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You died in my sleep last night. Death dreams you don't forget. It's been a while since I dreamed this but even now, when asleep, I'll tread with care

*

Draco’s good at sex. He’s fucking excellent at it. From the moment he walked into a dimly lit bar in Vauxhall, he knew he’d found his calling. The loos might have been rank and the décor could certainly have used the Malfoy touch, but it was just seedy enough to enable him to learn everything he needed to know about sucking cock in one evening. He doesn’t get on his knees much these days. He prefers to be the one with his prick in someone else’s mouth, but he chalks it up to experience. In the right circumstances – in a bed with silk sheets – he’s more than happy to do his bit.

He knows just how to make hot young male models and Muggle popstars beg for a good fucking. He once managed to reduce a fledgling Muggle actor to tears and embarrassing declarations of love after a thorough rimming. He knows how to use his mouth, his tongue, his fingers and the anatomy he’s been blessed with. He’s pretty much got sex down to a fine art, by all accounts. It’s his thing. Theo can write the most salacious gossip columns, Blaise is excellent at poker, Pansy’s made her fortune in trading wizarding stocks and shares and Gregory has his carpentry business. Draco is a socialite, filthy rich, gorgeous (even if he does say so himself) and brilliant in the sack.

“Malfoy?”

“Christ, Potter. Stop talking for a minute will you?”

Draco’s really good at this. Really, he is. That’s why he’s more surprised than anyone when his hands start to shake and Potter gives him this look through lidded eyes, his lips kiss-bitten and delectable. It’s not supposed to be this way. Potter’s supposed to go home after his first time with the name Draco Malfoy etched permanently on his brain. He’s supposed to say please and thank you and maybe fall in love just a little bit – just enough for Draco to tell him to clear off and thanks for a great time, Scarhead. Potter’s supposed to be just another Malfoy conquest. Just another story to tell Theo and Blaise over a glass of something expensive.

It’s not supposed to be Draco who’s thrown off kilter. Potter’s not supposed to leave Draco’s heart hammering as if he’s just finished a Quidditch match.

Potter sits up, his brow furrowed. He makes Draco ache, he’s so damn gorgeous. He pushes his hair back from his forehead, chest damp with perspiration. He’s so very earnest and he stretches out his hand to touch Draco’s arm, sending sparks of sensation through Draco’s skin and blood pumping through his veins.

“Everything okay, Malfoy?”

“No,” Draco says.

It’s not okay at all.

* *

There’s a tear in the sky. It zig-zags across the velvet midnight and obliterates the stars. The earth beneath it is scorched and barren, the once plush gardens black like charcoal.

The slash of light is bright green and the air hums with magic. There’s a hiss, an incantation in sibilant tones and a laugh. It’s high-pitched and violent. Draco hadn’t ever thought a laugh could be violent until then; until now.

He presses his nose to the window. The glass is icy cold to the touch. Nothing gets warm in the Manor these days. The place reeks of death and the paintings howl with delight when the screams start from the dungeons.

One, two, three. Remember you’re a wizard. Remember you’re a Malfoy. Breathe in the air, remember you’re alive.

Draco’s breath leaves him in a warm puff which leaves a misty circle on the window. He writes on the glass. He doesn’t realise he’s written Potter’s name until he’s finished – finger hovering, hand swiping across the glass to obliterate all evidence of shifting loyalties.

“Come on, Potter.” He says. Potter’s name falls from his tongue like a prayer. When did a hazy memory of Potter become this godly thing that Malfoys prayed to under the light of shattered skies? Around the same time Potter started appearing in Draco’s dreams, he supposes. The ones that don’t end badly. The ones that end with an outstretched hand and Potter’s face streaked with mud and tears.

Come with me, Malfoy. I’ve got you.

Draco lies on his bed and stares at the ceiling. He counts the cracks in the plaster and shoves his fingers in his ears to block out the sounds from downstairs.

Sometimes he dreams Potter doesn’t make it. Draco’s eating another silent supper at a large table full of people too scared to make any noise or too lost to care if they live or die. They bring in the body and it’s all broken bones and porcelain skin. Potter’s scar is violent red and his lips part in a silent shout. Draco wants to touch him, just to feel a pulse. He wants Potter to be alive. He doesn’t want to hear the scrape of metal forks on china plates or the victory song which hums and trembles through the walls of the Manor. He wonders if the world might start to crumble if Potter dies. Sometimes it feels like that – like Potter’s resilience is the one thing keeping everything together.

Draco’s never hated and needed someone as much as Potter right now. It makes his stomach clench and his heart pound furiously.

He blinks into the darkness and hopes.

* *

Azkaban is the darkest place on earth.

The waves crash relentlessly against the broken walls and the walls hum with the pain of a long time ago. The Dementors aren’t there anymore, but they might as well be. The cells fill with ghosts when the sun goes down and every single one has a story. They’re not like the ghosts at Hogwarts, the ones that haunt Azkaban. They’re the men who come to Draco, open mouthed and glassy eyed. The ones who were Kissed. The women who steal the breath from his longs with icy fingers on his thighs, telling him it’s going to be okay love and maybe he’s just born wrong. Just like they were.

Potter comes every week. He’s got business in the area, he says with a wry smile.

“Business in the middle of an ocean?” Draco can’t keep the disdain from his voice. He hates that Potter gets to see him in chains. He hates that more than anything.

“You’d be surprised.” Potter rubs a hand to his jaw, dark with stubble. He’s got shadows under his eyes and his smile is fleeting. Perhaps Potter’s just as fucked up as Draco is, beneath the Auror robes and hero complex. Maybe the war broke them both. “How are you?”

“Splendid, Potter.” Draco yanks at his cuffs and the chains clatter, causing a guard to shift towards them. Potter raises his hand and the guard steps back. Fucking Potter. “Does everyone listen to everything you say?”

“Not always.” Potter smiles and this time his eyes shine with it, as if it’s genuine for once. “You don’t. You never did.”

“That’s because I think you’re a pillock.” Draco folds his hands together in as dignified a manner as he can muster. He doesn’t want to make small talk. He wants to get straight down to business. “You’ve spoken to my lawyer?”

