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Night Changes

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We're only getting older baby and I've been thinking about it lately
Does it ever drive you crazy, just how fast the night changes?
Everything that you've ever dreamed of disappearing when you wake up
But there's nothing to be afraid of, even when the night changes

The Ministry of Magic – 2005

“I’m knackered.” Potter rubs his eyes with his knuckles. “Are we nearly finished?”

Draco resists the urge to remind Potter that research doesn’t usually have an end point, you keep going until you find something useful. He closes the book and leans back in his chair. “You’re the boss.” He tries to keep the note of sarcasm from his voice but he’s not sure he manages it. Years of working to get to a point where people don’t try to hex him in the hallway has been easier than working as a subordinate for Potter and his merry band of Gryffindor war heroes. At least Potter doesn’t have the first clue about legislation, despite being Head Auror. He goes on instinct and an infuriating self-righteousness which never fails to rankle.

Potter sighs, pulling a face. “I suppose I could do another hour. Coffee?”

“Fine.” Draco nods, opening the book again. “Black, no sugar.”

“Okay.” Potter busies himself making coffee and the rich scent of hot chocolate fills the room. Draco tries not to roll his eyes. Only Potter would make hot chocolate at two o’clock in the morning.

“You need caffeine, not hot chocolate.”

Potter chuckles, low and rich. “If I have coffee now I’ll be tossing and turning all night. Gin won’t thank me for it.”

Draco flicks a glance at Potter, trying hard not to picture him tossing and turning. He looks at the lean, muscular lines of Potter’s thighs and bites the inside of his cheek, shifting in his seat. He can imagine Potter, warm and sleepy, sliding into bed. He wonders what it might be like to taste that exposed bit of collarbone or the warm flesh above Potter’s knee, travelling upwards to welcome him home. An unexpected wave of jealousy passes through him and he turns the page of the book a little more vigorously than before. Damn Potter. Draco just needs to get laid, that’s all. It’s been well over a month. Besides, Potter’s as straight as they come.

“Did I see something about you getting married?” Potter blows on his hot chocolate, the steam clouding his glasses for a moment. He cleans them on his jumper before putting them back on, pushing them up on his nose. “Greengrass, is it?”

Draco rolls his eyes. “Mother’s doing. I’m not exactly on the market for a witch.”

“No?” Potter sounds curious. “Why is that?”

The last thing Draco needs is to hear Potter extolling the values of his married life. “Because I fuck men, Potter. My parents just refuse to accept it.”

“Oh.” Potter flushes to the tips of his ears. “Err, sorry. I didn’t know.”

“No.” Draco arches an eyebrow at Potter, rather enjoying seeing him so unsettled. “Why are you sorry? I’m not.”

Potter’s brow furrows and he shakes his head. “Not sorry to hear that, just…sorry. It’s a bit personal, isn’t it?”

“No more than you telling me you’re straight.” Draco huffs and returns to the book. When he looks up again, Potter’s staring off into the distance, deep in thought.

*

Ministry Yule Ball – 2016

“You’re a horrible dancer,” Draco murmurs when Potter slips into the seat next to him.

“I know.” Potter doesn’t seem too put out, pouring himself a glass of wine and sounding cheerful. “I don’t know why I put myself through this every year.”

“Because you’re Harry Potter and the world expects to see you dressed in your finest robes and doing a turn on the dancefloor with your pretty wife.” Draco looks around the room, wrinkling his nose. “Where is the lovely Mrs Potter, anyway?”

“Winter flu.” Potter shrugs. “I’m not staying long. I’m going to get back and make sure she’s okay.”

“Of course you are.” Draco snorts. Clearly, Potter would be the model husband. Why would Draco expect anything different? He leans close to Potter, breathing in his clean, soapy scent. Potter looks and smells divine. A crisp linen shirt beneath sumptuous velvet robes that set off his figure perfectly. The faint buzz of magic radiates from him and he flexes his fingers in his lap, clearing his throat when Draco leans in. “You could have one more glass and keep me company if you like?”

“Why would I do that?” Potter sounds a bit flustered and croaky, shifting a bit in his seat. Draco can’t help but wonder at it.

“Why not?”

Potter doesn’t say anything, but he tops up both of their glasses and sits back with a focused look at the dancing couples and a strange flush on his cheeks.

*

Ministry of Magic – 2020

“I told you about this months ago and you’ve done nothing. Nothing!” Draco’s furious. The way Potter blinks at him and nudges his glasses onto his nose makes him even more infuriated. Bloody Potter. “I’ve been getting Howlers for months and you let one get into the meeting after all of the effort I put in to try to…to…” Draco’s voice cuts off, rough and sore from shouting. He wonders if the Aurors walking around outside are enjoying his anger, laughing quietly as they press extendable ears against Potter’s door.

“I’m sorry, Malfoy. I really am.” Potter stands, a peculiar expression on his face. He’s always been bad at hiding his feelings and he looks sheepish and guilty. “The pitch went well, after we disposed of the letter. Don’t worry.”

“Don’t worry?” Draco clenches his hands into fists. “It’s been over twenty years, Potter. Don’t you understand? Twenty years of trying to repent for being a stupid, ignorant child. Trying to repent for being frightened and doing what I could to stay alive.”

Potter’s jaw works, his voice low and firm. “I was scared too. We all were.”

Draco makes a strangled sound, words failing him. “Months trying to be taken seriously, years of being passed over for promotion time and again. I thought it’s what I deserved, at first. I was happy to take it. But they’re never going to change their minds about me, are they? I’m never going to be taken seriously at the Ministry.”

“I take you seriously.” Potter’s so close now, his cheeks pink and his hair awry. His ridiculous green eyes look troubled and his lips press into a tight line. He puts an awkward hand on Draco’s shoulder. It’s heavy and warm. “I do. You’re good at your job and I like working with you. I’ll have a word.”

“Don’t do me any favours.” Draco looks at his feet. His shoes are highly polished, expensive Italian leather. He wonders how people look at him when he comes into meetings smartly dressed in designer garb. He knows what they say about him in the papers. He’s not just a Death Eater. To some of them it’s more than the war. It’s the fact they don’t like to think of men fucking other men or sucking one another, hot and hard with beads of perspiration on their torsos. “I don’t need a hero.”

Potter’s smile is small and steady. “We all need a hero sometimes, Malfoy. I’d give my right arm for one, sometimes.” He pauses and Draco wonders what Potter needs protecting from. If the rumours of furious bursts of anger and unruly magic are to be believed, perhaps he needs protecting from himself. Potter sighs, raking a hand through his hair. “I’m not trying to save you or anything. You’re more than able to stand up for yourself. I’m just saying, I’ll have a word. Maybe get people to back off a bit. We need your expertise for this case, they’re just going to have to get used to it.”

