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I've Waited Here for You (Everlong)

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Come down and waste away with me

Down with me

Slow, how you wanted it to be

I'm over my head


Harry pulled his phone out of his pocket and quickly tapped out a text to Hermione.

Fuck, M is here. Knew this would happen. Where ARE you??!

He tucked the phone away again and took up his cold glass of lager, draining about a third of it. Of all the people in the world, why did Ginny have to rebound with Blaise sodding Zabini? Now it was all, Do you mind if Blaise comes with us? and, I think Blaise is going to meet us at the pub, and, But you have to come to -- to support Blaise!

Harry had seen Blaise Zabini more in the last two months than he had in all their years at Hogwarts.

Not that Harry had anything against Blaise specifically. Actually he was quite a good chap, he reckoned. A bit quiet and standoffish at first, a bit scowly, but once he opened up Blaise was a proper laugh.

No, Blaise wasn’t so much the problem.

Harry stared as Malfoy, standing on the other side of Blaise at the bar, dropped some Knuts on the counter and accepted his glass of whiskey. He always had whiskey when he came out, or gin. Top shelf. Like a pint was not good enough for him. Twat.

Harry took another large gulp of his own pint as he stared at Malfoy’s tight Hermes shirt and thought about what a snob he was. He probably thought he looked so good, didn’t he? The way the shirt clung tightly to his torso and stretched across his chest, making it obvious that he still worked out and played Quidditch and wanted everyone to know.

Malfoy glanced up and caught Harry’s eye, and Harry nearly choked. He put down his drink, eyes watering, and coughed into his fist. If he swallowed the wrong way and died, it would be Malfoy’s fault. Malfoy would, obviously, be thrilled.

Harry’s pocket buzzed. He sighed in relief when he saw Hermione had texted him back.

Don’t be an arsehole.

What? Him, the arsehole?

He knew this would happen when Ginny started dating Blaise. All of Blaise’s friends would inevitably filter in, one by one, infringing upon the precious little time off Harry had from Auror training, and he would be forced to tolerate all the pointy gits in Slytherin.

“Or maybe it’s just that one specific pointy git,” Ginny had said when Harry had—in her opinion, rudely—voiced this concern, “that gets you hot and bothered.”

Harry remembered having been appalled. “I don’t get hot and bothered, more like just bothered. And pissed off.” Not that it had wiped the unconvinced look from Ginny’s face. “How can you stand him anyways? I’d have thought you at least would admit how horrible he is, even if Hermione won’t.” Everyone knew not to get him started on Hermione. The bloody traitor.

“Oh, god, he is horrible,” Ginny had said, nodding emphatically. “There’s no doubt about that. But in a horribly funny way.”

“Just because someone is… passably good at doing impressions doesn’t mean they’re funny.” And just to prove this point, Harry vowed never to laugh at any of Malfoy’s jokes, even if he had to press his lips together and turn away. He really didn’t need Ginny giving him those annoyingly smug looks.

Now Malfoy was making his rounds. He did this every time, greeting everyone with a handshake or a half-hug and a huge grin. “Hi, Weasley,” he said to Ginny, who let him wrap his arm around her momentarily in a friendly gesture of hello and even embraced him around the waist. And then he did that thing. The one thing he did to everyone. That was, everyone except Harry, like Harry had some sort of infectious skin condition and Malfoy couldn’t bear to touch him in particular. Malfoy leaned down and gave her a light peck on the cheek, and then the other.

“Stop groping my girlfriend,” Blaise teased.

“She’s the one groping me,” Malfoy said with a grin that some might call charming, but Harry called smarmy. And of course he leaned in and kissed Blaise on one cheek. “I try to stop her but she can’t seem to resist me.”

When the bloody fuck were Hermione and Ron getting here? It was fine when it had been just Ginny, Blaise, and Harry, but then Pansy Parkinson and Daphne Greengrass had shown up, as they did. They currently sat in the corner sipping pink martinis and gossiping about their coworkers. And now Malfoy.

And Neville was running late too because he was pruning his Trachea Mumpula or whatever it was called—a very ugly maroon fern that could only be pruned by the light of the moon. Neville was almost ready to apply for a position as the Herbology assistant professor, so his ferns were important to him.

“You’re so full of it, Malfoy,” Ginny said, laughing as she leaned back into Blaise’s lap.

Finally, Malfoy’s eyes drifted to Harry once again, and it was the moment he was going to say hi to him. To be fair, Malfoy never ignored him, and he seemed to make a conscious effort to be more friendly to Harry ever since their two groups of friends were forced to hang out together. Hermione said he was secretly thankful to Harry for rescuing him from the Fiendfyre. Ron said he was just brown nosing. However, Ron never did seem to turn down the half-hug and the air kisses, did he? Harry wanted to grab Ron and guard him like a Keeper guarding his hoops and not let Malfoy’s grins and funny anecdotes win Ron over. Because Ron was Harry’s friend, and Malfoy couldn’t have him.

