Title: Drop by Drop

Rating: NC-17

Beta: oflights

A/N: Written for simeysgirl who gave me the prompts bet, stripes, elephant, backpack, lift (as in NOT elevator!), gratutitous use of the word arse, bunny (and, having just checked my email, 'Asda', but i totally forgot about that one! SORRY). I also rolled over a couple of prompts from Bottoms Up and Awkward Moments. This was supposed to be the final part of this series, but... it probably won't be. OOPS. Title from the Gloria Naylor quote: "We cannot tell the exact moment a friendship is formed; as in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses, there is at last one that makes the heart run over."

"For how long?" asked Harry, a pout clearly pulling at his bottom lip.

"Just the weekend," Draco reassured him. "You can stay with me Friday night, if you want. And I'll come by and see you on Monday evening. You won't even know I'm gone."

"But... I've seen you every Saturday since that first one. Every Saturday for five months since I walked in to this very pub and sat down over there." Harry pointed without looking to the bar on the other side of the pub.

Draco sighed. He knew Harry wasn't going to like him having to go away for the weekend, but he didn't think he was going to be quite so petulant about it.

"I know, Harry, but it's been arranged for months. I'm sorry."

"And you didn't think about inviting me along?" Harry asked, brightening slightly and looking hopeful.

"Harry, it's work..." Draco trailed off, knowing that was an awful excuse.

"Don't give me that crap, Draco. You're the boss. You can do whatever the hell you want." Harry frowned and downed the rest of his lager. "Is that it, you don't want me to come?" he asked.

"Don't be a twat," chastised Draco. "The truth is, I really didn't think you'd want to." At Harry's questioning look, Draco elaborated. "You know Blaise is my Business Advisor, so he will obviously be coming. As well as Pansy—"

"Pansy!" Harry interrupted, incredulous.

Draco nodded. "She's my silent partner in the business, and pretty much stays out of it, but whenever we go scouting for a new location she insists on tagging along. She always has a feeble justification for coming, but it's only ever an excuse to get pissed." He paused to wonder if it wasn't about time he tried to encourage her to attend Alcoholics Anonymous, but as he took a dip swig of his third beer he decided that might be a tad hypocritical.

"So this is about me meeting your friends? Or, well, not meeting your friends?"

Looking up at Harry from behind his beer, Draco saw the same worry and uncertainty he felt about this topic reflected back at him. They had skirted around the subject of each other's friends several time before; arranging dates and time together around commitments with friends to carefully avoid any awkward confrontations. It was truly difficult in the fact that they each already knew the other's friends, and those friends had such firmly held beliefs about each of them that would prove hard to overcome.

As Draco held Harry's gaze, he knew they couldn't go on pretending the elephant wasn't in the room. If he was serious about Harry—which he really fucking was—then they needed to move things forward sooner or later.

Deciding to stop hiding in his drink, Draco took a deep breath and, being thankful that he at least wasn't suggesting introducing Harry to his parents, pointed at the elephant and demand that they acknowledge its existence.

"Actually, maybe it's time you should meet my friends," he stated earnestly.

Harry's eyes widened a fraction in shock, but he was smiling when he asked, "Are you sure?"

"Yes." Draco gave a curt nod. "We can't hide from this for—" He wanted to say forever, but didn't want to scare Harry too much in one day, so settled on, "much longer."

"Does this mean your weekend work trip gets to become a romantic getaway?" Harry was smirking, and it didn't suit him.

"For you maybe, I will still have to work. But yes, this means you're welcome to come with me."

With a pleased smile Harry grabbed up both their glasses and made for the bar.

"This calls for a celebratory drink!" he called over his shoulder.

Draco wasn't sure if they were celebrating the fact that Harry would be coming with him for the weekend, or the fact that Harry would be meeting his hostile former classmates as Draco's boyfriend. He decided not to ask.

When Harry returned with two foaming glasses of lager they chinked them together with a loud "Cheers!" and drank deeply.

"You know this means you'll have to see my friends too, don't you?" asked Harry as he raised a challenging eyebrow.

"As much as I had hoped you'd forget you even had friends, yes. I know I will have to meet with them and, Merlin help me, be nice to them." Draco rolled his eyes and considered the merits of drowning himself in his glass of beer.

Harry attempted to hide his smile behind his hand. He failed.

"Does the, er," Draco faltered, almost resorting to petty nicknames. He started again. "Does Weasley even know about us? As I recall, his reaction to us even being friends sent you to this very pub to drown your sorrows in a vat of vodka."

"It wasn't a vat of vodka," said Harry. Then continued with a mumbled, "More like a couple of bottles."

Draco laughed, but insisted, "Answer the question, Harry. Does Weasley know we're dating?"

"I told him, yes. But he hasn't said a word about it. I think he's trying to ignore it or pretend it isn't happening."

"Well, in that case I will of course need to meet with him and snog your face off to enlighten him." Draco sniffed importantly. "It's the least I can do."

"You self-sacrificing, trouble-causing git," said Harry, shaking his head.

Draco grinned.

"You know it won't be as easy as all that," Harry stated.

"Oh, I know." Draco bit his lip while pondering how his friends would react to Harry. "If we thought becoming a couple was difficult, it will be nothing compared to getting to know the friends." He visibly cringed.

Harry only nodded, looking discontent.

It was as he was finishing his fourth beer of the early evening that Draco found himself tipsy enough to not only think of, but to actually voice an incredibly childish idea.

"If it's going to be that traumatic, let's make it interesting," he said, holding back his drunken giggles.

"Interesting how?" asked Harry with narrowed eyes.

"I will bet with you that I can get on better with your friends than you can with mine," said Draco as he leaned across the table on his elbows.

"Oh, you have got to be joking. You and Ron? A Malfoy and a Weasley? Whose seething hatred goes back generations, being friendlier than me and Pansy?" Harry laughed heartily. "Yeah, right."

"The same Pansy who demanded you be offered up to the bad guy on a silver platter? The same Pansy who has been my best friend since I was in nappies and will no doubt threaten you with a wide variety of hexes should you so much as make me frown? The same Pansy who—"

"Okay, okay," Harry interrupted Draco's long and impassioned (and long) Pansy speech. "I get it. It's pointless betting money on this, you realise?"

Draco rolled his eyes. Harry always was good at stating the obvious.

"So what do you want to bet?" asked Harry as Draco moved around the table to sit beside him.

Draco smiled and leaned into Harry, letting his booze-addled mind bask in the warmth and comfort of him. He bent his head close and whispered in Harry's ear.

"I'll bet my arse."

As Draco Flooed into Harry's living room early on Saturday morning, he felt the first pang of nerves since agreeing to introduce Harry to his friends. It was stupid, he knew, because they had all already met. Blaise and Pansy had known for months that he'd been seeing Harry. At first they'd assumed it was just a physical thing—shagging the Chosen One and all—but as time had gone on, and the more they heard Draco gush about Harry, they had come to realise how serious this relationship was to Draco. He was sure his friends weren't going to hex Harry on sight, but he couldn't guarantee Harry's safety from their—quite frankly, vicious—verbal attacks. And this made Draco uneasy, because he didn't want to see Harry hurt, physically or emotionally.

Glancing around the room he found that Harry wasn't in it. A quick look at his watch told Draco they had half an hour before they had to check into the hotel and meet Blaise and Pansy. No doubt Harry was upstairs frantically trying to pack at the last minute, never mind the fact that Draco had reminded him via owl every day this week to do his packing ahead of time.

With a sigh Draco dropped his overnight bag on the sofa and made his way to the stairs.

Before he had even reached the top Draco could hear draws being opened and slammed shut and the distinct muttering of choice curse words. Harry really did have a filthy mouth when he thought no one could hear him.

"Didn't I tell you in my last letter that if you weren't packed and ready to go I'd..." Draco forgot completely what he said he would do as he strode into Harry's bedroom.

