Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I just borrow them from J.K. Rowling.

Warning: This is male slash. You have been warned.

Author's Note: A birthday ficlet for Toby Malfoy, who writes delicious little ice cream ficcies. Plumeria, thank you for the chat where this plot bunny started hopping, and thank you for beta reading the result!

Author: Penguin


The roar of traffic was so loud they had to shout. The street was bustling, one of those broad, grey, busy London streets that are ugly and impressive and dreary and immensely exciting all at once. It was not the soft bustle of Diagon Alley, where the noise mainly consisted of human voices and the odd hoot of an owl – this was Muggle London with dirty concrete and doorways opening into walls like gaping mouths, Muggle tourist London with double-deckers and pigeons and sleazy hotels and wrought-iron gates; old spat-out chewing-gum trodden into the grey sidewalks like dark stains; scraps of paper blown along the street by gusts of wind; the traffic like long slow-moving multicoloured snakes; the smell of dust and weak coffee and exhaust fumes and soon-to-come rain; a leaden sky hanging low above the rooftops.

But it was summer, and even if it was going to rain, they had to have ice cream.

Draco was tired and irritable with a hint of a whine to his voice after a day spent shopping and with a brief visit to the London Zoo, a nostalgia trip Harry had insisted on. He wanted to go to the terrarium where he had once talked to a snake, well before he knew he was a Parselmouth, well before he knew that such a thing as Parseltongue existed. Or that magic was something you could use for your own purposes. Harry had never stopped wondering what had happened to that snake. Had it managed to get all the way to the Brazilian rain forests, or had it been caught by terrified people and brought back into captivity, or had it died a pathetic, useless death under the wheels of a Muggle car?

Harry threw Draco a glance and decided that Draco's blood sugar was low, and that he would feel much better and be in a much better mood if he had a few scoops of ice cream.

They stopped at a street stall.

"What flavours would you like?" Harry tried to ask Draco, who looked like a thunder cloud and was fidgeting with their shopping bags.

"I don't care," Draco said peevishly. "I don't understand why you want ice cream at all. We're not children. And ice cream can be so annoying."

He turned his back to the stall, took a few steps away from it, to demonstrate what a ridiculous idea he thought it was. Harry shook his head and went up to the stall, and in a few minutes he returned carrying two low, wide paper cups, each with a plastic spoon and two scoops of ice cream, one with pistachio and chocolate, one with chocolate and strawberry. He held out the pistachio and chocolate one to Draco, who stopped fidgeting and took it, looking very suspicious.

"You don't have to be a child to like ice cream," Harry said. "There's ice cream that kids like, the really sweet stuff, artificial colours and flavours, bright green and bright pink, and then there is the real thing, like this. Real flavours. Natural flavours. And not too sweet. Like that pistachio."

Draco eyed the scoops in the paper cup, and a wrinkle appeared between his eyebrows. Harry shrugged and dug a hole in the pink mound of strawberry ice cream. He nearly always got chocolate and strawberry; loved it when the tang of strawberries mixed with rich chocolate smoothness in his mouth. He was probably compensating, he thought, for all the times he had sat at restaurant tables with the Dursleys with just the empty table cloth in front of him, feeling his mouth water while being slightly disgusted at the same time, as he watched Dudley stuff himself with hot chocolate sundaes. Dudley was a pig. Now, as an adult, he had developed a taste for wearing tie clips and cufflinks and expensive watches, but that curly tail that Hagrid had given him on Harry's eleventh birthday was the most appropriate accessory Harry had ever seen him wear.

Draco still hadn't tasted his ice cream.

"Why is it like this?" he finally said, poking at the creamy melting substance with his spoon.

Harry stopped with the last of the strawberry halfway to his mouth.

"Why is it like what?"

"Well, it's all... quiet, like. " Draco gave Harry a puzzled look. "I mean, it doesn't... change colours or anything. And it won't sparkle when I put my spoon into it. Has it gone off or something?"

Harry gave him a long-suffering look.

"It's Muggle ice cream," he explained. "It doesn't do anything. It just lies there. You just eat it. It won't shoot up green sparks or red flares or fizz in your mouth. You don't have to fight it to make it stay on your plate like you have to with wizarding ice cream sometimes. It's just cold and smooth and you can let it melt on your tongue. Close your eyes and enjoy it."


Draco eyed the scoops in the little paper cup again, prodded them hesitantly with his plastic spoon, and threw Harry a sideways glance. Still slightly suspicious, he put some of the chocolate in his mouth, and his expression changed. Obediently, he closed his eyes, very obviously enjoying the experience. Harry watched his Adam's apple move as he swallowed, and felt a hot, unholy, un-ice-cream-like twinge of desire in his lower stomach.

