Actions

Work Header

Expecto Patronum

Work Text:

Despite the fact he hung up his Auror robes long ago, someone at the Ministry clearly thinks Potter’s worth inviting back to make a dull speech about fighting the good fight.

Draco slides his quill through his fingers and gives Potter a look. It’s the kind of look he hopes might make Potter talk too quickly until he’s tripping over clumsy, half-formed words. The kind of look that says I don’t believe in you. He sits with his arms folded, eyebrow arched and waits for the quiver in Potter’s voice.

It’s exhilarating hating someone as much as Draco hates Potter.

Admittedly, it would be easier to hate Potter if he wasn’t everywhere. It would be infinitely easier to despise him if he didn’t ooze masculine charm; full of bright smiles and self-deprecating honesty. Potter’s already shining star ascended with breath-taking speed after the war and his infamy is a source of constant irritation to Draco.

Potter’s speech doesn’t falter, and he returns Draco’s gaze head on. He tilts his chin, as if to say bugger off, Malfoy. Draco hates him even more, then. It’s a miserable, autumn Sunday and Potter has absolutely no right looking good enough to eat. Torn jeans should look ridiculous on a man in his thirties. They shouldn’t hug Potter’s thighs in all the right places or display a tantalising bit of skin that makes Draco salivate when he tries hard – very hard – not to look at him too closely.

He suspects he’s spent most of his life torn between hating Potter and wanting to fuck him senseless.

Potter occupies even more space than Draco on endless covers of Witches Weekly. He’s a constant feature in the Prophet, looking like some kind of startled Muggle rock star caught in the headlights. Sometimes he holds his hand up to cover his face from view, as his lips draw into a tight, angry line. Other times he meets the press with cheerful resignation and waves awkwardly to his fans with a light flush in his cheeks.

Draco half expected Potter to use his fame to take to the stage and sing about saving the world while witches and wizards swooned in his presence. Instead, in the immediate aftermath of the war Potter was pictured doing all sorts of noble things, having serious discussions with Weasley in his Auror robes which were too big for him – like the hideous baggy jumpers and ill-fitting shirts he used to wear at Hogwarts – taking the Ministry by storm one vile outfit at a time. Using his fame for good, instead of evil, Draco would joke to Theo over two-for-one mojitos. Theo would roll his eyes and pat his hand over his mouth as if Draco spent half his time talking about Potter.

Draco sits back and listens to Potter speak, making an effort to yawn in all the right places and enjoying the way Potter’s cheeks flush pink with righteous anger. He started to grow into his too-large robes a couple of years ago and the smiling boyish pictures became angry-looking photographs: all dark stubble and piercing green eyes.

He zones out of Potter’s speech to imagine him having boring, vanilla sex with his Weasley girlfriend. Potter would be very earnest in bed. This is about your pleasure, he’d say. He’d sweep his hair from his forehead and reveal the scars of the past. He’d look deep into her eyes and whisper a very solemn I love you before fucking her with slow predictability. Draco pulls a face at the unpleasant thought of Potter’s heterosexual lovemaking.

He looks up to see Potter narrowing his eyes and staring at Draco as if he’s trying to work out a tricky problem. “Malfoy? Do you have something to say?” His eyes flicker with a hint of unspoken challenge.

“Nothing at all.” Draco smiles, sweet as sugar, and scribbles something on his empty roll of parchment.

“As I was saying,” Potter continues.

Draco stares at the name etched on his parchment in black ink which bleeds into yellow.

Harry Potter.

He wonders what it’s like to be Potter – constantly under the watchful eye of journalists with an adoring legion of fans. Draco tells himself it must be damn boring, and swallows back a wave of jealousy which flares in his belly and works its way up until his chest tightens.

Eventually, he has to excuse himself, so he can splash cool water on his face and remember how to breathe properly again.

*

Potter’s back at the Ministry the following week.

He doesn’t seem to be doing anything particularly useful. He’s sitting on the edge of the fountain and swinging his legs back and forth, talking to Weasley. When he laughs, he meets Draco’s eyes and he wonders if Potter’s laughing at him. The thought makes him bristle and he approaches them.

“Is something funny?”

“Do one, Malfoy.” Weasley rolls his eyes to the ceiling. “Aren’t you supposed to be filling in forms for Dawlish?” He barely conceals the glee in his voice. Dawlish probably brags to other Aurors like Weasley about the fun he has at Draco's expense. Fucking Dawlish.

Draco ignores Weasley and jabs his wand in Potter’s direction. “I suppose you’re going to tell me this is standard Ministry protocol? He isn’t supposed to be here anymore. Does he have access rights?”

Christ, he sounds like a self-important prick. Of course Potter has access rights. He’s Potter. He could probably read Ten Steps to Becoming a Dark Lord with his feet up on Shacklebolt’s desk if he wanted.

Weasley’s eyebrows raise and he exchanges a look with Potter. “Yeah, I’d say it’s okay for Harry to be here. But if you want to report it, go right ahead.”

“Stop.” Potter laughs, and claps Weasley on the shoulder. “I’m off anyway. Don’t get into a thing with Malfoy on my account. Let me know if you’re up for a beer later.”

“Can’t, I’ve got to see a woman about a house-elf.” Weasley pulls a face and Potter huffs with laughter.

“Well if you change your mind I’ll be in the Coach and Horses around seven.” Potter’s eyes slide over Draco and he’s stunned into silence as he tries to quell the traitorous beating of his heart. Draco knows that look. He’s used it himself, often enough.

“That Muggle pub in Covent Garden?” Weasley looks crestfallen. “I like it there. If I go, I’m a dead man.”

“Better stay away, then. See you around, Malfoy.”

With a wink, Potter leaves and Draco stares after him until he’s out of sight.

*

London’s just a big, dirty city full of people looking for something better.

Another swollen sunset fills the sky with blood orange light, and the dismal glass towers stretch into the clouds. Draco pushes through the crowds and wonders when he became this purposeless thing that spends his day agonising over a nod and a wink from Harry Potter. He’s like a teenager at times, pouring over endless moody photographs and fascinating stories of Potter blowing his nose or wearing a new scarf.

Draco pulls his thoughts away from Potter and focuses on his surroundings. The Muggles remind him of rats in their grey suits, muddling through their dull lives. He buys himself an overpriced glass of Pinot and watches them walking in busy lines. They all avoid looking at one another, staring down at their phones or talking in loud, clipped voices about something very important. Draco wonders if they’re all too scared to look at the person walking opposite, in case they see their own image reflected back at them.

He hates London, sometimes. He longs for the turquoise seas of the South of France, or the white-washed villas of Santorini. He needs to get away from Weasley and his Ministry cronies, from newspapers filled with Potter’s activities and the knots which twist in his stomach whenever Potter’s around. Besides, he should be somewhere he’s appreciated, not in a place where he has to fight every day for positions he’ll never secure.

In the centre of London, he’s just like the Muggles. His name means nothing to them. He’s not Draco Malfoy, he’s just another person, alone in the crowd - another man clinging on to the memory of a boy who thought he could change the world.

He drains the last of his wine and checks his watch – a Muggle accessory he purchased to blend in.

It’s half past six.

If he walks slowly, he can be in Covent Garden for seven.

*

Potter’s already there by the time Draco arrives at the Coach and Horses. He’s nursing a pint and pouring over a Muggle paper. For the first time in a long time there are no cameras – he’s just an ordinary boy asked about a spare chair at the table instead of his latest conquest, or the possibility of getting an autograph. Draco’s tempted to turn around and leave without ordering a drink because this is undoubtedly a terrible idea but Potter clocks him before he can go anywhere.

“I wasn’t sure you’d come.”

“I wasn’t sure I would either.” Draco sits next to Potter, the heat of his body warm and enticing. “I don’t usually go drinking with straight men. It always ends in disaster.”

Potter folds his paper in half and puts it into his bag. “Good job I’m not a straight man, then.”

Draco’s foolish heart starts fluttering again, and he wishes, not for the first time, that his traitorous body would control itself around Potter. “What about Weasley?”

“Ron?” Potter wrinkles his nose, and then he laughs. Draco wonders if he knows how alive he is. How he makes everybody else seem dull, flat and lifeless whenever he smiles. “Oh, you mean Ginny?”

“Yes.” Draco shudders at the thought of Potter with another Weasley. “Your girlfriend, according to Skeeter.”

“Skeeter doesn’t know her arse from her elbow,” Potter says. He’s irrepressibly cheerful for some reason. “I haven’t had a girlfriend since I was seventeen.”

“Why on earth am I here, Potter?”

“No idea.” Potter’s eyes shine and his tongue flicks over his upper lip, leaving it looking glossy and enticing. “Why don’t you tell me?”

Draco ignores him and gestures to the bar. “I’m getting a drink.”

“I’ll have a lager, if you’re offering.” Potter tips his glass in Draco’s direction and settles back in place, his legs stretched out under the table and his jeans gloriously tight in all the right places.

“I wasn’t,” Draco says, even though he knows he’ll get Potter his lager and anything else he wants.

Potter smiles in a way that suggests he knows Draco will too.

*

Potter’s a strange creature. He talks at a thousand miles an hour and drags his fingers through his hair when he talks, until it’s sticking up in all the wrong places. It shouldn’t work, but it does. Draco can’t stop looking at Potter’s face. He’s open in ways a media savvy celebrity shouldn’t be, his words bursting from his lips as if he’s been waiting forever just to speak despite the fact he’s constantly surrounded by friends.

Draco wants to remind him who he’s talking to, and ask why the hell Potter’s drinking warm beer and confessing his secrets to a Slytherin. He says as much when they’re four drinks in and Potter’s oversharing about his mutually beneficial arrangement with an Italian Quidditch star that makes Draco’s stomach twist uncomfortably.

“We’re enemies, Potter. What makes you think I won’t sell your secrets to the Prophet?”

Potter’s laughter is almost insulting. “Get over yourself, Malfoy. We’re not enemies. We’re in the same boat, you and me.”

“I don’t exactly like you,” Draco mutters, even though he’s not sure he means that anymore. There’s something endearing about being on the right side of Potter. Something that makes his heart leap at every wide, too-bright smile. “Besides, we have nothing in common.”

“We both like fucking men.” Potter’s nothing if not straightforward. “There’s that.” He pauses and toys with his beer mat. He can’t keep his hands still, and he’s already destroyed three perfectly good beer mats by tearing them into little pieces. “And we both have all sorts of shit printed about us. The kind of stuff nobody should be stupid enough to believe.”

Draco’s stomach turns as he remembers the last expose on the Malfoy family. Four long pages of lies and half-truths that set Draco’s progress at the Ministry back by months. “People should know better than to believe what they read.”

“Shouldn’t they just?” Potter agrees. He leans back in his seat and he does the thing with his hand again – a careless swipe through tousled hair. “All the stuff about your type of bloke, for example.” A shadow crosses Potter’s face as if he doesn’t like the speculation much.

Heat rises in Draco’s cheeks as he knows full well that the papers often use the words tall, dark and handsome to describe his partners. Potter shouldn’t flatter himself if he thinks that’s any indicator that Draco might be interested in Potter. He’s hardly tall.

“Utter tripe.” Draco takes a steady sip of his drink, refusing to be intimidated by Potter’s questions. “The same papers paint you as a beacon of heterosexuality, after all.”

“So that’s not your type?” Potter looks almost disappointed, picking up another beer mat and tearing it into pieces.

Draco eyes the discarded pieces of card and makes a non-committal sound. “I have my preferences, but I’m a firm believer in being versatile.”

Draco emphasises the word ‘versatile’ and smirks when he hears an unf of breath leave Potter’s parted lips. When he looks up, Potter’s cheeks have a pleasing colour to them and he looks even more wild and raggedy than usual. Draco has the desire to bury his face in Potter’s neck, breathing in the scent of his skin and sliding his tongue to the spot where his pulse would thud, thud erratically against Draco’s tongue.

“I’m pretty versatile too.” Potter holds Draco’s gaze and dips his voice. “I mean, I can be. If that’s what someone wants.”

Draco’s breath catches in his throat as Potter’s voice takes on an almost eager note, as if he’d rather enjoy being told what to do. He stares into Potter’s eyes for a heated moment.

“Another drink?” It’s about all he can manage, gesturing to Potter’s empty glass. It’s definitely lunacy getting pissed with Potter and exchanging lingering stares. On the other hand, the pub is surprisingly cosy and Draco’s too warm to brave the rainy autumn evening right now.

Potter begins to gather the decimated bits of beer mat into neat piles. “Yeah, I’ll have another drink. What harm can it do?”

Draco can think of at least a hundred different responses to that. Instead he says “fine” and goes to the bar anyway.

*

Draco’s busy sleeping off his hangover when he’s rudely awoken by someone barging through the Floo with all the grace of a drunken Hippogriff.

“Fuck.” He repeats it for good measure, three times under his breath. Malfoys with priceless heirlooms and a stash of Galleons in the sock drawer should know better than to leave the Floo open to any waif and stray.

“Malfoy?”

Draco freezes at the sound of an all too familiar voice. It’s the same voice that purred something in his ear about coffee and bacon sandwiches at two thirty in the morning. The same voice that was gruff from shouting over loud Muggle music by the time they stumbled out of a West End nightclub half pissed on tequila shots.

“Malfoy?” Potter sounds like he hasn’t been to sleep, his voice fresh and light. “I’m going to put the kettle on.”

Draco smothers a growl and yanks on the first clothing he can find. He gives himself a cursory glance in the mirror, using magic to freshen himself up and make his hair look less like a bird’s been nesting in it.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” He pushes open the door to the kitchen to find Potter whistling at an obnoxious volume.

“Breakfast.” Potter waves a greasy looking brown paper bag which makes Draco’s stomach roll. “Bacon sandwiches and coffee. I got you a Cappuccino. I thought you’d like that. It sounds fancy.”

Draco opens his mouth and closes it again. He does rather like Cappuccino, even if Potter’s cheerful smile is driving him insane. “I don’t like you, Potter.” Draco takes the coffee anyway. “I thought I made that clear last night.”

Potter stares, his lips twitching. He makes a show of thinking about it, tapping his forefinger against his lips. “When exactly did you make that clear?”

Draco pauses, mid sip. The night’s blurred around the edges and his head is pounding, but he’s fairly certain he called Potter an idiot at least once. “On several occasions.”

Potter’s lips curve into a smile, his eyes fixed on Draco. “Yeah. Must have been when you turned up at the pub just because I said I was planning to be there or all the dancing until three in the morning.” He sighs, in a put upon sort of way. “Sorry, Malfoy. I’m pretty terrible at getting hints. You might have to be a bit more obvious about things.”

Draco scowls because Potter has no right to stand in his kitchen taking the piss. He changes tack. “Fine. It wasn’t completely horrible. More to the point, I didn’t realise you liked me.”

Potter shrugs and goes back to rooting through Draco’s cupboards, muttering something about sugar. “I’m not sure I do. You’re really not a morning person, are you?”

“Not in the slightest.” Draco stops glaring because it’s not doing anything to assuage his headache and it’s a bit pointless when Potter isn’t even looking at him. Instead he focuses on the way Potter’s trousers cling to his backside when he stretches to retrieve the teabags. “We have coffee.”

“I know.” Potter gives Draco a triumphant look over his shoulder. “And now we have tea, too.”

“You’re so fucking peculiar,” Draco says. He takes another soothing sip of his coffee. “Don’t you have Weasleys you can drink tea with?”

“Always.” Potter puts the kettle on with a flick of his wand and retrieves one of Draco’s mugs. He eyes it and holds it up, eyebrow arched. “Mrs Harry Potter?”

Theo. Draco’s going to Crucio him when he next sees him. “A gift,” he replies, his voice tight. “An unwanted gift. Theo thinks he’s a fucking comedian.”

“I see.” Potter’s grin spreads across his face and he waves the mug at Draco again. “Tea?”

“I’ve already said no,” Draco snaps. He tries to fight the heat rising in his cheeks. Potter seems oblivious to Draco’s irritated tone, and he attempts to change the subject as Potter gleefully makes himself tea in the Mrs Harry Potter mug. “Tell me again why you’re here when you have multiple Gryffindors to annoy?”

“No idea.” Potter puts a bacon roll in front of Draco and takes a messy bite of his own. “I thought it might be fun to do stuff together given our shared interests.” Potter winks, full of innuendo even at nine-thirty in the morning.

It’s strange, seeing Potter flirt with such easy confidence. The Potter of old was never this bright-eyed and self-assured, Draco’s sure of it. He can still recall Potter’s horrid attempts to drag misty-eyed girls around the dance floor during Yule Balls. Now he moves with easy fluidity and flirts with eager confidence. Draco wonders if Potter’s had to become this bright star the public expect him to be – if he’s had to learn how to be the very best version of himself so nobody ever sees the man behind the brilliant smile.

Draco’s not about to let Potter get away with it. He’s always enjoyed getting under Potter’s skin, and Draco has had a hundred different men on their knees with a few well-chosen words. “If you’re here to explore shared interests, Potter, I think we can probably dispense with the niceties. In fact, we can probably avoid conversing altogether.” Draco lets his eyes trail slowly over Potter’s body and up again, until a deep flush spreads from Potter’s neck to his cheeks. He ensures his voice is the steady, cultivated murmur he’s used with success in the past; his words like liquid sex.

Potter lets out a strangled sound rather than words and he winces when he sips his piping hot tea too quickly. He shifts, unsettled for the first time since he’s insinuated his way in Draco’s previously blissful Potter-free existence. He lets out a huff of air as his fingers curl tightly around his mug. Oh, Draco is really enjoying this. He drinks in the way Potter reacts so beautifully to every flick and tease of his words and imagines how Potter would look stretched out on his sheets. Fucking lovely, he imagines.

Potter steadies himself, murmuring something under his breath which Draco doesn’t quite catch. When he opens his eyes he’s calm again, his lips curving into a smile. Potter lifts his mug slowly to his lips and drinks, the Mrs Harry Potter clearly visible. Draco glares, wondering how Potter can make him pissed off and horny at the same time.

“Bugger off, Potter. Put that mug in the bin on your way out.”

Potter laughs quietly and shrugs, as if he’s not making any promises. When he stops, the silence stretches between them and the room fills with low huffs of breath and the sound of the birds singing outside. “Malfoy?”

“Hmm?” Draco arches an eyebrow and takes a sip of his coffee.

“I’m glad we can put the past behind us. I don’t meet many people who I think remember the war, the same way I do.”

Draco feels a rush of desire. There’s something so unexpected about Potter’s vulnerability, it makes Draco’s chest tighten. He imagines standing and pressing the length of his body against Potter’s. He pictures himself rubbing his thumb over Potter’s bottom lip, pushing his fingers into Potter’s mouth and whispering in his ear things like I remember and let me just… and Harry until the only damn thing Potter can remember is Draco’s name. Swallowing thickly, Draco waves at the seat opposite him “Come on, then. You might as well sit down.”

Potter sits and watches Draco. His eyes are heavy and dark, as if he’s been imagining all kinds of things too.

Draco takes a bite of his bacon roll and tries not to stare as Potter licks brown sauce from his thumb.

*

“I thought you knew,” Theo says. He’s smirking like he’s some kind of Potter guru and has only just decided to inform Draco of this fact. “He keeps it fairly low-key but he’s not trying to hide anything. He used to go to those clubs you have to be a big celebrity to get into, back in the day. He hasn’t been for a while. It’s probably why the press haven’t got wind of it yet.”

“Good of you to tell me.” Draco itches to hex Theo. “You incredible arse.”

“You’re a match made in heaven by all accounts.” Theo leans forward, his breath smoky and coffee-rich. “He likes dirty blonds who can handle their broomsticks. He always gets the good-looking Quidditch players.”

Draco seriously hates Theo right now. “Who are you calling a dirty blond?”

“Settle down, princess.” Theo pats Draco’s hand like the fucker he is and dips his voice into the low, throaty rumble that’s seduced half the wizards and witches in Britain. “He likes the kinky stuff, too.”

“Where the fuck did you hear that?” Draco stares at Theo, trying to ignore the way his heart thumps in his chest.

“Here and there.” Theo’s the picture of nonchalance, lighting up another cigarette and blowing a smoke circle into the air. “There was something about him being tied up, I think. He didn’t like that much. It went a bit wrong which is why he hasn’t been back.” Theo winks. “You could take him there again. Become his Leather Daddy.”

“Piss off.” Draco snorts and reaches for a cigarette without asking Theo if he minds. Theo never minds and he has an endless supply of cigarettes. It’s the only reason Draco continues to tolerate him. “If Potter lets me tie him up, he’s even more stupid than he looks.”

Theo gets a wicked look in his eyes. “Potter would look good in ropes.”

It doesn’t surprise Draco in the slightest that Potter might be twitchy about being bound. Only a fool would attempt to do that to someone with Potter’s history without a serious discussion about boundaries. “If not bondage, then what?”

“All sorts.” Theo’s eyes glimmer and he licks his lips. “You know what he likes most of all?”

“I couldn’t care less,” Draco lies.

“Okay.” Theo draws out the word and looks heavenward. “Being fucked, apparently. He’s really into that.”

“Interesting,” Draco says, even though he tries to make it sound like it isn’t.

*

The next time Draco sees Potter, he’s flanked by Weasleys in the Ministry.

“Malfoy.” Potter gives Draco a peculiar salute when he walks past.

“Potter.” Draco pauses, wondering if he should say something. In the end he settles for a sardonic, “here again?”

“Can’t stay away.” The corner of Potter’s mouth twitches and he gives Draco a look which is positively sinful.

“Perhaps you need to find something else to keep you entertained?” Draco meets Potter’s look with one of his own. He’s satisfied when he sees a pink flush travel from Potter’s neck to his cheeks, and turns to leave when Weasley elbows Potter in the side.

