Beta Reader: Michy Drarry Shipper. This chapter was probably a lot of work to you so thank you very very much!


Uncertain Part 2 of 3

.

It was Monday after the Halloween ministry party.

Harry had, of course, not gone home alone after Draco's departure – he would have broken a wonderful tradition if he had. He had gone at it without a fuss for once, though; there had been no great performance, no game of catching attention and so forth. Actually, he had just approached the waiter that Draco's friend – Noel – had been flirting with the whole evening, gone home and shagged him and then thrown him out, trusting that his secret would still stay a secret nonetheless, after all: who would listen to a gay?

Afterwards, Harry still felt unsatisfied, cranky, infuriated and absolutely humiliated. And it was his own fault! He should have looked closer at Draco's friend, should have recognized him. Harry wasn't sleeping with that many men, was he? He should recognize all of them.

The problem had only been that Noel wasn't that memorable or unique. He was good looking, blond with a lean, but still trained body. He was the type that Harry usually hunted for – simply the best, why should Harry go for less? And sure, the night had been nice. After all, Noel – like all the previous guys – had taken every effort to persuade Harry of his preference, hadn't he? He had done so, not knowing that Harry was already bent and only playing the undecided hetero. But what else had there been? It hadn't been fantastic or special. So it was only understandable that Harry wouldn't recognize him.

Now it was Monday and everything was back to normal. Except that Harry couldn't get over it.

"Who would listen to a gay?" – Other gay people, of course. Harry repeatedly cursed himself, for not realising this sooner.

He always took care that his 'partners' could either shut their mouths and keep quiet about their 'tête-à-tête', or else would not be believed or listened to, should they talk. Pleasantly, hardly any open member of the 'different community' received much attention, as the magical world tended to simply turn a blind eye on this aspect of humanity. They acted consequently under the motto: I don't see what I don't want to see. There were only few exceptions. Draco Malfoy was one of them. The papers had had a field day with him, primarily due to his past and family background.

It seemed alright and even favourable for most of these prudish people out there that an ex-death eater was gay, especially one of such a high-ranking pureblood family as the Malfoys. Firstly, most people thought that the Malfoy line would consequently be discontinued – though Harry knew better than that, as he knew Draco still wanted to grow a family – and secondly, it proved that Draco Malfoy was different, abnormal even. Or some such rubbish anyway, Hermione had said. The attention the papers' had given to Draco had also attracted Harry's interest. In the beginning, Harry had just registered that now fewer spotlights were set on him. The front pages of the papers were no longer only splashed with his pictures. He had kept following the articles about Draco and also started keeping a close eye on him whenever he was in the ministry.

He had found himself fascinated by the level of pride and self-assurance with which Draco carried himself. He had not only coped with unwillingly coming out – paparazzi apparently caught him in a compromising position on an anonymous tip – but had also turned it to his own advantage.

Despite the bashing and shunning by the public, he managed to use the attention to highlight that he was only a human being and no monster. People even stopped seeing him as a mini-Lucius. It seemed like they considered his father to manly to be a poof.

At the same time, Draco provoked the press' attention with minor scandals and rash statements, and so stayed in the forefront of people's minds. Gradually, every businessman in magical England thought about him and it showed. He was invited to all functions and parties again, now for the same reasons Harry was invited as well – publicity – where they appeared, cameras would flash.

In just a few weeks, Draco seemed to have stepped up on the social ladder and restored the old standing and prestige of the Malfoy name. He built up a net of connections throughout the entire ministry and the business world of Britain. And evidently the powerful connections spread even further outside Britain, as Noel wasn't a small insect in France either.

Harry was immensely, though grudgingly, impressed. Seriously, it had only been a matter of time until Harry would approach Draco after his coming-out. He had waited for the Halloween feast, though. It was a function too important for Draco to leave early in the evening but at the same time, the theme – the celebration of Voldemort's downfall – was too sensible a topic that he would be able to approach anyone. Hardly anyone would have dared to talk to him.

That was the reason why Harry was able to do just that. He had no kids and was therefore also expected to stay into the night, and because his friends always left early, it wasn't unusual for him to end up alone. It was only natural that he would pass some time with an equally lone figure, or at least he could get away with it without looking suspicious.