“I suppose it couldn’t hurt,” Draco mutters. He runs his tongue over his lips. Really, Potter’s so close. He’s got the strangest look on his face as his strong hand squeezes Draco’s shoulder. He’s flushed from his neck to his ears, his eyes shining and his lips slick from where he’s run his tongue over them. It’s almost like…

“Malfoy,” Potter says. It’s rough and desperate. He’s close enough that Draco can feel the warmth of Potter’s whisper against his skin, his own name caressing his skin. He shifts nearer, the warmth of the length of Potter’s body against his own making his body react with sparks of pleasure and heat coursing through his veins.

“Potter?” It’s a question. A momentary hope. He could just angle his head down the smallest bit and then they would be kissing. Draco would give all the gold in Gringotts to strip Potter naked and kiss every heated patch of skin. He’s so daft for Potter, he always has been even when he’s pretending he hates him.

“I…” Potter clears his throat and then he moves away. He stumbles in his eagerness to get to his desk and he sifts through papers, not looking at Draco. “I’ve got to get away early. I’ve got a dinner with Ginny. I’ll have a word like I said.”

“Okay.” Draco’s head’s spinning. He’s not sure what happened, but he knows enough about being with men to know what almost did. He stares at Potter who’s still refusing to meet his gaze. “Enjoy supper with your wife.”

He slams the door behind him on his way out.

*

Present Day

The news hits about six months after Draco’s fiftieth birthday. The journalists can’t seem to contain their glee and the headlines veer from the sublime to the ridiculous. Potter’s face covers the pages of every distinguished newspaper and other bits of him make a fuzzy appearance in the worst kind of rags. Draco devours them all, of course. He’s got little interest in seeing the flesh coloured pixelated blur which may or may not be Saint Potter’s cock, but the news. The news is what makes Draco read until his coffee goes cold.

“Not such a hero after all,” Draco murmurs. He studies Potter’s face, from the strong, firm jaw to the dark green eyes. Potter’s lips press into a tight line and his chin is dark with stubble. He moves through the crowd with purpose, wand clutched in his hand and his robes billowing around him as the wind grasps at the thick material and rumples the unruly strands of Potter’s hair.

He looks exhausted and keeps his eyes on the ground for the most part. When he does look up, Draco’s struck by the still frame which captures the haunted expression in Potter’s eyes. He mouths the same word over and over. It looks like please.

Really, Draco should be delighted about all of this.

He wonders why he isn’t.

*

“I wasn’t expecting you to come in today.” Draco busies himself making a cup of coffee, flicking his wand and watching Potter once he’s satisfied the water has been charmed to just the right temperature. Potter looks awful. His robes are rumpled and his eyes are rimmed with dark circles, the whites bloodshot as if he hasn’t slept for forty-eight hours. Draco supposes he probably hasn’t.

“I’m not sure why I wouldn’t.” Potter glares at Draco, brows knitting in a frown as if he’s challenging Draco to say something about the weekend papers. Potter’s so easy to rile, all force and reckless bluster. Draco would smirk if Potter didn’t look a bit dejected despite his tough demeanour.

Draco rolls his eyes. “Well, being photographed in flagrante with another man would hardly stop me from coming into work but then I’m not married or straight, am I?”

A low growl leaves Potter’s lips and he steps closer to Draco, his eyes flashing with anger. “You don’t know anything about it.”

“I probably know more than you think.”

Potter looks as if he doesn’t know whether to punch Draco or burst into tears, his jaw tightly clenched and his eyes shining. Potter really is quite handsome close up, not that Draco would ever tell him as much. The raw, unchecked emotion on Potter’s face makes something like sympathy worm its way into Draco’s chest and settle there, leaden and heavy. Before Draco can say anything else, the door slams shut and Potter backs away hurriedly.

“Oh.” Weasley looks surprised to see Potter, his cheeks blooming pink and his lips curving downwards with displeasure. “It’s you. Didn’t think you’d be in.”

Potter rakes a hand through his hair and Draco wonders if Weasley picks up on the way his fingers tremble, the strands of grey in his hair and the dark shadows under Potter’s eyes. He looks so careworn, yet he’s somehow younger than ever. His usual distinguished air of quiet confidence developed after years of Ministry servitude leaves Potter with a whoosh as Weasley begins banging things about, refusing to look at Potter. Draco doesn’t miss the way Potter visibly deflates, his shoulders slumping and his lips twisting into an uncomfortable grimace.

“Can we have a word in private?” Potter’s eyes flick to Draco momentarily and he nods at the door as if to say, go on, clear off. Draco snorts and leans back against the wall, sipping his coffee. He’s not going anywhere. This is bound to be good.

“Sorry, can’t. Got a meeting with Dawlish about the Plimpton case. Don’t want to be late.”

The case is about as urgent as darning Shacklebolt’s socks and Potter knows it. Draco arches an eyebrow, taking in the way Potter reaches for Weasley and the way Weasley almost stumbles over his own feet to back away.

“After, then?” There’s a hesitant vulnerability in Potter’s tone and for a moment Draco thinks Weasley might relent, but instead he firms his jaw and shakes his head.

“Then there’s the session I’ve got to put together for the Trainee Aurors. I’m flat out all day.” Weasley doesn’t sound flat out. He’s a rubbish liar and even the tips of his ears are red now. He looks everywhere but at Potter. “Right, then. Best be off.”

“What about after work?” Potter practically pleads, his eyes a little wild as he wrings his hands together.

“Harry.” Weasley shakes his head, his voice low and firm. “I’ll tell you, yeah? When I’m ready? Just…leave it, mate. Leave it. You do your job, I’ll do mine and…we’ll see.”

“Right. Of course.” Potter nods, rubbing his hand to his cheek. “Just let me know.”

“Will do.” Weasley shoots Potter a tired smile which doesn’t reach his eyes. With a quick nod to Draco, he’s gone.

“Go on, then,” Potter mutters. He stirs his tea and stares glumly at it, clutching onto the work surface as if for support. “Tell me how pathetic that was then fuck off.”

Draco pushes himself off the wall. He doesn’t appreciate being told to fuck off, but Potter’s clearly a hopeless case. If even Weasley’s deserted him, it’s not surprising he looks as if he wants to drown himself in his cup of lukewarm tea.

“You’re always pathetic, Potter. Why should today be any different?” Draco takes Potter’s cup of tea and tips it down the sink, watching the liquid mingle with the last dregs of his coffee.

“That was my tea, you arse.”

“I think Shacklebolt will give you a day or two under the circumstances, don’t you?” Draco puts the mugs in the sink and gestures to the door. “We’re leaving and getting you a proper cup of coffee, or something stronger.”

