July 29, 2010
As you are a registered wizarding citizen, we are required by legislation 349-1a of the Administration Code of Conduct to inform you that an investigation has been launched concerning the use of a product sold by DACH Inc.. An I&I representative will be meeting with you shortly.
Your full cooperation in this matter is appreciated.
Head of Investigation and Interrogation
London Administration Unity Division
Malfoy sniffed at the so-called courtesy owl. It was part of the general package of perks that went along with 'voluntarily' registration into the Administration. It meant that within the next five minutes a hired thug from the defunct Ministry of Magic could be – depending on the nature of the charges – ripping apart his office to look for proof of … whatever. And if they found enough to raise suspicion, they would be allowed to take him back to the Administration I&I office and rip him apart until they got the confession they wanted. It was all hard-earned confessions or dead bodies that their skilled Public Relations department needed to find a cover story to explain away.
Malfoy's pure-blood status had been nothing but a huge bull's-eye on his back ever since the Administration replaced the crumbling Ministry in the months following Voldemort's fall. Many pure-bloods who hadn't immediately declared their love of Muggles were taken in for questioning, only to end up with a new found patriotism or "confessing" to actions Malfoy was quite sure they hadn't committed. Either that, or they were never heard from again. His father had been in the latter group.
Malfoy had been taken in twice, but never once saw the inside of a holding cell. His mother had been shipped quietly off to France. At the time he had had no idea how they'd remained untouched, but he had made the best of it. Twelve years later, and he was one of the very few pure-blood wizards still well respected in society. He worked hard to make people see past it. He worked even harder to keep himself distanced from the Administration.
"Sir?" Sara's voice broke through his thoughts. He looked down to see the missive crumpled in his hand and dropped it into the bin. "Sir, there's a Para Investigator here to see you."
"Show him in, Sara." Malfoy noted the unusual pallor of his assistant. Very little rattled Sara, but the sight of the black I&I robes stalking into the office weren't good for anyone's health.
Sara stood at the door biting her lip. "Is everything all right?"
Malfoy stared at her hand gripping the door knob, white knuckled. It was touching, really. Sara didn't often let her concern for him slip through. "Just missing the good old days, when the worst the Ministry could think of throwing at you were Aurors."
Sara's lip quirked. "But those red robes clashed with everything."
"Indeed. Now show the brute in before you get accused of obstructing justice." Malfoy pulled out several parchments that needed his attention. The sales figures for June were excellent and he needed to decide whether they should be increasing production. He had to determine if the sales were maintainable and if the current contract staff should be made permanent. Most likely, he would need to wait until the investigation was complete to make any predictions.
Malfoy looked at the thick black boots, up the heavy charcoal robe, to the broad shoulders adorned with three stripes of silver. Potter filled the doorway, blocking the light from the hallway. It was no wonder Sara was jittery. Potter at thirty had grown into the resolute, intimidating man that the world had only just glimpsed when he'd been eighteen. Then, he had stood alone; now, the full weight of the Administration and its complex set of rules intended to protect wizards from themselves showed on his face.
"Potter, I was expecting you," Malfoy lied. He masked his annoyance with a practised grin. "Please have a seat."
Potter smiled with equal insincerity. "Thank you."
He approached Malfoy's desk and did not sit. Malfoy was forced to crane his neck to keep eye contact. When he stood and offered his hand, Potter accepted it. The seconds ticked by and Malfoy refused to sit again. With a whisper of a smile, Potter sat.
Malfoy started as he realised Potter was pleased. Likely very few people were not immediately cowed by the Senior Para. Potter had entered the Ministry during the turmoil after the war, and had begun training to be an Auror. The obliteration of the Ministry and the creation of the Administration – which including morphing the Aurors into Para Investigators – had been hyped in the press as a bold move in the direction of equality for all wizards. With Potter as their figure-head, they'd spun a tale of cleansing the wizarding world from the stain of Voldemort. The forced confessions and disappearing suspects were whispers in the back alleys of Knockturn. By the time the truth had trickled into the ears of the public at large, the Administration had already gained control over every aspect of their lives. All in the name of peace and equality, of course. A word of dissent was equivalent to an act of terrorism and was dealt with swiftly, often sweeping loved ones into ruthless interrogations along the way. When people stopped protesting, the Prophet lauded a 'well deserved peace' settling on England with Potter's determined face on the front page.
"I see you have received your notification." Potter indicated the crumpled parchment balanced on the top of the rubbish bin.
Malfoy cursed not having Vanished the owl entirely. He kept his voice cool. "For all the good it did me. Perhaps you could share some useful information with me, Para."
Potter chuckled, a spontaneous sort of bark, and Malfoy blinked at the sincerity behind it.
"A woman named Agnes Blakely was murdered earlier this week." Potter glanced at his small notepad, whether because he needed to or for effect, Malfoy couldn't tell. "We found an empty vial of one of your Charms on her bedside table. We believe she was poisoned, but we are still conducting tests on the contents of the vial. I'm here to find out more about what she might have been using DACH products for and what role it might have played in this case."
"Is the Charm itself under suspicion?" A lawsuit could do irreparable damage, despite the unlikelihood of DACH being at fault.
"I don't know enough about what you do here to determine that."
Malfoy snorted. "So we'll be investigated thoroughly until you find a better lead."
"Your full cooperation in all Administration business is appreciated, of course." Potter voiced the words with a hint of sarcasm but there was a reality behind it all that Malfoy could not ignore. The best Malfoy could do was control the investigation to what limited extent Potter would allow. The more information he provided the better. At least he could present it in the ways chosen by him and not by the investigation.
Malfoy stood. "Perhaps we can start with a tour? It would be easier if we started with a demonstration."
Potter rose, tugging those heavy black robes taut. The silver bands on his shoulder shimmered with authority. "If you like, or one of your staff –"
"That won't be necessary." He led Potter from his office, down a hall and back into the large Atrium. Not strictly necessary, but a detour that displayed a little affluence could help level the playing field. Despite his pure-blood status, Malfoy was someone whose disappearance would not go without notice.
The fantasy customisations were fine-tuned in the Mural Room. It was immediately imposing: high ceilings and windowless walls, enchanted with fantasy scenarios. The second they stepped into the room, the door disappeared behind them. Several Charms specialists stood around the room, each facing a wall.
Potter surveyed the surroundings with a critical eye. Dozens of scenes played out around them, but his attention was drawn to the fantasy in which they were immersed. They were standing on a schooner in the high seas. The image was so real that Potter instinctively squinted against the wind.
Malfoy could feel the spray against his cheeks and smell the salt. Although neither were real, the Charm simulated the feel and scent. It was close, almost enough to make his stomach roll as it always did at sea. But the solid ground of the Mural Room floor ruined the illusion instantly and Malfoy took a step back. Potter followed.
