Beta:vanessawolfie and wendypops
Summary:Harry is trying to live his life as normally as possible, until a man shows up on his doorstep, lost and starving.
Warnings:Slash. Sex in later chapters. Flangst. Malnutrition, sorrow, grief.
Note: Thank you to my wonderful betas for really helping with this story. I've been working on this story for a long time, and I really hope it works out, because it's really important to me :)
"I know sometimes you feel like you don't fit in. And this world doesn't know what you have with-in…but when I look at you, I see something rare, a rose that can grow anywhere…"
Harry sang aloud and very off-tune, using his wooden cooking spoon as a microphone and rocking his hips to the music that came out of his kitchen's radio.
"And there's no one I know that can compare…What makes you different makes you beautiful-"
He stopped abruptly when he heard the doorbell to Grimmauld Place ringing. He flicked the radio off immediately; embarrassed by the American ponce boy bands he secretly loved listening to. Oh gods, if it was Ron, he would laugh his arse off.
He dropped the spoon back into the tomato soup he was cooking and took off his plain white apron, heading towards the door. Since he had let Kreacher stay at Hogwarts, he was left to cooking and cleaning for himself.
Who the hell is ringing my door at eight in the evening? Harry thought to himself as he cautiously held his wand in one hand and wondered again why the door didn't have a peephole. He opened the door and felt his insides turn to jelly from shock.
"Malfoy? Is that you?" He blurted out, staring at the figure standing on his porch.
He hadn't seen Draco Malfoy since the day the War ended, which was three years ago. Well actually, he had seen a glimpse of him during the Death Eater Trials—when Harry had gone in and gave the memory that set both him and his mother free.
It had been a gruelling three-week trial, and he knew that Malfoy and Narcissa had both suffered greatly, by the looks on their faces. Lucius had been sent to Azkaban for fifteen years, but Harry didn't feel too bad about that one. He probably deserved worse.
"Potter," Malfoy whispered, stepping forward a bit and into the porch's light.
Harry gasped silently and his mouth fell open as he saw Malfoy in the dim lighting. His skin was so pale, it was almost translucent and he could see the spidery, blue veins underneath. His face looked hallow, almost unhealthy and pencil-thin as if he hadn't eaten in months. The thinness made his nose even more pointed and he had purple-ish circles under his eyes.
Harry couldn't even decide what was more shocking—that Malfoy's hair was no longer shiny and slick, but dirty and ragged, or that he was wearing Muggle clothes, a simple v-neck white t-shirt and a pair of dirty, ripped-up jeans. He had a small brown rucksack slipped over his shoulders and the straps were loose on his narrow frame.
"Malfoy what the hell happened to you? And what are you doing here?" Harry asked, still in shock from what he was seeing. He couldn't believe that his childhood rival was standing on his porch and looking so…pitiful.
"Potter, during the… you had… my wand," Malfoy said so softly that he could barely hear him, and pausing as if it took too much effort to talk. "I—I need it back."
Never in his life had he ever expected Malfoy like this. Harry was visited with a strange urge to laugh at how unbelievable it was, but he quickly squished the urge down.
"Um… I don't know where it is; I think it might be in my old Hogwarts trunk or something…" Harry was now mumbling. He honestly did feel a bit guilty that he had never even thought about Malfoy or his wand since the War.
"If you could… find it… that would be good. I really need it…" Malfoy was practically whispering now, and Harry noticed he was shivering.
He immediately realized that it was the middle of November, and that Malfoy must've been freezing outside. It was even supposed to snow tonight, and yet the Malfoy heir was standing there with nothing but a flimsy shirt on. Something broke inside Harry and he cursed his inner desire to help everyone.
"Here, come in. You can warm up while I look for it," Harry said, opening the door fully and moving to the side to allow Malfoy in.
"N—No. I can't. I have to… I need a wand. My mother, she's… I just want my wand back." Malfoy was nearly incoherent with his rambling now, and his bony arms were wrapping around his shivering body.
"Okay, Malfoy, I'll get your wand, but just… come inside. It might take me a while to find it, and I don't want you dying on my porch of frostbite or something." Harry tried to crack a joke but it was strangely torn from his throat in the silent wintery air.
"I...uh—okay," Malfoy said, his teeth chattering. He shuffled inside, his thin form passing Harry's and awkwardly standing in the foyer. Harry silently cast another warming charm around the house, hoping that some of the blue tinge in Malfoy's skin would fade away.
"Er… the living room is this way," Harry said, leading Malfoy into the room and gesturing to the large couch that sat against the wall.
He watched as Malfoy put his rucksack down and sat in the very edge of the couch. He crossed his ankles and placed his trembling hands on his lap, his shoulders still shaking slightly from the cold.
Still just as graceful, Harry thought wryly, remembering the Hogwarts' days of watching Malfoy's elegant form walk through the corridors.
