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The Boy Who Bends Over

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“Listen, Harry,” Arthur Weasley said, patting a quick drum beat on his desk. “Now this has nothing to do with Ginny…”

Mr. Weasley couldn’t quite meet Harry’s eyes and Harry ended up staring at Mr. Weasley’s fingers hitting the edge of the Daily Prophet that lay folded on his desk. A faint movement caught Harry’s attention. There, plain as day on the front page was a picture of Harry’s drunken snog at the Leaky Cauldron from two nights ago. Even upside down, he couldn’t mistake it—it was him and Zacharias Smith. Snogging. On Arthur Weasley’s desk. At the Ministry.

Harry’s cheeks flushed and he looked at his lap.

“The Minister asked me to speak with you-”

“The Minister, sir?” Harry’s head snapped up.

“Well he’s concerned. You’ve seen today’s Prophet, surely.”

Harry swallowed heavily, his eyes flicking back to the newspaper on Mr. Weasley’s desk where Zacharias was currently squeezing his arse. He was glad Wizarding pictures didn’t come with sound or he was sure Mr. Weasley’s office would be full of wet smacking, especially with the way his image was currently devouring Zacharias’ neck.

Harry crossed his legs, firmly tearing his gaze away again.

“With all due respect, I don’t really see what this has to do with Kingsley.”

“Minister Shacklebolt, Harry.” Mr. Weasley frowned. “I know you don’t like this, but you’re a public figure. Everyone knows you’re going into Auror training this fall, and well…”

A faint blush crept up Mr. Weasley’s neck.

“Well, what?” Harry said, growing impatient. Yes, Harry was terribly embarrassed to have his love life splashed all over the Daily Prophet, and worse he had to find out about it in Mr. Weasley’s office, but he really didn’t see why Kingsley needed to get involved and apparently make the father of his ex-girlfriend give him a talking to. Harry still wasn’t sure what the talking to was supposed to be about, anyway.

“It’s not like there aren’t other gay wizards out there,” Harry added when Mr. Weasley didn’t answer. “I’m not the only one, and I don’t see what that has to do with the Ministry or becoming an Auror.”

“Well, it’s not just a matter of you being gay,” Mr. Weasley said. “If you are, and I’m not saying you are—we’ve all had our little dalliances here and there when we were younger. Why once a couple years after Molly and I were married, we felt like things were getting a little routine and we invited Remus over-”

“Mr. Weasley—please-” Harry said, resisting the urge to fling his hand over his eyes and block Mr. Weasley’s wistful expression. Fortunately, Harry’s words jerked Mr. Weasley back to reality and he had the decency to look a bit sheepish, the tips of his ears turning pink.

“Quite right, Harry, quite right. Don’t know what I was thinking there.”

“It’s fine,” Harry said quickly.

Mr. Weasley swallowed, his Adam’s apple fluttering like a Snitch. “As I was saying, it’s not really that you might be gay. It’s…well…”

“What?”

“Your alleged position, I guess you might say. You did read the article, didn’t you?”

Harry furrowed his brows.

“Oh Merlin, you didn’t?”

Arthur hastily pushed the paper across the desk. “Perhaps you should, and the Minister would like, er, well, this sort of thing to stay clear of the papers in the future. I’m really sorry, Harry.”


--


“Bloody Smith! I can’t believe him.” Harry slammed his pint on the table, froth sloshing over the edge.

For once, Hermione didn’t lecture him about drinking at lunch. Even Ron had a pint in front of him.

“Harry, it will blow over-”

“Right.” Harry glared at Hermione. “Because we all know Skeeter will refrain from writing about my sex life if I ask her nicely.”

“I can’t blackmail her, so don’t even ask—she registered herself as an Animagus this morning,” Hermione said a bit defensively, a hint of pink high on her cheeks. “I checked after I read the article.”

Harry sighed, rubbing his forehead. “Great, just great.”

Ron nudged Hermione and they shared a quick look before Hermione shook her head no.

“What?”

“Erm,” Ron leaned forward across the table ignoring Hermione’s frantic shushing motions. “Did you read the article?”

“Yes, thanks to your dad, and no, I did not bend over and beg Smith to fuck my tight arse.”