And he was not being childish, so Hermione could piss right off.

Malfoy was coming closer to him. The corners of his mouth were turning upwards into a small, tight smile.

“Hello, Potter.”

“Hey,” Harry grunted. He gripped his pint glass in a firm fist. Malfoy’s eyes flickered there.

“Hope you’re well.”

“Yeah.” Harry nodded. “M’fine.”

Malfoy nodded too, then he took a sip of whiskey, the dim light in the pub illuminating his flushed cheeks. Malfoy could never handle his drink, he was always flushed and pink around his shirt collar.

And he never leaned in to hug Harry. Never. Not this time, not ever. It made Harry hot with the injustice of it, something in his chest bubbling dangerously close to overflowing. He watched the line of Malfoy’s jaw, the way it seemed like he kissed even the rim of his glass to tip the whiskey past his pink lips. But he never kissed Harry’s cheeks and he never leaned in for that shadow of a hug. What was it like to have Malfoy that close? Everyone else knew, but Harry never would.

He guzzled down the rest of his drink and signaled for another with a raise of his hand. The bartender dropped the drink he had been previously preparing and rushed to fill Harry another pint. It never failed to embarrass Harry, especially with Malfoy watching now and probably thinking Harry enjoyed the attention. But, to his shame, Harry let the bartender fuss over him because he desperately needed to be drunk if he was going to survive the rest of the night.

“Harry’s got a few months of Auror training left before his exams,” Ginny told Malfoy, with the air of someone introducing two mutual friends who had never met before. “He’s doing really well, Robards told my dad.”

Malfoy nodded. “Of course Potter would do well.” He didn’t sound particularly snarky, but Harry knew what Malfoy was thinking.

“I’m not being given special treatment or anything,” Harry said. Ginny raised her eyebrows in a warning look which Harry ignored. Blaise began chugging his pint.

“I would never suggest such a thing,” Malfoy said.

Harry scoffed. “Right. Of course, you’re suggesting I’ve earned it. Because you’ve always had such a high opinion of me.”

“Harry...” Ginny started to say.

“Well you haven’t passed any exams yet, Potter, so you haven’t earned anything.” Malfoy smirked.

Harry shook his head. “You know, you’re really something—”

“HEYA!” Seamus’ voice boomed through the pub, louder than the music, and random patrons gave him dirty looks as he barreled toward the bar with Dean and Neville in tow. Blaise exhaled audibly and held his arms out to him.

“Get your arse over here and let me buy you a drink,” he said as Seamus clapped him on the shoulder. “You two as well,” Blaise nodded to the others. “Your usuals?”

“Thanks, mate,” Neville said happily, then turned to Harry. His brow creased. “Something wrong, Harry?

“No, nothing.” Harry was glad that some of his friends had arrived to save him. Just as he was about to get off his barstool and give Neville a proper hello, Malfoy descended upon him.

“How are you, Longbottom?” Malfoy gripped Neville’s elbow and smiled at him and oozed that charm that no one seemed able to resist. It had to be magic, there was just nothing else for it. Maybe Malfoy had Obliviated them all to make them forget what a git he was. Why did no one care anymore? Neville—bless him and his sweet, forgiving heart—smiled at Malfoy and returned his cheek kisses with what looked like genuine affection.

It was a complete fucking nightmare.

Not that he wanted Malfoy’s wet kisses all over him, but it was so obvious that Malfoy was doing it on purpose. It was no secret that Malfoy thoroughly enjoyed pissing him off; he had always basked in Harry’s anger. He knew he was singling Harry out and basically spurning him.

“Doing really well,” Neville said. Another traitor. “Is your mum enjoying the garden?”

“She loves it. It’s getting her to come inside that’s the problem. I tell her, do you even remember what the house looks like anymore? Do you remember me? Your son? No, all she’s got eyes for now are the bloody chrysanthemums. You’ve robbed me of my mother, Longbottom.”

Neville laughed and laughed.

“You helping Malfoy with his garden?” Harry asked.

“My mother’s garden,” Malfoy made a point to say. “She’s in love with you, I think,” he said, turning to Nevile again. “Talked my ear off about you last night at dinner. Well, you and the chrysanthemums.”

“Those were lovely.” Neville nodded.

It was all Harry could do not to puke. He sat there listening to Malfoy and Neville talk about their own things, like they were friends now. It seemed Neville spent a lot of time at the Manor these days tending to Narcissa Malfoy’s garden, procuring the rarest of magical plant species to line her flowerbeds, and taking breaks for afternoon tea on her expensive china.

