Actions

Work Header

Moon-Eyed

Work Text:

 

Prologue

In hindsight, Harry reckoned it was fate or destiny or whatever.

Whenever he’d heard Luna go on about those things in the past, he’d rolled his eyes. He’d exchanged covert grins with Ron behind his beer and gone back to pretending to listen to Luna.

Never for one second had he believed in any of it – that sometimes you are just fated to end up in a particular situation, that there’s nothing you can do about it when it’s fucking fate.

It’s what he said to console himself as he lay there, fucking dying. The forest floor was surprisingly soft under him, spongy with fine wild grass. The earth was porous and incredibly thirsty, judging by how quickly it was gulping down the blood that poured out of his shoulder, just fucking gushing out of him like a goddamn, babbling brook.

There’s nothing he could’ve done; Fate – unavoidable, and a real bitch.

Eight days he’d spent looking for the escaped werewolf who, as man, had gone by the name Trevor Markins. After he’d been bitten, given to the lack of immediate medical attention and too many full moons spent in the company of a particularly vicious pack of his kind, the wolf took over completely. Greyback had left behind quite the legacy, and while the Ministry managed to round up most of them, Trevor was one among the few particularly vicious ones still at large. And Harry had been dizzy with excitement to bring in the bastard.

Eight fucking days spent in this forest looking for him, tracing him, leaving his scent around as bait, barely sleeping for how hyper-alert he had to be – and Harry was taken by surprise when he’d taken a quick moment to pull his dick out and take a fucking piss.

At least I managed to stuff my cock back inside, Harry thought morosely, turning his head to once again look at and ensure that the furred half-man half-wolf lying a few feet away was properly dead. Harry had got him with a Severing Curse to the neck just as he’d taken an enormous bite out of Harry’s shoulder.

Harry had barely just managed to kill the beast and send out a Patronus before collapsing, not daring to reach up and check his wound or stem the blood loss, and definitely not daring to think about what this meant and...what he’d now become.

~*~

 

“Draco Malfoy.”

The breathy exhalation makes Draco sigh wearily, and he quickly slips his ivory comb back into his pocket and sweeps the long, freshly groomed curtain of his hair over his shoulder as he turns around with a little smile plastered to his face.

“Counsellor Truman,” he greets lightly, nodding once and quickly moving towards the door, pulling out a length of black ribbon from his other pocket as he walks. He skirts a wide circle around the old man with the cloud of white, candy floss like hair standing a mere couple of feet away but even so, the man turns on the spot as Draco walks, openly sniffing the air and sighing, eyes unfocused.

It would’ve been funny – the man is straight and has seven grandchildren – but Draco hates being sniffed at like a fucking wildflower.

“Lovely day?” he grits into the mirror as he ties his hair into a glossy ponytail, hands slipping on the satin as he tries to make the black bow stand stiff and straight.

It hasn’t stopped drizzling all week, and has been miserable, but Truman nods eagerly anyway. “Lovely,” he croaks. “So perfectly lovely.”

Time to go, sweet Merlin.

Draco grimaces another smile at him. “Well, good day.” He grabs the files he’d set beside the sinks and turns to go—

He yelps, spinning around in alarm as his left hand is abruptly grabbed in a vice like grip, and a very wet, rather whiskery kiss, slopped onto his inner wrist.

“Counsellor Truman!” Draco yells, snatching his hand back roughly. “Control yourself!”

The old man shrinks back at Draco’s raised voice, blinking rapidly as a deep, blotchy blush rises on his wrinkled face. He stumbles back another step as Draco pointedly wipes his wrist on his robes. “Terribly sorry,” he mumbles. “Kindly forgive me--”

Draco doesn’t bother sticking around. He’s out of the gents’ and halfway down the corridor before the urge to pull out his wand and hex the stupid fossil wins – the urge to transform and peck his eyes out not far behind.

“What’s got your feathers all ruffled, then?” Octavia demands when he finally makes it back to his office, grumbling darkly under his breath. He simply glares at her, holding out his hand for his mail.

The neckline of Octavia’s blouse plunges dangerously low, the hem of her skirt riding high enough that the delivery wizard who’d come in at nine AM still hadn’t left now at four PM. Her nails, Draco notes as she hands him his messages, are painted glossy black, and remind him of how her talons had looked the time she’d transformed in a fit of pique after the Wasps had lost to the Harpies that one time.

“I hate going upstairs to the general loos,” Draco answers sulkily.

Octavia snorts, bringing her wavy mass of plum red tresses over one shoulder and leaning back in her seat, lifting her feet up onto her desk, one black stiletto clad foot and one stocking-ed foot wiggling at him, skirt barely concealing what Draco knows are very fancy knickers. Across the room, the delivery wizard bursts into tears.

“Then stop going there,” she tells him, not looking the least bit sympathetic. “You only go there because the mirrors are bigger.”

“Because that’s not reason enough?!” Draco snaps, slamming the files onto her desk. “Why can’t people be more dignified? Merlin, it’s like they don’t possess basic self-control. Can somebody escort him out, please?” he adds in a bellow over his shoulder, as the delivery wizard starts screaming proposals at Octavia.

Octavia wiggles her bejewelled fingers at the poor bastard, Draco rolling his eyes as he sifts through his messages.

“Why does Erickson want to see me?” Draco mutters, frowning down at the message scribbled down in Octavia’s appalling scrawl.

“To bone you, probably,” Octavia drawls, flipping through the week’s issue of Witch Weekly.

Draco rolls his eyes. “He puts on an actual facemask every time I go over there.”

“Yeah, because he’s a big, scary werewolf and would likely jump you if he didn’t properly reign himself in,” Octavia waves a careless hand, “Heightened sense of smell and everything – and you’re a Pureblood Veela, so it’s likely doubly hard on him, and he probably wants to knot you or something.”

Draco shudders, mouth twisting. “You’re going to make me lose my lunch,” he declares flatly. “And stop lounging. Have you finished drafting the invitation letter to the Bulgarian Minister? The conference is in three weeks, the letter needs to go out today.”

“It’s on your desk, go pick out all the mistakes I’ve made and I’ll owl it before I leave,” Octavia answers vaguely.

“I can’t right now, I’ve to go meet with Erickson, apparently,” Draco says, irritably pushing her feet off the desk. “And clean your desk or something. Stop lounging.”

“Arsehole.”

“I’m your boss, you bint,” Draco throws back as he straightens his collar as turns to head back out.

“Still an arsehole.”

~*~

Pearce Erickson smells like dog, Draco decides as he folds himself into one of the rickety chairs in front of the other man’s desk.

“Draco Malfoy!” Erickson greets, his loud boom of a voice slightly muffled behind one of the lime green, standard issue facemasks that are available in Mungo’s free clinic. “As distracting as ever,” he leans in, fingers clasped, gaze roving pointedly down Draco’s form.

I could put on one of those too, if you like,” Draco offers calmly. He pulls on a cursory smile as Erickson chortles, the sound rough and gravelly. “How can I help?” he finally asks.

“Yeah, listen, I needed to ask you something,” Erickson leans back in his chair, thick forearms resting on the armrests, one meaty, ham-like hand rubbing at his scraggly stubble. “I wanted to know if you—whether you’ve you know...heard anything,” he says, though it sounds more like a question at the end.

Draco waits for him to elaborate, and when he doesn’t, says, “Seeing as I possess full, functional use of my eardrums, I heard a lot of things, Erickson.” When that gets nothing but a curious, vapid smile, Draco sighs. “What are you talking about?”

“You know...” Erickson waves a hand at his desk, a thin frown creasing his brow, “You know,” he repeats. When Draco stares impassively back at him, he leans forward slightly, “You don’t...know?”

“I’m pretty sure I don’t,” Draco deadpans. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m being transferred,” Erickson sneers, “to Munich. I didn’t even know that the Ministry there has a fucking Department of Magical Beings.”

“Well, that’s good, I suppose?” Draco says in confusion. “Congratulations?”

Erickson slams a fist on the desk and Draco jumps. “Bollocks!” he hisses, spittle wetting his mask. “They’re doing this for a reason; this isn’t about the German Ministry needing a new Head of Lycanthrope Affairs.”

“What...is the reason, then?” Draco asks warily.

“That’s what I called you over to talk about,” Erickson says, shrugging as he leans back again. “You’ve got feelers around everywhere, don’t you? You’re always up-to-date on these matters.”

Draco laughs shortly on an exhale. “I don’t know what gave you that impression,” he drawls, “because I just barely care about my own sub-department. And that too because I’m the Head and sort of...have to. Besides,” he continues, uncrossing his legs and making to stand up, “this sounds like it might be an order from Level One – how or why would I have any information about it?”

“Isn’t your family name well-recognised amongst those sanctimonious bastards up there?”

“Was,” Draco points out, getting to his feet, “and that too because my father was kind of an arse and used our gold to get his way around here. My father is now dead and I am nothing like him...anymore,” Draco adds, slightly awkwardly.

Erickson stands up as well. “But you’ll tell me if you do hear anything about this?”

Draco snorts but relents and gives him a vague nod of assent. “Sure. Not that I will, but okay. Er...” he pauses as a large, ruddy hand is extended to him, “Right.” He shakes the slightly sweaty hand, raising an eyebrow pointedly when Erickson steps closer, squeezing Draco’s long fingers. “Erickson,” Draco says loudly, taking a step back when he notes his rapidly dilating pupils.

Erickson blinks. “Oh, sorry.”

Snatching his hand away for the second time in half an hour, Draco hurries out, wiping his hand on his robes as he gnashes his teeth and glares around at everybody present in the outer office.

It smells overwhelmingly like dog suddenly, and Draco steps out into the corridor with a loud exhale, gulping in fresh air as he unconsciously wipes his hand again. He shouldn’t, but he hates visiting the Lycanthrope Affairs offices – the smell aside, Veela tend to automatically start scanning potential mates amongst other virile species of magical beings, and the sexual compatibility between Veela and werewolves is legendary; Draco hates the way his instincts tell him to take a closer look around the office at the keenly staring, lycanthropy infected specimens in there.

He’s taken a look before and not one of them is worth a second glance, he knows.

He’s just leaving, walking past the little service and enquiry kiosk, when the sight of what is probably the ugliest house-elf he’s ever seen makes him slow down a step, glaring at it in bewilderment – it’s horrifically old, has sagging, greyish skin, and enormous bluish eyes that are spotted grey with age. It’s wearing a clean white toga, tufts of fluffy, white hair protruding out its ears, and throws Draco a curiously interested look as he passes by before suddenly lowering into a bow.

Pausing in his tracks at that, Draco turns to face it where it stands in front of the counter, either waiting to be served, or just having stopped there because it’s presumably deranged.

“Do you know where you are, elf?” he asks curiously.

“At the kiosk outside the Office of Lycanthrope Affairs in the Department of Magical Beings, Level Four, Ministry of Magic,” the old elf gabbles away fluently in a croaky, wheezing voice, very clearly having memorised by rote.

“Yes,” Draco replies doubtfully, stretching the word out. “And what are you doing here?”

Before the elf can answer, there’s a faint clatter as the window behind the counter flaps open and a pair of hands appear with a bulbous glass vial, filled with a limpid, azure blue potion. Blue smoke rises up around the potion, filling the empty space between the surface of the liquid and the stopper, the cloud growing denser each time the potion swirls around the vial.

“Dose number three of the week for Mr. H. J. Potter,” comes a bored voice from behind the counter, “Standard Wolfsbane, certified brew by St. Mungo’s. Here’s the bill – bring that back with you tomorrow or you won’t receive the fourth dose.”

The glass window is abruptly slammed shut and Draco watches with his mouth hanging wide open, his heart thundering inside it, as the old elf first folds up the receipt and tucks it into its toga before carefully lifting the vial off the counter with both hands, long, wrinkled fingers gingerly handling the glass.

“Master Harry is sending Kreacher to fetch Master Harry’s potion for him,” it croaks, and Draco blinks, realising only after several seconds that the elf is simply answering the question Draco asked it before the potion was delivered.

“Oh,” Draco’s voice comes out sounding like a frail bleat, “And your master is Harry...Po--?”

“Harry Potter,” the elf announces grandly, with evident pride.

“Why does he need Wolfsbane?” Draco asks weakly, although a voice inside his head is curtly informing him that he’s an utter idiot.

The elf looks at him much like the voice sounds. “Master Harry is being needing it for health purposes,” he answers politely anyway. “If young Master Black can be excusing Kreacher now?”

Draco blinks, mouth gaping open wider, his mind already stirring in the way one’s did when they’re struggling to place something they know is familiar.

“Kreacher,” he says blankly.

The elf nods, the bulbous eyes knowing as it bows again, clutching the vial close to its chest as it Disapparates neatly through the Ministry wards with a resounding crack.

~*~

Draco hadn’t believed the rumours when they’d hit the mill – the very prospect of it seemed laughable.

That Harry Potter could be the victim of a horrific werewolf attack, the victim of anything – the Saviour himself – was fucking ridiculous. Not the fucking Boy Who Lived?! How did something like that even happen?! The man had been named Auror of the Year fours years back when he was barely twenty! Draco would have bet good gold that if ever a werewolf did get past Potter’s renowned, lightning quick reflexes to land a bite on him, the werewolf would likely be infected with Saviour Syndrome instead of that speccy git succumbing to lycanthropy.

And yet, here's actual, undeniable proof – over six months after the incident had been reported.

Potter has already undergone about five transformations and is preparing for his sixth, downing dose after dose of that utterly vile Wolfsbane Potion, likely living at the mercy of that fossilised house-elf, that bushy know-it-all and her ginger husband – and likely the ginger’s whole ginger family.

Potter lives in no dearth of loved ones but Draco can't help but feel an inexplicably random rush of sympathy for the man. He's no Gryffindor, Draco; he isn’t one to live under the shadow of all the good deeds that people might’ve done for him – but it was Potter who had pulled him out of a burning room, Potter who had spoken in his favour at his trials, Potter whom he had to thank for living, not only as a free man, but as a proud Veela.

And all those things cast a pretty fucking huge shadow.

And so the day after the full moon, Draco finds himself standing outside a truly awful looking mansion in Islington. The name Grimmauld Place brought about the same stirrings that the old house-elf had, and Draco is surprised as to how easily he’d found the place.

The mid-morning sun beats down on his head, his hands beginning to sweat a little as he stands at the edge of the overgrown front garden, staring blankly at the filthy front door, the black paint on it flaking off, the enormous, brass knocker in desperate need of polishing.

Draco doesn’t know what he’s doing here, not really; he’s had almost a week to think about it. But from the moment he watched that house-elf Disapparate, he’d known that he was going to do this. He can’t fathom not doing this.

He wants to see Potter. He has to see Potter. Introspection and consequences be damned.

He strides up to the door, reaching out and lifting the extraordinarily heavy knocker and slamming it into the door thrice, startling himself with the intensity of the loud booms.

The door flies open almost the second he sets the knocker down, and Draco is met with the sight of the same old house-elf, looking up at Draco with a slightly smug, satisfied expression.

“Young Master Black,” it croaks, using the same tone and tune that one would while chiming a glib, ‘well, well, well.’ “You is visiting this humble abode after all. Kreacher wonder if you might.”

Draco lets his gaze sweep past the small, wrinkled elf and down into the long hallway behind it, his lip automatically curling as he takes in the dingy, almost completely unlit interiors. There are no signs of natural light entering the house anywhere and even where he stands, Draco can smell the musty stench of mildew that seems to linger about.

“Is Potter home?” he asks quietly. “I’d like to meet with him.”

“Is you calling Master Harry before coming?”

Draco frowns. “You are not his secretary, but his elf,” he says pointedly. “And I don’t believe one requires an appointment to visit him at his residence, no matter how many Dark Lords your Master has put asunder. Please go announce my arrival, and tell him that I would like an audience at once.” The elf glowers, gaze turning resentful, but steps aside, bowing Draco inside and shutting the door.

Once inside, the smell is even worse and Draco lifts one gloved hand up to his face, clamping it lightly over his nose and mouth. He glances around and sees several large portraits, all of them hung shut with thick lengths of black velvet. There are about three candles sputtering on three different brass, snake shaped sconces on the wall, which is in turn covered in grubby, Victorian style wallpaper in deep green and silver.

“Master Harry is being asleep in bed still,” the elf says from somewhere near his knees.

“Wake him up.”

“It is being day after full moon.”

Draco sighs. “I know. That’s actually what I’m here to talk to him about. I want to help him,” he adds softly – and just like that Draco admits out loud to why he’s really here.

The elf tilts its head, the hallway too gloomy for Draco to be able to see its expression, but then it nods and sweeps one skeletally thin arm down the corridor, bowing Draco further inside.

There are rooms along the way but they’re all shut, heavy oak doors with intricately carved details. Draco imagines they’re parlours, and sitting rooms, maybe a dining room for entertaining, but the elf leads him all the way to the end of the hallway, where one set of stairs leads up further into the house, and another set of steps — slabs of grey stone — leads downstairs into what has to be a basement kitchen, judging from the scent of coffee, eggs and slightly burnt toast wafting up. The elf points him downstairs.

“Master Harry will be meet young Master Black in the kitchen,” the elf insists when Draco just stands there and eyes the dingy stairwell with distaste.

“Isn’t there, perhaps, a parlour, or a living room, I could wait in?” Draco asks slightly hopelessly. The elf glares at him until Draco ambles down the stairs with a sigh.

It is indeed a kitchen, wide, sweeping and surprisingly, pleasantly, clean. The flagstones underfoot have been scrubbed spotless, and the copper pots and pans hanging overhead gleam blindingly bright. There’s an enormous, stone fireplace on the opposite wall where a fire crackles brightly, what appears to be an empty stew pot sitting on the floor beside it. There’s a large cooking range on the left, atop which sits a frying pan, sizzling quietly, while a tea kettle hums to itself on the counter beside it. Some sort of Muggle coffee appliance sits next to the kettle, and Draco can see, as well as smell, the rich aroma of the dark brown, steaming hot liquid in the tall, glass pot.

The long, wooden table is strewn with a few old copies of the Daily Prophet, with that day’s copy still rolled up neatly with a piece of twine. There are several moisture rings and the wood needs polishing, but Draco can tell that this too has been scrubbed clean.

The contrast between the clean, homey warmth of this room and the dingy, dank hallway he’d just come from is startlingly stark, and it throws Draco a little as he stands there blankly, turning around on the spot and blinking around the room. He feels a little lost and a lot stupid, not to mention nervous and suddenly, quite out of nowhere, scared.

He’s just strolled into a new werewolf’s house and demanded audience with said werewolf, barely a few hours after the new moon. He has no prejudice towards his fellow magical creatures, but his (limited) knowledge of werewolves was not something he’d boast about, and the fact that this is Harry Potter, who’s specifically known for his magical prowess, a young and likely horrifically strong werewolf, was enough to set Draco’s self-preservation instincts in motion.

