Title: Legs of Distraction (Or How Draco Got Promoted Three and A Half Separate Times)
Written for naturegirlrocks in the hd_relief fest for Japan 2011 on LJ
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Ron, Hermione, Seamus
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. Also any brand names mentioned here do not belong to me.
Warning(s): There's a smidgen of violence, and quite a bit of smut
Word Count: 6161/12,437
Summary: Harry gives us his version of how Draco re-entered his life.
The table was shaking. He was pretty sure that if he thrust any harder, it would start to shift. Having been one of the people to move it around when he moved into the office, Harry knew it wasn't a good idea. It screeched like a bitch. He'd have to lay off a little. He slowed down.
"No, no. Please." Harry gritted his teeth, doing a monumental job of not giving in to that voice, like he always did. "Fuck, Harry please... harder." It was whispered, but urgent. The erotic sound of it made it even harder not to give in. He glanced over a bare shoulder, where the robe had slipped, to see their fingers entwined on the desk and felt the impatient tightening around his hand and his cock. He smiled to himself. Draco was anything but patient. He started to thrust shallowly into the body beneath him, the fabric of his pants rubbing against the pale exposed arse with each thrust forward; Draco's cock was caught between his abdomen and the hard, smooth wood of the desk. He moaned as every movement from Harry pushed him forward and then back, creating delicious friction.
Draco bent his head, his hair falling forward over an expression Harry was sure would have him coming faster if he could see it. He made do with the bright colour of his hair, the scent of it making him moan. Draco wore it an inch or two longer now than he did before, once he'd realised how much Harry liked to play with it. Harry remembered how his stomach had plummeted the day Draco had walked into work after his lunch break. His hair was so much shorter than it had been when he'd left. Draco hadn't known why all of a sudden Harry became snappy at everyone and consequently had no more meetings for the entire day.
Harry rested his head against the back of Draco's neck as he kept up the more sedate pace. His nose burrowed there, taking in Draco's scent amidst the wisps of blond where his hair fell over his shoulders. He panted heavily through his nose, the puffs of heat making Draco shiver underneath him. He really had been unbearable that day. He found it hard to understand why something as small and inconsequential as a haircut could drive him to distraction. But Draco's hair... it was like a landmark to him. So distinctive. Even in school, he'd always known where the blond was in relation to him by just one casual sweep of the hall or a corridor. It was how he'd found him again in somewhere as dank as Knockturn Alley two years ago.
Two Years ago
It had to be him.
Harry ducked around the corner. Knockturn Alley was no place to be seen in. He was only there for a meeting with a source that couldn't venture out into polite society. As Head Auror, Harry found he was not out in the field so much as signing papers day in and day out. After Kingsley decided he'd had enough and wanted to retire, Harry had been nominated to take over his position. He'd already graduated from training. Both he and his partner had a high close rate so, when he was nominated, no one was surprised when he got the job.
Two weeks in, Harry decided he hated it and wished he, too, could retire. Desk job work was not his forte. Neither were the meetings or the keeping up with politicians, foreign and domestic. He had to study, what kind of a job was that? The worst day so far was two days ago, where the explosion of that muggle artefact an Auror had seized on a raid caused so much trouble. Half of his department and a few visitors had been taken out. St. Mungo's was swamped. Harry disliked the amount of paperwork he had to swim through a day, but that incident made him wish he was dead. Hermione had told him to hire some help. Maybe he'd look into that. It didn't seem like such a bad idea now.
He shook his head as his basic training ran through is blood once more. After the war, Lucius had been given the kiss and Narcissa Malfoy, holed up in house arrest inside Malfoy Manor (which had been seized by the Ministry), had wasted away. Draco, being of age, had been evicted from the Manor. Since he was not under house arrest, nor found guilty for anything other than having unfortunate pickings in parents, Draco was set free. However, Harry pondered as he witnessed yet another shopkeeper push Malfoy away and slam the door, without money or anywhere to live freedom was rather subjective.
The man looked decidedly thinner and the unshaven beard was certainly distracting but his height was the same and so was that platinum blond hair – albeit a little dirtier than usual and mostly hidden underneath a ragged knitted hat. Eyeing Malfoy as he walked up into Borgin and Burke's, Harry raised his eyebrows in surprise. How ironic Malfoy would go back into the place that once held his free will captive.
