Attention - by Sara's Girl
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry and Draco, but I guess Foundations!verse is sort of mine, so... yeah.
AN - A little M'Sorry for making you wait for the last chapter of Foundations, which will now be posted next Friday, because I haven't finished it. Short [really fucking short for me] and pointless, and will make no sense whatsoever if you haven't been reading Foundations. Don't expect plot, srsly.
Set during chapter nine but totally spoilerizes chapter eleven, so be warned.
For my Jess, because she secretly loves Marleykins. [her words, not mine]. Thanks to Pippiboo for her Evil Peacock inspiration, and to Lina for pointing out my typo! [fixed now].
"Dining room and then bedrooms, Marley, for the last time!"
Marley steps closer to where Draco is standing in the doorway of the sparkling dining room, looking very smart but, dare-he-say-it, like he's about to rip someone's head off. Probably Marley's.
Marley laughs in the face of danger. "But why? If we finish the tours in here, we can—"
"Because I fucking said so!" Draco interrupts, the tone and the volume prompting Marley to reconsider his arguing-back decision. With something rather like a snarl, Draco spins around and stalks away down the corridor.
It's a nice suit, Marley thinks, watching him. If he must wear Muggle clothes.
Marley smoothes down his burgundy robes, relishing the sensation of raw silk under his fingers. Glancing around to make sure he's definitely alone, he bends down to examine his hair in the reflection of a shiny silver bowl—one of many that Annette has scattered around the dining room and filled with water and floating blossoms, which he can't pretend to understand.
Well, he can, and he does, but the meaning has been lost completely. He thinks Annette did explain the silver bowls to him, but he also thinks he might've been thinking about something else at the time.
Hair, apparently = perfect, and he straightens up and shakes it out over his shoulders a little bit. Suddenly, hearing Gin calling his name and sounding none-too-impressed, he slips out of the sliding glass door of the dining room and onto the lawn with what he considers to be impressive stealth. Quickly, he darts around the outside of the building, footsteps light on the dewy grass, stealing past windows and ducking until he's almost right around to the portico at the front of the house.
He glances behind himself but sees nothing but grass and morning sunshine, and he grins breathlessly. A daring escape from a flame-haired assailant, and no one's here to see it. Marley sighs.
He knows he's a show-off; it's hard not to know, when people like to tell him so very frequently. As far as Marley has been able to discern, it's become the mission of the entire wizarding world to ensure he knows that he is, in fact, a great big show-off. And every single one of them seems to think they're the first to make such an earth-shattering observation.
Marley's not bothered, anyway. Not really. 'Modesty,' his mother would tell him, on the rare occasion she took a break from 'society' to speak to him, 'is for people without talent. Not for you, Mephisto darling, not for you.' He likes to think that Florence Marley knows about these things. Even if she did give him that awful name.
It's been a long time since he's thought of himself as anything other than 'Marley'. Though several years out of school, where it really stuck—it's pretty much family-names-only at Durmstrang, regardless of the frequent confusion between siblings— most people still seem uncomfortable with the three unwieldy syllables of his given name.
'Marley', he thinks, still has two, but people are weird like that. Most people last two or three days before they, too, give in; Draco still calls him Mephisto sometimes, he suspects to wind him up, but then Draco has always been the exception to most rules.
Marley knows about what happened during the war; he knows about Draco's father. He knows most things about Draco, really, because things have a habit of coming out in rehab whether a person wants them to or not, and he thinks that by rights, Draco should be a complete and utter bastard, but against all odds, he's not.
Draco is very cool and very clever. And he's... Marley pauses as the man himself steps out onto the edge of the portico, and ooh, he looks stressed. Marley likes to watch people, partly because one can learn a lot through observation, and any time's good for sharpening his skills, and partly because curiosity is something he just can't cope with; he doesn't even mind when Fyz tells him he's a nosy bastard, because... well, because he is one.
And he wonders, sometimes. He wonders about them, because they're certainly not a big gesture kind of couple; they don't use endearments or sweet words, and often it seems to Marley like theirs is a relationship characterised by silence and argument and tension. But that can't be all, surely.
Concealing himself behind a large, sweet-smelling hydrangea bush, Marley watches. He watches Harry come up behind Draco, his concern painfully obvious, and he watches Harry press himself against Draco's back and grab Draco's tense, fidgeting fingers.
He watches them, and he can't hear what they're saying to each other, not from this distance, but he can see the mumbling lips and he can see the way that Draco's tension settles at the touch, and he can see the soft relief on his face at the contact and the hands forcing his to be still. Marley can see that expression, but Harry can't, and yet he seems to know exactly what to do anyway.
Good old Wonder Boy.