True, Harry could have gotten up at any time and gone over to Dean, whom he really did need to have a word with about his show tomorrow, but his arse seemed glued his barstool. He was almost finished with his third pint as Malfoy started talking about the newly seated Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt and making quippy jokes. They weren’t too horribly mean spirited, surprisingly, and the drunker Harry got the funnier Malfoy’s stories seemed, until he was laughing along with the two of them almost as throatily as Neville was. Then he remembered he wasn’t supposed to be doing that and looked around to make sure Ginny hadn’t noticed.

Oh, fuck, he was wobbly.

Ginny was a red blur on the corner of his eye, and the door of the pub swayed. Oh, hold on, it wasn’t sway, it was properly swinging open.

“There you are, you tosser!” Harry hollered as Ron’s face swam before him. Hermione’s bushy head followed. They let in a burst of cool autumn air that, unfortunately, did nothing to refresh Harry’s tipsy state. “What the hell were you doing for so long?”

“Avoiding this prat,” Ron nodded at Malfoy, but his grin was huge and he reached over to lightly nudge Malfoy on the chest. “Are you being good, Malfoy?”

Harry waited for it, and sure enough, there it was, that strange spike in the chest. That panic-like feeling that something was wrongwrongwrong when Malfoy and Ron actually touched their cheeks together and Malfoy pursed his lips just the slightest in that air-kissy business, and Harry wanted to smash his pint glass into the countertop.

Hermione followed and she even gave Malfoy a big squeeze. He kissed her once on both cheeks like he did Ginny. Strangely, it wasn’t as horrible when he kissed them. Maybe because Harry knew it didn’t mean anything with the girls since Malfoy wasn’t actually interested in them in that way. Neville had let it slip once when he was sloshed off Luna’s homemade dandelion wine—amazing stuff, by the way, and stronger than Ogden's Own. Apparently Malfoy was exclusively interested in blokes, but it was a secret and Neville made Harry swear not to tell because he felt so horribly guilty about blabbing it. Malfoy had told him in confidence (because they had confidences now).

Harry promised, so he only told Ron and Hermione. And mostly just to warn Ron because Malfoy was obsessed with kissing him all the sudden and that probably meant he fancied Ron. And honestly Harry could see why, since Ron had got good and fit since joining the Auror Trainees; they all had, it was grueling. Malfoy would have to have been blind not to notice, which is probably why he kept kissing Ron’s face.

“He does that to everyone,” Ron had said, frowning. “And anyways, Harry, I feel a bit awkward now because I would hate to think you have a problem with the gays.”

“Don’t call them ‘the gays’, Ron.” Hermione had been there too. It was lunch time at the Ministry.

“Charlie’s gay,” Ron had continued, “did you know that? So is my Aunt Gertrude.”

“Gosh, no,” Harry had said, truly surprised about Charlie (and not giving a fuck about Aunt Gertrude). “I had no idea, and I didn’t mean it in a bad way. I have no problem with it at all.”

Ron had relaxed and smiled and bitten into his bacon sandwich. “And like I said, Malfoy does that to everybody.”

“He never does it to me.”

Hermione and Ron had exchanged glances, and then Hermione went back to reading the Prophet.

“What?” Harry had sighed. “He fucking hates me, doesn’t he? I even spoke at his trial so I don’t know what he wants. Maybe he’s mad I haven’t returned his wand yet. But to be fair, it won’t work for him, I won it so it’s loyal to me now.”

They had never really brought it up again.

 

\\//

 

It was getting late and Hermione had to do some work, so she begged off.

“The bloody creatures will be all right if you stay for one more drink,” Ron whined, gripping her waist and staring down at her. Sometimes when Harry saw them like that, his heart panged in a weirdly longing sort of way. He was so happy for them, and he hoped that one day, he’d have what they had. Would he ever look into some girl’s eyes the way Ron looked at Hermione now? Apparently Harry had never looked at Ginny that way enough. Harry finished his drink and ordered another.

Hermione smiled and ran her hands up Ron’s strong bicep. “The department head wants this draft on his desk by seven o’clock tomorrow morning…. Why don’t you stay and finish up here? By the time you get back I’ll likely be all done, and then....” She bit her lip.

Outside was crispy cool, and colorful leaves fell to the ground, but inside the pub was sweltering like a stovetop. Harry needed to cool off. And he needed to piss.

“You alright?” Ron asked, grabbing Harry before he fell off his stool.

“M’fine.” Harry straightened up. “Thanks, just the loo.” He tried not to stumbled the entire way there.

The music wasn’t as loud in the toilets. Harry avoided looking at himself in the mirror since he knew he probably looked shit. It had been a long week, training was awful, he had barely had time to do a quick shower let alone shave. His face was covered in stubble and his hair was a mess. Ginny said he looked hot like this, a bit grungy and badass, especially in his Foo Fighters t-shirt, but that had been before she broke up with him.

He didn’t know how he ended up in a stall, since he could have just pissed in one of the urinals, but he sort of wanted to lean against something. He had just shaken off his dick when the door opened, followed by footsteps and voices.

“Of course he does.”

Fuck, it was Malfoy.

