A/N: So this has been read and reread and reread one last time. I'm pretty sure this looks nothing like it did when I first wrote it, and personally I think it's pretty good. Things will really start to heat up next chapter when they move into their new home, so this chapter is basically about preparing for them to leave and giving more of a background of the story. I hope you guys like it and I promise I won't take so long to update next time. Well… maybe. It depends. I'm also proud of how long this chapter is! 6500+! Yay! That's the most exciting thing that's ever happened to me… well not really. That would be when a friend got David Cook to wish me a happy birthday when they met him during a tour. :) or it could be when I first held DeathlyHallows. That was such a great moment…
So, I won't ramble on anymore. Here's the story you all (hopefully) been waiting for. :)
Harry pulled the coat collar up around his neck against the chilly air, the skies dark, and warning of rain. He pulled his coat tighter around him, hating that the zip was broken, walking into town from his cottage on the outskirts of the small village where he lived, Ottery St. Catchpole. Harry had hardly left his home lately, and was feeling a little insecure at the thought of being around people. He didn't know why Hermione had insisted they meet in the small Muggle village when they could have met at one of their houses just as easily, especially in this weather. A chill ran down his back and Harry shivered, he ran a nervous hand through his hair and felt something wet hit his hand. It had started to rain lightly, turning the air around him into a thin mist.
He fastened his pace, walking into the mostly Muggle community towards the pub he had said he would meet his friends in. Reaching the center of town just as the rain started coming down hard, he ducked under an awning. Spotting the name of the pub just across the street, Harry waited until the main road was clear before darting across the street and into The Stranger, a dingy looking pub between both Ron and Hermione's house and his own. Ron and Hermione were always trying to coax him out of his house and into society, no matter how much Harry tried to persuade him that he was fine they never listened.
Scanning the dark inside of the pub, he spotted them seated in a booth near the back of the pub. Hermione smiled at him and Ron turned around and waved him over. Reaching the table, Harry shrugged off his jacket, sinking into the booth opposite Ron and Hermione. He shivered as the warmth of his jacket left him. Hermione pushed an Abbey Road towards him and he gave her a grateful smile. He dipped his finger into the whipped cream, some of the chocolate shavings sticking to his fingers. He licked it off, wiping his finger off on his jeans; He took a sip of the alcoholic coffee drink and smiled.
"I saw Dean and Lavender the other day Harry. They mentioned that you should visit sometime." Hermione took a sip of the coffee in front of her.
"Oh, yeah, maybe I'll stop by…"
"Harry, you haven't seen them in months, you haven't seen anybody in months." Ron chimed in.
Harry hated these discussions. He was perfectly fine being by himself. It wasn't like he didn't ever go out, he saw Ron and Hermione more than once a week and he always went to dinners on Sundays at the Burrow. He didn't see the problem. He tried to think of something to change to subject…
"I have to marry Draco." The words popped out of his mouth before he even realized he had said anything. Harry could have hit himself. He wanted to tell them, but that was a little blunt.
Ron choked on his beer, spewing it everywhere, "Why?"
Wiping the alcohol from his face, Harry grimaced, "Yeah, my reaction exactly. Williamson, your boss, is trying to get us to investigate an illegal potions ring in Kent. Apparently there's a group trying to finish what Voldemort started. They're killing Muggles slowly by slipping potion into their food, aging their insides until they don't work anymore. According the Williamson we're the only two people, in the entire flipping wizarding world, qualified to do it… he also said he didn't want to send official Ministry employees because, if ask, they have to say that that's what they are. If Draco and I went we wouldn't have to. Isn't that just great? I have to spend the next couple of months with a guy who wants absolutely nothing to do with me."
"But why get married?" Ron asked, shocked.
"Some sort of undercover type thing, he wants us to be able to get in people's homes. Get to know them and what not… I don't know, keep an eye on the area I guess, I only agreed because this sounded really serious. I'm not looking forward to having to pretend to be a happy, loving couple with Draco though…" Harry turned to Hermione, who was calmly sipping her coffee.
"Why aren't you saying anything 'Mione? You can't possibly agree with this?" Ron demanded.