Marley gets the distinct impression that Harry doesn't like that very much, but it's too late to stop now; in fact, in most cases, Marley believes in carrying things through to the end, even if good sense is screaming opposition. That's just the way things are. Besides, everyone needs a nickname—apart from Draco, who again is the rule-proving exception—and 'Harry' doesn't exactly lend itself to abbreviation.
He also gets the distinct impression that Harry doesn't like him very much. And he thinks he might care about that a little bit more than he should. Still. Marley shakes himself and peers around the bush carefully, taking in the picture they make together, standing about as close as it's possible to get, looking out over the grounds. And the thing is... and this is weird, because Draco is his best friend, but Marley tilts his head on one side and makes himself look—really look—and alright, Draco is very attractive.
But he's also very blond, very pale, and he looks like an aristocrat. Which is good, Marley supposes, because he is one. And it's not that he's weak—oh, no. He's seen the strength in those hands, the steel in those eyes and he may have found himself at the sharp end of one or two of Draco's hexes over the years. One or ten... maybe. He and Draco have always had that kind of relationship.
But the point is, Draco doesn't look like someone who'd walk away from slaying some fearsome beast or saving the world singlehandedly, and dead casual-like, throw you down and shag you into the muddy ground. He just isn't that sort of person.
Harry Potter, however, looks exactly like that sort of person. Marley thinks he always manages to look like he's just come from a fight, and like he's just looking around for the next one. Those green eyes are a bit dangerous, and they search constantly for something to rail against. All the time, looking, looking. Marley sees him looking, feels the energy pouring off him, and it's... interesting. It doesn't draw him in or anything, because he's a Marley, and he doesn't...
Startled, Marley glances away from the portico as the hydrangea bush rattles, and out comes an unexpected peacock. He releases the now-crumpled leaves he's been clutching and gazes down at the bird, who gazes right back up at him. He admires the creature's boldness and wonders just what kind of ferocious opponent it must have tangled with in order to damage the little crest of feathers on top of its head.
After a long moment, the peacock fans out its tail feathers with a stylish flourish and fixes him with tiny black eyes that seem to say, '"Good, eh?"
Flawed but beautiful, Marley thinks, and allows the peacock an approving nod before holding a finger to his lips and turning his attention back to Draco and Harry. The peacock, unsurprisingly, says nothing, but comes to stand neatly by his side as he watches.
Harry rests his chin on Draco's shoulder, pressing messy black hair against neat blond. Though similar in height and build, Marley thinks it's the way they hold themselves that makes them appear so strikingly different. He sighs. Draco elbows Harry in the ribs and tries not to smile. Harry yelps and then kisses the corner of his mouth with ridiculous tenderness for someone so...
Marley sighs again and gazes down at the peacock at his feet. They're very, very beautiful together.
He likes beautiful things.
He can't help seeking them out between tours of the East Wing [dining room and then bedrooms, of course]. He tells himself that he doesn't mean to; they just draw the eye. They're striking.
And it's interesting, because Draco never touches people, not if he can help it. But Marley sees those little brushes to that ratty old string around Harry's wrist, whatever that's all about, and he sees the way they smile without looking at one another, as though eye contact might be too much somehow.
He's standing near the front of the house, just preparing to call for his fifth tour group, when that Healer with the unfortunate moustache finds himself suddenly clothed in red, sparkling satin. Caught somewhere between amusement and sympathy, Marley smiles and turns away, glancing instead across the grass, where Draco's unguarded delight is noteworthy, but the way Harry looks at him is both more interesting and makes Marley's stomach twist a little bit. It's either that, or the ill-advised fifth salmon-on-a-stick canapé he's just finished. Hard to say, really.
Marley reaches out and grabs a sixth one from a passing tray, stuffing the entire thing into his mouth and sucking the little wooden stick clean as he withdraws it. With a sigh, he flicks the stick into the grass and turns to the group, who appear to have helpfully assembled themselves as the furious Healer had stomped off down the drive.
"Shall we begin?" he says brightly, and he turns and clatters across the entrance hall ahead of them without waiting for a response.
When he comes out again, he can't seem to shake off the shrill little woman from some Ministry department or other who asks him question after question about Draco. Marley smiles at her and doesn't really mean it and wonders why he seems to spend so much of his time talking to other people about Draco Malfoy. He wonders just how Irish he's going to have to get in order to persuade her to leave him alone.
He also notices, as he shades his eyes against the afternoon sun, that although Harry and Draco are no longer standing together, their eyes seek each other out with surprising frequency. Draco looks over at Harry, who is standing by the pond with the lady Healer in black, and Harry gazes over at Draco while he's persuading money out of a fat little man who seriously ought to sack his stylist.
