For my Sputnik, because she's well worth this and more, and we should all celebrate the day she was born. For my Sputnik, because she's well worth this and more, and we should all celebrate the day she was born. And because I literally can't put into words how much I adore you, I give you this and more and how even do I do you justice, lovely xryer. My floahmy heart is half yours.
Prompts: OJ, art, bananas, clothes, grey, scarves.
It's disconcerting when he wakes up to find he's missing several articles of his clothing, largely because, if he's remembering correctly, this is not his bed.
Draco keeps his eyes shut tightly, inhaling the scent around him—masculine, warm, sticky.
He hears movement in the rest of the flat—a thump, like something has fallen. A string of colourful curses, muffled by walls, and then a door slamming a few seconds later—and realises he's alone. Tentatively, he opens his eyes, takes in his surroundings, and bolts up to find his clothes. He's dresses quickly, tugging at his leather belt whilst trying to tame his hair.
He picks up his shoes, grabs his wand, and Apparates straight home, escaping.
He refuses to think of it as running away.
He's at work, stamping.
Accepted. Accepted. Accepted. Accepted. Accepted.
All day long, he accepts documents and letters and wills and all sorts of legal paperwork. By the time it gets to him, it has been approved, and it's his job to mark it as such and send it off to the Department of Official Records.
Accepted. Accepted. Accepted. Accepted.
Except he's not, he can't help but think it. He's not accepted—he's denied.
Not accepted by polite society, what with that thing marring the skin of his forearm.
Not accepted by his so-called friends—Pansy is all he has left, and, if he's honest, even she hasn't met him for lunch in over three months.
Not accepted by his father, not after he'd admitted he was working—a Malfoy, working, like some common wizard rather than the descendant of a family of purebloods stretching back fourteen generations or something equally ridiculous and impressive. Never mind that Draco was doing it for the family, because their accounts had been fined so heavily after the war that it became necessary.
Draco sighs. Pitying himself will get him nowhere—if he's learned anything from his life, this is it.
A door is flung open across the room and he glances up to watch as the dark-haired wizard barges through his office and into that of his boss, fuming, robes whipping behind him. Draco is forcibly reminded of his old potions master. The man would hate that comparison, probably, even with his sudden change of opinion after the final battle. The door slams behind him, and Draco winces. Potter's tantrums have always been legendary. He almost feels sympathy for his boss, but Fruzz had lost that not a day into this job.
Potter hadn't looked at him.
Draco listens to the first ten words or so—shouted at a volume that penetrates the walls—and casts a Silencing Charm around himself, shaking his head and attempting to focus on his work again. He's not going to react. He's going to pretend Potter is invisible, or nonexistent, the way he seems to be regarding Draco.
In fact, he gets up and taps his wand on the pile of papers from which his work is originating. It settles down, quivering as if being stilled for even a short time is impossible. Draco decides it's time for his break. In this way, he is making Potter nonexistent.
He's not been down in the cafeteria for more than eight minutes when Granger drops into the seat across from him. He doesn't respond, far too used to this.
'Good morning, Draco.'
His eyes briefly flicker up to reveal his utter boredom before he takes a drink, the cool orange juice inside coating his tongue, smooth and sour. No pulp. If there's one thing they do well here, it's their orange juice.
'Is Harry down in your office, by chance?' She nods at his raised eyebrow. 'I knew it. I told him not to fly off the broom handle, but… I'm sorry. Did he set any of the paperwork on fire this time?'
Draco shrugs, remembering all too vividly the day Potter had done just that. Fruzz had nearly burst into tears, and Draco had left early, terrified—though he'd never admit it—of having to witness a nervous breakdown. Malfoys do not calm others down—more often, they prefer to rile up.
'Okay.' She sighs, and he glances at her. Usually, Granger doesn't sigh—she seems to love her job, the crazy woman, though Salazar knows why. 'Thanks, Draco. Sorry about him barging in like that. His life is… complicated lately.'
He snorts before he can help it, undignified as it is. Like he cares about Potter and Potter's life and Potter's friends making excuses for him…
Granger half-smiles at him before leaving—it's not often he actually makes a sound of any sort during these all-too-frequent interactions.
Still, Draco has to admit, as much as he feigns boredom and suffering, he almost misses people talking to him as if he's a normal person.
Draco doesn't lift his head from his task, jabbing the paper in front of him with a modicum of unneeded pressure.
'Malfoy, get your arse in here!'
He sighs and pushes back, tapping the pile again as he passes. The papers quiver again, as if they're nervous. They have no reason to be. He might.
'Yes?' His tone is clipped, but this is as polite as he can be to Fruzz. The man has lost all respect, and only the knowledge that he controls Draco's state of employment keeps him mildly civil.
'Sit.' The older man gestures haphazardly at one of the chairs across from his desk, and Draco sinks into the plush cushion. His seat doesn't have a cushion. Maybe he should bring one in someday.
Elysian Fruzz stares him down from across the desk, a burly man with a moustache like a strand of yarn over his top lip and about four pieces of thin hair scraped over his crown. Draco always gets nervous after seeing Fruzz—he doesn't know what he'd have in life without his own hair.
'Malfoy, you saw Counsellor Potter in here?' he barks, tapping a quill on a pad of paper specifically set aside for that purpose. It's a waste of ink, but if it keeps the man from pulling out a wand then the Ministry overlooks it.
'Do you know why he was in?'
Honestly, the man expects his employees to be Legilimens or something. Draco is already itching to go back to his stamping. He hates this man more than 'Accepted. Accepted. Accepted.'
