The Big Ben Chimes Stoppage Mystery,
or: Ten Things Draco Malfoy Noticed In The Evening

The first thing Draco noticed was a bloke on a broom who flew suspiciously like Harry Potter. Draco had watched the git for five bloody years, and he knew exactly how Potter leaned forward in a dive and kept his broom tail from lurching when making speed. There were not many flyers who could round a clock tower so smoothly at such a pace, not even in the professional Quidditch leagues. But Potter could, Draco had to give him that, and the bloke up there in the dusky sky was at least as good.

Eyes on the flyer, Draco continued his walk beside the white-flowering shrubs. They filled the air with a luscious sweetness. May had been exceptionally warm, and today must have been the hottest day of the year so far. Still, Draco was looking forward to the heat of summer. His body dreaded any kind of cold, after the winters in Azkaban.

The dark silhouette in the sky vanished and the lighted clock face of Big Ben came into view. As Draco watched, the longest of the dials moved forward another minute. Ten o'clock. The melodious, deep booms rang out into the night.

He had been working long hours in the potions lab. The wizarding world was not exactly welcoming to someone with a Dark Mark on their arm and nothing but four years in prison with an unfinished education at Hogwarts to show. It didn't matter how young and stupid Draco had been when he'd got himself this special tattoo. It still itched sometimes. Draco wondered whether amputees felt their missing limbs itch like this, responding to a change of the weather or the presence of wild magic nearby.

Two years ago, fresh out of prison, he had tried to Glamour the Mark, along with the cruder but more innocent tattoos he'd got in Azkaban. But you couldn't well offer your house as headquarters to the most dangerous Dark wizard in recent history and hope to be left alone later, after the war was lost and your world had come crumbling down. The Prophet and its bloodhounds had been unforgiving. Draco had been more than lucky that Croaker had taken him on. For Snape's sake, Draco was certain of it, even if the man never once mentioned Severus Snape. The herbalist's back-alley store was not the future Lucius Malfoy had once envisioned for his son. But Draco worked happily late, even on a Friday night, so he could get his potions master degree and leave England for good. There was nothing for him here to build a life upon.

His attention was drawn from the flyer still circling Big Ben to movement behind the shrubs. It was well known that a man could find a willing mouth or arse in the Victoria Tower Gardens. It was the reason why Draco had decided to walk home instead of making use of the lab's fireplace. He was almost twenty-five, healthy again after those months in St Mungo's when just the thought of sex had made him sick. The bad times were over. The one thing he was sick of was the predictable touch of his own fist. He stopped and turned deliberately to the moving shrub. A man, smaller than Draco, with gorgeous shoulder-long hair, stepped out, bringing a wave of jasmine with him. Draco was just about to pull him back into the foliage when something made his Mark tingle and the hair on his neck stand up. Hands on the bloke's shoulders, Draco turned to look up into the sky.

It was then that he noticed that the bloody idiot on the broom was racing at breakneck speed towards Big Ben. And damn him, if it wasn't Potter! Draco had been too many hours on a Quidditch field to not know how the light reflected off Potter's glasses exactly like the golden glint of the Snitch. He moved back into the path, out of the man's arms and towards the flyer. Any second now the idiot would crash into the clock tower.

Draco started to run, waving with both arms and yelling, "Watch out, the tower, watch it!"

"He can't hear you," a voice called behind him. It brought Draco to a full stop. What was he thinking? The flyer was a long way up in the sky, swerving to the left now, and barely missing the tall tower. Potter, or whoever sat on that broom, would never be able to hear Draco down in the park. He turned to see the bloke from the jasmine bush standing in the middle of a patch of moonlight.

"You're a wizard?" Draco asked before he could stop himself, for of course the man had to be. No Muggle would remain so calm at the sight of a person flying on a broom.

The man came closer, eyes on Draco's face, when he put a warm hand on his hip. Their thighs touched, and Draco could feel the wand that was hidden in a narrow side pocket at the seams of the man's jeans. Draco also felt a healthy erection brushing against his thigh.

"It's been a while since I've been with a wizard," the man said, voice low and smooth. A trace of jasmine was still around him, and Draco leaned closer instinctively.

A shrill screeching noise made them both jump, and Draco spun around. "Merlin!"

Potter (or whoever) had crashed head-on into the clock face of Big Ben. The tower stood unshaken; it was much too big and solid a structure for the weight of a single man to do it any harm. But the flyer had fallen off the wild broom, holding on for sheer life with only one hand. Again Draco couldn't suppress the urge to hurry towards him. Whipping out his wand, he fell into a fast sprint, eyes on the careening broom. Salazar, what was Potter thinking to fly such a dangerous race, in full view of Muggle London?

