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It’s a typical Saturday night, so far: barely midnight and he’s propped up against the bar in a club he’s too bladdered to remember the name of, trying to talk a pretty young boy into sucking his cock in the gents. The boy, who’s probably older than Draco by a handful of years, with curling brown hair and big blue eyes, blushes a little and looks away. Draco’s always drawn to the shy ones. It’s easy enough for him to get laid, but where’s the challenge in pulling someone who’s out to be pulled? No, he likes the chase, the uncertainty of it all. He likes the challenge.

The boy smiles coyly up at Draco, and Draco leans close to whisper in the boy’s ear when he spots him across the club.

Him.

Harry bloody Potter. He’d disappeared from the Wizarding World four years ago, the same night he’d defeated the Dark Lord. A hundred witnesses place him felling the Dark Lord, and then somewhere in all the chaos and confusion afterward, Potter just vanished.

And now he was here? At a Muggle club in London?

Draco doesn’t realize he’s frozen until the boy pulls back. “Is something wrong?”

Draco smiles at him. “No, just thought I saw someone I knew.”

He can’t resist another glance at the other side of the crowded room where he thought he’d seen Potter, but with the darkness of the club only slashed by whirling rainbow strobe lights from the dance floor, he really can’t make out much of anything at all. He has to be mistaken. Of course he’s mistaken. Potter, here? It’s ridiculous.

“Someone you knew?” the boy repeats as he draws farther away.

Draco flashes him a reassuring smile. “Not knew as well as I’m hoping to get to know you, of course. Just someone I went to school with. I was mistaken, though.”

The boy peers up at Draco with another of those coy smiles and Draco gets on with the game.

It’s another thirty minutes and two more drinks before he convinces the boy to follow him to the gents. As soon as the door shuts behind them, Draco attacks him in a kiss that borders on vicious but the boy clutches helplessly at him, and from there it’s easy enough to press him down to his knees. Though the boy’s not skilled at all, his enthusiasm more than makes up for his lack of technique, and it’s not too long before Draco’s coming down his throat, staring down at that tousled head of dark hair and thinking of another messy-haired boy he hasn’t laid eyes on in four long years.

He reciprocates, of course, and because he is skilled at this it’s hardly any time before the boy’s gasping above him and his fingers tighten in Draco’s hair. Draco swallows and stands up as the boy slumps against the grimy tile wall.

“Thanks for that,” he says, patting the boy’s cheek and earning himself a soft, sated smile. “Maybe I’ll see you around.”

“Sure,” the boy says.

Then Draco exits the toilet, just in time to see Potter leading a giggling brunette down the hall and fucking hell, it really is him. Draco freezes in the doorway but Potter doesn’t notice him because his companion is completely sloshed and teetering along on five-inch heels and Potter’s preoccupied with keeping her from toppling over. Potter opens the back door of the club, helps the girl down the steps to the alley, and lets the door bump shut behind him.

Draco follows him without thinking, because, really, Potter in a Muggle club, how could he not follow? The back door is locked, but a simple Alohomora takes care of that. Draco eases it open and slips out just in time to see Potter sink his fangs into the girl’s neck.

The girl moans loudly enough to cover Draco’s startled gasp and she lets her head fall back to give Potter better access to her neck, and Potter’s eyes flutter closed as he drinks. Draco can’t take his eyes off how Potter’s mouth is sealed to the skin of the girl’s neck, how Potter’s throat works as he swallows, swallows, swallows, and the girl now has one leg hooked around Potter and she’s practically humping his thigh, and Draco guesses that it really is true what they say about a vampire’s bite.

He expects it to last longer, but Potter releases her just a minute later. A bright bead of blood dots his bottom lip and he licks it away with a quick swipe of his tongue. She instantly tries to press herself back into his arms, but he carefully puts her away from himself and stares deep into her eyes and murmurs something Draco can’t quite make out. Her face goes slack and her eyes get big and glassy, and then Potter gently takes her by the hand and turns back to the club.

And that’s when Draco realizes he’s still just standing there by the door, right in Potter’s line of sight, and it’s too late to do anything about it because Potter’s already seen him.

It’s sort of hilarious the way he freezes like a startled rabbit, how his features go all round with shock and his mouth drops open, giving Draco a clear view of his fangs, bright and sharp and still smeared with blood.

And that’s when it really sinks into Draco’s half-pickled brain: Harry Potter is a vampire.

“Holy shit,” he coughs out. Not his most eloquent, but he thinks he ought to be excused for not thinking clearly, because Harry Potter is a fucking vampire.

“W-what…” he says, and Draco feels better that Potter’s not any more articulate. Then his eyes narrow in suspicion. “Are you thtalking me?”

And Draco can feel his jaw hit the floor again. “Are you lisping?”

Potter glowers and completely ignores the question in favor of rephrasing his own. “Are you following me?”

Draco shakes his head. “Everyone thinks you’re dead. And you’re not, well, you sort of are, but… fucking hell. What happened?” His mind feels hazy and slow and he really wishes he hasn’t had so much to drink.

“You should go home,” Potter says, staring at him so intently that it makes Draco a little uncomfortable. “You should go home and forget that you thaw me here tonight.”

Draco blinks at him. “Are you trying to Beguile me?”

Potter looks startled again. “It’th not working?”

“Of course not!” Draco tells him, and he really has to fight to keep back a laugh because Potter just looks so disappointed. “That shit only works on Muggles, you berk.” He studies Potter. “How long has it been since you were turned?”

“That’th none of your buthinethh,” Potter says indignantly, still lisping around his fangs.

“It’s not, really,” Draco allows. “It’s just that… you’re really quite bad at this whole being-a-vampire thing, aren’t you?”

Potter somehow looks embarrassed and indignant at the same time. “It’th not like it came with inthtructionth.”

It strikes Draco as very strange that they’re having a conversation that’s even remotely civil, considering who they are and the circumstances they’re having it under, but Draco’s really very drunk and Potter seems rooted to the spot with shame so he thinks that might be enough to explain it.

“Potter,” Draco begins.

Potter drops the girl’s hand and stalks up to Draco. “If you tell anyone you thaw me here, I’ll make you thorry.”

This time, Draco can’t fight back his laugh. “Oh god, I’m sorry. I know you’re trying to be all threatening, but the lisping…” He trails off and dissolves into giggles again. It’s not one of his finer moments, but this is all just too much for him to take seriously while he’s three sheets to the wind.

Potter glares at him, then turns on his heel and Disapparates. The girl blinks at the sudden bang.

“Who are… what am I doing out here?” she says, glancing around at the dirty alleyway. She takes a step back, watching Draco suspiciously.

“I saw some bloke drag you off. Thought I’d make sure everything’s okay,” Draco says.

“Some bloke?” the girl repeats, still eyeing him skeptically.

“Yeah. I ran him off. Come on, let’s get you back to your friends,” Draco says. He pulls open the door and holds it for her. She’s still wary, and he rolls his eyes. “Come on,” he says again, impatient. “My boyfriend’s going to wonder where I’ve gone off to.”

It’s amazing how she relaxes at that. As if the fact that he likes cock makes Draco any less dangerous. But she shuts up and lets him haul her up the stairs and steer her back into the club and deposit her at a table full of giggly young women. Their chirping, raucous laughter makes his head hurt, and Draco thinks he’s had all he can take for one night.

He goes home.

 

****

 

It takes him six weeks to find Potter again, six weeks of lurking in bars and clubs all over London. From the research Draco’s been doing lately, he knows that vampires quickly stake out a ‘territory’ and stick close to that. So even though Potter likely won’t return to the club Draco found him at before, he’s probably going to one nearby.

Sometimes Draco can’t help but wonder just why he’s putting so much effort into tracking down Potter. It’s not something he’s got a solid answer for, just a sense of morbid curiosity and vague notions of a front page article in the Prophet. And besides, it’s not as if Draco’s got anything better to do with his time, and he’s gotten his cock sucked more often than ever before. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

When Draco finds Potter again, he looks just the same as he had before: dressed simply in dark jeans and a black t-shirt with a battered leather jacket layered over it, the dark clothing a striking contrast with his pale skin. He obviously doesn’t need the jacket, but it does help him blend in better.

Tonight, Draco’s more careful as he follows him out back to the alleyway and lingers in a shadowed doorway. He’s had less to drink this time and he’s feeling a little tipsy rather than thoroughly smashed. His heart pounds so hard as he watches that he’s sort of afraid Potter can hear it. He waits until Potter’s finished feeding and Beguiles the young girl into going back inside.

Potter lets the door swing shut behind her before he sighs and scrubs his hands over his face. He looks very tired.

“It’s not satisfying, is it?” Draco says as he steps out of his hiding spot.

Potter starts, but his shock turns quickly into irritation, which is sort of a shame. Draco finds that frightened-rabbit look of his highly amusing. “You again,” he mutters.

“How many times a week do you have to feed?” Draco asks.

Draco thinks that Potter’s going to tell him to piss off and then bolt again, but he just sighs and his shoulders slump.

“Every night,” Potter says. He must be desperate for conversation, if he’s willing to have a chat with his schoolyard nemesis in a dirty alleyway.

“You know that’s because it’s Muggle blood,” Draco points out, because Potter probably doesn’t know.

Potter’s eyes flash with anger. “I should’ve known, Malfoy. You’re thtill the thame prejudithed shit you were at Hogwartth.” His righteous indignation is hindered by his lisping, and by the time Draco fights down his thoroughly inappropriate laughter and feels able to explain, Potter’s Disapparated again.

 

****

 

It only takes two weeks to find him this time.

“Are you ready to listen to me?” Draco asks after Potter’s done with his latest meal.

Potter sighs. “Are you going to keep following me until I do?”

Draco flashes him a grin. “Of course.”

Potter waves a defeated hand. “Fine.”

“I’m not a ‘prejudiced shit’ as you seem to think I am,” Draco says. “The reason you have to feed so often is because you’re using Muggles. I would’ve explained that if you’d stuck around. You’re a magical being. You need magical blood.”

“I can’t,” Potter says. “I don’t want anyone to find out what I am. I’m…” He ponders for a moment. “…amazed that you haven’t reported me already.” He sighs. “Though I really wouldn’t know if you did. I don’t read the paper anymore.”

Draco can tell by the careful, halting way he speaks that Potter’s deliberately avoiding any word with an S in it. He’s tempted to comment on it, but doesn’t want to chase Potter off again.

“What you need is a dedicated donor,” he says instead. “Most vampires have one.”

Potter scoffs. “Right. What’ll I do, take out an ad in the Daily Prophet?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Draco says. “I’ll do it.”

There’s that startled rabbit look again, and Draco fights down a laugh. He doesn’t think that look will ever stop being funny, though he supposes he’ll have to see it while sober to be sure. “What? Why?” Potter asks.

It’s something that Draco’s wondered to himself over the last couple of months. At first he tracked down Potter out of a morbid sense of curiosity and ambiguous plans for revenge. Then, somehow, and Draco can’t place exactly when, he got the idea of becoming Potter’s donor. He tried to ignore it at first, but the idea won’t let go. The temptation of holding this much power over Potter is just too great to ignore.

For years, Draco thought that power was something you had to take by force, something that needed to be wrested and wielded. But he’s since learned better. He was young, just barely nineteen and on his first foray into the world of Muggle clubs. An older man had convinced him to go into the toilet with him, where he’d dropped to his knees and used his talented mouth and clever fingers to make Draco fall apart. As he slumped against the wall, muscles warm and loose, he looked down and the man’s gaze met his own. I own you, the man’s eyes said. I took you apart and I own you and you’re mine.

And that’s when Draco realized that his years in Slytherin had misled him. Power isn’t just about fear and intimidation, and there are more ways to get it than by wielding the influence of his name and heritage like a battering ram. It’s the most valuable lesson of his life and he learned it while slouched against the dirty tile wall of a Muggle toilet.

“Because I owe you,” Draco says instead. “You saved my life. I owe you a Life Debt.”

“No,” Potter snaps. “Abtholutely not.”

His vehemence catches Draco off guard. He expected some resistance; he didn’t expect this unyielding fervor shining in Potter’s eyes. “Don’t be ridiculous. You need—“

“I need you to leave me alone!” Potter shouts at him, and then he Disapparates.

“Fuck,” Draco mutters to the empty alleyway.

 

****

 

It’s another five weeks before Draco finds Potter again, long enough for spring to tip nearly into summer. That particular night, they’ve having a bit of a cold snap, and after the sweaty closeness of the club, the shock of the chilly night air raises goosebumps along his arms. But then Potter sinks his fangs into the girl’s neck and Draco forgets all about being cold. It’s the same as it was the last two times. Potter drinks deeply for a minute or so, then Beguiles her into going back inside. Afterward, he seems frustrated, his shoulders stiffly set and his mouth twisted down in a grimace.

“Still not doing it for you, is it?”

Potter glares at him. “You again.”

Draco just shrugs in the face of his obvious ire. “Me again,” he agrees. “I told you I’d keep following you.”

“Until I let you become my donor, right?” Potter says. He spits out the words as if they taste bad.

“That’s right,” Draco says easily. “By the way, you’ve got a little… just there.” He gestures to his own chin.

Potter swipes the back of his wrist across his chin, but only smears the drop of blood into a wide smudge. “Leave me alone, Malfoy.”

“No.”

“Give up,” he says. “It’ll never happen. I’ll never agree to it.” He doesn’t sound frustrated anymore, just resigned.

But that’s fine because Draco’s growing frustrated enough for the both of them. “Why not? Is it because of who I am?”

“Not who. What you are.”

Draco’s hands curl into fists. “A Death Eater?”

“A man,” Potter says so softly that Draco almost doesn’t catch it.

“Obviously, but what’s that got to do with anything?”

Potter looks away. “I’m bent.”

“So am I,” Draco says. “I still don’t see what that has to do with it.”

Potter’s eyes snap back to his and he looks frustrated again. “You don’t under… You don’t get it. I can only feed from women. I tried doing it with a man one time, and I… I nearly didn’t control the… the…” He folds his arms over his chest and turns away. “I nearly raped him. It didn’t matter that he wanted it at the time, he didn’t know what I am, he couldn’t help it, and I nearly…” His shoulders jerk once and he seems to fold in on himself.

“Potter,” Draco says gently. He risks taking a step closer. “I know what you are. I know what I’m getting into.”

Potter just shakes his head, and Draco takes another step.

“Potter,” he says again, and slowly reaches out to curl his hand around Potter’s wrist. The skin is cool beneath his palm, and that’s when it really sinks in that Potter’s dead now. He shivers. “Really, it’s alright.”

“It’th not alright,” Potter mumbles.

Draco uses his grip on Potter’s wrist to gently tug him around. Potter stares at the ground. “You need magical blood. I’m offering. I know what I’m getting into, and I’m offering.”

“No,” Potter says to the ground.

“Six months,” Draco urges. “We’ll try it for six months. Please. Let me do this for you.” He can’t remember the last time he said please to anyone, but he’s got Potter vulnerable now. He hammers hard. “Please, Harry.”

“I don’t underth— I don’t know why you’re doing this.”

“As I said, I owe you a Life Debt,” Draco says. “I don’t like being indebted to you.”

For a moment, he thinks Potter’s going to argue some more or Disapparate again, but he just sighs and looks incredibly defeated. Draco’s blood sings, victory so close he can taste it.

“Fine,” Potter says. “Thi…” He breaks off with a small, frustrated noise. “Half a year, then I never hear from you again.”

“No,” Draco says quickly. “This is a Life Debt, you don’t want to back yourself into a corner like that. Six months, and we renegotiate our arrangement. If you decide you don’t want me around after that, fine. But we’ll figure it out then.”

“Fine,” Potter says again. “Half a year and we renegotiate.”

Draco puts his hand out, and Potter eyes it for a moment before taking it in his own. His fingers are cool and strong in Draco’s grasp, and a tingle of magic sparks between their palms. Potter blinks, surprised, and Draco lets him go.

