AUTHOR'S NOTE: So I realized I had a minor inconsistency. And even though it doesn't change the plot, if I don't edit it, I'm going to keep thinking about it. So if you already read this chapter, there's not going to be any major plot changes or anything...sorry for those of you who got story alerts and might have gotten excited.
Obviously, I don't own Harry Potter or any characters of Hogwarts. Anyway, this is my first attempt at a Harry/Draco fic, or really any sort of romantic fic. Or really even a completed story. I hope you all enjoy. Please review!
If the class went on any longer, Draco decided, he was going to personally beg his father to fire the professor. The professor had been droning on, and Draco had been forced to resort to picking specks of lint off of his shirt to stay awake. He was running out of lint though. Around him, students were nodding off or immersed in daydreams. Fortunately for everyone, an undergrad who definitely wasn't in the class opened the door abruptly. Three seconds of a quick scan of the room alerted the fresh-faced youngster to the fact that he had just intruded upon a room filled with weary graduate students staring sadly at a board of equations that terrified him. A crowd of fellow freshman looked over his shoulder, trying to figure out whether or not the class they were expecting was happening without them.
While the accidental leader of their pack mumbled a quick apology and tried to shut the door quietly, he could did nothing to hide the loud noise of the crowd outside. In the end, the whole commotion proved a blessing. The loud noises seemed to have reminded the professor that he wasn't entitled to an infinite time slot to deliver his lecture. As soon as the lecture was ended, Draco rushed to pack his things and leave the classroom.
Arriving at his desk in the office he shared with five other students, Draco threw his backpack onto the desk and collapsed into the chair.
"Did Professor Johnston go over time again?" Draco turned around to see a bushy haired woman leaning against the doorframe and smiling knowingly at him.
"Always. Every. Single. Fucking. Time."
"I told you that you should've taken synthesis last year. Zhang was a much better teacher."
Draco shot Hermione an exasperated look. "I had other classes I needed to take. And besides, didn't he assign you problem sets that had everyone up until five am?"
"Oh, they weren't that bad."
"Maybe for you. Everyone else seemed like they were on the verge of tears." Hermione looked like she was about to give a lengthy explanation about why everyone else had done so badly, so Draco cut her off by asking about her latest set of experiments. True to form, Hermione launched into a lengthy diatribe about the most recent challenges she had faced. She was just getting to her usual "ask a lot of scary questions" segment when Draco's phone had the decency to ring.
"Er, sorry, Hermione. That…uh…that sounds like a good plan though…with the reagents and….," Draco responded distractedly as he sorted through his phone's buttons to get to what was apparently a text message from his mother.
"harry potter back. party for him tonight. please be there."
Draco looked up. "Potter's back?"
Hermione gave him a surprised look. "Oh, well yeah. He just got back yesterday. Didn't you know he was coming?"
"No, actually I didn't. My mom just texted me to tell me."
"Oh…sorry, I figured you just didn't care or something."
"I don't care," Draco stated defensively, "I just don't get why he's back and why mom is telling me about it."
"Well, if it's any comfort, he's not sure why he's back either."
"You've talked to him?" Draco shot her an almost betrayed look.
Hermione ignored his blatant attempt to guilt her, "Well of course I've talked to him. I haven't gotten to see him yet though." Draco narrowed his eyes at this and looked away. "Oh, come on, Draco. Just because he's in another country doesn't mean that he and I aren't going to stop being friends. He's practically my brother."
"You should adopt him then. Maybe then my father will stop holding out hope that Potter is actually his son." Whatever anger or hurt lay beneath his comment, Draco hid with a laugh and by pretending to be incredibly interested in reading his email. He scrolled absent-mindedly through his inbox, trying to feign disinterest in the whole situation. Eventually, he gave in. "So…uh…how is he?"
Hermione looked surprised. She didn't remember the last time she had heard Draco ever talk about Harry. She'd heard plenty about Draco from Harry. After all, she and Harry had been friends for almost twelve years. When he had started attending the same high school as Draco—a haughty private school affair—Hermione was the one who played audience to Harry's lengthy list of the sins committed by the reliably abominable Draco Malfoy.
