It’s been a long day, what with the accidental possible-poisoning and the Mediwitches hovering over you and Robards telling you off for being careless on the site again, and you feel like just having a lager and a long wank when you get home. The wards chime as they let you in, the smell of sauteeing garlic hitting you as you take off your cloak. You smile and your stomach rumbles in anticipation. It’s a lucky thing that Draco likes to cook.
You have to call him Malfoy, you remind yourself. He flinches when you use his given name.
The last couple of months have been rather a rollercoaster, but it all seems to be going nicely now. Draco—Malfoy, rather—cooks most of the time. On other nights, you order takeaway for Floo-delivery, and you usually play a few rounds of chess after dinner or gossip about old classmates or watch something on the magi-telly before heading off to your separate beds.
Who could have guessed that you would make such good flatmates? For years, you’d been dreading Ron and Hermione finally getting hitched and moving out. After the war, during a brief, ill-fated stint at Grimmauld Place, it became clear that you hate living alone, so you’d sold it and moved in with your best friends. But as time went by, all your other friends got themselves married, or buggered off elsewhere. You’re the odd man out, the lone wolf with no partner.
As it so happened, however, the day before the wedding you discovered that Malfoy had finally found a buyer for the Manor. It seemed like fate. The flat had room for his lab, and he didn’t have to worry about trying to find a new house right away while he got his new potions-analysis consulting business going. It’s been a win-win. Even though you couldn’t exactly describe yourselves as ‘friends’ from the get-go, it has worked out brilliantly. For the most part.
The sound of Malfoy singing softly to himself drifts through the kitchen door along with the sound of something sizzling and your stomach rumbles again.
“I can hear you all the way over here,” Malfoy says without turning around. “Cast a silencing charm on that bottomless pit, it’s ruining my appetite.”
You laugh and start setting the table. “You should feel flattered. It’s a compliment to your house-elf skills, you tit.”
“It’s barbaric and uncouth,” he retorts, and you can hear the smile in his voice. It’s been such a surprise, learning that once he feels safe, Draco—Malfoy—can actually take a joke. “What took you so long to get home?”
“I was in the infirmary for awhile. This bloody investigation keeps getting worse.”
Draco looks over his shoulder, an expression of concern on his face as he stirs whatever’s in the cast iron pan. “What happened? You look fine.”
You feel a flush of heat, the aftereffect of the way Draco’s gaze sweeps over you from head to foot. “I feel fine. Mostly. I was testing a phial for curse-traces and accidentally absorbed some potion that spilled out. They cleared me to go when they couldn’t detect anything potentially harmful in the potion.”
“What potion?” Draco has turned around fully now, scowling at you. You’re not fooled, you know he’s worried. He gets this look on his face whenever you come home from an Auror shift with an injury. You rather enjoy it.
“Well, we don’t know,” you say, trying to sound unconcerned. “They didn’t recognize it. But it was nothing poisonous, nothing dark. I’m fine,” you repeat. “I feel fine.” Draco gives you another searching once-over that feels almost like a physical touch, then returns to his pan, cursing under his breath about the ignorance of the Auror Department.
“What’s for dinner?” you ask, walking to the range to peer over Draco’s shoulder. It looks like some kind of tagine and it smells delicious, but Draco’s neck smells even more delicious, somehow. You give it a lingering kiss, your nose buried in the short hairs just behind his ear, and Draco stiffens against you.
“Oh fuck,” you say, and back away. You can’t believe you did that. You didn’t mean to do that.
“Fuck!” Draco slides out from between you and the range, whirling around with a hand on the back of his neck where you’d just planted your mouth. “What was that?”
He stands and stares at you, and you’ve got nothing. There’s no explanation. You hold your hands out to the side, fingers spread wide, probably gaping like a fish at your own stupidity.
“Oh fuck, Potter. Oh fuck, fuck, fuck.”
Okay, so this is a bit insulting, not to say upsetting. Draco looks like he’s about to have a breakdown.
“What?” you say, wanting this situation to just blow over. It was just a little kiss. Not even on the mouth. Now there’s an idea—you find yourself taking a step towards him, and then another, and he plasters himself against the counter. Good, he’ll be nice and braced and you can press up against him, pin him against the counter as you slip your tongue into that gorgeous, sly, mouth. You’re angling your head and his lips are parting...
You reel back as Draco slaps you, hard, across the cheek.
“Potter!” he cries, sounding frantic. “Stop this!”
You stand and gape at him, looking even more idiotic than the first time, you’re sure. What the fuck is going on?
“It was a love potion. It—you were dosed with a love potion. Or a lust potion. Oh Merlin. Oh shit.”
“A lust potion? A love…” your brain stutters to a halt on the word ‘love.’
Draco puts his hands over his face and shakes his head, then turns back to the range to switch the heat off and move the pan away from the hob. “Fucking hell,” he says with his back turned. “Are you... Are you feeling uncontrollably aroused right now?”
You take a breath and close your eyes. Are you? Well, you’re aroused from having had Draco’s skin under your lips a moment ago, his scent in your nose, tantalising and unique and… so yeah, you’ve got a bit of a stiffy. But are you about to jump him? No. No, you don’t think so.