Potter stares at Draco. “Don’t you have work to do?”

Draco shrugs. “Nothing I can’t manage from home this evening. I haven’t had a day off in months. Besides, I think some of your self-pity is rubbing off on me. I’m doing the Aurors a charitable service by giving them a break from your wallowing for the day.”

Potter blinks, nudging his glasses up onto his nose. Even with his mood deflated and his face looking pale and wan, Potter’s still got an underlying air of confidence about him. Nobody rises to Head Auror with such speed as Potter without sharp instinct and Draco can tell he’s being assessed. He fixes his gaze on Potter as Potter’s eyes swoop over him, travelling along Draco’s face like a caress.

“Well?” Draco gestures to the door again. “You keep Muggle clothes here, don’t you? You might as well change. The press won’t give us a moment’s peace if we go anywhere wizarding.”

“Yeah.” Potter nods, not quite masking his surprise. Clearly Draco passed muster. “Good idea.”

Draco rolls his eyes. “Obviously. Come on, then.”

He lets Potter go ahead of him and tries not to worry about why he’s decided to appoint himself Potter’s Hufflepuff-esque saviour.

He tells himself it’s just an opportunity to lord it over Potter. He might as well take it. He’s been waiting long enough.

*

They find themselves in a Muggle café in Hackney with rickety chairs and a long wooden table with names etched into the grain. The menus are slim, paper one-pagers with coffee stains on the edges that Draco supposes are meant to be decorative. It’s all a bit tatty for his tastes, but the West End is a bit of a risk, the City is out and Potter seems content enough to go as far away from the bustle of Central London as possible. Draco doesn’t miss the way Potter’s eyes light up when he looks at the simple range of breakfast food on offer. Potter’s so easily pleased. Draco tries to keep his usual haughty look in place because he absolutely won’t be charmed by Potter’s delight at a few bits of bacon and a tin of baked beans.

“Err, thanks for doing this. I reckon I might have needed to get out after all.” Potter gives Draco a crooked smile. “Can I at least get you a coffee?”

Draco sits back in his chair, contemplating Potter. “You can get me pancakes and a Mimosa. After that, you can get me a coffee.”

Potter looks as if he wants to make a comment about drinking with breakfast, but considering he’s the one whose prick has been splashed all over the entertainment news he’s lost the moral high ground. He nods, staying mercifully silent and goes to speak to the man behind the counter. The place is full of hipsters with beards and ironic shirts and the look the man gives Potter makes Draco’s stomach turn. Christ, surely Draco isn’t jealous watching someone attempt to flirt with Potter? That won’t do at all. He relaxes a little when it becomes apparent Potter doesn’t even notice, disinterested in everything other than his own predicament.

Potter’s back in a flash, leaning over Draco’s shoulder to point at the pancake section on the menu. His nails are trimmed short and his hands are surprisingly large considering he’s just a little shorter than Draco. Draco definitely doesn’t shiver or lean back in the semi-circle of Potter’s arms.

“Which one of these do you want?”

“That one.” Draco swallows because Potter smells good. Warm and soapy with a hint of light cologne. “Banana.”

“Good choice.” Potter sounds like he’s smiling. In a moment he’s gone back to the counter to place the order and Draco can finally breathe again.

*

Potter finishes the last mouthful of his breakfast and sits back with a contented sigh, reaching for his tea and taking a sip. He studies Draco and his lips twitch into an almost smile.

“Go on, then. You’re dying to know, I can tell.”

“I couldn’t care less about your sordid love life, Potter.” Draco dabs at the corner of his mouth with a napkin and pauses. “Was it the first time?”

Potter nods. “Yeah.”

“Are you bisexual or was it just a bit of fun?”

Potter looks away and when he turns to Draco again, any trace of amusement has gone completely. “Monogamy wasn’t exactly the problem. If I liked women and men I wouldn’t have done it, not for a second.” Potter shrugs and then he picks at his menu, tearing the corner in a slow, measured fashion before crumpling into a small ball. “I’m gay.”

Draco balks, staring at Potter. He leans forward, his voice a low hiss. “But you were married. For over twenty years. You are married. Aren’t you?”

Potter winces and he shakes his head slowly. “We’re getting a divorce. Ginny’s known for a while but we thought we could make it work anyway. We wanted to make it work. I love her. I’m just not…” He waves his hand, looking miserable.

“You just don’t want to fuck women?” Draco wrinkles his nose. He’s known he was gay since his first rubbish kiss with Parkinson and the nights he spent listening to Blaise wanking one bed across from him. He can’t believe Potter didn’t know.

“Something like that.” Potter pulls a face. “It’s complicated.”

Draco raises an eyebrow. “Not that complicated. You’d prefer to be unhappily married to a woman than out of the closet, is that it? I expect you were worried it might have made your bid for Minister more challenging.” The thought rankles and a hot shame creeps over Draco. He’s spent long enough learning to be out and proud in the face of his father’s snide comments and a couple of lost friendships over the years. The thought that Potter might see anything wrong with being gay sends Draco back to a place he’s spent years trying to forget.

Potter snorts. “Malfoy, they wanted me to run for Minister years ago and I said no. I’ve never wanted that. It’s nothing political or strategic, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

“Well you must have known?”

“Why? I wasn’t unhappy. Not until the last few years. I thought it was normal marrying your best friend, that’s what everyone says, isn’t it? Ginny’s my best friend. It’s easy enough to mistake that for something it isn’t.”

“Well something must have triggered your spectacular fall from grace.” Draco gestures for another coffee. “What was it?”

Potter looks as if he’s contemplating how much to disclose and Draco spots the moment he caves when he runs his hand through his hair and takes a breath.

“I found some old diaries that belonged to Sirius.”

Old conversations come back to Draco with sharp clarity and the penny drops. “Black had some scandal with a man in the seventies?”

Potter’s back to looking distressed. “Something like that.” He gives Draco a shrewd look. “How much do you know?”

Draco shrugs. “Just that. I know there was a big hoo-hah. No one told me anything else.”

Potter takes his fresh cup of tea and drinks from it. “He was in love with my dad, you know.”

“What?” Whatever Draco expected it wasn’t that.

“Yeah.” Potter laughs, without humour. “I couldn’t believe it either. It wasn’t reciprocated as far as I can tell. He wrote all about it. I couldn’t get it out of my head, it made so much sense. He was describing me.”

Draco wonders who Potter’s been pining over. He pulls a face because god could Potter’s life get any messier? “You’re in love with Weasley?”

Potter’s cheeks flush hot red and then he laughs, this time with humour. His eyes shine and he shakes his head at Draco, his lips curved in an impossibly charming smile. “I’m not in love with Ron, you pillock. I’m not in love with anyone.”