'He was chiding me about wages. Apparently I'm not paying all of my employees equally, and I'm not paying minimum wage for department resources.' It's no wonder Fruzz looks like a disgruntled overweight rat at the moment, if Potter is trying to control his funds.
Draco remains silent, though something inside of him is blowing up like a balloon. If he didn't know better, he'd be worried it would burst in his chest and damage his internal organs.
'Basically, you're getting a pay raise. Now get out of my office, and if you go complaining to the higher ups again I won't hesitate to find some way to fire you.'
Draco leaves without another word, carrying the balloon with him.
The museum is quiet, the way he likes it. Hallways nearly empty, janitorial staff coming out, leaving him alone with the art.
None of the dirty looks from other patrons, none of the noise from groups of children on field trips, few of the Muggles who admire the still pictures without seeing the real things.
Draco wanders into his favourite wing to sit on the bench nearest the sculpture of the mermaid combing her hair. It reminds him of the stained glass window in the prefects' bathroom at Hogwarts, and, though he tries not to think of his old school often, the statue is nice. And talkative.
He has no idea where the statue learned to talk—some spell cast upon her creation, possibly, or where it learned to speak in English rather than Mermish. Still, he talks to her, because nobody else does—she's hard to get along with. And he knows how that feels.
'Good evening, Malarya,' he greets quietly. 'How has your day been?'
'Long. People staring and talking among themselves, never to me.'
He looks up at her and raises an eyebrow. 'Do you still expect them to? How many years have gone by since someone has?'
'One year, which you know well, young man.'
'I do,' he mutters.
'You are strange company, but you are company nonetheless.'
Draco 'hmmms' disinterestedly and leans forwards, elbows on his knees, hands clasped beneath his chin. 'Indeed, it seems I am your only company just as you are mine.'
'I do not understand why it is so. I do appreciate you visiting me but fear your family will be missing you.'
He rolls his eyes at her. She says something similar every time he comes, no matter how many times he assures her he has no other obligations.
'My family misses me,' she continues. And she starts listing—her cousin Farifol in Paris, her great aunt Salarium fourteen times removed in one of the Muggle Queen's homes… The list is long. Usually she goes on for at least twenty minutes where he can lose himself listening to her odd voice, focusing on the tiles underfoot.
It's only when a curator comes along to usher him out that he waves his goodbye to her and she flips a tail at him dismissively. The curator, a Muggle, looks at him oddly, as if he is insane.
He may very well be. Even he has to admit it's odd for a wizard to associate and converse with a statue. But then, when one has nobody else, a statue must do.
'Why must you be such a bother?'
'Yes you are. You had to go open your mouth and then I got in trouble.'
'You got in trouble? For what?'
'You know what.'
Draco is aware of his whining, but he can't seem to do much about it. Maybe he could blame the drink in front of him, but he knows there's no alcohol in it. Not to say he's not drunk anyway—the whiskey went down easy before the bartender switched it out for some kind of smoothie with a ton of banana in it. And strawberry. And maybe orange juice.
He doesn't know who ordered that drink, because he certainly doesn't remember doing so. It's far too… girly.
Grumbling, he stabs at a piece of fruit with his straw, and the man leaning up against the bar next to him snorts once. It's such an unflattering sound, common, far below a Malfoy. Trust Potter to be the source.
Never mind that Draco himself let one out earlier. He's conveniently forgotten, another thing Malfoys do well.
'I don't know what, despite your confidence in my ability to be omniscient. I'm flattered, really.' Potter sips at the scotch in his hand, looking out over the rest of the bar at all the other sad fucks accompanying Draco in pitiable life. Draco still isn't sure how the git found him in the first place. He doubts the Chosen One needs drinks every Wednesday night to make it through the rest of the work week.
Draco knows the best way to get to Potter in this instance is ignorance, and he plans to do just that until Potter's hand is on his forearm, searing through the thin layer of his sleeve to burn the Mark underneath. He yanks his arm back, teetering on his stool, and just manages to catch the edge of the bar. 'Don't, just… fucking don't, Potter!'
The man sheepishly shoves his hand into his pocket, avoiding Draco's eyes. 'Sorry, forgot.'
'Forgot? Nobody has forgotten.'
And it's true, if bitter. It's why he's stuck working this job. It's why he isn't out with somebody instead of by himself, meeting someone he knows by coincidence.
Potter glances at him almost sympathetically, and Draco doesn't know why. Why would Saint Potter be sympathetic to him? It's his fault in the first place.
If he hadn't turned down Draco's hand on the first train ride to school, they'd be friends. Even if Draco's father had continued down the path to the Dark side, being friends with the boy of the Light might have kept Draco out of it, afforded him some chance for avoiding the catastrophe. It might have saved his life.
And yet, here they are.
Potter—successful as a Counsellor, loved, revered, written about in history books and newspapers and magazines and books of poetry…
Draco—everything Potter is not, and nothing Potter is.
'Look, Draco, it's been six years. People are moving on. There are kids who don't know Voldemort as anything more than a villain in the scary stories told by their mums. You can, I dunno, make an effort, reach out. Maybe you—'
'I suppose you're never done trying to save people, are you?' Draco doesn't want his drink anymore. He doesn't want to be here anymore either. What a waste of a night. He slides his stool back and pushes his drink towards the bartender, grabbing the coat he'd hung over the back of his seat. 'Give it a rest already, and leave me the hell alone. I'm getting on just fine.'
Lying, pulling the mask on, is second nature to him. Always has been, and he suspects it always will be. He refuses to think of this as a bleak outlook, because reality is bleak.
Potter doesn't come after him, and he's thankful for that as he steps outside and into the Apparation area. He doesn't know what he'd do if their experience the other night were to repeat itself.
