Actions

Work Header

Write the Way Out

Work Text:

“I — You’re sure, sir?” Draco asked, trying to arrange his expression into something that wasn’t shock. He couldn’t believe what he had just heard. He was seated in front of the editor of the Daily Prophet, his boss.

Barnabas Cuffe was a tall man with white hair who had an affinity for wearing Victorian neck cravats. He was also the only wizard outside of the Ministry who had been willing to hire Draco after he completed his N.E.W.T.s with the other students repeating seventh year. Their return had been optional, while his had been ordered by the Wizengamot as a form of probation to ensure he would leave his delinquency in the past. While the Ministry had strictly ordered the completion of his education, they had no intention of hiring him into their workforce.

Draco was thankful when he finally was able to get a job working at the Daily Prophet after being turned away from every other establishment he tried to find work at. He started his employment there as an assistant, spending most of his time running around the offices doing menial tasks for the reporting staff, and it had taken a year to be promoted to a receptionist. It was another two years before he managed to make junior reporter, and now, another year later, he was finally being offered something real to report on. Well, he thought cynically, what passes for newsworthy.

“Certainly, Malfoy! You’ve proven yourself over the years. It’s time you were given a real assignment to report on,” Mr Cuffe answered in a booming, jovial voice. “I’ve seen the articles you’ve submitted over the years since you began working with us. I have confidence in your skill.”

“Thank you, sir,” Draco said. “But…you really are giving me the Potter assignment?”

“Yes. Now that dear Rita has left us in favour of pursuing her career as a best selling biographer, we need a staff writer to take over on reporting on our heralded Saviour,” Mr Cuffe said, shuffling the papers around on his desk. He handed a stack over to Draco. “This is everything Rita left for her successor. Perhaps if you can make a name for yourself in the same way she did, you’ll have a fine future as an author, too!”

Draco raised his eyebrows marginally.

“It’s just…given my history with Potter, I’m surprised you wouldn’t give this assignment to one of the other journalists,” Draco said slowly, struggling with his warring emotions.

On one hand, he was finally being given a noteworthy assignment, rather than the ridiculous blurbs and obituaries he had previously been allowed to write. However, on the other hand, it was the Potter beat. He had a brief, unpleasant mental flash of countless hours spent penning boring pieces about the numerous charity functions Potter attended, and the outcomes of various Auror operations.

“Nonsense, my dear boy. That’s precisely the reason I’m giving you this prestigious assignment. Well, that, and the fact that I can’t spare any of our other reporters,” Mr Cuffe offered with a wheezing laugh. “You’re the only staff member I have available that has the time to give this your full attention and effort.”

Draco hid a grimace, looking down at the stack of parchment covered in Rita Skeeter’s spiky handwriting. He hadn’t crossed paths with her often — she preferred to work on location, as she always said when she was flitting in and out of the Prophet offices. Her notes had grainy photographs of Potter tucked between the pages. He stared down at the blurry photos of Potter spotted with his two shadows, walking through Diagon Alley with a small child, and at a pub in Auror training robes. He frowned at the prospect of following him around. It reminded him too much of bad memories from Hogwarts. It was difficult enough to think of his happier memories of Hogwarts without thinking of how they were all tainted by the war.

“Off you go then. Your first deadline is Friday for the Sunday Prophet edition. Have it on my desk before three o’clock, if you would. Good day, Malfoy,” Mr Cuffe said, interrupting his thoughts and waving him off with a flapping gesture of his hand.

Draco nodded, standing in a fluid motion, and held a hand out to shake. He tucked Skeeter’s stalker files under his arm and strode out through the offices and cubicles to his small desk.

He remembered being so proud of himself when he had finally managed to get it. He didn’t even complain about the fact that it was shoved into a disused corner with poor lighting. Draco had learned the tough way to be grateful for what his hard work earned him, unlike the spoilt child he had been before he was gripped by the unsightly claws of the war.

He settled down into his creaking, ancient rolling chair. It always gave him a splinter if he wore summer robes with open sleeves. He kept swearing every time that happened that he would replace the chair with something newer, and more comfortable.

Draco pulled out a fresh sheet of parchment and jotted down notes from Rita’s creepy observations on Potter’s weekly schedule. He held back a gusty sigh and mentally reminded himself to be grateful for his promotion to full-time reporter and his first big assignment. It wasn’t anything close to the life he had dreamed for himself, full of prestige and respect, but every step up in his career was another step away from the low rung where he had first begun.

***

Two days later he was having afternoon tea with Blaise at their favourite café. Draco had been expecting solidarity from Blaise, or at the very least some sympathy. Blaise always did love to do the opposite of what he expected.

“Congratulations, Draco!” Blaise exclaimed with a wide grin that made his teeth look sharp. “Our Draco’s first real assignment, and you’re perfectly suited to it!”

“I don’t think you’re really understanding what I’m saying,” Draco said and willed himself not to pout as he picked at his scone. He rubbed the crumbs between his fingers until they were like fine grains of sand. Draco hid the mess he was making under his napkin. “This assignment means I have to talk about Potter as if I care about him. All because the public cares.”

“But don’t you see, Draco? You’re going to be brilliant at that,” Blaise said, his grin growing even wider. Draco decided Blaise was taking far too much pleasure in his misery.

“Whether or not I’ll be brilliant at it isn’t the problem,” he groused, breaking off another piece of his scone.

“Look at you, fulfilling your teenage aspiration to follow Potter around with a running commentary,” Blaise teased, elbowing Draco sharply in the soft space under his ribs. He leaned back in his seat looking very pleased.

Draco frowned and discreetly rubbed at his tender side. He was definitely pouting now. He could feel it. Draco huffed out a pained sigh, mentally shaking himself to pull it together.

“I expected your support. You’re a terrible friend,” Draco commented. Blaise scoffed and waved him off.

“Stop being so dramatic. You’re impossible,” Blaise said in a fond tone.

Draco decided to change tactics. He leaned back in his chair with a casual grace.

“Do you have any interesting leads for me, then?” he asked. Blaise’s lips pulled into a wicked smirk. Draco recognised it for the trouble it was.

“What will I receive in compensation if I share?”

Blaise’ accent was smooth and syrupy; designed to enchant and disarm. Draco never fell for that anymore.

“Nothing of the sort that you usually get with your voice dripping that way, I assure you,” Draco responded with an unimpressed tone and a raised eyebrow.

Blaise snorted and their tea returned to its normal atmosphere. Draco relaxed into the comfortable flow and put up with more elbowing from Blaise. He was glad their friendship had survived after all these years.

***

He settled into the routine of writing about Potter easier than he first predicted he would, with only minor bumps along the way. His first article was received well enough, even with his name attached to it.

After the first three articles, Draco began to gain confidence in striding up to Potter and demanding a blurb he could publish. At first all Potter would give him was a heated fuck off, and Draco couldn’t do anything with that.

He had a few fumbling stutter starts when he first tried to get a quote from Potter about the outcome of a mission while he was in the middle of an arrest.

“Are you fucking kidding me right now, Malfoy?” Potter had sputtered as he struggled to restrain his suspect. Draco narrowed his eyes, unrepentant, and stood waiting with his self-inking quill poised.

“I’m entirely serious, Potter. The public demands to know the outcome of this mission, and it’s my job to report on it. I see you have detained a suspect, can you comment on that for me?” Draco spoke through tightly clenched teeth, willing Potter to give him something. His editor had made several thinly veiled hints at the necessity of real quotes being directly relatable to the stability of his employment. “Please?”

Potter had rolled his eyes and barked out the charges loud enough for Draco to quickly scratch them down onto his parchment before he cast a strong Incarcerus and hauled the detained suspect towards the Apparition point. His scarlet Auror robes flapped with each purposeful stride, and Draco had to snap himself out of admiring the way Potter’s Ministry-issue dragonhide boots encased his strong calves.

Despite being able to worm quotes out of Potter every fourth article or so, he still hadn’t managed to nail down the best strategy to following him around. He didn’t understand how Skeeter had accomplished it, gaining access to places in her notes that were impossible for Draco to track Potter to. He got annoyed every time he lost Potter.

***

Draco finally managed to keep Potter’s trail when he followed him into Muggle London. It had been an impulse to follow him, under the cover of night as Potter slipped out of the Leaky Cauldron. Potter’s boisterous Auror colleagues went one way, and Potter went another.

He kept as close as he dared, unfamiliar with the territory outside of the wizarding neighbourhoods. He was lucky he opted for a wool pea coat, rather than his cloak, so that he blended in with the crowd.

