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Building It Together

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PROLOGUE


For two years after the war, Harry had avoided Grimmauld Place. Everything in life was such chaos that the emotional turmoil of living in a house that had belonged to his godfather was too much. The house was too big, and Harry was just one person. The house had so many things and Harry only required the minimal.

He had once thought that after everything settled he'd move there with Ginny. However, he never got back together with Ginny—not that he didn't want to or she didn't want to—the timing never seemed right and then it felt like it was too late.

So Harry shifted around a lot: renting a flat for a few months at a time and trying to find a place where he belonged. Where he felt like he could settle in and where it wasn't about him moving to a place with someone else. It was about living in a home that he'd create. He lived in Muggle cities, wizarding villages, even hotels. After the war, after Hogwarts, it really was about discovering who he was rather than being told what he was.

He was Harry Potter. The Boy Who Lived. The Saviour of the wizarding world. But who was he? Was he funny? Was he a dancer, a singer, a writer, or a poet? Did he have a talent for cooking, or anything else at all? It was time to find out. And for two years after the war, Harry did just that.

He discovered himself. Well, there were those nights that he discovered himself a lot.

Harry realised he was gay.

He liked girls. He loved Ginny, and he thought there were plenty of other girls that were attractive or cute, but the first time Harry danced with a bloke, he knew. He knew that he wanted to wrap his arms around a man, feel a man’s cock get hard and press into his arse, and feel their bodies writhing together. The way Harry wanted a man was never the way he'd wanted Ginny, or any other girl, for that matter.

So along with discovering his hobbies and skills in life, Harry also stumbled across nightclubs, gay pubs, and especially men.

After two years of moving about, comprehending his lifestyle, and contemplating his future, Harry determined it was time to shift back into Grimmauld Place. His godfather had left it for him, and he was going to redecorate the place and get creative. He was going to venture into a new quest: a new kind of experience that would require him to build a home, go on job interviews, and find a new purpose to life.

So on the morning of his twentieth birthday, when Harry took the Floo from the Burrow to Grimmauld Place, he did not expect to end up in Draco Malfoy's sitting room.

________________________________________
________________________________________

The flames roared and settled and Harry stepped out of the fireplace.

"What the..." Harry looked around the room he was standing in. It was a small sitting room with a sofa, two side tables, and a coffee table. It looked nothing like the room he remembered from Grimmauld Place. It was clear that he wasn't there.

"Hey you're back—" Draco Malfoy, wearing nothing but a black pair of pants and running the towel through his hair, stopped still in his tracks. "What the..." he uttered.

"My sentiments exactly," Harry answered, trying to look away from the almost naked man standing in front of him. In turn, his eyes only widened as his gaze fell from Malfoy's abdomen, to his groin and oh, Merlin—he was staring.

"Potter, what in the bloody hell are you doing here and how did you get in?" Malfoy roared, wrapping the towel around his waist, unfortunately.

"I don't know. I wasn't heading here. I don't even know where here is. This isn't the Manor."

"It's really a shame you opted not to be an Auror, Potter. Your observation skills are remarkable!" Malfoy sneered.

"Whatever, Malfoy." Harry wasn't in the mood to argue with Draco Malfoy of all people. "I was heading to Grimmauld Place from the Burrow, and now I'm here. Do you live near Islington?"

"No, I live in Chelsea." He gave Harry the once-over. "Why don't you turn around and try again?"

Harry nodded. It was all he could do. He grabbed a bit of Floo powder from the mantel and entered the fireplace. "Number twelve, Grimmauld Place!" he said, loud and clear. The fire roared but he didn't move. He was still at Malfoy's.

"What is going on?" Malfoy groaned. "I don't have time for this. I'm going to be late for work!"

"I don't know. I think I should just head back to the Burrow. Maybe try from there," Harry said and a moment later, he was off.

He arrived at the Burrow safe and sound, and Hermione and Ron were half-dressed, snogging on the sofa. Needless to say, they were surprised to see him. "Oh for Merlin's sake! I've only been gone for ten minutes!" Harry teased.

It was always like that with the two of them. When no one was around, they were ready to hump each other. More Ron than Hermione, Harry reckoned, but she clearly liked it, too.

"What happened, Harry? Did you forget something?" Ron asked, trying to button up his shirt.

"I forgot how to Floo to Grimmauld Place apparently. I ended up at Malfoy's flat—"

"How?" Hermione asked.

"Why?" Ron added.

"I have no idea. I tried to Floo from his place, and it didn't work. So I thought I'd come back here and try again."

"Why don't you try to Apparate?" Hermione suggested.

Harry nodded and placed his bags on the floor and grabbed his wand. Nothing happened. "It won't let me!" He tried again. Destination, Determination and Deliberation. It didn't work.

"You can't Apparate at all?" Ron asked, shocked.

Harry closed his eyes and concentrated. A moment later, he was at the top of the stairs. He tried again, and was back in front of Ron and Hermione. "It's working otherwise. I just can't seem to Apparate to Grimmauld Place."

"Let's try to Floo together," Hermione suggested. She grabbed Harry's hand and pulled him towards the fireplace. "Number 12, Grimmauld Place!" she said, and the flames roared. When they stepped out, they were standing in Malfoy's sitting room.

"Bloody hell, you're back. And you brought your friends."

"Why do I keep coming here? Why can't I Apparate to Grimmauld Place?" Harry whined in frustration.

"I don't understand what's going on," Hermione added.

"Please, have a discussion in my flat. It's not like I have anywhere to go." Malfoy scowled. "Why don't you Apparate to Grimmauld Place from here? Or go back to wherever you came from?"

Harry held Hermione's hand and tried to Apparate. It didn't work. "Let's just go back to the Burrow," he said, and in moments, he and Hermione were back in the sitting room at the Burrow.

"What happened?" Ron asked.

"It didn't work. I can't Apparate to Grimmauld Place." Harry felt defeated. This was turning out to be the worst birthday ever. What was he going to do now?

"Fly," Hermione suggested.

"What?"

"Take one of Ginny's brooms and fly there. See if the house is still there. See if it'll let you in."

"That's brilliant," Harry said; things were starting to look up!

He quickly ran outside to the shed and grabbed a broom. After he mounted it, he placed a Notice-Me-Not spell on himself and the broom and took off.

Harry knew that it was a 45-minute flight from the Burrow to Grimmauld Place and when Harry arrived, the house was intact. He'd had had the Fidelius Charm removed from the house after the war and a proper key made as well. To the Muggles living around, it looked like an ordinary old house, and to the best of his knowledge, no one really paid any attention to it.

Harry always had the key around his neck. He fiddled with the chain for a moment before lifting it over his head and trying it in the lock. The lock rejected it. Literally. It spat it out, and the brass key flew off all the way to the street. Harry blinked and stared... that was quite the ways. He'd never encountered this sort of magic before.

Confused and irritated, Harry ran after it to retrieve it and tried again. The thing did it again. He tried to Apparate in; it didn't work. The house was rejecting him. Why?

Defeated and confused, Harry grabbed the broom and Apparated back to the Burrow. Hermione was waiting for him, almost as though she’d been expecting him to fail.

"What did you find?" Harry asked. He had been gone for over an hour, and he knew she had probably researched his dilemma. She wouldn't be Hermione otherwise.

She gave him a knowing smile. He was right. She had figured it out.

"I called over to Dante Oswaldo in Ministry Archives, and he sent me information on deeds and wills amongst individuals who are not related by blood." She was walking towards the kitchen and Harry followed her.

Not related by blood. Harry's heart sank into his stomach. Did he lose the house?

"It seems that since you never actually lived in the house for more than a transitional period of your lifetime, the house magically broke its ties with you. When that happens, the house can stay locked up forever until everything inside it just...diminishes."

"How long does that take?" Harry asked, taking a seat on the chair at the kitchen table. He had lost the house.

"It can take years. No one really knows. It almost never happens. The house dissolves slowly with time and my guess would be that it wouldn't exist after a hundred or so years. But time doesn't really matter since no one is ever allowed in the house. It shuts itself off like a vault that no one has a key to, and it's locked from inside."

Harry nodded and hung his head low. He stared at his hands for a while; he was so lost. What was he going to do now? Live at the Burrow? Everything about that house was gone? Sirius? His parents? His only legacy...

"Wait!"

Harry shot his head up and looked at Hermione, who smiled again. She knew what his next question was going to be. "Malfoy is related to Sirius by blood. He's probably the only living family left," she said.

"What about Narcissa Malfoy?" Harry asked.

"It's a possibility, but she lives in France. Besides Draco's magic is much too strong and you really need him."

Harry thought about Andromeda.

"I know what you're thinking, but, Andromeda is too busy with Teddy, who is too young to hone in on this sort of magic—and unless you want to disrupt her life..." She paused. "I think Malfoy is your best bet, that's why the house kept sending you there."

Harry released an exasperated sigh. What was he going to do? There was no way in hell Malfoy was going to help him. Was there?

"We need to convince Malfoy to help us," Hermione said, reading his mind again.

"Do you think he will?"

"Sure," she said casually, as if she knew something he didn't.

"Why?"

"Because it's the right thing to do."

"What makes you think Malfoy will do the right thing?"

"What makes you think he won't?"

Harry scoffed at Hermione's question. He could think of a hundred reasons why.

"If he wants the house for himself, there is nothing we can do to stop him. And I just don't think he's the same Malfoy anymore. He'll help you if he can. I'm sure of it. But first, I need to get to the Ministry and find out exactly what is required for him to hand the house over to you. It's probably just some signature on an enchanted parchment to sign the deed over to you for good. But Harry, you have to make sure you live in the house. Make it yours, or it'll be gone, forever."

"I will," Harry promised.

*-*-*-*

Harry joined Hermione at the Ministry later that morning. She had left him on the sofa in the sitting room at the Burrow to sulk for a while as she went into work.

At half past eleven, Harry took the Floo Network to the Ministry and found himself lingering in the hallways of the Department of International Magical Cooperation. When Hermione was done with her morning meetings, she asked Harry to accompany her to the Department of Magical Equipment Control where Malfoy worked.

Malfoy scowled when he saw Harry, but his expression soothed at the sight of Hermione. Harry found that to be very suspicious.

"Hello, Draco. I'm sure you're aware of the situation," Hermione said as she sat across from Malfoy, and he nodded.

Draco? Hermione never told Harry that she was on a first name basis with Malfoy.

Hermione spoke as Harry stood behind her. Malfoy's eyes never left Hermione's face as he listened intently. Harry looked around Malfoy's office and every time he'd see something of interest, Malfoy would shout "Don't touch that," and continue speaking with Hermione.

He'd never felt more like a five year old since he'd been at the Dursleys.

"We should go to Grimmauld Place to inspect," Hermione said, and stood up.

Harry noticed that Malfoy was rather reluctant but didn't really argue with her. He caught himself wondering what was going on between Hermione and Malfoy. Clearly, something had happened. Something Harry really wanted to know.

They arrived at Grimmauld Place by Apparition, and this time it worked. Malfoy held Hermione's arm, and Hermione held Harry's, and it worked. Harry's heart sank; Malfoy was the true owner of the property.

It was an idea that was quickly dismissed once they all took in the state of the house. Everything had disappeared. There were no proper levels to the house. No proper entrance hall. Only a small sitting room and the kitchen remained.

"What happened?" Harry asked, shocked, and feeling as though the wind had been kicked out of him.

"Oh, this is not good, at all," Malfoy said, almost ignoring Harry's comment. He was frowning and looked just about how Harry felt.

"Wait, I'll contact Dante. I have a book about this in my office!" Hermione said and quickly ran towards the Floo. Harry wondered if it would work given the house was—what was the house doing? Disappearing? Going away? Dying?

Could a house die?

Harry was lost in his thoughts and noted that Malfoy wasn't speaking much either when Hermione did manage to contact that Dante bloke via the Floo. He sent her a book through the flames

"Here, let me read from this," Hermione said as she opened up Magical Ownership: What to do when your house is collapsing. Harry and Malfoy stood around awkwardly, avoiding looking at each other, until Hermione looked up again.

*-*-*-*

"Wait, we have to do what?"

"I am not going to live in this house!" Malfoy roared. For once, Harry agreed with him. Actually agreed with him, and if they were actual friends, he'd probably hug Malfoy or kiss him for saying something consequential.

Kiss him? Where did that idea come from? Harry never wanted to kiss Hermione or Ron when they said something he wholeheartedly liked.

"It's the only way," Hermione said, interrupting Harry's thoughts and Malfoy's rage.

Harry still wasn't convinced. Malfoy wasn't either.

"The house is collapsing," Hermione said, stern. "The longer you deny acceptance of your inheritance, Draco, the faster the house will deteriorate. You just need to stay here with Harry for a month. Six weeks at most. I'll read more into the matter. The house belongs to both of you and the house needs to accept that. It needs to see that Draco accepts it and that you're okay with the fact that Harry is here. When it is back to its full structure, you just have to sign the magical deed stating that you give up all ownership to Harry. Nothing to it."

Nothing to it? Harry glared at Hermione who seemingly ignored him.

"I already have a place to live," Malfoy said, still evidently enraged by what was being asked of him.

"I'll pay your rent," Harry found himself saying. What was he doing?

"I don't need your fucking money, Potter."

"Listen, Malfoy," Harry said, trying to calm his voice. Harry needed to be the rational one here; he just needed to be. "All I care about is this house. It's the only thing I have left that was part of my family—my godfather, my parents—and I will do anything to get it back. Even if that means living with you. I need your help and I'm asking you, begging you, to help me. Can you just—"

"Where will we sleep?" Malfoy asked. "I mean where will I sleep? Can't I just bring you here, and go back to my flat? Do I have to sleep here?"

They both turned to look at Hermione.

"Magic makes the house alive. You both have to be living here for it to recognise you as equals. If you abandon the house with Harry in it, who knows—"

Malfoy groaned but didn’t argue, and Harry was a bit thankful. He didn't really want to hear about the house swallowing him whole.

*-*-*-*

After a very long and strenuous process of negotiation, Malfoy convinced Harry that if he was going to stay at Grimmauld Place, he needed his own bed. The sitting room had the furniture intact and they could shrink the furniture so Malfoy's bed could fit there, but there was only space enough for one bed. Hermione had managed to persuade them that for the time being they needed to sleep in the same bed.

Harry couldn't believe it, but he was desperate. He needed the house and he needed Malfoy's help. For the time being, Harry would have to share a bed with Malfoy, for a month. Six weeks tops.

Yeah, nothing to it. Harry sighed.

"So what exactly is the plan?" Malfoy asked after he'd settled the bed in the corner and had the bedding properly fitted on it, with his pillows and his side tables, the works.

Wow, Malfoy really cared about his bed.

Ron's head emerged into the Floo as he called for Hermione before they could discuss the "plan."

"Oh I'm so late!" Hermione nearly shrieked and tied her travelling cloak on. "I have to go. I'm so sorry, Harry. You just have to figure out what you want to do. What time you leave the house. Draco, you can't leave Harry alone in the house—not until you feel it's safe. You'll have to Floo or Apparate out and come back home together. Make sure that you cook or at least share one meal in the kitchen so your magical presence and your bond with the house is active."

She stepped into the Floo and gave them both a once over. "Come by the Burrow for dinner later, both of you, and we can work out the details."

Great, now Malfoy was going to intrude in Harry's personal time with his friends as well. Was this hell ever going to end?

Six weeks tops.

Glad that at least one bathroom was still intact in the house, Harry started to speak... "So, I am going to shower..." He turned to look at Malfoy, who appeared pensive. "What's the matter?" Harry asked.

"I sleep in the nude, usually," he answered, and Harry silently gulped.

Fantastic. Harry's cock gave a quick twitch and he couldn't will for it to stop.

"I will need to go back to my flat to gather some clothes. I reckon I shall need pyjamas and my robes here for the morning. You can shower while I pack."

Harry nodded. He had already packed that day and his belongings were settled in the corner of the room, under a shrinking charm. Harry reckoned he'd have to figure out what he needed on a daily basis and the rest would have to stay shrunk — there was absolutely no room in the tiny sitting room for both their things combined.

"Ready?" Malfoy said, his voice resolute, and he placed his hand on Harry's shoulder.

"Can we take the Floo?" Harry asked.

"Fine." Malfoy rolled his eyes and walked over to the fireplace. "But we are going to Apparate back because it would sort of defeat the purpose of you showering, then taking this dirty Floo back. I need to look into getting this old thing cleaned."

"I can do that—"

"Not sure if the house will allow it," Malfoy said; he sounded almost respectful towards the house, as if he respected its magic.

Harry made a mental note to ask Malfoy what exactly he did for a living. He knew that Malfoy worked at the Ministry at the Department of Magical Equipment Control, but he wasn't sure what exactly that entailed.

"Shower's that way," Malfoy said, pointing towards the right of the hallway when they arrived back at his flat. He turned left towards his bedroom and closed the door. "Towels are in the cupboard," he shouted from behind the closed door.

