Draco arrives home late, muscles aching and magic low after a duel. To his surprise, the lights are on in his house. He follows the noise and scent to the kitchen. Potter’s puttering about in Draco’s kitchen, and he’s cooking.
It’s not the first time, admittedly, but it doesn’t make it any weirder. Draco narrows his eyes at some of the ingredients simmering on the stove.
“You bought groceries,” he accuses.
Potter startles, spinning around. “Oh! Malfoy.”
“What if I had gone to buy a late-night kebab?” Draco demands.
Potter grins. “But would you? I just popped by to check on your plant.” He waves his hand towards the glazed pot sitting on the kitchen windowsill, that Draco has been trying not to look at.
In fact, the last time he’d seen it, it was on the top floor balcony, hidden behind one of the deck chairs.
“It’s not too bad. I gave it a little watering.”
“How did you even hear about it?” Draco asks. “Longbottom’s off his rocker giving it to me. In fact—take it back to your place.”
Potter gasps exaggeratedly. “Regifting, Malfoy? Surely that’s below you. Nah, I heard from Neville, he asked me how it was going. Don’t know why though, it’s not as though I keep tabs on you.”
Draco raises an eyebrow. All the dinners Potter’s been cooking lately speak otherwise.
Potter rolls his eyes. “I don’t need to stalk you to know that you need dinner,” he says, “Hurry up and set the table, ‘cause I’m hungry too.”
Draco acquiesces with a dramatic sigh, as he always does. “Busy day in your workshop?”
Potter quirks a grin. “Guess so. With spring coming, a lot of people want new furniture.”
“How popular of you,” Draco drawls.
“What if I said dragons are becoming an oft-asked-for design?” Potter says, eyes glinting with mischief.
Draco sniffs. “I’d say they’ve finally recognised excellence. That said, I quite looking forward to your excellent cooking.”
Potter rolls his eyes. “If you think this is good, then you’ve never tasted Molly’s cooking.”
Draco shakes his head in exasperation. Draco’s had food from the finest elven chefs, the finest human chefs, and yet Potter’s food is quite comparable. Why he makes light of it, Draco does not understand.
“Ron’s getting better too,” Potter adds.
“You could not dare me to eat Weasley’s food if you gave me all the money in your vaults,” Draco says, shuddering.
Potter laughs. “No potions in this, I assure you.”
Draco tucks in, and he moans at the melt-in-the-mouth food. “Absolutely sublime.”
Potter rolls his eyes and tucks into his own plate.
The methodical feel of manipulating wood gives Harry a sense of flow, of working outside time.
Sometimes, work feels like a chore. But right now, his mind feels like it’s flying.
He emerges from his work when he reaches a point where the wood needs to set in place. He gets up, stretching, and blinks at the window.
It’s all black.
Oh shit, Malfoy’s plant! He’s supposed to go water it. He hurries out of the workroom and walks right into a paper crane that slaps him in the face. He automatically grins as he unfolds it.
Hello idiot Potter,
Your kebabs are under a warming charm in the kitchen.
Lots of dragons,
Harry cracks a grin and wanders downstairs. There is indeed a plate of kebabs waiting for him under a warming charm, with a second paper crane, which says:
Oh, and I watered The Thing, so stop worrying.
Harry finds himself relaxing. He grabs a pen and quickly writes, Ta, Malfoy, on the bottom of the second paper crane. It reforms, bobbing in front of Harry for a moment before disappearing.
When Harry gets the call from St. Mungos, he immediately drops what he’s working on and floos in as quickly as possible.
“It’s Ron, isn’t it?” he asks the Welcome Wizard at the front desk.
The wizard shakes his head, “No, sir. A close friend of Draco Malfoy requested your presence.”
Confusion mixes with dread as he makes his way to Malfoy’s bed. Pansy Parkinson is there, lips pressed into a thin line.
“Finally,” she says when she sees Harry. She shakes her head. “Draco, just because you’re not married doesn’t mean you cannot add Potter as your primary contact. Now, I must get going—so hurry up and recover,” she says. She flicks Malfoy’s hair back, lips twisting into a sigh for a moment before she rushes off.
Harry’s feet carry him forward, head still spinning a little from Parkinson’s whirlwind departure. “Malfoy?”
Malfoy groans. “My apologies, Potter,” he says, voice tight. “I’m only allowed home under someone’s care. Pansy insisted on calling you, even though my mother would have been suitable.”
Something in Harry’s stomach drops; he shakes his head to clear the odd feeling. “I can still call your mum if you want. But I could do it. I mean, I’m looking after your baby plant already, aren’t I?”