'Draco, darling, come in, come in.'
He avoids looking at his mother. Narcissa Black should never wear skinny jeans, or yoga pants, or, Salazar save him, sweats. Seeing her in Muggle clothing is stranger than Luna Lovegood ever was. Ever since the divorce from his father, though, she's striven to distance herself from the Malfoy name and reputation, and she is doing well as a result.
'Good evening, Mother.' He leans forwards to kiss her cheek and sits rigidly on her settee, staring down at his hands as he folds them together.
'No, no.' He hastens to assure her. She'd never learned to cook, and is refusing to hire house elves under the claim 'It's something your father would do.' Draco has no idea how she's feeding herself anymore, but she seems to be happy and healthy, much more so than she was in the last years of the war and her marriage.
'Have you been out drinking again?'
It's useless to deny it. She has a nose, after all, and he's sure he spilled some of his drink earlier on his trousers. 'Maybe.'
'Alone?' He shrugs, feeling the faint flush that causes further embarrassment. 'Draco, how many times must I tell you—if you're going out to get pissed, at least go with friends or a conquest. Drinking alone will give people the wrong idea, darling.'
She has a glass of red wine in her hand, while she's sitting in the armchair in sweats, her legs pulled up under her, her hair piled on top of her head with her wand stuck through it, and she's lecturing him about giving people the wrong idea. He doesn't protest.
His mother carefully takes a sip, surveying him with eyes that are the color of cold though her gaze is far warmer. 'And when I say conquest, I don't just mean lovely young ladies,' she suggests quietly.
He manages not to choke on air, though it's a close call. 'Mother,' he warns. 'Must you?'
'I was just letting you know I don't mind,' she says, voice mild.
He sees the small smile she tries to hide behind the rim of her glass and groans, dropping his upbringing to sprawl backwards. After all, she, one of the primary examples of etiquette presented to him as a child, is in sweats. He thinks he's allowed to be just as undignified. 'Mum, please, please stay out if it.'
'Where were you the other night, by the way? Why not ask that person out with you when you want to drink?'
Flashes of skin and heat and want and lust rise to the forefront of his mind. His skin flushes as desire flares, warm and unwelcome. Draco closes his eyes and forces the images back, all too aware of his mother in the room and the insanity of that night.
A one-off, to be sure.
'Because that was a onetime thing, Mother, and is also not something I feel comfortable discussing with you.'
She makes a noise—one of interest or amusement, he can't tell the difference—and he hears her shuffling around in her seat, settling for the conversation. He tenses. 'Are you sure, Draco? I mean, I don't mind discussing it, as your mother.'
'You should,' he mutters, rolling over onto his stomach and resting his chin on his forearms. He eyes her suspiciously, and she smiles at him politely, aristocratic in a way she will never be able to change. 'Like I said, onetime thing anyway. Doesn't matter anymore, never will again.'
Except… he suspects part of that isn't true. He just isn't sure which part.
She finally turns the conversation away, and he's grateful. He loves her, but discussing his… conquests, as she'd put it… with her isn't high on his list of favorite pastimes.
They avoid mentioning his father, and his work, and the past, but nearly everything else is still on the table. He enjoys these nights, talking to one of the only people he has left. He supposes it's sad that it's his mother, but he always was more like her.
'Oh! Draco, that party Ms Parkinson is hosting at the end of the month? She wants to be sure of the headcount. You're coming, aren't you?'
Pansy. He hasn't seen her in a while. She hasn't wanted to see him. It'd be kinder to stay home, better for the both of them….
'Yes, I'm coming.'
…But since when has that ever dictated his actions?
'Hermione, come on, over there. See, Harry's waving.'
Draco closes his eyes and tries to strengthen the 'fuck off' vibes that seem to be ineffectual, judging by the fact that Granger has taken her seat across from him again. He's even more offended to realise the Weasel himself is with her, red hair and tall frame and temper intact.
'Are you serious? You can't be serious? 'Mione?' She glares up at him and he glances across the cafeteria, like a dog apologising for disobeying his master, before sitting next to her.
Draco doesn't realise he's spoken until Weasel pops back up. 'Well, you see then? He spoke, you should be happy, and obviously we're unwelcome. C'mon, Hermione, leave the bloody wanker alone.'
Granger smiles at him, though, as if her Weasel isn't dancing around wanting to go. 'I knew you hadn't lost your voice. Ronald, sit down, please. Be civil, just for a few moments?'
She turns her eyes on him, and Draco isn't sure whether he should be sickened or jealous of the obvious affection between them. It's interesting how much power she appears to have over Weasel, though, but then again, the Dark side lost for underestimating all that love shit.
Weasel sits next to her, grudgingly, shooting Draco a glare which he returns automatically. He's unnerved to notice it doesn't have much the same effect—whether that is due to Weasel gaining confidence in himself as an Auror or Draco's lack of practice is unknown, though.
He isn't sure how to handle this development, and it appears Granger isn't sure either, now that she's made it happen. Usually, he sits and she talks and he speaks with his eyebrows or hand movements. Now their routine seems odd, probably because her boyfriend—or are they married now?—is at her side, stabbing his lettuce with unnecessary relish.
But when Draco senses the last of the Golden Trio approaching from behind him, he's had enough. He stands, grabs his cup, and turns, only to find himself chest to chest with Potter, green eyes nearly on level with his own.
His breath leaves him in a rush, and he barely manages to retain his grip on his cup.
Potter lifts an eyebrow. 'Leaving already, Draco?'
Draco closes his eyes, calming himself. His pulse still thrums with their proximity. 'Get out of my face, Potter. I need to get back.'
