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Kiss A Boy In London Town (And Other Intimate Misadventures of A Society Whore)

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Kiss A Boy In London Town (And Other Intimate Misadventures of A Society Whore)

Call me a whore.

It's the simplest term for how I earn my pay, and I prefer it to the ridiculous euphemisms. Tart. Trollop. Strumpet. Rentboy. Escort. The last one is the most appalling. I do not escort. I am escorted, thank you.

And then I'm paid for taking my companion home and sucking his brains out through his prick.

It's a living. A very good one. I have money. A delicious two-storey flat in a very lovely Mayfair house. Holidays in Martinique and Tuscany and the Greek isles. My mother is kept in the luxury to which she's been accustomed; she doesn't question how. I don't offer explanations.

Whatever preconceived notions an individual may have about whores, whatever prejudices, whatever puritanical certainties, I've no interest in hearing them.

This is my choice, and I won't be shamed.

***

There are three things in life I have excelled at. One I've made a career of. Another helped me survive a war. But the third--well, I suppose fatherhood surprised me as well.

I've just slid the eggs onto the plate--yolks just runny enough for a proper fry-up--when the hall Floo rattles. There's barely enough time to drop the pan in the sink, a flick of my wand sudsing it, before my son runs in, blond hair flying, booted feet slapping across the wood floor of the kitchen. A house elf follows at his heels. Neddy does her best to keep up with him; sometimes Scorpius tires even her out.

"Papa," he shouts, and I stoop to grab him, swinging him high and laughing with him. Neddy sighs in relief. Scorpius's cheeks are pink, his eyes bright from the cold.

"The two of you." Sophie-Marie sets Scorpius's overnight bag on the table and leans in to kiss my cheek. Our marriage lasted just long enough to produce our son; I met her in Paris, both of us slipping out of hotel rooms in the middle of the night. A ride down in the lift turned into a before-dawn breakfast, most of which was spent laughing over our respective clients and the absurdity of our chosen profession.

Entirely to my surprise, I fell in love--and with a girl at that--and by the end of the year we married in a Proven--al chapel, Sophie already three months pregnant. Mother was furious. I'm not entirely certain she's forgiven me the elopement despite the obvious fact that she dotes on her grandson.

Now Sophie just laughs at Mother's sly jabs and promises her that the next time she marries, Mother can throw the grandest wedding London can imagine. Mother merely smiles and sips her Darjeeling, but I can already see the gleam in her eye as she tries to figure out who among her acquaintances has a marriageable son.

I tried for Sophie. I truly did. I gave notice at the agency. Took that wretchedly dull position Gringotts offered me--at its lowest level and a mere fraction of what I'd been earning in the beds of the wizarding elite. It wasn't enough. Bills piled higher and the meagre remnants of Malfoy funds that remained after the Ministry's reparation demands were met dwindled even further. I never told Mother, but we were in danger of losing the Manor. Again.

I promised Father I'd never allow that.

Sophie left me before Scorpius's first birthday. It's not that I don't understand, she'd said, Scorpius asleep in her arms and her bags piled round her as I stumbled from the Floo, sore and still reeking of sex, but I don't think I can watch my husband come home to me from some man's bed every night.

Well, it wasn't something I could argue, really.

It's been three years now. I'm twenty-nine and I earn enough money to pay for her flat, to make certain that she's no need to work. She does, however. Not as before. She's almost finished with her Healer apprenticeship at St Mungo's. Eight more months, and then we'll have to discuss custody arrangements again. At the moment she's weekends and I've weeks. It's easier that way, for both of us.

"He's a bit of a cold so there's Pepperup in his bag," Sophie says, dabbing at Scorpius's nose with a handkerchief. He pushes her hands away with a frown and a cranky arr--te, Maman. "And an extra phial for you. You needn't be going around getting yourself sick this winter either."

I take the handkerchief from her and hold it to Scorpius's face. "Blow," I say and he rubs his nose against the fabric and blows. "Harder." Scorpius giggles and blows again. I wad the handkerchief in my hand, suppressing a slight shudder. Sometimes children are revolting. "I'm not sick."

"And you won't be if you take it." Sophie pulls three phials from the bag and points one at me. "Herpiras Potion and don't give me that look, Draco. I nicked this from the Mungo's supply so it's stronger than cette merde terrible you buy down Knockturn and you will use it. The last thing you need are sores on your prick again."

"Prick, prick, prick, prick," Scorpius chants--Mother will be so very pleased with that addition to his vocabulary--and he kisses my cheek wetly. His nose is already running again; he smears snot across my skin. As I said, children are vile, vile creatures.

Sophie tucks the phials into a cabinet, then turns and leans against the countertop. She reaches for a slice of buttered toast on my plate. "How was your weekend?"

"Well enough." Scorpius wriggles and leans back over my arm. He arches his back and I catch him, almost too late, my palm against his shoulder blades. "One can't complain at a weekend in Barcelona, I suppose." I set Scorpius down, and he rolls back onto his arse and pulls at his boots immediately, flexing his toes in their striped socks.

Sophie takes another bite of toast; crumbs scatter across her pale grey apprentice robes. They suit her pale skin and blonde hair. More than once in our marriage we were taken for siblings. Perhaps that'd been an omen we were too foolish to comprehend. "And the--?" She raises an eyebrow pointedly.

I glance down at Scorpius. One sock is entirely off now and he's working on the other. If we're lucky he'll keep his trousers on. Sophie always points out that he takes after me on that one. "I've had better." I snag a sausage from my plate and bite into it. "I've definitely had worse."

She grins at me. "Anything too--" She looks down at our son, her mouth pursed. "--interesting?"

"None of your voyeuristic business, you cow." I pick up my plate and carry it over to the tiny table in the corner of the kitchen. It's next to a window, wide and bright, that overlooks my neighbour's garden. Even in winter it's a burst of bright greens and pinks and reds. Damned gardening charms. I've always been bollocks at them as my sadly neglected windowboxes show.

Sophie sighs. "Vicarious living, darling. Merlin knows it's the only way I'll be getting any at the moment." She joins me, reaching for the other half of my toast. I let her have it; God knows she barely eats as it is between work and Scorpius. Neddy brings us coffee--Sophie prefers it dark roasted and au lait--then holds her long fingers out to Scorpius, suggesting that perhaps he'd like to get settled in his room.

My son pulls the elf off with a shout, and I'm quite aware when I see him next the entire contents of his toybox will be emptied on the floor.

"What about that bloke you were seeing?" I ask and I take a bite of egg. Perfection, if I do say so myself. While I'll not be opening a starred restaurant any time soon, I've managed over the years to teach myself a few tricks in the kitchen. "Bay, Thyme--whatever he was."

"Basil, you tit, and don't tell me you don't remember." Sophie shrugs and she pulls at the toast, tearing off small pieces and setting them on the rim of her saucer. "Never Floo'd back, now did he? Not a lot who do, what with Scorpius." She looks up at me then, and smiles faintly. "I'm not entirely certain whether it's the fact that I've a child or the fact that I've a Malfoy child."

"Idiots all then," I say, chewing on another sausage. "Not worth either of you. Should I have Mother send another one of her catches your way?"

Sophie brushes her hands together, then drains her coffee. "Sweet of you, darling." She leans over the table and kisses my cheek as she stands. "But there's no way in bloody hell I'm letting your mother choose my boyfriend. Have you seen the idiots she asks over for dinner?"

"Better than the ones she sends to me," I say over the rim of my coffee cup. Mother has a wretched habit of deciding that any bent fellow who crosses her path should be introduced to her son. I should be grateful she's taken the revelation that I prefer men so well, but I suspect her sangfroid has more to do with the fact that I've already produced a Malfoy heir.

Sophie's already pulling her cloak back on, and the silver frogs at her throat croak softly as she snaps them closed. "Friday then, love, and perhaps we'll have an early supper before you've work?"

"Can't," I say through a mouth filled with egg. "I'm working a bloody Christmas party." At her frown, I shrug. "Don't give me that look; you know how well they pay."

"Yes, I know." Sophie looks slightly petulant. "But between your schedule and mine, we've not had dinner together for weeks."

I sigh. "Next Friday."

"Promise?"

I nod, taking another bite, and she ruffles the top of my hair. "Kiss my boy for me tonight," she says and then she's off to Mungo's and patients and the bustle and clatter of a normal life.

There's a crash down the hallway and an angry shout that turns into a wail and I roll my eyes and stand, pushing away my plate. Neddy can clean the kitchen, and the stack of letters I've to answer can wait.

Four-year-old's traumas, after all, are far more imperative.

Trust me.

***

Fourteen hours later, he's tucked into bed, soundly sleeping at last beneath the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree in his bedroom--after, of course, two bedtime stories (The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which his mother would deem far too terrifying if she knew, and a few pages of an old issue of Martin Miggs, the Mad Muggle left over from my childhood), three demands for water (the last two refused) and an urgent request to piss (most definitely granted). I've curled up on my bed with three fingers of whisky and a copy of Alistair Huffington's deliciously rubbishy Cauldron Nights that Pansy had given me at our last lunch, telling me I'd appreciate chapters ten and fourteen the most.

I'm halfway through chapter nine when the Floo buzzes.

The unfortunate truth about my line of work is that there are no set hours. No nine o'clock punch-in, no five o'clock whistle. No lunch breaks, no time to stop for elevenses or tea. And a call in the middle of the night usually means there's work to be done. Or Mother's been drinking.

I'm sincerely hoping for the latter when I squat next to the hearth, rubbing at my face. I lower my hands and my usual glamour's in place, dark hair, blue eyes, square jaw. Or rather, squarer than usual, at least. "What?" I ask, and Cardinella laughs.

"Love, you look a fright," she says. I sigh. Cardinella runs the agency that sends clients my way. Which could only mean at this late hour on a night she knows I have Scorpius that there's a client willing to pay a great deal for my services. "Run a flannel over your face, put on that fabulous white shirt of yours--the silk one I brought you back from Hong Kong, that's a dear. I've a delicious man for you--"

"I've my son tonight."

Cardinella's mouth thins for just a moment, then she laughs again. I want to throw Cauldron Nights at her just so she'll shut it. "Toby, my dear," she says and it's the only name she knows me as--no one I work with or fuck knows my real name or sees my real face; it's the least I can do to spare the Malfoy honour. "He's willing to pay double your usual rate."

I hesitate. "I'm not using anyone as a loo."

"You realise if you'd just take one or two of those clients--"

"No," I say firmly. Cardinella only wants her thirty-three percent. "What does this one want?"

Cardinella sighs. "Really, Toby, such a prude--"

I eye her suspiciously. "What does he want?" I ask again. It's not that I'm a prude. There are very few fetishes that make me flinch. But shit is shit, after all. I wouldn't even change Scorpius's nappies for the first year of his life.

"He's a virgin." Cardinella's voice has that tight tone that she only gets when I'm truly annoying her.

Well. I wasn't expecting that one. "A virgin."

"Yes. And you were recommended to him." She riffles through her notes. "By an Augustine." She snorts. "Not the saint, I hope."

I seldom know the real names of the great majority of my clients. They're just as paranoid about their privacy as myself, whether due to a wife or a job or the simple fact that buggering a bloke is still considered rather a perversion in our particular society. Pity.

"Augustine?" I think back through my list of recent clients. It takes a moment. "Oh, right. An Auror, as I recall and most definitely not a saint judging by what he prefers to do with his prick. What's this one go by?"

"Called himself Damocles."

"How very droll."

Cardinella gives me that look.

I relent. "I can't go out."

"Incall then." She taps her quill against her chin.

"Done." I push myself up from the hearth. "Send him over in thirty--no, forty-five. I'll need to shower first."

Cardinella's already gone.

***

I make a distinct effort to keep my work separate from my life. Even on incalls. There's a reason I pay extra for a two-storey flat: the bottom level is for living; the half-flat above, connected by an internal Floo and a narrow staircase just off the kitchen, is for business. The steps are hidden behind a door always kept firmly shut during Scorpius's visits; Neddy has strict orders at the moment to watch over my son until I return downstairs again.

Upstairs is a large bedroom, decorated far more lavishly than I'd prefer, but one must set a certain mood after all. Silk sheets--utterly impractical for daily sleeping--and heavy velvet hangings. A wide mahogany bed that took two half-trolls to deliver and set up, and which cost a bloody damned fortune. Candles in sconces on the walls, a cabinet filled with wine, liqueurs and very expensive whiskies.

There's a bath just off the bedroom, and I shower there, letting the steamy scent of sandalwood and musk soap drift into the bedroom. I make certain the Dark Mark is glamoured invisible--no sense in terrifying the punters. Bad for business, that. A charm dries both me and the tile, and I lay out a thick white towel and fresh soap and a razor on the edge of the bath. Every client I have tidies himself before their hour begins; it's a requirement I've no intention of waiving no matter how regular they become. If I'm to put their various body parts inside of my orifices, they can damned well be clean first.

