Out of all of the people involved in this fiasco (and he certainly had his pick: there was the person who’d sent him the cursed ring in the first place, and Malfoy, and even Harry himself) Harry decided that he entirely blamed Ron for this.
Because, see, if Ron had learned to get up at a reasonable time in the morning, then they wouldn’t have arrived in the Great Hall late for breakfast. And if they’d arrived on time for breakfast, Harry would have been able to read his mail as he ate, which meant that he wouldn’t have been sorting through it as he walked down the hall to Transfiguration, and then when Malfoy decided to be his usual wanker self and knocked roughly against Harry for no other reason than he was a giant stupid wanker as per bloody usual, then Harry wouldn’t have fumbled the open envelope in his hands and the ring wouldn’t have slid out and the part of Harry that’d spent the last seven years training itself to grab for small shiny things flying through the air wouldn’t have reached out and snagged it without stopping to think about pesky little things called consequences.
And he most certainly wouldn’t be in this mess right now.
“…don’t see why you had to go and touch it,” Malfoy muttered to himself from his perch on the edge of the next bed over.
Harry quite frankly wondered that himself, and if he was honest he couldn’t quite blame everything about this situation on Ron. (However much he’d like to.) People had been regularly sending Harry bewitched things ever since the end of the war, and he knew better than to eat or drink or touch any of the hundreds of gifts his ‘fans’ had sent. Most of them were spiked or charmed with various love potions or spells. But today he’d seen the flash of gold and gone for it without thinking
Harry knew he’d made a mistake from the moment his fingers had closed around the ring. He’d felt a sharp rush of magic crackle through him like he’d just stuck his finger in a wall socket. And from the surprised gasp that came from Malfoy, Harry guessed he’d felt the same thing. For a moment they just stared at each other in surprise, and then, with his skin still tingling from the force of the magical shock, he felt it. The pull, drawing him nearer to Malfoy. He took a step forward, and Malfoy took a step forward and reached out a hand to Harry, and Harry reached out and took it. And as their fingers met, Harry was filled with a sense of sheer rightness that was so very very wrong. Malfoy snatched his hand away then, staring at Harry in horror.
Wonderful. The ring had obviously been cursed with some sort of bonding spell, likely from one of Harry’s ‘fans’ who fancied themselves the future Mrs Potter. Harry hadn’t said anything, just heaved a great big sigh of resignation and headed straight for the hospital wing. Malfoy followed along after him, prattling on at length about how this was all Harry’s fault, and he hadn’t stopped bitching since.
Though Malfoy started out impressively creative about coming up with all the different ways in which Harry was to blame, in the past five minutes or so he’d begun to repeat himself, his tone edging to somewhere between desperate and distracted while he deliberately avoided eye contact. As they sat, waiting for McGonagall and Pomfrey to identify the spell on the ring, the bond had grown steadily stronger, and Harry was pretty sure that Malfoy felt exactly the same thing Harry did. It simmered at the back of Harry’s mind like a creeping thirst, gnawed at his ribs like a dull hunger. It felt like there was an invisible force between them, a magnetism that pulled on every fiber of Harry’s being, luring him closer to Malfoy.
“…any first year would know better than to go about touching unknown objects without first casting detection charms…” Malfoy continued, even though they weren’t taught any detection spells until fourth year. “Honestly, the state of education these days…” he went on, like any of them had ever experienced anything even remotely like a normal education, what with a madman running amok for every school year save this one. “…security is abysmal, and I guarantee it wouldn’t be this lax if my father were still on the Board…” And Harry wanted to punch him right in his stupid rambling mouth.
He resisted the urge, because hitting Malfoy would involve touching Malfoy, and if he touched Malfoy, Harry wasn’t sure he’d be able to stop. Harry’s eyes went to Malfoy’s collar and slid up the long line of his throat. Malfoy’s skin was so pale, and Harry wondered if it’d feel as soft and smooth as it looked. An image flickered through his mind of himself bending his head to kiss Malfoy’s neck. How warm Malfoy would feel against his mouth, the pulse he could see fluttering at the hollow of Malfoy’s throat beating strong and steady against his lips—
Harry cut off those unwanted thoughts and huffed a frustrated sigh as he clasped his hands together and squeezed them between his knees as if that’d help him to resist temptation. Malfoy glanced up at him, blinked once as his words faltered, then frowned as he trailed off into silence. He shifted slightly where he sat as he tucked his hands under his bum.
And now Harry was thinking about Malfoy’s bum.
“Quit groping yourself,” he snapped.
Malfoy’s mouth dropped open, revealing the pink tip of his tongue, and that wasn’t helping either because it made Harry think about all the things he might do with that tongue, kissing and licking and—
“What? I’m not—” Malfoy’s eyes went big and he yanked his hands out from beneath himself and crossed his arms, jamming his hands into his armpits. “Shut up,” he said with a sneer. “This is all your fault.”
“So you’ve said,” Harry muttered, glaring at Malfoy’s knees because there wasn’t anything sexy about those. They were just regular old knees, not like his wicked mouth or his slender neck or those elegant hands of his, with their narrow palms and long fingers and Harry wondered what they’d feel like wrapped around his— “And said, and said, and said.“
Snarling, Draco snatched the pillow from his bed and swung it at Harry’s face so hard that it knocked his glasses askew. Fucking Slytherin, coming up with a way to hit Harry that didn’t involve touching. Mostly Harry felt irritated that he hadn’t come up with it first. Malfoy hefted his pillow, ready to swing it again at any sign of retaliation.
He glared, weighing the satisfaction of hitting Malfoy with his own pillow against his desire to avoid getting into a pillow fight like a couple of first year girls, and hadn’t quite made up his mind when McGonagall and Pomfrey returned from Pomfrey’s office.
“Mr Malfoy,” McGonagall said in that tone of voice that managed to say I’m so disappointed in you and I expected more of you than this. Harry knew from experience how that tone of voice made someone feel about two inches high, and the fact that it wasn’t directed at him (for once) made Harry feel a little better about not getting to hit Malfoy back. It was always so much more satisfying when Malfoy got in trouble without managing to drag Harry into it right along with him.
Malfoy looked like he wanted to blame Harry for this too, but he kept his mouth shut and dropped the pillow back onto his bed.
“Have you figured out what spell was on the ring, Professor?” Harry asked.
She exchanged a grim look with Pomfrey that did cold and wobbly things to Harry’s insides.
“We have. It’s the Infrangible Devotion spell, a type of spirit-bond. Whoever sent it to you must have touched it first, expecting for the bond to be completed when you touched it. However, as Mr Malfoy was touching you when it activated, that proximity overrode the incomplete original bond.”
“Okay, so…” Harry said. “Now that we know what it is, we can just take it off?”
“I’m afraid that isn’t possible. The bond, unfortunately, is permanent.”
“But,” Harry said helplessly when it became clear that no one was joking. “Can’t it be undone? Surely there’s got to be, like, some sort of counterspell to it?” People got divorced all the time, and for all sorts of reasons; it seemed absurd for the wizarding world to not have taken that into account.
“It’s a spirit-bond,” Malfoy snapped at him.
“So what?” Harry snapped back.
“So we’re soul-bonded, you insufferable bastard. You don’t just undo that.” He turned to McGonagall, summarily dismissing Harry. “Now what? I won’t have to live with him for the rest of my life, will I?”
“No,” McGonagall said. “The effects of the bond are such that they should be satisfied by proximity. I’d recommend spending time with each other until the bond settles, but simply sitting near each other in class should do. After that, being within the castle together should be enough to avoid any adverse effects. By the time you two leave Hogwarts, living in the same city should be enough to satisfy the bond.”
“Oh,” said Harry. Having to live in the same city as Malfoy didn’t sound nearly as bad as it could be. Certainly nowhere near as bad as he’d imagined. They’d just pick somewhere big where they’d never have to run into each other and carry right on with their individual lives. London should do nicely. “That’s all?”
Madam Pomfrey exchanged a look with McGonagall. “I’m afraid there’s more,” she said, and Harry’s stomach sank because of course there was more. “I’m afraid that there is something of a danger with this sort of union. If the bond is not completed, there could be… detrimental effects. For both of you. It’s undoubtedly why this particular spell was selected in the first place, aside from the irreversibility of it.”
“What effects?” Malfoy bit out.
“Irritability, insomnia, and if it persists long enough, madness, coma, or even death,” Pomfrey said grimly.
Malfoy went a bit pale at that, but the one silver lining in the black cloud that seemed to blanket Harry’s entire life was that the looming threat of imminent death was something of an old hat by now. He shrugged off his impending doom with the ease of long practice and asked, “And what would we have to do to complete the bond?”
Madam Pomfrey and McGonagall exchanged another look. “Well,” she said. “Just like any other marriage, it would need to be consummated.”
For a long moment, Harry rather hoped that he’d misheard. Or that McGonagall had misspoken. Or that he’d somehow misunderstood. But the terrible sympathy on McGonagall’s face and the outright horror on Malfoy’s confirmed that he’d heard right and McGonagall had meant exactly what she’d said. The bond’s pull on him grew stronger and Harry felt himself sway a little toward Malfoy at the thought of sex with him. His mind filled with images of long, lean limbs, and pale skin gone flushed and sweaty, arched backs and grasping fingers. He wondered what Malfoy would be like, the sounds he’d make, if fucking him would be like fighting him, or if Malfoy would go all soft and pliant when he was aroused, grey eyes heavy-lidded and dark with lust—
“I’d rather die than shag him,” Malfoy announced, breaking Harry out of his fantasies.
“Well, lucky you,” Harry snapped, sending him a glare. “It looks like you’ve got that option.”
Malfoy turned on him. “Need I remind you that this is all your fault?”
“You’re the one who knocked into me!” Harry shouted back. “If you hadn’t been such an immature—”
“If you weren’t such a stupid—”
“ENOUGH!” McGonagall shouted over their bickering, shocking them both into silence. “I understand that this is a difficult situation you find yourselves in, gentlemen, but I assure you that fighting about whose fault it was won’t make it any easier.” She leveled a sharp look at Malfoy, then turned it on Harry. “The fact remains that it has happened and…” She sighed and the sharp look softened into something like sympathy. “You’re stuck with each other.”
“Why is this my life?” Harry pondered later that night, tilting his glass so the last swallow of Firewhisky in the bottom caught the light, glowing a warm and comforting shade of amber. He swallowed it down. “I mean, after everything I’ve been through, don’t I deserve a break? Can’t I have just one normal school year? Surely the universe owes me that much.”
“Sorry, mate,” Seamus said, refilling Harry’s glass with more of the contraband whisky. “I don’t think you’ll ever be normal.”
“Shit luck that it’s Malfoy, though,” Dean added. “I really can’t think of anyone worse to get yourself bonded to.”
Neville elbowed him, then took a sip from the same glass of whisky he’d been nursing for the past half-hour. Harry was on his third. It wasn’t helping quite as much as he’d hoped it would.
“I mean…” Dean hastily amended after Neville’s less-than-subtle reminder that they were supposed to be comforting Harry about this whole bonded-to-Malfoy business. “He’s… uh. Malfoy’s… well… Malfoy’s a bastard. Sorry,” he added, dodging when Neville’s elbow twitched toward him again. “But there’s really nothing nice about him.”
“At least he’s pretty,” Seamus offered, then shrugged off the collective exclamation of disbelief from his friends. “Well I’d shag him, if he wasn’t such a wanker. He’s still a complete arsehole, mind. But he’s nice to look at, is all I’m saying.”
“Well, I guess that part of it wouldn’t be a problem if Harry liked men,” Ron said.
“It’s, er, not a problem. That he’s, you know. A man,” Harry said, then drank more whisky.
