Harry realised he needed help. He could not just go and see Draco and apologise. He would be lucky to make it out of the room with his balls intact. And Draco's note had not encouraged contact.
Normally, Harry would go to see Hermione. However, in this case he realised she might not be the best authority. For one, it would be awkward enough to explain his interest in Draco Malfoy after assuring her he was not obsessed. Harry preferred to tackle that beast if and when it might be an actual possibility again. Also, Hermione was not exactly an authority on romance, having spent seven years not-so-stealthily tracking Ron Weasley and then locking him up tightly.
Additionally, Harry knew he would have to think outside the box for this one. It would not be an easy task to win back the irritated Slytherin. What Harry needed was a Ravenclaw.
Harry pulled the cloak more closely around himself and huddled close to his companion. It was not raining at the moment, but it had been doing so fitfully throughout the day and he expected it to start again at any time. Additionally, it was cold. He tried to control his breathing in order to avoid making steam clouds.
The Knight Bus stopped before Harry's fingers grew numb, but no Draco Malfoy hopped out to greet him. Harry's companion stepped aboard the bus and he quickly crowded on behind her, careful not to step on the hem of her dark purple cloak.
"Welcome aboard the Knight Bus," Zabini said in a bored tone, "the world's best transportation option for a stranded witch or wizard. Where will it be, madam? Destination address?"
"I will let you know when I decide where I am going," she replied.
Zabini craned his neck to look at her sharply, but her features were hidden in the folds of her hood. She reached out a hand and dropped the fare into Zabini's outstretched palm.
Zabini shrugged. "Whatever. As long as you figure it out before my shift ends."
"Is Draco Malfoy aboard?" she asked.
"Upstairs," Zabini replied with another narrow stare, but he must have decided she was not much of a threat. He turned back to the windscreen and shifted the bus into gear.
"Third level," Harry murmured and followed her up the stairs.
Draco was in his usual place, forehead resting against the glass. His breath fogged the pane with each slow exhalation.
The blond head lifted and a surprised look flitted across Draco's features. "Luna. I haven't seen you since... Well. It has been a long time. Hello."
"Since the war, yes. You haven't accepted any of my invitations."
Draco looked away. "It would have been awkward."
"I understand." She moved closer and looked out the window for a moment, as if sharing Draco's view. A Muggle neighbourhood flew by in a blur of multi-coloured lights. She smiled at him. "I am here to bring you a petition."
"A petition. A Formal Petition of Apology."
Draco's brow furrowed. "A formal petition? From whom?"
Harry shook the invisibility cloak from his shoulders and let it fall. "From me."
Draco turned and looked at him and then snapped his attention back to the window. "I am not interested."
"He is fully prepared to offer everything. Magical binding, gifts, formal declarations, and whatever else you require," Luna said.
"Gifts?" Draco asked, turning to look at her.
She nodded. "He's brought the first one, should you agree to his terms."
Draco glanced again at Harry and then back at Luna. "Formal declarations? In the Daily Prophet?"
"I have a number of drafts for your approval. We will send whichever you like to whatever publications you choose. I would hope that you will include the Quibbler, of course, but the choice is yours."
Luna removed several scrolls from her robes and handed them to Draco. For the first time, Harry felt a sliver of hope. He had half-expected Draco to send him away, unacknowledged and despised.
"What gift?" Draco asked without opening the scrolls.
Harry felt a flicker of nervousness, but he forced it down and stepped forward. He pulled the small box from his pocket and held it out. Draco made no move to take it and Harry's heart thudded in his chest, feeling the sting of rejection until Luna took the box and opened it.
The small sphere was nearly invisible in the muted light.
"What is it?" Draco asked.
"A Suitor Sphere," Harry replied. "It's something like a Sneak-o-scope, except that instead of detecting enemies it detects..."
Draco lifted out the crystalline globe, which burst into brilliant lavender light.
"...the presence of someone who desires you," Luna finished.
Draco stared at the glowing circle for a moment and then a familiar smile curved his lips. "Well, then. It won't ever go out, will it?"
"Not while Harry is nearby," Luna said.
Draco's smile faded and he dropped the sphere back into the box and shut it with a snap. Harry blinked in the sudden darkness.
"I accept the terms of the petition," he said. "Now get him out of here before I kill him."
Luna turned and took Harry's arm.
"Wait -" Harry tried to shake off Luna's grip.
"I think he's serious, Harry. Give him some time while we work on your next gift. The first one was promising, don't you think?"
With one last beseeching look at Draco, Harry snatched up his cloak and allowed Luna to drag him downstairs. Luna tugged him from the bus at the next stop and Disapparated them back to Grimmauld Place.
"This is a very old ritual, Harry. He will know if you are not sincere."
"But I am sincere!"
"Then it should be simple, but you have to be patient."
