A/N: Once again (I feel like I say this every time, which I probably do, but whatever) I'm really sorry that it took me so long to write this chapter, but I had a small life crisis to solve and a grandpa that I had to take care of for a little while, along with a huge exam that I couldn't understand and the shock of being back in school again.
However, here it is, finally! Chapter 10. There are a few sex scenes in here. Beware!
This is for everyone who has reviewed, and recommended this story to other people. I wish I could thank you all in person, but that would be impossible. This chapter is, however, a little extra dedicated to gayperspectiveondrarry on tumblr, who is someone I have quickly come to admire. You should check out his tumblr!
Thank you all so much for reading and leaving reviews. It means the world to me!
Some of you have also asked me about the number of chapters left, and I can't say for sure, but probably one, perhaps even two, and then an epilogue. So we're close to the end, now!
Also, I know that the prior incantato-spell doesn't work exactly like this in the books, when Amos Diggory uses it on Harry's wand, but there really wasn't a way for me to come up with a shadow of the spell (like it happened with the Dark Mark), without giving too much away, so I hope you guys are okay with the way I chose to portray it.
So, to keep this short (it's already too late for that, isn't it?), I'll just stop here. Enjoy the chapter!
Draco sighed to himself as he looked out the kitchen window for the seventh time in a minute. Harry was still nowhere to be seen. Apparently, practice was drawing out longer than usual. Typical, since Draco, for once not pleased with having some time to himself, was desperate for Harry to get home.
Burke's wand was lying on the kitchen table, still half-wrapped in Draco's scarf. He had not wanted to touch it with his bare hands, as he had taken Burke's real wand with him from the Czarniawskas' house and left the replica behind. Granger's spell had become useful once more – something that Draco was never going to admit to anyone but himself. However, leaving the replica behind left him with another issue; he had to bring Burke's real wand back before the replica dissolved. Taking the replica back with him might have been useless, because he had a hard time believing that the spell would manage to copy both appearance and the magical core of the wand.
Now he was standing there, waiting for Harry to come home from practice. He was not sure how the other man would react to Draco finding something as vital as Burke's wand at their friends' house. It was not a simple robe, or some other personal belonging, but the very item that provided a wizard with the ability to express his magical power. It was not something one would willingly hand over to someone else. Finding something like this in Kat's house worried him more than he wanted to confess. She was, after all, one of the few people around here that he would have never thought to be the one to commit a crime.
His heart leapt in his chest suddenly, seemingly even before his brain registered the sound of the front door opening and banging close. There was only one person that closed the door like that. As Draco turned towards the sound, Harry emerged in the kitchen doorway. Draco could not keep himself from acknowledging the fact that it was the very same doorway where they had had sex just the other day. Merlin, he needed to do that again. Soon.
"Hi," Harry said, and a tired smile ghosted over his lips for a moment, before he slumped against the doorjamb.
"You're late," Draco pointed out, instead of all the ridiculous things he wanted to say, and do, to make Harry look less tired than he was now. It irritated him that he was starting to feel guilty, knowing that there would be long before the other man could go to bed, because of the wand.
"Sorry," Harry grimaced, rubbing a hand over his face. "We're up against the Moose Jaw Meteorites in a few weeks, and Harrigan thinks it'll be ugly. He's pushing us harder than I thought was even possible." Then he paused, noticing the wand on the kitchen table. His eyes flickered between Draco's face and the object a few times, as though he was making sure that he was not hallucinating. "What's that?"
"Burke's wand." Draco could not help but smirk at the surprise that so clearly took over Harry's features for a moment. His husband had never been one with a poker face. "I found it at Kat's."
"What?" Harry frowned, and the tired look on his face switched to something else. A look Draco knew so very well from their school years.
"Do you want to sit down?" Draco gestured to the chairs at the table, before turning towards the kitchen cabinets to prepare tea. "Tea?"
"Er," Harry mumbled, as he sat down at the table, with some effort it seemed. Draco suspected that his muscles were sore after so many hours of practice. The other man looked at the wand for a moment, as though he could not quite believe his eyes, before snapping his gaze back to Draco's. "Yes, tea, please."
A few moments later, Draco sat down opposite of him and pushed a teacup over the table. "When Kat showed me around their house, it was clear to me that there was something about Peter's study. She was reluctant to show it to me, but it looked as though it wasn't used very often. I've been waiting for an opportunity to look through it ever since, and tonight I managed to go through Peter's desk. I found the wand in a locked drawer in the desk, and I can't come up with a good excuse for Kat and Peter to have a dead man's wand hidden away in their house. Can you?"
Harry was staring at the wand again, as though he expected it to come with answers. He looked bothered, Draco thought. "No, I can't." He sighed, rubbing his hands over his face again. "But I can't imagine Peter and Kat-" He broke off, shaking his head.
"Well, this doesn't exactly speak in their favour, though," Draco pointed out, and Harry glared at him.
"You don't think I know that? You don't think I know that way too often the bad guy is the one you've trusted all along?" he snapped, causing Draco to raise his eyebrows.
"There's no need to get angry." He knew that Harry considered Peter to be one of his closest friends here. Perhaps because he, much like Kat, came off as a nice mixture between all the other extreme personalities around them.
"I'm not angry," Harry sighed, shoulders slumping. "I'm just tired and…and I could've imagined anyone but Peter or Kat doing something like this. Anyone."
"I know," Draco said, and resisted the urge to walk around the table to bury his face in the other man's hair. "There could be an explanation. It doesn't seem likely, but there could be."
"Yeah." Harry rolled his eyes. "It's about as believable as Snape secretly having me as his favourite student of all time."
Draco was not able to suppress a smile, and Harry's mouth tugged upwards in response. "I think you should look into it anyway, without making it clear that we know that Peter has Burke's wand. Well, had."
"And how am I supposed to do that?" Harry muttered, gulping down half of the contents of his teacup quickly. Draco had long since realised that the other man was not one to savour his tea with a good book or that day's newspaper.
"You're the chosen one. You'll figure something out," he smirked in response.
"I wish you'd just stop calling me that," Harry glared and emptied his cup. "So what do we do with it now? What happens when they find out that the wand is gone?"
"They won't, unless we can't get this one back in the desk drawer within the week. I used Granger's replica charm. I think we should use prior incantato. There might be a something useful in finding out what spell was cast with it last."
"Right, I know that spell. Cedric Diggory's dad used it on my wand during the Quidditch World Cup. He thought I was the one casting the Dark Mark." Harry shrugged with a bitter smile. "He was half-right, at least."
"What do you mean?" Sometimes Draco found the other man to be a box full of secrets and anecdotes that he would have never guessed were in there, locked away safely and hardly spoken about. Harry rarely brought up his past – their past – and Draco never pushed. It was not his favourite subject of conversation, either.
Harry blinked, as though he had been zoning out for a moment, perhaps lost in thought, looking down into his empty teacup. "Barty Crouch Jr. used my wand to cast the Mark," he said casually, as though it was as interesting as Longbottom and his plants.
Draco knew about Crouch Jr. quite well. His success with getting into Hogwarts had been wildly discussed in his home, when the Dark Lord had come back and started using it as his headquarters. However, he had never known that the lunatic had used Harry's wand to cast a signature curse for Death Eaters.
"Do you want to cast the spell, or should I?" Harry asked suddenly, interrupting Draco's thoughts.
"I'll do it." He stood up and concentrated hard on the wand, as he mumbled the incantation under his breath. For a moment, he thought that it had not worked, but then a whisper of smoke seeped through the tip of Burke's wand, leaving two words hanging in the air between them: altus volo.
There was a moment of silence between them, before Harry frowned and cleared his throat. "I've never heard of that spell."
"Neither have I," Draco sighed. It was an anti-climax. It was a spell Draco did not know of, and the echo of it in the wand did not give any leads either. "It's not possible for us to ask around about the spell either, without coming off as suspicious, and it's very possible that there are spells in America that we don't know about in England."
"I could ask Hermione," Harry offered, but his voice was careful, as though he was afraid of Draco's reaction to this.
He was not thrilled to ask Granger for help, but, except for Draco himself, she was the most competent person he knew of when it came to research, and as long as he did not have to ask her himself, he could live with it. "If you think she would be willing to help."
"Probably. She's helped us a lot already, so I'm sure she doesn't mind." Harry shrugged, hiding his surprise to Draco's reaction quite badly. Or perhaps could read the other man's expressions better than he used to.
"She hasn't helped that much," Draco snorted, feeling as though he had been too generous when it came to Granger.
Harry only rolled his eyes at this, perhaps knowing where their conversation would go if he replied to this. "I'll try to get something from Peter at practice, about the wand. I don't know how, but I'll figure it out. Until then, we should put that wand in your desk." Then he yawned and rubbed his eyes, as Draco failed to keep his insides from melting at the sight. "Can we just go to bed now?"
"Lazy," Draco sighed, despite the fact that going to bed seemed like a fantastic idea.
It did not take long for them to drift off. He suspected that Harry might already be asleep, as he came shuffling over on Draco's side of the bed, curling himself around him. A part of him suspected that the warmth that spread rapidly through his body, causing him to feel completely boneless, was not all due to Harry's high body temperature.
The next morning, Draco was watching with delight as Harry limped through their house on stiff legs, trying to get ready for practice. His husband was certainly not out of shape, especially not since he had spent many hours practicing professional Quidditch the past few months. Evidently, Harrigan had to be driving them really hard to make him that sore.
"Some practice you're going to have, half crippled like that," Draco mused, and could not help but feel very pleased with himself, when Harry glared at him.
"I'm not exactly looking forward to it, but I feel like it's a better option, being crippled because of sore muscles, than because I took a bludger to the head."
"Probably wise," Draco agreed. He was decided not to think about the possibility that Harry actually might take a bludger to the head during their game against the Moose Jaw Meteorites. There had been enough foul play during their last game against the Canadian team.
Poppy was upstairs – changing sheets and collecting their dirty laundry, something Harry still seemed to find incredibly awkward and embarrassing, even though the elf had been doing so since they came here – when there was a knock on the front door. Considering the other man's state, Draco had a feeling that Poppy would be able to finish the laundry and clean the house before Harry made it to the front door, and sighed as he got up from the sofa.
Leo was standing outside, looking tired in a whole other way than Harry, causing Draco to wonder if he had been sleeping at all the past month.
"You working today?" Leo asked the same moment he saw Draco standing in the doorway.
