A British Summer
After the war was over there was a jubilant mood in the air; many a baby was conceived in those months, as celebration and relief freed people from their little doubts and fears. Each edition of the Daily Prophet was packed full of feel-good stories. As well as families re-united and tales of home-grown heroism, there were reports of how Diagon Alley was filled with sunshine, shoppers and smiles. It was taken as evidence of recovery, proof that peace had returned and that their world was being rebuilt.
The other staple of the Daily Prophet was the war: specials, in-depth reports and analysis, its end, the demise of Voldemort and of course, the great hero Harry Potter. Said hero would appear in photos, turning to one of his friends, or looking solemn at one of the many funerals held in that time. There was one exclusive, an interview with the Golden Trio, in which they confirmed their close friendship and bravery, as they talked of some of their adventures and paid tribute to the dead. It was greedily consumed by the wizarding public, the hints of romance between Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger warming many a heart. The message of Love Conquers All, including that of James and Lily Potter for their son, was the perfect remedy to dispel the last shadows of war.
Despite the high level of public interest, none of the Hogwarts Heroes gave further interviews or did anything of note. Family and friends closed around them as they too readjusted to a world at peace.
Nothing more was heard, not until the extraordinary news came to light that one Harry Potter, the Boy who Lived Twice, Vanquisher of Voldemort, Saviour of the Wizarding World, was to be found scooping ice creams at Fortescue's. Huge queues would form daily, people eager to be near their hero, maybe even to exchange a few words. He worked tirelessly, if not friendly then not rude either, just polite. There was endless speculation on why he was there, what he was doing. Harry Potter himself never spoke up.
Unable to resist, Draco Malfoy headed down to Diagon Alley to see for himself the mighty hero in a striped apron, serving up ice cream to mewling brats and vapid tourists. With a light disillisionment charm in place and his Ministry tracking charm a slight itch on his ankle, Draco sat at a table, observing from behind a Daily Prophet. To his amusement, he witnessed the approach of none other than the Weasley girl, stride long and jaw set firmly. He almost wished that one of his old friends was there to share the moment when she pushed through the queue of the boring and the sunburnt, and stood tall in front of the counter. From his vantage point he could only make out some of the words she hissed out, as her voice rose one moment before falling again as she grabbed Potter's arm and very nearly shook it off.
"...such a waste... a real job... hero... Auror.. Hogwarts in September... better change... can't go on like this..."
The whole street however, heard Potter as his voice grew to a roar until the she-Weasel released his arm and took a step back.
"Just leave me alone! I'm happy doing this, ok? Maybe for once I want to do what I want to do. And if you can't like me for who I am, rather than who you want me to be, then maybe what I want doesn't include you!"
They heard him shout after her as she turned and fled, face aflame and eyes streaming.
Reading about it the next day was nowhere near as good as witnessing her humiliation in person. He didn't really care about her, but he resented all the attention his former enemies were getting. His family were worth nothing now, no one wanted to know them and he was terrified of the upcoming trials. In his position it was rare to be able experience any form of schadenfraude. In addition, anything which relieved the tension of living in uncertainty in a Manor under constant surveillance was a good thing.
Harry Potter disappeared from Fortescue's after his very public break-up with his red-haired girlfriend. Florean Fortescue enjoyed another week or two of publicity, with interviews about working with the great Potter, about their connection, their history, their joint love of ice cream. The last made Draco snort his breakfast cup of tea up his nose in a most un-Malfoy-like manner, earning him a disapproving glance from his mother and yet another disgusted sneer from his father. "Must you be so uncouth, Draco?" he asked, and Draco pushed away the paper, his brief moment of pleasure over. The ever-present Auror standing in the corner, stifled a laugh. Draco knew better than to glare at him. He scowled into his tea instead.
Life continued, as life tends to do. Potter spoke up at the Death Eater trials, at the end of which Narcissa and Draco found themselves free, whilst Lucius was sent to Azkaban. Draco was perhaps not as sorry as he should have been about his father, although he could not find the words to describe how he felt about his father's imprisonment. The Manor was suddenly quiet without both the overbearing presence of his father, and the constant intrusion of Aurors, with their itchy tracking charms and not-so-subtle survelliance.
There were reports that Potter was now a recluse, rumoured to have shut himself away in the old Black town house. His picture was never in the paper, and speculation dwindled as time passed. It was at lunch with Pansy one day, a year or so later, at which Draco heard anything about Potter again. They had been enjoying gossiping about their fellow former Slytherins – being careful to avoid mentions of Death Eaters or Azkaban – when she started on the topic of Potter.
"Have you seen the latest Prophet?" she asked, while stealing an olive from his plate. Draco frowned, and swatted her hand away.
"No, no I haven't," he replied, bored. To be honest he was a little bored of her, of these vicious little sessions, but friends were few and far between. Going over old ground was at least safe.
His interest was piqued however, when he saw the photograph of a brooding face, half obscured by shadows, hidden in a darkened room. Ignoring Pansy's protests, he slid the paper round and started reading. From what he could see, the journalist – some spotty relative of a friend from Hogwarts no doubt – managed to strike a tone somewhere between awestruck and frustrated, as Potter refused to answer some questions and only half-answered others.