From the transcripts of Malfoy's interrogations, Voldemort had given him a chance to earn his Dark Mark. Upon realising that it wasn't exactly much of a motivator, the insane bastard had decided to hold Narcissa Malfoy captive, threatening to kill her if Draco Malfoy didn't deliver. He'd delivered – somewhat – but the only thing he'd earned had been a five minute stint under a Crucio. Harry still remembered pulling up Malfoy's sleeve in interrogation, livid because he didn't believe him (Veritaserum be damned), and exhaled as if he'd been punched in the stomach when all he'd seen there - ignoring the bruises - was clean, unblemished skin. That had been one of the first things to prove his innocence. Second on the list had been Harry's eye witness testimony.
He walked up to the shop and peered in through the window, his hood up, pretending to look at the dressings there. Malfoy was inside holding something shiny, but he couldn't see it very clearly. He could see the dark shape of his own reflection in the window, as well as the shop on the opposite side behind him, as a group of men walked out, talking to someone inside through the doorway. They made a lot of noise and he couldn't quite concentrate on what was going on. Against his own judgement, he walked up the steps and walked inside.
The shop floor was dark, as it always was, and Harry walked around, making sure his face was hidden at all times. It wasn't uncommon here to have customers that wanted to protect their identity so he knew he wouldn't seem suspicious – well, more suspicious anyway. He could hear the conversation had dropped a few decibels, but he also noticed that, with his appearance, Malfoy seemed more desperate to sell whatever he had in his possession. It made sense, as the prospect of a paying customer obviously outranked someone trying to get money out of the proprietor.
"Five galleons? It cost him two hundred!" Harry heard that familiar voice say in outrage.
"Beggars can't be choosers, Malfoy. Your daddy may have paid a pretty penny, but times have changed and, with its history, I doubt anyone would be willing to pay more than ten for it now." Borgin's face twisted into a greedy grin. He had the little shit and he knew it.
Harry could see the outline of Malfoy's profile. He looked devastated. Harry felt a smidgen of disgust at Borgin when he saw the blond nod and a wide triumphant leer settle on Borgin's face. The register opened and he pulled out a green book, marking down the purchase and taking what Harry could now see was a long silver chain. At the end of it held a locket. Harry turned away and moved back to the front of the store, glancing at the host of metallic picture frames leaning against the wall there. He could still hear the group of men out there and didn't realise they'd taken up so much of his attention until he saw Malfoy's familiar shape walking passed the window he was stationed at. His fingers poked out of the top of the fingerless gloves he was wearing as he pulled his hood up.
"Can I help you sir?" Harry heard behind him and turned. A rapidly paling face met him and he smiled. He missed field work so much.
He heard the thump of flesh first. It was only after he turned the corner that he saw Malfoy doubled over as a group – the same group he'd seen exit the store opposite Borgin and Burke's earlier – dragged him into a side alley. Harry cursed and began to run. It was his lunch-break and he'd only ventured out to see a confidential informant. His life shouldn't be so complicated anymore. Making his way quickly to the mouth of the side-alley, he nearly ran into the group as they walked out laughing.
"Fucking lightweight, I tell you. Like taking a canary cream from a-" the first man out pulled up short in front of Harry. "- Auror!"
Harry was pretty sure that's not how the saying went. He cocked his head. "What's this? A robbery?" He smiled. He could see Malfoy passed out behind them on the ground. He was breathing, at least.
A round of shocked faces met him. They obviously hadn't counted on being caught, or anyone caring, in Knocturn alley, let alone an Auror of all things.
The same man he'd nearly run into cleared his throat. "Er no, Auror..." he prompted.
Harry pulled back his hood and smiled. "Potter. Head Auror Potter." The surprised faces turned into horror as they realised who they were dealing with. It was times like these that Harry loved being himself. "You were saying?" he encouraged wanting to hear this cock and bull story.
Recovering slowly the man continued. "We were just recovering what he stole from me. Pick pocket, you see." He smiled rather convincingly.