I may be a whore, but I do have standards.

Most of my work is done outcall--I prefer Muggle hotels for my trysts. Far easier to manoeuvre, less chance of being seen by a nosy wizard or witch, and the pathetic idiots have such a charmingly provincial concept of luxury. I know by first name the night staff at Brown's and Claridge's, the Royal Garden Kensington and the Savoy, not to mention La Tremoile in Paris and the Hotel de Russie in Rome.

It's a curious arrangement between staff and whores; a good whore will tip the night staff well, be pleasant always without stooping to obsequiousness. They can end your career should they wish.

And it is always advisable to have some sort of information to be used upon them as blackmail should they decide to do so. A deft hand at Imperius works rather nicely as well.

However, for those times when my work keeps me home, a wardrobe in the corner of the bedroom holds clothes and various items that may be needed during the course of the evening--calfhide whips, dildos (some charmed to vibrate, others to not), anal beads and plugs, cock rings, nipple clamps, ties--silk and rope (one never knows if the punter likes it rough or gentle after all), bottles of lubricant and massage oil, blindfolds and riding crops.

I've a bloody sex shop in the depths of my wardrobe drawers.

For now, however, I choose merely a bottle of my favourite lubricant, a small phial of almond massage oil and a few condoms--there are charms that protect as well but I don't trust them to hold in the heat of the moment--and I set them next to the bed.

And then I become Toby.

It's an uncommon enough name in wizarding circles. Exotically Muggle and most of my clients prefer to think of me as beneath them, in both practice and class. I encourage them to; it keeps my family's social position intact and entices them to be--less than discreet with certain information.

Both I and my solicitor have benefited quite well financially from rumours and whispered gossip unavailable to most business investors.

Oh, for God's sake, no sour frowns. It's not as if anyone was hurt.

Well, there was that one rather tragic affair with the Acromantula venom, but the Wizengamot did decide in the end that his wife'd planned the poisoning long before he lost half their fortune.

Terrible timing, that.

I dress in a white silk shirt, sleeves rolled up just enough to look appropriately disheveled, and a pair of black wool trousers, purchased in Savile Row and tailored to show my arse to its best advantage. I don't bother with pants; they'll just get in the way. A thin black leather belt, feet bare, and my still-dark hair rumpled just artfully enough to give the impression that I've been lounging about waiting for this Damocles to arrive.

I wonder who he is.

On occasion I do recognise my clients, even though I'd never admit it to them. A Ministry official here, an Auror there, perhaps a diplomat from France or from Denmark or from Mozambique. A wealthy husband and father of four. All men with enough disposable income to afford spending 300 Galleons on an hour with me.

But, as I've mentioned, many of them come to me in glamours, with false names and false histories. This is a business of secrets, and all too often there's far too much for a man to lose on being known as a pillow-biter. Wizarding society is willing to ignore the foibles of poofters as long as we don't push ourselves upon them. As long as we sire our expected children for the good of our families and the wizarding population as a whole. As long as we lie about ourselves. As long as others can pretend we're celibate. As long as they can forget what we do with our pricks.

Even Dumbledore was only spoken about in whispers, with a wink and a nudge and a tilt of the head so as not to call the kiddies' notice.

I could be noble and say that I provide these men with a much needed release, a place where they can be their true selves if only for an hour or two and only under a glamour. I, however, am most decidedly not noble.

The fact of the matter is that I'm a whore because I like sex. I like the way it feels and the way it smells and tastes. I like to come against another man's body; I liked to be fucked hard; I like to fuck hard. Unlike many of my colleagues, I've no ridiculous rules such as no kissing, no coming, no touching in ways I deem too intimate.

Sex is sex, and I'm very, very good at it.

The Floo in the bedroom--warded against all but those to whom Cardinella has given the proper access address--rattles and I turn to meet my Damocles.

Harry bloody Potter tumbles out of my hearth and lands at my feet.

He's hidden the scar. Charmed his hair a bright red--Weasley's influence, I'm certain. But I'd know that damned face anywhere. The entire bloody wizarding world would.

Only years of practise allows me to keep my composure, though I blink several times. I hold out my hand, help him to his feet. "Damocles, I presume," I say with what I hope is my most charming smile.

I am utterly gobsmacked.

Potter is bollocks at glamours. And in search of a whore. A male whore.

He pushes his glasses up his nose and shifts from foot to foot. "Er, yes." He runs a hand through his hair. "Toby, right?" His discomfort is amusing; I've the wild urge to burst into hysterical laughter. I swallow it down.

Instead, I tilt my head slightly and take his hand--he only flinches slightly. "Yes."

"Interesting name, that." He shoves his hands into his pockets. He's wearing jeans and a jumper, an expensive one, but a jumper nevertheless. Some things never change. "Don't hear it much."

"My godfather was a Tobias." It's not entirely a lie. Severus was named after his father. I wonder on occasion if he'd be amused or horrified by my co-opting it to fuck men by. I suspect a generous dollop of both though he'd say it served the old bastard right. I'd agree. "If you will..." I lead Potter into the bath. "Cardinella explained, I'm certain--"

"Yes." He cuts me off and he pulls away and wraps his arms around his chest. "I told her I didn't mind."

"Excellent." I move closer to him; I can sense the fear and excitement tensing his body. "Then there's only the matter of payment..." I trail off, eyebrow raised. I learned quickly to take the money first in this line of work. Contrary to popular opinion, most punters don't leave the notes on the dresser the next morning. Payment first, fucking afterwards.

It's a simple, neat transaction.

Potter flushes, and he digs into his pocket.

I take cash only; no chits or cheques from the bank. Cardinella makes that entirely clear upon her first discourse with the client. She's eager to get her third, after all. Potter pulls a bag of Galleons out; they clink against each other as he hands it to me.

Counting it there is beyond gauche; a subtle heft of the bag in my hand tells me that it's unlikely he's skimped me. And then there's the matter of him being a bloody Gryffindor, of course. Still, I'll make certain when he showers.

Speaking of which...

A brush of my lips across his jaw makes him breathe in sharply. "I'll leave it to you, then." My knuckles graze his cheek and I place the soap in his hand. "Don't bother dressing again." I close the door behind me and lean against it, my fist pressed to my mouth, stifling the laugh that chokes out.

A moment later the shower turns on, a rattle and hiss of water against tile.

Potter. Harry bloody Potter in my bed. Harry bloody Potter who's married with three children as the Prophet takes great delight in reporting almost every week. Devoted father. Beloved husband. And evidently in desperate need of cock.

Pansy will never believe this.

The Galleons tumble into my hand, bright and shining, and the total is there, a doubled fee for one hour.

Potter must be desperate to resort to a whore.

I open the liquor cabinet and study the glasses inside. I highly doubt Potter is a wine connoisseur, so I choose old-fashioneds and pour whisky in them instead. Glenfiddich. Severus had introduced me to it during my seventh year.

The whisky nearly lands on the floor when I remember that Potter is a virgin. Of sorts. Bloody hell. My hand shakes as I cap the bottle and set it back in the cabinet. A stray drop rolls down the side; I catch it with one finger that I lick clean. The whisky burns my tongue.

A virgin.

And I'm to have him first.

Merlin's sodding balls, my cock aches at the thought.

I knock back my glass of whisky and reach for the bottle again. Refilling my glass with only a slightly steadier hand, I add a few drops of Priapicatus Potion. Standard procedure when I'm working. The last thing I need is a limp prick.

Not that I think that will be an issue tonight.

Bloody hell.

By the time the door to the bath clicks open, I've hold of myself again. Somewhat.

And then Potter's there, hair still damp, and only the white towel wrapped around his hips, so damned bloody low I can see the jut of bone on either side. He smells like soap and water and steam, and I can't take my eyes off the breadth of his shoulders.

Christ, I fucking hate him.

I hand him the other glass, and he drinks immediately, downing nearly half the whisky in one gulp. That should not be that bloody attractive.

Potter licks his bottom lip, pushes his hair back off his forehead. His glasses are gone--most likely left with his clothes in the bath, I suspect, and, eyes slightly unfocused, he looks oddly vulnerable without them.

"I don't normally do this," he begins, and I take the glass from his hand and set it aside.

"Of course." I move closer, and he swallows hard.

Potter closes his eyes as my fingertips skim over his chest. "I don't. It's just--" I scrape a thumbnail over his nipple and his breath catches. "Christ."

And then I'm sliding down him, dragging my mouth over his warm, damp skin, his body hard and taut beneath my hands. Just a job, I tell myself. Just a job and just another punter, but my fingers dig into his skin and he groans and I press them in harder, scraping them across his hips, leaving behind long, pink-white marks on his pale gold skin.

He's already hard when I pull the towel away, and his cock is small but thick and red, and it curves to the right and up. When I lick up the underside, along the veiny ridge, he grabs my shoulder, clutching tight.

I close my lips around his head.

Potter tastes of soap and salt, and shadows from the candles flicker across his chest as I look up at him, his cock moving in my mouth. He's watching me, his eyes wide, his mouth open as he gasps and I can't help but shift, spread my knees wider. My prick's pressed against the buttons of my trousers and all I can think about is thrusting between his lips, coming on his face, across his cheeks, into his mouth and--Merlin.

I pull away, breathing hard, and his cock bobs in front of my face, slick and wet.

"You've never done this with a man before," I say, and I can't stop myself from licking at the head again.

His fingers slide into my hair. "No."

A shiver curls down my spine. How I thought about this during school. How I wanted Potter naked underneath me back then, my cock slamming into him, my tongue in his mouth, shutting him up finally--

I stand. Business. Not pleasure. This is business. I am Toby tonight. Not Draco. Not a Malfoy. I slide into my whore's skin.

"What do you want?" I whisper into Potter's ear, and I lower my voice the way I've learned makes men's cocks ache. I know all the tricks, know how to make them feel wanted. Desired. This is my job and I'm brilliant at it. "Do you want to suck me or fuck me? Or do you want your legs spread and my cock inside of you?" I lick up his throat, bite his jaw. "Tell me and it's yours tonight."

Potter tenses, just enough to make me smile. Oh, yes. He wants.

He breathes out, a soft warm huff of breath against my neck. "I want to fuck you."

Of course. They all do their first time, these men who find themselves eager for prick after years of tits and pussy. It's easier, less terrifying than having a prick up your arse. After all, a hole is a hole, and if they don't like it they can pretend it's their wife or girl they're bent over, pounding away at.

It's only the ones who reach for my cock, who hold it, who stroke it as they fuck me who'll be interested in coming back. Usually to find out if they like a prick inside of them.

I do love virgins.

I unbuckle my belt, sliding it out of the loops slowly. I drop it to the floor; he's staring at the bulge in my trousers.

"Like what you see, my Damocles?" My fingers slip through the back of his hair, pulling him closer, thumb circling against his nape. He catches my waist with one hand and his hip rubs against my trousers. The wool catches on the head of my prick. Oh, fucking Christ.

"Well enough," he says, voice rough.

I'm not certain how my trousers are opened--if it's him or me or both of us, fingers fumbling together--but then he's my cock in his hand, and he's stroking it lightly, almost hesitantly. "Not so gentle," I choke out, and he smiles just enough, his fingers tightening on me, tugging harder.

Fuck.

He pushes me back on the bed, and my shirt's being shoved up, his palms warm and smooth against my skin. I kick off my trousers and manage to choke out lube while motioning at the side table. Potter scrabbles for it, then looks at me.

"Condoms?" He holds one up. "There are charms--"

"And I'm a whore," I say calmly. I've already learned my lesson in this regard. Herpiras tastes foul. I take the foil packet from him and tear it open, handing him the scrap of rubber. "And if you want to fuck me, you'll put it on."

Potter rolls it down on his prick, wincing. Most punters object at least once. Charms are far more preferable.

However, it's my arse he's about to plunder, and given that Potter's cock has already been in one Weasley at least, I'd like at least a barrier between us.

I roll over onto my stomach and look over my shoulder. "Now the lube."

Potter opens the bottle, pours some on his fingers, then looks at me hesitantly. "And?"

His uncertainty is almost charming, save for the fact that he's bloody Potter. I roll my eyes, forgetting myself for a moment. Fortunately, he's staring down at his fingers, and the slick oil stretching between them. "One finger first," I say, barely holding back a sigh. "In my arse, if you please."

Potter blinks. "Not my prick?"

"Not yet." I lean up on one elbow. "You do realise that I need to be stretched, yes?"

This is going to go badly. I can tell already.

"Right." He still hesitates.

I grab his wrist, pushing his fingertip against my hole. "Now."

His finger slides in, and I spread my thighs, my shirt rucked up beneath my armpits. "Fuck, yes," I breathe out in just the right tone as I press backwards against his hand. I glance at the clock on the wall. Thirty-one minutes left.

