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Those Quiet Moments Inbetween

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Harry Potter didn't think he’d ever want to leave his bed, not ever again.

Thin rays of morning light were paining the walls of his bedroom from behind half-closed curtains while the scent of coffee slowly penetrated his slowly waking mind. Harry was in that very idyllic state of being neither awake not truly still asleep. The sheets wrapped around his body were warm and soft and right at that moment Harry couldn’t imagine any place more wonderful than the thick, opulent bed of his Grimmauld Place home.

Even better, the fact of it being a Saturday morning meant there wasn’t any place that Harry needed to be. The wizard could keep his eyes firmly closed and paint his consciousness fully with images stolen from the previous night.

After all, last night had been the very first time that Draco and he had made love.

Salazar. The memories were still so graphic. As he lay there a montage of pictures ran thought Harry’s brain with all the power and truth of a Pensive. He felt his heart start to beat faster with every remembrance and his prick start to rise in arousal.

Harry wanted to remember how his lover had looked for the rest of his life.

Harry could still feel the sharp sensation of Draco’s fingernails digging into his shoulders. He could still hear the breathy sounds that the Slytherin had made as Harry had coaxed him to orgasm. The achingly familiar scent of Draco’s citrus aftershave still permeated Harry’s pillows and the sweet taste of Draco’s skin still clung to Harry’s lips.

Draco had looked so beautiful the night before. He’d arrived unbidden at Harry’s door, a half-bottle of Firewhiskey in his hand: a vision in grey wool and leather boots.

“I want you,” Draco had murmured, his grey eyes dark with arousal, and his blond hair disorderly from the rain that lashed down around him. “I’m so tired of our games, Potter. I’m so done with chasing you. Tired of waiting for you to make the first move. So, if you’ll have me, I’m yours.”

But afterwards Draco hadn’t stayed, even though Harry had desperately wanted him to.

Draco had run away.

The blond had seemed chagrined; discomposed perhaps at how easily he had made himself vulnerable. Draco had untangled their sweat-damp limbs rapidly, muttering a Scourgify as an afterthought and had dressed in near silence. Draco had apparated away with a just quick goodbye and the smallest quirk of a smile.

“That was wonderful,” Harry had said, as Draco had twisted his wand and cast his transportation charm. “I’m yours, too Draco. If you want me. Utterly and completely.”

But Harry had spoken far too late. Draco had already disappeared into nothingness and all that was left of the wizard were the dwindling green sparkles of his magic spell.

~@~

Harry was just starting to consider facing the day when he was shocked into full consciousness by the sight of his bedroom fireplace roaring into bright magical flame.

Fumbling himself into a sitting position, Harry searched promptly on his side table for his wand and glasses. His heart was racing, hoping against hope that this early morning firecaller was Draco.

Maybe they’d spend their day together or go to the local cafe for lunch. Maybe the pair of them could enjoy a lazy replay of last night’s festivities. They had all day, Harry reasoned. Plenty of time to play… Harry squinted, watching as the face of his firecaller came into focus.

Harry’s heart stuttered in disappointment.

The face in the flames was no handsome blond, but was instead a buxom Welshman. This was the face of Gawain Robards, Head Auror and Harry’s direct boss. He fixed a wide grin on Harry. Early morning firecalls meant only one thing in Harry’s experience: another bloody work emergency.

All of his indulgent Draco-based fantasies flew from Harry’s head and he arranged his face into an earnest mask.

“Merlin’s beard, Potter,” Robards boomed, sharp eyes taking in the disarray of Harry’s bedroom. “Past nine and your Elf hasn’t got you out of bed? Shocking my boy, shocking! Back in my day, a young wizard like yourself would have been up at the crack of dawn… Humph. Aurors today! Don’t know you’re born! Young Malfoy looked even worse for wear. Bed didn’t even look like it’d been slept in! Now, have I got your full attention?”

Harry nodded, heat flooding his face at the mention of Draco. His new lover was the Ministry’s top Cursebreaker and the pair of wizards regularly worked on the same cases. If Draco had already been called into work, then hopefully Harry could corner him later.

