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“Draco Malfoy?” Harry said in disbelief.

“What?” Ron pushed through the knot of people surrounding the eighth year notice board.

“I’m down to share with Draco fucking Malfoy.”

“No!”

“Yes. Look.” Harry pointed to the names on the list. “Harry Potter. And Draco Malfoy.”

“They can’t do that!” Ron sounded outraged. “Not to you.”

Harry frowned, his eyes darting left and right to see who might have heard. It wasn’t because of who he was that he minded. He didn’t expect any special favours or anything. It was just because… well. Because of who Malfoy was.

Hermione’s clear voice rang out over the babble of conversation. “Where’s Millicent Bulstrode?”

“Why?” Millicent asked, rather aggressively.

“You’re sharing with me.”

Millicent looked less than delighted at this news.

“Shall we go and have a look at our new room?” Hermione asked, trying her best at a friendly smile, but giving up in the face of Millicent’s cold stare. “Oh come on, Millicent. It’s not like we have any choice, is it?”

Ron was still frowning at the list. “Who’s Stephen Cornfoot?”

“He’s in Ravenclaw,” someone answered. “Usually comes top.”

“Bloody hell.” Ron shook his head. “That’s going to work out well, me and him. Is McGonagall having a laugh or something?”

Harry resisted the other bodies trying to jostle him aside, standing firm so he could read the line with his name on for the fourth time. Yep. It still said Malfoy, all official-looking in McGonagall’s rather scratchy handwriting, and signed at the bottom. He could imagine her face now if he went and asked her to change it. The same kind of face she had made when he and Ron had arrived at Hogwarts in a flying car.

“But seriously, mate, we need to kick up a fuss about this,” Ron went on. “You and Malfoy? It’s not right.”

Harry felt a pointy elbow in his ribs as someone else pushed their way to the notice board.

“Oh my god.” Malfoy’s haughty voice cut through the chatter. “So it’s true.”

Harry turned around with a scowl. Malfoy seemed to have grown another inch or two over the summer, and looked more angular than ever, hollow cheeks leading down to a sharp jaw.

“Merlin, they really do hate me around here, don’t they?” Malfoy’s lip drew up into a sneer.

“Shut the fuck up,” Ron told him. “Harry’s not going to share with you. Anyone who thinks he is has got to be kidding.”

“Oh, I see.” Malfoy raised an eyebrow and turned to Harry. “Going to ask for special treatment, instead? Get paired up with one of your many admirers? Of course.”

“No.” Harry’s hands were clenched in his pockets. “No, it’s fine.”

Ron drew an indignant breath, but Harry didn’t give him a chance. “It’s fine, Ron.”

Another half dozen people had arrived and were trying to get a look at the list. This time, Harry allowed himself to be nudged out of the way.

Ron spoke more quietly. “Are we just going to—” He broke off as two students in Ravenclaw robes joined them. “I’m Stephen Cornfoot,” one told Ron, his face rather pale and serious.

“Oh. Right. I’m Ron Weasley.”

“Yes, I know. We’re going to find our rooms, if you want to come.”

Ron looked uncertainly at Harry and then back to Stephen. “Yeah… In a minute.”

“Go on, Ron.” Harry pushed a hand through his hair. “I’ll see you later.”

Ron loped away, following the Ravenclaws. Harry and Malfoy were left together, standing a little apart from the crowd. “Oh, not Zach Smith!” someone at the notice board exclaimed in tones of horror, and Harry saw Malfoy smirk to himself.

“I’ll go and unpack.” Harry said. “You can do yours when I’ve finished.” Maybe if they didn’t spend any time together in the room, maybe if they literally went up there just to sleep...

“What, and let you bag the best bed? I don’t think so.”

“Bloody hell. Come on, then,” Harry said, his jaw tightening with the desire to smack Malfoy round his stupid, pointy face, and walked off quickly without waiting to see if Malfoy was following.

*^*^*

It was a neat little room near the Astronomy tower. There were a couple of chairs and a decent-sized wooden desk. There was a shower room attached, with a toilet and washbasin. The window faced onto the Quidditch pitch, and Harry could see that, in other circumstances, it would be pretty nice to sleep up here, quite cosy and comfortable, with their own private bathroom and a space to work.

But then there was the matter of the two beds. One for him, and one for Malfoy. Somehow more than anything, this hammered home the reality of it. That he would be spending eighth year sharing with the one person who—

Well. Someone Harry had never considered living in close quarters with.

Malfoy looked around, his lip curling, then gestured with his wand to send his trunk skidding over the floor to the bed in the far corner. “I’ll have that one.”

Harry opened his mouth to protest, but then bit it back. It was only a bed. And he preferred to sleep near the window, anyway. He walked over to look out over the grounds.

Malfoy opened the lid of his trunk. “Why can’t they give us separate rooms, for god’s sake?”

“I don’t think there are any separate rooms.” Harry’s eye ran over the pile of rubble that used to be the Owlery. “There are barely enough classrooms.”

“I wouldn’t have come back if I’d realised things were going to be so disorganised.”

“Pity no-one told you, then.”

Malfoy shot him a foul look.

“I’ve got an idea.” Harry went on. “If they thought you were in danger, they’d probably put you somewhere else. I’d be happy to Hex you badly enough to get you moved to the hospital wing, for instance.”

Malfoy narrowed his eyes. “Are you threatening me?”

Harry looked innocent. “Only trying to be helpful.”

“Go ahead and try it.” Malfoy gripped his wand, the length of hawthorn that Harry knew so intimately. It seemed strange to see it again after so many months, and in Malfoy’s pale hand rather than his own. “Just try it, Potter.”

Harry realised he was staring, and shook himself. “This is stupid. Don’t you think everyone expects us to fight?”

“I don’t really care what other people expect,” Malfoy hissed.

Harry considered just Stunning him and letting it all go to hell. It would be so easy; he could feel it throbbing through his fingers, could imagine Malfoy falling down senseless, still and mercifully quiet. Instead Harry threw the lid of his trunk open with a bang and began to take out his books. “Let’s just get this done and then we can go down and eat. I’m starving.”

Malfoy didn’t answer, but turned his back on Harry as he flicked his wand at books, robes and toiletries to send them all bobbing to their correct places. Harry didn’t want to admit it, but it was a neat piece of charmwork. He satisfied his feelings by dumping his books in a messy pile on the shelf next to Malfoy’s neatly ordered one. It looked like this was going to be a very long term.

*^*^*

“How’s Stephen thingy?” Harry slid in beside Ron at the Gryffindor table.

“Cornfoot. What kind of a name is Cornfoot?” Ron poured them both a glass of pumpkin juice from the brimming jugs. “I don’t know how he is, because he doesn’t say anything. Just sits there bloody reading. How’s Malfoy?”

“Still a git.”

“No surprises there. I still think you should talk to McGonagall about it. They can’t expect you two to get through the year without AK-ing one another. And really, mate, you deserve a break.”

Harry felt the unexpected prickling of self-pity in his throat. He had been so looking forward to coming back to Hogwarts. And now this. But fuck it. He wasn’t going to let Malfoy ruin everything. “I’ll just stay out of his way.”

“Yeah. I guess. Oh, I saw Seamus. He’s in with Terry Boot; we’ve decided that’s going to be the party room.”

Hermione leaned over. “We need to be studying, Ron, and you know it. We missed practically a whole year. I reread all of my notes from sixth year over the holidays, but—”

Ron rolled his eyes. “Lessons haven’t even started, Hermione. Seamus has smuggled a bottle of something past Filch. Eight o’clock in their room.”

“I really don’t think that’s a good idea,” Hermione said. “You heard Professor McGonagall, we’re meant to be setting a good example to the rest of the school, and getting legless is hardly going to help us do that.”

“It’s still the holidays,” Ron said with emphasis. “Term starts tomorrow. And if I can have one more day of relaxation, I think I’ve bloody earned it. Oh, come on, Hermione. McGonagall said that the common rooms are off limits while we get to know the people we’re sharing with. So it’s come with us to Seamus and Terry’s, or spend the evening in your room with Millicent Bulstrode.”

Hermione let out a sigh. “All right. But just this one evening. This is our most important school year, and I want to make the most of it.”

Our most important school year. Was that true? Harry had certainly been intending to make the most of it, but nothing seemed as he had expected, and he had to swallow down the lump in his throat with a draught of pumpkin juice before he could speak again.

With a small pop, the feast appeared before them. A first year gave a loud squeal of surprise and a ripple of laughter went up. The food did look bloody good. There were steak pies topped with golden pastry, large joints of every kind of meat filling the room with savoury smells, towers of succulent sausages, buttery mashed potatoes piled high, heaped platters of vegetables, sauces and all the trimmings you could wish for. Harry’s stomach gave a grateful growl and he reached for the roast chicken.

*^*^*

It was maybe two a.m., and as Harry made his way to his new room, he was hazy and relaxed. Well. Maybe a little more than relaxed. Maybe a fair bit drunk.

He felt like perhaps everything would be OK after all. He was home. The castle felt just the same, even though bits of it were fucked up. A bit like him, he thought, and smiled to himself as he climbed the steps to his new room. Coming back to Hogwarts after missing it so much was like sinking into a warm bath after being out on a freezing cold day. It had been great to see Dean and Neville again. The Ravenclaws who had joined the party seemed friendly enough, Seamus had provided a generous supply of alcohol, and Ron, for a change, hadn’t once asked when Harry was going to get back together with Ginny. He wondered if Filch had been told to leave the eighth year students alone for the evening, but whatever the reason, they had been able to talk until the small hours, and Harry felt happier than he had done for a long time.

The room was dark as Harry inched the door open. It felt so odd to be coming back here rather than getting into bed next to the others in the old Gryffindor dorm. However, inside it was warm and quiet, with a faint smell of something sweet and spicy, like Malfoy had been eating some kind of treat before bed. Harry slipped his shoes off and was planning to tumble straight into bed and go to sleep, when he tripped over something solid and very pointy on the floor.

“Shit!” He clutched at his toes, which were throbbing with pain. “Ow, fucking ow.”

He could hear Malfoy sitting up. “What the bloody hell?”

“Bumped into something.” Harry found the bed and sank onto it, casting a low Lumos. “Merlin, your blasted trunk. What did you leave it there for?”

“I didn’t know you were going to be crashing around like an Erumpent at two in the bloody morning, did I?”

“Ow.” Harry nursed his bruises. “Your fault for booby-trapping the room.”

“Any chance of getting back to sleep?”

“Depends whether you shut up and stop being an arsehole.” Harry felt pretty pleased at the wit of his own reply. His tongue felt thick from the elf-rum, and his blood pumped hot and lazy around his body. He realised he’d quite like a proper fight with Malfoy. In fact, it would be great if Malfoy said something really shitty back, so that Harry would have to go over there and make him wish he hadn’t. He could imagine the two of them wrestling together, the ozone-y crackle of magic in the air, and Malfoy’s angular body struggling against his.

He stood up in anticipation but sat back down again, suddenly dizzy as the blood rushed away from his head. “Shit.”

“Are you drunk?”

Harry lay down, then realised he was still fully dressed. “Yep.” He sat up and pulled his shirt over his head, yanking as it got stuck.

“Is this going to be something that happens every night?”

“Dunno.” Harry kicked his jeans off and fumbled with his socks. “Could be.”

“I suppose I should think myself lucky you didn’t bring a girl back here for some inept shagging.”

“Ha, ha,” Harry said. “Funny.” He could totally still go over there and punch Malfoy. If he wanted to. But the bed was wonderfully soft, and he’d bet that it would feel so good under the covers if he slid his legs in, like that. Ah, yes. He would just close his eyes for a moment. Only a moment.

*^*^*

The sun was streaming in across Harry’s bed and some fucker had drawn the curtains back so that the light could abuse his eyes even more cruelly. Harry groaned, and then wished he hadn’t, because that hurt, too. Then he remembered where he was, and why, and groaned again. The shower was running, the sound of water pounding against tile magnified in his head. He groped on the bedside table for a drink and gulped it down. Hell, he wished he had a hangover potion. Then he remembered. Seamus had given him one last night, and he had put it… where?

He sat up and Accioed his jeans. Yes. There it was, in the hip pocket, the tiny, precious phial. He had just swallowed it down and sank back against the pillow, relief already trickling through his veins, when the bathroom door opened and Malfoy walked in.

“Oh, it’s alive,” Malfoy said, then wrinkled his nose. “You smell like shit.”

Harry pulled the sheets up over himself. He seemed to have stripped naked last night when he got into bed, and Malfoy being here… well, it was weird. No, it was fucking weird. He looked around for his glasses, but couldn’t find them.

“On the floor,” Malfoy said. “I thought about treading on them, but it seemed a bit juvenile.”

Harry swiped them up and pushed them onto his nose. His stomach lurched at the sudden movement, but it was already settling, the potion doing its work. Malfoy was sitting on the bed, doing up his shirt. Harry stared for a moment. It was just so disorientating to see Malfoy sitting there, barefoot, a slice of his pale chest exposed.

“How long til breakfast?” Harry asked.

“About ten minutes.”

“Shit,” Harry said.

“You certainly look it.” Malfoy fastened his tie with a few deft motions.

“Fuck off,” Harry said. As an insult, it lacked finesse, but it was all he could manage at that moment.

“I intend to.” Malfoy stood up. “Not planning to spend any longer here than I have to.”

“Good,” said Harry. He really needed a piss. And he didn’t particularly want to get up and walk to the bathroom naked, not with Malfoy there looking all self-possessed. “Go on, then.”

Malfoy shook his head and used his wand to lace his shoes. “Tosser.” He flung his robes over his shoulders. “Well, see you around. Hope you have a crappy day.”

Harry sat up straight, the covers falling to his waist. “Hope you choke on your cornflakes, you wanker.”

Malfoy gave him a look Harry couldn’t quite place, half disgust, half… something else. His eyes flicked over Harry’s bare torso and Harry pulled the covers around himself again, glowering at Malfoy and daring him to say anything more. Harry would go for him if he did, he bloody would, and hang the consequences. But Malfoy merely walked out, looking disdainful and letting the door bang shut behind him.

Harry sank back with a frustrated exhalation. Merlin, this was never going to work. Never, never, never in a million years. He considered running away. Going back to Grimmauld Place with its dust and memories and ghosts and just hiding there until he forgot all about the war, about all those who were lost, about all the mistakes he had made and everything that had been done to him and those he loved. Until he couldn’t even remember Malfoy’s name.

One day, this would all be in the past, right? He’d be looking back on it, maybe sharing it as a story with his grandchildren or something. And then, after the war, when I went back to Hogwarts to do my NEWTs, I punched Draco Malfoy right in the nose, and I can tell you, children, it felt good.

Harry grinned despite himself. He forced his now only slightly-hungover body out of bed and towards the shower. He was going to be late for breakfast.

*^*^*

Once Harry had eaten porridge with cream and honey, and a fat bacon roll which oozed salty grease, he felt vastly improved, enough to walk over to Hogsmeade with Ron and Hermione. Eighth year lessons were starting that afternoon, so they spent a nostalgic morning perusing the shops and spending a few Galleons. Hermione had developed a taste for Ice Mints – she said they cleared the mind brilliantly – so their last stop took them to Honeydukes.

While Hermione paid, the young witch at the counter passed Harry a plate bearing a selection of small bonbons. “Try one,” she said, lowering her long lashes at Harry. “Our new flavours for autumn.”

“Oh. Thanks.” Harry popped one into his mouth and nodded happily as smooth chocolate melted on his tongue. Then a zing of something fiery exploded in his mouth. Ahh, ginger, hot and sharp and delicious, with just a hint of sweetness. He was reminded of the smell in their room last night – maybe Malfoy had been eating these before bed? “They’re really good,” Harry said. “I’ll buy a box.”

“On the house,” the witch giggled, and would accept no gold, despite Harry’s protests.

Outside, Harry offered the box to Ron and Hermione. “You have to try these.”

“Mm. Not bad,” Ron said. “She liked you, mate, in case you didn’t notice.”

Harry shook down his fringe to cover his scar. “Yeah, whatever.”

“Seriously. She was quite nice-looking, too.” He looked to Hermione for support. “Wasn’t she?”

Hermione just rolled her eyes and took Ron’s hand. “Come on. We’ll be late for our first lesson.”

*^*^*

It had been a long day, and Harry was ready for sleep, but as often happened, it was taking him a while. He lay in the dark, listening to the quiet, small sounds of Malfoy breathing. It was nothing new to hear other people in the dorm, moving about or snoring or fidgeting their way to sleep. But to know it was just him and Malfoy there, alone in the dark in this small room… that was quite unsettling. It was often difficult for Harry to drop off, to let go and trust that nothing bad would happen while his guard was down. It was as if part of him needed to be alert at all times. He didn’t know what for, exactly. Just in case he was needed.

Letting himself slip away into obliviousness with Draco Malfoy only a few feet away was such a counter-intuitive thing to do. Harry felt for the wand under his pillow and lay with his fingers resting against the cool, smooth wood, his thumb stroking across the familiar groove on its handle, over and over. He let his breath come slow and steady, taking in the scents of the room – old books and parchment, thick wool blankets, and that intriguing smell of spices, until his body finally relaxed enough for him to drift off to sleep.

*^*^*

Harry didn’t know what time it was, but it was nowhere near morning. He found his wand and opened the curtains a couple of inches, just enough to see a slice of the sky sprinkled thickly with stars.

He lay there for a while, just looking and trying not to think about anything, when he heard Malfoy sit up and get a drink. Malfoy lay down again, but Harry could hear from his movements that he wasn’t going back to sleep, and after a while, Malfoy sighed.

It seemed ridiculous, both lying there in the dark and not speaking. “Can’t you get to sleep, either?”

Malfoy sounded haughty. “I got to sleep fine, thanks.”

Harry frowned. “Yeah, but you’re awake now. And it’s about three a.m.”

“Yes, I do know that.” Malfoy was quiet for a minute, and then, “Pointing it out doesn’t make it any less shit.”

Merlin. Harry bit back a retort. It was no time for an argument, and he didn’t much want to think about why Malfoy couldn’t sleep, what thoughts came to him in the middle of the night, what troubles whispered in his ear and crept into the dark, helpless corners of his brain. It was worse, somehow, than thinking about Harry’s own ghosts.

The room was quiet for a while. Then Malfoy said, “Open the curtain a bit more, would you?”

Harry used his wand again and then lay in silence, looking at the stars. He must have slept again, eventually, because the next thing he knew, light was streaming in and he could hear the shower running full blast.

*^*^*

Harry avoided Malfoy as much as he could that day. It wasn’t hard, because they had a full day of classes, the first assignments were set, and the usual, comforting rhythm of meals and owl post and trips to the library and homework began all over again.

Harry’s attention did stray to Malfoy in Charms, but only because Malfoy looked like he was in danger of falling asleep over his book, dark shadows around his eyes and his pale complexion ashier than usual. But Malfoy, feeling Harry’s eyes on him, pulled himself up poker-straight and glared in Harry’s direction until he looked away.

There was a bit of a gathering in Seamus’s room again that evening, but this time, Harry declined to swig from the near-empty bottle of spirits as it came round, and headed up to his new room around ten thirty. Malfoy was already in bed, lying with his back to Harry, and didn’t acknowledge him as he came in. Harry felt pretty sure Malfoy was only pretending to be asleep, but it was a relief not to have to speak to him, so he undressed quietly and slipped into bed.

He lay for a while, willing his body to unwind. He could hear the owls hunting. He knew Muggles found the sound eerie, the low hoots and sharp shrieks. But to Harry, they simply meant that he was at Hogwarts. His lack of sleep from last night meant it was easier than usual to sink towards a doze. But just as he was on the threshold of relaxation, his senses softening and blurring, he heard a noise from the other bed and was instantly alert again.

Harry lay still, his heart banging against his ribs. All was silent at first, and he wondered if he had dreamed it, but no, there it was again. A low, breathless sound, then a slow exhalation, as if Malfoy was hurt, or perhaps—

Oh.

Malfoy did it again and this time, it was unmistakably a very quiet moan of pleasure.

“What the fuck, Malfoy?” Harry felt his cheeks flushing.

Malfoy went very still.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Harry didn’t even know why he was so annoyed, but he was.

There was a rustling of blankets. “That’s a stupid fucking question, even for you, Potter. My dick didn’t suddenly stop working just because I have to share a room with you.”

“Bloody hell.” Harry’s ears were burning with heat. “I don’t want to hear that.”

“Don’t listen, then.”

“But– You can’t just– Why can’t you wank in the shower?”

Malfoy sounded as if it was Harry who was being unreasonable. “I did. But are you trying to tell me you only do it once a day?”

Well. Maybe not. But that wasn’t the point. “I was almost asleep.”

“Good for you. I thought you were asleep, as it happens.”

“Well, I’m not, so can you keep the noise down?”

“What, like you did when you crashed in here on Tuesday night? Bloody hell. Such a fuss.”

“Such a fuss? I’m not the one who was lying there playing with myself.”

“That’s your concern, Potter. Now, I want to finish off and get some sleep, so I suggest you stick a pillow over your head if the thought of it bothers you so much.”

Harry didn’t wait to hear if Malfoy meant it or not. He shoved his fists angrily over his ears and kept them there for a good five minutes. Even though he couldn’t hear anything, it was hard not to picture what was happening in the other bed, and to ignore his own cock stirring with interest at the thought that Harry could do the same if he wanted. He screwed his face up in the darkness. He didn’t want to think about this – Malfoy stroking himself with those long fingers, his body jerking into his own fist...

When Harry finally took his hands away from his ears, Malfoy was lying quietly, probably not quite asleep yet, but his breathing was deep and even. The bastard. It would serve him right if Harry did the same thing. See how he’d like that. Harry didn’t touch himself, all the same. Instead he lay there, listening to the owls’ hoots, and making a mental list of the top five Hexes he’d like to use on Malfoy, until sleep finally came.

*^*^*

The Knut was starting to drop that this year was a lot more academically challenging than Harry had expected. Nobody suggested a get-together in Seamus’s room the following evening; instead they headed to the library or to their own rooms to work. Harry wandered down towards the Hufflepuff basement to find Hermione’s room and ask if she could lend him her Potions notes. If he was honest, half of today’s class had gone right over his head.

He was prepared for the possibility of Millicent Bulstrode, but he hadn’t expected to find a whole group of girls crowded into the room. There were eighth years and seventh years too, in Slytherin and Ravenclaw robes, sitting on the beds and, in some cases, the floor. Some of them were studying, some chatting, and one girl was using her wand to do another’s hair up into a what looked like a very elaborate sparkly topknot. He didn’t recognise all of them, but from the snickers and whispered comments, they seemed to know him.

“Er. I was looking for Hermione,” he said, trying not to look as awkward as he felt.

“Harry!” Hermione’s voice came from the desk. He hadn’t seen her there in the corner. “I’m here.” She sounded embarrassed, too.

“Oh! Right. Potions notes? Please?”

Hermione merely rolled her eyes and passed some parchment to the girl nearest to her, who passed it across the room until it reached the girl nearest Harry, a dark-haired Slytherin. Harry put out his hand to take it, but the girl held it out of reach. “Why don’t you boys do your own work in future, instead of copying from Granger?”

Harry frowned. “I’m not copying, thanks. I didn’t quite get the thing about the Bloodroot.”

Hermione shook her head. “Oh, let him have it, Petra.”

Petra gave the scroll to Harry, looking seriously unimpressed.

“Thanks,” Harry said, deliberately addressing Hermione rather than Petra. Blimey. Was it like this in here every night? How did she get any work done? “Er… are you OK?” he asked.

Hermione pushed her hair off her face and gave him a tired smile. “I’m fine.”

Harry hesitated; he didn’t want to hang around, but it didn’t feel right leaving Hermione in there, either. “Do you want to come with me to the library or something?”

“No, really. I’m almost finished.” Hermione turned to one of the girls sitting on the floor. “Mandy, can I see that page again? The one with the chart showing the decline in the Merpeople population?”

I’ll come with you,” the girl having her hair done told Harry, in a voice obviously meant to be suggestive, and several of the others sniggered.

Blimey. Harry glanced at Hermione but she was bent over her work again. “Bye, then,” he said quickly. “Thanks for the notes.”

Hermione just waved a hand, but a rather derisive chorus of “Bye,” followed Harry as he got out of there as fast as he could.

*^*^*

That night, in bed, Harry realised he was listening out for what Malfoy might be up to. He was knackered, again, but he sort of kept himself awake, just to see if it would happen again. He didn’t think he would have noticed, this time, if he hadn’t have been expecting it. Malfoy’s movements were pretty slow and quiet, and it was only the occasional hitch of his breath that made Harry sure he was listening to more than Malfoy simply falling asleep.

The thing was, after years of sleeping in dormitories, it wasn’t as if he’d never overheard this kind of thing before. If it had been Ron, or Dean, or whoever, Harry would have just ignored it, not thought anything of it at all. But this felt different. He kept quiet, trying to ignore his own cock, which was telling him it had been a long time since he’d brought himself off in the shower that morning, and resigned himself to waiting for it to be over.

Then Malfoy’s voice came in the dark, low and slightly irritated. “I know you’re listening.”

This time it was Harry’s turn to freeze. But he hadn’t done anything wrong. He was just waiting for Malfoy to shut up, so he could go to sleep— “No I bloody wasn’t.”

“For god’s sake, why don’t you get yourself off as well, instead of lying there huffing at me,” Malfoy said. “Maybe then we can both sleep.”

Harry’s cock seemed to think this was a fantastic idea, and for some reason that made Harry crosser than ever. “Piss off. Not everyone is like you.”

“What? Not everyone likes a good wank before they go to bed? I’m pretty certain you’re wrong there. I think just about every eighteen-year-old boy on the planet does.”

“Maybe I don’t want to do that in public,” Harry said.

