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punch-drunk fingerprints

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While it wasn’t expressly stated in their temporary truce agreement, Draco would have thought that Potter would understand that the personal space bubble was still in effect.

Especially in semi-public places like the middle of the damn corridors, but no, the Boy Who Lived (Twice) came flying around the corner, green eyes huge round circles behind askew glasses, and spotted Draco trying to walk and dig around in his bag at the same time, and grabbed him around the wrist.

With his fingers. Grabbed him around the wrist and yanked, like they’d been best mates for years instead of awkward truced maybe-we-don’t-want-to-kill-each-other acquaintances for like a month and a half.

“Malfoy! Great, good, come with me!”

“What the bloody fucking hell—!” yelped Draco, stumbling as Potter continued to half-run, half-power walk his way down the fourth floor corridor.

Potter didn’t respond until they were in the empty study area, yanking Draco towards a bookshelf shoved against the wall in the corner. Without pausing, Potter pulled his wand from his pocket with the hand not currently holding Draco’s and waved it. The bookshelf creaked forward and Potter pulled Draco into the dimness beyond, letting the shelf swing shut behind them.

Potter sighed, relieved, and slumped against the wall.

Draco stared at his murky profile in complete and utter disbelief. “What,” he began, “the fucking hell is wrong with you?”

Potter shook his head. “Don’t you read the Daily Prophet?”

“Why would I read the Daily Prophet?” Draco snarled, and with good reason. The Prophet has been trying desperately to make up for the fuckery that was its reporting for the last two years with articles on Death Eaters and their families. To “inform the people”. The Malfoy family and its epic backflip from grace was featured almost as often as Harry Potter, the Hero of the Wizarding World. That is to say, every single bloody page. So no, pardon Draco if he did not support the morons at that ridiculous newspaper. “Rita Skeeter can kiss my—”

Potter cut him off. “They did another soulmate article on me. Which unfortunately involves half this bloody school going batshit insane.”

Draco was startled into snorting, a most undignified noise considering. “And here I would think you’d love that.”

“You clearly don’t know me that well,” Potter said dryly, and started to walk.

This had the unfortunate effect of both Draco and Potter realizing that Potter’s fingers were still loosely clasped around Draco’s wrist and they leapt apart almost immediately, Draco bumping into the side wall of the narrow passageway Potter had dragged him into without his permission. Potter looked vaguely sheepish in the gloom and Draco decided for both their sanities not to comment.

Draco’s wrist was warm where Potter had been gripping it. Draco also decided to firmly ignore this.

“Where the hell are we?”

“Secret passageway. Leads to the seventh floor corridor. Right by that portrait of Sir Cadogan.”

“And we are here because…?”

“Because,” Potter shot him a look over his shoulder as they walked, Potter in front and Draco bringing up the rear, one hand on the wall. “ninety percent of the school is currently trying to grab me and see if their fingers leave the Mark on my skin, and Ron and Hermione are still in their honeymoon relationship stage and it’s sickening to be around them.”

This did not answer Draco’s question and he scowled at the back of Potter’s head as they walked.

Every time the Prophet did a soulmate article, it would inevitably bring the discussion around to Potter and how the Boy Who Lived (Twice) was still single, ladies! and how someone out there was lucky enough to own the fingertips that would make the distinguishing soulmate marks on Potter’s delicate porcelain skin.

The paper did tend to go on about Potter’s skin.

As did some rather frightening editorial pieces that fantasized about that very topic.

Not that Draco had ever read them.

Because he, as previously stated, did not read the Daily Prophet.

“That still doesn’t explain why you grabbed me and dragged me in here.”

Potter scoffed. “Well, you’re not likely to suddenly try and jump my bones, are you, Malfoy?”

Well. That conjured up some mental pictures, now didn’t it? Draco cleared his throat uncomfortably and tried to purge the sudden and vivid fantasy from his mind. “Not likely, Potter.”

“And since we’re friends and all now—”

“Excuse me? I was under the impression we were truced.”

Potter shot him a look that clearly said he was being an idiot and Draco prickled.

“I seem to remember offering to be your friend years ago and someone thought he was too good for it.”

Potter sighed and stopped so suddenly that Draco nearly ran into him. “Malfoy, come on. That was first year. And to be fair, you were kind of a git.”

“I was not,” Draco said instantly, folding his arms and Potter snickered.

“You used to slick your hair back like some kind of muggle film star.”

Now that was just too much. “Are you making fun of my hair, Potter?” Draco demanded, scowling at him. “You? When yours looks like you’ve just been—”

Draco cut himself off suddenly, realizing the rest of his sentence was about to include the words shagged in a windstorm and deciding that maybe that was not the way he wanted to take this conversation.

Potter didn’t seem to notice Draco’s sudden lack of words and shrugged at him. “I’m glad you stopped. I like it better this way.”

Then he pushed on the wall, which opened outwards into the seventh floor corridor, and stepped out of the passageway and into the light, leaving Draco standing there for a moment, gaping after him.

Did Potter just compliment his hairstyle?

Ha. Fuck you, Blaise, people did notice. All that time Draco spent in the mirrors in the morning was worth it.

