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Ten Thousand Reasons Why Not

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"I cannot believe I got roped into this," Harry says, peering into the classroom window only to find that the room – no, the lecture hall – has filled up even more since the last time he checked, which was approximately twenty seconds ago.

"You?" Malfoy sneers. "There are two of us standing here, Potter, or hadn't you noticed?"

Harry swallows, gaze still trained on the rapidly filling seats, and mutters beneath his breath, "I'd noticed."

"Hmm?" Malfoy leans in to hear him better, and Harry rolls his eyes. He steps back from the door leading into the side of the hall and turns to Malfoy standing there and seeming not nearly as freaked out as Harry is about this whole thing.

"What did they say happened to her?" Harry asks. "The witch who normally handles this… stuff?"

"This is an extremely important workplace training, Potter," Malfoy says with a straight face. Harry scrutinises his expression and wonders if he can see it there, hovering, the glimmer of a smirk.

"Fell in the bath."

Harry starts. "Huh?"

"Mathilda Rumswart. She fell in the bath. Broke… well, various bones, I believe."

Harry scoffs. That doesn't seem a legitimate excuse not to show up to work in his opinion.

"Why so nervous, Potter?" Malfoy's voice has lowered slightly. Maybe. Or perhaps that's Harry's imagination too, just like the nonexistent smirk.

"I'm not nervous."

"It's a half hour of your life," Malfoy goes on. "We've been in far more dire situations, you have to agree."

"Of course I agree. We're Aurors. Merlin, I've seen you turned into an eel."

Malfoy raises an eyebrow. "Are you comparing doing a workplace sexual harassment and consent seminar with me to being turned into a fucking eel? Seriously? It's that bad for you, Potter?"

"Piss off." Harry gives Malfoy a look, and Malfoy returns it. Harry fights to keep it from turning to a bit of a smile and fails. Malfoy seems likely to fail in that direction soon as well and turns his attention down the hall, lips quirking as he keeps from smiling back. Though that's not exactly some fabled occurence now that they've been Auror partners for a year. Harry would even hazard to say they get along. He may have laughed at a couple of Malfoy's jokes here and there. Malfoy may have been unable to contain a snort of amusement in Harry's presence, though usually it's still humour at Harry's expense.

It hasn't been actual hell or anything. That's sort of the problem. It's been… maybe, if he's forced to admit it, a little bit… well, good. Sometimes. Malfoy's an above-average Auror it turns out. Once, when Harry was drunk and Ron had been particularly insulting, though in a good-natured way, Harry may even have defended Malfoy to the extent that he'd called the git 'exceptional' at his job. He'd been reeeeally drunk. And that doesn't make them friends. Malfoy, just personally speaking, is still a dick. He's just a dick in different ways than he was before, ways Harry finds he can more easily tolerate.

But this bollocks… this 'workplace harassment seminar'... is a different business altogether. This isn't them going out in the field, catching all manner of dark – or, you know, stupid, drunk, disorderly, varying versions of disrobed, etc. – witch-and-wizardry. This isn't them bringing their intensive Auror training and experience to bear on a case. This is… Well, this is…

Not that.

Harry swallows against how dry his mouth has become and peers through the little window again. "Jesus."

"How many?" Malfoy asks.

"Merlin, thousands?"

Malfoy snorts.

"Okay, fifty maybe?"

Behind him, Malfoy sighs, and Harry turns to see him lean boredly against the wall. He examines his fingernails."You know, you don't have to do this. That's sort of the point, isn't it? That you can say no?" He tilts his head, not looking at Harry. "Do you want to? Say no, Potter?"

Harry firms his jaw. "I didn't say that."

"So you're saying… yes then?" Malfoy turns his gaze on Harry, and though it's just that same look, that lifted eyebrow thing he executes to perfection, it feels… different. Like the air is humming with slow-to-dissipate spells. There's something indecipherable in Malfoy's eyes. It's a little like a challenge. A little like… hope? Which is barmy. Harry knows Malfoy doesn't want to be doing this any more than he does. Whatever the look is, though, it makes Harry's insides squirm in a not-altogether-bad way.

Harry huffs a breath. "Yes, I'm saying yes, Malfoy. It's, apparently, my job. Let's just get this dull talk over with and move on with our lives, okay? We've got actual work piling up on our desks."

Malfoy checks his watch and then takes an idle step closer. He blows air into his cheeks and thunks his head back against the wall. He's silent for a moment, and then… "Wouldn't have to be dull."

"What?" Harry asks distractedly. Ten more Auror trainees file into the lecture hall, all laughing together, way more bloody relaxed than Harry could possibly feel under the circumstances. He hates them just a little bit.

Malfoy clears his throat and takes another step closer. He's almost in Harry's personal space now, and the woodsy scent of his cologne assails Harry's senses. "I said," Malfoy's voice lowers slightly, "it wouldn't have to be dull, now would it?"

Harry shrugs. "It was when we went through it. Rumswart's not exactly a scintillating orator. I mean, she just stood up there and read from the manual. Speaking of…" Harry feels his pockets and comes up empty. "Tell me you brought a copy."

Malfoy ignores the urgency of the request and takes one more slow step, so that they're about a foot apart and Harry has to tilt his chin just slightly to keep looking into Malfoy's stupidly one-inch-taller eyes. Fucking git.

"Care to make it more interesting, Potter?"

His mouth is no longer dry, and, in fact, floods with saliva. Harry blinks. "Erm, what?"