Talk to him about what had happened the previous night.

Harry would be able to look into Draco’s grey eyes in the sober light of the morning. He’d see what the other wizard really thought about what they’d done together. Would there be ruefulness or shame? Harry truly hoped not. For him, the only part of their evening that had felt wrong or unnatural had been Draco’s flight. Maybe Harry would see doubt or confusion, or perhaps a frightful awkwardness. He just didn’t know.

“You still with me, young man?” Robards asked, frowning at Harry’s no doubt inattentive expression. “We’ve got a mission. A simple job. We’ve got some good intel come in about a Hungarian Horntail Egg-Smuggling ring… Now, as you know lad, their numbers are dropping year on year. Muggle expansion… Global warming. Pollution. They’re at risk, Harry. Defenceless. We need to smash this ring and get those eggs back to the reservation ASAP. Now, I’m going to contact Weasley and McTaggart for some extra back-up… Let me give you the floo coordinates for the briefing.” Robards rummaged through his desk before pulling out a piece of parchment. “Ah yes. 3748-378. I’ll have the team assemble. Fifteen minutes, Potter.”

Robard’s face vanished with an audible pop.

Harry dressed rapidly, pulling on his red robes distractedly and trying his hardest to charm his hair straight.

A quick cleaning spell made him look presentable at the very least. He wondered briefly whether he ought to make a little bit more effort; after all, he was guaranteed to see Draco, but then he dismissed the thought entirely. Draco had the uncanny ability to nose out inauthenticity and Harry didn’t want to be on the wrong end of his teasing. It wouldn’t have been the first time.

Magical creature smugglers could be vicious, but Harry highly doubted that the afternoon would turn to violence. Robards always went off the deep end where dragons were concerned. Personally, Harry thought the man was in the wrong profession. He’d have been the best Dragon Expert in wizarding England had he have chosen a different path.

Pulling on his boots, Harry strode over to the his fireplace.

3748-378,” Harry announced, stepping into his fireplace and flinging a generous amount of grey powder before him. He winced a little, hating that first second where he was catapulted thought the insanity that was wizarding Britain’s floo network.

“And I’ll be fascinated to hear what you’ve got to say, Malfoy.”

~@~

Harry knew the very moment that stepped out of the fireplace that he’d made a mistake. 3748-378 hadn’t been the coordinates for a random DMLE meeting room.

Circe.

Robards had given him the coordinates for Draco’s private office.

Robards had given him the coordinates for Draco’s private office, and Draco was sat there, prim and reserved behind a gigantic mahogany desk. Not one other member of the rest of their team had arrived yet, so the two wizards were there alone.

Harry felt his usual cheery greetings die in his throat as Draco looked up from his copy of the Daily Prophet, his grey eyes widening in surprise at the sight of Harry falling ungainly into his office.

“Harry,” Draco began, looking wildly around the room. “You’re here because? I didn’t know that you knew my floo-”

“Robards,” Harry interrupted, slumping down into a rickety and quite possibly antique chair. He didn’t like Draco’s reaction at seeing him. The Slytherin seemed altogether too ill at ease with him.

Well, whatever had happened the previous night, Harry knew he still needed to be professional.

He cleared his throat.

“The boss gave me your coordinates, Draco. I’m here on the Hungarian Horntail job. Ron and McTaggart have been called in too… I shouldn’t think they’ll be much longer. ‘Spect you’ll be doing the perimeter of the scene, checking for site-based curses... Doubt they’ll be much for you to do, though. Gawain always goes overboard when it comes to magical creature cases.”

Draco made a hum of agreement and took a small sip from the glass of water on his desk.

“Smugglers aren’t usually the brightest of criminals,” Draco replied, picking his newspaper back up. “Should be relatively straightforward, I suspect. Highly doubt I’ll see much magic I haven’t encountered before.”

Harry watched as Draco made a big show of reading his newspaper.

The blond wizard appeared quite engrossed in an article about House-Elf liberation, which mystified Harry immensely. Normally Draco’s derision about the Prophet knew no bounds.

