Aside from wanting to host it, Draco tried to pay very little mind to the WWN Breakfast Show with Lee Jordan. If he was honest, it didn't even take very much trying. He loved hosting his own show - loved the rhythm of it, the focus it demanded, the way it kept him totally present and conveniently out of his own head for hours at a time, loved that sounding calm and in command made him feel that way, loved that he'd been able to double his show's listenership even in the graveyard of a time slot he'd got stuck with, loved the daily reminder that he'd crawled his way back to being someone people wanted to tune in for. But Lee was far more upbeat than anyone, even a radio presenter, had a right to be before noon, and while it might've been done under the auspices of Muggle-friendliness the Breakfast Show's practice of stealing gimmicks from their BBC counterparts was, in Draco's opinion, terribly gauche. Though Draco's opinion didn't matter especially much when he was, technically, contractually, obligated to sit opposite his fellow hosts from time to time and perform tricks like some sort of trained Crup in the name of cross-promotion.
Last time he'd wound up soaked through when Glenda Chittock had him play Innuendo Bingo. Aside from casting a strong Impervius, he'd decided to just grit his teeth – into some semblance of a smile, obviously – and see this one through.
His lack of curiosity didn't seem to bother Lee in the slightest as he slid on his headphones and gestured for Draco to do the same. "That was 'Incarceroused My Heart,' the hot new single from Dohaghan Tremlett and the Tremblers! We're here with our very own Draco Malfoy, from Daily Dose of Draco, and it's Call or Delete day on the Breakfast Show! First things first, Draco, good morning!"
He summoned his best 'morning crowd' radio presenter voice. Smooth, relaxed, just a bit friendly. "Morning, Lee."
"Now, have you got a mobile, or will it be a bingo balls and Floo Powder sort of day?"
"I've got a mobile at the ready." He fished into the pocket of his robes and returned with the slim white iPhone.
"Excellent! Let's get to it then, shall we?"
"Can't wait." He thought he sounded as though he meant it.
"The way this works is, we got to the contacts on our phone, scroll through at random, and whoever it lands on we call and play a little prank or, if you don't want to call them, just delete them, right out of your life."
Draco raised an eyebrow. Not he brightest idea, this. He really hoped, for the sake of his good opinion of Lee, that it came from the Muggles.
Lee grinned. "Are you ready to start scrolling?"
"Ready when you are," Draco answered.
Draco traced his finger down his contacts list as slowly as he could. 'Zabini' was at the end of the list and Draco'd never hear the end of it if he got that far. Neither calling at this hour nor deleting on national broadcast radio would sit well in that corner.
"Now, lovely listeners, as you know, we've added a bit of magic to keep things interesting! Wherever our contestant lands… and - STOP!" Jordan bellowed.
Draco jerked at the sheer volume of it and looked up, his index finger stuck firmly to the screen.
"Wherever our contestant lands, they're magically fixed to the name! No playing favourites here! So who will it be, Draco? And will we call… or delete?"
Draco looked down.
The bottom dropped out of his stomach.
He tried to pull his finger up or down, even by the tiniest margin. He could call Hannah Abbott on air; he'd got her number to plan an event at the Leaky last year. He could call Harper and pretend he wanted to set up Quidditch at the weekend.
But that wasn't where his finger had landed. It sat squarely over 'Harry.'
"Looks like it's going to be a good one!" Lee's voice boomed through his headphones. When Draco glanced back up he saw Lee examining his face curiously.
Draco tried to ignore the furious pounding in his chest. "A mutual friend of ours, actually."
"Let's see it, then."
Silently, Draco held up his phone, finger still stuck to the screen. Lee's eyebrows arched nearly off his face. "Well, well. Harry Potter!! Will you call, or delete?"
Delete, he thought. He had to delete. Live broadcast, he couldn't risk… and he'd stared at the number so long he probably knew it off by heart. He could put it right back, or get it off Lee. But he couldn’t make this call. Not when he’d only had the number for three days, and then only because Harry had drunkenly grabbed his mobile in the middle of a pub night and entered his name and number, shoving it back into Draco's hand with a significant sort of look and heading for the loo. Not when the last time he'd seen Harry had been that same night, as Draco crept out of Harry’s bedroom just past 2am.
