"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." - Mother Teresa
Eighteen-year-old Draco Malfoy watched in the mirror as Madam Malkin puttered around his ankles, folding and tugging and pinning his robes. It was odd, maybe, but in the eight years that had come between he thought he'd never looked more like his eleven-year-old self than he did now. Once again he was on the cusp of something new and promising. There was a pink flush to the pale skin of his cheeks and a eager shine to the grey of his eyes that had seldom made an appearance in the interim years. Years that had been, perhaps, everything he'd expected yet anything but what he'd hoped. Though Draco's external expression was relaxed, his reflection beamed back at him.
"You know," he said to Madam Malkin conversationally, "I'm graduating tomorrow."
"Are you now? That's wonderful."
"I know. My boyfriend went down the street to make dinner reservations for afterward and to pick up the key to the flat we're buying together." Draco could hear the smugness in his voice, but he couldn't be bothered to temper it. For once, he felt, it was well-deserved.
"Congratulations," she said politely. Well, you could hardly expect her to be as excited as he was, Draco allowed. As far as she was concerned, his happiness was no more unique than that of anyone else who stood on these stools each and every day. Little did she know.
"And these robes," he continued, gesturing to the rich burgundy dress robes he was being fitted for, "I convinced him to buy me for an event next week where we're going to announce our, ah..." Boyfriendhood? "relationship."
Madam Malkin sat back on her heels. "Well, I'm afraid can't promise you luck with that, but I can promise you'll look devastating doing it. This color really suits you."
Draco grinned, appraising his preening reflection. "I'd better," he said softly.
There was a small jingle as the shop door opened, admitting a young man of medium height topped with black hair that managed to be both messy and effortlessly sexy at once. Draco's reflection sighed in appreciation of the boy's unassuming and charismatic good looks. His heart pounded in a silent greeting as the boy made his way to the back of the shop.
"Harry," Draco breathed.
At the same time, Madam Malkin exclaimed, "Harry Potter!"
Draco watched in the mirror as Harry made his way over to the back of the shop where Draco stood on the fitting stool. Madam Malkin hastily rose to her feet and descended on him.
"What a surprise!" she exclaimed. "What an honor!"
"Likewise," said Harry, obligingly allowing his hand to be clasped between Madam Malkin's for a couple beats longer than was strictly necessary.
"Oh, posh," Madam Malkin tutted. "The honor is all mine, I assure you." She stepped back from Harry, fanning herself against the sweat that had broken out in her excitement. "How can I help you?"
"I'm just looking, thanks," Harry demurred.
Madam Malkin reluctantly busied herself at Draco's feet while Harry came to stand behind Draco. He met Draco's eyes in the mirror, sending the familiar jolt of anxious delight into Draco's belly, and smiled conspiratorially. Draco's reflection winked at him, then disappeared, and Draco was left with Harry all to himself.
"Hello," he said to cover up the turmoil of desire and restless happiness that Harry's presence never ceased to cause in him. "Hogwarts, too?" he teased.
"Yes," said Harry.
"Fancy that," Draco mock marveled.
"The best. You?"
"Turn," directed Madam Malkin.
Draco pivoted in place and was now facing Harry. His position on the stool made him taller than Harry, able to gaze down into Harry's upturned face.
"And?" said Draco, abandoning the playful repartee. "Did you get it?"
"Get what?" asked Harry innocently.
"You know what." Draco gave Harry a gentle push.
"This?" Harry raised a fist, opening to reveal a small silver key resting on his palm.
Draco picked it up. Objectively speaking, it was unremarkable. Just another flat-key, mundane and ordinary. Pinched between his thumb and forefinger and held up to the light, however, Draco caught his breath. It was the most magnificent key in Britain, he was quite sure.
Dropping Draco's hem, Madam Malkin stood up.
"Mr. Malfoy," she said, addressing Harry rather than Draco. "This... this isn't the boyfriend... is it?"
"It is," Harry replied, looking at Draco and answering for him. Caught bragging, Draco smiled shamefacedly into Harry's crinkled eyes.
"You're a lucky man," said Madam Malkin, wrenching her eyes from Harry to appraise Draco with a newfound respect bordering on awe that shone in her eyes like unshed tears.
Harry curled his fingers into Draco's robe. "Actually," he said, tugging Draco forward slightly until their foreheads bumped, "that would be me."