Harry contented himself with looking at Hermione’s picture on the front of the paper and having a good nosy at Malfoy’s private domain. Draco’s office was stylish and uncluttered, with clean, off-white walls and vivid pieces of wizarding modern art scattered over every surface. Even Draco’s desk was tidy, without the teetering piles of case-files and parchments that always characterised Harry’s workspace.

“You’re staring,” Draco said, after about a minute of uncomfortable silence. “I can feel your bloody eyes staring at me from behind those stupid glasses that you will insist on wearing.”

“I’m not,” Harry replied mildly, fidgeting to get comfy in the ridiculous chair he’d chosen. “Just looking at ‘Mione on the front of the paper. She’s Deputy now, Draco. Going to be the first Muggle-born Minister one day. Mark my words.”

Draco rolled his eyes, but didn’t reply. As the Auror looked on, Draco pulled his newspaper up so that he was literally shielded from view, a petulant action that annoyed Harry no end.

Draco had turned up to his home the previous night, telling Harry that he was tired of playing games. Now Malfoy was back to acting like the same aggravatingly attractive adolescent he’d been when they’d shared their so-called Eighth Year. It didn’t feel fair. Last night had been glorious and Harry had really believed that the pair of them were poised to take their burgeoning relationship to the next step. Now all his hopes felt dashed and ruined.

There wasn’t anything else for it, Harry decided, pulling together all of his famed Gryffindor courage.

He needed to take the Hippogriff by the horns. Address the Erumpent in the room.

“As long as you’re alright, Draco. That’s all I’m bothered about… You did disappear awfully quickly last night.”

Draco didn’t look away from his newspaper, but Harry could see that the wizard’s knuckles turn a little whiter where they clutched at the corners of his Prophet.

After a long moment, Draco spoke, thrusting his newspaper down pettishly. “Excuse me, Potter?”

“Are you alright?” Harry repeated. “After last night, I mean.”

Harry met Draco’s eyes, and wasn’t overly keen on what he saw. Malfoy looked spooked and uneasy, nodding towards the fireplace with an exaggerated frown. “Bloody hell,” he uttered, rubbing his temple between his finger and thumb. “Are we really doing this right now, Potter? Having this discussion? When Weasley is going to bound through that floo any second? When we’re actually about to engage in a mission?”

Harry wasn’t about to be put off by Draco’s amateur dramatics.

The blond wizard had said himself that there was little on the field that either man needed to worry about, less than three minutes before.

In Harry’s opinion there were far more pressing matters at hand.

“Yeah,” Harry said, simply. “You ran away and when you’d left I missed you. Everything seemed to be going brilliantly… Didn’t know if I’d said something, or-”

“You didn’t,” Draco cut in, his cheeks colouring under Harry’s gaze. He fiddled with a quill, his agitation obvious from his defensive body language. “Say anything, that is. Well, nothing other than your normal half-wit commentary… Thing is, Potter… I know I shouldn’t have run out on like I did. It just felt. I don’t know… I know I initiated things, but I was overwhelmed. When you asked me to stay over? It all felt like too much, too fast.”

Draco’s word trailed off to nothing and he picked up his Prophet once more.

Too much, too fast? Harry could empathise, really he could. Their whole relationship had been like a battleground. Every meeting felt tempestuous: even their coupling the previous night had fell on just the right side of explosive. Their backgrounds, their opinions and their friends were indelibly different.

And yet, Harry thought, somehow they seemed to complete each other. All Draco needed was to give them a chance.

Harry watched Draco glare at the newspaper. This was the professional that had risen quickly through the ranks to become the Ministry's most trusted Cursebreaker. Imperturbable and gifted, Harry knew that Draco’s skills could be trusted in even the more dire of situations.

Harry watched the Draco that had hadn’t ever once tried to deny or shrink away from his past, but instead owned his own story. Those first few years after the War had been arduous for Draco, yet he hadn’t slipped away to the Continent like so many other of the Dark Lord’s followers. Draco had stayed, served his probation and accepted every single barb and criticism. Honestly? Harry didn’t think he’d have coped half as well with the same torrent of abuse but Draco had stood firm. He hadn’t broken.

