichever hovel you're rooming in, stay here. If you don't… well, let me know now so I don't waste my time coming back for you."
"I don't know where you're staying, so I can't Apparate us there, and I certainly don't trust you to do it," Draco explained patiently. He sounded like he was talking to a child. "I'm not about to take you back to my house, so the bike is the logical solution. I assure you, I am an excellent driver."
Listening to him only worsened the pounding in Harry's head. "That'd be nice. Thanks."
Harry felt the water canteen pressed into his hands again.
"Drink the rest before I get back. Try not to vomit. If you do, don't get any on my shirt."
After he was gone, Harry debated trying to make it to the bus stop on his own, just to piss Draco off, but he wasn't sure he could do it. And even if he made it that far, the hot, sticky, crowded bus ride back to town would be torture.
Draco was rude and off-putting, but if Harry ignored his words, there was kindness in his gestures. He decided to wait. It crossed his mind that Draco might not come back for him, but he dismissed that thought… if Draco had wanted to leave him to his own devices, he'd have done so on the beach.
He drank the rest of the water and felt a bit better by the time he heard the approach of a motorbike. "Get on," Draco said shortly, pulling up in front of the bench. Harry was disappointed, again, to find that Draco had found another shirt to wear.
Draco passed Harry a helmet. Once he put it on, Harry was surprised to find that with the helmet on, the noise of the motorbike faded away and he could hear Draco as clearly as if they'd been sitting next to each other on the bench. He wondered what spell that was—it might be a useful one to know.
Gingerly, he straddled the bike behind Draco. He looked for a place to put his hands and settled for holding the sides of the motorbike's seat. Draco made a disgusted noise, then reached back to take Harry's hands and pull them around his waist. "Hold on properly. I don't feel like scraping you off the road."
"Gee, thanks. I didn't know you cared."
The motorbike lunged ahead. Harry tightened his grip and found his thighs pressed against Draco's legs, which was distracting in an entirely different way. That was something he preferred not to dwell on. He was actually grateful to be feeling miserable enough that his body didn't betray him.
Harry closed his eyes so he wouldn't have to see the scenery whipping past, but that made him feel even more nauseous. He groaned and leaned forward, resting his helmet against Draco's back.
"Potter, if you throw up on me, I'll kill you."
Things improved once they reached the road. Draco recognized the name of Harry's hotel in Fira town and was able to get them there in one piece. The hotel was set into the cliff-face that made up most of Fira. It started at the top, and meandered down in a set of whitewashed steps. The rooms all had separate entrances and balconies, set into the cliff like hobbit holes.
"Can you get down to your room on your own?" Draco asked.
"Of course. Thanks for, uh, everything. Really. You didn't have to…"
"Yes, yes, you're astonished at my selfless humanitarianism; if only you'd known, we might have been best friends all these long years. Save it."
Harry dismounted from the back of the motorbike and handed Draco his helmet. There didn't seem to be anything else to say.
He made it as far as the first set of steps before his knees buckled. Was Draco gone already? Please let Draco be gone already.
No such luck. He heard footsteps behind him, then felt Draco's arm under his, supporting him as he stood. "I suppose it's a waste of my efforts if you break your neck on the stairs," Draco said, as calmly as if he were observing the weather. "Besides, I said I'd fix you up properly once we were away from the Muggles."
"I'd have been fine in a minute," Harry said.
Draco escorted him all the way to his hotel room and, to Harry's embarrassment, insisted on waiting while Harry dug out the key and unlocked the door. Harry stepped into the cool interior of the room, then turned to face Draco.
"Thank you," he said, bracing himself for the inevitable rebuttal.
"I'm not done yet," Draco said, brushing past him. "Take your shoes and shirt off."
Harry let the silk shirt slide down his arms, then bent over to unfasten his shoes.
"Diffindo," Draco said, severing the laces when Harry took too long.
"What? You can fix them later."
That wasn't the point. Still, Harry let himself be bossed, figuring it was easier to go along with Draco than to argue. Draco made him sit on the edge of the king-sized bed.
"Curatio velociter." He tapped each of Harry's feet in turn. His skin tingled and itched. "Speeds up the healing process," he said, glancing up at Harry. "Your body still has to repair the burn itself. It will just happen more quickly."
"Does it work for everything?" Harry asked.
Draco shook his head. "Burns. Some cuts. Nothing magical. It's tricky to use it for illnesses, because some of the symptoms of fighting off infection—like a fever—can be more dangerous than the disease. And the spell draws energy from the patient, so the patient has to be strong enough to support the expedited healing."
"Where did you learn all this?"
Draco's expression grew guarded. "Does it matter?"
"I'm not investigating you, Malfoy. Just making polite conversation."
"Don't bother," Draco said. He paused. "Do you want me to do the rest? Your back, I mean, and your face. I can, but it will tire you out."
Harry shrugged. "I'm not going anywhere. Sure, please. If you don't mind."
Draco repeated the spell, resulting in the same tingling, itching feeling across all of Harry's burned skin. Harry fidgeted.
"Don't scratch it," Malfoy said. "It's new skin."
"Right," Harry said, standing up. He looked at Draco, feeling exposed and awkward. Healing was an intimate act. "Look, I know I already said this, but thanks," he said finally.