He’s pretty sure he can feel his wings starting to prickle out of his shoulder blades, his nails turning heavy and dense, when he hears a sound behind him; he whirls around, his own hair whipping him across the face as he does.

Potter stands there, less than a foot away, completely still and unmoving as he stares unblinkingly at Draco, viridian gaze, unimpeded by glasses, burning in its intensity, and Draco gasps noiselessly in shock as he automatically trips a step backwards.

He’s taller than Draco remembers him being; Draco is used to being one of the tallest people in most rooms, used to training his gaze downwards as he speaks to people. It unnerves him some, to say the least, that his gaze now lifts just a couple of inches above eye level to meet Potter’s. Jet black hair, as unruly as ever, now hangs in a scraggly, unruly mess past his ears, brushing broad, hunched shoulders. He’s draped in a ratty, grey blanket, wearing a faded, baggy red t-shirt over pale blue pyjama bottoms underneath, and his large feet are bare.

Potter looks utterly and completely exhausted. His jaw is shadowed with stubble, and deep, dark circles cling to the hollows under his eyes. In spite of the bulk, evident even while hidden under the blanket, Potter’s cheeks look sunken and his eyes appear too large for his face, his cheekbones and collarbones standing out sharply. His lips are chapped, and his skin has that greyish tinge one associated with an extended illness.

And despite all this, despite the apparent bone-weariness, the obvious lack of energy, there is not a shred of vulnerability in the man as he stands there and glares, his nostrils flaring as he openly scents Draco, and Draco takes another careful step away from him and his, frankly, terrifying intensity.

In what can only be described as a growl, Potter asks, “What do you want?”

“Potter,” is Draco’s daft reply.

Very slowly, Potter tilts his head to one side, eyes narrowing in consideration before — in a move so quick that Draco couldn’t have predicted it even if he’d been expecting it —Potter grabs him by one elbow and drags him closer, bending slightly and pushing his nose into the crook of Draco’s neck, inhaling loud and deep. His skin is fever hot where he touches Draco, and frozen as he is in shocked fear, Draco finds that heat...inviting.

Just as swiftly as he’d seized him, Potter releases him, and Draco stumbles back once more, breathing hitched as he gapes at Potter who’s once again staring at him, lips parted, expression thoughtful. The skin where Potter’s nose had touched his neck burns like he’s been branded.

“You’re a Veela,” he finally says, his tone one of realisation, his gaze gone even darker than earlier.

“You could have just asked me,” Draco chokes out, “I’d have confirmed it.”

Potter doesn’t respond to that, instead taking one, then another, careful step back and away from Draco, fingers clenching around the blanket and drawing it tighter around himself. Then he repeats, “What do you want?”

“I...” Draco simply doesn’t know how to answer that. “I...wanted to...”

“You wanted to come and sneer at what I’ve become,” Potter declares coolly, tone flat, lips tightening.

Now Draco glares, lip curling, as he replies curtly, “I’m not a child anymore, Potter,” and then adding, for good measure, “unlike you, apparently.”

For one, petrifying moment, Draco’s’s worried that Potter might attack, might actually pounce and rip into him.

Then Potter barks out a short, slightly derisive laugh and turns away, striding up to the table, sinking into a chair and slumping down in an ill-mannered slouch. “You chose a hell of a day to come sneer, Malfoy.” When Draco just continues to stand there, he slumps lower in his seat and kicks out the chair across the table from his. “Sit.”

Draco sniffs, keeping his nose in the air as he approaches slowly, unclipping his cloak and draping it over the back of the chair before sitting down stiffly.

“Kreacher,” Potter calls quietly, and when the elf appears with a crack, asks Draco, “Tea?”

“Milk and two sugars,” Draco accepts with a tilt of his head. Potter watches him as he neatly pulls his gloves off, lifting the expensive suede off each finger before inching them off and laying them on the table in front of him, clasping his hands upon them. “What?” he sighs, when Potter doesn’t even blink.

“Who the actual fuck still wears gloves?” Potter rasps, his eyes on Draco’s primly clasped fingers. His gaze travels higher, to the delicate skin of Draco’s exposed wrists, up his silk covered arms, to his long neck, which is slowly flushing pink under his appraising, clearly admiring, gaze.

Draco fiddles with his collar self-consciously before clearing his throat with a sharp click. “How are you?” he asks, when green finally meets grey.

Potter snorts. “Fucking fantastic,” he replies sardonically. “There’s much to say about the quality of life after you’ve been bitten by a fucking werewolf. I throw a little one-man party monthly; you just missed this month’s. It was last night. Truly memorable.”

Potter hitches the blanket up over one shoulder and, as he does so, Draco sees what must’ve been a horrifically painful scratch along the entirety of his left forearm. The scar is a stark scarlet and must’ve been deep judging by the way the skin has knitted together in a dark line. As the blanket shifts further, Draco sees that there are, in fact, several more scratches up his arms, some peeking out from under the neck of his t-shirt. There’s also another wound, brownish-maroon and gnarled, on his left shoulder, but it’s barely visible except for a small sliver when Potter shifts again.

Draco realises he’s been staring and quickly looks away, cheeks heating, just as Kreacher comes up and carefully lays a cup of tea in front of him, the china surprisingly elegant, cream with rosy flowers painted under the gold rim. Potter is handed a humongous, steaming mug of black coffee, half of which he gulps in a single mouthful before croaking, “What do you want, Malfoy?”

Draco doesn’t answer at once. He takes a small sip of tea, perfectly brewed and put together, he clears his throat several times, tries to tuck back a long, errant strand of hair that’s escaped his ponytail, and then decides to undo and retie his ponytail altogether. He examines his nails, takes another sip of tea – still perfect – and then finally looks up at the man sitting across from him, intently staring at Draco.

Finally, “How are you?” Draco opts to ask in reply. “How did this month’s transformation go?” he adds boldly.

Potter, to his credit, doesn’t look surprised, confused or angry. He remains perfectly insouciant as he stares at Draco, visibly considering his question.

“Why?” he asks Draco softly. “Why d’you care?”

“I don’t,” Draco blurts automatically, immediately wanting to kick himself.

Potter still doesn’t look piqued. In fact, his mouth ticks up on one side and he suddenly seems less tense. “Then why d’you want to know?” he asks, still smiling.

“I—I just...” Draco glares into his tea before just slumping slightly, “Fine, I do care, tell me how it went.”

“First tell me why you care.”

“Because I owe you, and don’t you dare pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about, and don’t you deny it,” Draco rants in one breath, teeth bared.

Potter shifts, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms, the blanket slithering off him entirely. The elf pops into existence beside his chair, gathers up the tatty material, and pops off with it. Potter’s eyes don’t leave Draco as he sits there, arms crossed, the bulge of his muscles terribly distracting for Draco, who’s trying not to let his gaze rove over his broad torso.

Potter’s expression is still careful, considering, like he’s trying to figure something deceptively simple out, but there’s a new softness to his face suddenly, the cool distrust slowly vacating.

“Thank you,” he says abruptly, and Draco raises his eyebrows. “For...caring at all,” Potter clarifies, that small smile back. “My transformation went fine,” he adds shortly, not elaborating further, even after Draco waits in expectant silence.

“You’ve gathered scars,” Draco says tentatively, eyes flicking quickly to the marks visible on Potter’s arms, a couple on his chest peeking out from under the neck of his t-shirt; Draco can no longer see the glimpse of the one on his shoulder.

“Sometimes they go less fine,” Potter quips amusedly, taking another few sips of coffee. “What do you do now, then? Are you working?”

“I’m, er...” Draco shifts awkwardly. “I was asked to be Head of Veela Affairs in the Department of Magical Beings last year. Before that I ran a small, private business.”

Potter looks fascinated. “Head of Veela Affairs, huh? Good for you, Malfoy.”

Draco hardly registers the pleasantry. “I want to help you,” he says abruptly, half shouting it into Potter’s face.

“Because you owe me?” Potter asks, tired eyes sparkling cheekily.

“Why else?” Draco snaps, cheeks colouring faintly.

“Tell me about the Veela thing,” Potter says.

Draco blinks. “The Veela thing?” he repeats, one eyebrow lifting in a slow slide.

“I spent about six consecutive years with you, Malfoy,” Potter points out, “and I never once noticed all this.” He gestures vigorously at Draco, indicating to no one thing in particular.

Draco looks down himself, smoothing down his robes, patting down his hair and straightening up in his seat. “All what?” he finally asks in bewilderment.

“You know,” Potter suddenly turns pink in the face, looking away slightly sullenly, “The Veela thing,” he says once more, scowling now.

“Okay, you’re going to have to explain at some point what the bloody hell you mean by that,” Draco says irritably, placing one hand flat on the table. “And if you’re talking about how I suddenly ‘turned’ into a Veela, as many others do, let me clarify that I didn’t. I did not turn into a Veela, I always was one, and have been once since birth.”

Potter looks rather astonished as he leans forward and places his forearms on the table, silently inviting Draco to continue. Draco fidgets slightly before going on, “It’s in my blood, Potter, and we’re a whole family of Veela.

“My great-great-grandfather, Septimus Malfoy,” Draco fiddles with his gloves, “he cursed the whole bloodline – our bloodline. His son, his first son, was rumoured, still is rumoured actually, to be one of the most beautiful Veela in existence. On his seventeenth birthday, during the celebrations, the boy was drugged, lured into an empty chamber and raped...after which he was killed, likely in a fit of panic.”

Draco pauses as Potter’s eyes bug out, expression appropriately shocked. Clearing his throat lightly he continues, “They never did find out who was responsible; there were too many guests in attendance and Septimus, being as prominent a member of society as he was, did not have the fucking bollocks to openly investigate the matter,” Draco says, voice icy and low. “He told everybody that the boy died of dragon pox and then proceeded to lock our Veela ancestry in archaic blood magic. The following generations all had their Veela genes repressed so they – we – simply appeared to be,” he smirks slightly, albeit with a modest tilt of his head, “just slightly above average in the looks department.”

He rolls his eyes as Potter snorts, but when he looks up, his belly flutters at the way Potter’s eyes are trained fixedly on him, every last bit of his keen attention on Draco, his pupils dilated round and dark.

Straightening up once again, swallowing dryly, Draco says, “And well, after the War,” he blinks, suddenly looking back up at Potter, “after I saw the way you and your friends fight for everything you believed in, after you saved my life...” Draco trails off as Potter smiles awkwardly and dips his head, “I—Well, I decided I don’t want to be keeping such a huge part of me, my identity, under wraps anymore. The curse could only be lifted by a direct descendant of the line, so after a bit of research, and a lot of fussing from Father, I managed to lift the curse,” he says simply, shoulders lifting in a shrug. “It took about a month until the Veela genes surfaced properly, but well—so—yes...” he mumbles, trailing off once more. “Father died a few weeks after that – his heart had started to give in even before the War ended – but Mother said he’d never looked as handsome as he did lying there in his coffin.” Draco blushes furiously, suddenly. “I don’t know why I just told you that, Potter, I’m—”

“I’m sorry about your father, Malfoy,” Potter interrupts softly. “I’d heard. I’m sorry.”

“Thank you,” Draco says, staring at him curiously.

“No wonder your hair never sparkled in school, then,” Potter says, quirking him another crooked grin.

Draco’s blush only intensifies as he brings his hair over his shoulder and stares at it in bafflement. “It doesn’t sparkle?” he says, perplexed.

The same rumbling sound from earlier sounds from Potter’s throat. “Beholder’s eye, Malfoy,” he says, sounding slightly aggrieved. “Can you—can you put your hair away, please?”

Draco scowls, still absently combing his fingers through his hair. “Why?”

“It’s distracting, fucking put it away,” Potter hisses. “Your face is distraction enough without you pulling out your hair like that.”

“What the hell,” Draco murmurs under his breath, pushing his long ponytail back over his shoulder and hiding his flaming cheeks by sipping more tea. “I want to help you,” he says one more time.

Potter, who shut his eyes after snarling so rudely at Draco, sighs, rubbing them before abruptly yawning widely. “There is no way to help me now, Malfoy,” he says, voice rough with fatigue. “Trust me, I’ve checked. Hermione’s checked. This is it for me.” He pins Draco with a look, smiling as he softly adds, “I really appreciate it, though.”

“There has to be something I can do,” Draco presses stubbornly. “I could find you another elf, maybe? One that knows how to clean a house effectively.”

Potter laughs, a warm, deep sound that makes Draco feel slightly dizzy. “Yeah, it’s not Kreacher’s fault. I mainly keep to my room, the upstairs living room and the kitchen. Those are the only rooms I ask him to clean. My own place is in a Muggle area, and it didn’t feel safe to stay there anymore after— I only moved in here after I was bitten,” he finishes casually, and Draco twitches slightly at the blasé way Potter says it.

“Oh,” Draco breathes, looking around the room once more. “I feel like this place is familiar somehow, though.”

“It’s the ancestral Black home,” Potter informs him with a snort. “You sort of have claim over it too, I suppose.”

Draco snorts. “Yes, I’d love nothing more than to claim this charnel house,” he says pointedly, and Potter laughs that laugh again, the one that makes his eyes crinkle, and face soften, and Draco’s heart skip.

“What made you come now, though?” Potter sounds curious, “Why wait all these months?”

“I...didn’t believe it until a few days ago,” Draco admits. “I thought it was a rumour made up as a bad excuse for you leaving the Auror corps. I met your house-elf as it collected your dose of Wolfsbane on Thursday and...well, there was no questioning it anymore, I suppose.”

“Oh, that’s what the little nutter meant when it kept muttering about the Black line never dying,” Potter says thoughtfully. “Not that it’s an unusual thing for Kreacher to mutter about. Only, it felt rather sudden and completely out of context.”

Draco laughs lightly. “Well, I’m sort of glad I ran into the elf, Potter,” he says quietly. “I owe you and I want to help you. Should I start picking up your doses for you, maybe?” he asks with a little snigger.

Potter groans even as he chuckles along. “Better still, throw away that rubbish for me,” he rubs his face with both hands, gathering his hair in the same movement and pushing it off his shoulders, holding it back as he rests his elbows on the table and hangs his head between his forearms. “That fucking potion has got to be the worst part of this whole thing – including the actual bit where I turn into a fucking werewolf.”

“It tastes bad, then?”

“Malfoy, it tastes like death,” Potter says vehemently, gaze flat as he pins Draco with it. “It’s what I imagine a particularly violent death would taste like,” he tries to scowl but ends up grinning a little as Draco lifts a hand to cover his own grinning mouth, “I think I’d prefer the painful, brutal transformation that would result if the potion isn’t consumed. I’ve tasted some truly awful potions, Malfoy – do you know what Polyjuice tastes like? I’ve had Polyjuice on two separate--”

But Draco isn’t listening anymore, for Draco has had such a sudden, brilliant brainwave, that his head buzzes from it. “I know how I can help you!” he blurts out, effectively cutting off Potter’s rant about watching human hair dissolve into a glass of Polyjuice.

“What?” Potter blinks. And then, warily, “Okay...how?”

“That sick piss that they pass off as Wolfsbane,” Draco’s eyes shine excitedly, “Potter, I’ve been telling them for ages to order their Wolfsbane from a private brewer instead of Mungo’s!”

“What’re you talking about, Malfoy?” Potter asks wearily. “Mungo’s provides government approved--”

Mungo’s is a shithole!” Draco declares brightly, already getting to his feet, grabbing his cloak and gloves. “I’m going to brew you something that doesn’t taste like death, Potter.”

“Wait, what?” Potter asks incredulously. “You’re going to brew--?”

“An advanced Wolfsbane Potion, yes,” Draco confirms, swirling his cloak on. “And I swear it’ll taste better than a lot of potions you’ve consumed in the past, Potter.”

“Malfoy, wait,” Potter laughs, holding one hand up, “I’m a registered werewolf who has to collect government sanctioned potions every month so I’m not an active threat to wizarding society. They keep tabs on me and whether or not I’ve been collecting my dosages--”

Draco rolls his eyes. “Potter, that’ll just require some paperwork to be rerouted my way,” he assures him.

Potter sighs. “Malfoy, you’re not listening, only a licensed brewer--”

“AKA, me.” Draco smirks his best smug smirk. “That was the private business I ran, Potter. I am a licensed brewer who actually used supply Mungo’s with a whole variety of their potions until I joined the Ministry.”

Potter looks gobsmacked and Draco’s smirk widens. “So...wait, what are you saying?” he slurs.

Draco sighs, rolling his eyes as he works his gloves on. “I'm saying, Potter,” he says patiently, “that I will be brewing you your monthly potions henceforth – privately.” Draco smiles now, earnestly and with promise. “I’ll sort out your paperwork for you, no worries. And I’ll be in touch soon.” He turns to leave, Potter still sitting there with his mouth hanging open, before pausing to turn back again, suddenly uncertain. “Wait, I’m sorry; I steamrolled my way into this. Are you all right with this? With me doing this for you?”

Potter’s mouth snaps shut and he looks even more confused as he makes a vague, noncommittal sound, shrugging lightly. “I...guess?”

“Do you trust me, Potter?” Draco asks softly, stomach clenched in anticipation.

Potter’s face relaxes into a grin, and he leans back all the way, tilting his chair backwards and rocking indolently. “Malfoy,” he says, “you wouldn’t be standing there, alive, if I didn’t trust you. And it has little to do with the fact that you’re really quite obscenely good looking.”

Draco rolls his eyes again, turning away as his face colours beet red. “Charming as ever,” he drawls, striding over to the stairs. “See you soon, Potter.”

“I look forward to it, Malfoy.”

~*~

Draco never receives visitors who use the front door. And so he’s decidedly puzzled when a sharp, firm rap sounds on it while he’s mid-brew. By the time he throws a hurried Stasis on his whole workbench, ingredients, half-brewed potion and all, and rushes out to answer the door, he’s comprised a small list of potential visitors.

He does not include Hermione Granger in said list.

And yet she stands there, bushy brown hair practically bristling around her as she stares (glares) at Draco.

“So, you’re planning on poisoning Harry?” she enquires politely and without prelude.

Draco calmly wipes his hands on his apron. “Yes, but I’ll make sure it tastes delicious.” Granger huffs, arms crossed, looking torn between genuine suspicion and some sort of grudging admiration. “Would you like to come in? I have a potion simmering.”

He doesn’t wait for her to reply before turning around and striding away, making his way back to the little private lab he’d spent an extra fifteen thousand Galleons on when he’d bought the place.

He’s not altogether surprised, although he is rather irritated, when Granger does actually come in, shutting the door behind herself and following him into his lab.

“Malfoy,” she says, crossing her arms again, frowning lightly.

“Don’t touch anything, please,” Draco replies tersely, putting on his glasses and peering into the cauldron and sighing in relief when he sees that the valerian root hasn’t overheated and turned purple. He lifts the Stasis and gives the cauldron a light, careful stir, the silver ladle a solid weight in his hand.

Malfoy,” Granger presses, as she approaches his bench, “what are you--?” She breaks off abruptly, and when Draco looks around, he sees her staring, fascination clear on her face, as she heads towards the small, round pedestal in the centre of the room.

