Six days after the Battle of Hogwarts, Kingsley declares it “our victory over the dark forces that would divide us.”
Harry is only half-listening, but he catches that bit.
* * *
Fifteen days after the Battle of Hogwarts, Molly makes Sunday Roast at the Burrow. Her voice still trembles and her knuckles are white around the top of Fred’s empty chair, but she tells them all to “tuck in, for goodness sake. Need a good hearty meal after all we’ve been through.”
Harry doesn’t take a second helping; he can’t stand them knowing he’s still hungry, so hungry, when everyone looks like they’re chewing straw.
* * *
Twenty-two days after the Battle of Hogwarts, Hermione sits them down for a talk about “our future” and “what we’ll be doing next year.” She has pamphlets from the Ministry and a letter from McGonagall.
Harry takes a brochure and ignores her reproachful sigh when she catches him tearing the edge into strips.
* * *
Twenty-seven days after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry goes to the Ministry. He has a meeting with Kingsley but he doesn’t make it through the Atrium. There are a hundred people calling his name, crowding around him so thickly he can’t take a step. They all say the same things: “our hero,” “we love you,” “we need you.”
All he can feel are fingers wrapped around his arms, his wrists, his shoulders, like so many Inferi pulling at him, until he slips under icy cold waters.
* * *
It’s not that he’s a bad person. He’s not. He knows he’s not. He, Harry James Potter, is a good person. The kind of person who will walk to his certain death for the people he loves. The kind of person who chews with his mouth closed, and says “please” and “thank you,” and agrees to let the Prophet interview him, and donates money to St Mungo’s and Hogwarts in his own name to be a good role model, and donates thrice as much anonymously, and lets Molly hug him for as long as she wants every time he comes and goes.
It’s just that he’s so hungry. It’s just that he’s so cold.
It’s just, he thinks sometimes, that he wants something that doesn’t belong to “us” or “we.” Wants something that’s his own.
* * *
Twenty-eight days after the Battle of Hogwarts Harry pulls his invisibility cloak over his shoulders and steps through his front door. Someone’s sold him out – his money’s on Mundungus – and there are reporters camped out all up and down the street. He gives them the slip.
He just wants to walk somewhere without anyone grabbing at him. Wants to take long strides and breathe air that doesn’t smell like 12 Grimmauld Place. He walks towards the Thames – just for somewhere to walk – but there are more and more people the closer he gets and when he bumps into two confused Muggles at once he ducks into an alley, hiding himself behind a skip to stuff his cloak into the Mokeskin pouch he still wears.
He has to make decisions. Even when he wants to walk to nowhere in particular, people want something from him, just by dint of their existence. He can’t do it. Just can’t. Should’ve walked east instead of south, gone to the sea and walked into the waves and stayed there, just stayed there, even if with his luck he’ll walk right into a merman hoping for an autograph. Perhaps it’s not too late to try.
Except when he steps around the skip, the street beyond the alley is dauntingly bright and someone else has had the same idea, is leaning against the wall, lanky and pale and staring straight ahead.
Harry takes a step closer. He doesn’t get any further before his alleyway companion turns to look at him.
“You too, Potter?”
He takes a step back, his heart pounding. Of all the possibilities, to be found… to be found is among the worst.
“Reduced to hiding in alleyways? Hiding from the wizards among the Muggles, and the Muggles among the rubbish?”
“Who–?” Harry squints. It’s too dark to see much. Ghostly white skin and a shock of blond hair, but it’s the sneer that makes him certain. “Malfoy.”
“In the flesh.” He spreads his hands. Drops them.
“What are you doing out?”
“Trials don’t start till July. No room in Azkaban for the ‘low-level’ threats. Can’t enforce house arrest without a conviction.” He smirks. “What else is there?”
“They sent you–” Harry surveys his outfit. “–clubbing?”
Malfoy’s laugh is low, sarcastic. “Hardly. They just can’t stop me.” He takes a step closer. “And what else is there, really? When your life might be over at seventeen.” Another step. “Don’t you ever think about it?” He’s within arm’s reach now. “Don’t you ever wonder what it would be like? To just feel good? Or does the hero still have too much left to lose for all that hedonistic nonsense?”
“No,” Harry croaks.
“No? Too virtuous to let the thought cross your mind?”
“No,” Harry repeats.
“The other, then? Nothing left to lose?”
Harry nods once, avoiding Malfoy’s eyes.
Malfoy snorts. “Find that hard to believe. But then,” he reaches out to run two fingers down the outside of Harry’s arm, “who am I to argue with the Boy Who Lived?”
Harry’s frozen to the spot. Not that he’s been asked for a response, really; he’s fairly sure it’s rhetorical. Which is for the best; he doesn’t have an answer.
“Where are you going tonight, then?”
Harry shrugs. “Nowhere.”
Malfoy looks him up and down and Harry tries not to squirm in his damp trainers, his baggy jeans. No one was supposed to see him, after all. But Malfoy – Malfoy is clearly looking. “I bet you don’t even know how to feel good, do you? So noble. So self-sacrificing.”