“Technically, Smith said you got on your knees and spread your cheeks-”

“I didn’t do that either, Hermione.” Harry gritted his teeth. Truth be told, Harry’s drunken encounter with Smith had ended as soon as they left the Leaky and Smith had passed out in the alley.

Bloody Hufflepuffs.

“Wait—my dad? What’s my dad got to do with this?”

“I was called to his office this morning. Seems Kingsley is not too happy I’m gay.”

“Minister Shacklebolt, Harry,” Hermione corrected. She scrunched up her nose. “And I don’t see how your personal life is any of his business.”

“I guess it’s more that I’m gay and it’s made the papers…or something.” Harry shook his head. “I’m not too sure actually.”

Hermione leaned forward, a sudden determination in her eyes, reminiscent of the way she looked when she’d come up with SPEW back in fourth year.

Harry didn’t like that look.

“What exactly did Mr. Weasley say?”

Harry sighed, casting his mind back to their awkward conversation. “Something about that it wasn’t so much I was gay, but that I was a public figure and planning to be an Auror, and that I should read the article—something to do with my position, whatever that means.”

“Oh, well that’s obvious.” Hermione clapped her hands together as if the matter was closed.

“It is?” Ron asked, furrowing his brows.

Harry had a similar expression on his face and they both stared at Hermione until she rolled her eyes and declared, “Well of course. It’s because you’re a bottom, Harry.”

“A bottom? I’m not-” Harry exclaimed at the same time as Ron grabbed his drink and said, “Oh yeah, we all knew that.”

Harry gaped at Ron. “I am not a bottom.”

“Yeah, mate, you are.” Ron leaned over and clapped Harry’s shoulder. “It’s nothing to be ashamed about.”

“What—and what do you mean, we all knew?”

“Oh well, Seamus told me, and Neville said it was the reason you two didn’t-”

There was a quick scuffle under the table that Harry suspected had something to do with Hermione’s foot hitting Ron’s shin.

“Ouch—what did you do that for?”

“The point is,” Hermione reached across the table and patted Harry’s hand, ignoring Ron’s indignant look, “that it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or what your preferences are.”

“Yes, Hermione.” Harry rolled his eyes. “We’ve had this conversation before. I’m not ashamed of being gay.”

“Yes.” Hermione nodded firmly. “And the Ministry shouldn’t be ashamed either. Get up.”

At Harry’s blank look, Hermione gestured up with her hand, then snatched Ron’s pint away from him. “You too, Ron.”

“What’s this have to do with me?”

“You want to help Harry, don’t you?” Hermione’s eyes narrowed. Ron squirmed under her gaze, then gave a quick nod and jerked to his feet. Hermione swung around to Harry, but he was already pushing his chair back. They both knew better than to argue with Hermione when she got like this.

“Let’s go.”

Hermione led Harry and Ron out of the Leaky and through Diagon Alley without sparing even a single longing glance at Flourish and Blott’s. This must be serious business, whatever she had planned.

“Yes, yes. This should be a good spot,” she declared, stopping in front of Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions.

Harry followed her gaze along the street; Diagon Alley was full of the normal lunch time bustle, several people feigning non-interest as they passed the trio with a few outright staring. Business as usual. Hermione turned to look at him and Ron expectantly.

“Okay, now kiss.”

“What?” Harry and Ron said in unison.

“Honestly, we’re making a statement,” Hermione said with an exasperated sigh. “We’re showing the Ministry that you,” she poked Harry’s chest, “are not going to take your private life being dictated by the government, and you,” she grabbed Ron’s arm and manhandled him until he was standing toe to toe with Harry, “said you wanted to help. Now kiss.”

“Why do I have to kiss him? Why can’t you kiss him?” Ron protested. Hermione’s lips quirked, a trace of amusement flashing over her stern features, and Harry knew they had the same thought: Hell must have frozen over for Ron to say such a thing.

“In case you haven’t been paying attention, Ronald, I’m not a boy.” She pushed his shoulder and he stumbled into Harry. “Kiss.”