At least he was a gracious host, Harry thought.

He quickly showered and changed back into the clothes he'd worn all day, feeling stupid for not being as prepared or alert as Malfoy. Malfoy it seemed, thought about everything. When Harry opened the door to the bathroom to step out, Malfoy was standing outside his bedroom door. It looked like he'd cleaned the place up a bit and Harry felt a strange tingle.

"I've put the flat under a protective spell," Malfoy said, reading Harry's expression.

Harry had felt the magic.

"I won't be sleeping here tonight, and who knows when I'll be sleeping here again, so I just wanted to leave it—"

"You don't have to explain it to me," Harry said, interrupting Malfoy. Judging by the look of discomfort on Malfoy's face, Harry could tell this wasn't just any old flat to Malfoy. This was Malfoy's home. Harry hadn't had a home in so long that he felt a bit envious of Malfoy's possessiveness towards it.

They Apparated back to Grimmauld Place, and Harry immediately charged towards his things. He wanted to give Malfoy his privacy and he needed to change out of his clothes and into fresh ones. He grabbed a pair of black trousers and a dark blue button down shirt and headed to the bathroom. When he emerged, Malfoy had the entire place set up like a studio flat.

Harry was surprised and he looked at Malfoy with his shocked expression. Malfoy's face was stoic as ever, but Harry could see the gleaming look of pride in Malfoy's grey eyes. Harry glanced over to the corner where he'd settled his belongings and saw a small cupboard. Malfoy had Transfigured the coffee table into a cupboard. A mirror hung on the wall next to it.

Harry opened the cupboard. "The right side is yours," Malfoy said, and Harry saw his things lying neatly inside, and then he looked over to the left and Malfoy's clothes were folded up nicely and his shoes were on the bottom level of the cupboard. "The left is mine, of course," Malfoy added.

Harry turned and nodded in acknowledgement. Harry couldn't help but think about how he was playing house with Malfoy. What was even more surprising was how Malfoy was so comfortable with the situation. It was as if he'd done this before.

"We have an hour before we are due at the Burrow," Harry said, unsure of what else to say. Everything in life was so uncertain. His own house wasn't allowing him to live there. Malfoy was settling into Harry's house. The house belonged to Malfoy. Where did Harry belong? The only place he could think of was the Burrow. Yeah, Harry would always belong with the Weasleys. Thankfully that wasn't going to change.

"Very well, I shall get ready," Malfoy said. He walked over to the cupboard, grabbed a few things and locked himself in the bathroom.

Harry watched him go and then turned his gaze back to the room. The only place to sit was Malfoy's bed. The furniture had all been shrunk. Harry was afraid to move something out of place, to touch Malfoy's set up. He wasn't sure what he was more afraid of—the house's magic going awry or Malfoy going awry?

He settled himself on the bed, knocking off his shoes, and took in the room again. The bed was pushed against the wall and Harry couldn't help but wonder which side would he sleep on. Which side did Malfoy prefer?

Suddenly Harry's mind travelled over to the fact of whether or not Malfoy was seeing someone. Did he have sex on this bed? Harry closed his eyes to shun the idea out of his mind, but instead all he could think about was what Malfoy would look like when he came.

Merlin, what in the blood hell was wrong with Harry?

Malfoy opened the door to the bathroom and as steam poured out into the tiny room, Harry sprang up off the bed. He felt like a little kid who was almost caught doing something he wasn't supposed to do.

How was he going to live like this for a month? For six weeks?

Malfoy gave him a curious look, his eyebrow raised, and turned to the mirror that was next to the cupboard. He was straightening up his clothes and ran his hand through his hair before he grabbed his wand that was stored on his side of the cupboard and dried his hair to set it.

His hair settled comfortably on top of his head, parted on the right, and it looked so effortless.

"Are you going to gape at me the entire time we are forced to dwell together?" Malfoy said without turning. "I can feel your eyes on me, Potter."

"Right. Sorry." Harry cleared his throat and put his hands in his pocket. He looked around the room uncomfortably. "I just don't know—"

"Relax," Malfoy said, walking towards him. He placed his hands on Harry's shoulders and slightly pushed them down. "If you're going to live here...you need to relax. You need to let the house feel like you want to be here."

"Is that why you did all this—"

"That's part of it, yes. I need to make the house accept me, my magic. Your presence." Malfoy gave Harry a stern look and Harry nodded. "The faster we do this, the better. We can maybe get out of this predicament before Granger's prediction."

"Six weeks."

"Yes. I am hoping for three."

"Why three?"

"Pansy and Blaise's wedding is coming up and if I cannot turn over the house to you by then, then—"

"Then I'm screwed." Harry knew he was overreacting, but couldn't help it.

Malfoy laughed. It was a strange sound to hear. Harry didn't think he'd ever heard Malfoy genuinely laugh before. Not like the ones when he was torturing Neville. "No. I reckon we might have to start from scratch or something. Not sure if you could live in the house by yourself for days, is all."

"Right," Harry said, and looked over at his watch. "We should head—"

"What's the occasion?" Malfoy asked.

"What do you mean?"

"Granger seemed rather tense about leaving on time, and you're very adamant about being on time—"

"The dinner at the Weasleys..." Harry said, not sure why he was nervous all of a sudden. "It's my birthday."

"Oh."

"It's actually—it's more of an engagement dinner for Neville and Ginny, and it was Neville's birthday yesterday—so it's just basically a big Weasley get together. Since Neville and I don't really have fam—"

"Oh."

Harry noticed the way Malfoy tensed up.

"What's the matter?"

"I didn't realise everyone was going to be there, I thought it was just Granger and Weasley. Perhaps I should stay."

"What? Don't be ridiculous, Malfoy," Harry said, grabbing Malfoy's arm. Malfoy looked down at Harry's touch and Harry immediately removed his hand. "I mean, I can't come back here unless you're with me and you can't just stay here alone."

"I will just come and get you at the end of the evening."

"No. I don't even know what time we'll be done."

"But—"

"Let's just go, Malfoy," Harry said, and this time his hold on Malfoy tightened and he didn't let go, no matter the looks Malfoy gave him. "It's just a small gathering." Harry knew he was lying. There was nothing small about the evening's get together, but he didn't want Malfoy to stay alone at the house. Part of him was worried that if they spent time apart while he was there, then the house wouldn't recognise Harry, ever.

*-*-*-*

When they arrived at the Burrow, Harry felt Malfoy tense up again. Harry understood, but he also knew that everyone seeing him and rushing to hug him all at once was just a temporary state. After the initial hellos, they were all going to turn the attention back to the bigger news: Ginny's engagement.

There was going to be cake for Harry and Neville, drinking and singing for Neville and Ginny, and after a while, Harry would be able to make his escape. He was glad to share the festivities with the happy couple; Harry really hated being the centre of attention anyway.

By the time they had arrived, the Weasleys and the rest of the attendees already knew about Harry's predicament. Harry could count on Hermione to make sure that everyone was on their best behaviour for Malfoy. Malfoy was doing a monumental favour for him and much to Harry's delight, they were all more than cordial with him.

"It's not so bad, is it?" Harry turned to ask Malfoy as the dessert was being served.

"No. Everyone's being really nice," Malfoy said; his tone was hard to read. There wasn't any sarcasm or disdain, but it didn't sound shocked or gleeful, either.

Harry looked at him, confused, and almost as though he was urging him to continue talking. Malfoy sighed in compliance. "I'm just not used to being around so many people, is all," he added. "I just see a lot of people at work, then I go home to a quiet dinner. But it's good. People watching." He smiled and looked over at everyone else.

He had a small smile on his face and he really was people watching. Harry couldn't help but smile with him and he looked away straight into Hermione's gaze. She gave him a look as if she was asking, "What are you doing, Harry?" He shrugged at her and took a bite of his treacle tart.

He didn't know what he was doing besides being really nice to Malfoy, because Malfoy seemed to speak house magic and he needed Malfoy's help. Desperately.

The evening was still in full swing when Harry saw Malfoy sitting in a corner, hiding a yawn. Malfoy probably had work the next day. So did everyone else. Hermione had already excused herself, so there was no reason for Harry to stay. It was nearing midnight and there were a lot of things to be discussed, like what time were they going to wake up? What time was Malfoy going to come home from work? And what side of the bed was Harry going to sleep on?

The last one wasn't as important as the others, but Harry still wondered about that. What side of the bed did Malfoy prefer? I usually sleep in the nude. Harry couldn't shake the words out of his head and he hated the way his cock reacted to that statement every time.

"Ready to go?" Harry asked Malfoy as he approached him. Malfoy looked embarrassed that he'd been caught yawning. He nodded and then stood up, taking Harry’s arm.

"Floo or Apparition?" Harry asked.

"I'm too tired to guarantee that we won't splinch," Malfoy answered, and they walked to the Floo. Malfoy's hand stayed on Harry's arm.

Harry said his goodbyes as they made their way to leave. Ginny and Neville both hugged Harry at the same time as he and Malfoy stood right in front of the fireplace. Malfoy let go of Harry's arm, but Neville's grip was too tight on the both of them.

"Take care of him, Malfoy!" Neville said, and they were all squished together in one giant group hug. "He's very important to us."

"Yeah, don't let the house eat him alive!" Ginny added. A moment later, both she and Neville erupted in laughter as though what Ginny had said was the funniest thing in the world. Even pissed, they made a cute couple. It was exhausting.

"No worries. I'll do my best to make sure Potter isn't swallowed whole." Neville and Ginny continued laughing as Malfoy turned to look at Harry.

Harry shrugged. "Let's go," he said and Malfoy nodded. A few moments later, they were back at Grimmauld Place.

*-*-*-*

Nothing had changed.

The room looked exactly the way they had left it. Harry wasn't sure if that was good or bad. At least the house wasn't destroying itself anymore. He still didn't know what was supposed to happen that would indicate that it was no longer on a self-destructive path.

"So, I'll just go and change then," Malfoy said, approaching the cupboard and pulled out a pair of pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt.

"Right." Harry looked over at the bed and then at Malfoy.

"I'd prefer to sleep on the outside," Malfoy said. "But we can alternate if you're uncomfortable." He must have understood Harry's hesitation.

"Er...sure. That's fine."

Malfoy turned and made his way to the bathroom, leaving Harry alone. He quickly grabbed his own clothes from his side of the cupboard and changed. Before Malfoy was back in the room again, Harry settled himself on his 'side' of the bed.

Malfoy's bed was firm and as soon as Harry's head hit the pillow, he realised how tired he really was. It had been a very long day. When he woke up that morning on his birthday, the last thing he'd expected was going to sleep on Malfoy's bed—next to Malfoy—but there he was. It was the most bizarre thing that had happened to him in a very long time.

He heard the bathroom door click and then open. Harry tensed up and shut his eyes. He felt the mattress dip as Malfoy's weight settled on the bed.

"You're doing it again," Malfoy said, his voice soft.

"Doing what?" Harry asked, opening his eyes.

"Getting agitated. You belong in this house. You have to remember that."

Harry turned to his side and looked at Malfoy who was sitting up and was reading over a parchment. Harry watched him as Malfoy shuffled two or three parchments in his hand and one that was resting in his lap.

Harry's eyes fell upon the faded Dark Mark on Malfoy's forearm. It was the first time he'd noticed it; Malfoy had been wearing long sleeves all day. Harry felt Malfoy tense up under his gaze. Harry quickly looked away.

"What are you reading?" Harry asked, keeping his eyes concentrated on the ceiling.

"Just some notes for my session tomorrow."

"Session?"

"My client is coming in tomorrow and we've got a healing session."

"I don't understand," Harry said, turning to face Malfoy again. He tried to stay concentrated on Malfoy's face and not look down to his arm, or anywhere else for that matter.

"I'm training under Abigail Valera," Malfoy said, as though he was expecting Harry to know who that was. Harry shrugged. "She's only the most respected Reader in the wizarding world!"

"What's that?"

"Her speciality is non-organic magic. She focuses on magic in inanimate objects and what they're trying to tell us. I've got my very first one-on-one session with a client tomorrow. I have to assess why the client's garden doesn't grow any other flowers except for tulips." Harry looked at him confused again so Malfoy continued talking. "A client we have, can't share names, said that she tries to grow sunflowers and roses in her garden, but the plants quickly die. Except for tulips. Tulips tend to flourish and she wants to know why."

"So you can talk to the plants?"

"Well, no. I can feel the energy and try to evaluate what the garden is trying to tell this particular woman."

"So what is the garden trying to tell the woman?" Harry asked, almost sitting up.

"Well according to my research, the woman who lived there before my client was also a gardener, and tulips were her favourite flower. My client wants to grow flowers so she can sell them for a garden show, but she barely puts any energy into the work. She's really doing it for superficial reasons. The garden is basically rejecting it. Her ways are calculated, more methodical than emotional. So the garden is growing what it wants to. My mother taught me that—about gardening—giving your full attention. This one is actually rather simple to solve."

Harry scoffed.

"You don't believe that?" Malfoy asked, looking appalled. Harry shrugged again. "What about how we pick our wands or why this house is rejecting you..."

"So you're telling me you can tell what the house wants? The house has energy?"

"The house is trying to commit suicide!" Malfoy almost roared. "Of course the house has energy. Everything has magic around us. Just not everyone can feel it."

"Right," Harry said. He still wasn't convinced. He didn't know why the house was destroying itself, but what Malfoy was offering sounded too—simple.

"Here," Malfoy said, offering his hand to Harry. Harry raised an eyebrow and reluctantly gave his hand to Malfoy when Malfoy glared at him. "Sit up and close your eyes," Malfoy added.

Harry rested against the wall and crossed his legs. His right hand was in Malfoy's and Malfoy placed his left hand on the wall. "Now breathe in and out," Malfoy said and Harry obliged, still feeling rather silly.

It took a few minutes, but Harry felt a sort of energy travel from Malfoy's hand up his arm. The sensation was nothing like he'd ever felt before. It reminded him of the magic he felt when he was at Malfoy's flat earlier that day. Tiny bits of electric shock travelled up and down Harry's spine and he sat up straight.

"Shh..." Malfoy whispered, and Harry didn't dare open his eyes.

He felt sadness at first, then something dark, very very dark was encompassing around his heart. Malfoy squeezed his hand gently. "Relax," he whispered, and Harry untensed his shoulders again.

Harry hadn’t noticed until then, but Malfoy was circling his thumb over Harry's wrist. As if he was trying to get the magic to flow and trying to get him to relax at the same time.

"Okay," Malfoy said and he broke the connection. He let go of Harry's arm and when Harry opened his eyes, Malfoy was looking at him intently. "Did you feel that?"

"Yeah," Harry said. Malfoy reached out his hand towards Harry's face; Harry hesitated back a little but allowed Malfoy to touch his face. He wiped away a tear. Harry didn't even know he'd started crying.

"What did you feel?"

"The house..." Harry hesitated. "It hasn't been a home in a very long time. Just saw darkness, death..."

"Abandonment." Malfoy nodded.

"It wants to destroy itself..."

"Because it's not a home."

"How did you make me feel that?" Harry asked, placing his hands under his legs, afraid to touch anything else.

"Everything has energy. You just have to know how to channel it."

"Anyone can channel it?"

"With practice. Yes." Malfoy smiled and shifted away to his side of the bed and began looking through the parchments again.

"That was something else," Harry whispered, more to himself than anything else. He heard Malfoy chuckle next to him, but he didn't say anything.

A few minutes later, Malfoy turned off his light and settled into bed. "Potter?"

"Yeah?" Harry said, trying to sound sleepy, though he was very awake and very aware of Malfoy's presence next to him.

"Happy birthday."

*-*-*-*

Harry woke up to feeling the cold wall against his cheek. He was pinned against the wall and under something. Someone, rather. Malfoy was all but on top of him with his legs wrapped around Harry's and face pushed in between his shoulder blades.

"Malfoy?" Harry's voice was so low that he wasn't sure if he'd made a sound at all.

"Hmm?" Malfoy said, but didn't move.

"You're kind of on top of me," Harry answered, still whispering.

Malfoy hummed and a moment later realised what had happened. "Shite!" he exclaimed and pulled himself away from Harry, almost tumbling off the bed as he stood up.

Harry turned around to look at him and Malfoy looked mortified. His face was flushed red and the left side of his hair was sticking up.

"Sorry, I'm just not used to— I usually sleep with a giant pillow—" Malfoy was struggling for words, and abruptly he turned and all but ran into the bathroom.

Harry laughed. He liked this side of Malfoy; the non-overly-confident not-so-stoic side. Harry took his time getting out of bed and stumbled over to the kitchen to make coffee.

Malfoy had managed to pack some provisions when he and Harry had gone to his flat the day before. Malfoy had an over-abundance of instant coffee with powdered cream. Harry wondered if there was some hidden magical energy in instant coffee that he didn't know about. He chuckled to himself and started to heat the water in a kettle. The stove seemed to be working and he'd found eggs and bread in the small supply box Malfoy had prepared.