But for all that she had heard of Draco from Harry, she had never heard about Harry from Draco. Certainly, a large piece of that was that Draco had known of her friendship with Harry. Plus, they were in their twenties now, grown up and way past old high school rivalries—she hoped. The truth was that while she could see all of the traits that Harry had described so many times before, Draco wasn't all that bad. She'd been nervous when she realized they were going to be working in the same lab because of everything Harry had told her. But over the period of two years, they had gone from awkward colleagues to friendly compatriots, and she had to admit that Draco had moments where he was…nice. She hadn't dared to confess that to Harry when they talked though. Once she had mentioned that she was working with Draco, but Harry had merely responded with a bland "Oh?" and then changed the topic of conversation.
"Um, he's doing well. It sounds like he had a good time in England. The Malfoy Corporation seems pretty happy with his work. Being Overseas Director apparently really suited him."
Draco didn't seem thrilled about Harry's lack of crushing despair, mumbling "…why didn't he just stay there then…," barely loud enough for Hermione to hear. He hadn't seen Potter since the summer after they graduated, after which it had taken Draco a long time to get himself to stop instinctively launching preemptive verbal attacks whenever he saw any black-haired man. But after years of not seeing Potter, he had been able to accept their situation for what it was.
But with things like this party, it became hard for Draco to pretend that he had eradicated all of his old resentment. Potter had been gone for what—two and a half years? Draco had been gone for four years, and all he'd come back to was a tense dinner with his parents. Granted, it had been a very expensive dinner, but what did that matter when you had only forced conversation and a quick "No, it's ok, father, I understand. You have work," to occupy the silence. The prospect of spending a whole evening at one of his mother's meticulously planned gatherings (and all in the name of Potter, no less) made Draco want to "accidentally" bang his head into a wall so that he could get a doctor's note excusing him from any sort of social interaction.
The prospect of spending a night with the sort of guests Draco had worked hard to avoid catalyzed him into action. "Hey, Hermione, do you want to go with me?" Hermione shot him a confused look. "To the party, I mean. They're having a party tonight at our place…it's for Potter."
"A party? With you? Am I your date?" Hermione laughed, the absurdity of being linked to Draco in any vaguely romantic or sexual way hitting her.
"Hey!," Draco replied indignantly, "I'll have you know that I am a great date."
"I'm sure you are," Hermione replied, her eyebrow arched in a mildly amused gesture, "I have heard very good things about your ability as a date. You come highly recommended from many a man and woman."
"It's true, you know. I have good reviews on Yelp." Draco wiggled his eyebrows in a mockingly suggestive manner, leaning back in his chair with a hint of the arrogance he was famous for. "You're an aspiring scientist, Hermione. You won't be satisfied until you investigate the matter thoroughly for yourself."
Hermione laughed loudly at that and swatted him on the head, "Yes, I'm sure you're quite worried about my satisfaction.
Draco rubbed his head where she had hit him and then tried to comb his hair back into place with his fingers. "Don't worry, Hermione. I would never jeopardize the fate of the entire scientific world by having sex with you and then having you break my heart, causing the world to lose one of it's greatest young minds in the world of whatever the fuck it is I am supposed to be working on right now—"
"You're supposed to be testing the effect of adding a different catalyst to the reaction."
"—yes, that. The point of all of this is that you won't be my date. Just someone who keeps me from bashing my head into a wall or getting incredibly wasted tonight."
"Draco, if you're going to make me your babysitter, you'll have to pay me."
"But you wouldn't want financial compensation as my date?"
"Well, Draco," Hermione stated in her best imitation of a teacher talking to a six year old, "that would be prostitution. And I don't have the time or mental capacity for that right now."
"Ok, fine. You can be my unpaid, sexless date," Draco responded with a mock resigned tone. "Just know that I may get wasted and make a fool of myself unless you intervene."
"I wouldn't be your friend if I thought you were capable of anything classier."
"Such flattery, Hermione…I'm going to start thinking you're hiding deeper feelings."
Hermione rolled her eyes at him. "Fine, I'll go. Exactly how and when am I getting there?"