“But-”

“It’s not like I’m completely horrid at it,” Harry said, nudging Ron in the ribs. It wasn’t that he really wanted to kiss his best mate, but he knew that look of steel in Hermione’s eyes. He and Ron were not leaving Diagon Alley unless they did what she said, and if they somehow weaseled out of it, Hermione would never let them hear the end of it.

They’d just have a quick peck to satisfy Hermione’s odd plan, then Harry would remind her that Flourish and Blott’s was next door and probably restocking for the new school year, and that would be the end of it.

But Ron grimaced; Harry’s feelings were starting to get just a little bit hurt. He wasn’t a leper or anything!

“Weren’t you complaining just the other day that Harry had experimented with every boy in Gryffindor Tower except you?” Hermione asked pointedly.

Ron flared a brilliant red. “That’s private-”

“Really? Well, then.” Harry flashed a grin, his ruffled feelings smoothed. He grabbed Ron’s waist, pulled him close, and kissed him.

It wasn’t the worst kiss Harry had ever experienced, but definitely not the best. Ron was stiff and his lips were dry and when Hermione grumbled, “You can do better than that,” Harry silently agreed. Harry tried to relax Ron by giving his lower lip a soft lick. Ron gasped, went rigid, pressed closer, grasped Harry’s shoulders and sighed all in the space of a couple of seconds, and suddenly their kiss got a lot better.

Because suddenly Ron was growing stiff in all the right places.

He must be huge, Harry thought, because their thighs were barely touching and Harry could feel the tell-tell bulge of excitement poking out from Ron’s groin. Harry wasn’t aroused of course—it was Ron, his best mate, and he was only kissing him because—well, he couldn’t exactly remember why, not with Ron groaning into his mouth, his fingers clenched into the robes at Harry’s back. Harry was definitely not moving closer either, shifting so his thigh nudged Ron’s erection, raking his fingers through the hair along the nape of Ron’s neck, plunging his tongue between Ron’s parted lips.

“Oh yes, that’s much better. Yes—move your hands down, Ron. Just like that.”

Harry barely registered Hermione’s breathy murmurs; all he knew was that Ron was following her instructions, his fingers creeping down Harry’s spine, cresting over the swell of Harry’s arse. It was only natural to grind against Ron’s hands, but he wasn’t moaning, and he definitely was not thinking about Ron slamming him up against the brick wall, spinning him around and tearing off his trousers so Ron could thrust against his arse.

No, he wasn’t thinking that at all.

“Bloody hell,” Hermione rasped and Ron pulled back, his hands retreating to the safety of Harry’s back. Harry rutted up against Ron to try to recapture his attention, but Ron’s eyes were on Hermione, growing wider by the second.

And when Harry finally followed Ron’s stare, he could understand why. Hermione stood close, rubbing lazy circles across her stomach, her eyes glazed over, a hot flush creeping across her cheeks.

“We need to go. Now, Ron.”

Before Harry could protest, Hermione yanked Ron out of his arms, whipping her wand out in the same movement, and with a quick, “Sorry—owl you later, Harry” they disappeared with a loud pop.

The sound of unenthused clapping jerked Harry’s attention from the empty spot where Ron and Hermione had been, and he turned to find the last person in the world he wanted to see at a time like this, excepting maybe Rita Skeeter. And that was a big maybe.

“Malfoy.” Harry glared.

“Potter.” Malfoy looked pointedly at Harry’s groin. “Looks like you’ve got a little problem there.”

“It’s not-” Harry glanced down, then quickly bunched his robes across his front, before returning to his standard Malfoy-you-utter-git glare. His problem was quite a long way from being ‘little,’ not that he should care what Malfoy thought. “What do you want?”

“Just wanted to show my appreciation for the show. Things must be pretty rough if you’ve gotten so desperate for attention, you’re snogging the Weasel.” Draco’s lip curled in disgust.

“Shove off, Malfoy.”

“Are you sure that’s what you want?” Draco walked toward Harry, pulling a Daily Prophet out from where it was tucked up under his arm. “I know for a fact you prefer blonds.”

He tossed the paper at Harry’s feet, and before Harry could react, he strode by, brushing a single finger along Harry’s arm as he passed. “See you around, Potter.”