“Yes.” Potter reaches into his robes and pulls out a few scruffy papers that look well-thumbed. There’s a spot of coffee on the edge of the parchment and a drop of candle wax. “Here you go.”

Draco thumbs the wax and gives Potter a look. “Burning the midnight oil for me, Potter?”

He’s surprised when Potter blushes. He’s even more surprised when Potter doesn’t deny it.

“You shouldn’t be here. You were coerced…”

“You tell yourself that.” Draco snorts and strokes his fingers over the words, the coffee stain making his heart clench. He wonders if Potter’s still at Grimmauld Place, surrounded by dust and shadows and spending his nights working on getting Death Eater’s out of prison. “I knew what I was doing.”

“Did you?” Potter looks like he doesn’t believe it and now it’s Draco’s turn to shrug.

“I thought I did. Isn’t that enough?”

Potter doesn’t reply. He bites his nail and stares at the papers spread out on the rickety table. Everything in Azkaban is old and broken. If Draco doesn’t get out soon he’s going to end up the same way. People don’t get out of Azkaban intact if they’re there too long. They always leave part of themselves behind. The human bits. The warm bits. Draco doesn’t know if he has any left, even now. He’s not sure they survived the war.

“I’m going to put in a word on your behalf. More than a word. I’m speaking to the Wizengamot on Monday. If it goes according to plan they’ll have you out in a week.”

“If it doesn’t?”

Potter looks away, his silence speaking volumes. “Are they treating you okay?”

Draco stares at Potter, a burst of laughter escaping him. It’s harsh and cold. His father taught him how to laugh like that, without any humour.

“Like a prince.” Draco edges closer, the sadist in him eager to see Potter squirm. “Do you know what they do to rich boys in a place like this, Potter? The ghosts, I mean? They like me, because I’m so young. They tell me their stories. I’ve always loved a good bedtime story.”

Potter frowns, his hand inching across the table almost as if he’s going to hold Draco’s hand. Draco yanks his hands back, settling them in his lap. His skin burns from the thought of Potter’s fingers on his own. He’s not sure he could escape physical contact unscathed.

“I didn’t know there were ghosts.”

Draco purses his lips and looks down. Potter’s eyes are impossibly green and it hurts to look at him. To be reminded of the hundred ways there are to be a man. “Well there are.” He stares at Potter again. “There’s one I don’t mind. The dog. He barks at the rest of them. It keeps them back a bit. He’s a scruffy bloody mongrel, but I like him.”

Potter’s expression clouds, his eyes blinking furiously. He clasps his hands together and lets out a ragged breath, murmuring something which sounds like thanks.

There’s a dull whine signalling the time for visits is over. The few people who bother to come to Azkaban stand as Potter gathers the papers and gives Draco a nod. “I’ll be in touch.”

“Okay.” Draco doesn’t attempt to stand. He doesn’t want Potter to watch him shuffle towards a cage with shackles around his ankles. He’s not sure he could stand it. “Is the money secure?”

Potter rolls his eyes and nods again. “Yeah. Don’t worry, Malfoy. You’ll still be loaded when you get out of here.”

“If,” Draco corrects.

Potter doesn’t respond, his expression fierce and determined.

He’s right. The if doesn’t bear thinking about.

* *

When Draco’s released, it’s Potter that comes to collect him. He’s got a bag in plush leather with Draco’s initials monogrammed on the side.

“I thought you might want to change.”

“Thoughtful.” Draco keeps the sarcasm at bay and takes the bag. His clothes look like they might not fit him now, strange reminders of another boy from another time. He changes nevertheless while Potter averts his eyes. The jumper is warm, charcoal cashmere and thankfully the sleeves are long enough to hide the marks which still circle his wrists. Draco doesn’t want Potter to give him that pity-filled look, making Draco remember that he owes Potter his freedom. “Ready.”

“Right, then. You’re okay sharing a broom?” Potter can’t seem to meet Draco’s eyes and in this, at least, Draco’s full of easy confidence.

“It’s not my first time on another boy’s broom, Potter.” Draco keeps the words loaded, a smirk he doesn’t quite feel rising on his lips.

“Yeah. ‘Course not.” If Potter gets the innuendo, he doesn’t acknowledge it. Potter’s always been so very straight. He heaves out a ragged breath and seems to be looking for something – or someone. Potter’s so peculiar. Most people who come to Azkaban never want to come back. Potter’s the only person Draco knows who seems eager to prolong their time in his shitty cell for as long as possible.

“They only come at night. The ghosts.” Draco checks his watch. It’s Muggle and extraordinarily expensive. He asked his mother to send it as proof he is, in fact, still rich. “Which is hours away.”

He thinks he knows what Potter’s waiting for. The ghost of the shaggy mongrel that curled up at the foot of Draco’s bed and kept the rest of the ghosts away. Draco’s not stupid. He knows enough about Sirius Black to put two and two together.

“Reckon we should go, then.” Potter casts another fleeting look around, a pained look on his face. Perhaps he wants to gather the ghosts up in his arms with Draco and save them too. Draco wouldn’t put it past him. He should wake up and realise the dead aren’t coming back. At least not in the form Potter wants to see them in. Potter gestures to the door, polite boy that he is. “You first.”

“What a gentleman.” Draco resists the urge to roll his eyes and makes his way out of the prison until he’s finally breathing fresh, salty sea air. It’s glorious. He can taste freedom as clearly as the salt on his tongue. When the spray covers his cheeks he’s grateful for the fact it hides tears he’s barely aware of until he tastes their warmth on his tongue. If he was a better man, he would thank Potter. As it is, he rubs his face and taps his foot impatiently. “Come on, then. I want to be home before nightfall.”