"Hmm." Harry sounded rather unconvinced. "He stole – what – money?" His brow furrowed in question playing the responsible Auror trying to sort things out and not at all the Auror that had been following Malfoy for the past half hour. Getting the nod he was hoping for, Harry continued, "It wouldn't happen to have come in a small purple pouch with a black string and be exactly five galleons, would it?" Harry asked curiously. The man lost his smile and seemed rather nervous all of a sudden. Harry frowned some more. "Will you take it out and allow me to inspect it, sir?"
"W-why does it matter?"
Harry let his wand fall from his sleeve and gripped it in his right hand. "It matters because, not five minutes ago, I gave that money bag to him and then happened to turn the corner and see you pull him into this alley." He gestured with his wand as he spoke. "Now take out the pouch and allow me to inspect it, please. Following my confirmation that it is, in fact, my pouch, I will then charge you with theft and grievous bodily harm to the man lying passed out behind you. That is... unless you drop the pouch now and leave." The group watched each other before focussing on him once more in confusion. "The paperwork on this is going to be a bitch," he said by way of an explanation. "My lunch break is almost over and I haven't even eaten yet. You're not helping that." He pointed his wand in their direction. "What's your choice?"
It did not take long for them to run off, the small purple pouch landing on the ground with a soft clink. Harry knelt next to Malfoy's prone form. His fingers, poking out from the top of the gloves he wore, were ice cold and a black eye was forming on his left side. His nose and split lip would need attention too. Harry muttered a quick Episkey and cursed as he felt the first drop of rain. Stupid winter weather, he thought to himself as he lifted the blond, preparing to struggle and even cast a lightening charm. He felt surprise, expecting him to be heavier. Preparing to apparate, Harry stopped and thought. St. Mungo's was still swamped with people, they wouldn't even bat an eyelid at Malfoy. He stared down at the unconscious man in his arms. Really, all he needed was a bit of healing, some warmth, maybe some food and a little rest. He could do that. Malfoy would be out of his hair in no time.
Sighing, Harry said goodbye to his lunch break and spun in place to apparate home.
It was the next morning when Draco woke up. He looked around the room and frowned, wincing a bit at the pain in his nose. He sighed, knowing he had to have got a broken nose when he was attacked in the alleyway. He raised his hand to inspect it, but all he felt was small twinges of pain. Apparently he'd been healed. Sitting back to think, he also recognised the cold spell on his eye to stop swelling. Draco threw back the quilt, feeling really warm, and swung his legs around and off the bed. This was very disorienting. He paused as he viewed the bedside table, seeing a familiar pouch of money sitting next to another one in plain black.
Draco gasped, coming to an awful conclusion and shut his eyes in mortification. Had he really stooped so low? However, Draco thought to himself, he didn't feel any different. He didn't feel as if he'd had sex in any shape or form. Plus, he was dressed. Looking down, he saw that he was wearing a red jumper with a large capital H on it; What the fuck was that for? he wondered to himself. He shook his head not understanding any of it and glanced back over at the black pouch reaching for it. It was tied to the purple, which was definitely his so he assumed this was meant for him also. Underneath the pouch sat a slip of parchment. He picked that up too.
I have to show my face for the entire day today, since I didn't go back yesterday so make yourself at home, yeah?
Draco frowned and looked back down to the capital letter. He shook his head in confusion and peeked inside the black pouch, gasping when he pulled out his mother's necklace.
What the fuck?
Draco's hands let go of the edge of the desk above his head to slide over Harry's back, down the backs of his thighs, and up again. Their change in position had Harry hitting his prostate more often, so his fingers dug into Harry's shoulders, wrapped around the back of his neck and tangled in Harry's hair to find purchase on something - anything- to keep him anchored. Harry worked his way from Draco's mouth, to his ear and down to his neck. There was a groan of disappointment when Harry's mouth left his, but Harry's mouth couldn't be everywhere at the same time. One particularly hard thrust had Draco keening loud enough to be heard outside his office. Harry was glad he'd eventually cast that silencing spell.
Sinking into that tight heat again and again, Harry groaned, "How is it – you manage to stay so tight even after all this time?"