Of course, there had been numerous articles in the papers of them the next day, but that didn't matter. He was still Harry Potter, after all. There was no reason to worry. He was supposed to be the perfect little hero destined to end up with an equally perfect princess and have a perfect little family. Nobody would ever even hint about the possibility of him being perhaps a bit different, let alone downright bent. Not that he actually bent down, mind you.

And besides, he was a business man with influence, as well, and even among the first who had accepted Draco as a reformed Death Eater after the war, so therefore he could find many reasons to cover up approaching Draco.

He had planned everything so well and thinking that he was being so clever and manipulative the whole time – like with every guy he'd bedded in the past – basking in the knowledge of how well and natural he played his little act. But Draco had taken only one look at him and seemed to have figured him out completely, causing Harry's self-assurance – and yes, arrogance – to crumble into a waning heap of awkward self-consciousness.

Harry considered many things that could go wrong on his liaisons. Now he felt just stupid for not detecting the most obvious outcome. What had he been thinking? That the men he knew or recognised to be gay wouldn't know other people with the same orientation? Of course, they would, and if they weren't friends with each other, they would still talk, probably even brag about who they'd bedded.

A sudden flash of images appeared before Harry's inner eye. A group of gays were standing in circles, talking and laughing and sipping cocktails while comparing their latest conquests. Then one suddenly announced that he had been the one and only to introduce the famous Harry Potter to gay sex, and was met by silence, before the others protest and claim the achievement for themselves. The image was both amusing and distressing. It also made him question briefly, if he had actually slept with as many men as he was imagining right now.

Anyway, it was quite evident Draco had heard about Harry. Obviously, Noel had told him about their night together. This suddenly brought up a whole new series of questions in Harry, sending cold shivers through his body. Oh god, this could end extremely humiliatingly for him.

Had Draco only heard from Noel? Or had he been told on numerous occasions? Draco seemed sure that Harry pulled this show repeatedly, but was that only what the aristocrat suspected or did he have evidence?

If Draco had heard it from others, had Noel known about it too and only played along in Harry's game? And here Harry cringed as another bundle of questions emerged: was it possible that the queer folk knew each other so well that Harry had been some kinda secrete entertainment among them all this time? While he thought he was playing them so well, had he actually been the one fooled all this time?

Again, the mental image of a group of gays appeared before him, but this time they weren't arguing in surprise. Instead, they were ridiculing and laughing at his expense, bristling in the fact that they had not only laid Harry Potter with little effort, but also fooled him on every level possible, while he had thought he was being so clever.

Harry shook his head and tried to get rid of the images but it was no use. He had worked himself into a frantic fit, fuelled by embarrassment and anger alike until he only felt panic. He'd become a laughing stock all over again, just like he had been so many times at Hogwarts, even though he'd sworn to himself to never let people use him as a doormat again!

It all seemed to fit together, though. That had to be the reason why the sex hadn't felt as good as the first few times. He had thought he was just getting bored by the play, but now he doubted that. Oh, what a fool he'd been! He saw it now clearly. He wasn't getting bored at all. No, the persuasive ambition he'd felt and enjoyed back than at the beginning, was obviously lacking in his 'conquests'. They knew about him and just played along to get a fuck, but without the intention of convince him of his sexuality and make him come back to them later for more. Of course not, they knew he was already neck deep in their sinful alternative way of living – too deep to ever go back.

.

Not able to stand the thoughts spinning around his head for another second, Harry stormed out of his office. Behind him the door banged into the wall and something shattered to the ground but he didn't pay it any mind. He had to find Draco, had to get back into the game for round two. He had to find out!

Three floors down, five turns right and two left, found Harry a corner away from the Ministry of Public Information and Relation (because the Daily Prophet wasn't already bad enough, they needed a whole ministry for such purposes). He stopped in his tracks when he heard the familiar voice.

"Come on Amilia, can't you do something for your favourite intruder?"

"Oh, I don't know Draco."

"Please, Amilia, just look once more."

"Oh fine, but only for you."

"Thank you."