"No, not today," Draco answered cautiously. He was certain that Shastin had not said too many nice things about him lately, especially not to her husband. How the members of Harry's team had reacted to the incident with Drew a short while ago, Draco did not know, but neither of them had tried to curse him when he walked past.
"Could you keep Shastin company? I think she needs a friend." By the sound of Leo's voice, it seemed as though he had been trying to be that friend, without success.
"I'm not sure that she considers me a friend anymore," Draco answered, and looked over his shoulder when he heard Harry limping his way downstairs.
"Please?" Leo sighed, and the dark circles under his eyes, along with the hopeless look on his face, made Draco crumble. He silently wondered when he had grown so soft. It did not suit him.
"Fine," he sighed. If he went there and got hit by a curse, at least he could blame it on someone else. It also worried him, a bit more than he would like to admit, that there seemed to be something wrong with Shastin. The first time he had seen her express anything but extreme obsession over other people's sex lives, and overall happy personality, was when she had first seen him with Drew.
In all honesty, he had been avoiding everyone except for Kat. He did not like admitting it to himself, but he was slightly worried about their reactions to what he had done – perhaps something he should have thought about before he decided to leave with Drew – but it was too late to change that now. Coming here, a few months ago, he had never thought that he would grow to care about what their neighbours thought of him. Yet, here he was, actually caring.
He watched Harry and Leo disappear in the other direction, wishing that he could find an excuse to accompany them, before walking down the road that lead to Shastin's house. He half-expected another set of curses to rain over him as soon as he set a foot in the garden, but the house was unusually quiet.
His knock on the door echoed in the silence for long moments, and he started to think that she was going to refuse answering the door, but then it finally swung open before him. And there she was – for once without make up, her hair in a messy braid over her shoulder, and her face was red and swollen, as though she had been crying for a long time. She did not say anything but looked at him with nearly the same animosity as she had last time he had been here.
"Can I come in?" Draco asked finally, realising that she was not going to invite him in.
"No," Shastin answered, but stepped aside all the same.
"Leo asked me to come see you," he said, carefully walking past her and hoping that she would not stab him in the back.
"I figured as much," she muttered, and closed the door with a loud bang, before disappearing into the kitchen without a word. He followed her and was pleasantly surprised when she took two teacups from a kitchen cabinet and filled them with steaming, fantastic-smelling, tea, before levitating them to the table. Draco could not remember ever seeing her drink tea before.
She was uncharacteristically quiet, and her gestures were, for once, not overly dramatic. It was as though someone had taken a sip of polyjuice potion without a clue of how to impersonate her.
"I didn't cheat on him," Draco said, when twenty minutes had passed and not a word had been exchanged between them.
She snorted in disbelief but did not take her gaze from the window. For a moment, he wondered if she had picked that up from him.
"I was going to," he continued, surprised by the sudden urge to be as honest as he could be with her. "I was so angry with him, and I know it's not an excuse, but I was so fed up with him and his way of never being able to say the right thing. Ever. But I couldn't. I really wanted to. I was going to. But I couldn't."
She still did not say anything, but at least she was looking at him now, slowly sipping her tea.
"We haven't had the best marriage lately." He swallowed, silently wondering if he was giving too much away, but she was the closest thing to a friend he had. Not just here, in America, but at all. "I've been spoiled with having him around all the time, when he was injured, and it's been a shock for me to see him so rarely anymore. He's exhausted when he comes home, and that doesn't exactly improve our relationship." It was not the truth, since Draco had never lived a life with Harry before coming here, but as he continued, his words grew more honest: "Harry can't express himself to save his life, and it irritates me to no limit. We can't communicate, and we always seem to take everything the other says as an insult. I guess it has to do with our past, and I was so fed up with him, with his way of never being able to tell me what I needed to hear, and how he always is a thousand times more consumed by his Quidditch than by me. So, when someone came along, that seemed to appreciate me, and my presence alone, it was too easy to go with it. But when it all came down to it, I couldn't do it." He shrugged, half-wishing that he had shut his mouth long ago, half-relieved that he had finally been able to tell someone something.
"You're such a fucking idiot," Shastin said sharply, and, for a moment, her usual self was visible behind her miserable exterior. "Harry truly is as eloquent as a rock, I'll admit that, but how is it that everyone else is able to see how much he loves you, just from the way he looks at you, and you don't? It's stupid. You're stupid. He fucking worships the ground you walk on, and I'd bet every pair of my favourite shoes on that he would do anything to make you happy. Have you told him that he needs to say what you need to hear, once in a while? Do you give him everything he needs?"
Draco blinked at her. "Of course not," he said finally, his voice coming out a little sharper than he had intended. "We're married. He should know this by now."
"Apparently he doesn't," she muttered, as though she found Draco painfully dumb. "But if you'd rather walk around, constantly wanting to cheat on him, because 'he should know this by now', instead of just telling him – be my guest."
"Our communication isn't the best," he snapped. He was not liking the way she made him feel like a fool.
"I hadn't noticed," she retorted, rolling her eyes. "Perhaps you should wake up and realise what a great husband you have, and see the qualities that he has, instead of the ones you wish he had, before someone else does and acts on it."
Draco tried to shake off the queasy feeling that suddenly washed over him. "Fine."
They were silent for a long time. He did not even thank her when she refilled his teacup, because it felt humiliating to have been lectured by Shastin of all people.
"Do you want kids?" she asked suddenly, her voice strangely hollow.
"As far as I know, there is no way for two men to have children," he answered, frowning over the unexpected question.
"You can always adopt," she said with a shrug, and her gaze was somewhere far away.
"We haven't really discussed it."
"I do." She swallowed and traced the rim of the cup with her fingertip. "Want kids, I mean. But I can't."
Lately, being a loss for words seemed to happen to him more often than he liked, and once again he had no clue what to say, but she did not seem to wait for an input.
"We've been trying for a couple of years now. I've had five miscarriages. Yesterday I had my sixth." She did not look as though she was about to cry, but her face was expressionless, as though she had disconnected herself from her emotions completely. "I never manage to keep the baby more than a couple of weeks. I don't understand. I want a baby more than anything, but my body won't let me."
"I'm sorry," he said quietly, now fully understanding Leo's tired look and why he had asked Draco to pay her a visit.
"Maybe it would've been easier if I didn't know it's just my fault." A grim look swept over her face, when Draco frowned at her. He was just about to say that Leo could just as well be the reason, when she continued: "Four years ago, Leo cheated on me. Once. With a Muggle. She got pregnant, and that's when I found out about it: because he wanted to be a good father for his child. When he explained to her about him being a wizard, it turned out that she was very religious and didn't want him in the baby's life, or hers for that matter, and she said that she even thought about not keeping the baby. She kept it, though, because of her religion. How sleeping with someone she doesn't know works with her religion, I don't know, but it doesn't matter now anyway. Now he has a kid somewhere, by accident, with a woman who didn't even want it when she found out who Leo really was, and I can't seem to keep a baby no matter how hard I try."
Draco swallowed, his throat feeling dry, and it was so clear to him now, why his thing with Drew had been so important to her, and why she had been so upset. He was not an overly emotional person, and it was impossible for him to fully understand what it must be like for her, but this was not something he would wish on anyone.
"I've forgiven him, you know, and I know for sure that he wouldn't do anything like that to me again, but I feel like I can never really let go, because I can't have a baby of my own and, every time I fail at keeping it, I start blaming him all over again, and I'm so angry with him, because he can never understand what it's like. Because he already has a child somewhere, and I don't."
"Have you visited a specialised healer?" Draco asked carefully. She had started crying again, and he did not hesitate before he reached across the table to grasp her hand. For a moment, he was worried that she would pull hers back, but instead she squeezed back hard.
"Yes," she nodded and tried to wipe the tears off her cheeks in vain. "They say that they can't find anything wrong with me. Which means that there's nothing they can do."
"It also means," Draco began, and took both of her hands in both of his, "that there are still possibilities – hope." Any other day, he would have felt ridiculous sitting like this, holding her hands as some sort of mind-healer during counselling sessions. His mother had preferred this kind of physical contact and cliché choices of words when she was upset, and it seemed to be successful with Shastin as well.
"Have you been hanging out with Zefira? Because you sound just like her," Shastin muttered, and failed when she tried to snort at him. "I've given up on hope long ago."
"That's the thing. You never give up on hope." Draco smiled bitterly to himself, reminding frighteningly clear how everything had seemed perfectly hopeless during the war. Still, he had not been able to keep himself from secretly hoping that there would be a way for the other side, for Harry, to turn everything around.
"I don't care how nice and philosophical you pretend to be – Harry is still too good for you." She glared at him, but she seemed to be a little like her usual self again.
"And you're still too good for Leo," Draco pointed out, and tried his best to tell himself that she was not right.
"I know," she nodded, much to his surprise. "But sometimes, people get more than what they've earned. Maybe you should start consider yourself lucky to have Harry, and stop thinking that he should be happy to have you. You're not that good of a catch, really."
"I know I made a mistake," he muttered, feeling irritation crawl under his skin. "But that was between me and Harry, and I see no reason for you to be like this."
"Shut up, it's my right. I'm your best friend. This is tough love, you know. It's my speciality." Suddenly there was a ghost of a smile on her face, and his irritation subsided in a heartbeat.
"I don't know why I put up with you," he sighed, rolling his eyes.
"It's because I'm really beautiful." She flicked her braid over her shoulder, as though pretending to be walking down the red carpet, posing for photographers.
"I'm gay." He scowled at her, but she only glared back.
"Not blind, though."
Draco fought hard but was not completely able to hide a smile. She gave him a small one in return, which felt like a promise. Perhaps she was lightening up a little. Perhaps she really thought of herself as his best friend still. The weirdest thing was that he thought of her the same way, but he had not realised it until now.
"Does everyone hate me now?" he asked, after a moment. Not that it mattered much to him personally, but it would definitely make his work more difficult.
"Barely anyone knows what an idiot you are. I didn't even tell Leo, and Zefira hasn't told Jordan either. I think, except for us, Kat's the only one who knows, and she loves you way too much to hate you." Shastin shrugged and tapped her nails against the tea cup.
"Why didn't you tell them?" Perhaps it said more about him than them – that he had expected them to tell the whole world about his idiocy.
"It's really none of their business, right? And I thought you should explain your behaviour against Harry to them all on your own. Plus, I promised Harry I wouldn't tell anyone when he came here looking for you." She shrugged again and waved her wand to accio the teapot to refill their cups. Once it was back on the stove, she looked straight at him and hesitated a moment, before speaking up: "Thanks for coming over, though. I appreciate it."