The house belonged to him. The kitchen belonged to him, and Hermione had said that they needed to cook as much as possible to keep a bond with the house. It had been a while since Harry had made breakfast for someone, and it felt oddly refreshing to cook for Malfoy.

When Malfoy walked into the kitchen, he was wearing his Ministry robes and his hair was perfect. He smiled walking in, and Harry reckoned it was because of the smell of breakfast. It wasn't a very extravagant breakfast, but seeing Malfoy's face light up that way made it worth it.

"So a quick bite and then I'll hop in the shower?" Harry asked, and Malfoy nodded. "Do you take sugar?" he asked, pouring hot water over the instant coffee powder in the mug.

"No, do you?" Malfoy asked in return. "I didn't realise, I didn't pack—"

"It's fine. I can live without it for a day," Harry answered.

It was so weird. He and Malfoy had been left alone for a day—they'd slept in the same bed—and they were just so polite with each other. In the past, Malfoy had done just about everything to bring it out of Harry. Anger, rage, obsession, and he in Malfoy, but now it was so different. It was so cordial. Harry wondered if it had anything to do with Malfoy's training as a Reader. Did his training require him to be so patient? So prepared?

"You should go get ready, I'll clean up," Malfoy said as Harry got up to collect their plates.

"Your robes..." Harry protested.

"I've got a wand, Potter," Malfoy answered, rolling his eyes. Ah, there was the exasperated and annoyed Malfoy Harry was so used to.

"See you in a bit," Harry said and went off to shower. He grabbed a pair of jeans and a short-sleeved shirt with him. He brushed his teeth first, then settled under the hot water. His mind was racing a thousand kilometres per second. He tried to think about everything under the sun, but his mind kept on returning to the feel of Malfoy against his body. Malfoy's legs wrapped around his and his head resting on his back.

I usually sleep in the nude. Harry's cock jerked up again at the thought of what if Malfoy had slept in the nude the night before, how would his naked body feel against Harry's? Did Malfoy get hard in his sleep?

Fuck! Harry's thoughts betrayed him; his body betrayed him, and he was hard. He couldn't wish for his erection to go down and had to take the matter into his own hands. Literally.

He'd lathered himself up and the hot water poured over him as he grabbed his cock and started to stroke himself. It had been a while since he'd given himself a release. He'd been staying at the Burrow for the last few days and then last night he'd shared a bed with someone else. Someone he wasn't supposed to have an attraction towards, but he did. When had Malfoy become so delectable? Harry couldn't deny himself the need for him. They'd shared some sort of weird magical bond the night before, and then Malfoy had woken up practically all over him.

Malfoy didn't even know what he was doing to Harry, and they had only shared one day. How was he going to be able to do this for almost a month? Hopefully less if Malfoy had his way.

Harry tugged on his cock again, wondering how Malfoy liked it. Did he like it rough or did he shag all sweet and gentle-like? Harry tried not to think about the fact that he didn't even know if Malfoy liked men or women. He wouldn't have been as casual as he was with Harry if he was into blokes, right? But he didn't even seem to hesitate about sharing a bed. A normal bloke, a straight bloke would have hesitated, Harry thought.

Ron would have hesitated to share a bed with another bloke that wasn't Harry. Harry and Ron were practically brothers, but Ron wouldn't be so okay with sharing a bed with Neville.

Okay, so maybe Malfoy wasn't a homophobic prat. Malfoy wasn't any kind of a prat. Not anymore, anyway. Harry's mind was still racing and he kept on fucking his fist with his cock, imagining being pushed against the wall and Malfoy on top of him. Then he came, spattering all over the shower tile, whispering Malfoy's name, wishing Malfoy was there moaning Harry's name back.

One fucking night. He'd spent one night in Malfoy's company. How was he going to survive the next several weeks?

*-*-*-*

Harry and Malfoy took the Floo to the Ministry where Harry headed off to see Hermione. Malfoy told him that he was going to meet him back there at half past five and then they could go to the market for groceries. Cooking dinner seemed like a good idea to Harry, and Malfoy had agreed.

Harry still couldn't believe that he and Malfoy were being so cordial around each other. Harry kept on waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it didn't. Two years away from everyone had changed Harry, and he supposed that he hadn't realised that it could change others as well.

Everyone was different after the war; why would Malfoy changing be so surprising?

Harry dismissed the thought when he arrived at Hermione's office. She gave him a hug and had him sit down at the sofa in her office. At twenty-one, Hermione was the youngest in the Ministry to have her own office with a secretary. "So how was it?" she asked.

"It was fine," Harry answered casually. "We slept in the same bed. I made breakfast this morning." Oh yeah, and I wanked in the shower wishing he'd fuck me into the mattress.

"I have to admit that I was sure that one of you, if not both, would walk into the Ministry this morning with a black eye," she said, and returned to her chair and sat, her arms folded over the desk.

Harry nodded.

"What aren't you telling me?" She raised an eyebrow and Harry was instantly reminded of McGonagall.

"Nothing," Harry said, shrugging.

"Draco isn't so bad anymore," she said, still assessing Harry.

"Do you know what he does?" Harry asked, remembering the energy that had jolted through his body the night before.

"The energy readings?" she asked, and Harry nodded. "It's really an amazing talent. You've really got to know what you're looking for when you can touch an object like that and feel the current flow through you."

"He's demonstrated it for you?" Harry asked, trying not to sound jealous.

"Once. I was trying to see if I could do it on my own. I was trying to look into an old family heirloom that Ron's mum gave me, but it doesn't come as naturally to me as it does to him." She looked at him again, pulling her chair closer to her desk. "Did he show you?"

"The house," Harry said, his breath caught in his throat. "I felt the house. He showed me what it wanted. What we—what I needed to do."

Hermione beamed. She released a sigh of relief—almost as if now she had someone else to talk to about it. "Ron won't let me do it ever again. Not with Draco."

"Do what?" Harry asked, his brows furrowed.

"Share the magic—the energy," Hermione said. "It's a really personal thing. When Draco showed it to me for the first time, I told Ron about it and he just got so jealous. He thought Draco had put some sort of sex spell on me. I felt very different for a while."

"Gross, Hermione," Harry said. He didn't need to know more than that. He didn't want to know that sharing the magic thing had made her horny. It'd made Harry horny, too. So was that why that morning—in the shower?

"I told him that he was crazy, of course. It was just transference of energy and people feel differently. I wasn't attracted to Draco, but it did shift something between us. We became friends. I would never— Besides, I told him how Draco didn't feel the same way about me. But Ron wouldn't let it go."

"Why wouldn't he feel the same way about you?" Harry asked.

"Because he's gay," Hermione said, like it was such common knowledge.

"He—what?"

"That's why he was okay showing me, because there was no attraction on either side. He just wanted to show me how it worked because I'd asked him. Energy reading is a type of gift one is born with, and his is very, very raw and natural. I trusted him because he's gay. I know that he wasn't trying to do anything to me—"

"And me?" Harry asked. What was Malfoy trying to do to Harry?

"Maybe he just wanted to show you. Guide you," she said. "You said yourself, you know what the house wants."

"So he wasn't trying to make me fall for him..." Harry whispered, more to himself than anyone else.

"I don't think he needs help in that department," Hermione said, her nose in her parchment.

"What?"

"Nothing."

"So, I'll just be off then," Harry said and stood up. "I don't want to take any more of your time."

Hermione stood up again and came across her desk to give Harry a hug. "I'm glad you're back, Harry. I love seeing you, of course. I hope we'll see you more now. Now that you have a place to settle into."

"Yeah. If the house doesn't reject me."

"The house isn't going to reject you. It just wants to feel like you want to be there."

Harry nodded. He wanted to be there, but he was also afraid. What if he wanted to move on? Would the house try to destroy itself again? It was all starting to sound like a very unhealthy co-dependent relationship that Harry wasn't ready for. Maybe the next time he felt like moving, he'd just sell the place to someone who'd want to live there. Make it a real home.

Harry left Hermione's office and waited for the lifts to head towards the exit. When he entered the lift, a few people exited, and Harry found himself alone in the small space with a woman holding a pot of tulips and an annoyed look.

"Nice flowers," Harry said, wondering if this was the woman he'd heard about from Malfoy.

"Thanks," the woman said kindly. She gave Harry a soft smile, acknowledging who he was.

"Trouble with gardening?"

She released an exasperated sigh. "You have no idea." She chuckled and buried her nose in the flowers. "I've been told I don't care enough, and that my garden is apparently retaliating." She laughed when Harry gave her a quizzical look. "I would think he's a complete nutter for saying so, but I think he's right. The damn garden is like my ex-husband. Just doing its own thing and not responding to my touch."

Harry laughed outright at that. "What do the experts say?"

The woman sighed again. "Spend more time in the garden. Talk to the plants. Between my real job and my kids, I just don't have the time. Maybe I should just sell—"

"Sounds like you need an assistant," Harry said.

"Are you offering?" The woman immediately raised an eyebrow.

Harry shrugged. "Why not? I could give it a go. I don't have anything else going on."

"With that kind of enthusiasm... Oh, what am I even saying? I'm desperate. I can't pay much..."

"I don't need much," Harry said, grinning.

"Hold this." The woman handed Harry the pot of tulips and searched her robes for a piece of parchment. "This is my contact information. I am at home tomorrow, so why don't you stop by? Ten o'clock?"

Harry nodded, taking the parchment and handing the flowers back to the woman. "See you then," he said as they parted ways.

*-*-*-*

After leaving the Ministry, Harry headed to Diagon Alley. His initial plan was simple: look for a job and go shopping for the house. But now that he didn't really have a house—he had a one room flat that he currently shared with Malfoy—Harry decided to wander around until lunchtime.

After lunch, time only seemed to drag. He had no idea what to do for the few hours he had left before he had to see Malfoy and head home. Malfoy. Home. Two words he hadn't really thought he'd use together in a sentence before. What was he going to do tonight?

Would he tell Malfoy that he was gay and that the magic transference thing had left him freaked out? Even now, when he thought of Malfoy, Harry felt a weird sensation up his spine. Was it the magic, or was he actually attracted to Malfoy? Surely it hadn't been that long since he'd had sex with someone else that Harry was just feeling horny. He wondered if they woke up together the next day, would Malfoy be pressed into him again?

At ten past five, Harry decided to go to the Ministry. He was going to be early and maybe he'd see Ron or Hermione again. When he arrived, Malfoy was waiting for him.

"Am I late?" Harry asked, confused to see Malfoy.

"No. I just got out early," Malfoy said, sounding flustered.

"Oh. Everything alright?"

"Yes," Malfoy responded in a rush and Harry noticed the almost panic look Malfoy had on his face, but didn't comment on it.

They took the Floo to the wizarding market where Malfoy picked out the vegetables with care.

"Feeling the energy?" Harry joked and earned himself a glare.

"If you're not going to take what I do seriously, I suggest you rather not discuss it—"

"Oh, I take it very seriously," Harry said, teasing. Malfoy furrowed his brows at him. "It got me a job."

"I don't understand," Malfoy said, placing the cauliflower and the potatoes in the basket that Harry was holding. He selected the items, paid for them and used Harry as his own personal grocery carrier. Harry didn't show that he had a problem with it.

Harry reached into his pocket and took out the parchment he'd received that morning. "Sally Berkshire," he said, notably.

"What?" Malfoy reached for the parchment, but Harry yanked his hand away.

Malfoy glowered at him again. "How did you meet Sally Berkshire?"

"Met her in the Ministry lifts this morning. She was complaining about some nutter who told her that her garden was retaliating." Harry laughed again when he saw Malfoy scowl. "Don't worry though. She thinks you're right, and I offered to help her, and she hired me as her assistant."

"Brilliant," Malfoy said turning, and continued to walk through the lanes of the market, looking for more produce.

"Why are you so cross?"

"What makes you think I'm cross?" Malfoy raised an eyebrow.

"Well, I don't have to read your energy to see the scowl on your face. You told the woman she needed help, and I happened to see her today and—"

"Potter, do you even know anything about gardening?" Malfoy stopped in his tracks and stared at Harry.

"It's been a while," Harry said, remembering how he used to maintain the garden at Privet Drive when he was younger. "But she'd teach me the basics, and from the sound of it, the garden just needs a minder. I'm free all day. It's not like I have a home to go to—this would just give me something to do while I wait for you to get off work." Blood hell, Harry thought, he sounded like a bored homemaker.

Malfoy opened his mouth to say something, but their quasi-argument in the market where they looked like a married couple shopping for groceries together came to a screeching halt.

"Draco, I thought I'd see you here."

The man was standing behind Malfoy, staring at his back. It was Dante, Hermione's co-worker who was also at the Weasley dinner the night before. Malfoy closed his eyes and hung his head low.

"I looked for you at your office, but you were already gone," Dante said, and Harry saw Malfoy make a face before turning to look at the man.

That's why he was standing around waiting for Harry, Harry realised. That's why Malfoy was hiding in the corner the night before at the Burrow. He was avoiding Dante. But why?

"Hello," Harry said, chiming in before Malfoy could say anything. "Dante Oswaldo, right?" Harry smiled and marched forward to shake the man's hand. "Draco and I were just doing a bit of shopping for the house. I didn't know you two worked together. I thought you worked with Hermione."

Dante shook Harry's hand reluctantly, looking a bit confused. Harry knew he was sounding like a possessive or interfering boyfriend. He wasn't sure why, but he just felt like he had to cut in.

"Yes. I work with Hermione. Draco and I are...friends," Dante said and gave Malfoy a sly smile that made Harry's skin crawl. "I was looking for you to see if you wanted to get a drink at the corner pub, but when I missed you, I figured you just came here for dinner supplies." Dante's attention was all on Malfoy, and it was as though Harry was completely invisible.

The man knew Malfoy's schedule. This was more than just friendship. Malfoy and Dante had a history. The day before when Harry had arrived at Malfoy's flat, Malfoy was expecting someone else! Harry's stomach burned with jealousy. He didn't understand why. Until yesterday, he hadn't even seen Malfoy for over two years, and now he was feeling so overprotective of him.

Malfoy cleared his throat before speaking. "I have to stay with Potter for a few weeks—"

"Right, Hermione told me about that. She'd asked for my help—"

"Yes. And thank you so much for your help!" Harry said, interjecting. "But if you really don't mind, I'm starving and Mal—Draco promised me dinner." Harry pulled on Malfoy's arm and all but hauled him away from Dante.

Malfoy willingly followed Harry and allowed himself to be dragged away. Harry didn't turn to look, but he was sure that Malfoy was smiling. When they reached the end of the road, Harry turned to face him. Malfoy's face was a cool mask, yet his eyes were shining.

"I suggest we Disapparate before your boyfriend comes chasing after you and we have to invite him to dinner."

"He's not my—"

"Malfoy!" Harry snapped.

Malfoy cleared his throat and placed his hand on Harry's shoulder. He took a deep breath in and a moment later, they Apparated to Grimmauld Place.

*-*-*-*

Harry offered to cook while Malfoy changed out of his work clothes. Truth be told, he was still aggravated over his encounter with Dante and Harry figured if Draco focused his energy on something else, perhaps he'd calm down.

He cut the cauliflower and potatoes by hand and waited as the oil heated over in the pan. He washed the rice next and watched as the water boiled. The sizzling onions over the cumin filled the entire kitchen with a pleasant smell. It'd been a while since he'd had one of his cooking sessions with Mrs Weasley and the thought made him smile. She'd told him that she was finally glad to have a son that took an interest in cooking and not just eating.

"Where did you learn to cook?" Malfoy asked, walking into the kitchen. He looked freshly showered, his hair tousled, and the black V-neck shirt he wore fit him quite well. Harry gulped as his cock twitched in his pants.

Honestly, you'd think I’ve never seen a fit bloke before.

"I took a few Muggle cooking classes last year. Hermione had bought them for me as a birthday present. Then I started sharing tips with Mrs Weasley, and the rest—" Harry shrugged, pouring a pinch of salt over the rice that was boiling and put a lid on the pot.

Malfoy looked like he was going to say something, but refrained. A moment later, he hopped off his seat. "Oh, I bought wine!" he exclaimed and rushed out of the kitchen.

Harry didn't mind watching him walk away, though, and then he mentally cursed himself for eyeing Malfoy. It was bad enough that he'd catch himself thinking about Malfoy at the most random times—he didn't need to do it consciously.

Dinner was quieter than Harry had anticipated it to be. His mind was racing trying to understand what had happened between him and Malfoy's magic the night before and what Hermione had told him earlier that day. Every time he looked at Malfoy to say something, Malfoy would take a giant gulp from his wine glass. Harry would watch Malfoy's Adam's apple and then turn his gaze away. He was sure Malfoy noticed his awkward behaviour, but didn't say anything.

"So, uh...what is supposed to happen to the house?" Harry asked, finally breaking the silence. "I mean, when it accepts that it's going to be a home, and all..."

Malfoy shrugged. "Not sure. My guess would be that the rooms would start expanding, the stairs will pop back up, but—"

"What?"

