“Draco, you have GOT to see this,” Artie called from his desk two cubicles over. Draco sighed and stood up, pushing his glasses up his nose with his middle finger and wishing there weren’t monitoring spells set so he could flip off the world more obviously.
“You aren’t this incompetent, Art. What do you need my help for? You’re grammar-checking this shit before I file it. It’s not half as hard as trying to figure out which letter to file the damn things under…” When he saw the name on the report Art was looking at, Draco gasped . He couldn’t believe his eyes.
“I know right, mate?” Artie’s hushed voice was filled with an awed kind of horror. “That’s eleven in two weeks. He’s got to have less sense than Martin. I don’t get how they can stomach letting him into the field.”
“He… he…” Shaking slightly from his growing rage, Draco snatched the report out of Art’s hands. “Harry Potter is as dense as a doornail! All he’s got is that Merlin-forsaken scar, a little war experience, and his fucking lineage, and they let him get away with shit like this! How disrespectful can you be?! The Aurors have arrested Eli seventeen times this year, and it’s not a tough name to begin with! How little attention is he paying to really spell it E-e-l-e-y-e? How does he come up with this?
“And the--the disrespect to the Ministry! No one likes filling out reports, but it’s just as important to record what each department does as it is for them to do it!” Artie nodded solemnly, shoving some chips into his mouth and thumping the copy of Federal Faults and Failures to Forego in the Future he always left sitting on his desk. The two had bonded over the ‘Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it’ plaque Draco proudly hung above his desk; when everyone in the Ministry called them nerds, they weren’t entirely wrong.
“Everyone else in the Ministry is on a strict three warnings system! One alert from us and The Department of Transference of Ministry-Related Entities watches you more closely; two, and it shows on your record; and three results in a suspension! But how many times has the Saviour gotten a warning, with no further consequences?”
“I lost count last year, to be honest with ya. It’s over a hundred though, by now.”
Draco froze. “It’s over what ?”
Popping some more chips into his mouth, Artie replied, “When it comes to your complaints about ‘Potter’ showing off his ass every time he comes into a room, and leaving his hair in an unprofessional state, and only being so popular because he’s a wet dream of an Alpha, I’m with everyone else in the opinion that you’re obsessed and being ridiculous. But Auror Potter’s reports really are as bad as you claim. I’ve started assigning a whole stack of papers on my desk to him. I don’t think he’s filled out a form right since you’ve been working with me.”
Horror pooled in Draco’s heart. “This… this is beyond unacceptable .” Artie nodded and was about to say something else lamenting Potter’s paperwork when he saw Draco’s expression and realized: he had a Code Red.
“Woah, woah, woah.” Art hopped up to stand in between Draco and the door. Draco continued to blankly stare off into the distance. “We’ve already filed with The Department for Complaints About the Belligerent Disregard of Notices , mate. He’s just gonna be an exception. A bit of extra work isn’t too bad! I mean, really! The Minister would probably step in personally to grant him amnesty if he murdered someone. In fact, weren’t we just talking about how he technically murdered You-Know-Who last Friday with Meg? No one cares! He’s just gonna get away with stuff!”
“I will not accept that,” Draco hissed.
“Draco yes .”
Artie’s attempts to block the door failed because nothing could withstand the weight of Draco’s death stare. He hopped to one side as Draco stalked out.
If no one else would do anything about Potter, he’d have to do it himself.
“Good morning, Harry!”
“Ah, good morning chap! You’re doing well, no doubt?”
“Look! It’s Auror Potter! He’s so…”
“Hullo, Auror Potter!”
Harry sighed in relief and turned toward Ron’s voice. His office wasn’t particularly far from the Auror-level Ministry floo, but it was far enough away for him to wish he could just Apparate into it. Working with the great Harry Potter never lost any of its prestige, apparently. Of everyone wishing him well every time he walked by, though, he only cared to reply to the people he already knew. Not that anyone seemed to have figured that out yet.
“Rough morning?” Ron asked.
“Always is,” Harry sighed. “What’s the latest on Eli?”
“Oh, he got out, just like always. You had to fill out a stack of forms for nothing.” Ron clapped his shoulder sympathetically. “Hermione may be more frustrated about him than you are, at this point,” he continued. “She’s hoping you can come over for dinner tonight to--unofficially, of course--consult with her on his case. She’s sure he’s a part of something big, just can’t narrow down the options enough to start searching for his name in conspicuous places.”
“Of course, I’ll be there at seven,” Harry replied. “What are you planning to make? You know my vote is always on breakfast foods--”
“POTTER!” a voice snapped, loud enough to draw the eyes of everyone hanging around the Auror offices. Harry and Ron turned, surprised, and saw…
“Mate,” Ron sighed, “did you purposely mess up your forms again ? This is getting pathetic. Just ask the bloke out already, if you’re not gonna get over it.”
“Good morning, Malfoy. Can I help you?”
“You bloody well can! We need to speak about something.”
One glance at Harry’s obviously smitten expression and Ron gave up. “Better get that Alpha of yours under better wraps, mate. It might decide it likes McLaggen next,” he muttered, stepping away to enter his own office.
Harry ignored him and smiled his best, most charming smile at Malfoy. He held the door to his office open for Malfoy and felt his speeding heart slow down a bit when he saw several girls down the hall swooning. He must be playing the considerate Alpha fairly well, then. Hopefully it would be enough… He’d spent months looking like an idiot for this. For one encounter. He had one chance to get Malfoy’s attention.
“Please, sit down!” Harry hung up his outer robes, trying not to be too obvious about flexing his biceps while doing so. The papers frequently waxed on about how good he looked in his Auror uniform, which couldn’t possibly do anything but help him here.
“I’m here about your paperwork, Potter.”
Okay. Deep breath. Okay. No title, that’s good, down to business, that’s one of the aspects of Malfoy’s personality he was most attracted to. Clearly he’d given up on empty flattery after his family lost their fortune in the wake of the war…
“Are you going to sit down and discuss it with me or not? Are you aware you’re riding on your fame to keep your job? Do you really have no problem with that?!”
Merlin, he was so hot when he was passionate about something… even if that something was Harry’s own stupidity…
“Of course I’ll sit, if you’d prefer. I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean about my paperwork, though. Would you mind elaborating?”