The circular skylight Draco had cut into the ceiling is letting in a thick, creamy white and perfectly straight shaft of moonlight into the room through the glass dome affixed to it. The ray of light fits perfectly around the circumference of the wooden pedestal, gleaming blinding white against the surface of the wide silver bowl set atop it. The bowl practically glows in the moonlight, the detailed, intricate work carved on the outside seeming to come alive.

The contents of the bowl, in turn, sparkle delicately under the natural light, and it’s what Granger is staring at in wide eyed fascination. She leans right in, so that her nose almost pierces through the intangible fence of moonlight, but stops just short, staring with her mouth slightly parted.

“This is...” she breathes, holding her hair back and bending a little lower, her dark eyes reflecting the shine of what’s in the bowl. “How did you...?”

“Do finish your sentences, Granger,” Draco says mildly, pulling out the stopper to a large pot of dittany and using a long, glass dropper to measure out exactly 7ml of dittany, peering at the markings on the tube through his glasses.

Granger watches him as he adds the dittany to the cauldron, drop by drop, seven times, the potion gradually turning lighter with each drop. He stirs the mixture thrice, anticlockwise, and then places the ladle aside, further lowering the flame under the cauldron and covering it with a large square of soft, white muslin.

“The muslin will absorb the pungent fumes that rise when dittany and valerian root mix,” Granger says, slow and thoughtful, “which otherwise would have just infused itself into the potion itself--”

“Thus adding the dreaded, pungent aftertaste that Wolfsbane is known to possess,” Draco finishes, surprised and more than a little impressed. Not even some seasoned brewers know this little hack.

“And this,” Granger gestures to the sparkly contents of the bowl, “You’ve mixed in powdered silver with chopped--”

“Crushed,” Draco corrects, rounding his bench and taking a few steps closer to her.

“—wolfsbane.” Granger tilts her head, her gaze travelling up along the shaft of moonlight to the skylight. “And the mixture has been...left to mature?” she turns to Draco, who nods, “Under moonlight.”

“For four hours,” Draco adds. “It augments the intended effect of the wolfsbane, namely suppressing the more beastly instincts.”

“Why crushed wolfsbane instead of chopped?” she asks curiously.

“It releases more of the juices,” Draco says simply. “The powdered silver then leeches even more of the liquid out, essentially dehydrating the wolfsbane but absorbing the essence that we require.”

“That’s what’s making it sparkle like that?”

Draco nods. “The rest can be discarded — and along with it, the acrid bitterness that makes the potion taste so utterly dreadful.”

“Won’t the effectiveness of the potion be compromised if you throw out the natural juices of the aconite?”

No, because the silver absorbs what’s required,” Draco repeats, rolling his eyes. “Practically nobody uses the powdered silver because it’s more expensive than all the other ingredients put together.”

“How does the powdered moonstone help?” she asks, gesturing to a bowlful of shimmery, white powder that’s sitting on the workbench.

“He won’t experience quite such varied mood swings, or those violent bursts of anger that typically occur after moonrise.”

“And why the moonlight now, at this stage?”

“It’s essential for the potion itself, Granger.”

“Can’t you just harvest the aconite at moonlight?”

“I do.” Draco is more annoyed than impressed now – she wasn’t even a professional and she knew more than most of his fellow brewers did. “This is additional to that. It’s beneficial to the end result. Granger, what do you want? Why are you here?”

“So you really are brewing him an advanced Wolfsbane,” she says in wonder, taking in the room once more. Draco glares impassively, gesturing with both hands at his workbench and then the pedestal, as if it were an obvious fact. “Why?” she asks curiously.

Draco clicks his tongue irritably, turning away without replying and walking back to the cauldron. The muslin has turned slightly translucent, damp and heavy with the absorbed fumes and steam. He carefully lifts it off and replaces it with another identical sheet of muslin, walking over to the little steel sink in the corner and wringing out the first sheet of muslin under the tap.

When he turns back around, Levitating the cloth and spelling it dry, Granger is still standing there, watching him closely, her expression odd.

Draco sighs. “I owe him, Granger,” he says shortly, and then relapses into stubborn silence.

“He couldn’t stop talking about you,” she says, and Draco starts slightly at the abrupt way she threw that in; his cheeks heat, and not entirely because of his proximity to the iron cauldron. “Now I see why,” she adds lightly, hitching her handbag higher up her shoulder, giving him a sly little smile.

Draco raises his eyebrows. “Excuse me?”

“Well, you really are extraordinarily attractive now, aren’t you?” she says matter-of-factly.

“I always was, Granger, I’m a Veela by blood.” Draco sniffs haughtily, and Granger laughs. “What did Potter say about me?” he blurts out, not even caring that the gleam in her eye intensifies at his question.

“He doesn’t seem to be able to dare to believe that you’ve become noble on top of...” she waves a hand over in Draco’s general direction, “you know...the attractiveness.”

Draco doesn’t know which part of that sentence to take offence to first. “Are you here solely to tell me that Potter fancies me?”

And I wanted to find out what you’re up to,” she agrees with a nod, not denying Draco’s (not entirely sarcastic) allegation.

Ignoring the wild cartwheel his belly does, Draco says hotly, “I’m not up to anything in need of investigation, Granger. I’m doing something for him that even a know-it-all pedant like you couldn’t do even if you tried!”

Granger does not look angry. She doesn’t even seem offended in the slightest. She places a hand above her heart, clutching at her ugly brown jumper as her mouth trembles into a watery smile, her eyes gleaming wet. “Thank you, Malfoy,” she croaks, nodding frantically. “I’m—Ron and I, we’re so grateful. It’s not been easy, you know, seeing Harry like that...” She pulls out a slightly grubby looking handkerchief, mopping her eyes and blowing her nose in it while Draco just stands there awkwardly, shuffling from foot to foot. “He never gets out of that house. He barely speaks to anyone, even Ron and me. He’s...barely living anymore, you know? He loved his job, and he’s so young still--”

“You’re the same age,” Draco points out, trying very hard not to roll his eyes. “We all are. And Granger, what happened was most certainly unfortunate – and that it happened to a model of virtuosity like Potter himself, even more so. But Granger, this isn’t the 70’s anymore.”

“What happened in the 70’s?” Granger asks, blowing her nose again.

“I don’t know!” Draco mumbles, fidgeting. “Werewolves were treated like...not very well. They had to keep away from society and everything. No jobs and...they were shunned—whatever, look,” Draco says impatiently, “the point is, Potter doesn’t have to live as a recluse, you know? He’s a government registered member of wizarding society. He can live a normal, healthy life as a free man – as a free werewolf, whatever. I’m willing to bet they’d even give him his job back at the DMLE – there are perks to being Harry bloody Potter, and he ought to use them. Things definitely aren’t as dark as he’s making them out to be.”

“He...won’t listen to us.”

“Whom will he listen to then?”

Granger blinks, and then smiles a tiny, truly wicked smile...and Draco is suddenly blushing again.

~*~

This time when Draco knocks, it’s Potter who answers the door.

He’s still unkempt and barefooted, his hair in a knotted mess around his head, stubble having thickened into a light beard, but he now looks rested, like he’s had a few good nights’ sleep and a meal or two.           

His shoulders still carry a hint of that tenseness though, his eyes sharp and overly wary, but he smiles, soft and hesitant, when he sees Draco.

“I could smell you when you Apparated into the yard,” he admits sheepishly, when he notes Draco’s surprise. “And I can’t find Kreacher anyway, so...”

Draco shuffles his feet, absurdly feeling his cheeks grow warm as he looks down and shifts the large, shiny wooden crate he’s carrying from one arm to the other.

“What’s that?” Potter asks.

“Are you going to make me show on you here on the front step?” Draco drawls, one eyebrow sliding up easily.

“Of course not; I’m so sorry,” Potter steps aside at once, “Come in, come in.”

Draco steps inside as Potter flattens himself against the front door instead of just stepping back; Draco’s shoulder brushes against Potter’s front as he sweeps past him and for a moment, Draco has the bizarre urge to press further against him, into that heat Potter’s body seems to emit through his clothes.

He’s wearing blue jeans, slightly frayed at the hems and slipping down a little at his hips, like he’s lost weight since buying them, and a faded yellow t-shirt, both garments bearing dark splotches of what looks like grease, and when Potter turns to shut the door behind them, Draco sees a large, slightly rusted spanner sticking out of the back pocket of his denims, along with a carelessly bunched up, grease stained rag that’s almost spilling out completely.

“We could, ah, go upstairs, I guess?” Potter suggests, hurrying past Draco to lead him down the hallway. He smells like sweat and earth and petrol and there shouldn’t be anything so wildly appealing about any of that but Draco wants to stick his nose against Potter and breathe him in. It’s wildly embarrassing and Draco keeps his head dipped and blush hidden as he follows Potter upstairs in silence.

The rest of the house is not any better than the horrible corridor downstairs and is hardly better lit either, but the room Potter leads him into on the second floor, like the kitchen, is a whole other story.

Large and spacious with high, old-fashioned rosewood furniture, the room reminds Draco of the Manor. There’s a fire roaring merrily and a rickety old Wireless sits on the mantel, the music soft and unobtrusive. The entire right side wall is taken up by a giant, glass-fronted bookshelf, two round reading tables in front of it with a set of cosy armchairs grouped around both of them. The bright chandelier overhead is electric but there are still several candles lit on the wall-sconces, sputtering only very slightly in the chill breeze blowing in from the open French windows on the left. The soft, pastel drapes look freshly laundered, and billow in a slow dance until Potter saunters over and pulls the sliding glass windows partially shut, so that suddenly the room feels even quieter, more still. The upholstery on the furniture is rich, royal blue velvet and the cushions all stand in place, plump and fluffy, like they’ve not been disturbed at all.

“I usually just sprawl out on the floor,” Potter says, as if he’s read Draco’s mind, and as Draco looks around, he sees a couple of books and the day’s newspaper strewn about on the Persian carpet. There’s a mug of tea, half-finished, on the glass topped coffee table, and several bunches of roses and peonies in mismatched vases and pots on various surfaces around the room, something that instantly reminds Draco of his mother.

“It’s a nice place, Potter,” he says quietly, placing his small briefcase on the floor, and carefully setting the wooden box on the coffee table. Potter remains silent, standing with his arms crossed and feet slightly apart, staring intently at Draco’s every move as he takes off his cloak and gloves, and neatly hitches his robes higher before sinking onto his knees behind the coffee table, foregoing the sofa or the matching chairs.

Draco flips the shiny gold clasp open and lifts the lid, carefully letting it fall back on its hinge, and Potter takes a step forward. Inside, there are five orderly rows of six vials each, all of them sitting primly in their velvet lined slots. Draco picks out one, the silvery, pearlescent potion inside swirling delicately, and wordlessly hands it over to Potter who holds out one hand, palm up, like a child, to accept it.

“Is this the...?” Potter holds up the vial and inspects it closely, his eyes crossing slightly as he peers at it. The vial is only about the length of his finger and slightly slimmer in girth, and for a moment Draco is worried Potter might end up inadvertently snapping the fine glass. “It’s not blue,” Potter finally comments, after inspecting the vial in silence for a long minute.

“Astute observational skills,” Draco replies with an eyeroll, one corner of his mouth lifting as Potter, to his surprise, suddenly grins. “No, Potter, it’s not blue. And it doesn’t taste like death either.”

“You’ve tasted it?” Potter asks vaguely, his nose still pressed against the vial.

Draco sighs. “No, Potter, if I were to taste it, I would die, seeing as it contains aconite — which is poisonous.”

“Aconite?”

“Wolfsbane.”

“If it’s called wolfsbane, shouldn’t it poison werewolves?”

Draco has a hard time hiding his grin of amused exasperation. “Potter, would you just drink the damn dose, already?”

Potter blinks. “What, now?!” he asks, finally lowering the vial long enough to stare incredulously at Draco. “But it’s not the week leading up to the full moon. I start my course exactly seven days before—”

“That’s how the standard Wolfsbane potion works, Potter, which this is not,” Draco says impatiently, snapping the lid of the box shut. “Look, I’m not trying to poison you, nor am I here to waste your time. I’m trying to help you. I will explain further, but first, drink that.”

Potter stares warily at Draco, then at the vial, and then with a careless shrug, plucks out the little cork, and downs the mouthful of potion with only a slight shudder.

“’s cold!” he exclaims hoarsely, after he’s swallowed, and then, rather thoughtfully, “Hey, it doesn’t taste like death!”

“Indeed it doesn’t,” Draco says, pleased. “The moonstone is what makes it cold, it’ll help regulate your body heat. What else?”

“It feels...tingly everywhere,” Potter stares down at his splayed hands.

“That’s the potion hitting your bloodstream,” Draco nods, pushing himself to his feet, “You will have one dose per day, every day, Potter,” he adds.

“Wait, seriously?” Potter glances down at the box with a look of dawning realisation. “Everyday...forever?”

“Yes,” Draco says softly. “The standard Wolfsbane lets you keep your mental faculties intact during your transformation, but it doesn’t suppress the more powerful animal instincts the wolf forces to the surface. Those instincts are always there, Potter, they’re in you even now. But because you’re not being forced into wolf-form by the moon cycle, you’re able to easily retain your human sensibilities.”

“I can feel it sometimes,” Potter says quietly and quite out of the blue. He’s staring into the fire, eyes slightly glassy. “I can feel it trying to rise up in me, like it’s trying to get out.”

“That will get better now, Potter,” Draco promises gently, rounding the coffee table and taking two tentative steps closer to him. “This new potion will help. Taking a dose of this size every day, as opposed to a larger dose for just seven days, will help steady your core system, will help your human side stay stronger.”

“How?” Potter asks hoarsely, looking unsure and strangely tense, and Draco doesn’t know whether he’s looking for a theoretical explanation of if he’s just unable to believe any of it.

“The wolfsbane and silver stay in your bloodstream and keep the wolf suppressed,” Draco explains, “and along with it, all of its base instincts. It’ll also, to an extent, make your transformations less painful,” he adds, smiling hesitantly as Potter stares in utter disbelief. “You’ll also notice a more regular sleep pattern now, as well as an increase in appetite. You can imbibe your dose at any point in the day, as long as you take one vial every twenty-four hours. Think of it as a daily supplement; do not forget to take your doses, Potter,” Draco says, eyes narrowing. “I’ve brought you thirty doses and it’ll be plenty, seeing as we’re already a few days into this month’s cycle. I’ll bring you a fresh crateful next month.”

He smiles again with a little nod, making to turn away to fetch his cloak, when there’s a soft tinkle of glass hitting the fluffy carpet they’re standing on, and Potter grabs Draco’s hand in an unbreakable grip, his skin scorching hot against Draco’s own. Draco turns, gasping a little, and then freezing at the look on Potter’s face.

His eyes are blazing with something Draco can’t place, his jaw clenched tightly as if he’s gritting and grinding his teeth together. His lips are pressed into a thin line and as Draco stares, they tighten further.

When Potter talks, his voice is soft and his tone measured. “You’re not playing around with me, then?” he says. “This isn’t your idea of a colossal joke to play on me because the idea of messing with a werewolf is hilarious?”

Nostrils flared in quiet fury, Draco wrenches his hand back – only he can’t break Potter’s grip so it only results in Potter tightening his fingers around Draco’s wrist as Draco stumbles back a step.

“I knew you’d be like this,” Draco hisses angrily, trying to twist his wrist away. “I knew you would cheapen this in some way. Why can’t you just be a grown-up for once, Potter?! Try; it’s not as bad as you might think. I am not playing around wi--”

“Thank you,” Potter interrupts softly, his gaze still burning but in a different way now; there’s suddenly something unimaginably tender in the vivid greenness and for a moment Draco is just left gaping at the honesty there.

But then Potter is releasing him and that look has vanished, leaving behind a serene sort of friendliness. Draco’s hand falls limply to his side and Potter smiles at him. “Thank you,” he repeats.

“I’m—I—you’re welcome,” Draco says after a moment. They’re still standing close enough that Draco can feel Potter’s body heat radiating onto him and Draco vaguely wonders if he can blame that for the heat he can feel flooding his whole face. Hurriedly stepping away, he clears his throat and murmurs, “I’ll get out of your hair then,” and once again turns away to fetch his effects.

“Are you coming here straight from work?” Potter questions as Draco picks up his briefcase.

“I am, indeed,” Draco replies lightly, clipping his cloak back on. “I was hoping to actually stop by on my way to work this morning and drop this off, but I was called in early for a meeting, and--”

“So, you haven’t eaten dinner yet?” Potter interrupts, a tiny flare of hope in his expression.

Draco blinks, mouth working soundlessly for a moment before he answers, “Um, I haven’t, no.”

“Would you...care to maybe stay? For dinner, I mean,” Potter hurriedly adds. “Here—for the—for dinner—eating— purposes...”

Draco doesn’t quite know how to answer that because there’s a chaotic screeching that erupts inside his head while his heart takes wildly excited flips down to his belly and back up to his chest. Potter waits, face falling by small increments until Draco blurts out, “Dinner?” like a halfwit.

“Yeah, I mean--” Potter swallows hard, one hand jumping up to his hair; he has a shiny spot of grease on his forearm as well. “I could, you know—Kreacher could...make us dinner. I mean, he’ll make me dinner, anyway, and maybe you would like it if he made you some dinner as well, to maybe eat here with me or...you know--” Potter’s ramble takes on an increasingly helpless tone and he just stands there, looking vaguely horrified at himself until with a sudden crack that rents the stillness between them, Kreacher appears, startling them both.

“Kreacher is being prepare dinner for young Master Black as well!” Kreacher practically shouts, his spotted eyes shining with excitement. “A Black is be dining under this roof – Kreacher is make dinner for young--”

“Okay, Kreacher,” Potter cuts in loudly, rolling his eyes. “Go on, then.” Potter shoots Draco an enquiring glance and Draco, fidgeting slightly and still not entirely sure that he isn’t dreaming, nods. The elf beams and disappears with another loud crack.

~*~

Draco lies in bed, staring at the brilliant white patches of light on his ceiling, quivering every time the curtains flutter. His stomach flutters lightly too, because it’s Potter’s he’s thinking about and it’s Potter he’s been thinking about from the moment he Disapparated out of his front yard, two hours ago.

They’d eaten dinner together, Potter and Draco; they’d actually sat across one end of the long wooden table in that brightly lit basement kitchen, and they’d shared a meal like two individuals who did not hate each other. They’d talked – about themselves, about each other, about Hogwarts and life after Hogwarts.

Potter, Draco realises with a breathless sigh, is someone he could get very used to spending time with. In the time they’d spent together waiting for Kreacher to announce dinner, Potter and he had sat in surprisingly comfortable silence, sipping tumblers of whiskey, listening to the Wireless, and occasionally making tentative small talk. When dinner was announced, at Draco’s request, Potter led Draco to a spotlessly clean guest bathroom for him to wash up in, before quickly excusing himself, later emerging in a clean white shirt tucked into his grease spotted jeans, with his hair tied up in a little bun.

