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Heart Like Neon

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“Look what I found.”

Blaise holds out a business card, twiddling it between his fingers so that Draco can’t get a good look at it and must snatch it out of his teasing hand.

Draco drops his gaze to it for half a second, then spears Blaise with a look. “It’s blank.” Draco flicks it back across the table at him. Merlin, dinner out with Blaise had been a mistake. It nearly always is. Ten to one Draco will end up paying.

“Look again.” Patiently (which is a weird look on Blaise), he slides the card back across.

Draco considers not taking whatever bait this is. Blaise loves to dangle things. For a moment Draco lets himself gaze, instead, out the window. The night is blustering, the wind kicking up dry leaves into the vaporous lamplight along the pavement. People take swift steps through the chill. It’s Muggle London, but it looks, just a little, like Hogsmeade.

Not that Draco misses those days, not in the least. Give him a dirty martini, three olives, and the best table in the hippest restaurant and he’ll be reasonably content. Add in enough tapas to feed Gryffindor table, ambient black-cherry lighting, and some kind of soothing dance mix coming out of the speakers, and Draco is as close to happy as he’s going to get. Suffering Blaise’s company is a small price. Blaise can, after all, be painfully funny, and he knows all the gossip about everyone, which makes him valuable.

Draco looks, again, at the card. He checks both sides. He’s about to rip it in two when a warmth under his thumb makes him frown. The paper changes colour where he’s touching it, going from a soft eggshell white to pink, to scarlet. Draco checks the other side and sees that the same thing is happening under his other fingers.

Quickly, Draco hides it under cover of the table when their waiter comes over and asks if they need anything else.

“Just the bill,” Draco says, and then scoffs when Blaise points to him as the recipient.

When Draco looks at the card again, letters have appeared, numbers, and the writing is no longer red but a deep black. The ink seems fathomless, as though one could fall into it and drown.

“Is there a phone number yet?” Blaise asks.

Draco frowns. “It’s an address.”

“No phone number?”

“No,” Draco says, almost unable to look up from the way the ink shimmers and moves, alive and enticing. But look up he does, to find Blaise looking bemused.



“Oh, it gave me a phone number, that's all.”

“Did you ring it?” Draco asks. He’s begun to run his thumb over the cardstock slowly.

“Of course I did.”

Draco swallows, his neck hot, and he looks back down at the card. “‘HP.’ It’s probably not…”

“It is,” Blaise replies.

“How do you know?” Draco’s chest is on fire. Too much tapas, way too much alcohol.

“I told you, I rang.”

“And he answered?”

Blaise shakes his head and, damnably, takes a careful sip of his tequila. He licks his lips. “No, it was a someone else, like a receptionist. I was told where I could meet him.”


“It was a coffee shop in Shoreditch off Old Street.”

“He turned up?”


“Did you…?”

“Draco,” Blaise begins, giving such weight to his name that it sounds ridiculous, like a crime he’s being charged with. “I’m perfectly aware that you would have my balls. So no.” He drinks again. “I hid behind a very smelly bin, watched him get a coffee, wait precisely three minutes at a table, and then leave.”

Draco ignores the feeling of relief. “But clearly he’s not… I mean, it doesn’t say anything about…”

“It doesn’t have to, does it?” Blaise leans forward onto the table. “The magic in that card, Draco… It’s fucking intricate. And powerful.”

“‘Intricate’ is not how I would ever describe him.”

“Yeah, well, he’s not sixteen anymore.”

The bill arrives, and Draco receives it in a sort of trance. “I bet he looks awful. I mean, if this is what he’s doing…” And there’s nothing explicit in the card, it’s just… There. In the magic itself. Made plain without a word. “I’m guessing he’s bloody hard up.”

Blaise waits until Draco looks at him, and then he gives Draco an oddly sad sort of smile. All he says is, “No.”

“It can’t be,” Draco says, his eyes drawn back down to the seductive swirl of ink. Hesitantly, he starts to hold the card out towards Blaise once more.

“Keep it,” Blaise says when he sees Draco bite his lip.

For a second, Draco thinks about denying that he wants to. But the card has warmed so drastically to his fingers. They don’t want to let go. As flippantly as he can, he pockets the card and pulls out his wallet instead, brusquely paying the bill.

They sit there a while more, talk about Blaise’s latest girlfriend: gorgeous, ambidextrous, trans, a sculptor of people’s dead pets if you can believe that. “She’s an artist,” Blaise insists.

“A Shih Tzu frozen for all time and doubling as a dog-shaped flower pot is not art.”

“Art is in the eye of the beholder.”

“Art is in the eye of the boyfriend.”

“I have excellent taste,” Blaise informs him. And being that perhaps he’s including being Draco’s friend in that, Draco decides to let it stand, though he declares, “I’ve had enough of you for one night,” to which his friend affectionately answers, “Same.”

It’s not until he’s back at his flat that Draco pulls the card out again. He elbows out of his braces, letting them flop against his legs, unbuttons his cuffs, his collar. He pours himself a tall glass of water and gulps it down. And then he feels for the card in his pocket and extracts it. Like before, it heats at his touch. Letters form and rearrange themselves. Draco stands in his living room, all deathly quiet except for the thud of his own pulse, and he reads the address and then the words at the bottom, moving, always moving, beckoning him:

at your service…

It’s been two weeks and Draco hasn’t done anything with the card. Why would he? He can get laid. When he wants to, that is. He just… hasn’t in a while. By choice. And Potter would not be his first choice, by far. Potter wouldn’t normally even make the list.

But Draco’s the third wheel tonight on a date with Pansy and her latest conquest, this one a magical welder. She welds things. And she’s not a scintillating conversationalist, though she does speak in tongues, as evidenced by hers in Pansy’s mouth at least half the bloody time.

Bored, Draco takes the card out of his pocket again. It’s been in every pair of trousers he’s worn for a fortnight, carried like a talisman. It’s been with him to work, to dinners… with him when he’s sitting and reading the evening paper. He’s not sure why, except that the idea intrigues him. Not so much fucking Potter as the fact that Potter is there to be fucked, if Draco so chooses. And that is rather heady, if he lets himself think about it. It’s been a while since he’s had those sorts of thoughts about Potter. They’re much less frequent these days, though not entirely nonexistent. (So, yes, he probably would have made that list after all.)

When Pansy and… he’s forgotten her name… Dahlia? Constance? When they go to the loo together, Draco rolls his eyes, checks his watch after five minutes at the table alone, then pays the tab and leaves.

He doesn’t Apparate home, though. He’s not immune to people uninhibitedly making out in front of him… not averse to finding someone to take care of… things. Maybe it’s time. Simply to take the edge off.

He slips the card from his pocket for the umpteenth time and, on a lark, Apparates.



“Seriously?” Potter says after the door swings open.

And it is him. It’s really Potter standing there in a long-sleeved t-shirt and jeans. He’s barefoot. The unseemly idiot answered the door with no shoes on. For a split second, a vision crystalises in Draco’s mind: him slowly taking a step onto Potter’s bare toes with his own well-shined shoes and increasing the pressure with every moment until Potter yelps in pain.

“Malfoy,” says Potter in the here and now, his gaze sliding to the card in Draco’s hand.

Belatedly, guiltily, Draco pockets it, as though he can erase Potter having seen it. Though why else would he be here without the bloody card? His cheeks have heated up, and he firms his jaw, meeting Potter’s eyes when once again they rise to his own.

“I mean, I was notified,” Potter says, now leaning on a hand in the doorway, not offering to let him in, barring his way in fact. “I’m always notified when a person with intent is holding the card, but…”

“I don’t have intent,” Draco bites out the first words he’s managed in this exchange.

“Then what are you doing here?” Potter looks at him steadily, his eyebrows raised just a hint.

“Curiosity, Potter. You may have heard of it.”

“Yeah, it killed the cat.” Potter waits a beat, gives Draco a blinking look. “Satisfied?”

Draco breathes in deeply. Potter’s cologne is subtle even as its scent surrounds him. Draco hadn’t lied about the curiosity, and he finds himself leaning a little to the side, looking past Potter into what appears to be just an ordinary cottage-like house, though it goes farther back than the outside permits. Wizarding space, and nicely done, Draco has to admit.

Potter’s barely-there breath of a laugh brings Draco’s attention back. But Potter just steps back out of the doorway. “Come in then,” he says.

“I have another appointment,” Draco lies, knowing that it sounds like the lie it is and there’s really no point to it, except to delay the inevitable.

“Do you?”

Anger rises up inside him, and Draco spits, “I don’t need this.”

Potter shrugs. “Okay.” He leaves the door open as he wanders back inside.

“Do you always interrogate your clients about their other appointments?” Draco says from his side of the open doorway.

Potter turns. “Are you a client? I thought you were just curious.” He pushes his hands into his pockets, head tilted. “But it looks like your cowardice might just win out instead.”

Three furious seconds later, Draco steps over the threshold and slams the door behind himself.

Potter holds up a hand as Draco opens his mouth to unleash some choice words, and Draco’s voice dies as Potter observes him, something in his face calculating, discerning. Draco feels stripped, feels Potter’s focus pressing in, probing against his magic, touching things as one would idly pick up interesting pieces in a shop. Draco is that shop.

Just when Draco feels like he can’t take another moment, Potter stops. “Huh,” he says as though mildly surprised. He frowns a little, thinking. Then his hand drops and he says, “Fifty Galleons up front, no matter if we do or we don’t.”


“I know you probably have five times that on you.”


Potter holds out his hand and flicks his fingers in the universal sign for ‘give it to me’.

Draco’s breath strangles him, which is not a thing he thought possible, his own body becoming the enemy. But he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a fifty Galleon piece. He flicks it with all the insolence he can feel throbbing through him, and Potter plucks the shining gold out of the air like a Snitch, pocketing it.

“Would you like something to drink?” Potter asks.

“Do you live here?” ‘Here’ is a decent enough place, modestly furnished in both neutrals and jewel-tones. Art hangs on the walls, vases sit on the mantelpiece. There’s a comfortable-looking sofa, a plush armchair. There are no personal effects that Draco can see. Nothing properly Potterish. Though Potter seems at ease in the space.

Potter’s rummaging in the open kitchen area now, ducking half inside a huge refrigerator. He takes out two bottles of water but doesn’t hand one to Draco as he passes. “Follow me.”

Draco huffs out an exasperated sigh. Potter, it appears, seems disinclined to answer Draco’s question and quite confident that Draco will follow him down a hallway. Firming his jaw, Draco does, and Potter leads him past shut doors that Draco wants to push open. Are they bedrooms? Studies? … Dungeons? What the fuck is actually happening? What has he just paid for?

They enter a large room at the end of the hall, and Potter places the water bottles on a small table against one of the walls. The room is empty for the most part, a deep and wide space, like a ballroom but without the glitz.

Potter walks to the middle of the room, turns, and draws his wand. Draco’s hand goes immediately to his hip.

“Pull it,” Potter says. When Draco hesitates, “I know you want to, you arrogant piece of shit.”

Draco’s eyes go wide, his skin prickling. He whips his wand from its holster. “I didn’t pay for this.”

“Yes,” Potter answers easily, “you did,” though his eyes flicker with the rising heat of potential violence. And then he flings a hex at Draco’s middle.

Draco jumps back from it. “What the hell?”

“Come on, Malfoy.”

“Oh, this is the service you provide?” Draco says in disbelief.

“For you? Yes.” Potter twirls his wand idly, his stance conceited, body riding the line between relaxed and ready.

Draco’s stomach flares hot, his palms sweating. He’s in danger of losing the upper hand here. Maybe he never had it, but he needs to wrest it from Potter now or he’ll never recover.

“Are you a cock tease, Potter?” he sneers. “Is that what you—?”

Potter doesn’t let him finish, casting a wordless Stinging Hex that catches Draco in the shoulder and makes him inhale a hiss of pain, clutching at it. Potter opens his arms in invitation, wand held lazily between two fingers while he waits.

Draco slices a spell at him, but Potter’s grip on his wand changes so fast Draco doesn’t even see it happen, and Potter deflects. Draco casts another, and Potter sends his own back. Draco manages to duck it but barely. “What the fuck is this?” he pants.

Potter’s voice remains measured even as his body prepares for the fight. “It’s what you want,” he says.

Rage builds under Draco’s skin, something he thought he’d dealt with or outgrown. But it’s there… been living there, deep within him. And all it takes is a well-aimed cast from Potter to bring it to the surface. Draco fires off three spells quickly, the last one landing and doubling Potter over in pain. But Potter flicks his wand, still wincing, and the blow catches Draco’s jaw, just like a punch. It takes his breath for a moment, and he brings his free hand up to rub at the burst of pain.

“Fuck you, where did you learn that?”

Potter has the audacity to smile at him, standing at full height once more. “I could teach it to you.”

Draco growls and casts six spells in a row, lands two; Potter dodges or blocks the others. The next spell Potter casts hits Draco full-body, and Draco braces by instinct, even though it doesn’t hurt. It feels more like a Protego than anything.

“Did you just… put a protection spell on me?”

“Yeah,” Potter says. “But it wasn’t for the duelling.” He casts the same thing on himself then, and before Draco can process any of it, Potter strips off his t-shirt, flinging it to the side.

He’s got so many black-inked tattoos it would take Draco long minutes to count them all. They’re down his arms, over his shoulders, across his chest, just a smattering, so that his flesh is visible between every line. Down his stomach they crawl, over his hips. They disappear into his low-riding jeans, and Draco feels his mouth flood wet.

Potter’s words sink in so belatedly it’s almost comical, even to Draco.

Not a duelling protection spell, but a protection spell all the same. Potter’s looking at him with a patient intensity. A glance even further down his body and Draco sees the outline of his cock, half hard and bulging along the crevice of his hip inside his trousers.

A protection spell.


“Well?” Potter says. “Come on then. We haven’t even broken a sweat yet.”

The rage doesn’t mute, but it transforms. It meets its equal and burns inside. Draco sends a Stinging hex that tags Potter’s shoulder before he can raise his wand. Potter rubs the spot, a breathy laugh leaving him. And then they duel for real. Nothing meant to do irreparable harm, but to hurt. To really hurt. It’s quick and dirty, and their magic sizzles through the room unchecked, loud when it connects with a wall rather than flesh, electric when their spells glance off one another. They wind up panting. Sweat gleams on Potter’s chest, collecting in the hollow of his throat, shining on his forearms, his biceps. Distracted, Draco takes a cut to the leg.

He reaches down, feels the liquid warmth, raising fingers smeared with his own blood. Motherfucker cut him. Again.

Draco stalks quickly toward him, and Potter retreats gracefully, unfazed. Potter’s back connects with the wall, and he doesn’t duck, doesn’t move as Draco advances. Potter holds his wand out to the side and lets it drop to the floor.

Draco frowns, but before he knows what he’s doing, he throws his own wand aside so hard he’d be afraid of it breaking if he was thinking about anything other than taking Harry Potter’s wrists, wrenching them up over his head, and pinning them to the wall.

Potter lets him, staring into Draco’s eyes as he does it.

“Did I pay for this?” Draco hisses out, his breath not even close to coming under his control.

“Yes,” says Potter. And Draco’s cock is so hard from it. He wants to press it against Potter’s body. It would feel so good. Fuck, why does he want this? What is he doing here? Is he here to prove he can fuck Harry Potter? To see what it’s like? To use him and make him feel used. His anger, like a spell, flashes through him, and Potter sees it, blinks once, and doesn’t return it.

Draco releases his wrists but only to take Potter’s body and flip him so that his chest presses against the wall instead. New body art meets Draco’s gaze, tantalising as it moves down Potter’s back.

“Did I pay for this?” Draco breathes near Potter’s nape, even as his yanks Potter’s jeans open and hauls them and his pants down his thighs.

“Yes,” says Potter, and then he casts a wandless lubrication charm on himself. He braces his hands on the wall, his bare arse under Draco’s gaze. Ink travels Potter’s flanks, his hips, down his thighs, but his arse remains unmarked. It flexes once as Potter shuffles his stance wider. Draco feels that flex in his hard cock before they’re even touching.

Draco digs in his own trousers and pulls out. It’s happening too fast, too bloody fast, but he can’t stop himself. He doesn’t want to. “And this?” His lips brush Potter’s skin even as he aims the head of his cock and strokes it over Potter’s slick arsehole.

Potter’s forehead drops to the wall. “Yes,” comes out of him in a low rumble, echoing in Draco’s ears like a surrender. He holds Potter’s hip and steadies himself on his feet, feeling for the right angle and then pushing. Potter gasps a little as Draco’s cock starts to go in, and Draco groans quietly, though nothing about this is quiet. Their bodies practically vibrate, their breath hot and fast, and Draco sheaths his cock slowly and too carefully up Potter’s arse, because it feels too good not to let himself relish every inch of it.

When he’s inside, he grasps Potter’s hips in his hands and lays his head on Potter’s bare back. He almost can’t believe it’s happening, that this isn’t some teenaged, late night fantasy he’s having yet again. He’s lightheaded.

Potter, too, is breathing raggedly now, adjusting. Then he says, “Do what you want. Do it however you want, Malfoy.”

He doesn’t mean to whine, like an animal, like someone being handed the chalice, the key to everlasting life. But he does. He draws back and slams inside. It forces a grunt from Potter’s lungs, and Draco likes the sound, bathes himself in it. So he does it again. He fucks Potter hard, the tight, slick squeeze on his cock just right… just right.

They’re breathing, soft moans filtering into the air, like this is something they’re doing together, not something Draco is doing to him. The anger winds its way up his spine, but it’s overtaken by something else. Something that feels too good, that could flay him alive if he lets it. Draco sinks his teeth into the flesh under his lips, where Potter’s neck slopes into shoulder. To his utter shock, Potter groans… and bares more of his flesh to Draco’s mouth. He arches his lower back, just the slightest bit, just enough for Draco to fuck him deeper. Draco’s balls draw up. It’s going to be over so fast. Too fast.

Draco lifts his lips to breathe behind Potter’s ear. The words come out easily, having been trapped in his subconscious for over ten years now. They come without effort, like they do when he’s alone and a little drunk and the usual fantasies aren’t working and so he lets himself turn to this, just wanting to get off quickly and go to sleep. They come out in a fevered whisper: “Going to come inside you… You’re going to feel it for days. You’re never going to forget me, doing this to you. Potter.”

“Do it then,” Potter says lowly, though the heat in his words lacks hatred. Instead it drips with encouragement.

Draco thrusts faster, his hands making bruises on Potter’s hips. It rips through him, filling Potter up, and he has to watch, has to drop his gaze and see. He sees Potter’s body taking him while he comes. His thighs tense, and a wretched groan twists inside his mouth. Potter takes him, every inch, every drop, all of him.

Before he’s ready, Draco pulls out. He rubs the wet head of his cock against Potter’s hole and watches a dribble of his come leak out. It’s everything he can do not to moan again.

He’ll never tell Potter this, but he could have doubled his price and made Draco pay it. Draco would have given his vaults for this.

Still panting, Draco rights his trousers. He Summons his wand to cast a cleaning charm over himself, even as he devours the sight of him… Potter’s naked arse, his bare back, before he too pulls up his pants and trousers. Potter Summons his shirt, but instead of putting it back on he wipes the sweat from his chest, under his arms, and then discards it again.

He turns and leans his back against the wall, looking at Draco. When their gazes meet, Draco’s stomach tightens almost painfully. Potter watches him with interest, crossing his arms over his chest. “Satisfied now?” he asks.

Draco realises he’s unsure if Potter came or not. There’s still a bulge in his jeans, though he could just be slow to go completely soft. Draco hates that he wants to know. He wants to see Potter’s cock… touch it. He regrets that he had this one time, and he didn't even try.

He firms his lips, muscle jumping in his cheek. With deliberate calm, he withdraws the business card out of his pocket. He holds it up, making sure Potter sees. And then he sets it on the table by the door, picks up one of the water bottles instead, and takes his leave.




“You what?

It’s pretty much the response Harry expects from Hermione, so he sits there with his coffee between his hands and rides it out on the park bench they’ve chosen.

“Not head first!” she yells next, and for a moment, Harry can only sit in his own perplexity at what kind of metaphor she might be using on him, before he realises she’s shouted this at Rose, who is right now coming down the largest playground slide, indeed, head first. Hermione shakes her head on a frustrated little growl and keeps pushing Hugo’s pram with her foot, back and forth. “Merlin.”

Harry feels like the third child she now has to scold. She proceeds to do just that.

“I thought you had a rule.”

“I did.”

“No one you actually know.”

“That’s right.”

She sighs and gives him a constipated look. “Malfoy?” she says.

Harry opens his mouth but then falters. He really has nothing to say for himself at the moment.

“The boy I punched in the face,” she continues, now somewhat deadpan. “The boy who called me M— that word.”

“Yeah, that’s him,” Harry admits, watching Rose scamper over to the swings and take those on head first too. He neglects to alert Hermione. She’s stressed enough as it is.

She runs her hand through her hair and spares a brief sigh up toward the clouds. “Well, it’s your business, both figuratively and literally, and you really don’t owe me any kind of answer, but… Harry, why?”

He passes a hand over his cup, casting a surreptitious warm-up spell on his coffee and then taking a sip before he replies. “Hermione, I’ve never felt magical intent like that. When the card sent the message to me…”

“So, does the fact that he really, really wanted to—”


“Okay, needed to, mean that you had to oblige?” Then when Hugo becomes fussy, “Shh, shh, shh,” leaning over and patting his little chest until he settles.

“I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do,” he reminds her.

Her look is deceptively calm when she turns it on him. “So you wanted to.”

“I...” Harry sighs. How does he explain that as curious as Malfoy was about him, he was ten times as curious in return? “The magic was strong,” he says. “I had to see if it was malfunctioning.”

“So that was your diagnostic?” She mouths the next words rather than saying them, “To fuck him?”

“Well, to let him f—”

“Mummy!” yells Rose, running over on fast little feet, her face split in an enormous smile.

Harry clears his throat and takes another sip.

“Can Uncle Harry push me?”

“Uncle Harry and I are talking right now,” Hermione tells her.

Rose pouts. “But I can’t go high enough!”

“Five minutes,” Harry tells her with a little grin. “I’ll come and push you on the swings in five minutes.”

“You’ll set a Tempus?” Rose checks. She’s four years old and knows what a Tempus charm is.

Harry chuckles. “Yes, of course.” But she waits until he actually does it before she hurries off again for the slide.

“You were saying?” Hermione says, slanting him a look, though now it’s partly mischievous, her lip quirking.

“Never mind,” he says, hiding his own amusement behind his cup and taking a long last drink.

“What are you going to do now?”

“Nothing.” He shrugs. “He left the card with me.”

She nods absently, squinting against the nearly noon-day sun and looking off across the park, and asks, “Was it good?”

He looks away from her too. “Shut up.”

She turns toward him in a rush and kicks his shin. “It was good!”

“Ow! It’s my job, Hermione.” He leans down to rub his leg, whispering, “Jesus.” Then, “I’m twenty-seven years old. I’ve been a sex worker for five years. I know how to make it good.”

“Mm-hm,” she deadpans again.

Bloody Hermione. He should have told Ron first. Bigger initial blow-up but faster turn-around.

The truth was, it shouldn’t have been good. It was really fast, just anal, no prep, no mouths or hands or fingers or kissing. Nothing slow, no build-up, no tease, no eye contact or foreplay, except for the duelling. It had been angry; all out of control, pulse-pounding sex against the nearest wall. It had been fucking. Which wasn’t the surprising thing really, not more so than the fact that Malfoy really had very much wanted to in the first place. The fact that, when Harry had Reached out and felt him, he’d come away with the absolute need for it to be quick and angry… well, it suited them.

It shouldn’t have been good.

And yet…

He didn’t even have to touch my cock and I almost came.

He’s not about to tell Hermione this. He doesn’t really want to have to acknowledge it himself.

“UNCLE HARRY!!!!” comes an equally demanding and plaintive cry from a sadly swinging child. She’s face down on the swing, her long hair dragging slowly in the dirt.

“Merlin,” Hermione sighs. “She is ninety per cent her father.”

“Right, you were never dramatic,” Harry replies, standing and stretching, feeling his body ripple with heady pleasure as the sunlight strikes his face.

“Shut up,” Hermione laughs, and he dances out of the way of her kicking him again.

Harry checks the time. Only a minute left of the five. “I’ve been summoned.”

“Not too long,” Hermione warns him. “You’ll spoil her.”

“And?” he says, casting his friend a smile.



It’s late one night, after he’s seen the two clients he had scheduled for the day and he’s supposed to be done, when the magic flows in.

Someone has the card, and they’re in need.

Need is the overarching energy, and it comes at Harry like a rogue wave, hitting him in the chest and making it difficult to breathe. He gets up off his sofa and reflexively casts a Disillusionment over his personal belongings. All his photos of friends fade into the wall. His dirty laundry orders itself into a basket that then melts into the background of his bedroom.

Harry waves his wand, answering the call of their magic and saying yes to it.

The magic lets him know that he has enough time to wash his face and clean his teeth, which he does. There’s a nervousness to his movements he’s not used to feeling. He’s received emergency calls for sex before. This is not an unheard of occurence. He looks into the mirror at his own face and sees the heightened emotion there, the slight dilation of his pupils, recognises that his breath is short.

When the knock comes at the door, Harry walks swiftly to it but then stalls with his hand on the knob. He subdues his own magic by gentle force, telling himself no matter who is on the other side of his door, he will offer the best service he can. Even to blond-headed arseholes. He swallows and yanks the door open.