“But Black’s tale of unrequited love resonates?” Draco says, a little snappishly. Potter could be in love with Weasley. Draco’s relieved he isn’t, but he doesn’t want to consider the whys and wherefores too carefully.

“Not all of it. Some of the stuff about growing up made a lot of sense.” Potter looks away, his cheeks pink. “The things I think about sometimes.”

Draco tries to hide a smirk. He’s pretty sure he knows exactly what Potter’s doing when he’s thinking. “And now you’re getting divorced.”

Potter shrugs. “Yeah. Ginny found the diaries and sat me down. She said, ‘Is this it? Is this what’s been wrong all the time?’ She was so much better than I deserved.”

Draco makes a non-committal sound. He’s fairly certain having a conversation earlier in the marriage might have saved a lot of heartache but what does he know? He’s not exactly the marrying kind. “What did you say?”

Potter looks up, his jaw working. “I cried. After that, there wasn’t much else to say.”

“Oh,” Draco says.

They finish their drinks in silence and Potter doesn’t look up at Draco once.

*

Draco has to order a mimosa for each of them before Potter’s ready to start talking again. He has a swig from the glass and licks his lips, studying it for a moment before speaking.

“She said I should take some time to see if it was what I wanted. To be sure.”

Draco holds his breath. “And are you? Sure?”

Potter’s lips curve at the corner in a half-smile and he meets Draco’s gaze. “Yeah. I’m definitely gay.”

The warm tone of Potter’s voice slides through Draco’s veins and he hums quietly, taking his time before responding. “You were making sure when the press swooped in?”

“Yeah.” Potter grimaces.

Draco leans forward, his voice low. “Idiot. You could have asked if I knew anyone who might be more discreet.”

“Do you?” Potter tips his head to the side.

Draco nods, sipping his drink to avoid offering his own services. “Weasley doesn’t like queers, is that it?”

Potter blanches and then he shakes his head. “It’s not that so much. Ginny’s Ron’s sister. She’s been embarrassed and she’s hurt. That’s why he’s not really speaking to me at the moment. None of the Weasleys are. Ginny’s the only one that’s been in touch.”

Draco gives Potter a look. “It’s bound to take them time. It’s only been a weekend.”

“A bit longer than that.” Potter winces. “Gin moved home nearly two months ago.”

“Oh.” Draco frowns. That explains why Potter’s looked so unkempt and restless. Now he comes to think of it, Potter and Weasley haven’t been their usual chummy selves for quite some time. He can’t believe he didn’t pick up on it. He’s spent longer than he cares to think about watching Potter at work. “But that was really the first time?” He doesn’t mean to sound sceptical, he just remembers his own queer awakening and the way he couldn’t get enough of lean, male torsos perspiring against his own. He fucked in every possible way in every possible position when he was in his twenties. He’s rather proud of it.

Potter’s lips curve into a small smile. “Are you asking me about my sex life, Malfoy?” God, does Potter’s voice have to sound so low and delectable when he speaks?

Draco shifts in his seat and tries to fight the heat he can feel rising in his cheeks. “Obviously not. I’m just surprised you haven’t been celebrating your newfound freedom.”

Potter’s brow furrows. “It’s not really something to celebrate though, is it?”

“Being queer?” Draco bristles and he gives Potter a look. “No, I can imagine how terrible that must be for you.”

Potter rolls his eyes. “The breakdown of my marriage and the fact none of my friends can look me in the eye, you tit. Not to mention the loss of privacy and the fact it’s made Gin feel like shit to see all that speculation in the papers. I’m fifty, Malfoy. Too bloody old for all of this. I should be getting ready for retiring to a nice house in the country with a couple of kids and a crup.”

Draco snorts. “As if you’re going to retire anytime soon. Besides, doesn’t that sound frightfully dull?”

“Not to me.” Potter’s face takes on a wistful look. “Now though, I’d just like people to start talking to me again.”

“I’m talking to you,” Draco says.

“You are.” A flicker of surprise passes over Potter’s face. “Are you my friend, Malfoy?”

Draco shrugs, because that’s not quite how he’d put it. He’s also fairly certain Potter’s not ready to hear any alternative which might involve them both naked in Draco’s bed, while Draco helps Potter discover the many different ways there are to be with another man. He sips his drink and nods at the bar.

“Fancy another?”

Potter keeps his gaze focused on Malfoy until finally his face breaks into a slow smile.

“Might as well. It’s not like I’ve got anything better to do now Shacklebolt’s given me the week off.”

Draco rolls his eyes. It’s not the most flattering reason, but it’s a start.

*

The thing is, Draco’s always been a bit obsessed with Potter. He can admit it to himself, after a couple of drinks. It’s not the first time they’ve been alone together for any length of time, either. Potter’s just always seemed to be around, from the work he did on Draco’s trial to the cases which forced Aurors and lawyers into close proximity, particularly those during the long years after the war when Draco couldn’t walk into the Ministry without people giving him snooty looks or putting Howlers in his pigeon hole.

The minutes become hours and with unexpected ease the morning slips to lunch and into the lazy late afternoon with its darkening skies and the first drops of rain. Standing outside, Potter turns his head up to the cloudy sky, catching the first few cool drops on his face.

“Thanks, Malfoy.” He’s quiet and the firm confidence is back in his voice. He rakes a hand through his hair and Draco licks his lips, thinking of Potter with his head tipped back in the shower, water sliding along his toned, lithe frame.

Draco shrugs. “You’re welcome, I suppose.” Emboldened by the couple of drinks he flicks his gaze at Potter, who’s still staring up at the clouds. “I have a Muggle flat not far from here. It’s not my main residence, but I use it on occasion when I want to have Muggle visitors.” He uses it when he goes on the pull in Muggle London he means, but he doesn’t want to be quite that obvious although he’s fairly certain Potter gets the gist.

“Oh?” Potter turns, facing Draco. His cheeks are a light pink, flushed with the cool air. His hair is flecked with grey and small drops of rain. He gives Draco a searching look. “You want to take me back to your bachelor pad?” Potter’s clearly not fooled, he knows exactly what use Draco would have for a property like that. He’s not running off though. Instead he looks almost intrigued.

Draco meets Potter’s gaze head on. This dance. This dance they’ve been doing for god knows how many years. It’s all been building up to this. He can show Potter what he’s been missing and they can go their separate ways. He turns his eyes heavenward.

“Potter. Don’t be obtuse.”

“I’m not.” Potter laughs, low and soft. He moves close enough that Draco can smell his warm, soapy scent. He smells like mimosas and his fingers slide over Draco’s arm. “I know what you’re asking.”

