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The Mysterious D

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Harry flicks at the paper laid out on the counter, his legs crossed behind him as he leans against it. An article about the latest Ministry Ball catches his attention and he scans it for mentions of him. There's a couple of paragraphs in the middle, talking about what he was wearing, how he smiled at people, rehashing his relationship and breakup with Gin, speculating about his romantic life, his work life, his private life. Normal stuff. Nothing interesting or out of the ordinary. He sighs and looks up, gazing out of the shop window.

About a year ago, when people (and by people, he means Hermione) had finally become annoyed at his “moping”, Neville and Hannah had offered him a job in Good Fauna Thing. He’d pointed out that he didn’t know anything about flower arranging, and even less about growing plants, but they’d insisted that all he would be doing is collecting money, taking orders, and wrapping already made bunches of flowers in cellophane. Easy. He (Hermione) had accepted the job straight away.

The problem with Hermione, is that she’s usually right. The shop isn't big, but it's the most beautiful place Harry has ever been. Buckets line the side wall, filled with flowers and plants, both magical and not (“beauty doesn’t need magic to be beautiful, Harry, it already is”), a cacophony of colour and soft noise and amazing smells. The back wall is where they keep the plants that have a use, and is usually only perused by people who make potions or medicines, and the wall where the counter is has large potted plants that sometimes nuzzle against Harry when he's wrapping flowers. It's definitely his happy place.

Outside the window a couple catches his eye. They’re young, maybe just out of Hogwarts (fuck, when did he start thinking of that as young?) and clearly doing nothing more with their day than strolling around the shops. The young boy takes the girl's hand, spinning her around and wrapping his arms around her, his head resting on her shoulder in what is clearly a very intimate gesture. Harry’s stomach clenches, and he feel a horribly familiar tightening in the back of his neck. A Screechsnap head nuzzles at his hand and he coughs, turning back to his paper.

“Is there any point in employing you?” Neville says as he wanders into the main shop from the roof, his arms filled with flowers. Harry looks up and grins at him, stretching his back with a click.

“We had customers this morning,” he sighs again, flopping back onto his stool and watching as Neville arranges the flowers in a bucket near the door.

“Do you want me to help you organise the latest orders for this weekend, so Hannah can have them finished before Sunday?” Neville asks, standing up and pointlessly rubbing his hands together to get any dirt off. Harry tilts his head to one side and pushes his glasses up his nose.

“Do you need me to organise the orders for this weekend, so that Hannah can have them finished by Sunday?” He asks with a grin. Neville does this a lot. Asks if Harry would like help instead of giving him an instruction. The fact that Harry is his employee seems to escape him. Neville looks sheepish and runs his hand through his hair.

“Yes please,” he mumbles and Harry laughs, moving around the worktop and clapping Neville on the shoulder as they walk through to the back office. The couple disappear from sight, unaware that they were being watched.

-----

Draco stares into his cauldron and stirs anti-clockwise whilst counting slowly under his breath. He just needs the colour to change from murky grey to violent blue and then he can leave it to simmer and get on with stock checking. Stock checking. The worst part of his job. Behind him an old grandfather clock ticks obnoxiously, reminding him both that time is moving on and that there are no other sounds in the room. He blinks, internally sighing, and carries on stirring.

A loud crash and cry of “fuck!” startles Draco out of counting and he groans, closing his eyes and focusing as Pansy stumbles through his flat. Two more second should do it. He opens his eyes, watching the potion, and Pansy huffs into the room. He holds up one hand, stopping her from saying anything as he finishes stirring. He removes his stirrer, pointing his wand at the flame and turning it down. He sets a timer, Muggle because they sometimes do things better, and turns to Pansy. She has her hands on her hips, her perfectly curved eyebrow raised and her normally sleek bob in disarray.

“Have you thought about clearing this place out?” She growls and Draco sighs, rubbing at his eyes and standing. He takes the clipboard from next to him, tucking his wand behind his ear (yes, mother, he knows it's unsafe, but old habits die hard), and wanders through the opposite, equally crowded doorway. He hears Pansy swear at him and follow, hopefully carefully.

“I can't clear it out, I need everything here,” Draco answers her, taking a Quick-Quotes Quill from the pot by his drawers and sending it to the clipboard. The walls are lined with floor to ceiling drawers, each filled with a different ingredient and alphabetised. Because he can be organised. He takes his wand and starts to slowly lower the drawers from the top. Ok, maybe that isn't entirely true. He could probably get rid of some stuff…

“You need hundreds of newspaper clippings detailing every aspect of Potter’s life?” Pansy says, the derision clear in her voice. Draco bites the inside of his cheek. Fuck it, why did he ever show her those? Oh, yes, he didn't. She snooped through his private things in his bedroom, the only room in his flat that isn't filled with his work. He exhales loudly through his nose and looks in the drawers as they float to him.

“Aconite flower, fine,” he mumbles, his quill scratching next to him, “Aconite root, replenish. Alihotsy leaves, definitely enough of those--”

“When was the last time you left the flat?” Pansy demands from her spot in the doorway. Draco pauses, closing his eyes and breathing deeply, before ignoring her completely and going back to the drawers. Pansy evidentially gets annoyed at being ignored as she stomps into the room, standing next to Draco and summoning some of the drawers to help him with his stock check. He holds back the grin threatening to appear and continues working. After a moment of companionable muttering, Pansy stops, frowning into a drawer.

“Everything ok?” Draco asks, putting down the Mandrake leaves he was counting. Pansy tilts the drawer at him and he looks at the wilted, shrivelled Moly flowers in it. Fuck.

“Are they supposed to look like that?” Pansy asks, knowing that that aren't. Draco rubs his eyes with the heel of his hands. This is the eighth time he's had to complain to Hubbard’s Nursery about their ingredients. And Moly flowers are hard to get hold of. Pansy bites her lip in worry, because for all her complaining, she does actually care about Draco’s business, and watches Draco. “What are you going to do?” She asks.

“I'll have to complain and hope that they send back a better batch,” he sighs. They won't send back a better batch. They don't seem to have a better batch. He really should find another supplier, but how many people are really willing to deal with an ex-death eater, even if it is twelve years since the war.

“You know, I heard that Longbottom has opened a florist that does this sort of thing. Apparently, he's the best in England, maybe even the UK.” Draco doesn't miss the slanted glance Pansy gives him. Right. Longbottom’s shop. Where Harry works. He crinkles his nose and looks back at the wilted flowers. Fuck. He might not have a choice.

-----

Harry stares at the letter on the counter. It's an order, which isn't unusual, and he knows he should just file it away for Hannah or Neville to deal with (because he does actually know how to do his job), but something about it has caught his eye. It's on thick, expensive paper, but it smells faintly of damp and smoke. It's sealed with wax, who even does that anymore, but there isn't a crest in it. And, perhaps most importantly, there's no name. Just a simple D. For a second he thought it was, maybe… but no. It wouldn't be. He wouldn't hide behind a letter, not with his arrogance.

And so, the letter remains a mystery. The contents are simple enough. Complaining about a current supplier without giving a name (Harry guesses Hubbard’s, fucking idiots), and asking if they are able to supply some relatively rare ingredients (which they are). They even end with a compliment about Neville’s horticultural abilities. Definitely not Malfoy then. Harry flops back onto his stool and frowns at the letter, crossing his arms. He should file it away. The mystery person has asked for Moly flowers, among other things. Harry knows enough from working with Neville and Hannah for so long to know that they are rare and hard to grow. Neville could probably do it with his eyes closed, but the sooner he knows, the better.

He picks it up, feeling the weight of the paper in his hand, and looks at the writing. It looks somewhat familiar, but then it's just very good, slightly curvy writing. Fuck, it could be Hermione’s for all he knows. And the D isn't giving anything away. It could be literally anyone with a name beginning with D. If they were asking for more dangerous ingredients then he'd probably write back and press for a name. But really, liquorice root, dittany, wiggantree bark, shrivelfig leaves, flobberworm mucus, and Moly flowers. They're probably a Healer. Or run an apothecary. One of those ones that makes medicines as well as selling raw ingredients. It's a fairly big order. If they're impressed with Neville’s plants, and they will be, it could become a regular thing. They could be doubling their yearly income.

Harry sighs, walking towards the back office. He'll file the order, then Nev can decide what to do with it. And if Harry must send a little note back with the order… well then, he'll just do that.

-----

The box arrives a week after he'd sent the letter. He'd had a cursory owl to say that order had been received and would probably be shipped in the next week. Which was nice, else he would have had a week of sitting in his flat, sweating. As it was he'd had a week sitting in his flat… well, sweating. He should have used a fake name. Something like ‘Matthew’ or ‘Thomas’. Something that could have been anyone. Knowing Harry, the D would have been interesting. And he likes to think that after nearly two decades of watching (no, Pansy, not stalking) Harry, he does know him.

So, when the box arrives, wrapped in brown paper, he doesn't know if he's relieved or nervous. He picks at string, watching as it slowly unravels, the paper falling open. There are six large, perfect boxes under strong Statis charms, with a neat, crisp note on the top. He flicks his wand, sending the boxes through to the stock room, his eyes never leaving the note. He knows he should deal with the delivery. His space is messy enough, and they really shouldn’t be kept under Statis for so long. But the note. It’s probably from Longbottom. Probably. Why would Harry send a note to him? It’s probably just a summary of the order. It’s probably nothing.

He plucks it from where it’s resting on the table. It doesn’t have a seal. It’s just folded in half, almost haphazardly. But it’s clean, and the paper is thick. His fingers are numb and his heart pounds in his ears. It’s probably nothing. Biting his lip, he opens the note. His shoulders sag as he read the neat print, clearly written using a Quick-Quotes Quill.

Dear D,

Thank you for your order. We here at Good Fauna Thing hope that you find the items satisfactory, and will continue to use our services in the future. If there is anything else we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are a small, independent nursery, but can grow many rare plants at your request.