There are times when an hour can drag by. I've one client who prefers to spend the entire time nuzzling my feet, his hand jerking wildly at his cock while I lie on the bed, staring up at the ceiling and occasionally urging him on. Another prefers to lie behind me, fucking me so slowly that it's nearly impossible for me not to fall asleep.

The way Potter is going, this hour threatens to be just as long.

And then his second finger slides in and he's leaning over me, whispering like this? in my ear and all I can do is blink and nod as he twists his fingers inside of me.

"Not so different from a girl," he says and he bites my shoulder. "Bit less wet."

I arch up against him, undulating my hips. "And how many girls do you have to stretch like this?"

"You'd be surprised." Potter pushes his fingers in roughly. It burns, and I hiss. "Too hard?"

I nod and he slows his fingers down. Not enough, however. "Slower. Twist them again."

He does. I'm already loose--I have enough sex that it's frankly not a difficulty to prepare me, and I rise up on my hands and knees. "I'm ready." I look back over my shoulder. Potter's staring at his fingers in my arse, his cheeks flushed, his mouth open and wet.

I shudder.

"Not like this," he says and he looks up at me then. He pulls his fingers out of me. "Roll over."

"Whatever for?"

Potter leans over me, and his cock drags across the back of my thigh. He presses his mouth to my shoulder. "I want to see your face."

I freeze. Almost none of them ask for this. And never on the first time. It's dangerous, I know. My glamour could potentially slip mid-fuck. But I can still feel the heavy clink of Galleons in my hand.

"Toby," Potter says again, and I pull myself together. This is ridiculous. I'm being ridiculous. Seven years of whoring myself out and my glamour's never once failed.

I'm a professional, for Christ's sake.

I roll onto my back and smile up at him, stretching out languorously beneath him. I trail my fingertips along his jaw. "Do you want to fuck me, my Damocles?"

Potter shivers at my touch, ducks his head. "Yeah," he breathes out.

"Slick your cock." I hand him the bottle of lubricant again. He does so, stroking himself slowly over the condom; I spread my legs wide. I'm hard, and I reach down to trail my fingers over my prick. Potter's eyes widen. I laugh softly and lift my hips. "Slow then. No sense in you popping before it's time."

Potter leans over me, presses up against my hole. His tongue darts out over his bottom lip.

He pushes in.

It's not unpleasant, Potter inside of me, and I close my eyes, my palm curling around my cock.

This is what I love about being a whore, being fucked like this. Potter's technique is horrible, and the groans and grunts he makes over me are ridiculous. But his rhythm is steady, his strokes even, and I press up to meet each thrust, my hips slamming against his.

Sex is the one place I can lose myself. Where I am nothing but a body, wanting, aching, needing--

I love coming, love the twisting coil that spirals through my hips, over my spine, jerking me up with a gasp, my eyes flying open as my fingers tug at my cock. Potter's watching me, his skin damp and slick and his eyes are wide and so damned green.

My hands are sticky and slick; my body is shaking with each thrust of his prick into me, lifting my hips up, and it's too much. I grab at his arm wildly, press my shoulders into the bed and come with a cry.

I'm limp and languid beneath him as he fucks me, and his hands smear my come across my stomach, over my chest and then he's shuddering, his hips jerking roughly against my arse.

He falls on me and we lie there, bodies twined together.

I turn my head, look blankly at the clock.

Twelve minutes left.

Potter breathes out against my neck. He shifts and I can feel him pull the condom off his prick. He grunts in my ear and winces.

"Well?" I roll out from beneath him and hold out my hand. He hands me the condom; I throw it in the rubbish bin. It disappears, banished to God knows where.

Potter flops onto his back and stares up at the ceiling. "I'm married."

"Most are." I sigh. This is the part of the hour that I despise. True confessions. I much prefer the punters who roll off me and reach for their trousers. I'm tired; I'm sore; I'd like a hot cuppa with a splash of whisky before curling up under the covers for the few hours before Scorpius wakes me demanding breakfast.

Potter would have to be the sort who talked.

He turns his head, studies me. "I'm getting a divorce."

This surprises me. The Prophet surely hasn't heard this development; they'd have had it splashed across the society page in an instant. I merely raise an eyebrow; Potter sighs and looks back up at the ceiling.

"It's for the best for both of us." He picks at the sheet beneath him, rolling a fold of silk through his fingertips. "She's not fond of me being with men."

"Well, she is your wife." I prop my chin on my fist. "And you've been with men before? Because you just paid double--"

"No," Potter says, flushing. "Just...well, I kissed her brother." He chews his bottom lip. "I was pissed, he was pissed, I don't know what I was thinking."

I want to laugh. Oh Merlin above how I want to. Instead I school my face into what I hope is a sympathetic expression. It's a hardship. "Ah," I say noncommittally instead. I'm desperate to ask which brother. It takes all my self-restraint not to.

Potter sits up. "I don't know why I'm saying all this." He rubs his hands over his face. "It's just--we finally filed the papers this evening. And...." He trails off, his shoulders slumped.

One question answered. I can't wait to see the Prophet next morning. For the moment, I rub my hands over his shoulders. Toby, I remind myself. Toby would be sympathetic. "Wretched time of year."

Not exactly consoling, I suppose.

"I reckon." He pushes his fringe back. I can see the faint outline of the scar wavering beneath his glamour. "She's met someone. She wants to give it a go."

How absolutely deliciously fabulous. "So she cheated on you?"

"No!" Potter glares at me. I simply shrug. "She's not like that."

I'm not so certain. She's a Weasley, after all.

Potter rubs his hands over his bare thighs. His prick shifts and he flushes. "We tried to make it work, and then we knew it wasn't going to. For either of us. So, we're going our separate ways." He meets my eyes. "We're staying friends."

I can't really mock him for that, given my own situation. Damn it. I trail my fingers over his chest. "Consider this a celebration, then."

Potter smiles faintly at me though, and he cups my cheek with one hand. "Yeah, maybe." His thumb traces the curve of my bottom lip. "That's what Connors said when he recommended you."

I file the name away. There's always the possibility it might need to be used against my Augustine at some point down the road.

Potter stands. "I should...." He gestures towards the bathroom and I nod and stretch against the pillows as he closes the door behind him.

I've just fastened my trousers when he comes out again, fully dressed and showered. He's taken the time to dry his hair; he'll be returning to the Weasley girl then.

"Thank you," he says, and his lips brush my cheek, his fingers curl around my palm.

He's already in the Floo when I realise he's given me another bag of Galleons.

Damn twat.

***

Pansy's taken a table in the Palm Court with her eldest, Alexander, when Scorpius and I arrive. Scorpius's hand is tight in mine as we walk sedately through the labyrinth of damask tablecloths and gleaming silver tea services. An enormous Christmas fir glitters in the corner, covered with floating candles and spun glass globes that change colours at random. Fairies flit between the branches, their wings shimmering in the candlelight.

Scorpius's eyes are wide. It's twice as big as the trees Neddy's set up at home.

Tuesday afternoon tea has become a standard for the four of us, and Alex--my godson--smiles up at me. "Uncle Draco," he says shyly. He's just turned seven and has far more of his sedate father in him than his mother. His two-year-old sister, on the other hand, is a right terror.

"Lessons are going well?" I ask him and he ducks his head in reply.

I lean in to kiss Pansy's cheek before lifting Scorpius into his chair. He knows how to behave in this setting; he's oddly quiet and solemn in his second-best robe--the one with the silver serpent embroidery that Pansy bought him for his last birthday.

I once thought we'd be married, the two of us. We'd both assumed in school it was what was expected. The aftermath of the war changed that. The Parkinsons had no desire to merge their rising fortunes with the diminishing Malfoy ones, nor to have their family name associated with the Dark Lord's minions.

And then Father killed himself and the scandal had been too much. Pansy married Theodore Nott six months later. All for the best, I suppose. And we've always been better as friends, we two.

"Hello, darling," she says as she sets aside her copy of the Prophet. "Have you seen this today?"

I take my seat, rumpling Alex's hair, and reach for the paper. "Not yet." I already know what has to be contained in it.

"The golden couple's split," Pansy says with satisfaction. "What a delightful Christmas gift." She's ordered a pot of Lapsang Souchong Imperiale and she pours three cups, then a bit more in a child's mug to cool for Scorpius before dousing it with milk and a spoonful of sugar. He swings his legs against the chair, heels banging softly against the carved ebony. I frown at him over the front page of the Prophet and he stops, a sulky look crossing his face for a moment before he catches himself.

Pansy hands him a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich, then smoothes his hair back from his forehead. An elf sets two glasses of champagne on the table for us along with Christmas cakes. Alex reaches for one immediately, then glances towards his mother. Pansy nods. "One at a time," she warns him with a frown, and he sighs and picks one with marzipan icing.

I sip my tea first, letting the bitter liquid swirl over my tongue. The article is small, below the fold, and that has to be due to some influence Potter has with the editorial department, I'm certain. I vaguely recall having heard one of those idiot friends of his had taken on a position at the Prophet. Creevey, perhaps it is.

Unreasonable behaviour, the Prophet says is the reason for the divorce and I choke back a laugh. Smart Potter, waiting to fuck after the papers are filed. There are only two quick ways of obtaining a divorce in Britain: adultery or unreasonable behaviour. Otherwise there's a two-year separation if both parties agree, and a five-year if one spouse opposes the divorce. Bloody marriage laws. Sophie and I chose adultery. It was closer to the truth and neither of us gave a damn anyway.

I skim the page. Amicable, one sentence throws out at me, and uncontested custody. The latter stops me short. Potter, you damn fool.

"He's signing away custodial rights." I don't realise I've said it aloud until Pansy hmms.

She looks at me over the rim of her champagne flute. "Must feel terribly guilty about something." She tilts her head, studying the bubbles rising through the pale gold wine.

This is my moment to tell her, I know. We'd laugh over it, and she'd whisper it about discreetly that Potter'd been sleeping around with a whore--a man at that--and it would be brilliant to see how horrified the wizarding world would be. How quickly the bloody Chosen One would fall from his pedestal.

It's on the tip of my tongue; I almost lean towards her.

And then I look at my son, cream cheese smeared across his cheek and a glob on the tip of his nose. He grins up at me, mouth full of bread and cucumber, and I wonder how wretched it would be to have so much guilt over who you were that you would feel obligated to give up your children.

I can't do it. Not even to Potter.

Bloody hell.

Instead, I shrug one shoulder and fold the paper, setting it aside. "Or Weasley has him by the bollocks."

Pansy shudders. "I'm eating, Draco. Please."

"Bollocks, balls, cock," I say with a grin, and Scorpius mumbles bollocks, balls, cock into his mug of tea. I sigh. "Sometimes I forget he's about when he's not shouting." Alex snickers.

Pansy pops a bit of cake into her mouth. "You're the one who got the tart up the duff, dear."

There's little love lost between Pansy and Sophie.

I frown at her and she rolls her eyes. "Well, you did. Oh, and before I forget, Theo wants me to make certain you've still tonight free. He says he's dragging you to some boring lecture at the Ministry?"

"Yes." I don't meet her eyes as I reach for my champagne. "Something about new revenue codes for the self-employed." Theo's been my solicitor for the past five years. He keeps the Ministry off my arse, my taxes dutifully paid and my money well-invested.

None of which, however, is what he wishes to see me about, despite what he may have told his wife.

Pansy wrinkles her nose. "How horribly dull--" she begins, and then Scorpius drops his mug, spilling milky tea across gilt-edged china and white damask. Pansy grabs a serviette and wipes it up, soothing my mortified son and calling an elf for another plate and more pastries.

I stare out at the London skyline, dark and grey in the cold afternoon light, and turn my champagne flute between two fingers as rain begins to fall.

***

The headboard shakes when Theo slams me up against it, his hands spreading my arse, his cock deep inside. I'm groaning and tense, rocking back against his thrusts, and I can barely hold on to the smooth wood, my palms are so slick with oil and sweat. The lights of London gleam at us from the hotel window, sparkling bright against the cold winter night.

"Tell me you want me." He bites my throat; my head falls back against his shoulder and I gasp as my prick slides against the wide white pillowcases again, as it presses hard against carved walnut. I leave a wet smear on the wood.

"Theo," I choke out and he fucks me harder, kissing me now roughly, our tongues tangling together. "Please."

I'm so fucking close and my cock aches. My arse clenches; Theo drags his fingernails along one hip, scraping across my skin. It hurts but it's nearly enough, and when his fingers curl around my prick, I'm lost.

We fall together on the bed, Theo still inside me, softening, and he kisses my shoulder blade. I press my face into the pillow and breathe out.

It's not the first time I've fucked my best friend's husband. In our defence--which is a laughable thought--it started long ago, before Theo married Pansy. Winter term, sixth year we fucked nearly every night, Theo crawling into my bed once Vincent and Greg fell asleep. He once sucked me off in the Quidditch showers. Merlin, how I came on his face, in his hair.