Turning over restlessly and pulling the duvet up to his chin, Draco buries his face into his pillow, shivering lightly as he recalls the way Potter’s hair had come loose in places and fallen into his eyes, catching in his beard (that damn beard) before being brushed away impatiently. He thinks of how Potter had handled his cutlery with surprising grace, long fingers curling around the bowl of his goblet as he stared fixedly at Draco over it. He thinks of the way Potter’s eyes had crinkled up with genuine amusement at something Draco had said, his toothy smile bright white in contrast to his smooth skin, the colour of caramel.

Draco can’t remember the last time he’d felt so helplessly drawn towards someone. It felt ridiculous and completely irrational, the way he felt about Potter, after just two meetings.

Except it wasn’t just two meetings, was it. They’d spent years in each other’s vicinity with nothing but hate for each other, nothing but insults and crude trash talk. The only times they had been real with each other, they’d been in the middle of a war, and they’d not had time to pause, to slow down, or to consider the meaning behind their words and actions.

Potter had spoken to Draco, had addressed him, with the warm familiarity of something that had never (despite Draco’s fervent wishing that had lasted many years) existed between them – friendship. Potter had been friendly with him today, and Draco had found himself, quite involuntarily, returning the sentiment in whatever way he could bring himself to.

When he’d left, once again reminding Potter not to forget his daily doses, Potter said, quite suddenly, “So...I won’t be seeing you until after the next full moon?”

Draco, standing on his front step, had stared at him expectantly, a drumroll of sorts playing in his head. “Would you want to see me before that, Potter?”

“I...had a nice time today,” Potter had admitted, sounding rather shy, and Draco had wanted to grin and hoot and do a little jig.

Instead he’d smirked and tossed his hair back over his shoulder as he said, “Well, of course you did, Potter, I’m scintillating company.”

Potter had stared, his throat bobbing as he swallowed hard, his gaze dark as it roved over Draco’s face, his whole form, before nodding and saying, “Maybe you could brew me some more potions?”

“Do you...require any other potions?”

There was a visible moment of panic as Potter racked his brains. “I’m...I—er, a muscle relaxant of some sort, maybe?”

Draco had not pointed out that Potter could simply owl-order an entire crate of muscle relaxants from the nearest apothecary for under twenty sickles. He’d nodded at once, gulping. “Yes, of course, you’re likely always tense and stiff, I’ll brew you something--”

“So... You’ll owl me about...that?” Potter had tilted his head like a puppy.

“I’d love to,” Draco had blurted before, his cheeks burning, hurriedly adding, “I’d love to brew for you, I mean, I—I’ll owl you once it’s done.”

Potter had stood and watched Draco Disapparate, thick arms crossed, tiny, lopsided smile directed at Draco; as if he’d smiled like that at Draco his whole life, as if it wasn’t the most beautiful smile Draco has ever seen.

~*~

Draco goes back to Grimmauld Place with Potter’s freshly brewed muscle relaxants the following Saturday after breakfast. He’s somewhat of a dab hand at muscle relaxants, and he’d even brewed them for professional Quidditch players at one point back when he’d owned his little store in Diagon, and he can't wait to preen smugly as Potter marvels at the efficacy of the potion.

If Draco is a little disappointed that Potter doesn’t answer the door this time, he doesn’t let it show. He sweeps in after the house-elf after he’s been let in, and then quietly makes his way upstairs upon being pointed up. He gets all the way up to that wide open, bright living room when he abruptly stops upon hearing voices.

It takes him less than two seconds to realise whom they belonged to and without even a moment’s hesitation, Draco turns right back around to leave.

And then, “Malfoy, I know you’re out there, I can smell you.”

Damn that fucking werewolf to canine hell.

Draco grits his teeth, turning around and marching up to the room, pushing open the half-shut door and glaring around at the Golden Trio of the wizarding world.

“It’s really fucking creepy when you do that, Potter,” Draco hisses, determinedly not making eye contact with any of the occupants of the room, his gaze fixed somewhere near the Wireless on the mantle.

“When I do what?” Potter sounds rather bewildered and that’s what makes Draco look around at him, which then turns out to be somewhat of a mistake.

Potter is sitting cross legged on the floor and is...shirtless.

He’s wearing a pair of soft, grey, terribly comfortable looking jogging bottoms, and has a towel slung around the nape of his neck, his chest and stomach gleaming with a thin layer of perspiration. He has a set of huge dumbbells on the floor beside him, and is drinking deeply from a bottle of water.

“When I do what, Malfoy?” he repeats patiently after swallowing, wiping the back of one hand across his mouth.

Draco has to takes several steadying breaths and forcibly wrench his gaze off Potter’s tightly muscled, bare chest. “When you smell me even before I’ve--” he starts in a mumble, but then decides it’s too much; he will not embarrass himself before not just Potter, but also his two pets. “I have your muscle relaxants here,” Draco holds up the little leather case he’d packed the vials into, “I’m sorry, I should’ve probably Floo’d before coming or something--”

“What’re you talking about?” Potter frowns, getting to his feet, “I’ve been expecting you. I received your owl yesterday--”

“Yes, well, I’ll be going now,” Draco babbles, placing the case on the polished, mahogany console he’s standing next to. “I’ll see you next month, Potter.”

He turns away hurriedly, carefully keeping his gaze averted, when he’s called to a stop not by Potter but—

“Malfoy!” Granger’s voice is bright and friendly. “Harry’s just been telling us about the potion you brewed him. He’s looking so much better, don’t you think?”

Draco wants to smack someone (and Weasley is well within to reach to satisfy that urge, but Draco resists) – he doesn’t want to look at Potter, not right now, when he’s (not) dressed the way he is, not when the current sight of him is making Draco’s heart race and, the hairs on his arms to stand on end and... Other things to start to stand on end too.

Grimacing slightly he turns to look at Granger who’s, to nobody’s surprise, standing beside the wall of books with her arms filled with about six, enormous tomes. She’s smiling at Draco, her expression pleasant and open, and Draco doesn’t want to admit how that sight makes him feel slightly relieved. With a little effort, he forces his lips to curve upwards in what passes as a polite smile.

“Indeed, Granger,” he says shortly, but tipping his head in a vaguely gracious gesture.

“Bloody hell, you both weren’t joking.”

Draco sighs. Of course Weasley has to chime in at some point. And here Draco had been so pleased up until this second that he’d managed to go the whole three minutes he’d spent in the room without looking at that red headed prat.

He turns, his face automatically twisting into a scowl as his gaze lands on Ronald Weasley, lounging on the sofa with his ridiculously long legs hanging over the armrest. Weasley regards Draco with fascinated interest, like one would a three headed unicorn, and Draco wants to transform only so he can chuck a handful of fire at the idiot.

“Can I help you, Weasley?” Draco snaps when several seconds later, Weasley still hasn’t stopped gawking.

“Harry didn’t exaggerate,” Weasley replies stupidly, and Draco ignores the muffled splutter that issues from Potter. “And Hermione too-- You’re like...a Veela.”

“What an absolutely incredible observation,” Draco replies dourly.

“Ron, he is a Veela,” Potter murmurs, and when Draco glances at him he sees that Potter is blushing bright, beet red and looks completely mortified; he’s clean shaven today, the coarse beard from last time missing, and he looks oddly young and guileless as he sits there, blushing. “Would you shut your stupid face?” Potter adds in a hiss, and Weasley blinks, turning away with his mouth slightly open.

“Honestly, Ron, you’re an embarrassment to yourself,” Granger remarks, rolling her eyes as she bustles over and taps her husband on the arm. “We’re leaving, come on.”

“That won’t be necessary, I didn’t plan to stay anyway,” Draco says quickly.

“No no, we’re on our way to Ron parents’, we just popped in to say hello,” Granger waves a hand through the air, “Harry, we’ll see you later. Shall we tell Molly you’ll drop by tomorrow for Sunday roast?” she adds hopefully, eyes wide and beseeching.

“Er... Yeah, I don’t think so, ‘Mione.” Potter doesn’t look at her as he speaks, half turning away and partially hiding his face as he mops it with one end of the towel.

Granger sighs, exchanging a fleeting look with Weasley, who looks just as disappointed.

“Hey, so you’ll think about the Ministry thing then?” he asks Potter. “It’s just... No pressure, mate, but it could be good, yeah?” Potter just shrugs one shoulder, humming noncommittally in reply. Weasley’s face falls slightly and for some reason, he throws Draco a look over his shoulder. “Right. Okay, then.”

“We’ll see you later, love,” Granger calls again, taking Weasley by the arm and dragging him out. “Take care now.”

“Great seeing you guys,” Potter answers, sounding low and brooding.

Granger nods to Draco on their way out while Weasley just stares at him, and for a while, as he hears Weasley’s humongous feet clomping down the stairs, Draco just stands there, shifting from foot to foot, feeling awkward and intrusive.

“Are you going to stand there all day, then?” Potter finally asks, and Draco is a little relieved to see that crooked smile, to hear that wry tone.

“I...didn’t mean to turn up like this, I’m really sorry,” Draco says quietly.

Potter frowns. “It’s those two who came by unannounced; I’ve been waiting for you all day.”

“It’s not even eleven yet,” Draco remarks, cheeks pink. Potter just smiles. “I brewed the potions you asked for,” Draco adds, picking the case back up and taking a few tentative steps forward. Potter is still half naked and Draco’s hand trembles as he holds out the case, biting his lip as their gazes meet for one fleeting second when Potter steps (closer than necessary) forward and takes it.

Potter doesn’t open it and pull out a vial to inspect or sample; he just stands there and stares at Draco, long, jet black curls loose around his head. Draco is still chewing on his lip, and instead of staring brazenly the way Potter is, he steals quick glances at him every few seconds, at his firm pectorals, partially hidden under the towel, at the scratches he can see now, slashing across his chest, a couple of shades lighter than Potter’s skin, at the taut, defined flatness of his belly, at the dark trail of fine hair leading down from his perfectly round navel...

“Your hair is different,” Potter says abruptly, and Draco jumps slightly, guiltily training his gaze away from where it was about to slide lower. Face hot, he looks around wildly once before looking back at Potter.

“My...wait, what?” he asks, self-consciously stroking the long braid hanging over his shoulder.

“It’s...different,” Potter repeats, staring fixedly at the plait hanging past Draco’s chest, the look in his eyes making Draco’s breath hitch.

“It’s the same hair,” Draco says, swallowing hard. “It’s only my regular hair, Potter; I’ve just...braided it today.” Draco blushes even darker now for some reason.

That is until Potter takes half a step forward and picks up the braid gently with one hand, letting it run through his loose fist, fingers combing through the loose strands at the end, tweaking the tightly tied black ribbon holding the hair in place. Draco’s mouth hangs open, his stomach clenched tightly, brain feeling like a melted pool of gloop.

“’s pretty,” Potter says softly, playing with his braid for a moment longer before carefully dropping it over his shoulder so it hangs down his back instead. Staring at Draco for a moment longer, Potter turns away, padding over to one of the sofa chairs and plucking up what appears to be the same faded, red t-shirt he’d been wearing the first time Draco saw him the week before.

Draco doesn’t think about how he feels more disappointed than relieved that Potter is about to put some clothes on. But the next second, he isn’t thinking about anything at all. Potter tugs the towel off and when Draco catches sight of his left shoulder, his mind just goes blank with horror.

There’s an enormous, gnarled, slightly grotesque looking scar on Potter’s left shoulder. Draco doesn’t have to ask what it is, of course, doesn’t have to wonder how Potter collected it. But that doesn’t stop him staring, his eyes wide, until Potter, pushing his arms into the sleeves of the t-shirt, turns and catches sight of him.

“I’m sorry,” Draco immediately blurts, “I’m so sorry, I—I didn’t mean to--”

“I doubt there’s anyone who wouldn’t try to catch a glimpse, Malfoy,” Potter says calmly. “It’s quite all right. D’you want to take a closer look?”

“No, absolutely not, I—I didn’t--”

Potter walks over, effectively cutting him off, and then Draco is looking at it right up front.

It’s a deep, brownish red scar. There’s a chunk of flesh missing, just where his shoulder curves into his back, and the skin over it looks shiny and thin, like a piece of rubber stretched too taut. Around the edges of it, the skin still bears the signs of magical sutures, carefully knitted into the smooth skin of his shoulder. Even healed, it looks painful and raw and Draco can’t help it when he bites down hard into his lip, tearing his gaze away.

“It’s all right,” Potter repeats, pulling the t-shirt over his head. “’s not as bad as it looks.”

When Draco just stares at him incredulously, Potter laughs, soft and genuine. He pulls off the black elastic hair tie around his wrist and holds it between his teeth as he gathers his hair up and ties it carelessly into a knot behind his head.

“Scars always appear worse than things really are, Malfoy,” he says lightly, and Draco’s gaze automatically flicks up to the lightning bolt above Potter’s right eyebrow, which then hitches up at Draco. “Even that one,” Potter adds dryly, and this time Draco grins.

“You look better,” Draco says quietly, because Potter does, he really does. Draco doesn’t know whether it’s the missing beard or the fact that Potter isn’t scowling at him, but he looks heaps better than he did a few days ago. He’s not hunched over, as though in constant pain, and his skin seems to have a healthy flush to it. The dark circles beneath his eyes are less pronounced, and his eyes themselves are brighter, less tortured looking, and so, wonderfully green.

“I feel better,” Potter says, nodding earnestly.

“Your glasses are gone,” Draco says before he can stop himself.

Potter seems rather amused. “Yeah, I, er...don’t need them anymore,” he replies casually, shrugging. “Enhanced senses and everything...” he explains awkwardly when Draco tilts his head questioningly.

“Oh,” Draco breathes out. “So you haven’t needed them since...”

“Yeah.” Potter shrugs again.

“That’s...kind of--” Draco fidgets a little, fiddling with his cuffs, “Cool, I guess,” he finally says lamely, fully prepared for Potter to frown unhappily and walk away.

Potter grins at him, eyes sparkling. “Yeah, I suppose it is, isn’t it?”

Draco scowls a little and Potter laughs again. “I’ll...get going, I suppose,” he says, because they’re both just standing there, doing nothing.

“Why? D’you’ve to be somewhere?”

Draco blinks. “No,” he says slowly, “but...I don’t want to just--”

“Stay,” Potter says softly.

“And do what?” Draco asks on a short laugh.

Potter shrugs, waving a hand idly around the room. “You know just...be.”

Draco observes Potter in silence for a long moment, mind whirring. Finally, “I have a better idea, Potter. Go change into something that doesn’t have grease on it, please.”

~*~

“I cannot believe I let you talk me into this,” Potter mutters, flinching as one of the servers clad in a bright yellow apron prances up to them and hands them both menus. “Malfoy, I’m serious, I don’t want to be here.”

“Potter,” Draco says softly, waiting until Potter’s dark, troubled gaze finds his over the edge of his menu, “You hadn’t left that house in nearly six whole months. You barely even associate with your best friends.”

“Yes, and even they haven’t managed to get me to leave,” Potter says tersely.

“Oh, don’t blame them, Potter,” Draco says airily with a saucy little wink. “I can be very persuasive when I need to be.” He waits, staring pointedly at Potter until his eyes widen in shock.

“Did you—did you use some—” Potter splutters for a moment before leaning forward and growling, “Did you use some special Veela technique on me?!”

Draco starts to laugh and when Potter’s scowl only intensifies he only laughs harder, resting his forehead in one hand and snorting with helpless guffaws. “Veela technique,” he repeats, eyes squeezing shut with mirth. “Oh, Merlin—”

“Why is that funny?” Potter demands grumpily. “It’s not funny. And if it’s true, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal.”

“Oh, unclench, Auror Potter,” Draco drawls, rolling his eyes and using a paper napkin to dab at his eyes. “I was joking. I did not use any special Veela techniques on you – simply because those aren’t a thing.”

“Yes, they are, I’m always wondering how to impre—” Potter breaks off abruptly, picking up the discarded menu and holding it up in front of his face.

Draco grins slowly to himself, his own cheeks slightly pink. “That’s not a technique,” he says, perusing his own menu. “That’s just base, human reaction to...above average...attractiveness.”

“Above average attractiveness,” Potter snorts, “Yeah, I don’t think above average attractiveness is what’s responsible for making me want to attempt doing a back-flip off my roof and trying to land on my feet.”

Draco is laughing all over again now, soundlessly and helplessly. “You...wanted to do that in my presence?”

“Among other things,” Potter mumbles, before sighing and throwing his menu down once more, looking around restlessly. Upon Draco’s insistence they’re sitting outside, under the awning of the Muggle cafe down the street from Grimmauld. There isn’t much traffic here and passersby mostly just hurry along going about their day, not sparing them a glance – well, except Draco does get a few wide-eyed stares, but then, he’s used to those.

“Order yourself one of these fancy coffees, Potter,” Draco says gently. “Breathe in some fresh air; look around at...other human beings. Just live for a bit. Then you can go back and lock yourself up in that mausoleum you call a house.”

“Did Hermione put you up to this?” Potter asks suspiciously.

Draco frowns. “She did not. All she did was mention that you quite literally never leave the house anymore. It can’t be healthy, Potter,” Draco says, sighing softly. “And I don’t mean only physically. You’re bound to go insane sooner or later if you just stay holed up all day with only a half dead house-elf for company.”

“I shouldn’t be roaming around, it can’t be safe for—” Potter starts in a murmur and Draco clicks his tongue irritably.

“Oh, do stop feeling sorry for yourself,” he snaps.

“I am not—” Potter starts loudly, eyes flashing, before lowering his voice deliberately. “I am not feeling sorry for myself, Malfoy. Are you forgetting what I am?”

“A werewolf,” Draco says flatly, raising his eyebrows when Potter just blinks. “A werewolf who possesses perfect control of his mental and physical faculties and who’s on possibly the best version of a Wolfsbane Potion that can even be brewed. It’s not like you’re going to suddenly transform in broad fucking daylight, you daft tit!” Draco adds exasperatedly. “It’s terrible, what happened to you, Potter, and I am so sorry, but you can’t just let it—you can’t let it—you can’t stop living, Potter!” he finally says, his tone almost pleading.

Potter regards him for long enough to make Draco shift slightly in his seat and look back down at his menu. “I’m alive, aren’t I,” he mutters at last, and then vaguely adds, “I think I’ll have one of these roasted hazelnut latte things.”

“Thank god,” says Draco, relieved as he puts his menu aside. “I don’t know what the hell all these mean anyway, so I’ll just have what you’re having.”

Potter snorts, and then they both stare expectantly at each other.

Draco finally says, “Potter, I’m not talking to a Muggle.”

“Why the hell not, you supercilious prat?!” Potter demands hotly.

“Potter, just order the damn latters.”

Potter snorts again, and then he’s laughing right in Draco’s face. “Latte, Malfoy,” he almost hoots, pinching his tear ducts and shaking his head.