Regards,

Harry at Good Fauna Thing

Right. So, there was nothing to worry about. He sighs, dropping the letter on the table and slumping into a chair. He was worried about nothing. Harry isn’t interested in his lack of name. He’s a professional. Clearly. And Draco isn’t about to think about why he’s so disappointed. Nope. He’s going to bury that feeling deep, deep, deep down. Just like he always has. He rubs his face and stands up, ready to organise his new stock.

Glancing back at the note, he stops. On the back is a messy scrawl, in thick black pen (yes, ok, Muggles do a lot of things better than Wizards), and Draco’s heart leaps into his throat. He flops back down onto his chair, taking the letter with a horribly shaky hand, and staring at the words swimming in front of him.

You know, I should probably ask you who you are and what you do for a living before selling you anything. But I’m guessing you probably want to be anonymous for a reason. It better be a good fucking reason because I will be in so much trouble if you’re doing something illegal. Shit. I didn’t mean that. Ignore me. I guess I know how that feels. To want to be anonymous. Anyway. Yeah. If you need anything else, Nev is pretty awesome with plants. And we’re pretty good with keeping secrets too. You won’t believe what some people order. There’s this witch who likes to get aphrodisiac to… Fuck. Ignore that too. Ok. Fuck. Maybe you should just ignore this whole thing. It’s just… well, I’m pretty curious, so if you did want to tell us who you were, we wouldn’t tell anyone else. Yeah. Anyway. Hope the plants are the best. They usually are.

Harry

Draco groans, banging his head on the table, the letter clutched in his hand. Well. Fuck.

-----

Harry sighs and sits back on his stool, swirling a little. He shouldn’t have sent the note. He’s been on edge all week. And Neville and Hannah haven’t been any help. Although, they have been more help then Hermione and Ron who just stared at him with worried looks in their eyes. No, Neville and Hannah have been sort of attempting to help Harry solve the mystery of who D is. Although judging by the way Hannah plonks his tea down in front of him, spilling a little on the order, he’s guessing they might be getting bored of it. Neville starts to shuffle through the post, which is technically Harry’s job, and Harry smiles at him, looking down at the order.

“I think the best way to find out who it is, is probably just asking,” Hannah sighs, wrapping her hands around her tea.

“I did!” Harry whines, stroking at the edge of the order. Hannah reaches over and pats his hand, and he gives her a sad smile. His heart is pounding and his ears are ringing. He’s stressed. Why is he stressed? He’s a fucking war hero. This mystery should not be stressing him out.

“Failing that you could always read this letter and see if they’ve given you any more clues,” Neville smirks, holding out a letter to Harry. Harry jumps, plucking it from Neville’s hand and ripping it open. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Neville settle against the desk and Hannah perch on the edge of a chair. The back of Harry’s neck tingles and feels tight and he takes a deep breath, looking down at the neat swirl.

Dear Harry,

Thank you for the offer, but trust me, it’s better that you don’t know who I am. And that isn’t a slight on your ability to keep secrets. We’ll pretend I don’t know about the woman and her aphrodisiacs. I just think… well, you said it really. It’s nice to have a bit of anonymity. I’m fairly well known and that can sometimes cause problems. I’m sure you’re aware. I can promise I’m not doing anything illegal or untoward.

I know this probably doesn’t mean very much, especially coming from me, but sometimes hiding doesn’t do us any good. I know people are complete fucks, and probably won’t leave you alone, but remember… they can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. I don’t think anyone can make you do anything, Harry.

Anyway. The ingredients are fantastic. I’ll probably be sending you another order next week. Send my thanks to Mr Longbottom.

D

Harry sighs, biting his lips as he reads the letter over and over. Fuck it! He’s going to have to write back. He lays it on the desk and Hannah and Neville lean over to read it. A minute later Neville looks up at him, taking his tea.

“It could be Malfoy,” Neville says leaning back against the counter, his mug of steaming tea in his hands. Harry looks down into his own mug and ignores the way his chest clenches slightly. He really needs to stop drinking so much tea. It’s making his body do weird things. Pushing his mug away he shuffles uncomfortably on the spot as subtly as he can. A Screechsnap head nuzzles at his side and he glances at it, hoping Neville and Hannah haven’t noticed. It glances up at him and he smiles. Leaning over the letter, he fondles the corner absentmindedly, staring at the swirling, elegant D.

“I don't think so,” he mutters, not looking up, “he's too arrogant to sign a letter anonymously, or to even ask for your help in the first place.” He looks up in time to see the look Neville shoots at Hannah. He frowns at the two of them, standing straighter and crossing his arms, the order hanging loosely between two fingers. “What?”

“Nothing,” Hannah jumps, shaking her head a little too vigorously. Harry raises an eyebrow at her, the air around them full of static. Hannah’s shoulders slump and she settles into her chair, not meeting Harry’s eyes. “Fine… it’s just. Well, Draco has changed a lot since school. I think that, maybe, if you got to know him--”

“Han, no offence, and I love you, but I don’t think we would get along, even if he has changed.” Harry frowns, ignoring the twisting in his stomach. No. There’s no way that he’d get along with Malfoy. Yeah, sure, according to Pansy, Malfoy’s grown up sort of hot, objectively. If Harry didn’t know him. But Harry does know him. And he’s a knobhead. And, ok, they haven’t actually spoken in over a decade, but Harry can just tell. People like that don’t just change.

“No, but I really think…” Hannah trails off as Harry stares at her. She hops off her chair, growling, “You know what. I give up. Neville, he’s all yours.” Hannah gives Harry another look before stalking out of the room. Harry sighs, running his hand through his hair. It’s not Malfoy, he’s sure of it. And Hannah is wrong. He wouldn’t get on with Malfoy. He didn’t before, he definitely won’t now.

“Well…” Neville starts and Harry levels a glare at him. He holds his hands up, grinning, and turns to follow his wife, ignoring the finger that Harry sends his way.

-----

He shouldn't have sent a letter back. There was no need. He could have pretended that he didn't see Harry’s note and then continued to order stock from Good Fauna Thing whilst suppressing every thought or feeling he has. Just like a good pure-blood. But no. He had to write a fucking letter back. He had to engage. Pansy’s right. He has a serious problem.

And right now, his serious problem is sitting on his dining room table amongst his current orders ready to be sent out.

He reaches out and picks up the letter that arrived that morning. He recognised Harry’s scrawl almost immediately. He really does have the worst handwriting in the world. Draco’s fingers tingle as he strokes the corners of the letter. He hasn’t opened it yet. He doesn’t know if he can. If he opens it, he’ll have to read it, and then he’s officially engaging in conversation with Harry Potter. His stomach swoops and his tongue sticks to the roof of his mouth. He can’t really remember the last time he had a conversation with someone that wasn’t Pansy. Or his mother. Not that he lets his mother come to his flat. She’d cry if she saw the way he lives. He ignores that thought and opens the letter.

D,

Ok. Anonymity. I can be cool with that. Fucking hell, no I can’t. Yes! I can. I get it. Honestly, I do.

It is a bit unfair though. I don’t know anything about you apart from that you’re maybe the owner of an apothecary? And that you have nice handwriting. And that you’re not Hermione. Sorry. That probably only makes sense in my head.

So, I dunno, how about this? You tell me three things about yourself, and I’ll promise to try not to try and figure out who you are.

And… thanks. I guess I am pretty good at doing what I want.

Anyway! I’ll tell Nev you say thanks. Let us know about the next order.

Harry

His heart jumps into his throat and he flops onto a chair, narrowly avoiding sitting on a pile of orders. Harry wants to get to know him. His whole body feel numb, Harry’s words running around his head. How is that possible? How can Harry want to get to know him? He’s never tried to get to know him before. Not that Draco goes out much in order for Harry to get to know him. Pansy has asked, of course she has, but he can’t bring himself to leave the safety of his flat. That’s why he’s a mail order apothecary. Because then he doesn’t have to talk to people. And yes, Pansy, it is healthy.

Rufus, one of his messenger owls, screeches at him from the window, startling him from his stupor. He gets up, the letter still clutched in his hand and attaches one of the parcels to be sent out to the Rufus’s leg, giving him a treat and a tickle under the chin before letting him go off. He looks back at the letter, now crumpled in his hand and sighs. He shouldn’t answer it. Answering it would be bad. He turns to watch Rufus disappear into the distance.

Fuck it. He’s not known for doing good things.

-----

“He’s obsessed!” Ron shouts over his pint, jostling it slightly and spilling some on the table. Hermione rolls her eyes, whipping her wand out and vanishing the spill. Harry scowls at him. He’s not obsessed.

“He’s lonely!” Hermione retorts and he turns his scowl to her. He is not lonely!

“I’m right here,” he growls. Hermione stares at him, her eyebrows raised in that knowing way. He never should have told them about the letters. Although… well, he’s never kept anything from them before, and he isn’t about to start now. Especially when he can’t fucking figure out who sends him the letters. He also can’t figure out how he feels about them, but every time he gets a new one his stomach twists and he can feel the adrenaline tickle down his spine.

“Sorry, mate, but you have to admit you’re a little obsessed. It’s like the fucking Malfoy thing all over again.” Ron leans back, looking smug. Around him everyone laughs, Ginny guffawing loudly, Pansy chuckling, her eyes bright, Neville bending and tapping on the table. Even Blaise smirks from where he’s sipping wine in the corner. Sometimes his friends are dicks.

“I am not obsessed!” He shouts, a little louder than he meant to. A couple of other people look at him with interest and he gives them a wry smile before turning back to his friends with a glare. Wankers. All of them. He doesn’t have a nice friend. Even Luna’s abandoned him tonight.

“Where are the letters?” Pansy asks, leaning forward and wiping a tear from her eye. He feels the heat rise in his cheek, his neck aching as they all turn to look at him, grins on their faces and knowing looks in their eyes. He looks down, fiddling with the corner or his coaster, ripping the cardboard into tiny pieces and letting them fall into his lap.

“They’re… in my pocket…” he mumbles and they all howl around him, clearly enjoy this way too much. It’s not his fault he has them in his pocket! He lives with half the degenerates at the table. If he’d left them at home they probably would have found them and done something shit. Like write back to D. He has them for his own safety! And for D’s. Fuck knows what this lot would say to him. Or her. Or them.

