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It’s been burning in his brain, his gut, his chest for months now. A fever, acid-hot, which refuses to be assuaged.

And, yes. Hermione would—Ron would say—that he’s being unreasonable, that ‘it takes time, Harry,’ that he must needs be patient, but patience is a virtue Harry really couldn’t give a fuck about right now.

He wants Malfoy. And the Wizengamot and the Ministry and all those reactionary pricks in power have taken Malfoy away. It’s fucking unfair. Harry’s been made an Auror, certainly, and he’s sworn to do any number of things to uphold the system but when the system condemns Malfoy to life imprisonment for being little more than a scared child in an impossible bind than the system must needs go down.

Harry’s never been much for the Establishment anyway.

It’s a simple plan, really. Azkaban’s not quite the impenetrable fortress it once was, the Dementors are gone and Harry’s an Auror. Easy enough, then. He‘ll stroll in, he’ll take Malfoy out, they’ll do a runner. One, two, three, like clockwork. ‘Keep it simple, stupids,’ as Auror Dawlish likes to say, and Harry’s good with that.

So he does.

Azkaban is dark and foreboding, as per usual. “Auror Potter?” The first guard is hesitant and questioning, glancing over Harry’s Charmed paperwork and hastily flashed badge with a dubious eye.

“Just taking a prisoner back to the Ministry for questioning; it’s all in order,” Harry says. “Malfoy, Draco Malfoy. You know of him? Where’s he being kept, again?”

“Er.” The man gulps, visibly, quailing a little under Harry’s determined stare and the barely perceptible flicker of his wand tip. “Fourth floor, but. You’re, uh. You’re supposed to have an actual warrant!” he bursts out, all in a rush, flapping his hands and looking miserable. “It’s regulation and the Ministry is ever so strict!”

“No need.” Harry smiles at the poor man although it’s really more baring teeth. He twitches the fingers of his right hand, muttering under his breath Constrictus, a variation on a Silencing Body Bind, and he can’t help it if it’s a bit menacing, his so-called smile, because really? It is menacing. “Just a formality, right? Right. Ta, I’ll just be on my way now.”

“No! Wait! You can’t—not without a war—!” the guard shouts, already strangling on Harry’s Silencio, but he’s barely got the words out before he hits the floor, insensate.

Harry can’t seem to erase the maniacal grin as he calmly steps over the crumpled form. There’s a fever in his blood, did he mention? And Malfoy’s waiting. Malfoy’s waiting.

He Apparates to the corridor his quarry is being held, a dark, dank and dreary passage lit only dimly by the reflected light of the scudding clouds and roiling surf glimpsed through an arrow-slit sized window. “Malfoy!” he calls out, forced to raise his voice a little louder than is prudent over the crashing rolls of thunder and the incessant pounding of the waves on the rocky shore far below. “…Draco?”

There’s a flurry of sudden activity in the confines of a cell down the way.

“Yes, Potter, I’m waving my arm at you! Over here, moron.”

“What? What in the bleeding Hell?” An unfamiliar voice comes at Harry from the far end of the corridor as another guard impels himself forward. “You! You can’t be up here!”

The second guard really never even sees Harry coming. He falls under the effects of Contortus, whimpering, whilst Harry goes on at a near-sprint in the dark, well used to finding his way in less than optimal conditions.

Malfoy—Draco, really, because it’s 'Draco' in his head and has been for months now, since even before the Trials—is found. Is thoroughly, roughly, gratefully snogged, and then it’s on to the next step in Harry’s hare-brained but surprisingly effective plan.

Somehow, Harry doesn’t think Draco appreciates much being carried out of prison in his pocket but he’s going to have to whinge about it later. He certainly seems to appreciate the feel of Sirius’s old motorbike, roaring to life before settling down to purr like an eager Nundu between their assorted legs. He gives an excited little squirm as he settles his scrawny arse firmly into the pillion seat, shifting his hips forward till he’s set snug up against Harry’s bum. It produces alarming and immediate tension in Harry’s privates and he can’t help but groan softly. There’s a fever in his head and it can’t be shaken. To have Malfoy this close after so long denied—well!