Malfoy’s lips quirk into a grin. “Quite so. You would be preferable.”
“Aww, you’re so sweet,” Harry gushes.
Malfoy snorts. “My mother would baby me to death.”
“Why are you so sure I won’t?” Harry says. He looks over Malfoy: he’s mostly covered by the sheets, but several bandages peak up out of his gown near his shoulder. “What happened?”
“Blasting curse,” Malfoy grimaces. “Dueling against the current champion, as it were. I was so damn close—I could have kept going but the referee insisted otherwise.”
“Once upon a time, I was the one with the Saviour complex and the lack of care towards my own body,” Harry reminisces. He yelps when Malfoy hits him with a Stinging hex.
“Hurry up and look respectable so that my Healer discharges me,” Malfoy says. “Leave the hair, everyone knows it does what it wants.”
Harry pouts. “I’m very respectable! Mothers love me!”
The Healer arrives, and Harry’s set to charm their socks off.
Draco groans at the sound of banging, movement and footsteps from downstairs.
“What on earth?” he mutters to himself. He’d been asleep for less than half a day—what could Potter be up to? Grimacing, he pulls himself up and winces his way down.
There’s a big black painting in his lounge on top of a cabinet. Potter’s on all fours, head and shoulders stuck behind the cabinet and arse in the air.
Draco sighs. “Need any help?”
Potter startles. “Ow!” He shuffles backward and turns to Draco. “You’re supposed to be in bed!”
“How can I with that racket?” Draco shakes his head. “What is this? It’s an awful painting.”
At that, Potter grins. “It’s not a painting. It’s a telly!”
“Potter, my mirror tells me quite enough.”
Potter laughs. “Nah, mate. It’s a television! A muggle thing, it shows images and sounds.”
Draco wrinkles his nose. “Explain post-haste, Potter.”
Potter scrubs his hair sheepishly. “Was trying... I had some people come in to help install the connection and all...can’t seem to plug it in, though.”
“Ah, your impression of a bunny rabbit a moment ago?”
Potter throws him the bird. “Just sit down already! I’ll get this sorted in a jiffy.”
Draco sniffs and takes a seat, while Potter sticks his head behind the cabinet again.
“A-hah!” Potter says. The black canvas blinks, and then suddenly there are people on the surface.
“Good evening, England!” says the person.
Draco’s eyes narrowed. “Who are you?” he asks.
Potter shuffles out and starts laughing. “They can’t talk back! This stuff is like—you know, wizarding pictures? Except these pictures move in a pre-defined way.”
Draco’s eyebrow remains furrowed, however, as the person moves on to talk about the weather. “Potter, what is the purpose of this? The Wireless is sufficient if I want to know the weather, and Pansy’s sufficient if I want to know the news.”
“Thought you would be bored without me,” Potter says cheekily. “It’s meant to be entertaining.”
“I highly doubt it’ll be more entertaining than your exploits,” Draco smirks.
“You’re a real heart-winner,” Potter says dryly. “Now sit and watch while I make dinner.”
“A real house-husband,” Draco snarks back.
Potter flips him the bird.
“Well, I’ll be off,” Harry tells Ron and Hermione. He starts getting up from their table at the pub.
Hermione narrows her eyes. “Where are you headed off to, Harry James Potter? You’ve been rather absent of late. You know our house is always open to you.”
Harry tilts his head, confused. “I would have thought Parkinson would’ve mentioned. Malfoy’s injured. I’ve got to water his baby plant.”
Ron groans. “The plant again!”
Hermione raises her eyebrows. “I did hear from Pansy. That happened over a week ago. Malfoy was back dueling yesterday.’
“I still have to water his plant,” Harry says defensively. “Also…” He leans in. “I installed a telly over at Malfoy’s. The next episode of Only Fools and Horses is on tonight.”
Ron shakes his head. “Mate, quit with the excuses. Just move in with him already! I bet you don’t even have to ask!”
Harry furrows his brows. “Isn’t that a little weird? I mean, even we aren’t living together anymore.”
Ron stares at him. “Mate. My best mate. We offered you to come live with us!”
“That is not the point,” Hermione says. “Why don’t you and Draco come over to our place for dinner soon?”
Harry shrugs. “I guess I could ask him.” He shots a grin at Ron. “He doesn’t want to eat your cooking though.”
Ron chuckles. “Well, it’s either mine or Hermione’s…”
Hermione huffs. “Seriously. We’ll go out for dinner! It’ll be a double-date.”
Harry’s eyes snap to her. “Wait. You’re setting me up with a blind date?”
“Malfoy,” Ron says with absolute exasperation. “A double-date with Malfoy!”
