Mr. Malfoy –
There's been another attack on one of my elite racing horses, and he's not responding well to our veterinary healers. I know how you feel about the situation, and so have made arrangements to send Aero to you. He's an Aethenon with strong attitude. His left wing has been snapped in three places. I trust you with his well-being.
Draco read the missive with increasing irritability. The man could have at least asked first before sending the winged horse over. Draco didn't even have a stall ready yet.
"Bugger," he ground out between clenched teeth.
Beau looked up from the floor beside Draco's desk. He'd been sleeping rather deeply (if his snores had been anything to go by). Draco tossed the letter down onto his desk and hurried from the room, hoping to get a stall ready before the new horse arrived. Behind him, he could hear Beau's lumbering steps.
Beau had been acting rather strange lately, but it appeared that they were back to their uneasy camaraderie. That first day that Draco had been gone for work, he'd come home and Beau had been more skittish than ever. But now, a few days later, he seemed to have calmed down again. Perhaps he had a mild case of separation anxiety.
Beau followed him all the way outside and to the stables. The sky was dark with clouds as a storm approached. Perfect, Draco thought darkly. He was going to get a temperamental horse in a downpour. Likely thunder would be involved. Not that Draco wasn't happy to have a new charge. He loved horses, but he liked to have at least some warning before they arrived. And he really didn't appreciate Oddlepop's familiarity. It was simply rude to just assume.
Beau watched idly as Draco prepared the stall. He enlarged it, thinking on Aero's wingspan. Just because one wing was injured didn't mean he wouldn't want to stretch the other. He filled the hay bale and was in the process of filling the water when thunder rolled across the sky. Moments later his wards went haywire. Cursing under his breath, he left the unfinished stall and hurried across the grounds to the front gate. Rain began to fall in fits and starts.
The gates came into view and he saw a man much too small and timid trying to restrain what had to be the largest Aethenon that Draco had ever seen. Draco picked up his pace. The horse was a glorious chestnut color and was rearing and kicking fitfully, his loud screams showing his fear and anger. The man, boy really, saw Draco and his relief was apparent. At that moment, the heavens opened and rain slashed down through the air, soaking everything within moments.
"He won't calm down!" he yelled over the sudden downpour of rain.
Draco waved his wands at the gate and it slid opened inward. Draco seethed when he saw that the wing wasn't even in a sling. It hung, limp and awkward and most certainly painful, at the horse's side. Draco didn't even bother chastising the boy about it. Oddlepop wasn't in the market to baby his horses, after all; he had them for winning races.
"I'll take him from here," Draco yelled over the downpour. He grabbed the bridle. "Tell Oddlepop that I'll let him know the full extent of the injuries and how long it'll take to recuperate!"
"He told me to ask how long it'll be before he can fly again!"
Draco's anger deepened. "Probably never."
The boy's face fell, but he nodded and vanished with a crack of Apparition. Aero jumped at the sound and Draco cursed again. The horse reared, flailing his legs and one unbroken wing in fear and hostility.
"Aero," Draco crooned, tamping down his own anxiety of injury. He tried to calm the animal, but the horse ignored his words of comfort and fought harder. Realizing that he was getting nowhere fast, Draco reached for his wand but froze in sudden horror as he saw, out of the corner of his eye, a black flash of fur. Beau ran in close to Draco and opened his jaws for the bridle, intent it seemed on helping Draco pull the horse to the stable.
"Beau, no!" Draco cried but Beau just tried all the harder to pull on the reigns, to lead the horse forward. Aero saw Beau, another animal, and panicked further. He reared up and Draco watched, frozen in horror, as the horse's huge hoof caught Beau in the ribs and kicked him hard enough to send him though the air before landing like a limp rag ten feet away.
"Petrificus Totalus!" Aero froze in place at the spell, probably the safest spell Draco could have used at that point. He dropped the reigns and ran to Beau's side. Beau was conscious but breathing harshly and trying to regain his feet.
"Beau, stay still," Draco said softly. Astonishingly enough, Beau complied. He turned his head and gazed at Draco with eyes full of pain. Draco's heart clenched but he put aside his fear and ran a diagnostic spell. Broken ribs, bruised lung, but no internal bleeding. He'd need Skele-Grow to mend the ribs but he'd be fine. Draco reached down and stroked Beau's head in a soothing motion. Beau relaxed under his hand.
"You'll be fine, Beau," Draco said, continuing to stroke the wet fur. "I'm going to levitate you into the manor and leave you in Martin's care as I see to the horse, then I'll be right back, okay? You be good and rest and you'll be just fine."
Beau shuddered out a breath and Draco got to his feet. He levitated Beau up and took him around the house and through the back door into the kitchen. Martin was at the counter and looked over in shock as Draco placed Beau on the floor.
"He's been kicked," Draco said quickly. "Fetch me the Skele-Grow, won't you?"
Martin complied quickly and Beau moaned. Draco dried him with a spell and continued to rub his head. It was the first time since Beau had come to him that he'd allowed Draco to pet him. Martin handed over the Skele-Grow and looked at Beau in confusion.
"Will Master's friend be okay?" Martin asked. Odd way to put it, Draco thought.
"Yes, he'll be fine," Draco replied. "But he won't like this part. Beau, I need you to drink this."
Merlin, I wish he could understand me.
But Beau drank it with a minimum of fuss, only gagging a little as he swallowed. Draco gave him one last rub of the ears and reluctantly got to his feet.
"I'm sorry Beau," he said. "This isn't going to be pleasant, but I must go see to the new horse. I'll be back as quickly as I can."
Beau moaned a little and Draco fled, heading to the stables to get to the stall as swiftly as possible. Aero might be safe frozen as he was, but he was probably terrified of being unable to move. But as he worked in the pouring rain, with the thunder and lightning flashing through the sky and a new charge on his hands, Draco's main worry was the big black dog in his kitchen who was going through the painful process of having his bones knitted.
It was over. All over. Harry's life as he knew it over. Draco Mafloy, the Amazing Bouncing Ferret, prat extraordinaire, school nemesis, archrival, all around pain in the arse, was a good man. Armageddon was surely on the horizon as Harry came to this conclusion.
He was in Malfoy's bedroom, in his newly expanded basket so that he had more room to recuperate, and Malfoy was sitting next to him, just as he had been for the last five hours, running a calming hand over Harry's furry face as pain tore through his side. He couldn't deny that Malfoys' presence was helping. Originally he'd only had the house-elf for company and the creature had just simply sat and stared at him as he'd moaned in pain. But now Malfoy was here, talking in a soothing voice and calmly petting him. Harry listened, focusing on Malfoy's voice instead of the pain in his side.
"Aero was not too happy once I'd taken off the spell," Draco murmured. "I'd placed him in his stall before releasing it. I know he was fully conscious as he was moved, and it had to be terrifying for him to be unable to move and not understand why. I hate that I had to do it, but it really was the best way."
Harry sighed. The man was ruining Harry's last defenses. If he kept this up, Harry was going to have to start liking him.
"He's going through what you are now, but I thought it best that he be unconscious as his injuries are much worse than yours," Draco continued.