“Potter. Potter?”

"Yes." Harry blinks, refocusing quickly as he revs the engine. “Going!”

It doesn’t matter—it can’t matter—that for a split-second there, just as he’d hurried past Draco’s father’s cell, Harry had been shatteringly afraid that he’d already lost him. That he’d been too late to save the real Draco Malfoy, the caustic prat who’d caused him far too many sleepless nights and ready tumescence, the beguiling bastard who could strip the very varnish off the furniture with but the lash of his tongue. But then there’d been a challenging glint in those grey eyes as Harry fired up the old bike and now there’s an eager intake of breath warming his nape as they soar up and away from the crags and raggedy spires.

Harry risks a glance behind him, his eyes watering in the wind. Sure enough there is Malfoy, the genuine item, grinning insanely and all silvery flash in the dappled moonlight. And there’s the persistent press of Draco’s half-hard cock against Harry’s bum as Azkaban is left behind.

That‘s reassuring.

No. 12 has hidden talents, even more than Harry had ever known of when he was a little younger and ever so reluctantly allowed in to attend the Order meetings. Sirius must’ve been bloody percipient, though, when he’d updated his Will leaving Harry the House, realizing Harry would’ve had no way of knowing just exactly how Unplottable and Unassailable Grimmauld could become. He’d thoughtfully tucked away a secret list of incantations above and beyond the well-known Fidelius in the drawer of the bedside table in his old room. Harry’s hastily acquired Auror training has been more than convenient in augmenting them and he’s been gleefully anticipating Malfoy’s reaction. So, it’s a bit of a physical thrill when Malfoy practically salivates over the blindingly fast series of spells Harry reels off, casting this way and that till Grimmauld is entirely cloaked in Repelling and Fortification Charms. In a matter of moments they’re literally safer than houses and Harry gratefully hauls in a lungful of musty old air, happy to be breathing freely for the first time in what feels like ages.

“Potter?” Harry turns to regard his newly acquired abductee more thoroughly. It’s a daunting sight. Gone is the stylish, snappy young man with the ineffably haughty attitude. In his place is a veritable scarecrow. Harry swallows down his immediate reaction. It’ll do no good to upset Malfoy further.

Draco is nervous; Harry can sense that a league off. He’s filthy, likely starved, and nearly blue about the lips with the lingering cold of Azkaban. The thin pyjama-like prison garb he’s dressed in would’ve never served to keep his lanky body warm; the state of his hair alone is a dead giveaway. Dulled and sporting tendrils of pure silvery white ‘round the temples, it’s in a sad state, and that, more than anything else, informs Harry that rescue has come none too soon. Draco’s gabbling at him, his voice rusty from disuse:

“—insane!” He stares at Harry wild-eyed and jittery, bare feet shifting against the chill of Grimmauld’s ancient parquet flooring. "You are."

“But the good kind,” Harry replies, forcing a smile and moving to impel matters along. “Here’s a towel,” he hurries on, hastily Summoning one and shoving it pell-mell against Malfoy’s bony chest. “Shower’s upstairs, first door on your right.”

Draco accepts the towel, folding thin hands precisely about it as though it were something incredibly precious. Harry thinks he’s probably grateful, which is a jarring thing all on its own. “Clothes?” he asks. Harry clears his throat, pointing up the staircase. He’s struggling to keep a bland mien but even the dimmed sconces in the foyer are not kind to Draco.

Harry can be, though. He can be kind. He reminds himself of that fact, forcibly pushing down the welling anxiety. That, he can’t let Draco see, he just can’t.