“In public? What are you talking about?” Malfoy asked. His voice was still breathy, despite his annoyance. As though he’d been really close when Harry interrupted him. “I was actually being quiet, but if you’re determined to lie there listening…. Maybe you’d have less of a pole up your arse all the bloody time if you’d let yourself have one off the wrist when you needed it.”

Harry’s cock twitched even as his face flushed with anger. It was the way the crude words sounded in Malfoy’s snooty voice. Harry was just really wound up, from having to share a room with Malfoy, and not being able to sleep very well. There was all of the weird stuff that he couldn’t get used to, like seeing Malfoy coming out of the shower every morning and that bloody spicy ginger smell which he was pretty sure was Malfoy’s cologne. “Do what the hell you like, Malfoy. I wasn’t listening anyway. But if it bothers you so much, I’ll use a pillow.”

Harry shoved his head under the pillow and pushed it against his ears so he didn’t have to hear any more. But it was too hot, and there wasn’t enough air, and the whole thing seemed ridiculous, so Harry came out again, and—

Bloody hell, Malfoy was making more noises. They were still kind of quiet, but Malfoy didn’t seem to be holding back so much any more. There were long, deep sighs, and then a hoarse groan, and, fuck, Harry was hard, properly hard, just thinking about what Malfoy must be doing to himself to make that kind of noise.

At first Harry thought he would just listen, and then, as Malfoy carried on, Harry thought there was no way that Malfoy would know if he joined in. Malfoy was much too into it, and Harry could be quiet. Really quiet. He slipped his boxers down and his cock bounced wildly, brushing against the sheets, and even that felt bloody good. Harry wrapped his palm around his shaft and gave one, slow, experimental stroke, and then instinct took over and he started to wank in earnest.

Malfoy was definitely far too wrapped up in his own pleasure to notice. He made a small, high sound like “Uh-uh”, as if he was not far away from coming, and Harry sped up his own pace. He never needed very long to bring himself off, and the quicker the better in this situation. Harry was quiet. So quiet, as his fist flew over his prick, his teeth digging into his bottom lip. Malfoy made a sound like a whimper, then groaned, long and deep, and Harry could imagine exactly what was happening in the next bed. He spread his legs as the first wave of his own orgasm hit him. He was still quiet as spunk pulsed over his fingers, spurting up towards his chest. Uhhh, yes, it was good, but he made no noise, only one low gasp which he choked off in his throat before it could escape.

Afterwards, he felt warm and muzzy as he stretched his legs out comfortably under the cool sheets. He wasn’t going to think about the fact he’d just pulled himself off while listening to Draco Malfoy have an orgasm. He might even be able to get some sleep now. He heard Malfoy groping for his wand and muttering, and Harry congratulated himself on teaching himself a silent, wandless cleaning spell for occasions such as this. Malfoy never needed to know. He heard Malfoy roll over and then Malfoy asked in a sleepy voice, “Feel better now?”

Shit. How could Malfoy tell, when Harry had been so quiet and Malfoy had practically been yelping? Harry’s face felt hotter than when he had tried to hide under the pillow. He said nothing.

“Oh, right. Are we not talking about it, then?” Malfoy snorted in the darkness. “Merlin, what a big deal about nothing. It’s not like it’s the first time you’ve got off with someone else there.”

Bloody hell. This was not a conversation Harry wanted to be having. This was not anything Malfoy needed to know about him. Maybe if he kept quiet, Malfoy would drop it.

“So what’s the problem?” Malfoy’s voice niggled at him.

“Shut up, OK?” Harry’s voice came out sounding far more bothered than he had intended.

There was a low laugh. “Oh my god. You’re not telling me it is the first time?”

Harry felt a wave of embarrassment and fury boil up inside of him. “I thought you wanted to get some sleep.”

“Yeah, but this is really funny. Do you actually mean—”

“Shut the fuck up, Malfoy.”

“What about that thing you had with Weasley’s sister?” Malfoy sounded wide awake again.

“None of this is any of your business.”

“You never fucked her?” Malfoy sounded gleeful.

“Malfoy, I’m going to Hex your right hand off in a minute. See how your dick likes that.”

“Oh, I’m perfectly proficient with my left, as well,” Malfoy drawled. “Frees the other one up for—”

“Merlin. Stop there while I Obliviate myself.” But Harry’s brain was running through all the likely scenarios, and exactly how Malfoy would look in each of them.

“Well, this is an eye opener for me,” Malfoy said with satisfaction, and Harry could hear him rolling over and getting into a comfortable position for sleeping. “I never knew Gryffindors were such prudes.”

Harry realised that Malfoy was simply delighted to have found a new way to get Harry riled up. If he ignored him, Malfoy would get bored much more quickly. “I’m falling asleep just hearing about your tedious wanking habits, to be honest.”

“OK, Potter. You tell yourself that.” Malfoy snickered to himself.

Harry let his breathing get quiet and slow, hoping Malfoy would drop the whole conversation. But before long, he didn’t need to pretend any longer. His body felt pleasantly wrung out and satisfied, and soon sleep stole over him, soft and warm as an owl’s wing.

*^*^*

Harry came back to the room after lunch, flung the door open and – oh. Goyle was there, sitting in a chair with Malfoy perching on the desk next to him.

“Piss off, Potter,” Malfoy said.

“What?” Harry felt his hackles rising. “This is my room, too, you can’t just—”

Then he noticed Goyle was sitting with his big fists pressed to his eyes, and making gulping sounds which suggested he was trying not to cry. Malfoy didn’t exactly have his arm around Goyle, but he was sort of patting Goyle’s shoulder while glaring at Harry.

“I said, piss off,” Malfoy repeated.

“Oh. Right.” Harry turned to the door. “You know, you could have asked nicely...”

“Just go, will you?” Malfoy asked, a fiercely protective look on his face that Harry had never seen before.

It seemed like a good time to visit Ron. It wasn’t that Harry had been avoiding him, but there was an irrational fear in the back of his mind that Ron would take one look at Harry and somehow know what Harry had done last night. He was being ridiculous, though. He headed for Ron’s room near the Library, and as soon as he knocked, he heard Ron call, “Come in, s’not locked.”

Harry pushed the door open and then stopped, feeling slightly awkward, as he realised Ron wasn’t alone. He and his roommate were sitting opposite each other, a chess board between them. Ron got up when he saw Harry, rubbing a hand across the back of his neck. “Ah, alright mate? Just…” He gestured at the board. “He plays, too, so thought we might as well give it a go.”

Harry nodded at the tall pale boy in Ravenclaw robes. “Hello.”

Cornfoot nodded in return, then continued frowning down at the chess board.

“Want to go for a walk or something?” Ron asked Harry.

“Sure.”

“We can finish this later,” Ron told Cornfoot. “Out to the lake, yeah?” he asked Harry. The thing about having no common room was that it was harder to find places to hang out with your mates. And there had always been something comforting about it, too. Harry would have given a lot to be able to stroll into the Gryffindor common room right now and sink into one of the cosy, worn sofas.

But McGonagall had been quite clear – the eighth years were not to use the common rooms until after Christmas at the earliest. “Give yourself a chance to settle down with your new roommates,” she had said. According to Hermione, when some of the Hufflepuff girls had protested to the Headmistress about it, McGonagall had got quite shirty. So a walk through the grounds would have to do.

There were a few other eighth years by the lake. Most were standing and chatting, but two figures were kneeling down at the water’s edge, and as they drew nearer, they could see that Hermione was one of them.

“Hermione!” Ron said. “What’re you doing fishing about down there? Have you lost something?”

“Oh, hello,” Hermione said. “We’re just collecting some specimens of the plants growing here.” She pushed up the sleeve of her robe to avoid it dragging in the water as she gathered what looked like murky pond water in a flask.

“What’s that for? Herbology?” Harry asked. He didn’t remember any homework about collecting stuff from the lake.

“No…” Hermione looked a little embarrassed. “It’s not actually for schoolwork. It’s just that we’ve got a theory about how the aquatic plant life here might use moonlight to photosynthesise, so we’re taking some samples to check.” She pushed her hair back from her face. “Do you think that’s enough now?” she asked the blonde witch in Ravenclaw robes kneeling next to her.

“That should be fine,” said the other girl. “If we test it with wormwood, we can compare with the results of the pond water I brought from our garden at home, and then begin charting the effect of the moon over the next month.”

“You’re doing this for fun?” Ron asked in dismay. “Are they not giving you enough to do for your NEWTs?”

The blonde witch got to her feet and Hermione looked slightly anxious. “Oh, Ron, Harry. This is Mandy Brocklehurst. Her friend Lisa is sharing a room with Daphne Greengrass. And Daphne is Millicent’s friend, so we all got chatting, and… well, it turns out Mandy and I have quite a lot in common.” Hermione shrugged casually, but Harry noticed a happy flush on her face.

Mandy began to tuck the specimen flasks safely away in her satchel as she spoke. “I’ve been interested in the aquatic life at Hogwarts for quite a while,” she told the boys, “but I somehow never made the time to really explore it properly.”

“It’s fascinating, actually,” Hermione told Ron, “and it could be important, too, because if we can find out how magical plants respond to moonlight without disrupting their circadian rhythms, it might have applications for—”

“Please, Hermione,” Ron moaned. “I came out here to get away from that kind of stuff.”

Mandy didn’t seem discouraged by Ron’s reaction. “It’s so much easier with two of us working on it, and of course Hermione’s knowledge of Herbology and Potions is pretty much the best I’ve come across, so…”

Hermione’s ears were turning pink with pleasure and she let her hair fall down over her face, but Harry could see her smiling all the same. For the first time it struck Harry that maybe Hermione minded the fact she had never really clicked with the Gryffindor girls. In fact… as far as Harry knew, she had never had a female friend in all the years they’d been at Hogwarts.

Why had this never occurred to him? He’d always presumed that he and Ron were enough for her. But now, when he saw her face lit up with interest as she helped Mandy charm the flasks to protect them against damage, talking all the time about the likely results of their tests… he felt a bit of a dick for never thinking about it before.

“Well, I’ll see you later, Mandy,” Hermione said, still looking pink and pleased. “I’m going to walk with Ron and Harry for a bit now.”

“Lisa, Daphne and Millie are going to the library after lunch to do their Potions essay. Do you want to come?” Mandy hoisted her satchel over her shoulder. “It’s more fun working together, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it really is. I’ll definitely be there later.”

When Mandy was out of earshot, Ron poked Hermione in the ribs. “You don’t need encouraging to study more,” he teased. “I bet those Slytherin girls only want to copy your homework.”

Hermione shook her head. “Daphne’s top of her House in Potions, actually. It’s just nice to have company.”

“Well, now you’ve got our company for a while.” Ron wrapped his arm around her and kissed the top of her hair.

She snuggled into Ron’s arm as they walked, looking contented. “What have you two been up to? How are things with Malfoy?”

Harry had a vivid flash of himself last night, silently wanking while listening to Malfoy doing the same. He coughed. “Bit bloody weird,” he said.

“It must be,” Hermione said. “Oh well, I guess you can stay out of his way most of the time. Does he say much?”

Yeah, he told me he’s just as good at wanking with his left hand as with his right.

“Not really,” Harry told her.

“Well,” said Ron. “Honestly, what would someone like Malfoy have to say to you?”

Hermione sighed. “Are you sleeping any better?”

“Er. Maybe?” Harry said. Well. It was nowhere near as bad as it had been straight after the battle, so it wasn’t exactly a lie.

“You still look tired.”

“I’m OK. I’ll have an early night.”

*^*^*

Malfoy got into bed and it wasn’t Harry’s fault that everything sounded so loud. He could hear Malfoy rustling, could imagine him getting comfortable and then easing his pyjamas down, just low enough to—

“So do you want me to pretend I’m not doing this, so you can pretend you’re not listening?” Malfoy asked.

“Do what the fuck you want.”

“OK, I will. But do I have to pretend I can’t hear you, either?” Malfoy snickered to himself. “I know. Let’s pretend we don’t have dicks at all. Would that make you feel more comfortable?”

Harry knew he should just ignore Malfoy. The more Harry protested, the more he showed that it was bothering him. But— “I’m perfectly OK with the fact I have a dick.”

“So it’s just me that has to pretend I don’t? Oh, right. I get it. Well, you can rest easy. There are no dicks over here, Potter.” Malfoy shifted on the bed and let out a small sigh. “I’m so glad I don’t have an erection right this minute.”

Merlin. Malfoy was bloody impossible. Making it sound like Harry was the one with the problem. Thank god it was dark so that he couldn’t see Harry’s cheeks burning. But Malfoy genuinely seemed to think it was quite normal, what they had done last night. Perhaps it was normal? Perhaps Ron was doing the same thing every night with Stephen Cornfoot. Perhaps everyone at Hogwarts had been masturbating together since the time of the Founders, and Harry was the only one who hadn’t known about it.

“Definitely not – uh – touching myself right now.” Malfoy went on. “That would be terrible.”

Fuck’s sake. Harry’s cock didn’t seem to think it was terrible. Not at all. Harry’s cock thought it was bloody brilliant, and it wanted to know why Harry was wasting all this time instead of joining in.

“For goodness sakes, don’t get carried away and get a hard-on, Potter. The wizarding world as we know it will literally crumble around our ears if you have a quick wank at bedtime when someone else might hear.”

Hell. The thing was – Harry was hard now. It was only because Malfoy kept talking about it. He hadn’t been hard when he got into bed. Well, not completely. If Harry didn’t wank now, he would just have to wait for Malfoy to go to sleep so that he could do it later. And Malfoy didn’t care. In fact, Malfoy was going to think Harry was doing it, even if he wasn’t. So it seemed stupid to make himself wait, to stay awake for ages when he could just do it now and then have a good chance of getting to sleep.

Harry gently wriggled out of his pyjama bottoms and started to stroke himself. He was quick and efficient. He came just before Malfoy and cleaned himself up without making a sound while Malfoy muttered his way through his own spells. And when Malfoy said “Sleep well,” snide as anything, Harry maintained a dignified silence.

*^*^*

It was still bloody weird, this business of Malfoy sauntering out of the bathroom with his shirt undone every morning. He always sat on the bed to do up the buttons and fasten his tie. It made Harry feel sort of flustered, and sitting in silence while he did it was even weirder, so it seemed best to make some kind of conversation. Harry leapt on the first topic that came into his head. “What’s up with Goyle, anyway?”

Malfoy looked up, his face cold. “What’s up with him? Oh, I dunno, Potter. Maybe the fact he saw his best friend burn to death last year? Maybe the fact his parents are in Azkaban, do you think that might be a little bit of a problem for him?”

Harry clenched his teeth. “He’s not the only one who’s lost people. And in case you forgot, Crabbe was trying to murder me and the others when he died.”

Malfoy finished his buttons and reached for his tie, his face screwing up. “He was a crazy bastard at the end. All twisted up with hatred.”

“You encouraged him.”

Malfoy narrowed his eyes. “Not to kill. I was shouting at him to stop—”

“Not then. I mean all your Pureblood crap. That’s what killed him. Nearly killed us all.”

“Yeah, and I’m the one who has to live with that, you righteous fucking wanker.” Malfoy’s face looked as if it would twist up in a sneer, but at the last moment, he couldn’t quite manage it. Instead he just sat there looking miserable and angry, his tie hanging loose around his neck.

Harry let out an uneven breath. He could feel a muscle jumping at his temple, and a familiar rage simmering in his chest, but he was so tired of all this and he didn’t want to fight any more. Not right now. It was hopeless to think he and Malfoy could discuss that sort of thing. But still, he couldn't help wondering... “So who is Goyle sharing with, anyway?” he asked.

Malfoy looked up, surprised, as if he had forgotten what they were talking about. “Greg?” He snorted. “Some bloody Hufflepuff.”

“Oh my god,” Harry said. “No. Really?”

“Yes,” said Malfoy. He attempted a faint smile. “Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in their room?” He stared into the middle distance. “Mind you. Greg is… rather a sweet bloke sometimes.”

Harry was sure he looked as sceptical as he felt. “Err. Are you serious?”

“Well, in his own way.” Malfoy qualified. He met Harry’s gaze again, and his eyes had just a hint of amusement. “Maybe the Hufflepuffs will adopt him as one of their own?”

It was Harry’s turn to snort. “Yeah, maybe. Hermione’s fitting right in with the Ravenclaws.”

“I thought she was sharing with Millie?”

“Mmm, she is. I think she’s just making some new friends, you know? About time, really.”

Malfoy grunted. “Poor woman. All those years of putting up with Weasley.”

“Hey.” Harry felt the anger stir again. “No slagging off my friends.”

“Oh, but it’s OK for you to insult mine?”

The words, That’s different sprang to Harry’s lips, but he bit them back with an effort. “OK,” he said, his brows drawing down. “I won’t if you won’t.”

“Good.” Malfoy stood up. “I’m going to breakfast.”

*^*^*

After lunch, Harry went to the library, but it seemed like everyone else had the same idea for once and he couldn’t find a free table. He checked out the book he was working from, a big old volume on the history of Magizoology, and a tiny one which he could hardly read from, the writing all cramped and scratchy, and took the stairs to the room he shared with Malfoy.

The door swung open to reveal Malfoy with his back to Harry, shirtless and apparently changing out of his uniform. He looked over his shoulder at Harry as he came in, but didn’t speak or acknowledge him, just carried on unfastening his belt and then shucked off his trousers in one fluid movement.

Harry froze, standing by the door. He couldn’t even remember why he had come up to the room, let alone think what to do next. Malfoy simply stood there, in a pair of snug-fitting boxers and nothing else, hanging up his robes so they didn’t crease.

“I,” said Harry. “I.” He looked down at the books in his arms and it came back to him just in time. “I came up to do some work.”

“Oh. Right,” said Malfoy, sounding uninterested, and rather as if he wondered why Harry was telling him this. “I’m going into Hogsmeade.” Malfoy turned to his trunk and bent over, rummaging through the contents, and Harry found himself staring, fascinated by the delicate ridges of Malfoy’s spine. The neat sweep of his waist and— Fuck. The tight curve of his arse under white cotton.

Malfoy looked around again and Harry quickly moved, went to put the books down on the desk and then walked around it to sit down. He couldn’t help it if this meant he was still facing Malfoy, and when Malfoy straightened up and started to pull a soft woollen jumper over his head, all of the muscles in his back tightening, his ribs shifting under the skin, Harry pushed the desk away from him in his hurry to get up again.

“Forgot something,” Harry said, and was back out of the door and into the corridor, something loud and startling rushing in his ears.

When he went back, ten minutes later, a hot, shaky feeling still pulsing through him, Malfoy was gone, and there was only a hint of ginger in the air.

*^*^*

The bathroom light was still on. Malfoy had showered before bed and Harry was going to mention when he came out that he’d left the light on, but he didn’t, because he was too busy thinking about whether Malfoy showering before bed meant that he had already had a wank while he was in the shower. And if so, what Harry should do next, because he was hard already, and his body seemed to think it was owed a wank, as though doing it two nights in a row meant that he had a commitment to always wanking at this time of night for the rest of his life.

So Harry was lying there, sort of expectant, and if he were being honest, hopeful. He hadn’t started touching himself, but he definitely wanted to. When Malfoy got under the sheets and started to move in that slow, deliberate way, started to make those soft noises, Harry guessed that he probably hadn’t wanked in the shower and that it was going to be OK for Harry to wank too. He nearly mentioned the light then – they never usually left it on when they went to bed – but then he realised that if he kept quiet, he might be able to see what was happening. Just a little bit. It felt wrong to be thinking that way, but there was also a heavy kind of thrill coiling in his stomach, and it didn’t seem like Harry cared very much about what was right and what was wrong at that exact moment.

The bathroom door was only open a crack, but Harry could see that Malfoy had got comfortable on the bed with one of his legs stretched right out, dangling over the edge of the bed, and that Malfoy’s head was sort of tilted back. Harry hadn’t even touched his cock yet, but it was already straining against his pyjama bottoms, and Harry slid his hand inside to wrap around the hot, sticky-smooth length of his erection.

Malfoy made noises, again, quietly at first, and then a shivery low moan that made Harry’s cock leap eagerly in his hand. He kept his eyes half-closed in the hope that Malfoy couldn’t tell whether he was looking or not, but Malfoy didn’t seem to be paying much attention to Harry. Maybe he didn’t even care if Harry was watching? Malfoy had one knee up, his legs wide apart, and Harry thought he could even see the movement of Malfoy’s hand under the covers, moving steadily over his cock. Harry found himself unconsciously matching Malfoy’s rhythm, pushing into his own hand and wondering if it felt as good for Malfoy right now as it did for Harry, a shuddery slow build of pleasure which threatened to spill over at any moment.

Harry had to hold back, though, after only about a minute, because he was getting really close, and he didn’t want to be the first to come and have Malfoy laugh, or something… He gripped the base of his cock and waited for the urge to die down. Then Malfoy made a harsh sound, his mouth fell open, and his head tipped right back, and he was gasping and moving his hips, and, oh fuck.

Harry came pretty much immediately after. He didn’t mean to be loud like that, but somehow he couldn’t help it.

*^*^*

The next day in Charms, Harry struggled to stay focused. They were working on an advanced Concealment Charm and he could see he wasn’t the only one having difficulty – Malfoy was two desks down, frowning at the coins they’d each been given to practise on.

Hermione nudged him. ”What’s up?”

“I’m fine.”

“Are you sleeping any better?”

“Er. Kind of?” Harry said. He usually said he was whenever Hermione asked. She looked so worried otherwise. But now he thought about it… “Actually, yeah. Quite a lot better, in fact.”

“You look all dopey, though.”

“I’m OK. I’ll have an early night.”

Harry’s eyes wandered over to Malfoy again. The other boy let out a little grunt of frustration as he tried and failed to make the Knuts disappear, and Harry couldn’t help thinking of the sounds Malfoy had made last night. The sounds he might make again tonight. If, you know, it happened again tonight. It might not. It wasn’t like they had a routine going or anything, after all. He looked at the twin creases between Malfoy’s eyebrows, the way he sucked in his bottom lip as he prepared to cast again, and wondered if this was the same way Malfoy looked when he was coming.

Then Hermione elbowed Harry gently, making a wry, What is wrong with you today? face. Merlin, what was wrong with him? Just because he and Malfoy had to share a room now, it didn’t mean Harry had to get all funny about him. He went back to practising on the little heap of Knuts with a guilty conscience.

*^*^*

That night, Harry was brushing his teeth, like he did every night, and then when he came to bed, he forgot to turn the bathroom light off and shut the door. That was all it was. He didn’t mean to leave a triangle of gold slanting over Malfoy’s bed, illuminating everything in its path. He just forgot to turn off the light, and Malfoy didn’t mention it, but when Harry lay down and rolled over to face Malfoy’s bed, Malfoy had a knowing look on his face.

What? Harry wanted to ask, but he was pretty sure he knew what, and decided to keep his mouth shut instead.

The door was open much wider than the previous night, light streaming in, so when Malfoy tucked one hand beneath his head and let the other slide down under the covers, Harry could see it all quite clearly. Malfoy’s eyes were resting on him, the lids half-shut. Harry wasn’t sure, but he thought he could tell the moment that Malfoy first touched himself – the way he bit down on the fullness of his bottom lip, and arched up a little, as if he couldn’t get enough of whatever was going on under the covers.

God, this felt weird, watching someone else wank. But weird in a very, very good way. Hot shivers rippled through Harry as Malfoy closed his eyes and let out one of the small sounds Harry was starting to know quite well. He could see the movement under the covers, see the tension in Malfoy’s jaw as he worked his hand back and forth. And then Harry was touching himself, too. Stroking his cock, slowly at first, then faster, while he watched Malfoy do the same, and all Harry could think was that he wished Malfoy wasn’t under the covers like that.

Malfoy’s legs shifted, his body angling towards Harry, and Harry imagined the view he’d be getting right now if Malfoy pulled the blankets back. His own thumb swiped over the head of his cock and he gasped, his body jerking.

It would just be interesting, that was all. It wasn’t something he’d ever seen before, someone doing that. He’d like to see if Malfoy did it the same way as Harry – he probably had some fancy technique or something. How would Harry know, if he couldn’t see? That was all he wanted. It wasn’t because he was into boys or anything. He’d never even thought about it, not until he had to share the room and Malfoy started wanking all the bloody time and practically shoving his dick in Harry’s face. Harry had never been the slightest bit interested, not before now. Not before he’d seen Malfoy’s eyes screw up and his mouth fall open, heard him make that little choking cry that meant he was getting close.

Harry thought about turning away. He didn’t have to look any more – he could just quickly get himself off with his eyes closed and then go to sleep. But the breathless, reckless feeling that swarmed through him as he thrust into his own hand said otherwise. His eyes burned with looking, and the longing to see more built inside him until he thought he would go mad. Malfoy shifted on the bed again, one knee drawing right up, and, holy shit, the covers slipped a little and Harry could see Malfoy’s bare leg, and his arm, his wanking arm, moving, oh god, moving in firm, slow strokes.

Harry choked back a whimper and felt his own prick leap in his palm. He couldn’t see Malfoy’s cock. But if he sat up, bloody hell, if he sat up, he would see it. Or if Malfoy turned a little, if he just rolled over a bit further, the covers would slip right off. Harry was leaking pre-come all over his hand and he felt his balls drawing up, pleasure coiling tight and ready to release. He tried to hold on. Tried not to come yet. Because if he waited, just another minute, Malfoy might move and then Harry would see… It was only curiosity, that was all. Harry just wanted to know how big Malfoy was, just out of interest...

