“I saw someone,” Harry said. “Someone new.”
“Who?” said Hermione. He could hear her moving around behind him, making breakfast for the three of them like she always did on Sundays.
“I don’t know,” Harry said. “He was in a Glamour, too.” He added, even though he didn’t have to, “I could smell it.”
He could still smell it, actually, that magic. Like sun and heat and sea water and something sweet, fruity; something he couldn’t identify.
“Oh,” Hermione said, and he heard her stop moving at the countertop. He smelled the intention of a chopping spell to finish what she’d started but she reconsidered before she cast it, and the scent faded. Instead, she moved to the pantry and returned a moment later, handing him a vial of Hangover Potion. It wasn’t meant to soothe the ache of his talent, but really nothing was, and it helped better than paracetamol.
Harry slammed it back, and then buried his face in his hands. Smell was always the most overpowering right after taking a potion, and he tried not to breathe overmuch while it went into effect.
“Are you going to keep going there?” she asked.
The front door opened upstairs and they heard Ron’s boots stomping down the hallway towards the stairs. “I’m back!”
Harry shrugged. “Yeah, I am.”
Hermione stopped chopping again. “Harry,” she said, spinning around. “It’s dangerous to mess around with someone under a Glamour. They could be a serial killer.”
“Who could be a serial killer?” Ron asked. He dumped a bag of bacon and eggs on the countertop, and then pulled out his wand to set them cooking.
“Don’t,” Hermione said, staying his hand. “Harry.”
Ron turned to look at him. Harry shrugged, colouring. Yet another thing he could thank Voldemort for. Apparently dying lent itself to developing weird extrasensory abilities…weird, extrasensory abilities that were often embarrassing and headache-inducing. “Someone at the club was under a Glamour. A really strong one.”
Ron’s eyebrows went way up. “At the Muggle club?” Harry nodded. Ron put his wand away. “Why didn’t you leave?”
Harry shook his head. He was just as baffled by this as they were. “I...don’t know. I was attracted to him,” he admitted, scrunching his nose. It always felt weird talking about people he would like to mess about with to Ron and Hermione.
“But he was under a Glamour,” said Hermione. “He could look like a troll without it.”
“It wasn’t his face,” Harry said. “I never even saw it. It was his magic. I liked the way it smelled.”
“Oh,” Hermione said again.
“So you’re going back,” Ron surmised. Harry suspected that his refusal to answer was answer enough. “Could be a serial killer,” Ron said pointedly. The Auror in him always came out when Harry was considering something questionable. “You don’t know this bloke’s motives.”
Harry scowled. “What if his motives are the same as mine?”
They didn’t say anything to that.
“Bollocks,” Harry decided. Ministry cases were always the worst. They paid very little and always threatened tax audits if Finite Curse-Breakers didn’t move them to the front of the queue. “This is why I didn’t become an Auror,” Harry reminded Bill, not for the first time. “Why can’t they take their shit to Gringotts’ curse-breaking team?”
Bill shrugged. “With great reputation comes great pain in the arse from one’s government.” He handed Harry the folder. Harry took it, under duress. “It’s at Malfoy Manor,” Bill added then, which made Harry still, nearly upsetting his coffee as his hands jerked to a stop.
“I thought it was closed up,” Harry said. “Why do they even care if there’s dark magic in there?”
“The son’s come back,” said Bill. “His exile ended last month and he wants his stuff back.”
Had it really been ten years since the war? Merlin—he supposed it had. He’d finished his five-year Curse Breaker apprenticeship with Bill in 2003, and they’d immediately set about starting their firm together after that. Things had been so quiet in the years since the Death Eater trials, it was like life had just sped past, all a blur, until he was reminded of Malfoy.
Liar, Harry thought. As if he’d ever really stopped thinking of Malfoy.
“Where was he?” Harry asked.
Bill rolled his eyes, moved over to the kettle by the sink in their converted office, and set about making himself a cup of tea. “How the hell should I know? Ron’s in an uproar about it all. He’s the one who sent the file over,” he said. “Read the paper. It’s probably in there.”
Harry scrunched his nose. He hadn’t read a newspaper in six years, and he didn’t plan to start anytime soon. He swilled the rest of his coffee—now cold—and stood from the table that was shoved into the emptiest corner of their office. He had to navigate around a stack of cursed books as high as his waist and a collection of scabbards that snipped off any appendage inserted within (there was a wizard in Dorset who would never be able to forget this grave mistake). He stepped lightly around the music boxes that started playing funeral dirges whenever someone near was thinking salacious thoughts (these often went off when he and Bill were light on cases; Harry suspected a third Delacour-Weasley to be announced any day).
He poured himself a new cup of coffee and returned to the table to read through the docket. “Is there anything not cursed in this bloody manor?” Harry asked.
