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Draco dresses in clothes made from material which slides over his skin, fitting perfectly – never too tight nor too loose. He enjoys a small amount of crushed velvet for formal occasions and cashmere scarves in the winter which are soft and warming. He buys gloves for the coldest days, rich with the scent of expensive leather, and durable. In the summer months he favours casual linen and cotton always with sleeves just long enough to cover the Mark on his forearm, a blemish on his pale skin.

Even the touch of the sun is too much at times. Too strong, too fierce and too exposing. He wears trousers – never shorts – and keeps himself away from the crowds which flood the streets when the warm weather comes.

He toys with the gold coin in his pocket and shifts uncomfortably in his seat. The coin is cold and rough-edged, with delicate grooves around the circumference.

“Draco Malfoy?”

The door clicks open and the Healer’s assistant pokes her head out. She looks harried and busy. Draco expects she probably wants to get away for the weekend, like so many others who work late into Friday afternoon.

He stands and pulls his hand from his pocket, clutching the now-warm coin in his palm.

Taking a deep breath, he steps forward and the door closes behind him.

* * *

Wednesday rolls round on the back of a storm.

It’s not Draco’s usual slot, but things had to be moved around to accommodate his mother’s plans. He asks her not to accompany him, but sometimes she insists. It’s inconvenient, not least because he prefers his Friday appointment just at the end of the day when nobody else is around.

Now there are people sitting in the small chairs and looking just to the left of his ear at the stain on the wall, and their presence bothers him.

“I’m sorry we’re a bit early – it’s my first appointment.”

Draco freezes in his place and determines not to turn and stare at the owner of the all too familiar voice. Before he can move to a less conspicuous seat, Potter settles opposite him, a flicker of recognition crossing his face.

“Malfoy.”

“Potter.” Draco’s mother nudges him with a sharp elbow to caution him against sneering at the hero of the Wizarding world, as if that ever stopped Draco before.

“Narcissa. Draco.” Arthur Weasley looks less than thrilled and places a hand on Harry’s arm, obviously inclined to believe the Malfoy family are the sort to start throwing hexes in the middle of a therapist’s waiting room.

“Arthur. Harry.” His mother maintains a cool stance and places her hand on Draco’s arm in response to Weasley’s movements.

Draco flinches and pulls away, a wave of panic threatening to overwhelm him.

He loves his mother, but she always seems to forget why Draco’s here in the first place.

When Draco looks up, Potter’s still staring.

Draco refuses to meet Potter’s eyes again. It’s only when Draco’s name is called and the door closes behind him, that he can breathe easily once more.

* * *

Draco tells his mother not to come with him next week, and for once she listens.

“How have you been, Malfoy?” Potter takes the same seat as before and Draco huffs a sigh of relief when he realises Potter too has decided to come to his appointment alone.

“Wonderful. Can’t you tell?” Draco gestures to the waiting room. “I’m surprised to see you here.”

“Are you?” Potter’s jeans are ripped at the knee and his trainers have seen better days. Despite the attire, Draco has to admit Potter has improved with age. “I thought you might be pleased.”

“Why would I be pleased?” Draco tears his gaze away from the way Potter’s t-shirt clings to his toned chest, and fingers the cold coin in his palm. He hopes the fact he’s now apparently desperate enough to ogle Potter is a sure sign he’s missing physical intimacy, and that’s got to be progress of a sort. “I’d really prefer not to see any more of you than I have to.”

“The feeling’s mutual.” Potter pulls an old book from his bag and opens it up. He begins tapping his quill against the page and hums thoughtfully as he scratches careful notes in the margin.

“Can’t you do that a bit more quietly?” Draco wants to tell Potter he has ink on his lip but he decides to let Potter figure it out for himself.

“I’m reading – it’s hardly practicing Quidditch chants,” Potter mutters, still looking at his book.

“You might as well be. How many more times can I expect the pleasure of your company?”

“No idea.” Potter’s eyes flick up from the page to meet Draco’s gaze. “You?”

“I don’t expect I’ll be coming here for much longer.”

That’s not entirely true, but Draco doesn’t want to disclose the full extent of his problems to Potter. Besides, soon enough he’ll get his usual Friday slot back and then Potter won’t be any the wiser.

“Draco Malfoy?”

The door behind them opens before Potter has a chance to reply.

* * *

For the next three weeks Potter arrives at St. Mungo’s flanked by one Weasley or another. On those occasions Potter doesn’t take the seat opposite Draco. Instead he sits a few places away, speaking in hushed whispers and laughing at whatever stupid jokes they tell him.

On the fourth week, Potter arrives with one of the older brothers and Draco can’t help but notice that they seem particularly close. They bow their heads together and talk animatedly about something which Draco can’t quite make out.

