On Sundays, Harry Potter fucked Draco Malfoy.
Or sometimes Draco Malfoy fucked Harry Potter, and sometimes they took turns sucking each other off, and sometimes they rimmed each other more tenderly than their circumstances should have allowed, because it was always just blowing off steam, and every time either one of them came with the bone-melting force of the dark curses Draco still studied they’d avert their eyes and Harry would slink away or Draco would insult him until it was all pushing and shoving and banter again. It’s what they did. Had always done. Nothing a little Sunday night fucking could change.
It hadn’t started on Sunday nights, though. It had been a Sunday afternoon. Ron wanted a Quidditch pick-up. Ginny convinced Harry he could play Seeker because they were friends even if things were over, and she brought Dean to prove it was really okay, and Dean brought Seamus, and Seamus brought Baddock, and Baddock brought Zabini, and Zabini brought Malfoy, because they needed a Seeker, too. And Malfoy brought Goyle and Parkinson because, Harry had joked, he still couldn’t go anywhere without his minions.
But that wasn’t entirely true. Harry had found Draco alone in the showers one afternoon after everyone had left and said the bit about minions to his face and Draco had snarled and hit him, and they’d gone down swinging, wrestling on the wet tile until Harry’s kit was soaked through and he had Draco pinned down and panting.
Maybe Draco had kissed him to get out of the hold. Maybe it was because Harry’s lips were parted and his hair was falling over his scar just so. Maybe it was because they were pressed so close together that Harry could feel his pulse pounding at the threshold of Draco’s mouth. Maybe it was because Draco moaned when his erection pressed into Harry’s hip and he’d never gone down without a fight before, so of course he’d want some turnabout. But then they were wrestling again, and Draco told Harry to hold on and Apparated them both through the Manor’s wards.
They fucked in Draco’s study, over a green velvet chaise in front of the French doors to the Manor’s gardens, for so long that the wet pile of Harry’s clothes had almost dried by the time Draco kicked him out.
Harry went home, after, and spent a week fidgeting endlessly during stakeouts, and doodling on his paperwork, and pacing the office until Ron threatened a Body-Bind. When he turned up at the pitch the next Sunday Draco ignored him until Harry’s fingers closed around the Snitch. Draco refused to pull out of his dive, they both went tumbling to the grass, and Ron and Zabini had come over prepared to talk them down. But Draco hadn’t hit him. He’d just snarled, “We’re going to finish this, Potter. Eight o’clock, you know where.”
Ron had rolled his eyes and Seamus had told them to cut the schoolboy shite and Ginny barely stifled a laugh when Parkinson tried to look threatening, but Harry had understood.
He’d gone to the Manor at 8 o’clock that Sunday, and every Sunday since, and then it had become half a year’s worth of Sundays in Draco’s study, and sometimes they whispered to each other between go-rounds and sometimes Harry kissed Draco goodbye, and sometimes he wondered what Draco did when he left, or if he ever wanted Harry to stay.
But mostly they fucked, leaving bite marks and scratches and staining the chaise with such regularity that the elves charmed it to repel come.
It was always adrenaline and rushing blood and half-fighting half-fucking, always post-game release. So when Goyle and Parkinson turned up looking lost, and Zabini brought Tracey Davis as their Seeker for the week, Harry didn’t know whether to turn up at the Manor anyway.
He didn’t go because he missed Draco. It was just – Harry thought, as he spent a quarter of an hour pouring Floo powder from palm to palm – that Quidditch made him a bit hard nowadays, and blowing off steam was the point, and clearly they both understood that. He’d show up and insult Malfoy. Ask if he was really injured or just trying to miss the game. Something to get Malfoy’s blood flowing. Maybe find out why he’d stayed away.
Malfoy was sprawled across the chaise and turned at the sound of the Floo. He beckoned Harry towards him with a pale finger, raising an eyebrow as Harry approached. “Alright, Potter?”
“Could ask you the same.” Harry came to stand between his knees. “Come down with a case of Loser’s Lurgy?”
“Hardly. Some of us have work commitments, Potter.”
Harry ran his eyes from Draco’s bare feet to his glass. “Looks like you’re working very hard. Definitely not just scared to lose. Again.”
“Is Quidditch actually all you think about?”
“What else is there?” Harry grinned.
“Career? Success? Politics? Wealth? Managing a vast estate? Recovering from stray curses? Or are all of those beyond your comprehension?”
“My career involves dodging stray curses instead of recovering from them. Need some tips?”
Draco narrowed his eyes. “From the Boy-Who-Lived-To-Redefine-Dumb-Luck? I think the Gringotts Healers have a bit of a better grasp of these things.”
Harry shifted his weight. “You actually needed a Healer?”
Draco lifted his drink. “A few unexpected sparks in an old vault. I’m fine. The goblins are overly cautious; too many threats from litigious employees and I’m ordered to bed rest for the weekend. You’ll have me back next game.” He took a deep sip. “Satisfied?”
“Unexpected sparks? What did they do?”
“They lit up. They went out. I was checked over and sent home. Standard procedure.”
“Since when do curses just go out?”
"Our Aurors at work." Amused derision flashed across Draco’s face. “When the Gringotts wards keep them from taking effect. When they’ve been nullified by other magic. When wizards lack the power for anything more than a bit of show. You do remember that I’m an expert cursebreaker?”
“Yes, thanks. So sorry for being concerned.”
“Please, Potter. We both know why you’re here.” Draco hooked his foot around Harry’s calf and pulled him closer. “Unless you’ve developed an interest in playing Mediwizard, you have other things to worry about.”
Harry let himself be drawn towards the chaise. Draco set his drink down and Harry straddled his hips, pulling at the buttons of his shirt.
Their lips didn’t met until Draco wrapped his fingers around both their cocks, stroking them together until they were rock hard and Harry was thrusting up into his hand. He was caught off-balance when Draco bucked his hips, and Harry found his stomach pressed against the upholstery with his knees on the rug. He could feel Draco behind him, covering his back, grazing his hole with a finger. He relaxed for the intrusion, pressing back into it, letting Draco add another.
Harry shivered when Draco pushed the head of his cock through the still-tight ring of muscle at his entrance, bracing himself as Draco established a rhythm, thrusting into him silently and swiftly, precise and even until the very end, when Draco gathered speed and Harry reached a hand down to pull himself off as Draco collapsed over him.
They didn’t speak then; they kissed instead. Harry pulled Draco up onto the chaise and they lay there, their legs tangled together and Draco’s arm tucked under Harry’s head.
When Draco started to pull away, Harry turned him on to his back and nipped a path down his chest. Draco was warm and salty in his mouth and Harry sucked him until they were both hard again, then kneeled to grab Draco’s cock. He sank down onto it and rode Draco slowly, clenching around him until Draco was suppressing a moan, screwing his eyes shut and coming with a whimper.
Harry knelt over Draco, whose forearm rested across his eyes, and watched the flush on his chest fade. Draco’s lids were open when he dropped his arm, and Harry was met with constricted pupils and a raised eyebrow. He flushed and sat back on his heels.
Draco reached for his drink and his clothes, and Harry took the cue to dress. By the time Harry’d found his trainers, Draco was spread across the chaise again, trousers unbuttoned and hanging low around his hips, sipping at his drink and staring into the dark gardens, eyes focused on nothing at all. Harry stepped into the cold hearth and took a last, long look at Draco, swirling scotch around a tumbler, his shoulders relaxing when it picked up the green light that burst from the Floo and took Harry away.
The Malfoy Harry saw the next day at the Ministry had his trousers buttoned. Or so Harry assumed, since they were covered by the kind of formal robes Gringotts employees wore on official business. He had a set of neatly stacked reports tucked into the crook of his elbow and was leaning to one side to hear a stout, serious-looking, grey-haired witch.
Harry was perched on the edge of the fountain, waiting for Hermione to join him and Ron for lunch, his arse just sore enough that he winced when he leaned back to watch Malfoy. Which was when Draco saw him, of course, turning just in time to see the flash of discomfort that Ron missed in his preoccupation with recounting the previous day’s game.
Draco didn’t miss it, though; he let a smirk flash across his face, then schooled his features and kept walking. When Harry got home he found Kreacher fretting over the impatient eagle owl perched on the kitchen window at Grimmauld Place and unwilling to leave his package with anyone but Harry, whose stomach clenched at the sight of Draco’s handwriting. A phial labeled Essence of Murtlap fell into his hand when he unrolled the parchment.
No use if you can’t ride a broomstick. 5 drops in a hot bath.
He stared at the message, hoping the letters might rearrange themselves. It was almost kind, he thought, and if the words left him cold a hot bath would help.
The Murtlap gave the water a heavy, woodsy smell. Harry sat in the water until it became chilly.
He went to work all week and had lunch with Ron and Hermione twice and taught the new trainees to cast a Patronus, and on Saturday afternoon he reached between his legs to make sure the Murtlap had worked, bringing himself off to the image of Draco sprawled across the chaise.
On Sunday, Tracey Davis crossed the pitch again, sandwiched between Zabini and Goyle, broomstick in hand.
Harry tried to twist his disappointment into a smirk, asking the Slytherins if Draco was too scared to return.
Goyle looked about ready to punch him, and he might have done if Parkinson hadn’t pushed forward to tell Harry to mind his own business.
Davis was quick, but nothing on Malfoy. Even Harry’s fellow Gryffindors complained that he’d caught the Snitch too quickly, though it didn’t stop Ron and Seamus from clapping him on the back and promising the Slytherins they’d overlook the haversacking since they’d lost so decisively in spite of it.
But Harry couldn’t wait a week. Not with Malfoy’s note curled in his pocket, as close to an invitation as he’d ever had.
He couldn’t avoid a reconciliatory post-game pub trip, though he could barely hold a drink for all his coiled energy and impatience, and he was relieved that Parkinson was too sulky and Goyle too gloomy to say much of anything. He took the Floo home from the pub and went straight back out, arriving in Draco’s study with his head spinning and his stomach roiling.
He wanted to find Draco just as he’d left him, wanted to sink to his knees and pull Draco’s cock from his trousers and swallow him down.
Instead, he found Draco sitting at the old – antique, Harry thought – writing desk across the room, his robes buttoned up and flowing around his legs, a house elf crying at his knee.
“No, Master cannot, Master will not!”
Draco was gripping the armrests as though to stop himself from flinging the elf across the room. “Stop this now. You will.”
The elf gripped his calf and sobbed. “Linny will not wear clothes! She will not!”
“Do you dare disregard a direct order from a Malfoy?”
“Linny will iron her ears every day for a month but she will not wear clothes!”
Draco looked up and caught Harry’s eye. Harry supposed he’d felt his jaw drop, but it wasn’t until Draco sneered that he “might want to get on your knees with a mouth like that” that he tried to shape it into words. “What are you doing?”
Draco stood and pulled the elf off his leg, leaving it in a sobbing heap behind him. “The wretched beasts won’t take orders. Tell me, what’s the use of servants if they won’t obey?” He turned and glared at Linny, who was yanking on the giant tufts of hair that jutted from her ears.
“You’re freeing your elves?”
“I’m simply tired of seeing them in this filth.”
“Linny will clean!! Linny will clean and starch and iron for all the elves!”
Harry looked between them, agog. Draco turned and reached for a miniature livery, holding it over the elf’s head and hissing, “Wearing a clean pillowcase is hardly a substitute for a proper uniform.”
The elf wailed and buried her head between her knees. “No, Master cannot give Linny clothes! She will not leave master!”
“You don’t need to leave, I am simply asking you to wear attire befitting a servant of this Manor. Your disobedience is a dishonour to the house of Malfoy.”
Linny began hammering her head against the leg of Draco’s desk. “Linny will not...Linny will not….”
“Off with you, then!”
“Thank you master!” The elf scrabbled for Draco’s trouser leg. “Linny will serve! Linny will always serve the house of Malfoy!” Draco shook her off and she left the room with a crack.
“What are you doing?”
“I fail to see how it’s any of your concern.” Draco threw down the uniform. “I’m sick of servants who might be mistaken for misplaced rubbish. My father may have been unwilling to dress them in anything decent, but I’m rather sick of this tea-towel and pillowcase business. Why he thought it was any sort of an advantage to keep them in rags, I’ll never know. One can only hope French house elves like that kind of thing. Are you quite all right?”
Harry, gripping the back of the chaise for support, barely managed to let out a “Just didn’t know you were so enlightened.”
“Please, save your post-war politics. It’s aesthetics, not enlightenment. I’m hardly putting them in that Muggle trash you insist on. I’d simply like elves that live up to the décor. Do you know how disconcerting it is to have fine cuisine served by a dishcloth?”
“But still, you’re...Christ, Malfoy, you’re freeing your elves?”
“Please, you saw them. They’d never leave.”
“But if you give them clothes –”
“Yes, yes, I realise, for whatever reason, it’s unconventional. Hardly justification enough to keep them from looking half decent.”
Harry tilted his head and tried to compose a response, but then Draco was on him, whispering, “Perhaps you didn’t notice, but I’ve dispatched the damn elf for the time being.”
“Yeah, just never thought I’d see the day.”
“Which day is that?” he nudged Harry’s knees apart. “The day when I wanted proper service?” Draco leaned forward to bite at Harry’s earlobe. “If you’re that resistant to servicing the house of Malfoy, the Floo’s that way.”
Harry shivered at the feeling of Draco’s breath against his neck and moaned when Draco grabbed Harry’s hand and brought it to rest against the rapidly expanding bulge in his trousers.
Harry sank to his knees, mouthing the outline of Draco’s cock through his trousers. A hand threaded through his hair and pulled him close, and he caught the tab of Draco’s flies in his teeth. Draco pulled his hips back, forcing his fly open, and then leaned forwards to grip the back of the chaise. Harry’s head was trapped between the back of the chaise and Draco’s hips and he strained to take Draco’s cock. As soon as Harry’s lips were wrapped around him, Draco struck up a steady rhythm, thrusting forward so that he hit the back of Harry’s throat.
Harry struggled not to gag, determined to take whatever Draco gave him. He redoubled his efforts, hollowing his mouth around Draco’s cock and sucking until the blond let loose with a throaty gasp, until Draco couldn’t help twisting his hands through those flyaway locks and pulling Harry closer and closer until the fine hairs at the base of his cock tickled Harry’s nose, until he was digging his fingers into the upholstery with the effort of keeping himself upright.
Draco didn’t crumble. He’d never. A Malfoy would never. Especially at the hands – the mouth – of Harry Potter. He shot his load down Harry’s throat instead, and Harry stretched to catch it all, swallowing desperately around Malfoy’s cock.
Harry coughed and wiped his mouth and leaned forward to rest his head on Draco’s hips. Or tried to; Draco took a step backwards, raising his flies and gathering his robes.
“Well, Potter. Till next week?”
Harry snapped his head towards Draco, meeting a cold stare that cut his retort out from under him. “I – sure. Yeah.”
He rose to his feet. “Yeah, next week.” He adjusted his trousers, trying not to let Malfoy catch him palming his cock. He could manage the disappointment on his own, could wank until next Sunday, so long as there was a next Sunday to be had.
Harry tightened his lips into a thin smile. “Consider it a reward for your enlightenment.”
“Aesthetics, Potter.” Draco’s moved to the mantel and held out the Floo. “Aesthetics.”
Harry moved to stand in front of him. “Like ‘em pretty, do you?”
“Don’t flatter yourself.” Draco shoved the container at Harry.
Resisting the urge to knock it aside, Harry summoned stoicism. “Never.” He tossed some powder into the fireplace and was whisked away as Malfoy stalked off, bellowing Linny’s name.
It was Davis at Quidditch again the next Sunday, and another quick win for the Gryffindors, and another round of drinks with the Slytherins, and another swift escape, and then Harry was spinning through the Floo to arrive in Malfoy’s study.
Malfoy wasn’t there.
He’d always been there, except when they’d tumbled through together. Gripped by nerves, Harry paced the room until Linny appeared before him, dressed in a stiff white tea towel tied to resemble a toga.
“Harry Potter is calling?”
Linny twisted her fingers in the edge of her toga. “He is working, Harry Potter.”
“Is he at Gringotts?”
Linny shook her head, her ears flapping behind her. “No, Master Draco is in the library.”
“Can you take me to him?”
The elf rocked back and forth silently before nodding and turning towards the door.
Harry followed her down a long passageway, wood paneling broken up by the occasional scowling portrait.
Linny stopped and pushed open a set of doors. The walls were floor to ceiling shelves and Draco had spread stacks of books across an ornate trestle table. He sat opposite the empty fireplace, wearing formal black robes and scowling at the text, rolling a quill between his fingers. He didn’t look up when Harry entered.
“Linny, close the doors. Have you found the Librum Memoriae?”
“Master Draco, Linny has not, but Linny has found Harry Potter, sir.”
Draco jerked up, slamming a book shut and pushing his chair backwards. “Potter. What are you doing here?”
“So it is. Yes. Well. I’m afraid I haven’t any time at the moment. Big case at work.”
“You’re working on a Sunday?” Draco didn’t say anything, but crossed his arms. Harry continued, “I didn’t know you worked in here.”
“There are certain texts kept in this part of the house that are critical to my work at the moment.”
Harry tilted his head, trying to catch the titles. There was a leather-bound volume with Lethe engraved on the spine, but he couldn’t quite make out the rest.
Draco stepped in front of the texts. “Linny will show you out.”
“Oh. I. Don’t you – do you want to take a break?”
Draco scowled. “To fuck you? I’ve actual business to attend to.”
“I could help.”
“Please, you’re barely literate in English, let alone Latin and Greek. A mistranslation could be disastrous and I’d rather not end up with antlers.”
“Don’t.” Harry didn’t move. Draco scowled. “Never mind about the elf, the Floo’s right there.”
Malfoy pointed at the fireplace, extending his arm so his robes further hid the pile of books behind him.
Harry took a step closer. “I didn’t mean – you’d just said, Sunday, and then you weren’t at the game.”
“Well spotted. Some of us have more important things to do.”
“Now, Potter. Floo.”
Harry took another step closer, only to be met with a firm hand to the chest that kept him at arms length. Draco shoved him towards the hearth and, with just a quick look backwards, Harry was gone.
There weren’t any owls later that day, or any other day that week. Not that Harry was expecting any.
It was Davis on the pitch again come Sunday. Harry didn’t say anything about it and, except for Baddock, the Slytherins hardly said anything at all.
He wrote letters, instead. Short notes, really. An invitation or two. He scrapped them all save one, sent the next Sunday morning.
Ready to get your arse beat?
The owl returned just before Harry was due to leave, and read:
Harry scrawled a quick “Malfoy, isn’t that the point?” on the back and sent it off before leaving for Quidditch.
Davis took to the air for Slytherin and Harry embarked on a series of bored laps around the pitch. When an eagle owl came to perch on the empty stands, Harry almost gave up playing to go after it. He barely stopped for congratulations when he caught the Snitch. The letter was in his hand as soon as he could reach it, unrolling it to find, in formal script:
Fine. Get on with it.
Harry bit down on a grin, waved to his teammates, and headed for the showers. He dropped his broom at Grimmauld Place, grabbed a pinch of Floo powder, called out for Malfoy Manor, and stepped into the flames.
Draco was absent again. His study was cold, the glass doors unprotected by their usual warming charms. Too impatient for Linny, Harry wandered into the hallway yelling Draco’s name. An ancient portrait hushed him; another told him to move along and directed him towards the heart of the house.