“What?” Ron gaped at him. “But… you dated my sister!”
“Yeah,” Harry said, shifting uncomfortably. “That hasn’t really got anything to do with… I mean, I like both men and women. So it’s not… that part of it isn’t a problem.” He raised his glass, saw that it was empty, and lowered it again.
Seamus obligingly topped him up again and set the bottle aside, then clinked his glass against Harry’s. “To bisexuality,” he said. “Means we’ve got twice as many options as the rest of you poor bastards.”
Amazingly, that got a laugh out of Harry. “I like that way of looking at it,” he said, then sobered. He was permanently bonded to Malfoy; he didn’t have any options.
Well, could pick between Malfoy or dying, but that wasn’t exactly much of a choice, was it? And yeah, Malfoy might be nice to look at, but he was still an awful person. He still hated Harry, and Harry still hated him. And with good reason, too. Malfoy was just plain terrible.
“Harry,” Ron said, putting a hand on Harry’s shoulder. “You okay?”
“No, and this is all your fault,” he said, even as he leaned into the comforting warmth of Ron’s hand.
Ron slid his arm around Harry’s shoulders and gave him an awkward pat before taking his hand away. “I’ve already apologized, and anyhow, you can’t really blame me for it.”
“Watch me,” Harry muttered.
“Come on, you’ve been late for breakfast loads of times before—” Ron began.
“Yeah,” said Harry. “But I’ve never got you bonded to Malfoy because of it.”
Ron sighed and nudged Harry’s glass nearer to him. “Have some more whisky. Things’ll seem better.”
“I really don’t think they will,” Harry protested half-heartedly, but he drained the last swallow of Firewhisky anyhow.
“Hey,” Dean said brightly, clearly trying to find something positive to say. “Since you’re basically married now, this is sort of like your stag night.”
And that was just too horrible to respond to. Harry put his glass aside and stood up. “Fuck all of you,” he said. “I’m going to bed.”
Malfoy greeted him the following morning by waltzing into the classroom and slamming his copy of Advanced Potions-Making down onto Harry’s fingers, catching them between 652 unrelentingly boring pages and the hard surface of their work table. Harry yelped and snatched his hand away, and Malfoy smirked at him as he dropped into his seat.
“What the hell are you doing?” Harry demanded, rubbing his stinging fingers with his other hand.
“Isn’t it obvious?” Malfoy asked, jabbing Harry in the ribs with an elbow as he rooted around in his school bag. “I’m satisfying the bond with proximity.”
“Which you could just as easily do from sitting in front of me. Or behind me. Or at the next table,” Harry pointed out, resisting the urge to elbow him back. He was reasonably sure that hadn’t been an accident. “We don’t have to work together.”
“I don’t see why you’re complaining,” Malfoy said, dropping a handful of parchment onto the table. “You’re the one whose grades will benefit from my expertise.”
Harry shoved the parchments back on Malfoy’s side of the table. “I don’t need your expertise,” he snapped. “Hermione’s my partner. Go away.”
“No,” said Malfoy airily, opening his textbook. “I don’t think I will.” He licked his fingertip to turn the page, then licked it again to turn the next one.
“And stop doing that,” Harry snarled. Malfoy’s finger-licking would be distracting under normal circumstances. With the bond between them it was something akin to torture.
“Doing what?” Malfoy asked innocently. He licked his fingertip again and turned another page.
Harry growled in frustration. Page 213 was the number written on the chalkboard for today’s lesson; Malfoy was on page 31. At this rate, Harry would either be driven mad, or he would end up murdering Malfoy. Maybe both. Probably both.
“Are you trying to get me to kill you?” Harry snapped.
“It wouldn’t be the first time you’ve tried,” Malfoy replied without looking up. He gave his fingertip a much longer lick than Harry felt was strictly necessary and turned another page.
Harry felt his face flush hot. Trust Malfoy to dig up the worst of their shared history and toss it back in his face. “I didn’t know what that spell did. And anyhow, I saved your life after that.”
“And I suppose that makes things even, do you think?” Another lick. Another page.
Harry’s hands curled into fists. In that moment, he wanted to hit Malfoy, and keep right on hitting him until that stupid smirk came off his face. Until Malfoy’s control snapped too, because how the fuck was he so calm? Harry was practically trembling with barely-repressed irritation, his nerves already worn thin by the pull of the bond. He could feel it thrumming between them like a plucked cello string, humming with a maddening intensity, tugging steadily on every inch of him both inside and out. And somehow Malfoy was just sitting there, cool as could be, calmly leafing through his bloody Potions book like he hadn’t a care in the world.
Harry pulled his own book out of his bag, had it open to page 213 in a matter of seconds, then shoved it onto Malfoy’s side of the table before he yanked Malfoy’s book out of his hands. “There,” he muttered, trying to flip to the correct page while Malfoy protested and grabbed for it.
“Give that back!”
“I gave you mine,” Harry said, holding Malfoy’s book out of reach.
“I don’t want yours, I want mine,” Malfoy growled, leaning over Harry and swiping a hand at the book as Harry shoved him back with one hand to his chest.
“They’re exactly the same,” Harry told him, feeling a bit more cheerful now that Malfoy was clearly pissed off. Or maybe it was the hand he had on Malfoy, but he didn’t really care to think about that in any depth. In any case, the bond had now settled enough for him to thoroughly enjoy Malfoy’s outraged expression.
“No they’re not! One of them’s mine and I want it back you stupid arsehole!” he said. Then, “It’s got my spit on it, why would you even want it?” he pointed out, trying to be reasonable with Harry even as he lunged forward again.
Only, Harry had never been anything even approaching reasonable when it came to Malfoy.
“Oh, is that how you claim things?” Harry asked, and against all his better judgement he licked a broad stripe across the cover of the book. “Now what?”
For a moment, Malfoy was so horrified he stopped struggling. Then he threw himself forward, redoubling his efforts. “Give me my book back!” he shouted.
“No! Never!” Harry shouted back, entirely unconcerned with the spectacle he was making, how all of his classmates were staring at him wrestling with Malfoy. All that mattered was he had Malfoy pink-cheeked and furious. He couldn’t keep from grinning, though that only served to make Malfoy angrier.
The book was suddenly ripped from Harry’s grasp. Both he and Malfoy turned around in their seats, surprised.
“Honestly, the pair of you are acting like children!” Hermione snapped. “And as NEWT students you should know better than to lick anything in a potions lab. You. Stop provoking him,” she told Harry, then turned away and held out the book. “Malfoy, I believe this is yours.”
Malfoy glared up at her and tried to take his book back, but Hermione didn’t let go.
“Stop provoking him too,” she said, and waited until Malfoy gave her a curt nod, still glaring but strangely compliant, before she relinquished her hold. “I’ll be sitting right behind you. I’ll see if you don’t behave. Either of you.”
Hermione looked from Malfoy to Harry, then nodded to herself and sat down at the table behind them. Malfoy gave her a half-hearted sneer, and scooted his chair a bit farther from Harry. Harry stared at him in disbelief.
“You’re afraid of her.”
Malfoy glared at him. “I am not.”
“You are so.” And with very good reason, Harry couldn’t keep from thinking, but didn’t admit aloud. Anyone with a brain in their head would be afraid of Hermione when she got that look in her eyes, and though Malfoy was many things, he wasn’t stupid.
“I am not,” Malfoy muttered, his attention suddenly entirely absorbed by turning to the correct page in his book.
“Is it because she punched you in the face?” Harry asked kindly.
Malfoy sent him another glare. “Has she ever punched you in the face? Because it bloody well hurts. And anyhow, that happened when I was thirteen. I assure you I’m over it by now.”
“Really? Then why are you still afraid of her?” Harry asked.
Hermione cleared her throat from the table behind him.
“Sorry,” Harry said quickly, then grinned at Malfoy as he caught his eye, and mouthed, “Afraid.”
Malfoy kicked his ankle beneath the table. Harry kicked him back. Hermione cleared her throat again.
“Sorry,” Harry said, and tossed an apologetic smile over his shoulder.
Slughorn came in just then, and Harry resolved to ignore Malfoy as best he could for the rest of the lesson.
Malfoy, as it turned out, would have none of that.
“Tell me, darling,” he said in a simpering parody of sweetness. “Am I supposed to add one or two pinches of powdered dragon’s claw?”
Harry stared at him like he’d lost his mind. McGonagall had said that madness was one of the side effects of an unfulfilled bond, but he’d been under the impression that it’d take longer than this to set in. “What?”
“I asked if I should add one or two pinches of dragon’s claw,” Malfoy repeated, then looked entirely too pleased with himself as he added, “Dearest.”
Not madness, then, just Malfoy continuing to be an arsehole. “Stop it,” Harry told him.
“Oh, there’s no point in trying to keep our relationship a secret, love,” Malfoy said. “The whole school knows about it. We made the papers this morning when they arrested the dear sweet girl who sent you the ring in the first place. Didn’t you see?”
No, Harry had not seen, because he’d been late to breakfast. Ron, blessedly, hadn’t said a word about it.
“What relationship?” he snapped instead. “We don’t have any relationship.”
“If you say so, sweetheart. Now would you please pass me that stirring rod?”
Malfoy kept it up all through class with infuriating enthusiasm and tenacity. It was all ‘darling’ this and ‘sweetheart’ that until Harry stopped responding. And then he got creative. ‘My little crumpet’ and ‘honey-bunny’ and ‘sugar muffin’ while any student within earshot giggled and Harry resisted the growing urge to hit Malfoy. By the end of class, Harry’s nerves were worn raw and he was ready to scream.
“I am going to murder you,” Harry ground out when Malfoy called him snuggle sausage, of all the bloody things.
Malfoy arched an eyebrow. “First you try to kill me, then you save my life, and now you’re threatening to kill me again.” He shook his head and tutted gently. “Darling, this relationship is never going to work if you keep sending me such mixed signals.”
Harry banged his head on the tabletop.
“There, there,” Malfoy said, patting Harry’s shoulder.
Harry shrugged off his hand and sat up. “What are you even trying to do? You don’t like this bond any more than I do.”
“Haven’t you ever heard the phrase kill them with kindness?” Malfoy asked. “Maybe if I’m very lucky you’ll actually drop dead. That’d solve my problem rather neatly.”
“We should both be so lucky,” Harry muttered.
“In the meantime,” Malfoy went on, “I do seem to be annoying you, and that makes me feel loads better.”
And wonderful. Malfoy was determined to take a bad situation and make it that much worse.
Harry groaned and put his head back on the table.
“There, there,” Malfoy said again. He sounded infuriatingly gleeful.
A week later, Harry wasn’t sure how much longer he could carry on like this. The bond was a constant prickling at the back of his mind, an ever-present itching along his skin. And when he was anywhere near Malfoy, he felt like a metal filing drawn inexorably toward a magnet and helpless to do anything to stop it. Sitting near Malfoy in class made it both better and worse. The itching eased into a deep relief, like sinking into a warm bath after a rough Quidditch match in the middle of February. But the bond’s pull grew stronger with proximity, and Harry was finding it harder and harder to ignore.
Hermione had started sharing her notes with him and going over what he’d missed in class, because it was getting to the point where all Harry could focus on was Malfoy, either preoccupied with wanting to touch him or desperately trying to keep his hands to himself.
And Malfoy was making that increasingly difficult. He edged his hand onto Harry’s side of the table, leaned close to peek at Harry’s notes, tried to brush their fingers together when he passed over ingredients in Potions. At first, Harry was sure that Malfoy was trying to goad Harry into touching him. And several times he’d reached for Malfoy, touching his arm or knee without thinking. Malfoy hadn’t moved away. Instead he’d looked over at Harry with a smug little smile, like resisting the bond was some sort of competition and by touching him, Harry had just lost another round.