He frowns. “Travis?”

Travis is one of Harry’s favourite clients, sort of a weekly highlight. Half the time they don’t even have sex, but when they do it is always fun and energetic. Travis is seven years Harry’s junior, a young Muggle trans man who Harry has come to genuinely like. But this is something he’s never seen: Travis with tears brimming in his huge blue eyes, his jaw strong, but… too strong, fighting to stay that way

“Come in, come in,” Harry ushers, the odd feeling of disappointment flooding out of him as quickly as the worry floods in. His mobile never rang to let him know which of his Muggle clients to expect, and Harry realises he must have turned the thing off, thinking his day was over. Which means the magic in the card let Travis through regardless. Because of the depth of his need.

Travis hesitates about crossing the threshold. His hands are shoved deep into his jeans pockets. “I just…” he says. Then his stubborn chin wobbles, and he’s in Harry’s arms even before Harry has time to shut the door. “Okay, okay, it’s okay,” Harry says, though obviously it is not.

“They fucking said I could stay as long as I continued with university,” Travis grits out into Harry’s chest so that only some of the words are audible. “But I think they want to kick me out. I think they might kick me out soon.”

“Slow down. Come on now, come inside. Breathe, alright?” Harry sits him down on the sofa.

“How much?” Travis sniffs, pulling out a leather wallet and rifling for pounds.

Harry sighs. He wants to simply not charge him. It feels vile to accept money from someone who clearly fears for their future livelihood, not to mention the very love of the people who are supposed to care for him. Harry keeps his rage to himself, though he can feel the muscle ticcing away in his jaw.

“Tea,” he says in lieu of naming a price. “Would you like some? I’m going to have some, okay?”

Travis sniffs again, and Harry brings him a box of tissues. Then before he takes his leave to the kitchen to make tea and get his bearings, he leans down, cups the back of Travis’s shaved head, and kisses him on the forehead. “It’s going to be alright,” he says.

A sick little laugh comes out into the tissue, and it breaks Harry’s heart.

Harry makes tea the Muggle way. Everything must be done the Muggle way with his non-wizarding clients, which is most of them. It’s meditative, making tea slowly, one patient step at a time, or would be were he not so concerned about the young man on his sofa.

“Have they said they’re going to kick you out?” Harry asks as he hands Travis his tea.

“Thank you,” Travis whispers. He’s always been polite as hell. He’s thanked Harry for orgasms before. “Erm, no. Not exactly. But they’re on me again about going into a lucrative area of study. They always make it about other things. But I know what they really mean. I know it’s about me. About how I am.”

So many questions flash through Harry’s mind: ‘Do you have a place to stay?’ being chief among them, but he takes a sip of his tea and a deep breath, and he asks instead, “What do you need, Travis?”

Travis blinks at him. “Could I just… sit here? For a little while? A couple of hours, I mean.”

Harry nods. “Of course.”

“Would you sit with me?”

Harry smiles and moves to the sofa, letting Travis fit himself to his side, under his arm. Harry picks up the remote and turns on the telly. “I bought it. Did I tell you?”

Travis pulls back a touch to look at him. “You did? Seriously? I don’t believe you.”

Harry smiles. “No, I did. You said it was important, so…” Harry hits the button that switches the telly to where it needs to be. The disc is still in his DVD player, and the menu screen comes up for Travis’s favourite show, the one he’s dogged Harry about watching for weeks now.

“You’ve arrived, Harry,” says Travis, and Harry pinches him. “How far in are you?”

“I’ve only watched the first one.”

“Okay, here.” Travis takes the remote away, flipping to the second episode. “This one’s so good.”

Before he settles in, Harry takes a moment, goes completely calm inside, and Reaches.

Hold me, Travis’s body croons. Little lapping waves of closeness, safety, warmth, care inundate Harry’s senses. It’s not sex that he wants or needs, so Harry won’t initiate. I want them to treat me like I’m normal. The last breaks Harry’s heart open even more than it already was. He wants to tell Travis how normal he is and also that he could never be anything other than extraordinary at the very same time. And that his parents are shits. But he shuts off his feelers and just pulls him closer, and he listens when Travis explains which character is his favourite and who he hates and then laughs at a line and has to explain to Harry why it’s funny. Harry kisses the top of his head and lingers, leaving his lips there for Travis to feel the heat of his breath. He feels this intensely brave young man melt against him, sighing, pulling his legs into his body. Gryffindor. If he’d been a wizard, Travis would be in Gryffindor.

One episode plays, then another. Travis falls asleep, so Harry turns the volume down, letting it play out. He lays Travis along the sofa gently, pulling a light blanket over him and making sure the pillow fits under his head. Harry leaves the light on over the hob but dims the room otherwise. The empty tea cups can wait till morning.

Lying in his own bed, Harry tosses and turns. He can’t shut off his mind, the worry he feels for Travis, the incessant hum of racing thoughts. He picks up the bottle of Dreamless that he keeps on his nightstand and frowns. He shouldn’t, with a client here. But it’s Travis. Everything in Harry tells him he can trust him. Sighing, he takes a swig and then turns out his light, dropping back onto his pillow with frustrated resolve.

Harry closes his eyes. The potion begins to take effect. He can feel his consciousness draining from his limbs, leaving his toes and fingers, the roots of his hair, until it all settles in the last little speck of his mind before the Dreamless takes even that under the ocean current of sleep. And in the last vestige of mind, he flits over an image, a brightness, and wants to cling to it even as it slips away… even as Draco Malfoy leaving his duelling room plays out before the steadily shuttering camera lens through which he sees. Harry watches him put the card on the table, and leave, before sleep takes him.





Draco gets his four shots of espresso with whipped cream from the tea trolley and takes the lift to his office. It’s slower than usual, the lift, and Dracoe sips his coffee and leans against the back wall, watching the numbers change.

Billings gets on, says good morning, and Draco nods. Billings gets off at Creatures and Kwan boards instead. Another greeting, another nod.

He didn’t sleep last night. A combination of factors including Draco’s inability not to take his work home with him and also Pansy drunk-Flooing him at midnight, wanting to crow about her latest sexual exploits.

If only she knew.

His floor dings, and Draco clears his throat. He sends Kwan a polite smile as he exits, and suddenly he’s in the din of Level 2.

“Morning, Auror Malfoy!” Jenkins says too brightly.

Draco grimaces. “Good morning.” Bloody Junior Aurors.

“Oi, Malfoy.”

“Dodson,” Draco says, lifting his coffee and then taking another sip.

He makes his way between rows of cubicles and then down a hallway to his own meagre office, unwinding his scarf from his throat and hanging it on his coat tree. Kendall is fast on his heels and inserts herself through the crack in his door before he’s able to shut her out. She doesn’t seem put off by it. She never does.

“So, Robards expects your report on the Willowsby case by the morning meeting, have you done that yet? If not, I’ve got one half written, so that really ought to suffice as my penmanship is better than yours anyway, but then there’s the meeting with Kingsley this afternoon, and Games and Sports has requested you on a case as well and—”

“Sports?” Draco baulks. “What on earth do they need with an undercover Auror?”

“I don’t know. Do you want me to see if Phillips is available instead?”

Draco sits heavily in his office chair and waves his hand. “No, God, not Phillips. See if Okafor can do it. If not…” He growls. “Damn it. Yeah, fine, I’ll see to it. What else?”

What follows is Kendall’s usual Monday morning ten minute briefing which Draco listens to with one ear. Kendall, for what it’s worth, is very good at her job. She’s the Junior Auror assigned to intern with him, and to be quite truthful, her persistence and attention to detail have correlated to his even higher solve rate, in a round about sort of way. She’s earned the two raises she’s got in the last year, and Draco intends to recommend her for Chief Junior Auror for her last year of training. She could be Head Auror one day; Draco knows investigative talent when he sees it.

So he records everything she says in part of his brain and keeps alert for various important keywords in order to stop her and ask more pertinent questions.

His day goes as most do when he’s not on an active case that demands he be in the field. He finishes the parchment work so that Kendall is free to vet his cases, interview persons of interest, and let him know if anything demands his immediate attention. It doesn’t. Which is a nice change from a few months ago when he was so deep in a case he was afraid he’d never come out again. The small mercies of the boring part of this job.

But sitting through the interdepartmental meeting is an exercise in zen meditation. Kingsley’s not the I-want-to-stab-someone-in-the-eye part, and Draco takes diligent notes on new reporting measures for the DMLE, even the stuff not pertaining to undercover work. When Accidents and Catastrophes takes their typical fifteen minutes to debrief (because they’re championship catastrophisers, every one), Draco zones out, pruning his quill and trying not to actually fall asleep.

Which is how it happens… the veering of his wayward thoughts. It’s been two weeks, but he’s probably conjured up the memory—on purpose and purely by accident—more times than he wishes to count. This time it’s certainly not by choice. Draco blames Mr Catastrophe up there, reciting all of the week’s mishaps and tragedies. It only so happens to remind Draco of his own. Call it a mishap, a tragedy, a catastrophic event: he fucked Potter. He pulled Potter’s trousers down and shoved his cock inside his arse, and he fucked him until he came. It was not a fantasy. Not some well-worn pathway in his mind, some destiny he’ll never reach and never truly wanted to.

It happened. It’s done. And there’s no undoing it. His cock will always have buried itself, so hot and tight and sweet up Potter’s arse Draco could cry only from the memory.

He shakes his head now and takes a long drink of cool water, refilling his glass from the constantly cold pitcher in the middle of the conference table they all sit around. He’d pour it over his own head if wouldn’t get him a trip to a Mind Healer.

This is the true evil of interdepartmental meetings: they stop his momentum through his day long enough that his thoughts cannot possibly avoid this cul de sac where Potter waits, breathing heavy against that wall, saying, “Satisfied now?”

Saying, “Do what you want. Do it however you want, Malfoy.”

Merlin, Draco needs to get laid by an ordinary person. That would sort him out, surely. If he weren’t stuck here listening to Creatures lament the cut to their budget, he very well might.

He meets with Sports after lunch, and the man’s bloody name is Cocklebur, which, yes, is a plant, but that doesn’t stop Draco from choking on a juvenile little snicker. The poor sod. Then again, at least he’s not stuck with ‘Malfoy’.

Halfway through the man’s first sentence, Draco knows he’s going to shuttle the job off on someone else. He checks his watch, engages in social niceties, and then fakes being late for another meeting before locking himself away in his office.

He just feels… off. Like he could use an extended holiday. Maybe it’s that his last case had him under for three months. It still weighs on him, even though they managed to shut down three of the five major illegal dragon traders in the UK. It was hard work. It was dangerous work. And he was cut off from his friends the whole time, only sending encrypted Owls to his mother through a third party at the DMLE.

Draco doesn’t always love his job. Hell, lately he might dislike it as often as not.

The end of the day comes and with it the last of Draco’s patience to stick around. He takes the stairs rather than the lift, which puts him on the far side of the foyer when he emerges, near the bulletin board Spell-o-taped with various for-sales, community classes on multiple magical topics, etc. Draco’s about to bypass it and head for the Floos when something pinned there catches his eye.

It shouldn’t. It’s just the plain white corner of a business card, mostly hiding behind a memo about the newest funding drive for the war orphan project Draco gives to semi-annually. But it’s that flash of plain white that stops him and has him tilting his head at it.

Draco looks around to find everyone else busy getting coffee at the trolley or negotiating for the shortest Floo queue. He’s alone at the board when he turns back and lightly touches the corner of the card, gently moving it under its pin and revealing another blank inch, and then another.

Something like anxiety rolls through him. He ought to just leave it pinned up there and walk away. Maybe it’s just stuck on there backward. Maybe it’s nothing.

Walk the fuck away, he tells himself—before he unpins the card and takes it down, turning it over in his hand and confirming for himself what he already suspected, what he could feel the first moment he laid eyes on it.

“Bloody hell,” he sighs. And then the ink starts to form words.

He takes a look around himself again. Looks back down at the card. The address is different this time. It sports the name of a pub, not nearby enough that it would be frequented by his coworkers. In fact, it might be Muggle. Draco knows the name though and thinks it’s just a short Apparition if he…

“Christ,” he curses through his teeth, pinning the card back where it was, shoving it mostly back underneath the orphan memo, and stalking away.

He steps in line for the Floo and wills people to move their arses faster. Four more people. God, the witch in the front has dropped her bag, and the contents have spilled all over the place. Go around her! Draco wants to shout. But no, his overly polite queue waits for her. Merlin.

She gets her detritus gathered with the help of the younger witch behind her and then swirls away. Down to three people. Two. The wizard in front of him turns back to Draco inexplicably and smiles before he steps into the green flames. “Have a good night,” the man says and then names his location and is gone.

Draco stands there in front of the whoosh of flames until they calm. Then he stands there some more. It’s his turn, a fact which the young person behind him reminds him of with a little poke to his shoulder. Like Draco is the doddering wizard who’s forgotten how to use a fucking Floo.

“Use it or lose it,” he hears muttered under someone’s breath from farther back.

Apparently all the polite people were in front of him then.

The wizard behind him clears his throat. Sweat collects under Draco’s collar. The flames are right there. His flat is a few moments away.

Draco swallows, blinks, and steps out of line. His feet are in command of the rest of him and he finds himself walking briskly back to the bulletin board. It’s still there, innocent and unremarkable. Draco snatches it off the board. He tells himself he’s just preventing someone else from noticing and taking it and having “intent”. Which is itself still an embarrassing reason.

It’s also clearly a lie. Because Draco takes it back to the Floo, elbows the next wizard out of the front of the line none-too-gently, shrugging off the offended, “Oi!” that comes from the body he’s shoved aside.

Draco steps into the flames and recites the address for his flat. But he’s only going home to change.




He’s nervous again. It makes no sense. The magic gave him the message, suggested a meeting place he’s used to meet clients before (particularly the twitchy ones for whom a stiff drink would lubricate their inhibitions into disinhibition just enough). Harry rather likes The Black Swan, even though he rarely drinks so as to not impede his job performance in any way. And he’s not drinking now, only sipping a very tall iced water and checking the door every thirty seconds or so. For the first time in recent memory, he really wishes he could have a drink on the job.

There’s no good reason. There was nothing upsetting about the magical surge he received. It was powerful, almost frustrated, but there was nothing abnormal about it; there were no red flags.

Yet when at three minutes past their meeting time, the door opens and Draco Malfoy walks through, it gives Harry the shock of clarity he needs. The nervousness drains away at seeing him. Or rather, he redefines it as what it really is: excitement. Which is really bloody annoying. He doesn’t like that he’s excited by Malfoy, not in this specific way at least, though it does make it easier to, well… get there. He’s always been prone to… exuberant observance, is maybe a kind way to put it, where Malfoy is concerned. Ron would choke on his own tongue were he privy to Harry’s thoughts at the moment. Which proves unhelpful.

Jesus Christ, Malfoy looks good. Harry always carries a phial of ‘helper’ potion to these sorts of meets. He needs it as often as not. It is going to be laughably unnecessary tonight. Merlin.

Malfoy’s in a lavender dress shirt, impeccable black trousers. Harry can see the shine of his stupidly posh shoes from here. They’re probably Italian. He’s wearing braces. Dear fucking lord, why does he have to be wearing braces? He looks about the room, almost casually but not quite. His gaze darts into the corners like somebody in a spy film. After a moment of this, he spots Harry at the bar and nearly looks away, but Harry sees the moment of recognition that spears him in place before he can. Harry lifts his water glass with a slight smile, an ironic one, and then he signals for the bartender as Malfoy makes his way through the heavy-for-a-Monday-evening crowd.

Harry isn’t underdressed exactly—he’s in his smart crimson jumper and best black jeans—but he can’t hold a candle to Malfoy. In the fancy-pants department, he never has really. But he feels himself picking a piece of lint off his sleeve impulsively as Malfoy slides in on his left, taking the seat Harry’s held for him.

The bartender looks at Malfoy expectantly, so before they exchange anything resembling an awkward hey-we-had-sex-not-too-long-ago greeting, Malfoy hums in contemplation and then orders, “Dirty vodka martini, please. Three olives,” and then turns to Harry, who is stuck on the ‘please’ part of his order before moving on to Malfoy’s sculpted lips saying ‘dirty’.

“Highball?” Malfoy asks him.

“Hm? Oh. No. Mineral water.”

Malfoy lifts a brow at him.

Drink set in front of him, Malfoy sips then removes his tiny plastic sword of olives and taps them against the edge of his glass. “Want one?”

Bemused, Harry shakes his head. “No, thank you.”

“Are you sure?” asks Malfoy. “You’re eyeing my olives, Potter.”

“I don’t want your olives.”

“Mm.” He doesn’t sound convinced. Then, “So, why here? Are you too lazy to duel me this time?”

Because something in you needs it. Just like you needed the last time to be a fight, Harry thinks but refrains from saying. He shrugs. “It’s a place I meet clients sometimes. People get thirsty.”

Malfoy indulges in a low chuckle, almost just a breath, and then eats an olive. Harry takes in everything about it: how his tongue swipes out over his lips, how his jaw works as he chews.

“They serve dinner here. I hadn’t planned on paying for dinner,” Malfoy says once he’s swallowed.

“What had you planned on?”

At this, Malfoy’s eyes flare. He takes a deep, audible breath and then reins himself in. “I didn’t choose this place.”

“No, you just picked up the card. Again,” Harry can’t help adding, because it’s bloody Malfoy, and needling him, about anything, is just second nature.

“It was on the bloody bulletin board at my work,” Malfoy clips out. “You’re not a Crup groomer, Potter. What are you doing advertising on bulletin boards?”

“I don’t go around putting them up. They just… end up places,” Harry explains. Then, “Where do you work?”

At this, Malfoy goes stony. His eyes lose their sparkle. He takes a generous drink, draining half his martini and signalling for another.

Harry’s wondered, off and on over the years, where Malfoy might have landed, career-wise. It was never announced in the Prophet and the Prophet just loves to announce such things, so Harry had settled on the assumption that Malfoy was living off his own vaults, the life of an elite Pureblood whose tainted post-war image hadn’t driven his value down all that much.

But this seems to have been inaccurate. And now Harry practically itches to do some mildly unethical Legilimency to get it out of him; Malfoy is clearly not going to elaborate.

“How did you get into this, Potter?” Turning the tables, like a dick.

“Fifty Galleons again,” Harry tells him. “Fifty and I’ll cover your bar tab as well. But that doesn’t buy you insight into my life.” When Malfoy starts to comply, digging a hand into his trouser pocket, Harry leans forward and touches his wrist. “Not now. After.”

Harry leaves his hand there. Their gazes lock. Thumb over the back of Malfoy’s wrist, a soft caress, he watches Malfoy’s reaction; Harry Reaches.

And it almost knocks him to the ground. The want. But whereas before it was more nebulous, chaotic—where all Harry got was the need to fight, to make it a fight—now Malfoy’s desire has zeroed in, become a laser of sorts.

Merlin, he wants Harry’s cock.

Harry breathes out measuredly. He removes his hand, fingertips dizzy with the muscle memory, the feel of Malfoy’s wrist bones, the warm skin, the magic responding to him so much more easily than Malfoy himself.

“You look parched,” Harry says, and when Malfoy stares at him, still lost in the moment before, Harry lifts his chin at his one and a half drinks.

Malfoy blinks and then downs the last of his first martini, olives now ignored. He sips the second one, licking his lips and then clearing his throat. “Where would you like to do this?”

And since Harry hasn’t stopped Reaching yet, the answer comes at him, almost ridiculously clear, as though Malfoy voiced his preference: they’re going to do it in the loo.

Harry laughs. Because his first thought is that if he’d known it was going to be Draco Malfoy, and if he’d known it was going to be in the bloody loo of the bloody pub, he wouldn’t have worn his best jeans.

Malfoy’s just looking at him like Harry’s lost a bit more of his mind now.

“Sorry,” Harry says, stifling a new little laugh. “Sorry, I just… had a moment.”

In an impromptu move, Harry grabs Malfoy’s drink and slings back a large sip. Malfoy raises his eyebrows at him. Harry withdraws his wallet, pays for their drinks with a nod at the bartender, and then stands.

“Let’s go.”


‘Wants his cock’ was vague. What Malfoy really wants to do is suck it. But once Harry gets him in the bathroom and wards the door, once they’re in the stall with the door slammed close, Harry feels the magnitude of his reticence, the evil twin of his desire, almost as strong. Maybe stronger.

Harry pushes Malfoy up against the wall of the stall, sliding his hands beneath the cursed braces, running the backs of his fingers over Malfoy’s nipples as if by accident, as though he’s unaware he’s even doing it. And what he feels is close to pity, an empathetic sadness he never imagined would bloom inside him toward someone like Malfoy.

Draco Malfoy wants so badly to get on his knees and suck Harry’s cock, while at the same time he’d rather die than sink to his knees in front of Harry. He’d go his whole life not having the very thing he wants like he wants to breathe, just to satisfy his ego.

No… As Harry leans in and nuzzles Malfoy’s throat, inhaling the nirvana of his cologne, he realises it’s not ego at all. It’s… protection. It has more to do with something like shame. The fact that he’s let Harry see him wanting at all is a minor miracle.

Harry no longer wants to Reach inside him. Not tonight at least. He doesn’t like what he’s found, as much in himself as in Malfoy.

Malfoy is a client. And Harry is quite good at giving his clients what they need, or as close to it as they’ll let him. Harry nudges one brace off Malfoy’s shoulder, slow and teasing. He breathes his words against Malfoy’s neck: “I want to suck your cock.”

He feels the sharp inhale at his words. He works the other brace off, letting each dangle against Malfoy’s thighs. The protection spell he uses this time is so subtle Malfoy may not even sense it as Harry runs his hands up Malfoy’s chest, over his shoulders, back down to settle at his waist, kissing along his neck and throat, up to his jaw, beneath his ear. “I’ve thought about giving you head before.” Not a lie. Harry meets Malfoy’s stoicism with his own vulnerability. He’s not entirely altruistic about it; there’s a bit of one upmanship involved. Harry’s only human. And Malfoy’s a git.

Harry unbuttons Malfoy’s trousers, unzips them so slowly it makes Malfoy gasp in a quiet breath and then hold it.

“Tell me to get on my knees.”

Harry meets Malfoy’s gaze. It’s like storm clouds, a deluge approaching so fast it eclipses the light on the horizon.

Malfoy’s lips part. “Get on your knees, Potter.”

It shouldn’t feel like a good thing, Malfoy saying that, commanding him, not even when it was Harry telling him to do it. But Harry drinks in the words. They fill his veins, pump through his heart, and rush his body. He wonders what Malfoy sees in him right now, because it flashes silver, like lightning, over his eyes, before Harry obeys, sinking down and kneeling at his feet, never once breaking eye contact.

Malfoy takes a handful of Harry’s hair and then lets it loose to wrap his hand around the back of Harry’s head, pulling him in.

Harry lets himself be drawn close, opening his mouth on the bulge in Malfoy’s underwear. His eyes flutter shut. Malfoy’s cock pushes at the cotton fly, and Harry tilts his head, breathing hot along the shaft, leaving a kiss, wet and slow, against the flared tip.

What Malfoy breathes might be a word; it might just be a groan. He reaches up over his head to grasp the upper edge of the stall, his other hand staying at the back of Harry’s head, his fingers and palm warm, almost comforting.

Harry takes down his underwear, careful to clear his sensitive prick, nestling the cotton beneath his balls. He strokes the length in his hand, the skin of it hot and soft. It jumps in his fist, a drop of precome emerging from the slit. It shouldn’t be surprising, not with how the desire still rolls off Malfoy’s body in thick, electric waves. But it is. It is surprising. Harry looks up at him, at the tension in Malfoy’s face, the way he looks at Harry, but not into his eyes. He’s looking but not, like how you try to watch the setting sun.

Harry lets himself moan as he takes Malfoy’s cock into his mouth, as it slides onto his tongue. It’s not performative, the sound he makes. Harry rather likes giving blow jobs, for one. But also, there’s something about doing this to a man who has, for sixteen years straight, hated him, and who Harry has made so very hard, has made leak, and who now is gripping a bathroom stall for dear life while Harry takes him deeper, and a little deeper… there’s something quietly triumphant about it.

And then there’s the third thing. It’s not news to Harry now—he’d gleaned as much from being fucked by him before—but Malfoy has a spectacular cock.

Malfoy’s hand tightens on the back of his head. It feels good, like a massage, and Harry groans again. He moves on Malfoy’s dick, keeping the shaft warm and wet, suckling at the head and then diving slowly down once more. He reaches between his own legs and squeezes his hard cock, at first rhythmically, but then, when Malfoy’s fingers soften and his nails rack over the shortest hairs at Harry’s nape, Harry grasps himself tight, staving off what would have been a bit of a professional disaster.

“Do you like that?” Malfoy’s words drip down on him, and Harry doesn’t hesitate, doesn’t even want to lie about it. He lifts his mouth and whispers, “Yes,” then laps under the crown in a way that has Malfoy inhaling sharply, before Harry takes it down again.

It’s not long, not long at all, before Malfoy says, “Potter…”—a breath, a sigh, fingers sliding tight into Harry’s hair again.

It’s an undeniable thrill. Harry takes Malfoy by the hips and bobs his head. Nice of him to warn Harry, of course. Exceedingly considerate. But there’s no way in hell Harry’s going to lift off now, not unless it’s what Malfoy wants. And it’s not. No, he wants to see Harry swallow it. He wants to see it drip down his face. At merely the thought, Harry moans again. And this is what sets Malfoy off.