The room was a complete mess. Harry wasn't the tidiest person on a good day, but Draco had always been able to find his way to the bed before. Now he could only assume the bed was somewhere under the highest pile of clothing. There were trousers, shirts and robes strewn on every available surface. As well as socks, shoes and—was that a pair of blue Nike jogging bottoms covered in paint splatter? He'd have to ask Harry about that later.

"We're only going for two nights, you know," said Draco once he had located Harry, clad only in boxers shorts, amongst the mess.

"Git," replied Harry. "I've already packed." He pointed to a small backpack on the floor next to the door.

"You do realise we're staying at a hotel, not going camping, don't you?" asked Draco with a frown.

"Yeah, so?" said Harry distractedly as he bent over and rummaged through some more clothes.

"Don't you have an overnight bag?"

"What's an overnight bag?"

"A bag for... when you stay overnight... somewhere." Draco had never had to explain the concept of 'overnight bag' to anyone before.

"So it's basically just a bag?" asked Harry as he straightened up and looked at Draco.

Draco huffed a little. Harry had no sense of class. How had Draco not realised he was dating a commoner before now?

"Whatever." Draco decided to let it slide, but buy Harry an overnight bag before he took him anywhere again. "If you're already packed," said Draco as he eyed the backpack with disdain, "then what's with this?" He gestured to the room at large. "Did your wardrobe explode?"

"No. It's..." Harry flopped down on the pile of clothes that used to be a bed. "I can't decide what to wear," he whined.

"Your fashion ineptitude has never prevented you from getting dressed before," stated Draco reasonably.

"I don't care about fashion," said Harry as he tipped his head back to look at Draco upside down and wrinkled his nose in apparent disgust.

"Oh, I know that," said Draco all too quickly; causing Harry to stick out his upside down tongue. "So then I ask again: What's with this?" He again indicated the mess.

"I want to make a good first impression to your friends." Harry turned his head away as he spoke, but Draco could imagine the blush.

So Harry was just as nervous as Draco was. Draco didn't know whether to be reassured or unassured by that fact. Either way, his first priority was to comfort Harry. As a Malfoy, he knew he would be awful at this, so he could only be his usual snarky self. Hopefully Harry would understand.

"Harry, dear," he said firmly and not a little condescendingly, "they've already met you. The first impression opportunity happened about 11 years ago. And considering how my friends and I treated you over seven of those 11 years, I'd say it didn't go very well."

Harry scowled up at Draco, but there was no venom in it.

"Wear whatever you want, Harry; it makes not a jot of difference to me. And my friends can keep their mouths shut, because they have no idea what's under your clothes." Draco smiled and raised a lascivious eyebrow.

It had the desired effect; Harry smiled.

"Now come on," said Draco after a quick look at his watch. "We've only got 10 minutes to clear up this mess you call clothing and Apparate close to the hotel."

"Close to? Don't they have an Apparition point?" asked Harry as pulled on the clothing closest to him and he waved his wand. Every out of place garment began folding itself and finding a drawer, or hanging itself in the wardrobe.

"It's a Muggle hotel, so no."

"Muggle hotel? Where are we going?"

"Scotland. Inverurie, to be exact. My Business Advisor tells me they're crying out for a decent pub there. And don't be so shocked about the Muggle thing. All my pubs are Muggle, you know that."

"I know I know that," said Harry as his room finished tidying itself and he grabbed his backpack. "I also know I'll never get over it. How many pubs do you own, again?"

"Over 800," answered Draco matter-of-factly.

"Gordon Bennett!" cried Harry. No matter how many times Draco told him how successful his business was, Harry was always shocked. Draco was always mildly insulted.

They made their way out of the bedroom and down the stairs.

"And you'll be spending all day today looking at possible locations for this new one?" Harry's pout was back, but Draco kissed it away.

"Yes, but I plan on making full use of our hotel room by shagging you on every piece of furniture in it later tonight. If that cheers you up at all?"

Harry simply smiled.

After being rescued by Draco from the mess of his clothing-induced panic, Harry had Apparated with him to Scotland. They had checked swiftly into the hotel and after the briefest of greetings exchanged with Blaise and Pansy—which had almost unnerved Harry more than the epic showdown he had been expecting—they all left. Draco and Blaise left to view possible buildings and locations for the planned new pub and Pansy to do... whatever it was she wanted to be here for, Harry still wasn't quite sure.

So Harry had spent the morning in his and Draco's hotel room. He had brought a book and had attempted to read it, but found himself getting distracted by glancing around the room at the furniture there and imagining Draco bending him over each and every item. He couldn't even take a piss without imaging Draco sitting on the toilet in front of him with his lips wrapped around Harry's cock. And do you know what taking a leak with a hard on is like? It's fucking impossible, is what it is.

Harry was bored and lonely. He had become accustomed to busy Saturdays spent playing football with his friends or out (or in) on dates with Draco. He was granted a brief reprieve in his sullen Saturday when Draco popped back at lunch time, but he didn't stay long. He simply dropped off and picked up a few files, grabbed some nuts from the hotel room's mini bar and landed a strong but quick kiss on Harry's expectant lips. All the while mumbling things like 'Fucking estate agents', 'How the fuck can I turn that into a pub? It was a fucking shit hole' and 'For fuck's sake, fuck my life'. Draco's word of the day appeared to be 'fuck'.

By the early afternoon Harry decided to take a trip around the hotel. He went all the way down to the ground floor, then all the way up the top floor, stopping off at each floor on the way down. Considering the hotel only had eight floors, this didn't actually take very long. And now Harry could safely say each and every floor looked exactly the same.

Eventually Harry gave up any pretence of attempting to find something entertaining to do. Instead, he decided to sample the mini bar's alcohol contents. After more than a few miniature bottles of the finest Scotch whiskey (when in Rome...) Harry began to wonder how on earth anyone could get drunk on booze that came in such tiny bottles. So he headed back to the ground floor and made a beeline for the hotel bar. It was only two o'clock in the afternoon and he was already buzzed from the whisky, but that didn't stop Harry from ordering a shot of vodka—which he drank immediately—followed by a pint of lager. He spun on his bar stool and surveyed the room. It was mid-afternoon in a hotel bar in a small town in Scotland. The room was empty. Well, almost empty. Over in the corner Harry could see one other patron, sat low in their chair with their head leaning back, eyes closed and a half-empty glass in front of them.

It was Pansy Parkinson.

Harry first instinct was to run from the bar and hide himself back in his room. As childish as that may be, it held some merit. The mini bar in his room had booze, tiny expensive booze, but booze nonetheless. And his room didn't have Pansy in it, quite the selling point, really. Unfortunately Harry's sense of boyfriendly duty took over and he knew he couldn't run away from her; speaking to her and spending time with her was the whole point of being here.

And that's when Harry remembered the bet.

Gulping down half of his beer in two large gulps, Harry plastered on a smile he usually saved for Ministry events and the press, and made his way towards Pansy.

Only two steps from the table Pansy opened one eye and peered at Harry. She closed her eye and pursed her lips briefly before downing the rest of her drink. Without looking at Harry she held out her now-empty glass to him and waved it expectantly.

"Wonderful timing, Potter," she said.


"Gin and tonic, make it a double."

Harry took a deep breath and refrained from rolling his eyes, though he was sure he had burst a blood vessel with the effort of it. Having no other choice, he turned around and went back the way he had come.

Once at the bar he ordered Pansy's drink and hurriedly swigged the rest of his beer before ordering another; again preceded by a shot of vodka. Dutch courage was seriously underrated. He made his way back over to Pansy on slightly wobbly legs and with a rather fuzzy head. Perhaps he should have had more than a packet of crisps for lunch.