“Second door on your right. I set up a room.” He cocks a thumb upwards, his voice gruff, another tell if Draco were looking for signs of weakness, which fortunately he’s not. He’s smiling a bit actually, and even grimy and worn thin, Draco Malfoy makes all Harry’s young blood sing in his veins. Merlin, but Harry wants him; oh, how he wants him, and now he’s got him, the Ministry be damned.

Stomping down on his urge to simply grab at Malfoy and rut up against his wiry body, mumbling something inane about food and tea, Harry makes for the kitchen as Malfoy slowly trudges up the stair case. He's cogitating as hard as he ever has in his life. There’s plenty still to think on and not much time to do it in, really.

They’re here now. What next? Harry's stolen Draco and now he just must keep on with the stealing. ‘Keep it simple’ echoes absurdly through Harry’s head and he shakes it, hard. The thought of Dawlish and the rest leaves him feeling vaguely guilty but he can’t allow time for that. Practicality is key, as Hermione would say. Grimmauld will serve for the night, maybe even a few days if Circe smiles. The cogs of the Ministry still grind slowly and the newly re-formed Auror division simply cannot respond all that quickly to the news of Malfoy’s escape.

Plus, it’ll take them a little while to sort Harry’s part in it.

Harry knows this for a fact. He’s thoughtfully taken steps to gum up the official channels of investigation by applying for a period of paid leave. Ostensibly to visit his aunt and Cousin Dudley, which should serve to divert attention away from the Continent, at least for anyone who’s not aware of the more intimate details of Harry’s life story. Naturally Ron will sort it out quickly enough but then Ron probably won’t utter a peep to Dawlish until he’s asked directly or been administered Veritaserum.

Twelve hours at Grimmauld, then, at the minimum. Maybe twenty-four in total if they’re lucky.

Harry smiles distractedly at the pan he’s busily wielding, flipping rashers with a practised twist of the wrist. Twelve will be enough; it'll have to be. Ron’s a good mate, the best of all mates, and even if he doesn’t approve of Harry’s obsession with Draco, he’ll still not willingly betray Harry. Neither will Hermione, naturally, although the Ministry’s hardly likely to manage administering Veritaserum to her. Of course, the more savvy of the Aurors will make the connection between Draco’s disappearance and Harry’s coincidental absence but that little lag between their connecting of the dots and the inevitable crossing of the ‘T’s’ on the warrants for their likewise inevitable arrests will enable the pair of them to escape to France. After France there’s an unregistered Portkey to the Americas which should suffice for the next little while.

Or rather, Harry hopes it will. Vaguely hopeful, he shrugs and keeps on cooking, spelling the full English he’s making in bits-and-pieces on to stay warm on various covered platters. What will be, will be. His plan is still a pretty decent one. Of course, there’s still Malfoy’s input to consider. There’s always Malfoy’s input to consider but Harry’s sort of counting on the remnants of his unspoken gratitude to see them through, at least for a while.

Speaking of, a clean and better-kempt Draco Malfoy strolls down the staircase, clad in Harry’s clothes. He sits and eats the food Harry has prepared for him without much fuss and only a few eye-rolls. Filling but bland it is, as Harry is mindful of what strains long-term starvation can place even on a young man’s body. And Malfoy even ultimately agrees, in principle if not in every miniscule detail, with Harry’s plan of action. Which is fleeing and hiding, really. Repeatedly. All the while time—that contrary bastard—ticks away, thickening like treacle molasses, as Harry begrudgingly awaits the inevitable moment when they‘ll touch.

The minutes spent glued together atop Sirius’s motorbike were far too fleeting and Harry’s not had the pleasure of a shower to wank in since, ta.

“You’ve shaved.” The moment’s not coming soon enough, not all on its own, even though Harry’s well aware both he and Draco are gagging for it. Taking matters in hand, he moves to stand by Draco’s chair and lets his fingers find the shape of that familiar face. It’s smooth as a baby’s bum, mostly, excepting a tiny patch of barely-there blond stubble and a responsive flash of what feels like lightning travels directly from Harry’s questing fingertips to his cock. Leaning in, he inhales a whiff of his own shampoo and body wash and damned but they smell even better having been lathered on the ex-Pride of Slytherin. “Looks good.”