Harry was lying flat on his stomach in Draco's study and staring into the living room of Hermione and Ron's house. At that moment, he wondered if there really was not a more comfortable way of doing this, because his muscles ached more than ever and he had had difficulty even lying down on the floor. He did not want to think about what it would be like trying to get up from there.
An unexpected rush of affection rushed through him, when he heard Ron's voice, and he blinked back to reality, grinning widely when their eyes connected.
"I haven't talked to you in forever. How's things?" Ron sat down on the edge of the coffee table, ginning as well.
"Good. I'm sore from practice, but it'll be all right. You?" For a moment, Ron looked so different, but, as soon as he started talking about work and people that annoyed him, he was instantly back to the person Harry knew him as.
"By the way," Ron said unexpectedly, and a there was suddenly a strange glint in his eyes that made Harry a bit uncomfortable. "How's things going with Malfoy?"
"Er, things?" Harry managed, barely able to keep the blush of off his face. Hermione had not told Ron, had she? She could not have. Right? Harry knew Ron was his best friend, for life, and that that was something that would never change. However, there were things in life that he just knew Hermione would handle better than Ron ever would.
"Yeah, you know, are you killing each other?"
"No, we're good. Better than I thought, actually," Harry answered, still not completely sure how to interpret the look on the other man's face.
"It's not really that much of a surprise, is it?" Ron said airily.
"It's not?" Harry asked. To him, it was more than just a surprise. He had been sure that either he or Draco would have been dead by now, or at least severely injured. Whatever was between them now had come unexpected, and he was not completely sure if it was a welcome change or not, just yet. It complicated things even further.
"No," Ron scoffed and grinned. "You used to be worse than Hermione and I were back in school, and look where that got us. No wonder you two are getting cosy now."
"We're not getting cosy," Harry protested loudly, feeling his face grow hot.
"Sure you aren't," Ron sniggered, and looked very much like his twin brothers used to do when they had a prank coming. Then he grew serious in a heartbeat. "Hermione didn't tell me, if that's what you thought. I figured it out myself. You're my best mate, right? I notice things. We haven't talked much, but honestly, no one's that dense."
"Er," Harry mumbled. He was not sure what to say. This was not at all what he had expected with his call. He had not been prepared to deal with Ron finding out about him and Draco, and he was tired that his friends seemed to think that there was something between them that Harry was not sure of himself. Sure, he had told Draco that he did not want him to sleep with anyone else, and it had seemed like Draco had agreed, but what exactly that meant, Harry was not sure.
"It doesn't bother me," Ron said quietly, and Harry wondered for a moment if he was hurt because Harry had not told him first. "I'm not a fan of Malfoy, and I'll probably never be, but honestly mate, you deserve a bit of happiness, you know?"
"I think that you think that there is a bit more than there actually is," Harry managed finally, not sure whether to feel touched by the fact that Ron was okay with it, or uneasy because they were talking about him and Draco.
Ron shrugged, like this did not matter to him. "Then make it into something a bit more."
"Yeah, because that's very easily done," Harry muttered.
"Do you want a tip?"
"No. I'm not discussing this with you, Ron!" It was awkward enough as it was, and he really did not need relationship advice from Ron of all people. It had taken him their entire time in school, plus most of the time they had spent at war, before he had managed to tell Hermione how he felt. Harry was not too impressed with his skills.
"Fine," Ron sighed, but he did not look too insulted. "I'll get Hermione for you. I'm heading to George's anyway."
"Tell him hi."
"Sure. Talk to you soon, all right?"
"Yeah, talk to you soon," Harry echoed, and was both sad and relieved when Ron left and Hermione came into view.
"Hi," she smiled, and he could not help but smile back, as he saw her growing belly. It was still so hard to believe that a small person was in there.
"How are you?" he asked, while she sat down in the sofa.
"I'm good. We're good. I think that I've been lucky so far without many pregnancy difficulties. How are you? Both of you?" Much like always, she seemed to know why he was calling.
"We're good. Better now than before, at least. It was a bit difficult there, when I last called you, but I think we're fine again. Sort of." He shrugged awkwardly, knowing that she was not able to see it.
"Did you talk about things?" God, of course she had to ask him that.
"No, not really," he said evasively.
"Not really?" she repeated, looking displeased.
"Well, I don't know what to say. I feel like I'm going to ruin things again," he mumbled, and concentrated hard on the glass bowl on the coffee table, where Ron had been sitting moments ago.
"Harry." She sighed, as though she had expected this. Thinking about it, she probably had. "You really need to talk about him. I think that there's just more room for misunderstanding and situations like the one you got into last time, if you don't speak to him."
The thought of talking to Draco about his feelings – and he was not completely sure what they were himself yet – was terrifying. He had spent years protecting himself from people hurting him, both mentally and physically, and Draco had been one of them. It was not that easy to just open up and pour it all out.
"It's scary, I know," she said, like she had read his mind. "I don't know what happened between you and him, and I don't need to know if you don't want to tell me, but he came back, didn't he? Isn't that saying something?"
"I don't know."
"Well, we have seen over the years that his first instinct is to run away and stay away, if that's what serves him best, right? He's a Slytherin after all. That doesn't mean that he's a bad person, no matter what Ron thinks about Slytherins, but it means that he will put himself first until he finds someone who he thinks is worth giving things up for. Do you really think that he would have cared to come back when you first arrived? Or back in school?"
Harry's heart was thumping loudly in his chest. Maybe she was right. She was Hermione, after all – she was always right. It was terrifying to think of it, though: that he might be worth coming back for.
"Things were different then. We hated each other."
"Exactly, and obviously he doesn't anymore. Just like you," she said softly, and there was that smile again that he had seen so many times over the years.
"I don't know. Maybe he just came back because he knew that he had to."
"Is that what he told you when he came back?" she asked and, for a moment, Harry wondered if she had been there that night. No, that was not what Draco had said. I couldn't do it, he had said.
"No." He pressed his palms against the floor, knowing that Draco was downstairs reading and drinking tea. "No, that's not what he told me."
"Then do something about it. Honestly, Harry. If he makes you feel even close to what you look like when you talk about him, he's worth keeping, no matter what your history is. Do something about it."
"All right, fine. I'll talk to him. First, we need your help though." He added the last part quickly, to make sure that she would not keep lecturing him.
"With what?" She was already reaching for a parchment scroll on the coffee table.
"When Draco worked at a couple of our friends' house, he found the dead man's wand. It was locked in a drawer, so obviously they were trying to keep it hidden." He noticed how she grew very serious in an instant and hurried to continue: "Draco used the replica-charm again, and left it behind, so we could use prior incantato on the real one. It showed a spell that we don't know, and we can't do much research or ask around about it, because that would seem suspicious."
"What spell?" she asked immediately, but did not look up from her furious scribbling on her parchment.
"Altus volo. It's not even similar to a spell I know, so I can't even tell what kind of spell it could possibly be. I know you're busy with work and everything, but –" She broke him off instantly.
"I'm never too busy to help my closest friends, Harry. You know that. I'm happy to help, and I'm glad that you thought about asking me, even though I'm far away."
"Of course I thought about asking you. You're the most brilliant person I know." For a moment, his chest seemed to tighten painfully. God, he missed them so bad.
"I'll look this up for you, and I'll call you when I find out what it is. It might take some time, however, so you two should get the wand back in place in the meantime. It won't be able to give you much more than it already has anyway." She finally put down her parchment and looked directly at him, stern once again. "And talk, Harry. I'm serious. You're going to hate yourself forever if you don't, and you know it, too."
Yes, he probably would. "Fine," he nodded and smiled slightly. "What would I do without you and Ron?"
"Be in much deeper trouble than you already are." She smiled back at him and rose from the sofa. "Now go, because I have some research to do, and you have to talk to Malfoy. If you haven't talked to him until I get back to you, I'll do it myself and imagine how awkward that would be. I might even ask Ron to do it, and that would be even worse, wouldn't it?"
"Can't believe you're blackmailing me, Hermione." He tried to sound angry, but he was too nervous over the fact that he needed to talk to Draco, and too happy that he had been able to talk to his friends for quite a while, to pull it off.
"That's what friends are for," she said, her smile growing wider. "Take care, Harry."
"You, too." And then she was gone, leaving him with a stomach that instantly tied itself into a thousand nervous knots and a heart that doubled its speed. At first, he thought about waiting until tomorrow, but by then, he might have come up with another excuse. Taking a deep breath, he managed to get up from the floor without groaning too loud from his straining muscles and walked downstairs.
He found Draco lying on the sofa, book spread over his chest and one hand still holding it in a firm grasp. Sleeping. Harry had never seen the other man fall asleep like this, on the living room sofa, fully dressed and a half-empty teacup on a coaster on the coffee table. Waking him to have a conversation was not exactly an option, he decided, when he saw Draco smiling in his sleep. Instead, he grabbed the blanket from the armrest of the sofa and carefully spread it over his husband. There was probably a better time for talking later, he thought, as he took the book from Draco's hands. He found the bookmark lying next to the teacup and placed it in the book before closing it. For a moment, he looked down at Draco, watching his chest heave with every breath and feeling his own insides crack open in time with them.
There was definitely something there between them that he did not want to risk losing. He smiled a little to himself, as he placed the book on the coffee table, next to the teacup, before leaving the room.
The first thing Harry became aware of the next morning was the sound of heavy raindrops against the bedroom windows. The next was Draco's warm body pressed against his back and kisses trailing down his neck, so light it tickled.
"Morning," Draco mumbled against his ear. Hot breath sent shivers down his body and, for a moment, he wondered if there could be better ways to wake up. When Draco's sleep-warm hand slid down his chest and stomach, stopping just below his navel, he decided that there probably were not.
"Morning," Harry replied, voice raspy with sleep. He decided, as teeth grazed his earlobe, that opening his eyes would not be worth the effort, because he would not be able to hold them open for long.
The light touch of fingertips drawing patterns on the skin of his stomach sent tingling jolts right to his groin, rapidly made him harder than he had already been waking up. Oh God.He drew a loud, heavy breath when Draco's fingers slowly traced the outline of his pelvic bone, down to the inside of his thigh, spreading goose bumps over his skin. His cock jerked, and a small, needy sound left his lips, as Draco's fingertips reached his balls.