“I am regretting this so much,” Draco sighs, rubbing at one temple, “Why should I care if you turn into an antisocial lunatic?”

“But you do,” Potter reminds him blandly, turning to look for a waiter.

“Unfortunately and quite abstrusely,” Draco says under his breath, grumpily ignoring the butterflies in his stomach.

~*~

Draco isn’t quite certain how it happens, but the little outing he’d enforced upon Potter somehow ends with Potter and he going back to Draco’s flat, where Draco proceeds to start brewing a light Sleeping Draught Potter mentioned wanting in passing, and Potter sitting there and watching Draco.

To Draco’s quiet horror, he is not annoyed by it at all, as he might have believed he would be to have a keen-eyed, fidgety, not to mention ruggedly (aggravatingly) handsome werewolf sitting across from him at his workbench and watching with fascinated interest as Draco crushes winter cherries and chops up guelder roses and lazily stirs the chamomile infusion in his cauldron every now and then.

Potter sits on the steel stool, spinning himself round and round, and making Draco dizzy, eventually getting up and poking around Draco’s lab, knocking things over and apologising profusely as he straightens them back up, flipping in curious bewilderment through some of the countless volumes Draco has got stacked along his bookshelf in the corner, and generally being a lot less intimidating and intense than Draco usually found him to be.

Draco can’t stop staring at him after a point. And when Draco’s fluffy grey cat slinks into the room, meowing loudly and sullenly in his post-nap disorientation, Potter looks outright delighted for someone who’s supposed to be...part-dog or something.

“What’s his name?” Potter asks in delight, scooping Caesar up and bringing him up to his face to bump his nose against the cat’s.

“Caesar,” Draco answers grumpily – Potter is kissing the cat’s face now, even as Caesar puts both his front paws on Potter’s face and holds him off. “He doesn’t like being cuddled,” Draco adds sulkily, as Potter settles down on the armchair in the corner, holding the now purring feline to his chest.

“Really?” Potter looks surprised, stroking his hands through the long, satiny grey fur. “He seems to like it. I think he likes me. Fuck, he’s perfect.”

“He’s a damn attention whore, is what he is,” Draco grits out under his breath. “Can’t he just stay asleep out there? Had to come in here and—”

“What?”

“Nothing,” Draco slams his ladle down and glares over at his cat, now settled comfortably against Potter’s chest, “You don’t have to entertain him, Potter, he’ll be fine if he’s just left to himself.”

“Are you joking? I love cats, I miss having Crookshanks around.”

Draco scowls. “You’re a werewolf, isn’t it against your instincts to be around cats?”

Potter barks out a laugh. “You’re hilarious, Malfoy,” he replies lightly, scratching Caesar behind the ears so that the cat nearly falls out of his arms trying to lean further into his fingers.

“Yes, well, he probably wants to be fed now,” Draco picks up his wand and waves it in the direction of the kitchen, “Caesar, run along now, your bowl’s full.”

To his irritation, Caesar doesn’t gallop out at once like Draco had expected him to. He lounges against Potter for a while more, nuzzling into his neck and rubbing his head against his face, before finally stretching tightly, flexing his miniscule little toes out, and hopping lightly onto the floor, slinking out after rubbing against Potter’s ankles in a figure eight.

Draco irritably throws in the winter cherry juice, scowling grouchily as he stirs, ignoring Potter who idly walks up to him, stopping half a dozen times to inspect various items on the way.

“Are you mad at me for petting your cat, Malfoy?” he asks blandly, standing so close to Draco that Draco’s elbow bumps into Potter’s chest.

“What?” Draco asks tetchily, measuring out a cupful of honey. “No. Would you like to go get lunch somewhere?”

“Why are you sulking?”

“I’m not sulking, this is just my face.” Draco dumps the honey into the cauldron and stirs vigorously, the potion inside sloshing up the sides.

Potter snorts. “I know your face, Malfoy, I’ve stared unblinkingly at it for about four hours now.”

Draco’s lips twitch. “I know. You’re pants at being discreet.”

“Who said I was even trying to be discreet?”

“I mean,” Draco blinks around at him, “It’s just—people don’t stare openly, you know?”

“Why?”

“Some would say it’s creepy,” Draco says with a smirk even though he feels more than a little breathless at Potter’s proximity.

“I’m sorry if I was being creepy,” Potter says solemnly, stepping even closer now.

“You—you were not,” Draco puts the ladle down – he doesn’t know if he can hold anything at this point without dropping it.

“Good. So, I don’t have to stop staring?” Potter is now close enough that Draco can see flecks of gold in the vibrant green of his irises.

And Draco is definitely blushing now. “I don’t know,” he says, trying to scowl, “I don’t care.”

“So, I can stare at you?” Potter’s voice is rich and low, eyes gleaming with something that makes Draco’s heart trip.

“Do whatever you want, Potter,” Draco rasps, his throat dry as parchment.

“Really?” Potter looks genuinely pleased. “Whatever I want? Even this?” Draco hadn’t noticed the thick arm encircle his waist and so when Potter jerks them flush together, Draco’s gasp is partly of shock.

He is however more excited than he’s ever been in his whole, entire life. He’s not dared to hope for this, not dared to go beyond touching himself to mental images of Potter while simultaneously being mortified with himself and more aroused than he’s ever been.

He can feel Potter’s heartbeat against his own chest, Potter’s breath against his face. Potter’s expression is calm, unruffled, but there is such ravenous want in his eyes at that moment that to Draco, it feels as though they’re already kissing, as if they’re already naked against one another.

He’s barely registered that he’s broken out into light shivers when Potter finally brings his mouth down over Draco’s in a firm, wet, sucking kiss. Draco’s breath immediately catches in his throat and forces its way out as a loud gasp against Potter’s mouth as he flings his arms around his neck and opens his mouth eagerly under Potter’s.

Their tongues meet almost immediately, neither of them bothering with slow, gentle kisses, and Potter’s got a hand just above Draco’s nape, right below the point his braid starts, fingers tightening in the roots as he gently guides Draco’s head into an angle he can better kiss Draco at.

Draco’s only kissed three people before, one of them being Blaise while they were both blind drunk, but this – this is the kiss he wants to have all day, every day for the rest of his fucking life.

He can’t be sure if his feet are still on the floor; he’s pretty certain he’s flying, or simply floating around like a cloud. Potter’s mouth tastes of the coffee they’d had earlier, and his body is hard and chiselled and hot under Draco’s feverishly caressing hands. He strokes over Potter’s shoulders, his back, down his flanks and up over his chest, their mouths never parting, their tongues sliding languidly against one another, mouths smacking wetly together.

He’s dimly aware that he’s being pressed back into the granite counter, the cool edge digging into his lower back. Potter’s hand is stroking softly at Draco’s cheek now, his other arm still vice like around his waist as he kisses him ferociously enough that he’s bending Draco backwards over it.

Draco moans, soft and helpless, and he’d tried holding onto it but he absolutely cannot give a damn anymore. Potter releases his waist and brings both hands up to cradle his face, gentling the kiss into a playful nibble before pulling away, eyes dark and hungry, mouth wet and red.

“Sure, let’s go get lunch,” Potter says smoothly, even as Draco pants up at him, stunned and jelly-legged.

“I—what?” Draco slurs. “Oh.” He blinks as Potter’s mouth curves into a smirk and then into a full blown, startlingly wicked grin. Scowling, Draco shoves at him. “Fuck off, you tosser.”

“Not good, then?” Potter chuckles as Draco elbows him out of the way and stumbles forward to his workbench, staring blankly into the cauldron. “I thought it was pretty fucking fantastic, really,” he murmurs, coming up behind Draco and pushing his nose into the little nook under Draco’s ear, inhaling deeply, arms back around his waist. “Fuck, you smell like a dream.”

“Yes, well, this potion is about three minutes away from exploding all over me,” Draco stammers, erupting in gooseflesh as Potter gives him an idle lick over his jugular, “so if you—if you don’t let go of me and let me Vanish it, I’m going to smell like a nightmare.” Potter sniggers into his neck, hands lazily stroking down Draco’s chest, then further down over his belly. “Potter,” Draco breathes, head lolling to one side as Potter fastens his mouth onto his neck.

Finally lifting his lips off Draco with a noisy little suck, Potter nuzzles Draco’s cheek, murmuring, “Ugh, fine. You’re no fun.” He releases Draco only to shift to his side and take his hand, pushing his nose into it and pressing kisses to the palm.

“You’re awfully distracting, you’re not allowed into my lab henceforth,” Draco grumbles, still weak-kneed and out of breath as he Vanishes the contents of the cauldron, turns off the flame underneath, and cleans out his equipment, all one handed.

To his disgruntlement, Potter doesn’t even seem to care about having been banned from Draco’s lab; Draco really shouldn’t be rewarding him like this with more shamelessly enthusiastic snogging.

~*~

“Who is he?”

Draco jumps, almost falling out of his chair as Octavia’s loud question startles him right out of his daydreaming.

“What?” Draco scowls. “Who?”

“Whoever it is you’re shagging,” she says, rolling her eyes and cocking one hip out as she crosses her arms. “You’ve been all goofy grins and dreamy sighs this whole week and it’s a little disgusting.” She pulls out the chair in front of his desk and plops into it, crossing one knee over the other and sitting back with a frown. “So spill.”

“Don’t you have any work to do?!” Draco asks irritably. “Where are the files I asked you to pull out of the archives for me?”

“They’re in the archives, don’t worry,” she rolls her eyes, “And stop changing the subject. I want to know who he is.”

“I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”

“What’s his name?”

“Please go away.”

“How’d you meet him?”

Merlin, you’re annoying.”

“Did he make a fool of himself when he first saw you or is he one of those who have more control over themselves?”

“I’m not even listening to you.”

“What’s his cock like?”

“Oh my god!” Draco exclaims, whole face burning bright pink. “Will you stop it?!”

“Because you don’t want to tell me or because you haven’t seen it yet?”

“I will fire you,” Draco threatens, frowning darkly.

Octavia delighted smirk is completely evil. “Oh, you really haven’t seen it yet!” she cackles loudly. “Have you even asked to see it yet?”

“Can you not?” Draco sighs wearily, rubbing at his forehead as he tries determinedly to not think about Potter’s cock – and failing.

Because he really hasn’t seen Potter’s cock yet – and Draco is relieved and impatient and a tad bit desperate all at once.

He can’t remember the last time he’d been this ridiculously obsessed with someone – except maybe that time when he was in his teens and had been obsessed with...the same person he’s obsessed with currently.

He also hasn’t been kissed so much since never.

Never before, with anyone else, has Draco spent three solid hours just kissing – and that was just the night before. The evening before that, Draco had actually escaped from work two hours early so he could pop into Grimmauld and neck with Potter right past dinnertime. It's shameful and embarrassing and Draco doesn’t even care a little bit.

Potter is every bit as intense a lover as Draco had imagined he might be, sometimes more intense than Draco has the capacity to bear with any sort of coherence. Just the way he kisses Draco, pinning him down into the sofa or against a wall or just simply against his own body, wrapping himself up around Draco and claiming his mouth with such unabashed vigour and enjoyment – it leaves Draco breathless even hours after he’s returned to his flat.

Potter’s hands move over Draco in a heated, desperate massage as they snogged, stroking his hair and caressing his sides and rubbing his thighs and squeezing his arse; Draco finds himself just lying there, gasping for air after a point, Potter’s mouth gnawing ruthlessly at his throat, his hand slipping slyly into Draco’s trousers to pull at his cock, tortuously slow, until Draco judders with orgasm, the room spinning around him.

But he hasn’t yet seen Potter’s cock, no. He’s felt it against him though – against his stomach, his hip, his thigh, his own cock, rubbing and grinding and rutting until they’re both groaning with need. But he hasn’t seen it, no. He hasn’t seen anything more than Potter’s chiselled chest because frankly, Draco is terrified of what comes next.

They haven’t spoken about it, about any of it, so far. The afternoon they first kissed, they snogged until they’d broken out in sweat, and had then gone and gotten lunch at the little Italian joint in Draco’s neighbourhood. The day after that, Draco had gone over to Grimmauld on the pretext of delivering the Sleeping Draught he’d finally managed to brew successfully, without Potter having been there to distract him, and Potter and he had promptly relapsed into frantic snogging, which eventually led to some even more frantic rutting on Potter’s sofa, followed by some more snogging, this time less frantic. He’s since been back to Grimmauld every evening after work because they’re apparently no different from a pair of desperately randy teens who want to spend all their time kissing each other senseless and coming in their pants, and no time at all talking about what it all means.

But Draco doesn’t know what it all means, not really. He feels consumed by Potter, his head always full of the man, the way he beams at the sight of Draco on his front step every day, the way he always, unfailingly, asks if Draco would be back the next evening. Draco tells himself that Potter just wants him around for the kissing and complimentary orgasms; tells himself that the soft way Potter looks at him as they’re catching their breath, stroking Draco’s face and kissing Draco’s hair, is not real, it can’t possibly be real.

Because Draco knows that if not for the snogging, he himself would probably still visit Potter. Draco knows that his feelings for Potter have transcended from hopeless fancying to a fondness that’s inexplicably and inexorably solidifying into something far more real and significant and terrifying, and Draco doesn’t know if he has it in him to start talking about it only to realise that it’s not mutual.

He’s not sure if he’s willing to lose what he has so far, no matter how fleeting it may be.

~*~

“You’re insatiable, Potter,” Draco murmurs three hours later as he lies there pinned between Potter and his sofa.

“How many times do I have to ask you to call me Harry?” Potter asks, leaving Draco yet another bruise on his throat and lapping at it carefully.

“How many ever times it takes me to listen,” Draco replies, gasping as Potter sinks his teeth into the crook of his neck and shoulder, biting down until Draco’s spine is arching off the sofa. “Merlin, don’t turn me into one of your kind,” Draco chokes out, trembling as Potter sucks at the flesh between the deep indentations left by his teeth.

Draco reminds Potter not to turn him into a werewolf at least once a day. And it never fails to tickle Potter. Sure enough, Potter snorts against Draco’s neck, wheezing with silent laughter as he lifts his head and brings his mouth down to Draco’s again, kissing him slow and thorough until Draco is turning away simply to catch his breath.

Merlin, one sec,” Draco gasps, panting with his eyes shut, “Fuck, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to keep up with you.”

“At least that’s something you can work at,” Potter says softly, nosing along the edge of Draco’s jaw. “How the actual fuck am I supposed to get used to the way you look? It’s not normal, Draco.”

Cheeks flushed, breathing still uneven, Draco stares exasperatedly at him, mouth curving into a wide, besotted grin, fingers pushing into Potter’s wild mass of hair. “Shut up,” he mumbles against his mouth, licking swiftly over his lower lip. “It’s perfectly normal for a Veela.”

“In what universe do I land a Veela?!” Potter asks, sounding genuinely incredulous. “I mean, thank god I’m allowed to touch you now. Do you know how difficult it was to keep my distance before?!” He brings one hand behind Draco’s head, tugging off the black ribbon that’s already come loose during the course of their vigorous necking over the past half an hour, and sending it fluttering to the floor, pulling Draco’s hair out of the shapeless ponytail into a wide, white-gold fan around his head. “I have trouble breathing every time I lay eyes on you,” he murmurs, his gaze fixed on his own hand as it runs through Draco’s hair. “You’re stunning. I can’t think while you’re around,” he laments, pushing his face back into the curve of Draco’s neck, pressing sloppy, wet kisses there as Draco tries not to pass out.

It’s unfortunate, really, that Potter’s saying all these things, and doing all these things to Draco, when Draco had just about managed to gather the courage to try and prod something out of Potter regarding the nature of their relationship. Now, as Potter gently undoes a button or two on Draco’s shirt and licks his way down the exposed skin, Draco can barely even come up with and string together two random words, leave alone anything else.

“P-Potter?” he stutters, his fingers tightening in Potter’s hair as he nibbles at Draco’s collarbones.

“Harry,” Potter reminds him.

Draco clicks his tongue impatiently, pressing up onto that tongue. “Potter,” he repeats as one large hand creeps down between his legs and gives him a firm squeeze. “Fuck, oh god!”

He doesn’t have to open his eyes to know that Potter is smirking like an utter arsehole. “Yes, Draco?” he prompts gently, fingers dancing over the inside of Draco’s left thigh, tickling and stroking him through the silk of his trousers.

“I—I can’t concentrate when you’re doing that,” Draco complains, and Potter laughs softly, kissing his jaw once before pulling back a little.

“What?” he asks, rubbing their noses together. “What is it?” he presses, drawing back further when Draco simply swallows hard and stares up at him a little desperately.

“I—nothing,” Draco babbles quickly. “I don’t know—it’s nothing, Potter,” he repeats, tugging him back down. Potter, however, resists, ducking out from under Draco’s grip and gently catching one of his wrists.

“Tell me,” he urges softly. “Am I—did I do something you’re not comfortab—”

“No!” Draco says loudly. “No, it’s not that! I just—um, nothing, it’s just—a friend at work, she asked me who—she was asking if I’m seeing—she’s just a nosy little idiot, really, she’s my assistant, Octavia,” Draco rambles, shaking his head impatiently; Potter waits patiently though. “I didn’t tell her,” Draco blurts hurriedly. “I didn’t tell her about us, don’t worry.”

“Are we not telling people, then?” Potter enquires.

“I don’t—I mean, would you want to tell anyone?”

“I told Ron and Hermione,” Potter says with a sheepish smile. “I just—‘Mione wouldn’t stop going on and on about how I look happy or some rubbish and I think, um...” he tugs awkwardly at his ear, “I think you’d...left...like a mark on my neck?” He grins as Draco’s eyes widen in horror. “She didn’t even need a second guess, really. She knew it was you right away.”

“Oh,” Draco says weakly. “Okay, then.”

“Is it really okay?” Potter asks, looking concerned. “Because I—Draco, I understand completely why you wouldn’t want people knowing-- you deserve so much better than me, I mean, who’d want to call a werewolf their boyfri—”

Draco cuts him off with the most violent kiss he can muster, kissing him so aggressively that suddenly he’s tasting the coppery tang of blood.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he gasps, watching as Potter swipes his tongue thoughtfully over his broken lip before sucking it into his mouth. He doesn’t look angry or in pain; instead he grins happily at Draco, kissing him more gently before pulling back and softly brushing aside a long strand of blond off Draco’s forehead. “I can’t possibly deserve better than you, I barely even qualify to deserve you in the first place,” Draco’s blurted out before he can change his mind and come up with something more caustic.

Potter looks like he legitimately doesn’t believe that what Draco said could be true. “But... I’m not Harry Potter anymore...? I’m not the Boy Who Lived—”

“Thank Merlin for that,” Draco says, rolling his eyes pointedly. “He was sort of an arse.”

“What are you saying?” Potter leans back even further, until he’s kneeling between Draco’s thighs, head tilted, brow furrowed.

Draco gulps hard. “What are you saying?” he retorts, jutting his chin out.