"I'm not sure what will happen to the furniture, the paintings, or any other decorations that were here before. I have heard of houses collapsing into themselves, but never seen one, and rarely are there any occurrences of it being back whole. There isn't much documented on what happens to the things—"

"I don't really care about the things," Harry said, finishing the last of his rice pilaf.

"So why do you want to be back here so badly?" Malfoy asked, his tone a bit irritated. Like Harry was really inconveniencing his life by making him stay there.

Harry pretended he hadn't noticed. "I don't know. Just wanted a place to belong, I guess."

"And you started with this house?"

"It's a part of my past, and a very important part, mind you..." Harry's thoughts trailed off to the war, to his parents to— Shite, he was tipsy. "What's in this wine?"

"Alcohol," Malfoy said dryly, and Harry snorted. A moment later, the irritated look that was displayed on Malfoy's face was gone, and he was grinning. Harry reckoned Malfoy was tipsy, too.

"So why don't you live at the Manor?"

Malfoy's expression sobered up again and he gave Harry a stern look. Harry was sure that he was going to bark out an insult at Harry rather than actually answer the question. He was wrong.

"I don't know...too many things," Malfoy answered, shrugging, and tried to pour the contents of the bottle into his glass before realising that the bottle had been empty for a while. He picked his wand up and summoned another bottle from the other room. Harry was impressed by Malfoy's ability to catch the bottle even in his inebriated state.

"You can always sell the stuff," Harry said, trying not to watch Malfoy's wine-soaked lower lip that he licked once or twice with his tongue.

Malfoy made a grunting sound, as if he was considering Harry's words and thinking about how to respond. "I suppose. Then it would just be an empty house with corners where Death Eaters gathered around and tortured people right before they kill—" The wine glass shattered in Malfoy's hand and it jerked both Harry and Malfoy out of their semi-drunken state.

"Fuck," Malfoy whispered. Harry immediately stood up and ran to him for aid.

Harry grabbed Malfoy's hand and with a flick of his wand, he stopped the bleeding. He knelt down on the floor and was face to face with Malfoy. "Here," he said, grabbing the napkin and pressing it to Malfoy's wound. "The protection charm stopped the blood for a while, but you'll need to keep this pressed on so the cut can close before the spell wears off. I need—"

"There's a potion in the cupboard, on my side of— It's antibacterial, it'll help," Malfoy said; his hand was on Harry's as they pressed on Malfoy's wound together.

Harry looked down at his hand but didn't remove it right away. "Right..." he said, hesitant to move.

"Potter."

"Okay!" Harry yanked his hand away and all but ran to the other room, to the cupboard, and found a small bag of various phials. He brought them all back to the kitchen table where Malfoy was sitting. "I didn't know which one—"

"The one with the navy blue cap," Malfoy said, and Harry hurriedly looked for it.

He opened the lid and dropped a few drops on Malfoy's reddening hand, and the blood all but disappeared. There was nothing left but a hint of a tiny scar on Malfoy's left palm; something that could easily blend in with the other lines.

"Thank you," Malfoy said, cleaning up the few drops of blood that had fallen on his trousers.

"Does this happen a lot?" Harry asked, standing up and gathering the empty plates from the table. He had been planning on making Malfoy do the dishes since he'd cooked and all, but figured it wouldn't be right given the man had just split his hand open. Besides, Malfoy wasn't his husband. Harry rolled his eyes as he turned his back to Malfoy. Where were all these domestic thoughts coming from?

"Does what happen a lot?" Malfoy asked, handing Harry the rest of the dishes, holding them only with his right hand.

"Breaking wine tumblers," Harry said, and gestured for Malfoy to sit back down on the chair. "You seemed awfully calm."

"I try not to think about the war while holding fragile items. Let's just say I've learned my lesson quite a few times," Malfoy answered and he Transfigured the broken glass into its previous intact state of a wine glass. He poured himself another serving and refilled Harry's glass as well.

"That's why you abandoned the Manor?"

Malfoy nodded and smiled. His hands stayed away from the glass for the time being.

"And this house? You're not reminded of the war here?"

Malfoy shook his head. "This house feels abandoned. But that's not the only feelings I get. I feel the negative vibes—haunting memories—but I also sense the good of the house. It was used as the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix, yes?" Malfoy looked at Harry, who simply stared back in amazement. "I sense that. Kinship, friendship, love..." He closed his eyes.

"Tonks and Remus," Harry mumbled.

"Weasley and Granger," Malfoy added.

Harry smiled softly and then he remembered what Hermione had told him earlier. Malfoy had shared a connection with Hermione, and he had a connection with this house, they both did. Harry turned to face the dishes piled up in the sink and didn't allow himself the chance to get jealous. There was no reason to feel jealousy. Hermione was with Ron and Malfoy didn't want her; but maybe it was the fact that Malfoy didn't want Harry, either.

Snap out of it, Harry told himself. You just met the bloke yesterday, of course he doesn't want you. You're just delusional, thinking you might want him.

"It's rare," Malfoy said, and Harry didn't turn to look at him. That didn't seem to faze Malfoy, though, who continued talking. "For me to have a connection with another Reader. A Muggleborn at that. I had never heard of it until I met her. I was told only Pureblood wizards who could channel this sort of magic."

"She said hers is not as strong as yours," Harry said without turning, and continued to scrub the dishes. He wasn't sure why he didn't just use magic for it.

"She's selling herself too short; she just needs practice," Malfoy said, shrugging. "I think she just doesn't want to do it. It might come too easy to her and she likes what she's doing. Helping others."

"Everything comes too easy to her," Harry said. He finished the last of his chore and sat across from Malfoy again, grabbing the glass of wine.

Malfoy smirked. "That's why she could pick to do whatever she wanted," he said.

They sat in silence again and drank the wine until the other bottle had also finished. "Should head off to bed," Harry said. "Got my new job and all." He stood up too fast and felt a bit woozy. It wasn't until he took a step towards the other room that he realised that he must have sounded like he was inviting Malfoy along with him. They shared the bed; how could he have forgotten that? It was all he thought about. "I didn't mean..." he mumbled.

"Didn't mean what?" Malfoy looked up sleepily. He hadn't taken what Harry had said the wrong way.

Harry didn't answer and kept walking. He reached the cupboard and grabbed some nightclothes and headed to shower. When he returned, Malfoy was already asleep against the wall. I guess it's my turn to sleep on the outside.

*-*-*-*

When Harry woke up in the morning, Malfoy was on top of him, again. His left leg was almost sprawled across Harry and his arm was on Harry's stomach, under his shirt. How had Harry not noticed that Malfoy had attached himself to him like that?

Harry took a deep breath. This sleeping arrangement was going to kill him.

"Malfoy," Harry whispered.

"Hmm." Malfoy jerked his hips slightly into Harry.

"Malfoy!" Harry hissed.

"What?" Malfoy pressed his palm against Harry's stomach before realising what he was doing and he immediately retreated next to the wall.

"That must be some body pillow," Harry joked, struggling to sound nonchalant, and got up off the bed. He didn't wait for Malfoy to respond or give him the opportunity to notice Harry's half-hard cock. He slowly made his way toward the bathroom.

An hour later, they were ready to go. Malfoy Disapparated them to a café in Diagon Alley for breakfast and then they parted ways. The entire time, neither one discussed how they'd woken up that morning, keeping the discussion light and focused on Harry's job. Mostly Malfoy gave him tips on how to care for plants and how to channel his magic, throwing in an insult here or there. Malfoy really didn't think Harry could do it.

"So I'll see you at half five?" Harry asked, unable to hide the married-like tone from his voice. Malfoy gave him an awkward look, probably having noticed the tone, and nodded.

Malfoy took the Floo from the café, and Harry opted to Apparate. He arrived at the address given to him by Sally Berkshire, and found the woman waiting for him. She had a surprised look on her face, as if she'd expected him to not show.

Outside of the Ministry, Sally Berkshire wasn’t as flustered and anxious as she’d originally seemed to Harry. "The garden is out back," she said, and Harry followed her.

For the first few hours, Harry had his nose buried in various books that ranged from Basic Plant Care, to The Complete Guide to Companion Planting: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Garden Successful. The woman served him tea and cake as he skimmed through the chapters until he reached the one titled: Conversation and Companionship. The chapter detailed how to not just sow, but how to speak to plants.

Harry found himself laughing at the detailed descriptions of treating the garden like you’d treat a lover after intercourse. No wonder there had been an age disclaimer on the book!

After he finished reading the guidebook and took the mini quiz she’d prepared for him, Sally gave Harry a tour of the garden. Before he’d realised, it was nearing lunchtime and Sally asked him to leave for an hour and come back refreshed.

For lunch, Harry decided to go to the Leaky Cauldron and was surprised to find that Malfoy was also there with a few work-colleagues. However, Dante was nowhere to be seen, and that made Harry happy.

"How is it going so far?" Malfoy asked after he’d gestured for Harry to sit at the table with him and his associates. The other two people at the table looked like they were a couple. It wasn't until Harry sat next to Malfoy that he realised how relieved Malfoy was that Harry was there. Malfoy had been the third wheel.

That’s great for my self-esteem. Harry frowned realising that Malfoy was only glad to see him because then he wouldn't be the odd one out. Not because he wanted to see Harry.

"Not terrible," Harry answered, taking a bite of his chips. He was terribly famished. "I spent most of the morning reading up as Ms Berkshire served me tea and cake."

"Only Harry Potter would be waited on hand and foot by his employer while he trained for a new job."

Harry laughed. "Please, don’t be so cross just because she likes me more than she likes you. I offered to help her. You only criticised her methods."

Malfoy rolled his eyes, but didn’t answer. Harry wanted to press on, but the last thing he wanted to do was upset Malfoy. He opened his mouth to say something when the two individuals sitting across from the table started snogging.

"For heaven’s sake!" Malfoy roared. "Just because I’ve got company at the table doesn’t give the two of you the right to start that again."

The woman giggled at Malfoy’s retort and the man sighed, clearly annoyed at Malfoy’s comment. "Fine, we’ll leave then. Since you do have company at the table," the man said and stood up to take his leave. "Mr Potter." He nodded and the woman waved, and then they were off.

"Why are you at lunch with them if—"

"I didn’t know she was coming," Malfoy said, sounding annoyed still.

"Do you fancy him or—"

"What? Heaven’s no!" Malfoy’s scowl was frightening. "He’s a nice bloke and is new at the Ministry, so I go out to lunch with him once in a while. He’s got a small place in the wizarding village of Ecanus. I know he’s trying to save up to buy a proper flat in the city, and she lives at home with her parents. They don’t really get a lot of alone time so they’re rather—"

Malfoy stopped talking when he looked at Harry and gave a confused look at Harry’s own confused expression. "What is it?" he asked.

"You are annoyed at them, yet you defend them at the same time."

Malfoy shook his head in confusion, as if he didn’t understand what Harry’s point was.

"It’s just strange, is all," Harry said, shrugging.

"That’s rich coming from you," Malfoy retorted and finished the last of his sandwich. "I’ve got to get back to the office now."

Harry nodded and stood up at the same time as Malfoy, as if they were suddenly on a date or something, and he felt like it was the cordial thing to do. Malfoy looked at him confused again and Harry chuckled nervously, running his hand through his hair.

"Do you want to get some takeaway for dinner?" Harry asked, trying to break the awkward tension he had so easily created.

"Erm…sure. What did you have in mind?"

"I don’t know. Thai?"

"Alright." Malfoy nodded and walked away from Harry, exiting the Leaky Cauldron as fast as he could.

Confused, perturbed, and a bit turned on, Harry left the Leaky and Apparated to the Berkshire garden.

"How was lunch?" Sally asked as soon as Harry had entered the cottage.

"Good," he answered, confused.

"I hope you’re in a good mood, because we’re going to be spending time in the garden now and a good mood is most necessary!"

Harry nodded. He wasn’t sure if he was in a good mood. He was most definitely in a mood of uncertainty. Sally looked a bit aggravated at whatever expression Harry had on his face and gave him a small black book.

"What is it?"

"It’s a journal. For your moods."

"I don’t understand."

"It’s important to be in a good mood when you’re going to be working in the garden. I like to play music or sing. I think about my kids, my favourite bottle of wine, etc."

Harry nodded, not really understanding where she was going with this.

"It is also important to channel your energy in a way to make sure you can put yourself in a good mood!" she added.

"Alright," Harry said. I’ll bite.

"So when you are in the garden and are in a foul mood, I want you to write in this journal. I’m not going to read it. It’s for you and you only. Just write out whatever’s bothering you until it is out of your system and you can be happy again. While you and I are in the garden together, the positive energy will flow, because I’ll make sure it does. But when you are alone, I need you to concentrate on your efforts of being happy. A happy individual produces a happy garden!"

Harry didn’t understand. It was clear that Sally Berkshire knew exactly what she was doing. Whatever Malfoy had said, she was reiterating. Then why didn’t the garden work the way she wanted it to? She was clearly well versed in reading the energy of the plant life around her.

"I just don’t have the time," she said, almost as if she’d read Harry’s mind. "I care about this garden a lot, but I just don’t have the time. Do you think you can still help me?" She was nervous, and Harry couldn’t help but smile to calm her.

He wanted to help Sally, but he also wanted to learn something new. Above all, Harry sort of wanted to prove to Malfoy that he could do it. Malfoy had been sceptical about the entire thing ever since Harry had discussed it with him. Harry wasn't really sure why he cared about what Malfoy thought, but evidently that had always been the case. Hadn’t it?

"Mr Potter?" Sally said, bringing Harry back from his thoughts.

"Right. Sorry!" Harry said, smiling again. "I’m more than willing to help and learn and do whatever you think is best. I think writing in the journal is a great idea and it should be interesting!"

Sally released a sigh of relief and led Harry into the garden.

*-*-*-*

Harry met up with Malfoy at Thai Emerald for takeaway. As he’d sat at the garden with Sally, writing in his journal, Harry wondered about the couple that were at lunch with Malfoy earlier that day. There was something about the way Malfoy had talked about the bloke that left Harry curious.

"He’s Dante’s cousin," Malfoy said when they were at the kitchen table, ready to dig into their dinner. "When Sebastian was hired, Dante had asked me to just keep an eye out for him, so that’s what I was doing."

"Wow, that Dante bloke really likes to be in your business," Harry said, struggling to sound nonchalant.

Malfoy shrugged. "Sebastian isn’t so bad. He’s nothing like Dante. The first time he’d borrowed my quill, after he’d returned it, I read him. He was honest, if not a bit materialistic, but honourable nonetheless. I reckoned keeping close to Sebastian would keep Dante happy."

Harry still didn’t understand the story behind Dante and Malfoy, but he got the feeling that he shouldn’t push it. Instead, Harry started to talk about his day. Malfoy looked genuinely relieved that Harry had dropped the subject, and Harry was glad, too.

He told Malfoy almost everything he did at the Berkshire garden. Except for the part about the journal; Harry decided to keep that to himself.

*-*-*-*

By the end of the first week, Harry woke up and found Malfoy on his own side of the bed. Harry missed the touch. When they returned home on Friday evening, the house had a set of stairs but the second level wasn't built yet.

Malfoy left Harry alone in the house as he went to his flat to get a new set of clothes. Harry sat on the steps that led nowhere. He missed Malfoy's company. He realised he didn't like being alone in the house. He didn't like being without Malfoy.

He went and lay down on the bed, and touched Malfoy’s side of the bed. He remembered the first few mornings when he’d woken up and Malfoy was on top of him. Harry's erection was unavoidable as he could smell Malfoy on the bed. He nuzzled his nose into the pillow and his hand travelled under his jeans to take hold of his cock. He unbuttoned his jeans, pulled the zipper down and stroked himself.

Harry allowed himself the luxury of imagining being with Malfoy; his cock rubbing up against Malfoy's erection. He remembered the slight brush of their arms when they were in the kitchen together, but particularly, he remembered how Malfoy's hand felt in his own. The night Malfoy had broken the wine glass and injured himself—the way Harry had held his hand—unwilling to lose the touch.

Fuck, Harry had it bad for Malfoy. He wanted nothing more than to have Malfoy writhe under him; to kiss the back of Malfoy's neck as he plunged into him repeatedly. He wanted to hear Malfoy shout his name as Harry came inside him.

A moment later, Harry was coming in his hand, spilling over himself and the bed spread. A sudden jolt of fear came across him. What if Malfoy returned? What was Harry thinking? Wanking out in the open like that? What if someone else arrived? The Floo wasn't exactly guarded against intruders.

Harry quickly grabbed his wand, spelling himself and the bedspread clean. He thanked Merlin for the timing because it wasn't too long after that Malfoy Apparated into the room holding a set of robes. Malfoy looked flushed, his hair a bit tousled. Harry gave him a quizzical look and he returned Harry's expression with one of his own.

"Did something happen?"

Harry furrowed his brows and rubbed his hands on his thighs. "No. Why?"