Malfoy shrugs, bored smile tilting on his angular face. "Oh I don't know." He looks around the hallway, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning his back against the door they're meant to walk through in about three minutes' time. "We could…" He does a contemplative little chin shrug and then says, off the cuff, "make it more of a demonstration." His gaze falls on Harry.

"Demonstration," Harry parrots in a daze. He feels sure this isn't the word Malfoy really used; his ears are mistaken. There's no reason for his face to be flushing hot with embarrassment. No reason to feel like he wants to flee. Harry doesn't flee. Not ever. Not even when it's the smart thing to do. Maybe especially not then actually. It's sort of a point Hermione's tried fruitlessly to drive home with him on more than one occasion.

Malfoy knocks his head back against the door, looking so disdainful and put-out he ought to have Pansy Parkinson's lap to drop his supercilious head into. A muscle jumps in Harry's jaw.

"You know, whatever," Malfoy says. "Come to think of it, you look too nervous as it is. Maybe we should just stick to the script. I've got the manual right–"

"Let's do it."

Malfoy's surprised face turns rather too sharply, his eyes flaring for a moment before the lids relax once more and he's just his regular composed-as-fuck self. "Yeah?" he asks on a breath. Or not. Harry's own breathing feels a little forced, like his lungs lack their usual capacity, so maybe it's his own ragged exhale he hears.

Harry swallows. "Sure, why not?" Though he can think of ten thousand reasons why not; he just can't say them. Especially not now that Malfoy has insinuated he's too nervous or even, shit, prude maybe, to take him up on whatever elaboration he has in mind for their talk.

"Harry," Malfoy says, and the use of his name has Harry taken slightly aback, like whatever Malfoy's about to say might actually be important. It's not that he never uses it. It's just that Harry can count the times on one hand (and, quite possibly, has committed each instance to memory).

"Yeah?"

"Even if you consent out here," Malfoy says, eyes grown darker as they travel Harry's face slowly, "you can still take it back any time," he gives a lift of his chin toward the door, "in there."

Harry's heart has begun a race with his lungs, and it's an all-out sprint toward his temples. But he tries to look like he understands the conversation thus far, like it's normal. Like he gives consent for Draco Malfoy to demonstrate sexual harassment on him everyday and, you know, no big. And he's pretty sure that's what he's consenting to. He's not an idiot. He's just a Gryffindor. Just because he has the capacity to think things through does not mean he's under any obligation to. Although the thoughts flooding his mind at the moment are… sort of distracting and have a lot to do with Malfoy making passes at him and such.

He may be a Gryffindor, but he's got the curiosity of a Ravenclaw. Or a soon-to-be-dead cat, as it were. He gulps, and a smile spreads over Malfoy's face that has Harry's whole body tensing for fight or flight or… other stuff.

"Scared…" Malfoy licks his lips. "...Potter?"

Gauntlet hurled down, Harry couldn't not say his next words if he were Silencio'd – and gagged. "You fucking wish, Malfoy."

Malfoy smiles then. Really smiles. It's halfway between devious and childlike. Harry's face wants desperately to answer it, and he gives Malfoy a bit of a shove instead, his palms meeting the hard, flat plane of Malfoy's stomach for but a moment and sending him stumbling back into the wall. Malfoy's smile sits stubbornly in place, though his hair has dislodged slightly from its careful coif, and a shiny blond lock of it flicks down into his eyes.

He does not look good like that, Harry thinks.

Fucking shit.

He cannot believe he got roped into this.

***

"Hello," Harry says. "I'm Auror Potter, and this is Auror Malfoy."

It's a good start, Harry feels. Strong. A bit on the obvious side, but that can't be helped. His lips have gone parched once again, and he has to stop himself wringing his hands. He really ought to be better at this. He has been better at this. Granted, he was fifteen at the time, all their lives were in imminent danger, and it had nothing to do with workplace sexual harassment. Or Malfoy, come to think of it. Okay, well, a little had to do with Malfoy, but only in that it always had at least a little to do with Malfoy.

Speak of the devil.

Malfoy's got his hands shoved devil-may-care in the pockets of his Auror trousers, and he looks relaxed as can be, so Harry mirrors the stance and hopes for the best.

Malfoy takes over and introduces the topic, pacing slowly across the small stage and looking out at the room as though he teaches sexual harassment classes on a daily bloody basis. Maybe while Harry had been teaching defence to Dumbledore's Army, Malfoy had been down in the Slytherin common room doing sex ed.

For whatever reason, Malfoy looks utterly unbothered. Harry, on the other hand, is perspiring. He's not sweating yet, thank Merlin, but he can see sweating from here. He itches to draw his wand and cast a Cooling charm but restrains himself. The room is bloody packed. What was supposed to be a small training session for new Auror trainees has clearly caught wind, and as Harry looks around, he sees personnel from practically every floor of the Ministry in attendance. The tossers.

"Now, Harry and I have been working closely with one another for over a year," Malfoy's saying, and the name, again, so easy from his lips this time, has Harry's head swinging toward him so hard he almost injures his neck. There's a soft smile on Malfoy's face, and it could almost be teasing if one looked really close or was quite paranoid.

Harry's looking really close, and he's paranoid as hell.

Malfoy withdraws his hands from his pockets and gestures in a relaxed and confident way as he continues, "It takes a lot of trust, being in the Auror department, knowing your partner has your back just as you have theirs." Malfoy's jaw twitches a little as Harry stares at it in profile – which is when Harry realises he's been staring. He clears his throat and tears his gaze away, though he's still boggling internally at the words coming from Draco Malfoy's slick mouth. "That kind of trust can only be earned, and those of you who are beginning the Auror trainee program this week will start building that trust between you right now."