It started again when he became my solicitor. It's part of his payment. I fuck him regularly; he keeps me hidden from Ministry notice.

Neither of us tell Pansy. I've seen the way she looks at him, eyes soft and bright. The way her gaze follows him when he walks in a room. The way she touches his face when he leans in to kiss her cheek.

I'd never take that away from her. No matter how hollow and false it might be.

I can feel Theo's fingertips stroking along my side, slowly, lingering. "Beautiful," he whispers and I try not to flinch.

Beautiful whore.

I'm nothing but.

***

My footsteps echo across the black and white chessboard marble of Claridge's lobby, past the gilt lift and the wide, curved staircase. A burning log snaps in one of the fireplaces, sending orange-red sparks drifting up its dark chimney, and I catch a glimpse of my face in one of the tall mirrors hanging beside it. Pale, save for the flush high on my cheekbones, my hair rumpled and disheveled, my eyes too bright.

I button my black wool coat and nod curtly at Geoff behind the desk. A few banknotes tossed in front of him and his eyes widen. I've probably given him too much; I'm incapable of remembering the proper Galleons-to-pounds exchange rate. "The gentleman upstairs in 1215," I say and my voice surprises me with its steadiness. "If he asks--" and he won't; I know Theo "--tell him I've an emergency with my son."

Geoff pockets the money and eyes me in concern. He's liked me since I brought him the bottle of Ch--teau Latour 1990 for his birthday February last. "Everything all right then?"

"As rain." I wrap my scarf tightly around my neck and swear to myself as I always do that this is the last time. That Theo's next request I'll turn down. Won't show.

I'm lying to myself and I know it. That's the problem with having secrets, you see. They can be used against you.

Not that I blame him necessarily. I've a punter or two I've gently blackmailed over the years.

Brook Street is wet and misty; the black and glass doors of the hotel shut behind me, cutting off the warmth.

I shiver and turn towards home.

***

The rain's still falling outside Scorpius's window. His Christmas tree shimmers faintly in the moonlight, the fairies sleeping on the branches. I pull my dressing gown tighter; my arse still aches.

Guilt washes over me; it's not an emotion I'm comfortable with. But even an hour after sliding out of bed, Theo still asleep and curled around his pillow, I can feel his touch, smell his scent. It's disconcerting.

Perhaps it'd be different if I loved him.

I don't.

I squat next to my son's bed and brush his hair back from his forehead. It's soft and pale blond. Mother says he looks like I did at his age, round cheeks and pointed chin.

Nights like these I wish Father could have met him. He'd approve of his grandson, I think. I trace the arch of Scorpius's eyebrow; he shifts in his sleep.

I miss Father. I won't say I don't understand why he did it. I do. It was hard for all of us after the war. The Ministry demanded so much money from us; reparations for those killed by His Lordship, for Ministry forces depleted and destroyed. They gutted our fortune just as His Lordship gutted the Manor.

All either left us with were empty shells.

No money, almost no home, and no way of earning any income. Father and I both searched. Called out favours to no avail. Doors were shut in our faces.

We did what we had to.

Father took a potion. I turned to whoring.

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like had we made different choices, all of us. Not just after the war but before it. But I've not a time-turner. And what-ifs are of no use. I've a son I'm proud of and an ex-wife I adore and a mother I worship. And for that I've little to complain about.

I press a kiss to Scorpius's temple and curl up next to him, feet almost hanging off the narrow bed. My son rolls into me and presses his face against my chest with a mumble and a sigh; I breathe in the faint sweaty-earthy-boyish scent of his hair.

And I sleep.

***

Mother Floos for Scorpius Thursday morning, insisting on an opportunity to lunch with her grandson. I want my son to love the halls of the Manor as I did, even if two of the three wings have been emptied of anything worth Galleons and closed off. I bundle him in jumper and trousers, and, much to his dismay, a proper robe which he tugs at with a petulant sigh and a Papa.

I leave him with Mother, who tells me for the thousandth time I'm far too thin before pouncing on Scorpius and kissing him. He gives me a desperate look before I Floo out; I just laugh.

Sophie meets me in Diagon for tea and a spot of Christmas shopping. Our list for Scorpius is nearly three pages long; standing in the middle of Drosselmeier's Emporium of Wonders, Sophie looks at me, her hair rumpled and eyes wild.

"He's entirely too spoiled, you realise," she says and she chews on the tip of her quill.

I'm laden with packages and bags already. "It's Christmas."

"No four-year-old needs a potions kit." She purses her lips and strikes it off the list.

I shake my hair out of my eyes. It's bloody damned hot in this horrific hellhole. I've no idea how I managed to spend hours wandering around this shop when I was younger. "I had one when I was three."

A tiny Antipodean Opaleye swoops through the air above my head with a screech and a burst of bright red flame that nearly sets an entire shelf of tin knights on fire. They shout, waving swords and shields at the beast.

"Yes and your bloody godfather was off his rocker," Sophie says, reaching for a stuffed leviathan with a faint shudder. When I'm silent she looks up. "Oh, Draco, I didn't mean--"

"It's fine." It's been eleven years. You'd think I'd be over Severus's death by now.

I'm not.

Sophie squeezes my elbow gently. It's a sore wound and she knows it. Severus was--well. My godfather. My protector. The first man I worshiped. The reason I realised I preferred boys during my fifth year.

I'd dreamed and fantasised that he'd come to me, take me to his bed, fall madly in love with me.

He hadn't.

Instead he'd died, still pining away after bloody Potter's mother, and even after all these years, that fact still twists my stomach.

I pick up a rubber serpent. It coils around my wrist, flicks its tongue against my skin. I stroke the smooth, painted scales and it hisses softly.

There's a commotion at the door, a flash of bulbs and shouts of Harry, this way, this way, Harry.

Potter's leaning against the door, his back to the Prophet photographers, a dark-haired boy on one hip who looks Scorpius's age, gnawing on a Jammie Dodger, and another beside him, holding tightly to Potter's hand. The children's eyes are wide.

Drosselmeier the Third (or is it the Fourth--no one seems to know quite for certain) comes ambling up, tugging at his eye-patch nervously. "Mr Potter, Mr Potter," he says, attempting to wave Potter further into the store. "So lovely to see you again; how might I help you today? Toys for your boys perhaps? New brooms?"

Potter doesn't move; his shoulders are pressed against the glass of the door and it thumps behind him as the photographers try to shove into the store. "Perhaps you might ward the door?" he asks a bit breathlessly and Drosselmeier looks a bit disappointed but does so.

I pull Sophie behind a tall display of toy cauldrons and potion flasks.

"What are you doing--" she begins, but I clasp my hand over her mouth.

"One of my punters," I breathe into her ear and she peers out from behind a flashing apple-green sign advertising Cerridwen's Commodious Cauldrons (perfect for your burgeoning brewmaster and only five Galleons, three Sickles for a limited time).

Sophie's eyes widen. "Harry Potter?"

I pull her back behind the teetering tower of cauldrons. A seven-headed mouse skitters away with an indignant squeak. "Shut it," I hiss.

"Seriously?" She stares at me. "The Head of the Auror Department is one of your punters?"

"He doesn't know he is," I mutter and I glance back towards Potter. Drosselmeier is still fawning over him and Potter is, in turn, casting slightly desperate looks at the door still shadowed by photographers. He shifts the boy on his hip to his other side. The other customers inch towards them, obviously eavesdropping.

I have the slightest twinge of pity of the idiot. It dissipates rather quickly.

"You know I'm going to ask about this later, yes?" Sophie says.

I give her an exasperated look just as a round pale face topped by a shock of red hair pops over the rim of a cauldron, startling me. I take a step back.

"Why are you hiding behind cauldrons?" Potter's oldest asks and he narrows his eyes at me.

"I'm not hiding." I straighten my robe and cross my arms over my chest. The rubber snake raises its head from my wrist and hisses at the brat. "Adults don't hide."

"Oh, yes they do," the boy says. "They even hide in our rubbish bins now."

Sophie snorts. The boy looks over at her and scowls. "Dad!"

"Shut it," I say, to him this time, frantically, but he's already calling for Potter again. "Christ, you're a horrid brat."

This earns me an incredulous look from my ex-wife. "Honestly, Draco."

And then Potter's there. "What is it, James?" he asks in apparent annoyance, but he seems far too relieved to escape from Drosselmeier. He blinks at me. "Oh. Malfoy."

The child on his hip tugs on Potter's shirt with a whispered Daddy, pulling the collar to one side. Biscuit crumbs scatter everywhere. I see a flash of pale gold skin and sharp collarbone. A memory of my tongue against the curve of his neck shivers through me.

"They were hiding," I hear James say from a distance and I valiantly resist the urge to smack the child. Obviously Weasley and Potter genes do not mesh well.

Potter raises an eyebrow at me, his amusement evident, and I curl my lip and straighten my spine.

"Only Christmas shopping for our son." Sophie breaks in before I can respond, with a bright smile and a gesture towards the stack of cauldrons. "Draco keeps insisting that Scorpius is old enough to start brewing, but I think four is far too young for that, wouldn't you agree?" She brushes a knuckle against the younger child's cheek and he grins, then buries his face against his father's neck. "And who is this charming young man?"

It takes all I have not to roll my eyes.

The door bursts open with a jingle and a clanging flash. Potter ducks behind me, crouching slightly as the photographers crowd in. Drosselmeier's suspiciously close to the front window.

"Shit," Potter mumbles, and I almost consider throwing him to the wolves, but that youngest boy of his is watching me with wide green eyes and I sigh.

I shift just enough to block him from view, fingering the rim of a cauldron. It's a temptation to drop it on his damned head. Instead I murmur, "Drosselmeier has a Floo in the back room. He keeps the powder in a tin on the hearth." I'd escaped from Dobby more than once that way as a child.

Potter gives me a surprised look, but he's not stupid enough to hesitate. He scrambles for the door; Sophie smiles at me and with a discreet flick of her wand sends the display of cauldrons scattering across the floor.

I scoop one up, tucking it into one of our bulging bags. To hell with paying for the bloody thing.

Sophie takes my arm; her lips brush my cheek. "Sweet of you."

"You're buying me a glass of whisky--or two," I say tightly, and she just laughs and squeezes my hand.

We Apparate as Drosselmeier hurries our way, his hands flapping, face screwed up in annoyance.

***

Certain businesses earn a rather large percentage of their yearly income during the holiday season. Shops, restaurants, theatre, caterers, for example. Whores are no different.

I myself attribute it the upsurge in depression induced by far too much insistence upon bloody Christmas cheer and far too many hours spent with one's family.

Mother Floos in Friday evening while I dress.

"Darling, I've the most delicious idea for Scorpius's present," she calls from the hallway and I sigh and continue shaving. "Darling?"

"Bath, Mother."

Her heels click along the hallway. "Did you hear me? I've an idea--"

"For Scorpius's present. " I tap Father's old razor against the side of the sink. Shaving cream drips off it, melting into the hot water. It's old-fashioned of me, I suppose, but I prefer it to a shaving charm. Father used to swear the razor gave him the closest shave possible. I agree.

And it reminds me of him, I suppose.

Mother leans against the doorjamb, her black velvet robe draped over one arm. Her dress is as always impeccable. Grey silk, French in cut, perfectly hemmed just above her knee. "You're going out."

"A party." I drag the razor along the underside of my jaw, catching the last of the shaving cream. "Holiday thing, terribly boring, I'm certain." I look her up and down. "You're awfully well coiffed yourself."

"Tea with Eleanor. You know how she talks if one's not up to snuff."

Ah. Zabini's mother. Currently back in London and on husband number nine.

I set the razor aside and splash water on my face before drying it with a small white hand towel sitting on the edge of the sink. "Scorpius?" I ask, muffled against Egyptian cotton. "I thought you'd purchased all his presents. What's this one?"

"A collie, Draco. Eleanor's bitch has had the sweetest little pups--"

I lower the towel. "Mother. He's four."

"As I recall," she says tartly, crossing her arms, "you had two kittens and a crup by that age."

"And look at me now."

Mother rolls her eyes. "A perfectly respectable businessman."

I take this opportunity to shove my toothbrush in my mouth. At times Mother can be incredibly blind. It's how she managed to live with Father, after all. Until His Lordship settled into the Manor and made it impossible for her to ignore.

"It's just a pup, Draco," she says. "It would teach him responsibility."

Right. Like I'd learned with the kittens and the crup. Which had only survived because Dobby fed them.

I rinse my mouth, spit into the sink, then toss a handful of tooth-flossing string mints into my mouth. They tickle as they zip back and forth between my teeth. "And who's going to keep it? Sophie's flat is far too small and I've not enough time to handle a dog--"

"The Manor then." Mother frowns at me. "You know he'd adore it, Draco."

