It was nearly closing time when Draco Malfoy crashed back into Harry's life. It had been a quiet night up until that point. Harry had gone to an out-of-the-way pub with Neville to catch up on news of Hogwarts. Both of them had been incognito, with Neville nipping from a bottle of Polyjuice Potion throughout the night. He was nearly as recognised as Harry, much to Harry's amusement, and when they were together they were often hounded for photos or autographs.

Harry had draped himself in several layers of the Auror Departments latest Disguise Charms, and now sported mussed dark brown hair and blue eyes. His glasses were his own, a nondescript pair of golden wire frames with delicate scrollwork near the hinges. They were his backup pair, as he preferred his sturdy dark frames for work. The scar that generally drew attention was gone, replaced by a shock of green in his hair. That had been Ron's idea. "Give them something to remember and they'll recall little else about you. It's great for going unnoticed."

Neville had called it a night and gone home while Harry had remained behind, drawn into a conversation about the history of racing brooms with the grizzled barkeep. He was nursing his final drink, pleasantly buzzed, when Malfoy barged through the door with a loud, "Firewhiskey for everyone!" He was trailed by Pansy Parkinson, Blaise Zabini, Theo Nott, and a girl Harry only vaguely remembered from Hogwarts. Another Slytherin.

A pleased shout from the scattered patrons answered Malfoy's words and Harry blinked as Malfoy shoved onto the seat next to Harry's and dumped a handful of Galleons onto the bar. He smiled brightly at Harry as he did so and it took Harry a surprised moment to remember he was in disguise.

"Hello," Malfoy said, drawing out the last syllable.

Harry smiled, bemused at Malfoy's obvious inebriation. His grin was a definite improvement over his usual sneer and air of obnoxious superiority. Malfoy's hair was slightly out of place and one lock dropped over his forehead and snagged in his pale lashes. "Hi," Harry returned.

Malfoy looked around with exaggerated care. Brad, the barkeep, placed two Firewhiskeys on the bar before them and winked at Harry before heading off to supply the rest of the house.

"Here all alone?" Malfoy asked.

"Not anymore," Harry replied, trying on a soft Scottish accent he'd been perfecting. He took in Malfoy's attire; he wore a black, vaguely piratical, shirt and dark grey trousers. The shirt was open to disclose a bit of black metal on a silver chain; the dark portion of the yin-yang symbol.

Malfoy's gaze sharpened and seemed to fix on Harry's mouth. "What's your name?"

"That's not important, is it?" Harry winked and took a drink of his Firewhiskey. He wasn't drunk, having spent most of the evening nursing two bottles of ale.

Malfoy leaned close, nearly falling from his seat and jostling Harry with his shoulder. The Firewhiskey sloshed over the rim and onto Harry's Puddlemere t-shirt.

"Oh shite, I'm sorry," Malfoy said and patted at Harry's shirt, smearing the droplets more firmly into the fabric. Harry set the glass on the counter to avoid more spillage. "Want me to suck that off for you?"

The words sent a near-electric shock through Harry's core and he stared into Malfoy's silvery eyes in amusement. "A think a Cleaning Charm might be more effective, but I thank you for the offer."

Malfoy's hand pressed onto Harry's thigh and then squeezed lightly. "I'll suck something else off, if you'd like."

Harry's libido leaped at the words and the resulting images slammed into his brain. Holy fuck, the thought of Malfoy on his knees… Harry was rapidly losing control of the quickening length in his pants, which hardened further as Malfoy's hand glided closer to his crotch.

Harry's hand dropped over Malfoy's halting his progress. "I think you might hate yourself in the morning if you do that."

Malfoy shrugged. "I hate myself most of the time, anyway. Come and dance with me." He gripped Harry's hand as he left the stool, tugging him to his feet.

Harry allowed himself to be dragged onto the tiny dance floor. Music wheezed from a converted Muggle jukebox that looked to have resided in the same spot since the 1950s. It probably had.

A modern wizarding dance tune thudded a jazzy beat into the air and a single, tenacious couple gyrated in front of the jukebox, all groping hands and slow kisses. They had been at it for hours and the witch had lost her shoes sometime previous.

Malfoy wrapped himself around Harry and then made a surprised sound when his groin encountered Harry's erection. "Well, well, and here I thought you weren't interested."

"I never said that," Harry admitted and closed his eyes with a groan. Malfoy grabbed his hips and rocked into him, meeting hardness with hardness. Bad idea, Harry's conscience warned frantically. Very bad idea!