Harry harrumphed. Maybe he didn't like Draco after all. He could certainly use being unconscious right about now.
"Did I tell you that there's someone in the racing circles purposely injuring winged horses?" Draco said, rubbing at a particularly sensitive spot on Harry's ear that had him wanting to arch in pleasure. "He's taking out the competition by breaking their wings, making them unable to fly. I don't know much about the investigation, but the owners have been sending their horses to me. Because I'm the best."
Harry smiled inwardly at the pride in Draco's voice. Long ago, he would have thought it to be conceit. But Harry had seen the care Draco had put into his charges himself. Even though they had to be miserable, it was obvious that they all loved Draco.
Draco. Dear Merlin, Harry was even thinking of him as 'Draco' now, instead of 'Malfoy.' His world really was ending.
"Aero will be a handful, but he'll come around. I just hope Oddlepop isn't too disappointed. He makes rash decisions when he is."
Harry waited for more information, as Draco's voice had held a hint of pain in it, but Draco went silent. His hand continued to stroke Harry's large head, however. It was so soothing, so calming, and the pain was beginning to go away, that Harry felt himself on the edge of sleep. But he didn't want to sleep, not yet. He wanted to hear more. But it was taken out of his hands and before he fell off into oblivion, he felt Draco's mouth press to his forehead, just as he did with all of his patients.
Harry was healed, completely fine by the next morning, when he'd woken up to find Draco asleep, propped against the wall with one arm around Harry's side.
Harry was happily munching on his breakfast of bacon and eggs when Draco decided to ruin his day.
"I think, if you're going to eat like a person, you need some exercise," he said, looking down at Harry as he stood by the sink, holding onto his plate and eating his own breakfast.
Harry looked up dubiously.
"Oh, don't give me that look," Draco said with a laugh. "You're going to get fat if you don't move around soon. You're already a big guy. A walk won't kill you. It'll be good for you."
Later Harry sat still, but inwardly cringed in disgust, as Draco slipped a collar around his neck and attached a leash. He decided not to fight it, as it would only be uncomfortable for him if he did. The collar wasn't tight, but if he tugged on it, it would surely be unpleasant. Draco led him outside cheerfully and without any warning, Apparated.
Harry had never really gotten used to Apparition. It was uncomfortable and tended to make him sick. So when they arrived at their destination, a park that Harry didn't recognize, Harry couldn't help his sudden dizziness. Draco started to walk and Harry helplessly tried to follow, but couldn't walk in a straight line. His stomach was roiling unpleasantly. Draco stopped.
"What's wrong, Beau?" he said, hunkering down to Harry's height. "Not used to Apparition?"
Harry gurgled a reply and shook his head, trying to clear it. Another man with a dog walked by, eyeing Draco and Harry curiously. Draco smiled fleetingly at the man, who smiled back, a gleam of interest in his eyes.
"It'll go away, just keep walking, buddy," Draco said, scratching Harry behind his ears. It was that touch, and not Harry's sudden urge to protect Draco away from the obviously gay and clearly interested man, that got Harry to continue on.
Harry could admit that it was nice to be outside, to be someplace other than Draco's home. Harry liked to explore and even though he was on a leash (he would never tell anyone about that, ever), it was refreshing. By the time they'd made a circuit through the park, Harry's spirits were much improved, even when they had to Apparate back home.
Draco eyed the Christmas tree in the drawing room critically. While he generally ignored most holidays, he simply couldn't hold back on Christmas, which was only a few weeks away. The rooms in the manor that he trekked through were covered in garlands, ribbons, mistletoe, and fairy lights. True, no one was allowed in his home, but that didn't mean he couldn't enjoy them himself.
He'd had a trying day at work; they had a new and very enthusiastic intern who followed Draco's every move with interest, and now he was calming down by decorating his Christmas tree. He had a glass of brandy handy and Beau by the fire. It felt good.
Perhaps he'd get a Newfoundland of his own, once Beau went back to Granger. The thought filled him with melancholy. It wasn't just that Beau was a Newfoundland. He was Beau, a silly, curmudgeon of a big dog with too much personality. He was almost like a person. Draco looked down at him fondly just as Amelia hopped up onto Beau's back and began to knead his shoulders. Beau rolled his eyes and laid still, allowing the motherly little cat to do as she wished. Draco laughed.
"You're a good man, Beau," he said. "You simply can't win against her."
Beau huffed and laid there for a moment before lurching to his feet, causing Amelia to fall off his back ungracefully. Draco laughed again, his heart warm with amusement.
"I stand corrected," he said as Beau walked calmly to his side. He reached down and ran his hand idly through Beau's fur as they stood and stared at the tree together. The fairy lights were blinking, their light reflecting off of the ornaments and causing extra shimmer. Draco loved Christmas. It appeared Beau did as well. He stuck his head in a box and came up with a string of red garland. Together they wrapped it around the tree, Draco draping it over the top half and Beau walking around the base with it until there was a perfect spiral from top to bottom of red. Again, Draco was struck with the thought that Beau was too intelligent for the average animal.
House and tree decorated, Draco flopped onto the couch. Beau spread himself on the floor beside him and let out a rumbly sigh of pleasure as Draco ran his hand over his huge side, over the healed ribs. Perhaps Granger could be convinced to let Draco keep Beau for himself. After all, she hadn't introduced him to the rest of the family quite yet. That was the point of this whole charade. And wouldn't that child of hers enjoy a puppy? Draco and Beau got along now so wonderfully that Draco just couldn't imagine getting a different dog. He didn't want to. He wanted Beau.
Leaving that thought for consideration later, he let himself enjoy the moment and continued to scratch Beau's side. Amelia hopped gracefully up onto Draco's legs and settled herself into his lap.
Yes, this was perfect, he thought as she began to purr loudly, a satisfied grin on her face.
Harry was beginning to love their daily walks. The park was beautiful, strung with lights and Christmas decorations for the enjoyment of the people who came to walk their dogs or play. He and Draco walked side by side, simply enjoying the day.
Harry had come to a decision. He liked Draco. He was a nice human being who Harry would have been proud to call a friend. So once Hermione found a way to change him back, he was going to try. To become Draco's friend. He grinned inwardly. The world was going to end, he thought wryly.
Draco would surely not be easy to persuade, and would likely be completely confused as well, since Harry hadn't spoken to him in a decade. But Harry would make it happen. Harry didn't want to not be around him. He'd tried to fight it, to keep his distance and remain aloof, but Draco's personality was simply magnetic. He was sweet and funny and fun, and Harry wanted to keep him. As a friend.
Harry's musings were interrupted as another man walking his dog, a standard poodle with white fur cut into ridiculous puffs all over her body, suddenly stopped in front of Draco. Harry nearly growled. It was the same man who had been ogling Draco the other day.
"Hey," he said, his voice bright with even more interest. "I saw you the other day."
"You did?" Draco replied in bewilderment.
"Yeah, your dog was ill or something, but I saw you." Harry glowered.
"Oh right," Draco said, a small smile pulling at the corners of his mouth.
"You have a great smile," the man continued, leaning into one hip. His eyes were full of flirtation.
