Author's Note: A hard copy of this story was written and mailed out to a few close friends as a Xmas present and thanks for being so awesome gift. Now that they've had it for over a week, I felt it would be fair to share a digital version with the rest of the world. Thanks to Shannon for her beta work...after she got her hard copy. *grin. This story is based on a song by Imogen Heap of the same name. Hopefully you all know of her and I won't need to throttle anyone. Otherwise, the lyrics will be posted at the end of the story.
Harry stared off vacantly as the department head went over the success of last week's assignments and passed around folders that would provide them with details for the new cases. The last few months had been this way, trying to tail and investigate anyone who had been released during the first round of trials following the war. They were nearing the time where the Ministry's statute of limitations was catching up with them, and Minister Shacklebolt wanted everyone checked in on to make sure there was no reason to renew the charges before it was too late.
A fair few of them had taken the various slaps to the wrists to heart and turned their lives around enough to elude being picked up by the Aurors again. Unfortunately, most of the wizards and witches spared by the war trials seemed to take their pardon as divine proof that they were supposed to be dabbling in Dark Arts and Muggle torture. Harry alone had hauled in no less than a dozen former Voldemort sympathizers for crimes committed long after the dust had settled on Hogwarts grounds.
Some remained hidden well enough that they frustrated the Ministry with wild goose chases, but no one got under Harry's skin personally the way the man in his new file did. When he opened it, the pointy features and gray eyes of Draco Malfoy stared back out at him. Even in his Ministry mug shot the boy was sneering imperiously, as if even behind Azkaban bars he felt he was better than everyone else.
The prat had only spent a week in the dank prison before his own trial found him innocent on the basis of his youth and the threats lobbied against him by Voldemort himself. Lucius was sentenced to death and Narcissa to life in prison, only spared the Dementor's Kiss because of her last minute save of the Boy-Who-Lived. Harry could hardly begrudge her that, but Lucius was pure evil and Harry almost rejoiced at seeing him sentenced to the Kiss had he not thought the punishment severe for even his worst enemy – and Lucius Malfoy certainly made that list if anyone did. He hadn't agreed with the Wizengamot's decision to release Draco at all, however, and had searched England high and low for the man, hoping to catch him brewing illegal potions or practicing Dark Magic just so he could have the satisfaction of wiping that smirk off the blond's face once and for all.
The trouble was, of all the people Harry longed to capture the most, Draco Malfoy was number one, but he was also the one they had the least leads on. It seemed the moment his trial was over he drained his accounts of what was left after his family's legal fees and disappeared. It was going on eight years since the war and not a soul had seen hide nor hair of the youngest Malfoy.
Today, all of that changed.
As the group was dismissed, files in hand for their own investigations, Harry hung back to speak with Edgar Willits, the department head. "Sir," he began hesitantly. Despite his high success record and likable reputation throughout the department, Harry had no plans to put in for Department Head. He didn't feel he was ready for that step yet, and wondered if he ever would be. Regardless of how often he told this to his superior, Willits never seemed to believe him and remained fully on guard whenever the former Gryffindor was around. "I was wondering why I got this file back. We've yet to locate Malfoy's whereabouts."
"In that, Mr. Potter, you're mistaken. If you were to check the contents of your file, you would have seen the new addition. A letter intercepted between Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson. It doesn't give an address of course, he's too clever for that after all, but it can be traced to a wealthy area of New York City," he informed Harry. "The trackers already pinpointed an approximate location for him, and you're scheduled to Portkey out this afternoon for reconnaissance."
"Yes, Sir," he replied, slinking from the conference room bashfully. He should have just looked at the blasted file; anything was better than trying to talk to that twat. As he made his way back to his own office, Ron stopped him with a curious expression on his face.
"Did they put you back on the ferret case?" he asked, plucking the file from Harry's palm and glancing over it. "There's been a break?"
"Apparently," Harry muttered, extracting the file from Ron's sticky fingers. He could see the trail of Chocolate Frog wrappers littering his desk even from out in the hall. As Harry had predicted in school, Ron's eating habits had finally caught up with him and he had started packing on weight at an alarming rate. Hermione had him on a very strict diet, but when she wasn't around – which was fairly often given her career choice in the Legal Department – Ron acted as though his diet was composed primarily of sweets. "Mione is going to throttle you if you don't stop gorging yourself," he pointed out, nodding his head toward the candy wrappers.
Ron flicked his wand and they flew into the rubbish bin and out of sight. "It was only a few, Harry. Anyway, it's not as if we can all have your metabolism."
"I'm fit because I work at it, Ron," Harry huffed. His redheaded friend was never able to halt his assumptions that the world didn't rise and set in Harry Potter's arse, and that despite what Ron thought, things weren't just handed to him on a silver platter. He was fit because he still played Quidditch every weekend and chased after bad guys all week. Not to mention he actually ate healthy, not drowned himself in rubbish all the time.