"Hm, I'm not sure when it's at. I'll just text you later, and I can send a car to pick you up."
"A car? For me?," a minor note of surprise appeared in her voice, "I sure do feel special."
"I told you, Hermione," Draco replied with his arrogance in full swing, "I am an incredibly satisfying date." This time, he managed to dodge the swat to his head.
"Ugh, why did I have to wear a tie!" The red-headed man fidgeted endlessly with the knot as the lights of city flashed by outside the car window.
His companion looked over at him, shaking his head as he smiled to himself. "Stop it, Ron. It took you long enough just to put it on. I don't see how you've been alive for this long and yet you still take twenty minutes to put on a tie."
"Well, sorry, Mr. I've-tied-my-tie-to-go-work-for-a-multi-billion-dollar-company-since-I-was-in-high-school." Ron's defensive sarcasm elicited another shake of his friend's head. Looking down at the knot he was starting to unravel, Ron let go and sat on his hands in a juvenile attempt to stop touching his tie and then looked at his friend. "So, Harry, excited to be back?"
Harry wasn't really sure how to respond to that. He'd been staring out of the window of the car for most of the ride, recounting the various aspects of his life that had taken part in the city that passed him by. It had only been two and a half years, but he had missed this city. Still, he wasn't sure "excited" was how he would describe how he felt to be back. "Apprehensive" was probably a better word. Lucius hadn't told him why he wanted him back, just that he had an offer to make him and the he wanted to make it in person. But Lucius could have easily flown out to meet him, so why he wanted Harry back in the country made no sense. So yeah, "apprehensive" was probably the best word.
He'd already told Ron all of this, so when he looked over at him with and merely shrugged, Ron understood. "Well, at least they got you that awesome room in the hotel, and they're driving us out. So even if you're fired, you'll be able to go out in style."
"Thanks, Ron. That was very reassuring."
"That's what I'm here for. Besides, they're not going to fire you, and you know it. Oh, hey, at least that Dragon kid won't be there, right? Isn't he at school somewhere off in California or something?"
"You mean Draco, and actually, I have no idea if he's going to be at the party. I think he's in town though...one of my friends said something about working with him. But Lucius hasn't told me anything."
"Really? I mean, you've been working for his dad for like ten years. They've practically adopted you. I would've assumed he talked about his only son with you."
Harry polished his glasses as he tried to remember the last time he had heard about Malfoy. Nothing came to mind. "I don't think Lucius has said anything. I don't really know what goes on with Malfoy. He's probably holding auditions for his future trophy wife soon." Harry shrugged, not wanting to acknowledge that he might find any information about Malfoy remotely worth noting.
Ron moved on quickly to another topic: "So what if it turns out that they want to make you my new boss?"
"Ron, I was basically your boss for two years."
"Yeah, but wouldn't it be awesome if it happened again!" Before they could extrapolate on what would happen if Harry became Ron's boss (again), the car pulled up to the Malfoy mansion. Ron's jaw dropped. Harry wasn't sure if it was the massive gates or the beautiful gardens or the strolling white peacocks or the elegant fountains or the beautiful white marble palace that rose behind all of this, but he imagined any one of these could cause even the most beauty-immune individual to stare in wonder. He remembered the first time he had seen the mansion. He had been rendered speechless for about five minutes.
A guard opened the gates, allowing the car to slowly enter. There was a brief stand-off with a peacock that didn't want to move out of the way, but eventually they were able to make it to the front of the house. A butler (or at least Harry had always assumed that he was a butler) opened the door from them and led them into the house.
"Fucking hell!" If Ron's jaw could have physically dropped any lower, it would be dragging on the floor. A magnificent foyer lay before them. The floor was filled with intricate designs of green and silver cut into stunning white marble. Two giant winding staircases wound along the side, leading to two more floors. The railing was wrought in a design that matched the elegance of the incredible chandelier hanging above. Even Harry, who had walked through this foyer many times, found himself staring. There were several new paintings lining the walls, and some of the statues seemed unfamiliar. Standing in the foyer, Harry had always found himself reminded more of an art exhibit than a home.