Bill hmmed, not looking up from his perusal of another new case—this one from the private sector and therefore much less of a hassle to deal with, even if the Malfoy one had come from Ron.
Harry scowled. Bill always gave him the Ministry cases. As he had been a Master Curse Breaker before Harry was even at Hogwarts, this was probably reasonable, but Harry still had a bit of a weird swishy feeling in his head from focusing on so much magic on Saturday night, and now he was going to have to go to bloody Malfoy Manor, which was probably creepy as fuck after ten years uninhabited, and then he was going to have to fill in piles of unnecessary Ministry paperwork just to be done with the stupid case. If Ron wasn’t his best mate, Harry would throw the whole stupid file in the fire and watch it burn.
“I’m going to check out the manor,” he said instead.
“Patronus me if you need anything,” Bill said. “Might be on the Isle of Skye, though. Cursed herd of cashmere goats. Only producing mohair.”
Harry rolled his eyes. Maybe he’d got the better case after all. “Enjoy that. I’ll be fine.”
“Ta,” Bill said, finally looking up. He smiled at Harry, his left cheek pulling a little bit where the scars from Greyback’s attack still crossed his skin. Sometimes Harry wished his scar was as cool and rakish as Bill’s. Bill’s scars were sexy. Harry’s was just embarrassing.
But the house—the house was like something out of a nightmare. Harry smelled fear. It overwhelmed everything else, like a wet, putrescent rot. Insidious magic crawled over the exterior, decaying the limestone, the wood of the doors, even the glass of the windows.
It was going to be a long fucking day.
As strong as magic was to his senses, as overwhelming as it could be, Harry could not imagine life without it. He couldn’t imagine always waking up next to someone who smelled so empty.
The band was actually pretty good, and it happened that Harry was so engrossed in their set that he almost missed the wizard when he came in. Almost—until the sweet smell of salt air and oranges filled the club, and Harry had to close his eyes for a moment, breathe it in. He’d never smelled a more amazing Glamour in his life. His own smelt like rhubarb tart, and he really had no idea why, as it was only his third favourite.
Harry picked him out immediately. He was wearing the same Glamour as before, twining his way through the crowd to the stage. Harry drained his beer and followed him, his heart pounding in his chest, citrus and coconut assailing his nose.
It got stronger as he neared him, until finally, he stood behind the man, and the smell of his magic was an onslaught against his head and nerves. Harry stood there, breathing him in, yearning to touch. Suddenly, the wizard stiffened; he turned, and when their eyes met, Harry felt a rush of familiar, even though he’d never seen this face in his life.
They stared at one another for a beat. Someone jostled Harry from behind and he tipped forward against the wizard, who caught him with strong, tanned hands around Harry’s biceps. “You’ve magic,” Harry said, low enough that only they could hear.
The man’s eyes widened fractionally, but his expression didn’t otherwise change. “So do you,” he said. His accent was strange, almost but not quite a British one. A familiar intonation, but a different, freer rhythm than Harry was accustomed to hearing.
“Yeah,” said Harry. He noticed then that the man was still holding tight to his arms. Harry stepped closer, pretending it was due to the surge of the crowd. He let his hand settle on the man’s hipbone, and watched as his eyes fell low and his mouth parted as he inhaled. “I come here all the time, but I’ve never seen you before last weekend.”
The wizard smiled slowly. “I’ve never come before then.” He flicked his hand. The silence of a privacy spell came first, but the rush of orange zest followed right after and Harry’s eyes sank closed in response. Merlin, he could sit in this man’s magic all day. He stepped closer, pressing their bodies together as Muggles continued dancing all around them, oblivious. “How did you know I had magic?”
“Can smell it,” Harry murmured, burying his nose in the man’s neck. “Your magic smells amazing.”
His eyes widened, as most people’s did when Harry told them about his strange ability. “Like what?”
Harry didn’t even know. It was such a foreign concept to him. “Like Cornwall, but warmer. Ocean and sun and something tropical, something I’ve never smelled before.”
“Merlin,” the wizard whispered.
“Want to kiss you,” Harry murmured against his neck. “I don’t know why. I don’t even know what you look like.”
The wizard groaned, pulling Harry up and looking into his eyes, searching. “You’re wearing a Glamour, too.”
“I always do,” Harry said. “Let me kiss you anyway.”
In response, he wrapped his hand around Harry’s skull and pulled him in, pressing their mouths together. Harry melted into the kiss. “Can they see through your privacy spell?” Harry asked.
“No,” said the wizard.
Harry grinned against his mouth. “Come back to mine. I’m not a serial killer.”
He hesitated for only the briefest of seconds. “Alright.”
Harry tightened his arms around him and Apparated them to Grimmauld Place.