Unfortunately, she's right.

I sigh and brush past her, heading for my bedroom. She follows. "I suppose if it's the Manor," I say. My shirt's spread on the bed already, laundered crisp and white. I slide into it and look back at her. "You have to ask Sophie as well, though."

"Oh, fine." Mother drops into the leather armchair across the room. She flexes her foot, letting one black heel dangle from her toes. I don't know how she walks in the damn things. The few times I've done it for clients I've nearly killed myself. "Has Sophie spoken to her father?"

My fingers knot my tie--a staid, simple grey and black foulard--in a classic half-Windsor. "Not since summer." Guillaume Molyneux has no wish to communicate with his whore daughter. Even if she's left the business behind.

"Pity." Mother's brow wrinkles. "I just don't understand how he could abandon his child like that."

She never will. Sophie has no intention of sharing the entirety of her past with Mother despite the fact that I'm quite certain Mother wouldn't care.

About either of our choices.

Pulling my frock coat on, I walk over and kiss her cheek.

"What was that for?" She smiles up at me.

I shake my head, fastening the last button over my tie. "No reason." With a step back, I turn for her. "Yes?"

Mother doesn't say anything at first, and then she takes a shaky breath. "You look like your father." She stands and brushes at my shoulders, smoothing black wool across them, then cups my cheek. "Handsome."

Her eyes are bright; she blinks and pulls away.

I catch her hand.

We stand there for a moment, silent, fingers entwined. And then she laughs softly and brushes at her eyes. "Go on with you. You'll miss your party." She picks up her robe, slides it on. "And I've arrangements to be made for my grandson's present anyway."

I kiss her cheek. "Sophie first."

"Oh, for Merlin's sake." She swats at my hip. "I told you I would."

The moment's broken.

***

I'm not often booked for holiday parties. It's far more often the women are chosen for those. Sophie had a rousing trade in social events during the season; one client even wanted her to attend Christmas Mass with him.

She charged extra for that. Just to assuage her guilt at the blasphemy.

On occasion, however, a client will request I attend. Usually it's a small gathering with people who know he's bent. Other times the host or hostess will contact me, asking me to make my services available to any guest who wishes. There are several of us at those parties, a man or two and several women. No one knows we're whores, per se. We just circle the room, chatting people up. And should they wish to take it a bit further, well. There are rooms made available for our use.

It's those little extra special touches that truly make the spectacular holiday gathering, wouldn't you say?

Tonight is one of the latter events.

The house is in Kensington. Very exclusive party. The husband's the head of International Magical Cooperation; the wife leads the Committee on Experimental Charms. I've worked for them both before--not individually, mind, though I'd not say no to that. Merely their parties. I'm discreet, and they have an appreciation for that.

Zola meets me at the door with a kiss on each cheek. Her dark hair is twisted high on her head; she wears a dark red gown that makes her brown skin glow. Really, I'm quite serious when I say I'd rather like to be of personal service to both her and her husband.

"Exquisite as always," I say, squeezing her hand. "Fabulous dress."

"Paris. That boutique on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honor-- you suggested." Well. It was actually Sophie's recommendation to my mother that I happened to overhear, but we'll not belabour that point. Zola smiles at me, then she leans forward, lowers her voice. "Third bedroom, second floor. The one you prefer."

"You're a gem," I murmur. "Supplies there?"

She nods and smiles again. "So very lovely to see you again, Toby." She turns to greet her next guest.

I take a flute of champagne from a floating tray and make my way through the crowd. I've arrived just a tad late--I prefer it that way. More of a chance for the clientele to get pissed.

A sip or two of the wine is all I'll take. It's for show more than anything; I don't drink much when I'm working. It's best to have one's full faculties, I think. Not to mention the dangers that alcohol has on one's erections.

I touch my pocket, making sure the phial of Priapicatus is still there.

"Toby!" A brunette in a graceful navy robe with a high neckline and a plunging back leans over the second floor banister and waves at me. Diamonds sparkle on her wrist.

"Charlotte." I kiss her cheek. She's another of the agency's. I wonder how much Cardinella's making tonight.

"I was rather hoping you'd be about." Charlotte leans back against the banister. It's a studied pose despite its casualness, carefully designed to give the poor blokes down below a good look at her smooth, pale shoulders. "Ready for this evening?"

"As always." I glance around. "Any good punters in sight?"

Charlotte shrugs one elegant shoulder. "A few here and there." She takes a sip of wine. "I'll be sorry to have tonight over, I'll admit. One last hurrah and all that."

"You're leaving the business?" I'm surprised. Charlotte's always been a lifelonger. Like myself.

"Terribly afraid so, dearest." She twists her mouth to one side. "I've gone and committed the whore's cardinal sin."

I nearly drop my champagne. For a whore the worst thing one can do is to fall in love. And the ultimate worst is to fall in love with a client. Bad business, that. Horrific. "Who?"

"Can't say." She sets her wineglass on an empty tray levitating past. "But he's not so very keen on me fucking about now, is he? So he's setting me up a place in Camden Town. Very hush-hush." She snags a canap-- being offered by an elf clad in a spotless tea towel and pops it in her mouth. "I'm to be a kept woman, darling."

"Marriage or mistress?"

She gives me a horrified look. "As if I'd take any vows. Besides he's an old bag of his own anyway." She makes a face. "Wretched woman."

I don't say anything. Instead I sip my champagne and study the crowd below, looking for my first mark for the evening. Anything to dull the boredom. I'm not overly fond of parties.

"Cardinella can't be happy," I say at last. I think I've located one, over in the corner. He keeps glancing my way. I smile and lift my glass; he flushes and turns away.

Charlotte nudges me. "Good one there." She sighs. "And she's not. We're all either getting out of the profession or switching agencies. Reckon she's bit worried about business."

"It'll pick up. It's the holidays, after all." I push off the banister. "And speaking of which, I suppose I'd best start earning my fee."

She laughs. "Enjoy yourself, darling."

I smooth the front of my frock coat. I intend to.

***

Excellent choice, I think later, as I'm bent over one Edwin Davies from the Floo Network Authority. He's done this before, obviously, as he begged to be tied up and gagged, and he groans as I shove into him, pressing him further into the mattress.

It's exactly what I need right now. Quick, rough, myself entirely in control.

God bless bloody Edwin.

I dig my fingernails into his hips and slam into him again.

***

I straighten my tie as I wander through the party again. I've left my jacket upstairs; it's late enough now for informality and wine's been flowing for hours.

An elf passes with petits fours. I grab several, eating quickly. I'm starving.

Sex tends to do that to one.

I turn the corner, past a group of witches huddled together by the fire, their laughter bright and loud and champagne-tinged.

A man bumps into me, knocking me back against the wall. "Oh, fuck, sorry--"

Potter blinks at me. Shit.

"Toby?" he asks, under his breath.

Smile, I tell myself, and I manage to eke a faint one out. "My Damocles." Thank God a wine tray floats by. I snag a glass and drink half of it in one gulp.

Potter flushes. "Not that good with glamours, am I?"

"No." I twist the glass between my fingers. "Not really."

"You could have said." Potter gives me a wry smile. "Look, you're not going to say--"

My professional pride prickles at that. Despite the fact that I damn well would have. "I'm a whore, not a Prophet columnist."

"Right." Potter has the grace to look chagrined. "Sorry."

I sip my wine and say nothing. I scan the room for my next client. I've still another hour or two to kill.

Potter shifts from one foot to another. "Wouldn't expect to see you--" He breaks off, flushing again.

I'm amused. "Zola and Anthony are old friends." Let him make of that what he will. And judging from his widening eyes, his filthy mind jumps to entirely the wrong conclusion.

Delicious.

"Oh." He shoves his hands in his trouser pockets. He's lost his robe as well in the heat of the house, and his white shirt is loose at the collar.

Christ, that damn throat of his.

He catches me looking and blinks again before smiling.

"How is your wife?" I ask sharply. "Still friendly even after the Prophet?"

Potter raises an eyebrow. "For the moment."

"Charming." I set my wineglass down. "I should go."

"Don't." Potter catches my arm and I look back at him in surprise. He sighs. "Look, you're the only one tonight who hasn't kissed my arse--" I snort and he grins, "--metaphorically speaking, okay? And if I have to suffer through a party, I'd like to enjoy it with someone." He coughs. "I mean, talking, that is."

I hesitate. This is a really bad idea. I'm quite aware of that fact, be assured. Then again, I'm rather known for my wretched decisions, aren't I?

"Get me another glass of wine," I say.

Potter smiles.

***

We end up in Anthony's study, stretched out in front of the fire with two bottles of wine Potter talked an elf into procuring for us. Somehow my head's in Potter's lap and his fingers are stroking through my glamoured hair.

It's warm and I'm floating on a delicious, boozy stupor. Foolish of me, I know. I don't particularly give a damn.

"So why do you do it?" Potter asks and he finishes the second bottle off, upending it over his mouth. It's strangely enticing. "Sleep with men, I mean. For money."

I take the bottle from him and lick the rim. A few lingering drops of wine slide across my tongue. "I like sex. And men. And sex with men." I laugh. "And men with sex."

"You like sex, then." Potter grins down at me and I trace my fingertip across his mouth.

"And money." I shiver as Potter licks at my finger, bites it gently. "I'm quite fond of money too."

I suddenly find myself on the rug. Potter shifts over me, settles against my side, then catches my face with his fingertips. His thumb strokes my cheek. "I've money," he whispers, and then he kisses me.

Perhaps it's the wine. Perhaps it's that this time he's not as bloody nervous.

But, Christ, Potter's a good kisser.

My hands are in his hair, my mouth moves against his, open and wet and when he sucks my tongue against his, I can't choke back the soft groan.

His hand slides down my chest, over my trousers. "Shit," he says into my mouth and his hand presses against my prick.

My hips buck up.

I'm already getting hard, even without the Priapicatus and pissed out of my mind, and it's impossible, really, I know that, but I don't fucking care because Potter's rolling me on top of him, and he's biting down my jaw. "Please, Toby," he says and he pushes up against my hips.

"Fuck," I say, and it only takes a moment to get his trousers open. His prick is half-hard and it only takes me a few quick strokes before Potter's gasping against my throat.

I'm not thinking clearly. This all feels surreal, strange. It's not safe--anyone can walk in on us, catching the Saviour of the Wizarding World with a whore on top of him, and the thought of that takes my fucking breath away.

His hands are in my trousers, pulling at my pants. "Want to feel you," he chokes out and he drags his teeth down my neck.

And then my prick's out, against his, and I have both of them in my hand and I'm stroking us both--oh, Christ.

"You want this," I say into his ear, and he jerks up against me, grabs my shoulders. "Say it."

Potter's mouth is half-open. He breathes out, staring up at me. "I want this. Yes. Please--" He arches up against me as I twist my palm over the heads of our cocks pressing them together. "Jesus."

"Seasonal," I say, and then I'm gasping, lifting up over him, watching my fingers stroke down our shafts, rubbing us together. "Fuck, look at that."

Potter looks down at us, eyes wide. His prick is red and wet and I press it against his belly with mine. He groans and his head falls back. "Do it," he chokes out. "Get me off, Toby--"

My hips are moving now, with my hand, and I'm nearly gone myself. I'm going to make Harry fucking Potter come all over himself. All over my hand.

Over my prick.

Fuck.

He cries out, tensing beneath me, and then my hand's sticky-wet and my cock's sliding through his come as he gasps.

Another stroke or two or three and I'm shuddering against him, biting my lip to keep from calling out his name.

I can taste blood.

His fingers trace up my spine and only then do I realise I'm lying on him, our cocks softening in my hand.

Shit.

Fucking shit.

No condom. No protection.

Nothing.

I've lost my fucking mind.

I roll off him, pulling my trousers together, tucking in my shirt. My tie's gone--I've no fucking idea where I left it. Potter rolls onto his side, raises up on one elbow.

"What's wrong?"

I find one shoe under the chaise, the other next to the hearth. "Nothing. I have to go."

"Toby."

I stop and look at him. Potter's shirt is damp with come--his and mine--and his cock is still out, resting limply against the wool of his trousers.

His hair's a mess, his mouth is swollen, and he looks fucking incredible.

This is not good.

"I have to go," I say blankly.

He doesn't stop me.

***

I take as many clients as Cardinella can send my way over the weekend. The more punters, the better. It's what I need to keep my focus. To remind me this is my work, my profession.

Potter doesn't cross my mind at all.

Save for late Sunday night as I stand alone on the balcony of Drake's in Brighton, wrapped in the hotel bathrobe, looking out over the ocean.

The sky stretches black over the water, the muffled roar of the surf rolling onto the sand is comforting. A cold, salty-sharp breeze ruffles my hair, makes me pull my robe tighter around me.