"You're welcome," Draco said. He turned to go, then hesitated. "I have a life here, Potter. I'd be grateful if you could stay out of it."
Harry wasn't sure why that stung more than Draco's other remarks had. Maybe because it was delivered in such a matter-of-fact tone. Maybe because of what had passed immediately beforehand. "My pleasure," he said.
Draco left. Once he was gone, Harry locked and warded the door, then collapsed face-first across the green-and-white striped bedspread. Malfoy was… a git. An utter git. An arsehole who couldn't do a kind turn for someone else without belittling them while he did it.
By the time he realized that Draco's shirt was still crumpled beside him on the bed, he was more than halfway to sleep.
* * *
He woke to an insistent knocking at his window. Blearily, he opened his eyes. Everything was a blur. He reached for his glasses, wincing as his skin stretched. The bedside table was in the wrong place.
Ah. Hotel room. Sunburn. Draco Malfoy.
He located his glasses and brought the widow into focus. An osprey sat on his window ledge, rapping at the window with its beak, looking annoyed, if it were possible for a bird to do so. The position of the sun made it late afternoon, nearly evening. He had slept for hours.
He opened the window, letting the bird in. It had a package tied to its leg. Was this what wizards used in Greece, rather than owls? He was staying in a Muggle hotel; it was hardly inconspicuous to have any kind of bird show up at his window.
Harry unfastened the package. The bird took off without waiting for a reply. He tracked its flight until it disappeared, a speck against the achingly blue sky.
The package contained a small bottle of lotion. The note was from Draco. There was no greeting, only application instructions for sunburn healing cream… presumably that was what was in the bottle. At the bottom of the note, Draco's signature sprawled across the page. There was a postscript as well: I meant what I said.
"Yeah, but which part?" Harry asked out loud.
He shuffled to the bathroom for a cool soak in the large, decadent bathtub. Shutters separated the bathroom from the bedroom. If he opened the shutters, he could see right out the front window to the ocean. That, alone, was worth the rather hefty cost of the hotel.
Of course, if anyone were standing on his balcony, they could see right in as well. Fortunate, then, that it was a private balcony.
After the bath, Harry applied the lotion that Draco had sent. He figured he had a fifty-fifty chance. It might help his burns, or it might turn him green, depending what mood Draco had been in when he sent it.
It helped. Helped a lot, actually. The aloe-scented lotion soothed his feet and cooled his back, as much as he could reach. His face had been turned to one side when he lay in the sun, so the right side of his face was badly roasted. The lotion made it feel better and took the redness away as well, as though he had never been burned.
He owed Draco thanks, again. But Draco had made it pretty clear that the best way for Harry to thank him was by staying away from him.
He wished the bird had waited. Then he could at least have sent a note.
It didn't matter. He was here to enjoy himself and he could do that better if he wasn't thinking about Draco Malfoy. After all, it was a large island. The chances of running into him again were remote.
By the time Harry was dressed, the sun was low over the water. He had slept most of the day and was wide awake now. Hungry, too, he realized, as his stomach growled.
He checked directions in the "Wizarding Guide to Greece" that Hermione had given him. She had kindly bookmarked a few important pages. Most of them were archaeological or historic notes, but a few referred to restaurants and clubs worth investigating.
Right. First food, then fun.
* * *
The Chimaera, according to Harry's guidebook, was considered one of the foremost Wizarding gay nightclubs in the world. Harry wasn't sure how such a tiny island could boast a claim that large, but he was willing to give it a try.
Things did not, apparently, get started much before ten o'clock, so Harry lingered over dinner and had an extra glass or two of red wine. He'd found a patio to eat on, with a view of the sea—few places on Santorini did not have a view of the sea, it seemed. Merlin, even his bathtub did.
He snickered, then, when some of the other diners stared at him, he schooled his face into the carefully blank expression that befitted a man dining alone.
Perhaps he'd had a little too much wine.
At ten, he made his way to the Chimaera. From the outside, it looked like many of the other buildings in Fira: small, whitewashed, with a blue door. If anything, it was slightly shabbier and more run-down than the other shops in the neighbourhood. He suspected there would be strong Muggle-repelling charms around it.
There was a queue outside; Harry took that to be a good sign. Another good sign was that no one insisted on escorting him to the front of the line. In England, Harry rarely passed unnoticed. It was nice, here, to be just another face in the crowd.
He waited his turn. When he finally made his way through the blue door, he was unsurprised to find that the Chimaera was much larger on the inside than on the outside—like a wizarding tent. Varicoloured lights floated around the room and the dance floor, at the far end, dissolved into silvery beach with the ceiling spelled to look like the night sky. Past the beach, waves rolled in and sea monsters beckoned. Harry wondered how far the illusion held; if he approached the water, would his feet get wet or would the waves recede into the distance?
Deciding he'd had his fill of beach for one day, he approached the bar instead. He asked for a firewhisky and heard the distorted echo of his own voice that told him a translation charm was being used. The whole place was probably spelled that way, so wizards from different countries could converse easily.
Harry settled onto a bar stool and turned to watch the scene unfold.
"You are English, no?" The voice beside him startled him. Again, the faint echo told him a translation charm was being used. On turning, Harry saw an attractive, dark-haired man wearing a pale silk shirt that reminded him of Draco's.