Beside them, a specialist with a clipboard took notes on a blessing of unicorns frolicking on a lush green pasture. He stepped closer to the wall, and the unicorns leapt in unison over a felled tree. He scribbled his observations, nodding to himself.
Malfoy watched Potter intently. Years of giving tours had taught him that five minutes in the Mural Room told more secrets than a healthy dose of Veritaserum. There had long been rumours of Potter and his exploits. Sara made gossip look like a national sport, and more than once had supplied a story or two of Potter's hands caught down a man's trousers or up the robes of so-and-so's wife. As she would tell it, he had cuckolding down to a fine art.
Potter's eyes widened as he wandered about the room. He paused at the Turkish Bath and the two young men sitting in the steam. As Potter stepped closer, one boy traced a finger slowly up the other's arms. The boys shared a heated look. Potter frowned, stepped back from the image and the boys returned to ignoring each other.
Potter continued to move about the room, but his eyes returned to the bath scene time and again.
He stopped to inspect a representation of the Forbidden Forrest. The sunshine bright in his face, he breathed deeply. Malfoy joined him, capturing the soft autumn scents of damp earth and decay. A canopy of leaves parted and a hippogriff descended into the clearing, his huge wings disturbing the underbrush. Potter laughed in surprise until he caught himself. Schooling his features, he turned to Malfoy, "You sell…"
"Daydreams," Malfoy supplied.
"Not exactly original but lucrative enough, obviously." Potter tried to be flippant, but another peek at the Hippogriff made his face glow with pleasure.
Malfoy's heart pounded as he watched Potter soak in the wonders of his life's work. Potter's eyes flickered between several fantasies being played out as technicians tested variations on DACH scenarios, some already in use, others not yet available. Malfoy could see his mind working, figuring out the subtlety of the magic. It wouldn't be long before Potter would realise how such a product could be useful during interrogations. Invoking terror in the mind through a bottled reality had to be less messy than I&I's current methods of extracting confessions.
Malfoy'd been approached before, but the price tag he'd set for his magical illusions always managed to keep the Administration at arms' length. He had no plans to change that.
"As entertaining as this room is, it tests only one module of the end product," Malfoy explained. "The walls are enchanted with dozens of stock fantasies; our Charm work mimics a gentle Legilimens, skimming surface memories, emotions, and desires to feed them back into the visual stimuli." Potter's eyebrows rose a bit at the implication. Malfoy grinned. "Nothing too invasive, of course. When you looked into the Forbidden Forest, the memory of a hippogriff came to your mind. It was strong enough for the Charm to incorporate a hippogriff into the fantasy without any specific direction on your part.
"All perfectly legal, of course, Para. We've been through the Administration's standard approval processes. None of the memories or thoughts are 'stored' in any sense. No one is privy to why a fantasy will respond a certain way to a certain person. If a person is Occluding, the fantasy progresses without their input – but that defeats the purpose for most of our clients."
"They want individualised fantasies," Potter concluded.
"Who doesn't? We each have our own unique tastes – what soothes us, what pleases us, what turns us on. What more can anyone ask then to have a fantasy built directly from their mind, to satisfy that moment's desire?"
Malfoy waved his wand and a door knob appeared in the middle of a replication of the prefect's bath at Hogwarts. He walked through the door without looking back. "The base product originated from the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes Patented Daydream Charms, I'm sure you'll be amused to note. The first time I tried their product, I instantly saw its untapped potential. I purchased the rights from George Weasley not long after the war, for a significant sum. I'm sure he laughed all the way to Gringotts."
He stopped in the middle of the Couch Room and gave Potter a chance to look around. Six white leather couches lined the room, a small, round side table beside each. There was a small vial on the first side table labelled DAydream CHarm prototype A. "Well Para, are you ready to try the product?"
Potter nodded. Malfoy picked up the vial and performed a wand movement he'd done a thousand times before, activating the potion for use.
"Before we begin, you need to pick a word. Something that you wouldn't say in casual conversation. The fantasies don't sit well with everyone. Occasionally there is dizziness and nausea when your body confuses what is real and what is not. Your termination phrase will act as a Charm release, cancelling the potion's effect immediately. Use it anytime you feel uncomfortable."
If Potter was surprised by such measures, he didn't show it. He shrugged and said, "Dudley."
"Fine. Please focus on that word and swish and flick." Potter's wand emitted a shimmer of magic as he performed the movement, illuminating the vial for an instant. "Your magical signature and the word are now embedded into this particular daydream. Have a seat. While the potion is in effect, your body will be Petrified."
Potter frowned and opened his mouth to protest.
Malfoy cut him off. "It's for your safety. Your body might attempt to 'act out' what is happening in the daydream. You will be released the instant the DACH has ended."
Potter lay back on the couch. "And people do this for fun? Lay back and take a potion that Petrifies them?"
Malfoy clenched his jaw. "Judge for yourself if the DACH is worth the many Galleons people throw at me for it. Comfortable?" The leather creaked as Potter shifted around. He nodded and Malfoy offered him the vial. "Drink half, this is a shared Charm."
Malfoy watched Potter's throat as he swallowed before he settled onto the adjacent couch. He drank the potion and waited for the familiar tug of the dream. The next instant he lifted his hand to shield his eyes from the painfully bright sunshine. The fresh air and cool breeze did wonders for his nerves. He grinned at Potter, anxious to see his reactions to the DACH.
"What the–" Potter looked in each direction, blinking wildly as his eyes adjusted. Malfoy could see the well trained investigator scanning for seams, subtle nuances in the details to tell him that he was in an office building in rainy, downtown London and not on a massive Quidditch Pitch in the summer sun. He wouldn't find one. Not here.
Malfoy warmed at the flattery. "My first Daydream Charm. When I woke from it, I knew immediately this is what I wanted. Not a dream but a reality." Malfoy bent and ran his fingers through the damp blades of grass. They were soft and cool, tickling his palm. The wind picked up again, random as a Scottish June morning.
Potter plucked a stray daisy growing on the edge of the pitch. He twirled it in his hand a moment before crushing it. The daisy fell limp to the grass. "Neat."
Malfoy stared at the wilted flower and gritted his teeth. He pushed forward a thought and the daisy mended and re-planted itself.
"Very neat." Potter's lips quirked.
Malfoy held out a palm and visualised. A broom appeared in his hand, dream-like as if it had always been there and he hadn't noticed it until just then. He repeated the process and tossed a broom to Potter. "Para," he sneered.
Potter's eyes lit with mirth.