But as the days went on, Malfoy seemed to move closer to Harry without realizing it. Sometimes he’d notice it and snatch his hand away. If Harry touched him without thinking, it’d spark another argument. Twice they’d been kicked out of the classroom for disrupting the lesson.
Things came to a head at supper exactly one week after what Harry had come to think of as the Ring Incident. By unspoken agreement, they’d so far resisted consummating the bond, and both of them had grown increasingly irascible. Harry hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep since this whole mess had started. He was wound up tighter than an eight day clock, and it didn’t take anything more than a small push to set him off.
He was walking into the Great Hall just as Malfoy was walking out. Harry averted his eyes and made to go around him, and Malfoy swerved into his path and shouldered him roughly aside, which he really should have known better than to try because that’s exactly what had got them into this mess in the first place. But apparently the urge to be a great big stupid wanker overrode all of Malfoy’s higher brain functions.
“What the fuck!” Harry snarled, rounding on him. Even that small contact, as brief and rough as it was, had felt wonderful, and he hated himself for wanting more.
Malfoy sneered at him as he lingered in the doorway. “Watch where you’re going,” he snapped.
Harry turned on him. “You watch it,” he shot back.
“Harry…” Ron said, taking him by the arm and trying to draw him away. Harry shook him off.
“No,” Harry said, advancing on Malfoy. “I’m sick of you being such an arsehole. It’s going to end, right now.”
Malfoy raised an eyebrow. “Or what?” he asked. Then reached out and gave Harry another shove.
Harry didn’t stop to think. All the built-up tension in him snapped in one glorious white-hot rush. He cocked his fist back, let fly, and popped Malfoy right in his stupid sneering face. Malfoy stumbled back, blood spurting from his nose. For a long moment, he stared at Harry in disbelief as blood trickled down over his lips and chin. Then, with an unintelligible growl, he lunged forward and slammed Harry against the wall. Harry struggled, kicking and shoving, and Ron came to his rescue. He grabbed Malfoy and hauled him off Harry. Malfoy slapped Ron’s hands away and looked like he might try to take a swing at him, but before he could, Harry ducked past his friend and threw himself at Malfoy again.
Malfoy stumbled back and tried to hit Harry, and Harry tried to hit him back. Malfoy landed a sharp jab to his ribs and Harry tried to twist away from him to get enough room between them to line up a decent swing, but Malfoy’s hands twisted in his jumper and hauled him close. Harry’s foot slipped and he stumbled into Malfoy, and then Malfoy’s mouth slanted over his and Harry’s entire world imploded.
It wasn’t the best kiss he’d ever had. It was too hard and too angry and Malfoy’s mouth tasted like blood, and the entire school screaming behind them was more than a little distracting. But with the bond snapped tight and singing through every inch of him, urging him on, pulling him closer, Harry had never been more turned on in his life. He kissed Malfoy with everything he had, eyes squeezed shut, his whole world narrowed down to Malfoy’s mouth on his, his fingers knotting in Malfoy’s hair, Malfoy’s hands sliding down his back and groping his arse, urging him close, encouraging Harry to rut against him, and Harry gladly did. He was half-hard already, and the friction of Malfoy’s lean body against his was fucking fantastic. God, why had they waited so long to do this?
There was a sudden bang, and Harry flinched, his eyes flying open. He found that Ron, bless him, had hauled the doors to the Great Hall shut, hiding them from view and muffling the noise from the students. There was one frozen, perfect moment where they all stood still, Harry and Malfoy still holding tight to each other, Ron watching them both warily, and then reality crashed down.
Malfoy jerked away so quickly he knocked his head against the wall. He stared at Harry, stunned, the blood shockingly red where it ran from his nose and smeared across his pale face. From kissing Harry. Harry licked his lips and tasted Malfoy’s blood, then scrubbed across his mouth with the cuff of his jumper. Still staring at him, Malfoy stumbled back a step, then another, and another, then turned around and fled.
Harry watched him go, and tried to ignore the fact that he hadn’t felt this good in days. The pressure from the bond had eased to almost nothing.
“What the hell was that?” Ron asked quietly.
Harry exhaled shakily and ran a hand through his hair. “I’ve got no fucking idea,” he said honestly. “I just felt like I’d go mad if I didn’t hit him, so I did, and then he… well…”
He trailed off, because Ron had seen perfectly well what Malfoy had done next. And what Harry had done in response. Now that it was over, Malfoy was gone, and the bond had eased for the first time, Harry had the mental clarity to feel more embarrassed than he’d ever felt in his life. His cheeks grew hot and he felt a bit light-headed from sheer humiliation. Bloody hell, he’d just punched Malfoy and then snogged him, all in front of the entire school. He suddenly understood what people meant when they said they wished for the ground to open up and swallow them whole. He wondered whether there was a spell for that.
The doors opened a crack and Hermione slipped out. “Harry?”
“Er, hi,” he said. He adjusted his glasses. “I, uh…”
“Here,” Hermione said, holding out a plate of food. “I figured you probably wouldn’t feel up to eating in there tonight.”
Harry took the plate, so overcome from her thoughtfulness that all he could manage was a choked-up, “Thanks.”
“Come on, let’s go sit in the common room,” Hermione suggested, then quickly added, “Don’t worry, Ron. Ginny’s making up a plate for you. She should be along any moment,” when Ron gave the Great Hall a wistful look.
He immediately brightened, then swept her up in a hug and kissed the top of her head. “Have I ever told you I’ve got the best girlfriend in the world?”
Hermione laughed and pushed him gently away. “Come on, now. Before anyone gets the idea to come looking.”
With Hermione on one side of him and Ron on the other, Harry began to climb the stairs up to the seventh floor. He really did have the best friends, Harry thought. And no matter what happened with Malfoy, Harry would always be able to take comfort from them.
Harry lingered beneath the Quidditch stands, watching the broom shed. Malfoy always liked to take care of his broom maintenance right after the last Quidditch practice before a match, and Slytherin would play Ravenclaw at the end of the week. He ducked back under the stands as Goyle came out of the broom shed, talking loudly about Ravenclaw’s new Seeker with Chester, the new Slytherin Beater. Harry waited until they’d disappeared from view before he hurried to the broom shed and slipped inside.
As he’d expected, he found Malfoy alone, sitting on a bench with his broom over his knees, carefully combing his fingers through the bristles to check for bent or broken twigs. Harry felt the bond snap tight between them, and Malfoy went rigid a split second later, his fingers going still.
“What are you doing here?” he demanded without looking up.
Harry came forward a few steps, just enough to ease the worst of the bond’s tension, but still far enough that the pull was still easy to resist. “I thought we should talk.”
“I haven’t got anything to say to you,” Malfoy said sullenly. He went back to combing through the bristles. Harry could see his fingers shaking.
“That’s fine,” Harry said, keeping his voice calm and even, making a genuine effort to not set off another fight with Malfoy. “I’d just like you to listen.”
Malfoy glanced up at him then, and gave him a half-hearted sneer. “Fine. I don’t suppose I can really stop you.”
“It’s about what happened in the Great Hall yesterday.”
“I assumed it would be,” Malfoy said. He reached down and picked up a tin of broomstick polish and a rag, dabbed the rag in the polish, and set about rubbing the creamy paste into the handle of his broom. Up and down, his hand slid along the shaft, up and down.
Harry’s eyes followed the motion as Malfoy’s hand slid up and down in long, smooth strokes. His mouth went dry.
“Look, can you, er, leave off doing that?” Harry asked. He adjusted his trousers. “It’s sort of… distracting.”
“What?” Malfoy asked, then dropped the rag like it’d burned him. His cheeks went endearingly pink, and Harry was nearly overcome with the urge to kiss him.
Which was more or less why he was here in the first place. “Thanks,” Harry said as Malfoy put the broom aside. He cleared his throat, trying to ignore the disconcerting feeling that lingered in the wake of realizing he’d just thought of Malfoy as endearing. Malfoy was a stupid wanker, he just had to keep that in mind. “Er. How do you feel?”
Malfoy’s eyebrows went up as he seemed to recover a bit of his composure. “Really, you’ve come all the way down here to enquire into my well-being?” he asked, his voice gone all lofty in the way that made Harry want to punch him all over again.
That put him on more familiar ground, at least. Harry’d had plenty of practice dealing with Malfoy being all snobbish and sneering, and really he was just grateful that Malfoy had left off molesting his broomstick. “Do you feel better?” he went on. “Because I do. Last night I slept well. Today I was able to concentrate in class. I was wondering whether you felt the same.”
Malfoy stared at him, jaw clenched. After a few long seconds, he grudgingly answered, “Yes, I’ve felt better today.”
A little of the tension went out of Harry at Malfoy’s admission. This would be a lot easier without Malfoy denying what had happened to the bond. “Great,” he said. “I’ve got a proposition for you, in that case.”
“You want to kiss me again,” Malfoy said.
Harry very graciously ignored the fact that technically, Malfoy had kissed him. “Yes. And more. As much else as you’re willing,” Harry said with a shrug.
Malfoy frowned even as his cheeks pinked further. He swallowed. “You mean shagging?”
“Well, we’re going to have to do it eventually,” Harry said, doing his best to keep his tone light and casual. Like fucking Malfoy wasn’t any sort of big deal. Like he hadn’t been dying to do it ever since his fingers had closed around that damned ring. He watched Malfoy for a moment, then added, “Besides. It doesn’t have to mean anything. I certainly don’t have to like you to get off with you.”
Malfoy got that stubborn look on his face like he got when he was about to try to beat Harry to the Snitch. But all he said was, “Fine.”
“Fine?” Harry echoed. He hadn’t expected it to be nearly this easy.
“Fine,” Malfoy repeated. He stood up and stalked forward.
Harry found himself taking a step back, and forced himself to stay still as Malfoy approached. “Wait, what are you—”
“If it doesn’t mean anything, then there’s no sense in waiting. Don’t you think?” Malfoy asked.
And then before Harry could say another word, Malfoy kissed him. It was much better than their first kiss. For one thing, Harry wasn’t in pain from Malfoy having just hit him. And Malfoy’s face wasn’t all bloody this time. And they were alone, that was very important. But it was still hard and intense and a little angry, and it felt fucking brilliant. Malfoy kissed like he had something to prove and Harry let him, because Malfoy was letting Harry stroke his hands down his back and cup his arse and grind their hips together.
Malfoy broke the kiss a few minutes later, nipping his way back along Harry’s jaw to that sensitive little spot right below his ear.
“Oh,” Harry groaned, letting his head sag forward onto Malfoy’s shoulder. His Quidditch robes smelled sharply of sweat and fresh-cut grass. There were green stains down one arm and leg. He must’ve had a dive go bad and taken a tumble onto the the Pitch during practice.
Malfoy made a small pleased humming sound, then took Harry’s chin and tilted his head up for another kiss, and Harry dragged in a deep breath. Malfoy’s hands smelled of broomstick polish, beeswax and lavender oil layered beneath the sharp scent of turpentine. He shuddered against Malfoy and steadfastly avoided thinking of where he’d smelled that before.
“Shower,” Malfoy murmured against Harry’s lips. “I was going to take a shower next. You should join me.”
He didn’t wait for Harry to answer before he kissed him again. His hand slipped down and worked open Harry’s belt buckle, and Harry took that for an invitation. He plucked at the laces securing the front of Malfoy’s Quidditch robes, and got them open around the same time that Malfoy finished with the fly of Harry’s trousers and tugged them down. Harry kicked them off as he stripped the robes off Malfoy’s shoulders, and then Malfoy was hauling him out of the broom shed and into the adjoining locker room as he unknotted Harry’s tie and worked open the buttons of Harry’s shirt and kissed his way along Harry’s shoulder, all the while drawing him steadily backward toward the showers, and Harry couldn’t help but be thoroughly impressed by Malfoy’s capacity for multitasking.