“Demanding bastard, aren’t you?” Potter lets out a harrumph of annoyance and mounts the broom like he was born to fly. He probably was. It’s written on the stars, somewhere. “You’ll need to hold on to my-”

“I know, for the love of Merlin. I’ve flown before, you stupid prat.” Draco isn’t sure why the idea of being behind Potter makes him nervous, but it does. He pretends he couldn’t give two figs and settles behind Potter, wrapping his arms around Potter’s waist. He’s solid, strong and he smells delicious. He’s got the kind of wiry athletic sort of frame that’s been known to make Draco hard and eager in the past. He thinks he hears Potter’s breath hitch but perhaps that’s just an errant fantasy. Draco needs to get laid. Immediately. He needs to fuck Potter right out of his brain and quickly.

He presses close to Potter as they take to the skies, leaving Azkaban far behind.

Neither of them look back.

* *

Draco doesn’t see Potter for weeks.

He hears about him, doing heroic things and saving the world one war criminal at a time. It’s like the papers can’t get enough of Potter and despite himself, Draco looks for the articles every day with greedy curiosity. Potter still hasn’t learned how to shave properly by the look of things. He’s still tight-jawed and his face bristles with dark stubble. Sometimes he’s in his full Auror finest and on other occasions he’s simply dressed in a jumper and jeans with tears at the knee.

Draco spends his days making investments until he’s earning enough on interest alone to make him a rich man. He gets his hair cut and buys new tailored Muggle clothes for his nights out at swanky restaurants and bars in London. It’s easier picking up men when they don’t know your history. He’s well able to pretend he’s just another rich boy looking to get his cock sucked by a celebrity.

Draco has a lot of sex. He fucks his way around Muggle London until the papers that have nothing to do with their world know exactly who Draco Malfoy is. They don’t know he’s a wizard, obviously. They just know he’s somebody and really that’s all Draco’s ever wanted to be. Somebody.

He graces Muggle gossip columns like Potter graces the Prophet. One day a photo of Potter shows him flicking through a Muggle paper, a tall mug of hot chocolate and a half-eaten croissant at his side. Draco stares at the picture for longer than he cares to admit and wonders if Potter reads about Draco with the same kind of curiosity Draco feels when the Prophet arrives on his doorstep.

Not that he sits around staring at Potter’s pictures, of course. Draco’s so busy he hardly has time to think about the damp Azkaban prison walls or the ghosts of the damned.

He hardly has time to miss Potter’s visits at all.

* *

“I thought maybe we could go for a drink.” Potter’s awkward and fucking beautiful and he finds Draco on a routine visit to the Ministry. Draco has a lot of those. He has to demonstrate he’s a good person, a person who isn’t going to start another Death Eater revolution. He mainly does that by throwing money at the place. The Ministry has a glorious new library courtesy of Draco trying to keep himself out of jail.

Potter pushes back onto his heels and looks at the ceiling. “It’s okay if you’re busy.”

“It’s fine. Settle down.” Draco’s heart does a pit patter which is unfamiliar and unexpected. He grabs his coat with a flick of his wand, while Potter stares at the clouds. They walk briskly and Draco hopes Potter knows where he’s going. He has no idea where Aurors go drinking when they’re on a break. He’s not entirely sure he’s ready to find out.

“You’re doing okay?” Potter glances at Draco, his hands shoved in his pocket and his cheeks flushed from the cool morning breeze. “After…everything.” He waves a hand as if everything is a sufficient catch all for living with the Dark Lord for a year, watching people scream under the force of Cruciatus and finding yourself locked up in Azkaban.

“Better than the last time you saw me.” Draco decides to let Potter’s hand wave slide. “You’re quite the celebrity these days. Doing your bit for the incarcerated and the needy.”

Potter snorts and scuffs his toe on the floor. This is one of his casual days and his pumps are light grey canvas and threadbare. Draco tries not to be charmed by them. “I’m trying my best. I don’t ask to be followed around all over the place.”

“I’m sure you don’t.” Draco resists the urge to roll his eyes.

“I’m not the only one hitting the headlines.” Potter gives Draco a look out of the corner of his eye, his lips curving upwards. “They encourage Aurors to stay on top of Muggle news these days. We need to keep an eye out for suspicious activity in the Muggle world.”

Draco raises his eyebrows at Potter. “I’m fairly certain they don’t mean you should check the gossip columns. Muggle actor enjoys getting his prick sucked is hardly a headline the Aurors should be worrying about.”

Potter laughs, a low huff and he shakes his head. “I suppose not. I wouldn’t have thought you’d be into the Muggle scene.”

“What sort of scene do you think there is for me in my world?” Draco scowls at Potter for being obtuse. “I’m not exactly considered a catch.”

Potter shrugs and he looks up, meeting Draco’s gaze head on. “Aren’t you?”

Draco holds Potter’s gaze for as long as he can stand before looking away.

They walk the rest of the way in silence.

* *

When they get to the pub it’s quiet which is probably because most normal people have actual jobs and would get fired if they went out drinking with former Death Eaters in the afternoon.

“Coffee?” Potter doesn’t sound terribly enthusiastic.

“Alcohol.” Draco checks his watch. It’s perfectly okay to drink at four in the afternoon. He’s enjoyed more than one bottomless champagne brunch which started well before the afternoon. Besides, he’s not sure he and Potter need caffeine. They’re both already edgy enough, Potter hovering without sitting down and a traitorous warmth curling in the pit of Draco’s belly as he takes in the taut lines of Potter’s body. “Definitely alcohol.”

Potter grins, eyes boring into Draco as if he can read his thoughts. God, Draco hopes he bloody well can’t. Thank Merlin he learned the value of Occlumency at a young age. “I don’t usually come to the pub with my friends at this time, you know. Before you tell the Prophet I’m drinking so I can feel or something. It’s just…well, it’s a nice day, isn’t it? Better being out and about than cooped up in the office.”

“I’m sure the people that have to work for a living would agree with you, Potter.” Draco resists the urge to roll his eyes. It’s a frequent response to some of the things Potter says. “Are we friends?”

Potter rubs his chin as he did in Azkaban, his eyebrows knitting into a small frown. “Don’t think so. Maybe we could be?”

Draco shrugs. Theo, Greg, Pansy, Blaise. They’re his friends. Potter’s an anomaly. “It doesn’t seem terribly likely.”