"Ah, you do as well if I recall correctly," Draco replied. Harry stared. Draco was flirting back. The man grinned and Draco laughed warmly. "Yes, I was right."
Harry growled. The poodle took that moment to start yapping, aiming her barks at Harry. Harry nearly snarled at her but kept his attention at the flirtation instead. The man didn't even try to shut his dog up, which irritated Harry further.
"I'm Roger," the man said. Hmph. Roger. Stupid name.
"Draco," Draco replied.
"Cool name," Roger said, full of smarm.
"I like it too," Draco said, angling his hips forward a little just as Roger did. The poodle kept yipping away.
"Are you busy later?" Roger asked suddenly.
"Not too busy, no," Draco replied.
"There's a bar I know of-"
Harry didn't let him finish. He suddenly started marching past Roger and his still-barking poodle. Draco tried to pull on the leash, which dug the collar into Harry's neck, but he didn't care. Unfortunately, Draco was putting up a really good fight.
"Beau!" He yelled. "Stop!"
"Do you need a hand?" Roger asked. Harry growled.
"No," Draco said breathlessly. "I've got him."
Harry strained at the leash, digging his feet into the ground and putting his weight behind his forward motion. Harry could only guess as to what happened next. He believed that Draco must have lost his footing, which caused him to lurch forward since Harry was still pulling on the leash. What Harry had not seen in his haste to get Draco away from Roger and the Amazing Yapping White Fluff Ball was that there was a partly frozen pond beside the walkway.
The next thing Harry knew, he was submerged in frozen water with Draco falling in after him.
Draco supposed he could have been a little bit more gentle as she soaped up Beau's fur in the shower, but he was in no mood and so his hands might have been just a little harsher than necessary. But the damn dog had dumped him into a freezing pond. He had never been more grateful for a hot shower than he was at the moment.
His pride was still a little sore. He'd been pulled into a pond in front of an extremely attractive man who he'd been flirting quite successfully with.
"At least we still made plans," Draco grumbled, kneeling naked in the shower and scrubbing at Beau's back. Beau refused to look at him, no doubt ashamed of himself. "He was quite courteous as he pulled me out of the pond. And he didn't even bat an eyelash when you shook as much water as possible onto him when you climbed out. I mean, honestly! What was your problem?"
Beau, whose eyes were closed, did not reply. Of course he didn't; he was a dog, But his silence goaded Draco further.
"I thought we were finally beginning to understand each other," Draco muttered.
Beau looked up then, his green eyes forlorn.
"Don't you dare use puppy eyes on me," Draco muttered darkly, though his heart was beginning to melt just a bit. He scrubbed harder. The mud caked into Beau's fur was not coming off easily. Beau then did something he's never done before. He leaned forward and licked Draco's cheek.
Draco paused, looking down at the dog who had somehow become his best friend. Look how far you've come, he thought. From a moody, sad dog who refused to be touched, to a warm, friendly one who was giving out kisses. Draco sighed and sat on the floor of the shower, allowing the hot water to run over him and Beau for a rinse.
"Alright, alright," he said grudgingly. "You're forgiven."
Beau's mouth opened and his tongue lolled out and Draco grinned. Rinsing himself and Beau thoroughly, he got out of the shower and started the drying process. Newfoundlands were hard to clean, just because their fur was waterproof. They were water dogs after all, with webbed feet and everything, and so to penetrate the thick fir and clean it was difficult. Drying, however, was a breeze. Draco simply pointed his wand at Beau and spelled him dry. That matter dealt with, he started to get ready for his night out with Roger. If he was lucky, maybe he'd lucky.
Beau sat beside the sink and watched with interest as Draco combed his hair and styled it, making it look loose and free as if it hadn't been styled at all. He dressed with care, wanting to look sexy without advertising that he wanted to be sexy. It was all about subtly.
"If I went out looking like I wanted to get laid, I'd probably not get any at all," Draco said to Beau as he stood before his full length mirror and tried different outfits. "Or if I did, it wouldn't necessarily be with the person whom I wanted to fuck me in the first place. Any person could go home with someone, but you need to have standards. Mine are high."
Beau sat beside Draco's mirror and watched him change his shirt. The dog hadn't left his side since they'd returned home, but there was no way Draco could take him to a bar. He'd have to just deal with the night to himself with Amelia. Hopefully, Draco wouldn't be home until the next day.
"It's really too bad I can only really sleep with Muggles," Draco said idly. "No wizard wants me. It just means that I'll never really settle down. I couldn't keep my life, my magic, a secret. I couldn't live a lie. And wizards don't get to see me be myself." Beau's ears pricked up and he tilted his head sideways. "Yeah," Draco said with a sigh, taking Beau's expression as befuddlement. "Wizards see what they want to see of Draco Malfoy, son of a convicted Death Eater and murderer of Dumbledore. It doesn't matter that everyone knows it was Snape. They thought it was me first. But I can live with their hostility, I guess. I hardly ever go into the wizarding world anymore, so I suppose it doesn't matter. Just you and Amelia get to see me. And the horses, of course. And Martin. And sometimes Granger, but that's usually an accident. She's damn good at getting past my defenses when she wants to."
Settling on black trousers, grey shirt and leather jacket with his heeled boots, Draco spread out his arms and looked at Beau again.
"Well?" he asked, turning about in place. Beau glowered at him. "I'll take that as a yes. And with that, I'm off. I'll be back at some point."
Beau grumbled and stalked to his basket, curled up in a ball and refused to look at him. If Draco hadn't known any better, he would have sworn the dog was jealous.
Draco had been gone for hours. Hours. Harry was restless, unable to close his eyes because every time he did, he saw Draco wrapped around Roger and now that he had seen Draco naked, it was all too easy for his mind to conjure the images.
Draco naked. In the shower with the water sliding over his perfect body. Harry would never forget the sinewy muscles that rippled as he scrubbed Harry's fur, the round bum whenever he'd turned away. And his cock. Merlin his cock was amazing, even soft. He'd had to shut his eyes tight to keep from ogling. It just wouldn't have been right if he'd kept on staring. Draco didn't know who he was. It wouldn't have been fair.
Harry had to admit to himself he had a crush. Just a little one, he thought stubbornly. Nothing major. How could he not have feelings for such a man? A man who cared for hurt animals, who had such a warm laugh, who made full meals for picky dogs? Who had a perfect body and gentle hands?
Yes, Harry had a crush, and he was in his personal version of hell as he waited for Draco to return home, probably from being shagged to within an inch of his life. Or maybe Roger was terrible in bed. Maybe Draco wouldn't have had a good time. Or maybe they didn't even get that far. Or maybe Draco found someone else, some nameless, faceless man who would have him up against the wall in some alley somewhere.
Harry growled menacingly and started to pace. Amelia, who'd been asleep on the bed, lifted her head and let out a confused chirp. Didn't that damn cat know how to meow? All she ever did was chirp. The least she could do was make the proper, cat-like noises. Harry continued to pace, grumbling his frustration at the world in general.