He placed the gin and tonic on the table in front of Pansy, and himself in the chair opposite. She did not thank him, or acknowledge the drink at all. Instead she set her eyes on Harry and he felt as if he was being studied and analysed, or as though Pansy was waiting for him to grow a second head.

"You're drunk," she declared and picked up her drink.

This was true. Looking back at her, still slumped ridiculously low in her chair and now trying unsuccessfully to sip from her full glass from her near-vertical angle, Harry realised he wasn't the only one.

"So are you," he retorted.

Pansy brushed Harry's words away with a sweep of her arm.

"Hardly," she said before spilling a little of her drink down her chin. "Maybe a little tipsy," she conceded. She sat up straighter in her chair.

"Have you been drinking all day?" asked Harry, remembering what Draco had said last week about Pansy using these trips as an excuse to get pissed.

"Yes," she answered cheerfully. "Got to do my part for the business."

"And your part is getting drunk?"

"No, you idiot." She rolled her eyes and took another sip of her drink. "I have been out all day sampling the competition. We need to know what the other pubs—and their alcohol—in the area are like before we set up shop. Getting drunk is just a pleasant and unavoidable consequence." She grinned, obviously pleased with herself.

"That makes sense," said Harry calmly. It was fucking bonkers, but whatever. "And now you're sampling the hotel bar's alcohol?"

"They sell alcohol, therefore they are competition. So yes." Another sip; her drink was almost empty again.

They sat silently for a few minutes. Other than the fact that Pansy may have an alcohol problem, Harry didn't actually know anything about her. He couldn't think of a word to say to the woman. He was spared having to when Pansy heaved a deep sigh and spoke.

"As much as it pains me, Potter, I will make a bloody effort. For Draco." She looked at him with hard eyes, as though challenging him to make this any more difficult than it had to be. He responded with a large and innocent smile. Pansy rolled her eyes. "Draco's been off gallivanting with Blaise all day, so what have you been doing to keep yourself occupied?" she asked. Then, glancing at Harry's beer added, "Other than the obvious."

"Oh, er, not much," said Harry, followed by an awkward little cough. He wasn't about the share the fact he had spent the morning sexually frustrated thinking about what he planned to do with Draco all over the hotel furniture later. "Riding up and down in the elevator, mostly."

"'Elevator'? It's a lift, you uncouth twat. How on Earth does Draco put up with you?"

"By sardonically correcting me at every opportunity," admitted Harry. "I think he secretly likes it, actually," he added in a stage whisper; Pansy snorted. "He's also fond of the word 'uncouth'. One of these days I'll actually look up what it means." He ended with a self-disparaging shrug.

Pansy let out a short, but nonetheless carefree laugh at that.

"You're alright, Potter," she said, before finishing her drink and heading to the bar.

When Pansy returned it was with a drink in each hand. She put the beer down in front of Harry and started on her umpteenth gin and tonic immediately. Harry hid his surprise at the gesture and mumbled his thanks.

The silence returned and Pansy was watching him again, but with another beer to occupy his hands and further fuddle his brain, Harry found he didn't mind. He let his mind wander and—inevitably—it settled on Draco. He thought back to some of the fantasies he had had that morning, deciding which one he wanted to play out when Draco finally returned to the hotel for the night.

"So, Potter." Pansy's voice snapped him out of his daydreams. "You and Draco have been dating for a while now. Tell me all the juicy details about your, no doubt thrilling, sexual escapades." She smirked and raised a—what Harry could only describe as hungry—eyebrow at him.

For a moment all Harry could do was gape at her. He was sure she must have used Legilimency to see his thoughts, but then realised there had been no eye contact. He fought to regain his composure as his mind struggled for an adequate response.

"Well, that, you know..." Harry had no idea what he was supposed to say to his boyfriend's best friend about their sex life. Then he stopped stuttering and glared at Pansy. "Considering you're Draco's best friend, I'm sure he's told you plenty of details about extremely thrilling sexual escapades." He wasn't about to let the drunken wench catch him out that easily.

Pansy huffed. "He usually does. But not with you, Potter—not a single word." She crossed her arms and leaned back in her chair with an air of harsh contemplation about her. "At first it worried me, but eventually I realised it's because he's serious about you. Serious is something he's not been about lovers before."

These words pleased Harry more than he could describe. So he didn't try to. He felt a sappy smile pull at his lips and his cheeks warm. There was nothing he could think of to say to Pansy's statement that wouldn't be utterly saccharine, so he kept his mouth shut.

"You're an okay bloke, Potter. And Draco really likes you, so I'm more than willing to put up with you and your stupid Gryffindorish idiocy," said Pansy with exaggerated exasperation.

Before Harry had time to laugh and point out to her that stupidity and idiocy were the same thing, the atmosphere around them turned serious. Pansy leaned across the table, held eye contact and levelled her most stern look yet at him.

"But if you hurt Draco I will personally remove your bollocks with a Garotting Spell and replace them with cacti." There was a heavy pause as Pansy continued to stare Harry down, while Harry attempted not to whimper and reach for his crotch.

"Okay, then," he managed, thankfully sounding closer to his normal tone than he thought he would.

Pansy simply nodded once and resumed her previous casual posture and indifferent attitude.

With loyalty tests and threats of bodily harm out of the way, the next hour past quite amicably and more than a few drinks were consumed. When she wasn't hurling insults, scowling or wanting to give him up to a murderous lunatic, Pansy was actually a lot of fun. She had a wicked sense of humour and must give Draco a run for his money with her sarcasm and wit; he could see why they were best friends.

It was a while later that Harry, after wiping up the beer he had spat across the table while laughing at one of Pansy's schoolboy-Draco anecdotes, happened to look up and see the man in question step out of the lift.

"Draco!" cried Harry happily as he attempted to stand up.

Instead he tripped over his own drunken feet and collapsed on the floor. Over the noise of his body crashing into the bar's threadbare carpet Harry could hear Pansy howling with laughter and Draco's yelled cursing.

"You stupid bloody fuck," shouted Draco as he rushed over to Harry and Pansy.

After a whole day spent trailing around after Blaise from one decrepit old building to another Draco had been ready to curl up with Harry, shag away his weariness and sleep soundly. So when he got back to the hotel room to discover it empty, he found himself going from angry to fed up to worried in the space of a few minutes.

Deciding it would be best to check with the hotel's front desk, in case Harry had left Draco a message, he had made his way back to the ground floor.

Draco had barely made it two steps out of the lift when he heard his name called. He looked over in time to see Harry fall gracelessly to the floor and Pansy throw her head back with laughter.

When he arrived at their table Harry had managed to pull himself up onto his knees and was currently gripping the table for balance. Draco wondered just how long the pair of them had been here drinking, but decided it best not to ask; he probably wouldn't get a coherent answer anyway.

Grabbing Harry under the armpits, Draco hauled him up and deposited him back into his chair. He then settled himself into the seat between the two drunkards and snatched up Pansy's drink, downing it in one.

"Hey!" Pansy complained, but only half-heartedly.

Draco didn't even spare her the disgruntled look he wanted to, choosing instead to pluck Harry's beer out from under his nose and take a deep swig. Harry stared at his empty hand with wide eyes, obviously wondering where his drink had gone. Draco's mind shot back to the last time he'd seen Harry this drunk and couldn't help but wonder where he'd hidden all the shot glasses.

"So, you managed not to kill each other, then?" he asked after finally lowering the glass to take a breath.

"Of course we didn't," replied Pansy.

At the same time Harry said, "She did threaten my bollocks, though!"

Pansy glared at Harry briefly, though Harry seemed to miss it; he was too busy gazing at Draco.

"I missed you," cooed Harry.

"I missed you too," said Draco as he placed a hand on top of Harry's. "But how much have you had to drink today, Harry?"