Wrong thought. Wrong.
"English, yes," Harry said, and introduced himself, using only his first name.
A smooth, cool palm slid against his. "I am Athan. I am from here." The translation charm must be off; his speech sounded stilted.
"It's a beautiful island," Harry said. He had to shout to be heard over the music. Athan frowned and waved a graceful hand, and then the music around them faded to a conversation-friendly level. Another useful charm that Harry would have to learn.
"It is, yes, thank you," Athan said. "I believe that this is a drink of England, is it not?" He gestured at Harry's nearly empty firewhisky tumbler.
"Firewhisky, yeah," Harry said. "Can I get you one?"
Athan smiled. "You misunderstand. I am thinking only that when you are on Santorini, you should have a drink that is from Santorini." His eyes were very dark.
Harry grinned. "What do you recommend?"
Athan considered, then spoke to the bartender. In moments, Harry was holding a glass of clear liquid that churned even when he held the glass still. "What is it?"
"Atlantian wine," Athan said. "Taste."
If magic had a taste, this was it. It changed on his tongue, first hinting at oranges, then chocolate, then something he didn't recognize, each flavour following the one before beautifully and filling his mouth entirely and perfectly. It warmed him, not rough and burning like firewhisky, but gentle as a lover's hands.
"It's wonderful," Harry said. His voice sounded dreamy and far away. For a moment he thought of Luna.
"It is, isn't it?" Athan took his hand, pulling him towards the dance floor.
"Aren't you going to have any?" Harry asked.
Athan smiled again. "I don't drink this," he said. Another wave of his hand had the music turned back up to normal levels. He moved like a veela, seductive. Harry couldn't pull his eyes away. His own movements felt clumsy by comparison. Harry knew he wasn't a great dancer; he had never taken the time to learn properly. The best he could do was throw himself into the music and hope that enthusiasm counted over skill. From the way Athan was watching him, he seemed to appreciate the effort, at least.
By the time he had nearly finished the Atlantian wine, Harry decided that it didn't matter. He felt good. He felt better than he had felt in a very long time. He was on vacation, he was dancing, he didn't even care that Draco was in the room.
Draco was in the room?
He was making his way towards Harry, a determined look on his face. A dark-haired boy trailed in his wake, looking decidedly unhappy.
"Harry?" Athan followed his gaze. Harry hadn't even realized that he had stopped dancing.
"Excuse me," Harry said, stepping away to meet Draco. His pale hair stood out like a beacon in this crowd, echoing the colours of the lights. He had changed out of his clothes from earlier, into form-fitting black that brought to mind the Malfoy he knew from school. The sneer on Draco's face only added to the effect.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Draco shouted.
"Dancing," Harry said mildly. He found that he enjoyed being the calm one while Draco ranted. The alcohol had probably helped with that.
"Right. Harry Potter just happens to be on Santorini, home of notorious former Death Eater Draco Malfoy. And oh, look! Potter just happens to be gay, too. How convenient that he frequents the same nightclubs. What, exactly, are you trying to find out? Salazar's balls, just ask me. I'll tell you whatever you want if it will get you out of my life."
"Screw you, Malfoy."
"You should be so lucky."
The boy standing behind Malfoy glared at Harry, who wondered what the translation charm had done with that last exchange.
"I didn't come here for you," Harry said. "In fact, I was just leaving." He whirled to find Athan, who hadn't gotten far. Three quick steps and he took hold of Athan's sleeve. Athan whirled, surprised, and Harry pulled him in for a kiss. He felt Athan stiffen, then respond, tasting deeply of Harry's mouth before pulling away slightly to trail kisses along his jaw line and lower.
"Please play along," Harry whispered. "We have to leave together. After that, you can decide if…" He trailed off as Athan's bit lightly at his neck. "Mmm, that's good." Harry tried to remember what he had been saying.
Athan bit deeper and Harry was lost. He wondered, vaguely, if Athan had broken skin. If he had, it felt delicious.
"Merlin's sodding wand," he heard, before hands forced them roughly apart. Draco shouted something at Athan that the translation charm didn't catch.
"Go away," Harry told Malfoy, stepping toward Athan again.
Draco only rolled his eyes. "Hold him," he told the boy who had been glaring at Harry. Harry was grabbed from behind, caught in a grip that belied the boy's size. "Potter, the young man holding you is Petros. Petros is a particularly attractive Greek wizard. Your friend is?"
"Athan," Harry spat.
"Ah. Yes. Athan is a Greek vampire. A handsome one, I'll grant you. But with all that Auror training, surely you've learned to spot a vampire by now?"
Draco spoke to Athan again, angry-sounding words that Harry strained to catch. Athan glared, then strode away.
Harry stared after him. Something inside him still wanted to give chase. "How did you know?" he finally asked. Perhaps sensing that Harry wasn't going anywhere, Petros released him.
"The blood on your neck was a clue," Draco said. "Also pale skin, snake-charmer dancing, out-of-date wardrobe, and that drink he bought you—Atlantian wine, if I'm not mistaken? Expensive stuff; you're not a cheap date, Potter, but I'll bet your blood tastes just wonderful right now. You'll pardon me if I don't investigate further."