Weasley brushes his hand against Potter’s and their eyes connect.

Draco clenches his fist around the coin in his pocket and watches Potter react.

Weasley whispers something, Potter laughs and his eyes catch Draco’s just for a moment.

Draco swallows and looks away.

* * *

“You really can be a prick sometimes, Potter.” Potter comes alone that week and the silence between them grates on Draco’s nerves.

Potter doesn’t react as Draco hopes – with fire and fight. Draco’s spoiling for a decent argument with Potter, largely because their polite acknowledgment of one another and watching Potter flirt with various Weasleys is driving Draco more insane than he likely already is.

“Where did that come from?” Potter grins instead of looking put out, and it’s infuriating.

“It’s not funny, I mean it.” Draco clenches his hands together tightly and gives Potter his best glare.

“Yeah, I bet you do.” Potter has the nerve to laugh this time, and hooks his ankle over his knee, leaning back against the wall as if he’s quite at home being called a prick in the middle of a hospital waiting room.

“Why are you here, anyway?”

“Why are you here?” Potter still looks more amused than he has any right to.

Before Draco has time to tell Potter in no uncertain terms to bugger off, the door clicks open.

“Draco Malfoy?”

Potter tips his fingers against his head, in a strange salute he probably learned from his house-elf friends or Muggle family. “I’ll see you next week.”

“You might not. I’m thinking of rescheduling my appointments.”

It’s a lie. They already offered Draco his Friday slot back, and he declined.

He refuses to spend valuable time thinking about why that might be.

* * *

“No Weasley bodyguard this time?”

“Not this time.” Potter settles into the seat opposite Draco. His fingers are sticky from a sugary quill he sucks into his mouth with a groan of pleasure. The sound makes the gesture almost obscene.

Draco licks his lips and his cock twitches with appreciation. Damn Potter.

“Stop that.”

“What?” Potter’s eyes blink open and he offers the bag clutched in his hand to Draco. “Sorry, do you want one?”

“No.” Draco grits his teeth and crosses his legs. “Definitely not.” He points to a large sign which indicates there should be no food in the waiting area. Potter looks put out and deposits his treats in a battered leather satchel.

“You’re no fun, Malfoy.” Potter begins tapping his foot and fiddles with a leather band fastened around his wrist. It looks like dragon hide, and it reminds Draco of Potter and Weasley as thick as thieves at the far end of the waiting room.

“Can’t you sit still?” Draco wonders if Potter is always like this – hyperactive after too much sugar and constantly on edge.

“Not so much, not anymore.” Potter doesn’t sound in the slightest bit apologetic. He looks at his satchel and frowns, apparently already missing his sugary treats.

“Are you and Weasley involved?” The words leave his mouth before Draco can claw them back.

“Which one? I’ll have you know that Arthur’s a happily married man.” Potter rustles in his bag, obviously deciding to flout the rules and eat his sugar quill regardless.

“You know exactly which one. The one with the tattoos.”

“Charlie?” Potter shakes his head, his easy smile faltering for the first time. “Not anymore. It’s complicated.”

“It doesn’t seem that complicated,” Draco mutters. “Not if he comes here with you.”

“Trust me. It’s complicated.” Potter shrugs. “We’re friends, that’s enough for now.”

The for now rankles Draco for reasons he doesn’t choose to examine.

“Harry Potter?”

“See you next week, Malfoy.”

Draco watches the door close behind Potter and sits back, waiting for his own name to be called.

* * *

When Draco arrives for his appointment the following week, Potter’s in his usual place.

“No Weasley?”

“Charlie’s gone back to Romania. I decided I don’t need someone holding my hand anymore.” Potter turns the pages of his book with a frown. “No Narcissa this week?”

“She had lunch plans with one of father’s friends. Besides, I don’t need anybody holding my hand either.”

“I never said you did.” Potter looks up from his book. “She’s okay, your mum. It’s nice of her to come with you.”

“Is that dragon hide?” Draco changes the subject by gesturing to the band on Potter’s wrist.

“I think so – it was a gift.”

“It looks expensive.”

“I expect you would know better than me.” Potter toys with the leather band.

“I thought your taste in Weasleys lay elsewhere. I’m surprised they don’t mind you getting cosy with the dragon tamer, considering the last I heard you were engaged to their only daughter.”

“That’s none of your business.” Potter glares at Draco. “Why do you even care?”

“I don’t.” Draco feels heat rise in his cheeks and he huffs, looking away from Potter. “Not everybody is in love with you, you know.”

“I never said you were.” Potter laughs and the mood shifts. “But you seem awfully interested in my relationships.”