Harry closed his eyes and shrugged, then, upon opening his eyes again, grinned at Draco as though seeing him for the first time. Draco didn't know whether to laugh or roll his eyes. He settled for turning to Pansy and raising an eyebrow that demanded answers.

"Don't look at me; he was drunk when he got here," she said, holding up her arms in an act of defence.

"And exactly how long ago was that?" He didn't lower his eyebrow.

"Er..." Pansy looked at her wrist—where there was no watch—then around at the room as if it could provide the answer. "About six beers, nine shots of vodka and several hundred G & T's ago."

Draco let his eyes fall shut as he took a deep breath. The sound of a chair being scraped back and the urgent rustle of clothing made him open his eyes again. Just in time to see Harry rushing to the toilet with a hand over his mouth.

"That boy really can't hold his liquor," said Pansy with a small shake of her head.

"He's not a professional drunk like you, dear," replied Draco. Pansy positively beamed at the compliment. "I'm going to make sure he's alright and then take him to bed."

They stood up together and Pansy leaned in and kissed Draco lightly on the cheek before whispering in his ear.

"He's not so bad; I could almost like him."

Without waiting for a response she sauntered away from Draco and over to the bar. Draco stood still and smiled to himself for a moment. From Pansy that was pretty high praise, and the fact that she not only accepted Harry as Draco's boyfriend, but could happily sit and get drunk with him... Well, it meant a fucking lot to Draco. He knew he'd have to put in a huge effort with Weasley if he was going to win their bet.

On that note, Draco decided to make himself feel better by watching Harry bent over a toilet emptying the contents of his stomach.

What Draco actually found in the toilet was Harry bent over a sink splashing cold water on his face.

"Did I miss the vomiting? Oh well, with how drunk you are I'm sure there'll be another performance before the night is through."

"You are a mean and nasty boyfriend," mumbled Harry through his hands. "Now help me get to bed and take care of me," he added, with a small pout that Draco knew was all for show.

"Come on, then." Draco held out his arms and Harry stumbled into them, burrowing his face into Draco's neck and his arms held tight around Draco's waist.

"Mmmm," hummed Harry, obviously comfortable. "I love your hugs."

Draco chuckled and stroked Harry's back.

"Stop shaking," said Harry against Draco's neck.

Draco stopped laughing and whispered, "Sorry," against Harry's hair.

As Draco continued to stroke Harry's back, Harry relaxed more and leaned heavily on Draco.

"I love your strokes," said Harry quietly.

They stood their quietly for a while; Draco wasn't sure how long. He was hoping if Harry relaxed enough he would be able to Apparate them both to their room without the risk of Harry throwing up from the sensation. Draco really didn't fancy dragging a drunken Harry though the entire hotel.

When Harry huffed out a puff of air against Draco's neck, he realised Harry was practically asleep already. Draco resisted the urge to laugh again, lest he wake Harry up. Instead he kissed the top of Harry's head, tightened his arms a little around Harry's waist and Apparated them away.

Once safely back in their room—and thankfully vomit-free—Draco carefully laid Harry down on the bed. He gave a brief thought to the fantasies he'd been having all day about what he had been hoping he and Harry would get up to in this room that night, but didn't dwell on them. As he removed his arms from around Harry he stirred a little, turning his head and reaching for Draco. Smiling, Draco leaned down and reached out to stroke Harry's cheek.

"I love you," said Harry, quietly, but clearly. It was followed by a sigh, and Harry slept on.

Draco remained standing and watched Harry sleep for a long time. He knew Harry was drunk, that he was inclined to be overly affectionate and forthcoming after so much alcohol. But he also knew Harry would never say those words unless he meant them; drunk and half asleep or not. Draco knew that just as much as he knew he felt the same way.

Harry was woken up by the loud and unceremonious knocking of room service on the hotel door. He dragged himself out of bed in order to tell them—politely—to piss off and come back later.

Without much thought to anything other than the sandpaper lining his throat, the newly installed carpet on his tongue or the mariachi band that had taken up residence in his head, he wandered aimlessly into the bathroom. After a long hot shower, which did wonders for every part of him that wasn't hungover (so, not a lot), he made his way back to the bedroom intent on morning snuggles with Draco until he felt like facing the world again.

What he found in the bedroom was not Draco, but an empty bed. Trying not to pout (and failing) Harry sat down on the bed and was about to flop back down on the pillows when he saw it. A note with his name on it propped up against a small and familiar vile.

Recognising Draco's handwriting Harry snatched it up immediately and read.

It's a good job Pansy came prepared. Take the potion and meet me downstairs for breakfast. - D x

Smiling, Harry guzzled down the Hangover Potion and had barely swallowed it before he was bounding out the door.

Finding Draco sitting at a table alone in the hotel restaurant, Harry sat down opposite and stole a triangular piece of jam on toast from Draco's plate. He was suddenly rather hungry.

"Welcome back to the land of sobriety, Potter."

Harry cringed at the use of his surname. He didn't hear Draco call him that very often any more.

"That bad, huh?" asked Harry before taking a large bite of his stolen toast.

"Even without the kinky hotel sex I had been hoping for, it was harmless fun and almost kind of cute. Until you woke up at 3:00 am and decided the bedside drawer was an excellent place to throw up." As he spoke, Draco pushed the rest of his toast away. "If the sound of you retching hadn't woken me up, the smell of your vomit would have."

At least Harry now knew why he was so hungry; he had emptied his stomach the night before. Not even talk of his own sick could put his ravenous stomach off, and Harry gladly pulled Draco's abandoned plate towards him.

"Sorry," said Harry around a mouthful of food.

"That's really not helping." Draco screwed up his nose, but by now Harry could spot the fondness in his eyes.

Harry grinned a full set of jammy teeth at him, and Draco finally caved and smiled.

"Okay, okay, you're an adorable drunk. But there is still a drawer full of vomit you'll need to banish before we check-out."

"You didn't do it straight away?" Harry was horrified. Banishing fresh vomit was simple enough, but after several hours it would have soaked into the wood and dried around the edges. He would not only have to banish, but Tergeo and Scourgify, too.

"Harry, it was 3:00 am. I barely managed a Vacuus Foetor."

Pushing the thought of cleaning drawers to the back of his mind for now, Harry remembered how and why he had gotten so drunk in the first place.

"So, have I successfully won Pansy over?" He crossed his fingers under the table and nibbled nervously on his bottom lip.

Draco looked to be considering his answer for moment, likely deliberately trying to keep Harry in suspense. "It would appear so; you do still have your balls, don't you?"

Instinctively Harry's hand shot to his crotch and he released a grateful sigh when he found his tackle present and whole. His relief must have shown on his face because Draco chuckled.

"As if I'd let her anywhere near your bollocks, Harry. I'm really quite fond of them, but not so much that I'd want to carry them around in my pocket."

Harry winced and reached for his groin once again.

"So it's looking good for me winning the bet, yeah?" Harry bragged.

"Oh, I wouldn't be so sure about that. I can be quite charming when I need to be." Draco bowed his head, smiled and seemed to be blinking rather slowly at Harry.

"You're planning to charm Ron? You mean with your wiles or your wand?" Harry frowned in brief contemplation before quickly continuing. "Either way I don't think you'll succeed. Regardless of how pretty you are, Ron's not even remotely gay. And he's a damn good Auror who would spot any kind of belying charm a mile away."

Draco made a disgruntled noise and sipped his tea.

"If last night is the precedence I have to live up to and beat, then surely all I need to do is get pissed with Weasley." Draco voice was clipped and he didn't look at Harry as he spoke.

"You seem rather annoyed about the fact that I got drunk last night. Why?" Harry cringed. "Other than the vomiting and lack of sex." He reached over and forcefully made Draco lower the mug he was attempting to hide behind. "I spent time with your friend and we didn't kill each other. I thought you'd be more pleased."