"I don't know. I just got the strangest sensation—"

Their conversation was interrupted as the house made a noise. They both looked up at the top of the stairs, and it seemed as though the second level was starting to form. Just the hallway. No rooms had materialised yet.

Harry wondered what had shifted between him and Malfoy that the house was starting to change right in front of them. He looked over at Malfoy, who looked distressed. Harry reckoned the house wasn't fixing itself fast enough for Malfoy. He really must have wanted to get the hell out.

"Do you think we should throw a party?" Malfoy asked.

That came out of nowhere. Harry was taken a bit back by the randomness of the question. "A party?"

"Yes. A dinner party. Entertain guests. Maybe—"

"It'll help the house materialise faster?"

Malfoy scowled for a second then nodded. "Precisely." A smile crept up Malfoy's face and Harry couldn't help but wonder if there was more to the story, but didn't press to ask.

"Okay, next Friday?"

"Brilliant."

"Who should we invite? We don't exactly have a lot of space," Harry said, pointing towards the tiny furniture in the sitting room that had expanded, but not far enough to throw a rager.

"Well, we can invite Blaise and Pansy..."

"Then we have to invite Hermione and Ron."

"Fine."

"And Ginny and Neville too. It's only fair."

Malfoy opened his mouth to say something, but then closed it. "Fine. You're the one cooking." Harry squinted his eyes. He hadn't thought of that. "We'll need to Transfigure the bed into a proper sofa and unshrink some of the other furniture," Malfoy added.

Harry agreed. "Yeah. Not sure if I want to hear all the jokes about us sharing a bed together like some domestic couple."

"Yes, because that would just be so terrible," Malfoy said, turning to walk towards the cupboard to hang his robes. Harry wasn't sure if the tone was sarcastic, hurt, or just Malfoy. Harry had been living with the man for over ten days and he thought he'd figured Malfoy out, until Malfoy would do something that Harry couldn't categorise. He called that being just Malfoy.

Harry stood by the bed and watched Malfoy. His shoulders were tense and he took a very long time just staring at the inside of the cupboard. When Malfoy turned to face Harry, he looked surprised that Harry was staring at him.

"What?" he asked, looking annoyed. Harry figured that he just didn't like being caught off-guard.

"Thanks, Malfoy," Harry said, smiling.

"For what?" Malfoy asked, then schooled his expression and a smirk crept up.

Harry chuckled. "The party. It's a good idea: entertaining guests, positive vibes, all that."

"Indeed," Malfoy said and proceeded towards the kitchen. He poured himself some juice and looked around the kitchen. He was hungry but didn't want to say it. Harry knew that he'd gotten accustomed to his cooking and liked when Harry would pack him snacks for work. In the ten days they'd been living together, Harry could tell that Malfoy had gained a bit of weight—in all the right places—and unfortunately Harry had been looking.

"I was just getting started on dinner," Harry expressed, before Malfoy spoke again. "Do you want me to heat you some leftover lentil soup?"

Malfoy's eyes widened with excitement and Harry grinned. He lit the fire on the stove and turned to grab a pot as Malfoy settled himself at the table. The few times they had gone out to dinner together, Malfoy had told Harry that he didn't cook much and didn't feel right keeping a house-elf. So most of the times he'd eat out. He missed getting a good home-cooked meal and they were a cherished thing that he'd get when he visited his mother in France.

Since that night, Harry insisted upon cooking at home. He'd make up one reason or another as to why he didn't want to eat out—mainly it was that he didn't want the celebrity attention—and Malfoy didn't seem to mind. Harry was sure that they both knew that it was complete bull, but Malfoy never called him on it.

Harry served Malfoy the soup with a side of bread and returned to the counter to chop up the onions, getting the dinner started.

*-*-*-*

Another week passed and the dreaded Friday arrived; it was dreaded Friday because, Harry was a nervous wreck. It was one thing to cook for the Weasleys with Molly, and another thing to just cook for Malfoy, his only true critic. But to cook for a dinner party—to have real guests over and have appetizers, and courses, and dessert? His heart was racing a thousand beats per second and he had already told Sally Berkshire that he was not going to be coming in that day.

Now if Malfoy left for work, and Harry went to the market, he wasn't sure if he'd be able to get back to the house. He still hadn't tried to take the Floo or Apparate back to Grimmauld Place on his own, even though Malfoy had insisted on it time and time again.

"Will you relax?" Malfoy said. "Merlin, everything you touch has a nervous energy exuding out of it. I can practically feel your edginess in the air I breathe."

Harry chose to ignore Malfoy’s comment.

"I have to go to the market. I have to make a list of everything we need. I don’t have time to relax!" Harry was genuinely freaking out.

"Here," Malfoy said, as he walked around the corner to stand next to Harry. Harry was trying to boil water for tea and that, too, was seeming rather problematic. Malfoy placed a hand on the small of Harry’s back and began to move it in a circular motion. "Just breathe in and think of something that makes you happy," he all but whispered in Harry’s ear, and Harry shuddered from feeling Malfoy’s warm breath.

Harry clutched the edge of the counter tighter. He most certainly could not relax with Malfoy doing what he was doing. "I—"

"Shh…close your eyes," Malfoy demanded and Harry followed suit. "Breathe in. Breathe out. Don’t think for a second; just concentrate on your breathing."

"I thought you told me to think about something happy…"

"Evidently, you can’t think right now," Malfoy said. "Just clear your mind until you feel at ease then think happy thoughts. Don’t focus on trying to find a happy thought. Focus on just not thinking."

Harry nodded. His grip on the counter eased up and he just breathed in. The only thing he focused on was Malfoy’s hand on his back. It had stopped moving, but it was still there and Harry liked it. He dropped his head low and concentrated.

"What are you thinking about?" Malfoy whispered. His voice quivered just a bit, but Harry didn’t dare look up and meet his gaze.

Harry kept his eyes shut. "The garden."

"The garden?" Malfoy asked, sounding surprised. "Sally Berkshire’s garden?"

"Yeah," Harry said, smiling. He still kept his eyes closed. "It’s peaceful there and I get a lot of writ—thinking done and I like that. I like being alone there."

"And the cooking?"

"Yeah. I get ideas about what to make when I’m there. I write out my thou—recipes and things. It’s remarkably tranquil."

"Sounds perfect," Malfoy said, clearing his throat and he removed his hand away from Harry’s back.

Harry opened his eyes and immediately looked at Malfoy’s hand that was now resting by his side. "Oh, you didn’t have—" Harry stopped himself before uttering something ridiculously foolish like touch me again, Malfoy.

His gaze moved up from Malfoy’s hand to his eyes, when he realised that Malfoy was staring at Harry’s lips. Harry did his best to not lick his own lips, when Malfoy did it, causing Harry to open his mouth and release a soundless gasp.

Harry took a small step forward and Malfoy didn’t move. His eyes moved from his lips to Harry’s eyes, and it was as if they were searching for something. "You’re good at that," Harry said, unsure of what he was doing, but he needed to do something.

"Good at what?"

"Knowing what is needed."

Malfoy nodded with a smile and Harry saw a blush creep up on his neck. Malfoy was about to take a step back when Harry grabbed the man’s wrist and said, "No."

"What?"

"You’re afraid of getting too close."

Malfoy gave a quizzical scowl and Harry couldn’t help himself. He leaned in as he pulled Malfoy towards him. He was going to kiss Malfoy. This was happening.

"Harry?"

Hermione’s voice from the other room made Harry jerk back, and Malfoy yanked his hand away.

"In the kitchen," Harry announced, his eyes pouring over at Malfoy. He looked flustered and was glancing around the kitchen like he’d misplaced something.

"Hey, sorry to interrupt," she said. How did she know she’d interrupted something? "I just wanted to drop this off for tonight before I headed off to work."

"What is it?" Harry asked as Malfoy nodded at Hermione and left the room.

"Just some baked goods from Molly. She only hinted so many times at how glad she was that you’d invited Ron and me over to your new home for dinner."

"Did you tell her that it isn't exactly a home yet? That we’re still working on it—"

"You think that would have stopped her?" Hermione asked laughingly. "Anyway, she just wanted me to bring you a little something. Maybe it would speed up the process or something."

Harry thanked her and placed the gift basket under a preservation charm.

"So, did I interrupt something?"

Harry gulped nervously thinking of what to say. "I—What do you mean?"

"I know what it looks like when you’re about to give someone a kiss and someone walks into the room. His shifty eyes, your unsteady voice. I don’t have to be a Reader to—"

"It’s nothing," Harry said hurriedly. "I was just having a bit of panic attack and Malfoy was helping me just…" Harry sighed, "…breathe."

"Okay…" she said, looking unconvinced. "I’ll see you later, then?"

"Later, then," Harry echoed, and a few minutes later, she was gone.

"Ready?" Malfoy said, immediately entering the kitchen after Hermione’s departure.

"Yeah. Just have to head to the market and it should be a couple of hours of shopping…"

"Do you want me to take a half-day?" Malfoy asked, sounding concerned.

"What for?" Harry immediately cursed himself for asking. Of course, he wanted Malfoy to take a half day. He wanted to be back alone in the kitchen with him, see where that kiss would have led to. Maybe they would cancel the dinner after all and just spend the night in bed.

Our bed.

"To make sure your agitation and anxiety doesn’t burn the house down."

"Why would you care? You’ve got your own flat, anyway."

Malfoy raised an eyebrow and scowled.

"Sorry, I don’t know where that came from," Harry said quickly. The last thing he wanted was to push Malfoy away.

"That’s alright. Just come meet me at the Ministry when you’re ready to come home," Malfoy said and left the room again.

Home.

It was the first time Malfoy had called it that. It was their home.

Moments later, Malfoy Apparated them to the wizarding market. "I have an idea," he said as soon as they’d arrived.

"What?"

"After you’re done here, instead of coming to the Ministry, why don’t you just try to take the Floo home?" There’s that word again.

"What if it doesn’t work?"

"You have to believe it will."

Harry shrugged, still unconvinced of the fact.

Malfoy rolled his eyes and Harry could tell that he was trying to not to look annoyed at him. "If it doesn’t work then just come and get me at the Ministry. You’ll have to speak to my secretary about where I am. I’m supposed to do some work for Dante and I was hoping—"

Harry immediately, inadvertently, released a groan.

This time Malfoy didn’t hide his annoyance with Harry. "Just try. For me?" Malfoy said it in a way that Harry couldn’t help but smile. What was Malfoy doing to him? "Just go to the Floo network. Try to take the Floo to Grimmauld Place. If nothing happens—actually, most likely the Floo will take you to the Ministry—problem solved. Make sure you try it, though. Alright?"

Harry nodded. "Yeah, I’ll intend to take the Floo home."

"Brilliant," was all Malfoy said before he Disapparated away.

Harry couldn't shake the thought of Malfoy calling it home. He tried to think if Malfoy had ever done it before, and couldn't remember. Just try to take the Floo home. The words kept ringing in Harry's ears over and over again. As he strolled through the market, Harry remembered their almost kiss. Would it have been a kiss? He thought about how Malfoy would taste. He already knew what his skin felt like, what it felt like to have his body pressed against his.

Harry tried to shake the thought off. He didn't want to get an erection in the middle of the market. An erection he could do nothing about. Something he couldn't even take care of by going home. If he couldn't take the Floo or Apparate into Grimmauld Place, he'd have to go and get Malfoy. Harry did not want to go and get Malfoy, groceries in hand, hard and aching for a release.

After an hour of contemplative self-doubt and shopping for what felt like a dinner for twenty, when he really was just cooking for eight, Harry went to find the closest Floo network.

"Number twelve, Grimmauld Place!"

Harry couldn't believe it. He stepped out of the fireplace half-sceptical, but was shocked to find himself in the room where he belonged. He smiled to himself and his jaw nearly hit the ground when he looked up and realised that the second level had expanded. His delight was short-lived when he realised that a completed second level meant more rooms. It meant bedrooms. Plural. He could have his own room and he wouldn't need to sleep next to Malfoy anymore.

Harry's heart sank.

He was saddened by the fact more than he thought possible. No longer sleeping next to Malfoy actually made him ache for the man. He knew that his life with Malfoy was temporary, and he really hadn't expected to become so dependent on the man. When Malfoy was happy, Harry was happy, and when he was cross for any reason, Harry too seemed to find himself in a foul mood.

Now he was no longer going to have that.

They were going to get rid of their bed as it was, for the sake of the guests, and then what? What would happen at the end of the night? Would they sleep in separate rooms?

Harry was lost in his thoughts, the bags of groceries still in his hands, when the Floo roared. Harry got out of the way to see Malfoy step out.

"What are you doing here?" Harry asked, his tone more surprised than he'd intended it to be.

"I just— I felt like the house beckoned me." Malfoy looked around the room and then towards the second level and realised the same thing Harry had. Harry tried really hard to read Malfoy's expression, but then Malfoy had such a stoic face that Harry couldn't tell what he was thinking.

"The house speaks to you," Harry observed.

"And you speak to the house." Malfoy smiled and grabbed the bag from Harry's hands. "What's the matter? I thought you'd be excited that you can come here on your own now. It recognises you as part owner."

"I'm excited. Just...overwhelmed. You know?"

Malfoy nodded. "Do you..." Malfoy hesitated.

"I don't need you. You can go back to work. I'll see you at half five." Harry smiled and started to put the groceries away. He felt like if he didn't just walk away from Malfoy, he'd feel the need to lean over and kiss Malfoy on the cheek like a good little husband.

"Right," Malfoy said, clearing his throat. "Any request on what kind of wine you want?"

"The kind with alcohol?" Harry said, unable to suppress his laughter.

Malfoy laughed with him. Harry felt his laugh vibrate through the house. "I'll look into indestructible wine tumblers as well," Malfoy said.

"I didn't realise it was going to be that kind of a night," Harry said.

"We're willingly inviting Slytherins and Gryffindors over for dinner where they'll be forced to socialise against their own will and drinking is involved—"

"Say no more..." Harry laughed nervously. "Why are we doing this again?"

Malfoy bit his lower lip and Harry nearly well lost it at that moment. He was glad that he wasn't holding anything sharp or breakable as he grabbed the edge of the kitchen counter for dear life.

"Because we're trying to make this house into a home?"

"Sounds like it might turn into a war zone."

Malfoy ran his hand through his hair and Harry wondered if he was nervous. "Well, see you later, Potter."

"Bye..." Harry's voice trailed after Malfoy Disapparated. He wished that they had kissed goodbye. That he had walked up to Malfoy, ran his hand under Malfoy's shirt and pulled him in for a kiss as he pushed them against the wall. His hips bucking into Malfoy's, as they rubbed their groin together.

Get a hold of yourself!

Harry shook his head and snapped himself out of his fantasy. Malfoy didn't want him. Consciously or unconsciously. Harry no longer woke up feeling Malfoy pressed against him. Malfoy had started to wake up before Harry now, and even if there was an off chance that they brushed up against each other while they slept, Harry wouldn't know.

Harry pouted to himself and returned to the task at hand, and not the one in his pants. No matter how much he wanted to wank, he needed to make sure that the dinner was all set first. He'd consider pleasuring himself in the shower before the guests arrived.

*-*-*-*

"Where did the time go?" Harry found himself asking Malfoy as it was nearing seven o'clock and neither he nor Malfoy had sat down for a breather.

Harry had cooked nonstop until Malfoy arrived, then Malfoy had showered first, as Harry set everything up. After Harry had showered, he returned to see that Malfoy had rearranged everything, including the place settings where Harry was first going to sit next to Ginny, and now was sitting next to Parkinson and Ginny was sitting across from him.

"I don't think they're going to like that we have assigned seating—"

"It's only proper to designate seating, Potter," Malfoy said. "Then we can all have a balanced conversation and side conversations would be at a minimum."

"Side conversations? This isn't the Great Hall and there are no professors giving speeches, Malfoy," Harry mocked him slightly, and earned himself a glare from Malfoy that he hadn't seen in almost a week.

Harry laughed at Malfoy's expression and walked away. He didn't really care for the place settings and he knew that Ron wouldn't either. He'd sit where he felt like it and Malfoy would only have to deal with it when the time came. He was not going to ruin his perfectly decent mood arguing with Malfoy.

His goal was to not look like a married couple to his friends.

Parkinson and Zabini arrived a half-hour before the time Harry had told his friends. He wondered if Malfoy had planned it but didn't give it much thought. He was far too busy making sure that the spinach puffs, the canapés, and the mini quiches didn't burn in the oven.

Zabini and Malfoy retired to the sitting room for Firewhisky and Parkinson decided to hang around with Harry. More like badger around. She wouldn't let up with her questions about what he had been doing for two years. Constantly probing him about his choice of ingredients. Seriously, she was more tenacious and annoying than Hermione could ever be.

Harry looked out of the kitchen door and into the sitting room where he locked eyes with Malfoy. Harry wasn't sure if Malfoy was able to read his expression that was screaming for help. Malfoy immediately strode into the kitchen and asked Parkinson for something banal and handed Harry a shot of Firewhisky that he gratefully gulped down without hesitation.