“I’ll meet you here tomorrow night,” Draco says and it’s a struggle to keep a triumphant grin off his face. “I need to brew up some Blood Replenishing potions.”

Potter lets his hand drop and rubs the palm against the thigh of his trousers. “Um, okay.”

Draco nods to him, and this time he’s the one who Disapparates first.

 

****

 

When Draco Apparates back to the alleyway the following evening, he’s both surprised and relieved to find Potter there waiting for him.

He’s not surprised when the first words out of Potters mouth are, “If you’ve changed your mind, we don’t have to do it.”

Draco resists the urge to roll his eyes. “Don’t be ridiculous. Take me to your place.”

Potter offers Draco his arm, and Draco takes it with a small shiver.

He makes an apologetic face. “I know, I’m cold,” Potter says.

Really, Draco had shivered because he knows that at some point tonight he’ll be touching a lot more of Potter than just his arm and the low thrum of desire that reverberated through him at the thought had caught him entirely off guard, but he just nods and says, “It’s quite alright.”

Potter nods once to him, then turns on his heel and Draco squeezes his eyes shut as the nauseating press of Apparition clenches around him, and the world spins and whirls and rights itself, and Draco’s standing in an entryway on a faded red carpet that doesn’t quite cover the scuffed floorboards. A grandfather clock ticks quietly away from against the wall just beside him, and a single lamp perched on a small table bathes the room in a warm glow. Potter lets go of Draco and walks through a broad archway into the sitting room where another lamps shines bright, and Draco follows along.

The furniture is worn and ugly, but looks comfortable. Draco settles onto the sofa and sinks into squashy cushions, and he’s relieved to find it every bit as comfortable as it looks. Really, anything covered in orange plaid should have at least one redeeming quality. Warily, Potter perches on the other end of the sofa and toys with the fringe of a blanket tossed over the cushions behind him. It’s bright cerulean and clashes horribly, though to be fair Draco can’t think of anything that wouldn’t clash with orange plaid. It practically clashes with itself.

“Um,” Potter says without looking at Draco. “What now?”

“Well,” Draco says. “Are you hungry?”

The way Potter’s gaze flicks to his throat is all the answer Draco needs.

He stands up and moves in front of Potter and plants one knee on the sofa beside Potter’s thigh. He tugs the collar of his shirt aside as he leans down. “Go on. This is why I’m here,” he urges.

“I don’t know. Maybe we could…” Potter drifts off, and his hands gently slide around Draco’s waist, pulling him down onto his lap. His eyes never leave Draco’s throat.

“Go on,” he urges again, pulling his other knee up so he’s straddling Potter’s thighs. “It’s alright.”

Still, Potter hesitates, and Draco wonders just how much more forward he’s going to have to be about this. There’s not much else he can do, short of prying open Potter’s jaws and sticking his neck inside.

Potter licks his lips. “Okay,” he whispers, leaning closer, closer, until his nose brushes against Draco’s skin and the sick thrill of anticipation that shoots up Draco’s spine makes him shiver.

And then Potter bites him.

It’s nothing like he thought it’d be. Draco imagined an aphrodisiac-like effect, similar to Amortentia, imagined uncontrollable desire and incredible passion and irrepressible urges mingling in a sweetly drugged haze. This is so much more. His blood ignites, a licking fire exploding through him, shooting outward from that puncture in his neck and making his toes and fingertips tingle. He gets hard so fast it’s painful and he’s helpless to keep from rubbing himself against Potter. Draco wants him so bad it hurts. Potter swipes his tongue over the puncture in his neck and there’s a faint itching as it closes, an errant drop of blood sliding down his throat and over his collarbone. Potter chases it with his tongue as he shoves Draco to the side, pushing him down onto his back on the cushions.

Potter rips at Draco’s clothing, his fingernails scraping harshly against Draco’s tender skin in his haste, but Draco’s too busy yanking at Potter’s shirt to care. They get each other mostly naked – Draco’s trousers get caught around one ankle and Potter’s trousers never make it past his knees – but the distance between them is too much to bear any longer, and Potter rakes his nails down Draco’s ribs and lowers his head.

“Need you,” Draco gasps as Potter bites deep into his pectoral muscle and sucks out another mouthful of blood. “Need you in me now.”

Potter swipes his tongue over that wound too, and when he lifts his head Draco sees that it’s healed as if it’s never been. Potter grabs his wand and casts a hasty Accio. A small bottle of lube smacks into his waiting palm and Draco frantically kisses his neck, his shoulder, anything he can reach as Potter slicks one finger and shoves it inside him. Draco’s back arches, and that finger is too much and not enough all at once.

He grabs for the bottle and sloshes too much over his hand, wraps it around Potter’s cock and pumps it once, twice.

“Do it,” he says, shifting his hips to force Potter to remove his finger. Draco reaches down and smears the excess lube into the crack of his arse. “Fucking do it!”

Potter lines himself up and rams his cock into Draco’s arse with one sharp motion as he bites down on Draco’s neck, and Draco screams, a high and frightening sound that’ll have the neighbors calling the authorities about the murder going on next door if they’ve got any sense. Potter sucks hard, and Draco’s still screaming, and god he can hardly believe that terrible sound is coming out of him.

But he can’t stop making it, and his nails dig into Potter’s arms as Potter thrusts roughly into him, and Potter wrestles his hands away, his mouth never leaving Draco’s neck. His fingers tighten around Draco’s wrists so hard that Draco feels something pop. He jerks one hand free and knots it in Potter’s hair, and Potter claws at his shoulder. Draco’s quieter now, the hoarse screaming devolved into a desperate and undignified grunting that rises into a sharp wail as the pressure in his pelvis builds and builds and shatters, and he’s coming, cock untouched, his whole body going painfully taut as his orgasm explodes through him. His vision blacks out for an instant and he can’t breathe.

Potter growls low in his throat and lets go of Draco’s wrist with his other hand to curl his fingers around Draco’s hips, using his grip to jerk Draco’s body up to meet his thrusts as he continues to slam into him. Potter sucks hard at his neck as his thrusting gets quicker and shallower, and oh god, yes, Draco’s going to come again.

This orgasm takes longer to build, and when it does it’s not nearly as overwhelming as the other one, a slight bump compared to the cliff he’d gone over the first time. His cock spurts a thin dribble over his belly, and then Potter goes rigid above him and he moans as his cock pulses and empties itself into Draco’s body.

Draco’s neck itches faintly as Potter closes up the wound there and slowly draws away. He doesn’t look at Draco as he tugs his trousers back up into place. Draco kicks his off entirely and it’s a bit of a struggle to sit up.

“Fucking hell,” he says and speaking takes more effort than it should. He’s glad he took the first dose of his Blood Replenisher before he came out tonight, though in all honesty he has no idea whether it’s the sex or the blood loss that has him feeling so muddled.

“Erm,” Potter says, looking embarrassed. There’s a smear of Draco’s blood at the corner of his mouth.

Draco leans close to lick it away, letting the sharp tang of copper dissipate over his tongue, and sprawls back against the cushions and tugs Potter down to slump against him.

“Shut up,” he says before Potter can open his mouth again, and lets his eyes drift shut. He should leave now, he thinks, but he feels overheated, loose and limp and too warm, and Potter feels wonderfully cool against him.

For a moment, Potter fidgets, but then he lets his head drop against Draco’s shoulder and he settles in. Draco’s body stings and aches, and he’s definitely going to need to brush up on his healing spells if they’re going to keep this up. Draco desperately hopes they do; this was the best sex he’s ever had, bar none.

After a little while, Draco opens his eyes to find that Potter’s got Draco’s blood caked under his fingernails and he’s sucking on his fingers one by one to get rid of it. One hand is already clean and he’s just started on the second when a sudden knock on the door makes him jump.

“Magical Law Enforcement! Open up!”

Draco lifts his head. “Well it’s a good thing I wasn’t actually being murdered,” he mutters. “Their response time is abysmal.” He glances over at Potter, who’s gone rigid and is staring over the back of the sofa at the door with that frightened-rabbit look on his face again. “Want me to handle this?”

Potter nods frantically. “I can’t…”

“Here. Bite me just here,” Draco says, indicating a spot just above his collarbone. The door rattles on its hinges as another knock echoes through the house. “Not too deep and don’t close it up.”

Potter bites him quickly, a playful nip compared to what they’d been doing earlier. Draco feels warm blood trickling down his chest, and he stands, stretches, then grabs the throw blanket from the back of the sofa and tucks it around his waist before sauntering to the door and flinging it open.

“What?” he demands, left arm braced against the doorframe to show off his Dark Mark.

They stand there for a moment, sizing each other up. The two Patrolmen on the doorstep look fairly young, which means Draco’s got a pretty good chance of making them leave. That’s good. If they were more seasoned, he would’ve had to simper and play apologetic and hope for the best. He watches their eyes take in his Mark, the red marks blossoming into bruises at his wrists, the weeping scratches down his torso, the bite and the blood at his neck, and then, finally, almost an afterthought, his pale hair and scowling face. They both blink in recognition, and that’s even better. Draco’s picked up something of a reputation, sleeping around as he has; it’s about time he got some use out of it.

“We received a call...” one of them starts off, and Draco pins him with a glower.

“A call?” he sneers and lets the throw blanket slip a little lower down his hips.

The Patrolman on the left follows it with his eyes, then starts and looks away, cheeks flushing. Definitely fresh-faced, then. A more seasoned Patrolman wouldn’t bat an eye at a little nudity, and Draco can’t figure out why they’ve partnered up two green recruits. Not that he’s complaining of course, and in his experience there’s really no end to the Ministry’s bureaucratic incompetence.

“A witness reported screams coming from—“ the Patrolman on the right begins.

“That was me,” Draco interrupts. “We were just having dinner.”

“Dinner?”

Draco just raises his eyebrows and waits. The Patrolman’s eyes dart to the puncture wound at his neck and he flushes, and Draco struggles to keep a smirk off his face. This really is far too easy.

“Yes, dinner,” Draco says. “Now, if you don’t mind, I’m rather eager to go back and have my dessert.” He lets the throw blanket slip a little more to expose the red crescent-moon imprints of Potter’s fingernails around his hipbones.

The Patrolman draws himself up. “Regardless, it’s standard procedure in these instances to come in and take a look around to make sure that everyone is fine.”

“Sorry,” Draco drawls in a voice that implies he’s anything but. “I can’t help you with that. This isn’t my house so I’m afraid I’ve no authority to invite you in.”

“Then you need to get the owner of the premises.”

“Darling,” Draco calls over his shoulder. Potter’s still on the sofa and his tousled hair is just visible over the back of the cushions. “These men would like to come inside.”

“No,” Potter says loudly, just as Draco knew he would.

“He needs to—“ one of the Patrolmen gets out before Draco cuts him off.

“He doesn’t need to do a goddamn thing you say,” Draco snaps. “He’s a fucking vampire and according to the Transylvanian Treaties of 1623, Wizarding authority has no jurisdiction over any member of a vampire coven. So unless you’re going to arrest me for the heinous crime of getting thoroughly shagged, I’ll point out that you’ve got nothing left to do here and suggest you bloody well leave.”

He slams the door right in their stunned faces and waits to see if they’ll knock again. There’s a chance they’ll take the easy road of reporting that everything’s fine. But if they’re the by-the-book sort, they’ll probably insist on coming inside or at least having a face-to-face conversation with Potter. A few seconds slip by in silence, then he hears the muffled crack of Apparition.

Draco’s shoulder slump in relief, and he walks back to the sofa and drops onto it.

“I can’t believe they left like that,” Potter says.

Draco lets a smug smile play over his mouth. “They recognized me. I’ve got a bit of a reputation, I’m afraid.”

“Reputation?” Potter echoes.

“That there’s nothing and no one I won’t do at least once.” He stretches his arms out above his head and arches his back, and he’s pleased with the way Potter’s gaze skims the flat plane of his belly.

“And you’re… I mean, while you’re with me?” Potter asks hesitantly.

Draco knows from his reading that now that Potter’s bitten him and they’ve had sex, the vampire in him regards Draco as his, but he knows better than to say that aloud. Potter doesn’t seem too thrilled with his condition. He rolls his eyes. “Put away your precious Gryffindor sensibilities. I like regular sex. And if I’m getting regular sex from you then there’s no need for me to get it anywhere else.” He lets his body relax and leans heavily against Potter. “Anyhow, you’re just lucky they scared off easy.”

“Why?” Potter frowns. “Did you make up that bit about the treaty?”

“No, but you’re not part of a coven,” Draco points out. “Unallied vampires are subject to whichever set of laws apply to the property they’re on.”

Potter sucks in a breath. “Then they really could have…”

“Yes. But no matter. They’ve gone, and we’ll just have to remember to put up silencing charms next time.” Draco realizes he’s still bleeding when some of his blood drips onto the sofa. He’s not exactly worried about ruining it – even setting the thing on fire would be an improvement – but it seems rude to bleed on the sofa after Potter’s just done him the kindness of shagging his brains out on it. He gestures at the wound. “Fix this for me?”

Potter doesn’t go for the throat right away, but starts instead at the trickle of blood, which has made it as far as Draco’s abdomen before rolling off his side, and gently laps it up, working his way higher and higher until he reaches the bite and seals it with a lingering swipe of his tongue. “Thank you,” he whispers against Draco’s throat.

For an instant, Draco’s tempted to suggest they have another go. But he thinks he’s lost enough blood for one day so he stands up and dresses quickly, turning to Potter when he’s done. Potter’s taken the blanket Draco abandoned and wrapped it around his shoulders.

“I’m off now, I suppose,” he says. “Is nine o’clock tomorrow alright?”

“Tomorrow?” Potter frowns at him. “But I thought I wouldn’t have to… uh, see you every day if I’m taking magical blood.”

“You won’t, but you’ve been half-starving yourself for years now. You’ll need a little while to get to that point.” Draco pulls a Shrunken book from his pocket and restores it to full size with a tap of his wand and a muttered spell. “Here. That should tell you everything you need to know.”

Encyclopedia of the Undead,” Potter reads aloud from the cover, then flips open to the section that Draco marked and pulls a face as he leafs through it. “Couldn’t you have found one with bigger print?”

“How about pictures, Potter. Should I have found one for you with pictures?” Draco says. “Just read the bloody thing.”

“Fine,” Potter mutters and tosses the book onto the scratched surface of the coffee table where it lands with a resounding thud. It may not be the most interesting text Draco could have picked, but it’s certainly the most comprehensive.

“Right, then,” Draco says. “I’ll see you back here tomorrow evening.”

Potter nods to him. “Okay.”

Draco nods back and goes into the entryway where he Disapparates. When he appears in his own home, the dizziness from his Apparition doesn’t fade, and he stumbles his way to his bathroom and picks up the bottle of Blood Replenisher he brewed that morning and takes a generous swig, shuddering as he swallows it down. The potion tastes strongly of anise, and Draco’s never cared for licorice.

With a sigh, he looks at his reflection in the mirror above the sink. He’s a little paler than normal, but not alarmingly so, and when he unbuttons his shirt the marks Potter left on him are livid against his pallid skin. He heals the scratches easily enough, but the bruises at his wrists don’t vanish entirely and still feel a little tender when he prods at them. He’ll have to pick up a few books of minor healing spells tomorrow and brush up on his skills. For now, this is good enough.

Draco smirks at himself in the mirror, already thinking of tomorrow night.

 

****

 

He goes back to Potter the next night, and it’s a repeat of the first, only without MLEP showing up at Potter’s door. Draco pops in, he and Potter share a few minutes of awkward conversation, then they set up silencing spells and Potter bites him and they have fantastically mind-blowing sex and collapse together on the sofa until Draco can remember his own name again. Then there’s a little more awkward conversation and Potter looks sort of ashamed, and Draco leaves. It’s the same the night after that, and the night after that, and the night after that. On the sixth night Draco Apparates into Potter’s entryway, he finds Potter waiting for him.

“They’re gone,” Potter says and he looks like he might actually be bordering on tears. “My fangs are gone!”