Harry managed to get Malfoy’s clothes off as well, and together they left a trail of shed clothing behind them. Harry thought distantly that perhaps they should lock the doors, or at least cast a spell or something to keep from being interrupted, but his wand was somewhere back there along with his trousers and probably every ounce of rational thinking he may or may not possess.
They stumbled into the first shower stall they came to, and Malfoy groped behind him for the handle. The water came hissing out of the shower head, first too hot, then too cold, then too hot again, but Malfoy stopped trying to adjust the temperature in favor of sinking both hands into Harry’s hair and hauling him fully under the spray, and then everything was hot and wet and gloriously, wonderfully naked. He let Malfoy crowd him up against the tile wall, the chilly porcelain a sharp contrast to Malfoy’s heated skin. Harry shivered, and couldn’t quite tell whether it was from the tiles at his back, or from the sheer surreality of having Malfoy’s erection rubbing against his own. Harry groaned and thrust against him, warm and slippery and oh so good, and curled his hands around Malfoy’s arse, pulling him closer.
“Do you think…” Harry began, then lost his train of thought entirely when Malfoy sucked at his neck. “Oh, that’s… oh.”
“Do I think…?” Malfoy prodded after a moment, his words muffled against Harry’s skin and half-drowned out by the rush of water.
“Right. Er, do you think we need to, um.” He was standing here naked, with his cock pressed right up against Malfoy’s and Malfoy’s lips at his throat. It shouldn’t be nearly this difficult to talk to him about sex. “Do you think there needs to be actual fucking to consummate the bond? Or, like, d’you think a blowjob will do it?”
“I have no idea,” Malfoy murmured against Harry’s neck. “But I think it’s best to err on the side of caution, don’t you?”
“Right,” said Harry. “So, er, I suppose you’ll want to fuck me?”
“Hm,” Malfoy said thoughtfully, then sucked at Harry’s neck again. “Why don’t you fuck me this time, and then you’ll owe me one.”
Harry didn’t much care for the idea of owing Malfoy anything, nor did he care for the eager gleam that lit Malfoy’s eyes just then. But it turned out that the idea of pushing his cock into the tight heat of Malfoy’s arse was appealing enough to overcome all sorts of objectionable things, and Harry found himself nodding and saying, “Yeah, okay, sounds good.”
“Stay here,” Malfoy said, pushing Harry gently back with one hand to his chest. He slipped out of the shower stall and was gone by the time Harry’s brain managed to figure out that something was happening.
With a naked Malfoy no longer draped all over him, Harry found it a bit easier to think. The first thing he did was get the water properly adjusted to a more comfortable temperature. Then he stared at the wet footprints leading across the tile floor of the room, and tried to wrap his head around the fact that he was about to fuck Draco fucking Malfoy.
It was strange how nervous he suddenly felt, but this was happening so fast and it was all so different from what he’d imagined. He hadn’t had much time for focusing on romance during the war, or much cause to think about a future when everything around him then was so chaotic. But in the months since the end of the war, when he’d thought about it, he’d imagined that his first time might be with someone he loved, someone who loved him back every bit as much. Oh, he wasn’t naive about it. He didn’t plan on waiting for marriage or ‘the one’ or anything like that. But he’d wanted so badly for his first time to be something he wouldn’t regret. So many other pivotal points of Harry’s life had happened to him or around him, entirely out of his control. He’d wanted this to be his way. He’d wanted it to be something he’d always be able to look back on fondly, even if later the relationship didn’t work out.
He hadn’t planned on Malfoy, or that stupid bonding spell. And now here he was in a Quidditch locker room, and when Malfoy came back from wherever he’d gone off to, they’d have sex, and it’d be fierce and rough and good, yes, Harry couldn’t deny that everything up until now had felt amazing, but… it wasn’t what he really wanted. Because when had he ever not regretted anything that had to do with Draco Malfoy?
Harry sighed and ducked his head under the shower, rubbing his hands through his hair to soak it, then slicked it back out of his face. He should have expected this to be just one more carriage in the ongoing trainwreck of his life. But still, he couldn’t quite repress a small sliver of hope. Malfoy was being surprisingly not-horrible about all this. And yeah, they didn’t like each other, and yeah, they had a fucking shitload of bad history between them… but maybe this was the push they needed to put all of that behind them. And when the bond settled enough that they could go their separate ways, maybe they’d be… not friends, probably, but at least civil to each other. That was more than they’d ever had before, and if Harry could have at least that much, maybe he could live with the rest of it.
Malfoy came back just then, carrying an armload of bottles and jars. He slipped back into the shower with Harry and wordlessly arranged his things along the narrow shelf that ran along the back of the stall: shampoo and conditioner and two different kinds of soap and a small jar which he unscrewed the cap of and passed to Harry.
It took Harry a moment to figure out what he’d just been handed. He raised an eyebrow to cover his sudden and ridiculous embarrassment. “You just happen to carry lube around with you to Quidditch practice?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Malfoy said loftily as he elbowed Harry out of the water so he could stand beneath the spray. “I thought you might try something like this, so I thought it best to be prepared.”
Harry blinked at him. “Wait, you expected me to come ask you for sex?”
Malfoy shrugged. “Maybe. I wanted to be prepared in case you did.”
“Then… why didn’t you ask me?”
“Why on earth would I?” Malfoy asked with a smirk. “Especially when it’s so much more fun to make you do it?” He turned around and braced himself against the wall. “Go on, then.”
Harry was nervous, but could manage this. He knew what to do here, at least, had done it to himself loads of times while wanking. He slicked up his fingers and rubbed them over Malfoy’s arse before pushing inside with one, sliding it in and out to work him open a little before pressing in with two. Malfoy sighed and spread his legs a little more, and let his head fall forward to rest against the wall. Harry twisted his fingers gently and stroked. It was both so similar and so different to fingering himself. The angle was easier, for one, and the view was definitely better. The way Malfoy’s body clenched around Harry’s fingers was familiar, but knowing that he was doing it to another person, that it was Malfoy he was doing it to in particular made all the difference.
Malfoy’s breathing had gone heavy and erratic, edging in on panting. He pushed back against Harry’s hand, urging him faster and deeper. Harry bit his lip as he stared down at how his fingers disappeared into Malfoy’s body.
“Another?” he asked. His voice caught on the word and broke halfway through, and Harry cleared his throat and went on, “Do you need three?”
Malfoy shook his head without turning back to look at him. “No, two’s fine. Just do it.”
“Okay,” Harry said, nodding. Then again, “Okay.”
He scooped more lube from the jar and set it aside, then slicked up his cock and positioned himself behind Malfoy. This was it. Fucking hell, he was really going to do this.
Harry looked at Malfoy, really looked at him just then. The way the water had darkened the bright gilt of his hair to an unremarkable blond, the way the long fingers of his hands splayed against the slick tiles as he braced himself, the long line of his spine and how he arched his lower back, presenting himself to Harry. The curve of his arse, his long legs, the slender stretch of his neck as he let his head hang forward. He hesitated, just staring.
“Come on, Potter,” Malfoy said. He didn’t sound impatient or snappish, as Harry would have expected. There was something gently encouraging in his voice, and though the unexpected kindness knocked Harry entirely off-balance, it did give him the courage to line up his cock and press forward.
And then it was just tight and hot and Harry’s eyes squeezed shut of their own accord. The sheer flood of sensation sweeping through him was nearly overwhelming, pushing every other thought from his mind except how bloody good it felt. And it only got better when Malfoy arched his back a little more, forcing Harry deeper.
“Stop, stop moving,” Harry told Malfoy desperately, grasping his hips so hard he was sure to leave bruises.
“That’s not exactly the point of sex, you do realize,” Malfoy said, rocking back against Harry again.
Harry held onto him tighter and gritted his teeth. “Well if you want it to last longer than about five seconds, it is.”
Malfoy heaved an exasperated sigh. “Don’t tell me you’ve got a hair trigger. I really expected better from the Chosen One.”
“Shut up,” Harry forced out between clenched teeth.
“Tell me, is it always like that, or is it just because of me?” Malfoy went on, and damn him, he sounded unbearably smug.
“I, uh. I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” Malfoy repeated, twisting slightly to be able to peek at Harry over his shoulder. His eyebrows drew together. “Potter, are you a virgin?”
Harry looked down at how his hips pressed snugly to Malfoy’s backside and it struck him that right now, at this very moment, he was inside Malfoy. He could practically feel his mind bending as it tried to accept the reality of it. Draco Malfoy, whom Harry had hated and been hated by for years. He was inside him. And it felt really, really good. “I’m pretty sure I’m not one anymore.”
Malfoy’s frown deepened. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because it’s none of your business,” Harry snapped.
“You’ve got your cock in my arse. I think that bloody well makes it my business,” Malfoy replied.
Harry dropped his head against the back of Malfoy’s shoulder. “Do we really need to be talking about this right now?” Because surely there was a better time to have this conversation. Like later. Or never.
“You started it,” Malfoy said.
“I did not, I only said—”
“About not moving,” Malfoy cut in. “And then I said that’s not how sex works, and then you said—”
Harry resisted the urge to knock Malfoy’s head against the tile wall. “I bloody well know what was said. I was right here for the whole thing.”
“I’m well aware of where you are,” Malfoy said, clenching his arse around Harry’s cock. “Rather hard to forget.”
Harry shoved him against the wall, and Malfoy, infuriatingly, just laughed and arched his back a little more so Harry didn’t slip out.
Harry clenched his jaw as he again resisted the urge to knock Malfoy’s head into the wall – they’d just see who was laughing then – and instead drew back and then thrust forward, again, and again. Malfoy let out a soft moan and pushed back with each stroke.
“Harder,” Malfoy said. “Come on, Potter. I won’t break.”
Harry thrust harder and felt his pleasure mount as his world narrowed down to Malfoy, to the tight clench of his arse and all that pale smooth skin beaded with water, to the beautifully broken little sounds he was making. He dug his fingers into Malfoy’s hips and pulled him back to meet each stroke, and Malfoy cried out, his fingers curling against the slick tile wall.
All too soon, Harry felt himself growing close. He slowed his strokes and slipped one hand around Malfoy’s hips to grasp his cock. He stroked firmly, the way he liked to do for himself, and dimly realized that this was the first time he’d touched a cock other than his own. The sheer strangeness of the situation crashed over him again, how completely bloody weird it was to be here, doing this with Malfoy.
Then Malfoy’s hand came down to cover his, slowing his strokes, adding a little twist at the end that made his breath catch every time. Harry followed Malfoy’s example, and then Malfoy took his hand away to brace it against the wall again. Harry could feel him trembling. He pressed his lips to Malfoy’s shoulder and closed his eyes, concentrating on the feel of Malfoy’s cock in his hand, trying to resist the urge to thrust hard and deep. Malfoy was making these entirely captivating little sounds, breathy little moans and gasps.
“Close,” Malfoy managed a minute later. “I’m getting close, come on.”
He pushed back against Harry, and Harry began fucking him again. He could feel Malfoy’s orgasm building along with his own, a rising tension between them, an inexorable pull along the bond. It stretched tighter and tighter, and then snapped in one glorious backlash. He felt Malfoy’s body clench tight around him, heard him cry out, and then the whole world dropped away, drowned out in one brilliant white-hot rush of pleasure that brought him breathtakingly high and then took him gently back down.