“Honestly, Potter - I couldn’t care less.”

Potter’s steady gaze settles on Draco caressing the contours of his skin until finally, Draco has to look away.

* * *

“Can you believe we work in the same building and yet we bump into each other here, of all places?”

“I do a lot of my work from home.” Draco looks up when Potter takes a seat opposite him. He thinks about the last time he was in the Ministry and the corridors filled with people and tries not to shudder.

“I heard. I might have looked for you the other day.” Potter at least has the decency to look sheepish.

“Why on earth would you do that?”

“I really have no idea.” Potter shrugs. “I was curious.”

The thought that he makes Potter curious gives Draco more pleasure than it probably should.

“You haven’t told anyone I come here?”

Potter shakes his head. “I’ve barely told anyone I come here. I’m not interested in gossiping about your private life.”

“Good.” Draco clutches the coin in his pocket tightly. “Good.”

* * *

The next week Potter’s wearing a t-shirt with a picture of an obscure band on the front. He looks like he could use a good shave and a comb through his hair, but Draco decides to bite back any such observations in case Potter thinks Draco actually cares about Potter’s attire. Not to mention the rumpled look rather suits him.

“So the Ministry don’t mind you working from home?” Potter looks intrigued and he drops his satchel down on the floor.

“Not in the slightest. I’m good at my job, which is more than can be said for you.”

“I’m good at my job too.” Potter glares at Draco. “What makes you think I’m not?”

“Nothing ever gets filed. Everyone complains about it.”

“I’m a bit too busy trying to save lives to worry about paperwork.” Potter drums his fingers on his knee, still frowning.

“Which is why you’ll never be Minister. Even with your name and influence, you need to be a bit more focused on procedure and politics.”

“Why would I want to be Minister?” Potter grimaces as if the thought of being the most powerful wizard in Britain leaves a sour taste.

“Why wouldn’t you?”

Potter nods towards the door which opens with a click.

“You’re up. We can save that for another time.”

* * *

Winter turns to spring and for two weeks, Potter doesn’t make his appointments.

Draco wonders if Potter’s now completely problem free and the thought irks him somewhat. He might have guessed that for Potter even therapy would be easy. Draco feels itchy and restless, staring at the blank wall where Potter used to sit. Eventually his curiosity gets the better of him and he decides to ask casually whether Potter will be coming back.

The man at the desk gives Draco a scathing look and places his hand over the parchment, full of scribbled notes. “You know we are not at liberty to discuss confidential information about other patients, Mr. Malfoy.”

“Of course.” Draco gives the receptionist the same smile his father uses when talking to Ministry officials. “I understand.”

But he doesn’t understand.

The least Potter could have done was say goodbye.

* * *

The next Wednesday, Potter’s back in his usual seat reading the Prophet.

“I thought perhaps you didn’t need therapy anymore.” Draco sniffs, his voice tight. “I expect you’re reading another article extolling your virtues?”

“Nope.” Potter rustles the paper and hands it to Draco. “I was reading about you.”

“What about me?” Draco’s heartbeat quickens, his mouth dry.

“The usual Skeeter nonsense.” Potter’s gaze remains steady. “I don’t believe a word that woman says, for what it’s worth.”

Draco laughs bitterly and peruses the article.

Malfoy Heir Loses his Mind

“Well perhaps you should.”

* * *

When Draco finishes his session, Potter’s sitting outside the waiting room with another dull book open in his lap. He’s deep in concentration and his fingers are covered with blotches of midnight blue ink. Draco wonders if Potter’s been spending too much time with Granger.

“Has nobody seen you yet?”

“Oh.” Potter looks up and blinks owlishly at Draco. “Yes. I was waiting for you.”

“I don’t see why.”

“I thought we could go for a pint. Fancy it?”

“Not in the slightest.” Draco wonders for a fleeting moment if Potter has a drinking problem but dismisses the thought almost as soon as it comes to him. Potter probably thinks one too many Butterbeers is having a good time.

“Sure I can’t tempt you?” The same thought seems to occur to Potter, and he winces. “Coffee would be fine if you don’t drink.”

“I drink.” Draco takes his decision. “You can let me choose the location.”

“You don’t fancy the Leaky Cauldron?” Potter looks shocked, as though everyone should enjoy spending time in a cramped pub filled with too many wizards that smell like mothballs.

“Not particularly.” Draco gives Potter the name of a decent alternative and Apparates without another word.

* * *

“It’s Muggle.” Potter takes in the small, quiet bar and sets down a pint and a glass of red wine which sloshes over the edge of the glass. Draco shifts his stool, to ensure there’s no chance of Potter trying to squeeze into the seat next to him.