A row of tall trees cut off Draco's view. He dashed along the path, crossed over the grass and rounded the monument of the defeated Muggles from the Pale of Calais. The Houses of Parliament rose before him. There! The small figure was caught in a downward spiral. In quick succession Draco cast a Cushioning Charm and a Levitating Spell. Potter was still far up, but coming closer. Perhaps at least some of the spells' power caught him and softened his fall. Draco kept his wand raised and the Leviosa going. Potter trundled over the Parliament roofs, both hands around the handle now, trying like the maniac he was to get back onto the broom. Draco had no idea why Potter didn't use his bloody magic, or even just his Quidditch skills to save himself from the fall. News had been sparse in Azkaban but even there Draco had heard about the Quidditch feats of the Golden Boy.

A group of Muggles passed, and Draco hid his wand. The last thing he needed was to be charged with a breach of the Statute of Secrecy. He knew all too well that there were people in the Ministry who would love to see all Malfoys either locked on a rock out in the Northern Sea or buried six feet below the ground.

"Come on, Potter," he muttered, "get onto that bloody broom."

It had grown too dark for Draco to see anything above the Houses of Parliament. He could only hope that the lunatic had made it back onto the broom, or that Draco's spells had at least given him time for a smooth landing.

The Muggles disappeared underneath the trees. Draco walked into the other direction, closer to the street and the Embankment of the Thames. He craned his neck and stared up over the turrets and roofs of the buildings. Nothing.

The park was filled with the distant noises of Muggle cars and a light woodsy smell, only perceptible now that he'd moved away from the jasmine. Really, he should turn to see if the pretty wizard was still interested. Or more reasonably, he should head home. Why the hell had he rushed over here, anyway, for a deranged flyer who – now that he thought about it – couldn't possibly have been Harry Potter?

Still. Something made Draco keep on walking, eyes trained on the clock tower of Big Ben. It looked wholly untouched, no damage visible from the flyer's heedless crash into its illuminated face. Only –

Had the dials moved at all for the last few minutes? Draco tried to remember what time it had been when he last looked. Twenty minutes after ten, perhaps, give or take a two. But that's what it said right now, and certainly more time had passed since Draco discovered the trundling Potter-like flyer.

There was a soft thud on the path behind Draco. He jumped, got out his wand fast – but it was only a shoe. A mud-spattered, blue-striped trainer. Draco was just about to pick it up when a dark shape came hurdling towards him. A scream, half-strangled, half lost in the whoosh, and the flyer on his bloody broom came crashing down on the very spot where Draco crouched. He barely managed to get out of the way, and still had the broom tail whip against his legs. And damn! It was Potter, mess of black hair, stupid glasses and dressed in the blue shirt of the official gear of Puddlemere United.

Potter was lying on his back, eyes shut, left arm twisted so viciously that the elbow stuck up in a way that wasn't naturally possible. A gash ran down the side of his face. Strangely, there was no blood. Instead, there was an eerie stillness about the body, making Draco's frantic movements sound loud and out of place. He couldn't help notice that Potter looked more dead than alive.

But the next moment, Potter's eyes snapped open. He blinked, then his gaze came to rest on Draco.

"Your hair," he whispered, raising his left arm. Draco was too stunned to stop him.

Potter's scream pierced the night. It made Draco forget his job, the sweet jasmine, and whatever the Prophet's bloodhounds would make of the sight of a convicted Death Eater bending over the wounded Saviour of the wizarding world. He held Potter down by the shoulders, using his full weight to make him stop thrashing about.

"Don't move, damn it. You're hurt. Your arm is broken."

"Where is this?" There was a slur to Potter's voice but his eyes were clearer than before. Only now did Draco notice the faint smell of alcohol, like Potter had poured a glass of Ogden's down his shirt. The Firewhiskey in his blood had to be the reason why Potter still smiled like loon, with his arm a bloody mess.

When he was certain that Potter had calmed down, Draco started to get up. A sharp stone was stabbing into his knee-cap, and he instinctively took all weight off the leg. Which meant that more of his weight came to lie on Potter. Who made a sound that sounded decidedly more pleased than annoyed, then circled his right arm around Draco's neck.

"Victoria ... Gardens," Draco managed, two complicated words, much too breathy for how close they suddenly were. He could see Potter's eyelashes fan across the green of his eyes. "Let go of me."