Draco didn’t chance a tracking spell. He was sure that if he was caught putting a trace on an Auror — Potter, no less — that he would be sacked immediately, and possible brought up for review before the Wizengamot.

They didn’t walk for very long, maybe twenty minutes, when Potter veered off into a building with a neon purple sign that he didn’t pay any attention to. Draco pulled up short after he followed him inside.

There was a heavy beat pulsing and thumping through the dimly lit room, and people crowded into every corner. He had followed Potter right into a Muggle club.

A Muggle gay club.

Draco looked around with wide eyes before he realised that Potter had already sidled up to the bar, boldly pressing his whole body against the side of an attractive man. Draco watched in astonishment as Potter procured a drink and tilted his head. He said something to the man that Draco couldn’t hear from the spot he was frozen in near the door. Someone stumbled into him from behind, jostling him until he stepped further into the club.

Draco gaped as Potter and the handsome man at the bar slinked off into the shadows together.

What the fuck, Draco thought, at a complete loss. Skeeter’s notes had never covered anything like this, even in her most sordid sections where she managed to slip into Potter’s private office. She had never known about this obscure facet of his life.

He spent the better part of an hour trying not to die of shock as he watched the wizarding world’s Golden Boy grinding his arse against the groin of the man he was dancing with. Draco was more than a little mesmerised at the borderline filthy way Potter moved his hips with confidence. Draco’s throat was dry and scratchy, his eyes glued to Potter with a startling magnetism. He had seen Potter at charity functions; he knew he didn’t dance — and when he did, it was with a stiff and uncomfortable expression on his face — so he had no idea Potter was hiding this secret away. This huge secret.

Draco wondered belatedly if the Weasel and Granger knew about this, seeing as how they were notably absent from this outing. Though, he supposed, he wouldn’t be quick to bring along his married best friends so he could dance like that with a stranger in a gay club.

“Aren’t you a pretty young thing,” someone breathed into his ear, the cloying scent of his rum cocktail wafting into Draco’s face. He shrugged off the hand that settled on his shoulder. He had to bat away the attention of several men who tried to chat him up. “Can I buy you a drink?”

“No, thank you,” Draco bit out.

He kept his eyes on Potter as he arched against his dance partner, showing off the curve of his biceps when he threw his arms up and back around his partner’s neck to pull him closer. At some point Potter had shrugged out of his jacket. His tight t-shirt stretched around his arms enticingly.

“Forget him, he’s already occupied. Let me show you a good time,” the stranger with rum breath crooned. Draco flicked an annoyed glance over his shoulder.

“I said no. Run along.” Draco folded his arms tightly around his coat, gripping his hidden wand beneath the folds of the wool.

The stranger grunted and shuffled off to the next nearest man who was unoccupied, and they walked to the bar together. Draco relaxed his grip on his wand.

He was keeping to the outskirts of the club, watching men snogging the life out of each other in every corner. He took a brief break from watching to get a drink from the bar, just so that he wasn’t standing around clutching his coat and holding himself in check from hexing the Muggles that pawed at him.

Potter eventually decided he’d had enough of dancing. He was glistening with sweat. He pulled up the edge of his t-shirt to wipe his face, and Draco caught a glimpse of his stomach. He was struck with an urge to lick Potter. Thank Salazar for thorough Auror training, Draco thought as Potter dropped his shirt to cover his exposed skin.

Draco looked on as the partner Potter had been dancing with tugged him into a kiss. He clenched his jaw, fighting the urge to look away. He didn’t know why he felt possessive over Potter in that instant; it wasn’t like he ever had a chance with him, despite his own matching sexual preferences. Draco chalked it up to the fact that he knew Potter better than the stranger, even if it was only from afar. They had a history together. He breathed easier when they parted from the kiss and retrieved Potter’s jacket.

Draco tossed back his drink, following when Potter left with the man he pulled for the evening.

The night air felt even colder when he left the heat of the club. Draco shivered as he quickly shrugged into his coat. He debated pausing to cast a discreet Warming Charm, but Potter and his beau were already halfway down the block. He abandoned the charm in favour of keeping up.

Draco kept a careful distance as he followed the stumbling couple on their short walk to an apartment building near the club. Draco watched from behind a tree as Potter entered what he presumed was where the Muggle lived. He was sure it wasn’t Potter’s place, since he had already tracked him to his home in Islington before. His eyes flicked up after a few minutes when he saw a light come on in a window. Two shadows moved together, probably kissing, before they slid away, out of sight.

Draco looked around the empty street before finding an alley to duck into so he could Apparate home. His mind was brimming with his swirling thoughts about what he had learned that evening.

***

Draco’s next few weekends followed much of the same pattern. He would track Potter on a Friday or Saturday night to a different Muggle nightclub, and each time Potter would leave with a different Muggle man.

It certainly wasn’t what he expected from the Potter beat, but after so many weekends tailing Potter he had come to a dilemma that left him at a crossroads.

Draco thought of Potter’s brazen confidence each time he pulled a new man, the way he sauntered up to them and plastered himself against their side. He thought of how Potter danced, and the way he tilted his head, smiling seductively when he was ready to leave.

Draco wondered why he was doing all of this with Muggles when he could be out in the wizarding world instead of slumming it with nobodies who meant nothing to him. He tried not to examine his own attraction towards Potter too closely. Not that he could help it, really. Especially now that he knew which way his proclivities were inclined, and how well they matched up with Draco’s own preferences. Potter was fucking fit, and it was Draco’s job to follow him around. He just couldn’t understand why Potter was satisfied with what he was doing.

A small voice in the back of his head accused him of just wanting the chance to show Potter what it could be like with a wizard — with him. It was ridiculous, but he couldn’t stop the thoughts that bombarded him each time he thought about the situation.

Draco stood at the large window in his bedroom, staring out at the glinting lights of the city in the distance. Life in London was so different from growing up in the English countryside out in Wiltshire. He sighed as he leaned his forearm against the chilled glass. His life was turning out to be nothing like his father had promised when he was a small child. Everything was so much more complicated.

He couldn’t just keep going on in the same idle vein, though. He needed to decide whether he was going to out Potter in the most public and humiliating fashion, or if, for once in his life, he was going to do the right thing.

***

Draco sat down with determination at his writing desk, a Firewhisky at his elbow to solidify his resolve, and started to write the exposé that would out Potter. He scolded himself for becoming too invested, and for wasting so much time sitting on the information after he first found out.

Before he could finish it, though, he sat back to stare at what he wrote for a long time. His elegant handwriting and blunt words blurred together. Draco thought again of how free and relaxed Potter always looked on the dance floor. His stomach twisted unpleasantly at the thought of Potter’s face when that freedom was ripped away from him.

Draco swallowed his drink in two mouthfuls. He left the article unfinished, hiding it away in his desk to deal with later.

Instead of an exposé, he wrote another fluff piece about Potter’s latest work with war orphans to meet his next deadline.

That night he had a dream that he was the one dancing with Potter at a club. The people surrounding them were nothing more than blurry shapes, twisting and shifting as Potter moved against him. Draco’s hands hovered for a moment before wrapping tightly around his waist, dipping under Potter’s t-shirt and greedily running his fingers over his smooth skin in the way that he was craving after several weekends of watching from the sidelines. He leaned forward and moulded his body against Potter’s back.

He immediately hooked his arms around Draco’s neck to tug him closer as his hips gyrated against his groin. Draco groaned into his neck, scraping his teeth over the tendon and sucking a possessive bruise into his skin to mark him. Potter arched and bucked his arse against him until he was achingly hard. Draco held on firmly as he rubbed his erection against Potter in time with the non-existent music.

The scene changed suddenly, without explanation, and Draco found them in the offices at the Daily Prophet. His sad little corner desk was in front of them. Draco took pleasure in pushing Potter’s willing body down until he was bent over the desk, naked and moaning for him. His cock twitched at the sight when Potter flashed him a challenging, seductive look over his shoulder — one he normally saw Potter directing at his one night stands.

Draco braced his hands on either side of Potter, caging him in, and slowly ground his prick between Potter’s cheeks. They groaned in unison as Potter clenched his firm arse, sandwiching his hard cock as Draco bucked against him. Pleasure was flowing through him like water, tingling under his heated skin as he snapped his hips back and forth. They cried out together as his release spurted out of him, painting Potter’s spectacular arse with his come in pearly stripes.

When his eyes snapped open he saw from the clock on his bedside table that it was half past two, and his erection was throbbing under the sheets, demanding his attention. He groaned faintly as his hand automatically circled around it, spreading slippery pre-come with his thumb as he stroked himself.