Potter meets Draco's shrug with one of his own. If he’s disappointed he doesn’t show it. “What’s your poison?”

“Argentinian Malbec if they have it. Failing that, a Picpoul.”

“A what?” Potter frowns at Draco, who does roll his eyes this time and scans the wine list. The Leaky Cauldron knows about as much about wine as Potter does.

“Number twenty should do the job. Next time, I choose the bar.”

“There’s going to be a next time?” Potter’s smile lights up the small area around them and Draco’s heart gives an inconvenient flutter.

“If you’re lucky.”

Potter laughs and Draco tries not to focus too closely on his arse as he makes his way to the bar.

* *

“Did you ask me here because the Ministry want you to keep an eye on me?” Draco gets right to the heart of the matter. Potter’s earnest attempts at friendship don’t fool him for a moment.

Potter narrows his eyes and contemplates Draco. “You reckon I’d go for a drink with you because my boss told me to?”

Draco shakes his head. He doesn’t know anymore. He supposes it doesn’t sound terribly Potter-like. He’s never been one for following orders. “Why are we here, then?” If it’s because I feel sorry for you Draco’s going to take Potter down in flames.

Potter rakes his hand through his hair, leaving it haywire and rumpled. Draco has to remind himself that Potter’s straight as they come.

Potter enunciates his words slowly as if he’s speaking to a five year old with a poor grasp of English. “I asked you for a drink and you said yes.” He arches an eyebrow and leans forward, his lips curved in a smile. “You were there weren’t you? I mean, I think you were in the middle of drinking a wanky coffee and you got a bit huffy and okay then, if I must about it. Then we walked here together, mostly in silence because I think I said something that made you uncomfortable. Do you remember?”

Draco huffs and glares at Potter. “I could hardly forget. The sight of you in that hideous outfit is burned on my brain forever.”

“Hideous?” Potter frowns down at his arm, tugging at the sleeve. His jumper is loose, wool and olive green. It looks better on him than Draco cares to admit. “I knew I should have got the house wine.”

Potter doesn’t look terribly put out, sitting back and resting his ankle on his knee. That’s the thing about Potter. He takes up space. He’s a presence you can’t ignore and it’s why – no matter how hard he tries – he’s never going to be able to disappear into the background. He’s too vibrant, too alive. Even in the pub when he’s being told he has shit clothes, he smiles easily and stretches his arm along the back of the seat. He’s relaxed. Happy, even. Draco envies him more than he can say.

“You didn’t make me uncomfortable, either.” Draco straightens in his seat and has a sip of his wine, emboldened by the rich fruitiness and warm alcohol sliding down his throat. “Get over yourself.”

“It made me pretty uncomfortable.” Potter sounds suspiciously like he’s teasing Draco. “All that trudging along and not speaking. I thought you’d have loads to say. Like telling me my clothes offend you, that sort of thing.”

You offend me,” Draco mutters. He turns his glass between his fingers and watches the red liquid slide up and down the glass as he tips it and allows it to fall. “I used to dream you were dead.”

There’s a pause and then Potter laughs, quiet and low. “Is this you making things less awkward? For the record, I’m not sure it’s working.”

Draco looks up and Potter’s still got that warm look in his eyes – the kind that makes Draco forget he can have anyone he wants. He’s not sure why he’s even telling Potter any of this, but somehow he needs to. Potter deserves a modicum of truth. For the visits to Azkaban, Draco supposes. For taking the time to give Draco the fresh taste of freedom, when most wanted to lock him up and throw away the key. “I had dreams during the war. Nightmares. Don’t worry, Potter. It wasn’t a fantasy or anything. Funnily enough, I wanted you to live. Although I’ll deny it if anyone asks.”

“Glad to hear it.” Potter’s hand curls around his pint and he looks down, his hair falling over his forehead and momentarily taking him from Draco’s view. “I know about those nightmares. I had a few of my own. Mostly about people I loved getting killed.”

Draco swallows, because he’s fairly certain at least half of them were killed in the end. Where would he be now if his nightmares came true, like so many of Potter’s? He keeps his face smooth in case Potter thinks he cares. “But you made it through to take me for an appalling glass of wine and talk about the past.” He raises his glass. “I suppose I should say cheers.”

“Cheers.” Potter tips his pint in Draco’s direction, the haunted look leaving him as he relaxes back into his seat. “So why did you say yes when I asked you for a drink?”

If Draco knew the answer to that things would be a whole lot easier. “Because you intrigue me,” he says. It’s revealing enough to make his hands clammy and in other ways it’s not revealing at all.

“I do?” Potter doesn’t seem surprised. Instead he looks thoughtful, taking a slow drink of his pint before studying Draco again. “Why?”

“I don’t understand why you’re so determined to keep up this charade of being friends.” Draco packs as much disdain in the word as he can muster. “It’s stupid and no one’s going to thank you for it, least of all me. But I think you can’t help yourself, can you? You like to save people.”

“Not what this is, actually.” Potter’s face settles in a frown and he looks unhappy. “Azkaban, maybe. Not this, though.”

Draco’s on a roll, sure that he’s got Potter all worked out. “You’re not going to save me, Potter. I’m a hopeless cause.” The terrible thing is being this close to Potter half makes Draco believe it, even as he says it on the back of a brittle laugh.

Potter doesn’t deny it. Instead he takes another drink of his beer and taps his fingers against his trainer, thinking. “Maybe that makes two of us.”

“Hardly. You’re a hero.”

Potter snorts and leans forward, his voice rough. “Don’t you realise I like you because you don’t see me that way? Come on, Malfoy. You know me better than that.” It’s almost as if Potter’s goading Draco into a fight, his eyes sparking strangely. “The big, strong, Auror. Is that really how you see me?”

Draco lets his eyes trail over Potter. “I wouldn’t go that far. I said hero. You came up with the rest. I was a Death Eater, Potter. Have you forgotten?” Draco slides his jumper sleeve high enough so Potter can see the Dark Mark. Just in case he has a selective memory. “You can hardly compare the two of us.”