“Funnily enough I don’t enjoy drinking in Wizarding bars now everybody who reads the Prophet thinks I’m a raving lunatic.” Draco sips his wine and grimaces. There are several reasons the bar is so quiet and the quality of the wine is right up there at the top.

“I don’t think anybody pays much attention to articles like that anymore.”

“You’d be surprised. Why am I here, anyway?”

Potter begins to twist his pint glass in his hands, and Draco can tell that he’s tapping his foot again beneath the table.

“I asked you for a drink and you said yes.” Potter looks up and smiles. “You make it sound like I dragged you here under Imperio.”

“I mean why did you ask me?”

“Why did you say yes?”

Draco ignores the question and Potter gestures for another drink.

* * *

The next week, Draco arrives to see Potter leaning against the reception desk as if he’s been waiting for Draco to arrive.

“Apparently Martha’s ill. There’s some sort of bug going round and there won’t be any appointments this afternoon.”

“Martha?” Draco finds it more annoying than he should to discover Potter’s on first name terms with his therapist.

“Healer Smith, then.” Potter shrugs, as if it doesn’t matter one way or another.

“What now?”

“There’s a film I’ve been meaning to see for ages. Do you fancy it?” Potter looks eager and Draco almost doesn’t have the heart to say no.

“What sort of film?”

“A Muggle one.” Potter seems to pick up on Draco’s reticence and ups his enthusiasm. “It’s won all sorts of awards and I can’t even get a television to work in Diagon Alley.”

“Of course you can’t.” Draco resists the urge to snort. He supposes he shouldn’t be surprised that Potter has apparently managed to snap up prime real estate in the heart of Wizarding Britain.

“Well, then?” Potter looks hopeful.

“Where’s the cinema?”

“It’s in London, but it’s usually pretty quiet – particularly at this time of day, mid-week.”

The promise of somewhere not flooded with crowds of people makes Draco relax a little and he nods his acceptance.

“Go on, then. It’s not like I have anything better to do.”

* * *

“You didn’t tell me it was this kind of film.” Draco keeps his voice low, although Potter was right about the cinema being quiet. There’s only a handful of people scattered around in the shadows and Draco only has Potter’s proximity to worry about.

“I didn’t realise it was.” The light from the large screen bathes Potter’s face and Draco watches his cheeks flush with colour. “Bloody hell.”

Potter’s thigh presses against Draco’s and the heat from Potter’s body spreads from his hip to his knee. Draco’s breathing hitches, both with panic and a flash of arousal while Potter’s arm shifts on the narrow arm rest until their fingers almost touch.

“It’s practically porn.” Draco eyes the two men on the screen and swallows at the way their faces contort with pleasure. At least the heavy breathing from the film goes some way towards masking his own.

“Hardly.” Potter shifts in his seat. “If you think that, you need a new collection.”

Draco closes his eyes momentarily, having to bite back a laugh at the fact he’s in a Muggle cinema exchanging porn stories with Potter.

“I’m leaving.”

“Don’t be daft, it’s nearly finished.” Potter clutches Draco’s hand to keep him there.

The scene shifts but Draco isn’t looking at the screen anymore. Instead he’s looking at Potter’s fingers, twining slowly with his own. He turns his palm upwards, trying desperately to keep his breathing slow and steady.

He squeezes Potter’s hand and then disengages himself, dropping his hands down onto his knees.

He looks at Potter out of the corner of his eye, still able to feel the heat of Potter’s leg pressing firmly against his side. He takes the gold coin from his pocket and toys with it, running his fingers over the familiar grooves until his breathing settles.

Potter keeps his eyes fixed on the screen and doesn’t speak again until the film finishes.

* * *

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Potter turns to Draco when they leave the cinema and pulls his jacket tightly around his body.

“I can think of better ways to spend an afternoon than holding hands in a Muggle cinema.” Draco stuffs his hands into his pockets in case Potter gets anymore ideas and begins to walk. “If that’s what you’re referring to.”

“I meant the film, you prat.” Potter furrows his brow and falls into step beside Draco, looking up at the sky. “I wasn’t holding your hand, I was trying to stop you from bolting. I didn’t expect you to be so skittish.”

“I was hardly bolting.” Draco huffs and glares at Potter when he grins. “You’re laughing at me.”

“I’m not.” Potter laughs as he says it and holds his hand up. “Have you always been so squeamish about sex?”

“No.” Draco swallows. “No, I haven’t.”

Potter at least has the decency to look contrite. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

“You didn’t.” Draco shrugs and looks around. “Where next?”

“You don’t want to go home?”

“Not just yet.” Draco glances at Potter. “What about this place of yours?”