“Look, I don’t really care one way or another.” And Blaise. “Just please try not to get into any fights with him tonight. Ginny was so ticked off the last time, I didn’t even get to have sex.”

Harry got a horrible, sinking feeling in his stomach that they were talking about him. He remembered the rather loud “disagreement” he and Malfoy had had about Muggle politics last Friday night.

He and Blaise were both unzipping now. Harry didn’t move a muscle, barely even breathed.

“It’s not me,” Malfoy hissed, “it’s him. You see how nice I am to him, but he makes it rather difficult, doesn’t he? I’m telling you, he hates me.”

The tinkling sound of piss against porcelain should have made Harry grimace, but all that came to mind was an image of Malfoy’s cock. Which should have still made him grimace.

“And I’m telling you, I could really care less.” A zip. “Just stay out of his way, all right?”

“Stupid Potter,” Malfoy mumbled, then zipped up his own trousers. He sounded like he had at school, spitting out Harry’s name like it tasted sour on his tongue. Harry clenched his fist against the wall of the stall. “I’ve tried everything,” Malfoy added.

“Maybe you’re trying too hard. Just relax.”

Malfoy sighed with a heap of frustration in his voice. “You know I can’t do that, not around him. My nerves are all on edge.”

“Well then have another drink and try to avoid him.”

“You really want to have sex, don’t you?”

“Fuck yes, and I don’t need your weird anxiety about Potter getting in my way, especially since it has nothing to do with me…” The bathroom door swung shut and their voices cut off.

Malfoy didn’t need to try to be nice to him if he didn’t want to be. It was clear Harry irked him and set his nerves “on edge”, and trying to be friendly with Harry was exceedingly difficult for him. Which explained why he never air-kissed Harry or came anywhere close to touching him. He was probably grossed out by the idea, just the thought of half-hugging Harry making his delicate little nerves all squirmy.

Harry punched the stall. It hurt, and the clang seemed to reverberate through his drunken brain like a gong.

He didn’t want Malfoy to like him anyway, but that wasn’t the point. It was just so… stupid. Malfoy was fucking stupid. How could he hate Harry after Harry had not only risked his life for him in the Fiendfyre but also spoken up for him and his family in the Wizengamot? Was he just embarrassed that Harry was basically the only reason he was not in Azkaban right now?

But that felt really shitty. He didn’t want to be Malfoy’s saving grace, he just wanted to do what he thought was right. It wasn’t like Harry spoke up for him so that Malfoy would worship him afterward. Harry hated that shit, it always made him want to gag when people treated him like some sort of divine entity. So he shouldn’t be ticked off at Malfoy for not liking him.

Malfoy was messing with his head, and he was really too drunk to have serious thoughts right now. Besides, he still needed to find Dean.

They sat at the end of the bar and Dean bought him another pint, which Harry eagerly accepted. “What was it you wanted to ask me, about tomorrow?” Harry asked before taking a long sip.

“I’m asking all the benefactors if they can make a small speech—now before you go shaking your head like that, listen to me. It doesn’t have to be a long speech, just a little tidbit.”

“A tidbit...”

“Just something about why you wanted to support the show—which I appreciate loads, by the way.”

“Because you’re my friend and of course I would support your show.”

“That’s really nice, thank you, Harry.”

“How many benefactors are there total?”

“Not many, it’s a small handful of you. About five, you’ll all be sharing a table at the front.”

“Oh, god.”

“I know you hate all that pomp and circumstance, but the show’s blown up like I never thought it would.”

“I know, and that’s great, honestly.”

“I’m beyond thrilled, I could never have imagined it.” Dean put his hand on Harry’s knee. “And it couldn’t have happened without you, Harry. You know how much I appreciate that, don’t you?”

“I know, but really, it’s no problem. I just hate speeches—”

“I know—”

“—and pictures.”

“If it helps you feel better, there won’t be too many photographers.”

“Pictures are the worst.”

“Maybe ten max.”

“Oh, god.” Harry gulped down the frothy lager.

“There are a lot of tables and we need enough photographers, you understand.”

“I, for one, can’t wait for the auction.” Malfoy had found his way over. He smiled but his eyes were piercing as he glanced quickly at Dean’s hand. “I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a couple of your works, Thomas. You know which piece I want.”

“I do, and I’m looking forward to you winning it.”

Great, the only thing worse than being attacked by the stinging flash of ten cameras was having to endure it all with Malfoy there.

“I take it I’ll be seeing you there, Potter?”

“Yeah, I’m going because Dean and I have been friends for ages. Why are you going?”

Malfoy’s smiled turned strained, but he took a step closer to Harry. His cologne settled in the air that Harry breathed.

“I’m going to support Dean as well.”

“Since when have you ever cared about supporting anyone but yourself?”

Malfoy rolled his eyes. “You obviously don’t know me that well, Potter.”