"I already knew, Ronald." Hermione said testily, and then turning to Harry, her expression softened. "I'm sorry Harry, but Williamson has to make official reports on how he responds to cases presented to him and it ended up on my desk at the Ministry. Don't worry Harry; I'm sure it'll be fine. It's not like he can do anything too hurtful, it would ruin the operation…"
Harry didn't blame Hermione, even though he disagreed with her. He was sure Draco could do a lot of damage to his feelings and not cost the mission a damn thing. He wasn't sure he could go through with this.
"I have to tell Williamson I can't do this…" Harry muttered, pulling on a lose thread on the hem of his sleeve.
"Maybe you should accept the job, Harry," Hermione said quietly.
"Why?" Ron asked, staring at her in disbelief. "We're talking about Draco freaking Malfoy. You know, the blonde guy that broke Harry's heart for absolutely no reason? Harry doesn't want to work with him."
"I think you should take it Harry." Hermione said, ignoring Ron completely, "It might help you discover why he left, and who knows, maybe you might get something good out of it. Maybe you'll move on."
Harry sighed, " I have moved on Hermione. I'm perfectly fi—" He cut off there, Hermione was giving him the 'don't-give-me-that-shit look, he changed his opinion right there. He didn't want to upset her, "I suppose. You're right Hermione, maybe this will be a good thing."
Ron dropped his beer bottle to the table, a loud clunk echoing throughout the pub. The room grew quiet for a moment, everyone looking around for the loud noise, finding nothing serious they all went back to their chatter, Ron's face reddened from embarrassment.
"You can do whatever you like Harry, but be careful, this could turn out badly as well. I really don't want him to hurt you again." Harry was no longer surprised when Ron said things like this; it just showed how much he had learned from Hermione over the years.
"I know Ron, trust me, I know."
Hermione cleared her throat and then tried to change the topic of conversation to a more pleasant one. "What are you doing tomorrow Harry?"
"Getting married." Harry deadpanned.
"Yeah, we have to get current pictures of us for the house, which include wedding photos. I'm supposed to be at the Ministry around nine."
"Want me to come? I could maybe help keep the awkward moments to a minimum… plus you're going to need some help dressing yourself. Like that coat for example, when are you going to buy a new one?"
"I like this one Hermione. It's comfortable and warm."
Hermione tisked, "Harry, its ripped and old, you could at least let me fix the zip…" at the shake of Harry's head she sighed and continued, "I'll meet you at your house tomorrow morning, around eight and we'll go through your closet and try to find you something suitable. We'll apparate over to the ministry after that."
"I'm still not sure on this, I'm going to miss important things going on here… and Rosie's birthday is in a few months…"
"Harry, mate, Rosie's birthday is in May. It's August. It's not like you're going across the world, and we can always fire-call you, or portkey there if we need too." Harry knew Ron was right, even if his new look on this surprised him a little. Hermione must have kicked him under the table.
"Why couldn't you guys have said not to go?" Harry complained, then pretended to imitate Hermione, "It's an awful idea Harry! Don't go! Draco could kill you in your sleep!"
"Don't ever mock me like that again."
Harry sighed, "Fine, but if he really does end up murdering me it's on the both of you."
Ron laughed and threw his beer cap at him. "Come on 'Mione, we should be getting home. I'm sure Pansy and Blaise are going crazy." He chuckled, obviously thinking of their misery.
"I still don't get why you named them godparents of Hugo. They aren't even together, and with Pansy married to Theo…"
"They're our friends and they're great with Hugo. We don't really know Theo all that well so Pansy got stuck with Blaise." Hermione smiled.
"Yeah, yeah… I just hope you guys aren't planning on dying anytime soon. I doubt Theo, Baise, or Pansy would be able to deal with that."
"You are so pessimistic." Hermione chided as she stood, pulling her coat on over her dress and grabbing her purse, "I'll see you tomorrow alright?"
Hermione leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
"Yeah, see you tomorrow Hermione… Bye, Ron." Harry smiled and waved as they both left. After they had both walked out the door Harry ordered something a bit stronger from the bar. He needed it after the day he had.
Leo was sleeping when Draco got home from Pansy and Theo's, but that wasn't something new to Draco. He was used to seeing Leo asleep at odd hours of the day and night due to his partying. He noticed glitter around his eyes and sprinkled in his hair and shivered, he was glad that he hadn't gone with him to somewhere so tacky.