They kicked off into the air and Malfoy was grateful he'd chosen this daydream. He'd spent so much time here tweaking the fine points, ensuring just the right amount of cloud cover, the exact smell of freshly cut grass and the faint hint of the forest caught in the breeze. He focused on each minute detail. This was just another session in the DACH, another chance to show off his product. The stress of being drawn into a murder investigation dissipated. Agnes Blakely and how her death could impact DACH sales faded in his thoughts. The knots in his shoulders eased. This was flying or the closest thing to it anyone has ever experienced while lying Petrified on a couch.
Potter felt it too. The hardened interrogator mask slipped off his face, which changed into something … human.
A snitch popped into existence.
"Brilliant." Potter flew past him in a burst of speed. Malfoy grinned and swung his broom around. The game was on.
They swerved and bumped into each other time and again. Malfoy nearly fell more than once, his desk-lazy muscles protesting with each manoeuvre. Potter was far more fit than he had been at eighteen. It was an unfair advantage and Potter was almost at the snitch. As Potter's hand reached out to grab the golden blur, Malfoy stared up at the sky and focused. The once fluffy white clouds darkened, and with a loud crack, released a downpour onto the pitch.
It was sufficient distraction for Potter's hand to stutter and the snitch darted away from his reaching fingers – directly towards Malfoy.
It was petty and entirely meaningless, but when the snitch smacked into his palm and his fingers tightened around the wet metal, Malfoy very nearly whooped. It was all he could do to calm his triumph to a disinterested grin. He caught Potter's look of disbelief – wet hair plastered to his forehead, water droplets covering his glasses, mouth gaping. Malfoy directed his broom downward and eased his way to the grass.
As Malfoy landed, a vine grew up immediately entwining about his leg. He blinked in confusion and looked to Potter, who stared back, face unreadable.
Malfoy chuckled. "This is a fantasy, Potter. There is no cheating – there are no rules. In my daydream, if I want the skies to open up and distract you, so be it. And if you want the grass to wrap about my leg…" He looked down to indicate the vine that had tangled about him, ankle to knee.
Potter stared at it a moment, eyebrows furrowed. It had likely been unintentional. Everyone had thoughts that, when interpreted literally by the DACH, lead to unusual situations. Safety measures were always in place to avoid any serious injury. It was very liberating to have your thoughts materialise before you were even aware of your desires. The sensitivity of the Legilimens was generally considered more of a feature than a glitch. If it went wrong, it only took an instant to reverse once you recognised that it was your own thoughts creating the event.
Malfoy waited for Potter to 'unthink' the binding. His eyes widened as he felt another vine grab hold of his other leg. The tight squeeze pulled him to his knees. The rain poured down on them – neither he nor Potter had wished it away, yet. His shirt was soaked through and clinging to his flushed skin. He closed his eyes against the rush of heat flooding his body. His hands were forced behind his back, he could hear the creak of the plant growing and lengthening, twisting its way around his wrists. Potter didn't know, couldn't possibly know what this did to him. No one knew. Humiliation burned his cheeks. He tried to pull a hand free before it was entangled, but the vines were strong and fast and held him tight. A low moan escaped as he felt the grip squeeze his wrist, setting off the ache of a not yet healed bruise.
"Merlin's balls, Malfoy. You are quite a sight."
Malfoy opened his eyes. Potter stood over him, face dripping and hair wild in the rain and wind. He looked feral.
"And that's quite an imagination you have." Malfoy tried to sound relaxed but his voice shook. A vine crept around his neck, sending another rush of adrenaline through his veins. "It usually takes people a few tries to master exactly how to manipulate the DACH."
"Aren't you afraid I might kill you? You look –" Potter's eyes dropped to Malfoy's crotch. Malfoy bit his lip, mortified. "You look rather uncomfortable and not in an 'afraid for your life kind of way'."
He should stop this. Cancel the Charm before it went any further. And yet looking up at Potter's delighted smirk there was no way Malfoy could end the DACH without knowing, knowing what it was like to be so vulnerable in front of another person. In front of Potter. Alone, it never felt like this. A small vine dipped below his waistband and Malfoy gasped as it brushed against his aching cock. "Safety measures. I know I'm not in any real danger. Ah." He took a deep breath and tried to ignore the sensations of the smooth plant sliding further into his already crowded trousers. "Except for coming in my pants. ugh. And that I'm willing to concede as … ah … inevitable at the moment."
Potter sniggered but did not try to make any more contact than controlling the vine that slithered about Malfoy's balls. Potter watched intently, absorbing every detail of Malfoy's face like he'd never seen anything quite so fascinating before.
Another vine slipped down the back of Malfoy's trousers and he lowered his head to hide his reaction. He squirmed and wriggled trying to get closer, further away, trying to lose the tease and just … God, find that, Merlin, yes. That. A vine wreathed around his cock. It pulsed, too tight and too painful and tears sprung in his eyes. The vine around his neck pushed against his chin, forcing him to look up. Potter knelt in front of him, nose inches from his face and the vine about his cock squeezed again.
"Come." Potter's hot breath tickled his ear just as a vine breached his entrance.
With a strangled cry, he shuddered his release. His head fell heavily onto Potter's shoulder, the silver bands of Potter's I&I rank pressed against his damp forehead.
As soon as awareness returned to him, Malfoy issued the command to cancel the DACH. He opened his eyes and easily shook off the disorienting feeling of being laid out on a couch when a mere second ago he'd been kneeling. It would be worse for Potter. First time in the DACH and he'd been plucked out of it without warning. It was a worse feeling than an unexpected Portkey transport.
Malfoy got up and – cringing at the uncomfortable stickiness in his pants – he went over to check on Potter.
Potter, who had stood too quickly, was sitting back on the couch with his head in his hands. One hand slipped down to adjust his crotch and he looked up to meet Malfoy's eyes. As Potter rose, Malfoy stepped away. What ever they had shared in the DACH was not about to continue in this room.
Potter gave him a curt nod and checked over his clothes as if expecting to find them rain-soaked.
Malfoy grinned. That was what DACH was about. Believing.
"That was not how I remember WWW Daydream Charms." Just enough awe imbued Potter's voice that Malfoy struggled not to preen.
"We combined three magical concepts for the effect: Legilimency, the WWW Daydream which produces the static scenario, and finally, the pensieve, which transports the person into the memory. In this case, it gives the illusion of being transported into a fantasy scene. It allows for an experience far more detailed than a daydream. The smells and sensations and sounds that are reproduced are almost indistinguishable from reality."
Potter raised his head and stared for a long minute. "It's brilliant."
"Quite." Malfoy smirked.
Potter stood and paced the room for a moment. He seemed lost in thought. Malfoy presumed Potter was thinking about the case. He was just about to excuse himself to find a change of clothes when Potter turned to him. "That release term, or whatever you call it –"
"Yes, one of the many safety features preventing –"
"And you have one as well, right? You could have ended all that happened on that Quidditch Pitch. At any time?"