"It's you, isn't it?" Potter whispered. The S was slightly slurred, and honestly, what kind of question was that?

Draco was half convinced Potter had no idea who was lying spread-eagle on top of him. The conviction deepened when Potter's fingers got a tighter hold on Draco's hair, and his lips were so much closer than just a moment before. Closer and redder, a bit chapped and trembling.

And not soft. Definitely not soft, as they were pressing against Draco's mouth in a shy, drunken kiss. The touch made Draco's body relax against Potter by a will of its own, and yet he remained careful of the fractured arm and painfully aware of the other man's arousal. Everything else around them vanished. There was just night falling in dark blues, making the red of Potter's lips even brighter when Draco pulled back to look at him.

"You don't like me," Potter said, fingers twisting and twisting in Draco's hair. "You don't want to sleep with me, do you, Malfoy?" His voice was sharp, nothing like that slurry drunk's voice before.

"You wish," Draco said, and for a moment he wondered whether he'd been mistaken, and Potter wasn't pissed at all. But then those not-soft lips were on his mouth again, moving, sucking, working their way in with a bit of tongue and spit. It was irresistible really, with the smell of Firewhiskey so strong, but Draco loved that fierce taste in a man. Potter was more than just one sheet to the wind, body moulded against Draco and so warm. Draco opened his mouth to respond to Potter's kiss; he sucked on his tongue. Then, with a moan he couldn't help, he claimed Potter's lips for his own.

Muggle cars were still driving by, a soft hum on the other side of the trees. The sharp pebble from before had made its way down to stab into Draco's shin. He moved, taking his weight on one arm, to be able to push Potter's hair from his face. There was blood on his fingers when he pulled away.

"God." Potter stared, out of breath and with the light of a lantern reflecting off his glasses. "My arm hurts." He grimaced, and Draco couldn't take his eyes away from the way his kiss-bruised lips moved.

"Let me heal it," he said, surprising himself.

To Potter it seemed the most natural thing. He willingly shifted to make room for Draco to reach for his wand – the Hawthorn one that was returned to Draco only after his release from Azkaban. Potter's good arm was still around Draco's neck, a warm, steady weight. It felt as if Potter was making sure Draco wouldn't get away. When Draco sat up to prepare for casting the spell, the hand moved down to his side and came to lie firmly on his hip.

Potter watched him, one lens of his glasses smudged, the other cracked so that his eyes seemed hidden behind blind glass. He had the injured arm cradled against his chest. It would be safer to have the shirt removed and actually see what kind of damage Potter had inflicted on himself. Draco traced the arm with his wand and muttered a Diffindo. The blue cloth fell away. There was a gasp from Potter, but when Draco looked up to see whether he'd hurt him, there was only surprise in Potter's face.

No fear, Draco noticed. Potter trusted him, and that just showed how smashed he was. There was no reason why Harry Potter should trust him, not when the last they'd seen of each other was at the Wizengamot when Draco had been sentenced to four years on the rock.

"You're ready?" he asked, and had to clear his throat because the words came out as a croak.

"Whenever you are." Potter shook the arm a bit, a jerky move that must have hurt but he didn't flinch.

"Don't move, idiot." Draco was whispering for no other reason than that the kiss still tingled on his lips and he wanted to be gentle with Potter. "I can reach it all right."

It was an ugly break with the spoke bone ripped from the elbow joint. Magic would regrow the ligaments and reset the bone, but there would be bruising and restricted mobility for at least a couple of days. Draco calculated the time until the next Puddlemere match. Potter should be fine by then if he didn't attempt another crazy broom-ride through the night. He must have hit the tower clock elbow first, in a last, failed attempt to swerve to the right and avoid collision.

Draco raised his wand, a gesture still unfamiliar to him, even after two years. He hadn't done any spell-work in the hospital ward of Azkaban, but he'd watched the healers, both when he was a patient, and later when he was put to work in the ward. A simple Episkey closed the gash on Potter's face, a Reparo mended the cracked lens.

Potter smiled at him while Draco cast the spells, with a small sappy smile that made Draco wonder whether there was more than Ogden's lacing Potter's blood. The git definitely was in need of a Sobriety Spell. He was much too comfortable around Draco. They hated each other. What was Potter thinking? Sleep with him?

Draco pulled his attention back to the arm and cast the spell.

"Brackium Emendo!"