Everything seemed to grow darker as he walked. Harry knew, rationally, that there wasn’t any need for protection. His reflexes said otherwise. He’d thought this part of the Manor was closed off. Draco hadn’t mentioned it even in passing since his parents had left the country.
Though, Harry thought, with a jealous twist to his gut, it wasn’t as though they spoke much. Draco’s life could be full of things he didn’t know about.
He shivered as he moved through the hallways. He didn’t realise he’d drawn his wand until he went to open the doors to the drawing room and found his fingers were already occupied. He hadn’t had a wand the last time he’d entered this room, though he’d left with Draco’s.
He pulled one of the doors open with his free hand and slipped inside.
Draco was arrayed at the head of the grand mahogany table, his back to the balcony, his figure framed by the marble pillars behind him. The fireplace lay dormant, the only light coming from the crystal chandeliers above each end of table. It cast Draco’s features into sharp relief and barely illuminated the parchments laid out in front of him.
“Malfoy?” Harry’s voice resonated through the hall and he flinched when Draco looked up sharply, his gaze travelling over Harry’s body as he placed the pages he was holding face down in front of him.
Draco raised an eyebrow and Harry felt himself step forward, almost tripping over the edge of a massive rug. “Potter.”
“I got your note.”
“Do you – you said.” He took a breath. “You weren’t in your study.”
“That much is obvious.”
A retort rushed to Harry’s lips. He swallowed it back. It’d be far too normal for this turn of events. Instead, “What are you doing in here?”
“The whole wing of a Manor House, just lying empty?” Draco stood and strode towards Harry. He was tall and pale, his skin glowing almost translucent in the dim light, his robes billowing behind him as he advanced down the room, and Harry had to swallow an urge to flee.
He’d seen this before, seen it all before and it couldn’t be, not with this familiar face, not with this man.
Draco stopped close enough to tilt Harry’s chin upwards. “All these rooms where we’ve never fucked. Seems a waste, don’t you think?”
“Draco, what –?”
But heat of Draco’s breath was in Harry’s mouth, his teeth pulling on Harry’s bottom lip, his hands cupping Harry’s jaw and running down his chest, tugging at his shirt tails until they were hanging loose over his belt.
Harry jumped when cold fingertips slid under his shirt, but it only made Draco pull him closer. “Shhh. Want you.”
Draco’s hand snaked up Harry’s back while he nibbled a path from his earlobe to collarbone and Harry felt his knees shake. He dropped his wand and grabbed the closest chair for support. Draco pushed him back up against it, pressing their bodies together and raising his mouth to catch Harry’s.
With a whimper, Harry kissed him back and brought a hand forward to twine in Draco’s hair. Harry pushed his hips against Draco’s, and Draco took the chance to slip a knee between Harry’s legs, rubbing his thigh against the beginnings of Harry’s erection.
Draco pushed at the chair next to them, clearing enough room for him to press Harry back onto the table with a bruising kiss as he reached for Harry’s belt. “Want you...want you,” he moaned, pulling the leather through the buckle.
“Yeah,” Harry responded, raising his hips in search of Draco’s touch. “More, fuck.”
Draco smiled and pulled him close, pressing against the outline of his cock. “Want you,” Draco’s teeth nipped at Harry’s jaw, “lying there, loose and waiting.” Harry froze. “I’m going to fuck you until you can’t move, want to see you spread across the table for me.” Draco reached for Harry’s flies and Harry grabbed for his wrist, blocking his path.
“What?” Draco looked up, confused, into Harry’s horrified eyes.
Draco stepped back. “Something against tables?”
“No, but,” Harry stood, stuffing his shirt back into his trousers and reaching for his belt, “this room, this table – how can you?”
“It’s just a table, Potter. A bit grander than you’re used to, perhaps, but a table all the same.”
“How can you say that?”
“Look at it.” Draco pulled at Harry’s belt loops, turning him so that his hips hit the wood. “Mahogany planks, imported from the West Indies in 1764, treated and built at the Hogsmeade branch of Alderston and Sons for Septimus Malfoy, completed and delivered to the Manor in December 1765.” Draco leaned around Harry to knock on the tabletop. “I’ve had a look at the family records recently. It’s wood, Potter.” He leaned in, “Rather like you’re sporting.”
Harry felt Draco’s hand settle onto his waist. It did nothing to soothe him. “Somebody died here!”
“More than one. The first Pollux Black, poisoned at the second Christmas Dinner hosted round it. And Druella Rosier choked on a pheasant bone at Easter a century later. Everyone at the table had forgotten their medical spells, possibly encouraged by her husband, but” Draco kneaded Harry’s hipbone, “we move forward. It’s wood.”
“What is this about?”
“Bend over and I’ll show you.”
“No!” Harry pushed himself back from the table. “This isn’t – we don’t do this here.”
“No? Over a few dead people? They’re not even ghosts. You’re in a thousand-year-old pureblood Manor. Hide from death and you’ll have nowhere left to go.”
“It’s not just any death, it was him, and all of his – all of his stalking around, making proclamations and making people do terrible things. Making you do terrible things. I saw it Draco, I remember.”
“You saw it?” Draco’s brow creased, but he shook the expression away. “Whatever you saw, he’s not here now. It’s still just a room. Just a table.” He advanced on Harry again, only to be met with Harry’s palm against his chest.
“Really, Potter? Scared of a table? You’re the one who owled me, you’re the one who’s barged into my home on a Sunday evening, and you certainly seemed to be enjoying yourself a moment ago. Maybe I’m done hiding from half-ancient deaths. Maybe I’m bored of fucking you in the same room. Maybe I thought your Gryffindor sense of adventure would be good for something more than fighting.” Draco took firm hold of Harry’s belt and pinned Harry to the edge of the table. “Maybe it’s time to try something new.”
Harry gasped when the cold leather cinched his wrists. Draco caught his eye. “Turn around,” he whispered, leaning in, “Turn around for me.”
“Malfoy, not here.”
“Yes, Potter. Here.” Draco grabbed his hip and turned him to face the table, trailing kisses down the back of his neck and lifting Harry’s shirt so that he could trace the hair on his chest and roll his nipples between his fingers, eliciting a moan that Harry tried suppress, clenching his jaw even as he arched into Draco’s touch.
Draco was relentless, sucking on Harry’s earlobe and pinching his hard, dark nipples, running his cold fingers to Harry’s waistband so Harry’s stomach tensed even as he rolled his hips in search of Draco’s hand. And when it came, when Draco palmed Harry’s erection, Harry moaned and pushed his arse in Draco’s groin, jaw finally relaxing, falling open at the feeling of Draco’s hard cock against him.
Harry’s knees buckled and Draco pounced, pushing him forward onto the table, leaving Harry’s arse in the air and his chest flush against the wood, his shoulders straining behind him as Draco took hold of his bound hands, pulling them back as he leaned forward to whisper in Harry’s ear, “Knew you’d look good on the table.”
Harry closed his eyes and choked back an objection, distracted by Draco’s hand at his flies. He was half naked in an instant, pants and trousers pooling around his ankles. Draco ran a finger through the fine hair that led to his arsehole, and then Harry could hear him fall to his knees, reaching up to keep hold of Harry’s wrists. “Don’t move,” Draco whispered, his breath ghosting across Harry’s bollocks.
He didn’t dare. Draco ran his free hand up Harry’s inner thigh, nudging his legs apart to make way for a hot mouth, which trailed down Harry’s cleft even as Draco reached forward to take Harry’s cock in hand. He stroked once, twice, establishing a torturously slow rhythm that had Harry trembling. Draco let go of Harry’s hands and slapped his arse once. “Spread your legs.”
Harry complied, his trousers straining between his ankles, as Draco’s free hand came to rest on his arse, pulling his cheeks apart. For all the draughty chilliness of the room, it was Draco’s hot breath that raised goosebumps along Harry’s legs. It was the tip of Draco’s tongue trailing over the rim of his hole that had him grunting and rolling his hips, pushing back for more.
Draco flattened his tongue, trailing it over the tight ring of muscle, circling Harry’s puckered flesh before pulling back. He grabbed Harry’s wand from where it had fallen onto the rug and whispered a spell before laying it down beside Harry’s head and slipping a finger inside of him. Harry bucked back against him, then pushed forward to match the slow tempo Draco established around his cock.
Rolling his hips, Harry whimpered as he struggled to meet Draco’s hands, gasping out a muffled “more, fuck, more” as he snapped his hips forward and back again. Draco obliged, adding another finger and then, at Harry’s request, a third. “Fuck, Potter,” he whispered, resting his head against Harry’s arse, “you’re so hungry for it.”
Harry whined his agreement and Draco withdrew his hands and stood, unzipping his flies and releasing his cock before he came to stand behind Harry. “More, Potter? You want me to fuck you over this table?” Harry screwed his eyes shut and held his breath, refusing to answer. Draco trailed a finger over the wet flesh between his cheeks and Harry whimpered. “What was that?”
“Yes,” he whispered “Fuck me, Malfoy, yes.”
“Thought so,” Draco smirked, running the head of his cock between the tight cheeks in front of him. Harry moaned and Draco pushed forward, sinking into Harry with one hard stroke and bringing his hand down to Harry’s shoulder, holding him in place, establishing a steady cadence as he rocked into the tight heat of Harry’s arse.
Harry pushed back, clenching around him, trying to gain purchase on the ground below as his cock bobbed against the table’s edge. Draco reached around to grip him, fucking Harry into his fist.
The heavy wool of formal robes brushed Harry’s sides as Draco bent forward, his rhythm becoming erratic. He came with a groan, collapsing forward, pinning Harry’s arms to his back as he kept stroking him, moving his hand and faster, with a twist of the wrist around the head of Harry’s straining cock, until Harry came, falling limp against the tabletop, eyes still screwed shut, his knees buckling and his hands grasping for the fabric of Draco’s shirt.
Harry could feel Draco’s heart pounding, could feel Draco’s softening cock in his arse, could feel Draco pull out of reach, and he winced when Draco withdrew, sending a flood of come down Harry’s thighs. Draco leaned over him, released his belt buckle, and whispered “See Potter? Just a table.”
Harry’s eyes flew open and he staggered backwards, tripping over his trousers and landing bare-arsed on the carpet. His come was splattered along the underside of the table’s rounded edge, beginning to drip onto the rug below. He looked up and saw the chandeliers, the ornate, long-vacant fireplace, the balcony where he’d once stared down the end of Bellatrix’s knife.
“Fuck, Malfoy. Fuck!” He pushed himself upright, yanking up his pants and trousers in one motion, zipping his flies and pulling down his shirt. “Fuck!”
Draco smirked back at him. “My point exactly.”
“No – we didn’t just do that. Not there.”
“Merlin, Potter. If you had such strong feelings we could’ve just done it on the rug.”
“No! How can you – Are you really that far past it? To just do that? To fuck me here, to get hard, here?”
“You didn’t seem to have too much trouble.”
“This wasn’t my idea!”
“It was, actually. Your owls, your idea.”
“This wasn’t. How can you be okay with this?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
Harry balked, his jaw dropping open.
Draco tucked his finger underneath it. “Careful, Potter, you’ll catch Doxies.” He pressed his lips to Harry’s, hot and firm, pulling back to whisper “Just wanted to try something new. Somewhere new, with you.”
Harry’s heart twisted. “Just, not here, okay?”
Draco nodded, his hair brushing against Harry’s cheek. “Okay.”
The chill in the room seemed to wrap around Harry, then, and he shivered in Draco’s arms, pulling back to hug himself. “I should go.”
Draco paused. “Okay. Do you know the way?”
“Yeah. I’ll just…” Harry trailed off, turning towards the heavy door, still cracked open.
Harry nodded and pivoted, walking away slowly.
He stopped. “Yeah?”
“Next Sunday. Come see me.”
Harry twisted back towards Draco. “Here?”
“In my study, if you’d rather.”
“What about the game?”
“I,” Draco paused. “I’ll see you after.”
“Davis isn’t as good as you.”
“I should hope not.” The corners of Draco’s lips turned up. His cheeks were still flushed, his posture relaxed. He was tall and languid but he wasn’t cold, wasn’t the pallid vision that Harry had feared.
“You have nothing to worry about.”
Draco seemed to relax then, too, rubbing one ankle with the toe of his shoe, the kind of schoolboy gesture Harry didn’t think he’d seen since before the war. “If you say so.”
Harry caught his eye. “Sunday, then. In your study, after the game.”
Draco nodded and Harry returned it, walking back to the Floo in Draco’s study with only the echo of a chill in his spine.
The next Sunday saw Harry taking the field with a fair sight more equanimity than he’d been able to muster for their last games. He and Ron had cracked a rough case, and he’d join Ron and Hermione for Saturday luncheon at the Burrow along with Ginny and Dean, and it had been lovely. He’d be able to beat Davis, no problem, and he had an invitation to see Draco afterwards.
He grabbed the Snitch an hour into the game, and the teams landed to shake hands. The Slytherins were suspiciously reserved, shaking hands and gathering their things without the barest hint of an insult. Seamus noticed too, clapping Baddock on the arm, “Why the long faces, mate? Another game next week, and the pub in between.”
Zabini demurred. “We’re not joining you today.”
Ron startled at that. “Why not?”
“We’ve got some business to attend to.” Zabini’s tone was calm, smooth, and entirely definite.
Harry stepped forward. “Everything alright?”
Blaise turned and walked away, a bulking figure in his Keeper’s kit. Parkinson and Goyle trailed right behind, with Baddock and Davis closing ranks at the rear.
“Still a bit odd, that lot,” Ron shrugged. Dean and Seamus concurred, Ginny rolled her eyes, and they set to gathering their gear and heading for the locker rooms.
Harry started after them, then paused. “Go on without me, yeah? I’ll see you tomorrow.” He took off at a jog, leaving confused faces in his wake.
He was halfway across the pitch before he started to yell. “Goyle! Parkinson!” They stopped and turned, the rest of their team following suit and giving Harry enough time to reach them.
“Need something, Potter?”
“Just...is it about Malfoy?”
Goyle stepped forward menacingly and Pansy put a warning hand on his bicep. Harry looked between them, “It is, isn’t it?”
“Look, Potter,” Zabini stepped forward, “we all know you’ve got this thing about stalking Draco and have done since school. But this – whatever or whomever this is – is a personal matter,”
“I just want to help.”
“Then bugger off!” Parkinson shrieked, planting her hands on her hips. “We can take care of him perfectly well ourselves.” Goyle winced at her slip.
“So it is, then? There’s something wrong with Malfoy?”
Zabini intervened again. “It’s really none of your concern. Whatever you Gryffindor lot may think of us, some situations are best suited to a Slytherin. Let’s leave it at that, shall we, Potter?”
“No.” Harry took a deep breath under the pressure of their remarkably uniform glares. “Look, I really do just want to help. If it is Malfoy, which I’m assuming it is, you know I’ve testified for him, you know I think he’s made a change.”
“Because you two are so buddy-buddy?” Parkinson snorted at Zabini’s assessment. “Dogging him across the pitch as though it’s still sixth year?”
“It’s a game, Zabini. We both play hard. Draco’s never seemed to mind.”
“No, I suppose you think not.”
“He—” Harry stopped himself from finishing with ‘told me so,’ knowing he couldn’t explain that he’d asked once, lying across Draco’s chest after they’d fucked, and Draco’d laughed and claimed to be too insulted to answer the question. He swallowed instead. “He plays the same way I do.”
Zabini sized him up. “Does he?” Harry flushed under the scrutiny. “Still doesn’t explain why the great war hero would want to help.”
“Does it matter why? If I’m offering?”
“Rather. We’ll be off now.”
“Wait!” Zabini paused at Harry’s exclamation. “Is that where you’re going? To see him?”
“Is it any of your business?”
Harry stepped back. “No, I...no. Just wondering.”
And then they were gone, stepping into the locker rooms. Harry listened at the door until he heard five telltale pops of Apparition and mounted his broom.
The ride to Wiltshire was long, and Harry’s fingers were half-frozen to his broomstick by the time he touched down in the gardens, creeping behind a hedgerow to peer into the study.
Harry could see Zabini’s tall form stalking back and forth in front of the doors, and Goyle’s bulk blocking the fireplace. Parkinson was perched on Draco’s desk, rubbing his back as he listened to them from his desk chair. Zabini spoke for some time, and Harry wished rather fiercely for an extendable ear. The only interruptions were Draco’s shrugs and gesticulations and Goyle’s occasional shrugs.
Finally, Draco stood and spoke, seeming to raise his voice. Pansy winced behind him and Zabini shook his head. Draco pulled Pansy off the desk, wrapping an arm apiece round her and Zabini and moving them towards the fireplace. Goyle still blocked the way, but Harry could see him wavering as Draco glowered at him.
Goyle stepped aside and they disappeared through the Floo one at a time.
Harry crept further forwards, stowing his broom under a hibiscus and peering through to see Draco dropping onto their chaise, legs spread and his head rolling back against the frame. Confident that Draco was alone, Harry stood and walked forward, knocking on the glass doors.
Draco started, turning towards the doors with a scowl, which softened almost into a smile when he saw Harry. He rose from his seat and pushed the door open, beckoning Harry in.
The room was warm and bright, and Harry felt his muscles relax after his time spent crouching in the garden. “Drink?”
“So firm, so commanding,” Draco smiled. “Scotch?”
Draco pulled a bottle off a butler’s tray next to the fireplace. Next to, Harry realised, the fire. “You’re late.”
Harry blinked. “You had company.”
“Ah, yes. Those three. Interesting lot, aren’t they? Very attached.”
“Understatement,” Harry snorted. “But it’s good, to have friends like that.”
“I suppose so.” Draco turned and handed Harry a tumbler. “Now, to other matters.” He sat down and spread his legs, his arm resting on the back of the chaise as he quirked an eyebrow at Harry.
“You moved it.”
Draco glanced around the room. “This? It was rather chilly, facing the doors. Don’t you think this is a bit cosier?”
“You made a fire?”
“Yes. Is stating the obvious what you had in mind for foreplay?”
“You hate fires.” Draco stilled. Harry continued, “Did you make it? Yourself?”
“It’s elementary magic. Hardly beyond my capacity.”
“No.” Harry looked at him, confused, “It’s not. But you never make fires.”
Draco downed his drink, turned his back to Harry, and poured another. “Well, times change.”
“Draco, what’s going on?”
Draco whirled on him, Scotch splashing up the sides of his glass. “Nothing. Nothing is going on, Potter. If I want to leave the past behind and move forward with my life, I’ve no idea why you, or Zabini, or Parkinson, or Goyle should have quite such a problem with that.” He took a deep drink and slammed the tumbler back down on the tray, keeping his back to Harry and the fire.
Harry took a long sip from his own, and Draco faced him before continuing. “Was our history so grand that you’d like to repeat it? Because none of them have given me one reason why –” He stopped, then started again. “Why I should be so eager to cling to that part of our lives. And if you’ve got a problem with the future, perhaps you should follow them out.”
“Draco, no.” Harry stepped forward, resting a hand on Draco’s arm. “That’s not it at all, but if something’s wrong…”
“Wrong? What’s wrong with wanting a fire? The crackling wood, the smell of smoke. It’s welcoming. Warm. ”
“You hate heat. And the smell of smoke.”
“I do not.”