"He wasn't cold," Harry said, latching onto the first fact that made its way through his confusion. He remembered the feel of cool skin against his. Cool, but not cold.
"I shouldn't imagine you were his first snack of the evening," Draco said, leading him to a vacant bar stool.
"Hold this to your neck." Draco conjured a white handkerchief and passed it to Harry. "Now if you'll excuse me for a moment, I need to explain to Petros that the fact that you're coming home with me does not mean that I don't want to sample his offerings. If I'm lucky, he'll give me another chance."
"I'm coming home with you?" Harry sat down. He was obviously delirious.
"Obviously. You don't think I'm trusting you on your own tonight, do you? Not that I care, but if Harry Potter commits suicide by vampire coven after being seen with me in a night club, how much do you think my life will be worth?" He paused. "Don't answer that."
"I'm not going after Athan," Harry said. But the name tasted like Atlantian wine in his mouth, and he felt a strong urge to seek Athan out in the darkness of the island.
"Exactly," Draco said. "Now be a good boy and sit tight."
Harry missed Draco's conversation with Petros, not because the translation charm didn't work, but because he wasn't listening. A vampire. How had he missed it? He should find Athan. He should demand an explanation. Surely Athan didn't mean to hurt him; what had passed between them was special.
He had just gotten off the stool when Draco grabbed his arm. "Not so fast," he said. "Come on. It'll wear off after tonight. For now, it looks like I'm your babysitter. Honestly, who ever thought it was a good idea to send you out on your own?"
He led Harry out of the club.
"You'd better not have any tracking charms on you, Potter, because that would hardly be sporting, what with my saving your neck twice in twelve hours." With that, he Apparated them.
* * *
Draco's house was surprisingly homey, Harry decided. Or at least his living room was. Not at all what he would have expected. Had he given it any thought. Which, of course, he hadn't.
Except for maybe a little bit, earlier in the day, after seeing Draco half-dressed in the ruins at Akrotiri. Or later, after his disgruntled kindness on the beach.
"I thought you didn't want me here," Harry said.
Draco raised an eyebrow. "You remembered that? Well, things change. For example, I might have been unwilling to have you here, but that pales beside my unwillingness to spend the night in a Muggle hotel."
"So we'll, uh, spend the night here."
"Unless you want to be vampire food. I'm assuming that you don't." Draco led him down a short hallway.
"No… look, are you sure this is necessary? I know what to expect. I'm hardly likely to go out there looking for trouble." Harry tried to ignore the knot in his gut, the feeling that everything he had ever wanted was waiting for him, that all he had to do was step outside into the night and wait.
"I thought you were supposed to be good at Defense Against the Dark Arts. Did you skip the chapter on vampires? You won't be able to resist the call, Harry. Not tonight."
Harry felt his jaw fall open. "You called me Harry."
Draco blinked. "Nevertheless. He bit you. You're going to feel the need to seek him out and let him finish the job. It's not in my best interests to let you do that. My bedroom." He opened the door on a room that was larger than Harry's hotel room, but only slightly. Harry wondered if the house was as big on the outside as it was on the inside. If so, it would be one of the larger homes on the island, but still extremely modest compared to Malfoy Manor or even the average Wizarding home in Britain.
Draco's bedspread was, not surprisingly, green. The window offered a view of the sea; there had to be magic involved in that, because Harry could have sworn they were at the back of the house.
"Here." Draco tossed him a pair of cut-off sweatpants and a t-shirt. "You can change in the bathroom." He pointed across the hall.
When Harry returned, Draco was already dressed in a pair of cotton drawstring pants. Harry had already seen him bare chested, but the sight still arrested him.
Once Harry was in the room, Draco closed the door, then moved an armchair in front of it. He gestured at the bed. "Sleep if you need to. I'll be awake."
This was beyond weird. "No. We'll stay awake together," Harry said. "Besides, I slept all day, remember?"
Draco shrugged as he sank into the armchair. "Suit yourself." He summoned a book from his bedside table.
"I thought maybe we could… talk," Harry said.
Draco set the book in his lap with exaggerated patience. "What do you want to talk about?"
Everything. Why Santorini? What was he doing at Akrotiri? How long had Draco known he was gay? Was there anything serious between him and Petros?
"Er… are there a lot of vampires here?" Smooth. Very nice.
"As a matter of fact, yes," Draco said. "Have you seen Fira from the water yet? Or from below?"
Harry shook his head.
"You'd see the dead town under the living. Doorways and buildings still crushed into the side of the cliff. There was an earthquake, a long time ago. When the time came to rebuild, it was easier just to build on top. The vampires live in the dead town."
Harry shivered. "That's creepy."
"Maybe." Draco shrugged. "They don't usually bother us. They're allowed to prey on Muggles, as long as they leave the wizards alone."
"Please tell me that's some kind of sick joke." Had part of him wanted to believe Draco had changed?
"They rarely kill," Draco said. "Bad for the tourist trade."
"I'm not sure that makes it better," Harry said, fingering the side of his neck.
"What, did it hurt?" Draco watched him, waiting. "It didn't, did it? It felt absolutely bloody fantastic. And if he stopped there, or took just a little more, and used his magic to heal you up, you'd have gone home thinking you had a little too much to drink and the best snog of your life. So what's the harm?"