'Take a seat, you just walked in four minutes ago.'
He wonders if Potter has been watching him as closely as he watches Potter, even as the other man reaches out, takes his shoulder, spins him back around, and applies light pressure to put him back in his seat. He sits next to Draco, grinning at his friends as if this is normal. Draco begins to suspect the former Gryffindors have cooked up some scheme to make him as uncomfortable as possible, and vows to appear unruffled.
'How you doing, Ron? Training going alright?' Potter unwraps his fork as he speaks, and Draco tears his gaze away from those hands. There's no reason for him to be watching.
'Well enough.' Weasel looks nearly as bothered by this turn of events as Draco. It's almost funny.
'You, 'Mione? Did you get the bill finished?'
'Yes, it should be in for approval this afternoon. After that, it's off to the Counsellors for presentation to the Wizengamot. Are you taking it, Harry?'
Why is he here? Why must he sit and listen to them discuss work with some kind of passion? Who discusses work with passion? They're nutters, the lot of them. If Weasley is the sanest, there's obviously something wrong with them.
'Have you heard of the bill, Draco?'
His name draws his gaze from the doors he's longingly staring at. Potter is watching him carefully, intensely, and fuck if it's not having an effect.
'No,' he snaps, slightly harsher than he might have normally. It's not his fault—he blames Potter, who rolls his eyes at the response.
'We're trying to make amends to some of the families we alienated after the war,' Granger says carefully, and it's a moment before he gets it.
He stares at her. He doesn't know if he should be offended or grateful or if she expects him to fall at her feet.
So he stands, leaves his orange juice, and Disapparates.
'How do you keep finding me? Do you have a tracking spell on me or something?'
'Okay? Who gives a fuck if I'm okay, Potter?'
'How much have you had to drink?'
'None of your fucking business.'
'Er, actually, I think it might be. Have you been here since lunch?'
'No, I finished my shift.'
He's being honest now, and that's never a good sign. He's drunk, again, and Potter is here, next to him, again. He reaches out to play with the end of Potter's scarf. It's a vibrant blue, and he likes it. Draco wants this scarf.
If he's prepared to take it one step further, he wants this man.
'Potter, I can't Apparate.'
Take me home. Please. Make me feel something. Push the grey back.
'I kind of guessed that.' But he is sitting down, and Draco knows. 'What got to you earlier? Is it just that people care? Is it that your pride is getting in the way? Do you not value yourself?'
Draco looks down into the amber liquid left in his glass and drains it in one go. The bitter taste is nothing to the bitterness inside. 'You ask a lot of questions I don't feel like answering.'
Potter is quiet for moment. 'You're answering by refusing to do so, Draco.'
'Don't call me that. I'm Malfoy and you're Potter, not Harry. It's one thing that always has been and one thing that always will, don't you get it? We're defined already as we were. There is no changing, no taking back, no forgiving.' He slams his glass back to the bar top and motions to the bartender for another—she shakes her head, and he feels like the world is compressing around him.
The other man lets him sit for a moment, gaze levelled at the smooth wood under his hands. In his peripheral, he watches as Potter reaches over and firmly pries his fingers from the glass he hasn't released. 'Draco…'
'Stop,' he says. His voice is less sure than he'd like it to sound. It might have something to do with the way Potter is still holding his hand hostage, long fingers twined with his long fingers between them on the bartop, in no-man's land. Or both men's lands.
'No, not until you stop drinking. You're here every other night. You're going to drown your liver, and then what will happen?'
'Hopefully you'll leave me alone,' he responds, and something twinges inside of him. That's a lie, and he hadn't realised it until just now. When did he start looking forwards to Potter's meddling?
After you slept with him, his mind supplies helpfully.
'Slept with who?'
Draco pulls his hand out of Potter's, wiping it on his trousers. His palm is damp. That scarf still looks far too attractive.
'I…' He blinks at the other man. 'Didn't I?'
'Didn't you what? Sleep with someone? How should I know?'
'You were there?' It wasn't meant to come out as a question, but the lilt turns it into one.
Potter's eyebrows rise. 'Is that what you think? Why you've been so tetchy lately?'
'I'm not tetchy.'
'Tone of voice says you are.'
'Beside the point, Potter. Did we or did we not sleep together?'
Potter looks at him, and something in the green eyes is confused and worried and making Draco want to lean in and snog him, an urge he does not allow to overtake him. 'No, we didn't sleep together, you absolute prat. If you're referring to last weekend when you woke up in my flat, you drank yourself into a stupor and I have no idea where you live, so I brought you there. It's not my fault you like to strip when you're plastered.'
Draco feels the flush under his skin. 'I do not like to strip when I'm drunk,' he hisses.
'Right, so you think I undressed you? Not bloody likely, I like my body undamaged.'
'I wouldn't have damaged you.'
'Right. Because last year at the Ministry's Christmas ball wasn't damaging?'
'What does that have to do with anything?'
'Wait, I was drunk that night too, wasn't I?'
He remembers, vaguely. Potter had been wearing grey dress robes. Draco remembers wanting to slide his hands in them, around the man's waist, to pull him in. Instead, they'd started arguing over the punch and Draco had ended up kicking Potter's ankle rather nastily under their table. He wants to blame the alcohol he'd imbibed for the childish action, but it was frustration.
Being attracted to someone one didn't like was not the best of situations.
'Probably. Why is it I always end up around you when you're drunk? Wait, better question—why the hell do you drink alone?' He flags down the bartender, and the woman smiles at him, eyes glancing at Draco curiously before she leaves with his drink order.
'What are you doing?'
'What's it look like, Draco?'
'Stop calling me that.'