“Not any more, I don’t.” Harry moved to speak but Draco beat him to it. “And I remain unclear on why that’s so important to the lot of you.”
Harry took another step towards him, gripping Draco’s jaw and turning his head so Harry could look into his eyes. “It’s important because this isn’t like you.”
“And you’re such an authority?”
“On why you’re afraid of fire?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I’m not afraid of fire.” Draco advanced towards Harry this time, the peaty smell of an aged Lagavulin rolling off his tongue. “Perhaps you are, though. Such a big reaction to such a tiny flame.” He trailed a finger down Harry’s chest. “It’s just a little fire, Potter, and we’re wizards. Hardly a life and death matter.”
Harry took a step back, letting Draco’s hand fall between them. “You don’t remember at all, do you?”
“No one said that, Potter. Maybe I’m just not afraid.” Draco stepped forward and pulled Harry’s hips towards his own, angling his lips towards Harry’s. “Maybe I don’t want to be afraid any more.”
“Draco,” Harry whispered, “I can’t.”
Draco shoved him away. “And why, exactly, is that?”
“Something’s wrong. Something’s clearly wrong, and we have to figure out what it is before...before anything.”
“You’re just like them, aren’t you? Determined to relive some mysterious horrors.” Draco’s eyes shone with steely resolve. “Is that what keeps you warm at night? Is that what makes you come? Do you all just get off on telling ghost stories?”
Harry backed away, but Draco followed him. “Is that what you’re here for? To tell me I’m evil? So you can prove you’re good, making the little—” Draco paused, searching for the word “—Death Eater feel the weight of his sins?”
Harry took another step backwards. “Draco, no –”
“And then, let me guess. You’ll want to stay. Will we hold each other and cry? Will you be the big spoon, Potter? Protect me from myself?”
Harry’s pulse was pounding. Draco had him almost against the glass, and his heel hit the door as he took another step. “That’s never been it, never, you don’t even –”
“No? You think they haven’t told me? You think I could forget that, the way we push and shove at each other, the way you smell after a match? The way your cock throbs when I’m on my knees for you?”
Harry’s back collided with the glass, and he shivered through his still-damp kit. “You say you want me, Potter. Or do you want me to right my wrongs up your arse? Is that what you’re after?”
“No,” Harry whispered, dropping his head back against the glass and shutting his eyes as Draco licked a long trail up his neck.
Draco pressed himself into Harry’s trembling form, their lips mere inches apart. “Then why,” Draco whispered, “don’t you want me without them?”
Harry’s breath caught when he opened his eyes. Draco looked poised to either strike or flee, teetering on the edge of anger and confusion. Harry opened his mouth to explain. The wrong words came spilling out. “I have to go.”
Draco stepped back as though wounded. Harry continued, helplessly, “I have to, I can’t.”
He sidestepped Draco and came to a stop in front of the roaring fireplace. “You could never light a fire,” he said looking back at Draco, who was leaning, slack, against the glass Harry had just vacated. “We can fix this. I’m sure we can.”
Draco half-snarled his, “Don’t bother,” and summoned his drink from the tray, turning to look out at the gardens.
Harry stepped into the flames and was on his knees in his own hearth before he’d caught his breath, calling Hermione’s name into the flames.
They had lunch the next day, sharing curry in a Muggle spot just outside the Leaky. Harry recited his list of concerns: he’d seen the Slytherins withdraw from even the tentative camaraderie of their Sunday games, he hadn’t seem Malfoy round the Ministry, Pansy’d let slip that there was something wrong with him and, frankly, it seemed like he had to be up to something.
Hermione sighed. “Have you considered the possibility that Zabini was being honest with you, and they really are taking care of whatever it is?”
“I know they’re not.”
“Harry, you can’t know that. You haven’t seen him for yourself, you don’t know anything about their research. And you know Malfoy’s changed; you’ve said so yourself.”
“He has, but what if it’s not the kind of change we think it is? What if he’s not really making it himself?”
“Well, what would you want to do if that was the case?”
“Stop it!” Harry lowered his voice. “Obviously, I’d want to stop it.”
“But you don’t even know what ‘it’ is.”
“Look, Hermione, he stopped playing Quidditch a month ago, after he was hurt at Gringotts, and he hasn’t been back since. Doesn’t that tell you something?”
“Not really, no. Gringotts has Healers on call and their own cursebreaking staff, as Malfoy would know better than anyone. Maybe he just doesn’t feel like playing.”
“Yeah, and maybe nifflers hate gold.”
“Even if something was wrong, you don’t have enough information to figure out what it is.”
“But I know him. I know there’s something wrong.”
“Harry...look. You’ve always had a bit of a fixation on Malfoy. Yes, you may be familiar with the general patterns of his behaviour, but that’s not enough to prove anything.”
“He lit a fire.” Hermione looked at him, confused. “He never lights a fire.”
Her voice grew severe. “Have you been stalking him? That’s against every regulation. You can’t just show up at people’s houses, even if you are an Auror.”
“No, no. I’m not stalking him.” He buried his head in his hands, muffling the next few words.
“What did you say?”
“I’m...oh, Merlin.” Harry hid his forehead in his palms. “Fucking him. I’m fucking him.”
He peered through his fingers to find that Hermione's eyes were wide, her jaw hanging open. “Careful, you’ll catch Doxies,” Harry murmured.
"Do you mean to tell me that – that you and Malfoy have been, that you’re, that you’re sleeping with him?”
“No! No.” Hermione looked at him warily. “That is, there isn’t any sleeping. Just, you know.”
“Sex. You’re having sex with Draco Malfoy.”
Harry pushed his bowl back and forth between his fingertips. “Yeah.”
“And that’s how you know?”
“Oh, Harry.” Hermione shook her head at him. “How did this even happen?”
“It was a Quidditch thing, and then it just sort of kept happening, okay? And he invited me over, and he wanted to, you know, in the—” Harry glanced at Hermione’s scarred forearm and changed tactics “—in front of the fire, but he hates fire. Ever since the fiendfyre, you know. He never has one lit. And then I went over there, and he’s just sitting out in front of it, like it didn’t even occur to him to be scared.”
“What if he’s just got over it?”
“None of us have got over it.” Hermione winced at his tone and crossed her arms across her stomach, forearms buried in her jumper. He lowered his voice. “No one could. How could he? No one just forgets that, not what we saw. Not the death of a friend right in front of you like that.”
“Fine. But that doesn’t explain what’s happening.”
“Yeah, exactly! It’s not normal, to forget something like that. There has to be something going on.”
“I’m not agreeing with you, Harry, but I guess I’m not disagreeing either. Have you thought about actually asking his friends?”
“Yeah, but they wouldn’t say anything.”
“Slytherins together? Of course they wouldn’t. Have you tried asking them alone?”
“Do you think they’d actually say anything?”
Hermione sighed. “Zabini, no. Parkinson, probably not. But Goyle, Harry. He might be worried and, frankly, you might be able to slip some questions past him.”
“Right. Do you know where I could find him?”
“You’re the Auror who plays Quidditch with him once a week."
“Right. Okay. I’ll...yeah, I’ll check.”
“Yeah.” Hermione paused. “Be careful, Harry. You don’t know what you’ll find, and – will you just let me know?”
Harry promised, and paid, and kissed her on the cheek, and fairly ran back to the Ministry, where he retrieved the employer records included in Goyle’s probation files and tucked an address into his robes.
It was the small shop that had replaced Borgin & Burkes; same idea, new name, and nominally new management, though Harry walked past some of the same trinkets that had been gathering cobwebs since his school days.
Goyle was behind the counter, brow furrowed over an inventory list. He looked up when the bell rang, and his face became impassive at the sight of Harry. “Can I help you?”
“Yeah, I hope so.”
“What are you looking for?”
“I’m not here to shop.” A frown crossed Goyle’s face. “I have questions. About Malfoy.”
Goyle set the list down uneasily. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Yes, you do. And I need to know what’s going on.”
“There’s nothing going on.”
“I saw you at the Manor.” Goyle crossed his arms, face blank. “You were standing in front of the fireplace, Zabini was talking a lot, Draco was just sitting there and then it looked like he kicked you out.” Goyle balled his fists. “I couldn’t hear anything, I swear, but between that and him not coming to Quidditch, I know something’s going on.”
“Why were you at his house?”
“You were spying on us. What were you doing there?”
“I wasn’t spying on purpose.” Goyle raised his eyebrows. “Much. I promised not to say. I had a reason.”
“You think I’m gonna just tell you all of Draco’s personal business cause you ‘had a reason’? You’re barking.”
“He’s forgotten, hasn’t he? He doesn’t remember the war?” Goyle shifted uneasily and Harry pounced. “He’s forgotten other things too, I bet.”
Goyle looked away but didn’t answer, and Harry pressed on. “Does he remember Hogwarts? Cause it seems like he doesn’t, and – oh. But. He remembers you, doesn’t he?”
Goyle barely shook his head, and Harry would’ve missed it if he hadn’t had his entire focus trained on the man. “He doesn’t?” Goyle shook his head again. “Goyle, you’ve got to tell me, what else has he forgotten?”
Goyle shook his head again and drew in a breath, facing Harry with heavy, dead eyes.
“Goyle, please. I want to help, really. He was sitting there in front of a fire, when you left—”
Goyle’s eyes widened. “I put it out.”
Harry nodded, and hoped it was sympathetic. “When you left, he lit it himself. You know as well as anyone what that has to mean.”
“Bugger,” Goyle muttered, reaching for a sheaf of papers he’d stored under the counter and beginning to flip through them. “Didn’t think it’d got that far.”
“What is that?”
Goyle grabbed them to his chest. “Nothing.”
“Please. I need to know.”
Goyle’s eyes narrowed. “Why’s that?”
“He – I promised not to tell.”
“Malfoy. Draco. I – we…” he trailed off, hoping Goyle would understand, though he couldn’t read into the stony expression that he was met with. “I want him better.”
“Why do you care? You never cared before.”
Harry swallowed back the answer that tried to surge past his lips. “I just do, okay?”
Goyle looked him up and down again. “You’ll help?”
“Yes. Yes.” Harry sagged against the counter when Goyle nodded, relief taking him out knees-first.
“You say it’s up to the fire.”
“Or past. That was last night, but what else is there?”
“He’s missing games,” Harry rushed to agree but Goyle continued on, frowning, “cause he doesn’t remember how to fly.” Harry stopped, dumbstruck. “We gave him a broom and he called a bloody elf.”
“What?” Harry whispered.
“How he met me and Pans, he can’t remember any of it. Just thinks we’re nice people who come round.” Goyle swallowed. “Doesn’t remember knowing you in school. We asked. Figured he’d remember all the fighting, at least.
“Thing is, though, he doesn’t want help. Pans tried to tell him, then Blaise – that’s what you saw – cause Draco kind of remembers him, but Draco didn’t wanna hear it. Said to just leave him alone.”
“You can’t! He’s forgotten who he is.”
Goyle shrugged. “Maybe he wants to. Maybe,” he squared the edges of the parchments in front of him, “if you care, you oughta let him be. Not like it’s so great to remember it, huh?”
Goyle looked at Harry then, straight on for the first time since school. “If you could forget…” He trailed off and shook his head. “Just saying, maybe you oughta leave him alone, you know?”
“Don’t you miss him?”
Goyle shrugged. “He’s happier. Says he wants to be happy. Who’m I to argue?” Harry moved to object, but Goyle either failed to notice or failed to care. “If you want him to be happy, maybe you oughta leave ‘m alone too, yeah?”
“But you know what happened? What the – was he cursed? Do you know what the curse was?”
“Blaise thinks so, but I dunno, and anyway,” Goyle shook his head, eyes cast down to the counter top “seems like it might be a blessing. He’s just real calm, and he’s got the house. Pansy’d take care of him, if it came to it. For the title and all, but maybe that’s not so bad. A house, some elves, a girl like Pans. Don’t know what else he needs.”
A million objections fought to escape their way out of Harry’s mouth. Instead, he choked out “Will you see him soon?”
Goyle nodded. “Pansy’s night off. Gonna go over there, make sure he’s eating.”
“He forgets that too?”
“Nah, not that stuff. Routines. And the elves’d never let him. Just go round to double check. Ask him questions.”
“Will you tell him, for me – tell him I want to see him?”
Goyle looked him up and down. “Dunno what for, but yeah.”
“Mean it though, Potter. If you care – maybe it’s best to leave well enough alone?”
Harry nodded his goodbye and backed out of the shop.
He Apparated back to Grimmauld Place, drew a hot bath and added a few drops of Murtlap, his fingers brushing Draco’s label.
He slid into the oversized tub, turning over his last interactions with Draco – his anger, the flashes of confusion. The unselfconscious desire he’d shown in the drawing room. His comfort in front of the fire. He hadn’t held back, hadn’t pushed Harry away.
He sank into the bath, sliding his head beneath the water and wondering how he’d seemed to Draco. Cold? Uninterested? He raised his head and shook the water out of his hair, eyes screwed tight as he washed his face. Surely, he thought, Draco knew he was interested. After the study, after the dining room. If he remembered them.
Harry groaned and wiped his face clear of soap, opening his eyes to meet a pair of intense grey ones.
“Fuck, Malfoy!” Harry scrambled backwards, pulling his knees up. Draco was perched on the edge of the toilet, staring at Harry. “What are you doing here?”
“Goyle tells me they call you the saviour.”
“The saviour. He said you saved us all, and now you want to save me from, well. From what?”
Harry gulped. “I...I don’t know yet. I just...you’re not yourself.
“Did you like my self, Harry Potter?”
Harry flushed and mumbled. “Yeah.”
“Did you? That’s not what Goyle said. He told me we’re always fighting, always have done. Did you know you cut me open once?” He unbuttoned his shirt and glanced down. “Goyle says that’s where these came from.” He looked Harry in the eye. “Do you want me to remember that? To know? Whether it was a wand, or a knife? Whether it was just your fingernails? Perhaps you got a bit,” Draco stood and peered into the tub, “overexcited?”
He began pacing the space between the toilet and the sink. “I don’t know what’s true, you realise. He’s told me all sorts of things. A war, a madman, something about blood? He tells me my parents are in France and it’s best not to contact them. He tells me I play Quidditch. Even explained the broom. He’s told me if I put my elves in clothes, they’ll be able to leave. Which I notice you left out. Are you a crusader for house elves, Harry Potter? Are you their saviour too?” Draco tilted his head in curiosity. “Are you trying to be mine?”
“I just want to help.”
“Goyle says you want to find a way to bring it all back. Is that helping?”
“Is it? Are you certain?”
“You’d never want to be like this.”
“How do you know that?”
Harry opened his mouth and closed it again.
“Is it because we were fucking?”
“It was nine days ago. I’m hardly that far gone.”
“I didn’t know if you knew.” Harry swallowed. “You’ve forgotten a lot. You’ve never been here before.”
“Haven’t I? The address was in my diary. Goyle said you wanted to see me. To save me. But you haven’t tried to find me. He didn’t know we were fucking, you know.”
Harry choked. “You told him?”
“Why shouldn’t I?”
“You didn't want me to tell anyone. Said you wouldn’t.”
“Why would I do that?”
Harry grabbed at a towel and held it in front of him, standing in the tepid water. “You wouldn’t tell me.” He wrapped it around his waist and draped another over his shoulders. “I asked if it was because of the war stuff, or Pansy, or cause I was a bloke, or me, but, you’d never say. So,” he stepped out of the tub. “I can’t tell you.”
“You don’t know why and you just went along with it?”
Harry paused. “I wanted you.”
“And do you still?”
Draco stood, chest to chest with Harry. “You’re in my diary for a lot of Sundays. Do we usually see each other on Sundays?”
“Yeah. We played Quidditch against each other. Have done since school, and then... Since we’ve been playing together now, it’s always been Sundays.”
“So, you’re free on Sunday, then.”
“I - yeah. Why?”
Draco pulled the towel from around Harry's shoulders. “You’re quite fit, you know.”
Harry flushed and reached for the towel, but Draco held it out of reach behind him, and Harry stumbled forward in pursuit of it. Draco reached out and pulled Harry forward, so they were standing chest to chest. Harry closed his eyes at the scent of Draco, at the smell of his skin, the intermingling perfumes of his shampoo and cologne. He breathed it in and sighed into Draco’s neck, bringing his hand to Draco’s waist. Draco raised a hand to trace Harry’s shoulder blade, and whispered, “Sunday. I’d like you to come see me at the Manor.”
“Is that a good idea?”
Draco lowered his hands to Harry’s arse, pulling their hips together. “Yes. You want me. I want you. Come see me.”
Harry shifted uneasily.
Draco pulled away to catch Harry’s eye. “Do you think the war is all I ever was?” Harry shook his head vehemently. “Our schoolboy fighting?”
“No,” Harry whispered.
“Then come see me on Sunday.” He leaned forward, catching Harry’s lips in a gentle kiss. “Come see who I am.” He backed away, leaving Harry flushed and confused and wishing his blood wasn’t rushing southward. “Say you’ll come see me.”
Harry nodded, and Draco smiled. Properly smiled. Harry’s knees threatened to give way.
Draco handed the towel back to Harry and walked out of the room, then turned to grab the doorframe. “Sunday, then?”
Harry nodded and watched him leave. He sank to the edge of the tub and buried his head in his hands. He heard the distant whisper of his Floo coming to life, and the echo of Draco’s voice yelling into it. And still he sat, willing away everything but the lingering scent of Draco’s cologne.
He didn’t want to wait till Sunday. Not with the memory of Draco’s skin against his own, or the possibility that Draco might forget him altogether.
Fortunately, Hermione agreed that he shouldn’t. Less fortunately, she’d told Ron, who was near-incoherent about it. More fortunately, he agreed that if Harry was going to insist on doing this he shouldn’t wait for it to get worse. And he should probably take Hermione with, since if anyone could figure it out, she could. Less fortunately, Hermione’s schedule was too full to push their visit up by much.
So it was Saturday afternoon that they stumbled out of Draco’s Floo. Harry called for Linny when the study proved empty. The elf, perfectly starched, appeared, bowed to them both, and bade them to follow her down a long corridor.
Hermione shrunk from the portraits, elbowing Harry when a vitriolic old witch hissed something about “Mudbloods and filth.” Harry put his arm through hers, already too nervous to be much affected
They followed the elf into the bowels of the house until she finally pushed open a heavy stone door, revealing a massive kitchen. Harry saw other elves’ ears just poking up behind a central stone island, and dishes that were charmed to wash themselves and, finally, one Draco Malfoy, peering up at them interestedly over the Prophet. He unhooked his bare feet from the stool, folded the paper neatly, and stood to greet them. He clasped a hand around Harry’s arm before turning to Hermione.
“I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure. Are you a friend of Harry’s?”
She stared. Harry coughed. “Er – yes. Hermione Granger.”
“Delighted to meet you, Ms. Granger. I’m afraid I wasn’t prepared for guests – can I offer you anything to eat? Tea, perhaps?”
“Oh. Thank you.”
Draco gestured to a passing elf, who bowed deeply, then Draco turned to Harry. “Now, then. I wasn’t expecting you until tomorrow. What brings you by?”
“I wanted to introduce you to Hermione, actually, if you’re not doing anything.”
Draco smiled. “No, no, Pansy and Greg just left, actually, and it’s a pleasure to see you. Do have a seat, the elves will be right along.”