“See you around,” Potter says.

“Not if I can help it,” Draco replies. He murmurs it under his breath because he doesn’t really want Potter to hear. He feels better just for getting the words out in the open so he can tell himself that he never really approved of Potter’s odd attempts at friendship when this all goes to shit. It’s not as if forty eight hours ago Potter was sitting in his kitchen, drinking tea out of a Mrs Harry Potter mug. It’s not like twenty four hours after that, Draco was having the most spectacular wank to the thought of Potter getting soundly fucked.

Draco’s not even out of earshot when he hears an incredulous, “Did you just say hello to Malfoy?

“Maybe. I mean, yeah.” Potter sounds sheepish, but he doesn’t deny it.

The combination of that and the aggravation in Weasley’s voice brightens Draco’s day immensely.

*

When Draco gets to his office after a particularly tedious meeting with Dawlish, Potter’s sitting in Draco’s chair, turning it in slow circles and flicking through a file marked Private and Confidential. He looks up when Draco clears his throat, and beams. “Drinks tonight?”

Draco shoos Potter out of his chair and pointedly closes the file. “It’s a Tuesday. Nobody goes out drinking on a Tuesday. Nobody that works, that is.” Draco raises an eyebrow at Potter. “What is it you do, anyway? Apart from hang around the Ministry so Weasley can pretend to be as famous as you are.”

A cloud passes over Potter’s face and he frowns. “Don’t say that. Not about Ron. Say whatever you like about me, but don’t be a dick about him.”

Draco rolls his eyes. He can’t help but wonder if Weasley would receive the same talking to from Potter if it was his honour being called into question. “Fine. What do you do again?”

“This and that,” Potter says. He doesn’t meet Draco’s eyes, focusing on the painting behind Draco’s left ear. “Consultancy work, mainly.”

“A job created just for Harry Potter, I’ll bet.” Draco shuffles his papers and files them in his drawer, mainly so he doesn’t have to linger on the way Potter’s lithe frame crowds his personal space. “No tequila.”

“Absolutely no tequila,” Potter agrees. When Draco looks up, he’s smiling again. “Fancy somewhere Muggle?”

Draco assesses Potter, a flash of disappointment making him frown. “Probably for the best. I suppose being seen out and about with a former Death Eater might damage the Potter brand.” Draco tries to keep the scathing note from his voice, but isn’t sure he quite manages it.

Potter's eyes narrow and he studies Draco. After a heartbeat he nods. “Yes, I’d say so. It’s probably going to do horrible things to my reputation.” He tips his chin with an unspoken challenge. “The Leaky Cauldron it is, then?”

Draco mutters a curse under his breath. Of course Harry Potter, Gryffindor and hero extraordinaire wouldn’t give a kneazle’s whisker about negative press. “One drink,” he repeats, by way of tacit acceptance.

He wonders why he’s even bothering to pretend that Potter can’t have him for as long as he likes.

*

Going for a drink with Potter in a wizarding pub is a different experience from drinking in a Muggle bar. Draco’s used to his own share of press attention, but being with Potter is something else entirely. Ministry photographers appear almost from nowhere to capture pictures of Potter, their expressions curious when they see who he’s with. Draco keeps his features smooth and hopes to fuck people don’t think Potter’s doing some kind of investigation into his family. Again.

As the bulbs flash and the cameras click, Potter’s tension is palpable and his usually happy expression is nowhere to be seen. Instead he looks gloomy and uncertain. Draco begins to understand why Potter prefers to destroy beer mats in quiet Muggle bars, desperate to escape from the media circus his life must have become after the war. The magnitude of Potter’s decision to go to a pub in Diagon Alley largely to appease Draco makes his heart trip in his chest.

Because he’s Draco Malfoy and not a Hufflepuff, he pretends he’s not getting all heart-fluttery over Potter’s irritating heroism by making the first barbed comment which springs to mind: “The great Harry Potter, scared of a few journalists.” Draco keeps his voice low so nobody except Potter hears.

Potter snorts in response. “Piss off.”

“You’re the one that suggested it.”

“Didn’t want to be a dickhead,” Potter says. His voice is low and even, his eyes flashing with the courage of conviction as they slide over Draco’s face. “I don’t want you to think I’m hiding any of this because it's you." He pulls a face and looks away, his expression dark. “This is all me. All my doing.”

Despite his words, Potter’s shoulders are square and tense, his lips pursed in narrow lines. Every muscle in his body screams don’t touch me and his face holds a strange, haunted look, like the press makes him physically uncomfortable.

“Idiot.” It’s the best Draco can manage while keeping the emotion from his voice. The fact Potter’s so determined to prove that this strange friendship is genuine is something which leaves Draco slightly breathless. When they open the door to the pub, Draco lets his hand linger on the small of Potter’s back. The touch is light, but he moves his thumb along the base of Potter’s spine and uses his hand to steer Potter away from the flashing bulbs and crowds of fans gathered nearby. The idea that Potter might need protecting is laughable, but the light touch seems to do the trick. A little of Potter’s tension leaves him and by the time they’re in the bar he seems brighter again.

“Remind me to bring my Invisibility Cloak, next time.” He orders a couple of pints and gestures to a free table. “They won’t all come inside, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of them do. They’re usually pretty good at booting the press out if they’re not letting me get on with my night.”

“You come here a lot with other wizards?” Draco tries to keep the note of jealousy from his tone, imagining Potter in the same secluded seat, protected in his numerous liaisons.

“There are other places to meet wizards that are going to be more discrete than the blokes I’d be able to pull at the Leaky. I come here with Ron, Hermione, Neville and the rest of that crowd. My friends,” Potter clarifies. “I don’t tend to come here with people I’m planning to fuck.”

Draco tries not to take the hump. He’s not sure how he feels about being in the not people Potter plans to fuck category. Despite his irritation, he doesn’t miss the subtle qualification in Potter’s words and wonders at it, studying him as Potter talks about something innocuous like Shacklebolt’s new broom. Draco isn’t really listening. He’s too busy watching the slow curve of Potter’s lips as they twitch into a smile and the way his eyes can’t settle on Draco’s face for too long, as if their proximity makes him nervous. Just for good measure, Draco uses the accident of small space to press their thighs together and Potter responds with a slow, ragged exhale and a light press of his own leg against Draco’s.

Despite Potter’s assurance about less press attention inside the pub, the light-bulbs continue to flash around them and Draco leans in to speak to Potter over the excited murmurs around them. “Not exactly the perfect spot for a private conversation, Potter.”

“It’s not usually this bad.” Potter looks slightly green, his knuckles white as he clutches his pint. “With Ron and Hermione they just take a few photos and leave.”

Draco laughs, keeping his voice low. “I’m hardly one of your war hero Ministry cohorts. I fought on the other side. I'm a Malfoy, as I try to keep reminding you.”

“You do indeed.” Potter glances at Draco, his tone teasing. “I'm hardly likely to forget when you wear those monogrammed blazers of yours.”

Draco glares at Potter and then leans closer, his lips brushing Potter's ear. “Did it occur to you the press might be more interested in us because nobody expects you and Weasley to suck one another off at the end of the night?”

Potter hitches a breath and he shifts in his seat. “You think that's why they're not leaving?"

The possibility of having Potter on his knees is why Draco's not leaving, not that he's going to admit that out loud. “I think we make a much more interesting couple than you and Weasley.”

Potter pulls a face. “Do you mind?”

“Not your type?” Draco muses.

“Hardly. He’s a mate.” Potter’s eyes sweep over Draco and he looks pained. “Can’t we talk about the weather or something?” Potter looks as though he’s about one minute away from making a run for it. He dips his voice to a whisper. “They always seem to hear the other stuff. Besides, it’s…distracting.”

“Is it?” Draco leans into Potter again, partially to mask his words and partially because he smells fucking fantastic. “I had a very interesting chat with Theodore Nott over the weekend.” Draco’s determined to get to the bottom of Potter’s secrets, and he’d prefer to do so out of the way of Extendable Ears and popping cameras. “I imagine you don’t want to talk about that with the press in earshot.”

“Oh shit.” Potter’s cheeks bloom pink and he twists a beer mat in his hands. “I don’t want to talk about it at all,” he mutters. In the end, he sighs and grabs his jacket. “Fine. If you’re going to be like this, let’s leave. Can we go to yours?”

Draco raises an eyebrow at Potter, and nods. He wonders when his home became some sort of safe haven for raggedy boy heroes. “If you want.”

“Yeah.” Potter breathes out, and his exhale is sweet and hoppy. “I want.”

Draco supposes it’s as private as anywhere. He’s a Malfoy and he knows how to keep his home free from prying eyes – at least he does when he isn’t in a drunken stupor after doing too many tequila shots with Potter. “We can walk.”

“If you don’t mind company.” Potter nods his head towards the journalists, his face caught in a peculiar expression. “This is rubbish.”

“Company’s fine.” Draco pulls on his own coat and exits the pub with Potter just in front of him. He lets his hand linger on the small of Potter’s back again as they leave, and ignores the photographers on their trail. “Is it always like this?” Potter’s unusually quiet and pensive and the lack of cheerful chatter unsettles Draco.

“Pretty much.” Potter doesn’t say anything further and they walk the rest of the distance in silence, Potter lost in thought with his hands stuffed into his pockets.

*

“We shouldn’t go out. Ever again.” Potter’s mood brightens considerably when they arrive at Draco’s house and the door has closed on the photographers outside. “Never, ever again. Let’s stay here for a month.”

“Absolutely not,” Draco says. He hopes he sounds horrified. He is, a bit. He’s mainly just thinking about the filthy things he could do if he had Potter all to himself for a month. He clears his throat so his voice doesn’t sound rough from unprompted mental images of Potter naked and begging – kept as a house-boy to do Draco’s bidding.

“They’ll say all sorts, you know.” Potter gives Draco a worried look as if it’s Draco that should be worried about their association, not Potter.

Draco shrugs. “Let them. I couldn’t give a fuck. It might make people like me more. I might even get a promotion.”

Potter laughs, clearly cheered by Draco’s response. “It’s mutually beneficial, then, this friendship of ours?”

“It could be.” Draco resists the urge to leer because not everybody has to flirt as horribly as Potter to get their point across. He pours two glasses of wine and hands one to Potter, taking a seat across from him. “What do you get out of it?”

“No idea.” Potter’s nothing if not honest and he doesn’t even seem to be flirting now. Probably. “I thought about you a lot after the war. I saw the pictures in the papers and heard a few things on the grapevine. I was intrigued.”

“It can’t just be idle curiosity. Why are you still here?” Draco hopes that doesn’t sound as needy as it feels and he swallows back the please don’t leave which threatens to follow.

Potter shrugs and he sips his wine. “You’ve got a nice home and you’re fun to be around when you’re not being an arse.”

Draco knows he probably shouldn’t feel a rush of pleasure when Potter says that. It’s hardly the best compliment he’s received, but Potter has a knack for making tin-pot compliments sound like gold. “I would have thought a global celebrity would have enough money to buy a house of his own,” Draco observes.

“True. Must just be the fact you’re fun, then.” Potter’s gaze lingers on Draco’s face and he swipes his lips with his tongue. Draco’s starting to pick up on Potter’s little ticks and he plans to make a thorough mental note of the meaning of every single one. “Besides, home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when it’s midnight and you’re drinking warm beer and eating cheese and crackers by yourself.”

“You still have Grimmauld Place?” Draco knows he does, because there’s old magic attached to the property that would have been triggered if Potter didn’t live there anymore. Still, it’s safe territory for the moment as he can hardly launch into Theo tells me you like a thorough fucking when Potter’s in the mood for sharing and thinks of Draco – bizarrely – as safe.

“Yeah.” Potter pulls a face. “It’s a bit…miserable.”

“Of course it is, it belonged to my family.” Draco rolls his eyes. “You’ve been to the Manor, Potter. We’re all very fond of gloomy corridors and oppressive paintings.”

“No gloomy corridors here, though.” Potter’s lips quirk into a smile, as he studies Draco. “Bit of a difference from the usual.”

“I’m still a Malfoy,” Draco mutters, in case Potter thinks he’s some kind of Weasley substitute. He shudders. “A Malfoy and a Slytherin,” he adds, as an afterthought.

“I know.” Potter does that thing with his tongue again, swiping it over his lip. His gaze is a little darker than usual, his lips sliding into a very un-Potterish smirk. “I’ve heard a few rumours of my own, like I said.”

Of course Potter’s heard rumours. He was probably responsible for putting together half of the Ministry files on Draco back in the day.

Draco narrows his eyes and refuses to let Potter’s teasing throw him off course. “Speaking of rumours, I hear you liked celebrity clubs once upon a time. Not to mention your steady stream of Quidditch stars. I didn’t peg you as the type for casual encounters. How many notches do you have on that bedpost of yours, Potter?” Draco definitely doesn’t sound jealous. Not in the slightest.

Potter has the decency to look embarrassed, heat rising in his cheeks. “None of your business. Anyway, casual is the best thing all round. It suits me just fine. It’s just safer that way. For everyone.” Potter sounds like he’s trying to convince himself.

Draco’s breath leaves him with an oomph because he’s read Potter all wrong. He expected him to be the kind to pursue his one true love and marry at nineteen. “Since when is our noble hero scared to take a leap of faith? Not terribly Gryffindor of you. Perhaps they should have put you in Hufflepuff.”

“Hufflepuff’s are brave,” Potter says, righteous in his defence. He looks cross and folds his arms. “Besides, it’s not because I’m scared. That’s not it at all.”

So that’s the way to get to Potter. Draco resists the urge to lick his lips and wonders if he could get Potter to suck his cock just by daring him to do so. He drinks in his fill of Potter and arches a sceptical eyebrow as if to say of course, if you say so. “Casual gets dull after a while.”

“Does it?” Potter makes a valiant attempt of looking genuinely surprised, but there’s something in his tone that makes Draco not quite believe him.

“You know it does,” Draco says. He wants Potter to know he’s not fooling anyone. Not really. “You’re the one who fights for things, Potter. Not me. People expect me to take what I want and throw it away when I’m bored. You’re the last person I expected to be scared of losing your heart to a cad of a wizard that won’t buy you flowers.”

Potter’s eyebrows knit in a frown. “I'm not protecting myself, Malfoy,” he says through gritted teeth. "I'm protecting them." He holds out his glass for more wine. “Don’t be a pillock.” He takes a decent gulp of his wine before rubbing his cheek, his eyes firmly on Draco and his expression serious. “That’s all you heard?”

“That, and something about a bad experience with bondage.” Draco doesn’t miss the way Potter’s shoulders tighten and the flush in his cheeks deepens.

There’s a charged silence which fills the room before Potter speaks again, the tension ebbing away with his words. “I didn’t like being tied up. Reminds me of…” He waves his hand in brisk dismissal. “You know.”

Draco doesn’t, not exactly, but he saw enough during the war to be able to guess. “I think so.”

“Is that a problem?” Potter’s voice contains a note of challenge and Draco notices the way his fingers drum against his leg as if he’s looking for something to keep his hands busy.

“You think I want to tie you up?” Draco laughs, although it comes out a bit shaky.

“Don’t you?” Potter (damn him) keeps his voice steady as if he’s just asked if Draco wants another drink or a new broom for Christmas.

“Not particularly,” Draco says. He’s rather proud of himself for making it sound like the truth, when his mind is full of images of Potter’s wrists bound with green satin and he can almost taste Potter’s perspiration on the tip of his tongue.

“Oh.” Potter sounds almost disappointed

*

Draco peruses the Prophet when it drops next to his pot of tea and toast and marmalade.

As Potter anticipated, his love life is prime gossip fodder for bored journalists. Death Eater Dalliance! The front page exclaims. Harry Potter Changes Sides gets a full three pages, charting the lives and loves of Harry Potter. Draco wrinkles his nose with distaste when he sees a couple of Quidditch players have come out of the woodwork overnight and confirmed Potter’s sexual prowess and definite interest in men. Selling stories is so distasteful.

“They got your best side, at least.” Theo’s voice sounds from the living room, and he enters the kitchen with a swagger. He drops a copy of one of the gossip rags on Draco’s plate and helps himself to a slice of toast. “Potter’s not looking half bad these days, either.”

Draco turns the paper to see the picture on the front cover. He closes the Prophet so he doesn’t have to look at the captain of Sweden’s Quidditch team any longer, and the jealous knot in his stomach eases.

“Now this is a good picture.” Draco runs his finger over the large picture which covers the front page. He’s leaning in to whisper in Potter’s ear. The picture makes it look as if Draco’s hand could be doing anything to Potter underneath the table. Potter’s eyes are shuttered closed and his lips are parted in response. The look is almost painfully erotic. His cheeks have a healthy glow and his hair is a shaggy, glorious mop. His eyelids flutter and the flush on his cheeks deepens. Draco doesn’t even need to read the article to know what a half-decent fantasist could make of a picture like that.

“I didn’t realise you two were so intimate.” Theo helps himself to a seat and a cup of coffee. He lights a cigarette and peruses Draco. “I know that look.”

“Please.” Draco’s still looking at the photo of Potter and drinking in the way he looks so corruptible. “I don’t have a look.”

“Oh, you definitely do.” Theo cocks his head at the familiar whoosh of the Floo.

“Malfoy?”

“Oh yes.” Theo rubs his hands together and settles back in his chair with glee. “This is going to be excellent.”

“Not a fucking word,” Draco hisses. He gathers the papers together quickly and tries to make it look as if he hasn’t just been pawing over pictures of Potter.

“Morning.” Potter’s lips tighten when he sees Theo and he looks suddenly awkward. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to barge in.”

“Yes you did.” Draco gives Theo a pointed look. “Theo just arrived to show me the papers.”

“If you say so.” Theo spreads his hands and gives Draco a wicked smile. They have special places in hell for people like Theodore Nott. Draco makes a mental note to tell Potter one day that a mutual proclivity for topping prevented Draco and Theo’s relationship from going much beyond a couple of quick hand jobs in the Slytherin common room.

Potter’s still giving Theo a distrustful look and it’s actually quite disarming. He picks up the paper Draco had just been admiring and his jaw tightens. “I hadn’t seen this one. Did you read what they’re saying about us?”

“I can only imagine.” Draco keeps his voice the steady, cultured drawl he’s perfected over the years. He couldn’t care less if the world thinks he’s tossing off Potter in public places. “You do look a little…flustered.”

Potter’s response is more of an nnngh than actual words, and Theo (the bastard) snorts with laughter.

“I rather like it.” Theo has the audacity to ruffle Potter’s hair, earning him a swat and a fierce glare. Theo’s getting a predatory look when he watches Potter that Draco doesn’t appreciate and he points at his Muggle watch.

“Time for work, Theo.” Fuck off, in other words.

“I’m sure they won’t mind me being late.” Theo’s eyes travel the full length of Potter’s body before he stands. “Although I suppose I should leave the lovebirds to it. Draco. Harry.”

“Um…bye.” Potter’s cheeks have that pleasing colour to them again as he continues to stare at the paper wide-eyed. Anyone would think he’d never seen an article about himself before.

“Cat got your tongue, Potter?” Draco’s really quite enjoying Potter’s discomfiture.

“I’m in so much trouble.” Potter looks up from the paper, and he rakes a hand through his hair. For the first time, Draco notices the dark shadows under Potter’s eyes and the unshaven, unkempt look of him. “I mean, loads of trouble. Ron’s going to kill me.”

Draco couldn’t give a damn about Weasley but he refrains from saying so, which is good of him he thinks.

“Can I expect you at the Ministry in that case?”

“Yeah. Later. Got to see Hermione about something first. Oh, bloody hell.” Potter’s shaking his head and he pushes the paper away. “We should sort this out. I can do an interview, if you like. I’m really sorry about this, Malfoy. If you don’t want to see me again, I’ll get it.”

Draco drops his unfinished toast on his plate, his stomach turning. Now would be the perfect time to cut Potter loose once and for all. After all, it’s not as if Potter’s actually going to do anything for his career or tell Dawlish to stop being a prick. Even if Potter were the sort to pull strings for his friends, Draco can’t pretend that Potter’s just a politically savvy move in the making. Not to mention the idea of having his past unearthed and every one of his mistakes crawled over by journalists is far from appealing. Draco’s positive Potter isn’t worth it. Really, he is.

“I’ll let myself out.” The silence stretches between them and Potter waves his hand. His face has the same strange expression he gets when he’s talking about the war. His hands clasp and he’s looking elsewhere – at the walls, at the door – at anywhere other than Draco. It’s all Draco can do not to tug him close and press their lips together until the papers and the rest of the world fades into nothing.

“You should,” he says, instead. He flicks his wand to clear up the remnants of breakfast and doesn’t miss the heavy sigh which escapes Potter.

“Right, then. I’ll see you, Malfoy.” Potter gives Draco a brittle smile and turns to leave.

“I have brandy.” Apparently Draco can’t help himself when Potter looks like a wounded lion cub, unshaven and letting himself out like it’s that fucking simple.

“Brandy?” Potter stops and turns slowly. His lips curve into a tentative smile and his eyes meet Draco’s at last. The spark that passes between them makes Draco’s heart quicken and he hopes to Merlin he’s not the only one that feels it. The room almost hums with it – the light note of basic magic, the scent of Potter’s cologne and early morning coffee and a hundred unspoken words which shiver between them, filling the room.

“I don’t like drinking alone. You could help me finish it tonight.” Draco pockets his wand and contemplates Potter. “I hope you can handle your liquor.”

“I’m probably going to finish the bottle and throw up on my shoes,” Potter says. “It feels like one of those days.” He sounds delighted at the thought, his smile widening.