Harry has the insane urge to laugh. Because a) Harry has never known a group of people more untrustworthy – in a completely nonthreatening sense – than the cohorts with whom he trained as an Auror. You talk about pranks, every iteration of practical joke, the ribbings, the, in a word, harassment that went on between them.

Seriously, two words: Seamus Finnigan.

It really turns this seminar into a bit of an ironic joke. Sort of. It's not like they went around sexually harassing one another after all – not beyond the dick jokes in the men's locker room or the occasional limerick. (Harry's never asked Parvati or Angelina what the women talk about in their locker room. He thinks maybe he and Malfoy should have consulted with, oh, you know, some women before they agreed to do this. Then, Harry thinks, what if Malfoy isn't the most oblivious wanker in the room and actually did consult them? He certainly seems to know what the fuck he's talking about – as Harry stands there like a needless prop.)

Which brings Harry to his second point which is that b) everything Malfoy's saying is also, strangely, true. Harry had just not ever thought that Malfoy defined their working relationship in such terms… with regard to the trust involved. And yet Harry does trust him, and he knows Malfoy feels the same. It just isn't something one says. And here Malfoy is. Saying it.

Harry knows he should be keeping up better, because Malfoy's apparently said something amusing–since the audience is laughing a bit, and Malfoy is smiling in return.

Seriously, what the actual parallel universe hell is happening?

"Auror Potter here," Malfoy continues, and Harry startles a touch, "has consented to showing you, with my assistance, some do's and don'ts of Ministry, and by extension, DMLE workplace behaviour in regard to what is and is not sexual harassment as well as what is and is not consent. Isn't that right, Auror Potter?" Malfoy turns to him, a disturbing light in his eye.

Harry swallows. Malfoy's eyebrow goes up. "Er… yeah… uh-huh."

Malfoy's lips twitch. "And as the demonstration itself requires consent, one of the most important aspects you can learn from it is that consent, even when given, can still be withdrawn at any time. Thus, Harry can withdraw his. Isn't that right?" Malfoy looks at him, his gaze intent, expectant, and somehow a bit lazy all at once.

Harry clears his throat. "Yes, that's right."

"Good," Malfoy says, looking straight into him. "Shall we, Potter?"

Harry's lips part, but no sound issues forth, so he tries again. "Yeah, okay."

"Excellent." Malfoy turns to the audience. "Alright, let's say you run into a coworker in line for sending owl post." He draws his wand, swishes and jabs, and suddenly there's a mock plastic owl on a mock perch behind a replica of the counter where employees deliver post. Harry stops himself snorting in amusement at Malfoy's wacky ingenuity, but only just.

"Potter, we can say you're composing an owl when I arrive," Malfoy tells him, gesturing. When Harry simply stands there, Malfoy rolls his eyes, flicks his wand again, and a parchment and quill appear on the counter.

Harry gives him a lingering look but then turns to his task of, apparently, composing a letter. He picks up the quill and, feeling supremely stupid, starts making scribbles with it.

"Now, let's say your coworker is looking rather fetching today," Malfoy says, and Harry's quill pauses. "We can even say they're… bent over the counter a bit."

Harry turns disbelieving eyes on him, quill dropped to the countertop. "Are we saying that?" he asks, affronted.

Malfoy shrugs. "Up to you, Potter."

The whole auditorium waits for him to bend over the counter, so… Harry sighs, gives Malfoy a hard look, and then bends a bit, resting his elbows on the counter as he continues to doodle.

"You might be tempted," Malfoy drawls, "to make a comment about your coworker's nice… tight... fit-as-hell arse."

Some titters of laughter go up around the room, and Harry's cheeks – the ones on his face – heat.

"Is this a proper thing to say to one's coworker in line for sending post?"

"No!" the room answers in a happy chorus.

"No, of course not," Malfoy agrees. "But what if their arse is so hot it literally makes you want to bite it?"

The snort is out before Harry can stop it, and he turns a look of utter disbelief over his shoulder at Malfoy. Several people are laughing again, but others are shouting 'no!' as rightfully they should. Malfoy, looking at Harry's blushing face, practically twinkles with delight.

"That is correct," Malfoy says cheekily. "You should never tell your coworker that you want to bite his arse. At least not without his…?" He waits for the answer, hand cupped to his ear.

"Consent!" the room yells.

"That's right," Malfoy says. Merlin, he's really enjoying this. That probably bodes well for it being a memorable seminar. Harry's just not sure he's going to want to remember it. He may opt for the memory charm when all is said and done.

"Okay, but suppose they're not bent over the counter like Potter here," Malfoy starts.

"Oi!" says Harry, straightening.

"Let's say they're just standing there, waiting on their post to be delivered." Malfoy starts to wander over to where Harry now stands upright. "Hello there, Potter," he says, conversationally.

"Malfoy," Harry says, and he can't tell if he's playing his part at the moment or not.

"How was your weekend?" Malfoy asks, and then he briefly lays his hand on Harry's shoulder and gives it a slight squeeze. "Now…" he turns to the audience. "Have I sexually harassed Potter just now?"

A few murmured no's arise from around the room.

"Right, probably not," Malfoy says. "Which isn't to say, though, that randomly touching coworkers is always going to be welcome. So, what are we to do about something like that?" He waits for the hands to go up, and for a moment, Harry just watches, feeling interested himself and a bit unsure of the right answer. Which is probably not the best response from the bloke teaching the class in all honesty, but…

Malfoy calls on a woman near the back.