“Ready, are you?” he asked.
Harry rolled his eyes. “Don’t pretend like you can’t tell. Merlin,” he said, reaching up to kiss him. The wizard responded enthusiastically, and Harry eventually broke away, panting. “What is it about you that’s making me feel like a ruddy teenager?”
He laughed, beautifully in Harry’s opinion. “You like my magic, wasn’t it?” To demonstrate, he snapped his fingers and all of Harry’s clothes vanished from him and reappeared folded—neatly—on the chair by his window. The room was suddenly heavy with the scent of ripe coconut. Another snap of his fingers, and the wizard’s own clothing followed suit, with the scent of high tide following.
Harry moaned, arching up into him, feeling delicious tingles rush over his skin as their bodies touched. “Oh god, you smell so good...like life, or adventure. Like a little bit of England, but with a whole lot of beach. It’s amazing. And your accent—it’s just the same. Where are you from?”
“You’re chatty, aren’t you?” asked the wizard, kissing down Harry’s neck. He paused at Harry’s clavicle, laving his tongue over the bones there.
“I’ve been told that,” Harry admitted. He tended to speak his mind when drunk or having good sex. “Where?”
The wizard laughed and then bent to nip at Harry’s skin and nipples with his teeth. “I live in California, in La Jolla.”
“Never heard of it,” Harry said, writhing. “But I want to. Does it smell like you?”
“Maybe.” He licked a meandering trail down Harry’s chest to his hips and the fuzzy patch of hair beneath his belly button. “Maybe you can find out for yourself one day.”
His fingers finally closed around Harry’s prick and Harry grinned, not just for the relief of finally being touched. Somewhere, he had a rational mind that knew it was batshit crazy to fall for someone after one night—before one night, really—but it was overwhelmed by the part of his mind that knew that the person who owned this magic was the one for him.
“Oh god, yes, yes,” Harry said, slamming his head back against the pillow as a hot mouth closed over his cock. He smelled the bright citrus of another spell before he felt the man’s hot, slick fingers teasing open his hole. Harry spread his legs further, willing to give him whatever he wanted at this moment. It was so very good and really, nothing could make it better except—
“Your spell,” Harry gasped, holding his fingers out. “Do it on mine.” The wizard looked up at him from his mouthful of cock, and Harry groaned as his lips stretched into a smile around the head. He sucked hard and then popped off.
“The lube spell?”
Harry nodded. The wizard reached over and snapped his fingers above Harry’s outstretched palm. Harry closed his eyes for a moment; if he wasn’t careful, he would get drunk off this wizard’s magic, and then where would he be?
Thick, clear liquid started dripping from the man’s fingers and Harry grabbed his hand to squeeze all of it off. Then he tugged him up and around, turning his body until his cock was hovering above Harry’s face. Merlin, it was a lovely cock, and with such lovely bollocks, too—so pink and soft with fair hairs sparsely covering them. Harry reached up with his dry hand to guide the head into his mouth, delighting in the way the wizard’s thighs tensed. Harry sucked and the man threw his head back moaning, his hips moving subtly, as if he wasn’t even aware of them. Harry reached up with his other hand and slid a slick finger into the man’s arsehole, and this, finally, reminded his guest of what he was supposed to be doing—he bent his head immediately, taking Harry’s cock back into his mouth and sucking it properly.
Harry managed to work two full fingers into his wizard’s tight arse before the other man figured out how to arrange his hands so he could do the same to Harry, which only made Harry moan hard around his cock and thrust up into his waiting mouth. God, he was not going to last very long. There was something about sucking another man off that brought him right to the edge—one day he reckoned he might try to get himself off by doing just that—and the feel of a hot, tight arse around his fingers was the best. He worked in a third finger, just to see if he could, and his wizard took it like a champ, moaning even more around Harry’s cock. The vibrations, the finger in his arse, and the expert sucking all came together in a slow burn of uncontainable pleasure, and Harry felt his balls tightening as his orgasm built up. He moaned around the cock in his mouth and rocked his hips upwards. Harry finger-fucked the man’s arse relentlessly. He took as much cock in as he could, desperate to make him come and when he saw his balls drawing up and felt him trying to pull out of Harry’s mouth, Harry wrapped his free arm around his hips and pulled him down again. There was no way he wasn’t swallowing every bit of come from the man whose magic smelled this good.
The wizard moaned, apparently realising Harry’s intentions. He started fucking Harry’s mouth and fingers properly and Harry let him, enjoying the feel of being on the edge. When the first spurt of come landed in his mouth, Harry could hold on no longer. He arched up, emptying himself in the man’s mouth and swallowing down everything put into his.
God, what a good night.