"It smells like tomatoes. And garlic." Malfoy stated, breaking the silence.
"Huh? Oh! Crap, the soup!" Harry hurried back into the kitchen and turned the stove off, setting the large pot aside. It thankfully hadn't boiled over.
Harry swiveled around and saw that Malfoy had followed him into the kitchen, stealthy and silent. He was standing gingerly next to the doorway and staring at the pot of soup. Again, Harry was struck by how skinny he was. Of course, he thought, Malfoy was always thin—most seekers are—but this is just ridiculous!
"Yeah, I cook pretty well actually. I kind of have to these days," Harry chuckled slightly. He stirred the pot and out of the corner of his eye, he saw that Malfoy was watching. A façade of politeness reigned on his face, but Harry could see the hunger in his pale grey eyes. "You can have some. I always cook way too much for just myself anyway."
"I… Why just yourself? Where is Weasley's sister?" He said, looking around the house as if expecting her to jump out. Harry was surprised Malfoy hadn't called her names, such as Weaselette or Ginger, the way he had back at Hogwarts.
"Well, Ginny and I broke up a year ago. She was travelling too much for Quidditch and then we just started arguing a lot too…but, I mean, we're still good friends…"
"Oh. I'm…" Draco paused and finally looked away from the soup and towards Harry. "My wand?"
"Oh right, yeah—it's probably upstairs. Make yourself at… er, I'll be right back," Harry muttered uneasily.
He took the stairs two at a time and when he entered his bedroom—Sirius' old room—he paused for a moment before diving into his closet to look through his old stuff.
While rummaging between everything, Harry couldn't help but be completely bewildered by his current situation. Malfoy was downstairs, being polite and weird, plus Harry had gone and lost the poor bloke's wand.
Questions raced through his mind like a whirlwind—where was Narcissa? Why couldn't Malfoy just purchase a new wand between the THREE years that had passed since the War? Where were they living?
He had read in the newspapers that the Malfoy Manor had been taken by the Ministry for War reparations, but honestly, he had always thought that the family still probably had piles of galleons in Gringotts, since it was such an old and ancient blood line. The ministry couldn't have taken all of it, could they?
Apparently they aren't so rich, if Malfoy's in a t-shirt and jeans in the middle of winter. What's with the Muggle clothing, anyway? Harry thought nervously.
After a few minutes of digging around in his closet, his hand gripped a wooden stick underneath a pile of clothes—the clothes he had been wearing the day he finally ended Tom Riddle—and he pulled it out with a victorious grin. He squished everything back in the closet and jogged back downstairs.
"Found it! Sorry, it was actually stuck at the bottom of my—Malfoy?" He had walked into the living room and came to an abrupt halt.
Malfoy was lying on the floor next to the sofa as if he had slid off and appeared to be asleep. Harry rushed over to his side and looked over him, lost as to what he should do.
"Malfoy? Wake up!" He reached out and for the first time actually touched Malfoy, shaking his shoulder lightly.
Please don't be dead, please don't be dead! Harry thought frantically as he laid his ear against Malfoy's chest. He was still breathing, but his stomach was growling ferociously.
"Oh bloody hell!" Harry gasped, staring down at the once so spoiled and regal Draco Malfoy. He had just fainted from starvation in Harry's living room.
Harry rushed over to the sink and grabbed a clean towel, making it damp and then ran back to Malfoy, kneeling next to him. He lightly patted the soaked towel to Malfoy's face as he silently prayed for the git to wake up.
"Ungh," Malfoy grunted all of a sudden and blinked his eyes open. He looked up at Harry, who sighed in relief and stared down at those stormy grey eyes.
"Wha—oh. Potter. I… I'm sorry. I'm just a bit tired—had a late night the other day—"
Once Harry got over the shock of Malfoy actually apologizing for something, let alone for fainting from malnutrition, he interrupted him.
"Yeah right, like I'm going to believe that rubbish! Malfoy, what the hell… how long has it been since you've eaten anything?" Harry exclaimed, staring at the man as he pushed himself up slowly and leaned against the couch.
Malfoy mumbled something and was looking everywhere but Harry.
"Sorry? I didn't catch that."
"A few days, okay? Look, it's not… your bloody business. Give me my… wand so I can just… go," Malfoy was still speaking in pauses, and Harry realized that it was because of how weak and disoriented he was.
"I'll give you your wand in a minute. Just come eat something, all right?" He tried to help Malfoy stand up, but the man just knocked his hand away and tried to grab his wand.
Harry kept it out of his reach and put it in his back pocket, glaring at Malfoy.
"Give me… my wand! You have no right—"
"Just shut up and quit being so stubborn for once!" He pulled on Malfoy's arms and stood up, amazed at how light he was.
"Don't… need your help! I don't want your help!" He stared at Harry with a crazed look in his eye, and he was gasping slightly with the effort of fighting Harry. "I want to leave with my wand!"