Potter barely flinches. He spends more time focusing on Draco’s face than is comfortable. “Yeah, Malfoy. I remember.” He cocks his head to one side. “Why can’t I?”

“It should be bloody obvious why not.” Draco nearly splutters out his drink.

Because you made all the right choices and I made all the wrong ones.

Potter licks his lips, averting his gaze. His throat works as if he’s got something to say but it’s hard to push the words out into the open. Draco knows that feeling all too well. “What if I said I might have an ulterior motive for asking you here?”

“I knew it.” Draco glares at Potter. “If you’re after another bloody library, you can ask Nott. He’s making a small fortune writing that column of his.”

Potter raises his eyes heavenward. “Yeah, Malfoy. I’m after your money. Don’t you think there were easier way to get my hands on that when you were in Azkaban?” He shakes his head and lets out another huff of laughter. “I don’t want a fucking library. I’m not Hermione.”

“Close enough.” Draco narrows his eyes, still not prepared to give Potter the benefit of the doubt. “Come on, then. Out with it.”

Potter leans forward again, looking around to check nobody’s listening. “I want you to tell me about it.”

“Which bit of it? The bit where I was locked in my room because the Dark Lord decided I didn’t deserve to be fed for days? Or the bit where I had to watch him-”

Christ, Malfoy. No. Not about that. Not about any of that.” Potter winces and he twists his hands, his cheeks hot red. He looks sheepish and then lets out a jagged breath. “I mean, unless it would help?”

“Not particularly.” Draco drains his wine and gestures for another. He’s damned if he’s standing around at the bar waiting for his drinks. “Then what?”

“About the…Muggles. The men.” Potter’s breath leaves him in a low whoosh. It’s warm and it ghosts over Draco’s skin as Potter edges closer, his eyes bright and his cheeks flushed. “I want you to tell me about that.”

Draco sucks in a breath because, oh.

Isn’t that interesting?

* *

The air between them practically hums as they wait for the barman to finish putting down their drinks. Potter’s hands shake slightly when he pays and when the barman starts saying something about autographs and chips, Draco’s tempted to hex him.

“My cousin loves you. Harry Potter, innit? She thinks you’re bloody brilliant. She’s got all of your posters.”

“I’ve got posters?” Potter looks a bit nauseous and Draco resists the urge to pat his hand and tell the barman his cousin might be barking up the wrong tree.

“Oh yeah, loads of them. There’s one of you on a broom, casting spells all over the place. It’s part of the official Ministry range.”

“The official…oh for the love of Merlin.” Potter puts his head in his hands and bangs his head against the table. The barman gives Draco a look, seemingly noticing him for the first time.

“Is he alright?”

“You know how these celebrities get. It’s exhausting being universally adored.”

The barman laughs, winking at Draco. “Think I’d be okay with it.” He shoves a beermat across the table when Potter lifts his head. “I’ll leave you to it, Harry. Could I just get a quick autograph? My cousin will be made up.”

“No problem.” Potter waits for her name and then scribbles it down, signing his name with a flourish. “Thanks for the drinks.”

“No bother. Enjoy the night, lads.”

Draco doesn’t bother pointing out that it can’t be any later than five o’clock and definitely not night just yet. He fixes his gaze on Potter, whose cheeks are still flushed.

“Now, then.” He leans forward and gives Potter one of his very best come to bed stares. “You were saying?”

“Well, not really. I wanted you to say. That was sort of the point.” Potter’s tongue flicks over his lips and he stares at Draco. He looks even better when he’s flustered than when he’s being righteous.

“Are you asking out of idle curiosity?” Draco takes a sip of his wine. “Or perhaps you’re keen to experiment before you settle down with that Weasley of yours?” This is why Draco exists. The upper hand has shifted and he holds all the cards. He’s been put on the earth to make Harry Potter feel nervous and possibly come in his pants. He can’t help but be smug about it.

“There’s not going to be a marriage to any Weasley.” Potter gives Draco a quick smile. “Unless Charlie’s interested, obviously.”

“Obviously.” Draco resists the urge to pull a face. Of course Potter would go for toxic orange hair and muscles. He probably likes the tattoos. Kinky bastard. “So, not straight, then?”

“Nope.” Potter’s cheeks flush pleasingly and he shakes his head. “Don’t think so.”

Draco sucks in another breath. He’s actually getting half-hard thinking about getting his hands on Potter – his tongue on Potter. He composes himself as best he can and takes another swig of his wine. “Perhaps that’s something we have in common after all.”

“My ulterior motive.” Potter’s smiling now and it’s questioning, hesitant and slow. Easy, like a lazy morning with coffee and hot buttered toast. His smile sends a warmth through Draco’s veins. It’s quite ridiculous how Potter can do more to Draco’s insides with a barely there smile than half of Muggle London can do with their lips, toned bodies and hard cocks. “When did you work it out?”

“I’ve always known.” Draco shrugs, not quite meeting Potter’s eyes. It’s not exactly true. The lightning bolt moment came after a very vivid dream about Potter, the Quidditch broom shed and one of the fastest wanks of his life. Clearly, he’s not planning to tell Potter that anytime soon. “You?”

“Oh.” Potter tugs his bottom lip between his teeth and it makes Draco want to lick it. He wonders if Potter tastes like chocolate frogs and hope. Just like he’s always imagined. “Well, there was a thing...in one of those Muggle papers.” He’s stumbling over his words slightly now, frowning into his pint glass. He looks up, a strange expression on his face. “I was jealous.”

“Because you want to be as attractive to Muggle celebrities as I am?” Draco tries to keep his voice light but there’s a roughness to it.

“Not quite.” Potter pushes his hand through his hair which makes him look even more thoroughly shagged out than usual. “I wasn’t jealous of you.”

“No?” Draco’s not sure he can form proper sentences at the moment so he doesn’t bother trying.

“No. Them. I was jealous of them.”

Draco’s heart stutters in his chest and for a moment he forgets how to breathe.

He’s definitely going to need more wine.

* *

Draco establishes Potter wants to have sex with him during his third glass of wine. What he still can’t work out is why.