“No. I’m not.. I mean, a little,” and you flush horribly at that admission. Fuck, what the hell is in your system right now? “But I’m—I’ve got it under control.”
“That’s good to know,” Draco says, his chest rising and falling far too fast. He looks wigged out, eyes wide and distrusting, as if you’re about to strike like a poisonous snake. You back away, and he relaxes visibly.
So you keep backing away, until you bump into a chair and sit down on it, heavily. Suddenly the enormity of what’s just happened hits you and you groan.
“Oh my god, Draco,” you say, and flinch. You’ve said his given name again. “Malfoy. I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me. I didn’t mean to.” That’s a lie; it’s not like you didn’t want to, but you certainly never would have allowed yourself to do it if… if you hadn’t… You cover your face and drop your head to the table with a clunk.
“I know,” Draco says soothingly, his voice still shaky. “I know you didn’t. It’s not you, it’s the potion.” He stands there for a moment while you replay the kiss over and over in your mind. Your stiffy is graduating from a “bit of one” to a “full-on one,” so you force yourself to remember the time you made out with Ginny and realised it was like kissing a sibling.
Meanwhile, Draco has gone back to puttering around the kitchen, muttering under his breath. After a minute or so, he turns to you and says, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself, you berk, and tell me why those arseholes at the infirmary didn’t send you to St. Mungos.”
“Because if it is a love potion, it’s a new one that no one knows about yet, so there wouldn’t be an antidote to administer.” Draco crosses his arms and nods at this, and you go back to resting your head on the table, because it’s easier to deal with this if you can’t see him. You can hear him, though, and he’s pacing and moving things on the counter in an increasingly agitated way. Your stomach tenses.
“Fuck!” he suddenly bursts out. “Potter, give me your arm.”
You look up to see Draco—Malfoy, damn it—looming over the table and reaching for your arm, an expression of terrifying determination on his lovely face. He takes your arm, and you offer no resistance. His wand tip presses against the vein in the tender crook of your elbow.
“This might hurt a little,” he says distractedly, his entire focus on his wand as, with a nearly subvocal spell, the skin parts to reveal a hole through which a thin stream of blood floats up and into a vial that Draco holds in his other hand. Once it’s stoppered, Draco presses his fingers against the tiny hole in your skin and murmurs Episkey. Your eyes flutter shut at the gentle contact. “That feels nice,” you say.
Draco pulls his hand away as if your skin has somehow burned him. He laughs awkwardly. “You like getting holes poked in you?”
You shake your head. “No, the feel of your magic on my skin,” you clarify. His cheeks flush and he swallows back some kind of retort.
“I’m going to take this to my lab and analyse the fuck out of it, Potter,” he says as he picks up the vial of your blood and walks towards the door. “I’m not surprised in the least that those idiots at the DMLE can’t figure it out, but I’m going to get to the bottom of this. We’ll get you sorted.”
You nod, distracted by the way the light plays on the fine blond strands of his hair. It has somehow gotten mussed and you want to run your fingers through it, but he’s standing too far away. So you get up and walk towards him, and he stands there waiting for you, tracking your movement with wide eyes. As you reach out to smooth his flyaways, though, he flinches.
“Woah, alright,” he says and steps back, hands in front of him. “We’re going to have to set some rules.”
A pang goes through you. Fuck. You’re upsetting him. You have to stop doing that. But all your impulses feel so right! It’s almost the way Felix Felicis felt, lighting up your insides with glowing certainty. Your hand drops to your side. “Sorry about that,” you mutter.
Draco’s face tightens. “It’s—it’s fine. No worries. But, er, you know, it’s not. We’re not—we can’t—” he breaks off, his skin having turned a magnificent shade of magenta.
“No. I know. It’s… it wouldn’t be consensual.” You can’t expect Draco to just put up with your suddenly wandering hands. He’s never given a sign that he returns your interest. To be fair, up until about half an hour ago, you’d been suppressing those signs yourself. Pretty well, you think, given the strength of your attraction and how often you’ve fantasized about being, well, more than just flatmates.
Feelings which are clearly not returned, judging by how horrified Draco is at the moment.
What a nightmare.
“I should just turn in. I’ll do better tomorrow. You know, I’ll just...keep my distance. And you’ll…”
Draco nods vigorously. “Yeah. I’ll get your blood sample going tonight, I’ve got a raft of diagnostic spells I’ve been refining. Shouldn’t take more than, er. A fortnight. Or so. Maybe less, depending on what the ingredients turn out to be.”
A fortnight of this? Of not being able to stop yourself giving in to every desire you have to touch Draco, kiss him, stroke his pale skin, take him in your arms… Before you know it, you’re moving towards him again and he’s stopping you with his arms outstretched. You grimace and your gut burns with shame.
Once again, you back away, this time not stopping until you’re on the opposite side of the room. “I’m sorry about this; really, really sorry.” You genuinely would like to Banish yourself to another dimension.
“It’s not your fault,” Draco says miserably. “Only… I might, er, put a ward on my door tonight. No offense.”
“None taken. It’s a good idea.” And with that, you turn and go to your bedroom, not having eaten any dinner. Doesn’t matter, you feel sick to your stomach anyway.
Sleep doesn’t come for a long time.