Draco didn't bother with being quiet; he honestly didn't care if he woke Leo up or not. He would be angry with Draco either way. He was sure that Leo would throw a hissy fit over Draco taking this job, but he had changed a lot after the war and he wanted to help people. He attributed a lot of that to Harry though.
He threw his coat onto the floor and went to his closet, pulling out clothing and folding it neatly into a suitcase he found at the bottom of his closet. He heard Leo stir just as he was clicking the case shut, his voice ragged with sleep he asked, "Where are you going?"
"Head Auror Williamson asked me to take on a job working for him. I'm going to be gone for a few months."
"Yeah? Alright then." Draco was shocked at Leo's uncaring attitude and just a bit hurt, though he wouldn't admit it.
"I'm also getting married to Harry Potter." Draco said, almost spitefully.
"Good for you." Leo turned over closing his eyes, looking as though he was about to drift back to sleep.
"You don't care?" Draco was pissed now.
"You knew what this relationship was when we started it, nothing more than a sure fuck every night. I don't care what you do, especially not for some job. I'll see you in a few months when you get back."
Draco stuttered indignantly and then decided to drop it. He didn't really care either.
Hermione tisked as she went through Harry's closet. "You don't have a single nice thing to wear… What are we supposed to put you in when the nicest thing in your closet is a ratty cardigan?"
Harry groaned and smashed his face into the pillow on his bed. Hermione had spent the past twenty minutes searching through his closet, tisking at the lack of suitable clothing. Sometime within that twenty minutes Harry wondered if she still talked to Draco because she was starting to sound just like him. Harry smiled to himself, he knew how to get Hermione off his back about his lack of decent clothing. "Try Draco's closet 'Mione, he left some stuff. Some of it might fit."
Harry looked up from his pillow just in time to see Hermione's shocked face. He snickered into the fluffy pillow, the one that had long lost its smell of Draco, and gestured to the closet on the other side of the room.
Draco hadn't left a lot of his clothing when he left, but what he did leave was enough to tide Hermione over for now. Harry knew that most of it would fit him because Draco had always insisted that Harry wore his clothes when they went out. Harry didn't mind and he had just let Draco have his fun. He could still remember the way his face lit up when he had finally finished; proud of the way he had made Harry look. Draco had always looked at Harry were the most gorgeous man on earth, and Harry blushed at the thought; it coincided perfectly with the pang in his chest when he thought of the way Draco would smile at him.
Harry sighed and watched as Hermione sifted through Draco's things, pulling out random articles of clothing and throwing them at Harry. They fell off him as he sat up and scowled at Hermione. She smiled at him and tossed a few more things his way.
Harry heaved the suitcase up onto the bed, stuffing Draco's clothes inside.
"Wait, Harry you have to try those on!"
"If we try them all on we'll be hours late and Williamson will roast my backside. Are you almost finished? We have to be there soon."
Harry checked the time on the watch Mrs. Weasley had sent him for his seventeenth birthday many years ago. It was half past eight and Harry still didn't have anything to wear for the wedding photos. Everything Hermione had chucked at him was casual, sweaters and solid colored button ups. He groaned and went to stand next to Hermione, peering into the closet. "You seriously can't find anything in there that I could wear for a wedding photo? Draco left tons of nice things in there."
"Harry, you really don't have any faith in me at all do you? I floo-called Williamson last night, he's having custom outfits made to my specific instructions. They'll be ready for us when we arrive at the Ministry. Trust me."
Harry wasn't surprised, Hermione tended to act like this when she was particularly nervous about something. She would obsess over it and plan it down to the littlest detail. She probably had matching rings with inscriptions made up and ready to hand over to them.
"I have the rings too Harry. You don't have to worry about a thing. I talked it over with Williamson for over an hour last night, planning everything to the last detail. By the way, you're not opposed to inscriptions are you? I did that part myself; I didn't want anyone messing anything up. If you're going to do this you might as well go the whole way right?"
Harry almost face-palmed but he didn't want to insult Hermione after she had probably stayed up half the night trying to make this as painless as possible.
"Thanks Hermione. You're the best."
Hermione beamed and Harry wondered exactly how much sleep Ron got last night with Hermione wondering the house.
"We had better leave soon; we've only got fifteen minutes until we're supposed to be sitting in Williamson's office."