Even if Draco did have a good time, who was Harry to be jealous? He had no claim on Draco. Draco didn't even know who he really was. He probably hadn't thought of Harry Potter in years, and why should he have? Harry certainly hadn't thought of Draco. If he had, he would know more about his life, how he'd come to care for horses and live in an almost empty manor.
And why did Draco keep himself locked inside his own head, away from everyone else? Why should he hide that he was a good person? Because no one would believe it? Harry suddenly felt guilty. Had Draco started to act like a decent human being in public before this debacle of being locked in a dog's body, Harry would have thought Draco up to something. He would never have believed it and would have been terribly suspicious.
Amelia hopped gracefully from the bed and wound herself around Harry's forelegs. He looked down at her. And what about Amelia? Where had she come from? Why did Draco keep her?
So many questions he had, and he'd have to wait for answers. Harry wasn't the most patient of men.
There was a sharp crack from downstairs. Harry and Amelia looked at the bedroom door expectantly until it was shoved open. Draco stalked inside and slammed it behind him before locking himself in the bathroom without even glancing at Harry or the sweet little cat who had given out a chirruping hello.
Harry and Amelia looked at each other in bewilderment. Apparently the night had not gone well. Amelia glanced at the bathroom door before jumping back up onto the bed to wait for Draco to come out. Anger and frustration suddenly gone, Harry meandered over to the door and sat outside. He could hear movement from within, drawers opening and shutting, the sink running. Then silence.
Harry waited. For many long minutes, there was no sound. Harry whined, letting Draco know he was waiting for him. Everything was still for a moment and then the door opened. Draco looked down at him with one had on the door, the other on the doorframe. He was in his pyjamas, his hair was in disarray. Harry whined again, his only way of asking a question, and Draco sighed.
He slid down to the floor and wrapped his arms around Harry's shoulders.
"It was going so well," Draco said unhappily. "Everything was heading just where I wanted it and then I realized; it wasn't really what I wanted at all. I'm tired of random shags, one night stands. I want more, the happily ever after, and I realized that I really won't ever have it. It's just not possible. So I left, even though I was hornier than hell."
Harry licked Draco's cheek with his huge tongue and silently savored Draco's sweet, yet sweaty, flavor. He smelled good too, that delicious woodsy-minty smell that made Harry's stomach flip. But his words broke Harry's heart. Draco was right. He couldn't live with a Muggle and keep his secrets, just as he couldn't have a Wizard, since none wanted him.
I do, Harry thought fiercely.
This was it. His deciding moment. When he was changed back, he was going to pursue Draco Malfoy. It was going to take some doing, and not just a little cunning, to make it work, but Harry was adamant. He wanted Draco for himself like he'd wanted nothing else.
That night Harry indulged himself and slept in bed with Draco. He shouldn't have, he knew he was taking advantage of Draco's ignorance of his real identity, but what could it hurt? Draco would never know. He laid on top of the covers, his back to Draco's side, and fell asleep with his head on Draco's arm.
It was the scent that woke him. After being turned into a dog, Harry had come across many odors that his human nose could not detect. For most of them, that was a good thing. There were some things that just didn't need to be smelled. But then there were others… smells that were wonderful, beautiful, and would never be appreciated by a person.
Harry had smelled this scent before, but never this concentrated. Put simply, it was the smell of arousal. That sex smell that you only came across when you were really turned on, or someone else was. Or, in the best cases, two people were. But now it was only one person and that person was lying in bed across the room. Harry froze, lying on his back in his basket with Amelia stretched across his stomach.
Harry was afraid turn his head and look. Was Draco asleep and having one of those dreams? Or was he awake? Was he thinking about some past lover, or one he hoped to meet in the future? All Harry knew was if he opened his eyes and looked over, he'd see something he was never meant to see, whether Draco was aware of it or not. So Harry stayed still, frozen in place by pure chivalry. Because Merlin knew Harry would love to see Draco Malfoy hard and wanking.
Draco moaned quietly and if Harry had his normal toes, they'd be curling. Draco was awake and if the sounds of skin on skin were anything to go by, he indeed was wanking. The situation was awkward, but at least Harry couldn't get physically turned on in the body he was in. But his mind was going a mile a minute, envisioning every possible way that Draco might wank. Did he use his whole hand? Wrap those long, gentle fingers completely around himself and slide up and down? Or did make a ring with his thumb and for-finger? Did he tease his balls and that wonderful spot just behind them? Did he use his fingers inside himself?
The sounds sped up and Harry clenched his eyes shut. He longed to be able to think of something else, but he could hear Draco's every breathy moan with each exhalation, he could smell Draco's arousal heightening. It was torture, even though his own body had not reacted at all. Had he been a person, a man, at that moment, he would have been hard as a rock.
Draco made a sound, an incredible sound that would have been even better had he not been clenching his teeth. And then there was silence. Harry barely dared to breathe. Then there was more movement.
"Evanescoe," Draco murmured.
Oh God, he just vanished his own come, Harry thought desperately.
"You still asleep?" Draco whispered. Harry didn't move. "Good. That would have been awkward."
Well no shit.
Draco was in his study with Beau when the wards went off. His initial reaction was to think that another horse had been attacked. He leapt to his feet and ran through the manor, Beau at his heels. He raced across the front gardens and lawn and skidded to a halt when his visitor came into view.
"Granger?" he said in bewilderment.
"Hi!" she called back. "I thought the wards recognized me."
"No, they were changed," he said absently. "Last week. Hey, you're back much earlier than I thought you would be."
He opened the gate and let her inside, but his heart plummeted. He wasn't ready for her, he didn't have his argument fully formed in his mind about keeping Beau. Granger looked behind him and her eyes lit up at the sight of Beau.
"Hey there!" she said brightly. "You look good."
"Well I did take care of him," Draco snapped haughtily. Granger's face fell.
"Of course, I didn't mean-"
"I suppose you're here for him, then?"
She nodded and looked at the dog quickly. Draco suddenly felt as though his control of the situation vanished. Words poured out of his mouth before he could contain them.
"Granger look," he said quickly. His walls were down, he had no defenses in place. He didn't have the time or the control to hide himself away. "I don't know how to ask this right, but I don't want to give up Beau. He and I have gotten close, and I never would ask this, but I really want to keep him. You haven't shown him around, right? Couldn't you just… find another one? You didn't even have time to get attached! And I think… no, I know, that he likes me too. It took a while, but we're close and I just can't… He is… It's Christmas. I've never asked anything from you, but can I keep him? Please? I'll never ask for anything ever again…"
He trailed off. Granger looked alarmed at his outburst and Draco felt mortified, though defiant. He wanted Beau. He was going to keep him. Granger would just have to find another dog, that's all.
"Draco…" she seemed at a total loss. She looked back at Beau, before squaring her shoulders and looking Draco in the eye. "I'm sorry you've gotten so attached, but I told Ron and Rose about Beau before I came over. They're expecting him. I could give you the address of the adoption agency that I found and you could-"
"No," Draco said sharply, angry at her, at himself. He looked away, down at the ground and forced back the tears in his eyes. "Thank you. Take him. Happy Christmas, I'll see you at work."