“That...” Potter trails off before taking a deep breath and trying again, “That I would like to give us a chance, however absurd it may seem, but that I’d understand completely if you don’t want this to be anything more than...you know, something just physical; a fling or...whatever.”

“You’re fucking infuriating, Potter,” Draco grits out after gaping at him for a few seconds, kneeing him in the side, jostling him lightly. “Do I seem the sort that has flings?!”

Potter blinks, lips turning inwards as he fights a smile and then just bursts into a chuckle anyway. “Are you really asking me that?” he chuckles, “Because I wasn’t joking earlier, Draco. You don’t—you’re barely even real to me, even when I’m holding you; I—I honestly can’t believe you’re real. It’s why I kiss you so much, you know,” he says wisely, “to make sure you’re not something I’ve whipped up from imagination.”

He leans back over Draco, smiling at the sight of his marooned cheeks and pouting mouth. “One look at you is all it takes to see how unattainable you are, Draco Malfoy,” he whispers, thumb swiping over Draco’s mouth. “And I definitely never saw myself securing someone as...” He doesn’t finish the sentence, just leaning his forehead against Draco’s with a broad smile. “No. You’re definitely not the sort that has flings.”

Draco simply glares up at him for a minute before suddenly rolling them over, right off the sofa and onto the floor, Potter landing on his back on the rug with a startled grunt, Draco landing heavily atop him, almost accidentally kneeing him in the bits. He leans over, fisting his hands in Potter’s t-shirt and twisting, his hair falling down around their faces like a glossy curtain as he bares his teeth and hisses, “You’re such a--!” before kissing him once more, demanding and desperate, but still somehow tender, yearning.

Potter’s hands come up around him, wrapping his arms around his chest and yanking Draco down flat on top of him, tilting and lifting his head to better kiss Draco. His hands slip under Draco’s shirt where the shirttails have come loose, grazing up the length of his back, grip tightening as Draco shivers. His cock is a solid bulge against Draco’s thigh, and as Draco wiggles and shifts atop him, Potter undulates, groaning into the kiss.

Draco wrenches away, not giving himself time to think as he hurriedly crawls backwards until he’s kneeling between Potter’s legs, ignoring Potter’s squawk of utter shock as he leans in close and rips his flies open, roughly dragging down his jeans and black boxers in one, heaving tug.

Potter emits a throaty cry of some sort as the elastic of his pants catches on his erection which then springs free and, quite literally, slaps Draco across the face. And then Draco is sweeping his hair back and out of the way, frozen in stupefaction at the sight before him.

He’d known, he’d guessed, that Potter was well endowed, but that does not stop Draco from shamelessly ogling Potter’s massive, glorious specimen of a cock as it stands there, dripping onto Potter’s abs. Draco can’t claim to have seen a large number or a wide variety of cocks but this, Potter’s, is not just the biggest he’d seen but is quite definitely the most beautiful.

It juts proudly out of a surprisingly neatly trimmed nest of black curls and Draco’s mouth waters as he picks it up tentatively with one hand, his eyes gleaming, slightly glazed over, his lips parted as he pants noisily. Potter is leaning up on his elbows, gaze dark and wary and still slightly shocked, until Draco carefully eases the foreskin down over the shaft a little, revealing the tip of the bulbous, reddened head, at which point he falls back with a groan, hands flying up to cover his face.

“Draco,” he calls out hoarsely. “Draco, what...”

The unfinished question hangs in the air as Draco releases his cock just long enough to gather his own hair and twist it up into a loose knot at the nape of his neck, his movements hurried and clumsy as he eagerly leans back down and lifts Potter’s cock once more.

It’s hot and velvety in his hand, throbbing as he eases the thin, delicate folds of his foreskin further down, the head glistening with precome as it emerges. Draco’s breaths are ragged, rattling pants of shameless lust, his own cock jerking in his pants as he settles more comfortably in place, tucks a stray strand of hair behind his ear and takes Potter into his mouth.

Potter’s strangled, helpless cry of pleasure cracks around the room, leaving Draco’s hair on end. Hands descend on his head, needy and clinging, and Draco barely even feels as his hair is gently pulled.

He bobs his head over Potter’s cock with a systematic continuity, focusing every last shred of his need, of his own arousal, into keeping his lips sealed in a firm vacuum around the spit-slicked shaft, and sucking as hard as he possibly can, his movements energetic enough that his hair spills out of its knot and down his back and over his shoulders, tickling Harry’s thighs and groin and irritating Draco enough to make him swat impatiently at the strands, but not enough to make him pull off Potter’s cock. He keeps at it, sucking and licking at that slit, tasting the bitter-salty precome, one hand wrapped firmly around the shaft, stroking up and down each time he moves his mouth up to the head.

Potter squirms and bucks beneath him, his breath leaving him in sharp, whooshing gusts, his head thudding every now and then against the floor as he tosses it back. He remains silent, not calling out Draco’s name again, not even moaning or crying out again, but his whole body, in all its broad entirety, trembles uncontrollably under Draco’s ministrations. When Draco, at one point, manages to get the head down into his throat, Potter sits up in shock, eyes bugging out, mouth open in shock, before collapsing back down, arching his hips up and bursting into a loud, vigorous orgasm that has Draco spluttering in surprise.

He pulls off on instinct, blinking as some of the warm, white streaks hit his chin, his gaze traversing up Potter’s twisting form to his face, scrunched up and red with pleasure. He keeps one hand moving along the shaft, squeezing and twisting relentlessly under the head until Potter makes a wet sound of incoherence and reaches down to clamp a hand around Draco’s wrist, eyes flying open.

He’s panting heavily, chest rising and falling, mouth open as he desperately pulls in air, but his eyes are wide and intent and promising as Draco wipes his chin and licks his lips, his other hand still in Potter’s grip.

Potter tugs, sending Draco sprawling onto him before tugging some more, clutching him by the roots of his hair and taking his mouth roughly, Draco whining as Potter deliberately sucks on his tongue, growling into his mouth and biting at his lips. He grabs Draco’s hips with both hands, turns his face away from the kiss, and tugs once again, pulling Draco up his chest, his t-shirt rucking up and bunching under Draco’s bum.

“Potter! What do you think you’re—?!” Draco’s startled barking breaks off abruptly as Potter tears at his flies, ripping them open and lifting Draco off his chest just enough to shove his trousers and pants down the rotund curve of his arse, Draco’s cock bobbing pink and damp, brushing Potter’s chin. “Potter,” he whimpers, breath catching in a sharp stab in his throat as Potter grabs his arse with both hands, massaging the fleshy roundness before abruptly hauling Draco even higher, so Draco’s cock slides wetly up his face on a dribble of precome.

“So beautiful,” Potter whispers, eyes wide and slightly crossed as he stares down at Draco’s cock. His hands are still working Draco’s arse cheeks around in wide, sensuous circles, Draco shivering as cool air hits his crack each time, and then with no warning, Harry yanks Draco down, opening his mouth and swallowing Draco’s cock with a loud gulping sound.

Falling forward onto his hands with a wheezed sound of shock, Draco crouches there, knees on either side of Potter’s head, Draco’s hair flying around in a mess as he throws his head back and keens loudly. He doesn’t have to do anything really; Potter’s hands on his arse guide him in a slow, deep slide into his mouth, Draco’s cock jerking wildly each time it slips in deep. Potter is kneading his arse now, squeezing and working the flesh with increasingly fervent intent, and when Draco sobs and presses back into his hands, Potter growls.

His arms give away and Draco sinks onto his elbows, his hips working on their own accord now, jerky and out of rhythm, Draco’s moaned panting and Potter’s desperate gulping loud inside the curtain of his hair. One of Potter’s hands disappears for a second, and before Draco can whine his protest, it returns.

Except this time, Potter’s fingers coast along his crease, his other hand holding Draco wide open, sending Draco into a shivering frenzy as he locates Draco’s clenching hole and rubs it. Potter’s fingers are slick and slippery, and Draco momentarily wants to pause and find out how he’d managed that when his mouth is busy around Draco’s cock, but then Potter sucks around the head and simultaneously pushes in the tips of two fingers into him and Draco just fucking loses it.

His own ears ring with how loudly he shrieks, thrusting wildly into Potter’s mouth as those fingers continue their way into him, pressing forward with aching gentleness, twisting lightly each time they meet a spot of unyielding tightness. Just as Potter manages to sink in the whole length of his middle and forefinger into him, the pads of his fingers dancing over Draco’s prostate, Draco grabs wildly with one hand at Potter’s head, clutching him by one handful of hair and coming with a sharp shout down his throat.

Potter doesn’t pull off; in fact he holds Draco in place with his free hand, his fingers now easing out of him as Draco sobs and trembles and spills inside his mouth. As Draco attempts to catch his breath, Potter starts pushing his fingers back into him, and Draco groans, pinching shut around his fingers and canting his hips up.

He shifts lightly, his chest tight and painful as he breathes in desperately, his cock slipping out of Potter’s mouth as he lifts off a tiny bit. “Potter...”

“Harry,” he reminds calmly, his fingers now moving with slow ease, Draco’s hips jerking with each press into him. “Call me Harry at least when I have my fingers in you.”

“Fuck,” Draco moans, writhing as he unwittingly starts to rock onto his fingers. “I—I already...finished.” He peers down through his hair to see Potter grinning up at him.

“I noticed,” he says pointedly, chuckling as Draco whimpers and rides his fingers. “You’re impossibly hot when you come, did you know?”

Draco can’t seem to find any air to breathe in and is definitely lightheaded now. “Merlin—Merlin. I can’t—” He whines as Potter’s fingers ease out of him, stroking tenderly at his hole. “Fuck.”

Potter chuckles again, turning his head and pressing several wet kisses to Draco’s inner thigh before helping him off and onto his back next to him, leaning over and burying his face against Draco’s neck again. “Did I go too far?”

“He asks, after he’s pulled his fingers out of my arse,” Draco murmurs, running a hand through Potter’s damp curls. He blinks when Potter draws back with a wry smile, his own mouth curving up, his cheeks darkening, before he pulls Potter down into a slow, almost unbearably intense kiss. His arse feels tender and overstimulated, his cock a sticky weight against his thigh, but Draco doesn’t think he’s ever felt this desired before, despite what one might assume just by looking at him. And so when they finally melt out of the kiss, Potter only pulling back enough to press their brows together, he whispers, “Harry...”

The smile he receives in exchange nearly blinds him.

~*~

Draco doesn’t know whether it’s all the near incessant necking, or whether Harry had genuinely started to feel better after having started on Draco’s Wolfsbane, but he’d definitely noticed a very positive change in Harry in the two or so weeks that they’d been...together. Harry smiled a lot, laughed more, even showed signs of his surprisingly sharp sense of humour and dry wit.

He’d groomed himself better and had been far more agreeable to going out more frequently, going on several dinner dates with Draco, and on one occasion, and after some gentle persuasion, had even taken Draco on a ride on his godfather’s flying motorcycle, an experience which left Harry exhilarated and Draco a little traumatised.

Over the last couple of days, however, Draco’s noticed a sudden, shockingly drastic drop in Harry’s mood. He barely talks, and even when he touches Draco it’s with a raw, almost angry hunger, ripping at Draco’s clothes, and yanking at his hair, and using more teeth than tongue everywhere. Draco is nearly always a quivering, moaning wreck underneath him when he gets like that and hasn’t yet been able to bring himself to complain or protest.

But Draco misses him. Even while they’re in the same room together, even as Harry brings him off, Draco misses him. And he’s yet unsure of the nature of their relationship to be able to confidently demand an explanation.

They’re eating dinner one Monday evening when Draco’s dropped by after work as usual, Harry hunched over the table, clutching his fork as though it's a spear, barely even eating, gaze dark and troubled. Draco takes small bites of his herb crusted lamb, one wary eye on Harry, feeling anxious and angry and impatient all at once and not knowing how to express it.

Kreacher trots up at that point, laying a broad, creamy white envelope with a red and gold seal on it next to Harry’s bread plate; it’s easily recognisable and very familiar even before Harry carelessly turns it over and reveals the Ministry of Magic emblem.

Harry doesn’t read the letter. He doesn’t even open it. He flicks a finger at it, and sends the envelope straight into the fire, not glancing up at Draco to see his reaction.

Draco takes a calm sip of wine. “Ministry haranguing you about something, then?” he asks softly.

Harry snorts, taking a huge glug of wine before sloshing more into his glass. “As always.”

“I remember Weasley mentioning something related to the Ministry,” Draco says cautiously. “Something about you...considering something, or...whatever. What was that about?”

Harry finally lifts his face to lock gazes with him. “Why?”

Draco blinks. “I’m sorry, am I not allowed to ask a simple question? Do we not talk anymore?”

Harry seems to make a visible effort not to lose his temper, his jaw clenching so tightly that Draco hears it click; he hasn’t shaved in a few days now, and has thick stubble that has left deep red patches on Draco’s skin all over – Draco never heals them.

“I was made a job offer,” Harry finally says shortly, drinking more wine.

“Your old job at the DMLE?” Draco asks, genuinely happy for him.

“No,” Harry says pointedly. “Something else. It’s rubbish and I’m absolutely not interested, but those nagging shits won’t take no for an answer.”

“What’s the job?” Draco asks after a pause.

Harry throws him an odd look before snorting again. “Whatever.” When Draco just continues to stare expectantly at him, Harry says irritably, “Something in your department – Head of Lycanthropy Affairs or some bollocks.”

Draco emits a muffled guh of shock, leaning forward in gleeful incredulity, eyes huge. “You’re joking!” he exclaims. “Harry, that’s fantastic! We’d be working in the same—”

“I’m not taking the fucking job, Draco,” Harry growls warningly. “And this is why I didn’t tell you. I knew you’d jump at it like an excitable Crup at that prospect of me working in that fucking joke of a depart--”

Draco’s nostrils flare, his joy vanishing in an instant. “Excuse me?” he interrupts icily, voice barely heard. “Care to take that back?”

But Harry, jaw set stubbornly, just looks away, leaning back in his seat and crossing his arms. Draco gets up, throws his napkin onto his hardly touched plate and storms out, taking the stairs two at a time as he makes his way back up into that dank, smelly corridor, turning towards the front door only to belatedly remember that he’s left his briefcase and cloak up in the living room.

Upstairs, he collects his things, and when he turns around, isn’t even a little bit startled to find Harry at the door, effectively barring exit.

“I’m...sorry,” Harry says sounding low and genuinely contrite. “I shouldn’t have spoken to you like that. I don’t really think that your department is a joke.”

For one, ill-tempered moment, Draco wants to simply force his way around him and walk out of the house, and then possibly not visit him for several days and not answer any of his owls or Floo calls. He wants to turn it into a proper fight and lash out at Harry in every way he can.

“Thank you,” he says instead, soft and tremulous, his hurt probably clear on his face, because Harry suddenly strides forward and gathers him up close, holding him so tightly against himself that Draco’s feet leave the floor for a moment. Draco’s briefcase thuds onto the floor as he brings his arms around Harry’s neck, turning his face into Harry’s throat and inhaling his scent. “Tell me what the fuck is up with you. Please.”

“I don’t know,” Harry’s voice breaks against Draco’s temple, “I don’t know.”

“Yes, you do, Harry, and you probably don’t want to tell me for some idiotic, irrational reason,” Draco says fiercely, jerking back and grabbing Harry’s face. Smoothing back the unruly black strands off his forehead, Draco takes him by the chin and lifts slightly until their eyes meet. “Tell me what’s on your mind,” he says gently, but with no room for argument.

Harry stares at him for a long moment, expression pained and turbulent, eyes slightly wild. He releases Draco and steps back, turning away and raking a hand through his hair before sighing and facing Draco again. “I—it’s the full moon in a couple of days,” he says, voice gravelly and strained.

Draco hadn’t in anyway foreseen that to be what Harry would say. “Oh,” he breathes.

“I know it’s—I know I’m supposed to have found a way to cope with this,” Harry says, sounding desperately ashamed. “I know I’m supposed to be—to be used to this by now but—but I’m not, okay?! It—It still scares me, it’s terrifying and fucking excruciating and—and I can hardly stand the thought of going through it over and over, just fucking holed up alone in my room and I have to do it again now in just a couple of days and I—” he’s gritting his teeth, shaking all over, eyes burning bright with tears, “I hate it, I hate what I am, what I’ve beco—”

He bites off to a stop, whirling around and stalking up to the sofa, flinging himself onto it and bringing his knees up to his chest, staring over them with his head in his hands. “Sorry,” he says quietly.

“What for?” Draco asks, equally softly, as he makes his way over to him, slow and unimposing as he approaches and then sinks down beside him, sitting sideways with one knee on the sofa so he can face Harry.

Neither talks for a while, and Draco just sits there, pressed into Harry’s side, playing gently with some of the strands escaping Harry’s low, tangled bun. To Draco’s relief, Harry leans into him, his heat enveloping Draco even though something about the way he’s resting against Draco makes it seem as if it’s Harry who’s seeking warmth.

Draco ends up with Harry’s cheek pressed to his chest and it happens so gradually that he doesn’t know how it happened. He holds Harry, cradling his head and shoulders with both arms and then finally giving in to the urge to let his mouth rest against the top of Harry’s head – he smells like wood smoke and grease and just...Harry.

“Will you let me help you in some way?” Draco asks in a murmur, fingertips moving gently over Harry’s scalp. “Please?”

Harry lets out a slightly tortured laugh. “Draco, you’re literally the only person who’s actually helping me in some meaningful way,” he says hoarsely. “You can’t do more than you’re already doing. And I’m so grateful and—” his voice breaks slightly and he inhales deeply before saying, a bit steadier, “You’re doing more than enough. And there’s no further way to help me anyway...”

Draco considers that very carefully, still stroking his hair and nuzzling his temple. Then, very tentatively, “Let me be here with you. Let me come be with you when you...”

Harry sits up, expression warily impassive, but bordering on incredulous anger. “When I transform? Are you mad?”

“I’d be perfectly alright, Potter, it’s not as if you’ll lose all of your human awareness—”

“You. Don’t. Know. Anything for sure,” Harry seethes. “How can you even consider it?! Can you imagine if I were to do something to you, hurt you in some way?”

Draco rolls his eyes. “You wouldn’t, that’s the point I’m trying to make,” he drawls. “You’ve been on the potion more than two weeks, and there is enough wolfsbane in your system to keep the worst of the wolf’s instincts at bay.”

“Draco, I am dead serious when I say I don’t want to hear one more word of this,” Harry says in calm warning.

“Besides, I’m a magical creature too, Potter, do you happen to remember that? I could quite literally fly away from you if you were to attack me—”

“Not one more word, Draco—”

“We could come up with a plan so you don’t have to be alone for this anymore, Harry—”

Enough!”

Harry’s on his feet quite suddenly and is radiating that same raw, undefeatable power that Draco had felt emanating from him that first time he’d walked into this house weeks ago. He remains frozen still where he’s sitting, looking up at Harry with a calmness he doesn’t really feel.