“If you do, I’m going to tell Wizards Whispers you came in your trousers in the pub last night,” Draco threatens.

Potter bursts out laughing and the sound is so rich, warm and familiar that Draco only barely manages to bite back his smile.

*

Later that afternoon, Draco finds Potter standing by Draco’s office, arguing with Weasley.

“Does he know? Have you told him anything about-” Weasley stops talking when his eyes fix on Draco. His freckles are nearly masked by the redness in his cheeks. He looks furious.

Potter sounds miserable. “I can’t. I don’t even know how to-”

“Malfoy.” Weasley cuts Potter off with a curt nod of his head. “Malfoy’s back.”

“Oh.” Potter turns, wary and skittish as if he’s been caught doing something he shouldn’t. “Hi.”

“Fancy seeing you here, Harry.” Draco shouldn’t be enjoying this as much as he is, but the look on Weasley’s face is priceless. He hopes his sultry tone is giving Weasley all sorts of ideas involving Potter on his knees, worshiping Draco’s cock. He hopes it gives Potter some ideas.

Potter doesn’t look aroused in the slightest. He rolls his eyes and glares, before turning back to Weasley. “Can we do this later?”

Weasley looks from Draco to Potter and back again. He sets his lips in a grim line and gives another tight nod of his head in response.

“You know it’s just because…” Weasley trails off and shrugs, his brow furrowed.

“Okay.” Potter does this funny thing with his hand, clapping it on Weasley’s shoulder and leaving it there while they stare at each other in charged silence. Draco assumes this must be how Potter interacts with straight men and resists the urge to say something smug. Weasley looks green enough as it is.

Eventually, Weasley sighs and he pulls Potter into a brief hug. “I’ll see you, Harry.”

“Yeah.” Potter watches Weasley go and then turns to Draco, his smile forced. “You didn’t say what time you wanted me tonight.”

Draco checks his watch and remembers the stupid case he’s supposed to be managing for Dawlish. He runs his eyes over Potter who still looks on-edge, his hands stuffed into his pockets and his face downcast.

“We might as well go now.” It’s not as if Draco doesn’t have enough money in his vaults to cope if Dawlish fires him. “I’ve been given the rest of the day off,” he lies, so Potter doesn’t think Draco’s doing him any particular favours.

When Potter smiles again, this time it reaches his eyes

*

They walk to Draco’s, taking the long way through Muggle streets to avoid the lingering press presence.

“We’re the talk of the town,” Draco says. “I’m famous by association.”

“You were famous already,” Potter mutters.

“Not Harry Potter famous.” Draco ushers Potter down a side-street to avoid the crowds of Oxford Circus. “I can almost hear witches hearts breaking all over the world. Imagine their saviour batting for the other side and indulging in glorious sex with a former Death Eater. I have to say we do make a very handsome couple.”

Potter’s starting to frown and looks like he’s going to get cross and defensive, which is something Draco rather enjoys. “I don’t know why I’m friends with you.” Potter glares at Draco, his mouth set in a firm line.

“Are we friends?” Draco stops himself from making a smart retort. He studies Potter and is answered with a shrug.

“I was trying to be. Dunno why. You’re a right arse, Malfoy.”

Draco laughs, because Potter’s honesty is strangely endearing. He tightens his scarf around his neck and lets his hand rest on the base of Potter’s spine again, just as he did when they went to the pub. It’s to nudge Potter in the right direction, he tells himself. It’s definitely not an excuse to touch him.

“How’s the friendship going?”

Potter turns to Draco, his shoulders relaxing again – just as they did on the night at the Leaky. Draco keeps his hand on Potter’s back for longer than necessary before rubbing his hands together and blowing on them for warmth.

“It’s complicated.” Potter’s eyes are dark and fixated on Draco’s mouth, but at least he’s still smiling.

*

Draco makes them walk through twenty different winding streets. He’s in no hurry to get back to his flat when Potter’s cheeks are flushed with the cold and he’s looking at the sky as if he can imagine being on a broom, sweeping through the clouds. Potter’s never more magnetic than when he flies. Draco remembers every twist of Potter’s broom and the way his robes would flow behind him, from the scrappy Hogwarts boy hero through to the Auror who had an entire country captivated by his smile.

“Flying in the winter was always my favourite.” Potter interrupts Draco’s thoughts as he looks at the sky. “I haven’t done that for such a long time – flown just for the fun of it, I mean.”

“I imagine it’s all official business when your mission is to keep the world safe.” Draco rolls his eyes and cranes his neck to watch the wispy clouds dance through the pale blue winter sky. The memory of young voices shouting for the Snitch slides through the air. He can see Potter’s younger face with perfect clarity. Even now, he can still feel the same twist of jealousy, unspeakable rage and unexpected attraction burning through his veins. The memories pulse through his brain and his heart clenches for the boys who lost something bigger than a Quidditch match here and there.

“I always fly during the holidays. We have enough land not to bother anyone.” Draco starts walking again. “Hurry up, Potter.”

“Sorry.” Potter finally falls into step beside Draco again. “You’re going to your mum and dad’s?” Potter brushes against Draco’s side as they walk, his warmth bringing Draco back to the present and the last of the memories fading with his touch.

“For a couple of days.” Draco doesn’t particularly want to discuss his father with Potter of all people, so he keeps it short. “Mother and father are going abroad after that.”

“Then it’ll just be you and twenty house-elves,” Potter murmurs. “Lord of the Manor like.” He sounds amused.

“I expect you’ll have a Weasley family Christmas?” Draco tries not to pull a face, he really does. If Potter is comfortable with that much ginger in the room and Draco is supposed to be his friend he supposes he can let this one pass without comment.

“For a few days. Then it’s just going to be me and those arsing paintings.”

“You should come flying with me.” Bugger. He definitely did not intend to say that out loud.

“I should?” Potter gives Draco a startled look, pink spots blooming in his cheeks. “You’re asking me to the Manor for Christmas?”

Draco bristles and he glares at Potter. It might technically be true, but the way Potter says it makes it sound loaded and serious – as if Draco plans to introduce him to the family and kiss him under the mistletoe. Draco can just imagine them sitting at the table together. Good morning, father. Do you remember Potter? I think you might have threatened to kill him on more than one occasion. More wine, anyone? This nonsense with Potter has unmitigated disaster written all over it and the idea of sharing turkey leftovers where some of Potter’s nearest and dearest were held hostage strikes him as a terrible idea, and yet. The thought of having Potter to himself for a few days is more appealing than it has any right to be.

“I was asking you if you would like to go flying one day after Christmas. I’ve already told you my father won’t be there, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“Yeah, I’m terrified of your dad.” Potter rolls his eyes and then flashes Draco a sheepish grin. “Sorry.”

“You don’t have to come if you don’t want, nobody’s forcing you.” Draco tries to keep the clipped, hurt tone from his voice but he doesn’t quite manage it.

“Wait. I wasn’t saying I didn’t want to go.” Potter stops them in a quiet alley, a hand on Draco’s shoulder so they’re facing each other. “I’d like to. I’d like to come.”

“Well then.” Draco can’t form proper sentences when Potter’s giving him that look. “I imagine you’ll be busy charming your legions of fans on New Year’s Eve, so after that.”

“I’m not doing anything New Year’s Eve.” Potter’s tongue slides over his lips and his gaze hovers on Draco’s mouth. He’s inched closer, his hand still warm and firm on Draco’s shoulder. “I mean, I’m sure you have plans. So after that, whenever. It’s fine.”

Draco shrugs his shoulders, a careless lift and fall as if he couldn’t give two hoots what Potter does with his holidays, despite the fact his mouth is dry and his heart is hammering in his chest. “I’m spending New Year’s Eve getting obnoxiously drunk with Nott if he doesn’t get a better offer.”

“At the Manor?” Potter sounds curious.

“Yes, that’s the general idea.”

“You and Nott are…close?” Potter looks away, his hand dropping from Draco’s shoulder. His face pulls into another frown which Draco wants to kiss away. He curses Potter for turning him into an utter sap.

“Would you care if we were?”

Potter gives him a funny look, his lips twisting into a half smile. “Yeah. I think I might. Not that it’s got anything to do with me.”

“Nothing at all to do with you.” Draco pretends not to be as smug as he feels and presses a little closer to Potter until his back connects with the brick wall. The space between them is heated and decreasing by the second. “But if you must know we’re not that close. Not in the way you’re thinking. We haven’t been for a very long time.”

“But you were once?” Potter’s face clouds and he studies Draco’s face like he’s trying to memorise every inch of him.

“Yes.” Draco raises an eyebrow at Potter. “I have had sex before, Potter. You might be surprised how many people out there aren’t looking for a hero at all. Besides, I’m richer than you and considerably more attractive.”

“You think?” Potter laughs at that, his eyes sliding over Draco’s body. “You’re definitely richer, and I’ve always preferred blonds.” Potter’s fingers tug on the lapel of Draco’s jacket, tugging him closer. Potter’s voice is low, and huskier than it has any right to be at five in the afternoon when the sun’s setting over London. “Besides, you have much better clothes.”

“Of course I do. You’re worse than a badly dressed scarecrow.” Draco runs his fingers over Potter’s hip and even the light touch makes Potter’s eyes flutter, as if every part of his body is sensitive to Draco’s fingers. His lips quirk into a small smile which is both innocent and dirty all at once, as if he likes being insulted about his distinct lack of sartorial elegance. With a hum of approval, Draco slides his hand underneath Potter’s t-shirt. It’s not much but it’s just enough to make skin on skin contact, Potter’s torso hot and smooth beneath his fingertips. A puff of sweet breath leaves Potter’s mouth, and his lips part in a way which makes Draco want to tug Potter’s bottom lip between his teeth and slide his tongue over every inch of Potter’s skin.

“Would you like to come on New Year’s Eve?” It’s wickedly good, making the word come laden with promise and closing the distance between them until Potter’s body is a taut, tightly wound line against Draco’s. Fuck Potter’s getting hard from this. His breathing is unsteady and the hard line of his cock presses insistently against Draco’s thigh. Draco bites back a groan because Potter is thick and long and he looks so fucking good with his eyes closed and his cheeks warm with arousal.

“Yeah…I…might be fun.”

A sound behind them makes Draco turn. His eyes connect with a familiar face at the end of the street, watching them intently. Cursing under his breath, Draco clutches Potter’s hips with firm hands and presses their groins together. He brings his lips to Potter’s ear, barely brushing against the skin and drinking in the scent of Potter. “We’ve got company.”

“What?” The syllable breaks in half and Potter’s hands find their way to Draco’s waist, pulling him closer still until it’s difficult to see know where Potter begins and Draco ends.

“Press.”

Fuck.” Potter’s voice sounds unsteady and he draws a shuddering breath as if he’s trying to pull himself back from a different place entirely. Despite the warning he doesn’t move. If anything, his hands tighten on Draco’s waist and he drops his head into Draco’s neck, his lips warm against a particularly sensitive bit of skin. “Apparate us? I might Splinch myself, if I’m honest.”

Draco’s not sure he’s going to fare any better but the thought that he might be the cause of Potter’s distraction pleases Draco enormously. Even though nobody needs to be this kind of filthy, dirty close to Apparate, Draco has no intention whatsoever of letting Potter go.

“My pleasure,” he says.

And it really, really is.

*

Despite Draco’s best intentions the force of Apparation sends them stumbling apart when they land in his living room. Potter’s eyes are deep and dark and he rakes a quick hand through his hair, clearing his throat. His hand twitches as if he wants to reach for Draco again and then – “Can I use the bathroom?”

Draco lets out a huff of air and nods, not sure he trusts himself to speak. Eventually he waves his hand and replies shortly. “Third door on the left.”

“Thanks.” Potter looks as if he wants to say something else, but in the end he moves swiftly from the room leaving only the light scent of his cologne in the room and the memory of the heat of his skin still warm on Draco’s fingers.

Draco watches Potter go, taking off his coat and grabbing the bottle of brandy and two glasses. He pours two healthy measures and leaves Potter’s glass on the table on one side of the sofa, taking his own seat at the other end. He wonders if Potter’s having a hurried wank, and bites back a groan at the thought of a glassy-eyed Potter stroking himself in Draco’s bathroom and murmuring Draco’s name when he comes.

Potter returns looking a great deal more composed and takes his seat, seemingly unabashed by earlier events. He drapes an arm along the back of the sofa and faces Draco, shifting a leg beneath him. He’s kicked off his shoes and his socks are disgustingly Gryffindor looking; striped burgundy and gold.

“Making yourself comfortable, Potter?”

“You said we had a whole bottle to drink. Nobody wants to sit around drinking in their shoes.”

“You say the strangest things.”

“Do I?” Potter’s brow furrows as he thinks. “Strange, how?”

Draco wishes he could answer that in a way which doesn’t make it sound like he’s hopelessly in love with Potter and his ridiculous observations, but he can’t. In the end he settles for a muttered, “just really fucking peculiar” and tries not to stare too hard at the way Potter’s lips curve into a delighted smile. “Anyone would think you like being insulted.”

“It’s better than hero worship.” Potter pulls a face. “Being around you feels normal. Like I’m just an irritating Gryffindor with horrible clothes.”

“Very irritating and horrible.” Draco runs his finger over Potter’s foot and notes the way his toes flex at the light touch. “These socks are another good example.”

“I have them in green, blue and yellow too.” Potter looks stupidly proud at his efforts to promote house unity by wearing all the colours of the Hogwarts houses on his feet. “These are my favourite.”

“Naturally.” Draco rolls his eyes and tops up their drinks. “Do you have to be a hero even when you’re buying socks?”

“I just liked them.” Potter’s cheeks heat. “I do things that don’t feel very heroic at all, in case you were wondering. I’m jealous, for a start. I get angry all the time. I’m…” Potter trails off as if he’s saying too much and pulls a face. “Not perfect. Not by a long shot.”

“Poor little hero.” Draco earns a snort of laughter for that. “It must be a hard life. All those interviews and the legions of adoring fans.”

“You’re taking the piss.” Potter gives Draco another one of those fierce looks but his eyes shine with mirth, his voice low and teasing. The combination is just sinful enough to make Draco’s heart thud recklessly in his chest. “I knew there was a reason I didn’t like you.”

“That, and my life choices.” Draco unbuttons his shirt cuffs, rolling his sleeves up so Potter can see the faded mark on his forearm. “That would be a pretty good reason.” He tries to keep the bitterness from his voice, but he can’t quite manage it. He’s not sure how the conversation shifted from socks to becoming a Death Eater, but everything about Potter brings Draco’s past back with a rush. Really, Draco should hate him for that.

“Don’t do that.” Potter’s gaze lingers on the Mark. His face twists in an expression Draco can’t decipher. He doesn’t look repulsed, at least. Instead, he seems oddly fascinated – his fingers stretching and curling back into a fist as if he wants to reach out and touch the dark blight on Draco’s pale skin.

“I’m not doing anything.”

“You are,” Potter says. He keeps his voice low, lost in a memory Draco doesn’t understand. “We all make bad choices.”

“Some worse than others.” Draco folds his arms and shifts the conversation, largely to relieve the ache in his chest. He’s quite sure Potter’s never made a bad choice in his life. Potter just doesn’t fuck up in the same way other people do. Even when he thinks he’s doing something wrong, he’s a thousand times better than the rest of the people muddling through life and searching for some kind of redemption. “New Year’s Eve. You can come to the Manor for seven.”

“Hmm?” Distracted, Potter’s eyes flick up to Draco’s face again. He looks serious, as if he’s on the cusp of saying something important. The storm clouds pass and the tension leaves his body. “Won’t Nott mind if I’m there?”

Draco snorts. He’s fairly certain Theo will either find a better offer or delight in the opportunity to ensure Draco doesn’t get more sex than him. “I doubt it. There’s always a chance he’ll find something better to do. You might be stuck with me, Potter.”

“I wouldn’t mind.” Potter’s smile returns, lazy and happy looking and his eyes shine as he watches Draco. “I’d be okay being stuck with you. We could drink posh champagne and I could pass out in your bedroom. Is it green and silver? I bet it’s green and silver. With pictures of you being impressively Slytherin and winning awards for things.”

Draco tries not to think too carefully about the image of Potter stretched out on his bed. “I didn’t win any awards, you cretin.” He pokes Potter in the side, earning a low, filthy, gorgeous laugh. Seriously, some of the sounds Potter makes should be illegal. “It’s not green. It’s very tastefully decorated.” He decides not to mention the green satin bedding he had when he was thirteen and he thought that kind of thing looked sexy and expensive. “No champagne for you either if you plan to pass out. I don’t appreciate drunk wizards drooling on my pillows and keeping me awake with their snoring.”

“I don’t snore.” A peculiar look crosses Potter’s face but then it’s gone as quickly as it came. “Is it just Nott, then? What about your other friends?”

Draco sips his brandy and narrows his eyes at Potter. Draco has other friends. Goyle, for one. Parkinson, in small doses. Zabini, when he’s not flirting with mother. He’s never thought to spend New Year’s Eve with them, because the only person he can stand to be around when he’s pissed and maudlin is Theo. And Potter, apparently. “I expect they have other plans. Besides, it’s not an open invitation.”

“Here’s to the holidays.” Potter clinks his glass with Draco’s and drains it in one swift motion, his throat working as he swallows.

“Cheers.” Draco tips his glass towards Potter and drinks. If Potter plans to get pissed, Draco might as well join him.

*

It turns out Potter has a much lower tolerance for brandy than Draco and it’s not long before he’s loose-limbed and curled into Draco as if he’s exactly where he belongs.

“You’re drunk, Potter.” Draco shifts to make more room for Potter, sliding his fingers through Potter’s hair. Draco might be drunk himself because the room is definitely spinning. Of course, it’s entirely possible that’s just the impact Potter has on him when he smells soapy and enticing, his body hot and heavy against Draco’s. His hair is impossibly soft and thick and when Draco gives it a soft tug, Potter makes a soft sound of appreciation which insinuates its way into Draco’s chest, causing his breath to catch.

“’M not drunk.” Potter shifts and looks up at Draco, his eyes heavy and his face rough with stubble. Draco can’t help but rub a thumb against Potter’s jaw as he looks up at him, remembering the tired, harried look on his face when he turned up in Draco’s kitchen that morning.

“Of course not.” Draco gives Potter’s hair another little tug which earns a little moan of appreciation. Draco counts to ten because the moans and huffs of breath that he can draw from Potter just by sliding his fingers through his hair are giving him all kinds of thoughts he definitely shouldn’t be having about someone as pissed as Potter. “You can’t stay here.” He can, obviously, but Draco would like it noted for the record that he put up some attempt at resistance. It will make him feel less like he’s given away every beat and skip of his heart in a brandy-fuelled haze when Potter wakes up in the morning.

“It’s warm.” Potter yawns and he burrows into the sofa, the movement sending him flailing a little away from Draco where he lands with a thud. His limbs splay over the piles of thick cushions and he nestles into them. “Not Potter. Harry.”

“Entitled celebrities,” Draco mutters under his breath. He rather liked having Potter – Harry – sprawled in his lap and although he means it to come out as an insult, his tone is fond and full of affection. He wants to claw it back in case Harry is still lucid enough to pick up on Draco’s tone, but relaxes when he sees Harry seems more interested in getting himself comfortable on the sofa.

He retrieves a blanket with a flick of his wand and puts it over Harry. He contemplates putting a bucket next to the sofa, but decides against it. The benefit of being a wizard is being able to clear away any evidence of over-indulgence and he’s pretty sure Potter’s got enough magic under his belt to be able to manage a simple cleaning spell.

He clears the glasses from the room and blows out the candles before kneeling by the sofa to watch Potter’s eyelids move, his breath sweet and slow. Draco should go to bed. He has no business being here making moon eyes at a sleeping Harry Potter – intruding on a private moment Harry wouldn’t let him witness in the cold light of day. He brushes a strand of hair from Harry’s forehead. Harry tugs the blanket closer around him and shivers.

“Malfoy?” Harry’s voice is rough, gravelly and unexpected. “Think I…could. With you. Think I’d like it.” Draco’s mouth is suddenly dry and an image of Potter stretched out and bound at the wrists assaults his brain, sending fire through his veins. What the hell did Potter mean by that? Despite his desire to shake Harry awake and demand a proper conversation, he swallows back his questions and let’s Harry continue to speak in that fumbling, languid voice that’s doing funny things to Draco’s chest. “Ron’s angry. Need to tell you about it, don’t I? Is he here?”

When Harry asks for Weasley his voice sounds so hopeful and young. He reaches out a hand as if he’s searching for something – someone – in the darkness. Draco swallows at the thought of the secrets bubbling beneath the surface of Potter’s public façade. He thinks of the bright, eager smiles and the moments when something crumbles and falls apart before it’s quickly righted and the smile is back – brighter and wider than ever before. He wonders what the walls of Grimmauld Place see at night when Harry tries to sleep in a house full of ghosts of the past and feels an irrational surge of jealousy as he tries to imagine what Weasley knows that he, Draco, doesn’t.

“You always have to be the hero.” Draco takes Harry’s hand and watches as their fingers curl together.

The only response from Harry is a slight squeeze of Draco’s hand and a soft, low snore.

With a sigh, Draco keeps their fingers twined together and shifts, leaning back against the sofa and stretching his legs out on the floor and wonders when it became enough for him just to hold hands and listen to Harry Potter sleep.

You’re a beautiful fucking disaster and you’re going to be the death of me, Draco thinks. But even with Harry’s sleep-heavy breathing filling the room, he can’t bring himself to say as much out loud.

*

Harry surfaces long after Draco, coming into the kitchen with a sheepish look on his face. He’s rough with stubble and he carries the light scent of expensive cognac and cologne. He rubs his jaw and meets Draco’s eyes, his smile small and tentative.