No magic could mend that kind of break and not be painful, at least for a couple of moments. Potter gasped, his body stiffened. Draco swallowed a Sorry, for really, who was doing whom a favour here? But he couldn't stop his hand, the one without the wand, from touching Potter's chest, reassuring him without words. Potter was breathing deeply as the torn flesh of his elbow knitted together, and a pink patch of skin wrapped around it.

Slowly Draco got up and put his wand away. He became aware of their surroundings, the sounds of other people – Muggles, most likely – walking in the park. Potter was still lying in the middle of the path, turning his arm to the left and right. The shredded sleeve had fallen back to his shoulder.

"Up?" Draco asked and offered his hand.

Potter stared, first at the out-stretched hand, then into Draco's face, longer than was comfortable. But Draco refused to lower his gaze. Which was why he noticed the slight twitch of Potter's lips, as if he'd made up his mind about something. In one fluid movement Potter leaned up and reached for Draco's hand, pulling himself up before Draco could stop him from putting all that weight on the barely healed arm.

It didn't seem to matter. Potter got up, and then used the leverage to fall against Draco. Their hands were smashed between their chests, Potter stood so close, and he didn't let go of Draco's hand.

"Potter...", Draco started when he noticed the squeezing sensation indicating imminent Apparition. "Potter, what –" but his breath was taken away and then there was only Potter's firm grasp on his hand.

They landed in a dark room that smelled of broom wax and a faint metallic scent that reminded Draco – inexplicably – of summer nights in the Manor. Potter didn't seem to be aware that he had abducted Draco to an unknown place. He did let go of Draco's hand, but only to circle his waist and move his hands all the way from Draco's arse to his shoulder blades. His mouth was searching Draco's lips again, and when Draco turned his face away, Potter started nipping and licking at his throat.

"Merlin," Draco gasped. It seemed permission enough for Potter to shove Draco backwards. The edge of a bed hit the back of Draco's knees, and the next thing he knew he was pushed onto a soft, silky quilt with Potter crawling on top of him.

"You hate me", Potter muttered. "You'd never fuck me just because I'm Harry bloody Potter. But ..." Before Draco could react, Potter was cupping his groin, rubbing his palm against Draco's – damn it! – hard dick. Potter all but giggled into Draco's ear when he collapsed, body half draped across Draco and his mouth close to his ear. "But you want me, Malfoy. I can tell."

Draco struggled, he did, to move away from Potter's hot breath and his warm, warm hand that was stroking him now in a way that made Draco hate his trousers with a vengeance. "Potter", he groaned, and despite his efforts to control his hips they fell into the deliciously arousing rhythm of Potter's strokes, "you're drunk. Stop it. Bloody stop it. Please ..."

His last word echoed oddly in the dark room. Draco could make out shapes now, the posts of a four-poster bed, night tables on either side, a huge wardrobe to the left. The curtains of the bed swayed as if a breeze was coming in. It felt like a safe place, much safer than any cell in Azkaban, but Draco had learned not to trust places that seemed safe.

He felt his arousal taper off, and Potter must have felt it, too. He stopped his strokes but kept his hand lightly on Draco's groin, a steady weight much like his arm before around Draco's neck.

"You think I only want this because I'm drunk?"

"Potter, listen to yourself. Yes, damn it, you only want this because you're as pissed as a newt."

A soft, throaty laugh came from Potter. It tickled with his mouth so close to Draco's ear. "And why, I wonder, do you want this, Draco Malfoy?"

Not so drunk then. Or perhaps a very perceptive drunk. Draco tried to move away, but Potter held him by the hip.

"Cast a Sobriety Spell," he said.

"What?"

Potter sat up, and Draco felt cold all of a sudden without Potter's hand on his cock. He didn't hear the Lumos but a single candle on the night table sparked. In the light Draco saw that Potter was holding his wand. Wordless magic then, and Draco felt a bit awed by the drunken, dishevelled wizard in front of him.

"Sobriety Spell. Cast it on me. If you don' want to when I'm drunk, let's fuck sober. How does that sound?"

The slur was back. With it, a tiredness had crept into Potter's words that made Draco wonder what the Golden Boy had escaped from pissed on a broom, on a Friday night. He wondered, too, why Potter would suggest a Sobriety Spell. There was a reason why you could easily find a drunken wizard in Diagon Alley or at a Quidditch game: the Sobriety Spell was gruesome, nothing like your common Healing Spell.

"All right." He shook his wand from his sleeve and cast the spell quickly, before Potter (or he himself) had second thoughts. But Potter just sat there with his torn sleeve, waiting for the Spell to hit. "Grisiti!" Draco intoned and saw immediately what the spell did to Potter.