Harry studied Draco. He saw the contained, controlled Cursebreaker sat before him, overlaid with the unrestrained, intense creature that had been wrapped in his bedsheets the previous night.

Harry’s eyes trailed all over his lover, picking out details. That long, elegant throat that had been exposed when Draco threw back his head, gasping as he tripped over into orgasm.

Those haughty cheekbones that had been flushed so pink with arousal.

That lithe, skinny stomach where the sticky evidence of their climaxes had intermingled.

Even the white-blond hair that Harry had ran his hand through over and over again, astonished with its soft-silkiness beneath his calloused fingers.

At that thought, Harry stood, unable to sit and fester in his thoughts a moment longer. There was an acrid, bitter taste in his mouth and a horrible prickling of anxiety that was flooding his senses.

Maybe Draco truly did regret their lovemaking the previous night?

Harry knew he’d never be the aristocratic, Pureblooded wizard that was no doubt Draco’s preferred choice of partner. Harry knew he’d never know about wine, or fine art. He much preferred Muggle music to snotty Wizard opera and his reading matter usually stretched only to Quidditch Today.

Unable to keep still, Harry wandered over to a gigantic canvas. He tried to make sense of the thousands of paint splashes within the frame but they swam and mixed underneath his eyes. Perhaps he’d never be good enough for Draco, Harry decided sadly. They’d come together for one glorious night and that might have to be enough for a lifetime.

Harry was so lost in his thoughts that he failed to realise Draco had up stood too.

The Cursebreaker had crossed the room to stand beside him, and when Draco spoke his voice was quiet. “It’s a Jackson Pollock,” Draco said, gesturing to the picture before them both. “Full Fathom Five. Pollock was a wizard that lived among the Muggles… Charmed his paints so that every artwork told a different story to every person who saw it. The canvases look different to every person lucky enough to see them.”

Draco turned his body to face Harry.

The two men were silent for a long moment and then Draco spoke once more. He sounded a little hesitant, but that might have been Harry’s imagination. “I’m sorry I disappeared, Potter. Sorry I ran away. You didn’t deserve that. You must know that I’m a skittish, flighty arse… The moment I that feel anything, I usually panic. A childhood denying your feelings will do that.”

Harry didn’t reply. After all, his own childhood had been a mess of denial, guilt and recrimination.

Harry hadn’t accepted his attraction to men until his early twenties. The Dursleys had been sure to remind him of their hatred of gay people whenever they’d been on the television. When you added genocidal wizards, guilt over his own mother’s sacrifice and actually dying himself: skittish and flighty were descriptions that could be occasionally be applied to him too.

A few minutes later, Harry spoke up again. “You were brave,” Harry said softly. “Took the initiation when I was too afraid. So much for my famed bravery. I knew at the time I should have come after you-”

“Maybe you should have,” Draco cut in, scowling. He pursed his lips and Harry thought he was about to say something else, but then the Slytherin lapsed into silence once more.

Harry passed the next few minutes idly, tapping out a tune on his knee with his wand.

Draco’s reply had sounded promising, but Harry didn’t dare build too much expectation into his words. When the silence finally became too oppressive, Harry decided to make some small talk.

He chose the subject that was guaranteed to elicit an opinion from most wizards: Quidditch.

“Thought Wood played well at the weekend,” Harry opined, leaning back into his wonky chair. “Set up the Seeker into the perfect position to catch the Snitch. Even back at Hogwarts Oliver was always so clever around the tactical side of the game.”

Draco sniffed dismissively.

“All the tactical forethought in the world isn’t going to win the bloody Arrows the trophy, Potter. Much as I truly despise your ex-lover, Ginevra Weasley has got the title sown up. The Harpies have been in top spot since the very start of the season.”

“Ginny was never my lover,” Harry corrected with small shake of his head. “A girlfriend at one time perhaps, but I assure you, she and I? It was never going to last… Turned out I had quite the wrong parts for her, even if I hadn’t been into blokes… She’s married to the Beauxbatons flying instructor. A Madam Dubois. A most lovely witch.”