Draco felt delirious as he came, thinking about the version of Potter in his dream that was moaning his name like it was a prayer.

***

“You know, your articles are nothing better than the drivel that was already being written about Potter,” Blaise said while they were out to lunch. He was halfway through his second glass of red wine.

“That’s because Potter always does the same thing,” Draco said dismissively as he topped off his own glass.

“When you got this assignment I was hoping you would to dig up something more provocative about Potter,” Blaise complained. Draco waved him off, laughing.

“Please. I assure you that Potter isn’t interesting enough,” Draco said. He sighed long-sufferingly, as if his assignment was a pain. Without the weekend activities he supposed it would certainly be dull. “The Daily Prophet pays well, and what I’m writing about is what the readers want to hear about.”

Blaise hummed noncommittally and took a healthy sip of his wine. All Draco could think about was the vision Potter made on the dance floor when he mopped up the sheen of sweat with his clingy t-shirts, carelessly flashing his toned muscles to the whole club.

Draco’s half-written article, tucked away in his desk, came to mind again. He finally decided on a course of action as Blaise chattered on about the latest society gossip.

***

Draco spent the next three weekends making sure he was seen at the nightclubs Potter ended up at. He draped himself appealingly at the bar, flirting with anyone who set eyes on him instead of fending them off. He owned the dance floor — the most important facet of all the parts of his plan — making sure to always dance near Potter.

Draco wondered after the third weekend if he was going to have to be more direct with Potter to get his attention. If Potter noticed him, he didn’t let on right away. He still went home each night with different Muggles. It was never the same one twice, even if his one night stands often frequented the same places. Birds of a feather, and all that rot, he thought. Draco took a distinct pleasure in watching their faces when Potter ignored them, focusing only on his selected man of the night.

Finally, Potter cornered him when he was in the middle of accepting a drink from a roguishly handsome gentleman at the bar. He wrapped a hand around Draco’s arm and leaned close to Draco’s ear.

“You’re coming with me,” he informed Draco in a hard, commanding voice. With one sharp glance towards the man Draco had been flirting with, Potter tugged him away from the bar.

“You can’t arrest me for dancing in a Muggle nightclub, Potter. I hope you’re aware of that,” Draco told him when Potter’s grip became too tight to be comfortable.

Potter dragged him to an empty hallway at the back of the club, getting in his face.

“You’re going to keep this out of the press,” he demanded in a self-righteous tone that Draco recognised from his impassioned speeches directly after the war, when the Ministry was still scraping itself back together with policy reforms.

“Am I?” Draco snapped before his brain caught up with him. His reaction was purely instinctual, picking up old habits right where they had left off.

Potter frowned and released him. Draco debated the merit of making a show of rubbing his arm, ultimately deciding against it when he met Potter’s considering look.

“I know you’ve been following me on the weekends, but you keep writing about the usual shit that the press likes to spout about,” Potter said with an irritated grimace, his eyebrows knit tightly together. Draco wanted to reach up and smooth the wrinkled line with his finger. “This can’t get out, though. What I do on the weekends is my business, and mine alone. So you have no right to write anything about it, do you understand?”

Draco was struck by the full brunt of Potter’s fierceness, too consumed by how much he wanted him to realise he should be outraged. He shook his head when Potter’s words really sunk in.

“Of course I’m not going to out you to the public, you wanker! What kind of monster do you take me for?” Draco poked a finger into Potter’s chest to get him to move back a pace, to keep his tempting scent from making Draco do something unbelievably stupid. “If you want to be miserable and closeted, be my guest. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear my song playing.”

Draco made to leave, but Potter held him in place, more gently than before. They both stared at one another for a beat. Draco cocked his head to the side. “What’s wrong, Potter? Were you hoping I’d ask you to dance?”

“Would you?” Potter tilted his head in the same way Draco had seen him do with all of his other conquests. His expression was different though; he looked more curious than alluring.

“You want to dance with me, or you just want me to ask you?”

“You’re not bad looking. You’re just my type, actually,” Potter said consideringly. He seemed to have gotten over his brash accusation rather quickly. Draco narrowed his eyes at him.

“Did you drag me back here just to manipulate me into dancing with you by demanding I not shove you out of the closet in the Prophet?” Draco asked, begrudgingly impressed by the machinations.

“Well, Hermione always says that thing about two birds and one stone, so…” He trailed off, running a hand through his hair. It looked even messier, giving Potter a charming edge to his shaggable appearance. “Want to dance?”

“Buy me a drink first,” Draco answered after a few moments, just to let Potter squirm.

He smirked at Draco, leading him back to the bar. He got them both vodka sodas, and pulled him onto the dance floor with a seductive look.

At first they remained near the outskirts of the other dancers as they sipped at their drinks. They were facing each other, drifting closer as they swayed with the music. Draco finished his drink faster than he normally would have, feeling overheated in Potter’s presence. His empty tumbler only made Potter’s lips twitch into a satisfied smirk. He tossed the remains of his drink back in a single gulp and held out his hand for Draco’s glass.

“Want me to go put those down?” Draco asked, shifting closer to speak into his ear over the music.

Potter’s smirk stretched into a mischievous grin. He shook his head and held a finger up to his lips, miming for Draco to be quiet. Draco quirked an eyebrow at him in confusion until he watched in shock as Potter held the empty glasses low between their bodies, out of sight of the Muggles surrounding them, and wandlessly Vanished the finished glasses. Draco gaped at Potter, darting a panicked glance around at the thought of breaking the Statute of Secrecy over something so trivial.

“Are you mad?!” He leaned close to Potter, crowding him and moving his lips frantically against Potter’s ear.

“Relax, I’m an Auror. I’m not going to arrest myself. Besides, you’re going to keep quiet about that, too, aren’t you?” Potter’s eyes were filled with devious mirth that made arousal curl low in the pit of his stomach. “Ready to dance now?”

Draco didn’t know how to respond to his cheek, so he nodded, letting his limbs move with the new beat of the song pounding out of the speakers. His whole body felt like it was tingling with the anticipation of being the person Potter was dancing with, after weeks of being tempted by the sight of him.

“Show me what you’ve got, Malfoy,” Potter murmured into his ear in a husky tone.

He let his lips drag against Draco’s skin as their bodies moved and gyrated together in a syncopated rhythm. Draco’s fingers were itching to touch Potter, and he gladly gave into the desire. He gripped his hips and led Potter in their dance, pleased when he easily bent and twisted his body to Draco’s will. He could feel Potter smirking against the skin of his neck, where Potter was intermittently licking and nibbling at his sensitive skin.

Potter bucked out of his grip and spun around, backing up against Draco until his body was flush against his. Potter’s hips moved in tight circles, grinding his arse on his groin in the way Draco had seen him do with so many others — the way Draco had dreamt of.

Draco growled low in his throat against the shell of Potter’s ear. He reached down and ran his hands up Potter’s thighs, continuing on to trail up his sides.

They moved together as if they were one being, and Draco didn’t know if he could ever bear to be separated from him again. He felt like he belonged right there, slotted against Potter’s backside.

He could hear Potter laughing delightedly as Draco rocked against him. He pressed back eagerly, his arse a firm pressure against Draco’s prick. Potter turned his head and nudged his nose against his jaw until Draco took the hint and brushed a kiss to his chapped lips. He wanted nothing more in that moment than to get Potter alone, to have him all to himself — if he didn’t, he was surely going to touch him right here in the middle of the dance floor, decorum be damned. The way Potter was moving against him seemed to indicate he would be agreeable.

Draco wrapped his arms around Potter and rumbled into his ear. “We should get out of here.”

Potter tilted his head. He did it, he did the head tilt that Draco had been lusting after for the last several weeks. Draco bit his lip and squeezed Potter tighter.

“Let’s go, then,” Potter said. “Yours or mine?”

“Mine,” Draco said decisively, not entirely sure he was only speaking of his flat in that moment. Potter’s green eyes were burning bright in the flashing lights of the club, and Draco thought again, mine.

Potter took his hand, tangling their fingers together, and led Draco away from the thundering beats of the music and the sweaty mass of bodies. He rushed them out of the club, into the crisp night air and together they stumbled into the alleyway, laughing at themselves. Potter crowded him back against the grimy brick with a determined glint in his eyes that made Draco’s breath hitch.

His lips were chapped and warm when they brushed against his own in a kiss that was more innocent than all of their dancing. Draco slid his hand up to cup Potter’s jaw, relishing the scratch of stubble against his fingertips. His mouth parted and he traced his tongue along Potter’s bottom lip. At the first warm slide of their tongues coming together, Draco made a small sound in the back of his throat that Potter answered with a sound of his own. His long fingers tangled Potter’s wild hair in his grip as he tilted Potter’s head to deepen their kiss.