Malfoy huffed, rolled his eyes, and bit down on his lip as he pulled out his wand and cast what Harry would assume was a wordless accio . Harry gulped. It was only moments before the forms came speeding into view, but it was long enough for Harry to see his future flashing in front of his eyes again.
“These forms are lengthy and in-depth, and I understand that the occasional mistake can be made, but your mistakes are far more than occasional. Look here--and here, and here, and here, and here,” Malfoy said icily, jabbing his finger at each misspelling and skipped blank. “ Saviour or not, you have to take your time when you fill out paperwork! Put a little effort into it!” Malfoy was keeping his manners fairly professional, but Harry could see a passionate fury in his eyes.
Cringing, Harry apologized. Then, he saw it. His opportunity.
“Would you mind… maybe showing me what I should have put?” he asked tentatively. Malfoy looked at him suspiciously, clearly sensing something was up by Harry’s not rising to his anger. Alphas were famously quick to rile up--anyone would’ve expected Harry to have steam coming out his ears by now, not to be awkwardly asking an Omega for help.
“I am not doing this for you , Potter.”
“No! Of course not! I’ll do the fixing. Just, show me what? And where?”
He glowered at Harry impressively, but reluctantly nodded.
Harry scooted his chair in toward the desk and bent over the paperwork, making a show of looking up at the top of it and slowly reading down until he came to the first cringe-worthy “typo.”
“This, here, yeah?” He looked up at Malfoy, who sighed and leaned over, immediately looking at the right place and nodding.
“That’s the wrong fucking form of ‘there,’ Potter. You’re saying that they are an organized group, not that there is an organized group. It’s t-h-e-y-’-r-e.”
Nodding enthusiastically, Harry scratched out the word and wrote in ‘they’re’ instead. “All right! What’s next?”
The next several hours were spent with Harry being as dimwitted as he could stomach while Malfoy leaned in, their heads inches away from each other, spelling out exactly what Harry needed to do to fix each mistake.
Harry was sure it was worth looking stupid. It had to be worth it. Everyone knew Omegas loved helping other people out, loved to help Alphas out. It was one of the reasons Harry had been shocked Draco was an Omega, actually, and he didn’t really think the Omega temperament suited Malfoy as well as the schoolyard nemesis he’d always known before the war, but… if Malfoy enjoyed correcting Harry as he made a fool of himself, it was worth it.
The only problem was that Malfoy didn’t seem to be enjoying himself. Hours later, with an entire stack of paperwork fixed, Harry was still on the receiving end of an angry glare. Just as Harry began to despair about his next move, Malfoy seemingly burst. Everything he’d been holding in all morning came rushing out.
“You’re the Saviour, I get it. You always get your way, other Alphas bend over backwards to cater to you, whatever. But it’s unbelievably selfish to make everyone go out of their way to inconvenience themselves for you. I can’t make you do shit, but I hope to Merlin you’ll start to actually listen to the rubbish you’ve spouted out to everyone coming out of the war, and remember that you’re not better than the rest of us just because you’re the Alpha of Alphas.”
They both stood, silently staring at each other in shock at Malfoy’s outburst. Harry’s brain had come to a crashing stop, and before he could reply, Malfoy had gathered up the paperwork and hurried off with a, “Have a good afternoon, Potter.”
Ron knocked a few minutes later and poked his head into the office. “Saw Malfoy on his way out, mate. Didn’t score a date, huh?”
With a sigh, Ron walked in all the way and closed the door. Harry stared blankly ahead with a veneer of distinct horror.
“All right, spill.”
“So yeah, in conclusion, either Harry’s retelling is missing something important, or Malfoy really, really has no interest in Harry whatsoever.”
“He’d be the only Omega in the world,” Fred offered cheerfully.
“Dreadful luck, Harrykins,” George added.
Harry ate quietly, dejectedly refusing to reply to his friends’ less than comforting narrative on his failed attempt to ask Draco out.
“Well, you know,” Hermione piped up, “the best course of action might be to just directly ask him out, Harry. That way you’ll know for certain whether he’s interested or not, and if you are turned down to your face, you might actually be able to get over him.”
All four males in the room turned and stared at her in horror.
“No! That’s an awful idea!” Harry exclaimed. “I’d rather pine with a little bit of idiotic hope than know he would never… never be with me…” His expression crumpled. The twins nodded in grim support.
“See! If even the thought of rejection makes him that dejected, think about how awful he’d be if he was actually rejected!”
“ Ron! ”
Ron yelped as his fiancee smacked him across the head with a serving spoon. The twins sat back and watched the scene for a moment before looking at each other. They had a short conversation in facial expressions before tuning out the bickering couple and turning toward their moping friend.
“Say, Harry…” Fred began.
“We think the best course of action in this trying time…”
“Is a nice distraction.”
“Have some fun!”
“Fun’ll take your mind off of this morning, yeah?”
Harry looked at the two warily, but gestured for them to continue.
“Oh no, no no no,” Fred said.
“We’re not telling you where we’re taking you ahead of time!”
The twins looked at Ron and Hermione to check that they were still absorbed in each other.
“Hermione would not approve at all.”
“Then I’m going to say no thanks, I think…”
“Oh no no no! We’ve been dying to check it out!”
“It’s a common thing in France, has been for centuries, and they just set up the first one in Britain!”
“Hermione just wouldn’t approve because they only allow Alphas to come in.”
Harry grimaced. He didn’t much care for the system himself, but it was easier for him to ignore the unpleasantness--the flat out wrongness--than it was for his two best friends. He was an Alpha, he was granted first rights to everything, he could go anywhere, everyone listened to him…
Ron and Hermione, though. They were both Betas. They deserved every bit of respect Harry received, but in the aftermath of the war, it was alarming how many news accounts they’d been completely left out of because the articles were addressing the valiant Alphas of the war. It was unfair how many people ignored them when they spoke, but listened to Harry when he said the same thing.
A place that only allowed Alphas didn’t sound promising.
“I appreciate that you two want to take me with you, but I’m gonna decline…”
Never let it be said that the twins weren’t persuasive.
Harry wasn’t entirely sure where he was, or why, but walking into a condemned building just for it to transform into one of the raunchiest-looking clubs Harry had had the misfortune of entering wasn’t a good sign. Fred and George had sworn this place had really special drinks, and Harry thought their stated reasoning for dragging him along was something about not drinking alone? But that wasn’t encouraging either.