Harry laughs. “What, why? Malfoy and I are just friends.” He casts a tempus and winces. “Anyway, got to go! I’ll see you on Sunday!”
Ron’s groaning, collapsed on the table. Hermione smiles, but there’s a pensive expression on her face. Harry shrugs it off—she’ll tell him when she wants to. He quickly waves and dashes off.
Draco comes home past midnight to find the lights in his house on. With a shake of his head, he heads into the lounge where Potter is, once again, asleep on the sofa with the television still on.
Despite the early spring, the night is still chilly. Draco makes a quick note to himself to acquire a throw for the sofa. For now though, Draco casts a levicorpus on Potter and tucks him in in the guest bedroom.
Given Potter’s presence, Draco’s not surprised to find dinner set out for him in the kitchen. He has to shake his head at the misshapen crane Potter’s attempted though:
Malfoy, have a taste of my kebabs!
Draco has to admit that indeed, Potter’s kebabs are much more delicious than the ones from his usual takeaway.
Harry wakes up and finds himself in a very familiar room. Malfoy’s guest bedroom, which at this point is really Harry’s bedroom. It’s all red and gold from Harry at first stealthily, and then blatantly, colour-charming everything.
He makes his way to Malfoy’s bedroom; it’s still dark, and the blob of grey is the only sign of a Malfoy still buried under the covers. Grinning, Harry shoots a Muffliato at the door and sneaks into Malfoy’s grand kitchen.
Harry doesn’t quite remember the first time he’d used it. But he knows that Malfoy barely uses it at all—which is such a waste. There’s two ovens and six hobs and two deep sinks and so much cupboard space. There’s an enchanted window that overlooks a peaceful countryside view—the location of which changes so it always remains peaceful.
Hah! He remembers back when Molly had offered to help him renovate Grimmauld Place’s kitchen. There was no point—Harry could easily apparate to Malfoy’s place (with its fancy new self-cleaning charms!). And it means Harry doesn’t have do anything like worry about what colour his kitchen tiles should be.
He pokes around the cold-cupboards and cool-dry-cupboards, rolls up his sleeves, and gets to work. His aim, as always, is to get it all done before Malfoy wakes up—
“Well, well, well.”
Harry huffs, moving the last croissant onto the cooling rack. He turns round and throws his oven mitts at Malfoy. “Couldn’t you have waited a few more minutes until I was done? Or pretend?”
Malfoy deftly catches the oven mitts and sends them flying back to their hook by one of the two ovens. “I wait for no one in my own home,” he drawls, stepping over. He breathes deeply, eyes falling shut. “They smell absolutely divine, Potter.”
Harry rolls his eyes. “Yeah, you say that every time.”
Malfoy’s eyes open. He smirks. “Be proud. It’s the only compliment I’ll ever give you. I adore your croissants the most.”
Harry rolls his eyes even harder. Malfoy compliments him all the time. “Eat,” he says instead, moving to the table where his own full English is waiting. “Oh, and I watered your plant already, so don’t water it again today.”
Malfoy humms. He takes his cup of tea (that Harry’s made! Harry really was almost done making everything for breakfast), selects a croissant, and takes the seat opposite. “Any plans for the illustrious Potter today?”
“Berk,” Harry says, winking. “How about sitting on your sofa watching telly?”
Malfoy pulls a face. “Even flying over the British moors sounds better.”
“How about the British bogs?”
A deep disgust crosses Malfoy’s face. Harry bursts out laughing. “Lets,” Harry says impulsively, “It’s been a while since we flew together.”
As the sun climbs the sky, Draco veers his broom down to land near a town. Potter lands quickly after, going from a dead drop to stock stop.
Draco huffs. “Please, who are you showing off for?”
Potter grins, cheeks and nose flushed red from the cold. “You,” he says with a wink.
Draco snorts in disbelief. “Come along,” he says instead, ushering Potter to put away his broom. Draco takes a moment to ensure they’re both respectable before heading down to the little wizarding settlement.
“I absolutely smashed you out there,” Potter says. “We should do that again. Hey, how about when Charlie’s over? Seeker versus seeker versus seeker!”
“Keep dreaming,” Draco says. A chill wind blows down the hill. Draco’s quite warm in his bundle of clothing, but he spies Potter’s nose twitching a little, and the way Potter hunches up his shoulders.
Draco sighs, and undos his heavy scarf. “Potter,” he says in that same tone he uses on crups to make them heel.
Potter turns round, stepping back. “Err, yes?”
Draco stalks toward Potter and wraps the scarf around him. The green suits Potter better than it did Draco anyway.