"I am." Draco put down his mug and looked at Harry seriously. "But you spent hours with Pansy. You spent hours with Pansy while you were drunk... Pansy." He heaved a deep breath as he hurriedly poured himself another full mug of tea. "Fuck knows what will come of that. We haven't seen the full repercussions yet."

Harry just smiled and shook his head. He didn't know what Draco could mean; Pansy was a sarcastic bitch, but she was a lot of fun. In fact he'd already thought about possible ways of getting her and Hermione on friendly terms; Pansy would be able to loosen his slightly more uptight friend up, no doubt about that.

"Anyway," said Harry, wanting to move the conversation swiftly on. "It's time for you to meet my friends." He grinned widely over the table at Draco, who closed his eyes, quite obviously fighting an eye roll, and began fiddling with a napkin.

"As much as I would really rather not, I do quite like you a lot, so... needs must, I suppose." He sighed and stopped playing with his napkin, instead he folded his hands over the top of it. "What did you have in mind?"

"Well, you know I often play in a weekly football match?" asked Harry. Draco looked Harry straight in the eye and raised one incredulous eyebrow, seemingly challenging Harry to continue with this subject of conversation. Harry fought a smile and failed.

Since Harry had started dating Draco, his attendance to the Saturday morning football matches had been less than consistent. Sometimes he arrived late, having stayed at Draco's on the Friday night and getting waylaid by Draco (and his lips and tongue and hands and cock) in the morning. Other times Harry simply chose to spend the day with Draco, either in bed or at the pub, or on silly dates.

"Of course you do," continued Harry, knowing Draco wasn't going to answer his obvious question. "Ron plays, too. And Hermione often comes to watch. After spending this weekend away with you, I really want to go play in the match next Saturday and, er..." Up until this point Harry had been feeling very positive about his suggestion, but seeing Draco's unmoved facial expression as he carried on made his confidence waver. He knew it was too late to back out now, and carried on regardless. "I think you should come along." He paused, swallowing nervously. "I want you to come along."

At those words Draco's face softened noticeably and his eyes took on a deep and heavy gaze, as though he wasn't looking at Harry so much as into him. It made Harry uncomfortable, yet perfectly safe, all at the same time. He had seen that look in Draco's eyes more and more recently, and he fancied himself in love with it. A spilt second later, however, and the look was gone. In its place was a faux-exasperated look of resignation.

"Would I have to play?" Draco asked with an exaggerated whine to his voice.

With a chuckle, Harry replied, "That would kind of be the point. How else will you get to know my friends? Besides," a smirk Harry had picked up from Draco slid easily onto his face, "I've been looking for an excuse to get your arse into a pair of shorts."

Nervousness not allowing him to stand still, Harry shifted from foot to foot and continuously rearranged the backpack on his shoulder. He looked at his watch. Draco wasn't late; Harry was stupidly early. That's what the need to get today going and quickly over with got him; the chance to stand around and worry.

It was stupid to worry, he knew. Bringing Draco all the way to Derby to play in the friendly football match had been—and still was—a good idea. He could interact with Harry's friends initially without the intimidating need to make conversation, therefore giving both Draco and Harry's friends (who was Harry kidding? Draco and Ron) the chance to get used to one another's presence and not immediately resort to insults. At least that was the plan.

For this to work Harry had already arranged for Draco and Ron to be playing on the same team. Cooperation for a common goal—Harry snorted at the accidental pun—would be much more useful than an extra reason to compete and rile each other.

Everything else was out of Harry's control. All he could do now was watch how things panned out. Which was exactly why he was stood in the prearranged meeting place tapping his toe and glancing at his watch—again.

"You look anxious, Harry," whispered voice a voice from behind in Harry's ear.

"Fuck!" cried Harry as he jumped and whipped around to face a smirking Draco. "Don't do that!"

"Couldn't resist. You've been standing here fidgeting for ages." Draco was still looking smug.

Harry screwed up his face in annoyance. "You were there all along and you just let me stand here like an idiot?"

"I let you stand there, but there's nothing I can do about the idiot part, unfortunately—ow!" Draco massaged the spot on his arm where Harry had punched him.

"Git," said Harry, appeased.

"You know I bruise like a peach, you prat."

Harry did indeed know that Draco bruised easily. He wondered what colour the bruise he'd left just under Draco's left nipple with his mouth last Sunday afternoon was now, almost a week later.

"Here you go," said Harry, holding out the backpack for Draco to take. He shook off thoughts of sexy bruises and got his mind back on the business of the day; it wouldn't do to run around the pitch with a hard on.

"What's this?" Draco asked as he reached for the bag, almost instinctively.

"Your kit. You can't play football in suit trousers and oxfords."

"These aren't oxfords!" Draco sounded scandalised as he looked down at his shoes. "They're cambridges!"

"There's a difference?" asked Harry, purposely stirring the pot. He almost regretted it when Draco gave him a clip round the ear. Almost. With Draco busy rummaging around in the bag, Harry let free an uninhibited smile.

"This top is stripy." Draco stated the obvious as he pulled out the red and white striped football shirt.

"...Yes," said Harry slowly, not understanding the point of Draco's declaration.

"Hmm," Draco hummed, still assessing the shirt. "At least they're horizontal."

"As opposed to vertical?" Harry frowned as Draco shoved the top back into the bag and nodded. "Why is that important?"

"Well," Draco began, and already Harry regretted asking. "Horizontal stripes are more slimming. It's a common misnomer that vertical stripes are the more slimming, but in fact—"

"Come on." Harry stopped Draco's flow by grabbing his arm and swinging him in the direction they needed to go and started walking.

Draco, obviously caught by surprise, let out a huff of air as Harry manhandled him and led him down the street. They weren't far from the park where they would be playing, so Harry knew he had to be quick.

"Right, listen carefully," hissed Harry, almost afraid of being overheard. "You've got to be careful of some of the other players, okay? Not all of them are my friends; just guys who enjoy playing football."

"Don't you need 22 people for a game of football?" asked Draco, shaking free of Harry's grip on his arm and walking unaided. "Of course you don't have that many friends."

"Some of them can be pretty ruthless and rough," continued Harry, not rising to Draco's bait. "Some of them can be quite mean and mocking."

"As if I can't handle myself in that regard, honestly, Harry."

Harry ignored Draco as he carried on. "And a few of them are just rather perverted, forward and overly flirtatious." At that Harry noticed Draco's interested eyebrow and twitch of a smile. "And I will deal with them personally if I see them being too friendly with my boyfriend."

"Spoil sport," mumbled Draco. And then it was Harry's turn to deliver a clip round the ear.

"Just be careful," said Harry clearly.

Draco gave him a mock salute before stepping in front of Harry, stopping him in his tracks, and kissing him soundly on the mouth.

"Stop worrying," whispered Draco against Harry's lips.

Harry smiled, but whispered back, "Not going to happen."

Rolling his eyes, Draco stepped back and continued to walk. Harry reached for his hand and held it firmly as his tried to finish his pre-prepared speech.

"And as for the actual game, Martin has a weak knee, so try to keep to his right; he won't attack from that side and will be easier to tackle. Jamie tends to try a lot of showy moves, but he's actually pretty crap, so don't be intimidated—" He had plenty more to say, but Draco interrupted him

"Harry, I don't know who these people are. They won't have their names on their shirts like professional footballers, will they? So how is any of your insane ramblings going to actually help?"

Instantly Harry opened his mouth to reply, but realised belatedly that Draco had a point.

"Fuck, sorry," said Harry quietly.

"Don't be." Draco squeezed Harry's hand reassuringly. "I'm just not psychic, you know."

"Oh, that's another thing!" Harry was relieved he'd remembered. "No magic." Harry almost laughed at the shocked and indignant look on Draco's face as he said those words. "Most of these guys are Muggles, Draco. You can't just Confund them and take the ball."