He scrambles for a retort, but Harry finds he can’t really disagree.
Malfoy comes to a stop inches from Harry’s face. “That? The heroic aversion to pleasure? Never really been a problem for me.”
Harry risks a look at Malfoy. His eyes are lined with black, his lips are plump and glistening. His skin radiates heat.
“This nowhere you’re going. Why don’t you take me with you?”
* * *
It’s so late that it’s technically the twenty-ninth day after the Battle of Hogwarts when Harry breaks his own Fidelius to let Draco Malfoy into 12 Grimmauld.
He is expecting rude remarks. He doesn’t get them. Instead, Malfoy pushes him against the nearest wall, almost sends the back of Harry’s skull into the bottom of a mounted elf-head plaque, and growls, “Bedroom?”
“Upstairs.” Harry points at the staircase behind him.
Malfoy doesn’t wait for an invitation, just gives Harry a look and walks.
It’s when his shirt drops over the railing and lands at Harry’s feet that Harry finds himself moved to follow.
He takes the stairs slowly, half afraid of what he’ll find. Doors are being thrown open and slamming shut again, footsteps pacing across the landing.
By the time Harry gets to the top, Malfoy’s settled on a doorway. He’s down to his trousers, the top button undone, waiting in the doorway with a hip cocked to one side and his arms folded.
It’s odd, to have Malfoy step aside as if to invite him into his own bedroom.
He still goes, though.
Malfoy turns in behind him, blocking the light from the hallway. “Strip.”
Harry turns back to him, startled.
Malfoy snorts, an amused half-laugh that leaves Harry feeling thoroughly wrong-footed. “You really don’t know how to do this, do you?”
Harry doesn’t. Saying so, and saying so to Malfoy, though…
“Fine then.” Malfoy sidesteps him, clears a space among the rumpled sheets, sits on the edge of his mattress. “Let me show you.”
His trousers slide off like water, pooling at his feet. He hasn’t got any pants on. Harry’s seen men naked before, but not like this, not with this intent behind Malfoy’s eyes.
Malfoy slides back, lowering himself to his elbows and opening his legs so his cock, half-hard, hangs heavy between his thighs. “C’mon then, Potter. Don’t tell me there’s nothing you’ve ever wanted to do to this body.”
And there is. Merlin, there is. He’s wanted to punch it. Wanted to kick it. Wanted to hex it. Wanted to wrap a time-turner around it and undo the web of scars he’s left on Malfoy’s chest. Wanted to make it invisible, irrelevant. Wanted to disappear it. Wanted to wrestle it to the ground and hold it there until Malfoy can’t do anything at all. Until he can’t do anything, for holding Malfoy down.
Malfoy trails a hand down his inner thigh. Harry watches. The skin looks so soft. Harry’s stomach aches with the slow-burning hunger that’s been gnawing at him for weeks and he wants.
And though he doesn’t know what to do, doesn’t know what this is or why he’s doing it, he does know that he wants. And that Malfoy seems to want to give.
It’s experimental at first. A knee between Malfoy’s two. The slow lean forward. The dropping of a hand next to Malfoy’s face.
He tries the only thing he knows to try. Lowers his head towards Malfoy’s face, closes his eyes, parts his lips.
He’s not sure what happens first. Maybe the disdainful snort. Maybe the turning away, so he meets the back of Malfoy’s jaw. But it’s not a kiss. Not lips against lips.
Something harder. Full of unexpected concavities. Malfoy’s flesh is soft, but the tendons in his neck are not. They strain against – into – Harry’s mouth and he sucks against them without knowing what he’s doing.
Must be something right though; Malfoy’s hand wraps around his head, presses him closer.
And he goes. Pulls the flesh into his mouth. Scrapes his teeth against the tendon. Tastes the bitter remnants of aftershave and soap, the naked promise of skin.
He feels more than he hears Malfoy’s moan, vibrating through his trachea and against Harry’s teeth.
Licks the spot and moves down, biting Malfoy’s clavicle and laving the ridge of bone that drops down into a divot above his shoulder.
A moan, again, and more pressure at the back of his skull.
Somewhere in the back of his mind he registers that Malfoy’s knocked his knees out from under him, that they’re pressed together, chest to chest through Harry’s t-shirt. Cock to cock through Harry’s jeans. That Malfoy’s hips are rolling against his. That he’s responding in kind. That he’s hard, his thighs trembling, his arms shaking with the effort of holding himself up.
Somewhere in the back of his mind he registers a throaty groan that doesn’t correspond to another bite, and notices that Malfoy’s fallen, limp and panting, back against the bed.
But it’s nothing to this fullness in his mouth. To the endless supply of skin.
Malfoy pulls him up by his hair. His nascent whine doesn't makes it past his lips when he sees what he’s done. The trail of red rings that mark Malfoy’s skin. Evidence, incontrovertible, that Harry's been there.
He can’t stop staring.
Malfoy’s smile barely makes it into Harry's periphery, and his words sound like they’re spoken through cotton.