"Well, it might depend on if we know this person, if we're friends with them, or if they're a stranger, etcetera."

"Yes, excellent point," says Malfoy. "Context probably matters. There's a better chance not only of a close friend having already given implied or even explicit consent – or nonconsent as the case may be – for this type of familiar behaviour, as well as there being more room for error probably too. Let's check with Potter. Potter?"

Harry's lips part, and he slams them closed again. Then when Malfoy doesn't continue, "What?"

"May I touch you on the shoulder in greeting?"

"You just did."

Malfoy rolls his eyes. "I mean outside the confines of this seminar."

"Oh. You mean, just... "

"Yes, 'just'," Malfoy says, and, surprised by the question, Harry feels himself hesitate.

Is he meant to say one particular thing? Is this a teaching moment? What does Malfoy expect at this point?

"Well," Harry hedges, "you never have before."

"Yes, I'm aware of that. I'm asking if that's something you'd allow and be okay with from time to time." Malfoy's jaw stiffens a bit.

"Oh. Well, er, sure." Harry scratches his neck and watches Malfoy's eyes flicker briefly.

"Really?"

"Yeah." Harry shrugs. "I mean, why not?"

Malfoy blinks. He stands there for a brief moment and then says, "Fine. Okay, so there's an example of both consent as well a, um, relationship that's, apparently, familiar enough that this sort of gesture is not altogether unwelcome, so…"

A slight blush colours Malfoy's ridiculously high cheekbones, and he's no longer making direct eye contact as he tucks that piece of hair back a bit. Then the moment is gone, and Malfoy lifts his gaze. "So, part of avoiding accidental workplace harassment is just trying to be aware of it in the first place and abiding by what some have called the 'reasonable person standard'. Not exactly a black and white issue but more of a grey area that we all attempt to understand and work within, and of course, if someone does not want you touching their shoulder, they have every right to say so and have their wishes respected. Now…" He looks at Harry and exhales a sigh. "Do you have anything to add to that, Auror Potter?"

Harry finds himself giving Malfoy a small smile of encouragement. He can't deny he's impressed so far, and he'd not expected to be. "No, I think you've said it all very well," Harry tells him and then registers the half-second of shock that transforms Malfoy's face before a tiny, pleased smile replaces it… and then a bit of a smirk. Harry returns it, and then Malfoy is off and running again.

"On page 7 of your company manuals, you'll find the phrase 'hostile environment' and a discussion of what it means. Included are some examples of what might make work here at the Ministry hostile for those around you as well as the rules regarding reporting and censuring of such conduct."

The rustling of manual pages fills the auditorium, but Malfoy leaves his pocketed and continues. "So," he says, "back to our owl post scenario."

And the tone of his voice sends a shiver of anticipation down Harry's spine. The look in Malfoy's eye, when he turns to Harry again, only adds to the sensation. "Potter, if you'll continue composing your owl?"

Harry shoots him an eyebrow. "Bent over again or...?"

Malfoy's lips twitch. "Not this time – unless you really want to."

Heat flashes over Harry's face, and he resists the urge to shoot two fingers at the arsehole – though his look says as much and Malfoy knows it. Harry turns to the counter and picks up his quill, cursing silently that it quivers a touch in his grasp.

"A hostile environment," Malfoy says, and then there is the sound of his steps coming slowly closer. "Now, here at the Ministry, even behaviour that doesn't rank as severe, pervasive, or of an explicitly sexual nature can be seen and dealt with as harassment. In a nutshell, if you feel skeevy thinking about doing it, just don't."

A titter of laughter bounces around the room at this.

And then, Harry feels him. Close behind. Harry instinctively stills. Malfoy's presence is such a strong and… bothersome thing, like a spell that's been cast but simply hovers at your back rather than striking. He's… loud. And not. Something about Malfoy just standing there, invading Harry's space without touching him, is like dancing between chaos and calm.

"Potter," he murmurs. And it seems like the entire room hushes to try to hear him. Harry subdues his own breath, waiting for whatever's next. Then Malfoy gently lays his hand on Harry's hip, his breath just almost close enough to stir the hair at Harry's nape. Harry stifles a shiver.

"Good weather we're having," Malfoy says, deep and quiet.

"Y-yeah," Harry replies.

Oh fuck.

Malfoy leans just an inch more forward, his lips nearing the shell of Harry's ear, and he asks, "Mind if I borrow that quill?"

Harry tenses, but without waiting for a reply, Malfoy steps even closer, right up against Harry, and reaches around, plucking the quill from Harry's numb fingers. As he does, the hand that rests on his hip slips around and tenderly spans Harry's lower abdomen, pressing in just a bit. Harry's breath hitches hard. Malfoy exhales at the back of his neck, warm and steady.

"That alright?" Malfoy's voice is so low and so close.

Harry doesn't know what he's asking, although it was said softly enough that it can't possibly be him acting for the sake of the seminar. It simply must be his way of checking in with Harry and getting his actual consent for the demonstration. And so it doesn't feel so scandalous… when he hears himself breathe out, "Yes."

But Malfoy tenses slightly behind him. Harry can hear some shifting around in seats as people adjust to the discomfort of what they're watching. Merlin, it's embarrassing. But it's more than that. It's… Harry swallows as Malfoy's hand stays very still on his stomach, and he asks it again. "This is… alright?" more hesitant now, less sure.