"Harry!" A loud feminine voice rang out across the room. Harry looked over to see a beautiful blonde woman in a long black silk dress walking towards him, arms outstretched in preparation for a hug.
Harry met the hug. "Narcissa! How are you?"
"Oh, I'm just fine. We had a gala last week to raise money for cancer research, so I am just exhausted now. You know how it is…everyone wants to sit far enough from their closest enemy to not have to deal with them, but then they still want to be close enough to eavesdrop. Anyway, dear, I hope you had a pleasant flight here?"
"Of course. And thanks for sending a car to pick us up from the hotel to take us here. Have you met my friend, Ron?"
On cue, Ron snapped out of his reverie and stepped forward, introducing himself with a vigorous handshake. "Ron. Ron Weasley. It's nice to meet you."
"Ron and I met when I was working abroad," Harry explained, "but he transferred here a few months ago."
"Oh, yes. Ronald, right?"
"Yeah…I mean, yes!" Ron seemed a little taken aback, clearly not expecting the wife of the CEO of the company he worked for to have ever heard of him.
Narcissa proceeded calmly, "Well, we're very happy to have both of you here. Please, help yourself to some food and drinks. Lucius should be here soon"
Ron didn't need any more encouragement. Waiters were walking around with plates of small finger foods, but Ron managed to quickly fill up several plates. Harry helped himself to some champagne. Being back in this mansion made him feel on edge, but he couldn't really figure out why. Looking around, he recognized several executives from the company who came over to engage in some light catching up. Ron participated from time to time, but it was difficult for him to converse between the chomping and the chewing.
"Seriously, Harry, you should try some of these dumplings. They are fricking amazing." But before Harry could respond, a minor commotion rang out behind him. Turning to see what was going on, he saw an older man with long blonde hair tied with a black ribbon walking towards him.
"Hello, Harry. I'm glad you could join us." Lucius patted Harry shoulders. "And Ronald, it's nice to see you here. I'm really pleased to hear that you've been doing well over here." Ron hurriedly wiped his fingers and mouth on a napkin and then shook Lucius' hand. Lucius turned back to Harry. "Well, Harry, I hope you have a good time tonight. I wanted to talk to you later, tonight if possible. I have an offer to make, I think I told you that already. But it'd be better if we took care of this sooner if possible."
"Um, okay," Harry replied, shooting Ron a quick glance that conveyed all the anxiety this mysterious offer had been giving him.
Lucius must have seen the look because he laughed and patted Harry's shoulder again. "Oh, don't worry. It's nothing bad. We wouldn't throw you a party and then fire you." Harry laughed weakly. "No, no, Harry. Some of us just figured out a good plan to help all of us, you know, get you to live up to all of that potential we know you have." With that, Lucius grabbed a champagne flute from a waiter's tray and nodded to Harry and Ron before wandering off to talk to one of the board members.
"Well, at least we know you're not fired," Ron said in an attempt to be helpful.
Harry grabbed a dumpling from Ron's plate and chewed on it, still not entirely relieved. He couldn't think of any possible scenario where Lucius would need to talk to him at the Malfoy mansion as soon as possible, but then go off and participate in some merry chatter and drinking. Leaning against a wall, he took a sizable sip of his champagne and then, after contemplating the rest of his glass, tipped the remaining contents into his mouth in one gigantic gulp. Ron shot him a sympathetic glance. Harry scanned the crowd. Women in magnificent gowns and men in expensive suits filled the room, chatting pleasantly about the best private preschools, the ideal vacation houses on each continent, and the latest trends in decorative bee-keeping. Caught up in his trance, he'd almost managed to completely ignore him.
Guests had been entering throughout the night, and for the most part, Harry hadn't paid much attention. Occasionally, he would glance at the door if he saw it open out of the corner of his eye. But of course, Draco fucking Malfoy couldn't just walk through a door like a normal person. No, Draco fucking Malfoy had to just barely cross the threshold, contemplate the crowd while running his hands through his hair, and then cock his eyebrow and smile as if everyone in the room had been carefully arranged for his benefit.