--


Should have said, ‘Don’t believe everything you read,’ Harry thought, replaying the run-in with Malfoy again in his mind, nearly 24 hours later. No, that’s rubbish—I could send him an owl, because I don’t like blonds at all, and especially not him, and he doesn’t need to go round thinking I do or that anything’s little, because it’s definitely not little.

“Harry, are you listening to me?”

Harry jumped at Mr. Weasley’s voice, surprised to find him sitting behind his desk, a mask of barely tolerated patience over his normally kind features. “Sorry—didn’t see you come in.”

“Today’s Prophet, I’d asked if you’d seen it.” But before Harry could answer, Mr. Weasley tossed it across his desk, the paper sliding down the other side, landing in Harry’s lap. Staring up at Harry from the front page was the same picture that had been on the front page that morning in his flat. In the midst of bacon attempting to crawl back up his esophagus, Harry had almost convinced himself it was a joke, that Malfoy had somehow jinxed his paper for a laugh. But as soon as Harry received the owl demanding another meeting with Mr. Weasley, Harry’s delusions had disappeared.

According to Hermione, all was going to plan (when did he agree to a plan?), but Hermione didn’t have to face Mr. Weasley with a picture of her snogging Ron on the front page of the Daily Prophet.

“My son, Harry?”

“I’m sorry, if you let me explain-”

“Maybe I could have been clearer yesterday, and even if you’d decided not to follow my advice, or weren’t being careful—just a slip up, I could have handled just a slip up, but you…my son—do you have any idea how much trouble I’m in at home?”

“Sir?” Harry knotted his brow. That wasn’t exactly the reaction he’d been expecting.

“Molly’s all in a titter.” Mr. Weasley leaned over the desk, his voice dropping to a whisper. “You see, I sort of let it slip that I’d told you about Remus-”

“Mr. Weasley-”

“And she knows how close you boys are, and she’s convinced you told Ron, and Ron wanted to, er, emulate his dad, you know-”

Mr. Weasley-”

“You didn’t tell Ron, did you? You understood that was private, not that we care if you and Ron would like to be, er, closer, but privately, you see? If you had trouble finding some place to go, you could always come over-”

“It was all Hermione’s idea,” Harry shouted, effectively cutting Mr. Weasley off. “And I didn’t tell her either—I haven’t told anyone.” How could he tell anyone when he was too busy pretending he didn’t know anything about it?

“Good, good—ah, Hermione, yes,” Mr. Weasley murmured thoughtfully. “That does make sense. Well, Harry, whatever you three decide to do,” Mr. Weasley winked, “keep in mind the reporters? The Minister was a trifle upset with you this morning.”

“He’s not going to take back my acceptance into Auror training is he? Because this is never going to happen again—I swear-” He was never following Hermione’s advice again, so he could well guarantee that.

“Oh no, not this time, Harry. I told him this was all a misunderstanding.” Mr. Weasley stood and clasped Harry’s shoulder. “But mind you, I won’t be able to help you out again. And to think, all these years I really thought you were interested in Ginny. Should have listened to the wife!”


--


Harry slammed down his empty glass and gestured to the barkeep for another firewhisky, “a double thisstime,” then propped his head up on his hand, watching the amber liquid flow from the bottle to his future glass. Really, they should just cut out the middle man and have the bartender pour right into his throat, save everyone some time.

The Prince of Tech was a local pub in Earl’s Court that catered to Muggles on the first floor, but upstairs was reserved for Wizarding clients, and mainly wizards at that, as all the bartenders were witches who wore artfully placed scraps of fabric covering just enough for decency’s sake. Harry had only been to the pub once before when Ron and George thought it would be funny to stage a ‘coming-out’ party for Harry there. He remembered how disgusted Hermione had been with what she’d declared was “practically prostitution, honestly!”

And that was why Harry had chosen The Prince of Tech as his pub of choice that evening. To escape Hermione. She’d been at him all day, sending him owls about their so-called plan, ignoring him when he pleaded with her to leave it, that he just wanted to be an Auror and do what Mr. Weasley said, and he’d worry about his love life later. Worse she kept rubbing in the fantastic sex she and Ron had had, and hinting around for a repeat show; she didn’t seem to care that she’d left Harry with a raging hard-on for Draco Malfoy to discover and proclaim ‘little.’