Draco laughed breathlessly as his hands switched back to the edge of the desk for leverage. He inadvertently caught the minutes of meeting he'd typed out an hour ago from Harry's meeting that morning. He then hit the container of food Harry'd brought for lunch to the floor. "Family secret," he said, a blissful smile on his face. "Never telling." His neck arched backward, the bruise Harry'd bitten into it moments ago showing clear as day. "Fuck!" he exclaimed and frowned up at his boss. He'd stopped completely and was staring at him with narrowed eyes.
"You knocked my lunch to the floor." It was his favourite too.
Draco turned his head on the desk to see most everything else that had once been there was also gone, except the in-tray. He turned back with a sheepish grin. "I'm sure I can make you some more."
Harry relished the surprised exhale he heard as he pulled Draco up to sit, perched at the edge of his desk with his legs now wrapped around Harry's waist for balance. "You'd better," he said before bruising the older man's lips with his own.
Two Years Ago – The Next Day
When he'd brought the man home, he'd expected to return from work the next day to an empty house. He'd left a note telling him he could clean up and even help himself to something to eat, if he wanted. He hadn't expected to see him sitting down on his couch, across from his warm fire, staring at his TV as if it held the answers to the universe, nor the tenth degree on how it worked. Harry hadn't really known what to tell him, so he'd dug in his kitchen drawer, the one that held all the instruction manuals for the appliances in his apartment. Hermione had told him once to keep them all together in case something happened. This was definitely something. The next day, he'd come home to see his kitchen appliances lined up on the counter with their manual counterparts in front of them.
"Malfoy?" he'd asked wearily. His day had been long enough without having to come home to this. He was sure the blond would have got fed up by now and moved on. Why was he still here?
"In here." He found Malfoy at the end of the corridor in his water heater cupboard. He was staring between the tank and the manual that came with it. Harry sighed and crossed his arms.
"What are you doing?" he asked tiredly. There'd been three raids today and two of his aurors had been hurt during them. Interviews and endless paperwork had been a bitch to sort out. Not to mention the unlawful arrest of two women who were now going to sue the department. He just wanted to collapse.
Draco stopped fiddling and looked up from his position, crouched on the ground. He took in Harry's appearance before continuing. "You told me to 'make myself comfortable'. The only way I can do that is if I know what all these contraptions do." He turned and stared at Harry. His clean shaven face made him look a lot younger than he had when Harry'd first found him. He was wearing one of Harry's old cotton shirts and grey sweatpants. He'd obviously gone through Harry's drawers to get them. Make yourself comfortable... sure. "Did you know you had a tank that heated your water? You can set it to heat hourly or daily or sporadically when you please." He went back to fiddling with buttons, referencing the manual Harry's apartment had come with when he wasn't sure.
Harry knew he could set it, he did it every day when he got home. However, he didn't know he could set it and leave it once for the same time every day. "Really?" That would save him so much time. Most nights he was so tired, he'd come home and fall asleep on the couch in his living room before the water had even finished boiling.
Malfoy just hummed in affirmative, his eyes glancing at Harry's every once in a while. "I ran you a bath. I was about to re-heat the tank when you came in. Didn't think you'd take so long to come home."
Harry wasn't sure what to say to that. The man had been in his apartment for only two days and, apparently, he was running it better than he did. Not to mention he was calling it 'home' "Er, thanks."
Malfoy shut the cupboard to let him pass. "You tend to come in the same time every day. Yesterday I saw you hit the button when you came in to make the water boil, but you fell asleep in front of your Samsung S series 62 inch flat screen before it heated and woke up this morning to more cold water. It's not healthy, Potter."
Harry continued to look surprised when Draco walked off back in the direction of his living room. It amused him that Draco referred to everything in his house by the names on the instruction booklets, but he didn't let that deter him from walking into his bathroom. The bath was hot, and he thought he'd died and gone to heaven when he could smell lavender. Hermione had given him the aromatherapy set for his birthday and the first time he'd tried the bath salts they'd been all gritty at the bottom of the tub. It wasn't the most enjoyable experience, so he'd never tried it again. It sat on the shelves in his bathroom ever since. Getting in, he groaned. So good. He relaxed for the first time for the day.
He woke up sometime later with sharp knocking on the door.