There was a burst of lemon-sugar from the bathroom across the hall that Harry suspected to be an exfoliating spell. He smirked into the pillow. Maybe his wizard was really attractive after all if he was into such poncy spells. He levered himself up and out of the bed, padding into the bathroom. His wizard was humming—a song Harry’d never heard before but catchy nonetheless. He pulled the shower curtain back.
The wizard was bent over, washing between his toes. He looked up at Harry and smirked. “Hello there. I didn’t realise you were awake.”
“I smelled your magic; it woke me up,” Harry said, stepping into the shower behind him. “I hope you weren’t planning on skipping out.” He placed his hands on the firm globes of his wizard’s arse and squeezed. Merlin, he could get used to this. It didn’t even matter what the other man really looked like. “What’s your name?” he asked.
The wizard stilled.
Harry squeezed his bum again, and then lathered up his hands and ran his fingers up the knobs of his spine, watching his muscles tense in the wake of Harry’s fingers. “I want to see you again,” Harry said, as though soothing a skittish pegasus. “I promise I’m not a troll, or at least I’ve been told I’m not. And I’m pretty fit. I only Glamour my face so I won’t be recognised.”
His wizard resumed washing his feet, with more attention to detail than Harry’d ever bestowed on any single body part during a bath. “I’m not worried about you being ugly,” the wizard said, and Harry could hear the laugh in his voice. “Why would anyone recognise you in a Muggle gay bar? Are you famous? Have I just had sex with one of the Weird Sisters?”
Harry laughed. “Maybe,” he said. “You show me yours, I’ll show you mine.” He trailed his fingers back down the wizard’s spine and into his cleft, teasing him there. “So?” asked Harry, prodding him. “I don’t think you’re really ugly, either if that’s what you’re worried about. You used an exfoliation spell. The same one my best friend—a woman—uses. Any bloke who cares that much can’t be ugly.”
The wizard laughed then, finally standing. He turned to face Harry, his hands wandering to settle over Harry’s hipbones. Harry grinned at him, thrusting his hips forward a bit so his morning erection prodded against the man’s own. “Come on, tell me your name.”
He grinned at Harry, and shook his head, but it seemed to be more with amusement than anything else. “Not yet,” he said. “Maybe next time.”
“So there will be a next time,” Harry clarified, thrusting forward again.
His wizard laughed. It was such a gorgeous sound, almost as nice as the smell of his magic. “I thought we were heading for another round right now…”
“Merlin,” Harry whispered, and then quickly spun him around. His soapy fingers quickly found the spot he’d been toying with earlier, and resumed their ministrations. He pressed his palm to the man’s back and nudged him until he bent over, bracing his hands on the side of the bath and looking back over his shoulder as he spread his legs to expose himself to Harry.
Harry grinned. This was going to be a good morning indeed.
His wizard jerked to a stop halfway through the drawing room. Harry turned to see what had caught his attention, and wrinkled his nose when he saw him staring at the Black Family tapestry. “Ghastly, I know. I keep telling myself I’ll take it down, but I never do,” Harry said, tugging unsuccessfully on the man’s wrist. “This was my godfather’s house when he was still alive.”
The man made a strangled sound in the back of his throat. “What?” Harry asked warily.
The bedroom door opened, and Hermione stepped out, still in her dressing gown, not even looking up from the file she was reading as she said, “Harry, Ron says you’re taking too long on—”
Both Harry and his wizard spun to face her, Harry horrified and his wizard—He turned to look. Oh god, shocked. Harry’s eyes widened. He knew who Harry was. Hermione’s hand flew to cover her mouth as she looked back and forth between them. “Sorry! Didn’t know you had a guest! I’ll just—” She dove for the bedroom, slamming the door behind her.
Harry turned back to his wizard. “Look, I know this is awkward, but I still want to—”
His wizard shook his head quickly, that same strangled sound echoing from his throat. “No, no no no. I have to go.”
“I have to go,” he repeated fiercely, and Harry took a step back at the venom in his voice.
He swallowed heavily. “Okay,” he said. He pointed to the staircase, and the entrance hall at the bottom. His wizard took one last lingering look at Harry’s face, as if trying to make out the infamous scar beneath the Glamour, and then he was gone. The furious smell of burnt coconut from his Disapparition on the front steps was so strong, Harry felt certain even his roommates could smell it.
He stood there motionless for a long time after the slam of the front door stopped echoing, wondering just what was so wrong with him that it would drive someone to that sort of exit. When Hermione cautiously poked her head out fifteen minutes later, he was still there, and would’ve remained that way for hours more if she hadn’t curled her arm around his waist and manhandled him into the kitchen for a cup of tea.
Harry glowered at him. Bill’s shirt had some of Fleur’s magic on it, and it smelled like baby powder. He almost told Bill about the pregnancy—five weeks it smelled like—just to be a dick, but fortunately thought better of it before he let his bitterness run away with his mouth. “I need a personal day.”