Potter stares. “You want to come home with me?”

“Not like that.” Draco rolls his eyes and wonders if Potter thinks about fucking all of time. “Are you a sex addict?”

Potter snorts, which Draco takes as a no. “Are you coming or not?”

“I suppose.”

Potter gives Draco the address and disappears with a flick of his wand.

* * *

Potter’s flat sits directly above Flourish and Botts. It’s a strange shape, and to the edge of the room the floor slopes alarmingly. The heavy wooden beams from the ceiling add some character to the small space. A desk sits in one corner of the room and a magical globe spins slowly on its axis, the waves of the sea crashing on sandy beaches in far off climes. In the corner of the room is a bookcase, filled with the same musty books Potter brings with him to St Mungo’s week after week. Discarded parchment covered with scribbles litters the desk and a couple of small wooden doors keep the rest of the flat hidden from view.

Draco drops his coat onto the sofa and takes in the small space. “It’s not what I imagined.”

“It’s not home,” Potter clarifies. “Not really. It’s temporary, while I work on the cottage at Godric’s Hollow. This place is a bit poky for me and there’s not enough light.”

“Are you studying for something?” Draco traces his fingers over the spines of the books, surprised to find a large number of them are similar to books his father often reads. A wave of nausea passes over him as he remembers the green flashes and screams and cool, high-pitched laughter. One of the reasons he trusts Potter is because he knows he wouldn’t be into any of that – not after everything. He sincerely hopes Potter isn’t about to prove him wrong.

“You were the one that pointed out I was rubbish at my job.” Potter’s voice is light and teasing. “I might be going back to Hogwarts. Dark Arts.”

“Why on earth would you do that?” Draco turns and contemplates Potter, who looks content.

“Do you think I should be Minister instead?” Potter laughs and holds up a dusty bottle. “Hagrid made this. It’s pretty good.”

“I doubt that.” Draco eyes the bottle and watches Potter rummage around for glasses.

“Trust me.”

“I don’t have a lot of choice.” Draco sniffs the drink and has to admit it smells good. He takes a tentative sip and savours the liquid, thick with the flavour sweet berries and sharp alcohol. “Not bad.”

“You should have tried some of the earlier batches.” Potter pauses for a moment. “We should do this more often. I actually had fun today.”

“You sound surprised.”

“Aren’t you?”

Draco decides not to answer.

* * *

The following Wednesday, Potter’s already there by the time Draco arrives with his mother in tow.

Potter’s expression shifts from welcoming to closed in one breath as he takes in Draco’s companion, ducking his head back down to his book.

Draco wonders how he would react if Potter walked in arm in arm with Weasley after their truce. He pushes back a wave of anger and jealousy that particular image seems to incite.

“There’s no need to wait for me to finish, mother. I have errands to run. I can see you at home.”

“If you’re sure, darling.” Draco’s mother smiles and nods towards Potter once she settles in her seat, her voice lowering. “Aren’t you going to say hello to Harry?”

“Of course.” Draco smirks and meets Potter’s eyes. “Potter.”

“Malfoy.”

Potter’s lips twitch into a smile, relaxing after it becomes clear there won’t be any change to their usual ritual. His smile indicates he enjoys their shared secret as much as Draco, who fills with unexpected warmth.

“Draco Malfoy?” The Healer’s assistant opens the door and beckons Draco.

When Draco looks back at the waiting room, his mother and Potter are deep in conversation.

* * *

Potter’s appointment runs over into the next, and Draco flicks through the Prophet as he waits for Potter to finish.

When the door finally clicks open, Draco notices Potter looking sheepish, and mentally curses his mother for talking about him without his consent.

“I assume she told you everything?”

Potter nods. “I asked her not to.”

“I’m guessing she didn’t listen.” Draco pauses and puts the paper to one side. “So you know why I’m here?”

“Yes. I know what happened at the Manor. I know you don’t like people being too close.” Potter looks apologetic. “I’m sorry about that thing in the cinema. I wasn’t trying to push.”

“I know.” Draco takes the gold coin from his pocket, and turns it in his hand. “It’s ridiculous.”

“Nope.” Potter sits and then leans in with a conspiratorial whisper. “I can’t get it up. That’s ridiculous.”

Potter’s breath tickles the shell of Draco’s ear and in the rush of pleasure he gets from the sensation, Draco almost misses Potter’s revelation.

Almost.

“Why?”

“If I knew that I wouldn’t be here.” Potter taps his finger against his temple. “There’s something wrong here rather than anywhere else, they know that much. It’s not a physical thing.”

“Isn’t it frustrating?” Draco tries to imagine not being able to take those moments – even the solitary ones – which he relies on for release. He supposes this goes some way to explaining why Potter’s so jittery all the time.