He walked back to his stool and conjured a matching set. “Please, make yourselves comfortable.”
Hermione perched tentatively on the edge of the stool furthest from Draco and pulled it closer to Harry’s.
An ancient looking elf shuffled forward, levitating trays of fruit and cheese and a silver tea service. He laid them on the table and bowed to Draco. “Mistress Narcissa’s third best tea service is provided for the Mudblood.” Draco’s eyes darkened. “Does Master Draco require anything further?”
“What is the rule in this household, Gatcher? What is the direct order you have received?”
The elf scowled. “Gatcher will take orders from Master Lucius only.”
“You will address our guests with respect or you will be punished as if Master Lucius was doing it himself. Am I understood?”
Gatcher twisted his fingers in his starched, bleached tea towel, and nodded.
“Dismissed.” The elf popped out of sight, and Draco turned to his guests. Hermione’s jaw was twitching, as though she was unsure whether to gape or lecture. “I’m very sorry, Harry, Ms. Granger. I’m afraid my father brought out the worst in them, but it’s no excuse for such abhorrent rudeness. My apologies. Many of the younger elves have adapted more easily to their instructions, but if you’d prefer to move to the drawing room, it can easily be arranged.”
Hermione shuddered and Harry reached out to squeeze her hand. “No thanks, this is fine.” Hermione nodded.
“Well, then. Harry, perhaps proper introductions are in order?” Draco poured himself a cup of tea and leaned back.
“Right. Draco, Hermione works in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and has done quite a lot of research on dark curses. She went to Hogwarts with us, actually, and was top in the class.”
“Oh, did you? I’m so sorry, bit forgetful lately. And you’re in Law Enforcement now?”
“Yes, I. Yes. But the dark arts bit is more why...well, Harry may have mentioned that you’ve been, as you said, a bit forgetful lately. He thought we might be able to find a solution.”
“Ah,” Draco leaned back and frowned, “has he mentioned that I’m not looking for one?”
Harry interrupted. “Draco, I know. I told Hermione. But isn’t it worth knowing, at least? If she can help, shouldn’t we at least know it?”
Hermione nodded her agreement. “Actually, I’ve thought of a plan that might help you decide and help us find a solution. I was able to requisition some of the notes from Gringotts, and if you could tell me what you remember we can pin down the nature of the curse and counter it more effectively. In the meantime, we – well, I – thought you might have a Pensieve, given the age of the Manor and the extent of the magical artifacts collections it’s housed. Harry could give you some memories, and you could see them, and perhaps, well, Harry thinks you might feel differently then.”
Draco crossed his arms and considered. “Fine. On one condition – Ms. Granger, if we knew each other in school you must have a recollection or two. Will you supply the memory?”
“Oh, I – Harry really knows you better, it makes much more sense for it to be him.”
“Yes, but Harry wants me to remember. He’ll be inclined towards selecting only the most favourable memories. I’d rather have a more impartial perspective.”
“I understand, but, to be honest, we actually didn’t particularly get on at school. And we haven’t really known each other in the last few years. My memories couldn’t give an accurate picture of your life now.”
“A selection, then.”
“Perhaps we should ask Pansy or Goyle?” Hermione countered.
“Oh, no,” Draco rested his elbows on the table. “Pansy and Greg are just as inclined to restore my memories as our Harry is while, if you’ll forgive my saying so, your reticence is rather telling. Surely, if I’m to make an informed decision, it’s best to know more?”
Hermione sighed. “Ethically, yes. But perhaps Harry and I could both give a memory? It hardly seems helpful to omit the better parts if you’re interested in a selection.”
“Deal. Shall we go to my father’s study?”
“Now?” Harry panicked, dropping the scone he’d been crumbling onto his plate. “You want to do this right now?”
“Why not? We’ve got a Pensieve and your memories.”
“Right. Okay.” Harry put down the last cohesive bit of pastry. “Well then.”
“It may be helpful to act quickly, Harry.”
“Would you rather finish your tea before we begin?” Draco gestured towards the largely untouched spread.
“No, thank you,” Hermione stood. “If you’ll lead the way.”
“Of course. After you.” Draco held out his arm, stepping away from the table to lead them back through the hallways. He stopped to bark a reproach at a particularly angry portrait whilst leading them to his father’s study.
He reached into a locked container beneath the writing desk and pulled out the stone basin, its surface shimmering in the light of a roaring fire.
Hermione took down as many details as Draco could remember before walking to the Pensieve, giving Harry an apologetic look before putting her wand to her temple and pulling a long silver strand towards the bowl. Harry looked back fiercely and did the same.
Draco stepped up to the edge, smiled thinly at them both, and ducked his head under the surface.
As soon as he was immersed in the swirling liquid, Harry turned to Hermione. “What did you put in there?”
“Harry...there wasn’t a lot to choose from. You know how he was in school.”
He paled. “What did you pick?”
She sighed. “Third year. The night with the timeturner, when we ran into them. That way, at least he’ll see that I slapped him, too.”
“Hermione! You heard him downstairs! He already wants to stay like this!”
“What else was I supposed to use, Harry? The time his aunt tortured me in his house? When we fought off the Death Eaters he let into the school? Maybe when he let his friends try to kill you and almost burnt us all to death?”
“Enough! Okay? I know all that, but there had to be something better.”
“Harry, I’m sorry but there really isn’t. I don’t know him at all. And anyway, he’ll have your memory, too. What did you put in?”
He blushed. “The first time we…you know.”
“Ah. Yes. Well. Hopefully that’ll be good, then.”
They watched in silence, then, as Draco, face still sunk beneath the surface, began to tremble. After several long moments, he pulled back, gasping, staring at them open-mouthed.
Harry took a step forward. “Draco? Are you okay?”
Draco looked between them, wild-eyed. “I – I didn’t. I didn’t. No. I –” he turned to Hermione. “I’m so sorry. Ms. Granger, please, I’d never. I know I did, I must have but, oh, Salazar.” He took a step towards her. “I can’t believe – please know I’m sorry. I…” he trailed off, shaking his head and looking towards the floor, head bowed.
Hermione was silent, frozen to the ground. They were at an impasse until Draco raised his head again, red-eyed and paled. “I’m so sorry. Truly. I can’t go back to that. Please understand. I know Harry means well, but I just can’t. I won’t.”
“I know I’ve no right to ask anything of you, but would you give me a moment with Harry? I won’t hurt him, I promise. But his memory...I’d like to discuss it with him alone.”
Hermione looked nervously to Harry, whose mouth was set into a thin, grim line. He nodded at her and she looked back to Draco. “Yes, of course.” She collected her notes and stepped towards the fireplace. “Thank you for the tea.”
Draco laughed, a thin, bitter sound, and replied, “Of course. It’s the least…” he sighed. “You’re welcome.”
Hermione nodded and turned nervously towards Harry, who shook his head and looked away. She grabbed a pinch of Floo powder and was gone in an instant.
The silence that hung between them seemed to echo, interrupted only by the crackling logs in the fireplace. Draco spoke first.
“How could you want that?”
Harry looked up, startled. “What?”
“That, in your memory. I thought we were lovers, but we were cruel to each other. We said awful things. I said awful things. If that’s your best memory, than you’ve got to understand my decision.”
“No! Draco, no. That was one of my best memories of you - your passion, your fire. God, you were so hot, you were...I didn’t even know how much I wanted you.”
“I don’t understand.”
Harry sighed and carded his fingers through his hair. “We’ve always been like that. Always fighting. You fight with me about things other people won’t even talk about. Tell me where to stick it. It’s good, Draco. Really. It’s – you’re so strong.”
“That wasn’t love.”
Harry almost choked. “What?”
“I’ve read through old journals and there’s quite a bit of,” Draco searched for the right word, “material about you. Which would have suggested a more affectionate relationship. But that, what I saw, quite clearly was not love.”
“We never said it was.”
Draco looked up, startled. “We didn’t?”
Harry shook his head.
“What were we doing, then? You want to restore my memories, you seem to care, it looks as though we have a rather passionate shared history, but you say you don’t love me –” Harry inhaled sharply “— and we were fighting even in your best memories of me. I don’t understand why you’re here.”
“I didn’t say that.”
Draco paused, then. “But I saw it. I saw us. I saw me, in Ms. Granger’s memories.” His voice cracked. “There wasn’t anything there to love.”
“You were young.”
“I was awful.”
Harry smiled, drawing an incredulous look from his companion. “You were, a bit. But...that’s part of what drew us together. I had my moments too, you know. We all did. It was a war, Draco. You asked me if that’s all I think you were. And it isn’t. A tosser sometimes, but we all were.”
“No. The things I said to her were horrible. And the things I said to you – the things I didn’t say to you…” He took a deep breath. “What if I had said them? What if I could say them now, because I can’t remember?”
“I remember last weekend, Harry. It seems to stop there, with you. With Blaise it goes back further, but with you and Greg and Pansy I can only remember a week, ten days. But I do remember. I asked you to come here tomorrow so I could show you that I’m not that man. To show you the man I can be. Please. After what I just saw.” Draco stepped forward to stand a few feet from Harry in front of the fire. “Let me show you.”
Harry couldn’t think, could barely breathe. He nodded his assent and sat on the edge of the chaise.
Draco looked at him quizzically. “What are you doing?”
Harry looked back at him, just as confused. “We always – well, it’s usually here.”
“Here?” Draco looked unmistakably amused, and Harry felt his stomach turn over with some combination of fear and anticipation.
Draco held out a hand. “Come with me.”
Harry took it and let himself be pulled from his seat. Draco took his hand to lead him up the main staircase and down a long corridor Harry had never seen before. It was free of portraits, but sconces were set into the wall, casting a warm glow over the rich green carpets.
Draco smiled shyly before opening a door at the end of the hallway and leading Harry inside.
If the years-old Falmouth Falcons posters and pictures of smiling Slytherins were anything to go by, Harry thought this must be Draco’s bedroom. There was a canopy bed at its centre, hung with curtains that were the larger, greener analog to those of Harry’s school days. He spotted an old Nimbus Two Thousand hanging above the fireplace, which was lit with a blazing fire. It must’ve been Draco’s Quidditch broom, Harry thought. Though he couldn’t use it any more.
Harry felt the thought slip away when Draco traced his fingers up Harry’s back. “You’ve never brought me here.”
“I wanted you in a public shower and on the floor of my study, apparently. Why wouldn’t I want you here? In my bedroom?”
Draco’s face was filled with such genuine confusion that Harry felt his heart catch in his chest. He had never expected to see this room, and certainly not to be invited in with this kind of warmth.
“I want you, Harry.” Draco pressed himself against Harry’s chest and whispered, “Don’t you want me, too?”
Harry nodded again and let Draco’s mouth find his. The lingering tannic bitterness of Draco’s tea was overwhelming and unfamiliar, but the pressure of his lips still made Harry’s heart race.
Draco found the hem of Harry’s jumper and dragged it over his head, moving his hand down Harry’s chest and massaging his nipples. Harry whimpered into his mouth and pulled at Draco’s buttons, slipping each one free before sliding the shirt off Draco’s shoulders.
Draco let out a throaty growl when their skin met, and wrapped a hand around Harry’s neck to pull their mouths together. He walked them backwards until Harry felt his knees hit the edge of the bed. He leaned in to bite at Harry’s earlobe, and whispered, “Come to bed with me, Harry.”
The buckling in Harry’s knees might’ve been a problem if Draco hadn’t arranged them so that he fell onto the bed, closely followed by Draco, their legs tangling as they struggled on to the mattress.
Harry felt a tug at his waist as Draco grabbed his belt buckle, and he gasped when the metal brushed against his bare abdomen. Before he could relax, Draco’s hands were on his flies, pulling his pants and jeans down and pushing the waistband over Harry’s hips, revealing goosebumps and a straining erection.
Harry kicked off his shoes and trousers and left them in a heap at the side of the bed. He yanked at Draco’s belt buckle, not bothering to pull it free of his belt loops before he was pushing Draco’s trousers down his thighs, following their path so that he could run his lips over Draco’s cock.
Draco arched into his mouth, pressing the silk of his boxers against Harry’s tongue, then rolling away, leaving Harry searching and desperate. Draco’s hands found Harry’s biceps and pulled him upwards so they were pressed together, rocking into one another and kissing slowly.
Then Draco was in his ear again, whispering so quietly Harry had to ask to be sure. “You want me to –?”
“I want you inside me,” Draco kissed his shoulder, “please.”
Harry groaned, cursed, and hooked his fingers into Draco’s pants, rocking back in order to watch the head of his cock clear the fabric, only resisting the urge to wrap his lips around the swollen head because Draco was reaching for his cock.
Harry groaned, pushing Draco’s hand away. “No, gonna fuck you.”
“No.” Harry froze. Draco continued, “That’s not what we’re here for.”
“Then what –?” Harry’s question was silenced by Draco’s arms, wrapped around his back and pulling him into a slow kiss.
“We’re not fucking,” Draco mumbled, kissing Harry again
Draco rolled them over and grabbed Harry’s hand, and Harry let him guide it into the crevice behind Draco’s bollocks. He heard Draco whisper an incantation, and felt his fingers suffused with a warm wetness.
Draco’s grip was firm around his wrist as he guided Harry’s fingers towards his hole, letting go only when Harry’s fingertip slipped past that warm, tight ring. Draco pulled him inwards, working the muscle around his fingers until he was buried to the knuckle. “Another,” Draco whispered, and Harry complied. He felt Draco spread his legs and sink down onto his hand when a second finger joined the first, and he threw his head back as he began to ride the digits.
Harry could feel the tight channel sliding over his fingers, contracting and releasing in preparation for more. And then Draco leaned forward, clenching around his fingers, to kiss him and whisper “Please, Harry. More. I…more. Need you. Need…”
Reaching a hand between his own legs, Draco grabbed hold of Harry and began stroking him slowly. “I want you inside me, want to sink down on your cock and ride you till you call my name.”
Harry thrust up into his hand at the thought, and then Draco pulled up and away. Harry’s fingers slipped from him, suddenly cold and glistening in the light of the fire.
Draco reached behind himself, spreading his cheeks so the head of Harry’s cock was brushing against his hole. He rocked against it once, twice, and then sank down, forcing Harry into an ecstatic arch as he moaned and fisted the duvet.
Draco settled his weight slowly, coming to rest over Harry’s thighs. Harry’s eyes were shut, his breath uneven as he focused on the sensation.
“Look at me, Harry.”
Harry shook his head, eyelids screwed together tightly, arms gripping Draco’s hips in a vain attempt to restart his movement. Draco resisted. “Open your eyes. Look at me.”
Harry took a deep breath but refused to comply. Draco brushed the hair off his forehead and leaned forward to kiss him, and Harry was startled into looking up.
When he finally met Draco’s eyes he was shocked by their intensity. The grey rims of his irises were almost eclipsed by his pupils, his focus entirely on Harry.
Harry wanted to turn away, to hide behind his eyelids, or a pillow, or to turn Draco on his knees and take him from behind. But he wouldn’t. Couldn’t. Couldn’t do anything but stare back, hold Draco’s gaze as he began rolling his hips over Harry’s cock until they were both moaning, until Harry was pushing upwards wildly and watching Draco’s cock bob between them, until he wrapped his hand around it and began stroking, twisting at the end just as Draco liked it.
And then Harry’s thrusting grew erratic, and Draco whispered for him to, “Look at me, Harry. Look at me while you come. While you come inside me.”
Harry groaned and obeyed, locking eyes with Draco as he filled him, holding his gaze until he fell back, exhausted. Until his come was flowing out of Draco’s arse and pooling in the space between them. Until Draco leaned forward to kiss him, letting Harry stroke him until he came, spilling over Harry’s fingers and gasping into his mouth.
Draco collapsed over Harry, spreading the sticky mess between them. Harry’s heart was pounding, echoing through Draco’s sternum as they embraced, as Draco kissed a line down Harry’s jaw.
He shifted to the side, resting his head against Harry’s chest. Harry brought a hand up to his hair, combing through the fine, flaxen strands as he tried to calm his breathing and find his focus for the trip home.
And then Draco looked up at him, kissed the hollow of his cheek, just below his cheekbone, and whispered, “Stay?”
Harry nodded, screwing his eyes shut to contain the wetness gathering behind his lids.
“Good.” Draco kissed him again and nudged Harry’s hips up to liberate the bedclothes beneath them, pulling them up to their chests. Draco eyed Harry nervously. “See you in the morning?”
Harry nodded again and wrapped an arm around Draco, who had rested his head on Harry’s chest. Draco kissed his nipple, and then his ribs, and then his lips, once more. “Goodnight, Harry.”
Harry nodded once more and kissed Draco’s head.
He didn’t open his eyes again, but Harry felt Draco’s limbs jerk as he fell into sleep. He heard his breathing slow into an even rhythm. He ingrained the memory of Draco’s fingers spread across his chest. And then he, too, was asleep.
Harry woke with a start at the feeling of lips moving against his own. It was unfamiliar, though not unpleasant, and he pressed up into the touch automatically before his eyes shot open.
A lock of flaxen hair came into view, followed by a sheepish grin.
Draco. It was Draco Malfoy. Smiling sleepily up at Harry, with a hand splayed across Harry’s stomach and the canopy of his childhood bed hanging blurrily in the background. Draco Malfoy, leaning in for another kiss, running a hand up Harry’s ribs, sliding a leg into the space between Harry’s knees. Draco Malfoy, who whispered, “Good morning,” and kissed Harry’s cheek, and looked so content, and Harry could only hope the tightness swelling in the corners of his eyes was sleep.
Harry was about to return the greeting when Linny appeared with a pop. “Master Draco?”
Draco whispered an apology in Harry’s ear, then turned to the elf. “Yes, Linny? Do you need something?”
The elf bowed. “Mistress Granger and her guest are here.”
“Her guest?” Harry interjected.
“Yes, sir. She is with Ragnok the goblin. They are asking to meet with Master Draco.”
“Isn’t Ragnok your boss now?”
Draco nodded. “Yes. Linny, will you please see to it that they’re comfortable and tell them that we’ll meet them in the library shortly?”
Linny bowed and Apparated away. Draco turned to Harry, face transparently earnest. “You will come, won’t you? I should have asked first. I’m sorry.”
“Yeah,” Harry croaked. “I’ll come.”
Draco smiled and began to dress. Harry followed suit after a strong Scourgify and trailed Draco down the hallway and towards his study.
Ragnok and Hermione were sitting on a wide settee and scrutinising an overflowing fruit platter when Harry and Draco walked in, and Harry thought Hermione did an admirable job of keeping a straight face at the reappearance of yesterday’s clothes.
“Good morning, Ms. Granger, Ragnok. I trust my elves have made you comfortable?”
“Yes, thank you,” Hermione replied, accompanied by a curt nod from Ragnok. “We have some news and thought it best to see you straight away.”
“News?” Harry asked, his eyes darting worriedly towards Draco as they sat on matching armchairs across the coffee table.
“Yesterday’s notes were quite helpful. I was able to cross-reference them with the DMLE archives and found a similar case. Another Gringotts cursebreaker reported a sort of cumulative amnesia in the 1830s after working on the Burke family vaults.”
“I’ve read about the Burke family,” Draco mused. “Dark wizards, no? Ran a sort of evil curio shop before the war?”
Hermione looked at Draco almost, Harry thought, sadly. “I suppose you could say that. You’ve been there, actually.”