“Oh, Harry…” Hermione sighs, wrapping her slender fingers around his wrist and giving his arm a little rub. He slumps, taking a swig of his beer and trying to ignore the worry in her voice. He doesn’t want to worry her. He glances at Ron and Ron gives him a small nod before leaning forward and clapping him hard on the back. Hermione jumps out of her concern and gives the two of them a small smile.

“I rest my case.” Ron grins at the rest of the table and Harry groans, thunking his forehead down onto the wood. It’s sticky and oddly warm, but at least he doesn’t have to look at any of their smug faces. The floor is littered with his coaster confetti. He should pick it up, or Tom will have his head. Which actually might be preferable. At least then he wouldn’t have to listen to his horrible friends.

“Oh, come on Ron, be fair. This mysterious person is writing back. It’s not obsession, it’s just a pen pal.” He hears Blaise drawl, sounding as bored as he probably looks. It’s taken a few years, but Harry is just about figuring out how to tell the difference between Blaise’s feigned indifference and actual boredom. Unfortunately, he’s actually genuinely interested in the letter. Just like they all are.

“Blaise, mate, I love you, but you’re bloody deluded if you think that he isn’t staring at those letters as he falls asleep at night. He’s fucking obsessed.” Ron shouts across the table, too loudly. Harry really doesn’t want everyone knowing about the letters. It’s bad enough that his friends know about them. If everyone knows he might suddenly find himself with hundreds of letters. And anyway, he does not stare at the letters as he falls asleep. He carefully reads through them as he tries to figure out who send them, and sometimes writes back. He very rarely falls asleep whilst he’s reading them. And he almost never has dream about the writer (dreams where the writer is beautifully tall and lean, with shining blond hair and elegant hands. Exactly Harry’s type). He looks up, rubbing his head with one hand to try and get rid of the indent.

“I think that if the person wasn’t responding we could call it obsession, but they are…” Neville puts in, leaning back in his chair and looking far too relaxed. Neville always looks relaxed now-a-days. It suits him, gardening and married to Hannah and owning his own business. Being an adult.

“Ah, but we only have Harry’s word for that,” Ginny points out and Harry bites the inside of his cheek, hard. Fuck it, they’re going to want to see the letters. His letters. He squashes the possessive flare that rises in his chest. They’re just letters.

“Can we see them?” Pansy asks and he feels everyone shuffle slightly closer. He looks around at them, pushing his glasses up his nose, one hand wrapping around the letters in his pocket.

“Will it get you lot to shut up?” he asks.

“No,” they chorus back and he sighs, flopping back in his seat. They’re not going to stop. They’ll bug him about the letters all evening and he won’t be able to have a proper night out. And he really needs a proper night out. Too many days spent in near silence in the shop is starting to make his head go funny. He’s actually named one of the Screechsnap heads. Minnie. It’s not good.

“Fine.” He rolls his eyes, digging into his pocket and pulling the letters out. He lays them carefully on the table and the gannets that he calls friends pounce on them. He sits on his hands to stop himself from snatching them back. They’re letters. He doesn’t need to protect them. He’s pretty much memorised the information in them anyway. Eventually the group lean away, glancing at each other, the air heavy with unsaid things.

“This bloke is clearly as obsessed as you are,” Ron states finally, leaning back in his chair, his arms crossed over his chest. Harry groans, thunking his head back down on the table.

-----

“Draco Lucius Malfoy, where the fuck are you?” Pansy’s voice rings through his flat, and Draco freezes. He raises his head from the book he was reading to see Pansy barrel into his living room. He puts the book down, frowning at his friend.

“Evening,” he says. She does not look happy. Her hands are clenched, her deep red nails digging into the flesh, and her eyes are stormy. He hasn’t seen her this angry is a while. Not since the last time she tried to convince him to leave the flat. But he doesn’t need to leave the flat, as he’d explained to her. He gets his food shopping owled in and he runs a mail-order apothecary. Being at home is basically a necessity for him. Pansy moves closer to him and he uses all his Malfoy upbringing to not cower back.

“Don’t ‘evening’ me. Why the fuck are you writing letters to Harry fucking Potter,” she demands. He freezes. Shit. How does she know? He’s been so careful, keeping them in his pocket rather than anywhere she might go snooping around. He’s only been using Pip, his smallest delivery owl, to send letters to Harry because he usually uses Apollo to deliver letters to Pansy. He’s been fucking careful. He shakes his head slowly, raising an eyebrow.

“I’m not--”

“Don’t bullshit me. I’ve seen the letters. I watched you write for seven years at school. I know what your writing looks like.” She moves her hands to rest on her hips and glares at Draco. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. That isn’t fair. Harry wasn’t supposed to show people the letters. Shame spreads through him, making him hot and clammy. He fidgets slightly, not sure if he should feel embarrassed or angry. Although, knowing Harry (which he definitely does now), he was probably forced into showing the letters. Draco gets the impression that they’re just as important to Harry as they are to Draco. Pansy coughs, bringing his attention back to the fuming woman in his living room.

“Fine…” he slouches back on his sofa and rubs his eyes with the tips of his fingers. This conversation is not going to go well. Her eyes flicker over his face and his skin prickles. He’s never been very good at lying to Pansy, not really. It’s always been much easier to just withdraw from her company, but ever since the war… well, she’s never let him do that again.

“So… why are you writing him letters?” Her voice is softer as she folds herself onto the sofa next to him, wrapping her arm around his shoulders. He relaxes into her, trying to think of the answer to her question. Why is he writing to Harry? He knows he should stop, that what started as a simple order has become so much more, but he can’t. Harry sends him letters back. They talk about everything, music and books, Muggle London versus Wizarding London, favourite school subjects, their jobs, Harry’s friends, little things about their past (although Draco is very careful not to reveal too much), thoughts on the war. Everything.

“Because… because he wants to talk to me.” He hates how small his voice sounds, but he can’t help it. Harry wants to talk to him. Harry Potter. The same Harry Potter who turned away his friendship at eleven, who Draco antagonised all throughout school just so that Harry would look at him, who saved his life more times that Draco wants to think about.

“Draco…” Pansy runs her long fingernails through his hair and gently over his scalp and he leans into it a little.

“I know. But, after all this time, Harry Potter wants to talk to me,” he mutters, turning to look at her, pleading. She twists her mouth, her red lips pursed, as she watches him. He’s pathetic. Obviously. There is no way that Harry would want to talk to him if he actually knew just how pathetic. Pansy takes a deep breath, her fingers stopping their soft movements, and raises an eyebrow.

“But, Draco--”

“No, Pansy!” he interrupts. Her shoulders become rigid, she hates being interrupted, but he shakes his head at her, leaning into her more, “Please, let me have this.” She pauses, nodding once before her fingers start moving again.

“Fine. But you have to do something for me.”

-----

Pub nights are Harry’s favourite night of the week. What started out as a way to make sure that Hermione didn’t work too hard on her way to becoming Chief of Medicine at St Mungos turned into a weekly get-together of all their friends. And then when, a couple of years after they’d left Hogwarts, the Slytherins had wandered through the door it had sort of made sense to invite them for a drink. To get over the past. To move on from the war. And then Ginny had got with Blaise that Christmas and their group was formed. And they come to the pub every week for a catch up. Always him, Hermione and Ron, and usually Gin and Blaise, Neville and Hannah, Pansy sometimes drags her new boyfriend along, sometimes George shows up, Luna comes when she isn’t in another country with Rolf. It’s nice. Harry smiles to himself and relaxes back into his chair.

Until Draco fucking Malfoy walks into the pub.

“What is he doing here?” he hisses to Hermione, wrapping his fingers around her arm and jerking her from her conversation with Ginny. Hermione scowls at him before turning to look at the door where Malfoy is now standing looking awkward, Pansy next to him. Fucking Pansy. She can’t be dating Malfoy. Surely not. Harry looks back at the other man. He’s tall. Very tall. Elegant. He’s wearing a soft looking black jumper and sinfully tight dark jeans. He shouldn’t be wearing Muggle clothes. He hates Muggles. His hair shines in the low light of the pub, looking like a halo around his face which is… fuck it, it’s hot. Angular and strong, even though his eyes are rimmed with dark circles and his skin seems so white it’s almost translucent. It’s not fair. He can’t look almost dead and fucking gorgeous at the same time. Prick.

“Looks like Pansy managed to finally get him to come out of the flat.” Hermione’s voice startles him from his blatant ogling and he whips his head to scowl at her.

“What?” he snaps and Hermione pries her arm from his grip and gestures to where Pansy is dragging Malfoy through the crowded pub whilst simultaneously gesturing to Blaise to get her and Malfoy a drink. Harry shakes his head at Hermione, something in his brain not working. It feels slow. And his stomach is doing something weird. And his hands are shaking, why are his hands shaking?

“Pansy’s been trying to get him to leave the flat for years now… you know he has that--”

“Look what I brought to the party!” Pansy calls as she arrives at their table, shoving Malfoy forward. Malfoy scowls at her before shuffling on the spot, running his hand along his arm. He looks nervous. Except Malfoys don’t get nervous, because they’re arrogant arseholes.

“Why?” Harry demands, ignoring the way Malfoy flinches at his harsh tone, and Hermione slaps him around the back of the head, “Ouch!”

“It’s great to see you here, Draco.” She turns to smile at Malfoy and Malfoy’s shoulders seem to relax slightly. He gives her a small smile and opens his mouth to say something, before closing it again quickly as Ron slides into the chair next to Ginny, frowning up at Malfoy. Because Ron knows. Ron is apparently the only one with any sense here!

“What’s he doing here?” Ron asks, and Malfoy flinches again. Ginny smacks Ron’s head and he yelps, “Ouch!”

“I, uh… I can go…” Malfoy shuffles again, not making eye contact with any of them. He probably thinks they aren’t worthy of looking him in the eye or something like that.

“No!” The women all call in unison and Malfoy’s head whips up as he looks at them, his eyes wide. He looks like a deer caught in the headlights. It’s sort of adorable. But it’s not. Because it’s Malfoy. Shit. Harry does not think that Malfoy is adorable. His trousers are starting to feel slightly uncomfortably tight in some sort of defiance and he shifts in his seat as he glares at… well, at everyone. The air is thick and everyone is silent as they look at each other.