Like Malfoy was anyone to talk. Harry was sure Malfoy’s cock was thin and angular, just like his owner, with the slit curled into a snobby smirk.

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the poster boy for poofs.” Malfoy slithered onto the barstool next to Harry, as if just thinking about him caused him appear. “Trying to restore your hetero reputation?”

“Sod off, Malfoy.”

Malfoy arched an eyebrow as the bartender returned.

“Your usual, love?”

“Mmm hmm, and as it seems I have some catching up to do,” Malfoy cocked his head toward Harry, “make it a double.”

“We are not drinking together.”

“You came to my local.”

“Your local? But you’re a poof!”

Malfoy gave Harry a pointed look. “Clearly they don’t bar us at the door, do they?”

“Oh, sod off.”

“And now you’re repeating yourself. Brilliant as always, Potter.”

“Fuck, I need another drink.”

Harry told himself he was going to leave at the end of that drink, as soon as his glass was empty, because avoiding Hermione wasn’t worth having to deal with Malfoy, but Malfoy always seemed to have a new glass of whisky ready for his parched lips as soon as he finished the last one, and he couldn’t waste perfectly good whisky, could he? Especially as now that Malfoy was ordering, it was the stuff from the top shelf, stuff that Harry could afford himself but never ordered, always feeling like it was way too extravagant.

But Malfoy could order it, because Malfoy didn’t care about looking extravagant. Malfoy didn’t give a fuck what anyone else thought. Malfoy was lucky.

“You’re lucky,” Harry repeated his thought aloud as he accepted the filled glass Malfoy had just scooted over to him.

“Really.” Malfoy snorted.

“Yeah—no one would care if you were a whiny little bottom. Wouldn’t be writing stories about it.”

“That’s because I’m not a bottom.” Malfoy licked his lips, catching a stray drop of whisky on his tongue. “Malfoys never bottom.”

“Right. Well…don’t know what you’re missing.” Harry meant to say something insulting there, he really did, but he was too busy staring at Malfoy’s mouth, at the hint of his tongue peeking out over his lower lip. Malfoy’s tongue didn’t fit Malfoy at all; it looked soft and wet and perfect for wiggling around in tight spaces. Harry squirmed on his stool.

“So those articles weren’t entirely false, then?” Draco brushed back a strand of blond hair that had fallen into his eyes.

“Hmm? Oh—right, yeah, I’m a bottom,” Harry said, dismissing the fact with a wave of his hand. “Enough of that—stick out your tongue again.”

Malfoy laughed and for once it wasn’t harsh mocking followed by a sneer of disgusted pleasure. No, this time his head rolled back exposing the pale curve of his throat, the tips of his hair curling behind his ear, and Harry found himself moving closer, parting his lips for a taste.

And for one sweet moment his tongue slid across that smooth skin. Then Malfoy jerked back and Harry fell off his stool, landing in an ungainly heap on the floor, his head slumped against the bottom of the bar.

“What did ya do that for?” he groaned, raising his head to rub his temple.

“You’re pissed, Potter.”

“M’not.”

“Yes, you are.” Draco grunted as if he were exerting a bit too much effort for his frail body to handle, and Harry finally realised that the tugging of his arms was Malfoy trying to lift him off the floor.

Harry giggled.

“Fuck,” Malfoy hissed.

“You’re weak!”

“You try lifting a ton of dead weight.”

“I don’t weigh a ton—not nearly a ton.” Harry threw his arms around Malfoy’s neck as Malfoy finally managed to hoist him to his feet. Harry giggled again.

“That’s it. Time to get you home.”

“Mmm, you gonna take me home? That’s more like it,” Harry tried to whisper seductively, but his words slurred around his mouth. Maybe he was a bit pissed. But that wasn’t going to stop him from sucking on the delectable pointed ear in front of him.

“Ugh, Potter—maybe if you weren’t pissed out of your head,” Malfoy said, but Harry, even in his drunken state, noticed that this time Malfoy wasn’t pulling away. He slid his lips down Malfoy’s neck as Malfoy tightened his hold on Harry’s waist.

“Come on. Stop that—seriously, Potter. You have to tell me where you live.”

