Part the First: The Pitch
It was misting rain over the Hogwarts quidditch pitch. Draco Malfoy flexed his fingers inside his black dragonhide gloves and climbed another flight of stairs. Impressive, really – the craftsmanship he'd purchased. He smiled at the neatly fitted joints and sizable timbers. He entered the Slytherin VIP box via an elaborately embroidered tapestry hanging. The box was completely enclosed to protect its inhabitants from the less than friendly elements and he felt warming charms permeating the air.
Draco smirked at the mop of dark hair facing out over the pitch. "A clandestine meeting indeed, Mr. Potter – lion in the snake's lair."
Harry jerked from the railing and spun toward Malfoy. He chuckled nervously and coughed. "Yeah, well. You built it, so I could hardly refuse your terms, could I?" He gestured widely. "What do you think?"
"Bloody amazing." Draco's smile was easy and genuine. He came to lean on the railing beside Harry, looked out over the expansive new pitch. "Better than I even hoped for. I'm pleased." He punched Potter's shoulder.
Harry chuffed. "Pleased? That's the understatement of the decade, here. Bit like me saying, 'Oh, it was just Voldemort.'"
Draco laughed aloud, surprised and further pleased Potter was able to lark about the war some. "Well, I did see old McGonagall on my way down. She's proud as a peacock."
"We all are. It's really…" Potter stared out at the field, cleared his throat abruptly. "It's really something, Draco. There are no words."
"Bugger words," Draco groused. "When's the first game?" He was staring intently at Harry's face, wondering why the man couldn't seem to meet his gaze. Perhaps I shouldn't have laughed at the Voldemort joke…
"You're going to love this." Harry grinned. "Slytherin versus Gryffindor next Friday."
"I'll be here."
"Damn right you will." Harry pushed off the railing again, rubbed his hands together. "Want to take a look at the broom housing? It's state of the art." He led Draco down the stairs quickly, babbling, still avoiding eye contact at all costs. "We'll cross the pitch. Let you take in the real scope of it all. The students…they um…they had to compete for the first game. House points, you know. Slytherin put forth a real showing, I tell you."
Their cloaks brushed together occasionally in the cold November wind – Potter's a soft brown and Draco's pitch black. Malfoy found himself musing strangely on his comrade. Hardly the boy I dueled in Lockhart's class. I suppose we're men, now. Grown and responsible and such shite. He looked up into the space between the enormous goal baskets and stifled a laugh. Still a bit of a nervous Nancy, Potter is. But I suppose some people are simply born antsy.
Harry waved his wand over the heavy latch on the broom housing's door. "We uh – we keep it quite heavily warded, of course. New brooms and all. Which are fantastic, by the way."
The door swung open and Draco entered the dim chamber. Sconces flared and he inhaled deeply. It smelled like new timber and broom straw. Almost…erotic. "I thought Firebolts were the best choice, really. Reliable. Fairly safe."
"I've no complaints." The door banged shut behind them and Harry jumped. "Er…they arrived already outfitted with house colors. Very sharp." He pointed up to where row upon row of neatly appointed brooms hung from bronzed racks.
Draco meandered until he stood beneath the Slytherin brooms and tugged one from its hook. "Fancy a go, Potter?"
Harry nearly tripped on something invisible. "Uh…well, no. Actually. I um…I'll have to get back to the castle and –"
"What the devil's wrong with you, Potter?" Draco spun the Firebolt in his hands leisurely. "You act like you're afraid we'll get detention for sneaking about down here." He suddenly sobered. "We're not going to get detention for sneaking about down here, are we, Potter?"
Harry took a deep breath and finally faced him squarely. "Malfoy."
"Oh shite, what?" Harry's forehead creased.
Draco smoothly levitated the broom and leaned upon it. "You've been nervous as a kneazle in a room full of rockers and you just went all serious. I suspect there's something dreadfully wrong."
"Hell." Harry rubbed his face and began to pace. "I don't even know how to…"
"How to what?"
"How to say this."
Draco arched both brows. "Well, you asked me over lunch once if I was a poof. What could possibly be more awkward than that?"
"I didn't ask you if you were a poof!"
Draco shrugged. "You did, sir."
"Well, you're obviously not a poof, alright?"
"I hope you aren't taking me at my word alone, Potter."
Harry stopped pacing. He wasn't sharing in Draco's humor. He swallowed loudly and stared at the highly polished cherry flooring. "I'm going to tell you this because…because I have to. Because I think it will kill me if I don't."
"Merlin's saggy man teets, Potter." Draco crossed his legs. "What could possibly be so bloody awful?"
"It's about Hallow's Eve."
Draco blinked. "Yes?" His tone was measured.
"At Grimmauld Place."
More blinking. "Yes?" The tone was even more measured.
"When you and your mum came –"
"Yes, Potter," Draco fairly snapped. "The incident occurred barely three weeks ago now and I'm hardly feeble-minded yet. I quite recall the gathering." His lip suddenly curled. "This better not be about Shacklebolt. We certainly didn't mean to cause any awkwardness. I mean hell, my mum came back to apologize for him trying to investigate her tonsils with his tongue. As far as I was aware there were no ill feelings. Kingsley even admitted he'd been in the cups and the times I've seen him since at the Ministry he's seemed perfectly –"
"Draco, I saw you and your mum fucking in the graveyard by Grimmauld!" The words rushed out as if pushing one another, racing to relief.