"Draco," she said again but his chin jerked up and he gave her a silencing look. She bit her lip and turned away. "Come on Beau," she said softly.
Draco looked down at Beau, knowing it was probably the last time he'd see him. Beau looked at Granger, then back at Draco before walking up to him and pressing his face to Draco's stomach. Draco wrapped his arms around Beau's neck. He wanted to say good-bye, he want to say so many things to this silly dog that he had fallen in love with, but he knew if he tried, he would cry. And there was no way he was crying in front of Granger. He patted Beau on the head, the only good-bye he would give, and stepped back. Beau gave him a heartbroken look and Draco almost pulled him back, almost refused to let him leave, but Beau was Granger's.
He watched them walk through the gate, watched Granger touch the dog's massive head. Saw one more soul-wrenching look from Beau before they vanished. Draco suddenly felt empty, as if a part of himself had just been taken away. And it was his own fault. He'd known he couldn't get attached. He'd known, and yet he couldn't help himself.
He walked back to the manor. He decided not to go back to his work and instead went to his room. Amelia was asleep on his bed. He laid beside her, still oddly empty. It was then that he saw Beau's bed. Suddenly full of rage, he stood and threw his fist through the wall.
"I'm going to send Bill Weasley a gigantic fruitcake," Harry said after running his hands over his chest for the fifteenth time.
"What, you're going to wrap yourself in a box and ship it over?" Ron asked, picking up his tea.
"Ha ha," Harry replied, flipping Ron two fingers.
Harry was restored, back to his old body, back to himself. He was at Ron and Hermione's house once more and Rosie was pouting in the living room. She was ecstatic to see Harry's dog form and had been extremely put out when they managed to change him back. Hermione had spoken to Bill about Harry's situation and Bill, having broken enchantments for years, had the solution. Harry was grateful, he truly was, but part of him felt like the biggest prat in the universe. He had a feeling he'd never forget the heartbroken look on Draco Malfoy's face for the rest of his life.
Hermione was fixing dinner for everyone, idly chatting about France and the entire Weasley family. Bill and Fleur were expecting again, Charlie was still single (much to his mother's chagrin), Percy had been promoted, George's business was spreading to other countries, and Neville and Ginny thought they might be expecting as well. Harry smiled at each announcement, but his heart wasn't there.
Ron left, having heard all the news before, and went to play with Rosie. Hermione put the pot on the stove to simmer and sat at the table with her own cup of tea.
"What's wrong, Harry?" she asked.
"Nothin'," Harry lied.
He looked at her and then away. "I feel like a bad person, is all."
"He did look pretty…."
"Yes," she said slowly. She swirled her spoon around and Harry mentally counted down in his head. She lasted three seconds. "What happened while you were there, Harry?"
Harry sighed and dragged a hand through his hair. "Against all odds, I think we became friends."
"It was weird," Harry said in bafflement. "He's a totally different person when people aren't around. I didn't trust it, not at all, but even after I tried to drive him crazy-"
"-he was the nicest guy. He rescues horses, you know."
"Yes, I do know," she said, looking more confused than ever.
"I think he thought I was some sort of abused dog," Harry continued. "He was so patient. I started feeling bad for being such a wanker, and then a new horse kicked me. Broke my ribs."
"Oh my," she breathed.
"He healed me," Harry said. "Spent the whole night by my side, trying to keep me comfortable. It was just nice not to be alone."
Hermione didn't say anything as Harry thought back, reminisced a bit about his odd friendship with Draco. How he'd been a total jerk, throwing ink and parchments, how Draco had slowly become his friend. How they'd set up Christmas decorations together. How jealous Harry had gotten over Draco flirting with a random man. But then another thought occurred to him.
"Hermione…" he said slowly.
"What happened to him?" Harry asked, looking up. Her face closed off. "After the war. What happened?"
"I don't know," she said, but her voice was stiff and her eyes were carefully blank.
"Don't lie, Hermione," Harry chided. "You're terrible at it."
"Harry, it's not my place to say," she said quietly.
"His house is almost totally empty," Harry said. "No furniture, no dining room, no portraits. One house elf, a stable full of abused horses, and an overly-friendly cat that has to be ugliest creature on the planet. Draco Malfoy changed, and I want to know how."
"Why?" she asked.
"Because I think I might have fallen a little in love with him," Harry whispered. Hermione melted.
"Oh, Harry," she breathed.
"He's just about perfect, but I have no idea what made him who he is today," Harry said, staring down into his tea. "Am I just mad?"
She was silent for so long that he feared she'd refuse to tell him. He slumped back in his seat. But then she spoke, her voice soft and hesitant.
"After the war, his father was sent to Azkaban," she said. "Their funds were revoked. They had to start selling things for money. After his father was released for good behavior, Draco sent his mother and father to France with the money they'd scraped up. After they were gone, Draco sold everything that was left, just so that he could keep the manor because nowhere in the wizarding world would let him rent from them. Family members of Death Eaters are shunned, you know that. The only reason he and I became closer was actually because he got sick. St. Mungo's wouldn't treat him, so I did."
Harry nodded, but his thoughts had gone down a dark path. Suddenly he was furious with himself for having not seen it.
"He didn't want to go to France with his family," Hermione continued. "So that's why he has nothing left. He could have lived off of what he retained from selling everything, but then he came across a horse that had been beaten so terribly that Draco took it in. He knew he couldn't afford to keep it, but he couldn't give it away either. Draco then saw an add in the paper for an opening at the Ministry and applied for it. Somehow or other, I believe he knew someone in the office, he got the job. It was entry-level and didn't pay much, but he refused to give up that horse. He was ostracized from the very beginning, but no one could deny his brilliance and so he was made an Unspeakable. He's co-head of the department now, with me."
Harry looked at her, shocked to the core. But she wasn't done.
"He could easily afford to outfit his home, but he chooses not to. Instead he focuses on his animals. Sometimes he fosters pets for a time, sometimes he heals them for people. He owns all the regular horses in his stable. I heard he's rehabilitating the winged ones that have recently been attacked in racing circles. He was devastated when one of the owners, Oddlepop I think, had one of the horses Draco saved put down because he couldn't fly anymore." Harry shut his eyes. "Amelia, the cat, was his first patient, really. He found her outside his gate in really bad shape. He took her in. But it was the horse that made him find a job. Draco Malfoy is a good man, though he'd have the world believe otherwise."
Harry swallowed the lump in his throat. God, Harry had been so blind. Wrapped in his snug little world of Quidditch and friends, he hadn't thought about the world outside his own. He was a hero, the Savior, and people loved him. He hadn't given a thought to the Death Eaters, or their families, because it wasn't his responsibility. How many of them had been ostracized? How many denied treatment for illnesses or places to stay?
But Draco had risen above it. He was strong and smart, and now he could take care of himself. And others, Harry thought with a smile. Yes, he'd fallen quite hard for Draco Malfoy. Now all he had to do was get Malfoy to fall for him.
It was Christmas Eve Eve. The day before the day before Christmas, and Draco was at work. Well, it was better than being at home. Moping. He could freely admit, only to himself, that he was moping quite a bit. Everywhere he looked, he saw signs of Beau. Draco never did get around to doing the charm on the floors, so there were claw marks everywhere.