As George announced that their table was under Weasleys and Potter, the entire place fell silent and turned to stare at them. Him in particular. Harry slouched down as far as he could, wishing desperately that he could disappear, but knowing the twins would grab him and pull him back. Why did he always let them embarrass him?
“Oi, Malfoy!” Draco sighed, feeling like he might cry. Finally, finally he goes to sit down, for the first time in two hours, and the owner appears and summons him personally. If he didn’t need the money so desperately, Draco would quit in an instant. He hated this place.
“We have a special class customer! You’ve been selling spectacularly these past couple weeks, I want you to serve the table personally.” Draco’s heart dropped.
“Of course, sir.”
“Well then, get to it!”
The only reason he’d thought he could get away with working at a place like this was because the “suppliers” got to stay in the back. Server was an entirely different position. Draco shouldn’t ever have to show his face in the bar room, where people might recognize him. If there was anyone out there who was familiar with him, he’d lose both of his jobs overnight.
Draco took a deep breath and pushed himself to his feet. He looked around for Jackie, the floor manager on duty last he’d checked. She should be able to get him a uniform and some vague instructions on how one waits a table.
“Malfoy, we’ve gotten plenty of milk off you. You’re fine, I already told you. Really, go take a break,” Jackie chided as soon as he got her attention.
“Michaels wants me to wait the special customers’ table,” Draco murmured. She paled before barking at someone to take off their uniform and hand it over. Draco chuckled at the unlucky chap as he turned a ripe shade of pink before complying with her order.
“What will I need to do?”
“I’d say be flirty but I don’t think you could do that if I threatened your life. Try to be overly formal? Cute? Bashful?” She sighed at the alarm in Draco’s expression. “You’re going to welcome them to Britain’s very first Omega milk bar, answer any stupid questions they ask with patience and formal politeness, and then you’re going to ask if they have a preference on what milk they want, emphasizing the different flavors and shit and trying to push the fruit flavors on them since Michaels clearly wants them to try your milk.”
“That’s… a lot.”
Jackie patted his arm. “You’ll do fine. I can tell you’ve already imagined every possible terrible outcome of all this, so you can only be pleasantly surprised!” Draco smiled weakly and accepted the wadded up uniform she thrust at him. “Hurry up and get this on and get out there! If Michaels is personally invested in their reception, they must really be a bigwig! We don’t want to piss them off by keeping them waiting!”
That didn’t help Draco’s nerves at all.
The uniform turned out to be a size too small, which sucked, but at least it was snug in all the right places, so Draco wasn't too embarrassed to wear it. It was more the fact he'd be wearing it in a room full of Alphas that concerned him.
"All right Malfoy, remember, fruity milks!" Jackie called as Draco stepped out onto the floor of the room. He immediately wished he had just quit. Really, who cared about having a roof over their head anyway?
There were bright, pulsing lights shining out across the floor. Draco had never looked out here, and was horrified to realize it wasn't really a bar at all. He'd always thought there would be a counter behind which the servers were safely tucked out of reach of the rich, privileged Alphas, and all of the drinks would be listed on some kind of menu or something. The fact that there were tables should have clued him in on the fact that was not the case, but he was not expecting the room to be this big, or to look quite so much like a club.
There was a bar off to the side, but there was almost no one sitting at it and only one server behind it. That appeared to be where the drinks were kept and where the servers went to pick them up to take them to the tables.
The tables, though? Those were fucking everywhere, and looked to be as expensive as something from the Manor. Custom woodwork, Draco would swear to it. There were crazy multicolored candles on many tables, floating around the room, and hanging in elaborate chandeliers from the ceiling. They provided all of the light. They also gave Draco a headache in moments. They wouldn't stay still .
"That way, Malfoy! Hurry, hurry!" someone murmured as they shouldered him out of the doorway to the back. He walked mechanically across the room, hoping his table would be obvious. What kind of famous had Michaels meant? Shacklebolt was an Alpha. Surely, Draco wouldn't have to keep a straight face while pawning off his milk to the goddamn Minister. How had he even begun to think he could do this?!
Now that he was getting out into the middle of the room, Draco noticed the occasional predatory grin fixed on him. Alphas leered at all of the servers, to be fair, but that didn’t make it any better!
"Oi, that one's new, eh, pretty boy?" someone hooted at him. Draco paled and looked around in earnest for his table. At least someone of high society should be polite, right? He had an hour, two tops, before he could get off this floor. Just an hour. He could handle being catcalled, he could... probably handle being groped... No, no, no, this wasn't a good train of thought.
Just then he caught Geoffrey's eye, and Geoff gestured up above them. Draco looked up and realized he'd missed the fact that there was a second floor. Not surprising, really, the candles were terribly distracting, but a few tables were nestled up in the walls, like tree houses. Draco was reluctantly impressed. Those would be pretty damn cool to eat at. Not that he'd ever get to.
With a sigh, Draco spotted the rope ladder servers were probably supposed to use to get up there. A fucking rope ladder, of all things. These bigwigs had better appreciate having the “most popular Omega” wait on them personally. This was ridiculous.
He squinted up at the silhouettes sitting at the table, but all he could make out was that they were probably male. Which was positive, Draco supposed, as he'd prefer to get felt up by someone he found attractive rather than some random woman, but he wasn't comfortable being felt up at all...
Still sore from giving his latest batch of milk, Draco started up the fucking rope ladder .
The table was pretty cool--Harry had to give the twins that much. They'd ridden brooms to get into their seats, and the lovely gent who'd seated them had made a bit of a show of demonstrating the cloaking visors to them. It would be a bit nice to have a drink without everyone else in the place eagerly watching him, Harry had to admit.
"I don't know what in the world is taking the server so long," Fred murmured, "but the menu is pretty simple. Just think up a flavor you want and ask them for it when they get here."
"Have you two been here before?" Harry asked.
"No, but that's rather the science behind it all," George spoke up, sounding excited.
"Oh joy. There's science behind it."