Harry's heart thumbed while he waited behind the corner. He had seen Draco some time earlier in the ministry and had guessed he would find him here. He breathed deeply and collected his racing thoughts, determined to calm down before facing Draco. He had to plan his next steps.

When he heard the click of the door, indicating that Amilia had left, he rounded the corner. He approached slowly, almost cautiously. Draco had seated himself on Amilia's desk and was shuffled through some papers there. Harry coughed slightly when he was only a few feet away.

"Ehm, hello Draco," he greeted with a nod.

"Potter," was the only acknowledgment Draco made without looking up from a pamphlet.

Harry frowned. "Why do you still call me by my surname?"

"Why not?" He sounded absent minded and mildly reluctant talking to be with him, making Harry more irritated than nervous.

"I thought we moved past that years ago, but you never call me by my name. We've been on good terms ever since Neville married Pansy."

"And you're bringing it up today?" He threw Harry an exaggerated look and rolled his eyes at him. "Old habits die hard. I'm still calling Granger 'Granger' even though she's been a Weasley for years."

"You seldom see her let alone talk to her."

"Very true," he replied, while his look said Thank Salazar. "Is that what you so urgently wanted to discuss with me? Or is there another purpose?"

"Eh, no, not really. I just... I wanted to apologize. You must have thought I'm a total jerk."

Harry was exposed to a knowing glance, practically saying mutely Is that new? He opted to specify.

"I mean that with Noel... I don't have much memory about that banquet. That's why I didn't recognize him at first. I fear I was a bit drunk."

"Drunk? Honestly, Potter," the blonde's head had jerked up with an incredulous look, matching his tone.

"That night," Harry hurried to continue, "with Noel, I mean – it really got me thinking. It's why I'm so uncertain about… you know, and – ", he was cut off then by an impatient huff.

"No. Do us both a favour, Potter, and stuff it! If you must lie, at least put your brain to use."

Draco glided off the desk and stepped up to Harry with narrowed eyes.

"What do you take me for? I thought I already told you, I'm not stupid."

Still with narrowed eyes Draco looked him up and down before a lazy smirk graced his lips. It was way too seductive for Harry's taste, breath stealing even, and it made thinking difficult.

Harry swallowed thickly when Draco was suddenly so near they could have been touching. He had always thought that they were the same height, but now he realised that Draco was slightly smaller. He found that fact irrationally arousing. At the same time, he berated himself; Draco was again playing with him and he could see this ending like their last conversation. Still, he couldn't bring himself to withdraw. He just stood there frozen.

"But hey, you know what, Potter," like expected Draco sounded mocking, sarcasm dripping from every word, "I might be able to help with your oh-so-bad-crisis."

Harry closed his eyes briefly, as Draco leaned into him even closer, and inhaled the delicious scent. He wondered why the blond didn't continue. He heard air inhaled deeply, and in a wild moment, he imagined that Draco was sniffing him up as well, only to be brought back to reality when he realised he had only inhaled to speak again and dish the last blow.

"Listen now, carefully. It is actually very simple," he stretched the words like he was rolling them around his mouth, "sticking your dick up various arses of any men who aren't up a tree by three, definitely qualifies you as gay, trust me in that. Liking it and striving to do it repeatedly while having no interest in women, defines you as such, completely."

Abruptly, Draco withdrew fixing Harry with a cold glare and a disgusted sneer.

"Crisis overcome now?" He rolled his eyes, then and turned around, evidently fed up with the conversation and the other wizard.

Harry, then, finally dropped the farce with returning irritation and humiliation.

"So what? You fags all know each other and have some bloody warning going around about me or something?"

Draco stopped at that and faced him again, lifting an eyebrow, before he suddenly burst out laughing.

"Of course, right. You would like that, wouldn't you? You really think we don't have anything better to do than gossip about you all day long. You're probably self-centred enough to actually think that. Oh well, I can sooth your worries. I neither know every 'fag' in this country, let alone continent, nor do we exchange any warnings. I know better things to do than discuss you all the time, believe it or not, Potter. But naturally, I do have contact with a lot of gay men, though that with Noel was only a coincidence."

Draco eyed Harry again like before, assessing him.