Draco felt electric in that moment, like his entire body was a live wire sending pulses of magic and shocking tingles all along his nerve endings as they kissed in a grotty alley behind a nightclub.

Potter pulled back slowly, swooping in to peck his lips once more before he leaned against Draco, wrapping his arms securely around him.

“Take us to yours,” he murmured.

For a moment Draco was struck by the fact that this was Harry Potter, and he was Draco Malfoy, and that they were going to go back to his flat to fuck each other senseless. He shook his head, choking on a laugh, and focused his mind on his destination before he twirled them away.

When they landed next to his coffee table he reached out a hand to steady Potter from falling back onto it.

“This is madness,” Draco said, because someone had to.

Potter snorted and kissed him, spending quite some time teasing Draco with his wicked tongue. He was a little short of breath when they pulled apart.

“Madness,” he repeated, just to see if Potter would kiss him again.

“You won’t be saying that later when I’m riding you,” Potter offered with a cocky grin.

Draco’s hands spasmed, squeezing him tighter for a brief moment. He searched in vain for a response to that, but Potter was already walking them both backwards so that Draco landed on his armchair gracelessly. Potter held his gaze as he carefully straddled Draco’s lap, sinking down and purposefully circling his hips so that their groins rubbed together. His head fell back against the chair as his hands naturally found a resting place on Potter’s hips, gripping and massaging them as Potter kept up his torturous, slow lap dance.

“Merlin,” Draco breathed out as Potter arched and moved, all lanky motions that melted into each other as he moved sensually for Draco’s benefit. “You… you are…”

“I’m what, Malfoy?”

Potter’s voice came out as a seductive croon that went straight to his throbbing dick. He was nearly ready to claw at his trousers to get them open and get some relief for his trapped prick. All of his control felt like it was dwindled down to a threadbare string that was ready to snap at any moment.

Potter leaned close, aligning them hip to hip and chest to chest as his warm breath ghosted over his lips. Draco’s hands slid around to grip Potter’s magnificent arse, directing him to grind down against his erection. They sat there breathing each other’s air, their lips just brushing together but not kissing.

“I want you to fuck me, Draco,” Potter whispered.

Draco moaned, slipping his hands under Potter’s shirt and tugging him closer so that their lips crashed together in a searing kiss. Their movements became frantic as their hips jerked against each other, their fingers fumbling with buttons and pulling at hair.

When he had Potter divested of his shirt, he pulled back to admire the planes of his chest and stomach that had been taunting him from afar. He hummed in pleasure as he trailed his hands over his skin, tweaking a nipple and tugging at the dusting of curly chest hair. Potter couldn’t contain a laugh when Draco stroked his side.

“’M ticklish there,” Potter said with a shy smile.

Draco’s heart thudded in his chest. He circled his fingers around Potter’s navel and combed them through the thatch of dark hair that led into his jeans.

“Let’s go to the bedroom,” he said.

They stopped to kiss along the way, pinning each other to every surface they passed by. He was arching into Potter as he mouthed at Draco’s neck, pushing him against the doorframe to the bedroom. He nudged Potter away and steered him towards the bed.

“Strip and get up there.”

He smacked Potter’s arse playfully as he eagerly turned away to shimmy out of his jeans and pants, dropping them as he walked over to the bed. He still had one sock on as he flopped against the pillows, resting his head back on his folded arms.

“Watch me,” Draco said as he slowly unbuttoned the rest of his half-opened shirt. He smirked when Potter licked his lips and shifted to settle in for his show.

He took his time stripping each item of clothing off, revealing his pale skin inch by inch for Potter’s hungry eyes. He made a point of meticulously spelling out the wrinkles and delicately folding or hanging his clothes as he took them off. By the time he was nude, Potter looked like he was salivating impatiently in the bed. His thick prick was jutting up proudly towards his stomach, bobbing each time Potter shifted. Draco’s mouth watered at the sight he made.

“You’re in my bed, Potter,” Draco said, needing to hear the words out loud to really believe they were true.

“I’m in your bed…and very eagerly waiting for you to come here and fuck me, Malfoy,” Potter agreed. He brought a hand down to circle loosely around his cock, giving it a squeeze and quirking an eyebrow challengingly at Draco. “Going to make me wait all night for it?”

“You’d still thank me for it, even if I did, I’d wager,” Draco shot back as he stalked purposefully towards his bed.

“Yeah, I probably would,” Potter said, laughing. He spread his legs wider and tilted his head. “Come fuck me?”

Merlin, that head tilt might be the death of me, Draco thought as he drew closer to the bed. He reached out and peeled Potter’s lone sock off, tossing it carelessly over his shoulder. Their eyes locked together as he climbed onto the bed and settled his body over Potter’s.

Draco kissed him fiercely, using his firm hold on his unruly hair to direct the angle. He nipped at Potter’s lip and trailed wet kisses down his neck. Potter was writhing beneath him, their heated skin rubbing together deliciously. Their cocks were trapped together between their bodies and each time Potter moved they slid together, the sensitive heads bumping together and setting off a burst of sparks behind Draco’s eyes. He hummed as he mapped his way down Potter’s chest with his tongue, swirling it around his nipples and dipping it into his navel. He repositioned himself between Potter’s spread legs and stroked his inner thighs.

Draco didn’t give him a moment to even think before he closed his lips around the tip of his prick, tonguing the slit and sinking down to take more of his length into his mouth. Potter swore colourfully as he arched into Draco’s touch. He let his nails dig in slightly, scratching Potter’s skin lightly as he dragged his fingers over his muscular thighs to spread them wider. He flicked his tongue against the sensitive vein and lapped at Potter’s cock greedily.

God, yes!” Potter cried out, fisting his hands into the sheets as his hips bucked into Draco’s mouth.

Draco massaged his balls in one hand and reached his palm out to silently summon the tube of lube from his bedside table with a wandless Accio. He felt the container slap into his hand with a satisfying smack. He slurped as he bobbed his head up and down, not even bothering with his usual finesse as he hungrily sucked Potter’s prick. He relished the hot weight of it against his tongue, and the masculine, musky taste that he was memorising with his mouth. Draco sucked him down deep, burying his nose in the thatch of wiry pubic hair for a moment before slowly dragging his tongue back up the length to tease at the foreskin. Potter was shuddering and shivering, his whole upper body jerking up in an abortive motion, only to flop back against the pillows with a desperate groan.

“Fuck! Hurry up, or I’ll come just from this,” Potter begged, his voice ragged and raw.

Draco moaned as he released Potter’s dick with a wet pop to mouth at his balls while he smeared lube on his fingers. He teased Potter’s entrance, massaging the rim and stroking it with his slicked digits until he felt Potter relax enough for him to press one fingertip inside. He pulled back to watch rapturously as he worked his finger in past the first knuckle, slowly pulling it out before twisting his palm up and sinking it back in, further that time. They both moaned in unison as he began to slide it in and out, stroking Potter’s inner walls as he fingered him. Draco’s eyes were glued to the sight of his slick digit in Potter’s arse.

“Please,” Potter whimpered without elaborating what he was asking for.

Draco added a second digit alongside the first, slowly working them in and stretching Potter’s tight hole. He took his cock back into his mouth and bobbed his head with firm sucks. Potter keened when Draco found his prostate. He glanced up with his mouthful of prick and watched as Potter howled with pleasure as Draco repeatedly rubbed the sensitive spot each time he pumped his fingers into his arse.

“Yes, yes — fuck, yes,” Potter babbled as his hips rocked in sync with his thrusting fingers. “Enough, Christ! Please, please just fuck me already!”

Draco took him deep one last time, savouring the feel of Potter’s cock on his tongue, before he pulled his fingers free and sat back to slather his aching dick with lube.

“Roll over,” Draco said, hearing the desperate edge in his own voice.

He had to grip the base of his cock to stave off his orgasm from the vision Potter made as he turned over and lifted up on his knees to present his backside to Draco. Potter wriggled his arse invitingly, glancing over his shoulder with a smirk. His glasses were sliding down his nose, and Draco didn’t think he had ever seen a more erotic sight.

“Come on, Malfoy,” Potter said, wriggling again.