“Mmm.” Draco is an obstinate prat, always has been, and he stubbornly continues eating though he murmurs approval at the warmth of Harry’s hand. Harry blinks down at him, realizing that as eager as he may be, Draco's not at ease yet. He cannot force it, the Moment. It would go against every action he's taken, every directive of his own heart.

They talk of escape, which sort of ruins any immediate chance of fucking like mad things. Resigned, Harry drifts ‘round to sit at the table, leaning his elbows casually on the work-worn surface.

Talk, talk, talk. It seems like forever and then again merely only seconds before they’re all at once glued at the mouth, snogging once more. It’s a kiss, yes, but it’s not a merely a kiss. For Harry it never could be merely anything, not when it’s Malfoy involved. So it’s a bit inevitable it leads to a few mind-altering, life-altering revelations for Harry, things that have been burbling ill-defined under the surface of his mind for ages, ever since that mind-melting moment in the lift. Or possibly ever since Sixth Year. Definitely during the cooking of breakfast.

One, Draco’s mouth is far more eloquent when he’s using it to speak to Harry in the language of kisses.

Two, he’s as much in love with Harry as Harry is with him. The way those thin fingertips clutch at Harry shout it out, louder than any Sonorus. The silvery smoke of his gaze and his uneven breathing tell Harry more: Draco’s his for the taking. They could fuck on the table right now and Draco wouldn’t say a word against it. In fact, Harry’s a little amazed Draco’s not already demanding it.

Three. Three is even better than point two, oddly enough. Three is fear and fear, that ever-present beast of burden Harry’s been lugging about since Draco was consigned summarily to Azkaban, has a way of receding when one is just nineteen, madly in love and a full-grown Wizard. In love with, not exactly coincidentally, a fucking fit fellow Wizard who’s nearly as powerfully Magical, even wandless.

Because only Magic and love together could really account for the way Harry’s feeling.

Finally, it’s that they’re going to shag soon. A real, full-on shag, on a bed, with sheets and pillows and everything. Harry just knows this, just as he knows the sun will rise and in the morning they’ll be off to France. Draco must know this, too. His Magic sighs and moans of it just at the edge of Harry’s senses.

Abruptly unhappy with the small distance of the tabletop between them, Harry’s out of his seat and planted on Draco’s lap in an instant. It might as well have been a mini-Apparate for how fast he’s there, right fucking there, grinding his arse down hard on the rigid rise of Draco’s eager cock and hell-bent on consuming him alive with tongue, teeth and fingertips.


Draco Malfoy is a rat bastard, though, through and through. He doesn’t seem to know when to shut up and keep snogging. Antarctica is not a place Harry’s sanguine about fleeing to but he’ll say anything, anything at all to turn Draco’s attention back to what actually matters—which is the getting off, of course.

“I like Antarctica,” Malfoy insists.

“We’ll talk about it,” Harry replies, hoping to appease him. Merlin, but Malfoy’s fucking annoying sometimes! Maddened, he chases after Draco’s lips even as they’re drawing away from his own, growling faintly under his breath.

“Yes, I suppose we will.” Draco says, and sits back slightly, as though there’s all the time in the world to consider and they hadn’t been just a hairsbreadth away from mutual satisfaction right there at Harry’s kitchen table.

“Oh my god, fine. Fine!” Harry’s too wound up to even care at the moment, but Draco’s insistence on talking gives him pause. He takes a moment to breathe it all in, what he’s—what they’re—doing, the consequences of it, the life they’ll be leading.

“I missed you.”

And that’s what comes ripped out of him, practically tantamount to a proposal, and Malfoy, that damnable Malfoy who really is mostly 'Draco' by now, he seems to understand what Harry is saying, even if Harry doesn’t, quite.