Harry peers up as Malfoy comes. Malfoy’s watching his mouth intensely, his gaze dipping once to Harry’s throat, and then zeroing in again. Harry lets some of it dribble out. Malfoy likes that. He likes it very much. The changes flash over Malfoy’s face as his body tenses with another shudder, as it becomes too much for a moment, but when Harry tries to draw back, Malfoy’s hand increases its pressure so that he’ll stay there. Harry blinks, giving Malfoy what he wants, moving on the shaft so slowly now, just an inch, just coaxing gently with his tongue, until all Malfoy’s breath leaves him, and he pulls out, pushing Harry’s face away, panting, closing his eyes.

Harry wipes his mouth and stands. He doesn’t overthink his own actions when he decides to tuck Malfoy’s spent cock back into his pants, righting them.

But Malfoy grasps his wrist in a firm hand. “Turn around.”

Harry does, and Malfoy jerks him back against his body. Malfoy rips into Harry’s jeans, yanking everything down to mid-thigh, Harry’s bare bum against the cotton swell of Malfoy’s still-hard cock. Malfoy takes Harry’s dick in his hand, peering over Harry’s shoulder as he starts wanking it.

Harry knows how his exhale sounds… like he’s as aroused as he is. He reaches back and grips Malfoy’s silky trousers, the hard length of his thighs. Malfoy pulls him off like he does this every day, like the cock in his fist isn’t new to him. He massages the shaft, pulling the foreskin back from the head each time and watching it emerge. Harry bites his lip, simultaneously choking back a whine of pleasure. He leans his head back against Malfoy’s shoulder, his face turned toward the warmth of Malfoy’s neck.

“Fuck my fist,” Malfoy says, his voice so close Harry feels the words rumble against his lips. He mimics Malfoy from before, lifting an arm to hold tight to the top of the stall wall. Malfoy must like that, because he tosses Harry’s other arm up. Harry grips the cool metal and begins thrusting his hips, meeting Malfoy’s hand as it continues to work him.

“Oh fuck,” Harry gasps. Malfoy handles him with confidence, and Harry lets go into it. Malfoy will either take him all the way through and be at his back while he comes, or he won’t. And Harry decides it doesn’t matter. Malfoy’s the client. Malfoy will get what he wants, either way. So Harry lets Malfoy have him. He feels it build, a wildfire through his legs, deep inside him. He’s making small noises now, uncontrollable but quiet. A tremble racks him. He comes, and Malfoy’s hand tightens just a fraction, just enough to turn Harry's soft noises into something forced from his body, louder and wild.

Malfoy’s other arm snakes around him, holding Harry up against his body as he comes, as it arcs out of him, splashing the loo, the floor, leaving him with a post-orgasmic lethargy which Malfoy withstands, letting him breathe there against his jaw, legs shaking.

Harry licks dry lips and steadies his breath. He peels his fingers from the wall, gets his feet under him, his cock put away. He hears Malfoy zipping his trousers too, righting himself. Harry waves a hand and cleans up, a flick of his fingers for the loo and floor, another for Malfoy and then himself.

He turns, glancing down Malfoy’s body and back up. “We can go again if you want.” Malfoy’s cock against his arse had never gone fully soft after all.

But the lassitude feels good. Harry could very happily go back out to the pub, order a real drink and a large meal and enjoy his sated body, his sex-drenched limbs. Unless Malfoy requires more. And that, too, is okay with him.

But Malfoy digs out the fifty Galleon piece and puts it in Harry’s hand. “You do wandless like that often?”

Confused by this turn in conversation, Harry frowns a little around a small smile. “Er… yeah? I mean… define ‘often’.”

Malfoy observes him shrewdly. “When we duelled, would you have even needed to use a wand at all?”

Harry doesn’t know what he’s getting at, and his own words jumble up in his chest for a moment. He shrugs and shakes his head. “Probably not, no?”

Malfoy blinks at him a moment, and Harry has the uncomfortable feeling of being an exhibit in a zoo. Then Malfoy says, “What a disgusting waste of talent.”

It hits him like a Bludger he didn’t see coming, and Harry actually takes a small step back, his breath gone. The look on Malfoy’s face caps it off. It goes so perfectly with that word, which he’d practically spat. Disgusting.

Harry’s fury builds under his skin. It would be all too easy to unleash it. It’s only Malfoy, after all. Harry shakes his head. Merlin, he hasn’t changed a bit.

Harry takes the fifty Galleon piece, still warm in his hand, and chucks it directly into the loo. Then without another word, he storms out, pushing out of the stall, out of the bathroom, through the crowd to get to the front door, all thoughts of a leisurely meal forgotten, all pleasurable lassitude gone so fast its departure leaves him feeling sick.

Chapter Text



It’s been a week—and a shitty one—since Draco said what he said to Potter. He’s gone to work, done his job, trained his trainees, finished his paperwork, etc. They sent him on an overnight to Paris, which should have been a respite. It was, in its way. He visited his mother in the countryside. She looked well. But she, as always, saw right through him, and asked him what was wrong three minutes into their tea. He’d made it about work, which was almost all true. It just wasn’t everything.

He’d gone back to Paris, met with a skittish source about an ongoing case, sent the intel back through a secured Floo, and then he’d had dinner out by himself and gone to bed early. He’d gone to bed early. And alone. In Paris. Blaise would absolutely murder him if he knew.

There’s no reason he should feel guilty about it—what he said, that is. It was a compliment. Potter has more talent in his left testicle than half the Aurors Draco works with daily have in their entire magical cores. But that’s not how it came out. Not at all.

Not that Draco particularly cares. One more reason for Potter to hate him. It’s par for the course. Why would something so fundamental about the world change just because they’ve had a couple of good shags. Pricey. But well-worth it both times.

No, it’s not as if Draco screwed anything up; it was all screwed up to begin with. Now they’re just back in their more familiar roles and can go on with life, having finally had sex with one another so that they can check that off a list of perverse curiosities and move forward.

Which is why it comes as an utter shock when Draco gets home after work Friday to find one of Potter’s cards literally stuck to his own front door. He might not have even seen it had he not gone out there to fetch the evening paper. But seen it he has, and now he’s sitting at his breakfast nook, paper flung onto the kitchen countertop, unimportant, as he moves the card between his fingers, flipping it over, and waiting for the ink to congeal.

He’d thought about not touching it, of course. Or wearing a pair of gloves or something. Only an idiot would pick the bloody thing up at this point. An idiot or a glutton for punishment. Draco’s pretty sure he qualifies as both. But there are so many unanswered questions. As the card produces a new address and the name of a restaurant in curly script, Draco frowns. Did Potter put this card on his door? If so, how? And fucking hell why? Or had it shown up much the way the others had, by odd coincidence?

The date on the card is for tomorrow night. Which gives Draco plenty of time to be a fucking lunatic about it, although he isn’t; he does, instead, perfectly sane things like: do the washing up by hand, scrubbing the stupid hob, regrouting his shower. He sleeps the night, though fitfully. And though he doesn’t really have a Saturday routine, he wakes up and pretends he does most of the day, regimenting a workout after breakfast, doing a crossword with his lunch, reading a book of Sufi poetry Pansy gave him when she was on some sort of weird spiritual kick, while he checks the clock every other stanza. At precisely six o’clock he showers and then dresses for the evening.

It simply does not occur to him not to go.

He pulls the soft grey jumper on and smooths it out over his chest and stomach, brushes off the shiny midnight blue trousers he chose, the ones that fit like they were sculpted onto him. All of it was absurdly expensive, the result of Blaise dragging Draco to his favourite shops and insisting Draco needed ‘clothes that will make everyone want to bang you’.

He’s wearing his bang-me outfit, to see Potter. Although for all he knows, they’re meeting for a real duel this time and these are actually the clothes Draco will be buried in.

The restaurant is a nice one, bunkered into a little street in Notting Hill, serving the types of dishes his family and its station would approve of: lemongrass-fed salmon (or thereabouts), an egg cooked so fancily it’s unrecognisable as an egg, wasabi foam on the side of something you normally wouldn’t associate with wasabi, stuff like that. Dinner looks as though it will be served in four courses. No quickie to be had in this loo. Of course Draco’s not at all sure this won’t be some sort of last supper for him anyway. Or an odd prank on Potter’s part, luring him here only to stand him up. Rather lukewarm as far as pranks go, Draco thinks. Definitely not up to Potter’s standards.

But no. When Draco enters, he sees Potter already seated at a table near the middle of the room, conspicuous. Draco hands the host his coat and scarf and declines being escorted to the table to the man’s utter scandalisation. Potter watches him cross the room, and all of Draco’s senses go on high alert. All but the one little portion of his brain that travels back in time instead, remembering Potter’s breath against his neck, then against his cock. The intimate wet of his mouth.

And then, as he’d leaned back against Draco’s chest, the way Potter’s cock had lain in his hand.

Potter gestures to the chair across from him, and Draco takes it, inhaling to say something teetering between a greeting and an insult, when Potter says, “Don’t talk.”

Draco snaps his lips shut and grinds his teeth. Potter leans back in his chair, blinks, and then stares at Draco’s face like he’s asked Draco a direct question and he’s waiting for an answer.

“I don’t know what you’re—”

Potter huffs. “Shut. Up.” Then he whispers, “Fuck’s sake,” under his breath as though Draco won’t be able to hear it.

When a waiter starts to approach the table, Potter does an impatient little magical flick of his fingers, and the man immediately makes a U-turn and happily walks away. Then Potter stares at Draco again in that same utterly disconcerting way, like Draco’s a book that Potter casually opens, scanning his table of contents to see if he wants to start at chapter one or reshelve him.

“Merlin, what is that?” Draco blurts.

“You take orders so much better during sex,” Potter says.

Draco considers this. “Wouldn’t anyone?”

Potter smiles, just the slightest bit. Then he sighs, relaxing his weird little magic trick. “It’s something I do,” he explains. “I should have kept doing it when we were in the loo before, but I stopped because I don’t like you, and that was unprofessional of me. If I hadn’t stopped I would have probably known what you were trying to say rather than…”

It’s a lot of information all at once. Draco finds himself shaking his head and then dropping his gaze and becoming fixated with how his napkin drapes over his lap. He doesn’t remember putting it there. “I didn’t mean that what you do is—”

“I know,” says Potter. “I know that.”

“I think it would be useless to try to deny at this point that I quite enjoy what you do.” Napkin smoothed, he meets Potter’s gaze again.

“Taking your personal enjoyment of it doesn’t mean you can’t also find it abhorrent. It just means you’ve got a fuckload of cognitive dissonance to work through.”

Draco takes a breath. This is not the Harry Potter he knew in school. And yet he’s all too aware, in this very present moment, seated at this unnecessarily posh restaurant, that the man across from him literally died to save their world, and then came back to live in it. Maybe you don’t come back from that without a little self-awareness. Without an awareness of others. Draco wonders if this same Harry Potter sitting across from him would still leap into Fiendfyre to save his arse, or if he’d reconsider.

This Harry Potter considers things.

“Look,” Potter says. “Before we call our bloke back over, I think tonight needs some ground rules.”

Draco is grateful there’s already a goblet of mineral water on the table sweating small droplets onto the thick, white tablecloth. He takes a reassuring drink. “Go on.”

“You were a dick last time. I don’t entertain dicks as a general rule.” At Draco’s look, he amends, “Not that kind.”

“Fair enough.”

“So, if you want this…”

Draco inhales slowly, cursing his cock for beginning to swell at the undercurrent of sexuality in Potter’s words.

“If you want this, you’re buying dinner tonight. And after that, it will be three hundred Galleons.”

“Three hundred,” Draco repeats, unable to quell the shocked amusement with which it comes out.

“For the night,” Potter says then.

“For the… for the night.” There’s not nearly enough oxygen in this room. He clears his throat. “What happens if I’m a dick again?”

“Well, I’m not asking you not to be yourself.”

Draco can’t help the rueful smile.

Potter continues, “I think you know where that edge lies. I think you knew then. And you could have stopped yourself saying it.”

He’s right. Draco slides his fingers through the condensation on his glass, up and down.

“So,” Potter says. “Should I call our waiter back over? Or you could get up and leave, and I won’t hold it against you, Draco, it’s—”



Despite the blood pounding through his head, Draco makes himself relax further into his chair… lets his knees fall wider apart. He unglues his tongue from the roof of his mouth. And then he finds their waiter at a nearby table, catches his eye, and flicks two fingers to call him back. The waiter smiles, eager, and makes his way between the tables. Draco meets Potter’s eyes, and they share a moment of understanding, even as the waiter says, “What can I get you to drink this evening, gentlemen?” They hold the look a little longer. Time, deliciously, stretches out.

Then Potter licks his lips, smiles at the waiter, and orders the most expensive bottle of white wine that he possibly can.

When the waiter leaves, Potter says, “I didn’t say I was going to make it easy for you.”

“Expensive isn’t difficult.”

“Expensive isn’t the only thing I can make this.”

“So I’m going to pay half my vaults to fuck you—”

Potter scoffs loudly, looking away from him. “‘Half your vaults’, you’re so full of shit.”

“—and you’re going to insist on making the preceding experience as terrible as you can?”

Potter smiles unreservedly, a soft chuckle escaping him. It’s unrepentantly sexy. He drinks his water, slides his napkin into his lap. Draco can’t stop bloody looking at him.

In the next moment their waiter shows up with his own helper in tow. Steaming plates are set in front of them, and the waiter shows them both the bottle of wine before pouring. Draco tastes it and nods. It’s, sort of annoyingly, exquisite.

When they leave, he looks down at the food in front of him—some sort of oyster dish that smells like heaven, while Potter’s seems to be something vegetarian in nature. “You ordered before I arrived,” Draco says.

Potter shrugs.

“I don’t know if that’s arrogance, assumption…?” Definitely not hope.

Potter gives him a little grin, picking up his fork, and says, “Expediency.” He takes a bite and then says around it, “I was hungry.”

This is most certainly the Harry Potter Draco remembers from school. It’s reassuring, that he’s still in there. Under all the hotness. Draco eats an oyster and lets his gaze land on the way a tattoo peeks out from under the collar of Potter’s clean white shirt. He’s not wearing a tie, so the open top button lets Draco see the notches of his collar bone, a little bit of springy black chest hair (Merlin, have mercy), and that hint of ink.

A long, cool drink of wine becomes vital. Then Draco asks, “How did you know I would have ordered the oysters?”

“Didn’t,” says Potter. “I took a chance. Are they good?”

“Would you like to try one?”

After a telling pause, Potter says, “Sure.”

Draco feels oddly happy to have surprised him. He delivers an oyster on a fork to Potter’s plate and then watches Potter take it in his fingers and deliver it to his own mouth.

Suboptimal time to remember the blow job, but one can’t always help that sort of thing.

“Mm.” Potter nods. “Good. Lemony.”

“Yes,” Draco replies, reluctantly enjoying the lack of sophistication in his reaction. And they are. Lemony. “I guess you’re not a vegetarian then?”

Potter shakes his head no, finishes his bite and takes a sip of wine. “No, I just like this particular dish.”

“You’ve… brought clients here before.”

“Would that bother you?”

Draco’s taken aback. “Of course not.” He eats another oyster and licks the sauce from his lips.

“I’ve never brought a client here before, no.”

“But you just said…”

“I asked if it would bother you if I had. I haven’t.”

“Who’s being a dick now?”

Unfortunately, he says this just as their waiter has approached on ridiculously silent feet. He acts as though he hasn't heard, though; very professional. “How is everything?”

“Excellent,” Potter tells him, while Draco dabs his lips.

“Wonderful,” says the waiter. “The second course will be out shortly.”

Once he’s walked away again, Draco says, “Wonder what you’ve ordered for me this time.”

Instead of clueing him in, Potter sighs. “I’m sorry.”


“For being a bit of a dick. You were right.” After a deep breath, he continues, “I brought Ginny here several years ago. Then I was dating someone else, and I came here again with them. And I’ve been here with Ron and Hermione a few times since.”

“But never a client?”

“No.” Potter takes a bite, finishing his small plate of extravagant vegetables, if such a phrase isn’t too much of a juxtaposition.

“And you always get that dish?”

“Yes.” Potter smiles.

“I suppose I should have asked for a bite, if it’s that good.”

“You snooze, you lose.”

Draco snorts softly, and takes another drink. As he does, their waiter’s helper slips in and takes their plates, and then the waiter himself sets down the second course: Potter’s ordered himself the stupid, fancy egg, and Draco has a sumptuous little mound of risotto placed before him.

“How are they?” Draco asks, gently dishevelling his dish with a poke of his fork. “Granger and Weasley?”

“Er, fine.”

Draco seems to have stunned him right out of eating his egg. “Good,” he says and then has to resist the urge to moan at the bite of risotto he takes. Culinary divinity.

“They…” Potter deliberates a moment and then decides on a course. “They’ve got two kids now. Rose is four, and Hugo is six months. Hermione’s a solicitor for a Muggle non profit. Ron and George run Wheezes together, but Ron’s sort of part-time right now so that he can care for the kids when Hermione’s at work, which is, like, six days a week, twelve hours a day. Molly and Arthur are indispensable.”

As Potter talks, a little of the wariness with which he began softens into inevitable fondness for his friends. It’s unstoppable, and it changes the inflection of his voice. He sounds younger, sweeter.

In fact, they spend the rest of the second course with him talking like this. Draco asks after various Gryffindors, and Potter seems keen to discuss any one of them at length. It’s amusing and sort of surreal, and Draco actually finds himself listening rather than wandering off in his mind (which he’d fully intended to do). He learns Lovegood’s taken the helm at Witch Weekly, and not turned it into a laughing stock, which Draco does not comment on, nodding along and enjoying his meal instead. Finnigan and Thomas got bloody married to each other. Which, apparently, if you were a Gryffindor, was an already obvious conclusion to come to about them. Longbottom is happy teaching Herbology, which, actually, Draco already knows, because, as he inserts, “Yeah, Theo said he was at Hogwarts.”

“Theo?” Potter asks.


“Oh, right. Utter tosser? Really good-looking?”

Draco clears his throat. “Yeah.” Long, long sip of wine, draining his glass actually.

“Did you and he…?”

“Why do you want to know?” Bloody squid balls, he’s blushing.

Potter picks up the bottle and pours Draco another glass of wine but leaves his own glass nearly empty after one. ”I don’t know. I can just see it.”

“You can… see it?”

Potter smiles. “Well, I’m not sitting here visualising it or anything. It just… makes sense, I suppose? I mean… you are gay, right?”

“Gay enough to fuck you,” Draco says. At which point Potter looks over Draco’s shoulder, and he knows.

“Are we ready for the third course?” asks the waiter in a voice rather too high.

Merlin. It doesn’t help at all that Potter is suppressing a peal of giggles until they’re just little shaking breaths into his napkin.

“Yes, thank you,” Draco tells him, shooting Potter a look as harsh as a curse.

Potter got himself the salmon it appears, and Draco has quail, not his favourite, but it looks well prepared. He takes a tentative bite as Potter does the same.

“Good?” asks Potter.


Potter cocks his head. “Bollocks, you don’t like it.”

“It’s fine, Potter.”

“Mm.” Potter sips the last of his wine and then asks, like a first year ignorant of the basics of manners and etiquette, “Want to trade?”

The stupid wanker has been to this restaurant before; surely he realises such a thing should be unacceptable, or at the very least frowned upon. But there he is, eyebrows raised in expectation, a look of openness and interest on his face and…

“Yes, alright.”

Draco doesn’t know what’s got into him, only that Potter smiles as he passes his plate across the table and takes Draco’s instead, and Draco has trouble not meeting it, that smile. Maybe it’s the wine, but he feels a leaden weight lift from him. He’s never switched plates with anyone before. At the Manor you would have had your hand hexed just for asking. But here’s Potter, at his posh restaurant with its multiple courses and one week’s salary wines, and he’ll do bloody anything and simply feel fine about it. He’ll give Draco what he wants. Like it’s easy. Like it matters more than decorum.

“Better?” Potter asks once Draco’s taken a bite.

And it is. It is so much better.



Plum tart with butter cream. Key lime pie-flavoured ice cream. They split these equally, and Draco has now had two and a half glasses of wine, plenty enough not to care anymore.

Potter sips an espresso, his dessert fork clattering onto his plate with joyful finality. “Fuck,” he laughs.

Draco hums around his spoon and then—fuck it—tosses it recklessly in the direction of his empty plate, about which Potter snorts and then laughs harder.

When the bill arrives, Draco takes it. He’s prepared for both the price and the fact that he’ll need to pay with Muggle money and digs out the wallet he uses for such occasions. They’re not as rare as you’d think; Pansy loves Muggle everything, it has turned out. Draco presses the pound notes into the black leather book, sliding it to the corner of the table.

“There’s some wine left,” Potter says. “Do you want them to cork it?”

Dear fuck, never! How the hell will everyone know how rich they are if they don’t waste some of their bounty?

But he says, “Why not?” Because the wine was really fucking good.

Out on the street it’s bitterly cold, but he’s so warm from the meal and the alcohol that he can’t quite feel it; he just knows it’s true. Potter slings his arm into Draco’s, and they walk close together like people who might actually like one another.

“Is your skin crawling right now?” Draco asks. “Having to pretend to enjoy my company?”

He can feel Potter’s frown and so chooses not to look at it. “You don’t make my skin crawl, Malfoy.”

“Why not? You said yourself you don’t like me.”

Potter sighs and if anything squeezes closer to Draco’s side. “Well, that may be true, but I don’t think I actually hate you anymore.”

“You don’t think.”

“I’m mulling it over.”

Draco can’t help a small laugh. He swings the wine bottle in his free hand.

Potter keeps going. “It helps a bit, knowing you fancy me.”

It’s Draco’s turn to rear back and frown. “I don’t bloody fancy you. I just want to fuck you.”

“Again,” adds Potter.

They walk a bit further. Potter squeezes closer when the pavement gets congested. His free hand rests on Draco’s upper arm.

“I don’t fancy you,” Draco repeats.

Potter snorts.

He’d belabour the point, but it would just turn into a do-not, do-so battle of who could be annoying the longest. Instead he asks, “Where are we going?”

“Not too far. The Apparition point’s a few streets away.”

Draco stops walking, pulling Potter back a step when he tries to keep going.


Draco is looking up at a six storey building, its awning flapping in the cold wind before them. The Hotel Ladbroke, proclaims the sign, silver lettering on a black background.

“Here,” Draco says.

Potter looks at the building, looks at Draco. “You want to stop here?”

“If you’re amenable.”

“If I’m amenable.”

“Fucking hell, Potter, it’s cold, make up your mind.”

Potter gives him an assessing look but one that feels almost pleasant as his eyes travel Draco’s face, down his body, and then back up. “Alright then.”

The lobby is warm and pristine, a lot of glass reflecting low lighting, soft, vaguely sad jazz playing in the background. While Draco reserves a room, Potter wanders around looking at the art on the walls, gazing at the fire in the large hearth, his hands in his pockets accentuating the tight perfection of his arse as the material of his dark grey trousers pulls tighter across it.

“Sir?” The front desk person asks. Draco turns his attention back to her as she offers the key. He gives her a smile and thinks he sees her blush slightly when she says, “Have a good evening.”

She really doesn’t need to be extra astute to recognise what’s happening of course; he got a room with one bloody bed.

Draco pockets the key and then retrieves Potter from running his hand along the back of a sofa like someone new to this planet. He drags Potter to the lift, jamming his finger into the button and then waiting, his hand still a loose circle around Potter’s arm.. He makes himself let go. And then the doors open, and they step inside, and it’s either an eternity that the doors take to close or he just really cannot bear waiting to do it, but when they’re finally enclosed inside, alone, Draco presses Potter back against the wall, sinks his hand into his stupid hair, and opens Potter’s mouth under his own.

He’s not sure if he expected some form of resistance, but that’s not what he gets. Potter blooms against him, his lips parting readily, hot breath exhaled on an aroused sigh. He kisses Draco back, instantly deep and hot and sexual. He lets Draco press him back hard, runs his hands up under Draco’s jumper and onto his bare back. Draco hears a thunk and realises he’s dropped the wine in order to grip Potter by the fabulous arse and tug him closer. Potter breathes a seductive little laugh against Draco’s lips. But there’s no artifice in it. It’s only seductive because it’s so fucking genuine. Draco shuts him up, and Potter hums contentedly into the kiss.

The lift dings their floor, and even then they’re slow to step away. It takes a moment to do anything other than look at Potter’s flushed face, at the swell of his lower lip, the heavy dilation of his eyes. It’s Potter who reaches out quickly to stop the doors from closing on them once more.

But before they step out, Draco has to give voice to this nagging feeling inside. “That thing you do,” he says. “Are you doing it right now?”

Potter looks at him steadily. “No, I’m not.”

Draco nods. “Good. I don’t want you to. Not tonight.”

“I won’t,” Potter says, hand still staying the lift doors, hair dishevelled by Draco’s hand, pulse beating hard beneath his jaw.

Draco snatches up the wine bottle, and they step out into the hall.

“Which one?” asks Potter.

It’s bloody impossible to think. Thank Merlin the key has the room number etched into the metal. Draco fits it into the lock, and they enter the dark room. Potter flicks on a light and wanders in, looking about like he did in the lobby, absorbing the details. Draco has the stray thought that he’d make a good Auror. Which is fucking ridiculous because of course he would. Potter flicks on another light on a desk near the window. He gazes out for a moment and then pulls the voiles so that the scant light from the street bathes the room in a diffuse platinum.