Potter stares at him, eyebrows up again. He has very expressive eyebrows. Draco's fingers itch to trace them, to follow the path down Harry's—damn it, Potter's—straight nose, to lips he's been fantasising about for what he has to admit is years. 'Did you, a Malfoy, just whine at me? Malfoys whine? That's allowed?'
'Stuff it,' Draco grumbles, distracted. 'I can't Apparate.'
'I know, you've said that and my own observation skills are apt enough to notice. Just, let me have my drink. This time we can go back to your place, since you were uncomfortable with mine.'
'We're—no—we can't—my place?'
Potter doesn't say anything about sputtering being below a Malfoy.
'You can't Apparate, and I'm the idiot who keeps barging in when you're drunk. I'll get you home and leave. Bloody wanker,' he mutters under his breath, reaching out gratefully for the glass as the bartender returns.
Draco wants to feel offended, he does, but he can't see a way out of this. Brilliant to get himself this pissed, brilliant that he has to rely on someone, and brilliant that it's Harry sodding Potter of all people. Utterly, spectacularly, fucking brilliant.
He's never drinking again.
At least, not for a week.
Potter drains his glass, slaps a few coins on the bar, and hops down from the barstool. 'C'mon, let's get this over with.'
Draco sneers, but grudgingly follows suit, stumbling and reaching out to steady himself. His hand closes around Potter's forearm, and Potter rolls his eyes, reaching out with his free hand to steady his companion. 'Sorry,' Draco mutters, staring at the scarf again, aware that the hand on Potter's arm is nearly petting him. 'Sorry.'
For more than being drunk. For more than being a hassle. For more than upsetting your life.
Potter sighs and slips an arm around Draco's waist, pulling him through the bar towards the street. Draco fights the urge to slip his hand in the other man's back pocket and squeeze, though he does somehow unwind the blue scarf.
'You're not stealing my scarf.'
'It's a nice scarf,' Draco says, conciliatory. 'Can't help it. I like nice things. Result of my upbringing.'
'Mmm. Alright, where d'you live?' Potter's eyes are dark, shadowed from the streetlight overhead. He's much too attractive, he really is. It's rather unfair.
Draco tells him, describes the place, leaning into Potter's side the entire time—for balancing purposes, he tells himself. The warmth is just an extra benefit, as is the scent he remembers from waking up in what must have been Potter's bed last week.
He wants to be back in that bed.
'I don't know if I can get us there, never having been…'
'Do you propose taking me home with you again, then? That's the other option, apparently,' Draco says, leaning his head against Potter's shoulder. His nose brushes the ex-Gryffindor's neck, and he starts at the cold.
'Fuck. I hate sleeping on the couch.'
Draco looks around with interest, his brain remembering some of this, fuzzily, from the last trip. He remembers the hooks draped with a number of different scarves, hats, and gloves. He remembers the coffee table, overflowing with papers and quills and empty ink bottles and half-empty coffee mugs. He remembers the way to the loo, and when he gets there, he remembers what he'd done in the doorway.
'Oi, Potter!' The man looks up from where he's unbuttoning his black coat, and Draco stalks back into the living room, pointing a trembling finger back towards the loo. 'You snogged me there last time!'
'You snogged me! I remember!'
'Technically, you started it.'
'I called you Harry, didn't I?' Draco sighs and leans back against a wall. 'Lovely. Wonderful. Perfect.'
'You were actually a rather good kisser for someone so drunk he couldn't tell he'd already taken his shoes off.' Potter—Harry—smirks as he heads for the bedroom. 'Let me just get a blanket and a pillow, will you?'
Draco pushes off from the wall and follows him, knowing it's a bad idea as he does. He remembers this too, this room, the bowl of blue light on the desk, the khaki collared duvet, the closet doors spilling robes and Muggle clothing alike. 'Your place is messy,' he observes. 'Why is it so messy?'
Harry glances up at him, unimpressed, and pulls a pair of sleep pants and a t-shirt from the drawers. Something about the glance tightens the muscles of his stomach, and Draco shifts awkwardly, looking away.
He's leaving the room when Draco reaches out to grab his wrist again, stopping him. 'Er…' He avoids Harry's eyes, staring over his shoulder. 'Thanks, I guess.'
And then he's alone, blinking at a room that is not his own, one that seems too large now. He sits on the edge of the bed, untying his shoes and frowning. If he inhales, all he smells is Harry, Harry, Harry. He pulls off his jumper, the belt, the jeans, and climbs in between the silky smooth sheets. They're soft, like Harry's skin probably is. And he shouldn't be thinking this while in the man's bed. It's perverted.
Draco rolls onto his stomach and clutches a pillow close to him, goosebumps rising along his body. It's cold in here. He bites his lips, debates internally, flicks his wrist, but after six minutes he can't stand it anymore.
'Er… this is awkward, but will you please come in here?'
Harry looks up from where he's just tossing the blanket over his make-shift bed, staring at Draco framed in the doorway to his bedroom. 'What? See a spider you need me to kill?'
Draco nearly goes back, flushed with embarrassment, but the cold bed is lonely and large and far too empty. 'You said you hate sleeping on the couch, so… your bed's large enough for both of us.'
They stare at each other, and Harry slowly tilts his head. 'What are you up to?'
'I just don't like… I just…' He closes his eyes, shakes his head. 'Never mind.'
He lies down again, blinking in the darkness, regret chilling him further.
And then he hears it, the door opening quietly, feet shuffling over the carpet, and he feels the presence, the heat, before the bed dips on that side. 'Keep your bloody freezing feet away from me,' Harry warns as he pulls the covers up and settles. 'That's all I'm saying. And if you wake up in the morning and attack me when you freak out, I get three free retaliations. Got it?'