Now wasn't the time for another bitter tirade against his best friend, however. If he were going to leave for New York City in a couple hours, he would have to pack.
Harry stood at the International Portkey station in Gloucester and waited for his name to be summoned to the departure terminal. He hadn't spent much time in the US, and New York was such an overpowering marvel from what he'd heard of the Aurors who'd been on assignments there in the past. It was important that he not only stay off of Malfoy's radar if he found the man, but also to remain undetected by the American Aurors. The relations between the US and British Ministries was rather tenuous at the moment because of all the Death Eaters who fled the English shores afraid of persecution, not to mention the hundreds of witches and wizards who hid there during the war and apparently never left.
"Potter, Harry," called a woman's voice over the loud speaker and Harry got up, heading toward the designated area. A curvy blonde beamed at him and handed him a small disk with the Statue of Liberty imprinted on it. "New York?" she confirmed, and Harry nodded. "Here's a map of where you'll be arriving. Be sure to exit the immediate Portkey area as soon as you can. Have a nice trip," she told him and then she blinked out of sight as Harry was pulled through a long and nauseating straw across the ocean and to a pale green tiled room. Vague memories of sneaking into the Slytherin common room second year came unbidden to his mind but he made a hasty exit and followed the map up a flight of stairs and into the bustling heart of New York City.
Harry had been exhausted after his Portkey trip, so he checked in to a hotel and slept through the night, putting off his Auror duties until the next morning. Upon waking, he quickly realized he didn't have much to go on to start his investigation. He'd never seen a city so huge as this one and finding Malfoy amongst thousands of people suddenly seemed like a daunting task. London stretched out and out, but New York did too, and then it stretched up and into the sky as well. Even if Harry could narrow his search down to just one building it could take days to find Malfoy, and he certainly hadn't narrowed the possibility to one building. In fact, the Ministry had not been any more helpful than simply saying the owl and letter were traced back to Greenwich Village, which Harry soon discovered was a rather large, upper class area.
He found the neighborhood quaint and not as imposing as other parts of the City he'd seen on his way to the hotel. Still, he didn't know how he was going to find Malfoy in all this mess. Would he even look the same? With a mild glamour hiding his own trademark features as a precaution, Harry perused the streets of The Village and peeked into shops when he could, lingered at street corners and loitered the whole day in hopes the he would somehow stumble across the blond Slytherin.
He kept his shields open, trying to sense any magical signatures as he wandered about the town, but he was largely unsuccessful. By the time the sun began setting over the horizon. Harry was weary and famished. A small corner café called 'Organics' caught his attention and he slipped inside and ordered a sandwich and a small juice. He was about to take a bite when he looked up and spotted none other than the brilliant white hair of the man he'd been searching out all day.
Draco Malfoy looked much the same after eight years in exile and a good deal different at the same time. His face seemed somehow less pointy, softer, although he was just as pale as ever. His hair was cropped stylishly, hanging in chunky pieces around his face, partially obscuring those metallic silver eyes. He wore a dark blue and gray checked shirt with a thick woolen scarf that matched the gray in both his eyes and the shirt and his gaze flitted about the room, settling on Harry for only a moment before moving on.
He was followed into the café by a tall, thin woman with dark blonde hair and slanted lilac eyes. She looked exotic, with an olive complexion and full plum lips and Harry wondered vaguely if this was Malfoy's girlfriend. Beside her a bloke trailed in, his hair was obviously dyed the deep red shade that he achieved and his skin was nearly as pale as Draco's. He wore black-framed glasses and seemed pretentious to Harry before the man even opened his mouth. The three took a table within earshot of Harry, to which he was thankful.
He couldn't detect magical signatures on anyone in the room aside from Malfoy, which meant his friends were Muggles. The thought took him aback for a moment, though he didn't know what he'd expected. If Draco had shown his face in the New York magical community Harry would have found him ages ago.
Malfoy laughed at something the woman said, Claire, he called her, and leaned back elegantly in his chair, his eyes flicking occasionally toward Harry. The Auror did a silent check of his glamour to make sure it was still firmly in place, but Malfoy was probably attracted to the magic he exuded, not his specific features, which weren't enough like his own to draw unwanted attention. The man, Cameron, leaned in and placed a hand on Malfoy's thigh, easing it up to the groin and then back down to his knee twice before Malfoy shifted in annoyance, throwing the hand from his leg. The motion caught Harry's gaze and he stared, his face flushing at the sexual tension there and when he looked up again, Malfoy was smirking at him placidly.