“I’ll only be a moment,” Draco tells him, giving a jerk of his head toward the bathroom.

“Here, I’ll take that,” Potter says, holding out a hand for the wine bottle.

It’s the most bizarre exchange, lingering in the heat from the lift yet encompassing these small practicalities as well. There’s something in it that strikes Draco as unduly erotic… that they both know what they’re about to do, and yet, for the time being they’re refraining from doing it in order to set things aright… in order to prepare for it.

Potter gives him a comfortable close-lipped smile when he takes the bottle. He sees Draco notice it and gives a nod toward the bathroom. “Go on. I went at the restaurant.”

Draco closes himself inside the luxurious bathroom thinking that Potter would probably very much like to roam around in here too. He takes a long piss, dropping his head back, and then washes his hands, examining his face in the mirror. He looks positively drugged with arousal. He turns his face this way and that, seeing where Potter’s days growth of stubble has marred his own milky skin… here, along his jaw. He touches it gently.

Pulling his wand, he gives himself a thorough Scourgify, eyeing the enormous walk-in shower as a distinct possibility for later as well.

When he exits the bathroom, it’s only to be stopped short at what greets him. Potter. Undressed. Lying on his stomach in the middle of the huge bed, his head pillowed on his arms. Waiting for him.

Potter doesn’t look up when Draco emerges, but he lifts a hand, almost lazily, and his fingers wiggle out that protection spell he’s fond of. Another flick, and Draco can only assume he’s cast his own cleaning charm.

Potter turns his head on his arms and finally spots Draco standing there, rapt. He gives a small, serene smile, and it feels like a lightning bolt.

As Draco approaches the bed from the side, he’s grateful for the soft, ambient light Potter let into the room. It allows him to see all the tattoos painted over Potter’s body, the twine of an antler from hip around waist to back; the holly branch down his shoulder; a cascade of images hugging his ribs, etched over shoulder blades, a dangerous looking dagger… no, a sword, down his thigh.

Draco strips off his jumper, and Potter watches him, his gaze dipping to Draco’s chest, his stomach, the descent of modestly cut obliques into his trousers. The scars Potter gave him are faint now, but he’ll still be able to see how they map his torso. Draco drops the jumper on the floor and rounds the foot of the bed, away from Potter’s perusal. He takes hold of Potter’s ankles and gives a little jerk, dragging him a foot down the bed. He inhales Potter’s little gasp, drawing in a heady sense of power.

“Spread your legs a little,” he says, and then once Potter obeys, he stands there for a moment and looks: at the downy soft curve of him, that little crease there; the utter strength of his hairy thighs; the lay of his bollocks… that small shadow.

Draco’s mouth waters at the sight of it. He mounts the bed.

His hands run up Potter’s calves, his thighs, up to cup his bum and massage it. Springy muscles resist him and then... give. Draco lowers himself down like some kind of supplicant, thumbs parting the way for his mouth. He tongues Potter there and delights at the delicate mewl Potter makes in response.

“Mmm,” Draco moans, because he doesn’t think he can stop it, and what’s the point of trying to, with Potter splayed out before him, naked and responsive and ready for him? He tastes like the hollow of a throat, and Draco licks him softly, waiting for the cue to go harder, and then getting it when Potter cannot help but part his thighs further, making a sound into the pillow now.

Draco tests the resistance at the tip of his tongue and finds it amenable to being coerced. When his tongue slips barely inside, they both groan.

“Are you hard?” Draco asks between deep, tonguing kisses.

Potter gasps, holds his breath, and then his words come out in a quiet rush. “Since the lift.”


Since the bloody lift.

“You’re not to come yet. Do you understand?”

“I understand that you’re a bastard,” Potter breathes. He lifts his hips slightly, and Draco gives a low laugh.

“Potter, we’ve barely begun.”

He makes a beautiful sound then, caught between humour and desperation. And Draco dives back into eating him out.

It’s not long though before his trousers have become painfully restrictive. Draco lifts his face, pats Potter’s arse lightly. “Hold still,” he says, sliding off the bed to undress the rest of the way. Potter cranes his head around to look, but Draco doesn’t give him time, climbing back up and grasping Potter’s hips.

“On your knees.”

Potter releases a tight groan and then comes up on wide knees, elbows pressed into the mattress.

“Slick yourself up.”

Potter murmurs a lubrication charm, generously coating himself inside and out. Draco runs two fingers through it, over his arsehole, and then reaches between his legs and works the oil along Potter’s cock as well; it’s hard and proud, a dull red, and Draco allows himself a moment to revel in his hand around it, stroking it root to tip, feeling the hot throb of it.

Then he pushes two fingers into the lovely, tight heat of Potter’s raised arse. He pumps them in, avid to see how they disappear and re-emerge, how Potter grasps them… and then begins to move on them in counterpoint. Draco’s cock pulls up toward his hip bone, neglected.

“Yes,” Potter sighs. A rich blush has stolen down his back, His tattoos ripple as he works himself back into Draco’s hand.

“You like that?”

Potter nods against the bedding.

“You want me to fill you up? Are you aching for a cock?”

Draco removes his fingers and watches Potter arch for them, his body begging. Draco touches the tip of his cock to the slick entrance, rubs the head there. It’s only when Potter tells him to, actually says the words, “Christ, fuck me,” that Draco lines himself up and drives his cock inside.

It’s too bad the wizarding world lacks a concept of heaven. He dislikes having to borrow the terms for it. This is what he’s thinking as he slides inside Potter… as he eases back out, and then slowly thrusts again. His hands slide up Potter’s sides, down his back, smooth over his arse as he watches himself penetrate it. A gust of a moan escapes him, his eyes fluttering shut, but only for a moment because he wants to see.

He watches himself fuck Potter for a long time, as long as he can stand it. And then more than seeing, he wants to feel. Draco moves over Potter, planting his hands on the bed so that he can lower his mouth to Potter’s skin while he lazily thrusts. He mouths a place on Potter’s back, the Snitch’s wings etched black instead of gold. Draco follows it with his tongue to where it wraps around Potter’s side, and then he gently bites, dragging his teeth over flesh until Potter gasps.

“Don’t touch yourself,” Draco says against the salty skin. “Don’t come.” He lets himself go harder, slapping into Potter’s arse.

Potter makes a low sound with every fuck, his body receiving Draco’s cock and uttering his pleasure at it. It’s too much for Draco to withstand. He readjusts, bracing his arms and quickening. They work up a heat between them, the intimacy of this animal rutting going to Draco’s head like champagne.

He’s helpless to this. His body connects with Potter’s, his chest rubbing over Potter’s sweaty back as he begins to come inside him. He pumps his hips, a slow, deep rhythm that he never wants to end.

He breathes raggedly against the body pressed to his own. His cock throbs where it’s buried inside. He can feel Potter trembling.

Draco keeps going for a minute more, his climax over, cock still hard. But at some point, he inevitably slips out. He sits back on his heels, and Potter goes back to lying flat on his stomach.

“Flip over,” Draco says.

Potter does, and there’s a brief negotiation of limbs when Potter’s bare feet gently collide with Draco’s hip, run down his thigh. Potter turns over, reclining on his back, his erection laid against his belly, hot and smeared with oil.

“Clean your dick off,” Draco commands, his own still tingling, still sensitive.

Potter doesn’t break his gaze as he draws the tips of his fingers down his chest, down his stomach, as he runs his hand over his cock, into his pubic hair, a spell and a caress at the same time. Merlin, what Draco wouldn’t give to simply watch Potter do himself.

Potter sighs, his hand resting on his prick without intent. Draco doesn’t bat his hand away, but he takes Potter’s cock too, their hands touching, and he lowers himself enough to slip it into his mouth.

The gasp that expands Potter’s chest might be both surprise and desire. His hand falls away as he lets Draco have him, lets him go down on his cock at his own unhurried pace.

It’s too much for him, as he knew it would be; he can only take it about halfway down, but he makes up for that with a purposeful hand, meeting his stretched lips. It doesn’t appear to matter. Potter thrashes against his pillow, lip bitten, sounds rumbling in his chest, hands clenching nothing until he seems unable to stop himself, and his fingers sift into Draco’s hair. It’s not painful. His hands are warm and gentle, even as he starts to pant, his humid breaths rhythmic with the descent of Draco’s mouth. He’s gentle.

Draco bobs a little faster, and Potter moans. His knee bends, his foot finding purchase on the bed, and he asks, “Draco, can I?” He pulses his hips up, just a little, and Draco hums around the dick in his mouth. Potter holds his head, strokes it, and when he fucks Draco’s mouth, it doesn’t hurt; it’s not hard; he doesn’t go any deeper. He just needs it so badly he has to move.

Draco meets him, rejoicing in how Potter begins to tremble, how his hips go faster, the noises coming out of him as his cock fills Draco’s mouth. His hands tighten in Draco’s hair. “Draco,” he gasps. Draco’s heart beats so hard, his eyes prickling wet. Potter holds his breath, hips frozen mid-lift off the bed, and then he cries out and starts filling Draco’s mouth with warm come.

“Shit,” he breathes, thrusting again now, hands threading through Draco’s hair, his eyes closed in rapture. “Oh fuck.” Hips going guilelessly, neck arched.

His body goes limp into the bed, a hand falling away from Draco’s head while the other gives a tired stroke and then stays there, heavy. “Shit,” he says again, and Draco finally lets his cock slide wet and half hard from his lips.

Potter’s other hand falls uselessly to the bed and he lies there panting, staring up at the ceiling. “Jesus, Malfoy,” he says and then huffs an amazed laugh.

Draco flops down beside him. Their legs are accidentally touching, and neither of them moves away. He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and then joins Potter in staring at the ceiling.

“We should have done that a long time ago,” Potter breathes.

Draco turns his head to look at him, a frown playing over his features.

Potter turns his head too, sees him frowning, and then gives a little shrug. “I mean, it would have solved so many problems.”

Draco scoffs. “That’s bollocks.”

“Yeah, I know.” Potter snorts and then—wandlessly and wordlessly—Summons the wine bottle into his waiting hand. He uncorks it and lifts onto an elbow to take a pull from it before offering it to Draco.

Draco takes it, hesitates only a moment, and then sits up enough to drink straight from the bottle as well. When he tries to give it back to Potter, Potter shakes his head, and Draco leans over him to set it on the bedside table. Their bodies brush.

When he lies back into the bed again, Potter has returned to examining the crown moulding. “You certainly wouldn’t have paid me for it, would you have?”

“Fuck no.” Although he absolutely would have, and he knows it. The images abound: secret trysts in the fourth floor bathroom, Sickles changing hands (because Potter would not yet be good enough to charge any more than that), all for the pleasure of Draco getting his cock sucked, of seeing Potter do it, making him take it.

Hell bloody yes, he would have paid for that.

Potter makes a little noise in his throat now.

“What is it?”

Potter looks at him across the space of half a pillow and says, “Your come is leaking out of me.” Then, “Do you want to see it?”

And with that, Draco’s refractory period is well and done. He goes so hard, so fast it’s both an ache and a sting through his entire body.

“Go on,” Potter says, drawing a leg up and hooking his arm beneath his knee.

This must be how fourteen year-old straight boys feel when a girl randomly provides visual access to her fanny just for the thrill of it. Potter looks perfectly comfortable lying there, not like he’s debasing himself at all. Not even like it’s all that dirty of them.

Draco moves down the bed enough that he can get a look. All his breath leaves him at the sight of it, the slow, shiny drip.He did that.

“Do you like that?” Potter asks quietly, though when Draco checks, his gaze is on the throb of Draco’s hard-on between his legs.

Potter moves, pushing on Draco’s chest until he’s lying on his back again, sprawled diagonally across the bed now, and then he straddles him. Without another word, Potter takes Draco’s cock and aims it. He works it just inside, and then he sinks down onto it with a soft hitch to his breath. A contented smile lifts his lips when he settles, Draco deep inside.

He rides Draco easily, watching Draco’s reactions as though he might enjoy them. His own cock is only about half-hard, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Potter puts a hand to Draco’s chest and grinds his arse down, biting his lip. It’s so good Draco’s eyes nearly roll shut. He takes Potter’s hips in his hands, not yet to guide him or pull him down, but just to feel the way Potter’s muscles move beneath the pads of his thumbs, how his arse flexes under his fingers.

Potter looks down at him now, the smile still there and in fact growing. He plants his hands on either side of Draco’s head and watches his face as he goes faster, a little harder. He watches Draco’s inability to stop a soft growl from coming out, and Potter smiles down at him so dirty-hot.

If Draco had known Harry Potter could look at him like this he would have spat in Greyback’s face rather than take the Mark.

And all he can think as Potter brings him closer and closer to orgasm, is that it’s no good.

It’s no bloody good at all.




He’s late to meet Ron because of all the kissing in the shower.

True to his word, Harry hasn’t used his Reach since this whole encounter began, so it’s not something he was aware Draco wanted, until Draco simply took it. He’d pressed Harry back to the shower wall once they’d got themselves clean, and he’d kissed Harry, hard and slow.

They’d both got erections again from it, which wasn’t altogether surprising, nor was it as alarming as the frisson of energy Harry had felt in his chest during it.

So, kissing and hand jobs being what they were, he’s half an hour late, having dropped back by his house to shave and change clothes. He’s shoving his feet into his boots when Ron’s Patronus scampers up to him. “Meet us at Tesco’s. The one near the house.” The little dog bounds around his feet for a moment and then runs across the living room, dissolving into blue mist along the way.

“Shit,” says Harry. He wastes another few minutes looking for his wand before he rolls his eyes at himself and Summons it. He miniaturises it and shoves it in the back pocket of his jeans.

When he finds Ron it’s in the baby food aisle. He’s got little Hugo strapped to his chest facing out, while Rose runs back and forth across the floor.

“Mate. I’m sorry.”

“Hi!” Ron hugs him one-armed and a bit sideways in order not to squish the baby.

Harry gives Hugo’s wispy red hair, what little there is of it yet, a stroke. “Hello,” he says. “And hello, Rose,” he adds as she zips past making car noises.

“Thanks for meeting us here,” Ron says. “I realised we were low on some essentials—”

“Biscuits and crisps?”

“Bugger off. You eat all our crisps, you know.” Ron smiles at him, and Hugo coos loudly, drooling on his own fist. “So were you with a, erm… client?”


They stroll down the aisle a bit. Ron picks out a few jars of strained carrots. “Was it…?”

“Draco? Yes.”

Ron turns a look on him, and it occurs to Harry belatedly what he’s done. He can’t exactly retract it, and correcting himself to ‘Malfoy’ at this point would just shine a torch on the whole thing. He clears his throat.

Ron goes back to selecting jars. Peas, pear, butternut squash.

“He’ll eat that?” Harry asks.

“Oh yeah. Prefers it to the homemade jars of Mum’s. Don’t tell her. Rose, come on, you get to choose the cereal, okay?”

“Okay, Daddy!” she shouts.

“Little quieter please.”

She drops to a stage whisper. “Okay, Daddy.”

Ron laughs. He waits for Rose to skip down the cereal aisle out of easy auditory range and then says lowly to Harry, “How is it then? Hermione said it was,” he develops a hacking cough for a moment, “uh, good.”

Harry wanders next to his friend, his hands shoved into his jeans pockets. He shrugs, though the casual air reeks of something counterfeit, especially considering how brilliant he still feels from such a recent shagging. “It’s… surprising.”

“Surprising.” Ron takes down a box of Weetabix. “For Hermione,” he says, as though he himself wouldn’t be caught dead eating such a sensible grain. “What’s surprising mean?”

“Oh, erm, causing surprise, unexpected.”

Ron shoves him. “Git.”

“This one?” Rose has run back up and is holding a box up toward her father.

“Really?” he asks. “Granola? It says it’s unsweetened.”

“Mummy and I like this kind,” she says.

Ron looks flabbergasted. He shakes his head. “Yeah, fine, throw it in the trolley.”

She does. “Should I find a really sweet kind for you?”

Harry snorts.

“That would be lovely, thank you, Rose.”

She runs off again, this time toward the boxes of cereal marketed to children.

“Blimey,” Ron says. “Okay, so, you were defining words for me.”

Harry sighs. “You know how I do that thing, right?”

“The Reaching? Yeah.”

“Yes, well, this time he asked me not to. And… well, honestly that aspect of things has become my favourite part of the job, by a lot quite recently. So I was sceptical of it… that he wanted me not to. But it…” He swallows, frowning at the floor as they stroll. Hugo kicks his feet hard a few times, giving an intensely joyful gurgle. Harry laughs a bit, touching one of his little socked feet.

“You liked it like that,” Ron says.

“I loved it like that.” Admitting it is nearly physically painful, like eating ice cream too fast. His face burns. He makes himself meet Ron’s eyes. In Tesco’s. Merlin’s pants.

“So, it’s good with Malfoy. So what?”

“Well, it’s not good like that with anybody else is so what. And, Merlin, I don’t even like him.”

“You sure about that?”

“I—I don’t know.” Admitting even this feels like something he can’t take back, something irreversible.

“You going to see him again?”

“That’s up to him.”

Ron nods. “What’s it now, three times?”


“And this last time was…”

Harry breathes the word. “Incredible.”

“So then, you’re going to see him again. Unless he gets run over by a Knight Bus or something.”

“I reckon.”

“Alright, so what if you just… take it as it comes. Er, so to speak.” It’s Ron’s turn to go bright red. “It’s that or assume he’s up to something, but then you’ll have to dig out the Invisibility Cloak and start stalking him and hiding in bushes and being an absolute plonker about things, and you’re probably pretty rusty. Although, it’s Malfoy, so perhaps not.”

“I’d kick your arse, but you’ve got an infant hanging off you.”

“He makes a good shield.”

Harry laughs, and Ron joins him.

“What’s funny?” Rose demands, returned, the box of cartoon-infested cereal forgotten in her hands.

“Nothing,” Ron tells her.

She growls.

“She can’t stand that response. Okay, fine. It’s an adult thing. I’ll tell you in fourteen years.”

She still looks grumpy but also oddly placated by this. She dumps Ron’s Coco Pops into the trolley. “Fine.”

“Vegetables next,” he says.

“Yay!” Rose cheers with a little leap.

“She’s so weird,” Ron laughs under his breath, but one look at his face and his adoration is obvious; he shines with it. As Rose inspects and picks out carrots, celery, cucumbers, Ron goes on, “She’s helping me with the car, did I tell you?”


“No, no. Rose.” He scoffs. “‘Hermione’, what are you on about?”

“The new Ford? The one you’re rigging to fly?”

“Trying to rig. Dad’s instructions are a bit… incomprehensible. And first I have to change the spark plugs. That’s what she’s been helping me with.”

“Rose is changing spark plugs.”

“Well, no. I mean, she’s four, isn’t she. She hands me the small spanners. She’s learning what things are called. Stuff like that. And she likes the smell, she says, the oil? She’s so cute getting car oil all smudged on her cheeks. She’s quite a help, too. Excellent work ethic.” Rose throws a cabbage into the cart and then runs back for broccoli. Ron sighs. “I didn’t know this is what it would be like. I don’t just have a kid, I have a person.” He kisses the top of Hugo’s head, lest he feels left out, Harry suspects. “She’s not half Hermione and half me. She’s… she’s Rose.”

Harry helps them cart their groceries back to the house. It’s only about half a mile, but Rose is dragging by the end.

“God, let’s hope she takes a nap after lunch,” Ron laments. “Fish fingers?” he asks once they get the groceries put away. Rose delights in this choice, newly invigorated, as Ron gets Hugo set up in his high chair. “There’s a lad,” he says. To Harry, “You’re staying, right?”

“I wouldn’t miss it. You make excellent fish fingers.”

On his way out of the door, he tells Ron to give Hermione his love.

“That reminds me,” says Ron, “One of Hermione’s friends from work—she’s a witch too, it’s a long story—well, she invited us to this sort of pre-Christmas party of sorts. It sounds like a lot of fun actually, like games and fancy drinks and stuff. We got Mum to agree to keep the kids, and we were thinking it would be nice if you could come. It’s the 21st, I believe. And Luna’s coming, Neville, a bunch of people from Beauxbatons. That’s where the friend went, Merlin, I think her name is Chelsea? Anyway, we want you to come, if you don’t have any, you know, appointments that evening? It’s been forever and a day since Hermione and I saw you at the same bloody time,” he laughs. But Harry can see the genuineness behind his offer.

“I’ll check my schedule, but I think… yeah, I think I can make it.” He smiles as Ron exhales and pulls him into a hug.

“Excellent, mate.” Ron bangs him on the back good-naturedly. “Excellent. Okay, I have to try to get two insomniacs to sleep now so I can maybe take a kip myself.”



Two days later, Travis shows up at his flat for an appointment.

“Come in,” Harry says, relieved to see that there are no tears this time, though Travis’s colour is a touch grey, definitely erring on the wrong side of pallor.

“Thank you for seeing me.”

So bloody polite.

“Would you like a drink, or—?”

Travis is on him immediately, a barrage of hungry kisses, hands up his chest, then dipping under his t-shirt, feeling for skin, fingers tightening. Harry lets him, cradling his head and allowing himself to be ravished. Although something about it feels off, tilted.

“Would you like to take this to the bedroom?” Harry asks when given breathing room.

Travis nods, and Harry leads him there.

“Get me hard,” Travis breathes against Harry’s collar bone, taking Harry’s hand and pushing it between his legs. Harry cups him, rubs at the denim of his jeans, squeezes as hard as he knows Travis likes and gets a gasp.

A renewed onslaught of kisses, and Harry undresses Travis down to his boxer-briefs, though he leaves the binder around Travis’s chest, like always. He situates Travis on the bed, face down. He kisses along his back.

“I want you to fuck me,” Travis breathes, gripping Harry’s pillows.

Harry Reaches: Make me feel good. Make me feel good. I need to feel good.

Harry isn’t hard yet; Travis is moving very fast today. “I want to rim you first,” Harry says. Rimming usually works for him, to get him there if he’s not.

Travis nods, shimmying his hips, desperate. Harry pulls his pants down just enough, letting the cotton of his briefs rest beneath the swell of his arse.

Harry massages his buttocks and then lowers himself to lick between.

It’s no different than all the other times he’s done this. Nothing has changed. And yet something has changed. As he works his tongue over the bud of Travis’s anus, he Reaches again. More of the same. Simple desperation. Unsteady need. Harry concentrates on his technique; he’s quite good at this. And Travis moans, lifting into Harry’s mouth for more.

Harry flashes to a hotel bed, himself sprawled in the middle of it, Malfoy’s mouth on him.

He breathes hot over Travis’s flesh, squeezes the bum in his hands, adopts a new angle.

He’s not even half hard.


He kisses the attractive dip of Travis’s spine. “Stay here. I’ll be right back.”

Harry retreats to his bathroom and shuts the door. He leans on the counter, seeing the grip of his own hands on the tile, then raising his gaze to his reflection. He looks like a man about to tell a lie.

Kissing in the shower. Malfoy’s tongue slipping past his lips. Malfoy’s hand encircling his cock, fondling his balls…

Harry fishes the phial out of the drawer and peers down at it a moment. It’s been a long time since he’s needed it. He never has with Travis.

He uncaps and downs it, watching his own face in the mirror again as he sets the empty phial aside. And then, because Travis will likely use the loo after, Harry Vanishes the evidence entirely. He looks into his own eyes. And he waits.





“Malfoy,” says Robards, jarring Draco out of a bit of a daze. He’d forgotten Kendall’s out of the office, running surveillance on a case; she usually warns him about incoming bosses.

“Yes, what can I do for you, sir?” Draco says, sitting up straighter at his desk.

“I’m simply checking in.”

He’s never simply checking in. Draco readies himself for something like a new assignment. Or a sacking. That’s always a possibility.

Robards sits his arse on the corner of Draco’s desk, which he knows Draco hates. Grinding his teeth, Draco waits it out. Robards has never liked him. Draco suspects he’s harboured a resentment that Kingsley went over his head to put Draco in the department and promote him more quickly than he otherwise would have been. And he was promoted for the very same reason Robards dislikes him: they needed a Death Eater on the payroll, someone who could go undercover easily and access the hidden depths of the remainder of Dark society. Who better? The Mark hasn’t even faded all that much.

“Do you have any active cases? In the field, I mean?”

Draco swallows. “No, I don’t believe so. Sports had a query, but… It might be nothing.”

“Good, good. I’ve been thinking.” (Never a good sign.) “I want to head up a new task force.” (Salazar, even worse.)

“I see. For the purpose of?” Draco hates how Robards withholds information so that whoever he’s speaking with has to ask for it, as though they’re all just gagging to hear.

“A renewal of the ‘Better Our Streets’ initiative.”

“But…” Draco frowns, at a loss. “It was discontinued, due to lack of success.” And for being wildly unpopular in public opinion polls, he doesn’t add.

“We’re entering a new era, though.” Robards goes on, but Draco’s ears have started ringing as though he’s been cast under a Muffliato. His blood runs cold, even as his heart hammers it out into his body with more urgency.

“...and it will be excellent for the Ministry’s image, you see. Scrub off any residue from decades past and develop a fresh narrative for a new time of peace and prosperity, of law and order.”

The words are sickening, both for how they ring like dog whistles to those with ears to listen, and because of his use of the word ‘narrative’, which is just poncy.

It’s also massively ironic, considering the daydream Robards in fact interrupted to tell him this.

Fucking hell.

Draco keeps his voice measured when he responds. “Doesn’t that seem like a waste of DMLE resources?”