Especially not when he’d left without saying goodbye, with Harry still tangled in the sheets, his gorgeous arse lit by the fire and one wrist still loosely wrapped in the tie Draco'd undone in that same loo a few hours before. And while the image had stuck — Merlin, had it stuck, along with dozens of others on a slow, maddening loop — it didn't undo the strangeness of the thing, nor Draco’s creeping suspicion that it must’ve been a dream. Nor did it change his certainty — at least 80% — that if it had happened at all, it was in a drunken one-off sort of capacity. And it certainly didn’t change the fact that Harry was still… well, still Harry Potter. The saviour. And Draco was still…well, the sort of person who got stuck at the 4am time slot, no matter how good he was. And it wasn't like Harry had called him either, which only confirmed, really.
The problem was, his brain reminded him, that Harry was still, well… still Harry Potter. The letters Draco would get if he deleted the Golden Boy on air would be scathing. Howlers, probably. And Floo calls and phone calls and angry rants in the street. He couldn't go back to that, nor could he risk the ratings drop. It was a matter of simple self-preservation.
Lee cleared his throat.
"Let's call," Draco answered, trying his best for good cheer even as his stomach roiled.
"Excellent! Now, what shall we say? You need money? 500 Galleons in short order?" Lee offered.
"Please," Draco snorted. Droll. He could do droll. Droll was automatic.
"You need him to go round your flat and—"
Lee paused, momentarily uncertain, and furrowed his brow at Draco.
"Have you seen his flat?" Draco managed to joke. He hadn’t, but the public loved those sorts of intimate details whether or not they were true. "I'm hardly letting him have a crack at mine."
"Right!" Lee laughed good naturedly, though the crease in his forehead wasn't giving, and Draco could feel his curiosity turning to scrutiny. "I have seen it, yeah. Fair enough, mate. Er, you've got home from work and discovered a break in, and you need him to agree to meet you there and take a report."
"Right," Draco managed. His throat was tight. "Sounds great."
"Brill!" Lee cackled. "Let's do it then, shall we? Amplificus." He shot the spell at Draco's phone. "Now be a love and put it on speaker, would you?"
Draco took a deep breath and dialed.
It rang, the sound reverberating through the studio.
Maybe it would go to voicemail, Draco thought. Hoped.
It rang again. Maybe Harry had silenced it. Maybe he was in the shower or out on a stakeout or something and wouldn't hear it at all.
It started ringing a third time, and then the sound cut off, replaced with a click, and then, "Hello?"
Harry's voice was formal and clear. Polite.
What was left of Draco's stomach started slowly ripping itself to shreds. Harry'd half begged Draco to fuck his throat so hard they'd be able to hear it in the morning. But there hadn't been a morning, and Draco hadn't realized how certain he’d been that he’d hear Harry’s voice again, and that when he did it would be soft and rough. A bedroom voice. Not this.
"Auror Potter?" He barely managed it. He'd become practised, over the years, at reading his own tone, and he could tell he was barely managing to cover the sudden wave of emotion.
There was long silence on the other end. Lee creased his brown and leaned towards his microphone, apparently ready to intervene as soon as the dead air crept past the point of entertainment.
Harry spoke just in time. "If you're trying to reach the Aurors, you've got the wrong number."
Lee sat back, but just a hair.
"Er, no, no. It's just— This is Draco."
"Yes," Harry answered. There was a hint of hoarseness in his voice this time, but it was far closer to anger than lust. "I could tell."
"Right." Draco forced a laugh. "Caller ID."
"No. You never gave me your number. Suppose you prefer to—"
"Oh!" Draco exclaimed, just to stop him talking when he didn’t know how many people he was talking to. His heart beat a tattoo against his ribs, and if standards and practices hadn't drilled and fined the habit out of him so thoroughly in his first months on air the first, and maybe only, word out of his mouth would've been "fuck" instead. "How silly of me," he half-joked, half-hissed, hoping against all logic that Harry would take the hint. "Well. I know you're not the whole MLE, but I had just a spot of Auror business and was wondering if you might give me a hand? You see—"
"A hand." Harry deadpanned. "Is that what you want?" Draco wondered if the low, angry vibration he felt in Harry's voice would came through over the wireless. It was better than wondering if their listeners had got the subtext, and much better than wondering what the subtext might mean for him.
The switchboard started lighting up. They seemed to have got it then, yes. Lee too. He unfurrowed his brow, though only as a side effect of raising it. Definitely scrutiny, and not a bit of shock.
"Yes, well." Draco choked out a light laugh. "You see, I've just got home from the station and it looks as though there's been a bit of a break-in, and, er…"
Across the desk, Lee pointed furiously at Draco's phone with one hand and raised the index finger of the other, mouthing "number one, number one" until he saw that Draco had got the hint.
"Er, why call the Ministry when I've got one of the best on speed dial! If you could just come down, spell for prints, that sort of thing."