Draco can’t help but smile at him. He’d been wondering just how long this would take. “As long as we keep you well-fed, they should only appear when you need them.”

Anything else he means to say goes flying right out of his head when Potter tackles him in a crushing hug. “Thank you,” he says, his face buried in Draco’s shoulder, and the sincerity in his voice is overwhelming.

Draco pats his back, not quite sure what to do with an armful of Potter while he’s got his clothes on. “Er, you’re welcome,” he says.

Potter draws back a few moments later. “Sorry,” he says. “I’m just excited. It’s been four years since I’ve been able to talk without a stupid bloody lisp.” He breaks out in a small, delighted laugh. “I can say all the S words I want!”

Potter seems so genuinely happy that Draco can’t resist taking advantage of his good mood. This is the first time Potter hasn’t been annoyed, awkward, or sulking. “So now that you can talk without impediment, might I ask how you ended up a vampire?”

The smile slips from Potter’s face and he sighs. “Yeah, I guess. I mean, you’re my donor, I guess I owe you that.” He turns away and starts for the kitchen. “Come on, I’ll make you some tea.”

Potter’s kitchen is small, and the cabinets creak when he opens them to fetch a mug and a small tin container of loose tea. He fills a kettle from the tap and sets it to heating on the stovetop.

“None for you?” Draco asks.

“No,” Potter says with a small shake of his head. “I can still eat and drink, but everything tastes wrong now.” He frowns at the kettle. “It’s a shame. I really miss my morning cuppa.” Potter shoves a hand through his hair, making it stand up even more wildly than before. “It’s just not fair. I never wanted this. All I ever wanted was to be normal and now I’m…” He breaks off with a small sound of frustration and scoops tea leaves into the mug.

“Why do you even have tea, then?” Draco asks.

“I really should just get rid of it,” Potter says. “But I keep trying to drink it. If I make it really hot it’s tolerable. Otherwise…” He screws up his face and makes a small gagging sound. He sighs. “How do you take your tea? I haven’t got any milk, but I’ve got sugar.”

Draco shakes his head. “I take it plain, thanks.”

They don’t say anything else as the kettle slowly comes to a boil. Draco watches Potter wander around his kitchen, dusting off surfaces and poking through drawers. He seems preoccupied and moody again, and it makes him look more familiar. This is the face Draco spent so many mornings watching across the Great Hall, Potter looking tired and sullen and far too old as he scowled down at his bacon and toast, and Draco’s sort of curious about the other Potter he got a glimpse of this morning, the one who smiled and laughed and threw himself into Draco’s arms.

The kettle whistles and Potter fixes Draco his tea. When it’s finished steeping, they sit down at the small kitchen table, and Potter watches as Draco takes a sip. Potter doesn’t say anything. The grandfather clock in the entryway strikes out half-past the hour. Draco drinks more of his tea.

“I hate prophecy,” Potter says suddenly.

Draco takes a long, slow sip of tea and nods understandingly even though he’s got no idea what Potter’s talking about. “Oh?”

“It was the prophecy, you know, about Voldemort?” he continues. “It said ‘neither can live while the other survives.’” Potter pauses and pulls a face. “I fucking hate prophecy because it never works out like you’d expect it to. When I first heard it, I thought it’d mean that we’d have to kill each other. Instead…” He trails off and gestures at himself. “Well, technically I’m not alive anymore.”

“So how did it happen?” Draco asks, leaning forward. He nudges his mug aside and folds his arms on the table before him.

“It was during the Battle of Hogwarts. I was walking through the Forbidden Forest, and I was going to let Voldemort kill me. I thought I had to, for everyone else to be safe. And I was attacked.”

“By a vampire,” Draco prompts when Potter falls silent.

“By a vampire,” Potter confirms with a small nod. “He bit me, but I fought him off. And then I kept going, and let Voldemort kill me.”

Draco nods slowly and takes another drink of tea. The venom in his system from the vampire’s bite would have been activated by his death. It’s only potent for the first twenty minutes, and if Potter had waited just a little longer… well, if he’d waited just a little longer, he’d simply be dead. “And then you came back.”

Potter sighs. “Yeah, I did.”

“So you were dead when my mother checked,” Draco says. Narcissa had testified before the Wizengamot that she’d lied to the Dark Lord about Potter’s death. It’s the only thing that kept her out of Azkaban. Not that Draco’s really surprised for his mother to have taken advantage of the situation as she had.

“Yeah. I mean, I was back already, but I was… like this.”

“Right,” he says, and reaches for his tea.

Draco can’t stand the longing way Potter’s eyes follow the mug as he lifts it to his mouth and drinks. He thunks it back down on the table and stands, brandishing his wand.

“Accio knife!”

“Jesus, Malfoy!” Potter exclaims as a knife comes hurtling out of the kitchen.

The blade nicks Draco’s palm as he catches it, but that just saves him the bother of doing it himself. He drops the knife on the tabletop and holds his bleeding palm over his mug, squeezing the small wound so it drips into the last inch of tea. A healing spell seals the cut, and he slides the mug across the table to Potter.

“There,” he says. “Try that.”

Potter looks disgusted. “It’s got blood in it.”

“And you’re a vampire,” Draco says. “Drink it.”

“No,” Potter says and pushes the mug back across the table toward Draco. “Look, it’s bad enough that I have to drink from people, but this is just… No, I can’t.”

“Potter, don’t be ridiculous.” Draco shoves the mug at him again.

“I’m not!” Potter tells him. “It’s tea with blood in it. That’s really gross.”

“And you’re a—“

“I know what I am!” Potter bursts out. “You don’t have to keep telling me!”

“I keep telling you because you don’t seem to get it,” Draco shoots back. “If you did, you’d just drink the bloody tea!”

“God, you’re not going to shut up until I do, are you?” Potter asks and glares at Draco. “Is this how you get your way all the time, by annoying people until they do what you want just to get you to bugger off?”

Draco just shrugs, unrepentant. “Well, if it works…” Because most of the time, it really does.

Potter rolls his eyes but he picks up the mug and takes a sip. “Ugh, it needs sugar,” he says, scrunching up his nose. His face clears as he puts the mug back on the table and repeats slower, “It needs sugar.” He blinks. “It needs sugar!”

Draco’s concerned that Potter’s having some sort of episode, but before he can ask about it, Potter goes rushing off into the kitchen, returning a few moments later with a glass sugar bowl and a spoon. He scoops an entirely unnecessary amount of sugar into the mug and gives it a stir, then takes another sip and beams down at his tea. His teeth are very white, and even though Potter doesn’t have to feed tonight, Draco suddenly wants him.

“Mmm, I can’t even tell you how much I’ve missed this,” Potter says before draining the last of it. He’s still cradling the empty mug in his hands like a priceless artifact. “How did you know to do that?”

He hadn’t, really. It’d just been a hunch. But Draco smiles at Potter. “Never mind about that. Are you hungry?”

Potter finally puts the mug on the table. “Not really, no,” he says, still smiling. “I feel perfectly fine.”

“Just a little would make sure your fangs don’t come back,” Draco says with a shrug. “But if you’re sure…”

That gets him. “Oh, you think that might happen? Maybe I should… you know, just a little.”

Draco turns away to hide his smile. “Whatever you’d like.”

They go into the living room, Draco stripping off his clothes as he walks. His cock is already partly hard by the time he sprawls on the sofa, naked, with his head against the arm and one leg dangling to the floor. Potter turns away as he finishes with the last of his clothing, then sets silencing charms before he carefully settles atop Draco without looking him in the eye. Draco can’t suppress a shiver when Potter’s chilly skin presses against his own and he tips his head back to expose his throat. Potter lowers his head and opens his mouth and - yes! - his teeth scrape over Draco’s neck as he bites down.

He doesn’t break the skin.

“Erm,” Potter says, drawing back. “How do I…?” He flicks his tongue over his front teeth and frowns. “Um, they’re not. It’s not working.”

“What?” Draco pushes at Potter and sits up a little. “What do you mean, it’s not working?”

“I mean, it’s not working!” Potter says. He snaps his teeth together a few times and then licks them again.

“It should be an instinct. Are you thinking about biting me?”

“Erm,” Potter says again and his gaze slides back to the kitchen. “Not really. I was, um, thinking that I’d really like to have some more tea.”

Draco flops back against the cushions and rolls his eyes. “You can have tea later. Would you please focus here?”

“Sorry,” Potter mumbles, bending his head down again.

He drags his nose over Draco’s pulse, inhaling deeply, and this time when Potter bites down, his teeth pierce deep and Draco can’t help but cry out as the bright, sharp pain explodes into pleasure. Potter’s nails scrape over his ribs, and Draco holds on tight.

Though Potter doesn’t drink much and it’s over quickly, it leaves Draco feeling more than satisfied. He holds Potter close, relishing the feel of his body against his own, heavy and reassuringly solid. Draco’s never been much of a cuddler, but sex with Potter leaves him feeling so wrung out that all he wants to do is just lie there and lie there, and Potter feels wonderfully cool against his flushed skin.

Eventually, Potter pulls away and sits up, wrapping the ugly throw blanket around himself. He frowns at his fingernails, then sticks his index finger into his mouth and sucks on it. Draco lets his fingertips brush over the stinging scratches down his side and closes his eyes. He really shouldn’t like this as much as he does.

When he sits up some minutes later, he finds that Potter’s finished taking care of his nails and is now frowning down at the cushion beside him.

“What?”

“You got blood on my sofa,” Potter says, rubbing his fingers at the stain.

Draco glances down. “First off, that was from two nights ago. Second, you’re the one who got it there. And third, you’d have to do a lot worse than a few bloodstains to ruin the sofa. It’s the most hideous thing I’ve ever seen.”

Potter stops rubbing at the spots of dried blood and gives the cushion an affectionate pat. “It’s not so bad.”

For a moment, Draco can only stare at him. “Yes, Potter, it absolutely is that bad. I can’t believe you paid money to own this thing. Really, I’d pay not to own it.”

“If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t pay anything for it.”

“Marginally,” Draco says, and against his better judgment asks, “Where did it come from?”

Potter shrugs. “The street. Someone was getting rid of it and put it out, so I took it home.” Slowly, Draco sits upright and Potter scowls at him. “Oh come on, don’t give me that look. I had permanent fangs at that point. Was I supposed to just waltz into a furniture store and—“

“You got this out of someone’s rubbish?” Draco interrupts. He can feel his skin crawling like he’s got little roaches scampering over every inch of him, their tiny feet tickling.

Potter rolls his eyes. “Hardly someone’s rubbish, just out by the street.”

Draco bolts to his feet so quickly that he bangs his shin on Potter’s coffee table. “That’s the rubbish, Potter! You got this sofa out of the rubbish!” His stomach twists as he imagines what people might have done to this sofa in its previous home… sweat, vomit… ugh, bodily fluids. Insects. Sex. Draco shudders. “My god, I’ve been letting you shag me on a rubbish sofa!”

Potter leans forward and the look he levels at Draco is equal parts annoyance and amusement. “Don’t you think you’re being a little dramatic? It’s not like I dug the thing out of a—“

“Rubbish sofa!” Draco repeats, because, dear god, it bears repeating.

“I cleaned it!” Potter snaps back. “I’m not an idiot, of course I cleaned it!”

“But you don’t know what happened to it!” Draco points an accusing finger at the sofa. “It could have been pissed on! Or infested with bugs! Or been the scene of a murder! There could have been a dead body there, and I just put my bare bum on it!”

He honestly doesn’t realize what he just said until Potter rears back like he’d been slapped, his eyes going wide and hurt behind his glasses, his lips parting in surprise. Oh fuck, Draco’s really done it now.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” he says defensively.

“No,” Potter says. “No, you did. And you’re right. You’re completely disgusted, and you have every right to be. I’m…” He trails off and swallows. “I think you should go.”

“No,” Draco snaps. “You’re being stupid. I didn’t mean it like that.”

“You did,” Potter growls at him. “And you’ve got every right. Isn’t that what you want to hear, Malfoy? That you’re right?”

“You need to stop putting words in my mouth,” Draco starts, but Potter doesn’t seem to hear him.

“I know what people think of vampires. I know I’m repulsive. I’m not alive but I’m not dead, and I’m cold and I don’t have a pulse and I drink blood. I’m not even a person anymore!” Potter says, his voice rising and rising until he’s shouting. “I’m a creature! A dark creature, and I’m dangerous. I can’t control myself, and I could hurt someone. I could kill someone!”

“So could I!” Draco shouts back at him. “So could anyone! It’s not the potential that matters, it’s what you do with it.”

“You don’t understand.”

“You ass!” Draco snarls. “I don’t understand? What is it that I don’t understand? About people hating you for what you are? About being dangerous? About hurting people? Because I sure as fuck didn’t get this for my charming personality!” He thrusts his left arm at Potter, who blinks at it like he’s never seen a Dark Mark before.

All the anger seems to drain from him as he stares at Draco’s arm. “Malfoy, I didn’t…” He trails off and looks up, his eyes impossibly green as they meet Draco’s. “You’re right, you do understand some of it. But even if you’re not the nicest, at least you’re still a person. I’m a…”

“You’re an idiot,” Draco says and hauls Potter close and kisses him.

Potter resists at first, flailing a little and trying to push Draco away, but Draco holds on tight and presses his tongue against Potters clamped-shut lips. He doesn’t seem inclined to open up any time soon, so Draco bites his bottom lip, hard, and when Potter gasps in shock, Draco sweeps his tongue inside. Potter doesn’t really taste like anything, and his mouth is cool. Not unpleasantly so, more like he’d just taken a long swallow from a cold drink.

After a moment, Potter stops trying to push Draco away and his tongue presses hesitantly against Draco’s. Slowly, Draco pulls their bodies flush and Potter’s arms are gentle as they slide around Draco’s waist. The kiss heats rapidly until they’re snogging desperately, and god, Draco hasn’t kissed someone like this in years and it’s brilliant, it’s so brilliant, and he can’t believe he’s doing this with Potter. It’s funny that this should affect him more than the sex, but that’s just what happens when a vampire feeds. This is kissing for the sake of kissing, and Draco’s doing it for no other reason than he wants to.

“There,” Draco says, taking a step away. He’s breathing hard. “Would I do that if I thought you were disgusting?”

Potter peers at him, dazed. One hand drifts up and he brushes his fingers over his bottom lip. “I… you just kissed me.”

Draco snorts. “Well spotted,” he says dryly, pleased with how calm and even his voice comes out while his heart is pounding. He’s still not sure why he just kissed Potter, and it’s frightening him a little how much he wants to do it again.

“Sorry. It’s just… you’ve never kissed me before.” Potter looks sort of bewildered.

Draco folds his arms over his chest and gives him a half-hearted glare. “As I recall, your mouth is usually otherwise occupied. Not much opportunity for kissing, is there?” He turns away and gathers up his clothes and dresses quickly.

When he turns around, Potter’s still wearing the throw blanket like a cloak. Draco goes back into the kitchen and refills the kettle and puts it on the stove. Taking the knife from where he left it on the kitchen table, he slashes his wrist and holds it over the mug until a tablespoon or two of blood fills the bottom.

“Fix this for me?” Draco calls over his shoulder.

Potter pads into the kitchen and Draco offers him his wrist. Potter’s mouth closes over the cut and gently licks it closed. His lips linger on Draco’s wrist for a moment before he pulls away, and Draco can’t tell whether it’s meant to be a kiss. He rubs his wrist.

“So, that’s for your tea. I’ll see you on Tuesday?”

“Tuesday? But that’s three days away,” Potter says.

Draco nods. “As I said before, you shouldn’t need to feed every day anymore.” He starts to walk back to the entryway where Potter’s wards will allow him to Apparate home.

“Wait,” Potter says, catching his elbow, and Draco turns back to face him. “I was thinking maybe it’d be better if we didn’t do it like that.”

Draco raises his eyebrows. “Oh?”