Potter blinks, fingering the scarf. “Huh, thanks, Malfoy. Didn’t know you had it in you.”
Draco makes a swipe at him; Potter dances away, grinning. “It’s mine now!” He races down towards the high street and Draco takes off in quick pursuit.
“Stop!” Draco says. “Don’t make such an uncivilized entrance!”
Potter’s grin widens, but he staggers to a stop. “Awww, fine!”
Draco huffs, fixing his hair.
Potter’s brows furrow, and he draws his wand.
“Don’t point that at my hair,” Draco immediately says.
What comes out is a warming charm with that familiar tingle of Potter’s magic. It settles over him, leaving him cosier than his scarf.
“Oh. Thanks, Potter.” His voice comes out oddly quieter than expected.
Potter’s smile is equally quiet.
A moment later, both of them blink, and then they both turn towards the town.
“D’you think they’ll have curry puffs?” Potter asks.
“In this backwater?’ Draco shakes his head. “We’ll be lucky to find a proper lunching cafe.” Draco wrinkles his nose as he looks down the high street. “There’s the one and only pub, I presume.”
Potter brightens. “Still brilliant.” He veritably skips, leaving Draco to hurry after him like a parent after his wayward child.
“I hope you have prepared for my Spring Soiree,” Blaise says as he sweeps into Pansy’s conservatory.
Draco sips his tea, and gently rests the cup in the air. “You’ve hardly spoken about anything else.”
Blaise has been mentioning it for the last four Sundays. Draco’s just glad that the event is almost upon them.
“Draco,” Pansy says. “What Blaise means is that have you prepared Potter yet?”
“Precisely!” Blaise says, taking a seat facing them. A tea service appears next to him. “A Spring ritual would give good luck to your relationship.”
Draco snorts. “I’m hardly Potter’s keeper.”
“Oh, stop deluding yourself,” Pansy drawls. “For the sake of all of our eyes, acquire Potter something decent for once.”
Draco smirks. “An interesting idea there, Pansy.”
Pansy shakes her head in exasperation.
“Ah,” Draco sits up. “Potter mentioned having dinner with his Gryffindors.”
Both Blaise and Pansy raise one eyebrow.
“Finally,” Blaise says. “Perhaps you don’t need the spring ritual after all.”
Draco ignores him. “I was wondering if my best friends would brave the lions’ den with me?”
Blaise flops back with a dramatic sigh. “No, I was wrong,” he mutters.
“Draco, Draco, Draco,” Pansy says. “You need to make a good impression with Potter’s friends! You can’t have us hanging around, telling all your secrets and embarrassing stories!”
“You wouldn’t!” Draco pouts. “And mind you, I’ve already made an impression with Potter’s friends. Hogwarts, if you recall.”
“Impression as Potter’s boyfriend,” Pansy says.
Draco laughs. Him, as Potter’s boyfriend? Unicorns would sooner fly. “Dear Pansy, I think you’ve spent far too long around Lovegood.”
Pansy’s eyes narrow. “Is that an insult?”
Draco clears his throat. “Not at all. Simply that Potter and I are not in such a relationship.” He shifts uneasily as both Pansy and Blaise fix their eyes on him.
“How interesting,” Blaise says. There’s a glint in his eye. “Well, I insist that you acquire something suitable for Potter nonetheless. Everything must be perfect.”
“Your perfection supercedes all else,” Draco smirks.
Blaise reclines back, widening his shoulders. “Hm, quite so. Quite so.”
Harry claps his hands and dashes up Malfoy’s stairs. “Malfoy! Look! Your baby plant has its first little leaf!”
Malfoy’s half pulling off his shirt. He shoots Harry a disgruntled look. “Surely that can wait until after I make myself presentable for your friends.” He shudders. “The sweat is cooling on me.”
“But this is a tremendous occasion,” Harry says, keeping his eyes fixed on Malfoy’s face. Harry winks. “And I thought Malfoys don’t sweat.”
Harry gets a face-full of sweaty shirt.
“Let me clean up in peace, Potter!”
“Bah,” Harry says. He waits till Malfoy’s headed off into the ensuite before kicking off his shoes and relaxing back on Malfoy’s bed. He sinks down, moaning appreciatively. Malfoy’s guest bed is much better than Harry’s bed back in Grimmauld Place. But Malfoy’s own bed is in an entirely different league. No wonder Malfoy’s grumpy in the mornings when Harry pulls him up for breakfast—who would want to leave this particular paradise?