"Draco, Draco!" Pansy called, pulling his attention away from the article. "Darling, you are impossible. Give that back," and with that, she wrestled it from him and stowed it in her voluminous dragon-skin bag, which was expensive, but a few seasons old. She touched briefly on how the mighty were fallen, with no sense of irony. Then, obviously deciding that Potter wasn't a good topic after all, she brought the conversation deftly back to Theodore Nott and his scandalous marriage to a Muggle. Draco joined in with a sigh.
As soon as he had left Pansy though, Draco bought his own copy. He pored over the article, searching for some clue as to what had happened to his erstwhile school enemy, or even to the contented ice cream seller he'd spied before. He found nothing, other than a rather empty portrait of a lonely man, but kept the article anyway.
By his early twenties, a less scared and only slightly less bored Draco had found work as an antiques dealer: he knew a fair bit already, and he liked handling beautiful things. He also discovered that Muggles were happy to do business with him, their only reservations due to his youth and nothing more. His accent and, when he remembered them, his mother's grounding in manners and etiquette, helped too. His mother would keep sending him owls about every inconsequential thing, when he was trying to keep things low-key, but at least she approved, as much she could. "Well, it's quite a genteel thing to do, Draco, not too... embarrassing," she'd said, when he'd first broached the idea with her.
Ironically, he used his knowledge of periods, makers and details, when he and his mother found themselves selling off the contents of the Manor, piece by piece, to pay off debts, make reparations, and most galling of all, eat. In the end they sold the Manor, both secretly relieved to be able to leave behind the house which had been the last address of the Dark Lord. She did not make comments about his line of work after that.
One spring, he was walking through a street in Rome, after visiting a furniture restorer, when he caught sight of a familiar mop of black hair and the glint of glasses. Without thinking about it, he increased his pace until he was almost running. He called out "Potter!" but the man didn't turn round. He lost the man in a maze of narrow back streets, and fell back, doubled over and breathing heavily, exhausted. He spent the next few days on edge, looking out for him again, but in the end shook the certainty he'd felt that he'd seen Potter, and returned to England.
He did not mention the sighting to his mother nor his friends, as they had all pronounced him obsessed years ago. He also did not mention the days, and nights, on which he would pull out the increasingly-tattered newspaper clipping and stare at the picture of Potter, shadows moving across his face as he frowned and looked away. Nor did he mention how in the privacy of his mind he sometimes thought of him as Harry, no matter what he might say aloud – the memory of being rescued from the Fiendfyre made 'Potter' seem too distant, somehow.
A year or two later found Draco in a picture-postcard seaside town. Pastel shop-fronts abounded, filled with white-painted shelving in the shape of boats, stuffed seagulls and overpriced kitchenware. Tucked away in back streets were grubby old antiques shops, and it was these, coupled with the local auction houses, that Draco had come to see. The entire place was Muggle, and Draco enjoyed walking about town, shirt sleeves rolled up, his Dark Mark no more than a faded tattoo. He rolled his sleeves down for business, of course: Muggles or not, he still wanted to look professional.
Draco was walking through town with another local antiques dealer, a Muggle called Mark Kislow. The man was pleasant enough, and Draco enjoyed seeing the town through local eyes. They'd concluded their business for the day, and he'd offered to give him a quick tour of something other than dusty shops. Draco was amenable to the idea of a bit of company – it had been months since he'd last been with a man. It was tricky, living with his mother and trying to be circumspect about his choice of partners, and he relished the opportunities his trips gave him to enjoy a bit more freedom. He liked Kislow; the man had a good eye and a warm sense of humour.
Kislow insisted that they try the local ice cream. It was a hot day, and Draco was happy to break his rule about eating while out walking. There were different rules in a place like this. By the time they got to the shop his sleeves were rolled up ('misspent youth', he'd answered with a smile when Kislow had raised an eyebrow at the snake and skull on his arm) and had colour in his cheeks, his face shiny with perspiration.
The shop was impossible to miss, despite being tucked down a narrow alley way, thanks to the queue outside. Draco joined the end, grateful for the shade of the little lane. As they stood in line, shuffling forward slowly every few minutes, he could hear seagulls noisy overhead, and the general hum of contented chatter around him. His mouth watered at the sight of tall ice creams in thick wafer cones in the hands of those walking away, and judging by the looks on their faces as the licked and bit, they were good.
When they finally reached the front, there was an incredible array of flavours to choose from, the colours vibrant. Draco decided on a deep blush raspberry sorbet, Kislow chocolate ice cream. As Draco passed his money over, Kislow, who had started to lick his ice cream, shut his eyes and made the most obscene noise Draco had ever heard. He dropped his change on the floor and had to scrabble to pick it up, all while under the knowing smile of the thin tall blonde behind the counter. They walked to the sea wall, where they sat on sun-warmed concrete to eat their purchases. The sea was a thin blue line behind their backs.