“Fine,” he eventually says shortly, looking away.

“I can’t risk it, not with you,” Harry says, low and subdued.

And it’s that quiet admission, made so simply and unpretentiously, that helps cement Draco’s plan, really.

~*~

The moon is already high when Draco lets himself into Grimmauld Place. Pausing at the foot of the stairs, he calls quietly for Kreacher.

“Is he up there?” he asks, and the elf nods, ears flapping. “Has he already...you know?”

“Master Harry is not being Master Harry now,” the elf replies solemnly.

Draco scowls slightly. “That’s still him up there, Kreacher,” he says sharply. “Listen to me very carefully. I’m—I’m going into his room now, okay?”

“Young Master Black cannot!” Kreacher looks absolutely horrified, “Young Master Black will surely suffer a gruesome, painful—”

“Kreacher,” Draco sighs, “please listen? Yes? I know what I’m doing. I’m going in there. I...don’t think I’ll need the help but should anything go wrong, should I call out to you and only then, you will pop in and Apparate me out of there, is that clear? You will not linger for more than the time it takes you to grab my arm and bring me out to safety. Do you understand?”

“Kreacher understands that young Master Black is a fool in love,” the elf croaks impertinently.

Draco, one foot on the first step, looks around in stunned silence, his cheeks heating at the words of a house-elf. “Go back to whatever cupboard you were holed up in,” he says irritably, turning away and making his quick way upstairs.

He’s been to Harry’s bedroom just once before. They usually just got right down to business in the living room that they never actually made it up to his bed, but on one occasion, Harry had Disapparated them directly into his room after a date at which point he’d proceeded to spread Draco across his bed, pry his arse open and eat him open with such assiduous intent that when he’d slipped three fingers into Draco twenty minutes later, they’d sunk right in with no resistance whatsoever and Draco had nearly passed out from his ensuing orgasm.

Draco pauses outside Harry’s room, holding his breath as he strains his ears to listen for any movement. He’s blocked his scent with dabs of tea tree oil over all his pulse points, just in case, but he still isn’t sure that Harry isn't already aware of his presence here. He steps closer, flattening one palm against the grainy wood of the door and pressing one ear to it.

He can definitely hear something now – low thuds and dull, blunt scraping sounds. When he listens closer, he can hear a muted sort of baying, faint, animalistic moans of pain.

Swallowing hard, slightly distraught now, Draco raises one fist, and after just a moment’s hesitation, knocks softly. “Harry?”

There’s only pin drop silence from the other side suddenly, and Draco’s heart climbs further up his throat.

“Harry... It’s me, Draco,” he says tremulously, his hands starting to sweat. “Are—are you... Can you hear me? Do you...understand what I’m saying?”

The silence stretches on for so long that Draco is on the verge of turning around and leaving, already racking his mind for explanations to give Harry if he happened to remember this happening the next day.

Then he hears the soft scritch scritch of blunt canine nails on wooden flooring. Freezing, heart thudding in his ears, Draco waits with his mouth slightly open, his gaze fixed on the sliver of light under the door, where a massive shadow has just appeared.

Then he hears it, a low, pained whine, and then very clear and loud, the sound of the door being scratched at from the inside.

Draco presses himself flat against the door, already pulling out his wand. “Harry? Harry, I’m going to unlock the door and come in now, okay? Harry, did you hear me?” His stomach is knotted so tightly that he’s more than a little nauseous, and his Veela instincts are screaming at him, his shoulder blades prickling as his wings begin to poke out, his nail beds starting to broaden before he squashes the urge down forcefully. “I’m coming in,” he repeats firmly.

Draco points his wand at the doorknob and murmurs a soundless Alohomora.

There resulting click is deafening in the still, echoing silence and for a second or two, Draco just stands there, his hand on the doorknob.

Then, with one final shaky exhale, he’s stepping inside and shutting the door behind himself, effectively locking himself into a room with a (with his) werewolf.

~*~

Draco goes seamlessly from sleep to wakefulness. One minute he’s dreaming about Harry cupping his cheeks and kissing him on the forehead while saying something vague about trapping the moon in Draco’s cauldron, and then he’s slowly opening his eyes to stare into a pair so brilliantly green that he’s completely and startlingly awake in the span of a single breath.

They’re lying on their sides, facing each other, and Harry’s staring at him. His eyes are barely just cracked open, but Draco can tell he’s awake and aware of his presence. He looks very much like he’d looked the previous month after the full moon – every inch of him seems to sag with exhaustion. The dark pockets beneath his eyes are back, his skin tinged grey again. His hair lies in a matted mess on his pillow and Draco can feel, just barely perceptibly, the faint tremors wracking his body.

He’s assaulted with vivid flashes of the previous night: the massive, black wolf, crouching in one corner as Draco entered, its low, rumbling growls making Draco erupt into gooseflesh; the way Draco had stood there for nearly half an hour, still and unmoving, hands raised before himself to make clear his wholly benign presence. The way he’d nearly screamed for Kreacher, his voice caught somewhere down in his chest, when the wolf had finally risen and lolloped over to him, limping slightly, stopping in front of him before butting its head against one of Draco’s hands.

Draco thinks he can still feel the coarse, black fur beneath his fingers; they’d lain on this bed, the wolf’s hot breath washing across Draco’s face as it panted quietly, it’s eyes a strange mix of black and familiar, vibrant green, fixed on Draco. The wolf made small, yapping sounds as Draco ran his hands through its fur, unknotting it much like he did Harry’s hair. From time to time, it emitted the same pained groans that Draco had heard earlier – Draco suspected, upon light inspection, he had a cracked bone in his left hind leg. He’d used a basic Numbing Charm to alleviate the pain but mostly, the wolf had just whimpered quietly until they both fell asleep, sometime well after three AM.

Harry’s breathing now, though barely audible, is ragged and strained, his chest heaving against Draco’s, his exhales unsteady. Just when Draco is starting to wonder if Harry is perhaps not as compos mentis as he’d earlier assumed, Harry’s arm around Draco’s waist tightens – just by a fraction.

“Are you okay?” he asks in a weak croak. “Did I--?”

“I’m fine,” Draco whispers at once, laying one warm hand on Harry’s cheek; he feels scorching hot, just like he had that day that he’d pressed his nose into Draco’s neck and sniffed him. “Is your leg okay? I’ll ask Kreacher to bring you a dose of Skele-Gro.”

Harry shakes his head; or rather just jerks it against the pillow. “It’s already healed, I think; it just throbs a bit now. I always end up twisting a crack into a bone or two while transforming.”

Draco swallows, nodding once before running his thumb below Harry’s eye. “Are—are you hungry? D’you want coffee, maybe?”

But Harry just shakes his head again, eyes falling shut as he sighs softly. When the tremors don’t stop even several minutes later, Draco draws the covers up higher, tucking it firmly below Harry’s bare body. “I’ll see you later, okay?” he whispers, not expecting a reply and not getting one.

Once he’s sure that Harry’s asleep, Draco slowly gets out of bed, his spine and knees clicking as he stretches them out after a night of being tightly curled up under the furry weight of Harry’s wolf.

It’s still early, he realises when he peeks around the thick, velvet curtains, drawing them properly shut so there aren’t any gaps, glancing back at Harry’s sleeping form as he soundlessly pads out of the room.

There’s an odd, quiet buzzing inside his head as he heads downstairs, his mind curiously devoid of thought. He can’t think of a single thing to focus upon and give thought to, as one would expect to be doing after they spent a night in the secluded company of their lover in his werewolf form.

Even though he’d barely spoken just now, Draco thinks he knows what Harry will say when they next meet, when they talk about this. He’s fully expecting some sort of speech about how what Draco did was stupid and dangerous, and how, now that Draco has seen what Harry truly is, he should leave; move on and find someone less savage to be with.

 But Draco has answers ready – he’s already made up his mind.

For Draco, the previous night was just a way to confirm what he’d known for a few days now. And then yesterday, even while in his basest form, Harry hadn’t managed to push him away, or make Draco’s dangerously out-of-control feelings for him go away. He tries to recall, to find a single moment from the previous night when he’d been disgusted, ashamed, of whom he was with, what he was with. But Draco only feels an overwhelming need to protect, to care for, what he’d been with, whom he’d been with the night before.

There’s still the question of what Harry wanted from him though.

Because when Veela mated, they mated for life, and Draco doesn’t know if Harry Potter, with all his noble, righteousness, will want Draco the same way that Draco wants him.

~*~

“Oi! Malfoy!”

Draco sighs, halting in his tracks and turning, weary and cool, as Pearce Erickson striding up the corridor towards him, pulling his face mask on. He has the same deep pockets beneath his eyes, the same greyish tinge to his skin.

“Malfoy,” he repeats as he comes up, voice slightly rougher than normal. “So?”

“So...?” Draco draws out the word, tone wary. “Well? Are you going to elaborate?” he asks when Erickson just peers at him over the mask.

“It’s my last week here,” Erickson snaps. “Have you heard anything?”

“About?” Draco asks, though he already knows.

“About who’s replacing me! Did you ask around?!”

“Why would I do that?” Draco asks, raising one eyebrow haughtily. “It isn’t even my sub-department. Why would I care who replaces you?”

Erickson’s eyes, a slightly eerie, pale gold, flash angrily at him. “I just asked for a colleague-to-colleague favour, Malfoy. No need to whip out the attitude. All you Veela—”

“Yes, we’re just a bunch of pretties who do nothing more than strut around, tossing their hair,” Draco interrupts loudly, “We’re all well aware of your opinions of us. Let me just clarify that my opinion of your lot isn’t remarkable either.”

To his slightly repulsed surprise, Erickson leers at him through the mask. “You’re a fiery one, aren’t you? Really get my juices flowing.”

“Yes, okay, be sure to mop those up,” Draco replies coldly, wanting intensely to tear sharp talons across the man’s stupid, swollen face.

“You seeing someone, then?”

“Yes, a therapist for PTSD after each time I talk to you.”

A gravelly chuckle: “You always have been witty, Malfoy; how ‘bout dinner, eh?”

“No, I doubt I can ever eat dinner again after this.”

“Drinks, then? Or we could just cut the dung and go straight to mine. I’m free tonight?”

“I’d literally rather eat the dung.”

“Come on, we both know it’ll be good,” Erickson wheedles lewdly. “I’ve heard you Veela practically cream yourselves at the thought of a nice werewolf cock in—”

“You’re repugnant,” Draco informs him before he can finish, his lip curled in distaste, “And you smell like a rabid, unwashed stray. Take a shower sometime, why don’t you? Not that it’d make me want to go out with you - nothing in existence will - but it might help with the stench.”

Erickson finally shuts up, his eyes going from heated and hungry, to cold and flat. Not waiting for him to finish glaring, Draco whips around, his hair flying out behind him, and stalks off, leaving Erickson standing there gnashing his teeth.

Draco is in absolutely no mood to entertain sub-department fraternising. The serene calmness with which he’d started off his day and left Grimmauld Place had worn out around midday, leaving in its wake an incessant, anxious gnawing in his stomach that’s yet to go away. He’s spent the day thinking about (worrying about) Harry, what he might say about what Draco did, and what that whole talk might lead to. He’s restless and uncertain and above all, misses Harry terribly.

His trials for the day don’t seem over yet because when he steps into his office, he’s met with the sight of Ronald Weasley lounging in one of the chairs in front of his desk, maroon Auror uniform left unbuttoned over his clothes, trailing onto the floor where he sits.

“Shit, why won’t you all just leave me alone?!” Draco complains as he rounds his desk and slams his folder onto it, throwing himself into his chair and dramatically dropping his head into both hands.

“Why won’t who all leave you alone?” Weasley asks, sounding bewildered.

“Arseholes,” Draco replies flatly. “What do you want?”

“I’d Floo’d Grimmauld Place this morning,” Weasley raises an eyebrow pointedly, “Hermione and I check up on him the day after the full moon.”

“You both are such good friends, Weasley, my goodness,” Draco says with mock seriousness. “It never would’ve ever occurred to me to check on my best friend after he’s done turning into and out of a fucking werewolf; no, I’d have just gone on with my life.”

Weasley waits through Draco’s caustic rambling, his expression bored more than annoyed. “Are you done?” he finally asks.

“Not nearly,” Draco says impatiently. “What do you want?”

“Hermione thinks you and Harry are in love,” Weasley declares bluntly, and Draco instantly feels his cheeks heat at those words, to hear them be said out loud like that. Merlin, even Harry and he hadn’t said it out loud to each other yet. “I think that’s complete rubbish,” Weasley adds then, and with no small amount of relish. “It’s barely even been a month since you both started—” he waves one large hand carelessly, “—doing whatever it is you both are doing. That’s not love, that’s just plain old randiness.”

“Thank you for your insight, you giant orang-utan,” Draco grits, his hands clenched around the edge of his desk. He did not need Weasley to come and sound out the very thought that’s been bouncing around inside Draco’s head for over a week – how can it be love, this quickly, this soon?

“But then you go and do something like that,” Weasley continues smoothly, as if he hadn’t just sent something piercing right through Draco. “Something so incredibly stupid, so completely ill-thought out – is it love, after all?” Weasley sing-songs, smirking.

“I have a feeling you’re going to answer that yourself so pray continue, O' Wise Arse.”

Weasley sighs. “Why’d you do it, Malfoy?” he asks, the smug bravado from earlier suddenly gone. Now he just looks as weary as Draco feels. “Why would you risk it like that?”

“I risked nothing, I’m the best brewer of medicinal potions I know, right after Severus Snape,” Draco rants in one breath. “I’m aware of the effects of that potion and was confident that Harry would be in possession of his mental faculties enough not to harm or attack me.”

“Nobody can ever be completely sure when it comes to something like this!” Weasley says with vehement exasperation. “Even Harry wasn’t sure – he said he’d specifically asked you not to do it, not to come anywhere near him during the full moon. But you went anyway!”

“Harry Potter may dictate your life, little one, but I’m under no obligation to obey him,” Draco informs him icily. “I made my own decision and I’d gone there prepared to face the consequences if need arose.”

“Heedless of the fact that had he ended up hurting you, he’d have lived the rest of his life with the sort of guilt that would have probably killed him,” Weasley says, low and calm. “The man was barely just starting to get over the pit of depressed despair he’d fallen into since he was turned. And then you came along and Merlin alone knows why or how but you actually fucking helped him and then the prat promptly fell for you.” Weasley rakes a hand through his hair, looking absolutely done with everything, before sighing through his nose, regarding Draco steadily. “You’re all he has right now and I think he’s already head over tits for you. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re not only in danger, but where he’s the one who might be responsible for it, were anything unfortunate to happen. It’d kill him, don’t do that to him.”

“Weasley,” Draco pins him with a glare, “did you come here with the sole intention of lecturing me about something that’s already done with?! It’s over, Weasley, and Harry and I are both fine. Now if that’s all you’re here for—” gestures at the door, “—such a pleasure talking with you and everything.”

“I actually came here to try and figure out if you really do feel about Harry, the way he feels about you,” Weasley says with careful consideration, “or if the whole thing was some elaborate plan you concocted so you have something to wave in Harry's face as some petty victory.”

“That might just be the most ridiculous theory I have ever heard in my whole entire life, Weasley.”

“I know, right?” Weasley says ruefully, getting to his feet with a soft creak of his chair, “Not nearly as exciting or convincing when said out loud. Well, ferret,” he grins at Draco instant glare, “Nice chatting with you. And obviously, it goes without saying that if you hurt Harry I will rip all of your shiny hair out your skull and strangle you with it, because no matter how uncomfortably good looking you might be, I’m not bent and Harry’s my best friend so...”

“Duly noted,” Draco says softly.

“See you later, ferret.”

“Dear god, I hope not, Weasley.”

~*~

Draco does not swing by Grimmauld Place after work like he has been for the last couple of weeks; he does not feel as daring as he had the previous month, not after doing what Harry had explicitly forbidden him to do.

Instead he goes home, ignoring the pit in his stomach, he showers, not paying any heed to the slight tightness in his throat, he makes some pasta, which he puts away in the refrigerator uneaten, and then he starts on the month’s batch of Wolfsbane, all the while pretending he isn’t completely desperate to go be with Harry.

After his talk with Weasley, he’s more or less sure of two things: one, Harry may just feel the same way about Draco as Draco does about him, as insane as that sounds, and two, Harry isn’t happy about what Draco did the previous night.

He scrubs out the silver bowl and ladle with dragon-fire ash, crushes the wolfsbane and measures out the powdered silver to mix into it. Once he’s set the bowlful to mature under the shaft of moonlight, he washes out the valerian roots and starts slicing them up neatly.

That’s when he hears the Floo flare, the bell above the hearth tinkling merrily, followed by the sound of Caesar’s meow, one long, loud meow, broken with each bouncing bound of his as he, presumably, leaped out of the armchair he’d been curled up in and ran towards the visitor.

Draco’s hand, all of a sudden, shakes so hard, he drops the knife with a clatter and clutches his workbench for support. He can hear Harry’s low, affectionate murmuring, Caesar purring loud enough for it to be heard all the way inside Draco’s lab. Taking off his apron, Draco slowly makes his way outside, his insides in horribly twisted knots, his gait indiscernibly unsteady.

Harry’s standing just by the hearth, behind the sofa, cradling Caesar to his chest as usual, but his gaze is already fixed at the end of the hallway where Draco now appears, wiping sweaty hands. He looks shockingly good – nothing like Draco had left him in the morning.

He’s brushed out his hair and it hangs in loose curls down to his shoulders, and he’s bright eyed and fresh faced. He’s flown here, apparently; he’s in biking gear – black leather jacket with his jeans tucked into heavy, tightly laced up boots – and what looks to be the button-down Draco had bought him on impulse the previous weekend, pale, pistachio green, the first three buttons left undone as was wont with Harry and button-downs.

He looks incredibly, effortlessly handsome and Draco, absurdly enough, suddenly feels self-conscious and unkempt. He’d thrown on his flannel pyjamas of all things after his shower, and his hair is in an uncombed, messy topknot, little bunches of hair slipping free and falling along his face and down his shoulders. Despite his Veela-blood, he knows his skin looks worn and that he has bags under his eyes after his mostly disturbed sleep the previous night. He also feels shamefully vain as he stands there fretting about his appearance instead of the hundred other things he should be fretting about.

Like the fact that even several seconds of staring at each other later, Harry still hasn’t smiled at him.

“Hi,” Draco finally says, breaking the nerve-wracking silence. Harry lets Caesar bound out of his arms, tucking his thumbs into his pockets and bouncing slightly on the balls of his feet. “You look so much better,” Draco says, the wonder in his own voice clear.

“As compared to?” Harry asks softly, tilting his head.

Draco colours slightly. “As compared to...this morning,” he admits quietly. “And last month,” he adds, remembering.

Harry’s mouth finally crooks into a little smirk. “I have you to thank for that, I suppose,” he says, nodding his chin in Draco’s direction. “You didn’t come by tonight,” he goes on. “I got a little worried so I popped into the Ministry.”