Harry put the last couple of things she tossed at him into the suitcase and shrunk it. He hoped that Draco wouldn't notice that Harry was wearing some of his old clothes. That would lead to endless amounts of awkwardness that Harry was sure that he didn't need, especially not today.
Harry stuffed the small trunk into his pocket and followed Hermione to his fireplace. She made a fire and then took the floo-pot off the mantle and shoved it at Harry, almost spilling powder onto the carpet.
Harry smiled at her and took a pinch of powder, remembering to speak very clearly he shouted, "Ministry of Magic, Williamson's Office."
Harry had always hated traveling by floo, ever since his first time in second year with the Weasleys. It wasn't even landing in the wrong place that had made him hate it, it was the sick sensation he always felt when the flames swirled around him. He always left the floo feeling a little sick to his stomach and today was no different. He stumbled out of the fireplace in Williamson's office, one hand clutching his stomach and the other over his mouth. Today's trip seemed to leave him even worse off and he quickly excused himself to the nearest restroom, not even bothering to note who he was excusing himself to.
Harry heard the whoosh of the floo, Hermione stumbling in herself, just as the door shut behind Harry. Running to the nearest bathroom Harry tried not to get sick until he had locked himself in a stall.
Draco watched Harry run out of the room with nervous eyes. He remembered that Harry got floo-sick occasionally, but it had never sent him running to the toilet like that... He wasn't worried though, he was done worrying about Harry bloody Potter. That was someone else's job now. He focused back in on the fireplace just as Hermione stumbled through. He heard the door slam behind him and Hermione straightened up, attempting to smooth her hair back into the loose pony tail she had at the nape of her neck.
"Where's Harry?" She ask him, looking around the room as if Potter would jump out at her from behind Williamson's desk shouting 'surprise!', what an idiot. Draco was glad he had stopped hanging out with the wrong sort; he had made the right decision. He was much better off now that he didn't have to listen to Hermione's thoughts on elfish welfare and Ronald's whining after he had beaten him at chess.
"He was looking a little green when he came through and he left for the toilet I believe…" Williamson answered her question when it was obvious that Draco wasn't about to do so.
"Oh, I always forget that he gets floo-sick. I should have remembered and gave him a potion I found in Diagon Alley. Did you know they make potions for floo-sickness? Isn't that the strangest thing? I didn't know that many people got sick while flooing… odd isn't it?" She was rambling now, obviously trying to dispel the tension, which would only grow thicker as Potter entered the room again, looking slightly less green.
"Oh, Harry! How are you feeling? You didn't get sick did you? I hope not, everyone's here but the photographer now, so we should be able to start any minute." Hermione coddled him, smoothing his hair off his forehead.
Draco grimaced at the sight of Harry, he looked absolutely horrible. It was deeper than just getting floo-sick though, there were dark rings under his eyes that looked like they had permanently been etched into his skin, his face looked worn and sad, frown lines buried deep into his skin. His thin body looked sad and droopy under the clothes that were much too large. Draco recognized them from when they had been a couple, noting that they had fit then. Harry had been very fit and well defined, even though he wasn't muscular, now he just looked like the sad and malnourished eleven year old boy he had met years ago.
Of course he wasn't hideous. Harry could never be ugly; he just didn't look like he had eaten or slept properly in a very long time. This almost made Draco feel guilty until he remembered just exactly why he had left Harry. He steeled his shoulders and told himself that he deserved it. He would never feel sorry for him because what he had done to him was worse than just a little sleep loss. Draco thought that maybe Harry had just done it for show, maybe to get Draco to feel sorry for him. Well, it wasn't working and it never would. He would never feel sorry for Potter again, it wasn't his area anymore.
Williamson cleared his throat and gestured for them to sit down. Draco took the seat in between Harry and Hermione, right in front of Williamson, who began talking, "So, glad you're all here on time. Mrs. Weasley has been helping me out with planning this entire thing, having made quite a few helpful suggestions that we're going to implement today." He smiled at her, but it was the smile of a man who had been kept up all night listening to her ramblings, he almost felt sorry for him, "First off, before the photographer gets here, you're both going under cover so therefor Harry, you're going to have to hide your scar and take Draco's last name. We can't have people recognizing you. Draco's name isn't well known in the Kent area so you'll be fine with that. Also, you'll both be pretending to work. Harry, you're going to take the guise of a freelance journalist. That will give you plenty of openings to ask questions, under the ruse of a journalist's inquisitive nature. Draco, you are going to be an architect. That could get you into several homes as well. Many people like having friends like that, so they can help with any improvements they're doing, remodeling and such. You're sure to find useful information that way, even though you're both no likely to be invited into the criminal's home, you're sure to get useful information out of the neighbors. Mostly I just want you keeping an eye out for anything suspicious, anything you think might be useful you're to floo call me right away. I'm sure you'll both do a great job."