"Potter, are you still alive? My bath drawing skills are wondrous, but, if you fall asleep, you can still drown." The dry humour in the words made him roll his eyes, but he was grateful since the shock had him spluttering out water he'd suddenly inhaled.
"I'm up. I'm up," he said quickly and leaned forward to pull the plug in the bath. He sighed, feeling a lot more relaxed than he had when he came home.
"Good. There's something out here for you to eat when you get out."
Harry frowned and looked toward the bathroom door. What did he say? Rising up from the bath, he took a towel off the heated rack and wrapped it around his waist. He made a quick move to his bedroom to change before walking back out into the open space of his living room and kitchen. The manuals had all been put away except the one for his microwave. Draco sat at the island waiting for him. He looked a little nervous, but covered it well. On the island counter sat a plate of food he recognised as the leftovers in his fridge and a cup of tea. He raised his eyebrows and stared from the food to Draco. Cautiously, he sat on a stool.
The silence seemed to be too much for the blond. He began to fill it with inane chatter, obviously taking Harry's silence as displeasure. "I found them in your Sharp Refrigerator." He missed Harry's small amused smile. "I actually had to re heat it in your Masterchef Microwave 4500." He fingered the instruction booklet in front of him, fidgeting in his seat before pulling the cuffs of the shirt he wore to cover his hands. "You were in there for a while." Harry still sat in silence. Malfoy seemed to be talking enough for the both of them and the rambling was kind of funny. "It said not to put anything reflective in there but your black cups have a reflective surface. They didn't spark or catch on fire like the manual said it would so I think it's okay. If it doesn't taste good-"
Ah. The heart of the matter. Thing is, Harry knew it would taste good. Mrs. Weasley cooked it, after all. Malfoy didn't have to know that, though. "It's fine Malfoy, thank you."
Finally Malfoy seemed to settle down. "So it's okay?"
Harry wondered if Malfoy knew re-heating pre-cooked food and cooking your own food were two different concepts. He nodded anyway. There wasn't any harm in it. It's not like the blond was going to start cooking.
Three more days of re-heated food, however, Harry came home to find his television moved to the middle of the room to face his kitchen, Malfoy over the stove and the trusty stove's instruction booklet cello-taped to an overhead cupboard. The TV had been paused on a brunette grating what looked like cheese over a plate of food on the Food Network. Malfoy, likewise, had scooped out what looked like some sort of vegetable pasta onto a plate and was also grating cheese. He picked up the Sky remote control next to him and un-paused the TV. He then brushed his hair back off his face, taking the hair band out and re-securing all the strands that had gotten out. Harry realised he was undetected and stayed that way for the time being.
"Oh, that smells delicious. I wish you could smell it with me." The brunette said before taking a bite. "Mmm, delicioso."
"It does doesn't it, Giada?" he heard Malfoy saying to himself, as he lowered his hands from his head and bent over to smell the dish himself. "Not bad for a third try."
Harry shut the door behind him. Malfoy spun around, startled out of his skin, and nearly knocked over a measuring jug he had on the island counter, where he'd based his operations. "Potter!" he said. There was a tremor to his voice as he righted the jug. "You're back early."
Harry moved away from the door, eyeing the state of his kitchen. His keys dangled in his hand as he walked slowly into his kitchen, looking around. "Apparently. Being head of my department has its advantages - What's going on here?" The past few days when he came home, the entire place had been spotless. Seems he had no idea what really went on in his home when he wasn't there.
Harry turned to stare at him and then down at the plate. "Why?" It was the oddest sight he'd ever witnessed.
Malfoy looked as if that were the strangest question in the world. "You don't have any more food in your Sharp Refridgerator. I've been studying the culinary arts since this morning, and it turned out you had the ingredients, so I tried it out once or twice."
Or thrice. Harry thought to himself as he looked around. He leaned on the only untouched counter available. The floor had sprinklings of a red sauce on it, but it wasn't anything a mop or spell couldn't clean. The dusting of flour he could see reached a tad further, even getting on the blond's legs-
Harry paused. Draco wasn't wearing any pants. He quickly looked up and away, fighting down the blush he knew had to be visible on his face. When he looked back at Malfoy, the man seemed to be shrinking in on himself. His mouth opened once or twice, but shut before anything else could be said. He bit his bottom lip.
