The entire story, edited and updated. More letters, less mistakes and better characterization. It all ends the same. I was bored. And I finished my exams. Expect way more updates over the next month :D
"This will be a great way to let off steam," Hermione said, pushing a quill into Harry's hand. He was despondently sitting at his desk in the Ministry, letting his best friend do her talking.
"I don't want to write to strangers," he muttered, knowing that Hermione would glaze over that comment.
"Just imagine it! You can write to a stranger about anything you want. You'll be getting a new perspective on life. They won't know who you are and so they won't know anything about what happened. In fact, this is one way of experiencing a normal life, Harry. Isn't that what you want?"
"Well, yeah… But this seems so – impersonal…"
"When you write, especially to people who don't know you, it opens many doors. They don't see you and they don't know you. Be who you want to be. No mask to hide behind, you won't be Harry Potter. You'll just be Harry."
He sighed. It did sound nice to have a person talk to him like he was normal. Not being asked questions about the final battle. Not being reassured that he had his dad's face and his mom's eyes. Not being labeled. It would be nice to just be. He rolled his eyes at Hermione and nodded.
She grinned cheekily and clapped her hands. "Oh, good! I'm so excited for you!" she exclaimed. "All you need to do is send your messages to this address." She handed him a piece of paper. "And they will send it out to someone. If that person replies back and you like what you read, then just stick with it. If not, send in a request to find another person to talk to. I can't believe how simple it is. Some of my friends at the office have tried it and they simply adore it! It's like keeping a diary, except that you get a reply back! Tell me how it goes!" Hermione flitted out of Harry's office after giving him a small hug.
Harry sat staring at the parchment for a while. He absently patted his wild hair down, thinking of what to say. Nothing that made him desperate, but he wanted it to be interesting nonetheless. I guess I'll just… start?
An insistent tapping on his bedroom window woke Draco up. Opening his eyes took a lot of energy and he didn't think the bird was going to be worth it. He blindly opened the window with a small flick of the wand and then rolled over, covering his head with his warm duvet. The owl nudged at Draco's hidden body with its beak, trying to catch his attention. He shooed it with his hand, but it just hopped about on his pillow. Not wanting to clean bird droppings off his bed, he snatched the letter that the owl was trying to hand him. Without another moment's delay, the owl swooped out of the bedroom.
"Ruddy bird couldn't have waited a few more hours?" Draco muttered to himself, throwing the letter on his bedside table. He tossed and turned, trying to figure out what he'd been dreaming about. After ten minutes of frustrated growls and unsuccessful shifting, he threw his bedspread away and stumbled to his feet.
He stretched his arms above his head, finally getting his eyes to focus. He looked to the side and caught the letter that had woken him up. He had half the mind to just burn it. He scowled at the parchment before snatching it from the table. He needed to let his sleep-deprived aggression out on something, so might as well take it out on the letter. He unceremoniously ripped it open, barely glancing at the envelope. He caught the words Quill Anonymous and scoffed. Blaise had made him join the fad a couple of years ago. Blaise liked trying new things, and he figured getting his best friend to join with him would make it even better. Draco had reluctantly started writing a few letters but the responses he got made him shudder. To think that people in the world who really shouldn't be given access to quills had the capacity to send out letters to strangers irked him. The replies were either horrifically erotic or appallingly worded. Blaise didn't seem to mind – he got a kick out of reading the awful letters.
Draco had tried to cancel his subscription, but Quill Anonymous just didn't seem to get the message. So he kept returning his unopened letters until they stopped sending him a dozen a week. Now he only received a couple each month, which he sometimes read and sometimes tore up. He figured that since he had nothing better to do that morning, he'd read this one.
He sat back on his bed, slouched over and pulled out the parchment from the envelope. Ugh, piss poor handwriting, he thought in disdain.
This is my first letter that I have posted since joining the Quill Anonymous. I say this because you will have to pardon my uncharacteristic phrases and etiquette. I am sure that if we start corresponding more often, I will be able to pick up on the best way to write these letters. I would rather not divulge my name and I will not expect you to do so.
On a more personal note, I am open to discussing all kinds of topics – Quidditch, for example. But I suppose all of us harbor such a weakness. I used to play while in school; I liked the challenge and the competition. The fact that you required skill to be considered a good player drew me into the game. I will tell you that Quidditch has always been my passion.
Do you have a favorite team? Mine would be the Puddlemere United. Before you snort with amusement, I want to justify myself! They have a wicked offense, albeit a rubbish defense. Doesn't help that the Beater has the aim and brute of a ninety-year-old man, I suppose… It's like the team just went up to a stranger and asked if he wanted to play in the greatest Quidditch matches of all time. Before he could even think about it, they whisked him away to start the game. Still, I've got to stay true to my team, even if their manager is a sodding idiot.
Now that I've got that rant out of the way, I'll finish this letter off by saying thanks. Thanks for reading my pointless thoughts.
Draco smiled at how quickly the letter had turned from a formal introductory speech to the excited ramblings of a boy. It looked like the work of a reluctant writer who enjoyed what he was writing but didn't want to enjoy it. Draco folded the letter and placed it in the pocket of his cloak. He'd have to show it to Blaise later.
Harry was finishing his amendments when his secretary strolled in with his post. He curiously shuffled through them, pulling out the envelope with Quills Anonymous on it. He hadn't expected a reply at all. To see that this letter got to him mere days after he'd sent his was surprising. He shrugged and opened it. The paper looked quite expensive and the handwriting was impeccable. He raised his eyebrows at the quality of the letter before starting to read it.
I'm fine with anonymity. We all deserve some. I have been part of this community for a few years now. Surprisingly, haven't responded to any letters for all those years. I suppose you struck gold when you started talking about Quidditch. And regarding your support for Puddlemere, I must say I am sorely disappointed. Why settle for the fifth best team when you could support the Falmouth Falcons? They are brilliant offensively and defensively. Their Beaters are vicious and their Seeker is top notch. A much nobler team to cheer for, don't you think?
Harry smirked at the short reply. The letter was expensive and the writer wasn't trying hard to hide it. He pulled out his quill and a piece of parchment.
Draco was lying on the sofa in his drawing room. He heard the owl flutter in through his large bay windows and he looked up from his magazine. The bird perched on the back of the sofa, holding out its leg.
"Ah, another one, huh?" Draco muttered, detaching the letter from the bird's leg. He ripped it open carelessly, tossing the envelope on the floor. He rested his head on the armrest as he read the letter.
It is quite unbelievable that a person could ever cheer for the Falcons. They're off the trolley! It seems like they take pleasure in knocking the teeth out of their opponents. If that's what you call defense, then I'm glad United has a crummy one! Why, just last week, Goodhill got a nasty concussion because Baggert 'accidentally' hit him on the head with his club! How on earth is that noble?
Draco rolled his eyes at the letter. "Sounds like a pansy," he murmured as he threw the letter on the floor. He picked up his magazine and started to flip through it again.
"So, how's it going?" Hermione asked, picking at her salad.
"Good," Harry replied, taking a bite out of his sandwich.
"You know what I'm talking about," Hermione said, rolling her eyes.
"And I told you, it's going well," Harry said, mimicking Hermione's action.
"What do you write about?" she asked curiously.
She scoffed. "Men…"
Harry was reading the Daily Prophet while sipping his coffee when the next owl came. It had been a week since he had posted his letter and he figured that he had successfully managed to scare his correspondence off. So he was surprised to see the letter attached to the owl's leg. He opened it slowly, pondering over his breakfast on how to continue their soon-to-be mundane conversation. He didn't have to look far.
Harry snorted at the greeting.
If you can't handle a little roughhousing, then it would be best that you stick with Puddlemere, seeing as how they are getting absolutely no action on the field these days. They're total pants! At least the Falcons get their act together and win games. What are the Puddlemeres good for? They're being tossed about like a used tissue. You know what they say – no pain, no gain!
Harry read the letter a couple more times, making sure he wasn't misreading the blatant taunts that were present in it. It had been a long time since someone had talked to him like that. He smiled.
"Hey, Malfoy, look at what you got!" Blaise said, strolling into the kitchen. Draco turned to look at Blaise's grinning face. Blaise was holding a letter in his hand. Draco rolled his eyes, trying to snatch it from his friend's fingers.
"Will you ever stop going through my mail?" Draco asked, folding his arms in front of him. Blaise took a swig from his Butterbeer in response.
"Fine," Draco asked, turning back to his dinner.
"You're gonna be pissed off," Blaise said in his classic singsong voice.
Now Draco perked his ears curiously. This he had to see. He put his hand out and raised his eyebrows expectantly. Blaise smirked for a moment before shoving the parchment into Draco's palm.
Draco glanced up at Blaise's amused expression. Blaise nodded at him to continue reading past the greeting.
You must be rather dense if you think that winning a Quidditch match requires spilt blood! A few bruises, perhaps. The sodding Falcons think the only way they'd win is to kill the competition! Puddlemere was the reigning champion until a few years ago, and they didn't get that far by being arseholes… The Falcons wouldn't be half the team they are right now without their daft and sadistic Beaters! All their plays entail bashed-in heads and broken arms. Their coach may very well be a Neanderthal. Half the bloody team is made up of duffers.
In fact, I think the only thing holding that ruddy team together is their Seeker.
You have sorely misunderstood the phrase 'no pain, no gain'.
Draco looked back up at Blaise, his mouth gaping. Blaise was snickering quietly, leaning against the countertop. "Wow," the blond breathed, dropping his eyes to the parchment in his hand.
"So…" Blaise said, studying his nails with sudden interest. "Does he know you're the Seeker?"
That was a rather rude letter, calling me dense and all… At least you know talent when you see it. We agree on one thing – that Seeker is the only thing holding that team together. Did you see how he attempted the Plumpton Pass last year? Would've been bloody brilliant if he'd made it!
Ron barked with laughter as he handed he letter back to Harry. "Bloody Malfoy and his bloomin' Falcons."
"My sentiments, exactly," Harry said with a smile.
I admit, the past letter was out of line. But I am a very passionate fan of Quidditch. And I will defend my team to the grave!
That Plumpton Pass was an unnecessary move. The Falcons were playing against the Cannons! They would have won anyway. No need for Malfoy to go about showing off, really. And it didn't even work! He 'caught' the Snitch because it hit him in the chest! Yes, that required some well-executed maneuvers, but that was not a Plumpton Pass.
"I did it with class, that's all," Draco sniffed smugly as Blaise bit back his laughs.
Seeing as there is no convincing you of switching loyalties, I'll let this topic go. If you're as hardheaded as I am, we could be having the same conversation for months.
What position did you play? Were you any good? And by good, I mean, did you ever win? Or were you going on and on about how Quidditch is a gentleman's sport? If that was the case, those must've been pathetic matches.
Harry snickered, shaking his head at the letter. "Are you for real?" he murmured, picking up his quill to respond.
I was a Seeker; a damn good one too. We won nearly every game. And we've never played a 'pathetic match'. I've taken beatings before!
I'm guessing you were a Seeker too, right? You wouldn't be so passionate about the Falcons if you weren't, I suppose. Were you any good? Or did you just take pleasure in chucking people off brooms?
Draco huffed as he read the letter. So bloody full of himself!
Yes, I was a Seeker. Yes, I enjoyed chucking people off brooms. In fact, I still do.
Harry laughed out loud when he got the quick and short response. He imagined that this was probably how 'normal' people conversed. Usually, when he met wizards, they stumbled over themselves while trying to make a good impression. He enjoyed the politeness and the respect he received, but sometimes he just wanted a person to squabble with. And Ron wasn't always the most interesting person to talk to. He liked the concise letters he got from this person. There was no dancing about – he got to the point. Harry shook his head thoughtfully, trying to figure out how to continue their conversation.
I think it's about time we diverged from the topic of Quidditch. I wouldn't want to open the next post and receive a howler from you. That would be a huge blow to my self-esteem. Never mind the fact that I would probably send you a howler in response.
What do you do now? As in, do you have a job? Or are you rich enough to sit at home and twiddle your thumbs? Judging by your stationery, I'd assume the latter.
Draco smirked at the response he'd received. He frowned thoughtfully at what his response should be. Not the truth, surely. But something close to it.
I approve of your smooth change in conversation. You're probably right. We would have just ended up having a howler fest for the next week if you kept it up.
I am rich enough to sit at home and twiddle my thumbs. But that is quite unbecoming of me. So yes, I do have a job. I work for the Quidditch League. A dream job, really… What about you?
A dream job sounds fulfilling. I suppose I'm working my dream job as well. I work for the Ministry. It is quite close knit, especially considering how a significant number of my friends from school work here as well. I suppose, in a way, it's like I never left.
I shudder to think that any Ministry job is a dream job. You must be a bore at parties then. I was relieved when I finally finished school. And here you are, trying to relive it? Life's too short for dwelling on the past.
And yes, inheritance money. And money I made. I don't have anyone to spend it on, so might as well indulge myself.
Harry kept reading the phrase 'Life's too short for dwelling on the past'. I don't dwell on the past, do I? Harry frowned at this thought.
Draco had just finished showering after his practice. He sat on the bench in the empty change room and pulled out the puzzling letter he'd received that morning, trying not to drip all over it.
I was thoroughly surprised to find that your letter struck a chord with me. It was quite insightful. It made me think about why I didn't want to let go. School has always been a safe haven for me. Most likely because of my friends and the wonderful experiences I've had there. It is not so much that I'm dwelling on the past, as it is that I want my innocence back. I suppose I've always felt like I never had a proper childhood. I've had to grow up quite fast. But when I'm around my friends, I feel like I have no worries anymore. I can just be.
I wouldn't call it dwelling on the past. I cherish the past
Draco propped his elbow on his knee and rested his chin on his palm, musing at the letter. He had never felt the need to cherish the past because there was nothing to be cherished in it. So he was slightly puzzled at what H meant. Draco's childhood had been riddled with confusing people and dangerous experiences. He wouldn't go back for anything. Or would I? Draco had enjoyed most years at Hogwarts, however miserable he had been in those years. The Quidditch matches, visits to Hogsmeade, Potions and DADA classes. He also understood what H meant when he talked about his lost innocence. Draco frowned at the letter before folding it up and putting it back in his pocket.
"Do you ever wish you could go back?" Draco asked Pansy over lunch.
"Where?" she asked, her curiosity quipped. Draco never talked to her like this.
She twitched her lips and her eyes narrowed. No, Draco never talked to her like this. "Why?" she asked slowly.
"I don't know. I was just talking with some friends and we got on the topic of how easy it was when we were younger."
Pansy guffawed. "You've never had it easy, Draco. Not even in Hogwarts," she said, sipping on her drink.
He made a noise of frustration. "That's not what I meant. I know it's much better now, but when you're younger, you have so much potential. I just thought that if I could go back, I'd have done things differently. Enjoyed it while I could," he said, feeling sadness set in.
"Well, since you can't go back, make up for what you missed now that you have your whole life ahead of you. Think of Hogwarts as a – starting point for a new life. You're already so successful, I don't know what else you want," Pansy said.
"Success isn't everything…" Draco muttered.
Sorry for the late response. Your letter was… significant. I know what you mean by growing up too fast and losing your innocence at a young age. I suppose I hadn't thought about my time in school in such a manner. I didn't always have the best years and, with pressures from home and my friends, I hadn't enjoyed it. I can pick out snippets of school life where I felt like I had no worries. But those memories are far too few. I suppose I thought of it as dwelling in the past because my past isn't as amazing as my present or my future.
I was talking to a friend of mine about what you said. She told me to look at my school days as a point where I made mistakes, learnt from then, and moved on to make a better life for myself. I'm content with her explanation. Perhaps you would be too.
Do you ever wish you could go back?
Harry let out the breath he noticed he had been holding in. He hadn't had such a meaningful conversation in a while.
Harry knew that Hogwarts was the reason he was in such an esteemed position. The experiences, the trust and the knowledge that Harry gained in school were enormous. The lifelong friends he made and being part of their lives were such positive parts of Harry's days. It appeared as though D hadn't been able to enjoy his school days like Harry had.