As Draco had his first taste of his sorbet, he suddenly understood just why his friend had reacted so... strongly. Merlin, it was the most sinful thing he'd ever put his mouth on, which was saying something for Draco. Sharp sweetness exploded in his mouth, the smooth ice melting and setting his teeth marvellously, tortuously, on edge. A shiver of pleasure worked its way down his neck. It tasted like the clear air at dawn, and rich too, like freshly turned earth. Draco heard himself moan as he took a second greedy lick. This time it was Kislow's turn to blush. They sat, side by side, not able to talk until the last drop was gone.
"I told you they were the best ice creams in the country," said Kislow with a wink.
Draco, emboldened by the effects of his sorbet, rested his hand lightly on Kislow's knee, his eyes bright in the sunshine, spoke his question and offer. Kislow, in turn, coughed awkwardly and brushed Draco's hand away. "Sorry, old chap. I er... I better get home to the old ball and chain." For a fraction of a second Draco had an image of the other man, naked, trussed up like a chicken, chains tight on his flesh. He blinked it away then moved away in embarrassment. It wasn't like him to read the situation wrong like this, he would have liked to have been able to blame the ice cream, but really it had just been too damn long since he'd last got laid. Or even been touched by someone, anyone else.
"Please don't feel awkward, I like you, just not like that. I'm flattered. Honestly," Kislow said, eyes looking anywhere but at Draco. Draco just wanted him to stop talking and leave him alone. He quickly made his excuses and they parted company. Draco was now simultaneously frustrated, aroused, and embarrassed, however gracious the other man had been. Thank goodness he was going home tomorrow, and thank goodness no-one had witnessed that slightly humiliating exchange.
The next day, after checking out of his B&B and eating a sandwich made of some wood-like bread and questionable cheese in a quirky café by the beach – it had nonsensical spiritual quotes painted on the walls – Draco couldn't resist going back for another cone. There wasn't quite the glorious sun of the day before: high white clouds were being swept along by a brisk wind. He could feel his skin dry in the wind, the sun and the salt air.
Remembering the way, Draco ducked down into the space between two buildings and joined the end of the ice cream queue. It was a little shorter than before, but still slow-moving. As he got closer to the head of the line, he began to fidget, impatient for another taste of bliss. Restless, he glanced around him and noticed that the tall girl wasn't serving today. Although he couldn't see past the other patrons, he could make out that the hair colour was wrong – too dark.
After another few minutes he was nearer the front, passing the time by examining the particularly hideous design on the back of the t-shirt in front of him. It appeared to be some kind of a lion-tiger combination (a liger! his brain helpfully supplied), and it was a little creepy. It took him a moment to divine that Ms Liger-T was flirting with Mr Dark Hair. He could hear the corny lines she was peddling, but only the low murmur of the responses. Being both bored and naturally nosy, he listened in.
"This can't be your day job, you're far too dashing," she said, voice all eager. He pictured her as a leering crone, then shuddered at the thought. He must have been closer than he thought because he heard the response to this quite clearly. "Ok, you've got me. Really I vanquish dark wizards and fly off into the sunset," Mr Dark Hair said, his voice rich with amusement, in fact, his voice... Draco looked up from the diamanté feline outline in front of him sharply, in shock. There, skin tanned, eyes warm, stood Harry Potter.
The woman stepped away with her ice cream – actually, she was quite pretty – and Harry and Draco stood face to face for the first time in years. Harry's mouth opened and closed a few times, before he managed to collect himself enough to talk. "So... Draco Malfoy," he said, and his face broke into a smile. Smiling seemed to be what he did best, as it was warm and direct, unlike any he'd ever given Draco before. Utterly disarmed by the smile, Draco found himself staring back, wordless.
Harry turned and called out, "Sandra, I need you out front!", and the tall girl from the day before appeared. He conferred with her for a minute, and her eyes darted between Harry and Draco, before she disappeared out back with a smirk on her face. Draco felt himself flushing for no reason.
Turning back to Draco, Harry began to roll a shiny ball with a firm, practised hand. "Let me choose a flavour for you. I think you'll like this one. It's very good. Lemon gelato," he said, before Draco could react. He settled the heaped scoop in a cone, topping it up and pressing it down, then swiftly set up a second one. The two cones nestled, dripping, in the special holder atop the counter. He began to untie his apron as Sandra reappeared, and then passed it to her. "I'm due a break now, I thought maybe I could take it with you. Catch up."
Draco finally managed to engage his brain and his mouth again. "Yes, yes, that would be acceptable, Potter," he replied, wincing at his stilted manner.
"Potter?", Sandra asked, laughing.
"I told you we were at school together," supplied Harry, "it was that kind of school." Sandra nodded, then turned her attention to the next person in line.
Harry grabbed the ice creams then led Draco back to the sea wall. Draco clambered over the coarse concrete wall, which was hip-high from the path below, but only reached their knees when on the beach. Then Harry handed Draco the cones and he climbed up in a neat, practised movement. They walked a little further, coarse sand shifting beneath their feet, then by unspoken agreement both sat to eat. The tide must have been in, as the waves were much closer, breaking and crashing below them.