George ignored the flat tone of Harry's voice. "You see, the different flavors are determined by strict diets that the donating Omegas are on. Magical scientists in France have been studying the effects of foods on Omega milk for centuries, and they've always had an exclusive market on the topic because nowhere else has ever had an Omega bar. But now that they've set up this one, Fred and I are considering hopping onto the bandwagon and trying to utilize the research on food to milk correlation in our products--"
"Wait a fucking second! They serve Omega milk here ? As in, the stuff that feeds babies?"
The twins both gave him shark-like grins.
"Oh, did we forget to mention that part?" Fred asked innocently.
"My apologies for the wait, sirs--"
Draco Malfoy appeared at their table and everyone fell silent.
Harry Potter. Holy fuck. He was trying to sell Harry fucking Potter his goddamn milk no, no, no--
Draco Malfoy. Oh Merlin. Draco fucking Malfoy sold his milk to people to drink . Oh Merlin, Harry was one of the people! No, no, no--
"Ah, the wait is well worth it to be served by such a lovely face!" Fred piped up cheerfully, glancing at Harry out of the corner of his eye as he smiled far too widely.
"This just happens to be our first time in this lovely establishment," George continued.
"What would you recommend we try for our drinks? I've heard wonderful things about the... uhh... mint?"
George shook his head minutely. Fred had tried to guess at the kind of food they'd have Draco on. But if George didn't think he seemed like a mint kind of guy, they might be out of luck...
They were, in fact, not out of luck.
Malfoy had gone bright pink and, without thinking, blurted out, "The fruit flavors are a favorite! Um, I can get you some if you'd like? Probably? I don't know all the fruits we have-- umm-- uhhh..." He went pinker, if possible, and seemed like he might hyperventilate. Fred and George exchanged concerned looks. Malfoy may be new at this, too.
"Is yours fruit?" Harry blurted out. All three of the others turned to stare at him in surprise, and Harry looked as if he wanted to melt into his seat. Why had he said that ...
"It-- um, yeah, it is? Strawberry and orange, with a twist of banana..." Draco muttered, his flush reaching down his neck. "I can, um, go get you a cup? Or glass, sorry, a glass."
Fred and George side-eyed each other. All of the Weasleys knew Harry was head over heels for Draco, but maybe he actually had a chance here? Surely no one could be this painfully awkward with absolutely no reason for it.
Right, then. Draco finally broke the embarrassingly intimate eye contact with Harry and remembered-- "Three glasses! I can bring..."
"Oh no, we're good. We'll take something sugary."
"Do you have anything... cheesecake-y?"
"I... don't know? I'll ask down there, at the, uh, the counter. Two glasses of that? Cheesecake?"
"Yup," George agreed.
"That'll do nicely."
Draco nodded quickly and stumbled backward, forgetting to say anything as he fled down the ladder to recover himself and ask about someone getting him the three glasses.
Harry did not recover so quickly. He was staring at the spot Draco had disappeared down with a glazed expression.
"All right there, Harrykins?" Harry jumped.
"What?" The twins' grins were very unsettling.
"Didn't know that Malfoy worked here."
"Mighty convenient, though!"
"Looking forward to trying some of his milk?" Fred waggled his eyebrows and Harry felt like he might faint.
"You want milk from a different Omega? We should probably hurry to call him back, then..."
"No!" The idea of drinking another Omega's milk sounded revolting.
"So you do want to drink his milk?"
"Stop making that sound so--so dirty!"
The twins laughed.
"Oh, you're in so deep, Harry, it's adorable," George chuckled. "Just don't embarrass yourself too bad, yeah?"
"Yeah, remember that we'll be recounting every detail of this evening to Ron and Hermione tomorrow."
Harry's eyes widened. "You--!"
"I'm back! Terribly sorry for the wait, Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley, Mr. Weasley," Malfoy announced. He seemed to have gathered himself admirably. What wasn't so admirable was the precarious way he was trying to balance the plate with their drinks on it. Both twins leaned back as far away from Malfoy as they could.
"I have two cinnamon cheesecakes and a fruit salad," he said confidently. George smiled a bit while Fred had to bite his lip to keep from snickering. Someone definitely told Malfoy word for word what to say.
Their suspicions were further confirmed when Malfoy smiled at Harry and--they couldn't quite tell, but were pretty sure--winked at him. Harry certainly saw the wink, and neared fainting once more. "I--um--thank you," Harry squeaked, voice way too high to pass for normal. Malfoy grimaced a bit, and Fred's eyes lit up in glee.
Was Malfoy so oblivious he just thought Harry was embarrassed by the situation? Well, Harry was embarrassed by the situation, but he was mostly embarrassed because it was his crush serving him his own, personal milk. Fred glanced at George and couldn't hold back his snickering anymore. Fortunately only George noticed. The other two were busy making far too big a deal out of Malfoy trying to hand Harry his drink and both of them fumbling so badly they nearly spilled it.
Blushes renewed, Malfoy half threw Fred and George’s drinks at them--if the situation weren't so funny, Fred and George would be annoyed by how genuinely bad this service was--and began to hurry back to the ladder to leave the three be... but that wouldn't do now, would it?
Fred had one more idea in his pocket for embarrassing Harry.
"Oh, wait a moment, Malfoy, if you will," he called. Malfoy and Harry turned to look at him in surprise, while George smiled into the top of his glass. "Would mind waiting for us to have a try, so we know if we like our flavors?"
Malfoy looked a bit like Fred was asking him to cut off his own foot, but he plastered on an unconvincing smile and nodded. "Of course!" Harry glared daggers at Fred, who smirked and took a sip of his cinnamon cheesecake.
"Mmm. Very sweet, just rich enough for my taste. George?"
"Yes, I like it a good bit. What about you, Harry?"
All three of them looked at Harry, who paled. "Oh, um, bottoms up," he said, grimacing at how stupid that sounded. He lifted his glass and took a sip...
And moaned out loud at the exquisite taste before coming in his pants.
Fred and George's eyes widened in surprise, which was quickly followed by delight. Oh, this was even better than they'd hoped for!
Malfoy appeared shocked, which was probably a reasonable reaction to seeing someone drink your milk and have an orgasm from it. But Harry...
As soon as the aftershocks wore off and Harry realized what had happened, he shot up out of his chair, shoved by Malfoy, and half jumped down whatever ladder they had there. Malfoy didn't protest, continuing to stare after him in shock, and Fred and George finally lost their composure and burst out laughing as Harry fled in mortification.