“Ah, Draco! Long time, no see,” Blaise says with more enthusiasm than Harry has ever heard him use. He claps Malfoy on the shoulder and forces him to sit down in a seat before gracefully folding into the one next to him, wine in hand, “Help me finish this 1936 elf made Merlot. These plebs don’t know how to drink properly.”

-----

Draco has another letter. It arrived as he was eating breakfast. He's propped it up against his glass of pumpkin juice and is staring at it as he absentmindedly chews his cereal. In order for Harry to have sent the letter this morning he must have written it when he got home from the pub last night. Or he woke up very early. Unwanted (almost) images of Harry waking early, his unruly hair wild and beautiful, his eyes sparkling and full of sleep as he writes to Draco spring into his mind and he takes another bite of cereal.

It had been a good night, considering what a disaster he thought it would be. He’d spent far too much time choosing his outfit (a plain t shirt and semi-smart trousers) when Pansy had arrived and forced him into a pair of jeans that were far too tight and a cashmere jumper that he definitely couldn't afford anymore. And when he'd got to the pub there had been an awkward moment where neither Harry nor Weasley had seemed happy to have him there. But then Hermione had smiled at him and Ginevra had slapped Weasley around the head and Blaise had arrived with exceptionally good wine.

He keeps playing the highlights of the evening around in his head. Hermione laughing at a comment he made before he could stop it from slipping from his mouth. Ginevra talking to him about Quidditch. Blaise catching him up with what everyone had been doing. Pansy pointing out the way Harry kept staring at him when they were at the bar. Weasley and him having a somewhat tense and then very relaxed conversation about politics (Weasley wants to be Minister. Who would have thought?) which helped him demonstrate how much he'd changed. And then, finally, like a shining cherry on top of a delicious cake, a long conversation with Harry about nothing and everything, where Draco was sure he was being flirted with. Not that it's happened in a long time.

And now the letter. He drops his spoon with a clang and picks up the letter, opening it before he can stop himself.

Hey D,

Last night was pub night, as you know, and I had a horrible surprise. Ok, I lie. It wasn’t horrible. It was actually a sort of nice surprise. I’m very confused. I know, I know, I'm not making sense. Let me explain.

There’s this guy who I went to school with, Draco Malfoy. You might have heard about him? Anyway, I think it’s fair to say that at school we did not get along. He was arrogant and racist and a massive prick. He made some really stupid choices, mainly to appease his dad (also a huge prick), I think. I can’t really blame him for the bad decisions, I can’t, it’s why I testified as his trial. Shit. Don’t tell anyone that. He doesn’t know, and I’d really like to keep it that way.

Anyway, so even though I testified for him, I still don’t exactly like the guy. Or at least, I didn’t think I did. But last night Pansy, I think I told you about Pansy, brought Malfoy along with her. Apparently, she’s been trying to get him out of the house for a while. I have no idea why. But he was there. At the pub. On pub night.

I tried to ignore him, but the bellend has grown up fucking fit. All tall and lean. And he was wearing this jumper and it kept clinging. So much clinging. And then he said something that made Hermione laugh and I just don’t think I could hate him anymore. Hermione doesn’t laugh much, it’s nice to see it happen. Ron went and did a recce, and it seems that Malfoy has changed his opinions on… well, basically everything. It was sort of sad. He seemed to be so unrelaxed at the start of the night, like he couldn’t just let himself say anything without being scared that he’d say the wrong thing.

And he just looked so fucking hot. So, fuck it, I flirted with him. And chatted to him. And, y’know, maybe he’s alright, just like everyone’s been saying. Fuck it, I hate when they’re right. Maybe I should give him a chance. What do you think?

Harry

Fuck.

-----

Harry’s been waiting. And waiting. And waiting. If there’s one thing that he’s really shit at, it’s waiting. He opens his window, for possibly the hundredth time, and looks out. Nope. Not a single owl. He’s starting to look mad. Ok, maybe not starting. He’s probably been looking a little mad for the past few hours. Staring out of a window in the middle of the day looking for a fucking owl. Not to mention his hair (the less said about it, the better), or the bags under his eyes (that’s what you get from not sleeping, or the crack in his lip from where he keeps biting it (no, he is not nervous).

Maybe he shouldn’t have written to D. But last night he’d been flirting with Malfoy. Actually flirting. He hadn’t meant to. Obviously. But Malfoy had looked really, really good and he was being so nice. And it’s been a long time since Harry’s had a shag. And he was pretty sure that Malfoy was flirting back. It was nice. More than nice. Exciting. Not that he’s making excuses.

Ok, he’s making excuses. He’s been feeling guilty ever since he got home, a sort of twisting guilt that makes his head spin and his neck ache. Which is ridiculous. He is not in a relationship with D. D is a… what did Blaise call it? A pen pal. Harry was not cheating on him by flirting with someone else. Not at all.

Although, that didn’t stop him from writing to D at three in the morning. He’d been staring at the ceiling for hours, stiff with awkwardness, and guilt running through him. He doesn’t really know why he did it. Maybe because he tells D everything? It’s a sobering thought. All he knows is that he felt a little bit better the second he sent Rudiment (never letting Ginny name an owl again) off. Less twingy. Except now D isn’t writing back and he’s worried that he’s right. That maybe he has cheated on D. No. That’s a stupid thought. He leaves the window and slouches down in his chair.

He should get a cup of tea. Maybe some toast. He should do something. He should move. He should not sit here and do nothing but wait for an owl that might not be coming. D might be working. He’d just ordered a huge delivery from Neville. Maybe he’s organising his work. Making new potions. Maybe he hasn’t got the letter. Maybe Rudiment has eaten it. She hasn’t done that for a few years, but you never know.

A tap on the window makes Harry look up. Pip, D’s very small delivery owl, is standing on the window ledge, his head cocked to one side. Next to him Rudiment scowls, shoving through the window and settling on her perch. Harry doesn’t want to know what arguments might have happened at D’s. He gets up, taking a small treat from the bowl next to the window and undoes the letter from Pip’s leg with shaking hands. Pip stares at him. He didn’t think owls could raise one eyebrow, but it seems like he was wrong. He smiles at the owl, giving it the treat and flopping back into his chair to stare at the letter. No point in procrastinating opening it. D is going to say whatever he says and then Harry will just have to deal with it.

Dear Harry,

Sounds like you had an interesting night. And is that a bad thing? You met someone who you haven’t seen in a long time, and they’d changed. I expect there are very few people who you know now who are the same as they were when they were children.

I’m happy that you found Draco Malfoy so agreeable. And that you perhaps, liked him a little more than just a friendly acquaintance? I should think that any feeling you have are reciprocated. I’m sure of it.

The question isn’t so much what you should do, but more how do you feel? If you like him, then perhaps there is no reason for you to pursue it. Unless there is, and you’ve just not told me? Why would you not date Draco Malfoy, Harry?

I’m sorry if I haven’t been very helpful. Write soon

D x

Harry lets go of the breath he didn’t know he was holding and stares at the tiny little x next to the swirling D. A kiss. D has put a kiss. He’s never put a kiss before. What does it mean? Harry growls, crumpling the letter slightly. A kiss means something. Surely it does. But what? And what did he mean how does Harry feel? He’s supposed to be the one who helps Harry figure out how he feels. How the fuck should Harry know?

He stands up, pacing the room. He needs to write back. He needs to demand that D tell him what he meant by the kiss. Does D want to meet? Does he want to kiss Harry in real life? Harry slams into his chair next to his desk, scrambling for a pen and piece of paper. Fuck D with his kiss. Harry will show him!

He doesn’t stop to think before sending Rudiment off into the distance.

-----

They’re sat in his living room, the letters spread out on the floor in front of them. He’d been looking at them when Pansy had barged into his flat, and it’s basically impossible to get that woman to do anything she doesn’t want to do. So, he thought he might as well let her try and help. Not that she’s being very helpful. She’s mainly sitting on the sofa drinking his wine. His very expensive wine that his mother sent him from France.

“Ok, so let me get this straight. You two flirted all night on Friday?” Pansy asks him, looking over her glass of wine. Draco sighs, rubbing his hand over his face, his eyes aching and his head swirling.

“For all the time we were talking, yes,” he affirms. Pansy nods slowly, looking down at the letters.

“And then he sends you – D – a letter telling him – you – that he flirted with you. And that he thinks you’re fit?” she asks.

“…Yes,” Draco says after a moment. That sounds about right. To be honest he’s been thinking about it since he got Harry’s letter this afternoon. It’s a mess a whole stupid mess that he totally could have avoided if he hadn’t been so worried about Neville Longbottom not wanting to sell him harmless ingredients.

“Right.” Pansy nods again, taking a long drink from her glass. Draco stares down at the letters, crossing his legs and curling up into his arm chair. He knows it’s uncouth, but it’s also Pansy. He sips his own glass of wine and glances up at Pansy.

“Yeah…”

“And then he sent you a letter that said what?” Pansy asks, toeing at the letters and shuffling them around. Draco’s chest tightens. They’re his letters. His special letters from Harry. Proof that Harry fancies him, likes him, wants to be with both him and D. It ridiculous to feel so connected to them. But, he is. He closes his eyes, resting his head against the back of his chair. He knows the letters like he’s written them himself.

“‘Can you really think of no reasons why I shouldn’t date Malfoy? Can you really say that and then write a kiss at the end of your letter?’” he mutters. He shouldn’t have put the fucking kiss. He hadn’t meant to. It had been so natural to do it. Like it was the way things were supposed to be. The only other people he writes letters to are Pansy and his mother and he puts kisses on the ends of those letters. Why not the one to Harry. He ignores the glaringly obvious reason of ‘because he’s never done it before’.

“So, what are you going to do?” Pansy asks. He can feel his cheeks heat up and he knows Pansy will be able to see the blush. Fuck his stupid, fucking pale skin. He has a plan. Of course, he has a plan. He’s a Slytherin. He’s a Malfoy. He’s not an idiot. The second Harry sent the first letter about flirting with him at the pub he had a plan. Not that he’s going to tell Pansy that.