As Draco bent his head to lick his ice cream, Harry stopped him with a hand on his wrist. His skin was warm and dry. "This flavour always reminded me of you," he said, his smile wry. When Draco looked puzzled, he added, "You know, lemony: sharp, sour – evokes a strong reaction." Draco scowled. For a moment he'd felt a thrill that Potter had thought of him at all, but it changed to irritation at being described in such terms. Mostly he was unsure why Potter had felt the need to make the comment at all. As he released Draco's arm, Draco blinked in confusion then returned his attention to the cone in his hand.
There were trickles of pale yellow cream where the gelato was starting to melt, and Draco began by licking round the cone to tidy these up. As soon as his tongue tasted the zing of lemon, his eyes closed in delight. It had a wonderful edge of acid intensity and went through him like a lightning bolt. He closed in to take a wide swipe at the gelato itself. Draco couldn't help but groan, as the sharp lemon flavour cut into the sweet sugar and smooth texture. He had never eaten an iced... anything like this before. He hadn't even known you could make something like this with lemons, only having seen elegant little sorbets at dinner parties before. This was something else. It made the raspberry sorbet from the day before seem like the most simplistic of affairs. This, this was rich and tart and light and oh, oh! Draco felt a wave of pleasure rise up his back. He shuddered and moaned. The sound of a loud intake of breath made him open his eyes.
Harry was staring at him, eyes wide, his gaze intense and his mouth hanging open, pink and wet. When their eyes met he snapped his mouth closed and he swallowed. "It's certainly good to see someone... enjoying... one of my creations so much," he said, finally, his voice low and deep.
"Your creation? You made this?" Draco spluttered in surprise. His brain caught up at this point. "And you thought of me," he added, softly. Whatever explanation Potter had given before, to be associated with this sinfully decadent taste was a little overwhelming.
Harry nodded, and smiled shyly. "Like I said, evokes a strong reaction," and Draco was lost for a minute, unable to place just why this statement made him feel so... confused. He shook his head, as if to clear the strange feelings, and returned to his most pressing questions.
"I still don't understand, what are you doing here? Ice cream, really, Potter?" The mood between them changed as Harry stiffened at his tone.
"Yes, ice cream. Or more accurately, gelato and sorbet, ices and so on. After Hogwarts, I–"
"Worked at Fortescue's. I remember. I saw you once. Of course, for a while it was the news of the wizarding world," Draco frowned, "but I thought it was a summer job, a brief moment of rebellion," he paused, remembering Harry shouting down the street.
"I can't believe that you're here. I was under the impression that you were some recluse, shut away," and unattainable added Draco. With horror he realised that he really had looked out for each and every scrap of news about his former school rival. That he'd been hoping that Potter would reappear.
"–Yes, Fortescue's was where it started," continued Harry, seemingly unfazed by Draco's interruption, "after that, I went to Italy. Partly just to get away, but also to learn all about gelato."
"It was you!" cried Draco, suddenly sure, "I saw you in Rome. You ran away from me," he said, accusingly.
Harry nodded. "I wasn't sure if it was you or not, but I wanted to stay hidden."
"The interview, the picture of you as a recluse?"
"I do spend time at the house, in London," Harry said, a little defensively, "but yes, it was deliberate. A bit of a smoke screen. I just wanted to hide."
"And now?" asked Draco, leaning forward.
"Now I'm settled here. No one knows me as anything other than the ice cream man. I like it. I like the sea," Harry paused and looked out over the crashing waves. "Ice cream always made me happy, and I like cheering people up. I think I've done enough for the world, and lived with enough danger and excitement to last me the rest of my life," he shrugged, explanation done.
Draco sat back. What Harry had said made sense, in a way. Feeling something cold drip on his hand, he looked down. His ice cream was half-melted, and he turned his attention back to it. It was just so good. He licked, slurped and bit until it was all gone, only the sticky sheen on his hands and round his mouth left to show of the experience. He even forgot that he was sitting there with Harry, for a minute. Feeling satisfied, he pulled his knees up and wrapped his arms around them. He looked out to sea. The waves were high, white peaks visible from the shore to the hazy line of the horizon. It seemed more alive, more dangerous than before.
Looking back, he saw that Harry had not yet finished his ice cream. His tongue, pink and glistening in the afternoon sun, was licking a path around the rim of the cone. Draco stopped breathing for a couple of seconds. Harry brought his mouth to the soft mound of gelato, and sucked some off, leaving a neat raised line in his wake. Draco felt his mouth water and turned away. He was painfully aroused, and waited a few minutes, willing himself calm. Eventually he did.
The stiff breeze pushed around them and Draco shivered. As Harry licked his fingers, his ice cream consumed, Draco moved to his feet. He stood there, shuffling his feet. He need to get moving but wasn't ready to leave Harry yet.
Harry looked up. "I'm getting cold, would you like to... to walk with me for a while?"
Harry held out his hand, as if to ask for help. Draco pulled Harry up. Harry' hand was cold, and still faintly sticky. Harry's weight thrust him forward and he stumbled into Draco. They stood there for a moment, close and almost embracing, until Draco broke away. Draco sucked the stickiness away from his fingers without thinking, but brought his hand away from his mouth in embarrassment when he realised Harry staring at him.