"Ah." Malfoy understood. Potter wasn't thinking of the murder case at the moment. "Yes, I have a termination phrase available to me at any point. What occurs in the DACH is always consensual." Unlike what you do for a living.
Potter stared at him for a moment before replying. "Good."
Malfoy squirmed, uncomfortable with Potter's searching gaze. The situation was getting increasingly complicated. Malfoy had no intention of feeling anything pleasant towards Potter, no matter how erotic the last few minutes had been. Suddenly, needing to be elsewhere, he conjured a parchment bird and sent it off to summon Sara.
"Each person who would like to use our more functional Charms is required to register with us. They provide a copy of their magical signature and we customise the DACH to recognise their magic and their release term."
"Sir?" Sara entered, looking back and forth between him and Potter. Her eager eyes told him she was dying for some gossip on how they were getting on.
"Sara, please take Para Investigator Potter to the registrar's office. Stay with him and ensure that Allan provides the Para with everything he needs." Sara raised her eyebrow at the last words.
Malfoy sighed. She knew what he meant. Besides, Allan didn't swing that way.
"Para –" he said, turning to Potter. "I have something to attend to. I'm sure you will find Sara very helpful."
Potter's eyes flickered to Malfoy's crotch just long enough to say, 'I know exactly what you are attending to', then held out his hand. They shook hands firmly and maybe a fraction longer than necessary. "Thank you, Malfoy. You did an excellent job of attending to my needs."
Sara failed to stifle her snort and hurried from the room. Potter, chuckling to himself, followed her out.
"Copies of all the registration files the Para removed from the building." Sara placed a stack of parchments in front of Malfoy and grabbed a seat opposite his desk. "As requested."
Malfoy had requested no such thing. But now that he had the copies under his nose, he questioned why he hadn't. Then again, he had been distracted. He studied the pile. Agnes Blakely, registered user: AB7349, and Thomas Blakely registered user: TB7377. Only two files, several parchments thick. Less than he'd expected. Potter could have emptied the file room and no one would have blinked an eye. "And I suppose you expect me to ignore it when you don't return from lunch on Friday."
"That would be convenient, yes." Sara's grin broadened but she stayed in her seat.
"I want to know what that delicious blush you were showing off earlier was all about."
"That is none of your business. And I do not blush."
Sara's rolled her eyes. It was a rare moment when Malfoy remembered her age – barely twenty-three – and the best admin assistant DACH Inc. had ever seen. In the five years that she had worked for him, she'd gained his trust implicitly. "I can work late and make notes of these files for you, if that would be helpful."
Malfoy raised an eyebrow. She must be really curious. The last time he had asked her to work in the evening it had cost him a rather large bouquet of flowers (which she had ordered for herself the next day on his account).
"And I can tell you what the Para said about you while we were searching through the files."
When Malfoy sniffed at her, she stood and tossed her hair over her shoulder. "Not that he said that much. If you aren't interested, I'll see you tomorrow."
Her hand was on the door handle when Malfoy finally broke. "You are an evil, nosy little witch, you know that?"
Sara beamed back at him.
"Well? Go order us some take-away and we can get through this stack."
"And don’t think I won't fire your arse if you breathe a word of this to the DACH gossip mill, you manipulative little shit."
Sara's laughter followed her out the door. Malfoy pondered when exactly he had lost control of his assistant.
"When he came in this morning it was like the entire office was covered in a layer of frost." Sara shivered melodramatically. "Except for my knickers, of course. They were a lost cause. Did you see those shoulders?"
"Right, well after you'd finished giving him his tour" – Sara's hands flew up to mimic quotation marks, but stopped when Malfoy cleared his throat. – "Well, anyway, after that he seemed much friendlier. So what's your deal with him?"
"We went to school together – as you well know, because I can't imagine that juicy bit of gossip passed you by."
"Yes, yes. But the details were pretty vague." Sara squirmed in her seat, and leaned forwards.
"Our relationship was turbulent, at best. We were on opposite sides of the war." Malfoy kept his eyes on his rice, moving it about the half empty plate.
"Like exchange of bodily fluids on a regular basis to relieve the tension kind of turbulent?"
Malfoy shook his head and stabbed a fork into his curry. "Not unless you count giving each other bloody noses."
Sara wrinkled her nose in disappointment. "And now?"
"Now, he's a Senior Para with I&I, investigating the murder of someone who used our products. He could lock me in a holding cell for a month without cause."
"Draco." Malfoy's eyes flew up to meet her gaze. She had never called him by his first name since he'd hired her. "Be careful with him. You know as well as I do that he's changed. When you knew him, he was young and desperate and righteous. The Administration took that kid and moulded him into their prize interrogator. You don't get a job like that by looking pretty."
She sat back and worried her thumbnail to the quick.
Malfoy scrapped the logo off his plastic plate with his fork. There was no explanation for what Potter had become, but it didn't stop Malfoy from being curious. Especially after seeing a glimpse of the old Potter on the Quidditch Pitch, the lively, passionate eyes that just didn't fit with the hardened image of Para Investigators. When the logo was nothing but glittery bits messing his desk, he broke the awkward silence. "It can't hurt though, right? The Prophet doesn't seem to mind putting his pretty face on their cover."
Sara brightened, and released her abused thumb, looking grateful for the easy change of topic. "Oh, he is certainly pretty enough." She pushed her plate away, likely prepping for the exaggerated hand movement she used when telling a great story. "But I knew you left me alone with him for a reason this afternoon. He'd want to talk to your staff so you chose me –you've given me worse ways to spend an afternoon, though. That sweet arse when he was bent over those files–"
"Sorry. Anyway, he knew it, too. So he didn't waste any time on chit-chat. He was all 'how long have you worked for Malfoy?' And Merlin, the way he says Malfoy just makes me – right, get on with it – and then he says 'Does Malfoy give all the tours?' He sounded unimpressed when I said 'usually' – shut up, you do, you control freak."
"What do you mean unimpressed?"
"Like, I don't know… jealous. Like you shouldn't be giving everyone that tour. Just how thorough was this tour? You both looked like you could use a cold shower when I –"
Malfoy didn't fidget or blush or even break eye contact, nonetheless Sara's eyes widened. He cursed to himself. There would be no end to Sara's teasing looks.
"Holy shit. You didn’t! I was kidding! But you seriously did, didn't you?"
"Sara. Enough. Nothing happened. Mostly." He gave her a sly smile, because she'd never believe him anyway. Fighting the blush that was threatening to bloom, Malfoy distracted her. "So besides being 'unimpressed' at my providing tours of my own company, was there anything substantial that he said."
"Just the usual – was I happy? Are you a good boss? Was there any history of trouble with the products? He was pretty charming about it all – more flies with honey and all that. No wonder he's the best I&I has to offer. You don't see the bear until you are already sticky."