“I’ve given you five,” said Bill. “And I’ve had to look at your sour mug for each of them.” He shoved the Malfoy case into Harry’s chest and walked back over to his desk. “Finish the fucking case so Ron will get off my dick about it.”
Harry wrinkled his nose. “Fine.”
He sulked about, going over the case file again to refresh his memory, but managed to drag his arse out of his chair around lunchtime. He avoided their blossoming collection of strangling decorative scarves, the hybrid ficus bred to curse anyone who watered it with an extreme and unceasing urge to fuck leaves, and the moving portrait of Mrs Esmeralda Blaggs, who was not dead yet, but whose cursed portrait was sucking the life out of her (not fast enough for her family). She always gave them a dirty look when they set aside her case to work on others, but in Harry’s defence she was meaner than Mrs Black. He made it safely outside and Apparated to the gates of Malfoy Manor.
A quick password had him through and he was soon standing outside the door to the third drawing room, which smelled like Hermione’s blood and house-elves and shattered glass. He despised this room. Harry took a deep, steadying breath, and pushed the door open. The smell of dark magic overwhelmed him immediately. He covered his nose with the top of his T-shirt and tried to breathe as little as possible while he started by doing a few general spells to dispatch the normal, easy dark magic. Once he could breathe again, he settled in for the long task of de-cursing every stupid spying Ming vase and Muggle-born-killing trinket. Harry had the room liveable within the hour, which took care of the entire ground floor. He moved downstairs to make quick work of the kitchens and other servant areas—apparently these areas were beneath the notice of dark, ancestral Malfoys—and then stood facing the grand staircase leading up to the private family areas.
Even the staircase was cursed. Although—Harry sniffed, then gagged. Not cursed by the Malfoys then. This staircase, like several other spots in the manor reeked with Dark Lord. Harry hated this staircase. He hated this house. He hated the family who lived here and the stupid fuck who Harry’d never really been able to stop thinking about, even in ten years of exile to fuck knows where. He should read the Prophet but he knew he wouldn’t.
The east wing of the manor radiated the stench of Voldemort, so Harry decided to save it for last. He went through the west wing on autopilot, cleaning out curses here and there. It appeared that this was the wing the Malfoys had once used for living in, so it was relatively clean. Compared to the east wing, anyway. And then he opened the last door in the corridor to an onslaught of coconut and salt air and hot sand and life. Harry stood in the doorway, stunned, his heart beating like a Snitch’s wings. He stared into the huge, dark room, not really seeing anything, feeling as though he might pass out.
Fortunately, as the threshold was cursed to give any half-bloods who touched it green skin, he did not.
Harry removed the curse with a flick of his wrist—it was a juvenile one at best—and stepped slowly into the room. He looked around at the Nimbus brooms mounted on one wall, at the green and gold wallpaper, the old, half-eaten pack of blood lollies on the bedside table, the Arithmancy textbooks spread out on the thick rug in front of the hearth...and he knew. He knew who his wizard was, and why he’d left so quickly when he recognised the Black Family tapestry and Hermione and heard her say his name.
There was a picture of Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson on the fireplace mantle. It was cursed to give anyone who touched it warts. Harry dismissed it, and burnt coconut filled the air when the spell dissolved. Harry picked it up and watched as Malfoy and Parkinson spun around in the snow on repeat. It made him dizzy to watch too long. He wondered if that’s why Malfoy had liked this picture enough to frame and display it.
Malfoy’s book bag was lying in a chair, as if he’d tossed it there one day and never picked it up again. A quill was falling out. It was cursed specifically against Harry touching it. It would’ve turned his clothes invisible if he had. Other items were similarly cursed with only Harry in mind, and as he went through each of them, methodically removing the magic and trying not to be disappointed with each lessening of scent in the room, he thought that it was a shame Malfoy’d once gone to all this trouble to fuck with Harry and Harry’d never fallen into any of his traps.
At the bottom of the bag, Harry found a magical travel magazine. On the cover was a picture of a rocky beach. Visit Vibrant La Jolla Cove!
If Malfoy’s magic could be seen as well as smelled, it would look like that beach.
Harry didn’t need to read the Prophet to know that this was where Malfoy lived now.
“What’s up your arse today?”
“The problem is what isn’t up it,” Harry said, causing Ron to cringe. Harry ignored him. “Where’s Malfoy?”
“I don’t fucking know, Harry—”
“Where is he, Ron?” Harry repeated, planting his hands on the desk and leaning forwards. Ron rolled his eyes, but did drop his quill and give Harry his attention.
“It was him,” Harry added, softer. “He was the bloke with the Glamour.”