Grasping his arms, Potter curled in on himself with a moan. Draco remembered all too well the feeling like fire ants crawling over you, with a sting that seemed to seep underneath the skin, leaving you raw and aching all over. It only lasted a couple of moments, though, and Potter's breathing was already going back to normal. A fine sweat had broken out on his neck and the exposed arm. Draco had to stop himself from not wiping it away.

They were in a wizard's home, that much Draco could tell by the sheer level of magic all around. It felt oddly familiar. A wizard's home would have a fireplace, and Draco needed a fireplace to leave. Apparition was not one of the spells he was allowed on parole. Some small, fearful voice in the back of his head wondered whether Potter's thoughtless Side-Along would register with whoever had a Trace on him.

Potter raised himself onto his elbows with a sigh. He stared at Draco for a moment, then he shook his head. Bad move. The Sobriety Spell burned the alcohol from your blood but it didn't get rid of the poisoning.

"Shit ..." Potter was clutching at his head with both hands. He was pale, paler than before.

"Do you have Hangover Potion around? It works wonders after a Sobriety Spell." Draco sat up; he put his feet on the floor. He was still wearing his shoes.

"Malfoy." Potter's hand was on his shoulder, much faster than Draco would have thought he'd be able to. A Seeker's speed, even when under the influence. With a vehemence he hadn't known he felt, Draco suddenly envied Potter those four years of freedom, being able to fly, to hone his Quidditch skills, to play the game. Nothing in Azkaban had been a game.

Potter was close, practically leaning against Draco's back. The smell of Firewhiskey was still strong, but mixed with sweat and that lingering scent of broom wax that seemed to belong to the room. Potter's room. Draco would have loved to turn his head and kiss the man, to play the game again, even if only for a night. But there was no way Potter'd be still up for a fuck, not all sober and hung-over.

"Wait," Potter whispered into his ear. "I'll be back right away. Please don't go."

He moved quickly to the other side of the bed, leaving Draco feeling cold again. Potter was already at a trunk that Draco hadn't seen in the dark. He opened it, rummaged around and came up with a bottle that had to be Hangover Potion. He turned to Draco.

"Wait," he said again, then disappeared through a door hidden in the wall.

Long minutes later, Draco slipped off his shoes. Potter took his sweet old time. And whatever was going to happen once Potter returned seemed likely to happen here, in Potter's bedroom, on Potter's bed. He leaned back against the carved headboard, checking out possible escape routes, should things go awry. No fireplace, only a heavy, dark-wooded door that probably lead to stairs leading to the other storeys and the entrance below. They were in London; the skyline visible through the window told Draco as much. Again that odd sense of familiarity swept through him – he knew this place. An old-fashioned water faucet creaked behind the door where Potter had disappeared, then the sounds of a bathtub being filled could be heard. Was the git taking a bath? Now?

Draco sighed. He should head down those stairs, look for a fireplace, or leave the house to find a wizarding establishment connected to the Floo.

On the wall hung a banner in dark gold, with red tassels and the Gryffindor lion embroidered onto it. Draco would have expected the Puddlemere United flag, but there was not a single Quidditch item in the room. Below the banner someone had pinned a page from a Muggle magazine, with an unmoving woman clad in black leather and seated on a Muggle motorbike. Draco would have wondered about Potter's sexual tastes, if he hadn't just felt for himself that the git liked to kiss men, out of the blue and utterly smashed. There was also, of course, Potter's coming-out in the Quibbler. Draco never read the article, but for weeks after Dark Lord arse-bugger jokes had been circulating amongst the inmates on the rock.

There was a picture to the right of the Gryffindor banner, almost hidden behind the velvet window curtains. Draco got up and walked over to take a closer look. Two young wizards, boys really who couldn't have been out of Hogwarts when the picture was painted. They were brothers, by the looks of it. Draco stepped closer to the side, to have the candle light fall fully onto the painting. He knew that expression, that proud look from two sets of grey eyes –

Warm hands wrapped around his waist, and Draco jumped.

"Shh," Potter whispered. "Sorry. Didn't mean to startle you."

Draco relaxed into the embrace, leaning against the other man who had a clean, citrusy smell. Potter hair was wet as if he'd towelled it dry too quickly, and he was breathing faster than one would assume of someone who had just taken a bath.

"The Ancient and Most Noble House of Black?" Draco asked, looking at the painting where one brother was nodding to the other only to return Draco's look with an air of haughty defiance.