“Yeah. Um. I was thinking my control’s not exactly the best, and maybe it’d be safer, you know, for you, if I did smaller amounts but more often. That way I definitely wouldn’t take too much at once,” Potter says, staring down at his toes.

It's complete bullshit. Even when Potter was half-starved, he didn't take too much from Draco. The very idea of Potter's control lapsing enough to seriously hurt him is so absurd it's laughable.

Draco watches him for a few moments, then quietly says, “You’re lonely.”

Potter just shrugs and keeps staring at his toes.

And Draco smiles, because this is it. He’s gotten what he wanted. Potter needs him, and the rush of power that Draco feels at that thought is so much sweeter than he’d dared imagine. “Very well, then. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Slowly, Potter’s head comes up, and like a fool he smiles back.

 

****

 

The house feels too stuffy and warm when Draco Apparates into Potter’s entryway one late afternoon in August, but the day outside is already cooling and Draco opens the windows with a flick of his wand to let in the breeze just before he turns on the lamp in the entryway. He also switches on a lamp in the sitting room as he passes by, and digs two jars of dried fluxweed out of the bag he carries before he dumps it on the counter in the kitchen. He switches on that light too, and heads down to the basement.

A few weeks ago, he’d transferred his potions lab from a corner of his own tiny flat to Potter’s spacious basement, and he drops off the two jars at his worktable before he crosses the room to where Potter’s bed stands in the far corner. There’s a door at the top of a steep staircase that leads out into the back yard, and Draco can’t stop himself from glancing at it. Even though the door faces east and any light seeping in around it at this time of day wouldn’t come close to reaching Potter’s bed, Draco can’t help but check it as he makes his way across the room to the large four-poster bed in the corner, illuminated by the warm glow of a single lamp.

It’s something Draco still finds funny, the thought of a vampire who’s afraid of the dark. He’d made the mistake of laughing about it when Potter admitted it to him, and found himself on the receiving end of the worst Bat Bogey Hex he’s seen this side of Ginny Weasley. It’d sparked their worst fight yet. But Potter had eventually forgiven him, and Draco doesn’t say a word about the lamps he lights before Potter wakes up.

Today, Potter lies curled up on his side, one hand tucked beneath his pillow, the other dangling off the edge of the mattress. Gently, Draco picks it up and moves it back onto the bed, and Potter never stirs. Draco brushes his hand through Potter’s hair, something he never lets himself do when Potter’s awake, and loves the feel of the glossy strands sliding between his fingers. Draco’s glad that Potter’s sleeping on his side. When he sleeps on his back, he looks dead, and Draco doesn’t like to see it.

Having checked in on Potter, Draco goes back up to the kitchen and unpacks his grocery bag and starts dinner, slicing mushrooms and mincing garlic and throwing them in a pan with some butter and sherry to sauté while he gets the rest of dinner going.

He finds it sort of strange how quickly he’s fallen into his new routines. His sleep patterns have shifted so that he’s as nocturnal as Potter now, not much of a stretch since he’d spent most nights out at clubs and bars, only stumbling home in the wee hours of the morning. But he hasn’t been out in the better part of two months, instead spending all his time over here. It’d started slowly, with him showing up a few minutes earlier or staying a half hour later, until now he’s coming over just before sunset and staying until Potter goes to sleep in the morning.

And Potter’s not all that bad for company. It’s a little alarming how well they get on, actually. Potter’s still prone to fits of melancholy and he reacts viciously to any perceived slights about what Draco’s come to think of as his ‘condition.’ But he smiles more with each night that passes, and it pleases Draco endlessly to see Potter growing more and more dependent on him.

The sun’s been down for about twenty minutes when Potter comes stumbling up from his basement bedroom, all bleary-eyed behind his glasses, with sleep-rumpled hair and pillow creases on the left side of his face. He gives Draco a distracted peck on the cheek on his way across the kitchen to pick up the teacup that Draco’s prepared for him and left sitting by the stove, Earl Grey with two sugars and a dash of blood. He props one hip against the counter and takes a sip.

“How did you sleep?” Draco asks as he gives the mushrooms a stir.

“Fine,” Potter mumbles into his teacup.

Draco smiles to himself. Potter won’t be coherent until he’s had at least half of his cuppa. Draco slides the steak under the broiler and puts on the kettle to heat for Potter’s second cup of tea before he turns away to finish up with his salad.

When the steak is done, Draco puts it on a plate and serves himself mushrooms and salad before carrying it to the table.

“How done is it?” Potter asks, lingering in the kitchen.

“Medium rare,” Draco says, and resists the urge to add ‘as always.’

As Potter turns to the cabinet and gets out a second plate, Draco cuts a slice of meat from the center of his steak where it’s the least done and slides it onto Potter’s plate when he comes to the table. It’s a small piece, just a few bites at most, but Potter never wants any more than that. It’s the only thing he’ll eat, other than the blood flavored lollipops Draco’s taken to surprising him with every so often, so Draco makes sure he makes it about once a week.

After Draco finishes his dinner and Potter drains his second cup of tea, they carry the plates into the kitchen and Potter helps Draco with the washing up. The whole thing strikes Draco as bizarrely domestic when he stops to think about it, so he tries not to think about it very often.

“Hungry?” Draco asks as he sets the last plate in the dish rack to dry.

Potter shrugs. “A little.”

“Enough that I should take the potion?” Draco asks, already opening the cabinet above the sink.

“Yeah.”

Potter waits while Draco downs the vial, and together they go into the bedroom where Draco’s made up the bed with dark russet sheets, the closest color he could find to dried blood so that the inevitable stains won’t show. He turns back to Potter, his fingers already opening the buttons of his shirt, and Potter’s fingers close over his, stilling them in their work as he kisses Draco. His hands chase Draco’s away before they return to slip each button free, his fingertips brushing against each new inch of skin as it’s revealed.

Potter’s been doing this sort of thing more and more lately, and the earnest intimacy of it makes Draco uncomfortable. He bats Potter’s hands away and yanks at the button of Potter’s fly as he bites down on Potter’s bottom lip. Potter groans and jerks the shirt from Draco’s shoulders. They tumble to the mattress together and wrestle each other out of their clothing. Potter pins Draco’s wrists to the bed, his fingers tightening so hard he’s sure to leave bruises as he scrapes his teeth over Draco’s neck.

This is more familiar, and Draco groans and arches his back, pressing himself up against Potter, and Potter bites him. As the pain explodes into pleasure, Draco can’t hold back his scream. He doesn’t even try.

After, they lie together for a while, and Potter idly strokes his hand through Draco’s hair, and Draco lets himself doze for a while, barely feeling the tingle of cleaning charms that Potter casts over them.

When he wakes up, he finds that Potter’s nails have left four perfect parallel lines down his chest. Draco rather likes the way they look against his pale skin, and casts a mild healing charm to scab them over but otherwise leaves them be. Potter traces the leftmost line with his fingertip and his mouth opens a little, like he wants to say something. But he doesn’t, just slides out of bed and pulls on his clothes.

“What do you want to do tonight?” Draco asks as he tugs on his own trousers.

Potter looks up and smiles a little. “I thought we could watch a movie. I found one I think you’ll like,” he says.

“Sounds great,” Draco says as he pulls on his shirt.

In the living room, Draco flops down onto that hideous sofa. Potter still refuses to let Draco transfigure it into something less offensive, but at least he didn’t say anything when Draco spent a full twenty minutes hitting it with every cleaning and disinfecting charm he knows. Potter fiddles with the DVD player for a minute, then comes to join Draco on the sofa. He sits on the other end, and Draco puts his feet in Potter’s lap because Potter usually drapes his hand over the nearest foot, his thumb rubbing idle circles against the sole. Potter tosses him the case, and Draco breaks into a grin when he sees it. He loves the movies that have magic in them, especially ones about Merlin, and he laughs himself sick at the ridiculous ideas Muggles have come up with about Wizards. It’s rapidly become one of his favorite things to do.

That’s not to say they always stay in. Sometimes they go for long walks in the nearby park, or go sit outside the local pub where Draco sips at a pint of ale and stuffs himself with the most wonderfully greasy vinegar-soaked chips and they quietly make fun of the Muggles getting steadily drunker around them. Their options are rather limited now, but it’ll be easier once they get closer to winter and the days are shorter. Potter’s mentioned wanting to go visit the British Museum, once it gets dark early enough. They’re open late on Fridays and London’s just an Apparition away.

But no matter what they do, they make sure to finish a few hours before the sun comes up. Potter likes to garden, and he ends each night on his knees in the dirt, pulling weeds and watering and digging holes. “I feel like it’s connecting me to the daytime,” he’d explained one night early on. “It’s like something I’m touching is touched by the sun, and in a way the sun is touching me back.” He’d paused then to let his mouth tick up in a self-deprecating smile. “I know, it’s stupid.”

Draco doesn’t think it’s stupid; he thinks it’s sad, but he doesn’t say so aloud. He spends that time sitting on the back porch underneath a Lumos with a book open in his lap, but he spends far more time watching Potter than reading. And if Potter notices that Draco’s bookmark never seems to move more than a few pages, he hasn’t mentioned it.

Potter becomes increasingly distracted as dawn approaches, and as the eastern sky eases to pale grey he abandons his tools and drifts to the garden gate. He waits there, hands gripping the fence so tight that his knuckles stand out, facing east, watching the sky lighten. Some days, Draco has to lead him back into the house just before the sun comes up when he makes no move to leave on his own. This worries Draco more than a little. He doesn't know if it's intentional or not, if Potter's waiting until the last possible moment or if he intends to wait longer. Draco never asks, and Potter never says. Draco just always makes sure he's there right before sunrise.

This isn’t one of those days. The sky is just barely brightening to pale blue when Potter sighs and turns away. A flick of his wand sends his gardening tools flying into the shed and he trudges back across his garden to where Draco sits on the porch. Draco marks his page and stands, arching his back and sighing in pleasure when his spine gives a satisfying click. They go into the house, and Draco doesn’t miss the longing look Potter gives the eastern sky over his shoulder.

Inside, Potter changes into his pajamas while Draco goes down into the basement and lights the lamp by the bed. He’s already stationed at his worktable when Potter comes down the stairs.

“I put your kettle on,” he says.

“Thanks,” Draco tells him and looks up from chopping dandelion root just in time for Potter to kiss him quickly.

He takes a step back and covers a huge yawn with the back of his hand, and Draco clenches his jaw against the yawn he feels swelling in response. “G’night, Malfoy,” Potter says.

Draco keeps chopping as Potter climbs into bed without bothering to turn down the covers and curls up on his side facing away from Draco. Draco keeps chopping, letting the rhythmic sound of the knife against the cutting board lull Potter to sleep. When he finishes a few minutes later, he sweeps the dandelion root into a jar and seals it with a preserving charm before he slides it into place on the shelf. He really should brew up another batch of Blood Replenishers, but he’s got enough to get him through the next few days, so he cleans his knife and the cutting board and heads upstairs just as the kettle begins to whistle. Potter never stirs.

In the kitchen, he takes the kettle off the stove and fixes himself a cup of herbal tea, his own soothing blend to help him sleep. He takes his mug out to the back porch and settles into his chair to sip as he watches the day brighten.

The sun has climbed fully above the horizon by the time Draco finishes his tea. Not bothering to contain this yawn, he stands and carries his empty mug into the house to wash before he Apparates home to his bed.

 

****

 

“Hungry?” Draco asks as he sets the last plate in the dish rack to dry. He reaches up to the cabinet over the sink.

“No,” Potter says. “Not tonight.”

Draco half-turns to face him, his hand still hovering near the handle. Potter’s never skipped a meal in the entire two and a half months that Draco’s been visiting him. “No?”

“Yeah,” Potter says. “But, um… I was thinking…” He traces the line of grout between the tiles of the floor with one toe. “I’d still like to go in the bedroom?”

Draco frowns as he lets his arm drop. “What? You just said you’re not hungry.”

“Well I was thinking maybe we could just have sex,” Potter says in a rush, then clears his throat awkwardly. “I mean, if you want to.”

Draco hesitates, because this feels like crossing a line. They’ve had sex dozens of times by now, but it’s always been while Potter’s feeding so the vampire has always been very much a presence during it, and the frenzied desire of its bite put up a curtain between Draco and what he was doing. But doing this now, like this, it’d just be him and Potter. It wouldn’t just be him fulfilling his duties as Potter’s donor; it would be sex. With Potter. A flutter of excitement thrums in Draco’s belly at the thought. He wants this, he realizes, and it’s exhilarating that Potter wants this too.

“You don’t have to,” Potter mutters. “It was just a thought.”

“No,” Draco says as Potter starts to turn away. “Sorry, no, you just surprised me. I want to. I…” He pauses and takes a deep breath, and it feels surreal as he says, “I really want to.”

A hesitant, almost shy smile pulls at Potter’s mouth. “Really?”

Draco nods. “Really.”

Potter beams at him as he grabs Draco by the wrist and hauls him toward the bedroom, while Draco’s mind spins. He can’t believe they’re really about to do this, and it’s ridiculous that he can’t believe it. They’ve been having sex for months, and while, yes, this time is different, it shouldn’t feel this different. It’s just sex.

Potter kisses him then, and Draco pushes every thought except how Potter’s mouth feels against his own right out of his head. His fingers go to the buttons on his shirt, and Potter pushes his hands away.

“No,” he whispers against Draco’s lips. “Let me.”

He carefully unbuttons Draco’s shirt and slides it from his shoulders, then works open the button and zip of his fly and kneels down as he tugs the trousers down Draco’s legs. This is about power, Draco reminds himself as he looks down at Potter on his knees, this is all about power. But then Potter presses soft kisses from Draco’s knee up the inside of his thigh, and Draco stops trying to think altogether. Potter mouths along the outline of Draco’s cock through the thin cotton of his pants as he slides his fingers under the waistband and gradually pulls them down. He captures the head of Draco’s cock in his mouth and sucks gently as he guides first Draco’s left foot and then his right free of the pants. He tosses them aside.

When Draco’s fully hard, Potter releases him with a small wet sound that turns Draco’s insides to jelly, then stands and pushes Draco toward the bed. Draco scrambles up onto it as Potter quickly undresses himself and settles over him, catching Draco’s mouth in another kiss. They snog for what feels like ages, until Draco’s half-desperate with wanting. Pressing his hard cock against Potter’s feels good, but it’s just not enough.

Draco turns his head away, breaking the kiss. “I think you should get on with it,” he says.

“Right,” Potter says.

He fumbles through the drawer of his bedside table until he finds the bottle of lube. He squeezes a big dollop onto his fingers and rubs it against Draco’s arse.

Draco hisses and flinches away. “Cold,” he says.

Potter’s fingers withdraw. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine, just keep going.”

Potter bites his bottom lip as he reaches back down and jams in two fingers at once. Draco yelps and flinches away again, and Potter looks startled.

“What?”

“That hurt, you stupid git,” Draco snaps.

Potter blinks. “But I usually just…”

“Yes, while you’re biting me. It’s different then,” Draco tells him. Without wave after wave of uncontrollable lust screaming through every nerve in his body, the painful stretch and burn of his arse is just a wee bit more noticeable.

“Oh,” Potter says. “Sorry. I didn’t think about that.”

“It’s fine. Just get on with it.”

Potter carefully works two fingers into Draco, slower this time, and now the burning stretch of his muscles giving way to the intrusion is more pleasure than pain. Draco sighs and tilts his hips up a little, spreading his thighs to give Potter more space. This is much better, and he lets out a soft moan of pleasure. His cock throbs as Potter slides his fingers in and out, and he can’t wait until Potter—

“Ow! Damn it, Potter, fingernails!” Draco shoves at him. “You’re acting like a clueless virgin. What’s wrong with you?”

“Well…” Potter says, looking helpless and apologetic. “Sorry.”

And oh god, this is just too much. “Fucking hell,” Draco mutters. “Just get yourself ready, I’ll do this.”

He drizzles lube over his fingers before passing the bottle to Potter. Draco gets three fingers into himself with little effort, working them in and out a few times, and by the time he finishes Potter’s got his cock slicked up and ready.