Harry scoffed. “I know you very well, Malfoy.” Malfoy raised an eyebrow; was Malfoy amused at that? “You probably wouldn’t feed a kneazle unless you got something out of it.”

“Is that what you think of me?” His lips turned upwards into a smirk. “Draco Malfoy, kicker of kittens and kneazles?”

Dean laughed, and Harry tried but failed not to smile.

“Am I really all that bad, Potter?” Suddenly, something like sadness flashed in Malfoy’s eyes, all the jovialness draining from his face. “Don’t answer that. I don’t think I want to hear it.”

“Huh?”

“I’m drunk.” Malfoy shook his head. “Don’t listen to anything I’m saying.”

“I usually don’t.”

Narrowing his eyes, Malfoy leaned in an inch closer. His eyes had flecks of blue if Harry looked really closely, past all that grey. But the pub was dark and Harry’s vision was swimming, so maybe he was just imagining it. Malfoy had four eyes a moment later. And his scowling face loomed close.

Harry’s heart almost stopped as he realized what was happening. Was this the moment? Was he finally going get the cheek kiss? Malfoy was coming ever closer and his lips were so close to Harry’s face, it seemed inevitable that they would close that gap. This is how the cheek kisses happened! Harry would finally get one, the fucking elusive kiss, and maybe even the half hug but he wasn’t going to be greedy. He held his breath, his limbs stuck in place from the anticipation.

“I don’t care,” Malfoy was saying, but why was he talking? He wasn’t supposed to be talking, he was supposed to be kissing. And he was starting to look like he hated Harry’s guts. “Do you hear me, Potter? I just don’t fucking care.”

Harry swallowed. His chest felt like it had just encountered a big, heavy Bludger. “Good.”

“You know,” Dean said, inching off his seat, “I think I’d better get going. I’ve got an early start tomorrow setting up the gallery so I should be heading to bed. I’ll see you both there.”

“Bye, Dean,” Harry mumbled. He watched Dean walk to the door, passing by Parkinson who was wrapped around some bloke. It seemed that Greengrass had left since she was nowhere in sight, whether alone or with her own conquest, Harry didn’t know. Looking around some more, he realized he didn’t see Ron either; apparently Hermione’s offer had been too tempting to resist for much longer.

“Where’s Gin…” he was saying, when Malfoy’s chest got in his line of vision.

“I mean it, Potter,” Malfoy said.

“Mean what?”

“That I don’t give a fuck what you think of me.”

Harry grinned as he drained the last of the lager. “That’s probably for the best.”

Malfoy must have been drunker than he let on because he dropped onto the barstool but almost missed the seat. “Longbottom isn’t as thick-headed as you are.”

“Is that supposed to mean you and Neville are best mates now?”

Malfoy shrugged. “If you would hate that, then yes.”

“Oh, piss off.”

“I’m staying right here, so why don’t you piss off?”

“I was sitting here first.”

Seamus and Neville came over just then. “I’m glad to see you two haven’t graduated to more adult arguments,” Neville said. “It just wouldn’t be the same, really.”

“Yeah,” Seamus said. “Makes me nostalgic for Hogwarts.”

Harry smiled at that. He didn’t particularly feel nostalgic about being harassed by Malfoy, but something about that settled warmly in his chest. Perhaps it was the vision of blond hair whipping in the wind and the Quidditch pitch a blur all around him. Or the memory of smirking lips in the castle corridor. Maybe he just missed Hogwarts. It was, after all, his first true home.

Malfoy rolled his eyes, and Harry wondered what his Hogwarts memories consisted of. Probably the murky green light of the the Slytherin dungeons.

“You alright, Harry?” Neville asked. Hadn’t he asked him that earlier? Harry couldn’t remember. Neville’s face became two faces, and then merged back into one. It was quite funny.

Harry grinned at him. “Sure thing, Nev. I’m really, really good.” And he felt it, even though a moment ago he’d been ticked off enough to punch Malfoy in the face.

“He’s hammered.” Seamus said. “And rightfully so. It’s Friday night and I need to pull, so help me get on Harry’s level.”

“Do you drink Hungarian Horntails?” Malfoy asked.

“Like the dragon?” Harry asked. Malfoy’s face was not doubling into two, it was soft and blurry around the edges. Harry leaned in closer, wanting that sharpness back.

“Yes, Potter, like the dragon, and just as lethal.” Malfoy didn’t pull away when Harry’s knee brushed his. Harry wondered if he even noticed.

It was much too warm in the pub for the smoking row of shot glasses the bartender placed in front of them. When Harry picked up the black drink in its little glass, it was icy to the touch, the steam cold against his face.

“Cheers, mates,” Seamus said.

They all threw their drinks back.

It slid like chilling syrup down Harry’s throat. “That’s vile,” he said, pulling a face.