Draco shifted closer, rubbing the head of his dick over Potter’s hole teasingly. Potter hummed and pressed back against him. Potter reached up and slipped off his glasses, leaning on his elbows to reach the bedside table, where he dropped them with a clatter. It sounded loud in the room, aside from their laboured breathing. Draco leaned down to kiss the back of Potter’s neck as he started to press into him. They both made broken sounds as he popped by the ring of muscle and slid deeper. He rocked his hips until he was fully sheathed, his skin brushing against the back of Potter’s thighs.

I am balls deep in Harry fucking Potter right now, Draco thought in wide-eyed wonder.

He swiped at a bead of sweat on the back of Potter’s neck with his tongue, lapping it up. He waited patiently for Potter to adjust and relax, holding himself in check and distracting himself from the tight heat of Potter’s arse clenched around his throbbing cock. Draco trailed wet, biting kisses across the back of his neck and along his shoulders, twitching his hips in minute thrusts while he marked Potter’s upper back with blooming red splotches.

Finally, when Potter shifted and rocked back against him with a whispered move, Draco kneeled up and grasped Potter’s hips for leverage. He pulled nearly all the way out and slammed forward again, the slap of skin on skin echoing in the room. He didn’t give Potter any time to catch his breath before he repeated the same hard thrust again. Potter yelped, immediately pressing back into his brutal thrusts as he set a punishing pace. The room was filled with the sharp smack of skin slapping together and their harsh panting breaths and groans as Draco fucked him.

Potter felt incredible; he was an addictive kind of tight heat that wrapped around his prick and made him never want to pull out ever. Sweat was dripping down his back, and his fringe was flopping limply over his brow as he thrust into him.

“Oh, Christ, harder! Come on!” Potter howled as he met Draco thrust for pounding thrust.

Draco grunted with the effort to speed up. He shifted his angle slightly, pulling Potter up so that they were both kneeling, pressed together. Potter cried out loudly, nearly screaming, as Draco’s cock hit his prostate over and over from the new position. He bit into Potter’s shoulder and wrapped his arms tightly around his chest, pulling him down into his lap. Potter reached back and squeezed his thigh tightly, bouncing on his cock as Draco thrust into his arse.

“Close,” Draco grunted into Potter’s sweaty skin.

His muscles were screaming, he could feel a twinge in his back, and he was wheezing with each burning breath, but none of those things mattered when compared to the sounds Potter was making or the way he moved as they fucked. Draco could feel his pulse thundering in his neck as heat and pleasure coiled tightly in his gut. He pressed his damp forehead between Potter’s shoulder blades and a desperate sound tore out of his throat as Potter clenched around his cock. He was fisting his prick in sharp, quick tugs as he kept up with Draco’s rough rhythm.

“Oh god, I’m going to come, Malfoy,” Potter sobbed, keening as he arched against Draco’s body.

His arse was greedily holding Draco’s cock in a snug grip each time he pulled out, and eagerly sucked him in when he thrust in deep. It was all too overwhelming for Draco to handle.

“Fuck, Potter, me too,” Draco warned as he felt his orgasm beginning to rush through him.

He thrust in, holding himself deep with a firm grip on Potter’s thighs to the point where he was sure his fingers would leave bruises. Potter groaned, clenching around him as he stroked his dick faster. Draco ground his cock against Potter’s prostate, relishing his hoarse scream as Draco began to pump his release deep inside Potter’s arse. He could feel the exact moment when Potter came, his arse fluttering and clamping down around his prick as Potter made a long, low sound. His whole body was shuddering, and Draco could feel the splash of his come when he cupped his hand around Potter’s to keep stroking his cock through his orgasm. Draco bit into Potter’s shoulder again as he continued to twitch and spill, still spurting with each throb as his release went on, thrumming through his body with waves of pleasure. He felt lightheaded as he held onto Potter.

“Oh my god,” Draco gasped raggedly, his lungs still burning with each panting breath.

“Yeah,” Potter agreed with an equally breathless laugh. “God, that was good.”

Draco’s back twinged when he carefully pulled his softening prick out of Potter’s arse. He smoothed a hand over Potter’s back and flopped in a graceless heap onto the bed beside him. Potter’s chest was still heaving as he caught his breath, but his eyes were glittering. Draco grinned at him smugly, stretching and running a hand through his hair. Potter laughed and collapsed next to him.

“What?”

“Your hair is a complete mess,” Potter said through his chuckles.

Draco smacked his arse and then growled playfully, pulling Potter on top of him. Potter was smiling down at him with an open, charming expression that made Draco’s stomach do a little flip. They kissed lazily, enjoying the twitching aftershocks as they both came down from brilliant orgasms. When they parted, Draco reached for his wand and cast an efficient Cleaning Charm on both of them before tossing it aside and relaxing back into the pillows. Potter was looking at him with an odd expression.

“What?” Draco asked.

“Nothing,” Potter replied, ducking his head to hide his embarrassed flush. “Er, it’s just…I’ve only been with Muggles, so it’s nice to be able to use magic to clean up. To not have to hide, I mean.”

“Oh,” Draco said, trying to soothe the sinking dread that had crept into his bones at the thought of Potter regretting their actions. He settled into a pleased smirk. “See what you’ve been missing out on all this time?”

Potter hummed in response and curled his body around Draco’s before half-heartedly waving his hand in the air to summon the covers that they had rucked up. He fell asleep quickly, clinging to Draco like he was the Giant Squid.

Draco didn’t usually let his partners spend the night, preferring to have his space to himself after the sex was over, but he wouldn’t dream of kicking Potter out of his bed. Especially when he snuffled in his sleep and nuzzled his face further into Draco’s neck. He was a comforting presence as Draco drifted off to sleep feeling more sated than he ever had before.

***

It became a game between them after that. They would show up at the clubs on the weekends, and no matter whom they were with they would gravitate towards each other by the end of the night, always leaving together. Draco reveled in the game; he eagerly anticipated the moment when Potter would give up the chase with whichever man he had wrapped himself around and searched for Draco. Once they were together they would put on quite the show on the dance floor. Draco was certain they were the envy of every man in attendance, and he relished having all of Potter’s attention on him.

But then, at some point, it stopped being a game when they agreed to meet up for lunch on some days, and dinner one Friday instead of going to a club.

After a month of their non-dancing rendezvous Draco realised they hadn’t been out to the club at all that month. He had to check to make sure Potter didn’t go and leave with another man without Draco there to tempt him into something better. When he brought it up, Harry looked at him funny.

“We have a dinner date tonight,” he reminded Draco before turning back to his lunch.

It was then that reality set in with sudden clarity.

At some point he had started dating Harry without even realising it.

Draco gaped as Harry munched on a piece of lettuce from his sandwich. He was urgently searching his mind for some indication of when there had been a shift between them. He couldn’t even remember when he’d stopped thinking of him as Potter all of the time, and started to think of him as Harry more often than not.

It dawned on him how handsy Harry had been with him outside of the club and the bedroom as they got to know each other. They joked, and Harry would hold his hand, stealing kisses when no one was looking. They spent the majority of their time in Muggle London. It was a small miracle that his editor hadn’t caught on.

The situation startled him, but he didn’t want to not have what he did with Harry. He wasn’t ready to let it go — wasn’t even certain that he could ever pry himself away from the charming prat.

Draco gestured towards his own mouth to indicate that Harry had let some lettuce escape. Harry smiled in thanks, wiping away the wayward piece of food and gulped down his drink. It dawned on Draco that they’d reached a point of comfort with each other that they didn’t even need to speak to communicate. It struck him how he had been so completely oblivious to the state of their relationship.

He settled into dating Harry easily enough, after becoming aware of the matter. Being Harry’s boyfriend made his job infinitely easier. He elbowed him for quotes on his latest Auror mission outcomes for his articles to ‘pepper them up’. Harry only laughed when Draco complained that people were getting bored with his Auror articles, since Harry kept putting him off.

Draco managed to coax semi-usable quotes out of him by sucking his cock, teasing him until Harry uttered something he could work with.

***

The first time Harry dragged him to a double date with his friends, it had been awkward and strained. Draco put in his absolute best effort to be an adult, no matter how many times Weasley tried to poke at him into reacting.

They were out in Muggle London at a restaurant that Granger had picked out, and Weasley was in the middle of regaling Harry with a story about a new idea his brother had for one of his joke shop products. Harry was laughing in that bright, warm way that made Draco’s insides tingle and twist. He didn’t realise he was looking down with a fond smile at his dinner plate until he glanced up and caught Granger looking at him with a speculative tilt to her head. She hummed once and smiled politely at him.

When Weasley’s story finished Granger took over the conversation.

“So, Harry, you haven’t told us much about what you’ve been doing with your weekends. We’ve missed you at the Burrow on Sundays,” Granger said.