“Alright,” Draco says as Potter settles back atop him and the tip of his cock nudges at Draco’s entrance. “Just go slow.”

Potter presses forward gently, a little at a time, and Draco lets out the breath he’s been holding a little too soon. Potter pushes the last couple of inches a little too quickly, and Draco can’t hide a wince.

“Sorry,” Potter says.

“For the love of god, if you say you’re sorry one more time, I’m going to slap you,” Draco snaps at him. “If I wanted to hear this much apologizing during sex, I’d shag a house elf.”

“Sor—er, right. Okay.” Potter’s eyes go round behind his glasses. “There’s a mental image I could have lived without.”

Draco sighs. “Just get on your back.”

They rearrange themselves so Potter’s lying on his back with Draco straddling his hips. He takes Potter’s cock in one hand and carefully lines himself up, slowly sinking down onto its length until he’s fully seated. Potter’s hands squeeze Draco’s knees, and Draco rubs his fingertips over Potter’s knuckles as he gives himself a few moments to adjust. Potter smiles hesitantly at him, and Draco pats his hand before he begins to move.

He rides Potter in long, slow strokes, focusing on shifting his hips a little at a time as he thrusts himself against Potter’s cock until he finally finds the right angle. His hands clench around his own thighs and his eyes squeeze shut.

“Yes, oh yes Potter, god, just like that!”

It’s so brilliant, Potter feels so wonderful inside him, and Draco lets out a long, low groan as Potter begins to rock his hips up, timidly at first, then more firmly. He groans again as he feels the pressure building and building.

“Malfoy.”

“What?” Draco pants and opens his eyes. He’s so close now.

“Does that feel good?” Potter asks. His hands slide over Draco’s knees, his thumbs gently rubbing Draco’s inner thighs.

Draco lets his legs spread open a little more and finally, finally takes his cock in hand. “God, yes.”

“Good.” Potter’s mouth twitches like he’s fighting back a grin. “Harry Potter is being pleased that Master Draco is enjoying himself.”

It nearly puts Draco off his stroke. “What the…”

“Harry Potter is being so happy that he is pleasing Master Draco," he continues, his eyes gleaming with amusement. "Harry Potter is trying so hard to be a good elf."

Draco goes still as he stares down at the idiot beneath him. “Oh my god, Potter, shut up.”

Potter snickers. “Harry Potter is shutting up now, he is a very bad elf and will have to iron his ears just as soon as Master Draco finishes— Ow, fuck!”

Draco holds his fist poised and ready to punch Potter in the arm again, and Potter flails his arms to fend him off and he’s laughing, the bastard. Draco realizes with a start that this is the first time he’s ever seen Potter like this, uninhibited and helpless in the throes of laughter. He’s gorgeous when he laughs, and Draco forgets all about being upset that Potter just put him off his imminent orgasm.

He can’t help but smile back. “I don’t want to hear another word out of you,” he says imperiously and bends his smile into a smirk. “Or I shall be forced to give you clothes.” He rolls his hips just so as he clenches his arse as hard as he can around Potter’s cock.

Potter’s eyes roll back in his head. “Oh,” he gasps, his voice low and breathy. “Anything but clothes.”

Draco raises his eyebrows. "I'm sorry, did you say something?"

Potter shakes his head vigorously and mimes locking his lips shut though his eyes are still bright with amusement.

This time, when Draco’s orgasm builds, Potter keeps his goddamn mouth shut and Draco comes hard. It’s nowhere near as intense as the orgasms he has when Potter bites him, but there’s something nice about being able to keep his head through it, and to still have enough control over himself to watch as Potter comes a minute later. His eyes squeeze shut and his forehead crinkles, his lips part as he gasps once, twice, and then says, “Oh,” almost like he’s surprised.

Later, after Potter casts cleaning charms and Draco drags a blanket over them and several minutes of Potter’s fingers in his hair have lulled Draco into a light doze, Potter says, “This was nice. I’d like to do it again.”

“Mm-hm,” Draco murmurs, and lets Potter hold him just a little closer as he drifts off.

 

****

 

Potter’s taking a shower, something he never does since he doesn’t sweat anymore. He disappeared into the bathroom just after they finished tidying the kitchen after dinner, and Draco’s in the sitting room, sorting through Potter’s DVD collection for something they can watch when Potter finishes whatever it is he’s doing in there.

“Malfoy! Malfoy, get in here now!”

The way he’s yelling, Draco thinks something is wrong. He drops the cases he’s holding and sprints down the hall and shoves open the door, releasing a billowing cloud of steam into the hallway. Potter throws himself into Draco’s arms, still damp from his shower and wearing only a towel wrapped around his hips. He kisses Draco hard, and Draco’s so surprised by Potter’s odd behavior that it nearly doesn’t register that Potter’s skin has lost its usual chill. Potter pulls back and grins.

“I’m warm!” he says with a laugh. “Do you like it?”

Draco stalls by pressing his mouth to Potter’s neck, just over where his pulse should be. On the one hand, he doesn’t want to make Potter feel worse about his ‘condition’ by saying yes. But on the other, he doesn’t want to disappoint Potter by saying no.

“The warmth is nice,” he murmurs and nips at Potter’s neck. “But I’m finding that I really like you all wet. Care for another shower?”

“Mmm,” Potter says as Draco leans closer to nibble his way along Potter’s jaw. “How can I say no when you ask me like that?”

He lets Draco adjust the water temperature before they both strip off Draco’s clothing. Potter drops his towel and they get inside, where Draco shoves him back under the spray and tries to kiss him. Potter twists away, tilts his head back under the stream and opens his mouth. He swishes his mouthful of water around and swallows before attacking Draco’s mouth in a bruising kiss. His mouth is hot, and Draco can’t help but think that this is what it’d be like if Potter were still alive.

He forces the thought from his mind and concentrates on the feel of Potter’s body, hard and slick and hot against his own. Of how Potter works two fingers into Draco’s arse and twists them in just the right way to make Draco squirm. Of how it feels to have his body stretched around Potter’s cock, or how his knees tremble when Potter gently nibbles his way along the slope of Draco’s shoulder, or how Potter wraps one arm around Draco’s middle and braces the other against the tile wall so that when Draco comes he can let himself just fall apart.

When Potter comes a few minutes later, he lets his cock slip free of Draco and turns him so they face each other. Draco lets Potter hold him under the spray of water until he catches his breath, then gently pushes him away. Potter washes himself quickly, then slicks his hands with soap and washes Draco without asking. The clean-up turns into a massage, and Potter’s slippery fingers feel amazing as they knead the muscles of Draco’s back. They rinse off and Potter turns off the shower.

“Well?” Potter asks as Draco dries himself off.

“Hm?” Draco says. He feels utterly shagged out, loose and limp from Potter’s massage, and the steamy closeness of the air in the bathroom is making him sleepy.

Potter rubs his towel over his head, then shakes his hair out of his face. “Will we be doing this again, do you think?”

“Yes,” Draco says. “Absolutely.”

Potter grins and kisses him, his lips soft and warm against Draco’s.

 

****

 

Draco lets his lease go at the end of October, since he spends all his time over at Potter’s anyhow. He’d gotten into the habit of coming over before Potter woke and leaving after he went to sleep, so he’s not quite sure if Potter knows that Draco’s living with him now. He hasn’t said anything about the clothes in the bedroom closet or the dishes in the kitchen or how Potter’s sparsely laden bookshelves are now crammed with Draco’s books. Maybe he should have said something when he first brought all his things over, but they’re well into November now and that’s an awkward conversation Draco’s not eager to have. Is there even a good way to tell someone, by the way we’ve been living together for four weeks now?

He sighs and shifts in his seat as he watches Potter digging around in the far corner of the garden. They’re still a couple of hours from dawn, and Potter will want to stay out here for every minute he can. Draco’s more than ready to go inside. He refreshes the warming charms he’s cast on the blanket wrapped around him and watches Potter yank at a vine with all his weight, nearly toppling over onto his arse when it suddenly snaps. He glances over his shoulder to see if Draco saw, and gives a sheepish smile when their eyes meet.

Draco smiles back and tugs the blanket a little closer around his shoulders.

 

****

 

Draco very carefully measures out two pinches of dried fluxweed and sprinkles them into his cauldron a little at a time as he stirs his wand in slow, even clockwise circles. This is the most delicate part of brewing his Blood Replenishers; the fluxweed can react violently with the bicorn horn if he’s not careful. The potion bubbles for a few minutes, and Draco holds his breath until it settles. He lets it simmer for precisely three minutes as he measures out three scoops of dandelion root and sets it aside.

While he waits, he leans against his worktable and his gaze drifts to where Potter is sleeping across the room. They’ve got plans tonight. It’s early December and the weather’s finally gotten cold enough for ice skating. Draco always used to make fun of the couples at Hogwarts who ventured out on the lake together, hands clasped as the slipped and slid and fell and laughed. He always thought it was a stupid idea to take the person you like and go out together and get cold and wet and bruised. But now he finds himself quite looking forward to it.

He finds himself looking forward to lots of things, now. The feeding, of course, but also the normal sex. He and Potter have been doing that more and more recently, nearly as often as Potter feeds. And the movies. And making Potter’s morning cuppa and the distracted little kiss he gets in return. And the, well, the everything. Even this, just being in the same room as Potter, is something Draco loves.

Wait.

Loves?

Draco sucks in a startled breath. Dear god, is he in love with Potter? He can’t be, he just can’t. It’s not possible.

Except it is. The idea of it is suddenly there, fully formed and immutable in his brain. Just another fact, like thousands of other things he can’t doubt. Two and two is four, water is wet, the sun is bright, the sky is blue, and Draco’s in love with Potter.

When the fuck did this happen?

Draco turns back to his workstation and his hands tremble as he takes down the jar of dried fluxweed and very carefully measures out two pinches. He sprinkles them into the cauldron little by little as he stirs his wand in slow, even circles. He doesn’t realize his mistake until his eyes catch on the three scoops of dandelion weed. And then there’s just enough time for him to fling himself to the floor before his cauldron explodes.

Draco staggers to his feet, his ears still ringing from the bang! He coughs, sucks in a breath without thinking, and coughs again so hard he gags. The cauldron is still belching acrid smoke, and Draco Vanishes the ruined mess of his potion before he stumbles to the outside staircase. He draws the curtains around Potter’s bed with a flick of his wand before he reaches for the bolt on the door. It’s stuck fast, and Draco’s wracked by another coughing fit before he can wrench it open. It finally comes loose with an ear-splitting squeal of metal on metal, and Draco shoves the door open.

The bright light of morning slams into him and he’s blinded, but he doesn’t need to see to cast the spell that siphons the smoke out of the basement and into the back garden where it dissipates. Draco shivers, his eyes watering, and he wraps his arms around himself. He coughs feebly.

He’s in love with Potter.

This isn’t at all how this was supposed to go.

It’s another few minutes before he goes back inside, hauls the door shut, and wrestles the bolt back into place. He descends the steps and crosses the room to Potter’s bed where he carefully pulls back the curtains and ties them to the bedposts. Potter is stretched out on his back with his hands folded together over his belly, sleeping soundly. Draco doesn’t even try to resist the urge to slide his fingers through Harry’s hair.

“I love you,” he whispers, and sighs. “How the fuck did this happen?”

 

****

 

It takes Draco less time than he thought it would to come to terms with his feelings for Potter. Less than a week later, he watches Potter pace the perimeter of his garden, renewing the greenhouse charms that let him grow things into the depths of winter, and he doesn’t have to fight down a rising sense of panic. Instead, something warm and fluttery expands behind Draco’s ribs as Potter swishes his wand and nods approvingly to himself.

Draco’s been thinking back over the past few months, trying to pinpoint the exact moment when his feelings for Potter had changed. So far, he’s come up with nothing specific. Rather, it seems to have been a gradual affair, so slow and insidious that he didn’t notice it until it’d already happened.

He’s less upset about it than he thought he’d be, as well. Once he got over the initial shock of it, it really hasn’t been all that bad. He still wakes up before Potter and makes his dinner and they have sex and watch the telly and go for walks and spend time in the garden, exactly as before, but now there’s a sort of comforting warmth to it that Draco finds he likes.

He still hasn’t told Potter. He’s not sure when he will.

 

****

 

Draco’s been trying to convince Potter to go out clubbing with him for ages. He’s done all the things Potter wants to do – the British Museum, ice skating, even going to a Muggle shopping plaza to look at all the holiday decorations – but it’s still December before Potter finally gives in.

Draco dresses up for the occasion, squeezing himself into skintight black jeans and a tight black t-shirt. He drags on a pair of clunky black dragonhide boots and shrugs into Potter’s battered black leather jacket. All the dark clothing makes his skin look ethereally pale, and if someone were to guess which of them was the vampire, Draco has no doubt they’d pick him every time.

Potter’s eyes sweep appreciatively over him as he struts into the sitting room, and Draco wonders what Potter would have thought of the clothing he wore when he first started his circuit of Muggle clubs, all fishnet and glitter and tight leather trousers, his lips shiny with gloss and his eyes dark with kohl. In hindsight, Draco thinks he looked sort of ridiculous back then, but the men he went home with didn’t seem to think so. Maybe Potter wouldn’t either, but Draco just can’t bring himself to find out. Really, glitter? What on earth was he thinking?

In any case, he’s since learned that Potter’s the understated sort, and that’s probably what he likes in his men as well. He’s dressed the same way he was when Draco first saw him again, in dark jeans and a black shirt and the same worn out pair of trainers he’s had since Hogwarts. Draco’s been urging him to invest in another pair, but it’s gone over about as well as the sofa thing. He scowls at it where it sits in the living room, still defiantly orange, before he turns his attention to Potter.

“Ready?”

“That’s my jacket,” Potter says.

Draco smirks at him. “I’ll let you take it off me later.”

They Apparate to one of Potter’s usual clubs, skipping the line out front by hitting the back door with an Alohomora. For a while, they lurk around the edges of the room. The music is too loud for any conversation that’s not shouted, so they watch the Muggles as Draco steadily works his way through three vodka tonics. But with his head pleasantly muzzy from the alcohol, the lure of the throbbing beat of the music is too much to resist.

Draco drops his empty glass on a nearby table, ignoring the dirty look the two women occupying it send him. “Come on, we’re dancing,” he says, taking Potter by the arm.

“What?” says Potter. “No, I don’t dance.”

“Tonight you do,” Draco says, dragging him out onto the dance floor, squeezing between writhing, sweating bodies with Potter firmly in tow.

“I’m really terrible at this,” Potter tells him. “Really, really terrible.”

“I refuse to believe that. You’ve been lurking around clubs for how many years? You have to have learned something.” Draco points out. They come to a stop near the center of the dance floor. “You just listen to the music and move. It’s not hard.”

Draco closes his eyes and lets the music take him, throbbing behind his ribs and through the back of his skull. Draco’s always loved to dance, even the stuffy waltzes and foxtrots his mother made him learn as a youth, and he’s quite good at it, especially like this when he can just let go. He’s seen how people watch him when he dances, how their eyes heat as their gazes trace the lines and curves he makes as he moves. It’s a talent that’s helped him find his way into more than one bed in the past.

He turns slowly and opens his eyes to find Potter shuffling his feet and jerking his head from side to side. His hands twitch and flap beside him, rather like fish out of water. He waggles his hips.

Draco stills his own movements and stares at him. “What are you doing?”

Potter wobbles his arms and shuffles his feet some more. “Um, dancing?”

“No. You’re not. That’s not dancing. That’s… God, I don’t even know what you’re doing, but I can assure you it’s not dancing.”

Potter stops thrashing around and glowers at him. “I told you I was terrible.”

“And I’ll never doubt you again,” Draco says. “It looks like you’re having some sort of fit.”

Potter’s face folds into a scowl and he turns away. Before he can leave the dance floor, Draco grabs him, hauling him flush against his own body.