Robards draws back in mild surprise. “What, to arrest and incarcerate—”

“Sex workers?” Draco spits. So much for staying calm. He takes a deep breath before he goes on, but he can feel the pulse at his throat, the grip he’s taken on the arm of his chair. “There are wizards out there, right now, trying to become the next Voldemort, and we decide to go after sex workers?

The irony. The bloody irony. That it was Potter who defeated the Dark Lord, despite the Ministry and the damned DMLE, and now it’s Potter they unknowingly want to target. Merlin, the idiocy. The fucking short-sighted meanness.

But Robards has an answer. “It is against the law. Are we, or are we not, law enforcement, Auror Malfoy?”

Draco firms his jaw and remains silent. There won’t be any talking him down right this minute, not here alone in this office, not without support.

When Draco says nothing, Robards goes on. “I expect to have your backing with the Minister.”

“Sir,” is all Draco can manage. But it gets Robards’s arse up off his desk.

“Good,” he says, mistaking Draco’s clipped reply for assent. On his way out, he says, “I’ll see about putting you in charge, Malfoy. This could put your career on the map.”

He shuts Draco’s door behind him, and Draco leans back into his chair with a heavy sigh, squeezing his eyes closed. Pivoting his chair around, he opens his eyes again to stare out of his fake window. Fake birds flutter past. Sunlight strikes the other buildings, igniting glass. It’s very realistic.

Draco pushes his hand into his trouser pocket and feels for the card he’s been carrying around in there daily. He runs his thumb over it uncertainly. A raven lands on a telephone pole across the street. It’s not a real bird, but it bloody well looks straight at him.

He pulls the card from his pocket and looks at it… watches it. The gush of ink begins to form words.




“A coffee shop?” Harry says to Draco as he approaches the table. “The magic seems to be regressing us. Or were you just fancying a latté while you held the card this time?”

He tries not to smile at the dick. He doesn’t want to smile at him. Draco doesn’t deserve it really. But… well, it’s not really about deserving, Harry’s realised.

Draco smirks at him, unwrapping a fir-green scarf from around his neck and laying it over a chair. He bypasses Harry to go and place his order and then stands with his hands in his pockets, staring into the display case as though it’s a crystal ball. When he’s got his drink, he takes the seat across from Harry. There’s a snowflake stubbornly unwilling to melt in the swoop of his hair over his forehead, and Harry wants to reach out and flick it.

Harry floats a hand over his own coffee with a discreet warming charm and decides to add a couple more sugars.

“Maybe,” says Draco, picking up the conversation finally, “I just have a thing for doing it in public toilets.”

Harry’s face heats. It doesn’t seem to matter that Draco also insulted him in one. Draco’s insulted him in loads of places, and Harry’d still like to fuck him at each one of those. The thought that that would be a lot of sex causes a soft laugh to crest, and he hides it behind his cup as he sips.

“I don’t know why it brought us here,” Draco muses. “I assumed you would have theories.”

Harry shrugs. “It’s generally when it’s a first meeting and the contact is… dubious, or there needs to be some sort of negotiation.”

“Ah. This might be where it sent Blaise.”


Draco looks as though he’d like to stuff the words back into his mouth and choke on them.

“Zabini had the card?” Harry finds himself bemused.

“I think he was merely… curious.”

“Curious like you were at first?”

Draco meets his gaze without hesitation. “Not like I was.” He takes a sip of his coffee. “He… he hid behind a bin.”

Harry’s eyebrows go up.

Draco’s lips twitch at one corner. “I think he just wanted to see if it was really you. The magic in the card…”

“I’m surprised it gave up my identity,” Harry says. “I don’t normally take clients who—”


Who I know.

Harry stirs the sugar that’s settled at the bottom of his cup. “Who are… like Zabini.”




“Wha—? No! Jesus!”

Draco just flips right past thinking Harry might be racist for two seconds, probably because he never truly did, thank Merlin. “People who are involved with someone else?”

“Well, I mean, yes, in fact, unless... but… Zabini’s seeing someone? Exclusively?”

“He has a girlfriend.”

“Huh. And the magic let him through anyway.”

“Maybe there’s a bug in your system,” Draco opines, coffee licked from his lips.

“No, it would have been for a reason.”

Draco adopts a casual air and says, “Blaise is the one who gave the card to me. The first time.”

Harry blinks at him, but Draco’s eyes are averted, and though he can probably feel Harry staring at him, he doesn’t look back, suddenly finding the napkin dispenser riveting.

“Why would he give—?”

“I don’t know, I suppose I needed to get laid, Potter.” He’s suddenly angry. Or, at the very least, tense as fuck. Harry wants to Reach so badly it’s making his molars vibrate. “You’re not his type anyway,” Draco continues and then seems to regret that as well. His cheeks go pink like a child playing in the snow too long.

The insinuation isn’t lost on Harry… that he is, in fact, Draco’s type, apparently. It seems a bit late to get in a twist about it, since they’ve enthusiastically had all kinds of sex plenty of times now, and there was never really any doubt about how into it Draco was, if his hard cock sliding up Harry’s arse was any indication.

But maybe there’s a difference to him… between enjoying fucking somene and enjoying how they look, how they act ...what sitting across a coffee shop table from them does to your body, your insides, your racing blood and short breath.

Maybe there is a difference, just objectively, Harry thinks, watching that snow-damp lock of hair Draco’s now flicking off his face with the back of an aristocratic hand.

“I’m an Auror.”

It takes perhaps three seconds for Draco’s voice to filter through Harry’s thoughts. It takes another five to process the actual words.

“No, you’re not.”

Draco is looking at him now, his jaw tense, the cut of it so angular, all traces of softness have fled. “I’m an undercover Auror, Harry.”

Harry’s lips part, but no sound comes out. He looks down into his cold-again coffee. The world around the table blurs. He lifts his gaze to Draco’s once more. “Do you think you’re being funny?”

“I’m not joking.”

Harry scoffs. But still there are just… no words for him to access. His hands grip his own thighs bloodlessly. He shoots a glance to the door when the bell tinkles.

“This isn’t a sting. I’m not here to…”

“How long have you been with the department?” Harry hears himself ask.

“Five years.”

Harry nods. “You were young, when you joined.”

“Yes.” He sounds guilty, like he’s the law-breaker rather than the one who upholds. There’s no reason he should feel guilty, Harry thinks. He’s done well for himself. An Auror. For many years it’s all Harry wanted to be as well.

“Always undercover?”


Harry inhales and exhales, counting in the silence, four seconds for each. “They would want someone with your connections for that. It makes sense.”

Draco doesn’t reply to this, just sits there like exploded ammunition, smouldering.

“Why are you telling me this now?”

Draco swallows. “They’re trying to put together a task force.”

Harry raises his eyes to Draco’s, those words like a noose roped slyly around his neck.

“Anti-drug, vandalism… sex work.”

Harry laughs darkly. He can’t help it. “Of course they are.” He licks his lips, pushes his coffee cup away from himself like it’s committed an offense. “Are you ‘they’, Draco?”

“No. Not yet.” The words fall like rocks. He looks ill from them.

Harry shakes his head. “Well, yeah, thanks for letting me know.”

“I’m going to oppose it.”

Harry nods slowly. “So you can keep fucking me?”

“I… No. Because it’s bollocks.”

“Have you Pensieved anything?”

“Pensieve memories are inadmissible.”

“That’s not a no.”

“No, I haven’t Pensieved anything.”

“Good,” says Harry.

Draco nods.

“Because right now you have nothing on me. You have me on oversugaring my coffee.”

Draco’s lips twist. “Yes, it’s revolting. Criminally so. We’re reopening Azkaban just for you.”

Harry tries to stop the exhale of laughter, he truly does. It comes under his control as swiftly as he can manage it. And then he and Draco gaze at each other across a small, sad chasm.

“You realise this is over, right?” Harry says.

Draco frowns, and that lock of hair falls into his face again. Merlin, Harry wants to touch it.

“I would never turn you in.” Draco’s eyes are earnest, and Harry believes him. It’s a belief that’s rooted so far back, there’s no questioning it. It took hold that day in the Manor, with Harry on his knees, face pummeled by magic, eyes unchanged as Draco looked into them and denied knowing him, even though Harry could see it… the recognition, the fear. The decision he made in that moment.

But Harry says, “I can’t risk that.” When Draco baulks, he goes on, “It’s not about me. It’s about my other clients, people I care about.”

“You care about them? The people you let fuck you for money?”

“Yes,” Harry says, and he lets Draco see how very much he means it. He means it enough that he won’t even take up energy being angry with Draco for how he asked. “And I care about the other workers, the people like me, Draco. I give a shit.”

“You know, so do I, Potter,” Draco spits, leaning forward over the table and hissing the words through gritted teeth. “It’s not as though I got into this line of work to bloody hurt people. Don’t you think I—?” He cuts himself off, leaning back in his chair again, exhaling. He leaves his hand on the table, fingers drumming next to his saucer.

“Yes, you had enough of that, didn’t you?” The words themselves seem cruel, but Harry says them gently. They’re true. “Thank you,” he says, “for opposing it, the task force. Truly.” He reaches across the table and lays his hand over Draco’s wrist. He curls his fingers around for just a moment. Draco’s drumming stops. Harry gives his arm a squeeze, his thumb grazing over the back of Draco’s hand. Then he lets go.

He pushes his chair back and stands.

“Potter,” Draco says.

Harry spares him a small smile. “Enjoy the rest of your coffee.”

Then he grabs up his coat, and he walks out.

Chapter Text



Harry arrives at the party with a bottle of Ogden’s Old and a box of the pastries Hermione said her friend Chelsea likes. He’s standing on the welcome mat feeling what he always feels at parties like this: out of place, like a wart. Sighing, he rings the bell a second time, thinking he may be the first into the Ogden’s. Hell, maybe he ought to go ahead and open it.

He wanted to turn up with Ron and Hermione, but she’s coming from work, and he’s Flooing from the Burrow. Harry should have met Ron there. He’s done this all wrong.

The door flings open, and Harry’s surprised to find Neville staring back at him. Neville has never seemed the sort to want to open front doors to people, particularly other people’s doors, but here he is, and Harry is relieved.

“Er, hi!”

“Harry, come in!” Neville takes the box of pastries and gives him a hug, leading him into the house.

The noise level is rather intense, and Harry is reminded of all the post-war parties he tried to attend during that summer just after, when the PTSD between them was so thick you could slice through it with a spell, and they all tried to act so very normal, very eighteen: loud music, alcohol, the sorts of things they were supposed to want but couldn’t yet truly appreciate, all of it too soon.

“How’s Hannah?” Harry shouts to Neville over the driving beat of an unrecognisable song.

“Oh, brilliant!” Neville replies. “She’s just here.”

He leads Harry into a bustling living room, dark enough to be atmospheric but without taxing the eyes. Harry greets Hannah, Cho Chang, a few people he thinks might have been in the year below him; they stare at him as though he’s a celebrity, so that’s probably accurate. Harry grips his bottle of Ogden’s tighter and is relieved when he catches Ron waving ecstatically across the room.

“Excuse me,” he says, hoping it’s not rude to move on so quickly. Hermione, on Ron’s arm, sees him, and they both meet him in the middle of the room. They share a boisterous hug, Harry’s face between their two heads. They stay like that a moment, and Harry feels the memories sneak up on him… the tent, the cold, their bodies close in the night, all of them so lonely and scared they could hardly let go of one another’s hands even to sleep.

Harry pulls back and beams at his friends.

It would be so easy to drag them into a corner, transfigure a sofa from whatever he can find on hand, and just sit and talk with them and them only until it’s time to go home to bed. Hermione is smiling at him and saying, “Oh Harry, I’m so happy you made it! Let me take that. I’ll find Chelsea and introduce you.” She slips the Ogden’s from his hand and wanders through the crowd with it, leaving him with Ron.

“Hear that Cannons match last night?” Ron asks.

Which vaults them both into an intense discussion of defensive techniques and the unfortunate prowess of the Tornadoes’ Chasers.

“Here we are,” Hermione says. “Chelsea, this is Harry; Harry, Chelsea.”

Harry turns to shake hands with one of the most beautiful women he’s ever seen. She’s tall, accentuated by the fact that she’s in a floor-length dress. She smells like… biscuits? The kind you make at Christmas, the really sugary ones. Her smile looks like maybe she’s about to share a secret with you.

“It’s a pleasure,” Chelsea says. “Hermione has raved about you, but of course we knew of you back at Beauxbatons as well.” Her French accent is so slight, but it seems to give everything she says an impossibly alluring quality…

“Beauxbatons,” Harry says belatedly. Oh, of course. She’s a Veela. No wonder his head’s gone a bit… He shakes it, trying to dislodge the word that he wants.

“I’m sorry,” Chelsea says. “Here, this should help with that.” She hands him a drink. It’s something electric blue over ice. “It’s just a mild resistance potion, mixed with a bit of blue gin.” She winks.

Merlin, her skin is gorgeous, darker than any skin he’s ever seen. And her eyes sparkle with wit and warmth and…

“Drink it, Harry,” says Hermione sternly.

He does. It’s instant relief. He smiles a bit stupidly, feeling sheepish. “It’s good to meet you, too. So you work at the charity?” he asks.

“Yes, it was so strange realising I wasn’t the only witch there. But Hermione almost glows there is so much magic in her, and we, eh, hit it on instantly.”

“What work do you do there?” Harry asks, feeling his head clear even more.

“I’m one of the managers of a shelter for queer youth experiencing homelessness.”

Harry’s mouth opens. “Really? That’s wonderful.”

“I’m also an artist,” she goes on. Well, of course she is. She’s just that fabulous.

Harry sips the last of the drink, going so far as to lick at an ice cube.

“Can I get you something else?” Chelsea asks.

“I’d love a Firewhiskey,” he says. “What kind of art do you make?”

“Mostly I sculpt people’s pets who’ve passed on,” she says. Then, “Here, my boyfriend can fetch a drink for you.” She calls over the seductive thud of the music. “Blaise, darling!”

It takes him a second. His first thought is that it’s a funny coincidence. His second thought, as his gaze travels across the room to where Chelsea is waving, isn’t really a thought at all, unless getting smashed into by a Bludger at a party can be rendered into some form of thought. Obviously, it’s not Blaise Zabini himself that has Harry thinking this; it’s the man next to him.

Blaise is already making his way over in the periphery of Harry’s vision, and he seems to be in conversation with Chelsea regarding Harry’s new drink. But Harry’s eyes don’t leave Draco, and now that Draco has looked over and seen him staring, his gaze doesn’t budge either. Draco blinks. And Harry swallows.


Harry takes a deep breath. Because Draco looks good with his hair swept into a slight wave back from his face. It’s not the harsh coif of old, nor is it the tumble of blond it becomes during and after sex. It’s somewhere between. And it’s sexy as hell.

Merlin, he’s in the braces.

This night is unfair.

Harry feels himself giving Draco a fuck-you-for-being-so-fit frown and glances away instead.

“You okay?” Ron asks quietly.

“Yeah,” Harry says. He wants to blow off the question entirely. He’s fine. He really is. He’s just a little short of breath. He’ll get over the braces in minute.

“Thank you,” Harry says when Zabini puts his new drink into his hand.

“Potter,” Zabini says. “I see you’ve met Chelsea.”

“Yes, she’s delightful. Thank you for having me,” he tells her and then drinks deeply of his whisky. The fire of it singes him pleasantly, his gaze returning to where Draco is now sauntering over. He has Pansy Parkinson with him, and she has a ruggedly good-looking female Quidditch star on her arm, the Keeper for the Harpies this season, and Harry would be much more interested in that if it weren’t for Draco. If it weren’t for those braces and that bloody hair and his long body and the way his trousers fit, how his lip curls into a pretty sneer.

“We’re really glad you could make it,” Zabini says. “You must be very busy.”

Harry gives him a look, assessing if he’s being somehow insulted. Or more likely, just felt out. “No more so than anyone else I expect.” And oh marvelous, Draco’s arrived. His cologne coils like Amortentia across the brief distance between them, making Harry’s mouth water.

“Hi, Malfoy,” Hermione says politely. She clears her throat. “Parkinson.”

Pansy seems too enamoured of her date to do much more than spare a dismissive glance at the bunch of them. The Quidditch Keeper seems pretty keen on her as well, and Harry thinks they might be in need of a room soon if the lustful looks between them are as potent as they appear.

“Granger. Weasley.” Draco nods at them, swirling a glass in his hand. A martini. Odds are it’s dirty, too. He doesn’t address Harry except to meet his gaze again for a moment before looking away.

“It’s not every day the wizarding world’s hero comes out to play,” Zabini goes on.

“Yes, well, it’s not as though I’ve been hiding behind a bin or anything.” The words are out before he can stop himself, though he may not have tried.

Zabini shoots a look at Draco, and Harry sees Draco stifle a small smirk, drinking to cover it. Zabini recovers quickly. “It’s lovely to see you, is my only point.”

“Same,” says Harry with a smile.

“So, Harry,” Chelsea says, and he’s mildly infatuated with the way she leaves the H off, “are you a fan of art?”

“Always,” Harry says, though he has zero understanding of art and could be caught out in this lie rather effortlessly. His confidence may be the Firewhiskey hitting his blood. He takes a new sip. There are, undoubtedly, a pair of slate grey eyes staring at his jaw, because he can feel it, the look being levelled at him.

Chelsea takes Harry by the arm and begins slowly leading him away. “You will see around the room many pieces I have done,” she says.

And, creepily, there are sculptures of various animals sort of tucked into the shadows of the room, so that if you came upon one unawares, you might piss yourself. They’re very realistic, like taxidermy, though Harry refrains from voicing this observation and instead makes a noise he hopes comes off as impressed.

“Art is my passion, Harry,” she says, now having linked her arm into his.

“Clearly,” he says, staring into the horrific eyes of a very angry American badger which couldn’t possibly have been anyone’s pet.

“You yourself are something of an artist, no?”

At this, he stops short. “I… I’m not sure what you mean.” If she starts talking about sex as art, he may need to invent a sudden bout of Dragon Pox and flee.

“The artistry of your skills in Defence… they are well known across the Continent. To defeat an enemy with the power of He Who Must Not, etcetera, it would take not only a powerful witch or wizard, but certainly one with unparalleled flair, I imagine. They say you taught your friends to fight. They say you could produce a corporeal Patronus at thirteen. To learn and master Defence Against the Dark Arts,” she says, “one must also be an artist, using one’s magic in unique and beautiful ways.”

Harry has never heard anyone speak of defensive magic like this, but he’s almost too relieved it has nothing to do with his current career to even listen to and make sense of her actual words. “You give me more credit than I deserve,” he says, because that part is clear.

“You forget,” she tells him, leading him down a narrow hallway, “I am good friends with Hermione Granger. She has shared the essence of who you are. I am not wrong.”

Well, okay then. He’s not sure he’s comfortable with his ‘essence’ being shared, but… perhaps there’s a bit lost in the translation there.

Harry peers behind himself down the hallway to where the party still rages. He can make out Draco’s bright hair and sees he’s (oh crap) in a discussion with Ron and Hermione. Blaise, Pansy, and the hot Keeper have wandered off, so it is just the three of them, standing close, looking like a puzzle put together with one wrong piece shoved in there. Then Draco seems to be nodding about something Ron’s said and… Harry thinks maybe he himself might be having an aneurism of sorts.

Chelsea releases his arm to pull her wand and run it over the closed door they’ve come to, unravelling a sexy little ward. “Please,” she says, drawing him into a new room. It must be her private art studio because it’s in creative disarray: stained drop cloths cover most of the floor, and there are various supplies for specific artistic modalities set up over the room—a potter’s wheel here, block of marble there, a few easels, a line affixed to either side of the room from which hang several black and white photographs. There are landscape paintings, cityscape photos, sculptures of so many other things besides animals… He’d wonder why she’s granted him access, when clearly this room had been warded for privacy from straying party-goers, but he’s just too busy gawking.

She closes the door on them and then says, serious as anything, “I need your help, Harry Potter.”

He turns to her, frowning a bit. “If I can,” he says.

Then she takes his hand, a pleading look in her eye. “I need to know what I could make that Hermione might like for her birthday.”


The conference with Chelsea lasts a good twenty minutes, and Harry’s surprised that he enjoys all of it. Maybe it’s conspiring to please his best friend, or maybe Chelsea is just a delight of a person, or maybe Harry really does appreciate art. Whatever the case, they’re laughing as they emerge, and Chelsea re-wards the room.

“Thank you, Harry,” she says, shaking his hand. “Come have a drink with me! I want to celebrate this new idea, and it will be so delicious to be celebrating my friend behind her back but to her face!”

Harry laughs again but declines. “I’ll find you in a bit. I need to use the loo.”

Absolument, and if you cannot find me in this mess of humanity, send your Patronus like a beacon, yes?”

“I will,” promises Harry and then watches her rejoin her party with grace and panache.

He finds the bathroom and makes use of the loo, all of the alcohol he’s consumed (Chelsea Summoned his bottle of Ogden’s to her art room and they had an additional two fingers each) avidly clamouring to get out. He drops his head back and moans.

The door flies open, and thank goodness his reflexes are a bit slowed or he might have aimed his penis like a floppy wand and made both a fool of himself and a mess of the person who’s just walked in on him. As it stands, all he really does is lift his head and blink.

“I—” says Draco brilliantly.

Harry tamps down the thrill of seeing him, like this, alone. “Do you mind?” He is still pissing after all, though his stream has slowed. When there’s a jerky movement by the door, Harry adds, “You can stay, just shut the door.” It’s bold as hell, bolder than he feels. Merlin bless Ogden’s.

Draco steps in further and shuts the door quietly behind himself. It’s not lost on Harry that he doesn’t turn his back in order to do it. He’s watching. And Harry can’t help that he likes that he’s watching. His cock swells just a bit in his hand. His breath goes heavy with insinuation. Shaking off, he tucks himself back into his pants and trousers, giving Draco a sidelong look. Draco’s face is hardly impassive, though he appears to be trying for that. His jaw tics restlessly, his nostrils flared as he breathes. His gaze is penetrating, naked with desire.

Harry washes his hands at the sink, and Draco walks slowly behind him, so that they can make eye contact in the mirror.

“Well?” Harry asks.

Draco raises one haughty brow at him.

“Don’t you have to go too?”

Registering this, Draco swallows, the line of his neck long and graceful, that bob in his throat working on Harry like an aphrodisiac. The fact that they are here, in here together, is all kinds of wrong.

Draco walks to the toilet, and as Harry dries his hands, he turns to watch. It doesn’t feel impolite. They’ve done so much by now that it almost doesn’t occur to Harry to think his actions could be taken for anything other than what they are. A blinding curiosity. An unquenchable desire for more, and then more, and then still more of Draco Malfoy… of whatever it is that flings them into one another’s orbits, like satellites at two thousand miles per hour, sometimes crashing into flames and sometimes just getting close enough to share heat before hurtling back out into the cold dark of things.

Draco unfastens his trousers, unzips, and he pulls his cock out over his underwear, so Harry can see all of it. Harry suppresses the sigh of breath he wants to lose himself to. Long prick gripped in his elegant hand, Draco slants a look Harry’s way, not quite meeting his eyes. His gaze lands somewhere in the vicinity of the pulse point in the hollow of Harry’s throat. By power of suggestion, Harry swallows. Draco turns his attention down, to the bowl. Harry watches as it begins.

It seems louder than normal, but that’s probably just the vacuum that’s been created by their shared discomfort, everything magnified by the complexity of Harry’s excitement. He’s nearly panting with it already.

Slowly, Harry begins to walk toward him. It only takes four steps. But each lasts a lifetime. He situates himself beside Draco, close enough to hear him breathe. He puts his hand on Draco’s lower back, watching him piss. Draco’s breath shudders out. His cock starts to harden, and he keeps a firm grip to keep it pointed down. His stream slows… trickles. Harry slides his hand in, holding his dick too, their fingers overlapping. A bit more comes out. “That’s good,” Harry says in a quiet, private voice. Draco gasps, so softly you could easily miss it. They shake his dick off together and when Draco flushes the toilet, Harry waves a cleaning charm over them both and then pushes Draco’s back against the nearest wall.

Another wave of his hand in the general direction of the door and they’re warded inside.

It’s a mistake. It’s a colossal mistake. And Harry doesn’t care. He can’t.

“How much?” Draco pants out.

And Harry shakes his head no. He watches the light of realisation dawn in Draco’s eyes. Harry palms his cock and gives it a decadent stroke. He leans in, pressing his lips to Draco’s throat, the side of his neck, kissing at the sounds Draco makes, the hushed, quivering groan. His lips lift and find Draco’s jaw, the corner of his lips, and then Draco takes Harry’s head and kisses him on the mouth.

Harry kisses him back, feverish for it, sharing breath with him, opening. “Fuck you,” he says softly between the hot meeting of their mouths.

“Fuck you too,” Draco replies. His voice, the words, feel intimate, like whatever it is they share… it’s no longer anger. It’s anger transmuted to something else. Something maybe like yearning.

Harry exhales a low laugh, and their tongues touch. He closes his eyes, lets himself be kissed for the moment… before taking it back again, changing the fit of their lips, pressing Draco harder into the wall. He’s touching Draco’s hard cock all the while. It’s risen into his pumping fist. Harry breaks the kiss slowly, aching for more of it and teetering on the edge of taking, being taken. But instead he sinks to the floor, onto his knees, and looking up into Draco’s storm-cloud face, he slides his mouth onto his cock and sucks.