“You’re Harry Potter. You could have anyone you want.”

“So could you,” Potter points out. Draco doesn’t tell him that wasn’t true five minutes ago. He didn’t know he could have Potter then. He looks mulish and determined. “Besides, I want someone who knows what they’re doing. Someone who isn’t going to tell the press. When I come out I’m doing it on my own terms.”

“What on earth makes you think I won’t tell the press?” Draco settles back and raises his eyebrows at Potter. They both already know he won’t. Potter’s probably the only person with any influence still interested in making sure Draco stays out of Azkaban. “You’d be my greatest conquest.”

“Flattery will get you everywhere.” Potter grins at that and nudges Draco under the table with his foot.

A thought occurs to Draco and he gives Potter a light kick under the table. It’s not how he usually engages in foreplay, but with Potter he’s not sure why he would expect things to go any differently. “Is that why you put all that effort into getting me out of Azkaban? Because you wanted a shag?”

“For fuck’s sake.” Potter’s cheeks are red and he stares at Draco, eyes wide. “Are you joking?”

Draco is joking. He thinks. Still, making Potter blush and bluster is far too much fun to stop now. “If you think I’m going to get to interrogate me in your Auror uniform, you’re going to have to find somebody else to indulge that little fantasy.”

“I don’t want to interrogate you, oh my god.” Potter drops his face into his hands and lets out a groan which does funny things to Draco’s cock. “I thought you did this all the time.” Potter’s voice is muffled and Draco lets the fact he’s basically been called a slag slide for the time being. He does have a lot of sex. “I didn’t think it would be a big thing.”

“It’s not. If you want me to fuck you, I’m happy to oblige.”

Potter looks up, his expression uncertain. “I just wanted to talk about it for a bit. I wasn’t expecting anything.”

Draco grabs his coat and laugh. This time it sounds warm and natural, bubbling up from deep in his chest. It feels good to laugh properly, without all the hard edges.

“Pull the other one. Now, are you going to come back to mine or aren’t you? I can show you my collection of Dark Artefacts.” Draco manages to smirk at Potter despite the nerves already making his skin tingle with anticipation.

Potter doesn’t reply but he doesn’t say no. He shrugs on his coat and takes a breath before nodding at Draco.

“Right then. Ready when you are.”

Draco’s not sure he’ll ever be ready, but he doesn’t say that. He just takes hold of Potter’s arm and Apparates them without saying another word.

* *

They’re on each other from the moment they get to Draco’s room, lips meeting with desperate urgency. They’ve got all night, but Draco can’t seem to slow it down. Every brush of Potter’s tongue against his own makes his stomach somersault and his heart quicken. When he pushes his hands under Potter’s jumper his skin is hot to the touch. He lets out a whimper into Draco’s mouth when Draco pushes him back against the wall to kiss him with more force. It’s the best sound Draco’s ever heard and he’s had a lot of practice. The way Potter kisses is divine. Draco expects them both to be fighting for control but there’s something easy and relaxed about Potter, pliant under Draco’s hands.

He’s happy to let Draco lead. He trusts that Draco’s not going to fuck it up – not going to fuck Potter up.

The realisation makes Draco pull back so he can stare at Potter for a moment. He wants to ask why him, why now, but then Potter’s kissing him again and it’s everything Draco’s wanted. He never expected Potter to be this eager – this enthusiastic. He thought Potter would be dull and slow in bed, not hot and grinding against Draco with abandon. It’s as if someone’s turned on a switch and Potter’s finally letting himself feel.

Draco tugs off Potter’s jumper and manoeuvres them both to the bed. He sucks at a spot on Potter’s neck, watching the pale skin turn dusky pink as he sucks again. He trails kisses along the line of Potter’s jaw, gripping his chin and moving over him.

“So good. God, Malfoy.” Potter’s voice is deep and husky, his pupils blown wide with arousal. He blinks at Draco before pushing forwards for another kiss, his hand wrapped around the back of Draco’s neck as he pulls him nearer. He smells soapy and clean with the scent of fresh cologne on his neck and his jawline. It’s glorious.

Draco slides his tongue to Potter’s collarbone and down to his nipples, taking one between his teeth and sliding his hand between them to palm at Potter’s cock. He’s hard. Beautifully thick, hot and hard. His jeans are tight and Draco’s momentarily irritated by the thick material between Potter and his hand when everything goes awry.

“Glad…glad you’re my first. I know you wouldn’t want anything else and I can’t, I just…”

Potter’s voice hitches and he bucks up towards Draco with a groan.

He can’t. Draco stills his hand and sits back after a moment, catching his breath in gulps. Potter can’t what? Can’t be with him? Can’t stand the thought of anything more than fucking? The warmth in Draco’s chest ebbs away, an icy hand clutching at his heart.

Draco narrows his eyes when Potter reaches for him, snapping Christ, Potter. Stop talking for a minute. He’s back with the boy in the room, writing Harry’s name on the window and staring at the ceiling hoping for a better future with Harry’s name on his lips.

He’s a teenager again, back to hating and needing Potter more than he’s ever hated or needed anyone in his life.

* *

“Everything okay, Malfoy?”

“No.” Draco doesn’t realise his hand is trembling until he pushes his hair back from his face. He doesn’t know how – after all of this time – Potter still has the capacity to make him nervous and unsettled. His life was good before he started accepting drink invitations from boy wonders with a hero complex.

Potter’s quiet now, clearing his throat and curling his knees up beneath his chin. He watches Draco for a moment before speaking again.

“Was it what I said?”

“Don’t flatter yourself. I wasn’t exactly expecting this to be the beginning of some sort of love affair.” Draco stands and goes to his bathroom. He needs cold water and distance from Potter. He can’t stand it when people see him fall apart.

“It’s not because of you.” Potter clearly doesn’t understand when someone’s body language demands they be left alone. He leans in the doorway, apparently more comfortable being half naked than Draco expected him to be. He looks good, his chest toned, firm and tanned. It’s all Draco can do to look away. “It’s about me.”