And Harry's not at all sure what he's thinking, or if he's thinking about anything at all besides the way Malfoy's pelvis feels pressed against his arse, when again he says, quite low, so only Malfoy will hear him, the answer really no more than a gasp: "Yes."

It becomes clear in the next moment that it's the wrong answer… that Malfoy had very much expected a 'no', that Harry's supposed to say no. That this is a very, very NO kind of teaching moment. And yet here Harry is, with Malfoy close at his back, hand inappropriately low on Harry's stomach (as if it would be appropriate in the least no matter how high it was), and the only word he thought to say, wants to say… the word he feels very strongly about saying, is a humiliatingly avid YES.

The moment after he hears it, Malfoy's breath gasps in through parted lips, the small gust of air raising hairs on the back of Harry's neck, and Malfoy's hand, so briefly, clenches, bunching Harry's tunic in his fingers, his nails raking over the rough cotton.

And it makes Harry's balls throb.

It's everything Harry can do to keep his eyes from rolling shut… from leaning that illicit inch back and right up against the solid heat of Malfoy's body.

Fuuuck.

It's only a second, though. And then Malfoy clears his throat. His palm flattens out, still warm and wrong on Harry's midsection. And bloody hell, he asks it, to Harry's mortification, again. "Is this, Auror Potter, at all okay?"

Harry's face blooms hot. There is a very slight amusement in Malfoy's voice now, as well as a significant hint of warning – but also, strangely, it's not cold, not unkind. It's not unmoved. He presses against Harry from behind, hand still splayed almost possessively against Harry's abdomen, while he waits – third time's the charm – for Harry's reply.

Harry takes a deep breath and answers with efficient volume, "No, Auror Malfoy, it's not."

After which Malfoy immediately backs off, his hand, his breath, his chaotic, calm body moving away.

Malfoy takes a deep breath. He clears his throat again. Harry wants to sag against the stupid counter. The plastic owl stares at him with something akin to mild disgust.

"So, yeah, don't be skeevy," Malfoy sums up on a breath.

Harry wills his cock not to get any harder than it already is – because it is – and sends the counter at his front a moment of profound gratitude.

Malfoy sounds a bit like Harry feels when he stammers, "Any wuh… shit, I mean, sorry no, are there any questions?"

He fields a couple, and it gives Harry time to get his dick under enough control that he turns back around. He sees the muscle in Malfoy's jaw is doing that tetchy jumping thing it does when he's reading over the paperwork for a particularly cumbersome case. He gives a distracted-sounding, though correct reply when asked which department handles sexual harassment claims and then turns toward Harry, blinking blown-pupiled eyes and giving a hard swallow.

It's sort of a strange occurrence, Harry finds himself thinking: to realise he's mad-attracted to Draco Malfoy during a sexual harassment seminar – in which Harry has actively been sexually harassed by him. Doesn't seem right. But he feels like this has been building up… that he's known for some time really and has just been putting off acknowledging it. They're partners, for one. They have to work together. It's not exactly convenient under the circumstances, getting a hard-on for Malfoy. Also, Malfoy's never shown any interest. Although now Harry has to wonder if he was just too dim to notice it. Because Malfoy's looking at him now. And his almost-hooded eyes and freshly licked lips seem to indicate an interest. Ignoring for the moment that this is a demonstration and Malfoy was meant to come on to Harry inappropriately… well, it didn't feel purely academic… Malfoy's breath near his ear, his hand on Harry's hip, its bold slide onto his stomach… Merlin, the way his fingers had balled Harry's Auror tunic into his fist when Harry had said yes.

And now… Well, Malfoy almost always exudes a lofty, nearly arrogant confidence, so even faltering a bit as he has, he still appears quite in control of himself. Though the silence in the hall has now dragged to several seconds as they stare at each other.

Which is when Harry realises they're staring at each other and blurts out, "Quid pro quo."

Malfoy starts a bit. "Excuse me?"

"We haven't touched on that yet," he says and inwardly cringes at his word choice. Touched? Really? "We should, er, give them a few examples of quid quo pro. Don't you think?"

Malfoy's already dark eyes flare; his Adam's apple moves in his throat above the high neck of his perfect uniform. You almost wouldn't know he'd just pressed up against Harry's arse a few moments previous. Malfoy nods, and one corner of his lip slowly lifts in what Harry takes as somehow both devious complicity and dare.

Hermione has tried to talk to Harry about his propensity to take dares, too. One day he really needs to start listening to her.

Without looking away from Harry, Malfoy asks the audience, "So who can tell me what quid pro quo is in this context?"

"Erm," a small voice comes from the front, "that would be when, uh, one party, uh, asks for s-s-sexual, uh…"

"Quid pro quo harassment in the workplace is when a supervisor requires any kind of sexual contact from an employee as a condition of employment," Malfoy says, eyeing Harry briefly before turning his gaze out to the crowd once more, smooth exterior back in place. "This can be used in relation to advancing the employee's career or as a condition for them keeping their job, either one."

A hand goes up from the third row.

"Yes?" Malfoy says.

"Is it ever quid pro quo between two employees of equal standing?"

"No," says Harry, jumping in before Malfoy can answer over him. "That would be just regular harassment. It's not quid pro quo without a power differential, without someone having control over the other's job. So, we're talking Minister to the Head of Magical Law Enforcement, Head of the DMLE to Head Auror, Head Auror to Auror, Auror to trainee, or any variations that fall within the boss/employee relationship."

Malfoy has wandered over near him while he speaks and now mutters, "And without the handbook. Impressive, Potter."