Malfoy was laughing at him, his eyes soft and jovial once more. Harry started to laugh as well. Seamus was laughing. Neville began giggling madly and put his fingers over his mouth. Which was so funny, Harry started laughing harder.

“Malfoy, you git,” Seamus said between guffaws, and Malfoy threw his head back. Harry stared at his throat. “When does this wear off?”

Suddenly, a pressure built in Harry’s head like someone had put their hands on both ears and started to squeeze, and squeeze, until finally….

Steam erupted from Neville’s nostrils and from both his ears, and then the same happened to Seamus, and then to Malfoy. Harry felt the chilly wind of it as the pressure drained from his head. His giggles subsided after that.

And then he was ridiculously drunk.

He didn’t know how much time had passed or what transpired from then until he was stumbling out the doors of the pub. Whole portions of the night were void and blank in his mind. He just remembered grinning and laughing and how his cheeks hurt from it, how his eyes watered. He remembered Malfoy’s face, and his legs pressing flush with Harry’s, the way his whole body tingled.

“Top night!” Neville shouted into the street. He almost tripped over his own feet.

“Watch yourself, Longbottom,” Malfoy laughed.

Harry looked around. “Where’s Seamus?” Spinning his head like that made him dizzy.

“Getting lucky with some bint.” Malfoy said.

“Lucky, lucky Seamus,” Neville said.

“Why didn’t you go with that girl, Longbottom?”

Harry couldn’t remember what girl Malfoy was talking about, and he sort of tuned them out as they talked about her. Some girl had propositioned Neville and he hadn’t gone for it? Harry’s head was swimming. His cock was half hard. What he really wanted, he realized, was to go home and rub one out in the blissful comfort of his bed.

“Well, I’m off,” he announced. “See you fuckers tomorrow.”

“Me too, I can’t forget to water the tracheophyta mumpulus.”

“Longbottom, you complete fucking wanker!” Malfoy shouted.

Harry laughed. Even he had to agree with Malfoy this time. “Honestly, Neville, you are obsessed with that fern.”

“It needs to be watered by the last ray of moonlight! You two wouldn’t understand!”

“I am going to come over,” Malfoy said, pointing his finger like he was making a promise, “and I’m going to rip that bloody plant out of the bloody ground.”

“You’re an arsehole. You’re both arseholes.”

Harry was laughing so hard he had to hold onto Malfoy’s shoulder to keep himself upright. Malfoy was looking at him, and then Harry noticed he also had a hand on Malfoy’s stomach. Which he quickly pulled away as he side stepped out of Malfoy’s personal space. He really shouldn’t have gotten this drunk.

“Fuck both of you, and goodbye.” Neville Disapparated.

“Well,” Harry said, not having expected him and Malfoy to be the last two to leave. He wondered what time it was. Four in the morning? Five? “Goodnight, Malfoy.”

“Night, Potter,” Malfoy said, smirking and pulling out a cigarette from his back pocket. Harry felt an instant pang of regret. He always loved watching Malfoy smoke those strange wizard cigarettes that smelled delicious and sexy. He wanted to stay, to watch Malfoy blow out that fragrant smoke from between his smirky lips.

But he had already said he was leaving.

He imagined his bed, hoping he wouldn’t throw up all over it from the pull of Apparition. When the magic hooked his stomach, he opened his eyes.

He stumbled, and then his hands hit the rough cobblestones. Looking around from where he had fallen on his hands and knees, he realized he was still in Diagon Alley. He hadn’t Apparated more than a few feet. Oh no, had he splinched himself?

“Potter!” Malfoy’s footsteps hurried closer. “Don’t kill yourself, Potter. There are no witnesses and everyone will blame me.”

Malfoy took hold of his shoulders and helped him off the ground. Once again, Harry found that his hands went straight to Malfoy’s chest and waist as he allowed Malfoy to hoist him to his feet.

Harry caught his breath as he stared, eyes lowered, at Malfoy’s chin. His head was spinning.

“Potter?”

Harry looked up, and Malfoy’s grey-blue eyes were right there.

“Are you alright?”

How many people had asked him that tonight? Harry didn’t say anything this time. He tried to will his hands to let go of Malfoy’s waist, but he was almost certain he’d fall down again if he did. And besides, Malfoy was gripping Harry’s arms above the elbow so Harry was trapped and there was nothing he could do about it. It would be pointless to try to move.

“Talk to me, Potter. Have you splinched your tongue?”

As if to prove he hadn’t, Harry licked his lips.

“I guess not.” Malfoy’s lips twitched. “You realize you’re too drunk to Apparate? Not that I’d give a fuck normally, but like I said, no witnesses…”

“Want to go home.”

“Yes, well…” Malfoy exhaled hard. “I suppose I have to take you there, don’t I?”

“If you leave me, I’ll hex you.”

“Right. And I really don’t want you to do that.”