“I’m not going to do anything!” He almost winces at the sound of his own voice, too loud, too shrill. She’ll pick up on it in a second. Ok, so maybe he’s a little rusty at being a Malfoy. Maybe that’s not a bad thing.

“Draco…” Pansy glares at him and he stares back at her.

“Pansy.”

“You’re just going to ignore the fact that he has admitted to liking both the written you and the real you?” She leans forward, her wine swilling around the glass, threatening to slop over the side of her glass. Draco sighs, taking the glass from her hand and placing it on the coffee table next to her.

“No…” he mutters. He can feel her eyes on him. Shit, he really should have hidden the letters away and lied about writing to Harry.

“So, what are you going to do?” she demands and Draco sits up straighter. He runs his finger along the edge of his glass, the clear crystal shrill filling the room and focusing him. He raises one eyebrow at her, smirking slightly. Yes. His head might be spinning, his back might ache, he might have sore wrists from continuous potion stirring (yes, that’s all Pansy), but he’s still a fucking Malfoy. He can still look down his nose at people in deflection.

“I think you’ll find that what I’m going to do is none of your business,” he sneers in his very best Malfoy voice. For a moment Pansy freezes, her eyes wide, and Draco knows she’s reminded of how he used to be. Not necessarily a good thing, but necessary to get her off his back. And then he feels the smirk crack slightly and Pansy relaxes back into the sofa, snatching at her wine again.

“I think you’ll find that what you’re going to do is definitely my business,” she smirks back at him, her eyes shining, “But, y’know, if you don’t want to tell me, I can always go and talk to Harry about it. Maybe he’d like to know about the picture of him you keep under your pillow and wank to?” Fuck. He’d forgotten she knew about that picture. Not that he wanks to it. He just… looks at it sometimes. Reminds himself that he wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for that person smiling out of the picture. Reminds himself that Harry Potter does not save evil people, and that he has to work every day to be a better person. Pansy coughs slightly and he rolls his eyes.

“Fine!” He puts his glass down, cringing at what he’s been doing, what he’s going to do. He is definitely not being the better person in this instance. “I’m going to use my position as Harry’s confidant to convince him that dating me would be a great idea.” Pansy grins at him, downing her wine and putting the glass on the coffee table with a flourish.

“Now there’s the Draco I love and missed,” she sings, and Draco is unable to stop his grin.

-----

Harry is sitting on the floor at Good Fauna Thing, talking to Minnie. He has not gone mad. He needs to talk to someone, and he’s also not an idiot. He can tell when his friends are getting fed up with him. And they’re getting fed up. So now he’s talking to the plants. There aren’t any customers in anyway, so it doesn’t matter. It’s not like anyone is going to walk in without him knowing and see him talking to a plant. Harry’s puts a chime ward up to let him know if someone approaches the front door. See. Forward planning.

“He hasn’t responded, which makes me think he doesn’t like me. Maybe I was wrong, y’know. But he put a kiss. And that’s got to mean something, right? And listen to what he said: ‘Unless there is, and you’ve just not told me?’ I mean, that sounds like he’s fishing! Doesn’t it?” he asks the plant. Minnie tilts her Screechsnap head, and Harry takes it as agreement.

“Exactly! Maybe I was a little too forward. Maybe I should have been subtler. I’ve never very good at being subtle. I don’t think I could have done that. Maybe I should have been more obvious? Maybe I should have just said ‘look, I like you, we should meet up’. Except… I mean. I like D, obviously. He’s funny, and nice, and I can trust him. But, fuck, Malfoy is so hot. And, funny. And nice. And really, really, fucking hot. I mean. You should see him. I mean, he looked a little pale and worried. But, ugh, he is so muscled.” He leans against the wall, his head thumping into the brick. Fuck, Malfoy was fit. Really, fucking fit. Harry may or may not have rubbed one out thinking about how hot Malfoy has gotten. He really has no right to look so good when by all accounts he doesn’t do anything! Minnie nuzzles at his leg and he looks down at her.

“Hmm… I mean, D did say in his last letter that I should give Malfoy more of a chance. That I should see where it goes. Maybe even ask him out. I guess that doesn’t sound much like someone who wants to date me. Or even meet me. It would just be so much easier if I could figure out who the fuck he is. But it’s impossible. He just doesn’t give away anything about himself that isn’t generic. Knowing what kind of food he likes best, and who his favourite teacher at Hogwarts was, does not help me in any way. Especially as his favourite teacher was Pomfrey. Whose favourite teacher is the school Healer? It’s useless Minnie.” The plant lays its head against Harry’s leg in sympathy.

“Did you name the Screechsnap?” Neville’s voice startles him out of his reverie and he stands up, whacking his shoulder on the counter and his knee on the floor.

“What? No,” he mutters, leaning against the counter and ignoring the blinding pain. Next to him Minnie hides behind his leg. Neville looks between Harry and the plant, one eyebrow raised, looking thoroughly unamused. Shit. Harry really should have put a ward on the stairs too. He gives Neville a smile and Neville’s face relaxes into something less suspicious and more annoyed.

“Ok… are you talking to it about the bloody letters?” he asks. Harry face flood with heat and he looks down at the counter, ignoring the way his body tingles. Fuck.

“No…” he mumbles, glancing up at Neville. Neville rolls his eyes, bending to pick up a bag of manure from where they’re been left by the front door. Harry shuffles from one foot to the other. Maybe if he was less predictable then people wouldn’t be able to make him feel so awkward when they guessed what he was doing. Maybe he should also stop doing things that make him feel stupid. Minnie nuzzles at his leg and he pats her. She always makes him feel better.

“Are you doing any work at all?” Neville asks and Harry’s eyebrows shoot into his hairline.

“Yes!” he shouts with indignation. Neville stares at him, the bag of manure slung over one shoulder and another under his other arm. Harry slumps his shoulder, sighing, “Fine… no.” Neville stares at him for a moment more, his eyes flickering over Harry’s face like he’s trying to figure something out. Fuck knows what. Harry’s only just figured out how to read Ron. He has no chance with Neville.

“Hmm… well in that case you can stop talking to the plants and come help me haul this manure.” Neville turns and leaves the room, his footsteps heavy on the stairs leading to the roof garden. Harry groans, throwing one last sorrowful glance at Minnie before going to help lug manure up the smallest stairs in the world.

-----

He is at the pub. It’s pub night. He can’t really remember a time when he’d been to the pub more than once a month. To be honest, he can’t remember when he was last out of the house more than once a month. Fuck, he’s pathetic. But not tonight. Tonight, he has a plan. A plan he’s been working on for the past week. Harry keeps sending him letters, becoming more and more obvious (like he wasn’t obvious before) about his feelings for D. And every time Draco has written back becoming more and more obvious about how he, Draco Malfoy, is D. And that Harry just needs to trust him, Draco Malfoy, and ask him out on a fucking date.

Hopefully it’s paid off.

They’d managed to grab a booth when they’d first arrived, and Harry had come to sit next to him shortly afterwards. Not necessarily talking to him, but sitting next to him, one strong thigh pressed against Draco’s. Occasionally he’d feel Harry’s foot graze his, or the back of Harry’s hand brush against his as their pints got closer. And now, six pints in, Harry is slumped in his seat, leaning against Draco. So maybe it has paid off. Which is a good thing, because aside from just saying “I am D” he doesn’t know what else he can do. And he doesn’t want to do that. Who knows what Harry would do. Actually, Draco has a pretty good idea of what he would do.

“Did you ever think this would happen?” Harry whispers into his ear and Draco stops thinking about his plan to focus on the man sitting next to him. Harry is definitely drunk. Drunk and leaning against Draco.

“Hmm?” he asks, looking down into very green eyes. Harry’s mouth is hanging slightly open, and his hair is sticking up all over the place. He’s adorable. And sexy. And all Draco wants to do is kiss him. Except he needs Harry to make the move. Just in case.

“Us. In a pub. With beer.” Harry gestures to their glasses and then to them, his hand landing softly on Draco’s chest and staying there. It’s hot and Draco’s heart pounds in his ears. His trousers start to get uncomfortable and he crosses one leg over the other. Probably best not to show off his erection in the middle of the pub, regardless of how much everyone is resolutely ignoring them. Harry gives him a nudge and he smiles slowly.

“No, Harry, I didn’t think this would ever happen.” His stomach churns and tears prickle at the back of his eyes. Shit. Maybe he’s a little drunk. But this is all so much what he’d always wanted. Harry’s attention, and friendship, and potentially even love. And now he has it. Everything he’s ever wanted. Fuck, no more alcohol for him. He pushes his glass away and Harry shuffles to sit up, pressing closer to his side.

“It’s nice. I’m happy you’re here.” Harry grins at him and Draco finds himself leaning closer. Harry is happy that he’s there. And he’s resting his hand on Draco’s thigh. Which is nice. And warm. Very warm. Draco smiles at him, moving to lean one arm along the back of their chair, bracketing Harry in. He can feel Harry’s breath on his chin. All he needs to do is tilt his head slightly and they’d be almost kissing. His magic sparks a little, and Harry’s breath catches. They stare at each other, not moving, just breathing. “You’ve changed,” Harry murmurs after a moment.

“Have I?” Draco’s voice comes out thick and cracked and Harry’s eyes darken, hot and sparkling as they bore into Draco’s.

“Yeah… but you’re sort of the same too. Like, softer, but still sharp.” Harry is whispering. He’s whispering to Draco like it’s a secret, his voice full of awe. Draco tries to focus on what he’s saying, on the words coming out of his mouth, but it’s almost impossible. He leans a fraction closer to Harry, watching Harry’s Adam’s apple as it bobs. He wants to lick it. Instead he takes a deep breath, filling himself with the sweet, deep smell of Harry.

“Sharp?” he breathes and Harry frowns, like he’s not sure what he’s said is right. He gives his head a small shake and shuffles in his seat, the hand on Draco’s thigh tightening.