“Did I make an ass out of myself?”

“You were horrible, as usual.” Draco rakes his eyes over Potter’s sleep rumpled clothes and the firm lines of his body beneath his thin cotton t-shirt. “A disgrace to the good Potter name.”

Harry pulls a face and looks longingly at the fresh toast on the table. “I suppose I should be off.”

“I don’t usually invite wizards to stay for breakfast,” Draco agrees. He’s not sure why he’s being such a prick, but it’s becoming increasingly hard to share a room with Potter without wanting to fuck him over the nearest surface. “So it’s probably for the best.”

“I’ll see you around, then.” Harry’s expression shutters closed. He pauses in the doorway. “Are we still doing something on New Year?”

It almost hurts to look at Harry and Draco mutters a curse under his breath. He stands and moves opposite Harry, making a pretence of arranging his t-shirt so it hangs better on his body. “You look horrible.” It sounds like you look amazing and he can’t even be bothered to catch himself anymore. His fingers tangle in the hot, thin cotton of Harry’s t-shirt. “This is a terrible idea. All of it.”

“Because I had too much to drink?” Harry’s voice is sleep-rough and husky, his breath warm on Draco’s cheeks. They really are almost exactly the same height, with Potter having to look up just a little to meet Draco’s eyes head on.

“Hardly.” Draco’s fists tighten in Harry’s t-shirt and he hates himself for being so weak and malleable around Potter. He tugs Harry close and a ragged breath leaves Harry’s parted lips. “It’s a terrible idea because we’re not friends.”

“We’re not?” Harry’s eyes narrow and he stares at Draco, now impossibly close.

“Tell me we are. Tell me that’s all we are.” Draco licks his lips, remembering how Harry reacted to being teased about being scared. “If that’s what you really think, it shouldn’t be that hard.” He gives Harry the kind of look he’s used before. The kind of look that lets Harry know in no uncertain terms that Draco isn’t looking for a new pal. He’s looking for Harry, hard and warm in his arms. In his bed.

When Harry speaks there’s no waver in his voice. No uncertainty. Just the kind of conviction that makes Draco feel hot all over. “No, I can’t tell you we’re friends. I can’t tell you that’s all I want.”

“Then what the fuck are we doing?”

“This.” Harry’s voice is rough, firm and hard. He hauls Draco close and kisses him, hard and desperate.

It takes Draco’s brain a moment to catch up with his mouth and Harry’s well into the kiss before Draco begins to give as good as he’s getting. He fists his hands in Harry’s t-shirt – hands full of cotton and knuckles grazing the lines of Harry’s torso. He pushes Harry back against the wall and slides a hand into Harry’s hair because there really can’t be any air separating them right now. He grips Harry’s jaw with his other hand, pulling him deeper into the hot, filthy kiss. Harry’s breath is warm against his lips and he makes these eager noises when Draco takes control. He fights it at first, his hands shoving and pulling at Draco until – right in between one soulful, messy kiss and another – he surrenders. He leans back against the wall and wraps his arms around Draco, rocking against him and losing himself completely in the way Draco pushes him closer to the wall and demands everything Harry can give with the sheer force of his kisses.

Draco’s head spins and he feels drunk on Harry’s scent – the thud of his heart, the flicker of his pulse in his neck, the scent of him and the heat of his skin under Draco’s fingers. Draco releases Harry’s jaw and slides a hand under his t-shirt, drawing a low groan from Harry. He slides his fingers over Harry’s hot skin and drags his knuckles over the line of Harry’s spine where his back arches as he pushes into Draco’s body. It’s not a practiced moment for the cameras kind of kiss. It’s without question the best kiss Draco’s ever had in his life. It’s like kissing was just a perfunctory means to an end before Harry. It’s messy and desperate, full of eager whimpers and shuddery exhales. It’s the kind of kiss that ends everything – the kind that leaves Draco’s legs wobbly and his heart pounding through his chest. He’s so goddamn full of Harry but he’s not full enough. He wants to kiss him inside out. He wants to scratch into him and taste the way his heart beats. He wants to rip every item of clothing from Potter’s body and suck him and fuck him until they don’t have air left to breathe.

It’s like Draco’s been waiting for this moment for half his life – like there’s not actually been a kiss before now and there’s certainly never been a Harry before now, warm and shuddery in Draco’s arms and barely able to stay upright against the wall. Draco tugs Harry’s bottom lip between his teeth, pulling back just enough to let himself breathe and remember how to think again. Harry makes the most delicious sound, a grumbly kind of protest as if the loss of Draco’s mouth against his skin isn’t acceptable.

“I don’t want to be your friend either,” Draco says. He says it in a husky, well-kissed voice and his words huff against Harry’s red lips, parted and ready for more kissing.

“What, then?” Harry’s mouths his question against Draco’s neck, his hands firm on Draco’s waist as he pulls him close again. “Do you want to fuck me?”

Christ. Those words from Potter’s mouth send lightning through Draco’s body, leaving him breathless. He does want to fuck Potter. He wants to tear his jeans from his body and suck him until he’s coming in frantic bursts down Draco’s throat. He wants to stretch him open and take him until Harry’s nothing more than loose-limbs and shagged out smiles, every last one focused on Draco.

“I’m not another one of your dirty blonds,” Draco says instead. He pulls back a little and runs his thumb over Harry’s cheek to soothe the flicker of confusion which crosses his flushed face. He pauses to steady his voice, the memory of Harry’s brandy-soaked words running through his mind. “I’m not going to fuck you today.” Draco should get an Order of Merlin (First Class) for this, really he should. He would make a big speech about how he was able to resist, even in the face of Potter pulling his bottom lip between his teeth and making little noises which go straight to Draco’s cock. People would applaud.

Harry frowns and he pushes himself off the wall, his fingers dancing over Draco’s sides. “Why?”

Draco kisses Harry again before moving away to put some space between them, before Harry’s proximity stops him from being noble and Potter-like. “It’s just take, take, take with you, isn’t it, Potter? Has anyone actually made you wait for anything, ever?”

“Of course they have,” Harry says, but he’s frowning as if they haven’t really – not lately.

“It’s a good idea. You’ll thank me for it when you’re sober.”

“I’m sober now.”

Draco ignores Harry’s protest and leaves him slumped against the wall. He makes himself some toast and marmalade, casual as you like.

“Am I staying for breakfast?”

“If you must.” Draco watches while a small smile breaks over Harry’s face, and rolls his eyes when he helps himself to the infernal mug from the cupboard and makes a cup of tea.

“I told you to throw that out.”

“I ignored you.” Harry sits opposite Draco, his foot sliding to nudge against Draco’s under the table. “I like it.”

“Well.” Draco pushes the toast in Harry’s direction and presses his toes against Harry’s foot. “I suppose I’m keeping it, then.”

Harry beams and Draco knows they’re not talking about mugs and tea anymore.

*

Draco can’t remember the last time he was happy just to kiss someone. He doesn’t have the time to invest in building himself up into a frenzy without getting release from a pretty boy on his knees or a rough hand job from one Witches Weekly model or another. Draco likes fucking far too much to settle for chaste kisses and handholding. He likes having his prick sucked. He likes the weight of cock on his tongue, and the way his partners sound rough and raspy after a good throat fucking. He likes fingering, licking, tasting and tonguing every inch of skin. He’s selfish in bed when he wants to be, taking what he wants and then telling his partners to find the Floo themselves while he washes off the scent of them.

With Harry, it’s different. Not because Draco isn’t desperate to fuck him, but because there’s something about holding back which makes every single kiss more charged than the last. Not to mention Harry’s kisses are practically like porn. Every stroke of his tongue in Draco’s mouth and his eager whimpers are like sex itself. He’s a filthy kisser – all tongue, force and eagerness. He’s more responsive to kisses than most wizards are to sex. His body shivers beneath Draco’s hands and when they break apart, a low whine sometimes escapes him which does all kinds of topsy-turvy things to Draco’s heart.

Now, for example. “You’re impossible.” Draco slides his hands over Harry’s thighs, as Harry presses him back into the sofa. It’s a benefit of having a private office in the Ministry. Draco can finally use his sofa for something other than practicing hexes he plans to use on Dawlish. He can sit in it, legs spread and end up with a lapful of eager Harry Potter, squeezing his thighs around Draco’s until they’re both groaning and breathless.

“Not me. You.” Harry punctuates his words with short, breathy kisses. He wriggles in Draco’s lap, his voice full of innuendo. “I could just…on my knees…”

Draco swallows, his throat dry. Images of Harry between his legs and sucking him off in the middle of the Ministry during a working day is impossibly filthy. He captures Harry’s lips in a kiss and holds him in place, murmuring against his mouth. “I thought I told you to be patient, Potter.”

Of course, there’s one thing that makes the denial worthwhile. It’s the way Harry shivers when Draco tells him to be patient, as if he likes being bossed around. It’s the way his kisses become messier and more demanding, the way his body reacts to the merest brush of Draco’s fingers against his skin. Draco’s sure that he’s going to be able to get Potter to a point where he’s able to come from kissing and a bit of rutting alone and that thought sends flames of heat curling in Draco’s belly. It’s the way Harry’s starting to learn how to let Draco be in control, the way he’s learning to respond to Draco’s voice and touch without it being about anything more than kissing. It’s the way he’s beginning to settle into Draco’s touch – the way he trusts – the hours they spend exploring one another with something other than acrobatic positions. Like now, Draco rubs his thumb over Harry’s wrist as they kiss and he circles it loosely with his fingers. It makes Harry shiver and dive into another scorching kiss.

“I know what you’re doing,” he says. His voice is rich and husky. “All of this not fucking business and the stuff with my wrists. I get it.”

“And?” Draco tightens his fingers slightly and kisses Harry again when he lets out a ragged breath.

“It’s working.” Harry pulls back, his cheeks flushed. He studies Draco’s face and then he leans forward with his voice jagged and rough against Draco’s lips. “I…think I might…want it. I’d let you. I trust you.”

Draco releases Harry’s wrist and fists a hand into his hair, pulling him into the deepest kiss he can. There’s something so unexpected and brilliant about hearing those words coming out of Harry’s mouth, Draco intends to keep kissing him until they lock up the Ministry and it’s just he and Harry – suspended in time and kissing and grinding against one another to make up for countless missed opportunities. He kisses Harry until they’re both incapable of hearing anything apart from one another, until the door to Draco’s office closes with a forceful slam.

“Fuck.” Draco pushes Harry back, and he falls onto the floor with a thud and a yelp.

“What the fuck, Malfoy?” Harry’s glaring and brushing himself down, huffy and definitely not at all adorable. Draco doesn’t find anyone adorable. He finds them shaggable or thinks they have a nice arse. He’s not a fucking Hufflepuff, although he has to remind himself of that a lot these days.

“Sorry.” He smirks at Potter who still looks annoyed at being upended mid kiss. “Weasley.” Draco arches an eyebrow at Weasley, who looks angrier than Harry. Of course, Harry likes Draco. Weasley doesn’t. He’s probably also feeling a bit ill from seeing his best mate straddling a Malfoy.

“I could have been Dawlish,” Weasley says, voice clipped. “What the bloody hell are you two playing at?”

“Fuck Dawlish,” Draco says. He sort of means it. If he gets fired it gives him more hours in the day to do all sorts of wicked things to Harry.

“Can I have a word with Malfoy?” Weasley looks at Potter and they exchange a look.

“I’m not sure.” Harry looks at Draco who shrugs. He couldn’t care less.

“If your best mate and your…Malfoy…can’t be in a room together without you there it’s not going to get that far, is it?”

“Yeah, I suppose.” Harry sighs. He clutches Weasley’s arm and murmurs something to him which sets Weasley’s lips in a firm line.

“I know, mate. I won’t…”

“Good. Just. Because I do.” Harry tugs his lip between his teeth and casts a final glance at Draco. “You don’t mind?”

“Not in the slightest.” Draco waves Potter away, and turns to Weasley when the door clicks behind him.

“What are you doing with him?” Weasley stares at Draco after the door closes, his cheeks red with anger.

“I would have thought that was obvious.” Draco can’t resist and Weasley harrumphs, getting a chair and sitting on it, leaning over the back with his arms folded and staring at Draco. “I can give you a blow by blow account, if you want?”

“I wasn’t asking about that. I don’t give an arse about your sex life – or Harry’s. I mean what do you think this is?”

“I think it’s none of your business.” Draco glares at Weasley, the warmth of Harry’s body leaving him and his arousal well and truly dissipated. “Potter’s a big boy, Weasley. He doesn’t need you and Granger poking your noses in. Let him have a bit of fun.”

Weasley lets out a short laugh and shakes his head. “You have no idea. A bit of fun? That’s what this is? A chance to get yourself promoted or clear the Malfoy name once and for all while you get your end away?”

Draco doesn’t want to dignify that with a response, but he’s certainly not going to expose his heart to a Weasley demanding answers. “What if it is? Potter knows exactly how to have fun.”

Weasley lets out a low growl, and stands. He paces back and forth, pushing a hand through his hair in a very Potter-like gesture. When he speaks, his voice is low and quiet. “If you hurt him, I’ll kill you. I’d take thirty years in Azkaban for it. You just watch me.”

“I can’t exactly watch you if I’m dead, can I?” Draco picks invisible lint off his trousers. “I wouldn’t have thought Potter needs you to fight his battles for him. Isn’t he the one that faced the Dark Lord in the end? I heard you and Granger didn’t even do that much. You were just…accessories.”

Weasley mutters a curse under his breath and then folds his arms, giving Draco a look. “Is that right? Did Harry tell you that? I suppose he must have done because I bet you’ve talked loads about the war now you’re so close.” Weasley’s dark eyes fix on Draco. “It’d be a bit odd not to tell you a bit about it and what came after, wouldn’t it? Pretty big part of Harry’s life, that. The war. His parents. Us.”

Draco swallows because with the exception of a handful of comments here and there, Harry never talks about the war. Admittedly, they’ve been too busy fighting and – lately – kissing, but it aggravates Draco no end that Weasley’s giving him this knowing smile and insinuating that Draco doesn’t matter. “Everybody talks to him about the war. I don’t think he wants that from me.”

“Don’t you?” Weasley looks incredulous. “No, I suppose you don’t. Well, at least you’ve been to Grimmauld Place, haven’t you? That probably makes the way he is sometimes a bit easier to understand.”

Draco winces because he hasn’t been to Grimmauld Place and he suspects Weasley knows it. Harry’s never suggested it and Draco’s never asked.

“It’s inconvenient and he prefers my home.”

“Of course he does.” Weasley looks cross as if Draco’s doing something wrong and it makes Draco unspeakably angry.

“You don’t know anything about us.” Draco stands and folds his arms, meeting Weasley’s gaze head on. “You don’t know Harry in the same way I do.” Damn. He didn’t mean to slip up and say Harry, his voice full of affection and desire. He swallows, thinking of his fingers wrapped loosely around Harry’s wrist and the slow, hard kisses all building up towards something he wants to give Harry – something he thinks Harry needs but isn’t able to ask for. He thinks of the hours he’s spent wanting so much more with Harry and the way he’s talked himself out of pulling Potter into his bedroom and taking exactly what he wants because – as soft and stupid as it sounds – he wants it to be better than it’s been with the others. For both of them. He knows exactly what Harry needs. He knows Harry. He does.

“You’d be surprised.” Weasley’s lips set in a firm line, his jaw tense and Draco wonders what the hell that means. “I know him better than you think.”

“Was it a hand job or two in Gryffindor Tower, Weasley?” A furious, jealous rage burns through Draco’s body and makes his skin hot and uncomfortable. “Or did you just fantasise about it? Is that what this is about? You’re so eager to have Harry sucking your cock you can’t stand to let him have anyone else.”

Weasley chokes back a snort. “Yeah, that’s exactly it, Malfoy. I really care a lot about Harry’s cock. Can’t stop thinking about it. Hermione’s getting really pissed off with me.” He rolls his eyes. “That’s the difference between us. It’s not about sex for me and Harry, never has been. We’re best mates. You bloody pillock.”

“Then I can’t imagine he tells you all his secrets. Some things just don’t get shared between mates.”

“Don’t they?” Weasley gives Draco an infuriating know-it-all smile. His smile falters. “Everybody thinks they know him. Everyone just assumes because of the things they read and the stories people tell. Hardly anyone knows Harry, really. There are bits of himself he keeps hidden – even from you, Malfoy. You might know what he looks like after whatever it is you do, but you don’t know him. You’ve hardly scratched the surface.”

“You’re wrong.” Draco’s stomach rolls as he thinks of the shuttered, closed expression Harry sometimes gets. He thinks of the moments Harry’s on the cusp of saying something before he stops, as if the words get trapped in his throat. Despite his doubts, he refuses to give Weasley an inch and curls his fingers around his wand, his voice low and dangerous. “I know him as well as you do.”

“No,” Weasley replies. “You don’t.” He pauses and then he shakes his head as if he doesn’t want to continue. “But you could. If you can be bothered. He’s daft about you, for some reason.”

Despite the cold, sick feeling which has lodged in the pit of Draco’s stomach, Weasley’s words make him pause. “Daft about me?”

“Don’t ask me why.” Weasley throws up his hands and glares at Draco. “For the record, I think he could do better. Much better. In fact, I think he couldn’t do much worse.”

Draco resists the urge to send a hex in Weasley’s direction to wipe that obnoxious look off his face. “I’m not sure he agrees with you.”

“No, he sees something the rest of us don’t, I suppose.” Weasley narrows his eyes. “Don’t prove him wrong, for fucks sake. I really will hex your bollocks off.”

“Oh fuck off, Weasley.” Draco flicks his wand to open the door. The corridor is empty and there’s no sign of Potter anymore. “Get out, will you?”

“With pleasure.” Weasley pauses in the door, turning once before he leaves. His voice is strange and pleading, his expression not angry anymore but sad and serious. “Just do me a favour, will you?” Weasley looks as if he’s fighting a battle within himself, and then finally says: “Ask him to tell you why he doesn’t do it anymore. Just ask him that.”

Draco isn’t prepared to ask Weasley to elaborate because there’s rather a lot that Potter used to do which he doesn’t seem to do anymore. There’s flying. The blond Quidditch players and the celebrity clubs. Working as an Auror. Working at all.

Because he doesn’t want to admit that Weasley might have a point, Draco nods and sits at his desk staring at his papers without really reading them for a long time after Weasley leaves.

*

Draco doesn’t see Harry for two days after his discussion with Weasley and he has far too much time with his own thoughts, without the distraction of Harry’s body warm and hard against his own. Grainy pictures of Potter appear in the paper, sitting in the pub with a large group of friends. One of the pictures captures him with a casual arm around Lovegood’s shoulder and his head thrown back as he laughs at something she says.

Harry’s New Squeeze?

The papers seem to know exactly what’s going on – taking Harry’s wide smile as definitive proof that his ‘relationship’ with Draco is definitely at an end. Harry Potter the much adored celebrity is back with full force, all wide smiles and firm jaw. It’s only when Draco looks a little closer that he sees the pile of torn up beer mats on the table and he puts the paper down, his stomach twisting as he waits in silence for a whoosh of the Floo which never comes.

*

“It’s not true.” Harry’s sitting in Draco’s chair when he gets to the Ministry, a copy of the Prophet spread out on the desk.

“I’ve got work to do.” Draco’s voice is tight and clipped, the sight of Harry looking scruffy and edible taking his breath away, even now. “Bugger off.”

“I’m sorry, I’ve been-”

“Avoiding me,” Draco finishes for him. Harry has no right coming into his office like he owns the Ministry, carrying on about his made up heterosexual love affairs. No fucking right at all.

“I haven’t been avoiding you.” Harry breathes out, his voice low. He looks lost and uncertain. There’s no flippant smile, no candle-bright grin or teasing tone. There’s just Harry, clutching his hands together as if he needs to keep them still. “I just needed time to work some things out.” He at least has the decently to look sheepish. “I don’t think all that clearly around you, Malfoy.”

Draco steels himself against Harry’s little boy lost look because he’s furious. He never wanted this. The chasing was all Potter and now Draco’s too pathetic to even hate him anymore. He doesn’t know when forty eight hours began to feel like a lifetime, but he knows his dalliances with Harry aren’t going to end well. The knots in Draco’s stomach tighten and he wants to throw Harry out on his ear but he’s always been weak when it comes to Potter. Even when there was nothing more than years of animosity between them. Even then, a quick smile and a loaded glance had Draco traipsing half-way across London to sit next to Potter in a Muggle pub – to rub shoulders with him and try to pretend they were the same.

“I should have known better than to get involved with a celebrity.” He can’t stand the hurt, bitter edge to his tone.

“Perhaps you should.” Harry shrugs, his jaw firmly set. “I told you what my life’s like these days. You’ve seen it for yourself. They’ll keep writing articles about me whatever we’re doing.” He pulls a face. “The press seem to like the idea of me with witches.”

Draco refuses to relent, even with Harry giving him the serious look which makes Draco's heart thump in his chest. “You can have as many witches as you like. We’re not doing anything, anymore. I’m just yesterday’s story. You go back to being a hero, I’ll carry on clearing the Malfoy name and making cups of tea for Dawlish.”

“A hero?” Harry’s laugh is dry and brittle. “Is that what you think of me, Malfoy?” Harry’s angry now, his eyes flashing and his hand raking carelessly through his hair to move it back from his eyes. “Stupid of me, thinking you saw beyond a few articles in the papers. If that’s what you wanted, you should have said. I can be a hero. We can have a bit of fun with it. I’ll put on my Auror robes and I can fuck you all night long if you fancy it. I’ll even sign something afterwards.”