Harry had already known that orgasms were one of the most brilliant things in the world, but he’d had no idea they could possibly be so much better with another person. He wondered if he felt like this because of the bond or if this was just what sex felt like for everyone. He sort of wished he’d done this before so he’d have something to compare it to. He let his head fall forward onto Malfoy’s shoulder and mouthed a sleepy kiss against his slick skin. He felt utterly wrung out, loose and warm and satisfied in a bone-deep sort of way. They stood together, Harry leaned up against Malfoy, Malfoy leaned up against the wall, until Malfoy finally shifted and made a small sound of protest.
Taking that as his cue, Harry pulled out with a slow, shaky breath and stepped back as Malfoy turned around. A faint crackle of magic went through him, the tension that’d been his constant for a week now dissolving and falling away like sand. Harry could still feel the bond, but it felt different. Deeper, somehow, but also quieter. He and Malfoy watched each other warily for a long moment, then Malfoy spoke.
“Well,” he said. He sounded somewhat awkward. “That was, ah, satisfactory. For the bond, I mean.”
“Er, yeah,” Harry said. “It’s… good. The bond. It’s not…” He broke off and scrubbed a hand through his hair. “Yeah.”
It was bloody weird, Malfoy being all not-horrible about the sex, and especially about the whole issue of Harry’s virginity, and now he seemed awkward and uncertain and it was actually sort of endearing. And there was that fucking word again, endearing, and Harry didn’t know what to do with any of this.
It was no small consolation that Malfoy didn’t seem to know any better than he did. Harry wasn’t sure what he would have done if Malfoy had gone all cocksure and sneering. Instead, he avoided looking at Harry as he reached for his bar of soap, and worked it between his palms until he’d built up a nice lather, then offered the soap to Harry.
“Er,” said Harry.
“You’re here,” Malfoy said, still not quite looking at him. “You might as well.”
Harry couldn’t argue with that, so he took the soap and rubbed it between his hands. The lather he built up was luxuriant, thick and creamy and faintly fragrant, smelling of vanilla and… something else. Almonds, maybe? Trust Malfoy to have some stupid poncy sort of soap. He glanced at Malfoy to see if he needed the soap back, but stopped short at the sight of Malfoy slicking his hands over his own skin, the soap running in frothy white streams down his lithe body, sliding down his legs to pool at his his feet before swirling away down the drain. Harry’s cock gave a twitch of interest at the sight, and he dropped the soap on the narrow shelf next to Malfoy’s shampoo and turned away before Malfoy saw his renewed interest.
He soaped himself up, and waited until Malfoy had rinsed the suds from his body and then stepped aside to wash his hair before Harry ducked under the spray, quickly rinsing himself off while Malfoy finished with his hair. Harry left him to rinse while he left the shower in search of a towel. He dried off, then tucked his towel around his waist and hesitated by the cupboard. He wasn’t sure about the protocol for how to behave around a bloke after having just shagged him, but Malfoy had shared his soap and been not-horrible and all that, so Harry figured maybe he should err on the side of niceness, in the interest of making it take as long as possible before Malfoy reverted to his usual arsehole self.
He was waiting by the shower when Malfoy turned it off and stepped out, shaking his wet hair out of his face.
“Here,” Harry said, holding out a towel for him.
Malfoy blinked at him, surprised. “Oh. Thanks,” he said uncertainly before taking it and drying himself off.
They retraced their steps to the broomshed, picking up their discarded clothing and putting it all back on as they went. Several times Harry wanted to say something, but had no idea what so he held his tongue. Malfoy finished dressing, cleaned up his broom with a quick spell, and headed for the door while Harry was still looking for his other sock. He found it tossed beneath a bench.
“Potter,” Malfoy called from the doorway, and Harry glanced up at him from pulling on the sock. “You might want to do something about that.”
Harry frowned. “What?”
Malfoy gave him a savage grin and gestured to his neck, then slipped out the door and was gone.
With a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, Harry walked over to the mirror. A series of livid lovebites stretched along the left side of his neck in an uneven trail from his shoulder to his jaw, with a few more dotted up the right side just for good measure.
“That bastard,” Harry muttered, rubbing ineffectually at the marks. Fucking hell, it looked like he’d been attacked by something with tentacles. When the hell had Malfoy even had time to do that much damage? Harry didn’t doubt for a moment that he’d done it on purpose. Malfoy was horrible and Harry had no idea how he’d thought otherwise for even an instant.
In the end, there was nothing much to do about it. He knew there were spells to heal these sorts of things, but Harry had never had cause to learn them before. So he did the only thing he could and Transfigured his school tie into a scarf and did his best to wrap it around his neck to hide the marks. If he kept his shoulders hunched up and his chin tucked down, they stayed mostly hidden. He looked like an utter prat, but at least he didn’t look like an utter prat who’d allowed himself to get strangled by an octopus.
Stupid fucking Malfoy. Harry scowled at himself in the mirror. Then, sighing, he turned away and left the Quidditch lockers, and cursed Malfoy every step of the way back up to the Gryffindor Tower.
Harry kept his head ducked as he hurried across the Gryffindor common room, heading straight for the window alcove where Hermione had taken to curling up in the evenings with a book or twelve. He let out a relieved breath when he saw her there.
“I need your help,” he said, squeezing into the alcove with her.
Hermione scooted over to make space for him, letting her legs dangle off the alcove’s ledge. Harry looked out the window as he tugged his Transfigured scarf aside to reveal where Malfoy had mauled his neck like some sort of wild thing.
“What…” Hermione began, then didn’t manage to entirely smother her laugh. “Let me guess. You finally took care of the incomplete bond?”
Harry could feel his face flame hot with embarrassment. “Never mind that. Can you heal it or not?”
Hermione tapped her wand to his neck and murmured an incantation. A cool, tingly feeling swept over his skin. Harry rubbed at his neck and peered at his reflection in the windowpane.
“Thanks,” he said, and let the silence stretch on between them. This is why he loved his friends. Hermione didn’t have to say a single word to make him feel better; just being here with him was enough.
“You seem calmer,” Hermione said after a while.
“I feel calmer,” Harry told her. “The bond’s settled now, I think.” It certainly felt settled. He could feel it before, a constant maddening itching through every inch of him, inside and out. It had made him irritable and kept him up at night. But now it was gone, conspicuous only in its absence, the relief like sinking into a cool bath on a hot day. He wondered if it would last or if he’d have to sleep with Malfoy again. Maybe it’d be best to do it anyway, just to make sure the bond settled properly. He’d talk to Malfoy about that tomorrow.
Hermione was nodding along. “That lines up with what I read about the bond.” She watched him for a moment. “And it was all right?” When Harry’s head snapped up, she sighed and added. “Not the sex. Obviously that was more than all right.” She gave his neck a pointed glance. “I mean how are you about it? How did Malfoy behave?”
“Bloody weird,” Harry answered with a small laugh. “He was actually sort of nice to me. I mean, aside from the…” He gestured vaguely to his neck. “That was him being his usual self. But the rest of it was surprisingly… nice.” He thought of those gentle sounds Malfoy had made during, and the way Malfoy had let Harry lean against him after. How he’d let Harry shower with him, how they’d both been a little awkward, and things had been so tenuous and yet neither of them had broken the fragile peace that had stretched between them.
And the lovebites on Harry’s neck. How despite the weirdness of him being nice, Malfoy was still Malfoy, and if the arsehole part of him was still there while he was being nice then maybe the nice part of him was still there while he was being an arsehole, and maybe this thing between might have more of a future than the two of them living in the same city and doing their best to never interact.
He glanced up when Hermione took his hand, her smaller fingers curling over his.
“I’m glad,” she said.
And yeah, Harry thought that maybe he was glad too.
It took long weeks for the bond to fully settle, but seeing as how those weeks were filled with the best sex Harry had ever had (okay, the only sex Harry had ever had, but it was still the best) he found that he didn’t really mind so much. And when the bond between them finally stopped its constant pulling, they kept right on shagging. Malfoy hadn’t suggested stopping, and if he wasn’t going to then Harry sure as hell wasn’t going to either.
When Transfiguration finally let out, Harry glanced at Malfoy, who gave him a nod. He lingered at his seat while Malfoy strode from the room, taking his time as he gathered up his things and packed his bags. He chatted with Ron and Hermione as they made their way to the Charms classroom.
“Would you mind taking this in for me?” Harry asked, handing over his school bag. “I’ll, er, just be a few minutes.”
Ron frowned. “You’re… You know what? Never mind. I don’t want to know.” He sighed. “Just, try not to be late again. You’ve already lost us about a thousand points this week.”
“Only twenty!” Harry protested, but Ron had already gone into the classroom.
He turned away and hurried down the hall, then lingered until no one was in sight. He ducked into the broom closet to find it entirely empty of everything but Malfoy.
“Again?” he asked in disbelief. “You know Filch is already out for blood from last time, and you Vanished all of his cleaning things again?”
Malfoy just shrugged, utterly unrepentant. “I’m not having sex surrounded by a bunch of smelly mops and buckets. And besides, it’s not as if he uses them. Just forces students in detention to.”
“Exactly,” Harry said. “You’ve taken away his means of making other people miserable. In a way, that’s even worse. I’m pretty sure that’s the only thing he thinks makes life worth living.” Harry paused and thought for a moment. “Well. That and his cat.”
“Oh shut up,” Malfoy said. “And get in here and shut the door before someone sees you.”
Harry went inside and shut the door. Once he was safely inside, Malfoy continued.
“And look at it this way. If I’m taking away his means of making other people miserable, then by extension that means I am bringing joy to those people. This is a good thing, Potter.” Malfoy’s eyes lit up. “In fact, this is a great thing. I am striking a blow on behalf of all the oppressed students of Hogwarts who’ve ever been unjustly sentenced to polishing trophies or scrubbing the floor.”
“You mean the ones you’ve tattled on or set up?” Harry couldn’t help but ask.
Caught up in his narrative, Malfoy didn’t bother to reply. “I’m standing up for the common wizard and striking covert blows against the unjust autocracy that seeks to force unreasonable punishments on the innocent people here. They’re simply trying to get an education, and instead they’re forced to perform physical labor. I am practically a hero. An unsung hero, mind. But a hero nonetheless.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” said Harry. “It’s not like you’re rescuing puppies from burning buildings. You Vanished a bunch of mops and buckets.” Which he’d only done because he was an arsehole who was picky about where he had sex.
“Tell that to the students I’ve saved from unwarranted hours of menial labor,” Malfoy sniffed. “I strongly suspect they’d disagree.” He let out a deeply satisfied sigh and smiled to himself. “Poems. I ought to have poems composed in my honor.”
Harry rolled his eyes even as he let Malfoy back him up against the wall and press close. He was so warm, and Harry couldn’t help leaning into his embrace. “What, so now you’re some kind of honorable revolutionary? Like Robin Hood, righting social injustices, upsetting the status quo?”
Harry’s sarcasm earned him a wicked grin in return.
“Vive la révolution,” said Malfoy and caught Harry’s mouth in a needy kiss, and god, Harry shouldn’t find Malfoy being a ridiculous arsehole nearly this appealing.
Because they both had to be in Charms in a few minutes, they didn’t take the time to fuck. Just snogged each other breathless and swapped handjobs. It was a little awkward to focus on so many things at once, kissing Malfoy and wanking him while also getting wanked by him, but Harry concentrated on making it good for Malfoy, kissing him deep and stroking him slow and firm just the way he liked. Malfoy’s hand on Harry’s cock went still, and Harry knew he’d won. He threaded the fingers of his other hand through Malfoy’s hair, tipped his head a bit to one side, and sucked gently at Malfoy’s bottom lip the way he knew Malfoy liked best. When he got close, Malfoy always made soft little noises in the back of his throat, these low little moans, short and breathy and barely-there. When he started up, Harry kissed him deep and sped up his strokes, and seconds later Malfoy was shuddering against him and coming all over Harry’s fingers. He kept stroking Malfoy all the way through his orgasm.