Harry reached across to tangle his fingers with Draco’s, something that only happened when they were among Muggles.

“I’ve been spending them with Draco,” he answered with an easy smile.

Granger made a noncommittal sound in response as she refilled her glass with more wine.

“You both don’t seem very surprised by this turn of events. That is to say, I’m sure Harry wouldn’t blindly invite you to dinner without informing you of our relationship first, but you don’t seem to have, er, reservations,” Draco commented without making it too obvious that he wanted to know more about how much Harry had said about what they were doing. He had come to dinner fully expecting a righteous inquisition of epic Gryffindor proportions. He wondered if Harry’s friends were losing their touch.

“Well, yeah. He told us ages ago when you started to date,” Weasley answered, waving his fork around distractedly as he spoke. “Couldn’t get him to shut up about you. I thought I was going to go mad if I had to sit and listen to one more story about how great your smile was.”

Draco felt his stomach flip over pleasantly at hearing about Harry talking about him that way to his best friend. It was still a feeling he was getting used to. He could feel his expression softening as his eyes strayed to Harry. He cleared his throat to attempt to cover up his sappy reaction.

Harry walloped Weasley in the arm good-naturedly, laughing while his ears flushed. “Shut up, you git.”

The conversation lulled into mundane topics again. Draco was holding a brief discussion about Granger’s work with the Ministry when Weasley interrupted them, pointing his small dessert fork straight at Draco.

“How did you two actually end up getting together, though? Harry didn’t say much about it. Was it all the sexual tension in you yelling about quotes in the middle of Diagon Alley while he arrested suspects?” Weasley asked. “And don’t give me some rot about how you’ve secretly been in love since Hogwarts, because that’s utter bollocks.”

Draco looked to Harry for assistance and was met with an amusing look of embarrassment and frustration on his face while he struggled to swallow his food. He shot Draco a warning look as soon as he opened his mouth. The corner of Draco’s mouth twitched up in a challenging smirk.

“No, actually,” Draco answered airily, raising an eyebrow. He slanted another quick look towards Harry and delicately wiped his mouth with his napkin. Granger was looking at him with interest just before Draco decided how best to answer. “We reconnected when we met dancing in the same night club.”

Weasley spluttered his wine as he choked out a shocked response. Granger thumped him on the back, staring at Draco with wide eyes. They both spoke at the same time.

“Harry went out dancing at a night club?”

You went into Muggle London? Willingly?” Weasley’s eyes were like saucers and his mouth was gaping.

“I’m out here now, aren’t I?” he answered with a faint imitation of a sneer. “I assumed he hadn’t told you about his preferences, and that was why he was out alone.”

“What? Harry came out to us a couple of years ago,” Granger said. “We would never judge him for that.”

Harry caught his eye. His brows were raised in a silent plea and Draco understood when he nudged his foot against Draco’s leg. Ah. He’d come out to them, but he never told them the truth about his weekend activities with one night stands.

Draco nodded subtly and huffed out a small sigh.

“Yes, well…Muggle clubs offer an excellent anonymity — something that I’m not afforded at wizarding establishments,” Draco informed them primly. “I’m sure Harry appreciated that same aspect of Muggle night life, rather than going out in the wizarding community.”

Granger looked properly abashed and elbowed Weasley when he opened his mouth, likely to spew something about Draco’s past.

“I was just as surprised to find Harry there. He’s not a bad dancer,” he added with a sly smirk at Harry’s mutinous look.

“You wouldn’t be able to tell if you’ve seen him at some of the Ministry’s formal events,” Granger muttered archly.

“I know,” Draco responded, chuckling while Harry stepped on his foot. “It’s a talent he was hiding from everyone.”

His eyes were gleaming when he met Harry’s embarrassed gaze, picturing the way he moved on the dance floor.

“It’s really unbelievable, but trust me: he’s hiding some impressive moves,” he said sincerely with eyes only for Harry.

***

Draco continued to write fluff articles about Harry without even hinting about his secret, or that it had anything to do with Draco. They weren’t thrilling pieces to write, but as he got to know Harry better he had a newfound appreciation and understanding for the work he did with charities. Draco was glad he never finished writing the exposé. He never would have been able to have what he did with Harry if he had ousted him with a tell-all.

Writing the articles still felt like a chore on most days, despite Draco’s growing feelings for Harry. He just couldn’t quite bring himself to fawn over Harry the way the rest of the wizarding world did. Especially when he knew every facet of their hero, things no one else did, like his habit of leaving his dirty socks all over Draco’s flat, or how his hair stuck up more than usual in the back when he woke up in the morning.

“Merlin, Potter, do you have to be such a soft hearted sap?” Draco teased as they were lazing on Draco’s sofa at his flat.

He had his feet in Harry’s lap and was sorting through invitations and proposals for different causes all rooting back to the war. Some were heartfelt, while others were obviously just vying for the attention of the Chosen One.

“I like helping out where I can. It’s the right thing to do,” Harry countered. He was absently massaging Draco’s feet while the wireless reported on a Quidditch match in muted, crackling tones.

“Like I said; sap,” Draco said. He hummed thoughtfully as he sifted through the owl post, picking out proposals that were best suited to Harry and would still give his column some flair. “If you didn’t have me or Granger to look through these for you, then I’d bet you would just accept them all.”

“Probably,” Harry said. Draco didn’t even need to look to see that he was smiling; he could hear it in his tone. It made him feel warm and fluttery inside. Harry rolled his head along the back of the sofa as he turned to look at him. “I love that you do it, though.”

Draco’s stomach did a neat little somersault. He grinned and held up the stack of papers. “Ah, but I have other motives. I’m only picking the ones I’ll actually enjoy writing about.”

“Fair enough,” Harry said with an amused laugh. “As long as I still get to help someone, that’s all that matters.”

Harry was spending more and more time at his flat. He had his own section of the wardrobe with his clothes and an extra set of Auror robes. He had a toothbrush and his Muggle razor in Draco’s bathroom. He was very nearly becoming Draco’s live in boyfriend. He only returned to his home in the mornings during the week to pick up the case files he was always forgetting, before going to work at the Ministry. He always returned to Draco’s flat in the evenings.

Having Harry around filled his flat with warmth and life in a way that Draco hadn’t realised he was missing before. Every room felt cosier, and he slept better at night when Harry was there to curl around him with his warm limbs and scratchy stubble. It wasn’t something he had expected when he was first given his assignment, but somehow it still felt inevitable and right. He couldn’t imagine what Harry would have thought of him if he had ever gone forward with the article he stashed away.

***

He regretted not burning the article, however, when Harry eventually found it a month later.

Harry was stumbling around Draco’s flat in just his pants early on a Saturday. “Draco do you have extra parchment in your desk? I need to send an owl to Andromeda about taking Teddy next weekend.”

Harry’s voice carried easily across the flat into the kitchen where Draco was making coffee, not fully awake. He made an affirmative sound as he pulled two mugs from the cupboard. It wasn’t until Draco was pouring the steaming coffee into the cups that it occurred to him what was in his desk. He froze, looking up sharply as he watched Harry rifling through it. He knew the instant he was too late.

The line of Harry’s back slowly went rigid as he held up Draco’s half written exposé article. Draco wanted to run to his side and watch his eyes flit back and forth across the page, watch his expression as he read. He was too much of a coward, though, and he stood rooted in place, gripping the kitchen counter for support.

“What is this?” Harry asked in a hushed voice.

“It’s an article,” Draco hedged reluctantly. For all of his flowing words when he wrote, everything was leaving his mind in a rush. He had no idea what to say to explain himself; he was panicking. He never had any intention of letting that article ever see the light of day, much less let Harry find it and read the harsh things he had written about his boyfriend. But he’d still written it, he couldn’t deny that. “I didn’t ever…”

“You didn’t what?” Harry’s voice became bitter and rough. He spun around and Draco’s heart clenched painfully in his chest at the anguished, angry look on Harry’s face. It was so different from the way Harry usually looked at him, full of love and affection. “You clearly didn’t mean for me to find it.”

“Of course not!” Draco struggled to find an explanation to defend himself with. He had to make Harry understand that this was a misunderstanding — that he would never intentionally hurt him now.

“I can’t believe you would do this,” Harry said, his voice shaking with emotion. “I thought what we had was…I guess I was wrong. You’re right, I am a sap.”