Draco’s voice raises sufficiently that he’s sure the whole Ministry can hear them. “You’re not my hero. You might be everybody else’s, but you’re not mine. You’re a stupid Gryffindor that should have been killed years ago and the fact you’re still alive is luck. Just luck. You’re nothing special, Potter. I couldn’t care less what happens to you. I hate you.” In that moment, when everything is white hot rage, Draco thinks he actually might.

“Glad we got that sorted out.” Harry’s face is stony and closed. This wall is different to the smile which falters around the edges. This is solid brick and impenetrable. It’s Potter freezing Draco out of his life with a set jaw and a fist curled around his wand, almost as if he intends to start duelling. It makes him taller, more imposing – the dark circles under his eyes seem deeper and darker than ever and his cheeks hollow as he sucks in a breath. “I’m such a bloody idiot. I wanted to…I thought I could…”

“You wanted to what?” Draco grabs his wand and flicks it to the door which shuts with a slam. He advances to Harry and only just stops short of shaking him – his fist knotted in Harry’s cotton t-shirt. “Tell me.”

Harry’s breathing catches and his eyes shine. He moves back from Draco to lean against the desk, rubbing his hand over his jaw and watching Draco like he wants to reach for him but can't trust himself if he does. When he speaks, his words come out in a quiet rush. “I wanted to be with you. Properly. I wanted to be able to do that. Holding hands in the street. Going home together. Maybe see where it could go.” Harry’s eyes meet Draco’s at last, dark and serious. “I’ve fancied you for ages and I just thought it would be a bit of fun. We'd either fuck each other or kill each other." He lets out a brittle laugh and then holds his hand out, reaching for Draco. His voice is rough and low when he speaks again. "I never expected to feel safe with you. I don't think I've ever had that with anyone. I'd let you do things I haven’t thought about for years. You make me laugh, all the time and I don’t want to stop after a quick fuck and never hear from you again. I don’t think you want that either, otherwise you’d have just taken what you wanted. I’d have given it, you know.” Harry sighs, his expression forlorn. “This is a right mess. It's why I don’t do this. I always end up fucking things up.”

The room is stifling. To hot, too muggy, as if all the air has been sucked out of it. Draco’s heart thuds in his chest because of all the things he expected it wasn’t that. Despite himself he touches the tips of Harry's fingers reminded of Harry reaching out for someone in the darkness. “You don’t want me,” he says. His words waver and he steps closer to Harry, crowding the space around him and filling it with them both. “You don’t feel safe with me. I’m no good at protecting anyone. You can’t want me, not like that.” He hates the way he sounds feeble and uncertain, but Harry Potter’s telling Draco he wants him – properly, whatever that means – and it’s both the best and the most terrifying thing Draco’s heard. He wonders what Harry would say if he knew just how long Draco’s been full of thoughts of Harry – how much Harry has occupied space in his mind and his fantasies.

“I do want you, though.” Harry looks up and his face has the strange, haunted look he sometimes gets when the press are around. The past tense has turned into the present and it nearly leaves Draco sagging against Harry with relief. Want. He wants Harry so much he can hardly speak with it, just standing and listening to Harry unveiling himself for the first time since they started doing this. “It's like even though you shouldn't, you know exactly who I am.”

Draco swallows, Weasley's words echoing in his head. “Do I? Weasley seems to think you’re not telling me everything.”

Harry pulls a face and nods. “He's right. I've wanted to, but it’s just difficult, sometimes, to tell you everything. There’s never a right moment. I’m either pissed or surrounded by photographers or we’re here where Dawlish can probably hear everything we say.”

Draco thinks of the countless times he’s cursed Dawlish and frowns. “Fuck, I hope he can’t.”

Harry’s lets out a snort of laughter at that and he tugs Draco closer, serious again. “I worry sometimes that if I start speaking about the war and what came after it, I might never stop.”

Draco rubs his fingers over Harry’s hips. He smells insanely good – like musky cologne and hot, shower-fresh skin. “What are you so afraid of?”

Harry’s eyes close and he speaks so softly, Draco has to strain to hear him.

“Everything. Remembering. Letting go. I don’t want to fight anymore.”

Draco frowns, because he didn’t think they were fighting – not now. He slips his fingers into Harry’s and squeezes to reassure him like the sentimental Hufflepuff that Harry’s clearly turned him into. It’s somewhere between Harry’s fingers squeezing back and the slow, ragged exhale of Harry’s breath when things begin to make sense.

Harry’s not talking about fighting with Draco. He’s talking about fighting with himself. Pushing against the ropes around his wrist, fighting with Draco to take control of their endless kisses. Fighting with the things he’s kept bottled up for so long – desperate to keep them contained beneath the surface. If Harry lets his skin tear – just for a moment – he’s runs the risk of bleeding dry.

“I know why you don’t talk about the war,” Draco says, almost to himself. “You don’t have to with anyone else. Weasley, Granger…your friends. They already know.”

Harry’s response is to nod, his throat working as if everything he wants to say is trapped there – choking him and stopping him from saying anything other than I’m fine.

“I’m a dickhead.” Harry’s laugh leaves him, soft and shaky. “It’s all a bit fucked up, really. I’d run for the hills if I were you, Malfoy.”

Draco snorts. “No you wouldn’t. Don’t give me that I’m not a hero nonsense. You wouldn’t run. You never have. I’m the one that does the running.”

“Are you going to run now?” Harry meets Draco’s eyes. “I’m not going to fall apart if you do, Malfoy. Just so we’re clear. I’m nobody’s pity fuck.”

Draco rolls his eyes because Harry still can’t help himself, even when he’s trying to be vulnerable he can’t quite let go of his instinct to show how strong he can be. “You’re an idiot, Potter. That’s what you are.”

He presses close to Harry until their breath is warm on one another’s cheeks. Harry feels so achingly familiar, it nearly breaks Draco’s heart. It’s as though Harry’s been in his arms for years and years. As though he left and now he’s back, right where he should be. He’s warm, soapy and strong. He shivers when Draco drags his knuckles slowly down Harry’s back, to the base of his spine. The tension leaves Harry’s shoulders and he buries his face in Draco’s neck. His lips curve against Draco’s skin and his missed you is a barely there whisper which pierces Draco’s heart.

“It was only forty-eight hours,” Draco says. Not that he was counting. “But it was still unforgivable of you to let Weasley yell at me and then disappear to get pissed with your friends.”

“Completely unforgivable?” Harry’s fingers slide along Draco’s side and he mouths his words against Draco’s neck in a very distracting fashion.

“Not completely. You can see me tonight and make up for it.”

“Should I come to yours?” Harry pulls back to look at Draco.

“No.” Draco rubs his thumb over Harry’s cheek, which is dark with thick stubble. “Yours.”

Harry lets out a huff of breath and he nods, slowly. “Okay.” He lets the silence hang between them before speaking again, his voice low. “Okay.”

“Now bugger off and let me work,” Draco says. If he lets himself kiss Harry now, he knows he might as well give up on getting anything productive done ever again. Not to mention the thought of Dawlish playing voyeur has put him off the idea of office based liaisons.

Harry laughs and Draco keeps his face smooth. He has to do that. He’s got to make it sound like it’s an impossible chore, having Harry in his office smiling at him as if Draco’s even half the man Harry seems to think he is. He has to do it because he doesn’t want Harry to know that it’s quite possible Draco’s been building up to loving him since he was eleven years old.

“I’m leaving. I’ll see you tonight.”

“Yes.” Draco watches the slim lines of Potter’s body as he walks, the effortless fluid movements and the way his face looks brighter than it has since he was last photographed with his friends in grainy black and white. “I suppose you will.”

*

The evening takes forever to arrive. Draco surrounds himself with dull files he hardly reads, trying to make a dent of sorts in his work so Dawlish doesn’t have another excuse to treat him like the tea boy. He leaves as soon as he can, going home and showering in an eager rush. He’s looking forward to seeing Harry. His stomach twists with anticipation and his skin tingles as he thinks about Harry’s touch on his skin. They’ve kissed over and over but this time feels different. This is Grimmauld Place and Harry wanting to let go. It’s a night together off the back of I want you and a promise that what they’re doing is something more than just fucking around to distract themselves from all the other things going on around them.

Draco chooses his outfit carefully – never let it be said that a Malfoy shouldn’t look impeccable. He settles for a shirt and blazer and fitted trousers with smart shoes. He knots a scarf around his neck and styles his hair, remembering how Potter looks at him sometimes when they’re out – as if Draco’s a feast and he’s been starving all of this time. When he’s ready, he steps through the Floo and calls out for Grimmauld Place. The room is dark when he enters, lit by only a couple of flickering candles. They cast strange, tall shadows over the wall and the cool air sends a shiver through Draco.

“Harry?”

“In the kitchen.” Harry’s familiar voice echoes through the corridors, warm and inviting. “Sure we can’t go to yours?”

“Positive.” Draco’s tempted to drag Harry back through the Floo to his warm flat. Grimmauld Place feels too large for the two of them and he has the feeling he sometimes gets when he’s back in the Manor – the sense of a house that has seen more things than others. The hum of powerful magic – dark and light – coursing through the walls. The veins of corridors pumping with the memories of the past. It’s a house filled with ghosts and half-lit paintings which murmur in Latin and hiss as Draco picks up his pace to get close to Harry.

“There’s wine open if you like. Thought I’d make something for dinner.” The kitchen at least is brighter and it smells delicious, with Harry using his wand to send spoons turning in pots on the stove. “It’s not much.” Even as Harry says it, Draco can hear the smile in his voice. It looks as though he’s been working all afternoon, just on making something for Draco to eat. It makes him feel impossibly warm.

“Evening.” Draco wraps his arms around Harry because he can’t resist himself. He feels like there’s a hundred different things they should talk about but somehow, with the house all dark shadows and candlelight, this doesn’t feel like the time. Instead he just holds on to Harry who keeps him tethered and he feels from the way Harry relaxes in his arms that his touch might well have the same effect on Harry. “Nice place you’ve got here.” He smiles against Harry’s neck, mouthing the words against his skin and earns himself a groan from Harry and a muttered curse.

“You think it’s shit.”

“I think it’s…not what I expected.”

“I don’t like staying here all that much.” Harry pulls a face and he turns in Draco’s arms, giving him a hello kiss which lingers. He takes in Draco’s outfit and tugs on the lapel of his jacket, eyes dark and voice rough. “You changed.” Harry’s tone seems to indicate he approves.

“I was hardly going to wear work clothes for supper. I spend enough time at the Ministry, I don’t want to be thinking about Dawlish when I’m trying to relax.” Draco tries not to sound too smug about the impact his clothes have on Harry, but he doesn’t think he quite manages it.

“I should have put something else on.” Harry gives Draco a sheepish smile. His hair does look a little bird’s nest and he’s dressed casually in his thin t-shirt and jeans, but he looks good enough to eat. His chin and cheeks are clean shaven and Draco brushes his thumb over the newly smooth skin.

“You shaved.”

“And showered. I was very thorough.” Harry’s smile isn’t so sheepish anymore, he looks positively filthy. He presses close and his lips part, seeking a kiss. “I mean, really thorough.”

Fuck. Well if Harry wants to play dirty, Draco can give as good as he gets. He slides his hands into Harry’s hair and kisses him – a long, deep, filthy sort of kiss which has Harry making soft, eager sounds against Draco’s lips. Harry’s kisses really are a thing of beauty. He’s so open and expressive and it makes Draco think of taking him apart piece by piece and watching him cry out Draco’s name. With a low groan, Draco pushes Harry back against the kitchen surface and the kiss intensifies until it’s all roving hands and moaning and fuck, I missed you even though it’s hardly been any time at all. Draco wonders if he’s ever get enough of kissing Harry or if Harry will ever kiss as if he doesn’t want to taste Draco inside out.

“Will this keep for a while?”

“What?” Harry pulls back, blinking slowly. His lips are red and his eyes dark with arousal. He stares at Draco as if he’s speaking French, which he might have done. It sometimes happens by accident when he’s distracted and Harry is very distracting when he’s melting into a puddle. “Oh.” Not French then. “The food? Yeah, I don’t have to…be here. I could be somewhere else. Like the living room. Or bed.”

Draco nips Harry’s neck, smiling against his skin. “You’re such a harlot, Potter. I never would have imagined.”

Harry looks positively delighted to be insulted and the warm, gooey feeling Draco gets around Potter these days fills his stomach and floods through his body. Kissing Harry might be everything he’s ever wanted but it isn’t enough. None of it is enough. He tugs Potter into the living room and slides out of his jacket and scarf before dropping onto the sofa and beckoning Harry over.

“Hello.” Harry sounds eager and breathless as he crawls over Draco, cat-like. He lets the weight of his body rest against Draco’s and pushes him back on the sofa, before diving in for another heated kiss. This is different. They’re lying down for a start and Harry’s weight is hard and warm over Draco’s body. With a groan, Draco slides his hands down to Harry’s backside and squeezes, wanting to feel every part of his body. Harry’s fingers toy with the buttons on Draco’s shirt, just enough to open the first couple of buttons and to splay his fingers on Draco’s chest. The feeling of skin on skin is electric and little mumbles of admiration fall from Harry’s lips as he slides his lips over Draco’s collarbone, his words muffled and gruff.

“Hello.” Draco tugs Harry up for another full, dirty kiss – hard and firm on the lips. He can’t resist a smirk against Harry’s lips because he’s whispering something into the kiss that sounds a lot like please. “Please what, Harry?” He’s cruel when he wants to be, but from the way Harry shivers against Draco and gives him another slow, open-mouthed kiss, makes him think maybe Harry doesn’t mind that much.

“Touch me. Something.” Harry’s laugh muffles against Draco’s neck, his cheeks hot as if he knows exactly how he sounds – needy and broken. “You’ve done this before, haven’t you? I can tell you what to do if it’s your first time.” Harry’s teasing, rocking into Draco and tugging at his shirt before sinking into another languid kiss.

“Kind of you, Potter.” Draco curses himself for the reed-thin breathy sound to his voice and clears his throat. He gives Harry’s backside a light swat for his cheek and that earns him Harry pushing against him hard, a faltering breath stumbling from his lips. Interesting. Draco adds that to the list of things for further exploration that are increasing by the second. For now, Draco knows exactly what he wants. He pushes a hand between them to unzip Potter’s jeans. “Is this the kind of thing I should be doing?”

“Gods, yes.” Harry sucks in a breath, even just the slow push of Draco’s knuckles against the hard line of his cock making him groan.

Fuck, Harry feels glorious. His prick is hot and hard through his thin underpants and the thought that Harry’s so turned on by kissing Draco is almost as good as feeling the warm, solid length of him pushing towards Draco’s hand. The position is awkward but Draco manages to push his palm flat to give Harry a squeeze through his underpants. What he wants – what he desperately wants – is for Harry to bring himself off like this, rutting and helpless, lost in his pleasure and shameless. Draco removes his hand to push it down the back of Harry’s jeans, now loose and unbuckled and shoves his underpants down a little so Harry is an ungainly half-clothed heap, pressing against Draco. He places his hands on Harry’s backside and squeezes, pulling him hard against Draco’s body. Even fully clothed, the friction against his own cock so good it makes him huff into another heated kiss.

It’s not long before Harry’s kisses are punctuated by ragged pleas and Draco shifts a hand up into Harry’s hair, his other hand squeezing Harry’s backside again. He can feel Harry’s hand pushing down between them and knows in their awkward position Harry’s fingers are wrapped around his cock, tugging and then releasing to push himself back against Draco. It’s the sort of thing Draco hasn’t really done since he was a teenager – he usually prefers languid fucks and posh London hotel rooms with his good-looking boys that he picks up from Muggle and wizarding clubs alike. He’s more used to having sex with finesse, not this desperate grinding as if neither of them have ever so much as fucked before in their life. There’s something almost unbearably good about Harry being so desperate for Draco he can thrust and rut and take himself to the brink, without so much as having his cock touched. It’s the kind of thing he imagines he would have spent a lot of time doing if Harry had demonstrated any interest whatsoever in Draco when they were still at school. A lot of his fantasies back then involved Harry Potter in nothing but a Gryffindor tie and a cheeky smile.

“Wait…don’t want it to be over. Going to come. Fuck, Draco. So close.” Harry’s voice is rough and eager and almost a whine. He murmurs a “stop, don’t stop” in Draco’s ear as Draco pulls him into another messy, urgent kiss. Harry’s breath is hot and his lips damp as he kisses along Draco’s neck, moving in a way which is nearly enough to take Draco over the edge. Just seeing Harry so needy and so uninhibited is better than any magic, Draco’s sure of it. The humming in his veins and the picture of Harry’s flushed cheeks and kiss-plump lips will be forever etched in his brain. It’s almost too good. Almost.

“Come for me. Just like this. Show me how much you want it. Harry.” Draco adds Harry’s name as an afterthought and it comes out ridiculously fond and affectionate – his voice gruff and sharp edged as he shifts his hand on Harry’s backside just to run his fingers into his crease. He doesn’t plan to do anything more than that but the sound which leaves Harry’s mouth is so raw it makes Draco’s already aching cock respond with appreciation. If Harry can get so turned on by a light stroke of fingers against his hole, Draco can’t wait to see what he’s like when he’s spread underneath Draco’s fingers being fingered, tongued or fucked.

“I can’t…I need…”

“You can.” Draco nips at Harry’s earlobe, drawing a whine and another tongue-heavy, messy kiss. Harry’s movements against Draco are more erratic, short, staccato bursts. His kisses become messier and heavy with his breathing as he moves against Draco’s body before he shudders and stiffens in Draco’s arms. He swears through his orgasm, a drawn out whimper followed by Draco’s name which sounds almost reverent as it falls his lips. He collapses, boneless, against Draco and kisses him again – a slow, porny sort of kiss with a smile on his lips. Draco can’t believe he’s just had Harry come against him like that and he takes advantage of the languid kiss to regulate his breathing.

“That was…” Harry pulls back a little, propping himself up with a hand behind Draco’s head and staring down at him. His eyes are glassy, his pupils wide with arousal. His cheeks are flushed pink and his lips are plump and well-kissed. He looks as good as Draco’s ever seen him – a lazy smile on his face and his tongue flicking over his lips. “It’s been a while, since…”

“I know,” Draco says. He’s not sure if it’s been a while since Harry’s come with another person, or a while since he’s come half-clothed just from rubbing against somebody else. Draco hopes it’s the former. He hopes Harry hasn’t come like that with anyone else. He brushes a strand of Harry’s hair back from his face, letting his fingers trail over Harry’s cheeks which are damp with perspiration. Harry turns his head to capture Draco’s fingers and sucks one of them into his mouth in a way that shouldn’t be allowed. Draco bites back a groan and pushes up against Harry, now acutely aware of his own cock pressing against his too-tight trousers. “Tease. That mouth of yours…”

“Like it?” Harry releases Draco’s finger and gives him a wink, looking rather proud of himself. He shifts lower down Draco’s body, tugging his trousers open and nuzzling into his stomach, pushing his shirt up a little. He looks up, and murmurs a spell to clean the part of Draco’s clothes which are damp and uncomfortable from Harry’s come. The magic makes Draco shiver and he twists his hand in Harry’s hair.

“Impressive. Did they teach you that at the Ministry?”

Harry snorts and nips Draco’s skin, working his trousers fully open as he does so. “Yeah. They’re good at teaching us sex spells.”

Draco twists Harry’s hair again, noticing the way Harry’s lips go slack and his eyes darken at the tug. He files that away with spanking and bondage for later. If they can try not to fuck everything up, there should be plenty of laters after all.

Harry sucks in a breath when he releases Draco’s cock, looking at it hungrily as if it’s the most perfect thing he’s ever seen. If he wasn’t so aroused, Draco would comment on the fact that kind of flattery would get Harry anywhere if he keeps it up. Before he can even attempt to make some kind of smart comment, Harry’s mouth is pressing around him and Draco’s brain melts. Harry’s mouth is wicked. Draco supposes he should have been prepared for it after the glorious kisses, but somehow nothing prepared him for the slow, steady motion of Harry sucking Draco’s cock into his mouth.

Harry’s hair falls into his face and he sucks Draco down, teasing him with his tongue and then swallowing him deep into his throat. Although he really does want to let Harry set the pace himself, Draco can’t resist pushing up hard into Harry’s mouth. It seems to meet with Harry’s approval and he nods, his mouth working around Draco’s cock and relaxing a little to allow Draco to hold him down and push up between his lips. There’s something so debauched about Harry’s face – flushed and warm from his own orgasm. His dark, lazy stare sends sparks of pleasure through Draco’s body and he can’t not watch when Harry’s doing this. He pushes up again, setting a rhythm and watching the way Harry takes him so eagerly into his mouth as if he was born for sucking cock.

“Do you like this?” Draco’s voice is rough and breathless. “Do you like having your face fucked?”

Harry’s response is to groan which - fuck - makes his movements feel even better. He knows it too, giving Draco a dark, wicked look and then sinking back down onto his cock. Harry’s hands slide over Draco’s thighs and he pulls back to show Draco the damp, slick trail left by his tongue and his lips. It’s just good enough that Draco has to push up again into Harry’s throat. He can’t help but hope that his motions will leave Harry speaking in a rough, well-fucked voice for the rest of the evening. They can talk about the weather and just the sound of the low rasp in Harry’s voice will make Draco come undone.

Harry swipes his tongue over Draco’s cock, working it over the sensitive slit and down the underside. “Fuck. So good. Love this. Love…” Harry stops himself by swallowing Draco down again, effectively cutting off any further conversation for the near future.

Draco’s hot and his thighs are almost trembling with the combination of the gorgeous sight of Harry’s lips stretched around his cock and the rough eagerness in Harry’s voice. Draco adds all of his favourite words to the end of Harry’s unfinished sentence. Love your cock. Love fucking you. Love you.