Draco couldn't even really enjoy his Christmas decorations because whenever he looked at him, he thought of how Beau had helped him. He was back to making meals for one, instead of two. He went to the stables alone now.
Merlin, he was such a twat. It was almost as if he'd lost a child, rather than a dog. But he did miss Beau terribly. He could go and get another dog, but he knew it wouldn't be the same. Beau had been special.
His office door opened and he looked at Granger in surprise. He sat back in his chair and crossed his ankles on the top of his desk.
"Shouldn't you be at home with Weasel and your Mini Me?" he asked with a drawl. "It is Christmas Eve Eve after all."
"Oh, you're cute," she replied acidly. "But I have to finish a report that I'd pushed aside because of my holiday."
"Ah," he said, dropping his feet back to the floor.
Granger shoved her way around her side of the office, being ridiculously loud as Draco tried to focus on his own work. He'd gotten so used to the silence while she'd been gone that having to work with her now was something of a trial. She flopped into her chair and bent over a piece of parchment. Draco leaned back once more and tried to look nonchalant.
"So," he said, twirling a quill in his fingers. "How's Beau? Doing alright with an infant tugging his ears?"
Granger went oddly still and lifted her head slowly. Draco instantly knew something was very wrong. He sat up sharply.
"Erm, Draco," Granger said slowly. "Beau has… Well, he's run away."
"What?" Draco gasped. Granger winced.
"He's gone," she said with an apologetic look.
"Have you searched for him?" Draco demanded.
"Of course we have! But we can't find him, and he didn't even have a collar on. I'm afraid he's gone for good."
"I'll help you search," Draco said immediately.
"That's not necessary," Hermione said quickly. "Rosie's already over the heartbreak."
Draco's mouth dropped open. "Excuse me?" he snapped. "That dog could be anywhere! Lost, alone, injured, hungry… And you're just going to give up?"
"I didn't say we've given up!" Granger shot back. "I just said we don't need your help and even if we don't find him, my daughter won't be heartbroken anymore."
What about me? Draco thought desperately.
The day passed in a blur. He was hardly aware of Granger when she left. By the time he Apparated home, he had a plan. He was going to look for Beau. He would scour England until he'd found that dog. His friend. He pushed himself into his kitchen and was welcomed by Amelia, who yawned and began to purr. Martin was at the sink, once more cleaning carrots for the horses.
"Will Master be wanting dinner?" Martin asked.
"Not right now," Draco replied. "I'm going out for a while."
"Yes, sir," Martin replied. Draco went to the closet in the corner and searched for his heat-charmed boots. "Will the man be returning soon?"
Draco went still. "A man was here?" he asked, turning around to stare at the elf in confusion.
But it was Martin who seemed confused. "The man, sir, the man," he said. "The one who was following Master Draco around, the man with the black hair. The man who got kicked by gimpy horse, the one who walked on his hands and knees."
"The man?" Draco wheezed, his mind a confused jumble and his limbs like lead.
"Yes, he was here for many days," Martin said adamantly. "Master tried to feed him dog food. Martin thought this was very odd, but it's Master's house. Surely Master remembers?"
"A man with black hair," Draco said, completely befuddled.
"Black hair and green eyes, yes sir," Martin replied. "Master called him 'Beau' sir, and man slept in Master's room."
Slept in his room… kicked by the horse… what on earth? And then it hit him; It must have been an enchantment. House elves could see through visual enchantments. Granger had brought a person, a man, to Draco to take care of. But what…?
He turned and left the kitchen. He had to talk to Granger, immediately. He was going to make her tell him just what the hell was going on.
It was Thursday, so Harry was once more at Hermione and Ron's for dinner. They'd be seeing a lot of the rest of the family in the coming days, it being Christmas time and all, so this was their night of calm before the storm. Harry made sure his wand was well-hidden before playing with Rosie and they were grouped in the living room. Ron and Hermione were bickering over what movie to watch and Harry was playing half-heartedly with a tea set with Rose.
He hadn't managed to think of a way to get to Draco yet and make it look casual. The man never went anywhere other than the Ministry. Harry was beginning to think he'd have to set up something with Hermione, where he would be 'stopping by to visit her' and run into Draco. But he didn't have a clearance to just waltz into the Department of Mysteries as if he owned it.
He was getting impatient and depressed the longer it took to think of something.
"But I love White Christmas!" Hermione said hotly.
"It's a musical," Ron replied. "You know my rules about musicals."
"But it's the holidays! Surely your rules could be bent just this once. I know you'll like it."
"It has singing in it. What on earth could make you think I'd want to watch singing?"
Their argument was interrupted by the loud banging on the front door. The four of them turned at the same time and looked at the door. Someone outside banged again. Ron got to his feet, sent Hermione a confused look, and answered the door.
"Weasel," said a voice Harry knew well. His heart both leaped and plummeted at the same time. "I need to speak with your wife."
Ron was shoved aside and Draco swept into the room, his black cloak billowing around him. Ron sputtered and slammed the door. Harry, torn between excitement and foreboding, dropped his teacup. He couldn't move his limbs, couldn't get to his feet. Hermione seemed frozen as well.
"Weasley," she whispered.
"- I've had the most interesting conversation with my elf, about…" Draco trailed off. His eyes had shot to Rosie, who was eyeing him with interest, and to Harry. He'd obviously been about to ignore him completely, but his eyes suddenly widened. "Black hair… Oh my god."
He knew. Somehow Draco knew.
"Draco," Harry said suddenly, shoving himself to his feet.
"No!" Draco yelled. "No! I don't believe this! It was Potter? Potter was in my house, ate my food, slept in my bed, saw me naked and… oh dear God. This isn't happening. This is a nightmare."
"Draco, I'm sorry," Hermione said pleadingly.
"I trusted you," he snarled. "How dare you? You lied to me! You deceived me! All these years of trying to be my friend, I let my defenses down, and then this?"
"It was an accident!" Harry yelled. Draco rounded on him, those silver eyes that had been so patient and loving full of hatred. "Rose turned me into a dog and we couldn't figure out how to reverse it. Hermione sent me to you because she trusted you, she knew you'd take care of me!"
"I don't want to hear this," Draco said, his voice suddenly deathly quiet. "I don't care how it happened. You should never have lied to me."
"Would you have listened to me beyond the word 'Potter'?" Hermione asked.
"No," Draco snapped. "I wouldn't, but at least this-" he waved his arm around, encompassing them all "-would never have happened. I fell in love with that dog and all the while it was him! The bane of my existence! My fucking school nemesis, Saint Potter!"
"Draco, please," Harry pleaded. "I didn't want it either. I didn't want to go to you, live with you, either! I didn't! But Draco, you fell in love with Beau? Well he fell a little for you, too, much to his dismay." Draco, who'd opened his mouth to retort, froze with his mouth hanging wide open. "I didn't want to like you, I tried not to, but you… you've… you have to be one of the most decent men I've ever known."