“Sometimes.” Potter shrugs. “No more frustrating than not being able touch someone, I imagine.”

“That’s not really the problem.” It’s important somehow, that Potter understands. “I have no problem touching somebody else. The problem is when they touchme.”

“I don’t get it.”

Draco leans closer and brushes his fingers along the thick material of Potter’s jeans. He slides his fingers along Potter’s thigh and up over his crotch. He takes his time tracing circles on Potter’s leg. Through it all, Potter sits completely still as if any movement might scare Draco away. The steady pat pat of Potter’s heart beating fills Draco’s senses, and Potter’s breathing quickens in time with his own.

“Now do you get it?”

“I’m starting to.” Potter’s voice is low and husky and he tips his head to give Draco better access to his neck.

Draco accepts the unspoken invitation and brushes his lips against Potter’s skin. Potter’s breathing hitches in response. His neck is warm and a light flush rises on his neck, which smells clean and fresh – of soap and citrus fruits. Draco becomes incredibly aware of Potter’s lean body hard against his own and he pulls back before the panic can set in.

“It’s easier when I’m in control.” Draco steadies his breathing and meets Potter’s eyes. “Although it’s still not that easy.”

“Look at us both.” Potter laughs without much humour as the dull flush in his neck and cheeks slowly subsides. “It should be the easiest thing in the world.”

“Should it?” Draco puts his coin back in his pocket and fights back a smile. “I doubt it ever would have been easy, even without all this.”

“No?” Potter’s lips quirk into a smile.

“No.”

* * *

At his next session, Draco tells his therapist about Potter.

She takes careful notes in a spidery hand and peers at him over her glasses which always slip down to the base of her nose during their sessions.

“Do you think this new relationship is wise?”

“It’s hardly a relationship.” Draco thinks about Potter and his big musty books and easy smile.

“Isn’t it?” She scribbles again and Draco leans forward in his seat to make his point.

“You do understand I hate him? I’ve always hated him, and he never used to like me much either.”

“Then why do you keep seeing him?” The writing stops, the pen stills and the glasses slip another notch.

“Because I can’t bloody well avoid him.” Draco sits back in his seat with a sigh. “He’s everywhere.”

“Is he?” The Healer smiles and looks pleased for some godforsaken reason. “Tell me, how would you feel if he told you he had somebody else?”

“Jealous.” The word falls from Draco’s lips and he frowns, wanting to correct himself. “I suppose.”

“Interesting.” Healer Trower looks excited and scribbles some more notes. “He’s happy to let you take charge, given your circumstances?”

“We haven’t exactly got that far.” Draco thinks about Potter’s ragged breathing and flushed cheeks and speaks almost to himself. “But yes, I think so.”

There’s a pause and another scratch of the quill against the parchment, before Healer Trower closes her book with a snap and taps her quill in the direction of the magical clock hanging above her desk. “That’s all we have time for, I’m afraid.”

“Very well.”

“It all sounds like progress, Draco.”

Draco opens the door and looks back at her. “Does it?”

She smiles, and waves him off.

* * *

“Do you think they talk about us?” They’re back again in the same quiet Muggle bar with the cheap wine, and Potter has already ordered his second pint and a bowl of chips.

“Who?”

“Healer Trower and Healer Smith.”

“Doubt it.” Potter shakes his head. “It wouldn’t exactly be ethical, would it?”

“I suppose not.” Draco watches a waitress approach their table with a bowl of chips and pauses until he’s alone with Potter once more. “I told Trower about you today.”

“Only today?” Potter dips a chip into some mayonnaise and curses when it burns his mouth. “I’ve been talking about you for weeks.”

“Why?”

Potter shrugs. “If I could answer that, I probably wouldn’t talk about you at all.”

* * *

The next week, Potter takes a different seat. He settles next to Draco and their sides press together again, from shoulder to thigh. Heat floods through Draco and he turns to Potter who stares right back at him.

“Malfoy…” Potter’s voice catches in his throat and Draco shifts closer, his heart drumming loudly in his chest.

“Harry Potter?”

Draco starts and turns to the owner of the voice, as the door Potter disappears behind every week opens fully.

“You’ll still be here afterwards?” Potter looks back over his shoulder at Draco and sounds hopeful.

“Perhaps.”

Draco has no intention of going anywhere else.

* * *

“What exactly do you mean when you say you can’t get it up?” Curious, Draco discards his usual stool and sits next to Potter on the narrow seat in the corner of their usual Muggle pub, noticing how the paisley chair covers smell like stale beer.