Harry rolls over and sniffs in Malfoy’s scent. It’s oddly lovely, and Harry giggles a little to himself. He rummages under the piles of pillows and pulls out what he’s looking for: Malfoy’s childhood cuddly dragon. Why Malfoy hides it, Harry has no idea, since everyone must know he still has it.
Harry entertains himself poking around some more while Malfoy showers. When the sound of the water stops, Harry quickly puts everything back to rights, making sure to be reclining when Malfoy emerges, towel around his waist.
Malfoy looks at him. Looks around the room. Sighs. “Could have been worse,” he mutters, as he heads over to his walk-in-wardrobe. He disappears inside for long minutes, and emerges in deep blue robes with silver embroidery.
Harry glances down at his own hoodie and jeans. “Err, you’re a bit overdressed.”
“I look good,” Malfoy says.
Harry shrugs. The robes look good in an objective way, he supposes. Malfoy’s kind of pointy, though. “Guess it doesn’t matter.” He lurches out of bed and stuffs his feet back in his shoes. He holds out his hand. “Let’s go.”
Bookshelves for walls, Draco notes after Potter side-alongs them into the Granger-Weasley residence. Draco slides a finger across one and feels the distinctive fizzle of Potter’s magic. Bespoke, too.
One of the bookshelves opens to reveal the kitchen-dining room.
“Good to see you Harry, Draco,” Granger says.
Draco tries not grimace at the sound of his given name. It must be muggle-influenced customs and etiquette, he decides. “Good evening,” he says instead. “Lovely home.”
Granger flushes, grinning. “Thank you! Ron cooked, if you don’t mind.”
Potter makes a big show of being relieved. “Great!”
They settle down, and Weasley Leviosa’s over the dishes and food.
“Say,” Granger says after they’ve all had a bite of their food. “I couldn’t quite work out when the two of you first got together.”
Draco shares a look with Potter. They both turn to Granger and say, “Madam Malkins.”
Granger shoots them both a cross look. “Oh, for the—I meant when the two of you started dating.”
Draco turns to Potter as Potter turns to him. They both roll their eyes.
“Your friends and my friends both,” Draco says in exasperation.
“What makes you think that?” Potter says, poking Draco in the side.
Draco pulls a face. “Have some decorum, Potter.”
Weasley’s looking at both of them with very wide eyes. “Wait...you’re not dating?”
“Hoping I was single, Ron?” Potter says with a wink.
Weasley makes a big groan. “Right. It’s worse than I thought.”
Granger huffs. “This is ridiculous. You both practically live together!”
“But we don’t,” Draco says. “Oh, and Weasley, your cooking is quite palatable.”
Weasley’s face twists. “Is that a compliment?”
“Yes,” Draco says.
“No,” Potter says.
Granger looks between them, mouth moving wordlessly. Weasleys pats her on the arm. “Could be worse,” he mutters. “Say, Malfoy, how goes your dueling? Heard you couldn’t defeat the Well-Proportioned Wizard.”
Draco narrows his eyes. “It’s just a matter of time…”
Harry ignores Ron’s and Hermione’s looks as he leaves with Malfoy after dinner. What do they know, anyway?
Come Saturday, Malfoy’s looking particularly impish, Harry thinks with narrowed eyes.
“You’ve really have forgotten, haven’t you?” Malfoy finally says with glee after Harry’s poked him half-a-dozen times and threatened to leave his plant to die—the plant of which now has the smallest, cutest little pale yellow flower bud.
Harry pokes him again. “What is it?”
“Blaise’s Spring Soiree! I know you were invited.”
Harry rubs his forehead. “There’s going to be dancing, I just know it. I thought I’d blocked it from my memory…”
“Per Blaise’s suggestion, I have taken it upon myself to acquire you suitably dashing robes.” With a flourish, Malfoy pulls a robe-shaped package out of thin air.
Harry eyes it suspiciously. “Malfoy. I already have robes.”
“Not. Suitable,” Malfoy says. “Now go use the guest bathroom to clean up before I throw an industrial strength cleaning charm at you.”
Harry spreads his hands. “What? I’m as sweaty as you are!” And it’s true, they’d both gone flying again.
“I will be using my own bathroom,” Malfoy says. “You are not allowed upon my bed until you are clean, do you hear me?”
“Ugh, yes, Mum,” Harry pouts.
“What was that?”
Harry winks and skips to the guest bathroom.
As Harry undresses, he hears the sound of the water running in Malfoy’s bathroom; he realises that the two bathrooms are actually side by side. To think that Malfoy is just a wall over, as naked as Harry is, water running down his body, darkening his hair…
Grinning, Harry knocks on the wall.
“Stop that, Potter.”
“I heard that!”
Harry settles down.