"You're no fun." Draco pouted. "Isn't sport all about playing to your strengths? Magic is a huge strength of mine."

"I know another huge strength you've got," said Harry before he could stop himself.

Draco laughed. "Distracting me with innuendos, now? Damn, I think that might work."

Suddenly Harry found himself pulled behind a telephone box and thoroughly snogged. When Draco finally released his mouth, they were both panting.

"Not now," said Harry. "We don't have time."

Draco's bottom lip, red from kissing, pushed itself out as Draco frowned.

"After the game," promised Harry. "If you're good," he added with a wink.

Draco's pout became a grin.

While Draco got changed into his borrowed stripy football uniform he tried to push away the fear growing in the pit of his stomach. There was never the option of telling Harry, but he was nervous. So very, very nervous. It's not that he's opposed to sport, or getting dirty or playing with Muggles. None of that. He zoomed about a broom almost every day growing up, often played Quidditch in rainy, muddy conditions and spends time with more Muggles than wizards these days. What Draco was nervous about was playing football.

After a meeting was cancelled on Thursday afternoon Draco had gone home early and used the spare time to research football on the internet. He thought it would be easy; there was only the one ball, after all. He'd tried to wrap his head around the rules, really he had, but he kept getting distracted by the photos of the various famous players. And then there had been that one guy, Robbie Keane, who had looked like Harry, which made Draco think about how Harry looked that day in the pub in his sky blue with claret football gear. And then Draco had no choice but to go to bed early and have a wank.

Draco considered simply staying behind in the changing rooms; there were close to 30 people here to play and watch the match, no one would notice if he just didn't show up. But no, Harry would notice. And besides, Draco stopped being a coward years ago. He wouldn't hide from this. He was doing this for Harry.

Thinking about Harry drew a smile to Draco's face. He had spent a good 10 minutes observing Harry before making his presence known at their meeting point earlier. He hadn't planned on the Potter-watching, but old habits die hard, and when he'd seen Harry was wearing the Aston Villa outfit that had played such a prominent part in Draco's fantasies only a couple of days before... He hadn't been able to help himself. Draco had to distract himself with a small shake of his head; now was not the time to get an erection.

With a deep breath and a set jaw Draco made his way out of the changing rooms, wobbling slightly on the peculiar studded shoes. It wouldn't be that bad; football games only lasted about half an hour, right?

Half an hour later Draco was lightly jogging up the large pitch, being careful to stay within sight of the ball and the action, but never stepping in to take part in it. He'd been passed the ball once, and couldn't feasibly ignore it without everyone discovering how utterly uninterested he was in playing the game. So Draco had moved forward to meet the ball, stilled it with his foot and quickly glanced around for a team mate to pass it along to. Feeling like he should make some unspoken effort—along with the fact his red hair was a beacon across the field—Draco had kicked the ball across the pitch to Weasley. How was he to know Weasley was offside at the time?

Having heard Harry shouting about people being 'offside' more than a few times during that one fateful football match Draco attended with him, the offside rule had been something Draco attempted to research thoroughly. Wikipedia had been of little help. He understood the concept, but really, it seemed overly convoluted. Including keeping track of where everyone on the pitch was at once. Which might be easy on a diagram and from above, but not in the middle of a match.

After the offside incident Draco gratefully remained out of the way and largely left alone. After another 15 minutes there was a short break in which everyone took some time to relax and grab a drink of water. And in Draco's case, steal a quick kiss from Harry. Which wasn't actually as nice as it sounded. Harry had been giving his all during the first half of the match; running at full speed up and down the pitch, sliding on the grass to attempt a tackle and on one occasion leaping into the air to avoid tripping over a fallen team mate while head butting the ball. All of this had resulted in a very dirty and sweaty Harry making his way over to Draco for a kiss before muttering something about tactics and defence and shuffling off again.

When the second half of the game began Draco realised he had at least another 45 minutes to spend vaguely moving around the pitch and being bored. He barely kept himself from simply sprawling out on the grass and hoping if enough people walked over him in those ridiculous shoes that he'd be put out of his misery. It was stupid, really. He was supposed to be here to get to know Harry's friends, but how could he do that in the middle of a football game?

Not long after being back out on the pitch, Draco noticed a distinct lack of a red-headed blur among the players. Looking around he spotted Weasley sitting on a bench to the side, obviously sitting out the rest of the match. Draco thought that highly unfair. Surely Weasley actually wanted to be here, unlike Draco who was only putting up with this disaster in order to keep his boyfriend happy. That's when it occurred to him how it would be possible to get out of the game and fulfil the reason he was here in the first place.

Waiting until one of the players near him began running towards him while looking in another direction, Draco feigned ignorance and began jogging towards the man. Sure enough, within seconds the two had collided. With hardly any force at all, the pace they were going, but still Draco 'stumbled', cried out and clutched his ankle.

Once he had been suitably replaced from the game with a substitute, Draco made his way over to the bench on which Weasley sat and lowered himself down on to it. Neither of them spoke for a few minutes, instead choosing to enjoy the silence before acknowledging each other's presence. Eventually, knowing the confrontation was unavoidable, Draco relented and spoke.

"Weasley," he said.

"Malfoy," came the reply.

They both kept their eyes on the game. Draco could only assume Weasley was actually watching the match, but Draco was barely paying attention. His gaze was fixed solely on Harry; the reason he was here, wearing this awful outfit, sitting next to a Weasley and about to attempt polite conversation.

"You play very well," was the best Draco managed. Considering Draco had no idea what made someone a good player, he wasn't technically lying.

Weasley simply turned his head slightly to look sideways at Draco. He didn't speak. Draco assumed he was adopting the 'if you don't have anything to nice to say, don't say anything at all' rule. If that was the case, it was likely this conversation would be very one-sided.

"Nice weather for it, anyway," continued Draco after a few moments. He inwardly cringed the second the words had left his mouth.

"You're actually resorting to talking about the weather, Malfoy?" Weasley's eyes were wide with exaggerated shock and a small smile graced his face. "You must be desperate."

Draco physically bit back the retort on the tip of his tongue. As the taste of copper flooded his mouth, he calmed himself down. It would do no good to fall back on snapped insults and unnecessary hatred. Draco was over all of that, and refused to be the lesser man here. He would not let Weasley pull petty meaningless words of anger from him.

"This isn't about me, Weasley," Draco said, grateful his voice held steady.

There was a brief moment of heavy silence before Weasley responded.

"I know."

The simple reply made Draco frown.

"It's about Harry," Draco clarified.

That large red head once again turned towards Draco and Weasley regarded him with a look of plain confusion.

"I know," repeated Weasley more slowly.

Draco gave a small nod. "I just didn't want you to think this is about you. We don't want to be friends, and I doubt we ever will be friends." Draco could feel the wry smile his lips made without his permission. "I think that's at least one thing we can agree on." He'd meant to mean it as a question, but it truly wasn't one.

"Harry's another," said Weasley.

"Harry's another what?" queried Draco.

"Another thing we can agree on." Weasley sighed and turned to look Draco full in the face. "I don't like you, but for whatever reason, my stupid best friend likes you quite a lot. Barely shuts up about you, in fact." At those words, Draco knew he had broken out into a blush, but Weasley either didn't notice or didn't care. He continued, "I nearly fucked up our friendship when I found out he was sharing a pint with you, I won't risk it again. Even if he's—" Weasley seemed to shudder. "—sharing more than that with you now."

This time Draco had to bite down on the grin that threatened as he wondered what kind of mental images Weasley seemed to be conjuring up.

"Just—" Weasley closed his eyes and pulled a face, as though the words he was trying to speak were causing him great pain. "Just don't take him away from me, okay? We work together, but we're not partners. These games are some of the only time I really get to spend with him lately, and since he met you..." He trailed off with a small shrug and once again looked out at the game.