Malfoy let out a low throaty moan and then stilled. It looked as if his leg was trembling a little, his body held taut as if right on the edge. Another sound bubbled up from his chest, but still he didn’t move, except to throw his arm over his head to grip one of the bedposts. His eyes were tightly shut, and oh god, was Malfoy teasing himself? Harry stuffed a fist against his own mouth, because he was going to come, any second, and it was going to be fucking loud, he could feel it. Holy fucking Merlin, he could feel it, and Malfoy started moving again, and he wasn’t exactly being quiet himself. Harry’s orgasm ripped through him, fierce and fiery. He bucked into his own hand, biting on his fist, trying and failing to be quiet, while a string of filthy sounds spilled from Malfoy’s mouth.

Afterwards, Harry lay there, limp and out of breath. Bloody hell, that had been intense. He felt shame pricking hotly at his cheeks at how carried away he had been, at the noises that had escaped from around his knuckles. He couldn’t look at Malfoy, but he could see from the corner of his eye that he had pulled the sheet over himself again and was lying flat on his back. Harry was hoping they would just go to sleep, and never mention this again, when Malfoy spoke softly.

“You don’t have to try and keep quiet, Potter.”

Harry lay staring at the ceiling, his ears burning with embarrassment.

“It’s as though you feel like you shouldn’t be enjoying it.” Malfoy made a snorting sound, and Harry wanted to hit him. “What’s the bloody point of doing it if you don’t let yourself have a good time?”

“Shut up. It’s not that.” Harry tried to swallow around the lump of discomfort in his throat.

“What, then? What’s the big deal?”

“OK, I know we both do it, yeah? But maybe you don’t want to hear me. Maybe I don’t want to hear you.” Well, that was a whopping lie. Harry had definitely wanted to hear Malfoy, every breath and sigh. He didn’t want to admit that part of him was still wishing he had found a way to get a better look at what Malfoy had been doing.

“That’s a load of shit.” Malfoy sounded annoyed. “If I’m getting off, why wouldn’t I want to hear someone else enjoying themselves, too?”

Harry frowned into the darkness. The thing was, it did make sense when Malfoy put it that way. But—

“You liked it, Potter. You know you liked it.”

Harry did look at him then, to try and work out why Malfoy was saying that, whether he was just trying to rile Harry, or what. Malfoy was lying on his back with his arms behind his head, looking completely self-satisfied.

“You liked it,” Malfoy said again. “And I liked it, too. Why pretend otherwise?”

Harry groped under the pillow for his wand and flicked off the bathroom light, but even when he couldn’t see Malfoy, he still felt churned up with the awkwardness of the situation. “Forgot to do that earlier,” Harry said, trying to sound casual.

“Sure you did.”

Irritation flared in Harry’s chest. “Can you shut up now so I can get some sleep?”

Malfoy didn’t answer, but Harry could still feel his smug amusement in the silent darkness.

*^*^*

Harry hurried up the stairs to their room. He’d downed a pint of pumpkin juice at lunch and now he was bursting for a piss. Malfoy wasn’t there. He unzipped as he crossed the room, flipped the bathroom door open, and—

Shit.

Malfoy was already in the bathroom. Malfoy was already in the bathroom, standing, bollock naked, with one leg up on the bathtub, drying himself.

“Shit!” Harry blurted. Malfoy looked surprised, but made no move to cover himself. His body was skinny, but not as skinny as Harry would have expected – it was lean and strong, and, Merlin, there was so much pale, smooth skin. It went on and on, broken only by Malfoy’s Dark Mark, standing out on his arm like a violation.

But even the Dark Mark couldn’t take Harry’s attention away from Malfoy’s prick. It hung, soft and heavy, surrounded by blond curls, his neat, firm balls below, and fucking hell, Harry was staring like a brainless fool.

Harry turned around and walked out, slamming the door behind him.

“Potter?” Malfoy called. Shit, he sounded like he thought it was pretty funny. “Did you want something?”

“Sorry,” Harry said hoarsely. Ugh, his flies were still undone. He zipped up, his hands unsteady, then cleared his throat and pitched his voice lower. “Just needed a piss. Didn’t know you were in there.”

“You could always knock next time, if you don’t want an eyeful.”

Harry could hear the bastard smiling. Could picture him, clearly, Malfoy’s cock jiggling slightly as he resumed drying himself. Lean muscle and a lightly-curved arse, and—

“Lock the door in future, OK?” Harry told him. Fucking great. Now he was half-hard, as well as still needing the loo. He went to adjust himself in his trousers, then snatched his hand away as the bathroom door opened and Malfoy came out, the towel slung low on his hips. Harry turned away, but not before his eyes had travelled over sleek damp hair combed back from Malfoy’s sharp face. Small pink nipples. The taut dip of his navel.

“OK,” Malfoy said. “I’ll try to remember.”

Harry stood staring out of the window, as if there was something really interesting happening out there. There might be, for all he knew. He could only see acres of pale skin and jutting hipbones.

“Bathroom’s free,” Malfoy said.

“Yeah. Right,” said Harry. He wasn’t sure if his semi was obvious in these trousers or not, but there was no way he could check. He was just going to have to brazen it out.

He turned without meeting Malfoy’s eye and walked to the bathroom as much aplomb as he could manage. Safely inside, with the door firmly locked, he ran the tap and splashed cold water onto his face. What was wrong with him? He’d seen blokes in the shower before. Loads of times. Just because it was Malfoy. Just because he knew what Malfoy sounded like – knew what he looked like – when he was coming. Why did that mean he had to get all weird about seeing Malfoy naked?

As he stood over the toilet, dick out (now more than half hard, thanks to the way it leapt with delight as soon as Harry had begun to unzip), desperately trying to piss, he was sure of only one thing. He definitely wasn’t going to leave the light on again tonight. It was far too confusing.

*^*^*

It was maybe a bit cold to sit by the Lake, but it had become a habit for some of the eighth years to head out there before dinner each night as dusk started to fall. Tonight there were about a dozen students sitting on rugs, chatting and watching the Giant Squid catching Grindylows and tossing them from tentacle to tentacle. Harry wandered over to where Hermione was sitting with a group of eighth year girls, her hands clasped around a steaming mug of something. “Hot chocolate?” he asked.

“Er, no.” The tip of Hermione’s nose was a lovely pink colour. “It’s tea with rum, actually.”

“Oh, right. Is it some kind of party? You’re not spending the evening at the library, as usual?”

Hermione frowned. “Of course I am, I’ve got loads to do. But we came out for a quick break. The tea is just to keep warm.” She smiled shyly, looking over her shoulder at the other girls. “It was Millicent’s idea, and I have to say it’s quite delicious.”

Harry raised an eyebrow and grinned. It was lovely to see Hermione looking relaxed. He’d thought she was going to lose her marbles at first, trying to get a whole term’s work done in a week and confiding to anyone who would listen that she was “getting awfully behind already”.

Harry said hi to Padma and Katie as they joined the group, then felt himself go strangely still at the sight of three Slytherin boys strolling towards the Lake. He didn’t know what was wrong with him. There was absolutely no need to feel all jittery like this in his chest just because Draco Malfoy was walking past. Malfoy had left his robes at the Castle, and was wearing the standard uniform trousers and jumper like everyone else, but, god, he looked good in them. Like a fucking model or something with his slender frame and that haughty walk of his.

As Malfoy walked past with Goyle, he nodded in Harry’s direction, and his lips twitched into a kind of smile – well, more like a smirk, to be honest, but it had the horrifying effect of sending a deep shiver of interest along Harry’s spine. Hermione was still sitting right there, and Harry desperately tried to keep his face from showing anything unusual, but he suspected it wasn’t working out. He cleared his throat, which only made Hermione look concerned.

“Are you getting a cold? Do you want some of this tea?”

“No. Thanks. I’m fine.” If he had a drink every time Malfoy unsettled him, he’d be an alcoholic by Christmas. Malfoy kept walking, all swanky and fascinating. Harry tried not to watch, but it was too late; his cock was stirring in his pants, apparently eager to show its approval at the mere existence of Malfoy. Harry stuck his hands in his pockets to disguise the bulge, and hoped it just looked as if he was cold.

“Are you all sitting out here again?” Ron sounded fed up. “I can never find you these days, Hermione.”

“Just having a break from schoolwork.”

“It’s bloody freezing and there’s a perfectly good castle over there. Anyway, why don’t you come and find me when you want a break?”

Hermione flushed and got to her feet. “Let’s go for a walk, then. You too, Harry.” She put down her tea and linked arms with Ron. “You don’t have to be so rude about it,” she whispered, then looked round at the other girls. “I’ll see you back in the library in a bit.”

“Ooh, Granger!” someone called after them. “Where are you taking those two? Don’t do anything we wouldn’t do.” There was some snickering, and Ron increased his pace, his long legs striding along and making the other two hurry to keep up.

“Why do you want to hang around with that lot?” he said sulkily.

“They’re all right.” Hermione frowned. “Daphne’s quite nice, and I like Mandy a lot. I’m still getting to know the others. It’ll take time, I expect, but at least I’m trying, unlike some people.”

“Just because you’re sharing with Bulstrode, doesn’t mean you have to be all pally with her and her gang.”

“It’s not a gang,” Hermione said crossly. “Half of the Slytherin girls didn’t even come back this year; Millicent’s best friend has gone to France. Some of us are just trying to get along with the others left at Hogwarts. This tradition of splitting people into Houses is very divisive, you know, I’ve been drafting a letter to the Governors about it—”

“How do you even find time for stuff like that?” Ron shook his head. “I swear the Professors are having a competition to see who can give the most homework.”

“Think about it, though,” Hermione went on. “Most people have traits from more than one house, anyway; sorting us arbitrarily when we’re eleven years old is an archaic system with no real benefits. I’ve been reading a lot of Muggle history lately. Looking at how conflicts arise and how those in power often set one group of people against another and use it to their advantage.”

Harry met Ron’s eye. “You’ve started her off now, mate.”

“You can laugh, but this is important. If we’re going to prevent more wars in the future, we need unity, not separation.”

Harry stopped for a minute and gazed out over the lake. You could see the white tomb from where they stood, the moonlight softening its stark outline, and he let out a long breath. “All right. I'm not laughing, and I know what you’re getting at.” He looked round at Hermione. “In fact… I don’t think I ever told you this. But the Sorting Hat wanted to put me in Slytherin to start with.”

Ron gaped. “You are kidding.”

Harry shook his head. “I asked it not to, and... well, you know the rest.”

Ron whistled. Hermione flushed a little and thrust her hands deep into her pockets. “Well, if we’re coming clean…” She glanced between the two of them. “The hat was fairly determined that I belonged in Ravenclaw. But I was ready for that, and I’d prepared a list of reasons why Gryffindor would suit me much better. It soon gave up arguing.” She smiled to herself.

Harry burst out laughing. “That has to be the most Ravenclaw way of not being Sorted into Ravenclaw.”

“It worked, though.” Hermione lifted her chin, looking satisfied.

“Bloody hell,” Ron said. “If this is where I’m meant to break down in tears and admit I’m actually a Hufflepuff, you can forget about it. Come on, it's too cool to hang around here.”

They walked on, past Hagrid’s hut and to the edge of the Forbidden Forest before looping around back towards the castle.

“All right. Say putting everyone into Houses does have its drawbacks,” Ron said. “What about forcing us to share with people we’ve got absolutely nothing in common with? That’s not going to help anybody.”

Hermione spoke seriously. “No, listen. I think they chose the people we were sharing with very carefully. People who could offer us a different view on things. You know, who we could learn something from. Or who would give us something that we need.”

Something that we need. Harry didn’t know why those words tugged at him like that.

“Well, I’ve got to be honest, I’m not sure it’s working for me.” Ron shook his head.

Hermione made a face. “You haven’t given it a chance!”

“Maybe I could have learned something from Stephen if I didn’t already know Ravenclaws were boring bastards.”

“Oh! That’s so unfair, Ron, and not in the least bit true, and—”

Ron put up a hand. “Sorry, sorry. It was just a joke. He’s OK, I suppose. But what about Harry, then? Eh? What’s he supposed to learn from sharing with bloody Malfoy?”

Harry could think of a few things. That Malfoy really likes wanking?

Or that Harry was pretty keen on it, too. Ron probably didn’t want to hear about that, though.

What about the fact that Harry now had a fairly good idea he liked looking at blokes? Well, looking at Malfoy, anyway. Malfoy, all pale and bare and snooty. That was a pretty major thing to learn, in his opinion, but he didn’t imagine it was precisely what McGonagall had had in mind.

“Think about it, that’s all I’m saying,” Hermione said. “The Wizarding world has been this way for centuries, more or less. Maybe it’s time it has to change.”

They walked back to the castle in silence, Ron’s arm thrown over Hermione’s shoulder, each of them occupied with their own thoughts.

 

*^*^*

Nothing weird was going to happen tonight. Harry had made sure he used the bathroom after Malfoy was finished, and he turned the light out, like they had always done before… before. Malfoy was reading a book by the light of his wand, but Harry knew he would turn that out in a few minutes, and then they could both have a perfectly normal wank, in the dark, and everything would be fine.

Harry wasn’t wanking yet. He was just getting comfortable under the covers. He was waiting for Malfoy to cast Nox before he started wanking, but in the meantime, he was just getting ready. His pyjamas were down around his thighs, and, well, his cock was pretty hard, but he wasn’t wanking. He was just… adjusting his balls. It felt much better now he’d moved them like that. And his foreskin… yes, that was perfect.

Malfoy glanced over. “Eager tonight, Potter.” Harry could see his sharp face glowing by the light of the Lumos.

“What?” Harry stuttered. “I wasn’t—”

“Tell you what… why don’t you come over here?” Malfoy asked, and Harry choked on his lungful of air.

What?”

“I was just thinking.” Malfoy spoke with careful nonchalance. “You could always come over here. You know.”

Harry didn’t know. What the fuck did he mean, come over there. Like, to his bed? Come over to where Malfoy was? And then….? Harry’s brain seized up before he could even finish the thought.

Malfoy was acting as if he was saying something perfectly reasonable. “It would make sense. I mean, we both want to get off. So, we might as well…”

Harry’s throat made a weird sound that wasn’t anything approaching speech. He tried again and managed, “Uh.”

“I just thought you might like to try it. You know, if you’ve never… with anyone else. Sounds like the Gryffindor dorm was a fuck of a lot more boring than the Slytherin dorm, after lights out.” Malfoy let out a snorting kind of laugh.

“I. I don’t. Uhh.” Harry fumbled for words. “Fucking hell, Malfoy.”

“Look, forget it. It’s not like I care either way.” But Malfoy sounded like he did care. Just a little bit. “You can remain hopelessly clueless. I was only trying to do you a favour.”

“Hold on. I’m not clueless—”

“No, that’s fine, Potter. Stay over there and have a nice wholesome wank, thinking about your future wife and how she’ll bake bread every morning while tending your adorable children.”

“I don’t think about that, you tosser.”

“Good. Nor do I. Now why don’t we both shut up so we can get on with whatever it is we do think about?” Malfoy muttered Nox, low and irritable, and the room plunged into darkness.

Harry lay stunned for a moment. What was it he normally thought about? Well, Malfoy, of course. Malfoy, touching himself. He thought about what Malfoy looked like. He might have even wondered what Malfoy would feel like. And now Malfoy had offered, actually offered, and Harry had said—

“No. Wait.”

“What?” Malfoy was not impressed. “What is it now?”

It was easier in the dark, without Malfoy’s silvery eyes on him. “Maybe… maybe I do.”

Malfoy’s voice was hesitant. “Do what?”

He couldn’t believe he was saying it, but— “Maybe I do want to come over there.”

There was a pause, then Malfoy said, a little breathlessly, “Yeah?”

Harry wet his lips. “Yeah.”

“All right.” Harry could hear Malfoy swallowing in the darkness. “Get over here, then, Potter.” There was a rustling and a creaking, presumably as Malfoy moved over on the bed.

Harry swung his feet onto the floor. Merlin, his pyjamas were still at half mast. He yanked them up and hurried over to the other bed. It was cold, and, well, he didn’t want anyone to have time to have second thoughts.

He didn’t have a clue what to do when he got there, but Malfoy lifted the covers and whispered, “Get in.”

Fuck. Harry scrambled onto the bed and, hell, those were Malfoy’s bare legs, right there, closer than he’d been expecting. He pulled away, kind of shocked, and Malfoy let out another snort-laugh.

“These beds are tiny.” Harry slid down under the covers and tried not to do anything too stupid. Malfoy’s knee bumped into Harry’s, cold and a bit bony, and Harry made a hiccuping kind of noise of surprise, and then they both laughed, together this time, and when they stopped, there was a kind of expectant silence.

Harry let his legs slide down against Malfoy’s, as if he was just getting comfortable, but Malfoy let out a small sound and shifted on the bed, so that their hips brushed together for a moment.

“Shall I—”

“Do you want to—”

They spoke together and broke off at the same time.

“You first,” Harry said.

“Why don’t you start off how you normally do?” Malfoy said, his voice softer and more persuasive than Harry had ever heard it before.

“Er. OK.” Harry’s heart was jittering in his chest, but his erection was rock solid. He let his hand slip inside his pyjamas, wrapped his fingers around it and started to stroke.

Hell. It was so strange, but also thrilling. Malfoy was right there, and Harry was actually in bed next to him, with the smell of Malfoy’s cologne and the scent of his skin all around him. It was like ginger and oranges – Malfoy smelled mouthwatering. Harry stifled a small moan and slowed the movement of his hand. He was far too worked up already. Apparently his cock really, really liked Malfoy being this close to him. But he had no idea what was actually going on. Was he allowed to touch Malfoy? Was that something that could happen? Or were they just going to lie here and do it like this, side by side?

Malfoy shifted his legs against Harry’s again, and Harry felt sweat break out on his top lip. Malfoy didn’t seem to have any pyjama bottoms on, and Harry wasn’t sure if he was wearing pants or not.

“God, you’re really warm,” Malfoy said with approval.

Harry laughed shakily, then asked, “Are you going to… you know? Do yourself?”

Malfoy shifted against him again and said, “Mmm. Yep.” But Malfoy’s hand trailed across Harry’s hip, and then he tugged at Harry’s pyjama trousers. “Why don’t you take these off?”

Harry’s chest felt tight with nerves, but he stripped off the loose trousers until his cock sprang free, straining up against Malfoy’s cool sheets.

“Has anyone else ever touched you?” Malfoy asked, close to his ear, and Harry thought he could feel his breath, warm and damp. “I mean… your cock?”

Harry never talked about this stuff. Well, it wasn’t as if he was going to discuss what he and Ginny had got up to with Ron, was it? And Hermione… he could tell her anything, but somehow he didn’t think she wanted to hear about this. It was private, anyway. But… it seemed ridiculous to pretend it was too personal to talk about when he was in Malfoy’s bed, with Malfoy’s hand a few inches from his erection. “Not really,” he whispered. “I mean… no.”

“They haven’t? Not ever?”

“No.” It wasn’t that unusual, surely? Although Malfoy sounded like he could hardly believe it.

Fuck.” Malfoy sounded breathless again. His fingers brushed Harry’s hip, this time finding bare skin. “Why not?”

“I– Uh.” Harry’s skin was alive with trails of heat, everywhere Malfoy touched. “It never seemed like the right time.”

Malfoy’s hand edged under Harry’s pyjama top, pushing it out of the way and splaying his hand over Harry’s stomach. “Any time is the right time, Potter.”

“No, but. Ginny was– she was quite young when we got together, you know?” Harry went on.

And I thought I was going to die. He didn’t say that bit out loud.

Malfoy’s cool fingers were travelling over his skin. “Let’s not talk about it any more right now,” Harry gritted out, trying not to moan at the pure pleasure, sparking hot and bright.

“No,” Malfoy agreed, and shifted on the bed so that the sudden, shocking, smooth-hardness of Malfoy’s erection nudged against Harry’s leg.

“Oh, hell,” Harry said. He felt his own cock leak against his stomach, then Malfoy’s hand skimmed over his navel, and he knew Malfoy would be feeling it too, the slippery trail of pre-come. Malfoy’s breath caught in his throat, a little stuttery inhale, then his fingers brushed across Harry’s shaft and Harry bucked wildly into his touch.

“Whoa,” Harry said, and Malfoy’s hand froze. “No. I mean – don’t stop, god, I mean, I just— “

Malfoy’s fingers skimmed over the head of Harry’s cock and Harry forgot how to speak. How to breathe. “Uhhhh.”

It was like, fuck, it was so intense, like the first time Harry had ever masturbated. He didn’t know how to handle the shocks of sensation, the almost frightening bliss of Malfoy’s hand wrapped around him. “Uhhhh…. Fuck,” Harry said, and grabbed at Malfoy, blindly, his hands meeting smooth, warm, firm skin and just the feel of Malfoy’s body against the pads of his fingers, just the smell of him, made Harry feel like he was coming apart. Malfoy was breathing fast, his hand working Harry’s foreskin slick and sure, so much better than Harry doing it himself. So good, so insanely good, and when Malfoy tightened his grip and worked him right down to the root, Harry let out a long moan and came all over Malfoy’s fucking fist, long spurts of it, making Harry shake with the blistering sweetness of it.

Oh. The whole thing had taken less than a minute. Maybe thirty seconds. Harry felt hot shame flooding in, washing away the relief he had felt moments before.

But Malfoy didn’t seem bothered in the least. His hard-on was still pushing against Harry’s leg, and his hand shook a little as he wiped it on the sheets. He made a noise something like a laugh, but he sounded pleased, not scornful. Maybe he was just pleased because Harry had just made such a fool of himself?

“Sorry,” Harry said. “I…” He couldn’t think of a thing to say that wasn’t completely idiotic. It was just so good. In fact, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to my cock. He felt his throat burn with the humiliation of it.

Malfoy’s voice was hoarse and urgent. “God, yes. Now do it to me.”

“I...” Harry was going to say that he didn’t know how, but bloody hell, if he couldn’t work out how to give a hand job, then he really was a useless tosser.

“Go on,” Malfoy said. “Don’t you want to?”

Harry’s hand groped towards him in the dark and found the arresting length of Malfoy’s prick. God, that was the strangest thing – to feel another cock in his hand instead of his own. It was similar and yet so different, and he couldn’t quite believe this was happening. At first he felt awkward, his wrist twisted uncomfortably, but then he changed the angle and, wow, it fitted into his palm, just so. It was so hard, pulsing with heat and life, and as he tentatively slid his hand along the shaft, it jerked, once, twice. Malfoy made a low desperate noise and bloody hell. Bloody hell. Harry felt mad shivers of excitement race through him. He was holding Malfoy’s cock. He was wanking him off. And Malfoy liked it – more than liked it. Malfoy was moaning, his fingers digging into Harry’s arm, and, bloody hell, if Harry kept this up, he might even make Malfoy come.

It was incredible. Malfoy was incredible, and when he started to thrust into Harry’s hand, saying, “Yes. Yessss,” it felt almost as good as when Malfoy had touched Harry.

There was also a kind of realisation that maybe, just maybe… the reason why he and Ginny had never gone further than kissing, was nothing to do with Ginny seeming so young at the time. Nothing to do with wanting to protect her. And a lot more to do with the fact that he had never – never, not once – felt about Ginny the way he did right now with Malfoy. As if something hot and fierce was rising up inside him, something hungry, that could only be appeased by getting Malfoy naked and doing exactly what he wanted to him, again and again. Harry felt like he would never be sated, not while Malfoy was like this, all hot breath and sharp angles and long, bare limbs, rough sounds spilling from his lips, his body twisting against Harry’s, every muscle tense and ready.

Harry breathed in the sweet, spicy tang of Malfoy’s cologne and wondered if he would ever be able to smell it again without remembering how this felt. He almost felt like laughing, because he had thought he wasn’t really that bothered about sex. He thought maybe his experiences had damaged him in some way, leaving only a faint flicker of the interest other boys seemed to feel when they talked about tits and fanny. Oh god, he’d been so stupid. This – this – was what it was all about. No wonder people went on about it all the fucking time. His cock was starting to stir with interest again, sweat gathering under his arms, every inch of him surging with life. And he was never going to forgive himself for not leaving the light on to see Malfoy’s face as he came, his whole body shuddering, chest heaving, a deep moan of satisfaction rumbling from his chest.

Malfoy’s cock jerked powerfully in Harry’s hand, spunk spattering on his fist and even up onto Harry’s stomach where the pyjama top was pulled askew. Before it happened, Harry might have thought this would be gross, but bloody hell, it was hot as fuck. He wished Malfoy would come some more. He wished they could do it again straight away. A raw, furious need churned inside him and images of all the things he wanted Malfoy to do to him flashed in front of Harry’s eyes in the darkness.

Malfoy was reaching for his wand to clean up, but Harry cast wordlessly like he normally did. He had kind of mixed feelings as the cleaning spell shimmered over his skin. Was it weird to like the thought of Malfoy’s come on him?

Malfoy made a surprised, breathless noise. “Did you just—?”

Harry blushed in the dark. He didn’t usually do wandless magic in front of anyone except Ron and Hermione, in case people thought he was showing off. Being the hero. “Thought it would save you the bother.”

Malfoy didn’t say anything, but after a moment, Harry felt fingers brushing across his hip. “That wasn’t bad, you know. For a first time.” Malfoy sounded almost friendly.

Harry swallowed. “Yeah?”

“Well. Did you like it?”

“Uh, yeah. Yeah. I liked it a lot.”

Malfoy let out a pleased laugh. “OK. Well. Maybe I’ll let you do it again sometime.”

Harry frowned. That kind of sounded… as if this was Harry’s idea in the first place. As if Malfoy had been doing him a favour. But, then, actually—

“If you want to, that is,” Malfoy said carelessly.

“Yeah,” Harry said quickly, before he could chicken out.

“Go on, then. Get dressed and get back in your own bed.” Malfoy patted Harry, just where the curve of his arse met his thigh, and that should not have made Harry want to growl and pin Malfoy down on the bed, but it did.