"This is number twelve, Grimmauld Place, yes." Potter pressed against him, his erection firm and undeniable moulded against Draco's butt. "I've lived here for the last couple of years. Never made much of the place, though …" He paused, moving his hands across Draco's hips in a gesture that seemed oddly tentative. "I guess it would be yours if Sirius hadn't given it to me. What with all the other Black heirs dead or in prison."

Potter sounded almost apologetic, and Draco felt hurt pride surge in him. "The last thing I need is another decrepit property here in …" He didn't say England, but Potter must have guessed.

"Oh, of course," he said. "You'll be joining your parents in France, won't you?" He didn't say once your parole is up, and Draco was struck by the silences between them, and yet they knew each other well enough to fill them in.

Potter let go of him and moved away. He was barefoot, wrapped in a dressing gown that seemed to belong to an older man. He stood for a moment at the side of the bed, his silhouette surrounded by the candlelight. Then he turned. It was then that Draco noticed that Potter was stark naked underneath that gown.

Now, it was not as if Draco hadn't stared at Potter's nipples, perky underneath tight Puddlemere blue on the centrefold of Which Broomstick? Draco would even admit to wanking, like most every other gay wizard alive, to fantasies of what exactly was hidden underneath that protective leather cup between Potter's thighs. But that had never been about the real Potter – not about the man who was standing in front of him now: flushed from the bath and shy, too, so different than before in the park. Harry ...

"This is mental," Potter whispered, clutching at the open gown as if he just now realised his state of undress. There was a quiver to his voice that went straight to Draco's groin, making him almost gasp at the intensity of his arousal. He stepped forward soundlessly as he walked in socks across the wooden floor. Potter's half-arsed smile was all the encouragement he got. Draco reached for the belt of the gown, which Potter had loosely wrapped around his waist, and opened it. Potter shrugged, a languid, sensual movement Draco had never thought him capable of, and the garment slid to the floor.

Potter's skin seemed to glow in the candlelight – all naked and waiting for Draco's touch. It was too much all of a sudden when Draco hadn't seen a man naked, not since Azkaban. When he hadn't really made love to anyone for years, just those quick fucks in the park or the alley behind the Fortress. He closed the distance between them; pulling Potter in, wrapping his warm body in his arms.

"You smell like ..." Potter stopped and never said what Draco smelled like but he buried his face in Draco's neck, his body melting against Draco as if they'd been lovers for years.

"Potter." Draco tried to get some distance. Someone had to keep a clear head when Potter clearly didn't. But it was hard to ignore Potter's hot breath on his neck and to not buck wildly into Potter's hands that were unfastening with swift proficiency the lacings of Draco's trousers. "Potter ..."

"You want this." Potter's mouth was moving across his skin, wet and whispering. "No gay wizard walks through Victoria Gardens just for fresh air. And you are gay, aren't you, Malfoy?" He thrust his hips lightly, and their erections brushed. Draco gasped, but Potter only chuckled, a rumbling vibration in his chest. "Thought so. Skeeter wouldn't get that juicy bit of gossip wrong."

"No ..." Potter's tongue was licking at Draco's ear, quick, teasing licks that made Draco want to lean in and jerk away at the same time. "No ... she didn't get it wrong," he said, tiling his head so Potter's tongue could reach even further. And damn, if his own voice hadn't gone low and needy like he had any right to –

"Good." Potter was sucking his earlobe now, and it took all Draco had to not come in his pants. Their hips had fallen into a thrusting rhythm, with Potter retreating inch by inch, pulling Draco with him. "I am sober now," he said. "You want someone for the night. I am here. I can be the bloke you pick up in the park. I can be anyone, anyone ..." He choked on whatever else he meant to say, searching Draco's mouth instead, kissing with such need and pulling Draco backwards.

Harry ...

Draco made sure he didn't hurt him when he threw him onto the bed. The candle sputtered at the gush of air when they both crashed down. But when Draco had Potter underneath him he could see him clearly, no flickering shadows, no secrets hidden in his dark eyes. Draco raised himself on both his arms, rubbing his mouth harshly across Potter's lips. Potter opened up at once, allowing Draco in. He kissed him slowly first, but then just couldn't stop. Not with Potter's mouth so pliant, so perfectly shaped to be kissed and licked and sucked at. There was a faint trace still of Firewhiskey, and Draco all but lost himself in it. With only half his mind he registered that Potter unbuttoned his shirt, that Potter was stroking his chest and stomach with hot hands. Draco was about to come up for air when Potter pulled down his trousers and pants and arched up so their cocks, finally, touched.