Harry smiled shyly at Draco, then turned and led the way along the shore. For a while, they didn't talk, just walked, their feet dodging the foam that rushed up with each wave. It felt strangely intimate, walking side by side with a huge expanse of sky around them and the curve of the earth visible to one side.
The shore changed as they left the low buildings of town behind. Rising hummocks of grass lay to one side, broken by dips of sand. They moved up into the dunes and soon both were breathing a little more heavily, the glow of fresh air and exercise on their faces. Looking over at Harry, Draco had to admit that he looked good. He was a man now, not the boy he remembered from school. His shoulders were broader, his step surer. Draco's eyes lingered on the line of his legs as the wind tugged the fabric of his trousers, outlining a strong, clean shape.
The wind was really beginning to pick up now, and the sky had darkened. A great drift of clouds were moving in, grey and threatening. It was definitely colder and the air felt heavy. Harry gave Draco a searching look then tugged his sleeve, moving them further inland. He had to raise his voice to be heard over the sound of wind and the constant booming of the waves. "It looks like it might rain. I... I live near here. You could come in, if you want."
Draco nodded in assent, and they made their way up to where the ground was flatter, more stable. As the wind blew stronger, their pace quickened and their strides lengthened.
Harry's home was modest in size, but overlooked the wide bay. He had no neighbours, and when they first got in, it was chilly inside. Compared to the noise and movement of outside, it was silent. There was one central room, reaching across the whole of the front of the house, with a door leading off at the back. In one corner, a deep recess held a small kitchen. Harry busied himself, lighting a fire and some lamps, and picking up the odd sock and newspaper: he obviously hadn't been expecting any guests.
Draco looked around the room with an appraising eye. It was a light room, full of interesting pieces of furniture. There was a beautiful oriental sideboard of carved black wood, and a large table made of bleached driftwood, its edges uneven, each leg different. None of the chairs around it matched, and they were all painted bright colours. Rich warm rugs of reds lay in front of a fireplace and around the room, along with a long low sofa and a beat-up old leather armchair. There were lamps, no two the same, at various points round the room. The back wall was filled with shelves of books, mementos and the odd photograph. Draco recognised Granger and Weasley in some of them. The room was eclectic and brave, but it suited Harry.
Harry pulled two chairs, painted and chipped, to stand side by side and turned slightly towards each other, by the wide window facing the sea.
"Would you like a cup of tea? To help you warm up? I thought we could watch the rain from here. I like to do that..." He trailed off as he ran his hands along the top of the nearest chair. Draco didn't respond, distracted by the way Harry stood, at home and yet also anxious somehow. Harry moved abruptly, walking over to the kitchen area, filling a kettle and making noise as cupboards and drawers were opened and closed. Apparently he had decided that Draco would indeed like some tea.
Draco sat down. The view was amazing. He could see the twinkle of boats far out to sea, he could make out the waves, rising and falling angrily. Best of all were the clouds: moving, chasing themselves into a large dark mass. Then he saw the rain start, a flat mist out to sea. Harry returned, two mugs in his hands. He had made Draco's tea exactly as he liked it.
"How did you know how I like my tea?" he asked, curious. Harry looked embarrassed and mumbled something about sixth year. Draco raised one eyebrow.
"I may have been a little obsessed with you that year. I thought that you were up to something. Which you were, of course. I er... I watched you a lot."
Conflicting emotions ran through Draco. He was flattered to have been noticed, but ashamed that Harry had been paying him such close attention in his most miserable year. Well, most miserable if you didn't count the one afterwards. He usually tried not to think about that time. He also still felt guilt about letting Fenrir Greyback into the school, a churning feeling deep inside, not that he would ever say this out loud. He glanced up at Harry, whose cheeks were burning at the confession of his obsession. Which was, Draco reflected, probably just as interesting as the original confession itself.
They drank their tea and watched the rain roll in. For a while, they sat in silence. Draco broke it with a confession of his own. "I know that you drink tea strong, a fair splash of milk, one sugar. Your coffee you drink black, but with two sugars." He wrinkled his nose at the thought of it. "You weren't the only one watching at school," he added, softly. It was his turn to feel his face heat.
Harry's face broke into another of his generous, sunny, smiles. Draco was reminded of his earlier thought, that smiling was what Harry did best. Well, he had thought that, until he'd tasted his ice cream. He closed his eyes in memory of the icy goodness.
"What are you thinking about?" asked Harry softly.
"That incredible ice cream you gave me earlier."
"That wasn't ice cream!" Harry said, in a horrified voice, "that was gelato. I told you that when I gave you it."
"Ice cream, gelato, what's the difference?"
Harry pulled himself up to full height – seated height, anyway. "What's the difference? Oh Draco, you philistine. Milk, fat content, flavour intensity, the way it's made, the temperature you serve it..."
Draco didn't really hear the last few words. He just heard his name on Harry's lips. He decided to try out Harry's on his.