Once outside of the establishment, Harry paused and took stock of his situation. His pants were sticky and uncomfortable, he'd inadvertently stolen his glass, and he could never, ever show his face in public ever, ever again. Oh Merlin, he’d orgasmed in public. He’d just… And every eye in the room had been on him as he fled. This... this was worse than... it was the most embarrassing situation Harry had ever faced in his life. He only had one option, now.
Hide in his apartment and never show his face again.
A great plan. Harry gingerly set the glass down on the pavement and Apparated away. This was entirely the twins' fault in the first place; they could pay for his drink. Harry was gonna try to drown himself in his shower and then bury himself in pillows and blankets and pretend tonight hadn't happened.
“You will NOT believe what happened to me last night,” Draco announced as he tossed his bag at Lance and plopped down into the chair next to Meg. They exchanged looks with Art. Clearly this was going to be a ‘VALIDATE ME’ luncheon. Which was cool, they all needed those every now and then, but Draco’s problems always seemed to be impressively dramatic and unbelievable. How he managed to get into all the situations he got into….
“All right, I’ll bite,” Lance asked smoothly, “What happened at the Omega bar that you actually want to tell us about? Normally you treat it as your most horrible hidden sin.”
Draco paused, felt his Dark Mark physically pulse, and felt the nagging of… really, really dark, unpleasant thoughts he didn’t want to listen to right now. He plowed on.
“They made me wait a table .” His friends looked baffled.
“They have tables?” Artie asked, rightfully confused.
“I know!” Draco threw his hands up in the air. “What the fuck, right? But that’s just the beginning .” Meg put down her slice of pizza and leaned forward eagerly. She had much less self-preservation when dealing with Draco than the other two did. Probably why they were closer friends, really.
“Michaels himself—yeah, the asshole who owns the place and is never there and doesn’t understand how any part of the place works but believes that his showing up and ordering people around improves efficiency and profit—he just POOFS, out of bloody nowhere, and goes ‘ Malfoy ,’” here Draco leans forward and squints down at the table in a mockingly menacing manner, “‘There’s an important couple customers out there. You sell well, you go wait the table!’”
“But— you don’t sell well, your… well, you know. But that sells well, not you! Your customer service manners are awful!” Artie exclaimed. Meg and Lance snickered at Draco’s offended expression.
“What he means is, did Michaels have any idea that you’d never served a table in your life?” Lance covered.
If possible, Draco now looked even more affronted. “Do you think—you think that Michaels might have known?! And thrown me out there anyway, fully aware that I have no idea what I’m doing and that it’s fucking Potter and the double Weasleys, and expecting me to fail?!” His friends all dropped their food in shock.
“How’s this Potter’s fault too ?”
“Are you saying that Michaels tossed you out to wait on Harry Potter’s table at an Omega bar?” Lance’s realisation shut the other two up, and they looked at Draco in shock.
“He set me up! Michaels set me up to make a fool of myself and be ruined! That bloody fucking—!”
“You made a fool of yourself waiting Harry Potter’s table?!” Art asked in horror. “Oh Merlin, do you think he’s going to make a deal about it at work?”
“Draco, Draco, we’ve missed the most important part!” They all turned to Meg, confused.
“ What flavor did he order ?”
Lance and Artie sighed heavily, expecting a rant… but there was silence.
Draco’s friends all gaped at him as he flushed brightly and sunk down into his chair.
“Yours?” Art asked in a hushed voice. “Harry Potter looked you in the eye and asked to drink your Omega milk?” Even Lance appeared to be genuinely stunned.
“He—sort of? The twins rather ordered for him. He looked like he was more embarrassed that I was,” Draco admitted. “That’s not—“ His blush deepened. “Oh, lean in,” he muttered.
The others exchanged glances before leaning in until their heads were almost touching. The food on the table was long forgotten.
“He tried to down it, I guess.”
“Did he throw it up on your shoes?”
“No, Meg. It was worse than that. I… I don’t even know how to say it?”
“Directly usually’s best. Just let it out,” Artie advised. Draco took a deep breath.
“He took a drink and literally came. Orgasmed. In his pants. From my milk. At a table with other people. With me standing right there .” Draco let out the rest of his breath. He’d said that quickly, and his friends needed a moment to process. He thunked his forehead onto the table so he wouldn’t have to maintain eye contact as he talked with them about Potter… cumming….
“Draco…” Artie paused. He looked at Lance, who looked at Meg, who looked back at Lance.
“We should have figured this out ages ago,” Meg whispered in horror.
“Draco,” Lance said softly. “Draco.” He shook Draco’s shoulder until Draco looked at him. Lance stared as deeply into Draco’s soul as he could manage without cracking up. “You have a crush on Harry Potter.” Draco blinked owlishly at him.
“Where did that come from?”
“We’ve been friends for years now, mate,” Artie ventured.
“We know you pretty well,” Meg continued before glancing at Lance. He had the gentlest touch of all four of them; this was up to him.
“Draco, look at me. You talk about Potter all the time. Your complaints about him usually just sound like… Well, you tend to give the impression that you don’t like Potter because you find him distractingly attractive and don’t like that you can’t touch.” Meg and Art nodded sagely as Draco’s jaw dropped.
“I— what ?”
“You’re attracted to Potter, Dray,” Meg helpfully supplied. “And I really, really am not an expert on Omega milk, especially with all of us being Betas and all, but I suspect that Potter is probably attracted to you too, given that you’ve told us all about how bullshit the whole ‘an Omega’s diet affects their milk’ tripe the French created is. If he came in his…” She broke off to snigger. “Oh, Merlin. Well, he probably was reacting to your milk , not the strawberry whatever-the-fuck.”
“It’s… no. No, you have to be wrong. There’s no real effect, not from the diet, but the diet still affects the taste! He must just… really like strawberries… and oranges…” Draco trailed off, a dawning horror appearing in his expression. “Oh Merlin. Oh… oh, Merlin .”
He looked up helplessly at his friends. His best friends, who’d ignored his A/B/O status, his Death Eater status, and his lowly-Ministry-nobody status and gotten to know him , and had stuck by him, and were sitting here with him now, in the all-you-can-eat-buffet where they’d shared many fond memories, pointing out to him the intricate mysteries of his life he had somehow missed.
“Harry Potter likes me so much the taste of my milk can make him orgasm.”