Draco snapped his jaw shut. He dropped his arms to his sides, stared at Harry hard, then turned on his heel and marched to the door. He stopped at the threshold, pivoted, and glared at Hermione.
"Any sort of friendship there had been, is over," he said. He then looked at Harry, worked his lips as though he were going to speak, and gave up. Without another word, he vanished.
Harry heart shattered. There was no way he was going to get to Draco, to plead his case. Draco wouldn't listen to him. Likely he'd hex him on the spot, and Merlin knew he had the right. Harry dropped to the floor and buried his face in his hands.
"Mummy?" Rosie said, her voice wavering. "What does 'fucking' mean?"
It was Christmas and he was alone, just as it had been for the last eight years. Draco was still in his pyjamas and slumped on the couch with a glass of brandy in his hand, though it was still early in the morning. Amelia was on his stomach, kneading his ribs and purring loudly. His presents were unopened. He only had two, one from his mother and one from his father. He'd get to it eventually.
Potter. Saint Potter. Harry Fucking Potter. He'd cared for Harry Fucking Potter. Fed him, bathed him, petted him, loved him. And it had been Potter the entire time. Draco had never felt more betrayed. By Granger and by life.
And then fucking Potter himself. Beau had fallen in love as well? What the bloody buggering fuck was that supposed to mean? That Potter had feelings for him? Was Potter even gay?
Draco had never been more confused in his life. He didn't know what to do, or who to trust. Somewhere, deep inside of himself where he really didn't want to look, he wanted to talk to Potter. He wanted answers. But every time he'd even consider it, the anger would well up and he'd want to scream.
All his happy Beau memories, of him knocking things over, ruining his work, terrorizing his cat. He'd thought him a dog in need of love and attention. And it had been Potter the whole time, trying to make his life miserable and no doubt laughing during the process. Draco clenched his hand around the brandy glass, resisting the urge to hurl it at the wall.
He jumped when his doorbell rang, only because his wards should have gone off for a person. Amelia hopped from his stomach and went to the door. Draco followed, curious.
He was tempted to shut the door almost as soon as he'd opened it, but he kept it open out of sheer morbid curiosity.
Saint Potter had come calling. He must have gotten past the wards because Draco had them attuned to Beau, who was Potter. Potter had a big red box in his hands with a snowy white bow on top and a sheepish expression on his face.
"Draco," he said softly.
"Potter," Draco snarled.
Draco took a moment to size Potter up. He had to be six feet, eye to eye with Draco. He'd filled out since school, no doubt due to Quidditch. Oh yes, Draco knew all about Harry Potter. A damn day didn't go by where Potter's damn face wasn't plastered over the front of the Prophet. Where Potter ate, who he was seen with, his latest Quidditch victories. Even after school Draco couldn't escape him. His hair was still a disaster, and his glasses were still hopelessly out of style. He had a horrid sweater on under his Gryffindor scarf that no doubt the Weasley matriarch had knitted for him. He'd seen enough of them on Granger to recognize it.
"Did you want something?" Draco asked rudely.
"I want to talk to you," Potter replied, shifting from foot to foot like a guilty student before the headmaster.
"Well, Potter, terribly sorry but I'm so busy here," Draco drawled. "Simply don't have the time."
"Don't do this, Draco," Potter said, his eyes dejected.
"Why the hell shouldn't I?" Draco snapped. "I don't think you've any right to ask anything of me."
"You're right, I don't," Potter replied. "But I'm begging you. I need to talk to you and-"
The red box suddenly wriggled in Potter's hands and let out a faint whine. They both looked down at the same time. Draco's eyes narrowed.
"You did not," he said darkly.
"I did," Potter said. Before Draco could order Potter and his wretched box off his property, Potter whipped the lid off and shoved it under Draco's nose. He shouldn't have looked down. He should have closed his eyes and shut the door.
But he didn't. He looked down. He looked down and was lost. In the box was a puppy. A big, black puppy with shaggy fur and huge feet. He looked up at Draco and lolled his tongue out before yipping happily. He wriggled his whole bum as his tail whipped from side to side and he tried to launch himself at Draco.
"You. Fucking. Bastard." Draco enunciated each word as he looked down at the adorable little puppy.
"You have a potty mouth, did you know that?" Potter sounded amused. Amused. The prat. "He's a Newfoundland."
"And you thought this would make me listen to you, did you?" Draco said, holding his hands at his sides though they ached to reach out and take the puppy, which looked disconsolate that Draco wasn't touching him. Potter shrugged. Draco cursed. "Fine, come in."
He ignored Potter's sudden grin and instead gave in to temptation and took the pup into his arms. His face was suddenly barraged with kisses and puppy breath. It was heaven. Draco walked to the sofa and sat, holding the puppy to his chest. Potter wandered uncomfortably, remaining silent. Draco let him. He focused instead on the puppy, holding and rubbing him until he was a puddle of puppy happiness in his lap.
"Erm," Potter mumbled, running a hand through his unfortunate hair. Amelia wound herself between Potter's legs, looking up at him with devotion.
"Traitor," Draco muttered.
Potter leaned down and picked her up, holding her tight to his chest. She chirped happily, rubbing her face over his cheeks and chin, reaching up with her little paw to touch his mouth. Draco's rigid posture melted a little as Potter started to talk to her, too low for Draco to hear, but with obvious love. The puppy yapped in consternation when Draco's hand went still. He hurriedly commenced scratching his round belly.
"You wanted something, Potter?" Draco asked.
"Yes, right, uhm," Potter looked totally lost and that satisfied Draco enormously. "I know… I know I don't deserve forgiveness, or even for you to listen to me, but I said you were a decent man and here I am… with you listening…" Draco raised a brow. "Right. I'll just come out with it. I wanted to hate you. I tried to hate you. Everything that I remembered of you from school told me that you were a selfish wanker, a bad person. But then… I don't know. You were different. I know you had no idea who I was, and that I was just a dog, but you treated me like a person. And you were so wonderful, with me and with your horses, and then you helped me when my ribs were broken and you sat with me all night. You made me food. You didn't even bat an eyelash when I tried to drive you mad, and I can't tell you how much that irritated me."
Draco smirked and looked down at the puppy, who was beginning to drowse. Harry put Amelia down and she made her way to the couch to investigate the newcomer. Potter watched, smiling a little as Amelia sniffed the puppy and then promptly shoved her head against his. The puppy did not wake.
"I was stuck in a body I couldn't really control, I was feeling completely alone because Hermione and Ron had to leave," Potter continued, watching the cat as she tried to climb into Draco's lap with the puppy. "I didn't want to like you, but I started to. Even before you healed me, even before I saw you naked." Draco flushed and he could practically feel Potter's smile. "I know you give off this… I don't know. Wall, I guess. Blocking yourself from the world. But I've seen the real you, and I've gotten to know you, and… I can't help it. I fell in love with you."
Draco looked up, completely unsure of what he was supposed to do or say. He was moved by Potter's words. How could he not be? But to him, this was only the second time in ten years that he'd laid eyes on Potter. He knew practically nothing of Potter's character anymore.