"Come to your flat." Harry said, that angry tremor still reverberating, now tinged with something that Draco couldn't quite place.
Draco looked over the desk again. Pride had very little place in front of this many listeners, and he threw Lee a silent plea for help.
In answer, Lee pushed his thumb up in the air and mouthed "more."
"To help with a crime!" Draco answered. He studiously avoided looking at the switchboard and tried to sound defensive, as though it was some great surprise that his good friend Harry Potter wouldn't drop everything and come help him. "They've taken quite a few things, I think."
Lee slid a hastily scrawled list across the desk and Draco began to read. "Three frying pans — the good sort, copper-core, you know — and a Ming vase that's been in the family for centuries." Draco winced. He never talked about his family on air, but there was nothing for it now. "All of my Armani ties, though they've left the Paul Smiths and Madam Malkins, thank goodness."
Lee had written "Madam Malkin — SPONSOR" next to "ties" in capital letters, and Draco'd been so focused on it he hadn't stopped to think.
"Your ties." Harry's voice grew, if anything, colder, and Draco didn’t know if the hoarseness balanced it out.
Draco swallowed and buried his head in his hands, only peeking through his fingers to continue on. "And several bottles of elf-made mead." Lee's pen bounced off his forearm and Draco dropped his hands away to glare. Lee pointed at the list. On autopilot, Draco read, "you know, like the really top shelf stuff Hannah's got behind the bar at the Leaky."
Draco's heart dropped and, since his stomach had well and truly destroyed itself, fell all the way to the floor, where it was perilously close to getting a bit trampled.
"I'm familiar. "Harry's voice was as dry as the Sahara.
So almost as dry as Draco's throat, then.
Dead air hung between them.
"You want me to come over to your flat to look at your ties and good liquor." It was an accurate summary, which quite clearly was not the purpose of saying it.
Draco took the deepest breath he could manage when his lungs felt as though they were made of glass. "Yes, that's right. To help with a crime."
"A crime," Harry repeated.
The headphones had the unfortunate side effect of amplifying the sounds of one's own body, and all Draco could hear in the ensuing silence was the blood rushing through his ears.
"Is this a joke?" Harry asked. The hint of anger was back.
An air horn blared all of a sudden. Draco jumped. Lee leaned in to his microphone, his eyes still pinned to Draco. "We've been caught!! Harry Potter, it's Call or Delete day!"
"Draco?" Harry sounded confused, now, and there was a hint of something else Draco couldn't suss out.
"He's right here with me, Lee Jordan, and thousands of our lovely listeners on the WWN's Breakfast Show!"
"On the WNN's Breakfast Show?" Harry paused. His voice had dropped an interval, and Draco wished that he could see his face. "The radio?"
"That's right! And our Draco here couldn't bring himself to delete you!"
Lee kept on. "Tell us, Harry, how was he doing? Were you ready to bust in, nick of time, and save the day?"
Harry answered lightly, and Draco wasn't sure whether or not he knew Harry well enough to be sure that it was an artificial sort of good humor. "You know we at the Aurors will go to any lengths to protect and serve Wizarding Britain!"
"Aw, good man, good man. Our Aurors, ladies and gents! Thanks for playing along, mate!"
"Right," Harry answered. "Playing along. Happy to.”
Draco winced. Lee kicked him under the table. "Right," Draco added. "Thanks, Harry."
Harry didn't answer him directly. "If you're all done playing pranks on Ministry officials, I'll get back to the real work, then, shall I?"
"Of course!" Lee boomed. "Thank the MLE for letting us borrow you, yeah? Have a good one, Harry!"
"Yup, you too, Lee," Harry answered, and then disconnected.
The phone sat warm and heavy in Draco's palm.
"Well done, Draco!" Lee laughed into the mic. "My turn's up next, but first, here's a throwback of a sort!”
Draco stared at it, hoping against stupid hope that it might light up. Harry did have his number now, at least.
“The Vampire Vixens, covering the Celestina Warbeck classic "A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love."
He stared at the screen, half hoping and feeling wholly stupid for it.
"And what a harmony they bring to it!” Lee went on.
It happened as Lee turned up the volume. His phone glowed. The lock screen read: Harry, and underneath it, the message: You’re a bastard.
“Here we go!” Lee continued, switching off their mics and sitting back, with a curious look at Draco.
Draco’s eyes were trained on his screen. He unlocked it with his thumb and read the message again. Draco couldn’t help the beginning of a smile that crept over his features. Lee’s words echoed back to him. Here we go, he thought. Here we go.