As if on cue, at the end of Williamson's speech a short man with sandy blonde and a scruffy beard walked in the room, smiling at Williamson as he caught his eye. Draco's bad mood from the assignment rolled over and Draco decided that he disliked the man instantly, from his cut-off jeans to his bright orange and red hawaiian shirt, Draco couldn't stand him. His hands were wrapped around a black bag that Draco assumed held the camera. He scowled at the photographer as he leaned up against the wall of Williamson's office. "Everyone this is Ace. He's the photographer."
Ace nodded in hello to nobody in particular, but when he caught Harry's eye he gave a wink and smiled at him. Draco's glare intensified. "Hey, guys, I'm assuming these two are the lovely couple?" He gestured between Hermione and Draco.
"You know what they say about people who assume things…" Draco's eyes narrowed.
"Sorry, mate. It's you and this fella then?" he gestured at Harry.
"Yes." Draco answered stiffly.
"Alright, sorry again mate, I didn't mean to cause any hurt feelings."
Draco cringed as he thought to himself that that was a good thing because there were already enough in the room to begin with.
"Where do you want to start?"
Hermione spoke up then, "I was thinking we could start with the wedding photos. I was thinking on the edge of a forest, Harry and Draco never seemed like the type that would go with a traditional styled wedding." Hermione smiled at that and looked at Williamson pointedly.
He jumped out of his chair and turned around, opening the door to a coat closet behind his desk, and pulling out two identical black cover bags. Draco grimaced when he realized that those must be the wedding suits. Hermione beamed and took the offered bags, holding onto the hanger poking out and folding them over her arm. "The bags are labeled. I'm going to stay here and work on some paper work; I'll see you all when you're finished. Good luck." Williamson smiled nervously at them and then shooed them out of his office.
Hermione dug around in her bag, the edge almost at her elbow before Draco realized it had to have an extending charm on it. She pulled out a scarf, striped scarlet and gold. "Everybody grab hold of the scarf, it's a portkey."
Draco placed a finger on the very edge of the scarf, next the Harry's finger and thumb, clutching desperately to it, his fingers going white. Draco chuckled, Harry really didn't like anyway of travel other than by broom. They all made him feel sick. Draco smirked and then felt the familiar tugging sensation from his navel.
They landed on the outskirts of a forest, the trees reaching higher than Draco could see no matter how far back he tilted his head. He heard the rushing of water behind him and he turned around to find them standing on a beach as well, a cliff-face just to the left. Draco felt a bit of sea spray hit his face and he sighed, it had been ages since he had seen any large body of water and he had forgotten how good it felt to stand next to one, feet sinking in the sand… wait.
Draco looked down and noticed he was no longer wearing any shoes. He wiggled his toes in the cool, shaded sand and looked around. His eyes caught a smirking Hermione, holding onto just one cover bag now, looking at him. He glared at her and stomped across the sand, which made it hard to look angry due to him slipping and sliding everywhere. He snatched the bag from Hermione and turned around, realizing he didn't know where he was supposed to change. He caught sight of Harry from behind a tree, so he followed his example and stalked to a rather large tree, ducking behind it he made sure nobody could see him and then he pulled out his suit.
It really was beautiful and he was shocked at how good a quality it was. He quickly stripped down to his underwear and pulled on the dark gray trouser pants, pulling the zip up and snapping the button, he moved on to the shirt. It was just a regular white button down, but it fit him perfectly. He buttoned it up and then shrugged on the light gray colored vest, buttoning it and then flipping up the collar on his shirt for the matching gray tie. He pulled out the boutonnière and pinned it on his breast pocket. Draco ran a hand over his hair, making sure nothing had been messed up in the process, and came out from behind the tree, coming face to face with Harry.