"Okay! Fine! Where are you going to go?"
"Not your business, stupid Potter," he grumbled, trying to reach for his wand.
Harry moved away quickly and steered Malfoy into the kitchen. Once he had drawn out a chair for him at the dining table, he pressed down on Malfoy's shoulders to make him sit.
"Just eat something, and then I'll give you your wand back, okay?"
He walked to the kitchen, and for the first time in so long he set the table for two people. He did take care of Teddy on the weekends when Andromeda was out, but Teddy sat in the highchair; and when Hermione and Ron would visit, they always sat with him in the living room. Since Ginny had left, Harry had been cooking and eating dinner by himself, usually eating on the sofa while watching porn or other stupid movies.
Once he put the plate of food in front of his guest, Malfoy simply shook his head and glared at him, pushing the plate away.
"Malfoy. I know you're hungry. Just freakin' eat it, or I'll force feed you. Don't think I won't," Harry warned, pushing the plate back towards him.
"You wouldn't dare," Malfoy suddenly sneered at him and Harry grinned.
"There's that arrogant sneer I've been waiting for. Malfoy is back, ladies and gentlemen."
"Your stupidity is still astounding, Potter," Malfoy rolled his eyes. But Harry watched as he carefully bit his lip before picking up his spoon and taking a sip of the soup. He closed his eyes as if mesmerized by the taste.
"Come on Malfoy, I know I'm a good cook. Eat up," Harry said, picking up his platter and messily taking a sip from the bowl on purpose, like he did sometimes to make Teddy eat.
All of a sudden, Harry's mouth fell open again in surprise as he watched Malfoy pick up the bowl and lock his lips to it, guzzling down the soup in huge gulps. His Adam's apple bobbed as he sucked the food down—he must have been starving if he was ready to lose that much control in front of his former enemy. Once he was done with the bowl, he chewed on the bread as if it were his last meal.
Harry watched quietly and ate his own dinner while Malfoy took more soup from the bowl, and calmed down somewhat, now patting his face with a napkin delicately, ever the elegant Malfoy.
"Aren't you going to ask how I knew where you lived?" Malfoy suddenly asked, staring at Harry with those bright gray eyes.
Harry had actually not even thought about that at all. He was too busy thinking about how the food had brought a light flush back into Malfoy's pale cheeks.
"Uh… yeah. How?"
"Well. You should tell your decorator to take better care of her secrets," Malfoy sniffed, nibbling on a piece of bread.
"Luna told you?"
A few years ago, Luna had randomly asked to see Grimmauld Place. He and Ginny were leaving in a small flat down the street from the Ministry, and after a cup of tea, Luna asked very politely if she could re-decorate the house because she wanted to try her hand at decorating.
Ginny had nearly refused, but Harry thought it would be fun to see what Luna would come up with, so he gave her the key. After three weeks, both Ginny and he were amazed at what she had done.
Grimmauld Place was no longer the disgusting and creepy place it had been before. It was now bright and had an almost relaxed atmosphere, with certain wall-paintings that only Luna Lovegood could paint. Harry's favourite part was the huge mural on the ceiling of the living room, of Hogwarts before the War. It felt like he had a bit of home to bring with him.
"Yes. I saw her briefly…three or four months ago, in that…coffee shop. I didn't expect to see her there, let alone actually talk to her. I suppose she's not as crazy as everyone makes her out to be…She's just odd. While we were talking, she told me that she decorated Grimmauld Place, which was no longer a secret because the… Death Eaters," he said the words with difficulty. "They broke the seal."
"Yeah, they did. I have my own wards up, and it'll alert me if someone has malicious intent within 50 yards. Wow, so you and Luna actually had a civilized conversation?"
Malfoy nodded but simply stared off into the distance. During the silence that followed, Harry quickly sent the dishes to the sink with a wave of his own wand and set a washing and drying charm on them.
"I'd like my wand back now."
"Here," Harry sighed, handing the wand back. He watched as Malfoy stroked it and held it close, as if it were a child.
"I've been using my mother's wand for the past three years. I forgot what having my own wand felt like," he murmured. "I couldn't…purchase a new one, unfortunately. The wand makers wouldn't make them for…people like me."
"Where is your mother, Malfoy?" Harry asked carefully.
"She… she died. Two months ago. It was a quiet funeral. Just me and her actually. They didn't let Father out of Azkaban to come," he said softly, staring off into the distance with a glazed look in his eye.
"Oh. I'm sorry, Malfoy. I know that she meant a lot to you," Harry muttered.
He should honestly—as Hermione was always saying—pay more attention to the news. He had stopped reading a few months ago when he was caught by the paparazzi outside a gay wizard bar in London. Since then, he knew the press would've gone crazy, so he didn't bother reading the newspapers.