"Why did you leave me alone with her?" Harry gave Malfoy the look of death, something he'd mastered very well having lived with him.

"She said she wanted to talk to you. Get to know you," Malfoy whispered in return, scared to have the guests hear him.

Harry rolled his eyes. "She's bloody sitting next to me for the entire dinner. We couldn't talk then?" Malfoy opened his mouth to say something, but Harry stopped him. "Right, can't have side conversations. Wait until I have Ron sit next to you instead."

"Potter, you wouldn't dare!"

"I would!"

They were both glaring at each other standing on one side of the counter; faces inches apart. Harry stared up at Malfoy's grey eyes, his bottom lip was quivering. Harry wanted desperately to run his thumb over Malfoy's lower lip, pull him in for a kiss, when the Floo whooshed and more guests arrived.

"Oh, you missed quite the show!" Parkinson announced as Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Neville entered the kitchen. "I wasn't sure if Draco and Potter were going to hex each other or snog. Either way, I would have enjoyed watching," she said.

Ron coughed immediately and turned to go back to the sitting room. "I need a drink."

"We should all head over," Harry said. "I'll bring the hors d'oeuvres."

Harry did his best to avoid looking at Malfoy while he was speaking with his friends. Malfoy, Parkinson and Zabini were huddled over in one corner while Harry was speaking with Neville and Hermione. Ginny and Ron were the only ones enjoying the hors d'oeuvres and refilling everyone's drinks.

"So how is it going?" Hermione asked quietly. Harry was sure she could feel the tension in the room, especially if Malfoy was involved.

"It was going okay so far..."

"What happened?"

"I don't know. We have been cordial with each other. I try to stay out of his way and he tries to stay out of mine. But something happened today. We've been arguing a lot and he's getting really snappy with me."

"The house is looking nice though," Neville said, looking up. "Isn't it moving along faster than you'd anticipated?" he asked, and Harry nodded. "So things aren't that bad. It's probably just the pressure of throwing this dinner party. Remember the first time Ginny and I tried to entertain guests over at my place?"

"But you're a real couple, Neville," Harry said, trying not to sound annoyed. It was more of a reminder to himself than it was to Neville, really. Harry liked Malfoy, more than he'd wanted to, and the fact that they lived together, and slept in the same bed, still didn't mean they were together.

"Right. You and Malfoy are not a couple," Neville said, his tone a bit sarcastic.

Hermione giggled at Neville's comment and when Harry glared at her, she excused herself to the loo.

Harry was trying not to think about it, but it was becoming more and more painfully obvious to him. Everyone at the dinner party was part of a couple except for Malfoy and him. They were all engaged, starting a new life together, and even though he and Malfoy did things that were rather spousal—minus the sex—they weren't a couple. Not a real one. And that fact was breaking Harry's heart.

Eventually, it was time to serve dinner and Harry was relieved. Suddenly, he just wanted the evening to be over. He didn't know nor did he care if the house felt his energy, his hostility, towards the dinner. He didn't care about throwing a fake dinner party with his fake partner. He just wanted it to end so he wouldn't be reminded constantly that it was all a façade —that it would be over, and in the end, he'd be alone in this house.

"What's the matter?" Malfoy asked, placing a hand on Harry's wrist. Harry thought that maybe Malfoy felt his anxiety.

He straightened his face. "Just tired," Harry lied.

"Oh." Malfoy grimaced. "You worked so hard to throw this dinner together and you're not even enjoying it." Malfoy was seated on Harry's left and he'd leaned in to Harry to speak with him.

Harry smiled softly and shook his head. Malfoy looked genuinely concerned about Harry's comfort. He heard a snicker from the right side of the table and they both turned to look. Pansy, Blaise, and Neville were smiling at them. Neville nodded and whispered something that Harry didn't quite hear, but was sure was something along the lines of not a real couple.

*-*-*-*

"Everything was really delicious, Potter," Parkinson said as the evening was coming to an end.

Despite his reservations and frustration, Harry had actually enjoyed himself after all. He walked his guests to the fireplace as they started to leave, couple by couple. Parkinson and Zabini were the last ones to go.

"Try not to sound so surprised," Harry answered as he leaned in and kissed her on the cheek.

"Hey, that's enough," Zabini said, cutting in with a fake jealous scowl and shook Malfoy's hand, then Harry's.

Harry was about to respond when they heard a strange sound from upstairs. Everyone turned to look, and Harry noticed that there were now doors on what had been just bare walls on the second level.

"Oh, you've got extra rooms!" Zabini commented.

"Maybe we should spend the night," Parkinson said.

"We don't exactly have the furniture, even if we have the rooms," Malfoy jumped in, much to Harry's relief. He wouldn't have known how to diffuse that situation. He was exhausted and all he really wanted was the bed back where he could just crash. Crash on Malfoy's bed, next to Malfoy, and be the couple they certainly weren't.

"Perhaps next time, then. As soon as you lot get some furniture!" she said, making a face.

She made it sound like Harry and Malfoy were going to live together forever. Harry quickly glanced over at Malfoy for his reaction and saw him grimace. Great, he's disgusted by the idea.

Harry didn't say anything and Zabini took their silence as their cue to leave. He all but picked her up as they entered the fireplace, and a moment later, they were gone.

Harry turned to face Malfoy, unsure of what to say. What he wanted to say was Do you want to bring the bed back so I can sleep next to you and feel your warmth? Instead, he ended up saying, "Do you want to go upstairs to—"

"Look at the rooms?" Malfoy continued. Harry nodded, and Malfoy smiled. "Yeah, if you want. It's your house."

"It's more yours than mine at the moment," Harry answered and headed towards the stairs. Malfoy quietly followed him.

Harry opened the door to the first bedroom they came across. "Ron and I stayed in this room," he whispered, unsure if Malfoy would be interested in that bit of detail.

"When?" Malfoy asked, walking in. He looked around with Harry and the room was dark, no windows had formed yet, and it was completely empty.

"About five years ago," Harry answered and walked down the hall to look at the other room. He noticed that the bathroom had also been established. "Look, now you don't have to wait for me to shower in the morning. We can get ready at the same time." Harry made sure he didn't sound as disappointed as he felt. Watching Malfoy walk about in his towel was sometimes the highlight of his day.

They went into the second bedroom and it was just like the first one. No windows, bare walls, slightly gloomy. Malfoy touched the empty wall as though he was trying to imagine what used to be there and if any of that influence was left behind.

Harry didn't know what possessed him to do it, but he couldn't help himself. He walked right up next to Malfoy and gently placed his hand on the small of Malfoy's back. "Feel anything?" he asked.

Harry was sure he'd imagined it, but he thought that Malfoy almost—almost—leaned into the touch. He shook his head.

"Do you want to move up here?" Malfoy asked, looking uncertain.

"Do you?" Harry questioned in response, and Malfoy raised an eyebrow. "We only have one bed still—"

"I like the open space," Malfoy answered.

"Me too. And there aren't even any windows. Besides..." Harry paused.

"Besides what?"

"I wanted to live in Sirius' room. It's all I thought about; it was going to be my room. So I don't want to settle into a makeshift bedroom just to uproot myself again. I already have a makeshift bedroom." It was partially the truth, and the other part was that Harry wasn't ready to not sleep in the same bed as Malfoy. He reckoned it'd be a while until two more floors materialised in the house, and then he'd think about ways to get Malfoy to move his bed into Sirius's room.

Malfoy nodded and walked away from Harry. Harry immediately missed the touch. He'd almost forgotten that Malfoy was leaned into him until he was no longer there.

"Let's just clean up tomorrow," Harry said when they were back in their sleeping area and he headed towards the cupboard to grab a pair of pyjamas. He took off his shirt and threw it in the hamper next to the cupboard.

He and Malfoy had gotten comfortable enough around each other to no longer go in the bathroom to change clothes. He turned to gaze at Malfoy, who was busy setting up their bed, and waited for a response. Malfoy turned to look at him, his expression unreadable. He reluctantly agreed to clean up the next day.

Harry crashed on the bed. Hard. It was his turn to sleep on the outside, but he didn't even care at that moment. He just wanted to stay where he was. Not move for hours. He heard Malfoy chuckle, but didn't say anything else.

When he knew that Malfoy was far enough away from the bed, Harry opened his eyes slowly to catch a glimpse of Malfoy changing. It was his favourite sneaky thing to do and Malfoy never said anything, so Harry assumed that Malfoy didn't notice. It wasn't the smartest thing to do because seeing Malfoy change out of his clothes would only turn Harry on, and then he'd sleep next to the man without being able to touch him. There wasn't a bigger form of torture, and Harry was a complete masochist for it.

Harry kept his eyes closed and evened his breathing when he felt Malfoy dip down on the bed next to him. Malfoy mumbled a good night, but Harry didn't respond; he stayed very still. He wasn’t sure what he was doing, but Malfoy always waited for Harry to fall asleep first, and for some reason Harry didn't want to sleep. The night, as crazy as it had been, was still kind of perfect. He'd had a great time hosting a dinner party with his friends and somehow Harry didn't want to fall asleep to only wake up the next day and have it all be a dream.

A dream that was dwindling away so fast—the house was reconstructing itself, and before he'd know, Malfoy would be moving out.

He heard a faint snore, realising that Malfoy was just as exhausted, and turned to face him, unable to stop his grinning. He lay on his side, looking at Malfoy in the dark, for what he figured was at least an hour. Then, much to Harry's surprise, Malfoy scooted close to him. Harry stopped breathing for a moment as he watched Malfoy; he was still asleep. Malfoy released a low groan and wrapped his arm around Harry, pulling him in.

Harry kept his body stiff. He needed to make sure that Malfoy was really sleeping. When he determined that to be the case, he released a sigh of relief. He edged himself closer to Malfoy, who in turn tightened his grip around Harry.

Over the course of the last few days, Harry thought that he'd been dreaming that Malfoy was wrapped around him, because when he'd wake up in the morning, Malfoy was nowhere to be found. Now he knew. Malfoy still cuddled with him in his sleep; perhaps that was why he waited for Harry to fall asleep first. Then he'd wake up before him to save himself the embarrassment of using him as his body pillow.

Malfoy let out a low groan and fuck did that make Harry hard. His body was all but pressed against Malfoy's and getting an erection at that moment was not a good idea. Malfoy must have thought he was dreaming, too, because in midst of cuddling with Harry, his hand travelled down and wrapped itself around Harry's cock above his trousers.

Harry was going to die!

"Malfoy..." Harry whispered faintly. He was so turned on and all he wanted was to wake Malfoy up and get rid of their clothes and writhe their bodies together.

When he felt Malfoy wake up, Harry immediately closed his eyes and evened his breathing again. Malfoy gasped in shock. He then felt Malfoy pull himself away. Harry inadvertently whined and when he realised what he'd done, he turned himself around and edged himself away from Malfoy. He continued to pretend to be asleep and Malfoy didn't make any sudden movements.

Eventually, Harry truly fell asleep, and when he woke up the next morning, Malfoy was in the shower.

*-*-*-*

Harry hopped out of bed and made his way to the kitchen. He needed to make coffee and thought about cleaning the kitchen as Malfoy showered. He tried not to think about being pressed against Malfoy the night before. He tried not to think about how he ruined the moment by waking Malfoy up and making him realise what he was doing. Harry tried not to think about it. Rather, he simply cursed himself for ruining what could have been his.

But did he really want that? Wouldn't that be taking advantage of Malfoy? The man was already doing Harry an enormous favour and now Harry was willing to take advantage of him like that? He groaned with frustration and punched his hand against a kitchen cabinet.

"Ow!"

"Alright there, Potter?"

Harry was startled by Malfoy's sudden appearance.

"Yeah. Sleep okay?" Harry couldn't help himself. What was wrong with him?

Malfoy raised an eyebrow. "Yes. You?"

"Like a log."

Malfoy only grunted and turned his attention towards the dining table.

So there's that.

*-*-*-*

The next few nights, Harry continued to pretend to fall asleep before Malfoy, only to have Malfoy rub up against him in his slumbering state. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but really, he wasn't doing anything more than just feeling Malfoy's body pressed against his.

After the second night when his erection was nearly well killing him and Malfoy would unknowingly rub his hand against it, Harry started to turn around. He'd much rather feel Malfoy's body from behind and just feel his half hard cock on his arse. It felt like he was taking less advantage of a situation then.

During his awake state, Malfoy went about ignorant of his actions and Harry's need, and Harry would do the same. Over dinner, which they had started making together now, Harry would find excuses to touch Malfoy and noticed that Malfoy barely flinched or pulled his hand away from Harry's touch.

What does that mean? Was he waiting for Harry to make the first move? In his mind, Harry thought that he couldn't be more painfully obvious that he liked Malfoy. What was Malfoy waiting for?

Parkinson and Zabini came over for dinner again and Harry told Malfoy that Hermione and Ron were busy when, in fact, he simply hadn't invited them. He liked watching Malfoy in his element with his friends. His guard was usually down, which wasn't the case when Ron was around, and Harry needed to get some information from Parkinson.

Harry bought the most expensive bottle of Rosé he could find—it was his only in with Parkinson. After dessert, when Malfoy and Zabini retired to the sitting room, Harry presented her with the bottle. She nearly gasped.

"Potter! I had no idea you had such good taste!" Parkinson exclaimed and immediately grabbed two glasses from the pantry.

Harry chuckled. "I think it comes with the territory."

She raised an eyebrow and stopped pouring the wine. "What's your game, Potter?"

"It's not a game," Harry answered.

They seemed to understand each other. She grabbed the two glasses and gestured for him to join her at the dining table.

"He's not easy," she said.

"Believe me, I know," Harry answered. Her reaction had confirmed any doubt that Harry had. Malfoy liked him, too, and he'd clearly talked to her about it.

"What should I do? Gifts?"

She shook her head. "No, he'll see right through that."

"Then, what? Push him against the wall and start snogging him?"

She shrugged. "It could work. He likes the hands-on approach."

"What makes you think he won't just push me back and hex me?"

"It's a risk you have to be willing to take," she answered as if it were the simplest thing in the world.

Harry scowled. Was he willing to do that? Start a brawl with Malfoy in his half-built house—what if the magic retracted?

"He knows you find reasons to touch him, you know."

Harry's eyes widened at her statement. "He told you?"

She had the most wicked smirk on her face as she sipped the wine. "Does he still practically climb up on top of you when you're both sleeping?"

"You know about that too? Well, not that I'm supposed to know about it. He pretends that it doesn't happen and acts like he's just so repulsed, or embarrassed—"

"If he's so repulsed, then why doesn't he just pop back into his flat and bring over the body pillow? Separate the two of you, or Transfigure—"

"Why are you two hiding here?" Harry heard Zabini's voice loud and clear before he entered the kitchen. He had a sneaking suspicion that Zabini might have known what Harry and Parkinson were chatting about.

"Just enjoying my surprise present from Potter here," Parkinson said, raising her glass. "I suspect that he's trying to get himself invited to the wedding." She looked at Malfoy and winked. "Draco doesn't have a date. You could just come as his date. Couldn't he?"

Malfoy cleared his throat and was turning pale.

"I'm really not," Harry assured him, his eyes widening with panic. "I just wanted to thank Parkinson for trying my experimental dish and being so honest about it."

"Honestly, we should take that bottle and get out of here before she does any more damage," Zabini said, grabbing the more than half-full bottle of Rosé and urging Parkinson to down her glass. She nodded and obliged.

"It's a shame to drink the wine like a cheap shot of tequila, Blaise," she whined and he only rolled his eyes at her. "Thanks for the talk, Potter."

Harry stood up to walk them to the fireplace and five minutes later, they were gone; Harry was left alone standing awkwardly next to Malfoy. He turned and looked up at the newly built third level of the house. Just one more floor to go — Sirius's room — and Harry could move all of his things in there. Then it would be all over.

"Need help?" Malfoy asked, yanking Harry out of his thoughts.

"What?"

"With the clean-up."

"Oh, yeah. Sure."

Malfoy smiled and made his way to the kitchen and Harry followed. They cleaned up quietly, almost too quiet, and Harry hadn't even noticed until Malfoy pointed it out.

"Pansy give you a hard time?"

"About what?"

"I don't know, you are eerily quiet. Is she thinking of leaving Blaise?"

"What, no! Why would she tell me?"

"I don't know. Maybe she thinks you'd keep the secret—"

"That is not what we talked about!" Harry was horrified. He didn't know what to think. He hadn't thought that Pansy would leave Zabini because she seemed really happy to be with him.

"So what did you talk about?"

"Oh, we—" Harry paused for a moment and tried to read Malfoy's face. "Wait, did you throw that at me so I would tell you what we talked about? Because her leaving Zabini is—"

"Absolutely preposterous, I know."

Harry glowered at Malfoy and threw a dish-towel at him. "You're a wanker."