The final question in the letter made Harry's mind go blank. Would I ever go back? Harry had thought that the answer would be a ready yes. But when asked the question directly, he was unsure. He had all the pleasures of Hogwarts in his life now. He didn't want to relive the horrors. He was happy where he was. This thought surprised Harry. I have a happy life.
No. I wouldn't go back.
A month ago, I would probably have said yes. But after the conversation we've had, I had to rethink the answer. Your friend is very wise. My school is the reason for the wonderful life I have. My school days were happier than yours, I presume. Even during the summers, I would wish I could stay in school. Didn't have much of a family to speak of… I have had awful days. But, forgive and forget, right? If I went back, I would have to relive those days as well. I don't want to. I have everything I want right now. I have the memories. My friends are still with me, supporting me, and trusting me. I couldn't ask for a better life, I suppose.
Draco smiled wryly at the response he received. Who would have thought that he would have a heart-to-heart with a complete stranger over some letters?
I agree with you on that point. I wished I could stay at school instead of going home, at times. Apparently our home lives weren't all that it was cracked up to be. Tumultuous… I am glad for friends like that. I have a few. Few, but… more than supportive. We've all had awful days, haven't we? It's also the reason I wouldn't go back, just like you wouldn't. I'm happier now than I have been then.
So, you've found true love then?
Harry sputtered at the parchment.
Where did this 'true love' business come in?
Draco frowned puzzlingly.
Hope you didn't find that too forward. When you said that your life couldn't get any better, I assumed you had found 'true love'. Isn't that life's ultimate purpose? Well, that's what my friends tell me. Always setting me up for dates so I can finally get settled. No matter how many times I tell them that I'm happy, they can't seem to get it into their thick skulls. So I assumed that if you were happy, you had found someone meaningful.
But I guess that's not true. Maybe there's hope for me yet. Who needs love, right?
P.S. Hope that didn't come out as being cynical…
Harry showed the letter to Hermione. She looked incredulously at it. "Wait, you went from Quidditch to this?"
Harry shrugged. He had always assumed that he didn't really need a single person to love because he had so many people he cared about. But now that D had brought the topic up, Harry couldn't get it out of his mind. "I haven't been looking, Hermione. Should I be?" he asked, biting his lip out of habit.
"Do you feel like you're missing something?" Hermione asked.
"I don't know. How would I know if I'm missing something if I don't even know what to miss?" he asked quietly.
No, I haven't found true love. It's fine if you're being cynical. I am too. My friends have never brought it up, surprisingly enough. They poke their noses in everything else except for that part of my life. I suppose they figured that I don't need much help in that department.
I don't think I've ever really been in that kind of love. I don't think I ever felt like I needed it in my life. I suppose my life is filled with so many things that I had never thought of it. Well… That's not true. I have thought of it. Many years ago. I just sort of gave up on it, I guess. But now that you've brought it up, I'm hesitant about my previous thoughts on it.
Besides, there are different kinds of love. Do you feel like you're missing something?
Draco was lying on his bed, rereading the letter for the fifth time. He had always known that he was missing love in his life. He was confused as to why H didn't feel the same way.
I know I'm missing something when I see my friends sharing their lives with someone else. The closeness of the relationship is what has often scared me off. You are handing your life over to a person, trusting them completely. It seems strange, but I always knew I was missing out. Even if I have trepidations about such a relationship, I have felt envious.
Haven't you noticed the way your married friends act when they're together? Haven't you felt like you're missing out on that experience?
Of course Harry had noticed the way his friends acted around their significant others. He had felt jealous, once upon a time. But now he knew that, instead of being jealous of them, he should be happy for them. He knew normal people had relationships, but he wasn't normal. Most relationships he had had were superficial – with people who liked the idea of dating Harry Potter, but couldn't handle the real Harry.
I suppose it's just the fact that most of the relationships I've been in haven't worked out. I figured the love thing just isn't for me. Which is fine...
Yes, I've noticed the way my friends act around their spouses, and I've always envied them. But I don't want to be trapped in a serious relationship that goes sour. I've taken enough risks in my life, and I don't want love to be one of them. And as they say, don't go looking for love, it will come find you. Or some bullshit like that.
Draco laughed at the last sentence. Maybe it's true. When the time comes, he'd know.
Well, that's certainly a weight lifted off my shoulders. I'll be sure to tell my friends about that insightful piece of bullshit. Maybe then they'd get off my back about it.
So, tell me more about yourself. Anything you want. This anonymity thing is driving me mad. Although I did agree with you in the first letter... But still, it'd be nice to know more about you than the fact that you're a prissy Puddlemere fanboy and a boring Ministry official.
Harry grinned at the parchment.
Just random facts?
Quite rich, if I may say so myself.
Been working at the Ministry for five years.
Apparently, I'm the best babysitter around that works for free… I think I dug myself into that hole.
Pretty good on a Firebolt.
I get by with a whole lot of luck.
Travel a lot for work. And I enjoy it.
If you want more specifics, just ask, and I might explain. Your turn.
You won't mind a few exaggerations, would you?
I have enough Galleons to last me three lifetimes.
Been part of the League for four years.
I swear, it's nothing I do. But children often run away screaming after a few minutes around me.
Might as well be a gourmet chef. Which is the reason my friends find excuses to eat at my place.
Amazing on a Firebolt. This is no exaggeration.
I get by with a whole lot of talent.
I enjoy the travel as well, from work.
We aren't so different after all. Other than the fact that you are rather modest. Why bother?
The pitch was booming with roars from thousands of fans that had gathered to watch the game between Falmouth Falcons and Appleby Arrows. Half of the crowd was grey while the other half was blue. The banners and flags were flying high as the audience waited anxiously for the teams to set foot on the grass. Stadium wizards were walking up and down the aisles, selling bags of crackling candy corn and pints of pumpkin juice. The team mascots were zooming in and out of the crowds, throwing scarves and hats at the rapturous fans. Harry and the Weasleys were seated in one of the Ministry boxes.
"This game better be worth it, Ron," Hermione muttered, glaring at the field. Ron rolled his eyes at Harry. Harry smiled impishly. He still didn't understand why Ron would drag Hermione to these games when she clearly has no aptitude for sitting through it.
Ginny moved closer to Harry, and whispered in his ear, "It's date night and it was Ron's week to choose. Trust him to bring her to a Quidditch match." Harry chuckled softly.
Fred and George waltzed into the box, carrying armfuls of food. They dumped it on Ron and lounged on the two seats behind him. The next few minutes were spent picking food from Ron's lap while he growled irritably. As the group finally settled down, they noticed the referee walking up to the middle of the pitch.
"Well, folks! It's game time!" the announcer shouted, sending wild cheers down the crowd. The referee whistled and the players strolled down the pitch from opposite ends. The Arrows were wearing pale blue robes with a shimmering silver arrow on the chest. Their brooms were top class Nimbus 3000, complete with black handles and silver footholds. The Arrow fans were shooting sparks up in the air with their wands, screaming with fervor.
The Falcons were dressed in grey and white with a fierce falcon emblazoned on the chest. Harry gasped with appreciation at the broom they were carrying. "What are those?" he asked, staring at the Falcons. Ron was gaping too. George and Fred leaned forward to talk to the two dumbstruck men.
"The limited edition Firebolts."
"Also know as the Lightning."
"Fastest broom known to man –"
"With superior handling –"
"Split second braking –"
"Minute turning capabilities –"
"Aerodynamically strong –"
"And damn sexy," Ginny interjected. Harry and Ron glanced at each other in awe before turning back to the pitch. Charlie, Bill, and the twins were hooting with admiration. Hermione and Percy rolled their eyes.
The brooms were a wondrous sight. It was sleek and thin, seemed light as the men easily shifted it around. It had a white handle with wood grains running down the length of it. The bristles were clean and long, not one out of place. The footholds were grey and it matched the Falcons' uniforms. The announcer was getting worked up too.
"The first official Quidditch match to present the new Firebolt Lightning. What can't this broom do! The Flacons have just increased their chances of winning this match by tenfold. Just look at the beauty, ladies and gentlemen. If that doesn't make you drool, then I suggest you get out of this stadium right now!"
The players were now facing each other off, staring smugly at their opponent's faces. The referee talked to the players for a few minutes on proper Quidditch conduct before using Sonorus to announce the beginning of the game. The crowd was jumping up and down in their seats, unable to contain their excitement at being the first ones to see the unveiling of the new Firebolt. The referee opened the box that contained the equipment. She let the Bludgers out first and the two balls squealed as they shot up in the air. She released the Snitch next. Draco Malfoy and Chris Vauger, the Arrow's Seeker, kept their eyes on the whizzing golden ball until it disappeared at great speeds towards the Arrow's end of the field. The two Seekers then went back to glaring at each other. Finally the referee threw up the large Quaffle, causing the players to fly up as one and disperse around the pitch.
"And they're off! Arrow's have possession of the Quaffle now. Hildy and Brant have quickly moved into the Porskoff Plot. A rather useful formation that easily confuses the Beaters. And they're zooming down the field, unstoppable! They have practiced this move a dozen times it seems. Neither is dropping the Quaffle, requires such concentration and skill. Nearing the goal rings, where are the Falcon Beaters?"
The Arrow fans were now screaming with alarm and the Falcon supporters were cheering themselves hoarse. The announcer quickly caught on as he saw the Falcon Beaters easily closing the distance between themselves and Hildy, trying to pull up on either side of him.
"The dreaded Falcon defense is upon the two Arrow Chasers! They've caught up with Hildy in that beautifully crafted Firebolt, and they haven't even broken a sweat. Oh, I don't want to look at what is about to happen next, but I can't keep my eyes off of this!"
Hildy went wide eyed as he realized that he was being trapped in between two of the most ferocious men he had ever laid his eyes on. And with the reputation the Falcon Beaters had garnered over ten years, it wasn't a surprise. Hildy tried to pass the Quaffle back to Brant but couldn't find an opening.
"Time for the infamous defensive strategy of the Falcons! The Baggert brothers are known for their brute strength and they stop at nothing!" the announcer shouted in anticipation. The Arrow fans were groaning now, dejectedly sitting on their seats and not wanting to look at the beating Hildy was about to receive. The referee couldn't blow the whistle until a punch was landed, but she was prepared. She quickly drew up the whistle in her mouth, ready to shrill the moment a player was hit.
The Falcon Beater brothers winked at each other and smiled maliciously at the stunned Chaser. They were now very close to the Falcon rings. Draco smirked from above as he watched the maneuvers. The brothers pulled back their fists and hurtled them towards Hildy. The Arrows Chaser gasped and let go of the Quaffle so that he could curl into himself and cover his face. But he didn't feel the crushing blows.
"UNBELIEVABLE! The Baggert brothers used a double Transylvanian Tackle. I have never, in my entire career of announcing, seen this act being pulled by these two! Marvelous! Falcon Chaser Troy Narg has easily caught the unpossessed Quaffle. And now he's making his way down the field with purpose. Those brooms are all the advantage the Falcons need!"
The brothers had stopped their fists from landing on Hildy a few inches from his head. Draco snickered at the astonishment of the crowd below. He'd wanted to try something new. The Baggert brothers pulled their fists back and cracked a wild grin as they watched the Quaffle being flown towards the rings by the Falcon Chaser. "Sissy!" they shouted in unison at the crouched Chaser, flying after Narg. Hildy was pale as a sheet, unable to think. He was duped into dropping the Quaffle. The Falcons had possession of the Quaffle and were now zooming towards the Arrows Keeper faster than the Arrows could ever catch up.
"The first points of the game, ladies and gentlemen, scored by Falcon Chaser Narg!"
The Falcon fans snapped out of their astonished daze and started shooting sparks in the air, cheering wildly for the Baggert brothers. The Ministry box was awestruck at the unexpected turn of events. Harry could never think of a time when the Falcons hadn't turned to full on violence in order to gain possession of the Quaffle. This was entirely different. Very Slytherin… He was impressed by the cunning maneuver.
"Probably Malfoy's doing," Ginny said excitedly. Harry brought his eyes up to look at Draco who was hovering above the other players, closely shadowed by Vauger. His eyes were darting around for the Snitch, his shoulders relaxed as he lazily floated on his broom. He absently ran his fingers through his short blond hair, his gaze traveling towards the Falcon Chaser as the second consecutive goal was shot. Harry started when he saw an unfamiliar grin grow on Draco's face.
"Yeah, that does look like a move Malfoy would think of doing," Harry murmured thoughtfully, returning to the game. He knew it was a lost cause for the Arrows. Even with their amazing offensive strategies, the Falcons were smarter, stronger, and faster.
"The Baggert brothers have deadly aim. There goes a Bludger and – ouch! Smacking right into Brant's stomach. That has got to have winded him! He's dropped the Quaffle and Falcon Chaser Zabini has quickly got his hands on it. Oh, what speed! The Arrow Keeper Inther doesn't stand a chance. Zabini uses a Reverse Pass to throw the Quaffle into the top ring! Another ten points to Falmouth Falcons!"
Draco rolled his eyes at Blaise's antics. The Falcons were gaining points after points as the Arrows watched helplessly. It was only a half-hour into the game and the Falcons were up sixty to zero.
"At the rate this game is going, all the Falcons really need to do is catch the Snitch. It's already a surefire win!" the announcer shouted over the moans and cheers of the crowd.
Half of the Falcon plays included the Beaters hurtling towards the Arrow Chasers and scaring them into dropping the Quaffle. The flighty brooms made interceptions an easy snatch. The Arrows Keeper had a hard time keeping his eye on the multiple Chasers that were surrounding him almost every two minutes. It was shutout game for the Arrows. No points were scored against the Falcons because the Arrows couldn't keep their hands on the Quaffle.
Another fifteen minutes passed before Draco caught a glimpse of the Snitch. Harry did too. So did the rest of the Weasleys in his box. It was floating in front of them. Harry and Ron had to sit on his hands to keep from jumping up and gesturing wildly to it. Ginny was stuttering with excitement. Fred and George were whistling innocently, causing Charlie and Bill to clutch their stomachs with laughter.
Draco smiled, moving slowly towards the Snitch. Vauger hadn't caught sight of it yet. Draco wanted it to stay that way. Once he was far enough away from Vauger, he shot down to the Snitch. He heard a loud swear behind him as Vauger finally caught on. Now they were racing towards the Snitch, Draco with a clear head start and rapidly leaving the Arrow Seeker behind in his wake. The Lightning was handling perfectly under him. He was so in tune to his broom that it responded to every slight touch he made. He kept his eyes on the Snitch, nudging the broom into accelerating. He got closer to the audience, knowing that if he passed the boundary when he caught the Snitch, it would be a foul and the points wouldn't count. He needed to act fast, before the Snitch had time to respond. He was now two meters away from the Snitch. He reached out with speed and lithe. He rested his feet against the footholds and grabbed the broom with one hand. He extended his body towards the golden ball. With a scoop, he pulled the Snitch away from the boundary lines and into the field. He swerved quickly to avoid going out of bounds and stopped in his tracks as the referee sounded her whistle.
Harry didn't even notice that he had gotten off of his seat with an astonished expression on his face. He has never played like that against me!
"Falmouth Falcons win with two hundred and fifty points!" the Announcer screamed. Draco grinned widely at the chaos in the crowd. He turned around to wave when he caught familiar green eyes staring at him. Harry was on his feet, flushed and ruffled from the exciting game. Harry found deep grey eyes staring back at him. Recognition sparked in Draco's face.
Draco's grin faltered. Harry snapped his gaping mouth closed, his throat drying up. Draco blinked at the Golden Boy, then glanced at the Snitch in his hand. After a few tense seconds, Harry watched the all-too-familiar smirk play on the Seeker's lips. Draco flicked his eyes up at Harry and stuck his tongue out, holding up the Snitch smugly.