“Well, Potter. Might make something of you, yet.”
* * *
On the thirty-fifth day after the Battle of Hogwarts, Malfoy lets Harry suck his way across his chest. Malfoy screams when Harry takes a nipple between his teeth, but holds him there all the same.
On the forty-second day after the Battle of Hogwarts, Malfoy lets Harry leave a trail up his inner arm and down his sternum. Harry loves the way the bruises seem to move with Malfoy's heartbeat.
On the forty-ninth day after the Battle of Hogwarts, it’s Malfoy’s inner thigh. Harry thinks he could stay there for hours. For ever. It’s so soft. Perfect. This skin has never seen the sun, Harry thinks. Has never seen anything but bubble baths and fancy creams and it’s so smooth he can hardly believe it belongs to a man who can be so rough, who can dig his nails into Harry’s back and yell for “more, you fucker,” and squeeze his legs together until Harry is surrounded by him, until he couldn’t pull his mouth away if he wanted to. Not that he does. No. Wants to take this tender flesh, the muscle, the only hint of fat - of softness - he’s yet found into his mouth. Wants to pull everything he can through Malfoy’s pores.
On the fifty-sixth day after the Battle of Hogwarts, Malfoy tells him it’s time for more. He’s invited before. Suggested. But “feel something good, you fucking coward” is not a request.“Take me” and “have me” are not commands for Harry to ignore. He knows he could say no, but when he sees the bruises Malfoy’s left unhealed – which, with his legs spread open so shamelessly, make a near-perfect line to Malfoy’s arse – he only wonders how he didn’t see it sooner, what he’s so clearly wanted to go all along.
He buries himself inside of Malfoy, fucks him until he’s well past speech, bites down on his shoulder, and comes.
“Good,” Malfoy whispers after, carding Harry’s hair. “Good.”
Harry smiles. He can, sometimes, now he’s not so hungry.
* * *
The sixtieth day after the Battle of Hogwarts marks the start of the trials. Easiest cases first. Stan Shunpike, the Cattermoles. Three dozen, at least, easily dispatched on the first of July.
Draco Malfoy is due to sit before the Wizengamot on the second.
Harry was sure he'd come to the first day, to see the innocent freed. And fo the second week, to see the guilty condemned. But these few days of ambiguous cases...what to say of Narcissa Malfoy, who had saved his life weeks after she would've trussed him up and sent him to Voldemort on a silver platter? What to say of Gregory Goyle, undoubtedly too stupid to know any better, but dangerous all the same?
What to say of Draco Malfoy?
Harry hates seeing him like this, arms chained to the Wizengamot’s interrogation chair. Hates seeing him covered head to toe in stiff formal robes that swallow his neck and hide the purple oval at one wrist, the bite marks at the other. It makes Harry's mouth taste like sawdust. Makes his tongue so dry he doesn’t know whether he could get a word out, even if he knew which ones to say.
His heart pounds as he takes the stand. An Auror waits at the bottom of the stairs he’s just ascended. There are two more on the floor, one at each of Malfoy’s elbows. Malfoy feels so far away. It all feels so far away, and he's hungry again, and the room is almost as cold as it was with Dementors circling overhead, and where to begin, where to go, with him and Malfoy and the things they’d said and done in the course of a war?
He scans the room. Catches Malfoy’s eye. Catches the rustling of fabric as Malfoy, ever so slightly, parts his legs and licks his lips.
The words come.
“Draco Malfoy is responsible for saving my life on no fewer than two occasions. Once at Malfoy Manor after our capture by a group of snatchers, and again during the Battle of Hogwarts, as his attempts to dissuade his friend gave us advance notice of the threat of Fiendfyre….”
He speaks to the Wizengamot with conviction. With certainty. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Draco smile.
* * *
The sixty-third day after the Battle of Hogwarts is a Saturday just like all the other Saturdays that have marked the last month of Harry’s life. He spends the afternoon cleaning house. Makes a light dinner. Takes a bath.
He thinks of Malfoy’s inner thigh. Wants to know if the bruises are still there. If he’ll be permitted to leave more.
He climbs into his sheets, naked, to wait.
He thinks of Malfoy’s back, as yet unmarked. Wonders if a shoulder blade would be as satisfying as the inside of a knee, or the arch of a rib.
He turns the covers down, leaves them pooled around his waist; Malfoy likes him like that. Available. Waiting for permission.
He wonders if there’s something special ahead. It’s half-eleven. Malfoy’s always come around ten.
He plumps the pillows. Wonders if Malfoy’s celebrating. A dinner, perhaps. Something with his mother. It’s not as though the two of them have the sort of arrangement where you owl ahead.
He lies back against the pillow and wills himself to keep his hands about the covers. He closes his eyes and thinks of Malfoy’s biceps, his calves, the long lines of his torso when he’s arching into Harry’s mouth. Thinks of the taste of him. The fullness that will finally come when Malfoy’s skin is blossoming red between his lips.
And he waits.