“Y-you went to the Ministry?” Draco asks, taking a step forward in shock.

Harry shrugs. “I’ve been meaning to write them anyway, but then I figured I’ll just drop by,” he says casually, bouncing a fist over the back of the sofa. “And so after they told me that you’d left for the day, I went and spoke to the Minister – and that other bloke, the coordinator for department heads.”

“What,” Draco says blankly.

“I took the job,” Harry says calmly. “The Head of Lycanthropy Affairs? I took it.”

Draco just stares at him, his mouth hanging open, his chest aching with how quickly his heart expands with joy.

“You did?” he asks, voice cracking. Harry nods. “Why?” he asks in genuine confusion.

“Should I go back and refuse?”

Draco scowls. “Can’t you ever just answer a question like a normal person?”

“Yes, because you’re all about being straightforward,” Harry deadpans, eyes twinkling. When Draco glares, he scratches his brow with his thumb with a patient sigh. “You’re allowed to come keep me company when I’m not even human and I can’t keep you company at your work place?”

“It’s not the same thing!” Draco exclaims incredulously. “You shouldn’t be taking up a job you don’t want for someone else’s sake, especially not mine!”

“Why?” Harry asks at once, frowning, “Why especially not yours?”

“Because—” Draco gesticulates wildly. “You should be doing something you like doing, something you want to do.”

“I want to do this.”

“No, you don’t, you’re just doing this as some sort of thoughtless favour!”

Harry clicks his tongue irritably. “Malfoy, shut up? Why’re you fighting me on this?”

“You—”

“Look, you’ve been saying it for days,” Harry interrupts, “You’ve been asking me to get back out there and get my life back. I can’t possibly go back to work for the DMLE, not even if they ask me to themselves, but I like working at the Ministry, even if it’s in a niche department. The fact that you’re going to be around is just a perk at this point.”

“So...you’re actually going to enjoy working in the Department for Magical Beings?” Draco asks sceptically.

“Well, I’m going to try,” he says firmly. Then he sighs through his nose, gaze flicking away for a moment. “You shouldn’t have done what you did, Draco. I still can’t believe you put yourself at risk like that.”

“I wasn’t at risk,” Draco says automatically, jutting his chin out even as his voice trembles and his stomach plummets a little.

Harry’s expression turns slightly severe. “Please don’t be a prat about this,” he says softly, though his tone has an edge to it. “If I’d hurt you—if I'd tried to—”

“But you didn’t,” Draco interrupts, a thin line between his brows. He crosses his arms and glares defiantly as Harry’s jaw clenches. “You didn’t and you won’t, I have absolute faith and I was ready to show y—”

“I love you,” Harry cuts him off, voice rough, “I’m in love with you.”

There’s a loud howl, a rushing roar in Draco’s ears; he feels his throat go drier than sand and has to clench his hands in his stupid, ugly pyjamas to stop himself doing something, anything stupid – such as an on-the-spot, highly lewd dance, or hoot wildly, or screech into a cushion, or, for some reasons, scoop up and bite Caesar. His teeth hurt from how hard he’s clenching them, and his face is hot enough to brew a light Shrinking Solution on.

Harry stands there, blinking slowly, expression serene and untouched, not even slightly aware of the silent meltdown Draco is experiencing at the moment.

“Draco?” Harry finally says tentatively.

“I’m here,” Draco croaks, stupidly.

“Did you hear what I said?”

“You love me.”

“I do,” Harry nods, “Madly, I’m afraid – which is why I need you to promise me that you’ll never do that again; that you’ll never risk everything like that again.”

“You—you can’t make me promise, Potter,” Draco says pathetically, because his insides are now melting, and quickly at that.

Harry sighs again, shutting his eyes, shoulders slumping. “Why must you make things so difficult always?” he asks wearily.

“Why must you--?” Draco tries desperately to come up with a retort, but his brain has finally just given up and shut off completely, and now Draco’s legs are carrying him forward, quite out of his own volition, and he’s sprinting across the room, running at Harry as though he’s about to attack him, tear him apart, swallow him up.

He’s lifted right off the floor, Harry bending his knees slightly to receive the dead weight of Draco slamming into him with the force of a fucking freight train, and scooping him up, so that suddenly, Draco finds himself with his legs coiled around Harry’s waist, practically crushing his sternum with his thighs. He pants down at Harry, whose eyes sparkle at him, his mouth curved into that smile Draco yearns to see every day, his hands crushing Draco to himself.

“That’s not how you were supposed to say it,” Draco says irritably, his hands already in Harry’s hair, teasing the loose curls open. “You aren’t supposed to say it during an argument, Potter.”

“Just leave me written instructions, why don’t you,” Harry murmurs against his throat, “Scheduled confessions of the heart that I can keep to.”

Draco snorts, brushing his mouth over Harry’s scar, his temple, his cheek, his hand curled around Harry’s neck, his pulse a strong, rhythmic drumming under Draco’s palm. “Tell me truthfully – was last night at all even slightly more tolerable than usual?”

“Draco,” Harry says pointedly, leaning his head back to meet Draco’s gaze levelly.

“Be honest with me, Harry.”

“It was the first time I woke up not feeling like I’d been thrown under a bus and then stomped on by an Erumpet.” At Draco’s smug smirk, Harry quickly adds, “And that was probably the result of your potion, Draco, which is all the help that I require from you. What I don’t require is you testing a volatile werewolf who may or may not rip you apart.”

“You wouldn’t,” Draco nuzzles at him, “I could sense you last night, you were in there.”

“Of course I was in there, but that doesn’t mean I have any actual control over the bloody wolf,” Harry says exasperatedly. “Draco, I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you.”

“You’d go back to a less than mediocre brew of standard Wolfsbane and find another fervent fan to snog,” Draco tells him.

Looking thoroughly unamused, Harry raises his eyebrows. “Oh, please, you are not a fan,” he says seriously, grinning widely when Draco lets out a short laugh. “You’re this...infuriating, stubborn, frighteningly beautiful brat who just never gets off my mind.”

“You’ve tried to get me off your mind?”

Harry nods sombrely. “Repeatedly, and to no success.”

“Frighteningly beautiful?"

“Sometimes I can’t look right at you; it’s like looking into the sun.”

“At least you didn’t say the moon.”

Harry laughs so hard, he nearly drops Draco. Then he winds a hand around the nape of Draco’s neck and pulls him down, bringing their mouths together for a kiss so deep and so fiercely intense, that for one discombobulating moment, Draco wonders if this is in fact their actual first kiss, because that’s how thrown, how awed Draco is.

The need to be close to Harry, be with Harry, is a persistent, nearly incapacitating need in Draco now, and when, several seconds later, he realises that Harry is moving, is walking down Draco’s hallway with Draco still wrapped around him, he starts sending out random, slightly hysterical prayers of gratitude. The nervousness that he ought to have felt during this moment, when he just knows what’s about to happen, never comes; all he feels is a sense of profound gratefulness that it’s finally happening.

He’d known their first time would be significant, would feel meaningful, and when Harry lays him down on the edge of his bed and finally breaks the kiss, Draco knows with one look at Harry, with not a single spoken word exchanged, that this is the actual beginning of their relationship, not because they’re about to fuck for the first time, but because there is there was now a sense of promise in every touch, every caress, and every kiss.

Harry undresses him with an excruciating gentleness, plucking his clothes off him with a meek tentativeness that he’s never displayed before, running calloused hands over him with a sort of reverent tenderness, thumbs stroking over pink, tightly beaded nipples, open mouth running along the insides of Draco’s thighs propped on his sturdy shoulders as he kneels on the floor.

Draco writhes on the bed, the sheets too hot against his suddenly hypersensitive skin. His cock has risen in just the couple of minutes it took to get him on the bed and undressed and Harry touches him everywhere but where Draco most wants him to. His hips rise up off the bed every few seconds, groin angled towards Harry’s blazing mouth and tongue as it traces little patterns on the skin over his hipbones.

Draco remains silent; he doesn’t want to rush Harry, doesn’t want to turn this into something quick and rough and fleeting, but it takes every ounce of self-control in him not to simply reach down and wrap one hand around his cock. When Harry moves to run his tongue up the crease of one thigh, Draco emits a soft, breathy little whine and lets both knees fall open and onto the bed.

His cock is given a slow, feathery little lick, Harry’s tongue tantalising up the vein underneath the long, pink length, before his lips descend around the damp head, enveloping it in that tight heat, Draco’s hips once again lifting, this time in time with Harry’s slow, lengthy suck.

Then his cock is allowed to gently slap onto his heaving belly, and Harry cups Draco’s arse with both hands and hefts, lifting it up before resting his elbows on the frame of the bed straightening up off his heels, standing up on his knees, holding Draco up in the air.

“Fuck,” Draco breathes under his breath, pressing on fist into his forehead, his other hand clenched in the sheets, his cock twitching once where its lying flat against his body. Harry presses long, lazy kisses onto the fleshy roundness of his arse cheeks, skating his teeth over them playfully, before parting them with his thumbs, his breath shivering over Draco’s crease. “Fuck,” Draco repeats, even softer this time, because it wouldn’t do for him to be screaming already – the way Harry’s going, he’ll likely be at this a while.

The first lap is laid along the entirety of Draco’s crack, a long, thorough lick with the flat of his tongue, then another, this time running all the way up to his tailbone. Then Harry pushes his face into the moistened groove with a throaty, slightly lewd groan that’s nearly Draco’s undoing by itself, and tickles his arsehole with the very tip of his tongue.

Draco can feel the muscles in his lower half bunching up. His legs dangle uselessly in the air where Harry keeps him suspended, and as he fights to keep his eyes open, he sees his toes curl tightly and doesn’t remember doing that voluntarily. Harry is licking away now, firm, pressing laps against his fluttering hole, a hoarse, nearly inhuman sound escaping him with every other insistent lick.

Draco keeps his hand firmly by his sides, fingers curled so tightly around the sheets that he can feel his nails digging into his palms even through the cotton. He swallows over and over again, muffling any sound that tries to rise up from somewhere in his stomach where he can already feel a tight ball of heat gathering.

His legs shoot out straight in the air when Harry snarls and cleaves his tongue into Draco, the stiff muscle pushing in until Draco can feel Harry’s chin buried in his arse crack, his shoulders pressing into the bed as his back arches off it. He cries out then, prompting Harry to worm his tongue out and stuff it back in, wiggling it around in him with rapid little shakes of his head.

Fuck!” Draco can barely even get the single expletive out as he finally gives in and reaches one hand down to grab Harry by the hair, “Merlin, Harry—”

Draco’s response only seems to egg Harry on further for he doubles his efforts, pulling his tongue out and gnawing gently at the thin skin of his rim, plucking at it with his lips until Draco’s hole is winking open wetly, dripping with Harry’s spit. Draco’s arse feels bruised where Harry’s fingers dig into it, clutching him tight enough that the dull pain comes as a welcome distraction from his otherwise imminent orgasm.

However, as Harry starts to suck, loudly and enthusiastically, pulling Draco open some more with steady, almost unrelenting suction, Draco comes dangerously close to just giving in and coming spectacularly all over himself. He tosses his head around, his hair loose and all over the place, his face burning hot, sweat prickling against his scalp and neck.

“Need you so much,” Draco manages to garble out at some point when Harry’s tongue is back inside him. With an indulgent little hum, Harry brings one hand down and eases a single finger in alongside his tongue, and pushes it straight into his prostate, rubbing determinedly at it with single-minded intent. “Harry!”

He’s shaking now, Draco, his thighs and hips aching with the strain, his throat dry and rasping from breathing in through his mouth. Each exhale of his comes out as a high-pitched, needy little keen, his fingers tightening around Harry’s hair in warning yet again.

Harry twists in a second finger, sawing them back and forth, scissoring them inside him over and over as he licks at the rim around them with the tip of his tongue, flicking ticklish little licks at the sensitive, pinkened skin.

Just when Draco decides to simply give in, to let go and just come, Harry lifts his face, pulling his fingers out and lowering Draco back onto the bed, panting loudly. Draco forces his eyes open, finally releasing the tight clench of his teeth, and stares down with lust blown, glazed eyes, his expression likely as helplessly desperate as he felt.

“Please,” he whispers. But he doesn’t have to worry, because Harry is already undressing.

He sits back on the floor, unlacing and pulling his boots off, then his socks, getting to his feet and shrugging off his jacket, pulling his shirt off up over his head instead of unbuttoning it, peeling his jeans off and revealing nothing underneath but his furiously red, heavily bobbing erection.

Draco’s already shortened breath quickens further at the sight of him – he doubts he’ll ever be able to keep calm and act cool when faced with a gloriously naked Harry. The sheer rugged perfection of his body, the solidness of it, the way all his scars make him appear indomitable while simultaneously lending him a certain vulnerability, has as yet never failed to take Draco’s breath away.

Draco sighs as Harry places one knee beside Draco’s hip on the bed and conjures some lube to fist over his cock. His tender expression as he gazes down at Draco reflects none of the savage want he’d displayed a few minutes ago as he ate Draco out with reckless sort of hunger; he looks almost pained, beseeching, as he cups the underside of one of Draco’s knees and pushes it up beside his chest, abruptly leaning down to nibble sharply at one of Draco’s nipples, wresting a croaked cry out of Draco.

Both of their loud panting freezes into still silence as they inhale in unison and hold their breath, their gazes fixed on where Harry’s cock is nudging at Draco’s stretched rim. Harry bucks his hips forward, pushing the tip in, and Draco fears that he might just pass out before he can feel that aching, satiating stretch of Harry’s cock pushing into him completely. The sudden ravenous desire that roars its presence within him is an ineludible force that demands to be fulfilled, and Draco pulls at his own hair with a sharp bark of impatience.

Harry’s vivid gaze snaps up to his face and effortlessly snags his gaze, keeping Draco locked there as he leans forward, and with a slow, uninterrupted slide, pushes into Draco.

It’s nothing like Draco imagined it would be – Draco doesn’t think he’s even capable of imagining something so formidably phenomenal, doesn’t think his mind can stretch that far. The way Harry fills Draco up, fills his whole being up, extends beyond just the physicality of Harry’s cock in Draco’s arse – Draco feels a fullness, an intangible sense of completion that brings about the realisation that he hadn’t even known until now, how incomplete he’d been all this while.

They’re both gasping at each other, Harry’s expression betraying the same shocked pleasure Draco himself can feel seeping into his bones, his very soul. Even if he wants to, tries to, Draco doesn’t think he can formulate a single, coherent thought, leave alone words. Despite the scalding heat of his demanding need, now burning under his skin, urgent and desperate, Draco doesn’t want this moment to end, doesn’t want to proceed past this incredible point – wants time to just stop so that he can revel in this feeling of being, quite literally, one with Harry.

Harry is shuddering over him, one hand braced next to Draco’s shoulder, sweat beading on his forehead and trickling down his temple before plopping onto Draco’s collarbones. He’s pulling great big lungfuls of air through his teeth, hissing softly as he grasps at Draco’s hip with one hand, the other still holding Draco’s knee pressed to the bed, holding Draco open.

Draco, meanwhile, is hovering around in a zone he doesn’t ever want to leave. His orgasm looms, probably only seconds away, promising and inescapable, his back aching from the incessant, almost imperceptible tremors zinging up and down the length of his spine.

And then Harry starts to move.

Draco feels like he’s been catapulted into nothingness, into an infinite void where he feels nothing but pleasure so acute that it seems to be spreading outwards across his whole body, methodically incinerating every nerve ending he possesses. He’s screaming, body flying up off the sheets with every, jarring, breathtaking thrust of Harry’s cock into him, his cock slapping loudly against his belly, strings of sticky precome flying about with every wild whip.

Harry is throwing his whole being into fucking Draco, thrusting hard at a swift, pounding rhythm, Draco arse greedily gulping him in, lube and precome squelching out of him with slick, squishing sounds that only serve to further stimulate Draco, the crassness of it somehow immensely hot. He’s throwing his hips up onto Harry’s cock, baring his teeth and tearing his nails down Harry’s chest as he leans further over Draco, slinging his knees over his shoulders and bending him in half.

The bed is thrown into the wall with each thrust now, and Draco is done; he just physically is not capable of holding on any longer.

Lifting up in a high arc, neck strained and throat raw with how loudly he’s shrieking, Draco sinks his nails into Harry’s back, ruthlessly breaking the skin, and comes harder than he ever thought it possible. Harry’s emitting some sort of barking snarl as he watches Draco unravel completely, flying apart while simultaneously imploding underneath him, his rosy cock shooting a long stream of come that hits Draco’s bobbing Adam’s apple in a messy white splatter.

Finally sinking back down, his back hitting the mattress with a soft thump, Draco sobs helplessly, vision blurred to the point where Harry’s nothing more than a blurry shape against the light flooding in from the hallway, his grip on Harry tightening until Harry is pressed up against him, one foot on the floor to leverage his continued, brutish thrusts into Draco, his mouth now moving urgently along Draco’s neck.

“Want to—want—” Harry mutters urgently, “Want to mark you—want to claim you—want you to—want to make you mine—want you, want you—”

“Do it,” Draco whimpers mindlessly, barely aware of what he’s begging Harry to do, “Fuck, Harry, please, do it, I want it, do it—”

But now Harry is screaming too, flinging Draco higher up the bed with the force of his final few thrusts, and then Draco can feel the wonderful, hot splash of Harry’s release inside him, sobbing even harder now as he turns his face blindly to seek Harry’s mouth.

Several minutes later, Draco still hasn’t managed to stop trembling, whimpering out little sighs as Harry slowly drags him higher up the bed until they’re up against the pillows. He feels wrung out, boneless, as he lays there limply under Harry’s tiny, moist kisses, dragging one hand through his damp, black locks. He feels appallingly empty suddenly, his arsehole still gaping open and shut wetly, the ache so sweet that he can’t help but clench into that pain over and over.

“Did I go too hard?” Harry whispers, and Draco can only gurgle out a breathless chuckle in answer. “Fuck, you’re gorgeous,” he sighs against Draco’s jaw, nosing at the little nook under Draco’s ear. “I can’t get over it; I don’t think I ever will.”

Draco grins bashfully, inhaling with his nose buried in Harry’s hair. His own hair is being gently finger-combed by Harry, long, loving strokes from root to tip, making Draco sink further into the ever intensifying lassitude that’s setting in.

“Now’s when you say it, you know,” he murmurs drowsily against Harry’s forehead. “Choose your moments wisely, Potter.”

Harry’s silent laugh vibrates against his skin, his arm tightening around Draco’s waist as he nuzzles into his neck. “I love you, Draco Malfoy,” he says softly, honest and indulgent.

“Mmm,” Draco smiles, “I don’t think I’ll ever get over that.” Harry laughs again and Draco presses into him, tangling their legs together and burrowing his face into the crook of Harry’s neck. “I feel the same way about you, you know? The love thing.”

“...I realised that the moment you walked into my room last night.”

~*~