"What would you have me do?" he asked. "To me, Beau wasn't you. Beau was Beau. And you are Potter. I did fall for Beau, and I know you are Beau, but I just can't wrap my head around it."
"I know," Potter said quickly. "I understand, completely. So what would I have you do? Erm…" Suddenly he looked unsure of himself, reminding Draco so much of Beau in his awkwardly huge feet that his heart melted further. Maybe he could reconcile this man and the dog he'd loved in his mind. "I would… would you…? Right. Would you like to go out with me? On a date?"
Draco's mouth dropped open. "Excuse me?"
"I was going to ask you," Potter said hurriedly. "I was trying to find a way, to be nonchalant. I was never going to tell you I was Beau, which was wrong of me, but I just couldn't. But now you know. And you know that I have real feelings for you, and you know that you have the right to stomp on me if you like. But at least I've asked. I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if I hadn't."
"You're totally mad," Draco said. "Totally and completely mad." Potter's face fell, but he nodded. "You come in here, after what you and Granger pulled, and ask me out on a date? You're barking. Totally barking. But I must be as well, because I'm actually considering it."
His decision was made when Potter's face lit up like his damn Christmas tree. He hadn't even said yes but apparently for Potter, just that he was considering it was enough.
"Take your time," Potter said suddenly, holding up his hands. "That's fine. I should be going. I've imposed enough. But the puppy was for you. You keep him."
"As if I'd ever give him back," Draco said, running his fingers over the puppy's tummy. He snored.
Potter smiled and started for the door. Making his second split-second decision in less than sixty seconds, Draco set the sleeping puppy and purring Amelia aside and got to his feet.
"Potter," he said. Potter stopped and turned.
"Yeah?" he asked, his eyes bright. Those eyes. Those eyes Draco knew very well. They were exactly the same in the face of the man before him as they were in the face of a dog.
"One thing," Draco said softly.
He reached out and had a glimpse of Potter's shocked face before he leaned forward and pressed his lips to Potter's. It wasn't deep, or intense, or even long. Draco would have called it a 'peck'. But it was all he needed to cement his decision. Just the touch of lips was enough to have his heart racing.
"What are you doing this weekend?" Draco asked, pulling back but keeping his hand on Potter's neck.
Potter looked absolutely gobsmacked. "Uhn," he mumbled. "Er, nothing. At all."
"Want to come over and work with the horses?"
"Yes," Potter said decisively.
Draco smiled. "Good." Potter quirked his lips up, his eyes still slightly glazed and backed up. "Oh, and Potter?" He halted, his eyes sharpened and he leaned forward slightly, as though readying for another kiss. Draco's smile grew. "Happy Christmas."
ONE YEAR LATER
There was a warm body snuggled up to his back, and another pressed to his front. Something was draped over his hip. Harry burrowed deeper into the bed with his bedmates, not yet willing to wake up fully.
"Harry," a voice rumbled, still croaky with sleep.
"Mmph," Harry responded.
"Harry," the voice said a little bit more firmly.
"Mmph," Harry replied again.
"Harry, it's Christmas."
Harry opened his eyes, but everything was still black. He reached out a hand and ran it over the body in front of him lovingly before shoving it off the bed. The big black dog, quite used to this, was prepared and landed as agilely as his huge body could allow. He still wobbled a bit. Harry squinted at the bright light of the room. Next he snaked his hand out from under the covers and reached for the cat on his hip. She chirped in greeting when his hand met her head for her morning scratch, but then she too was unceremoniously shoved aside. She never did take it quite as gracefully as the dog. She fell over with a yowl and landed with a thud on the floor.
"Am I next?"
Harry grinned and rolled over, wrapping one arm around the only body left. Draco smiled, his eyes still half-closed from sleep. His white-blond hair was in disarray and the bare skin of his shoulder almost glowed in the sunlight. Harry pulled him closer.
"We're going to have to get up and start getting ready before the Weasley invasion," Draco said, burrowing himself even closer to Harry's chest. Harry rolled his eyes.
"They won't be here for hours yet," he replied.
"That doesn't change the fact that we have chores, Potter," Draco said, his voice muffled by Harry's skin. "The horses, dog, and cat won't feed themselves."
"We really should start training them to."
"Oh har har."
Even though the animals needed to be fed, Christmas dinner needed to be made, and the floors needed a good vacuuming (Newfoundland hair was everywhere), neither of them moved. It was Christmas, after all. They could be lazy for just a little while longer. Harry would have been content to lay there, with Draco, all day.
Draco, it seemed, wanted to do more than simply lay there. He nudged his hips into Harry's making his arousal plain. Harry grinned.
"How about some Christmas nookie?" Draco asked, pressed his mouth to Harry's collarbone.
"Mm, the very best kind," Harry replied before pressing Draco onto his back and rolling atop him.
"I don't want to wait," Draco said breathlessly, his hands running down Harry's spine.
"Alright," Harry replied, his cock hardening so fast that his head was light. "We'll do that later."
Harry pressed their naked bodies together (for neither liked to wear clothes to bed any more), and in the bright light of the early morning sun, they rocked together, sliding back and forth against each other, teasing. Harry sighed in pleasure and leaned down, taking Draco's mouth lightly. They moved like that, rocking and writhing and pressing and kissing until it was simply not enough.
"More, Harry, please," Draco groaned, pressing his hips more firmly into Harry's.
"Yes," Harry hissed.
He reached down between them, lined their hips up, and wrapped his hand around both of them. It was pure heaven, having Draco's face right in front of his, their chests pressed together, their cocks in his hand. Harry felt complete. Draco wrapped his legs around Harry's hips and soon they were straining together as their pleasure reached a fever pitch. Draco went first, arching his head back and letting out a strangled moan. Harry pressed his mouth to that beautiful neck and followed with fire racing down his spine and releasing a groan into Draco's skin.
He then, with absolutely no grace, collapsed with his hand trapped between them. They breathed heavily together and Harry could feel Draco's pounding heart.
"I love you," Harry said quietly.
"I know," Draco replied. His hand came to Harry's back. "I love you, too."
The bed dipped to Harry's right and Amelia chirped. He felt her walk across the bed and then onto Harry's bum, settling there and repeating herself. Loudly.
"Yes, I love you too," Harry said. Draco laughed.
The bed bobbled as Beau jumped up, wanting his share of love as well.
"I think we have to move now," Draco said.
"Mmph," Harry replied.
But he did, shoving Amelia aside once more and getting to his feet. They had chores. But Harry paused and looked at the bed and saw his life, wrapped up in sheets and pillows. Draco, lounging back and looking very pleased with himself. Amelia, rubbing herself on Beau's face. And Beau, who was no longer a puppy but a full-grown dog who was madly in love with Amelia. Actually, Beau loved just about everyone.
Harry looked at his family, filled with quiet joy. "Come on," he said, holding out a hand for Draco. "Everyone needs food." He smiled, feeling as happy as he ever had in his life. "Happy Christmas, Draco."
Draco took his hand and slid out of bed. He fitted himself against Harry and lifted his arms around his neck, pressing a kiss to Harry's cheek. "Happy Christmas, Harry."