Harry sat back in his chair with a sigh of frustration. Patience was one thing he had never quite learned.
"It's been a week!"
She threw him an amused look and her earrings bobbed and waved their tentacles. They were blue squids today, or octopi; Harry wasn't sure what was the difference.
"Very well, I suppose you can arrange a meeting for his next gift. Typically, the first meeting isn't for two weeks, but he might be willing to forgive you more quickly than normal. He hasn't objected to any of our requests so far. I think he likes you."
Two weeks? Harry could barely believe he had withstood even a week of the agonizing process. First there were the cryptic notices posted in the papers, such as the one that read I, HJP, hereby extend a heartfelt apology to DLACM and hope that my momentary lapse in judgement will one day be forgiven. That one, of course, had perplexed many people but not Hermione Granger, who had appeared in Harry's office later that day demanding an explanation.
"Wait, he likes me? What makes you say that? I haven't heard a single thing from him since he threatened to kill me."
"He didn't mean it, Harry. I am sure he was still hurt, which is the very reason for all of this. I think the fact that he hasn't returned a single one of your gifts is promising, don't you?"
Harry gnawed his lip to refrain from speaking. He thought it far more likely that Draco hadn't returned any of his gifts because Harry had spent a ridiculous fortune on them, from the Balinese singing wind chimes to the chess set made of hand-carved malachite with silver inlay.
"All right, then. We will request a meeting. Do you prefer a public place or somewhere more private, such as his residence?"
"Please, nowhere public," Harry begged. He had already received far too much mail from disgruntled persons who had figured it out nearly as quickly as Hermione.
"Very well. You might want to make the next gift something special, in case he accepts."
Something special. Harry wondered if a looping photograph of Ron Weasley's horrified reaction upon hearing of Harry's crush on Draco would be acceptable. Despite himself, he grinned at the memory.
Luna reached over and patted Harry's hand. "I'll draft the letter now."
Harry knocked on Malfoy's door and tried not to remember the last time he had stood here, an impossible task when it opened to reveal Zacharias Smith. He was fully clothed this time, thank Merlin, and frowned when he saw Harry.
"Potter," he said in a wary tone.
Harry glared at him and clenched his teeth on a number of unfriendly responses, deciding it might be best to go the "nothing at all" route, although he did consider punching Smith as an alternative to speaking.
A throat-clearing sound caused both Harry and Smith to glance around. Blaise Zabini stood at the end of the hall, arms akimbo, his eyes fixed on Smith, who turned back to Harry without looking at him.
"Ah. Potter. Sorry about my little joke before. I didn't realize you and Malfoy were... I didn't know. It was a just a joke."
"Funny," Harry commented, but his gaze shifted to Zabini with a raised eyebrow.
Zabini walked towards them and reached up to fluff Smith's blond hair. "Good boy, Zach. Now go to my room and wait for your reward."
Smith's blue eyes flashed. "I'm not your dog," he muttered, but he turned and disappeared down the hall. Zabini watched him go with what could only be fondness.
"He can be adorable when he's not being a complete shit," Zabini commented.
"I'll take your word for it," Harry replied.
"Draco is in the kitchen," Zabini said. "You know where it is. Good luck, Potter." With that, he hurried after Smith, so Harry steeled himself and headed for the kitchen.
Draco stood with his back to Harry. He was busy with something on the counter that Harry couldn't see.
"Hi," Harry said while he drank in the sight of Draco's arse clad in pale grey trousers. He quickly looked up when Draco turned around, cheeks going pink as he hoped he hadn't been caught ogling.
Harry winced. He hadn't been hoping for a warm greeting, exactly, but the single surname did not seem especially promising.
"Would you like some tea?" Draco asked in a bland tone that gave Harry no additional hope.
"No. I just came to... Um." Harry combed a frustrated hand through his hair. "Why am I doing this?" he muttered to himself.
Draco lifted a brow. "Indeed. Why are you doing this? While I have been reluctantly impressed with your tenacity, I cannot fathom your motives."
Harry blinked at him. "My motives? You can't be serious. My motives should be the most obvious bloody thing in the world." He walked closer until he stood directly before Draco, who held his teacup between them like a barrier.
"If you wanted to apologise, there are simpler ways."
"I thought of quite a few simpler ways, but I didn't think you would let me get close enough to try them out," Harry admitted.
"You're close right now."
Harry did not think the husky-rough sound of Draco's voice was a mistake, so he screwed up his courage and closed the distance between them. He leaned close and was rewarded with the sight of Draco's eyes going wide and dark. His lips parted, as if in anticipation of Harry's kiss.
A heady rush exploded through Harry's veins, but instead of taking the expected route, he lowered himself slowly to his knees without taking his eyes from Draco's.