Draco put some more into his mouth, pulled the spoon out slowly between his lips, licked the underside clean. Harry swallowed hard, unable to pull his eyes away from the pink, caressing tip of Draco's tongue. Draco still had his eyes closed in rapture. When he opened them again and met Harry's, his gaze was so heavy and intense with pleasure that the traffic noise melted away for a second, leaving nothing in this world except the electrifying current that coursed and flickered between the two of them.

Harry found his hands were shaking. Draco noticed it too, and his eyes began to glitter with delight and amusement as they held Harry's. Harry was just going to take a step forward, not heeding the people around them, to taste the chocolate on Draco's tongue, when an idea hit him. He retracted his movement and stood back. Hmmm. Yes. And it was a very good idea, too. He crossed his arms over his chest, relaxed, and smiled lazily at Draco, who lifted an eyebrow enquiringly, reading the change of mood without difficulty.

They knew each other so well by now, but they could still surprise each other.

"When you've finished your ice cream, I'm going to take you somewhere," Harry said smoothly and non-committally to Draco. "Our last stop for the day, before we go home."

"So... what you're really saying is 'take big mouthfuls and swallow'...?"

And the pointed delight on his face when Harry actually blushed at the comment made Harry blush even deeper.

* * *

The Lion & The Dragon.

Yes. There it was.

Harry couldn't believe he had not remembered earlier; couldn't understand why he had never thought of this. He should have taken Draco here long ago. Yes, The Lion & The Dragon, that was indeed what the shop was called, that was indeed the name of the famous Muggle ice cream makers. The sign above the door swung gently in the wind, creaking lightly. It was old and hand-made, the dragon green and gold, the lion scarlet, an intricate, intertwined, heraldic pattern, like a coat of arms, colours glowing against the black background and through the grey afternoon.

Harry could feel Draco's eyes moving from the swinging sign, spattered now by the first drops of rain from the leaden sky, down to his own face. He turned his head and smiled into the wide, questioning eyes, grey as if they were reflecting the sky, but when Draco opened his mouth to speak, Harry turned and pushed the door open, and they went inside.

A small bell tinkered above the door, the sound frail but clear. As Draco inhaled he thought the tinkling sound was a perfect illustration of the smell inside the shop. Not insistent or overwhelming, but cool and sweet and milky with a multitude of fragrances subtly interlaced.

They stopped and looked around, nearly reaching out to each other to hold hands, like two children lost in a magical forest, watching in awe as the branches of the trees shifted in all hues, opening into brightly coloured blossom.

Their eyes wandered around the room. Warm, diffused light from lamps in the ceiling was reflected in chrome handles and in the polish of the dark wood floor. Every inch of the walls was covered with floor-to-ceiling, glass-fronted freezers. Behind the glass doors were rows and rows of ice cream containers, light-fittings inside the freezers showing off the beautifully hand-printed labels on the lids. Harry felt Draco's fingers touch his own, close around them, pull him over to the wall to have a closer look. There were sorbets and ice cream of every possible (and impossible) flavour. Raspberry sorbet, mango, orange, strawberry, lemon, peach, green tea, champagne... Hazelnut ice cream, tiramisú, pistachio, caffelatte, butter toffee, mint crisp, zabaglione, Italian chocolate... Harry's roving eyes halted and lingered on that label, and he felt his mouth water. This was a flavour they would just have to get. The Lion & Dragon's Italian chocolate was famous, and rightly so. It was fabulous; the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate ice cream imaginable, with just a bittersweet hint of orange zest.

Harry glanced at Draco, who looked both puzzled and enraptured, his eyes avidly taking in the hand-written labels. Blueberry, cloudberry, lemon/licorice, butterscotch, mocha fudge, almond brittle... Harry leant forward, mouth close to Draco's ear:

"Let's each select a few flavours to take home." Fine, soft strands of fair hair brushed against his lips like a whisper. "Without showing each other what we've chosen. There has to be some thought, some intention, behind the selections we make. And then, when we get home... we can play... a game." He breathed a kiss against Draco's ear, felt Draco try not to shiver, and smiled.

* * *

When Draco had stuffed his ice cream containers into the freezer with the labels hidden, he sat on the kitchen counter, dangling his legs, watching Harry try to repeat the procedure without making the labels visible to Draco's curious eyes. The rain was here now; it came down in torrents, hard enough to have drenched them both to the bone while they ran the short distance from the car into the house. The clouds and the rain made the late afternoon dark and grey and sleepy, heavy and waiting for thunder to break up the stickiness.