“Yeah. No. Like… angles. Strong. But delicate,” he tries again, his voice a low rumble that Draco feels in his core.

“Delicate?” he thinks he says. Harry leans closer, his eyes flicking down to Draco’s lips, his lashes dark and thick against his cheek. Draco bends his head, his lips ghosting against Harry’s. His fingertips tingle, magic pin pricking his skin, and his head feels light. This is it. This is the moment when he’s going to kiss Harry and everything will be ok.

“Maybe…” he feels Harry say, and then their lips are touching. Magic crackles around them, lightning zaps passing between them as Harry’s lips move against Draco’s. They’re soft, and plump, and Draco wants to live here forever, in this kiss. His hands move to run through Harry’s hair, because he needs to feel it, to ground himself, and Harry groans, pressing forward harder. Draco runs his tongue along Harry’s bottom lip, needing to taste him, needing more. And then Harry pulls away.

“No. I can’t. It isn’t fair,” he mumbles, his lips red and his eyes wild. Draco drops his hands, his stomach twisting in dread. No. Fucking hell, no. Please don’t let it be him. Or D. Or both of them. Harry’s hand is tangled in his shirt, and he can’t remember when that had happened. It seems Harry can’t either, because he’s staring at it in confusion.

“What isn’t fair?” Draco, needing and not wanting the answer all at once.

“There’s this guy. I don’t know him. But I might. And you. You’re really, really hot. But I can’t. Sorry.” Harry scrambles out of his chair, grabbing his coat and shooting from the pub, leaving Draco staring at the space where he was, his trousers tight and his head fuzzy.

Fuck.

-----

He needs to write to D. He kissed Draco Malfoy! Almost. Sort of. Their lips definitely touched. A little bit. Fuck it was good. Very crackly. Like magic sparks. Not wet at all. Exciting. Crackly. He needs to write to D. He shouldn’t have kissed Draco. He’s cheating on D. Isn’t he? Maybe not. He’s never met D. D doesn’t kiss him in pubs. D doesn’t even seem to want to kiss him in pubs. Or does he?

He needs to write to D.

He flops down at his desk and pulls some paper towards him. It might be a receipt. It doesn’t matter. D will be able to read it. He’s really smart. He picks up a pen, the paper swimming slightly in front of him. What does he want to say? He has to say who it’s for. It’s for D.

D

There… that’ll do. Right. Why was he writing? Oh yes! He kissed Draco.

I nearly kissed him. I did kiss him. Sort of. I’m sorry. And confused. I’m so confused.

Beer is nice.

No! That’s not important. He should tell D it isn’t important, or D might think he’s trying to say something…

No! That’s not the point. Look. I need to know. I flirted with Draco. And I need to know. I like you. A lot. Do you like me? Is this a thing? Are we ever going to get together? Because Draco is… but you were here first.

Do you like me?

There. Done. It sounds good. Very professional. He stumbles off the chair and over to where Rudiment is wide awake on her perch. Yes. Nocturnal pets are good. He fumbles with some string, trying to attach the paper to her leg before realising that actually, that’s not her leg. No. That’s her perch. She looks at him with big, yellow eyes. Owls have big eyes. Interesting. Right. Letter. He strokes Rudiment’s leg and she seems to sigh, before nipping lightly at Harry’s hand and taking the note in her mouth. Yes. That’s better. No pesky string.

“You have to take it to D. You know D. We like him,” Harry slurs, opening the window and watching as his owl hops onto the ledge, giving him one last derisive look before flying off into the night.

-----

Draco walks sheepishly into the florist. He’s never actually been in it before. It’s nice to see where his stock is coming from. The shop isn’t huge, but then it probably doesn’t need to be. There are flowers along one wall, beautiful and vibrant, the soft smell permeating the air. At the back is a wall of ingredients that immediately spark his interest. Maybe he should start selling some of those. Obviously, he’d buy them in bulk from Neville first. Speaking of, Neville is sitting at a large counter, wrapping a large punch of flowers in cellophane. Draco sidles up to him, giving the other man a smile when Neville glances at him.

“Hey,” Neville mutters before going back to wrapping the flowers with care.

“Hey…” Draco replies, looking around the room. He’s sure that Neville is the one who grows the plants, and Harry is the one who wraps things in cellophane and sits at the counter. He’s heard Harry talk about it often enough in his letters. When it becomes evident that Harry isn’t there, and that Draco is just standing in the middle of the shop as Neville places the now wrapped bunch of flowers in a delivery box, he coughs slightly. “Harry not here?”

“Not today. I think you gave him too much beer last night. He’s currently throwing up into a toilet.” Neville grins at him, placing the box on the floor next to a pile of other parcels that are clearly going to be sent off. Draco can spot a couple of parcels that are his. His neck tingles with guilt, and he shuffles from one foot to the other.

“Lovely,” he murmurs, not meeting Neville’s eyes. When he does he sees that Neville is staring at him, his arms crossed over his broad chest, his softly curled hair tickling around his ears. He’s not an unattractive man, Draco notes, but the way he’s looking at Draco is unnerving. He hadn’t expected Neville to be here. He’d expected Harry to be there. He needs to talk to Harry.

“Hmm,” Neville says, still staring at Draco. Draco holds his hands behind his back for a moment to stop himself from fidgeting before gesturing at the door.

“Ok… well, maybe I’ll come back,” he stutters, moving backwards towards his freedom. Neville nods once, before settling back in the stool that is behind the counter. Draco releases a breath he didn’t realise he was holding before turning around. His hand in on the door when he hears Neville cough again. He looks over his shoulder, not really sure why he’s stopping. He should be leaving. AT least if he leaves it gives him some time to figure out what he’s going to say to Harry when he does see him.

“This is about the kiss between you and Harry last night, right?” Neville asks and Draco’s shoulders drop. He turns back to Neville and walks up to the counter, leaning against it, his resolve completely crumbled. He was never going to keep it in anyway. It’s been driving him crazy that Pansy is the only person he can talk to about it. She’s great at lots of things, but advice is not one of them.

“Yes. And, also…” he glances up at Neville, “Letters.” Neville’s eyebrows raise slightly, but beyond that he doesn’t move. Doesn’t do anything. Just sits, nodding very slowly.

“You’re D,” he states finally and Draco freezes, his eyes wide. Shit. He didn’t think he was that obvious. But maybe he is. But surely, if he is then Hermione or Ron, or even Harry would have noticed. No. He’s been very discreet. Neville must be a Legilimens. Or a seer.

“I am,” Draco replies slowly, not really sure how this conversation is going to go. Fuck, this is terrifying. This is exactly why he hasn’t told Harry yet. Because fuck knows how he’s going to react, but it probably isn’t going to be with such assurance as Neville is. But then, he hasn’t kissed Neville.

“Harry doesn’t know.” It isn’t a question. It’s obvious that Harry doesn’t know. If Harry knew he would have told everyone. He would not be running away from Draco after kissing him in pubs in front of all their friends.

“He does not,” Draco affirms. Neville stands, stretching slightly, seemingly bored with the conversation now. Draco feels himself relax, the knot in his stomach loosening and his fuzzy head becoming less fuzzy. Well. That was easy enough. Now, if only Harry could take it that well, it would be perfect.

“You need to tell him.” Neville moves to sort through the parcels to be sent, not looking at Draco as he moves.

“I do,” Draco nods. Neville stands and places a couple of parcels with a scrawled D written on them in front of Draco and Draco collects them in his arms, giving Neville a smile. Neville stares at him, capturing him with his sure gaze.

“Like, soon. Because if I have to hear him talk to the flowers about your fucking abs anymore and how he’s cheating on you with you I will kill him. I will do what You-Know-Who couldn’t. I have lots of different ways I could do it. Poison. Deadly plants. Stabbing him with my secateurs.” He looks serious and Draco swallows. Right. That must be annoying. Also, slightly weird. Not that some of the plants aren’t semi-sentient, but it’s weird that Harry talks about his abs in public. Draco just wanks over Harry’s in private.

“Noted.” He fiddles with the string on his parcels, somewhat ignoring the look that Neville is giving him. He glances up to see that Neville has one eyebrow raised and hasn’t moved. “I will. I promise.” Neville’s eyes flicker over his face

“Great. Would you like some tea?” he asks, summoning another stool from a room in the back and moving towards the door where Draco assumes there is a small kitchen. Neville stops, giving him a grin, his eyes sparkling. “Not poisoned, I promise.” Draco huffs out a laugh and the air seems to become thinner, easier. The last of the tension slips from Draco’s back and he settles onto the other stool

“Tea would be lovely.” He smiles back at Neville. Well, that wasn’t too difficult.

-----

“Oh, Harry…” Hermione’s voice makes him lift his head from where it’s resting on the edge of his toilet. She’d popped her head around the door earlier, to see how he was, and he hasn’t moved since then. She’s probably a little disappointed, but he feels too shit to really worry about that. Fuck Draco and fuck his stupid beer. Why did he even drink so much? He was only going to have one. But then Draco had arrived, and he was as gorgeous as ever, and they’d flirted, and suddenly more drinking had seemed like a good idea. It was not a good idea. It was a terrible idea.

“I’m dying,” he croaks and Hermione grins at him., moving into the bathroom to sit on the edge of the bath, looking as smug as she possibly can when the room smells so bad.

“I know.” She crosses one leg over the other, leaning forwards so that her bushy hair falls around her face. He glares at her, hugging the toilet. This isn’t fair. There have been plenty of times when Hermione has been in a very similar position to him, and he hasn’t laughed at her. But then, she did tell him last night not to drink too much. And she gave him a hangover potion this morning when she’d first got up. Ok, so maybe she’s allowed to be a little smug. He groans, pressing his forehead against the cool porcelain. Hermione straightens and laughs, “So… how was last night for you?”

“Awful,” he growls, his throat raw and his head pounding. He needs to get a better hangover potion. Maybe D makes a good one. He should ask.

“Really?” Hermione asks him, and he frowns. Of course! It was awful. He got horrendously drunk, kissed Draco Malfoy, ran home, wrote a letter to D that was probably a terrible idea, and then threw up over everything. It was a terrible night. Except… oh fuck it. He turns his head back to Hermione. Her lips are quirked into a small smile, but her eyes are shining with genuine concern. Because she’s a lovely person.