“Oh.” Draco looked at her curiously for a moment before his face fell. “Did I…?” He trailed off. Hermione contemplated the grapes, and Harry resisted the urge to grab Draco’s hand. “I see,” he shook his head, “you have my apologies, again.”
“Yes, well. Thank you.” Hermione cleared her throat. “In any event, we were able to find this similar case and, with Ragnok’s help, identify the likely cause of your memory loss. Ragnok?”
“Mister Malfoy, you were engaged in a cursebreaking expedition involving several Burke family ledgers. It was ordered by the Ministry in an attempt to recover illegally hidden assets and was not authorised by the Burke family. An issue arose because of your heritage.”
“You are a pureblooded wizard, Mr. Malfoy.”
Hermione cut in. “Most pureblood families’ security spells are attached to bloodlines. In this case, an Obliviate was meant to affect those who aren’t family members, and a Fidelius charm was meant to keep family members from sharing the information publicly.”
“Was Rosier also a pureblooded wizard?”
“Yes. Which, because pureblood witches and wizards have historically married other purebloods, meant that he was related to the Burkes by blood, but only very distantly. It seems to have confused the ledgers, activating both charms at the same time. One was meant to hide all relevant information within specific people, the other was meant to hide specific pieces of information from almost all people. So Rosier was essentially forced to hide all information about the Burke family from outsiders, including himself. But, because the charms couldn’t identify how much he was authorised to know, it extended to anything that had to do with his more immediate family; everything he’d learned from his parents, the names of family members, friends he’d met through his parents.
“The last time Harry and I were here, I saw a portrait of Elizabeth Burke, which suggests some historical relationship between the Burkes and Malfoys, but it would be a very distant relation at this point. The ledgers most likely deployed both spells, preventing you from recalling anything to do with your own family.”
“If you’ll excuse my saying so, it seems much more extensive than what you’re suggesting. I seem to have forgotten my entire last year at Hogwarts, for instance, and it’s unlikely that my family would have been that involved. And I have some memory of knowing Blaise Zabini before then, which is inconsistent with your theory.”
Harry pulled at the hem of his jumper, refusing to meet Hermione’s stare. She sighed and turned her attention to Draco. “You spent your seventh year here, with your family.” Draco knit his brows together. “Zabini grew up abroad, so you probably didn’t meet him through your family. But your parents would have arranged introductions to other pureblooded children, like Pansy Parkinson and Gregory Goyle, who you have forgotten.”
“I can remember them. It’s just more recent.”
“Cygnus Rosier’s memory loss progressed depending on how closely connected any given recollection was to his family. Things that were less closely linked – friends his parents didn’t know, the middle of school semesters, or time spent at work – escaped the spell for longer. Since you’ve lost your earlier memories of them, Parkinson and Goyle seem, at first, like new acquaintances without a family connection. But the charms will find a way to claim them.
“Eventually, Healers declared Rosier insane. The charms took everything.”
“Everything?” Harry croaked.
Hermione nodded. “Unfortunately, yes. Rosier was able to hang on to some of the skills he used every day, but many of them had come from his family. Even things like language acquisition. He was mostly mute in his later years.”
Draco steepled his fingertips. “How long before I reach that point?”
Ragnok cleared his throat and perched on the edge of the settee. “That is irrelevant. We will break the curse immediately.”
Harry jumped out of his seat and started towards the goblin. Hermione intervened, grabbing his wrist and gesturing for him to sit, “You can’t change this, Harry.”
“Why the hell not? What about what he wants?”
“This is what he wants.”
“You haven’t even asked him.”
Ragnok drew a thick set of scrolls from his robes. “This is Mr. Malfoy’s contract with Gringotts. It includes a provision, signed when Mr. Malfoy was of sound mind, directing the bank’s Healers to remove or reverse any spell damage incurred in the course of his work and releasing the bank from liability so long as we are able to do so.”
“But you couldn’t break Rosier’s curse! What kind of crazy experiments are you going to try on him?”
“We are not in the practice of experimenting on our employees, Mr. Potter. Ms. Granger’s research presents us with an easy solution.” Ragnok snapped his fingers and a set of bound volumes appeared on the table between them. “Destroying the charmed artifact will destroy its influence on Mr. Malfoy.”
“But,” Harry spluttered, coming to the edge of his seat, “your investigation! You can’t go around tampering with the evidence! I’m an Auror, I’ll arrest you!”
“Harry,” Hermione soothed. “I’ve gotten clearance from the DMLE. You know our ethical guidelines prioritise the preservation of human life and wellness.”
Harry looked to Draco, who was contemplating the ledgers, his long fingers resting in his lap. “He looks fine to me,” Harry insisted. “Better than fine. He looks perfectly well. And alive.”
“For now, yes. But Harry, he’ll go insane. You have to understand, this is for the best.”
“No I don’t! Shouldn’t he get a say in this? You can’t just do this to us. To him. To him – it’s his life, he gets to decide.”
“He has decided already, Mr. Potter. His contract is a legally and magically binding extension of his personal preferences and his agreements with Gringotts Wizarding Bank. If he attempts to resist we shall have him declared of unsound mind, and shall proceed according to his original wishes.”
“You can’t just do that!”
“We can and we shall.”
Harry’s response was interrupted by the light slap of Draco’s hand coming to rest on top of the volumes. Draco was examining Ragnok, glancing from the contract in his hands to the stubborn twist of his features. “I won’t resist.”
Harry whipped around to stare at Draco. “What?”
“But I want a week. One full week, before you break the curse.”
Hermione and Ragnok frowned in unison and started to speak. “Draco, I don’t think –” “Mr. Malfoy, that is quite irregular –”
“One week.” Draco leaned back again, folding his hands in his lap. “I’ve little doubt that you’d be able to have me declared legally unsound. But I’ve even less doubt that it would be an expensive and time-consuming process which would require my compliance with several rounds of medical and magical examination. Each of those would be subject to ethical guidelines, any violation of which could prove legally actionable. If you insist on proceeding immediately, I’ll refuse to cooperate. Our solicitors could be tied up for several very unpleasant, very costly months. Years, even. This is quite a bargain, Ragnok. I suggest you take it.”
The goblin scrutinised him and smiled. “I am reminded of why we hired you, Mr. Malfoy.
“It’s not quite that simple,” Hermione objected, drawing Draco’s attention. “We don’t know exactly what will happen when we do this. We know the cause and the effect of the charms on Rosier, but without the recurring pattern created by this second instance Gringotts’ Healers weren’t able to break them. The charms won’t be able to continue working once their source is destroyed, but we don’t know whether they’ll be reversed.”
Harry tried to conceal his hopefulness, focusing on the line of Draco’s downturned lips, instead, until they parted. “What are you saying, Ms. Granger?”
“You’re already down to about two weeks worth of memory. You might begin to lose relatively simple skills and even more of your basic temperament. As you are now, even if the magic isn’t reversed, you should be able to relearn skills that were tied to your family. Things like riding a broom, which your parents must have taught you. But if you start to lose the underlying skills – like speech, which we know Rosier lost – you won’t be able to relearn more complex skills, or to work, maybe even to live independently. We really can’t wait that long.”
“What do you suggest?”
“We need to do this right away. Taking a week afterwards to recuperate and determine the extent of any lasting damage might be advisable, but we can’t wait till the end of it to fix this.”
“Can it wait a day?”
Hermione frowned. “I don’t like the idea. We don’t know how quickly this is moving.”
“Do you mean to suggest that if your research had taken another day, I’d be permanently sentenced to insanity?”
“Probably not. But that doesn’t mean you won’t lose something more in the interim.”
“What about the things I might gain?” Harry started, and stared at him.
“What do you mean?”
“A day, Ms. Granger. Please.”
She sighed. “Fine. But I still recommend acting as quickly as possible.”
“Duly noted.” Harry froze when Draco turned to catch his eye. “One day.”
Hermione looked back and forth between them. “Harry?”
“Harry.” He tore his eyes away from Draco’s and met Hermione’s concerned frown. “Someone else should be there in case it’s disorienting. Draco’s parents are listed as his emergency contacts. Would you like us to owl them? Or –”
“No,” he interrupted. “I’ll be there.”
“Tomorrow morning, at Gringotts. 9 o’clock. Okay?”
Draco rose from his seat and held out a hand. “I’ll be there, Ms. Granger. Thank you.” She shook his hand, though Draco missed her concern as he turned and shook hands with Ragnok, too, and called Linny to see them out.
Draco came to sit on the edge of the coffee table, facing Harry and threading their fingers together. “When I asked for another day…do you know why?” Harry looked into his eyes. “I don’t want what I saw in the Pensieve to be the only thing we ever were. We made a start on that last night. You’d been planning to spend the day with me already. Will you stay?”
Draco grinned, and Harry felt it to his toes.
“I’ll have Gatcher fix breakfast. Shall we take it in bed?”
Harry nodded, and Draco led him back to bed, stripping off as he went. He left his robes in the study and laughed when he hit a bust of Arcturus Black with his jumper. Harry followed behind him dumbly, unwilling to look away from the tiny creases at the edges of Draco’s smiling eyes or the lines of his back.
Breakfast was waiting for them, and Draco insisted that they get back in bed. At his request, Harry read him the front page of the Prophet while he poured the tea, and he pressed his leg against Harry’s and read the finance section while they ate.
Harry’s head was buzzing with the strangeness of it, the desire to kiss Draco warring with the urge to savour the moment exactly as it was.
Draco solved the problem, and several related ones, for him, shortly after discovering the raspberry jam lingering on the outside of Harry’s bottom lip.
Sated twice over, Harry closed his eyes and tried to commit the warm weight of Draco’s head on his chest to memory.
He faded into sleep, and woke to the feeling of long fingers running through his hair.
“I’ve been thinking,” Draco mused.
Harry lifted an eyelid. “Quidditch?”
“It’s important to you, isn’t it?”
“Yeah.” Harry lifted a second lid.
Harry gaped. “How to play Quidditch?”
“You want me to teach you how to play Quidditch?”
“Is that okay?” Draco’s voice was tinged with uneasiness.
“Of course,” Harry soothed. “Of course it is. Just not something I thought I’d ever hear you say.”
“Oh,” Draco frowned, “May I ask why not?”
“Because you’re quite good, actually. Or, you were. Will be.”
“Well,” Harry grinned and sat up. “Not good enough to beat me to the Snitch without resorting to some dirty tricks, but you’ve got your moments.”
“Dirty tricks?” Harry turned, and was surprised to meet a look of remorse. “Merlin. I’m sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“What? It wasn’t like that.”
“What do you mean by dirty tricks, then?”
“Just, you know, refusing to pull out of dives until the last second, trying to knock me off my broom.” He laughed. “Last year you charmed your wristwatch to fly around the Slytherin goalposts. Put me right in the path of Goyle’s Bludger. Very nearly won you the match.”
“I did that? You could’ve been hurt.”
“All part of the game,” Harry shrugged.
“How can you say that? A Bludger at the goalpost – wouldn’t that be a long way to fall?”
“If I fell, sure. But it’s happened before, that time with the Dementors, remember?”
“There were Dementors at a Quidditch game?”
Harry swallowed. “Good thing there won’t be any today. Shall we?”
Draco followed him out of bed, summoning a pair of jeans from the depths of his wardrobe, much to Harry’s silent amusement. They’d be good to fly in, he thought, even if it was a bit of a strange sight.
It was a cool, clear day, and Linny supplied two Nimbus Two Thousand and Ones and led Harry to an expanse of lawn perfect for flying practise. He threw a broom to Draco and mounted his own, grinning over his shoulder. “You ready?”
Draco was turning the broomstick over in his hands.
“Oh.” Harry dismounted and dropped his Nimbus to the ground. “Sorry. See, you’ve got to lay it down on the ground,” Draco complied “and then call it to you.”
“Yeah, just—” Harry turned and held his hand out. “Up!” The wood smacked against his palm and he closed his fingers around it. “Your turn.”
“Up?” Draco entreated. The broom didn’t move.
“No, more like a command.”
Not quite so much like you’re angry at it. Just that you’re telling it what to do.”
“Up? Up, up. Fuck. Up!” At last, it complied.
“Great. Okay. Now you’ve just got to mount it.” Draco raised an eyebrow. “Don’t worry, there are cushioning charms.”
“Bit undignified,” Draco mumbled, lifting a leg and waddling backwards over the handle and squatting gingerly over the seat.
Harry chuckled weakly. “Guess so.”
“We’ll push off – just kick the ground with your feet – and then you steer by leaning in the direction you want the broom to take you. Okay?”
“Yes,” Draco nodded, gripping the handle.
“Okay.” Harry kicked off and turned just in time to see Draco pitch forward and over correct wildly, his bristles dangling in the grass and his feet sticking up into the air.
“Whoa, there. Lean forwards just a little, that’s it, slowly. Sit up as straight as you can, yeah, exactly. This time keep your back straight and your shoulders square, lean forward just a little bit.” Draco crept forward. “Excellent. If you want a little more speed, lean forward again – no, from the hips, yeah, that’s it.”
He led Draco on a slow tour of the lawn’s perimeter before showing him how to land and dismount.
“That was bracing,” Draco murmured, dropping his broomstick and starting to walk back towards the house.
“You’re picking it up pretty quickly, actually, though I bet Nev would’ve paid to see that.”
“Gryffindor? Around our age?”
“Yeah,” Harry agreed.
“He would’ve paid to watch me learn to fly? Why?”
“You just were very good from the start, that’s all.” Harry reached for his arm. “Sure you don’t want to try it again?”
“I think looking like a fool once in a day is quite sufficient, don’t you?”
Harry grinned and pulled him closer. “Scared, Malfoy?”
He huffed, yanking his arm away and turning back towards the house, “Do you have to rub it in?”
He kept up a brisk pace for a few seconds, and Harry was prepared to watch his silhouette recede towards the house. Then he paused, turned, and came back.
“I’m sorry, Harry. That wasn’t fair.”
Harry stared at him, disbelieving. “What?”
“That was very rude of me. I’m sorry. I’ve asked you to teach me how to play Quidditch and you didn’t even get to take out the equipment. It must be rather frustrating.” Draco reached for his hand and Harry let him take it. “I do want to learn, and if I’m not as quick a study as I’d hoped, it’s hardly your fault. If I have Gatcher make tea, will you explain the rules?”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“Offer you tea, or apologise for sulking away like a child?”
“Both. Neither. You didn’t – it’s not a big deal, okay?”
“I may have been a bit afraid, yes, but it’s hardly an excuse to treat you poorly.” Harry goggled at him. “I’ve asked you to spend the day with me because I think there could be something between us. Getting off my high Hippogriff and apologising is the least I can do.”
“I promise, I’m not. Can you accept my apology?”
“Can we pretend you are?” Harry ran a hand through his hair. “Yeah. I accept.”
“Will you join me for tea?”
Harry agreed, and was glad that Draco had more of a head for the rules of Quidditch than he’d had for flying. He should’ve known from Draco’s bargaining with Ragnok that the inner Slytherin remained, and if Draco’s eye for strategy was anything to go on it was part of the core temperament Hermione had mentioned.
After tea in Draco’s study, they played a round of Wizard’s Chess, which Draco only won because his rook kept whispering advice, and Harry’s pieces refused to play according to the few corrections to the rules he’d tried to institute.
He was almost cross about it, until Draco smiled at his victory. It was so warm, so unabashedly excited that Harry leaned across the table to kiss him instead of pouting.
Draco had returned it and Harry broke out in goosebumps when Draco stood to cup his jaw. Harry fisted his collar, meaning to pull him in closer, but Draco pulled away, smiled shyly, and challenged him to another game. Which he also won, thanks to the loyalty of the Malfoy chess set.
Harry’s second congratulatory kiss ended just as chastely as the first, though he felt a glimmer of hope when Draco suggested they retire to the chaise to finish the day’s Prophet.
Except he’d meant it, and almost entirely ignored the hand Harry trailed up Draco’s inseam as he read aloud, only folding the paper in half and reaching down to lace their fingers together when Harry’s fingertips began to converge on the soft bulge at the top of his pant leg.
Harry pulled his hand free of Draco’s and returned it to his inseam, retracing his path only to be interrupted again.
“Is something wrong?”
Draco peered over the paper. “No. Why?”
“You just seem a bit reticent.”
“You know,” Harry trailed off, gesturing towards their joined hands.
Draco dropped the Prophet into his lap. “I didn’t think that’s what you were here for.”
“It’s something I want. Does that make it what I’m here for?”
“No, I don’t suppose it does. But if we’re going to do it, let’s do it properly.”
Draco put the paper aside and stood, pulling Harry up with him. “To the bedroom?”
Draco didn’t drop Harry’s hand until the bedroom door was closed behind them, when he walked to his wardrobe and started rifling through it.
Harry watched Draco hang his robes, shaking out the pleats and carefully pulling them flat. He untied his shoes, stuffed them with cedar inserts, and set them at the bottom of the wardrobe. He doffed his jumper next and turned to the foot of the bed to fold it. He put it on a shelf above the clothes bar and set to the buttons on his shirt, which he hung on the opposite end of the clothes bar to the robes.
Harry interrupted when Draco was down to his vest, having coiled his belt and set it neatly inside the top drawer of the bureau, and reaching for his flies. “Going to leave anything for me?”
“I’m sorry. Would you like me to hang anything for you?”
“Oh. Um. No, thank you. Just – what are you doing?”
“Taking care of my things,” Draco answered.
“Don’t the elves usually do that?”
“I thought so. I guess I’ve just never seen you do this.”
“I usually do, I think. Not yesterday, perhaps, but we weren’t really getting ready for bed.”
“Is that what we’re doing?”
“I thought you were going to stay.” Draco frowned. “I shouldn’t have assumed. Though I’d like you to stay.”
“I was going to. I am going to. I’ve just never seen you do this. That’s all.”
“What do I usually do?”
Harry tugged at the hem of Draco’s vest. “Let me show you.”
Harry’s mouth watered at the sight of Draco’s torso, slowly revealed as he lifted the top over Draco’s head. He pulled it free and ran a finger down the soft skin of Draco’s stomach, watching his muscles contract in response.
Draco turned to follow the arc of the vest when Harry threw it across the room and turned to Draco’s flies. Harry didn’t meet with any resistance as he kneeled to lower Draco’s trousers, though when he drew away from examining the fine, gold hairs on Draco’s legs, he was met with a quizzical smile.
Draco looked to the fabric in Harry’s hands. “Don’t they need folding?”
Harry dropped them to the floor. “I’ve got some other things in mind.”
He felt his cock swell as he traced his hands up the back of Draco’s calves, bringing them to rest on the firm, silk-covered arse. Shuffling forward, he kissed at Draco’s hips, nipping at the concave spots by the bone.
A firm hand came to rest on each of Harry’s biceps and urged him to his feet. “In a particular hurry?”
“No more than usual,” Harry replied, sliding a hand around Draco’s neck and trying to pull him in for a kiss.
“Bed, Harry. Come now.” Draco reached for his trousers and hung them on a wooden press. “If you don’t want anything hung up, you can fold it and leave it on the bureau.”
“Just strip off?”
“It’s nothing I haven’t seen before,” Draco pointed out.
“Yeah.” Harry frowned. “Okay.”
The air was cool against his skin, and Harry felt it prickle as he folded his jumper and set it on the bureau. His t-shirt followed, and he set his belt across it, soon covered by his bundled jeans and his wand. His toed-off trainers sat on the floor in front of it all, one on its side, both sets of laces still tied.