"I'd wondered, actually, if I was right to assume that you pull that rubbish pick-up regularly, but you've just given me a clear answer to that," he laughed and shook his head. "Those men actually bought your act."

The door to the office they were in front of opened, and Amilia came out. She greeted Harry shortly before she announced the Minister for Public Information and Relation would be able to see Draco now. He smiled at her charmingly. The same smile turned quickly into a smirk when he addressed Harry again.

"Well, if you would excuse me, Potter, some people are actually here to do some work." With that, he left Harry behind with clenched teeth and glaring at nothing and everything.

When he felt a nosy look boring into his head he tuned abruptly to face it. Amilia instantly lowered her head, though she couldn't hide the rosy spots forming on her cheeks. Teeth still clenched and hands balled to fists, Harry rushed out. He kept his eyes on the ground as he stomped through the ministry to his office.

He did have some work to do, though Draco was right to some extent; it didn't really matter if he did it or not. Not because he didn't have a real job, but because he, as Harry Potter, could basically decide by himself when or if he wanted to do his job. Most days he didn't have anything better to do. The ministry had given him the position, even though he had dropped out of Hogwarts, mainly because they wanted to have him near to keep a close eye on him. And Harry had had no other choice, though at the time he didn't care enough to be bothered by this. At that time he didn't care about anything much.

He had always wished for a normal life. After defeating Voldemort he had thought he could have one. Nowadays, he couldn't believe how naïve he had been. Of course, the papers, the ministry and the public had not left him alone. They all wanted a piece of him. Even Hogwarts hadn't given any refuge. Everybody watched him, awestruck, worshipping.

Harry had felt out of place. The teachers had even treated him differently. So much so that Harry had almost missed Snape teaching him again; just to have at least one teacher who didn't treat him like something special. The worst thing was that some of them didn't even want to treat him that way, like McGonagall. But they just couldn't help it.

Everybody wanted to celebrate. And yes, so had Harry. At first, some part of him had felt guilty. Guilty for the fallen, guilty to have survived, guilty to not have done his part sooner. In the end however… in the end nothing, had seemed to matter much anymore.

The parties had been great. After fearing for his life for such a long time, suddenly having the freedom to enjoy his life had been an exhilarating experience. Step by step Harry had lost every care in the world. School had seemed increasingly unnecessary; unreal even. His whole life, the fact that he lived had seemed unreal.

It had been inevitable that he would drop out of school. And as the magical world's school system did not allow for second tries at NEWT-years, Harry had never finished Hogwarts. Well, for the first few years after school, he hadn't been interested in it. He had taken his party life from school to new levels when he was finally out in the real world. At that time, he had gradually begun enjoying even the ministry functions. Mainly, he used them as a warm-up, taking advantage of the alcohol. That also had given him an excuse to behave as badly as he could in a petty attempt to pay them back for forcing him there in the first place. Nobody had cared though. The papers had reported all of his transgressions, of course, but it was only to sell and it had had no consequences apart from more publicity, which was inevitable anyway.

One drunken night, Harry had been hit on by a man. He had had a few curious fumblings in Hogwarts and that night, his old curiosity had emerged again. The man had seemed to sense that and had put all his efforts into conquering Harry and showing him the heights of gay sex. And it had been marvellous. However, the morning after, panic had gripped Harry's heart. He had thought his life would fall apart. Not only had he transgressed a taboo, but he also had ruined any chances for him to ever have a family. He had said as much to the man, that it had been a mistake, he couldn't be gay etc. Surprisingly, the man had reassured him, told him that no one had to know – that actually no one would believe it anyway. That was how the magical folk functioned: they saw and heard and believed only what they wanted to, what fit into their worldview. Gays were practically non-existent in their reality. Also, he assured Harry that their night had had no strings attached. He himself had been a married man. Harry had just been curious and he had satisfied that curiosity, nothing more, nothing less.

And that had been that.

Harry had seen the man seldom afterwards and they had never spoken again. But the experience had changed his life. It had shown him that men were a safer option than women, with no threat of pregnancies and a better acceptance of the concept 'no-strings-attached'.