"And now you're talking," he replied. When Harry gave him a confused look, Malfoy continued. "I don't know what you two talked about, but whatever it was must have been really serious because I've never seen you this quiet. It is almost scary. I didn't know what to think."

Harry smiled when he realised that he made Malfoy nervous. On top of that, this was probably the first time in days when Harry hadn't made any excuses to brush up against Malfoy. He'd been so occupied with trying to make a move on Malfoy that what he usually did had been shelved.

And Malfoy didn't like it.

"Don't look so smug," Malfoy said, almost as though he'd read Harry's mind. Knowing Malfoy, he probably had.

"I'm not being smug," Harry answered innocently. "I'm going to take a shower."

Harry took his time walking over to the corner cupboard and he could feel Malfoy's eyes on him. Harry turned to face Malfoy and was glad to know that Malfoy didn't look away when their eyes locked. Harry kept his eyes on Malfoy as he unbuttoned his shirt and threw it on the floor. Malfoy leaned against the archway in-between the kitchen and the sitting room and watched.

Harry knocked off his shoes and then unbuttoned his jeans, his eyes on Malfoy. Malfoy watching him. Harry stood practically naked as he and Malfoy watched each other from a distance. He was afraid to take his glasses off—to lose the link between them with his blurred vision. He was about to step up to Malfoy when the fireplace roared.

You can't possibly be serious! Harry groaned and Malfoy rushed towards the fireplace; Harry was glad as he'd almost forgotten that he was practically naked.

Dante, of all the people who could ruin the moment, popped his head in.

Malfoy looked at Harry, his expression unreadable. Harry all but rolled his eyes and locked himself in the bathroom. Whatever Dante was calling for, it wasn't for Harry, and Harry didn't want to deal with it.

When Harry returned, he found Malfoy leaning against the wall on the bed. He looked like he'd showered as well and Harry scowled. Before Dante had fire-called and interrupted whatever they were doing, Harry was going to ask Malfoy to join him in the shower.

No, he really wasn't going to do that, but the idea sounded nice.

Harry walked over the cupboard in the corner and started to get dressed for bed. Why they still shared a cupboard for clothes was lost on him. Technically they had two extra rooms with full closets, and if Malfoy wanted, he could have easily moved his things up the stairs.

That would make things permanent. He doesn't want things permanent. Remember you told him you didn't want to make any changes until Sirius's room was materialised?

Harry sighed and advanced towards the bed. He lay on his side, didn't take his glasses off, and watched Malfoy. Determined that it was now or never.

"What are you looking at?" Malfoy asked, without looking up from his book.

Harry watched the nerves on Malfoy's neck as he silently gulped. Malfoy was nervous, even though he was acting aloof. "You," Harry said simply. "Why do you care so much about what me and Pansy talked about?"

"I don't...care." Malfoy turned to glower at him. "I was just curious, is all. Blaise wasn't sure what to get her for the wedding. Bride and groom have to exchange presents on the night of the wedding, and I thought maybe she would tell you what she wanted and then you'd tell me and I—"

"Why would she tell me?"

"You bought her the Rosé—"

"Maybe I wanted to tell her something."

"What did you want to tell her?" Malfoy placed the book in his lap and turned to look at Harry. He had the most curious look on his face and Harry just wanted to pull him in and kiss him; not care—not worry about Malfoy hexing him.

"That's for me to know," Harry said and turned on his back. He removed his glasses and stared at the ceiling.

"Oh, you are the worst!" Malfoy said, and snapped his book shut. He reached over Harry and placed the book on the side table.

Harry's cock twitched with the scent of Malfoy's skin over him.

"I could just put the book away for you if you wanted." The words left Harry's mouth before he could control his tone. He knew he sounded like he was snapping at Malfoy, but he wasn't; he just was having a hard time breathing.

"Sorry!" Malfoy said disdainfully and a moment later, darkened the room.

Harry could feel Malfoy breathing heavily next to him. He was upset.

"What did Dante want?" Harry whispered in the darkness, hoping that Malfoy would respond. He turned on his side in Malfoy's direction, hoping to catch a glimpse of him.

Malfoy sighed. "Dinner tomorrow."

"What did you say?" Harry's voice trembled just a bit and he hoped that Malfoy wouldn't catch that. There was a very long pause. "Malfoy?"

"I turned him down. And I told him that I couldn't take him to Pansy and Blaise's wedding."

"What did he say?"

"He was disappointed. Tried to guilt me saying that he'd already bought them a present and robes for the wedding. I told him I could easily compensate him for his trouble—"

"He would have loved that."

Malfoy chuckled. "Yeah, I wouldn't ask him for any favours if I were you."

"Why me?" Harry wondered what Malfoy told Dante. Did he tell him that he liked Harry instead?

"I told him that I couldn't leave you alone in the house and Pansy said that all the arrangements had been made and there was no way she could accommodate a last minute guest."

"So basically you lied."

"Erm...Yeah."

"Wait, Parkinson said that you didn't have a date."

"That's because I told her that I uninvited him weeks ago." Malfoy sounded a bit nervous. "So when she mentioned bringing you instead, I knew that I had the perfect excuse."

"Malfoy, you don't owe that git anything." There was a long pause and Malfoy didn't say a word. Almost didn't even breathe. "Malfoy?"

"I do owe him. I owe him for my flat, and my job. When I returned back after the trials, and with my mother settling in France, I didn't have anyone to turn to, and he helped me—"

"Because he just wanted to have sex with you."

"Yeah, but things were just so bad—"

"He took advantage of you and he's going to keep taking advantage of you unless you—"

"You don't understand, Potter," Malfoy snapped. Harry wished that he could see Malfoy's face, that he'd just light the room again, but he knew that Malfoy needed the darkness to talk.

"I understand enough," Harry said. "The flat you live in now isn't your first flat. After the trials, you were probably moving from place to place. First with your mother, then on your own. The way you pack, unpack, settle yourself in a situation easily—that comes with practice. Practice of not knowing what the future will bring, or where you belong. If you belong anywhere."

Malfoy didn't say anything again. He shifted on his side of the bed and then settled quietly again. Harry was going crazy. He wished Malfoy would say something. Tell him if he was wrong or right or yell at him.

"Am I wrong?" Harry asked quietly.

"No..." Malfoy whispered. "How did you—"

"Because I did sort of the same thing too. I lived in the Muggle world because I wanted to find myself. Find out who I am when I'm not the Saviour, because that wasn't me, that was something that happened to me..."

Malfoy yawned and shifted again.

Tell him!

Harry reached over and found Malfoy's hand. He grabbed it and squeezed it gently. Malfoy squeezed it back. Harry pulled himself towards Malfoy, shortening the distance between them.

"What are you doing?" Malfoy asked; he didn't hesitate or pull away. His voice was calm. Harry's heart was pounding, ready to jump out of his chest.

"You like it when I touch you," Harry said.

"Oh, so are you a Reader now?" Malfoy's tone was teasing.

"Okay, I like it when I touch you," Harry admitted. His hand found Malfoy's stomach and gently travelled up his chest, his throat, and stopped when he found Malfoy's jaw.

"What are you doing now?"

"Trying to find your lips so I can kiss you."

Harry felt Malfoy gulp, his chin moving slightly.

"Why aren't you stopping me?"

"Do you want me to stop you?"

"No, Malfoy. I want you to come close to me and find my lips."

Malfoy obliged. He turned towards Harry and placed his hand on Harry's waist. "This is probably a bad idea."

Harry yanked Malfoy's hand away and pushed him back on the bed. Without any hesitation, he got on top of Malfoy and shifted their hips together. "You talk too much, think too much, feel too much."

"That's my job."

"I'm not your job." Harry nuzzled into Malfoy's neck and his hands had a strong hold on Malfoy's wrists. He didn't know what he was doing. If he didn't stop, he was going to hurt Malfoy. What had gotten into him? He didn't want anyone as badly as he wanted Malfoy.

"No, you're just some bloke who wants me to help him build a home and then you'll just easily discard me."

Harry stopped immediately. He released Malfoy's hands and sat up. He was still on top of Malfoy, feeling Malfoy's half-hard cock twitch against his own. "Is that what you really think of me?"

"No..." Malfoy said faintly.

Harry spelled light into the room and stared down at Malfoy.

"I just know how easily people can abandon things they no longer need."

"Malfoy, you're not a thing. You're a person." Harry leaned down, propping himself on his elbows, his face centimetres away from Malfoy's.

"I thought you were going to kiss me," Malfoy responded. His eyes didn't leave Harry's.

"Is that what you want?"

Malfoy jerked his hips up slightly towards Harry and nodded. A sly smirk crept up and Harry couldn't help but grin in return. He leaned down completely and pressed his lips against Malfoy's and grabbed the back of Malfoy's neck with his right hand.

He swayed his hips slightly and Malfoy groaned, allowing Harry to slide his tongue in. Malfoy's hands grabbed Harry by the waist and he jerked up again as he sucked on Harry's tongue. It was Harry's turn to moan into Malfoy's mouth.

They stayed that way for a while, Harry running his hands through Malfoy's hair, and Malfoy digging his nails into Harry's skin. Harry couldn't get enough, but he didn't want to push too much. He was afraid that if he made one wrong move, Malfoy would shut himself off and Harry did not want that. He wanted Malfoy to stay open to him. Harry wanted to take all that he could get. Their groins were grinding together and Harry was so sure that if they just continued what they were doing, he was going to be spilling into his pants.

This in itself was already so much better than the wanks he had alone in the showers. The real thing—having Malfoy under him—was a thousand times better.

"Want you so much," Harry mumbled as they parted for breath and Malfoy's face was buried in Harry's neck, sucking and biting his skin, and Harry turned them both to their sides.

"I knew you'd taste this good," Malfoy said, almost confessing. He nuzzled into Harry's neck again and his hands were trying to push his and Harry's trousers down.

"Are you sure?" Harry asked, but he didn't really wait for Malfoy's response. They were naked in a moment's notice, rubbing up against each other. Malfoy didn't hesitate, and Harry didn't ask again.

"How do you want me?" Harry whispered, rubbing their erections together, precome making the movement slick.

"Inside me," Malfoy said. "I've got lube..." Malfoy panted, and Harry was sure he was going to already come, "...in the cupboard."

"You prepared for this?" Harry asked, grinning and grabbed his wand from the bedside table to summon the lube.

"It was the first thing I packed. Not sure why, but I didn't question my instincts," Malfoy answered, grinning, and pulled Harry on top of him again. "It has been such torture to sleep next to you and not be able—"

"How do you think I felt? Having you rub up against me in the middle of the night and pretending that I didn't—"

"Shite!" Malfoy looked embarrassed and was about to cover his face with his hands when Harry stopped him.

"Don't," Harry whispered. He rubbed lube all over his cock and parted Malfoy's legs, wrapping them around his waist. "Merlin, Malfoy. You make me so hard, I could fuck you the whole night through."

"Fucking hell—" Malfoy nearly screamed and arched his back as he felt Harry's head push slightly into his hole. "Push it in! Fuck, Potter. I want to fucking feel you all the way!"

Harry followed his orders. He plunged into Malfoy, who arched his back up again and Harry moaned at the feel of Malfoy, watching him writhe underneath him. He pulled out and pushed in again, shifting his weight slightly, and loved watching Malfoy react to his thrusts over and over again. It was so much better than he'd imagined it. So much hotter than anything he'd ever experienced before.

He never cared about any of the other blokes and Harry cared about Malfoy so much.

Malfoy's eyes were shut, his hands were grabbing his thighs tightly, and he was biting his lower lip so hard, Harry was afraid that it would bleed. He was holding back his moans and Harry wasn't going to have it. He was going to make Malfoy scream under him. He wanted to hear and feel Malfoy come.

"Do you like that?" Harry asked, pulling out and thrusting in as hard as he could muster without actually hurting Malfoy.

"Yeah..." Malfoy murmured.

"What did you say, Malfoy? I didn't hear you." Harry pulled out and pushed in again. "I said, do you fucking like that?"

"Yes!" Malfoy bellowed, his eyes wide open as he locked gazes with Harry. "Fuck, Potter, do it again!"

Harry did it again. And again. Until he was spilling inside Malfoy and his hand was stroking Malfoy's cock trying to get him to come with him. Malfoy did, but not before he had practically flown up and wrapped his hands around Harry's neck. Harry was settled on his knees and Malfoy cocked up, rode him and spilled in-between them at the same time.

Watching Malfoy as his cock went in and out of Malfoy was the sexiest thing Harry had ever seen; watching him spill in-between them, his face flushed, his hair tousled, was the second sexiest thing. Although Harry wasn't sure which one really took precedence.

Malfoy was still propped up on him as Harry balanced them together in the middle of the bed. Their lips brushed against each other's and Harry grinned when Malfoy mumbled incoherently against his lips.

"That went a lot better than I'd imagined," Harry said, pulling Malfoy gently up off him as he slid out.

"That went a lot better than I'd ever thought possible," Malfoy answered. He crashed on the bed next to Harry, who grabbed his wand again and spelled them clean.

Harry thumped on the bed next to Malfoy and immediately wrapped his arm around him. He pulled Malfoy in, kissed the back of his neck and pulled the covers on top of them.

"How did you know that I—" Malfoy hesitated, as if he was trying to find the right words for his question.

"Gravitated towards me in your sleep?" Harry offered and Malfoy shot Harry a glaring yet embarrassed look over his shoulder.

"I pretended to fall asleep before you, and then after you'd go under, I'd wait for it to happen."

"You'd pretend to fall asleep— this whole time?" Malfoy sounded shocked, or impressed, Harry wasn't sure.

"Remember when I had to pretend to be dead in front of Voldemort?" Harry laughed. "This was a piece of cake compared to that."

"So you're saying you're good at pretending?"

"I'm good at getting what I want," Harry said. "If the war taught me anything, it was that good things are hard to come by and they can easily be taken away from you. You need to grab a hold of what you need, what you want, and not let go."

"You're holding on to me mighty tight," Malfoy said.

"That's because I don't plan to let go," Harry answered, and a moment later, he'd spelled the room dark again.

"For how long?" Malfoy whispered in the dark.

"For as long as it works," Harry answered honestly and Malfoy wouldn't have it any other way. He was kissing Malfoy on the back of the neck again and let sleep take over him. From now on, Harry knew that he didn't need to pretend to fall asleep to have Malfoy in his arms. He'd have him at night and in the morning.

For as long as it worked. For as long as he could.

*-*-*-*

The morning came and Harry found himself turned as Malfoy was the one that had his arms wrapped around Harry. They must have switched positions in their sleep, and Harry smiled knowing that Malfoy hadn't pulled back.

He groggily opened his eyes and everything looked big. The room looked bigger. The furniture had unshrunk itself, and still the room looked bigger. Harry slowly turned his gaze upwards and noticed that the last floor of the house had built itself. He wondered if he went to the top floor, would he be able to see the attic?

The house was complete.

Harry was excited. He quickly turned to face Malfoy who was still sleeping. Terror overtook the excitement and Harry's heart sank. The house was complete. Would this mean that Malfoy was leaving?

It had been almost three weeks. Parkinson and Zabini's wedding was a few short days away. Malfoy had been right. Harry had followed his recipe, and the construction took shorter time than anyone had anticipated.

Malfoy looked peaceful. Just so content, and Harry didn't have the heart to wake him. To tell him the news that it was over. He didn't want to hear that Malfoy would be signing over the house to Harry shortly, and that this would be over. He'd go back to his flat, and Harry would be stuck building the home alone.

It was something he'd wanted to do, but that was almost a month ago. Now he just wanted Malfoy in his arms. Living in tiny space, cooking for him, sleeping together in the same bed. Loving each other.

Fuck. I love him.

Harry didn't need the big house to make a home. He needed Malfoy. If he asked, would Malfoy stay?

You're not going to know if you just keep watching him sleep, like a creep.

"Malfoy..." Harry whispered.

Malfoy immediately woke up. "What?" He pushed himself away from Harry frantically. "Sorry!"

"No, it's okay," Harry said, trying not to chuckle. His hold on Malfoy tightened and he pulled him back. "Don't go too far."

"Potter!" Malfoy said, trying to wake up. His expression schooled—Harry figured—when he wrapped his head around what'd happened the night before. "We had sex."

Harry laughed. "I'm glad you remembered."

"Is everything okay?"

Harry smiled softly. He placed one leg over Malfoy and pulled him in closer. "More than okay." He kissed Malfoy gently at first, then his hand trickled down Malfoy's spine and grabbed his arse. "It's good to wake up next to you."

"We've been waking up next to each other every day for the past three weeks, Potter."

"Yeah, but not like this..." Harry pushed a finger inside Malfoy's hole and the muscles immediately clenched around Harry's finger. Malfoy hissed. "Unless you've been doing things in my sleep." He couldn't suppress the grin.

Malfoy shot his head back, exposing his neck to Harry and his Adam's apple bobbed. "I get your point," he groaned and pushed back onto Harry's finger. "Are we having another go?"