But to be honest with himself, which he isn’t most of the time honestly, his stomach has been flipping nervously everytime he sees Malfoy.
It’s his friends’ fault, for thinking he and Malfoy are dating. He and Malfoy aren’t in love! And what is love, anyway? He’s not feeling jealous about Malfoy’s friends; he’s not so tongue-tied he cannot speak. There’s nothing he wants more out of what he has with Malfoy—well, except for maybe sleeping on Malfoy’s bed instead of the guest bed, because Harry can still remember how soft it is…
A sharp rap on the bathroom door startles Harry.
“To think that you would take longer than me,” Malfoy drawls from the other side.
“I’m coming!” Harry steps out of the shower.
He leaves the bathroom with the giant fluffy towel wrapped around his body.
Malfoy’s there, dressed in white and blue. He’s holding up robes: green and white.
“Almost Slytherin,” Harry says.
“Green for spring,” Malfoy counters. He hands Harry the robes and turns around.
Harry quickly slips the robes on. He’s surprised to find that they’re comfortable. “You can turn around now.”
Malfoy looks him over. “Hmm, perhaps that Most Handsome Bachelor award was deserved.”
Harry sticks his tongue out. At Malfoy’s gesture, Harry does a little spin. The robes ripple out, like long grass swaying in the wind.
Hmmm, Harry thinks as he looks between his robes and Malfoy’s robes.
“We match,” he says in disbelief. “You’re pushing your style onto me!”
Malfoy smirks. “They look great on you. I mean it.” A perplexed look comes across Malfoy’s face a moment later.
Harry ducks his head. “Actually,” he says, scuffing his feet. “I got something for you. Guess now is a good time to give it to you.”
He takes Malfoy’s arm and apparates them to his bedroom in Grimmauld Place. Quickly, he rummages through the bottom of his wardrobe and retrieves a box. “Here.”
A childish smile overcomes Malfoy’s face. “A present, for me?” He tugs off the top, discarding it on Harry’s bed. His expression softens as he fingers what’s inside.
“Go, put them on,” Harry says.
Malfoy takes out the white gloves and puts them on. They accent Malfoy’s hands and long fingers.
“You mentioned they were hard to come by,” Harry says. “So I had to come by them, didn’t I? It matches your wand core.”
Malfoy frowns. “You can’t have stumbled across them. This is unicorn hair.” Malfoy raises his hands, running his fingers over each other. “This is tailored.”
Busted. Harry shuffles his feet sheepishly.
“Actually, I had Fleur’s help. And Hagrid’s help. And I might have secretly measured your hands while you were asleep a few weeks ago…”
Malfoy’s look is doing weird things to Harry’s stomach.
“Err—they match your robes?”
Malfoy rests one white-gloved hand on his robes. “They do.” He holds out his hand. “Shall we attend Blaise’s shindig, then?”
“I don’t really want to, but fine,” Harry says. The glove is soft and supple under Harry’s fingers, and Harry’s heart flutters just as the apparition yanks him.
It’s Harry’s first time at Blaise Zabini’s place, and it’s big, even bigger than Malfoy Manor. There are vaulted ceilings and effusive lighting and a live classical music group playing in the corner. Harry spots his friends over by the food with a measure of relief.
“Not so fast, Potter,” Zabini says, intercepting Harry’s path. “Draco, come here.”
Malfoy steps up next to Harry. “What now? I’ve already dressed Potter for you.”
“Hm, yes, appreciations and all,” Zabini says. “However, I require that the two of you dance. It is absolutely essential to the spring ritual.”
“It’s not some orgy ritual, is it?” Harry says.
“Not at all,” Zabini says with a wink that worsens Harry’s worries. “It is merely for heart-fluttering, and uncontrollable smiles—love, and all.”
Harry takes a step back. “Er, no thanks. I can’t dance.”
“He has two left feet,” Malfoy adds. “Quite literally.”
Zabini narrows his eyes at Malfoy. “It is very important,” he says. “It will not have you two ruin it for me. Otherwise, I’ll have to dance with you two both.”
“Then why did you invite me?” Harry complains. “Look, Ron and Hermione aren’t dancing.”
“Are we not friends?” Zabini asks. He leans in, eyes flicking down to Harry’s lips. “Or, perhaps...we should become more…”
“There’s nothing wrong with being friends,” Malfoy says a little sharply. “Potter and I shall dance, and may all the bad luck it generates imbue your ritual.” He takes Harry’s arm and firmly guides him away from Zabini.
Harry’s hands get clammy, “Are we really doing this?”