They weren't like those chicks, who said it was alright, but secretly planned to change your mind and thought that they would be special, that they would be THE one. Harry couldn't even count the times a woman had tried to get pregnant from the one-night-stands and of those who had actually claimed to be, he didn't even want to start on. Besides, the sex with men was more pleasurable for Harry anyway.

However, he hadn't known how to find gay men or how to approach them, at first. Coincidentally, the answer had come to him. Another man, a Quidditch player this time, had been introduced to Harry. They had exchanged these looks instinctively and before Harry even knew it, the man had hit on him. At Harry's surprised stuttering, he had done the same thing as the man before – offered a no-strings-attached one-night-stand to show Harry what it all was about. Harry hadn't corrected him in his assumption that this would be his first time. He had just gone with the flow. He had done so quite often afterwards, though after a while he had learnt to read the signs and signals of gay men and even managed to pull his act of the curious straight guy again and again. It had all become a game to him gradually, in that he played the men to his liking.

At about the same time, he had started to calm down a bit. The almost overwhelming apathetic feeling stayed, but it had dimmed to a manageable level. The partying hadn't stopped either, but it had decreased also, and his waking daylight hours had increased. With this change, he had also gotten bored.

Hermione had swooped down at the first signs of this and had talked him into searching for a job. Harry had done so eventually, though not with any haste. After half a year, he found one. He had always had suspicions that the Ministry had taken him in because they had wanted to keep a close eye on him, but without evidence, he had had no reason to quit. And so he had stayed. He assumed that he had not been the only one to be surprised that he actually had a hand for office work. Nobody actually knew what he was doing and most thought he wasn't doing anything. He did have the luxury to choose when, what and if he did anything, but he mostly had nothing better to do. To some extent, he even liked it and that was probably the most surprising thing – that he would like paper work.

Everything considered, his life could have turned out much worse. He had led it like this for years now and slowly, it started to bore him again, but he wasn't sure what to do about it. He wasn't even sure what the cause was. At this phase of his life, Malfoy had appeared again, a year ago. Well, maybe not exactly in his life but certainly in the papers. Soon afterwards, he was regularly in the Ministry, however, with his coming-out and the hands-on support he had gotten from Hermione, he and Harry had seen each other more often than that. Why he was in the ministry that often, and what he actually did, well, that was just as much a mystery to Harry as Harry's job was to others. He probably did nothing much either, Harry thought unforgivingly, and a bit pettily.

.

Arriving at his office, Harry suddenly jumped back at the crunching sound under his shoe. He had intended to storm through the door dramatically, his thoughts about his life and Malfoy still whirling around. Looking down, Harry saw the pieces of glass that had fallen from a vitrine beside his office door. He remembered the shattering sound from his departure. With a flick of his wand, he repaired what had been broken and entered the room. He closed the door carefully and stood for a moment with his back to it, looking around without really seeing anything.

.

Soon after, Harry found that his office was way too small. From the door to the opposite wall, which actually consisted mostly of one huge window, there were exactly 5 steps and a half. That was far too little; it was confining and made it impossible to think clearly. Harry didn't leave, however; he kept going up and down. His thoughts were running around his head and he almost got the feeling he was trying to run after them. What he had heard from Malfoy was actually good. Everything was alright. He had gotten to know what he'd wanted to – that he hadn't been played by numerous gay men and that his game wasn't an open secret.

Harry's feet eventually started to hurt. No wonder, considering he must have gone in circles for hours straight. Only one thing had become clear from his musings: Draco hadn't known; he'd just put two and two together. He was smart enough to do so. There was no need to worry about being a complete laughing stock anymore. Instead, another problem had presented itself: Draco could talk. He could spread the story about Harry. The Daily Prophet would likely not believe this and it would only function as a bad rumour, however any chances of bedding anyone in the near future would be lost. It was improbable that Draco would gossip like that though. Harry could ask him. Not right away though, he didn't have a death wish after all.

Eventually, Harry ceased his marathon around the room and took his seat behind his desk on his armchair to actually do some work. He did have a job here, after all, even if most people tended to forget that – himself included.