“With pleasure,” Draco replies smugly, leaning forward, pale lids descending over eyes so filled with sheer want the grey is completely eclipsed by the smouldering dark of his pupils. He puckers his lips, somehow managing to look both needy and demanding all at once, and Harry’s heart literally flips inside his chest at that wordless invitation. Everything Harry is feeling is right there before him, laid out like a feast for a starving man, a veritable Mirror of Erised reflection: Draco’s need, his want of Harry, his grudging fondness and admiration, his teasing, born of long-ago hatred, now reborn of love. Their mutual fascination, which has survived against all odds and only flourished. Draco doesn’t have to make sense; he’s been talking for the sake of talking, because they can now. Because they’re able.

“You. You know that.” Harry stifles a slightly hysterical giggle and cocks his head just so, his mouth coming to rest upon the warm column of Draco’s neck. “That won’t work every time.”

“Just try me, Potter,” Draco replies, neck arching as he tilts his head back further to expose it. Infuriating tease that he is. “Just try me—“

Then he moans. Outrageously. His eyes slit, and the look he spares Harry is searing as the sound shakes his thin frame.

Harry dives right back in, his lips wide open and wet as he mouths his way back to Draco's jaw. Their lips catch and catch again. They stop with all the chatting, finally. Fucking finally. Or at least cease using any intelligible words other than half-phrases like ‘Come on, come on!’ and ‘Oh, fuck, Potter—oh, Harry—just there—that’s it, you fucker.’ It’s all just the jumble of the muttering and the moaning and the gasping out of each other’s names, all manner of variations, disparate syllables mixed up interchangeably as lust and longing swamp them both. And Draco seems to find it within himself to give, to give back to Harry in full his shattered peace, his pleasure. It trails off his fingertips as they cruise through Harry’s hair, causing visible sparks from their mingled Magic, it thrums between them like the boom of a bass drum, shaking down their very bones to an age-old beat. It's the fever, still, but it's different: a sweet settled ache to replace the acid.

When Draco comes for Harry it’s the most beautiful thing, head tilted back and eyelids wrinkled shut in bliss, his jaw so tight in rictus Harry fleetingly fears for his teeth. When Harry follows, seconds after and drowning gratefully in the Amortentia scent of Draco’s freshly scrubbed body, he feels nothing but a profound rightness. He rolls with it, floating and wallowing until it eventually feels that he has to say something, anything, even if it’s inane.

“…Alright there?” he mumbles, making an abortive motion to pick at the mess in his pants. Ugh, reality.

“Mmm,” Draco murmurs, tightening his possessive grip on Harry. “Alright, Potter.”

Harry shifts a little, the minor discomfort of mutual stickiness making him fidget. But that’s alright. In actual fact it is all alright, really, every part of it and even if it weren’t, he at least is fully committed now. There’s no going back, no matter how much Hermione might whinge at him over rules-and-regulations or Ron might scowl darkly and complain of him ‘throwing away your chances, Harry!’

He thinks he’ll miss it, being an Auror, at least a little. But it’s hard to truly regret giving up a job policing on behalf of what’s essentially still a police state. And the Ministry’s simply not the fair and just body Harry had once envisioned.

The one he’d sort of died to protect, rather.

For Malfoy, though, always for Malfoy. For Draco he’d die. Though he’d much prefer to live and it may be that this little orgasm, this small sip of heady hasty euphoria, cements it, Harry’s choice, Harry’s dogged persistence. Draco’s loyalty, Draco’s love, they’re worth untold riches.