I'm still awake; I rarely sleep on all-nighters unless it's a regular client who I've known for years. Even then sometimes it's difficult.

I briefly wonder what it'd be like if it was Potter sleeping in the bed behind me, not the nameless punter who'd just pounded my arse twice before passing out in an exhausted haze. Would I sleep curled around him?

The answer makes me distinctly uneasy.

I step back into the room and close the doors behind me with a quiet click.

***

I'm late on Monday picking Scorpius up from Sophie's flat. He's almost done with breakfast when I Floo in; Sophie's in the kitchen twisting her hair in a chignon, her apprentice robes half-open.

"Fait chier, Draco," she snaps as she wipes porridge off our son's face. "You know how Perpetua is if I'm not on time--Scorpius, stop--"

"Papa!" Sophie throws up her hands as Scorpius wriggles out of his chair and throws himself at me. I pick him up and receive a porridgy kiss in return. "I waited forever."

I ruffle his hair and bite back a yawn. "Terribly sorry, brat." To Sophie I say, "I had four incalls the past two days and the last one was an all-nighter."

She's clearing the table, handing the dishes to Neddy. "I can smell." She Scourgifys the tabletop. "You might have showered."

"Then I'd have been later." I dangle my son upside down, letting him squeal with laughter. "Let me borrow your shower, kip down on your sofa for a half hour or so?"

She sighs and her shoulders slump. "I can't stay that long--I was already late once last week--"

"Neddy'll look after him for a bit." I pull Scorpius upright. His face is red, eyes bright. His hair sticks out every direction. "He can take a shower with me anyway. Father-son time and all that shite."

Sophie buttons up her robe, brushes her hands clean. "Fine, then." She grabs her bag, kisses Scorpius quickly. "I have to go.-- bient--t mon b--b--."

She's gone in a flurry of papers and robe, and I look down at my son. "Feel up to a shower?"

My son's eyes widen and he puts his hands on my cheeks. "Yes," he says solemnly. He kicks his heels against my thigh. "I like water."

I toss him over my shoulder. "I know."

He screams and giggles, toes digging into my chest, and I carry him into the bathroom.

It's going to be a long, long day.

***

Two hours sleep on the couch is all I manage before Scorpius escapes from Neddy and wakes me singing (at the top of his lungs, mind) away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lays down his sweet head while banging a pair of his mother's heels against the floor in a rhythm known to no sane man.

At moments like these I wonder why I ever thought it wise to procreate.

It's barely enough sleep, but I know better than to argue with him when he screams he's hungry, so I struggle back into my trousers and robe with the promise of lunch in Diagon Alley and possibly even a stop in Drosselmeier's.

Scorpius suddenly becomes well behaved.

I down a dose of Pepperup and we Floo to one of the public hearths at the Cauldron. It's not haute cuisine, but Scorpius is fond of Tom's bangers and mash.

We've just finished our lunch--or rather I've just finished and Scorpius has begun playing with his, dragging half a sausage through a mound of potatoes gleefully--when Potter walks in, the Weasel at his side.

Christ. I can't get away from the fucking prat.

Weasley claps Potter on the shoulder and says, "I'll grab two pints, Harry, if you find a table," and of course Potter heads towards us.

I pull back into the shadows against the wall, less than eager to be seen again, but a scrap of sausage goes flying from my son's hand and lands squarely on Potter's arm.

I swear to God Scorpius won't live to see his fifth birthday.

"Scorpius," I hiss, and my son turns wide, horrified eyes on me.

"Sorry, Papa, it just flewed away--"

Potter looks our way, the sausage in his fingers. He glares at me, and then he sees Scorpius, tears already wetting his lashes. He smiles faintly and hands the sausage to me. "This yours, Malfoy?"

I drop it on my plate, silent.

"So this is your son." Potter squats next to the table, smiling at Scorpius.

I put a hand on Scorpius's arm. He looks up at me uncertainly. "Your grasp of the obvious is awe-inspiring, Potter."

Potter ignores me and holds his hand out to Scorpius. "I'm Harry," he says.

Scorpius hesitates. "I don't know you," he says, suspicious, and I have a burst of paternal pride when Potter drops his hand.

"Smart kid." He looks over at me.

I shrug and try not to think of how he looked beneath me Friday night. "He's a Malfoy."

Potter stands as Weasley comes up, a pint in each hand. The Weasel gives me a nasty glare. "Scum giving you problems, Harry?"

"It's fine, mate." Potter takes one of the pints. "Just talking to the kid."

"Are not," Scorpius pipes up, and Potter glances back down at him and grins. Scorpius shoves a piece of sausage in his mouth and chews. "Don't know you."

Potter laughs. It's a warm burst of sound and it startles both me and the Weasel. Potter looks at me. "Bit of a mouth on him."

I raise an eyebrow. "He's a Malfoy," I say again, and Potter gives me a long look. It's enough to make me uneasy. I turn back to Scorpius, wipe his hands clean.

When I look up, Potter's across the room, taking a seat a table with Weasley. He studies me for a moment, curiously, and my breath catches.

"Come on," I say to Scorpius, pulling him from his seat and he protests.

"Not done eating, Papa--"

I pick him up. "Fortescue's?"

He falls silent for a moment, pondering his options. "Ice cream and a toy?" his says finally, a mercenary tilt to his pointed chin.

Brat.

"Done," I say, and I can feel Potter's gaze on us as I carry him out to Diagon.

***

Cardinella's owl arrives Wednesday night after Scorpius is in bed. I'm surrounded by piles of Christmas paper and mounds of present boxes, Cauldron Nights in hand (I've made it through chapter thirteen now), watching as the paper wraps itself around each box, neatly securing itself before the silver ribbon twists around box corners and explodes into intricate bows.

The note is short and to the point.

10 p.m. Damocles. Incall.

I glance at the clock. Twenty 'til. Bloody fuck.

I'm halfway upstairs before my mind reminds me that this is Potter I'm rushing for.

I pause, and the light from the kitchen stretches up the stairs in front of me, casting long shadows. It's too late to refuse him. And I've never turned away a client yet. But Potter--Potter's dangerous. If he discovered my secret...

Fuck it. I've not time for this. I have to shower. And set a glamour. Shit.

I run up the stairs.

***

Potter's kissing me as soon as he steps out of the Floo. I grab at his shoulders. "Anxious, are we?" I lift my chin, letting Potter bite at my throat.

"Been thinking about it for days." He pushes me back against the bed and throws a sack of Galleons onto the mattress. "You ran off on me."

I turn my head, catch his mouth with mine. He groans into the kiss as he crawls onto the bed over me, straddling my hips. My hands slide over his shoulders. "Stupid of me," I whisper against his lips, and it disconcerts me when I realise they aren't just the empty words I'd say to a client.

And then he's licking my collarbone, his breath hot and wet against my skin as he pulls my shirt from my trousers. I lift my hips up just enough and he laughs. "Bit anxious too, Toby?"

"Shut it, Potter," I say and I push at him, rolling him beneath me. The sound he makes as I drag my tongue along his throat sends a shiver down my spine. I want him--and yes, of course, I realise it's utterly mad. He's a punter. I'm breaking my rules here--he's not even showered. I twist against his hips and he bites my bottom lip, his teeth scraping across it. It's enough to drive a poor whore around the twist. "Fuck," I breathe out, then slide my tongue against his, eagerly.

He has my shirt half-unbuttoned and his teeth are sharp against my shoulder. "Christ, I want you to fuck me," he says into my skin and bloody hell but my cock's hard and I can't think of anything I'd rather do at the moment.

"Papa?"

The word cuts through the haze of want I'm caught in, and I jerk away from Potter instantly.

Scorpius peers around the corner of the door, eyes wide and worried and filled with tears. He chews at his fist. He looks between me and Potter. "Where's Papa?"

"Shit." I pull my shirt back on my shoulders. "Shit."

Potter's staring at my son, and I know the moment it all falls into place, just as Neddy slams into the door with a screech and a wail of oh, master, Neddy is being so very sorry--she is not being watching the young master well enough--

"Malfoy," Potter says and his jaw is tight. He stands.

I let the glamour fall, for my son's sake. Relief crosses Scorpius's face and he runs to me. I pick him up, stroking his back.

"Nightmare, Papa," he whispers in my ear, and I can feel the wetness on his cheek. "Didn't want Neddy." The elf's in the corner, pounding her head against the wall. I let her.

I press my mouth to Scorpius's temple, smooth my hand over his curls. "And you did well, coming to get me." I look over at Potter. He's standing next to the Floo, already scooping out Floo powder. "Potter--"

"What's your angle?" Potter asks, and the look he gives me is vitriolic. "Waiting to have pictures taken? Trying to get enough information for the Prophet?" His mouth twists. "Or are you really just pathetic enough to be a whore, Malfoy?"

"Fuck you," I say, pressing a shaking hand over Scorpius's ear. Potter flushes and looks away. "You have no idea."

"I think I have some."

My heart's pounding; I can feel Scorpius's snuffles against my throat. Only his presence keeps me from going for my wand. "You didn't seem to care what I was a few moments ago."

Potter throws the Floo powder into the fire; it blazes green. "One word of this hits the papers, and I'll make you wish your father hadn't been the only Malfoy to poison himself."

My knees buckle and I sink against the bed, eyes closed, fingers tightening in Scorpius's pyjamas. The Floo whooshes.

Scorpius touches my face lightly. "Papa?" I open my eyes; he's watching me, his worry obvious. "Sorry," he whispers.

"It's not your fault." I let him slide out of my arms; he stands in front of me, rocking back on his heels. "How about a bit of cocoa and maybe you can sleep with me?"

He nods.

"Neddy," I snap, and the elf stops slamming her head against the wall and looks up at me.

She sniffles and wipes the back of her hand over her wet cheeks. "Yes, Master?"

"Take Master Scorpius downstairs and start some milk warming."

I sit silently for a long moment after they leave. There is the distinct possibility my world will begin crashing around me when I wake tomorrow morning. I have no idea what I'll say to Mother. No idea how I'll keep the stigma of whore from harming my son. Sophie.

I'll lose everything.

Perhaps Potter's none-too-subtle suggestion isn't half-bad--I catch myself. No. Ridiculous. I won't take from my son what my father took from me. I'm not that weak.

When I stand the bag of Potter's Galleons slides across the mattress, hits my thigh. My fingers close around the velvet cord.

Pathetic enough to be a whore, Malfoy?

I don't stop to think. The bag sails across the room, slamming into the mantel. Coins roll across the floor.

It's a small satisfaction.

***

"How on earth did Scorpius get upstairs?" Sophie leans against the cabinet in one of St Mungo's examining rooms. Her ward is in the back, one that's not listed, one with a separate entrance. The less-desirable patients come here. The werewolves. The vampires. The whores.

Sophie prefers us.

I sit on the examining table, elbows on my knees. Scorpius is on his knees on the floor, tugging at one of the cabinet doors to no avail. He doesn't yet understand the concept of alohomora.

A sigh. "I left the door to the stairs open. He woke up from a nightmare and heard my voice. And..."

She shakes her head and watches Scorpius slam his foot against the cabinet and shout open. "Stupid of you."

I give her baleful look. "You're not helping."

"What do you want me to say, Draco?" Sophie runs a hand over her hair. It's been a long day already for her; her chignon is loose and dark circles ring her eyes. She looks exhausted. "Do you think Potter will talk?"

I don't know. "Probably," I say. Because that's the sort of shite Potter does. He hates me. "If nothing else he'll tell Weasley and Granger." Who hate me even more. Lovely. The whole bloody country will know by breakfast tomorrow. I fall back against the table and stare up at the ceiling. "My life is over."

Scorpius kicks at the cabinet again. "Stupid."

"Oh, stop being so melodramatic." Sophie picks Scorpius up before he breaks his foot. "The both of you." She leans over me. "Get off your arse and go talk to Potter. Convince him not to say anything."

"It won't do any good."

A sharp pinch on my arm makes me sit up. "What the--"

Sophie glares at me. "Go talk to Potter. For your son's sake if nothing else, fils de pute."

I rub my arm. "There was no call for that."

"Draco." She has that low, dangerous tone. The one I've learned never to argue with if I want to keep my bollocks intact.

I slide off the table. "All right. Christ."

Sophie shifts Scorpius to her other hip. "Don't even think of coming back here until you've convinced him."

There are times my ex-wife can be an utter bitch.

***

Potter's out at lunch with the bloody Minister when I show up at the Ministry.

That's perfectly fine. I can wait.

Unfortunately that insistence leads to Potter's damn assistant sending for the Weasel, which frankly I think, is beyond uncalled for. It's not as if I threatened her with an Unforgivable, after all.

Weasley twists my arm behind my back, more painfully than's necessary in my opinion. He already has my wand. Fucking bastard. "Fucking Death Eaters don't get to see the head of Aurors, Ferret." He pushes me into an interrogation room and closes the door after us. "What is it you want with Harry?"