Parkinson bumped into Harry partway into the dance, which was less of a dance and more of Malfoy grinding against Harry and nibbling on his neck. Harry was rapidly losing control under the assault.

"I hate to interrupt, Draco," Parkinson said, "but could I please speak to you for a minute?" She gave Harry a smile, surprising him. He hadn't known she could smile like a regular person. Harry stepped back, escaping Malfoy's pout and clinging hands with effort.

"No," Malfoy said. Harry nearly groaned aloud at how bloody adorable he was. Evil Slytherin git be damned, tonight he was hot as hell, sexy, drunk, and obviously more than willing to spend some time getting to know Harry. Except that he wasn't Harry.

"I'll go finish my drink," Harry said, almost relieved at the opportunity to try and clear his head. Even if Malfoy Apparated them away to a more private location and pounced on Harry, he couldn't allow it to progress. Malfoy had no idea who he really was. It was dishonest. Plus, Malfoy was ridiculously drunk.

"Two strikes," Harry muttered as he returned to the bar. Three, if he counted the fact that Malfoy hated him, at least when he wasn't wearing a disguise. He sat down and took a gulp of his abandoned Firewhiskey.

Brad smirked at him. "Looks like you might not be going home alone tonight."

Harry shook his head sadly. "Not with that one. He hates me, although he doesn't remember that right now."

"Fine line between love and hate, mate."

Harry snorted and tossed back the last of the alcohol. He needed to get home and forget about Malfoy, although probably after a long, very long, wank session. He nearly choked when Parkinson appeared at his elbow.

"Hi," she said.

"Um… hello?"

She smiled at him again; she was almost attractive when she did that, although it was possible the Firewhiskey was finally hitting him. "Look, you seem like a decent bloke…"

"But stay away from your friend?" Harry finished for her. "Don't worry. I wasn't planning to take advantage of his current… Well, it's obvious he's rather out of it."

"No, that's not it." Parkinson bit her lip. "Well, we're taking him home, so that's neither here nor there, really, but I wanted to…" She leaned closer and tucked a slip of paper into the waistband of Harry's jeans. "This is his address. In case you wanted to drop by when he's sober. Of course, if he changes his mind about you later, you didn't get that from me." Her dark eyes bored into his for a moment and then she returned to the others. Malfoy was draped over Zabini, but his eyes were on Harry. Impulsively, Harry smiled and blew him a kiss. Malfoy's face lit up like a star gone nova and he snatched the imaginary kiss from the air and clasped it to his heart.

"I love you!" Malfoy shouted.

"Bloody hell, let's get him home before he does something even stupider," Zabini growled. Parkinson ducked under Malfoy's other arm and they tromped out.

Harry chuckled. Malfoy was certainly an interesting drunk.

"Bad luck, mate," Brad said.

Harry nodded, but he took the address from his waistband and tucked it into his pocket as he stood up. Parkinson's disclosure was curious. Everyone knew that Draco Malfoy was involved with a Kenmare Kestrels Chaser named Roderick Montoya. The papers had exploded with the news, avidly reporting everything from the couple's whirlwind romance to the reactions of Montoya's teammates to the (surprisingly calm) response from the elder Malfoys.

The Prophet seemed particularly enamoured of them and every tempestuous moment had been accompanied by photographs and speculation. There were jokes aplenty about Roderick's "rod" and Malfoy's penchant for "wood." By all accounts, they were blissfully happy and the gossip columns had been eagerly awaiting a proposal from one of the other.

Now, though, Harry wondered. Why would Parkinson give a stranger Malfoy's address if she knew things were serious between Malfoy and Montoya? Was it possible she wasn't fond of Montoya? Or did she have darker, more Slytherin, motives?

Shaking off his speculation, Harry pushed away from the bar, bid Brad a goodnight, and Flooed home.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ o ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Despite knowing it was a terrible idea, and after hours of trying to talk himself out of it, Harry found himself standing before the door to Malfoy's house. It was a surprising place from the outside, vaguely similar to Grimmauld Place, but formed of attractive blocks of cement-grey. A small, Georgian style overhang, complete with pillars, covered the stoop and protected Harry from the rain as he lifted a hand to the serpentine dragon knocker. He rapped loudly.

It took a couple of attempts and Harry began to think Malfoy wasn't home when the door opened. Malfoy's jaw went agape.

Harry lifted his hand in an awkward half-wave. "Hi."

"How did you…?"