And of course, only Draco fucking Malfoy would glance at the guest of the honor and then move on, unable to muster the interest to actually acknowledge Harry's presence.
"So that's him, huh." Harry had completely forgotten that Ron was next to him, and the sound of his voice startled him.
"Huh? Oh…yeah. That's Malfoy."
"Well, he's clearly a Malfoy. But he's actually the Malfoy. Draco Malfoy?" Harry grabbed another drink from a passing waiter and swiftly consumed half of it. This was an unexpected and unpleasant revelation. Malfoy wasn't supposed to be here. Malfoy was supposed to be off somewhere else being the arrogant asshole that he was born to be. "I'm going to guess by your glare and alcohol consumption that yes, that is Draco Malfoy. But if that's Draco, who is the woman with him?"
"Huh?" Harry had been so busy pondering the various ways he could avoid Malfoy's presence for the rest of the night that he had completely failed to notice—
"—Hermione!" The doom and gloom of Malfoy's presence dissipated as Harry walked past guests and waiters to greet his old friend.
Hermione turned to him and smiled, extending her arms to envelope him in a warm hug. "Harry! I'm so glad to see you!"
"I'm glad you're here! I had no idea you were going to be here."
"Well, I didn't either, but—"
"I invited her," Draco cut in. If the sight of him had unsettled Harry, the sound of Malfoy's voice completely unnerved him. He had caught glimpses of Malfoy after all, snippets of his love life appearing on the covers of tabloids whenever he decided to date another actor or actress or supermodel or world-renowned athlete. But those were images, and Harry could just stop looking at those. Even across a crowded room, Harry could try to convince himself (albeit unsuccessfully) that the Malfoy he saw was just a projection of a guy he had once gone to school with, a guy whose existence had never meant anything to Harry.
But when he heard Malfoy's voice, the image gained life and taunted him, reminding Harry of every bit of Malfoy's life that he resented and wanted.
Harry tried to ignore his internal response to Malfoy's mere presence, replying with a simple, "Oh, thanks," in what he hoped was the calm voice that comes with maturity and the ability to move past schoolboy quarrels. Hermione was glancing nervously between the two, trying to decipher what they were each thinking.
Fortunately, Ron chose just that moment to engage in his typical lack of social grace. He had been making his way over, but a tray of cream puffs had delayed him. There was still a small bit of cream on the side of his mouth by the time he reached Harry, Hermione, and Draco. Harry quickly took advantage of the situation to try and calm his own nerves. "Hermione, this is Ron. We were working together, and he was actually transferred here a few months ago. Oh, and Ron, this is Hermione. She's been my best friend since…forever, I guess." Harry paused for a second. "And this," Harry offered a curt nod in Draco's direction, "is Draco." He briefly met Draco's eyes, trying desperately to ignore the feeling that a vortex of some sort had opened up in his stomach.
Ron smiled and stuck out his hand, first to Draco and then to Hermione, "Nice to meet you guys."
Hermione shook his hand with a cool look on her face, "You have cream, you know, on the side of your mouth." Ron scraped the side of his mouth with his finger and licked the cream off. Hermione's nose crinkled a little in a look that Harry recalled from the many times he had managed to do something she disapproved of.
After Malfoy left in pursuit of wine, Harry turned to Hermione. "So when Malfoy says he 'invited' you, does that mean…."
"That I'm here as his date? Sure. But not like his date date, not like we're dating. I told you, Draco and I are working in the same lab." Harry let out a small sigh of relief. Hermione heard it and rolled her eyes. "You know, he's not that bad. You should get to know him. Maybe you'll hate him less."
Ron raised his eyebrows in skepticism. "Really? He seems just as bad as you made him sound, Harry."
"You're basing your entire opinion of Draco on Harry's stories from high school and a three second interaction with him?" Hermione crossed her arms, crinkling her nose again.
Ron's tone became defensive. "Oh, come on. I don't need to have known him for much longer. He looks like a dipshit." Hermione huffed loudly, setting off a mild debate about the merits of judging someone based solely on the way they look. As far as first impressions between his two friends could go, this was only slightly better than what Harry had been afraid of.