"Fuck off," Harry mutters back without much heat. Or without the proper kind of heat at any rate.

"So," says third-row, interrupting them, "it wouldn't be quid pro quo between you and Auror Malfoy."

"Er, no," Harry answers. "But we'd be happy to role-play some examples for you just the same."

It's innocuous enough. It's what they're here to do. But Harry's breathing goes short and shallow just the same.

"So," Harry says, turning toward Malfoy.

"So," Malfoy answers him, game face properly set.

Harry gets an idea. "We could now say that Auror Malfoy has made some sort of epic blunder and been sent back to training." He shrugs.

Malfoy immediately and predictably scoffs, setting his hands on his hips. And no, he does not look good like that. "Wouldn't you rather be promoted to Head Auror for this, Potter?"

Harry gives this some thought. "I find either scenario equally plausible, so it's really up to you, Malfoy."

Malfoy rolls his eyes then says, "If it's up to me, I'm Head of Magical Law Enforcement."

"I'm Minister," Harry counters, though he truly has no desire for the job.

Malfoy's lips twitch, and after a moment, he ends the stand-off. "Fine, be Head Auror then, whatever."

Their audience snickers some at their back and forth, and Harry feels emboldened, almost giddy. He's also nervous… in that same way he would be on a first date, for Merlin's sake, his stomach fluttering, pulse quickened. He pulls his wand and transfigures Malfoy's owl post counter into a rather nice desk. The owl perch becomes a sumptuous chair, the owl itself turns into his desk blotter. He figures he might as well go all out.

Harry sits in the chair and sighs. "Auror Malfoy, do come into my office. And shut the door behind you, would you?"

"Potter, there's no–"

Harry Summons an empty chair over and transfigures that into a random, free-standing doorway.

Malfoy licks twitching lips and then plays along, walking through and shutting the door. "You wanted to see me… Head Auror Potter?" The title comes out both derisive and amused.

Harry allows himself a genuine smile at Malfoy and then sticks his booted feet up on the desk rudely, crossing one ankle over the other. He crooks his finger at Malfoy, beckoning him closer, and Malfoy takes two more steps so that he's standing just on the other side of Harry's makeshift desk.

"As you may be aware," Harry says, "I'm moving into the Head of Magical Law Enforcement position in a month."

Draco spears him with an arch look. "Is that so."

The crowd gives a laugh, and Harry lifts his eyebrows at Malfoy for a moment, enjoying his 'touché, Potter' expression.

"Yes, and if you play your cards right… I may just recommend you to take my place as Head Auror. Would you like that, Malfoy?"

Malfoy takes a steadying breath. Harry would almost believe he really does want the Head Auror job. He likely does, Harry realises. Why wouldn't he? They've never talked about it… their individual ambitions. Harry thinks he ought to ask him sometime. Malfoy's his partner, for Merlin's sake. They've spent countless hours on stake-outs together, wrestling paperwork until the wee hours, going over the facts of a case and bouncing ideas off each other. Harry finds he wants to know what Malfoy wants, where he sees himself going in his life, if being partnered with Harry is just a brief blip on his career radar on the way someplace better.

He wants to know if they're in some long, drawn-out competition for the same goals in life. Because the last year hasn't felt like a competition, not in any meaningful sense. It's only felt… well, sort of right. Him and Malfoy. Who would have thought?

"Well?" he prompts when Malfoy hesitates. "Do you want it?"

Malfoy's determined gaze meets his own unflinchingly. "Yes. I do."

"Very good," Harry says. "I like your ambition."

Malfoy arches a brow. "Thank you… sir."

Harry inhales a bit too sharply, his hands gripping the arms of his chair. "If you want the position though, Auror Malfoy, you're going to have to go above and beyond… really show me how much you desire it." Harry finds himself saying the words almost in a daze. His body revs to the insinuation, uncaring that it's not real, and his cock plumps just a little against his groin.

The crowd rustles a bit with where this is headed, and Harry knows he should probably rein it in.

But then Malfoy says silkily, "Whatever I can do to secure the promotion, sir."

And bugger it, that second sir has Harry's heart pounding. He drops one foot and then the other down to the floor, pushing his chair back from the desk and spreading his knees just slightly. Distantly, in some muted part of his brain Harry barely heeds, alarm bells start to go off. But Malfoy's gaze remains trained on his, and Harry can't look away… can't think when Malfoy's staring at him like that with eyes so deep, the silver around the black roiling, like spilled mercury. Almost in a trance, Harry moves his hand from the arm of the chair, resting it just above his belt. Malfoy's lashes flutter slightly. Arousal floods Harry's veins.

"Auror Malfoy," he says, voice dropped lower than he'd intended.

Malfoy swallows. "Yes?"

Harry moves his hand an almost imperceptible inch lower, fingers barely brushing the buckle of his belt. Malfoy's gaze drops immediately to the motion. His eyes go hooded, his lips parting, then his gaze lifts to Harry's face again. Harry's whole body responds to the look on Malfoy's face, which most closely resembles, if Harry lets himself acknowledge it, yearning.

A throat clears somewhere far away. Harry blinks.

Crap.

Abruptly, he sits up straighter, hand going back to the armrest. His heart is suddenly pounding as though he's had a fright. Malfoy places a palm flat on the desk, a flush stealing onto his cheeks.

Harry exhales hard, the back of his neck blazing hot.