"I'm not a crazy stalker, I promise. In fact, I'm… not even sure why I'm here." Confronted with Malfoy's surprised-and less than welcome-expression, Harry realised it had been a bad idea. What had he expected, honestly? That Malfoy's drunken declaration of love had been real? He cursed himself for complete idiocy and stepped back, intending to Apparate home and never think of Malfoy again.

"Wait!" Malfoy reached out, stepping through his doorway. He didn't quite touch Harry, but he smiled. His feet were bare. "I'm sorry, I… Come in. I'm not always a wretched host. I think. I don't get many visitors, to be honest."

"I shouldn't have dropped in. You probably don't even remember me."

"Oh, I remember you." Malfoy's voice dropped into a low, seductive range, and just like that Harry recalled why he hadn't been able to talk himself out of the trip. Despite everything, Malfoy was very much someone Harry would like to get to know, even if he had to remain disguised to do so. "I'll make some tea."

Malfoy turned and walked inside. Harry followed and shut the door behind them. He only watched Malfoy's arse for a moment-clad in slate-green trousers that displayed it quite nicely-before his attention was diverted by the décor. Malfoy's house was, frankly, a shock. It was cluttered.

A low table sat between two sofas, covered with assorted magazines, a plate, two teacups, and a black shoe partially hidden by a scrap of white cloth. A pair of dark trousers lay draped over one arm of a sofa and the neck of a bottle poked up from between the cushions.

The walls of the room were deep violet, but the pale wood, cream carpet, and multi-coloured upholstery and pillows kept the room from looking gloomy. In fact, it felt homey, lived-in and comfortable.

"Great place," Harry said, admiring a huge bookshelf that took up most of one wall. Assorted crystal vases dotted the room, filled with a variety of items, from flowers to gobstones to a fat ceramic dragon that yawned and flapped its stubby wings when Harry looked at it.

"Thanks," Malfoy said and mumbled a spell that sent the dishes flying out of the room. "I wasn't expecting anyone, so it's a bit of a mess."

"I like it." Harry grinned and hoped he wasn't coming across as a creepy sycophant.

"I'm afraid I don't know your name," Malfoy said and sent the shoe, cloth, and trousers out of the room as well. "Although I assume you know mine."

"Yes. I have to admit I've read about you in the papers. You can call me Mark." Harry had chosen the name at random. It had no relevance to anything in his life and had the benefit of being easy to remember.

"Merlin, you must have quite a number of preconceptions about me if you've taken in half the shite they've printed. And I'm certain my behaviour last night hasn't improved your outlook. Tea." Malfoy tucked his wand into a long pocket on the seam of his trousers and gestured towards a hallway. Harry preceded him into a small kitchen full of whitewashed wood and grey marble.

"I don't believe much of anything written in the Prophet," Harry admitted.

Malfoy used his wand to fill two mugs with water. A tap on the sides of each heated them to boiling and he dropped in a large pinch of loose tea leaves. He gave Harry a speculative look. "So. What brings you here, Mark?"

"I don't know. You seemed interesting and I suppose I was hoping to get to know you better."

"My friends scuppered your chances of that last night, yeah?" Malfoy's tone was rather cold.

"It's not like that. I know you have a boyfriend and you were really pissed last night. I wouldn't have taken advantage." Malfoy lifted a brow and Harry added, "Even though I really, really wanted to." He smiled.

Malfoy snorted, but he seemed to relax. "You just came to talk, then?"

"You can never have too many friends, don't you think?"

"I suppose not." He cast a spell on one mug and the tea leaves rose from the water, spun in the air for a moment, and vanished. "Sugar?"

"Yes, please. Two. How did you do that?"

Malfoy dropped two lumps of sugar and a teaspoon into the mug before handing it to Harry, who looked into the depths. He was amazed to see it leaf-free. He preferred the flavour of loose leaf, but had no patience for fishing out the bits and he was forever losing the tea strainers.

"That old spell? Just something I came up with on my own."

"Clever. Can you teach me?"

Malfoy repeated the spell on the other cup and then added four cubes of sugar. He smiled at Harry. "What are friends for?"

Later, Harry reflected it was the oddest afternoon he'd spent in a long while, standing in Malfoy's kitchen drinking far too much tea and learning a spell to extract tea leaves with his disguised wand. A Fire-call for Malfoy had cut the lesson short, and Harry had made an awkward excuse and headed for the front door.

"Mark," Malfoy had called before he left.

Harry had paused in the doorway.

"Come back tomorrow?"

Harry had smiled and nodded, feeling something strange and warm starting to bloom in his chest.