"That was terrible."
Sara laughed, rich and throaty. "I thought you'd like the sticky bit."
Malfoy lost his battle and felt his cheeks redden.
"Enough from you or I will schedule a mandatory employee meeting for Friday at three o'clock." She looked suitably horrified and Malfoy Vanished the remains of their take-away. "If you are finished gossiping–"
"You love it."
"If you are finished, let's find out what this dead woman liked to use to get her rocks off."
He and Sara had spent a few hours searching the files, but they didn't reveal much. The couple had owl-ordered several doses of one particular DACH fantasy. Potter's next course of action was pretty obvious. The next morning, Malfoy had the Couch Room and Agnes Blakely's fantasy prepared for Potter's inevitable return.
Sara announced Potter's arrival, and Malfoy smoothed his face into a neutral mask. A good night's sleep and his conversation with Sara had reminded him just how dangerous a game he'd played with Potter the day before. Changing the weather to manipulate the Quidditch game had been imprudent. He'd been lost in the moment, facing off with the Potter he once knew. He'd forgotten just what working at I&I meant. He'd forgotten that his own father had disappeared into the imposing white building that had replaced the Ministry. That had been before Potter's time, of course, but Potter was one of them. Malfoy would be a fool to lose sight of that again.
He fought to keep his resolve as Potter strode into the Couch Room with a disarming smile and a pleased glint in his eye. He looked around and spotted the vial on the side table. "Anticipating my needs?"
Malfoy cursed the rush of heat stirring in his gut. "Shall we?"
Potter smirked and nodded. "Don't I need to–" He pointed his wand towards the vial.
"I extracted your signature and the release term from the remnants of yesterday's dose."
"How very thorough of you," Potter said with a wink.
Malfoy cleared his throat to hide his pleased grin and the compliment. "Indeed. May we begin?"
Potter nodded, swallowed half the vial, and lay back on the couch. Malfoy did the same.
The air smelled of the sea. As Malfoy opened his eyes, the floor beneath his feet tilted and both he and Potter whipped their hands out to steady themselves at the unexpected motion. With a gentle creak and splash the floor rocked back and forth. The setting of Bodice Ripper 39-b appeared to be a Captain's cabin in the hull of a turn of the century vessel.
Malfoy looked around and appraised the details of this particular DACH. There had been a time when every fantasy was screened by him personally before it went onto the market. Now, his time was spent on paperwork and board meetings rather than tweaking smells and textures. The room was small, as one would expect from a ship of the time. The relative luxury of a Captain afforded a small, high bed of dark-stained wood, scratched, worn and nailed to the floor. A fine wool coverlet spoke of practicality and durability in the damp, chilly cabin. He planned to look up who had worked on this fantasy. These were the kind of details that brought their high-paying clientele coming back.
"What are we wearing?" Potter fiddled with his cloak. It was a heavy over-coat, hung open and flipped over one shoulder to reveal a fetching red uniform underneath. Two rows of gold buttons adorned the breast. He wore white breeches to the knee and high black boots.
Malfoy looked down at himself. He wore a dark navy jacket with gold adorned lapels, and tassels on the shoulders. He reached up to pluck a bicorn hat off his head. "Some DACH fantasies have the capability to choose costumes based on self-image. In the case: you as a infantry officer, and me as a ship's captain."
"That is quite a hat," Potter teased, with a devilish smirk.
"We can change it, of course." Malfoy tossed the bicorn onto the bed and he couldn't help adding, "You're familiar with how that works."
Potter's eyes turned predatory and the room suddenly seemed to sizzle with energy. The man was overwhelming. It was like staring at a beast about to devour you but feeling no fear.
Malfoy swallowed hard. In the blink of a moment, his shoulders were bare, the cool damp air of the room raising goose bumps on his skin. He looked down and his mouth gaped. A lace corset encased his ribs, impeding his breathing and pushing his pectoral muscles up into a mock cleavage. His trousers had been replaced by a simple cotton petticoat.
"Potter! What the –" Potter was on him before he could continue.
"Are you going to use your word, Malfoy?" Potter breathed into his ear. His leg pressed between Malfoy's, bunching up the petticoat and sending shivers through Malfoy's body. "I couldn't stop thinking about you last night. How fucking hot you looked on the Quidditch Pitch, kneeling in the rain – wanton as a whore, practically begging me to get you off. Didn't know you had it in you, Malfoy."
Potter's leg pressed against his balls and Malfoy groaned at the spike of pleasure. No one had ever talked to him like this, touched him like this. He had never permitted anyone such control. He mind was reeling at the thought that he was allowing Potter of all people to treat him this way.
His thoughts became moot whispers of protest that he was never going to listen to. Potter was strong; the fingers on his biceps were gripping tight enough to bruise. Malfoy leaned into the touch and thrust his hips against Potter's thigh.
Potter flipped him face down onto the small bed. The wool cover smelt of the sea. "Fuck, yes," Potter moaned as Malfoy struggled. Potter had his wrist, twisting it up his back until he gasped in pain. "You aren't going to stop the Charm are you? Fuck, all polished and pretty at work, ordering everyone about and underneath, you just want this, don't you? Just want someone to steal your control. Isn't that right, Malfoy?"
Potter tugged his arm further back and pain sliced through Malfoy's shoulder. "Yes," he hissed, the wool scratching his lips as he spoke. Tears welled in his eyes from the pain and humiliation. His head spun like he'd been suspended for hours. No sexual experience with a partner had ever equalled what he could achieve in the privacy of his bedroom, alone with the tight clasps about his wrists. But this thing with Potter – what ever it was – brought him there, where he needed to be.
Potter released his hand and the fire tearing through Malfoy's shoulder eased. As he tried to shift to ease the ache of his trapped cock, Potter's hands were on him again, pressing his shoulders into the mattress.
"Don't move, or I'll snap your fucking neck."
Malfoy stilled instantly and stifled a groan. He was held tight against the bed. He didn't doubt for an instant that any Para Investigator could, would and had snapped a man's neck with his bare hands.
He felt the petticoat being lifted and bunched around his waist. Behind him, buttons clanked as they hit the floor. Malfoy peeked over his shoulder, looking out of the corner of his eye. A sharp slap on his bare bottom served as a warning. He did not try to look again, just focused on the delicious heat left by the palm print. A second later and another one hit the other side. Merlin, he wondered if he could come from just this. And how humiliating would that be?
Instead of another slap, lubrication – cool and slick – covered his cleft, bollocks to tail bone. He waited for the blunt tip at his entrance and the burning ache of being taken unprepared. Instead, a warm, heavy heat settled into the cleft. His cheeks were pressed together, the sweaty hands stung the skin, raw from the slaps.