Draco meets Potter’s eyes. They really do fit well together, he and Potter. Potter’s just his type. Only a hair’s breadth shorter with a lithe, toned frame. He’s a little stockier than Draco in places, but then Draco’s always had a vaguely malnourished look about him. He blames his father and the way he used to monitor Draco’s food along with the gluttony and indulgence of the war. There was a time he didn’t really think he deserved all the things money could buy. There’s traces of the war everywhere, even now. The lazy scar which curls lightly from his hip to his mid-thigh. The slight sting of Sectumsempra on the coldest days. The way the Manor gets so quiet and dark, Draco forgets how to breathe. On those nights he goes out to Muggle bars or lights every candle he can, making himself a warm drink and keeping an eye on the shadows moving outside in the darkness.

“If you know what I’m asking, what’s your answer?” Draco’s words come out clipped and snappish. It’s nerves. He knows that and he suspects Potter does too, which is all rather humiliating.

“Yes.” Potter raises an eyebrow at Draco, shifting a bit closer. Draco puts his palm to Potter’s chest to feel the way his heart thuds beneath his ribs. “Yeah, I’ll come back to yours. You don’t have to hide the fact you’re a wizard from me, you know.”

“You want to come to the Manor?” Draco pulls a face.

“I want to go to your home. Not some pretend version of it.” Potter rubs his jaw, studying Draco’s face intently. “Can we?”

Draco has to bite back a groan. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. He doesn’t want Potter to worm his way into Draco’s bedroom, into the intimate spaces with piles of half read books and photographs of people Draco would rather forget. He knows he’s left things out that will give pieces of him away and he’s not sure he’s ready for the memory of Potter to be forever engrained on his mind when he goes to sleep. Still, he can’t resist the thought of being with Potter and he suspects this is the kind of request that’s non-negotiable. Trust Potter to get all sentimental and strange about a fuck. Just a fuck. That’s all it is. Draco firms his shoulders and nods.

“Fine. If you insist.”

They walk in silence until they find a deserted spot to Apparate from. When Draco takes Potter by the arm so they can travel together, he definitely doesn’t shiver or take a moment just to breathe Potter in.

It’s just a one off, he tells himself.

That’s all it is.

*

It turns out Potter’s surprisingly amenable to being kissed. They open the door to the Manor and no sooner has it slammed behind them than Potter’s pushing Draco against it, kissing him with the kind of commitment he does everything. It’s blissful, being so close to Potter and pressing against his hard, firm body.

“Harry, call me Harry.” Potter’s voice is gruff and low, his words punctuated with kisses. He tears off his glasses and dives in with another searching kiss, opening his mouth to Draco and sliding their tongues together. It’s frightening how hard Draco gets considering he’s not a bloody teenager snogging someone against the castle walls again. He groans and then pushes Potter back a little, in a desperate attempt to reassert some authority.

“Upstairs.”

“Alright.” Potter gives Draco a heated look and then makes his way upstairs, giving Draco a moment to ogle his delectable backside. When they reach Draco’s room, Draco pulls a face at the sheets which are messy and slept in.

“It’s a mess.”

“I couldn’t care less.” Potter tugs Draco close again until they fall on the bed. He murmurs in Draco’s ear between more searching kisses, his hand sliding down Draco’s back. “Will you fuck me?”

Draco nods, not quite able to answer that with words. Potter’s eyes are so, so green and the whole rutting and kissing business has Draco’s heart thumping out of his chest. He rubs his hand over the bulge in Potter’s jeans and lets out a low hiss of pleasure when Potter juts forward. Christ, Potter’s hung. Even beneath the denim, Draco can feel the long, hard length of him. “Although I wouldn’t mind being fucked with that next time.” His hand stills and his heart pounds in his chest. Stupid. There won’t be any next time. A few kisses with Potter and he’s already showing far too much of his heart.

“If you like,” Potter says, easily. He dives in for another kiss and soon Draco isn’t thinking at all. Instead, he works open Potter’s trousers until it all becomes too much and with a growl he reaches for his wand. He casts a hurried spell which leaves them both naked and Potter blinking owlishly at him from the bed. He’s got one leg bent at the knee and he sprawls on Draco’s sheets with an easy confidence as if he’s always belonged there. Draco takes a moment to take in the lines of Potter’s body, the thick length of his cock and the dark hair which covers his chest and trails down in a thin line from his belly button. He may be older now, but Potter’s fit and strong in all the right places. His thighs are toned, sinewy muscle and his smile gets Draco’s heart pounding.

“Draco?” Potter sounds amused. He gives his cock one long stroke and god that’s a good look. “Are we fucking or are you just going to watch me?” His lips curve and he strokes himself again. “You’re making me blush.”

The heat creeps up Draco’s neck and into his cheeks. Potter’s not blushing at all. He’s supremely confident and doubtless knows exactly what he’s doing to Draco. With a huff, Draco reaches for the lube.

“Shut up, Potter.”

“Harry.”

“Fine. Shut up, Harry.” With a smirk against Potter’s lips, Draco indulges in another kiss until Potter’s grinding against him and they’re both a bit breathless. He slicks his fingers and reaches between Potter’s legs, running his fingers through the crack of his arse and biting back a groan. “Turn over, will you?”

“Okay.” Potter shifts, sitting up a bit until he’s on his knees and elbows and looking back at Draco. “Like this?”

“Why not?” Draco runs his hand over Potter’s backside. Potter’s going to be the death of him anyway, he might as well take advantage of getting a good look at him from head to toe. He gathers himself and begins to press against Potter. Draco can do this. He’s had enough sex to know what tricks to pull. Potter might have fucked and been fucked but he’s never been with another man before and Draco’s determined that he’s going to ruin Potter for anyone else. Every time Potter finds himself with some ignorant Muggle or wizard who is undoubtedly not good enough for him, he’ll come with the memory of Draco inside him. The thought sends a hot flash of pleasure through Draco and he uses a little more lube to ease his way into Potter. He uses one finger at first, marvelling at the tightness of Potter’s body and the warm heat which clenches around him. “Relax, will you?” He presses a kiss to Harry’s lower back and works in another finger. Potter’s not fully hard now and that won’t do at all. Draco takes Potter’s cock and strokes it slowly, fucking him with two fingers.

He’s got good hands for this. Long, thin and experienced. He knows what he’s looking for and it’s not long before Potter’s gasping and writhing, pushing back against Draco. The tip of Potter’s glorious cock leaks and Draco swipes his thumb over it, drawing a deep groan of pleasure from Potter’s lips.

“Fuck, Malfoy.”

“Draco.”

Potter’s smile carries through his tone, even as his voice is rough and ragged. “Fuck, Draco.”