Draco didn’t have a comeback for that, and the two wizards fell into a slightly less awkward silence once more. This was always how it went before an Auror mission: tedious waiting that seemed to stretch on into infinity, followed with a sudden blast of action and chaos.

“You’re not really reading that Prophet,” Harry grumbled. “At least give me the sports page.”

“Unlikely, Potter,” Draco smirked. “You can have the fashion section though. It’ll give you a few ideas. I can’t imagine they’ll say that ratty trainers and bizarre birdnest hair are quite the thing, but one never does know-”

“Don’t be such a bloody git,” Harry said, rising to snatch for the paper. He was relieved that Draco was speaking with his regular teasing derision once more. “You know I rushed over here. Isn’t my fault the rest of the team are dragging their feet.”

Draco shot Harry a withering look and, with a twist of his wand, charmed the newspaper to fly into Harry’s lap. Hermione looked up at Harry from the cover, her hazel eyes full of silent rebuke.

“What have you got planned for afterwards?” Harry asked, folding over the paper and studying an advert for Weasley’s Wheezes carefully. “Fancy a trip to the pub?”

“Thought I might come to yours,” Draco answered airily, without looking up. It seemed to Harry that Draco was finding his perfectly manicured nails rather interesting. “Pansy’s off in Thailand shagging Theo Nott… Blaise is about as reliable as your beloved fucking Arrows. So I haven’t anything much better to do.”

Harry grinned, ecstatic joy flooding his veins. He fought to keep his composure: it wouldn’t do to let Draco see how pleased he was. “Who says you’re invited? You’ve been nothing but a nettlesome arse for the last twenty minutes-”

“You’ve done nothing but glower at me since you flooed into my office, Potter. Asked me several impertinent questions and then engaged me in the most tiresome of small talk. Quite honestly, I was half tempted to suggest you shag me here and now. Put you out of your frustrated misery… Still, one must keep their standards and I wasn’t overtly keen on your old pal Weasley catching us in flagrant.” Draco paused, and took a sip of water. “So yes. I do believe I’m invited.”

Harry hadn’t realised he was carrying about such a heavy weight until he felt it disapparate. He leaned back in his chair, felt it creak threateningly, and then sat up very quickly.

“Alright by me, Malfoy,” Harry agreed with a wink. “You know me: always keep my wards open for my friends.”

Their eyes met, green on grey, and held.

“Your friends?” Draco queried, not looking away.

“And for my lovers,” Harry clarified. “Well. Lover. In the singular. I won’t be seeing anyone else, Draco. Not for the foreseeable future.”

The two of them stood there then, facing each other and grinning like the pair of idiot schoolboys that they’d never really had the chance to be.

Harry felt a depth of happiness thrum through his body and even Draco’s face carried an uncharacteristically fond smile. Harry took a step forward towards the other wizard, hoping that he might have chance to press just the smallest of kisses on the lips of his exasperating, gorgeous lover.

But it wasn’t to be.

Draco’s small office was suddenly filled with noise and pandemonium as the floo flames roared into life. The tiny space immediately filled with jostling Aurors, Magi-Evidence Inspectors and even the broad, jocular figure of Robards himself. Each person was bristling with the barely concealed excitement that always accompanied a raid and the crowd was abuzz with noise.

“Bloody hell, Harry,” Ron joked, cuffing him lightly on the arm. “Here already? You’re normally the last to arrive for briefings. ‘Spect Draco here has been his normal sunny self?”

“Draco’s been alright,” Harry agreed, arranging his face into something befitting the situation. “You know how Malfoy and I always get… Can’t go a couple of minutes without tearing into each other.”

But any reply that Ron might have had never arrived.

Robards tapped his wand on the desk and a cloud of blue sparks circled the gathering, his powerful magic stopping every conversation dead. Briefing was about to begin and Harry knew he needed to tuck away every daydream that featured peeling off Draco’s clothes and taking his lover off to bed. He couldn’t afford to miss a single part of Robards instructions, lest he end up on the wrong side of a hex.

Lovemaking would have to wait. Right now, there were precious dragon eggs that needed saving.