The morning passed quickly and at lunch Harry put aside his biro (he preferred them to quills) with an exhausted sigh and left his too-small office with similarly tired steps. He passed the reception desk of his secretary. She was nowhere in sight and he remembered vaguely that he hadn't seen her at all that day. It wasn't surprising, seeing as he couldn't recall when he had last seen her altogether. Probably sometime last week and he was pretty sure now, that Amanda was missing most Mondays. Most likely, she didn't know what she was supposed to be doing there, much like Harry generally didn't know what he was doing. Quickly stuffing down the depressing feelings threatening to emerge with the thought, he hurried through the corridor towards the end at which the elevators were located.

His steps faltered in surprise when he saw Draco standing in one of the rectangular cabins. Without even consciously thinking about it, Harry ran forward and stuck his hand between the doors in the last moment. Entering as soon as the opening was big enough, he wondered absently at his own rush, but had not enough time to dwell on it.

"Hi," Harry announced, in an attempt to strive for nonchalance, as he put his clothes in order again.

It may have worked better if he hadn't been so out of breath. Maybe he should work out more. He instead chose to blame his condition on the suddenness of his sprint.

Draco just quietly rolled his eyes and then literally showed Harry the cold shoulder. Only an overexcited little woman greeted him back. They were the only ones in the elevator, which was probably due to the late lunch time. Silence stretched in the cubicle, Draco staring stubbornly straight ahead and ignoring Harry, who was doing his best to stare holes through him, while the star struck lady failed to covertly steal glances at the famous 'Boy-Who-Lived'. Half-way down, the elevator stopped at the floor leading to the cafeteria and she stepped out reluctantly, for a moment looking back almost hopefully, as if she was expecting her hero to follow her. The disappointment was clearly written on her face before the doors closed.

Harry had planned to go to the restaurant two floors after, which was more expensive, but less crowded than the cafeteria. Draco, however, stayed in the elevator – obviously on his way to leave the ministry – so Harry naturally did too.

"So, want to have lunch with me?" he finally broke the silence with pure Gryffindor courage.

"What? No, I don't want to, as you could have guessed on your own."

Well, that was a snappy retort.

Harry sighed and leaned back on the wall.

"I know what you must think of me."

While he said this he stopped the elevator without Draco noticing, feeling pretty proud of that. Then he put his head in his hands.

"This isn't easy for me," he started talking – and kept talking. He poured out his soul, his every problem, to the man beside him.

He spoke well, though not in a rhetoric sense, mind you, but with a lot of feelings and emotions. At one point he even looked up with a miserable face complete with wet eyes, before letting his head hang so that his hair obscured his sight.

He started off by admitting how impressed he was of the way Draco handled things – his coming out, the press and all the hostility against him. Harry would have never been able to do that. Then he told him about the hardship of his life, even though it must seem so brilliant to most people, and maybe it really wasn't bad, but it surely wasn't all sweets and crisps. He tried to make his behaviour understandable, explained how he felt he had lost everything to Voldemort, foremost his family. His greatest wish was to have one of his own again, children and a wife, but these dreams were forever lost because of his attraction to blokes. The fact was hard to take and somehow he felt guilty about it, especially with the Weasleys holding so much hope in him marrying Ginny. He could never tell them the truth; after all they were the only family he'd ever had. And losing the Weasleys would also mean losing his closest friends.

He'd end up all alone, which was his greatest fear. On top of this he felt like a freak all over again, like he had under the 'care' of the Dursleys. All the words his relatives had used on him echoed in his mind, mocking and insulting him as unnatural, sick and disgusting. There was his job too, that he could lose, and all the little things combined with those big problems. Pretending to be everything that people expected from Harry Potter by keeping his orientation secret, had seemed so simple to him at the time and much more favourable and before he knew it, he had spiralled into this sad habit, which started in Hogwarts where an older student realised his curiosity for his own sex, and manifested when a similar situation arose on one of the earlier ministry functions – both without his doings.

It seemed to work. Harry felt Draco put a hand on his shoulder giving comfort. He waited a second before reacting, to quell the giddy, triumphant feeling that threatened to overpower him, and schooled his face into the previous pathetic expression. Slowly he lifted his head and…froze, when he met the unrelenting, cold gaze. There was no sympathy written there. No, all Harry could read in it was mild astonishment, overshadowed by exaggeration mixed with irritation. The hand vanished from his shoulder.