Draco laughs, unexpected and bright. He doesn’t usually share this ease with someone he’s fucking. It’s usually a lot less pounding hearts and teasing and a lot more fucking until he’s done, with little thought for the pleasure of his partner. He’s a selfish fuck, always has been. Not with Potter, though. Not with Harry. There’s something about having him spread out and exposed after years of wanting that makes Draco want to take his time. He doesn’t want Potter blabbing about uncomfortable first times or going off looking for something better. He doesn’t want Potter going anywhere at all. The thought floods through him as Draco crooks and twists his fingers until Harry’s begging with a low, gruff please, please, please.

“Impatient.” Draco gives Harry’s backside a light swat, sliding his fingers out. He doesn’t miss the way Harry’s body jerks in response and he files that thought away for another time. He nudges Harry over because really, he wants to look at his face when he’s fucking him. He wants Harry to remember Draco’s face and look at him all flushed and wanting. God, he wants that. More than he wants to let himself think about.

When Harry’s stretched out, Draco slicks himself and settles between Harry’s legs. He arranges Harry’s legs on his shoulders before pushing slowly in, keeping his eyes on Harry. Harry’s collarbone is dotted with beads of perspiration and his cheeks are dusky pink. His eyes are so green and so bright and the smallest smile plays on his lips as he arches up to meet Draco’s slow thrusts inside him. He’s fucking lovely and it’s all a bit too much. Draco dips his head and licks a bead of perspiration from Harry’s neck. He tastes salty and sweet. With a rough pant of breath, Draco finally begins to move when he’s quite sure he’s not going to finish before he’s started. It’s easy, with Harry. He seems to know instinctively what to do, how to tangle his hand in Draco’s hair and tug him close. He seems to know how to keep talking in slow, rough, jagged edged words as he mumbles out god, yes and Draco, Draco from kiss-bitten lips. How Harry knows instinctively the way it turns Draco on to hear how he’s making Harry feel is anyone’s guess. With a low groan, Draco pushes into Harry, deep and hard. He speeds up when Harry starts tugging his cock, unable to stop staring at the way Harry looks so wide-eyed and flushed with arousal. With the last murmur of Draco from Harry’s lips, Draco comes with a soft shout.

He slides out of Harry slowly, pushing his hand from his cock. He moves down Harry’s body and takes him in his mouth, down into his throat. The way Harry arches up with a jagged cry is enough to make Draco forgive him for the rough push of his cock down Draco’s throat. He imagines taking Harry inside him – how Harry’s fingers would feel pushed into Draco’s body as he stretches Draco out for his cock. He’s not a teenager anymore but his cock still manages a feeble twitch of appreciation at the thought, a sated kind of arousal settling deep in the pit of Draco’s belly. It doesn’t take long before Harry’s coming and Draco swallows down every last drop, before pulling off his cock and sitting back on his heels.

“That was…” Harry puts his arm over his eyes, his voice rough.

“Yes?” Draco holds his breath.

“Good. Good.” Harry shifts his arm and reaches for Draco. His eyes are so dark and the way he stares at Draco is almost uncomfortable. He’s got an intensity about him which Draco rarely sees outside of a professional context. Harry tugs Draco into a deep, messy kiss and slides a hand into Draco’s hair. He brushes his lips against the shell of Draco’s ear, his voice a rough whisper. “Can I fuck you later? Do you do that?”

Draco nods, a shiver travelling the length of his body. “I suppose. I mean, I do that. Not often, but sometimes.”

“Don’t you like it?” Harry pulls back a bit, fixing his open, honest gaze on Draco. It makes Draco’s heart clench and his stomach flips uncomfortably. Fucking Harry. This isn’t going to end well for Draco, he knows it. Potter’s married and Draco’s just a convenient fuck that isn’t going to run off to the press. His room feels too small all of a sudden and every bit of his life seems laid bare, out in the open for Harry to take in and dismiss with a quick wave and a fistful of Floo powder.

“I like it. I just prefer things the other way. It depends who I’m with.” Draco shrugs, hoping his voice is more level and controlled than he feels. “You want to do it again, then?”

“Not right away.” Harry grins. “Maybe a shower first. I’m starving, have you got any cheese and bread? I could murder cheese on toast.”

Draco stares at Harry. “Didn’t we just eat breakfast?”

Harry shrugs. “Hours ago. Besides, shagging makes me hungry.”

Draco’s stomach rumbles. “I suppose I can make cheese on toast.”

“Brilliant.” Harry reaches over for his glasses. He nudges them onto his nose and then he rubs his thumb over Draco’s bottom lip. The touch is startlingly intimate. “That’s better. Now I can see you properly. You were a bit fuzzy round the edges before.”

Draco rolls his eyes. “You probably liked that. It’s more anonymous.”

Harry’s lips turn downwards and his brow furrows. “Excuse me?”

“Come on, Potter. You’re not going to be back. You want a house in the country and retirement with slippers and a pipe.”

Harry’s lips twitch. “I could probably do without the pipe.” He stretches and gives Draco a look. “I don’t think I’d wear slippers in the country. Or clothes.”

Draco snorts, unable to stop himself from smiling. “Pervert.”

“Well, it would be a shame to let such a remote location go to waste.” Harry winks. He looks serious again after a moment. “I’ve got the house, you know. I rebuilt Godric’s Hollow after the war. I don’t go there much, but it’s a bit of a getaway. I can’t see me leaving the Aurors anytime soon, but it’s nice to have a break.” He looks at Draco, reaching across to twine their fingers together. “I was thinking of going there this weekend. You should come.”

Draco fights back the dangerous tendril of hope which blooms in his chest. Trust Harry to pull out all the stops to steal Draco’s reckless heart. “I’ve gone long enough without weekends away and sharing my bed with people. Why should I start now?”

Harry watches Draco closely. “Why shouldn’t you?”

Draco turns away. Harry’s face is so bright and hopeful, looking at him almost hurts. “You’re married. If Weasley isn’t talking to you now, I don’t think fucking a Malfoy is going to do you any favours. It’s easier just to go back to how we were.”

“Oh.” Harry props himself up on his elbow, nudging Draco until their eyes meet again. “Tell me how we were.”

“Friends.” Draco pulls a face, because no, that isn’t quite right. “Acquaintances. Former enemies forced to work together, I don’t know.”

“Don’t you?” Harry’s voice is low and firm. He shakes his head, never taking his gaze from Draco. “Do better.”

“What?”

“You can do better than that.” Harry’s expression is quiet and intense and the room feels too small again. “I’m not sure I’ve ever thought of you as my friend.”

“Well thanks very much.” Draco looks away, his heart beating too quickly in his chest. “How exactly did you think of me, then?”

“In a way I probably shouldn’t have done. Those diaries that Sirius kept, it made so much sense to me after reading them. Those nights we spent together when I wanted to…” Draco can feel Harry moving. “It was fucking complicated. It’s always been complicated with us.”