Draco’s breath leaves him all in one gush. Harry closes his eyes… hums his contentedness at the feel of Draco’s cock on his tongue. He feels for and finds Draco’s hand at his side, clenched into a fist. He touches his knuckles, the tension lessening as Draco lets his hand be moved… lets Harry place it on his head. Harry glances up at him and then lowers his lashes, bobbing his head and going a little deeper.

Draco runs his hand over Harry’s head, cards his fingers through his hair. The delicate scratch of his blunt nails makes Harry shiver.

Harry wrenches his own jeans open again and shoves his hand down his pants. He tugs on his aching cock, a groan erupting around the dick moving in his mouth. He lets Draco start to thrust, going hard and fast on himself. A look up at Draco’s face does it. Harry starts to come, loving the feel of Draco gently fucking his face, stroking his hair back, watching his orgasm overtake him.

Harry pulls off Draco’s cock, panting, still coming. “Do it,” he says, looking up at him.

Draco takes himself in hand, pulls down to the crown quickly, his wrist tense, stomach tight. Harry stares up at him, lips parted and ready. He hears that telling hitch of breath, sees the way Draco’s face transforms. Draco aims as it happens, and his warm come splashes Harry in the face. It paints his cheeks, his lips. Draco comes on him, and Harry smiles… tilts his head back to let it strike his throat. Some lands on his bottom lip, and he flicks his tongue out for it. He leans in and takes the tip of Draco’s cock between his lips again, and Draco moans. Harry lets the length stretch him open… pulls back to lick around the head, the slit.

“Potter…” Draco whispers, his hand a leaden weight now on Harry’s head. He sinks a little against the wall. Harry moves his cock in and out of his mouth, not wanting it to end. Draco lets him. Harry lifts the hem of Draco’s shirt and leaves filthy kisses on his stomach. There are fine, white lines left there from another time, another bathroom. Harry gently licks along one. He looks up at Draco’s face… lets him see the mess he made of Harry… watches him blink. Then Harry waves a hand and, once again, cleans them both up. He tucks Draco’s softening dick back into his underwear. He stays on his knees to button and then carefully zip Draco’s trousers.

He rises, tucking in Draco’s shirt properly, running his hands up under the braces to right them as well. He presses his face into the side of Draco’s neck, inhaling the scent of his cologne, the lingering hint of sweat, his hands proprietary on Draco’s waist. The both of them are so warm, and Harry lets himself, for one moment more, enjoy the heat they make together.

Then he turns away and fixes his clothes, puts his own cock away. He sighs. “I’ll make sure the coast is clear,” he says. He takes a glance back at Draco leaned bonelessly against the wall. Meeting his eyes would be dangerous at this point, so he avoids it… lets himself only briefly appreciate the shape of him, the beautiful lines and arcs he makes so effortlessly.

Harry unwards the door, listens at it a moment, and then peers through the crack when he opens it, looks both ways down the empty hall.

“Harry,” Draco says lowly.

Harry laughs under his breath, shakes his head, although he’s not sure who it’s meant to dissuade. He steps out of the bathroom and walks, somewhat less than steady, back to the party.



They avoid each other the rest of the time, which is to say, they don’t join in the same discussions, the same groups, and they stay on opposite sides of the room, but they keep bloody looking at each other.

Whenever Harry looks up, Draco’s eyes are on him. And Harry seems to always know where Draco is at any given time, probably because he too is looking often enough that it’s easy to keep track of him. Easier than keeping track of the story Neville’s telling him anyway.

“I’m sorry, what?” Harry asks once the silence alerts him to the fact he’s been posed a question—and been caught out openly staring at Draco again. He’s not sure if it makes it worse or better that Draco was staring back.

Harry makes his excuses before midnight. He thanks Chelsea profusely, genuinely. She tilts her head and smiles at him, and then she reaches up and fixes his hair. Oh God. She winks. “He only messed it up a little.”

“That’s, uh, not a consolation,” he manages. “Particularly since he doesn’t have a hair out of place.” Fuck pretending he doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

She looks sad for him momentarily. Then she says, “Harry, you mess him up far, far more than you realise.”

Hermione and Ron catch up to him near the door. She’s slinging a coat on, and Ron adjusts his gloves. “You’re leaving too?” Harry asks.

“The kids,” says Ron. “Plus, the person we wanted to see the most is heading home, so…”

Harry gives them each a lasting hug. Outside, in the brisk, clean night, they prepare to Apparate, but Harry stops them, his curiosity too much. “What were you and Malfoy talking about?”

Ron frowns and says, as though it should have been obvious, “Quidditch. What else?”

Hermione confirms this when Harry looks at her. “For twenty minutes. I thought I might die.”

Harry laughs, and his breath makes hearty white clouds that get caught on the wind.

“Don’t you think you should just call him Draco, though?” Hermione asks. “Since you and he are…”

“We aren’t,” Harry says reflexively. “We aren’t anything.”

“So, you’re just two people who can’t keep their eyes off each other all night,” Ron says. “Mate, I noticed. Me!”

Harry shoves his hands into his pockets and looks down the street at nothing. “I… don’t know what it is,” he admits.

“Fucking chemistry, you idiot,” Ron fairly shouts, and Harry laughs.

“I’d figured that much out, thanks.”

Ron sighs, but it’s Hermione who speaks up next. “Alchemy then. Maybe.”

Alchemy. Turning base metals into gold. The universal bloody elixir. Harry struggles to look at her. He’s afraid he might see too much truth there, something mirrored back to him that he’s not ready to face.

“Give the kids a hug from me,” he says.

Herrmione runs her hand up and down his arm. Ron pulls him nearly off his feet into a strong hug.

“I love you,” Harry says. He’s grateful for how easy it is. How unchallenged.

“We love you too,” his friends say in unison.

They let go of one another, and in two crackles of magic, one for them and then one for Harry, they go their separate ways.




Christmas comes and goes. Draco’s mother visits, and they spend a quiet Christmas Eve together, a louder Christmas morning with Aunt Andromeda, Teddy, and some of Teddy’s friends, who turn out to be a number of Weasley relations. Draco tenses for Potter, but Potter never shows. He probably figured out a schedule ahead of time, some way to avoid each other. No more impromptu sex in the loo. No more planned sex in the loo either.

Work is interminable. There’s been nothing new on the ‘Better Streets Initiative' front, but Draco can feel it there, in the background, infiltrating everything that goes on around him, changing things.

Draco finds himself shuttling most of his cases onto other Aurors and even other departments more well-suited to the task. Fewer problems should be solved with an offensive spell, he’s learned, than with one’s wand in its holster. It’s an ironic realisation to come to in his position. And it’s one he starts teaching Kendall, almost without knowing he’s doing it.

And he takes to teaching her more and more. As the new year arrives and passes, he takes her on training missions, assigns work in the fitness room, sends her to conferences on nonviolent intervention, introduces her to other Aurors whose visions seem to align. He’s not sure why he’s taking such an interest, let alone the time it takes to invest in someone else’s education, but… It feels better to him. Better than his usual job. Better than doing nothing.

One day, they’re sparring, and she executes a particularly effective Expelliarmus on him. For the moment, it stuns him, his open hand before him an appendage that belongs to someone else. The look on her face is pure triumph. Expelliarmus. Draco finds himself laughing.

But the middle of January sits like a cold ache in his chest. Perhaps he’s falling ill. He takes a Friday off, thinking a long weekend might be the very thing. Blaise rings, wanting to go out, and Draco declines. Pansy sends an Owl, mostly bragging about her own life but sparing a couple of lines to ask after Draco, and he allows her letter to gather dust in his hallway rather than answering it. His own owl has become restless with needing a new delivery, and she lets him know it, dropping unanswered post into his morning cuppa and waking him in the middle of the night to hunt rather than taking her leave before he goes to bed.

“You’re a bloody nuisance,” he tells her when she flings his morning Prophet nearly into the roaring flames of the fireplace. Not that Emily minds the name-calling. She’s been a nuisance from day one and enjoys it, even on a good day.

He opens the slightly singed paper, sighing. It’s buried on page five, very short. He might have missed it. It occurs to him that maybe he has a very smart owl rather than simply a feisty one. Perhaps she was trying to spare him.

Officials in Liverpool thought they had apprehended war fugitive Lucius Malfoy yesterday on a charge of breaking and entering, but it was soon proven to be local teen prankster, Nicholas J. Meyers, under a convincing Disillusionment. Meyers stole valuable silverware from numerous houses before being caught and faces community service as well as the ignominy of this article. Lucius Malfoy remains, technically, at large but is widely believed to be dead, even by high ranking officials in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.

Draco swallows around a cancerous-feeling lump in his throat. It’s been years since he’s had to see his name. His mum packed away anything embossed with even his initials on it, and most of Draco’s father’s belongings are either collecting dust in the Manor basement or were donated to various charities, or, in the case of the Dark stuff, destroyed.

Emily tilts her head at him, standing worriedly on the edge of his coffee table and shifting her weight from foot to foot, feathers risen like hackles. He strokes her head. “You were right,” he tells her. “It is just kindling.” He tosses the paper into the fire and watches its burn blur in his gaze.



He wakes up with the word rolling around in his head. It’s so synonymous with one person, it might as well be his name.

Draco had been having a good dream for once. He and Potter were back in that training room of his, and they were duelling. Potter smiled at him as he cast a jinx at Draco’s knees, and it didn’t hurt when it hit. It felt… amazing. Like being drunk. Like dancing drunk. Somehow he’d wound up with his hands making fists in the front of Potter’s t-shirt.

“You know you want to,” Potter said but in French. ”Je sais que tu en as envie.”

Draco closed his eyes to kiss him, but he was suddenly across the room once more, Potter just a small shadow standing at the other side of a Quidditch pitch-sized space. He whispered it: “Expelliarmus,” and Draco’s legs rather than his wand had been swept out from under him. He woke before he hit the floor.

He sits up in bed and scrubs at his face with his hands. He gets up, pisses in the loo, a little breathless with that memory now… Merlin… He showers, and Potter is there too. He gets dressed and makes tea, sipping it in a daze as he stands at his kitchen island.

How? How has it come to this? That Harry Potter is the best thing in his bloody life. How in Salazar’s name? And as good as he is, he’s also gone. Or… gone-ish. He said it was over. But he’d been talking about the business arrangement. Hadn’t he? What if Draco just rang him up and asked to go for coffee? He laughs a little, quiet but vaguely hysterical. He finishes his tea and pours another, thinking of the insane amount of sugar Potter uses.

He doesn’t want a bloody coffee date. He doesn’t.

’You know you want to.’

He pulls the card out from where he’d stashed it in a drawer. He’s careful not to hold it for too long, laying it on the countertop and sipping his tea in contemplation as he stares. It’s precisely the thing he’s been told he can’t have. And now all he can think of are the many different ways he’d like to still use it.

One way comes chiefly to mind, and Draco sighs hard, opening the drawer and dashing the card back into it quickly.

It’s not safe to want in this world. It never has been. Draco closes his eyes, bracing both hands on the cool counter. Why the hell does Potter make it feel like that doesn’t have to be true?

“You bastard,” Draco grits out. He’s not sure who he’s talking to. “You fucking idiot. Stupid, gutless coward.” Definitely not Potter. “How bloody dare you show up again? How fucking…?” He firms his jaw and opens his eyes. “Don’t be so fucking weak.” His knuckles go white. “You stupid fucking piece of—”

A fluster of feathers and wings, and Emily lands next to his hand, her talons making ticky-scrape sounds on the marble. She ducks her head, fitting it under his chin, and he shuts his mouth, exhaling hard through his nostrils. She butts him gently in the jaw, her head feathers as soft as a child’s hand.

“Damn you, bird,” he whispers and then turns his lips, kissing the top of her head. She lifts her face and looks at him, and he stares into her eyes, taking stock. “Why are you such a good owl?” he asks her. “I don’t deserve such a good owl.”

At this she hoots loudly. She’s adamant. He sighs. “Want some tea?” She ruffles her feathers in distaste. He considers it for a moment, and then realises that not jumping off this particular cliff isn’t an option. “Want to make a delivery?”

And now Emily is happy, doing a little hoppity thing, her wings spread. At the very least, Draco can make a bird’s day. He goes to fetch some parchment.




It’s been a long time since an owl has landed on his windowsill. Hermione and Ron tend to Floo or Patronus him, both to save time and because they know how deep the ache still goes for Hedwig. It’s weird: as much as he misses all the people he’s lost, it’s Hedwig that still hurts like a knife’s edge pressing to his throat.

This bird is different in many ways. She’s chubby, very round, like she’s been treated more than maybe would be recommended. Her feathers are a tawny colour, though her breast is a gleaming white, not like Hedwig’s, which was the white of a fresh snow. This owl’s white feathers are like starlight somehow… bright and busy and showing a dark black through here and there.

Harry lets her in, and she enters like she’s entitled, head held high. Her leg, when she shows it, is regal.

“Thank you,” Harry says, taking the rolled parchment. “Would you like anything? Water? I’m afraid I don’t have any treats here.”

She hoots softly in forgiveness, and then hunkers down into a ball of waiting owl, her neck disappearing, feet gone under her floof. She closes her eyes as though to recharge. He wants to pet her, he realises, but he resists, instead opening the paper and reading words that make him forget everything else:


I know you’ve essentially forbidden what I’m about to ask for. I can only promise, again, that my utilisation of your services would in no way get back to anyone with whom I’m (unfortunately perhaps) employed. That said, I completely respect whatever decision you come to.

I’m not using the card because

Here the ink stops and makes a little blob, as though the writer paused for several long seconds, nib still touched to parchment.

I wanted a more personal overture. What I’m asking for is more personal to me. Even telling you this is rigorously uncomfortable. That can’t be helped.

I wish to obtain your services one last time, after which it will be entirely up to you whether or not we ever see each other again. I think Chelsea’s party confirms, though, that I will take it where I can get it. It’s not curiosity alone anymore. It’s not anything I can make sense of.

Which is neither here nor there. This is getting long. Look, I want to pay you for it this time, if you’ll let me. I want

Again, a dollop of ink where he’s stopped to come up with the right words. Harry gulps.

specific things, Harry. If you’re amenable. You may Reach to your heart’s content. And maybe mine.


p.s. My owl’s name is Emily, and she likes a bit of fancy cheese if you’ve got it. Or flaky bread. Croissants are a favourite of hers.

Harry looks at the meditating owl silhouetted in his window, flabbergasted. He breathes a laugh, a small, mad one. “Croissants?” he says. Because what else really is there to say?


Draco comes to his flat the next night at Harry’s behest. Eloquence being something he lacks, Harry had sent back the only thing that made sense to him:

Tomorrow night. 8 o’clock. One hundred Galleons should cover it, I think.

I really like your owl.


The ‘sincerely’ seemed inappropriately cold after he wrote it, but bloody hell, what was he supposed to write? ‘I think I really fucking like you, and I’m bloody thrilled you asked for something I told you you shouldn’t, and when I open the door tomorrow night, I’m going to appear calm, but Jesus, Malfoy, my heart’s going to be racing’? To be fair, that’s practically what Draco managed to write, which is… one of the bravest things Harry’s ever seen. It’s right up there with chopping a giant Horcrux snake in half, really. Harry feels unequal to it in the extreme, and slightly ashamed of his pallid response.

But all of that floods away at Draco’s knock.

Harry rushes to check himself in the mirror one last time. Not that he dressed fancy for this. Something told him that his good blue jeans and the green t-shirt Hermione says brings out his eyes would suffice. It’s not like he’s going to stay dressed for long. But he runs a hand through his hair, worrying at it, and he sniffs an armpit for good measure.

Then he straightens his body, rolls back his shoulders, and closes his eyes for a moment. He takes a slow, deep breath. He summons his magic to his centre, making a kinetic ball of it there, something breathing inside him, with him. He relaxes his hands and feels the flow of it toward his fingertips, warm and reassuring.

He opens his eyes and walks to the door.

“Hi,” he says, seeing Draco standing on his mat. And it’s a good thing he got the one word out, because every other bit of recognisable language dies in the vicinity of his throat.

Draco looks bloody good. But he’s not in the braces; he’s not in some five hundred Galleon jumper and silk trousers. He’s… sort of dressed like Harry is. Black jeans hug his hips and make his already long legs seem even longer. The plain white t-shirt is the sexiest piece of clothing Harry’s ever witnessed on a human body. Draco’s hair falling over his brow makes Harry want to walk away and leave him standing there, just so he can get some space to breathe.

“Come in,” Harry says. It is only because he’s trained his magic to do it that he stays calm. He’s breathing and talking and appearing sane only out of practice. Othwerwise he’d be on the fucking floor, maybe genuflecting. Draco looks like some angelic demon come to possess his soul. And Harry would let him.

“Thanks,” Draco says, wandering in. He takes a look around and then adds, “So you do live here.”

Harry notices his gaze as it travels over all of his framed photos of friends and such. “Yeah, I have a lot of Muggle clients, so I tend to hide my personal effects when they visit.”

“They weren’t here the first time I was either,” Draco observes.

“The first time and this time are very different,” Harry says and watches Draco turn to him and meet his eyes. It’s like exchanging spells in a duel. So maybe it’s not that different after all.

Draco walks slowly to him, and each step closer feels like an electrical charge. He digs in his pocket and brings out two fifty Galleon pieces. He drops them into Harry’s hand and watches Harry pocket them. Payment dispensed with, he asks, “Can you Reach and kiss at the same time?”

“Yes,” Harry replies.

“Good.” Draco then winds his hand behind Harry’s head and pulls him close.

Their lips touch, and Harry doesn’t Reach. Not yet. He just feels with his own desire, his own nerve endings, his own abandonment to the moment. It’s the sort of kiss that gets deeper with every moment spent inside of it. Harry hears himself make a sound. He’d be embarrassed, but Draco answers it, a low groan into his mouth.

Draco’s hands slip Harry’s t-shirt up his body, and they’re forced to break the kiss when he whips it over his head and off. Lips at his jaw, down the side of Harry’s neck, Draco’s hands at his waist… and then Draco bends, lips skidding down his skin until he finds a nipple and takes it in his mouth, flicking it with his tongue, sucking, mouthing at it and then glancing up at Harry for his reaction.

Which is explosive, a hard breath exhaled loudly.

“Mm,” hums Draco, and then he kisses across Harry’s chest, making sure to leave moist places on all the tattoos he traverses. He gently bites the other nipple. Harry gasps a little, and Draco switches to lapping at it soothingly.

“Are you doing it yet?” Draco’s warm breath on his chest makes him feel almost drunk.

“Not yet.”

“Anytime, Potter,” Draco says, pulling at his hips a little, leading Harry over towards the sofa, his lips again on Harry’s neck.

“Not yet,” Harry says again.

“Bastard,” Draco murmurs, pushing Harry onto the sofa and then, Merlin’s shorts, kneeling, spreading Harry’s knees wide so that he can lean in and rake his teeth over the muscles of Harry’s stomach just to see them tighten. “You want to hear me say it, don’t you?”

“Say what?” Harry breathes.

Draco’s mouth drops to the thick denim covering Harry’s rapidly hardening erection. “That I’m dying to suck your cock.” And, looking up at Harry’s face, he does. He sucks it through the jeans, licking the cotton and following the arc of the shaft with his open lips.

Harry helps him, unfastening the button. Draco’s mouth skates over his knuckles as Harry pulls down the zip. Draco pulls Harry’s cock out and blinks up at him, and Harry, finally, feels the pull to Reach. When he does, he’s nearly bowled over by what he finds. It surpasses need. It eclipses the physical. There aren’t words to it. Or rather, there are, but… there are so many they fall over themselves to be voiced.

Draco leans in and leaves soft kisses down the shaft, his eyes closed. Harry strokes his head and makes of his magic a more precise tool. Right now, this moment, he thinks. And it comes out of the morass: something bordering on worship. Something it hurts Draco to feel. A surrendering he can’t do alone.

“Open them,” Harry says, and Draco’s lips part further. Harry holds his cock, guiding it between his lips and into his mouth. Draco sinks onto it, taking it nearly to the back of his throat before he pulls up again, almost all the way, but not quite.

It hurts to trust you, Harry feels from him. Make it not hurt, Harry.

Harry threads his fingers into Draco’s hair. “I love your mouth on me.”

Draco opens his eyes and looks up at him, an exchange of vulnerabilities. Then he moves Harry’s cock slowly in and out of his mouth, moaning his own pleasure at it.

“That’s it,” Harry says. “Merlin, you’re good at that.”

There’s something in him that revolts at the praise, but Harry catches it before it takes over, his thumb caressing the cut of Draco’s cheekbone: “Let me say it. Just a little. I want to say it.”

Draco lifts his rosy mouth to snap, “I’m paying you, arsehole.”

Harry smiles at him. Draco makes a small sound around his shaft when he sucks Harry back inside, his cheeks hollowing.

“Careful,” Harry tells him. “You’ll make me come too fast.”

He is not careful. If anything, he’s now emboldened, confident. He’ll make Harry come if he damn well wants to. He moves on Harry in a glorious, warm and wet pistoning fashion.

“God…” Harry gasps, his hand spasming into a fist in Draco’s hair.

Draco drags his mouth off, panting. His colour is high, and he looks distractingly hot like this. Harry’s cock leaks a little, and Draco leans forward and kisses the droplet from the tip.

“That’s what you want, isn’t it?” Harry asks. “For me to stay hard?”

Draco stares up at him, a small rebellion sparking underneath the lust. “Can’t you tell?”

But he doesn’t give Harry time to answer. He stands up, looking down on Harry as he strips off his t-shirt, throwing it aside. He toes off his shoes. Unfastens and takes down his jeans, his pants, takes off his socks, everything. Belatedly, Harry does the same, pushing his jeans and underwear the rest of the way down and yanking everything off his feet.

Then they’re both naked, and Draco walks in closer again, a small, devious smile on his lips. He touches his foot to Harry’s calf, nudging his legs back closer again, enough that he can climb up and straddle him—which he does, easing onto the sofa and wedging his knees on either side of Harry’s hips. He clasps his hands behind Harry’s neck, that teasing expression still alight on his face. Their dicks touch, nestling together as Draco settles. Harry gasps a little, and Draco’s smile grows.

“So, Harry,” he says. “What do I want?”

Draco looks down at how they’re touching, thrusts his hips just the slightest bit. Harry murmurs a lubrication charm, coating two of his fingers in oil, and he slips his hand down Draco’s crease, finding the warm rim and tracing it.

Draco’s eyes flare. He presses into Harry’s hand a little. One fingertip slips inside.

“That okay?” Harry asks.

“You tell me,” Draco breathes.

“No. That’s not how this is going to work.”

Draco’s lips part on his heavier breaths. His gaze goes clouded with arousal. Harry can feel it from him; it hits him on all fronts. But Reaching can never replace what has to happen next. It can’t be Draco’s voice for him, as much as Draco may want it to be.

Draco’s hips rock into the penetration, taking more of Harry’s finger.

“Yeah?” Harry asks.

“Yeah.” A whisper. But it’s all Harry needs to push his finger slowly up Draco’s arse.

Draco makes a noise in his throat that has Harry’s cock straining. He starts rising and falling, taking Harry’s slippery finger easily.

“More?” Harry asks.

Draco nods, and Harry introduces a second finger. They slow down for it, Draco easing himself onto it more carefully. A look of concentration takes over his face, as arousing as the lust had been. His hands tighten where still he clings to Harry’s neck. Harry’s other hand strokes up and down Draco’s tense thigh.

They move together, Draco undulating on his lap, and Harry’s fingers pressing inside him. Harry glances down to see that Draco’s cock is leaking steadily.

“You have the perfect dick,” Harry tells him.

Draco huffs a laugh, still moving. “That’s what you’re admiring right now?”

Harry looks into his flushed face. “I’m admiring everything.”

Draco grinds down, taking Harry’s two fingers as deep as he can. His lips find the shell of Harry’s ear. Then as he slowly pulls off Harry’s hand, he murmurs, “Slick your cock up, Harry.”

Harry almost fumbles the spell, which is simply not something that happens to him. Draco doesn’t seem to notice. Or maybe that is part of the pleasure Harry sees on his face as Harry aims his dripping cock and, together, they fit the head inside.

Harry wants to lick the sigh that leaves Draco’s mouth. He leans in and presses a kiss to Draco’s jaw. “Take it as slow as you need to.”

“Is that a… a challenge?” Draco asks as he sinks an inch and then comes back up, teasing himself on Harry’s cock, teasing them both.

“No, it’s not.” Harry moves his lips to Draco’s open mouth and tongues a kiss into it.

Draco takes him a bit more, maybe half, but he claws into the meat of Harry’s shoulder and bites his lip. Harry grabs his hips, stilling him. “Easy,” he says. “I can make a fist around it there and you can meet my hand.”

Draco gives him a fiery, stubborn jut to his chin, surly as hell. “I’m not a beginner, Potter.”

“I didn’t say you were.” Harry shrugs and feels the stain of a blush. “I’m… big.” He takes his cock in his fist and holds it.

Not meeting his eyes, Draco gives a jerky nod.

“Good,” Harry says. And Draco starts rising and falling on half of Harry’s cock, his pert bum meeting Harry’s fist with every downstroke. Which is hotter than Harry had realised it would be. It feels fantastic, both Draco’s body taking him inside, and his gorgeous arse slapping into Harry’s hand.

Harry groans, his head dropping back onto the sofa cushions.

“You like that?” Draco asks, the edge of arrogance back in his voice; Harry had missed it.

Harry nods, a bit dumbstruck.

“Move your hand down.”