He then turned around and hurtled towards the ground, surrounded by teammates.
Harry stared at the vacant space where Draco had been. The older Weasley men were snickering in the back. Ron, Hermione and Ginny had surprised smiles and wide eyes. Harry fell back onto his seat.
"Did –" Harry's voice cracked. He tried again. "Why did he – why would he do that?" he asked helplessly.
The box was soon filled with rambunctious laughter.
Bloody hell, did you catch the game last night? It was brilliant! I got to watch it from the front lines! Jealous? After that game, I have to admit, my appreciation for the Falcons has increased. Those brooms were classic! I imagine Malfoy used his money and charms to get it. Oh, what I wouldn't give to ride on that Firebolt… The Nimbus couldn't even touch it! And the Baggerts were remarkable! Not a single foul? Unheard of!
And the way Malfoy caught the Snitch! He was right in front of us! The score was enormous, wasn't it? The Arrows didn't even make it into the Falcons' side of the field! That was an amazing game! In fact, a game for the books!
Draco grinned at the letter he got. He had managed to impress H, although H was completely unaware of it. The excitement in the letter was contagious. Draco remembered his smooth reach for the Snitch and the ease with which his broom handled him. One of the best catches he's done. Of course, after the Snitch was in his hand, he had turned around to stare directly into Harry Potter's face. Draco laughed when he remembered Harry's open-mouthed gape and large eyes. Sure, sticking his tongue out was immature, but it satisfied him.
Yes, I did catch the game. No, I'm not jealous because I was there too. The game just goes to show that the Falcons can win without bloodying the field. I suppose the Beaters learnt that they could use their brains in the game too. Good for them! Those brooms were fantastic, weren't they? They are so light and clean. Heavenly, really! The Nimbus is nothing compared to the Lightning.
The dive for the Snitch was flawless, wasn't it? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't impressed. Now do you see why you should be cheering for the Falcons?
Harry smirked at the last line. He had been inadvertently cheering for the Falcons during the game, but he wasn't ready to switch allegiances yet. Reading about the Seeker brought back Draco's sweeping catch into Harry's mind. Of course, he was impressed. If Draco had played like that in school, Harry would've had a much harder time beating him. And the fact that Draco had opted not to hex Harry, but rather, stick his tongue out at him was disconcerting. The Malfoy he knew would've picked a fight then and there. The Weasleys wasted no time in teasing Harry about his stunned expression after the game. Harry felt like he had the right to be surprised. That juvenile act made Draco seem… different.
Well, when the Falcons play the United, I'll be cheering for Puddlemere. But now that I've seen the Falcons' game, I think I'll have to cheer for them the rest of the time. Their offense and defense is rather sound, like you said. And that dive Malfoy did was brilliant. I've never seen him play like that before. Of course, I give half the credit to the Lightning. Vauger was so lost! It was hilarious to watch his face when he realized that there was no way he could catch up to Malfoy. Never thought he could get so good so fast…
Anyway, got any plans for Halloween?
Draco frowned in puzzlement at the letter, tapping the end of quill against the words.
Probably throwing a party for my friends. Nothing spectacular. Well, I suppose it will be something spectacular, since my friends insist on having a costume party. I am dreading it. I have no idea what I'll have to put up with. What about you?
What did you mean you didn't expect him to get so good so fast?
I'm celebrating at my best friend's house, as always. Usually, it's great fun. He has loads of people over, squeezed into one house. Something new every year. I can never get enough of the food he has during these parties. Mostly chocolates, but who's complaining about that, right? Might as well enjoy the break while I can. It's getting awfully busy at the Ministry.
I used to play against Malfoy. I just meant that he had never played that way against me. In fact, if he had played like that in school, I would have found it hard-pressed to beat him.
Draco tilted his head, looking confused as he reread the words. He absently looked up at Blaise, who was on the couch reading the Prophet. "What?" Blaise asked.
Draco shrugged, looking at the letter again. "Apparently he's played against me," he murmured, trying to piece it together.
Draco nodded, folding his legs under him. "Can you think of anyone?"
"What did he say, exactly?"
Draco read, "I used to play against Malfoy. I just meant that he had never played that way against me. In fact, if he had played like that in school, I would have –"
"Wait," Blaise interrupted. "School?"
Draco looked up in acknowledgment. "Hogwarts?" he breathed. His eyes grew wide. "Holy fucking Merlin," he swore, throwing the letter to the ground.
Blaise frowned at Draco, getting up from the sofa and picking up the letter that had fallen to the floor. He read it quickly and his frown deepened. "Who is it?" he asked.
"Who the hell do you think it is?" Draco asked, his voice high-pitched from disbelief.
"It's Potter, you ponce!"
"Shit! You're writing to Harry Potter?" Blaise garbled. He let out a startled laugh, staring in disbelief at Draco's flushed face. "Bloody brilliant!"
"No! Not bloody brilliant! How is this even possible? What do I do? Fuck this! You won't believe the stuff we talked about! I mean, this is Potter, for heaven's sake!" Draco rambled.
"Did you get any dirt on him?" Blaise asked, wiggling his eyebrows.
Draco shot him a furious look. "Should I write back?"
Halloween came and went. Ex-Death Eaters were easiest to capture during this time of the year, when they became careless. Half of Harry's team was already sent out to investigate the mysterious occurrence of Dark magic in Ireland. He was short staffed during the busiest time of the year. So he didn't notice when the letters stopped arriving. He vaguely wondered why, but didn't have time to ponder over the small nuances.
It was another fortnight before the letter arrived.
Sorry for the late response. It's just that, I've figured out who you are.
Harry groaned. This could be awkward.
And I'm not sure if you wanted to continue this, now that it's not all that anonymous. And if you knew who I was, I know you wouldn't want to continue. So, this will be my last letter. It was a pleasure talking with you. Good luck with your endeavors.
Harry stared at the letter, his mind perplexed. What did he mean?
Who are you?
Draco scowled. He didn't want to write back. He knew he owed Harry an explanation, but he didn't want to give one. He ignored the letter for a few days. It sat on his desk, plaguing him. Blaise caught sight of it eventually and started insisting that Draco reply to it.
"It's just not fair, you know. Like, you know who he is and he has no clue what you're talking about…"
"It's supposed to be anonymous, I don't have to tell him anything."
"Yeah, it's supposed to be anonymous, but it isn't anymore. So just write back. Maybe you'll just get over your differences. Start fresh."
"It's not that easy."
"Yes, it is," Blaise said firmly, holding a quill out to Draco.
Don't be mad. I really didn't want to do this, but after further discussion with my friend, I thought that it would only be fair if I told you who I was. I'm Draco Malfoy.
Harry almost burst out into hysterical laughter. But the letters filtered through his mind, the talks about Falcons, school, and friends. It clicked into place. Harry pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. Why do these things only happen to me?
He contemplated on whether to tell anyone about this new development. He couldn't believe it himself. He had been having deep and meaningful conversations with his adversary. When he read through the letters again, he mentally kicked himself for not having realized that he was talking to Draco. The expensive stationery, passionate arguments, and obsessive Quidditch conversations all pointed towards Draco. Harry found it surprising that he had been blindsided. He was rarely caught unaware anymore, not after all he had been through. But Draco had always managed to shock him.
Harry invited Hermione out for a lunch date. They were talking mindlessly about work and home. Harry couldn't take the normalcy anymore.
"Hermione, I need to tell you something," he blurted out midway through Hermione's rant about Ron's ungodly manners. Hermione heard the hesitation in Harry's voice and nodded encouragingly. "You have to promise to keep this between us, okay?" Hermione nodded again. "So, the person I have been writing letters to… Well, he figured out who I was," he said. Hermione raised her eyebrows, opening her mouth to talk. Before she could get a word in edgewise, Harry rapidly mumbled, "It's Malfoy."
Hermione's mouth hung open, her words caught in her throat. "Damn," she said.
"Yeah…" Harry said, staring at the table. An uncomfortable silence grew between them for a few minutes as Hermione tried to wrap her head around what Harry had just said.
"So… What are you going to do about it?" she asked.
Harry shrugged dismally. "We haven't sent any more letter after we found out. It's just… It seemed like we had so much in common. I mean, we do have so much in common. I never realized how easy it would be to talk to him. Now that I know this is Malfoy, I don't know what to do…"
Hermione looked at Harry thoughtfully. "Well, if you're past the grudges, which I'm thinking you are, why don't you write back?" she asked after deliberation.
"But what would I say to him? It's so damn awkward!" Harry said, shaking his head.
"Talk about what you usually talk about… Quidditch."
You can probably imagine how difficult it is for me to write to you. But it just feels like maybe we can get past our differences now. After unintentionally talking to you for this long, I'm starting to think that you aren't the same prick from five years ago.
But maybe you are, considering the shameless way you were flattering yourself in the letters! I should've guessed it was you when you were ranting about the Falcons and their amazing Seeker. And as much as it pains me to say this, you have become quite good at what you do. If you had played like that during our Quidditch matches, who knows what the outcome could've been.
And how on Earth did you manage to get those brooms?
Draco sighed hopelessly. He wasn't sure if he should write back. A part of him wanted to, to let Harry know that he wasn't afraid to write. But the other part of him was stubborn and cautious. He had already said too much to Harry. In fact, he had always said too much Harry. He didn't want to slip and spill his guts again. That would be horrifically embarrassing.
He was pleased to see that Harry still kept his sarcastic streak going. Not much different from his usually letters, just a bit more controlled. And they were venturing around familiar territory. He was slightly amused at how the letter had started formally and then moved into sardonic comments, much like Harry's first letter. Draco sighed again and pulled out a piece of parchment.
Harry hesitantly opened Draco's letter. He wasn't sure what to expect.
I'd like to think of myself as being less of a prick now. And I'm not beneath shameless flattery! It's how I get ahead in life. Speaking of which, when you were talking about that Ministry job of yours, you could've mentioned that you were an Auror. Here I was thinking that you were a dumpy guy sitting behind a desk, shuffling through papers. Can't you just settle down and take it easy for once? Does it always have to life or death with you?
And about the brooms… I have sources. And money. And enough status to get me deals. You know how it is.
In keeping with shameless flattery, I'm not just an Auror. I'm the Head Auror. So, don't mess around. I've been so used to having the death cloud over my head, I don't know what it would be like without it. Hence the job. It's not quite as exciting as it used to be back in the day.
So, it was your idea for the Flacons to stave off of violence? Ginny was telling me how the Falcon games had Slytherin written all over it. I have to say, I agree. How did you manage to get into the team? I guess the bigger question is, why?
Impressive. Head Auror at twenty-three. I can see a bit of favoritism playing out though. Being the Boy-Who-Lived has its advantages I suppose.
Yes, the idea struck after that conversation we'd had a few months ago. You know us Slytherins, always trying to find twisted ways to get what we want.
Regarding the reason for me choosing a profession in Quidditch, I suppose I didn't want to be stuck in a job that I would regret having. I've never regretted playing Quidditch, so it was an easy choice. Being a Malfoy has its advantages too. It wasn't difficult to make it into the team. Just needed to know the right people. Don't get me wrong, I did have to tryout, but I didn't have to wait ten years to do it. Four years in, and I still haven't grown tired of it. I must be doing something right.
Speaking of Falcon games, was that pure reflex or had you been planning on sticking your tongue out at me the next time you saw me?
Draco allowed himself a smile.
Didn't quite feel up to hexing you, so went for the next best thing.
Harry snorted in amusement, drawing a confused look from his secretary.
So, how did you get so good at Seeking? You could hardly keep up with me in school, no offense. But your technique has gotten loads better. Decided to actually try?
As you can imagine, last year at Hogwarts wasn't my finest. I just wanted to prove to everyone that I could make something out of myself. But I think that once I made it into the team, I wanted to try harder. Quidditch in school was always a joke to me. But when I started a career in it, I realized that perhaps it was time that I took it seriously. Understandably so. No offense taken.
Started on that autobiography of yours yet? Worth millions.
Not you too! Everyone at the office is going on and on about me writing a book. Like no one knows what happened… I wasn't the only one who fought! Maybe I'll get Luna to write it. She'll make sure to spice it up, add a few twists.
You have certainly made a name for yourself. One of the greatest Slytherin success stories, isn't that what the Quidditch Weekly called you?
Yes, I am quite a sensation, aren't I? What can I say? I'm just that good at what I do.
I wouldn't trust Lovegood to write anything. She'll probably put in chapters about how you rode a unicorn over the meadows and it started to barf butterflies, or something of that sort. I'm sure Granger would help, being the know-it-all she is. You can never go wrong with more money!
Yeah, whatever. Your head is filled with enough fluff already, I don't want to add to it.
Hermione is the one who has been pressuring me the most about it. I should make a deal with her. As long as she writes the book, I don't really care. Even if it has chapters of me riding a deranged unicorn… Now there's an image I didn't quite want to have. But the mere thought of sitting around and dictating for hours gives me a headache.
If you have a Pensieve, and I'd be surprised if you didn't, just let her use your memories. That way you won't have to sit around and talk. She can see it for herself and write it up to her liking.
A load of innuendos just popped into my head after that comment about the unicorn. However, I will keep it to myself. Because I feel all too generous today.
Now you've gone and corrupted my thoughts on unicorns! Bastard…
My memories are personal! I don't want Hermione to shuffle through them.
Hey, don't go around calling people bastards. Could be offensive.
Biographies are the most personal books ever. It's filled with emotional nonsense and embarrassing moments! Of course she's going to have to write the personal stuff in your life, because that's what makes the book better. People already know what happened, but they don't know about you. That's why they'd buy the book, so they could get to know you. Let her dig through your memories, it's not like you have anything to be ashamed of…
P.S. That was an invitation for you to divulge all your deep and dark secrets to me.
Wouldn't you like to know?
I talked to Hermione about this. After generously pointing out what a numbskull I was, she agreed. Apparently the reason she was so pushy about the book was because she had wanted to write it herself all along. What I don't understand is why she wouldn't tell me this years ago. Would've saved us both from a lot of trouble. I guess I'm destined to keep misunderstanding women…
Holy fuck, Harry!
You're gay? Shit! Are you out or…
Harry thumped his head against the back of his chair as he read the hurried writing. Fuck my life! Trust Harry to spill his beans to Draco. He let out a frustrated sigh before straightening up. Okay, no big deal. Harry took in cleansing breaths before picking up his quill.
Yes, I am gay. Would that be a problem?
Harry blinked at the response.
Really? That was unexpected…
Any plans for Christmas? Entertaining at home again? I'm planning on celebrating with Ron and Hermione, as always. I'll probably end up staying over at their house until New Year. They always have spectacular fireworks during that time of the year, wouldn't miss it for the world. At least Ron's house is bigger than the Burrow. You can't imagine thirteen people being squeezed into the Burrow; leads to disaster and hilarity.
I think you sorely misunderstood me. I said I didn't have a problem with you being gay, but that doesn't mean I don't want details. You can't just spring that up on me and then gloss over it. Blaise has been going on and on about getting some dirt on you. Give me something to work with here!
Like hell I'm giving you details. And tell Blaise to shove it!
Blaise chuckled at this. Draco smirked.
Besides, it's not really a big secret. I had assumed you already knew. Didn't mean to drop the ball on that.
If I knew, I wouldn't be so surprised, would I? So, Weaslette threw you off of women forever? Of course, I never understood why you'd go out with her. Blaise wasn't all that happy about it.
Why the hell would Blaise not be happy about it?
You really are a numbnut, aren't you? Because Blaise obviously wanted a go at her.
Shut up! No one's having a go at Ginny!
Ginny laughed maniacally, handing the letters back to a rather concerned Harry. "You know, I can totally look after myself, Harry. Besides, I've always wanted to date a Quidditch player. Zabini's pretty hot, isn't he?"
Harry looked at her helplessly. "How on Earth should I know?" he asked, shuffling through the parchment.
Ginny shook her head at Harry's awkwardness. "And by the way," she added, "Malfoy is totally hitting on you."