Harry wriggled back into his pyjama bottoms and then stepped quickly on shaky legs across the dark room. It was horribly cold, after the humid warmth under Malfoy’s covers, and then pain exploded through the toes of his right foot. “Ah! Shit, Malfoy, why can you not leave your trunk under the bed like anybody else?”

Malfoy sounded smug and sleepy. “If you didn’t have great big feet like shovels, you wouldn’t keep tripping over it all the time.”

Harry’s bed was chilly and unwelcoming, dammit. He thought of Malfoy lying curled up in the warm, while Harry nudged a toe down into sheets that felt glacial. He’d probably planned it that way, the git.

There was something else, as well. “Malfoy.”

“What?”

“What did used to happen in the Slytherin dorm?”

There was a low sound of amusement. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

Damn. A barbed tendril of jealousy stirred in Harry’s chest at the thought of all the unknown things Malfoy had done in the past. All the people he had shared his bed – and his body – with. Harry lay back and stared into the darkness. It was all very well that Harry’s libido had finally woken up to the fact that he was an eighteen year old male, with desires and needs and all of that crap. But was it really necessary for it to be Malfoy who got it to sit up and take notice?

*^*^*

The library seemed airless and dusty, and Harry had read the same sentence three times already without understanding a single word. He needed a break. He’d only just got there, but he still needed a break. He kept having vivid flashes of memory from the previous night, and it was the most distracting thing he’d ever experienced.

He passed Ron in the Long Gallery. “Ah, mate, just the person,” Ron said. “Come for a wander to Hogsmeade? I’m sick of studying, and it’s all Hermione and flipping Cornfoot talk about some days.”

Harry shook his head. “I’m knackered. Going to go and lie down.” And probably wank, he didn’t add. God, this felt rubbish. Nothing this big had ever happened in his life without being able to share it with Ron. He felt like a dirty liar not telling him what was on his mind. But how could he? Harry could hardly just drop it into conversation, could he, that he was feeling pretty distracted because last night he had wanked off Draco Malfoy, and he was having a bit of a crisis about it.

Ron screwed up his face in disappointment and Harry felt a pang of guilt twist in his ribs. He hated the feeling of neglecting his friends. But this didn’t change the fact that he needed to get away and think about everything.

And probably wank.

“I’ll catch you later, OK, Ron?”

The corridor leading to the Astronomy Wing was deserted, and Harry reached down to adjust himself in his trousers as he took the stairs two at a time. He remembered coming in and finding Malfoy getting changed. The time he’d accidentally burst in when he was showering. Maybe today—

Harry flung the door wide. Malfoy was sitting on the desk, facing Harry. He had unfastened his trousers, and – fuck – his legs were apart and he was stroking his erection with pale fingers, a look of satisfaction on his face.

“Uh. You’re– uhh.” Harry’s tongue felt thick and clumsy in his mouth.

“Yes.” Malfoy didn’t stop, his arm moving lazily back and forth. His voice was husky. “I am.”

Harry’s brain felt like it had liquefied and his satchel dropped onto the floor. His eyes snapped from the motion of Malfoy’s hand, up to Malfoy’s face, which was pinker than usual, back to Malfoy’s prick, long and hard and flushed. Malfoy arched his back, one hand splayed out over the desk as he leaned back against it. His shirt had ridden up a little and Harry could see the taut skin of his stomach and the shadow of his hipbone.

“I keep thinking about last night,” Harry blurted.

Malfoy looked pleased. “Yeah.” There was a little sheen of sweat on his top lip. “Uhh. Good. I came up here to work and then I started thinking about… well. So I thought, why not?”

Why not? Harry’s cock throbbed painfully against the seam of his trousers. Malfoy took his bottom lip between his teeth and looked at Harry from beneath lowered eyelids. Why not? Harry couldn’t think of a single reason. He closed the short distance between him and the desk and stepped between Malfoy’s spread thighs. Malfoy’s hand stilled, and Harry just stood for a moment and stared at the smooth, shiny head of Malfoy’s cock, peeking out from his foreskin. Harry rested his hands on Malfoy’s thighs, felt the warmth and the tight muscle through the wool trousers. It felt as if they were both holding their breath. And then Harry was leaning in, one sweaty hand slipping on the polished wood of the desk and the other reaching for Malfoy’s cock, while Malfoy was tugging at Harry’s belt and yanking his trousers open.

God, it was almost too much. Not just the feel of Malfoy’s hand, making Harry shudder, fast, shaky thrills that shot right through him. But the sight of it. Malfoy’s smooth fingers working Harry’s cock, and Harry’s hand right next to it, wrapped around Malfoy. It didn’t look real, except that it was – there was the ragged thumbnail Harry had been biting that morning, and this was actually happening, in real life. It made everything in his brain shut down except for the need to get more of this, to feel more of this, and to make Malfoy come again. Something powerful squirmed in Harry’s chest to think that this time he would be able to see it.

Malfoy seemed almost as worked up as Harry, the tendons on his wrist standing out as he wanked Harry, his other hand gripping Harry’s shoulder tightly. Harry suddenly got a flash of what it would look like if someone were to walk in at that moment, the two of them frantically clutching at one another and urging each other on with disjointed grunts and gasps.

This is mad, thought Harry, The war’s sent us both mad. But it seemed a far, far saner way to behave than so many of the other things he’d been forced to do in his life.

A drop of sweat fell from Harry’s brow as his arm worked furiously, chasing Malfoy’s pleasure.

Nnngh,” said Malfoy. “Gonna come.”

“Yes,” said Harry, letting his forehead press against Malfoy’s as they both watched the movement of their hands. “Yeah,” he breathed, hot ripples building in his thighs, his balls drawing up tight and ready to release.

Malfoy’s fingers dug painfully into Harry’s shoulder and then he was coming, his stomach clenching, cock twitching. Harry moaned, long and loud, and if he hadn’t have been about to come anyway, this still would have tipped him over the edge: the sight of Malfoy coming and coming, coating his own stomach and dripping down Harry’s fist.

Harry made a sound more like an animal than a person, his mouth falling open as his orgasm ripped its way down his spine and out through his balls. Malfoy’s hand had gone limp, but now he redoubled his efforts and worked Harry’s cock until Harry was empty, his body shaking and gasping. Harry’s spunk was mixed with Malfoy’s, smeared across his skin. Harry stared, memorising how it looked, knowing there was no possibility he was ever going to be able to think about this in the future without getting hard.

Malfoy closed his eyes for a moment and sagged back against the desk. “Fuck,” he said.

“Yeah,” said Harry, his eyes wandering over Malfoy’s face, softer in repose than he remembered ever seeing it, his lips pink and full.

Malfoy’s chest heaved and then he opened his eyes. “Are you going to do your sexy wandless thing now?” He arched one eyebrow upwards.

Harry felt his cheeks flame. “Uh. OK.” He gathered his magic into his fingertips and then focused on the incantation.

Malfoy’s lips curved into a slow smile as Harry’s spell washed over him. There was a still a smear of come near his hipbone, but Harry didn’t say anything. Something in him liked the thought of Malfoy going about his day with a little reminder of Harry on his skin.

“That’s... really quite cool,” Malfoy said, buttoning his trousers. “What else can you do that way?”

“Er, not much,” Harry said, thinking of at least a dozen wandless spells he could do easily, and a few more that he could manage with effort. He fastened his own trousers, but it took a couple of goes because his hands were shaking.

“Can you teach me how?” Malfoy asked, tucking in his shirt. He hardly looked rumpled at all, unless you counted the fall of hair that had flopped down over his forehead.

“OK.” Harry realised he sounded uncertain, so he said it again, more confidently. “OK.”

“Great.” Malfoy looked at Harry slyly. “It can be your way of paying me back. You know, for showing you stuff.”

Something uncomfortable twisted in Harry’s stomach. Did Malfoy not want to do this with him anyway, then? He seemed to enjoy it enough while it was happening. But then why would he talk about Harry paying him back? Harry's brows drew down and his chin jutted moodily.

“No need to look like that,” Malfoy said, frowning. “If you don’t want to share your little secrets, it’s no big deal.”

“No,” Harry said. “No, it’s OK. I will. I mean, I want to.” OK, so he might be an idiot. But he wasn’t such an idiot that he was going to turn down the offer.

“All right.” Malfoy smiled again, and Harry wished his stomach would stop flopping around like this, because it was making him feel weird. He had the strangest urge to push that piece of hair back from Malfoy’s face, but he grabbed his satchel instead and stuffed his hands deep into his pockets.

“Going back to the library for a bit,” he said.

“Yeah, I’m going to get stuck in here.” Malfoy’s mouth twitched at the corners. “Actual schoolwork this time.”

“Maybe we can have a go later.” Harry felt his cheeks flame at how that sounded. “I mean, the wandless thing.”

“Yeah.” Malfoy was reaching for his books, but he flashed another smile at Harry, and, hell, Harry needed to get out of here before he did something stupid. “We can have a go.” He let his voice drop in pitch. “Later.”

It was a good job Harry had just come, or he would have been concealing yet another hard-on all the way back to the library.

*^*^*

Dusk was falling outside, but it was not yet dark enough to switch on a light. Malfoy was sitting on Harry’s bed looking ever so slightly anxious. “Give me your wand,” Harry told Malfoy.

Malfoy frowned.

“It helps if you don’t have it anywhere near you to start with,” Harry explained.

Malfoy drew the hawthorn wand from his pocket and Harry took it and walked to the desk. The wood felt receptive to his touch, and he let it slip into his palm for a moment, remembering the many times he had channelled his magic through its unicorn hair core. Sometimes, that narrow length of wood had seemed like the only thing he had to rely on. He liked seeing it there in his hand again. A wand was such an intimate thing; he had got used to the feel of it, and then to return it to Malfoy after his trial and give up that connection Harry had felt with it… that had been harder than he expected.

He realised Malfoy was sitting there waiting, and placed the wand on the desk. “OK. So, what’s the spell you find easiest to cast?”

Malfoy shrugged his skinny shoulders. “I don’t know.”

“Probably one that you do pretty often. Kind of without thinking.”

“Maybe… Lumos?”

“Right.” Harry let his hand relax, and summoned his magic into it, feeling it tingling at his palm. Lumos, he thought, and let the energy flow into his fingers. A warm glow appeared at the tips and Malfoy’s eyes widened.

“Shit.”

“You can do it, too,” Harry told him. “You just need to practise.”

Malfoy nodded. “OK. So what do I do?”

Harry considered it. “You probably won’t get the hang of it in one go, so maybe we should break it down. You know how you use your wand to sort of guide your magic? It’s just the same, but you’re guiding it yourself.” Harry thought Lumos again, and once more the glowing light appeared at his fingertips. “OK, that feeling you get just before you cast? Like your hand’s getting warm?”

Malfoy looked dubious, and Harry went to sit next to him on the bed, took hold of Malfoy’s narrow wrist so that his palm was facing upwards. “Here,” Harry said, tracing his finger around the shallow bowl of Malfoy’s palm. “Or you might feel it running down your arm. Summon your magic into your hand, and then once you’ve got the hang of that, we’ll go on to the next bit.”

Malfoy wet his lips. “But... how do I summon my magic when my wand’s over there?”

“Erm,” said Harry. “Just imagine that feeling, starting from here.” He let his fingers move up Malfoy’s wrist, over the tendons. The skin there was amazingly smooth, and Harry did it again, just so he could feel it. “The warmth, or tingling, or– I dunno. Sometimes it’s like bubbles, inside you, yeah? Just imagine it in your mind, and try to get your magic flowing in that direction. You must have done it thousands of times. It’s just that you’re usually holding a wand when you do it.”

Two lines appeared between Malfoy’s eyebrows, and Harry shook his head. “No. Don’t try so hard. Think how it normally happens.” His fingers brushed along Malfoy’s inner arm again – his skin was so pale there it was almost white, the veins a map of milky-blue pathways, and Malfoy made a small sound as Harry’s fingers travelled down to his wrist. "Like your blood pumping around your body,” Harry told him. “You can’t force it. It flows by itself.”

Malfoy stared at his arm and made a frustrated sound, pulling it away from Harry. “I know what I want it to do,” he said. “I just can’t—”

“It’s just practice,” Harry said. “Years ago, nobody used wands. And in parts of Africa, they still don’t bother, half the time – it’s easier, more satisfying really, just to use your own hand. But we’ve forgotten how. Use the incantation, that might help. You can say it out loud.”

Malfoy closed his eyes. “Lumos,” he said, and then his eyes sprang open. “Oh.”

“You felt it?”

“Yep. Lumos,” he said again. “Lumos. Bugger. I can’t do it.”

“OK. Just remember. What did it feel like? Picture that, and say it. Close your eyes again.”

Malfoy did, and Harry watched him sitting there, serious and solemn, his lips parted. He looked like a prince in a story book, with his fine-boned face and his silver-sleek hair. “Lumos,” Malfoy said, and then made a low sound, a little grunt of pleasure. “Yes,” he said, eyes still closed, and Harry had to shift on the bed because the look on Malfoy’s face was making him think of something quite different.

“Go on. You can do it.”

“Yes. Lumos. Fuck, yes.” Malfoy’s eyes opened again. “Feel it.” He grabbed Harry’s hand with his own. “Lumos. I’m doing it.”

Harry could feel flickers of magic skittering all around them. He closed his own eyes and ran his fingers over the smoothness of Malfoy’s palm. “Uhh. Lumos,” Malfoy said, and Harry felt a burst of energy, brief and electric, against his fingertips.

“Wow. Yes. That’s it.” He felt excitement fizzing inside him at Malfoy’s achievement.

Their hands slid together, Malfoy’s thumb rubbing across the callouses at the base of Harry’s fingers. Fuck, that was distracting. Like hot sparks rushing over every nerve ending.

“It’s more tiring than I expected,” Malfoy said.

“Yeah, I know. It gets easier. Now – mmm – you have to let it flow out to your fingers,” Harry told him. But Malfoy was no longer looking at their hands.

“Do you think that’s enough for a first attempt?” His gaze ran over Harry’s face, his lips still parted.

“Oh. Yeah?“ Harry let Malfoy’s hand drop, realising he was breathing quite hard considering they were both just sitting on a bed.

“Yeah.” Malfoy was staring at Harry’s mouth.

“That was good, for a first time,” Harry said, then had to swallow hard when he realised what he’d said, what it sounded like...

“Maybe I’m a natural.” Malfoy was smiling, and it made Harry’s stomach flip. “But there are other things I’d rather be doing right now.”

Dusk was drawing in every minute and the shadows cast intriguing patterns over the angles of Malfoy’s face, softening them. Malfoy’s hand slid over Harry’s knee and slowly up to his thigh. “Time for me to give you another lesson,” Malfoy said.

Maybe it was because what had happened earlier had taken away the urgency, but this felt so different. Malfoy untucked Harry’s shirt and began to unbutton it, watching his face the whole time while Harry sat quivering with need and uncertainty. Everything felt in slow motion and he had no idea where this was going. It felt as if he might easily ruin the moment if he spoke or did the wrong thing, so he did nothing. When the shirt was half off Harry’s shoulders, Malfoy pushed Harry down on the bed and lay down next to him.

“Take my cock out,” Malfoy whispered. Well, Harry could definitely do that. Malfoy was hard again, and something about this set heat flaring inside Harry – the thought that Malfoy had got hard just from starting to undress him. Malfoy’s cock felt so bloody good in his hand, but Harry wasn’t sure he would ever get used to the thrill of seeing it like that, with his own fist wrapped around it. He began to wank Malfoy off like he had done before, but Malfoy wrapped his hand around Harry’s wrist, pinning it against the bed while he unbuckled Harry’s belt with his other hand. Harry was aching by the time Malfoy had got his trousers open and began palming Harry’s erection through his pants.

Uhhh.”

Malfoy let his hand slide down to Harry’s balls, caressing them through the thin cotton and then back up to his prick, making Harry’s mouth fall open in a moan.

“Is that good?” Malfoy asked, massaging with a firm hand.

“Uh– uh– yeah,” Harry gasped, closing his eyes for a moment and letting the hot waves of it ripple over him. “God, yeah, really – uh – really, yeah, so good.”

Malfoy smiled, slow and appreciative. Harry was leaking pre-come and Malfoy rubbed at the damp fabric, swiping his thumb over the head. “What do you want?” Malfoy asked, his eyes drinking in all of Harry's reactions, every twitch, every moan.

“Oh, hell.” Harry wanted everything. Anything. “I– I dunno.” It was like asking a starving man to order in French from a fancy restaurant menu.

Malfoy’s hand squeezed around his cock and Harry jerked on the bed. “Uhh. That. I want that,” Harry told him.

Malfoy laughed softly and eased Harry’s pants down so that they were around his thighs, then shifted on the bed until he was lying propped up on one arm, facing Harry. His fingers circled the base of Harry’s cock, a snug, sure fit.

“And– uh. Can I touch you?” Harry reached for Malfoy again, but Malfoy brushed his hand away.

“No. Not this time.” Malfoy started to move his hand, sending a rush of sensation through Harry. Then Malfoy moved so that his own erection slid against Harry’s body, a sweet drag of friction along the dip between Harry’s hipbone and his stomach. He moved like that, slow and deliberate, his eyes smoky in the dim light, his fist still firm around Harry’s cock, and Harry thought he might break apart with the pure dazzling pleasure of it.

Malfoy didn’t rush, and Harry savoured every thrust of his hips, the slickness of pre-come smearing over Harry’s stomach, the clasp of Malfoy’s fist around him. Harry began to move, too, tentative at first and then finding a rhythm, pushing Malfoy’s shirt up out of the way so that he could feel more of him, skin against skin against skin. His whole body blazed with it. Malfoy kept moving like that, moving and stroking, his face serious, and it all felt so incredible that Harry didn’t know what to do. Malfoy arched his hips so that the length of his shaft dragged over the head of Harry’s cock, and Harry cried out, sudden and shaky, at the unexpected bliss of it.

He looked up at Malfoy, wondering whether it felt anywhere near that good for him, and finding Malfoy’s eyes dark and intent, Harry bit his lip so he wouldn’t cry out again. But Malfoy began thrusting harder and faster against Harry, propped up above him on both arms with his muscles straining, making a low, rough sound deep in his throat which was one of the hottest things Harry had ever heard.

Malfoy thrust again, then buried his face in Harry’s neck and came hard, shooting all over Harry’s stomach, his body a juddering weight pinning him to the bed. Harry found himself grinding up against Malfoy, clutching at his arse and groaning, his own prick jerking to a hot, slippery climax in the perfect press of their bodies.

Draco,” Harry panted, then said it again because of how good it felt in his mouth. “Draco,” just like that, in two breaths, like a plea and then a sigh, and Malfoy would probably think he was a complete idiot, but at the time, Harry didn’t even care.

*^*^*

It was dusk again. Malfoy said it was better for his concentration at that time of day and Harry could see why, with the darkness settling all around them like a cloak. It was easier to imagine the idea of Lumos, springing from Malfoy’s fingers like a beacon, and they would instantly be able to see any glimmer of light that Malfoy produced.

Harry sat holding Malfoy’s hand, letting his thumb trace slowly over the creases of Malfoy’s palm and mapping the delicate bones of his wrist. That was easier in the half-darkness, too, with Malfoy’s eyes much softer than the piercing grey of daytime. It sometimes felt as though anything at all could happen, here in their room. As if Harry could say or do anything, anything he wanted, and it would be OK, because—

There was a sharp rap at the door and Harry, startled, dropped Malfoy’s hand as if it had burned him. Malfoy frowned and they both sat there, waiting for the person to go away, but another knock came and a voice drawled, “Draco? I know you’re in there.”

Malfoy cleared his throat. “Yes? What is it, Theo?”

“I’ve got something for you.”

Malfoy stood up and smoothed a hand over his hair, then switched the light on. Harry’s shirt had come untucked at some point and he hurriedly stuffed it back in as Malfoy opened the door a few scant inches.

“That Arithmancy book you wanted. I’ve finished with it.” Nott sounded, as usual, as if he found everything beneath him.

Malfoy took the large volume, nodded his thanks, and tried to shut the door again, but Nott had his foot in the way. “What are you up to, Draco? Have you got someone in there?” He put his head round the door. “Oh. Hello, Potter.”

Harry gave him a curt nod.

“Are you having a pleasant afternoon?” Nott raised an eyebrow.

“We’re busy with something,” Malfoy said dismissively.

“I thought I’d call by. To give you the book, and because we never seem to see you any more. But I see now that it’s because you’re far too busy up here, with Potter.”

Harry felt himself colouring at the way Nott said busy. He had never imagined the word could sound so filthy.

“Thanks for the book,” Malfoy said, trying again to shut the door.

“Ah, like that, is it? Well, you know where to find me. You know, if you get bored of what’s on offer elsewhere. Or maybe I’ll come and find you some time.”

Harry stiffened at Nott’s suggestive tones. Did that mean what he thought it did? Something fierce stirred in his chest at the thought of Malfoy taking Nott up on his offer.

“Goodbye,” Malfoy said. “You’d best move your foot, Theo.”

“You should probably watch out, or people will talk.” Nott lowered his voice, but Harry heard, “What will they think about their precious hero spending all this time with a De—”

There was a brief scuffle, and then the door was closed quite firmly, with Nott on the other side of it.

After a silence, Harry cleared his throat. “Well, isn’t he the charmer?”

Malfoy didn’t smile.

“You were nearly there with Lumos, you know.” Harry gestured to where Malfoy had been sitting. “When he turned up.”

But Malfoy didn’t come back to sit with Harry. Instead he walked to the desk to collect his wand, then back to his own bed where he stood and stared at the wall.

“What’s up?” Harry asked.

“Nothing,” Malfoy said, flat and cold.

“Shall we try again?” Harry could still feel the way Malfoy’s hand had lain in his. The press of Malfoy’s leg, warm and firm, against his own.

“No. I’m not in the mood.” Malfoy fiddled with his wand, turning it over in his hands.

Something Nott had said had really rattled Malfoy. People will talk – was that it? Maybe he thought– “People will just think he’s making shit up, you know. I’m not going to tell anyone,” Harry said.

Malfoy looked up at him, his eyes palest silver, his face haughty. “Tell them…?”

“You know. About Lumos. About you practising. Or...”

Who was Harry kidding? It wasn’t Lumos that Malfoy was bothered about, was it? It was the fact that he and Harry had been doing the other stuff together, and Malfoy clearly didn’t want his friends to know. Harry wasn’t prepared for the clammy slither of disappointment that he felt. “I won’t tell them about any of it.”

Malfoy’s Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat, and he lifted his chin. “No. I see.”

“I don’t usually do wandless magic myself when there are people around. They can be a bit... funny about it.” Harry laughed, but it sounded forced.

“I never thought for a moment that you would tell anyone, Potter.” Malfoy gave a tight little smile. “I’m sure everything that happens in this room is the deepest secret.”

Harry frowned. Malfoy must really hate the idea of Nott talking about them. “Why don’t we try again?” he asked. “You were getting close. I could feel it.” He wanted to go to Malfoy, to reach for his hand. To smooth his hands over Malfoy’s shoulders and see if he could stop him standing in that stiff, hurt-looking way—

“I’ve had enough,” Malfoy said, reaching for his satchel. “I’m going to the library.”

“I’ll come too.” Harry stood up.

“No.” The corner of his mouth twisted into an ugly sneer. “We don’t want people to talk, do we?” He threw the bag over his shoulder and made for the door. As the door swung shut, chilly air from the corridor rushed in and hit Harry in the face like a slap.

*^*^*

That night, Malfoy turned out the light after using the bathroom, and slipped wordlessly between the sheets.

Harry lay staring into the darkness before asking in a breathless whisper, “Can I come over there?”

Malfoy didn’t answer for a moment. Then he asked haughtily, “What for?”

“You know what for,” Harry said, his prick leaping hard and eager at the thought of it.

“Oh, do I?” Malfoy didn’t sound impressed, but that wasn’t enough to discourage Harry.

“Yeah, you do.” Harry rolled on his side towards him, feeling bold. “A good hard what for. Or a long, slow one, if you prefer.”

Malfoy snorted. “I’ll give you what for.”

“Yeah.” Harry let his own hand trail across his stomach, adjusting his pyjamas where the fabric tented. “Can I?”

There was another silence, then: “Go on then. If you must.” It sounded grudging, but when Harry slid in next to him, he found Malfoy was already hard, too.

Harry missed being able to see Malfoy’s face, his expression as Harry pulled Malfoy’s pyjamas down and yanked his own right off. His desire felt urgent, fierce, as if he couldn’t wait another minute to get his hands on Malfoy, and Malfoy grunted approval as Harry slid his palm over the length of his cock, so smooth and solid and satisfying. He shifted his hips towards Malfoy, craving friction, closeness, heat – an urgent need seething in him as his cock dragged over the firm flesh of Malfoy’s thigh.

Malfoy rolled onto his side so they were facing one another and shifted against Harry until their cocks brushed together. Harry let out a harsh sound at the feel of it, and then another as Malfoy wrapped his hand as far as he could around the two of them, wanking their two foreskins against one another and nudging the head of his cock with delicious intent against Harry’s.

Fuck,” Harry gasped.

“Good?” Malfoy asked.

“Yes. Yes,” Harry told him, the words nowhere near enough, but they were all he could manage at that moment. Malfoy moved so that his legs tangled with Harry’s, their bodies flush together, their cocks sliding snugly together in Malfoy’s fist. Malfoy made a sort of whining sound, and Harry’s arms flew up to Malfoy’s waist and lay there, his thumbs resting in the smooth dip just above the hip bone. He wasn’t sure if it was OK to touch Malfoy like this, but ohhh, Malfoy’s hand, Malfoy’s cock, even Malfoy’s balls dragging against his own, made it impossible to think straight. Spikes of pleasure surged through him, wave after wave, and he buried his face in the smooth, yielding skin where Malfoy’s throat met his shoulder.