"Are you angry?" Harry heard.
He'd obviously taken the reddening of Harry's face to be something else entirely and Harry definitely didn't mind. He thought for a moment. Was he angry? His kitchen looked like a bomb hit it, but the smell coming from his stove was really good. Besides, Draco did seem to be cooking it for him. He sighed and opened a drawer. "That depends."
Malfoy furrowed his eyebrows. "On?"
Harry withdrew a fork from the drawer and walked over to the island counter, sidestepping the patches of sauce he could see on the ground. "Well, it smells good. But how good does it taste?" He took a seat on one of the stools around the island and pulled the plate to him. "Have you tasted it yet?"
He could see Malfoy was still unsure, but he was more relaxed now and just shook his head. Harry tutted and turned the fork around in his hand. "Then by all means. There's something wrong when the cook doesn't sample his own creation."
Malfoy took the fork, but smirked nonetheless. "You think I want to poison you?" he asked.
Harry cocked an eyebrow. "Do you?" he challenged with an amused expression.
Malfoy, gaining more confidence, just rolled his eyes. "Not with all this effort to make some fucking ravioli. I'd rather drown you in the bath." He took up a forkful and put it in his mouth, using his hand underneath it to catch any spillage. Harry watched his tongue subtly caress the underside of the tines and cleared his throat, looking away, his eyes catching on the television again as Alton Brown made his appearance speaking his science-food-talk. When he looked back, Draco was holding the fork out to him. He took it gratefully and dug in.
He was eating happily when he suddenly realised Malfoy was watching him. It hit him that the blond was waiting for a verdict. He was biting his lip again. Harry noted that he did that when he was anxious. "Oh," he said surprised, "this is good."
"Really?" he asked. There was hope in his tone.
Harry laughed. "If you're fishing for compliments, you get them all out of me. You did good, though it looks like you destroyed my kitchen in the process."
Malfoy waved it off. "It's easily fixed with a wand." He dragged the other stool over and sat down, grabbing his wand on the way. He uttered a quick cleaning spell on the floor and the counters. Instantly the area was clean again. He rest his wand down and stared at Harry as he ate and watched the TV. He did seem to be enjoying the meal. Scratching his head, he ploughed ahead. "Potter." He waited.
"Hmm?" Harry said with his mouth full. When there was more silence, he looked over in question. He looked guarded when Malfoy seemed to be approaching the topic with unease. He swallowed. "What?" he asked sounding cautious. He put down his fork.
"No, it's nothing bad like that!" the blond rushed to reassure. "Well, not bad per se."
Harry sat up straight now, feeling uneasy with the roundabout statements. "Malfoy, what is it?" He waited.
The blond was fidgeting with his fingers where he sat. With his hair tied up, only the shortest parts at the scruff of his neck had come out again. He was wearing another one of Harry's shirts. He'd have to have a word with him about that. "Um. I just noticed that you er... seemed to be very tired a lot and you tend to fall asleep before you can do anything." He was speaking calmly as if he was preparing Harry for something.
Harry didn't like it. "I have a busy job, Malfoy."
The defensive answer made Draco snap his attention to the brunet. "I get that!" he said quickly to placate him. "I do." His hands were palm-flat on the counter. Harry's Auror instincts kicked in. He's trying to assert a point, not knowing if I'll like it. "I'm just saying your job can lead to you not looking after yourself very well... or your house."
Harry was confused. What the hell does that mean? "And?" he said snapping. He wished Malfoy would just spit it out.
"Well," the blond continued looking back down at the counter. Here it comes. "If I'm here on a more... permanent basis, I could do that for you." A guarded look came at him, waiting for his reaction. Harry was caught between bewilderment and suspicion.
He narrowed his eyes in thought and tried out a guess to what Malfoy could be saying. "You want... to look after me?"
Malfoy's mouth was forming words, though he didn't express any of them. Then he said, "N- well... kind of but not how you put it."
Not how I put it? Harry thought. Okay. He tried again. "Oh. So you want to be... like a maid, or something?"