Harry yelped and dropped the letters.
Ginny is one of my best friends. So I would appreciate it if you would lay off. Now can we get off of this humiliating topic already? I don't particularly enjoy talking about her love life like it is the weather.
"What?" Blaise asked vaguely, pacing Draco's study. He was busily reading the training schedule for next season, making disconcerting noises whenever he found overlaps.
"Nothing, just reading," Draco said, putting the parchment away in one of the drawers.
"Oh, speaking of letters!" Blaise started, stumbling to a halt. "I can't believe I forgot to give this to you!" he said, starting to fumble around in his notes to find what he was looking for.
Draco groaned. "You have to stop doing that! Those are personal…"
"Oh, you have no idea how personal they're about to get," Blaise snickered, pulling out Draco's letter and dangling it in front of him.
"Wh – What?" Draco asked, leaning across his desk to snatch it from Blaise's fingers.
Ask him out already!
Please tell me you haven't been letting Weaslette read our letters…
Not like I can stop her. She works three doors away from me. Hell, she's on my team. She practically knocks on my door every day to see if I got another one of your letters. So… Yes. She reads them. Quite embarrassingly. Sorry?
Why? Did she do something?
Pass this on to Weaslette,
Stop being a nosey prick!
"Um… What, exactly, did you do, Ginny?" Harry asked as he watched the evil smile on the woman.
"I may have prodded a little," she said, wiggling her brows.
"Pro – wh – what does that even mean?" he stammered.
"I asked him to ask you out."
Please disregard anything and everything Ginny has ever said to you.
"Oh?" Draco wondered.
I would have thought that I'd be happy to indulge you in this request. But oddly enough, I'm not. Drinks at five tomorrow at Kilkerney?
You are not allowed to say no.
"Oh, fuck…" Harry whimpered, putting the letter down with an expression of utter helplessness. Everything was spiraling out of control.
"A casual, 'hey there, how's it going' type of thing, right?"
"Dress to impress!"
"Get over your differences."
"Don't order anything with onions."
" – or garlic."
"Don't listen to Ron. Do whatever feels right."
"Don't let him pressure you, okay?"
"And pay for half the bill, don't want him to think you're desperate."
"For heaven's sake, don't get piss drunk."
"You really need to get laid…"
Harry stumbled into the pub, trying to ward off the biting chill of the snow. He quickly shrugged off his winter cloak and Ministry robe, taking in the warmth of the diner. He shook his head free of water and ice, making his way to the bar.
Draco saw Harry walking in. He felt heat creeping into his cheeks as he realized that he was checking Harry out. Harry looked like he had just got off of work. His unkempt raven hair was ruffled from the wind and his cheeks were ruddy from the cold. One of his hands was buried in his pocket. Draco was sure that it was habit Harry was trying to break, having his fingers on his weapon at all times. The man exuded an air of casual authority as he walked towards the bar, searching for Draco. His lips pulled up into a half-smile when he spotted the blond.
Harry saw Draco sitting in the middle of the bar, leaning on it with his elbow. He was languidly staring at Harry. He was drumming his long fingers on the counter and his eyes were alit with curiosity. He hadn't changed much since school, still surrounded by the aristocratic air and calm demeanor.
Harry slipped into the seat next to Draco's. "Hi," he said.
"Potter," Draco replied, smiling slightly. He turned to the bartender and ordered a couple of flagons of Firewhiskey.
Harry took a deep breath. "This is really weird and I hope we can do this without being complete idiots," he rushed.
Draco raised his eyebrow and smirked. "Speak for yourself. I never act like an idiot," he said, raising the mug to his lips.
"Whatever," Harry mumbled, rolling his eyes. They sat in silence, staring ahead at the bottles lining the bar wall. Draco found his eyes flicking towards Harry at intervals as his mind raced for something to say. Harry was trying his best not to notice Draco's false starts and hidden fidgeting. Writing letters was one thing. Talking in person…
"Fine, I'll start," Draco said huffily after a few minutes. "Sorry for all the horrible things I did to you and for trying to kill you."
Harry chuckled into his drink. "Next time, say it with more passion. Maybe I'll believe you," he said.
Draco looked at him indignantly. "I do mean it. Somewhat. I mean… I'm sorry I tried to off you. I guess I'm not all that sorry about the other stuff."
"I'm sorry I tried to kill you too. See, now we're even and I got you to look like an idiot," Harry said, grinning at Draco. He made noise of frustration as he looked away from Harry. "Think you guys will be ready to win the championship next year?" Harry asked.
Draco hid his smile at the sudden change in topics. "Yeah, I'm sure we will. Might have to replace one of the Chasers, but we'll see how recruitment goes."
"You could always just improve on the strategies. Talk to the coach about those sly Slytherin defenses you were so damned proud of."
"Already started on that, Potter. What about you? Caught anymore bad guys lately?"
They conversed about work and friends for over an hour. They talked about how their lives had changed after Hogwarts, how much more responsibilities they had. Draco grumbled about it and Harry reasoned with him. They ventured into talking about their plans for Christmas and New Year's. Harry was excitedly relaying his past Christmas experiences with the Weasleys while Draco talked about all the exotic trips he took with his team during New Year's break. They reminisced about Professor Binn's awful history class and Professor McGonagall's perpetually disappointed tone. They had already downed three mugs of Firewhiskey over the span of an hour.
"I didn't think of you as much of a drinker," Draco said absently, dusting the salt off of his fingers.
Harry laughed quietly. "There's a lot you don't know about me," he said, finishing his third pint. "Besides, when you're paying, why would I limit myself?"
"Shall we call it a night then?" Harry asked, looking openly at Draco.
Another bout of heat entered Draco's cheeks when he caught the look. He wrenched his eyes away and drank the rest of his whiskey. "Yeah, we better. Before I make more of a fool of myself," he mumbled, getting up.
Harry grabbed his cloak and robe from the adjacent chair and the two men walked out of pub, dazed from the alcohol. They shivered against the dusting snow that was falling around them.
"It's been – fun," Harry said after a slight pause.
"Y – yeah," Draco replied, his teeth chattering against the cold.
They stood on their spots, neither wanting to be the first one to Disapparate. Harry smiled hesitantly. "Well, good night then," he said, breathing out a faint puff of condensation.
Draco's heart fluttered. "Yeah, you too," he murmured. Harry staggered backwards when Draco took an unbidden step towards him. Draco's eyes were slightly glassy as he stopped and blinked at Harry. "Oh… Sorry," he apologized, blushing.
Awareness sprung in Harry. This time as Harry moved forward, Draco stepped back in confusion. Harry smiled and held Draco steady with a hand on his shoulder. He leaned up and kissed the cold lips. "Hmm," Harry sighed, his other hand caressing Draco's neck. Draco responded self-consciously, wrapping slow arms around Harry's waist. Harry moved in, pressing himself against the taller man. Now Draco sighed as well, complying with Harry's urging lips and opening his mouth. They swayed in their stupor, cold wind rushing at them and the snow swirling across their hair. Harry let his tongue rest against Draco's warm mouth, languidly tasting the bitter alcohol that still clung against the cheeks. Draco moved his tongue uncertainly, brushing against Harry's. Harry pulled back in a flash, causing Draco's eyes to spring open. The kiss broke, leaving the men gaspig.
"Wow," Harry breathed, his arms still wrapped around Draco. He stared up into Draco's heated grey eyes.
Harry licked his lips, shivering from the cold and the heat. "N – nothing," he stammered. "I don't think I can get enough…" His lips pressed against Draco's urgently, his fingers tangling into the damp blond hair with ease.
Harry didn't even notice when they Disapparated to the Malfoy Manor. Draco wrenched Harry's cloak off of his shoulders. He quickly undid the Ministry robe, untangling the sleeves and pulling it away. Harry mumbled incoherently into Draco's hungry lips. Draco cupped Harry's cheeks in his hands, increasing the ferocity of his kiss. Harry's mind was whirling. He had never been handled like this before, with this much passion. His legs hit the couch as Draco pushed him back. With a surprised yelp, Harry fell onto the cushions. He didn't have the time to recover. Draco pressed himself against Harry, tracing his tongue against the inviting lips. Harry was so delectable at that moment, Draco felt like he was losing himself. Harry moved his free hand to Draco's side, sliding it under his sweater. Draco gasped at the feel of the cold hand against his warm side. Harry marveled at the smoothness of Draco's skin, lightly running his hands up to Draco's frantic heart. In a haze of euphoria, Draco groaned gutturally and pulled away from Harry's flighty tongue. Harry gasped when wet lips slid across his neck.
"Too much, too fast," Harry whispered, panting.
Draco froze, his fingers stilling over Harry's tie. He pushed up, kneeling over Harry with his forearms on either side of man under him. Unfocused green eyes stared up at him, parted lips slightly swollen. Draco was never this spontaneous. Something about Harry was changing him. "Sorry," he answered, sitting up. He didn't notice that he was still straddling Harry. It was all Harry could notice.
"It's… um – fine," Harry stuttered, afraid to move.
"I – er… Did you want some coffee?" Draco asked hesitantly.
Harry nodded quickly. Draco slid off of him without another thought, beckoning him to follow. Harry struggled up, trying not to fall over as he stood on his unsteady feet. He wandered into the kitchen where Draco was already readying the drink. Harry leaned his back against the counter, watching. He watched Draco moving through the familiar kitchen, conjuring water and throwing in coffee grinds. He watched Draco's deft fingers using the wand to heat up the mugs of water. He watched Draco's uncertain expression as he handed Harry a cup of coffee.
"Um… Should we – you know – talk about this?" Harry asked, staring into his steaming mug.
"Nothing to talk about, is there?" Draco said, eyeing Harry cautiously.
"I – well…" Harry took a quick gulp of his coffee, slightly scalding his mouth. "It's just – I've never done anything like this before," he said, frowning thoughtfully.
"Sure seemed like you'd done it loads of times."
Harry glared at Draco's amused face. "You, being a twat about this, are not helping."
"I'm being a twat? You assaulted me!" Draco countered.
Harry nearly spat out the coffee. "What? I didn't – I kissed you! Besides, you wanted to kiss me first," he said, sounding rather childish in his own mind.
"Nothing wrong with that, right?"
Harry stopped before a biting comment left his tongue. He noticed Draco staring at him intently, waiting for the answer. Harry shook his head, frowning. "N – no… Nothing wrong with it, theoretically," he said. "But you don't really like me, remember?"
Draco's uncertain expression quickly changed to amusement. "I don't?" he asked patronizingly.
"You do?" Harry asked in disbelief.
"Would I kiss you if I didn't?"
"I never know with you, Malfoy," Harry muttered. "Besides, you have a few drinks in you… How well do you handle it?"
Draco rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Do you always analyze everything?" he asked.
"But me?" Harry asked, sidestepping Draco's comment.
"You are much more eloquent over your letters, Harry," Draco said with a faint smile. Harry stared at Draco breathlessly for a few moments before the latter broke the gaze. "Okay, I agree. This is really weird. And quite impulsive." Draco stared at the mug in his hand instead of at Harry, finding it easier to speak to the unresponsive drink than the unresponsive man. "We can forget all about this, if you'd like. Go back to – normal?"
"You know we can't do that."
"You don't enjoy my company?"
Harry's brows shot up. "Huh?" he asked lamely, staring at Draco.
Draco shrugged. "It's fine," he said nonchalantly.
Harry shook his head. "No, that's not – I mean, yes, I do enjoy your company. That's why this is so… weird," he corrected.
Draco smiled while frowning. "It's weird because you liked kissing me?" he asked. "That's convoluted."
"Everything about this is convoluted," Harry muttered.
"So… what did you want to do now?"
Harry looked at Draco unsurely. "Um…" he said.
Draco chuckled and moved closer, placing his hand on Harry's cheek. He painted a gentle kiss on Harry's still lips. "Now do you understand?" he asked, stepping back. Harry gulped loudly and looked away from Draco's perceptive eyes. "I'll take that as a yes," Draco said. "What do you want to do now?" he asked again, trying to bring Harry's gaze back up.
Draco noted the subtle clenching of Harry's jaw, as though he were making a decision he hoped he could live with. In an instant Harry's lips were against his, possessive and demanding. Draco smiled, hands running down Harry's side as he fell into the deep kiss.
"Holy fuckin' Merlin!"
Blaise's loud swear woke Harry up from his marvelous dream. He scrambled for his wand out of reflex but was restrained by a heavy arm on his chest.
Draco cracked an eye open, staring blearily at Blaise. "Trying to get some sleep here," he mumbled, rolling over onto Harry's shoulder. The latter was suddenly aware of his compromising position. They were on Draco's sofa, from the looks of it. His arm was numb, which wasn't a surprise since Draco was sleeping on it. He felt Draco's leg between his, tangled for warmth. Draco was hugging him close. And now fingers were drawing circles against Harry's crumpled shirt, causing him to shiver. He shivered even more when he realized that Draco had lost his sweater over the course of the night.
Blaise sat heavily on the empty chair in the drawing room. "I suppose I should be glad that I didn't catch you guys butt naked then…"
Harry's irritated hex narrowly missed Blaise. He couldn't believe that he had fallen asleep at Draco's house. He had never been this comfortable with any of his dates before. He looked at the pale and peaceful face facing him. Even without the alcohol, Harry felt the passion pull him towards the sleeping man. He cautiously touched Draco's cheek. Draco felt the soft fingers on his face and he opened his eyes. He was staring into Harry's glazed eyes.
"Hey," Draco said softly.
Blaise gagged in his seat. "I'm gonna be in the kitchen, hurling out my breakfast…"
"Hey," Harry replied to Draco, ignoring Blaise's hurried exit. "I have to go now."
Draco pouted sleepily. "Why?" he asked, pulling Harry closer. Harry couldn't help running his hand down Draco's chest, eliciting a moan. "If you start doing that…" Draco whispered, his stomach fluttering.
Harry smiled, stopping his wandering hand. "Work," he said, trying to extract himself from Draco's death grip.
Draco groaned. "You're the Head Auror. Can't you give yourself a day off?"
Harry chuckled. "Yes, Malfoy, I am the Head Auror. No days off for me. Let go."
After another tight squeeze, Draco released Harry from the hug. "You're so nice," he yawned, sitting up and stretching.
Harry turned around with wide eyes. "Huh?" he asked.
"It's just that I never expected you to be so nice to me," Draco said honestly, trying to brush his hair flat with his fingers.
"You thought I would be mean?" Harry asked with a short laugh, grabbing his tie off the floor.
"I didn't expect you to be nice, that's for sure."
Harry snorted with a hint of derision. He knelt down to Draco's level, watching the blond blink the sleep out of his eyes. "I didn't expect you to be so damned adorable," Harry whispered, kissing Draco's cheek. "Thanks for the drinks. I'll see you later, Draco."
"Yeah," Draco said breathlessly, watching Harry get up and grab the robes off of the floor. "Later…"
Harry laughed as he let himself out.
Blaise stuck his head out of the kitchen door. "When's the wedding?" he asked a dazed Draco.
"Oh my gosh! What happened to you?" Ginny asked.
Harry frowned self-consciously, tugging at his robe and straightening his hair. Nothing seemed out of place. "Er… Nothing," he said uncertainly.
Ginny's eyes widened. "You got laid?" she squealed. The elevator suddenly grew silent. Harry sighed and massaged his forehead, trying to get rid of the headache.
"No, Ginny, I didn't get laid," Harry said tiredly. The Ministry officials snickered behind them.
"But you came close, didn't you?" Ginny asked, nudging his arm and winking her eye. Harry took a deep cleansing breath. He had to dig his nails into his palm to stop from using Langlock on her. He merely glared at the elevator doors, willing it to open as soon as possible. She rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Fine, don't tell me right now. But I'll get you at lunch, Harry, just you wait."
The elevator lurched to a stop. Harry hurriedly strolled out, closely followed by Ginny. He heard the rest of the officials mumbling excitedly amongst themselves. Great… Another week of humiliation.