Holy hell. Harry pulled Malfoy to him, his hands bolder than ever. He had never felt anything like it in his life, the glorious tightness of Malfoy’s fist, the taut curves of Malfoy’s arse shifting against his hands, the warm, fresh smell of Malfoy’s skin against his nose, and the amazing feel of Malfoy’s cock next to his, silky-sleek and perfect. Harry’s lips opened in a long moan, not caring what he sounded like or who might hear.

He wanted to do this forever. Just this, nothing but hands and mouths and sweat on skin, blood pumping and every nerve in his body singing yes, yes, yes. Malfoy threw his head back as Harry’s tongue slid over his skin, fuck, yes, and they were both panting so hard. Malfoy’s hand moved faster, urgent, Malfoy’s breath hot against Harry’s cheek, and for one crazy moment Harry thought of how it would be to cover Malfoy’s lips with his own. But then Malfoy thrust against him, fierce and incredible, and everything got slippery with Malfoy’s come, and then Harry was groaning, long and hard and he couldn’t believe it, he couldn’t believe how good it felt.

*^*^*

Afterwards it was still pitch black and when Harry cleaned them up, he felt all soft and relaxed, so his magic seemed to come out that way too, lingering over Malfoy’s skin like a caress. Malfoy squirmed a bit, as if he liked the feel of it, and when it was finished, he didn’t suggest Harry should go back to his own bed.

Malfoy was breathing slow and even, and one of Harry’s hands was still resting against Malfoy’s hair; it was just where it had ended up, after they both came, and he didn’t see why he should move it now. It tickled against his palm, and Harry thought about how it would feel if he spread his fingers a little and sifted through the cool strands of it. He suspected Malfoy’s hair would smell good, too, if Harry leaned in. The rest of him did. But maybe if he did any of those things, it would remind Malfoy that Harry was still there, and he might remember to say—

“I really like this.”

Malfoy hadn’t said that. Harry had, and he hadn’t meant to, but it had slipped out anyway.

“What?” Malfoy sounded half asleep.

“I really like this. You know. What we do.”

Now Malfoy was laughing. “Well, of course. Everybody really likes this, Potter.”

“I mean—” Oh, fuck it. Why the hell not? “I mean with you. I really like doing this with you.”

Malfoy went quiet for a few moments. “You do?”

“Yeah.” Harry didn’t know why, but just telling Malfoy this made something thrilling bubble up into his chest. It felt risky and wonderful.

Apparently Malfoy’s hand had just happened to end up by the nape of Harry’s neck, because Harry felt Malfoy’s fingers tease lightly over the tufts of hair there and across the tender skin below. It pulled a soft sound from Harry’s throat, and he let his fingers slip into Malfoy’s hair, too, to rest against the warmth of his scalp. Malfoy’s breath caught in a weird way and Harry could feel the weight of all the other things he wanted to say, feel them tingling on his tongue.

“Draco,” he said, and it sounded a bit terrifying. And then, he had no idea why – apparently his brain thought it was a better option than some of the other stuff rattling around in his head – but the next words that came out were, “How’s your Mum?”

“What the fuck?” Malfoy’s hand froze in his hair.

“I just— I’ve been meaning to ask. How she is.” This was true. Harry had been meaning to write to Narcissa since the battle, but he wasn’t sure how you began such a letter, and so he had put it off until it seemed too late to try at all.

“She’s quite well.” Malfoy sounded every inch the Pureblood. “Why on earth do you want to know that?”

“She helped me at the end. With Voldemort.”

“Bloody hell. Did she?”

“Yeah. She was trying to get to you, you know?”

Harry could hear Malfoy swallowing in the darkness. “Merlin, Potter, you’ll drag up any old crap to avoid going back to a cold bed.”

Harry thought of all of the other idiotic words inside him that were still trying to spill out, and pushed them down again. He was screwing this up badly, and now Malfoy had gone all closed off and prickly. Harry tried to sound offhand. “Yeah, well. I know your fucking trunk is lying in wait for me. That’s why.”

Malfoy grunted. “The trunk’s under the bed. Now bugger off. I want to sleep.” His fingers skated over the back of Harry’s neck one more time and then withdrew.

The trunk was slap in the middle of the floor again.

“You lying arsehole!” Harry yelped. “Why is it always afterwards that I walk into it?”

“Because apparently your brain turns to mush once you’ve had an orgasm.” Malfoy sounded smug, warm, and distinctly uninjured. Harry considered going back over there and kicking him, only he would probably stub his toe a second time on the way back.

They were both silent for a while, the owls hooting, low and gentle. Then Malfoy said quietly, “I’ll tell my mother you were asking after her.”

“Yeah, do that. Send her my…” Harry nearly said love, but stopped himself in time. “My good wishes, or something.”

“I will do.”

Harry could hear Malfoy shifting around to get comfortable.

“Goodnight.”

“Yeah, goodnight.”

Harry expected to dream of Voldemort, of Narcissa’s ashen face as she bent over him on the ground. But instead he slept soundly until light was creeping in through the crack in the curtains.

*^*^*

Harry took the stairs two at a time. They had an hour to practise Lumos before dinner, and something made him feel really good about Malfoy’s chances today. But from outside the room, he heard voices, and when he pushed the door open, Goyle was sitting at the desk with his back to Harry. Malfoy leant against the window ledge, his hands in his pockets. Goyle didn’t seem to be in distress – he hadn’t heard Harry come in and was laughing, presumably at something Malfoy had just said. But Harry still felt like he was intruding, and he caught Malfoy’s eye.

Shall I go? he mouthed.

Malfoy wrinkled his nose apologetically and gave a small nod. Goyle looked around and stopped laughing when he saw Harry there.

“Oh, hi,” Harry said. “I’ve, er, left something downstairs. See you later.” He backed out, wondering how long Greg would stay, and fighting against a ridiculous feeling of disappointment.

Maybe he would go and find Ron. There was time for a nice fast fly before dinner, or maybe even a game of Quidditch if they could round up some others who were at a loose end. Harry hurried down the stairs again, good spirits rising up inside him once more.

*^*^*

He passed Malfoy on the way to dinner. “Sorry about earlier,” Malfoy said.

“No problem,” Harry said, truthfully. It had been exhilarating up on the broom, and great to spend time with Ron, passing the Quaffle back and forth while trying to out-do each other with fancy manoeuvres. They’d agreed to carry on the game after dinner if it stayed dry, and Harry was looking forward to it. “How’s Goyle doing?”

Malfoy shrugged. “He could be a lot worse, you know? The guy he shares with apparently comes from a long line of Hufflepuffs, because his grandmother has started owling a ton of homemade cakes and stuff to Greg every week.” He snorted. “She feels sorry for him or something.”

“Wow,” Harry said. “That’s so bloody unfair. How come I didn’t get to share with a Hufflepuff?

“I feel the same way.” Malfoy raised an amused eyebrow.

“We should stage a protest. Hufflepuffs for all.”

They grinned at one another, and then Malfoy stopped suddenly, his face going oddly still, and Harry realised Hermione was standing at his elbow.

“Hello, Harry. Malfoy,” she said.

“Granger,” Malfoy nodded politely enough, but he looked uncomfortable.

“Are you on your way to eat?” she asked. “I think we’re a bit late. Mandy and Daphne and I lost track of time; Professor Slughorn’s letting us use the Potions room to do some work when he’s not teaching in there.”

Malfoy nodded again, rather stiffly. “Yes, I’m going in for dinner now. Good evening.”

“Bye,” Hermione said.

“See you later.” Harry had to stop himself from following Malfoy with his eyes as he walked away.

“Is he always so stuffy and Pureblooded like that?” Hermione whispered, taking Harry’s arm as they walked to the Gryffindor table.

“Er. Not really.” Harry had a flash of Malfoy with his head thrown back, on the edge of orgasm.

Hermione frowned. “Maybe just when there are people like me around.”

“I don’t think that’s it,” said Harry. But what did he know? If he and Malfoy never talked about anything important, how could he know how Malfoy felt about any of it?

After dinner, Harry and Ron flew until they were aching with cold and Harry’s arse felt like it had gone to sleep, possibly permanently. It was, as Ron said, bloody brilliant.

Harry showered before bed and then – Harry really hoped he wasn’t reading this wrong – he put on a clean, black pair of boxers and left it at that. Well, it seemed bloody stupid to put his pyjamas on just so that Malfoy could take them off again. He paused before coming out of the bathroom to look at himself in the mirror.

He looked… all right. He hoped so, anyway. Malfoy was bloody gorgeous, that was the thing. An ordinary bloke like Harry was always going to look a bit of a troll next to him. But Harry’s body wasn’t the worst. He wasn’t totally scrawny like he used to be – Molly had fed him up over the summer and he’d flown a lot with Ron, and built up a bit of muscle in the right kind of places.

He glanced at his hair and winced, but there was nothing he could do about that. He thought about shaving, peering at the sharp stubble on his jaw, but that would mean he would be quite a long time in the bathroom, almost as if he was getting ready for Malfoy, and god knows this wasn’t some kind of date... This was getting silly. Harry squared his shoulders and opened the bathroom door.

Malfoy was at the desk making some notes, but when he saw Harry, he stopped writing and just sat there looking, the quill poised in mid-air. His eyes ran over Harry’s body, from his chest, across his stomach, then lingering over Harry’s thighs and the cotton-covered bulge between them, and Harry was regretting the no-pyjama thing already. He was an idiot – he wasn’t nearly fit enough to be sauntering around in his pants like this, and the way Malfoy was looking at him, he felt bloody naked.

He didn’t know what to do: Get into bed? Sit and read? Nothing seemed right, not with Malfoy staring at him like that, his eyes burning into Harry. Harry was just about to go back into the bathroom and get dressed when Malfoy put down the quill and said, "Time for bed, Potter. Right now.”

*^*^*

After they had both come, Malfoy didn’t mention Harry leaving at all, but lay with his hand lightly on Harry’s hair. He was breathing slowly as if, given enough time, he might fall asleep that way, and Harry felt such a mixture of things: grateful, and a bit raw, and kind of dazed. He’d never dreamed of the simple peace of another person’s body next to his. After a while, he started thinking of all the nights he’d spent lying awake on his own, the horrors and the guilt and the loneliness and the fucking relentlessness of it all, of being a survivor.

“Do you dream about the people who died?”

“Oh, hell,” Malfoy said.

“I just— I know sometimes you can’t sleep. It’s been the same for me. And often it’s because I know I’m going to dream about them.”

“What a ray of sunshine you are.”

“But since we... since this started, I haven’t had those dreams. Not so much, anyway. So I just wondered if it was the same for you. You were there when he killed Professor Burbage, weren’t you?”

Malfoy turned his head away. “Merlin, Potter, can we not—”

“And I saw him forcing you to torture Rowle – I used to see stuff through his eyes, did you know that? I saw how you hated it.”

Malfoy’s voice was sharper than usual. “I think I’ve had enough of this conversation now—”

But Harry pressed on. “I sometimes think you and me saw the worst of it, you know? We saw, more than anyone else, what he did. Maybe we’re the only ones here who get what it was like.”

Malfoy swallowed and it sounded painful. Then, “I still hate him so fucking much.”

“Yeah.” There was nothing else to say. “Yeah, me too.”

“Touch me,” Malfoy said.

Harry was surprised. “You want to— again?”

Malfoy nodded. When Harry reached for him, his cock was soft, but it soon stirred under Harry’s hand and that was something new and astonishing, feeling it swell and harden at his touch.

Malfoy sighed and rested his forehead on Harry’s shoulder. “Yes… s’good.”

Harry changed his grip, listening to Malfoy’s breathing, trying to find the rhythm, the angle that would make him gasp and moan. “Sorry,” he whispered. “I didn’t mean to make you feel shitty. I’m just not sure if anyone else understands.”

Malfoy did moan, then, a soft cry muffled by Harry’s chest, and he pushed into Harry’s hand. “Yes. Like that.” He swallowed again. “That whole time he was living at the Manor. I couldn’t… I couldn’t do this at all.” Harry’s rhythm faltered and Malfoy pressed his hand over Harry’s, urging him on. “I couldn’t get it up. No matter what I tried. I sometimes felt as if I was dead already.”

Harry didn’t know what to say, so he just kept stroking. Malfoy’s body felt so alive, taut and trembling, and his cock pulsing right there in Harry’s hand. Malfoy’s breath was hot against Harry’s skin as he hissed the words out. “I felt like I deserved to be.”

“No.” Harry’s tempo stuttered again and he spoke fiercely. “You didn’t deserve that.”

Fuck, keep touching me.” He made a sound like a small sob. “Please. Feels so good.”

“Yes,” Harry told him. He didn’t talk any more, just held Malfoy and stroked him, firm and steady, until he came with a thankful cry, all over Harry’s fist.

*^*^*

It was dusk. Which was rapidly becoming one of Harry’s favourite parts of the day.

Harry took Malfoy’s wand and put it on the desk, as usual, but this time, without knowing quite why, Harry got his own wand out and laid it down next to Malfoy’s. He stood there for a minute and stared at them, lying side by side. He liked the way they looked, together, the paler holly bringing out the warmth of the hawthorn, and the rougher, twisting lines of Harry’s wand a nice contrast to the elegant taper of Malfoy’s.

Also, there was something else he liked… something about the fact he and Malfoy were both at a disadvantage, with their wands out of reach like this. That they’d both chosen to make themselves slightly vulnerable to one another. It felt... satisfying, in a way he couldn’t describe.

Malfoy was waiting on the bed, one eyebrow raised. “Ready?” he asked.

Harry nodded. “You’re really close, you know. I even thought I saw a flicker last time.”

Malfoy moved up to make room for Harry. “Yeah. Maybe.” He closed his eyes, and Harry felt guilty at the way he let himself look at Malfoy when Malfoy couldn’t see. At his pale lashes. His sharp cheekbones. The sensual curve of his mouth, and the sweep of his jaw, and—

Lumos,” Malfoy said, and Harry flicked his gaze to Malfoy’s fingers. Nothing visible, but he could sense Malfoy’s magic flickering, pulsing back and forth along his arm. He reached for Malfoy’s wrist and held it lightly, cradling it in his fingers while his thumb sought the delicate rhythm of Malfoy’s pulse.

Malfoy’s eyes fluttered open. “Anything?”

“Nearly. You can do it,” Harry said.

Malfoy nodded, but chewed his lip.

“Just relax,” Harry said. “Keep it instinctive, you know?”

Lumos,” Malfoy said, and Harry could feel the energy gathering in his palm, but he could also feel Malfoy’s arm tensing with the effort of trying to channel it.

“Think of something you do that’s natural and easy. Like… catching the Snitch.”

Malfoy frowned. Harry could feel Malfoy's magic swirling, agitated and directionless, and Harry's brows drew down with the effort of trying to explain. “There’s that moment where you just reach out and then it’s there in your hand.”

“Too long since I caught any bloody Snitch,” Malfoy griped. “All the studying this year.”

Harry tried to think. Malfoy’s pulse beat against his thumb, bold and dauntless, and he remembered feeling the same pulse throb at Malfoy’s throat the night before. Covering it with his mouth, crying out against Malfoy’s skin, the way his body had reacted, intense and unstoppable.

“Like coming,” Harry said, and didn’t look away when Malfoy’s silvery eyes fixed on his. “Like when we make each other come, yeah?” Saying it out loud made him want to blush, but he knew he was right. Wandless magic was like sex. Raw and instinctive, and pleasurable in the same deep, powerful way.

“Yeah.” Malfoy’s voice was rough, and Harry wanted to remind him, right this minute, how it felt when they stopped thinking and did whatever felt good. Harry wanted to show him exactly how perfect that was.

“You don’t think about it, you can’t force it. It just happens to you. You have to let go, let it sort of flood through you, and then—”

Malfoy was watching Harry’s mouth, his eyes dark and hungry, and Harry’s throat was too dry to carry on. Malfoy’s Adam’s apple bobbed once in his narrow throat, and then he lifted his chin. “Lumos.”

This time, Harry felt it like a torrent of energy; a great rush of magic, powerful and beautiful. It made the hairs on his arms stand up.

“Yes,” he urged. “Like that, just like that.”

Lumos,” Malfoy said again, and this time a shimmer of gold outlined his fingertips for a fleeting moment.

“Yes,” whispered Harry.

Malfoy was gazing at his own hand, transfixed. “Lumos,” he said. It felt smoother somehow this time, still surging along Malfoy’s arm, but… it felt more assured. And there it was, not a glimmer, but a glow, strong and steady and undeniable.

Harry reached for Malfoy’s fingers, fascinated by the soft rich warmth, but the light flickered uncertainly, and then went out.

“You did it,” Harry said. “Fuck. Do it again.”

Lumos.” Heat flowed through Malfoy’s arm, and his fingers bloomed with light, and Harry traced the brilliance of them with his own, his breath catching in his chest. God, he hadn’t expected to feel like this. Malfoy was doing it – wandless magic, elemental and pure and – hell, it was impressive. He felt shivery, just watching. It made him feel sort of reverent. And ridiculously turned on.

Malfoy glanced at him, eyes widening as he took in Harry’s expression. The light dimmed for a moment, but, “Lumos,” Malfoy said again, and this time it burned brighter than ever. Malfoy lifted his hand, still glowing, and touched the tip of his finger to Harry’s wrist, where his sleeve was rolled up. Harry could feel it, the subtle, pulsing heat of it, thrilling over his skin. Malfoy drew in a breath and traced along Harry’s arm, illuminating the freckles and the hairs, and then slipping over the paler skin of Harry’s inner arm, right to the crook of his elbow.

“How did you learn to do this?” Malfoy said, his voice husky.

Harry stared at Malfoy’s fingers, at the golden splash of light resting on Harry’s skin. “I just… taught myself, last year. When, you know, we were hiding out. There were days and days just hanging around, and when my wand got broken, I had plenty of time to practise.”

The light at Malfoy’s fingertips wavered and died again, making Harry realise how much the room had darkened as they worked. “Lumos,” Harry whispered, and lifted his own fingers, looking at Malfoy’s face by the light he had conjured.

“You took my wand. At the Manor,” Malfoy said, his face unsmiling, the lines of it starkly beautiful.

“I know,” Harry said. “I needed one. Wandless magic wasn’t enough.” Hurt flickered across Malfoy’s face and it made Harry’s voice gentle. “It’s a good wand. It helped me a lot.” He wanted to run his hand along Malfoy’s jaw. Light it up with his fingers. He wanted to trace the sharp contours with his lips and taste Malfoy’s skin, again and again.

Malfoy caught Harry’s hand in his and squeezed, making pain flare for a moment, and muffling the light. “I hated you for it,” Malfoy hissed. “I felt so fucking powerless.”

“We were all powerless.” Harry said. “I was just trying to survive.”

“Yeah,” Malfoy said. “Yeah, me too.” He seemed to notice his grip on Harry’s hand, then, and released the pressure. For a brief second, he turned to nuzzle it, his lips brushing against the glow of Harry’s fingers, kindled with gold. Then he lay it down on Harry’s lap. He took a couple of deep breaths and when he spoke again his voice was steadier. “Isn’t it dinner time? Why don’t we get some food and then come back here?”

“Yeah,” said Harry. “We can practise some more.”

“Yes.” Malfoy let his fingers slide over Harry’s knee. Across his thigh. “We can practise lots of things.”

Harry reached for him, but Malfoy evaded his grasp and stood up. “Come on.”

“It didn’t take you long to get the hang of Lumos,” Harry said. “Not really.”

“No.” Malfoy’s mouth quirked up on one side. “It really didn’t.”

“You could try it wordlessly next time. It’s just habit, to use the incantation as well. You don’t need it.”

Malfoy seemed to like the thought, his lips curving into a smile as they went down the stairs. Harry was still giddy with the breathless feeling of watching Malfoy cast without his wand. They would be at the Great Hall soon, and Malfoy would be far away at the Slytherin table, and Harry would be left thinking about how it had been, and wishing… maybe wishing he had done the thing he most wanted to do.

Wanking was one thing, wasn’t it? The kind of stuff that loads of boys did together, according to Malfoy. Kissing was something entirely different. But as Harry looked at Malfoy again, at the faint flush of satisfaction on his cheeks, even the thought that someone might come and find them wasn’t enough to keep him from grabbing Malfoy’s hand and pulling him to one side. Harry leaned in, his blood thrilling with nerves, with desire, and oh, god, the look on Malfoy’s face as he realised what Harry was going to do. It made something inside Harry blaze, so bright, so fierce, that he had to close his eyes as he leaned closer, his lips parting, holding his breath for the moment when he felt Malfoy’s mouth against his. Malfoy made a small sound of surprise, a soft oh, and Harry felt that sound right through him, too, and everything seemed to hang in the air for the moment before their lips touched.

Then a door banged open and Malfoy’s hand jerked in his, and time started again, and everything was going in the wrong direction. Malfoy pulled away, his face guarded, his hand instinctively going to his wand. Ron stood in the doorway that led to the Long Gallery, blinking at both of them.

“Harry?” Ron’s face was thunderstruck. Harry would have expected horror, but this was worse – he looked betrayed. Guilt and shame flooded through Harry, hot nauseous pangs that gripped at his guts. Why had he kept all of this from Ron? Oh, god, his best friend, and he hadn’t even been able to tell him something so important.

“No, Ron. It’s not—”

But it was. It was. Harry had lied to him. How could he explain? He’d thought that when he first told someone about this, Hermione would be there, and she would help him find the right words and explain in her sensible way how it had all come about.

He tried to say, It’s nothing like you think, but his throat felt jagged inside. “It’s nothing,” Harry gritted out, and then the words got stuck. A spineless little part of him thought Now Ron knows. Soon everyone will know. That you like blokes. The whole world will know that Harry Potter is gay for Draco Malfoy. And he was ashamed of the part of him that wanted to find a safe, dark place to hide.

Ron stood there, still dumbfounded with surprise and looking as if Harry had punched him without warning. But when Harry glanced at Malfoy, he realised Ron was actually taking it pretty well. Malfoy’s face was white and pinched with shock, and Harry remembered vividly his lacerated body on a bathroom floor.

It’s nothing. Had he really said that? Harry swayed on the spot, feeling as helpless as he had when Malfoy had reeled back from Sectumsempra and hit the ground. No, no, I didn’t mean it. But it was as poor an excuse as the first time, and his throat was so tight it was choking him. He should know by now the damage that words could do.

“Draco.” It sounded like a plea, but Malfoy’s face was now shuttered tight, his eyes wintry, and he turned to go. When Harry grabbed his arm, it was unyielding as stone. “Wait,” Harry said.

Malfoy turned back, his throat working. Then he lifted his chin and his mouth twisted into an ugly sneer.

“I didn’t mean—” Harry croaked, but Malfoy gave him no chance to finish.

“God, Gryffindors.” His accent was like cut glass all of a sudden. “All this angsting over a few crappy hand jobs.”

Hand jobs?” Ron’s tone of bewildered incomprehension would probably have been funny at any other time, but god, not now. Was that what Malfoy thought, then? They probably had been crappy. Harry had never imagined that he was any good at sex, but Malfoy hadn’t seemed to mind before.

Harry opened his mouth to— he didn’t know what. To apologise? To try to explain? Or maybe to shout something angry and desperate and painful, but Malfoy was walking away, too fast, and it all seemed pointless. Harry felt weirdly numb. Like the time his knife had slipped in Potions, once, sliced deep into his finger and Harry had watched with an odd detachment as the blood began to well up. The pain hadn’t come until later.

Malfoy turned the corner and was gone in a swirl of robes. Harry stared at the empty space where he had stood. He had nearly kissed him. So nearly.

Ron had managed to shut his mouth, but his eyes were wide. “I don’t know what the bloody hell’s been going on, but I reckon you’ve fucked that right up.”

The words spurred Harry into motion. He couldn’t let this end here, no matter what. This glorious, shining thing, broken to bits by a couple of careless words. “I need to go,” he blurted.

“Yeah, OK then.” Ron shook his head, bewildered. “Tell me some other time what the fuck this is about, eh?”

“I will. Sorry.” Harry darted along the corridor. Where would Malfoy be? Not in the Great Hall, surely? By the Lake? He hesitated, then doubled back to their room and started rummaging in his trunk. His fingers were shaking so that the map fell from his hands at first, but he scooped it up again. “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

Shit, shit, shit, shit. Where was Malfoy? He’d lost so much time already. He didn’t know what he was going to say when he found him, but he knew he had to try. The parchment swarmed with tiny footprints, and at first, Harry couldn’t see Draco’s name anywhere, but then he spotted the small dot in the corner of the middle courtyard.

The quickest way would be along the second floor and then down the steps towards the library. Harry was nearly there when one of the shitty bastard staircases moved and he had to dart around to the south instead. Harry raced along, then stopped, heart thumping, at the top of the stairs to peer out of the window. Yes. Malfoy was down there, sitting on a stone bench in the shadows of the courtyard, barely visible from the castle but for his bright head of hair. Harry felt a swell of relief, but before he could turn to hurry down the stairs, another cloaked figure stepped into view and began to cross the courtyard towards Malfoy.

Theodore Nott.

Harry’s stomach rolled with anxiety, but he seemed unable to move until he had seen what Nott was up to. Nott’s face was alight with interest as he walked quickly over the stone flags to where Malfoy was sitting. Malfoy looked up at Nott, unsmiling, and Harry’s heart thudded into his boots at the cold, closed off look on his face.

He wished he could hear what Nott was saying. Malfoy shook his head, and Harry leaned forwards to get a better look until the glass in front of him fogged with his breath. He scrubbed at it with his sleeve until he could see the figures below once more.