"Right," Malfoy says. And again, breathing it, "Right. As you can plainly see, your boss asking for… what I think we can all rightly assume was going to be oral gratification?" He gives Harry an all too brief but pointed look and then turns back to the audience. "Well, that's grounds for an immediate sacking as well as a visit to the Wizengamot." He takes a deep breath. "Now if there aren't any further questions I believe our time is up."

There's some confused applause, as though this is some play he and Malfoy have semi-successfully put on. Manuals are stuffed into bags or tucked under arms, and people murmur to one another as they disperse.

Malfoy's eyes find Harry's for a moment, and something intense passes between them that Harry isn't sure how to define. He only knows that it makes his already interested dick all the more curious.

Malfoy turns to exit, and Harry rises from his chair, nearly knocking it over before flicking his wand and Vanishing it along with the remainder of their props. Malfoy's tense back retreats quickly through the door, and Harry hurries to catch up. Malfoy strides down the hall, turning a corner on his way back to their office, and Harry finally steps alongside him.

Their arms brush. Harry can feel how wound tight Malfoy is next to him, and his own body responds almost urgently to the bristling magic set off just from the errant touch, just from the way Malfoy's breathing.

Harry clears his throat. "That was…"

"Broom cupboard?"

"Yep."

Then Malfoy's jerking open the door, they're slipping inside together, and Malfoy immediately presses Harry back against the door in the dark. His hands shake as he roughly unfastens the buttons on Harry's tunic. Harry fumbles for his wand and swishes out a couple privacy charms before dropping it with a clatter and working on Malfoy's clothes.

"Merlin, you're a wanker," Harry says.

"You're worse," Malfoy answers.

And then, oh fuck, they're kissing. Kissing. Open mouths and tongues touching, and Harry's hands are inside Malfoy's tunic, finding the hem of his shirt, dipping under and sliding onto his hot skin. The muscles of Malfoy's stomach twitch at Harry's touch. Harry finds a skinny line of hair beneath Malfoy's navel and runs his thumbs over it. Malfoy moans into his mouth, pressing his tongue against Harry's hard. Harry changes the angle, sinking his teeth into Malfoy's lip.

"Fuck you," Malfoy growls, ripping into Harry's trousers.

"No time," Harry says. And that makes Malfoy growl again – which Harry finds he really bloody likes.

"Say it," Malfoy urges, yanking Harry's trousers to mid-thigh.

"Say what?"

Harry's boxer-briefs follow his trousers, and he gasps when his cock, hard but heavy, falls free. "You know what," Malfoy says, crowding him against the door, his lips at Harry's ear, thigh trapping Harry's cock between their bodies, hands tight on Harry's hips. "What you didn't say in there."

"Oh," Harry says, thumbs brushing through that line of hair again. Malfoy's teeth find his neck and graze, hard. Harry balls his hand in Malfoy's shirt and jerks on it, his lips at Malfoy's ear. "Get on your knees and suck my cock."

Malfoy moans against his bobbing throat. Then he leans out and gives Harry a filthy as fuck smirk as he sinks to the ground at his feet.

Malfoy leans in and presses his face to Harry's cock, rubs his cheek against it. It feels fucking crazy good, but Harry grits out, "No bloody time for that," and on a low laugh that makes Harry's cock throb, Malfoy takes him in hand, strokes a couple of glorious times, his gaze blinking up sweetly to meet Harry's, and then he lowers his head, his hair falling over his face as he sucks the head of Harry's cock into his mouth and hollows his cheeks around it.

"Fucking… god," Harry gets out, his head thudding back into the door, hair getting even more mussed than usual as he turns his head, squeezing his eyes shut tight. His hand finds Malfoy's head, fingers gently carding into the soft tresses of his hair. Malfoy hums as he takes Harry a little deeper, only pulling back to suck underneath the head and then lick over, almost into, the slit, teasing it with a quick little pointed tongue, drawing out the pre-come and then lapping it up.

Then he goes down on Harry again, more earnestly, and Harry watches, his eyes having adjusted to the dark, as Malfoy takes slow, wet passes at his dick, until Harry feels himself gently touch Malfoy's soft palate again and again. It's the most brutally sensual blow job Harry's ever received. Malfoy seems to know just exactly how good it can get without actually making Harry come in his mouth. Harry whines in the most blissful sort of distress, and Malfoy blinks his gaze up briefly, a cheeky little smile lighting his eyes. He then cups Harry's balls in his hand and sucks his cock so sweetly Harry aches.

Harry smooths his hand over Malfoy's head and then cups it, beginning to roll his hips to meet the indecent stretch of Malfoy's mouth. Malfoy hums again in pleasure, tugs a little on Harry's bollocks even as they start to tighten, and he goes a little quicker, Harry's cock rubbing off on his tongue and between his wet lips.

"So close…" Harry whispers, his head dropping back as he humps Malfoy's face.

To his complete frustration, Malfoy sucks off him completely and murmurs, "Turn around."

"What?" It's difficult to hear words and make sense of them with his cock twitching against Malfoy's lips.

Malfoy kisses the shaft tenderly. "Turn around and face the door." He's loosening his own belt, pulling it free of his trousers with a titillating thwap sound. At Harry's hesitation, Malfoy elaborates. "Not going to fuck you, Harry," he murmurs, lips caressing the crown with every syllable. "Just want to get off up against that hot arse." He fumbles his trousers open, unzipping.

"Fuck," Harry breathes. "Alright." He turns to face the door, cock bouncing ludicrously, Malfoy's spit shining all over it in the low light that creeps in beneath the door.