“That’s what people say to be polite.” Draco snorts and takes a long drink of water. He hadn’t realised how dry his mouth was until he came in here. He looks in the mirror and touches his fingers to a red flushed mark on his neck. Potter’s mark. He hopes it fades quickly. He doesn’t exactly want to be reminded of this for the next fortnight.

“It’s really true, though.” Potter lets out the kind of laugh Draco hates – the sort with no humour. “You don’t want that, with me. You don’t want to have to deal with the stuff that goes on in my mind these days. No one should.”

Draco stares at himself in the mirror and turns, looking at Potter. Despite his easy stance there’s something about him which is uncertain, his eyes downcast and his voice low and quiet. It’s uncharacteristic and it makes Draco pause. He should have just fucked Potter and told him to leave. He’s happy with his life. He really is. He doesn’t need to start pining over pictures of Potter and sobbing into his expensive wine over the boyfriend he’s not sure he even wants. The truth is, Draco’s not sure he’s going to be able to deal with anything Potter throws at him. He’s not sure he has it in him when there’s so much about himself he needs to work out. But there’s a part of him that resents the implication that he can’t.

“You seem to know a lot about what I want,” Draco says. There's a flicker of panic behind Potter's eyes. Draco wonders how much of Potter’s outward demeanour is just confidence painting over a thousand small cracks. “You don’t even know me.”

“No.” Potter doesn’t try to deny it. He lifts a shoulder in a careless shrug. “You don’t know much about me, either.”

“You think I can just fuck you and…disappear?” Draco’s tone is scathing and Potter flushes, eyes lifting.

“We could be friends?”

“We’re not friends. We never will be.” Draco moves closer to Potter, drawn like a magnet. He’s got a horrible feeling he’s falling, falling and he’s yet to hit the ground. “I have plenty of friends.”

“I didn’t think it mattered,” Potter says and the implication is clear. I didn’t think I mattered. Draco’s not sure he knew how much Potter did – how much he does – until this moment in the bathroom with Potter trembling for reasons Draco doesn’t understand. When did he become so keen to work out what makes Potter tick? When did that become a thing?

“You’re shaking.” Draco brushes his fingers along Potter’s arm. The skin is still hot to the touch and Potter edges closer.

“Oh. Am I?” Potter sounds surprised, burying his head in Draco’s neck and breathing him in.

Draco drags his knuckles along the length of Potter’s spine, tracing his way along the bumps and knots. He rubs the heel of his palm in slow circles against the base of Potter’s back, wondering not for the first time what the fuck he’s doing.

“You’re a mess, darling,” he says, because he can. Because Potter is.

“Already told you that,” Potter mumbles against Draco’s skin. The movement of his lips sends a shiver of pleasure through Draco.

He keeps Potter close for a long time, eventually pulling back just enough to look him in the eyes. “I thought I could do this, but I can’t. Not with you. Not knowing that’s all there is.”

“Okay.” Potter’s voice is still that strange, small thing which doesn’t fill the room anymore. He tugs away from Draco and grabs his jumper, pulling it over his head and standing awkwardly. He looks at the rumpled sheets and grimaces, his eyes meeting Draco’s briefly. “I’ve fucked things up, haven’t I?”

“I’m not sure we had anything to fuck up,” Draco says. The I’m not sure you gave us a chance doesn’t need saying.

When Potter leaves, the house is too silent and still.

Draco ends up going out and finding a Muggle with dark hair and green eyes and he fucks him just to remind himself he can.

It’s splashed all over The Sun the next morning and Draco can’t help but wonder if Potter’s reading.

* *

It’s a fortnight later when Potter turns up on his door, his jaw set. Draco’s heart breaks all over again at the sight of him.

“I can’t stop thinking about you.” Potter barges inside without waiting for an invitation. He turns and stares at Draco when the door closes behind him. “Why is that?”

“I’ve got no idea.” Draco shrugs. “Did you find somebody to scratch that itch of yours?”

Potter’s jaw works and then he shakes his head, tightly. “I wasn’t really looking. I had other stuff to think about.”

“I’m sure it’s fascinating in that brain of yours.” Draco makes it sound like he’s quite sure it isn’t.

“I’m sorry.” Potter moves closer until he’s in Draco’s space and fuck Draco wants to kiss him. “I’m sorry I said that about you not wanting anything else. I didn’t know.”

Draco swallows back a wave of panic wondering what Potter thinks he knows now. He wonders if his heart is that transparent – if his pathetic need for Potter is apparent even when he’s tried so hard to hide it for years.

“There’s nothing to know.” That’s a lie. Draco runs his fingers along Potter’s arms, breathing him in.

“I think…it’s not just you.” Potter’s got a wry smile and he pushes close to Draco until the length of their bodies touch. “With a thing.”

Draco almost laughs because Potter’s so, so bad at this and he shouldn’t be half as endeared by it as he is. This stupid, idiotic boy who has no idea that people pin their hopes on him – that he’s this beacon providing light in the most unexpected of places. He doesn’t laugh though because it catches in his throat when Potter gives him this look that’s so open it makes Draco ache. He’s not sure he deserves to be on the receiving end of a look like that from Potter. He’s not sure he wants to be.

“Sounds like you’re got it all worked out,” he murmurs. He lets their lips touch – a barely-there kiss which makes his head spin.

“Not yet. Want to help?” Potter’s voice is breathless and hopeful.

Draco answers him with a kiss.

* *

They make it past the kissing stage this time, in between a mumbled call me Harry and an uncoordinated journey to Draco’s room.

They take their time stripping out of their clothes, lips and hands everywhere. Harry’s skin is hot and he’s more vocal than Draco expected. Even before they’ve done much more than kiss, he’s stretched out and panting lightly into Draco’s mouth. He lets out a groan into the kiss, Draco’s name falling from his lips. God, Draco likes the way that sounds. His name gasped out by Potter when he’s hard and wanting.

“So good.” Draco captures Harry’s lips again, noticing he seems to like the praise when his cock twitches against Draco’s stomach. He’s already slick at the tip, hard against his belly as he rocks up towards Draco. “Good boy.” Draco nips Harry’s earlobe and whispers in it, hard and rough.