"No, Ginny, you are not going to follow me into my office," Harry said tersely as he opened the door.
"You can't stop me, Harry," Ginny said in indignation, folding her arms.
"Watch me," Harry said. He impulsively stuck his tongue out at her and slammed the door shut in her face. "Wow… That felt good," he muttered to himself.
Now that I have a clear head and a few cups of coffee in me, I figured it be best that I write. Since I'm apparently better with my words when I write... Or maybe it was just because you got me drunk last night. Either way… I really did enjoy it, drunk and sober. I hope that didn't come out as too forward. And I know it seems strange. Hell, it IS strange. But there's something about you I can't put my finger on.
I got you drunk? The nerve! You practically egged me on! I can't even remember half of last night.
Of course, the parts I do remember, I remember all too well.
Want to come over for dinner this weekend?
Dinner sounds awesome.
Now that we've established the mutual (and apparently quite physical) attraction, I'd like to know why. Something worthwhile to discuss, isn't it? Shall I start?
I am sure you are aware of your charms. You've been using it on everyone for years. Apparently it's working a little too well on me. I thought I was all but impervious. I never really realized how easy it was to talk to you. We never tried, did we? We have so much in common, it's rather frightening. And I love how you keep remarking on how nice I am. Of course I'm nice, you ponce. Why wouldn't I be? You're being nice to me, aren't you? Well, more than nice. If this is how you are nice to everyone, I am going to be pissed.
You forgot to mention that I am good looking. That has got to be another reason, right? And yes, I am quite aware of my charms. Which is why I was surprised that they worked on you. Hell, I've tried to charm you into becoming friends with me since forever, haven't I? Who knew all it took were a few healthy doses of whiskey. I should have tried it years ago. Also, who wouldn't like to get with the Golden Boy? Can you imagine the press? You do realize that if I were talking to you in person I would not be divulging so much, don't you? But I digress.
I guess I've always wanted to get to know you. That was an unexpected end to our meeting though. I assure you I did not have that in mind until about halfway through drinks. Then a kiss was all I could think of. You enabled me. I guess just talking to you for so long made me aware of how – here I go again – nice you are. I know you're surprised that I am surprised. But you have never been nice to me. I thought it was one thing to be nice over letters, but then you were the same in person. I just needed another dose of niceness. So… I got a whole dollop of it, I guess.
No, I don't kiss every single person I go out for drinks with. Then I'd have a bunch of really weirded out Quidditch players on my hands.
P.S. I will rip your fucking head off if you let Weaslette read this. I am not kidding. I will seriously go to Azkaban for your murder.
P.P.S. You're hot!
Harry's insides churned as a foolish smile slipped onto his lips. He ran his fingers down the parchment, fighting the urge to laugh and pump his fist in the air. He had never felt so giddy in his life. "Amazing," he mumbled with a sigh, reading Draco's words again.
Would you believe me if I said that you had me blushing with that letter? You have a way with words. I'm keeping Ginny away, so no need for murder threats.
You know, if you were nice to Ron on that train ride all those years ago, I'd have been your friend. And if you didn't have your lackeys around you. Because those two scared the shit out of me. Did you know the Sorting Hat almost put me in Slytherin?
Also, if I'm 'dating' you… Does that mean I have to be nice to Weasel?
Back to my shock. WHAT? Slytherin? Why? How? Details! Now!
What can I say? I really had the Sorting Hat confused that night. Imagine me in Slytherin. Wow… Everything would be different.
Apparently I had the makings of a Slytherin and a Gryffindor. I practically begged it not to put me in Slytherin. It even tried to persuade me into joining. I guess I was scared of not being with friends, or turning bad, or something. Anyway, I was quite adamant. So it put me in Gryffindor. Sounds unbelievable, doesn't it? I swear, I didn't make that up.
I would rather not think about what would have happened if you were in Slytherin. We would have made your life a living hell! I can't believe you argued with the Hat. Unbelievable is not a strong enough word. Surreal, implausible, fucking crazy… So you are really a Slytherin Gryffindor hybrid, aren't you? Wow. I knew you were one of a kind. Didn't know you were that original.
Jealous? No. What makes you say that?
Don't be. You're pretty amazing yourself. One of the most successful Seekers of our time and you haven't even reached the prime of your life! You weren't exaggerating when you said you could live your life three times over with the money you have. You're one of a kind in my books.
You wouldn't have made my life a living hell. Snape might even have liked me if I were in Slytherin.
Draco swallowed down the lump in his throat, trying to focus on the writing on the parchment.
With house loyalty and all, you would have had to be nice to me, wouldn't you? Anyway, like you said, don't dwell on the past. And I'm really liking this present situation.
See you tomorrow!
"And so I slammed the door in her face. But not before I stuck my tongue out at her."
Draco snorted and coughed as he tried to stop his drink from going down the wrong pipe.
"I never realized how satisfying that would be. I should do it more often," Harry said, innocently biting into the chicken.
Draco was clearing his throat and nodding, grinning roguishly. "I guess I've had an influence on you then." He winked.
Dinner was a tumultuous affair. The first half-hour was stiff and rather silent. Then, much to Draco's credit, a bottle of wine started to ease the awkward tension. They were in the kitchen, sitting on the barstools at the island. Try as he might to keep the conversation innocent, Harry found himself getting caught up in Draco's smothering gaze. It seemed the wine was having an effect on the blond's libido.
"Stop doing that," Harry hissed under his breath. Draco's eyes glinted playfully. He watched Harry for a moment longer, then turned to his potatoes. Harry was done playing nice. "So… When was the first time you noticed me?" he asked nonchalantly.
Draco's fork slipped and clattered on his plate. His face flushed as he tried to regain his composure. "I – well, I – that is… You never – it wasn't… er."
Harry smiled. "It's okay, didn't mean to put you on the spot."
"What? No, it's just – I've never thought about it. I mean, there isn't really a specific instant in time. I've been noticing you since first year, for heaven's sake! I don't know when I started to notice you… this way. Perhaps at school… I don't know," Draco said, wearing a strange expression on his face. "What about you?"
Harry shrugged. "Some time after the War, I'm guessing," he said, munching on his carrot.
"Ah, yes. My Quidditch performance did it for you," Draco smirked.
"Don't flatter yourself. Those robes look good on you," Harry muttered.
"Yeah, that too," Draco winked.
Harry groaned with exasperation. Everything was turned into a sexual innuendo with Draco. They got through dinner without any more complications. Draco leaned into Harry's accidental touches, his playful demeanor making Harry laugh. By the end of the night, Draco had stolen a few chaste kisses.
"I really should be going now," Harry said apologetically after helping Draco with the dishes.
"No, you don't. It's Saturday," Draco said sensibly. "And don't give me crap about how Head Aurors work on weekends too."
Harry grinned as he stowed his wand. "I have my godson over on the weekends. No work. Just family," he said.
Harry was slipping on his jacket when he heard the soft echo. He flicked his eyes at Draco. "Your cousin," he said, carefully watching Draco's expression.
"Cousin…" Draco murmured, turning away quickly and putting away the dishes.
"Did you want to meet him?" Harry asked, coming up behind Draco and hugging him.
"Yes, really. You would love him. He's adorable. Like his mother."
"Never knew her," Draco said, giving up on his pretense and choosing to lean into Harry's arms.
"Then I have so much to tell you, Draco," Harry murmured, moving his lips against the pale column. "Come over tomorrow at noon, okay?"
"Okay," Draco said, turning his head to kiss Harry. "Tomorrow."
Teddy was seated on Draco's lap, facing the man. The small hands were fiddling with the buttons of Draco's shirt. "And then Grandma said, 'Ted Remus Lupin, don't you dare eat biscuits before dinner.' So I did."
Draco bit his lip to keep from laughing. If the story wasn't enough to get him riled up, whenever Teddy did impressions, his features changed to accommodate the story. The boy changed in front of Draco's eyes, sometimes at random because he was bored. "You did?" Draco asked shakily.
"And she was mad… But that's okay. They were yummy biscuits," Teddy said, looking up at Draco. Now the small hands ruffled the platinum blond hair. "It's so pretty," he murmured. He screwed up his face and a second later his hair was blond as well. Draco blinked at him in wonderment. "Do you like it?" Teddy asked, fingering his own curly locks.
"Yes… I do," Draco said.
"Good," Teddy agreed, giving Draco a quick hug. "I have to go now. But I'll play with you later, okay?"
With a sure nod, Teddy struggled out of Draco's lap and raced to the stairs.
"You said you weren't good with children…"
Draco looked up to find Harry leaning against the doorjamb, holding two mugs of steaming hot chocolate. "I am bad with children. He's… different," Draco said, waving his hand vaguely.
"Yes, he is different," Harry laughed, shaking his head. "I made some cocoa."
"I'd love some," Draco said. Once they were seated comfortably and sipping on their mugs, Draco looked at Harry with a preoccupied expression. "Do your friends mind?"
"Mind what?" Harry asked.
Harry smacked his lips and put the mug down on the table. "Um… No? I mean, they haven't said anything. Why?"
Draco shrugged. "I don't know. Just wondering."
"You know, whatever happened already happened. And now we're different. I don't think they mind. As long as I'm happy, they're fine with you."
"Is it so easy for you to trust me?" Draco asked with a faint smile.
Harry frowned in puzzlement. "I – I guess? I don't know. I'm usually not – Why? Are you planning on doing something?" he asked suspiciously.
Draco laughed. "No, Harry. I am not planning anything. I was just wondering. I'll stop wondering now."
"Yes. Stop wondering now…"
I'm bored. So I decided to write. How have you been?
Considering the fact that we hung out yesterday, I'm doing about the same. You're so weird.
Well, that took forever! Anyway, I was wondering whether you wanted to come to my New Year's Eve party? It's at my place. You'll even get to meet my team. The evening starts at around 6. Nothing too fancy. You will come, won't you?
"Look at what I got," Harry said, walking into Ginny's office.
"Oh, sure, now you want to talk," Ginny said smugly.
"Fine, you don't have to see it," Harry said, walking back out of her office.
"Wait!" her miserable wail sounded after him. He grinned impishly before entering the room again. Ginny had folded her arms in front of her and was pouting.
"Here," Harry said, thrusting his letter on the table. Ginny scrambled to grab it, letting out a low whistle when she read it.
"New Year's Eve party at Malfoy's. What kind of sketchy business are you guys planning on doing?" she asked, wiggling her eyebrows.
"Merlin help me, I'm going to hex those eyebrows right off of you," Harry muttered vehemently.
"Whatever. So… Am I invited?"
"I don't know. It's his party."
"Good, I'll be there at around 7. That's fashionably late, right? Hmm… What should I wear? Do you know of any cute guys who'll be coming? By cute guys, I mean Zabini. Should I bring a present? Wait, Harry, where are you going? I'm not done talking to you!"
Christmas with the Weasleys was entertaining, to say the least. Ron and Hermione lived in a house much bigger than the Burrow, but it was still difficult to walk about without stepping on a few toes. George and Teddy did most of the toe stepping. The tree loomed over fireplace in the drawing room, shedding needles around the floor and glinting light off of the ornaments. Present were heaped up under it with no order, much to Hermione's chagrin. The house was artfully decorated with soft garlands and streamers. Christmas dinner was an occasion in itself. The spread was delicious and plenty. After a few jokes at Harry's expense, the turkey was brought out. After dinner, the famous Weasley fireworks display kept the crowd busy for another hour. Eggnog was flowing freely and marshmallows were roasting beside the fire. It turned out to be a typical Weasley Christmas.
Harry had mentioned Draco's party to the group a few days after Christmas. After an initial outburst of gushing and sputtering, the Weasleys were more than receptive of the idea. In fact, they were so receptive that unsolicited advice was spewing from all directions at Harry.
"Give him a bottle of wine. Everyone else is going to be bringing champagne."
"Yes, and make sure you look hot!"
"Do you want us to come?"
"Ron! Don't listen to him Harry. You just have fun."
"He'll try and get you drunk. Let him!"
"Ron! You're such a prude."
"Oh, make sure to hang around the mistletoe. That'll be a surefire way to get some action."
New Year's Eve drew in and Ginny made sure Harry looked absolutely mouth-watering for the party. She sighed with pleasure at the end product. "It's times like these that I wish you were straight as an arrow, Harry," she said, straightening his dinner jacket and brushing back his hair.
Draco was busily entertaining his guests, most of who were from his Quidditch team. He was having troubles keeping the men out of his liquor cabinet. After an hour of unsuccessful busts, Draco let them have at it. His house was soon littered with intoxicated men and women dancing to the slow thumping music that was playing.
"Why do I agree to this every year?" he groaned at Pansy as he tried to clean up the mess that was made in the kitchen.
"Because you love us, Draco," Pansy replied, munching on a chocolate nugget.
"That can't be it," he mumbled. His doorbell rang and he jumped, feeling antsy.
"Ooh, is that who I think it is?" Pansy asked, grinning knowingly.
"If it is, he's late…" Draco said, walking out of his kitchen and into his drawing room. Draco took a deep breath and smoothed his sweater. Okay, no big deal. He opened the door with finesse and a smug smile.
"Decided to finally show... up – Potter…" Draco meandered off with his words, staring at Harry.
Harry's stomach dropped when he saw Draco standing in the doorway. His face was flushed from the party and his hair looked magnificent with the slightly disheveled touch to it. Harry had to stop from ravishing the man on the spot. He pulled himself together. "Ginny's fault. She wouldn't let me leave. Wanted me to be fashionably late. Which is late in my books. Here, this is for you." Harry shoved the wine bottle into Draco's hands and quickly walked into the house, feeling Draco's gaze on his back.
Draco drew in a ragged breath and calmed himself down. It's okay. You have an entire night with him. He composed himself and walked back to the party. Harry was already mingling with his friends, looking giddy at meeting all the Quidditch personalities in one room. It was a funny thing to watch because the people Harry met were gushing over the Head Auror too. Mutual respect led to relaxed introductions. Once in a while, Harry would catch Draco staring at him and he would shoot a small smile at the blond man. Draco's stomach would flutter every time Harry did this.
"So, how did you manage to get invited to this shindig?" Troy asked.
Harry smiled and cocked his brow. "Why? Is it all that exclusive?" he asked.
"No. You are quite exclusive though, aren't you?"
With a good-natured chuckle, Harry shook his head. "I'm more of a recluse than exclusive," he explained.
"Okay, let me put it this way," Troy said, holding up his finger. "How did you manage to get on Malfoy's good books?"
Blaise guffawed behind Harry. "Obviously they're dating," he muttered.
All conversation around them stopped. Harry turned his surprised eyes at Draco, who was busy talking to a gaggle of women. "Um… he – didn't tell you?" Harry asked weakly.
"No. He didn't," the Baggert brothers said in unison. "Bloody hell…"
"Whoa… You're going out with him?" Mark asked, moving in closer.
Harry wasn't sure what to do. "I – he – I mean, we've – a couple of drinks. That's all," he replied, wondering whether hexing Blaise would be an option at this moment. The next comment from him warranted a Bat-bogey hex.
"Sure, sure," Blaise nodded. "A couple of drinks. And a stack of love letters."
The men froze while Harry blushed himself ruddy. A stifled snicker arose from the Beaters. Soon enough, Harry was surrounded by surprised laughter and hooting. "Hey, Malfoy," Will called out. Draco glanced back absently. "Didn't tell us about your lover boy here."
"Oh, fuck you!" Harry and Draco exclaimed, scowling at the man. Harry turned to scowl to Draco, who started before smiling. 'What?' he mouthed.
'You didn't tell them?' Harry asked accusingly.
Draco shrugged and grinned.
"Aw, isn't that sweet? They're making gooey eyes at each other," Blaise gushed dramatically. His teammates joined in, oohing and aahing.
Harry turned to them and said, "If you don't stop this second, I swear I'll curse your balls off."