"Hmm. Yeah," Potter moaned, and started a slow rock of his hips. He kept his hands tight on Malfoy's arse cheeks trapping his cock between them.
It was oddly intimate, this fuck that wasn't a fuck. Frotting against his arse but not dipping into it. Malfoy twisted at the tease, trying to tilt his hips and get something… something more than this restrained pace. Potter slapped his arse hard enough to leave a lasting mark and continued to gasp with each roll of his hips.
It was degrading, lying there and being used for another man's pleasure. He felt sweat trickle down his back, making the lace of his corset scratch. He squeezed his eyes shut and focused on not coming. Not from this.
Finally, Potter shuddered and stilled. A hot splash hit Malfoy's lower back where the petticoat didn't quite meet the corset. He whimpered in frustration as Potter collapsed on top of him.
A second whimper-whine and Potter rose, grabbed Malfoy's right shoulder and flipped him over. In one sharp movement, Potter sank to the floor and swallowed his cock. All it took was the feel of the back of Potter's throat and a few gentle sucks and Malfoy's orgasm ripped out of him.
They lay on the bed silent: Potter with his fingers entwined behind his head, staring out the curve of the stern window, Malfoy with his forearm draped over his eyes.
Potter broke the silence. "Is there any way of knowing what Agnes and her husband got up to in here? Any records of that?"
Malfoy shook his head. "The DACH experience occurs only in the minds of the people that share it. The husband's memory is the only place that exists now."
Potter got up from the bed and started to dress. "Fuck. And I bet he'll not hand those over if I ask. And it takes a Level Five waiver to extract memories without consent. Fuck. I have barely enough on him to get a Level Three. How can I interrogate a murder with my hands tied behind my back?"
A chill slithered down Malfoy's spine. He understood enough about what those waivers meant: licences to torture, maim or kill, if necessary. And Potter talked about it like it was just another job. As if real people – Malfoy's friends, Malfoy's father – hadn't been just another suspect with a 'waiver' attached. It was suddenly claustrophobic lying on this bed, come drying on his back, his arse slick with lube while Potter ranted about the unfairness of the limitations of his job. Malfoy mentally triggered his termination phrase.
He blinked as his eyes adjusted to the bright lights. He was off the couch before Potter had even realised what had happened.
"So we're finished in there, then?" A muscle in Potter's jaw twitched as he clenched his teeth.
Malfoy didn't care that the shadow across Potter's eyes expressed an equal mix of hurt and annoyance. He needed to do this. "Feel free to return to the Charm should you need it for your investigation. All of my staff have been informed that they are to cooperate with you to the fullest. Good day." Yes, he was running away.
The door shut with a loud click, blocking any response that Potter might have given. It was the most clear-headed Malfoy had felt in the last forty-eight hours.
Malfoy spent the next three days in a foul mood. Sara had left hours ago, claiming a headache. Perhaps he shouldn’t have called her a useless cunt when she'd spilled coffee on his carpet. It hadn't taken more effort that a quick Scourgify to remove it. Still, her jittery-rabbit routine was getting on his nerves. Potter hadn't returned to DACH Inc. since Malfoy had left him in the Couch Room. As far as Malfoy knew, he hadn't interviewed any of the staff or entered any of the DACH fantasies. There was no direct link between the murder and the DACH fantasy. Potter had all the information that Malfoy could provide. Potter would finish his investigation and that would be the last he'd hear from Harry Potter. It was for the best.
Every time a sinking feeling started in Malfoy's stomach, he reminded himself what Potter was. Potter talked about being unable to rip people's memories from their heads in the same way Malfoy spoke about late shipments. Potter was simply too dangerous. And that little voice that offered 'and that's what you find irresistible' was quickly beaten into submission.
None of this explained why Malfoy's desk was littered with the copies of Agnes Blakely's files at the moment. Budgets were due in a week and still he continued to think of nothing but the investigation, fetching his own coffee and cursing Sara for being so sensitive.
It was past ten that evening when he saw it. He stared as if it had appeared out of nowhere, for surely they should have discovered this already. At the top of one form the registration numbers were inverted. They ran: registered user: AB7349 / registered user: TB7377 on every page. Then, on the last form: registered user: AB7349 / registered user: TB7737.
"Sara, can you – Fuck." Malfoy went to the registrar's office himself.
Ten minutes later, he sent an owl and several copies off to I&I, attention: Senior Para H. Potter.
Potter Cracks Another Case
Senior Para Investigator Potter gave no comment as he pushed through the throng of reporters in the early morning shadow cast by the I&I building…
An owl dropped a post directly on top of the Daily Prophet before Malfoy could read any further.
I'd like to thank you properly.
Une Autre Fois, 8pm
He set the parchment on the corner of his desk. He'd owl his decline later. His budget was still sadly neglected and he had a meeting with his financial backers that afternoon. By the time he left for his afternoon meeting, he'd read and re-read the owl enough to have it memorised. Annoyed, he Vanished it. When he closed his eyes he could still see the exact curve of the P and the splotch of ink to its right.
At six, he was showering with his mind wandering to his wardrobe and which of his dress robes were pressed and ready. Without thinking about it, he removed the bits of clutter from the living room and put out his guest towels. Just because.
At 8:10, he picked up his quill to owl off his regrets. He put it down in a silent moment of honesty with himself and grabbed the Floo Powder.
He was late, of course. In front of Potter sat two glasses, empty but for melting ice and lime wedges. But he hadn't left. And his I&I robes were not in sight. Blue dress robes suited him nicely.
His eyes brightened when he spotted Malfoy crossing the restaurant, not even attempting to hide his pleasure or his surprise. Malfoy's cheeks heated as Potter trailed him head to toe. He still didn't know if he could do this, but with Potter's gaze devouring him, it was hard to remember why this was a terrible idea.
A waiter appeared the instant Malfoy sat, delaying the awkward first words. They ordered wine and appetizers while they looked through the menu.
"Thank you for coming."
Looking around, Malfoy nodded. "Very nice choice."
"I asked your inestimable assistant," Potter said with a chuckle.
"The inestimable Sara should learn to mind her own business."
Potter gulped his wine. "Don't be too hard on her. It took me a good twenty minutes of persuading to get nothing more than a restaurant name."
And Malfoy knew only too well how persuasive Potter could be.
When Malfoy just smiled, Potter went on, "I did need to thank you. Your owl was the key, you know. The file you sent, Trina Blakely, was Thomas's sister. TB7737. The nearly identical registration numbers slipped our notice. When I questioned Trina about using the DACH fantasies, she admitted to having an affair with her brother's wife – the women had been lovers for years. Another interview with Thomas with this new information and we managed to get the confession. He'd discovered his wife had been using a DACH without him and assumed she was having an affair. He snapped and drugged her next dose of the DACH potion. She must have died only minutes after Trina had left her… but you really don't want to hear the details."