Malfoy raises an eyebrow. He moves Harry’s left hand onto his upper arm, while his hand rests on Harry’s waist. “I shall lead. Though I suppose you don’t know what that means.”
“I don’t have to dance?”
Malfoy grunts, and tugs Harry closer. Inexplicably, a shiver goes through Harry. He tries to shift away, but Malfoy pulls Harry even closer.
“We cannot dance meters apart,” he says. “And I shan’t indulge you in muggle dancing.”
Malfoy’s face is close. Too close. The music becomes louder, and Malfoy starts moving. Harry looks down, trying to place his feet. He has had more dance lessons since Hogwarts. But he can’t rid himself of the fear that he’ll step on his partner’s feet.
Both feet at the same time.
“Have you ever flown, Potter?”
Harry’s head snaps up at Malfoy. “Mate. We went flying today.”
Malfoy smirks, “Then, do you watch the snitch, or do you watch your hands?”
Harry pouts. “Malfoy!”
“Then stop trying to look at your feet. Watch me and try to follow.”
“I always catch the snitch,” Harry says.
“You do not.” Without warning, Malfoy makes a large movement.
Harry quickly steps after him, following Malfoy’s slight curve around the floor, the step-by-step, even the twirl. Harry’s quite sure they’re moving rather fast, maybe even doubletime, but he doesn’t have enough time to think too much. Their robes flare out as they turn, and exhilaration fills Harry’s body as he matches Malfoy’s moves.
Malfoy tilts his head back and smirks. “Not too shabby, Potter.”
“Wait till I step on your foot,” Harry throws back.
Malfoy laughs. “As if you’d be fast enough.” He leans in and whispers, “I bought some apples and various baking ingredients, just waiting for you back at my place.”
Harry can’t help but grin back, his heart fluttering. Malfoy’s shining with mischievousness and happiness, and Harry’s so proud to be the one that makes Malfoy happy, and a happy Malfoy makes for a happy Harry too.
Harry wants to go over to Malfoy’s place. Harry wants to cook for him, and share good times (and bad times) with Malfoy. They fit, like how their hands and body fit together as they dance, and damn Harry realises that he’s forgotten about everyone else—
He stumbles, misses a step, and finds himself in Malfoy’s arms. His heart skips a beat. He looks up at Malfoy.
“Wait,” he says. “Malfoy...do you think I might love you?”
Draco’s heart does that weird flipping thing again. “We’re friends?” Draco tries. He tugs Potter off the dance floor and towards the gardens. “I mean, you often cook for me, and we spend quite a lot of time together, and you know all of my favourite dishes, and you know how I take my tea, and these gloves are really lovely…”
Potter blinks. “Yeah...and I sleep at your house, and we laugh together, and you make my day better…” He turns bright green eyes at Draco. “And my heart feels warm.”
“Oh,” Draco whispers. “I think you love me.”
Potter nods. “Yeah.” A smile curls Potter’s lips. Draco’s heart sings. He’s unable to take his eyes off of Potter.
There is only one conclusion.
“I think...I love you too.”
Potter takes his hands. “Yeah?” He tilts his head. “I noticed the extra cushions and blankets on the sofa recently. The fluffy towels in the guest bedroom. The late night kebabs when I’m working.”
Draco flushes. “Yes, well, I can’t have you deprived. It is impossible for me to avoid ensuring the best for your health.”
Potter nods seriously. “Because you love me.”
Draco hesitates and looks into Harry’s eyes. They’re so green and pure and hopeful. “Yes...I suppose so.”
Blaise’s gardens are beautiful, Draco knows, but he can hardly look at them, instead he tugs Potter closer. It feels as though their hearts are beating as one.
It feels as though their hearts have been aligned for a while.
“Potter...is your act of falling asleep on my sofa a signal that you’ll prefer sleeping in my bed?”
Potter scrunches his nose. “No. Unless my subconsciousness has been smarter than me…”
Draco snorts. Potter starts laughing, and Draco follows; uncontrollably laughing until they’re breathless.
They both stop laughing at the same time, eyes meeting.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking, Malfoy?”
“I think I am, Potter.”
And so, they meet halfway, lips upon lips.
Draco can feel it between them. He now understands what his heart has been doing lately. It’s love.
Harry grins, messing up his first kiss—first kiss!—with Malfoy.
Or Draco, he supposes.
“Draco,” he says slowly. He blinks at the heavy look in Draco’s eyes.
“Harry,” Draco says.
Harry sucks in a breath. Hearing his name from Draco’s mouth—is it possible to fall in love again and again with the same person? “Let’s go back to your place,” Harry says.
“Unless...you want to move in?”
“To your bed?” Harry grins.