Harry does, just an inch. Then Draco is taking him deeper, and easily. He makes a whiny noise that goes straight to Harry’s balls. He’s getting stretched open, and he likes it. Harry likes it. Hell, loves it.

“Look at me,” Draco says. When Harry does, he murmurs it: “Take your hand away.”

Harry obeys. It’s one long slide down to the base, slow and with hitching breaths. But then Draco is in his lap; Harry’s cock is buried inside him. They carefully readjust. Harry holds Draco’s bum in his hands, and Draco wraps his arms around Harry’s neck. They watch each other, wary, maybe, of how good it feels. And maybe it’s the distrust of it on Harry’s own face that allows Draco to let go a little more.

He moves a scant inch up and back down, a devilish smirk now lighting him up.

“Are you scared, Potter?”

Harry looks into his eyes and tells the truth, “Yes.”

The smirk transforms under his gaze, softens, lets him in. “I’m going to ride you so hard,” Draco says. He starts slowly fucking himself on Harry’s cock. “Hold on now.”

Slow is relative. That or Draco works into a quicker rhythm so seamlessly Harry hardly notices until they’re moving together, Draco encouraging him to make abortive upward thrusts as he plunges down, and after long, dizzying moments of that, even bounces on it a little.

“Jesus fuck,” Harry says. Draco’s cock slaps against Harry’s stomach, his arse smacking into Harry’s thighs.

Harry reminds himself he’s getting paid for this and, again, Reaches.


Even deeper.

Get inside me. I want you to live there.

Draco slows and grinds down on him, sweat darkening the tips of his hair. And before Harry can make any suggestions, before his brain lights up with one, Draco says, out of breath, “Fuck me on the floor.”

Getting there is a blur of sweaty limbs. But then Draco is on his knees, his elbows, and Harry is lining up. He drives inside now. Holding Draco by the hips, he plows into him, bouncing Draco’s arse off his pelvis.

Draco makes helpless, juddering noises. Harry doesn’t have to Reach to know what they mean. He goes at Draco’s arse like that a little longer, revs Draco’s need up even higher, and then he changes position so that he can reach Draco’s cock, tugging at it as he fucks him to orgasm.

It is loud, abandoned. It’s one long minute of Draco emptying his balls onto Harry’s rug, his cries like someone long overdue for breaking. But he doesn’t break exactly; he cracks open. Harry’s thrusts slow and lengthen, and every few seconds there is another throb from Draco’s cock, another clamp down on Harry’s.

Then he’s through, and Harry pulls out only to flip him over onto his back. Draco looks up at him with something like surprise, yet it’s too wrecked to be anything but a glazed over version of that emotion. Harry flings one of Draco’s legs over his shoulder and pushes inside him again. Tired, already fucked out, Draco’s gasp comes softer, decadent.

“I need to come,” Harry says. In you, is more than implied.

Draco nods, his face open and shining with sweat. Harry thrusts in his loosened arse, his balls already pulling up. But it’s Draco’s exhausted hand, rising and laying itself on Harry’s cheek, that ultimately does it. Harry opens his mouth on a quiet groan that gains force. He fucks hard. And his body begins to tremble with the tsunami of it. Draco’s other hand strokes languidly down Harry’s body, finding his pumping arse, just holding him there while he gazes up into Harry’s transformed face.

Harry sinks down on a gust of a sigh when it’s over. His face fits to the slender arch of Draco’s neck. He feels the tired laugh leave his lips, and then the shaking of Draco’s ribs beneath him when he joins. Still connected, still wound up in one another, too gone to do anything else, together they laugh.


Eventually, Harry’s stomach rumbles. He’s no longer lying on Draco, rather now beside and has been for roughly five minutes of post-fuck deep breathing. When his stomach growls, Draco turns his head and looks at him with a suitably bemused expression.


Harry looks at him. “What? You’re not hungry?”

Draco turns his attention back to the ceiling, thinks for a moment. “I could eat.”

Harry, naked, begins rummaging in his cupboards. Draco meanders out of the room, and Harry hears the flush of the toilet a little later, the running of the sink… the bathroom door opens. But then five more minutes go by, and he doesn’t return.

Harry’s got water boiling for pasta and a saucepan out for the leftover marinara he’d made two nights ago. “Are you still here or am I preparing a meal for one?” he shouts.

The padding of bare feet down his hallway answers his question, but Draco says, when he enters, wearing a pair of Harry’s clean boxers, “Still here.”

Harry looks at him a moment, and then spares him a small smile. “Going through my things? Thought you’d steal some pants?”

“These aren’t just any pants,” Draco informs him, sitting on a stool at the counter where Harry likes to have his morning coffee.

“Oh?” Harry stirs the sauce and sets the heat to low while he waits for the pasta water to boil.

“They’re one hundred Galleon pants.”

Harry slides a smirk his way. Then, “What can I get you to drink? Dirty martini? Loads of olives?”

“Bucket of water?”

Harry fills a large glass, and Draco drains it, so Harry fills it again. He pushes it gently in front of where Draco’s sitting and can’t help but openly appreciate the picture he makes… bare chest lightly muscled, nearly devoid of hair and what there is so light as to practically vanish. A treasure trail of it down into Harry’s red tartan boxers. The soft bulge of his beautiful cock. His pale legs that travel miles and miles and end in his finely-boned feet. He has feet like a… a foot model.

When Harry returns his perusal to Draco’s face it’s to find him smiling slyly, looking both interested and relaxed. “Maybe you should be paying me to wear your pants.”

Harry looks away, his face warm, but it’s not an unpleasant feeling, being teased about how attractive he finds Draco. “I didn’t ask, is pasta okay?”

“Smells delicious. I think I am hungry after all.”

“It’s nothing special,” Harry insists, breaking the spaghetti in half and letting it slip into the rolling boil of water.

“Post-coital meals don’t have to be,” Draco informs him. “Aren’t you afraid for your bits though?”

Harry looks down at his continued nudity.

“Not that I’m complaining,” Draco adds. “You stir that sauce, Potter. Stir it well.”

A look over his shoulder confirms Draco’s watching his arse rather avidly. Harry smiles. “I’ve a Protego on,” he clarifies. He doesn’t add that he thinks he likes being naked in front of Draco. He likes the feel of Draco’s gaze… likes the thrill of vulnerability after so many years of protecting himself from him.

They eat at the counter, one naked, one almost.

“This is bloody good,” Draco says around a huge bite.


“You learned to cook with your Muggle family, yes?”

“I think ‘learned’ is too kind a word for what it was, but… yes.”

“They were cruel to you,” Draco surmises.

Harry swallows his bite and dabs his lips with his napkin. “Yes, they were.”

Draco nods thoughtfully. He sips his water. Looking away he says, “I’m sorry I was cruel to you.”

“You were just cruel. I wasn’t special.”

Now Draco spears him with a look. “You were, though.” He stirs his spaghetti around his plate with his fork and then says, “I was infatuated with you before we even met. It killed me that you didn’t want to be my friend.”

Harry blinks at him, and Draco shrugs, taking a new bite. He finishes it and then says, “It was never just hatred.”

Harry thinks for a moment. “I thought you were good-looking.”

Draco turns a surprised smile on him, and Harry answers with his own and a shrug.

“I never could reconcile how you behaved with how… shiny you were. If you’d smiled at me like that even once,” Harry points to Draco’s face with the blunt end of his fork and then shakes his head.

Draco’s gaze flits down Harry’s body, into his lap, and back up. “I most certainly would have paid you to suck me off.”

Harry splutters into a laugh, covering his mouth and trying not to choke.

“Of course I would have told everyone about it the next day.”

“You’d have waited until the next day?”

“No,” Draco smiles. “Three seconds after coming, I’d have made badges.”

Harry laughs harder.

They eat in the easy after-laughing ring of silence, and then Harry asks, “What changed?”

Draco gives him a quizzical look. “Everything. The world.” He stammers for a moment, clearly flummoxed. “You won the war.” Then, when Harry just blinks, waiting, “Er, Pansy came out and started listening to punk music. Blaise started blogging about fighting fascism.” He shakes his head. “Things changed. Fucking life.” When Harry keeps looking at him, Draco sighs. “I did, Harry. I changed.”

Harry takes a drink of water, pushes his plate away. “Come here.” He slides off his barstool, moving between Draco’s legs. He wraps his hand around the back of Draco’s head, and he kisses him.

It’s deep from the start. Slow and on purpose. Draco draws him closer.

“What do you want?” Draco asks. It doesn’t properly execute in Harry’s brain at first; he’s the one that usually asks that. But then he realises that’s why Draco said it: he already got what he paid for.

Harry kisses him some more, doesn’t really want to stop. He bites Draco’s lip to hear him gasp. Draco grabs his arse, hard, with both hands.

“I want to suck you off for free,” Harry says against his lips.

Draco pulls back only enough to look at him. “That sounds excellent. Can I lie down for it, though? I’m bloody exhausted.”

Harry laughs, takes Draco’s hand, and leads him to his bedroom.




Waking up in Harry’s bed is like coming to in the shallow end of a pool: it feels nice, but if you slip any deeper in, you might drown. So it’s with a start that Draco opens his eyes. Unfamiliar sheets, soft against his skin. The slant of light, foreign, as though from an alien sun. Harry’s passed out next to him, mouth open, soft snore rhythmic. Draco’s still in Harry’s tartan pants (they were pulled down for certain activities before they slept, but they’ve been back up for hours now), and they’re quite comfortable, in a utilitarian, blunt, Harry-esque kind of way.

He slips out of bed and into the en suite to shower. Everything in this place belongs to Harry Potter, and Draco finds himself almost immeasurably charmed by it all, like a child in a sweet shop. He uses Harry’s shampoo, sighing. He soaps himself clean, hissing an inhale when he gets to his sore arse. And it is wonderfully sore. Part of him wants to wake Harry by getting him hard enough for Draco to ride. He wants to feel whatever pain goes along with being that well-branded by someone.

Not by someone.

By him.

Fuck. This is bad.

Draco shuts off the water, towels dry. He slips the door open a bit, letting out his precious steam only for the moment it takes to whisper an Accio for his wand so that he can shave. It’s enough to see that Harry’s vacated the bed… to smell the rising bittersweetness of coffee being brewed.

Draco finishes his morning ablations, which are rather intense, he must admit. Plus, it’s a weird sort of experiment to do it all with Harry’s personal care products. He finds lotion that smells like cedar and applies it to his scars, the Mark, and then whimsically to his buttocks. He uses Harry’s deodorant. Sits on a plush Cannons towel on the side of the bathtub to cut his nails (fingers and toes). He cleans his teeth, gargles mouthwash that he’s vaguely tasted before. He rummages through the drawers out of nothing more than nosiness. He finds a real razor, some shaving cream, a heavy bowl and brush. He’s a little hard now, imagining its use.

He excavates aftershave and correctly (he thinks) uses it on himself, rubbing it into his cheeks and chin and sighing at the lovely scent that rises into his nostrils.

He’s in a wonderland of Potterness.

He wraps a thick, white towel around his hips and exits, only to hear voices coming from the living room.

He wanders out but keeps close to the wall of the hallway.

“They really did it?” Harry asks. He sounds incredulous, but there’s also an undercurrent of rage, something he’s trying to keep under wraps. Draco sneaks forward a bit more.

“They found the T I was keeping in the sock drawer. I… Harry, I’m on T finally, and I just want to be…” a tight almost sob, “fucking happy about it. But they found part of my stash, and they said if I keep taking it, I can’t live there anymore.”

“Jesus, Travis.”

Draco takes one more step, and a floorboard creaks. His gaze lifts to meet a pair of startlingly blue eyes.

“I’m so sorry,” says the boy Harry had called Travis. “I didn’t know you had a client here.”

So much for stealthiness. Draco steps into the doorway between hall and living room.

Harry, in a pair of joggers, chest bare, sees him, swallows, and says, “Oh, he’s not—” and then stops.

“I didn’t mean to intrude,” Draco says. “I can…”

Harry says, “No,” his brow furrowed a bit. And Draco can feel him do it… feel the Reach. It’s odd, how it flows when it’s directed at someone else. Harry’s got his hand on Travis’s arm, his thumb running distractedly up and down. It’s the gesture of a loved one, a lover. He cares. He maybe loves this boy. Draco’s chest becomes sore looking at it. But that feeling loses intensity and shares space with something else he’s not as familiar with as envy.

Harry speaks up again, to him, to Draco. “I think you need to stay.” Then, “Travis, this is Draco. Draco, this is Travis.”

The boy extricates himself from Harry’s vicinity only enough to shake Draco’s hand. “Cool name,” he says.


Harry motions Travis to sit on his sofa, and Harry perches on the coffee table in front of him, his hands rubbing over Travis’s demined knees. Draco leans a hip on the kitchen counter nearby. He’s not sure why he’s been asked to stay. He’d prefer to be in trousers, but… Something in Harry deters him from leaving the room.

“So, they took it,” Harry says.

Travis’s chin takes on a rebellious jut, his eyes a fuck-them anger, blade-sharp. “Not all of it. I hid most of it other places. I was afraid they’d do this.”

Now that is familiar. Draco remembers well hiding different items from his father’s eyes… the toys deemed too childish for a boy his age, the colourful photos of flowers his mother took, the peacock feathers he cherished. The queer stuff, not to put too fine a point on it.

Harry is nodding. “Good. That’s good.” Then, “You can stay here. You know that, right?”

Travis swallows. “I… that’s too much.”

“No, it’s not. Look, it won’t be forever. We’ll find you something, okay? Don’t worry, Travis.”

Draco frowns as a thought forms in his mind. Not as much a thought as… an idea. “Harry.”

Harry turns his gaze to Draco, eyebrows up a bit.

“Let me talk to Chelsea.”

Harry tilts his head before the recognition dawns. But then it does. “Do you think…?”

Draco shrugs. “I know they’ll want to help. I have no idea how much they can, but… it’s certainly worth asking.”

“You’d do that?” Harry asks.

“Well, I’ll need trousers for it, but… of course.”

Harry gives him a strange, muddled look, something hesitantly pleased. Then he turns back to Travis and pats his knee. “It’ll be okay. Maybe they’ll see the error of their ways, but… until they do…”

Travis nods gravely, and Draco takes the opportunity to slip back down the hall and into Harry’s bedroom again. He’s just lamenting that his clothes from last night must still be on the floor out there, somehow incriminating him in the eyes of yet another of Harry’s clients (that part is obvious about their relationship), but there’s a laundry hamper in the corner, shimmering under a Disillusionment, and in that he finds his clothes, folded even. He takes them out and dresses, intending to visit home for a change before he makes some Floo calls to the necessary parties.

When he comes back out, Harry is applying pans to hob, retrieving eggs from the fridge.

“You’re going now?” he asks when Draco makes for the door. “You can stay for eggs.”

“Some other time,” Draco says and then feels the blood drain from his face. Sex is one thing. He has no idea if Harry will want future breakfasts with him, perhaps breakfasts after sex. Perhaps not. Everything’s… up in the air.

Harry sets aside his meal preparations and escorts Draco out the front door and onto the edge of a small front garden.

“He’s a Muggle. I mean, obviously.”

Draco’s not sure which part of this whole thing that’s meant to explain. Perhaps he’s only cautioning Draco not to cast in his presence. “I got that,” Draco says.

Harry rubs his hands over his own arms, being that he’s shirtless and outdoors in the dead of winter. Draco gives him a put-out look and draws his wand between them secretively, casting a warming charm over him.


“You should get back inside.”

“Yeah, I know.” Then, after a pause into which Harry obviously expects him to speak, “You’re not going to ask me?”

“Ask you what?”

He just looks at Draco, bouncing coldly on his stupid bare feet.

“You think I’m going to ask if you’re going to have sex with him?”

“Well, when you ask it like that it makes me seem like a barmy fucker.”

Draco fights a smile. “No, it’s just… it’s not any of my business.”

Harry blinks at him. “No.”

Draco rolls his eyes. “Then why the fuck do you think I’m going to ask?”

He steps closer and says in a hushed tone. “I wouldn’t have sex witth someone who needs my roof over their head. That’s all.”

“Yes, well, that does seem very you, now doesn’t it?”

Harry’s lips slant, but he’s still looking at Draco like he expects something.

“Do you want to hear that I don’t love the idea of your cock in his mouth? I don’t love it, okay?”

“Yet you’re still going to help him.”

“Is that a question?”

Harry sighs. “Let me know what you find out. I’ll speak with Hermione.”

Draco nods. But still Harry is hesitating. Like there’s something between them unfinished.

Draco frowns. “What, Potter?”

“I’m thinking about your letter.”

Dear Salazar, not that. Draco scoffs. Harry’s face is now the very last thing he wants to look at. “Well, don’t,” he says. “I should have put a Burn After Reading spell on it. Or not written it at all.”

“Do you regret what came of it?”

“I’m regretting this conversation while it’s still happening.”

Harry gets a small smile on his face and then says, warmly, “I’ll take it where I can get it, too.”

Finally, Draco manages to look him in the eye. A moment, thick as fog, passes between them. “I should go,” he says.

Harry nods. “Me, too.”

“Yes, you’ve got…” He gestures vaguely toward the front door and Travis behind it.

Which for some reason makes Harry kiss him. Not long, not sexual. Just a kiss. An easy one. Three seconds. Cold lips and warm breath, his hand in some liminal place between Draco’s waist and his stomach. Draco likes it there.

Then he’s backing away. “Bye,” he says. He looks young, like an overgrown fifth year. Draco feels all the years Harry Potter might have said ‘bye’ to him just like this, if Draco had been a fraction of the shit he was.

He plummets from ‘take it where I can get it’ to somewhere much worse, maybe irretrievable, in two seconds flat, and he watches Harry turn his back and go back into the house where another lover waits, shutting the door.

Chapter Text


It took two weeks. Which, for what they were trying to accomplish, was pretty fast. But it was two weeks of having his former client, and a Muggle, live with him, and not doing any magic in that time was strangely agonising.

Harry had thought, given that he’d spent eleven years of his life believing himself to be a Muggle, it would be old hat, just readjusting to a former mindset. It’s been maybe stupidly shocking how little access he has to that prior self. It’s as though all his sense of who he is has drifted, like a ghost, back into his past and changed it, changed the boy that he was and made him more like the man he will eventually become.

Making tea is one thing; doing absolutely everything else without magic is another.

It’s also a fortnight spent with no contact from Draco. That sucks in a way that’s not entirely unexpected but that makes Harry feel like certain parts of his anatomy are moving at faster rates than others, so that he’s stretched, pushed, pulled, like entering the event horizon of a black hole. He’s a spaghetti person. His brain is firing off chemical salvos to his chest, his limbs and stomach and mind all frozen solid with fear. His dick was pretty uncomplicatedly happy about moving forward at lightspeed, no reservations whatsoever.

Living with Travis is surprisingly easy in many ways. Harry has a spare room, and Travis seems to like hanging out in it. He helps with dishes, with meals, and he’s quiet except for the crying jags in the middle of the night, which he can’t help and Harry wishes he could ameliorate. But when he Reaches through the closed door, he finds no yearning in Travis to share his grief. There’s no solace for this. And what he can give, Harry is already providing. Travis has communicated clearly that this is beyond enough. And nothing is enough.

Going with him to get his things, testosterone included, was an exercise in repressing homicidal tendencies. Harry had stood on the pavement at Travis’s request. But his face upon emerging told Harry the whole story. Tear-streaked, red eyed, chin trembling, Travis had attempted bravado. “Let’s go then.” But in the car that Harry had borrowed from Ron, he’d simply turned his face toward the window, lain his forehead against it, and cried.

Harry had felt a belated Crucio rise in his palms, and maybe he’d have been successful in casting it. Which was not at all what Travis needed from him. And so Harry had driven on, gripping the steering wheel and glaring at people’s brake lights.

The call comes late on a Friday night. Harry’s mobile rings, vibrating his back pocket where he’s taken to keeping it, very Muggle-like, as though his life depends on its proximity. It’s Hermione.

“Can you meet us tomorrow morning, 10 o’clock?”

Harry looks over at Travis, his lounge on the living room sofa springing into uprightness. “Absolutely,” Harry says, even as he nods at Travis’s mouthing of words he can’t decipher.

“I’ll text you the address.”

“Fantastic,” says Harry. “See you there.”

When he hangs up, Travis launches off the sofa like a kangaroo. “Well?”

Harry smiles. “They think they’ve got you a place.”


“Well, contingent on if you like it or not.”

“Like it, I bloody love it. I adore the fuck out of it,” Travis says, and they both laugh. “Harry,” he says, moving closer. His hand touches Harry’s cheek, and warning bells go off in Harry’s head. Travis drops his hand and starts working on Harry’s belt, fast and hopeful.

“Wait,” Harry says.

“You don’t want to?”

“It’s not that,” Harry replies and means it. He could lose himself in it tonight, could enjoy Travis’s body, this eruption of temporary joy. It wouldn’t be paying-Harry-rent sex. It doesn’t feel like that at all. It’s simply an overflow of positive emotion, wanting to become physical.


“It’s not going to happen again,” Travis says, “is it?”

Harry shakes his head.

“Is it me?”

“No,” Harry says. “No, it’s not you, Travis.”

“Is it that man who was here? The one who’s helping me.”

Harry sighs. “I don’t know.”

“But you want to. You want to know.” Travis’s eyes are such a deep blue, like the sea near warmer climes.

“I guess I do, yeah.”

“Are you going to stop being a sex worker for him?” Harry appreciates Travis’s bluntness; it breaks through his own confusion like pickaxe into rock.

“No,” Harry says with a surety he didn’t realise he was sure of.

Travis takes his hands and squeezes them. “But you’re going to stop for you. Aren’t you?”

And blast if that isn’t just exactly right. “What the hell, Travis?” Harry says on a soft laugh.

“I pay attention,” he says. Then, “I mean, you may be some kind of sorcerer with special mind powers, but my intuition’s pretty decent.”

“Wh-what?” Harry’s brain leaks into his feet. It’s as gross as it sounds. He feels like he’s on a carnival ride that’s malfunctioned.

“Don’t worry!” Travis jumps to reassure him. Harry thinks he squeezes his hands again, but there is no longer any feeling to Harry’s fingers. “I haven’t told anyone. I wouldn’t. I promise.”

“Hhhhow… did you know?” No use lying now.

“Oh gosh, well, I tripped over something that wasn’t there once. Turns out it was a trunk of some kind, hiding behind a shiny nothing? I’m not sure how to say it. And then I saw a photo in the closet when I was putting away my own things, and the person in the photo waved at me. That was pretty weird. And a few times now you’ve flicked your hand to make something happen. I’m guessing you don’t even know you’re doing it. I’ve wanted to ask you about it for ages, because, oh my fucking God, Harry, that is so fucking cool! But I didn’t want to freak you out.”

“Freak me out.”

“Well, yes. Like right now.”

He is rather freaked out, come to think of it.

Bizarrely, Travis leads Harry over to his own sofa and sits him down. “Jesus, how many other clients have I cast in front of?” he wonders with a tiny bit of terror.

“Probably none, best guess.”

Harry looks at Travis for exposition on this.

Travis shrugs. “I don’t think it’s conceited of me to conjecture that I’m… well, that you’re… Okay, do you invite everyone to your house to stay for two weeks?”

“No.” Then, “No, you’re right. You’ve become… special to me.”

Travis gives him a beautifully lopsided grin. “I really doubt any of the other regular people that you see know about this. Regular as in… not imbued with magic.”


Travis snorts. “That’s what you call us? Muggles?”


“Gosh, I feel so very ordinary.”

Harry smiles at him.

A sudden shard of pain lances across Travis’s face. “I wish I were one of you.”

Harry lays his hand over Travis’s between them. “Do not,” he says, “discount your own magic.”

Travis blinks. A quiver of a smile takes over. “Do they really have a place for me to live?”

Harry nods. “We can see it tomorrow.”

“I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep,” Travis says. “In a good way,” he clarifies. “Like Christmas.”



Hermione meets them there, and, close on her heels, Chelsea and Draco. Draco looks like a… a hedge fund manager or something less offensive. His dress shirt, unbuttoned at the throat, a silky fog-grey colour, tucked into nearly-black trousers, crisp belt gleaming with silver, posh as fuck shoes. Harry’s in a red hoodie, for Merlin’s sake. But Draco’s gaze, as he comes up the pavement toward them, rakes over Harry appreciatively nonetheless.

Chelsea lets them into the flat. “It’s two bedrooms, only one bath unfortunately, small kitchen. But it’s got this lovely little back garden.”

Travis leans into Harry and whispers, “I can’t afford two bedrooms.”

Luckily Chelsea hears him just fine. (Veela auditory processing.) “That is the thing, darling,” she says, “we’ve got you a roommate, if you’d like to share this place with someone.”

Travis wanders toward the big window overlooking the back garden, his body tense. “A roommate?”

“Yes, his name is Frederick, but he prefers Freddy. He’s your age, starting at université this summer. He’s from Germany. And he’s transgender, mon petit chou.”

Travis turns. “He is?”

“Yes, and he is very excited to meet you. Do you like the flat? It’s a donation, so the rent is covered. You’d only need to pay the utilities between the two of you, food, etcetera. But the centre will help you with that, too, while you need it. If you need to look for work, we have job fairs. We can—”

“Yes,” Travis says. He’s bristling with energy, with emotion. “Yes!”

Hermione looks at Harry, a soft smile exchanged between them. Draco leans unobtrusively near the front door still, looking like an ill-equipped bouncer at a club.

“Harry,” Travis implores. “Is this really mine? Can I really have this?”

Harry smiles at him. “Yes, if you want it.”