Harry smiled and swayed, and Malfoy tightened his grip on him, pulling him even closer. Harry’s heart was being very demanding in his chest. Maybe he was reacting badly to Malfoy’s weird cologne. It was probably expensive and obnoxious.

“Call Hermione.”

“Call?”

“Phone’s in my pocket.”

“Ah.” Understanding dawned on Malfoy’s face. “You have one of those Muggle things. Well, I bloody well don’t know how to use it.”

“Thought you had stock in Apple? You were bragging about it.”

“Sure, but I don’t touch the things.”

Harry rolled his eyes. “Of course.”

“I’ll just Apparate you to your street. What’s your address?”

Harry told him. “Ron will be at Hermione’s, though.” He didn’t know why Malfoy needed that information. Mostly Harry was just murmuring to himself at this point.

Malfoy stepped close to him and their bodies were flush against each other. His hair smelled really good. Harry wanted to make fun of him for whatever posh shampoo he used but then there was that hook behind his navel and the world whooshed away.

Suddenly they were on his street, and then Harry had to let go of Malfoy. Thankfully he didn’t fall over, and even managed to stay upright all the way to his front door.

“You share this place with Weasley?”

“Yes.” Harry undid the locking charms and they stepped inside. “Hermione has her own flat closer to the Ministry. Ron spends most nights there.”

“You work at the Ministry. Why didn’t you both join her?”

“Hermione said living all together and dating Ron would be weird.” Harry kicked off his shoes. He noticed Malfoy didn’t do the same, but neither was he making any moves to leave. Which pleased him in a way. “Besides, Hermione has too many books, there’d be no room for us anyways.”

Malfoy snorted. He was looking around.

Harry stumbled into the living room, even more pleased when Malfoy followed him. He fell onto the sofa heavily, sprawling out. “Thanks,” he said. “You’re still a git though.”

“Don’t worry, I’m under no impression that you like me.”

“You’re just trying to make sure I survive—”

“—so I won’t be blamed for your death, yes.”

“Well, I’m safe now, so…” He didn’t want to finish the sentence with, “you should go”. He didn’t want Malfoy to go. Oddly enough.

“I should go.”

“Yeah.”

Malfoy started to turn around.

“Wait.”

He turned back. “What?”

“We haven’t kissed.”

Malfoy didn’t seem to understand. He looked at Harry like he wasn’t speaking English and he had no idea what Harry was saying. “What?”

“You always kiss everyone on the cheek before you leave.”

“I…” Malfoy was flushing. Or that could have been Harry’s drunk vision making it up. “Potter…”

“You do it to Ginny, and to Blaise. Even Hermione. Even Ron.”

“All right, all right…” Malfoy held his hands up like he was surrendering, though to what was unclear. Still, Harry felt victorious in some way. Especially when Malfoy started walking over.

Tentatively, he sat down on the sofa next to Harry.

A happy thrill shot through Harry, and he smiled. He almost couldn’t believe he was finally going to get his air kisses. It was such a ridiculous thing to want, but for so long, he’d felt out of the odd little club that had formed around Malfoy, how everyone suddenly accepted him as a friend. And Harry didn’t want to be his friend, but he wanted to be part of the club. But not as Malfoy’s friend. He hated Malfoy. He—

Malfoy’s lips pressed against his cheek. Harry swallowed.

“Good night, Potter.”

He stood perfectly still as Malfoy leaned over him to reach his other cheek. He could have made it easier for him by turning his head more, but Harry was drunk and it was too much of an effort. Plus if he moved too much and fell over, Malfoy might stop.

So Malfoy had to put his palm on Harry’s stomach so as to steady himself. Harry was glad that he had trained so hard the last few months. He had a very toned stomach and he was sure Malfoy could feel it through his t-shirt. He wondered if he should stretch so that the shirt would rise up and Malfoy could see, too. But again, moving too much presented a problem. And Malfoy was already lightly pressing a kiss onto his other cheek.

When he pulled back, his eyes focused sharply on Harry’s face.

“Good night,” Harry said. And of course, he had to return the gesture. But Malfoy hadn’t kissed the air, he’d kissed Harry’s actual cheeks. Harry had to do the same. It was only polite.

He grabbed the back of Malfoy’s neck and drew him in, then he kissed Malfoy’s cheekbone. He realized he found it extremely pleasant to be this close up to Malfoy. He might be the world’s most evil git, but he smelled ridiculously good and his body was firm and warm, and his skin was soft under Harry’s lips.

He did the other cheek next. And then he almost pulled away, but not completely. He didn’t know how it happened or how he ended up there, but he was suddenly kissing Malfoy’s mouth.

Malfoy made a choking noise and it went straight to Harry’s groin. Harry’s whole body was screaming, yes yes, god yes, this is exactly what I wanted. His cock was hard, aching in his jeans.

He kissed Malfoy more deeply, tasting him on his tongue. Malfoy’s hands were both on him, tugging at his t-shirt. Harry wasn’t about to stop kissing him, so he let Malfoy pull him on top, their legs tangling together as he pressed Malfoy into the sofa.