Ah. So that was the real issue here. Weasley was jealous of Draco monopolising Harry's free time. Since they had begun dating, Harry had attended fewer and fewer of these Saturday football games, choosing to spend entire weekends with Draco. And Draco would admit that at no point did he try to dissuade Harry from that, or encourage him to not forget his life pre-Draco.

It made a change; Weasley being jealous of Draco for having Harry's attention. At school all Draco had wanted was Harry's friendship, which had been snatched away from him by the man now sitting next to him. The man Draco now had to get along with for the sake of Harry; for the sake of being with Harry, for having more than his friendship. For having Harry's love. When Draco remembered those whispered words any trace of remaining hostility or competition between himself and Weasley seemed to evaporate into insignificance.

"Well," said Draco carefully, "if you can put up with me showing my face around here a little more often, I'm sure Harry could be persuaded to miss fewer games." He didn't look at Weasley as he spoke, choosing instead to let his eyes follow Harry's around the pitch. He smiled; Harry really did have nice legs.

"You're planning to come back and play again?" asked Weasley, aghast.

Somehow Draco managed to frown and chuckle at the same time.

"No no, I'll stick to being a spectator. I think I've more than proved my incapability to kick a ball about."

"Could you say that again, please? I thought I just heard you admit you were crap at something." Weasley even had the audacity to cup a hand around his ear and lean toward Draco, so eager to hear him repeat himself.

"You must be mistaken, I am a perfect specimen of the human race. I can do no wrong." Draco sniffed and lifted his chin, but curled the corner of his mouth up when he spotted Weasley shaking his head and laughing out of the corner of his eye.

"But Malfoy, can you take a joke?" asked Weasley, full of seriousness.

Now Draco's smile turned wicked.

"Let me tell you something about jokes, Weasley..."

By the time the game ended Harry was knackered, but happy. It felt like he hadn't played in weeks which, now he thought about it, he hadn't done. After all the running, jumping and sliding he'd been doing, he knew he was going to ache tomorrow. Maybe he'd be able to persuade Draco to give him a massage. Thinking of Draco caused him to instinctively look around for him. He knew he'd been replaced not long into the second half due to an injury. Harry cursed himself, he shouldn't have made Draco play in the first place, but the least he should have done was check on him when he got hurt.

His worry stepping up a notch when he couldn't spot Draco among the people now milling about on the pitch, Harry rushed over to Hermione, who had been quietly watching the entire match from the side lines.

"Hey, Harry, great game!" called Hermione as Harry drew closer. "Shame that last shot missed; you almost had a hat-trick." She was nothing if not enthusiastic.

"Thanks," replied Harry, not in the mood for post-match analysis. "Have you seen Draco? Do you know where he went after he got injured and subbed? Is he okay?"

"Calm down," said Hermione with a broad smile.

"What are you smiling about? I've lost my boyfriend! He's injured, and possibly collapsed under a tree or—"

"He's right there." Hermione pointed to the far side of the pitch, at a bench on which clearly sat Draco... and Ron.

"Oh, no." Harry groaned and rushed away. He vaguely heard Hermione call something after him, but Harry was too focused on getting over to the bench before his boyfriend and his best friend killed each other.

As he approached them Harry slowed down. There didn't appear to be any wands—or fists—flying, nor did either of them have their face screwed up or red in anger. In fact, when Harry could finally hear them, they both seemed to be laughing. Harry wasn't sure if that was better or worse than fighting. What the hell could Draco and Ron find to laugh about?

Harry's question was answered when the pair paused in their laughter and Ron spoke.

"Oh, I know! What kind of books do bunnies read?" Ron's grin was wide and Harry couldn't believe he had it pointed at Draco.

"I don't know," said Draco, smiling right back at Ron.

"Ones with hoppy endings!"

They broke out in peals of laughter again, until Draco started waving his hands.

"Oh, oh, how do you know when there's an elephant in your bed?"

Ron simply shook his head, still chucking.

"By the 'E' on his pyjamas!"

Ron snorted louder than Harry thought he had ever heard him and leaned to the side into Draco. This, more than the jokes and laughter, caused Harry to step closer and announce his presence.

"You two seem to be getting along," he said, smiling uneasily.

"Harry, mate!" Ron straightened up and urged Harry closer with his hands. "Malfoy knows some really funny Muggle jokes!" He turned to Draco. "Malfoy, tell him the one about getting Pikachu on the bus!"

Draco ignored Ron and turned his happy face to Harry.

"Did you enjoy your game?" Draco asked.

Harry nodded. "Are you okay? Your ankle?" He sat down next to Draco and made to grab his leg, but Draco shooed him away.

"It's fine, it's nothing," said Draco sheepishly, and Harry didn't fail to notice that Draco didn't meet his eye. "Let me tell you that joke."

Ron nodded enthusiastically.

"Are you sure this isn't a joke?" Harry motioned between Draco and Ron. "Have you been sat here all this time? Sat here not hexing each other?"

"Harry, this is a Muggle park, what do you take us for?" Draco chastised.

"Yeah, mate, we'd more likely punch each other."

To Harry's dismay Draco and Ron shared a look and rolled their eyes. Harry reached under his glasses to rub his eyes, sure he was seeing things. As he opened his eyes again he almost hoped to see Draco with his wand pointed at Ron's chest and Ron's hands around Draco's throat. Arguments, insults and fights between these two he knew how to cope with; jokes, laughter and shared looks, Harry had no idea what to do with. Perhaps this was the first sign of the coming apocalypse?

Harry's end of the world thoughts were disturbed by one of the other players who shouted over to the group.

"Right, I'm off," said Ron as he stood. "See you both at the pub, yeah?"

"Still the usual one?" asked Harry.

Ron nodded, smiled at them both and waved as he walked away. "Bring your jokes with you, Malfoy," he called over his shoulder.

"That... was very weird," admitted Harry.

"Not as weird as finding you and Pansy completely pissed, I'm sure," countered Draco.

"At least I have the excuse of being tiddly, what's yours!" Harry knew he wasn't going to get over Draco and Ron's camaraderie any time soon.

"Aha!" cried Draco triumphantly. "You just won me our bet!"

"Excuse me!" Harry's voice seemed to be getting higher every time he spoke.

"You just admitted that the fact that you and Pansy got on so well last week was directly related to your inebriated state. Weasley and I got on jolly well for over 40 minutes, longer if you hadn't have interrupted, without the assistance of alcohol, thank you very much. Therefore I got on better with Weasley, because we were both in our right minds while we did! If you can call Weasley's—"

"Finish that sentence and you forfeit the bet," stated Harry. If Draco could so easily still insult Ron, Harry wasn't sure Draco really had won the bet.

"Oh, sod off, Harry. I'm joking." Draco smirked at Harry. "Weasley likes my jokes, remember?"

"Not the ones at his expense, I'm sure."

Draco huffed and shrugged his shoulders, but didn't retort.

"Well, I got rather muddy," Harry said. He clearly saw Draco give him a once-over, and one of his eyebrows arch, seemingly in approval. "So I'm going to go take a shower before heading on to the pub."

"I think I'll shower, too. The hot water will do wonders for my injured ankle." Draco raised his heated stare to Harry's eyes, and Harry knew exactly what wonders Draco was after. "And it'll give me a chance to collect my winnings."

Harry grabbed Draco's hands and pulled him up from the bench. Reaching around him, Harry grabbed a handful of Draco's arse and leaned in to whisper in his ear.

"I'll show you winnings, Draco."

They made it to the changing rooms within seconds, and after a perfunctory glance around began pulling at each other's clothes. Harry had loved the sight of Draco in his spare football shirt, and his arse in those shorts was a sight that should come with a warning, but now he simply despised both items of clothing for being in the way. He needed to get them off and away and feel Draco's skin all over, close to his own. He needed to run his hands over Draco's bare back, enclose Draco's nipples in his mouth and press Draco's bare arse up against the cold tiles.