It's as though they're making sure the other is still there, is still OK, and Marley doesn't think he's ever felt like that about anyone. His mother always says that it's not the feeling that's important, that there are many more important factors in finding a match than anything as transient as feeling, but Marley thinks that's more than a bit bleak.
Of course, if Wonder Boy himself wanted to shag him into the grass—muddy or otherwise—that'd be fine with Marley, but that's never going to happen, because Wonder Boy hates Marley. And besides, it's all about Draco, for some reason.
It's funny, really. When Draco had owled him months ago and told him he was seeing Harry Potter, as in the Harry Potter, Marley had been staggered. At first, anyway—he's not daft; he knows they were worst enemies or arch nemeses or whatever when they were at school, but then he also knows that attraction can manifest itself in unconventional ways. Feelings, despite what his mother might think, just have a habit of coming out, one way or another.
Then, when Draco had owled him and asked him to come to England and help him and the Harry Potter to open up a rehab centre, he hadn't known what to think. And even now, he can't decide if Harry Potter, saviour of the wizarding world and all-around Wonder Boy, is everything or nothing of what he expected.
Finally, the little woman flushes, smiles, and scuttles away, and Marley is relieved, because he doesn't think he could've given her any more accent without becoming completely incomprehensible. He'd been only a scant few steps from 'Toora Loora and top of the mornin' to you' and he shudders lightly at the thought.
Draco turns away from the fat man and rubs his face, frustrated, and Harry glances over the lady Healer's shoulder at him. The dangerous eyes are full of concern and Marley can see the questions, even though he can't discern what they actually are. Draco doesn't approach him, but after a moment of eye contact, there's a resigned smile, and he turns, crossing his arms over his chest and scanning the lawn for his next target.
Marley flicks a strand of hair out of his eyes and huffs softly. They need each other.
When the guests have vacated the premises, the team flop inelegantly onto the grass like savages, and it's only when Gin tips her head back, looks at him upside down and threatens to hex him into a multicoloured slug that Marley relents and lowers his backside to the grass. It's fine, he thinks, he can send her a cleaning bill if necessary.
"That's a lovely fabric, Mephisto," Annette says, rubbing a section of his sleeve between her fingers, and, grimacing, he remembers that she likes to use his proper name as well. "Is it elf-made?"
"Goblin," he says distractedly, glancing at her. "Thank you."
"Funny things, goblins," she muses, not releasing his sleeve, and though she continues, he's certain she does, he's not really listening. Selective hearing, Draco always says, and he's probably right; he hasn't ever had the longest attention span in the world, or in most rooms, come to that.
On his other side, Fyz is teasing Gin about the look on her face at the moment of unexpected red satin, but Marley isn't really paying attention to them, either. He's looking at the blond hair spilling across Harry's shoulder as Draco leans on him, just for a moment, both lounging back in the grass; he's looking at a hand with bitten nails—oral fixation, he thinks with an odd little twinge—resting on Draco's bent knee; he's straining unsuccessfully to hear the words they murmur to each other that make Draco smile, and it's a tiny little smile that Marley suspects didn't even exist before Harry.
Harry, for his part, laughs softly and waits until Draco tips his head back to look at the sky to look at him like... like he's the answer to everything. Like he's that chemical rush in the veins that Marley misses sharply, just sometimes. Like he's life. Wonder Boy, with all his raw power and his danger and his stubborn independence, looks at Draco Malfoy as though he'd die without him. And he still waits until Draco isn't looking to do it.
It's just Draco. And it's not as though he begrudges his friend his happiness, or his right to be looked at like that, but still. Marley bites the inside of his mouth hard and takes Fyzal's cigarette out of his hand without a word.
Fyz shoots him an odd look, pausing midsentence for a moment, and it's fair enough really, because Marley hasn't smoked in years, but he inhales deeply on the cigarette and looks over at his best friend and the saviour of the wizarding world one more time.
"Do you think he would've eaten her?" Harry says suddenly.
"I think he would've had a damn good go," Draco says, stretching out on his back on the grass and smiling, closing his eyes.
Marley frowns, baffled. They're both insane, it seems.
He hands Fyz back his cigarette and exhales a long plume of smoke into the warm air.
"I know what you're thinking," Fyz says, dragging hard until the tip glows bright.
"Oh?" Marley lifts a cool eyebrow in inquiry, but his heart races.
"Them." Fyz jerks his head in the direction of Harry and Draco, who are sprawled in the grass side by side but no longer touching one other. As they watch, Gin leans over and prods Draco until he opens one eye and looks at her. "They're sickening, aren't they?" Fyz sighs.
Marley laughs softly, relieved, and holds his hand out again for the cigarette. "Yeah. Sickening."
Apparently, they're perfect for each other.
...and now I'm off to finish the last chapter of Foundations, I promise!