"I think," Harry began, but quickly fell silent, when Draco cupped his hand around them, biting down a moan. He swallowed, heart suddenly pounding in his chest, and a whimper slipped over his lips as Draco slowly caressed his balls with his thumb. "I think this counts as torture," he managed finally, pushing himself backwards against Draco's body and letting out a loud rush of air, as he felt the other man's erection pressing against his arse.
A jolt of pleasure rushed through him, causing his cock to twitch again, when he felt Draco's breath hitch against his throat. It was pathetic, seeing as Draco had not even touched his cock yet, and still he was starting to leak against the sheets. He should not be this easy to drive mad, but the other man apparently knew exactly what to do.
And then teeth dug into the skin on his shoulder, just as Draco's hand moved to stroke down the length of his cock.
"Oh God," he groaned, pushing back again, his arse rubbing against Draco's erection. He could feel, rather than hear, the low sound the other man made against his throat. He arched his back slightly, his jaw dropping open when Draco's leaking cock slowly slid against his arse once more, and there was another brilliant sound filling his ears.
They were panting now, and Harry found himself rubbing back against Draco's cock, just to draw out another brilliant sound, only to thrust into the warm hand around his cock, now slick from pre-come, the next moment. The muscles in his stomach tightened harshly as Draco's cock slid between his arse cheeks, causing them both to moan loudly.
He merely had the time to think that this was new, when Draco suddenly pushed him down on his back and eager lips found his. He groaned in frustration, trying to grind their bodies together, but Draco held him back with a hand on his stomach. Confused, Harry opened his eyes, throat instantly tightening when he saw the other man's ruffled hair, lust-blown eyes and swollen lips.
"Want to try something new?" Draco asked, the rough sound of his voice stood in strong contrast to the soft caress of his hand on the inside of Harry's thigh.
Swallowing, not quite able to comprehend the words he had just heard, Harry nodded. A part of him probably already knowing where this was going, as his cock twitched in anticipation. When Draco slowly pushed his legs apart, making him feel both exposed, vulnerable and incredibly turned on, as the duvet slipped off them, there was no doubt left in his mind. Fuck. He watched Draco's gaze slide over his body, and the way he swallowed, when Harry pulled his legs up, planting his feet on the mattress.
He was shivering with anticipation, pre-come pooling on his stomach, but he was not able to pull his eyes away from Draco, whose hands slowly slid down the inside of his thighs, thumb slowly grazing the vein on the underside of his cock, making his hips to jerk.
Draco mumbled words he had never heard before, but the feel of slick fingers sliding down his cock and balls, left no doubt in his mind to what it was for.
He pulled Draco down for another kiss, crashing their lips together, just to distract himself from where the other man's fingers were going. When they brushed over the rim of his arse, however, he was not able to stop his body from jerking away from the unfamiliar sensation.
"Sorry," he mumbled, feeling stupid, because that was definitely not the way Draco reacted when the situation was reversed. The snort he got in return quickly loosened the knot in his chest, because he knew exactly what that meant: he was an idiot for apologising.
He opened his eyes, silently wondering when he had let them fall close, just as Draco's other hand pushed the hair out of his face. Silver-grey eyes watched him intently, and Harry willed his body to relax, taking a deep breath. Draco arched an eyebrow, questioning, and he nodded in return, the excitement suddenly tingling through his body again. This time, he did not jerk away when Draco's fingers slowly rubbed against the rim of his arse, willing his still-tense body to relax even further.
He whimpered when Draco brushed their lips together again, torn between the way his body seemed to tighten and tingle and shiver all over from the unfamiliar sensation, and thinking that it was not enough. Hesitantly, he pushed back against Draco's fingers, groaning in frustration as they were pulled away just enough.
He could sense Draco's smirk, as teeth grazed his earlobe. "Patience."
Oh God, like he did not already know that Harry was not good with patience. He bit back another moan, when Draco picked up where he had left off, trying in vain to not let it show how desperate he was.
His muscles were quivering, his chest heaving in short, loud gasps and his hair damp with sweat, when he finally gave in once more and pushed back against Draco's hand. This time, Draco did not pull back. His eyes flew open immediately, and his body clamped down in reflex, as an embarrassingly loud sound escaped him. It was not painful in any way, but the feeling of having something inside him was strange and so very foreign.
Draco's lips effectively muffled another sorry that was just about to slip out of him, and he slowly relaxed, giving into the feeling. Draco took his time and, for the first time, Harry was quite grateful for not rushing anything. He quickly adjusted to the sensation, but the feeling of something unfamiliar had quickly been replaced by the intense realisation of what Draco was doing to him. It took every inch of will-power and self-control he possessed not to reach down and stroke himself to orgasm within seconds.
The look of concentration on Draco's face made it easier to control himself, because every time he forced his eyes open and saw the lip-biting and narrowed eyes, his chest tightened in a very distracting way. Just as he was looking again, feeling the contraction around his ribcage, Draco looked up at him.
Draco did not say anything, but the way he seemed to tear his gaze from Harry's face, eyes trailing over his body, his leaking cock, and then lower, made him feel completely out of breath. The muscles in his stomach contracted harshly, when he saw the way Draco closed his eyes for a moment, as if to collect himself.
Harry shivered, and his hands reflexively closing around empty air, when Draco slowly pulled out, only to push back in. That felt...oh God. A throaty sound slid past his lips before he could stop it, and just before his eyes fell closed again, he saw the pleased smirk on Draco's face. The feeling of Draco's finger inside him quickly pushed out every thought of his mind, and, within moments, the sounds left his compulsively, causing him to roll his hips and fist the sheets, long since given up on control.
He was barely aware of Draco adding another finger, except for the slight stretch that was quickly overtaken by the way the feeling intensified and how his body quivered, as he desperately pushed himself back over Draco's fingers, searching for that brilliant feeling once more. And once more. And once more.
"Fuck," he groaned, as his toes and spine curled, as jolts shot through him. "Yes, yes, that's...Oh God."
He was too loud, and his hips seemed to move by themselves, his cock completely forgotten about until Draco stroked down its length, once, twice, and then he was lost, his back snapping up painfully, body clamping down around Draco's fingers, as he came, vision almost going white.
It felt like it took forever to calm down, even as Draco withdrew his hand, and his body was still shaking when he opened his eyes.
"Shit," he breathed, slowly stretching out his stiff legs again. "That was...yeah."
He did not even have the energy to dislike the way Draco smirked, but as he pulled the other man down for a kiss and felt the pressure of his erection against his thigh, he realised that he had completely forgotten about everything but himself.
The warm weight of Draco's cock felt so good in his hand, and he watched the other man's eyes fall closed with a low, fantastic sound, as he stroked down the length. It was not very skilled, and it did not take very long before Draco was thrusting back, head tipping back where he stood on his knees, still supporting himself with one hand on Harry's thigh.
It only took a few moments and one last squeeze, before Draco was coming, groaning loudly and his hand clenching hard around Harry's thigh. He looked down, feeling a little disconnected from reality, on the mess on his stomach, not quite sure why it felt so good to see the evidence of their activities there, before the tingling feeling of a cleaning charm made it disappear.
Draco collapsed next to him, breathing just as heavy as Harry had been doing moments ago, and tossed away his wand, missing the bedside table with range.
The sound of their calming breaths was the only thing that filled the room for a while, as Harry waited for the fuzzy feeling in his body and brain to disappear.
"Liked my lube spell?" Draco said finally, as his breathing was somewhat back to normal.
"You have to ask?" Harry tried to sound irritated, but the strange, cotton-y feeling in his brain made it unable to think of anything other than what had just happened and how good it felt to be close to Draco like this. He did not have to look up at the other man's face to know that he was smirking. Somehow that did not matter much, because the muscles in his thighs still quivered under his skin and did not seem to be calming down anytime soon.
The feeling of Draco's fingertips slowly travelling up and down his forearm in time with the sound of rain against the window made it hard to concentrate. Partly because it did not seem as though his husband was even aware of the fact that he was touching Harry, like it was a subconscious urge to keep the body contact, but mostly because Harry seemed to have lost his brain capacity completely whenever the other man touched him.
"I talked to Hermione yesterday," he said quietly, reluctant to break the comfortable silence. Everything felt so good right now, there between them, and he was afraid that talking about things would ruin that. Hermione was right, though; he would regret not even trying to solve things when he had the chance.
Draco made a vague sound, where he lay, as if to confirm that he was listening. Harry wished that he had said something to contribute more to the conversation.
"She was willing to help," he started, searching desperately for the right words for the more important topic.
"Great," Draco answered, sounding as though he could not wait for this conversation to be over, as he rolled over on his side, facing Harry, and rearranged the pillow, before putting his head back down.
"On one condition," Harry said lamely, just to spark the other man's interest a little bit. He did not want to say everything he wanted to say, only to find that Draco had already fallen asleep.
He watched the other man sigh and prop himself up on one elbow, like he was well aware of that Harry was trying to say something more. "And what would that be?" Draco asked, arching an eyebrow.
"That I talk to you," Harry blurted out, and fisted his hands beneath the duvet. He felt as though he was about to take an unknown road and he had no idea where it was taking him. The warm feeling in the pit of his stomach was still there, but his skin was prickling with nervousness.
"I assume she didn't refer to casual conversation?" Draco said drily, but sighed as he sat up to lean against the headboard.
"No," Harry confirmed, and suddenly felt like the other man was too far away from him. Feeling ridiculous, he found himself very interested in the pattern of the fabric on the sheets.
"Out with it," Draco sighed, clearly tired of waiting for Harry to start talking.
"She said that you and I need to talk. About...about this," Harry tried and gestured vaguely between them. "So that stuff like what happened with Drew won't happen again. Because I don't want it to." He was talking very fast, afraid that Draco would interrupt him before he was finished, even though he did not say much, but his husband only sat there without saying a word. When long moments of silence had passed, Harry carefully glanced up at the other man, who was looking down at him from his sitting position. For once, he looked serious without being mocking or self-righteous. Harry had no idea if that was a good or bad sign.
"Are we really going to have this conversation?" Draco said then, without sounding sarcastic, as though he really wanted to know if Harry wanted to go there.
"Yeah," he nodded and tried to ignore the way his heart sped up with anxiety. God, he was not sure that he was ready for this.
"Okay, fine." Draco pulled up the duvet further, and Harry only then realised that they were both naked. If this went bad, things would get really awkward.
"Maybe we can wait until lunch," he tried, but the other man shook his head firmly.
"No," Draco looked down on him again with a look in his eyes that Harry did not recognize. "It's probably for the best, anyway."
