It starts one morning when Draco wakes him up by poking him in the stomach, as usual.
"Go make breakfast," Draco commands. "I'm starving."
Harry keeps his eyes closed and smiles in his pillow. This technique works about one time out of two, but Draco is cottoning up to it.
"Go. make. breakfast," Draco repeats after a few seconds. His nail digs into Harry’s skin in a way that reminds Harry of the night before, and blood rushes to his morning wood. Suddenly Draco's voice is in his ear, silken and dangerous. "Pity you're asleep. All that morning sex I was planning on."
Harry groans and finally opens his eyes, grinning. Draco's eyes are fonder than he'd probably like. "Hello," he murmurs to Harry, dragging his nails along Harry’s side. "I'm hungry."
Harry opens his mouth to say that maybe they can bypass the breakfast and quash Draco’s hunger with something else, which Draco will no doubt respond to with 'no way in hell', but hey, worth a try. So Harry opens his mouth, and... nothing comes out.
" Aphonic ? What kind of moronic condition is that? Where did you even get it?"
Harry sighs. He grabs the notebook he always keeps on his nightstand, writes, cold, probably.
Draco quirks an eyebrow. "Well that's stupid. What am I supposed to do, if I can't even defend our relationship by saying that you're occasionally witty despite your abysmal fashion sense and two left feet?"
Draco sits down next to him on the bed and brushes his forehead, suddenly tender. Harry cranes his head; Draco leans in until their lips are inches apart, and whispers, "In your dreams, Potter."
Harry falls back down on the pillows, mouth open in a silent groan. Of course.
Over the course of the half-hour, Harry has to convince Draco that his condition is not contagious ("I'm not kissing you anyway"), dissuade Draco from calling the family 200$-per-consultation doctor ( he's not going to be able to do anything, Draco ), ingest a truly disturbing amount of honey to Draco’s orders, and watch Draco go through at least eight different books and put them down five pages in.
Harry waves the notebook in front of Draco where he's sitting staring forlornly at the door, his nails tapping the arm of the couch.
You know we can do things, Draco. I'm not actually handicapped.
Draco flicks him a disdainful glance. "I'm not going out with you like that. People might notice just how besotted with me you are if you can't even deny it, that would be embarrassing."
I'm the one that's besotted?
"Well obviously, Potter. What did you think, that I was the one infatuated with your greasy hair and doubtful literary skills?"
They weren't so doubtful when you called my novel the best thing you'd ever read.
Draco waves his retort away with his hand. "Temporary lapse of judgment. I was momentarily charmed by your eloquence, that's all."
So what's keeping your highness here with me now?
Draco gives him a smirky smile. "You make breakfast," he says, his grey eyes dancing.
"I'm bored," Draco says.
Harry doesn't look up from his computer.
Harry tries again, because by now doing what Draco says is almost a habit (and usually wields more positive results than it does negative), but nope, the only thing that comes out is still an asthmatic murmur.
Draco... Draco is being a bit weird about this, actually. At first it didn't seem like anything out of the usual, it was fun, but now it's almost like Draco's afraid of talking, like he might say something he doesn't intend to.
Harry grabs his notebook, scribbles, are you okay?
Draco gives him a pinched but affectionate smile. "I'm fine, Potter. Go back to work."
Harry makes dinner and they eat at the island, brushing against each other as they set the table. With the quiet Harry is all that much more aware of the way they move, how they seem to have the same center of gravity. Even with this silence, their bodies are in sync, making way for each other, sides touching, the tips of Harry's fingers at the small of Draco's back and Draco’s palm against the side of his neck.
Draco tells him a little about work while they eat but gets tired quickly without the usual back-and-forth. Harry doesn't use his notebook to try to get Draco to talk more; he eats quickly, head bent over his plate. They do the dishes side by side like they have since they got together, maybe a remnant from that first time, his first peek into Draco Malfoy's complicated head.
When they get in bed they shuffle closer than they usually do, on instinct, without consulting each other. Draco isn't a big fan of cuddling; Harry knows, because Draco told him, that as a child he slept curled on himself until the wee hours of the morning where he straightened up and put his palms flat on the covers for his mother to find. Now that Draco learned to, he sleeps sprawled, his arms open as though to make slow angels, his legs slightly curved in Harry’s direction, the only sign that he knows Harry's even here.
But tonight Draco lets Harry wind his arm around his stomach and rest his cheek on his sternum. Draco’s breathing is soft, regular. Just before sleep drags him in, Harry traces with his fingers over Draco’s silky sleepwear, 'sweet dreams', and Draco's heart skips a beat.
The morning after Harry can feel as soon as he wakes up, his throat sore and aching, that it's not better. Sorry , he writes on the pad he dug up for the occasion, and slips out bed quietly enough not to wake up Draco. Croissants usually drastically diminish the chances of Draco being mad at him.