That explained it—why Malfoy was being nice and almost child-like. He was so alone in the world, without his parents, and most of his friends were probably either in Azkaban or worse, and now he had nothing left.
Numb…like Harry had been after losing so many in the War.
"She was… my favourite person in the world. Good witch. Good mother. I have to…go now." He stood up slowly, walking to the living room and grabbing his dirty rucksack from the couch.
"Where are you going? Do you have a place to stay?" Harry said quickly, standing up as well.
"I think so. I'll figure something out. I stayed at a Muggle farm last night. I might have a few of those Muggle paper money things left. Nice people," he said, turning towards the door.
Did Malfoy just call Muggles nice people? Harry's mind was reeling.
"Malfoy, wait," Harry said, blocking his way. "Stay here. It's fine, I have plenty of room and I live alone anyway."
"No. I can't. You—you're Harry Potter."
"What? I would think you were the last person to care about my name, Malfoy. You always acted as if I was nothing but scum, and now you're saying my name like you care."
"You're not scum. You saved my life. I'm just…tired. I'm going to the farm."
"No, you're not. If you're so tired, then you won't mind staying here. I'll set up the guest bedroom, all right?"
"I can't, okay? You're just being nice because you're the Saviour and it's like your job."
That was when Harry's temper boiled over.
"I don't have a bloody job! I'm not an Auror! In fact, I'm nothing. I'm a stay-at-home gay bloke, who does nothing but sit around all day, wondering what happened to all my dreams and aspirations. So you're going to stay here because I am not going to send you out in the middle of winter wearing that."
"I like this shirt. And these jeans," Malfoy muttered, his index finger and thumb pinching the sleeve of his T-shirt. "And you're not nothing. I read in the paper that you were playing seeker for the…um…oh, what was it… the Cannons?"
"Yeah," Harry snorted. "That's so I can keep my mind busy. I purposefully chose a loser team so that I wouldn't have to worry about actually working towards anything."
Harry laughed at the ridiculousness of the conversation.
"Yeah. Yeah, it is sad. Come on, I'll take you to your room."
Malfoy followed him up the stairs, but he was going extremely slowly. He was probably still very weak after not eating for so long. Harry wondered where he had been sleeping and living.
"Here, this one should be all right. It's got your own bathroom and everything. Might want to be careful with the bookshelf though, Hermione keeps her Dark Arts books in here for research, I believe," Harry said, gesturing towards the tall bookshelf in the corner.
"I'll go get some pyjamas for you," Harry said, crossing the hall to his own room. He came back with some sweats in his hand and handed them to Malfoy.
"I'm pretty sure those will fit you, but they'll be pretty loose. You've become pretty skinny… anyway, if you need anything, my room's right there down the hall."
He watched as Malfoy made his way into the room and dropped his small bag onto the floor. It was almost as if he were scared of the place, the way he was staring at everything.
"Thank you," he said after some time. "For letting me stay. Plus the food… and for saving my life that day. I never thanked you for that."
"Oh," Harry said, feeling the heat rise to his cheeks. "It's okay. I mean, you saved my life too—at the Manor, when you told them you didn't know me. I never thanked you for that either."
It was quiet for a while and just as Harry was about to say good night, Malfoy spoke.
"Are you going to sleep now?"
"Uh, well, it's kind of early still. I was going to sit down with a movie or something…" Harry said, blushing again.
He had actually ordered a few DVDs over the internet, some porn to keep himself company on lonely weeknights when his friends were busy with work and life, and Teddy was with Andromeda.
He didn't need to feel so guilty about it anyway. It wasn't like he was getting any in real life. After he came out in public, it seemed that every gay man decided that he wanted Harry Potter, and so Harry had simply been way too freaked out to try and date any of them.
The last time he'd got laid… Oh, it gave Harry a headache to even think about it, and it was five months ago. He had been drunk at Seamus' bachelor party and the bartender happened to be very cute, and one thing led to another. Unfortunately, the bartender turned out to already have a boyfriend, and Harry was not going through any kind of drama like that.
"A movie? You mean, to put in that Muggle picture box in your living room?" Malfoy seemed interested, tilting his head to the side like a curious cat.
I should most definitely NOT find the curve of his neck even slightly appealing, Harry thought. But I do.
"Yeah. Do you want to come down to watch with me?"
Harry thought of the list of appropriate DVDs he did own, and tried to think of something Malfoy would enjoy.
"Oh. No, it's okay. I'm tired. Going to sleep," he said softly, turning abruptly and going into the bathroom.
"Okay. Goodnight!" Harry yelled through the door.
He heard a soft "goodnight" back and smiled slightly. He supposed he could tolerate this kind of Malfoy. At least he wasn't being ignorant and arsehole-ish like back in school. He could still detect some sarcasm and wit, but it was obviously buried underneath the man's pain and recent loss.