Just like that, with one hard push up into Harry’s throat, Draco’s coming with a low grunt. He doesn’t like to shout when he’s coming and when Harry pulls off slowly, he wipes the side of his mouth with the back of his hand. He’s looking at Draco as if he’s hoping for something else, but all Draco can offer is a shagged out sort of Harry.

It seems to do the trick, because Harry’s face breaks into a wide smile. He moves up to nestle against Draco and kisses him, slow and languid. If Harry’s kisses were porny before they’re even more so now, with the taste of Draco warm and salty on his tongue and his lips plump from being wrapped around Draco’s shaft. If he was still a teenager, Draco’s fairly certain he’d be snogging Harry into round two in a heartbeat. Because he’s not still a teenager and not even Harry Potter’s enough to get him hard straight after coming these days, he settles for the filthiest kiss of his life and a strange neck nuzzle from Harry which involves lots of nose and tongue.

“You’re like a crup,” he murmurs. His hand pat, pats at Harry’s head to emphasise the point.

“Thanks?” Harry snorts with laughter into Draco’s neck, but he doesn’t seem to care. “Are you always this sleepy after someone blows you?”

“Are you always this annoying after sucking cock?”

Draco pats Harry’s head again when he’s rewarded with another delighted laugh. Just for the hell of it he wraps his arms around Harry and keeps him there – as close as he possibly can.

*

Eventually they manage to get themselves off the sofa and into the kitchen, where Harry serves up food and looks at the long table for a moment.

“I was going to sit…”

“Here,” Draco finishes. He pulls the seat out next to him, not happy for Harry to go and sit at the opposite end of the table and not caring if he knows it. Harry laughs and takes his seat, brushing his shoulder against Draco’s before tucking into his food.

“I hope you like it. I didn’t know what you wanted so I just cooked my favourite. It’s cottage pie.”

“It’s good.” Draco takes a bite and really, it is. It’s the kind of food they always got at Hogwarts and a million miles from the fancy fine dining he’s become accustomed to. That makes it taste even better – it’s rich and warming and homely. “Why do you still live here if you hate it so much?” While they’re eating and can’t be distracted by slow kisses, they might as well deal with Harry’s strange living arrangements and desire to be anywhere other than home.

“I couldn’t get rid of it. It reminds me too much of Sirius.” Harry’s happy expression falters and he eats another bite of his food, chewing slowly enough to make Draco wonder if he’s biding his time before answering. “Sometimes I hate it here and other days I can’t imagine ever leaving.”

Draco doesn’t miss the way Harry’s smile falters and the way a shadow crosses his features. He reminds Draco more of Grimmauld Place in that moment – his face contoured with half-light and shadow and his expression grim. He takes another forkful of his food before pushing his plate away, facing Draco and pressing his hand on Draco’s leg.

“Should we talk about all of this?”

“It’s why I’m here, isn’t it?” Draco resists the urge to lean in and kiss the frown from Harry’s face, because he knows once he starts neither of them will be able to stop.

“I thought you were here for the company and delicious food.” Harry’s lips quirk into a smile. “Or maybe to stay the night.”

Draco’s mouth is suddenly dry and he squeezes Harry’s hand, trying to keep his voice level. “Oh, I’m staying the night if you’re offering.”

“I’m offering.” Harry’s voice is low and rich and there’s a smile in the way he speaks. “But there’s something you need to know, first.”

“I already assumed you’re a terrible duvet thief.” Draco releases Harry’s hand to eat some more food, topping up his wine and taking a long sip. “If that’s what you’re worrying about.”

“That too.” Harry laughs, then there’s just silence and the sound of forks scraping against plates. Eventually, they finish their food and the silence continues to stretch out between them. “I’m going to show you something.”

“I’m waiting.” Draco sits back and Harry leans forward to give Draco a brief kiss, the touch of his lips lingering as if he fears it might be the last kiss they share. Draco runs his fingers through Harry’s hair and murmurs in a low, steady voice. He elicits another one of those shivers from Harry and he still can’t help the way his heart skips when Harry reacts like that to Draco’s touch and voice. “Go on, then. I’m not going anywhere.”

Harry takes a breath and nods, pulling back. He stands and strips out of his t-shirt and of all the things Draco expects it isn’t that. He wondered if Harry might get out memories of the war or to show him trinkets from his godfather or photographs of his parents and other friends and family members killed in battle. He didn’t expect Harry to reveal his sleek, pale torso with just the right amount of dark hair on his chest and disappearing down from his belly button into his trousers. He didn’t expect the slight muscle definition or the way a jolt of electricity would pass through Draco’s body at the sight of Harry’s lithe frame. He certainly didn’t expect the tattoo across Harry’s chest - wings spanning the space beneath his collarbone and above his heart. There’s another one, just above the place where Harry’s jeans hang low over his hips. Writing which Draco wants to run his fingers over and read. Something he can’t quite decipher. Harry’s makes his mouth water as Draco takes in every inch of him.

“It’s not just this.” Harry gives Draco a small smile, his eyebrow quirked as if he’s looking for approval. “Obviously.”

“Obviously.” Draco swallows and keeps his voice low, beckoning Harry closer. “I want to know about them. Every one.” He runs his thumb over the writing on Harry’s hip when Harry advances to stand opposite him and whispers out loud the words etched into his skin. “Expecto Patronum.” He looks up at Harry and runs his thumb over the words once more, causing Harry’s cheeks to flush. “I want to know about that one first. Later.”

“Okay.” Harry’s voice wavers, and then he turns. His back is covered in deep scars. They criss-cross along his back, welts rising against his skin. They still look painful even though they were obviously caused some time ago. Draco knows those scars. He knows the way a body looks when it’s being lashed. He knows this isn’t left over from Potter’s experiences at the hands of a top who didn’t know what he was doing. These are battle scars, etched into Harry’s skin. They are marks left on his body that magic couldn’t heal, caused by lashes from spells and wands aimed at him with singular purpose.

“It was a year after the war.” Potter’s voice is a low hum and Draco can see the way his shoulders tense and his head bows that he’s waiting for a sign – something, anything – from Draco.

“Who?” Draco doesn’t expect to feel the deep, powerful rush of fury which overwhelms him. He doesn’t expect to feel the anger and hatred which burns through his veins. In that one moment he realises he would kill for Harry and in the next it occurs to him he would enjoy it. With a shuddering breath, he stands because he needs to be close to Harry. He needs something of Harry’s strength to pull him from a dark, vengeful place he doesn’t want to go again. He runs his hands over Harry’s back, tracing the lines of his scars and buries his head in Harry’s neck just to breathe in the scent of him. “Can we…?”

“Yeah. I think….yeah.” Harry turns in Draco’s arms and he’s kissing him then, a kiss that means more than the heated kisses of before. It’s a kiss which is just intended to pause their discussion and which reminds them both of something warm, vital and alive. It’s like they don’t need full words because Harry knows what Draco wants and his kiss tells him he wants it too. The kiss reminds Draco of the small shoots blossoming between he and Harry and he holds onto that instead of the anger which creeps through his veins as his fingers meet the scar tissue on Harry’s back.

Without a word, they make their way upstairs. They stretch out on Harry’s large bed, Draco still in his shirt and trousers and Harry in his jeans. Their eyes meet in the darkened room, and Draco brushes the tips of his fingers along the outline of the large tattoo on Harry’s chest. He doesn’t need much more – just the light touch of skin against skin and the reminder of the steady thump of Harry’s heart is enough for the moment.

“Tell me about it.”

“I didn’t have time to breathe after the war. There was so much to do with funerals, trials and trying to find the people who went underground when Voldemort was killed.”

Draco still flinches at the sound of the Dark Lord’s name from Harry’s lips. “I remember.” He remembers being in the dock with Potter on the other side – looking tired and careworn and telling the Wizengamot that Draco Malfoy didn’t deserve to be thrown into Azkaban. “I thought you were a fool,” Draco says, with as much honesty as he can muster.

“Because I didn’t think you should be in Azkaban?” Harry arches an eyebrow and twines his fingers with Draco’s. “Do you think you should have been?”

“I’ve always been a firm believer in retribution. Rehabilitation only works on those who want to be rehabilitated. I would have wanted to see them all Kissed if it had been me.” Draco’s voice is low and furious, his hand squeezing Harry’s tightly. “They deserved it for what they did. I deserved it.”

“No,” Harry says. “You didn’t.” He brings Draco’s hand to his lips and kisses it, his lips curving against Draco’s skin. “Besides, I prefer these kind of kisses.”

“Idiot.” Draco sighs but shifts closer to Harry anyway, nestling into the thick winter bedding and running his fingers over the gentle slope of Harry’s arm. “You’re too noble for your own good and far too willing to believe the best in people.”

Harry shrugs. “I don’t know about that. I could have cast my fair share of Unforgivables and there were people I hated. Really hated.”

“You’re an idiot.” Draco says again. He brushes Harry’s hair from his eyes and studies his face, taking in every contour of his cheeks and the line of his lips – the green of his eyes – bright, even in the darkness. “And you are a hero, whatever you think.”

“Not yours.” Harry’s lips curve into a half-smile. “I’m just a reckless Gryffindor that got lucky.”

Draco’s shakes his head. “You were my hero too, Potter. In a way. I saved you because I thought you were the only one who wouldn’t let me die.” The words sound worse when he says them out loud, but they’re the truth. There was no thought for Harry’s life – only for the hope he represented and how that might change Draco’s own.

“It was brave.” Harry’s voice is quiet and he keeps looking at Draco as if he’s really something. Draco wonders at what point Harry’s going to find him out and how – when he does – Draco’s expected to go through life without Harry now they’ve been here in the shadows of Grimmauld Place.

“It was selfish, not brave.” Draco narrows his eyes, contemplating Harry. “Besides, I don’t care how many Unforgivables you wanted to cast. I’ve wanted to cast them on you in the past, it doesn’t mean anything. You didn’t kill them. You didn’t go into battle looking to learn Avada Kedavra, even when you had more reason to than most. I sometimes think if I had been you, I’d have wanted to burn the whole world down.”

“Did you ever think about that? Being me?” Harry looks curious and Draco swallows because these calm, quiet words spoken in the shadows of Harry’s room are getting far too close to the aching heart of him.

“All the time.” He closes his eyes for a moment and remembers the rush through the wind on broomsticks, the sensation of his stomach tight with jealousy and the heated shame at being caught in a moment of weakness by Harry. “I was jealous of you.”

“Everything seems better from the outside, looking in.” Harry’s closer now, his lips warm against Draco’s neck before he disappears again and Draco opens his eyes to see Harry giving him a curious look. “Don’t you think?”

“Maybe.” Draco furrows his brow as he watches Harry. “They weren’t very good to you, were they? Those Muggles of yours.”

“They didn’t like magic much.” Harry rolls onto his back and stares at the ceiling, blinking slowly. “They thought it was something that needed to be suppressed. Something abnormal. They made me live in a cupboard under the stairs until I was old enough to go to Hogwarts and then…well…then they were too scared of me to do much more after that.”

“No wonder you always looked so ridiculous.” Draco keeps his voice light but another hot flash of anger jolts through him. He softens his words by perching on his elbow and looking at Harry. “It explains the scarecrow inspired fashion decisions. You didn’t see proper daylight until you were eleven, I’m not sure how you could have been expected to dress yourself properly.”

Harry huffs with laughter and his eyes shine. He leans up and catches Draco’s lips in a brief kiss before moving back onto the pillows, his arms stretched beneath his head. “It wasn’t all that bad. I’m friends with my cousin now. He’s improved with age.”

“Do you want me to put snakes in their garden?” Draco stretches out on his back, looking at the ceiling too. “I can, you know. I’m good at horrible Dark magic. Not as good as Severus was or You Know Who, but I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve.”

“No snakes, Malfoy. Bloody hell.” Harry laughs again as he says it, nudging Draco with his toes. “Like I said, it’s water under the bridge.”

Draco isn’t sure about that. There’s a haunted look Harry still gets and he doesn’t know sometimes where it comes from. The war, the press, the people he lost or his childhood. Maybe it’s a little bit of all of those things rolled into one. “You’re being brave again,” he murmurs, just so Harry knows he doesn’t have to be. He can fall apart and he still won’t have the same weaknesses or the same innate sense of self-preservation which drives Draco. He’d tell Harry that, but he doesn’t want to at the moment. He wants to hear Harry’s stories and find out about the scars. He’s got enough of his own that sit beneath his flesh and he’ll spend his time talking to Harry about every single one. Eventually. When he’s sure Potter isn’t going to disappear off to do heroic things and leave Draco getting drunk on tequila with Theo.

“What about the scars?”

Harry takes a breath and when he exhales the shadows around them seem to shiver. He’s got his eyes closed now, squeezed tightly against the room and the night as if there are things he has to remember but doesn’t want to recall. “I fucked up on what should have been a routine mission. I knew something didn’t feel right about it, but I went along anyway because I thought it was the right thing to do.” When he laughs, it’s dull, hollow and without humour. “It was a trap. I’d walked right into their hands and nobody knew where I’d gone. There wasn’t any time to tell Ron or Shacklebolt and I thought I’d be fine. Of course I thought I’d be fine. I was Harry Potter.” The bitterness in Harry’s voice makes Draco reach for him, their fingers sliding together and their arms pressing against one another.

“You fought a Dark Lord and won. It’s not that much of a leap of logic to think you might have been able to investigate something routine yourself.”

“It was just me being impulsive and thoughtless as usual. It’s happened before.” Harry mutters something which sounds broken and wrecked. Something like Sirius and Draco squeezes his hand again, just listening. “It was Lestrange and Mulciber. I thought they’d been killed during the war, but they hadn’t.”

“What did they do?” Part of Draco doesn’t want to know because he can guess. He watched enough scenes of torture during his time at the Manor to know exactly what they would be capable of doing with the brightest star of the wizarding world in their grasp. Harry takes another breath and Draco shifts over him. He kisses his neck and strokes his hand through Harry’s hair, murmuring against his skin. “Tell me.”

“Tied me up.” Harry speaks through gritted teeth and the fear of restraints all becomes clear. "They tied me up and did what they wanted. Said they were going to break me, piece by piece. There were spells. So many spells. I haven’t thought about it. I mean, I can’t…” He falters and takes a deep breath, slowing himself down when Draco murmurs hush against his skin. The light touch of Draco’s lips against his neck seems to help and he clutches on to Draco’s shoulder with tightly clasped fingers, relaxing them as his breathing steadies. “Ron found me, in the end. Ron and Hermione. She’s not an Auror, Malfoy, but it was all her putting two and two together and figuring out where I’d be. She’s brilliant, really. Brilliant.”

“She is.” Draco wouldn’t usually concede that Granger’s good at anything but in this instance he has to give her credit where it’s due. He also feels unspeakably cold at the thought that he might not have this without her, and reminds himself to thank her sometime. With a really decent first edition book or something. Something that clod Weasley would never think of purchasing.

“You agreed with me.” Harry’s voice is clearer now and calm, a hint of teasing to it. “Didn’t know if you would.”

“I was just thinking I’ve always preferred Granger to Weasley,” Draco says, so Harry doesn’t think he’s gone completely soft. He pulls up and watches Harry. “So they saved you?”

“Yes.” Harry’s throat works and he looks into Draco’s eyes. “They found me just in time, really. There were things Mulciber and Lestrange had planned but…well, they were taking their time.”

“I bet they were.” Another flash of rage goes through Draco and he doesn’t realise he’s digging his fingers into Harry’s chest until Harry clears his throat and shifts a little underneath him. “How did none of this make the press?”

Harry’s eyes flicker and he looks away, shaking his head. “That’s not my story to tell.”

Draco narrows his eyes and then Weasley’s words echo in his head. If you hurt him, I’ll kill you. I’d take thirty years in Azkaban for it. Draco swallows and he brushes his lips to Harry’s, his words low and quiet in the still room.

“Fast and impulsive, I expect. Kill or be killed, no other option. I would have taken my time. I’d have enjoyed hurting them if I found you like that.”

“No you wouldn’t.” Harry shakes his head, his voice thick. “Not in my name.”

Draco sighs, the thought of Mulciber and Lestrange at the tip of his wand all too enticing. “Uncle’s in Azkaban now. I remember father telling me. But not Mulciber.”

“No,” Harry agrees. “Not Mulciber.” He pauses and then he looks at Draco, his voice rough. “He died during the war, didn’t he?”

“Yes, I remember seeing his body.” Draco responds smoothly, not missing a beat. Harry huffs with relief and Draco brushes his lips to Harry’s collarbone.

If that’s the official Ministry line designed to protect Potter, Weasley and Granger then Draco’s more than happy to play along. He’s glad Mulciber’s dead and he plans to shake Weasley’s hand for it, not that he’d ever tell Harry as much. It’s no skin off his nose to keep Weasley’s secret, not least because it’s Harry’s secret too. He might as well do something right after nearly killing Weasley and letting Death Eaters into Hogwarts. It’s the least he can do.

“So you’re not an Auror anymore.”

“Nope.” Harry shrugs, pulling a face. “I just couldn’t do it anymore. Didn’t feel right.”

Draco nods because he knows why Harry can’t be an Auror now. For someone like Harry this kind of secret gnaws away at you and tears you up inside. He suspects Harry still blames himself for whatever Weasley had to do to save their skin and he probably couldn’t trust himself to be a good Auror partner to his best friend after everything. Draco’s been his father’s son for long enough to know exactly what kind of lengths the Ministry would go to for its rising stars – even the new and improved Ministry under Shacklebolt’s control. He doesn’t blame Harry for that. Not for a moment.

“You’d still have been the best of all of them,” he says, because it’s true.

“Don’t be soft.” Harry turns his head to the side to meet Draco’s eyes, his tongue flicking over his lips as if his mouth is dry. “I don’t need you to say stuff like that.”

“I know, but I want to say it all the same.” Draco gives Harry a small smile and runs his fingers through his hair, tugging on it lightly in the way that seems to make Harry relax. “Can I still call you a hero when I’m making fun of you?”

Harry laughs, the warm sound filling the room. “If you like. As long as you don’t buy any more memorabilia.”

“Piss off.” Draco laughs softly and lies back, his hand dropping from Harry’s hair which earns him a low grunt of disapproval. “I told you-”

“It was a gift. I know.” There’s a teasing note to Harry’s voice and he shifts in the bed so his full side presses against Draco, from shoulder to ankle. “I don’t think I’ve ever slept with a fan.”

Draco kicks Harry lightly. “You never will if you keep this up.”

“Sorry.” Harry doesn’t sound sorry at all, and Draco knows if he turns his head to the side he’ll see another bright, Potter-ish smile. He huffs and thinks back to his conversation with Weasley. “Weasley knows you’re telling me this.” It occurs to Draco that by telling him to ask Harry why he doesn’t work anymore, Weasley was giving Harry implicit permission to share their secret with Draco. The thought makes him feel strangely warm and he turns his head so he can see Harry’s reaction properly. “Why on earth would he agree to that?”

“I have no idea.” Harry’s cheeks flush hot red and it’s delightful. Draco feels giddy and a slow smile spreads over his face. “Stop smiling,” Harry says, but he’s smiling too. “I don’t know what’s so funny.”

“You’re daft about me.” Draco laughs, leaning in to kiss Harry soundly. “Completely daft.”

“Am not,” Harry mutters against Draco’s lips. “You’re the daft one.”

Eventually Draco pulls back before he can lose himself in Harry’s kisses later. For the first time he really believes there’s plenty of time for that. “Why don’t you fly anymore?”

Harry looks serious again. “I couldn’t stop thinking about the stuff they did. It wasn’t so much the pain of it, although sometimes I remember that when I’m trying to sleep.” He looks sheepish as if Draco’s going to give two hoots about being kept awake if he’s got Harry in his bed. Frankly, Harry’s going to be lucky if Draco lets him sleep at all. “I don’t sleep brilliantly. I can have nightmares, sometimes – particularly here.” He shakes his head as if that’s another topic entirely and moves his fingers over his side, tracing over a scar which stretches from the back around to the front of his torso. Draco follows the jagged path with his eyes and listens to Harry’s voice, low and soothing. “It’s only scar tissue. Broken bones can be fixed. Bruises can be treated. What hurt more than anything was when they told me I was going to die I thought – for a moment – that maybe I deserved it. Maybe I should just let them have at it.”

“What does that have to do with flying?”

Harry’s jaw firms. “I’ve never thought that before, but once I had it in my head I couldn’t get it out. I thought of everyone I’ve let down in one way or another. Do you know, Malfoy, in all of the years of fighting, I’ve never, ever been willing to give up. Until then.” Harry pauses and when he says the words they carry a note of surprise, as if it’s still unexpected to hear them fall from his lips. “For the first time in my life, I wanted to die.” There’s a drawn out silence and Draco presses his palm over Harry’s chest because he wants to feel the way his heart beats alive, alive, alive. “Once I started thinking about it, I couldn’t stop. I was flying once and I just wanted to fall. I thought it would be a nice way to go. Like actually flying, or something. Just dropping through the clouds and being free. Haven’t really gone out flying alone since then.”

Expecto Patronum.” Draco shifts and brushes his lips over the words etched on Harry’s hip. It causes Harry’s breathing to catch and he hums against his skin, Harry’s hand tangling loosely in his hair. “It reminds you there's a way to fight it.”

“That’s the idea, although it doesn’t work as well if there’s no Dementors around. You’re pretty much just fighting yourself and there’s not really a spell for that.”