“Here,” he says into Potter’s ear. “Let’s try it like this.”

He puts his hands on Potter’s hips and settles the curve of Potter’s arse against his groin, and slowly begins to move. Potter’s stiff, resisting Draco’s motions and his fingers clamp around Draco’s hands.

“Relax,” he says and presses an open-mouthed kiss to Potter’s neck. “Just listen to the music and follow me.”

Bit by bit, Potter relaxes against him, his head falling back against Draco’s shoulder and one of his hands slides down Draco’s thigh. Draco lets his eyes drift closed, so there’s nothing but the pounding music and Potter’s body against him. He’s always loved to dance with someone else. When he really clicks with a partner, there’s something about it that feels almost as intimate as sex. Potter’s following his lead wonderfully, and as he presses his arse back against Draco’s hard cock, Draco wants him more than ever.

It doesn’t take much to convince Potter to nip into the gents for a quick blowjob. And it is quick; Draco gives it his all and Potter doesn’t last two minutes. He presses his hands to his face to stifle his cries and that’s all that saves him when Longbottom of all people walks in. He takes one look at Draco on his knees, turns beet red and darts into the nearest stall.

Potter looks down at Draco with half-lidded eyes and gives him a slow, sated smile. “That was…” he begins but Draco shushes him gently.

“Longbottom just walked in here. In the stall,” Draco whispers.

Potter’s sated satisfaction turns to panic. He turns on his heel and flees the toilet, and Draco knows he won’t go back in the club because the door to the alleyway is right there and Potter tends toward the other half of the fight or flight response these days. Draco nearly follows, but evidently Longbottom takes the opening and shutting of the door as a sign that it’s safe to come out. When he sees that Draco’s still there, he freezes.

Draco sighs and gives him a polite nod. “Longbottom.”

“Malfoy,” he manages while looking everywhere but at Draco’s.

“It’s been a while.”

Longbottom visibly steels himself before meeting Draco’s eyes. “It has.”

“This is an odd place to run into you.”

“I could say the same for you.”

Draco shrugs. “Muggles are easier to pull.”

Longbottom blushes again. “It’s, ah, it wasn’t my idea. Ron’s, actually. It’s my stag night, you see,” he stutters, then adds unnecessarily, “I’m getting married.”

“Well congratulations. Anyone I know?”

“Hannah Abbott.”

Draco casts his mind back, sifting through names and faces from Hogwarts. He thinks he remembers her, Hufflepuff, sort of shy, pretty enough in a way that looked destined to be someone’s mum someday. “Well done, she was quite pretty as I recall,” Draco says.

“Uh, yes. She is,” Longbottom says and he’s having trouble keeping his eyes on Draco’s face. His gaze keeps slipping down a little lower.

With a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, Draco turns to the grimy mirror to examine his neck. And there, just above his collarbone, is the scar. It’s clearly a puncture wound, unmistakable as anything else, and Longbottom’s a wizard. He knows exactly what it means.

At some point in the last few days, it couldn’t have been any longer than that or surely Draco would have noticed it, Potter’s marked him as his. Consciously or unconsciously, it doesn’t matter. They are definitely going to have words when Draco gets home because here he’s been walking around with the equivalent of a great big sign round his neck that proclaims “I’m owned by a vampire!” and that is just not on.

“Ah, yes. That. Well, my life is a bit complicated at the moment,” he says.

“Malfoy,” Longbottom says, and his voice is brimming with pity. “If you’re trapped…”

And Draco can only laugh. “That’s one of the complications, Longbottom. I’m in love with the bastard.”

“Really, if you’re being held against your will.”

“Really, I’m not. I’m the one that pushed for it, in fact. I’m on a six month trial run. It’s up in a few weeks, actually, and I fully intend to extend it indefinitely.” He sighs and spreads his hands helplessly. “It’s fucked up, I fully admit that. But it’s also the first time in my life that I’ve ever been truly happy.”

“Oh. Okay,” Longbottom says and shuffles his feet. “I won’t tell anyone.”

“I don’t give a fuck if you tell the whole world. I’m utterly beyond caring what anyone thinks of me, and he doesn’t read the papers anyhow.”

“Oh. Well, still. Take care of yourself, Malfoy,” he says and holds out his hand.

Draco grins at him. “Forgive me for not shaking, but these,” He holds up his hand and wiggles the fingers, “have just been all over another man’s cock. I’m sure you don’t want me to touch you with them. But I appreciate the sentiment, really I do. Take care of yourself, Longbottom. And congratulations again on your wedding. I really do mean that.”

Longbottom nods. “Right. I hope things work out with your, um... Well, I just hope things work out for you.”

Draco nods back to him and pulls the door open. He’s tempted to go into the club and catch a glimpse of the rest of the Gryffindor troop that’s sure to be stationed somewhere around here, but in the end he walks down the hallway and out through the back door. Potter’s pacing up and down the alleyway, and his head jerks up as Draco comes out.

“Did he see me?” he demands.

“No,” Draco says. “Don’t worry, your secret’s still safe.”

Potter’s shoulders slump in evident relief. “Good. Did you, um, talk to him?”

“A little, yes. He’s here on his stag night. Weasley dragged him out, apparently.”

Potter’s gaze goes to the door. “Ron’s in there?” he says, and his voice holds a wistful tone so pathetic that it breaks Draco’s heart a little. Potter takes a half-step closer to the building and his longing gaze is the same one that followed Draco’s mug of tea all those months ago.

“We could go back in, if you’d like,” Draco says gently.

Potter shakes his head. “No, I can’t. Just… it’d be nice to know how they’re all doing, you know?”

He looks so broken up about it that Draco finds himself urging, “Why don’t you go ask them yourself?” before he can even stop to think. As much as Draco loves having Potter’s undivided attentions, he clearly misses his friends. And they’re a bunch of noble-hearted Gryffindors; they won’t care about Potter’s ‘condition.’ It all seems very simple to Draco.

Potter looks at Draco as if he’s gone mad. “I can’t,” he repeats. “I don’t want them to see me like this.”

Draco folds his arms over his chest. “They’re your friends, Potter. After all the shit you’ve been through with them, do you honestly think they’ll care?”

But Potter’s shaking his head. “No.”

“Potter—“ Draco begins.

“I said no!” Potter shouts at him. “I don’t ever want to see them again!”

“Potter—“ Draco begins again, harsher this time.

“Piss off, Malfoy,” Potter snarls at him. “You may have barged your way into my life, but you don’t get to force me into anyone else’s.” He Disapparates.

The hurt catches Draco entirely off guard, but it quickly flares into anger, and that’s fine by him. Draco’s wonderful at dealing with anger. He Apparates into Potter’s entryway just in time to see Potter disappear into the kitchen. He storms after him and catches up just as he’s opening the basement door.

“Not right now, Malfoy, okay?” he says before Draco can say a word. He sounds weary and frustrated in a way that Draco hasn’t heard from him in months.

The anger ebbs, a sudden trepidation tempering his ire. He frowns. “If you’d like,” he says uncertainly.

Potter sighs, looking small and lost and miserable, and Draco standing frozen behind him like an utter buffoon. He thinks maybe he ought to hug Potter, isn’t that what couples do to make each other feel better? But they’re not a couple and he’s not sure if that’s what Potter wants anyhow. Either way, he can’t seem to force himself to take the two steps forward to try. He shifts his weight from one foot to the other.

“Would you like to watch a movie?” he asks instead. “I can make you some tea.”

Potter sighs again. “I think… I’m just going to go to bed early tonight, if you don’t mind?”

“Of course not,” Draco says helplessly.

He tips his head up for Potter to kiss him, but Potter just mumbles “G’night,” as he walks out of the room.

The door bumps shut after him, and Draco doesn’t try to follow.

 

****

 

Draco’s still thinking about the wistful tone of Potter’s voice after the sun comes up. He eats his breakfast and drinks his tea, and it takes him nearly an hour to steel himself to pull out his parchment and quill, and almost another hour to compose a letter to Weasley. It’s hard, since he and Weasley were never anything even resembling friends, but eventually he comes up with a charmingly polite inquiry into the wellbeing of Weasley and his family.

Draco receives an owl back almost immediately, clutching a scrap of parchment in its talons that reads succinctly, “Fuck off.” He feels like maybe he should have expected that.

For a moment Draco considers writing to Granger, she was always the cooler head, but in the end he doesn’t because she’d probably tell him the exact same thing, only she’d take five pages to do it.

Draco sighs. It’s late in the morning and he’s tired, but he can’t take the thought of climbing into his cold bed alone. He goes down to the basement and casts a warming charm over Potter’s bed before turning off the lamp and setting an alarm on his wand so he can be up early enough to have the light back on and the Potter’s cup of tea ready before Potter wakes.

He slides in beside him and pries up one of Potter’s arms and scoots close, his head pillowed on Potter’s bicep, his back pressed against Potter’s side. Potter’s arm settles back over him, holding him tight, as if even in his sleep he can’t get enough. Draco knows it’s just instinct, the vampire in him is just holding on to the warm thing, keeping the potential food source close, but Draco likes to pretend that Potter just needs him that much, that even unconscious he knows Draco’s there and takes comfort from him. And even though Potter’s skin is cold, Draco feels warm inside, and he drifts off to sleep feeling like maybe everything will be okay.

 

****

 

Ever since that night at the club, things with Potter have gone entirely downhill. Potter’s only feeding once every two or three days, and they haven’t had sex at all. He won’t talk to Draco and has started spending more and more time in his garden. Each night it’s a little harder than the last to get him to come inside before the sun rises.

Draco had expected him to pull out of his depression far quicker than this. He’d had bad days back in the early months of their arrangement, but nothing that went on for this long. It’s been two weeks now, and if anything, Potter’s gotten worse. Draco has no idea what to do, and it makes him feel helpless.

And feeling helpless makes him frustrated.

He’s been watching Potter moping around his garden for about twenty minutes when he snaps. This is ridiculous and it needs to stop, now. Draco storms outside.

“Potter,” he snaps, and the word explodes into the air on a puff of white steam.

Potter hardly spares him a glance. “Get back inside, Malfoy. You’ll catch your death without a coat.”

Draco’s mounting irritation keeps him plenty warm against the frigid January night, so he ignores that. “We need to talk.”

Potter sighs. “So talk.” He turns away and goes back to pruning a shrubbery.

His implicit dismissal of everything Draco’s going to say before he even gets a chance to say it stokes his irritation into an all-consuming rage the likes of which he hasn’t felt in years, since he was at Hogwarts and Potter was the one to provoke that in him then, too. Before his mind can catch up to what he’s doing, Draco snatches up one of the pavers that borders a raised flowerbed and hurls it at Potter’s head. Mercifully, it goes wide and slams into the fence beside Potter with a heavy thud.

Potter spins around, and he couldn’t look any more stunned if Draco suddenly sprouted wings and a tail. “What the fuck?”

“I can’t take this anymore!” Draco shouts at him. “I’m absolutely sick of you!”

Potter’s face hardens. “I’m certainly not making you stay—“

“I’m staying because—“

“I know why you’re staying!”

“You don’t know shit! You’re just moping around here, feeling sorry for yourself,” Draco accuses. “And you’ve got no reason—“

“I've got every reason!” Potter shouts back. “I’m a vampire, in case you’ve forgotten!”

“As if I could forget,” Draco snaps at him. “And I don’t care.” After all this time, he doesn’t get why Potter can’t see that.

“I’ve never doubted that, Malfoy,” Potter snarls at him, advancing. “You’ve never cared about anything except yourself, have you?”

That might hurt Draco if it weren’t mostly true, and Potter doesn't seem pitiful anymore, he seems angry and it lights Draco’s blood. Potter suddenly looks furious, dangerous, like the predator he is, and Draco wants him. “Fuck you.”

“I just want to be normal for once in my life—“

“Don't you mean for once in your afterlife?”

It's precisely the wrong thing to say. Potter lunges at him, and Draco shoves back but it’s too late, he’s falling backwards and his head cracks against the edge of the brick garden path. His vision explodes into bright points of light as Potter lands on top of him with a jolt that knocks the air from his lungs. Potter’s as heavy and as cold as a marble statue, and Draco with his vision swimming and his head throbbing and his lungs screaming for air, rising panic, why can’t he breathe, doesn’t have a hope of dislodging him before he bites.

And then it’s all pleasure and pain and Draco finally manages to suck in a great shuddering breath, and then there’s clutching hands and scrabbling nails and they don’t even try to undress, just frantically rub against each other as Potter sucks and sucks, and Draco’s eyes won’t focus and everything is all blurry and dizzy and god, he’s so tired.

He doesn’t recall getting to his feet after, but he’s stumbling across the back porch with Potter’s arm around his waist, and in the house and on the sofa and Potter tucks the blanket around him and goes into the kitchen, and Draco’s shaking and shaking, can’t stop shivering and his head hurts so much. He touches the back of his skull and his fingers come away sticky with blood, and then Potter comes back, and Draco reaches out to put his bloody fingers in Potter’s mouth because that’s where the blood goes, but Potter gently presses his hand away and cleans off his fingers with a murmured spell.

“Here,” he says and presses a mug of tea into Draco’s hands.

But he’s shaking so violently that the tea sloshes over the rim and spills, making the pins-and-needles tingle in his fingers that much worse. Draco blinks down at them; his fingertips are tinged blue, are they really or is he imagining it? It’d be easier to tell for sure if his eyes would just focus. Then Potter’s fingers cover them up as his hands wrap around Draco’s and help him lift the mug to his mouth. The first sip scalds Draco’s tongue but it’s wonderful so he gulps another swallow before Potter eases the mug away. Draco snuggles deeper under his blanket. He doesn’t remember it being this cozy, so Potter must have put a warming charm on it and it feels so nice. He wishes his fingers and toes would stop prickling.

Potter fusses over him, cleaning the dirt from his clothing and healing the wound at the back of his head, and then sits on the sofa beside him as Draco’s shivering gradually subsides until he’s able to manage the mug of tea on his own.

“I’m sorry,” he says, so softly that Draco almost doesn’t hear.

“What for?” Draco mumbles. He blinks at Potter but his eyes still won’t quite focus.

“What for?” Potter echoes and his eyes get big behind his glasses, and Draco’s never noticed until now what a vibrant shade of green they are, like oak leaves in summer. “I nearly just killed you.”

“Not the first time,” Draco says. “Probably not the last. That’s just the sort of relationship we seem to have.” He likes the sound of that word, so he says it again. “Relationship.”

Potter sighs and looks down at his hands. “That’s not the sort I want to have.”

“Me neither. I like the shagging sort better. But lucky us, we’ve got both.”

“Yeah,” Potter sighs, still staring down at his hands. “Lucky us.”

 

****

 

Draco wakes up alone in Potter’s bed the next morning. The last remnants of the warming charm are fading, and Draco shivers when his bare feet touch the chilly cement floor of the basement. Last night’s events come back to him like a bad dream, half-remembered and indistinct. His head aches fiercely, and after a stop at his worktable where he downs several of the healing potions he’s got stashed there to ease the pain, he goes upstairs to find Potter in the kitchen, tending to an egg frying in a pan.

“Hi,” he says with a smile. “Tea’s on the counter for you.”

“I… thank you,” Draco says, his brow furrowing in confusion. This isn’t the brooding, sulking Potter he expected to find. He’d expected that last night’s events would kick Potter’s self-loathing to soaring new levels. Instead, today Potter seems almost cheerful. “Er, did you sleep well?”

“Like the dead,” Potter says as he flips the egg.

Draco hesitates. This is the first time that Potter’s ever made light of his ‘condition’ and he has absolutely no idea how he should respond. After an awkward pause, he settles for saying, “That’s nice, then.”

“Go on and sit down. I’ve almost got breakfast ready for you,” Potter says over his shoulder, and at a loss for what to do otherwise, Draco obeys.