“Yes. No. It was amazing. Draco is… fuck it. I barely kissed him and it was still the best kiss I’ve ever had,” he mumbles. Hermione nods, flicking her fingers slightly as she thinks. Oh fuck. She’s thinking. Not that she’s ever not thinking, but this is serious thinking. And usually serious thinking comes with her telling him that he should be doing something with his life (Good Fauna Thing being a prime example). After a moment, she looks at him and nods once. Shit.

“If it was so amazing, it begs the question of why you are here and not at Draco’s.” She says it like it’s not a question. Because they both know. Hermione isn’t stupid. And she lives with Harry. She knows.

“Because… fuck, Hermione, I couldn’t make out with Draco. Not when there’s—”

“D? The letter guy?” She sounds… well, not annoyed. Annoyed is the wrong word. She sounds like she thinks Harry is being ridiculous. He is not being ridiculous. He’s being sensible. Isn’t he? Him and D… there’s something there.

“Yeah…” he says, cringing at the look Hermione gives him.

“You know you’re not actually dating D, right.” Again, she says it like it isn’t a question. Like Harry should know. He does know. He knows that they aren’t dating. Of course, he does. That’s why he’s been sending so many letters. That’s why he got shit faced last night. Because how is he supposed to know what to do with Draco, when he doesn’t know where he stands with D. The whole thing is a fucking mess. Hermione looks at him, patiently waiting.

“I know. It just felt… wrong?” he winces as it comes out a question, and then winces again as pain shoots through his head and his stomach swirls. He is never drinking beer again. Next to him Hermione bounces her foot.

“Hmm…” Harry watches her watching him, her eyes moving across his face, as she thinks.

“What?” he asks finally, unable to wait any longer. She pulls a face, pursing her lips and Harry groans, “Hermione!”

“Fine. Have you thought, that, maybe, the reason you’re so invested with D is because it’s both safe and exciting at the same time.” She raises both eyebrows, looking at him knowingly. His head pounds as he tries to figure out what she means. She means something. There’s something important there, something that she’s telling him, but he can’t figure out what it is. He turns to lean his forehead against the toilet bowl again, staring down at his bathroom floor. It’s really dirty.

“Hermione, I love you, but my head is pounding. I need you to spell this one out for me,” he mutters to the floor.

“Writing to D is safe, because he can’t hurt you,” Hermione states. Harry turns his head and frowns at her. She sighs, “He isn’t a real person. You don’t know him. But it’s also exciting, because you have to try and figure it out. Like chasing Draco around Hogwarts, or hunting for Horcruxes. And I know you love working at Good Fauna Thing, but it isn’t exactly stimulating.”

“Huh.” Harry sits up, ignoring the way his head spasms at the movement. Right. That makes sense. Fucking hell. How does Hermione always think of these things? She spends so much time at work, when does she have time to think about Harry’s motives and emotions. Hermione leans forward, running her hand over his shoulder.

“Yeah. But, you know what, Harry. D isn’t the only one who is safe but exciting. Draco runs a successful business, he’s stable. And you like him. And he challenges you. He’s exciting. Sounds pretty perfect to me.” She nods slightly, her eyes open wide. Fuck.

“Do you ever get tired of being right?” he grumbles. Hermione grins at him, giving his shoulder a squeeze and sitting up.

“No.”

-----

Draco is just finishing vanishing and organising all his unnecessary and old documents when there’s a knock at the door. He frowns to himself. He’s not expecting anyone. Obviously. And Pansy never knocks. She just uses her spare key. Or Floos in. Who in the wizarding world knocks on a door? He puts down the parcel and weaves through his flat, yanking open the door to find a very flushed Harry Potter.

“Harry.” He smiles, stepping aside to let Harry in. Good. He can tell Harry about being D. “I’m glad you’re here–”

“Me too,” Harry interrupts, spinning on the spot and pushing Draco against the closing door with a bang. Draco’s heart jumps into his throat as he looks down. Harry’s eyes are almost black, wild and full of energy and lust. He can feel Harry’s cock, hard and thick against his thigh. Holy shit, he needs that in him. Harry’s hands slide up his body and he moves his, instinctively pulling Harry closer as their noses brush. His fingers feel numb as he holds Harry tighter. He smells sweet and deep and Draco feels dizzy with it. He leans closer, his eyes closing, Harry’s heat washing over him. The door presses hard against his back, and Harry presses hard on his front, and his cock swells. Fuck he needs this. But…

“I need to tell you something,” he breathes against Harry’s lips, running his hands through Harry’s hair. Harry’s ridiculously thick, silky hair. Fuck, this is all he’s ever wanted. Harry against him, their hips rocking together, their cocks lining up through their trousers. But he needs to tell Harry. He can’t sleep with Harry without Harry knowing that he’d D. “Harry…”

“Later. I need this,” Harry growls, running his lips along Draco’s jaw, his tongue tickling against Draco’s skin. Draco’s legs wobble. Thank fuck for solid doors. And also, beds. He should move to the bed. That would be good. His nice big bed with his dark green sheets and Harry laid out on them, cock hard whilst Draco rides him. He can’t stop the whimper that leaves his mouth as Harry sucks hard on the delicate skin at the base of his neck and starts to undo the buttons of Draco’s shirt. He gasps for breath, bunching his hands in Harry’s, meaning to push him off. Just for a second.

“No… Harry, I really need to–”

“Draco,” Harry’s head whips up and he pierces Draco’s with his shining eyes, full of promise, “shut up.” And with that he takes Draco’s mouth, making every thought leave Draco’s head. Harry’s lips are soft and he tastes like mint and chocolate and heat. Their tongues dance together, their hands ripping and tugging at clothes as Draco starts to guide Harry down the hall towards his room. Teeth clash against teeth, and around him boxes and files and papers topple to the floor.

Crashing through Draco’s bedroom door they shuck their trousers, Harry’s shoes being left, abandoned socks strewn everywhere, tops lying twisted together on the floor. Draco pants for breath against Harry’s lips as he guides Harry onto the bed. Without breaking the kiss, Harry drags Draco on top of him, his arms circling Draco’s waist, his hands massaging the globes of Draco’s arse as their cocks rub against each other. Draco’s legs feel numb, heavy, his body alive with energy and magic crackling around them like electricity.

“Fuck…” He whimpers, resting on his elbow as he looks down at Harry, sprawled on his bed, like he’s imagined a million times before. He can feel his arsehole flutter in anticipation, and he presses back down. Harry’s hands continue rubbing at him, stretching his cheeks apart so a rush of cold air brushes over his hole, making him groan. Fuck, he needs Harry inside him. He needs to feel the stretch. To feel Harry filling him up, just like he fills his head and his heart.

“I want to fuck you,” Harry whispers into his mouth and he pulls back to look down at the man beneath him. Harry’s lips are plump and slick from kissing, his cheek rosy, his eyes wide and wanting. He looks debauched and beautiful and Draco can’t think of anything else in the world.

“Fucking hell, yes,” he gasps, summoning his lube from his bedside table. He catches it with one hand, squirting some into his palm and slicking up his fingers as Harry draws small circles around his hole, their foreheads pressed together, their breath mingling. Draco reaches around, pressing one slicked finger inside himself as Harry rolls his arse cheeks in his hands, giving Draco better access. Draco moves quickly, sliding in a second, and third finger into himself, pumping his fingers, stretching himself ready for Harry.

“Draco…” Harry whines and Draco nods, not able to say anything. He needs Harry inside him. His fingers aren’t even a substitute. He slides them from his body, shuffling to position himself over Harry’s cock. He holds it steadily underneath him as he slowly lowers himself, stretching around Harry’s cock, rippling as he takes him in further. His legs shake, his body thrumming with magic, the sweet ache sitting in his core as he bottoms out.

“Harry, fuck, this feels…” Draco stutters and Harry nods. He knows. It feels perfect. More than perfect. Right. He looks down into Harry’s eyes, swirling and bright, and starts to rock. Harry keeps him trapped, their eyes locked, his hands tight on Draco’s hips. Gasping for breath, Draco rolls, lifting and dropping, the head of Harry’s cock brushing against his prostate. High thighs burn and pleasure twists inside him, Harry filling him completely.

“Fuck, Draco, you look so beautiful. I can’t believe you’re here. Fuck, it feels so fucking good. You’re here. I can’t believe you’re here,” Harry murmurs, like a fucking prayer, his hips rising to meet Draco’s. Draco groans, a deep guttural sound coming from the back of his throat and starts to bounce faster, chasing the orgasm that is building. His balls begin to tighten, and he leans down, resting his head against Harry’s, their lips brushing with each thrust. Harry’s fingers dig into his hips and he snakes one hand between them, fisting at his cock.

“I… lo… Harry!” Draco cries as he comes between them, spunk splattering on Harry’s chest. His toes tingle and his whole body spasms as his muscles tighten and relax. Harry wraps his arms around Draco, pulling him closer, Draco’s come spreading between them, slicking them up. Harry’s lips fit over his, teeth and tongues clashing. Draco’s chest tightens, magic flowing around them, as Harry comes into him with a cry.

They lie together for a moment as Harry softens in Draco, come slowly trickling out of him. He takes a deep breath, trying to calm the adrenaline still pumping in his body, and rolls off Harry. This is the moment when Harry realises that he’s made a mistake and leaves. Maybe he shouts at Draco first. Fuck, maybe he curses him. Draco braces himself, glancing across at the other man.

But Harry appears to be asleep, a soft smile playing at the corner of his lips. Draco picks up his wand, casting a quick cleaning charm over them before turning off the light. He falls asleep as Harry curls into him, humming in contentment.

-----

Harry wakes up warm and happy, sun streaming through the window and a pale arm draped across his chest. He turns slowly, not wanting to wake Draco, and glances across at the other man. Draco is beautiful in his sleep. He’s beautiful all the time, but in sleep he looks almost porcelain. He can see the pale blue of a vein stretching down Draco’s neck, his eyelashes golden against his skin, and his lips remarkably pink. His hair is falling over his forehead, spreading out on the pillow delicately. His back, taut muscles and ribs rippling, rises slowly with each breath. Fuck, Harry could look at him forever.