"Fucking Ministry-pardoned Death Eaters, shitface," I snap back at him. "And it's none of your business."

Weasley's face darkens. "I could kick your arse right now, and no one would give a fuck."

I drop into one of the chairs and wave him off. My arm aches. "Go play bad Auror somewhere else, if you must."

"Fuck you, Malfoy." He looms over me like a red-headed ape. Idiot.

I curl my lip. "Not on your life, Weasel."

The angry flush rising on his face is immensely satisfying.

We both look over as the door opens. Potter's glaring at us. "What the hell is going on?"

Weasley straightens up. "Arsehole says he wants to see you."

"Right." Potter glances at me for a moment. "So I'm here."

"Alone," I say tightly. "Send your baboon off to play, Potter."

Potter holds up a hand, silencing the Weasel. "Ron, give us a moment, will you?"

Weasley hesitates. "Harry, are you sure? I don't think you should be left alone with Malfoy."

I almost laugh.

"I'll be fine," Potter says. He crosses his arms over his chest. He's wearing the standard Auror robe. The red wool is fitted tight across his shoulders; a silver laurel wreath under a red and silver crown marks his rank as head Auror. This is a different Potter. One I've never seen before. I shift in my chair, suddenly nervous.

Weasley sighs and starts for the door.

"My wand," I say. I'll be damned if I'm going to be left wandless. I've no reason to trust the Aurors after all. Not after what the Ministry's done to my family. I can still hear my mother's pleas as they raided the Manor yet again, searching for Dark artefacts. Can still see the broken furniture, the crushed china.

One of them had taken great joy in cracking my Nimbus beneath his boot.

At Potter's nod, Weasley tosses my wand on the table. It rolls towards me; I pause it with a finger, stilling it.

Weasley eyes me. "It'd better stay there, Ferret."

"Ron." Potter gives him a long look and the Weasel rolls his eyes.

The door clanks shut behind him.

Potter doesn't say anything; he just looks at me steadily. It's bloody unnerving is what it is.

I drum my fingers against the table. I'm desperate for a smoke--which is ridiculous. I haven't smoked since before Scorpius was born. Sophie had lectured me in far too great detail as to the effects it had on the foetus.

"Well?" The word hangs between us, waiting.

My fingernail scrapes over the wood of the tabletop. It's worn and dirty. You'd think that the Ministry would be able to afford better furniture. Or at least a bottle or two of Mrs. Scower's Magical Mess Remover. "So, have you told him?" I look up at Potter then. "The Weasel."

Potter leans against the wall. He crosses one ankle over another. "Did you hear him call you a whore yet?"

Touch--. I pocket my wand. "Why not?"

"Don't know." Potter shrugs one shoulder. "Been thinking about it. Might do it."

My jaw tightens. "You'll ruin my family--"

"Before you ruin mine, yes." Potter pushes himself away from the wall. He circles the table, watching me. "I won't have you going to the Prophet."

His robe swirls around his boots. They're black and polished and his trousers are tucked into them. I've never understood the appeal of uniforms. Not until now. Shit.

"Then again," Potter says, and he takes his wand out of its holster at his side, "I could always just Obliviate you." He drags the tip of his wand down my cheek, and my cock swells.

I despise him.

"Maybe." I lift my chin, meet his eyes. I don't flinch from his wand. "But I don't think you want to."

He raises an eyebrow. "Certain about that, Malfoy?"

No. Not at all.

But I tilt my head and pretend to study him. My hands are shaking slightly. "You're not the type, Potter," I say after a moment. "And you've the upper hand in this matter, you know that. What matter if the Prophet finds out you prefer prick? You're still the Saviour of the Wizarding World." My mouth twists bitterly. "I'm a Death Eater, a pariah." I hold his gaze. "A whore."

His wand dips just a bit. "You're the one who fucks for money, Malfoy."

Idiot. "And you're not the first punter to like a cock up his arse." I stand. "You've little to lose. I've everything. And you can't tell me you don't know that."

He shrugs, silent.

I'm getting nowhere. I was right. This is utterly useless. "Fuck you, Potter," I say wearily. Whatever fucking happens happens.

I turn towards the door.

And then I'm against the wall and Potter's mouth is on mine, rough and hard.

"You're such a fucking shit," he says into the kiss, and I groan and slide my tongue against his teeth, tangle my fingers in his hair. He tastes like beer and curry and this is mad, I'm quite aware, but my prick's taking a great deal of interest in the way Potter's hips are rolling against mine.

I push him forward and we stumble into the table, still kissing. Potter turns me and somehow I'm stretched out across the table, holding myself up with one hand, the other still twisted in his hair as he bites down my jaw, pushes my robe open. His hand rubs my cock through my trousers, and Christ.

Potter pulls back, and his eyes are bright and unfocused behind his glasses. His hair is tousled, his mouth swollen and wet. "How much to let me suck you?" His breath comes in sharp, short huffs. "Fuck, Malfoy--"

It would be so easy. Two hundred Galleons. Five hundred. A thousand. The words are on the tip of my tongue.

I can't say them.

This isn't good. Merlin's sagging left ball, this isn't good. I open my mouth, close it, open it again. "I--" He's looking at me expectantly, and his fingers stroke along the bulge of my cock. Harry fucking Potter wants to suck me. Wants to pay me to let him suck me.

And I can't let him.

"I have to go."

He looks at me as if I've lost my mind. Maybe I have.

I push him off me. "I have to go," I say again, and it's Friday night all over.

The door bangs against the wall and I'm running--I can hear Weasley shout, and there's a burst of red light on the wall in front of me as I turn the corner.

"Stop it, Ron," Potter says behind me, his voice faint, and I shove past a levitating cart filled with files--Auror reports and criminal records, I presume, or whatever sort of ridiculous shite they archive. Papers scatter, flying up in the air around me and an elderly witch, white hair tightly curled.

"Watch yourself, boy," she snaps, grabbing at the canary yellow papers drifting to the floor. I don't stop.

I can't.

It's only in the lift that I stop, slumping against the side with a groan. I drag my hands over my face, push my hair back from my forehead. My cock still throbs. "Pull yourself together, Malfoy," I mutter, taking a shaky breath, and an interoffice memo flaps against my hands. I knock it away.

The lift dings and, with a creak and a shudder begins to rise.

Bloody hell. I don't know what's wrong with me.

***

I'm determined not to think of Potter.

All I tell Sophie is it's taken care of, and I hope it is. I can't stand the idea of seeing him again. Potter discombobulates me. Makes me feel things I'm entirely not comfortable with. Things that are fucking dangerous in my profession.

Sex is sex. A punter is a punter. And money is valued above all.

I throw myself into work, taking as many clients as I can manage. Cardinella's delighted. Sophie is less so.

"You've a son who'd like to see you, Draco," she says tartly at me through the Floo Sunday night.

I pull a too-tight robe over my head. "I've work. It's the busy season--" She snorts at that and I sigh. "Mother will watch him tomorrow."

"Conard."

"I don't have time for this," I say, and I close the Floo. That'll earn me a Howler or two, I'm certain. With any luck she'll hold off until I'm alone.

***

It's not bad sex.

Theo has me bent over the bed, a mirror floating in front of us. My shirt is pushed up beneath my arms; his cock is deep inside of me, and I know what's expected of me, whether or not I'm in the mood. I rock back against him, begging him to fuck me. To take me harder.

I can feel his wet breath on my neck and I groan appropriately, stretch my neck, arch back against him. Tell him to watch himself fuck me.

It's not his hands I want on me, though.

"What are you thinking about?" Theo whispers in my ear. He bites my throat. "Come on. Tell me."

Potter, my mind whispers. Potter's mouth and Potter's hands and Potter's--

I smile into the mirror. My eyes are dead, dull. "Your cock inside of me," I say with just the perfect breathy inflection, and I moan properly when he slams into me.

After all, I'm an excellent whore.

***

I've only been home an hour--long enough for a shower and two shots of whisky--when the doorknocker clangs. It takes me by surprise; I have few downstairs visitors, and those who do pop in tend to use the Floo.

A quick glance out the peephole reveals Potter. Standing on my doorstep. Shivering.

I pull back, hands shaking. This is not something I'm prepared to deal with tonight.

The doorknocker clangs again. "Malfoy," I can hear him shout. "Come on, for Christ's sake before I freeze my bloody bollocks off out here."

That does it.

I throw open the door, annoyed. "You do realise this is Mayfair, yes?"

Potter gives me a crooked smile. "Can I come in?"

"No." I lean against the door. "What are you doing here?"

He shifts from foot to foot. He's wrapped in a long back wool coat, and a thick red wool scarf that screams of Molly Weasley's handiwork is knotted around his neck. His cheeks are pink, his eyes bright. Merlin, I want to fuck him on my doorstep.

"I wanted to talk," he says, rubbing his hands together. His breath comes out in faint white puffs. "Look, it really is bloody cold out here, do you think I could--"

"No," I say again. My fingers are warm against the brass doorknob. "What do you want, Potter?"

Potter licks his bottom lip, twists his fingers together. "I wanted to apologise."

Well. That is unexpected.

I hesitate, twisting the doorknob in my fingers. Letting him in would be mad. Of course it would be. He shivers, rubbing his hands over his arms, his hair mussed wildly. Oh, sod bloody all. I stand back, holding the door open. "Five minutes."

He follows me into the sitting room. It's warm in there, and he unknots his scarf. The Christmas tree glitters in the bay window, presents already beginning to accumulate around it; our stockings are already hung over the hearth, beneath heavy evergreen boughs. Potter smiles and fingers them.

"You're fond of your son," he says, looking back over his shoulder.

I pour another glass of Glenfiddich for myself, then one for him. "It would be ridiculous for me not to be." I look at him over the rim of my glass. "Just because I'm Slytherin doesn't mean I'm devoid of human emotion, you realise."

Potter has the grace to flush. He twists his glass between his hands. "I know."

We're silent for a moment.

"So," I say finally. "You were apologising?"

He takes a sip of whisky. "The other day. I may have been inappropriate."

"Ah." I'm oddly disappointed for some inexplicable reason. I press my toes into the rug. The silk fringe digs into the soles of my feet. "So this is the head Auror apologising for molesting a visitor."

Potter rubs his thumb down the side of his glass. "Not really."

I look up at him. The fairy lights reflect in his glasses, tiny white sparkles.

"Have dinner with me," he says in a rush, and his cheeks flame.

My glass nearly slips from my hand. I catch it just in time. "What?"

Potter smiles faintly and sets his glass on the hearth. "Dinner. Or something. With me."

I drain my glass. "It'll cost you extra." I can't believe I'm agreeing. I'm mad. Potter is a wretched client for me and breaking it off now would be better all around. I'm far too involved--

He catches my hand, takes my glass from me. He puts it next to his. "No, Malfoy. That's not what I'm asking."

"Then what are you asking?" I have an urge to pull my hand away. I should. I know I should. But his fingers are soft and warm against mine, and the press of his thumb across my palm makes me shiver.

Potter laughs softly. "Haven't you ever been asked out?"

The question takes me off-guard. "No."

It's true. I've asked before, back in school, and then with Sophie, of course. But no one's ever asked me. And since Sophie and I split...tell me, how many blokes want to date a whore, really?

Potter moves closer. My breath catches. "Go out with me. No strings. No money." He looks at me evenly. "No sex."

"Well, that takes all the fun out of it, doesn't it?" I ask, throat dry. At his frown, I roll my eyes. "I don't date, Potter."

His fingers slide between mine. "Neither do I. Maybe we should try."

"I'm a whore."

"And I'm head Auror." He's watching me, and his eyes are so fucking green. "It'll never work."

I lick my bottom lip. "Then why try?"

He doesn't say anything for a moment. "Because," he says finally, voice thick, "I can't fucking stop thinking about you."

Shit.

I look away. The flames in the hearth are bright and hot. They twist around the logs, cast long shadows across the floor, over my bare feet. "Lunch," I say.

"What?"

I meet Potter's eyes, and pull away at last. "Lunch. Not dinner. There's a Greek restaurant in Diagon--"

"Kalyvia." Potter smiles.

I nod. "Tomorrow, half-twelve. I'll meet you there." I look back at the door. "You should..."

"Right."

He walks back to the door with me. We're both silent, neither one certain of what to say. Finally he leans in and kisses my cheek awkwardly. "Thanks," he murmurs.

"Go home, Potter," I say and I close the door on him, leaning against it as the lock snicks in place.

Bloody fuck.

My head thunks against the door panel. I can hear the wreath shift on the other side, jangling softly.

I have a date with Potter.

A date. With Potter.

I groan and run my hand over my face.

Really, I've gone mad.

I push myself off the door. I've a Floo call to make to the one person I know will be brutally honest with me.

***

"For the love of all that's holy, not that robe."