“Too sensitive,” Malfoy murmured and pushed Harry’s hand away, then nuzzled his face into the curve of Harry’s neck.
It was sort of nice, waiting for Malfoy to come out of his post-orgasmic lassitude. He leaned heavily against Harry, his head resting on Harry’s shoulder, each exhale a warm tickle against Harry’s neck. Harry couldn’t resist pressing his nose against the crown of Malfoy’s head and breathing in. Malfoy’s soap smelled of almonds and vanilla, and it was a warm and comforting sort of smell, one Harry wouldn’t ever have associated with Malfoy in a million years. Malfoy looked like he should smell sharp. Like citrus or sandalwood, something pungent and pervasive. Harry closed his eyes and took another breath.
It took barely a minute for Malfoy to recover himself. He straightened up and tightened his hand around Harry’s cock, working him in quick strokes. He leaned close, his cheek pressed warm and soft to Harry’s, his voice soft and warm in Harry’s ear as Malfoy whispered all the filthy things he wanted to do to him. Harry pushed his cock harder into Malfoy’s fist, pressed his shoulders back against the wall, clutched helplessly at Malfoy’s robes as Malfoy described how he’d suck Harry’s cock. He’d moved on to describing how he’d eat Harry’s arse when Harry came with a breathy sort of whimper that he found distantly embarrassing.
He sagged back against the wall while Malfoy cast cleaning charms over them both, then tucked his wand away, straightened his clothing, and picked up his bag.
“I’ll go first,” Malfoy said, reaching for the door.
“What? No!” Harry protested, shaking off the last of his blissful daze. “You always go first and then I’m late. I’ve already lost twenty points this week.”
Malfoy sighed. “Fine,” he said, sounding extremely put out. “I suppose it makes sense. I could use an extra few minutes to fix my hair.” He swept a critical eye over Harry. “Your hair’s always such a disaster that no one will be able to tell that you’ve just had sex.” He tugged Harry’s tie back into place, straightened his robes and nodded once to himself. “Go on, then. I suppose that’s as good as you’re going to get.”
Harry pulled his tie a little bit askew just because he knew it would irritate Malfoy, then slipped out of the broom closet and hurried to the Charms classroom. He slid into his seat behind Ron and Hermione, and had his book and parchments and quill out of his bag by the time Malfoy joined him. Just barely on time, the wanker. Harry had sort of hoped he’d be late and lose Slytherin a few points. Malfoy gave him a smug smile, and Harry rolled his eyes, then did his best to ignore Malfoy for the rest of the lesson.
“Hello, Potter,” Malfoy said.
Harry looked up from his Charms essay, surprised that Malfoy would approach him outside of class or a broom closet. Beside him, Ron tensed. Hermione didn’t lift her head from from her own schoolwork, but under the table she prodded Harry’s ankle with her toe.
“Er,” said Harry. “Do you need something?”
Malfoy waved his hand at the library shelves. “Just looking for a few books when I spotted you over here and thought I should tell you that your hair looks somewhat less atrocious than it normally does.”
“Er,” said Harry again. “Thanks?”
“Right,” Malfoy said after a few moments of awkward silence. “Granger, Weasley. Potter.” He turned on his heel and left.
“What was that?” Harry asked, staring after Malfoy.
“I think,” said Hermione slowly, “he was trying to flirt with you.”
“Shit job of it,” Ron muttered.
“Oh please, you’re one to talk,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes. “For Valentine’s Day, you gave me a Chudley Cannons jumper.”
“So we could match!” Ron insisted. “That’s romantic, matching, because we’re together, right? Right?” He looked over at Harry for support.
“Sorry, mate,” Harry said. “I told you the jumper was a bad idea.”
While Ron grumbled on about fair weather fans (which was ridiculous because the phrase ‘fair weather fan’ implied that there was some fair weather to be had) and how anyone should be thrilled to get a jumper for Valentine’s Day, Harry peeked over his shoulder and caught a glimpse of Draco’s blond hair disappearing around the end of the shelf. When he turned back, he found Hermione watching him contemplatively. Quickly, Harry ducked his head back over his essay.
Too late. Hermione had already put down her quill. She watched him, eyebrows raised, and Harry slouched in his seat, eager to avoid the coming conversation about what exactly he and Malfoy were to each other. Ron and Hermione knew all about the bond and that Harry had been spending more time with Malfoy recently, but they didn’t know that things had been slowly changing over the past few weeks. That this whatever-it-was with Malfoy had started to feel less like being forced together and more like a relationship. A really strange relationship based primarily on sex and bickering, but a relationship nonetheless. And Harry couldn’t quite say why, or put his finger on what precisely had changed between them. He hadn’t mentioned anything about that to his friends, because he didn’t know how to explain something that he didn’t fully understand himself.
But in the end, he didn’t have to. Hermione gave him a knowing smile and returned to her schoolwork without a single word.
“Really, Malfoy, again?” Harry sighed when he opened the broom closet and found that, once again, Malfoy had Vanished the contents.
Malfoy gave an imperious sniff as Harry came inside and closed the door behind himself. “I’ll have you know that I’m doing this for the greater good. I am selflessly standing up for my fellow students at great personal risk to myself.”
This bizarre one-man war Malfoy was waging against Filch’s detentions had gone on for far too long. “No. You really need to stop. You know everyone’s trying to find out who’s behind it. Filch is having fits about it,” Harry said, like he’d ever be able to convince Malfoy of anything. “He’s been polishing the chains in his office more than usual. I think he’s actually serious about using them, this time. And McGonagall might be irritated enough to let him.”
“Please. I doubt he’s ever used those chains to hang up a student,” Malfoy scoffed. “I bet he uses them in kinky sex games with his cat or something. Although… speaking of kinky sex games… and those chains…”
Harry had been spending enough time with Malfoy lately to recognize the inherent danger of Malfoy’s eyes lighting up that particular way. “Oh no.”
“Oh yes,” Malfoy said with a smile so eager it bordered on manic.
Harry shook his head sharply. “Oh no, Malfoy. No. You’re insane.”
“Probably,” Malfoy agreed with that discomfiting gleam still in his eyes. “But you like it.”
Frighteningly enough, Harry did. And he had no idea exactly when that had become true. He did his best to put it out of his mind, though he had a feeling that this thought would come back to haunt him, probably in the dark of night when he was trying to fall asleep, that Harry liked Malfoy being a nutter. Hell, that Harry liked Malfoy, full stop. Frightening thoughts indeed. He wondered if he’d ever be able to sleep again.
“And anyhow,” Malfoy went on airily, “Filch already hates me.”
“Probably with good reason,” Harry said.
“Oh, with very good reason,” Malfoy agreed with another of those unsettlingly avid smiles.
Harry rolled his eyes. Pretty much everyone at Hogwarts had good reason to dislike Malfoy. He took Malfoy by the wrists and put his hands against the front of his trousers and gave Malfoy’s palms a brief rub against his prick, hoping Malfoy would take the hint and get to the shagging. Harry had Quidditch practice in half an hour.
“Did you know,” said Malfoy conversationally as he obediently undid Harry’s trousers, “that I once Transfigured Mrs Norris into a loaf of bread?”
Harry could only stare at him. “What? Why bread?”
Malfoy shrugged. “I was sort of hoping Goyle might eat her.” He made a small satisfied humming sound as he got Harry’s trousers open and tugged down. “Either that or maybe mice would get at her. Because wouldn’t that be ironic.”
Harry found that faintly horrifying, actually. All of it. Bread-cat, Goyle, mice, and especially the fact that Harry was about to willingly have sex with someone who thought all that was worth bragging about.
“Of course I was only a third year at the time,” Malfoy went on as he pulled off Harry’s jumper, dislodging Harry’s glasses in the process. “So I did a rather shit job of it. She still had all her paws and her ears and her tail, but the rest of her was bread.” He paused and frowned thoughtfully. “Pumpernickel, as I recall.”
Harry shook his head. “I’ve got no idea what to even say to you right now. Other than that I am in no way surprised. And you’re a terrible person.” He set about getting Malfoy’s trousers open, in the vain hope that maybe once he got Malfoy’s cock involved he’d stop talking. He didn’t really expect it to work; Malfoy was pretty brilliant at multi-tasking and he apparently adored the sound of his own voice. But really, all this discussion of cat-bread was sort of ruining the mood for Harry.
Malfoy laughed. “You should have seen her, wobbling along in a panic on her little furry paws, leaving a trail of crumbs as she went… And meowing, though I’m not sure how she managed that without a mouth. From what I hear, Filch nearly shit himself when he found her. I wasn’t anywhere near at the time, naturally.”
“Of course you weren’t,” Harry said.
“A good alibi is always important,” Malfoy said sagely.
Malfoy was a terrible, terrible person. A terrible, terrible person who had near-unlimited access to Harry’s penis, and really Harry had no idea what the fuck he was doing here. Malfoy might be completely insane, but apparently so was Harry for sleeping with him. He hadn’t felt so much as a whisper from the bond in over a month, so he didn’t even have an excuse for doing it anymore. Other than the fact that he wanted though, and frankly he found that more than a little terrifying.
“Obviously they got her sorted,” Harry said slowly, already regretting giving Malfoy any encouragement whatsoever to continue this conversation, but curious despite himself. “But Filch still has no idea it was you?”
Malfoy grinned, that wicked one that did all sorts of pleasantly wobbly things to Harry’s insides. “I’m still alive, aren’t I?”
“You really shouldn’t antagonize him,” Harry told him.
“What can I say?” Malfoy asked with a smirk. “I’m a rebel. And you,” He poked Harry, “are my accomplice.”
“Don’t drag me into this,” Harry protested. “I want no part of this.”
“Sorry, Potter. You’re already part of it,” Malfoy said, that wicked grin of his out in full force again. “You haven’t turned me in, so that makes you equally responsible for my actions. You’re my partner-in-crime whether you like it or not.”
Harry rolled his eyes. There was no way he was going to win this so he might as well move on. “Vive la revolution,” he sighed, and then kissed Malfoy to shut him up before he could say anything else.
Of course, when they parted for breath, the first thing Malfoy did was announce, “Your accent’s shit,” so Harry kissed him again, and pushed him up against the wall, and kissed him some more.
He could tell when Malfoy decided to focus his attention on kissing Harry back rather than planning out the next arsehole thing he wanted to say, because he went all pliant and warm in Harry’s embrace, looping his arms around Harry’s shoulders and pulling him in close. He hooked one leg around the backs of Harry’s thighs and ground their hips together. Malfoy was hard already, and Harry hoped that was from the kissing. If Malfoy really got off on his past misdeeds, well…
Harry tried not to think too hard about that. He disrupted their kiss to get Malfoy’s shirt pulled off, and Malfoy leaned back against the wall as Harry tossed it aside, clad in nothing but his pants and socks, hair ruffled, cheeks flushed, looking utterly debauched. He licked his lips. Harry wondered if Malfoy knew what an alluring picture he made.
“How do you want me?” he asked.
Harry wanted Malfoy any way that Malfoy was willing to be taken in. But tonight, he thought he’d like to have Malfoy suck his cock. Not least because it would keep Malfoy’s mouth occupied.
“On your knees,” he said, and got a raised eyebrow in response. “Oh for fuck’s sake, you know I’ll suck you next.”
“Ah, yes,” Malfoy said as he slid down the wall. “Such a noble Gryffindor you are. Honor and equitability and all that.”