Harry frowned. "What about this 'call' you're talking about? If a vampire took only a little blood, wouldn't that still be a problem?"
"Only if the vampire wants it to be."
"So how do you know Athan does?"
"Talked to him, remember? Besides, if he went far enough to bite a wizard, he's not interested in following rules. Plus, he wouldn't have splurged on the Atlantian wine if he was only planning on a nibble."
"You know a lot about them. And that language you spoke—the translation spells didn't pick it up."
Defenses that he hadn't even noticed Draco lowering snapped back into place. His back became more rigid, his face more disdainful. "I live on this island. It behooves me to know what the dangers are. And vampire is a Dark language. Surprised I'm fluent?"
"Shouldn't be, I guess," Harry muttered.
"Go to sleep, Potter. I don't feel like talking." Draco opened his book and stared intently at it.
Harry sat on the end of the bed and stared out the window. The only movement was the ripple of moon-touched waves. It was beautiful here, and quiet. Isolated. The last place in the world he'd have expected to find Draco Malfoy.
"I happen to like it here." Draco closed his book with a long-suffering sigh.
Harry hadn't realized that he'd spoken aloud. As long as Draco was answering, though, he decided to press on. "But why here? Why do you work at Akrotiri, why did you choose this life in the first place?"
"I read stories, as a boy," Draco said. "Akrotiri always interested me. When I heard about the opening… well, I was qualified and it seemed like a good chance to get away. Being anonymous has its perks, Potter; you should try it sometime." One corner of his mouth quirked up. "Akrotiri… that was before the Statue of Secrecy, you know. Wizards lived there along with the Muggles. Everything was out in the open. How else do you think they all escaped the volcano? Apparition."
Harry shook his head. "I don't know much about it."
Finally, he had found the right thing to say. Draco leaned forward in his chair and told Harry about the history of the archaeological site—how it had been discovered and how the wizarding research continued alongside the Muggle research; secretly, of course. The history of the village itself and the murals they had unearthed. The fact that a certain incantation persuaded the murals to come to life and reveal their stories. Finally, he talked about the ideal of wizards living among Muggles, respected and accepted, not having to hide their abilities and live in seclusion.
He was beautiful, like this. Lit from within. His eyes shone and his hands flew through the air, weaving pictures to illustrate his meaning. Harry stared, mesmerized. Moonlight fell through the window and silvered Draco's hair the way it had the water.
"I'll show you," Draco promised. "I told you to come back on Monday, that's when the wizarding tours are. But I'll come too, to show you the things that aren't on the tour."
"That would be… wonderful," Harry said.
Draco smiled in a way that softened the angles of his face. "I don't often get the chance to talk about my work. Sorry if I've gone on about it." He looked down, then back up again.
"I liked it," Harry said. Silence stretched between them until Draco seemed to remember himself.
"I'll leave you be," he said, picking up his book again. "Let me know if you feel any different, will you?"
Harry nodded and Draco went back to reading. Harry gave him enough time to get lost in his book—something Draco had in common with Hermione, apparently—then went back to studying Draco.
He knew those features. For most of his wizarding life, he'd been… well, obsessed wasn't too kind a word. If he'd had a scrap of the artistic talent that Dean Thomas had, Harry could have painted Draco's face from memory.
It was different now. The skin was tanned and the hair was bleached impossibly pale… a negative image of the Draco from school. Fine lines gathered around his eyes and between his brows. And his mouth, without the trademark sneer, looked soft.
The only sound in the room was the turn of pages. Draco didn't even seem to remember that Harry was there.
While Harry watched, Draco blinked once, then twice, more slowly each time, as though his eyelashes were drawn to his cheeks. He nodded forwards then jerked himself awake. Harry busied himself with staring out the window.
Long moments passed without Draco turning a page. When Harry finally dared another glance, he was fast asleep, his head fallen to the side and resting against the chair, silvery hair partially obscuring his face. His mouth was slightly open and the lines around his eyes smoothed away in sleep.
Harry felt a strange warmth rise up inside him. Moving quietly, he lifted the book from Draco's lap and replaced the bookmark. Draco's arm fell limply at his side, so Harry placed it across his abdomen, where it rose and fell with the slowness of his breath.
Harry felt wide awake. Restless, even. Surely there was no harm if he just went for a walk. He didn't need to go far; just around Draco's house would do. He was closed in. He needed air. His neck burned where Athan had bitten him.
If only he had seen the outside of Draco's house, he could Apparate there directly. As it was, the best option was the door, and Draco's chair blocked that.
Draco barely stirred as Harry levitated his chair a few inches off the floor and moved it, somewhat shakily, away from the door. He figured the combination of grown man plus armchair was a new record for him. Fairly impressive even by Auror standards.
He would be outside in moments. His mouth remembered the taste of the wine, his skin remembered the feel of Athan's.
He tried the bedroom door. It wouldn't open.
"Did you think I wouldn't ward it?" Draco's voice was bleary.
Wards. He could work with wards.
His wand flew to Draco's hand. He turned, growling.
"Harry, stop. Don't make me body-bind you. If you can fight Imperius, you can fight this."