Ron’s eyes widened. He shot a spell at the door and it slammed; Ron’s home-made biscuits-smelling privacy spells followed. Harry winced. Ron’s spells were so sweet that they gave Harry a headache when a lot were used in quick succession. “You slept with Malfoy?” he hissed.
Harry straightened, crossing his arms over his chest. “Well I didn’t know it was him at the time, did I? I only just found out now. I de-cursed his bedroom.”
“Ohh,” Ron said. He leaned back in his chair. “Well, he went home, so you don’t have to worry about him trawling your Muggle bar any more.”
Harry froze. “Home where? The Manor?”
“Nah,” Ron said. “Other place, where they do all that surfing and stuff. Came in the other day and said he didn’t want the Manor after all.”
“Why the fuck did I still have to de-curse it then?”
“‘Cause the Ministry wants it, pillock. He donated it to be used for a new programme Kingsley’s thinking about—letting some of the less dangerous criminals out of Azkaban early and trying to rehabilitate them.”
Harry thought of all the photographs of his friends, of that magazine with La Jolla Cove on the cover, and wondered how Malfoy could walk away from it all. But really, he knew: he’d walked away from it ten years ago when the Ministry exiled him and his parents from Britain. Harry wasn’t sure he would want to come back either.
“Give me his address.”
“Harry, you know I can’t—
“Give me his address, Ron,” Harry repeated. Ron sighed, but in the end, he slid a piece of parchment with a scribbled address over to Harry, and that was all that really mattered.
8212 Cove View Place, La Jolla, San Diego, California, the Magically-United States
There were no evil wards around this manor—well, perhaps not a manor, as it seemed to be in line with the other houses on this magical street, but it was nearly as large as Malfoy Manor anyway. Much more inviting, Harry noted, with pristine white stucco and a Spanish tile roof. There were two coconut palms on either side of the drive. Exiled or not, the Malfoys certainly weren’t wanting for much. Harry had to give the evil fuck credit: Lucius Malfoy had been prescient enough to move most of his money into Swiss and Caribbean bank accounts—both wizarding and Muggle—before the end of the war. Harry remembered Ron ranting about that for months after the Ministry realised it had exiled the lot of them into a ten-year holiday.
The wards prickled at Harry curiously as he stepped onto the drive, but let him through without a password.
Harry tapped his wand to the doorbell and waited. After a long moment, it opened to reveal a rather tanned house-elf wearing a cream linen toga.
“How may Sandy help you?” she asked—she had an American accent and now, finally, Harry recognised the widened vowels and sanded-down consonants he’d heard in Malfoy’s unusual accent.
“I’m here to see Draco Malfoy.”
“Sandy apologises, but Master Draco is out today. Might Sandy take your card for Master Draco?”
Harry frowned. “Could I speak to Narcissa then, perhaps?”
“Sandy—again—apologises, but all of the Masters are at Blacks Beach today for Master Draco’s competition. Might Sandy take—?”
“What competition?” Harry asked.
The house-elf narrowed her eyes, visibly annoyed. “Master Draco’s surfing competition. Sandy has not gotten your name, sir?”
“Harry Potter,” he said. Her eyes neither widened nor narrowed. It seemed, amazingly enough, that she had no fucking idea who he was at all, and for a moment, Harry could only blink, waiting for the reaction that never came. Merlin, what would it be like to be able to go to the market, or get a haircut, or pull a fit bloke without needing a Glamour? The possibilities…
Harry cleared his throat. “Could you tell me how to get there?”
“There is an Apparition Point in the third life-guard stand. It is the one with a broken door.”
“I’ve, er, never seen that,” Harry said.
She sighed. “Then you will have to take the long way. It is fifteen minutes by Muggle car then another ten getting down the cliffs, if you don’t fall.”
That didn’t sound…incredibly safe. But Harry wasn’t known for safe so it worked out. “I don’t suppose you’d call me a cab? And—Merlin, I don’t have any American money. Where can I…?”
“Sandy wonders how Mr Potter has managed to live so long being so dependent,” she observed, turning back inside to, Harry hoped, call him a cab. “Follow Sandy to the receiving room, please.”
Sandy returned a moment later with a number of banknotes that she exchanged with him for galleons—Harry was positive he was being robbed on the exchange rate—and a comment that the taxi would be there shortly.
He took the opportunity to check out all of the Malfoys’ things. There wasn’t anything cursed in this house that he immediately saw, but he was sure something somewhere would at least take off a finger. The scent of Malfoy’s magic was soft but everywhere. He wondered if this was what Malfoy Manor smelled like before Voldemort lived in it.
Was Malfoy really out there, doing that?