“F-fuck.” It stumbles and falters from Harry’s lips.

“You like that? Being a good boy?” Draco’s not sure if it’s his words or the fact he’s got his hand wrapped around Harry’s cock, swiping his thumb over the tip. He strokes him slowly and Harry’s legs hitch and fall apart with eager readiness. Harry does like it. Draco resolves to explore that fully another time. Now he just wants to fuck Harry without any frills. He wants to take him apart and put him together again. He wants him to look kiss-flushed and wrecked, stretched out on Draco’s sheets with the kind of lazy smile on his face that nobody else gets to see.

Draco slicks his fingers and presses lightly on Harry’s stomach as he makes his way down his body. Harry’s hand tangles lightly in Draco’s hair and the murmured please, please is as good as anything Draco’s heard in ages. He’s desperate to get his mouth on Harry, running his tongue over Harry’s cock and tonguing at the length of him to get him nice and slick. He smells like fresh soap with the light scent of arousal. He’s aching hard beneath Draco’s tongue and the tip of his cock is salty and leaking. Harry jerks towards Draco’s mouth and Draco slips his fingers behind him, stroking over his hole.

“Don’t stop, just…please.” There’s a delightful eagerness in Harry’s tone, restless and urgent. He keeps his legs open for Draco, pushing back towards his finger with a low groan. “Draco.”

There’s not many things that are better than seeing Harry coming slowly apart beneath Draco’s hands. He slides his mouth over Harry’s cock and pushes a slick finger slowly inside Harry. He’s so tight, Draco groans around Harry’s cock and hardly notices Harry yanking his hair with a garbled plea for Draco to stop. With a sigh he pulls off Harry with a pop, adding another finger and slowly fucking into Harry.

“Come on, I’m ready.”

“You’re really not.” Draco bites the inside of Harry’s thigh lightly and gets a sharp, bitten-off cry. “Trust me.”

“I do, you know.” Harry strokes his fingers through Draco’s hair, his voice rough and breathless. “Trust you.”

Draco’s cock twitches with appreciation and he resists the urge to groan at himself. Harry gets to be a kinky fuck and Draco gets turned on by Potter’s devotion. Apparently. He works a third finger into Harry until he can take them easily. He sits back and watches the way Harry takes him deep inside, his face contorted with pleasure. He leans over and kisses Harry, their lips slotting together perfectly as Harry kisses back with messy abandon.

“I want you to…please, I want you to.”

“I know.” Draco hushes Harry and tugs his bottom lip between his teeth. It makes Harry mewl with pleasure and Draco can’t resist a smug smile of satisfaction. Finally, he presses against Harry and pushes inside until he’s fully seated. “There.” There’s no denying the rough edge to his own voice now. He’s done this plenty of times before but rarely has it felt so intimate – rarely has he wanted the person clenching around him so much he can hardly breathe.

“God, Malfoy.” Harry licks his lips, his eyes opening and then fluttering closed as he arches with a groan. He grips onto Draco and murmurs his name over and over again. “Draco. Draco.” It sounds like a plea and with a slow slide, Draco moves as he knows Harry wants. The nerves melt away and it’s just sheer, indulgent pleasure. Harry’s hands are warm and inquisitive, sliding over every inch of Draco’s skin. He fucks into Harry, pushing back his knees until he finds just the right angle. They kiss, they bite and they move together until Harry’s coming untouched in long, sticky stripes over his belly. The sight of him is enough to carry Draco over the edge shortly thereafter, thrusting deep inside Harry and emptying himself until they’re both hot and flushed.

Draco slips out of Harry, noticing with some satisfaction the light whimper from Harry’s lips. “Do you need more?”

“I’m not sure I can…oh.” Harry’s words leave him when Draco’s finger slides over him and dips inside. “Oh, fuck.”

“Eloquent as ever.” Draco smirks against Harry’s lips and then slides a finger inside Harry. They both groan with the glorious filthiness of it all and Draco wonders if he could finger Harry to hardness again and then suck him off until he’s shouting Draco’s name loud enough to wake the paintings. Instead he slides his finger from Harry and kisses him slowly. They have time.

Harry looks at Draco, a little overwhelmed. He licks his lips and swallows, his throat working. “Can I stay?”

“Obviously.” Draco rolls his eyes and then leans in to murmur in Harry’s ear, stroking his hand over Harry’s belly. “I was hoping to fuck you again in the morning.”

“Bloody hell, yes.”

Draco discovers Harry likes slow, lazy kisses after orgasm. His breathing is sleep-heavy and he blinks at Draco when they finally part. He reaches out, a tremble in his hand. His fingers touch to Draco’s forehead and slide over his cheek, to his lips. He brushes his thumb over Draco’s lips and despite everything they've done – everything Draco wants them to do – it’s this touch that’s more intimate than anything Draco could dream up.

The moon shines through the window, casting its watery glow across the room. The warm sensation takes residence in Draco’s chest again, enveloping his heart like a blanket.

“I hope you’re not the sort to fuck and run.” Draco can’t help but imagine waking to the cold frost and early morning sunshine with a Potter-shaped space in the bed.

“No.” Harry burrows closer and he smiles against Draco’s skin. “I’m looking forward to you cooking me breakfast. It’s only polite, isn’t it?”

Draco snorts but lets his hand stray into Harry’s hair nevertheless. He’s not telling Harry as much but if a bacon sandwich is all it takes, he’s pretty sure he can stretch to that.

“Make your own breakfast,” he murmurs instead. No point in letting Potter know he's a total sap just yet. “I’m not your bloody house-elf.”

“No.” Harry looks up, his eyes lidded with sleep. “We’re something though, aren’t we? It’s why I came back. Because I wanted…something.”

“We’re something.” Draco presses a kiss to Harry’s forehead and watches him drift off to sleep.

He listens to Harry’s light snores and rolls onto his back, staring at the ceiling.

For now something sounds just right. He can work the rest out later. They’ve got time, the warmth in Draco’s chest convinces him of that.

He blinks into the darkness and hopes.

~Fin~

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