The two bickered for several minutes, Harry's presence apparently fading from their awareness. Still, even as their bickering segued into an actual conversation, Harry found it difficult to join in. Malfoy's presence in the room kept him on edge. Watching him navigate through the room, Harry couldn't help but note with envy the way Malfoy managed to seamlessly meld into a crowd of glamorous men and women, yet still stand out. It was like he could be anywhere in the world and belong there, and yet he would always be his own world unto himself.
The night wore on. The three made their way around the room, meeting people and chatting. At some point, the sound of silverware clanking against an empty glass managed to sound its way across the room, alerting everyone to Lucius' presence in the center of the room. When everyone had become sufficiently quiet, Lucius grabbed a new glass from a tray.
"Well, everyone, I'll keep this short. I hope you've all been enjoying yourself, but as you all know, we're here tonight because our golden boy, Mr. Harry Potter, is back in town." Lucius nodded towards Harry and smiled. Harry felt his face flushing. Ron elbowed him lightly in the ribs, earning another disapproving look from Hermione. "Of course, it was our fault that he was gone in the first place. But as our profits have shown, he has done an excellent job when put to his own devices."
Out of the corner of his eye, Harry could see Malfoy leaning against a wall, sipping from his glass with a disinterested look, as if the proceedings were just a useless blip on the timeline of his line. Of course, Harry had to admit, that probably was what this whole party was to Malfoy—a complete waste of his time. Lucius continued, "So we are very happy that he's back, and we have a really exciting offer for him that we hope he'll take so that we can keep him here. So let's all raise a glass to our one and only, Harry Potter!" At that, everyone cheered and raised their glass. All around the room, simultaneous sips were taken. But Malfoy had put his glass down, the disinterested sips giving way to a defiant resolution to not partake in any drinking held in Harry's honor. Harry noticed, and the fact that Malfoy's actions bother him angered him even more than the actions themselves.
He still carried some of the resentment an hour later, even with all the food and wine and happy chatter, as he sat in Lucius Malfoy's home office. Lucius sat in a silver throne-like chair, the arms and back carved with intricate designs. A black cane topped with an elegant snake with emerald eyes leaned against a large black desk that had designs that matched the chair. Narcissa stood behind Lucius, her hand resting on the back of the chair. Harry wasn't entirely sure what she was doing there. He had never seen her in any boardroom, and as far as he knew, she wasn't involved with the business in any way. The combination of Lucius' foreboding decor and his own anger with Malfoy heightened a returning sense of anxiety.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Harry," Lucius said, "We're just waiting for someone."
"Oh…um, it's no problem." Harry could feel his legs start shaking in anticipation. He quickly tried to quell the shaking by pressing his knees down. He smiled meekly at Lucius and Narcissa, and then let his eyes drift to the shelves that surrounded them. Lucius had a stunning collection of books in his office, ranging from rare editions to signed copies. Trying to keep his mind from creating bizarre hypotheticals of whatever this "exciting offer" was, Harry read through each of the titles and recited them in his head. He had just made it to Moby Dick when the sound of a door opening made him jump in his seat. He turned around, only to see the one person he had no desire to see at all.
"Draco, how nice of you to join us."
Draco looked coolly at his father, "You're welcome."
"Of course," Narcissa said, "we did ask you to be here about twelve minutes ago."
Draco just leaned against a bookshelf and crossed his arms. "Apologies. If I knew I was holding up Mr. Potter, I would have been sure to rush right over."
Lucius gave no indication of having heard Draco's acerbic response. "Well, now that we have all relevant parties here, I think we can begin." Harry went turned his head from Draco back to Lucius, confusion filling his head. How was Malfoy a relevant party to any of this? If Lucius could see Harry's confusion in his face, he ignored it as readily as he had ignored his son's sarcasm. "Sorry, Harry, I know it must have been pretty unnerving to bring you all the way back here for some mysterious offer. We've been keeping you hanging, and I hope you can forgive us."
Harry shifted in his seat. "Um, sure. Okay."