Harry pushed his erection on Malfoy's thigh. "What do you think?" He turned his head to find lube on the side table and tried to grab it with his free hand.

"Let me!" Malfoy groaned exasperatedly. "Can you actually ever do anything without me?"

"You know I can't," Harry said, and kissed Malfoy's shoulder.

"You don't need to sweet talk me, Potter. I'm already putting out," Malfoy said, grinning, and handed the lube to Harry.

"In that case, get on your knees, Malfoy."

Malfoy rolled his eyes and turned, as Harry still hadn't retracted his finger from Malfoy's entrance. "Hey, the house..."

Shite. He noticed.

"I know. I think it's almost done. Or maybe all done," Harry said, struggling to keep his tone light.

"Why didn't you say anything?"

Harry gestured towards their naked state. "Been kind of busy, Mal—"

"What? Fuck me, and then tell me you don't need me anymore?"

"Fucking hell, Draco!" Harry nearly screamed and yanked his finger out from Malfoy. "I still need you and want you. Having the house completed doesn't mean I don't want to fuck you or want you around!"

"Want me around to fuck? To sign the ownership back to you—"

"Malfoy, if you don't stop saying stupid things—I'm afraid I won't restrain myself from punching you," Harry warned. He stood up off the bed and put on his pyjama bottoms.

"Where are you going?" Malfoy asked, sitting up on the bed as he wrapped the covers around himself.

"Get dressed."

"Where are you going?"

"I'll tell you when you get dressed."

Harry stalked off to the cupboard and grabbed a small book he'd been hiding from Malfoy. He watched Malfoy as he put on his clothes, clothes they'd discarded in such heated passion the night before. It was a shame really; Harry wanted to kiss Malfoy tenderly, tell him that he cared about him and then show him the house. His journal. He didn't want things to get so riled up so fast. But with Malfoy, he never knew when things would take a turn for the worst.

"Where are we going?"

"Upstairs."

"Why?"

"To see if the house is complete."

"What's that in your hands?"

"Proof."

Harry marched up the stairs without looking back to see if Malfoy was following. He didn't want to answer any questions until he'd reached Sirius's room. When he arrived at the door, Harry took a deep breath. He turned around and saw that Malfoy was right behind him. He smiled softly at Malfoy who looked cross and agitated. Harry shook his head and grabbed the back of Malfoy's neck and pulled him in for a kiss.

Malfoy kissed him back and Harry felt his anger melt a little bit. "Proof that I want you around. That I like you and that you should add my name to the ownership, not replace it," Harry said against Malfoy's lips and turned to open the door.

The door opened slowly and creaked creepily. The room was huge, larger than Harry had remembered, and absolutely empty. No lifeless posters of Muggle women on the wall, no Gryffindor paraphernalia, no bed. Harry smiled to himself. Malfoy's bed would look rather good in this room. He wondered if Malfoy had a frame or if they'd have to go shopping together for one.

Harry grabbed Malfoy's hand and pulled him in. He watched Malfoy as he looked around the room, desperately in need to know what he was thinking, but didn't ask. When Malfoy turned to look at him, Harry handed him the book he was holding.

"What's this?"

"My journal."

Malfoy opened it and looked through the pages. He knew what Malfoy was thinking. It didn't make any sense. "It's in code," Harry offered.

"So why did you give it to me?"

"When I stayed with my aunt and uncle, my cousin, he'd find my journal and read it out loud to his friends before they proceeded to beat me up. Or he'd read the things I wrote about his parents to them, and then I'd get no dinner for a week—"

Malfoy scowled. "Where are you going with this?"

"So I started writing in code. I still do." Harry smiled and Malfoy nodded. "You don't need to read what's written to know what it says."

"Oh," was all Malfoy said before he shut the journal and handed it back to Harry. "I don't— I don't know if I want to know what it says."

"They are letters. To you. I wrote in it when I would sit in Sally Berkshire's garden. I would talk to the plants, and tell them all about you. So I started writing what I wanted to say to you and then— the habit sort of became like breathing. I want you to feel it."

Malfoy was scowling as he held the journal. Harry hadn't taken it back. He sighed deeply and then brought the journal near his chest and wrapped his arms around it. He walked away from Harry and rested against the far wall.

Malfoy couldn't read people, and he had some weird connection with Hermione, but had failed to make that connection with Harry. Harry watched as Malfoy's eyes closed, and his expression changed. The letters explained everything he felt. His frustration of relying on Malfoy. His admiration of his ways. His attraction towards Malfoy. And lastly, his need for the man. Harry needed Malfoy like he needed air. Maybe the letters didn't say that he loved him, because, until that morning, Harry didn't know.

Harry had little to no intention of sharing those letters with anyone. At best, he'd thought that his feelings would come to pass, and he would have moved on. Now he knew better. He knew that his ache for Malfoy was never ever going to go away.

"Potter, I—"

Harry rushed over to Malfoy and grabbed him by the shoulders. "Don't say anything." He all but pushed Malfoy against the wall and kissed him. His hands travelled down to Malfoy's waist and he lifted him up as Malfoy wrapped his legs around him.

Push him against the wall and start snogging him. Harry had told Parkinson he was going to do that. So that's what he did.

"Tell me you don't want the same things as me," Harry said, breaking the kiss but still keeping Malfoy as close to his body as possible.

"I—" Malfoy looked like he was struggling for words.

"Tell me that you can just go back, back to your flat, and you're okay with sleeping in separate beds. That'd you'd rather go back to hugging that body pillow than me?"

"I can't get rid of my flat, I have a contract."

"I'll buy you out of your contract!" Harry exclaimed.

"I'm not sure the landlord would—"

"It's money! What landlord wouldn't—" Harry's eyes widened. "It's Dante, isn't it? Dante's your fucking landlord."

Malfoy didn't answer, but his reaction was all Harry needed. "He fucked you for that flat?"

Malfoy scowled and pushed Harry back. He almost fell off the wall as Harry stumbled back and Malfoy continued to glower at Harry. "I'm not a fucking whore!"

"I know," Harry said, as softly as he could. "I just hate that git. So much!"

Malfoy laughed in response. Laughed. Harry didn't know what to do with that reaction, but reckoned that as long as it wasn't Malfoy leaving the house or marching over to punch him, it was alright.

"My work requires a lot of peace and quiet. I need to concentrate. I need space."

Harry rolled his eyes. That wasn't even a real excuse. "Draco," he said, pausing and ensuring that Malfoy caught on to his words. "We live— we own an empty house with like ten bedrooms. I think you'll be able to find space for your work and your thoughts without a problem."

"I can buy myself out of my contract," Malfoy said.

"Fine, but I want to be there when you speak to Dante."

Malfoy nodded.

"My mother will be visiting during Christmas."

"Alright."

"And I want to have dinner parties every other week with my—our—friends."

"Okay."

"You'll cook."

Harry groaned. "Fine. Yes. Yes to everything. Now will you come back here and let me suck you off in our new bedroom?"

Malfoy grinned and walked over to Harry. Harry felt his heart sink into his stomach. Fuck, he would do anything in the world to keep Malfoy smiling like that forever. Harry pushed Malfoy against the wall again and didn't ask twice before claiming his mouth. He pushed his tongue between Malfoy's parted lips and struggled to push his trousers down. A moment later, Harry was on his knees.

Malfoy's erection stared Harry in the face as Harry licked the top of the head. Malfoy hissed in pleasure and his head gently thudded against the wall. Harry swirled his tongue around before taking all of Malfoy in his mouth and sucking.

"Potter..." Malfoy whispered as Harry licked him over and over, fondling Malfoy's balls with one hand and his other hand reaching behind Malfoy to cup his arse. Malfoy thrust gently into Harry's mouth and his hand took a strong hold of Harry's hair. Harry concentrated on his task, Malfoy's cock hitting the back of his throat and he thought he'd heard Malfoy mumble something about his gag reflex. Harry smiled to himself, his teeth almost scraping over Malfoy's cock before he returned to sucking it. His hand moved further back and as his fingers found Malfoy's entrance again. He pushed a finger in and soon Malfoy was spilled in Harry's mouth.

"Fuck me sideways," Malfoy mumbled as Harry licked him clean, swallowing everything he had to offer.

"That can be arranged," Harry said, as he licked his bottom lip and leaned to claim Malfoy's mouth again. Malfoy moaned tasting himself on Harry's tongue and his hand reached under Harry's trousers to grab his cock, tugging it gently.

"Turn around for me," Harry whispered and reached in his pocket to take out the lube.

Malfoy looked at him impressed. Harry assumed he'd stopped getting shocked by Harry's one-track mind. "I put it in my pocket in hopes—"

"In hopes. Please. You knew you were going to fuck me as soon as you grabbed that journal."

"Look who can read people now?"

"I can just read you like a randy little bastard that you are, Potter."

Harry grunted. "Yeah? Yet you're so eager for my cock inside you."

"Evidently I need it like I need air," Malfoy retorted, quoting one of Harry's letters.

"Good, so do I." Harry grabbed Malfoy by the waist and swiftly turned him around, pulling his hips towards him. "Need you so fucking hard, Draco," Harry whispered in Malfoy's ear right before pushing two lube-slicked fingers in.

Malfoy reached back, grabbed Harry's neck and pulled him in. He turned his head and whispered in Harry's ear. "I need you inside me." He pulled back and kissed Harry on the lips and Harry immediately removed his fingers and lined his cock over the entrance.

Harry knew he wasn't going to last long that morning. Not like the way he had the night before. He would be lucky if he just thrust in a couple of times and came undone. He hoped not. He loved being inside Malfoy and he needed that to last as long as possible. He never wanted to stop fucking him. Maybe only when it would be Malfoy inside him.

Harry moaned at the thought. "God, I want to feel you fucking me like this, Draco," he murmured. Evidently, he was getting used to calling Malfoy that. Because he wasn't just Malfoy to him. He was Draco. Harry's Draco.

"More," Draco demanded. "Faster, Potter."

Harry grabbed Draco's hips tightly and gave it all. He needed to pour all of himself into this. He needed Draco to keep wanting him this way and he needed to make sure Draco knew that he was Harry's, and Harry was his.

"Yes!" Draco groaned, his head hung low in between his arms as they pushed against the wall in front of him and his arse pushed against Harry.

Harry pushed in and out, in and out, until he came undone. The words I love you, Draco at the tip of his tongue, and he had to bite down to not just come out and say them. He knew that when Draco was ready, he'd say it. He'd call him Draco, tell him that he loved him, but he needed to make sure that Draco felt safe with him first.

Harry would have all the time to tell him, all the ways to tell him, without saying them out loud and scaring Draco. He could pour the love in the food he'd make for Draco, and Draco would know. He could whisper it into the water as they'd shower together. Harry really loved Draco, and he would express it in every way possible, before he'd say it. Because then, Draco would know that it was real. And maybe Draco would say it back.

________________________________________
________________________________________

EPILOGUE


A Few Months Later.

The night was winding down and the last of the guests for the dinner party were getting ready to leave. As always, it was Parkinson and Zabini, but now simply known as Mr and Mrs Zabini.

"Harry, darling, we must come and visit you at your café next week," Pansy said as she gave both Harry and Draco a kiss on the cheek.

After Draco had shifted in with Harry with all of his things, and rid himself of Dante and his flat, Harry looked into getting more permanent work. Draco had joked about how he could have started a restaurant given how much he loved to cook and Harry did exactly that.

He bought the property across from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and opened up a bakery café. It was a decision that was made on a whim, but it worked out for Harry as Draco insisted on reading the energy of the place before they had bought it.

Once Draco approved, everything rolled into motion.

"Anytime, Pansy. I'll even order a bottle of Rosé for you," Harry said, and Pansy squealed with delight as both Draco and Blaise shook their heads.

"If she becomes an alcoholic, I'm blaming you, Potter," Blaise said.

"Becomes an alcoholic?" both Harry and Draco said in unison.

Pansy only rolled her eyes and made her way to the fireplace.

Another successful night.

"Clean up?" Harry asked, and Draco groaned with exhaustion. "We can do it in the morning," he said, and Draco all but jumped into his arms.

"Let's go upstairs, Potter. I've been hard for you for the better part of the evening."

"Charming."

Draco growled at Harry and pulled him towards the stairs. Harry loved living with Draco in their big oversized house. Draco no longer cared about keeping things clean, tidying up as he went along with the fear that he'd have to eventually leave and not have time to gather his belongings. As they walked up the stairs, Draco took off his jumper and threw it over the handrails and then continued to toss his shirt to the side.

Harry knew that Draco would clean it all up in the morning and grumble about all the work, but he also knew that Draco liked the freedom of living like a king in their home. Harry only enjoyed the view, waiting for the trousers to come off by the time they reached their bedroom.

Once there, Draco had Harry pushed against the bedroom door and he struggled to unbutton Harry's jeans.

The clothes came off fast and in a frenzy, and Harry pulled Draco towards the bed. Their mouths were attached as Draco rubbed their cocks together, moaning into Harry's mouth. Harry could never get enough of Draco's moans. His need of Harry. Harry's want for him.

"Do you want to come like this?" Draco whispered against Harry's lips as they climbed into bed.

Harry shook his head. "Want you inside me," Harry rasped. "Fucking been thinking about riding you all night, Draco."

Draco took off Harry's glasses and reached over to the nightstand for lube and Harry pulled on his arm. "No. Just lie back. Just do it. Just fuck me." He pushed Draco on his back and Draco spit into his hand did what he was told. "Just like that. I don't care if it hurts."

Harry settled himself on top of Draco, his hands resting on Draco's chest and positioned himself as Draco lined his cock against Harry's entrance.

"Are you sure?" Harry heard Draco say as Harry sank down; Draco's cock stretching him, the burning sensation making him growl and he shot his head back.

"Fuck. Yeah..."

"You're so beautiful, Harry," Draco whispered as Harry started to ride him. His eyes were still closed, and he felt Draco's heart beating under his hands. Harry bucked his hips, the burning sensation beginning to die down and pleasure taking over his body.

"Need you so much!"

"On your side," Draco commanded and Harry pulled up and lay on his right side as Draco came up behind him. He pushed into Harry again, one hand in Harry's hair as the other pulled on Harry's waist. He steadied himself before pumping in and out of Harry.

Draco loved fucking Harry on their side. He said it made his orgasm last longer, and Harry agreed. For Harry, it allowed him to feel true pleasure while still being able to hide it from Draco. There were times when what he felt, he wanted to keep to himself. It was his secret. Knowing how much he loved Draco, and how amazing they fit together. He didn't want to let Draco in on that secret yet, and he was sure that Draco had his own secrets, his own pleasures too that he didn't share with Harry.

Harry's hand reached back and grabbed Draco's arse, feeling Draco sink in deeper and deeper.

"Fucking love you like this," Draco mumbled in Harry's neck. "Fucking love you..." He paused and climaxed almost immediately.

Harry pushed back onto Draco and it wasn't long before came too. Unlike Harry, Draco liked watching Harry come after he'd come. He said he'd loved concentrating on Harry's face, it made him fuck him harder the next time.

They were cleaned up moments later, and Harry contemplated a shower, but was too spent to even follow that thought through. He summoned the covers over them and spelled the room dark.

"Did you hear me?"

"Hmm?" Harry mumbled; he had almost entirely given in to slumber.

"What I said when I came," Draco insisted.

"You love fucking me like that?"

"No, I fucking love you..." Draco paused, "...like that."

"Fucking me?"

"All of you."

"Oh."

"Oh?"

Harry bit the inside of his cheek trying not to smile at how annoyed Draco sounded. "Are you telling me that you love me, Draco?" he asked casually.

"Yes, Harry. That's exactly what I'm telling you."

Harry smiled, sure that Draco could tell that he was smiling, even if the room was dark. "Good. Because I've been trying to get you to say it for months."

"I know."

"I love you."

"I know," Draco said, and Harry could imagine the smug smile on Draco's face.

"Wanker."

"Git." Draco nuzzled into the back of Harry's neck and his arm crept around pulling Harry into him. Harry pushed back slightly onto Draco's limp cock and wondered if he could wake Draco up again in a few hours for another round.

"Best birthday ever," Harry mumbled to himself.

"Your birthday isn't for months, Potter."

Harry felt Draco's head prop up off the pillow and then it settled back down.

Harry smiled again and bit his bottom lip. He loved that even in the darkness of the room, when no one could see him, Draco still made Harry so nervous. "No, my last birthday."

"I don't understand."

"I took the Floo and showed up at your flat on my birthday. It was the best birthday ever."

"Setting the bar kind of high, aren't you? For future birthdays..."

"That's really your problem, isn't it?" Harry teased.

Draco sighed and pulled Harry closer. "Well, best body pillow ever." Harry chuckled and finally allowed sleep to take complete control of him.

A few hours later, Harry woke up to Draco's erection pressed against him. He enjoyed the warm body for a while before he nudged Draco and they had another go. He'd never been more glad of anything else in his life than how Draco had agreed to stay with him, and the life they focused on building together.

THE END