The men snapped their mouths shut, inconspicuously shielding themselves from the threat. Harry noticed their eyes flicking behind him at that moment. Before he could turn around, Draco's sure hands whipped him around. Lips pressed against his surprised mouth as he was dipped backwards in an elaborate show. He grabbed Draco's shirt and held on tight for fear that he fall to the ground. Draco smiled against Harry's terrified lips, hugging him close. With a loud smack, Draco broke the kiss and straightened Harry up. He looked at his teammates smugly while Harry staggered unsteadily. "I'm dating him," Draco announced.
The men let out their breaths, glancing at each other. "We see that…" Troy murmured.
"Those must be some letters," Blaise whistled.
That broke the reverie, leading to more catcalls and whoops. Harry stomped on Draco's foot in response. Draco laughed it off, entwining his fingers in Harry's. Harry blinked at the man beside in amazement. Draco had never held his hand before, not even away from the public eye. Harry stepped closer to him, running his thumb across the back of Draco's hand. They spent the night like that, holding each other's hands. The teasing looks eased off as Draco's friends became used to Harry. Draco never failed to kiss Harry when the latter least expected it, causing a lasting blush to stain their cheeks. The party was filled with laughs and anecdotes, most of them said to impress Harry.
"A dance?" Draco asked quietly.
"Er… I don't think so," Harry said, shaking his head
Draco looked miffed at Harry's reaction. "Why?"
"Because I'm terrible at it."
"I'll teach you." The blond wasted no time in wrapping his arm around Harry's waist and dragging him into the dance floor.
Harry protested softly but enjoyed the feel of Draco so close to him. Draco swayed, enjoying the calming beats of the music. Harry placed his hand on Draco's chest, feeling his heart.
"I guess I can do this," Harry said, grinning at Draco.
"You're Harry Potter. What can't you do?" Draco said sarcastically.
"Hmm… True that," Harry mused, looking at Draco under his lowered lashes.
"You are looking way too good tonight."
"Again, thanks to Ginny."
"Thank Merlin for Ginny," Draco mumbled, smiling at Harry. He pulled Harry closer to him, feeling their legs touch intimately. Harry shivered with excitement. They moved around the floor, Draco leading easily. Harry felt like they'd been dancing for an eternity. He felt Draco's chest move against his. Draco's arms gripped his waist lightly, pushing or pulling slightly whenever they were about to change directions. Draco caught Harry every time he stumbled over his feet. They didn't talk. They just danced.
Their movement was eventually interrupted by Blaise's loud voice. "Ten seconds!"
The whole room cheered as they counted down. Harry stared up into Draco's brilliant eyes, chanting softly.
"Five, four, three, two, one! Happy New Year!" Champagne bottles popped and cheers and bubbles filled the air.
Draco leaned down and kissed Harry's inviting lips slowly, savoring the moment. Harry moved his hand from Draco's chest to his neck, pulling him down into the kiss. Draco pushed into Harry, parting his mouth easily and plunging a hungry tongue into the warmth. Harry moaned softly. He moved his tongue against Draco's, enjoying the fullness and eagerness of it. Draco was now bunching Harry's shirt under his hands, breathing heavily. Harry moved his hands to Draco's cheeks and with a flourish, ended their kiss. Draco had his eyes closed when Harry pulled away.
"That was a fucking fantastic way to start the New Year, wasn't it?" Draco asked, slowly opening his eyes.
"God, yes," Harry breathed, leaning his forehead against Draco's.
Harry's co-workers were starting to note the changes in him. He was more light-hearted and sarcastic during their weekly Auror meetings. Draco's mannerisms were starting to rub off on Harry. He was perpetually wearing a slight smile on his lips. He dressed smarter, taking more effort into looking less ruffled and more put together. Draco was different too. He was less snappy during team meetings. His snarky mask often slipped, revealing his true emotions. Their friends and colleagues noticed the changes and remarked on them. Harry shrugged helplessly whenever someone brought up his changed attitude and Draco winked slyly whenever someone talked to him about getting soft.
Had a god awful day today. Iceland is not all it's cracked up to be. I have to practically wade through the snow because the Warming charms don't work. But never fear. We are still catching plenty of bad guys, just for your sake. Sometimes I think that you're dating me just because I'm the Head Auror. How superficial are you?
How are the applications? Found any potentials?
I'm just as superficial as you. You're not the only famous guy in this relationship, remember? Applications are really slow this month. No potentials yet, but we haven't even started the season yet. We'll wait and see how it goes.
Guess who I ran into yesterday? Weaslette. Yeah. I know. Just my luck. It's eerie how much she reminds me of Blaise. Why does she always have the damned smirking look on her? What does she know that I don't? Anyway, it was really awkward on my part and she seemed amused on her end.
Wow. Of course that was awkward. It's Ginny, for Merlin's sake. I have almost no control over my friends. You should know that by now. I'm surprised Ron hasn't pounded on your door yet, asking you what your intentions are. Hermione's probably reigning him back. I'm glad no one's hexed you yet. Just like I'm glad no one's hexed me yet. I guess we all grew up. Thank goodness.
Did you want me to get you anything? Or did you want me to surprise you?
Harry traced Draco's words with the feathers of his quill. 'Love,' he mouthed, lingering over the word. He colored faintly as he smiled.
You wrote 'love'…
Draco drank in Harry's words, feeling ready to burst with euphoria. He laughed softly as he flushed from the giddiness.
How do you manage to make me so sappy? This is so not fair, Potter! It just happened. I was actually planning on rewriting that letter. But I gave into impulse. Glad I did. Glad you did too…
Harry had just thrown his luggage on the floor of his bedroom when a loud knock sounded on the door. "No," he groaned tiredly, dragging his feet down the stairs and into the main foyer. He wrenched open the door and snapped, "What?"
Draco wrapped Harry in a tight embrace. "Nothing," he murmured into Harry's shoulder. "I missed you."
Harry sighed contentedly, nodding. "Missed you too," he said. "And…"
"I love you."
Draco smiled. "Good… You're happy, aren't you?" he asked in response.
"Mhm," Harry mumbled, his lips searching for Draco's.
"How happy?" Draco asked, dipping his head to give Harry a soft kiss.
"Very," Harry breathed, his appetite increasing tenfold when he felt Draco's lips moving against his.
"Does that mean you found true love?"
Harry stilled, his eyes fluttering open. "Huh?" he asked, pulling away from Draco. "Y – you?" he stammered.
"Yes. Me. Why not?" Draco asked, miffed.
"No, no. Nothing wrong. It's just –" Harry broke off, staring at Draco. "I've never… Y – yes. I think I have… I might be wrong. I don't know what – I'm not really sure what that is."
Draco's smile returned as he gazed at hesitant green eyes. "You are my true love too," he whispered, kissing Harry soundly. They staggered into the house, Harry quick to close the door as they kissed each other fervently. "Are you too tired?" Draco asked breathlessly.
"For what?" Harry asked, reaching up with hungry lips. Draco rolled his eyes and slid his hand down past Harry's belt. Harry jumped and gasped. "Oh…"
Draco chuckled at Harry's surprise, moving his hand away. "Guess you are," he mumbled, his words muffled against Harry's startled lips.
"Mph," Harry groaned, his eyes falling shut at the thoughts he was having. He shuffled closer, shaking his head. It was only when Draco felt hands tugging at the hem of his shirt that he understood.
Harry shook his head again, panting and flushed. "Take it off," he murmured. Draco didn't need prompting twice. He struggled to get the shirt off – struggling because Harry's hands were running down his chest, causing him to freeze as tingles ran through him. "Off, Malfoy." Draco bit back his response, throwing his shirt to the ground and scooping Harry in his arms.
Harry let out a strangled moan as he felt Draco under his hands. "Bedroom," Draco said, pushing Harry backwards.
Draco made a noise of consternation, working on Harry's shirt with fumbling fingers. Harry helped, frantically undoing the buttons. Draco all but ripped it off of Harry. A soft groan escaped Draco, causing Harry to blink. "You're so hot," Draco said, feeling Harry's chiseled muscles with cold fingers. "Why would you hide this from me?"
"I wasn't hiding it," Harry said, pulling Draco up the stairs. "I just never show it off like you do."
"Please show it off more often," Draco said, twisting Harry around and kissing him passionately. "We won't make it to the bedroom."
"Stairs are pretty hot," Harry said.
"They are, aren't they?" Draco asked roguishly, pushing Harry down and straddling him. "I could do you anywhere, Potter. I can't wait to do you everywhere."
Harry's head snapped back as Draco massaged him frantically. He let out a dizzied moan as he collapsed onto the stairs. "I'm not a sex toy, Malfoy," Harry gasped.
"When did you learn to talk like that?" Draco asked, eagerly undoing Harry's belt.
Draco growled in response, attacking Harry's neck. "Not a sex toy. A fucking brilliant lover, though."
"Yeah," Harry exhaled, letting his head rest against the step. "Although I've never been all that good at this."
Draco's brows shot up as he disengaged his lips from Harry's stomach. "What does that mean?"
"It means just that," Harry squirmed, trying to urge Draco to move on.
Draco brought his hands up to Harry's shoulders. "Are you a virgin?" he asked.
Harry opened his eyes and made a disparaging sound. "Not really," he said, glaring at Draco.
"Not really… What is that supposed to mean?" Draco asked, an impish smile on his lips. "The professed Golden Boy, a virgin. What are the odds?"
Harry pursed his lips together, trying to get up. Draco wouldn't let him, his grip on Harry's shoulders increasing. "I don't like being made fun of," Harry muttered.
"I love making fun of you," Draco grinned. "Also," he added, leaning forward until his lips grazed Harry's ear, "it's damn hot that you're a virgin. I wouldn't have it any other way." Harry turned his head towards Draco, nuzzling him. Draco shivered under Harry's breath. "And we should probably take this to the bedroom. Much more comfortable that way."
"You're the expert."
"And you're mine," Draco whispered, ghosting his lips over Harry's.
Harry groaned. "I am so late for work," he muttered drowsily, scooting closer to Draco.
Draco held him warmly, pressing his chest against Harry's back. He kissed Harry's shoulder blade. "I don't want you to go," Draco said.
Harry smiled to himself, curling into the plush bed. He lay there in Draco's arms for a few more minutes before throwing off the covers and sitting up groggily. "I really have to go," he said, rubbing his heavy eyes with the palm of his hands.
Draco grabbed Harry's small waist and pulled him back onto the pillows. Harry felt smooth lips tugging his earlobe and warm hands running down his side. "No, you don't," Draco murmured into Harry's ear, making him shiver. He tried to push Draco away, which only led to Draco pushing back into him.
"This is not fair," Harry said, pouting. Draco brushed Harry's ruffled hair out of his face. Harry smiled and shifted on Draco's chest, planting a small kiss unconsciously. Draco's pulse quickened at the dreamy gesture. He tightened his arm around Harry's back, pulling him closer still. He lightly traced Harry's lips with his fingers. "That tickles," Harry muttered. Draco smiled slightly, dropping his hand.
"Harry," he said softly.
"Move in with me, won't you?"
"Okay," Harry replied simply.
"Mph – how was work?"
"Oh god! Um, it was – it was – ah… I don't know, can't remember."
"Hmm, Ginny gave you grief again? Fuck!"
"Do we really – Let's not talk about Ginny right now."
"Fine – fine by me. Just don't – shit, Harry! Oh… Just don't complain that I never ask about work, okay?"
"Just not in b – Fuck! That feels amazing!"
"My thoughts exactly…"
Draco rolled over in bed and threw his arm to the side, catching nothing but air. He groaned and wrenched his eyes open. With a sigh he ran his hand over the empty spot before getting up and stretching. His eye caught on a cup of steaming coffee on his bedside. He chuckled to himself, leaning over to pick up the mug. A small piece of parchment was underneath the cup. He settled against the headboard and sipped on his coffee, unfolding the paper.
Coffee makes up for it, right? Got called in early. Sorry! If it makes you feel any better, you look absolutely amazing right now…
Draco smiled and folded the note neatly for safekeeping with all the other letters.
"Ooh, breakfast in bed? It's like I'm in heaven," Harry said, smiling tantalizingly at Draco.
"Apparently it's the only way to get you to eat something in the morning," Draco said, sliding the tray onto Harry's lap and crawling back under the covers.
"Probably true," Harry said, smelling the inviting scent of pancakes and syrup. He liberally covered his soft fluffy breakfast in delectable sugar, quickly slicing it up and popping it into his mouth. "Oh god! This is amazing," he moaned, his eyes falling shut.
"I know," Draco said, smiling at Harry's obvious pleasure. "You got some syrup on you," he said.
Harry licked them unconsciously. "Did I get it?"
"No, I'll help."
"This is why I never, ever finish breakfast," Harry grumbled as Draco pulled up beside him and delicately touched his lips to Harry's sweet mouth. Harry quickly swallowed, filling his lips with Draco's inviting ones. He twisted on his bed, scrambling to get on top of the blond. The tray of food clattered to the floor as they struggled against the tangled covers.
"Oh my gosh, Draco! What happened?"
"Work happened, Harry. It's nothing. Just haven't gotten a chance to fix it yet."
"Hmm... I could fix it."
"Er - I don't think so."
"What? I'm proficient!"
"Frankly, I don't trust you with a wand pointing in my face, Potter."
"Mph! Hey, give me a little warning next time!"
"Whatever, I really needed that get well kiss. Stop squirming."
"I was waiting for you all night," Draco moaned, getting up from the couch. Harry had just Apparated in from work, dark circles under his eyes and hair standing up on end. He sighed tiredly at Draco's whining, hanging up his cloak on the rack.
"Work, Draco. Can't just walk away from it," Harry said, shuffling to the couch and falling into it. It was three in the morning and Harry had had to stay late for work due to new developments. He had been at the Ministry for over eighteen hours and his lids fell shut the minute he hit the couch. He groaned when Draco straddled him, placing an insistent kiss on his lips. "I can't tonight," Harry said, his eyes refusing to open again. He blindly caught Draco's chin in his heavy hand and pulled him in for a soft, apologetic kiss. Draco sighed and drew his arms around Harry's neck, holding him close.
"We always have tomorrow then," he whispered cheekily into Harry ear. Harry chuckled sleepily, falling asleep in Draco's arms.
Harry was shuffling through the forms on his desk when a small piece of paper floated out of the pile. He picked it up off the floor.
Harry smiled at the familiar sloping handwriting. He turned the paper over.
I like you!
Harry laughed, kissing the paper impulsively.
"Oh, shoot! I forgot! Hermione invited us to her house for dinner tonight!"
"Harry… What is it with you and last minute plans?
"Sorry, it just completely slipped my mind…"
"Er… In an hour."
"You've got to be kidding me!"
"I could always cancel..."
Draco was sitting on the stairs, frowning deeply. Harry finally returned from work, looking exhausted again.
"You missed my game," Draco said.
"Work," Harry replied, rolling his eyes.
"Fuck work," Draco muttered.
"What? I had work, Draco," Harry said, frowning back at him. "I can't just -"
"- up and leave. I've heard it a thousand times," Draco interrupted, getting up from the steps and walking into their kitchen.
Harry followed him in, watching Draco furiously plate dinner. "Draco," he said, trying to get the man to look at him. Draco studiously refused to turn around, flicking his wand and making the plates whizz through the air towards the dining room. Harry sighed and tried again. "Draco…" The blond conjured cups and filled it with cold water, ignoring Harry. Harry stepped forward uncertainly. "I'm sorry?" he said. Draco started to clean the already spotless counter. "What do you want me to say?" Harry asked helplessly. Draco stored the leftovers into containers and started to put Cooling charms on them. "Malfoy!" Harry barked, forcing Draco around. "What is your problem?"
Draco pressed apologetic lips onto Harry's, catching the latter by surprise. "You have to stop indulging my whim and fancy, Potter," he whispered against Harry's lips. "Stop apologizing…"
"Oh," Harry breathed, wrapped in warmth.
"We won, by the way."