He checked his pockets a second time, and then a third, as he heard Draco slide into bed and pull the sheets up around him.
“Are you looking for something?”
“No,” Harry mumbled, turning towards the bed with his fingers linked together over the soft bulge in his boxers.
“Would you like me to have Gatcher bring you a cup of tea? Perhaps a nightcap?”
“No, that’s alright,” Harry replied, taking tight steps towards the unoccupied side of the bed. He slid underneath the covers and turned away from Draco to plump the pillows. He lay back, staring at the canopy and trying to decide where to put his limbs.
“Are you ready to have the lights off?”
Draco cast a quiet Nox and set his wand on the bedside table. Harry felt familiar fingers reach out for his own, and let Draco squeeze his hand, settling his fingers into the spaces between Harry’s. The duvet bunched as Draco shuffled towards the centre of the bed, resting his shoulder against Harry’s.
After a moment’s time, Harry felt Draco lean up on one elbow. A hand came to a tentative rest on his sternum and a knee was digging into his outer thigh.
Draco’s lips were wet and cool, and Harry tensed when they brushed against his own. He could taste marmalade on Draco’s breath and the smell of newsprint lingered on the fingers that came to soothe his cheek.
He pressed into Draco’s kiss automatically, searching out something savoury beneath sugar and citrus. He felt Draco’s lips drag his open, and then the tip of Draco’s tongue was rubbing against his own, teasing gently and pulling away again to kiss at his cheekbones.
Lying still, Harry could feel Draco’s lips work a path to his forehead, trailing gentle pecks over his temples. An arm wrapped around his waist and urged him on to his side, so that when Draco returned to his mouth there was more pressure between them. Draco’s tongue grew more insistent against his own, and he was relieved when the hand at his waist sank lower, cupping his bum.
Draco wedged a knee between his and moved closer, pressing their chests together and sighing at the contact. He ran his fingers through Harry’s hair and Harry tilted his head back into the touch, leaving his neck open to Draco’s attentions.
Familiar chills spread through Harry’s chest as Draco suckled at his collarbone, and he pushed forward instinctively, rolling Draco onto his back and settling his weight so the hard outline of Draco’s cock was pressed into his thigh. Rocking forwards, he captured Draco’s mouth, his pulse accelerating as a moan rolled through Draco’s chest.
A gentle hand came to rest at the nape of Harry's neck, but Harry shook it off. He grabbed Draco’s wrist and pinned it above his head, smacking into the headboard and moving to capture Draco’s lower lip between his teeth.
Draco’s words were muffled in his mouth, and Harry had to pull back to hear them.
“Harry? Are you alright?”
“What?” He blinked. “Yeah. Um. Yeah. Are you?”
“I am, but that hurt a bit. Could you please be a little more careful?”
“Oh.” Harry sat back, resting on his heels to take his weight off Draco. “Sorry. Yeah. I – What did you have in mind?”
“Kiss me again?”
“I thought I was,” Harry muttered.
Draco rested his free hand on Harry’s knee. “I didn’t mean to upset you. It was just a bit rough.”
“I asked you here to show you something different than what you showed me in the Pensieve. If we have these feelings for each other...shouldn’t we be showing them?” Draco squeezed Harry’s bicep and pulled him into a gentle kiss. “Let me show you?”
Harry nodded, and let Draco pull him back onto the bed.
The weight of Draco’s calves was heavy on his, and he jerked and almost laughed at the featherweight touch of Draco’s fingertips below his shoulder blades. Sweating under the weight of the duvet, Draco almost slipped when he settled on top of Harry, grinding his erection into Harry’s leg, brushing his own thigh against Harry’s soft cock.
He never stopped kissing Harry’s lips, his face, the spot behind his jawline and below his earlobe that usually left him incoherent.
Harry was beautiful, Draco told him. Soft, and warm, and it felt so good to be close.
“You too,” Harry replied, muffled by Draco’s mouth.
“You…” Harry swallowed. Draco was smiling down at him, flushed and wide-eyed, his hair clinging to his forehead. “You look good too.”
Draco beamed, and pressed closed lips against Harry’s, wiggling against him until his erection was wedged between their bellies and taking Harry’s hand in his. “Touch me?”
Harry faltered at Draco’s eager openness, torn between welcoming a level of excitement he’d never expected to see and the strangeness of seeing it on this face.
Taking a deep breath, Harry held Draco’s fingers to his chest. “I can’t.”
Draco’s smile was replaced by surprise, and his hand went limp in Harry’s. “Did I do something wrong?”
“No!” Harry took a deep breath and prepared to speak, but Draco beat him to it.
“Am I not – you don’t want me?”
“Draco, no. Merlin knows I do, but not like this.”
“Do you want me to move? We can do it differently, however you like.”
“It’s not that.”
“Do you want me to touch you instead? I want to, Harry, really, and it seemed like you like it when I do.”
“I do, but –”
“I don’t understand.” Anxiety tinged Draco’s increasingly high-pitched voice. “What do you mean, you don’t want me like this, if I’ll do it any way you want?”
“You’d never want it like this, and I can’t – I just can’t.”
“You think I don’t want you?” Draco looked horrified. “I do, of course I do, just let me show you, please Harry.
Harry’s breath trembled as he tried to think under the weight of Draco’s desperate gaze. “Couldn’t there be another way to show me? For us to show each other?”
“If you don’t want me, just say it!”
“Draco, no, no. Please come here.” Harry tightened his grip on Draco’s hand tried to urge him closer. “I just want you to show me differently, okay?”
“But I want to touch you. I don’t want you to think I don’t want to.”
“I don’t think that.” Harry hoped he could convey more calm than he felt. “It’s just been a really long day. I’m a little worn out from all the flying and, uh, the chess.” Draco opened his mouth but Harry ploughed ahead, “And, you know, we somewhere to be tomorrow morning.”
“But what if you don’t want me then? What if you don’t want me again at all, and I never got to show you?”
Harry’s heart grew heavy in his chest. “Draco…”
“Please, will you please consider it for the morning, at least?”
“We have to go pretty early.”
“Just think about it? Please?” Draco had let Harry urge him closer, and moved to rest his head on Harry’s chest, one arm draped around Harry’s shoulder.
Harry leaned back, pulling Draco to rest half on top of him. “Yeah.”
“You promise?” Draco nuzzled into Harry’s shoulder, trying to kiss his chest with Harry’s arm gripping him tightly.
“Yeah. If we go to sleep now, okay? I’ll think about it.”
Draco nodded and tried to settle into sleep, though his restlessness seemed to Harry as though it lasted for hours. Draco’s limbs were heavier than Harry had ever noticed before, and his skin got clammy as the sweat cooled on them both. Draco kicked him when he jerked in his sleep, which was fine until he woke halfway up and mumbled an apology.
Harry did think about it, though he couldn’t find any way to tolerate the idea.
Instead, he remembered the time Draco had spread himself wide and dared Harry to fuck him without coming. Recalled the moment he’d caught Draco watching himself in the paned glass French doors; Harry’d called Draco a conceited wanker and Draco had fucked his mouth to stop his “incompetent attempt at an insult.” Almost laughed at the memory of sitting through Monday morning Auror assignments with a bandaged arse after Draco’d balanced him on the edge of the chaise and fucked him so hard it splintered.
He remembered, and fell asleep, and woke up with a rock hard erection, which he couldn’t reach without moving Draco. He thought about Draco waking up with a devilish grin and sucking him until his toes curled and he saw stars. He thought about pounding Draco into the mattress, coming up his arse until it was overflowing. Then he remembered, “Could you please be a little more careful?” and didn’t have to worry about it any more.
Harry thought about the offer again when he felt Draco’s cock in his thigh come morning, when he stirred to find Draco hard and pressed against him. Then a smile preceded the opening of Draco’s eyes, and Harry’s chest grew cold.
“Good morning,” Draco smiled.
“Morning.” Harry turned away.
He felt Draco’s fingers tracing patterns down his spine, and his back tightened. “Breakfast?”
“Don’t we have to get going?”
He heard a whispered Tempus, and Draco sighed. “Yes, unfortunately. Would you like the first shower?”
Harry shook his head and buried it under a pillow.
He heard water running in the en suite. After a few minutes it was replaced with chipper, tuneless humming, and then the edge of the mattress sank and Draco ruffled his hair. “Your go.”
By the time Harry returned, Draco had cast a Scourgify on Harry’s jeans and trainers and set them out neatly at the foot of the bed, along with a clean emerald jumper which, he suggested without a hint of competitive glee, would bring out the colour in Harry’s eyes.
Harry shrugged it on and grabbed the tea Draco offered him from a service at the end of the bed.
“Not much of a morning person, are you?”
Harry shook his head, grateful that he could, at least, be honest about that.
“Do you think I could tell you something?” Harry’s chest felt tight, and he realised he’d stopped breathing. “Nothing bad, I promise. It’s just…I want you to know, Harry, that I’ve had a really lovely day. We don’t know what will happen this morning, and I can’t imagine what could change the way I feel, but if something goes wrong, I don’t want to have left today without telling you that I’ll treasure this day, always. And I’m sorry we couldn’t have last night and we don’t have time this morning. And I’m sorry we can’t have a week’s worth of days like that. Okay?”
Harry swallowed. Nodded. Felt Draco’s fingers close around his and lift the teacup out of his hand. Grey eyes filled his vision and were quickly replaced by golden eyelashes, looming close as Draco kissed him, lingeringly, and pulled back, smiling sadly. “Shall we, then?”
Draco’s hair seemed to glow in the sunlight. His skin was flushed a healthy pink, and his eyes were brighter than Harry was used to seeing them.
He’d wondered how Draco would look in the morning. He hadn’t expected it to be like this. So devoid of any of the things he’d known.
Following behind him to the Floo, Harry noticed that Draco’s walk lacked its usual stiff arrogance, the haughty squaring of his shoulders. He’d left his robes open over his trousers and from the back, and Harry didn’t think he’d have known him if he was behind him in Diagon Alley instead of the Manor’s own hallways.
Draco’s colleagues were clearly more observant than Harry would have been. Several other wizards waved their greetings, and a few passing goblins nodded his way within their first minute in the bustling Gringotts lobby. Harry was so busying trying to catch them all that he missed Hermione’s approach until she was practically in front of him.
“Harry, Draco. Good morning.”
“Ms. Granger,” Draco nodded courteously, “Thank you for meeting us.”
“Ragnok asked me to make sure you found your way to the conference room.” She turned towards a marble arch and they followed her through it, to an ornate, high-ceilinged hallway. “We’ll be meeting on Level Three, in one of the warded conference rooms.” A pretty witch smiled and waved at Draco and Harry was torn between wanting to glare and wanting to ask if Draco seemed strange to her, too, or if he’d always been this friendly with everyone who wasn’t Harry or his friends.
The lift closed around them, and Hermione started explaining that they’d reviewed their notes and arrived at a process that should break the curse, but that what Draco would regain was a mystery.
“Of course we’re hoping for the best,” she continued, leading them through the door of the lift and down a more modest, wood-paneled corridor, finally stopping in front of a doorway with a shimmering threshold and drawing her wand. “Locoportus.”
Ragnok sat at the head of a long, marble-topped table with Blaise Zabini to his right. Though Ragnok kept his seat, Zabini hauled himself to his feet a moment after Harry, Hermione, and Draco entered the room, sighing heavily at the effort and narrowing his eyes at Harry.
“Mr. Zabini?” Draco came around the table, holding out his hand. “I didn’t know you’d be here.”
“If all goes to plan, you’ll soon remember that I’m an excellent cursebreaker. And how highly Gringotts values discretion. Where you’re concerned, I offer more of that than most.”
“You work here?” Harry interjected, trying to gather his composure.
“I do. As you’d know if you could be bothered to listen to anyone at our post-Quidditch soirées.” Harry glowered. “But then, you seem to have trouble taking suggestions, don’t you, Potter?”
Draco was glancing back and forth between them nervously until Hermione interrupted. “Harry, Zabini is at the top of the field and he’s genuinely concerned with Draco’s welfare. He’s made several useful suggestions on how to proceed, and Ragnok thinks he’s the best wizard for the job.”
Harry nodded once, crossed his arms, and let them get on with it.
Blaise lifted the Disillusionment on what looked a lot like a drinks cart to reveal a massive gold bowl, a silver dagger, the ledgers, and several bundles of hawthorn twigs. He set the bowl on the table and turned to face the three of them. “This is a modified gold cauldron. Still inert, still won’t interact with whatever we need it to contain, we don’t have to fit everything inside of a lip.” He looked directly at Draco. “If anything does get out, it will be contained by the wards on the bowl, and all of the surfaces in the room are magically inert and curse-repellent. There are Healers on call, and they will Apparate in if any of the wards begin to strain. You understand?”
Draco nodded and asked whether they were expecting anything like that.
“No.” Blaise sighed. “Just remember that, okay?”
“Right.” He grabbed the dagger. “I’ll put the hawthorn in the bowl, set the ledgers on top of them, run them through with this, made of goblin forged steel just in case there’s anything dark to absorb, and then,” he put the bundles at the centre of the bowl, “we’ll light these, and burn the books. Unfortunately, we’re best off using fiendfyre,” Harry gaped, and Blaise raised his voice, “since it’s able to chase a particular target. But all of the necessary precautions are in place and Granger will be standing by as an extra wand. I’m sure Potter would love to play the hero as well,” Blaise scoffed. “You’ll be perfectly safe.”
“I wasn’t concerned, though I appreciate your caution.”
“Right.” Blaise paused. “Shall we, then?”
Draco took the seat Blaise indicated, across from the bowl. Hermione stood behind him, wand trained on her target, leaving Harry hovering rootlessly at the foot of the table until Blaise barked at him to “Sit down, Potter. You’ll distract us all.”
The ledger’s covers resisted the knife at first, and Blaise had to drive it home with unexpected force. The bowl clattered against the marble, but only Harry jumped at the noise. Hermione sent him a half-exasperated, half-soothing, wholly familiar look, and he slumped back into his seat.
Hermione seemed to relax when the dagger didn’t do anything but tear the book. “That rules out the most dangerous alternatives. If it’s really just a Fidelius and an Obliviate, the fire should work as I’ve predicted.”
“Yes, thank you, Granger. Now we’ve just got to cast fiendfyre two feet from an amnesiac Draco Malfoy. It’s all unicorns and pygmy puffs from here on out.”
Hermione looked more contrite than Harry could remember seeing her in the company of Slytherins. After a concerned glance at Harry, she took a deep breath and aimed her wand.
Harry had never actually heard the incantation before. It was less complicated than he’d expected, for such a powerful curse.
The flames established themselves around the twigs, drawing the books in as the hawthorn dissolved underneath it. Tiny snakes began to emerge from the fire, twisting at the corners of the ledgers, then a burning augury passed over the front cover, leaving a trail of embers in its wake.
The fire grew so quickly, and Harry was so fascinated by it, that he didn’t notice Draco until the leather was beginning to crack and crumble under the heat.
Draco had been so calm at the start of it, so willing to listen to Blaise’s instructions. And it wasn’t that Draco had moved, or screamed, or spoken at all.
Instead, he had turned deathly white. His eyes were glued to the flames, unblinking. Though the wards minimized the heat, sweat was breaking out along his hairline and beading at his collar. His hands, once neatly folded on the table, were turning red from clenching each other so tightly it must’ve hurt.
A fiendfyre Hippogriff charged through the binding and Draco winced. The fire roared when it reached the parchment and the snakes poured into the heart of the text, seeking their mark. Black smoke billowed out of the bowl, hovering above it while Hermione cast furious Finites at it as an added precaution.
The last remnants seemed to combust all at once, bursting into a furious conflagration. Having devoured their target, the snakes began to slither up the sides of the bowl, lashing their fiery heads against the wards.
Draco’s mouth dropped open as though he meant to scream and had forgotten how. He was shaking, and Harry wanted to go to him, wrap his arms around him and shield his eyes. But he was stuck to his seat, his fear of the fiendfyre mingling with an interest in understanding it, and perhaps overwhelmed by a morbid curiosity about what Draco would do next.
With a flash, the fire was gone. Zabini and Hermione were breathing heavily, but there was no sign of the fiendfyre, or the ledgers, or the thick smoke that had clouded the room.
Draco hadn’t moved an inch. He was still, his back stiff and straight, his eyes focused on the empty bowl.
Zabini leaned forward, trying to catch his eye.
Draco blinked, then turned a sickly grey-green as he surveyed the room. His legs almost gave when he stood, and he had to grip the tabletop for support.
Blaise broke the reigning silence. “We’ll need to get an account of how you’re feeling.”
“Fine,” Draco hissed. “Perfectly.”
“Draco,” Hermione interjected, and he blanched.
“Granger. No – no need. You’ve done—” he tried to straighten. “You have my thanks as well as my apologies. Ragnok?” He turned to the goblin. “We agreed on a week.”
“Yes, though we will need your account of the ritual and full examination immediately.”
“Fine. Send the Healers to the Manor. I’m – Blaise, come with me.”
“My, you have returned.”
Standing at the end of the table, Harry watched Draco try to steel himself. He could see Draco’s pulse pounding at the collar of his robes, the way his hands tightened as though reaching for a Snitch, the stiffness in his jaw that sometimes meant he was about to come. He saw Draco avoid Hermione’s concerned glances, his determination to address Ragnok professionally. The easy way he ordered Blaise around.
He didn’t look at Harry. Hadn’t looked at Harry since the ritual began.
“Yes, which I’m sure you won’t omit from your employee of the year campaign.”
Blaise smiled. Harry felt queasy.
Ragnok spoke. “Mr. Malfoy, I need Zabini’s account before he can be released for the day. He can act as he sees fit afterwards.”
“I’ll meet you at the Manor, Draco.”
Draco nodded tightly at Blaise, nodded, a bit fearfully, at Hermione, and strode towards the door.
Harry noticed him stumble, once. He didn’t seem to notice Harry at all.
Draco looked straight ahead, straight past Harry, and left the room.
Silence resumed when the door closed. Ragnok rose to his feet, almost hidden behind the table, nodding to Zabini and Hermione, congratulating them on a job well done and giving them directions on where to debrief. He nodded to Harry as well, and then he was gone.
Blaise rounded on Harry as soon as the door closed. “Didn’t I tell you not to get involved?” Harry gaped. “Of course, you’re as stupid as ever, standing there like a giant with your mouth hanging open. What did you do to him?”
Hermione set a hand on Harry’s arm. “Harry didn’t do anything to him, Zabini. He cares about Draco. He wouldn’t hurt him.”
“Hurt him?” Blaise barked, “I’m sure you don’t think so. I’ve seen that face before. You idiotic excuse for a hero. Did you Gryffindor all over him, Potter? Make him talk about his feelings? Did you” – Blaise appeared to shudder – “cuddle? Tell him everything would be alright? Did you” – he laughed again – “did you think everything would be alright?”
Harry opened and closed his mouth, seriously at risk of proving Blaise right. Hermione looked similarly helpless, though, and if she didn’t have something to say, Harry was certain he didn’t either.
“We have reasons for handling things the way we do, Potter. I told you to stay away. Goyle told you to stay away. I told you we would take care of our own. But you just had to charge in anyway, didn’t you? Salazar, this is going to be a mess.”