They're quiet, and Draco measures his breathing with Harry's, listening to every rustle of fabric as one or the other shifts. It's hard not to reach out, because the memory of last week is becoming clearer. Harry's lips are soft, but his kisses are firm, his hands are aggressive, his reception welcoming.
'Why did you kiss me back last week?'
'What?' Harry sounds startled, as if he's forgotten Draco was there. Draco doesn't want to be forgotten, but at least Harry seems comfortable. Or he did before that question.
'Why'd you kiss me?'
'You kissed me.'
'Yes, but you kissed me back.'
'Because you started it. You made the first move.'
Draco rolls over and leans up on his elbow, eyebrows drawn together. 'I don't understand.'
Harry sighs, flopping onto his stomach. 'What was I supposed to do, push you off?'
He hesitates, and lies back down, staring up at the ceiling. 'Most people would have,' he mutters.
'I'm not most people, Draco.'
'I don't understand you.'
'You're not the only one.' He thinks he hears it, but he's not sure, and Harry rolls over again, his back to Draco. Draco frowns and settles himself. It'd be easier, if he were sober, to contain his curiosity.
He remembers, and he's still remembering when he falls asleep. His dreams are full of the snog, the hands, the shirt discarded, the gasps, the tongue, the groans, the overwhelming perfection of the moment. When he wakes the next morning, he's alone again, and the silence is crushing.
He dresses and Disapparates.
Maralya seems surprised to see him. He understands why. He never visits in the morning, especially before the museum is open. So what if he had to Confund the security guard?
'Good morning,' he says carefully, taking his spot on the bench and assuming his usual pose.
'And to you. Why are you here?'
He glances up at her, and she's waving her fingers at him, fishing for the story. He has no idea why he does it—he tells her.
Maybe because he doesn't have friends to tell. Maybe because the only person who would listen is his mother, and he certainly doesn't want to discuss it with her. Maybe because he's tired of bottling things up.
She listens, oddly quiet, and then flips her tail at him and shakes out her hair. 'Idiotic human,' she snorts, and he rolls his eyes, sitting back, regretting it. 'Why ever would you leave?'
'Why would you leave?'
'I dunno, because he left first?' Draco's confusion and defensiveness are evident in his movements as he stands and ties the scarf back around his neck, preparing to depart. He knows the scarf all too well, and can't help but smile, just a little, as he waves goodbye to the statue. He doesn't feel any better having talked it over. Now he just feels guilty, and he won't stand for that.
Harry answers the door with a sigh, still dressed in his pyjamas, and Draco is surprised. 'I thought you'd left,' he blurts, and then closes his eyes.
'Is that my scarf? You bastard.' But he stands aside and lets Draco in again.
The blond looks around awkwardly before he sits at the kitchen table. 'I think… I don't understand what's going on.'
Harry follows him into the kitchen. 'Want anything to drink? Coffee? Orange juice?' He seems to smirk as he offers the last, and Draco shakes his head petulantly until Harry sits opposite him with the mug of coffee he'd probably been in the middle of drinking. 'What do you mean, what's going on?'
'Look, I just want to know why you're doing this. Why you're escorting me home, why you're working against the overly harsh punishments for Death Eaters, why… why you snogged me. That's all.' Draco shrugs and plays with the end of the scarf, avoiding the other man's all-too-green eyes.
He hesitates before he answers, as if he's trying to find an answer. He doesn't have one at the ready. Draco traces his fingers over the table top, prepares to wait, even as he grows uncomfortable. Finally, Harry speaks.
'I… I'm not sure, to be perfectly honest. Maybe because… I don't know, Draco. I don't have an answer for that.' Harry sighs, and when Draco looks up, he's staring at his coffee with furrowed eyebrows. 'I'm sorry, I wish I knew how to put it in words. It's just… complicated.'
'What's complicated is waking up in your bed, twice, because you felt the need to be the hero. What's complicated is knowing you kissed me back and not knowing why.' He stands, dropping the scarf back on the table, despite how much he likes it and wants to keep it. 'Please just stop it, alright? I can take care of myself.'
'I don't doubt that.' Harry is scrambling up, following Draco back to the front door. He slips between the blond and the door, hands held up like a Shield Charm. 'Just… hang on. Okay, here it is. Sometimes we all need to be taken care of. And no one seems to take care of you.'
'So, what, you felt obligated? You're not my mother, Potter,' Draco snarls, trying to move around him. Embarrassment is making him distrustful, eager to leave and forget everything.
'No, I'm not.' Potter reaches out, takes hold of Draco's forearm, just above the damning Mark. 'Slow down, will you? You wanted to talk, let's talk. You can have my scarf if you want it, s'long as you stay.'
The temptation to stay, if only for the scarf, is notable. It's a nice scarf, after all, woollen and bright blue and smelling of Harry Potter. The fact that Potter's hand is on his arm has nothing to do with it. He swipes a hand through his hair, remembering suddenly what a mess it is, and tugs away. He backs up, leans against the counter in the kitchen, and gestures impatiently.
Potter slowly sits back at the kitchen table, eyes on Draco the entire time. 'It was Hermione's idea, to change the legislation. You're not the only one who's been affected, you know? You remember Theodore Nott from school, yeah? One of your year mates, wasn't he?'
Draco nods, uncomfortable. He remembers Theo. They'd been friends, at least by Slytherin standards. His dad, like Draco's, had been involved with the Dark Lord, and as such Theo deals with much of the same prejudice Draco himself faces. Draco isn't sure what's become of him now.