It had taken them hours to get out of London and back to the little Muggle village where they were currently staying. Harry had muttered that he was glad there were freezing spells or all the ice cream they had bought would have been wasted.

He was still grumbling while he impatiently pushed the containers into the freezer.

"I can't believe how hot it is. This is England. It's supposed to be cold and damp, not hot and humid like a tropical rain forest."

"If you had spent seven years in the Hogwarts dungeons, like I did, you'd only be pleased to have some tropical heat."

"You mean you're still not properly defrosted? " He irritably lifted a hand when Draco opened his mouth to speak. "No, don't say it. I ought to know better by now than to practically hand you the retort."

Draco closed his mouth and gave Harry a small, innocent smile while he inched closer to the freezer, where Harry was trying to fit the last container. He reached out and stopped Harry with a hand on his arm.

"There's too much stuff in there already. You won't be able to make room for it."

Harry turned to meet Draco's eyes, a deep furrow of irritation between his eyebrows.

"Of course I will. I'll just move things around a bit."

Draco held his gaze, smiling lazily, the kind of innocent angel smile that demonstrates anything but innocence. Harry shook his head, annoyed, and went back to struggling with the ice cream container.

Draco was right. It was impossible to fit it in. Even when he managed to make a space that he could see was large enough for it, the container just would not fit. He looked up at Draco suspiciously.

Draco's angelic smile had turned into a wide grin.

"What!?" Harry burst out.

There was a blinding flash of lightning, and two seconds later, a vicious crack of thunder split the sky open.

"You won't be able to make room for it," Draco said in a very level voice.

Lightning flashed across the sky; Harry's eyes flashed green into Draco's.

"Have you used a space restricting spell?"

Draco laughed, cheeks flushed, eyes radiant.

"Took you long enough to work that out."

Thunder rolled and crashed and disappeared, taking the furrow between Harry's eyebrows with it.

"Are we playing games here that I'm not aware of?" Softly.

Draco reached out and pulled Harry to him.

"I think it's time for the games you were talking about in the ice cream store."

Harry closed the door to the freezer and put the carton on the counter next to Draco, moved in between his knees, and placed icy fingertips on Draco's neck, making him shudder and hiss. But Draco didn't move, other than to reach around Harry's waist to pull him closer.

"So you want to play games...?"

Lips met tip of nose, met cheek, jaw, chin, moved up to mouth. Began to play games indeed. Tongues wanted to join the game, too. Outside, the rain still came down in torrents, streaming down the windows, obscuring the view. But who needed a view, when they had close-ups of each other? Grey light filtered in and danced softly over the two heads so close together, one tousled and dark, one sleek and blond.

"How is your game played?" Draco murmured against Harry's mouth, his tongue meeting Harry's lower lip, his teeth, the tip of his tongue. Played familiar games where all the rules were known; played games where no rules were needed.

Harry's ice cold fingers ran idly through Draco's hair and down the back of his neck, lingered and circled at the nape, were rewarded by the sound of an unsteady intake of breath.

"Ah, my game," Harry mumbled. "It's very simple. Like wine tasting, only with ice cream. And rules made up as we go along." His palm lay flat against Draco's cheek, cradling it; his lips moving from Draco's mouth along his jaw to his ear. "Close your eyes and I'll show you."

Draco obediently closed his eyes. Any games Harry wanted to play; any rules he wanted to play by... Draco would go along with them all. If Harry only knew that. But Draco had never told him, would never tell him. He smiled a little to himself. There had to be some secrets even in the most trusting relationship, or it would die from lack of oxygen, it would asphyxiate. And they had come to reach an amazing level of trust. Amazing because trust was something they both had serious problems with. But trust didn't mean you had to turn yourself inside out. There had to be corners of your mind that you never revealed. Innocent little secrets like this one only breathed some air into the relationship, helped keeping it alive.

Draco heard the lid taken off the ice cream container, heard Harry take a spoon from a kitchen drawer, and in a second he felt something cold against his lips. He opened them and a spoonful of soft, icy sweetness entered his mouth. And then there was warmth, the warmth of Harry's lips on his own

Strange that this cold substance could create the heat that they felt streaming and swirling from their mouths through their bodies down to their groins; strange that the soft sweetness could transform into this hardness.

"What flavour?" asked Harry when Draco had swallowed.