Far too long a time later—30 seconds or more—they were both naked. Harry backed Draco into the nearest shower stall and absent-mindedly turned on the tap. Warm water shot down on them, causing their skin to slide easily against each other. Harry quickly captured Draco's lips in a frenzied kiss as the water ran over both their heads and down their faces, until Harry wasn't sure what was their own saliva and what was water.

When he pulled back Harry moaned aloud at the sight of Draco; soaking wet with his blond hair plastered to his head and falling into his eyes. He blinked at Harry, and Harry moaned again as he held Draco firmly around the waist and ground their erections together.

"I want you," said Draco before pulling Harry's mouth in and covering it with his own.

They kissed for long minutes under the falling water, building from careful and leisurely to heated and needy. Soon they were both panting into each other's mouths and moving their hips together at a frantic pace.

"I—I need you," gasped Draco against Harry's jaw as he kissed and nibbled his way across it and down his neck.

Harry, unable to articulate words, simply hummed his assertion and grabbed a bar of soap from a nearby shelf. He tried to thrust it into Draco's hand, but Draco wouldn't take it; pushing it back towards Harry.

"No," said Draco as he slowly licked his way back up Harry's neck, making him shiver. "I need you."

And Harry understood.

Lips never leaving Draco; his lips, his cheek, his neck, his collar bone, his nipples... and all the way back again, Harry lathered up the soap in his hands. He nudged Draco's legs apart, careful not to let him slip on the wet floor, and reached down between Draco's thighs. Harry let the back of his hand trail lightly over the underside of Draco's cock and teasingly caressed his balls. Draco whimpered at the gentle touches, pushing forward only slightly, seemingly content to let Harry explore.

Not wanting to keep Draco in suspense for too long, Harry moved his finger back and carefully circled Draco's hole. Draco's whimpers became more desperate, and Harry forged on, slowly sliding his forefinger into Draco.

At that, Draco cried out and it echoed around the empty room, drowning out even the loud hiss of the shower for a few seconds.

Almost instantly Draco began pushing back on Harry's finger, silently asking for more. Harry eagerly obliged, working two and then three fingers inside until Draco was practically clawing at Harry's back and calling out with need.

"Oh, please—more, now."

Harry removed his fingers and Draco seemed to deflate for a moment before Harry lifted one of Draco's legs up and leaned in. With the water, the soap and Draco's relaxed and loosened hole, Harry slid his achingly erect penis in easily.

This was the first time Harry had been inside of Draco, and he paused for a moment to allow Draco to adjust, and to simply enjoy the feeling of being completely encased within the tight heat of Draco's arse. Harry lay his head on Draco's shoulder, absently mouthing the skin at the crook of Draco's neck and occasionally nipping lightly with his teeth.

Soon Draco canted his hips forward, seeking movement. Placing a hard kiss on Draco's mouth Harry stood up straight and pulled both of Draco's legs with him, leaving Draco leaning back on the tiled wall and clutching aat Harry's shoulders.

Then Harry pulled out and quickly pushed back in, making Draco mewl with desire. He kept the pace steady, and Draco cried, hummed and moaned on every inward thrust.

"I—I—I—" Whatever Draco was trying to say just wouldn't make it out of his mouth.

Harry ducked his head back into Draco's neck to hide his smile at finally finding a way to shut him up.

The angle change proved an excellent move and after a few more thrusts Draco reached between them and pulled at himself with speed and then he was coming, warm and thick over both of their chests. Harry was close behind, crying out his pleasure into Draco's neck and gripping Draco's legs even tighter.

Harry could feel Draco trembling as they stood under the still flowing water in their post-orgasmic haze. Draco was often heady for long minutes after a powerful orgasm, and Harry kept a strong hold on him as Draco's head drooped onto Harry's shoulder. It was solely due to this nearness that Harry heard Draco's barely whispered words.

"I love you."

Those were the words Harry had been hoping to hear from Draco for weeks now. Harry knew how he himself felt, and even though Draco had let it slip out in a euphoric daze, Harry knew he meant it. Harry had barely been keeping the words to himself all this time, afraid of scaring Draco off if it was too soon for him. He had even dreamt of telling Draco just last week while he slept off his boozy overindulgence. Harry gripped Draco tighter and suddenly wanted to never let go.

By the time Harry and Draco had actually showered and dressed they were running very late to the pub. Neither of them was very bothered by this fact; sex trumps beer every time.

"So, what pub are we going to?" asked Draco as they left the park and Harry led them across the road.

"The Thomas Leaper; it's not far from here," Harry answered with a small smile.

"The Thomas Leaper? That sounds familiar. It's not one of mine, is it?"

"Erm, sort of, I guess."

Draco frowned at that, wondering what the hell Harry could mean.

When they arrived at the pub less than five minutes later Draco got his answer.

"A Lloyds No. 1 bar? Really?" whined Draco.

"What?" Harry questioned innocently. "You own them, don't you?"

"I own them, but I don't source or manage them in anyway. They cater for the young types whereas I favour the old man pubs. Lloyds really aren't my cup of tea."

"Me neither," admitted Harry. "Why do you think I was at that Wetherspoon when I bumped into you? The guys come here because it's so close, but I much prefer The Standing Order. And it's only a stone's throw down the street. Lazy bastards."

"Ahhh, The Standing Order." Draco smiled and looked off into nothing. "That used to be my favourite pub that I owned for a while. When I discovered it I spent every day there for at least a month."

"Come on." Harry nudged Draco with his elbow. "Let's have a drink or two here and then disappear down the road."

"I suppose," said Draco as the entered the pub. "I did want to tell Weasley my king of the hankies joke..."

Harry decided not to ask.

They made their way over to a large group of people from the football match, but stopped short when they saw a smaller group off to the side sharing a small booth.

"Are—" Draco blinked a few times and tried again. "Is that—" No, his mouth just wasn't working.

"It really is the end of the world," mumbled Harry at the sight in front of him.

Their friends; Pansy, Blaise, Ron and Hermione, were sat close in their seats with an empty pitcher on the table between them.

"They you are!" called Blaise, motioning for Harry and Draco to join them.

After a brief glance at each other, during which they both saw their trepidation and suspicion reflected back from the other's face, they walked over to the unlikely quartet.

"It was all her idea!" blurted Ron and pointing forcefully at Pansy.

"You'll want to get that finger away from my face before I bite it off." Pansy gnashed her teeth at Ron before taking a delicate sip of the drink in her hand. Ron swiftly withdrew the offending digit and both his hands disappeared beneath the table.

"Pansy approached me at the beginning of the week," explained Hermione, perfectly calmly. "We decided between us that to be able to help you both be comfortable with each other's friends, then your friends should attempt to get along with each other, too." She ended with a curt nod and a small smile in Blaise's general direction.

"After my afternoon with you, Potter, and hearing you drunkenly admit your woes, including your fear of Draco and Weasley murdering each other—"

"I did not—" Except maybe he did; Harry really couldn't remember.

"—I decided something had to be done," continued Pansy as though Harry hadn't interrupted. "It turned out you weren't so terribly awful, so I thought 'how bad can the other two be?' and here we are." She finished with a wide sweep of her arm; indicating her drinking companions, coming exceedingly close to backhanding Ron across the face and being far more theatrical than Hermione had been.

Harry and Draco stood silently surveying their friends. If either of them had thought seeing their boyfriend chatting merrily to their best friend had been a shock, they both now knew that seeing their respective friends getting together behind their backs in an attempt to build bridges and get along for their sake was one hundred times more shocking. And appreciated beyond words.

Neither of them knew what to say.

Draco, ever the adaptable Slytherin, recovered first.

"I need a bloody drink."

- End -