“Exactly,” Harry said as Malfoy pulled his underpants down around his thighs. “There’s a reason the Slytherin’s on his knees first.”
“Because Slytherins are all about their own pleasure, right?” Malfoy said, giving Harry’s cock a few lazy strokes. “Can’t trust them to follow through unless something’s in it for them?”
“Yeah,” Harry sighed. He threaded his fingers through Malfoy’s hair and tried to guide his head forward.
Malfoy knocked Harry’s hand away. “You’re overlooking one crucial thing, however. I may only be interested in things that benefit me in some way.” He leaned back until his head rested against the wall, his eyes dark and heavy-lidded as he gazed up at Harry with a wicked smirk playing at his mouth. “But Potter, I fucking love sucking your cock.”
He took Harry by the hips and pulled him forward, taking his cock all the way to the back of this throat in one neat swallow. Harry could only brace himself against the wall and look down at Malfoy, trapped between the wall and Harry’s body and looking as though there were nowhere else in the world he’d rather be.
Harry closed his eyes and lost himself to the brilliant warmth of Malfoy’s mouth.
Harry had lost his mind. There was no other possible explanation for what he was doing here, sneaking around with Malfoy after curfew, breaking into places he shouldn’t. Insanity was contagious, and he’d been spending too much time around Malfoy, and now Harry had gone off his trolley as well. The sex was great, but Harry wasn’t entirely sure whether it was worth the price of him entirely taking leave of his sanity.
“Remind me why I’m letting you do this?” Harry whispered as they crouched by the door of Filch’s office.
“Because you’re getting a shag out of it,” Malfoy said, not making any effort to keep his voice down.
“Be quiet,” Harry chided. “And that’s not enough. I can get a shag from you any time I want.”
Malfoy’s eyebrows went up. “Oh you can, can you?”
In response, Harry pulled him forward and kissed him hard and deep, and felt how Malfoy melted into it, leaning into Harry with a soft moan.
“Yeah,” Harry said, easing back from him. “I can.”
“Hm,” Malfoy said thoughtfully. He curled his hand around the back of Harry’s neck and pulled him in for another kiss. “I think it’s because you know you shouldn’t be doing this. You like the thrill of it. The danger.”
Malfoy’s smile was wicked in the dark corridor, and Harry swallowed. “Yeah,” Harry said, unable to look away from Malfoy’s smile. “That must be it.”
Also, he’d lost his mind. Entirely lost it. But Malfoy probably had a point about the getting-a-shag-out-of-it thing. And maybe the rest of it, too, if Harry was being perfectly honest.
Malfoy gave him a wink, then turned back to the door. A few murmured incantations later, the lock gave a click and the door swung open. He hurried inside, leaving Harry to slip in after him and shut the door behind them.
“Ah!” said Malfoy triumphantly. He gestured to the corner with a flourish. “I’d wondered where they’d been keeping them.
Harry followed the motion of Malfoy’s hand and saw a cluster of brooms and mops propped up against the corner. Several buckets sat on the floor nearby, and a towering stack of polishes and scrub brushes and rags sat on the desk. Other than its partial transformation into a supply cupboard, the office looked exactly as it had the last time Harry had been in here. Dim and a bit dingy, with the desk taking up most of the available space left over from the row of filing cabinets.
“Now,” Malfoy said, drawing his wand. “I think we should clean up a bit before we begin.”
“Malfoy, don’t—” Harry began.
Too late. With a careless flick of his wand, Malfoy Vanished the lot of it.
“Don’t what,” Malfoy said flatly, sliding his wand back up his sleeve as he raised his eyebrows at Harry, just daring him to argue.
“Do what you just did,” Harry finished with a sigh. “You’ve really got to stop doing that.”
“Whose side are you on, anyway?” Malfoy asked, advancing on Harry. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you want them to win.”
“What I want,” Harry said, “is for you to stop being a complete arsehole.” Right, like that would ever happen. Harry might as well wish for the moon.
“What, like this?” Malfoy asked. He flicked his wand again and all the papers Vanished from the top of Filch’s desk.
“He’s going to kill you,” Harry said. “You do realize, don’t you?”
“He’ll have to catch me first,” Malfoy said with a smirk. He looped his arms around Harry’s neck and his grin turned cheeky. “But don’t worry, lover. I’ll never give you away.”
“Which you shouldn’t,” Harry said, pushing Malfoy off him. “I’m not even involved in this.”
Malfoy sighed like Harry was being deliberately obtuse. “You most certainly are. We’ve been over this, Potter. Do the words aiding and abetting mean nothing to you?”
“It means you’re a bad influence.”
“If that’s what you’d like to call it,” Malfoy said with a shrug. “I prefer—”
Harry kissed him to shut him up. He really didn’t have patience for another one of Malfoy’s ridiculous lectures. Thankfully, Malfoy didn’t seem inclined to fight him, as he did sometimes when he felt he had something particularly important to say. He just exhaled slowly through his nose and nipped lightly at Harry’s bottom lip in wordless encouragement for Harry to deepen the kiss. He gladly did, and lost himself entirely in the wet heat of Malfoy’s mouth on his.
He didn’t think he’d ever get tired of kissing Malfoy, in part because it was so different every time. Sometimes kissing Malfoy was like fighting him, sometimes Malfoy melted into it, submitting entirely to Harry. Kissing Malfoy had been deep and intense, and fast and vicious, and slow and dirty. Rough or angry or gentle or fierce, no matter what else it was, kissing Malfoy was always, always bloody brilliant.
As they kissed, Malfoy slipped the buttons of Harry’s shirt open one by one, then slowly drew it over his shoulders and down his arms. He tossed it aside onto the top of the desk without looking, then reached up to wind his arms around Harry’s neck, one hand sliding up to tangle in his hair.
And okay, this wasn’t so bad. This was just sex in another place. They’d been sneaking around the Castle for a couple of months now. Malfoy broke the kiss and gave Harry a light shove back around the desk.
“Come on, then,” Malfoy said, nudging Harry to stand with his back to the wall. He reached for a chain.
Harry shied away out of his reach. “What? No, what’re you doing?”
“Chaining you up,” Malfoy huffed. “We talked about this.”
“No, we most certainly did not talk about this,” Harry said, pushing Malfoy away when he came at Harry with a manacle in one hand and a maniacal gleam in his eye.
“Yes we most certainly did talk about this,” Malfoy told him. “What did you think I meant when I said I wanted to break into Filch’s office to get at the chains?”
“I thought you meant you wanted to be chained up,” Harry said. Honestly, he’d been sort of looking forward to it, the silver manacles cuffing Malfoy’s slender pale wrists, Malfoy spread for him, entirely helpless, just waiting for Harry to do whatever he felt like…
“Why on earth would you think I meant that?” Malfoy asked. He sounded genuinely perplexed.
Harry flung his hands up in the air. “Why do you do anything you do? That’s the exciting part of taking up with a nutter, I’ve discovered. I’ve got no idea what’s going on in your head.”
Malfoy sniffed. “Then you really shouldn’t make assumptions, should you?”
“We’re done here,” Harry said, reaching for his shirt. “We’ll call it striking another blow against the unfairness of detention or whatever you want to say. But I’m going to bed now. Good night.”
“No, wait,” Malfoy said. He snagged Harry’s shirt and wrestled it away from him. “How about a deal?”
Despite himself, Harry was curious what Malfoy could possibly offer him that’d be incentive enough to allow himself to be chained to a wall, entirely at Malfoy’s mercy. “What deal?”
Malfoy took a deep breath, fiddled with one cuff of Harry’s shirt, and glanced at the chains. “You let me put you in those, I’ll rim you.”
Harry’s breath caught. Well, fuck. That was possibly the one thing that might get him to agree to this whole mad scheme. Early on in their strange relationship, Harry had asked for that very thing. Malfoy had told him in an unbearably snotty tone that he’d never kissed anyone’s arse in his life and wasn’t about to start then. Harry hadn’t pressured him about it again, and in return Malfoy had started fingering him sometimes, and Harry had been mostly satisfied with that. But now Malfoy was offering…
“Until you come,” Malfoy added when Harry didn’t immediately say no. “Just think, I’ll do everything I can to make you come from nothing more than my tongue in your arse. Wouldn’t you like that?”
Harry would like that. He’d like that very much indeed.
“Fine,” he said. “But just the wrists. I’m not letting you cuff my ankles too.”
“Fair enough,” Malfoy said. “Besides, we’ll have to leave something for next time, hm?”
There wasn’t going to be a next time, but there’d be no advantage to arguing that point right now. Instead he turned to the wall and held out his arms. The manacles were cold when Malfoy fastened them around Harry’s wrists. He gave them an experimental rattle, and though they held fast, there was enough slack in the chains that he could mostly turn around if he wanted. He stood patiently as Malfoy unfastened his trousers and pulled them off.
“Look at you,” Malfoy whispered in Harry’s ear. He took a step back, trailing his finger down Harry’s spine, all the way to the waistband of his pants. He caught them with the tip of one finger, tugged, and let them snap back into place. “You’re beautiful like this.”
“Oh,” said Harry, unable to repress a shiver as Malfoy brushed his hands up Harry’s sides, fingers sliding over his ribs. Maybe Malfoy was right, maybe Harry really did like danger, the thrill of doing something he knew he shouldn’t. Maybe there was a small part of him – a very small part of him, to be sure, but still there – that missed certain aspects of the war. As much as he’d always wanted to be normal, there were times when being normal was boring as fuck.
Malfoy slid his hands down, down over Harry’s hips, down along his thighs. Craning his neck, he could just make out Malfoy on his knees behind him. Harry closed his eyes and let his head fall forward until his forehead brushed the cool stone wall. Malfoy continued to stroke his hands up and down Harry’s thighs. He dragged his nose along the cleft of Harry’s arse, and even through the thin cotton of his underpants, it made Harry’s breath catch. Malfoy bent his head lower, pressing hot open-mouthed kisses over the top of his thigh, just beneath where it curved into his arse.
A small noise broke him out of his pleasure.
Harry jerked his head up. “What was that?”
“Mmm,” Malfoy said, still nuzzling the crease between Harry’s arse and his thigh. He slid one finger beneath the waistband of Harry’s pants and began to tug them down.
Harry bucked his hips to get Malfoy to stop. “No, I heard something. Stop it!”
With a sigh, Malfoy sat back on his heels. “What are you on about? I didn’t hear—”
The gentle scratching sound came again, this time followed by a faintly muffled, “Meow?”
“Mrs Norris!” Harry said, looking at the door in horror, and right on cue she scratched at the door again. Alarmed, Harry tugged at the chains. “Get me down from here!” Whenever Mrs Norris appeared somewhere, everyone knew that Filch was never far behind. “Hurry up!”
Malfoy jumped up and, unbelievably, wasted a few precious seconds to smooth his ruffled hair.
“Now, Malfoy!” Harry told him. “If you haven’t noticed, I’m mostly naked and chained to the bloody wall you stupid fuck! Never mind your hair! Get me down. Now!”
“All right, all right,” Malfoy said, reaching for his wand. “Keep your trousers on.” Then he eyed Harry’s bare legs and smirked.
“Malfoy…” Harry growled. Malfoy was bloody lucky Harry wasn’t free right now because he’d hit him, he honestly would.
Malfoy rolled his eyes and moved close to Harry. He twirled his wand with a little flourish and aimed it at Harry’s left wrist.
“Alohomora!” he said, tapping the chains with his wand.
Absolutely nothing happened.
Malfoy did it again, and again, and then gave it a try with Harry’s wand. The manacles held firm. Footsteps echoed in the hallway.
“The door!” Harry hissed at Malfoy. “Lock the door!”