“I’d have thought that’s pretty obvious.” Potter’s knee begins moving under the table and he fiddles with a beer mat. “I can’t get hard.”

“With someone else or by yourself?”

“Both.” Potter grimaces. “And before you ask, I’ve tried lots of things. Men, women, kinky stuff, all sorts.”

“Non-Weasleys?” Draco hopes his smile is sufficiently innocent and tries not to think too deeply about the mention of ‘kinky stuff.’

Potter laughs. “Even non-Weasleys. Muggles, would you believe. I had a bit of a moment there and I’d go out a lot by myself. Not that it ever helped.”

“You don’t enjoy sex?” As much as the idea of physical intimacy terrifies him, the idea of not being able to touch Potter at all seems to terrify Draco more.

“I can get turned on, if that’s what you mean. I do get turned on. My brain just doesn’t connect the dots and…tell the rest of me. That’s the problem.”

“So it’s good for you?” Draco rests his hand on Potter’s knee both to still it and because he has an overwhelming urge to touch Potter. “Even without getting hard?”

“Yes, it’s good.” Potter stutters over his words and presses closer to Draco, shifting his legs under the table. “For me, I don’t know about anybody else.”

Draco squeezes Potter’s leg and slides his hand higher on Potter’s thigh. “I wouldn’t care.”

“No?” Potter drops his hand and rests it over Draco’s.

Draco feels his cheeks heat and he looks down at Potter’s hand on his own, turning his palm upwards just as he did in the cinema and watching their fingers twine together. “Sex is complicated for me.”

“It’s okay.” Potter rubs his thumb over Draco’s hand. “I’m starting to realise it’s complicated for most people.

* * *

They buy fish and chips from a small shop next to the pub, piping hot and wrapped in newspaper. Draco puts a liberal amount of salt and vinegar on his and gestures to a jar of eggs behind the counter.

“What are they?”

“Pickled eggs. I wouldn’t recommend them.” Potter grabs a couple of wooden forks and gestures to the door. “Find somewhere quiet to Apparate – I’ll see you at my place.”

* * *

They steal chips from one another’s plates and finish off a couple of beers Potter keeps cold with ice and a cooling charm.

“Did you want to try something?” Potter looks determined and hesitates before taking a seat next to Draco.

“Like what?”

“Whatever you want.” Potter shrugs and turns to face Draco, his eyes dark. “Like in the waiting room.”

“Oh.” Potter’s request becomes clear and Draco feels hot and cold all at once, his cock twitching with interest. “Anything I want?”

“Within reason, given the circumstances.” Potter gestures to his crotch and gives Draco a sheepish grin, which makes him relax.

“Take off your t-shirt.” Draco tries to sound confident. “Where the fuck you get those clothes from, I’ll never know.”

Potter laughs and tugs his t-shirt over his head. Draco sucks in a breath at the sight of Potter. He reaches out and strokes his fingers along the lines of Potter’s chest. The heat of Potter’s skin and the steady beat of his heart pulses beneath Draco’s fingers. Potter’s hair – thick and coarse – covers part of his chest, and Draco brushes his thumb over Potter’s nipple.

Malfoy.

Potter arches forwards with a hiss, and Draco bites back a groan. He leans forward and slides the flat of his hands over Potter’s chest, flicking his tongue over Potter’s nipple and moving to the other. He takes it between his teeth and tugs and nips at Potter’s skin until he elicits small mewls of pleasure from Potter.

When he pulls back from Potter, Draco notices that Potter’s hands are trembling too.

* * *

The first time they kiss it’s too hard, too much and too soon.

Draco thinks he’s ready for it and emboldened by a drink or two he fists his hand in Potter’s hair, pulling him close and pressing him back against the brick wall of the pub. It’s just after last orders and the streets are full of Muggles looking for somewhere else to go.

Potter’s lips move against Draco’s, his mouth opens and his hands circle Draco’s waist.

Draco’s cock responds and he presses closer to Potter whose cock doesn’t respond at all. Despite the lack of physical response, Potter’s heavy breathing gives away the extent of his arousal and he touches every inch of Draco’s body.

Someone lets out a whoop, followed by a catcall and Draco pulls back to catch his breath and put some distance between them.

“Potter…”

“Malfoy?” Potter’s brow furrows and he drops his hands to his sides, pushing himself off the wall. “Too much?”

“No.” Draco reaches into his pocket to clutch the gold coin, which calms him as he holds it in the palm of his hand until he can breathe again.

“Liar.” Potter’s lips are plump from kissing and he reaches out. “What’s that?”

“Only money.” Draco meets Potter’s gaze and then drops the coin into his hand. “It’s stupid.”

“Is it?” Potter turns the coin in his palm and then offers it to Draco. “Here.”