He stopped kissing, but their lips still touched. There was no way Draco could give up Potter's sweet mouth already, besides Potter was breathing so hard and fast it surely was enough air for both of them. Draco turned to look between their bodies where Potter was slowly stroking their cocks. The memory surfaced sharply and unbidden, of a fist pulling painfully at Draco's prick, a fist larger and bony, with the letters L, O, V and E tattooed onto the fingers. HATE was for the right hand, LOVE for left, closer to the heart. Cack-handed bastard ...

The candle sputtered in a draught only Draco could feel. He broke away from Potter's mouth, breathing deeply to counter the rising panic. Just then Potter circled the head of Draco's cock gently, he pulled down the foreskin and offered his cupped palm to thrust into. Draco whimpered against Potter's throat, and he did thrust, hard and slow, nothing but the touch and smell of here.

They moved like this for a while, then Potter spread his legs for Draco to lie in between. It felt good, those small movements of two bodies on a soft bed. Draco's trousers and pants were wrapped around his knees, and it felt good, too, to be constrained like that when it was his choice to reach down and take off the clothes. Potter was shoving away Draco's shirt, then his vest. He had a thing for shoulders, apparently, the way he kept licking and kissing it. Then Draco realised Potter was licking at the tattoo – the crude spider web that spun all the way down Draco's arm. He watched Potter's tongue follow the inked spider threads until he reached Draco's elbow and started to suck at it. The sparkling joy in Potter's eyes let Draco almost forget Potter's hands that were exploring his back, reaching lower and lower. But when Potter's wandering fingers slid into the crack of his arse he could no longer ignore it.

"No."

Potter froze, hands on Draco's bum, a soft weight, firm, safe. It felt as if Draco could let him continue. But nobody was touching him there again, ever.

"Don't –" he started, but Potter's hands were already gone. He was moving quickly beneath Draco, pushing him off and not caring a bit, it seemed, as he rolled onto his belly. Draco sat back, watching and waiting, all the while savouring the intense relief that Potter didn't want to fuck him. Instead, the Golden Boy got onto his knees and pressed his arse up against Draco's lap. His dark head pushed into a white pillow that must have been hidden by the quilt.

"Fuck me," Potter whispered. Draco noticed the wetness dripping from Potter's crack. He reached for it, rubbed it between his fingers. Lube, translucent and slick, coating his fingertips.

"You did ... In the bathroom?"

"Please ..." Potter nodded, voice muffled and trembling, gone his cocky assuredness. Which was just beyond silly. Draco would want to see the man who could resist Potter's smooth arse, his muscled thighs and the invitation of that red, loose hole, shiny with lube.

He reached for Potter's hips and brought him close. Slowly he started rubbing his cock along Potter's crack, just barely touching the dripping hole. Potter groaned deeply, and Draco felt his body go limp, giving in to whatever Draco was going to do to him.

Underneath the rumpled quilt was another pillow, and Draco pushed it below Potter. Quickly he kicked his trousers and pants off, on second thought he reached down to remove his socks. It's been ages since he'd been completely starkers, skin to skin with another man. Who knew when he'd get the chance again? Potter was making small, jerky, impatient moves, but he didn't say a word.

He whimpered, though, loudly and needy, when Draco finally allowed himself to lie atop of him with his full weight.

"Come on," Potter groaned. "Now!"

"Just a bit," Draco said, sliding one, then two slick fingers into Potter, who was moaning and bucking upwards to get them in deeper. Draco withdrew to spread lube onto his cock. He wouldn't hurt Potter. He'd be gentle. He'd make this good for Potter. Not like those quick fucks in the park. Not like –

Draco never remembered the moment he breached Potter's arse. Perhaps it had been Potter himself who moved his arse so Draco couldn't help but slip in. The heat, the squeeze, the sheer intimacy of it was overwhelming. Potter was moaning underneath him, delirious words that could have been "harder" or "fuck" or "hurt me" ... Draco had forgotten how the tight heat stopped all thought. How you wanted nothing but to thrust until you were balls-deep inside. How he'd never been able to last long.

He forced himself to go slow, but going slow was an agony of its own. Harry ... Draco needed to be closer, he need to know ... He leaned forward, kissing the corner of Potter's mouth, rubbing his face against the soft stubble of Potter's cheek. Then he reached beneath and wrapped his hand around Potter's cock. Potter's opened his mouth just as his body spasmed viciously, all but making Draco come on the spot.