“Harry, that’s not what this is at all. When I wrote that it was before—”

“Before what? Before you fucked me? Was it before I started staying over here?” Harry ran a hand over his face and pinned Draco in place with a narrowed glare. “I trusted you to not write anything about this for the Prophet and you betrayed that trust. The things you say in this article about me—”

“Harry, no! I don’t — that was before I even really knew you! I wrote that before the first time we danced together at the club,” Draco said in a hurried rush, nearly stumbling over his words in his haste to spit them out. He held his hands up in a placating gesture. “I swear I never intended to submit it for publication!”

“So you just decided to stalk me and write about it to please your own whims? That doesn’t make it any better!” Harry snapped.

Draco’s body went rigid. He felt vicious anger bubbling up inside of him and it made him lash out in defense.

“Oh, as if that is more unsavoury than sleeping with a different stranger every weekend. Sometimes three — one for each night, wasn’t it?” He crossed his arms tightly across his chest. His blood was boiling in outrage.

“You weren’t complaining when I fell into bed with you, were you?”

“How could I complain? I had the great Harry Potter in my flat, presenting his arse to me like a bitch in heat!”

“If anyone’s a slag here, it’s you! The way you would throw yourself at me in the club — admit it, you were gagging for me,” Harry growled as he advanced closer, brandishing the article in Draco’s face. “And then, after you got what you wanted out of me, you thought it would be a good idea to keep at it so you could get more material for this trash.”

He flung the stack of papers down. Both of them watched as they fluttered and spilled across the floor between them. The absurdity of the argument pierced through the fog of anger clouding his mind. Draco opened his mouth to counter Harry’s accusation, to convince him that their argument was over nothing and that it was getting out of hand for no reason. Harry cut him off with a fierce look before he could even get his first word out.

“Don’t. I’ve had quite enough of your manipulation,” Harry said sharply. He spun on his heel and Disapparated with a loud pop.

Draco looked around the empty flat with wide eyes as the rushing sound in his ears faded. Regret burned through him. He shouldn’t have kept the sodding article; he should have just torn it up when he abandoned it in the first place.

He collapsed to the floor in a heap, pulling the closest papers to him with clawed hands, crumpling his poisonous words between his fingers. His chest burned with the sting of a sob that wanted to tear out of his throat, but he choked it back down. A vicious voice in his head whispered that he wasn’t meant to have Harry long term, that this was just what he was worthy of. He closed his eyes and tried not to give in to that voice. He didn’t know how long he sat there for before he dragged himself up and silently poured out the cold coffee before flinging Harry’s favourite mug at a wall with a frustrated shout.

***

Draco burned the article. It didn’t bring him the satisfaction he was seeking, other than knowing his harsh words were destroyed by the fire.

Getting rid of the words did nothing to soothe the ache he felt at Harry’s absence.

***

He hadn’t seen or heard from Harry in over two weeks. Harry’s things miraculously disappeared from his flat the day after their argument — not even the spare toothbrush was left behind. His only interaction with Harry was writing another article for his deadline about the latest charity work, and his plans to attend the upcoming Ministry ball. Draco was in the middle of carefully penning a sentence, looping his handwriting in elegant arcs, when he stopped. The quill dripped two splashes of ink onto his paper while he stared ahead at the wall where he used Sticking Charms to hang his notes.

He had realised as he was writing that Harry hadn’t officially accepted the invitation; they had just talked about it in passing while sprawled in front of the fire together after an indulgent romp.

The flat felt much emptier and void of all the warmth Harry had brought to it. Draco resorted to taking a half dose of Dreamless Sleep potion at night after a rough first week without Harry in his bed. There were only so many nights in a row he could stand glaring at the ceiling of his bedroom while he futilely chased sleep, tossing and turning in agitated movements. It was funny, he thought bitterly to himself, how easy it was to get used to sharing his space with someone without really noticing. It was only when they were gone that things became crystal clear.

Draco set down his quill and set his partially written column aside. The rest of the Prophet staff were bustling about the floor; the noise droned into a low buzz in the back of Draco’s consciousness. He shook his head and started his assignment for that week over, embellishing the story about a recent smuggling ring bust Harry had executed. He even had a usable quote, despite the questionable location for where he obtained it — in Harry’s Auror office, but more specifically below Harry’s desk on his knees.

He skimmed over his half-arsed article and sent it off to the Cuffe’s submission basket before he could bring himself to care about Harry reading this one. He knew he never did, even while they were dating.

He left the offices of the Daily Prophet early and wandered around Muggle London so that he didn’t have to think about Harry Potter for two sodding minutes. It worked for a short time, until he walked by the restaurant where they had gone on a double date with Harry’s friends. After that, Draco couldn’t keep him off his mind, no matter how hard he tried.

When he returned home to his flat that evening he knew what he had to do if he ever wanted to fix this. He swallowed his pride and his stubborn insistence that he was right about Harry overreacting to the exposé. He knew that Harry could be just as stubborn as he was, and twice as impulsive. Harry would never just come back to him on his own; he cut Draco out of his life and that was how it would stay until Draco did something about it. He needed to write a letter to Harry; needed to explain everything so that he would understand. He knew he needed to apologise for having ever written those words in the first place.

Draco scrubbed a hand across his face in frustration, rubbing at his exhausted eyes.

He sat down at his writing desk, ignoring the twinge of emotion he felt whenever he went near it after Harry left, and struggled his way through three inadequate letters, each worse than the last. Draco laughed derisively at himself, having trouble with what to say — even though he knew he had to apologise. Some writer he was. How hard was it to explain that he never was going to let that article see the light of day? He didn’t understand why he couldn’t simply find the words to express that sentiment in a satisfactory way.

He had no real desire to out Harry when he’d barely known him, and he didn’t want to do so now that he was left carrying feelings around for him.

It was a simple truth, and yet he floundered to make his hand write something honest and sincere onto the page.

Despite his need to call Harry out for overreacting, part of him thought perhaps it would be best to leave it and move on. That voice crept into his thoughts again, poisoning his mind. It was likely that no matter what he said, Harry wouldn’t accept it and would never trust him again. Maybe he had never deserved it in the first place.

His only option was to try to protect his heart from ever falling for something like this again.

***

“You’re looking…tired,” Blaise pointed out in a neutral tone while they were out to lunch. His dark eyes were sharp and watched Draco closely.

He snorted, knowing Blaise meant that he looked like shit. He was well aware. Draco ran out of his supply of Dreamless Sleep and he wasn’t able to obtain another bottle without a prescription. He still wasn’t sleeping well without Harry’s body heat and octopus limbs.

“What’s on your mind? You can tell me, we’re old friends after all,” Blaise said in soft tones that belied the look Draco recognised in his eye. The bastard was like a shark scenting blood in water.

He waved a hand impatiently. “It’s nothing; I’m fine. I’ve just been growing bored of my assignment. I want to be able to write about topics other than Harry Potter.”

“Mm, but you’re so good at it,” Blaise crooned. Draco rolled his eyes.

He couldn’t tell him the truth, since he had never even told Blaise about his relationship with Harry in the first place. He steered the topic away from himself and got Blaise talking about his latest weekend spent pouring expensive champagne onto young models that he secreted away to his weekend flat in Paris. As he listened to the deep tone of Blaise’s voice he tried to ignore the dull ache he felt in his chest whenever his mind strayed to Harry.

***

After another two weeks Draco gathered his courage, and went to their favourite club. He wasn’t sure whether he was more afraid of finding Harry there, or him not being there at all.

The pounding bass beat of the music did nothing to help his headache as he made a slow circle about the room. He noticed several of Harry’s past dalliances on the dance floor and at the bar. One caught his eye and smirked knowingly at him — as if it was only a matter of time before Draco couldn’t hold onto Harry. The voice in his head reared up, cackling away in his mind. He quickly turned away from his gaze, eyes roaming the club for any sign of Harry.

A hand fell heavily on his shoulder and made a slow journey down his arm to clasp his wrist. “’ello, love,” a voice simpered near his ear. “Up for some fun?”

Draco tugged his hand free and shot the hopeful a look full of disdain. “Not interested,” he shot over his shoulder as he turned on his heel and continued to search for a familiar mop of unruly dark curls. As he navigated his way through the throng of people he gnawed on his lower lip and willed his pounding heart to return to a normal pulse.

He had to fend off three other men interested in his company as he finished another lap around the room. Draco felt an aching, cold feeling filling him up the longer he looked around without finding what he wanted. The smoke in the air tasted acrid and bitter on his tongue; it was no longer enticing the way it had been when he was there with Harry wrapped around him on the dance floor. The music sounded too loud and grating to his ears, and none of the men in the room held a candle to the one person he wanted.

Harry wasn’t there. Draco went home alone.