Malfoy stays on his knees for a moment more though. He takes Harry's bum in his hands and massages it. "How dare you have an arse like this?" he says almost wistfully. Then he leans forward and sinks his teeth into Harry's flesh with a groan.

Harry gasps, but it's a good sort of sting. And Merlin, he really, really likes how Malfoy's hands feel squeezing him, parting his cheeks, running his thumbs up the crease, then giving him a slap, the sound sharp and giddy through the room. But then, with one last playful nip, Malfoy's standing. He whispers a charm, and the crack of Harry's arse goes obscenely slick. When Malfoy steps in close behind him, Harry feels just how hard he is. Merlin, what a high… that he's done this to Malfoy – maybe not even for the first, and hopefully not for the last time. Malfoy fits himself between Harry's cheeks with a little grunt. Then his hand slips around front and wraps around Harry's messy cock, and he starts wanking him off.

Malfoy's hips thrust, his hard cock slipping between Harry's cheeks, right over his anus, and fuck that's good. Almost as good as Malfoy's fist flying over his cock. Harry moves with him, pressing a hand to the door, his other reaching back and grabbing for what he can, curling around Malfoy's tensing thigh. Their harsh breaths fill the tight space.

"Potter," Malfoy gasps, lips on his neck. "Potter, I'm going to come all over you."

Harry whines, a desperate sort of keening sound as his balls draw up and the head of his cock pops out above Malfoy's fist repeatedly, red and shining and ready.

"Harry, I'm going to come." And it's the neediness that's crept into his voice that brings Harry off, that has him spilling into Malfoy's hand, shooting ropes of come onto the cupboard door. Malfoy makes a choked sound, his breath hot and hard on Harry neck, and Harry feels the first shot of his come erupt at the crevice of his arse, dripping down. "Oh God," Malfoy breathes. And his hand releases Harry's now barely twitching cock to press – just like before – against his stomach, low and intimate, while he thrusts against Harry and comes.

Malfoy's head drops onto Harry's shoulder, and he wilts a little, panting. "Fuck."

Harry likes how Malfoy's thigh feels in his hand, but he lets it slip off, both forearms pressing tiredly to the door now. Malfoy breathes against him a moment more and then eases his sticky cock out of Harry's stickier crevice. With a thought, Harry's wand flies back into his hand, and he flicks a wordless cleaning charm.

"Show off," Malfoy grouses, though he says it like a friend might, rather than like an arsehole.

"What?" Harry asks, pulling up his pants and trousers and beginning to get them fastened. He looks over his shoulder at Malfoy's scoff and sees a smirk.

"Wandless and wordless? Christ." Malfoy shakes his head, tucking his shirt into his trousers and then scooping up his belt and rethreading it. The sight of Malfoy putting his clothes back on should certainly not be so hot.

"You do it too," Harry reminds him.

"I have to work at it, Harry."

Harry decides it's nice, the sound of his name on Malfoy's tongue. Really nice. Especially when it's followed by 'I'm going to come' of course.

"You'll make Head Auror in under five years, mark my words."

"What are you on about?" Harry says, buttoning his tunic. But the idea that Malfoy has clearly thought about this is both unnerving and… a huge compliment. Something in Harry's chest warms, making it harder, but more pleasant, to breathe.

"You know it's going to happen," Malfoy says. "And blast if you won't deserve it too." He shakes his head, eyes on his tunic buttons. Then he shoots a smirk Harry's way. "Don't look so stunned. I'm your partner. I've seen upclose how good you are." Then, as though he can't help it, his gaze drifts down Harry's body and back up, and a mischievous glint appears in his eye.

Harry snorts at the double entendre, but he has a feeling he's probably blushing too. "Well, I may have just killed my chances in that seminar." And though it's not funny, he finds himself snorting with amusement again.

"Not a chance," Malfoy says. "The crowd loved it. I mean, it's reprimand material at the very most, Potter."

"You don't think we'll get sacked for the most inappropriate sexual harassment seminar in Ministry history?"

Malfoy pulls a face. "No way. For this, though," he says, indicating their broom cupboard tryst.

"Merlin," Harry says, trying to stifle a laugh and failing. "You're a horrible influence, you know that?"

"I'm not the one who requested a blow job in front of fifty people," Malfoy says, smoothing his hair back.

"I didn't actually. Couldn't quite bring myself to say it. And you were the one who started this whole thing, Malfoy."

"Draco."

"What?"

"You can call me Draco," Malfoy says, his voice just a little too soft to still be considered conversational. Then he shoots a smile over. "At least when we're doing it in a broom cupboard."

Harry's body thrums at Malfoy's words, and he can't quite bring himself to feel bad about the heady sense of pleasure he gets from Malfoy talking about them 'doing it'. He leans against the door and summons a bit of courage. "What about when I ask you out for a pint after work? Can I call you Draco then too maybe?"

"When you're asking or when we're out for a pint?" Malfoy takes two steps that bring him within half a foot of pressing up against Harry again.

"Whatever you'll consent to." Harry shrugs, his hands in his trouser pockets.

Malfoy leans in a bit more, his gaze now on Harry's mouth. "I sucked your dick. My guess is I'll probably consent to you using my first name in any number of other related scenarios."

"Draco, would you want to have a pint with me after work and maybe come to mine after so that I can say your name while you're fucking me?"

"That's remarkably specific."

"You can withdraw consent anytime," Harry reminds him.

Malfoy smiles. "May I kiss you in this broom cupboard, Harry?" His finger has already latched its way into one of Harry's belt loops.

Harry tilts his head, his eyes falling closed.

"Yes."