"I don't know where to start," Harry mumbled, feeling stupid for bringing the subject up without knowing what to say. When it came to forming words into nice-sounding sentences, he would always be pathetic next to Draco.
A brief smile spread over the other man's lips, telling Harry that he was not surprised by this in the least. "Start wherever. We can sort things out as we go."
He was silent, for a moment, and closed his eyes, pretending that Draco was not sitting there, looking at him and waiting for him to speak.
The rain was still pouring down outside, and he tried to concentrate on the soothing sound of raindrops against the window, attempting to sort his thoughts out. Maybe he should just start where it all began, what felt like forever ago.
"I...You already know that I don't have much experience," he began, and forced himself to look up at Draco and not look away. He had known from the start that this would be uncomfortable and embarrassing, and definitely expose a lot of himself to Draco. He watched the other man nod, and fell quiet for a while, searching for words again. "You know the first time we had sex?" he said instead, when he came up short.
"Yes, I was there," Draco snorted, smirking, and Harry tried to glare at him, hating the way the blush always seemed to find its way to his face.
"It was really awkward afterwards," he stated bluntly, and Draco nodded in agreement, the smirk gone from his lips. "I...I got the impression that it was because I was a crap shag. Was it?" he blurted, wishing that it would be okay to hide his face in a pillow, but forced himself to keep eye contact.
Draco gave him a strange look, mixed with humour, disbelief and a clear questioning of Harry's sanity. "Did I tell you that you were a crap shag?" he asked finally.
"No, of course not." Harry shook his head. "I just thought, maybe..." he trailed off, shaking his head. He had no idea what to say.
"Do I come off as someone who doesn't let people know when I'm not satisfied with something?" Draco asked, the tone of his voice caused Harry to grin.
"I can promise you that, if there was something you did that I didn't like, you would have known." Draco snorted, like he was thinking that Harry was an idiot for even considering this.
"That's the thing, though," Harry said, remembering that night all too clearly. "I didn't do much at all, really."
"Exactly. Because that's how I wanted it."
"Not following." Harry frowned up at Draco, who was looking out of the window for a moment, before looking back down at him.
"I prefer sex where I'm in control. I don't like sex where someone is in control over me," Draco said, after a moment of silence, as though he had been choosing his words carefully.
"I'm taking this as you don't like people doing stuff to you, but you like doing stuff to them?"
"If you want to put it like that." His husband nodded.
"You let me do stuff to you," Harry blurted, because he had just minutes ago, and a few times before that.
"Your powers of deduction truly are fantastic," Draco said drily, but he did not look irritated. Harry frowned at him, refusing to say something, until his husband gave up with a sigh. "Yes, I let you do things to me, and yes, I do like it." He added the last part just as Harry was going to ask.
It was not making much sense to him, except for the fact that Draco apparently did not like when his sex partners did things to him, but was totally fine with it when it was Harry. Maybe Draco had seen the millions of questions that quickly found their way into Harry's brain, because he sighed again and leaned his head back against the wall behind him.
"I don't think it's relevant to speak about experience with people I sleep with, but I'll make an exception."
Harry was just about to say that there seemed to be an awful lot of exceptions for him, but the glare he got from Draco made him shut his mouth again.
"I'll be frank with you. I usually don't bottom, because I don't like the way it makes me feel vulnerable. The first time we had sex, I figured that you wouldn't be too interested in that, and, since I very much wanted sex, I made sure that I was in control."
Harry almost stopped listening at the very first sentence, dumbstruck by the fact that Draco did not like bottoming, since he seemed to enjoy himself quite a lot when they had that kind of sex. Maybe it was not the bottoming itself Draco did not like, but the state of vulnerability, just like he had said. Harry blinked back to reality, just as Draco continued speaking, the warmth in his stomach rapidly spreading through his limbs, despite the fact that he tried to stop it.
"It's true that it was awkward between us after that time, but I was under the impression that you felt as though I had used you. I thought I knew that you weren't gay, and I assumed that it was the potion making you want to sleep with me." Draco shrugged slightly, and Harry rolled over onto his side, grasping Draco's calf under the duvet and squeezing lightly. He placed a sloppy kiss on the other man's knee, before he had a chance to stop himself. It felt like his insides were crawling with the need to touch the other man, and he was not able to suppress it.
"Is there a reason as to why you're kissing my leg?" Draco asked, and Harry did not need to look up to know that one of his eyebrows were raised.
"Only place close enough." He smiled to himself, feeling both stupid and pleased as he squeezed Draco's calf again. The only reason as to why he was kissing Draco's leg was the warm feeling inside, and the way his brain seemed to have returned to its post sex fuzzy state again now, when they were finally sorting things out. Also, it seemed to annoy his husband, so there really was no reason to stop.
"Besides being incredibly lazy, what's your reason for kissing my leg?" Draco made a half-hearted attempt to pull his leg away, as Harry kissed his knee again.
"There just seem to be an awful lot of exceptions for me in all your rules," he answered vaguely, and pressed his face against the outside of Draco's thigh to hide his smile.
"There seems to be an exception for me in your sexual orientation," Draco countered, and Harry wondered if he was uncomfortable with giving away so much.
"Maybe you are my sexual orientation," he grinned, glancing up at Draco, who glared at him with a snort.
"I am ridiculous."
"I don't think ridiculous covers it," Draco muttered, but he did not seem too displeased with Harry's statement.
In truth, Harry had no idea what his sexual orientation actually was. He did not have much he could call experience, and even though he had been attracted to Ginny, it had never been like this. On the other hand, he had been much younger back then. He sighed when Draco's hand found his hair, and the small, electric shivers that ran down his spine when his husband started pulling his fingers through his hair, told him that it had definitely never been like this with Ginny. It was like his whole body changed focus to the place where Draco touched him, like his brain was suddenly wiped clean, just to make sure that he did not miss anything from the touch. It was distracting and irritating and fantastic all at once.
"Are there exceptions?" he asked finally, bringing up their conversation from just seconds ago again, and Draco's hand stilled. Harry held his breath, and the warm sensation was suddenly replaced with nothing but a thumping heart and a tight throat. He did not want to look up, afraid of what he could read off of Draco's face, but he was sure that the other man could feel his heartbeat against his leg.
He was not sure if Draco really was quiet for an excruciatingly long time, or if it was just the panic inside him that made it feel that way.
"Yes," Draco said finally, with a small sigh that sounded like defeat, his hand starting to move again. "Yes, there are exceptions."
"Good," Harry mumbled as he breathed out in relief, more to himself than anything, and was not sure if he should be worried by the sudden clenching in his chest, or the way the warm feeling seemed to have spread to every limb of his body in a heartbeat. He kissed Draco's knee a third time and grinned when he heard the irritated sigh.
"There won't be any exceptions left if you don't stop kissing my bloody knee. It's not normal."
"Give me some place better to reach then." He had expected Draco to pull away completely and get out of bed, just to prove that Harry could not demand anything, but maybe his husband had the same giddy feeling in his stomach, because it only took half a breath before he had slid down next to Harry, face to face.
"I like exceptions," Harry said dumbly, and grinned when Draco sighed irritably again and rolled his eyes.
"You need to shut up about those exceptions, because I'm not speaking of them ever again."
"You don't have to." Harry suddenly remembered why they were both lying down and closed his eyes, as he leaned forward to let his lips brush over Draco's. It was without a doubt better than kissing a knee. He slowly let his fingers trail over the faint scars on Draco's torso, remembering all too clearly that day in the bathroom.
"If you're going to bring that up too, I'll take everything back," Draco muttered against his lips, and Harry smiled as he kissed the other man once more. Moving closer, he pressed his whole body against Draco's, and goose bumps spread over his skin as a small sound left the other man's lips. There was just no way he could get enough of those sounds, so he did his best to bring them out again and again. Just as he was about to kiss the sensitive skin just below Draco's ear, he remembered that he had one more thing to ask.
"Can Hermione and Ron visit?" he mumbled quietly, his lips barely brushing against fair skin.
Draco froze, before slowly pulling away with a look in his eyes that did not question Harry's sanity, but rather established that it was non-existent. "Are you asking me about Weasley and Granger when we're about to have sex?"
"I just remembered," he tried, but Draco was already getting out of bed. He did not look angry though, much to Harry's relief.
"I can't believe that you just brought up your friends in bed," Draco snorted in disbelief. "Don't ever do that again."
"I guess that really emphasises the fact that you would've told me if you thought I was a crap shag," Harry mumbled to himself after Draco had closed the bathroom door, then he added a little louder: "Can they though? Visit I mean?"
"Fine," Draco called through the door and Harry grinned to the ceiling. Clearly, his husband was not really mad at him. A second later, the realisation of Draco's previous words hit him.
"We were going to have sex? Again?" he called, wondering why he had not been aware of their make out-session heading there.
A second later, the bathroom door opened and Draco glared at him. Sometimes Harry envied his way of making other people feel incredibly stupid without having to say a word.
"Are you serious?" Draco asked in disbelief.
"No?" Harry tried, but his husband just shook his head in disbelief and closed the bathroom door again. For a moment, he felt like hitting himself for ruining a chance to have sex twice in one day, but the next, he realised that Draco had agreed to let Hermione and Ron visit them. A part of him wanted to ask again, just to make sure that he had not been hallucinating, but another, much more rational part, told him that Draco would say no if he asked again. Glancing to his side, Harry grabbed Draco's pillow and pressed it to his face, breathing in heavily. A smile spread over his lips, as he realised what just had happened. There were exceptions.
The giddy feeling was still holding on a couple of days later, when he stood in the locker room with the rest of his team. He was not listening much to their conversations, as he wiped his body dry with a towel. He blushed heavily as he remembered yesterday morning in the shower, when he had decided to try out Draco's lube spell, just to make sure that he knew how to use it the next time they had sex.
He was happy that the scolding water had already made his whole body flushed, when his face heated even further from thinking of how he had tried to use his fingers on himself, just like Draco had done to him the previous morning. It had been good, but not the same as when Draco had done it to him. It was a bit scary, though, because doing that sort of thing had never even been a part of his mind before, and now it was there all the time.
He had started to think what it would be like to have Draco inside of him, and the thought made the muscles in his gut clench so intensely that he sometimes felt out of breath. He had never thought of it before, of bottoming, because it had felt strange and so far away, and he had been sure that he would not like it. God, he had never expected to feel so good from what Draco had done to him, and the intense feeling was still so frighteningly real, even as he recalled it.