Harry reasoned that he could just take him in right then, sweep over, grab Malfoy's arm and Apparate them to the Portkey station, but something stilled his had, something made him just stay and watch instead.
Claire continued with a story about a gallery opening, and Malfoy pretended to listen, all the while carrying on a staring contest with Harry. When the blond stood, he stretched slightly, making the muscles of his abdomen taut and visible through the fabric of his shirt and his low-slung denims. He started toward Harry and the brunet immediately lowered his head to his sandwich and took a gulp from his juice. Why did Malfoy have to be so cute? Why did this man he was ordered to bring back to the Ministry have such an effect on him? His groin nearly ached just from watching him stand up.
"Like what you see?" Malfoy purred beside his ear and Harry bristled, his skin covered in gooseflesh.
"I do, actually," Harry replied, deciding to play the part. Perhaps if Draco took him home, Harry could get a look at his place and his things and see if there was anything to back the charges the Ministry was prepared to levy against him when Harry drug the Slytherin prat back to London.
The man hummed in his ear and took the seat right next to him. Harry couldn't help but notice the look of disdain on Malfoy's neglected friends faces', though the woman seemed to take it in stride. Perhaps this was a regular occurrence, Draco scheming on strange men.
"So, what's the deal, Potter? Come to sling me over your arm and Portkey me back to Mother England?" he asked and Harry fought the flush on his face and lost. "I didn't know the Ministry was whoring out its Aurors now. I suppose you'd do anything to catch a bad guy though, wouldn't you, Potter? Even if that included sucking a bit of cock."
"I don't know who you're talking about, but-" he began to protest, but Draco held up a finger to halt him.
"Save it. I can feel the magic vibrating off of you in waves, and I know the flavor of your magic better than any other. I can taste you on my tongue, Potter," he explained suggestively.
Harry sagged, no longer wanting to play this game. "I'm just here to visit the fine state of New York. You know, checking things out," he assured.
"Would those things include my arse? Because you couldn't seem to peel your eyes away from it back there," Draco noted with an indulgent smirk.
"No," Harry huffed petulantly. "I would like to ask you a few questions though."
"I'll only allow it if you do so over the dinner you're buying me tomorrow night," Draco replied with a smirk.
Harry fought a grimace and instead nodded. He'd do whatever it took to get the answers the Ministry was looking for, and perhaps he could persuade the blond to accompany him to London for more questioning to close out his case. If he could avoid force, Harry always did.
"Fine," he muttered, making it clear to Draco that he felt put out by the gesture. "What time and where?"
"Oh, don't you worry your pretty little head about where. I'll be sure to make reservations at a nice place," he replied with a wink and Harry groaned inwardly as he practically watched his allotted expenses for the mission triplicate. All he could do was nod curtly, his mouth drying out as Draco leaned in and patted him on the thigh – far higher than was decent to do in public. "Goodnight, Potter," he whispered as he left the café in a silky stride, beckoning his friends to follow him out the door without a word or even a glance.
The man, Cameron, glared at Harry as he stalked out, followed by the woman, Claire, who didn't even spare a second glance in Harry's direction as she too followed the blond out the door and into the night. Harry spared only a few moments regaining his composure before slipping out the door and following the ragtag group. He snuck briefly into an alley to throw his Invisibility cloak around his shoulders and proceeded to stalk them from the café.
Two blocks down, Claire left the trio with a wave, and as soon as she did, Cameron's hand found Draco's until the blond brushed it away and turned to face the man, halting in the street with his finger held up to press ominously against the redhead's chest. "I said leave me alone, Cam. Just because I've broken things off with Justin, doesn't mean I'm ready for your greedy hands to come scoop me up. I told you, I need time."
"You didn't seem to need time when you were chatting up that guy back at the café," the man pointed out wisely.
"He's an old acquaintance from my school days. I was just having one over on him anyway," Draco huffed, causing Harry to bristle with indignation. It was one thing to assume as much, but quite another to have it spelled out for him. "Potter's as straight as they come."
Harry almost laughed aloud at the inaccuracy of Malfoy's statement, an insidious plan forming in his mind. Two could play at this game.
"He didn't look straight to me," Cameron griped, causing Harry to shift in place and glance down at himself from under the invisibility cloak. Was it really that obvious? It wasn't as if he was dressed like a ponce, or even like Malfoy for that matter. He was just wearing Muggle denims and a clean jumper after all, what had given it away? And as if the faux redhead could hear Harry's inner dialogue, he answered. "He was ogling you the whole time we were there."
"Jealous?" Malfoy replied with a smirk and Cameron narrowed his eyes.
"Was that your point?" he asked, but Malfoy merely shrugged.