Harry was dressed similarly to Draco but instead of a tie he had a bowtie around his neck, untied, and a pocket square tucked into his breast pocket where Draco's boutonnière was settled on his own vest. Harry gave him a nervous smile and they walked back towards Hermione who was talking to the photographer, gesturing wildly.
"Harry! You're hopeless." Draco watched as Hermione rolled her eyes and went to tie Harry's bowtie.
The photographer fiddled with his camera until Hermione had backed away from Harry and motioned for them to get started. The photographer, Ace Draco reminded himself, motioned for them to get together just where the forest met the sandy beach.
"Wait! I forgot to give you the rings!" Hermione shouted fumbling inside her bag. She pulled out a ring box and strode over to the two men, grabbing their left hands one at a time and shoving a shining silver band onto each of their fingers. The rings were simple enough, a small diamond embedded in the band, surrounded by sparking emeralds and rubies. Draco smirked a bit at the jewel choices and raised his eyebrow at Hermione, who scowled back.
She motioned for them to carry on and Harry and Draco both awkwardly scooted near each other. Draco went to wrap and arm around Harry's waist, feeling Harry mimic him. Ace snapped his camera a few times and then lowered it, frowning. "I can't do much if they're going to act so stiff. I might not know all of what's going on, but I do know that if these pictures are supposed to fool people, the only person you'll be fooling is a blind man. Maybe... Now can we get some love up in here? Or am I going to have to force you into it?"
Draco felt Harry sigh and relax into his side. Draco then made a good effort to match the comfort that Harry was giving off. He obviously wasn't doing a good enough job because Hermione gave an impatient groan and stalked towards them. Grabbing him roughly by the shoulders she pulled him away from everyone else, leaving everyone but her confused.
"As much as I would love to Weasley, I'm not really interested in the type of bits you've got…"
"Dear God, Draco cut the shit." Hermione rolled her eyes, and Draco smirked, he would never get used to the fact that she cussed, "I don't know what happened between the two of you, but for the sake of everyone else put your feelings aside and do what will help the people who are slowly being tortured into an early grave… I don't care if you hate Harry now, that isn't what this is about. So start pretending like you at least care for him and make this work."
Draco remembered thinking a fleeting 'She's scary when she's pissed' before being yanked back over to a still confused Harry. "What was that all ab—"
"Not for you to worry about Harry. Now let's keep going." She smiled at him and then proceeded to rearrange the boys the way she wanted them.
Draco had his arms wrapped around Harry's waist, his fingers linked together at the small of Harry's back. One of Harry's arms was draped around his neck and the other came to rest on his chest, the heat from Harry's hand running through-out his body. "That's great! Now stair into each other's eyes, yeah?" Draco heard Ace shout from a short distance away.
Draco turned his gaze to meet Harry's, remembering to focus on making this believable. His eyes locked with Harry's startling green ones and just for a fleeting second he couldn't remember why he had left him. The sound of the camera startled him out of it only a second later and Draco decided that the snap happy photographer was quickly becoming a thorn in his side.
"That's going to be a great one!" Ace shouted, sounding surprised.
Draco bit back a snappy comeback and looked over to see a strange look on Hermione's face before it disappeared completely. "That was great now I was thinking we could get a couple of you dancing. All the couples love doing that. I was thinking with the ocean in the background, how's that sound?"
Draco thought it sounded tedious, but made his way over to the spot Ace was pointing at, walking beside an oddly quiet Harry Potter. It was strange that he hadn't said more than a few words the entire time. Draco shook off any lingering thoughts of Harry and proceeded to fall into a dancing pose he had learned at a young age, the same dance he had taught Harry before Hermione and Ronald's wedding. Harry froze for a second and Draco thought he saw something painful flash in his eyes but it was gone the next second and Draco was left wondered if he had seen anything at all.
He grasped Harry just a bit more firmly than he needed to and began to slowly move, Harry following his footsteps just a bit less refined than Draco's steps. He took a moment to revel in being such a good teacher and smiled at Harry. Once again the shutter of the camera startled him and he realized where he was. "Good, good, now let's get one of you kissing."
"What?" Draco stuttered, feeling Harry tense beside him, "I'm not doing that."
"Draco, stop being a baby, you've done it before. Just kiss him, everyone takes a photo kissing after they get married, Ron and I have ours on our bedside table."
"Yeah, but we're not you and Ronald. We're not even a proper couple."