But it was different. Imperius was a suggestion. This was… a desire. But just that realization, it seemed, was enough to break its hold on him, or at least to make it manageable. He shook his head. "Draco, I'm sorry. I…"
"Don't worry about it. That's why we're here, remember? I shouldn't have fallen asleep."
Harry nodded slowly. "I think maybe you'd better keep my wand."
"Me, too." Draco grinned, but it looked forced. "Exploding Snap?"
Harry raised an eyebrow.
"Vampire magic works best on an unguarded mind," Draco said. "Usually when you're asleep. The key is to stay awake."
An unguarded mind. Well, he hadn't nodded off, but Harry had to admit that he had been feeling unusually… open, watching Draco sleep. He hated that Athan had been able to pick up on that.
"Harry? Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. I just don't particularly like having someone in my head."
Draco was silent for a moment. "Voldemort." He looked at Harry. "He did it to us, too."
That wasn't a road Harry wanted to go down. "Right. Cards," he said.
The cards work for a while, but Harry found himself increasingly frustrated and confined. His neck burned. He needed to get out of this room, out of this house. Just for a moment. He needed to step out into the night.
Finally, he threw down his cards and started pacing.
"Give me back my wand. Let me go out there armed; I can defend myself against one bloody vampire."
"You won't," Draco said. "That's the problem. You're feeling the call again, aren't you?"
"This is stupid." Harry kicked the wall. It was too much. Locked in this tiny room, passing time with cards and trivialities, when outside… "Talk to me, Draco. Tell me about your work, I liked that. Tell me about anything. Just… distract me. Distract me so I don't need to go out there."
"Or I could tie you up."
It took Harry a second to realize that Draco was joking. The image had been startling enough to break the spell. "Tempting, but no," he said, and was rewarded with an eyebrow raise.
"Fascinating," Draco said. "Well, that's the other option for staying awake, I suppose."
Harry threw a pillow at him. "Git. We're not there yet. I hated you yesterday." That wasn't entirely true, but close enough.
Draco moved to the bed and settled in, leaning against the headboard. "Interesting use of the word 'yet'," he noted. He sighed. "I hated you yesterday, too. I'm not sure what you call this. A temporary truce? I'll probably hate myself in the morning."
"It doesn't have to be temporary," Harry said softly.
Draco smiled again, his face soft and relaxed and somehow open. "Now there's a thought."
"Talk to me," Harry insisted.
"All right, but you have to come sit beside me. I want to feel it if you move away."
Harry settled himself beside Draco, their shoulders touching. "Now talk," he said.
Draco hummed. "You know, for once I can't think of anything to say. Wait. Here's something. Try to picture this. 'There were two rings of land and three of sea, like cartwheels, with the island at their centre and equidistant from each other… in the centre was a shrine sacred to Poseidon and Cleito, surrounded by a golden wall through which entry was forbidden…'"
"What is that?" Harry asked.
Draco's voice was reverent. "It's Plato… he was a Greek wizard who lived a long time ago. That's the image that made me fall in love with Atlantis. There's some speculation that Akrotiri was Atlantis. I don't think it's true, but I like the possibility."
But Harry's mind had stalled back at the beginning. "Plato was a wizard?"
"Huh." Harry thought for a moment. "You know, it's too bad you and Hermione never hit it off."
"Harry—" Draco stiffened.
"No, I just mean you have things in common. More than you think. The way you are with books; she's the same way. I think you'd enjoy talking to each other. Arguing, more likely." Harry grinned, picturing it. "'Course, Ron and I will be off playing Quidditch while you do."
"This is funny. You're trying to fit me into your life," Draco said. "Potter, you do move quickly. We haven't even kissed yet."
"Interesting use of the word yet," Harry said. "And I like it better when you call me Harry."
"Me too," Draco admitted. Their conversation ranged wide after that: from Quidditch to what classmates were doing after the war. Draco had studied briefly to be a Healer, before he realized that no one would hire him. Harry talked about his work with the Auror department and his anger when Robards insisted he take a vacation.
He was in the middle of recounting that conversation when Draco's head dropped heavily onto his shoulder. Draco mumbled something unintelligible, then turned to the side, resting one arm across Harry's chest and crossing his leg over Harry's. He mumbled something again, then his body went limp, weighing Harry down.
"Draco?" Harry whispered. When there was no answer, he rested an arm around Draco's shoulder, holding him close. He let his fingers play in Draco's hair, which really was as soft as it looked. He wasn't sure when was the last time he'd been this close to another human being. He hadn't dated in ages; since before things got so busy at work, at least.
That gave him pause. Had things ever not been busy at work? What had changed?
The frantic rush of his job seemed far away, now. He was comfortable with Draco pressed up against him. It was peaceful here. Even the wound on his neck had stopped burning; instead, it was soothingly warm where Draco's head rested against him. He let his head rest on Draco's, wondering idly where the smell of sage came from. A shampoo Draco used? He breathed in, slowly. Maybe Draco still worked with potions.
His mind drifted. He liked that image, Draco concentrating as he stirred and added sweet-smelling herbs to a cauldron.
Snape watched and nodded approvingly and awarded ten points to Gryffindor. Hermione looked worried. "You have to go, Harry, you're going to be late. Robards will be angry."