"Well, first I thought I might start here," Harry said and pressed his lips to the slight bulge beneath Draco's fly. To his delight, it began to grow and he moved his mouth upwards, opening it to trace the curving edges.
"That's... a very good place to start." Draco's voice sounded even huskier, a sexy rasp. Harry closed his eyes and heard the teacup rattle against the countertop. "I am curious to see where you plan to go from there."
With a wicked grin and a quickening of his pulse from the encouragement, he brought his fingers up to tease at the buttons of Malfoy's trousers. He popped two of them, not ceasing his nuzzling movements. He felt one of Malfoy's hands slip into his hair, both caressing and anchoring him in place.
The third button pulled free of its confining hole and then Harry heard a sharp exclamation.
"For the love of Slytherin, don't you have a bedroom? Some of us would like to grab a snack without being traumatised for life." Zabini's voice sounded far more horrified than Harry would have expected. Harry buried his face in the curve of Draco's hip, hoping to hide his burning cheeks.
Draco snorted. "A snack, really? More likely some jam to smear all over Smith so you can lick it off, although that is an image I can do without."
"Exactly. I feel the same way about watching Potter do the same to you, so if you please..."
"Your closet prudishness never ceases to amaze me, Blaise. Hang on, Harry." Draco's hand tightened in Harry's hair and then he felt a slight jolt as they Apparated. "I hope the change of venue meets with your approval."
Harry's quick glance took in the bedroom in which he had once awakened. A flare of purple light burst from the dressing table. Harry smiled when he saw the Suitor Sphere there, gleaming brightly from the force of Harry's desire. He nodded. "Very much so," he said and returned to his task of extracting Draco from his trousers.
"And apparently your gift works."
"Indeed. It's unlikely anyone wants you more than I do. Not that your ego needs additional fodder."
Draco wasn't wearing shoes, so his trousers pooled around his ankles and he stepped neatly out of the confinement. His cock strained at the surprising pants Draco wore - pale blue boxers printed with flying white owls.
"Interesting undergarments," Harry commented with a grin.
"I would have chosen something more predictable if I had known you were coming."
"I admit that I rather like your unpredictability," Harry admitted and kissed Draco's shaft through the material. The owls fluttered out of the way of Harry's lips and gathered near Draco's hipbones. "Perhaps we should take these off? I seem to be alarming your owls."
"You are full of good ideas today, aren't you?"
"I have my moments." Harry hooked his fingers into the waistband of the pants only to find they were tied with a black silk ribbon. Harry sought for the bow and spared a brief thought that it was far sexier than elastic, for a certainty. The ribbon was tied at the small of Draco's back and Harry pulled the laces while pressing open-mouthed kisses to Draco's cock, licking at the growing wet spot on the fabric and adding to it with his own saliva.
Draco's breathing was becoming erratic and Harry hadn't even uncovered him. Harry's cock strained painfully at his jeans and he wondered if he should spare a moment to free it, but then Draco's pants loosened and uncovered the head of Draco's amazing cock.
"Oh," Harry said on a breath and took in his first sight of it, feeling as if he had just opened a Christmas parcel. "There you are."
Before Draco could comment, Harry licked the glistening drop at the head of Draco's cock, earning a throaty groan and the swift tightening of Draco's fingers in his hair. He licked it again, more firmly, and then wrapped his lips around it, sucking gently whilst teasing the crown with his tongue.
"Fuck." The word was nearly inaudible and Harry chanced a glance upwards, to see that Draco had his head thrown back, exposing the line of his throat. It was a beautiful sight and the white button-down shirt made him seem almost debauched.
Harry would have made a sardonic quip, but his mouth was busy and he didn't want to pull away from Draco's cock, so he simply hummed in agreement and continued his motions, taking it deeper inch by slow inch. He relaxed his throat when he got near the base and shoved forward until his nose was nearly buried in blonde curls. His fingers curved around Draco's bare arse.
"You bastard, you've done this before," Draco growled.
Harry only hummed again and pulled nearly away before taking him deeply once more. He may have experimented a time or two on Muggles, but he had never taken as much pleasure in the task as he currently felt. Harry's previous sexual encounters seemed more like research; this was personal.
He glanced up and met Draco's eyes, letting the heat of his passion show in his stare. It seemed to do the trick; Draco bit his lip after uttering another oath, but that might have been in response to Harry's tongue working that manoeuvre... there. The second attempt earned a strangled cry and Harry restrained a pleased chuckle. He had to hand it to Hermione; on occasion, research really paid off.
"Fucking brilliant," Draco said and jerked his hips forward, ramming the back of Harry's throat until he clenched his fingers in Draco's hipbones to halt that nonsense. Harry pulled away completely and then shoved hard. Draco stumbled back and fell upon the bed with a surprised bark of sound.