Lucius continued, "As you probably know, the Malfoy Corporation has always been run by a Malfoy or a relation. It's part of our corporation's rules. We've passed this company down from generation to generation, and that is what we will continue to do." Harry nodded, but he was still confused about what this had to do with him and why Draco had to be in the room to hear this. "You probably do not know that Draco," Lucius paused a moment, "will not be succeeding me as CEO of this company." This surprised Harry. He had never dwelled too long on Draco's position in the company, but Harry had always assumed that he was going to have to call Draco his boss one day.
"Can I ask who is going to be succeeding you then?" Harry tried to run through his mental list of people who could inherit the company. There were a few cousins of Draco's and probably some other distant relations, but none of them stuck out to him as potential CEO material.
"I'm glad you asked, Harry. Obviously, the fact that Draco will not be succeeding me poses some issues for the corporation. We want only what is best for everyone. But of our relations, there is no one who we feel is really up to the challenge. Narcissa and I have been talking for a while now with our stockholders, and we all strongly agree that there is only one person who we would like to take over the company. You."
All of Harry's previous surprise paled in comparison to what he just heard. Overwhelmed, he managed to stammer out a "Um, thank you, sir. That's really…nice…of you." He could hear Malfoy stifling his snickers behind him, clearly impressed by Harry's incredible eloquence. Harry tried to ignore it, moving on to the obvious question forming in the back of his head. "But…."
"…you're not a Malfoy?" Narcissa replied this time, smiling. "Well, there is a way for us to get around that. But first, we should ask you a question. Are you currently seeing anyone?"
"Huh? No." He heard rustling behind him. Malfoy was probably laughing to himself about Harry's currently single state.
"Are you planning to get married to anyone at any point in time?"
"Um…I hadn't really thought about it…."
Harry had no idea what this line of questioning was leading to, but before he could ask what was going on, Malfoy's uneasy voice behind him suddenly startled him. "Mom, what….what are you guys planning…?"
Lucius continued on as if Draco hadn't said anything. "I'm sure you're wondering why we're asking all these questions. What we're trying to get at is that the only way that we can make you my successor is to make you a Malfoy."
Before Harry could ask more questions, Malfoy's voice sounded out again. "Oh, no. No. No no." Harry turned and realized that Malfoy had stopped leaning against the wall. He was stalking towards Lucius' desk until he was standing next to Harry, leaning forward so that his hands were on the desk. The shirtsleeves of his perfectly tailored shirt were rolled up. Harry looked over, his eyes trailing down Draco's arms. He could make out the tattoo of a snake on Malfoy's forearm. He hadn't had the tattoo in high school, and Harry found himself noting how it curved along Malfoy's smooth skin and moved with the tensing of his muscle. And then suddenly, the realization that he was staring at Malfoy's arms hit him. Harry felt his face turning hot as he quickly looked away. Malfoy didn't seem to have noticed, looking intently from his mother and father in the hopes that he could stare them down into not doing whatever it was he thought they were doing.
Harry still couldn't figure out what was going on, and knowing that Malfoy seemed to know more than he did was frustrating. "I don't understand, Lucius. I still don't get what you're trying to say."
But Harry's voice was drowned out by Malfoy's increasing volume. "Come on, mom. You can't possibly think that this is a good idea."
"I still don't understand…."
"Are you fucking dense, Potter!" Malfoy seemed to have forgotten that Harry was right next to him, and he practically shouted in Harry's ear as he turned to glare at him. Harry stopped breathing, afraid that if he moved at all, the small gap between his body and Malfoy's would be completely closed.
"Draco!" Narcissa's voice was stern and yet soft. It was enough to get Draco to stop talking and stop leaning on the desk. He stood up and crossed his arms again, his jaw clenched tightly. Harry started breathing again.
Lucius took over for Narcissa. "Harry, what we are proposing is this. What we want, and what we hope you want, is for you to eventually succeed me as CEO to this company. But we need one thing from you to be able to do this."
"What do you need?"
"We need you to marry Draco."
Ok, that chapter was significantly longer than I expected it to be. I can't promise (or threaten) that all chapters will be this long. Again, please review. I would definitely appreciate non-flamey feedback.