The universe fell still following Draco’s declaration.
“What… do I do ?” he asked, his voice lowering to a whisper. The table fell into somber silence for several minutes as everyone thought over Draco’s dilemma. They slowly went back to their food, expressions contemplative.
“Wait.” Everyone turned toward Artie. Lance, in particular, looked sceptical about what kind of life advice Art would give out. That wasn’t necessarily his… thing. “If you like Potter and Potter likes you, do you want to try for a relationship? Or no?” After a moment of silent appreciation for Art’s simple genius, the group turned toward Draco instead.
“I…” Draco’s expression became dreamier and dreamier the longer he thought on it. “Yeah,” he sighed at last. The others immediately dissolved into hysterics. Draco tried to glare at them but couldn’t manage it. He hadn’t considered the possibility of being Harry Potter’s friend since his first year at Hogwarts, Merlin knows how long ago. This… Harry was… Who wouldn’t be interested in a relationship with Potter?
“All right Draco, as your—as—as your friend,” Meg wheezed out, “I feel the need to make sure you’ve thought—through, this. Yeah, all the way through it. Why would you wanna be with Potter? Some—some reasons?” All three had bright eyes and wide grins.
“Reasons? Do I even need to bother? He’s attractive—his hair’s a mess, of course, but Merlin, it looks so thick and soft—and his eyes are so green . Imagine waking up every morning, and turning over in bed and looking into those eyes—and his strong arms, and hands, and—Merlin, I’d pay to see him shirtless , fuck, what a sight. And I can only imagine the shagging—“
Art made gagging motions, and Draco dropped the idea of how Harry Potter fucks.
“And Merlin knows he’s the richest, most eligible bachelor in the wizarding world.” He ignored Lance choking out, ‘ Witch Weekly fan, are we? ’ “I’ve likely lost my job at the bar, and I can hardly afford to live off of just the Ministry job…” He ignored Meg’s choked, ‘ Sugar Daddy! Great point, D-Draco. ’ “Not to mention that he’s known me longer than just about anyone else in my life. For better or for worse, we do know each other very well,” he mused.
“All right, all right! We’re convinced! Potter’s a prize and you should totally go after him,” Meg laughed. “Are you gonna go up and talk to him Monday at the Ministry?” Draco and Art both shook their heads vehemently. Meg rolled her eyes and Lance snickered.
“Then perhaps you should get his address? If you don’t know it already,” Lance suggested.
“That’s… probably a good plan,” Draco agreed, looking at Meg and Art for their opinions. They both nodded. “I can go to Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes and ask the two twin Weasleys, I think. They were the ones who dragged him to the bar, it seemed. If you don’t think they’re likely to give me purposely bad advice, they can probably suggest a time and place over the weekend to go a knocking?” Draco suggested tentatively.
“That sounds good!” Artie agreed. Lance and Meg echoed their agreement. “All right then, let’s eat as much pizza as we can and then all go home. Draco’s gonna need to be well-rested to face an embarrassed Auror, and we’ll need to be on call as backup!”
Draco rolled his eyes and scoffed at the suggestion he’d need backup—but he knew they knew how much he appreciated them. They would be there if he needed it, and that made all the difference in the world to him. He could do anything if he knew his friends were behind him.
Even if that anything was to ask out the great Harry Potter.
All right. Draco took a deep breath. Shirt jacket straight? Check. Trousers sharply pressed? Yes. Shirt buttoned up properly? Thank Merlin, he wasn't quite that nervous yet. His button were fine. His hair looked a bit too carefully arranged right now, but by the time he arrived at the joke shop it would look artfully windswept. His Dark Mark was carefully out of view, as per the usual. And really, the twins may have become more successful business-wise than the rest of their family, but they were still Weasleys. They probably weren't going to judge Draco on his appearance. They'd judge him on his actions--which was a much more terrifying prospect.
But Draco had come far from the boy he'd been right after the war, not to mention during and before it, and he was confident there wasn't anything in his character they'd take issue with. They may never like him, but they'd probably be fair enough to let him talk to Potter, especially having witnessed the obvious testament to Potter's attraction to Draco.
That left only the lingering sense of foreboding that had been drilled into every Omega about facing an Alpha, or worse, a group of them, alone. But it had been a long time since any decent member of society sexually came onto an Omega in public. It happened behind closed doors far too often, but Draco would be waltzing into their place of business. There were always crowds at WWWs, and Draco could cast quickly enough to send up a flare if there was trouble. Every Omega was taught those.
So really, Draco was just putting off leaving his house because he was nervous, which wouldn't do.
He squared his shoulders and tossed a handful of powder into the floo. Coming out of his small apartment and suddenly being amongst the busy and the bustle of the Leaky Cauldron was always disorienting. The fire flared to life behind him and Draco hurried to step out of the way before the next person came through.
A small smile found its way onto his face as he made his way through the wall and into Diagon Alley. He'd been very young when his parents first brought him here, and Draco regretted how little joy he'd taken in the magic of this place as a child. Now, though, after the war and its aftershocks, Draco felt giddy in wonder every time he got the opportunity to walk through this place. It was so alive with magic and people and color. A sharp contrast to his scarcely furnished apartment, that was for sure.
Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes wasn't a terribly long walk, and Draco was upon it before he was ready. But really, he'd never be as ready as he'd like to be, because he didn't have the upper hand in this situation.
His pride would have to suck it up, he decided, squaring his shoulders and pushing open the door to the shop.
Immediately, toys and thingamabobs of all shapes and kinds and colors smacked Draco in the face. In the case of one unfortunate paper bird, quite literally. He smiled a bit and batted the toy away, craning his neck to try and look over the shelves and patrons to spot a head of signature red hair. For all the Draco was abnormally tall, though, the twins were painfully average in height and could disappear from sight before magically appearing behind you.
"Good afternoon, Malfoy!"
"Fancy seeing you here!"
Draco slipped and nearly toppled headlong into a pen of pygmy puffs, narrowly catching himself on the sides of it. Merlin, both twins at once. Why had he let his friends convince him this was wise?
"Ah, yes, it's me. Here. Umm..."
"Looking for something in particular?"
"Or, perhaps... someone?"
Oh joy. Fucking spectacular. They were expecting him. He was at such a disadvantage. His father must have been rolling over in his grave.