Before he could speak, Harry was on him, crouched between his legs and holding him in place with firm pressure on his thighs. He swallowed Draco's cock once more and then gentled his grip and slid his hands up and down the trembling muscles, appreciating the feel of the taut flesh beneath his hands.
Harry's movements became quicker as Draco's breathing grew louder and more ragged, interspersed with whimpers and broken curses. His fingers alternately trembled and clenched in Harry's hair. Harry's jaw ached and he knew his lips would be red and raw when he finished, but he did not relent until Draco shouted aloud.
Bitter, hot fluid filled the back of Harry's mouth and he swallowed quickly to avoid gagging, still pumping gently until the quivering of Draco's body diminished.
"So." Harry lifted his head to look at Draco languidly. "Have you decided to accept my apology?"
Draco patted Harry's head weakly without raising his head from the bed. Harry suspected he didn't have the energy to do so; he lay like a limp rag, unmoving but for the hand half-tangled in Harry's hair. "I don't know, Potter." His voice was rough and to Harry's delight he sounded completely blissed out. "That was a pretty grievous insult."
"You called me Harry before."
"It is easier to think of you as Harry when my cock is halfway down your throat."
Harry bit him, sinking his teeth into the soft flesh of Draco's right thigh. The hand swiftly clenched in Harry's hair and pulled him up, finally lifting his head to meet Harry's eyes.
Draco's expression was amused. "I didn't know you were a biter. Harry." His voice was soft and seductive and Harry remembered that his cock was still hard and aching.
"I'll bite you anywhere and everywhere you like," Harry promised. He ignored the hand in his hair and pressed a kiss to the spot he'd bitten. Draco's fingers relaxed and Harry's tongue flicked over it. Draco drew a shaky breath and Harry decided he would bite and lick the rest of Draco as soon as he'd recovered a bit more. "And I am sorry for believing that you could ever do anything with Smith. Frankly, I can hardly fathom anyone with Smith, so I should have known he was lying, but seeing him nearly naked with Zabini..."
Draco snorted. "I was rather amazed when Blaise brought him home that first time. I thought it would be a one-off, but I think it's progressed. Smith is almost not an arse at rare times. Blaise seems to have him quite firmly wrapped around his wand."
Harry snickered at the innuendo. "Well, for what it's worth, I suppose I was a bit jealous, which is why I reacted the way I did."
Draco cupped Harry's jaw for a moment and then squeezed slightly too-painfully and dragged Harry upwards until he was close enough to plant a bruising kiss on his mouth. Harry reflected that one way or another, interacting with Draco Malfoy always led to bruises. He much preferred getting them this way, however.
"What shall we do about this?" Draco asked and cupped Harry's cock with one warm hand. Harry groaned and thrust helplessly, near-desperate with the need for release.
"Draco," he said on a moan.
It seemed to take forever for Draco to pop the button and lower the zip of Harry's jeans. When he finally took another grip on Harry's cock - this time with only the thin cotton of Harry's pants between them - it felt so good that Harry gave up all control. He came hard, grinding against Draco's palm and soaking his pants. Slightly mortified, he tried to pull away, but Draco's hand tightened, holding him in place.
"That was ridiculously hot," Draco said. "I will probably forgive you soon. It might take a couple more of those apologies, though."
Harry collapsed on him with a weak laugh. "Greedy."
"Guilty, as charged," Draco said and extracted his hand from between them. He wiped his palm on the buttocks of Harry's jeans and Harry made a protesting noise. Draco chuckled and then reached up to take something from beneath his pillow. "Here, hold this a moment."
Harry propped himself on his elbows and held out his hand. Draco dropped a Mood Cube into it and Harry snorted. "What is this for?"
"I am curious about something."
As they watched, the cube began to gleam, eventually taking on a curious lavender hue tinted with pink and laced with blue swirls. "What does it mean?" Harry asked.
"As I suspected. You're completely smitten with me. Admit it."
Draco's hand closed over the cube as though to take it back, but Harry grabbed his fingers and turned his hand over. He dropped the cube into Draco's hand and waited. The glow only minutely changed, more blue than purple, shot through with pink. Harry chuckled.
"I admit it," he said and admired the blush that appeared on Draco's cheeks. "Since you seem to feel the same."
Draco closed his fist and pulled his hand away to thrust the cube back beneath his pillow. "Stupid thing," he muttered.
Harry levered himself up and kissed Draco, revelling in the brilliance of it and recalling that it was their first since that time on the Knight Bus.
"Smitten," Harry declared after long minutes. Draco pulled him back down, but he did not bother to deny it.
As Harry snuggled up to Draco for what promised to be a marathon snogging session followed by more "apologising", he reflected that although the journey had been bumpy with unexpected delays and surprises, the Knight Bus had brought him home at last.
Fear not! The next fic will be longer! SO much longer. Also, for the curious: Draco Lucius Abraxus Cygnus Malfoy :D