“I know.” Draco swallows, his throat constricting. He’s wanted to die before too. He’s etched spidery marks into his pale skin as a teenager and wondered if taking an Avada Kedavra to the chest would be better than living one more second in the Manor with the Dark Lord. He’s looked at pictures of Harry Potter in the Prophet and he’s wondered what it takes to be an infallible human and why he – Draco – can’t even seem to do one thing right. He’s had those moments up in the clouds with nobody else around – the desire to freefall and let the earth claim him. “I know what that feels like.”

“Yeah?” Harry’s brow furrows and he tugs Draco up so he can look at him properly. “You wouldn’t, though?”

“No.” Draco shakes his head. “Not really. I spoke to someone about it after the war. It helped.”

“Oh.” Harry looks surprised and then his lips tug into a smile. “Yeah, me too.”

“Well then.” Draco drops onto his back again and links his hand with Harry’s, looking at the ceiling. “If we’re struggling to find common ground, we can always talk about our therapists.”

Harry snorts with laughter and he doesn’t sound at all despondent when he says, “Yes. We can.”

*

Draco doesn’t know how long they’ve been sitting in comfortable silence when Harry props himself up and looks down at Draco.

“Did you mean it when you said you were versatile?”

Draco blinks, because he wasn’t expecting that. “I thought we were talking about the war.”

Harry pulls a face and he runs his fingers underneath Draco’s shirt, a smile playing on his lips. “I’m bored of talking about the war.” His fingers still and he gives Draco a serious look, catching himself. “We can, though. If you want.”

Draco rolls his eyes. “Yes, Potter. I’d like you to teach me a few defensive spells and tell me how you defeated the Dark Lord. It gets me hard.”

“Bet it does.” Harry’s grin is back and his fingers slide higher, unbuttoning Draco’s shirt before Draco even realises what’s happening. Potter is going to be the death of him, he’s convinced of it. “So, did you mean it?”

Draco slides his tongue over his lips, starting at Harry. “Why?”

“Because I really want to fuck you.”

Draco hates himself a bit for the grunt which escapes his lips. Harry shouldn’t ever be allowed to say things like that again, with his voice low and throaty and his thumb rubbing over one of Draco’s nipples. He really shouldn’t. “I haven’t done that for a while, but I do. Sometimes.”

Harry frowns, his hand stilling. “If you don’t like it, we don’t have to.”

Draco likes it well enough, he just prefers topping his one night stands and he hasn’t exactly had anything more than that for some time. He puts his hands behind his head and gives Harry one of his filthiest looks, schooling his voice into a low drawl. “Now you come to mention it, it might be nice to let you do all the work.”

Yes.” Harry’s eyes go darker still at that and he leans down to nip at Draco’s neck. “I’ll make it good, I promise.”

“I’ve no doubt.” Draco tangles his hand in Harry’s hair, running his fingers through the thick strands and arching his neck for him. “I thought you liked things the other way, as a rule.”

“I do. As a rule.” Harry runs his tongue along the line of Draco’s neck, sucking on a sensitive patch of skin and pausing while he does something delightful with his lips and teeth which definitely isn’t conducive to speech. “I’m just in the mood.”

“Don’t let me stop you.” Draco presses up into Harry so he’s in no doubt of Draco’s interest in his suggestion.

“How long has it been?”

“A year or two.”

Harry stops again and his breath huffs hot and damp against Draco’s throat. When he finally speaks, his voice is husky. “I’ll have to really take my time, then. Get you ready.”

Draco’s not sure how to respond to that in words, but he hopes Harry takes his grunt as a very enthusiastic yes instead of the unf which comes out.

Harry strips out of his trousers, dropping them on the floor with his pants. He moves quickly back onto the bed and pushes Draco’s shirt open, pushing his hand between them and working on Draco’s buckle as he punctuates his words with kisses. “Too many clothes.”

Draco couldn’t agree more and he sits up to strip off his shirt, lifting up to let Harry tug off his trousers and pants. When they’re both naked, Harry settles down over Draco and gives him a slow smile. “I like you, naked.”

Draco barely conceals what his no doubt a self-satisfied smirk before nudging Harry with his heel. “I like you when you’re-”

But instead of letting Draco finish what was definitely going to be a good retort, Harry’s on Draco with a low groan as if he can’t wait to be kissing him. The kiss is deep and searching and even better for being naked and with room to move around instead of cramped on a sofa or pushed up against a wall. Kissing Harry is familiar and warm, just like all of the other times only now their bodies press together - skin on skin. Now they have all night and nothing between them anymore. Draco can trace his hands down Harry's back and feel the welts under his fingers, the curve of his spine and the way he shivers - even now - when Draco touches him with fingers and knuckles along his spine. Draco twists his free hand in Harry's hair and pulls him deeper into the kiss until they break apart, breathless. Harry stares at Draco, his lips parted as if there's so much to say but he can't form actual words. Instead of speaking, Harry smiles and then leans into Draco. He cups Draco’s face and kisses him slow and filthy before making his way lower down Draco’s body with a contented hum of approval.

“You're so fucking gorgeous.” Harry's voice is gruff and eager, his lips and tongue leaving damp patterns on Draco's torso. He grazes his teeth over Draco's nipples and it makes Draco’s cock harden and a rush of pleasure flood through his body, as he watches Harry move lower still. Draco can't help but jerk his hips upwards and bite out a curse when Harry blows a puff of hot air over his cock.

Harry tongues his way along Draco’s thighs and finally returns to his cock, licking the slit and the head of it, getting it wet with his saliva as he sucks Draco into his mouth and then pulls back in a maddening fashion. He keeps his touch light, kisses and licks to Draco's cock and the odd slow, delicious slide of his mouth over Draco and pressing down, down. The noises he makes are sinful: murmurs of appreciation and yes, fuck as he tongues at the length of Draco, worshiping him with his mouth. It's all Draco can do to hold back from coming, the vision of Harry's face dirty and flushed and covered in Draco's come almost taking him over the edge.

“There are other uses for that mouth of yours, Potter.” Draco keeps his tone crisp which is harder than usual, given his current predicament. "Other uses for that tongue of yours.” It sounds sufficiently demanding but gods, all Draco wants to do is get Harry off his cock so he can last long enough to have Harry fuck him just as he wants.

Harry responds by pulling slowly off Draco, watching him as he does. Draco rubs his thumb over Harry's plump lips and listens to the jagged lines of his breathing. "Okay?"

“Oh fuck, yeah.” Harry nods eagerly and then he’s nudging Draco over. Draco obliges and settles onto the bed, the feeling of Harry's warm breath on his spine making him groan low in his throat. He closes his eyes to lose himself in Harry's touch and then licking into him with slow stripes of his tongue. He flicks his tongue over Draco and pushes into him, a saliva-slick finger rubbing alongside his tongue as he holds Draco open. With a groan, Draco pushes back against Harry because it really has been a long time since he’s had anyone enthusiastically licking and fingering him and he’d almost forgotten how good it feels. He shifts up onto his hands and knees and lets Harry tongue him, hearing the sounds Harry makes as if he really does love this. Draco’s mouth is dry and his hands clutch at Harry’s bed sheets, his body reacting with almost painful need to Harry’s efforts.

“Come on, then.” He’s impressed he manages to say anything at all, given the state he’s in but Harry seems to get the message. He shifts away from Draco just enough to get the lube and then he’s pushing inside Draco with one finger in a deep, slow slide. Harry groans along with Draco, twisting his finger and adding more lube to push back in with a second. He brushes his lips to Draco’s backside and then higher to the base of his spine, his words a hot, damp rush against Draco’s already sensitive skin.

“You feel so good, Draco. Fuck. This is…” Harry has an irritating habit of stopping himself mid-sentence, Draco’s starting to discover. He can’t complain too much however when Harry’s fingers find just the right angle and curl inside him, dragging back and pushing into him with more force. The slick sensation increases and a third finger nudges in beside the second, the burn of the stretch making Draco curse under his breath.

“Harry…”

“Okay?” Harry’s fingers slow and he pulls the third out, pushing two back in again and stroking his other hand down Draco’s spine. “Is it okay?” His voice dips and there's warm, tremor of arousal to it. "You can tell me what you want, if you like."

Draco nods, his whole body alive to every push and pull of Harry’s fingers and it’s not enough. He’s never been one to beg to be fucked but with Harry it appears he’s shameless enough to push back into his hand with a gasp and bite out the words rolling around in his head. “Not enough. Want…want you to fuck me.”

With a low groan, Harry slides his fingers out of Draco and slicks himself. The slap of Harry’s palm against his cock and the ragged breathing makes Draco shiver with pleasure. Finally, Harry’s cock presses against him and then he’s pushing in, inch by glorious inch. His slick hand wraps around Draco’s cock, stroking him slowly as he pushes inside.

“You feel so good.” Harry’s voice is low, rough and eager. He moves over Draco's back and then it's Harry's hand sliding in Draco's hair and clutching onto it. Draco's embarrassed by the sound which falls from his lips - almost a whimper. Harry's breath hitches as he finally pushes all the way in, releasing the hand in Draco's hair and steadying himself against Draco's hips. The stretch of Harry inside him is almost more than Draco can stand. The stretch combines with the slick, steady pressure of Harry's hand on his cock. It's so good and he can't help groaning when Harry squeezes his hand. “Draco.” Harry's lips part against Draco's skin as he moves over him. The way Harry speaks when he's fucking is something Draco wants to bottle and play over and over again whenever he wants to remember this moment. He's gruff, urgent and broken as if just being inside Draco is tearing him apart in the best of ways. His lips leave damp shapes forming Draco's name over every patch of skin Harry can easily access. Draco pushes back into Harry and the angle shifts when Harry grips onto Draco's hips, his breath faltering. “Trying to take it slow...”

“I'm not a virgin, Potter.” Draco manages to force out the words. He doesn't want Harry to worry about be earnest and serious. Draco doesn't need Harry to be careful with him - not now. It feels good to have Harry pushing inside him and he wants to experience every last moment of the kind of reckless, passionate force that Harry displays when he's busy fighting the good fight. “I want you. Hard...fast...however you want to give it.”

It clearly does the trick, because Harry slides out a little and then presses back in with a low groan. The sound of Harry's body connecting with Draco's fills the room with their heavy breaths and murmurs of good and want and yes, please...yes. Harry fucks Draco like he means it, his thumbs and fingers bruising against Draco's hips until it's difficult to know where Harry ends and Draco begins. Words fall from his lips but they're low, soft murmurs of appreciation and hardly formed sentences which catch and break off before they can be finished.

“Yeah?” Harry’s words are half-bitten things which pulse through Draco’s brain as Harry fucks into him harder. The fact Harry's hardly capable of speech has a pleasing impact on Draco. He can tell by the way Harry's movements become more erratic that he's getting close. He strokes himself so Harry can focus. It doesn't matter that he can't see Harry because he can feel him. It's like Harry needs to be touching Draco everywhere, his fingers moving over Draco's skin as he groans and thrusts deeper inside him. He murmurs something so soft it escapes into the room and Draco can't catch it because with blinding force his orgasm pulses through him. He's not sure if it's the fact he hasn't done things this way for so long which tips him over the edge or the fact he's in Harry's room. He's in Harry's room and Harry's whispering in those secret, broken sentences that are only for Draco's ears. He's saying Draco like it's so much more than a name - like it's something Harry wants to savour with his mouth and his tongue.

Within moments Harry's coming too, Draco's name on his lips. They collapse back onto the bed in a tangle of limbs and finally Draco can see Harry again. He's smiling tentatively, his cheeks flushed warm. He runs his thumb over Draco's lip and stares at him while he tries to control his breathing. Eventually, he strokes his fingers down Draco's back and presses their lips together briefly. "Was it alright?"

“You celebrities have such fragile egos, Potter.” It’s all Draco can manage in his shagged out state. He presses close to Harry nevertheless, because it was fucking fantastic and Harry is warm and delicious.

“Is that a yes?” Harry’s breath is hot and damp by Draco’s ear and he plants messy kisses from Draco’s cheek to his jaw. His voice indicates he knows full well that he's just fucked Draco boneless and languid. He nips Draco's neck, scraping his teeth against the skin there and his lips curve into a smile against Draco's skin. Every part of Draco is even more sensitive to Harry's touch than usual and the movement makes him shiver with pleasure.

“It was horrible. I didn’t enjoy myself at all.” Draco kisses Harry lightly. “Please don’t do that again.”

“Liar.” Harry laughs, confident and happy. “You’re definitely going to want me to do that again.”

Because he agrees he definitely is, Draco tugs Harry closer to give him a proper kiss. Harry’s response is a low whimper against Draco’s lips and he pushes up to chase the kiss until they’re pressed against one another. Draco grips Harry’s chin to control the kiss, rolling him onto his back and sliding his hand over Harry’s free arm to bring it over his head. He doesn’t hold it there firmly, but applies just enough pressure to Harry’s wrist before pulling back and breaking the kiss. The motion makes Harry shiver and his eyes look a little glassy as he reaches up with his other hand, locking his fingers together and stretching up to the bedposts.

“Maybe we can do this. Next time.” Harry flexes his hands, his cheeks flushed and Draco nods.

“Maybe. We don’t have to. We can do whatever you want.”

Draco hopes he's keeping a semblance of detached cool, but when Harry kisses him again - breathless and eager - he thinks maybe it's time to chalk up hiding his feelings as something of a lost cause.

*

The days leading up to Christmas pass far too slowly for Draco’s liking. Despite Harry having warned him over lazy morning kisses at Grimmauld Place about his pre-holiday commitments, the time without seeing one another feels like an eternity. Draco’s forced to knuckle down to work, without the pleasing distraction of Potter in the Ministry corridors – huddled up with Weasley or Granger and talking at a hundred miles an hour. Instead, Draco has to rely on magazine articles and grainy photos of Potter with one witch or another. Although Draco’s sure enough of Harry to believe there’s nothing in it, the erasure of his burgeoning relationship with Harry makes his stomach twist uncomfortably.

Draco’s reading another so-called expose about Potter and Ginny Weasley when the Floo sounds and Harry steps through. The sight of him is so unexpected it sends a powerful jolt of emotion through Draco, and it’s all he can do not to launch himself at Harry and kiss him senseless. Bugger Christmas. All he needs is Harry’s warm arms and eager kisses. Happy holidays.

“I wasn’t expecting you,” Draco says instead of attacking Harry, mouth first. He’s got to maintain some of his cool, after all. “I’ve got a Portkey leaving for the Manor in an hour.”

“An hour?” Harry rakes a hand through his hair and pulls a face. “Can we go for a walk first? There’s something I want to do.”

“Oh?” Draco arches an eyebrow and takes in every inch of Harry. His hair is damp and sticking up, messy and wind tousled from the winter showers outside. He has his old school scarf knotted around his neck and a charcoal grey coat which looks so good on him, it makes Draco wonder if Harry’s been stealing some of his fashion tips. Harry’s smile is bright and wide, as if seeing Draco is the best possible present he could have. Draco hopes that’s the case and wonders if he’s giving Harry the same, shining, love-struck sort of look. He expects he probably is, because Harry’s tongue flicks over his lips and he can’t seem to tear his eyes from Draco’s mouth.

“Come on, then. Before you distract me and I forget about my plan.” Harry holds out his hand and Draco slips his own into it after putting on his coat. He presses close to Harry and brushes his lips against his cheek. He’s smells like soap, rain and light cologne. His scarf is warm and soft under Draco’s hand and it’s all Draco can do not to haul him close and tell the rest of the world to bugger off for a while. Harry sighs at the light kiss and wraps an arm around Draco, murmuring into his ear. “Missed you. An hour’s nowhere near long enough.”

“No,” Draco agrees. It really isn’t. He nudges Harry towards the Floo. “What’s this grand plan of yours?”

“I want to be photographed.” Harry calls out for Diagon Alley, where Draco meets him on the other side.

“You never want to be photographed.”

“I want to be photographed with you,” Harry amends. He looks suddenly worried, his bottom lip tugging between his teeth as he studies Draco. “I mean, if that’s okay. I just don’t want to hide away anymore. I’m going to yours for New Year. That’s big, Malfoy. Everyone keeps saying it.”

“No it’s not.” Draco tries not to sound as if it really isn’t, even though it’s a lie. “It’s going to be boring and horrible and it doesn’t mean a thing.”

“Doesn’t it?” Harry’s teasing, his eyes shining as he looks at Draco. He rubs his cold nose against Draco’s and tugs on the lapels of Draco’s coat, giving him a chase kiss before venturing out onto the cool, damp streets which look darker as the day’s sunlight disappears. “Come on, then. Let’s go out and show everyone how not bothered we are about each other.”

“You have the worst ideas,” Draco mutters. He can’t see them getting much further than a drunken snog against a wall with the amount of people that follow Potter’s every move. “I should be angry with you for leaving me for a ginger Quidditch player with terrible taste in men.”

“Shouldn’t you just?” Harry’s the confident, bright-eyed celebrity again. “That’s what I’m trying to avoid, don’t you see? I don’t want articles like that over Christmas and neither does Ginny. She’s going mental at me because no one wants to nick Harry Potter’s girlfriend.” Harry rolls his eyes and lets out a low, gorgeous chuckle. He’s flirty and in a good mood and Draco wonders if he has anything to do with the brightness of Harry’s smile or the buoyancy of his step.

“You’re just going to out yourself in the middle of Diagon Alley on Christmas Eve?” Draco doesn’t know why he’s asking. Of course Potter is. It’s exactly the kind of ridiculous thing he would do, without any strategizing or press management.

“I’ve never been in. People just always made assumptions and I suppose I let them because I thought it was none of their business.” Harry gives Draco a fond look. “Besides, I never had anyone I was all that interested in being out and proud with before.”

“I’m not a new pair of shoes.” Draco bites back a laugh and is just about to say something cutting to Harry when a camera clicks in their faces and the usual barrage of press begins to circle them.

“Harry! Harry Potter! Is it true that you’re going to spend Christmas with the Weasley family?”

“Will Luna Lovegood be there?”

“Are you and Ginevra Weasley going to the Maldives for New Year’s Eve? Can you tell us when you’re going to set a date for the wedding?”

“Harry, give us a smile. This way, Harry. Over here!”

Draco gives Harry a look, his hand stroking the base of Harry’s spine when he sees the usual guarded expression cross Harry’s features. He leans close enough that Harry can feel Draco’s breath against his ear, as Harry settles into the touch. “They seem to have missed the fact we’re together. Surely they know I’m not going on holiday anywhere with a Weasley?”

Harry snorts with laughter and then turns, his expression fierce and open. It takes Draco’s breath away when Harry gets like this – a determined force to be reckoned with. He wonders if Harry’s going to give him a light kiss on the lips or tell the journalists that he plans to spend New Year’s Eve at Malfoy Manor of all places. Instead, Harry hauls Draco into his arms and kisses him soundly. With a clap of thunder the skies open and fat drops of rain leave Draco’s hair and skin damp until all he can taste is rainwater and Harry. He doesn’t even care about the fact he’s wearing cashmere scarf in the rain. He isn’t bothered that he’s being thoroughly kissed by Harry Potter, surrounded by journalists, flashing cameras and questions being yelled above the furore.

Everything fades into nothing. The cameras clicking are just dull background noise; the flashes nowhere near as bright as the magic and emotion pulsing through Harry’s body into Draco’s. He clutches Harry’s hair because he’s certainly not going to make it look like Harry’s in control of this kiss, even when he’s all force and recklessness. If Harry’s going to come out to the world, Draco’s going to make sure they see the Harry that makes his body hot all over. He’s going to make sure they see the push and pull between them and how it arrives at something equal – something perfectly aligned despite all the factors working against them. He kisses Harry as Harry likes to be kissed, his hand tangled in his hair and the other wrapped firmly around Harry’s waist. He kisses him with possessive jealousy and with too many hours of unspoken I missed yous. He kisses Harry until he tastes like warm raindrops and they have water dripping from their noses and he doesn’t even care. He just wants to kiss Harry breathless and let him know that however much Harry wants this, Draco’s pretty sure he wants it more.

They break apart and Harry’s voice is ragged which pleases Draco no end. “Malfoy?” Even with the press nearby, Harry’s whisper is only for Draco.

“Yes, Potter?”

“I think the press might know we’re together, now.”

Draco rolls his eyes and nudges Harry towards the pub while the press trail behind. “Let’s have a drink before I get my Portkey. Please try to remember I’m only doing this for my promotion.”

“Oh yes.” They get into the pub and Harry orders a beer and a glass of wine. Draco tries not to look so happy that Potter knows his order. He has the audacity to kiss Draco on the cheek, squeezing their hands together briefly. “I’d forgotten about that. How’s it going?”

“Rubbish.” Draco sips his wine and can’t be bothered feeling too cross about work anymore, not when Harry looks well-kissed and delighted. Not when Draco’s still feeling dizzy from kissing Harry Potter in the London rain. “Dawlish hates me.”

“Sounds like you’re going to have to work very hard to get that promotion of yours, then. We’ll have to spend loads of time together.”

Draco can’t even be bothered to hide his smile as he ushers Harry towards a table. “Yes,” he agrees. “We will.”

*

On New Year’s Eve Theo arrives at least an hour early, looking like the cat that got the cream. “I thought I’d get here early. I wouldn’t want you to get so caught up in saying Merry Christmas to Potter you forget about the rest of your guests.” He smirks at Draco and pops the cork on a bottle of champagne, taking a swig straight from the bottle. “Cheers.”

Draco really doesn’t know why he’s friends with Theo. He takes a cigarette and lights it, blowing smoke into the air and settling onto the sofa. He reaches for the bottle and takes a swig of his own. He has a feeling he’s going to need as much champagne as he can stomach if Theo’s going to be an irritating prick. “I thought you might have made other arrangements.”