He watches Potter at the stove. Maybe he was wrong to think that Potter would feel guilty over last night’s events. After all, Potter never offered him even a perfunctory apology when he cut open Draco’s chest in sixth year, and really, what’s a minor head injury and mild hypothermia compared to nearly bleeding out after being sliced open neck to navel? He’s still puzzling it over while Potter serves him fried eggs with toast soldiers and crispy bacon and fried potatoes, and he sits down with Draco while he eats.

After, they clean up the kitchen together, and as Draco puts the last cup into the dish rack to dry, he asks, “Hungry?”

A hint of a frown flickers across Potter’s face. “Not after last night,” he says.

Draco sighs. “About that… We should talk.”

“Tomorrow,” Potter says. “Please? I just don’t want to do it tonight.”

And Draco doesn’t want to shatter whatever peace Potter seems to have come to by pressing. “Of course,” he says.

The night passes uneventfully, and as grateful as Draco is to have Potter no longer moping, there’s something empty and unsettling about this that puts his teeth on edge. They end the night, as always, in the garden. Twenty minutes before dawn, Potter sighs and straightens. A flick of his wand sends all of his tools flying into the shed and he turns to the house without so much as a glance at the eastern sky.

“You’re going in early tonight,” Draco says as he stands.

“Hm? Oh, I suppose I am. It’s been a rough couple of weeks,” Potter says and yawns.

Draco can’t really argue with that, so he goes down into the basement and turns on Potter’s lamp and smoothes out the bedcovers for him. He’s at his worktable by the time Potter comes shambling down the steps in his pajamas.

“I’ve put your kettle on,” he says.

“Thanks,” Draco tells him, tilting his head up out of habit alone.

Potter kisses him, soft and slow. “Goodnight, Malfoy,” he says and takes a step back. “I’m glad you’re here,” he adds, and shuffles off to his bed where he curls up on his side, facing away from Draco.

Draco fiddles with his potions ingredients for a while, until the shrill whistle of the teakettle calls him away. On the bed, Potter shifts a little, the crisp sheets rustling beneath him.

Up in the kitchen, he brews his cup of tea and stands in front of the sink, watching the sunrise paint the sky in pale shades of yellow and gold. He takes a long, slow sip and sighs, his mind drifting through the conversation he’s going to have with Potter tonight. They’ll sit down and Draco will simply explain that he’s become fond of Potter and has no intention of ever leaving, and that will be that.

When an ear-splitting squeal of metal on metal echoes up from the basement, Draco reacts before his mind fully places the sound as that of a bolt of the outer door being wrenched back. He drops his teacup, and he’s already sprinting out of the kitchen by the time it shatters on the tile floor behind him. He flings himself down the basement stairs just in time to see Potter throw the outer door open. The full light of dawn falls hard on him, and Potter just spreads his arms and lets his head tip back, curls of smoke already rising from his skin.

Draco bolts across the room and lunges for him, snagging his shirt and yanking back with all his weight, and together they topple down the stairs and fall to the bottom, Draco underneath Potter with his left arm caught awkwardly between his back and the cement floor. Something in his wrist snaps in a bright surge of pain that shoots up to his elbow, but he ignores it to shove Harry to the safety of the shadows as his skin blackens and cracks. Staggering to his feet, he stumbles back up the stairs to haul the doors shut before he turns on him.

“What the fuck were you thinking?” All of his bruises, the pain of his broken wrist are nothing compared to the leaping panic, the gut-chilling hurt that he nearly lost Harry. “Tell me, what the fuck, how could you…”

“I was thinking it’s none of your fucking business what I do with my life!” Potter yells at him, his charred face cracking further.

“What you do with your…” The outrage that slams into Draco catches him entirely off guard and for a moment he can’t speak. “You ass! What did you expect would happen? That I’d come down here tonight and find a pile of ashes and shrug my shoulders and say, ‘Well, that’s that, then.’ And then, what, I’d sweep you up into a dustpan and put you out with the rubbish? You stupid selfish fuck, did you even think about me at all?”

“So I should have waited, then? Just another couple of days and then I’m not your problem anymore?”

“We’re going to talk about that!”

“And what does it matter if we talk about it?” Potter shouts at him. “It doesn’t matter if you stay! Even if you stay forever you’re still going to get old and die and I’m going to be all alone again!”

It’s ridiculous, really, that he’s so self-righteously angry when he’s so blatantly wrong, and Draco doesn’t know whether he wants to kiss him or punch him in his stupid charred face.

“Did you even read the book I gave you?” he grinds out.

“Yes. Well, I skimmed it. Parts of it, anyhow.”

Draco wants to punch him, definitely wants to punch him. He vaguely recalls how during their Hogwarts days Granger was constantly nattering on about Hogwarts: A History while Potter and Weasley rolled their eyes and made faces behind her back. Draco feels an unexpected flash of sympathy for her, but it’s quickly overwhelmed by the rising urge to beat Potter about the head with something heavy and blunt.

“You skimmed it? You are an idiot, a stupid fucking—god, how did you ever get anything done? You don’t know shit about vampires and I handed you the answers to everything and you bloody skimmed it.”

Potter’s chin comes up and his eyes glitter stubbornly. “Parts of it,” he says defiantly.

Draco’s now so choked with rage that when he tries to speak all the words get jumbled up and caught in his throat and all that comes out is a half-strangled, “Nnnggh!”

He’s pushing at Draco, like he’s always pushed at Draco, and Draco’s first instinct is to push him back. But something in the way Potter watches him makes him hesitate, and in that moment Draco sees that if he pushes Potter right now, he’s not going to snap. He’s going to break. It takes a monumental effort but Draco manages to pull in his towering rage to something more manageable.

“I’m not going anywhere, you stupid shit! I’m in love with you!” he snarls and this is so far from how he imagined he’d tell Potter he loves him. His wrist is throbbing and he still feels jittery with the last remnants of panic, and god, he’s in love with a moron.

Potter’s eyes go comically round. “You’re what?”

Draco can’t bring himself to say it again, so he spits, “You heard me.”

“I did. I just. You love me?”

“We’re not going to talk about that right now,” Draco says and stalks toward him. “Right now you need to drink.”

“I don’t…”

“You’re injured, Potter, and you’ve got a lot of healing to do. So you’re going to do it or I’m going to force you.”

“Malfoy, you just…”

Draco doesn’t bother to argue with him. Instead, he uses a precise Diffindo to open a shallow cut at his neck. Potter catches the scent of blood and Draco can tell by the way his eyes gleam that instinct has entirely taken over. Potter grabs him and bites, and this is completely different than the other times. This burns. Draco just grits his teeth and bears it as Potter sucks and sucks, and his wrist throbs in time with his heartbeat. It goes on and on until he’s starting to feel a bit woozy.

“Potter,” he says, patting him on the shoulder to get his attention, but Potter doesn’t even pause. “Potter, that’s enough for now.” Still no response, and a frissure of real fear goes through him. “Potter. Harry, Harry. I think that’s enough. Please…”

Finally, that gets through. Potter drops him and turns away, and Draco can tell from the way that Potter wraps his arms around himself and hunches his back that he’s trying to talk himself out of biting Draco again and finishing him off.

Draco makes his way over to his worktable, thankful that he hadn’t bothered to take his latest batch of Blood Replenishers up to the kitchen when he brewed them. He gulps one down, then takes a second for good measure. Feeling a little less faint, he casts a healing charm on his wrist, but it’s still aching and swollen. He’ll probably have to go to St. Mungo’s to have it mended properly, but this is good enough for now.

When he turns back around, Potter is sitting on the edge of his bed, staring down at his scorched hands.

“You’re not immortal, you know,” Draco says, approaching warily.

Potter blinks up at him, his forehead crackling faintly as it creases. “I’m not?”

“Get in bed. You need your rest,” Draco says, and waits while Potter stretches out on his back. Draco sits on the edge of the mattress beside him before continuing. “There are two types of vampires: those that are born and those that are made. Neither are truly immortal. Those vampires who are born are extremely long-lived, which is where the immortality myth comes from, but they do age and eventually die. They get about seven hundred years, on average.”

Draco pauses and brushes his hand through Potter’s hair, and bits of it crumble away beneath his touch. He sighs and continues.

“Those vampires who are made aren’t physically capable of that sort of longevity. You’re still a Wizard, first and foremost, and that means you’ll get about one hundred and twenty to one hundred and thirty years, at best.” Draco pauses and draws in a slow, steady breath before he adds, “Same as I will.”

Potter turns his head, the blackened skin at his neck flaking a little with the motion. His eyes are very green in his dark face. “And you’ll stay with me?”

“Until the very end,” Draco says. He brushes bits of black char from the pillowcase. “Sleep now. I’ll be here when you wake up.”

“Okay,” Potter says and his eyes slip closed. He murmurs, “I’m glad.”

Draco waits until he’s sure that Potter’s asleep before he leaves the bed and climbs the stairs to the outer door. He doesn’t bother sliding the bolt into place; instead, he hits all three hinges with a precise Incendio that fuses them in place. Satisfied with his work, he goes upstairs to the entryway and Apparates to St. Mungo’s.

 

****

 

It takes almost a week for Harry’s skin to heal completely, and during that time there’s plenty of opportunity for Draco to reflect on how exactly he fucked up and what he’s going to do to fix it.

It was a colossal mistake to think that he could handle this by himself, Draco sees that clearly now. It was a mistake to keep his feelings from Potter, and it was a mistake to let Potter think even for a second that Draco planned to leave him when their six month trial finished, and it was a mistake to trust Potter to read that stupid bloody reference book on his own. He suspects that it was also a mistake to start this in the first place, thinking that he could manipulate Potter while somehow holding himself distant – Potter’s always been able to get under his skin like no other – but that’s what led him here, to this odd sort-of-relationship they’ve now got, and Draco can’t find it in himself to be sorry for that.

He thinks this might be worth anything, even swallowing his pride for as long as it’ll take to fix this cock-up.

The owl he sends off to Granger after the sun rises is brief: “I have information about Potter,” it reads, followed by an address and a time.

He sends all her owls back unopened, betting that curiosity is the best way to get her to meet with him, and at three o’clock he’s seated in the teashop he specified in his letter to her. As he waits, he’s afraid she might not show up, or, worse, might bring Weasley along. But he’d deliberately picked a very busy, very public location in the hopes that she’d come by herself. He hopes it’s enough to assure her that he only wants to talk.

“I hope you don’t mind that I already ordered for us,” Draco says and gestures at the steaming teapot and plate of chocolate biscuits as Granger approaches his table, blessedly alone. “Do you like Earl Grey?”

She sits down, tucking her napkin demurely over her knees. “That’s fine,” Granger says, but doesn’t make any move toward the teapot.

He picks up his teacup and finishes the last inch or so in the bottom before refilling it from the teapot. He pours a cup for Granger as well.

“Please, how have you been?” he asks, picking up his teacup again and holding it poised in front of his mouth. He blows across the steaming surface, raising tiny ripples.

Granger picks up her own cup and takes a small sip before replying. “Quite well, thank you. And yourself?”

Draco sets his cup down in its saucer. “Very well, thank you for asking.”

It feels a bit like acting in a play. Neither of them truly likes the other, but here they are, dutifully reciting their lines, inquiring about family members and making bland comments about the weather.

Draco checks his watch. They’ve been making stilted chitchat for nearly five minutes now, and it’s time to move on to the topic he’d called her here to discuss.

He leans in closer and lowers his voice as he says, “I’ve asked you to meet me here to talk about Potter.”

Granger nods once. “So you said in your letter.”

“This is going to sound completely mental,” he tells her. “I was at a club in March. And I saw him there.”

Her lips tighten into a firm line. “Do you know how many false Harry Potter sightings are reported every month? Dozens, Malfoy. Harry’s gone, and you’re wasting my time.”

“You think I wouldn’t recognize him?” he says urgently. He wants to reach out and grab her wrist, but knows better than to try. “After everything we’ve been through, you think I wouldn’t know him?”

“You didn’t know him when we were kidnapped at the Manor.”

“I did. I lied.”

“Just like you are right now,” Granger says and makes to stand up.

“He’s a vampire,” Draco tells her, and she freezes for an instant before settling back in her seat.

“What?”

“That’s what I saw at that club in March. That’s how he was feeding, going to Muggle clubs and luring girls out so he could bite them.” Draco pauses, and Granger just stares at him, so he rushes on. “He was half-starved, and I owed him a Life Debt. So I offered to become his donor. And now we’re sort of living together but it’s not enough for him. Just like the Muggle blood was only enough to keep him going, that’s all I am. He needs more than just me. He needs you, and he needs Weasley.”

“I don’t believe you,” Granger says, and her voice shakes. “You’re lying and I don’t know why you’re doing this to me, and I don’t care. I’m leaving.”

Draco leans back in his chair and shrugs. “I thought you might say something along those lines,” he sighs. “That’s why I drugged your tea. It should be kicking in any moment now. Sorry.”

She gapes at him, horrified, then stands, her napkin sliding to the floor, and flees across the teashop. Draco stands as well, pauses to pop one of the chocolate biscuits into his mouth, brushes the crumbs from his fingertips, and follows.

She almost makes it outside before it hits here. She stumbles, grabs for the wall and sags against it, and then Draco’s at her side, sliding a supporting arm around her, and manages to stagger outside with her increasingly-dead weight and Apparates.

Back home, he drags her over to the sofa and stretches her out on the cushions, taking care to arrange her limbs neatly and keep her skirt tugged modestly to her knees. After a brief search of her clothing, he takes her wand and pauses to rest for a few moments before he lugs her down to the basement. It’s a miscalculation, because she’d only had a sip of tea and it wears off faster than he’d planned for. He makes it to the sofa and crouches down beside it as she comes to.

She groans faintly, and Draco helps her sit up while desperately trying to work out the best way to deal with this. He’d intended to get her down to the basement so when she woke up she’d see Potter and be sufficiently distracted from this whole abduction business, but now the plans have changed.

He aims for her rational side. “Look, Granger. I didn’t want to do it like this, but you’d never have come with me otherwise.”

She lets her gaze sweep the room around her before focusing on Draco. “You’ve brought me to your home.”

“This is Potter’s home,” he corrects gently.

“You took my wand.”

“I’ll give it back. I just need you to listen to me—“

It’s another miscalculation, trying to appeal to her rational side, because she’s also a Gryffindor and that means that she’s brimming with short-sighted courage. She lashes out with one fist, catching him painfully just below the eye, and flings herself to her feet and bolts for the door before he can recover himself.

But she’s still unsteady and he has the advantage of longer legs. Draco catches her as she’s fumbling with the lock on the front door, wraps both arms around her and hauls her off her feet. She fights back, kicking and thrashing and screaming loud enough to wake the dead, which, god, is the absolute last thing Draco needs right now. Potter made it abundantly clear that he did not want to see his friends again, and while Draco knows he didn’t really mean that, he also knows that Potter will lose his shit at Granger being here uninvited, and Draco can only handle one person screaming at him at any given time.

Hoping that the neighbors are so used to screaming coming from Potter’s house by now that they won’t bother to call Magical Law Enforcement, Draco turns on his heel like he’s Apparating to get them facing away from the door, and one of Granger’s kicking feet connects with the small table. It topples over, the ceramic lamp on it smashing on the floor. Slowly but surely, Draco wrestles Granger out of the entryway, broken glass crunching underfoot, and hauls her toward the door leading down to the basement.

As soon as he starts down the steps, she quits screaming, but only because she puts all her effort into getting free, biting and clawing at him. Figures Granger would fight like a girl, and besides Draco’s been getting bitten and clawed at by Potter for nearly six months now, and isn’t it sort of fucked up that he’s starting to get hard from it? He desperately hopes that Granger won’t notice the way his burgeoning erection keeps brushing her backside as she thrashes against him because that would take things to a level he’s got no desire to visit. He nearly loses his footing twice as he hauls her down the stairs. As soon as they reach the floor, she goes stiff and still in his arms.

“Malfoy. Draco. Please, you don’t want to do this,” she says, now trying to appeal to his rational side, and Draco’s sorely tempted to sock her in the eye and see how she likes it. “I know that you—“

“Granger,” Draco interrupts, not loosening his hold on her in the slightest. “Look.”