Nott seemed to be talking, while Malfoy stared at the ground in front of his feet. Nott took Malfoy’s arm, his head tilted to one side in invitation, and Harry felt a stab of something hot and sharp in his chest. He could guess exactly what Nott was trying to talk Malfoy into. Malfoy looked up at Nott again, his expression bitter in a way Harry hadn’t seen for quite a while. Then Malfoy seemed to come to a sudden decision; this time, when Nott tugged him by the hand, he yielded, his body unfolding as he got to his feet. Harry could barely stand to look at Nott’s sly face, but he watched all the same as Nott led Malfoy away, pulling him by the hand around the courtyard and through the gate that led to the greenhouses.

Harry stood for a moment, picturing Nott’s look of triumph. He felt sick. But sick didn’t begin to cover it. It was nausea, hot knives of it twisting in his gut. And then his feet were moving again, propelled forward by the need to get to Malfoy and see where that bastard Nott was taking him.

Harry stumbled on the stairs, almost tripping and tumbling headlong on the stone. “Steady, my lad,” warned a portrait of a wizard in a feathered hat. But Harry hurried onwards, anger and misery warring in his throat as he reached the foot of the stairs and flung open the door to the courtyard. How dare Nott just take Malfoy’s hand like that? As if it meant nothing. Harry knew what he was after. All Nott wanted was a warm body to get off with, but Malfoy should know that this meant so much more to Harry than that. He should fucking know—

Except that Harry had never told Malfoy.

In fact, Harry had never really even admitted it to himself, had he? That this was so much more than getting off.

And all Harry had found to say to Ron was that this was nothing.

Merlin’s bastarding bollocks, Harry was an arsehole.

He banged through the gate, furious with Nott, furious with Malfoy, furious most of all with himself, then rounded the corner and found Nott and Malfoy at the other end of the path. Nott was pressing Malfoy up against the wall, his hands under Malfoy’s robes while Harry stopped in his tracks, a savage roar of jealousy thrashing inside him, pure and deadly. Nott bent to say something into Malfoy’s ear and the casual intimacy of it tore at Harry, but he couldn’t stop watching.

Malfoy didn’t look as if he was enjoying any of it, leaning against the wall with a vacant look on his face, but neither did he do anything to stop it. Nott didn’t seem to care either way, his hands moving greedily to push Malfoy’s shirt up. Malfoy stared into space over Nott’s shoulder, his face stony, and then Harry watched in horror as Nott reached to cup the bulge between Malfoy’s legs.

A searing hatred jolted through Harry, deep from his core, burning along his veins and into his palm and out to his fingertips, fast and fiery and fuck, the thing with using wandless magic a lot was that apparently sometimes it happened when it really shouldn’t. The Hex, or Curse – Harry didn’t even know what the spell was, and shit, he of all people knew the damage that could do – flew through his fingers, starting to race towards Nott until Harry managed to get control of his magic and used every bit of power he had to rein it in. He was trying to stop it dead, halt the spell in mid air before it could reach Nott, but he did more than that. He pulled the fucking spell back, back into his own body, and cried out in pain as the unknown magic scalded its way along his arm.

Harry sank down onto his knees, his body shaking. Merlin, what had he done? It felt bad. About as bad as anything he could remember. The pain reached his chest and for a few long moments he thought he might pass out. “Shit,” he gasped, but it came out more like “Shiiii-hurrr.”

He huddled there on the ground, violent red splotches before his eyes, and then Malfoy was standing above him, his face still cold. “What are you doing?”

The pain ebbed for a moment, then flooded back, blistering over his ribs. “H– Hexed myself. Or something. Fuck.”

“You’re an idiot.” Malfoy tried to sneer, but there was a hint of something else underneath.

“I know.” Harry tried to get up, then thought better of it, and crouched panting on the stony path. “What I said. Wasn’t– true. Wasn’t nothing. No way. It was– it was fucking everything.”

Malfoy’s jaw clenched. “Oh, don’t worry. I get it. I’m sure you don’t want your dirty little secret to get round the school.” His mouth trembled on the word secret and at last, at last Harry began to see exactly how all of this looked to Malfoy, and god, it was grim.

“No. That’s not true.” Breathing hurt, but not as much as the prickling torment at his fingertips.

Another pair of legs joined Malfoy’s. “What is Potter doing down there?” Nott’s superior tone made Harry want to Hex him all over again.

“Piss off, Nott,” Malfoy said.

“Yeah, piss right off,” Harry managed to grit out, but something seriously wrong was happening inside his chest, crushing it like a vice, and his vision was starting to go white around the edges. He couldn’t see Nott, but he could still hear his snooty voice.

“Merlin. Like that, is it?” Nott made a contemptuous noise. “You’ve done some stupid things in your time, Draco, but falling for Harry Potter has to be the worst.”

Harry considered Hexing him for real this time, but the pain was becoming unbearable, and then the rushing whiteness closed in, and the last thing Harry felt was the stones of the path jabbing at his face as he hit the ground.

*^*^*

The first thing he noticed was the sharp smell of herbs. Dittany, he thought, and then, oh shit.

He opened his eyes and, yes, fuck, he was in the hospital wing, and god, it hurt to breathe, a tearing pain in his lungs with every inhalation, bad enough to let out an anguished moan.

“Harry!”

He turned his head with difficulty. She was sitting on the other side of the bed, her hair pulled back into a ponytail and her face pale and tired.

“Hermione,” he croaked, and then, “Ugh. Hurts. Bad.”

“Drink this,” she said. “Madam Pomfrey left it in case you woke up. You were stirring this morning, so we hoped…”

She helped him lift his head enough to sip at a vile lemon-coloured concoction. “Oh my god,” Harry protested at the taste, the bitterness of it and then the sharp peppery afterburn. But even as he struggled to get it down, he could feel the pain receding until it was only an ache.

“Is that better? What on earth happened?” Hermione asked, and memories started to slowly surface.

Malfoy’s face as Harry leaned in to kiss him. Malfoy’s face as Harry told Ron it was nothing. And then, the cold, hard look he gave Harry after Harry had pulled the spell back into himself. Harry’s face screwed up in misery and Hermione leaned forward.

“Is it worse? Oh, I should get Madam Pomfrey!”

“No,” Harry forced out. “Not yet.” He lay back, trembling slightly. “Where’s Draco?” he asked.

“Draco?” Hermione wrinkled her nose. “He’ll be in class, I suppose. I think it’s time for Charms? Look, Harry, I think I should fetch Pomfrey...”

“No,” Harry said forcefully, reaching out to grab her arm, then drawing back as a fresh wave of pain hit him. He held up his hand to see, and oh, wow. His fingers were smeared with some kind of sticky ointment, but underneath he could see they were blistered and cracked. “Oh, hell.” He turned his hand from side to side to see better. Two of his nails were charred, and streaks of angry red ran from his index finger along his wrist and all the way up his arm.

“What happened, Harry? Did Malfoy do something to you? They checked his wand, but—”

“No, no it wasn’t him. God, no. It was me,” Harry told her, but her look of worry and confusion only grew. “Hold on,” he said. “You’re missing classes to be here?”

“Well, yes,” she said. “Of course. Madam Pomfrey has loads of other patients – there’s an outbreak of Dragon Pox among the first years – and we didn’t want you to be on your own when you woke up, not after being unconscious for so long…”

Harry sat up a bit more. “What? How long have I been here?”

“Two days,” Hermione said, her voice wobbling slightly. “Healers came from St Mungo’s but they didn’t want to move you. Oh Harry, I must fetch her.”

Two days. And did Draco still think that Harry was ashamed of what they’d done? God, he’d been such an idiot. Harry sat up again. “Me and Malfoy, we’ve been…” Wanking together all the time didn’t sound that great, did it? “I mean, I… we’ve been... “ He took a deep breath. “Seeing each other. In secret. I really need to speak to him, Hermione.”

Hermione’s eyes were wide. “Oh, Harry. Ron said something, but I thought maybe he’d misunderstood, and then—”

“I need to see him.” Harry swung his legs around, and tried to get off the bed, but was stopped in his tracks by a sudden lurch of pain in his chest, and then a shocked cry came from across the room.

“Harry Potter!” Pomfrey’s voice rang out. “What in the name of Merlin do you think you are doing?”

Harry set his jaw stubbornly. “There’s someone I need to speak to. It’s important.”

“Have you lost your senses? You’ve been out cold for two days with some of the worst spell damage I’ve ever seen in a student. Get back on that bed immediately and don’t even think about moving.” She bustled over and set down an armful of potions and ointments on the bedside table. “Right. We have work to do. Miss Granger, you can return to classes.”

“Can I stay?” Hermione asked. “I could help, I won’t be in the way…”

Madam Pomfrey looked stern, then caught Hermione’s expression and patted her on the arm. “Come back at teatime. We’ll have him feeling much better by then and you can talk properly.”

Hermione smiled at Harry, her eyes slightly shiny. “I’ll be back later.” She bent to give him the most gentle of hugs, her hands resting lightly on his shoulders.

“Tell him to come,” Harry whispered. “He… might not want to. But tell him. Please?”

She nodded.

Madam Pomfrey frowned. “Time to go. If you really want to help, you could always have a talk with Potter later about not trying to find new ways to kill himself all the time.”

*^*^*

When Pomfrey had finished with him, Harry felt physically more comfortable, but his mind was a riot of anxiety. What the bloody hell would Malfoy be thinking right now? Did he understand what Harry had been trying to say to him before the curse sucked Harry under? Or did he still think Harry wanted to keep this secret so badly that he would lie to his best friend in front of Malfoy’s face to avoid getting found out? Fucking hell, why had Harry never told Malfoy how he felt? Those moments when they were together, when it felt like Harry could say anything, like anything was possible. Why had he messed that up so badly? He’d talked about the bloody war – about Malfoy’s mum, for fuck’s sake, when he could have been telling Malfoy what this whole thing had meant to him.

Damn it all to hell. Harry made a choked sound of frustration which drew Pomfrey back to his bedside.

“Is the pain worse again?”

Harry shook his head. “Not really.” His fingers were throbbing, especially the ones with the scorched nails, but he didn’t care. He deserved it.

Malfoy had probably decided that Nott was a much better bet. They were probably together, right now, in Harry and Malfoy’s room – Harry closed his eyes and pushed his face against the pillow to try to blot out the images that his brain was supplying.

“It’s vital that you rest,” Pomfrey was saying. She took a small silvery phial from her apron pocket. “Here. Take this.”

“I don’t want it,” Harry said.

“If you won’t take it, I’ll have to use a spell,” she told him, and Harry stretched his hand out in defeat. “Drink, then,” she said, and stood over him to watch him swallow.

Damn everyone and everything. Harry would sleep, then. It was better than being awake and stuck here like this without any clue of what was going on in the outside world. The potion was obviously very fast-working, for he felt lethargy pulling at his limbs already. Within a minute, he was yawning, and within two, he was asleep.

*^*^*

Harry’s eyes felt sticky and heavy but he managed to open them. Ron was sitting by the bed reading a magazine.

“Harry!” Ron’s eyebrows shot up in greeting. “You’re awake again.”

Harry rubbed his uninjured hand across his face. “Ugh. Sleeping potion.”

“Yeah, Pomfrey said. Shall I call her?”

“No,” Harry shook his head, although his chest was hurting in that knife-like way again when he breathed in, and he suspected he would have to ask for some more of the lemon-coloured potion soon. “Just talk quietly so she doesn’t know I’m up.” He propped himself upright against the pillows. “I need to apologise to you.”

“Look, if this is about what happened – you know, what I saw – before you got hurt, it can wait. Pomfrey explained you need to rest and all of that, and not get wound up about stuff. But bloody hell, how did you end up in the hospital wing?”

“No, I want to tell you. I should have done it ages ago.” Harry got as comfortable as he could, took a deep breath and started to explain everything. Well. Not everything. He tried to keep the more embarrassing bits to a minimum, to spare both him and Ron. And there were a lot of embarrassing bits, so it was actually fairly brief.

Ron listened in silence, then nodded. “So you’re definitely going to be all right? The damage isn't permanent?”

Harry held up his hand and looked at it. The redness had gone down a little along his arm. “I don't think so. Pomfrey chucked a ton of spells and potions at me. The good thing about her is that she never asks many questions. She just tries to fix whatever part of you you’ve fucked up.”

“And this thing with Malfoy.” Ron pulled a face. “Wow. I never saw that coming.”

Harry gave a nervous laugh. “Me neither.”

“Well.” Ron scrubbed a hand through his hair. “Is it serious or what?”

Harry stared at his lap. “I… don’t know.” He picked at the blanket, pulling off a bobble of wool that had formed. He’d promised himself that he would be honest with Ron. “I mean, I’m serious about him.” There. That wasn’t so difficult. “But… I think you’re right. I think I screwed it up.” He tried to swallow down the uncomfortable lump in his throat.

Ron shook his head. “Oh, mate. Malfoy. Really? You’re sure about this? I mean… I know this is stating the obvious, but he’s a bloke.”

“I had noticed that, actually, Ron, but thanks for pointing it out.”

“No, I don’t mean it in a bad way, I just mean… you never went for blokes before. But, Harry, he’s not just a bloke.” Ron gave Harry a pleading look. “He’s a git.”

“You’re saying that, but have you spent any time with him lately?” Harry frowned. “You’ll have to take my word for it.”

“You’re telling me he’s not a git any more? Not at all?”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake…” Harry glared at Ron. “He is still a bit of a git. OK?”

Ron jerked his chin upwards smugly. “Knew it.”

“Maybe I like gits.” Harry settled back on the pillows and shut his eyes. “Did you think of that?”

“He did ask after you, though,” Ron went on.

Harry eyes snapped open. “What? When was this?” he demanded.

“Yesterday. Asked if I knew anything about how you were.”

Harry sat up straight, ignoring the pain in his side. “Ron. What were his exact words? How did he say it?”

“What? I don’t bloody know! He came up to me after Potions. And he said it… I dunno, he said it with his mouth.”

“Oh, funny.” Harry grimaced. “I mean, did he smile? Did he look… I dunno, worried?”

Ron gazed at Harry as if he were mad. “He looked how he always looked. A bit sneery. Like he could hardly be bothered to even speak.”

Harry closed his eyes again.

“You see? A git,” Ron said. “I told him I didn’t know anything, because at the time, I didn’t. You were still out cold. And look where chasing after him has got you. In the bloody hospital wing.”

Madam Pomfrey’s shoes must have specially quiet soles for creeping up on people, Harry thought, as she appeared over Ron’s shoulder. “Pretty much everything Potter does gets him in the hospital wing,” she said drily. “How are you feeling?”

Like crap. “OK,” Harry said.

“Time for more potions,” she told him, measuring out a large dose of the lemon-yellow one, to Harry’s relief.

He swallowed it down and shuddered. “Ugh. Do you know if Hermione’s spoken to him?” Harry asked Ron quietly, aware of Madam Pomfrey nearby, uncorking another bottle.

“Nah. Hardly seen her all day, she had loads of classes to catch up on. I’m meeting her at– oh, bloody hell. I’d better go. Is that all right, mate?”

“Course,” Harry said. He could feel the numbing power of the potion spreading through his veins. He thought about asking Ron to speak to Malfoy, but that probably wasn’t the best idea in the world. “I’ll maybe see you later?”

“Tomorrow,” said Madam Pomfrey firmly. “That’s enough visitors for one day.” She shooed Ron away.

Harry screwed up his face in vexation, but he knew from experience it was useless to argue. “If anyone does come, though, you will tell me, right?”

She peered at him with surprisingly soft eyes. “Potter. Whoever this him is that you’re so worried about... if he’s worth worrying over, I’m sure he’ll still be there when you’re better.”

Harry’s eyes prickled suddenly at her words. He knew she meant it kindly, but if only it were true. He’d felt such a flash of hope when Ron had said Malfoy asked after him… but now he realised Malfoy was probably just feeling guilty about what had happened to Harry. Not that it was Malfoy's fault, or anything, but he probably wanted to put his mind at rest. So he could feel fine about shagging Theo Nott, Harry’s brain told him helpfully, supplying images of Malfoy and Nott entwined.

“Oh, goodness,” Pomfrey said. “You have got it bad.” She passed him the next dose of potion. “Listen to me, Potter, I know it seems that way now, but the world doesn’t end because of a love affair gone wrong.” She turned away and wiped her hands on her apron, sighing to herself. “Life goes on, believe me.”

*^*^*

It was two in the morning, and there was no way in the world that Harry was ever going to get to sleep. His burned fingers throbbed with pain, but far worse was the ache in his chest which he didn’t think was anything to do with spell damage. Everything was wrong here: the loathed smell of Dittany, the way every sound echoed coldly around the bare room, and the stark loneliness of his narrow bed. He longed for the neat little room in the Astronomy wing. But most of all, he longed for Draco. “Draco”, Harry whispered to himself, and the name was as intoxicating on his lips as a first kiss. He wasn’t Malfoy, not any more. Not in Harry’s head.

He thought of Draco in the next bed, the soft sound of his breathing. The sounds Harry had heard him make when he touched himself. When Harry had touched him.

Why don’t you come over here?

He remembered the shock those words had sent right through his body, like a jolt of electricity. The thought of it made him groan aloud even now. He didn’t think six hotter words had ever been spoken since time began.

Harry thought he would do pretty much anything if he could only hear those words again now.

But it wasn’t just the memories of Draco’s body and Draco’s hands, even though, hell, they were like nothing he’d ever felt. It was more than that.

It was sitting in the dusky light together, with low voices, Draco’s hand resting in his. It was the feeling that anything was possible. That the war was something that could be left in the past.

And oh god – the thought struck him like Stupefy. What if Draco showed Nott how to do Lumos? Harry felt as if something inside of him was tearing apart. The thought of Draco sharing the things Harry had shown him with someone else was somehow the most unbearable of all.

It was almost enough to drive him to use the silvery phial Madam Pomfrey had left for him. Almost. Instead Harry lay in the dark for what seemed like hour upon hour, remembering how Draco’s face had looked as he conjured light from his fingers. The night seemed it would never end, until at last sleep washed over him like a great wave and dragged him under.

*^*^*

In the morning when Harry woke, Pomfrey was at his bedside.

“Your arm is looking better,” she said. “Not bad progress, considering what a state you got yourself into this time.”

“I’m fine, honestly,” Harry told her. And he did feel a lot better, physically at least. His lungs didn’t burn with each breath, and the red streaking on his arm had faded even further. “Maybe I could get up today?”

“You have to be joking,” she told him, holding her wand over his chest and noting the result on a piece of parchment. “Oh, Professor McGonagall called in to see you. She wants to investigate this whole matter thoroughly.”

Harry’s heart sank.

“No need to look like that. I told her you were not to be disturbed. You need rest, and lots of it.” And she left him in peace.

It seemed like one of the longest days of Harry’s life. Nobody visited – or Pomfrey didn’t let anyone in, Harry wasn’t sure – until after lunch, when Hermione dropped in with an armful of parchment scrolls. “I know you wouldn’t want to get behind on our NEWTs work, so I brought you these.” She glanced over her shoulder and spoke quietly. “Madam Pomfrey says we’re not to question you about any of it in case it upsets you. But if you wanted to tell me anything—”

Harry nodded. “I do want to. And I will, I promise. But she’s probably going to kick you out in a minute, and I just need to know – did you talk to Draco?”

Hermione looked serious. “I caught up with him after Herbology yesterday. I told him that you were awake. And that you were asking for him.”

“And what did he say?” His pulse was hammering in his throat.

“Oh, Harry.” Her face twisted miserably. “He didn’t say anything. Just looked down his nose, in that way he has, you know, and walked off, like I’d offended him.”

Harry’s heart felt like it had dropped down to his knees. No, right onto the fucking floor. Ready to be stomped on. “Oh. Right.” So that was it. Draco wasn’t coming. He didn’t want to see Harry. Probably wouldn’t speak to him, even if Harry could get a chance. Which he couldn’t, not stuck here like this in this fucking bed...

“I’m really sorry, Harry.” Hermione made a sympathetic face, and that was almost more than he could take.

“It’s fine,” he said, but it came out weirdly strangled and he couldn’t remember how to swallow without it hurting.

Right on cue, Madam Pomfrey was at his bedside. “That looks like quite enough for now,” she said firmly.

Hermione got up reluctantly. “I can try again, if you like?” she asked Harry. “I mean, perhaps he didn’t…” Her voice trailed away.

“No,” said Harry. “Thanks. But forget it.”

When Pomfrey suggested something to help him rest again, Harry didn’t even argue.

*^*^*

Harry slept for hours, thanks to Pomfrey’s silver bottle. At first, the numb, blank sleep that came from a potion, but then he shifted into a lighter sleep where he dreamed, horrible dreams of loss and longing and regret that seemed to have no end.

Draco was falling through the Veil, the black tattered fabric rippling around his body as it sucked him in, and Harry trying to reach for him, his arm outstretched, over and over again. However many times he tried, he couldn’t save him, and worst of all, Harry somehow knew, in the hopeless way one did in dreams, that he himself had cast the spell which propelled Draco through the archway and into the space beyond.

Harry thought he woke up, sweat on his top lip and a cry in his throat, but it was still part of the dream and Draco was still falling, endlessly, falling, and nothing Harry could do could save him.

Then the dream changed. Harry woke up in the hospital wing again and it seemed so real. He could smell the Dittany, and his burned fingers were throbbing gently.

He opened his eyes and Draco was there by the bed. He was wrapped up in a big cloak with his legs tucked up on the chair, the soft glow of <i>Lumos</i> blooming at his fingertips and illuminating his face. Draco sat watching the light, turning his fingers this way and that so that Lumos danced over the angles of his cheeks, his brow, his sharp profile and the curve of his lips. He took Harry’s breath away. It seemed such a cruel dream to have right now – it was so glorious, but Harry knew it was just his mind playing tricks.

He lay there watching quietly, not wanting the dream to end, and then Draco noticed Harry’s eyes were open.

“So. You’re alive.” His voice was haughty as ever, but there was something soft about his mouth.

“You’re here,” Harry croaked.

He tilted his head and gave Harry a guarded look. “I couldn’t sleep.” Draco’s Adam’s apple bobbed and as the Lumos flickered over his skin, Harry saw the dark shadows under his eyes were back. “So I thought I might as well come and ask what the fuck happened the other night.”

“This is a dream, right?” Harry asked, and Draco laughed, a small, tight sound.

“It could be. If you want it to be.”

Harry scrambled to sit up. “I wanted to see you so much,” he said, and he felt a fresh wave of grief wash over him.

Draco’s eyes flicked over Harry’s face, and Harry swore he saw a flash of longing in his eyes, but when Draco spoke, he sounded quite offhand. “So what happened to you? They keep asking me, so I thought I had better come and find out before they decide it was my fault after all.”

“I Hexed Nott, or something. When I saw him with you. Well, Pomfrey says it was more like a curse. I didn’t mean to, it just… happened without thinking. You know. Like Lumos.” Harry attempted a smile, but he felt too rubbish to make it stick.

Draco just looked at him.

“I never meant to do it. I wouldn’t go around cursing people because— “ Harry swallowed hard. “Because they touch you, or something. So I –tried to stop it.”

“How?”

“I think I sort of… pulled it back into me. The spell.”

Draco’s eyes were narrow. “That’s not possible.”

“Yeah. It happened, though.” Harry splayed a hand over his ribs. “It hurt like a bastard. Still aches now. And I slept for two days or something.”

“You are a fucking Gryffindor lunatic,” Draco said emphatically, and it was so exactly what he would say in real life, that Harry knew for sure.

“This isn’t a dream, is it?”

Draco shook his head. “No, Potter. It’s not,” and he sounded bitter again. “This is real life.”

“Then– I can tell you I’m sorry. I’m so fucking sorry.” Harry tried to reach for Draco’s hand, but he pulled it away. “I’ve been lying here and trying to work out how I can make it right.”

Draco didn’t seem to take in what Harry was saying. “You should probably know. Nott’s told some people that there was something going on between you and me. I tried to stop him, but…” His jaw tightened. “He wanted me to do certain things for him, and I wouldn’t do them, so…” Draco let out a long breath. “I expect people will get bored and find something else to talk about eventually.”

“I don’t care.” Harry said. “I mean – if you were OK with it, I’d tell them myself. I told Ron and Hermione already.”

Draco narrowed his eyes again. “Told them? Told them what?”

“How I feel about you. That I– I want to be with you.”

Draco looked stunned, but then: “That’s not what you said to Weasley before.” His mouth twisted into a bitter shape, and his Lumos flickered and went out.

Harry groped for his wand and set it on the bedside table with its tip alight.

“Yeah I know. That was shit.” He’d run through it all in his head, but now Draco was there, he wasn’t sure if he could find the words to explain. “I felt so bloody awful when Ron found out like that. He probably still thought I was going to marry his sister one day.” This was no use. He was getting it all wrong. He carried on anyway, his voice cracking. “But I really fucked things up, didn’t I? I don’t want it to be a secret. This isn’t nothing. It’s the best thing that’s happened to me for– for a bloody long time. The best thing I could imagine happening to me.”

He tried taking Draco’s hand again, and this time Draco let him, and Harry felt hope darting in his chest, vivid and irrepressible. “I’ve missed you,” Harry said. “So fucking much.”

Draco blinked, looking a bit startled, but then he said, “Well. Our room has been a bit dull without you blundering about and tripping over stuff, I have to admit.”

Harry wanted to run up and down the ward shouting stupid things and possibly singing, but he thought he’d probably regret that, so he just said, “When I woke up. You were doing Lumos. I’ve missed that, too.”

Draco nodded. “I’ve been practising. But it wasn’t the same.” He lifted his eyes to Harry’s. “Lots of things weren’t the same without you there.”

Oh, Merlin. Harry’s mouth was dry just imagining Draco alone in their room. But maybe Harry was misunderstanding. Had he been alone?