The tightness in Harry’s bladder reminds him that actually, no he couldn’t.

He slides from Draco’s arm, hitting the wood floor with a soft pat. He contemplates just going to the toilet naked, but a cool breeze comes from an open window somewhere and he suddenly loses his nerve. Draco can always take his clothes off again if he needs to. He dresses quickly and moves through the flat looking for the toilet.

He finds it quickly enough, relieving himself and washing his hands before slipping out and going to find the kitchen. Might as well go and make himself some tea, now that he’s awake. He pads through Draco’s flat, avoiding piles of papers, files that he knows they knocked on the floor last night. Huh, it looks like Draco takes orders for something. Maybe he makes potions. It seems like something he’d do.

The flat is bright, long and thin. There seem to be more rooms that can fit in the space, and Harry wonders if Draco’s put an undetectable extension charm on the whole flat. It would make sense. It’s not like London is known for its spacious living conditions and Draco clearly works from home. The walls are all a soft cream, and Harry wonders for a moment if Draco tried purposefully to make it as least like Malfoy Manor as he could. There are pictures on the wall and Harry stops to look at them. Draco and Pansy. Draco and his mother. His mother on her own. A newspaper cutting of Harry, Ron and Hermione just after the war, looking tired and slightly broken. Harry grimaces and moves on.

He pushes open a door and finds the kitchen, possibly. There’s a sink and hob, and possibly a fridge, but also a cauldron, and lots and lots of vials and boxes and even a set of scales. Clearly this is where Draco does his work. Whatever it is. Harry moves to where there’s a Muggle kettle next to the hob. Interesting that Draco would choose to live in a house that allowed for electricity. Harry gets annoyed enough with the hob kettle he has at Grimmauld Place. What he wouldn’t give for electricity.

Whilst he’s waiting for the kettle to boil he leans against the counter, looking at the work surface in front of him. Maybe Draco runs a mail order apothecary, like D does… Harry’s mind whirs and he can feel himself frown. It’s weird that Draco hasn’t ever mentioned it. Surely, he’d have talked to Neville at some point about ordering from him. Harry leans forward, his fingers brushing over pieces of paper without his permission. He knows he shouldn’t be snooping, but something in the pit of his stomach is telling him that he should be looking for something.

And then he finds it. A letter. With writing that Harry recognises immediately. His writing. A soft coo makes him look up and Pip, D’s owl, flies in, landing on the side and hopping towards him looking pleased. Pip, mail order apothecary, Harry’s letter… Harry’s head swirls, his stomach tightening. All this time. Every time D tells him to make a move on Draco. No. Every time Draco tells him to make a move on Draco. He stumbles back, his letter still clasped in his hand, his fingers numb and his body sweaty. No. No. It can’t be.

“Harry…” Draco’s voice calls out to him, and Harry’s eyes are drawn to the kitchen door, his mouth filling with a bitter taste, his eyes prickling as tears threaten. He trusted him, them, both of them. Draco comes into the room, smiling, but stops the second he sees Harry. His mouth opens like he’s going to say something and Harry lets out a strangled cry.

“You. You’re D?” he breathes, not really able to speak. His throat is so tight. He can’t breathe. He can’t move. His legs are too heavy. And Draco… he lied to him. He’s just like he’s always been. Sneaky and manipulative. Always the fucking Slytherin. Draco moves towards him, hands out, his eyes pleading.

“Harry, I can explain–”

“No! I can’t believe you… you’re… you used me. You used my letters. You…” Harry stutters. Draco moves towards him and he shakes his head, spinning on the spot and Apparating away.

-----

Draco takes a deep breath. He’s been watching Harry through the window of Good Fauna Thing for the past ten minutes, and he really needs to go in now. He can’t stand outside forever. He needs to find his inner Gryffindor and explain to Harry that him being D is not a bad thing. It’s just a thing. He places a hand on the door and pushes it open, sliding the hood off his head as he enters the shop. Harry doesn’t look up from where he’s reading a paper.

“Fuck off,” Harry snaps, flicking the page of his paper with a little more force than is strictly necessary. Right. So, he’s still pissed off. Obviously. He thinks about dipping his head, looking at Harry through his lashes in an attempt to make Harry feel sorry for him, but he stops himself. No more manipulation.

“Can I explain?” he asks, slightly desperately. He needs to explain. He needs Harry to look at him like he looked at him a week ago. Like he looked at him that night. Instead Harry stares down at the paper, flicking it again.

“Fuck off.” Harry’s voice is too strong, too sharp, and Draco tries not to wince. It’s what he expected. He hadn’t wanted Harry to find out like that. He shouldn’t have found out like that. Draco should have told him. The thought has been running through his head all week. Every time he’s tried to floo call and it’s been blocked. Every letter that’s been returned unopened. Annoyance bubble inside him. Yes, he should have told Harry, he knows that. But he has to have a chance to explain himself, even if that’s all that happens. He’s fucking fed up of no one listening to him. Of no one wanting to talk to him because he’s Draco fucking Malfoy.

“No!” he shouts, not really meaning to. Harry looks up, eyes wide, and Draco stalks towards the counter. He puts his hands on the paper, leaning forward and forcing Harry to look at him. “Look. I tried to tell you. I tried.”

“It isn’t that hard, Draco.” Harry sounds so disappointed and Draco lets out a bitter laugh, the sound spitting from his lips.

“Isn’t it? You liked D. You trusted him. How could I tell you that the person who you thought was this impartial confidant was in fact your secondary school nemesis? How could I tell you that, when all I want to tell you is how much I love you?” The air around them freezes, and Draco can feel the heat rising in his cheeks. Shit. He didn’t mean to say that. And judging by the way Harry’s mouth has dropped open, he wasn’t expecting to hear it. Draco’s fingers tingle and he tries to think. Right, this isn’t a bad thing. He’d told the man he loves that he loves him. Not a bad thing. Harry takes a step back, clearly composing himself and Draco straightens his back.

“You can’t love me! If you loved me, you wouldn’t have used the letters to get close to me,” Harry snaps and Draco growls, his body fizzling with anger, his tongue sticking to his mouth.

“I didn’t use the fucking letters to get close to you. You flirted with me before I even knew how you felt. All I did was tell you that you shouldn’t feel connected to D, and that if there was someone you liked you should go for it. You were the one who took that advice. You flirted with me.” He spits, not really sure where he wants this argument to go anymore. Harry’s shoulders slump as the words visibly work their way through his mind.

“I…” he stutters and Draco moves around the desk, taking his opportunity. Because he can’t get rid of all the Slytherin in him.

“I have loved you since I was sixteen years old. I never thought I would be lucky enough to have you love me back,” he whispers, taking Harry’s hands and turning him so he can look in his eyes. Harry bites on his lip, his beautiful, perfect lips, and frowns. But he doesn’t push away. He doesn’t tell Draco to fuck off again.

“Yeah, well…” Harry mutters and Draco gives him a smile, leaning closer so that their foreheads are pressed together. He feels, rather than hears Harry exhale a puff of laughter. He shakes his head, his nose nudging at Draco’s and Draco’s heart clenches. “You’re a prick,” Harry whispers.

“Agreed.” And with that Draco presses forward, taking Harry’s mouth with his, slanting so they fit together perfectly. He lets go of Harry’s hands to wrap his arms around Harry and Harry’s hands run through his hair. He pulls Harry closer, the hard press of Harry’s chest against his settling his heart. This is all he needs. Harry pulls away, gasping for breath, his hands still tangled in Draco’s hair.

“And an idiot,” he breathes, tickling at Draco’s lips.

“Completely.” Draco grins, ducking back into the kiss, needing to taste Harry. Their tongues swirl, and Draco’s whole body feels like it’s on fire. He pushes Harry against the counter, his arms completely wrapped around him, tighter than he’s ever held anything. Heat and lust and magic jolt through him, his chest aching and his head light. Harry mewls into his mouth and he can’t suppress the shudder. Fuck, Harry is going to kill him. Harry pulls away again, his eyes blown and his mouth slick with spit.

“And you love me,” he gasps and Draco stops, gazing down at the love of his life. Something shines in Harry’s eyes, something more than heat and lust. Something like hope. Draco huffs, his lips quirking at the corner.

“More than I can ever show you. But I will spend the rest of my life trying.” He nuzzles against Harry, their foreheads pressed together, closer than seems possible.

“I love you too.” Harry’s lips ghost against Draco’s and Draco doesn’t think he’ll ever need to hear anything ever again.

-----

Harry wakes up later than he wanted to. His body aches deliciously, his hole sore from being stretched around Draco’s cock, his face on fire from stubble burn. He grins into the pillow, stretching his arm out to see if he can coax Draco into a bit of lazy morning sex. Instead his hand finds a cooling bed and a crisp piece of paper. Propping himself up on one arm, he takes the note, smiling at the familiar swirl on the page.

Harry,

Stop looking so fucking gorgeous when you’re asleep. You make it very difficult to get up and go to work. Speaking of, aren’t you going to be late?

Whilst you’re at work, do you think you could ask Neville about Mandrake leaves? I don’t know what they’re teaching at Hogwarts, but I’ve just had an influx of orders. Thanks. I will make it worth your while. (Not like that you dirty bugger, I was thinking dinner?)

Anyway, I’ll see you later. Ron wanted that game of pick up Quidditch and Blaise has asked me to help him shop for shoes. I have no idea why, he can find shoes himself. But I guess it is nice to get out and see people. It’ll be good for you too. Maybe we could eat out.

Yours

Draco x

Harry grins to himself, and flops back down onto the bed. Maybe it’s being thoroughly shagged. Maybe it’s have an excellent night’s sleep. Maybe it’s the security of having a partner. Maybe it’s the faint smell of smoke that’s coming from Draco’s kitchen where he’s potentially moments away from an explosion. Whatever it is, Harry knows one thing. He has never been happier.