Harry tried to explain that he didn't work for Robards yet, they were clearly still in school since Snape was there, but Hermione pushed him with two hands on his back, and then he was falling from his broom and the Dementors were waiting to catch him, but he landed softly in a meadow instead, and Draco was there, waiting. "I knew you'd come," he said, but his words didn't match the movements his mouth made, and Harry knew there was a translation spell being used. Draco took Harry's hand in his cool one and led him through a door and down a dark hallway.
"Harry. Harry, wake up!" Draco's hands were on his shoulders now, and they weren't cool and soothing, they were shaking him roughly.
"Draco?" He blinked into alertness. They stood in Draco's living room; he had no memory of getting here.
"Merlin, Harry, don't do that to me." Draco's hands trembled. He let go of Harry and turned away. "Coffee. We need coffee," he muttered.
Harry followed him to the kitchen. He was tired. His limbs were heavy and his neck was hot again. He sat on a stool and rested his head against the cool counter while Draco worked. "I need to go outside," he said. It was true. He was hot; he was burning up; he needed the cool night air.
"You do not need to go outside," Draco said. He looked out the window. "A couple more hours, that's all. Once it's dawn, you're safe. I'll take you outside then. The sun will burn his saliva out of your system. That's what's doing it, you know. Did you know that? About vampires?"
"You're babbling," Harry said, not lifting his head from the counter. He closed his eyes.
"Malfoys don't babble." He placed a mug of steaming coffee in front of Harry. "Drink that. I've added an alertness spell."
Harry did as requested. His head cleared. He supposed the 'restless-gotta-go-outside-NOW' feeling was better than the 'sleepwalk-to-certain-death' urge, but it didn't feel that great. He started pacing again.
Draco nursed his coffee, leaning heavily against the counter. Harry wondered how late it was. His palms grew sweaty. He was running out of time. He had to get outside before… before… sunrise. That was it. When the sun rose, it would be too late. He needed to escape now. Draco's eyes tracked him. Getting away from Draco, that was the hard part. If he could do that, he'd be free. He scratched at his neck. It itched and burned, like an infection.
He eyed the window. Draco wouldn't be expecting him to go out that way. He changed the direction of his pacing to bring him closer to the window with each sweep back and forth.
"Harry…" It was a warning.
"Relax. I just need to keep walking," Harry said. "Unless you have any better ideas."
Draco shook his head. "All out of better ideas. Sorry." He rested his head on his fist. "Want me to walk with you?"
"No." No, what he wanted was for Draco to stop talking and fall asleep, or at least drift off enough that Harry could make a break for freedom. After a time, it seemed he had gotten his wish. Draco's breathing slowed. His head bobbed forward; he righted himself, but his eyes were heavy.
Harry kept up the steady rhythm of his pacing. He let his path carry him right past to the window, this time. The key to this was want, and Harry wanted out as badly as he had ever wanted anything before. A burst of wandless magic shattered the window. Harry leapt and hoisted himself onto the ledge, ignoring the shards of glass that cut his hands. He was halfway out by the time Draco grabbed him.
If Draco had been half a second slower Harry would have made it. As it was, Draco pulled him back into the kitchen and pinned him to the floor, hands above his head. "Did you really think I'd let myself fall asleep again? Slytherin, remember?"
"My, Potter, such a way with words." Some part of Harry's mind registered Draco's use of his surname and resented it.
And then Draco pressed his mouth to Harry's. Harry froze in shock, then responded hungrily. There was something he needed, something outside; he knew it was important, but it was hard to concentrate on that. He couldn't imagine needing anything that wasn't right here, wasn't Draco's body pressed against him, his mouth open and inviting.
Draco pulled away, panting. "I wanted to do that, before I had to do this." He stroked a thumb along Harry's wrist, where it was pinned to the ground. "Your hands are bleeding; I'll fix them in a minute. I'm really sorry about this, Harry." He took a deep breath. "Incarcerous."
Ropes bound Harry's legs together and tied his arms to his body. He glared at Draco. "Untie me."
"Which is why I kissed you first," Draco said. "I knew you were just kidding about that bondage kink."
"Not funny, Malfoy."
"Not supposed to be, Potter." Draco sighed. "You'll have to trust me on this. It's for your own good. You'll see that in the morning."
The rest of the night, what little was left of it, passed in a blur. There were nightmares and threats; there was fear and longing and a desperate need to escape. Harry finally woke to see sunlight climbing over the bedroom window. He lay across Draco's bed, still bound, his arms raw where had fought against the ropes.
Worse, though, was the sense of shame. He had vague memories of struggling with Draco, of swearing at him, of waking up screaming and in agony, and of Draco always by his side, patient and soothing despite the abuse. A groan escaped him.
"I suppose," Draco said, "you think I should untie you." Harry finally located him slumped on the floor, leaning against the bedroom door. He had a split lip and his left eye was swollen and promising to bruise colourfully.
"God, Draco… I'm so sorry," Harry said.
Draco shrugged. "Please. You've got nothing over Pansy Parkinson on a bad day." He touched his swollen eye gingerly. "Slightly better aim, I suppose. Besides, I fully expect you to heal it as soon as I give you back your wand." Draco unfolded himself and stood stiffly. "Diffindo," he said, pointing his wand at Harry almost as an afterthought.
The ropes fell open.