"Some of us haven't spent Merlin knows how long learning all about it, Harry."
Harry gave him a long, thoughtful look before speaking. His voice was soft when he spoke. "Sorry, Draco, I forget not everyone is quite as passionate about ices as I am," he said, a little sheepishly. Draco felt a little thrill at the repetition of his name. "And it's good to hear you saying my name. I think... I think that we're not children any more and it's about time we leave our school days behind us."
"Yes," said Draco, "it is... Harry. And I like the results of your passion." They smiled at each other.
After a moment Harry cleared his throat. "I could show you the difference, if you wanted," he offered. He vaulted out of his chair and returned to his kitchen. After yet more clanking, he returned bearing bowls, white plastic tubs with handwritten labels, and spoons. Draco felt his pulse speed in anticipation of another taste of one of Harry's creations.
"We should leave this for a while. It has to be the right temperature to serve," announced Harry, as he put everything down on a large chest which stood against the wall. They sat in silence, both staring at the approaching line of rain.
Disappointed at having to wait, Draco closed his eyes and began to drum his fingers against the side of his chair. He was surprised when Harry leant over and stilled his hand, his fingers lingering over Draco's. Harry moved round in his chair and put out his hands to hold onto Draco's, and pulled himself forwards to face him. Draco opened his eyes and they looked at each other for a long moment. Perhaps finding whatever he was searching for, Harry smiled. Draco smiled back. Gently, Harry placed his hands on either side of Draco's face and slowly moved in, then kissed him. His mouth was warm, and strong for all its gentleness. His movements seemed vulnerable and unsure, and for a second Draco thought he was going to spring away. Draco curled an arm around Harry and held on, kissing back with all of his pent up need.
The rain had reached the house now, huge sheets of it driving against the window panes. It beat an insistent tattoo, almost a roar of sound. The sky had darkened, leaving the room lit by the warm pools of light around each lamp. Harry and Draco were in a shady corner, illuminated in moving shadows by the light just making it through the windows. They clung to each other, Harry's body at an awkward angle, as if holding on to safety in the midst of the storm.
After a kiss which deepened in intensity, until both were straining and fully aroused, Harry pulled back and licked his lips. Slowly and deliberately, he moved down in front of Draco. Draco's breath hitched. Harry wrapped his hand around the outline of Draco's erection, squeezing gently. Then, he carefully unzipped Draco's fly, and with a bit of shuffling, brought his trousers and pants down his legs. He ran his fingers along the hot, hard length. And then he bent down and kissed the tip with the lightest of touches. He breathed his way down to his balls, and licked and sucked at them before making his way up. Draco's hands were now holding onto the sides of the chair, knuckles white. He was lost to the sensations, his breath coming quick and shallow. He was incapable of any thoughts beyond yes and more.
And then he was in Harry's mouth, which was hot and moving around him, relentlessly. As Draco looked down, he saw the head of dark hair moving, then Harry looking up, his eyes fixed on him. He felt himself tipping near the edge at the sight, and closed his eyes as Harry kept sucking. Harry pulled off and Draco whimpered. Harry smiled a dangerous smile, then reached out behind him and pulled down one of the tubs. He roughly prised it open and scraped out a line with his finger. Draco watched, transfixed, as he brought his finger to his mouth and sucked. Then Harry leant forward and ran his tongue around Draco's already sensitive head. There was ice on his tongue, and it burned and froze all at once. Then Harry took Draco into his mouth, deep. His mouth was hot and cold all at the the same time. He twirled his tongue over and around Draco, whilst moving and taking him in again and again. Draco felt himself hitting the back of Harry's mouth, and then he was coming with a groan and Harry was swallowing, swallowing. Harry sat back on his heels and smiled up at Draco. "So good," he said, his voice rough and low, "so good."
Spent and still tingling, Draco revised his earlier assessment of Harry's talents. He would have to put his blow jobs before smiling, and even ice cream making. Giving Harry a lazy smile, he pushed him down to the pale varnished floorboards. He quickly released Harry's cock from his clothes. He grasped it firmly, and it was smooth and soft and hard in his hand. He thumbed the wet head. Harry's mouth fell open and his head tilted back. Draco established a brutal rhythm, loving the feel of Harry pushing up into his hand in desperate thrusts. Soon Harry was moaning and arching, and thick jets of come were shooting up between them. Harry closed his eyes and exhaled deeply. He reached a hand out and pulled Draco to him for a hungry kiss. Draco could taste the trace of himself, combined with a subtle sweet flavour.
"Mmm, what is that?" he asked. Harry raised an eyebrow.
"No, not that," Draco laughed.
"Oh, right. Um, nectarine," answered Harry.
Harry looked down at himself, saw his top smeared with come, and stood up to lift it over his head. Draco took in the sight of Harry's muscles, stretching and flexing as he lifted his arms above his head. He planned on taking his time getting to know Harry's body, and soon. Harry flung his t-shirt into a corner and pulled Draco up to join him. They stood and embraced, arms wrapped around each other. Draco could feel Harry's heat through his shirt. They kissed, taking their time now the edge had been taken off their urgency. As they pulled back from each other, they linked fingers. Hand in hand, they made their way over to the sofa, stopping briefly for Harry to scoop up the tubs, bowls and spoons with his free arm.