Harry scrambled for words. “But you didn’t! You didn’t take care of him! I was with him all weekend, and none of you –”
“I was with him. All weekend.”
“Salazar fucking Slytherin, tell me you’re joking.”
Harry shook his head.
“Did it never occur to you that that was taking care of him? That someone as proud as Draco might not actually enjoy being gawked at and toyed with like some rare magical fucking beast?”
“I wasn’t!” Harry insisted.
“No? Why don’t I think he’ll agree? Stay away from him, Potter. I don’t expect he’ll be at Quidditch any time soon. You might want to find yourself a new set of opponents, come to think of it. Go back to your life, go back to the Auror division and, if you actually give a damn about Draco’s well-being, stay away from him. Far, far away. Granger,” he turned suddenly and held out his hand. “Thank you for taking an interest. Your work was impressively thorough.” She took the proffered hand, they shared a nod, and he left them the room.
Harry, suddenly numb, sank into his chair, staring at Hermione, who only shook her head in response and took the seat nearest to his.
There wasn’t much of a choice, really. Draco would be surrounded by Healers, and Blaise would probably invite Goyle to loom over Draco’s shoulder and Pansy to fawn all over him.
And this had always been a part of it, too, Harry thought. They fucked Sunday night and went to work on Monday morning. It didn’t mean he wouldn’t see Draco the next Sunday. It didn’t mean anything would change.
Even if he’d never gone to work in Draco’s clothes. Or after watching his memory restored. Or after spending the night in his bed.
The spare Auror’s robes on the back of his office door solved one of those problems. Ron was the only one who’d even really seen what he was wearing, and after a look at Harry’s face he didn’t have anything to say about it, if he’d even noticed in the first place.
Which Harry thought he might’ve, when he got up fifteen minutes before their usual lunchtime and returned with takeaway curry and a treacle tart, set on the edge of Harry’s desk without comment.
Harry smiled weakly, gratefully, and made an attempt at lunch. Or, he watched his rice get soggy and picked at the edges of the tart and wondered when the masala would overpower the remnants of Draco’s cologne.
Ron invited him round for dinner. Hermione’d said she’d be alright with fish and chips and she could make Harry a drink while Ron went out to get it, they wouldn’t have to walk through Diagon or anything.
Harry declined. Since he hadn’t actually gotten much work done. And Kreacher would be happy to see him, at least.
Kreacher. Who could – Harry abandoned his work and sped through the atrium, stumbling out onto his rug a moment later.
A creaky, “Yes, Master?” preceded Kreacher around the door frame.
Harry peeled off Draco’s jumper. “I need you to return this to someone. Can you return this to Draco Malfoy at Malfoy Manor? And make sure you give it to Draco himself, okay?”
“Kreacher will be pleased to see the Malfoy heir, as his Master asks.”
“And, will you tell him thank you for me? And that if I can help him at all, I’d like to.”
Kreacher bowed, his long nose almost touching the ground, and was gone.
Harry didn’t know what he was hoping for, exactly, but it wasn’t the “pop” of Apparition that preceded a slumped, scowling Kreacher into Harry’s bedroom just two minutes later.
“Kreacher? How did it go?”
“Kreacher has done as Master asked.”
“How was Draco? Did he seem alright?”
“Mean, nasty little brat, with his friends, not fit to wipe Master’s boots, they are not.”
“He was with people?”
“Malfoy does not want to accept Master’s gift, so, ungrateful, all ungrateful.”
Harry rubbed his temples. “Okay. Thank you, Kreacher.”
Kreacher bowed again and dragged himself from the room. Harry collapsed back on the bed and stayed there until he heard a tapping at his window.
An eagle owl was struggling with a package outside of his window, and his heart leapt at the sight. He jumped up to let it in. The owl deposited the bundle on his bed, seemed to scowl at him, and flew off without waiting for a response.
Harry held his breath as he slipped off the twine the owl had been gripping and tore at the wrapping.
The jumper he’d left in Draco’s bedroom fell into his hands, wrinkled and still dotted with a few crumbs and a blade of grass, which fell onto the quilt when he shook it out in his futile search for a note. It didn’t smell anything like Draco, which Harry really only found out accidentally, whilst checking to see if it had to go straight into the laundry basket.
It did. And Harry had to go back to bed, where he stayed, except for work and notwithstanding increasingly insistent dinner invitations from Hermione and Ron, until Sunday afternoon.
Quidditch day. When he’d definitely see Draco, who would never back down from the challenge. Draco – at least the Draco Harry had known, who had to be the same Draco, had to be – would be itching to beat Harry even – especially – if he was that angry. And the Harry would know Draco was okay, or would be able to ask, and he’d know something, at least.
Harry yanked his kit out of the wardrobe and pulled it on, finally accepting Kreacher’s offers of something to eat, much to the elf’s relief, and summoned his broom.
Ron was already on the pitch when he arrived, standing next to Baddock and half-blocking a very blond head. Harry almost crumbled with relief.
At least until Ron stepped back to reveal Luna, quill in hand. Blaise wasn’t there either, or Pansy, or Goyle. Harry’s limbs felt like lead, and they carried him across the pitch by habit alone.
Ron caught his eye as he approached, and he cut Luna off mid-ramble. “Hey, mate. Bit of a change to the line up. Baddock’s brought Pritchard and Harper, who brought Vaisey, and I sent Angelina an owl. Not her usual, but she said she’d fill in for Goyle.”
Harry nodded, numbly, flatly. “Luna?”
“Er, right, she’s writing something about the, um, you know.”
“Umgubular Slashkilters,” Luna piped up. “These conditions are perfect for them.”
Harry looked from her to Ron and back again. “Luna, have you ever played Quidditch?”
“Mate!” Ron’s objection faded when Harry turned to him, beseeching. “Right,” Ron sighed. “We’ve got an extra kit in the changing rooms.”
Harry exhaled, shooting Ron what he hoped was a thankful look. Ron rolled his eyes and shooed him away, and he heard Luna promise she’d caught plenty of Blibbering Humdingers, which were very similar to Snitches, really, as Harry crossed the pitch to Apparate away.
He appeared at the edge of the Manor’s grounds and mounted his broom, flying in low over the house and dismounting outside the door to the study.
Draco’s back was to him, his head supported by the back of chaise, which still faced the now-empty fireplace. Harry couldn’t see his face but did see the well-stocked butler tray that sat next to him and the long, pale arm that was resting on the seatback, a mostly empty tumbler in one hand.
Harry leaned his broom against the wall and drew his wand, casting a mumbled Alohamora and listening for the telltale click of a lock. He pushed one of the French doors open and slipped inside the sun-filled room, holding his breath and beginning to wonder if he could just stand there forever or, better yet, sneak back out the way he’d come.
Draco reached for one of the open bottles at his side and cursed when his hand hit the table instead, and Harry jumped at the sound. He startled backwards, colliding with the door behind him, and Draco snapped around.
His cheeks were flushed and his mouth dropped open at the sight of Harry. A long pause filled the space between before Draco narrowed his eyes and pursed his mouth. “Potter,” he drawled, reaching for the Ogden’s with his other hand, so that his glass collided with it. Frowning, he set the tumbler down and pulled a long swig straight from the mouth of the bottle.
Harry tried to pull himself together, to ask how Draco was feeling, what he remembered, how he felt about remembering. Why he was drunk in the middle of the afternoon.
“Potter,” Draco said again, shaking his head at the Wizard smiling up from the label. “Ogden looks happy. Don’t you think?” He laughed a bit bitterly and held it up for Harry’s perusal.
Harry smiled nervously and shuffled forward uneasily. “Guess so, yeah.”
“What about you, Potter? Are you ha –” Draco paused to regroup and fairly spat out the next, “happy?”
“Can I have that?” Harry asked, gesturing at the whisky.
“Ha! Potter wants a drink. You wanna drink, Potter?”
“Uh, sure,” Harry agreed, edging towards Draco and reaching for it.
He snatched it away at the last second. “Don’t think so, Potter. You’ve had quite enough.”
“I – what? I haven’t had any.”
“No,” he agreed. “No whisky. Just everything else.”
Draco dragged himself onto his knees and gestured so widely and crookedly that liquid surely would’ve splashed out of the bottle if it was any less empty. “Everything, Potter. Did you like everything? Was it everything you wanted?”
Harry shook his head wildly and took a step forward, looking at Draco pleadingly. “Draco, no –”
“No? You want something more? What more do you want? Oh!” He declared, “Yes, yes. I haven’t made you breakfast. Haven’t washed your filthy pants. Licked your fucking boots, Potter. D’you wanna bring them here? Bring your dirty Quidditch boots here and let me lick them, Potter,” he mocked, before slamming back into a slouch and muttering, “Fucking complete your life.”
Harry rounded the chaise and came to crouch at his knee. “Draco, no, that’s never what – I don’t want that.”
Eyes closed, Draco shook his head and then squinted at Harry. “Hat was wrong. Hufflepuff, you fucking – tea and broom rides, fucking Hufflepuff.”
“I – what?”
Draco leaned forward, his breath sharp and smoky in Harry’s face. “Almost in Slytherin, fucking hat, dunce hat. Not a Slytherin, you’re a fucking badger, you bastard fucking Hufflepuff.”
“You remember that?” Harry stared up at Draco, startled.
“Oh, Potty. I remember everything.”
“Are you stupid? Used to think…” Draco sighed and propped his elbows on his knees. “Stupid.”
“What do you mean, everything?”
Draco stared at him. “Everything, you know, from before. Everything I knew before. Everything from during.” He narrowed his eyes again.
“I told you I was almost in Slytherin. You remembered that, before?”
“You are stupid.” Draco’s elbows slipped and he almost hit Harry, who stood to avoid a collision. Draco leaned back and gazed up at him impassively, then sneered. “So surprised, Potter? Surprised the nasty Death Eater’s got a memory? Was trained to remember you. Always report back, what were you doing, ‘s why I forgot you, y’know. Didn’t even do it though. Lied, lied, lied about you. Legilimency. Snape. Ha. Didn’t even know, did you?”
Harry shook his head and Draco let out a short, harsh bark of laughter. “Course not. Course. The things you don’t know, Potter.” He sighed and took another deep swig. “Your fault though, y’know. Fucking fucked up Hufflepuff.”
“You mean the war?”
Draco laughed again, and it had an edge of danger to it. “The war. No. Never the war. Never you. My fault, the war. My father. Voldemort, that was. You would never start a war, Potter. Never fuck someone on a war table, would you? Where someone died in front of you? No. No, never you. Wait for me to do it. That’s your way.”
He took another deep swallow and leaned forwards. “But you picked it, didn’t you? Picked me? Picked it and you liked it, Potter. You came back for more. Might’ve been my idea, but there’s no Saint Draco, is there? You, fucking Saint Potter, you didn’t say it, but you liked it. I saw you. I remember you, hard as the fucking tabletop.
“Did you wanna forget that, or just for me to? Don’t want anyone to know how you like it, do you? Best if the Death Eater just forgets, you can show up and play your little games, dirty fucking and pleasant little mornings, let me pour you some more fucking tea, press your fucking trousers for you, no one ever has to know what you chose.”
Harry was shaking his head furiously, bursting with words he couldn’t quite string together.
“Liked it, too, didn’t you?” He adopted a mocking falsetto “Oh, Harry, hold me, Harry, want me Harry, oh, Harry, you’re so great and good and strong, my saviour.” He snorted and dropped his voice again. “Bet you loved it. Always wanted the attention, always wanted to get under my skin, job well done. And now you’ve seen it all, haven’t you?”
“No!” Harry finally erupted. “That wasn’t you.”
“No, no it wasn’t. Best bit of all. Wasn’t me at the end, and you wanted more of it, didn’t you? Thought a week was a bloody brilliant idea, so what if I never rode a broom again. Forget a little thing like how to talk. And for what, Potter? Because my mouth’s more useful sucking your dick anyway? So you could finally fuck me without it having to be me? Like the body well enough, just got to get rid of the pesky Wizard inside of it.”
“No!” Harry tried again, searching for words while a flush crept over his face. “No, I couldn’t even—”
“No, you couldn’t, could you? Limp little saviour. But then, who could? It’s a lot of times I tried to hurt you, Potter. Tried to get you expelled, not very effectively. Lot of names I called Granger, wasn’t it? And that Weasley with the earring how’s his face? Better than Crabbe’s, I bet. Better than Charity Burbage’s. Dumbledore’s. Not much of a bar, granted. But all of that and more. I wouldn’t want to fuck me either. Guess getting rid of the man wasn’t enough for you, hmm? Still didn’t want these hands wrapped round your cock? Can’t say I blame you.”
Draco lifted the whisky to his lips again. Harry grabbed for the bottle, desperate to stop the rant, to stop Draco getting any drunker. But he wasn’t easily parted from it and tugged hard on his end, yanking it free of Harry’s grip.
“Seems like a good solution now, doesn’t it? But you shan’t have any. Forgetting’s my specialty, remember?”
“No? Maybe you’re getting forgetful now, Potter. I assure you, it is. Or do you just need to learn another word? I hear ‘yes’ will be very in this season, if you’d like to take your conversational skills in a different direction.”
“No!” Harry shouted then, flustered, murmured, “I mean, yes, but yes, no, it’s not a solution. I don’t want to drink, I don’t want –” he took a deep breath “I didn’t want. I couldn’t, not because you were you. I couldn’t because you weren’t you.”
“Nevermind, I take it back. More words is not your forte.”
Harry flushed. “No. I mean – fuck, Malfoy. You’re wrong.”
“Yes. Many ways. Many times. Said that already.”
“No! Fucking. No, okay? You’re wrong about that. Wrong about everything.”
“What d’you mean, everything?” Draco mocked.
“Stop it!” Harry leaned over, shot out a hand and grabbed the bottle out of Draco’s loosened grip, this time successfully, and set it aside. Draco went to retrieve it and Harry grabbed his wrist, sliding down his hand until their fingers were linked together on the upholstery. “I didn’t not want you.” Draco’s eyes were wide and still and focused on Harry’s mouth. “I didn’t want you when you weren’t you. You weren’t you enough, and it’s not. You’re – you, you are what I want. I didn’t just want you, I wanted you. But that doesn’t mean I just want you, okay?”
Draco stared for long seconds, then his lips curled into a smile, and then he was laughing at Harry, a full-body, deep sort of laughter that left Harry bewildered.
There was only one thing Harry knew to do when Draco was like that, so he kissed him, hard.
Draco shoved him off and stared, no longer laughing. “What are you doing?”
Harry raised an eyebrow.
“Why’re you doing that?”
“Because I want you. You’re you again, and I want you.”
“You want to fuck me.” Draco’s voice was flat and he turned his focus to his cuticles.
“No! I mean,” Harry heard rushing and crackling behind him, but he had to forge ahead. “Yes, I do, but it’s not like you said. I want you, and I did before, and I just wanted to see how you were, it’s not like you’re making it sound at all.”
Harry paused for breath, only to be interrupted by a low voice. “Tell me this isn’t what it looks like.”
Looking over his shoulder, Harry found Blaise, arms crossed and simmering with anger. Harry stood and stepped away from Draco, coming face to face with Pansy, who was fuming, and Goyle, who had turned his typical vacancy into something approaching concern.
“Wanna drink?” Draco had wriggled free of Harry’s hand, retrieved the Ogden’s, and started waving it at the new arrivals.
“Darling, no!” Pansy screeched, as though to a disobedient child. “What did we say about whisky in the middle of the day?”
“We didn’t say anything,” Draco muttered, redirecting his offer to Blaise and Goyle.
“Give it here, Draco,” Blaise commanded and Draco complied with delight, which transformed to a scowl when Blaise set the bottle on the mantle and turned to Harry. “Potter, don’t you have somewhere to be?”
“I’ll stay, thanks.”
Blaise grabbed Harry’s arm and nodded at a pitcher on the butler’s tray, so that Pansy moved to pour Draco a glass of water. Harry found himself pulled to the side of the fireplace, face to face with a quietly livid Zabini and Goyle who, while not outwardly angry, Harry’d never thought was too far from an act of violence.
“We’ve already discussed this, Potter, and I don’t enjoy repeating myself. Draco is recovering from a traumatic experience, which you’ve made far more difficult than it needed to be. Shoving it in his face isn’t helpful, regardless of what you may want to believe or get out of him. He’s not your fucktoy, he’s not your boyfriend, and he certainly isn’t your concern. He’s been destroying his liver all week, and if you’d like to keep him in one piece, you’ll leave him alone.”
For the first time in his life, Harry found himself directing a silent appeal towards Goyle.
“Zabini’s right,” Goyle grunted.
“But we’ve talked about this. I’ve told you I just want to help.”
Goyle shrugged. “And I’ve told you, best to leave it alone.”
“We’re all in agreement then, Potter.”
“And you’ve been outvoted.” Blaise gave Harry a hard push towards the fireplace and handed him the Floo powder.
Scowling, Harry took it. “This isn’t over.”
“It is,” Blaise replied, and as the flames leapt up around Harry he could see Blaise going to sit besides Pansy, who was mopping Draco’s brow and cooing at him to have another sip of water. Draco stared into the glass, unmoving even as Harry disappeared from the room.
There was nothing waiting for him at the other end.
Nor was there anything to do, really, but pace. And think. And sit down. And stand back up. And pace some more. Pace in a different room. Pace between rooms.
Pick up the Floo powder. Remember Blaise’s face and Goyle heft and set it down. Remember Pansy’s doting and pick it back up. Remember Draco’s accusations and set it back down. Remember Draco’s self-loathing and pick it back up. Remember the flatness in Draco’s voice and pour some into his hands.
It took just over five hours for Harry to step into his Floo and stumble out of Draco’s fireplace and almost into Draco.
The fire didn’t go out when Harry stepped off the hearthstone. Draco was standing on the rug, flexing his toes against the wool and watching it. His shirt hung open over slumped shoulders and his hair looked a little bit damp, as though he’d had a shower. The butler’s tray was gone and Harry was relieved to see that Draco looked steady on his feet, if noticeably surprised at the appearance of a visitor.
He took a deep breath and closed his eyes when he realised who the visitor was. “Potter?” His voice was raspy, weary, halfway to a whisper.
“Yeah. Er, obviously.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I was worried about you. And I didn’t finish what I was saying earlier.”
“Perhaps it’s for the best.”
“I don’t think it is.”
“Christ, Potter. You really do want something more from me.”
“If that’s what you want to call it. As long as you’ll listen.”
Draco half-sat, half-crouched on the edge of the chaise.
“Right. Okay.” Harry took a deep breath. “I’m not sure how to say this, actually.”
Draco rubbed his temples.
“But it’s important. So, I’m going to try. Because you were wrong earlier, about your body and your – you. And why I want you. I do like your body, of course I do. But without you in it, it wasn’t enough.
“And maybe that makes me as fucked up as you said, but it’s still true, what you said about me. Not that I’m a saint, you know I don’t think that, at least I think you do. But that I like it. The things you do. And the way you do them. I chose it, and I guess I’m here to say that I would choose it again. That if you’ll let me, I want to choose it again.”
Draco didn’t look up. “Are you done?”
Harry’s breath caught in his chest as he stepped forward, crouched down, and cupped Draco’s face.
Draco pulled back quickly, hissing, “What are you doing?”
“I’m going to kiss you.”
“Why the fuck would you do that?”