“To my bed,” Draco smirks.
“I guess that means we’re dating. Huh.” Harry scratches his head. “If you count all those dinners as dates? Then when was our first one?”
They look at each other. Simultaneously, they say, “The Welcome Feast.”
“Hermione’ll have kittens if we tell her that,” Harry giggles.
“Surely Granger would like kittens,” Draco replies.
“I don’t know how Ron would feel about that…”
“Enough about your friends. Let’s leave.”
Harry purses his lips. “How about another kiss first? Just to make sure.”
Draco rolls his eyes. He sweeps Harry into a dip and kisses him deeply. It’s exhilarating, and Harry’s lightheaded when they’re both upright again.
“Alright,” he says, “You’ve seduced me. Take me home.”
“You’re already keyed into the wards,” Draco drawls. But he takes Harry’s hand and Apparates them home.
“Merlin, Harry!” Hermione jumps on Harry the moment he floos into the Burrow. “We saw you at the start of Blaise’s party yesterday but then you completely disappeared! What happened?”
“Yeah, mate,” Ron says. “Saw you with Malfoy but you never even made it to the appetizer table!”
Harry bites back a smile. “Oh? I went back to Draco’s place to water his plant. Did you know that it’s blooming?!”
Hermione huffs. “Enough about the plant—wait.”
“Wait,” Ron gasps exaggeratedly. “You’re finally calling him Draco?”
“We checked Grimmauld Place, but you weren’t there,” Hermione says.
“You know I have a guest bedroom at Draco’s,” Harry says.
Ron narrows his eyes. “We also tried to floo to Malfoy’s, but the floo was closed.”
Harry scrubs his hair. “Really? Draco must have done that.” He shrugs. “I actually slept in Draco’s bed. My bed too now, I suppose. Hey, is Charlie around? If so, I’ll call Draco for that seeker versus seeker versus seeker match.” Harry leans in and whispers loudly, “I think Draco’s a little scared of all the Weasleys together, you know? I need to give him some enticement to get him to meet Molly.”
“Oh my, Harry James Potter!” Hermione exclaims. “I’m so happy for you!”
“Finally,” Ron says. “Mum! Harry’s gotten his act together! This calls for a celebration!”
Molly rushes in. “Harry? Did you finally propose to that Malfoy boy of yours?”
Harry flushes. “What? We just started dating yesterday!”
All around the room, are the sounds of thuds of heads against objects.
“What!?” Harry protests. He shakes his head in exasperation. “You’re all mad, I tell yer.”
Draco arrives home early, excitement buzzing in his heart.
He grins when he sees the lights on, and he follows the familiar sounds to the kitchen. Longbottom’s plant is thriving, with multiple blossoms and what appears to be a very tiny fruit. Harry’s puttering about in the kitchen, cooking like what smells like Draco’s second favourite dish (first is Harry himself, of course).
Draco has plans to wait, but...instead, he slides up behind Harry.
“Hey there, handsome.”
Harry turns around and rolls his eyes. “You say that to everyone.”
“No I don’t!” Draco protests. “Turn around for me.”
“I might if I could,” Harry says, shaking his hips.
Draco steps back, and Harry turns, leaning against the counter.
“Like what you see?” Harry grins. “Dinner will be in a bit.”
“Actually…” Draco falls to one knee. A small ring box materialises upon the palm of his hand. He looks up, meeting Harry’s wide eyes.
“Will you, Harry James Potter, do the honour of making me an honest wizard?—Mother’s words, not mine.”
Harry grins. “Draco. I’m not marrying your mother. Tell her I reject her proposal.”
Draco rolls his eyes. “You wanker. Apparently, the Malfoy Family Tapestry has been showing you and I as effectively bonded. I thought we should make it official.”
Harry pulls a face. “You’re saying inanimate magical object thinks we’re married?”
Draco nods. “I know your mind wanders, but I’m still waiting for your answer.”
Harry grabs Draco’s hand and tugs him up. “Idiot!” He slides a hand up behind Draco’s head and pulls him in for a deep kiss. Draco tosses the ring box on the table, to be dealt with later. Right now, he wraps his arms around Harry and kisses him back just as deeply.
“Oh, hey, Neville,” Harry says.
“Hi, Harry!” Neville says cheerfully. “Congratulations!”
Harry shows off his ring. “Thanks! Oh, and what was that plant you gave Draco?”
“For you and Draco,” Neville says. “It’s a new species I developed. It blooms in the presence of devotion and love.” Neville smiles. “I knew you two would make the best plant-parents.”
Harry blinks at him. And then he groans, hand-to-face.