Harry smiled faintly, resting his head against Draco's shoulder. "Good," he murmured.
"You and your fuckin' superiority complex isn't helping this situation along, Malfoy!"
"Go fuck yourself."
Harry was furiously pacing in front of the fire, throwing glares at Draco. "How the hell can you be so irresponsible?"
"Oh, for heaven's sake! I've already heard this speech," Draco said, rolling his eyes in exasperation.
"And apparently it still hasn't gotten into that thick skull of yours," Harry growled.
"It was a joke!"
"A joke the Ministry had to get involved in!" Harry said vehemently. "I can't look after you if you do fucking stupid thi -"
"I don't need you to look after me!" Draco said with fury.
"If you keep behaving like a bloody child, then yes, I do need to look after you."
"Fuck. You. I don't have to listen to this shit," Draco hissed, getting up and stomping up to his study.
Harry groaned in frustration, staring after Draco.
"Argh, Harry's fucking temper is driving me insane, Blaise!"
"Draco is still stuck in Hogwarts, Hermione!"
"He's never around because of his bloody Auror shit."
"He seems to forget that I have a life too!"
"He's hopeless at organizing his life for himself."
"He does the stupidest things because his 'team dared him to'. I mean, what kind of a half-assed excuse is that?"
"Oh my fuckin' gosh, Draco. Shut up! I've been listening to this shit for three months now!"
"Harry, please talk to him. Seriously… What do you expect me to do about this?"
"I'm not some tool that you can fuck," Harry yelled, wrenching on his shirt.
"What do you want?" Draco asked calmly, sitting up on his bed.
"What do I – How the hell – I want more than sex!" Harry exclaimed, staring at Draco incredulously.
"We talk," Draco said.
"Yeah, about work. All we talk about is bloody work!" Harry said, buttoning his jeans.
"What else is there to talk about?"
Harry closed his eyes in frustration, his fury seeping into his breath. "Fuck this. I liked you better a year ago," Harry spat out, Disapparating.
"I don't need him. I was fine before him," Harry said, trying to convince himself rather than Hermione. She bit her lip nervously at Harry's strung up attitude. Harry rubbed his eyes in frustration. "In fact, I don't even know what I saw in him," he said fiercely.
Hermione sighed at this statement. What she was about to say next could quite possibly sent Harry over the edge. But she said it anyway. "Harry, you were truly the happiest I have ever seen you when you were with him. You do need him."
"I was also the most miserable you have ever seen me when I was with him," Harry muttered angrily.
"No. That was definitely not the most miserable you have been," Hermione said, rolling her eyes at her dramatic friend.
"Why is it so damn hard to get along with him?" Harry mused.
"It wasn't all that hard the first few months, was it?" Hermione asked.
"No, but the more time I spent with him, the harder it got!" Harry said.
"Fine, tell me about it."
"It was so easy to talk to him with the letters. I mean, we didn't have to hide behind any masks. He didn't know who I was, and I didn't know who he was, and it was great. Then he had to go and ruin it! Thinking back, even when we were dating, we never had any truly meaningful talks. Just odds and ends about Quidditch and school and work. Our relationship - if you could even call it that - I mean, it was so physical. I - I need more, Hermione. I've been in physical relationships before, and I'm not - I can't handle it! I don't know what he wants from me." He hid his face behind his hands, taking long sobering breaths. "I blew it, didn't it?"
"Get out of your bloody room right now!" Blaise yelled, pounding on Draco's door.
"Leave me the fuck alone!" Draco shouted back, burying his head in his pillow.
"Fuck you, Draco," Blaise muttered, pulling out his wand and forcing the heavily warded door open.
"I said, leave me alone," Draco's muffled voice sounded tiredly.
"Enough of this self-pity shit. You've already missed three practices. Coach is pissed," Blaise said, sitting on the edge of Draco's bed.
"It's my life, and I'll do whatever I want," Draco said.
"You do realize you're crying over Potter, don't you?"
Draco screamed into his pillow in frustration. "I know, Blaise!"
"Why are you crying over Potter?"
"Because - I just - he's so - I love him."
"What about him?"
Draco sat up blearily, looking at Blaise's curious face. "What?"
"What about him do you love so much that you've been moping in your room for the past four days?"
"I - just fuck off."
"Is that what you told him?"
Draco fell back on his bed, dragging the covers over his head. "Yes," he mumbled, feeling remorse rise into him again.
"Does he know how much you love him?" Blaise asked, ripping the cover off of Draco's face.
Draco hid his face in his hands, shaking his head. "No," he whispered. "Fuck, I blew it, didn't I?"
Days flew by as though nothing momentous had happened. Life moved on, dragging Harry and Draco along with it. Harry nearly drowned in his work, barely giving himself time to think. All Draco could do was think, causing him to be in a sour mood daily. At times both found themselves reading the letters. When they realize what they are doing, they would hurriedly put the sheaf of parchment away, only to pull them out again a few days later. Egos are hard to mend, however.
"Harry, have you started sleeping here?" Ginny asked, poking her head into Harry's messy office.
Harry groaned, pushing away papers. "It seems that way, doesn't it?" he remarked, sipping on his strong coffee.
"I was wondering whether you wanted to grab some drinks with us," she said.
"Who are us?"
"Ernie, Jordan, and me," Ginny said.
"I don't know. I have so much work to do," Harry said vaguely, waving his hands over his desk.
"Work that can wait a few hours while you catch up on some fun and sleep!" Ginny commented, grinning.
Harry rubbed his heavy eyes. "I suppose I could handle a drink or two," he said, slowly picking himself up from his chair.
"Awesome sauce! I'll let them know. We're meeting downstairs in ten minutes," she said, her head disappearing from his office.
An hour later, Harry found himself in the pub, quietly nursing his fourth Firewhiskey while Jordan pulled all the stops to grab his attention. Ernie and Ginny were happily dancing on the floor with the other happy couples, listening to happy music and having happy conversations. Fuck them all, Harry thought as he took a big gulp of his drink. He finally dragged his attention to Jordan when he felt Jordan's hand holding his lightly.
"You alright, Harry?" Jordan asked, concern in his voice.
Harry sighed guiltily. "I'm afraid I'm not good company. Sorry," he said.
"Want to dance?" Jordan asked, hesitantly. Harry immediately thought about his New Year's Eve dance with - he wrenched his thoughts away. It had already been two months and he still hadn't stopped thinking about - he frowned in frustration. He nodded, pulling Jordan up with him to the floor.
"I have to warn you, I'm quite bad," Harry said.
"That's alright, because I'm quite good," Jordan replied, flashing him a quick smile. He wrapped his arms around Harry's waist, gliding across the room with ease.
Harry smiled at Jordan. "You are," he noted.
Soft hands moved Harry's cheeks downwards for a smooth kiss. Harry tried to lose himself in it, tugging at the robes in front of him and pulling it away hurriedly. He felt his tie coming undone and frantic fingers unbuttoning his shirt. His head was filled with an alcoholic buzz, making him sluggish as he fumbled to help take off his shirt. He shrugged off his sleeves in one quick motion, never breaking the kiss. He pushed into the eager lips with more force, darting his tongue in for an intimate taste. Harry sighed at the warmth he felt when he danced his tongue around the compliant mouth.
He slipped his hand under the hem of Jordan's shirt, feeling his lean, soft body under his fingers. He quickly wrenched the tee off, kissing down Jordan's neck and pushing him backwards. Jordan landed on Harry's mattress, shivering against the harsh touches. "Fuck, Harry, you're amazing," he breathed, feeling Harry's kisses running down his chest.
Harry groaned at the comment, pulling up to Jordan's eyes. "Shut up and kiss me," he sighed, falling into Jordan and locking lips passionately.
Harry felt a soft finger tracing his cheek, and he moved into it unconsciously. The finger stopped its motion and pulled away. Frowning, Harry opened his eyes to a blinding light and pulsing headache. He groaned as he shut his lids, trying to go back to sleep. He moved closer to the chest he was lying on, feeling the warmth wash over him. He slowly ran his fingers along the warm skin, enjoying the touch. He wrapped his arms around the narrow waist possessively. He protested when the body slipped out from under him. He lifted himself up blindly, trying to open his eyes again. This time, the light wasn't as harsh because the curtains were pulled shut. Harry blinked rapidly, clearing his unfocused eyes. He came face-to-face with a smiling Jordan.
"Fuck," Harry exhaled, staring at his bed and trying desperately to think back to last night. He had been to the pub. Shit… And then he'd had a few drinks. How many? Damn it, how many did I… And then, Jordan had asked him to dance. He had agreed stupidly. Then they had - he looked at the trail of clothes running from his door to his bed. "Fuck," he said again.
Jordan let out a short burst of chuckles as he sat down beside Harry. "We didn't, Harry," he said, absently cupping Harry's hand in his.
Harry's mind was reeling. "Wh - what?" he stammered.
"We didn't do anything last night," Jordan repeated, looking into Harry's eyes. "You believe me, don't you?"
Harry frowned at the question. "We didn't? I don't – I don't remember…"
Jordan snorted. "What can I say? I don't particularly enjoy taking advantage of an inebriated man. Even if he's as good-looking as you. Nothing happened," he said earnestly. Then he leaned in and kissed Harry's cheek. "Can't say I don't wish something had, though," he whispered.
"Oh," Harry said, confused.
"Good," Jordan said. "I should go now. I was just waiting for you to wake up," he said, getting off of Harry's bed. He pulled on his shirt while Harry frowned out the closed window.
"Harry," Jordan said. Harry looked back at him, blushing. "How often did you tell Malfoy you loved him?" Harry's eyes glazed over. He shook his head slightly. "You should say it more often," Jordan said, smiling at Harry before walking out of his room.
"How could you?" Hermione exclaimed, bursting into his office. He looked up at her, startled out of his wits.
"I - what?" he asked.
"Ginny told me you left with Jordan last night!" she said incredulously, staring at Harry with disdain.
"Oh, Ginny..." Harry groaned, massaging his temple with his fingers. "Nothing happened, Hermione," he said tiredly.
"I thought you lov - wait, what? What do you mean nothing happened?"
"I mean, nothing happened. We fell asleep."
"Oh... Okay. I'm just – I thought you… I'm gonna go find Ginny and strangle her now. Bye."
Draco furiously threw away the letters into the fire, angry tears burning in his eyes. "I don't need you," he cried at the burning parchment.
Of course he had been the last one to hear about Harry's escapades. Of course he had been the ridicule of the team. Of course he loved Harry and wasn't loved back. He fell to his knees, desperately brushing away his tears. Harry doesn't deserve my tears, he thought fiercely.
"Fuckin' lying cheating bastard," he swore at the glowing ashes. "I loved you, you son of a bitch. I still love you…" he sobbed into his hands, his chest heaving. "Why did I let you go?"
Harry's eyes widened with surprise when Blaise waltzed into his office, glaring murderously at Harry.
"I have half the mind to put you under the Cruciatus right now," Blaise yelled, slamming his hand on Harry's desk. Fear rose up into Harry, not because of the threat, but because of what the threat was a reaction to.
"No," he choked. "I – please, Blaise, Draco?"
"He's a fuckin' mess, Potter. You and your little rendezvous – fuck! How could you?" Blaise stared at Harry in repulsion.
"I didn't – we didn't – nothing happened, Blaise. I swear. I was – shit, I was so hung up on – and I was drunk. Nothing happened," Harry stammered frantically. He pushed his chair back, causing it to tip over and fall on the floor. "I – I have to go," he said, grabbing his cloak and rushing out of his office, leaving a stunned Blaise to stare after him.
Harry was in Draco's drawing room in a matter of minutes. He raced up to Draco's bedroom, wrenching the door open. Draco looked up from his magazine, surprised by the sudden intrusion. When he saw Harry, his face contorted, first into pain, then anger, then – nothing. The cold mask was back on as he got up from his bed.
"What are you doing here?"
Harry felt like his heart was wrenched from his chest as he watched Draco's blank expression. "Please – I have to explain. Nothing happened," he stammered, feeling hot tears flooding his eyes.
"Why would I care if anything happened?"
"I know you don't believe me," Harry said, stepping into the room. Draco unconsciously stepped back, panic flickering in his eyes. Harry stopped in his tracks, tears spilling onto his cheeks.
"No, I don't believe you. In fact, I don't know why I ever did," Draco spat out, glaring with purpose.
"Now, I want you out of my house," Draco demanded, staring coldly at Harry and then motioning to the door.
"I love you," Harry whimpered. Draco's stomach dropped as he remembered the pain he felt when he had heard about Harry and – He wasn't going to torment himself over it. Harry was a lying cheating bastard.
"I hate you," Draco hissed, staring Harry in the eye.
Harry clapped his hands to his mouth, stifling his sobs. He stepped closer to Draco and Draco moved a step back. "Please, I'm so sorry. Nothing happened. At least tell me you believe me," Harry shuddered.
"No. I want you out, now," Draco said, pointing at his door with a shaking finger.
Harry staggered backwards at Draco's harsh words. "I – I didn't do anything," he said helplessly. "I'm sorry…" He turned around blindly and ran out of Draco's room, Disapparating in the hall.
Draco sat down heavily on his bed, drained. He wiped his stinging tears furiously, holding them back. "I hate you," he whispered, his words cracking as more tears forced their way out. "I hate you so much." Why can't I stop loving you?
"He found out," Harry said quietly.
Hermione stifled her groan. "Did you go see him?"
"Yes. He – he doesn't believe me. He – oh god, Hermione – he said he hated me for it," Harry said in a strangled voice.
"He doesn't hate you, Harry. It's just something he said because he was angry with you," Hermione said, hugging Harry.
"I don't know what to do. I've never felt so helpless," he murmured into Hermione's hair.
Hermione sighed, pulling away and looking at Harry's puffy eyes. She walked up to her desk and took out her quill. "Write to him…"
Draco shut his eyes at the familiar writing and promptly threw the letter into the fire.
Draco groaned, crumpling the letter in his hand.
"Fuck you," Draco swore, pushing the letter away.
Please read this! I just wanted to tell you that I
Draco swallowed painfully, tossing the parchment into the trash.
I know you love me and I love you too. I'm sorry for
Draco snarled with anger and frustration, not understanding why he kept opening these letters.
I don't know what you want from
Draco felt his breath catch as he burned the parchment.
Can't we just go back to where we began? Please, I'm so sorry for everything and
Draco had read farther than usual. But his eyes stung whenever he started reading Harry's apologies.
You believe me, don't you? Nothing happened between
"Fuck, I can't read this," Draco said, ripping the parchment up.
Please write back. I'm begging
Tears filled Draco's eyes as he threw the letter away. What does he want me to do?
If you don't reply, I'm going to stop writing to
"Maybe you should stop," Draco sighed tiredly.
I don't make idle threats, Draco. You know that. This is the last letter I will EVER send you. So reply. NOW! I want to know if you forgive me and
Draco's heart sank at the ultimatum. But he couldn't read any further. However hard he tried, he couldn't read the rest of the letter.
READ MY LETTERS, YOU PIECE OF SHIT!
Draco ran his fingers across the angry jagged letters. He drank in all of Harry's furious emotions from the first line, hoping that he could get through the rest of the letter. He took a deep breath and read the rest.
I KNOW YOU KNOW NOTHING HAPPENED. I KNOW YOU LOVE ME. I'M NOT SORRY FOR ANYTHING BECAUSE I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING.
FUCK YOU FOR MAKING ME LOVE YOU.
Draco smiled through his tears, shaking his head at Harry's temper.
Harry opened Draco's letter with trembling hands.
I love you so much, it's unbearable... Fuck you for making me love you.
Harry's breath hitched.
I know nothing happened. I was just so angry at everything and everyone. I know I'm a huge dick and I know you forgive me. But I don't know if I can change it. I don't know if I have anything else to offer besides a physical relationship. I was never any good at the emotional stuff, you know that, Harry. I was never like you. You always wear your heart on your sleeve and I always lock it up so deep that sometimes I don't even remember it's there. I'm not enough for you. You need someone who can handle the full relationship. I don't know if I can be him.