It might be also that he knows when they do finally shag for real, in a real bed, with real sheets and pillows and everything it’ll be like being married. He’ll be committed, doomed to a life sentence of unremitting Draco Malfoy, but it won’t be doom, it’ll be salvation. It might be that he’s already anticipating, that he wants it more than air, more than freedom, more than magic itself, if only to soothe the lingering acid ache in his bones and his brain and his chest their enforced separation caused him. Because fuck but Harry truly hates the Ministry, he really does, and he despises that he’s been forced into a life on the run simply because even being the One Who Defeated Voldemort buys no one a free pass when it comes to defying Ministry regulations, as illogical and arse-minded as they are.

“Erm,” Draco says, his lips brushing Harry’s earlobe. “You sure about that, Potter?”

“Yes,” Harry answers, and he is, on all counts.

Yes, he hates the Ministry. He hates the laws as written, archaic as they are, that do not allow for the fact that Draco was a minor. That Draco was framed and set up for a fall just as surely as Harry was set up to be a hero. He hates that the only way he could steal Draco back from the gaping jaws of establishment injustice was to doggedly continue on being an Auror, despite his loss of confidence, despite his outright disgust with Wizarding politics. He hates that the perversion in the Ministry exists at all, but it’s still his life and Draco’s, despite that. Above that.

It’s what Harry’s been telling himself over and over again, all these months of plotting. Literally from the moment he realized that there was no way to free Malfoy legally. Literally from the moment he ceased hearing Hermione nattering on about appeals and petitions and ‘waiting it out, Harry’.

Yes, absolutely, there’s no time left to wait. Harry has known this in his gut from the moment he sucked Draco off in the lift. And yes, well, there may be any number of twists and turns to their story, but the important thing is and always will be that it’s their story: a novel written in the margins but still every much as valid as the all the stories he and Draco have lived thus far. As are all the stories they’ll tell down the Leaky and on the Prophet’s front pages about the ’Hero Harry Potter’ running mad for the sake of one lowly Death Eater. All the tales they’ll never tell about—

“Yes.” It bears repeating because one thing Harry knows. He’s dogged as fuck and he’s not backing down, ever, even as he regains his feet and Draco in turn stands up, shoving his chair in with a rough scrape across the tile, and they shuffle in place, shyly avoiding each other’s sly stares. He and Draco are each other’s, in perpetuity, whether Draco knows it or admits it or not. No matter what happens, whether it’s an influx of Aurors or high water, a life on the run or a life spent living quietly in Quepo. Or bloody Antarctica, if it comes to that.

“About Ant—“

“Later!” Harry interrupts instantly. He knows enough that Draco’s not going to take Harry’s open avowal of adoration easily. He’ll be a git about it, no doubt, so aloud he only asks, “Um. Time for bed?”

“…Right.” Draco eyes Harry with deep suspicion. “Of course. I’ll be seeing you. Tomorrow then?”

There’s something suddenly very wrong with his expression, Harry notes. It’s as if Draco has swallowed a lemon, bitter rind and all. And that has to be fixed immediately.

“Um, no!” I’ll always be seeing you, Draco Malfoy, Harry thinks. He smiles. His berk of a beloved has got hold of the bristle-end of the broomstick, as usual. “Ahhh, actually I meant sure. Sure, as in bed. Bed as in now. Now bed, right? Terribly knackered, I am.” He fakes a yawn quickly. “You as well, I should think. So. Er, shall we? Um. Together.”

A little pause happens. Draco’s sadly suspicious look slowly disappears and is replaced with a happy gleam of comprehension.

“Oh! Ah. Yeah,” Draco’s eyes shift bloody everywhere, refusing to meet Harry’s, and it’s obvious he’s completely missed Harry’s relieved roll of eyeballs and half-hidden smirking. “Yes, bed it is. Alright.”

“Yeah?” There’s a tinge of a blush to his cheeks that Harry finds adorable.

“Right then. Potter.” Draco has developed a breathing issue, judging by the rapid rise-and-fall of his chest and his intermittent blushing. “You, uh.” He nods, jerkily. “You go first.”

Harry thinks Draco might expire on the spot from sheer embarrassment. It’s adorable.