"Thank you, no. I'd rather not know, Para."
Potter scowled. "You know who I am and what I do. I'm not asking you to like it. It's my job. But my job doesn’t need to be here." He motioned between them. "If you want what I can give you – and I think you do – then take it. My job will stay out of this."
Malfoy sipped his wine. Potter offered him something no one else had ever been able to. He imagined the solitude he had so often sought out for his particular needs, and now found it empty. Yet, Potter's job made him someone he would never want a relationship with. But this wasn't a relationship. This was fucking. Could he fuck a man that tortured people for a living? He picked up his menu, and after a moment said, "The veal looks good." The truth was, he didn't know.
Potter blinked, but quickly followed suit. "I think I'll go with the tenderloin."
The conversation did not stay stilted for long. Potter wisely chose DACH Inc.'s success as a topic and the evening progressed quickly. Soon Potter was signing the cheque.
"Do you want to- ?" Potter began, but Malfoy didn't give him a chance.
"I am going home." He watched Potter's jaw snap shut, then added, "You may join me if you like."
Potter's smile took his breath away.
Malfoy knew the instant Potter recognised the Concealment Spell in the corner of his bedroom. Potter's frame stiffened and his face hardened in a way that made the title 'Para Investigator' hang on Malfoy's lips.
Potter turned to him, his eyes less cold than Malfoy expected. "What is it?"
A tingle of gratitude warmed Malfoy's chest. Potter was well within his rights – in fact his duty as a Para demanded it – to dissolve any illegal Charms immediately. The simple act of allowing Malfoy to perform the counter-spell himself was appreciated. He flicked his wand at the far corner of his bedroom and blood rushed to his cheeks and his cock.
Potter stepped forward as the cabinet came into view. Malfoy watched his face intently. There was a tiny flicker in his eyes that implied recognition and behind that, concern.
"I purchased this one from Borgin and Burkes about a year after the war. Its twin was destroyed in the Fiendfrye, as you well know." Before Potter asked, Malfoy saved him the trouble. "I removed all the original Charm work. It's simply a cabinet."
Potter raised an eyebrow. The cabinet hummed with magic, still.
"A very special cabinet." Malfoy opened the heavy wood doors. The metal of the handles was cool and smooth in his hands, and the tall doors swung in their hinges without a sound. He stood back and let Potter draw his own conclusions. The manacles were a heavy black wrought-iron and the padded red lining of the interior was well worn. This was not a display piece. The height of the cabinet was sufficient so that his feet barely touched the floor when the chains were pulled taut.
Potter fingered the manacles, tracing a finger along the smooth velvet of the inside and the cool slide of the metal outside. His eyes darted to Malfoy's wrist.
Malfoy didn't follow the gaze. He knew there was a line of pale yellow circling his wrist. The bruises took so long to fade on his white skin.
Potter reached for the wrist and traced the bruise. When he spoke his voice was sharp. "Who do you do this with?"
"No one. I … the cuffs are charmed to release on a timer."
Potter's eyes flickered to the manacles. "Show me."
Malfoy paused for a heart-beat. Or six. He pulled at the fastenings of his robes and Potter gave a barely perceptible nod. Each article was removed and folded carefully while Potter watched silent and patient. Goose bumps covered Malfoy's skin despite the heated flush that crept up his neck and cheeks. He moved around Potter and stepped inside the cabinet, turned and lifted his arms. There was a familiar tingle of magic that raised the hair on his arms as the manacles lowered. He slid his wrists into place and let out a shuddered sigh as the soft velvet tightened around him, holding him, trapping him, stealing away his control.
The magic tingled as the lock clicked into place. The familiar tug sent a shot of arousal to his groin as the chain shortened and pulled his wrists. His arm muscles ached, taking on the weight of his body. He bent his head and had to close his eyes against the sight of his cock, thick and bold, desperate for this.
Malfoy grunted at the sharp jab of pain as his muscles adjusted to support his weight. He didn't open his eyes until his feet were dangling. He heard the ragged breathing behind him, but Potter didn't say a word. For the first time Malfoy wished for a mirror at the back of the cabinet. But before it had always been about the cabinet, about staring at the grain of wood that had allowed the invasion of Hogwarts.
Malfoy's cheeks burned. He'd done this a hundred times over the years, found what he needed in the hour of lonely surrender. He'd never yet felt so exposed, so vulnerable. He groaned as he felt a drip of precome hit his shin.
"No one has seen you like this?" Potter stepped closer, close enough for Malfoy to feel hot breath on the back of his neck and the tickle of Potter's shirt as it grazed Malfoy's sweat slicked back.
Malfoy raised his head, staring at the one particular spot in the wood grain that looked like an eye. He'd stared at the eye, lost in its depths session after session. It was nearly on his tongue to tell to Potter the truth, that he'd hung here and cried himself to exhaustion, that the ache in his shoulders and back, the ring around his wrists hidden under Glamours was all that let him look in the mirror some days. That he'd never imagined sharing this with anyone. It was a lonely kind of solace. But Potter could guess at all that if he liked, or not. All Malfoy said was, "Until now."
In a blink, Potter moved back and Malfoy's eyes flew open, wondering if he'd read him wrong, and Potter was going to walk out and leave him suspended until the timer ran out. But Potter didn't head for the door. He stopped just a few feet back.
Malfoy heard a rustle of clothes and peeked over his shoulder to see Potter's navy dress robe tossed onto the bed.
Potter glanced up and caught him looking. With a smirk he undid his belt and slowly slipped it from the loops of his trousers, then wound it about his hand.
Malfoy's throat went dry.
"Pick a word."
"Plastic duck," Malfoy replied without missing a beat.
Potter raised an eyebrow but didn't request any explanation. That could wait until morning.
The first smack that hit his arse made his eyes water. The second was worse. He'd felt pain far worse than this, of course. But this was both mortifying and intensely erotic. He was bound and naked and allowing it all to happen. It occurred to him then – and strangely only then – that this was entirely different from the encounters with Potter in the DACH. Relinquishing control in a DACH fantasy was an illusion. A single thought from him and he was back on the couch. Here, he had to trust that Potter would honour his safeword if he chose to use it.
By the time Potter counted out "thirteen," Malfoy started to feel distanced from what was happening, A drifting away that made the pain bearable and muted all his thoughts. The regret, the stress, the ambition, the fear and insecurities all faded into the simple rhythmic smack and sharp sting. It was far more effective than suspension alone. He had hung until his wrists burned and his chest ached but it had never been like this. This was floating. His sense of time and space was reduced to Potter's voice. "Fifteen."