He got closer to the shore, coming to stand next to a tall, tanned man with a long blond plait. He scanned the water, looking for Malfoy’s tell-tale hair but they were too far out to see clearly—especially with Harry’s eyesight. Another big wave rolled in and two of the bobbing surfers took it, pulling themselves up and riding in. It grew bigger as they approached the shore and one of the surfers swerved sideways, sliding inside the pipe it created when the wave crested and broke.
Harry tried to imagine how long he’d need to train to have that kind of core strength, and was afraid of the answer. The surfer came out the other side of the wave, still standing, his legs swinging up almost parallel with the earth as the board travelled up the wave and still he managed to stay standing.
“Yes!” said the man. “Darling, did you see?”
Harry tensed. Something was familiar about—
“I saw, dear,” said the woman next to him, reclining on a wooden lounge chair. She had on a wide-brimmed straw hat and nothing else. Harry turned his face away quickly, flushing.
The man turned to Harry, beaming, and said, “That’s my son! He’s in first place.” Then his eyes trailed up to the scar on Harry’s forehead and he took a step back. “Potter.”
Harry’s eyes widened. “Fuck,” he said. Because he couldn’t think of anything else. At this, Narcissa looked up enough that he could see her face beneath the brim of her hat, and she smiled at him as if he were just round for tea and everything was normal instead of them all being on a beach in California and only two of them wearing clothes.
“Narcissa,” Lucius hissed. “Put something on.”
“It’s only Potter, dear,” she said, standing. She held her hand out for Harry and he kissed it awkwardly. Then he wondered if he should’ve shaken it instead. They weren’t in Wiltshire, after all.
Oh my god, Harry thought. “Mrs Malfoy,” he instead said. He kept his eyes firmly fixed on her face, which she appeared to find incredibly amusing.
“To what do we owe the pleasure?”
Harry cleared his throat. “I’ve come to see Draco.”
Both of them narrowed their eyes. “Draco has served his time. His exile is up. What business could the Ministry have with him?” asked Lucius.
“I don’t believe Mr Potter works for the Ministry, dear,” Narcissa said, eyes raking over Harry’s body. “He’s too fit.”
Lucius followed her gaze. He scowled and his eyes snapped back up to Harry’s. “Then, one wonders, what business could you have with my son?”
“No business of yours,” Harry said and turned back to watch Malfoy exiting the water.
Merlin, Malfoy can wear a wetsuit, Harry thought.
“I assure you, Mr Potter, my son is my business and you will—”
He glared at Lucius, and said, “Alright, Malfoy. If you must know, we illicitly liaised last week wearing Glamours and I’ve only just this afternoon found out it was Draco. I bribed my best friend Deputy Head Auror Weasley into giving me your address and came straight here. Now I plan on asking Draco to dinner tonight. Did you want to come along so you can chaperone or would you rather I give you a play-by-play when I bring him home tomorrow morning? If you come, you’ll have to pay for yourself. I’m only buying for Draco.”
Lucius gaped at him. Narcissa did not look incredibly pleased, but she wasn’t glaring at him, so.
“I can pay for my own dinner.”
Harry’s heart leapt in his throat. Suddenly, all this rashness seemed like a very stupid idea. He masked it as best he could, grinned at Lucius, and slowly turned around. Malfoy stood there, looking annoyed with all of them but perfectly delicious anyway. His pale hair was plastered to his head and his wetsuit was scandalously tight. Harry could get used to seeing this sort of thing on the regular.
“Hi,” said Harry, flushing. Malfoy gave him a half-amused, half-exasperated look, and Harry wondered if he was going to bolt again. He hurried to add, “I thought maybe you wouldn’t run off this time if I knew who you were, too. And you did say I should see where you live for myself sometime.”
Narcissa inhaled sharply, and Malfoy turned to look at her before immediately turning away again. Malfoy said, “Mother, please.”
“Yes, all right dear,” Narcissa said huffily. She Summoned a mint green sarong from her beach bag and wrapped it expertly over herself. “It isn’t as though you didn’t see it all coming out or nursing afterwards,” she added pointedly.
Malfoy rolled his eyes at this and returned his attention to Harry. “You realise you’ve just outed me to my parents.”
Harry’s eyes widened. “I didn’t—”
“Really, Draco,” said Lucius.
“As if, darling,” Narcissa added. She picked up a Nora Roberts and began reading. “It’s simply that it’s not every day Harry Potter attempts a fumbling courtship of one’s son.”
This time, Draco’s eyes widened. He looked from one parent to the other but Lucius, too, was otherwise occupied by this point. He’d taken the lounge chair next to Narcissa’s and was digging through a magically-expanded bag for something.
God, this is surreal, Harry thought as Lucius pulled out a bottle of microbrewed beer, his eyes fixed determinedly on the water as the next round of surfers chose their waves.