"Potter. I would have thought you'd hold me in higher regard than that. Do you take me for being that naive?" Draco looked at him critically. "Your friends? You mean, for instance, your bushy haired friend, who was the first and loudest supporter of me after my coming out? Even though we have had hardly any contact and have never been on friendly terms? She even brought her husband in to help me. She would probably happily act as a mediator between you, the Weasleys, your friends and the whole bloody world out of sheer principle. And the Weasleys themselves. Come on, are you kidding me?" he laughed loudly even throwing his head back shortly. "I'm pretty sure nobody, except maybe old, sentimental virgins would still believe you would ever get back together with the Weaslette. Not even she does, judging by her happy relationship with the Canon's beater. Besides, Potter, six boys. Six!" Draco emphasised and stretched the number out. "How high, do you think, is the possibility that all six boys would become the perfect little hetero breeding machines? Or let me ask differently, how many times have you seen Charlie Weasley in company of a girlfriend?"

Harry opened his mouth to protest against the last point, arguing that Charlie had brought a girl to Ron and Hermione's wedding, but closed it almost instantly, remembering the girl had gone off with George while Charlie had been nowhere to be found.

Draco smirked knowingly and continued talking before Harry could ask how he even knew about Charlie, when even he didn't know.

"Let's go on then, shall we? The Dursleys, was it? Well, I don't know much about them, but I know you and you have moved on. You are a proud wizard after all, aren't you? I also know that you stopped caring about other people's opinion somewhere between fifth and sixth year. And please, you want to tell me you worry about the press? You've dealt with them since you were eleven years old and since your defeat of Voldemort, you've been dealing with them on a daily basis. You could handle them in your sleep by now. A word here, a smile there, a shake of the hand of someone and they are happy to leave you alone. You have them in the palm of your hands. Don't think I haven't noticed that."

Draco ended with a pointed look. In the next instance it turned pensive and his tone took on a mock contemplative note.

"Now tell me, if you gave up any hopes of having a family, why even hold up any pretence of being hetero? Normally, men who pretend, either end up marrying some blind woman or a woman who doesn't care one way or another. Either way, they proceed to produce a child with the help of enough aphrodisiac to have a snake standing upright for a week, before searching for some real satisfaction in the next club or brothel night after night for the rest of their lives. And even if you'd admit to what you are, gay men still have families."

"In short, you're lying again, Potter. And again, not very well. I'm a Slytherin, remember? You have to do better than that. And even though we've spent the years we've known each other in rivalry, I still know you."

Yes, Harry could even see it in the grey eyes in that moment. They were piercing, reading him like an open book.

Draco shook his head, and then frowned at his companion.

"What do you even work? I can't imagine losing your job would change much for you, if they would ever dare to fire you, that is."

Harry rubbed his eyes tiredly. He felt the elevator moving again as his hold of the spell slipped. Stopping it had tired his magic. Or maybe, he had gotten too tired to keep the spell up.

"I work in law enforcement. They've allowed me to make some degrees in law even without my Hogwarts graduation. It's not enough to be an actual lawyer, but still close enough. Listen, can't we talk about all this over lunch?" he asked at last, maybe just a bit hopeful.

"No, as I've said already."

"We've had lunch together before. Why not again? Is this really so bad that you can't even be civil towards me, anymore?"

"Don't be ridiculous, I don't care about your sex life, therefore I also don't want to talk about it. Especially not over lunch. Why do you even think I'm free?"

Expectantly, Draco arched a brow, yet again.

"You're not?"

"No."

"You have a date?"

Even to his own ears he sounded taken aback and a little ruffled. Draco of course just smirked.

"Yes."

There was silence between them for a minute then the doors of the elevator opened, making Harry jump a little. Draco stepped out and made his way to the exit.

A few feet away he stopped again and turned his head to regard Harry incredulously.

"Really Potter? Law enforcement?" he called over his shoulder, sounding stunned.

Harry nodded mutely. He couldn't think of anything to say or do, so he just stood there until the doors closed again and the elevator resumed moving.

Did he feel disappointment?