“It’s not exactly uncomplicated now we’ve had a quick shag.” Draco looks quickly at Harry. “You won’t lose Weasley and he’s never going to accept me. It’s going to come down to a choice in the end and I don’t like to lose. I’ve lost enough and it’s taken me too much time to get to a point when people listen to my ideas. I don’t think stealing Harry Potter from his brilliant wife is going to help me get any kind of respect from people.”

“The thing is, I’ve spent too long living the life I thought I wanted.” Harry flings off the duvet and moves to stand, comfortable in his own nakedness while he pulls on his boxers and moves to the window to look outside. His shoulders are tense. “It’s easy to get lost in the thought of the years I could have had something different. I won’t waste time any more, pretending. Lying to myself. Lying to other people.”

“You’re not listening.” Draco sits up, staring at Harry’s back. He wants to pull Harry back to bed and kiss him again, partly because he wants this discussion to end and partly because there’s a bit of his heart that always wants to be kissing Harry. “I’m going to lose.”

Harry turns, contemplating Draco. His jaw works as his eyes sweep over Draco, taking in the length of his body and travelling back up to his face. “If we don’t try, don’t we both lose anyway?”

Draco murmurs a cleaning spell and pulls on his clothes, not looking at Harry. “I’m going to make cheese on toast. If you still want some?”

Harry stares at Draco and then shakes his head. “Can you give me an hour? There’s something I want to do first. I’ll be back.”

Draco shrugs. “Don’t rush on my account.”

The familiar sensation of Harry’s magic washes over him and then he’s alone in his large home once more, watching the shadows move outside.

*

Draco’s drinking brandy when Harry finally returns, over four hours later.

“I’ve eaten. If you still want food you’ll have to make it yourself.” Draco takes in Potter’s harried expression and he gestures to the drinks cabinet. “Or get yourself a brandy, if you’re staying.”

“Thanks.” Draco doesn’t miss the tremble in Potter’s hand as he pours himself a drink. He downs a shot with a wince, before pouring another small measure and sitting on the sofa too far away from Draco. “I spoke to Ginny. Ron and Hermione too.”

Draco’s stomach rolls. “Christ, Potter. What the fuck did you do that for? I told you, I don’t want people to know about this. You’re such a fucking Gryffindor. One shag and you think it’s going to change the world. You think I’m going to change. I might not even want you. Did that ever occur to you? Did you ever think for one moment that I might be quite happy keeping things casual?”

Harry looks up, his gaze sharp. “I didn’t mention your name. Don’t worry. Turns out I didn’t have to.”

“What?” Draco’s mouth is dry. The look Harry gives him is colder than Draco’s seen. His eyes are red and sore and his lips set in a grim line.

“The bloke in that café of ours wasn’t a Muggle. The Prophet’s running with the story tomorrow. They called Ginny, asked if she had any comment.”

“And does she?” Draco thinks he’s going to be sick, a wave of nausea making his stomach turn.

“No.” Harry shakes his head, looking back into his drink. “She…understands. She said it makes sense, in some ways. Did you know she’s been seeing Blaise recently?”

“Zabini? No chance.”

“Yup.” Harry shrugs. He drinks the rest of his brandy and stands. “Ron’s not exactly thrilled, but we’ll work it out. With time. I thought you deserved to know, anyway.” He sighs, putting his glass down. “Do you want me to have a word with Skeeter? See if I can pull any strings? For the record, I doubt I’ll be able to. It’s never worked before.”

“No, I…” Draco takes in the way Harry shuffles next to the Floo as if he’s not quite ready to leave. A lump rises in his throat. “You’re leaving?”

“Yeah.” Harry pulls a face. “I’m off to be a fucking Gryffindor somewhere else.” He finally meets Draco’s gaze. “I don’t really do casual you see, Malfoy. I should have told you that before. I thought maybe you already knew. I’m not going to waste another fifty years trying to force something that’s never going to work.”

“You’re a prick.” Draco stands, moving close to Harry. He walks them back until Harry’s pressed against the wall. “Sometimes, I can’t stand you. I hate the way you think you can barge into my life and change everything? Fuck you for doing that, Potter. Fuck you.”

It’s even better, the second heated kiss. Harry tugs at Draco’s hair, his strong, firm hands pulling Draco deeper into the kiss. It’s half kissing, half battling as Harry turns them around until Draco’s the one against the wall. He shoves his leg between Draco’s, wrapping his arm around Draco’s waist and never stopping those biting, dizzying kisses. It’s too much. Draco can’t help but respond in kind, determined to give as good as he’s getting. He rocks against Harry’s thigh and pants into his mouth when Harry bites down on his bottom lip. Harry’s not gentle or tentative like Draco expected him to be. He’s hot and urgent, his hands all over Draco’s body.

“Fuck you too, Malfoy. Fuck you for not saying it.” Harry’s voice is rough and he sounds more desperate than Draco’s heard before. He pulls back, trying to catch his breath with gulps of air that smell like Potter’s soapy scent and familiar cologne.

“What do you want from me?”

“A chance,” Harry says. He looks well-kissed, his lips plump and flushed. “We’re too old for this bullshit. I’m not dancing around my feelings anymore.”

This dance. This dance they do. The dance Draco’s always done around Harry, the way he’s forced himself into situations where they might work together and the way he seeks him out at Ministry events. The way Harry looked stretched out on Draco’s bed. The taste of him on Draco’s lips and the way his heart beats out Harry’s name when they’re fucking and kissing, even when they’re fighting.

“Since Hogwarts.” Draco pulls away, trying to put distance between them. “You were always there. Being a hero, getting under my skin.

Harry stares at Draco, his cheeks flushed. “Go on.” He leans back against the wall next to Draco. His voice dips into a whisper. “Go on.”

“I hated you. I hated everything. I wanted to be better.”

“You were young.” Harry’s eyes close, his breathing still ragged.

“I was spoilt and stupid.” Draco’s voice shakes. “You were everything I couldn’t be, because I wasn’t strong enough.”

“I was twenty-five,” Harry says. “When I wanted to kiss you first. When you were in those poncy velvet robes and drinking champagne by yourself. When people walked past you looked so angry. I thought, I wonder if we’re as lost as each other.”

“You’ve never been lost,” Draco says.

“Yeah, I have.” Harry shrugs, turning his head to look at Draco. “Fifty years of not knowing who I am. Fifty years of trying to feel something other than content.”

“I’d have given half the Malfoy vaults for content.”

“I always wanted fire. Something that could make me feel more. I was living someone else’s life. It never fit. None of it ever fit.” Harry turns to face Draco, unbuttoning Draco’s shirt with trembling fingers. Draco doesn’t stop him. When his chest is bare, Harry runs his fingers over the scars on Draco’s belly. The ones that never quite went away. “I’m sorry.”