Potter was looking both ways up and down the corridor when Draco stepped out of the secret passage and into the corridor proper. Draco took a moment to examine him, from his stupid windswept hair to the casual muggle clothing he was wearing, and huffed irritably.

Friends, Potter called them.

After all this, they were friends.

Draco reached down to switch his bag to his other shoulder and something caught his eye.

His wrist, the one Potter had just been gripping as he dragged Draco along on his evasive mission, was dotted with deep orange fingerprints.

Draco stared at it for a moment.

Then for a moment longer.

“Bloody hell,” he muttered, reaching up with his other hand and swiping his fingers through his hair. This was all too much. He couldn’t handle this.

Of course, it made perfect sense, and of course it had to happen now, in this strange eighth year, after a war, after years of school rivalry, after Draco had saved Potter’s life and Potter had returned the favor.

Of fucking course.

“Potter,” Draco snapped, already sick of the painful cliché that was his life as a redeemed villain in Potter’s epic life story of Adventure and Romance. Merlin, they’d been truced for what, a month? And they were soulmates. What was next? Soulbonding? Mindspeak? Bloody secret post-school undercover auror training missions where the only possible solution to the problem at hand was to fake a snogfest? No. Draco was having none of it. “Give me your arm.”

Potter turned around, confusion flashing across his face, but held out his arm anyway. Draco dropped his bag on the floor, marched up to him and grabbed his wrist, rolling Potter’s sleeve up to the elbow.

“What on earth are you—” Potter’s words trailed off as Draco, with the tip of his pointer finger, traced his own first name in cursive on Potter’s arm.

It seemed to glow, in the dying sunlight that slanted in from the window, somewhere between red and orange, pulsing with warmth against Potter’s skin.

Potter stared at it for a moment, then looked up at Draco, who wordlessly held up his arm so Potter could see his own stupid fingerprints beginning to fade around Draco’s wrist.

“Huh,” Potter said, blinking rapidly, and Draco shook his head. “That’s… unexpected.”

“That’s because you don’t read, Potter,” Draco muttered, letting his arm fall to his side. “Anyone with half a brain and access to any novel written in the last twenty years could have seen this coming.”

“Harry.”

“What?”

Potter grinned, then and Draco felt suddenly like he was losing any control he may have had over this situation. “I’m about to kiss you. You may as well start calling me Harry.”

Draco’s ears had suddenly stopped working after the word “kiss” and he gaped at Potter as the Savior of the Wizarding World and his ex-enemy stepped forward, gripping Draco by the shoulders and seriously, how was this his life?

But then Potter was leaning in, and Draco must have leaned too, must have swayed forward unconsciously, meeting him halfway, because then they were kissing.

Draco’s bag hit the floor, tipping onto its side in a slumped daze, but Draco couldn’t really care less at this point, because every point of skin to skin contact was blazing warm and he reached up like he’d wanted to for ages and swept pale fingers into Potter’s dark hair, slanting their mouths together and bloody fucking hell, he could stand here and kiss Harry fucking Potter for years.

“WHAT HO, VILE INTERLOPERS!”

Draco jumped, violently, and Potter broke away with a gasp of surprise, stepping to the side and stumbling over Draco’s dropped bag. There were a few moments of scrambling during which Draco grabbed Potter (er, Harry? Should it be Harry now?) by the elbow and hauled him to his feet.

They’d been interrupted by the portrait of the knight – Harry had called him Cadogan, Draco recalled – who was scowling down at them and waving his lance.

“I’ll not have such a flagrant disregard for personal boundaries happening beneath me!” The portrait’s occupant shouted, and Harry snorted.

“Pardon us, Sir Cadogan,” he said, raising his hands defensively. “We were, uh, just moving. Somewhere more private.”

“We were?” Draco asked, blankly, and Harry shot him a glare.

Harry, whose lips were bright, blinding red.

Draco burst out laughing, clapping a hand over his mouth to stifle the noise, but it was too late. The grin on Harry’s face was just as wide, and Draco realized suddenly that if Potter’s lips were red then—

“Nice lipstick, Draco,” Potter teased lightly and Draco whacked him on the shoulder.

Huh. This was… surprisingly easy. The rhythm. Like it was right, like this was what all the pigtail pulling had been leading up to. Plus, he’d just snogged Harry bloody Potter and the world hadn’t come to an end, so that was something.

Cadogan was still babbling on about something or other, but Draco ignored him because Harry was still grinning, and the red on his lips was beginning to fade already.

“Well, you’re a failure, Potter,” Draco said airily, bending to pick up his bag. Harry blinked, looking confused and a bit put out, when Draco continued. “You were trying to escape hordes of students trying to touch-test you and managed to run into the one person on the entire planet you’re apparently destined to be stuck with your entire life. Nice going, idiot.”

Harry snorted, stepping up close as Draco primly rearranged his bag on his shoulder.

“Shut up,” Harry said fondly, putting both hands on either side of Draco’s face, and leaning in to kiss him again.

Draco ignored the fact that Harry had put both hands on Draco’s face for the sole purpose of making handprints on his skin and kissed him back because Draco was, in fact, a cunning and resourceful Slytherin and two could play this little handprint game.

And Draco very much intended to.