"Honestly, just do it and be done with it. It's not going to kill you."
Draco sighed and turned towards Harry, shocked to find his bright green eyes startlingly damp. He couldn't for the life of him figure out why though, so he ignored it and wrapped his arms around Harry like he had when they had been together, one hand tangled in Harry's messy hair and the other pressed against the small of his back. Harry's hands seemed to find purchase in their usual place too, hanging loosely around Draco's neck. He leaned in, and for the first time in over a year, pressed his lips against Harry's soft ones. The kiss was chaste and they broke apart only seconds later, but Draco couldn't help but think of how much he missed doing that.
"That was great guys, these are really looking good. Now let's just get a close-up of the rings and then we can move on." Ace looked slightly uncomfortable, as if he didn't watch people kiss for a living.
Ace walked up to them and instructed them on how to hold their hands so that both rings showed. He took a couple pictures and then they were dragged away by Hermione and another portkey. He didn't have time to think about what had just happened because they had already landed in what looked like a park, and as he looked around he decided it was definitely Muggle and he frowned, wondering what they were doing there.
"Now, go over there into the restroom and change into something else you brought, anything you feel comfortable in. We're going to take some more current looking ones. The ones you both sent in were good, but Draco, your hair was longer than it is now and Harry's still wearing his old glasses instead of the new ones." Hermione shooed them off towards the restroom and Draco glanced at Harry, briefly catching the surprised look on his face.
He pushed open the door, not bothering to hold it for Harry, and grimaced at the grime that surrounded him. The place was filthy but looked as though it had just been cleaned. Draco wasn't sure he wanted to know how that was even possible so he just gave a disgusted shiver and locked himself in a stall. He changed into one of the more casual outfits he had brought with him and moved to get out of there as quickly as possible. He made it back out into the sunshine before Harry, but he didn't have to wait long.
Harry came out of the restroom looking extremely uncomfortable in something that looked strangely familiar. He had left the white button up on and pulled a navy sweater on over it, changing into a pair of jeans Draco remembered vaguely from the few things he had bought Harry when they had been together. This outfit was scarily close to the black button up under a gray and back striped sweater he had put on not moments ago. Which was strange, Harry was never really the person the buy that kind of thing for himself.
Draco brushed it aside as Hermione called them over, sitting then on a park bench. She fiddled with her hair, pulling her low pony tail around to the front and twisting her curls around her finger. Draco sat down next to Harry and tried to look as comfortable as possible for the next few minutes, while Ace snapped like crazy from all sorts of angles, even going so far as to take one from behind, getting the teenage kids not far off, playing soccer in the background.
Many poses and locations later, they all ended up back in Williamson's office. Ace told Williamson he could have the pictures to him in a couple of days, he left then and as he was walking out the door he gave a shout of farewell to nobody in particular, shutting the door behind him.
"Well then, I suppose that went well judging by how fast you returned… The next couple of days should be spent learning about the Muggle world. You'll both be living as Muggles so it's best to get yourself acquainted with things Muggles are used to in their everyday lives so as not to rouse suspicion. You especially Draco, you'll need to really crack down seeing as you didn't grow up in the Muggle world like Harry. There are several books you can easily find in Diagon Alley on Muggles, and I would suggest that you both learn about popular culture, such as trendy musical artists and films."
Draco was almost insulted. He knew a lot about the Muggle world thanks to Harry. They had gone out to see films or out to dinner many times. He had a basic idea of how things worked. Of course he would still need to brush up on some things. He made a plan to visit Diagon Alley within a day or so, ignoring the rest of Williamson's rambling speech about Muggle ways. He tuned back in when he heard him mention when they were supposed to meet back.
"…next week, I'll owl you a specific date but we're probably looking around Wednesday morning. Bring whatever you want but remember the only things you'll need to bring with you are personal items such as clothing or a special brand of shampoo… anything else will be provided for you." He smiled and fiddled with his fingers, a nervous habit Draco had never really known him to be without.
Both men nodded at Williamson and stood to leave, "One more thing… This is a very important assignment and I would be grateful if you two could put your differences aside and work together on this."
Harry gave a small "Yes, sir.", while Draco simply nodded again. He left quickly, before Harry and Hermione could get to the floo, and shouted his address. He couldn't wait to get home and away from Potter.