The rain was still falling heavily. The quiet of the room coupled with his post-orgasm warmth, made Draco feel cocooned and safe in the midst of the storm. He could hear the fire crackling and feel its heat; the room flickered in gentle shadows around it.
Once sat, Harry set out three tubs in front of Draco.
"Nectarine sorbet, pistachio gelato, Madagascar vanilla ice cream," he said, tapping each in turn. "They should be ready now," and they both smiled at how they had passed the time while waiting. "I fully intend to educate you on the differences between each."
"Shut your eyes," he whispered, breath hot on Draco's neck as he leaned in close. Draco shivered and complied. He felt Harry move away, then heard the clicks of lids being removed.
Draco sat back and entered a dream-like, fevered state of sensory arousal. One by one, Harry spooned a taste of each into Draco's mouth, offering him water in a hastily accio'd glass between each mouthful. Draco kept his eyes closed, focusing just on the subtle aroma and taste of each frozen spoonful, and the feel of it in his mouth. The sorbet was smooth ice, delicate flavour, quicksilver down his throat; the gelato was intensely sweet and nutty, melting away in his mouth; the ice cream was soft and full, gentle. As Harry fed Draco, he explained simply the differences between the three, his voice low and melodious in Draco's ear. Draco in turn moaned and shivered at the tastes and sensations of each one. When Draco opened his eyes at the end, he looked at Harry, astonished that he could do this, that he could make him feel that way without touching him. He greedily claimed another long kiss from Harry. Relaxed, his senses stimulated, he fell into a state of blissful calm. His body throbbed in time with his heart beat, and Harry's, as they slowly explored each other's mouths with their tongues.
Outside, the rainclouds had almost passed. By unspoken agreement, they stood and Harry led Draco to the door and up the stairs. As they made their way to Harry's room, sunlight was beginning to break through the clouds. Dramatic rays of light ran from the heavens to the sea. Draco and Harry, though, didn't notice, as they stripped off their remaining clothes and, naked, climbed on to the wide bed. Draco ran his hands over Harry's stomach and chest, feeling the muscles move beneath the skin as he moved on the bed. He traced the lines of his ribs and collarbone. In turn, Harry touched him lightly, tracing the old scar which ran across his body. When Draco looked up, Harry's eyes were moist, his face drawn close with regret. Gently, Draco brought Harry's hand to his lips and kissed it, shushing him at the same time.
"It doesn't matter now. We're not the boys we were back then," he said, and Harry looked at him for a long moment, and nodded. They pulled each other close, hands roaming and kissing deeply; their renewed erections rubbing between them.
"Please, Harry," whispered Draco, his body quivering with the after-effects of the sorbet, gelato and ice cream. And perhaps too, Draco was forced to admit, with the proximity of this man, hot and confident, who was more than he'd ever imagined he could be. Harry moved away for a second and reached out to retrieve a small glass bottle. When he uncorked it, Draco caught the unmistakable scent of citrus. He tilted his head and looked up at Harry. "Thinking of me again, were you?" he asked, teasingly, and was gratified when Harry's face lit up instantly in a red flush. Harry ducked his head shyly then looked up. He answered, "Yes, yes I did," and Draco felt his breath catch in his chest. He felt a flare of possession: Harry was his.
They kissed once more, then Harry took his oil-slicked hand and moved it between them. He ran his hands over Draco's balls, caressing them as he moved lower. With his strong, confident hands he stretched Draco, with one finger, then two, then Draco was pushing onto him.
"Now, Harry," he urged, his voice a growl of desire, unable to wait any longer. Harry moved, bringing a pillow to wedge under Draco, and brought himself into position so they were face-to-face. His eyes never leaving Draco's face, he pushed in gently, gradually. He closed his eyes and paused. As Draco felt Harry move inside him, sparks of desire ran along his back. They began to move together, as Harry shifted and pushed. Draco pulled him in for a kiss: it felt right, being connected in this way. Harry pulled up Draco's legs and they began to rock in earnest. Draco cried out as Harry found just the right angle. They pushed and they thrusted, both against each other but also together, in a wonderful sweaty and intense rhythm.
Harry wrapped his hand round Draco's cock, pulling and sliding, twisting and squeezing. Draco found the double sensation overwhelming, after a few intense passes, came. As soon as he cried out and started pulsing in Harry's hand, Harry lowered his head and gasped in turn as he found his release. He collapsed against Draco and groaned.
They separated and, lying facing each other, smiled with satisfaction. Draco reached up and traced the line of Harry's lip. "That was... That was..."
"Fantastic," finished Harry, bending his head down to capture Draco's finger in his lips. Draco felt his heart flutter in his chest, and smiled. Harry grinned in reply.
The sun, once more visible, was beginning to sink slowly in the west. It cast its long rays out across land and sea. Clouds were still moving away, and the sea was calmer than before. Outside, the air had the freshness that comes after rain.