Malfoy, still stunned, turned back to Harry. “How?”
Harry grinned. “Your magic, idiot.”
“But how did you know it was mine?”
“Ron gave your case to me. I was de-cursing the Manor while you were there, and when I got to your bedroom, your magic was everywhere.”
This made Malfoy blush, which looked rather fetching with his tanned skin. “Were, ah, my school things still there—?”
“You mean that quill that would’ve turned all my clothes invisible?”
At this, Malfoy blushed even harder. “We were all fifteen once, Potter.”
“Yes, but I wasn’t trying to trick other blokes into showing me their bits when I was fifteen. Something you’d like to tell me, Malfoy?”
Malfoy scowled. “I think I told you well enough last week.” He crossed his arms over his chest—his very tanned arms. A splash of colour caught Harry’s attention and he couldn’t resist reaching out and pulling Malfoy’s left arm to him. The Dark Mark was entirely tattooed over with pink and white hibiscus flowers covering his entire forearm.
“Why did you Glamour over this?” Harry asked. He trailed his finger over the smooth skin, marvelling at the goose pimples that rose in its wake.
Malfoy shrugged, pulling his arm back. “Paranoia. You can still see it a little bit, if you’re looking for it.” He turned his arm out to Harry to show him. The outline was masterfully camouflaged by the hibiscus petals, but yes, there was a greyness to some of them if one knew to look.
Harry met his eyes. “Come to dinner with me.”
Malfoy smirked. “What’s in it for me?”
Harry felt his neck prickling and turned to look over his shoulder. Both Malfoys were watching avidly. Harry narrowed his eyes and erected a Muffliato before pointedly turning back to Draco. “I’ll let you fuck me.”
“I can get a fuck anywhere,” Malfoy said, but he was smiling.
“But could you get one from someone who thinks you’re perfect for them?”
Malfoy scrunched his nose. “If I say yes to dinner, are you always going to be this annoyingly sappy?”
“Probably,” Harry said, considering. “Also, have I told you that I really like this place? No one’s recognised me at all! And I’m really tired of walking in on Ron and Hermione having sex, so it’s probably about time that I move out anyway.”
“Merlin, fine,” Malfoy said. “But you’re going to have to learn to wear sunscreen if you want me to be seen in public with you. I don’t date people with burns.” He gestured to his father, and Lucius, eyes narrowed, reached into the bottomless bag and retrieved a yellow bottle. He tossed it to Draco, who squeezed some of it onto his fingers and reached out for Harry’s nose.
Harry gasped. He grabbed Draco’s fingers and brought them closer. “This is the smell,” he said. “The one I couldn’t identify in your magic. What’s this fruit?”
Malfoy looked at him incredulously. “It’s not a real fruit. It’s Muggley fake-pineapple.” He turned the bottle for Harry to read: SPF 45 Piña Colada scent.
“This is what Muggley fake-pineapple smells like?” Harry asked as Malfoy dabbed it onto his nose and cheeks.
“Have you seriously never smelled sunblock lotion before?”
“No, never,” Harry said. “I’ve never been to the beach before, either.”
Malfoy laughed. “Oh, Potter. We will have such fun, and then one of us will kill the other.”
Harry shrugged, smiling. “Sounds great. I love the feeling of imminent death. When can we start?”
‘Finalists: Fernando Agua-Magia, Ursula Kelpieson, and Draco Malfoy,’ came a Sonoroused voice from the judges’ tent. ‘Please return to the water.’
Malfoy smirked at him, bent to retrieve his surfboard. “Right after I win this.”
I’ve hit that, Harry thought, as he watched Malfoy’s wetsuit-clad bum making its way back into the water. He dove in and Harry had to readjust himself in his chinos as Malfoy began swimming out. Gonna hit it again, he thought, a slow grin coming to his face.
His Muffliato disintegrated with the sharp smell of lightning. Harry jumped, and looked away from the sight with some disappointment. Lucius was glaring at him.
“You will not hurt my son, Potter. We both know this is a threat, not a request.”
“I won’t,” Harry said, though he was thinking, ‘Fuck off, you evil old wanker.’
Lucius nodded. Narcissa turned a page in her Nora Roberts. “He likes the restaurant at the Mer-Caught Fish Market. Perhaps you could take him there.”
Malfoy found his wave. Harry was instantly aroused. He wondered if Bill would be open to considering a branch of Finite in San Diego. Surely there were things to de-curse over here. There were things to de-curse everywhere. As the three finalists exited the water, Harry sat down on the warm sand, getting comfortable. Malfoy was gorgeous in the water. And it was even more satisfying to know that Harry’s inability to keep the lust from his face was annoying the ever-loving shit out of Lucius. Harry smirked at him and returned to watching his wizard win.