"Please sit up slowly," Draco said. "I'm in no shape to catch you up if you fall over."
Harry looked at him, considering. "I have a better idea," he said. "Why don't you come here?"
"Are you being Harry again?" Draco asked. "No more evil, would-be vampire bait?"
Harry winced. "Just me," he promised.
"Ah, well. I suppose you'll do." Draco settled onto the bed beside him. "You really should get out into the sun," he said.
Harry judged the sun's progress through the sky and the patch of gold it cast into the bedroom. "It can come to us," he decided. He pulled Draco down for a kiss.
"You're not going to tie me up now, are you?" Draco asked. "Because when I kissed you, that's what—"
"That's a shame."
* * *
Later, Harry insisted on taking Draco out to breakfast. They wandered until they found a small coffee shop that Draco decreed acceptable. The patio offered the inevitable view of the sea, so Harry was happy.
Draco had already called in sick to work—legitimately, he insisted, since he was far too tired to keep his wand glamoured. If it meant they could spend the day together, Harry was fine with whatever excuse Draco wanted to give. "You know," he said thoughtfully, "Robards says it's important to maintain a healthy work-life balance."
"I like to keep all balances in my favour." Draco sniffed at his coffee. "For example, you owe me a life debt."
"But I saved you! Before, back in seventh year. And at the Wizengamot. And tons of times before that, if you count general threats like the basilisk."
"I don't," Draco said. "Besides, I had to save you several times last night. Each time you tried to get out of my house and I stopped you, that counts. Plus intervening back at the nightclub. Oh yeah, and the beach, too. So I'm definitely ahead."
Harry stirred honey into his yogurt, considering the relative merits of basilisks and sunburns. "What does that mean? If you're ahead."
"Lifetime of servitude?" Draco asked hopefully.
Harry shook his head.
"I get to keep you?" Draco tried again.
That struck a nerve. The two weeks that had stretched out ahead of him when Harry first came to this island now seemed abysmally short.
Draco reached across the table and took his hand. "It'll be all right," he said. "Last I heard, Aurors had a ridiculous amount of time off between their shifts… if they're not taking extras, that is."
Harry studied the hand in his. Draco's was as smooth and graceful as Athan's had been, but wonderfully warm. His nails were blunted and his hands covered in small scratches from working at Akrotiri; it contrasted nicely with the delicate shape and long fingers. "I'm feeling less inclined to do that now. Take extra shifts, I mean."
Draco squeezed his fingers. "I've got weekends. Well, Sunday and Monday, actually. And we can both afford the Portkeys. I'll get on a bloody broom if I have to. We'll make it work."
Harry tasted his yogurt; bitter and sweet together. He liked it. "What are we making work, exactly?"
"Your lifetime of servitude, obviously. Don't make me spell it out, Potter, that's plebeian," Draco said. When Harry didn't answer, he sipped at his coffee, then sighed. "I suspect that I could learn to tolerate your company for extended periods of time. I'd like the opportunity to find out."
"Does it physically hurt you to be nice?" Harry asked.
Draco appeared to consider. "More of a discomfort thing, really."
"Yes, but this git has things to show you. There are at least two other excellent beaches for you to become sunburned on, and it would be criminal not to show you the sunset from Oia. Not to mention the day trips we can take to other islands." He grinned at Harry. "I feel an extended illness coming on. Perhaps somewhere on the order of two weeks?"
Harry paid for their breakfast using his usual technique of holding out a handful of money and letting the server choose the appropriate bills. Draco stared at him in horror. "What are you doing?"
Harry shrugged. "I haven't really figured out the whole currency thing yet," he said. "Everyone's been really nice, helping me out."
Draco snatched Harry's wallet and laid the bills out in front of him. He launched into a lecture on the relative values of the various currencies, somehow managing to encompass galleons and pounds and euros and even barter agreements. Harry was content to watch him talk. Draco wasn't as passionate as he had been last night, describing the work he did at Akrotiri, but he still leaned forward and gestured with his hands, jabbing the table repeatedly to illustrate the important points. Finally, he paused. "This is wasted on you, isn't it?"
Harry smiled. "Let's go for a walk."
Draco muttered something about handling the money from then on, but Harry tuned him out.
They spent the day rambling through the streets, then stopped by Harry's hotel room so he could check out early. When Draco saw the view from the bathtub, though, he changed his mind. "It doesn't hurt to have two places to stay," he decided. He picked up his wrinkled silk shirt from the bed and looked at Harry reprovingly.
Harry smiled and ran the water. It was a large bathtub. There was room for two.
Later, lying on the bed with Draco resting against his chest, Harry smiled. "You know, it took a giant troll to get Ron and I to be friends with Hermione. I suppose a vampire matchmaker fits the pattern."
Draco grew still. "Will you tell them about us?"
"Of course." It seemed to be the right answer. Draco relaxed again. He ran his fingers through Draco's damp hair.
"So you really didn't come here to spy on me," Draco said. His voice was sleepy.
"Would I learn anything interesting?" Harry asked.
"Of course," Draco said. He yawned. "I'm endlessly fascinating. I'll tell you everything later."
Harry continued to play with his hair as he drifted off. "I can't wait," he whispered, after he was sure Draco was asleep.
They'd have to watch the sunset from Oia another night.