“About those things Nott wanted you to do.” Harry felt the low growl of jealousy in his chest again. “What were they?”

Draco looked at him steadily. “You know what things, Potter.”

“But you didn’t want to?” Harry’s throat was scratchy, making the words come out roughly.

Draco raised his chin. “No.”

“Why did you go with him the other time?” Harry demanded. “Did he threaten you or something? Because if he did, I’ll—”

“You’ll what? Go and curse your other arm off to spite him?”

“No, I won’t do anything like that. But, seriously, if he—”

“He didn’t threaten me. He just… wanted me.”

Harry’s face screwed up. Nott wanted Draco? Of course he did, anyone who had eyes would want him.

“And he was honest about it,” Draco said. “He wasn’t, you know, he wasn’t ashamed to be seen with me.” The bitterness in his tone made Harry wince. “At that precise moment, I thought it was better than a kick in the teeth.”

I want you.” Harry glared at him. “And I’m not ashamed.”

“So you say.”

Harry swallowed down the discomfort in his throat. “You said that night that I was an idiot. And you were right.”

“Of course I was. You’re a total fucking idiot,” Draco said.

“Bloody hell, Malfoy,” Harry growled. “I’m trying to apologise here!”

“Is that what you call it?” Draco’s eyes flashed. “I think there could be a hell of a lot more grovelling, personally.”

“I’m not going to grovel, you bastard. But I want you.” It made his face flush to say it, but Harry pressed on. “You must know it. I’ve wanted you pretty much every minute since I bloody saw you at the start of term.” The admission shook him with its truth. “I want you right now,” he said simply.

Draco fell silent, his gaze lingering on Harry’s mouth. Then he said quietly, “You do?”

“Yes,” said Harry. “My hand is a bit fucked at the moment and I’m probably, you know, pretty crap at it, like you said. But I do want you. And maybe I could learn what you like.”

“Well.” Draco was staring at Harry, his voice low, and the look of challenge in his eyes made heat flare inside Harry. “That’s easy to say. How about you show me?”

Harry didn’t hesitate, but leaned forwards and reached for Draco, letting his hand run along his waist, feeling for the shape of his body through the thick folds of his cloak. Draco’s lips parted, and Harry held his breath as he found the fastening of Draco’s cloak and slipped his hand inside. Shit. Draco was just wearing his thin cotton pyjama trousers underneath. His chest was bare, and he closed his eyes and moaned as Harry’s fingers skimmed over his stomach.

Harry had to have him – all of him. “Draco,” he groaned. He couldn’t wait. It had been much too long. “Come over here. In the bed with me. Will you?”

Draco’s eyes darted to the curtains pulled around Harry’s bed. “Are you serious? What if Pomfrey comes?”

“She won’t,” said Harry, hoping his optimism was not misplaced.

Draco wet his lips, but he looked pretty keen. “We’d have to be really quiet.”

“I’m good at that,” Harry said.

“Potter, you’re utterly shit at it.”

“Come on. I will be this time. We won’t get caught.” Harry moved over on the narrow bed, and Draco shucked off his cloak and climbed in beside him.

Harry reached for Draco eagerly and then let out a stifled yelp of pain. “Ugh,” he said. “Wrong hand.”

“Idiot,” Draco whispered. “We need to be fast, yeah?”

“I really am good at that,” Harry admitted, and Draco snorted, wasting no time in nudging Harry’s trousers around his thighs so that his cock bounced free against his stomach. Harry kicked them all the way off under the bedclothes, not wanting anything to get between him and Draco, sighing at the feel of Draco’s skin against his.

Draco’s hands were gentler than usual, one in Harry’s hair and one moving, deft and delicious, drawing long sighs of pleasure and need from Harry. Draco dragged his fingers lightly through the curls at the base of Harry’s cock, and Harry let out a sound like steam escaping from a kettle.

“What kind of fool burns their wanking hand with their own spell?” Draco whispered.

“Someone who – ahhh – has someone else to – oh, Merlin – do it for them.”

Draco responded by twisting the hand that rested in Harry’s hair, just hard enough to hurt.

Uhh. Someone amazing,” Harry assured him. “You’re much better at it than I am, anyway. Oh fuck yes.” Harry’s cock jerked as Draco pushed his knees apart and wanked the full length of his shaft, slow and intense and—

“I know,” Draco whispered, and Harry’s heart lurched in his chest. Of course Draco would know. He’d probably been with dozens of boys, and they’d probably all told him how good he was, how talented his hands were, the things his body made them want to do. And what things had he done, with other boys? How soon before he got bored of Harry’s fumbling inexperience and went somewhere else?

The words stuck in Harry’s throat, but he forced them out anyway. He had to know. “Are you going to go with him again?”

Draco’s hand slowed. “Who? Theo?”

Harry winced at the easy intimacy of the name. “Yeah. Are you going to?”

Draco’s eyes were intent on Harry’s face.“What if I did? Would you curse him again?” His hands, god, his hands. The rhythm of it, the slow, heavenly ache of it. Harry tried to thrust upwards, but Draco pushed him back down. “Would you?”

“No,” Harry said. “I might want to, but– no. I wouldn’t do that. Not on purpose.”

“You’d want to?” Draco asked. His voice sounded throaty and it made Harry’s stomach clench with arousal. “Why?”

God, his mouth. Harry stared at the soft curve of his lips, the way they parted as Harry let out another moan. Harry was so close, already, and he felt like he might say anything. “Because– I don’t want you to do this with anyone else.”

Draco took his bottom lip between his teeth, his eyes running over Harry’s face. “No?”

No,” Harry said, and then cried out as Draco moved his wrist in that way he had, sending hot shivers of bliss rippling through Harry’s balls, the pressure building. His enjoyment was given a cruel edge by the unwelcome thought of Draco being like this with anybody but him. “Just me,” Harry gritted out, and there was something fierce about it.

“Just you?” Draco whispered, his pupils wide and black, and god, Harry wanted to weep at the delicious torment of his touch, the teasing, wicked way he brought Harry to the edge, right to the edge, then left him dangling there.

“Yes,” Harry told him. “God, do it like that– uhhh. Yes, yes, please, Malfoy.” He was trying to keep quiet, but he could hear the rawness of his own desperation. “Just me, please oh god, yes, just me.”

“All right,” Draco said. He sounded breathless. “Just you,” and Harry reached for him, caring nothing for the sudden stab of pain in his fingers. His hand cupped the back of Draco’s head and pulled him in, and Draco’s mouth was so hot, so soft, and so willing. His lips opened against Harry’s, his tongue sliding like honey, and Harry tried to hold on, to make it last, but his body was already flooding with pleasure. He groaned into Draco’s mouth, coming and coming until he was shaking with it, and Draco kissed him all through it and then pushed him down onto the pillows to kiss him some more.

Draco’s kisses quickly changed from sensual to hungry, and he made noises, too, all sorts of noises, and it occurred to Harry that maybe he wasn’t so bad at this, after all. “Not so loud, remember?” Harry whispered, but god, he wanted to hear him, wanted to urge Draco on until the whole school could hear. His left hand felt so stiff and clumsy, but it only took a minute before Draco was coming too, pressing his face into Harry’s hair to muffle his cry.

Harry cleaned them both up and then wrapped his good arm around Draco’s waist. He lay nuzzling the crook of Draco’s neck, breathing the familiar scent of ginger, with Draco’s skin so warm and clean-smelling underneath, and in barely two minutes, Harry was asleep.

*^*^*

When Harry woke, it was very early and Draco was still in bed with him, their legs entangled, Draco’s face soft and relaxed. His jaw was mottled with pink, the telltale scratch of Harry’s stubble on his fine skin, and Harry felt a fierce purr of approval at the thought that he had marked Draco in this way. That people might see, and guess, and—

Harry’s cock had twitched determinedly to life at the sight of Draco next to him, but he stayed still with his eyes closed, enjoying the pressure of Draco’s bare leg thrust in between his, and the steady sound of his breathing. He lay there, feeling full of more emotions than he had words for, until he heard the rustle of skirts and opened his eyes to see Madam Pomfrey standing by the bed with an expression of dismay on her face.

Harry froze, but didn’t speak, begging her silently not to cause the unholy row he knew she was capable of.

Draco stirred in his sleep and shifted a little closer. Oh, god. Why did they both have to be so very naked? Draco lay there with the signs of last night’s activities written on his face, his hair rumpled, the lean lines of his body covered only by a thin sheet, and as Madam Pomfrey stood there, shocked, Draco sighed and mumbled, “Harry.”

Pomfrey watched all this without comment, and her expression took on a strangely conflicted look. She frowned, then seemed to come to a decision. “I think I need a cup of tea.”

She spoke quietly, but Draco’s eyes flicked open immediately and Harry felt him start in horror.

“I am going to go and make myself a pot of Assam, and forget that I ever saw this.” Her brows drew together firmly. “When I come back, however, if there is anyone on this ward who is not one of my patients, I will make them rue the day they set foot in here without my permission.”

Draco made a sort of gulping noise. Harry just nodded. “OK,” he said very quietly.

She turned on her heel and walked away, twitching the curtains closed behind her as she went.

“Ohmygodohmygod,” Draco said. He was out of the bed and wrapping the cloak around himself in seconds, his bare arse flashing at Harry.

Harry began to laugh with the giddy relief of a disaster averted. “It’s your fast getaway cloak.”

“Oh my god,” Draco said again, but he grinned. “Where the fuck are my pyjamas?”

“I’m keeping them as a souvenir,” Harry said.

“You wanker.” Draco said. “I’m getting out of here.”

“That’s it, run off and leave me.” He wished more than anything he could go with Draco, sneak back to the little room and spend the day there. “I need to get better so I can come too.”

“You do. Hurry up and do it.” Draco turned to go, but Harry grabbed at his hand.

“Will you come and visit me? Later?”

“And have to face Pomfrey again after what she just saw? Not a hope in hell.” Draco smirked.

*^*^*

Ron came to visit shortly after lunch.

“You look cheerful,” he said, tossing down a box of Honeydukes' Firework Furies and a copy of Quidditch Weekly. “Brought you these. Watch out, they’re seriously hot.”

Harry eyes darted uncertainly from the magazine cover, showing four fit guys in Quidditch leathers, to Ron’s face.

“The sweets,” Ron explained. “I mean the bloody sweets! They’re those ones with the red-hot centres. I know you like spicy stuff.”

“Ah, thanks!” Harry said, grinning.

“You look really cheerful,” Ron said, suspiciously.

“I’m happy to see you?” Harry suggested.

“Ah, of course.” Ron helped himself to a sweet from the box. “So, nothing to do with Malfoy roaming the castle early this morning? Barefoot, wearing only a cloak, seen sneaking out of the hospital wing?”

Harry’s face must have been a picture, because Ron snorted loudly. “Spotted by Dean while out for an early Quidditch practice. You can’t keep anything a secret around this place.”

Ron reached for another sweet and chewed thoughtfully. “So I take it you and Malfoy have been… you know?” The look on Ron’s face made it quite clear what he meant.

Harry tried giving Ron a blank look, but it didn’t work. “Err…” He shrugged. “Yup. Quite a lot.”

“Well.” Ron frowned. “You’ve got the perfect bloody set up for it, haven’t you? Sharing a room?”

Relief washed through Harry that this was all Ron was bothered about. Ron sounded very hard done by as he explained, “Me and Hermione have to take turns. With Millicent and the bloke she’s seeing.”

“Oh. I didn’t know she had a boyfriend.” The thought of the abrasive Millicent climbing into bed with anyone was vaguely terrifying. Harry imagined she would probably put them in a headlock before she snogged them.

“Oh, yeah.” Ron waved a hand. “She’s been out with plenty of blokes.” He gave a small cough, looking uncomfortable. “So, you know Hermione’s quite friendly with some of the other girls now, yeah?”

Harry nodded. “She seems really pleased about it.”

“Yeah.” Ron leaned closer, as if confiding a secret of great importance. “They, like, discuss things.” He lowered his voice. “Bedroom things.”

Harry let out a surprised laugh.

“I know!” Ron looked shocked. “The conversations they have. I’ll tell you, anyone who says boys are the ones with dirty minds doesn’t know a thing about it.”

“Wow.” Harry was wondering whether he wanted details, and deciding probably not. “Good for them, I guess?”

Ron shifted around in his chair. “Yup. I guess so. But…”

“What?”

Ron leaned in once more. “It gives her ideas.” He raised his eyebrows.

“Oh! Right. Well... that’s, er, great.”

Ron looked anxious. “Is it? I never know what she’s going to suggest next.”

“Ah. I see.” Harry must be an awful friend, because looking at Ron’s worried face gave him a terrible desire to laugh.

“I kept wondering where she was getting it all from. Well, she always was a fast learner,” Ron said.

Harry hid his smile by choosing a sweet and putting it into his mouth. “She’ll probably calm down in a little while. You know what she’s like.”

“Yeah, I s’pose. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Some of it is really…” Ron broke off and cleared his throat. “Yeah. Anyway. Change of subject.”

“OK... How’s Cornfoot?” Harry wondered.

Ron wrinkled his nose. “Oh, him. Same as ever. Although... he did actually laugh at one of my jokes the other day. That was a first. I thought to begin with he was having some sort of seizure, but no, apparently the one about the three centaurs finally wore down his resistance.”

Harry bit down to the glowing centre of his sweet, like a tiny flame on his tongue, and had to fan his mouth before he could go on. “I also heard you got an O from Slughorn?”

“Well. Stephen’s pretty good at Potions.”

“He lets you copy his homework?”

“No!” Ron looked offended. “He just explained a couple of things to me. He’s not a pain in the arse about it, not like some people. I’ve been bloody bored, some evenings. You’ve been busy all the time – well, I know why, now.”

“Yeah, Ron, I honestly would have got around to telling you, only—”

“Forget it, mate. But sometimes I didn’t have anything better to do, and so I sort of got into the habit of sitting up there sometimes and working with him.”

Hermione stuck her head through the curtains around Harry’s bed. “Working? I thought that was Ron Weasley’s voice I heard, but I must have been mistaken.”

Ron grabbed her around the waist and wrestled her into his lap. “Watch it,” he told her.

Hermione was laughing and breathless as she pulled away and sat perched on the bed next to Harry. “I can only stay a minute. How are you feeling?”

“Better,” Harry told her. “A lot better.”

“He’s all happy and stuff,” Ron told her.

Stuff?” she repeated, mockingly.

“Well, you know me,” Ron said. “I’m an emotionally constipated teaspoon or something.”

“I am happy,” Harry said. “I had a visitor. But I’ll tell you some time when Pomfrey’s not around.”

Hermione’s eyes were full of curiosity, but she just smiled and patted his knee. “OK. I’ve got to run and do my Charms homework. I’m getting so behind again, the exams are only a few months away, and according to my timetable, we should have covered all the major weather charms by now, as well as—”

Ron gave Harry a meaningful look. “Some things haven’t changed.”

Hermione swept her thick hair back from her face, then assumed an innocent expression. “Oh, and Ron… if you’re not busy this evening, I thought we could work on your Transfiguration project together.”

“Aw, Hermione, I told you, I don’t care what mark I get on that. I’m probably going to fail Transfiguration anyway, there’s no point wasting more time on the bloody thing.”

“No, Ron,” Hermione interrupted. “I don’t think you understand. Millicent will be going out later. So we can work on the project undisturbed.”

Ron’s face cleared and took on a look of nervous anticipation. “Oh. Right. Transfiguration. Yep.” His eyes flicked to Harry, who struggled to keep a straight face.

“Good.” Hermione’s cheeks were a little pinker than they had been when she came in. “Well, I’d better get back to it.”

Ron sat chatting for another hour, leafing through Harry’s magazine and munching his way through the box of sweets, until Pomfrey came to evict him.

*^*^*

“So.” McGonagall looked over her spectacles at them. Harry had to remind himself he was no longer a first year, and that despite being summoned to her office the moment he was discharged from the hospital wing he was – probably – not likely to be expelled for this.

“I am waiting for an explanation. Mr Potter, you go first. I’ll get to you in a moment, Mr Malfoy."

“Like I told you,” Harry said, “it was nothing much. An accident with a spell.”

“An accident that left you in Madam Pomfrey’s care for nearly a week,” she said tartly.

Draco cleared his throat. He looked quite cool and composed, considering the circumstances. “I think—”

“I said I would get to you in a moment, Mr Malfoy,” she said, rather sharply, and Draco pressed his lips together.

“I was casting something at Theodore Nott,” Harry went on. “I was… annoyed with him. But I don’t know what it was I cast.”

“What was the incantation?”

“There… wasn’t one. I didn’t mean to do it, but when I got angry with Nott, it sort of… sprang out of me, you know, the way it does when you do wandless magic. But I hadn’t meant it to happen. And so I tried to take it back, the spell that is, but—”

“Stop there, Mr Potter. The way it does when you do wandless magic? What precisely do you mean by that?”

“Well. I can do magic… without a wand. You know.”

McGonagall’s tone became sharper than ever. “Clearly, I do not know, or I wouldn’t be asking. What kind of magic?”

“All kinds, really.” Harry frowned. “I mean, the simple stuff is easier, of course. Transfiguration is hard, I usually mess that up if I try. But basic defence stuff, everyday spells… things like Accio and Lumos and so on. I reckon I could have a go at duelling without a wand, if I needed to.”

Draco made a small sound, like something stifled in his throat, and McGonagall turned to him, her eyebrows raised. “Yes?”

“Nothing.” Draco looked down at his lap.

“You never thought it worth mentioning that you had this… talent?” McGonagall asked Harry.

“Err. I didn’t think about it, really. I mean, it wasn’t like you were there when I worked it out, were you? I was in the Forest of Dean trying not to get killed at the time.”

McGonagall’s lips tightened at the disrespectful tone and Harry pressed on quickly with what he was saying. “And then I didn’t see the point of making a big deal about it when I got back to school, I just wanted to carry on as normal, and—”

“As normal? You call going around doing wandless magic without anyone’s knowledge, as normal?”

“Well, it’s normal for me. It’s hard to know what’s normal for anyone else, isn’t it?” Harry could hear his voice rising, but he couldn’t seem to stop it. “Most people didn’t spend last year on the run from the most dangerous wizard of the times with their wand snapped in two, did they?”

McGonagall gave Harry a long, penetrating look, then stood up. She walked to the window and looked out. “So. Events of the last year aside. You can do wandless magic, a skill which the most powerful, experienced wizards treat with great caution, and use only after careful training and discipline, and you think it a good idea to use it to settle some petty disagreement with Mr Nott?”

“No, no, that was a mistake.” He felt anger flame inside him, even now. The thought of Nott, the casual, careless way he’d touched Draco...

McGonagall turned. “You have been using this power completely untrained, Potter. That is why mistakes happen. Of all the idiotic, foolhardy things to go and do…”

Harry didn’t say anything. It was surprisingly humiliating to get a dressing down like this in front of Draco.

“You had better explain all this from the beginning to Professor Flitwick. He can give you the correct training in wandless magic; a proper foundation so that you can use these powers safely, and only in appropriate circumstances.”

Harry bit back a complaint. She was cross enough already without him making it worse. But really, when was he supposed to find the time for extra work?

“And for this incident, the reckless use of magic which led to serious injury to yourself, and could have endangered other students, I have no choice but to deduct House Points—”

“Does that go for anyone who has been using wandless magic?” Draco asked.

Both Harry and McGonagall turned to look at him. “I beg your pardon, Mr Malfoy?”

“Harry’s not the only one. I’ve been doing it, too. Wandless magic, I mean.”

Oh Merlin. It kind of seemed like Draco was trying to stand by him, and this was something Harry had never expected. Just the thought of it set warmth buzzing in his stomach … but Harry also had a feeling that the shit was really going to hit the fan now.

McGonagall spluttered. “Would someone care to tell me exactly what is going on this year?”

Harry felt recklessness rise up within him. This whole thing was her fault, anyway. She’d thrown them together with no warning, and apparently, this was the result. “I taught Draco,” he told her. “He can do Lumos easily. He’s really good.”

McGonagall walked back to the desk and leaned on it. “You’ve been teaching your fellow students wandless magic,” she said faintly. She looked up at Dumbledore’s portrait as if for help, but the old headmaster was snoozing in his frame and she cast an exasperated look at him. “Heaven help us all.”

“It’s really not that hard,” Harry said.

“It’s not a question of how hard it is!” The cords of her neck stood out as she shook her head at them. “You eighth years are causing more trouble than all the rest of the school put together! Yesterday I found a group of girls in the library, Miss Granger among them I might add, who were clearly inebriated. In the library, of all places! And when asked what they thought they were doing, they all began giggling at me, and said it had been especially cold out by the lake that evening!”

Harry risked a glance at Draco, who had ducked his head and appeared to be suppressing a smirk.

McGonagall took off her glasses and rubbed at her temples, closing her eyes for a moment.

Harry wet his lips. “Professor. I don’t mean to be rude, but—”

“A sentence which begins in that way rarely ends well, Potter.” She regarded him with piercing eyes. “Oh, go ahead, for goodness’ sakes.”

“I just think when you decide to chuck people together like you've done this year, you’re going to get all kinds of weird stuff happening. You must have been expecting it.”

“Oh, heavens.” McGonagall put her glasses back on and threw another look at the sleeping Dumbledore. “This is something of an experiment, I admit… but we certainly hoped there would be benefits to the situation which outweigh the disruption.” She gave them a shrewd look. “Have you seen any benefits?”

Harry felt a blush rising up from his throat. “Err,” he said.

“Mr Malfoy?”

Draco looked at the floor. “Well,” he said after a moment. “It’s still quite early in the year.” McGonagall didn’t blink, but carried on watching him. “Yes, perhaps,” he said eventually.

Harry couldn’t help asking. He’d wanted to know since the start of term, and now was his chance. “Why did you choose to put us together. I mean, me and Draco?”

“Me?” McGonagall raised her eyebrows. “What gave you the idea that I chose to do anything?”

“Not you? Then…” Harry’s eyes went to the portrait, but Dumbledore had apparently woken and wandered off somewhere else, for the frame was empty.

“It was the Sorting Hat,” McGonagall said, and her lips twitched as she looked between the two of them and saw the surprise on their faces. “We consulted the Sorting Hat to decide who we should place together. It gave us some… interesting answers, I admit.”

Harry looked up at the hat, sitting upon its usual shelf, its point at a rakish angle. “The bloody hat? Seriously?”

“How did that even work?” Draco asked.

“Well, there’s some powerful magic in that hat, as you both know. It carries memories of all the students it has ever sorted. And then it used my personal knowledge of each of you, how you have grown and developed over the years, to decide…” She lifted a hand. “Well. I’m still not entirely sure what it thought it was deciding, but you know the results.” McGonagall turned and regarded the hat with a cynical eye. “I have questioned the wisdom of some of its choices. But at this stage I feel obliged to see it through.”

That crafty old hat! Harry always knew it had been pissed off with him for questioning its judgement, and now it appeared to have had the last laugh.

“By the way, Potter.” McGonagall peered over her glasses at him. “I never knew the hat wanted to sort you into Slytherin House.”

Oh, Merlin.

What?” Draco snapped out.

“Oh, yes, we had quite the chat about you when I gave it my memories.” She gave them both a look. “About all of you.”

Salazar’s—

“That’s quite enough, Mr Malfoy.” McGonagall put her hands flat on the desk. “We seem to have strayed far from the matter in hand. House points to be taken from Gryffindor and Slytherin, too. Compulsory lessons on the safe use of wandless magic with Professor Flitwick. And I don’t want to see either of you in my office again this term unless you have come to wish me a pleasant morning.”

Draco snorted, then hurriedly composed his face into something more appropriate. “Yes, Professor.”

“You may go.”

*^*^*

They emerged from her office slightly dazed.

Slytherin House?” Draco asked.

“That hat is a troublemaker,” Harry said. “Listen. You didn’t have to do that. Tell her you’d been doing wandless magic as well.”

“Merlin, Potter, no need to get arsey with me. I’ve already had one ticking off, thanks. If you’d have kept quiet about teaching me she’d be none the wiser, and—”

“No, I’m not bothered about that.” Harry stopped in the corridor. “I mean, you put yourself in the firing line too. You didn’t have to.”

Draco’s Adam’s apple bobbed, then he lifted his chin. “I just thought there was no point waiting for them to find out and get all shirty about it.”

“It was… OK, don’t laugh. It was sort of hot, actually.”

“What?” Draco was laughing, of course, the bastard.

“Yeah. Like, she was furious and practically about to explode at me, and you were all, Oh, by the way, I can do it too.” Harry had a stab at imitating Draco’s haughty tones.

“You find that hot?” Draco looked surprised but certainly not displeased at the idea.

Harry stared at Draco’s mouth as he answered. “Yeah.” He really did. “And another thing.” He took a deep breath. “This is bloody ridiculous calling each other Potter and Malfoy when we’ve had our hands down each other’s trousers since term began.”

“That’s your opinion, Potter.” But Draco’s eyes were glinting with satisfaction.

“I’m calling you Draco from now on. Starting this minute.”

“That’s fine. I’m calling you Scarhead.”

Harry tried to wrestle Draco up against the wall. There was a bit of a scuffle, during which Harry found out that Draco’s shoes were quite pointy, and then Harry managed to get him pinned with one arm above his head.

“Merlin, Potter. Stop it.”

“You mean, stop it, Harry.”

“Give it a rest.” Draco rolled his eyes.

“Say Harry.”

“You stubborn wanker.”

But he was hiding a smile, and Harry felt bubbles of elation swelling in his chest. “So, I’ve been meaning to ask something,” Harry told him, a smirk pulling at his mouth. “Was that true, what Theo Nott said, about you falling for me—”

“Shut the fuck up, Harry,” Draco said, and mixed with the thrill of victory came that familiar feeling rising up inside Harry. The feeling that if he didn’t get to kiss Draco, right now, that something in him was going to break apart with need, and he didn’t see why he shouldn’t just...