"It doesn't matter. I told you I'm not ready to date anyone and I meant it. Now sod off. I'll see you tomorrow," he quipped, apparently pointing in the direction of the other man's flat. He did as told, like a good little lackey, and Harry tried to shake away the mean thought. What did he care if this Cameron bloke wanted to shag Draco? It wasn't as though he had any claim on the blond, or even wanted to for that matter.
Draco turned and began walking in a different direction and Harry hung back for a moment, not wanting the feel of his magic to drift too close to the blond while he was alone. Harry just needed to see where the man lived so that he could search the place in the event Malfoy wasn't corporative at dinner.
When he spotted the flash of white hair again, Harry quickened his pace, not wanting to lose the man in such a large city. He shouldn't have worried though, because the next street Malfoy turned down was completely devoid of any other people. Draco had little white buds in his ears, stretching down to attach to a small shiny Muggle device, and when Draco began variably dancing in the street, it took all of Harry's Auror training to keep himself from snickering.
It was certainly not adorable to watch Malfoy shimmy his hips to the beat of whatever music he was listening to, and neither was it cute to hear him sing aloud and slightly out of tune. But regardless of how clearly unappealing the display should be, Harry couldn't seem to wipe the grin from his face. It appeared Malfoy was rather different when he thought no one was looking, energetic and alive.
When Draco finally stopped at a well-kept three-story brownstone, Harry felt mildly bereft of his unknowing company. He leaned against a blooming dogwood tree just outside the stairs and watched Draco unlock the door and slip inside. Moments later a light clicked on and Harry could see through the gaping curtains that Malfoy occupied the second floor of the building. He summoned his broom, casting a Vanishing Charm on it as he hovered up to get a better look at the place Draco Malfoy called home.
Some of the walls were exposed brick with vibrant painting that Harry couldn't quite make out hanging from their surface, and the rest of the walls were painted a neutral tan, but art seemed to hang in every nook of the room except that which was occupied by a large red lacquered cabinet. On its shelves were all manners of Muggle electronics and Harry wondered how the man ever figured any of them out. Harry felt as though he might have a difficult time of it and he had grown up in a Muggle home.
Beyond the living room was a modern kitchen, the cabinets in the same polished red of the entertainment center in the living room, and Draco went there first, grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge before pulling off his scarf and hanging it on a hook against the wall by the door. He slumped with his water in front of the massive telly, and flipped through channel after channel before settling on an old black and white movie Harry had never seen.
Malfoy nodded off sitting there on the couch, slowly slipping sideways until he woke up, blinking furiously into the light of the room. Clicking off the TV, Draco got up and turned off the living room lights as well and padded across into the adjacent room. Harry silently flew to that window and watched with wide eyes and a pulsing heart rate as Draco disrobed, pulling his shirt over his tightly muscled torso and tossing it into the hamper, followed quickly by his arse-hugging denims. When he was down to his boxers, Draco thankfully disappeared into what Harry could only assume was a bathroom, shutting the door most of the way behind him.
Harry tried very hard not to be disappointed that he wasn't going to get a chance to spy on a very nude Draco Malfoy. He was on assignment and furthermore, this was Malfoy, bane of his existence and overall prat. There was no reason to fancy him, Harry simply thought the blond had a nice body, but surely anyone could appreciate that, gay or straight.
When he reappeared, Malfoy turned down the pewter gray bedding of his platform bed and then hooked his thumbs beneath his pitch-black boxer shorts, giving them a firm yank before tossing them with the rest of his soiled clothes. Harry wanted to avert his gaze, feeling like he was some voyeuristic pervert for watching Draco naked and glorious in his room, but he couldn't seem to so much as blink with the beauty that hovered before him.
He tried to reason that he needed any and all information about the former Death Eater to bring back to his supervisor, so that prying was a necessary part of his job. What if Willits asked him about Malfoy's pert arse, or about the size of his cock? It would be a disaster if Harry had no answers for the man. Wouldn't it?
Harry decided that it would, and continued to watch as Malfoy slipped under his warm-looking bedding and covered himself from Harry's persistent gaze. He certainly did not want to climb in bed with the man, or wrap his own naked body around that of Malfoy. He didn't want to press firm kisses into all that luminous flesh or lick hot trails from tip to toes, and he most certainly didn't fantasize about sucking the man's cock. That would be unprofessional.
Although, what if Willits asked him about what Malfoy's cock tasted like? Could Harry cope with having to tell the man that he had no idea? Harry shook his head and coasted away from the window, practically tearing his gaze from the pale god that lurked inside. Clearly there was no logical reason for Willits to ask about the shape, size or taste of Malfoy's cock, but Harry was nothing if not thorough in his investigations.
Author's Note: This was meant to be a oneshot, but I got a bit carried away, so it will be two parts (over 11k words total)