"I may have hoped to inquire about the residence of Harry Potter." Oh Merlin no, that came out entirely wrong. That wasn't a casual, flippant leading question at all!
The twins both glanced at each other and looked smug. Damn it all.
"So, let's get down to business, Malfoy."
They seemed to be willing to have this discussion with small screaming children running all around and anyone able to listen in, which seemed unwise to Draco, given all of Potter's trouble with privacy, but whatever. Better for him, he supposed.
"Are you going to mock Harry, apologise to Harry, or ask him out?"
"Umm... apologise and ask him out? It's more that I would like to--"
"We advise a direct approach."
"Harry is about as intuitive as a dead tree when it comes to romance, I'm afraid."
Draco blinked. "What?"
"Flowers, maybe? Chocolate may not be the best idea, but Harry has a secret enjoyment of flora."
"Mmm, I don't know. Maybe they could just awkwardly conversate. Think of Harry trying to figure out the appropriate social response to receiving flowers."
"Fair point, fair point. He'll probably be more comfortable giving you flowers and such. Alpha instincts and such and such. Maybe just be very obvious about liking him, drop hints about the kinds of chocolate you like, and then dramatically exit, leaving him drooling?"
"Stop," Draco snapped. "I have a lot of problems with what you just said, but let me just ask this instead. Would Potter be comfortable with my showing up at his house, is he interested in me beyond a sexual manner, or would he prefer I gracefully forget what happened two nights ago, and where is his address, regardless of any of that?"
Again, the two turned to each other and seemed to have a short conversation before responding to him. Draco huffed and tapped his foot impatiently. Fucking Gryffindors.
"Yes, Harry has displayed romantic interest in you," George began. He sounded... weirdly sarcastic, though? Like there was something else to it?
"And yes, we'll give you his address. He may not be thrilled, though," Fred warned. "He was so embarrassed that he hasn't left his house or let anyone in or out since the dinner."
"You be an asshole, and--"
"--we'll make sure you regret it."
"You get us?"
"Perfectly," Draco replied stiffly. He felt like there was something about all of this he was missing. "Are you... certain that's all?" Another communicative pause.
"All right, Malfoy, look."
"This is private . Harry's business. You got that?"
He nodded, feeling eyes on his skin even though all of the patrons looked to be tuning them out.
"There's a lot of... strong feelings among Harry and his friends about the accepted A/B/O dynamics of society."
"He doesn't like to bring it up, because he doesn't want that to be any kind of focus in his life."
"It's more that he feels like being obsessively interested in an Omega is a betrayal of his beliefs that your orientation shouldn't define you." ... Obsessively interested ? Draco felt a blush creep across his cheekbones and realized what the Weasleys were getting at. He was both incredibly aroused by the fact that Potter was so interested in him that someone close to him would choose to describe it as an obsession, and disgusted by himself for being aroused by someone fucking emotionally stalking him. If that was where Potter was at... maybe they could work something out?
"He feels a bit guilty for being at the top of the social ladder, and is constantly sabotaging himself."
"Won't really make any kind of move on you..."
"...because he feels like that would be the Alpha way of doing things..."
"...and he doesn't want A/B/O dynamics to have any place in his relationships."
They both stared at him with uncomfortable intensity.
"I--um--yeah. That makes sense?" Draco took a small step back and waited in discomfort before the Weasleys nodded at him.
"His address is pretty simple, I'll go write down directions. It's in Hogsmeade, so I'll base 'em on our storefront there."
"Wait--I passed ? Are you really playing at interrogating older brothers?"
Fred smirked at him. "Well, we are, you know."
"And you'd rather us over Ron," George added as he returned with a slip of paper.
About ten minutes later, Draco was sitting on his couch staring at Harry Potter's address and feeling like the universe was playing a trick on him.
According to Harry’s grandfather clock, it was eleven in the morning. According to Harry’s calendar, it was Sunday. According to Harry’s logical half, it was time to put on some real clothes, shower, vent to his friends, and move on from the events of Thursday night. His logical side had it all planned out, really. A great idea!
According to Harry’s other half, it was the perfect time to burn his tongue on still-too-hot cider he’d bought from the store and warmed up with an ill-advised Heating Charm, while curling up on the couch with seven thick, fluffy blankets and several stuffed animals Teddy had forgotten at his house while he watched old Star Trek reruns. Obviously, this half was winning. Who didn’t want to stew in misery instead of doing productive things to pull themselves out of it?
There was knocking on his door.
Harry stopped still. What ?
He waited a minute and didn’t hear anything else. But as he directed his focus back onto the TV, there was another tentative knock. Who in the world…?
His friends would’ve popped in the floo, so Harry grabbed his wand on the way to the door, and panicked slightly about his appearance. His pyjama pants were so old and worn that they hung off him, and half of the Snitches didn’t flutter so much as spasm. And he… wasn’t wearing a shirt? But really, who needed a shirt with seven blankets!
The self-consciousness he felt about his scars was almost enough to make him turn around and grab a shirt before opening the door, but he was turning the knob before he’d fully decided on his course of action.
And… immediately regretted not grabbing a shirt.
Because there stood Draco Malfoy.
Both men flushed brightly. Draco’s eyes swept down Harry’s figure slowly before he snapped them up to meet Harry’s face, and Harry was meanwhile taking in Draco’s entire well-dressed figure with a growing sense of dismay because he knew he looked even worse compared to Draco.
“I--didn’t mean to intrude?” Draco sounded as hesitant as his knock had been. “I was hoping to speak with you, but we could, uh, arrange a different date to do that, if you’d--you’d rather?” He seemed distracted by Harry’s state of undress, which was in turn distracting Harry .
“No! Uh, it’s no problem, you can come in, just let me grab something--” Draco wordlessly slipped off his jacket and handed it to Harry, pointedly looking down at the ground, as if Harry would be changing or something. Oh Merlin. Could this situation possibly be more awkward?
Harry shrugged on the jacket and then proceeded to metaphorically melt into a content puddle. This jacket… it was so soft. So, so soft. It was like wearing all of his blankets, but somehow made him look sophisticated, instead of like a four-year-old.
“Where did you get this?” Harry blurted out without thinking. Aaaaaand they both blushed, and it was somehow even more awkward.