Malfoy seemed put out at that. "Oh. Do you really have to put it like that?" he said sounding disappointed.
Harry spluttered. "How else should I put it? You want to stay in my home in exchange for cooking and cleaning. Right?" he elaborated.
Malfoy dropped his head into his folded arms and shook his head. "Can't you say something more dignified?" It was muffled in his arms before he sat up, his face pink with embarrassment. "Like, housekeeper or something?"
Housekeeper? This was all too bizarre. "Fine, housekeeper then." He glanced at his plate, wondering when he could get back to his meal. "You want to be tha-" Suddenly, something occurred to him. "Wait. Is this why you've been cleaning my house and running me baths all week?" He looked again at the plate of ravioli. "And cooking? Was this like a job interview?" He looked around and saw the stove instruction booklet cello-taped to the overhead cupboard. The blond had been studying those things like Hermione at end of term since he'd discovered them. Oh my god. "Merlin's balls! You've been plotting for a way to stay here, haven't you?" That's why he hasn't left yet. Harry laughed incredulously. He stood up and gestured to the plate and the kitchen. "And this is the best way you came up with? Becoming my maid?"
Draco stood up too. "Housekeeper."
Harry scoffed. "Oh, what-the fuck-ever, Malfoy, why didn't you just ask?" he let out, frustrated.
Malfoy looked at him like he was crazy. "You wouldn't have said yes! At least this way I serve some purpose!" He took a breath and looked away. "You've... been nice to me." He sat back down. "I thought if I repaid that – maybe show you a skill I had that you could use, you'd let me stay." He was pretending to study his nails when he was done.
Harry ran his hands through his hair and took a deep heaving breath. Fucking Slytherins and their inability to deal with something straight on. "Malfoy-" He stopped himself and took a calming breath. "Draco." That got his attention. "You've been in my house now, for free, for almost a week and a half. With everything you've done," he added carefully, his hand gesturing carefully towards the blond, "it took me until now to realise your efforts, and that's only because of your prompting. Now, tell me, do you think I would have said no?"
Draco looked a little taken back at that.
When he was met with silence, Harry continued. "A couple days ago I kept expecting to open my door to an empty space. Now I open it wondering what you've been keeping yourself busy with. Today..." He looked around with an amused chuckle. "Today took the cake as far as I'm concerned." He got up. "I ran away from work, partly because you discovering things in my apartment has actually become a daily treat for me. I think you actually know more about my apartment than I do." He shook his head. He was too tired to deal with this now. "You know what? You're hired. If you can make things like this, after only a day of studying it, I don't care." He scratched his head. "Is the hot water on?" he asked and leaned on the counter, picking up his fork again.
"You're not angry anymore?" Draco asked him, a little perturbed that he'd gotten an affirmative answer so quickly.
Harry turned to look at him and took off his glasses. "You need to work on getting to know your employer, Ma – Draco. I value honesty over everything else. I wasn't angry, I was just surprised you would go to such a length to stay in my home." He scoffed. "Didn't know it was so attractive."
Draco scoffed in kind. "You didn't see where I was sleeping before." He got up. "Finish eating. I'll run your bath." He walked off toward the corridor. Harry watched him, his eyesight falling down, down and down to the blond's legs. He rolled his eyes at himself.
"Hey, Draco." Draco stopped just as he disappeared behind the wall. He poked his head around and looked at him in question. Harry swallowed his mouthful. "I really didn't see your efforts for what they were, but I want you to know they were appreciated all the same. Thank you. My home hasn't looked so good since I first moved in." Draco actually gave him a small smile and nodded before turning away. "Oh and, Draco?" He felt an amused chuckle vibrate his throat as the blond turned around again, this time crossing his arms over his chest.
"Yes?" he said even though Harry knew he meant 'What the fuck do you want now?'.
Harry gestured to his bare legs. "I know I have trousers of all sorts in the drawer you get those shirts from. Wear them, would you? Your legs are distracting." He speared ravioli onto his fork.
Uncrossing his arms, Draco looked down. His brows furrowed, he glanced up to ask what Harry meant by that but the brunet had re-engaged himself in the TV. Leaving the matter where it was, he instead made his way down the corridor to the bathroom.