Sure enough, when Draco wakes up to a tray of orange juice and grilled croissant (he even bought a lone flower on the way home, because even though Draco mocks him Harry knows he'll appreciate it) he smiles hazily at Harry.
"You're good, Potter," he says, sounding reluctantly impressed.
This time when Harry leans down to kiss Draco he doesn't pull away; Harry hopes it conveys the I know that doesn't make it out of his mouth.
That day is quiet too, and though Draco isn't as weird as he was the day before there's still something obviously wrong with him. Harry ignores it until he doesn't. He takes his pad, scribbles on it and taps it on Draco's knee, which he's leaning against.
Okay, what is going on?
Draco bites his lower lip. Harry doesn't get to see him like that often; if it wasn't worrying it would probably be funny. "It's nothing." Draco sighs. "It's just... I don't like this, you not being able to talk. It's making me want to fill the silence."
You know you can talk to me, right?
Draco rolls his eyes. "Don't get cheesy. Where's the spice in our relationship if we tell each other everything?"
Draco, I'm not Blaise.
"And I'm thankful for that, even though it really is trading one ill for the other." Harry grimaces - being compared to Blaise, he doesn't deserve that - and Draco grins, quick, leans to peck Harry on the lips. "But I don't - I don't want us to get boring , that's all."
It's obvious that he's not going to convince Draco, so Harry decides to take the wiser route and let it go. For the first time since this thing started, though, he wishes he could take Draco’s face in his hands and tell him - you'll never be boring to me.
Harry realized love (of course it's love - he doesn't tell Draco because he knows he'll run away as soon as he gets half a syllable out), at least for him, means this craving to know, to get under a person's skin, discover them. Draco is beautiful, he's talented and sharp and witty and many, many more things and Harry loves him with something worryingly close to certainty--but Draco's also complicated and sometimes his sharpness means acidic barbs and the kind of self-destructive things he used to do in what he calls his 'Blaise days'.
So Harry doesn't push him. Harry doesn't offer to show Draco the hundreds of pages he wrote about him and never showed to anyone, hidden safely in the recesses of his computer. Instead he enjoys the warmth of Draco’s legs against his back and thinks, all in good time.
They're not actually attached at the hip (and oh, how Draco would hate to know that some people do think that), so Draco puts the pot of honey on his keyboard and declares that he's going out, because he knows Harry "doesn't want him to resent Harry later if his ailment keeps Draco from going to the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at MoMa", which is a perfect example of Draco logic. Harry nods, pretending to understand how Draco’s brain works, which, for the record, he doesn't.
He gets some writing done (Draco has actually been doing some editing for him, which mostly consists of Draco relentlessly mocking anything he considers even slightly subpar) and by the time Draco comes back, Harry's feeling good with himself. Draco also looks like he's better; he loops his arms around Harry’s neck and kisses him, slow and languid.
"You should've come," Draco says, grinning. "It was great; Kusama is a genius. The pieces on fashion were breathtaking."
Harry opens a new document on his laptop and types, you're the one who didn't want me to come. I cramp your style, remember?
"Nonsense," Draco says.
Harry rolls his eyes fondly. God, he loves him. When exactly did that happen? How the hell did he manage to fall in love with Draco Malfoy? Sometimes Harry couldn’t help but wonder.
"I thought about it," Draco says, oblivious to his internal crisis. "You should've told me I was being stupid." Harry laughs; if he did that he probably wouldn't survive. "Anyway," Draco continues pointedly, "this," he gestures to Harry, "makes me nervous. You not talking is... I want to tell you things."
What? Harry mouths, forgetting he can't talk for a minute.
"I'm not used to being happy," Draco says bluntly.
He looks at Draco; his stance is definitely defensive, and Harry's heart is beating loud, so loud Draco can probably hear it. Harry takes a step towards him, and Draco raises his chin, defiant. When Harry kisses him, Draco’s eyes fall closed immediately, like surrendering completely.
Harry wakes up in the middle of the night. Draco is curled up against him, his fingers still buried in the hair at the nape of his neck. Harry feels good - and thirsty. He reaches for the bottle of water on his nightstand, trying not to wake Draco up.
The water trickling in his throat feels heavenly. Harry clears his throat - which is when he realizes that it's gone, he can talk again. It's random, but he's happy; he feels like so much words have accumulated on his tongue over the course of the last two days, pointless, mundane things like pass the salt and more important declarations like I'll probably love you forever if I don't watch myself.
He makes a small sound, just to check, but -- yeah. His voice is back. A smile splits his face, and Draco moves against him.
"Whatever you're doing," Draco mumbles sleepily, "it can definitely wait until the morning."
Harry smiles to himself. He slips back into the warm cocoon of Draco’s arms, brushes his cheek against Draco’s. "I love you," Harry whispers in his ear.
Draco pretends to be asleep, but Harry can hear feel his smile stretching against his shoulder, and Harry thinks with dazed wonder the he might never have been this happy before.