“Keep it.” Draco pushes Potter’s hand away and begins to walk. “Too many Muggles. There’s no way we can Apparate from here.”

“Watch it, mate.” Someone barges into Draco and he flinches, moving closer to Potter.

“It’s okay, we’re not far from a quiet spot.” Potter wraps his arm around Draco. Once upon a time the touch would have sent him fleeing, but now Harry’s arm cocoons Draco and pulls him out of the way of the crowds and the throngs of people going about their business.

When they find their way into a narrow alley way, Potter kisses Draco again.

The time the kiss is slow and inquisitive, and Potter touches Draco lightly. He places his hands on Draco’s waist deepening the kiss only when Draco moves closer and slides his hands back into Potter’s hair.

Potter isn’t hard and Draco still struggles to breathe, but this time they make it to the floor of Potter’s flat twisting through the air as they leave Muggle London far behind.

“Fuck.” Draco moves back from Potter when they arrive and steadies himself with his palm flat against the wall.

“Here.” Potter takes Draco’s hand. He presses the gold coin Draco gave him earlier back into his palm and closes his fingers around it. “I think you should hang onto this for a bit.”

“Perhaps.” The warm metal relaxes Draco and he pushes the coin into his pocket. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Potter fiddles around with the stove and cast iron kettle, cursing when he can’t seem to get either to work. “Tea or coffee?”

“Tea.” Draco waits for Potter to bring two mugs of piping hot tea over to his seat, and watches him levitate a plate full of precariously balanced chocolate biscuits across the room to drop on a nearby table with a clatter.

Potter tips his mug to Draco. “I felt something, you know. Every time you’ve touched me, I’ve felt something.”

“I’m pleased to hear it.” Draco sips his tea, blowing away the steam from the top of the mug to cool down the hot liquid. “It’s not going to be straightforward if we keep doing this. It’s harder than I thought it would be, even after too many glasses of piss-poor Muggle wine.”

“Too much effort?”

Draco nods, his lips twitching into a smile. “Undoubtedly.”

“I thought you liked a challenge?” Potter smiles around his mug and takes a careful sip of his tea.

“Every now and then,” Draco concedes. “And I know you do.”

“Quite a lot, actually.”

“Not to mention I’m unlikely to get away from you anytime soon unless they find a miraculous cure for me.”

“Exactly. We might as well learn to get on as best we can.” Potter sighs as if the whole thing is a bit of a bore. “It makes the whole process less painful.”

“Yes,” Draco has to agree. “It does.”

Draco glances at Potter and shifts his mug to his other hand, stretching his arm along the back of the seat. He runs his fingers over the nape of Potter’s neck and toys with his hair trying to remember the way Potter feels against his skin.

When Potter puts his mug down and turns to face Draco, the usual feeling of panic dulls into a soft, nagging feeling as opposed to an overwhelming rush of anxiety.

Draco shifts closer to Potter. “Don’t move.”

“No.” Potter breathes out his response, and stays absolutely still.

Draco traces the lines of Potter’s face. He takes in the rough stubble on his chin and the dent the lightning bolt scar makes in his forehead. He slips off Potter’s glasses and places them down, looking into his eyes which are a rich, vibrant green. He never noticed how green Potter’s eyes were before – like the killing curse. Draco brushes his thumb over Potter’s cheek and lower, over his bottom lip. His lips are plump and pliant, hot to the touch and a little damp from the tea Potter was drinking only a moment ago.

Draco slides his hands over Potter’s thighs and then leans in close to brush their lips together. Potter sighs, as if the kiss is something he’s been waiting for. He responds to Draco not by pulling him close or crushing their lips together but by kissing him as if it’s his first time. The kiss lasts for barely a minute, but when Draco pulls back his breathing is absolutely steady for the first time since he and Potter started doing this.

“Okay?” Potter looks concerned by Draco’s silence and he smiles quickly.

“Fine.” He settles back and picks up his tea, remembering what his therapist said. “I think that must be what Healer Trower calls progress.”

“Yes.” Potter laughs and squeezes Draco’s hand before picking up his tea. “I think so too. Maybe we should see a film next week? I’m not sure I like that pub much, the seats smell of stale beer and the lager’s crap.”

Draco grins at Potter trying to break the tension and nods. “Not half as bad as the wine. Should I take it you’ve found some more porn you want me to watch with you?”

“It’s arthouse, you uncultured arse.” Potter rolls his eyes. “I would have thought a Malfoy would be all over that sort of stuff.”

Draco remembers sitting close to Potter and the heat of Potter’s body flush against his own and can’t help but smile.

“I suppose it has its advantages.”

~Fin~