Instead Draco sort of half-smiles as they trail up the stairs, always touching somehow even though it’s awkward. Harry fights a grin when Draco haltingly steps out of his old denims and casts aside his ancient and slightly tatty Nirvana t-shirt, consigning them to the floor outside the en suite. He’s muttering darkly all the while over ‘wankers with no innate dress sense’ and bemoaning the stray globs of come on his scarred torso his earlier wandless Scourgify missed somehow. He takes the toothbrush Harry hands him. Harry manfully tries not to choke to death laughing as they clean their teeth together, jostling for an equal share before the thankfully silent loo mirror.

He’s lost any desire to laugh when they‘re finally back inside the bedroom proper, facing down the Ancient and Honourable four-poster.

There’s nothing for it. Harry scrambles. Draco dives. Awkward becomes painful when their respective heads knock together.



Still, it’s a fucking relief to finally be in a bed together. “Um,” Draco squints at the dusty sconces on either side of the massive four-poster and pronounces a firm “Nox” as Harry grabs at the duvet to cover them.

“Ta.” Harry nods approvingly and relaxes fully into a feeling of well-being, throwing his arms around the all-elbows-and-knobby-ankles flail that is Draco Malfoy getting comfortable in an unfamiliar bed. “Hey, you,” he prods. “Closer.”

“Git,” Draco snipes, settling somewhat. “I am closer. If I get any closer I’ll be in you.”

Both of them instantly flush and the bed heats up admirably. Harry grins at it, worrying his lower lip with his teeth when Draco shifts again, this way and that, seeking a way of entwining their entangled limbs even more so. One cold hand sneakily finds its way down to Harry’s dick and grasps it, the soft pad of a thumb teasing just so.

“Er,” Draco whispers, lips wisping against Harry’s ear. “I just. I just want to—to hold it. M’kay?”

Harry nods frantically. The little thrill that spirals up his spinal cord at the thought of Draco being in him is pretty bloody brilliant. His arse aches in feral response to the very idea. Of course, the other way would be just as grand. And then there’s mouths. And fists and not the hitting sort. Hands, fingers, ankles and toes, too. All of Draco, really, in just about any way, seems perfectly wonderful to Harry.

“’Cause I could go again,” Draco continues after a moment, “if you want?” He ducks his chin down, which makes it difficult for Harry to simply nod agreement. Bloody Malfoy, always making things difficult.

“Okay,” Harry says, managing to capture Draco’s restless head long enough for a quick buss. He blinks meaningfully at Draco in the dark, attempting to express his keen interest. “Okay. I’m game. If you are.”

“But for what, Potter?” Draco asks, oh so innocently. “Exactly?”

Harry growls, smashing his mouth back against Draco’s and nipping at his nose in retaliation. “Mph!” Draco sputters, rearing back. His hand stays firmly on Harry’s cock, though. “I’m afraid you’ll need be clearer than that! Beast! Use your damned words, Potty!”

“Well,” Harry says, all the while pushing his dick more firmly into Draco’s hand, “it’s not that I don’t because I do, really, but I’m trying to say something important here, Malfoy, and it seems to me you’re a little…distracted.”

“Yes?” Draco furrows his brow. Harry can tell because he leans it against his own scarred forehead. It feels nice and Draco must agree because he stops right there. Doesn’t say anything else.

“Look,” Harry continues. “Not that I don’t like your hand where it is, but. What I’m trying to say is…” Harry has to cast about for just the right phrase. It turns into a longer pause than Draco is comfortable with, apparently.

“Yes?” he prompts, after a small eternity of moments slip away into oblivion. “Potter?”

“Look, Draco.” Harry starts and then stops, just as abruptly. It’s hard to see in the shrouded room when there’s just a smidge of ambient light seeping in from the cracks ‘round the warped door frame. He wishes Draco hadn’t snuffed the lights quite so soon because words are alright to begin with but he’s always been able to ferret out a lot more of what goes on in that blond head from Draco’s expressions. “Merlin bugger it! Lumos, Lumos Minimas! Look, I didn’t—I didn’t steal you out of Azkaban because I wanted a shag and a cuddle, alright? It’s nothing like that.”