Pansy sprawls across the foot of my bed, nibbling on a handful of sultanas. I look down at the robe in my hand. It's a royal blue wool, perfectly tailored and rather expensive. "What's wrong with it?" I ask.

She wrinkles her nose. "It makes you look as if you're about to sick up." She pops another sultana in her mouth. "I can't believe you're going out with Potter."

"It's just lunch." I toss the robe aside and dig through my wardrobe again. Christ, there has to be something in here.

Pansy sits up, cross-legged. "And that's why you've insisted I come over to help you dress."

"Shut it." I pull out a dark charcoal robe and hold it up. It's close-fitted and simple. Just a single row of buttons down the front. "I want you to talk me out of this idiocy."

She nods towards the robe, her dark bob brushing against her chin. "Much better." She bites into a sultana. "And I'd try to talk you out of it if I thought it'd do any good."

I tug a pair of black trousers up over my hips and tuck my shirt into them. "What's that supposed to mean?" I fasten the trousers and reach for the robe.

Pansy slides off the bed and walks over. She pushes my hands away and buttons my robe herself, smoothing the wool over my chest. She sighs. "You've always been a bit fascinated with him, love."

"Have not."

She turns me to face the mirror, resting her chin on my shoulder. My cheeks are flushed, my eyes bright. She wraps her arms around my waist. "Just look at you," she murmurs. "I haven't seen you look this happy in a long time." She makes a face. "Pity it has to be Potter. Is his prick enormous?"

"Cunt." I slip my arm around her. "That's none of your business."

"I suppose I should invite him to the party?" Pansy smiles up at me. She and Theo are famous for their New Year's Eve; even Gryffindors wish for an invitation they seldom receive.

"Perhaps." I shrug as if it doesn't matter to me. Because it doesn't. Really. "If you wish. Entirely up to you."

She snorts and pushes me away from her. "Liar." She catches my hand. Her fingers slip through mine; her engagement ring scrapes against my skin. "I've astounding news of my own, you know, if you're finished rattling on about the wonders of Potter."

"Bitch." I raise an eyebrow. "Let me guess. You've found a new armoire for the bedroom. Or...Theo's finally sprung for that holiday to Dharamsala."

Her fingernails dig into my palm. "I do hate you, Draco. No, it's a bit more astounding than either, although if Theo ever did take off work for holiday I might drop dead of shock, true."

A twinge of guilt twists through me. I don't look at her. "So what are these amazing tidings and should I alert the Prophet?"

She takes a deep breath. "I'm pregnant again."

It's not exactly the news I'm expecting. Particularly since she swore after Rowan's birth that she had entirely no desire to go through that experience ever again. I blink at her. "Are you certain your vagina's up to that?"

Pansy smacks my head. "That's not the proper response, Draco."

"Sorry." I rub my temple. "Congratulations?"

She smiles. "Better."

I pull her up against me. "Are we happy about this?"

After a moment, Pansy nods against my chest. "I think so. I wasn't planning for it, but it happened and Theo's delighted." She looks up at me. "Things have been difficult lately. He's been distant. Doesn't come home some nights."

I brush my knuckles against her cheek. "He loves you." It's all I can manage.

"I know." She sighs and pulls back. Her smile is pained and I can see the wet gleam in her eyes. She splays her hand over her stomach. "Maybe the baby will help."

"Yes." I put my hand over hers. "Maybe."

Pansy looks away. She knows as well as I do it's an empty hope.

***

The Floo clangs just as I'm slipping into my coat, reaching for my scarf and gloves.

"Darling, are you at home?" Cardinella shouts.

I hesitate in the foyer, my gloves still in my hand. I should go back. It's work, after all.

However, I don't particularly wish to.

I close the door on her Toby, love and ward it shut. It's raining, just barely, and wet black trees line my street, their stark branches reaching up into the grey sky. Bursts of green and red wreaths brighten the sober black doors of the townhouses, and even the Muggles have draped their wrought iron fences with fir garlands twisted with gleaming white lights.

Pulling my coat tighter around me, I Apparate, the wet greys and reds and greens slipping away with a sharp crack.

***

Potter has a table when I arrive, and a plate of dolmades in front of him. He's picking at a grape leaf when I sit down.

He jumps and wipes his hand on a serviette. "Malfoy." He's wearing his uniform again. My stomach flops oddly.

The waitress, a dark-haired girl barely out of Hogwarts comes over, menu in hand. I wave it away. "Moussaka, Philomena, and light on the b--chamel if you will."

"I'll let Dad know," she says, rolling her eyes. "He'll be thrilled you're trying to cook for him again."

I raise an eyebrow. "If he'd learn not to have a heavy hand..."

Potter coughs and leans forward, drawing her attention from me. "I'll take the spanakopita."

She smiles at him--of course--then darts a sour glance my way. "It'll be out shortly."

"Is it absolutely necessary for you to make cow eyes at her like that?" I ask as Philomena walks off. "Utterly revolting."

Potter snorts. "I wasn't making cow eyes."

"And what would you call it then?" I pour a cup of tea from the pot sitting on the edge of the table and push it towards him before pouring my own. I have manners, after all.

He turns his teacup in the saucer. "I'd say it was keeping her from telling her dad to spit in your moussaka, is what it was."

"He'd never." I set the pot down. "I've known the family since I was three." I look around. It hasn't changed much in the past twenty-six years. The Greek flag still flutters in the back corner, and the walls are full of photographs from Greece and portraits of Greek wizards and gods. A box filled with bougainvillea hangs in the front window, tendrils of pink and purple flowers spilling down to the floor. "Father used to bring me here when he'd let me come to London with him."

My throat tightens. We sit awkwardly for a moment.

Potter pushes the dolmades towards me. "Didn't know if you liked them or not."

"Well enough." I pick one up, bite into it. The spiced meat and rice is tangy, sweetly-sharp. I lick the oil off my fingertips. Potter watches me.

He takes a sip of tea. The silence stretches out between us. He finally breaks it with a laugh. "I'm wretched at this." He smiles ruefully, pushes his hair back from his forehead. "I've never really dated, per se. I mean, a few times in school, and then it was Gin, and well..." He trails off with a sigh.

I reach for another dolmades. "I'm not exactly fabulous at it myself. Unless I'm naked, that is." He doesn't say anything and I look up at him. "That was a joke, Potter."

"No, it wasn't." Potter rests his elbows on the table. "So why do you do it?" He smiles faintly. "And I'm asking you, not Toby."

It's not a question I'm entirely comfortable answering for him. "I like it."

"Really."

"Really," I snap. "This is why I hate discussing my profession with people outside of it, you realise. Sex is seen as something dirty, something to be ashamed of." I lean forward, anger bubbling up in me. "To you it seems incomprehensible that I could actually enjoy being a whore. That I could be good at it. I can assure you, Potter, I am."

A moment's silence, and then he laughs softly. "I know." He toys with his fork. "You're very good at it."

I feel my cheeks heat and then we're both laughing at the absurdity of all of this.

The awkwardness is broken.

I smile at him.

***

The iron lightposts in Diagon Alley are laden with evergreens and red velvet bows and the store windows are filled with brightly coloured displays--fairies flit among trees and wreaths, presents and Father Christmas, enticing shoppers to stop long enough to see the wares scattered among them.

Potter and I stop in front of Quality Quidditch Supplies. The new Firebolt hovers in the window, sleek and lean. Its mahogany broomstick gleams; the straws are neatly clipped into the most aerodynamic configuration possible. Potter looks at it hungrily.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" He presses his gloved hand to the window.

I don't bother to hide my smirk. "You've never quite grown up, have you?"

Potter laughs. "Maybe not."

"Buy it then."

He shakes his head and turns away reluctantly. "Three kids of my own at Christmas, plus Teddy and Victoire and Rose and Hugo..."

I walk next to him, my hands in my coat pockets, my black scarf wrapped tight around my throat. It's cold and crisp, and the grey sky threatens rain again. "Rather a lot of presents crowding your tree then."

"Worth it." Potter hops off the kerb, splashes into a puddle on the cobblestones. Honestly, he has the maturity of Scorpius sometimes. "And you? Just your son?"

"And Mother and Sophie." At his curious look, I elaborate. "My ex-wife."

Potter nods. "The girl from Drosselmeier's."

"Yes." I sidestep a set of flutes and drums, a carol piping from them as their owner warms himself inside the corner pub with a pint of mulled ale. Riu riu chiu, la guarda ribera, a Moustached Warbler trills from its perch on one of the drums. Dios guardo el lobo de nuestra cordera... I drop a few Galleons in the brass bowl in front of the bird. It nods at me, not breaking its tune.

"Is it hard?" Potter glances over at me. "Staying friends with your wife, after..."

"After you develop a taste for cock?" I laugh as he wrinkles his nose. "Potter, really, your prudishness is refreshing."

"Just answer the damn question."

The wind whips my hair into my face; I tuck it back behind one ear. A messenger wizard zips past us on his broom. "It's not easy sometimes," I admit. "The first year was the worst. Bit of a love-hate struggle, I suppose you could call it."

Potter nods. "But you managed."

"Yes." I smile faintly as we turn a corner. "More because Sophie insisted. She can be a stubborn cow when she wants." I push my hands back in my pockets. "I'm not that good with relationships."

"I'm stunned."

I look up at that, brow drawn together and Potter's grinning at me. "You're a fucking shit."

"I try."

The Church of St Alban the Martyr looms over us, grey stone and subdued stained glass. I stop at the wrought iron gate, looking down the wet path to the open door. "My parents married here," I say quietly. Father's interred in the Malfoy mausoleum in the burial ground.

Potter just looks at me for a moment, then he pushes the gate open. "Well, go in."

I hesitate. I'm not certain how he realised I wanted to when I didn't even know.

The church is warm and quiet. Candles burn in the Lady Chapel in the back of the nave, mid-afternoon light filters through the stained glass windows, casting jeweled shadows across the polished wood pews. I can remember services here as a child, the scent of the incense, the soft cadence of the vicar's liturgy, the comforting rumble of the organ and choir.

Our pew is on the left, fourth row down. I stop at the end. I can still feel the press of Mother's fingers in my thigh, a fruitless attempt to keep me still. On the wall next to me is a statue of St. Thomas the Apostle. I'd spent quite a few sermons making faces at him, desperate to stay awake.

I run a hand over his sandaled foot. He blinks sleepily, then smiles down at me. "Far too long, Mr Malfoy."

"Perhaps."

"Not since your father's services and even longer before that--" Thomas breaks off and tilts his head. "And this is one I've yet to see."

Potter comes up behind me. He eyes the statue suspiciously. "Who's that?" he asks.

I laugh. "Surely you're joking."

"Wasn't much on church when I was a kid." He shrugs and nudges me. "So? Introduce me."

"St. Thomas the Apostle. Friend of Jesus and all that rot." I feel spectacularly surreal. "Harry Potter, Saviour of the Wizarding World, etcetera, etcetera. I'm sure you'll have plenty to talk about."

Potter dips his head. "Hi."

"I do believe I've heard your name bandied about." Thomas leans forward slightly. "An honour."

Really, I think I'm about to sick up. Instead I roll my eyes and Potter flushes.

Thomas chuckles. "Young Mr Malfoy I've known since his Christening. Wretched boy, he was. Utterly spoiled."

I glare at him.

Potter just laughs. "He was rather a bit of a prick growing up."

"Fuck you both," I snap and Thomas tuts at me as I walk off.

"Malfoy." Potter catches up with me. "I was just kidding."

I stop, halfway down the nave. I'm tired, and it's always the same. Eleven years out of school and it's still the bloody same. "I'm fully aware of my faults, Potter," I say bitterly. "No need to recount them; I've had them thrust in my face repeatedly since the war."

Potter shifts on the balls of his feet. "I'm sorry."

"You're the golden boy who can do no wrong, and I'm the shit who decides to be a Death Eater--or, better yet, a whore--"

"Oh, for Christ's sake, just shut it," Potter says, obviously irritated. He grabs my arms and, before I can jerk away, presses his mouth to mine.

All the statues are watching us avidly.

I don't care.

Potter's mouth is soft and warm and his hands are tight on my arms. I grab his elbows, sway closer, and somehow we stumble against the back of a pew. Potter grunts, then sweeps his tongue against my mouth.

It seems like forever before I pull away. "I thought we said no sex," I say breathlessly as I smooth his hair back from his forehead with gloved hands.

He kisses the corner of my mouth. "This isn't sex."

"Right." I scrape my teeth over his bottom lip.

Potter presses his forehead against mine. "So you think we might have dinner now?"

I step back reluctantly, but I smile at him. "Maybe."

He catches my hand. "Say tomorrow night?"

I have to work. All night. But I don't hesitate. "Yes." I'll figure out what to do. How to get out of it.

It's worth it to see Potter's face.

His fingers twist through mine; I don't look back as we walk through the church door.