Malfoy spun and aimed Harry’s wand at the door, but before he could cast, it swung open. Filch made it two steps into the room before he realized he wasn’t alone.
For a moment they all stood frozen in varying states of horror and, in Harry’s case, embarrassment. Then anger descended over Filch’s expression like a thundercloud.
“You!” he said, taking another step forward.
“Er,” said Harry, tugging helplessly at his bonds. He really should have taken the time to look into the possibility of that floor-opening-beneath-him-and-swallowing-him-whole spell when he’d had the chance. It’d come in dead useful right about now.
“I regret nothing,” said Malfoy, putting his chin up and squaring his shoulders like he was facing a firing squad, and if Harry hadn’t been securely chained to the wall, he probably would have slapped him for being such a stupid melodramatic bastard.
Filch took in the scene, at the empty top of his desk, the empty corner. “You,” he said again, stabbing a finger at Malfoy. “You’re the one! You’ve been Vanishing my things!”
Then Malfoy tensed and Harry saw what was about to happen a split second before it actually did.
“Malfoy,” he warned. “Don’t you dare.”
“Sorry, Potter!” Malfoy said, and sprang forward, shoved past Filch, and darted out of the room. So much for never giving Harry away.
“Malfoy!” Filch snarled, grabbing for him and missing by inches.
“VIVE LA RESISTANCE!!” shouted Malfoy as he went sprinting off down the corridor with Filch in hot pursuit.
Leaving Harry all alone, chained to the wall in his underpants.
“Fuck,” he said.
He tugged half-heartedly with one arm, rattling the chains against the stone wall, but they didn’t come loose. He hadn’t expected them to. Harry sighed and looked at Malfoy’s wand lying on Filch’s desk, not that it’d help him get out of the chains. But if he had it in his hand, at least he could hex the everloving fuck out of Malfoy when he saw him again.
Harry would still be mostly-naked and chained to the wall, but he’d probably feel a little better about it.
Mrs Norris came sauntering into the room just then. She hopped up onto the desk and blinked at Harry with big gold eyes.
“Shoo,” Harry said feebly. “Go on, now.”
She yawned, then sat down and began to wash herself. Harry sighed and knocked his head against the wall, and waited for someone to come help get him the fuck down.
They got about a thousand detentions each, of course they did, which Harry thought was horribly unfair since he hadn’t even been involved in Malfoy’s mad vendetta with the cleaning supplies. Just more of an unwilling bystander that Malfoy had dragged down with him.
Unfortunately McGonagall didn’t see it that way when she was summoned down to Filch’s office to get Harry out of the manacles. Malfoy redeemed himself a bit by helping Harry put on his trousers back before she arrived, but all in all it was easily the most humiliating experience of Harry’s life.
An experience which might very well be over by now if Malfoy hadn’t tried to get out of it by blaming the entire thing on the bond. Harry hadn’t felt so much as a whisper from it in well over a month now, but Malfoy had spun a fantastical yarn about how it’d been plaguing him for weeks and honestly, the story didn’t make very much sense. The only thing it had convinced McGonagall of was that the pair of them should go straight for the infirmary to be examined immediately because, after all, madness was one of the potential dangers of this sort of bond and Malfoy was raving like a bloody lunatic.
Which, if she’d bothered to ask Harry, he’d have told her that Malfoy was just naturally this way and it wasn’t the bond at all. But she hadn’t, and Harry still couldn’t quite look her in the eye, so he hadn’t brought it up.
Now he and Malfoy were sitting side by side on one of the hospital beds while Madam Pomfrey and McGonagall conferred in Pomfrey’s office about the results of the dozens of diagnostic spells they’d cast over him and Malfoy.
“I don’t see why you’re so upset,” Malfoy said after a while.
Harry could only gape at him. “Are you serious? Malfoy, you arsehole, are you serious? You took my clothes off and chained me to a wall—”
“That was perfectly consensual.”
“—and then left me there when Filch walked in.”
“Well how was I to know that the manacles couldn’t be unlocked by magical means? And anyhow, leaving you there was a calculated ploy,” Malfoy said. “I know the strong feelings Filch has about students in manacles. I was hoping he’d be distracted enough that I could get away.”
“You left me there as a distraction?” God, just when Harry had thought Malfoy couldn’t possibly be any worse.
“The fight must go on,” Malfoy said. “You were compromised. I did what I had to do. I only—”
“Malfoy,” Harry ground out. “If you say vive la anything I will punch you in the face, I swear I will.”
Harry supposed that he must have looked like he meant it because Malfoy actually shut up.
“Sorry,” Malfoy said after a while, so quietly that Harry thought at first that he’d misheard.
Harry glanced over at him, brow furrowing in confusion. “What?”
“Sorry,” Malfoy muttered, a bit louder this time. Then, “I did it for you, you know.”
Harry peered at him. “What are you talking about?”
“All that… nonsense. It was… I just wanted…” He huffed a sigh. “This is going to sound entirely mad.”
Like that would be any sort of change of pace from the last few weeks of Harry’s life. He didn’t say that aloud, just waited for Malfoy to continue.
“It’s just… all through school, you always had these grand adventures with your friends. Saving this person, standing up for that cause. And I know,” he rushed on when Harry opened his mouth to point out that the circumstances had been more than a little different. “I know that it wasn’t all fun and games. There was a war on, and you did what you felt you had to do, and it was dangerous and… I saw how it brought the three of you together. I see how close you are to them even now. And I suppose I wanted something like that with you, and this thing with the cleaning things for detentions and Filch and all…” He trailed off and gave a small self-deprecating laugh. “It’s bloody stupid, isn’t it?”
Harry reached out and laid his hand across Malfoy’s knee, then stared at how his hand looked there against the dark fabric of Malfoy’s trousers. It felt like a shockingly intimate thing to do, despite all they’d done. It was just a knee. But it was Malfoy’s knee, and somehow that made all the difference.
“It’s completely bloody stupid,” Harry said. “Because we’re soul-bonded, you insufferable bastard.” He quirked a smile at Malfoy. “It’s my understanding that you can’t get much closer to someone than that.”
“I know,” Malfoy sighed. He didn’t smile back. “But there’s a difference between being close to someone because you have to be, and being close to someone because you want to. And anyhow, it doesn’t matter. It’s good that it was just some stupid thing that didn’t really matter because I’d have cocked it up if it were real. I left you behind.” He shook his head. “I didn’t even think about it, I just did the same thing I always do: what’s best for me.”
“So?” Harry said. “Ron’s turned his back on me before and he’s still my best mate. And Hermione… well, she never has. But she’s probably smarter than all the rest of us put together. So I’m not sure it’s really fair to compare anyone else to her. But yeah, people make mistakes sometimes.”
Malfoy frowned at him. “What are you saying?”
“I guess I’m saying…” Harry paused to sort through his words. “I’m saying that just being around you is an adventure all its own. And… and maybe this whole soul-bond thing isn’t so bad after all. And if you want to try to make a go of it, have a real relationship, I mean. Well. I think I’d like that.”
A quiet cough from behind them drew their attention. Harry turned to find McGonagall standing nearby. “We’ve finished analyzing the results,” she said. “And I thought you’d be eager to know what we found.”
Harry shrugged. They hadn’t found anything, because Malfoy had been faking.
“The bond is gone,” McGonagall continued.
“It’s what?” Malfoy blurted out. He stared at Harry.
And Harry stared back. He felt like he’d just been struck. The bond was gone? Sure, he hadn’t felt it in a while. But that’s what was supposed to happen when it settled down. Wasn’t it?
“It turns out that because the person who’d sent the ring had begun a partial bond, it prevented the bond you formed with each other from taking permanently. It’s faded completely. We couldn’t find a trace of it left.” She smiled at them. “You’re both free, gentlemen.”
Gone completely. Harry was free. He thought he should feel happy, but instead he felt… just shocked. He’d grown used to the idea of being bonded to Malfoy for the rest of his life. And now that he suddenly wasn’t he had no idea what to do with it.
“I understand that this is quite a shock to both of you,” McGonagall said, glancing from Harry to Malfoy and back again. “I’ll just give you a few minutes to discuss this. And then I’m escorting you straight back to your dormitories.”
She strode back across the room and disappeared into Pomfrey’s office.
“Well,” said Malfoy after a moment. “We could always get re-bonded.”
“Why the fuck would we want to do that? We just got out of it.”
Malfoy shrugged. “It was a joke, Potter. I was joking.” He looked away. “I suppose you’re thrilled to be rid of me. Only…” He took a deep breath and looked back to Harry. “I like you. I think we have fun together. You shag me in broom closets and let me do mad things like break into the caretaker’s office and chain you up.”
“I go along with your insanity, you mean?” Harry asked, rolling his eyes. He didn’t exactly see that as a point in his favor, but if Malfoy was happy with it…
“Exactly,” Malfoy said. “You just let me…” He trailed off and gestured vaguely with one hand. “Everyone in my life has always tried to turn me into whatever they think I should be. But you’ve always just accepted me as I am, right or wrong, good or bad.” He shrugged. “I like that about you. You don’t take shit from me, but you also don’t try to make me be something I’m not.”
“Malfoy…” Harry tried to interrupt.
“And this thing we have. It’s working for me. I didn’t think it would, at first. I thought we’d just have to suffer each other’s company for a while before we could spend the rest of our lives ignoring each other. But I actually sort of enjoyed it. Enjoyed being with you. Even though I don’t always act like it. And you may not believe me, but…”
“Malfoy,” Harry cut in again. He gave Malfoy’s knee a squeeze and mercifully, Malfoy stopped talking. “I meant what I said just before. I sort of like you when you’re not being a giant wanker. And yeah, I still want to try.”
And then, because Malfoy looked like he was about to say more, Harry leaned over and kissed him to keep him quiet.
“Potter, I don’t know about this,” Malfoy said, tugging backward against the hold Harry kept on his wrist. “I can’t… We don’t know if it even still works.”
“It does, and I do know,” Harry said. “I came here already and tried it. Now shut up and let me concentrate. Okay?” He caught and held Malfoy’s eyes, but didn’t let go of Malfoy’s wrist until Malfoy gave him a single grudging nod.
Harry gave him a smile, then leaned in and kissed him. Malfoy kept his mouth shut at first, his lips pressed into a thin hard line, but slowly he relaxed against Harry, going all warm and pliant the way Harry liked best, like Malfoy just couldn’t help himself. Harry eased away and gave him another smile.
Malfoy nodded. “Yeah.”
Harry stepped away and cleared his mind of everything but a single image, as explicitly detailed as he could possibly make it. He paced back and forth once, twice, three times, and a doorway slowly appeared in the stone wall. He heard Malfoy’s breath catch, but he didn’t leave. Harry turned to him and held out his hand, and Malfoy came to him and took it.
Together, they walked into the room, and found themselves in a perfect replica of Filch’s office.
Malfoy looked around, a hesitant smile tugging at one corner of his mouth. “What is this?”
“This,” Harry said, rounding the desk, which was piled high with cleaning things just in case Malfoy felt like Vanishing them. He picked up one of the manacles and snapped it around his left wrist. He’d been very careful when thinking of these, and knew he could set himself free just by thinking it. “This is us picking up right where we left off before we were interrupted. I believe someone promised me an orgasm from nothing more than a tongue up my arse and I’m not about to let you back out of that. A deal’s a deal, Malfoy.”
Grinning, Malfoy sauntered up to him, stroking his fingers down Harry’s forearm to encircle his wrist. He raised it up and pressed a single kiss to the center of Harry’s palm. “Well,” he said. “I suppose I’ll just have to do the honorable thing, then, won’t I?”
The other manacle clicked shut around Harry’s right wrist.