***

When he finally saw Harry again, three months later, he was sitting on his creaking chair at his cramped corner desk when Draco arrived for the day.

“I — I wasn’t aware I had a morning interview appointment. My apologies,” Draco said haltingly, straining for professionalism. He fidgeted and mentally scolded himself for losing his composure, especially in front of Harry. He couldn’t show anything that could be exploited as a weakness. “Tea?”

Harry shrugged and stood up from Draco’s chair. He ran his hands through his hair, making it stick up more than usual in a way that made Draco’s heart pang with longing. He watched in wary silence as Harry shuffled on his feet, pacing two steps in one direction and three back in the small space around Draco’s desk. He spun around suddenly and perched on the edge of the desk.

“I’m sorry for what I said. You’ve had a lot of time to print that article to get back at me, but you haven’t. You tried to explain it to me, and I didn’t listen. I should’ve trusted you,” Harry said, his voice earnest and full of emotion.

It punched Draco somewhere low in his gut, and he had to take several deep breaths before he could even respond.

“Alright,” was all he could manage, his voice strained and stiff. He sank slowly into his chair with ramrod straight posture. “What can I do for you today?”

“I’ve been doing a lot of charity work in the last few months. I did a lot of thinking, too. The charity I’ve been giving my time to has helped me see, and I’ve come to a decision about it. I want you to write and print an article to announce something very important to me,” Harry said with a pointed look.

It took a moment of his mind whirring for it to click into place with understanding. Harry’s eyes darted over Draco’s shoulder where he could feel an unnatural stillness. Normally his colleagues were boisterous and constantly moving around. Draco stared at Harry in surprise. He flicked his wand and cast a Silencing Charm around his work area for more privacy. Harry added a privacy ward without needing to be asked.

“I’m sorry, let me see if I’m understanding you,” he said slowly, curling his fingers around the jagged, splintering arms of his chair to give his mind something to anchor him. “You want me to write an article about the very thing you didn’t want me to write about in the first place? The…the thing that messed everything up when you found it?”

Harry’s expression was unreadable. After a moment he offered a small smile.

“Yes. The charity organization is having a very big fundraising function. I’d like the Prophet to cover the event, exclusively, and I recommended you for the job. And I’ll only trust you with the thing I need to announce.”

He explained it all so sincerely that Draco had to restrain himself from diving across the space between them and snogging him. He squeezed the arms of his chair harder to keep himself from reaching out.

Harry looked back at the vultures likely crowding behind Draco at the edge of their privacy ward. “Er, if I recall correctly, you sometimes like to conduct interviews and write articles outside of the office. Can I take you to breakfast?”

Draco held his breath, keeping his face clear of the hope that was surging through him. Harry was right in front of him, talking to him again. It took all of his willpower not to jump straight into his arms and never let him go again.

“Yes. The Muggle pastry shop I like?”

Harry’s fond smile made Draco’s cheeks feel warm.

***

The article was a huge success, both as a public coming out for Harry and awareness for the charity, but also as an official announcement for their rekindled relationship.

It had taken some convincing to get Draco to agree at first, preferring to remain in the shadows and the safety of Muggle London. Harry insisted on using photos of them together, ones they had taken with an old camera Harry found in the attic at the Black estate where he lived.

When the proof came in, Draco stared down at the photo versions of each of them teasing and flirting with each other, paired with his interview with Harry about the charity and coming out. Instead of his normal column, located below the fold towards the bottom of the second page, this was a front-page article with his name in big bold letters. He swallowed the sudden burst of emotion down, his throat feeling thick, and let go of his fears of the wizarding world taking notice of him again.

The Daily Prophet had record-breaking sales thanks to that issue.

Harry’s coming out was well received, with hordes of letters arriving every day to the Prophet and directly to Harry with stories of finding the courage to come out thanks to Harry’s brave announcement. Draco suspected Granger might have had something to do with any untoward post that didn’t have anything positive to say on the matter not finding its way to them. He had fully expected a backlash of outrage for Harry telling the world that he was not only gay, but was also already taken — by a former Death Eater, no less.

He did his level best to focus on the more pleasant aspects of things, like how he was free to hold Harry’s hand when they walked through Diagon Alley together, or how the invitations Harry received meant he was able to attend as a plus one, rather than on his own without a date.

“Listen to this one.” Draco waved a rolled up scroll in Harry’s face. They were curled together in his bed as the pale morning light crept in through the large window a few weeks after his article first came out.

They had spent the night sitting up reading through the Owl Post Harry was receiving. Harry’s legs were tangled with his and his hand was absently carding through Draco’s mussed up hair.

“’Not only did my parents tell me how much they love and support me no matter what, you gave me the Gryffindor spirit to tell my best friend how I’ve felt about her since the beginning of the term. Thank you, Mr Potter, for saving me from myself.’ Wow, if you thought you were worshipped and heralded before as the Saviour, I can only imagine how they’ll all treat you now,” Draco commented after reciting his favourite passage from the letter a young girl at Hogwarts had sent them.

Harry swatted at him lazily.

“Hush, you,” he said as he read another letter. “This one says you look very fetching in the photos. I don’t know whether I agree with them, or if I’m feeling jealous and protective,” he mused.

Draco preened, making Harry snort. “Of course they said that. I’m very attractive, you know.”

“Oh, I know,” he said, dropping the letter and playfully tackling Draco. They were both laughing as Harry tried to disentangle his foot from the sheet wrapped around his ankle.

They spent the morning making love, first in the bedroom, and then again in the bath with slow, unhurried movements that were more about staying connected than seeking mutual release. Their hands clasped together and their breaths mingled every time they kissed, and each time they fell over the edge together in a rush of overwhelming love.

***

Draco fidgeted nervously with his dress robes while he examined himself in the mirror. He huffed as he tried to get a hold of his anxiety, wrestling with his emotions to control them better. He eyed his reflection critically, flicking his wand to make sure every line of his robes was in its proper place.

Even though he was used to dating Harry, they still hadn’t been on an official date in the wizarding world yet. The Witches and Wizards in Unity and Solidarity fundraiser for LGBTQ equality rights was going to be their first public outing as partners.

Harry strolled in, wrapping Draco up in a strong embrace from behind. He was in his formal Auror robes. They were a reverse of his everyday uniform. He was encased in decadent gold fabric, with red piping and intricate embroidery along the shoulders and cuffs of his sleeves. Draco licked his lips as his eyes roamed over Harry.

“If this wasn’t such an important fundraiser, I’d have half a mind to drag you back to bed and ride you until we break the bed frame,” Harry murmured in his ear. Draco groaned faintly under his breath.

“Don’t tempt me. I’ll happily chain you to the bed,” he chided. His eyes flashed playfully when they met Harry’s in the mirror. “Do you prefer magical or Muggle restraints?”

Harry snorted, shaking his head. He pressed a quick kiss to Draco’s cheek and pulled back to spin him around. He spent a moment appreciating Draco’s dress robes. They were a deep blue in a fitted style, with fine silver embroidery that was similar to Harry’s formal Auror robes.

“You look wonderful. Are you ready to go?” he asked.

“As I’ll ever be.”

“What are you so nervous for? I’m the one who has to give a speech,” Harry reminded him, running a soothing hand down the side of his neck. He squeezed the knot of tension there until Draco relaxed.

“Yes, but I’m the reformed Death Eater who barely escaped conviction, now out and about publicly as Harry Potter’s boyfriend. I’d gladly trade you for the speech,” Draco said with a haggard sigh.

“No. You’re Draco Malfoy, the star reporter of the Daily Prophet, famous for your exclusive on the Harry Potter coming out story. I’m just the lucky sod who gets to have you on my arm tonight. You know, I think I feel a bit of a fan boy squeal coming on, so prepare yourself,” Harry countered earnestly with another smacking kiss to his cheek.

Draco relaxed fully into Harry’s embrace, turning his head to graze his nose against Harry’s jaw. He could smell the scent of the aftershave he had gifted Harry with, rubbing his nose more firmly against his skin as he let the fresh, salty scent of the sea enthrall his senses. Harry’s hand slid up to cup his cheek, tilting Draco’s head so he could fit their lips together in an achingly sweet kiss that lingered. His worries melted away at Harry’s soothing touch. He was reassured that tonight would go smoothly, as long as he had Harry by his side.

“Come on, Hermione will have us both by the bollocks if we’re late,” Harry whispered against his lips.

“Kinky.” Draco waggled his eyebrows cheekily and laughed when Harry sighed in mock exasperation.

“Let’s go be out and proud, and show our support.” Harry took his hand and Draco smiled and nodded.