Draco was staring at Harry’s mouth. His gaze felt warm and heavy, and Harry held his breath as he tilted his head towards Draco’s parted lips. He didn’t stop until he reached Draco’s mouth and, yes, this was what he’d longed for, oh god, was it ever.

There was something fearless about it, the way Draco gave his mouth up to Harry, and let him take what he wanted. And Harry wanted so much. He closed his eyes and let himself float in a hot haze of longing until he was dizzy from it. Draco’s mouth was sweet from the spiced apple juice at breakfast. His lips were soft, and then hungry, and then demanding, and Harry forgot to wonder how many House points would be taken if they were caught like this outside the Headmistress’s office.

A door opened somewhere in the distance and the sound of feet hurrying on stone brought them back to reality. Draco pulled away. “You know we’ve got double Potions,” he said, his lips pink and well-kissed, and Harry could happily have Incendioed the entire Potions department if it meant he could go on kissing Draco a little longer.

“There’s time,” Harry said.

“There’s really not,” Draco insisted, but he let Harry press him against the stone wall to kiss him one more time anyway, til his breath was coming faster into Harry’s mouth, the hard length of his body making Harry’s head swim. It only seemed like a second before Draco pushed him away again. They were late for Potions, but not by much.

*^*^*

It was cruel how slowly a day could go by when you were waiting for it to be over. Transfiguration. Charms. Then a free period, but Draco had Ancient Runes, and Harry had a ton of reading to catch up on anyway. Then Professor Sprout nabbed Harry in the corridor for a chat about how his Slug-Eating Lettuces were getting on in Greenhouse Three, and by the time he could get away, dinner was about to be served.

Ron was noticeably cheerful and served himself a hearty helping of chicken pie.

“Looking forward to working on your project?” Harry teased him.

“Shut up,” said Ron, grinning. “Actually..." He looked around to make sure nobody was listening. "Don’t tell anyone, but first I’m going out to the Quidditch pitch.”

“Oh yeah? Why?”

“Hermione’s busy till seven, so I told Cornfoot I’d help him out…” Ron lowered his voice till it was a whisper, “With his flying.”

“Oh, right? Does he want to get on the team or something?”

“Him? Nah, he’s bloody rubbish at it. Can’t get more than a few feet off the ground before he wobbles like mad. And then he thinks he’s going to fall, so—” Ron shook his head. “He makes excuses every time so no-one has to know he’s worse than a first year.”

“Blimey. I hope you can help him.” Harry frowned. “But… not being funny, Ron… why did he tell you?”

“Oh.” Ron looked shifty. “Well. There was a spider in my bed the other day, and…” He gulped. “Stephen had to deal with it. He— he could tell I don’t like them much.”

Harry thought of Ron’s likely reaction to the spider and suppressed a smile.

“I felt a bit, you know.” Ron whispered again. “Embarrassed. So he told me he was scared of flying. Well, can’t have that, can we? I said I'd meet him out there after dinner. We should have time before Quidditch practice starts. And then… “ He waggled his eyebrows as he took another generous helping of pie. “The project.”

Harry’s appetite was no match for Ron’s, and he let his attention be drawn to the Slytherin table, where Draco sat chatting with Goyle and taking sips of spiced apple juice. Harry watched the movement of his throat and the quick flick of Draco’s tongue over his lips, knowing how those lips would taste and feel and, hell, he wanted.

Draco looked up and met his eyes, and Harry felt an irresistible throb of heat at the base of his spine. Fuck, he wasn’t sure if he could make it through this meal without going over there and— Draco smiled, slow and full of promise, and Harry could only guess what his own face was doing, because Ron was nudging him and Draco looked as if he were smothering a laugh. Merlin. Harry was going to have to sit here and finish his meal really slowly while he waited for his erection to go down, goddammit, and he wouldn’t be surprised if Draco knew perfectly well what effect he was having on Harry by just existing.

Then Goyle got up, with Draco following, and as they walked past the Gryffindor table, Draco smirked at Harry, and that was it.

Harry pushed away his half-eaten meal and got to his feet in a rush, then walked out as quickly as he could without running. He hurried through the quad and caught up with them near the kitchens.

“Look – Goyle – can I just butt in? I need Draco for a minute.” Goyle looked mildly surprised, but Harry was already pulling Draco away and round the corner towards the Astronomy Tower and their room.

“Fuck,” Harry panted. “Is Goyle OK? You don’t mind, do you?”

“What? No. He’s fine. Off to play Gobstones with the Hufflepuffs.” Draco looked bemused. “Where are we going?”

“Can we go to our room?” Harry stopped and searched his face. “I– uh.” Oh god, how did you say something like this? I need you. Right now.

But luckily Draco didn’t need telling. “Oh. Nice idea.” He took his bottom lip between his teeth as he looked at Harry. “Really nice idea.” His eyes were smoky and amused. “But I’ve got Arithmancy – an extra study group for NEWT students.”

Shit. “When do you have to be there?”

“In about five minutes.” Draco put his head on one side and let his gaze travel over Harry’s body. “Why don’t you go and have a wank?” he said, speaking low. “Go up to our room and lie down on my bed and think about us together, yeah?” His pupils were wide and inky, with just a ring of silver showing.

Harry tried to strangle the moan rising up in his throat, but it came out anyway.

“Go on, Harry. That would be fucking hot,” Draco urged. “And then I’ll come and join you later.”

Uhhh. Harry could do that. If he could make it up the stairs with this raging hard on, that is. He adjusted himself in his trousers, and Draco made a soft groaning sound.

“This Arithmancy thing lasts about an hour,” Draco told him. “I’ll get away quicker if I can. Will you be in our room?”

“Yes.” Harry went to kiss Draco, but he ducked away.

“Nice try,” he said. “See you later, Potter.”

*^*^*

Harry was waiting in the half-dark. He didn’t want to wank – he wanted Draco’s hands, not the consolation prize of his own. For a while he tried to study but he couldn’t focus, and in the end he just gave up and lay on Draco’s bed with his hands behind his head, desire thrumming through him in a steady pulse. He lay there, thinking, and remembering, and maybe dreaming a little. He couldn’t remember the last time he had let himself want something that was just for him, and there seemed something awfully wrong about that.

When he heard footsteps coming up the stairs, Harry’s pulse leapt in time with the sound of Draco’s shoes on the stone steps.

Draco came inside in an elegant flurry, dumped his robes and satchel on the chair and then he stood, silhouetted against the light coming in the window where the Quidditch pitch was lit for a late practice. Just looking at him made Harry’s throat tighten.

“You’re on my bed,” Draco said, and his voice sounded throaty. “Did you…?”

“No,” Harry said. “I waited.”

“Oh. That's even better.” The mattress dipped as Draco sat down. Harry felt oddly shy considering all the things they’d done together, but this felt like something quite new. Draco’s hand ran over his jaw and then cupped his face, his fingers brushing the hair at Harry’s nape.

“I talked to Ron and Hermione about this. About us,” Harry said, and Draco’s eyes widened for a brief moment.

“Oh,” he said. “And…?” Harry could feel tension rolling off him.

Harry propped himself up on one arm. “I told them I was happy.”

“Happy.” Draco looked a bit stunned at the concept.

“Yes,” Harry said. Draco was still too far away, so he sat up a bit more, till his breath whispered over Draco’s lips. “Can I?” Harry wasn’t sure why he was asking, but part of him just wanted to hear Draco tell him yes.

Draco swallowed, and it sounded loud in the dark room. “Do what you like.”

“Yeah, but do you want me to?”

His eyes were half-closed. “Yeah. Yeah, do it. Do it, Harry."

The angle was awkward, and Harry ended up kissing the corner of Draco’s mouth. He straightened up a little, searching for the soft skin of Draco’s lips, and the lush space between them, and when he found it, fuck, it was so good that he gave a low moan.

Draco kept his hand on Harry’s neck and pulled him closer, his tongue sliding in, slow and sensual. He tilted his head, making it deeper, making Harry feel so much… things he never thought he would feel. It was better than anything, better than flying, or casting his first Patronus, and they had the rest of the bloody evening to do this, and anything else they wanted, oh god, yes. Harry thought he could quite probably come, just from this, just from Draco’s tongue stroking against his, and the clench of his hand in Harry’s hair, and the soft stuttered breaths and sighs which passed between them.

Harry had already taken his tie off, but now Draco reached for his own and worked the knot loose. It slithered onto the floor and then Draco began to work at the buttons of Harry’s shirt. Harry shivered, but it was nothing to do with the cold, and everything to do with this new and strange feeling – the sensation of baring himself to Draco. Not just his body, but all of him. He was there for the taking. Draco snicked the last button free from its hole and then his hand was on Harry’s stomach, smooth fingers grazing over his side as – oh, Merlin – Draco bent to press his mouth to Harry’s collarbone, his tongue startlingly hot, his teeth a warning beneath.

Harry’s fingers shook as he reached for Draco’s shirt. “Let me— I want to see you,” Harry said, and Draco cast Lumos, with his wand this time, and set it by the bed, the golden flicker casting soft light over all of Draco’s angles. His pale skin glowed as Harry slowly undressed him, and Harry had never seen anything so compelling. He wanted to see all of it; to commit it to memory. The shift of Draco’s muscles as Harry stroked over his ribs, the tightly crinkled knot of a nipple and the unexpected sound Draco made when Harry brushed a hand across it.

Draco reached for Harry’s belt, his expression so intent and hungry, and Harry lay back and let Draco strip his clothes away, leaving him naked and hard. The room was chillier than usual, and goosebumps raced over Harry until Draco reached for his wand. “Thermo,” he murmured, touching him here and there, and Harry groaned at the feeling of Draco’s magic penetrating him down to the bone.

“Fuck,” he said. “You’re good at that.”

“The heating in the Manor is fucking atrocious,” Draco said, layering warmth over their bare skin like cashmere, and then for a while there were no words, just murmured sounds of pleasure and the soft wet hush of kisses.

Everything that was happening was incredible, just the feel of Draco’s skin against his, hands clasped on muscle, lips ghosting over flesh, a tongue tracing a jut of bone. But Harry wanted more; he wanted in some ridiculous way to show Draco what this meant to him. He knew some of the things men did together. He’d even seen pictures, in a magazine Ron found in Charlie’s room when they were about fourteen, and the thought of Draco using Harry’s body like that made him shiver all over, part-nerves, part-longing. But surely that would hurt… wouldn’t it? And Harry might be no good at it; he was sure that would take practice, to be able to let someone do that to you, and he just wanted this to be right, to be good for both of them.

Draco stopped suddenly and looked at his face and Harry realised he’d been chewing his lip anxiously. “What?” Draco asked. “What is it?”

“I.” Harry took a deep breath. “I thought you might want to… you know. Fuck me.”

Draco’s eyes widened for a second, but Harry pressed on. “The thing is, I… don’t know how. And doesn’t it hurt?”

Draco stared at him, looking a bit dazed. When he spoke, his voice was throaty. “I don’t know. Don’t you– don’t you like what we do?”

“Oh hell,” Harry said. “No, I– I love it. I thought you might… I dunno. Be bored of it.”

Draco’s mouth twitched, then. “No,” he said. “No, I’m not…” He gave a short laugh. “Bored.” Harry couldn’t resist kissing him, even as he was trying to answer. Draco closed his eyes and arched towards Harry, towards the hand tracing the ridges of his ribcage. “This is– uhh. Good. Pretty fucking good.”

Harry kissed him for a while longer, then Draco said, “But...” He looked at Harry, and his voice took on a carefully casual tone. “If you wanted something different…” Draco went on.

“Yes,” Harry said, without even thinking. “Yes, I do.” He wished he had a Pensieve to capture it all: Draco’s eyes full of heat, his well-kissed mouth, and the rangy strength of his body.

“There’s this thing someone told me about… ages ago.” Draco said, his eyes flicking uncertainly across Harry’s face. “I don’t know if you want to try it?”

Harry swallowed. “What’s it like?” He suppressed the growl of And who did you do it with?

“I– ah.” Draco shrugged. “I never actually...” He looked at Harry, biting his lip. “I just thought, if you wanted...”

If just the thought of it made Draco look like that, his eyes dark and hungry... “Yes,” Harry said. “Show me.”

Draco kissed him some more, his hands in Harry’s hair, tugging gently and making appreciative noises until Harry’s insides were starting to feel like molten wax. When Draco pulled away, they were both breathing hard and Draco’s pupils were as wide as Harry had ever seen them. Draco reached for his wand and pointed it at his hand, muttering a spell, and then a splash of something warm and wet hit Harry on the stomach, making him flinch.

“Sorry,” said Draco, not looking sorry at all, and then he smeared slippery wet heat all over Harry’s cock, his hand working from the root to the tip and back again, and then down around his balls, his fingers stroking underneath, massaging and rolling and—

“Merlin,” Harry moaned. “Oh, fuck, that’s good.” Draco had learned all of Harry’s weak spots, the bastard, and just how to work them so that Harry trembled at every touch. He knew the rhythm that would make Harry start to lose it, to let his head tip back, his mouth falling open with how good it felt...

“You look so hot,” Draco whispered, low and intense. “So fucking hot.”

“Oh god,” Harry said, feeling it start to rise up within him, powerful and shivery. “I’m going to come.” It was far too soon. He snatched Draco’s hand away and panted out some quick breaths until the feeling subsided and he dared let go. “Ugh.” He pushed the sweaty hair off his forehead. “Let me do that to you. What’s the spell?”

Oleum caldus,” Draco said.

Harry sat up to grab Draco’s wand from the bedside table and started to cast before he saw Draco staring at his wand in Harry’s hand, and realised what he’d done. “Shit. Sorry.” He offered Draco his wand back, but Draco just nodded.

“It’s OK,” he said.

“Sorry, I shouldn’t have just taken it,” Harry said. “I got so used to using it, you know and I think for a minute I thought it was mine…”

“You can use it,” Draco said, and then his mouth quirked at the corner. “I kind of like it.”

The words made something quiver inside Harry’s chest, but when he tried the spell, nothing happened.

“Push your wand into your hand a little bit at the end,” said Draco, “I don’t know why, but it helps.”

Harry gave Draco a lopsided smile. “We need to learn this one wandlessly.”

“Yeah,” Draco grinned. “Make that a priority.”

On the second attempt, Harry felt his palm fill with a pool of oily warmth, far more than he’d been expecting. Draco snorted as it dripped down Harry’s arm and onto the bed. “Planning to wank off the whole school, Potter?”

“No,” Harry said, giving him a dark stare. “Just you,” and then he lifted his hand to Draco’s cock and tilted it, letting the warm oil drizzle down over Draco’s slit, dripping around the crown and coating his shaft.

“Fuck,” Draco said, and when Harry’s hand followed the oil, smoothing and stroking over every inch, “Fuck, oh, fffuuuck.”

Harry copied what Draco had done, reaching down for his balls and spreading the oil everywhere. God, even Draco’s bollocks were beautiful. He didn’t have a lot of hair there, and they were so neat and tight and, god, when Harry reached further and stroked along the wrinkled skin just behind them, Draco’s mouth fell open in a wordless exhalation.

Harry tried it again, wanting to watch Draco’s face do that over and over, but Draco batted his hand away and grabbed the wand from the bed. He cast again, this time dripping the oil deliberately onto Harry’s thighs, all over his balls and arse, and god, it would have been embarrassing how much Harry loved this, all the noises he was making, if it hadn’t been so insanely hot. Draco smeared it all over, pushing Harry down on the bed with his knees apart so that Harry was completely exposed. Draco watched him the whole time with a fierce, hungry gaze that made desire twist in hot flurries through Harry’s gut.

Draco knelt up on the bed. He conjured one more palmful of oil and spread it over himself so his cock was glistening, every muscle taut and ready, his haughty face looking down at his own cock as he stroked it. Harry had never seen anything so shameless, so perfect, in all his life. Warm oil was getting everywhere, dripping from Harry’s cock onto his stomach, trickling down into the cleft of Harry’s arse, and he thought that if Draco tried to fuck him now, he’d probably let him. But instead, Draco pushed Harry’s legs together and moved until he was crouching over Harry on hands and knees.

When he bent to kiss Harry, his lips were soft and searching. He tasted of salt and magic, and his hand in Harry’s hair was damp with oil. “OK?” he whispered, and Harry didn’t have a clue what he was agreeing to, but he nodded, and Draco slid his cock between Harry’s closed thighs, all slick and warm and trembling.

Some kind of noise came from Harry’s lips, like a gasp or a sigh, or— Oh, holy hell. Draco started moving, slowly at first, holding himself up on his arms and watching Harry’s face. He thrust against Harry’s skin, the gap between his legs and – uhh – under his balls and, oh god, everything was so slippery and hot and fucking hell, that was good. Harry let out a long moan, and Draco stilled and asked again, “OK?” This time his voice cracked, and Harry had to take a breath before he could answer.

“Yeah.” Harry sounded so hoarse. “Yeah, really, really OK.” Draco’s arms shook as he held himself above Harry. “Go on,” Harry said, and he thought he might go mad if Draco didn’t do it again, now. "Go on.”

Draco bit his lip and closed his eyes for a moment, and then started to move again, this time pushing in further, past Harry’s thighs. He didn’t try to get inside Harry, to do any of the things Harry had seen in Charlie’s magazine which had looked so brutal and worrying. Instead his cock dragged silkily against Harry’s balls and then against his cleft, and it felt so incredibly good and so bloody dirty at the same time. So good, in fact, that when Draco pulled back, Harry pressed his thighs tightly together, to keep him there.

“Oh,” Draco said. “Oh, oh god yes,” and Harry did it again, squeezing his thighs together around Draco’s cock and feeling the way it jerked against him. Draco looked as if he’d been Obliviated, blinking down at Harry with his mouth open. Then, slowly, his face intent, he began to find a rhythm, watching Harry to see his reactions. There were plenty of those. Harry felt as if he were unravelling, every thrust making his nerve endings spark with delight, the feel of Draco’s cock trapped between his thighs making him want to growl his approval. As for the steady, teasing pressure on the underside of his bollocks and his arse... sweet Merlin. Everywhere Draco touched set off feverish ripples of heat.

Draco’s breath hitched, his stomach taut and the lean muscles of his thighs driving him forwards as he fucked into the tight space between Harry’s legs. He looked so full of grace and power and Harry felt another spike of need in his belly. He pulled Draco to him so that their bodies were flush against one another, chest to stomach to hip and ahh, yes, Draco still kept moving, Harry’s cock now pressed between them, hard and aching, slippery with oil and pre-come and sweat.

Harry threaded his fingers through Draco’s hair, kissing his throat, his jaw, his lips, everywhere that the wandlight flickered on his skin. Draco’s face glowed with an insatiable look, and then his mouth was crushing Harry’s, the weight of his body so satisfying, so right. The honeyed glide and drag of Draco’s prick between his thighs was like nothing Harry had ever felt before and part of what had him gasping and begging was how impossibly intimate it was.

“Yes, yes– more, fuck, more,” he moaned. Draco slotted their bodies together so that Harry could thrust up against Draco’s stomach, his cock rubbing against the smooth skin there – once, twice, three times – and then the heat roaring through Harry’s body spilled over into a delirious, flooding bliss. He arched up against Draco, his cock pulsing powerfully between them, and then Draco gave a low cry and started to judder against Harry. “Holy… fucking… oh, god, Harry,” Draco gasped, and Harry felt him come over Harry’s legs, smearing over his balls and into the cleft of his arse, and his own cock jerked again with one last heavenly throb.

Draco slumped on top of him, his body surprisingly heavy when at rest, his chest heaving. Harry felt his own racing heartbeat start to slow, and a rapturous kind of ease took over. He wound his hand into the fine silk of Draco’s hair and let his body sink into a warm, lush place where nothing mattered but the feel of Draco’s skin against his.

When Harry felt like opening his eyes again, he found that Draco’s were already open and he was watching Harry, his eyes the softest and smokiest Harry had ever seen them. He was hiding nothing, and in that moment, Harry felt that he could do anything, take on the whole fucking world if he had to, just so long as Draco would look at him like that afterwards. Neither of them spoke for a minute, then Draco looked at Harry from beneath lowered lids and said, “Do you know your knees are really fucking bony?”

Harry grinned, shifting on the bed to deliberately grind his knees against Draco’s legs. “Yup. Do you know your ribs are like a xylophone?”

“What’s a xylophone?”

“Muggle thing. You hit it with a stick thing and it makes a noise.”

“Don’t get any ideas about that.” Draco rolled off to lie at his side. “God, this bed is a wreck.”

Harry peered down at himself. “Yeah. I’m ready to be wrapped in foil and baked in an oven."

Draco grinned lazily and waved a hand. “Clean everything up for us, yeah?”

“I can do you and me, but your bed is trashed. You’re going to sleep in a puddle of grease while I lounge around on lovely crisp sheets.”

Draco narrowed his eyes. “I don’t think so.”

“Oh yeah? Why not?” Harry whispered threateningly, but his hand reached to play with the soft hair at Draco’s nape.

“Because I want to go to sleep now, on clean sheets – if I can find a comfortable position without your bony knees prodding me – then wake up in the night and do that to you all over again.”

“Shit, Draco.” Harry’s stomach lurched with arousal again. Again, for god’s sake. Was there no bloody end to it?

“Or you do it to me.” Draco’s voice was soft and filthy in his ear. “Or how about you lie on your front, and I—”

“Enough. Merlin. Time to swap beds.” Harry felt laughter rising up in his throat. “So kind of them to give us two.”

“McGonagall thought of everything. She and that fucking hat. And listen.” Draco leaned over Harry, pinning him down with one arm. “About you and Slytherin. I haven’t forgotten. What the hell was that about?”

“I’ll tell you when we’re in the other bed. It can be your goodnight story. Go on, get moving.”

“If you think I’m going to be the first to go over there and get into a freezing cold bed...”

Harry pushed him, hard, and Draco yelped as he rolled over the greasy sheets and almost fell out. He grabbed at Harry, hard enough to hurt, and pulled himself back into the middle.

“You arse. I nearly ended up on the floor.”

“What a tragedy.”

“Right.” Draco wrestled with Harry until Harry’s head and shoulders were off the bed and the rest of him was in danger of joining them.

“Oi,” Harry protested, fighting back, but Draco was strong and sinewy and Harry couldn’t pull free. Draco was laughing, his face lit with devilry, and as he pinned Harry’s arm and made to heave him right over the edge, Harry grabbed hold of him around the middle and tried to flip him, with the result that they both tumbled off and landed with a massive bump that shook the floor.

“Fuck,” Draco was half-laughing, half-groaning. “My bloody elbow. You are the worst roommate in the entire world.”

“Sod your elbow, your poxy trunk is digging right into my arse. Do you sharpen the corners of it specially or something?” Harry tried to get up, but Draco was half on top of him and as Harry wriggled, Draco pinned him again, quick and determined, and got Harry’s hands above his head.

“Oh no,” Harry said mockingly. “You got me.”

“Yeah, I did,” Draco breathed, his eyes flicking approvingly over Harry’s body lying beneath him.

“Whatever shall I do?” Harry asked with as much sarcasm as he could muster.

“Lie there and take it, Potter,” Draco said, and he leaned in to kiss him, and then it was really quite a long while before they made it to Harry’s bed at all.  

*^*^*

It was dusk again. Harry would have to admit he loved this as much as the sex: the quiet, still intimacy of it, sitting together in the darkness with their knees touching, the light gleaming on Draco’s skin, and the soft murmur of Lumos, Lumos in the air.

“You can do it easily now.”

“Yeah, but still not wordlessly.” Those little furrows that Harry loved appeared between Draco’s eyebrows.

“You’ll get it.” Harry cupped his hand around Draco’s glowing fingers, letting the light play over his own skin. “Just don’t tell McGonagall.”

Draco laughed softly. “No. It’s our little secret.”

Harry cast with only a thought, and light glimmered at his fingers too.

“So disobedient of you.” Draco touched his own fingertips to Harry’s and watched as the light intensified.

Merlin, he looked so open, watching with childlike focus as their fingers laced together, casting shadows of light and dark that danced over their skin. His usual guarded expression was completely gone, and Harry felt a great tug in his chest that left him feeling breathless.

Harry moved his hands so that they were wrapped around Draco’s, cradling the light as if it was precious. Or maybe he was trying to hide it from the world. As if it was the last spark of warmth and hope anywhere and they had to protect it. He pressed their hands together, fingers tucked in so that the visible light dwindled to a mere glimmer.

Then Harry loosed his hands and the light sprang free again, vivid and astonishing. Draco’s face lit with pleasure and Harry couldn’t resist the tug, not any more. He pressed his lips to Draco’s mouth and Draco made the sound of surprise he often made when Harry did that, as if he would never quite get used to it, and then he kissed Harry back.

Harry’s tongue searched for the seam of Draco’s lips, coaxing them to open, before Draco’s Lumos faltered and then went out altogether.

“That’s your fault for distracting me,” Draco said.

“Sorry,” Harry said, and let his own light go out. He loved it like this, in the half-dark, too, Draco’s lips only a vague shape in the darkness, It coloured everything with just a hint of danger, from the spice of Draco’s cologne hanging in the air, to the feel of his magic whispering over Harry’s skin.

“If you were sorry, you wouldn’t– uhh– do it.”

“True,” Harry said, casting without words again and bringing his hand up to Draco’s hair, the light making it shine like strands of gold that gleamed from within. There was no way to hide how Draco made him feel; he couldn't resist. He couldn't remember why he had ever tried.

Draco kissed him again, his head tilted, his fingers splaying over Harry’s throat and jaw. “Lumos,” he murmured against Harry’s lips, and there was light, and it was beautiful.