Fuck, I want to be him so bad… I want to be with you so bad…
Tears spilt on Draco's words. Harry sniffed it back, trying to finish the letter before breaking down.
I love everything about you, Harry. I know I don't say this often enough. In fact, I don't think I've ever told you. I love you, I love you, I love you. I want to say it a million times over. I love your perfect smile that you keep just for me, I love how your words run into each other every time we talk about Quidditch, I love the way you think about which Ministry robe to wear each day even though they're all the fucking same, I love the way you walk with your arms swinging beside you so carelessly, I love the way your hand is perpetually in your pocket when you stand still, I love the way you kiss me breathless, I love the way you hug me like I'm the only person you would want to be with, I love the way you sleep on my shoulder, I love the way you live, I love the way you love. And you have no idea how much I love the way you laugh. I know I haven't made you laugh in a while. I'm sorry for making you cry. I am so sorry for everything. I love everything about you, but I know that's not enough.
I never meant to hurt you. I just wanted to be with you for as long as I could. I'm sorry I couldn't be who you wanted me to be. You are everything I want you to be.
Perhaps this should be our last letter… That way neither of us will get hurt. I think we're a little too much for each other to handle. I don't mind. Thank you for the wonderful year, Harry. That's all I need.
"Fucking ponce," Harry swore through teary laughter.
The insistent knocking grew louder. Draco put his quill down in frustration, keeping his cup on top of the application form to keep it from rolling up again. He wrenched the door open with a scowl, which quickly slipped when he stared into Harry's scowl.
"What's the meaning of this?" Harry asked, holding up the letter.
Draco's eyes widened as he panicked. "I – I didn't… I'm sorry," he stammered, unsure of what he was saying.
"Is that all you have to say?" Harry asked as he shoved Draco back.
Draco gaped in alarm, staggering back from the force. "I – I don't know what you want me to say…" he said, trailing off.
"I want to hear you say it," Harry challenged.
"I already said I'm sorry," Draco said helplessly. "I don't understand."
Harry looped his arms around Draco and held him tightly. "Why is it always so hard for you to understand?" he asked. "I love you too, Draco. I don't want this to be our last letter."
Draco jerked in awareness, bringing uncertain arms up to Harry's back. "What?" he asked.
"I love you, you twat. I love you so much."
"I – I love you too," Draco stammered with a surprised laugh. He buried his face against the crook of Harry's neck. "I love you."
"That's all I needed to hear. Stop being so hard on yourself. You're everything I want and more," Harry murmured, reveling in the proximity.
"Not our last letter?"
Draco felt relief wash over him, causing him to sway. Harry held him steady, letting out a contented sigh as they stood in each other's arms.
"Hmm?" Draco asked, blinking awake. He stared into Harry's upside down face. Harry pressed a soft kiss on Draco's forehead. "Hey," Draco whispered.
"Hey," Harry echoed. "How long's he been down?"
Draco cast a silent Tempus. "Two hours or so," he murmured, shifting Teddy against his chest. The book fell to the ground, causing the sleeping boy to whimper grumpily and throw his arms around Draco's neck. "I'm gonna have bruises," Draco muttered.
"He's a kicker," Harry agreed. "Want anything?" Draco shook his head. "You're such a sweetheart," Harry whispered, kissing Draco on the lips.
"Sweetheart, my arse!" Draco said in reproach.
Draco blindly sought Harry in the dark, scooting closer to him in bed. Harry helped Draco out by meeting him halfway. Draco kissed Harry's neck before laying his head on Harry's shoulder. He wrapped his leg around Harry's. Harry smiled as he was pulled in even closer.
"What's wrong?" he asked, gently tugging at Draco's hair. Draco shrugged, hiding his face against Harry's chest. "Tell me," Harry prodded.
Harry laughed sleepily. "Isn't that supposed to be my line?" he asked, rubbing soothing circles on Draco's back. "Just a dream. You're alright."
Draco nodded, feeling sleep drag him down again. He held onto Harry as he hesitantly stepped into his dreams again.
"I am so late!" Harry muttered, grabbing his bag from the kitchen table and throwing a handful of trail mix into his mouth. "I'll see you later," he said, his words muffled against the food.
"Wait," Draco said, turning Harry around.
Draco kissed Harry goodbye and slipped a folded piece of parchment into the Auror robes. "For later," he said roguishly.
Harry winked at him and said, "Love you," before running out the door. The moment he had locked himself in his office, he took the note out of his pocket.
So, I've finally figure it out! Two weeks in Montego and two weeks in Belaruse! Now, before you go nuts, hear me out. See, this way we'll only have a short week apart. And you said you still had a week's vacation time at work! We'll call it our 'work vacation'. Say yes?
"You're so weird," Harry murmured with a grin, shaking his head at the note.
Draco frowned in consternation as he opened his eyes. He scowled out the window, hugging the pillow closer to him. "Not fair," he grumbled, flipping over onto his stomach and kicking his mattress. With a frustrated sigh, he got up onto his knees with a pout. That's when his eyes drew towards the letter sticking out from under the pillow. A smile erased his grumpy mood as he scrambled for the parchment and fell back onto the bed with a sigh. He opened it reverently.
Happy Birthday! Come downstairs…
Draco nearly tripped out of bed in his hurry to run down. He slid to a halt near the kitchen, smelling the delicious aroma wafting through the rooms. He pushed the door open, peeking inside. He found Harry plating the eggs and toast into perfect piles. "You cooked?" Draco asked in awe.
Harry jumped at the sudden intrusion. "You're up!" he exclaimed, flicking his eyes from the breakfast to Draco. "Um… Yeah. Ginny taught me. And she will never teach me again."
Draco chuckled, walking into the warm kitchen. "You are so romantic," he said, waiting for his kiss.
"I know," Harry murmured, kissing Draco long and hard.
"Love you, too."
"I won't hesitate to shove this up your nose!" Draco threatened, holding up his fork.
"And I won't hesitate to tell everyone the contents of your letters," Ginny retorted, scowling at him.
Harry and Ron had to clamp their teeth together to keep from snorting with laughter.
"Fine. Go ahead. I don't even care," Draco said, turning up his nose.
"Oh? You don't? Not even the parts where you seemed jealous of me dating Ha – Ow!"
Draco interrupted her with a kick on the shin. "That's enough out of you," he said.
"Oh… You were jealous, were you?" Harry asked nonchalantly. He earned a kick to his shins too. "What?" he asked, choking on his food. "Honest question!"
"So it's Humiliate Malfoy Day? Can't believe I missed the memo," Ron remarked.
"Last time I'm ever having lunch with you guys," Draco muttered as Harry's hand snaked around his waist, pulling him closer.
"You're such a good sport," Harry murmured graciously.
"I know," Draco grumbled.
Don't be mad. But I have to work Christmas. I know, I promised, I promised… But I'll make it up to you!
Better be damned brilliant sex, Potter…
Harry found himself dozing off in Draco's arms, the fireplace crackling in the background. He stretched out on the sofa, cuddling in. "Shouldn't we go upstairs?" he asked.
Draco sighed and shifted against Harry. "Hmm?"
"We should go to bed," Harry said.
"Let's stay here for tonight," Draco murmured. "This is too perfect to ruin."
Harry laughed and nodded. "That it is," he said.
Draco smiled back with closed eyes. "You're so nice…"
Harry hummed in acknowledgment. "Only because you're so adorable," he responded.
"Not adorable," Draco yawned.
Harry chuckled silently. "Very manly, then."
"Blessing and a curse, Potter."
"You're so full of yourself…"
Draco ginned faintly. "All because of you and your damned compliments," he said.
"Sure. That's my fault too?"
"Always. It's always your fault."
"Good to know," Harry said. "Now go to sleep. You aren't making any sense."
"Mmm…" Draco sighed. "Adorable…"
Fingers silently played against skin, causing Harry to shudder with anticipation. Draco slid his hands up Harry's chest, caressing his shoulders and neck as he reached the top. Harry smiled unconsciously, his eyes closed against Draco's ministrations. He felt a small kiss on the corner of his mouth, causing his smile to grow wider. "I love you, Harry," Draco murmured.
"I know," Harry purred.
"I love your eyes."
Harry opened them to look at Draco. "Yeah?"
"And I love your innocence. So real."
"I love your soft moans when I do this." Draco ran his hand across Harry's stomach, eliciting the sensual groan from the man underneath him.
"Oh god," Harry breathed.
"And I love your kiss."
Harry reached up and brushed his lips against Draco's.
"I love my life," Draco said.
Harry grabbed Draco by the shoulders and rolled him over. A surprised gasp was all Draco let out. "And I love you, Draco…"
"I love your hair."
Draco absently ran his fingers through it. "Yeah?"
"And I love the way you sigh."
Draco winked at Harry, grinning impishly.
"I love doing this," Harry whispered, marking Draco on the neck.
"Everyone can see that, you know?" Draco asked, wincing.
"Which is exactly why I do it," Harry chuckled. "And because you are much too delicious."
"You're so horny," Draco remarked candidly.
"You started it."
"Hmm… I'll finish it, then."
Harry nodded eagerly as they struggled against the blanket, trying to get the upper hand.
"I'm home," Harry yelled, taking off his cloak and Ministry robe. He waited for Draco's footsteps for a minute before frowning. He slipped off his shoes and padded towards the kitchen, hoping to be greeted with a long kiss. His frown deepened when he arrived into the dimly lit kitchen and found it empty.
"Draco?" Harry called out, grabbing a biscuit from the tray before venturing around the large house. He climbed up the stairs, walking directly to their bedroom. The lights were off. He peered in and found the bed made. "You home?" he called out, walking down the large sparsely decorated hallway. No one answered. Harry sighed as he walked back down the stairs. He entered the kitchen again, yearning for his evening dose of coffee. He opened the cupboard and grabbed his mug.
"Oh." Inside the mug was a neatly folded piece of parchment. He pulled it out and looked around the empty room. He opened it quickly and read it.
Guess where I am?
Harry laughed quietly, running his fingers down the elegant writing. "I don't know," he muttered through his smile. He looked at the parchment wondrously as the words slowly dissolved and new ones formed in its place.
Remember that time you asked me at dinner when I started noticing you?
"Yeah, the time when you got all flustered? I remember it quite well," Harry said, grinning.
Shut up you! No need to rub it in my face! Anyway, I figured it out!
Not when. Where…
Harry bit his lip thoughtfully. "I don't know what you're talking about…"
Fifth year. Quidditch World Cup.
"Oh," Harry said stupidly, his mind fluttering through his memories and stopping at the disastrous World Cup. He vaguely remembered running into the Malfoy family on his way to the box seats.
Now do you know where I am?
Harry snorted. "Why the hell are you there?"
That was also the first time I realized what I wanted to do with my life if it wasn't completely fucked up by Voldemort.
"I didn't know that!" Harry said, surprised.
Want to come?
Harry smiled again. "Hmm… I don't know… I am awfully tired," he said, yawning.
I go to all this trouble and all you can think of doing is sleep? Unbelievable! You are coming.
Harry guffawed. "You can't make me," he said sardonically.
The parchment suddenly went blank and started to glow blue. Before Harry could drop it on the table, he felt himself being pulled out of the kitchen. He yelped in surprise as he was twisted around. He closed his eyes against the dizziness of being spun. After a few seconds the force let go of him, releasing him from the Portkey. He stumbled on the ground, his head spinning. He promptly fell onto his back on the grass, his eyes glazed over.
"I'll fuckin' kill you, Malfoy!" Harry yelled.
He heard Draco laugh from behind him. Harry struggled to his feet, trying to maintain a composed demeanor despite staggering under his offset balance. He scowled at Draco's amused face and then glanced around him. He was standing in the middle of the gigantic stadium. The seats were eerily empty but the lights were lit against the night sky. The goal rings towered over him on either side of the field. Harry marveled at the vastness of the dome, his eyes glimmering with excitement at being able to stand in the pitch that had seen hundreds of startling goals and fantastic dives.
"I knew you'd like it," Draco interrupted Harry's thoughts. Harry quickly wiped the grin off his face and turned back to scowl at Draco. "Want to give it a whirl?" Draco asked, pointing his wand over Harry's shoulder. Harry turned around in time to see Draco's Lightning stopping silently behind him. His eyes widened with surprise.
"Really?" he asked, looking at Draco out of the corner of his eye.
"What's the worst that could happen?" Draco said, chuckling.
"True," Harry said, sliding his fingers down the broom reverently.
Draco walked up and insistently put his hand over Harry's, making him clutch the Firebolt. Harry smiled and nodded, mounting it with ease. He pushed off, letting his body adjust to the feathery movements of the broom. It felt like he was floating on nothing. He leaned forward and the broom responded with enthusiasm. He flew towards the south end of the field, turning slightly whenever he felt like it. He braked to a halt beside the tallest ring, looking down at the pitch.
Draco was shielding his eyes against the bright lights as he looked up at Harry. Harry grinned widely before pushing the broom downwards into a confident Wronski Feint. He rapidly twisted around, making the broom corkscrew as it zoomed towards the ground. Harry felt the wind whizzing through his hair, making his eyes water. He could hardly breathe as air rushed into his nose, blocking him from exhaling. He spun towards the ground, his heart rushing with exhilaration. In one smooth swerve, Harry straightened the broom and twirled back up into the air. He laughed enthusiastically as his stomach dropped and his heart floated up. He raised his hands above his head hesitantly, reaching up for the stars. The broom never wavered as Harry looked up at the cloudless skies, spinning. Harry slowed the broom with his skilled body, stopping it from twisting. He let his hands drop from above him and he pushed the windswept hair out of his face. He looked back down at Draco with a dreamy look on his face. His breath was coming out in short bursts as he flew back towards Draco.
"Wow," he breathed, dismounting. He looked at the Firebolt in appreciation before handing it back to Draco.
"I know," Draco said, smiling at Harry's amazed expression. He placed the broom on the ground and pulled Harry into a kiss. Harry's mind whirled and his heart clamored with adrenaline. Draco broke the kiss after a short moment and sat down on the grass, pulling Harry along with him. "So, this is where I noticed you, Harry," Draco said, running his fingers down Harry's flushed face.
"Hmm…" Harry replied, lying down on the grass.
Draco grinned at Harry's satisfied face. He lay down beside him, propping himself up on his elbow and staring at Harry's rapturous eyes. "This is where I knew what to do with my life. Watching that Quidditch match was… it was unbelievable. The excitement of seeing the players fly and the crowd cheering so wildly – I wanted to know what it would be like to be on the other side. I decided then that if I got out of Hogwarts alive, I'd want to live my life playing Quidditch, loving it more than I have ever loved anything else."
Harry turned his head to look at Draco. "Thanks for telling me this and bringing me here," he said, gently cupping Draco's cheek.
"Since I met you, everything changed. When I realized how important you are to me, I started to love you more than I have ever loved anything else," Draco said.
Harry smiled distantly. "You're turning into one sappy guy, Malfoy," he said.
"And it's all your fault, Potter," Draco said. He laid his head next to Harry's, staring up at the sky. Harry wrapped his fingers around Draco's, holding them tightly. Harry heard soft rustling and felt Draco pressing something into his fingers. He drew up his hand, realizing he was holding another folded piece of paper.
"Planning to Portkey me again, are you?" Harry mumbled, smirking. He unfolded the parchment.
I want to spend the rest of my life letting you know how much I love you… Marry me?
Harry sat up, his stomach filling with butterflies. He read the words again, blinking fiercely. The words didn't disappear this time. They stayed on the parchment, as stubborn as Draco's writing. He jumped when he felt Draco's arms holding him. He felt Draco's heart beating rapidly against him and his hands shook.
"Yes," he said, turning around in Draco's arms and staring at him with a stunned smile. He pushed his trembling lips into Draco's awaiting mouth. "Oh, a million times, yes," Harry whispered.