Travis half-scampers into the kitchen, trying the tap at the sink and laughing when the water runs. He turns it off, opens the refrigerator, empty but gleaming white in the light that comes on. “Oh my God,” Travis says.

Harry is so happy for him, he feels it in his toes. He turns to look at Draco, dour and silent, meeting Harry’s gaze now, expressionless, and Harry’s heart pounds.

“So,” Hermione says, “Travis, if you want to come back to the centre with us, we can introduce you to Freddy, and if you’re both comfortable, you can sign the lease, and we can collect your things a little later? Harry?”

“Yes, definitely,” Harry says.

“Travis?” Hermione asks.

Choked up, he swallows. “Thank you,” he says. He walks over and hugs Hermione, hugs Chelsea next. He wanders over to Draco and extends his hand. “Thank you so much.” Draco rises from his lean and shakes Travis’s hand.

Then Travis walks over to Harry. He walks into Harry, actually, and they embrace. Travis leaks tears onto Harry’s hoodie. “Thank you,” he says.

Harry leans his cheek against Travis’s head and holds him close. His gaze finds Draco watching them.

Back out on the pavement, Travis switches cars, and with one last grateful glance at Harry, he gets driven away. Harry smiles and waves and calls, “I’ll see you later!” He watches the car disappear down the road, and then turns to Draco.

“It’s a suitable place, I think,” Draco says. “Cramped, but…”

“It’s perfect.”

Draco sighs. “I don’t know how you do it.”

Harry frowns. They wander closer to one another, slowly, like tired boxers who may just call it a draw. “How I do what?”

Draco shakes his head, looking at the bullet-dark sky. Rain feels imminent. “It took so many steps,” he says, “making this happen, and… So much of that was…” He looks perplexed, a bit awed. “It was getting on people’s good sides. It was reaching out. It was... difficult. It was good.”

Harry smiles at him. He’s beautiful. Just ridiculously so, in his perfect shirt and trousers, his relaxed but regal posture. Even the way he lifts his chin and watches for rain is physiological artistry.

Draco clears his throat and speaks again. “Being good… it’s not just one choice. It’s a thousand different choices. And that’s just one day. I don’t know how you did it… how you still do it.”

Harry tilts his head, steps closer. “You did this.” He wants to touch him so badly he’s arthritic with it… just aching in his stupid bones. He feels like he’s seeing the whole man suddenly. All of him. Every bit. “You did this, Draco.”

Draco blinks at him. “But helping people is who you are, Harry.”

At this, Harry loses his breath. Because it’s occurring to him now, in that way that makes one feel silly, feel weightless, that Draco Malfoy may be in love with him.

“I… I have to go. There’s something I need to… I’m sorry,” Harry says in a voice hardly his own. “It’s going to rain,” he observes with the predictive skill of a fungus.

“Alright,” Draco says warily. And who wouldn’t? Harry doesn’t even fully understand himself. He just knows there’s something eating at him, some desire for reciprocity, for evening a score they’ve kept their whole lives.

“I have to go,” he says again. And then before Draco can fully settle into the frown Harry sees coming, Harry Apparates away.




Three days, and Draco still doesn’t know what the hell that was all about. The way Potter had been looking at him… Draco could have sworn... And then poof. Gone. Like he’d come down with a case of cold feet. Because Draco had given him a compliment? True, that may well have spooked him into full-on emotional chaos. But now what?

It’s not as though Draco’s waiting around to hear where they stand. He’s not. He met Pansy, sans girlfriend, for drinks Saturday night. He Floo-called his mother Sunday and cleaned his house.

It’s now Monday, and he’s getting ready to leave for work. Potter will get his shit together eventually, and that shit may or may not include wanting to grab a coffee, or a blow job, with Draco, but… That was, for now, his business. Maybe Potter just really dislikes Apparating in the rain. Who the bloody hell knows?

It’s not like Draco has been obsessing about him.

He checks his reflection, smooths his hair a bit, and then stalks out to his living room and into his fireplace. He steps out in the Atrium at the Ministry, checks in with the wand bloke, and then takes the lift. Same drab people riding down with him. Same memos fluttering overhead impatiently.

He waits for the ding, the opening of the doors, then he’s walking out into the DMLE, through the busy open office, nodding at coworkers when necessary and lamenting that he forgot his morning trip to get his quadruple espresso, when he turns down the wide hallway on the way to his office and…

Minister Shacklebolt, smiling, is stepping out of his own, shaking hands with someone who looks way too much like—

“Potter, so glad you could stop by today,” says Shacklebolt, as though he’s really talking to Harry Potter in the hallway outside his office.

Draco’s feet have ceased moving him in a forward direction, and he stands Stupefied to this one spot, watching.

“I hope you’ll consider my proposal, Kingsley.”

“I’ll more than consider it, Harry,” the minister says, patting Harry hard on the shoulder.

And then Harry turns to walk away, and they see each other. Harry swallows, and then he walks past Draco like… Draco doesn’t know what it’s like. It’s not like anything, like it’s happening in a dream. But perhaps Draco’s having some form of epileptic event.

“Mr Malfoy!” calls Shacklebolt suddenly. “Just the man I wanted to see. Come in!”

Draco glances back to see Potter’s retreating steps and then turns to his boss’s boss and nods briskly, like he knows what the fuck he’s doing, and he steps into the minister’s office.


“Am I… being demoted, sir?” Draco asks. By fucking Salazar, if something Potter said in here leads to him losing his bloody job… Draco doesn’t care how good a fuck he is or which feelings he may have developed for the arsehole, he’ll motherfucking kill him.

“Demoted?” the Minister says with a wrinkle of his nose. “If anything it’s a lateral move, but in no way is it a demotion. In fact, I would call creating a position for someone a distinct honour, Mr Malfoy. But if you don’t agree—”

“I didn’t say that, I simply wish to know what the position entails in further detail.” His upper lip is sweating, and he wants very badly to wipe the perspiration away. He’s not convinced yet that this whole thing won’t end in Potter’s bloody body at his feet.

“Well, first of all, there will be no Better Streets Initiative. I mean, we all knew that was bollocks, didn’t we? Everyone except Robards. I swear to Merlin that man… Well. That’s neither here nor there. The point is, any and all funding that would have been allocated toward its development, and there’s quite a bit, will now go toward this community building project, which I would very much like for you to head.”

“No more undercover work?” Draco asks warily.

Kingsley sighs. “Look, Draco. I know what this department has asked you to do, for years now, and I’m ashamed to say that I think we’ve taken advantage. Of your history, your desire to make up for that, your specific talents. At times you’ve been in tremendous danger, and we’ve only asked you to go deeper down that rabbit hole of sorts.”

“I’ve been good at my job, and I see no reason to voice any complaint about that now, I—”

“No, no. I understand that,” says Shacklebolt. “But Mr Malfoy. I think it’s past time to let you move on. Don’t you think?” He leans forward now, sitting in the seat next to Draco’s rather than behind his own desk. He’s always been a rather chummy Minister, and in a forthright sense, not Fudge’s way of using people left and right, all while sporting a vapid grin. “You deserve to come out of the shadows. And, it’s my understanding that… maybe it’s time, for you as well?”


He leans back again. “I know, I know, you’re not complaining. I’m saying you should. And I’m saying I think you’d be very good at this. I think you’re the right person for this particular job.”

“Did Potter…? Did he say something to you?”

“The project was his proposal, along with Ms Granger. They had a whole sheaf of parchments on it, very detailed, quite impressive. And your name came up.”

Draco freezes, and then goes rapidly hot instead.

“He said you’d been essential recently in a community-oriented project of his and that he thought you’d be an asset to this sort of program.” When Draco opens his mouth to refute this (for some illogical and self-defeating purpose), Shacklebolt interrupts him. “And I happen to agree. Draco, I never wanted you on some crackdown street patrol, Merlin! I just didn’t have anywhere else to focus your talents until now, and… I’m sorry, are you turning this down?” he asks incredulously. “I should note that, if money is what you’re worried about, this includes a small but not unremarkable raise.”

“It’s… it’s not the money,” Draco says.

“Then what, precisely, is the problem?”

Draco sighs. “I don’t want a job handed to me because Harry Potter suddenly decides to show me favour.”

“Mr Malfoy, I just told you…”

“Yes, I heard you. Sir,” he adds belatedly.

“This isn’t politics,” the minister says. “This isn’t favouritism either. Dammit, man, has no one told you how good you are?”

Draco’s face heats up. He looks at his lap and, horrifyingly, it begins to blur. All he can hear in the rush through his ears are his father’s old words, either praising him for things entirely out of his control—his blood, his purity, his fortune—or in his control: his meanness, his willingness to do harm in order to secure his own place. And then, alongside that, the cut of his offhand cruelty at Draco’s expense. Somehow he was the very best, and never good enough, simultaneously.

“I… dislike special treatment,” Draco says in a voice too small. He clears his throat.

“How about treatment based on merit, then?”

Draco raises his eyes. It takes a moment, but he forces himself to nod.

“Good,” Shacklebolt says. He stands and offers his hand to shake. “Then I welcome you to your new position: Head Auror for Community Services, Outreach, and Intervention.”

Draco stands unsteadily, takes his hand, shakes it, and firms his jaw against the flood of feeling that wants to overtake him.



He crashes into his flat, and Emily hoots at him for waking her from her nap. “Sorry,” he says, finding her a treat (two, actually) and apologetically placing them before her. Once he’s mollified his drowsy owl, he sets to rummaging around in the drawer until he finds it: the card. He holds it tightly between finger and thumb. “Come on, damn you,” he grumbles. The ink appears, swirling happily as though Draco is not seething, and then coalesces into the address for Potter’s house and a time set for an hour from now. Good. Draco goes to change out of his work clothes, but halfway into new trousers, a bloody huge stag Patronus barges into his bedroom.

“What are you doing?” it asks. “Last time was the last time for that.”

Draco finishes dressing as the stupid deer dissolves. Potter needs a damned owl. Draco stomps into his living room, throws down some Floo powder, speaks the address, and sticks his head in.

It takes Potter a full minute, and he shows up sweaty. “What the fuck, Draco?”

“I won’t pay you then, just let me through.”

“Jesus, fine, but I’m gross. I’ve been duelling.”

“Duelling who?”

“Nobody!” Potter says. “Myself! What is with you?”

“Let me into your duelling room and find out.”

Potter throws up his hands in a huff. “Well, give me five minutes then.”

“Fine,” Draco says and backs out of the Floo.

It’s embarrassing, waiting five minutes to go and shout at someone. Draco pulls his wand while he waits and paces, trying to keep the poisonous wind in his rage sails. When his Floo dings that he’s being invited over, Draco throws down the Floo powder like a gauntlet and tumbles out into Potter’s duelling room.

Potter is standing at one end, wand in hand, bloody shirtless, making this, already, an unfair fight.

They stalk each other, making a slow, not-quite circle. “Is this about the Ministry, you dickwad?” Potter asks.

“I don’t need you speaking to my fucking boss for me, Harry,” Draco grits out.

“And you’re here to Crucio me for that.”

Draco sends a weak Confringo in the direction of the sole of Potter’s left shoe, which makes him jump awkwardly and yelp. Draco’s lips twist into a satisfied sneer—until Potter Aguamentis the crotch of Draco’s trousers.

“Oh, mature,” Draco complains.

Potter smiles and shrugs. Draco strips, shirt, trousers, everything but his pants. And Potter stops grinning like he’s won.

“I can manage my own fucking life,” Draco spits, drawing closer.

“Oh, so it’s okay for you to help someone else, but Merlin forbid you receive any help yourself. Is that right?”

“I didn’t ask for it!”

Potter sighs. He frowns in consternation. “Yeah. Okay, that’s fair.” Having let his guard down, he’s unready for Draco’s Stinging hex, which catches him in the jaw. “Oi!” Potter shouts, rubbing it. He flings an Incarcerous on him which pins Draco’s left arm to his body. Draco unwinds it with his own spell, taking a Stinger in the process. Right in the gut, bloody hell. He bends in half but comes up firing, hex after hex, that Potter defends against.

“Did you turn it down, then?” Potter asks as they trade spells.

“Fuck no, I didn’t turn it down, you utter knob! I’m happy about it, can’t you tell?” he shouts.

Potter drops his wand arm. “Seriously?”

Draco, panting, holds his wand steady, pointing at Potter’s throat, and he walks in slowly, until the point brushes Potter’s skin. “Yes. I took the stupid job, and I’m excited as hell for it, Harry. I just… why do you have to be such a golden-hearted dick all the time?”

Harry smiles. He brushes Draco’s wand hand aside, stepping in close. “You’re the one who told me.”

“Told you what?” As Harry’s lips near.

“That it’s who I am.”

“Yeah, well I’m an arsehole.”

Harry laughs, slipping his hand around the back of Draco’s neck, and he kisses him.


Eighteen Months Later



His palms are sweating. Truly, they are sweating. Harry didn’t realise palms could sweat so bloody much actually. This is worse than walking into the Forbidden Forest to die. No, that’s not true. He’s just undeniably sweatier, in the hands specifically.

Why couldn’t they have sent an Owl? Why does he have to be here in person to receive the news that he’s the worst student they’ve ever had at the Mind Healer Academy? Does he really have to be told he’s rubbish to his face? It doesn’t seem all that mentally healthy, if you ask him. He’s considering how he might preemptively insult himself before his examiner can get a word in edgewise, and then he can just Apparate the hell out of the room, right? As an exit strategy it’s not all that dignified, but at least he wouldn’t have to actually hear what an appalling—

“Mr Potter?”

“Mm?” He looks up, having been wringing his malfunctioning hands.

“The committee will see you now.”

Harry stands up from the ergonomic-in-name-only chair, wipes his hands on his trousers, and walks through the door.


Out on the pavement, he stands there in a daze. He really isn’t sure what the next step is. Go home? Get a takeaway somewhere? Sit in a park and reflect on his life? He’s in the way, and a pram almost takes him out at the knees.

“Sorry,” he murmurs to the harried young father driving his infant down the pavement like it’s the pram Olympics.

It distracts him enough that when he turns around and sees the falcon Patronus hovering there, he starts.

“Jesus,” he sighs. “Could you, like, caw or something?”

“Change of plans. I’m not in the mood for Italian,” says the bird. “Meet at Chelsea’s instead.”

“Wait, at Chelsea’s?”

But the falcon has flown away (like a dick) once its message is delivered, and Harry’s very conspicuously talking to no one. Merlin, why does the arsehole have to change everything at the last minute?

Harry regrets making plans to eat out at all. He’d be thrilled with a cheese toastie or some soup or something, and he’d really like to take his shoes off and change into joggers, but…

He Apparates where instructed, hoping they’ll stop in at Chelsea’s for the briefest of chats. It occurs to Harry that perhaps the painting of the peacocks that Draco had commissioned for his mum might be finished. They can fetch that and then Harry’s going to advocate for Chinese takeaway and comfortable clothes.

But the falcon startles him again. “Ring the bloody bell, Potter. And act surprised,” it adds.


Suddenly, once again, his palms are flooded.

The door opens a few seconds after he rings the bell, and in the interim he can hear delighted little choruses of “Shh” paired with giggles like muted bells. The degree to which his friends are very bad at this is only matched by his own obliviousness, as evidenced by him not having a fucking clue until moments ago.

“Surprise!” they all shout as the lights come on all at once, revealing a cake emblazoned with “Congratulations, Mind Healer Potter!” taking up supreme residence in the middle of the room.

Harry’s hand flies to cover his mouth, not an act at all. He feels knocked over by a new and bigger pram, one full of his friends. They’re all here. Neville and Hannah, Luna, Cho, Pansy (on the arm of a different woman from the last time he saw her), Blaise next to a shining Chelsea, Hermione and Ron (the devils). He looks around and doesn’t see him for a moment, the kneejerk flame of anger igniting inside at the thought that Draco fucking Malfoy lured him here and then, himself, sneaked off.

But no. There’s his brilliant head of hair in that sexy wave off his forehead, sipping a (dirty, naturally) martini in a corner. Harry feels a smile threaten, and he shakes his head at him, hand falling away from his mouth.

Neville, wary, approaches him and touches his elbow. “You did pass, right?”

In the hush this question creates, Harry exhales. “Yes,” he says. “Yes, I passed.”

And everyone cheers anew.

Ron hugs him first—and he elbows three different people out of the way to be able to do it. “Mate,” he says. “Knew you could do it.”

“You did?”

Hermione joins Ron in hugging him, sandwiching him between them snugly. “Harry, you are the only one who ever doubted your ability to do this.”

“I doubted it,” says Blaise looking haughty as Hermione and Ron release him. “But then Draco orated at me for bloody well half an hour, and what can I say? I’m a convert.”

“This is true,” says Chelsea, giving her boyfriend a kiss on his cheek. “Darling, pour Harry a champagne; we’ve all gotten a head start on him.”

“I’ve got it,” Draco says, sauntering up out of nowhere and handing Harry a fizzing flute.

Harry takes it. “Cheers,” he says, and they nonchalantly clink glasses. “You’re not having one?”

“I had two while we were waiting for you. How long does it take to tell someone that yes, they are in fact certified to heal minds?”

“A fair bit, as it turns out,” Harry replies.

Draco leans in, his lips brushing Harry’s ear. “Congratulations,” he says. His hand finds Harry’s, their fingers flirting, and when he draws back to look into Harry’s eyes, Harry simply says, “Thank you,” as something intangible moves between them, unvoiced yet potent. Harry wants to take him and push him against the nearest wall and kiss him until they’re breathless.

He doesn’t. He just slips a finger beneath one of Draco’s braces and runs the knuckle up and down his abdomen. He sips his champagne. They have to be forced out of their eye contact by a cleared throat.

It’s Neville. “Where’s Travis tonight?”

“In Germany,” Draco supplies. “Meeting Frederick’s parents.”

“Freddy,” Harry, Hermione, and Chelsea correct in concert.

“I thought they were just roommates,” Cho says.

“They were,” Harry says. “Until they weren’t.”

“The parents.” Blaise whistles.

“Indeed,” Draco says, noncommittally, and Harry knows he’s thinking about their visit to France three months ago, their one night in Paris and then two with Narcissa in her flowerful villa. It had been weirdly… not weird. There’s now a photo of her and Harry together on her mantelpiece. It’s surreal, sometimes tortuous and other times gentle, the movement of time, and people through it.

But Paris had been romantic as fuck.

“I hear they’re lovely,” Chelsea says of Freddy’s two mums, and then a quiet falls around their conversation, everyone collectively not talking about Travis’s parents being quite the opposite. It’s not a topic to be discussed and parried about at a party, and Harry’s grateful for the lack of gossip between them on the subject.

“Well,” says Hermione, “here’s to hoping they all get on.”

They raise their glasses and toast to Travis and Freddy, and then Luna says in typical segue, “Who wants cake?”



As happens at these things, Draco tends to get lured away into deep conversation with someone. Harry will spot him in the kitchen, leaned against a counter, nodding at Pansy’s date (who graced the cover of Witch Weekly a month ago, Hermione had informed him. “She’s a dragon trainer,” she’d whispered in bisexual awe which Harry had no trouble relating to.)

Harry had made the rounds and finally ended up on a sofa with Ron and Hermione, which is also par for the course.

Ron’s bragging on Rose’s carburettor knowledge and Hugo’s ability to smash things into carpets that you’d never want smashed there, while Hermione listens with near literal hearts in her eyes.

“How’s he doing?” Harry asks her once Ron stops for breath and to get them all fresh drinks.

She tilts her head at him. “Wouldn’t you be the one to know better than I?”

“Well, I just live with the prat; you work with him on the regular. Does he like it? I mean…” Harry’s gaze finds Draco now on Chelsea’s patio with Chelsea herself and Neville and Hannah, discussing Merlin knows what. “He seems to. But I think he’s… I don’t know, he’s reluctant maybe. Like he distrusts it?”

“Distrusts what?” Hermione asks.

“His own happiness, I think.”

“That seems on brand,” she says, smiling softly at him.

Harry returns it but frowns again a moment later. “No, that’s not quite it. Maybe it’s the fact that he never seems confident in his ability to do good. I think sometimes he feels like an imposter.”

She looks out at Draco and then back to Harry. “I think he’s very happy actually.”


She strokes the back of his hand. “Yes, Harry.”

He’s about to open his mouth and change the subject to something with an undercurrent that won’t make him blush, but there’s a shout from across the room.

“Oi, Harry!”


He’s Leviosaing a rather large object under a concealment charm, calling for everyone to gather around.

“So, since you were in cahoots with Chelsea on her doing that photo portrait series of the kids for Hermione’s birthday last year, we thought we’d have her do something for you as well.”

“Ron,” Harry says, already feeling the threatening sting in his throat. “Hermione?”

She smiles at him. Draco has wandered nearby as well, but when Harry catches his eye he shrugs in innocence, though Harry can’t tell without Reaching whether it’s feigned or not. And he never Reaches without express permission anymore.

“We hope you like it,” Ron says, and then unveils…

It’s a painting, roughly the size of something that could fit over their mantelpiece, longer than it is tall. It’s a purplish-indigo sky, a few stars flicking on here and there. In the foreground, on a black tree branch for a perch, is Emily. It’s the perfect likeness of her, that same regal attitude and excess of fluff. Her mischievous eyes and sturdy, almost officious, beak.

But there, in the sky high above and flying, is Hedwig. Her wings are stretched into a graceful soar, her body shining with the light of the moon. Her eyes… they’re kind. So kind. Harry would recognise her anywhere. He feels his face crumple… fights it, even as two tears streak down his cheeks. He feels Draco’s hand on his shoulder, heavy with comfort.

“It’s beautiful,” Harry says and takes off his glasses to wipe his eyes. “Thank you. All of you.” And then, “Fuck,” as he cries and smiles at the same time and Draco’s arm slips around his shoulders.

“We love you, Harry,” says Chelsea. Hermione’s hand squeezes his knee. Harry nods through the emotion choking him up. He nods, and feels Draco’s hand sift up into the hair at the nape of his neck.


The night dwindles around them, and they wind up crowded into Chelsea’s living room, telling jokes and stories.. But Harry is tired, and he still rather wishes he could take his shoes off, though he’s full of (fortuitous) spring rolls and other finger foods. He’s had a bit too much to drink but has noticed Draco switched to water a long time ago. He’ll be giving Harry a Side-Along home, for sure.

Harry tries to help Chelsea clean up, but Blaise looks offended at it and ushers him out of the kitchen while simultaneously donning a frilly apron for the job.

“Ready?” Draco says, sidling up, and Harry leans into the solidity of his body, the warmth he exudes.

“Yes, please. I’m exhausted.” Then, after a pause, “Should we tell them?”

“Do you want to?”

Harry thinks for a moment and then shakes his head. “Not tonight. Tonight’s already…”

“Full,” Draco says.

“Yeah,” says Harry, turning and kissing the corner of his lips. “Next time. Soon.”

Draco nods. “Soon,” he agrees.

They make their way to the door with people waving and yawning their good-byes.

“Off to bed then?” Cho asks after kissing Harry’s cheek.

And so that everyone can hear, staring into Harry’s eyes with what looks like all the love in the bloody world, Draco says those fateful words: “Not yet. We have to go fuck in a loo.”

Three Months Earlier: Paris



It’s mostly dark in the room when Draco wakes. Though it must not be that late—not yet 1am at least—the lights from the Eiffel Tower still flood across the floor near the foot of the bed, the curtains flung open on the night. And Harry is silhouetted there in the window.

The detritus of the evening spills over every surface: empty Champagne bottles, room service trays, the flowers Harry bought for him at a stall earlier and then put into a vase that they knocked over having sex against the table.

“I just wanted to look at the lights while they were still on,” Harry says, intuiting Draco’s wakefulness behind him.

Draco stretches and yawns. “How long were we asleep?”

“Only an hour or so.” Harry glances over his naked shoulder at him and then cocks his head, gesturing for Draco to join him.

Also naked, Draco does, padding drowsily up behind him. He wraps his arm around Harry’s chest and feels him lean back slightly, letting Draco’s body support him.

“It’s fucking beautiful,” Harry says, his voice quiet and awed, that middle-of-the-night liminality lent to it.

“Mm,” says Draco in response.

“Thank you for bringing me here.”

“Thank you for coming.”

“Oh for that you are very welcome,” Harry says with that sly smile in his voice. Draco’s free hand slides up his hip and settles there.

Harry makes one of those sounds… the ones he’s hardly conscious of, and Draco threads his fingers through the pubic hair around Harry’s soft cock, just to make him do it again.

“Planning to give me a hand job in full view of this phallic tower, are you?”

“I think it’s seen more than its fair share.”

“How many people do you think have fucked up there?”

Draco shrugs, his hand weighing Harry’s swollen cock gently. “I couldn’t even hazard a guess.”

“The lights will go out soon. Then you can do whatever you like to me,” Harry says, and Draco groans against his neck.

“What do you want?” Harry asks. “Do you want to kiss me?”

“Mm,” Draco hums while doing just that to the tendon in Harry’s neck.

“Do you want to fuck me?”

Draco’s exhale leaves him in a hot rush, and he starts getting hard against Harry’s bare arse.

Harry turns in his arms, his gaze finding and holding Draco’s now. “Draco,” he says.

“Mm. Harry.”

“Do you want to marry me?”

Clocks, the traffic far below them, all of humanity’s flaws… it all stops for this one breath of a moment. Whatever he sees on Draco’s face now makes Harry smile. That big, gorgeous, unconquerable Harry smile.

The lights go out.