Their kisses became sloppy, wet and open-mouthed as Malfoy breathed hard and made all kinds of desperate noises in the back of his throat. He jutted his hips upward, and Harry quickly took his cue, grinding their cocks together through their trousers. His brain had apparently decided to stop thinking and the only thing he knew was the incredible feeling of rutting onto Malfoy’s body. How the long, hard shaft of Malfoy’s cock felt against his own. Even just the idea that Malfoy was hard drove him crazy.

It all came to a peak very soon. He lamented having to break their kiss as he gasped for air and all but fucked Malfoy into the sofa. It seemed so natural to take hold of Malfoy’s thighs and pull him in, it felt like he was properly fucking him, rubbing their cocks together with every measured roll of his hips. He realised he was grunting, but he could give a fuck about how he sounded. The entire world closed in on him, or maybe he had just closed his eyes, and then he became frantic. He was coming.

Harry felt like he was floating, like the air was sparkling around the edges of his vision. That was so, so good. He could tell he was still half-hard, but satisfied enough. He looked down at Malfoy.

Malfoy’s eyes were shut and he was breathing like he had just come, too. His hair was all over the place, something Harry had never seen before. It struck him as sort of strange and wonderful. Malfoy blinked his eyes open, his pupils wide, looking as dazed as Harry felt.

Harry desperately wanted a lie down. His body was screaming at him that it was really much too late and that he needed sleep more than anything at the moment.

“Come on,” he said, pulling Malfoy up with him.

“Where are we going?”

“To sleep, you git.”

He took hold of Malfoy’s warm hand and led him across the living room, into the little entrance hall with the staircase. He held onto his hand all the way up the stairs and down the hallway that led to the two bedrooms.

“Potter, I have to go home.”

“No.” He sounded petulant. Thankfully, Malfoy didn’t argue any more and allowed Harry to pull him into his room. Only then did Harry let go of Malfoy’s hand.

And only because his jeans were sticky, so he pulled them down his hips along with his pants. Malfoy stared at him.

“Are you going to sleep like that?” Harry scoffed. “You’re gross.” How could Malfoy stand being in come-sticky pants all night? Harry certainly couldn’t, and besides, he liked the feeling of the soft sheets against his naked skin. He pulled down the duvet and slid into his bed.

Malfoy seemed to have been Petrified, his jaw hanging slack.

“Well, come on,” Harry insisted. He really didn’t have all night to sit around and wait, he was exhausted. Sleep already started to creep around, shutting off the lights inside his head.

Malfoy shook his head even as he reached down to undo his trousers. “Fuck,” he breathed as he unzipped his fly and pushed his tight jeans down his legs. “Fuck.” He kept repeating it, fuck, like there was some horrible mistake. “I must be piss drunk…”

His cock was at half mast, bobbing against his thigh as he walked to the bed. Harry couldn’t take his eyes off it even though they stung with exhaustion and it was dark and he couldn’t see too clearly.

Malfoy hesitated before fully climbing in. “Do you promise you won’t actually kill me in my sleep for this?”

Harry shook his head. Malfoy was stupid, didn’t he know? “I hate sleeping,” was all he could say. It probably didn’t make sense to Malfoy. Malfoy was so stupid.

Malfoy pulled the covers over both of them. He faced Harry, one hand tucked under his pillow. “I hate it too sometimes.”

Oh, well, maybe Malfoy was not so hopeless after all.

“I need help sleeping,” Harry said, though he didn’t know why. He never told Ron that. He never let on that he needed him there in the house sometimes, that he slept better when Ron was in the other room. But that was because he didn’t want Ron to feel guilty about going to Hermione’s so much. “I’m glad they’re together and all, but sometimes I wish he would sleep here more. You know?”

Malfoy crinkled his forehead, frowning. “I’m not sure.”

With a sigh, Harry rolled his eyes. “Ron, he goes to Hermione’s almost every night.” Malfoy continued to stare intently, like he was trying to understand a particularly complicated arithmancy problem. “It’s just really empty when he’s not here.”

Malfoy’s face hardened again and he scowled. “I get it. But I’m not Ron, Potter.”

“I know.” Harry reached up and ran his fingers through Malfoy’s hair. It felt really nice. He kept petting it, drawing through the strands. He was really bloody tired, and Malfoy’s body heat was making the bed warm. “But you’ll do fine, Malfoy.”

Malfoy’s entire body seemed to stiffen. He looked Petrified again.

Harry moved his hand to Malfoy’s shoulder, rubbing over his shirt, trying to unpetrify him. He moved in closer and one of his legs found Malfoy’s, and Harry swung it over. Malfoy inhaled, and after a long moment, he relaxed just the slightest bit.

Harry didn’t know when he went from staring at Malfoy’s face to drifting off to sleep.