There are many types of silence; the silence of a peaceful afternoon spent curled with a quality book, the silence of two people content to share peace, the silence of a snowy morning descending after a night in a warm bed. There's the silence of a sleeping baby. And then there's the awkward silence; the silence before a death sentence is handed down, the silence of a failing grade, the silence of unrequited love. There's the paralyzing silence of a black hole swallowing all…
And then there's the silence following the discovery of incest.
Draco found this latter silence to be the most excruciating of any silence he'd suffered in his life thus far. It seemed impenetrable, and as if it emanated from the desperate pall on Harry Potter's pained visage. It was broken when his balance shifted and the broom beneath his arse wobbled precariously. His shoes scuffed against the slippery floors as he righted himself, flushed and shaking. "What?"
It was a ridiculous response, he knew. But he had nothing else in his mind, felt completely sucked dry. "You mean you saw –"
Draco blanched. "Did you tell –"
Harry's fingers made a clutching gesture. "I – I – I swear to you, Malfoy – I've not told a bloody soul!" If it was possible, he looked as desperately horrified as Draco felt.
Draco felt his heart racing out of control and rounded on Potter. "You're bloody well right, you haven't told…" Suddenly his throat felt tight. Gods, my mother. The instinct to defend her was overwhelming. "Look here, Potter. I don't know what you want –"
"I don't want anything, Malfoy!" Harry ran hands through his shocked locks. "I'm trying to tell you –"
"Is it money? I'll give you whatever you want."
"Oh, there's Slytherin thinking," Harry spat. "Immediate blackmail. Well, surprise, Draco! I'm not after your bloody money!"
"What then?!" Draco's voice took on a high, terrified pitch.
"I just had to fucking tell you!" Harry shouted. "I had to because I can't stop bloody thinking about it! Seeing it in my head! It's like a sickness!" He felt quite out of sorts now, at once offended and confident. He'd never imagined having the upper hand in a situation involving a Malfoy.
Draco took a shuddering breath and paced his own path back and forth. "I'm sorry you had to be sickened, Potter." His eyes watered and he shook off the weakness of tears. "And if you're wanting shame from me, fuck off. Because you'll not hear regret out of my mouth. I wouldn't expect you to understand."
"You're right. I don't understand." Harry sighed, calmed considerably. "But I don't think you understand, either."
"What do you mean?" Draco regarded his friend (We are friends, right? Even now?) from the shadows beneath the brooms.
Harry stepped into those same shadows, shared them with Malfoy. "I didn't mean it's a sickness you have. Although it probably is." He shook his head helplessly. "I mean it's like a sickness I have now. I can't stop thinking of it. It's distracting." He gathered his thoughts, and Draco waited patiently if warily, watching. "As insane as it sounds…I think the two of you were so…beautiful together. It was…indescribable."
Draco stepped back, disbelief sharpening his features. "What?"
Harry's shoulders fell as if in surrender to the inevitable. "You looked like Greek statues come to life. So perfect and white and…just like that marble tomb you were on. It was…" He shook his head. "I could have looked away. I could have run back to the party. I could have vomited in the bloody shrubs. But I didn't. I fucking watched, Malfoy!" His hands twitched at his sides. "And I'm sorry for that."
"Watched…" Realizations were taking place in Draco's head. "Gods, Potter. Just how much did you see?"
"Everything." Draco repeated numbly. He re-levitated the broom. Leaned against it again. Fussed with a cufflink. "I see." He cleared his throat. Time for business. "So. Feel better, I assume? Getting this off your chest?"
Harry nodded. Considered. "I think so."
"You think so."
"Yes." He winced. "May I…ask a question?"
Draco winced, too. "I suppose I can't stop you asking a question." Well, I could. My wand is in my jacket, after all.
A sardonic smirk. "I assume you're referring to a length of time, Potter? Since you've seen the measurements on everything else."
Harry blushed, but didn't let Draco's sarcasm deter him. "How long have you been…"
"Fucking my mother?"
Harry rolled his eyes and tugged down another Slytherin broom. He levitated it and assumed a position similar to Draco's. "Fine. Yes. How long have you been…intimate with her?"
A surreal calm settled over Draco. It was exceedingly odd to be speaking of this – especially to Harry Bloody Potter of all people. But it felt as if a great weight was melting from his shoulders as he spoke. "Since my father's funeral."
Harry nodded, his green eyes soft. "Your father's funeral." His own calculations were running rampant. "So…what you told us that time in Arthur's shed…"
"Trust me. You don't want details."
Harry snorted. "All this time. I never would have known."
"That's rather the point." Draco bit his lip. "It's not something my mother or I would want –"
"Oh, gods no!" Harry exclaimed. "Of course not."
The silence of absorption. The silence of truths and facts being processed. Of realities shifting and relationships changing. Draco sighed to break this one. "Look, Potter…"
"Would you find me a disgusting person if I said…if I said I love her? That I could never imagine loving another witch?"
Harry considered. Looked boldly at Draco's shadowed face. "Not disgusting, no." He seemed to reach a difficult decision and drew himself up accordingly. "Would you find me a disgusting person if I said…if I said I wanted to see it again?"
"See…see it - you mean, us - again?" His voice sounded impossibly small.
Draco rubbed his hand harshly over his face. "Bloody hell, Harry…"
The broom house darkened. The silence of waiting, thinking and knowing descended.
AN: Thanks for this piece goes out to Narcissa's Dragon and the lovely Narcissa Nerea for their respective and respected opinions, proofreadings and inspirations. Two more little chapters to go!