“Oh, no.” Theo winks at Draco and stretches out. “I wouldn’t miss getting to know this celebrity boyfriend of yours properly, would I?”

“Clearly not.” Draco rolls his eyes and blows some smoke quite deliberately into Theo’s face. “I hope you’re not going to make him feel uncomfortable.”

“Would I do that?” Theo looks too innocent to be trusted. “You’re getting boring in your old age, Malfoy. I remember you used to be such fun. I remember the days we would have been planning to seduce Potter together and then send him on his merry way before breaking into your father’s drinks cabinet.”

Draco’s stomach coils and he feels a bit sick. Putting Theo and Potter in the same room was clearly a horrible idea. One of his worst. “Play nicely, will you. I’m trying to make a good impression.”

“Shall I be very earnest and talk about all the charitable initiatives I’m involved with?” Theo is hands down the only person who wouldn’t feel at all uncomfortable about being a third wheel, but would relish any opportunity to ensure Draco doesn’t get as much as a chaste kiss on the cheek all evening. Draco makes a New Year’s resolution to find better friends. “I’ve been practicing my very best Gryffindor.”

“I’m sure you have. Potter’s rather fond of Slytherins, it turns out. No need to become a Hufflepuff on his account.”

“Like you, you mean.” Theo really is taking the biscuit. “I can see how much he likes this particular Slytherin-puff. I have eyes.” Theo ruffles Draco’s hair in an obnoxious fashion and gestures to the Prophet which Draco’s pretending he simply hasn’t got around to throwing out yet. The picture of he and Harry on the front cover still brings back the scent of rain and Harry - the touch of Harry’s hands against his skin and the feeling of their lips pressed together in a desperate kiss as if there was no one else in the world but them.

“Mother thinks we make a very handsome couple. Father doesn’t know what to make of it.” Draco smirks, because the arrival of the Christmas Day paper had been something of a shock to the system. “He was rather…hot and bothered. He shouted at the house-elves more than usual.”

“I bet he did.” Theo snorts. “He’s not going to start trying to kill Potter again, is he? I’m bored of being forced to do evil, Pureblood things.”

Draco shakes his head. “No. When he finally calmed down he pointed out it could be very advantageous having such a high-profile association. He mentioned he’s considering going back into politics.”

“What did you say to that?” Theo’s eyebrows raise and Draco laughs.

“I told him I couldn’t give a fuck about politics and I was mainly doing it for the sex." Draco was proud of himself for that. It's rare he confronts father's barmier ideas head on. Even now, he still fears the disapproval of his parents and he tends to keep those less than successful areas of his life hidden from them.

Theo laughs and takes another swig of the champagne. “Happy New Year, princess.”

Draco takes the bottle from Theo and lets the crisp alcohol fizz down his throat. “Happy New Year, Nott.”

*

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t stop her.” Potter stumbles through the Floo in his usual not at all elegant fashion and looks over his shoulder. “I said it wasn’t an open invite.”

“But of course he relented, because Harry owes me big time after the Prophet thinks I spent Christmas sobbing into my turkey over him. Isn’t that right, Harry?” Ginny Weasley follows immediately after Harry, giving him a glare and then smiling at Draco. “Hope you don’t mind, Malfoy. I heard I wasn’t going to be the only one crashing the party.”

I was invited.” Theo’s on his feet in a flash, holding his hand out and giving Ginny one of his smiles which Draco knows all too well. “Theodore Nott.”

Ginny stares at him for a moment, ignoring his hand and raising an eyebrow. “You know who I am and I know who you are. Nice to see you again.” It sounds as though it’s not that nice at all, and Theo arches an eyebrow at Draco.

Draco tries to glare at Harry but he can’t quite manage it successfully, expecting his face does and odd, twisted thing which probably doesn’t do him any favours at all. He can’t even be cross about the unexpected guest when his breath leaves him in a whoosh at the sight of Harry standing in his living room. He moves closer to Harry and brushes his hair from his forehead where it’s falling over his eyes and sticking up at haphazard angles which defy gravity. “Here you are, then.”

“Here I am.” Harry’s face breaks into a wide smile and he shrugs off his coat, dropping it on his bag and revealing a closely fitted flannel shirt, loose at the neck. “Is this okay?” Harry’s hands search for Draco, latching onto his hips and pulling him close. He smells divine, the cotton of his shirt soft under Draco’s fingers.

“Yes, it’s okay.” It’s more than okay. The fact that Draco knows each curve and slash of the pictures and etchings on Harry’s body makes his appearance even more irresistible. There's something intoxicating about knowing how Harry looks underneath his clothes - knowing the secret parts of him that other people don't get to see. Draco's almost desperate to get his hands on Harry, brushing his lips along Harry's jaw and keeping his hand on the small of Harry's back.

Harry nods to the bag he dropped on arrival and murmurs in Draco’s ear. “I’m staying over. Ginny isn’t. Thankfully she doesn’t hate me that much. I might even have got you a present. Something I think you’ll really appreciate.”

Gods, Potter’s voice is a thing of beauty – husky and seductive – his hands warm and firm on Draco’s hips.

“Can I open it now?” Draco tugs Harry’s earlobe between his teeth, sliding a warm hand under Harry’s shirt and making it clear it’s not the present he’s looking forward to unwrapping.

“Bloody hell, no.” Harry’s cheeks heat and he bites back a light groan. “Not that sort of present.”

“Well.” Draco holds up a pretend glass and tips it towards Ginny and Theo. “Happy New Year, then. Now bugger off.”

“Oh no you don’t.” Theo folds his arms and gives Draco a smile. Draco’s going to kill him for this. Slowly. Painfully. “You promised me a New Year’s party and it’s only…” Theo checks the watch on Draco’s wrist, “…only eight o’clock.”

“And I’ve only just got here, I haven’t even had any champagne.” Ginny quickly catches up with Theo, standing next to him and giving Harry a smile which says I’m going to get you back for making everyone think I’m madly, desperately in love with you. “I’d say we should stay until at least midnight, wouldn’t you, Theo?”

“At the very least.”

Draco lets out an nngh sort of sound and glares at Potter, whose friends seem to be just as horrible as Draco’s. In the end he relents, flicking his wand to send Harry’s bag up to his room so he doesn’t have to stare at it for the duration of the evening and wonder what he’s missing out on. “Fine. Have some champagne if you must. Such a pleasure having you both here.”

“Merry Christmas, Malfoy.” Theo’s handing Draco a drink and it’s only when he takes the china mug in his hand – really, who drinks champagne out of a mug – he hears Potter’s delighted hoot and his cheeks heat.

He almost doesn’t want to look at the mug in his hand, speaking through gritted teeth. “I’m going to kill you.”

“That’s brilliant.” Ginny high-fives Theo like they’ve known each other for years, snorting with laughter. “Mr Harry Potter.”

Theo nods. “It’s a new range.”

Draco looks up and sees Harry watching him, his eyes shining as he studies Draco’s face. His cheeks are flushed light pink and he reaches for Draco, wrapping an arm around him and nuzzling into his neck. When he speaks, it's warm and low. “I don’t know about you, but I like it.”

“I bet you do.” Draco sighs, but his embarrassment ebbs away to be replaced with a warm, fuzzy feeling which is all too familiar these days. “You celebrities love being adored.”

Harry’s laughs. “We certainly do. Now where’s this posh champagne of yours?”

Theo winks at Draco and hands Harry a very respectable champagne flute. Just for the hell of it, Draco decides he’ll keep the mug for now.

It’s not because he likes it or anything. It’s definitely not because of that.

*

Considering Theo and Ginny seem determined to embarrass Draco and stop him from getting his hands on Harry at every available opportunity, the night really isn’t all that bad.

Harry’s quick to settle next to Draco as they drink champagne and his laugh is loud and delighted when Theo and Ginny make jokes. Little huffs of breath leave him sometimes when Draco traces careless circles over his knee and he shifts closer to Draco on the sofa. Sometimes, when Draco looks at him out of the corner of his eye, he catches Harry staring at Draco with a fond smile and dark eyes as if he’s thinking about later – about being alone together for a while with no cameras and no one else around.

Ginny’s not bad, for a Weasley and Theo seems to like her. They bond over Quidditch and taking the piss out of Draco and Harry, and Draco reminds himself he’s going to have to tease Theo about all of this later. Draco teases the buttons on Harry's shirt, opening it just a little to give himself more delicious access to Harry's neck when Theo and Ginny are otherwise occupied with debating the benefits of one Quidditch move or another. Theo seems just as charmed by Harry. He gives Draco a look when he finally clocks Harry’s tattoos, just showing through a little in the gap caused by Draco opening Harry's shirt.

“I didn’t think you would be the sort for tattoos, Potter.” Theo licks his lips in a way which makes Draco tighten the arm around Harry’s shoulder.

“What sort do you think I am?”

“I have no idea.” Theo can’t seem to stop staring at Harry, his eyes travelling over his body in a way which makes Draco want to kick him in the shins.

“Harry loves his tattoos,” Ginny says. “Didn’t you say once you liked the way they-”

“I’m pretty sure I never talk about them unless I’m drunk and saying something I shouldn’t.” Harry’s cheeks flush and he gives Ginny a look which says please stop talking.

Ginny shrugs. “Alright, then. If you say so. Not something to repeat in public?”

“Not really.” Harry clears his throat. “Weren’t you talking about Quidditch or something?”

Draco raises an eyebrow at Harry and leans in to whisper for his ears only. “I’m definitely going to ask you about that later.”

Harry bites back a groan. “Thought you might.”

As they see midnight come and go, Harry stretches out on the sofa and rests his head in Draco’s lap. Draco runs his fingers through Harry’s hair, giving it a light tug when nobody else is watching which makes Harry shiver and changes the pace of his breathing. He slides his other hand over Harry’s chest and stomach, keeping his movements slow and subtle while Harry bites his bottom lip and shifts in place as Draco’s hand settles on his hip and his thumb runs over the spot he knows Harry’s Expecto Patronum is etched into his skin.

“Right, then.” Ginny stands and flicks her wand, calling over her jacket which she shrugs on. She grabs a full bottle of champagne from the nearest table and gives Theo a smile. “Where are you taking me, Nott? I’m sure you must have access to all of the good clubs.”

Theo retrieves his own coat and nods. “The very best. We can dance until dawn if you want.”

Harry stands and stretches and Draco supposes he might as well stand too, now he doesn’t have a warm, slightly breathless Potter in his lap.

“Happy New Year, Harry.” Ginny gives Harry a hug, whispering something which Draco doesn’t quite catch. He doesn’t miss the way Harry’s cheeks heat and the look he gets when his eyes flick to Draco and then back to Ginny again.

“Happy New Year, Gin.”

“Look after him, Malfoy. Thanks for a good night.” Ginny gives Draco a swift kiss on the cheek and moves to the Floo. “Let’s leave them to it.”

Theo gives Ginny the name of the club and shakes Harry’s hand. He doesn’t release it right away, looking uncharacteristically serious. “Be good to him, Potter. He’s my favourite.” Theo turns to Draco and gives him a quick, hard kiss on the lips. “Love you.”

Draco swallows and he gives Theo a poke in the side. Perhaps he shouldn’t rush in to getting new friends. Nott has his moments. “Bugger off, then.”

Theo rolls his eyes at Harry and ruffles Draco’s hair. “He always does that. Don’t be fooled for a minute.”

“I won’t.” Harry shakes his head with a low laugh and Draco tries not to get huffy at Potter and Nott psychoanalysing him. When the room is finally quiet, Harry focuses on Draco his eyes dark. “Should we tidy up?” Really, Draco appreciates the offer but Harry couldn't sound less enthused if he tried.

Draco isn't a house-elf and Harry should know that if he spends one more minute without his hands on Harry's body, he might just explode. “If you think I'm planning to spend this evening doing dishes, you're even more idiotic than I thought.”

“Of course. I'd forgotten you have a million house-elves can do that.” Harry’s smiling again and crowding Draco’s space, hands sliding around Draco’s waist. “I want to see your bedroom.”

Slightly dizzy and giddy, it’s all Draco can do to nod and grab Potter’s hand.

“Come on, then.”

*

“You mentioned something about a present?” Draco folds his arms impatiently because Harry’s spent the last ten minutes taking in every detail in Draco’s room. He’s looked at photographs, picked up ornaments and poked and prodded at everything Draco owns. Now he turns, his cheeks flushed, a small smile on his face.

“Yeah, I got something for you.” Harry rummages through his bag and then drops an oddly shaped parcel on the bed. “I wrapped it myself.”

“Good boy,” Draco says on instinct. It’s really pretty horrible looking, but Harry looks so pleased with himself, Draco doesn’t plan to say that out loud. He notices the way the heat in Harry’s cheeks deepens when Draco tells him he’s done well, and it sends a jolt of pleasure through Draco. He perches on the bed and pats the remaining space for Harry. “Come on, then.”

“We don’t have to, if you don’t want.” Harry sits and watches Draco as he tears away the paper. When he sees the charcoal leather cuffs with silver rings and the light lining of fur inside, his mouth goes dry. He looks up at Harry, whose expression is questioning as if Draco might not want this. As if Draco might not understand the unspoken trust he’s placing in Draco.

“Harry…”

“We can use them whenever, I mean it doesn’t have to be tonight-”

Harry.” Gods, Draco’s voice when he says Harry’s name again. It’s rich and low and desperately revealing. He tugs Harry close and kisses him, finally. He dimly wonders as Harry exhales against his lips how many hours he’s been waiting to kiss Harry as he deserves to be kissed – to feel Harry shiver and groan in his arms.

Draco slides his hand under Harry’s shirt, helping him strip out of it. He’s still fully clothed but he’s not in any rush, not when Harry’s pressing close and giving him another hot, open-mouthed kiss. He wants to take his time exploring every inch of Harry’s body and they have all night. All day. All year, if Draco plays his cards right. He’s not going to do the things normal people do this year because he’s going to spend most of it kissing Harry.

“Do you like them?” There’s a waver in Harry’s voice as he pushes closer to Draco, mouthing a damp line over his neck and jaw.

“Of course I do.” Draco sounds slightly breathless and he grips Harry’s jaw to pull him in to another deep kiss to show him in something other than words how much the gift means. “They're perfect.” You're perfect, Draco says to Harry with his lips and his hands.

“I -” Harry pulls away and stares at Draco, his throat working as if he wants to say something. Instead his words falter and he’s on Draco before he can finish his sentence, kissing and kissing like he’ll never stop. He unbuttons Draco’s shirt, tugging at it and reaches between them to unbuckle their trousers. His hand shakes and fumbles until finally Draco catches it at the wrist and squeezes lightly.

“Steady.”

“Yeah.” Harry breathes out, nodding. He draws a shuddery breath and lets himself be held by Draco. “I just want…”

“So do I.” Draco finishes opening Harry’s trousers and urges him off the bed to strip completely. He divests himself of his own clothes as quickly as he can before stretching over Harry to take in every gorgeous inch of his body. He flicks his wand to Accio one of his ties, surprised his whole wardrobe doesn’t come flying across the room he’s so distracted by Harry. “Arms above your head?”

“Okay.” Harry stretches his arms over his head. His eyes shutter closed and Draco wonders where he’s going when his lips mouth words Draco can’t decipher. He slides his hand over Harry’s side and nips lightly at the sensitive spot on his neck.

“Eyes open. I want you to look at me.”

Harry blinks his eyes open, his lips curving in a small smile. He nods and watches Draco with shining eyes, taking Draco’s breath away. “I want to look at you too.”

“Good.” Draco grins and then captures Harry’s lips in another searching kiss. He uses the kisses to distract Harry until he’s pushing into Draco, hips moving as if he can’t quite control them. Draco wonders if he’ll ever tire of Harry’s eager need for him. He suspects not. He’s pretty certain he could do this with Harry for the rest of his life.

Finally, he slides the cuffs over Harry’s wrists. It doesn’t escape his notice that there’s something rather Slytherin about the colours – as if Harry spent his time selecting them with Draco in mind. That small gesture makes Draco’s heartbeat quicken. As soon as he secures the cuffs to the bed with his tie, he makes his way down to kiss Harry again to let him know how good he looks and how Draco’s going to spend every last second looking after Harry.

“Are you with me?”

“I’m here.” Harry blinks. His lips part and his breathing is slow and ragged. He tugs his hands lightly and a barely audible groan leaves his lips as he discovers he’s well and truly secured.

“So fucking lovely.” Draco can’t help the words that escape him, because Harry is and he should know it. He kisses a path down Harry’s chest to where his cock strains against his stomach. He breathes over Harry’s cock, making him push up towards Draco. With a firm hand on Harry’s hip to keep him still, Draco mouths over Harry’s cock. He tongues the slit and runs his tongue up and down the length of Harry until he hears Harry’s murmurs above him. He rubs slick fingers in Harry's crease and then moves his hand back to Harry's chest, running his fingers over the tattoos. He runs his tongue over Harry’s Expecto Patronum tattoo first and then makes his way up. There's a small golden Snitch and the wings of the phoenix on his chest. There's stories behind every one of them, Draco's sure of it as he mouths over one small tattoo after another and resolves to find the message behind every single one. Eventually, when Harry's breathing is rough and ragged, Draco pulls himself up on the bed to kiss Harry’s neck. He uses his free hand to form a loose circle around Harry’s cock, stroking him a little but not enough to make him come – not yet.

“Tell me why you like the tattoos.” Draco’s voice sounds broken and that’s the impact Harry has on him, stretched out and eager. “I want to know.”

Harry groans and when he speaks his voice wavers. “I like the way they hurt. It makes me…”

“It makes you hard.” Draco finishes Harry's sentence for him. He hoped it would be that. He thinks of the ways he can use that information to their mutual advantage. He nips at Harry’s neck, the thought of Harry getting off on needles against his skin making his whole body hot. He drags his teeth over Harry’s neck and fuck Harry’s actually shivering beneath him now, his legs moving up and breathing in deep gulps of air. “Steady, love.” It slips out without thinking. Draco’s voice low and soft, his lips against Harry’s ear and his hand sliding over Harry’s skin. “I’ve got you.”

His words leave him in a rush because the sight of Harry putting his trust in Draco is almost too much to handle. Draco never wants to stop touching Harry - never wants to stop kissing him and drawing those sounds from Harry's lips which leave Draco eager to give him every pleasure.

He’s not even sure Harry’s hearing him, but he thinks he is when Harry settles and tips his head to stare into Draco’s eyes. “I…”

Draco wants the half formed words to fall from Harry’s lips. He knows with blinding clarity what Harry wants to say and understands why the words feel too big for the moment and the too quiet room. He shifts back down Harry’s body, mouthing his way lower before slicking his fingers and rubbing them against Harry.

“I do, too.”

It’s enough. The weight of the words left unsaid hang between them but Harry knows they’re there and that’s all that matters.

After slicking his fingers, slowly Draco pushes inside Harry. The tight heat grips him and a low moan leaves Harry’s lips, ripped from his throat. Harry lifts his legs to give Draco better access and Draco can feel him tugging at his bonds. He pushes in with a second finger, keeping an eye on Harry’s face and the way he moves against Draco’s hand. He moves up, his fingers pushing hard into Harry as he fucks him with them to make him come undone.

“You like this.” Draco can see Harry does, the way his eyes are blown wide with arousal and the way he pushes back for more. “Can you take more, Harry?”

Harry nods, breathing sharp staccato puffs of air. Another low groan staggers from his lips as Draco pushes three fingers inside him. “Please…don’t want to come like this. So good.”

Draco wants nothing more than to see Harry come on his fingers without his cock being touched. He wants to curl his fingers inside Harry and bring him to the very edge of pleasure. “How do you want to come?” Instead he murmurs into Harry’s ear, his voice rough.

“With you inside me.” Harry’s tongue flicks over his lips. “Fuck me.”

Electricity pumps through Draco’s veins and it’s all he can do to nod. He slides his fingers from Harry and slicks his cock. He presses against him and pushes until Harry’s breath leaves him in a hiss. His hand shakes as he brushes Harry’s hair from his forehead. Harry really looks as good as he ever has with his hands raised over his head and pleasure etched on his flushed face.

Draco can’t wait any longer. He can’t keep things slow and measured when Harry’s looking at him like Draco’s the actual sun. He can’t pretend he doesn’t want to take Harry with every last breath in his body. With a groan he fucks into Harry, his movements hard and urgent. He gives Harry every last piece of himself and he kisses him into helpless submission. He strokes his fingers over Harry’s skin and feels the thud of his heart, the tremble of his impending orgasm. He plans to learn every inch of Harry and take his time doing it. Now he just needs to see Harry’s face suffused with pleasure as he comes, he needs to see Harry come with Draco’s name on his lips.

He pushes his hand down to wrap his still slick fingers around Harry’s cock. He pushes into him and loses himself in the way Harry responds to Draco's touch. When Harry tugs his hands and a Draco escapes his lips, Draco can’t hold himself back.

It’s Harry, Harry. It’s blinding pleasure and a burst of desire. It’s a whispered I love you that he hopes Harry can’t hear. It’s everything Draco’s been building up to – this moment with Harry where he gives himself completely and looks as though he’s going to fall apart. Harry comes just before Draco, with a low shout. Draco follows shortly after and unties Harry, kissing him hard enough to breathe the same air.

“I’ve got you.” He says it again when he notices the not quite there look in Harry’s eyes. He unties the cuffs from the bed but leaves them circling Harry’s wrists when he shakes his head. “We’ll leave them for now.”

“Yeah.” Harry’s voice is liquid smooth and he curls against Draco. “Please.”

Draco runs his hand through Harry’s hair, pulling him close and tugging the duvets around them.

“Happy New Year, Potter.”

And for the first time in a long time, Draco really thinks it might be.

~Fin~