Draco opened his eyes and felt like an idiot. What flavour? He had no idea. He had concentrated on the texture, the softness, the contrast between chill and heat...

"I think I must have another taste," he whispered and kissed Harry again, trying to catch the flavour on his tongue.

He pulled back, staring wide-eyed at Harry, jumped down from the counter.

"You don't mean..." he said, while thunder crashed and lightning flared, illuminating the green eyes and pinpointing them with an almost reddish light, like an animal's, like a fox's, "you don't mean that we went through all this trouble for – vanilla?"

A smug look on Harry's face.

"I like vanilla."

Draco was outraged.

"Of all the unimaginative...!"

Harry muffled him with an ice-cream-sticky kiss.

"Vanilla," he explained while he lifted Draco back up onto the counter and started to unbutton his damp shirt, "is the base of everything else. Vanilla is the starting point. It's not something you should despise. It provides the backdrop for... more complex things." Mouth travelling down throat, along collar bone, sucking at point of shoulder. "Patterns." Tongue painting wet brush strokes from shoulder to nipple. "Colours." Tongue swirling nipple, feeling the involuntary shudder of body, the pucker of skin.

The damp shirt fell to the floor. Draco shivered with cold or heat, his fingers loosely entangled in Harry's hair, his breathing erratic.

"I think it's time for the next step. Close your eyes again."

Another carton out of the freezer, another lid off, another....

"Lean back."

Draco obeyed, arched his back, eyes still closed, but the sudden shock of cold on his bare skin made him gasp and open his eyes wide, feeling the icy chill slide from the hollow at the base of his throat down his chest, his stomach.... He gasped again as Harry's tongue caught it, traced its path upwards, licked him clean, up along throat, over chin, up to mouth, met Draco's own waiting tongue to share the last melting drops. Draco's hands around Harry's head, fingers buried in his hair, holding his mouth to his own with something resembling desperation. Harry's palms pressed against the counter on either side of Draco's torso, the heat of their bodies pulsing through the damp fabric of Harry's shirt.

Why did he still have it on? Draco had it off him with a few swift, practised movements. Skin against skin; no need for any other language than this...

"What flavour?" Harry mumbled with Draco's earlobe between his lips.

"Ummm... strawberry. What's wrong with you, Harry? This is children's stuff. Too sweet. Too innocent."

Harry's laugh was not quite as innocent; warm vibrations against Draco's neck.

"You don't want innocence? Let's move on then."

Draco, learning the rules, closed his eyes again. Freezer door opened, lid slid off, Harry's arms strong around Draco's waist. Draco's legs wrapped automatically around the other boy's hips, and he was carried into the bedroom, where it was almost dark now, rain still coming down heavily outside.

Draco's eyes were still closed as he was lowered down on his back onto the bed. They didn't open when his jeans were unbuttoned; nor when the jeans were eased down his hips and pulled off. They were shut even harder when his underwear followed the jeans. He could feel Harry move on the bed, heard the sound of a zipper, the rustle of fabric, could follow the process inside his head as clearly as if he had opened his eyes. His mind was filled with the image of skin.

Then silence. Long silence. What was he doing?

A hand on his thigh, almost making him jump. Slow caress along the inside of his thigh, from his knee up, up... down again to his knee, back up, just touching... Erection straining to meet hand, mouth, hip, skin, warmth, rub. When Harry's mouth came down on him he nearly screamed, he was surrounded with heat and ice at the same time, tongue sliding down and up, spreading this amazing coldness that made Draco gasp and shudder, made him want to say stop, stop, stop, please, oh please don't stop.

Harry's mouth released him, came up to his own mouth again, carrying the last trace of the icy cold, tasting of rich things, almost of warmth, of sunshine and the south and.... yes, chocolate, chocolate and something else, sweetly bitter, chocolate and something like... orange groves.

"Chocolate and orange."

It was just a whisper, just a breath. Body along body now, heat responding to heat, softness to softness, to hardness, to wetness, to bone, to skin. Lips finding beating pulse, fingertips tracing invisible patterns.

"Correct again."

"What do I win?"

Short silence – hesitant?

"Or... what do you lose?"

Eyes into eyes, grave now, dark, deep, but somewhere a smile.

"Can't you guess?" No more than a breath. "Me. You win me. I lose me." Face buried in neck. "As always with you."

Arms softening, holding, reassuring, loving, desiring.

"But I give you back. You know I do. I always do."

Breathing returning to its rhythm again, quickening along with movement of lips, of hands.

The ice cream container fell to the floor.

The rain stopped.

They did not notice.