“…No?” Harry sees Draco swallow in the sudden glow of one lone floating candle. He looks just as though he dearly wants to scoff at Harry but then miraculously he doesn’t. “No, alright.” The infamous eyebrows do quirk up, just slightly, enquiring. “Go on, then. Why did you do it, Potter? Pity?”

“Because,” Harry says, clenching his teeth and his stomach and all his muscles. “Because the world’s not right without you out in it. Because I didn’t die so you could go to prison, you utter arsehole, and because—because—!”

Harry gives into the overwhelming urge to close his eyes and block out Draco’s next facial contortion. He’s been up and down all night, and then for days and months on end before that, riding this rollercoaster of action-inaction and wanting-not having and if it’s all for naught he’s not sure he wants to know that right off. Because Malfoy could actually still say no. Malfoy could still not see. Malfoy could…Malfoy might. The possibilities are endless, what Malfoy might or might not do in the next thirty seconds.

“Please,” is what Malfoy actually says. “Harry. Please.”

“I’m throwing my lot in with you, alright?” Harry gathers his nerve about him like armour; it helps that Draco’s got a death grip hold of his shoulder with the hand that’s not still wrapped limply around Harry’s cock. “We’re criminals together now.” He laughs, wryly, almost in spite of himself. Irony, what? “Number One and Two Most Undesirable, you know? It’s like that, now.”

“I get to be Number One then,” Draco states, almost immediately. “This time.” His face takes on a most welcome glow, a general softening of all the angles and pointy bits as he says it, belying the sharpness of his claim. “Because,” he goes on, hauling Harry forward by the sheer tenacity of grip, “because you already were, once. It’s my turn, Potter.”

“Ah?” Harry can’t help but gape a bit. He’s been expecting maybe a little more fear-and-outrage and a little less ‘fuck it, I’m in, full speed ahead’ attitude but then Draco’s always a contrary git, no matter the circumstances. “Oh—okay?”

“And it’s definitely going to be Antarctica, Harry,” Draco insists staunchly, his lax fingers twitching into life around Harry’s prick. “Not fucking Quepos. I don’t like Quepos, just from the sound of it.” He sneers, pumping his palm up and down the column of Harry’s cock and deftly employing one long leg to completely anchor Harry where he evidently wants him. Which is halfway underneath him, apparently, and partially smothered. “It’ll likely be hot. And humid. Malfoys don’t do hot-and-humid, Potter.” He grins, the bastard, and pumps his hand a little harder, a little faster, waggling his eyebrows about wildly. “Not unless it’s like this, I mean. Capiche?

“Noted,” Harry agrees, feeling faint. And turned on. And not anxious at all, well at least not anymore. “Duly noted.”

“Good,” Draco says. “Shut up now.”

Harry does.

Because he wants to. And because he can’t articulate. Which is a good thing, in reality, and not something he minds particularly.

Of course, he may be bothered in the morning, when they wake up and it’s back to bickering. He may be ticked off at some other time in the future, when Malfoy’s driving him barmy in Quepos and the Ministry’s hot on their tails. He’ll probably mind a lot when he inevitably comes face to face with Dawlish or—even more horrid to contemplate—Ron in the course of their future wanderings. He’ll definitely mind a great deal if he happens to be the Undesirable the Aurors happen to capture and not Draco because that’ll be a bloody disaster, he just knows it. Harry’s no fool; he remembers Draco’s schemes from Hogwarts quite clearly.

But right now, this exact instant in time, Harry doesn’t mind, not a bit. Right now, he’s got Malfoy, all his, his, his. And Harry Potter is nothing if not sinfully dogged about keeping safe hold of what is his.