“Not telling,” Harry mumbled against Malfoy’s throat. His head fell to Malfoy’s shoulder which was surprisingly comfortable. Not at all as bony as it looked. Harry closed his eyes. “Mmm, nice.”

“Fuck, I swear to Merlin if you pass out on me-” Malfoy’s voice was growing fainter by the word, but Harry didn’t mind. Malfoy would be much better company if he’d just shut his mouth and let Harry suck on his skin for a while.

And then, everything went black.


--


A pounding hammer woke Harry with a start. He glanced around the room, looking for the noise that had yanked him from his sleep so he could hex it and get back to his pillow, when he realised two things. One, the hammering only existed inside his head and two, he had no idea where he was.

Harry jerked to a sitting position, muttering, “Fuck” when the hammer swung harder with his movement. He had to think. Where could he possibly be? Obviously someone’s flat, and considering his state, probably some bloke he’d met at some pub the night before. Some bloke that had a four poster bed all in black, with Slytherin green sheets made of silk, and a large Slytherin crest hanging on the wall. A twined silver serpent staring at him with its emerald eye…

“Oh, fuck me,” Harry groaned and fell back against the bed.

“How many times do I have to say no, Potter?”

Harry cracked an eye at the doorway, though he knew exactly who the sneering voice came from. Malfoy stood there, draped against the frame, dressed only in a pair of green boxers that hung off his hips with a cup of coffee steaming in one hand, and what looked suspiciously like the Daily Prophet in the other. He raked his gaze across Harry in the bed.

“You mean, we didn’t-”

“No. Not thanks to your lack of trying, though.” Malfoy sauntered in the room and perched on an armchair next to the bed.

“Right,” Harry snorted. “I’m sure I just threw myself at you, right?”

“Something like that.” Malfoy took a sip of his coffee and Harry must have looked at the cup longingly because Malfoy said, “To your left, though you might want the hangover potion first.”

True to Malfoy’s word, there was a matching cup of steaming coffee on the nightstand next to a potion vial that looked like a hangover remedy. Harry grabbed the vial and swallowed the contents all in one go, and to his relief, the hammering in his head faded to a dull throb.

“Er, thanks.”

Malfoy answered with an amused smirk that Harry decided to ignore in favour of sitting up more fully so he could drink his coffee. That was when he noticed he was naked, save for the boxers he wore under his clothes the day before.

Harry narrowed his eyes.

“I slept on the couch,” Malfoy said dryly. “Though I thought it would only be gentlemanly of me to make you more comfortable first.” A slow smile stretched across Malfoy’s lips. “And I do have to apologise for my comment the other day. It seems your ‘problem’ is not so little after all.”

“You peeked!”

“Can you blame me?” Malfoy leaned back with another smirk. “But I think you’ve got other things to worry about.”

Malfoy tossed the Daily Prophet over to the bed, and once again Harry discovered himself on the cover, though his head was buried in Malfoy’s neck and he looked more like he was falling-down drunk rather than trying to snog Malfoy. But apparently that didn’t matter to Rita Skeeter, because above the picture in large blocked print was, “The Boy Who Bends Over: Harry Potter confesses he’s a bottom to Draco Malfoy.”

“You bloody wanker-”

Draco raised his eyebrows. “Pardon me?”

“You did this! You—you—I can’t think of a good enough insult, but when I do, I swear-” Harry crumpled up the paper and chucked it across the room.

“In case you didn’t notice, I was a little busy taking care of your drunk arse to give an exclusive.”

“But how else could-”

“Potter.” Malfoy leaned forward, over-articulating his words as if Harry were too thick to understand normal English. “You were in a Wizarding pub, pissed, and, well, maybe you don’t know, but you’re a bit loud when you’re pissed. Anyone could have overheard you throwing yourself at me.”

Unfortunately, Malfoy was making a bit too much sense for Harry’s liking. Except for that last bit.

“I was not throwing myself at you.”

“Fine, fine, whatever you say, Potter.” Malfoy relaxed back in the chair, taking another swallow of his coffee. “Point being, I didn’t really fancy becoming your latest shag for the cover story either, you know.”

“But we didn’t, right?”