“I--it’s custom?” Draco stuttered. “Pansy picked it up for me. I don’t really know how to get one? You can just… uh… keep that? If you like it?” Draco was blushing profusely still, but he looked up at Harry sweetly and sort of batted his eyelashes, and it was so hot but sweetly adorable at once that Harry didn’t know how he was expected to stay sane. Oh Merlin. This was the most problematic crush he’d ever had.
“Oh. Um. Cool? Thanks?” They both stood there. This was awful. It was Harry’s house, Malfoy probably was expecting him to do something so Malfoy could follow his lead. Umm… comfortable topic of conversation…
“So, walking in Hogsmeade and wanted to drop by?” Oh no, that sounded hopeful. Way too obvious. Bad! Don’t insult his intelligence! Be coy. “It’s beautiful this time of year, yeah? And no Hogwarts students out this weekend. Great choice of timing.” Draco looked surprised, damn it. Not natural enough. He couldn’t do this--
“Um, the twins gave me your address, actually? I… wanted to just apologize for Thursday, since that was rather a wreck on everyone’s part, including mine, and… and…” Draco looked faint, and if Harry wasn’t panicking about Draco Malfoy standing in his entryway talking about the dinner at which Harry… yeah… he’d be panicking because Malfoy looked faint too, and he didn’t know what he’d do if Malfoy fainted in his entryway. That would be… bad.
“Anyway, um, I was hoping that we could maybe not let that hang between us and ferment and become some horrible nasty problem that’s way out of proportion--” Draco cut himself off. “Um. Could we maybe interact, without it being weird? That’s sort of what I came to ask. Just can’t fucking get to it, it seems.” He laughed nervously. “We don’t spend much time doing anything right now so we’d probably avoid each other and never talk again if we don’t do something about that right now, and you’re… pretty cool, and I’d love to spend some time with you? If you’d like?”
Harry was lost. He was standing in his entryway in old pyjama pants and Malfoy’s jacket-from-heaven, and his longtime crush was saying he was cool and that he wanted to hang out with him. This day had taken a complete turn for the fantastic.
“I--I’d love that! To, um, maybe go out to the pub sometime? I could let you know when the old Hogwarts crew goes? Make new memories, yeah?” For all that Harry was ecstatic at the idea, Malfoy didn’t look like that was what he’d had in mind.
“Oh. Well, yeah, that could be nice, but I don’t really know them too well, after all these years. Maybe I could get to know just you , first, and then go with you sometime in the future? We could get breakfast before work, maybe?”
Before Harry’s brain could process the fact that going to breakfast wasn’t something one normally did with their mates (they did it with their dates, he eventually realised very, very belatedly), Ron’s voice hollered through the apartment and both men jumped.
“Mate! Me and ‘Mione are coming through in a couple minutes! If you don’t want her to go off on you about being a lazing bachelor, you should probably clean the place up real quick!”
With a gasp, Harry turned to Malfoy and quickly thanked him for coming, said he was glad that he wouldn’t hold the incident on Thursday against him, and all but shoved him out of the door before frantically running through his house throwing things into closets and behind furniture.
His efforts almost worked. Hermione didn’t notice a single thing off with his house. Harry, however, was still wearing the ancient snitch pyjamas and Draco Malfoy’s jacket.
Standing on the doorstep and staring in surprise at the door that had been shut in his face, Draco wilted. He’d tried so fucking hard . Was Potter just oblivious, or did Harry really not care that much ?
He closed his eyes against his emotions rebelling against him and took a deep breath, willing the dejected hopelessness that wanted to creep up back down. The gravel crunched under his trainers as Draco turned around and started walking back to Hogsmeade.
“Good morning, Potter!”
“Doing well, no doubt, Harry?”
“Hullo, Auror Potter!”
Harry dragged his feet all the way from the floo to his office, not even trying to make it look like he gave a damn about his well-wishers, before slamming his office door shut behind him. Thank Merlin there hadn’t been any swooning teenagers. He would not have been able to handle that with grace right now.
Fortunately, he didn’t have any meetings that morning, so he was able to sulk all the way until lunch. Normally, he would head out and catch a bite to eat with his friends. Today, though, he begged out by claiming to need to turn in the abnormally large stack of paperwork he had filled out that morning. Ron didn’t seem to buy it, but he didn’t push.
Neither he nor Hermione had been terribly pleased by how distraught Harry was over the misunderstanding--”And it was me! I misunderstood! Months of trying to get his attention and I inadvertently turn him down!”--between him and Draco the day before, but they were allowing him his space to mope. All three of them knew he would come to the other two when he had figured something out and was ready to pull himself out of this funk.
For now, though, Harry delivered the files and then went back to his office to stare dismally at a sandwich he’d grabbed from the cafeteria.
Unless a new case came in, all Harry had to do today was fill out paperwork that had built up from the weekend’s minor infractions. With all of that already done, he’d just sit there and miserably dwell on how he could’ve been on a date with Draco Malfoy right now if he hadn’t cocked it all up.
And that was, indeed, how his afternoon went. Well, it was until a bit after two o’clock, when a little paper airplane zipped into his office and onto his desk. Harry sat up sharply and grabbed it. The excitement of a receiving a case of his own hadn’t worn off yet. It might never, honestly. Harry loved his job.
The notice wasn’t a case assignment, though. It came from The Department of Miscellaneous Mistakes and Error Correction . Wasn’t that… That was where Malfoy worked, wasn’t it?
Congratulations! First properly completed batch of paperwork in fourteen months,
according to our records down here. Wanna grab some dinner tonight to celebrate?
Harry stared at the notice for a long moment before folding it back up and slipping it into his pocket. A goofy grin lit up his face as he popped up to his feet and half-skipped over to his door to grab his outer robes and find Ron. Ron wouldn’t want to hear about this at all, but he was going to get to!
He was so excited, Harry almost forgot to reply and confirm. That would’ve been bad.
Draco Malfoy sat at his desk in nervous anticipation, ignoring the sighing Artie who came in and took the stack of paperwork he was ignoring in favor of agonising over how long it was taking Potter to reply. Had he pushed too far? He’d know for sure, now, if Potter wasn’t interested in him. He might end up regretting this if Potter took it poorly…
An airplane flew back to him, and Draco leapt up and hollered for Art. Harry said yes.