'Well, er…' Potter hesitates, wrapping long fingers around his coffee mug again. 'He was, er… Someone decided to take justice on him for something his father did during the war. He was in St. Mungo's for two months, and he's still not quite got his wits about him. The Ministry… they refused to help and go after the blokes at fault. 'Mione heard about it, and, well, you know how she is. She told me, and I was furious. The Ministry is supposed to protect the Wizarding world from both the Muggles and itself. That they refused to help… it's wrong. That's why we're doing this.'
'I… hadn't known. Is he alright? Theo, I mean?' Draco closes his eyes.
'Mostly. They're not sure how much of the damage is permanent.' Potter shrugs, staring down at his hands. 'We're using his case as evidence—he gave us permission. He's able enough to do that and understand, he's just a bit confused about the past. We've got others down on the list as well. It should pass—Hermione's done all the research, and she's great at that. I've just got to present it.'
Draco sighs, rubbing his face. Not everything has to do with him, he reminds himself. Especially lately. 'Thank you. And the other parts?'
Potter—or maybe he's Harry again, Draco can't make up his mind—moves awkwardly, shifting in his chair. 'Er… that's the complicated part. You won't like the answers.'
'Fine. I kissed you back because I wanted to. I wasn't drunk, but I wasn't thinking clearly either. I didn't expect you to remember it. As for why I keep bringing you home, you can't seem to take care of yourself when you're pissed. And I don't want someone ending up in Mungo's because I didn't volunteer to get them home safely.'
A flush rises up the man's neck, turning his cheeks pink, and he defiantly looks right at Draco, who is flabbergasted. He hadn't expected that kind of honesty. 'Er…'
'Precisely. Happy now?'
He is, he has to admit it. It's not Malfoy-esque, but he wants to take a seat on Harry's lap and snog him again. Enthusiastically. 'No,' he says.
Harry sighs. 'Of course not. What more do you want, Malfoy?'
It doesn't escape him that he's suddenly 'Malfoy' again. He narrows his eyes. He's not used to wanting people to call him Draco anymore. 'I don't know.'
'Well, that's bloody helpful.' Harry stands, dumps the rest of his cold coffee down the sink, and sets the mug on the counter with rather more force than one usually would. He doesn't turn to face Draco. 'If that's all, you can see yourself out.'
'That's not all.'
He's moving in, closer, and Harry doesn't realise it. The stupid git is still gripping the edges of the counter, staring at the sink.
Until Draco's hands are on his hips, until he's spinning, until their mouths are pressed together, tongues sliding, frantic and hot and—Harry breaks away, breathing heavily, eyes wide. 'Again?'
'I'm sober this time. So are you. You taste like coffee.' And he goes in for another taste. Coffee and something else that is essentially Harry, something he vaguely recognises from last time. He inhales as Harry's hands move to grab him, reciprocating, participating, pulling at the jumper.
Draco can't help it—he's pulled along, and they're moving, bumping into things and grinding into each other. He's up against a wall—Harry's groaning against his neck as they lean against the doorframe of the bedroom—they're working on Draco's belt, on Draco's shoes, on Harry's t-shirt, until there's skin, contact, ignition.
The words stop them, bring them back, and neither is sure who spoke. They stare at each other, gasping for breath, surprised and aroused and confused, pressed close, able to feel everything.
'We… should we really be doing this?'
'Will you regret it?'
'Maybe. Will you?'
'So should we stop?'
'I don't know. I don't want to, not really…'
Lips, everywhere. Tongues. Heat. Hands. Skin. Clothes disappearing over the side of the bed, flung across the room distractedly. Eager, hesitant, thatfeelssogoodholyfuck, don'tstoppleasepleasedon'tstop. And they don't. Draco's on his back, neck arched, hands digging into shoulders, the sounds dragged from his mouth raw and ragged and honest in a way that words are not.
Words get in the way. Awkward. Time consuming. Full of misunderstandings.
But this. This is physical. Forward. Happening. Real.
This is sticky, hot, burning, moving. This is primal and coming together, breathing each other in, one from two.
Harry's leaning over him. Harry's fingers are exploring, pushing, working. Harry's asking Draco to get the little bottle of oil from the bedside table. Harry's laughing when Draco knocks other things off the bedside table in his haste. Harry's groaning, and moving his hand over himself, and Draco is panting, wanting, lusting. Harry's pushing in, and pulling out, and pushing in, and each time coming closer, bringing them nearer, pressing forwards and towards.
Until Draco's back arches, sound caught in his throat, releasing even as he's captured, and Harry is groaning his name, pulsing with him, caught in inevitable reactions, helpless to it.
Harry slumps over him, and his weight is not unpleasant. Nothing is unpleasant. Draco is satiated, comfortable, and, for once, he feels… wanted. Even if it is just for this short moment when they're catching their breath, even if it is just whilst Harry regains his wits, whilst the come dries on his stomach, he is wanted, and it's so nice to feel wanted again.
Their heartbeats return to normal, flushes drawing back from the surface of the skin like waves being pulled out to sea, and something sleepy rushes through them, something simple. Draco's thoughts start up again, and he moves, plan unformed. He's stopped by a hand on his chest, pushing him back down, gentle, coaxing, a pair of green eyes, warm and liquid, beseeching him.
Granger sits across from him as is becoming usual for lunch, only today she pushes a banana over to him. 'Come on, you never eat. No wonder you're so thin.'
'I'm not thin,' he argues, but he takes the banana anyway. He misses the look of pleased shock on her face.
'I'm sorry if I upset you last Thursday.' He glances up at her, and she's tracing a ring of condensation on the table between them.
He hesitates, and then sighs. 'Where's Weasley, then?'