Potter moaned into his kiss, "Am comin', Malfoy, goin' to come ..."

The dark, sheer need in Potter's words, those chapped lips brushing over his mouth, Potter's cock twitching and jerking in his hand – there was no resisting. Draco thrust hard and fast, much faster than before, until he'd found the speed and the angle he needed. Potter was warm and close and safe, his back slick with sweat, offering the resistance Draco craved. For a few drawn-out seconds, there was only the slap of flesh on flesh, their heavy, ragged breathing, and someone keening with lust.

That's when the candle was shoved from the night table. With a sputtering hiss, it crashed onto the floor. Draco's balls contracted sharply, he felt Potter writhe beneath, and he was coming, riding it out in the sudden dark, the scent of broom wax and lemon soap all around. Coming so deep and hard within Potter that for a short moment it felt like they were one and the same.

The quilt was a mess, soaked with spunk and lube. Carefully Draco let go of Potter's cock and earned himself a whimper. He meant to pull out and roll them both to the side, to then clean the silk, because surely no magic could remove dried come stains from silk so fine and soft. He'd just stay like this a few more moments, to savour the warmth of another person before Potter sent him on his way. The bloke you pick up in the park. Potter had said that. He wouldn't want Draco Malfoy, ex-Death Eater, to stay the night.

The comfortable post-sex silence became tense. Potter seemed to notice it, too, for he started shifting underneath him. Draco moved off of him quickly and felt around for his clothes. Pants and trousers, his shirt. Damn it, where did he put his bloody socks?

"Draco ..."

A white-blue light sparked in Potter's hand. Wandless magic. And Salazar, how could Draco have missed how gorgeous the man was, pale skin and blazing eyes? A flick of messy hair had fallen in his eyes, and Draco had to keep himself from pushing it away.

"Will you stay?" Potter reached out and grasped Draco's hand.

Draco, he noticed the moment he felt the grip of Potter's hand. Potter had called him by his first name. It had sounded strange in the dark, even more so in the bluish light, coming from Potter's lips. But he seemed to mean it. Potter never even waited for an answer before he sat the bluebell flame on the night table and got his wand.

Draco watched as Potter spelled the bed clean, then Potter pulled him underneath the quilt blanket. They were lying face to face, with the blue light casting watery shadows over them. Potter was all heat and warm hands, skin and legs that touched Draco wherever he could.

"Your feet are cold as ice," Potter mumbled as he wrapped Draco's toes between the soles of his feet. The man was a furnace, really, the way even his feet were hot like coals.

"I sleep with my socks on. Usually." Since Azkaban, he didn't say. No need to raise that particular spectre before they were about to fall asleep.

"You are a funny man, Draco Malfoy," Potter answered with a light, dark laugh. But the way he kissed Draco then, with such gentle fervour, said that he understood what Draco hadn't said.

Draco woke later in the night. Potter had turned around in his sleep and was lying with his back to him. The bluebell flower had grown while the two of them had been dreaming. Tiny star-shaped flames wound around the bedpost nearest to the bluebell light. Draco, who hadn't cast a wandless spell in years, whispered "Nox" and the blue light faded.

o0o

Sunlight flooded the kitchen. It promised to be another hot day. Draco was sitting at the table, a cup of tea and the Daily Prophet open before him. He'd left Potter a while ago, asleep and sprawled on the bed, the quilt blanket shoved to the floor. But now there was the sound of naked feet coming down the stairs.

"Morning." Potter stood in the door, wearing nothing but a pair of pyjama bottoms and a radiant smile. "You're still here." He looked downright smug, the git.

"Good morning, Potter. Would you care for a cup of tea?" Draco pointed towards the charmed teapot in the middle of the table. Steam was curling from its spout.

"Love it." Potter was beside Draco in a moment; he had his hands in his hair and claimed his mouth for a kiss before Draco could even put down his own cup of tea.

When they came up again for air, Potter whispered, "Anything interesting in the Prophet?"

"Not really. Just some bloke crashed into Big Ben on a broom. An army of Aurors and Obliviators have been out all night."

"You don't say." Potter didn't even glance at the article, but poured himself a cup of tea. Draco couldn't help the smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.

"What?" Potter leaned against the stove, cup in hand, black hair a mess, sleep in his eyes and sex on his mind, judging by the bulge in his trousers.

"Nothing. Let's go back to bed."

"Now you're talking, Malfoy."

They were gone in a spell, leaving a steaming teapot, two half full cups and the Saturday edition of the Daily Prophet lying on the kitchen table in the sun.

fin