“Because I missed kissing you. Because I still want to kiss you. As you are.” Grasping the sides of Draco’s shirt, Harry pulled him forward and kissed him, exhaling in relief when Draco pressed back against his mouth.
Harry grabbed Draco’s collar to pull him closer but, caught off-balance on the edge of his seat, Draco toppled forward and Harry took the opportunity to slip his shirt off and pull him to the rug, pushing Draco onto his back and kissing him again, this time trailing his hand up Draco’s chest and rolling a nipple between his fingertips.
Draco’s hands rested, unmoving, above his head, but Harry could feel his breath accelerating, could see the muscles in his forearms clenching. He lowered his mouth to Draco’s neck and felt a pause when his breath caught. A gasp snuck through when Harry replaced his fingers with his tongue, sucking and licking and dragging his fingernails down Draco’s side until they came to rest at his waistband.
Shifting his weight, Harry slipped a knee between Draco’s thighs and kissed him again. Draco’s mouth was already open, panting and waiting and ready, and Harry’s moan might’ve been involuntary, but he wasn’t the least bit sorry about it. He tore himself away to follow it with a whispered “Want you, Draco.”
Draco eyes were closed, but he nodded and lowered a hand to Harry’s head, and Harry leaned into the sensation of Draco’s nails against his scalp, only pulling back to shed his jumper.
Harry groaned at the sensation of Draco’s skin pressed against his own, and didn’t miss Draco’s gasp as he arched into it, though he’d closed his mouth to try to stifle the sound. He lowered a hand to Draco’s belt and had his buckle, then his flies, undone in an instant. Draco nodded when Harry looked to him for confirmation, and Harry kneeled to slip Draco’s pants and trousers over his hips, his calves, finally his feet.
“Gorgeous,” Harry whispered, running his hands up the inside of Draco’s legs. Draco shivered, though whether at the words or the sensation, Harry couldn’t tell.
He traced the same path with his mouth, pulling away before he reached Draco’s cock, which rested, half hard, against his hip. His own was swollen, entirely full and aching to be released from his jeans, to be touched. He surveyed Draco’s body and straddled his hips, kneeling over him and reaching to kiss him again. “Look at me,” he whispered.
Draco’s eyes were half black and glowing in the firelight and Harry almost pulled back at the intensity behind them. Silence hung between them and Harry didn’t move, barely took a breath, as Draco stared at him. And then, almost conversationally, “Is this what you want, Potter?”
“Yes,” Harry exhaled.
Draco moved his hand to palm the bulge in Harry’s jeans. “And this? You want this?”
Harry’s eyes fluttered shut. “Yes.”
Harry felt the soft rug under his back as Draco flipped them over and yanked at his waistband.
Warm air licked his skin as he raised his hips to let Draco pull of his pants and jeans, leaving them in a heap on the floor. Long, familiar fingers circled his cock and he groaned as Draco began to stroke him.
Harry nodded, raising his hips to thrust into Draco’s hand and whining when he pulled away, tracing the vein that ran down the underside of Harry’s cock and dropping his hand to Harry’s hip.
“Open your legs.”
Entranced by the focus written across Draco’s face, Harry complied, setting his feet shoulder width apart and watching Draco cast a charm that left his fingers slick and shiny, then knelt between Harry’s legs and dropped his hand out of sight.
“I’m going to fuck you, right here on the floor. Is that what you want?”
Harry’s breathing was quick and shallow, his heart racing. “Yes. Fuck.”
“And you’re going to like it, because you’re just that fucked, aren’t you?”
“Yes, god yes.”
He felt the warmth and wetness of Draco’s fingertip pressing at his arsehole, slipping inside, so wet it slid past any resistance. Draco drew back and Harry grunted as he added a second.
“And if I just fuck you with my hand? Don’t even come inside you?”
“If I fuck your mouth and come down your throat? Come across your face? Is that what you’ve been missing, Potter?”
“Yes, Merlin, anything you want.”
“Because you’re a fucked up, dirty bastard, aren’t you?”
“Yes, want you, fuck me.”
Harry howled when Draco added a third and shoved into him hard and fast. “Do you like that?”
The sudden absence of Draco’s fingers left Harry wanting, but then Draco was leaning forward and Harry was hooking his arms under his knees. He pulled them to his chest, spreading himself open and watching Draco line himself up, watching the look on his face when he pushed inside of Harry, his eyelashes fluttering and his mouth opening and closing again, the way he shook his head ever so slightly as though he could not believe the tightness, the warmth. And then Harry clenched around him, drawing him deeper, matching the gasps that were spilling from Draco’s lips as Draco began to drive into him, as he began to roll his hips so he hit that spot and pleasure shot through Harry’s toes.
Draco leaned forward and braced his hands on the rug to either side of Harry’s head. “This is what you missed,” he whispered, “this is what you want?”
“Yes, yes, yes, yes,” Harry chanted, in time with Draco’s thrusts, “yes, fuck, yes, yes.”
“Want you. Want you. Missed you. Want you. Fuck me. Please, fuck, fuck me, more.”
Harry’s hips were lifted off the rug as Draco obeyed, slamming into him with renewed force.
“Touch yourself,” Draco ordered. “Make yourself come before I fill your hole.”
Harry moaned and grabbed his cock, fisting it furiously, twisting his hand as it reached the head, stroking himself until his balls began to tense and he could feel it beginning, feel himself on the very edge, crashing over it as he arched his neck and shouted Draco’s name and covered his chest with come.
Harry felt Draco speed up as he clenched around his cock; faster, more erratic, harder. Then Draco stilled and sagged, and Harry felt come dripping from his hole as Draco pulled out and rolled to the empty patch of rug next to Harry.
Still catching his breath, Harry searched for Draco’s hand and, failing to find it, rolled over to rest his hand on Draco’s stomach.
He jerked away and sat up. “What are you doing?”
Bewildered, Harry stared at Draco, who, after a moment’s pause, got to his feet and started to pull on his trousers.
“What?” Draco zipped his flies and began hunting for his shirt.
“Where are you going?”
“You got what you wanted, Potter. You said so yourself.”
“What I – you can’t tell me you didn’t want that too.”
“Did I? You’ve a perfectly nice arse, pleasure to fuck it. Now, if that’s all.”
Harry jumped to his feet. “That’s all? How can you say that?”
“What else is there to say? You want it fucked up, you’ve got it. From your own personal former Death Eater, because that’s how fucked up you are. But you do not, absolutely do not, get to have it both ways.”
“Both ways? What on earth are you on about?”
Draco grabbed his shirt and turned on him. “Trying to curl up next to me, like we’re living in your fantasy where I’m a brainless twat who runs around having adorable first year flying lessons and begging you to let me make your tea, when you’ve just finished telling me that’s not what you want? What on earth do you fucking think I’m on about?”
“That’s not what I was doing!”
“No? Funny, how you never showed any interest in sticking around before you could pretend with the war-free version.”
“Like you’d ever let me.”
The surprise that flashed across Draco’s face quickly turned into cold formality. “Of course. Right as usual. I had to be half insane to let you spend the night. All the more reason for you to leave.” Draco bent to grab Harry’s jeans and shoved them into his chest. “Here you are. Clearly, you know how to work a Floo.”
Harry stuck one leg and then the other through his pants and then his jeans, and watched as Draco buttoned his shirt and sat at his writing desk, where he began shuffling and reshuffling a stack of parchment.
There was no response. Draco opened a drawer and began to rummage through it. Harry pulled on his jumper and trainers.
“I didn’t need to be insane to want to stay.”
“No, you just needed me to be.” Draco slammed the drawer and opened another.
“Maybe you needed to be to let me.”
“Still an act of insanity, and a temporary one at that.”
“There’s a first time for everything.” Harry crossed the room and pushed the drawer closed. “Potter. What are you doing?”
“All that stuff you said before? You’re the one who said it.”
“And you agreed.”
“About the sex! That I wanted it a certain way and was waiting for you to do stuff, and it wasn’t fair. Which I figured out because, yeah, sometimes I thought it would be good if you were a little nicer, but fuck, Draco, when you were? It was just strange. And not you. And it was you I wanted. I wouldn’t spend another night with that other you for all the gold in Gringotts.”
“You’re already rich.”
“Did you hear anything else that I said before? That I didn’t like you like that? That I missed you, like this? That I want you, this you? That I’ve been worried about you? Wondering how you are?”
“Is that what you were babbling about?”
“I went to see Goyle. When you started acting really strangely. He told me to leave you alone because forgetting was making you happy. I think maybe he was right. About the last part, anyway. Right that forgetting the past a little could make you happier.”
“You call the Obliviators. I’ll be sure to tell Hogwarts. Maybe he’ll finally get an O.W.L.”
Harry sighed and stood. “I’m still serious.”
“Well in that case.”
“I really did miss you. And I really didn’t need to be insane to want to stay the night.”
Harry got as far as the Floo powder before he added, “And, Draco? I don’t think you needed to be either.”
Not wanting to hear the retort, he stepped into the flames.
Harry almost didn’t think about Draco on Monday, except for when he showered and brushed his teeth and did his job and ate his meals. And when he was falling asleep. And when he woke up.
He was just as successful at forgetting him on Tuesday and Thursday. On Wednesday he managed it at Ron and Hermione’s. On Friday he actually didn’t think about him for almost fifteen minutes, until the bartender poured Ron an Ogden’s.
He didn’t check for owls, or ask Kreacher if there had been any calls through the Floo.
He did write letters, asking Draco how he was, and whether he was really that angry, and whether he got that it was just a stupid misunderstanding and Harry hadn’t meant it like that. But that was just good manners, and he burned them all anyway.
He didn’t think about Quidditch, or hope that Draco would turn up, or about how there really was a first time for everything if he was almost hoping to see Pansy and Goyle.
He didn’t think about not going to Quidditch, until he remembered that he’d left his broom against the wall of the Manor after abandoning the last game.
Ron could probably lend him one, or George and Angelina. There was an old Cleansweep in the shed somewhere. And Davis was so much slower than Draco that it wouldn’t really matter anyway. Or he could send Kreacher to go and get it.
Really, he never had to see Draco again. They’d probably pass each other at the Ministry and go to the same functions and Draco would ignore him, so he’d pretend to ignore Draco too. Probably Draco would bring a date who he didn’t mind telling his friends about even when he was thinking clearly, and they’d all get along famously.
He definitely didn’t thank about that in the shower, or when he found a clean pair of jeans and dug around for blue the cashmere jumper Hermione had given him for Christmas after he’d asked her what the difference was between his jumpers and posh jumpers when they were all mostly just wool anyway. He didn’t think about it when he tried to slick back his hair so it looked “vaguely debonair, Potter, and less like you’ve been possessed like a Kelpie.” He ignored it completely when he wandered downstairs and made his way to the fireplace.
It wasn’t like he could play on borrowed brooms forever. And he liked his. And if Draco didn’t want to see him, then. Well.
Anyway, Draco might not even be there. Or might have warded the Floo to keep him out.
He really, absolutely didn’t think about that.
He grabbed the Floo powder instead, and focused on trying to arrive without falling on his face.
The fire kept crackling when he stepped onto the hearthstone. Draco was sitting at his desk in black trousers and a simple grey jumper, making notes in a leather-bound book. He looked up when Harry came through, but only paused for a moment before returning to his work. “It’s you.”
“I assume you’re here for your broom. I’ll have Linny return it.”
“Oh. Yeah. Um. Thanks.”
Draco gave a curt nod and resumed making notes on the parchment.
“Actually,” Harry started. Draco’s quill stopped moving. “Um, about the broom. Are you playing tomorrow?”
“Oh. Why not?” Draco looked up, incredulous. “I meant, is it because you don’t want to, or, well, we weren’t sure about the charms, and what would happen, and whether you’d be able to?”
“You’re asking me if I can ride a broom.”
“I guess so. And if you’re, you know, okay.”
“Why, giving lessons professionally now?”
“Yes, I can fly.”
“Oh. Well, good. I…that would’ve been really bad. If you couldn’t.”
“I miss flying against you.”
“How sad for you.”
“You’re really good.”
“Is there a point to this, Potter?”
“I don’t just miss flying against you.”
“No. You’re partial to all sorts of activities that involve me and riding, aren’t you?”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“No. It isn’t. Look, can I just – can we sit down for a minute and talk?
“I know I said everything the wrong way, but it’s because I’m rubbish at this kind of thing, not that I meant what you thought I meant. I – it was totally wrong, the way I said it.”
“I didn’t mean to suggest that you could stand for a minute and talk.”
“Please, Draco. Can you just listen?”
“Why exactly should I do that?”
Harry took a deep breath. “Because you were wrong, too.”
“That I needed to be insane. That I never wanted to stay before. You were wrong. I did want to stay. But you’d never let me.”
“You’ve no idea what I would’ve let you do.”
“I think maybe now I do.”
Draco hung an arm over the back of his chair. “Idiotic as ever, aren’t you? That wasn’t me.”
“I know. I wouldn’t be here if it was.”
“Then what exactly are you on about?”
“It – look, I don’t think you would’ve said it, if you hadn’t forgotten not to. But after we showed you our memories, Hermione and I, you said – well, you said you’d been reading things you wrote when you could remember, and it seemed a lot like you’d assumed from them that we were in…I think what you said was that it sounded like we had an affectionate relationship. You were talking about love, actually.”
“I was out of my mind.”
“When you wrote whatever you were reading?”
“You would trust a madman’s interpretations?”
“You weren’t stupid, Draco.”
“I couldn’t ride a broom.”
“That’s not the same thing. You read the newspaper that same day. I read you the front page and you asked questions. You understood it. You were always able to do that.”
“That makes one of us. What exactly are you implying?”
“You know what I’m implying.” Draco raised an eyebrow and Harry sighed. “That you had feelings. Not because you had amnesia, but because you actually had them. Maybe you still do. I hope you still do.”
“Lovely theory. So glad you dropped in to share it.” Draco turned back to his desk and picked up his quill.
“Draco.” Harry stepped further into the room. “Draco, please.
Draco snorted, but didn’t raise his head.
“I don’t think it’s just a theory. All that shit I said, I completely bolloxed it up. But you didn’t. You really believed I thought those things about you, all that stuff about being a Death Eater, and how I’d have to be fucked up to want you. I don’t think that at all, but you do. Except, you didn’t, when you didn’t remember having done it. You thought I could want you, then.”
Draco carefully, precisely, replaced his quill in the inkpot, closed the book, and turned to Harry. “When I didn’t remember standing by while one of your friends was tortured in this house, you mean? Didn’t remember getting your other best friend’s brother’s face slashed open while trying to kill the Headmaster?” Draco’s voice gained speed and approached a whisper as he went on. “When I couldn’t remember cursing a member of your House? Or when my father had your ex-girlfriend possessed by Voldemort? In one of many – many – attempts to kill you? Yes,” he hissed, “I found it slightly more credible when I had forgotten my long history of trying to seriously harm you and your loved ones.”
“Because you had forgotten all of that.”
Draco looked at him as though he might’ve become a troll without realising.
“What I’m saying is that I hadn’t forgotten any of it. I never did. All you had to do to get me to stay was ask.”
“And become a completely different person.”
“It wasn’t just the memories, Potter, and you know it.”
Harry sighed. “Yeah. Okay. It was nice, at first. To have you be…I had been wondering for a long time, what it would be like. To get to stay with you after, to have breakfast. To read the paper. I wanted to know all that. But once I realised that I couldn’t, that it wasn’t you…it was all wrong.”
“So glad you enjoyed the experiment.”
“That’s not what it was. And even if it was, I hated it.”
“And now it’s over. As are we.”
“I don’t want to be.”
“Somebody notify the Prophet.”
“What do you want from me, Potter? The fun and games are over. Back to normal.”
“No? Do you have some more cursed ledgers for me to open? Have you brought along your personal team of Obliviators?”
“No, things have changed.”
“Yes, they have. Which makes it even stranger that you’re still standing here.”
Harry stared at Draco, turned, and sat down on the edge of the chaise. “Better?”
“Hardly. That thing is filthy.”
“Didn’t know you cared.”
Harry heard the legs of Draco’s chair scrape across the floor, and then footsteps. Draco was imposing, standing tall and scowling, his arms crossed over his chest. “Enough of this.”
“I don’t want to go back to normal.”
“This may be difficult to understand, but it’s not up to you.”
“It’s not up to you, either. Things are different.”
“Why, because you intend to go on pretending I’m a giant pygmy puff?”
“Because I’ve seen how much your coworkers like you. They were really pleased to see you, at Gringotts. And because I know how much your friends care about you, and that that has to come from something. Because this isn’t a secret anymore. Your friends know now, and mine do too and, weirdly, mine seem more okay with it than yours do, not that yours don’t have some pretty good reasons to dislike me right now, but the things you’re afraid of, that’s not what’s happening. And because I know you have feelings for me, or at least you used to. And I know that I wasn’t being very brave, and that I need to be. And because I’m telling you that I have feelings for you, too. The things you wrote in your journal…I could’ve said them too.”
“I’m not about to fuck you, if that’s where you’re going.”
“Then what, exactly, are you proposing?”
“You really have no idea, do you Potter?”
“I think planning may be more of a Slytherin trait.”
Draco rolled his eyes.
“But it doesn’t mean I don’t have one. It’s just – look, I’m improvising a bit here, but I think maybe I do have a plan.”
“This bodes well.”
“Draco, will you go out with me?”
Harry held his breath.
Draco sat down on the other end of the chaise. “What?”
“Will you go out with me? To dinner? Or something else if you’d rather. Drinks, or a Quidditch game, or anything you want, really.”
Slowly, Draco turned to face him. “On a date?”
“Yeah, well, look, we already know we’re good at – well, that the chemistry’s there. And I have feelings and I’m guessing you feel something for me, since at least you haven’t kicked me out yet. I think you might. I can’t pretend that I haven’t fucked it up a bit, and I don’t think apologising would get especially far with you, but maybe doing things differently would. And I hadn’t really thought, before, about having a meal with you. But when I did it with the other you, the not-you, it just made me wish it was the real you. And no one could ever know about us before so it wasn’t even a question. But maybe it can be now. I don’t know if you can say yes, and I guess that’s what it depends on. But maybe you can know, now, that if you can let go of the past enough to try, I’d want to try it with you.”
Harry squirmed under Draco’s curious gaze. “I promise I’ll never ask you to pretend to be a giant pygmy puff, if that’s what you want.”
He turned to face the fire, and was examining his nails when Draco shifted in his seat. “Yes.”
Harry snapped his head around to meet a thoughtful expression. “Yes?”
“Uh…to which bit?”
Draco laughed softly. “I don’t want you to ask me to be a pygmy puff.”
“Right. Well, I wasn’t going to.”
“The other bits?”
“I don’t know.”
“Oh.” Harry let out a breath. “Great. That’s really. Thanks. I’m really glad. I. Do you know what you want to do? We could see the Falcons, if you want, or if there are any restaurants you’ve been meaning to try?”
Draco leaned back. “We have box seats for the Falcons. They’re playing next Saturday.”
“Do you mean that we should go?”
“That was the idea.”
“Can I take you to dinner after?”
“Okay, great. Can I – should I pick you up here, or do you want to meet there?”
Draco smiled, ever so slightly. “If we’re doing things differently, why don’t I meet you? They’ll send a Portkey, we can take it from yours.”
Harry smiled back. “Yeah, perfect. Do you need the address again?”
“No, I remember.”