Granger looks up at him, surprise etched in her features for a moment before she clears the emotion with a smile. 'Oh, he'll be down shortly, I assume. Harry as well.'
Draco tries not to let that piece of information influence the colour of his skin, but he has a feeling he's failed dreadfully. Granger's lips are twitching, and he's sure he's failed. He wonders how much Harry has told her.
He doesn't understand why he's nervous. Maybe because this is the first time they'll have seen each other since Friday evening. Maybe because they act differently in public than they do privately. Maybe because he doesn't know what to do in front of Harry's friends.
Maybe because Harry is wearing a new scarf, a grey one, as he falls into the seat next to him. Draco swallows the bite of banana he's just taken and stares down at the surface of the table. He startles when the hand slides under the table to brush against his thigh, and glances up, caught immediately by Harry's gaze. He's smiling, nervously, hopefully.
Draco can't resist smiling back, shyly, and looking away again, suffused in warmth. Weasley stares at him in shock, standing next to Granger, a sandwich in hand. Draco smirks at him and takes another bite of the banana.
Draco groans under his breath, stands, taps the pile of work, and reluctantly appears in the doorway of Fruzz's office. His boss is blustering again. 'Sit.'
He stares at Fruzz, unimpressed, as he does so. It's quiet for a moment. Fruzz seems to be biting his tongue, pained grimace in place. Finally: 'A new law was passed yesterday, calling for… reparations.' Fruzz spits the word out like acid, but Draco feels his heartbeat speed up. 'They tell me… I'm to… make amends for, for the past, I mean, for my past behaviour towards you. You're… you're being promoted.'
Draco stares. This he hadn't expected.
'Yes. You'll be switching Departments. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement is offering an internship, of sorts. A Miss Granger-Weasley, if I'm not mistaken, has asked for you specifically. Said something about schooling along with it…'
Draco stops listening. Schooling. He hadn't been able to apply to many of the extended education schools after Hogwarts due to the depleted Malfoy fortune and, he expects, the last name Malfoy on his applications. And now he'll have his chance, a new branch to focus on.
He's never wanted to be a paper pusher anyway.
Narcissa is waiting when he arrives in the Floo, her wand shoved through her hair, wearing jeans and a flowing top and a pile of necklaces he estimates to weigh five kilograms. He recognises at least one Black heirloom among them but suspects she picked the rest up in Muggle stores. Mixing treasures with junk would definitely spite her ancestral and divorced names.
She accepts his kiss on the cheek and flops back down into her favourite armchair, legs swung over the arm in an entirely improper way. Draco nearly sighs at her, but holds himself back with brief reminders.
'Good morning, Draco. I trust you've been well?'
'Very,' he assures her. He hesitates only a moment before allowing himself to smile at her. 'I'm being promoted, and I get to continue schooling.'
She lets shock paint her face before she's laughing, joy clear in her eyes and the lines of her face. She looks younger like this, happier. 'That's wonderful, darling! But, somehow, I suspect that is not all you have to tell me?'
And now she's coy, and smiling as if she has a secret, or knows his.
Draco purses his lips. 'I've no idea what you're talking about, Mother.'
'Draco, I could hear you talking when you were opening the Floo connection. Who was the person on the other end with you?'
'Mum!' He's near to whinging, but he isn't, not really. It's not fair that she's taking away the pleasure he'll get from surprising her.
Narcissa smirks—so that's where he got that expression—and folds her hands neatly over her knee, which is still propped up against the arm of the chair. 'I'm just interested in your life, dear, that's all. I'm your mother, you know. I've a right to be interested if I want. And the only gossip I've gotten lately is from Ms Parkinson, and you know how she can be. She recycles old conversations like they're last week's Prophet.'
'My love life is not gossip fodder, Mum.'
'It could be.'
'It shouldn't be.'
'Draco, darling, if I promise not to tell more than three peo—'
'You really are no fun, anymore, deares—oh my.'
'Er… hello, Ms Black.' Harry smiles hesitantly, brushing powder from the Floo off of him as Draco stands.
'Mum, this is Harry, as you might remember. Harry, my mother.'
Narcissa stares for a moment. Then she throws her head back and laughs. Draco can't help but smile with her, even as Harry begins to look confused and embarrassed. He guides them to the sofa, and this time he doesn't even make a pretence of being formal.
'Just… come on. I want you to meet someone.'
'Oooh, another pretty young man to visit me. Maralya. It's a pleasure.'
Harry stares at statue for a moment, glances at Draco, and sighs. 'Harry Potter, and a pleasure indeed.'
The mermaid stares at him, looking him over. She flicks her tail and turns back to Draco, who is hiding a smile in the grey scarf he has yet to take off—it's chilly, even in the museum. Harry has noticed a suspicious lack of his scarves around his flat, while Draco's collection seems to be growing. Neither much seems to mind it.
'So you have been keeping things from me.'
'No,' he assures her. 'Recent development.'
'But you have not been back to see me for nearly three weeks.'
He looks at Harry. 'Wasn't sure how important it was.'
Harry rolls his eyes and steps closer, the side of his body flush with Draco's. 'We've been a little busy.'
'Mmm, I see. I'm sure most of the people who visit the museum are busy. Will you be busy often now?' She directs the question at both of them, as if they are now one thing instead of two. And perhaps they are.
'I'll be sure to visit you at least once a week. Things were settling,' Draco promises.
She smiles at them and brushes her hair back. 'You have not heard about my family,' she says to the dark-haired wizard, and Harry glances at Draco questioningly. 'You should hear about my family. They like being talked about.'
He grins, takes his spot on the bench, and pulls Harry down next to him. They'll be here for a while.