Everything had been different since that morning and, at the same time, everything had been just the same. Draco had been snorting at him, glaring at him, said snarky things to him, arched his eyebrows at him, much like he always did, but there was a new way Harry could find the other man looking at him. Sometimes when he was cooking, he would look up from the food he had been consumed by for too long again, just to find Draco watching him with that look on his face. Or, when he walked through the door after a late night's practice, Draco would sit on one of the living room sofas with a book, telling him that he was late, but still look up from the pages with that look on his face, when Harry sank down in the opposite sofa with a groan. And even though it was all the same, it was nothing like before.
When Peter sat down next to him on the bench, he pushed the thoughts out of his head. They had a huge game coming up, and he had more important things than Draco to think about as well. Especially since it seemed like the man next to him on the locker room bench was not the thoroughly kind person Harry had thought him to be.
"So, dinner in our new kitchen tonight. You're coming, right?" Peter rubbed his hair with his towel, and Harry noticed the bruises on the other man's arms from another tough beater's workout. At least he was getting off easy, compared to some of his team mates.
"Yeah, we'll be there. I look forward to seeing what Draco has done with your kitchen." Harry had absolutely no sense of interior design or decoration, but that did not mean that he was not able to appreciate the work of people who did.
"It's not all finished yet, but there are only minor things left for him. Kat is thrilled, and I think it looks great. He knows what he's doing." Peter stood up to rummage through his locker, searching for something. "It'll be just you and Draco, me and Kat, of course, and Shastin and Leo. I tried to invite Tim and Agnes, just to be nice, but Agnes is going away for the weekend."
"That's nice. For once, I won't have to be nervous about going," Harry muttered, thinking of the numerous parties that Shastin invited them to, where half the village seemed to be invited. A quiet dinner with a few friends would be a lot nicer. Well, as quiet as a dinner could be, when Shastin was invited.
Peter laughed, nodding as he closed the locker door with a small jar in his hand. "It used to be just the four of us, because Zefira and Jordan visit her parents a lot whenever we have time off, so we're happy that you two came along."
"You didn't hang out with Burke and Mona?" he asked, hoping that he sounded casual and not as though he was trying to interrogate Peter. He had promised Draco that he would try to find out what a dead man's wand was doing at their friends' house, and now he had the chance. The rest of the team was busy with their own conversations, and Peter was not even close to leaving where he stood, smearing some kind of potion over his bruises.
"No, we didn't know him very well. Kat likes Mona though, but she keeps to herself a lot. I think it's because Agnes is behaving badly towards her, and, you know, grieving probably takes up most of her time." Peter shrugged, as he inspected his own work with the potion. "When Brendan told me that Aiden has been visiting you a bit, I was relieved, because whenever I see him, he's on his own."
"He's a nice kid," Harry said, wondering if Peter knew when Mona had taken a sleep potion and accidentally locked her son out in the middle of the night.
"Yeah, definitely," Peter agreed, and started getting dressed.
Harry began searching for ways to bring the conversation back to Burke, to learn something about his wand. "How were things, when he died?" he asked lowly, worried that anyone around them would be listening.
"It was chaotic. Kat wanted me to stop playing for a while – I think she still does in secret. Mona was a wreck, completely understandable, of course. We tried to be there for her, but she didn't want us there." Peter frowned, as though he did not like thinking back on it.
"I was wondering, I don't want to ask Mona herself, because it might be a touchy subject, but what happens to a wizard's wand when he dies? I know the routines back in England, but what's it like here?" For a moment he wondered if the question was too obvious, and that Peter would know instantly what they had done. He was happy that Draco had managed to put the wand back the day before, because otherwise he could have ruined everything with such a blunt question.
"It's left to the family, for safe-keeping if you still want to keep it. Some people gives the wand back to the original wand maker, others bury it along with the body. Since we were talking about Burke, Mona decided to keep it, for Aiden I think, but I found her attempting to burn it one day when I was bringing her soup from Kat. She was in a bad place, and I had to hold her down physically to keep her from doing it. I promised that I would safe-keep the wand for her, just until she wanted it back. I figured she would regret destroying it, when she felt better." Peter sighed heavily, and sat down on the bench again.
Harry felt like closing his eyes and laughing with relief, as he heard the other man explain exactly what a dead man's wand was doing in his house. At the same time, it was suddenly so clear that Burke's death was still an open wound to Mona, even though the village around her seemed to be moving on as if the man had not even made as much as a dent in their lives.
"I think she'll be thankful for that later, when she's better. I think she just feels abandoned right now." Harry shrugged, thinking that he might know exactly how she felt, because he had spent years feeling the very same way.
"Hopefully. Or if she doesn't want it back, maybe Aiden will." Peter nodded, but it seemed to be more to do with something he was thinking than the words he had just said. Then he looked up, smiling quickly just before he pulled a shirt over his head and stood up. "I'd better get going. Kat probably needs help with setting the table, but I'll see you soon."
When Harry arrived back home, he noticed Draco sitting in the porch hammock, reading a book, with a cup of tea standing on the porch banister. For a moment, he was a bit surprised, because since they had arrived here, Draco had never sat in the hammock, but as he stepped through the gates, he saw the reason for Draco's new location: Aiden playing with Herman behind one of the peony bushes.
"Hi," Aiden smiled, popping his head through the branches. His face was partially covered in dirt, and Harry had a feeling that he did not want to know the state of the boy's hands.
"Hi," Harry replied, and took a few steps closer. "What are you doing behind the bushes?"
"Draco says they're peonies," Aiden corrected soberly, but almost instantly broke into a smile that crinkled his nose and showed the dimple in his cheek. It caused Harry to suspect that Draco might have told the boy about Harry not knowing what peonies were, when they had first arrived here. "Me and Herman are looking for flobberworms."
"Are there flobberworms here?" Harry asked, curiously looking behind the bush, only to find Herman covered in dirt, his trunk buried in the ground. Aiden's clothes were not in a much better state, but the boys cheeks were rosy, and there was a sparkle in his eyes that made it impossible for Harry not to smile.
"We don't know. We haven't found any yet, but Herman says he can smell them, and I think he's on to one. See." Aiden pointed enthusiastically at the elephant.
"I can tell," he nodded, and crouched down next to the boy, despite his protesting muscles. "Did you come here straight from school?"
"Nope." Aiden shrugged and dug out a small, white stone from the dirt. "I left my backpack at home, but I asked mum if I could come here to play and I could. And Draco said I can keep all the flobberworms I find, so I can, right?"
"Sure, just be nice to them." Harry accepted the small stone when Aiden offered it to him, and he wondered silently if they should clean the boy up before sending him home again. "How's your mum?"
"She's okay." Aiden shrugged again, averting his gaze for a moment before looking intently up at Harry. "She's sad sometimes, but not so often anymore. That's good, right?"
"Yeah, that's great. And how are you?" Harry watched the boy cock his head to the side and bite his lip, looking as though he was thinking hard. Without hesitation, he reached out and ruffled the boy's hair gently. Aiden smiled up at him again, nose crinkling once more.
"I'm sad sometimes, too, but Herman says it's okay."
"I agree with Herman," Harry smiled and glanced down on his watch. They were supposed to be at the Czarniawskas' in a little more than an hour. "Are you hungry?"
"Yeah, and Herman's hungry, too."
"Okay, then. You two can keep looking for flobberworms when you've eaten, all right?" Harry stood up, wincing as his thigh muscles protested from the movement. He should ask Hermione to bring some potion for soreness.
Aiden nodded in reply and gently dug up Herman's trunk, before placing the elephant under his arm. He shook his head firmly when Harry tried to give him back the white stone. "You can borrow it."
"Thanks," Harry smiled, wiping the stone clean from dirt as much as he could with the hem of his shirt, before putting it in his pocket. Draco looked up as they approached the porch and closed his book.
"Did you find any worms?" he asked, and sent the teacup and book through the open window with a flick of his wand.
"Lots of boring worms, but no flobberworms," Aiden sighed, and grinned when he noticed Draco's displeased gaze scrutinising his dirty clothes.
"What did you do?" Draco groaned, with a roll of his eyes. Harry suspected that his husband was not very upset at all, however, judging by the way his features softened when the boy spoke.
"We dug for them in the dirt," Aiden informed, and looked down on his clothes with a satisfied look.
"Of course you did," Draco muttered, as they walked inside.
A short while later, Aiden's clothes were somewhat clean after a number of cleaning spells from Draco's side, and the boy was sitting at the kitchen table with a mostly-clean Herman next to him on a separate chair. Harry placed a plate of toast in front of each of them, before retrieving two cups of tea. He had long since realised that Herman needed his own food.
"I've never had tea," Aiden said, peeking into the cup in front of him. "Why is it brown?"
"Because it's black tea," Draco informed, as he sat down on the opposite side of the table.
"Why don't they just call it brown tea, then?" Aiden frowned and screwed his eyes shut, as he lifted the cup in both of his hands to carefully take a sip.
"Good question," Harry grinned, and Draco just shook his head, not quite able to hide his smile.
"I like it," Aiden stated five sips later, and glanced to his side. "Herman likes it too, he says."
Then there was not much room for talking, as the boy practically gulped down the toast in front of him, before deciding that he could eat Herman's as well. Draco had disappeared upstairs after a few minutes to get ready for dinner, and, when he arrived back down, Aiden was just finishing Herman's cup of tea as well.
"You should go change."
Harry tried to glare at the pointed look Draco gave him and wondered why he could not visit their friends in jeans and t-shirt.
"It's not that formal," he tried, and just as Draco sighed and opened his mouth to say something, Aiden spoke up:
"Maybe Draco likes it when you're pretty."
Harry stared at the boy for a moment, then turned his gaze toward Draco who smirked, clearly pleased to have someone on his side.
"Exactly, now go."
They had dropped off Aiden outside of his house, waiting until Mona opened the door for him, just to make sure that the incident from a while ago did not happen again. The boy had waved cheerfully at them from the doorstep, Herman safely tucked under his arm, before he had disappeared inside with his mother. During the short distance to their neighbours, Harry had done his best to fill Draco in on what Peter had said about Burke's wand, and his husband had seemed just as relieved as Harry had been to hear it.
Now, they were sitting in the Czarniawskas' kitchen. Their new kitchen, and Harry could not help but wonder why Draco did not work with interior design back in England as well. It looked like a kitchen from one of the magazines Ron used to give Mrs Weasley whenever he came to visit, with its light colours and more windows than Harry wanted to count.
He did not know much about design, but from the way Kat smiled as she showed him around, he was pretty sure that Draco had done a good job, in more than Harry's quite biased opinion.