Draco has never been so glad for Potter’s odd habit of keeping lights on as he is just then. The glow of the single lamp near his bed is just enough to illuminate him. Potter is stretched out on his back, hands neatly folded over his belly. His eyes are closed, his face still. Draco hates seeing Potter like this because when he’s sleeping on his back he looks like the corpse he is. Granger goes limp and for a moment Draco’s hold on her is the only thing keeping her upright.

“Harry…?”

Slowly, cautiously, Draco releases her. Granger crosses the room and falls to her knees beside the bed.

“Oh my god. Oh my god, it’s really him.” She reaches out with one trembling hand and brushes the hair away from his forehead, exposing that famous scar, then presses her palm to his skin. She looks back at Draco. “He’s so cold.”

“He’s a vampire.”

Her hand moved to his throat. “There’s no pulse.”

“Because he’s a vampire.”

“He looks… dead.”

Draco sighs. It must be shock that has her stating the bloody obvious because he doesn’t remember her being this dim in school. He crosses the room, snagging a knife from his worktable as he goes. He slashes the pad of his finger and squeezes out a bright bead of blood. Gently, he reaches down with his other hand and eases Potter’s mouth open. He smears the drop of blood over Potter’s bottom lip and the fangs descend almost instantly. Granger gasps as Potter’s hand comes up to clutch at Draco’s wrist and pulls. Draco lets Potter suckle at his pricked finger for a few moments before he gently tugs free and sticks his injured finger into his own mouth. Potter’s hand drifts back to join his other folded on his belly as his tongue peeks out to swipe the smudge of blood from his lip.

“I’ll just give you a few minutes.”

Draco leaves her alone with Potter to collect herself and goes upstairs where he heats water and gets out two mugs. When she comes up from the basement, he’s brewed two cups of tea and sat down with them at the table. He’s left her wand sitting beside her cup, and she snatches it up and points it at him.

“You need to start explaining,” Granger says. “Right now.”

Draco reaches out with one foot and shoves the chair across from him away from the table. “Have a seat then, this’ll take a while. I’ve made you tea.”

She sits primly and keeps her wand firmly in hand. “Have you drugged this one too?”

“No,” Draco says. “Why on earth would I? I’ve already got you here.”

“You’ve drugged me and kidnapped me, Malfoy. Forgive me if I don’t trust you.”

“Though in retrospect I’m glad you reacted the way you did at the teashop,” he says as if she hasn’t spoken. He folds his arms over his chest and leans back in his chair, stretching his legs out under the table and not apologizing when his feet bump into hers. “Boy, it sure would have been awkward if I’d drugged you for no reason.”

Granger audibly grits her teeth together, and as the child of not one but two dentists she really ought to know better than that. “Malfoy,” she grinds out, and she looks about half an inch from hexing him.

Draco sighs. As much fun as needling Granger is, and as much as she may deserve it for punching him in the eye – and it’s every bit as painful as it was when he was thirteen – he’s really brought her here for Potter’s sake, and that means he needs to make nice with her.

“You wouldn’t have come here otherwise,” he says reasonably. “Look, I drugged you, you punched me, I’d say we’re even. Now shall we deal with the matter at hand?”

“We are a long, long way from even.”

Draco ignores her and starts at the beginning of his Potter story. He tells her all of it, the Muggles in the alleyways, the Life Debt and the deal they made, the gardening and the garden gate, the cellar and the sunrise, the clubbing and cups of tea and how Potter nearly killed him.

“I thought I could do this on my own,” he says when he finishes. “I thought I could save him.”

“That’s rather altruistic of you,” Granger says without bothering to hide even an ounce of her skepticism.

“Hardly,” Draco scoffs. “It was all about power. I wanted him to need me. I liked being the only one he needed.”

“So why the change of heart?”

“Because…” This is more difficult to admit, but Draco reminds himself that this is for Potter. He’s doing this for Potter. “I’ve come to care about him. And it was a mistake to keep him to myself. He needs more than that. He needs more than just me.” He draws in a deep, steady breath. “I need help, Granger. I can’t do this by myself.”

“I can’t believe you,” Granger says. “Do you honestly think that I’d just walk away from him now that I know he’s here? That I’d walk away from him just to spite you?”

“No, no,” Draco says quickly. “I know that. But you can’t just go barging into this headlong. You can’t see him tonight.”

“What? Malfoy, there’s no way I’m going to—“

“You are,” he says. “Because that’s what’s best for Potter.” That gets her attention, so he continues. “I’ve told you how sensitive he is about what he’s become. You need to take some time to come to terms with it, because if you treat him as anything other than normal for even an instant, this is going to go very poorly. Tell Weasley. And come back here tomorrow night, both of you. An hour after sunset.”

She clearly doesn’t like it, but gives him a terse nod. “Fine,” she says, standing.

“And Granger,” he says as she starts to turn away. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t mention any of this abduction business. And we really should try to get along. Potter’s become very fond of me. He won’t like to see us at odds.”

“Maybe you should have considered that before…” She cuts herself off and pinches the bridge of her nose as she inhales, exhales, inhales. “Fine. I’ll play nice if you will.”

Draco smiles at her, and if it’s a touch smug, well, he can hardly help that. “That’s all I ask.”

 

****

 

“What happened?” Potter asks when he comes upstairs later that night. His concerned gaze is pinned to Draco’s face.

Draco touches his cheekbone to find it tender. A glance at his reflection in the smooth metal side of the tea kettle confirms the bruise. “Oh, that. I blew up a cauldron today. I’m not surprised it didn’t wake you. You sleep like the dead.” He holds his breath, waiting for Harry to react.

But he just sighs and says, “I slept like the dead when I was alive, too.” He frowns, still looking at Draco’s face. “You ought to heal that. It looks painful.”

Draco smirks at him and can’t resist pushing a little harder. “What, bruises are only okay as long as they’re from you?”

Potter snorts and doesn’t rise to the bait, which is sort of a shame. “You’re sick, Malfoy. Really sick.”

“So says the bloke who gives me bruises on a regular basis.” He lets his gaze heat as it sweeps over Potter. “And scratches me. And bites me.”

Potter just rolls his eyes. “As I said, you’re sick.” He picks up his teacup and takes a sip.

Draco heals the bruise. “Hungry?” he asks.

 

****

 

The next night, Potter comes upstairs to a cold kitchen. “No dinner?” he asks, confused.

“Already ate,” Draco says, taking him by the wrist and leading him down the hall to the bedroom. “Come on, let’s get you fed.”

Potter tugs at his wrist. “What? Why?”

“I’ve made plans.”

“Plans?” Potter echoes, a hint of a smile forming. “What plans?”

Draco grins at him. “The surprise sort.” He pushes Potter onto the bed and clambers atop him.

An hour later, they’re sitting on the sofa, and Potter’s trying to pester Draco for information. He falls silent at a knock on the front door.

Draco stands, and Potter slowly comes to his feet as well.

“It’s open!” Draco calls

“Malfoy,” Potter says, surprised, and then the door opens and Granger and Weasley come in.

For a moment they all stand frozen, then Granger lets out a soft gasp and gropes for Weasley’s hand, squeezing tight. Potter turns slowly to face Draco.

“What the fuck,” he says, his voice deadly calm.

Draco’s thrilled to find that an infuriated Potter no longer frightens him. He raises his eyebrows. “Clearly I’ve invited your friends over,” he drawls.

Predictably, Potter comes entirely unhinged. “And what gives you the fucking right?” he shouts. “How could you do this? I specifically told you that I didn’t want this, so you went behind my fucking back and did it anyhow!”

“What else was I supposed to do?” Draco yells back. “You tried to kill yourself!”

“I thought you were going to leave!”

“And that’s exactly why I did this! Because I can’t handle you alone! It was a mistake to think I ever could!”

“Don’t be ridiculous, you’re all I need.”

“And I don’t want to be, Potter. I’ve been your whole world for six months now. And I don’t want to do it anymore because that’s not healthy. For either of us.”

“So you… Without telling me… Fuck, fucking hell!”

“Harry.”

Granger says it quietly, but somehow it breaks through the commotion of their argument and gets Potter’s attention. His anger visibly drains away and, slowly, he turns to her and swallows.

“Hermione,” he says and his voice trembles. “Ron.”

And then Weasley strides straight up to Potter and folds him up in a desperate hug and mutters, “I’ve missed you, mate.” And then Hermione goes up and throws her arms around both of them, and Potter puts his arms around his friends and his shoulders are shaking and Draco can’t tell whether he’s laughing or crying, but either way he’s not going to find out because this scene has no place for him in it.

He goes out into the garden and settles himself into his chair but doesn’t bother with the Lumos or the book. From inside, he can hear the sound of someone crying. High pitched, he thinks it’s Granger, and then the murmur of conversation, and then laughter. Draco casts a warming charm and a Muffliato in quick succession.

He’s out there for hours before he hears the gentle click of the door behind him, and he doesn’t look as footsteps approach and stop just behind his chair.

“They’ve gone now,” Potter says, and there’s something in his voice that sounds lighter. “They’re coming back tomorrow night, and bringing Ginny and George. They wanted to bring everyone, but I told them I could only handle a few people at a time.”

Draco hums softly. “Does this mean I’m forgiven for violating your trust?”

Potter gives a helpless laugh. “Yeah. But only because you gave me a hard enough kick in the arse to get my head out of there.”

Draco lets his head drop back until he can see Potter upside-down. “It was lodged up there pretty far.”

“Yeah, it was.” There’s a soft noise as he scuffs his foot on the paving stones. “They offered to take over, you know. Um, donating for me.”

Draco’s insides go cold. “And you said?”

“I said thanks, of course. They really are my best friends,” Potter says, and Draco can hear the marvel in his voice. “Here I cut them out of my life for almost five years and the first thing they do is offer to let me…”

Draco can’t stand to hear any more. “So they’ll be taking over?” he interrupts. No point in dragging this out.

“I said I’d like them to be my backup donors. Like, if you ever get sick or hurt or need a holiday or whatever.” Potter comes around to the front of Draco’s chair and crouches down in front of him, his hands on Draco’s knees. “So you don’t have to do this alone anymore.”

“Right,” Draco says and he doesn’t bother to hide his smile. He puts his hands over Potter’s. “Though if I ever took a holiday, I’d like to think you’d come with me.”

Potter doesn’t smile back. Rather, he looks sort of nervous. “Right. Um, I was thinking. For a few days now, actually…”

“Oh?” Draco prompts when Potter doesn’t say anything else.

“Well, now that we don’t have our arrangement anymore, I was thinking maybe we should figure out something new?” He bites his lip and glances toward the house. “I was thinking, um, maybe you’d like to stay here.”

“Potter,” Draco says, gentle and reassuring. “I am staying.”

“No, not like that. Like… Well, I was hoping maybe you might like to move in.” He mistakes Draco’s hesitation for uncertainty. “I mean, you’re over here most the time anyhow, so it doesn’t make much sense for you to be paying rent on a flat of your own if you’re barely using it. So, yeah, move in with me?”

“Right,” Draco says. And then he can only laugh while Potter stares up at him in confusion. “So… About that…”

 

****

 

Epilogue ~

 

“Draco?” Harry calls when Draco Apparates into the entryway with a soft bang. The sun’s been down for almost an hour.

“Harry?” Draco singsongs back. Excitement and eagerness and thirty-six hours without sleep have made him giddy.

Harry appears in the doorway with a small frown on his face. “Where have you been?”

“Oh, you know. Out and about,” Draco says loftily. The house is stuffy and too warm from another bright summer day, and he opens the windows to the faint evening breeze with a swish of his wand.

The frown on Harry’s face deepens as he watches Draco. “Are you… That’s my invisibility cloak.”

Draco looks down at the shimmery bundle of fabric in his hands. “Ah, yes. So it is.”

“You stole my cloak?”

Draco rolls his eyes. “Borrowed,” he corrects, leading the way into the sitting room.

“Without permission.”

“I brought it back, didn’t I?” Draco tosses the cloak over the back of the sofa. “Sit down.”

“What?”

“Just sit!” Draco tells him, already hurrying for the bedroom and the box Harry keeps under the bed.

When he returns, he has Harry’s pensieve cradled carefully in his hands. He sets it on the coffee table and joins Harry on the sofa.

Harry sighs. “I’ve told you, I don’t like you snooping around my things.”

Draco ignores him, and anyhow, he hasn’t done any snooping lately. He’s known about the pensieve since way back in February. Ignoring another sigh from Harry, he touches the tip of his wand to his temple and focuses as he draws out a gossamer strand of memory. It stretches on and on and on, ending just before his arm is fully extended. Carefully, he guides it into the pensieve where it puddles in the bottom.

“That’s a long memory,” Harry says, watching Draco warily.

“Almost sixteen hours,” Draco confirms. He grasps Harry’s hand and grins. “Come on.”

Harry heaves another sigh, but he’s learned better than to argue with Draco when he’s like this. Complete waste of effort. Together, they lean forward and plunge into the memory. The world lurches and whirls and they both find themselves standing on a grassy hilltop in a park. There’s a small stand of trees off to their right, and an enormous expanse of green lawn before them. Draco looks around critically. His attention to detail here is really very impressive.

Before them, the first orange rind of dawn is forcing its way over the horizon, and the sky above that a delicate blue that steadily grows hazy and fades to a muted almost-black behind them.

“Draco,” Harry whispers as a faint breeze rustles the treetops. A bird twitters out half a melody. “You… sixteen hours?”

“A whole day,” Draco says. “Sunrise to sunset.”

Harry turns slowly in place. “Where are you?” he asks, then glances down at Draco, sudden realization putting a smile on his face. “My cloak.”

“Exactly. I wanted to come in here with you, and thought having two of me around might spoil the illusion.” He points to a flattened patch of grass a few feet away. “I’m right there.”

Harry swallows. “And you sat there for sixteen hours.” He huffs out a sound that’s half-cough, half-laugh. “I can’t believe you.”

“Just watch the sunrise, Potter,” Draco says.

He sits down and Harry settles beside him, knees drawn up to his chest, arms clasped loosely around his shins. His eyes never waver from the eastern sky as the band of orange expands and the first rays peek over the edge of the world. Draco watches the eager anticipation and naked yearning grow over Harry’s features, and when the crescent-edge of the sun finally cracks the skyline, well, it’s absolutely put to shame by the brilliant smile that breaks over Harry’s face. Yes, he thinks, this was certainly one of his better ideas. He flops over onto his back, blades of grass tickling the back of his neck, and closes his eyes to let Harry have his moment.

When he opens them again, the sun is fully up, the sky a flawless blue without a cloud in sight. Harry’s stretched out on the grass beside him, and as Draco stirs, he props himself up on one elbow. Another bird bursts into song in the copse of trees, and a bee buzzes by overhead.

“Draco,” Harry says softly, and if Draco hadn’t already been in love, he thinks the look on Harry’s face right now might’ve done it for him. “I… thank you. This is wonderful.”

Draco just smiles and doesn’t spoil the moment with words. Instead, he lets his eyes drift closed, listens to the soft whisper of grass beside him as Harry settles back down, and keeps on smiling, content to stay for as long as Harry wants.

Their life together is certainly not ideal. Harry still hates that he’s a vampire, and he still has his bouts of moodiness and Draco still sometimes loses his patience with that. Things are still tense whenever Granger and Weasley come by. Weasley doesn’t approve of their odd relationship and Granger still hasn’t forgiven Draco for the whole drugged tea incident. Harry still hasn’t said ‘I love you’ back, though to be fair Draco’s only said it aloud the one time. They still push each other too far sometimes, and they still fight and sometimes those fights turn physical and there was another night in April when Draco had to go to St. Mungo’s for a broken bone. Draco doesn’t think they’ll ever get their happily-ever-after – that’s just not who they are – but for the time being, Draco’s got Harry, and Harry’s got Draco, and right now they’ve both got this perfect blue sunny day.