“So you should be.” Draco rolls his eyes, his breath faltering as he presses into Harry’s touch. “Idiot. I would have killed you if I’d have been brave enough. Don’t apologise, not for that.”

“Would you have killed me?” Harry continues to stroke his fingers over Draco’s stomach, moving his other hand into Draco’s hair and toying with it. “Really?”

“Probably not,” Draco admits. He shudders beneath the touch, his arousal hot and heavy in his stomach. “Maybe. I don’t know anymore. I don’t like to think about him. Who I was.” He slides off his shirt and lets it slip to the floor, watching Harry’s fingers trail lower and then studying Harry’s hands as they slowly unbuckle his trousers. “I’m not the hero, Potter. If you’re looking for fire, you’re not going to get it from me. I’m not anybody’s saviour.”

“Neither am I.” Harry unbuttons Draco’s trouser, sliding the zip lower. Draco’s so hard he’s aching with the need to be touched. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

“Me, I hope.” Draco shoves his trousers down and kicks out of them. He’s naked and Harry’s still fully clothed. He should feel more uncomfortable about that than he does.

“Yeah. You.” Harry looks up, his eyes shining. He presses his hand to the wall and then he’s kissing Draco again, slow and searching. “Turn around, will you?”

Draco shifts so he’s pressed against the wall. It’s cold against his cheek. He shivers when he feels the solid weight of Harry’s body against him and the warmth of Harry’s kisses along the arch of his neck. “It’s…been a while.”

“You said. I won’t…I won’t hurt you.” Harry makes his way down Draco’s body, as if he’s always known what to do to set Draco’s skin on fire. Draco wonders if they’re still talking about sex. When Harry’s tongue slides over his hole, Draco bites back a gasp and scrabbles at the wall looking for purchase.

“Christ.”

“Yeah?” Harry sounds uncertain, but when Draco moans in response he dives back in with fervour. He’s far too talented with his tongue, far too capable of taking Draco apart piece by piece. With a low, broken mutter, Draco summons the lube which drops to the floor by Harry.

“Go on, then.”

“Okay.” Harry sounds unsure, but then he returns with slick fingers which breach Draco’s body with ease. It takes a while but he finally gets the angle just right and slowly opens Draco up until he thinks he’s going to come just from Harry’s fingers. After a while, Harry stands and he presses close to Draco, twisting his fingers inside him and making Draco cry out. “I…I don’t think I can fuck you like this. Too bloody short.”

Despite his current predicament, Draco snorts with laughter. “Move then.” Harry’s fingers slide out of Draco and he feels empty and desperate to feel the thick length of Harry inside him. He casts a critical look at the sitting room before he moves to the desk at the end of the room. “Okay?” He puts his hands on the desk and turns to watch Harry over his shoulder. He looks wide-eyed and flushed as he takes in the sight of Draco. Who would have thought it would be that easy to leave Potter speechless?

“Perfect.”

It doesn’t take long for Harry to push into Draco. The stretch is uncomfortable but good in a way Draco hasn’t felt for a long time. When Harry bites down on his neck and begins to fuck him in earnest, Draco can’t stop the words which leave his mouth. He’s practically begging for Harry to take him hard and rough, wanting to be possessed. If it’s this moment, if this is all it is, he wants to remember it for days. He never wants to forget fucking and being fucked by Harry Potter. He doesn’t want their stupid years of dancing around one another to end. He wants it all. The house in the country and Harry warm and sleepy in his bed. He wants marmalade flavoured morning kisses and lazy blow jobs before bed. He wants to be pushed against a thousand more walls by Harry, kissed into desperate oblivion. He wants it more than he has words for, so he just pushes back into Harry until his orgasm jack-knifes through him with reckless force.

“Harry…” Draco groans as Harry keeps going, the warmth of Harry’s own orgasm following shortly after. He slides onto the desk, catching his breath for a moment and wincing when Harry pulls out.

“Sorry, did I…did I hurt you?”

“No.” Draco waves his hand, knackered and unable to move. It’s a moment before he feels Harry pulling him up and pressing a kiss into Draco’s sweaty hair. It almost makes Draco weep because it’s more tender than he deserves. More tender than he’s ever deserved.

“Can I stay?” Harry sounds uncertain and Draco nods, coming back to himself finally. He murmurs a cleaning charm and tugs Harry into a slow kiss.

“I suppose. You might as well be here when the Prophet arrives. We can see how bad it is.”

Harry’s jaw works and he studies Draco. He doesn’t look quite such a determined force when he’s naked and his hair looks like a kneazle’s been nesting in it. Draco refuses to be charmed by him. Damn Harry and his too-big heart.

“And then?”

Draco shrugs. It’s not easy to say the things that he’s so used to keeping inside. He’s not sure he’s ever going to be able to let those barriers down after years of building them up.

“Haven’t you got a week off?”

Harry’s brow furrows. “Yeah. Why?”

Draco looks away. “I’m owed a holiday. I haven’t taken a proper vacation in years.”

“Oh?” Harry’s lips curve into a slow smile. Really, he needs to stop looking at Draco like that unless he wants Draco to be thoroughly disarmed. “Anywhere in mind?”

“Maybe Florence.” Draco gives Harry a look and then reaches for him. “Or a house in the country. The sort where nobody cares if you’re naked all day.”

“I wonder where you’ll find a place like that?” Harry grins. He presses close to Draco and buries his face in the crook of Draco’s neck, breathing him in. “You stink,” he mumbles, his lips damp against Draco’s skin. “We need a shower.”

“Keep the compliments coming, Potter.” Draco rolls his eyes but runs his fingers through Harry’s shaggy hair, trying to give it some semblance of style. He closes his eyes, just breathing Harry in. They’re both sweaty and a bit disgusting, but Harry smells just like Draco’s Amortentia all those years ago. A bit like he did after Quidditch practice when he’d push past Draco in pursuit of someone else. Draco would watch Harry go, before going to the showers and pretending he didn’t care. Years of pretending he couldn’t give two hoots about Harry is a difficult habit to break.

Harry’s lips find their way to Draco’s earlobe and the kisses start again, slow and delicious.

“I don’t know if I can do better,” Draco says. His words are low and his voice rough.

“You can try. We can try,” Harry replies.

Harry’s warm and he smells like a love potion. Like Hogwarts and broomsticks, Quidditch and the late winter air. His kisses taste new and achingly familiar all at once. Even though Draco’s never had Harry this close, he’s dreamt about it enough times.

He kisses Harry back. He wants to say he’s been trying to do better for years and he’s not sure he’ll ever be the person Harry seems to think he’s become, but he can try. It’s enough, for now.

~Fin~