“No, for the last time. I like my partners to be a bit more oh, awake, shall we say? Not that anyone’s going to believe we didn’t shag after that article.”

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.”

“Relax. It’s not so bad for you. I’m clearly a step up from the Weasel.”

Harry glared at Malfoy, looking so innocent in his arm chair, daintily sipping his coffee. “You don’t get it. I’ve already gotten two warnings from the Ministry for this—I’m out, I know I’m out.”

“What are you raving on about?”

Before Harry could answer, an owl swept through the open window, dropped a letter in Harry’s lap, and flew out, clearly instructed not to wait for a response.

Harry looked down. The letter had a Ministry seal on it. Mr. Weasley’s letters never had a Ministry seal on them.

“Oh God, I can’t open it.” Harry grabbed the letter and shoved it at Malfoy. “You open it.”

Malfoy put his cup down and took the letter. “I don’t see what the-”

“Just read it all right? Not out loud, either…just, er, tell me what it says.”

Malfoy rolled his eyes, but grabbed a letter opener from the nightstand and slid through the seal. He scanned the letter while Harry fidgeted with his coffee, sloshing a bit on his hand. He quickly wiped it up with the edge of the sheet before Malfoy looked up.

“It just says that the Minister wants to see you this afternoon.”

“Oh fuck.”

“Why is it such a problem that Shaklebolt wants to see you?”

“Minister Shaklebolt,” Harry corrected absently. He shook his head. “You don’t understand—all these articles? I’ve been called in after each one, because I’m a public figure and everyone knows I’m going into Auror training this fall, and it wouldn’t look good if I was gay, I guess, or a bottom and flaunting it around, but I’m not flaunting it around, I swear, but I’m going to kicked out, I know it.”

Malfoy looked at Harry in disbelief. “Because you’re gay.”

“Yes.”

“And a bottom.”

“Yes,” Harry said, exasperated.

“Well that’s the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard.” Draco sipped his coffee.

“Well, yeah, it’s stupid,” Harry said, shifting up further in bed, “but I really should have tried harder not to-”

“Not to what? Be a hero?”

“That’s not what I’m talking about—I’m not a hero.”

Malfoy snorted. “You defeated Voldemort, right? I didn’t just imagine that, did I?”

“Well, no—but that doesn’t mean-”

“And you’re everything that’s good and righteous and wholesome and a Gryffindor, through and through.” Malfoy’s lips twisted. “You save everyone, regardless if they’re worth saving, right? Because it’s ‘the right thing to do.’”

“Well, er…I guess.”

“And it’s not like you need to be an Auror. You could go off and roll around in your bank vaults for the rest of your life, because you don’t really need to work, do you?”

“Well, no, I suppose-”

“You don’t need them. They need you.” Malfoy set his coffee down, licking his lips. “I knew the Ministry was full of mind-numbing sycophants, but I didn’t realise our new Minister was completely mental.”

“He’s not so bad-”

“Not so bad?” Malfoy stood. “He’s threatening to not let you in the Auror program because it won’t look good if everyone knows you’re gay.”

“And a bottom.”

“Yes, and a bottom.” Malfoy leaned over the side of the bed. “They’re a bunch of wankers.”

“Yeah?” Harry licked his lips nervously, a strange warmth filling his stomach.

“Yes, Potter.” Malfoy slid a knee onto the bed, slowly crawling closer until he was hovering over Harry, his hands braced on Harry’s shoulders. “And you’re going to go to the Ministry and tell them they’d be fools not to hire you, because you’re Harry fucking Potter, saviour of the fucking Wizarding World. And it doesn’t matter what you do in bed or who reports about it.”

“Yeah?” Harry whispered. Malfoy leaned closer until their noses were barely touching. “You’re not going to take me somewhere for a public snog, are you?”

Malfoy chuckled, his breath fluttering over Harry’s lips. “No. After you’re done at the Ministry, you’re going to come back here, and I’ll help you celebrate properly. In private.”

“Celebrate? I mean—what if he still kicks me out?” Harry asked weakly.

“If he does, I’ll do that thing with my tongue that you were thinking about last night.”

“How do you know-”

Draco dipped down, his lips brushing over Harry’s ear. “You need to practice Occlumency, Potter.”