The lashing had stopped. Malfoy blinked back his remaining tears and tried to gather his thoughts. Potter stood close behind him; he could hear the ragged breath out of sync with his own. The back of his neck prickled as he felt Potter staring. His arse and thighs had to be bright and ruddy, marred with long slashes, which soon would turn into bruises, and a gash or two where the belt broke the skin. Malfoy released a jagged sigh.
Potter moved up behind him, so that the rough twill of his trousers pressed against Malfoy's raw arse. Potter breathed into his ear, "You know what I did yesterday, Malfoy?"
Not trusting his voice, Malfoy just looked over his shoulder.
Potter placed a hand on each of Malfoy's hips and pulled him back, rubbing his erection against Malfoy's arse, irritating the tender skin. Malfoy gasped at the sting.
"I let some kid suck my cock in the I&I file room. He couldn't have been more than nineteen, his second day in the mailroom or something. I wasn't really listening. A pretty little blond thing, though. With a mouth like a pro – does it bother you to hear about it, I wonder?" Potter stood on his toes and peeked over Malfoy's shoulder to glimpse his dick. "Not much, I guess."
Malfoy bit his cheek until he tasted blood and said nothing. His cheeks and ears heated with humiliation.
"Anyway, eager little thing. On his knees before I could even ward the door. He was at it about ten minutes and his jaw had to be aching. Funny thing, but he wasn't cutting it." Potter's fingers pressed into Malfoy's hips. "He just wasn’t what I was looking for. Young and innocent and brainless. He'd learned about the war from books and the bloody Prophet. So I stopped looking at him and instead pictured that he had a snotty smirk and clever grey eyes. I added hands behind his back with I&I cuffs and was finally able to spill my load down his throat. And you know what he said after he spit his mouthful into the rubbish bin? 'Who the fuck is Malfoy?' That's what he said." Potter chuckled and bit Malfoy's shoulder.
Malfoy gasped for breath, trying to calm his body, and focused on the sharp sting of the bite. His mind couldn't absorb Potter's ramblings. Later he'd think back on it and try to decipher it all. But Potter was sinking to the floor behind him and everything else was chased from his thoughts.
"Who the fuck is Malfoy? I've been trying to figure that one out for three days." Potter's fingers traced feather-light designs on Malfoy's arse. "It's different, you know. The DACH is excellent, brilliant – you know that already – but it's different." Potter pressed his nose in and nuzzled Malfoy's cleft. "Nothing compares to this. Your smell, the way you look, the way you taste."
He spread Malfoy's cheeks. Malfoy waited, holding his breath, knowing what was coming next. And there, hot and wet at his entrance, was Harry Potter's tongue. He keened and pressed back but his shoulders protested at the movement. "Please."
Potter hummed in approval and pressed in further, sucking and licking and worshiping the tight ring of muscle until it relaxed and let him through.
"Please." Malfoy whimpered and, "More." And yet not like this kept running through his head. It was all too much and he wanted it to last. Potter took his time, fucking him with his tongue, making the most depraved sounds. Malfoy was sure he was going to come, untouched.
Potter stood and stripped; Malfoy didn't know if he should cry from disappointment or relief.
Potter pressed his naked body against Malfoy's back. They fit together impossibly well. "Say it."
Malfoy blinked and thought for a moment before saying, "Fuck me."
"Say it," Potter said again, pleased.
Malfoy wasn't entirely sure if this was what Potter wanted to hear, but he repeated with a bit more desperation, "Fuck me."
Potter slipped a finger into Malfoy's spit slick hole. "Tell me."
"I –" The finger was joined by another, and words became impossible. He squirmed, impatient. "Please. I need – Please."
Potter removed the fingers and lined up. Finally, finally the blunt tip of Potter's cock, slick and heavy, pressed against his entrance. It didn't push in.
"Tell me." Potter's voice was rough, barely recognisable. "Tell me what you need."
"Please, fuck." Malfoy tried to push back but the chains stopped him. "I need, I need you."
Potter growled, and pushed in, in one long glorious stroke.
They were both too on edge to draw this part out. A dozen bruising thrusts and Potter reached around and wrapped his fingers around Malfoy's cock. Malfoy sobbed in relief. It was too much and he was too close.
Potter ground into him, fierce and desperate. "Mine," Potter breathed into his ear, almost inaudible. Then Potter's teeth sank into his shoulder.
Malfoy's head snapped back with a cry, and he spilled onto Potter's fist.
Potter's rhythm broke then and an instant later, Potter came with a grunt that might have been "Malfoy."
The strain of supporting his own weight and part of Potter's tore through the afterglow and Malfoy let an incoherent protest slip past his lips. Potter jolted into action, releasing his hold and waving a hand at the manacles. They clicked open and Malfoy stumbled free.
Potter cradled him about the waist and whispered, "Are you – can you walk?"
Malfoy tried to stand but exhaustion stole his balance. His foot misjudged the floor as he tried to step out of the cabinet, and he tumbled further onto Potter. Without comment, Potter slipped a shoulder beneath Malfoy's arm and manoeuvred him the few feet to the bed. Malfoy concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other, but his legs felt leaden.
With one hand, Potter pulled back the covers and guided Malfoy onto the bed.
Malfoy hissed as his arse grazed the crisp sheets. He looked up and caught Potter frowning.
"I can heal you," Potter offered, but his tone said he knew the answer already.
"I have salve in my bedside table. That will be fine." Malfoy usually lay on the floor for a while after a session, fumbling with the salve after a few hours, when he finally remembered.
Potter found the jar and knelt beside the bed. He began with the wrists. The ointment would numb the pain, but the skin was broken in places and the bruising already beginning to show. It would take nearly a week to heal completely.
"I use Glamours," he explained, though Potter hadn't asked.
Potter nodded and dipped a finger into the salve, spreading it over the angry red circles around his wrist. When he was finished, Potter raised the hand to his lips and kissed each finger.
Malfoy stilled. It felt… nice. Comfortable. He shut his eyes and breathed deeply. He drifted in and out of sleep as Potter continued, strong hands and soft lips, soothing the sting. He woke briefly when Potter flipped him over, placing kisses down his spine. He fell asleep again to the gentle massage of the salve rubbed onto his arse and thighs.
It was sunrise when he woke, with an arm draped heavily across his back, and fingers curled around his shoulder. Potter had stayed. Malfoy didn't know why that surprised him, but it did. The night before somehow felt too intimate for a morning after, like the idea of sharing pancakes together now should be claustrophobic. He waited for the panic to begin, the moment of shame at what he had revealed about himself, and whom he had revealed it to. It didn't come.
It would. If not this morning while the coffee brewed and an uncomfortable silence settled on the kitchen then it would come along the way. There was no way this could be a relationship.
It could, however, be a fantastic occasional fuck.
With a smile, he shifted closer to Potter and drifted off again.