Three months later Draco threw a dinner party for his mother and friends. It was his farewell dinner, as he was leaving London to set up in business with a Muggle, somewhere by the coast.
As they sat around the table, the remains of a tasty boeuf bourguignon on their plates and silverware glinting in the candlelight, Draco found himself bombarded with questions.
"Why are you moving out of London, Draco?" asked Pansy, her face contorted with her incomprehension as to why anyone would ever want to leave the city behind. Draco smiled mysteriously and answered in evasive, meaningless terms. Pansy rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Do you see, Blaise, what I have been dealing with now?"
Blaise cocked his head agreement, then looked at Draco, with curiosity.
"Just what are you hiding from us? Or should I say, whom?"
Draco coughed, then looked around the table. It was, he decided, time for the truth. Or some of it, anyway. He looked nervously at his mother, sitting beside him.
"Mother," he said, reaching out and holding her hand. She froze at the contact, then relaxed. "I should have told you this a long time ago, and and I probably shouldn't tell you like this, either. But the thing is–" he swallowed, his mouth dry all of a sudden. He paused to take a sip of his wine, "–the thing is, I'm gay. I always have been."
Narcissa moved her hand away from his, and Draco felt his heart drop. She sighed, deeply, then looked up at him.
"Oh darling, how could you think I didn't know already? I am your mother. I know," she reached out and patted him twice on the back of his hand, then withdrew. Draco was shocked. She knew? He took a moment to compose himself. No one spoke, although Pansy and Blaise looked amused and as if they were bursting with questions to ask, which they probably were. Greg just looked shocked. Oh. At least, Draco thought to himself, there was one person who hadn't noticed.
Just as he was about to speak, Pansy started to giggle, then Blaise, and soon they were all laughing quietly. It served to break the tension, a little, and Draco smiled at her in thanks.
"So I ask again, a little more precisely this time: who is the man?" pressed Blaise.
Draco bent his head, suddenly shy. He looked up at the expectant circle of faces and sighed. He really couldn't put this off much longer.
"Ok, it is true that I've... met someone. I am moving to be with him. I do like it there too. It's... it's fresh and open, the sea is beautiful."
Pansy was still looking puzzled, but Greg was nodding. Narcissa was quietly poised, betraying nothing of her thoughts, whatever they were. Blaise looked scarily eager, obviously sensing that he was closer to getting his answers.
"And it's a Muggle town. No one knows who I am. No one stares."
Something flitted across Narcissa's face, and she quickly asked, her voice a little more highly pitched than normal, "It's not a Muggle is it? Not your business partner, this Kismet man?" Her horror at the thought was clear to see.
Draco laughed. "No, no. He's ... he's the local ice cream man. Oh, and he's also a wizard. Most definitely," he added, with a smile.
They all stared at him in disbelief. Pansy spoke first. "Sorry, did I hear you correctly. The ice cream man?" she looked straight at Draco, her mouth hanging open.
Draco smiled and leant forward, a conspiratorial air about him. "I'm going to have to swear you all to secrecy, I'm afraid," he said. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Blaise twisting up, almost out of his chair, as his curiosity levels spiked. "He is very talented, but prefers to remain anonymous. As you are my nearest and dearest, I want to be open with you. But first I need you to make an oath. A binding one."
Draco could see that they were uncomfortable with this, to varying degrees, but in the end they agreed. He cast a simple but effective spell as they promised not to reveal the identity of his lover, unless he was happy for them to do so.
Draco then left the room and returned with a tray of ice cream, sorbets and gelato.
"Eat this first, then I promise to explain," he said. His eyes twinkled in anticipation as he set down the frozen desserts in front of his guests. Gingerly, they picked up their spoons. They were being polite in the face of his misguided infatuation, he could see.
There was silence, then the delicate scraping of spoons. Next, Pansy closed her eyes and let out a long, low moan. Narcissa went pink and held her lips tightly together. Blaise's eyes widened, and Greg groaned. Draco looked around him in quiet satisfaction as they all eagerly dipped their spoons into their bowls, again and again. The room filled with the sounds of moans and sighs, inhibitions swiftly being discarded with each mouthful. When their bowls were scraped clean, his mother and friends looked around at each other, blushing and bashful. Draco grinned in triumph.
"By Merlin's balls, Draco. I'd be gay for this man!" blurted out Blaise.
Draco regarded him with amusement. "Really?" he asked. Without moving, he called out, "You can come in now!"
There was a collective intake of breath as Harry walked into the room. Narcissa stood up, then sat back down again. They were all lost for words. Harry joined Draco, taking his hand in his and squeezing it gently. He turned to the others in the room. "Surprise?" he offered, smiling.
Much later that night, Harry and Draco fell out of the floo together, still giggling. Harry had a tub of lemon gelato in his hand as they climbed the stairs. Draco, who was currently trying to remove Harry's shirt, looked at it with bemusement.
"It was left over!" protested Harry, "why let it go to waste?"
They walked into the bedroom together, and soon their clothes were gone and they ate their dessert, with gusto, off each other.