"So, the game against Moose Jaw is coming up," Leo said, as he poured himself another glass of beer, effectively ignoring the way Shastin glared at him for bringing up Quidditch again. "I'm thinking that at least two people will have to be carried off the pitch, just because none of us were injured during the last game against them."
"I sure hope not," Kat said, but Harry thought she looked a little worried. "Last time I had to feed my husband soup in bed for a week," she added, turning towards Draco, who frowned.
Harry wondered silently if his husband was worried, or if he was trying to remember the teams' last game.
"Let's talk about something else," Shastin cut in, as she laid a hand on Leo's arm, just as he opened his mouth to say something. "I thought Tim and Agnes were supposed to be here, too?"
"We invited them, but she was going away for something extremely important for a few days, apparently, but didn't want to tell us what it was. So much for being polite," Peter snorted, and Harry hid a grin behind his hand. It was not a secret that most members of the Wolves' team could not stand Agnes, and sometimes he wondered if that did not count for Tim as well.
"She didn't tell you where she was going?" Draco asked, and Harry could hear the slightly sharper tone in his voice, despite the glasses of wine his husband had emptied during the dinner.
"She makes a big deal out of working in the Child Protection Department," Shastin sighed, rolling her eyes. "Honestly, I don't know why she takes so much pride in stealing other people's kids."
"I don't think the whole point is stealing them," Kat interjected. "They're supposed to protect children that are abused in some kind of way in their homes."
"Yeah," Shastin nodded. "That's what they're supposed to do, but knowing Agnes, she also likes the power it gives her. I mean, she threatened Mona, apparently, saying she would take Aiden away from her. She's an idiot."
Harry resisted the urge to flinch away, when he felt a hand grasping his thigh just above his knee, beneath the table. He looked at Draco, but the other man was engaged in a conversation with Kat about wine, which Harry could not care less about. Especially not when Draco's hand was slowly working its way up and down his thigh, sending tingles straight to his groin, forcing him to resist the urge to shift uncomfortably in his chair. On the other hand, he did not want Draco to stop for the world.
Scooting closer to the table, effectively hiding what was going on beneath it, Harry tried his best to concentrate on Peter's and Leo's discussion about new offensive techniques that Harrigan wanted them to try out. It worked perfectly, until Draco's fingers traced the outline of his half-hard cock through his trousers, and Harry had to conceal his gasp with a cough.
Shastin gave him a suspicious look, before narrowing her eyes at Draco, who slowly let his hand slide back down to the middle of Harry's thigh. Despite the fact that it was highly inappropriate to be extremely turned on during a dinner at a friend's house, Harry could not help but wish that she would not be as observant as she was. Luckily, no one else seemed to have noticed, and Shastin soon returned to the conversation, as he managed to collect himself.
Draco was such a bloody tease.
"So, I was thinking," Leo began as he drew a very complex and completely non-understandable diagram of his idea of a new offensive strategy on a napkin. Harry suspected that the idea would not seem as brilliant when the alcohol was out of their systems. "If Harry came at them like this–"
"But I'm the Seeker," Harry protested, cutting him off.
"Yes, that's why they'd be so confused if it was you." Leo nodded eagerly, making another loop on the napkin, causing Harry to understand even less of what he was trying to get across.
"It's not even allowed," Peter snorted a grin into his beer, exchanging a look with Harry over the table with a little shake of his head. At least there were two who did not understand.
"Rules are made to be broken," Leo said then, raising his glass like his wife used to do when she was making a toast.
"That could also suspend Harry for three games," Peter laughed, and grabbed the napkin as Leo was about to crumble it. "I'm saving this for evidence and humiliation-value."
"You just can't understand my brilliance," Leo muttered, glaring at them in turns, which quickly caused him to come off as slightly cross-eyed.
"Honey, no one understands your brilliance," Shastin smiled, and patted her husband's arm, causing Peter to spit his beer back in the glass, not to choke on it.
"I don't know why I married you," Leo sighed dramatically, but the smile fighting its way onto his lips spoke differently.
"I would give you all the reasons, but there are other people here, and it could count as offensive."
Peter groaned, seemingly in pain, and put his hands over his ears. "Please don't."
"See." Shastin smiled brilliantly and then she turned her gaze towards Harry, eyes narrowing dangerously. "I'm not the worst case here, though."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Harry blurted out, as he felt his cheeks heat.
"Not my closet!" Peter exclaimed, causing everyone to fall silent around the table.
Harry buried his face in his hands, wishing that he was back home and that this was not happening. Alcohol was such a bad, bad idea. On the other hand, he would probably be even more embarrassed if he had been completely sober.
"What about your closet?" Kat asked finally, her voice soft as though she was speaking to a child.
"Nothing," Harry said hurriedly, trying to make sure that the subject was dropped quickly. "I don't even know where it is."
Suddenly, Peter grinned, as though he found it incredibly enjoyable to make Harry feel embarrassed. Thinking about it, he probably did.
He was relieved when the conversation drifted back to Quidditch and their upcoming game against Moose Jaw. Even behind the pleasant buzz of alcohol, Harry could sense the worry Shastin and Kat seemed to hold for the game, as though they were completely certain that something bad would happen.
"I'm thinking about throwing a party," Shastin said suddenly, in the middle of their discussion about defence strategies. Everyone at the table rolled their eyes in unison, because it was not like Shastin's love for party-planning was a secret. "What?" she added, pouting at them.
"What for this time?" Draco wondered, his hand had somehow made it back to Harry's thigh under the table, but it just rested there.
"I'll come up with something," Shastin said, a huge smile spreading across her face.
"You could throw one for Harry's friends when they come visit." Draco said it casually, as if it was not a big deal, but Harry felt his heart trip over itself in excitement. Sure, Draco had said yes to Hermione and Ron coming for a visit, but it was not the same thing as telling their neighbours about it. He still had not told his friends about it, either.
For a moment, the group around the table blinked in silence, then Shastin and Leo spoke at the same time:
"You have other friends?!"
Harry chose to do nothing but groan in response, as Draco shook his head like he was giving up on ever having a normal conversation.
"I could throw an accent-party, you know? Everyone has to use a British accent." Shastin had lit up, as though she had discovered the meaning of life just now, and Peter nodded enthusiastically, like he completely agreed.
"Oh God," Harry muttered, barely resisting the urge to bang his head against the table, but took another sip of his beer instead.
"I think it's time for us to leave," Draco said, and Harry felt like he had never heard such a brilliant idea before in his life.
"When are they visiting?" Shastin called after them, when were half-way out the front door.
"I'll only tell you if you promise not to throw an accent party," Harry called back.
"Can't make that kind of promise!"
The door banged closed behind them, and he took a deep breath of the night air, before looking at Draco, who shook his head. At least it was a relief to know that even Draco, who constantly spent time with Shastin, got overwhelmed on occasion.
Harry was not completely sure how it happened, but somewhere between leaving the Czarniawskas' house and closing the front door to their own, his lips were on Draco's. How they made it up the stairs without tripping, he had no idea, but a moment later, he had Draco pressed up against the inside of the bedroom door, hands tearing at his clothes.
"Fuck," Draco breathed, as Harry roughly grazed his teeth over the soft skin on Draco's throat and fumbled with the buttons of his shirt.
"Bloody tease," Harry mumbled, greedily sucking red marks onto Draco's neck, knowing that it would not be appreciated in the morning. Now, however, he got incredible sounds in reward for his efforts.
"Couldn't help it," Draco groaned, as Harry shucked his own shirt, before roughly helping Draco get rid of his. His hands and fingers were trembling much like the first time they had done this, but this time it was not because of nervousness, but sheer anticipation.
He palmed Draco through his trousers, bringing their lips together once more, enjoying the way the sounds muffled into low groans. Draco's fingers were digging into his back, pushing their bodies together, grinding up against Harry's hand.
"Bed," he groaned, reaching down to help unbutton their trousers, lips never quite leaving Harry's.
He almost tripped over himself, as he tried to kick off his trousers and make his way over to the bed. Somehow, they managed to get there in one piece, falling down on the bed in a tumble of limbs and breathy laughter, before Harry ground their hips together, instantly replacing it with a low moan from Draco.
The pressure of another erection against his own, through the thin fabric of their underwear, made him shiver all over, a low sound escaping him as Draco grabbed his arse, grinding their hips together over and over, until Harry had to pull back, panting, not to come right away.
"Wait," he managed, breathing heavily. "I just," he began, but trailed off as Draco kicked off his own underwear, before tugging Harry's down, as well, fingertips trailing down his cock, before slowly swiping the drops of pre-come over the head.
There was a glint in his eyes that made Harry shudder, when he brought his fingers up to his mouth, licking the remains of pre-come off them slowly.
Harry groaned, screwing his eyes shut tightly, trying desperately to ignore the way his cock twitched in appreciation. If dinner with friends lead to this, they needed to do it more often. He did not open his eyes until he felt Draco move beneath him, and found it hard to breathe when he saw the other man roll over onto his stomach, before propping himself up on all fours.
Harry swallowed heavily, helplessly trying to think of things other than the sight in front of him, hoping that he would last long enough to at least get inside. He stared at the curve of Draco's arse for a moment, then reached out to stroke down the length of his cock, gently grazing the head with his thumb. He felt his own breath hitch, as Draco moaned low in his throat, his hips jerking slightly.
It took all of his brain function to spread Draco's legs further and cast the lube spell that he had learned just a few days ago. He concentrated on covering the other man's neck and shoulders in kisses to calm his own body, as fingers slowly grazed over the rim of his arse. The sound Draco made at the touch did not make it any easier, and Harry could see his hands grasp the sheets, his body pushing back against Harry's fingers.
"Fuck, I-" Harry began, not even sure what he was about to say, when Draco made an impatient noise, pushing back against the fingers once more.
"Come on," he groaned.
Harry bit his bottom lip hard, trying to push a finger in gently, but he was way too hard, too desperate, to take it slow. Judging by the way Draco rolled his hips and the greedy sound that left his mouth, he did not mind much.
"More," Draco panted, way too soon, Harry thought, his body glistening with sweat in the pale light from the window. He grabbed Draco's hip, trying to still his body, as he carefully added another finger, trying his best to twist them the way he knew Draco liked.
"Yes, fuck!" Draco made a guttural sound, strangling the sheets in his hands, and Harry did it again, and again, and again.
His body was thriving on the sense of power he felt, as he watched the other man shake beneath him. When Draco looked back at him over his shoulder, eyes dark and heavy-lidded, swollen mouth hanging open and chest heaving as if the air was going to run out, Harry's breath stuttered out of him.
"Ready?" he asked quietly, and felt as though the words were barely audible over their heavy breathing.
Draco just nodded in reply, a low sound escaping him as Harry pulled his fingers back and stroked down his own cock, hand slick with lube, before positioning himself. The muscles in his thighs were trembling, feeling unsteady under him, but he forgot all about it when he slowly pushed in and it felt as though the air was trapped in his lungs.
"Oh God," he breathed, heart pounding in his chest, as he tried to ignore the brilliant sounds Draco made beneath him. His throat felt so dry, that it was hard to swallow.
Draco dropped down to his elbows with the first thrust, letting out a high, desperate-sounding moan, his back arching as he buried his face in his arms. He said something that sounded so much like fuck me, that Harry had to pause for a moment to keep himself from coming, before grabbing Draco's hips and comply.
"Fuckfuckfuck," Draco groaned, reaching back to dig his fingers into Harry's thigh, urging him on.
He tried to push deeper with every roll of his hips, desperately trying to make Draco moan louder with every thrust.
"So close," Draco groaned, pulling at the sheets with one hand, as he reached down to stroke himself with the other. "Fuck, so close."
That was all it took, for Harry to make another few erratic thrusts, before he was coming, the muscles in his stomach contracting so hard that he had to bend himself over Draco, resting his face against his shoulder. A few moments later, Draco's body contracted hard around him, and he could hear the other man muffle his moan into the mattress.
The next morning, Harry was sitting in the living room, talking to Granger over the fire-call, despite the sheer stupidity of talking about Burke's wand in a room where anyone of their neighbours could burst in any moment.
Draco was watching him over the cover of his book, not quite participating in the conversation, but cutting in when necessary. Up until now, Granger had been discussing possible dates for her and Weasley to come visit. For a moment, Draco had wondered why he had agreed at first, but then he noticed the smile on Harry's face.
A short while later, Draco looked up from his book when Granger mentioned the spell they had not recognized from the prior incantato they had done on Burke's wand.
"I think I found the answer," she said, suddenly growing serious and Draco instantly closed his book, leaning forward to make sure that he did not miss a word.
"And?" Harry urged, causing Draco to roll his eyes over his impatience.
"It's a dark spell, balancing between allowed and disallowed magic," Granger said, frowning. "It's for enhancing speed and has been banned from sports for centuries, but not from everyday use. It can be used on both humans and items, but I couldn't find anything, not even the smallest article, mentioning it for decades, so I think it has been forgotten for a long time."
Draco blinked. Enhance speed. For a moment, his brain was blank, and then it seemed to re-start at double speed, remembering the marks on Burke's broom.
"Any item?" he asked loudly, not bothering to apologise for interrupting Harry mid-sentence. "Could it be used on any item?"
"I guess," Granger said. "It doesn't specify, but I found information saying that the spell can easily become uncontrollable with wizards, to a bigger extent than Muggles, causing them to be unable to stop."
"So, someone, or something, with its own magical core can make the spell go rogue?" Draco asked, slowly, more to discuss with himself than ask Granger for answers. "Like a broom?"
"It's possible," Granger nodded, and Draco smirked, despite the situation, as Harry's eyes widened almost comically.
"He used the spell on his own broom?"
"It looks that way." Draco shrugged, trying to put all the pieces together. "It fits with what your team members said, doesn't it? That he was obsessed with speed, and with a broom that wasn't matching up to the speed of the rest of the players in the league, perhaps the spell was his way of keeping himself in the game."
"That sounds like a very logical explanation," Granger cut in, making Draco aware that she was there, once more. He had almost forgotten her, with the way Harry was looking intently at him.
"It does," Harry mumbled, seemingly more to himself than either of them. "I just...Can we call you back, Hermione? I think we need to talk to Kingsley. Talk to Ron about a date that would work for you."
"Okay," she nodded, smiling briefly, before quickly saying her goodbyes and disappearing.
Harry was still staring at him, when the flames in the fireplace were back to their usual colour. "Is it possible?" he said finally, voice low.
"It seems to me like it's the best explanation we could get. Didn't they always say that he was obsessed with speed?"
"Yeah, they did." Harry nodded slowly and lay down on his back, on the rug in front of the fireplace.
Draco tried to keep his eyes from wandering to the strip of naked skin now visible above the edge of Harry's trousers, as his t-shirt rid up slightly over his stomach. It was pointless.
"We should talk to Kingsley," Draco said, mostly to say something at all, as he tried to keep his mind from wandering down the same road as his eyes.
"In a while," Harry mumbled, rubbing his hands over his face. "Just so we can think about it some more, and be sure."
"Fine," Draco nodded, and was about to give into the urge to lie down next to the other man, when there was a series of knocks on the door. Frowning, he rose from the sofa and hurried towards the door. It was too early to be Shastin, and Harry had the day off from practice, so it was not likely to be anyone from the Wolves' either.
There was another knock on the door, before he had a chance to open it, but any irritation he felt quickly disappeared as he found Aiden and his mother standing on the other side of the door. The boy was crying, bordering on hysterical, and Mona looked on the verge of tears as well.
"What's wrong?" Draco asked, both surprised and flattered as Aiden took the few steps inside the door and hugged him tightly around his midsection.
"I'm sorry," Mona whispered, seemingly fighting hard not to cry. "I just can't take it. Not today. I'm so sorry."
"What's wrong?" Draco asked again, a little sharper this time, and gently ruffled Aiden's hair.
"They broke Herman." The boy pressed his face against Draco's side, squeezing his arms tighter. Not until then had he noticed the stuffed elephant in Mona's hands, an ear dangling loosely on a thread and the stuffing was poking through the rip in the fabric.
"He wanted to come visit," Mona whispered faintly. "So I was going to come with him and make sure it was okay, because I know he's been here a lot lately. And just as I exit the door to our house, I hear him screaming and, when I found him, the twins had destroyed his toy. And now he's in hysterics, and I'm sorry, but I can't handle it."
Harry chose that exact moment to enter the room, immediately noticing the almost-ripped-off ear of the elephant and Aiden crying, clutching onto Draco, instead of his mother.
"What happened?" he asked, but immediately corrected his question as his eyes fell on Herman. "Who did it?"
"The twins," Draco muttered, wondering why he had never seen them, since the whole neighbourhood seemed to talk badly about them. "He can stay here until tomorrow, if he wants to," he added then, turning to Mona, who relaxed visibly.
"I want to," Aiden mumbled, wiping his nose on the back of his hand as he pulled away, tears still rolling down his cheeks. "Can we fix him?"
"We'll try our best," Harry nodded, and then grasped the boy by the hand, leading him out to the kitchen.
"I know it's too much to ask," Mona whispered, rapidly tearing up, as though she had been waiting for Aiden to be out of sight and ear-shot before letting go. "I'm starting my meetings with a healer specialised in grief on Wednesday – I'm really trying – but I can't...not when he's like that. I thought, since Agnes is away for the weekend, she won't find out, right?"
A part of Draco wanted to ask what kind of mother she was that could not even be there for her child when his stuffed animal got shredded, but another, much bigger, part said that it was not his place, and, after all, he preferred having the boy there where he could make sure that he was okay than outside on his own.
"It's fine. Meeting a healer seems like a good idea." He accepted Herman as she offered the elephant to him, before wiping away the tears from her eyes quickly, when Aiden came back into the hallway. She crouched down in front of her son, stroking his hair and kissing his cheek.
"I'm going to pick you up again tomorrow, okay? Be nice until then, promise me that."
"I promise, mom," Aiden mumbled, burying his face in the crook of her neck for a moment, before pulling away with a small wave, as she disappeared through the door with a quick thank you.
"Okay, let's see what we can do about Herman's injuries," Draco said, urging the boy back into the kitchen, where Harry had already spread a kitchen towel on the table to put Herman on, as though preparing for some kind of surgery.
A couple of hours later, Aiden was hugging Herman tightly to himself, pressing his face into the light blue fur. The elephant mostly looked like new, except for a few marks beside his ear, where the material had been ripped open. "Look Herman, you got battle scars. Do you want to rest or hunt flobberworms right away?"
Draco had never in his life been so grateful for his skills with sewing charms.
"I think he's up for it, don't you think?" Harry said, putting the towel back on the kitchen counter.
"Yeah," Aiden nodded, practically beaming as he bounded out the kitchen and through the front door. Draco looked at him through the window, smiling to himself as he saw the boy disappear behind one of the peony bushes with Herman under his arm.
"I think you just saved the day," Harry sighed, grinning as he reached out to drag Draco closer to him.
"You're not the only one with hero potential," Draco snorted, and could not help but smirk as the other man rolled his eyes at him. Then he bent down, brushing their lips together briefly, just as Aiden shouted happily outside, forcing him to look out the window again.
"Look! Look! We found one!"
He had never seen anyone look so happy at holding an eight-inch flobberworm in their hand, but Aiden definitely was.
"Fantastic," Harry said, holding a thumbs-up so that the boy could see it through the window.
"You do realise that he's going to bring that inside, right?" Draco muttered, remembering all too well how they had been forced to feed flobberworms back in school.
"I'll just tell him to put it on your side of the bed," Harry grinned, dragging Draco down for another kiss.
A couple of days later, he was sitting at the kitchen table, leafing through the newspaper as Harry prepared breakfast, when he noticed a small article at the bottom of page twenty-seven. It was the title that caught his eye: FALLING GOAL-RING INJURES THREE
"Harry," he mumbled under his breath, quickly scanning the text for a date. "There has been another accident."
"What?" Harry looked up from the frying pan, frowning.
"There has been another accident, this weekend. During a Quidditch game not that far away from here." Draco read the article again, but it did not say much more, other than that one of the goal-rings had suddenly, and unexpectedly, fallen in the middle of the game, injuring the Keeper and two people in the audience.
Harry bit his lip, frowning again."If Burke used the spell on his own broom, then who's behind all the accidents?"
Show me your fears, show me your scars,
I'll take whatever is left of your heart
Give me heaven, give me hell,
All the dreams you try to sell,
I want your fears, your hopes,
The whole kaleidoscope
The Script – Kaleidoscope
Chapter end notes: So that was that. Next up: Hermione and Ron visiting, Drew comes back for a visit, more sex, aaand Quidditch. And...in case the next chapter is the last one – the solution to the mystery as well. Are you excited? I'm terrified, haha.